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In the middle of its Frequency Culture festival, on October 28th the traditional cathedral city of Lincoln was suitably transformed into a hotspot for indie, alternative and rock bands and fans alike. Northern Exposure decided to check out the first ever 2Q festival held in the city…. 

For a couple of years the organisers have held the event in nearby city Derby, and after its success there, they made the decision to bring the one day music festival to Lincolnshire. With the lure of headliners Circa Waves and Peace, and a whole host of other phenomenal acts on the line-up, the event was virtually sold out on the day. Similarly to other inner city events such as Live at Leeds and Manchester’s Neighbourhood Festival, venues around the city simultaneously held performances, beginning at midday on the dot, and lasting all the way through until 22:15. Eight diverse and different venues welcomed acts at 2Q Lincoln, from the bigger Engine Shed and Home Main Room, to other nightclubs, a pub, and even a cosy coffee shop tucked away in the heart of the city centre.

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Peace’s Headline Set

Birmingham’s The Cosmics was the first act of the day we saw, and they opened the This Feeling stage at Red Five with a storm! They performed the always incredibly catchy ‘Johnny’, as well as charming track ‘I Quit’, written whilst their lead singer was working in retail, hating it, and dreaming of quitting, and then she did indeed quit.

We feel it’s a good time to mention here that we were able to effortlessly make out way to and from venues quickly due to the small size of Lincoln’s city centre; less than five minutes after The Cosmics had finished, we were already at the Engine Shed witnessing Marsicans tear up the stage. The Leeds quartet filled their slot with a mixture of sprightly indie gems, and delicate softer moments.

Back to Red Five we trekked for Cardiff rockers Himalayas, and we’re big fans of their gritty, no prisoners rock. The group produce an interesting contrast in sound with two different lead vocals, and helped to inject interaction and involvement into the crowd, by encouraging the crowd to move closer to the stage at start of their set, and move closer they sure did! 

Just like This Feeling, Lincolnshire’s BBC Introducing split also curated their own stage (at the University of Lincoln’s very own pub The Swan), and it was here we headed for a couple of acts. Firstly Kings & Bears delighted us with their power funk; they mash together reggae, ska, rock and punk sounds in their music and it created a quirky performance. Bonus points for some stylish, slick beatboxing which rounded up their set. Immediately following them were MINT, a band breaking out of nearby Grimsby. They delivered a fun, animated performance – expect to see them on significantly bigger festival stages within the next 12 months.

Continuing the local theme, we journeyed away from campus to check out LIFE’s set – LIFE are a brooding punk unit heralding from Hull, just up the Humber Bridge. Despite being placed in Home’s second LOFT stage for their set, they drew a huge crowd and the room was completely packed out; we struggled to get anywhere near the stage! Their fearless, bold attitude led them to speak their mind, and indeed what most of the UK is thinking at the moment – ‘fuck the Tories…fuck Donald Trump’. We particularly liked their final song ‘Popular Music’; really punchy punk. Just a few steps downstairs from the LOFT was the bigger Home Main Stage; on a Saturday the room is usually filled with students enjoying cheap drinks, rather than festival goers. Coincidently, just as LIFE were wrapping up their performance, Strong Asian Mothers were beginning theirs. The London trio are a hybrid of funky beats, hip hop and alt pop, and despite some minor feedback and microphone problems which they dealt with very professionally, we definitely enjoyed their set.

After briefing popping into The Engine Shed to catch the last few songs of Clean Cut Kid’s performance, we tried out the grub in the Student Union’s Tower Bar (the portions of carbonara they give you are massive!!), and had some spare time on our hands to play with afterwards.

The close proximity of all the venues meant we could check out other bands and singers elsewhere, and we used this opportunity to pay a visit to The Angel Coffee Shop. It was watching Tom Gourlay there that became the unexpected sweet treat of the festival – Tom had an impressive powerful kick to his vocal, and was charmingly conversational to the audience in between playing.

The only slight negative aspect of 2Q was the size of the event’s second largest venue – JAWS and The Sherlocks comfortably filled out the room just minutes into their respective performances, and as a consequence some fans like us either had to ‘watch the set’ from the doorway, or were unable to even enter the building whilst their performances were ongoing.

Fortunately, with most stages scheduling sets right up to the closing point of the festival, there was still plenty going on to discover. We were impressed with October Drift at Liquor; it became very clear to us immediately why they have carved such a reputation for themselves from their electrifying live performances.

On the complete opposite end of the scale were Island; they were very tranquil performers, and they were a nice unexpected find at Circle. They had a mix of ambience and liveliness within their music, and we’d definitely love to see them again very soon.

We were delighted to be back at Red Five for two more of This Feeling’s picks at 2Q; firstly Bang Bang Romeo – we were keen to catch the trio live after missing them the last time they paid a visit to Lincoln. The trio has an insanely talented & commanding frontwoman who is the focal point of the group, although some of the guitar riffs and solos were equally as gripping.

The next act we saw there were the gloriously chaotic Strange Bones, up there with the level of intensity displayed in LIFE’s afternoon set. Their sets are more like a wild drunk house party you’re at with your best pals, than your standard concert; everyone was involved in the mosh pits, including us, and you never wanted the delirious madness to ever end. They produced emphatic performances of their passionate discography including ‘Big Sister is Watching’, and ‘God Save the Teen’.

As is often the case at one day inner city festivals, the main headliners all play at their stages simultaneously; Circa Waves, Pulled Apart by Horses, and Tom Grennan were amongst the chosen headline acts, but we decided to watch Peace at Home’s Main Stage. First attracting attention as far back as the start of the 2010s, the Worcester quartet have gradually resurfaced into the limelight in 2017 with appearances at other festivals and this year’s NME x Topman tour, ahead of the release of their third studio album. It was worth the 45 minute wait retaining crowd position inside the venue to see them. Although that new album is on the way and songs have already been written for it, they mainly delighted the crowd with favourites from their past two albums In Love and Happy People including ‘Wraith’ and ‘Lost on Me’, and surprised us all with an unforgettable, mesmerising performance of their take of ‘1998 (Delicious)’.

We are keeping our fingers firmly crossed for 2Q to return to the streets of Lincoln next year!

GEORGINA STEPHENSON

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