Chris Butler
 

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'Some Communication'
 

June 2016

Welcome! Continuing from the last blog, I start back in March with news of both new merchandise to look out for at the Butler gigs and a new publication that features a couple of pieces written by myself. First, a new line of badges (and a bottle opener!) in a variety of designs featuring my song/album titles Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, The Worst Teeth In Showbiz, Let's Misbehave and If Not Now, When? The badges will be available from the gigs but it's just not cost effective to send them through the post. Sorry. However, when I get CD orders, you may find I drop a few badges in as an extra gift... Second, the publication is a new book (and a follow up to 2015's Not Just Bits Of Paper which aslo featured a couple of articles by me) called Some Of Us Scream, Some Of Us Shout. Featuring tales from the 1980s anarcho punk scene, I wrote two articles; 'Chumbawamba - A Retrospective' and 'Conflict!' for the book. I have some copies to sell both via the gigs and through the post at 12. Once they're gone, they're gone. I can of course signpost to other outlets where you can purchase this lovely book if I no longer have any available...

Also in March, I spent a few days away from the routine and caught some live music when I attended the Festival Of The 60s at Butlins in Skegness. It was our 7th time of attending one of Butlins music weekends and they really are quite addictive. Some great music, a great food package available and no need for camping when you go back to a warm chalet at the end of the night! Even the weather was ok on this occasion despite being early March (11th-13th) and we enjoyed a walk up into Ingoldmells on the Saturday morning. I got my first glimpse of spring lambs too when driving through Lincolnshire on our way to the festival. Spring is one of my favourite times of the year when I look forward to seeing the lambs in rural Derbyshire where I live and getting some photographs of them. As well as the food and the music, I seem to have acquired a penchant for the grabbing/claw machines in the arcade. Purely to win cuddly toys for my granddaughter of course and I was lucky enough to win 3 over the weekend for her! Anyway, onto the music and my favourites of the weekend were Marmalade on the Friday, Swinging Blue Jeans, Vanity Fare, The Searchers and Chubby Checker on the Saturday and The Animals, Herman's Hermits and the All Star Jam on the Sunday. Some of my fave sixties bands are in that list and I was glad to see Herman's Hermits from my bucket list of bands I hope to see but haven't before. Lead singer Peter Noone no longer performs with them (and they're not all original members anyway) though I have seen him live before, performing the band's hits with a backing band in Derby in 1999.

