Category Archives: Live reviews

We see a couple of bands each month, apart from over the summer months where we see a couple of dozen. Here’s what we thought of them.

Blind Cat Gives You Wingies. S. Wingfield. 4-5 May 2018

Just to explain the complicated title, for the uninitiated. The South Wingfield Social Club is host to the ‘sister’ festival of the Blind Cat Festival. Sadly, the organisers of BC had to cancel early due to poor advance ticket sales. But to their credit (and financial loss) they did it early enough to give full refunds. So to ‘Wingies’

Friday. Entertainment started just before 6,00pm with the hardy annual BB Blackdog. Featuring the full trio, the opening number sounded a bit like Morrisey backed by the Velvet Underground. The next song ‘Groupie’ wasn’t the Delaney and Bonnie song though. Third one up had a Stranglers-ish bass sound plus obligatory female cosmic gyrations and there was a Bo Diddley feel to the encore. They always go down well, although the adjective ‘jolly’ doesn’t spring to mind.            Red Electra 69. 5-piece outfit with an insistent throb and distorted guitar. Two keyboards but suffer a bit from lack of vocals. They did however get some vocal assistance on the final ‘Little Green Men’.                   Not ON.   I seem to remember them at Blind Cat starting out with seven on stage and finishing with even more. Loads of big block chords and there were two bassists. ‘Dirge’ was written by one of them.  Was it the one who stood up and played something we could hear or the other who was seated and seemed to spend the whole set looking down at his box of tricks and occasionally moving his hands on his instrument. I wasn’t the only one in the audience who couldn’t perceive any aural contribution from the latter. The song sounded as though it could have come from San Francisco about fifty years ago, no bad thing!                    Monkey Trial.  Keyboards/percussion/guitar/FX.  Again, lengthy instrumentals . Vocals FX-laden.  Audience very appreciative.                   Deviant Amps. Psychedelic power trio, thirty seconds in we reckoned they were best so far.   OK, not exactly Paul Rodgers on vocals but fine for this. The guitar sound was very Fender and they were the only people to generate some audience movement other than closed-eyed nodding. Might the original Pink Fairies trio sound like this nowadays?   So first night’s music was over, but 1.30am bar closing meant the night was still young for some…but not us!  There had been plenty of Kozfest t-shirts, men with long grey beards and that sad tw*t who tells all in earshot that he is/was a teacher, Thankfully the two a*seholes from Blind Cat who plonk two of King Canute’s bloody thrones in the venue and bugger off for six hours weren’t there.

Saturday. Pretty much 12 hours of music in store so we slipped into FDM (Festival Drinking Mode, one pint per hour, starting at 12.00pm sharp then strictly hourly).     Line-up reshuffle meant Automatone opened up proceedings.  Some improvised instrumental stuff allowed a stand-in drummer to help out while the regular man was en route. It actually sounded not unlike the wonderful 1975 reformed Spirit trio, but with a chunkier Gibson (R.I.P.) sound.  Guitarist’s ‘Do Not Panic’ t-shirt was a warning for some Hawkwind . I probably preferred the earlier instrumental numbers though.               Sonic Trip Project.   Some familiar faces and not unfamiliar instrumental sounds.  Bassist got two yellow cards for not turning down , but avoided being sent off.  Interesting that an abbreviation STP reminded me of the Hendrix B-side  ‘Stars That Play with Laughing Sam’s Dice’. It was generally assumed that ‘STP LSD’ had drug references.                       3rd Quadrant. We went to sit outside in the sun, sorry lads!             SpacedOgs.   One of many groups here featuring members doubling/trebling/….up in other outfits. Another 100% instrumental set but it seems the norm for these type of events. Surely there are some bedroom poets out there who would add to some of these combos?   There was some very dodgy slide guitar on occasion.   Wasn’t too bothered about SHOM or Dubbel so went back to the tent.  Came back for Electric Cake Salad. I find the need for some people to categorise groups irritating. Where do they put these lads?  ElectroMetalDisco would be my suggestion if pushed but who cares? We love ’em! We absolutely love ’em!! We absolutely f**kin’ love ’em!!!  Non-believers should check them out via YouTube and if you live within twenty miles of Birmingham there is no excuse for not seeing them live. Set list at the end, cheers Steve!                     Capt. Starfighter and the Lockheeds. Name derived from Hawkwind’s Robert Calvert’s first solo LP, we are treated to ‘Spirit of the Age’, ‘Master of the Universe’, ‘Quark, Strangeness and Charm’ plus more. There was an ‘interesting ‘ second appearance for ‘Little Green Men’ with vocalist Mr Smith changing the title words for a less-than-complimentary phrase aimed at a certain someone whose ensembles he used to feature in.  I can’t comment any further, I don’t know any details.

