Author Archives: bunternet

Future gigs and festivals.

Already had one festival called off due to coronavirus concerns. There will certainly be more to follow. Her Ladyship and I are both in the vulnerable categories and have reluctantly decided to curtail any pub going in the near future.

So sadly there will be no words and pictures for a while. I have just been out and bought a load of cans…and I don’t mean baked beans.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed in a month, if all the reckless and dimwitted macho men (and women) take a moment to think about the big picture. All these morons who will carry on as if nothing has changed. Not a bloody hope in hell, sadly.

The 189ers. The Junction, Castleford. 8.3.20

Having been on a Leo in Leeds yesterday (Leo…Leo Sayer…Alldayer), the prospect of another pint of beer today was not really on my mind when I woke up at 12.10pm. But Her Ladyship had committed us. She actually said she would drive, as she wouldn’t be drinking. (Yeah, and my dick’s a bloater!). A swift U-turn and we duly headed off in the rain for the bus stop.

We go to lots of festivals, and the last thing we want on a Sunday lunchtime is some 17 year old shouting out ‘Let’s f**kin rock and roll Skegness’ and telling us to put our hands in the air. So going into the Junction and seeing a load of acoustic guitars was more than a little reassuring. The 189ers are a group of chums headed by Andy Prowler on vocals and gob iron. (Check out older Prowlers reviews). Seemingly their name is a reference to their common patronage of the 189 bus from Leeds to Castleford to Wakefield.

Their repertoire is a mixture of about 50% familiar songs (familiar enough to get some singalongs) and the rest are self-penned or more obscure covers. (See set list, courtesy of Andy P). Great to hear Tom Russell’s ‘Who’s gonna build your wall’, written a decade before Mr Trump’s campaigning. Speaking of Mr T, it made me think of people making bad decisions. One must have been when President Harry S Truman decided against making an executive order to cull every new-born baby boy born on 14 June 1946 whose forenames were Donald and John. And whose surname was 25% longer than ‘rump’. The other example was a number of paths which meant that the brilliant Green on Red never made it to the top flight. But Andy dedicated their ‘Time ain’t nothing’ to Her Ladyship before a thoroughly decent 2 hours came to an end with a Lindisfarne classic.

Ideal for a Sunday afternoon. Well worth checking out, but if you want a 20 minute Rick Wakeman keyboard solo or some bearded youth thrashing out a 200 mph solo on his Stratocaster, have an afternoon with Youtube.

Sorry no photos. Only just remembered my wallet!

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‘And What Do YOU Do?’. Norman Baker. Biteback Publishing.

Christmas 2019 was approaching and the BunterKinder were asking for ideas for presents for me. Unusually, I fell for a piece of TV advertising. Manfully managing to resist one of Ian Botham’s Revitive foot massagers which, on a good day, might have cured my high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even Type 1 Diabetes, I was grabbed by the prospect of the above tome. So a rare book review.

It is not often that I cannot put a book down (the last was ‘Day of the Jackal’ back in the 70s!) , but it is the ultimate recommendation. The early part covers the change of name from a triple-barrelled German moniker to ‘Windsor’. By the end of the book, it seemed that a more appropriate name would have been a word not actually mentioned in the book (but undeniably written between almost every line…) Avarice.  The scale of their collective lust for loot and sheer arrogance is breathtaking. Their hypocrisy fills the pages and the impression is that they really don’t think the word applies to their own words and deeds.

All those sad little old ladies who stand outside the many royal palaces with their mementoes should look at their ‘heroes’ and consider that the HRH’s have arrived via transport they don’t pay for, from palaces they haven’t paid for and probably in clothes they haven’t paid for even. (And are inwardly sneering at you all).

OK, Mr Baker gives more than one hint that he is not exactly a monarchist, but the book is mainly based on facts (or attempts by the ‘firm’ to hide them). And, maybe, there is the occasional lengthy side track into Parliamentary territory.

Essential reading if you actually care where your taxes go. But those families who pay little or no taxes will be reading about one of their own.

And, finally, the book came out before what would have been a double whammy finale. The Sussexes ‘Abdication Lite’ and the Duke of York’s perfect display of a) his sheer arrogance in ignoring advice and b) his spectacular confirmation of his position as No 1 in the Dimmest Royal Ever charts.  A reprint beckons methinks.

The Great British Rock and Blues Festival. Butlins, Skegness. 17-20. Jan 2020.

