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VIBES FROM THE VINES, Horam, East Sussex
8 August 2009

Gary Moore, photo by Joe Geesin

This charity festival, in aid of Cancer Research, may have been in the middle of nowhere but was well attended and equally well organised. A couple of the more established bands from the last one were invited back and there was the usual mix of local talent too.

Kicking off at midday, South Of Saturn, On The Spot and Panther Child all mixed guitar pop with punk, rock and metal in an energetic fashion. And while bands in this style are more of a plague than just a trend right now, you couldn't fault the passion and energy. The then sparse crowd took some interest but seemed more interested in enjoying the burgers, beer and blistering sun.

Next up was Grace Ashton, who did have a top voice for a 16 year old, and Storm Engine.

Karnataka, photo by Joe Geesin

Highlight of the daylight hours was definitely Karnataka, who verge on the Celtic side of prog rock. The band were stars of the previous event 3 years ago, and songs from their forthcoming (as yet untitled) album really stood out, the now swelling crowd really seem to enjoy it all.

Karnataka, photo by Joe Geesin

Sadly the mix went a little awry, with the bass up and vocals low, but the keyboards and guitars sounded fantastic. Singer Lisa Fury danced away, sounding a little like a sultry Bonnie Tyler, and the bass lines good too. Got to spend time with this band backstage, with pianist Gonzalo providing a few laughs.

Strange then to follow them with Pearly Cubes, a covers band. Talented and solid they were, but nothing too special, the versions coming over a little homogenous.

Chris Difford and Matt Deighton were more acoustic, something that would work better in more intimate surroundings but provided a few decent tunes.

Mo Foster and Ray Russell, photo by Joe Geesin

Another highlight was the Ray Russell Band, centred round vocalist / guitarist Ray Russell and bassist Mo Foster (two session musicians who have played on more records than you'd care to count). The rock often veered off in a fusion direction, some hard rhythms and jazzy keyboards filling the sound, but Russell's guitar work was fast, furious and sublime. Foster proved why he's one of the most revered bassists around.

The Colours were more electronic but fun and flowing. By now the sun was setting and the crowd getting into the swing of things.

Star of the show and early headliner was Gary Moore, who played with Ray Russell's band. While his mood was sour (he looked miserable and swore at one of the cameramen too), his guitar playing was as good as ever. 'Oh Pretty Woman' and 'Parisienne Walkways' came over really well, the crowd loving it. Russell joined the stage for some jamming, which ended up like shred duelling.

Intraverse and Dakota closed the proceedings, with most feeling they got their money's worth, and for a good cause too.

Review and photos by Joe Geesin


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