Monthly Archives: July 2017

Upton Blues Festival. Upton upon Severn. 21-23.07.2017

 

Weather forecast for the weekend was so grim we were in two minds whether or not to go, despite our £60 campsite payment. We bit the bullet and arrived noon-ish.  A terrible job trying to put the tent up, due to the wind. For those of you who had the privilege of watching the late , great batsman Colin Milburn in the sixties…imagine you are looking at him after he had run a three. It was blowing that hard!     Managed eventually and settled down for a couple of post-erection drinks ( did they say that in Carry on Camping!?).

Friday. Called into a few pubs, I will leave the details to the end.  Attempted to go up to the Meadow Stage for the Folly Bros  but it was lashing down so went around the back of the Star to see Maz Mitrenko under cover. They decided to move up into the function room.  Starting with Going Down, it wasn’t long before a certain R.Gallagher Esq featured via Calling Card and Messin’ with the Kid.  Some Hendrix, BB King and Muddy Waters all featured too in a good first set. Second set had Copperhead Road and some more Rory. Third set had more Hendrix, some Dylan and a very good Bridge of Sighs. Inevitable Bullfrog Blues finished off an enjoyable performance.

Saturday. Overheard a huge slab of Otis via Official Receivers. Good vocalist, they finished with Sweet Soul Music for an appreciative crowd.                            Sons of Eddie were upstairs in the Star.  A good version of Nine Below Zero’s Soft Touch was promising but All Along the Watchtower was ordinary. (Why do people stand and watch an acoustic trio and shout at each other!? One of the negatives about free admission).  AC/DC had some people singing She’s Got The Jap’ (!) . Bill Withers got a hammering, we left.                             Mr Wolf.  Decent pub bluesy outfit, started with Going Back Home, L&N and Let’s Work Together.                                            Weather eased off for Catfish on the Riverside Stage. Mainly original songs , with a good version of So Many Roads too.   Pretty good.                                 Elles Bailey. Big instrumental intro, glowing blurb in the programme, lots of name-dropping.  I would be pleased for her if she is playing big arenas in  five years time, but not holding my breath.    Retired for the evening.

Sunday . Weather hugely improved, decided to decamp to the Meadow Stage.        Rich Somers.  Described as ‘visionary’.   Really?  I went for a wander. I really think Try a Little Tenderness is best left in the hands of Otis R. Songs by Rag and Bone Man and the Rev Gary Davis were mixed in with his originals, as were Stereophonics !  Old Crow Medicine Show to finish. Her Ladyship noticed most of his guitar chords were the G Em C and D progression.                      The Swaps. Seem to be well-regarded, I was looking forward to seeing them. The programme photo was somewhat misleading, it didn’t have the female lead vocalist. Her Ladyship reckoned she seemed, like other young women, to try to sound like Adele.  One song had an intro like the Screaming Blue Messiahs ‘Up’.  Screaming Jay Hawkins got an airing and their original numbers seemed to be all one-word titles, eg Jump, Success. Taj Mahal finished things but I was a bit disappointed overall.                           Stompin’ Dave.   Tap dancing to accompany his 6-string acoustic/ banjo/fiddle antics. Some great ragtime guitar, Hendrix behind-the-head demos and banjo acrobatics. Occasionally swapped to keyboards/harmonica too.  Money Money Money reminded Her Ladyship of The Clap from the Yes Album. Much a-whoopin  and a-hollerin from the audience, he was absolutely great. Best of fest so far.                              Trafficker. Festival regulars, they have a good following. Mainly Tommy Allen original numbers, with a smattering of the likes of Howling Wolf and Robert Johnson.  Some numbers did drag on a bit though.                Babajack. Our main reason for coming, but where was Trevor?! Troy Redfern now on guitar!   Starting with Running Man, the usual mixture of originals eg Back Door and the folk/blues  standard Gallows Pole.  Got Troy’s Salvation too.  But it just wasn’t as good. Verging on heavy blues , Gallows Pole ironically sounded like it had John Bonham on drums.  The totally unique duo that was Babajack is no longer, it seems. Very sad, but, as Becky said. things change. After all, Pink Floyd managed without Syd and Genesis did without Peter.

Beer prices.  We went into the Plough early on Friday. Pint of Pedigree came up £3.50 on the till, Brakspear £2.80 but was quickly changed to £3.50!  Price of Pedigree displayed on the wall was £2.95.  Her Ladyship queried this. Landlady said ‘Festival Prices’!  HL responded that you can’t display one price and charge another! She was told that the brewery told them to do it!’ Rubbish’ was HL’s response. We were told to drink elsewhere if we didn’t like it.We did…never to return. (Although I did go back to have a crap in the sink…not really!). HL contacted the brewery who confirmed they do no such thing. Contact too with Trading Standards and the organiser. Fest organiser says there is nothing he can do.  Second pub we went to short changed me (it was a twenty not a ten!!). Quickly altered.  I remember being similarly shortchanged some years ago at a music festival in a pub in the town of…Upton upon Severn.

