Between midday and close of play, 20 acts grace the Wedgewood Rooms’ main stage and its smaller sibling, The Edge of The Wedge, flip-flopping between the two with barely a pause for breath.
From local acts to emerging acts from across the UK, it offers a varied grab-bag of the scene in 2022.
It’s pleasing to see a good cross section in the crowd too – from fresh-faced teens to grizzled gig-going veterans (your reviewer sadly cleaves far closer to the latter...).
Mancunian four-piece The Covasettes have a neat line in catchy indie-rock. The Edge is absolutely rammed for their set, the sweat is soon dripping from the walls.
Frontman Chris Buxton has a good line in self-deprecating banter and their songs could easily strike a chord with a wider audience – many here are already singing along to most of their set.
Zuzu has come down from Liverpool to play and is visibly thrilled to have her songs sung back at her so far from home.
The band are heavier than on record – at times almost grungy.
Sometime playing guitar, sometimes not, when she’s away from her instrument Zuzu uses the full stage, becoming a highly expressive performer.A self-lacerating Lie to Myself is a high point, as is The Van is Evil, which gets a raucous finale.
My pick of the evening by some distance.
Headliners Bears in Trees are a curious bunch.
Ukulele-playing vocalist Callum Litchfield gives them the impression of being an emo band fronted by a wilfully wacky CBeebies’ presenter.
With three of the band sharing lead vocals, their pop-punk is big on singalongs and heartfelt sentiments which are lapped up by the faithful.
And on the song Cobwebs there’s something wryly amusing about hearing 20-somethings sing: ‘I feel so old, there are cobwebs in my soul...’ Sorry boys, It doesn’t get any better.
Overall though, Golden Touch continues to live up to its name with a reliably high hit rate in picking out quality acts.