Fat Skeleton Blues and Bikes Weekend 2019. Cabourne Parva. 19-21.04.2019

Our first visit to this event/festival but not to the site. It previously staged the late lamented Blind Cat Festival. The location is absolutely idyllic. Think of an early Star Trek episode where Kirk, McCoy and a couple of security blokes beam down to a paradise-like planet. Kirk gets to grope some blonde bird (as usual!), Mc Coy somehow meets a girl he took to the pictures about 30 years ago and as for the two in the red shirts, they are toast.  Sunny day, tent erected in record time, no swearing! But that is mainly because I have developed a method which involves my having a hypo attack and letting Her Ladyship do it all.

Friday.  First up are The Ex-Kittens. Soundcheck was REM’s ‘What’s the Frequency Kenneth’ which was decent. Place was pretty full but we managed to spot a couple of spare seats…and realised why. Next to one bloke talking, no, actually yelling, at his mate as if he was in a different postcode! We could just about hear ‘Swords of 1000 men’ and ‘London Calling’. There was some newer stuff (FooFighters} as well as older songs from the likes of The ‘Oo. Her Ladyship was accosted by some woman who seemed to be Lincoln’s equivalent to Mystic Meg. She told H.L. she was ‘surrounded by Angels’. I felt like saying ‘Of course she is, it’s a f**kin bikers rally!’ Mick Jagger was when he was on stage at Altamont in 1969!       But back to the ‘turn’. They got people dancing and clapping so did their job. H.L. got a pint which defied the old saying ‘There’s no such thing as a bad pint of beer, it’s just that some are much better than others.’ I drank it though, while she had my Amber Nectar.                    Jacques D’Ladde. Soundcheck pretty much evolved into the set proper. Early showing for The Blues Band and there was a decent attempt at Free’s ‘Mr Big’. Probably better than most attempts that the post-Free Paul Rodgers has done. More Blues Band then the first Rory Gallagher song. (Inevitable, looking at bass player’s t-shirt). The group are very good, with a setlist list that has predictable Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac stuff mixed with rareties such as Free’s ‘Sweet Tooth’ and {bizarrely!) Cream’s ‘Mother’s Lament’. Only negative for me was plethora of Rory Gallagher stuff. I really just don’t get him. Never did, sorry folks. And, yes, I did actually see him at Leeds University in the 70s, bought vinyl, cassettes, cds, bootlegs but still…no.  End of proceedings, decent start to the weekend.

Saturday. Went down to the Acoustic Tent, next to the Christian Motorcycle Association cafe. Coffee £1.00, cans 50p, so great value. The talented Half Deaf Clatch was advertised as 2pm-3pm, which proved awkward as someone else was down to play at 2.30pm! The organiser came down , and he admitted he didn’t know what was going on! Yes, it did seem like he had been reading the ‘Organising a Festival’handbook and had just finished chapter 10 ‘A Wing and a Prayer’ but it was all taken in good humour. However , our man from ‘Ull started much earlier with his excellent acoustic blues. Mixing stuff from the old blues men (Robert Johnson is compulsory) with his own songs , it was unfortunate that the weather was so good that there were more outside than in. Tom Waits’ ‘Chocolate Jesus ‘ was almost apologetic to the cafe people but they openly advertise the tent as ‘Holy Joe’s’ so no offence taken. We got chatting to Dave Lowe, sometime festival organiser, highly respected sound engineer, no stranger to the site and all round top bloke. He has finally retired and even sold his ‘desk’…but not his bloody braces!                   Back to the Main Stage for Southbank Blues Collective. Lots of Wishbone Ash over the PA, the group start off with a couple of regulation 12 bar numbers. The drummer with brushes, unusual. Much changing of guitars, we also get some Chuck Berry, Wille Dixon, Bo Diddley and Canned Heat. Very dry, almost self-deprecating banter, one of the numbers was very out-of-tune though!  Quite acceptable stuff.                           We went out into the sun, from where we heard The Dog Jacksons start off with a couple of JJ Cale’s more familiar songs. And I am sorry, but I have to say  that Mr Cale would be spinning if his grave was anywhere near. It just wasn’t …very good. Fleetwood Mac’s single ‘Black Magic Woman’ brought to mind a later single of theirs , ‘Don’t Stop’, which we initially took as a suggestion and then an instruction. Apart from the queue at the bar there were two people inside, one of whom was asleep, so don’t get too cross with me! We went back to the tent, where H.L had 40 and I listened to some bloke’s 100dB sound system blasting out Stevie Ray Vaughan .                         The Gypsies. Soundchecked with a slow version of ‘Hollywood Nights’ and the early part of the set had relatively unusual numbers from Neil and the Horse,  and Uriah Heep(?). Better-known songs from Steve Earle and Foo Fighters heralded the set becoming a singalong, courtesy of Tom Jones/SAHB, Proclaimers, Eagles to name but three/four. Very popular , they had their own following and (worryingly) extolled the virtues of the upcoming Electric Fanny.                    Dana Gillespie . Coincidentally I was yesterday listening to an early BBC session from Bowie which featured a young Ms G, who is now seventy and still performing. (I believe Bowie actually wrote ‘Andy Warhol’ for her). Her combo are obviously top-notch musicians but very much in that slick Ronnie Scott’s Club chicken-in-a-basket mode. Not really for us, we retired.  Another decent day though.

