‘GLASTONWICK’ 31.05.19 – 02.06.19
It’s quite amazing to learn that Sussex’s GLASTONWICK Festival is now in its 24th year. It just goes to show how successful it has become!
The festival has come about again this year as a result of great teamwork and has been put together by Attila The Stockbroker and Alex Hall, in conjunction with Mel Gordine-Tyler, Church Farm and the Ropetackle Arts Centre.
It once again took place in the sun at the charming Church Farm, Coombes, West Sussex, which is located due north of Shoreham Airport. The relaxed family friendly Glastonwick 2019 Festival ran for three days: Friday 31st May – Sunday 2nd June and there was no less than 20 bands, musicians and poets, all performing inside the sizeable farm barn. Children were entertained by the lovely old wizard storyteller John Row and Jenny ran the tractor rides for families around her sizeable picturesque estate.
There was also an impressive 75+ cask-conditioned beers, cider, perry, and food to choose from. Thankfully there was onsite camping facilities on offer as well as regular free shuttle buses to Shoreham. No doubt these were important factors in the ticket sales being up on last year. Next year will be the 25th anniversary and I know that plans are already afoot in organising something rather special for 5th to 7th June.
Anyway, onto this year and here is a resume of who performed across the three days, with the proposed timings:
DAY ONE: Friday 31 May 6pm – midnight
MY PET SHARK (6:05pm – 6:45pm)
To kick things off at Glastonwick 2019, were Brighton area based 4-piece My Pet Shark, that includes wooly vocalist Drake Mague, landlord of the Duke of Wellington in Shoreham. They are an indie rock outfit with a real funk edge, think a heavier version of Ocean Colour Scene with a hint of Red Hot Chili Peppers and you will have some idea of their sound. Numbers performed included the amusingly titled ‘Robert Smith’s Tie’ (which incidentally I can’t ever recall seeing him wearing one) and ‘Concrete Dreams’, which focuses on homelessness, especially that encountered in Brighton.
ABDOUJAPAROV (7:00pm – 7:45pm)
Although billed as Les Carter And Abdoujaparov, ‘Fruitbat’ Les informed the crowd at it’s really only Abdoujaparov as it’s been about two decades since he was fifty percent of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. All the same it’s a strange name for a band. Turns out as Attila informed us that it’s named after the drug-taking road racing cyclist Djamolidine Mirgarifanovich Abdoujaparov. Not surprisingly the bands sound is a combination of punk meets Carter USM with comedy moments thrown in, like forgetting the setlist and tunes such as ‘Fingers In Your Brain’, ‘Small And Cute’ and ‘Abdoujaparov Theme’. There was a guest vocalist spot by Gail Something-Else, who we will meet tomorrow. Foot tapping stuff indeed.
JOHN OTWAY (8:00pm – 8:50pm)
Yep, that’s confirmed it, John Otway IS mad! His set was as chaotic as you would expect it to be by anyone who arrived at Glastonwick by the free shuttle bus and has had two (yes let’s count them, two) hit singles. Thankfully these were performed early on in his set. So I enjoyed the 1977 hits ‘Really Free’ and ‘Beware Of The Flowers’, which I can remember owning as well as his 1980 ‘DK 50/80’ single. He balanced (and dropped) his microphone in between two coat hangers held together with seven pieces of black tape. Attila gets in on the acts as MC Train Spotter with his mutton clarinet, and several skirts later we arrive at a Brexit version of ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’. Otway head buts the mic many times, which might explain a thing or two. Is this the correct way for a 66 year old man to behave? Clearly YES!
WONK UNIT (9:05pm – 10:00pm)
Well what do you know, it’s been a decade now and Alex’s Wonk Unit are still on the case. They are a Marmite or Twiglets outfit, you either luv’ ‘em or ‘ate them! They are arguably melodic, weird and possibly funny and sounding louder than all of the previous acts today. I bet the sound man’s a fan then. Is the 5-piece’s council house plasterer persona to be believed or not? Does Alex’s back ache from years of laying bricks and plastering walls? Will he knick your tyres or car? Historically, there could have been a temptation as Alex freely admits that he used to be addicted to prescription painkillers and booze. He’s got a song called ‘Depressed’ which gets an outing. We will give him the benefit of the doubt, as it must have been hell for him performing for us, as he is now dry and with all that beer flowing about – poor sod. His daughter is now on board too and as a whole, he just loves to perform and throw out all his energy. “Don’t Give Up Yer Day Job” people used to say to him about the band, so he wrote a song about it. Therapy indeed, but don’t get him on the subject of cyclist riding two a breadth in Leicestershire. Wonk Unit – the Kevin & Perry of punk.
