Small but perfectly formed.. part 2..
For longer term readers you might remember a detrimental Saturday morning breakfast with Jamie, Paul and Jayne at last year’s Roystonbury Festival. I’m happy to say that this tradition was continued but with a different cast – he led a merry band of troubadours to a local pub to watch the Lions play Rugby – I swerved this, with little interest in the game and a desire for a lie in and being able to remember the day – those that did complete the trip returned with mixed results!
So with lie-in in the bag I surfaced and was offered some delicious breakfast wraps by John and Angela, which along with a cheeky cider set me up for the day very nicely indeed! We popped to see Amanda and Sarah by the Purrple Peeple Eater to await the return of the Rugby revellers which was suitably hilarious. Between the five of them they’d managed to run up an impressive bar tab and an advanced level of drunkenness.
Dean immediately set to the task of providing speciality shot slippery nipples for everyone, with limited success – before reappearing in slightly different clothing – that soon made its way onto Jamie who spent the rest of the day in a rather fetching dress. Mark fared less well, he and Simon ended up in bed whilst Darren the fifth intrepid adventurer had been less voracious on the Guinness, Jäger and tequila consumption so was doing pretty well!
And now the music started! Jake Martin was up first and in the assorted kerfuffling we’d missed the start of his set, but did catch new song May You Never Die which was sounding good – Jake has a confident stage manner anyway, so I do enjoy watching him. The Sing the Words all Wrong song was up next (my song title recognition is going from strength to strength, as you can see), which was followed up with Better Days and I Don’t Wanna be your Heroes. I freely admit to missing the name of the final one, sorry Jake!
Next up were The Devil’s Prefects who I’m sure I must have seen before – but I don’t think I have. Looking suspiciously like two thirds of Hobo Jones and the Junk Yard Dogs they soundchecked with English accents but then switched to a Texan drawl for the performance, so it can’t really be them, right? (arf). Unashamedly country but with not too little tongue in cheek, it was a really entertaining set.
Tapping into probably most people my age and above’s guilty pleasure of 80’s CB radio based films, they launched into East Bound and Down from Smokey and the Bandit. This was followed up by a love song involving noses that ran money and where they’d blow it, then another reminiscing about TV series like Dukes of Hazzard, Knightrider and The A-Team and the perils of remaking them – too true!
Country classic Rawhide was next – including a hilarious Scottish rendition of it, singer Johnny Crow a dab hand at a north-of-the-wall accent! My ears pricked up when they announced a Loudon Wainwright III cover coming up – which I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Gaz Brookfield for – they went for Dead Skunk, a classic! Making more use of their CB mic they then brought out Convoy complete with cue cards – mashing it up into Sympathy for the Devil and Foxy Lady as they went on.
With the crowd thoroughly warmed up and losing their inhibitions as they went along a song teaching them how to deal with a zombie apocalypse was next – this was a singalong number, and had some moves to go with it (handily illustrated on a t-shirt available for sale after the gig!). On the same kind of theme their next religious themed song helped youngsters to knock demons out with their first – I’m Gonna Knock One Out for Jesus reduced the field to loads of kids waving their fists in the air in hilarious fashion.
Maelor Hughes was up next – I’ve done a characteristically appalling job of keeping track of what he played. He apologised for baby Noah being absent due to apparently nursing the mother of all milk hangovers, haha! Morning Sun was early in the set and always one of my favourites, Christiania is another lovely favourite one (I’ve cunningly omitted tracks 1 and 3 which I utterly failed to identify in my notes – it used to be Sam Jones I always did this for!).
Better Day gave us a chance to shout ‘Oi Oi!’ a lot, whilst Poor Man’s Game gives a hint of what’s to come on the new album. I don’t know whether or not he was feeling the pressure of time but Won’t Fight Your War seemed a lot faster than usual – it seemed to work though! The set finished up with Fight With Me, then Lullaby to restore the offspring inspired discrepency in the set so far – and an encore of Milltown Boy. Lovely set.
I had a wander at this point back to the campsite – I was practically force-fed a sausage cob by Amanda whilst a punk band were striking up in the arena (I think it was Eastfield), having fun sat and nattering Mark eventually resurfaced looking not particularly brilliant, haha. Enjoying the warm weather and company and some cheeky gin and tonics was frankly lovely, Ella eventually made it back having been pinned under a snoozing Jamie on our festival settee!
With the afternoon marching on we’d booked into the Cheezy Vinyl Bar for some dairy-based goodness, so we munched on cheese (Ella and I got a camembert each whilst the others opted for cheesy platters, all of which looked awesome!) being serenaded by some bouncy ska music and then Doozer McDooze – I picked out Searching, Dreams, Let’s Not Forget Them, Not Going Back to That and I Don’t Wanna Go Home from his set. Cheese finished and washed down with a port we headed back outside in time for…
The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican who opened their set with Massage in a Brothel, always a good start! Then a treat from the new album, Everytime She Tries.. could prove a controversial one, I know plenty of blokes (self-included at times!) who park their car pretty badly! She’s from Dodworth and Walking in Man-piss were next which probably most of the crowd are familiar with – before the new album got another look-in with Flat-Packs.
