If you caught my earlier piece about Bearded Theory festival you will be aware that I missed Thursdays music because of issues getting onto the site. When we had torrential rain overnight and woke to rain and clouds that seemed to have settled about 6-feet above the van roof, I suspected that we were in for a pretty grim day.
I need not have worried, as things improved as lunchtime approached. We set off for the arena looking forward to a day of music and catching up with friends. As always, my first port of call is the Something Else Tea Tent. No one is closer to new talent emerging on the grassroots scene than Gail, so it is always worth checking out what she has on offer. Expect new talent, old favourites, and the odd main stage band dropping in to play an acoustic set.
I guess, in many ways, Les Carter epitomises all three of the above. It was Les who provided my best moment of the entire weekend. Get this, Les Carter, a man who headlined Glastonbury in 1992, playing an acoustic cover of Bobby Blue’s hit song, Dancing on a Saturday Night, in front of a couple of hundred people in the Something Else Tea Tent. There it is, Bearded Theory, in a nutshell, you never know what you are going to get, it’s not unlike Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. I’m almost certain that Les enjoys performing on the Grass Roots scene more than he ever did getting banned from Glastonbury 🙂
Mind you, it’s not like we were stuck for bands elsewhere. I thought Friday’s lineup was as excellent as it was eclectic. I kicked off with a bit of high energy punk rock from a longtime friend of Bearded Theory. John Robb and the Membranes played an insanely good set on the Woodland stage. It was certainly Manchester’s day on that stage because I thought Manchester outfit Pins were absolutely sublime. These girls rock and they have that outward confident swagger that suggests they are destined for big things. Let’s face it, anyone who sends Iggy Pop a demo and asks him to do a voice over can hardly be accused of allowing themselves to be constrained by a lack of ambition.
Over on the main stage folk favourites, Show of Hands played their usual hugely entertaining show. They may have been around for a while, but they are none the worse for their longevity. My biggest surprise of the day came from Sleeper. Of course, I know the name, but for a band who have eight top-40 singles and 3 top 10 albums to their name, I know little about them. That’s about to change, I thought they were absolutely superb on the day.
I had a huge decision to make later on Friday evening. Jesus Jones on the Woodland Stage or Jesus & Mary Chain and Blossoms on the main stage. In the end, I decided on the latter, chiefly because I was a huge Jesus & Mary Chain fan back in the day, and because I wanted to photograph the rapidly progressing Blossoms.
In truth, Jesus & Mary Chain’s set largely passed me by. I can’t put my finger on why, but I just couldn’t get into it. Blossoms were a different story. Being honest, I thought to book a band like Blossoms was a great decision by the festival. Like many, I would be content to see the Levellers and New Model Army every year, but bands like Blossoms are the future. Granted they don’t have the political edge of bands like those aforementioned, but they played a great set and I thought they were worthy headliners for a festival of this size.
That rounds up Friday for you folks, tune in later for Saturday & Sunday.