Now in its seventh year running, Southampton’s WTFest has once again showcased a whole new host of both local talent and major names. With massive headliners on all three days, it’s hard to choose between Muncie Girls, Turnover, Sorority Noise and The Xcerts as t0 who our favourites were.
Happy Accidents – 7/10
Kicking WTFest off are Happy Accidents, an (unsurprisingly) happy go-lucky band from London. From start to finish the band maintains cheerful vibes, their tone an indie-punk fusion drawn from the likes of Vampire Weekend and Jimmy Eat World which, when combined with pop-style hooks, wins the crowd over from the beginning and leaves them with smiles on their faces.
Weatherstate – 6/10
Unlike Happy Accidents, Weatherstate lean more towards the punk end of the scale, with fast riffs, drumbeats and basslines. If you’re into Bad Religion, Anti-Flag and old school Rise Against, you’ll love Weatherstate. Full of punk-rock character, the band stick to their strengths, pleased to remain in their comfort zone within the genre. Where this may be considered a bad thing, Weatherstate take it all in their stride, even covering Green Day’s classic song ‘Burnout’ much to the appreciation of the crowd.
Muncie Girls – 8/10
Headlining the first day of the weekend is Exeter’s own Muncie Girls, who waste no time getting straight into their set, blasting out hits from their debut album From Caplan To Belsize. It’s clear from the start that it’s the crowd’s favourite, the audience singing along to most if not all the words whilst dancing around. Whilst Muncie Girls don’t necessarily fit into the pop-punk bracket like most bands, their music is primarily made up of punk and pop-style hooks. Songs like ‘Learn in School’ and ‘Respect’ are instant crowd pleasers and provide the perfect start to the festival.
Eat Me – 7/10
If you are a fan of bands like Fidlar, Eat Me should be the next band on your list to see. Eat Me provide a perfect start to the day, especially with hit song, ‘Liar’ which the band perform with great gusto, entertaining the crowd as if they’re a modern day Blink-182. The band share jokes and insults between themselves, putting the crowd in the right mood for the bands yet to come.
Muskets – 9/10
Just over a year after releasing their EP, Spin, Muskets enter the stage next. With some similarities to bands such as Pixies, Muskets deliver a raging set that gets a fair amount of the crowd riled up. Hits from the most recent EP such as ‘Scranton’ make a great impression on the crowd. Without a doubt Muskets proved on stage that they’re a must see band live and that they’re only going to get bigger and bigger as the years go by.
Puppy – 8/10
On the success of their highly acclaimed EP, Puppy enter the stage with purpose in sight. The band have started to reach some fame, having played at festivals such as Download, and they have the audience to prove it, silent onlookers waiting with baited breath for what they’re about to witness. From the first note it was clear that Puppy were something new and exciting. Sounds you could ascribe to multiple different bands from the influences range from Feeder to Deftones and Ghost to Weezer, it’s almost impossible to pigeonhole the band. Playing all the hits from Vol.II, Puppy perform with such force it’d be hard for any band to follow in their wake.
Turnover – 8/10
Over the past few years, Indie-Emo act Turnover have gained a cult following, not just in the US but also in the UK. This success is visible by the crowd alone, onlookers cram-packed into the venue as they wait for the band to come on stage and break their hearts with somber songs.
As the quartet walk onstage a cheer erupts from the crowd, the band making headway into their set, playing a range of old and new songs from last year’s Peripheral Vision. It is almost as if the audience and the band are one entity as the crowds sing along to each and every one of the lyrics, swaying as if they’re hypnotized. Hits such as ‘Diazepam’ and ‘Dizzy on the Comedown ‘are met with joy as the crowd are captivated by the Virginian quartet. It may have been the last date on their UK tour, but this show will definitely stick with both the band and the audience for a while to come.
Latchstring – 8/10
The third and final day of the festival kicks off to a raucous start with soft chuckles from the crowd as Latchstring announce that there are 2 titles for each song – the official names and the names the band knows the songs by. Similar to oldschool punk from the likes of Off!, vocalist Phil Chokeword launches into a rampage across the floor in front of the stage without an end in sight. Taking a break between songs, Chokeword gives a small insight into the meaning behind the songs, usually about the punk scene and those who try to capitalize on it The energy from the band is staggering as they play – Latchstring truly hold their own amongst the other bands.
Petrol Girls – 9/10
If you are in search of new heavy music, look no further than Petrol Girls. Vocalist Ren Aldridge is a powerhouse, roaring into the microphone alongside crushing breakdowns every step of the way through their set. The influence from bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan is clear as the post-hardcore quartet belt out their music in an aggressive, raw manner. Presenting new tracks from their upcoming debut album Talk of Violence, Petrol Girls make sure the audience know they haven’t lost their touch yet.
The Tuts – 8/10
The Tuts hop onstage in an array of bright primary colours, launching into full swing right from the start, their set full to the brim of poppy hooks and power chords. Their hit ‘Tut tut tut’ has a lasting impression on the audience as the whole set looks as if it warn torn straight from a cartoon or comic strip, the band themselves standing out as the main characters. Regardless of almost turning up to the festival late due to transport issues explained in a witty anecdote, The Tuts make a lasting impression on The Joiners and those in the audience.
The Xcerts – 9/10
Closing the weekend was none other than the Scottish trio The Xcerts. showcasing a variety of their pop-rock anthems. The band didn’t falter throughout their set, showing they were right to be at the top of the festival bill as every single song generates an enormous crowd reaction, their fans singing along at the top of their lungs to the massive choruses. From playing alongside bands such as Deaf Havana and Mallory Knox in recent years, The Xcerts have definitely learnt how to win over a crowd. However it isn’t all happy go-lucky anthems for the band’s set. As their time onstage draws to an end, vocalist Murray Macleod talks to the audience, dedicating their last song to the late Architects guitarist, Dan Searle, who passed away earlier this year after a three year battle with cancer. Whilst it might have ended on a sad and somber note, the trio stepped up and came back on stage for an encore to a great response from the crowd.
Words by Charlie Hill
Photos by Isha Shah