So Christmas is over and it’s the next month…Skeguary!! Our annual 100 mile, 2 hours 15 minutes drive to the Lincolnshire coast. Drive through check-in and the first change we noticed was the renaming of the Front Room pub to the Pub and Kitchen. Dumped our bags and went to the bar and ordered 2 Jeremy Paxmans (‘Here’s your starter for 10’). We had brought our own heavy duty plastic pint pots but apparently can’t be accepted (more on that later). We also discovered that the popular music venue Jaks has done a Clark Gable (Gone With The Wind). Frankly, my dear we DO give a damn! And so do a lot more. On with the show…

Friday.  First on in Reds venue are Burnt Out Wreck . Big intro , they are definitely not youngsters. Starting out with ‘Dead or Alive’. first impressions are of a speeded-up AC/DC. By the third song they had slowed down a bit. The singer’s first sentence to the audience contained the word f**k. Title song from their lp ‘Swallow’ followed but it got to be a bit…predictable. Every song seemed to have a big multivocal chorus, then guitar solo, and it was a touch too formulaic. But they weren’t bad and went down well.                     Savoy Brown  The group has been in existence since 1965 and we have never seen them before. But I have always liked ‘Train To Nowhere’ so they were a big reason for our coming. Starting off with ‘Why Did You Hoodoo Me?’, founder member Kim Simmonds looks and sounds bloody good for 70+. New number ‘Payback Time ‘ is next, followed by the afore-mentioned ‘Train To Nowhere’. ‘Livin’ On The Bayou’ and ‘I’m Tired’ precede a slow blues and they finish with an elongated boogie. ‘Savoy Brown Boogie’ is a well-deserved encore and Kim comes out to sign my (and others) cds.  Top show from the current, longstanding line-up.                             Animals and Friends. Still with Johnny Steel at the back, he has been there almost permanently since 1957. The usual intro drum beat heralds ‘Baby Let Me Take You Home’ and the set is their usual mix of all their hits and 60s lp tracks. We have seen them lots of times with differing line-ups and they are a good set of pros. Danny gets a chance to show off his blues guitar and we decided to head off for bed just as it was getting a bit ‘clubby’ and ‘singalongy’.  But a good first night

Saturday. The Graveyard Slot at midday has been handed to the Andy Taylor Group who hail fron the Orkneys (and not Duran Duran). A blues trio, first impression is an influence from Stevie Ray Vaughan. It’s not too frantic or funky, which is good news on two fronts. There is the inevitable namedrop for Rory Gallagher and an instrumental features that ubiquitous riff from Hendrix’s ‘3rd Stone From The Sun’. Believe me, you will know it! Title track from their upcoming lp ‘Drifting Days’ brings a very good opening set to an end.                    Starlite Campbell Band   4 piece including a female bassist and a long haired bloke on keyboards whose left hand doubled up on sweeping back his hair every 30 seconds.   Obviously competent but a bit funky for me. It soon got to be chicken in a basket stuff. One song was mercilesssly ripped from ‘Get Ready’ and the latter stages featured the Allmans’ ‘Jessica’ riff. By now the onstage histrionics had got embarrassing and we were both waiting for those 5 magic words…’This Is Our Last Song’. They did a song which basically quoted Led Zeppelin, who had pinched it anyway. They went on far too long which affected the final act’s set, who were                     The Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration Of The Flying Burrito Brothers. Yes, a veritable mouthful but founding member Chris Hillman bought the Flying Burrito Brothers name some years ago to stop Nashville journeymen using it. This is what we came for. We have been FBB fans for most of those 50 years and this is a big deal. Greg Harris (not an original but there is only one still alive!) has put this line-up together and they start with ‘Devil In Disguise’. Her Ladyship was off down the front to sing along. ‘White Line Fever’, ‘Sweet Mental Revenge’, ‘Streets Of Baltimore’, ‘Wild Horses’, ‘Louisiana Man’, ‘Hot Burrito#2’, ‘Mr Tambourine Man’, ‘Orange Blossom Special’ (and an obscure Bob Wills swing number) evoked the Burritos, Gram Parsons and the Byrds.  A sadly short set, we would have preferred ‘Wheels’ and ‘My Uncle’ rather than Bob and Byrds but still wonderful. Greg signed my relevant cds and gave Her Ladyship a hug. And the backdrop stated ‘The Flying Burrito Bros’, and the DJ announced them thus. The T shirt says it (from a distance), so after nearly 50 years we have seen them! (Sorry Mr Hillman).                                           The evening session saw us in the new Hotshots music venue for Jo Carley and the Old Dry Skulls. They were great at the Acoustic Festival last year so I went early. There were probably only a dozen people in front of me and it was still a struggle to find a seat. Our plans were also somewhat dashed when our festival friends Tez and Hedge arrived. Tez had been drinking 7% cider and was talking like Bill AND Ben at the same time. And loudly. So we mostly listened to discussions about crap pubs in Accrington. We tried to watch the screens on the wall but the quality of the picture gave the impression they had been bought from Poundland.  The place was packed, barely room to swing a Blues Matters flyer. Lots of songs about voodoo, vampires and all sorts of wry spooky bollox. Bloody great though, check them out.         Went off to check out Bernie Marsden.  Basically a show featuring his Whitesnake songs and namedropping the likes of Peter Green and Gary Moore and playing their songs. Plenty of singing along. We were sitting behind a couple, one of whom came in a wheel chair. They took turns in sitting in it! Is this a great way of getting a seat in a packed venue? Buy an old wheelchair, job’s a good ‘un!                         Atomic Rooster.  Steve Bolton and Pete French  (not quite originals) revived the name a few years ago.  We upset some people when we saw them last time here and said they sounded awful. But they did! But straight away, tonight is much, much better. ‘Death Walks Behind You’ is the first song and ‘Black Snake’ makes an early appearance. Their two hits, ‘Devil’s Answer’ and ‘Tomorrow Night’ both bring cries of recognition and the new drummer does a bloody good job after only two rehearsals. ‘Breakthrough’ brings proceedings to an end.  Another good day, all in all.

