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Visions Festival... Fun A-Plenty, If You Can Get In

The line-up is full of the best upcoming new bands but there are queues everywhere and heavy sweating becomes the norm, still Hackney's mini-festival delivers some real treats.

I had a plan for Visions, I had researched all the new bands I wanted to see and I was off, camera in hand ready to check out Oscar, The Big Moon, Claw Marks, Theo Verney, Shamir, Ceremony, Jens Lekman, the Antlers, and my fave Brixton ragamuffins Fat White Family. It didn’t go as planned each time I turned a corner there was a huge queue to get into the venue’s with grim-faced bouncers operating a one in one out system.

Frankly the only chance of getting in to most venues was storming the gates or digging a makeshift tunnel.  I headed over to get in line for Visions must see band Hinds (FKA Deers) at Oval Space – an impressive multi-arts venue in the heart of Bethnal Green with a huge terrace showing most spectacular views over London and the disused gasworks off Hackney Road.

Before I saw Hinds at Secret Garden Party last month I knew from their energetic live photos I was going love them. Described by NME as ‘Europe’s most exciting new band’ Hinds are four girls from Madrid who make perfectly unrefined garage rock pop songs. They come onto the stage with a “Hola Hola Hola Hola” and it’s like Mac DeMarco, The Black Lips and the Strokes having a party and everyone is invited!

Next up we head to new venue Moth Club an ex service man’s members club in the heart of Hackney, re-vitalised and re-opened to the masses. Spread across several characterful rooms and truly unique dance hall with a backdrop of sparkly gold curtains. The night before it opened its doors for the Visions pre-party headline show from Ceremony and the best thing to come out of Stevenage since, well ever… Bad Breeding! Moth Club will be open 7 days a week from September.

We make it in just in time to catch the end of Rock n Roll frenzied Theo Verney. From Brighton he spends most of his time there writing and producing his own stuff aswell as recording other bands including the new Weak Nerves EP.

We decided to take a break from sweaty venues and headed for some cold beers at the Estrella Galicia bar located in the courtyard of Space Studios.  The ice cold cans of Estrella and big bean bags to lounge on were a welcome relief in the muggy weather. In keeping with the brewers Galician routes, they were also serving up deep fried pigs ears (think giant pork scratching’s). Next to the bar was the Visions Market, a mix of street food pop ups, a margarita bar, a couple of stalls selling art prints and the impressive Black Wax Record Shack.

Black Wax Record Shack is an independent pop up record shop run by Niall who uses the Shacklewell Arms as his HQ. We had a chat with Niall about his plans for the future which included a catalogue of around 100 records will soon be on the menu at Shacklewell Arms available to buy over the bar with your pint.

It was good vibes all round and Hinds were getting in on the action playing beer pong against some of the other Visions festival bands.

It was no surprise that the whole of Visons had flocked to The Laundry for the festival headliners Fat White Family. The one in one out queue for Fat White Family was huge but entertaining it looked like a riot would kick off any minute. Being a fellow Brixton Windmill regular and having followed them for years in their previous outfits (The Metro’s / Saudi’s) I was not giving up and eventually make it in.

FWF always deliver an amazing live show, almost paralysing the audience from start to finish and tonight is no different as they stir up a racket playing through Champagne Holocaust and finishing with ‘Bomb Disneyland’ it’s another enjoyable sweaty encounter that brings Visions to a bloody filthy chaotic end and leaves you wanting more.

Queues aside, Visions has one of the best new band line up’s around and gives you that feeling you might discover the next big thing. I’ll definitely be returning next year.

For more info on Visions Festival click here.

To find out more about Black Wax Records click here.

Words & pictures by Lindsay Melbourne