Again, the sun shone, and the people came out in their thousands to sample the musical fare that was being served up on the second day of the super-duper Neighbourhood Festival. For me it was straight to the main stage for The Reytons. There is a lot of taste-makers talking about this band; they sell out venues and their debut Album “Kids From The Estate” is out on the 24th of September. So, it was definitely one I was not going to miss.

The band bounced onto the stage, and something didn’t seem quite right, it looked like they had two new members?? Lead singer, Jonny Yerrell quickly explained the situation, it turned out both guitarists Lee Holland and Sean O’Connor had gone down with Covid and in true Reytons style, the show must go on, so they had been replaced by their photographer and one of their tech guys, and they had only had 24hrs to pull a show together. They must have really wanted to play Neighbourhood!

Firstly, I have never seen The Reytons before; they had been on my radar for a while, but this was my first time, and to be honest, I was blown away at how tight this quickly put together outfit was. It sounded great to me. The Reytons play Indie Rock with attitude, and are taking no prisoners along the way. There are shades of The Artic Monkeys circa “Favourite Worst Nightmare”, but they are an Indie Rock band from Sheffield, after all. They definitely have their own style and sound, heavy fast-paced, delivered with self believe and passion. Lead singer Jonny Yerrell, paced from one side of the stage to the other, singing and preaching to the packed crowd in front him. All in all, a very impressive show indeed and even more impressive when you add to the fact that they had only had 24hrs to pull it together, with two stand in members! I really look forward to seeing this band again.

Then it was off to the Big Top to check out one of my favourite live bands, Red Rum Club. Their brand of Liverpool / Cuban Indie is infectious and just goes off and that is exactly what the people in the packed-out tent did. Dancing and singing along, it’s safe to say Red Rum Club, as per usual bring the house down. I really hope this band take the next step, because more people need to see them. 





Back to the main stage for very early nineties Brit Poppers, The Lightning Seeds. Lead by the brilliant song writing talents of Ian Broudie, most likely best known now for writing the English football anthem “Three Lions”. But this band are so much more, they are a true example of pure Liverpool Indie Pop that started right back with the Beatles and it’s a torch that has been carried by the likes of The La’s, The Coral, Cast, The Zutons and many more. They took the crowd in front them for a beautiful trip down memory lane. Ian Borudie knows how to right the perfect 3 minute pop song and today it was all on show. Just brilliant!

My next 3 bands were in the Big Top and it started with Sports Team, with their swooping guitars and rattling drums, these purveyors of post punk play songs that rip and sizzle and enigmatic front man, Alex Rice ties it all together like a ring master in the NBHD Big Top. The band seems to be creating a bit of divide between lovers and haters right now, but I loved their set, defo another one of my favourite nbands of the weekend.

Following on from them were another band that are doing some really big things at the moment and the packed-out Big Top was testament to that. On walked Sea Girls. Armed with big melodies, they are Indie Pop Rock in the true sense of the word and on that, they make no apologies. The only question here is do they take it and make it their own, and on tonight’s showing I think they do. Think the 1975 and The Cure, essences of The Killers synth pop, a little bit of dirty Brit Pop, all tied together with singer Henry Camamile’s boy-next-door-charm, that is, if the boy next door had a seventies Mohican?!





The third band of my trio of bands in the Big Top was Inhaler. Let’s not talk about who lead singer Elijah Hewson’s dad is, let’s not talk about how some of the movements and characterics mimic his famous father; they are there for everyone to see. Let’s judge him on his own merit. What is relevant is that Inhaler are a bloody good band, with some bloody good songs and their success right now is a product of that and nothing else. Elijah Hewson has the perfect Indie Rock Pop voice; the band write clever, interesting songs and deliver them immaculatey. It’s The Strokes, its Two Door Cinema Club, its Johnny Marrs Smith, but most of all its Inhaler. These young Irish lads have captured the musical attention of the young and the old and I am going to go out on a limb here and say I think this band is going to be big. As big as Elijah Hewson’s dad band? Who knows? Only time will tell, but the potential is definitely there.

As the night drew in, I wandered to the big stage to check out Liverpudlian quirky Indie outfit The Wombats and Welsh wonder band Catfish and The Bottlemen.

The Wombats literally bounced onto the stage and their energy was infectious. The Wombats have this brilliant art of writing slightly dark and introspective lyrics under truly uplifting Indie Pop in the way that The Smiths did to perfection, and on Sunday night in a field in Warrington, they were on top form, playing both the old and the new. From “Dance To Joy Division”, the song that launched them through the stratosphere in 2007, to new stuff like “If You ever Leave, I’m Coming With You”, they brought the house down, which demonstrated that, after all this time, this band shows no signs of slowing down or losing the knack for clever pop-smithery.



Then it was time for Catfish and The Bottlemen. The talk about this band at the moment is Will they? / Won’t they split up? But for tonight, nobody cares. They are a great band who write great songs and if it all ends tomorrow which I hope it doesn’t, let’s be grateful for what has gone before.

Helter Skelter, of Beatles fame, blared from the PA and lead singer Van McCann almost ran on to the stage, they launched into “Longshot” And yes, they are the real deal; they play straight off-the-bat Indie Rock; solid danceable Indie, that takes in part early Artic Monkeys, some Kooks, and lots of The Strokes and there is nothing wrong with that. I love Indie Rock and these boys do it f£$king well.

The place was going off, people on shoulders, the crowd belting back the lyrics to the band. Van McCann ripped up the stage, threw himself and his guitar around, at times it seemed almost chaotic. Huge anthemic choruses, sonic guitars. Catfish and The Bottlemen put on a blistering, electric live performance to finish the festival in style, totally earning their headlining stripes.

So as the sun finally set, and night crept upon us, and I drove home. I reflected on what a lot of amazing bands and artists I’d seen over the last two days. The stand outs for me were in no particular order Inhaler, Shed Seven, The Wombats, Sports Team, The Reytons and Catfish and The Bottlemen.  


THANKS Neighbourhood let’s all do it again next year!!!!