Rock And Blues Custom Show -
Coney Showground, Pentrich, Derbyshire -
Day 3 - Saturday 31st July, 2021
Like the Friday, the Saturday started on the outdoor stage where I caught the 1st few songs of 'Stand Amongst Giants' - a great ballsy Bluesy Rock Quartet from Sheffield who are Clarke (Vocals), Ben (Guitar)' Kyle (Drums) & Dan (Bass). They have a big fat drive to their music with high powerful vocals over the top that cut right into the groove with 'Have You Got Soul' being a marvellous example from the start of their set..
Let me tell you these guys definitely have and plenty of emotion too in their material that is followed up by the similar styled 'She Devil' and the slower stoner of 'Broken Woman'. Go check them out - their latest single 'The River' came out on 6th August!
A quick run up to the tent saw me checking out a a few songs by Harry Jordan (actually called Hayley) just to confuse anyone who expected a bloke handling the microphone duties – haha – I bet a few were caught out by this lady when she took to the stage with her band.
A lass from Birmingham who has some strong, pleasant sounding vocal chops and mixes in some laid back rock sounds with a healthy helping of country meets psychobilly – a good example being the moody and intriguing 'Wild Wild West', She has a solid group with her too who go by the names of Toby Smith (Lead Guitar), Tommy Greaves (Guitar), Kris Hill (Bass) & Chris Emery (Drums).
They had not played together in a while so she felt a bit rusty around the seams. Miss. Jordan pulled it off though and I think after a few more shows the band will gel more as a unit again since many have not had chance to see each other and practise much since the bullsh*t hit the fan about 18 months ago!
After getting a well-needed drink and bit to eat, I had a wander back to the outdoor stage to catch some of 'Everyday Heroes' – another bunch of fine talent comprising of Jay (Drums), Luke (Vocal/Guitar), Dan (Lead Guitar) & Lewis (Bass) whose strong rock roots with stonerish grooves at times are well worth listening to – the opener 'Witch's King' being a perfect example.
They carry it on with a great set that includes the splendid blues riffed greatness of 'Little Bit Of You' that has a very addictive chorus, dare I say it reminding me of Black Stone Cherry! Then what about the fantastic Southern Hard Rock of 'Storm'? Really good stuff that grabs you.. Another band you folks need to hear!
Okay, so I personally missed former Skin/Jagged Edge, Guitarist, Myke Gray with Kim Jennet on the outdoor stage in 2019 but there was no way in hell I was missing him this time. He has an incredible band with him like before made up of Colin Parkinson (Bass), Neil Ogden (Drums) & Glenn Quinn (Guitar) year and has been upgraded to the main stage in the tent for 2021.
What a pleasant surprise to see Mark Pascall up there taking care of the lead vocals – yes the man who fronts 'Departed' and had a short stint with another band which we will not go into here for various reasons.
Mr. P. has earned his stature and kudos over the last 3 years or so and I hand on heart say that he is most definitely one of the best Rock frontmen in the UK today without a shadow of a doubt. Myke is second to none up here too and it's such an absolute joy to see him play those timelessly brilliant solos and overall riffs on some of our favourite Skin and Jagged Edge songs.
Major standouts of the proceedings included the opening 'Stand Up For Rock And Roll'; 'House Of Love'; 'Look But Don't Touch'; 'Tower Of Strength' and 'Shine Your Light' that many of us sang along to whether we were invited to do so or not in pure elatedness with the amazing new new number 'I Get Up' as the encore.
Myke Gray's band has vocal and musical chops that many can only dream of having, not to mention having a very limited time to rehearse – you would have never guess... is it too early to say they were the standouts of today... I think not as the resat of the acts had a lot to prove after this absolute showstopper of a performance.
Howlin' Mat on the outdoor stage took us back to the blues, delta style, playing totally alone up there with just a guitar. He began his set with one of his own compositions called 'My Baby Took My Hot Rod' before moving into cracking cover territory of Country legend, Johnny Cash (Cocaine Blues & Folsom Prison Blues) and cuts by famous Bluesmen Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker & Jimmy Reed who need no introduction.
It was mindblowing to hear him play the homemade cigar box guitar (that has been made famous here by the likes of Seasick Steve and Dave Roux from The Outlaw Orchestra) on Muddy Waters 'Late In The Evening Blues' as well as the extremely famous 'Rollin' & Tumblin also by Mr. W which I think sound way better this way than in full band electric form.
He even went on to thank a particular MC Group who provided him somewhere to live when he had nowhere to go plus even joked that he had just come from playing at a nursing home in Mansfield where an elderly lady was singing 'I want to die, die, die' to the tune of 'I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts' - some things you just can't make up and that's one of them!
Cats In Space are back and have another new Vocalist, Damien Edwards who absolutely nails their needs, note for note. The backing vocals are so good! It's as if they have been pulled straight off the record!!
Greg Hart (Guitarist & Backing Vocalist) and the rest of the team consisting of Steevi Bacon (Drums & Percussion), Dean Howard (Guitars), Jeff Brown (Bass &Backing Vocals) & Andy Stewart (Piano, Keyboards & Synths) ham up the crowd with their sounds and delights, mesmerizing the crowd with their warm, bombastic melodic arrangements and riffs in each and every song in their mindblowing set.
They have really deep topics to their lyrics about things like the high sky cosmos as well as fictional places like Atlantis, Narnia and Wonderland. with second to none musicianship throughout and standouts included 'Spaceship Superstar' & 'Revolution' from the current album 'Atlantis' and older material for example 'Thunder In The Night', 'Scars' & 'Hologram Man'.
