Review by Lulu Davenport
Billed from a monthly club night at Nottingham’s Salutation pub, with the tagline ‘rock n roll your mother would hate’, Degeneration is taking a stride into the festival circuit with their very first three day celebration of all things sleazy and punky, with a twist of rock and rawl glam. Set in the usually tranquil Ryland’s area of Beeston, the event couldn’t have taken place in a more polar opposite suburb. The venue hosting the chaos was the Boat & Horses, a pub under new management. The festival took an early blow as camping for the event was unfortunately cancelled but none of this dampened spirits.
Held over the bank holiday the weather was the typical good old British sunshine (clouds, odd spots of sun for five minutes followed by masses of rain). Hosted by Ike Productions, the line up looks set to be explosive as the cream of bands from the area and as far afield as Newcastle, Barcelona and beyond showcase their stuff. With over thirty bands of varying styles and tastes here’s a sneaky selection of the bands’ sets.
Don’t be fooled for a moment that young band Parasight are lacking in experience; after hammering the local music/food/beer and biker festival circuit with the energy of a Duracell bunny, these lads have earned bragging rights after shed (or should that be tents?) loads of live exposure. Gaining in confidence a little every time I’ve seen them, these lads have quickly racked up a loyal fan base in the Midlands area. Their set list included ‘The Time Is Now’, AC/DC cover ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, ‘This Bloody War’ and draws to a close with a song called ‘Shot Glass’.
Swiftly following on, Bad Touch grace the stage. Looking a tad familiar I realized I had reviewed them for Midlands Rocks alongside Tyketto, still suitably stylish and naughtily suggestive, the band play hits from their very well received debut album Halfway Home. Their mix of rhythmic blues with a rock and roll swagger is remarkably well executed and epitomised by viscously addictive and cheeky track ‘Good On Me’.
Headlining the first night’s proceedings are The Treatment with new singer Mitchell Emms of The Voice fame on vocal. Fans are excited to see the rock and roll band perform tracks ‘I Bleed Rock And Roll’, ‘Don’t Get Mad Get Evil’ and the title track of the fantastic 2014 album Running With The Dogs. The band look like they are having a lot of fun onstage posing for photos with a tremendous ease with the crowd. The first day is over but Degeneration Festival still has plenty to offer…
Saturday kick-starts with Dick Venom And The Terror Tones. Once seen never forgotten, it seems a shame to have to relay the showmanship through words. No two performances are ever the same, lead vocalist Dick Venom’s on and off stage antics have the bystanders mesmerised. Dressed in a tight latex cat suit, figure hugging enough to tear if he chose to sit down, he wastes no time darting into the crowd. Naughtily bottom pinching and jumping on the bar while providing the slick looking band with his shrills, shrieks and chants. The music has a crazy psychobilly rock and roll feel; it’s glam, sleaze and comedy horror that doesn’t take itself seriously. With lyrics such as “wanna die face down in the jelly jam of a flame grilled dame with a cream puff clam, make my way through Minnesota drown in Vaseline and cherry soda” from ‘Dead Deadbeat Delinquent’ you kind of get the picture of the craziness.
One of my favourite local bands Patriot Rebel open their set with new album titled track ‘Propaganda’ followed by ‘Two Worlds’ and ‘The Storm’. The endearing hard rock tracks are peppered with well written lyrics with thunderous bass thrown in for good measure. The band is currently working on a new E.P. – one which I can’t wait to hear.
After a successful slot at Bloodstock this year, where they showcased their heavier sound, Jettblack take the glory of Saturday night headliner. Massive amounts of alcohol have been consumed and the crowd is in fantastic spirits as the band spin out classics from their four album collection through Spinefarm Records. After being present for both the Bloodstock and Degeneration sets, the wide range of material is astonishing, pulling their eighties rock influences and heavier material to suit both audiences.
The last day is taking its toll on the revellers as Sunday offers another eleven hours of musical pleasure. Battling the grizzly weather, the site hosts clothes and food stalls to keep people entertained. The morning starts off slow and steady as a crowd slowly forms hull based band Sordid Lies lighten the mood with their cheery panto banter while drawing them in nice and slowly to tracks ‘Devils Daughter’, ‘Vanity Project’ and ‘Dirty Girl’. When their set concludes, a warning over the p.a. system urging all young children and the easily scared to vacate the area as the upcoming punk band, Citizen Shit, are unashamedly offensive. The warning is quickly realized as lead singer Zero is brought onstage in a white body bag to emerge dressed as disgraced Jimmy Saville. Gasps and laughter from fans with more knowledge of the bands antics echo over their rendition of Celine Dion’s classic ‘My Heart Will Go On (Titanic theme tune). The band are currently number one in the reverb nation punk charts and it’s easy to see why. Their take on familiar children’s nursery rhymes and cheesy dance tracks make them easily accessible. I totally see the need for the warning though!
Before their set, Newcastle rockers Wild Thorn happily chatted and posed for photos. This was the first time I had caught a set by them and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Opening with ‘Too Hot For Hollywood’ and diving into tracks ‘Wake Me Up’, ‘One More Night’ and finishing with ‘Full Throttle’.
Saving the best till last, Stop Stop had my attention at the pink furry drum kit. The glam loving trio sport Kiss style face paint, feather boas and hair, lots of hair. Putting the fun back into the darkness that is modern rock music, with added dramatic flair. The band’s dedication and attention to what they do is admirable and is portrayed in the passion of their live set. The set list and songs are about partying (‘Join The Party’), having fun, (‘Born To Rock’) and, well, hair again (‘Bad Hair Day’). I have visions that to be kidnapped or run away with Stop Stop would be to live the life of a rock star in their tour bus partying by day and even more so at night.
As a whole, and I don’t say this often, I feel Degeneration Festival undercut themselves on the price of the ticket; thirty three bands over three days at the early bird price of fifteen pounds seems a little on the shy side. The main downside was the travel for most people to an area that, even to Nottingham folk, seemed a little bit middle earth. However this was made up in the savings on the ticket price. The acoustics of the function room were amazing, meaning the powerful equipment used at times was overwhelming (thoughtfully, ear plugs were available on request). All in all, the whole atmosphere and closeness with the bands made for a very fun festival; the sheer calibre of the acts outweighed any of the issues. The pub received the event with open arms the landlord and lady couldn’t be friendlier or happier. Fantastic music at a great price and awesome people. Right… I am off to complain that it isn’t next year already!