My next live performance was a return to the always-wonderful-to play-at Derby venue, The Hairy Dog on 19/03/2016. Being a Derbyshire based act, I'm no stranger to the county's major city with my 74th performance (including recording my CD) in Derby. It was my 9th time of playing at The Hairy Dog too - and my first in the new bigger and better downstairs room. It's an impressive venue with some great facilities and a fantastic PA system but as always it's the welcoming and supportive staff that I work with at venues who make places so enjoyable to visit and play at. And The Hairy Dog is up there with the best of them for their encouragement, support and attention to detail to make sure the artist/performer is happy and able to work/play to the best of their abilities. I have a 'day job' in Derby itself these days and the gig came along in the middle of a 9 day stint without a day off so after finishing work and leaving Derby for a few hours, I was back in the city and at the venue to play. Knowing that after arriving home in the early hours of the morning later, I'd be soon up out of my bed and driving back into Derby for an early Sunday morning shift at work. But I digress. I arrived at The Hairy Dog and wandered around the new and improved venue with its dressing rooms and huge stage for a solo act like myself! Derby based performance poet and author Sophie Sparham was the first act and entertained the ever-increasing audience (which rose to 40 or 50 throughout the night) with her clever poetry and monologues. Sophie had the crowd (and her parents no less) listening, enjoying and thoroughly entertained with her thoughts and opinions. I'm sure Mr and Mrs Sparham were very proud and rightly so. I was the next act up and I'm not so sure it was my finest (half) hour. Some lovely comments from people afterwards were nice and encouraging and a couple of requests for me to perform specific songs is always sweet too (if I know the songs!)... but I did have a struggle to keep the guitar in tune during a couple of songs which was a shame as Leigh on sound duties did a great job making my guitar sound a lot better than it ever should when I strum it! Leigh (as it happens) is guitar player in Nottingham thrash metal band Incinery. His band recently supported US thrash metallers Exodus in Nottingham, which impressed me, and Leigh is also an ex-member of UK metal act Onslaught which I was even more impressed by! If anyone knows how to get a good sound from a guitar, Leigh's the man and he quite clearly knows about acoustic guitars too. I got to the end of my set, enjoying playing but disappointed that I'd struggled to keep in tune by the end of my set and my full set was Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, The Seagull And The Skinhead, Fitzwilliam, Don't Believe The Type and Mighty And Superior. My song The Seagull... and the Conflict cover (Mighty) being requests that I was more than happy to oblige with by playing. Howie Reeve followed my set. Howie from Glasgow continued with the diverse styles of the evening with his solo bass guitar and singing. Whilst I admit that his songs weren't my thing in some ways (and I'm sure he'd say the same about my songs!), I couldn't help but be impressed by his bass playing. Headlining the evening was Ed Tudor Pole. To some, he'll be forever remembered for being a member of the Sex Pistols. To others, the presenter of Channel 4 TV game show The Crystal Maze. And to others, the pop star who gave us such songs as Swords Of A Thousand Men and Wunderbar! Ed is fun, entertaining and an eccentric performer who you can't take your eyes off for a minute. It was my 4th time of sharing a stage with Ed and I was honoured to do so again as he delighted the crowd with new songs as well as his back catalogue including Swords..., Who Killed Bambi?, You're Not A Punk, Throwing My Baby Out With The Bath Water, He's Got A Moustache and some covers including a Chuck Berry classic and a great version of From A Jack To A King. A lovely mix of punk, acoustic and rock 'n' roll. Sadly, Ed didn't think he'd performed as well as the audience did and a conversation with him afterwards suggested that his comment to the audience to 'ask for their money back' wasn't entirely in jest. We all have off days and all need inspiration to keep on keeping on sometimes and I hope Ed gets his own excitement and enjoyment for performing back soon to help him to continue to delight audiences. Many thanks to Anthony, Phil and Leigh at The Hairy Dog. To Sophie for great encouragement and for being a great performer to share a gig with, Tigga (for staying to hear me before going to see Contempt at another venue in Derby! And even coming back to The Hairy Dog to see Ed too!), Mat, Martin, Roger and everyone who had a listen (I'll try and keep in tune for the whole set next time), took an interest, came up to chat afterwards or bought stuff from my merchandise.

The end of March saw me having held a driving licence for 14 years and this last year and I actually drove more miles in a year than I have ever done previously! 

