I stayed up
late on the Saturday night, chatting to Micky Moody and Neil Murray
about the early days of Whitesnake into the early hours followed by
listening to Chantel McGregor doing her acoustic thing from the comfort
of our backstage camping area.
another bottle of wine whilst chatting to our photographer for the
weekend Mr Noel Buckley, later joined by fellow reviewer Jim Rowland.
The reason I needed a good bottle of red was for some Dutch courage as
Buckers was sharing my tent for the night. Not a pretty sight.
sleep i was awoken at 11am by the sounds of IO Earth who were
playing some progressive jazz. Think Courtney Pine playing with
modern day Marillion and you get the idea. The six piece band
lightened up the day perfectly.
A band who
will be surely playing higher up on bill in the future were Panic
Room. Connected to the family tree of Mostly Autumn,
Anne-Marie Helder takes the leading role in this band who were
captivating today. There are lighter similarities with Opeth as
the band go from full on assault metal to intricate ballads.
rare to see a band whose singer is also pounding the drum kit. The
London trio Kyrbgrinder were one of my surprises of the weekend.
Johanne James certainly kept a threshold on things grabbing out
attention throughout with his demands.
drumming with funky riffing metal, the band sounded like Living Colour
whilst driving down the motorway with a flat tyre without a care in the
world. World War III could certainly flare up again in October
when the band release their next album 'Cold War Technology'.
Sparnen left Breathing Space to go full time with Mostly Autumn,
I felt it was going to be an uphill struggle for Iain Jennings' band.
With new singer Heidi Widdop the band still gathered a large crowd but
the band still need more time together to dip over the radar.
A huge show
this for Breathing Space as with line-up changes the band now has both a
new vocalist Heidi Widdop and guitarist Adam Dawson, Heidi is part of
the family already as a vocalist with Mostly Autumn in the early days
while Adam has been playing guitar live since he was 14 years of age.
Heidi has a
powerful singing voice and particularly excels at the rockier numbers,
of which the set had plenty including the opening number 'Below the
Radar', the title track from the band's latest and in my opinion
strongest album to date. The second track of the set and another
album title track the gentle starting 'Coming up for Air' which soon
builds up to the catchy rocking live favourite.
Photo: Andrew Lock
was kept going with two more up more up-tempo tracks from the latest
album with 'Clear' and 'Run from Yourself' (outstanding pop rock chorus
on this number), and as would be the case with previous vocalist Olivia
with Mostly Autumn later in the evening, Heidi seemed to show no nerves
and took complete control of the stage as did the impressive new
Next up the
only visit in the set to the band's debut album and a change of pace
with the beautiful and delicate 'No Promises' with exquisite keyboards
by Iain Jennings. This was followed by the first new song of the
set 'Silver Skies' an impressive piece of music written by new boy Adam.
I must say that on hearing the other new track 'Lips' played later in
the set and with the performances of both the newcomers joining the
other outstanding musicians in the band the future looks very bright for
aforementioned final track of the set Lips, two stunning numbers from
the bands Coming up for Air album possibly Heidi's best vocal
performance of the set and a number where she really let rip: the
powerful 'Searching For My Shadow' and my personal favourite Breathing
Space song and for me one of the most up-lifting pieces of music ever
made 'When I Hold on to you' (such a fabulous track to play if you ever
feel a bit down).
Great to see
this band in such good form and with their style of pop/rock for me they
are filling a gap in the rock market.
around the site, I didn't expect to see ex Premiership footballer Dion
Dublin who in his time has played for Manchester United, Aston Villa,
Celtic, England as well as playing for local team Cambridge United.
here with a stall promoting his Musical devlopment 'The Dube', which is
basically a percussion cube played with your bare hands. It
actually sounded quite good. For someone who once made a career
out of something that is round, he could be setting himself up for life
now with something that is now square. A lovely chap.
debut was Aireya 51. Fronted by guitarist/singer/songwriter
Keith Airey last seen playing with The Zombies who has made a living
doing session and live work for some of the biggest names in pop and
his new album 'Crimson Tear', Airey was also joined by his daughter
Olivia on bass and his Zombie mate Steve Rodford on drums.
catchy Radio 2 friendly rock with some Rory Gallagher inspired guitar
solo's. Later joined by his brother Don Airey of Rainbow/Deep
Purple fame on the keyboards gave the band a much fuller sound with some
swirling Hammond work on 'Long Hot Summer'. Well worth investigating.
It was a
busy weekend for Praying Mantis who played Colchester the night
before but earlier on the Saturday played with Danny Hynes in Paddy
Goes To Holyhead here at the festival with their brand of sham
rock'n'roll. A selection of Irish tunes played with a metal edge
that went down to great applause.
band were sticking to their day job. Opening with 'Children Of The
Universe' a song that sounds better with time thanks to singer Mike
Freeland's soothing vocals. With new songs from their latest
'Sanctuary' Praying Mantis are slowly building themselves a bigger
fanbase than their heyday.
flow of rock music was Hazel O'Connor & The Subterraneans.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of her iconic film 'Breaking Glass',
together with her band Hazel O'Connor brought the hit making songs like
'Eighth Day' and 'Will You' into a new leash of life.
a charming and endearing nature about her which we all warmed to.
A great set which saw many queuing for O'Connor's autograph after the
noise generated by the audience after Hazel O'Connor, they were soon
stunned into silence by The Enid. A wall of orchestral
symphonic sounds where the audience listened intently. The only
noise coming from the crowd was the dropping of jaws.
with movements from 'Aerie Faerie Nonsense followed by sections from the
new 'Journeys End' - all met with rapturous applause. Robert John
Godfrey who looks like the geezer on the back of a ten pound note, took
the microphone and said ''This is the only time you'll here me speak as
we only have one piece of music left, however it's a very long piece of
music'', before introducing his new band members.
then went into 'In The Region Of Summer Stars' which took me into astral
skies. The band really do belong at the Royal Albert Hall. A
stunning performance. The journey is nowhere at it's end just yet
for The Enid. My band of the weekend.
festival were Mostly Autumn who have upped a notch since the full
time recruitment of singer Olivia Sparnen who now takes the main focus
and makes the photographers happy with her long straight blond hair
slim-line body and looking great in her black number complete with black
thigh length boots (Deep breath now lads.).
Panic Room's Anne-Marie Helder on the flute and keys and Gavin Griffiths
on the drums, guitarist and vocalist Bryan Josh led his band through a
set focusing on their twelve year career. The band should be soon
be reaching their pinnacle when they release their next album judging by
Never Die' was the last song and was made more poignant by the
appearence of 26 year old paratrooper Ben Parkinson who suffered 37
terrible injuries including the loss of his legs after an landmine
explosion in Helmand province in Afghanistan. Ben Parkinson was
here as guests of the Cambridge Rock Festival who were heavily
supporting the Help For Heroes campaign. The biggest applause of
the weekend was for Ben.
festival run on a low budget, quality music was here in abundance.
They came to
rock...GRTR! survivors Mark Taylor, Noel Buckley and Jim Rowland
by Mark Taylor
Additional reporting: Jim Rowland, Andrew Lock
Photos by Noel Buckley/GRTR! All
rights reserved. (except where indicated)