Blowing down a storm!

Review: St Ives music festival AT midday on Sunday the annual St Ives Music Festival at Warners Park was moments away from starting. Rock band Beguiled were loudly soundchecking their guitars – leaving the waiting crowd in little doubt as to the type of

Review: St Ives music festival

AT midday on Sunday the annual St Ives Music Festival at Warners Park was moments away from starting.

Rock band Beguiled were loudly soundchecking their guitars - leaving the waiting crowd in little doubt as to the type of music they should expect.

Meanwhile, despite promises of a heatwave, strong warm winds blew about Warner's Park carrying the scent of the opening burger stands amongst the growing crowds. The sound of children being thrown about by fairground rides could be heard in the distance.


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Beguiled were a perfect choice for the first act - they looked and sounded like a classic rock band. Simple in the best possible, traditional way - and most at ease playing Thin Lizzy's Dancing In The Moonlight. Lead vocals had nicely awkward touches of Ozzy Osborne and Elvis Costello and lead guitar was exactly as it should be. Their adventurous choice of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb paid off wonderfully. The duet was delivered complete with Floyd's trademark sound effects - and the song's dramatically contrasting vocals.

Second band Feedbak delivered a more modern sound - perhaps best described as edgy pop rock - if that's not a contradiction. Green Day's American Idiot set out the pace and style of their set in their first song - and this moved quickly into a rocky, punky version of U2's Vertigo. Johnny B. Goode quickly took us back 50 years with its genuinely classic guitar riffs and wonderfully old-fashioned bass-work. It was a clever mix of great songs and importantly included some great original material too.

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Next, RedSoxx took to the stage and were in many ways a progression from the preceding acts. As a six-piece, the band were offering a fuller sound, and with up to three members singing at one time there were some wonderful harmonies. Musically, the bottom line is that they were pretty faultless. Not just in a "tick box" kind of way - it was impressive stuff.

Certainly quite cheesy at times - my only personal complaint would be that it was only quite cheesy. Their best moments came with the tracks that seemed most fun - Van Halen's Jump and Toto's Hold The Line - exuberant melodic rock that borders on the daft at times.

Lead guitarist Owen Edwards reminded me of Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora - there seemed nothing he couldn't play, and with the summer's blustery wind in his hair he looked like he was in a wind tunnel in an 80s music video. And I want that in spades.

Fellow guitarist Kim Renkin was more conservative player, but equally intricate - the contrast of personalities on stage was great to see - RedSoxx are an interesting, class act.

10th Avenue were among the bands who played at the event last year - but they could not have gone more out of their way to avert a Groundhog Day experience for the audience.

Last year, the band played a nice mix of party rock covers. This year, they have found themselves. Lead singer Jackie Bennett's recent solo EP is gaining radio play across the world and to quote her, they've gone a bit "Heee Ya!"

The link between all their songs was Bruce Springsteen. They opened with Seven Nights To Rock - a Springsteen live favourite, and then Younstown - a wonderful, if slightly obscure Springsteen gem.

The remainder of the set comprised songs from Springsteen's current album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. All tracks made famous by American folk legend Pete Seeger and recently revived by The Boss.

It was brave and commendable to choose to present this selection of songs for a festival audience. It rightly went down a storm and with the passion that everyone on stage visibly put into the performance, it couldn't have failed to.

CHRIS BOLAND

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