During Nandos Björn and Alan made use of their new fangled wireless dooberries and hot footed it into the crowd to play from there with Scott left on the stage, then the (spoiler alert) hidden track on the latest album was played (I shan’t give any more details than that ) and into All the Dinner Ladies also from the new album. Me Arse is on Fire is an oldie but goodie, then it was back to the new album for the highly relevant Paint ’em Back.
The set finished up a little abruptly with Lady in Greggs giving some epic singalong opportunities and then The Devil went down to Barnsley. A really fun set, it’s been a little while since I’ve seen the Bar Stewards so it was a welcome reacquaintance – and mercifully no weather-based interruptions this time around!
Then t’was time for Gaz Brookfield, he struck up with Solo Acoustic Guy by means of introduction, and then into Diabetes Blues and its reprise. He’s always dead apologetic about playing songs from the new album, which is funny as they are great – March of Progress was the first to get an airing then followed up with The Busker’s Song – with some impressive bellowing of ‘Oi! Get a job!’ I think from the now impressively re-upright Jamie!
The Tale of Gunner Haines has rapidly ascended my Gaz league table and is firmly in the European places, so it’s always good to hear that in the set. Can’t wait to hear some of his tracks in full band guise actually, thinking about it. Farmer Phil’s! Woo! Under the Table gave us a chance to loft and sway our pints whilst singing along, and then It’s all so Rock and Roll gave us an almost-lyric-slip I’ve noted, but also a quick recovery – so there ya go!
I’ve Paid My Money is another favourite from his new album, mainly because I can think of a few occasions where I’ve been that probably inspired some of it! Ozzy got his song since he was parked up just by the stage, then it was on to new album title track I Know My Place – a tirade about leaving Facebook (which is totally not what I thought it was about!). To finish up he unleashed Land Pirate’s Life, Bigger Man and then Let the East Winds Blow – a power issue saw him finish the set unplugged in the middle of the crowd having jumped off the stage. Belting.
And so in no time at all we’d wound round to headliners for the night – Leatherat are always great value entertainment. They launched into a song for cider drinkers which I missed the name of, then into Set My Soul on Fire – they’d got the crowd dancing and bouncing in no time at all – or pointing skyward and groundward for High Friends. An epic slow fiddle introduction brought in the frenetic Life in the Old Dog (one of my absolute favourites!).
A couple of covers next in the form of Whiskey in the Jar and The Rocky Road to Dublin cemented the celtic feel to the sound, then the melodic intro of the increasingly accurate We’re all in this Together, coincidentally (or not) the slogan on the reverse of the Roystonbury t-shirts! Party Time in Chavbury got the crowd bouncing again, before The Ballad of Johnny Tarr.
I managed to miss one but then it was anthemic Stop which must have some of the fastest lyrical bits since Snow did Informer – I often wonder whether they actually have words or whether it’s just for effect, haha! Ride On was next which made Addie and Jane emotional, aww! And the set was finished up with Make Mine a Large One – an awesome way to finish the main stage of music for the weekend.
Kev over the course of the day had been assembling assorted people including me, Ella, Issac, Morgan and Russ to pop in the Cheezy Vinyl Bar for some after hours jamming. We took our stuff in there and had the treat of Emma and the Professor getting ready to play – I’d snagged a really prime spot to enjoy the set, and must admit I was somewhat blown away by it – a combination of the setting, the end of a lovely day and some spellbinding music. It was magic!
They started with Kisses Sweeter than Wine and then into Matty Groves. Emma’s voice is phenominal as is her guitar skills but I must admit I was drawn to the percussion that Mark was providing. His bodhran playing is amazing to watch, at times gentle as you like then more insistent, but the range of tones he gets out of it is amazing! Summertime / Follow the Sun was next and then into The Devil’s Plough.
Sophie materialised from the backstage area with her didgeridoo for Battle of the Marches and also The Old Black Crow – Russ (who’d been doing a sterling job on sound) eventually twiddling the right knob to get the didge audible (I could hear it anyway sat near the front, ha!). They finished up a lovely intimate set with Rain and Snow which I’d never known was a traditional song – always associating it with Levellers as of course it features on their album Mouth to Mouth.
We finished up the night playing an assortment of very unrehearsed (and it showed!) combinations of performers – I won’t deny it was a bit awks playing some Gaz Brookfield songs with him watching on along with his wife Ange and Jake Martin, but he was exceptionally gracious about it afterwards! Probably the highlight of our cacophany was Morgan staying up at the end to play Julie for Jonny to sing along with – always a treat, and an elusive one these days!
After we’d finished I found Emma and availed myself of the new Emma & The Professor album – after a few listens through I’d urge you to do the same!
And so ended an absolutely superb little festival – we packed up our stuff and enjoyed a couple more drinks before heading bedward listening to the remainder of the music going on in the Black Market Bar tent (which definitely featured Doozer and I suspect the Devil’s Prefects too) tired but very happy indeed! With us being blocked in there’d be no need to worry about an early start – so we drifted to sleep happily before having to contemplate our next move. Another absolutely awesome Roystonbury Festival!