Tag Archives: Martin Turner

A New Day Festival. Mt Ephraim Gardens. 25-27. 8.2017

Last year was the inaugural and, barring a few mendable issues, it was pretty good.  (Check out last year’s review)

Friday.  Got there in good time, first up were the (acoustic) Strawbs. Dave Cousins has one of those real Marmite voices, and he and Mr Lambert and Mr Cronk have been doing pretty much the same set for some time now. Mr C’s banter doesn’t change much either. The Cronk-Cousins song ‘Turn me Round’ is the opener, followed by 1968’s ‘The Man who called himself Jesus’.  Lots of chat about TOTP and ‘The Hangman and the Papist’, and they finished with ‘Lay Down’. A good reception for the folk stalwarts.                            Paradise 9. They started up promptly on the other stage, Her Ladyship went for a Charlie Cooke.                 Pearl Handled Revolver were next on the 1st stage. Regular festival favourites, saw them some years ago at Cambridge Rock Festival. Now without a bass player, they were plugging their latest record ‘If the Devil cast his net’ the title track had a definite Doors feel. ‘Help me down from the Trees’ was another newie.                                Del Bromham’s Blues Devils      Good ol’ Del never lets you down, with his blues combo made up of Stray and the recently warmed-up PHR  .  His Jack Daniels song reminded me of  Whitesnake’s early blues sound.                                Off to the other stage for Dr Feelgood.  Starting out with ‘Stupidity’ and ‘I can tell’,  the set was very 70s . All the expected offerings…and  no ‘Down by the Jetty Blues’. After 17 bloody years!  We did go back to ‘Shotgun’ though. Steve W had a sing on ‘Rolling and Tumbling’ and the more recent ‘One more Shot’ ended a short, tight and well-received   set.                      Kaz Hawkins A late replacement for King King.  She wanted us to make some noise, I think she was making enough herself.  Gushing blurbs always make me nervous, and being ‘much-acclaimed’ made me think ‘much-acclaimed for looking like a cleaning lady’.  There were others around me who weren’t overwhelmed.           We were very tired after a Thursday night out in Peterborough and an early rising so went to bed.    Heard Martin Barre launch into ‘Minstrel in the Gallery’ from the gallery. Mr B seems to have come to terms with the audience wanting a Tull set basically. He still features his Beatles stuff, but now rolls out ‘Aqualung’ as well as ‘Locomotive Breath’.                Not interested in Big Country  . A pretty decent opening day.

Saturday.     Got down in good time for Edgar Broughton. Solo with 6 string acoustic. Light years away from his 70s power trio.   He is another one who has adopted this ‘am going to burst into tears’ vocal style…and it is bloody awful! Sorry Edgar, the song about Mick Farren’s death sounded terrible (Rhythmic Ray was there that night too).  Stick to ‘Out Demons Out’ and ‘Apache Boogie’ a la 3-piece, mate.                             The Fierce and the Dead . I just don’t get them. Loud 4-piece but all instrumentals. I listened from Stage 2.  Ray wasn’t too impressed by the sound from the back.                               Solstice. Veteran proggers, much liked by our chum McTaff.  Some oldies plus stuff from newer ‘Keepers’ record.  Not my favourite genre but they sounded decent.                      Jackie Lynton. He managed not to swear for the first three seconds!  Usual start with ‘Ready and Willing’ and ‘C’est la Vie’ not far behind. A raconteur par excellence, we also get the occasional original number.  If you can’t see the genius of Chuck Berry, stay in your tent and put ‘Queen’s Greatest Hits’ on your mp3 player.                   Soft Machine. There will have been many in the audience who remember when a double lp was almost obligatory. The Who, The Beatles, Chicago, Can etc…and Soft Machine.  I do remember a student chum buying it, and I do remember listening to about 30 seconds of it.  I kept my distance today.          Went across to await Martin Turner playing some classic Wishbone Ash with his current line-up.    They played the whole of the ‘Argus’ lp to start with, and they absolutely nailed it. Vocals and playing were spot on, although the silly ‘lumberjack’ interlude could do with binning.  Singalong in ‘Jailbait’ too. But ‘Living Proof’ is the best song of the  Wisefield era, and we really enjoyed them.                             John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest. One of the two versions of BJH, but I didn’t stop long. Had intended to, as I really like some BJH songs. But the bass player?!  Some git with a Working Man’s Club ‘witty’ banter.  What a total tw*t!   Couldn’t bear to stop, had to listen to the excellent ‘Hymn’ from the other stage.                               Lindisfarne. There will be Lindisfarnoraks who will be despairing of the personnel merry-go-round, but starting out with the B-side ‘No time to Lose’, they wisely never strayed from their first three studio lps.  The reformed version’s ‘Run for Home’ is a guaranteed singalong, and they were great. A real pleasant surprise , I expected to be disappointed but certainly wasn’t.                          Uriah Heep. Headliners across on the other stage, starting with ‘Gypsy Queen’. Lots of 70s stuff, of course, ‘Easy Livin’ ‘ and ‘Stealin” are always there.     I have never been a fan, but Her Ladyship was when  she was 16 (and still is).  They seemed to please the faithful. New track ‘The Law’ didn’t sound special.              Some good stuff today from the assorted bill.

Sunday.  Chris Conway and Dan Britton. Ok, I don’t want some bunch of teenagers on stage at midday on Sunday telling me to get my f*cking hands in the f*cking air, but I don’t want twee sub-folky tosh either. Fifteen years since their first lp, been together for twenty five years. Coincidentally they are on A New Day Records.                    Opensight. Went over for a brief look at them. A cross between Spinal Tap and Anvil…but deadly serious.                       Back for House of X. Like Snakecharmer and Skinny Molly, they are forging an identity away from the mothership. Danny Peyronnel and his UFOsters give us the expected ‘Shoot Shoot’, ‘Lights out’ and ‘Doctor Doctor’ as well as their own stuff. Dave ‘Bucket’ Colwell joined for the end. Lots of t-shirts in evidence.   Good applause.                         Jackie McAuley. Still treading the boards at 70, once of 60s group Them. ‘Baby please don’t go’ gets an airing, but his attempt at Bob Dylan wasn’t to Paul Bobfan’s liking!   His slide playing occasionally missed the mark and Her Ladyship spent most of the set playing hell on Facebook at the news of the much-needed Leeds Arena putting another sh*te tribute act on.  They went down well though.                     Most of our party went off for the medieval meanderings of Gryphon, we decided to stay put.                  Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham.  Lots of old blues standards from the Nine Below Zero duo. ‘L and N’ is a 9BZ staple, and we got some Hank Williams and ‘Amazing Grace’ to finish. Very low-key.                         Focus. What happened to the policy of no one returning from last year? Another 70s outfit who put out a double lp. ‘House of the King’ was featured early, we had decamped to the other stage by the time the A-side ‘Sylvia’ hit the air.                         Slade In 1972 I was listening to ‘Free at Last’ and ‘Meddle’ and Slade were just a pop group. But ‘Gudbuy t’ Jane’ was a cracking single , so when Don Powell opened up with that drum attack they had my attention. And it was absolutely f*ckin SH*TE!   As was the rest of it. Paul Bobfan reckoned they sounded like a second rate tribute act, Her Ladyship likened them to the dross you usually hear on the P&O mini-cruises.  Noddy Holder and Jim Lea must be appalled at the treatment of their songs. OK, Holder and Lea got all the composing money but are Dave Hill and Don Powell so skint they have to churn out this insult to the group’s legacy?!   (We definitely didn’t think they were very good. Lots did).   Left Gail and Mike Leatherpot to top up their marginal overservededness.                   New Model Army.  Not a clue about them, went back for much-needed kip.       Not maybe the best of the three days.