Sunday.  Another of our favourites, Trevor Babajack Steger, is on first in Hotshots so we were outside early. Trev is a one man blues tour de force. Just him and his guitar, his voice , harmonica and heavy boots. And great songs. He soundchecked with ‘Rolling and Tumbling’ and opened the set proper with ‘Sawdust Man’ .  The set included some new songs and stuff from his debut lp. ‘I Can’t Get Along With You’, ‘Deep River Blue’, ‘I’m Up And I’m Down’and ‘The Devil Inside’ were in the first part. ‘Black Dog’ must have been a contender for ‘Roof Raiser of the Weekend’ song. He slipped in a couple of covers , namely ‘In My Time Of Dying’ (not a Led Zeppelin original!) and the lengthy Sleep John Estes tribute to finish. Great music by a great musician.                          Rowland Jones. Not easy to follow Trev and Mr Jones is much more gentle.  Pleasant enough but we decided to try and get a seat for                                 Nine Below Zero. We were desperately hoping they would have reverted to the powerful 4 piece line-up, but no, it was 9BZ Lite. We found seats that theatre goers buy as ‘Restricted View’.  (Which means ‘Behind A 3 Foot F**kin Wide Pillar’). They feature a dolly bird singer and extra guitar/keyboard player. Our mates Tez, Hedge and John were seen leaving after one song. Even ‘I Can’t Help Myself’ is drowned and the female gets to sing a song…and another. We left. 9BZ  RIP.    Food time.                             So we decided to set up base camp in Reds for the final furlong. (Sorry for being in mixed metaphor mode.)    Vambo come on. Lots of hair and decibels. A standard 4 piece rock line-up, plus a fair bit of FX. Mainly originals, they slip in LZ’s ‘Good Times Bad Times’ with some totally pointless ‘f’ words added. Singer said his dad was in Mud and is doing the sound. He should come down and smack his a*se!  Bit of ‘Moby Dick’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ to finish. The singer does have a very good voice and a big presence, he just got to sound a bit of a prat though. But they were still pretty good.                                Chris Slade Time Line .  Now in his seventies, he is ‘Have Drums Will Travel’ , starting out with Tom Jones and including the likes of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band , Uriah Heep and AC/DC. So we get a Brian Johnsonalike giving us ‘Dirty Deeds…’ then another bloke takes over for ‘Delilah’.  ( Her Ladyship went to watch Dr Feelgood in Centre Stage.) It was a mixture of songs famously performed with Mr S on drums, but he didn’t feature on the majority of the AC/DC studio records. Only ‘Thunderstruck’, I reckon. Plenty of Acker Dacker singalongs, but like Status Quo copy groups, AC/DC copiers just can’t get the right rhythm.  ‘July Morning’ and ‘Blinded By The Light’ also get an airing. It was really just like watching a very good pub covers group. Her Ladyship returned from a seething mass that was Centre Stage. But good on the Feelgoods for filling it.                            Finally, The Brew.  They have come a long way in 15 years. We first saw them in the now-derelict Crimea pub in Castleford. Tim Smith with his 16 year old son Kurtis on drums and 15 year old nephew Jason on guitar. They are big news now in Germany and showed the Skeggy rock fans why. A healthy crowd for the end of festival performance. I had a sealed copy of their 2007 EP which Jason told me he didn’t actually have! So I gave him it. Uncle Tim told me later it goes for a fortune on Ebay. But I was happy to give him it (sob, sob).   And it was all over.

