The heat, the heat! Its hot far too early and we have to take the tent down, ready to leave after Elvis has done his thing. Its cool under the avenue of trees after filling the car so we dont get to the arena until at least two school bands have already been on the Second Stage.
There I am in the scorching sunshine, having bought my first beer of the day and recovering from the late night, when suddenly a note perfect rendition of Black Sabbaths Paranoid floats into my ears and perks me up. Not long after Metallicas Enter Sandman follows it. Hello Silverpenny what a good choice of music to cheer me up on a Sunday morning. Inspired!
The Street Teams have been out in force to promote Tokyo Dawn, and Im littered in Tokyo Dawn stickers by the time I amble over to watch them. Im quite impressed they have a bit more about them than many of the School Bands and it would appear they also have quite a following. These could be ones to watch around Guildford in the future.
Whispering Bob Harris introduced the opening act on the Main Stage in the glorious sunshine at 4pm. This band is predominantly full of New Zealanders (but hey it appears the festival circuit has more and more Australasians on it each year, so good to see some Kiwi bands for a change). Im in a minority of one in our group liking this breezy indie pop with shades of blues occasionally. But their melodies are airy and refreshing on a Sunday afternoon and I think the opening time slot suits them with the heat approaching that of a New Zealand summer. Who cares if its bright and breezy weve got The Thrills and The Magic Numbers and people are starting to drop their guard and appreciate positive indie. Its just possible Marshmallow will catch the same wave and their sound is good enough to deserve it.
UKULELE ORCHESTRA OF GB
All ukuleles always remind me of George Formbys, Leaning on A Lamppost and to start with all their tunes are no different, but they do make you forget you are listening to ukuleles. How that works I have no idea but the brilliantly witty asides to the audience such as Heres a signed pictures of us, I tried to have them developed but they didnt come out very well. and Were the only band that heckle ourselves. Only add to the whole comic slant of the band. They are worth listening to for the banter alone. But when they play twisted cover versions of all your favourite tunes theyre unmissable. With Miss Dy-na-mit-tee, Ying Tong, Le Freak, Only You and Satellite of Love particularly brilliantly re-worked. Then they go and play a freaky version of Leaning on A Lamppost and Im totally confused because it doesnt sound like the sound I always think ukuleles should sound like. They have a sense of timing and a touch of brilliance thats hard to explain by writing. You have to see them to truly appreciate the genius that is the Ukulele Orchestra of GB.
A relative newcomer and a rising star, Lucie the programme says has written tracks for Liberty X, Gareth Gates and Rachel Stevens but to my daughters disappointment doesnt sing any of them. Ah well, what she does play from her debut album sounds like decent pop fare and is sure to be popular, she certainly has quite a few fans here. As despite not having heard it before my daughter likes it. Its not really my cup of tea and her inexperience live showed at times. But shes likeable enough, she has an undeniable writing talent and a decent voice. Im just not sure that years down the line shell still be doing all the tracks she did today. Some of the songs are padding, we must be treated to nearly the whole album and it irks me that instead of doing them, why didnt she play some of those hits shes written, my daughter would have been much happier. Possibly Lucies not allowed to.
I happen to be passing to collect armfuls of hand made things from the kids tepee whilst Humphrey is playing and just get caught in the moment. Its fine jazz, people are dancing with each other and the whole place is swinging and the vibe around the Second Stage is fantastic.
STEVE HARLEY AND COCKNEY REBEL
Steve comes out limping (no idea why), helped to his mic by Cockney Rebel, dons a guitar and breaks straight into Here Comes The Sun and the crowd are delighted. Steve knows how to work a crowd and theres no waiting for his big tunes as after a swift guitar change due to a broken string a re-worked Mr Soft is delivered. After the press leave the pit, Steve looking directly into the sunset to the west dons a pair of sunglasses and asks if any of the press will take his pic and send it in to his website. Implying I guess they do three songs and leave. Karens put her camera away and doesnt get the chance to prove him wrong as the glasses are off before her lens cap. Minutes later the website is mentioned again as Steve films us all with a handheld camcorder for his website and we all go into extra delirious mode. Hits and possibly new tunes tumble from the stage with us all joining in for a boogie and some clapping and by the time Sebastian starts weve all been won over by the mighty Mr Harley and Cockney Rebel (playing as well as ever) and by Make Me Smile the slightly rough edged style of play, with its mistakes and jams has worked again and its been glorious. Few other bands are prepared to be this free on stage and it pays dividend in Cornbury this evening.
See separate review for Elvis Costello and the Imposters.
review by: Scott Williams
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