So how was it all?

  1. Music.  A bit sad that Weyfest has gone for a slightly younger on-stage presence, but the ex-Weyfest organisers have gone for eg Big Country and New Model Army too?  In general, the music was appreciated by the majority of the customers. We thought Lindisfarne got the gold medal, with Martin Turner and Dr Feelgood also on the podium.
  2. Toilets. No festival is perfect, and last year’s toilets situation was terrible. But full marks for addressing it. They seemed ok to us . But none near the second stage?
  3. Bar.  Always queues at whichever bar had the music was on…so go to the other one! Price acceptable as was quality. Occasionally ran out of stuff but impossible to be perfect.
  4. Seating. Again, many were disappointed last year with lack of seats at the top bar. Sorted. Lots of hay bales, cheap and did the job.
  5. Security.  Gurkha Security were polite and efficient. Didn’t appear to be any drunken idiots to police
  6. Food. £8.00 plus for a pizza is a bit naughty and £6.00 (!)  for some chips that had a bit of batter on and had the word ‘organic’ featured somewhere.  Come on!
  7. Stages. Very punctual, with performances staggered.  Good scheduling.
  8. Sound. Another problem last year, particularly for Martin Barre. This year seemed ok to us, but some of our friends reckoned there were occasional lapses.
  9. Camp Shop. Or lack of it. Another festival out in the sticks which should have facility for basics provided.
  10. Litter.  Thankfully the clientele seem respectful. Maybe a skip to put rubbish bags in?
  11. Finally, campsite parking arrangements. The only real negative from the weekend. OK, the situation last year needed sorting but having to cart stuff uphill from the car park needs some rethinking. The availability of the little chugalongs and smartarse comments about bringing too much stuff is all very well, but the fest was VERY VERY lucky that the weather was good. Imagine if it had slammed it down and the punters ( NOT a young crowd by any means) had been forced to carry stuff in the mud and rain…and spend all weekend thinking about doing it in reverse!  Quite a few adverse reactions on Facebook when we were told (with only a few days to go ) of the arrangements. Many would not have bought tickets if this had been pointed out originally. Just sounds a bit cynical re the timing of the news.

All things considered, a good weekend.  But campsite parking situation is the one aspect that will need thinking about. And, by the way, next year will be the same weekend as Cambridge Rock Festival (as it was last year). Both campaigning for the same customers…and CRF has camping NEXT to vehicles!  Take note.

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Acoustic Festival of Britain. Uttoxeter. 2-4. 6.2017

We gave last year a miss, having been a touch disappointed with the previous year. Some of the announcements looked promising, so we gave it another shot. So, review time… (And, OK, it’s not strictly ‘acoustic’, but most of the guitars are acoustic , with pick-ups).

Friday. Bit drizzly putting the tent up, but managed to get in to catch some of Lost Tuesday Society.  Not sure I could match up what I could see and hear with the programme notes, but they were pleasant enough. Never easy to have the opening slot (OK Status Quo did well at Live Aid!). Her Ladyship liked them but she had to go for a walk as some Morris dancers were sitting too near (New Zealand would have been too near).        Gaz Brookfield Regular festival goers all over will be familiar with him. Opening song about diabetes set the tone and the tempo.  For me, the latter is a problem. He has pithy lyrics, but every song is a fast strum. Could you maybe think about having a go at some slow finger picking occasionally?  He had a new record to plug. Her Ladyship liked his ‘observational’ words. Back to the tent for my insulin, ironically!          Wee Bag Band.  Came back as they were Irish roving. Plenty of Irish themes but I couldn’t detect any Irish accents.  Sea shanties too.  An instrumental ‘Hey Jude’ started slowly and prettily but speeded up to jigglydiggly pace and ended up at thrash metal level.  Her Ladyship liked the sound of Cartoon Food in the nearby tent and went to check them out.                             Just as The Men They Couldn’t Hang  were due on, it started to rain. We went inside to get a good spot for Martin Turner. The front of the programme said’ Martin Turners Wishbone Ash’, the schedule inside it said’ Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash’ and the notes said ‘Wishbone Ash by Martin Turner’.  I believe he is now, officially, Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash. So we went in to see all four groups!  Anyway, the acoustic-ish line-up launched into ‘Time Was’, the opening song from what was to be an unusual rendition of the complete’ Argus’.   It was rearranged slightly to feature ‘Blowin’ Free’ at the end, as was the re-recorded ‘Argus Through the Looking Glass’ by Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash…bugger that’s now five  groups! ‘Jailbait’ from ‘Pilgrimage’ finished the set, it would have been great to have ‘No Easy Road’ too. Did it work? Definitely. A great performance, Her Ladyship led the obligatory jumping up and down to the outro of ‘Blowin’ Free’. And that was it for us. I wondered is it a coincidence that ‘being old’ rhymes with ‘being  cold’? Can’t be.

