The second, and final, day of Mutations was kicked into action by up-and-coming Kagoule, who were on early enough in the day for the co-lead signer to notice that he was only wearing one sock midway through their set.
Brighton’s very own duo Atlas Wynd sounded promising during their early set at Green Door Store, but a highlight of not only the day, but of the entire weekend, was Sheffield-based garage-pop quartet Best Friends. They effortlessly tore through their recent album, one of the year’s highlights, ‘Hot. Reckless. Totally Insane.’ with a few older tracks, such as Wasting Time chucked in for good measure
Opening track Fake Spit, along with the likes of Nosebleeds and Shred ’til You’re Dead sounded as fun and fresh as they ever have, but perhaps not fitting to the stiff, still-hungover-yet-getting-drunk-again crowd of their early afternoon set.
Another highlight was Brighton first-timers, and critic’s favourites, Ought, from Montreal. They look and sound like a privately educated Parquet Courts covering Lou Reed’s solo work, yet their music carries an intellectual and dry wit, projected through lead signer Tim Darcy’s gauche Jarvis Cocker-esque stage presence. Their set was mainly focused around promoting their new album, ‘Sun Coming Down’, but they did include a few tracks from their debut album ‘More Than Any Other Day’, or as Darcy put it, their “greatest hits”.
Sunday continued and included acts such as Lightning Bolt and Metz [pictured above], both great bookings for an underground festival, especially one in its first year, and despite the strength of the weekend’s line up, I feel like Mutations does have a lot to learn in order to develop as a festival force to be reckoned with. A weekend ticket for the festival cost £55, which I guess is reasonable for an independent festival not forcing advertising down your throat, but it does still feel a little expensive for a festival trying to introduce itself to as many people as possible.
The arguable steepness of the weekend also, naturally, has an impact on the crowd willing to pay that – the weekend was mainly attended by middle-class types pushing the wrong side of 30, meaning that shows were either infested with awkward dad dancing or awkward dad dancing. I’m not saying that Mutations needs to lower its price to attract a younger, ‘cooler’ crowd, by no means. I’m saying that for a festival that prides itself on diversity and including acts for everyone, it seems paradoxical to then have hyperbolic prices that naturally mean only a certain type of person is willing to attend.
Mutations festival was not perfect. It wasn’t supposed to be. It was a first attempt, and a very good one at that. I’m sure that as the years pass, Mutations will hone its craft through trial-and-error means and develop into an affordable, exciting festival that encompasses a crowd as diverse as its line-up.
By Ryan Lunn