And Wingies was at an end. Is there any group who has spawned so many festivals based on their music other than Hawkwind? I can’t think of any.

Any festival has pros and cons, so here goes…

  1. Venue. Very like the Stoke Prior set-up (Sonic Rock Solstice and Onboard the Craft).  Her Ladyship was close to wilting on occasions as it wasn’t possible to leave big outside doors open.
  2. Camping. As above, although one of the conditions was that we moved our cars after pitching tent, We did so and had to be towed out of a foot of concealed bog! I hope the many who ignored the moving of their cars haven’t spoiled it for the ones who did.
  3. Beer. It seems like the club kept the prices as normal, ie less than £3.00 a pint. Well done
  4. Staff. All very polite. The lady steward seemed pleased with the general decorum of the punters.
  5. Food. Only one outlet, but capacity of the venue only 199 so too small a crowd to warrant loads of vendors. £1.00 for coffee, £2.00 for egg sandwich puts some of these burgersheds to shame. Small but adequate veggie option.
  6. Toilets. None on campsite, One of each on adjacent bowling green premises, similar in the club. Maybe more luck than judgement, but could have been a big problem if any had become ‘out of order’.
  7. Sound. Very good as is anything under the jurisdiction of Dave Lowe.
  8. Security. There seemed to be lots without wristbands!  Probably a few ‘locals’ in attendance but no problems apparent.
  9. Noise. Dave L had indicated there were going to be warnings from the stage about noise on the campsite, one reason why the bar stayed open until 1.30. There was only one barely-audible comment at the very end, but nothing before. (To keep those wanting to carry on drinking INSIDE!) . There were plenty of ‘notices’ around the venue though, to be fair. The lads camped next to us were still ‘socialising’ in the early hours though on Friday.
  10. Value for money. £30.00. Excellent value.

A good , if short, weekend . Hopefully the Committee here will give the OK for next year. And, re a future Blind Cat Fest, remember the importance of giving the organisers some advance ticket funds. It is vital for this scale of event.

Footnote. I inadvertently accused Automatone’s bassist of not turning down. It was. in fact, Sonic Trip Project who were guilty. I have updated the above review. Thanks for pointing it out, sorry .

Footnote 2. I also mentioned ‘Black Cat’ in the final paragraph instead of ‘Blind Cat’!  Duly amended, thanks for alerting me!

 

 

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Festival of the 60s. Butlin’s Skegness. 9-11 March 2018

Not been to the 60s weekend at Skeggy for a while, but were tempted by the prospect of The Pretty Things, especially as rumours were flying that they may be retiring.  By all means have a look at one of the first entries on the Bunternet from December 2011 for a somewhat less-than-gushing review!

