Saturday, 19 July 2014

Rain in The Summertyne

Summertyne ... and the living is Easy
I think the title's nicked from an excellent song by the Alarm. Anyway Summertyne 2014 has come and is superb as ever. Like all festivals there is so much going on that you can't get to see everything ,  but there is always something to see and do , and The Sage is an amazing setting for any event and this is a huge annual event.

Anyway I only managed to see two acts today but the atmosphere was brilliant.

I walked in on Lowri Evans , a welsh singer with a lovely voice. The crowd loved her and I enjoyed watching and listening to her whole set.She has an extensive back catalog worth investigating and think she made a lot of new fans and friends today including me.

Next up were The Snakes who reminded me a little of The Jayhawks and provided and excellent , mostly original set, but did a class cover of Warren Zevon's "Excitable Boy" and again the crowd were more than satisfied. The problem is with a name like the Snakes is that it's difficult track them down on the internet , a bit like the Xaviers who supported Wire.

Want Beer?
However one of the other things about Summertyne is the related food and merchandise , and I particularly liked the "Wanted" Beer notices. They were all over.

Then there was choli , hot dogs , burgers , chocolate bars and hats, as well as CDs and vinyl with the artists doing signing sessions.

Big Daisy Kiss

Marilyn and Ouija Cushions
My big discovery was Big Daisy Kiss who's Facebook page describe her emporium as "Stuff for Girls Who Like Girly Stuff!"  I think I spoke to Emma about her stuff which ranges from purses , clutch bags , wallets , belts and guitar straps covering styles from 50's rock and roll and Elvis , to 90's kid's TV (She Ra , Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)  and their own goth designs. I suppose if you had to put one word to the display it would be Gothabilly.

There was loads of great stuff on show , and various presents for friend have been earmarked.

I know lot's of my friends will fall in love with this stuff, and the site and Facebook page is well worth a visit as the pictures and descriptions are more in depth and you can buy the stuff.

Eventually I decided to get a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles guitar strap, which now graces my Tanglewood bass, just need a band now!

Emma of Big Daisy Kiss wanted to leave her hat on! Loved talking with her
I got the same buzz from this as when I saw Geoff Marston's Blues Suitcases which are somewhere down this blog.

So another brilliant day at Summertyne, I may have a wander along tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Two Festivals: Corbridge and Mouth Of Tyne 2014

This weekend I treated myself to two festivals. Both were excellent and although there was a bit of rain it didn't affect the day too much. At Corbridge the rain came during Big Country's set and at the Mouth of Tyne it was during Neville Staple's set.

Saturday: Corbridge

Corbridge Festival
Talk Like Tigers
I got there a bit late and had missed the excellent Bessie and The Zinc Buckets and the compering of Stefan Peddie, but got of f at the train station walked past the excellent Valley Junction restaurant located there and destination of the Curry Train from Newcastle , past the caravans and tents (thinking this is quite a gathering), then a guy with a guitar on top of a platform, and a small (what I thought was and acoustic tent as someone was playing there) to what I thought was the main tent where the excellent Talk Like Tigers were taking to the stage. I enjoyed the set, and so did the crowd but I was thinking that this was a bit small for a festival stage and thinking is this it. Check out their web site and give them a listen, I think you will enjoy.

I then wandered round the corner saw a big crowd and the main stage, so I'd found the where I needed to be and had left was was actually the main stage, Where Leeds band The Happy Daggers were playing. The crowd liked them but their brand of pop funk was not my thing, although the final song Get Yourself Together was good and they left the crowd happy.

Ska Toons on the Night Boat To Cairo

Next up were the excellent Ska Toons , with an excellent ska based but eclectic set which included a ska version of Johnny and The Hurricanes "Red River Rock". The band really got the crowd going and their set was shorter than normal (most bands were playing 30-40 minutes, so it went by in the blink of an eye touching Madness, Toots and The Maytals and many other ska and pop touchstones, a must see if you get the chance.

Chris Helme - ex Seahorse
There was then an announcement that Chris Helme , the original singer with The Stone Roses was playing the acoustic tent. This obviously got my interest as I was sure that Ian Brown had been their front man from day 1 , but I went along to a packed acoustic tent where Chris Helme was just launching into the Faces' "Ooh La La" , which went down well. He then did a few more songs before doing  The Seahorses' "Love Is The Law", then it became clear, he was The Seahorses original singer. Again another great set which I enjoyed before wandering back to the main stage.

Then is was back to the main stage for Boy Jumps Ship who reminded me a little of General Fiasco, who are in the Kerrang chart  with their current single "Call To Arms". They were followed by half an hour of Chart Rave from Rozalla who the crowd really enjoyed , followed by the human beatbox Ball-Zee who kept the crowd jumping even though the rain started coming down.

Everyone was waiting for Big Country. As they stated "The faces have changed but the songs remain the same", and they certainly did not disappoint. They opened with "Harvest Home", and despite the rain they crowd were buzzing throughout the night's final set.They only played for about 80 minutes including encore, but the set seemed to go very quickly as the light faded and the rain was just sporadic. There were a lot of smiling faces both on and off stage. Big Country's sound is particularly suited to outdoor events , and they were excellent headliners for this gig. A rousing end to a brilliant day.

Sunday: Mouth of Tyne

Mouth of Tyne Festival

Sunday started off with heavy rain in Newcastle, which was a bit worrying for the Mouth Of Tyne Festival. After the success of Corbridge , my expectations weren't to high for the Sunday gig, and the previous night Paul Weller had been here. The full online program is here and hopefully t will stay there permanently. The afternoon was enhances by meeting up with some great friends, which is great for sharing the experience, whereas Corbridge had been totally solo.

I got into the Priory  and Jen Stevens and The Hiccups from South Shields were playing who provided an hour orf pleasant songs. the band I had come to see was Nevile Staple (ex Specials and Funboy 3)  and he certainly did not disappoint. Ska is great music in any environment and it was great to see all ages enjoying the gig.  

Neville Staple   is the first act I've seen more than once in this setting (the last time was as support to the Buzzcocks)  , he and his band could certainly come back as a headliner.

Toploader followed and while the first number was acceptable they soon descended into the blandness I expected , which some people love but I don't, and so I then left as I was not too bothered about the Brand New Heavies.

So all in all two great days, neither of which I would have wanted to miss.

I'm now looking forward to next year.