I must confess I was feeling very lazy on Sunday. Admittedly I did write and post my review of Saturday at Wickham but after doing that I sort of let the rest of the morning escape me. I sat around at the van drinking tea and playing guitar. I can tell that I haven’t practised anywhere near enough recently as the tips of my fingers on my left hand hurt, a clear sign that they have softened. Very naughty!
I blame the heat for my laziness, I am not good in the heat and it was very hot over the weekend in Wickham. Anyway as a result of my procrastination it was after 1.30 before I got my butt in gear enough to wander over to the site. I poked my head into stage 2 on the way past and caught a bit of a set from four piece rock outfit Splinter. They were a pleasant start to the day and woke me up enough to see me wander over to the main stage to catch the last knockings of Les Barkers set.
What a delight the man is. Les was an accountant before finding his true vocation as a professional idiot. This is a man who is seriously funny. His clever poems, full of witty one liners and hilarious observations had me, and everyone else, splitting my sides laughing. The man is a comic genius. By the time Les finished I was finally awake and fully alert and a good job too.
Next up on the main stage were Tankus The Henge who, for me at least were the highlight of the entire weekend. The energy that this lot burn is surely sufficient to run a large city for a month. I just loved their take on ragtime infused Rock ‘N’ Roll served with a side helping of Balkan Rhythms and a dash of ska. We were treated to a pianist leaping about 20 feet in the air from the top of his piano, smoke belching from the piano, a wailing brass section. So good were this band that they made Moulettes who followed them seem positively pedestrian by comparison.
In my view Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom was Wickham festivals one real scheduling error of the weekend. Putting a downbeat acoustic act immediately after Tanks the Henge and Moulettes didn’t work for me. We had two acts who set the pulse racing followed by a low key introspective acoustic act. For me at least it just didn’t work.
Bloom was followed by The Dhol Foundation who were the only act I saw across the weekend that I just didn’t like. I enjoyed the first couple of tracks but for me at least everything just sounded the same. The only variety seemed to be provided by a backing track providing a range of vocals as a relief from the Asian drumming. No disrespect to the artists or indeed to the majority of those watching who seemed to really enjoy the act but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
The Tom Robinson Band and Steve Harley & Cockney rebel lifted things up again for me. Robinson has recently released his first album in 20 years and the self confessed tour hater is back on the road in support of it. Steve Harley did what he does best delivering a set full of sing-a-long crowd pleasers. With just 10CC left on the line-up I decided to beat the crowds and left early. I couldn’t abide 10CC back in the 1970’s and having seen them at a couple of festivals in recent years they did nothing to change my opinion. The prospect of getting home for night in my own bed was a much more alluring prospect for me.
I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend at Wickham festival. It is a relaxed, friendly and well organised event with a good variety of music across the weekend. The second stage was somewhat lacking in “name” acts bit this did give a showcase opportunity for local bands. If you have not tried Wickham in the past I recommend giving it a try. I am sure you won’t regret it.