Sunday. Unsurprisingly given the significant day in the Christian calendar, there didn’t seem to be much happening in Holy Joe’s. Got chatting to Ian and Andy from South Yorkshire’s finest, Do$ch. They were there well early , didn’t get lost. They weren’t too worried about the drummer not being there yet . Ian remarked he had managed to make it to England from Poland so he wasn’t too concerned!     Do$ch’s Daz’s little girl the only child there with ear protectors.          So  to Blues Boy Kings.   (Big chunk of Pink Floyd over PA first).  The BBK’s feature a female bassist/vocalist and have a mixture of standards via BB King, Mayall, along with originals (one of which has the ubiquitous riff more recently exhibited in ‘Tush’). Very good, with guitarist showing good slide-playing on standard tuning guitar.   Her Ladyship was impressed.                               Do$ch. Like the BBK’s they had to contend with not many inside. A combination of good weather and the fact that. as HL observed. it is a bikers rally and most of the customers are more interested in sitting outside talking all things bike. But as true pro’s, they launch into ‘I Can Tell’, one of many from the Mk 1 Dr Feelgood setlist. They don’t get chance to air many of their own excellent originals any more but their Bonneville Rebuild story is more than appropriate here. ‘Werewolves of London’ gets some howling along from a now-increased crowd and one Do$ch virgin commented that they should be on in the evening really. Agreed! Best of fest so far,                         Local Heroes. Some familiar faces from the afternoon, this time doing a basic pub covers, singalong set. Stones, T Rex, Straits and, yes you have guessed , ‘All Right Bleedin’ Now’!!  Her Ladyship swore and went outside to kick anything that had a pulse.                      And then, after little boys sliding across the floor (oh how we miss school discos…not!), Electric Fanny. ‘Eton Rifles’ is the opener, after which I chose not to waste any  more graphite on this mob. I am flabbergasted that this lot have got any following at all. (‘Ooh missus, never has my flabber been so gasted!’, to quote Frankie Howerd).  They really are awful!  A bog standard pub group. There must be a dozen groups in Mablethorpe that are better at it. Strumalong guitar, they reached their nadir with Elvis Costello’s classic single, which had people leaving. We chose to keep our comfy chairs and kept ‘Watching the Defectives’, and that isn’t a typo! Guitarist commented that a 6-year old had told them they were useless. An appropriate New Testament quote came to mind , ‘from the mouths of babes…’. The women opposite made a perfectly wonderful comment , ‘The songs are good, it’s just the way they are playing them!’ Unintentionally and brilliantly put.                     But soon it is time for the headliners, the peerless blues-rock power trio that is Egypt. They are our reason for coming, them and Do$ch. Sorry, our TWO reasons for coming are them and Do$ch , and the location. Our THREE reasons are them, Do$ch, the location and the price . Sorry , our FOUR reasons…OK, by now you may have realised I have been reading John Cleese’s autobiography in the tent. Back to Egypt. Starting out with a titanic ‘Maggie’s Farm’ followed by ‘I Wish You Would’, ‘Ride till you Die’ and ‘Smokestack Lightning’. The ghost of Howling Wolf is never far away when Eric C (no, not ‘Clapton’, this one is much better!) lets rip. They also have some great originals such as ‘Midnight Sun’. Eric does his own solo spot as usual and all being ex- Groundhogs there is a big chunk of  Groundhogs stuff as well as Led Zeppelin stuff . There was one wazzoed bloke shouting for’Eccentric Man’ which they had already played twenty minutes early. Then I realised it was ‘Groundhog Day’!!  They include a tongue-in-cheek snatch of Willie Dixon’s ‘You Need Love’ during LZ’s blatantly burgled ‘Whole Lotta Love’.  Egypt really are a top class show, and are bloody nice blokes too. Their onstage telepathy is fascinating! A sideways glance from Eric to Peter on drums…who isn’t even watching, and Alan on bass doesn’t need to look up either. No doubt they will be appearing soon on ‘The X Factor’ (and my dick is a bloater).