02/04/2016 saw another appearance by me at The Queen's Head, Belper. It was publicised under the We Shall Overcome banner (of national events that were organised in October 2015 to raise money, food, clothing and support against the Tories attacks on the poor. A show of solidarity and help against austerity, if you will. And it's all happening again in October 2016 so feel free to get involved: Organise, perform, publicise or donate - your time, money, clothes, food, bedding etc. You'll be most welcome and well supported in your efforts. However, I digress...), one of the organiser's behind the events and the original idea was singer songwriter Joe Solo. Joe was headlining this gig in Belper, hence it was an ideal night to make a benefit for a Belper food bank also. I was the first act to play and as ever, enjoyed my time on The Queen's Head stage. I chose the songs as I played my set and in an effort to keep playing something different and I played The Worst Teeth In Showbiz! for the first time in well over a year! It was a rusty and unrehearsed attempt but still fun to try something different. My full set was Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, The Worst Teeth In Showbiz!, Don't Believe The Type, The Seagull And The Skinhead, Fitzwilliam, Parliament Pays Tribute To Baroness Thatcher and The Uncollected. After my set was Matt McGuinness, singer songwriter and front-man of Karl & The Marx Brothers, playing a solo set. Matt entertained the ever-increasing audience numbers (sadly, we didn't get a full house - though Matt and Joe certainly both deserve one when they play) with some fine songs and harmony singing. I'd shared a gig with Matt once before in September 2013 when we both played at the Festival For Peace And Justice at Derby's The Guildhall Theatre. Matt was fronting his band on that occasion. It was an all too short a set on this occasion so I hope to see him again soon. Joe Solo headlined the night and produced a fine set of energetic, inspiring and rousing songs to show his support and solidarity for the night's chosen benefit. With an acoustic guitar, voice, harmonica and tambourine strapped to his leg, Joe created a wondrous noise up in the Belper venue's upstairs bar aided and abetted by an audience all shaking the various shakers and containers of dried peas etc Joe handed out to us all! Many thanks to those who turned out to support the event - and what a generous lot they were too. Including the raffle, donations and the entrance fee on the door, we were able to raise 100 for the Belper food bank after any expenses/costs were paid out as well as a whole load of foods that were donated too. Thank you so much. I can't name everyone by name but everyone's support and involvement was crucial to making the event happen and in making it a success. Thanks to the Belper News for some great publicity, to The Queen's Head themselves for food donations, to Joe for bringing donations with him, to Lancaster Pete for donations, Matt for donating any sales of his CD's, Mike (chief organiser!), Pete (on excellent sound duties) and Michael (for making the top bar look great and run smoothly) and to Gaz, Rich, Keith, Sue & William, Dick, Phil and Ed amongst others. I must thank Phil also for being the first raffle ticket out of the pot and then choosing my CD! I did expect my CD to be the last prize to be chosen so that was very nice of him indeed.

It was 9 years since my one and only performance in Nottingham (23/03/2007 at The Sumac Centre) so it was with great delight (for me) that I was back again in Nottingham on 08/04/2016. On this occasion, I was playing at the long-time established venue on the Nottingham music scene of The Running Horse pub. On taking to the stage, I couldn't resist saying that my last performance in the city had been 9 years ago before joking how nice it was to be asked back so soon! I had been to The Running Horse before for drinks with friends but not for maybe 20 years or more and the last time I know the date of was back in September 1993 to see the Nottingham based Irish-folk band Kelly's Heroes play. I