Not been to ‘Onboard the Craft’ weekend before, but have been to the venue before. (See review of ‘Beermageddon’ August 2013,). Will mention that at the end of this review.
Loosely advertised as ‘space rock’ event, so have to apologise for lack of detail or errors re the set details , as we are not experts in the field.
Friday. Got there early, put tent up and went to investigate local pub. Friendly staff, beer at £2.60 , nice setting. Should have spent more time there last time! So, into the venue. Beer the same price, which seems to be cheaper than it was last time we were here? Again, staff very pleasant and friendly. First up are/ is Road Trip. Singer/ guitarist with remaining instrumentation via computer. Never totally sure when someone relies so much on ‘backing’ tracks, even though they are usually performed by the person on stage. One song had Hendrix riff, with a very Black Rebel Motor Cycle-ish feel. Decent start though. B B Blackdog. Man in Crimean War get-up, with acoustic guitar. early airing for Canned Heat’s ‘Amphetamine Annie’, then some silliness involving chickens. Tull’s ‘Locomotive Breath’, Sabbath’s ‘Heaven and Hell’, Purple’s ‘Mistreated’ , Coldplay’s ‘Creep’ and Nina Simone all get very acceptable adaptations. Good entertainment. ‘My Brother Jake’ from the DJ…cheers! Civilian Zen. 4-piece, with small electronic drum kit. Spacy guitar, with some spoken intro which I didn’t quite catch. ‘Too much information’ had some ‘not quite’ vocals, but they seemed to be what the general feel of the event was to be. (Nice to see a toddler with big earmuffs on. My right ear hasn’t been the same since being next to a huge speaker watching Derek and the Dominos at Leeds University in 1970.) Encored with ‘Silver Machine’. Spirit’s ‘ Fresh Garbage’ from the DJ..cheers again! Visitation. Drum kit that must have been pinched from Ginger Baker after the 1968 Royal Albert Hall ‘farewell’. ( And , yes, Mr Baker did briefly appear in Hawkwind! ). Smoke machine on overtime, Her Ladyship went to take a photo, couldn’t find the drummer! Heavier than the previous group, ‘Pillage’ was very spacy. Got some reggae-ish stuff too. Hawkwind’s ‘Orgone Accumulator’ to finish. Dr Hasbeen. Appeared to be a lot of Hawkwind fans having fun on stage, and good for them . Everyone seemed happy offstage too. Son of Man. Featuring members of Man, Sassafras and TigerTailz, our main reason for coming. Songs included ‘Talk about a morning’, ‘Back together again’, ‘ Hard way to die’, ‘Call down the moon’, ‘C’mon’, ‘Spunk rock’ and the inevitable ‘Bananas’ , George Jones and co do his father’s legacy proud. Great finish to a very good opening night. Our campsite neighbours thought S.O.M. were fantastic too.
Saturday. Tent had withstood huge rainfall, as had the field.. Colour of Logic. 4-piece, with bass, drums, acoustic guitar and multi-instrumentalist. Unusual style, almost 60s ‘protest’ songs. We both thought them difficult to ‘pigeonhole’, no bad thing! Songs quite jaunty but lyrics more profound. . Decent start, in the ‘graveyard’ slot. Return to Chaos. Return to space rock, never an easy task to keep a couple of dozen diehards entertained at such an early time. Sun came out during the instrumental ‘Chaos’ so we went to sit just outside. We heard an occasional nod to Metallica , with some what seems obligatory reggae . Lord Ha Ha. Space rock , 2 guitars, 2 keyboards, with some Lydon-esque vocals. Big soundscape. Vert: x . 2 guitars, 1 keyboard. Sounded like they had hired the Velvets’ Mo Tucker to do the backing percussion. Lots of long instrumentals, Her Ladyship thought they were pretty good. Glow people. Drums centre stage, with flashing lights. Seemed to very much the drummer’s group, we were sitting outside and the drum sound was very much to the fore. Metropolis. Rhythmic Ray recommended we go inside and watch them, it turned out to be sound advice. All decked in’ Clockwork Orange’ bowlers, they had a very 80s sound, with short snappy songs. Just that bit different, we would happily see them on the bill at any future festiva.l. Robert Calvert’s ‘Robot’ to finish. Nik Turner. A founder of Hawkwind, as everyone here knew, I suspect. Good backing outfit, with Mr T on sax and vocals. I have never been a sax maniac, so it was never going to blow me away. However, Nik is now 75 years young, he seems a very nice person and , God bless him he is still treading the boards and seemingly enjoying it. But I just think that maybe the crowd were watching through 1975 glasses . ( But blast of rock and roll at the end was good, and anyone who can play a flute deserves attention) . Corporal Wah/ Capt. Roswell. A metamorphosis of the two was the concept (am I correct?) Anyway, we started off with two young ladies under a sheet looking as though they were rehearsing for a show in an Amsterdam sex venue alongside a bloke in very dark glasses who had to read his script using a Poundland torch. ( Might I suggest a way around this?!) A zombie lab technician on guitar, with Martyn Hasbeen on the left wing. Huge cosmic throbathon, they all seemed to be enjoying it. Major change in personnel, we ended up with three aliens grooving about on stage, was it ‘Dr Who – The Musical’ ? I think Martyn and co were going for the world record for the longest song using one chord, but it was very entertaining. Hawklords. Saw them at Weyfest, thought they were pretty good. Again, some Lydon-esque vocals, and ‘State of emergency’ demonstrated how good the sound had been all weekend. The backdrop films were great all weekend too. Other standout tracks were ‘Evolver’, ‘Freefall’ and ‘We are one’. Nik Turner came on for ‘Master of the universe’ . And after drinking for a solid 12 hours, we were almost grateful that the end had come.
So, how was the experience? We both thought it was great, even though much of the stuff wasn’t familiar to us. Coffee only £1.00, the burger man even gave Her Ladyship (a vegetarian by necessity, not from ideology) a free cheese and fried onion bun…gratis! How many other places would have done that? Which brings me onto my comment in the opening paragraph about our previous visit here. I got so much flak about my comments re the Beermageddon weekend, I have only just come out of a witness protection programme.. I was just recollecting how one young man had said it was ‘badly written’ ( I have to admit I did not get a Pulitzer Prize that year) and how I had shown ‘disrespect’ to the people on stage, when the Beermageddon organiser came and sat near us. He proceeded to hold court with jolly banter about vegetarians ( Example…Question ‘Is there a vegetarian option? Answer. ‘Yes. f**k off.’ Cue much hilarity.) Was he not therefore showing similar ‘disrepect’ to vegetarians!? And no doubt all those critics of the original review are all on the side of Charlie Hebdo, whose offices where attacked by Islamists who considered the staff to have shown ‘disrespect’ to the prophet Mohammed? Think about it, you can’t have it both ways and go from showing disrespect to having freedom of speech when it suits you!!
Very good weekend. Good music, friendly bar staff, good prices. No ‘over the top’ security.
PS. Apparently Metropolis and BB Blackdog are categorised as ‘Steampunk’. Apologies , but am at an age where I haven’t a clue what it is! Looked it up on Wikipedia, I passed out while only halfway through the first page as my brain had almost melted.