19 August 2007

Another festival and another great day out!

Cambridge Rock Festival yesterday was excellent and, as the event was indoors, even the great British weather couldn’t spoil it this time!

Lynda and I set out at 8:15AM and arrived at the festival site at 9:45AM - a nice steady drive along the M1 and A14 saw us cover the 90 miles in plenty of time to have a look around the Wood Green Animal Shelter (home to the festival) before the music kicked off at 11:00AM.

Taking the time to look around the animal shelter could quite easily have turned out to be the biggest mistake of the day; luckily, I managed to leave all the homeless pets behind! Walking around the small animal housing wasn’t a problem; seeing rats, guinea pigs, rabbits etc in their pens was kind of cute - just like seeing them in a pet shop I suppose. Seeing the dogs and even the cats (I’m not a cat person) was totally different! They were just crying out for someone that would re-home them and show them the love and care they deserved.

I had to go back and see one little Terrier a second time just to let it know that it WOULD be going to a new home soon and even went to talk to a very nice young cat a second time - not like me at all! The cat was rather fun though. It did everything that it should do… came for a fuss, showed us how it could jump up onto things for a closer look at us, rolled around on the floor to play and even demonstrated that it could wash its paws. It’s a good job we had to get back to the main arena for the first band!

So, the music. I’ll try to keep it as short as possible, but that never happens here does it?

The first band on the main stage was Kyrb Grinder, a London based Heavy Rock/Metal band. Very good at what they did but maybe just a little too heavy for me, especially at 11:00AM. The drummer was very good - voted "Best Drummer of The Year" for the past two years by Classic Rock Magazine - and fronted the band very well. There are not many bands that place the drum stand at the front of the stage and also have the drummer as main vocalist.

Kyrb Grinder.

Next up came The Reasoning, one of two bands that I’d came to see. There was only one real problem with their set, at just under an hour long it was never going to be enough! They played a superb gig, the tracks chosen were great, the crowd loved them, the stage show was first class and Rachel Jones was as expressive as ever. The Reasoning should have been given a slot much later in the day and of greater length, but at least by playing an early slot they did get a chance to have a beer afterwards! Cheers for the pint, Matt!

Rachel Jones - The Reasoning.

The Reasoning.

Big 10 came next, a Ska cover band. Quite where a band playing cover tracks from the likes of Bad Manners, Madness and The Specials fit in to a rock festival I do not know, but at least it gave us a chance to head off in search of food. From outside the arena Big 10 did sound quite good but not good enough to drag me away from my Green Chicken Curry and rice! Having said that, I did find myself moving around a little to tracks such as Too Much Too Young, Poison Ivy, One Step Beyond and Lip up Fatty! The classic Guns of Navarone brought the set to a close.

Juicy Lucy, a band that goes back to the mid '60s, was the fourth act on the main stage. Some great classic rock, played by a band that quite clearly had been there and done it all before. Nothing too showy about them, they just got on and played. Juicy Lucy are a band that I’d like to see again and I’ll be looking into their music some more. Hey, it’s only taken me forty-one years to discover them.

Following along the same time line as Juicy Lucy came Stray, another band that have been around for as long as I have. Stray have, in the past, toured with such greats as Kiss, Rush and the Pink Fairies so they know all about playing to a big crowd. At Cambridge, everyone loved them. This was a rock festival and that is just what we got from Stray. Another band that I’d like to see again.

After working my way through a rather nice bacon cob (to soak up some of the beer) it was time for Bluehorses, the second of the bands I had been waiting to see. As usual, the Bluehorses were quite simply brilliant - not that I’m in any way biased. The set of tracks they chose was pretty heavy, compared to some 'horses gigs, and it fitted right in with the crowd. As usual, the band gave it their all and rocked the place in the way only they can - even the lighting engineers upped the pace and gave a light show to match the quality of the music.


Now, at Bluehorses gigs you can almost always find me right at the front of the stage and Cambridge was no exception. Yesterday, I may have been better off hidden right at the back of the crowd! Unknown to me, I had been set up a little by a few friends in America (thanks, Sarah!), and the band. Lizzy announced to the crowd, and the world via the live Radio Caroline broadcast, that it had been my birthday! At first I was shocked, then I hid, then I laughed my head off about it! Liz and the rest of the band all stood smiling and waving at me in front of I don’t know how many cheering rock fans, and Jay played me Happy Birthday on the guitar. I just love this band, they are a great bunch of musicians and good friends too - not that I’m in any way biased!

Jay MacDonald - Bluehorses.

Liz Prendergast - Bluehorses.

Next up came Man, yet another band that can trace their history back to the '60s. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t really take too much notice of this band as I was too busy chatting with the Bluehorses crew! The bits I did hear sounded very good but I can’t say much more than that.

By the time Mindflow took to the stage, at just before 6:30PM, Lynda and I had found seats up in the "grandstand" to one side of the arena - it was starting to feel like a long day. I only remember two things about Mindflow - they were Brazilian and they were not all that good! Quite how they landed a slot so late in the day I’m not sure, but they didn’t impress me or too many others in the crowd. The programme billed them as "powerful progressive rock". I feel there may be a case for a court action under the trades description act! This was the only band that finished up playing to a much smaller crowd than they started out with. At least Lynda and I got the chance to eat our hot dogs and chips without missing anything good!

The final band we saw were Nine Below Zero, a very welcome relief after Mindflow I can tell you. We were treated to some great rock and blues classics. Their version of On The Road Again, by Canned Heat, was almost worth the admission price alone - well okay, not quite, but you know what I mean. The harmonica playing of Mark Feltham was quite simply brilliant and he was one of the outstanding musicians of the day. The band enjoyed playing so much that the organisers literally had to pull them off stage at the end of their set! Nine Below Zero will be playing The Flowerpot in Derby on 21 December, I may well be there!

At around 9:15PM Lynda and I decided to hit the road and head for home. There was still one more band to play but the rain outside was now coming down very hard, it was almost 100 miles back home and it had been a long, but enjoyable, day. The journey back wasn’t too bad, the roads were very wet and there was a lot of spray from the other traffic but at least we didn’t hit any hold ups.

So, all in all a very good day out. The festival is one that, given the right line up of bands, I’d go to again. It was easy to get to and well organised, with a very relaxed atmosphere - reminded me a bit of Off The Tracks.

1 comment:

  1. I wish someone would have gotten a picture of that ;-)

    It was great to listen to though. I would love to see this band live.

    XX Sarah