Gig Review: Get Rad Festival

Words and photos by: Anna Hatfield

A day well spent in good company and good music, and an endurance test for my feet and camera battery would be the way I would describe Get Rad Fest 2023, located this year in Move Live on (or rather under) Exeter Quay. 

How can I do justice to so much good music and talent in this short review? An impossible task. 

If you were down for the earlier part of the festival you would have caught alt-blues-rock band NervEndings playing as part of their UK tour. They were the perfect excuse to get dancing (and singing) early and the crowd did not disappoint.

Wrongens certainly kept the crowd buzzing with their heavy punk sound and a solid amount of crowd surfing. The Exeter-based band did their hometown proud with their gritty, raw sound, providing a beating heart for the venue for the duration of their set.

Someone I hadn’t seen since 2022 was The Issues and they pulled their hometown crowd and then some with their energetic punk rock riffs and vocals alike. Is it really a punk rock show if at least one person doesn’t throw themselves around a stage? The Issues made sure to fulfil that task with enthusiasm and showcase a fantastic amount of musical talent simultaneously. 

Fluff is always a highlight for most people, myself included, and Get Rad was no different. This one-man ball of punk energy blew the roof off the place, complete with singalongs, crowd surfing, and enough jumps and high kicks to give The Issues a run for their money. His newest single Cistern Snax went down a treat, with the crowd shouting the words back from start to finish. I’m told there are big things on the horizon for Fluff so keep your eyes peeled for more.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see Big Lava again. This band is certainly one to watch in the coming year. Having just supported Tom Meighan in Exeter Phoenix, it was an honour to see them in Move giving an equally tight performance. Their alt-rock sound contains catchy riffs and melodies that I had stuck in my head for days after. Their latest self-titled album meant I could fill the gap they left long after the end of their performance. 

The penultimate band was, of course, Crooked Little Sons, who were rounding off their European tour in style. Lead vocalist and guitar player Josh Bessant wasted no time in getting involved with the crowd and leaving no one in doubt of the band’s musical talent and powerful dynamism. They are always a joy to hear and a workout to mosh with (and take photos of!) and they absolutely exceeded expectations, both musically and performatively. 

The headliner for those committed enough to stay to the end, was Atom Age, hailing all the way from sunny California. A stark contrast to the rainy Exeter day that welcomed them. The five-piece band squashed themselves perfectly onto the stage and still found a way to move around during their blinder of a set to round out the day. With talented songwriting and the musical cohesiveness to match, this band gave one hell of a performance to finish a fantastically successful festival with plenty of other acts that deserve more attention than I’ve been able to give.

I encourage everyone reading this to look out for all these bands in the coming months because they are not the ones to miss.