Our first SRS festival, although we have been to its little sister fest, Onboard the Craft, and have also been at the venue for Beermageddon. On with the review…
Missed first act, having fallen asleep in my chair, Habu came on at 8.00pm. The punctuality was pretty good all weekend. It helps enormously. T-shirts and cds in abundance. 3-piece outfit, with a Bruce Foxton-like Rickenbacker bass very prominent in the mix. Bassist doubled up on keyboards too.Played some stuff from latest lp ‘Infinite’ such as ‘Dead Weight’. Back drop featured a woman doing some gyrations similar to Her Ladyship at Zumba. Guitarist tended to be heavy on the 100 notes per second solos. ‘SR 71’ from first lp had American newscast intro. A good start for us. Next on stage are Sister Sandwich. Fans of the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican will be familiar with the concept. Only turned up to 11. Great parodies of classic songs, with (like the Doonicans), the punchline in the title. Mainly on a food-based theme. ‘Sandwich Filler’ (Talking Heads), ‘Eat some Trifle’ (The Jam), ‘Egg and Bacon Sarnie’ (White Stripes), ‘I love sausage rolls’ (Joan Jett), ‘Fresh Baked Flan’ (ZZ Top). Hopefully you have got the hang of it! Some Donald Trump-based stuff too ‘Trump it up’ (Elvis Costello). Might it have been ‘Crumpet up’ before last year?. Great fun.
Electric Cake Salad. Rhythmic Raymond introduced us to this crispy green delight some years ago. Starting out with ‘Baby Firefly’, they blasted their way through older and newer stuff with barely a breath to spare. Finishing with the ever-popular ‘Absinthe’ they were great, as always. Before I mention the next lot… anybody in the north of England will know that the No 1 place for hen/stag nights is Whitley Bay. And having been, I can tell you that you wake up on Sunday morning to find out there is nothing to do here on Sunday. Absolutely sweet F.A. So you go to nearby Blyth, score some very dodgy LSD, drop a tab, and walk round the corner and, f*ck me, straight into Ant and Dec! (See first photo in the gallery). Which brings me nicely onto Captain Roswell and the Lost Alien Tribe. Interplanetary throbathon of the first order. Followed closely by Dr Hasbeen. ‘Little Green Men’ had much nodding of heads in the audience, and the backdrops were great, as they always are. Our plan was to stop up to see the headliners. Heavy Metal Kids, but we had been up since 5.00 am and were both totally Donald Ducked. Went back to the tent and were asleep within seconds. A good first day.
Saturday. First on are The King Bains. Unusual heavy duo, with drums and guitar/vocals but no visible bassist. Definitely a ‘kill or cure’ session for a lot of the audience. Sloth Metropolis are next. Another non-stereotypical line -up, this time a 4-piece with a vocalist/violinist, but no 6-string guitar. Opening number had a spoken intro then a song reminiscent of J. Geil’s ‘Centrefold’. Next one had spoken intro plus an early Caravan – like song. Then some more talking followed by Black Sabbathish song. The same format followed with a hint of Wetton-era King Crimson. I was outside, so didn’t see one or two blokes doing their ‘interpreting’ in front. Seemingly it was some complete multi-media performance. Not sure how they would have gone down in the Lion in Castleford, they didn’t play Thin Lizzy or ‘All Right Now’! Her Ladyship thought they were good, but then again she thought Meat Loaf was too (until she saw him the other year). Not for me, but after all I am a fully paid up member of Philistines Inc, apparently. No point putting Culture Dub Orchestra in bold/italics. Definitely not for me. Tiny Rockets. Another spoken intro, but a 3-piece . Bit more acceptable to my ears, White Zombie t-shirt in evidence. Got an instrumental tribute to The Tornadoes. Unusual stuff from 3 bearded young men. DJ played ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’ from the Allmans, before Ethan and the Reformation. Quartet from Manchester, with twin guitars. More regulation rock than before. A slow number brought