1. Music. Pretty good. We would have given a gold pig to see Greg Harris and Co.

2.Food. Very good. Breakfast now self service. We had one occasion to sit near a bloke who had one dinner. He then went for a different one, of which he ate half. Then he had a third, which was an excellent portion of lamb on the bone. He picked at the veg and left the lot. What a tw*t! If there is a God, he will have made him throw the lot up in the middle of tossing himself off back in his chalet.

3.Beer. Now through the £4.00 barrier but acceptable.

4.Accommodation. Perfectly fine. I don’t think any Butlins review has said otherwise.

5.Staff. All friendly

6. Clientele. Never any aggravation. We met up with our buddies from Bridlington and Berwick, chums from Chesterfield and Her Ladyship met a school friend from Scarborough she hadn’t seen for half a century.

7.Sound. Absolutely spot on. But we can only vouch for Reds.

8.Venues. It is worrying when the two main venues have capacities of 2000 and 1750. Both were packed on Saturday night as was HotShots. But how can you sell tickets for a festival and put up a House Full sign outside a venue? Can you stop a disgruntled customer coming in? The other year it was ‘One in, one out’ policy .HotShots just far too small .

9. Customer care. Typically, when it was icy there was salt put outside every chalet door. Little things mean a lot

Finally,to misquote a saying, ‘Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud’ and that ‘cloud’ is Single Use Plastic Pots

10. As above. We brought our own officially stamped pint pots. Bought for a quid at a festival. We we told that the staff couldn’t use them. Her Ladyship was straight off to complain. The ‘reasons’ were dubious at best. ‘Hygiene/contamination’. Rubbish. Stones beer is served with no contact. ‘Time-consuming’. How? To look for a split second at a mark?  ‘All the pots are recycled. Blue box under the bar’. Really? So the black bin liners that collect pots, cans, food, crisp packets, paper are all emptied out and sorted? I don’t think so.

A quick calculation. 4,000 customers? Over the whole weekend, 25 pints/halves/cokes etc per person? How many of these sort of events? Maybe 19/20 a year at Skeggy?   That is maybe TWO MILLION SINGLE USE PLASTIC CONTAINERS! And at Skeggy alone! They had better hope some stroppy schoolgirl in Sweden doesn’t find out! Apologies if my estimates are incorrect.

Like Her Ladyship says, sell a heavy duty pot for a quid. Butlins logo. Many festivals do that. Some charge two quid (too much!). Some allow you to get your quid back (encourages theft!).

 

But a great festival though. We met a couple of Rock and Blues virgins from Scarborough who had already booked for next year. It is an ideal start for those who have put ‘Music festival’ on a bucket list. Not a molecule of mud!

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Mountain. Leeds University 12.2.72

Yes, no doubt you are thinking ‘Why now?’. The reason is because it never happened! It is still down on various websites as it being Mountain’s final gig before they basically disintegrated.

But it was cancelled because of power cuts which were a result of the miners going on strike the previous month. Anyone who said they were there could, maybe, be confused. They could have been at the West, Bruce and Laing gig the following year. Ironically it was their final gig.

Some sites (well done , http://www.setlist.fm ) have amended their information.It has bugged me for years because me, Peter and Martin were students there and big Mountain fans and we had tickets! But we did see WBL there, my best gig ever. Did they come as an apology maybe?

Wishbone Ash. Arc, Stockton-on-Tees. 12 Nov 2019

Andy Powell and Co return to the Arc, where they played a great gig last year (see earlier review). We got to the town mid-afternoon to have a few pre-gig sherbets. The High Street has had money thrown at it but the pubs are in a sorry state. Every one had a clientele of 90% men, all watching horse racing on the many big screens. All had beer starting at £2.00 a pint. There is the obligatory Wetherspoons too. Most pubs don’t even try to compete with Wetherspoons elsewhere but every pint counts here!  And it is still the Land of Lager and Lime. But it is soon 7.45 pm and we all pile into the theatre.

(We had been there before the group arrived and they were soon soundchecking. A few stabs at ‘Get Ready’ sounded good. You MUST check Youtube for a 1982 German TV appearance! ‘Faith, Hope and Love’, bits of ‘Phoenix’ and they were off for some food.)

8.03 pm. There is a slide show for openers, showing the history of their many studio lps. I am sure it wasn’t really necessary, basically preaching to the converted. But our heroes come on stage and are quickly into ‘Real Guitars Have Wings’, a set opener on and off since its inception. It is followed by a triple Argus whammy, namely ‘The King Will Come’, ‘Throw Down The Sword’ and one of my Room 101 songs ‘Sometime World’. Their new single ‘We Stand As One’ goes down well and the first set finished with ‘The Way Of The World’. which for me was too long. The set seemed short (less than 45 minutes) but AP had seemingly missed out Power of Eternity’s ‘In Crisis’. It was inserted in the second set.