ANGELIC UPSTARTS (10:15pm – 11:30pm)
Tom Mensforth (that’s Mensi to us) and his South Shields/Sunderland A.F.C punk rock posse have been on the case since 1977 and I reckon that this Glastonwick gig must surely be right up there as one of their best performances. They were easily the best act of the day for me and this was their greatest gig that I have so far witnessed and the most fun I’ve had at a gig for ages! The Brew Studio ‘Ginger Acoustic’ beer had kicked in rather nicely by now thank you, and my kneecaps were numbed as they were crushed against the front of the stage during the moshing, and still ache today, but hey you’re only young once! Actually I’m not young, what am I talking about? ‘Ginger Acoustic’ still having its effect then. 21 Angelic Upstart offerings were had including ‘Two Million Voices’, ‘Teenage Warning’, ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘Last Night Another Soldier’ and ‘I’m An Upstart’ with Little Mensi singing too and Attila joined in as only right. Happy days!
DAY TWO: Saturday 1 June 12 noon – midnight
WOB (12:00pm – 12:15pm)
Brighton based WOB keeps popping up here and there to entertain the crowds. This year the truly likeable fellow cropped up in the food and cider barn to entertain the crowds that had arrived early by the shuttle bus. So instead of hanging around with nothing to do whilst the event was getting ready to open, WOB brightened the mood for everyone with his jolly antics and renditions including getting everyone to sing the famous ‘Jungle Book’ song.
CHERRY & PEESH (12:15pm – 1:00pm)
Cockney girl Cherry & Geordie boy Peesh formed in 2017 as a curious experiment combining spoken word and poppy punk tunes. They have written over 40 songs in that time despite living over 300 miles apart. We were treated to several acoustic ditties including ‘A Cider For Breakfast’ and ‘Politics’. They consider 1977 as year zero and conveyed a number about the Sex Pistols antics, and then finished with ‘Yesterday’s Kids’ which states “You can’t take our youth away from us”, which actually totally sums up Glastonwick as a whole really!
REBEL CONTROL (1:10pm – 2:00pm)
London and Brighton based sextet Rebel Control state “Standby for massive hook laden- bass heavy beats topped with blazing horns and a lyrically conscious vocalist effortlessly switching styles from the sweet and soulful to the ruff and raw…..” and I for one wouldn’t disagree with that. Despite the late arrival for two of the guys ten minutes into their set, they were my favourite act of the day. Amazingly, they haven’t played together for 4 years, and yet they seamlessly picked up where they had previously left off. The music was the perfect accompaniment to the hot weather. Vocalist Andy even occasionally got as deep as Shaggy for that Jamaican vibe. Their track ‘Superstar’ had a good swinging vibe and ‘Ghetto Love’ was seriously in Bob Marley territory. Much dread love was had and they were invited back for an encore and I would see them live again at a drop of a hat.
MUDDY SUMMERS AND THE DIRTY FIELD WHORES (2:20pm – 3:10pm)
These are exactly the type of act that I would expect to perform at Glastonwick and no doubt one of Attila’s faves. There’s mainly a female radical crusty cowgirl yee-haw folk situation going on with this lot, who today are a quartet, fronted by red-haired Gail Something-Else, who regularly refers to getting her lady-bits out or not. She’s certainly a character and soon had the crowd eating out of her hand. We a had song about w*nkers, which was swiftly followed by a song about w*nking. They started with an anti-fascist tune and ended on one. They will be releasing a new album next week at Sister Fest. They not surprisingly went down a storm and were invited back for an encore number about our reigning monarch. The highlight was everyone singing along to “Yeah yeah it’s all sh*t (x3), At least some of us are trying to grow roses in it”.
Prior to the Fish Brothers taking the stage Attila performed a rap poem which went down rather well. Even Afrika Bambaataa got a mention!