Saturday. Thankfully, the toilets had been cleaned and soap/toilet paper replenished. How many times have your eyes watered when confronted by the contents after the first night!?               Rumblestrutters. One of organiser Mike Stephens’ favourites,  they are a jug band…with an actual jug.  Originals mixed with the likes of Skip James, Robert Johnson, Leadbelly and Tampa Red. A decent start to the day.        Acoustic Beatles. Oh dear.  Programme mentioned a duo with two voices and two acoustic guitars. (Incorrect on all three). And, Mike, are they your words about a version of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ that surpasses the original?! I know we are entitled to an opinion but …) We waited with bated breath for the song.  What we got was a Working Man’s Club/ wedding reception copy group. Of course, everyone knows the words and everyone sings along ( not everyone). Her Ladyship was not impressed that they missed out part of ‘A Little Help from my Friends’.  In case you are thinking I have also missed out part of the title, the word’ With’ was not in the original title on the lp. Find an original  copy and check it out.  Her Ladyship, of course, went ‘Aah, I love this one’ to every song.   I went for a walk but couldn’t escape. Sadly, I predict there will be more people wanting them back than anyone else (see also Counterfeit Stones and T. Rexstacy. That’s why live music venues put on bloody tribute sh*te rather than new music..) And we didn’t get ‘Eleanor Rigby’!  End of rant.   Went back to the tent, had to endure what sounded like the terminally tedious  Big Fibbers from afar. Not going to give them the honour of italics or bold letters.           Her Ladyship went off to see brilliantly inept Ed Tudor Pole, I chose to stay to give Nick Harper another go. I saw him many years ago at the much-lamented Rhythm Festival but it wasn’t to my taste.  I have to say he is nothing if not consistent. Much flashy harmonics, and his  machine head jiggling only served to put his guitar out of tune. His falsetto-ridden second song seemed to impress all around me, as did his OTT version of  ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’.  Much whoopin’ ‘n’ hollerin’ greeted the end of his set. I can’t bring myself to give an adjective (I have plenty in mind).    Her Ladyship returned to say that Ed had been great in a packed Big Top.          Chantel McGregor was playing in an acoustic trio on the Main Stage, observed by her army of middle-aged male admirers.    We chose to stay and grab a front row spot for the legend that is…John Otway.  Only an hour set , so impossible to fit everything in.  Starting, of course with the  (what WAS the only) hit, closely followed by the ‘B’ side.  There were some Otway virgins there, and there are still some out there in the big wide world, so I won’t go into the details of ‘Blockbuster’, ‘Cheryl…’, ‘Louisa…’,  and the rest. A few newies thrown in, but he really is a must-see. Her Ladyship was still laughing at what she has heard dozens of times. Roadie Deadly has more of a part as his ‘stoodge’ now.              Charge outside for Fairport Convention. It seems like everyone here has a new record to plug, but we still get classics such as ‘Genesis Hall’, ‘Who knows where the time goes’, ‘Sir Patrick Spens’, ‘Fotheringay’, ‘Hiring Fair’ and of course, ‘Matty Groves’ and ‘Meet on the Ledge’. But a bloody percussion solo!? Come on lads, just tell the crowd to count to 300 while you have a cup of tea.                 Charge back into the tent for the Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican.    As with Otway, it would spoil the show if gave away too many details, you really need to see them. And as with Otway, there were a lot of Doonican First-timers too.  Basically, they mercilessly lampoon the like of the Police, Chris de Burgh, Rainbow, Marc Cohn with some brilliant versions of their hits, with deceptively good instrumental ability.  Sometimes the lyrics can get lost in the general festival (and rude) ‘chat’, and the accents and the distance to the back can be a problem, but they are very, very funny.   Amazing crowd surf as a finale. By this time, Her Ladyship was marginally ‘Old’ but hugely ‘Peculiered’, so the trip back to the tent was an expedition  which wore out two pairs of shoes.   A great day.

Sunday.   Once again, toilet-cleaning company had been up at the crack of dawn, excellent.    Looked at the programme and had a ‘Clash’ moment…’Should I stay or should I go?’  Not a lot that appealed to us, if the forecast had been crap we would have decamped , but decided to stop.      Two lots of ukulele groups were followed by Boy on a Dolphin. Another of organiser Mike’s favourites, they are indeed all top musicians.  Not a particularly recognisable style, but a pleasing , and sensible, start to the day. I don’t want some silly young man telling me to put my hands in the air and clap at noon on a bloody Sunday!  But by the end there were a dozen or so Dad Dancers up front.             Elvis Fontenot.   Cajun jollity from Stoke.   Squeezebox man and washboard man looked like they had just walked off the set of ‘Breaking Bad’. But they showed good musical versatility. Female guitarist had a sing  on Canned Heat’s  ‘Going up the Country’. We got their version of the Who’s ‘Squeeze Box’.  Tongues firmly in cheeks but deceptively decent.              Gave Nell Bryden a miss on the Main Stage, and waited for Tir Na Nog.  I will own up to seeing them back in 1972 supporting Jethro Tull doing ‘Thick as a Brick’ at Leeds University, but not remembering a bloody thing about them. But by the time an hour had lapsed, I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t given them more attention then . They were really good, with the majority of their set still coming from their first lp.  The recent ‘Ricochet’ had a bit of electronic help but was very impressive.  (The Nick Drake cover was good too. )  An excellent show.     Not bothered about Jenny Belle Star, went back for some warmer clothes.  Mike had recommended we check out the Comedy bar , so we did. Tony Cowards did a good spot, his delivery much based on cringeworthy puns,  choosing to basically ignore the obligatory f*ckwit in the audience.   I think the knob chose to keep somewhat quiter when Scott Bennett came on.  More of a tale-teller, very much based on his observations of his stereotypical Yorkshire father. For some reason Her Ladyship kept looking at me and howling with laughter.  Sorry Tony, she didn’t get a photo.  Maybe next time we will spend more time in here.  Great to see one of the greats of British Blues-Rock, Tony McPhee smiling in there too.                         THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH from The Beautiful Sound. That is what it said on the poster, with the first part in huge capitals and the second part in minute font. So it was a tribute act, which given that most of the audience were retired and wore spectacles might have come as a surprise. I have to say it, just a bit naughty .  I remember last time they sounded and looked nothing like the original group (or the Housemartins). But, as with the Acoustic  Beatles, I am in a minority. Front of stage packed.                Bluesman Mike Francis.  Seemingly’ Woody Guthrie and Robert Johnson would sound like this guy’.  After two numbers we tended to not to concur and went off to see the Adverts TV Smith.  Post 60, still energetically treading the boards.  Stirring versions of ‘Bored Teenagers’, ‘The Great British Mistake’ and (the hit) ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ were mixed with newer songs such as the emotive ‘Good Times are Back’.   He got a well-deserved rousing reception.                       Greg Murray and the 7 Wonders.     8-piece, reminiscent of those 70s show bands that were popular in Ireland.    Didn’t seem to be a Main Stage closing act, from where they were switched.   They had seemingly performed also on the pre-festival Thursday. They went down very well, with an obviously lubricated audience, but I couldn’t see the attraction. But plenty could.     Sons of Clogger. The usual jumpy up and downy end to the weekend, by now we had to cadge four matchsticks to keep our eyes open so headed off to lower our crania.  Mike Stephens had made a few comments before they came on. Thanking all for coming, and continuing to come.  He stated that the days of spending lots on eg Joan Armatrading had gone, it doesn’t appreciatively add to the gate.  (He let slip a couple of names to me, who are returning. Her Ladyship got her chequebook out immediately.    BUT, Mike, no room for complacency!)  As a salesman, I was told 1. Keep your customers 2. Get new customers.3. Get back old customers. ( NB. The hardest of the three, is actually no.3.)

