Establishing a musical event is no easy feat. My very own ‘Indie Pants Party’ has yet to grow beyond the attendance of one, in all its countless years of existence. So for those harbouring grander ideas, of the non-boxershorts variety, perseverance of the greatest order is required. Many have declared their big plans to stage the next Glastonbury from their garden shed, only to discover “this is hard work innit!?” So step forwards LutonAid, impressively in its 13th year. A fully fledged teenager without the strop, raising money for its parent charity LutonAid Music Academy, which aims to support other live music and arts projects in Luton through funding.
It’s Day Two of the festival in Harvey’s. I see the wonderful crew of volunteers are still smiling. Hi crew! “Hey Ben!!”. Paul Mercer of Luton Live/s is on sound duty. Hi Paul!.. He’s busy, I’ll catch him later. So, it’s band time according to my pocket-watch. Anyone present needing Friday’s hangover blown asunder, look no further than Dois Padres. Resembling Mexican bandits, the guitar & drums duo create a crossfire of classic Blues-rock riffs against modern influences: Black Keys and Jack White. It’s a guitar-slinging showdown of which Dois Padres are victorious. A stage presence to match their talent, this Bedfordshire pair are clearly ones to look out for, and a testament to the platform on offer at Luton Aid. Giving artists the chance to be discovered by new fans, grow moustaches and wear big hats. There may have only been a few here to witness this musical bullet spraying performance, but all present will tell a story to others of what they have witnessed here today.
As the evening builds, the numbers keep growing, and the drinks keep flowing. Or something less rhymey. The day has enjoyed a mixed selection of bands, including Swords of Thought, Born Risky and The Sun Dog Collective. Everyone is revelling with friends of old, new and, “no I don’t want to buy any Levis mate”. Yes, the spirit of Luton is alive today and it can only be destiny, or something a little less dramatic, that the avengers of ska should be headlining. I am of course talking about Easydread.
With brass, class and a whole lot of spirit, Easydread’s socially aware, rebel rousing anthems lift your feet almost completely involuntarily. I cannot fight the rhythms as the band tear down Babylon. It’s as if the songs already exist within you and Easydread awaken them with their energy. ‘Fyah’, ‘Wake of You’, this is music to lose yourself to. Steve Alger’s rich vocal tone setting them apart from their genre contemporaries. The lead singer/guitarist is prophetic in delivery on the timeless ‘Humble’, and the bounce bonanza that is ‘Crosshatch Line’, will still be skanking around my head even by the time you are reading this. Being such seasoned festival performers, Easydread could probably sleepwalk through their set. Yet here they are, playing with fire and skill. Proving why they are rightly regarded as one of the best live acts in the area. Giving LutonAid 2018 the ending it deserves.