Now in its sixth year, Poltimore Festival has become synonymous with showcasing the very best of the Southwest music and arts scene, popping up every summer at the much-loved local landmark, Poltimore House. The 2017 event, scheduled for 28th May, got off to a flying start at the Exeter Phoenix on the 26th of January, with a incredible line up of live music headlined by Berlin disco-duo Private Agenda. The night was warmed up by two acoustic performances in the Phoenix Bar; the audience were enraptured by the warm tones and introspective lyricism of Exeter-based Sadie Horler and the edgy, humorously creative, confrontational music/spoken word from trio Shaun Hill, Sachal Khan and Taylor Ann McGrath.
Moving into the main room at the Phoenix, there could not have been a more different change in atmosphere; the relaxed, intimate setting of the bar felt miles from the riot of noise and energy produced by Lipstick Jumpsuit. With their air of rebellion and slack playing style, the Devon five-piece stunned the growing crowd with a barrage of sound. Confrontational, exciting, and genuinely very, very cool – they zipped through each track in a way that felt spontaneous, but aurally (despite some technical mishaps) showcased their natural talent and relationship as a cohesive band. Erring on the heavier side of typical indie music, with a distinctive Palma Violets feel, Lipstick Jumpsuit seemed to have somehow skipped the tired tropes of a young indie/rock band, and catapulted their way straight into energetic hits that could see them move beyond the local scene.
Next up were Poltimore veterans Delmer Darion, a homegrown duo specialising in building intricate, elegant soundscapes out of unusual samples and electronic rhythms. Standing behind their laptops, the set could easily have been dampened by the lack of visuals, however, aside from a coupe of introductions and easy interactions with the audience, the pair let the dreamscape quality of the music fill the room and carry the audience away on distinctive beats and computerised melodies. The crowd grew as they played their single Haze, dancing along with the fun rhythm and incredibly catchy melody; it’s in tracks such as these and their newest release, Reflections, that Delmer Darion showcase their huge potential as future frontrunners of the electronic and alternative scenes.
Having generated a significant amount of hype before the event itself – headliners Private Agenda did not disappoint. Bounding onto the stage in lurid pastel shades, they indulged in a heavy dose of eighties nostalgia – instantly filling the dance-floor with buoyant rhythms and catchy hooks. The Berlin scene that birthed Private Agenda was brought to life at the very heart of sleepy Devon and the crowd could not get enough – dancing along to the captivating beats and even demanding an encore. Their performance was consistently energetic, charismatic, and left the entire room breathless; they offered a better launch to the 2017 Poltimore Festival than could ever have been hoped, capturing the sense of fun, experimentation and talent that Poltimore seeks to achieve. With such an electric start, we can’t wait for the main event!
– Alex Gunter