On arrival I am thinking is this the right place? The word festival conjures up many thoughts, usually involving mud and chemicals toilets. There was neither of these things. Set within the grounds of Lincolnshire Showground, this place was set to impress from the get-go. There were 3 stages, 2 bars, a merch stall and food and shop stalls aplenty.
There is also a media centre which is housed within The Epic Centre, a short walk from the arena, where all interviews are conducted. A very professional outfit!
It’s nearly time for the VIP performance and it’s a little before 1pm and I have already had a Cloven Hoof Zombie thrust upon me. I was told that there was only a limited supply at the festival and so would have been rude not too, also I thought I better take one for the team, purely for market research, of course! The verdict, delish.
Here we go; compere for the weekend, Pete K Mally, who has toured with The Wayward Sons and Last Great Dreamers, as a rock comic, takes to the Cloven Hoof stage. “Make some noise”…….. the crowd respond.
Electric Jesters (Cloven Hoof Stage)
The band takes to the stage with lots of encouragement from the VIP’s. Drummer, Danny Krash has come dressed for the office, the rock n roll office. Stripped to the waist, but wearing a tie, come on, it is a VIP session! And we are off; straight into Cheap Tricks ‘I want you to want me’, one of the many amazing covers we are treated to this afternoon. The crowd is engaged and responds to Dean Foxx on the vocals. This crowd is up for it and my excitement for the next 3 days grows, especially to revisit these guys, but as Knock Out Kaine!
By 3pm the main stage is about to kick off as the rest of the paying punters are allowed in. The place begins to fill just in time for the first band to enter the main stage.
Villainous (Kilmister Stage)
The Battle of the Band winners, Villainous, from Brighton let out a roar, and it’s time to begin. Right from the very start people stand up and listen and a crowd begins to descend upon the main stage. Nothing says ‘we are open for business’ more than this four-piece giving it all they have got.
3 songs in and pace slows just slightly, coined as a ballad, ‘Left alone’ is anything but. With a slower tempo, the sound is just as heavy.
This band has shown dedication and commitment, travelling for the heats and eventually becoming the victors. Like their progressive sound, these guys have shown they are a force to be reckoned with on the up and coming scene. I for one will be keen to follow their progress. If you are into a heavier sound with melodic themes be sure to check them out.
Naked Six (Kilmister Stage)
So this wasn’t expected. There are only 3 of them, and they are not naked! The threesome from Manchester have a really good crowd around them, even some rock royalty! Their style is melodic with a great guitar edge, catchy choruses and chunky enough to belong to a rock festival.
They have just finished recording their debut album over the last few weeks and so will look forward to the release.
The Idol Dead (Kilmister Stage)
These 5 guys from Leeds describe themselves as “Rock, Roll and Punk with a soul”,and they are certainly not wrong! Short, fast and catchy songs, they nailed all 3 genres. The Idol Dead had a green army of fans, all supporting them in logo’d t-shirts, perfectly coordinating with vocalist Polly Cathcart’s scarf, draped over his mike stand. The rest of the band dressed in black, accented by handkerchiefs and sweatbands in the same florescent green tone.
Each song was upbeat and came with plenty of smiles on stage and from the Call of the Wild crowd alike.
Polly then came down from the stage to join fans at the barrier. Singing the iconic ‘Bones of You’, they sing it back to him in unison. This guy knows how to work a crowd!
With a fun and energetic set, this thankfully was not the last we would to see more of Polly this weekend as he was on the Badlands stage on Saturday with the super-group The Spangles.
A Jokers Rage (Kilmister Stage)
A technical problem with backing track at the beginning of the set did not phase guitarist Twiggy, who acted professionally and played solo while the problem was solved. Minutes later the whole band kicked in. As the name suggests, these guys came out plus the face paints.
There sound – great riffs, catchy choruses and a certain carousel feel certainly made new fans.
At the end of the set huge, what can only be described as giant party poopers, were let off. Thousands of pieces of multi-colored confetti were unleashed on the crowd. This was also to be their legacy at this festival as pieces of it were around right up until the end of day 3.
Last Great Dreamers (Kilmister Stage)
The dandiest and busiest four-piece in rock, the Last Great Dreamers never fail to put on a show. The pocket rocket that is Marc Valentine gives his usual energetic and entertaining performance. Joined by fellow founder Slyder Smith on the guitar, who also supplies us with vocals. Fresh from their tour of Spain, supporting Enuff Z Nuff earlier in the year and completing their headline tour in December 2018, they are back again performing on the festival circuit.
You always know you are going to have a show when the LGD are around. These guys have been on the scene for years and will be celebrating the 25 year anniversary of their debut album, Retrosexual, in November this year.
With fast paced, catchy tunes they go down a storm. Even with the recent line-up change of Rick Pratt on drums and Tim Emery on bass, they are like a well-oiled machine and look as if they have been performing together for years.
Performing the classic Last Great Dreamer from their first album right up to New Situation from their latest album, 13th floor renegade (2018), they bring fun in abundance. A hybrid between Pulp and the Undertones. Every single member of the crowd has a smile on their face, these guys are infectious.
They even put the crowd to work with White Light, Black Heart, with Valentine asking us to follow his lead, he says ‘white light, we say ’black heart’. As sing-a-longs go it’s up with the best of them.
They exit to roars of appreciation and a few more fans earned.
Trucker Diablo (Kilmister Stage)
Trucker have been around for a while and I have heard great things but this will be my first time seeing them live and I am excited.
First out of the traps is ‘Party like we started’, an apt number considering we are well into day 1 of a 3 day party. The truck kept on rolling. With their chunky riffage, Black Stone Cherry would be proud. Fifth song in, they played their new single Other Side of the City. If this is things to go by, the new album is going to be a stonker.
They have supported the likes of Black Stone Cherry and the Foo Fighters so you know they are going to not disappoint. And disappoint they didn’t.
Friday Headliners: The Virgin Marys (Kilmister Stage)
I had previously not listened to The Virgin Mary’s, and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect. How pleasantly surprised I was and they were heavier in sound than I had first thought. The sun, by this point, had gone down supplying the perfect sunset backdrop for such a momentous occasion. The first headliners of a brand-new festival.
They kicked straight in with ‘Get me back home’ from their most recent album, Northern Sun Sessions. Ally Dickaty screams the lyrics, in tune and with passion, while strumming away. Danny Dolan on the drums looks almost as if he is standing, he is that high above the kit, allowing for greater leverage behind those sticks. He emits some serious damage.
A few songs in and I am hooked, I will be rushing out to get my hands on some more of their music. They perform. S.O.S.4.U.N.I, their latest single. This is a summer anthem if ever I heard one. The chorus repeats and I find myself singing along to the harmonies of ‘whoaa’. As do the crowd. We are all involved. This is one big family and The VirginMarys ensure that it is a celebration. First are pumping above people’s heads, like a sea of boats bobbing on a not so calm sea. This is quite simply – amazing.
The evening ends with Bang, Bang, Bang, Dickarty is singing with all he has, this guy is loving every second up there and we are all enjoying it too. He lets out the loudest screech as the crowd cheer and clap. Call of the Wild, indeed. What a way to end the first night.