A very good weekend, glad we came back on board. OK, not all to our taste, even Mike is realistic and appreciates we can’t like everything. But he tries to give something for everybody.

Negatives? Not many.

The Curse of Cropredy. Loads of people there put bloody tents up in the arena! I had to move my bloody seat four times one year.  And it is quite a steep hill. I noticed one small tent erected here  on Sunday. Don’t care if it is for kids, nip it in the bud Mike before it becomes the norm. Seriously, put it in the T&C’s.

Her Ladyship, who is a veggie, ordered a vegetable Thai noodles takeaway. She had eaten half of it when she looked and found pieces of chicken! She binned it. No good saying ‘inform us of any allergies’ when such unacceptable practice is happening. And it wasn’t only once, the sound girl overheard us and said it had happened to her last night and took hers back.  Therefore they knew about it but chose to ,seemingly, ‘carry on regardless’.Not the organiser’s fault, but I won’t be disappointed if they are not there next year.

Not really a ‘negative’, depending on if you like the particular acts concerned, but there are an awful lot of acts who make more than one appearance. I suppose it is part of the festival finances, namely only one lot of travelling expenses to pay?

We know people who can’t believe we do so many festivals. It’s not difficult to sort!  I reckon every fest-goer knows people who have  ‘Go to a Music Festival’ on their Bucket List.   I can definitely recommend the AFOB as the one to test the water with.   Crowd only a few thousand. Beer/food prices reasonable for a festival. Good mix of music. No w*nkered idiots lurching into you. Space to sit down. Never any huge queues. Good sound systems. Park next to your tent. Camp site next to the arena.  Organiser always approachable (but maybe give him a wide berth if some acts don’t turn up , as seemingly happened with some children’s entertainers! ). No thefts from tents. Toilets very clean. Showers (free!). Security not heavy-handed. Three really good nights’ sleep ( a real +).

If some acts are already pencilled in, this year must have been a financial success, so the earlier the announcements the better. We know a couple of former regulars who found another festival this weekend

No official T-shirts this year?

 

 

Onboard the Craft. Stoke Prior. 9-10.9.2016

Our second OTC festival and last year’s review shows we enjoyed it.  Weather forecast looked windy so we chose to take our middle size tent, which turned out to be a spectacularly poor decision! The stage is inside the County Club , with camping on the adjoining field.   So…

Friday. First on is Tom Spacer. One man show , a bit like Don Partridge does Rave.         BB Lonedog.  Another one man band, but without his predecessor’s effects.  In a strange coincidence, we were discussing how Her Ladyship had ordered a ‘Feed Your Head’ t-shirt and had arranged to pick it up here. Sadly the t-shirt man hadn’t turned up…and BB launched into ‘White Rabbit’, the very same song which inspired the t-shirt.  ‘Locomotive Breath’ went down well too.       Wizards of Delight.   Back to a regulation 5-piece rockers line-up. They brought to mind Def Leppard when they started up and occasionally got funky in a Black Crowes vein.  Her Ladyship detected a hint of the theme tune from Ulysses, which our kids used to watch. Very good, we both liked them.       PRFB.  All instrumental foray into the cosmos.            Dr Hasbeen. The good doctor and his chums informed us early on about those little green men. Archetypal space rock with a dash of punk.            Neck.   Irish music played by Irish men.  At least one up on the plethora of Plastic Paddies which the Pogues and the Levellers have spawned.  I know I have been in possession of my aural faculties for coming up to old age pension class, but I never understood a bloody word of what the singer said all night.  Their fast and furious version of ‘Fields of Athonry’ is a staple of their set and they have a good following. Rhythmic Raymond was in serious groove mode. I am not a big fan of this stuff and I did actually understand one word the man said. ‘Punk’.  We got the Clash’s ‘White Main in Hammersmith Palais’ and it annoys me how the Clash acquired this punk gods status. Joe Strummer was the son of a Foreign Office diplomat who had already been playing and recording  semi-pro at least with the 101’ers. Paul Simonon was the son of an amateur artist and a librarian and was a wannabe artist. Mick Jones had already been treading the boards in various groups. Topper Headon who replaced original drummer Terry Chimes was a jazz fan and had been in a prog rock outfit that supported Supertramp.  Quite a bit removed from the working class, poverty-stricken, 3-chord DIY outfits that ‘punk’ was all about. And , like Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, 10cc and Steely Dan they latched onto reggae as being ‘cool’. OK, rant over.  And to cap it all, Her Ladyship was batting vainly against catching the Last Train to ZZZsville. I was struggling too, so we had to give Psi Gong a miss and were soon in bed.  Sorry lads, was looking forward to it.

Saturday.  My decision re tent type had proved to be as good as my decision to put a tenner on Middlesbrough to win the Premiership. It rained like hell during the night and our tent (mainly Her Ladyship’s half) was like a swimming pool.  Emergency repairs and off to catch  John the Baptist and the Second Coming. Invisible bass player, very earthy vocal style. Very quirky but good musically and interesting visually. A good start.           Silver Trees. A very, very long opening instrumental based on E and D chords. Female singer on guitar, it was more than a touch soporific. The Velvet Underground set the mould 50 years ago, and did it much better.            Buff.   3-piece power trio line-up, but with spacey effects. Imagine Motorhead with the guitar pedal stuck on ‘cosmic’ setting.  (Although I have to say that there were times when Lemmy had got his goolies in a set of mole-grips, but it didn’t detract from the set.)  They came from ‘up North’ and were an enjoyable row, albeit occasionally over my ageing head!    Good blokes, thanks for posing for a photo for Her Ladyship!         Do Not Panic.   A Hawkwind tribute act from God’s own county , specifically York.  We have seen them before in Castleford, when we thought they were good.  So we were interested in what Rhythmic Ray thought , as he loathes copy acts and is a huge Hawkwind fan!  They actually passed the test, I saw Ray taking photos and having a bit of a twirl.  The bassist having a Motorhead-era Lemmy appearance is definitely anachronistic, but they finished strongly with ‘Urban Guerilla’ and ‘Silver Machine’. They encored (and soundchecked) with ‘Needle Gun’ which Hawkwind rarely play.  Probably the biggest crowd of the weekend.             Babal.  Very heavy on the visual aspect, with a female singer and female side-kick and Ming the Merciless on guitar.  He had a style reminiscent of Earl Slick in his Bowie period.   Very entertaining, they put a lot of thought , time and work into the show.               Third Quadrant. 80s prog outfit who reconvened a few years ago. Bassist had that very 80s (and,sorry,  awful!) sound.   Somewhat more grizzled now, of course, I assume they are not intent on conquering the world but are doing it for pleasure. Hopefully not on the basis of our hearing the guitar or drums, which were both non-existent early on.  Bloke behind us with a Bearded Theory t-shirt had nodded off, we decided to go and sit outside.             Heard the duo that is the Magick Brothers start up.  Violin plus keyboards/vocalist who also did some didgeridooing.   Singer told us that they only played one gig last year.             The Fierce and the Dead.  Early announcement from this 4-piece that it was to be all instrumentals.  They already have 2 cds and 2 eps.  For me, desperately crying out for a singer and lyrics.      Zub Zub.   Another lot with collective laryngitis it seems , after about 30 seconds I asked Her Ladyship to wake me up in about  an hour, or 59 minutes past Rave o’clock.                       Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash.   Apologies to any particular person if I have got the name not quite right. It seems to have changed a couple of times and I didn’t quite catch the announcer’s speech, so I took the name off my copies of New Live Dates Vol 1 and Volume 2.      They opened their ‘festival’ set with the title tune from their recent award-winning lp (which means the name of the group is not Wishbone Ash). Then pretty much back into the 70s. ‘The King will come’, ‘Warrior’, ‘Throw down the Sword’, ‘FUBB’, ‘Mystify Me’ (from the latest lp, very much in classic Wishbone Ash style), ‘You see Red’, ‘Blind Eye’, ‘Living Proof’, ‘Doctor’ and ‘Jailbait’.  Martin’s vocals held up pretty well ,and he gets good support from Danny and Tim.