And then to bed…

So, overall

1. Location. As previously described, but the outdoor woodland stage (near Hansel and Gretel’s cottage) not used. There may be photos on an earlier Blind Cat review.

2. Sound. Excellent all weekend. Admirably maintained by people reachable at baldingblokeproductions@gmail com. (I think!). Recommended.

3. Food. Despite advertising, the two outlets were not always open when they should have been. Maybe we caught the burger shed woman on a toilet break. But she was pleasant and stuff was cheaper than normal fest fare. The bistro wraps were good and cheap, but both places were low on veggie options.

4.Music. Thankfully free of plastic paddies, reggae and jazz fusion bollox. Bikers events preferred genre is blues-rock so fine by us. Remember  music always down to ‘opinion’ and I reserve my right to my opinion which may upset some people!

5. Ticket cost. Excellent value for money.

6..Clientele. The biker fraternity are probably the friendliest you would meet.

7. Toilets. Ranging from the ‘perfectly practical’  gents’ urinals to the ‘positively palatial’ outside main stage. Credit to the customers that they were pretty much respected too.

8. Beer. As usual, some ran out but £3.00 a pint is eminently acceptable. No, actually bloody cheap for a festival!

9. Campsite. Occasional idiot but thankfully not too occasional.

10. Dogs. Loads, mainly little yapping variety.

It’s a great little event and we look forward to next year, when I can make an equally honest review.
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Electric Fanny. The Lion, Castleford. 09.03.2017

It is not often that we get back from a gig that I feel moved to do a review straight away. Tonight is an exception. Coming up to midnight and we have had the misfortune to witness this dross at the Lion.

Nearby Wetherspoons was full, many of whom were going to see this pile of sh*te. And. like us, they had seen the brilliant poster which seemed to imply that it was going to be a rock female trio. What did we get? A totally abysmal pub-rock male trio doing Jam, Joe Jackson etc. Absolutely brilliant marketing, we totally fell for it!!

‘Fake News’ ? Brilliant!  They were absolutely bloody awful, and I have to totally admire their absolute devotion to misinformation. We would be heartbroken if their van broke down… .

 

Blue Oyster Cult. 02 Academy, Leeds. 26.02.2019

The tickets state that Doors Open 7.00pm. Did they?! No they bloody didn’t , which left dozens of people still outside when support act The Temperance Movement started. And we weren’t the only ones in the queue decidedly unchuffed.

Ther group started up in 2011 and had a regular mid-afternoon slot in lots of festivals, building up a good following. Maybe they should have kicked on a bit more by now, but this year Status Quo are supporting Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Rebel Motor Club are supporting Alice in Chains so they are in respectable company in supportland ( ‘Special Guests’ seems to be the preferred terminology}. Yes, they still have that Facesesque swagger and singer Phil Campbell is very animated with a good set of pipes. They got a well-deserved decent reception.

A pretty quick change-over and the lights are dimmed. The instrumental intro starts up, which I was told is from ‘Game of Thrones’ and BOC are straight into ‘Dr Music’. The sound is strangely quiet, but very good with the vocals clear. They go into CSNY vocal mode for the beginning of ‘Golden Age of Leather’ and it’s obvious there are quite a few in the audience who are going to more than one of the gigs on the tour.The intro to ‘Burnin’ For You’ gets a roar of approval, and it’s amazing that the remaining original frontmen Eric Bloom and Donald ‘Buck Darmer’ Roeser are well past 70 years old!

I was so pleased we didn’t go to the London or Newcastle gigs, where ‘Harvest Moon’ won the ‘People’s Vote’ versus ‘Shooting Shark’. The latter is a great song and I have always wanted to see them play it*. ‘Buck’s Boogie’ is still in the set, and ‘Then Came the Last Days of May’ has worn well considering it is from their debut LP. There are a couple of songs aimed at the fans who want a variation in the set before Her Ladyship’s favourite ‘Godzilla’.  Buck Dharma’s solo guitar spot precedes the timeless ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’. A couple of encores and it’s the end of a really good night.  Mssrs Bloom and Roeser know what side their New York begels are buttered on and (along with their three henchmen whose names sound like extras from The Sopranos) deliver a set filled with crowd favourites. Ticket price ok @£30, and we got a couple of dodgy t-shirts outside for £15 the pair (genuine ones were £25 each).  Beer prices extortionate, twice the price of the nearby Wetherspoons.

