Review by Tim Marcus with photos from Sam Conquest Photography
Not that we’d noticed while we were focused on the music however during the course of the McHale’s’ set the weather has taken a turn for the worse; in fact, the heaven has opened and we find ourselves somewhat damp and alone in front of the stage and take refuge inside the bar area to take in Blue Nation once again who are already underway for their third and final mini set of the day. I have to confess that with McHale’s’ Permanent Brew still buzzing in my head and the need to dry off, whilst hearing and enjoying what Neil and Luke are playing, this time around I’ve not taken too much of it in. I do know though that Blue Nation are a band that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed once again today and am looking forward to seeing them again somewhere before the year is out.
Again, if you’re not familiar with these very likeable Brummie lads then I’d definitely recommend that you give them a listen. They have a handful of gigs in the UK over the next couple of months supporting the likes of Chantel McGregor, Laurence Jones and Brave Rival before departing with Laurence on a tour of The Netherlands and the UK in November and December.
Next up on the main stage is one of the biggest names in British RnB, Dr Feelgood. Whilst there are no original members left in the band now, the bulk of the current lineup, Phil Mitchell (bass), Kevin Morris (drums) and Robert Kane (vocals and harmonica) have been playing together now for over twenty years keeping the Feelgood vibe and legacy alive. Add to that the fact that their “newest” recruit is returning guitarist Gordon Russell who played with Dr Feelgood throughout most of the 1980s then what’s not to like? Unsurprisingly, what we get from the Feelgoods is sixty minutes of great pub rock style RnB which even manages to bring a halt to the rain. The only surprise for me is that they’re not playing much higher up the bill rather than at two o’clock in the afternoon but who knows, chances are that they have a commitment elsewhere for the evening.
They start us off with a couple of newish tracks, “Damn Right I do!”, almost the title track of their latest album “Damn Right” released last year, and another track from the same album, “Keep it Undercover” which features some great slide guitar from Gordon. What follows for the remainder of the set is essentially a greatest hits session featuring, “Back in the Night”, “Roxette”, “Milk and Alcohol” and “Down at the Doctors”, before they conclude their hour with “Gimme One More Shot”. Unusually for a festival where it’s only normally only the headliners that get to play an encore, they return for a few extra minutes and “Route 66”. The time has flown by and it’s been a great set from a great band just as we’d hoped and expected.
Meanwhile, back inside, Grey Fox Conspiracy front man Rob Cooksley, who’s compering the acoustic stage today introduces us to The Terraplanes Blues Band who will be entertaining us with a couple of short sets. What we have today though is not the usual full band but a representation with Nick Scrase (guitar and vocals) and Eduardo Allen (harmonica) playing as an acoustic duo. It’s an enjoyable enough set however I have to confess that having heard some of the music produced by the full band, this arrangement didn’t particularly float my boat. It’s each to their own I guess and whilst maybe it wasn’t for me, there’s certainly a large enough crowd gathered around the stage enjoying what they’re hearing and taking in the quality of Nick and Eduardo’s playing.
After twenty minutes, we’re back to the main stage where the quality of what’s on offer today just continues to flow. This time we’re about to be entertained by the wonderful Cinelli Brothers. After beating a number of great acts last year in the UK Blues Federation Blues Challenge, in January of this year the Cinellis found themselves flying off to Memphis where they represented the UK at the International Blues Challenge and across many artists playing across many venues there, they found themselves returning to London with a silver medal. Up to this point I’d not seen the Cinelli Brothers however was delighted to get the opportunity to do so a few weeks after they returned when they played a headline show at Putney’s iconic Half Moon. The place was sold out and they didn’t disappoint so consequently their set today is one of several I’ve been looking forward to with eager anticipation.
Today, the Cinellis, comprise brothers Marco (keyboards, guitar and vocals)and Alessandro (drums) who are joined by Tom Julian-Jones (harmonica, guitar and vocals) and Stephen Giry (bass, guitar and vocal) join us fresh from opening for Walter Trout in Sweden. The Cinelli Brothers are very different from any other blues band I have seen play: They’re young, charismatic, multi-talented (no one band member seems to play the same instrument for two consecutive songs!) and have the ability to blend more current rock style of the blues with the sounds of the old time delta blues, moving seamlessly between the two, sometimes even during the same song. They kick things off with “Grandchildren of the Blues”. It’s a fairly eclectic set today from the guys as we also hear a new song from their new record, “Prayer”, a Ry Cooder cover which features some great harmonised vocals before they conclude with a great cover of Rory Gallagher’s “A Million Miles Away”. And like Dr Feelgood before them, we also get a great encore song in the shape of AC/DC’s “Rocker”.