Having given last year’s event a miss (we thought the line-up was too blues-orientated), we decided to give it another go.
Friday. Screaming Eagles were the first evening act in Reds venue. I seem to remember thinking they must have spent many an hour listening to their parents’ Bad Co. lps when they were last here. The singer tried to handle ‘Immigrant Song’, but didn’t have the range, unfortunately. We also got some AC/DC, but they seem destined for an early festival slot. Atomic Rooster Steve Bolton and Pete French have decided to resurrect the name, and one of our friends was making a first appearance here, with this lot being one of his reasons for coming. The line-up is far removed from the line-up that made ‘Tomorrow Night’, but still rooted in the 70s. Their rendition of the classic didn’t really do the original justice…difficult with none of the originals here this time around, though. ‘Black Snake’ was leaden, and ‘Devil’s Answer’ was ‘boomy’. Maybe we were in a bad spot acoustically, but more than one of our company was a touch disappointed. ‘Death Walks Behind You’ got an airing and ‘Fire’ was the encore , giving the keyboard player another opportunity to show he had been watching some Vincent Crane videos. But they went down well, and a few of our friends are firm Roosterians, so we were in the minority. Frankie Miller’s Full House Back in the late 70s, I went to the Penthouse in Scarborough a fair bit, and I reckon that FM and Co were the best I saw there. That is a big call, because I also saw brilliant gigs from Motorhead, Elvis Costello and the Attractions and The Stranglers. So I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing the new line-up, without (sadly) the superb Mr Miller. Take a look on Youtube and you will come across Frankie with white shirt, black waistcoat and a Fender. So when the current outfit come out with someone in white shirt, black waistcoat and Fender taking centre stage, my ‘cynical’ genes came to the fore. The programme notes neglected to say that Frankie Miller would not be here…interesting. Guitarist Ray Minhinnet sang on the opener then Mr Waistcoat took over. OK, there are some of Frankie’s old bandmates here, but why not just call themselves ‘Full House’? (And I must admit my opinion of Mr Minhinnet had dipped somewhat , having seen him in a sh*te Cream tribute act.) Ironically, I was thinking that today’s Slim Chance don’t add ‘Ronnie Lane’s’ onto the beginning, when I thought I noticed one of them on stage. Seemingly Frankie gave his blessing to this FMFH reformation but the line-up has changed since last year. I don’t remember Ginger Baker’s Airforce being at Leeds University without Ginger Baker! We then got some bloke whom the group apparently saw ‘being’ Paul Rodgers at a Free Convention to sing Andy Fraser’s ‘Be Good to Yourself’ and ‘Fool in Love’. So now it’s bloody ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ too. I had had enough by then and left. (It didn’t help when a group of old duffers sat near us, one of whom launched something from her nether regions that would have floored a fully-mature wildebeest at fifty paces.) I wonder if anyone on stage actually told the audience that Frankie wasn’t in fact there?! Wonder if John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers will be on next year? In terms of pedigree, tonight was a bit ‘thin’. And…would the musicians onstage have paid to see the Jimi Hendrix Experience without Jimi Hendrix?
Saturday First act is Southbound. After less than a minute, realised it wasn’t for us and left. Passed Centre Stage, where some woman was shouting on stage. Decided to camp down in the Pavilion and listen to CCR’s ‘Heard it through the Grapevine’. Had a considerable time-out, and came back for the evening session. Huge queue outside Centre Stage, but there would have been if it was Bob the Builder, The Smurfs and Pinky and Perky on the bill. Slack Alice and Friends Original front man Cliff Stocker died fairly recently and Yorkshire roots rocker Des Horsfall is helping out. Moon Martin’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ is a failsafe opener. After a while Ray Minhinnet came on as Des was doing a cracking version of Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’. They let Ray then sing and it wasn’t long before the shouting woman from this afternoon came on as well to sing a couple. Why?! They have already been on stage! Bugger off and let Des and the Alice lads have their spot! Des brought things to an end with his old song ‘Crazy World’ but I think SA were too generous with the ‘Friends’ section. And despite being in a different spot, an old biddie sat near us and keffed big style. I wish I had had two slices of bread in my pocket. I would have put it in a sandwich and popped it into Piers Morgan’s packed lunch box. But a good opening slot, which could have been even better. Roger Chapman, Family and Friends. One of the main reasons for our coming this year, he and his trusty henchmen were in top form. Geoff Whitehorn has been on guitar in the recent Family line-ups and Poli Palmer is still there. A good blend of solo songs such as ‘Who Pulled the Night Down’ and ‘Kiss my Soul’ together with Family classics ‘Hey Mr Policeman’, ‘Burlesque’, ‘Processions’ and ‘Hung up Down’. A rare outing for Streetwalkers ‘Run for Cover’ and a great ‘In my own Time’ as the encore. Top class. Xander and the Peace Pirates Much hyped by the dj, they did look and sound interesting to start with. ‘Red House’ was a bit out of kilter with the rest of the set, and things seemed to tail off a bit. And, yes, we got another anonymous SBFL (Silent But F**kin Lethal) to send us on our way! Who are these people?! It’s as if they have all eaten a pound of sprouts before they came out!