A cracking end to a very good weekend. Ticket price good. The beer was reasonably priced, and the staff were really friendly. Very little noise on the campsite at night. The portaloos were fine. Security? Didn’t really need any. All very calm and serene.  There seems to be a change of venue for next year according to the poster. Any reason why? This is a great little site.

Her Ladyship forgot her camera. Photos were taken, but using her phone.

Great British Rock & Blues Festival. Butlins, Skegness. 22.1.2016 – 25.01.2016

January wouldn’t be the same without the trip to Skeggy, and this year was no different. As usual, a late withdrawal from the line-up… Slack Alice.  (Slight but short disappointment from Her Ladyship). So, a review…

Friday. On the Introducing Stage, we caught a bit of Sugarman Sam and the Voodoo Men. A 4-piece, their first number was a bit Foxy Lady-ish.  A good sound, as always, from the crew and system. ‘Fall to Pieces’ was slower, ‘Viginia ‘ was pacier. We got a bit of a ‘Need your love so bad’ clone, and one that was very like ‘Feel like making Love’. But their own stuff, and a decent start to the weekend.   The Blue Horizon.   The singer asked if any Rory Gallagher fans in. Does the Pope sh*t in the woods, are bears Catholic?   Heavy blues riffs, we got ‘Boom Boom’ to finish.  Her Ladyship got chatting to a couple of Duck and Drake customers who admired her ‘Duck Side of the Moon’ t-shirt.                                                Into Reds stage to watch  House of X.   saw them at Cambridge Rock Festival, under X_UFO.  Some one-time UFO members, led by Danny Peyronel. Starting out with UFO’s ‘Let it roll’, we also got their ‘Shoot, Shoot’, ‘Rock Bottom’ , ‘Lights Out’ and of course ‘Doctor Doctor’. Their own ‘No more Tequila’ was reminiscent of Sweet’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’, but held its own against more familiar UFO songs. I am not a UFO fanatic, but their renditions sounded fine to me. BUT, Danny,  cut down on the gesturing and posturing mate!!  Steve Tyler can get away with it, but … You have a decent enough voice anyway.                                          FM.  They were one of the few highlights at a recent Cambridge Rock Festival , and they were on good form tonight. ‘I belong to the Night’ started things. We also got ‘Don’t Stop’ and the title track from ‘Tough it out’. ‘That Girl’ always goes down well (must dig out my 12 ” single from the cellar).  ‘Closer to Heaven’ featured too. Steve Overland always had a good voice, one of many this weekend who would show their fondness for the voice of Paul Rodgers. How about reviving your version of ‘I’ll be Creepin’ lads? . CD stall inside had cds by the ‘wrong’ FM on display (Canadian group FM, which is why the UK version adds ‘UK’).                          Bernie  Torme.  3-piece line-up, he started out with 1983’s ‘Wild West’, then ‘Turn out the Lights’ from 1982.  I had a ‘Bob Dylan meets the Beastie Boys’ moment , and a slow number seemed to be the signal for a few to retire for the night. Gillan’s ‘No easy way’ started up, and we decided to have a quick visit to Jaks.  The venue is very popular,  we caught a bit of Gerry Jablonski who was pleasant if unremarkable. Time for bed.

