Deer Shed Festival 8

An awesome family festival that I’d recommend to anyone. Loads to do, great music, great atmosphere and great company.

This is the third year in a row that we’ve been to the Deer Shed Festival and we’ll be going again next year.  Amy nudged us all in the direction of this “family friendly” festival back in 2015 and it’s now a permanent fixture on the calendar.

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DS6 & DS7 were superb and this probably topped them both.  The line-up isn’t packed with household names, but it’s fair to say that for me the music is a bonus as there is so much else to do there.  The website notes this as a family friendly festival and it most certainly is.  There’s so much to do and explore that every year we reflect on how much we missed.  The organisers do a fantastic job of making sure there is something for everyone and it would be fair to say that the kids activities are for the big kids too!

This year our kids did the following activities; fashioned a bow and arrow in the wilderwild, created “arty stuff” (screen print & designed bunny kids), did a forensic investigation, slack lining in the sports field, fairground rides, made paper airplanes and a paper dodecahedron…

You literally could spend all day in the sports field, science tent and wilderwild, but then there’s music across 4 main stages on top of that.

Deer Shed 8

Present at this one: Clare & I with Lana & Erin, Set & Amy with James & Ewan and Andrew with Mayu and Shumei.  The kids are aged from 4 to 9, but there’s something for everyone of any age.

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Food: the food is always great.  There’s a broad range of foods available from a variety of cultures.  I had Mac n Cheese, Red Thai Curry & an awesome steak & ale pie & mash.

Beer: probably the one frustrating thing about DSF is that you aren’t allowed to take any alcohol into the arena.  I know that’s standard at most festivals, but I’ve been spoiled at Glastonbury.  Nevertheless, that’s a minor complaint and the beer on offer is great.  Unfortunately I didn’t get as far as the Obelisk bar which had around 30 ales available.  I stuck with the main bar and enjoyed a few pints of the excellent Mary Jane and the specially brewed Wilderwild.

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Music: as always we created and shared a spotify playlist in advance.  I hadn’t heard of many of the bands in advance and so have now picked up a number of new favourite bands / artists.  I was looking forward to Teenage Fanclub anyway, but most of the others were pretty new to me and in fact many of the ones I did know were just because of previous DSFs.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see anyone on either the In The Dock or the Obelisk stages, but that’s the perils of having a family!

Friday

Happyness turned out to be the first band I caught on Friday.  I was familiar with a couple of tunes from the playlist and the played to a crowd that was beginning to build as the day wore on.

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Honeyblood were the main support on the main stage.  They’ve got some great tunes and have a good stage presence.  They can certainly make some noise!

I then caught a bit of Jesca Hoop on the Lodge Stage before the main headliners.

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Teenage Fanclub were awesome,  I saw them back in November and they were equally good tonight.  It was a career spanning set with a focus on their latest album, Here (4 out of the 16 tracks were from this one).  The tracks from my favourite two TF albums were my highlights (Grand Prix & Songs From Northern Britain), but it was all good.  Shame there was no encore, but it was still a treat.

Teenage Fanclub Setlist Deer Shed Festival 2017 2017

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Saturday

Two all female groups kicked off the music on Saturday.  The Big Moon were in fine voice and She Drew The Gun started the poetry theme that spanned to the headline slot.  I enjoyed both and will certainly be following The Big Moon in the future.

Sandwiched in the middle, Ste & I managed to catch the second half of the Roddy Woomble set on the Lodge Stage.  It was enjoyable, although I was hoping for a sneaky Idlewild track.  He may have played one and we just missed it.  I plan to check out some of his solo stuff after seeing this.

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King Creosote was next (after a fast spin on the Ferris Wheel), followed by Ibibio Sound Machine.  ISM aren’t my thing, but they certainly got the crowd dancing.