arrived in the warm spring evening, parked up on a backstreet and made my way over to the venue to find that the night's gig being a benefit for the Midlands Anti Fascist Network had attracted some attention from right wing and fascist groups who wish to stop it happening. And some considerable attention at that I was informed with fascist/anti left-wing groups from both Nottingham and London intent on turning up mob-handed and using their brute force to stop the gig! I'm old enough and ugly enough to be aware of such groups and organisations and don't concern myself too much by censorship from any individual, group or political party - from the left or right for that matter and not from amateurs on par with football hooligans. Their attendance didn't happen of course and while that is always for the best as I have no wish to see music fans out to enjoy themselves subjected to insults or injury, I couldn't help but think the so-called master race would have been sent packing from the area by those running, working in and enjoying the many multi-cultural eateries along the long busy street long before any run-in with those they wished to target. It was with some irony that I had hoped the evening's gig would be a relaxing end to my day after a busy day that involved picking up a parking fine in my day job. (I've contested this with the city council I was working in of course after the fine was picked up whilst visiting a patient during my job working in the NHS. Patient care was my priority, not getting a permit into my car windscreen but I digress...) It was a relaxing and entertaining night in the end with an additional poet, Stan - Ranty Granty performing his spoken word between acts and acting as compere. Stan took to the stage for the first few minutes and gave me a lovely introduction before I played my 45-minute set. A nice and welcoming audience had paid a donation of their choice or what they could afford to help the benefit for the Midlands anti-fascist group and with a nice sound to my guitar courtesy of Matt, the sound guy (who really was a sound guy too!), I enjoyed my set. It happened to be the 3rd anniversary of the death of Margaret Thatcher too so a couple of song choices were made accordingly and my full set was Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, Don't Believe The Type, Parliament Pays Tribute To Baroness Thatcher, Fitzwilliam, The Seagull And The Skinhead, Lucky Escapes, Underground Overbite, Making Things Easier For Each Other, The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore, The Uncollected and Goodnight And Good Luck. A couple of those songs performed for the first time this year and one which had its first outing since 2014 which shows I don't work to a set-list, instead choosing songs to play as I perform. I sometimes maybe ought to have a set-list of my most rehearsed songs though in all honesty but hey, it keeps things interesting not knowing what I shall be playing next myself! With more poems throughout the night from Stan, the other acts took to the stage and were of a louder, amplified, punk style. After me was Derby/Nottingham based Luddite Bastard. I'd played with them once previously in Derby at The Bell Hotel in December 2011 (along with Zounds, The Astronauts, Andy T and a host of others) and they sounded very different from how I remembered them. They were very entertaining, nice guys and I enjoyed their set. Headlining was Rotunda, Birmingham based punks who were very impressive also - and feature a lead guitarist who (admittedly with my poor eyesight) looked like a punk Daniel Craig... More Our Friends From The North than James Bond though! I'd actually shared a stage with Rotunda once too, even further back in March 2000, also in Derby at The Victoria Inn with us both playing before Citizen Fish. Many thanks to Bob for the gig, Matt and Laura at The Running Horse, Reece and Luddite Bastard, Neil and Rotunda and all who took an interest, bought CDs or had a listen to my songs. It was a pleasure to play in Nottingham again and I hope it's not another 9 years until my next invite!

