It’s no great surprise that a music festival hosted in the lush surroundings of affluent Blackheath is sponsored by John Lewis. Now in its fourth year, On Blackheath, known for its slightly cosy middle class leanings, actually boasted one of the most impressive line ups of festival season. Welcoming everyone from Seasick Steve to Basement Jaxx, no doubt pulled by the promise of free luxury hand towels and scented candles, On Blackheath took the nostalgic route with headliners Travis and The Libertines.
Kicking off the jaunt down memory lane were Travis, who headlined the main stage on Saturday. In a slightly unconventional move, the Glaswegians played through the entirety of their 1999 masterpiece The Man Who. That album would’ve been old enough to buy an elderflower gin on Saturday but its appeal hasn’t waned.
I took my son to his first gig. We saw Travis @ On Blackheath. We had a great time 👍 pic.twitter.com/pnyjtuDYfY
— Mike Cooling🦅 (@mikecooling1974) September 9, 2017
Choruses of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ greeted every song as fans, myself included, had clearly forgotten just how many great tracks Fran Healy and co have written. Somehow, we knew every word and the sing alongs were particularly strong for Driftwood, Turn and Why Does It Always Rain On Me? Despite Healy tempting fate, the drizzle managed to hold off.
In a touching moment, the band invited up the NHS choir for Lewisham and Greenwich for a beautiful version of Flowers in the Window. Labelled in their heyday as ‘the nicest men in pop’, Travis paved the way for future soft rock legends Coldplay and Keane. Though they may have never reached the heights of superstardom, their set for On Blackheath was a reminder of their timeless melodies and memorable choruses.
Weeks before kicking off their Tiddely Om Pom Pom tour of British seaside towns, The Libertines ripped through a fantastic headline set on Sunday. The band, famous for the tumultuous relationship between frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barat, opened the show with furious renditions of Time for Heroes and The Delaney.
The set was short on new music but jam packed with crowd pleasers and the audience were quick to show their appreciation for tracks like Boys in the Band and Can’t Stand Me Now. Next month marks the 15th anniversary of the release of their indie defining debut Up the Bracket yet their support on tour remains as fervent as ever. Few can pack them in like these fellas.
After performing The Good Old Days, the boys then left the stage only to return for a memorable encore. Playing sing along favourites Music When The Lights Go Out, The Boy Looked at Johnny and the unmistakable Don’t Look Back Into The Sun, The Libertines reminded us of their status as indie royalty.
— OnBlackheath (@OnBlackheath) September 10, 2017
Support on Saturday came in the shape of Metronomy and Kate Tempest. Tempest in particular showcased her phenomenal array of talents as she sung, rhymed and rapped her way through a great set. Sunday meanwhile saw Seasick Steve and Jake Bugg set the tone with aplomb. With artisan food trucks on parade and bergamot hand soap in the toilets, On Blackheath certainly brought a touch of class to festival season.
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