Our third visit to the festival (see earlier reviews), we aimed to get there a bit earlier than previously. Site pretty busy even then. Had to overcome one young steward telling us to put car in car park first (No!). Then another saying we couldn’t unload car first, had to move it (N0!!). Free programme and heavy duty black bag is always a bonus.
Thursday. Plenty of people there but bar didn’t open until after 3.30pm. Seventh Son. Soundchecked with ‘Bridge of Sighs’, decent weather outside the marquee so we got a couple of Wigan Piers, our starter for 10. Why do so many lead singers have to make a delayed entrance? I really did see one trip up once, he looked a real pillock! Not the first heavy quartet we would hear over the next few days, the afore-mentioned Robin Trower classic made an early appearance. Even from a distance we could recognise vocalist Brian from Oliver Dawson Saxon (well his hooter anyway!). Didn’t realise Seventh Son have been going for almost forty years since forming in Barnsley. Good original songs like ‘Living on a Time Bomb’ sit easily alongside an unusual ‘See Emily Play’. We get a not-unexpected couple of songs from the first two Led Zeppelin lps and they got a well-deserved round of applause. VW+Spam=Clash. Convoluted name for an enthusiastic combo. Mixture of frantic versions of Dave Clark Five and Carpenters songs with regulation punk songs from the Buzzcocks and Sex Pistols. Got chatting to Alan who camped next to us last year. A fellow Boro supporter who is equally bemused by whose idea was it to hire Tony Pulis? Her Ladyship thought the bassist was the gay hairdresser from ‘Benidorm’. Exhibit A. Her Ladyship recognised Phil from Dr Feelgood at the bar, she had forgotten they were on later! So it is ‘Rebel Yell’, Sabbath, Metallica, ‘Nelly the Elephant’ and AC/DC. All pretty much par for the event. Met up with Neil and Val again from Whitwell, a good excuse to mention the festival, see http://www.whitwellfestivalofmusic.org. Tickets nearly all sold! New Cranes. Quintet with accordian. Also a Telecaster-ish guitar with half a neck, a mandolin then? Lots of merchandise and original songs but not too memorable. One number had a very slow Russian intro and carried on slowly. Dr Feelgood. Current line-up has been going for twenty years now, ‘Drives me Wild’ and ‘No Mo Do Yakamo’ from the ‘Case of the Shakes’ lp open proceedings. A shortened set, no ‘She Does It Right’ but an extended ‘Mad Man Blues’ is their half-time blues workout. Finishing with ‘Route 66’, it seems strange not hearing ‘Bony Moronie/Tequila’ . But they played really well and Robert (as always) got the crowd going. A good first day.
Saturday. An early visit to the Acoustic Stage. Hard Rocking Amigos. Quartet starting with ‘Whisky in the Jar’. Guitarist had some early sound problems. Rock classics eg ‘She Sells Sanctuary’, ‘Free Falling’, and ‘Johnny B. Goode’ all went down well but ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’ (with naff word change) made us feel like makin’ tracks so we did. Her Ladyship broke her fan but, like No.10 Downing St., she had a back-up fan. These Wicked Rivers. Four young men with some beards and some sun glasses. Plenty of t-shirts in the audience. Mainly original songs, Neil and Val Whitwell enjoyed the Chris Isaacs’ cover. There were also outings for Neil Young but the encore ‘All Along the Watchtower’ didn’t really work. Band From County Hell. Yet another outfit that have been affected by PPI. No, not the PPI that you got pestering phone calls about. A different one…Plastic Paddy Infatuation. The first song is a classic example. Slow intro for a few bars then 1-2-3-4 and the tempo increases four-fold. They are from Scotland and have been going for 23 years. The standard songs are not far away (‘Irish Rover’ with strange growling and ‘Dirty Old Town’). Stage 2 has tribute acts all night, to Idol, Maiden, Priest,Rainbow, and, of course, Angus’s mob. So we stuck with Stage 1 and next up were X-UFO. At one time they changed to House of X but have now reverted to X-UFO. Led by former UFO keyboard player Danny Peyronel on vocals, who obviously didn’t sing lead in UFO though. A mixture of own songs plus UFO classics such as ‘Shoot Shoot’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Doctor Doctor’ to finish. Have seen them a few times and they seem to me (a non-UFO expert) to do a decent job. T-Rex. Seems the hyphen had to be used rather than a full stop to differentiate from T.Rex. Formed by T.Rex touring members Paul Fenton and Jack Green. Using Marcalike Jay Spargo, who in a former life did a good job as a mid-sixties Dylan in Dirty Dylan, they give us slick versions of the T.Rex catalogue. Floyd In The Flesh. I can honestly say that a) I have been a Pink Floyd fan since first hearing ‘Arnold Layne’ in 1967 and b) I don’t like tribute acts, so the likes of FITF are always ‘challenging’ to me. They start out with a couple of newer songs from the reformed Gilmour-led line-up of the late 80s/early 90s. The singer has a strong voice which is a bit disconcerting as none of the Floyd vocalists were never really famous for strong voices. ‘DSOTM’ and ‘The Wall’ are well-represented but no ‘SOYCD’ which is usually a safe bet. A bit from ‘Meddle’, and ‘Astromony Domine’ is given the ‘Piper…’ treatment. As previously stated , tribute acts are not our cup of tea, but I have to say that ‘Comfortably Numb’ had a cracking piece of guitar at the end. The big crowd were well-pleased. A typical Rock and Bike Fest day, the crowd all seemed to go back to their tents happy.