Part Two started out with ‘Blind Eye’ from their eponymous first lp. But then followed a few unfamiliar numbers (to some) and the atmosphere sagged a touch. ‘The Pilgrim’ brought about a cheer (of relief?) and the announcement of a ’90s song’ brought a definitely-audible groan. ‘Iluminations’ is a decent lp but ‘Tales Of The Wise’ was another number which went on too long. Next is arguably the best of the Mk2 era’s songs ‘Living Proof’ and Mark Abrahams did a great take on Laurie Wisefield’s final solo. The set finishes with the singalong that is now ‘Jailbait’. A short break and back for the encore ‘Blowin’ Free’…and the boys say goodbye, coming out after a few minutes for the customary chats and signings.

The group have upped their game with the arrival of ‘young’ Mark Abrahams. They are selling out more venues. We heard that Mark had been a bit under the weather yesterday and it definitely seemed that AP was looking across to check out his young partner. Well done for Mr P for doing so, if that was indeed the case. Mark’s playing was absolutely fine though.

A good performance from Wishbone Ash in a good venue. They have a new lp out in the new year to add to their 28 from the last 50 years. They obviously can’t please all of the people all of the time regarding their set. With apologies for using the word ‘referendum’ though, if the fans were to be asked which lp they want to hear a track ( or two) from at a gig there are no prizes for the answer.

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The Long Ryders. Brudenell Social Club. 24.10.2019

Expecting a packed house, we got there early. Her Ladyship had a Facebook session and I drifted off into some pre-review musical musings. The 60s are always looked back on as being a wonderful decade for music. Yes, there was some great stuff but there was also a lot of crap, The first 3 years was dominated by Cliff, Elvis and Billy Fury. Plus lots of wannabes of those thereof, and bequiffed naff crooners. The last 3 years had Englebert Humperdink and Des O’Connor and the 4 years in between had The Bachelors! The 70s? Themed weekends are basically glam rock and disco. No recognition of the early 70s rise of rock legends or a seemingly little-known phenomenon, ‘punk’, in the late 70s. And the 80s gets even less attention. Basically summed up as big hair, shoulder pads and quasi-funk new romantic bollox. (Fans of The Smiths are quite reasonably miffed !). This is where The Long Ryders come in. 1987 was a great year. The UK saw the original Wishbone Ash lineup reform and the Waters-less Pink Floyd bring out an lp which put the accent on the music again rather than their previously self-appointed leader’s obsession with the words. And across the pond there were 2 great lps. REM’s user-friendly ‘Document’ saw Stipey stop mumbling and The Long Ryders produced their best record ‘Two Fisted Tales’ .  (The former’s ‘The One I Love’ and the latter’s ‘A Stitch In Time’ seemed eerily similar. And Rickenbackers were to the fore from both outfits.)  But the similarities end there.  REM were soon to sign a mega deal with a major label, followed by world domination but The Long Ryders seemed to just, well, burn out. And they were maybe more well known than REM at the time.

Anyway, back to the gig. Some Green On Red over the P.A. then Hannah Rose Platt warmed us up with a brief but pleasant enough spot. Then it is 9.00pm and Sid and Co come on stage. They have had a few reunions in the new millennium but this time around is different as they have a new(ish) lp to plug.  The previous post-millennial gigs from the reformed gang had given us 80 minute ‘best of’ sets but not this time. Starting out with ‘Gunslinger Man (also the opener for ‘Two Fisted Tales) and finishing with the singalong ‘Looking for Lewis and Clark’ we were treated to a master class in Americana. Lots from the recent ‘Psychedelic Contry Soul’ lp but there is no drop in the quality. And the newer stuff is sensibly spread about. Much as we are both big Steve Earle fans, you always get 6 tracks from his latest bloody lp first!  I won’t give a blow-by-blow account of the setlist, as I reckon there are people out there who prefer to be surprised. Yes, a few classics had to make way for the newer stuff and maybe ‘Capturing the Flag’ was the most obvious omission but we still got ‘State of my Union’. Is it the best Chuck Berry song not written by Chuck Berry? Possibly, although Bobby Troup’s ‘Route 66’ and Bob Seger’s ‘Get out of Denver’ take some beating.  A minor disappointment was drummer Greg Sowders having to sit out the UK leg to do his ‘proper job’. If not for his drumming, but not being able to watch his grinning from ear to ear for the full 80 minutes.