We all then went to see John Smith on the Lodge Stage.  He was great.  I hadn’t heard of him before the line-up was announced and I can see myself getting an album before long.  I might have got one that night in the march tent had events not conspired against me.  I had Erin on my shoulders for the last 3 or 4 songs and she was enjoying the sweet sounds.  She was obviously enjoying it so much that she drifted off.  We were all amused as she continued to stay asleep as the set ended and we left the tent.  The heavens then opened…

…as we headed to our base in front of the main stage.  With Erin asleep and clearly struggling, Clare and I decided (as did Andrew and his kids) that we wouldn’t brave Kate Tempest.  Not our thing anyway, but the weather took a turn for the biblical.  We were all saturated by the time we got back to the tent.

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Sunday

The festival has a shortened Sunday and consequently you get a feeling that the weekend has gone very quickly.  You can stay over on Sunday night for an extra £50, but we’ve only done that the once.  We only caught two bands on the final day as we emerged ourselves in the Wilderwild and the sports field.

Teleman were one of my most anticipated new (to me) bands.  They didn’t disappoint.  There’s something joyous about finding a new band that you take to.  It’s an almost certainty that I’ll have bought Brilliant Sanity within the next few months.

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The Sunday night headliner was another band that I’ve never really “got”, but you could tell that most of the crowd certainly did.  The Divine Comedy ended proceedings and left us all adding the early bird DS9 ticket sale date to our diaries.

Weather: the weather was variable.  The Friday was pretty awesome, Saturday was pretty patchy and then insane rain.  Sunday was pretty good with the odd showers.  If you come prepared with wellies, then it really doesn’t matter.

Thank you to everyone involved in making this a great festival.  See you next year!

 

Busted @ Bents Park, South Shields

Busted deliver a gig like no other band I’ve seen this year (or ever?)

We are off to see Busted with the kids next month btw…are you excited? 😂

The above was a text from my wife to me whilst I was at the home of music, Glastonbury.  Clearly I had no say in this. The kids would no doubt be happy.

I got home to discover that this was a free event as part of the South Tyneside Festival.  However, we’d bought priority tickets at £5 a piece! Bargain.

This was a decent event – especially for those that got in free. There were 4 acts on in quick succession, so there was little time to get bored between them.  I gather there was quite a queue when it opened (12 noon for priority ticket holders), but we didn’t arrive until until about 1.30pm and sailed straight through.  The weather was pretty great all afternoon, so that was a bonus.  All the support acts were local.

Sonny: the only local performer to do his own tracks (from what I can remember) until he closed with a medley of covers. He sounded pretty decent and was a nice way to start the day.

Call On Sunday: played covers for the younger audience members. Sounded good.

The Understudies: played covers for the older audience members. I really enjoyed these. Covers included; Franz Ferdinand, ELO, The Beatles, Buggles, AC/DC, Pulp…

Busted: I’m not sure how interested Busted were in this. Charlie Busted’s eyes seemed lifeless behind his shades and they didn’t hang around at the end of their set.  I’m pleased to say I didn’t know as many Busted songs as I feared I might.  The girls seemed to enjoy it, although they were pretty exhausted in the sun after a great morning playing in a football tournament. The definitely enjoyed Year 3000 and a few others. You can see why Busted have some appeal and there were tonnes of people singing.  It’s not music made for me. That’s fine. I was there for the girls and it was good value, even with priority tickets.

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For what it’s worth, here’s the setlist (I submitted this, but only thought about it 5 or 6 songs in – so it’s incomplete – and relied heavily on lyric searches on google!)

Glastonbury 2017 – Friday – Day Three

Glastonbury Friday. A great day for music. Some outstanding performances on offer.

The pace immediately builds on day 3.  Friday arrives and from that point on there’s barely a break from the music.  The day started with a cup of tea and the opening act of The Other Stage.  The Pretenders were up first.  They started slow with tracks off their new album, but soon played some crowd pleasers.  Not my type of band.  A satisfactory, if not impressive start to the festival.  It soon improved.

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We headed to the John Peel Stage next.  We’d just discovered Rews on the playlist and thoroughly enjoyed their set (missed the first few tracks).  Black Honey immediately followed.  They also sounded good, but we only caught a few tracks before we needed to head off.

