FUTURE NOW ’24: ARTIST SPOTLIGHT | Future Yard

FUTURE NOW ’24: ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

The fourth edition of Future Now (and the fifth summer festival we’ve done!) returns to Future Yard and beyond on August Bank Holiday 2024. On Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th August this year we’ll be channelling the spirit of that very first summer festival way back in the heady days of 2019 and will be taking over multiple venues across Birkenhead.

2024

Everything Everything headlines Birkenhead Town Hall on Saturday, with Nubiyan Twist our first FY Garden headliner, both playing on the same day as Jane Weaver, Hamish Hawk, The Lovely Eggs, Chalk, Van Houten, Man/Woman/Chainsaw, Yard, Revival Season, Blue Dolphin Wranglers, Blue Jean and Spielmann.

On Sunday, Nadine Shah headlines the Town Hall, with She Drew the Gun closing the FY Garden, both playing alongside bdrmm, Girl Ray, Night Tapes, Melin Melyn, Projector, Van Houten, University, Bored at My Grandma’s House, Laura J Martin, Dog Unit.

 

EVERYTHING EVERYTHING

Polychromatic indie outfit Everything Everything emerged in the Manchester scene of the late 2000s with a sound that blends arty ’80s-style post-punk and synth pop influences with their own vividly kinetic brand of math rock that results in a sonic tour de force as experimental as it is accessible. Led by Jonathan Higgs’ unmistakable falsetto and beholden to no single formula, it’s a less-travelled combination that has earned the band critical acclaim and a devoted following in equal measure across 7 releases. 

That continues across their new album ‘Mountainhead’, an LP imagining an alternate society in which those at the lowest rung of society’s ladder are forced to work relentlessly to keep its elite, at the mountain’s peak, elevated. While it’s an idea that looks to a nightmarish future, it’s full of engaging metaphors for our current existence, from capitalism and environmentalism to religion and celebrity worship. The music is just as engaging, their art-pop heart coloured by an array of off kilter production touches and a newfound alt pop accessibility.

No one quite operates in the realm of visionary Everything Everything does. You can trust us on that.

They headline Birkenhead Town Hall on Saturday 24th August.

NADINE SHAH

A singer-songwriter auteur with a penchant for a grandiose sound paired with enlightening intimate + personal lyricism, Nadine Shah is closes the show at FN as the headliner for the Town Hall stage on Sunday, coming to Birkenhead this summer having just released her fifth album ‘Filthy Underneath‘ in February.

FY head booker Mat says “Nadine Shah embodies everything that we hold sacred at Future Yard and her work hinges on the belief that music has the power to bring about real change – whether that be social, political or personal. She is unwavering in her commitment to the arts and uncompromising in her pursuit of a career that stays true to her unique sound and strong beliefs. She is exactly the kind of artist that we want to stick our flag in the ground with and say “we are proud to have Nadine Shah headlining the Sunday of Future Now 2024”. Her phenomenal new album includes the song “Topless Mother” that has lived rent free in my head since it was released in October of last year.”

NUBIYAN TWIST

A blend of virtuosic players, skilled producers and inspired composers join forces for Nubiyan Twist to create a unique, infectious sound drawing on jazz, hip-hop, afrobeat, dancehall, soul, reggae and dance music – expect ultra-tight musicianship and a powerful, big band sound.

Our Saturday FY Garden headliner returns to Future Yard after a sell-out show here way back in October 2021 as part of a huge 2024 for the collective, their fourth album ‘Find Your Flame‘ out on 3rd May. The sun-drenched, disco-inspired and Nile Rodgers-produced lead single ‘Lights Out’ is our pick to dive into now, and we’re shore will sound that much better as the sun sets over Future Yard this summer.

SHE DREW THE GUN

From performing in Future Yard’s first ever gig to headlining our largest event to date, Birkenhead’s-own She Drew The Gun has been an artist close to our hearts since we opened our socially-distanced doors. Making impassioned, hypnotic and darkly ornate punk-infused psych-pop, they have spent a decade cementing their reputation as a vital voice in the alternative scene, using politically charged anthems as a vehicle for exposing injustice and for advocating for a fairer and more tolerant society.

