Not too far for us, but tent took longer to erect ( Her Ladyship had to get needle and cotton out). Done, and off into the village where we found the Grey Bull. £2.80 a pint, £1.50 for a ham and pease pudding sandwich. That will do very nicely.
Friday. Big marquee was the setting for the stage. But weekend didn’t start as planned, as the van holding the wristbands had been half-inched the night before! Interesting layout on stage, with a small segment assigned to ‘in between’ acts. Couldn’t see the first ones originally, but heard them doing ‘L and N’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ Driven Serious Heavy, folkyish five piece. They wanted us to dance, not sure what to . (Nobody did dance). ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ wasn’t terrific. Old Crow Medicone Show’s chestnut ‘Wagon Wheel’ got some bums wiggling though. The well-informed bloke next to us told someone that he played it on the guitar too, it was by Bob Dylan and the Black Crowes! You are never too old to learn! (Or talk bollox!). They got a good reception. Another filler outfit gave us ‘I feel the Earth move’ and ‘Knock on Wood’. Perfectly ok, better idea than some of the dee jays most festivals inflict upon us. Russ Tippins From outside, we both thought it was a female singing. A three piece pub blues-rock combo, we soon got Howling Wolf’s ‘Killing Floor’ , given the treatment a la Zeppelin (who changed a couple of words and claimed it an original). Not all that different from many of their ilk. Meanwhile, Her Ladyship had discovered Double Maxim on hand-pull. That old song sprang to mind …’There could be trouble ahead…’. Nine Below Zero We have been fans for decades , but were ‘disappointed’ with the expanded line-up. So looking at the scale of the event, we were hopeful of Dennis just bringing the foursome. Sadly , no such luck. Starting out with ‘Tore Down’, ‘Homework’ and ‘Can’t help myself’, we just switched off. They are still heavily reliant on the ‘Live at the Marquee’ lp from their youth. I was lucky enough to get one of the first 100 of a limited edition vinyl lp, which had a bead of perspiration from the Marqee ceiling as a bonus gift. OK, yes, that is a small fib! But that was what that lp was all about, four young lads and the audience in a sweaty club. Not this Jools Holland-Lite conglomeration. I can remember our first born’s first words , after ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, being ‘Don’t point your finger at the guitar man’! (Yes, another fib but not too far away). About half a dozen bought cds afterwards. So , next up is Wilko Johnson. Hopeful that it would be ‘Wilks and Norm and Dylan Howe’, to paraphrase Ian Dury, it was a few songs in before the first Feelgood song ‘Going Back Home’. Followed by his own ‘Dr Dupree’, we still get an extended instrumental workout at halftime. And a Dylan drum solo towards the end. The Dr Feelgood favourite ‘Back in the Night’ sounded lethargic, but ‘ She does it Right’ and the encore ‘Bye Bye Johnny’ had plenty dancing. Couldn’t believe we hadn’t had ‘Roxette’ but he had a new cd to plug, so there were a few unfamiliar songs. But too many long instrumental sections. He could have easily fitted in ‘Roxette’ , ‘Sneakin’ Suspicion’ or ‘Paradise’. Disappointed, but in a minority I suspect.