But what a great night. Sid, Stephen and Tom were quickly out to sign anything and everything, and chat freely. It was the first night of the tour, and there was the occasional ‘technical’ hitch. Tom had a rueful smile during one of his songs, can’t imagine Van Morrison carrying on unabashed somehow if it had been him!

£20 a ticket, crowd of maybe 300? A ticket for a Pink Floyd tribute act is twice as much and will attract a few thousand. Words do spring to mind, most of them have four letters.  Seriously, bin your tickets for Limehouse Lizzy, The Smyths and The Counterfeit Stones and go and see the real thing. (No, not The Real Thing!)

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Thurmanators. The Lion, Castleford. 18.10.2019

Her Ladyship was out with her chum, so a solo mission to The Lion. We always try to call in at some stage over the weekend. They have live music on every weekend and we are card-holding members of the ‘Keep Live Music Alive’ club so I made the effort.

Arrived at 8.00pm and had the misfortune to watch possibly the worst football match I have ever seen via Sky. 90+ minutes of players cheating, moaning and shirt-pulling, plus 2 managers continually complaining at anything from the price of the pasties upwards.

But, the 3-piece from Rotherham took to the stage to relieve the agony…or so I thought. Back in the late 70s a trio of 20 – year olds could be forgiven in creating the hapless racket that this shower inflicted on the suitably thin crowd. But these 3 are almost as old as me. They try to give us some sort of ‘club like’ history of punk. Their attempt at The Ramones ‘ I Wanna Be Sedated’ was embarrassing, with not even an attempt at the proper words. Their Facebook page describes them as ‘not your average punk rock band’. Never has a truer word been consigned to the ether. The usual ‘punk’ tunes were similarly butchered.

I tend not to review basic pub covers groups as they are what they are. But this shower of sh*te need referencing in case you are thinking of going to see them. Even if you are thinking of going to see how dismal they are…don’t! It will only artificially swell the audience. I didn’t take a photo as it may have given them the impression that I thought they were good.

At least the bus turned up and it had stopped raining.

The Marwills. Duck and Drake. 11.10.2019

The Duck and Drake has a knack of snapping up groups from across the pond who are touring over here. Curtis Eller and Jared James Nicholls are two such people who have given great shows in the past…and I can definitely add Canada’s The Marwills to that select bunch.

9.30pm start as usual and they are straight into JJ Cale’s ‘Crazy Mama’. Willie Dixon’s ‘Back Door Man’ has been covered by many since it first appeared on the B-side of Howling Wolf’s ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ in 1961 and is giving a good outing tonight. ‘Seems To Me’ heralds a phase of their own (excellent) songs, with Mr Cale’s ‘Call Me The Breeze’ slotted in. ‘Sultans of Swing’ seemed a strange, if possibly unplanned, addition and , yes, they’ lost it’ momentarily but it was still good. The first set finished with a great ‘One Way Out’, with the two guitarists having some great interplay. (As did the Allmans back in the early 70s).

A brief break and the Georgia Satellites ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ restarts proceedings. ‘Johnny B Goode’ started up as I was in the toilet, and some very bizarre bottle neck sounds drifted though the door. Her Ladyship said it was very much ‘off the cuff’ and more visual, as he did itwith a drinks glass.  Sadly we had to go , ironically during their ‘Don’t Go Joe’ but it had been a great night.

I was surprised at the number of cover versions, especially after seeing how good their own songs are on Youtube. But the Grateful Dead always did loads of covers even with 30 years of lps under their belts.Some of the crowd were not all that attentive sadly. One group of 8 women spent all their time talking loudly, taking selfies and videoing themselves. They were rude and not very pretty, so why did they need confirmation?  A Canadian girl next to us talked though every song but whooped and clapped at the end of every song!

But they are minor beefs. The Marwills were great, they are all really friendly and still have some UK dates left. Check them out!  Thanks too for the setlist lads.

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Whitwell Festival of Music. Whitwell. 6-8 Sept 2019

Our third visit to this ‘bijou’ festival in Derbyshire. Set up camp on the Social Club field and went into the club for a couple of heart starters.