Louisa and co. emerge out of the studio in the midst of recording a 4th LP this summer to headline the FY Garden stage on Sunday 25th August.

BDRMM

Everyone’s favourite Hull-loving shoegaze stars bdrmm return to Future Yard for a record fourth time this summer, and a sophomore Future Now appearance after being a part a 2022 Saturday daytime that will live long in the annals of Future Yard festival history.

FY head booker Mat says “The shoegaze darlings of Hull! I’ve known the lads personally for many years – starting in my previous life as the Venue Manager of The New Adelphi Club in Hull which is one of the venues where the band cut their teeth. Having watched them on their journey from playing support slots to sell out shows, I’m delighted to invite them to play on our Main Stage at this year’s festival. They’re the perfect example of where staying true to your art, working hard and just generally being kind can get you. Now signed to Mogwai’s “Rock Action” label bdrmm have been on an impressive upward trajectory for the last few years and who knows what dizzying heights they are yet to reach with their mesmerising use of ambient soundscapes and potent lyricism which combine to create a deeply immersive wall of sound at their breath-taking live shows – “one of Britain’s best-kept musical secrets – but potentially not for much longer” (NME)”.

Their two full LPs to-date (2020’s ‘Bedroom’ + 2023’s ‘I Don’t Know’) will be familiar to anyone who’s passed through our doors since opening, both soundtracking the venue’s day-to-day activity since their release, with particular highlights including It’s Just a Bit Of Blood, Push / Pull, 2021’s single Port and our all-time favourite, Gush.

Jane Weaver 

Abusing, evading, and obliterating 20 years of whimsical pop trends, Jane Weaver’s experience as a truly independent and resilient songwriter and sound-carrier is something that commands respect and inspiration in equal measures. A sonic palette as broad as any artist on the Future Now billing, her ventures into psych folk, electronica, experimental rock and alt-pop across a two decade  solo career is a true sight (and sound) to behold.

She joins us in Birkenhead this summer once again recalibrating her singular journey in the British musical landscape with ‘Love In Constant Spectacle’, perhaps her most open-hearted, direct and intimate collection of material yet.

Yet, the foundations of Weaver’s sound are still evident – lush motorik drums, pulsating bass, custom modded synths and exotic fuzz pedals – but the stream is awash with scrabble piece poetry and Letraset lullabies leading to lush escapism, the free abandon that you’d associate with free jazz and the avant-garde. This is the poetic vision of one woman only, turning a new chapter, erecting a new scaffold, drawing empty landscapes as we slowly watch new colours, codes shapes and languages fill the frame.

The Lovely Eggs

Out-there-lo-fi-psychedelic-underground-punk-rock. Or something like that. The Lovely Eggs perform at Future Now this year, a DIY duo with a fierce punk ethos fuelling a powerful, stripped down sound; a combination of one vintage guitar amp, one Big Muff distortion pedal, a guitar and a drum kit creating the live sonic illusion of a band twice their size.

FY head booker Mat says “Raw, surreal, explosive and fiercely independent – The Lovely Eggs have gained legendary status in the music industry by never straying from their DIY aesthetics and always keeping boundless creativity at core of everything they do. I’ve been a fan of there’s for over 10 years and have had the pleasure of working with them on numerous occasions (all of which, they’ve torn the roof of the place) – I’m the proud owner of a “F*ck It” scarf and I’m delighted to have them joining the line-up for this year’s festival (a Birkenhead debut!). Keep an eye out for the new album dropping in May – ‘eggsistentialism’. But in the meantime check out the cracking new single ‘My Mood Wave'”.

Chalk

Sparse, sporadic yet utterly danceable soundscapes collapsing the walls between post-punk and the techno. This is Belfast’s Chalk. Coming soon to a August Bank Holiday festival near you.