Saturday Paul Rose Trio ‘Every day I have the blues’, another ‘Killing Floor’, ‘Black magic Woman’. Pretty standard pub rock blues covers. A sensible start to the day though. Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra Not a typical pub covers outfit, an unusual five piece group. Very ‘swing’ orientated, which does Henry Hall’s Brother (Ffoulke Hall) for me but seems popular nowadays. The Young ‘Uns Popular North Eastern folk trio, mainly unaccompanied songs. Being a Smog Monster, I picked up the words ‘Roseberry Topping’ and ‘A19’, as did the rest of the Smoggies in the marquee. Her Ladyship said it had been a very moving song. She was moved by quite a few of their songs, especially the ones about xenophobia and homophobia. She wan’t so bothered about singing along to sea shanties though , having grown up in Scarborough she is ‘shantied out’. But she thought they were great, brilliant mix of poignancy and humour. The young lady whom she was ‘chalk-talking’ to afterwards was a big fan (by now, the Double Maxim had gone to her larynx). Trad arr. Seven piece group, with a Sandy Denny-era Fairport sound. At times it was like Kate Rusby singing in harmony with herself, ‘say no more’. They sounded very good, and I have to offer both them and the previous lads apologies for being outside and not giving the attention I should have done. And also to The Unthanks . Dual female fronted, they have been on the North East folk circuit for a long time and have a staunch following . Martin Barre. Straight into Tull’s ‘Steel Monkey’, the first of many by his erstwhile employment. The vocalist is certainly not unlike Mr A. The Beatles ‘Eleanor Rigby’ usually features, and ‘Sweet Dream’ gets a reworking too. ‘Hunting Girl ‘ sticks more to the original while ‘My Sunday Feeling’, ‘Fat Man’ and ‘A new day yesterday’ undergo some cosmetic surgery. No’ Aqualung’ though , and I wasn’t happy with his taking the piss out of the word ‘prog’ while being quite happy to accept the cheque for playing it (or was the comment too subtle for me ?). Red Hot Chilli Pipers Plenty went in for the start, but quite a few didn’t stop long. To me, they seemed like a ‘club’ group who hit upon a gimmick to have three blokes with bagpipes. A one-trick pony, and not a great trick really. By now, the running order was getting very tardy . Ferocious Dog seemed to take ages to soundcheck, and they eventually started 45 minutes later than scheduled. I am not a fan and won’t risk repeating myself as I saw them at the Aoustic Festival of Britain (check out my thoughts in that recent review) . Their set was shortened, but still the next lads were nearly an hour late… Lindisfarne Still with Rod Clements out front, he returned a couple of years or so ago. I won the opening song bet ‘No time to lose’. They give the crowd what they want, namely ‘Lady Eleanor’, ‘All fall down’, ‘Road to Kingdom Come’, ‘Run for Home’, ‘Fog on the Tyne’…with ‘Clear White Light’ to finish. But , surprisingly, no ‘Meet me on the Corner’? (Or was I at the bar?). And it was all over.
1.Music. Great value for money. (£40.00). For us, if it had been five years ago when we would have been more excited by Wilko and 9BZ it would have been stupendous. But plenty were more than happy
2.Bar. I had one attempted ‘shortchanging ‘ episode. £4.00 a pint is not ‘fantastic value’ though (as stated on the website)
3. Food. £2.00 for a big pile of chips IS ‘fantastic value’ though. Especially having paid £4.00 for a handful at two recent festivals.
4. Campsite. Fine, although men’s and women’s toilets both ran out of paper. We were on the ‘quiet’ site …which it was.
5.Scheduling. Saturday’s timetable went hopelessly astray. Whether it was people starting late, finishing late, equipment problems, soundchecking, whatever. Needs sorting, people were getting very ‘restless’.
5. Security. There was one BIG problem. Charging a refundable £1 for a pint pot was a good idea on paper, but on Saturday night there were children blatantly stealing empty ones from the cup holders in chairs. And these were not just feral local kids. One pair of girls were there with a couple of adults. Yes, you two pieces of pondlife…man with pork pie hat and woman with long blonde hair! You are basically a couple of Fagins and full weight pieces of sh*t. Don’t tell me you didn’t know what they were doing. And another young lad with a Ferocious Dog hoody! (You could argue that you wouldn’t leave a pound coin on your seat though, would you? ). We told security but they should really have been on the ball without being told . WE could see it!! . It will be happening at another festival soon, I know for sure. Sort it!
All in all, a very good little festival. Low-key, good value, we both hope it was successful enough to warrant another year. The last two issues didn’t spoil a very good event…but they could do if not attended to.