There was a break in the music while the custom show took place – gave me chance to get a rest too and some food in me. So needed again. Before the music returned, we had such a laugh with Badaxe at the outdoor stage who brought back the legendary 'Crumpet Tossing' to Pentrich again – as the pictures prove haha – not to mention giving kids party hors that he instructed the children to blow in Grandma and Grandad's ear at 3am in the morning.
Giving out prizes galore throughout the day like tenement pads, cucumbers, sponges, a large nut and bolt, an old tape deck, a VHS video recorder with 6 months warranty that ran out years ago. Or what about Weetabix and kitchen cleaning sponges? It was like 'Double 'O' Drop' Crackerjack style at times as he got some folk to come back and get more prizes from him, exclaiming he had to get rid of it all or the wife would kill him. All it needed was a cabbage! He was telling us he had spent his money that week at Morrisons plus not to snitch him in at the Benefits Office because he was working - “they'll stop my money” he says – hahaha.
After heckling them a few times, Badaxe got the next band onto the stage. Now 'The Howling Tides' are another fine young rock band whose line-up is Rob Baynes (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Hayden Kirk (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Adam Brewell (Bass/Backing Vocals), Steven & 'Herbie' Herbert (Drums).who grace the outdoor stage bashing out some rocking bluesy moments and then some....in their set with tracks like 'Cut Your Losses' standing out or the humourous song without a name but currently dubbed ‘12/8' - hahaha classic!
Then what about the soulful ballad 'Fortune Never Favoured Me' proving that they deliver more than just hard rock etc, although do finish on a loud 'n' big high with 'Crack My Soul'. The lads are very together and sold quite a few CD's & T-Shirts after their set. Well done on that score!
Anchor Lane are a band that totally ring a bell with me. Well they should do because I reviewed their album some time last year! They are made up of Conor Gaffney (Vocals), Lawrence O’ Brien (Guitar), Matthew Quigley (Bass) and Graeme Newbury (Drums). Sadly, I only caught the first couple of songs due to another stage-time clash but they came across very prominent and full of confidence with the powerful 'Clocks' ringing up the decibels.
This was followed up by the unnerving 'Flatline' with it's bass cranks and flavoured drum-work throughout. Another band I need to see in full because they really are worth it – no doubt some time in 2022 it'll happen alongside the follow up to their debut release, 'Casino'.
I was actually really looking forward to seeing 'The Chris Slade Timeline' that comprised of former AC/DC drummer, Chris Slade, two separate vocalists mentioned later as well as James Cornford (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals), Michael J Clark (Keyboards/Rhythm Guitar), Andy Crosby (Bass).
The band were on form playability-wise but the problem was that just about every song was played way too slow and wanted winding up to the correct tempo. This was not good at all especially when it came to the well-known fast paced AC/DC fronted by Vocalist, Bun Davis like 'Dirty Deeds' and 'Highway To Hell'. At least 'The Razor's Edge' sounded spot on as it is a slower paced bluesier track.
Manfred Man's 'Blinded By The Light' could have done with the batteries replacing in the torch, that other vocalist, Stevie Gee, who had a great voice took perfect. He also took care of other material by other artists that were covered in the set. For some reason or another though, he seemed to be forever checking his watch which spoiled an otherwise excellent performance. It was good to hear 'July Morning' by Uriah Heep though and Tom Jones' 'Delilah' which you would not usually hear at such an event as this.
I reckon this was an off-day for Mr. Slade because he was struggling to keep it going and even said he was tired after one of the songs. He also did not get to shine fully and include overall span of his career since he only had an hour to play with, telling us he had also played with the likes of David Gilmour and Frankie Miller to name but a few.
I hope some made it down to see Badaxe do his unplugged filthy acoustic set in the bike tent. Adults only as it's too rude for the kids. Loved it last time and I was gutted I missed it. Some nice politically incorrect songs about Barack Obama, Gary Glitter and IKEA were not doubt part of his repertoire that would have the likes of Mary Whitehouse turning over in her grave – lol.
The headliners of the Saturday night & Weekend are UK AOR 80's legends, FM who basically are utterly faultless from beginning to end. They still have immense musical and vocal chops that can teach the young kids a thing or two about how to structure a show.
There was a bit of a hoo-ha about them being given this position since some said they were too light to be the main band of the weekend, while others loved the idea as lifelong fans. They do hold some heaviness in some of their songs and it's balanced out at the same time with luscious melodic riffing and strong, powerful but intensely beautiful vocals, giving folk chance to chill and groove out a bit too – instead of constant rocking.
Their line-up being Merv Goldsworthy (Bass/Backing Vocals), Pete Jupp (Drums/Backing Vocals), Steve Overland (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Jem Davis (All Piano related instruments/Harmonica/Backing Vocals) & Jim Kirkpatrick (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals).
The opener 'Tough It Out' is a cool example with Steve grabbing the audiences attention immediately and keeping a firm grip with 'Bad Luck' taking you back to the late 80's yesteryear too or what about the epic building of ' Let Love Be The Leader' and the AOR heaven brilliance of 'Over You'.
Later we were treated to the pumping rock of the 'Burning My Heart Down' with its cool key change; the delightful arrangement that is 'Killed By Love' with the band encoring with 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' that is better than the original version in my opinion.
I think FM can really cut the mustard live and you have to be there at times to really get the warm together ambience of love that they put over to the audience as opposed of just being thought of yet another of those bands that never really did it for ya. The Rockers and Bikers from what I could see and experience seemed to really love them here tonight.
After the killer performance the Doctor had a good old chat with us all, saying how good and successful it had all been and then performed the ultimate thing for our pleasure – yes, his one and only mop dance to the beloved 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
He tells us that he the does not know how it came to be but it's been tradition ever since – the only way to mark the end of the RBCS this year apart from the rock disco afterwards. Here's to 2022! This was a blast apart from the bloody rain but one thing we cannot control is the weather!
Review & Photographs
by Glenn Milligan