Weyfest. Rural Life Centre. 30.8.2013-1.9.2013

We have just about recovered from Beermageddon, and the backlash!  If I caused any offence, I am sorry for that. So in case anyone is concerned that I will be there next year, no I won’t. I think it may be better if I look for a fest called Shandymageddon !!

Last year’s Weyfest was our favourite in 2012, so how did this year’s compare?  Read on…

Friday.  First difference to last year, on arrival, was how full the campsite was, even early afternoon. This was because Friday night had sold out, as a result of a change of thought regarding the opening night. Previously, the opening night has been ‘low key’ but this has been changed to effectively extend the festival into a 3 day event.                     First on is Rodney Branigan. Mr B is as familiar a festival feature as wasps and overpriced burgers, but (unlike them) he is always welcome. He specialises in playing two guitars at the same time, and is the sort of performer who would leave X Factor judges gobsmacked. His record sales, though, would struggle to match Eddie and the Hot Rods ‘Thriller’ numbers, never mind Jacko’s LP, but he seems to make a living on the fest circuit.  Bit of Hendrix and Radiohead, he went down well.                            Next a return for Nine Below Zero. More than 3 decades since I saw them in the NEC supporting The Who, they are pushing the ‘Marquee’ recordings again. ‘Tore Down’, ‘Homework’, ‘I can’t help myself’, ‘Can I get a witness’, ‘Mojo’ are featured early on. Our chum Mactaff is unfortunately allergic to R&B, so went off to look at the stall selling ladies’ scarves. We have always been 9BZ fans , so welcomed the arrival of ‘Three times and that’s enough’. Wilko’s ‘Twenty Yards Behind’ got an airing and some newer songs featured in the second half, which sagged a touch, but ‘L&N’ and ‘Woolly Bully’ went down a storm.                               The choice for the next turn was strange. Tiny Dragons. Three youngsters from Brighton. No doubt their stuff had an appeal to the younger generation, but to sandwich them between 2 veteran fest outfits like 9BZ and The Stranglers?                     And on come The Stranglers (a bit early). No Jet Black on drums, but still with JJ and Dave, they launch into ‘Toiler on the Sea’, ‘Goodbye Toulouse’, and ‘Grip’ They include some newer stuff such as ‘Mercury Rising’ and the hits continue with ‘Peaches’, ‘Golden Brown’, ‘Skin Deep’, ‘Walk on By’and  ‘Nice n Sleazy’.  When they did ‘Something Better Change’ at the first Cambridge Rock Fest in 2004, JJ mumbled his way through it as if he couldn’t wait to get off . The new line-up seems to have breathed new life into him and they were the best I’ve seen them in a decade. ‘Tank’ brought an end to a very good opening night.

Saturday. Japanese Fighting Fish.  Opening number ‘Terminator’ and I soon realised they weren’t going to be for me. Someone next to me asked ‘Does alternative rock mean crap?’ and a version of The Doors ‘People are strange’ prompted a comment of ’embarrassingly bad’ from someone else. I feel a bit mean by saying I went off to look for a stall that sold flame throwers but I (and others) did not think they were very good. I started to try to do an anagram of their name, and a 4-letter word starting with ‘s’ jumped out at me (and it wasn’t ‘ship’ or ‘shin’). I think it’s better if I call it a day regarding JFF.                            Vibracore.  They blew the cobwebs away last year, and certainly haven’t quietened down much since. No frills blues/rock stuff, I am quite happy to see them any time at this time of day.                              Room 4. 3 schoolkids, , the likes of whom deserve a chance at this sort of family fest. I don’t want a billful, but our elder son was playing as a teenager, so good to give kids a chance. They coincided with the appearance of some Morris Dancers, which prompted Her Ladyship to go and look for the afore-mentioned flamethrower stall, and the young guitarist’s song introduction of a song gave rise to a communal ‘Aaaah’ from all the mums present.  Some original songs, a QOTSA cover and ‘Ace of Spades’ made me realise their combined ages still fell short of the age of Lemmy’s plectrum.                           Her Ladyship left to watch Fake Thackeray, I didn’t follow.  Spank the Monkey were next onstage. I broke out in a cold sweat when the guitarist soundchecked with ‘All Right Now’ and Thin Lizzy, but they kicked off with Dr Feelgood’s ‘Take a Tip’ and ‘Watch your Step’. ‘ Listen to me’ continued in that post-Wilko Feelgood style and we got lively versions of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who do you love’ and the Allmans’ ‘One way out’.  ‘Wipe out’ to finish, decent set.                                The Wurzels. A lot enjoyed them, I just think they are totally tedious, not worth the ink.                                  Jackie Lynton. ‘Old time rock n Roll’ could have been written for him. Quo-style ‘Tulsa Time’, ‘Call me the Breeze’, a slow ‘Stormy Monday’-ish blues are good, and Paul King’s ‘You can’t always get what you want’ gets a Dalek grooving (but did nothing for me).  ‘My Babe/Keep a knockin’/Status Quo to finish.  Fine by me.                                     John  Coghlan’s  Quo. He upset Her Ladyship big time some years ago at Butlins, when he pompously announced his ‘Quo’ were playing the ‘good stuff’ (that he played on!). Of course , he was quite happy to make a living out of Rossi/Parfitt performances.  So another line-up gives us Quo-by-numbers . Was I mistaken or did I hear Mr Coghlan criticising groups who try to be lookalike copies?!  What a bloody nerve! At Butlins his group had a blonde ‘Parfitt’, a waistcoated, ponytailed ‘Rossi’, all the running round in circles, chatting to each other mannerisms. What a hypocrite!  Her Ladyship was incandescent, for me Dr Spooner came to mind…Mr C is just a Shot of Light.   Status Quo are due to be in the new Leeds Arena in December, no doubt JCQ will be at the Slug and Bogey in Hartlepool.                                             Eddie and the Hot Rods. Back to a 4-piece, I always think they up their game with just Richard on guitar.  Great start for me , ‘Get across to you’, keep it in Barrie!!! Pretty much their standard set follows, ‘Teenage’, ‘Lying’, ‘Quit’, ‘Telephone’, ‘Better’, ‘Bitten’, ‘Life’, ‘Why’, ‘Love’, ‘Woolly’, ‘Hard’, ‘Bad’, and, of course, ‘Do Anything’. ‘Gloria’ finishes an all too short set and a very good day.

