Review: We Ate A Delicious Sunday Roast In A Burrito (And Saw Some Bands) At Citadel Festival 2019

on Monday, August 19, 2019
Citadel Festival (14 July 2019, Gunnersbury Park) // Words: Saam Das

14th July 2019 will go down as a momentous day on these fair shores. Mainly because England snaffled the Cricket World Cup for the first time in the most dramatic of circumstances, on home turf no less. But West London's Citadel Festival played some part, with triumphant performances from several homegrown acts such as Friendly Fires and Bastille. And a Sunday roast in a wrap. Delicious.

We began our 2019 Citadel Festival with Dublin's The Murder Capital on the DIY Stage - in a gloomy marquee that suited their intensity, arguably best demonstrated on the fast-paced 'Don't Cling To Life'. One thing that felt more out of place was the use of a tambourine elsewhere in the set, although this eventually dawned on frontman James McGovern, dropping the instrument to the floor mid-song. Striking, nonetheless.

The Murder Capital - 'Don't Cling To Life'

Next up were Dream Wife on the outdoor Main Stage, who impressed us muchly earlier in the festival season at Dot To Dot in Nottingham. The Londoners awakened the crowd (shouting out the "bad bitches" in particular) with in-your-face riot grrrl efforts such as 'FUU' and 'Let's Make Out'. Brilliantly provocative.

Dream Wife - 'FUU' (Feat. Fever Dream)

Our first hitch at Citadel was the distorted sound for Matthew & The Atlas, who also suffered from sounds bleeding in from elsewhere at the Festival. An unfortunate situation for Matthew Hegarty et al, although they battled through somewhat successfully for their appreciative audience. Back at the Main Stage, we were pleasantly surprised by the largely acoustic-led sounds of Sydney's DMA's - the perfect tonic for a spell of mid-festival relaxation, albeit occasionally veering into Oasis territory.

DMA's - 'Delete'

Opting for an intro featuring the ominous words of Luke Kelly and his 'For What Died The Sons Of Roisin' poem, Fontaines D.C. were very much a different beast. Led by the prowling Grian Chatten, the Irish outfit demonstrated just why they've been one of the most hyped acts of 2019, running through a searing series of tracks from their acclaimed 'Dogrel' debut album. Unfortunately, they have subsequently pulled out of several festival dates but we're hoping for a strong return in due course.

Fontaines D.C. - 'Hurricane Laughter'

We expected a rejuvenated performance from the returning Friendly Fires despite their relatively low billing at Citadel. Indeed, they approached their slot with gusto, with Ed Macfarlane immediately dancing like a man possessed as they opened their set with 'Lovesick', from their 2008 self-titled debut album. A hip-replacement-inducing set chock full of brass and multiple percussionists followed, with tracks from their new LP 'Inflorescent' like 'Silhouettes' and 'Heaven Let Me In' complementing their existing hits.

Friendly Fires - 'Silhouettes'

Our prevailing memory of Korean outfit Hyukoh on the DIY Stage was of their over-elaborate finale, a lengthy jam session where our attention drifted towards the very shiny trousers of one of their guitarists. To be fair, by this stage, we were also distracted by our hunger - sufficiently satiated soon after by a mouth-watering combo of roast potatoes and a Yorkshire Burrito, i.e. a Sunday roast in a Yorkshire pudding wrap.

In a timely co-incidence, Bastille appropriately brought the party (as well as a sofa) to the Main Stage on Bastille Day. Audience participation was encouraged throughout, with lyrics projected on-screen karaoake-style as well as a mid-set rendition of 'Happy Birthday' for frontman Dan Smith, and the sizeable Citadel crowd happily obliged. A breathless set of hits featured releases across their studio albums as well as their cover-laden mixtapes, including 'Doom Days' and 'Of The Night', before a mass concluding singalong on 'Pompeii'.

Bastille - 'Doom Days'

Speaking of conclusions, we brought our 2019 Citadel to an end with Bear's Den (suitably expanded to a six piece on this occasion) headline slot on the Communion Stage. Tracks like 'Fossils', 'Above The Clouds Of Pompeii', and 'Laurel Wreath' were rapturously received leading the band to kindly inform the audience that we were "fucking awesome" - thanks Bear's Den, you weren't so bad yourself. A lovely end to our day out at Gunnersbury Park, sadly not capped off by a Roger Federer victory at Wimbledon but we can't have everything can we?

(Can we?)

Bear's Den - 'Above The Clouds Of Pompeii' (Live w/The Staves etc)

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