A trip to the theatre is always a pleasure and a fantastic production of The Damned United was just that at Derby Theatre on 14/04/2016.  It was a clever, moving, funny and a fantastic piece of theatre by the Red Ladder Theatre Company and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Andrew Lancel (whose character I didn't like in the brilliant Queer As Folk TV series for selling bad drugs to Phil) brought to life the larger than life character of Brian Clough to great effect and the rest of the small cast were just as compelling as they tell the story of Cloughie's infamous 44 days as the manager of Leeds United. It was a sell out show and so greatly deserved for all involved.

 

I might not be the most patriotic but as long as people don't use their patriotism as a weapon to beat any other nationality or race, then I'm all for people being proud of their roots and the positive aspects of where they're from. I'm an England fan when it comes to football but I can acknowledge that some teams sometimes play better! Anyway, I enjoyed a night of punk rock on the eve of St George's day. In Ripley, Derbyshire on 22/04/2016 at The Regal was local band Boris & the Space Cadets, Blackmarket Clash (tribute to The Clash of course) and headlining, Resistance 77. R77 were excellent - great powerful punk rock with catchy tunes.

My next performance on 29/04/2016 was playing on the Acoustic stage at the brilliant anti racist/anti fascist punk festival 0161 Festival in Manchester. The three-day event is held at The Miners Community Arts And Music Centre in the Moston area of Manchester and I played on the opening night, Friday. After an early shift in my day job, I was off to Manchester after picking up my guitar and other accessories including (the all-important) CDs for sale! And after a drive of around 120 miles on a Friday afternoon without any delays (though a full range of weather witnessed from sunshine and showers to snow on the Derbyshire hills - and some lovely views of spring lambs which is always a pleasure), I arrived at the venue (and drove straight passed Manchester City's ground at one point) to meet up with some dear friends. Just to digress for one moment, a conversation I heard a couple of days earlier with someone talking about whether they were voting to be a part of the European Union or not in June; I subsequently took part in the conversation also as they used terms like 'swarms' regarding immigrants coming into Britain and of how crowded this country now is. Now, this may sound silly but it occurred to me on the drive from work earlier that day and when I got to my street where I live. And then driving to Manchester and through some quite bleak and desolate looking parts of the Peak District, it did make me wonder where all these swarms were? Anyway, returning to the 0161 festival, I also met some new people and had a quick tour of the festival that was already in full swing with Scottish punks Random Scandal on stage. The venue of 'The Miners' as it's referred to is in the middle of a housing estate and a nice size with a couple of decent sized rooms for music and includes a cafe also. It's well secured from any unwanted visitors and had a nice vibe on arrival. It was my 11th appearance in Manchester including 7 appearances on the fantastic ALLFM Radio's Under The Pavement show and I was already looking forward to playing a small part of the day's and festival's music programme. After Random Scandal were The Hurriers who quickly became my new favourite band with their catchy tunes and passionate lyrics. It's always exciting to hear someone new that you enjoy and The Hurriers made my night with their excellent songs and forthright views. Following them was (I believe) UK based Polish punk band Porazka which I caught a couple of songs by before leaving the main stage to go to the Acoustic Stage in order to support the opening act Tamsyn Jamie May whom I was then following. I enjoyed playing to the crowd who chose me over the Polish hardcore punk, which like a distant underground train occasionally sounded through the building! And I was quite moved by some of the lovely comments people shared with me afterwards telling me they'd enjoyed listening to my songs and in a few cases, people who had made a special effort to arrive early and watch my set. I'm always grateful for the audiences I get and especially when at something like a festival when people can be watching another act on another stage, catching up with friends or just taking a break from the music with a beer or some food outside of the venue, it's lovely if people choose to come and see me play. Thank you to all those who did. With my guitar featuring a topical (earlier in the week, a report had declared that 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough football ground and the subsequent 27 years of lying by the South Yorkshire police totally vindicated any wrong doing by any football fans) Hillsborough Justice Campaign logo stuck on my guitar, I played 30 minutes of songs to a lovely audience. Thanks again to everyone who took an interest, had a listen or came up to chat. Thanks to Steve and the 0161 crew for the chance to play and for looking after me. Thanks to Molly and Adam of The Lab Rats for making an old folk singer sound ok (to me, anyway) through the PA. The full line-up for the Acoustic Stage that evening was Tamsyn Jamie May opening the evening before my own set. After myself was Johnny Campbell, then The Lab Rats (for my 3rd time of sharing a gig with them if I include a few songs played in Pete & Marie's kitchen as a 'house performance' after our gig In Lancaster with Robb Johnson in 2015!). Paper Town, Joe Solo (for my 2nd gig shared after playing in Belper with him earlier in the month), Pete Greenfield and headlining the Acoustic Stage was James 'Bar' Bowen. James was playing as a duo with Sam Bell from Roughneck Riot on accordion and it was my 3rd time of sharing a line-up with James after a couple of festivals (The Blyth Power Ashes & Rebellion Festival) in 2009! Thanks to Nick, Pete, Vicky, Paul, Tracy, Luke, Sam Roughneck Riot, Carl, Debra and James Bar Bowen for either being there, showing support or for the kind words and comments. My full set was Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, Don't Believe The Type, Fitzwilliam, The Seagull And The Skinhead, Parliament Pays Tribute To Baroness Thatcher, Lucky Escapes and Goodnight And Good Luck. After a quick chat with a few friends and meeting Joe Solo and Ruth from Hagar The Womb who were just arriving, I took my guitar to my car to find that my wing mirror had been knocked off on the busy residential street I'd left it. So, with other commitments the following day, my priority became to get the wing mirror back in place (and luckily some parts were still lying on the road for me to gather up!) and sadly, not return to the festival to relax, meet up with friends and enjoy the likes of Hagar The Womb and Inner Terrestrials. A postscript to this piece could go on to say that my lack of car maintenance and DIY skills (I'm more 'arts and crafts' - I could write you a song about it, or a poem, or a short story even -  as this is rapidly turning into! - Or draw you a picture of the broken mirror lying in the gutter) resulted in the wing mirror coming off the car whilst driving the following day and in true TV sitcom scenario style, the car behind me then drove over it! So, Sunday's priority became fixing it (again) instead of returning to the 0161 festival to enjoy some more music due to having a day job that demands a road worthy car!

