You know it’s summer when your own students’ union decides to put on a festival. Shade, a somewhat convenient acronym of ‘Southampton’s Hottest All Day Event’ brings together some of the best local and student acts around and jams them into one day, right in front of the unsuspecting residents of Glen Eyre, alongside face painting, inflatables and burger vans. This year also featured something of a scoop, with Rudimental – who recently claimed the top spot on the UK charts with ‘Feel The Love’ – headlining the event, despite rumours they would pull out.
The day started simply enough as DJ Doug Thompson attempted to get the rambling mass of students that had decided to turn up for 12pm moving. Although there wasn’t much engagement at this early stage of the day, his set was technically sound and he showed off a great deal of potential at what was one of his first main events.
After Doug, three-piece A Gentleman’s Film took to the stage. Although they sounded like a euphemism for something a little bit dirtier, they remained in traditional rock territory quite comfortably. After the lead singer snapped a string, they set up the tone of the event quite nicely as more and more people were attracted to the stage.
Oddly though, they were followed up by three solo artists in succession, although Jack Sinclair drafted in a backing vocalist and Peter Berry dragged in Rob Chapman to play the cajón. The first (and best) of the three was Charissa Foster whose tender rhythms and sweet charm really struck a chord with the audience. Her cover of ‘We Found Love’ was quite inspired and the softer, stripped back version was certainly a treat to the audience. Jack Sinclair followed, declaring he was going to play some ‘blues sounds’, however a lot of this seemed to drift into the background. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it did melt into the mellow atmosphere of the stage and nothing particularly stood out. But perhaps that was the point in the first place. Peter Berry was a quirky guy and had an interesting knack for merging chart songs together into one somewhat coherent entity, which served to both amaze and confuse the listeners.
After an hour and a half of acoustics, the groups returned in the form of Hazey Jane and Triassic. The first were the perfect transition from the previous acts, with their blues and acoustic mix, and it was clear the band had a lot of fans already as the relatively small audience almost doubled. Although perhaps let down by the technical limitations, their group vocals were well harmonised and their arrangements were tight. They were followed by the recent minor phenomenon Triassic, who kicked off with a new song, recieved well by the audience, made up mostly of friends. The catchy riffs and choruses remained throughout the set and one particular highlight was a bold cover of ‘Men At Work’ which put a smile on everyone’s faces at the event.
Finally, half of Freefall summed up the outside stage in style. Although usually a rock four-piece, they performed an acoustic set which was dynamic and allowed the band to explore some new melodies. The skill and poise of the band’s song-writing really shone through and acted as a great expose for the talents of the group in its entirety.
From 8pm, Shade moved inside to the Main Hall and Glen Bar. DJs built the event up, leading to the headline act; Rudimental, who took to the stage just after midnight. By this point there was a great atmosphere, despite the fact that the main hall was only about half full.
Not all of the members of the Hackney quartet were present but the audience didn’t seem to notice as they DJ’d crowd-pleasing tracks by Dizzee Rascal, Chase & Status, Jay-Z, Azealia Banks, Wiley and Redlight, but also contained one of their own lesser known tracks, Spoons. The end of the set was marked by balloons falling from the ceiling and the crowd going crazy for Rudimental’s number 1 track ‘Feel The Love’, with Rudimental jumping around topless as girls grappled for them. However, an encore of the same track was hampered by technical difficulties, meaning that their set came to a disappointing end. Further technical difficulties plagued the final hour but DJ Doug Thompson accompanied by Adrian Murphy and MC Ben soldiered on, ending the night with a 50 minute set of dubstep.
Over the course of it’s twelve hours, Shade proved to be a great mix of the old and new, the amateur and the professional and hopefully the quality of performers will remain as high next year.