If only the sun had shon
Judging the demographic of Guilfest can be tricky, meaning it’s hard to tell what the average punter’s number 1 way of discovering music is. Going by the size of the crowd in front of the main stage on this gloomy Saturday afternoon, Athlete are the sort of band that fits this glove rather well. They have plenty of well-aired, instantly recognisable, middle-of-the-road hits which have taken them from hotly tipped to heavily rotated throughout most of this decade. It’s unlikely the younger end of the music radio market will be hearing new single ‘Superhuman Touch’ much in the coming months, Athlete are more Radio 2 than 1 these days, but when it appeared midway through this set it already sounded like a track that could be popular with those who list Athlete as a band they’re fond of. A slightly eighties pop feel, not unlike the direction Keane recently took with their last album.
All the old singles were on display, the early appearance of ‘Half Life’ gave the set a bit of energy; it certainly stands up as one of their finest. Sure a band can’t choose the weather they play in, however some of the more pedestrian tracks in their back catalogue are better suited to warm sunshine, sadly we didn’t have much of this on Saturday at Guilfest.
It was good to hear ‘Wires’ again, but you couldn’t help but think, the Athlete fans aside, their return with new material isn’t really something to get too excited about. Like this set, they’re pleasant enough, but nothing more.