Sunday. Vulva. An ad hoc outfit put together at short notice last year, they start with another outing for ‘Doctor Doctor’. And would it be a biker event without ‘All Right Bloody Now’ followed by ‘Don’t Believe a Bloody Word’!?! We headed off before the probable ‘Wishing Well’, ‘Can’t get Enough’ and ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’. The Acoustic Stage was the furthest possible distance away. Annoyingly, Stevie One Man, One Mandolin was on his way out. We had missed his unscheduled spot unfortunately. Northern Monkey. Are they ‘Northern’? Debatable whether Whitwell is so classed but another excuse to mention the Whitwell Festival, and no, I am not on commission. Eagle-eyed followers of the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican may spot a familiar face, dewigged and detanktopped . ‘What’s Going On’ had a nod to ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and all the songs had biting lyrics. I will forgive the occasional lapse into PPI. Star Botherers. From over the border in Mansfield, they started out almost country-folkish. ‘First Night Festival Fever’ personified their songwriting pretty well, as did ‘When Dave’s Dead’. But a point deducted for being yet another group who slip into PPI. We had intentionally avoided the dismal Surreal Panther and went to Stage 2 where we found Neck. More PPI. Are there any groups of musicians that are actually Irish and play music that is ‘English’? There are bloody hundreds who do the opposite. Broke my pencil. Actually, that is a lie. I am too tight to waste the graphite. The alternative was a Tom Jones tribute next door. My pencil remained cocked in its holster. Bad Touch. Much-vaunted quintet with four hairy young men at the front and a less hirsute drummer at the back. They made a big noise which was only marginally greater than the two lots of portaloos, which were REALLY humming by this time. Heavy blues-rock, quite Black Crowes-like. Was one song really called ‘Tell Me Where You Buy Your Jeans’?! Arguably the most clunky song title ever. For a group supposedly heavily influenced by Free, they didn’t sound much like them. And surely they would know something other than ‘Wishing Bloody Well’. Yet more songs from LZ’s first 2 lps to follow. They were ok, with plenty of original songs, but the singer did have a sizeable attack of verbal diarrhoea. Kingdom of Madness. Formed by some of the many ex-Magnum members with the former Snakecharmer lead vocalist, they are here to give us stuff from the ‘classic’ Magnum period. I was a bit too old for them when they peaked in the mid-eighties. We know people who are fans though, our friend Mick will always associate ‘How Far Jerusalem’ with the Miners’ Strike. I remember buying a double cd of their earlier stuff at last year’s RABF for 20p. For some reason they had a female sing lead on one occasion. Toyah on the other stage was seemingly less than memorable. We elected to give The Macc Lads a wide berth on the other stage too. I knew the name but had never heard them. I listened to a recent gig on Youtube. The adjective ‘Neadanderthal’ would be an insult to prehistoric man. Quireboys. Her Ladyship is a lifelong fan and although Val Whitwell wasn’t really aware of them to start with, she was a new convert by the end. Full down at the front, ‘There She Goes Again’ soon had the crowd in full voice. Any of you old enough to remember The Addams Family on b&w TV will know the butler Lurch. I suspect you will not know that he had a secret grandson who decided to come to RABF and plonk himself in front of Her Ladyship. He did apologise and offer to swap places though. ‘Hey you’ gets an early airing. ‘I Don’t Love You Any More’ is still too close to Smokie for me , but ‘ 7 o’clock’ brings the set to a raucous finale. Sadly a strict curfew meant the end of the live music, we elected to ignore the ensuing burlesque show and headed tentwards.
1. The event. Somewhat more down to earth than last week’s nearby event but didn’t see any bother at all. If you are not keen on use of the ‘f’ word please avoid.
2.Value for money. Excellent.
3. Music. Tried and tested formula, typical of bikers fests. Lots of tribute acts and basic pub covers groups. But they get at least 3 ‘names’.
4.Beer. Very reasonable price and quality. Staff were very good apart from one young woman who was rude. I was only a midgie’s dick away from giving her a mouthful but decided the words ‘arrogant’, ‘condescending’ and ‘attitude’ would have contained too many syllables for a minimum wage piece of pondlife.
5. Security. Frustrating that they continue to ignore the bloke who comes in on a spasmobile packed with cans of Stella and approves of his son ( ?) stealing people’s pint pots (@£1.00 a go). How many? Dozens and dozens. It pays for their weekend. Forget being PC, the whole family are total f**kin tw*ts and need sorting out. And it was maybe a sign that there is a God that I found two pots that they had left behind. Shame I couldn’t know who they had been stolen from.
6. Campsite. Lively!
7. Food. Not sure that fish, chips and mushy peas at £8.50 compared too favourably with the nearby Wetherspoons! Our friends Pete and Chrissie treated us, our turn next year Pete! A lot of RABF people in there at noon. Jacket potato with chilli was good @£4.00 though. Her Ladyship rated the vegan hot dog.
8. T-Shirts. Sensibly priced at a tenner. Surprisingly , AC/DC were just edged out of the gold medal slot by Iron Maiden.
9. Bike shows, wet t-shirts and tattoo competitions for enthusiasts. See end of gallery for a pitiful failure in the latter!
No names of acts in the photos section, but feel free to use any. (Credit Her Ladyship please though!)