Friday. Inside stage only tonight, first up are                    Eddie and the Wolves. Blues-rock power trio from Derby. They start out with a heavy Beatles ‘Come Together’. Their songs are nearly all originals. One such song had a very ‘Little Wing’-ish feel, but had some decidedly dodgy guitar too! They suffered a bit from the sound being distorted for the last couple of numbers. Good start to the fest though.                      Solar Love Society. Reggae sextet from Sheffield. Not a genre that does owt for us, but a few dancing. Male keyboardist took over on lead vocals for ‘Prisoner’.                                          Tony Wright. Terrorvision’s lead vocalist doing his solo acoustic stuff. Place was full, so no seats for our elderly frames. We had to go and sit in what looked like God’s Waiting Room. He’s a good pro, lots of anecdotes to accompany his songs. Unfortunately, we were both suffering from bad heartburn so went back for an early night, missing Molly Manders and the Shut Ups.

Saturday. 11.00 am kick-off in the Social Club with a Beatles theme singalong hosted by Smiley Pete Drake.  Then over to the indoor stage for                     Sam Tucker . Local lad with acoustic guitar. mixing his own songs with covers of the likes of Frank Turner and Illinois’ Alkaline Trio. No delusions of grandeur. we chatted with him in the Royal Oak on Sunday night, where his photo comes from.                 Moore and Watson . Acoustic folk duo from Barnsley. Festival regulars in one shape or another.                      Went into the Spoken Word room, caught the end of                    Sophie Sparham . Young lady from Derbyshire. Does she class herself as a poet or a poetess? Is Meryl Streep an actor or actress? After all, a female lion is a lioness, isn’t it?               Pete Drake is next . Another festival regular, he had to compete aurally with Verbal Warning outside. (People 20 postcodes away could hear them so it wasn’t going to be easy.)  Song about England Women’s Football team, Lionesses!!! Then ditties about Toyah, his local community page, Yorkshire TV’s Peter Levy and Elton John. His ‘Oddly Excluded’ has some Chris Difford-ish rhymes. He is always a welcome sight at Whitwell, just as well as he is always there!               Went outside to catch the end of afore-mentioned Verbal Warning. Punk veterans, with good originals mixed in with ‘classics’.  Their ‘Piers Morgan’ sounded like it could have been written 40 years ago. (He was probably a tw*t when he was 14 too).                                 Smiley and the Underclass. Blurb told us to expect punk/reggae stuff, ie Clash-ish.   Again , not for me. Why does a white London boy with curly fair hair talk with a Rasta accent!? Very energetic, obligatory Ramones T-shirt on stage. I went inside for a pint of Coors Light. Yes, I am a big girl’s blouse but I needed to drink something different to hopefully avoid another night of discomfort.                     Came back out for the Blue Carpet Band.   Starting out with The Doors ‘Break on Through’ and following on with their new single we were treated to a manic rock ‘n’ roll display, with a dash of punk.’The Devil’ slowed things down, briefly, but the whole set was a real treat. We both loved ’em. Good call from the Committee to book them.                                  Went inside for The Garderobes. We came in during the Feelgoods’ ‘One More Shot’. Lots of familiar blues tunes from the likes of Jimmy Reed, Andy Fairweather-Low and Fleetwood Mac. Fine by me.                             Nick Parker and the False Alarms. Not as good as we had hoped, went back inside for                Duncan Oakley . Bloke plus acoustic, when I tell you his first song was ‘The Unfortunate Girl With A Face Like A Bum’ I am sure you get the picture.  The ruder he got, the more Her Ladyship’s double G and T’s attacked her laughing bone.  Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’ got a less than reverential pasting. Good applause.                      Fuzzbox. An interesting ‘coup’ for the Committee. A couple of wacky women, sporting the abbreviated name from ‘We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use it’. They are definitely a few chips short of a Rotherham schoolkid’s dinner.  More than the occasional sound problem, plus the occasional hairpiece problem added to the haplessness. A lot of bemused faces in the audience, which dwindled exponentially. Gayle and Mike SAGA (see reviews passim) actually left twice . Most people only left once.  For me, they did what it says on the tin (or box). They lived down to all expectations. We got a version of ‘Spirit in the Sky’, maybe they should have done Steve Miller’s ‘Take the Money and Run’. Certainly got people talking, but mostly using words of one syllable. Her Ladyship went outside to check out Robert Fripp’s missus.                                It was Toyah plus guitarist plus electronic help. Obviously cheaper than booking the full group, but reports were good.                   Sons of Clogger. Plenty of T-shirts and hoodies in evidence. Another outfit who have fallen victim to PPI (Plastic Paddy Influence) but have thrown in some U2 too.   Her Ladyship liked them, for a while.  And it was time for bed.