Facebook comments seem to be all glowing. Well if you are a local (and pay the regular beer prices), don’t camp and are happy with queueing for everything, it is great and it is free.  Me? Don’t think we will be back, sadly, unless there is somebody really special on. The rudeness, arrogance  and lying from one landlady outweighed everything else.

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Rock and Bike Fest. 13-15.7.2017. South Normanton.

Our first visit to this festival, although we went to a similar fest near here some years ago, before I started my review site.

Thursday. Gates opened at 12.00, apparently, so we got there about 12.15pm. Place was packed, I only expected a few hundred!  Took us a while to find the beer tent.        The Mockinjays. Opened proceedings at 4.00pm.  An almost Brit-pop 90s sound, unusual for this event?  We got a Black Keys cover and ‘My Generation’.           Next up were The Fawn. They are from Plymouth and were due to play another day but put in a brief ‘filler’ set before the next scheduled  outfit. Very, very Nirvana-influenced. Original stuff, ended with a Nirvana cover.                 Verbal Warning. Ramones and Green Day to start with.  A mixture of originals plus Jilted John, Motorhead, AC/DC and the usual pub punk covers.                Crazy Diamond. Surely not a Pink Floyd copy act? There is one due later! No, they were more reminiscent of Kiss.  Covers of Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Kansas (!), Cars, Aerosmith and others. Another group you could see in a pub for free without having to come here but some unusual covers.                        Dr Feelgood.  We have been watching the Feelgoods for more than forty years, and this line-up has been stable for about the last seventeen.    Stupidity/I Can Tell/No Mo Do Yakamo ( One of Her Ladyship’s favourites)/Milk and Alcohol/Baby Jane/Rollin’ and Tumblin’/Back in the Night/Roxette/If My Baby Quits Me/She Does It Right/Going Back Home/Down at the Doctors/One More Shot/Route 66.  And , for the first time since 2000, no elongated Down By The Jetty Blues! Keep it locked away please lads. Short but sweet.  A huge class above what had gone before.            Floyd in the Flesh. Is there a Floyd copy group anywhere that doesn’t start with Shine on you Crazy Diamond!? Followed by On the Turning Away and Time, I couldn’t see to write any more . They were no better or worse than any other Floyd copy.   Not a bad day though, all in all.

Friday. The graveyard opening slot belonged to Real to Reel , a Marillion copy act. Other than the Fish-fronted singles, I don’t know anything about them, apart from seeing them way down the bill at a Nostell Priory festival headlined by Jethro Tull in the eighties. Late coming on, my attention wandered… and didn’t bother coming back. Lots of cheering though.         Exhibit A  got our vote next over a Thin Lizzy copy, but they soundchecked with Rosalie, which many think is a Thin Lizzy original.     Big pompous Omen-like intro, and into Motorhead and the Sex Pistols.  A pub group. Metallica appropriately  gave us the incentive to have a kip, even though it wasn’t quite ‘exit light’. Heard the singer from afar claiming the dubious award for saying ‘f*ckin’  in every sentence of his banter. The sounds of  the Thin Lizzy-alike drowned them out, we woke up two hours later.          Soap Girls. Two exotic girls plus a sensible-looking male drummer. Not really all that brilliant but at least not a copy act or a pub covers group. From Capetown, they put in a good stint at the merch table too.              The other tent was packed for an AC/DC copy, AC/DC UK.  We stopped to watch Girlslchool, as anyone interested in the concept of making original music should have.  Big sound problems to start with, but like true pros they soldiered on. They finished with Race with the Devil and Emergency and called it a day after a quick encore. By now, it was raining so those outside the other tent who had been watching Acka Dacka Ucka had come in.    A decent day to be fair.

Saturday. Poizon. Another copy act, I only know Poison from their big hit single.  I don’t know anyone who was a fan originally, but plenty there were singing along. We got their cover of the Loggins and Messina hit, plus Every Rose Has Its Thorn, of course. I never knew Poison had a song Nothing But a Good F*ckin Time .  They went down well.                       On the Brink  Much exhortation to come and jump abaht to what was a ten-a-penny pub covers outfit, I didn’t bother wasting any ink.   I presume they have day jobs.                    Surreal Panther. We witnessed the baffling pre-gig meeting the fans and posing for photos…by a bloody copy group!  From a few miles away!   Plenty in the tent, who were all familiar with Steel Panther. I have to say, there was nothing I heard which has prompted me to check them out. The banter was ‘f*cking’ embarrassing , and the American accents were a revelation.                     Oliver Dawson Saxon. Mssrs O and D have , to their credit,  kept the Saxon flag flying, although their former lead singer seems to have belatedly laid claim to the name.  Plenty of South Yorkshire banter, with plenty of ‘effin’. Wheels of Steel, 747 and Denim and Leather always go down well and they got a well-deserved good reception.              Quireboys. About thirty minutes late coming on, seemingly the sound people again to blame. (I have to say that the Quireboys have ‘form’ regarding punctuality though). So we only got about thirty minutes, with the show split between some new songs and their old hit singles.   Not the best way to end the event, regrettably. and lessons should be learned. Her Ladyship, a lifelong fan, felt short-changed.