Friday. The New Mindbenders. To avoid too much repetition , please have a look at my review of The Mindbenders from August 2012 at Upton Music Festival. This lot have added the word ‘New’, which is shorter than ‘F**k all to do with the real’.  Starting out with the Hollies’ ‘Just one look’, the next 50 minutes or so consists of awful versions of 60s standards eg ‘For your love’, ‘Poison Ivy’, ‘Sealed with a kiss’ and renditions of songs which originally had the word ‘Mindbenders’ on the label of the disc. The performers were nowhere near the studios when they were made , of course. And, yes. they still refer to ‘our old mates’ Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman, whom I am sure would be spitting feathers at the misuse of their names. Even a couple of old biddies behind us were shouting abuse at them.  It does hint of masochism by watching them from the point of a  previous encounter , but I thought I would start at the bottom and work up.            Unbelievably, the DJ played ‘All Right Now’?! 60s?!    The Pretty Things.  Starting with ‘Honey I need’, they were firmly planted in the 60s part of their career, via ‘Keep your big mouth shut’ and ‘Big boss man’ following in quick succession. There was a brief swerve into their recent ‘Sweet Pretty Things…’ lp before a couple of eagerly-anticipated tracks from ‘S.F.Sorrow’ had the people at the front singing along. Dick Taylor switched to acoustic for a couple of nods to Mssrs Johnson, Dixon and Diddley before giving us ‘Mona’. They finished with a couple of their 60s hits, and left the genuine fans well pleased. Sadly, we were surrounded by F**kwits Incorporated who were only happy when May, Taylor and Co had left and they could sing along to ‘I’m into something good’. Why come at all?! Stay at home, buy some cans, put on a 60s compilation cassette and save yourself a few hundred quid.  Would the booking agents please put The Pretty Things on for Blues and Rock next year rather than this one, if they haven’t retired.          Kenney Jones and the Jones Gang.  Robert Hart back on vocals? Is he moonlighting from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.  Anyway, we start out with ‘Rollin’ over’ from the seminal ‘Ogden’s’ lp, followed by ‘Substitute’. Kenney, of course, played drums in the Small Faces and was briefly in The Who post-Moon.  And then ‘Maggie May’. At a 60s festival? Mr Hart told us that it was written in 69 and that Kenney played on the record. I have reservations about both these ‘facts’!  Plenty more Small Faces stuff to follow plus Faces and more from The Who.  Strayed a bit from the 60s and Mr H was very keen to invite singalongs (coinciding with his struggling to hit the notes?).  They went down well though, and the Centre Stage audience seemed to go to bed happy and hoarse.

Saturday. Clearwater Creedence Revival.  Yes, read it carefully!  The latest ploy from the copy act industry, just rearrange the words in the original?!  Especially clever when most of the audience have dodgy eyesight. Who can have thought of that?  Step forward Mister…Pete Barton!?  Well known to Bunternet as booking supremo at Butlins, surely he was in Creedence Clearwater Revived?!  Has he left one copy act to form another?  Anyway, they give us an hour of CCR which , to be honest, is pretty good!  Mr Barton has a very good voice, and it is ironic that today’s Telegraph is advertising a John Fogerty gig in London.  Her Ladyship and I are going to form a tribute to The Ramones called Ramones The . And why not?             Ray Ennis and the Original Blue Jeans. If you look at the December 2011 review , I categorised the 60s groups into 7 types. Here is another, namely when an original  has left a group but returns only to find the group name is owned by someone else (cf Martin Turner and Wishbone Ash, also the Sugarbabes).  They come on, but surely that isn’t Mr E? ( Am I mistaken or is it Mike Sweeney, DJ/Swinging Blue Jean/Salford Jet/Mindbender?) No it is not Mr Ennis,  he got the big intro after his buddies had done ‘Please Please Me’.  We get the Swinging Blue Jeans hits, plus predictable rock n roll and other 60s staples. A club act basically. The Nashville Teens were up next, but having seen their club set at A New Day Festival we decided we couldn’t face any more of the same . The evening session in Reds started with The Springfields .  (I think someone from the Rock and Blues weekend was still there, we had landed again on Planet Flatulenta!  And you always know who has let rip, it’s the person who is looking round in disgust in a vain attempt to deflect blame! ).    So Mike Hurst from the Springfields comes on. Neither he nor the DJ mention that he isn’t an original member though, strangely.  Mr H tells us the Springfields are second only to the Beatles regarding the number of hits as a group plus individual members. Interesting stat. Yes, but Dusty Springfield’s 26 chart entries were after she left. I seems he includes songwriting aand production credits by Tom Springfield and himself. Where do you draw the line?  Does the bloke who drove the red bus to the studio get a credit too?  Yes, the Springfields had 5 hits, very creditable. But the bag o’ sh*te that is the Wurzels had 6!  The Stones and Status Quo are but two who have had many many chart entries and what does Mary Wilson of The Supremes say (including Diana Ross stuff?). So, they play a couple of the Springfield hits, plus Everly Brothers stuff. He gives us lots of stories about his very successful career as a producer, with accompanying tunes by the likes of Cat Stevens, Showaddywaddy and Manfred Mann. We get the inevitable Dusty tracks.  He told us that ‘Island of dreams’ took 45 takes, I’m not surprised if he sang like this on the previous 44. His vocals  were sadly iffy at times, the encore was probably their best song.        Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich. Yes, a great name originally but a nightmare if someone leaves! Dave Dee departed from the great 60s line-up and there have been 3 Beakys, I think, but the original is now back.  Big taped intro, first song is Crispian St Peter’s ‘You were on my mind’.  I feared we were about to get a real 60s club act. But it was…OKAY!  Beaky tells a good tale re the history of DDDBM&T and we get half a dozen of ‘their’ hits, interspersed with familiar pop/rock n roll songs.        Crystals featuring La La Brooks. Ms Brooks wasn’t ‘quite’ an original Crystal, but sang lead on ‘Da Do Ron Ron’ and ‘Then he kissed me’. (They start out with the latter and finish with the former). The set is a mixture of old and new, featuring the Stones ‘Beast of Burden’ and a bit of U2.  She encores with the Tina Turner version of ‘Proud Mary’ and is amazingly enegetic for someone who won’t see 70 again. Sadly , she is right when she says that the USA isn’t interested in ‘old’ when it comes to women. Martha Reeves has been on the 60s ‘tours’ for years, but conversely Diana Ross tickets would be just a touch pricier!  Fellow Crystal Barbara Alston died last week.