The scheduling at Glastonbury can be a personal challenge.  You need to work out who you want to see in their entirety and prioritise accordingly.  Blossoms were one of those priorities, so it was our first trip to The Pyramid Stage.  They were really good without ever really sparkling.  I feel like they are holding back a little at times, but I’ll be really interested to see how they develop on album number 2.

The sweet sounds of First Aid Kit followed.  This is a band that always sound amazing.  They didn’t disappoint.  Oddly, Ste and I had been rubbishing the song, You Are The Problem Here, in advance, but this was a great part of the set.  A trip back to the Other Stage followed.

Glass Animals were up next.  We were eating a square pie for a few songs of this set and never really got involved.  It was decent without ever engaging me significantly.  They did trow some awesome inflatable pineapples into the crowd though which is something.

Back to The Pyramid Stage for three of our most anticipated sets.

Royal Blood took to the stage and were immediately impressive.  Those two produce such an awesome noise.  So powerful, catchy and engaging.  The two of them seem to have a great stage presence.  Their second album had juts got to number one and they celebrated by cracking open a massive bottle of champagne on stage and guzzling it all in front the huge crowd.  Class.

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The xx were next.  This set seemed to go quickly.  This may have had something to do with alcohol which had been a steady intake since 12ish.  The xx sounded great and seemed to have a set full of familiar tunes, despite the fact that I’ve only properly got into them since the most recent album.  Elbow were playing a secret set of the park stage and in previous years we’d have headed there, but given how many times I’ve seen Elbow, I’m glad we stuck with The xx.

An so for the first headliner.  Radiohead.  We hadn’t seen Radiohead live since 2003, so were really looking forward to this, especially in anticipation of an OK Computer heavy set.  Unfortunately its was a bit of a led down (no pun intended).  Despite featuring 6 OK Computer tracks and a tonne of other great tunes, it lacked some emotional connection.  We thought a significant problem was the stupid use of the big screens.  There was rarely a standard image displayed and instead you had to watch an arty collage of nonsense.  We were to far from the stage to see what was going on directly and could really only see the silhouette of an unmoving security guy on stage.  Consequently there was no connection.  This had a significant impact.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was good.  Just not great.  OKNOTOK I guess.

The night didn’t quite end there.  Just enough time for a lengthy dash to The Park (first visit) to catch the embers of The Flaming Lips set.  I think we caught 4 tracks.  All were good and seemed very entertaining.  A pleasant coda to the first full day of music.

Unfortunately, post Lips, we got caught in a massive crush outside of the park area.  If we did have any plans to continue on to anything else (we probably didn’t), then they were swiftly brought to a close be being sent in opposite directions.  We met back up at the tent.  Day three done.

On Friday 23rd June we walked 15.25km and saw 10 bands across 4 stages.  Highlights were First Aid Kit, Royal Blood and The xx.

The Pretenders Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017, Alone

REWS Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017

Black Honey Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017

Blossoms Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017, Blossoms

First Aid Kit Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017

Glass Animals Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017

Royal Blood Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017, How Did We Get So Dark?

The xx Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017, I See You

Radiohead Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017, A Moon Shaped Pool

The Flaming Lips Setlist Glastonbury Festival 2017 2017, 2017 Summer Tour

 

Glastonbury 2017 – Thursday – Day Two

AKA the day the music begins.  Glastonbury is about a lot of things.  Peace, love & harmony, to name but a few.  You can do all sorts at the festival and can have all sorts of different experiences, meeting people form all walks of life.  Ste & I keep to ourselves and see as much music as possible.  It’s not that the other stuff isn’t fun or interesting, it’s just that the music is why we are there.  We don’t spend ours honing a spotify playlist to ensure we have a quality itinerary, just to watch a man run naked around a stone circle, or watch a woman on stilts juggle with flame throwers, or listen to a debate.  We go for the music and try and consume as much of it as possible.  We did well this year and made sure we started as early as possible.  This meant the Thursday resulted in some exploring of the site until around 4.30pm (including 2 hours stood by the march stall drinking beer) when we began to get hungry for live music.  We made our way to Strummerville (high on the hills away from the other stages), had a bite to eat and made our way to catch our first band.