So how was it overall?  The over-riding feeling is that it was very good value for money. Yes, really! It was only thirty quid each, plus a fiver for car parking.  Yes, there were loads of copy acts, but most biker fests have that sort of bill. Filled out with pub covers outfits, who basically give the crowd what they want. ( More ‘names’ would presumably increase the ticket price, so reducing the attendance.)    Originals like Dr Feelgood, Quireboys and Girlschool would probably command a ticket price of twenty quid in their own right.

Toilets? A weekend with portaloos. Her Ladyship didn’t have any problems but I had more than one Close Encounter of the Turd Kind!  And as for the rule of choosing a cubicle that a woman has just come out of? Forget it!   We were woken by the portaloos being emptied at 7.00 am, but they seemed to fill up very quickly. Regular long queues too, hinting at the need for more units.

Noise?  We try to be quiet late at night and when getting up on the morning, but no chance of others being so considerate, But we knew it wound be like that, and fortunately were given some good earplugs.

Litter?  The arena was strewn with pizza boxes and cans. And there was supposed to be no alcohol brought through the gate!  Sheer bloody laziness.

Bar? A ‘club-like’ system with an airport check-in way of queueing. Actually worked well. Prices ok. A quid deposit on the pot resulted in a young boy taking pots that had been left unattended for a even few seconds. Someone should tell him it is like being a pickpocket. i.e. theft.

We would both go again, especially if the ticket price remains so decent.

 

Linton Festival. Alma Inn. 7-9.07.2017

Our second visit to this small festival.  It was good last year so here we are again. Good weather, tent pitched, 4 hours in the company of Lidl lager and B&M wine before gates open.

Friday. Wille and the Bandits. Seen them a few times at festivals and each time there is an annoying part of the blurb which likens them to Cream, and now Jimi Hendrix Experience. How? Why? They are a trio, yes, so were Bros and the bloody Bachelors!  Wille and Co are NOT ‘a classic blues-rock trio’ . So please get rid of it!  BUT, their popularity has really shot up of late. I have never been that taken with them, but they seem to have ‘rocked things up’ a bit. Still got ‘Black Magic Woman’ a la Santana in the set plus a couple ofbass solos. One song had an interesting African feel , and they drifted into Spin Doctors mode occasionally.  Fans of West, Bruce and Laing will recognise the ‘Play with Fire’ descending chord sequence towards the end. A more regulation rocker as an encore, I will admit to maybe warming to them now.                     Band of Friends. Has there been a Linton Festival without the words ‘Rory’ and ‘Gallagher’ being uttered?   Drummer Ted McKenna got a belated Blues award.  I have to own up to being in a minority, as a member of the Just Don’t Get Rory Gallagher Club. Saw him at Leeds Univ in the 70s, bought lps. cassettes, cds but he does nothing for me…and I have tried!  Like Wille and Co, BOF are festival regulars, and they sounded much ‘beefier’ today. Her Ladyship was impressed by both opening acts, and the inevitable ‘Bullfrog Blues’ finished things off.                   Billy Walton Band. Interesting that they are now given headline status, having been in the small print on earlier T-shirts. Has their status risen that much?   Big band blues, but not headliners , for me. Cruiseliner stuff.      But not a bad nightall in all.