Saturday. Jeff Rich and the Triple J Band.  ‘Lookin’ Back’ started things, followed by ‘The joke is on you’ and a rocky ‘I’m a King Bee’. ‘Spanish Castle Magic’ continued the heavier vein, and their original songs were decent. Nipped out to the shop, and they were into Hendrix mode again when I got back. Thoroughly fine for that early slot. And Mr Rich didn’t rely on his Status Quo catalogue.                  Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.   One -time Bad Company vocalist Robert Hart is on vocals…and excellent he is too.  Mick Rogers is still on guitar, he gets a vocal spot, and it shows how good Mr Hart is when Mick isn’t the regular lead singer.  Things got a bit noodly occasionally, but the punchier ‘Blinded by the Light’, ‘Davy’s on the road again’ and the encore ‘Mighty Quinn’ were excellent (apart from the inevitable ‘let me hear you sing’ section’). OK, so a certain Mr Manfred Sepse Lubowitz threw a bit of an early tantrum, but I hope I look as fit as he does at 75!   Her Ladyship thought ‘Best so far’, she wasn’t alone.                                 Crazy World of Arthur Brown.  Wonderfully and spectacularly bonkers. We had a Flamenco dancer on early doors, gyrating to Mr B’s version of ‘Kites’.  The event is very much ‘multi-media’ to say the least.  But then again, the official population of Arthur Brown’s cranium is two baboons and one yo-yo, so what do you expect.  ‘Fire’ finished things off . of course, and off for tea.                                  Lost  Minute. Winners of poll from a previous Introductory Stage slot, they are given a main stage chance. It always makes me nervous when I read about ‘catchy melodic hooks’, ‘intensely personal songs’ etc.  But they deserve a chance.  They start up, with the three guitarists’ eyes all firmly studying their fretboards.  The girl had a decent voice and I suspect they were all a touch nervous. For me, maybe their type of music was not quite for this audience (The description ‘Rock and Blues’ for the event gives us a clue). I reckon they were the youngest people in the venue, but they got a respectable reception.  At the risk of sounding a bit harsh, may I make a small observation?  The young lady has a good voice, but her angst and emotion (no doubt genuine) ends up looking like a stroppy teenager throwing a tantrum and stamping on the floor.  Before you start getting upset with me ,  watch a video of yourself singing without a mic stand, then try the same song with mic in the socket while you sing.  If you disagree, fine,  we have to beg to differ.                       Hawkwind.  They were great here last time, and we get ‘Utopia’ and ‘Prometheus’ as we did last time. ‘Motorway City’ comes along and   ‘Hashish’ also gets an airing, with some appropriate vegetation featuring on the screen. No ‘Silver Machine’ or strange additional personnel on stage this time though. Still very entertaining.     Decided to nip over the Centre Stage for the first time,  for Nine Below Zero. Set has been pretty predictable for a while now. Tore Down/Homework/Can’t help myself/Hoochie Coochie Coo/Twenty Yards Behind/ Mojo/ L and N/Stop your nagging/On the road again/Rockin Robin/Three times and that’s enough/…The crowd are all bopping (yours truly excepted, of course) and they are tearing the place up , when they give us a slow ‘It’s never too late’. An attempted singalong completely dies on its a**e. Drum solo too! They follow it with Mark’s OGWT harmonica bit with a snatch of ’11 plus 11′, and they have given a perfect example of how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Sunday. Reds venue again , for the brilliant Babajack.  Becky and Trevor start out as a duo, with ‘Hammer and Tongs’ and ‘Death Letter’. Their newish rhythm section joins them for ‘The money’s all gone’ and ‘Love comes tumbling’.  Becky has got her performance down to a fine art, and every one of those middle-aged men down at the front really thinks the ‘beautiful eyes’ she mentions are his!  (Not me , of course!) ‘Her Ladyship especially likes ‘Running Man’ and was sporting her customised t-shirt. Newer songs ‘Sunday Afternoon ‘ and ‘Back Door’ precede the very much older ‘Gallows Pole, a real crowd favourite. ‘Skin and Bone’ and ‘Black Betty’ finish off a cracking set, and it was good to be able to hear Trevor’s gravelly vocals which are often ‘lost’.  Half a point deducted for another crowd singalong request, but it seems omnipresent.                      Tygers of Pan Tang.   Survivors from the NWOBHM (look it up if you are not sure), they take the stage but the vocal sound is AWFUL!  Drums bloody loud too.  Singalong request comes early. The guitarist had a camera fitted to his guitar and proceeded to give us a 200mph lead break…I assume he was sending the footage to his mother?  It just looked naff.  Things were getting very close to Spinal Tap, for me. Tone it down a bit, lads, take a look on Youtube.   They seemed to be on for a very long time.                                  Animals and Friends.      Same starting number ‘Baby let me take you home’ as always, their set consists of nearly all of their hit singles,  comments from drummer John Steel, some R&B standards which also featured in their 60s repertoire , with an occasional change. Exactly what the audience want, and get.  Danny has become more reassured since stepping into Pete Barton’s role as lead vocalist and frontman.                      Martin Turner plays the music of Wishbone Ash.   May sound long-winded, fans of Wishbone Ash will know why!  Bravely starting out with a couple of new numbers from their award-winning new LP (much cheering!), it isn’t long before we are back into the 70s.  ‘Warrior’ is spot on, both instrumentally and vocally. ‘Throw down the sword’and ‘The Pilgrim’  precede another newie ‘Mystify Me’. ‘Blowin’ Free’ , ‘Living Proof’ and ‘Jailbait’ are stonewall classics and it is a bloody long time since Her Ladyship and I have heard them played and sung so well. (The last time was by a group called Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash). ‘The king will come’ was the encore, and Mr T came out to chat and sign stuff afterwards.  The sound was very reminiscent of the Wishbone Ash Mk 2 line -up.  Great stuff.  (The DJ mentioned ‘Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash’! Hope he has a good lawyer!).               Wille and the Bandits.    Saw them some time ago at the Acoustic Festival, attracted by the (ridiculous) comparison to Cream. ‘In the vein of Cream’, seemingly. Because there are 3 of them?  I can’t see any other likeness. Wasn’t greatly impressed, probably expecting too much, thought I would give them another go.  Unusual 3 piece line-up, they are certainly a bit ‘different’. They cover ‘Black Magic Woman’, but although ‘different’, the novelty started to wear off. Maybe it had just been a very long weekend. Time for bed.

And it was over.   Comments?

1.Line-up was pretty reasonable, we thought. Babajack, Martin Turner PTMOWA are both favourites of ours. Manfed Mann’s Earth Band were a surprise bonus. Seemingly some people weren’t too happy with the line-up.

2.The programmes. Are times that hard that they are now the size of a mobile phone!  You needed a bloody electron microscope to read the schedule in the middle! And a miner’s lamp!

3.Food. Perfectly fine as has been for some time

4. Rooms. I didn’t think to pack a tape measure, but I can’t remember a room so small. If anyone sees a cat walking round Skeggy with loads of bumps on its head, it’s the one I was swinging around in the room.

5. Booking details. We did ours by phone, asked for a room close to the ‘venues’, and it was. Seems others were less lucky. It seems as though maybe the better option is to actually phone rather than book online.

6.T-shirts. Good value for a tenner. Interestingly, Rory Gallagher gave way to Pink Floyd as the most popular T-shirt worn ( not counting acts that were appearing).

7. Prices. Beer about 50p a pint more than our local. Could do worse.

8 .Queues. Annual pointless queues at the bar, but not too often.  Usual queues outside venues, worst being Centre Stage. Main reason why we frequented Reds.

9. Sound. Nearly always very good.

10. Staff. No complaints at all.

11. Jazz!  I contacted Butlins last year when Courtney Pine was announced. WHY!? I was told that some jazz sessions would be on ‘the smaller venues’ …Butlins words. Did I believe that someone of Courtney Pine’s stature was going to accept that?  And did he?  The comment ‘to cater for those who want to hear some jazz’ is boll*x!  What will jazz fans say when it is announced that Metallica are going to be on at their jazz festival, for the heavy metal fans?! Or Bad Manners for ska fans!?  The fest is ‘Rock and Blues’, why change it?  As Her Ladyship says, I wonder if there are any folkies out there who are happy to have some ‘jazz’ at the Rock and Blues weekend. .  Is it ok to have Sham 69 on at the Skeggy Folk Fest , ‘for those who might want to listen to some punk’, then? *

12. DJs.Good. ‘Proper’ djs in each venue, rather than years ago, when some dolly bird simply churned out requests such as All Right Now and Summer of 69. Sometimes just the same list of tracks on a loop. However, Mr Reds dj had an annoying habit of cutting short tracks. Three on the trot once! (I’m a Man, Kashmir and LA Woman)

All in all, a great weekend. Met some good friends and heard some good music.  But I would add…if you have any complaints, get on to Butlins!  Don’t let things slip by unattended.