Sunday. Didn’t bother queueing up for a Beatles copy group, but , of course, hundreds did.  Went in later to see Vanity Fare and Steve Ellis. I remember Vanity Fare exceeded my expectations last time. The bar hadn’t been set particularly high though, I think it was as high as a corgi’s cock. We got the Vanity Fare singles straight off, plus ‘Spirit in the sky’. Steve Ellis came on and gave us 4 of the Love Affair singles plus a singalong ‘All or nothing’. Did what it says on the tin.          Stan Boardman Don’t think a comedy spot has featured before but well done to whoever made the decision. Had the place in stitches, a welcome addition to the weekend.        Evening starts with The Searchers. Have seen them a few times, I especially liked their period c. 1979 when they made a couple of great lps, including ‘Hearts in her eyes’ and ‘September Gurls’. They started with ‘Sweets for my sweet’, ‘Don’t throw your love away’ and ‘Sugar and spice’ and all seemed well. But then it was ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ ?!. Still got some of their many hits but also loads of other people’s hits. Won’t bore you with the titles, but I wondered if it was because they were playing over in the other venue later and they were spreading the load? Bloody Gerry and the Pacemakers singalong?!  In fact, I went across later to check them out and the set seemed the same.  Very, very disappointing. After decades, they seem to have descended into the morass of all the other club groups. And Frank Allen was a bit economical with the truth. Praise for the first Searchers lp, but it slipped his mind to tell us that he wasn’t on it?         The Fortunes. Another outfit who last time seemed a tad confused with the facts. Bob Jackson is a member who is also in a version of Badfinger. (There is a rival version in the USA with an original member). He sang a couple of their songs, giving the impression that maybe he was on the original singles?  He certainly didn’t introduce them by saying that he wasn’t in Badfinger at the time.  Drummer informed us he had been in Love Affair and Marmalade and bass player had been in the Dakotas. Again, the words ‘original member’ didn’t feature.  It is to some extent being a bit picky, as they are a very polished outfit, but to be fair most of the audience don’t know or care about their lineage. They just want to dance and sing to familiar songs. Plenty of standard 60s songs to do it to.            Herman’s Hermits. Featuring their original drummer, they are always sure to refer to the hits as being by ‘Herman’s Hermits’ and not by ‘us’.  They did play many of the many hits, but spoilt it a bit with a medley of other people’s stuff. Got a drum solo too!  Her Ladyship was annoyed that they sang the wrong words to one HH song though (Sunshine girl) A woman behind us was fully expecting to see Peter Noone, she is obviously not a regular attender on the 60s circuit. Something I never knew is that there is Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone playing in the USA. They were always huge over there and it brings back to mind my many entries on the Andy Powell v Martin Turner case regarding the name Wishbone Ash.