The Fish Brothers were performing in memory of their sadly departed guitarist Dan Woods, who recently lost his battle with cancer after a long fight. Dan was also in Attila’s band Barnstormer and so it was fitting that Brighton & Hove Albion’s bard joined them on stage for a toast to Dan’s life. He would have enjoyed the frolicking around with the giant inflatable lobster, especially as Attila attacked vocalist Martin Fish with it. We were served (not lobster) but the usual light-hearted musical punk account of life, fatness and chorus from the punters of “You fat b*stard” as Martin willingly (once again) unveiled his God-like physique, whilst massacring Glen Campbell’s ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’.
EFA SUPERTRAMP (4:40pm – 5:20pm)
Prior to the arrival of the ever-smiling bilingual Welsh acoustic punk-folk grrrl bardess EFA Supertramp, I had gone for a wander around the farm and spotted her sitting behind her car on the grass practicing to her heart’s content. This surely paid dividends as she successfully performed an entertaining set. It was impossible not to like her as a person. She is set to release her second album in the autumn, after a too longer gap from her debut platter. She explained that this was due to the passing of a close friend and simply couldn’t get past writing songs about that person. She must have been in a difficult place back then, but her radiant smile filled the Glastonwick barn and is now no doubt back to where she would like to be.
TOO MANY CROOKS (5:40pm – 6:30pm)
This wonderful tuneful 7-piece ska outfit were formed following a Bad Manners gig in Brighton around 35 years ago. The group of friends felt that Ska music needed to be dragged kicking and screaming into the next millennium if it was ever going to haul itself out of the underground, where it had been left to fester since the end of the Two-Tone Era. Mission accomplished I would suggest. I noted that one of the Fish Brothers was leading this outfit and also I reckon one of the guys went to my ‘horrible’ secondary school too, and so it’s no wonder they were performing “These boots are made for stomping”. They flowed rather well during their set and alternated vocalists as they went along. The lesson I learnt from them was not to “stick your finger in the peanut butter”.
THE KUT (6:50pm – 7:40pm)
This London based spikey female trio were playing Glastonwick for the very first time. They performed the irony filled ‘I am Vain’ and ‘If Looks Could Kill’ amongst several others. Their debut album ‘Valley Of Thorns’ was released last year and dented the Top 10 of the Rock Charts by crashing in at number seven. The Kut is the alter-ego of blue haired multi-instrumentalist and PhD Graduate, Princess Maha who has brought along Stella Vie (on bass/vocals) and Diana Bartmann (on drums) along for the ride. Think along the lines of The Runaways, Hole and L7 and you will be in the right grunge ballpark.
It’s here that I have to leave for the day and take in the wonderful musical delights of Sheep On Drugs at Bar 42 in Worthing (Review HERE). So I will leave you in the capable hands of Sonny Tyler from Combat Shock – Thanks Sonny x
EASTFIELD (8:00pm – 8:50pm)
Eastfield took to the stage at 8.10pm approx and played to a full room of Eastfield T-shirt wearing enthusiasts. I’ve known this band for years and Combat Shock used to play with them in the early years in Birmingham. They hail from the Midlands and mainly nowadays reside in Kettering. They must be the hardest working DIY punk band this side of UK Subs, with their never ending gigging schedule. And, it shows……Short sharp bursts of melodic punk rock. Bambi, the bassist, proclaimed the words “Respect each other, Look out for one another, Be nice…It’s not difficult” (or words to that effect) and it’s a statement you can’t argue with. Great band and great set. (words SONNY TYLER from Combat Shock).
GAZ BROOKFIELD (9:10pm – 10:10pm)
Gaz Brookfield was up next, who also seemed to have a big following. He’s no stranger to the festival, so it was nice to see him grace the stage again. He lives in Bristol and is also a busy performer. Before this show, he had been travelling ther breadth of the country, but his tiredness did not show in his performance. Catchy and tuneful acoustic set with plenty of energy to boot. (words SONNY TYLER from Combat Shock).
DAKKA SKANKS (10:30pm – 11:30pm)
I’d never seen the headliners Dakka Skanks before, but I’d heard plenty of good things about them on the grapevine. They’ve supported many big name acts in the past including Madness, so they’re definitely on the up and coming Richter scale. And, I was not disappointed. Excellent ska, infused with terrific soulful vocals. In fact, Clara has a top notch voice and the whole band has plenty of energy on show. They played good times ska which went down a storm with the festival crowd, mixed in with the odd melancholic number. The song they played about the Grenfell Tower disaster was very poignant and almost brought a tear to my eye. Definitely a band to watch out for and what a way to end the Saturday of this marvellous festival. Angelic Upstarts were a hard act to follow the previous night, but Dakka Skanks did themselves proud. Check them out when you get the chance. You will thank me for it. (words SONNY TYLER from Combat Shock).
