Lichfield Rocks Festival @ The Bowling Green, Lichfield – Saturday 29th June 2013


Review by Greg Cadman

Lichfield doesn’t get a massive amount of gigs, but every so often something like this’ll come along. Today’s event is a charity festival for St Giles’ Hospice organised by Birmingham band Stubblemelt taking place at one of the town’s biggest pubs, The Bowling Green. There’s a whole bunch of bands playing and it’s for a good cause, so we took a gander…

994299_272127026261958_795124807_nProdutky from Leicester are slightly older than most of the bands playing today and they sound it. Admittedly their songs are pretty catchy but that’s probably because they’re so repetitive rather than because of massive hooks. They describe themselves as “Naïve Art Rock” on their Facebook page, unfortunately they’re nowhere near as interesting as that sounds and the frankly terrible sound in the tent does them little favours.

London ska-punks Ghouls fare much, much better. Not only has the sound improved vastly, the six-piece bring a lot of energy to their performance and all of them appear to be having a blast on stage, which is greatly appreciated by the steadily growing audience. They’re a joy to watch and despite playing at half two in the afternoon, they look to be one of the highlights of the day.

One look at The Arkhamists and you can tell they like grunge. They play it too, and quite well in all honesty. Singer-guitarist Dan Alexis could be in a Nirvana tribute act. Their sound is a little cleaner than their Seattle heroes but they have no less bark or bite, and the three of them ocassionally take the liberty to indulge in a jam or two. No complaints here. Here’s a band worth keeping your eye out for.

Since Monroe follow but there’s not a whole lot interesting about them. Foo Fighters and Weezer influences are clearly apparent – which is anything but a bad thing – but there’s not much here that really stands out. They perform amicably and without any noticeable faults, other than being awfully middle-of-the-road. You can’t knock the boys too much though, they’re clearly enjoying themselves up there and get a warm reception, so it’s a job well done.

Believe it or not, Of Kings and Captains toured with Bon Jovi a few weeks ago. Seriously. That’s mighty impressive for an unsigned band from around these parts, although musically they aren’t quite that impressive. The foursome are somewhat poppier than their predecessors (which makes sense) and aren’t anything to write home about, but their set is pleasant and entertaining. Maybe big things will come of them.

310146_254965614644766_1382826742_nJaws have amassed quite the following in Birmingham, having toured with rising indie stars Peace and Swim Deep as well as featured in the pages of NME. They’ve also gathered the biggest crowd of the day so far. Clearly they’re doing something right, but what that is isn’t very obvious today. The youngsters all look thoroughly disinterested and plod through their half hour set barely even looking at the crowd before them. It’s disappointing considering the hype around them in the local scene and they are probably the sole reason a lot of people are here today, unfortunately their set today is dull to say the least.

Thank God for  Stubblemelt, then, who manage to end the day on a high note by bringing some much-needed enthusiasm and crowd participation to the fray. Musically they play alternative rock with a high dose of sugary pop – it’s not particularly exciting but you can’t knock them for the effort they make to entertain (especially considering a lot of the people here are merely curious pubgoers). Frontman Kyle Perry is cheerful and actively engages with the audience who appreciate the effort. They’ve not been around for long (formed two years ago) but after today’s performance it looks like they might be here for some time.