Saturday.  Half Deaf Clatch. Grizzled one-man blueser from Hull. A great voice, it is as if he has just drunk a yard of whisky mixed with a pound of gravel. Mixture of old blues classics and original stuff.  ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, ‘You Gotta Move/Amazing Grace’ plus the almost essential Robert Johnson. Good applause after an extended opening slot.                        Rainbreakers. Saw them  in Sheffield supporting Corky Laing , with a crowd of about two dozen. Four young men with sunglasses , playing blues with a touch of funk.  Like all the previous acts, a regular festival itinerary has seen their popularity rise.  They have a song that features the riff that Cozy Powell lifted from Jimi Hendrix.  Went down well.                           Mama Martin Band. They have lost the irritating guitarist from last year, and have a new drummer too.   I couldn’t really see why they were deemed so special last year…or this.  A Club group? Her Ladyship commented that they had no memorable songs, although they had a Quo-esque encore.                  Henrik Freischlader.   Mr F has a recent release showing his regard for Gary Moore (someone else whose wonderfulness has passed me by).  BB King’s ubiquitous ‘You Upset Me Baby’ got an early airing, followed by ‘Oh Pretty Woman’.  Peter Green’s ‘Another Woman’ went down well, but there followed an elongated  blues-out which had all the fret-w*nk aficionados in delirium, but for me descended into a yawnfest . A Roy Buchanan  marathon to finish, there was plenty of vinyl sold at £25 a shot.                   Slim Chance.   Geraint Watkins on keyboards, Brendan O’Neill on drums (BOF’s Gerry McAvoy’s longtime rhythm partner) and songwriter Billy Nicholls are teamed up with three of Ronnie Lane’s former cohorts.   The vocals are widely shared out, although none are particularly strong. A blend of their own more recent stuff and the obvious Ronnie Lane classics such as ‘How Come’, ‘The Poacher’ (I bought that single!) and ‘Debris’.  Theirs is a definite feelgood factor and , yes,they had the odd ‘senior’ moment but we really like them. The die-hard bluesers were sulking , but I would rather have this than another hour of Teutonic Tedium.  ‘C’est la Vie’ to finish, is it the best two chord song ever?                 Bernie Marsden Band. He possibly possesses the smiliest face in rock, and has a book and new cd to plug.  Quite a few blues standards that had been adapted by Cream, namely ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’, ‘Sitting on Top of the World’ and ‘Crossroads’. The obvious Whitesnake songs were featured , as was ‘Walk in my Shadow’ and ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’.  Gary Moore and Rory Gallagher too, is it in the bloody contract?!  A good blast of Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac is always popular though.   As withFriday, a pretty decent night overall.

Sunday. Slowburner.  Starting out with the obscure Le Zeppelin version of ‘We’re Gonna Groove’ , they followed up with a more regulation, less funky, 12-bar .  Very good lead vocals, and the drummer’s pipes are good too. Robert Johnson’s ‘Stop Breaking Down’ had a good ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ style and ‘Politician’ didn’t have the classic bass line.  ‘Walk in my Shadow’ got another airing and ‘King Bee’ closed a very good start to the day.                       Pierce Brothers      Identical twins from Oz, multi-instrumentalists…including a didgeridoo! Some early sound problems but they battered their way through in a fascinating way.  Just a bit bloody different and just a bit bloody good too.  Possibly the biggest  reception of the event so far and well-deserved.                   Bernie Marsden. A solo acoustic slot, ideal for a mid -Sunday afternoon breather after the previous lads.  Songs from ‘Trouble’, ‘Come and Get It’ and ‘Ready and Willing ‘ were all well-received.  Some repeated stuff from last night, interspersed with anecdotes  and more from Fleetwood Mac.  ‘Key to the Highway’ is on a lot of people’s setlist, as is ‘Need Your Love So Bad’.  He finished up with some Beatles, and he has a pretty decent voice too.                            Grainne Duffy. Another returner from last year, her style is a mixture of slow blues and funky songs. An early namecheck for Gregg Allman was appreciated.  Got the first weekend’s hint of reggae, thankfully it was also the last.  It was interesting that she said that they don’t do many covers, then did ‘I’d rather Go Blind’, ‘The Shape I’m In’, ‘I Shall Be Released’, ‘Happy’ and ‘Wild Horses’!   The last-mentioned had her going into Mariah Carey mode, I just wish that once in a while people would sing the pure note, like Mick Jagger and Gram P did.   But they are popular.                     Hayseed Dixie. Back in 2001 Her Ladyship bought me a banjo. I worked out ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘Smoke on the Water’ and thought I could make a go of it. Then I found that HD had beaten me by about ten minutes!   They are  definitely a Marmite outfit, you either like them or hate them, although there are still those who just don’t get it.  AC/DC, Sabbath, CCR, Motorhead plus loads more are given the Rockgrass treatment. We think they are great, although maybe not quite as good as when the Reno brothers were in tow.  We took an executive decision to head for the pub after an hour to get a seat, but they were still playing to an appreciative crowd an hour later. A very good finale to a very good weekend.

Toilets? All portaloos , but all clean. And if your nearest and dearest tells you to read Stephen King’s ‘A Very Tight Place’  before your next festival, he/she too is plain evil!  A great little fest, no aggro, indeed no problems at all. Hope it continues next year, although the word on the street was that the camping field will be lying fallow for a year.

 

 

Enforced hiatus

Our computer at home is very poorly, I think euthanasia is imminent. Screen has lots of vertical coloured lines and now the keyboard has become unresponsive.

So any reports will be courtesy of local library facilities, and photos from Her Ladyship will be even more awkward to download.

So please bear with us, we will still be commenting on our upcoming festivals and gigs…eventually