Monday, July 17, 2006

Guilfest gig review

Guilfest is everything a good festival should be - eclectic mix of bands, sunny weather, friendly security/stewards (who don't confiscate food!) and lots of weird and wonderful stalls, oh and a lot of food and drink stalls. Friday night featured Embrace who by all accounts were shocking!
We started our weekend on Saturday and first up was the Storys - not bad but a typical festival band ie you like the music at the time as it wafts over you but a day later you can't remember anything of the tunes! Hop over to the Ents 24 stage for Steve Morano, who was not bad at all and tunes that fitted the summer sunshine perfectly.

The Kids Zone is a must see with our daughter leading the charge! Again there are circus themed itmes to play with like juggling balls, unicycle (very dicey on the adult frame I can tell you!) and some colourful ribbons to wave like a madman! Show wise there is a show every hour right up until 9pm - the kids should be in bed by then surely??? We watched three very talented musicians from Ghana. Amazing acrobatic and balancing skills.
Back to the music and more summery tunes with the Cosmic Rough Riders. Great harmonies in this band! We then nipped off to our hotel - well it was a mangement conference centre called Horsley Towers. This is let out to weddings, leisure guests at weekends and the quieter summer months. Very nice place as we don't do camping..

Early evening and it was the pap, err sorry pop of Sophie B Hawkins - moving swiftly onto ex-Squeeze vocalist Glen Tilbrook & the Fluffers. Very likeable music - similar to say Crowded House or indeed Squeeze. The Rock Sound tent features the louder end of music and I had a quick check of the Hedrons. Very good all girl rockers who can pen a decent tune. Sadly missed the band with the name of the festival Chop, Chop: Bear Touch?
Gary Numan was second to last on the main stage and he was very good I have to say. Like an English Rammstein! His latter day music is very metal meets industrial and although no natural frontman he does pour his all into the vocals. His hits 'Cars' and 'Are Friends Electric?' of course got the biggest cheers of the day - the latter interestingly had a piano replacing the main synth riff prior to the chorus. A-Ha were headlining but as much as I like them the boys from New York city were starting up on the Ents 24 stage...Blue Oyster Cult!

Strange choice of headliners given the very non-rock bill that preceeded them (but they maybe a bit too old for the hip and happening Rock Sound tent!). Good mix of BOC classics including 'OD'd On Life Itself', 'Shooting Shark', 'ETI', ‘Cities On Flame With Rock ‘n ‘Roll’, 'Burnin' For You' and 'Godzilla'. The latter featured an extended drum/bass solo which maybe okay in a normal set but at a festival with an hour to play is a bit of a luxary. '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' closed the short set (only a hour - criminal!) and they seemed to have won over some new fans. Only downside was the mix - guitars were barely audible at times and you could not tell they had three guitar players on some songs! The new bass player and drummer seemed to slot in well although they miss Danny Miranda as he was very good at getting the audience involved.

Sunday was very hot (so much so we had to leave early due to heat induced illness). But we did see the Ukuele Orchestra of Great Britain who are simply superb. Do go and see them live if you get a chance. They take a classic song and give it whole new life. 3 Men and Black may not be a name you know but they do feature some known names in former Alarm man Dave Sharp standing in for the absent JJ Gilmour plus Nick Welsh (Selector/Bad Manners) & Eric Falkner (Bay City Rollers) with Pauline Black (Selector). They play ska and add some good acoustic tunes including the Alarm's 'Stand' and a Bay City Roller's number 'Shang A Lang'! An enjoyable set and a pleasant surprise.
60's singer/songwriter Donovan (resplendant in bright green) was very good as well and in fine form and voice. He went down well with the crowd including his standard 'Sunshine Superman'.

Sadly the heat was too much and we had to head home sadly meaning missing Billy Idol (although a bonus was missing the Stranglers for the umpteenth time at Guilfest!). That is one thing the organizers could do with more of is shady areas or more protection from the sun at peak times of the day.
Another wonderful Guilfest and roll on next year...

PS Can I suggest any of these for the festival next year...John Otway, Twisted Sister, Tears for Fears, Undercut, Paul Liddell & Elbow. Well I can but hope :)


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