Festival Number 6: Years & Years, Metronomy and more – MM’s top picks of day one

So, the first day of Festival Number 6 in the beautiful North Welsh village of Portmeirion is over. Here are our favourites – new and undiscovered – from yesterday’s event.

Years and Years

TEEN POP: London electronica outfit Years and Years drew in a young crowd as they opened the festival  Festival Number 6, with thanks)

This London-based electronica pop outfit have seen huge success this year since their sixth single, King, was picked up by Radio 1’s Zane Lowe.

Last night’s set – their first ever Welsh gig, to boot – didn’t disappoint the screaming teenage fans (and a few equally excited adults), with beach blonde frontman Olly Alexander putting on a powerful performance to his native Welsh crowd.

Luke Wright Introduces

This flamboyant bastion of Britain’s spoken word scene caught our eye as soon as the programme was announced and didn’t fail to disappoint.

Hailing from the East Anglian city of Norwich, his brief stint yesterday was curating a three and a half hour programme of his favourite poets from across the country.

John Osborne

Possessing a cute, bumbling charm, there’s more of a wit and satire to this poet than meets the eye.

Riffing on unexpected gems like the trials and tribulations of a schoolfriend’s childhood growing up with the name ‘Michael Jackson’, and why the office worker who missed out on multimillion pound wealth after dropping out of an office syndicate was the real winner, Osborne’s infinite wisdom is delightful.

Kate Tempest

AWAKENING: Formidable wordsmith Kate Tempest gave an educational and inspiring performance (© Festival Number 6, with thanks)

Fresh from the Central Piazza stage, Tempest ramped up the pressure for an intense hour of her formidable poetry.

Accompanied by drums and synth, her words on awakening, not giving in to societal norms and being your own person – at times whipping up the audience into a frenzy – are a marked change from her humble beginnings rapping at strangers on night buses.

Molly Naylor

A close friend of Wright and Osborne – and also from Norwich (never before has there been so many East Anglians in the same place at the same time) – Molly was more of a slow burner.

Packing more energy into the first 30 seconds of her set than in the first half hour of Osborne’s, Naylor’s poetry and addictive personality jolted the comatose audience slumped in their deckchairs upright to demand their attention.

Her succinct but utterly hilarious commentary on love was on point.

Jemima Foxtrot

Bigged up by Wright as ‘the next Kate Tempest’, Foxtrot certainly has the same look going for her. But they’re understandably big boots to fill and we’re not convinced she’s there yet.

While the themes were powerful, her personality punchy and her energy noteworthy, her use of song added nothing to what could have been a memorable set.


(NOT SO) FIRM FIXTURE: Metronomy announced at their headline gig that this would be their last performance together as a group ‘for some time’ (© Festival Number 6, with thanks)

They’ve been a firm fixture in the British indie gig-goers’ scene for more than a decade, but this could now be the end. As the band played their final song, founder and frontman Joseph Mount announced that this would be their last performance ‘for some time’.

But what a gig. Squeezing in all their hits from electro A Thing For Me to the more downbeat I’m Aquarius, the Miami Vice-esque boys (and girl) left the crowd pining for an encore. They didn’t give them one.

James Grady

Rocking a pair of aviators and a suave grey ensemble, Grady didn’t stop gyrating from start to finish.

His raucous lines on sex, masturbation and his nan certainly raised a few eyebrows – but poetry like his is helping to redefine spoken word’s reputation as the preserve of the prudes.

Rob Auton

This man should need no introduction. The lanky Yorkshire wordsmith, fresh back from the Edinburgh Fringe, is not only a master of the pun but also of deep, meaningful poetry that can affect you in the way only the most skilled can.

After an uproarious set of his musings on everyday life, Auton ended with a poem about just how difficult life can be, with not a joke in sight. He’s one we’ll be watching closely.

Images courtesy of Festival Number 6, with thanks

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