And that was that. Anything to add?

  • Queues.  Mindnumbing. It seems that there are people who start one if there isn’t one there.
  • Venues. The carpet in Reds was like walking into the manager’s office in a glue factory.
  • Toilets. Mayhem in Reds. The Gents was closed (about time they were fumigated!!). ‘Ladies’ had to double up.
  • Drinks. Prices par for the course. Staff always polite
  • Food. Has been very decent for ages.
  • ‘Best of fest’. The Pretty Things.
  • ‘Star Quality’. La La Brooks.
  • ‘Do Not Resuscitate’. The New Mindbenders
  • DJs. Out of the 1000s of 60s songs, they only seemed to play about 10! Must have heard ‘Penny Arcade’ in every session
  • Merchandise. Hardly any. Stan Boardman had some  and  Herman’s Hermits were the only ones we saw come down to sign and sell stuff. 3 cds/dvds for an Ayrton Senna.
  • Candour. No, not a little-known 60s group, just a plea for a bit more ‘truth’. I know that people leave and join these groups, and (sadly) members die. There aren’t many people who have the same job for more than 50 years and there are examples above of some such people. But would it hurt too much just to say ‘We are The ***** and , yes, we are all too young to have been on these records but we will give it our best shot’?

All in all, better than our last 60s  visit.

HMS Prog. P and O Ferries Minicruise. 2-3 March 2018

P&O have been doing themed weekend minicruises for quite a while, including different genres of music and (no kidding) darts!  On a ferry?!  The prog rock version is the first attempt at this type of music so it is a first review.

We were lucky with the weather. Leeds to Hull seemed to have a clear corridor, if we had been 20 miles north, south or west we would have been snowbound.

Friday. An annoying delay setting off meant the opening act, Cairo, had to remove their gear but would play tomorrow night instead.          So Martin Turner ex-Wishbone Ash was first up. Tonight’s performance was the classic Argus LP in full, with the running order changed slightly.  Martin’s vocals were a bit wobbly to start with, but quickly got sorted. Danny and Tim are both strong back-up vocalists and there were plenty of Wishbone Ash fans there to witness a good rendition. No encore, unfortunately, but maybe the delay in departure was to blame. The overall vocal sound was maybe a touch ‘clubby’ but the playing was spot on.              Caravan.  No Geoff Richardson tonight, his place was taken by the highly-experienced jazz guitarist John Ethridge. Probably best known from Soft Machine, I seem to remember Her Ladyship saw him playing with Darryl Way’s Wolf in Scarborough (when Mr Way fell off the stage,)  Any Caravan fans who have seen recent gigs will have not been surprised by the set list. ‘All this could be yours’ , ‘Head Loss’, ‘If I could …’, ‘…Grey and Pink’, ‘Golf Girl’ and ‘Love to love you’.  Newer tunes such as ‘Farewell my old friend’, ‘Dead man walking’, ‘Fingers in the till’ all have that recognisable Caravan touch and they finish off with ‘I’ll be there for you’ and the crowd favourite ‘9 feet underground’.  Very enjoyable, we went upstairs to watch Geoff Downes on his keyboard. Missed the first half, but ‘Heat of the moment’ and ‘Video killed the radio star’ ended a good first night for us.