DIN @ Strummerville

The glasto musical adventure began at Strummerville on “Miller’s Stage”.  Two members of DIN were performing, although the show was advertised as just Nick Grimes (the lead singer).  They were decent enough and an entertaining way to kick off the music.  A trip to the William’s Green followed for the rest of the day.

William’s Green

In 2015 we heard Drenge and Wolf Alice from outside the WG, but couldn’t have got in if we tried.  This year it was all but confirmed that Circa Waves and Everything Everything were due to play “secret” sets, so we decided to get there early and claim a spot.  There are other stages to watch music on the glasto Thursday, but only the WG has any acts of note.

Rationale

We’d not heard of this lot before.  The crowd seemed familiar with IMG_9561

them and were singing along as the show progressed.  Set & I were about halfway to the front and got a reasonable view.  They seemed nice and soulful and I enjoyed the set.  Since getting back I haven’t listened to anything of theres, so I can probably guess that this will be my one and only interaction with this group.  It was a decent one.

 

Pumarosa

Pumarosa we the first band of the festival that I was familiar with.  I’d given them a bit of a recent listen and enjoyed some of their tunes.  The show was fine, helped by the fact that we were pretty near the front.  They were a bit arty in terms of songs and performance.  This didn’t seem to get the crowd going and I was fairly unmoved.  It was a performance that I’d describe as promising.  I wasn’t put off listening again in the future and would be interested in catching them again.

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Circa Waves

The steady flow of beer that Set and I had been consuming meant that Set split off at this point.  I got right to the front and it took a while for Ste to even get back in the tent.  Watching Circa Waves here, meant that we didn’t have to worry about a performance clash later in the festival.  This is where the music really started for me.  The set was only 7 songs long, but it was awesome.  Heavy pop rock is the best way I can describe Circa Waves.  The debut album was more poppy and the latest album turns the guitars right up.  I really enjoyed this and so did the crowd.

Everything Everything

It was a real treat for EE to play as they weren’t playing at any other point in the festival. Unfortunately it was my turn to be beer affected and as Ste moved forward I found myself outside the tent with little hope (seemingly) of getting back in.  I managed it…just. You can tell from the photos that my view was poor.  Ste will add some better ones later.  EE were great.  They played 3 new tunes and 6 classics.  No Reptiles, Kemosabe and Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread were all great and each one got the crowd involved in fine voice.  A great end to the music on day 2.

Day three is were the festival truly starts for music and there’s no let up from that point on.  It was worth it!

Mark Morriss @ 12 Bar Blues, Barnard Castle

An intimate acoustic gig from the fantastic lead singer of The Bluetones in a small market town. Noisy crowd though.

This was the first time I’ve seen an established artist play in a pub environment.  It was both fantastic and strange in equal measure.

I was invited by my brother in law (Richard) a few months back, as his local was putting on a Mark Morriss gig.  Tickets sold out in no time as the place only has a capacity of 70 or so.

The timings of the show were shrouded in mystery as Richard was told doors at 6pm with show at 7pm.  That all sounded wrong as there was no support and it didn’t seem likely that Mark would be on at 7pm.  It’s just not rock n roll.  This tight timescale was made trickier by the fact that we’d managed to get a last minute ticket for Ste as one of Richard’s mates had pulled out.  Ste sped down from Newcastle in an attempt to get there for 7.  We wolfed down a bucket of chicken from KFC and headed for Barney.  With the Appleby horse fair due imminently, the road there was awash with travellers seemingly out to ensure we missed the 7pm start.

