Photos and words by Keira Anee at DIY Alive Fest, 23-24 April 2022

Based at The Oval Space, the four venues used for DIY Alive Fest are so close together that the people you might bump into – say, Fräulein, at Space 289 while watching Human Interest – you are likely to see many times during the day. As well as Norea and Karin from Junodef, who are playing live at The Grace next Weds.

This is the first time I’ve heard Human Interest. I like them. Conveniently, the next time we’re together is to see Grove, at Oval Space.

Grove came onstage at 4.45, just after collaborator Lynk‘s sewing class. You heard that right! This festival has a separate space in Canvas, for timed talks from artists such as Lynks, and the following day, Self Esteem. 

At 4.45 it’s still daylight outside and I’m not exaggerating when I say Grove makes you dance like you need no permission, from say, society, alcohol, or your love interests wack boyfriend (she performs ‘Ur Boyfriend’s Wack’ today, too!) From Bristol, Grove is here and I quote Bella Spratley, “Truly hitting the mark making Black working class feminist music”. That music is a mix of dancehall and techno with bass to rumble to. Personally, Grove is one of my favourite things since lockdown and has really made me wish I knew how to dance and take photos at the same time: toe tapping doesn’t cut it.

I notice a colourful, woolly-masked figure in the crowd that I highly suspect to be Lynks. When Grove asks him onstage and they play their single ‘BBB’, despite not being able to see Lynks face, the energy the two have together shows on Groves’, and it looks FUUUN. 

I will admit I was a little worried for whoever was following Groves set at Oval Space, but I needn’t have. Sprints were fiery muscles. 

Continuing the easy going atmosphere, the band are onstage checking sound and laughing. “That’s it, thankyou, we’re Sprints…”

This is the first time I’m seeing Sprints, though I know at LOUD WOMEN we’re big fans. Having only ever heard them recorded, seeing faces to shouts is always nice. Spesh when you’re a photographer.

Singer and guitarist Karla absolutely owns it and I can’t stop smiling. (Really – a steamed print of my smiley face is actually formed on the back of my camera screen!) The set makes me want to get to know their music more so that next time I see them, at the great escape, I can sing along and give my smiling mouth a rest and lose my voice.

From all the excitement of the last 2 hours, I’m really sad to miss Panic Shack, who I’ve also been wanting to see for some time. I hear amazing things about the set, which makes me want to eat a big sandwich (and see Panic Shack soon).

I next see Jessica Winter, at Pickle Factory. Whilst the place has a near untouchable name – I believe it was once a pickle factory – it’s very dark and hard to see her. Despite this, the room fills up and I get really excited when ‘Psycho’, a track from Jessica’s first EP, comes on. With a really high pitched voice, she makes this track sound intermittently sweet and spiteful. I’m happy.