Saturday overview

Bearded Theory 2008

published: Thu 22nd May 2008

3 Daft Monkeys

Saturday 17th May 2008
near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England MAP
£12 - SOLD OUT
last updated: Wed 2nd Jan 2008

The music Saturday starts off with Gail acoustic who has been compared vocally to Joan Baez. This lady with her guitar sings passionately telling of "the day the Fat Cats fall and with more folky themes like "Crops" sung in a 'Country' style akin to Jonny Cash. She gives a glowing introduction to the next artist Freedom saying they first met strumming guitar around a campsite at Beautiful Days and both acts play sets that would suit that environment very well.

Freedom@Bearded Theory 2008

Freedom also sings his heart out to lyrics of "I don't need no country, I don't fly no flagsĀ…no slack, for the Union Jack" and another song with lyrics of "Mother in Afghanistan... Hypocrites in Downing Street." He finishes his set with an excellent cover version of 9 Inch Nails/Jonny Cash 'Hurt'.

The third act on the main stage is also the first band of the day, Felicity Kicks and this 4 piece band from Nottingham certainly know how to kick ass! A proper Rock Band with guitars slung low and drawing influences from AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Guns 'n' Roses, Pearl Jam, The Wildhearts etc.

Felicity Kicks@Bearded Theory 2008

The 'Flicks' have a good following with most of the people across the front wearing Tee-shirts with the witty slogan 'Never mind Bearded Theory... Felicity Kicks'. They certainly attract the attention of the crowd with their Melodic Rock and not too heavy, almost Bon Jovi at times, although their third song has a touch of Iron Maiden about it. They play a good set of mostly original material with some thundering bass for 'Oscar' and a few cover versions thrown in: 4th song is Stiltskin's 'Inside' which sounds reminiscent of the original. The 6th song is a cracking version of Dido's 'Resting Here With Me'. They finish the set with a nice rocky version of Talking Heads' 'Psycho Killer'.

Footie@Bearded Theory 2008

I break off from the kids versus adults football match to catch the full set of the next act.

It is clearly noticeable that a big crowd is drawn for Hobo Jones & the Junkyard Dogs. This band of 3 from Kent is a MUST SEE festival act just for entertainment alone. Their unique style of music which Mr Hobo refers to as "the first ever SKUNK band, that's a mix of Skiffle and Punk and not to be confused with anything else" have a set of mostly cover versions peppered with good humour.

They start with a Rock n Roll classic after which Hobo says "phew we're knackered. We got a frantic phone call asking 'where are you?' and had to rush here up the motorway. We thought we were on at 5pm not 3pm!" which gets a big laugh.

Hobo Jones@Bearded Theory 2008

Next is an amusing version of Green Day 'American Idiot' with Wino Tyrone switching instruments from washboard to spoons on a miniature plastic toy guitar. Of course that gets wrecked half way through the song and then it is back to washboard as they launch into The Clash 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' closely followed with an AC/DC cover version. Between all the songs the banter continues, and on with the classic Jilted John 'Gordon'.

Next is an original song 'Brain Dead Bar' which is a reference to the long redeveloped 'Klub Foot' at the Clarendon, Hammersmith, London and was venue for the thriving Psycho-Billy scene in the mid to late 80's. Another Original song 'Billy' which Hobo Jones says "this will f**king depress 'em" about a personal friend who died on the waterways.

The Stage manager pushes them for time and so the crowd are quickly handed pots & pans and various kitchen utensils to bang along in time to the encore of 'Drunken Sailor'. A thoroughly enjoyable set and I hate to admit but they get the biggest crowd of the weekend.

Bearded Theory 2008

The Runners play a tight set reminiscent of many modern pop 4-pieces. They have the look too. They may well need that something extra to emerge from the masses, but fair play to them for agreeing to play as very late replacements. However having already recorded a BBC Radio session & interview/feature with the NME they could go on to become the next big thing. I wonder if The Kooks should be trembling in their boots.

I only catch the end of Rev Hammer's set with Rev joking with the crowd about our beards getting in the way and a Moses style "parting of the beards The one song I hear him perform is 'Caledonian Rain' which gets nods of approval from all those watching and toe tapping.

Tarantism@Bearded Theory 2008

Tarantism music is played in a folk-jam fashion. A traditional band style is spiced up with what-looks-like bongos, and a lead singer who is partial to a wind-instrument, possibly the tin-whistle. The members all look like seasoned youngsters. The singer has a fine set of vocal chords when aired. Their music goes down to good grooving effect with a fair-sized crowd, some of whom clearly know the music from similar festivals.

True Deceivers hail from Guildford and have previously been a popular choice at Guilfest Festival with their blend of Folk Rock and Roots Music. Just as I'm thinking they sound a lot like The Waterboys they perform a cover version of 'Fisherman's Blues'. The True Deceivers play a set of mostly original material Folky fuelled with guitars and mandolin and they draw on influences such as Steve Earle, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Oyster Band and Show Of Hands. For their last number they switch the violin player to lead vocals.