DAY THREE: Sunday 2nd June 12 noon – 6pm
GECKO (12:15pm – 1:00pm)
Day Three was in the main a more sedate affair and was kicked off by London based Gecko. He and his acoustic guitar had earned the right to play Glastonwick as his ‘Volcano’ release was Attila’s album of the Year for 2017, and I can see exactly why. His observations on everyday modern life were very insightful, like everyone’s absorbed with their mobile phones as they are ‘Staring Into Your Hand’, which ironically I am doing right now as I have made all of my notes about the Glastonwick artists on it. So Mr Gecko, they do have a benefit. ‘Toothpaste Soothsayer’ was the pick of the bunch. He had vocal assistance by Mo on one numbers too. American comedian Kelly Monteith meets Billy Bragg, so move over Ed Sheeran.
NAOMI BEDFORD & PAUL SIMMONDS (1:15pmm – 2:00pm)
Attila was priding himself on the festival being an eclectic mix of artists and varying sounds and thus enter country music duo Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds. Although certainly not to my taste, many folks do enjoy their sound, as their new album had the accolade of being ‘Guardian Album of the Week’. Clearly these are nice people as they dedicated their song ‘Hands To The Plough’ to the recently departed Dan Woods. They performed ‘Railway Ben’ from their first album, which I understand is a cover.
JOHN HEGLEY (2:15pm – 3:15pm)
Prior to John Hegley taking the stage, Attila got everyone into the poetry zone as he did a stint, including a poem called ‘Candid Camera’ that certainly made all of the men present wince. He then plundered his latest ‘Undaunted’ book about Rock’n’ Roll Brexit.
By now the audience were nicely primed for the university educated Michael Gove lookalike John Hegley who was well on form, despite hot footing it from Saffron Walden. His ‘Luton’ two liner getting a roar, as he lived there with his parents in a bungalow and obviously there wasn’t a host of things to do there. Animals featured extensively during his comedic set ‘Dogs In Glasses’, Dog spelt backwards is God etc, and ‘Max The Dog’, Guillemots , Hamsters, Octopus and the like. His father was American and his grandmother was French, which nicely led to a skit in French with a sweet lady volunteer from the audience, who I had previously noted as bopping along to Naomi and Paul beforehand. She used so much expression, it was almost as though she had been planted there as John’s muse, but she hadn’t.
TV SMITH (3:30pm – 4:30pm)
I was rather looking forward to seeing ‘Tim’ TV Smith as he was responsible for getting me into punk, when his old outfit The Adverts released ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ back in 1977. I had never had opportunity to see them perform live and so I guess this would be the nearest I could ever really get. TV Smith is Bob Dylan on steroids! He’s 63 years old and the veins on his neck looked as though they were about to burst any minute, with the amount of effort he was putting in. We had acoustic versions of the aforementioned hit as well as ‘No Time To Be 21’, ‘Bored Teenagers’ and ‘One Chord Wonders’ from his days with The Adverts as well as ‘Land Of The Overdose’ from his new album. Attila joined in on violin and they became a duo.
PUSSYLIQUOR (4:45pm – 5:30pm)
Arriving in just the nick of time was Brighton’s finest all-girl quintet Pussyliquor. Attila hadn’t seen this lot perform live before, but he was immediately dead chuffed that he had booked them! He and the audience were in the main rather blown away by the serious amount of energy that was on offer today, despite member Hannah not being well and them having to draft in Marlon at the very last minute, they absolutely rocked it! OMG they were by far the best act of the day for me. I think that they came as quite a surprise to the now chilled out crowd. Singer Ari was hot and off came her trousers as she pranced around in her long t-shirt. They themselves say they offer “pure uncensored female rage” and are “putting the amp in tampon, raising estrogen levels wherever we go”. The likeness to L7 and The Slits et al is evident but with a modern twist. I would even say that these lasses push the boundaries even further than their predecessors did, what I know is a bold statement to make, but with tunes including ‘Lady W*nk’ and ‘C.*.*.T’, I reckon I’m on safe ground. Best track ‘Get Out’ and the perfect way to end Glastonwick 2019. Well done everyone! Roll on 5th to 7th June next year for Glastonwick 2020!
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