7.15pm and we roll into Barnard Castle town centre.  We spot the pub and note that it doesn’t appear busy.  Arriving through the doors, we note that there is less than 10 people in.  Clearly Mr Morriss was not about to go on stage.  An Amstel for me and several Black Sheep bests followed for Ste.  Rumours were that The Quill had gone for a bite to eat and the pub slowly filled up…as did many peoples glasses.  As The Quill took the stage at a very reasonable something after 9, the audience were somewhat merry.  Merry and loud.  Very loud.  They really didn’t stop being loud.  Many people seemed to lack any kind of understanding that they were at a gig.  It was extremely frustrating that such a lack of respect was being shown.  Anyway…Mark Morriss tried his best patter and attempted to engage the audience.  Those of us who paid full attention and were treated to a really enjoyable acoustic set.

Mark made it clear from the beginning that this was a solo show and as such he’d take it in turns to play a solo tune and then a Bluetones tune.  That pattern was essentially maintained all night.  He’s got three solo albums out (2 original compositions and one covers album) and there’s a fourth on the way from Pledge Music.  He played two from each of Memory Muscle and A Flash of Darkness.  A further 2 solo tracks were played, presumably from the new album due out on 16th June.  The new stuff sounded good as did every solo track he played, even if I’m not as familiar with them.  7 Bluetones tracks were played in all.  Each one a mini-classic; 3 from Expecting to Fly, 2 from Return to the Last Chance Saloon, 1 from Science & Nature + Marblehead Johnson as the ETF era non-album track.  Richard requested Solomon Bites The Worm, but was disappointed to hear that Mark couldn’t play that one, after all he’s only the lead singer!

I really enjoyed the gig, but I’ve got to come back to the atmosphere in the place.  At times, it was hard to hear anything other than people talking.  You could see Mark was getting frustrated, commenting at the end that it was great to be here to “listen to all of your conversations”.  Even a classic This Is Spinal Tap reference fell flat.  “It’s great to be here in…” *turns guitar over to read the back* “…Barnard Castle”.  Oh well, some nights you have them eating out of your hand and others are like this.

Don’t let that put you (the reader) off.  The new tracks will be well worth a fully fledged listen.  Click here and reward yourself with a pledge for one of the fantastic goodies on offer.

At the end of the gig, Richard managed to get his picture with Mark (below).  On another night I might have done the same, but this didn’t feel like one of those sort of nights.

Thank you The Quill.  Your performance was great and was very appreciated by some of us.

The Slow Readers Club @ Think Tank?

The Slow Readers Club first headline gig in Newcastle was a definite success.

Why did we end up here? At the start of February, Ste suggested this one as he’d heard Don’t Mind on the Steve Lamacq Round Table, and liked it.  I’d never heard of The Slow Readers Club before, but after a quick play on Spotify I quickly agreed.  Unfortunately Andrew couldn’t make it tonight.  If you want to know more about this band then click here.

Was it any good?  It was fantastic.  I’d had Cavalcade on fairly heavy spotify rotation, but the whole set sounded great.  The venue is really good for an act like this who connect well to the audience.  The lead singer, regularly catches eye contact with members of the crowd singing along and seems to sing-a-long with them.  Highlights for me were the first 4 songs from Cavalcade; Start Again, I Saw A Ghost, Forever in Your Debt & Plant the Seed.  The latter really got the crowd (who were in good voice throughout) going.  They noted that they don’t do encores (“never got into the habit” and “it’s a hassle getting off a stage like this”) and so informed the crowd that, without leaving the stage, the title track of Cavalcade was actually the start of the encore.  I’m never sure what I think about encores anyway, but this approach worked well!  I’m sure they get sick of comparisons, but you can’t help but hear Interpol and Editors when you listen to this band.  That’s a clear compliment.  I didn’t know about TSRC before February, but I’m hoping to hear a lot more in the future.

Did you get any merchandise? It was inevitable prior to the gig, that if there was a vinyl on offer that I’d be getting one.  Each of the band was kind enough to sign it too (pictured at the foot of this review).

