Bad Manners round off Europe's biggest Biker party

Bulldog Bash 2012 review

published: Wed 15th Aug 2012

Bad Manners

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th August 2012
Shakespeare County Raceway, Long Marston, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, England MAP
£60 for the weekend including camping
last updated: Mon 16th Jul 2012

The thing with the Bulldog Bash is that it's more than a festival. It's not really a music festival at all, it's one of Europe's biggest bike rallies without being that either. The Bulldog Bash is about meeting up with friends, having a few laughs, racing what you've ridden in if you wish, or showing off your custom work to those who appreciate your efforts. It's a party that goes on all day and most of the night! With constant entertainment around the site such as wrestling, shooting range, wall of death and fairground, not to mention the twice daily Drag strip and stunt shows where some of the world's fastest and most outrageous bikes and cars entertain the stands with jaw-dropping quarter mile sprints, late night dance tent and an 'Adult' entertainment tent; Bulldog Bash has a little something for everyone.

Bags Of Rock
On the main stage it was time for some music. Bags Of Rock first came to light in more popular circles after their appearance on Britains Got Talent. And with their catchy mixture of Rock covers, done with a collection of Bagpipes, pipe-drums, and a regular 'Rock' band – these boys really knew how to kick off this year's Bash.

Boot-Led Zeppelin (covering legendary rockers Led-Zeppelin) were touted by the announcers as one of the best tribute bands around. I thought it was going to be one of those dangerous moments where a tribute band crosses the line of something sacred. After all, is Stairway to Heaven allowed to be done poorly? Not in my opinion. However, Boot-Led Zeppelin were probably one of the highlights of the weekend. Not only styled and musically honed-in on what is one of the classic bands of all time, but blisteringly good at what they do. And what they do is put on a show. You could close your eyes, feel the sunset on your back and easily be back in 1970-something.

Hells Bells
The evening wouldn't be complete at Bulldog without Hells Bells. Missing from last years 25th anniversary, Hells Bells more than made up for their absence in 2012. The boys brought 2 sets to the Bulldog Party. Firstly leading off with tributes to all of the great British rock bands of the last 40 years, and doing all of them justice. After a short break, the boys were back to do what they do best: AC/DC. The look and feel, the sound and the atmosphere – you'd be allowed to mistake them for the real thing. They really can nail it, and of course, the crowd loved every note.

around the festival site (track side)
The Friday morning 'Run What Ya Brung' saw some serious times being laid down in the early day heat and the Drag-Strip & Stunt-Show provided thrills on the track while Codejack kicked off the Friday entertainment on the Area 81 stage. After a successful support slot on Fozzy's UK tour, these boys set the tone for the day.

Blues/Rock Funksters Alien Stash Tin were up next and proceeded to make the Friday afternoon in Warwickshire resemble a Saturday evening in the Deep South. Skam, and Empire of Fools followed while elsewhere inside the venue, England's Strongest Man's finals were being held to the delight of a raucous crowd and the RWYB continued on from the mornings' session.

Hellbound
Gloucester quartet Hellbound set a record for the Bulldog Bash on the Area 81 stage by being the first band to perform 5 years in a row and it was obvious why they're a favourite. Hard riffs and power vocals from frontman Dave Hellbound along with some randomness from Bassist Johnny Shuffle and Guitarist Ben Bojangles showed it's no wonder why they keep coming back.

Last year's Thursday night headliners Guns 2 Roses, opened the Main Stage on Friday and the crowd made its way out of their shaded areas and toward the front for the evenings entertainment. Simply put these guys are great. They're good at what they do, and what they do is possibly better than the real thing. The look, the sound, the style, the attitude – Guns 2 Roses are great to watch, great to listen to and great to sing along to. Henrys Funeral Shoe, and The Union continued the entertainment while The Snorting Dogs and Hostile kept the crowd entertained on the Area 81 stage before headliners Huron.

The Urban Voodoo Machine
If you like Pantera, Down, or any of the early 90's power bands, Huron should be on your radar too. Back at the main stage proceedings were then taken over by The Urban Voodoo Machine, this band describes themselves as "Bourbon soaked, Gypsy Blues Bop'n'Stroll" which, to be fair, is probably about as accurate as you can get. I can't remember the last time I've felt so thoroughly entertained. The evening show was rounded off by guitar virtuoso Nico Tamburella who blazed his way through riffs and solo's like he was born to blow your mind. This year's Bulldog may have been more intimate, but there was no sign the party was anything other than in full-swing.

Saturday Morning was a little cooler and saw those who were sober enough from Friday night take to the track for the second day of RWYB. Fifteen English Pounds got things under-way for the final full day of the party and were followed by X-UFO and their unique style to entertain those who had seen all they needed to see on the track along with Virus, The Lost & Mothers Ruin, while the Main stage, opened by another tribute band Rammlied (covering German Industrial Band Rammstein), saw an enthusiastic yet hungover 'Metal' crowd for the cover band. With Pyrotechnics, lights and fireworks of sorts, if Rammlied were sent to wake the Bulldog Bash up and get everyone moving, that's exactly what they did. Followed on by Dear Superstar, and Viking Skull on the Main stage whilst Mothers Ruin, Blackwolf, and Imicus continued on Area 81.

Bad Manners
The duty of wrapping up the Area 81 stage for the weekend fell to Attica Rage, who handled their slot and the crowd extremely well. Back on the main stage, , Sex Pistols Experience displayed all the vigour and attitude of the band in their younger hey-day and really got the crowd in the party mood. They were followed by the traditional presentation of prizes to the riders with the fastest times from the run what ya brung sessions that had been running all weekend. Finally, the Bash was brought to a rousing climax by the legends that are Bad Manners, who informed everyone who may not have known that "THIS IS SKA!" With hits including 'My Girl Lollipop', 'Lip up Fatty', 'Special Brew' and 'Fatty man', as well as a brilliant interpretation of 'Can't take my eyes off of you', Bad Manners kept everyone smiling and dancing until the very end and well into the night, rounding off with a field full of bikers doing the can-can. What more do you need?

Bulldog Bash can best be summed up in the words of a couple of veterans; "It's not about the bands. It's not about the weather. It's not about the stalls. It's about meeting up with friends, and having a dance and a laugh." Which is exactly what everyone got at the Bulldog Bash 2012. The Hells Angels still know how to put on a party and I'll be back in 2013 as long as they are...

around the festival site (1)
review by: Will Tudor

photos by: Will Tudor

Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th August 2012
Shakespeare County Raceway, Long Marston, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire, England MAP
£60 for the weekend including camping
last updated: Mon 16th Jul 2012


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