Opening Stage 3 on Sunday are So What Robot, a bewildering blend of new wave punk and electronica. They describe themselves as 'funky existentialists', and I can only agree, this sharp dressed quartet are as eccentric as they are carefully calculated and as catchy as they are mind-boggling. Think Young Knives but a bit younger, think The Bubble Project with less bubbles, whatever they may be, So What Robot are a brilliant opener for the second day of Split.
Next up are Iceni an all female trio from Newcastle. Sick of guitar music? You're in luck! Iceni are a drum-bass-piano ensemble, and incorporate perfectly executed vocal harmonies as almost a 4th instrument, a 4th band member if you will, hiding in the background, embarrassed by their own brilliance. Iceni reach the perfect balance between energy and elegance with breathtaking crescendo and endearing melody.
Following those are Cohesion, an indie-rock quintuplet with a huge chorus and a powerful colloquial lead vocal drawing comparisons to Biffy Clyro and Death Cab for Cutie. This bunch of lads from Sunderland have more pedals between them than a car dealership. Their thematic melodies and layered echo guitar inject a much welcomed dose of pop into an otherwise indie sound.
Next in the day is Barry Hyde, who you may already know as the lead singer of The Futureheads and general music man who comes from down your way. Whether it's cementing a corner-stone of the post-punk revival or standing at the top of Penshaw Monument with a bit of metal between his teeth, somehow managing to get a decent sound out of it, Barry has undeniable talent and experience and is sure to put on a top show at a festival he helped to create. I can't wait!
Moving later into the afternoon are Tissue Culture, a dark, noisy, shoegazey box of anger from Tyneside. With crunchy guitars, droning vocals and loud, thrashing drums, this outfit of comic book villains boast a very introverted and underground sound which will simultaneously tease and taunt you, wrestle you into submission and then remind you why you were so angry entering your early twenties. Everyone secretly loves being angry don't they!?
Next up are Sons of Bido Lito, an extremely groovy and retro sounding rock and roll sounding 5 man from Sunderland. Their jangly guitars and playful melodies along with Daltrey-esque vocals make these chaps one of the most exciting things to come out of Wearside since Jordan Henderson. Partial to an instrumental or two every now and then, if you're into guitar bands and the music of Austin Powers, you're in for a treat. Lovely Jubbly.
Rounding off the day quite nicely will be Symphonic Pictures, an intensely sophisticated, complex and polished hit machine sweeping the North East with their memerisingly swirly backing vocals and pristine soundscapes. It's very Bowie, perhaps even a little bit Bacharach (don't deny you love a bit of Bacharach). Symphonic Pictures will prove to be the perfect band to close the Stage 3 festivities for the weekend and encapsulate just what incredible talent we have in our local area. I'm intensely proud. I'm not crying, I promise.