On 14/05/2016 I made my 50th appearance at The Queen's Head, Belper. It's a remarkable achievement and to add that it was my 85th in Belper itself (if I include many recordings made in the Derbyshire town for both CDs and online uploads), it says a lot about it being my local patch and that it's always a pleasure, especially to be involved with The Queen's Head. It was also lovely to be playing support to Headsticks again (my 3rd time of doing so too). It was a quieter evening than I'd expected but with an audience of 20 something, we still made a night of it. It was still great fun, with Headsticks enthusiasm and ace songs having people dancing in the room (which is almost unheard of at The Queen's Head). A few people who we were expecting to arrive never made it after the football Championship play-off semi-final between Derby County and Hull City. The match, played at lunch time that day, meant that after watching in the pubs (or at the game itself) many Derby fans were drowning their sorrows due to a 3-0 home loss in the first leg and having it all to do in the next game. It was also the Eurovision Song Contest on TV but I doubt we lost any potential audience to that. I played my set (and never learned if I'd been awarded nil points or not) to a friendly and enthusiastic (if not my biggest) crowd. I played the song Phone In Well for the first time in over a year (and without any rehearsing!) as I continue to keep things fresh when playing in Belper so often (it was my 7th performance in 8 months!) and my full set was Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, Fitzwilliam, The Seagull And The Skinhead, Parliament Pays Tribute To Baroness Thatcher, Phone In Well and Don't Believe The Type. Tom of Headsticks improved my sound after I'd mixed my own which wasn't easy! With our resident PA expert, Pete away in Scotland, we missed his expertise and invaluable input. It took some time for me and the Headsticks guys to set up and use the PA and eventually we had a mix we were happy with even if it wasn't perfect. Having said that, I for one will be much happier if Pete is providing his skills at my next gig at The Queen's Head. Headsticks followed my set and showed the audience just why they are making a name for themselves. Playing songs from both of their two albums, they entertained and inspired in equal measure. Thanks to Mike, Dick and Phil at The Queen's Head. To Headsticks of course for another fine night shared and to everyone who came along and supported the night including Kev F, Rich B, Kitty, Nick & Joe, Mark & Julie, Ed, Gary & Keith from The Bad Fishermen, Paul and the rest of the welcoming audience.

A relaxing day out with friends on 20/05/2016 when for the first time in a few years I went to the Barrow Hill Rail Ale beer festival near Chesterfield. A healthy mix of trains and beer during an afternoon with good friends before rounding off the day in a few pubs in Derby afterwards...

