THIS weekend marks the return of one of Scotland’s most treasured music festivals. Now in its 14th year, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has established itself as a staple part of the Scottish festival calendar; attracting thousands of music fans each year with its eclectic line-ups and carnival atmosphere. Situated in the idyllic surroundings of Beauly in the Highlands, this year’s line-up will feature headline performances from Sister Sledge, The Pretenders and Franz Ferdinand alongside an array of breakthrough acts and burgeoning local talent. With that in mind, TTV have compiled a list of the acts you won’t want to miss this weekend.
Widely regarded as one of Scotland’s finest musical exports, Franz Ferdinand’s highly anticipated headline performance will mark their debut appearance at Belladrum. Following the departure of founding member Nick McCarthy, the band returned earlier this year with a new line-up featuring Dino Bardot and Julian Corrie, the Glasgow-based artist otherwise known as Miaoux Miaoux. Set to embark on an exciting new stage of their career, their homecoming set on Saturday night will perhaps be a chance to hear some of their rumoured new material.
This year’s festival will mark Twin Atlantic’s fifth appearance at Belladrum. A surprise last minute addition to the line-up, the four-piece will bring tonnes of fire, passion and showmanship to the Highlands when they headline the Hothouse Stage on Friday night. Since their infamous Bella debut on the Seedlings Stage back in 2008 , the Glasgow four-piece have climbed the ranks to become one of Scotland’s most popular alt-rock outfits. And while they may have headlined the festival upon their last visit, their performance on the Hothouse Stage is sure to be every bit as memorable. Fans have been advised to get down early to catch them.
One of the most vital and innovative acts to emerge from Scotland in recent years, Young Fathers are sure to attract a massive crowd for their highly anticipated set at Belladrum. The Mercury Prize winning group have always confounded categories – choosing to cut their own path in the most brilliant ways possible. Deeply compelling, experimental, provocative and highly spontaneous, the Scottish hip-hop trio are known to deliver a live show that is uniquely powerful in every sense of the word.
THE NINTH WAVE
The Ninth Wave caused a significant stir with the release of their sensational new single ‘Reformation’ last month. Attracting interest from all corners of the industry, the four-piece have spent a considerable amount of time honing their craft and, with a new EP on the horizon, it’s fair to say that exciting times lie ahead. Set to appear on the Seedlings Stage, a rite of passage for so many Scottish bands over the years, festival-goers will fall in love with their brooding melodies, duelling vocals and gothic, reverb-soaked anthems.
With sultry swagger and raw talent in abundance, Emme Woods have been a refreshing addition to a Glasgow music scene overflowing with guitar bands. Led by charismatic frontwoman Woods, the multi-talented outfit deliver the kind of pared back bluesy rock that will effortlessly seize the hearts and minds of all those who catch them live.
Ahead of his return to Glasgow for our very own Tenement Trail in September, Louis Berry will make the journey up north this weekend to reacquaint himself with the passionate Scottish crowds. Widely regarded as one of the UK’s hottest musical talents, Berry approaches his music with a heartfelt sincerity and authenticity that is commendable in today’s day and age. Taking rock & roll back to its roots, the talented songwriter is sure to leave a lasting impression at the festival.
With their long awaited debut album Strange Hymns set to land later this month, fans can perhaps expect to hear an array of new material from Neon Waltz when they take to the stage at Belladrum. Following the release of ‘Heavy Heartless’ and ‘Perfect Frame’ earlier this year, the highly sought-after group look ready to make their mark once and for all. With many of their tracks begging for national airplay, it surely won’t be long before this band are appearing on much bigger stages.
FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES
Easily one of the most incendiary live acts in rock music today, Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes are a band you simply cannot miss this weekend. Along with his monster rock tunes and snarling vocals, the ex-Gallows frontman has become known for his unparalleled showmanship and formidable stage presence. Whether diving into the crowd or opening up mosh pits, Frank Carter gigs are always something to remember.
Another fast-rising member of Scotland’s fertile music scene, Indigo Velvet will bring some summery tropical-pop vibes to the Highlands this weekend. Recent single ‘Mona’ marked a significant step up for the band who have seen their momentum grow throughout the summer with one festival appearance after the next. Expect big choruses, infectious melodies and vibrant guitar lines
Another very late addition to this year’s line-up, Glasgow’s Baby Strange have been drafted in as a very worthy replacement for Gerry Cinnamon. The three-piece recently unveiled their blistering new EP titled Extended Play; six tracks of frenzied punk rock, fiery choruses and massive hooks. Exuding the same seething menace and youthful vigour as their earlier material, the band have been known to incite chaos at their thrilling live shows; and Bella should be no different.
A band undoubtedly on the road to stardom, Saint PHNX have seemingly risen from nowhere in the past year to become one of Scotland’s hottest musical prospects. Also set to play Tenement Trail later this year, the duo have not been scared to display their stadium-sized ambitions with one massive release after the next. Boasting a sound that is big, bold and begging for national airplay, Saint PHNX are likely to make a massive impact at Bella with rousing anthems such as ‘Magic’, ‘King’ and ‘Reload’.
Given the unenviable task of opening the Hothouse Stage on Saturday afternoon, Bloodlines are sure to blow the cobwebs away for all those who get down for their early slot. Having made a lasting impression on the Seedlings stage last year, the four-piece return with some exhilarating new material and a formidable live reputation to boot. Crafting a signature blend of angular guitar lines, heavy riffs and tight rhythms, Bloodlines will certainly wake the senses with their high-energy, visceral brand of alt-rock.