Sunday. Circle of reason. 4 young men in black t-shirts, doing what seemed like Foo Fighters/QOTSA/RHCP type stuff. Piece of advice lads, I am 61, so’ Make some noise Weyfest’ at 12.30 pm on Sunday will not endear me to you!                                     Leatherat. I just do not do them, but I know some who do. Continuous barrage of twiddlydiddlyjumpyupanddowny stuff that is just tiresome. Sorry lads. Her Ladyship liked them, especially the hint of 2 Tone, so I was definitely Johnny No Mates.                                         Heavy Metal Kids. Mactaff had recovered from his R&B-dictated trip to the ladies’ scarves stall by now,and informed me that the first song was the opening track from their first LP. Singer seems a fan of Brian Johnson,  and the group certainly have an AC/DC tinge. A Ronnie Montrose song gets an airing and ‘She’s no Angel’ has a hint of The Merseys ‘Sorrow’.  ‘Rock and Roll Outlaw’ brings a really good spot to an end.                                       The Temperance Movement were not going to be missed (I did so at Cambridge). A big crowd and straight away there is a lot of stage presence (and facial hair). Only one song in , they were already in the medal positions for Best of Fest. They will definitely be higher up on next year’s T-shirt. ‘Pride’ and ‘Smouldering’ bore the hallmarks of early Faces and my only concern was whether they want to be a ‘serious’ rock group or a ‘party’ group. The singer’s actions could maybe do with toning down (look at Free at the Isle of Wight rather than, say, Joe Cocker). A small point, but  they have a quality rarely seen…swagger. Free had it, so did The Faces, the 1970 Rolling Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  ‘Take it back’ didn’t quite do it, neither did the encore , but that is nitpicking. They are very, very good. Far beyond their years.                                    Dashed off for the end of Three Bonzos and a Piano. Sam Spoons failed a late fitness test, so who better to come off the subs bench than Legs Larry Smith?!    ‘HuntingTigers’, ‘Holy Cheeses’, snatch of ‘Turban Spaceman’, ‘Canyons of your Mind’, ‘Trouser Press’ and ‘Can Blue men sing the Whites’ all keep the Bonzo spirit alive.                               Strawbs or Snakecharmer? Went for the former. Dave Cousin’s voice is definitely vocal Marmite, but have seen Snakecharmer quite a lot recently. They played their stuff that featured on TOTP, including ‘Shine on Silver Sun’, and I managed to hear ‘Lay Down’ as I was going back for some antacids.  No ‘Part of the Union’, but it wasn’t one of DC’s anyway.                                      Not bothered about From the Jam, I was 30 when The Jam were out anyway so too old!. So Robin Bibi. Rock/blues trio. Funky Robert Cray-ish but not as trebly. Also a Stevie Ray Vaughan hat in evidence. Effects-drenched ‘Albatross’ followed by ‘Green Manalishi’. Bit of Alison Krauss, I would recommend anyone to give them a listen.                                         Merry Hell. Not unpleasant folky stuff. ‘Bury me naked’was unusual, and they weren’t as ‘formal’ as some folk acts tend to be.  Her Ladyship liked them.                              UB40 or Hawklords. I chose the latter, Her Ladyship the former. For me ,UB40 made a great single ‘Food for thought’, then, er, didn’t. Would many of the crowd know their singer left years ago?  So, Hawklords. A good crowd seemed to confirm a good booking for non-reggae fans. ‘Masters of the Universe’, maybe?  Something about a space/time vision. A song about Uncle Sam and ‘We are one’. It all sounded great to me,  but I am not an expert on the Hawkwind family. However, our chum Ray ( an encyclopaedia of all things Hawkwind) reckoned they were great so that was good enough for me.  Curfew, and we trooped off back to the tent.

So how did it compare to last year? Weyfest 2012 was our best of year and it was our best this year too. I will admit to being a bit nervous regarding the line-up, but the weekend as a whole was excellent. Good weather helps, of course, and good company is just as important. Little things like there being very little ‘sonic interference’ between stages, laid back stewarding and security (I didn’t see a single ‘problem’.) Maybe the bar got ‘busy’ at times but it was usually quick getting served.  The site is the best, bar none.   I was very surprised last year when I saw some of my blog on the home Weyfest page, and full marks to them for putting a link to the full review. It was warts n all, not every single word was ‘wonderful’. These people who say absolutely everything about a 3 day festival was marvellous make me shiver. They are either from ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ or ‘Stepford Wives’.  I would recommend this festival above any other (and free tickets, or even a t-shirt(!), will be humbly accepted).

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