* Back one day, the new poster is up for 2017.  Proudly displaying JAZZ STAGE.   You were warned!

 

 

 

 

Butlin’s Rock and Blues 2016 ( aka Andy Powell v Martin Turner Part 5)

Looks like it is going to be a pretty good weekend. The line-up has just been supplemented, worth checking out.  Followers of the Wishbone Ash soap opera will note that ‘Martin Turner plays the music of Wishbone Ash’ will be appearing. (Cue much cheering).   It is a little known fact* that Mr Turner had to shorten his name to the above-mentioned version. Apparently it was originally called ‘Martin Turner plays the music of Wishbone Ash a f**k sight better than the delusional Andrew Powell and his journeymen outfit’.**   Seemingly Mr Powell took Mr Turner to court, saying Mr Turner had made him cry and he now only had three friends in the whole world, and Mr T had to shorten the name.  ‘It’s the Way of the World’, so they say.

*  It is a little known fact , because I have just made it up.  Apologies to Wishbone Ashtray….SORRY!!  , Wishbone Ash.   (Slip of the tongue).

 

** And he couldn’t find anybody who could make XXXXXXXXXXXL T-shirts

Andy Powell v Martin Turner . (Part 4) Yet more!

Some time ago, Martin Turner asked that the issue be put to bed, and has maintained his dignity by not commenting any further. He has even asked fans to resist expressing their annoyance. But, Andy Powell can’t resist still having a dig. On the ‘official’ Wishbone Ash website, he manages to comment on 80s bass player Merv Spence’s sad financial situation with a snide remark about Martin Turner’s finances. No doubt the handful of Powellites will be sniggering.  No doubt that rapidly-dwindling number are too dim to realise that they are the ones who have been contributing to Mr Powell’s cynical ‘bank raid’ he mentioned.   ( I reckon it would now be a ‘sub-Post Office raid’. Pitiful.

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Great British Rock & Blues Festival, Skegness, 27-30 January 2012

So, back to Butlins for the third time in less than two months. I first came in 1997, I think , when I had breakfast next to Tony McPhee and watched the Pete Gage era Dr Feelgood and a decidedly suspect version of Mott The Hoople. Current event has groups only doing one spot, so a clash of viewing sometimes.

Friday night, and first choice was John Verity or Krissy Matthews. Had originally opted for the former but more room in ‘Reds’ so gave the latter a go (on basis of his blurb). After first couple of numbers, his guitar-playing seemed decent but the 3-piece unit seemed to be crying out for a designated lead vocalist. However, ‘er indoors was soon to point out that not many people would be happy to sing such increasingly-naff lyrics. She had a point. We stuck with him, expecting him to have 40 minutes or so. He had 80 minutes on stage. Much too long.         Then a choice of Roger Chapman here or Ten Years After in Centre Stage. Give the fact that, in the 70s, I loved Family and loathed TYA there was no conflict at all. Chappo was great tonight. Top marks for excellent sound, that has been  a real plus in Skeggy Fests of late. Half the battle was won having Geoff Whitehorn on guitar.  Mixture of Family stuff and solo stuff, with ‘Daddy Rolling Stone’ reminding me how criminally-underrated his post-Family outfit, Streetwalkers, were. Sadly no ‘My Friend the Sun’ or even ‘In My Own Time’ but plenty of slinging about anything on stage not nailed down. I did actually sneak out for a few minutes during one of his funkier numbers to see if Ten Years After  were just as bad without Alvin Lee. I remember in 1972, spending £1.25 for a ticket at Leeds Uni. After 2 tedious numbers, he announced ‘Slow Blues in C’. It was, for about 1 bar. Then a blur of twiddlydiddly nonsense, with the smell of burning fingers and mahogany. We walked out and FYA (forty years after) there didn’t seem to be much difference. BUT, fair play to the remaining 3 originals, let them earn a living.   Regarding the adulation of Alvin Lee (and step forward too the Danny Bryants of this world), to quote the Gospels of St Peter (Green) and St Paul (Kossoff),  ‘Quicker may be slicker but more is a bore and fewer is bluer’.  This is from the Bunternet edition, of course.

So, in Reds it was now Virgil and the Accelerators.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Again, 3 youngsters, a bit more animated than the first three. After about 10 minutes though, I’d had enough…I must be getting old!  According to the blurb they have been likened to the ‘new Cream’ (!?). It occurred to me that as ‘new’ is the complete opposite of ‘old’, then I had to agree with the definition! Which meant an unplanned trip to Centre Stage.

Now Chantelle McGregorOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA is a lovely girl who plays a decent guitar BUT there lies a problem. Her admirers are all middle-aged men who want ‘protect’ her and wouldn’t give it the time of day if it was a fat, middle-aged, bearded male. So, Chantelle, stay away from the burger van. It really saddens me to have to say that I heard somebody nearby say that she had put on a few pounds since Cambridge Rock Fest. Back to the music. Robin Trower and Blind Faith among the songs, but even she would laugh at being compared to Stevie Nicks. Place was packed , so she has plenty of fans but not headline status really.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday afternoon, only Centre Stage open, starting with Steve Rodgers (son of Paul). The resemblance is breathtaking …and his voice too! Very post-Free Rodgers Snr, and therein is a dilemma. Any other male on the planet would donate a kidney to be given ‘The Voice’ but for Steve R it could well mean he is destined to play out as a support act (even to Bad Company, it seems) where people will listen politely to his pleasant-enough songs after the initial ‘Wow’.  On the plus side, no mention of his father or singing his songs, and it wasn’t all deja vu. (He didn’t have a Middlesbrough accent and he seemed to be a nice person!).   I reckon James Taylor’s son and  John Lennon’s son had/have the same problem.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So next up were Stealer. Surely they can’t have booked a Free copy outfit to follow him!? Opening number was a plod through ‘I’m a Mover’ (not looking good!) but then we had ‘Badge’. But it soon became apparent that this shower were a run-of-the-mill Working Mans Club outfit from Lancashire! Why bring such a group all the way to Skeggy!? There would be a dozen like them within 10 miles!  We had to leave before we both threw something at the stage, and I predicted that they would finish with…you’ve guessed…All Right Now. Sat outside for an hour to calm down and returned to find I wasn’t wrong with my prediction. A total  insult to the punters.                                                                                                                                                  Waited for The Stumble to come on, eventually, but after a couple of numbers we left. They are Skeggy regulars but their Chicago blues stuff is not for me, although they go down well.  So the Saturday afternoon slot was not brilliant.