What were the support acts like? Denature opened the night shortly after 7pm.  Their 7 song set, including a couple of covers, was decent.  They are a local North East band, so I wish them well.  SKIES were up next & I really enjoyed their set.  I’d given a brief spotify listen on the morning of the gig, but knew very little going in.  They were really lively, enthusiastic and played with barely a pause for breath.  I suspect having the backing track played from a laptop presents some challenges, but it seemed to work well.  This is a band to watch out for and you can start by clicking here.

What else happened?  We were stood next to a man that didn’t watch any of the gig, but instead faced the speaker stack the entire time.  It seemed strange, but I sort of hope this was his way of feeling and absorbing the music.  In other news the band noted that one of the crowd (Debbie) had followed them on their whole tour and as a reward dedicated  a song to her.  Nice touch.

Food & drink? It almost feels like this blog is sponsored by Brewdog as for the 3rd gig running, this was the ale of choice.  By the way, it’s not sponsored, but Brewdog if you’re reading…;-)  We started out at the Brewdog bar in Newcastle and had a nice couple of pints of LIVE East Coast Crush.  We then had a fantastic Fat Hippo burger and Fat Hippo IPA in the Fat Hippo Underground.  We continued the Brewdog theme at Think Tank? with cans of the marvellous Dead Pony Club.

If you haven’t heard anything from The Slow Readers Club then give Cavalcade a listen and if you’re looking for something else new then check out SKIES.

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TSRC Poster

Ste and I feature on this one…(third picture at the right)

The signed Cavalcade vinyl
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Cattle & Cane @ Hit The Bar, Middlesbrough

A “secret gig” from a top local band. Marvellous.

Secret Acoustic Show Tonight – You Are Invited!
Hi Pledgers,First of all, we would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who pre-ordered ‘Mirrors’ ❤️ We hope you’re all enjoying it.
We couldn’t do what we do if it wasn’t for your support, so as a little thank you, we’re going to play a secret acoustic show in Middlesbrough tonight…

How very exciting!  Having not been to a secret gig before, I’ve now been to two in as many weeks (Turin Brakes last week).  This one was truly “secret”.  A little tweet was sent out from Cattle & Cane on Saturday to indicate it was coming.

This was then followed up with details from Pledge Music around lunchtime on Monday. The venue was confirmed as Hit The Bar in Middlesbrough.

I went along with my brother arriving a little before 7pm.  Cattle & Cane were on shortly after 7pm, performing an incredible acoustic set to a raptured audience of 60 or so pledgers.  I’ve seen Cattle & Cane 3 times before (at Deer Shed 6, Deer Shed 7 and The Empire), but this was something special.  An intimate venue with a crowd that were very happy to be there.

The first seven songs of the set were entirely from the new album, Mirrors.  They opened the set (after a brief pause for a siren flying passed) launching into the beautiful Love On Your Hands.  All the songs from Mirrors sounded, as expected, superb.  Tonight We Dance (Cleveland Hills) was performed off the stage amongst the crowd.  Joe played Paper Man, which apparently doesn’t get much of a live outing.  The set finished on the singalong Fool for You, before they took the briefest of pauses.  A rousing applause followed and without exiting the stage they performed another 3 tracks from their back catalogue.  The delicate start of Infant Hercules was briefly interrupted by the sweet sounds of a very loud hand dryer in the toilets, but soon resumed to perfection.  The crowd were in fine voice for this one.

My brother didn’t know much about the band beforehand, but, by the end of the night had bought the vinyl from pledge music.  The beer was great; Brewdog: Dead Pony Club Session Pale Ale, followed by a fairly tasty alcohol free equivalent Brewdog: Nanny State.

As a bonus on the night the band had just heard that the album was sitting at no. 53 in the midweek album charts.  Lets hope it stays there by Friday.  It was a privilege to be part of this night.  Thanks to the band for inviting me.

You can buy the album from Pledge Music, Amazon or iTunes or get yourself down to the marvellous Sound It Out Records in Stockton.

I managed to sneak on to the photo for this tweet.  I almost look like a band member!

My brother & I both made it on to this photo…