Back in the picturesque Reading Abbey Runs for a third time, Down at the Abbey festival returned this year with a stellar line up that mixed established stars with rising alternative acts.

Brighton-based AK/DK brought a collective rush to proceedings with their brand of fast-paced motorik electronica. With a stage set up and sound that would arguably have been better suited to the later hours, the duo still managed to perfectly recreate their sound in a live setting and contribute a dopamine hit to the early arriving punters with their unique set-up of two drum kits which complimented an array of keyboards, pedals and mixers.

The motorik onslaught continued on the main stage as Manchester’s W. H Lung cemented their position as one of the UK’s best new bands and live acts with a show of mesmerising krautrock rhythms fused with glittering synth-pop and post-punk.

Whether it was the krautrock-infused electronica found on the first record, or the more disco/pop-infused tracks of the second LP, the now five-piece chose to borrow from both to perform an hour of masterful compositions with each track innovated from its recorded version when placed into a live setting.

Donna Summer-esque disco banger ‘Pearl in the Palm’ and post-punk stomper ‘Showstopper’ were two of the highlights along with epic set closer ‘Inspiration’. The group also found time to introduce a new track that hinted at a slight change in direction with an epic soundscape that included the touchings of a rare W. H Lung guitar solo.

The Comet is Coming then headlined the Friday and took a step outside the confines of jazz by bringing together a unique mix of electronica, psych, and rock with a multitude of acid house style synths, boisterous sax parts, and free-flowing rhythms. The trio have what is quite a noticeably small setup for the colossal sound they produce on stage.

With the UK having one of its hottest September days on records, Devon’s Pale Blue Eyes took to the stage on Saturday with a sound that perfectly encapsulated the vibrant and warm environment of the family friendly festival. Their krautrock compositions have a harder edge live, with certain synths/keyboard parts found on the recorded versions sometimes replaced by guitars, giving the group a sound akin to a motorik Echo & the Bunneymen.

Los Bitchos’ Latino-fusion style then arrived in the early evening, and the four-piece looked thrill to be in the beautiful setting as the sun dispersed. The energy and sheer power of the groove-led, mostly instrumental act had hips shaking throughout. Later on, BC Camplight rounded off the festival with a beautiful set that although involve some dark subject matter, comes across as masterful pop in a live setting with incredible hooks scattered throughout.


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