FY head booker Mat says “These guys are an incredibly exciting band both recorded and live, and they’re still at the start of their journey! Where the energy of the dance music scene meets the raw emotion and ferocity of the post-punk world. Chalk absolutely blew me away along with 4,000 other music lovers in a giant industrial warehouse on a freezing cold night in Brittany last December, an almost perfect setting for their unique blend of mesmerising gothic-techno. You can check out that stunning performance here. An unconventional power-trio with atmospheric electronic elements and frontman exuding attitude and charisma. I knew that we had to get these lads on the Future Yard stage and what better time than Future Now?!”

(FFO – Idles, Fat Dog, Underworld, Fontaines D.C, Aphex Twin)

“It’s post-punk for the end of the world” – Jonah Krueger, Consequence of Sound

Hamish Hawk

With a warming baritone voice akin to the likes of Scott Walker, Hamish Hawk fills rooms with tales of cinematic stories that blend the romantic with the surreal. 

FY head booker Mat says “As soon as I knew where our Main Stage was going to be this year (Birkenhead Town Hall) it was top of my list to find an artist that could match the beautiful surroundings and Hamish Hawk is exactly that with his repertoire of emotionally authentic and captivating music. I fell in love with Hamish’s music at the end of last year upon the release of his latest album – Angel Numbers – check it out if you fancy being transported by his ability to confound, hypnotise and inspire a sense of wonder in the world you may have thought you’d previously lost! His live performances are also something to behold, so don’t miss out”.

FFOSteve Mason, BC Camplight, Pulp, She Drew the Gun, The Magnetic Fields

Night Tapes

Night-time London takes Birkenhead summer. 

Blending atmospheric, street lit soundscapes, astral synth work, multi-fidelity recordings and dreamy guitars – Night Tapes is a South-East London project making envelope-pushing, escapist dream pop. With a sound easily accessible for fans of the likes of Deerhunter, Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, Night Tapes take inspiration from both their lived experience in the world that they can see and touch, as well as the less tangible spiritual and metaphysical realm.

Their 4th EP ‘Assisted Memories’ is out on 7th June – lead single ‘Drifting’ is a dream wave delight.

Girl Ray

Girl Ray has never been afraid of switching it up. In the space of just three albums they’ve gone from janglepop darlings to being one of the most exhilarating and original pop bands around. Their most recent release, 2023’s Prestige, takes the shambolic charm of their debut, Earl Grey (2017), and the ‘indiefied’ R&B of 2019’s Girl, and injects it with a booster shot of Hi-NRG eighties disco pop.

Bringing their deep understanding of modern pop and the bittersweet melodies of ABBA and Kate Bush and mixing it all together with the post-punk playfulness of Orange Juice and a love of Donna Summer and Yellow Magic Orchestra, Girl Ray’s most recent release is undoubtedly a life affirming celebration of the transformative power of pop music at its most glorious. It’s what Girl Ray imagine might have been playing on a Saturday night in the eighties as they checked their coats at Paradise Garage. Pop music as pure fantasy.

Catch them headlining the Live Room stage at Future Now on Sunday 25th August.

MAN / WOMAN / CHAINSAW

MAN/WOMAN/CHAINSAW are a 6-piece experiential, experimental collective crafting noisy, unadulterated art punk from the heart of London. A self-professed ‘orchestral mayhem’ outfit, they make music that is brash and brassy, mixing humour with skilful musicianship and feverish energy. Definitely one for all the Black Country, New Road and Black Midi fans out there.

Van Houten

Van Houten’s core is based on life long friendship, an inability to exist without each other, and an obsession with creating a sonic mixing pot of intimate lo-fi rock and cavernous Shoegaze. Their sound envelops the listener, combining upbeat pop melodies and hooks with downbeat lyrics one minute, before full introspection and aural catharsis the next.

They join us this summer having distilled their choicest lo-fi, shoegaze and garage rock inspirations into eight eagerly-awaited tracks of dreamy pop perfection, aka their debut album ‘The Tallest Room’ released just this spring.