Overall a good set from yet another good band today.

Set List:
Strip The Willow
Close Enough For Jazz
Cajun Song
Sweet Mental Revenge
Writing On The Wall
Your Own Sweet Way
Down This Way Before
Water Uphill
Heaven Is A Strange Place
Comfort Zone
Fisherman's Blues
Galway Girl

Next up is The Beetroot Kings from Mansfield so relatively local. Front man Gary Armstrong addresses us with "We're from a mining village so we're not posh twats!"

You wouldn't know it but this five piece band only formed a year ago. Already they have a great pool of songs to draw from with good rhythms and the music blends well with the fiddle which at times has a strong hint of The Wonderstuff.

Beetroot Kings@Bearded Theory 2008

I've never seen the Beetroots before but having listened to some of their stuff before this festival I have to say they are as good as expected. That is also proven when the 3 main organisers Richard, Sally, and Jay are seen in the crowd together all bopping away.

The 4th song is a likeable tune known to me as 'Really Don't Have The Time' and goes down well. Good bass-lines from the bass player who looks cool enough to be Mani of Stone Roses and Primal Scream, perhaps he is! However, the drummer looks young enough to be my son, in contrast to the 2 balding front-men, but they all play a tight set as if seasoned pros. Later that night I bump into the drummer and shake his hand to commend him on some powerful drumming which is evident with the percussion on 'Call Of The Ancients' which is awesome. Along with the haunting melodies 'Call Of The Ancients' is the one song from the weekend that both my son & I come away humming. As I type this review I still can't get that song out of my head. I hear more familiar songs 'Who's The Fool' and 'The Story Of Shriggy' and they finish with the excellent 'Davy Jones'.

And then we eagerly await the headliners on main stage. I notice a lot of familiar faces in the crowd and it is clearly visible there is a strong contingency of Levellers Fans here to see the main act. It is no wonder as 3DM have supported The Levs many times now and there is a close affinity between the 2 bands.

3DM@Bearded Theory 2008

3 Daft Monkeys arrive on stage to set up and there is a long delay with sound checks before the music actually starts. Athene looks disappointed with a few technical hitches.

However the fun just begins with much banter between Tim Ashton and the crowd. He comments on the weather "We played in Bideford last night and it was nice and warm, we should have taken the weather with us from Devon." And "I hope your beards are keeping you warm. I am positioned right at the front so don't notice how cold it is, but I should have realised when bassist Jamie has footwear for a change, instead of his customary performance barefoot.

After a change of leads for Athene's violin we are underway and the Monkeys with their unique blend of Gypsy / Celtic / Balkan / New World / Folk launch into first song which is mostly instrumental with frenetic fiddle play. Followed by a burst into 3 songs from the 'Social Vertigo' latest Album starting with my favourite 'One Fine Day' and as they introduce 'Let 'em In' Athene says "This song was written in The Isle of Skye' which dismisses the myth that they never venture to Scotland.

Next up is one of the older classics and also one of our favourite Devon words 'Hubbadillia' and gets plenty of stomping. More crowd pleasing favourites follow with 'Astral Eyes' which sounds a touch off-key to begin but is kept alive by Jamie's pulsating bass, and then 'Hey Listen sandwiching 2 of the tracks from 'Go Tell the Bees' EP.

Bearded Theory 2008

Before the encores 'Scouse Rich' as Stage manager halts proceedings to thank 3DM and calls the 3 main organisers on stage for quick speech and a popping of champagne bottle after which we proceed with the early single 'Faces' for first encore and then finish off with a Yiddish song, such is the diversity of 3 Daft Monkeys. This may not be their best gig ever but it is still a cracking performance and much appreciated by all who brave the cold until the end.

After the encore from 3 Daft Monkeys I hurry away to the Dance area to catch Dreadzone Sound System already underway... the crowd are buzzing and lapping up the 'Ravey Set' from Greg Dread & MC Spee. They play a few of their own songs including early on 'Once Upon A Time' and the new single 'Love The Life'. But most of the night is banging club music and a lot of 'Old Skool Dance Tunes' including a clever bit of mixing in from Greg and I'm sure I hear a bit of Chemical Brothers being mixed in.

The dance area outside the pub is full of adoring fans dancing their socks off with Spee responding in his charismatic way. The crutches he has with him for recent leg injury do not stop his continuous unique dance style. Greg slaps on House of Pain's 'Jump around' and we certainly do just that! They then launch into one of their favourites 'Iron Shirt' and finish up around 1am with an encore of their classic 'Little Britain' which almost takes the roof off.

I amongst many walk away with a massive smile on my face. I comment on how I can't wait to see Dreadzone as full band and 'give it large' at two other upcoming festivals and am told, "no Paul, you've only given it Medium."

Bearded Theory 2008

review by: Paul O'Neill

photos by: Clive Hoadley

Saturday 17th May 2008
near Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England MAP
£12 - SOLD OUT
last updated: Wed 2nd Jan 2008

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