Saturday night and it was Steve Gibbons BandOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA in Centre Stage or Deborah Bonham in Reds. Have been watching the former for years so he was our option. His spots at the Folk Fest were very differing and here he was not bad but has been better. Plenty of old rock and roll done a la Bo Diddley and I  enjoyed hearing ‘No Spitting on the Bus’ and ‘Down in the Bunker’ but he could have recited ‘War and Peace’ and it would have been preferable to Deborah Bonham. By all accounts she is a lovely person but I have never met anyone who has paid, or would pay, to see her in her own right. She appears at nearly every fest we go to and  often overruns thereby messing other acts up. She has a decent voice and backing band but it is as clear as day that the only reason she gets a gig is because she had a famous dead drummer for a brother. And the loudest noise at any fest is the sound of her dropping another name onto the floor.  (Ironically, the only name Steve Rodgers mentioned was hers!).

By now, are you all asking why we even bother to come here!?          Have seen The Animals many times and they put on a good professional show, but went to see the original Argent instead. They didn’t do a lot for me in ’72 and they were okay tonight. Rod Argent isn’t the best singer in the group though and there was a bit too much keyboard for me but pleasant enough stuff, with Russ Ballard doing some of his many songs he’d written for others.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next choice is Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash or Larry Miller. I have been watching Wishbone Ash probably annually since the 70s and when MTWA have in opposition a blueser the like of whom could be found in most music pubs on a weekend…no contest. (I realise Mr Miller has acquired lots of followers in recent years but we opted for a bit of class). Martin Turner seems to have settled on a solid line-up, after a few changes, and although the current guitarists are not as recognisable as Andy Powell or Ted Turner, they contribute well to the overall sound (plus their backing vocals are good). Kicking off with ‘The King Will Come’, they ploughed a furrow through ‘Argus’ and it was good to hear ‘Front Page News’ and one of my favourites ‘No Easy Road’. ‘Living Proof’, probably the standout song from the Laurie Wisefield era, had my female companion ‘Woh-oh-oh’ ing and they fully deserved to get a decent set length.  Martin came out to chat afterwards and in my opinion makes their show a more attractive night of music than Wishbone Ash ‘regular’ led by Andy Powell. Ash fans will know the tension between the 2 versions and this isn’t the time or place to debate the subject!  Highlight of the weekend so far.

Sunday afternnon saw the events open with the Bowden and Williamson Band. Seasoned performers, with a mix of covers and original stuff. We were a bit  disappointed that we had a date to see Middlesbrough take on Sunderland so had to leave. Back after the game, and we’d missed Giles Robson and prepared for Gerry McEvoy’s Bunch of Friends.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Now Mr M, long-time bassist with Rory Gallagher, seems to have left the excellent Nine Below Zero after some two decades to form a Rory Gallagher tribute outfit, at the age of 60. Maybe OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmore money, being more in charge, fallen out with 9BZ, who knows? However, back in the 70s I just did not ‘get’ Rory Gallagher. Plenty of T-shirts here to show lots did though. Ted ‘SAHB’McKenna on drums  and some bloke doing RG . Did nowt for me 40 years ago, and today didn’t sway me either so we left.

Last lap, Sunday night. Totally ridiculous queue to see Hamsters, Feelgood and Mud Morganfield so went to Reds. First up, Skinny Molly. I wasn’t impressed by them last time but was pleasantly surprised tonight. No real name-dropping and set heavily influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd with whom Mike Estes played for 3 years in the 90s. Very ‘Southern Rawk’ apart from bleedin’ ‘Wishing Well’ !!  Everybody in Castleford plays that, why here!? They did actually do a good ‘Dead Flowers’, with a tongue-in-cheek refence to the Royal Mail, and ‘Freebird’ finished off a performance I was pleased I caught. Sadly, had to miss FM. I was a bit too old in the 80s for the poodle-rock brigade, but would have stopped if the schedule had permitted.

Over to catch the end of The Hamsters. We’ve been watching them for the last 25 years and they’ve never really changed . Good pros, but it has always seemed just a job to them . No on-stage rapport, it’s like 3 blokes coming into work in a morning, sitting down, doing their job then going home and doing the same the following day (but in a different office!) Rhythm unit may retire but I suspect Barry won’t.  Usual ‘bit of nonsense’ with ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ at the end and they were off.

Next up , Dr Feelgood. Packed house with loads of T-shirts in evidence, and they came roaring out with 3 numbers from the 1st LP. Early showing for ‘Milk and Alcohol’ and then it is halfway, which means De Blooze. For ever a decade we’ve been getting ‘Down By The Jetty Blues’ and it bores me to tears!! It used to be even worse when we got about 20 minutes of it, mercifully it is now down to 10 minutes. (I did once suggest to someone not too distant from Steve Walwyn that he suggest to MrW that it may be time for DBTJB to be put out to pasture. ‘You tell him!’ was the response. Point taken!)  They put on their usual high-voltage show, but we were a bit too far away to appreciate it. And they only got an hour! Finished with ”One More Shot’, no encore.

Final choice was ‘Crucified Barbara‘ or Mud Morganfield in a packed Centre Stage. So trooped off to see CB. Plenty of roadies and gear and here they came, what appeared to be 4 girls whose combined age seemed less than mine! Loads of posturing , hair swirling and strutting of stuff. After a while, they announced their first single, from 2004!! How old were they when they made that !? Four!?  Even worse, I discovered they formed in 1998!! So either a) They were in nursery or b) They are Time Lords or c) They are much older than they look or d) I was pissed and blind. Sadly, d) and maybe c) seem the correct answers.  They were good at their job, i.e  mainly making middle-aged men buy their cds from them but to me not much different to The Runaways were decades ago…although they have lasted much longer already!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Decided to try the end of Mud Morganfield instead. He definitely seemed to be someone who was living off his father’s meal ticket (Muddy Waters). Slick band but he wouldn’t get a gig in a New Orleans bar if it wasn’t for his lineage, so we left after 10 minutes…and that was it!

So, pretty much the usual Skeggy RnB weekend. Some good, some really good, some not so good and some that just should not have been there! Good attempt at trying to give younger groups a chance. Excellent sound, pretty good timetabling, ridiculous queues. But I reckon if there are 4 or 5 over the weekend that I would pay to see, the rest is a bonus. I have e-mailed the event booking people with a couple  of my thoughts, and some photos were taken , so look out for updates.

And we’ll be there next year!

PS I sent an email to Butlins about a particular concern I had. I was promised a reply…not forthcoming.

Have a glance at Rant Corner, especially if you’ve ever been to the event