UNIVERSITY

an explosion of energy unlike anything you’ve heard this year” – NME

Three—four, if you count the one (really) pulling the strings—inquisitive individuals that came together by way of fate’s ties to the universe (and, “time travel”, if you ask them discreetly), UNIVERSITY are a band diving into all of life’s existentialism. An exploration of adolescence, self-identity and slight mania, their upcoming music is “like getting punched in the face by a gorilla but then being cuddled afterwards”. Influenced by artists such as Nouns, Hella, and Cypress Hill, UNIVERSITY sit in their own patchwork world, melding emo, math rock, punk and hardcore while maintaining an aura of mystique. 

FFO Pup + Fugazzi

Melin Melyn 

Since emerging from the sun kissed valleys of Wales in 2019, Melin Melyn have constantly confounded listeners with their unique blend of psychedelic surf-rock, folk and pop that set them apart from almost all other modern contemporaries and have drawn deserved comparisons to Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. And their weird tales of colourful characters and magical worlds told in both English and Welsh aren’t in fact that far removed from today’s off-kilter reality.

It’s sonic eccentricity at its finest & paradoxically most accessible; none-more evident than on their latest single ‘I Paint Dogs’, 2 minutes 20 of Melin Melyn bottled and distilled down to their purest essence – irresistible pop-rock melodies combine with Gruff Glyn’s distinctive brand of lyricism. Speaking on the track Glyn adds “I was inspired to write this song after chatting  to an artist at his exhibition in a place called London. He had stickers on all of his portraits. Waw, I said, that’s amazing, you’ve sold all of your paintings! Surely that means that you actually make a living off of your art! That’s amazing! Don’t be ridiculous, he said, the only way I make any actual money is by going to posh people’s houses and painting their dogs. So this song is dedicated to all artists that have to work rubbish second jobs to fund their careers. Keep doing what you’re doing everyone, the world would be rubbish without it.”

GENN 

Born in Malta over 10 years ago and built in Brighton, ĠENN has since flourished and built determined bonds as a self-described sisterhood, founded on instinctive trust and affection. 

It’s this unique outlook and tight-knit gang mentality that make ĠENN such a thrilling proposition musically. Steering clear of simplistic, surface-value interpretation, their debut album, 2023’s “unum”, represents Latin word for oneness, unity, a sense of being whole. It’s a hard-earned statement of evolution, woven from the band’s four distinct threads of influence and identity to reveal an arresting tapestry of ambition. It captures that lightning in a bottle that strikes when four distinct strains of talent – four best friends – are free to create. Fusing art-rock, psych-rock, and post-punk – with hints of Mediterranean folk – ĠENN join us this summer as a band that’s never sounded so limitless.

BORED AT MY GRANDMA’S HOUSE

Bored at my Grandma’s House has been steadily putting out delicately raw indie-shoegaze-pop hits since her debut EP ‘Sometimes I Forget You’re Human Too’ in 2021. Her debut album, ‘Show & Tell’ (out in June) is a culmination of such effort, filled to the brim with exceptional, hook-filled, shoegaze-fused, indie-dream-pop slices.

Of the album Bamgh (aka Amber Strawbridge) says “The main overall theme of this album is connection. Connection with myself, connection with the world and connection to the people around me who I love. This album is for me first and foremost and was a way for me to internally process. The origin of these tracks all stem from me wanting to understand these connections and process my emotions surrounding them. The album covers topics such as the power of queer love, humanity and its ‘delusions of grandeur’, reflection and purpose”.

Ffo: Newdad / Soccer Mommy / Snail Mail

TROUT

Performing in a homecoming of sorts, venue fav Trout is the creative alias of 24 year old Cesca – who spent their childhood years growing up in Copenhagen, born to an Iranian father and British mother. Their early musical memories are of sibling rivalries played out to the soundtracks of the Gipsy Kings and a worn out Suzanne Vega tape which emboldened their early love of songwriting. Their influences are therefore unsurprising, but by no means insignificant – with Trout nodding specifically to the poetic songwriting genius of Adrianne Lenker, the layered vocals of Warpaint, and Sorry’s seamless blend of post-punk with idiosyncratic electronic motifs.