Sunday Went for breakfast and sat next to a bloke who got a continental breakfast. A load of bread rolls , which he duly filled with ham and stuffed in his pocket. Then had an English, followed by fruit and an apple. Of course, he was taking the rolls and apple for some homeless man in Skeggy who had had his home repossessed and auctioned off for a pittance on ‘Homes Under The Hammer’ where some tw*t promptly put it on the rental market. Or maybe he was just stealing food for his lunch, which if everybody did would double the food costs and bump up ticket prices and reduce quality of the acts. You decide. Edgar Broughton Or as the knowledgeable dj phonetically announced ‘Edgar Browton Band’. As Edgar wearily confirmed, wrong on two counts. It was the solo Mr B, as witnessed by yours truly at A New Day Festival. Our friends were interested in seeing him, and not alone in expecting his 3-piece band doing ‘Out Demons Out’. He was awful last time and, sorry Mr B, it was more of the same here. Plaintive voice that threatens to burst into tears, with naff lyrics. A huge buildup to a seemingly spectacular song died on its ar*e. I can’t bring myself to say anything otherwise, sorry. Stray Edgar may be trying to move away from the 70s but Stray are firmly entrenched there. Now a 5-piece, with a Pearl Handled Revolver man on keyboards. A range of songs from across their fifty year canon of work, such as ‘Fire and Glass’, ‘I Believe it’ and the perennial ‘All in your Mind’. They always give 100% and go down well. Billy Walton A favourite at Linton Festival as well as here, they have the big Southside Johnny New Jersey sound. But not one of their songs is memorable. My companions agreed. CCR’s ‘Green River’ was good but the medley of snippets from the likes of ZZ Top, Zeppelin and Otis Redding only showed up the average nature of their own material. Very animated though, they certainly have more than a handful of fans. Nazareth Singer Dan McCafferty left a few years ago after a health scare, but the new man has a more than adequate set of pipes. They mix up their own ‘Razamanaz’, ‘Expect No Mercy’, ‘Hair of the Dog’ and ‘Broken Down Angel’ with covers ‘Love Hurts’, ‘Beggars Day’, ‘My White Bicycle’ and ‘This Flight Tonight’. Her Ladyship is a longstanding fan and she thought the new singer was bloody good, so that is praise enough. Dr Feelgood Almost missed them. A queue of about 200 waiting outside on a one out/one in basis. That cannot be right or acceptable for people who have paid a lot of money. Fortunately, we went back later and got in. I assume most of you out there have seen Pointless on BBC 1 , 5.15pm. So let’s play Pointless!! Question no.1, the subject is Dr Feelgood. Here is the Skeggy set list, using the first letter of each song. Have a go (no conferring)
N M D Y
M A A
A L A T P I R
A T T C
D M B
R A T
B I T N
S B (Some may say it is just ‘S’)
S D I R
G B H
D A T D
G O M S
M M B
T – B M
Any Pointless answers? Maybe.
Another good performance from the lads, they rarely fail to deliver. The end of the night had the woman dj reminding us yet again that she has a BBC Radio programme and even more modestly, actually plays a recording of herself singing! And ‘Can’t get Enough’ had beaten ‘All Right Now’ 3-2 by the end of the weekend!
Finally made it to Jaks , stopped for last ones and retired…marginally overserved. Jaks is a good venue but has rarely featured in a review here. There are some who spend most of their time here, rather than brave the queues in the main venues.
Ok, a few moans, but if there was an Ofsted-like body to assess festivals (Of-fest?), Skeggy would be classed ‘a good festival’. Good music, good organisation, good food, good staff. And, for us, good company and good friends.
Photos: apologies to Roger Chapman fans , the only marginally decent one was with his back to the camera!