Mr B and an eclectic group of headliners were on show on the Saturday of GuilFest

GuilFest 2014 review

published: Mon 28th Jul 2014

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th July 2014
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey, England MAP
£120 weekend with camping, child 12-17 £85, u12s free
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 6th Jun 2014

On Saturday GuilFest welcomed the more eccentric crowd including the barmy The Fabulous Fezheads, described on their website as the 'Country's Premier Sand Dance Vaudevillian Illusionists', who were performing outside the main beer tent. The collective will not win any awards for Moroccan authenticity however were an entertaining watch and more importantly drowned out the anarchic cheers by the bar staff upon receipt of tips.

The Acoustic Tent was first on the agenda and its alluring haystack seats were welcome respite from its more glamorous counterparts. Nonetheless the line-up still attracted international talent including country duo Smythe and Taylor. The Texans treated the intimate audience to an uplifting set including 'Underground Folk' about witnessing horrific open microphone nights. Lyrics such as 'Strumming my face with my fingers, watching the clock on the wall. Killing me softly with his songs, killing me softly' had the crowd in stitches. However it was a pub song about London Road, one of the entrances to the festival site, which proved to be the real crowd favourite. Popular Guildford hang-outs were referenced and a mass sing-a-long to the chorus, ensured Smythe and Taylor's place in the town's hearts.

Back at The Big Cheese Cave, Brighton-based Kenelis were on-stage with their brand of alt-rock. Intertwining melodic and hammering riffs with a peppering of Mel Sanson's grungy vocals, tracks such as 'Sick' and a cover of Foo Fighters' 'All My Life' were belted out to the small gathering in attendance.  Ms Dynamite however gave an entirely different perspective on female-fronted musicianship. The North Londoner won the Mercury Music Prize at a shameful time when Bo' Selecta! was considered funny and the snake game on the Nokia 3310 was gripping the nation. Thankfully the nation has moved on and the 33-year-old's parroting of the phrase 'where you at ladies' confused many. However the fusion of grime, R'n'B and garage remained popular with the Main Stage crowd none more so than the falsetto chorus of the anthemic 'Dy-Na-Mi-Tee'.

Returning to the Big Cheese Cave, Black Futures, formerly known as Subsource, were on. The long-time GuilFest favourites' brand change risked a performance in-front of thin air. However the social media hype and posters plastered around Stoke Park ensured that an army of adrenaline fuelled metal-heads flooded into the cave for the impending carnage. And the carnage was duly obliged as Black Futures laid down their metal/dance -friendly tracks like a Prodigy-driven monster-truck screeching full-pelt into a flaming labyrinth of doom. Stu Henshall ponding on the upright electric double-bass and Paul Frazer's violent riffs while manically darting round the stage like a rabid pitbull, helped roar the moshpit into action. The undoubted highlight was the wall-of-death to a cover of Slipknot's 'Duality' helping wrap up the most energetic 30 minutes of the festival. Sadly Liverpudlian legends The Farm were a tame comedown from the aforementioned chaos, however covers of The Clash's 'Bankrobber' and early 90s classic 'All Together Now' injected a dose of nostalgia into the masses.

After grabbing a meal from the inflatable Shantwell Arms 'pub', it was time to walk down to The Good Time Guide Stage to check out Michael Gove's favourite musical act. It is incredibly difficult to imagine that the American-literature despising, Pob-face former Education Secretary actually enjoys anything that didn't involve a brooding sense of evil. However as it happens, the Tory-endorsed Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer turned out to be the stand-out performance of GuilFest 2014. As with Jamie Lenman and Public Service Broadcasting, Mr B awkwardly staggered onto stage as if he had walked out of a 1930s toffee shop, pompous moustache and brown waistcoat included and like the two aforementioned acts he was not ready to recite Chaucer to the eager-eyed crowd.

No, this stuttering old British gent is actually a hip-hop gangster who was ready to unleash his brand of 'chap-hop', albeit in the Queen's English. Armed with a banjolele and a voice frighteningly similar to Bobby Pickett, Mr B eloquently delivered rhymes such as 'All Hail The Chap' and 'They Don't Allow Rappers In The Bullingdon Club', each ended with a hearty cry of 'well played' to the applauding audience. After a brief lecture in the history of hip-hop with the startling revelation that the founder of hip-hop was called Clive, Mr B had a brief lapse of concentration, putting on his best George Formby impression and unashamedly playing German folk music, slight compensating the disappointed punters sitting through the Brompton Mix set.

After a chap-rock moment jumping off-stage mid-song and subsequently asking for a 'leg-up' back to the podium, the set continued with snippets of Blur and Stone Roses tracks and the x-rated 'Crack Song' and 'More Kissing in Porn Please We're British'. Mr B left the stage with a 'pip, pip' and 'cheerio' but the rambunctious crowd wanted an encore, which was duly obliged with the N.W.A/ cricket mash-up 'Straight Outta Sorry' complete with brilliant lyrics such as "Yes, you may give me a little lip but a sledger like you gets hit down the bowling strip like Dennis Compton - Compton, Compton, Compton." A superb end to a hilarious peformance.

Kingston three-piece Arcane Roots were the unfortunate band trying to match Mr B's set but did not disappoint with an energetic show in The Big Cheese Cave. The epic 'Energy is Never Lost, Just Redirected' and melodic math-rock hit single 'You Are', showed an intelligence lacking with many upstarts. Although the excellent Mars-Volta-inspired 2011 track 'In This Town Of Such Weather' remained absent from their setlist, the yelping 'Million Dollar Que$tion' ensured older material was included. The night was drawing to a close and an eclectic group of headliners were on show.

Soulfly followed Arcane Roots in The Big Cheese Cave, the Vive Le Rock tent hosted  Buzzcocks while Kool & the Gang graced the Main Stage. However hidden away in the ACM tent was drum 'n' bass legend Roni Size. The second Mercury Music Prize winner of the day played an entertaining set including the classic 'Brown Paper Bag' to the 30-something-year-olds bouncing and swaying as if it was the eve of the Millennium Bug apolacypse all over again.


review by: Neil Manrai

Friday 18th to Sunday 20th July 2014
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey, England MAP
£120 weekend with camping, child 12-17 £85, u12s free
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 6th Jun 2014


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