 

*Bit of trivia. American Idol judge Randy Jackson played bass on the original.

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Austin Gold. Duck and Drake. 09.02.2019.

I am always somewhat wary of advertising posters that some musical outfits put out. But I decided to check out Austin Gold on Youtube, prompted by the poster in the Gents’ in the DnD.  After listening to about 30 seconds of their ‘Before Dark Clouds’ lp, I was ironing my jeans ready for the bus into Leeds!

We arrived about 7.00pm, to be confronted by what seemed to be half of Pink Floyd’s stage equipment on the pub floor. But by 9.00 pm they had it all in place and done a soundcheck. We got chatting to keyboard man Russ, who told us it was their first gig as a four piece, the other guitarist had decided to go to Canada.

9.30pm and if any nerves were onstage, they were well-disguised. Singer/guitarist Dave has a great voice and is no slouch on guitar either. They played plenty of stuff from the afore-mentioned lp, and it’s half an hour before a cover song, namely ‘La Grange’.  The first set finished with ‘In a Broken Dream’ and Her Ladyship and I looked at each other absolutely gobsmacked.  It was one of those rare occasions when you get to see something just a bit bloody excellent!  Sadly we had to go for the last bus home but Austin Gold are definitely on our ‘must and will see again’  list.

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Do$ch. The Lion, Castleford. 08.02.2019

It is the year 2019 and a glance at the Do$ch website, http://www.dosch-uk.com, will show you that Do$ch was born in 1999. so a double decade of Do$ch is upon us.

The crowd in the Lion is not exactly enormous, which means more room for us. ‘I Can Tell’ gets proceedings off to a great start and is quickly followed by a sizeable chunk of prime Dr Feelgood fillets (Wilko era). Wilko’s solo classic ‘Dr Dupree’ is in the mix too as is The Pirates’ ‘Please Don’t Touch’. Their own compositions would slot in nicely on any Feelgoods lp though and they finish their first set with Screaming Lord Sutch’s wonderful  ‘Jack the Ripper’.

Fag time for Ian and Andy, then Ian straps on his open-tuned Gibson for their own ‘Bonneville Blues’ and ‘Back in the Night’.  Sadly. the last bus home was imminent but not before their tremendous version of ‘Werewolves of London’ had brought a smile to the faces of us all.

So in an era when ‘music’ seems to be something performed by talent show hopefuls to fill Simon Cowell’s hipster trouser pockets, it is a privilege to actually see real musicians plying their excellent trade. Andy and Ian (with a range of rhythm sectioners) have been coming up and down the M1 for 20 years. For the money? Hardly…they just love the job and the music.

We have been Dr Feelgood fans since the Wilko days and it occurs to me that if either Do$ch or the current line-up of Dr Feelgood (who also started in  1999) were to play the complete live ‘Stupidity’ lp, both of us would probably plump for Do$ch.  What more  can I say?

 

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Wishbone Ash. Vintage Years. !970-1991. Pt 2

Not a review of the ‘official’ box set. I didn’t put it on my letter to Santa, as I thought, @ £250, it would have been a bit naughty.

No, I said ‘Please could I have the ‘Grateful Dead ’71 Dead ‘ 21 cd box? I have been a good boy and not criticised the ‘official’ Wishbone Ash for a long time. Thank you Santa. I love you. Lord Bimlex.xxxxx

I knew that it could be bought on Amazon @£23.50 so might have been in his budget. 7 complete FM broadcasts from 1971, which many think to be their ‘golden’ era. First disc currently on my player.

So Amazon can make a profit (and delivery cost is included)…and the makers make a profit too! At a selling price of £23.50. The WA box is £250!! Don’t think I need to say much more really.

Wishbone Ash. Vintage years 1970-1991.

I am sure all fans of Wishbone Ash music will know of the recent release of a limited number of the above 30 cd box set, containing existing recordings from the era plus many unreleased studio and live recordings. The price was an eyewatering £250.00, but buyers seem more than happy with the package.

I bought the recent Roadworks cd from the last US tour…no complaints at all @£10.00. But the recent announcement of a recording from Glasgow in 1977 being released is somewhat ‘puzzling’. I did not invest in the box set (I know someone who did), but if I had I would be a bit ‘disappointed’ at the new Glasgow release. My immediate reaction would be that surely there would have been room for one more cd in the box set, rather than asking people who have recently been relieved of £250.00 to shell out…again?

This is not necessarily a dig at Mr Powell, as all the Mk1 and 2 line-ups were involved in the box set. ( I doubt that they were all in the same room at the same time though!). But have all 5 approved this further release?  Hmmm…