Review and photographs by Andy Boden
Held undercover in the largest marquee on the planet, the EDG stage was set up to accommodate both full electric sets and also acoustic acts. Complete with the obligatory (and oft-visited) beer trailer, the set-up also proved weather proof for both bands and punters, a necessity given the changeable weather experienced on the day.
The acoustic acts interspersed the full-on electric sets, giving a pleasant musical interlude during changeovers. With bags of local talent on view, the pick of the bunch was singer/songwriter/guitarist David Busby, accompanied by Jase on the seat-drum. With bags of charisma and a fine voice, David captivated the assembled masses with 30 minutes of top drawer entertainment and witty banter. Other notables were 14 year old Emma Lee Shepherd, who also wowed the crowd with a set of self-penned songs drawn from her day to day life and experiences, and popular locals Cooper and Davies.
And so to the electric sets. Kazlon have recently re-united after a number of years of inactivity, but the old magic is still there as they produced a classy set of self-penned AOR songs with a 70s tinge. Dave Webster has soulful, bluesy Paul Rodgers-style vocal, which, with the keyboard infills, produces an Eagles-style sound that’s easy on the ear.
Making the long trip from London, first Dekay & the D’mans and then Eastroad took to the stage. Camberwell based Eastroad have a very retro feel to their sound, post-punk, anti-pop reminiscent of the Undertones. The trio have the added bonus of having two guitarists who can also sing, and exploit this to great effect with both guys sharing the vocal lead and infilling with complex two part harmonies.
Shebangg have been around for a while now, playing at major festivals and events all over the UK for a number of years. Playing in their hometown you would expect them to be in top form and they did not disappoint. Chrissii Wing has a powerful, soulful voice, positively dripping with emotion, and delivered with great presence and panache; imagine Anastasia but with a bluesier essence. There is an obvious chemistry between Chrissii and Tim Barratt on lead guitar, who, in typical understated fashion, switches between lead and rhythm duties with great aplomb.
After the acoustic break Wolverhampton’s Shatter Effect took to the stage, their electro-rock, groovier kind of vibe got the feet tapping and the dancers up to the front and went down a proverbial storm. There’s a touch of the Fleetwood Mac and perhaps Moloko in there, but they have a class and a style all of their own. ‘Dance music for rock kids’ is their tag line, that about covers it.
After a hectic 2012 during which The Whiskey Syndicate have played a number of sold-out shows in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and recorded and released their debut album, they headed into the normally sleepy little Shropshire town and positively shook it to its foundations. It would have been easy to overload the set with tracks from the album, but this was about playing a set that not only represented songs that meant a lot to the band but also a number of carefully selected songs by bands that had influenced TWS. So a bit of AC/DC, T-Rex and Zep were bookended by more familiar TWS tracks. Another great shift by Wolverhampton’s finest, and worthy headliners.
Band of the day for me, both in terms of delivery and in terms of the crowd reaction has to be Shebangg. Having seen them on a number of occasions, this was as good as I have seen them, tight as tight, fantastic presence and presentation, a band on top of their game. Well worth checking out, you will not be disappointed.
- Check the Festival website here