to mind early Fleetwood Mac and Stan Webb. They had to get back home quickly, but squeezed in an encore. Original songs, they went down well. A bloke in the pub on Sunday thought, like me, they had that ‘Manc’ sound. Genghis Grimes. Very interesting visually. Guitarist with Steam Punk appearance. Singer like that black and white bloke (s) in a classic Star Trek episode. First song had a hint of ”Welcome to the Jungle’ but overall they were more like Iron Maiden vocally. Strangely strange… Got ‘Bananas’ from Man during the break. Pink Diamond Revue. If last lot were ‘strangely strange’ then I am now lost for words. Could have been an ominous name for a life-long Pink Floyd fan! Man with guitar abusing a centre-stage mannequin while playing and singing. Not sure if it is an arrestable offence. Some electronic help too. Enjoyable and unique. Had to go for a 30 minute powernap, so missed start of Litmus. Frenetic 4-piece with Hawkwind undertones, plenty in who provided much applause. Underground Zero . Much – vaunted 80s proggers on the comeback trail. Everybody seemed to think they were great. Well, not quite everybody. One person definitely thought they were bloody awful. The same person thought the best part of the set was those five magic words (‘This is our last song’). Finally, Dr and the Medics. Unashamedly camp and cheesy, the doctor has defiantly made a career based on a cover version hit single. They were plugging a new lp, which has no pretence of being the next ‘DSOTM’. First actual ‘covers’ of the weekend, if you discount Sister Sandwich. Perfect for people who had been drinking for 11 hours, although the gratuitous swearing did grate on Her Ladyship. Encored with The Cult and Sham 69. Another good day.
Sunday. Missed the first few acts , having gone to watch the ‘ull v Cas rugby league cup quarter final on tv. (No more about that sadly! ) BB Blackdog. Regulars at Stoke Prior. 3-piece steampunkers with some extras on stage. ‘When I met you’ had a ‘White Rabbit’ intro, then took off. ‘Gimp’ had two surprise guests on stage. No, not Ant and Dec, but Fanny and Johnny Cradock! In very playful mode, I think they are caught ‘ in camera’. A bouncing balloon destroyed Her Ladyship’s pint, the only negative of the set. Sonic Gypsy. Sitting outside, heard the sound of some Canned Heat-style boogie. Went in to check out SG (aka Micky Banks). Great, proper music! Some Bo Diddley followed, then a slow blues that had some tuning problems. Next song had a ‘Smokestack Lightning’ riff, with a hint of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Finished with ‘Backyard stomp no. 1’, it was a great Canned Heat-style set with a touch of The Doors sound. One of the best so far. Silver Trees. Came on to a wave of spontaneous indifference. I remembered them from Onboard the Craft, is this classed as ‘Ambient’? Definitely not Sonic Gypsy, they were inoffensive… but so was Des O’ Connor! Sorry, bad analogy, he wasn’t inoffensive! Demons of Old Metal. Does the name have an intentional acronym? Anyway, the spirit of Metallica is alive and well and close to Bromsgrove. Or maybe not, was it their final show? Lots of ‘effing, ‘ the amazing ‘a-f**king-pplause’ must be the best ever splitting of a word. Her Ladyship liked them , AC/DC to finish. Night of the Hawks. Featuring not too surprising ‘special guest’ Nik Turner, seemingly a very ad hoc line-up. Obvious Hawkwind style with a dash of punk, perhaps. Obligatory gyrating females of course. ‘Waiting for the Man’ was much better than John Cale’s recent attempt in Liverpool.
And that was it. A very good weekend. Good natured, good entertainment. I was a bit disappointed to see a crushed Strongbow tin on top of the urinals, how bloody idle and ignorant. Wazoo Muffin Research Utility Kitchen deserves a mention in dispatches. The only caterers, could have easily been a rip-off, but not so. Her Ladyship got a great veggie wrap for £3.50, try doing that at other events! Lots of dogs, only one child all weekend, should those factors affect your judgement. Hope it keeps going.