This year’s Cambridge Junction apprentices delivered an engaging and unique swansong last weekend with Junkyard taking every corner and crevice of the J2 and J3. Junkyard was a creative mass of genre hybrids and expression, delivering some of the most inspiring, creative and interesting music and art that Cambridgeshire has to offer.
The format was genius in its simplicity; replicate the various vibes you could experience at a house party then scale it up. The night flowed from the loud and raucous of the living room to the mellow and spaced out of the garden (the yard as it was known tonight). The success lay in the attention to detail in bringing a truly interdisciplinary and cross-arts showpiece to life. Every turn within the rejuvenated secondary spaces of the Cambridge Junction was a lit with intrigue and flair, from installations and visuals to immersive and participation led pieces and performance.
The J2, acting as The Living Room, played the lead role. On entry you were greeted by more exposed backdrop of the stage than normal. This allowed for a preponderant canvas for the live visuals being tailored and created for each performance from the sound desk.
Live music in The Living Room really explored a mass of genres approach with folk, alt rock, electronica, rap, R’n’B, pop and indie all featuring. Horse Party early on set the bar pretty high with their passive aggressive based rock that flirted with both early Sonic Youth riffs and blues. Cohesive, brazen and delightfully noisy Horse Party are one of the most underrated bands around the Cambridge circuit.
Also impressing were Lunacre, a band whose live show has never disappointed and who tonight found their sound reaching new levels of comprehensive as they amplified the J2. Their set is a multifarious listen, which blends a number of influences and calls to mind the sounds of Vondelpark, Radiohead and at times the soft ambience of Mount Kimbie. Their sound is a unique sonic amalgamation and unlike any other on the Cambridge scene currently.
The Dressing Gown Mob drew the largest crowd and might they should given their eclectic take on modern life in humorous yet tight hip hop. They also looked damper in their gown and top hat ensembles. Elsewhere Too Cool Kid, in rare full band formation fulfilled their band comp winning status delivering a largely buoyant-spry, breezy guitar driven set. Goldstar were as tight as always with their marrying together elements of RnB and soul, laid upon a bed of soothing electronics and warm, pop-tinged instrumentals and Mortal Tides brought an interesting folk rock twist to the line up.
Beyond the living room in the space normally reserved for a club night smoking area became a tranquil social offering, filled with acoustic led music. Particularly impressive was Rachel Clark who on a night filled with noise, brought a refreshing stillness with her stripped back layers.
Often the real centre of a house party, the J2 foyer space became the Kitchen. Tonight it was filled with constant, vibrant action with a real showcase of local DJs and Mcs. Fittingly on a night celebrating young ideas towards music this area was hosted by CBL, one of the success stories of underground music here in Cambridge, tonight they brought a powerful fusion of raw and edgy vibes.
The Study offered a more avant-garde experience, hosting a variety of spoken word and poetry. The witty wordplay of Hammer & Tongue champion Riaz Moola along with the sound and lyricism exploration of Luke Peter Foster impressing and offering a different angle for the evening. The detailed and unafraid incorporation of both visual and spoken arts alongside the traditional music line up is where this year’s event truly excelled. A thoughtful and modern approach to cross arts programming saw this year’s organizers push on from the success of their predecessors.
Junkyard was created by Cambridge Junction’s apprentices, a small group of young people who work in different departments at the venue whilst completing their college studies. Tonight’s showing was a real testament to the imagination of those starting out in the arts and to the Cambridge venue for supporting and encouraging them to flourish, we’re extremely fortunate to have such a set up amongst our Cities arts landscape. Next year’s apprentices have a tough act to follow.