My last gig of this blog was my first appearance on 27/05/2016 at the wonderful Bearded Theory Festival held at Catton Park, Walton On Trent in South Derbyshire. I'd attended the festival at its previous location of Kedleston Hall in Derby in 2012 but I was a Catton Park virgin for my 2nd festival performance of the year. The current site is fantastic, set in the very pleasant grounds of country house Catton Hall and The Woodland Stage (the second to main stage) is just that - set in a woodland and secluded from the rest of the festival site. We arrived around mid-day on the Friday before my performance scheduled for 1pm and I got a feel of the festival and wandered around the site for a while. Mr Motivator, the fitness instructor from 1990s breakfast TV show GMTV was helping everyone enjoy a workout on The Woodland Stage, Red Monroes were on the main stage and I then made my way over to the Convoy Cabaret Stage to get ready for my own set. Trav Chav DJ was playing before Rev Dread & Naughty Nuns took to the stage (and the nuns certainly were naughty with their smoking, drinking and even a pregnant nun pole dancing to the hardcore dance sounds by the Rev) and so weren't an easy act for a folk singer to follow! But follow I did with 40 minutes or so of my songs to anyone who'd come along to see my set or have a look at what was happening in the Convoy Cabaret's marquee tent as they were passing. A few technical problems to begin my set before the stage crew got things under control and mixed my sound as I played. With no time for a sound check and by following an act with a laptop, I was the first act of the day using actual musical instruments and vocals and so sound levels were mixed as I played my set. My full set was Grandpa Still Hates The Tories, Don't Believe The Type, Fitzwilliam, The Seagull And The Skinhead, Parliament Pays Tribute To Baroness Thatcher, Celebrity Bus Crash and The Uncollected. It was the first time Celebrity Bus Crash had appeared in the set in quite a while as the song had been in-need of updating for some time. I like to get topical names and changes to the song whenever possible and it's not always easy trying to find words that rhyme with the likes of Jeremy Hunt... I enjoyed playing my songs very much as I do at all the gigs I play. It was great fun to be a small part of Convoy Cabarets stage at Bearded Theory Festival 2016, I enjoyed every second and can't thank everyone enough for helping make it happen. And so, at the risk of missing someone out who was integral to my performance - thanks to Steve, Jane, Chris, Frankie, Badger and all the Convoy Cabaret crew for the help, friendship, support and for having me on their bill for the weekend. Thanks also to everyone who came along and had a listen to my songs whether they stayed for my whole set from beginning to end or just stuck their head in the tent out of interest. I'm always thankful that anyone has a listen to my songs and never more so than at such events as festivals when other things are happening, acts are playing on other stages and people have other options of how to chill out, enjoy themselves or be entertained. That some people chose to come and hear my songs was very much appreciated by me. Thanks to Loz (for the whole weekend), John & Pam, Reuben, Tony, Rob, Steve, Matt, Ed, Beth and Paul amongst others for some very kind support. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and enjoying other acts. My favourites of the day were The Levellers who played a brilliant (as they always do, every time I've seen them) hour and a half set on the main stage (The Pallet Stage), Hagar The Womb who were the most punk rock I've ever seen in a marquee tent and Wonk Unit who delighted the crowd with such songs as Elbows, Stigmata and Go Easy. I also caught, glimpsed or watched some of the Glowbones, Brian Stone, Killing Joke, Bad Fractals, Filthy Spectacular, The Tuts, Reverend & the Makers, Chris The Poet, The King Blues and Rob Miller. The full line-up for the Convoy Cabaret Stage for the day was FFTP, Captain Hotknives (whom I shared a bill with at Rebellion Festival in 2008), Chasing Whiskey, Doozer McDooze, Captain Grimace, Ed Cox, Trav Chav DJ, The Sporadics (whom I shared a bill with at Get On With It! punk weekender in Brighton in 2015), Infekted Headz, Bad Fractals, Fabian Maddison, Filthy Spectacular, Trav Chav DJ, Hagar The Womb (whom at last I can say I've shared a stage/billing with after playing the same festivals - Rebellion Festival, Get On With It! weekender, 0161 Festival but played different days to them!) , Chris The Poet, Midweek Rattle, Rob Miller, Chris Butler, Rev Dread & Naughty Nuns, Trav Chav DJ, Rich Not Famous... Not a bad first day at all! We drove home afterwards due to us being based in Derbyshire (if a little further north)... Saturday was a continuation of more fun, good music and great summer sunshine (that amazingly lasted all weekend!) with my favourite acts of the day being Billy Bragg (who I've never seen a bad performance by since first seeing him in 1988), Wilko Johnson Band (whom I'd not seen since a smaller club venue in Derby in 2010 and before his well documented battle with cancer which after being diagnosed as terminally ill, he miraculously beat it and is now cancer free) and Cockney Rejects. I'd not seen the Rejects before - to my shame - and loved them. They were energetic and entertaining and looked like they were enjoying playing as much as the audience enjoyed watching them. I also saw Public Image Limited (perform This Is Not A Love Song, my favourite song by them), Black Uhuru (whom I hadn't seen before but I'd had an album by them as a teenager so was familiar with some of their songs such as Shine Eye Gal and Guess Who's Coming To Dinner) and 51st State. Back home afterwards for my own bed to sleep in, a bath and to feed our cat knowing Sunday had a lot to live up to... Sunday did provide some highlights of the weekend too though with Squeeze playing a fabulous set, From The Jam being enjoyable, Bad Manners who are always entertaining and Max Splodge taking to the stage to sing Swords Of A Thousand Men, Hurry Up Harry and his own Two Pints Of Lager with Bad Manners as his backing band. I first saw Splodgenessabounds in 1991 and in more recent times have seen them perform (as well as Max's bingo at the start of the day!) at the Rebellion Festival. I also found time to see P.A.I.N, OTT & the All Seeing I, Asian Dub Foundation and The Inbredz. A great weekend and a great festival. The only downside to the whole weekend was not being able to catch-up with so many good friends and great bands I knew were there but sadly missed.

 

It's going to be a long hot summer I hope.

 

Chris.


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