Saturday. Weather conditions meant we didn’t get into Amsterdam until 12.30pm, about 2 hours later than normal. So we didn’t go to the ‘secret’ gig, due to start at 1.00pm and featuring a couple from Pendragon on acoustic instruments.  Decided to look round the flea market and go bar-hopping (our usual schedule in Amsterdam). Crap exchange rate makes it an expensive way to spend 4 hours there.  Suitably refreshed we boarded the coach back and waited for Round 2.      Cairo. Having set up again, they started up with some FX. Strange that a 5-piece standard prog line-up should need so much electronic assistance.  I thought their first song was about President Trump ( ‘White House’) but it seems it was ‘Wiped Out’.  A couple of blokes in front of us were in major ‘whoop ‘ mode but I couldn’t see why. Possibly it was the gallon of over-priced Grolsch in the afternoon that had affected my ears? No, I decided, they were just crap.        Martin Turner and his chums came on for their second spot, this time playing the ‘There’s the Rub’ lp. The first studio outing for Laurie Wisefield, I aways thought it had Martin’s stamp all over it.  Today’s rendition was really good, all the vocals were excellent. They even managed a couple of encores with ‘Doctor’ and ‘Jail bait’. The bass sound was better than Friday and it had my thinking that if Mr Powell should try the same project he would come a real cropper.       PFM.  Veteran Italian proggers, filling in for original act Focus.  Not heard a note by them before, but I was very quickly impressed. Will check them out when I get home.    The weekend came to an end with another Geoff Downes spot. More from his extensive career, plus a Q&A session.  Two of Mart’s lot got up to do some Beatles songs, which seemed a bit bizarre, but Her Ladyship pointed out that maybe the Q&A section was flagging a bit  (and most of the audience were marginally overserved by this time).

And that was it.  An enjoyable weekend. Not cheap but hopefully it was successful enough to warrant another one. Negatives? There were people there who wouldn’t have known Martin Turner from Tina Turner but the audience in general were well-behaved prog fans. The sound system seemed to have one prog cd on repeat play.  Saturday’s pre-gig music had some sub-jazz  bollox on. When Her Ladyship politely requested some more ‘appropriate’ stuff she got a smartarse reply . It’s a good job there was some reinforced glass there, or he would have been eating his crisps through a  f**king straw. TW*T! ( N.B this wasn’t the prog DJ). The crossing was a bit rocky but nothing that P and O can can do about that.

photos…forgot camera so not great quality, taken on phone.

Great British Rock and Blues Festival. Butlins, Skegness.19-21. 01.2018

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)

S

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

R

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!

4 Play Quo. The Lion, Castleford. 12.01.2018

Decent.  Better than John Coghlan’s Quo. Discuss.

Crosscut Saw. Duck and Drake. 6 Jan 2017

Back in 1969 there was a film called ‘If it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium’. Similarly there is a gig called ‘If it’s the first Saturday in the month at the Duck and Drake it must be Crosscut Saw’. but it’s not quite as catchy a title!

The usual 9.30pm start, with the usual opening salvo of Bo Diddley’s ‘I can tell’ and Magic Sam’s ‘All your love’.  Once again. the rhythm section show they are as tight as Marc Almond’s thong, and the decent crowd soon shows its appreciation. There are a couple of songs from their latest ep and ‘Swamp Thing’ is  a great showcase for the dual harmonica bit of their repertoire.

Halftime came but no cup of Bovril for us or reading of the programme notes. We had to go for the last bus home but the trip into Leeds was worth every penny.

For those who think ‘The Blues’ is Eric Clapton playing on autopilot at Madison Square Garden with a ticket price as stupid as Donald Trump’s…er…no, just as stupid as Donald Trump, then check out these lads. THIS is the blues. No door charge, but worth more than a few bob going in the bucket.

Poco. City Winery. NYC. 13.9.2017. Update

At last year’s Poco gig, I bought a couple of cds at the merch desk, manned by Mrs Young. Being a Yorkshireman. I tried for a discount!  No luck, but Mary kindly gave me a pick…which I bloody lost out of my wallet the same night!

I emailed her when I got back to the UK, asking if I could send some $ in the post for one. She replied straight away, and promised to mail one free of charge.

And on Jan 5th, the package arrived, containing two. Posted on 15th December, but well worth the wait.

Somehow I can’t imagine Don Henley doing the same. (Poco nuts will know that Rusty Young has the occasional dig at Mr H).

Thanks again Mary