Another year and another fantastic Rockwich Festival returns courtesy of Prometheus Promotions! Two days of fantastic music starting with the Saturday night of acoustic soiree before the full on main event the next day.
Local covers band Baxter made up of the very talented Paul Senior and Hayley Strangelove (but also as mad as hatters) warmed us up and split our sides with fourteen numbers mashed up their way! Highlights were many including a bouncy opener ‘Lip Up Fatty’, a rare switch to serious mode for ‘Molly’s Chamber’ (until the kazoo solo kicked in), ‘Peaches’ (introduced as “One of your five a day”), an over the top ‘Ant Music’, a sublime ‘Dani California’, crowd fueled “Whoa oh oh’s” for ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, ‘Times Like These’ was a real spine tingler as was another crowd powered ‘Tribute’ and they finished with Hayley’s showpiece (that has to be seen/heard to be believed), a drinking themed folk song called ‘The Barley Mow’. They left us smiling with a “Drink responsibly for the rest of the weekend” bit of advice as they headed off for their third gig today.
Uttoxeter based The Howling Tides played “Only their second ever acoustic gig” said by lead vocalist Rob Baynes and judging by the energy they created, I’ll certainly look out for an electric one. They lit up the room with the infectious ‘Crack My Soul’ and it was matched by the gripping hooks and harmonies that gave way to a gently picked outro in ‘Gotta Get Out’. Harmonies shone bright again during an as yet untitled new song, they closed with the dark vibe of ‘Blue Moon’ and inspired covers came from a breezy rendition of ‘Purple Haze’ and a thrilling ‘Simple Man’.
Blackpool bruisers The Senton Bombs were even more madcap than usual. With lead guitarist Johnny Gibbons absent due to illness, lead vocalist Joey Class with a sore throat had to take on six string duties instead of his usual four and second guitarist Damien Howell “Hadn’t had a shit for five days”, it could have been to quote one of their songs played, a ‘Train Wreck’ but it was far from it as they stayed on track with my favourite of theirs ‘Darkest Horse’. It took on more menace stripped down acoustically. They cruised through a cover of ‘Running Down A Dream’ as the banter between Joey and Damien reached new levels of lunacy, point proven with a lengthy intro to ‘Lights Over Phoenix’ as Joey told a tale of this conspiracy song was written in his bedroom either before or after having a wank from being stoned. This lead to merch guy Kalum being singled out for an hilarious on the spot song roughly called ‘Great White Chin’ due to his rather prominent facial feature. Order was (sort of) restored for a race to the finish line (or to the bar) for ‘Train Wreck’, ‘Black Chariot’ and a supersonic ‘Ain’t Nothing Quite Like This’.
Folky goth? Gothy folk? I’m not sure how to describe final band of the evening Cadence Noir so go see them and make your own folking minds up. This was my third gig of theirs in as many weeks from playing to hundreds at Bloodstock, then at a private party to this evenings shenanigans. ‘A Reckless Endeavour’ just about sums up their approach to their performance, in a good way of course. Lead by the enigmatic Mr.Noir ‘Hold Me Down’ was a gnarly opus with fiery wah wah work but an early set highlight was ‘A Coffee Shop Romance’ which was a beautiful, shimmering earworm! Everything was thrown into the pot for a touching ‘My Place’ followed by the enchanting ‘A Truth Held Dear’. With the bit between their teeth, a poignant ‘Dare You Walk Through The Fires That You Made’ preceded ‘The Grey Dog’ and a full on rock out of ‘Your Lady Called Love’. A nice surprise was a cover of ‘Vagabonds’ (by New Model Army) that saw Polly Phluid from The Idol Dead on lead vocals, ‘Church’ and a sweary ‘Fuck Fuck Boom Boom’.
Special thanks go to Richard Ross from Thunderbolt Photography for permission to use his photos.