PROJECTOR

Since they formed in 2018, Brighton’s PROJECTOR have stubbornly gone their own way. Bringing angular industrial drum machines to hook laden alt-rock, and lush melody to frenzied post-punk, the band have never hesitated to prioritise sonic breadth and an experimental attitude to pop.

PROJECTOR’s debut album ‘NOW WHEN WE TALK IT’S VIOLENCE’ moves effortlessly between artful derangement, aggression and the pop hooks that have regularly seen the band gatecrash the mainstream rock scene. At times it’s drenched in the dark, industrial brutalism of Joy Division, at others it’s a spectacle of hyperactive, Squid-flavoured rant-pop. The album features climaxes that stagger into acid-soaked country, warped with drum machines and lush harmonies, before leaping into blisteringly paranoid Incesticide-era grunge, topped with melting Lana Del Rey-flavour choruses.

Above all, the band’s tightly wound intensity drives the album with the strange fervour of early Pixies that reflects the energy of their live show. Come see for yourself this summer.

REVIVAL SEASON

Foreseen by oracles and foretold by angels, the coming together of rapper Brandon “BEZ” (B Easy) Evans and beatmaker/producer Jonah Swilley was, by their own admission, a divine appointment. Both halves musically and spiritually forged in the twin flames of Georgia׳s Pentecostal churches and grassroots hip-hop scene, Revival Season tell straight-shooting tales of our golden age — chop, cops, badass bitches, self-snitches; drug-dealing and revolution — chronicling and critiquing the culture over baselines and beats that kick squarely in the teeth with a platform boot.

The Atlanta duo make truly genre-busting music, expressed best across their acutely southern sounding rock-rap debut LP ‘Golden Age of Self Snitching’. “Strands of deconstructive but accessible forefathers like Beastie Boys and Gnarls Barkley can be detected in the commanding vitality of Revival Season’s brilliantly-named debut… a relentlessly vibrant statement of intent, possessing a colourful vigour that belongs to this exciting duo alone” (CLASH).

FFO – Death Grips, Injury Reserve, Killer Mike

YARD

YARD are a gripping four piece electro noise band from Dublin, Ireland. Drawing inspiration from the likes of SUUNS, Gilla Band, Death Grips and Nine Inch Nails and bridging the gap between techno and noise rock, their music can only be described as an intense and immersive sensory experience. Visually represented by their eerie mascot ‘Bucketman’, YARD will leave you sweaty, energised and strangely unnerved.

LAURA J MARTIN

Laura J Martin returns in 2024 with her forthcoming fourth solo album Prepared, following the collaborative project ‘Wyndow’ written with Lavinia Blackwall of Trembling Bells, released in 2021. Her previous solo album, On The Never Never, was recorded in Nashville with members of Lambchop, Silver Jews and Jesus Lizard and for Prepared the sonic canvas changes again. Building her own studio after moving back to Liverpool, Laura found herself drawn to drum machines that wouldn’t stay in time, and a piano with a tuning mind of its own. Prepared is in Laura’s words “my composted scrapbook of the last couple of years. I followed where the sounds took me, the sonic train left the station and led me on its merry way.”

A mercurial and bewitching live performer who interweaves layers of vocals, flute, mandolin and electronics; Laura has toured regularly across the UK and Europe and supported acts such as PJ Harvey, Teenage Fanclub, Cate Le Bon and performed and collaborated extensively with Euros Childs. Consistently played and supported by BBC Radio 6 Music DJs such as Marc Riley, Craig Charles, Cerys Matthews, Lauren Laverne, Gideon Coe and Stuart Maconie.

Blue Dolphin Wranglers

Sun-drenched alt-funk out of Ellesmere Port.

FFO – Cassia, Alfie Templeman.

