Bearded Theory 2017 – Saturday

After enjoying Circus Insane yesterday I headed to the Convoy Cabaret tent early to catch their second show of the weekend.  Once again they packed the tent out.  As promised, this show was more insane and extreme than the previous day with highlights including a part of the act titled “Eye hooks” (and yes it’s just as disturbing as the name suggests), swinging a heavy weight from hooks through the skin on his arm, escaping from a straightjacket and being used as a human dartboard.  There was also a new part of the act being done for the first time in front of an audience.  He was blindfolded, held a cucumber in his mouth then cut it in half with a chainsaw (yes a real chainsaw that would cause serious injury if he slipped).  He then removed the cucumber and blindfold, put an apply in his mouth and got his assistant to wield the chainsaw to carve an X in the apple – now that’s an exercise in trust and skill since a slight slip or kick from the chainsaw as it touches the apple would have resulted in serious injury and an emergency trip to hospital.
For the finale there was a slight change.  Instead of getting a man to stand on his head while his face was buried in a pile of glass, this time his assistant stood on a stepladder and jumped off it onto his head from around 3 feet up.  She wasn’t taking it easy either – instead of just stepping off, she jumped, lifting her feet high so she would come down with the maximum impact.

Punk band Eastfield were a late addition to the lineup, replacing AntiPasti on the main stage.  Not being a fan of theirs I headed over early for Blackballed on the Woodland stage.  Blackballed features New Model Army’s Marshall Gill as well as his brother Leon.  A three piece act, this was my first time listening to them and I definitely liked what I heard.  They sounded great and are definitely a band worth listening to.

Wille and the bandits were a real highlight for the day.  I’ve been wanting to see them for a while now but have never made it to one of their gigs for varying reasons, and watching and listening to them here I’ve definitely been missing out – they’re superb.  A rock sound blended with Blues and all sorts of other styles means they have a fantastic interesting sound, and to help achieve that they use instruments such as the double bass or lap steel alongside the usual instruments you find a rock band playing.  A great set.

Alabama 3 are another band familiar to Bearded Theory regulars and put in their usual high standard of set to entertain the crowd.  They’re a band that’s hard to describe, but this Brixton band is a band that always go down well with their mix of musical styles and great live performances.

New model army were next up.  A band I’ve listened to for years, the number of New Model Army Tshirts I’d seen around the site during the day showed how popular they are here and as always they got a great reception. A great live band, I never tire of seeing them perform on stage.

Seasick Steve closed the main stage with a fantastic set of blues.  It may not have the excitement and high energy feel of Skunk Anansie, or the fun of Madness but it’s great music, performed simply on guitar, vocals and drums, with him singing and playing a variety of guitars with his drummer being the only other musician on stage. I loved his set and it’s an example of the diverse lineups Bearded Theory have, with all sorts of musical styles featured.
If reports are to be believed, Seasick Steve certainly enjoyed his time at the festival as he was apparently partying in the dance tent till the early hours after finishing his set.
Foy Vance closed the Woodland stage.  He was late starting as they decided to wait for Seasick Steve to finish and for more people to make their way to the Woodland.  One of the artists signed to Ed Sheeran’s record label he plays keyboards as he sings.  It’s a good set and of a style likely to appeal to seasick steve fans.  A good end to the night.

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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