As folk trio Blue Mountains took to the stage a crowd had already gathered and they weren’t disappointed.
Fresh from recording a new EP (due out in the coming weeks) the band’s set was drawn mostly from this new material and started the day off in fine fashion.
That new EP’s title track, Hummingbird,was again a highlight as was their take on Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl.
While the set was darkly soulful in places, as we’ve come to expect, it provided a relaxed start to the day and as the sun shone they held an audience and seemed to attract some new fans as well.
While the name may be similar to his full band, Buffalo Huddleston’s leader Mike Meinke, aka Buff Hudd, brings a very different dynamic with his solo performances.
Playing a more percussive style of acoustic guitar, creating both rhythm and melody he held the audience enraptured even in this busy atmosphere.
Despite the attention to detail of the style, his performance remained upbeat and relaxed and was highlighted by a very impressive version of recent single Don’t Worry Yourself delivered in Japanese and the genuinely unique Monolimbtastic, written to be played even if the performer has a broken left wrist.
While the first two acts had been on the more low-key side of things the energy was soon kicked up several gears by Tantale.
Fresh off a UK tour the four-piece seemed more focussed than ever leading to one of the best sets I’ve seen from them.
With new material mixed in with the old they wrangled their epic psychedelic side in with their driving grunge rock and seemed to grab a crowd largely unfamiliar with their music and keep the engaged throughout.
Amongst the well-known tracks they also slotted in a few new songs suggesting more of the same great sounds in the follow-up to Just Add Vice.
The energy jumped up again as The Recks took to the stage, newly revived after a string of shows in Guernsey and Jersey including Reasons and Liberation Day, they attracted the biggest crowd of the afternoon.
It was clear some in the audience weren’t familiar with the band but many quickly got into the sounds and discovered a lot to like in the fusion of folk, jazz, indie and psychedelia (and even a little disco) flying from the stage.
New song She’s A Revelator has quickly become a standout track and was again here while the likes of She Wants That Too had people singing along to the chorus as the enigmatic quintet provided a musical highlight of the day.
After a brief shower that did little to dampen the atmosphere along the seafront Thee Jenerators hit the stage with a nonstop blast of their typically erratic and raucous garage rock that began with City At Night and ended 45 minutes or so later with Daddy Bones with barely a breath taken throughout.
The set was packed with favourites new and old with bandleader Mark Le Gallez a constantly moving bundle of nervous energy driving them onward.
While it’s probably true to say a sunny afternoon outside isn’t Thee Jenerators natural habitat, they didn’t seem to let that deter them and, as all the other acts did, held a fair-sized crowd throughout with a mix of longtime fans and those hearing them from the first time.
As the seafront began to clear and the various stalls and stages that lined it and the piers were packed away, there was a sense that both with this stage, and the event as a whole, Arts Sunday had once again created a genuinely celebratory atmosphere with music at the heart of it.