BLUE JEAN

DOG UNIT

Dog Unit’s unique sound — instrumental music that leans just as heavily on the tune-first, purist pop qualities of or as much as it does the groove and ambiance of their post-rock forebears like Tortoise or Stereolab — has been championed from the outset by the likes of Steve Lamacq on 6Music and John Kennedy on RadioX, and has drawn a cult following over the course of 2023 via a sold-out year-long residency at Servant Jazz Quarters, where fans were able to hear the band’s album come together in real time.

Melodic, foot-tapping, reverb-drenched kosmische… binds UK post-rock and electronica.” (Loud and Quiet)

SPIELMANN

Described as Harry Styles for 6 Music Dads or Brandon Flowers doing Phoenix Nights, Spielmann has been around the block: As a songwriter, producer, band member, DJ, promoter…and now, after a good decade, and varying degrees of success, as a front person and songwriter in his own right gaining comparisons to The War On Drugs, Future Islands and LCD Soundsystem, Spielmann’s take on modern pop, and how it aligns with alternative music, is studied, honed and purposeful, expansive yet intimate, with a tongue firmly planted in it’s cheek and stadium ready choruses that will stick in your head for days.

“Not-to-be-missed, superb one-man, Hall and Oates-style 80s neon balladry” – Yorkshire Post

Listen to all the artists announced so far below…

Previous artists

2019’s festival across Birkenhead was the catalyst for the Future Yard you know and love today, and saw a storming headline set in the Birkenhead town hall from Anna Calvi one night, plus a homecoming of the Wirral’s favourite son Bill Ryder Jones (aka the guy from that billboard) another. Established local, national and international acts and rising stars alike fit the bill across that very first festival, and we are ecstatic to have played a little part in the rise of now world-renowned artists like Black Country, New Road, Dry Cleaning and Squid.

2021 was the year the world emerged out of lockdown, and a new, more condensed version of Future Now emerged on Argyle Street. Taking the impetus of 2019’s festival of showcasing the best emerging talent alongside a select number of incredible, established artists, the name ‘Future Now’ was born and Future Yard as a venue hosted it for the very first time. Gruff Rhys became Future Yard’s very first festival headliner, maintaining the long-seated connection between the Wirral and Wales through the power of a punchy set packed with Super Furry Animals, New Gods Sought and a lot of accompanying placards.

Utter absurdity was the name of the game for the opening day of Future Now 2022 as the likes of Fat Dog and MADMADMAD made their Future Yard debut with sets of pure chaotic brilliance, topped off by a closing performance from the art-house gilly-suit cladded Friday headliners Snapped Ankles, providing an aural onslaught of motorik rhythms the likes of which we’re pretty sure Birkenhead has never seen before. A Saturday indoor triple punch of DehdColaBdrmm that will long live on in the annals of Future Yard folklore in the years to come was a particular highlight from the second day of 2022, before the building was shaken to its very foundations as that year’s second headliner, PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS made sure they closed their show with a ferocity and volume we still remember to this day.

The stakes rose even higher in 2023 as we hosted our busiest in-venue Future Now to-date. Familiars and new futures ran through the entirety of the weekend, as true Future Yard favourites and (at this point) venue regulars The Bug Club and Bodega returned to headline in their biggest Birkenhead shows to date. The second coming of Seal Club Clubbing Club in the heart of their homeland on the leftbank and a tour de force performance from debutants Personal Trainer (which may have just birthed our new favourite frontman) were highlights from a sun-drenched opening day, before Christian Lee Hutson took to the outdoor stage just as the heavens opened. Crowd and performers became one on the safety of the stage as Christian delivered a beyond intimate set in the dampest of conditions that was a totally once-in-a-lifetime experience. Until it happened again the next night. Throbbing guitars from the likes of Butch Kassidy and Bo Ningen turned the live room into a sonic boom during 2023’s second day, and as the crowd sought some outdoor respite rain once again started to fall, meaning an up-close-and-personal alt-dance party thrown by Baba Ali closed the show on Future Now. Until now…