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VIBES FROM THE VINE
Horam, 12 August 2006
A new festival, set in leafy middle of nowhere, in the heart of Sussex, which by the time GMT appeared attracted 3000 fans.
In true festival tradition, rain showers didn't spoil the music, which opened with the African drumming of Tricky Beats, who also appeared during changeovers throughout the afternoon.
The Conspiritors kicked off with an excellent heavy Ska piece, drummer Robin Guy showing his versatility, before moving in more rock direction.
Stephanie Yeboah is a young soul / pop vocalist with a tight band and a great voice, although this early in the afternoon the crowd was still sparse. Big band soul, she's a great singer and should go far.
Infusion, featuring the Karnataka pianist, played jazz fusion well, and the keyboard rendition of Flight Of The Bumblebee went down very well. Of the better end of this musical style, they did attract some well deserved applause.
Intraverse, a Tunbridge Wells guitar band were good and had a local following in tow, but followed the current trend for catchy riffs with emphasis on song arrangement rather than any real technical ability; not a solo in sight. But plenty of energy, mixing punk and rock'n'roll.
Rock, jazz, soul, pop and percussion all followed, with Dani Wilde proving popular and Leee John the ex Imagination frontman raising a few cheers too.
Of the earlier bands Karnataka were a highlight, mixing prog with Celtic influences and beautiful vocals from stunning new lead singer Lisa Fury. Spent a long time chatting with keyboard player Gonzalo Carrera (also of Infusion), a lovely guy and helpful too. This band have released several albums already and the new line-up should be recording and touring soon, really well worth checking out, both live and on record. Expect a tour and album later this year or early next.
As darkness fell, the light show became more apparent, and enter GMT, or Guy, McCoy, Tormé. Robin Guy is a local drummer of some repute, and bassist John McCoy and guitarist / vocalist Bernie Tormé both recorded with Gillan, amongst a whole host of other projects. B
Basically, they blew away every preceding band, their bluesy punk metal explosive. Tormé's own 'Wild West' kicked off before they played several tracks from GMT's own forthcoming album.
'Rocky Road' is a real cracker with an Irish bent. Drummer Guy is a hard hitting rocker and a real showman too, and never stopped grinning ear to ear throughout the set. Tormé and McCoy also add inter track banter and a sense of humour, something some of the other bands could learn from.
Closing with 'Smoke On The Water' the crowed seemed happy, rocking and oblivious to the weather.
The last (official) band on stage were the Ray Russell Band, featuring session bassist and legend Mo Foster and ex Level 42 drummer Gary Husband.
They kicked off with a couple of lengthy jazz rock fusion numbers, which following GMT had the crowd both wondering and wandering, despite the excellent guitar work. The set was saved when Gary Moore entered, and a couple of blues numbers later (including his hit, the classic rendition of 'Walking By Myself') the crowd were back and roaring.
A blues jam with Russell went down well, Ray more than proving his worth, before they finished with 'Parisienne Walkways'.
Due to their late arrival and overrunning / time constraints, Led Zep Too were moved to the closing 15 minutes but still proved why they're considered Britain's premier Led Zep tribute band. Covers yes, but done brilliantly and the kind of music rock festival goers want to hear.
Well organised and for charity too, this event should be back next year.
Review by Joe Geesin