Sunday. Another ‘inside only’ day, finishing at 6.00pm. Bright sunshine! Sadly a cloud over proceedings when it is announced that the excellent Broken Flowers had to cry off. But… first on are                 The Blues Revue. A Ten Years After t-shirt and an excellent rendition of Jethro Tull’s ‘My Sunday Feeling’ were a good barometer of things to come. ‘Outside Woman Blues’, ‘What’d I Say’, BB King and ZZ Top were all well-performed and ‘Man of the World’ brought a great set to an end. Twin guitars, but often playing the same riff rather than harmonising. Very good for the Graveyard Slot.                           Jess Silk. Young women with acoustic guitar and her own songs. Some angry, some not.                                     To replace Broken Flowers, we were treated to the Alan Doonican All Stars. ‘Alan’ and ‘Bjorn’ Doonican gave us a hastily-arranged Doonicans set, sans Scott of course. Which evoked much ribaldry.  A hall packed with Doonicans fans, so no huge guffaws at any of the songs’ punchlines but who cares?  Songs about Nando’s, Costa, Birdwatching. Songs from Marc Coen, The Stones, The Police and Andy Williams are shown no mercy. ‘How Deep is Your Glove’ had to be abandoned but ‘B.I.S.T.O’ escaped unharmed. And ‘Lady in Gregg’s’ rounded off a plethora of peerless parodies. Apologies, I have been listening to Stephen Stills (AKA Captain Alliteration).                          Itchy Fingers. Bass drum said Country Blues Ragtime, and we got some. Plus a lot of swing. Old time stuff from eg The Boswell Sisters and Irving Berlin plus some original songs. Very good.                                       Nick Harper. Son of Roy, he has been performing for 20 years but has had to contend with FFS…Famous Father Syndrome. As have Arlo Guthrie, Steve Rodgers, Ziggy Marley, Jeff Buckley, Julian Lennon et al. Some of these have forged their own identity but Nick H, like others, has his father’s voice.  Yes, he is a very good guitarist and yes he writes his own stuff and yes I like a bit Roy Harper! But, Harper Jr does nothing for us, or Gayle and Mike SAGA.  I just do not like his vocal style. He slaughters ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ (no doubt with reference to his father singing on the Floyd LP ) and ‘Purple Rain’ . Definitely a Marmite act, but lots in the hall were very happy and came out to buy cds etc at the end. A bit disappointing that Mr H didn’t come and work the merch desk and sign stuff. And the building had to be sorted for business as usual tomorrow.

How was it overall?

  1. Value for money. Exceptional. Run on a tight budget, they always manage to get a ‘name’ or two on the programme.
  2. Music. Eclectic, they don’t stick to one genre. Always decent quality.
  3. Beer. Festival drinks  and the venue bar are very reasonable at around £3.00.
  4. Campsite. Unfortunately there was some disgraceful activity on Saturday night. A group of younger people decided to get back to their tents and continue their revelry. Much singing, shouting and effing. Somebody took exception and was told that ‘it’s a festival’ and ‘we have been playing’ so we are carrying on. Fists flew, women screamed, car stereos blared out.  Yes, boys and girls, it IS a festival. But go to bloody Leeds and be amongst drug-addled and booze-fuelled 20 year olds. That is your sort of festival. You are on a field here next to kids sleeping in tents and over the fence are old people’s bungalows with 90 year old residents. And the very festival could be  in jeopardy with this sort of disrespectful, selfish, inconsiderate behaviour. And, yes, we know who you are…and so do the organisers.
  5. Security. Low key.
  6. Staff. Friendly.
  7. Toilets. Maybe room for another portaloo on the campsite? Both were full all day Sunday.
  8. Ventilation. The Indoor Stage room got very hot. If not Air Conditioning, how about a bloody great fan on the ceiling? Please?
  9. Clientele. Accepting that the people involved in point #4 were a ‘blip’, very friendly. Thanks to the couple who found my notebook. I hadn’t realised I had lost it!
  10. Sound. Unusually, the odd problem but seemed ok in general to the paying public

Next year? Yes please. It is a slight concern though that a younger, rowdier element may discover it as cheap festival weekend.

Pics … apologies, forgot camera so these were taken on my phone . Therefore some of them are not worth looking at.  I had problems with indoor the stage lights  [strangely,  they took away everyone’s face!]  So here’s the best of a poor lot.IMG_20190906_195442331 (1)IMG_20190906_204646773IMG_20190906_223044373IMG_20190907_143911523 (2)IMG_20190907_145540861 (2)IMG_20190907_150244575IMG_20190907_153532483IMG_20190907_153536721IMG_20190907_161252428IMG_20190907_181836094IMG_20190907_181851428IMG_20190907_181921961IMG_20190907_193153193IMG_20190907_214506173IMG_20190908_140328903IMG_20190908_154722IMG_20190908_145616932IMG_20190908_155558068IMG_20190908_155601829IMG_20190908_224325162IMG_20190908_160054