Take your shoes off, and I will throw them in the lake…
Ironically, despite taking place in November, Lincoln’s 2Q festival actually had the best weather of any festival I have attended in 2019. Currently entering its third year, 2Q is Lincoln’s answer to Sheffield’s all conquering Tramlines festival, and sees 80 or so bands performing across ten venues in the historical city centre of Lincoln.
This year’s line up includes established names such as The Twang, The Futureheads and Band of Skulls performing alongside up and coming acts as diverse as The Blinders and Yonaka.
We arrive at our Airbnb around 2pm and to our horror we are confronted by an admittedly lovely old lady sat watching TV in the front room despite that fact we had explicitly ticked the box to have the place to ourselves. Everything turned out fine in the end and we all shared a mid-afternoon rum like the bloody pirates that we are, so that felt like a positive start to a day of music.
Cassia only lifted our mood further with a thoroughly enjoyable set at Lincoln’s premier venue the Engine Shed. The sound was crisp throughout and Cassia are clearly enjoying their inexorable rise as evidenced by lead singer Rob Ellis’ broad smile throughout the set. 100 Times Over is the anthem that Lincoln deserves and the Macclesfield band also strike gold with a catchy and melodic cover of Martin Solveig’s Hello. A song that will now be in my head until the next time I hear Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. That goddamn saxophone.
Spector are up next in a scandalously tiny venue that seems to prominently feature flooring that is made entirely of marshmallow. Or at least it seems that way when my trainers stick to said floor so intensely that I almost lose them to the dark Lincolnshire night. While the sound is never going to be stellar in what is essentially a nightclub, Fred Macpherson and his band make the absolute best of what they are handed with a triumphant career spanning set that contains Never Fade Away, Celestine, Chevy Thunder and a solid selection of newer cuts before finishing with the now iconic All The Sad Young Men. The place goes mad. Not that you would know it as everyone is rooted to the spot due to the thin layer of gloop that has devoured the floor. Spector are perhaps the UK’s most underrated band. It is a privilege to see them in such a small space.
A short but violent argument with my wife about where to eat breaks up the evening nicely before we return to the Engine Shed for Band of Skulls. The Southampton heroes are a band I’ve always admired whilst never properly absorbing. They sound good when they are on in the background but I probably wouldn’t choose to listen to them. And so it is at 2Q festival. The band are tight, compelling but ultimately pretty forgettable.
We leave halfway through to head for Home – the venue, not my actual house – to guarantee a place for The Futureheads later. In a happy twist of fate we arrive early enough to catch the last 15 minutes or so of The Blinders. Weirdly, I seem to take against bands from my hometown of Doncaster without ever really giving them a chance, but I must admit that they deliver a blistering and fantastically received set here. Brave New World sounds absolutely massive and punters go wild throughout.
The Futureheads are the last band of the night and they smash through an electric Decent Days and Nights before new song Good Night Out brings the house down. Guitarist Ross Millard takes time out to observe that the stage looks suspiciously like a level of the Crystal Maze before Mean Time and Struck Dumb inspire smiles, shit dancing and spontaneous hugging – at least they do where I’m stood anyway. The people around me aren’t so keen on being hugged it turns out but nevermind.
I don’t understand why Beginning of the Twist and Skip to the End weren’t the massive hits they deserved to be, ditto The Heartbeat Song, but all of them are note perfect and nervously frantic in Lincoln before Hounds of Love has the whole place in raptures. I once claimed that Hounds of Love was the best cover version of all time. I’m so often wrong about everything, but I was right about that…
And so, 2Q eventually comes to an end after more rum, some cheese spread and a cracking English breakfast on Sunday morning. I’m sorry Lincoln but I’m afraid you’re probably going to have to put up with me again in 2020. The last festival of the year turns out to be one of the most enjoyable.