Summer Sonic: who to watch

20 acts you don’t want to miss at this year’s festival

Summer Sonic: who to watch

Summer Sonic: who to watch
Saturday | Sunday


Vintage Trouble

It's going to take a lot to rouse us at 11am on Sunday morning, but this LA quartet might manage it. Vintage Trouble make soul and rock 'n' roll the way they used to, with a live show so sizzling they've even opened for Bon Jovi without any problems. Marine Stage, 11am

Watch on YouTube: Blues Hand Me Down (Later with Jools Holland)


In these information-saturated times, Adam Bainbridge is an exotic bird indeed. The lusciously maned Londoner doesn't have a website, Twitter or Facebook page, and is notoriously publicity shy. Debut album World, You Need a Change of Heart polarised the critics, though you'd probably expect that from a louche, '80s-influenced record that includes a cover of the theme from Eastenders. And did we mention that he's hilarious live? Sonic Stage, 11.40am

Watch on YouTube: House


What year is it again? After a few minutes in the company of this London quartet, you might not know any more. Though the vocals are unmistakably Limey, Tribes seem to have their musical dial set on the US grunge scene circa 1991. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, though: the group were picked by Frank Black to support the Pixies early in their career, while their debut album earned a 9 out of 10 rating in the NME at the start of the year. Mountain Stage, 12.20pm

Watch on YouTube: Corner of an English Field

Other Lives

These shaggy, folk-tinged indie rockers from Ohio have supported Bon Iver and Radiohead over the past year, and they're likely to appeal to fans of both acts. 2011 sophomore album Tamer Animals had some exquisitely crafted moments on it, which Other Lives seem fully capable of recreating in a live setting. Sonic Stage, 1.50pm

Watch on YouTube: Dust Bowl (Live)


Let's get one thing straight: Perfume really aren't a festival act. As we discovered at this month's Rock in Japan, when you take away the razzmatazz of the group's arena shows, they're just three women miming on a very big stage. Then again, if we had to pick between this lot and Ke$ha, we know which one we'd go for. Marine Stage, 2.05pm

Watch on YouTube: Spring of Life

Azealia Banks

It's easy to be blinded by the hype surrounding New York's Azealia Banks, whose releases to date are vastly outweighed by the amount of guff that's been written about her. When she's on form, though, the rapper is up there with Missy Elliot and Nicki Minaj. Sonic Stage, 3.05pm

Watch on YouTube: 212 (Live)


Things get pretty thin on Sunday afternoon at Summer Sonic, with offerings ranging from grim (Ke$ha) to grimmer (Hoobastank) to downright nauseating (Team H). Skip all of those and go watch new wave institutions Polysics: there's a reason this bunch are one of the Japanese music scene's more successful exports, and it's not just because they stole all their good moves from Devo. Sonic Stage, 4.20pm

Watch on YouTube: Baby Bias/Buggie Technica (Live)

Chang Kiha and the Faces

Chang Kiha has a head start over many of the bands playing on the 'Asian Calling' stage this year: the Korean indie star has already made a few trips over here, playing alongside local heavyweights like Shugo Tokumaru and Zazen Boys. Even if his wry lyrics go over your head (and, er, we're assuming they will), Chang's retro-styled songwriting and geeky persona are pretty tough to resist. Island Stage, 6pm

Watch on YouTube: I Live in Peace (Live)

Momoiro Clover Z

What: we're recommending a pop act playing on Sunday evening who isn't Rihanna? Er… actually, yeah. Momoiro Clover Z are the idol group it's cool to like, for a simple reason: they're absolutely nuts. The quintet draw their influences from pro-wrestling and tokusatsu sci-fi films, while they've already secured the title for this year's most brain-frying pop video (see below). Rihanna who? Rainbow Stage, 7.20pm

Watch on YouTube: Mugen no Ai

New Order

Fuji Rock had The Stone Roses, and this year's big nostalgia act at Summer Sonic is another Manchester institution – though they emphatically won't be performing with their original lineup. New Order have earned mixed reviews for their first tour since the rancorous departure of bassist Peter Hook in 2007, and bets are off as to whether this will be a triumph or a damp squib. Savour it, though: it's probably the last we'll see of them either way. Mountain Stage, 8pm

Watch on YouTube: Ceremony (Live)

Summer Sonic: who to watch
Saturday | Sunday

By James Hadfield
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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