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ROCK AND BLUES FESTIVAL
Butlins, Skegness, 29-31 January 2010
Saturday 30 January 2010
case of deja-vu this weekend struck me as soon as i woke up, with a
hangover direct from Hard Rock Hell. After waking up my
photographer (who resembled a walrus in the early morning), it was time
for a few cups of tea and to jog each others memories to see if we could
remember anything from the day before.
brain cells started to recharge again, it was time for a stroll to the
restaurant to have one of the biggest and the best English Breakfasts
i've had in a long time. The full monty, even the black pudding
was scrumptious helping to soak up the previous days intake.
act of the day we managed to see was former Stone The Crows singer
Maggie Bell, who was doing an acoustic set along with Dave Kelly,
the guitarist from the Blues Band. I must admit I'd rather see
Maggie perform with a full electric band, but this was an enjoyable set
Maggie Bell still has a fine voice and a friendly
nature about her. At one time I thought she was reading the wrong set
list as she ripped into a great version of 'House Of The Rising Sun'.
A massive hit for the act that was due on stage directly afterwards.
of seeing The Animals without original singer Eric Burdon never
appealed to me before, but that's the great thing about weekends like
this, where it gives you a chance to check out bands that you wouldn't
billed as Animals and Friends, only drummer John Steel remains from the
original line up from 1963 with Mick Gallagher on the keys who played in
the band a couple of years later. Complimented by John Williamson
on guitar and Peter Barton on vocals and bass, the band delivered was
what to be one of the best performances of the weekend.
forgotten how many great hits the Animals had such as 'It's My Life' and
'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood', but it was a cover of the Screaming Jay
Hawkins 'I Put A Spell On You' that sent shivers down my spine, one of
many tracks that featured some fantastic swirling keyboard sounds from
Mick Gallagher. It was easy to see why he is in such demand as a
session player. It was so great to hear 'We Gotta Get Out Of This
Place' which really sent the temperature rising. I will be seeing them
again in the future. A class act.
Smokin Jackets were an interesting band fronted by Andy Sharrocks.
Dressed like a travelling hillbilly band, the music was swampy bluegrass
with some Tom Wait-ish vocals. Unlike Hayseed Dixie, the songs are
more of a serious nature and approach. Worth seeing.
followed on the Centre Stage by the Trevor Burton Band. Although
getting great applause the former Move guitarist played a set that was a
bit safe for me. If Mark Knopfler played the blues it would sound
Over on the
Reds stage was the first of two young sensations. From Torquay was
the Jay Tamkin Band. A power trio who ripped into some heavy
jazzy blues. Playing tracks from the recently released 'Sorted' CD. When
not playing some mean Stevie Ray Vaughan influenced riffs Jay Tamkin
took time out to play the organ and later swapping to play the bass even
had a go on the drums towards the end of the set.
showing off his talents, at times I wished they just concentrate on the
songs, but with youth on their side this was a minor quibble. Jay
Tamkin has it all and I'm sure you'll be hearing more about him in the
heard of Chantel McGregor before this weekend and only went to
check out her out because i liked the look of her on the publicity
photo. Only 22 years old and fresh out of university this Northern
lass looks like the girl next door who would happily babysit for you,
but all presumptions soon flew out of the window as soon as the first
chord was struck.
set of mostly covers, but not your average obvious choices, Chantel
McGregor stamped her own unique style on each song. A cover of Jethro
Tull's 'A New Day Yesterday' was sublime, each song was firing off in
moments of Joe Bonamassa blues who has became her mentor, but also going
off into metal directions at times via Steve Vai and I even
noticed a Eddie Van Halen lick thrown in. Unlike Vai her sonic
tapestries come straight from heaven.
ease in her skillful playing that makes it look so simple, often
twirling around with her dress flowing round, she looked so dainty
whilst blowing our minds with solo after solo. It was mesmerizing,
I could have watched her all night. A new star is born.
I had only
had a few minutes to catch ex Rolling Stone Mick Taylor over at
the Centre Stage, but for the first six minutes he let his band play
before making an appearence. One for the connoisseur, but anyone
who has a song called 'Twisted Sister' is fine by me. It's only
rock 'n' roll (But not everyone liked it.)
After a long
day of blues, this die hard rocker wanted some metal action, which first
came in the shape of melodic heavy rockers Praying Mantis.
Being a mainly blues crowd at this festival and going on after the
excellent set from Chantel McGregor I thought that people may leave in
their droves, but I was proved wrong and 99% of the audience remained
where they were and enjoyed a refined set from the Mantis.
dancefloor in front of the stage soon filled up and it was the balladish
'Turn The Tide' from the new release 'Sanctuary' that went down best.
The more I hear this number the more I like it. Singer Mike
Freeland has a fine set of pipes and the Troy brothers seemed to be
enjoying themselves on this big stage.
City' from the early days ended this set with great applause from this
receptive crowd, many seeing Praying Mantis for the first time.
Praying Mantis are a long way from becoming extinct. Long may they
Dawson Saxon turned the amps up to eleven and were by far the
loudest band this weekend. Bassist Steve Dawson and guitarist
Graham Oliver were in the original Saxon, and you could soon hear why
Saxon were one of the most popular heavy metal bands back in the 80's.
This was my
second time of seeing this band and once again they blew me away, as
well as everyone else watching tonight. I have warmed to singer
John 'Wardi' Ward who refuses not to grab the attention of everyone in
all four corners of the hall. Giving his all with his bare chested
glorious 80's classics were played and new songs 'Past The Point' and 'Whippin'
Boy' upped the ante. This was text book heavy metal. Ending
with the encore of 'And The Bands Played On'. They blew away a lot the
The Hot Rods were doing anything they wanna do over at the Centre
Stage playing a punkier bluesy set in the tone of fellow Essex boys Dr
Feelgood, and brought a feelgood factor too, getting people standing on
their seats. I didn't catch them myself, but I only heard good
another long hectic day, Mr Buckley and I retired to the Jaks bar to
catch Gwyn Ashton doing an electric set but we arrived just as he
was unplugging, but at least I can say I've seen him.
It was far
past 2am before the entertainment had ended. Being a good boy all
day, it was back to our posh chalet where waiting for me was my friend
Jack Daniels. Oh dear!
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