Crazy Cowboy Festival 2. The Face Bar Reading, 22/09/18. Sep28


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Crazy Cowboy Festival 2. The Face Bar Reading, 22/09/18.


Crazy Cowboy Festival 2. The Face Bar Reading, 22/09/18.

Welcome to CC Festivals an event put on by the joint partnership STEPH-ALEC, the first one was in Wakefield and a much smaller bill than this was going to be, after the success of No 1 they decided to move it to its new home in Reading and this was going to a biggie! Two stages, no clashes, a food van, and a plethora of bands, many from the N.W.O.C.R. (New Wave of Classic Rock) stable, which is making its name heard all over the country.

There were to be two stages: the big one the red room, and the smaller stage the blue room, which henceforth for this review will be called red and blue.

Blue. Kicking off the proceedings were four lads from Preston Building Giants, Joe Flynn Bass/lead Vox, Tom Woodburn guitar/backing Vox, Matt Murphy guitar/backing Vox, and Huw Pearson drums/backing Vox. Being the first band on is not easy but Tom made it look exactly that and had the reasonable sized crowd clapping along to their first song Trapped immediately, this rock band have only been together just over a year but they looked and sounded so tight you would never have thought it. Straight into their second song and you could see these guys meant business with the huge sound and excellent riffs, they were enjoying every moment, forever engaging with the audience and full of energy. At times Joe’s vocals I thought had a Kings Of Leon vibe to it, raspy and very impressive and even when he lost his guitar strap and before you could blink an eye Matt the soundman jumped on stage and corrected it he carried on relentlessly, and towards the end it happened to poor old Tom, this time he just rested the guitar on his knee and carried on playing. Brilliant lads, a great start to the day: great set, rock with an attitude. I spent a bit of time with these guys throughout the day and you couldn’t meet a nicer bunch.

Red. First band on the bigger stage were No Good Sons, a Southern country rock band who are very soon to go on tour with the Quireboys, Lingus Vocals/guitar, bearded Pawley guitar, Catty bass, and Screamin Blind Mike drums, their influences are ZZ Top, Aerosmith, and Motley Crue they play rock n roll with the Lynyrd Skynyrd southern feel to it. The crowd wasn’t huge and to be honest I wasn’t overwhelmed with their performance; after the great start on blue stage they played well but there was no real energy or excitement coming from them. (Just my opinion I’m not asking you to agree.) Ok it was an early set and maybe you weren’t feeling it completely, but I’m sure you will have a blast with the Quireboys, enjoy.

Blue: next band were False Hearts. A four piece from St Ives, Cambridgeshire: great to see a female fronted band and Emma lead vocals and guitar really does drive them, along with Ali guitar, Phil bass and Adrian drums and Vox. Her vocals are incredible, as is her guitar work along with both the lads and the heavy drum sound this all combines to produce a brilliant exhibition of rock, raw and feisty. After growing a big following in their home town, they now have a massive fanbase all over and having played with full blown orchestras they know how to command a stage. Recently playing Cambridge Rock Festival among others and having their single Cynical Love featured in the horror movie Strangers 2, and with more music on the way things can only get better for this band.

Staying in Blue for Lowdrive, a deep heavy riff-orientated rock four piece from Sheffield. The four in question are former Flip the Pyramid vocalist Sawf and bassist Martin Gargolovic, and former Warrior Soul, Goat Leaf, guitarist John Hodgson and Goat Leaf drummer Mat Washington. Sawf with his laid back almost Jim Morrison poses has a powerful voice and their grunge style was welcomed by the crowd. They have toured with Colour of Noise and Hells Addiction and early this year they released their debut album Roller and are currently promoting it.

You can’t always get to see every band, even as a reviewer and I’m sorry to say I missed Black Nevada in the Red room but I heard good things about you at the gig and hope to catch you again somewhere on the road.

Blue: having seen the next act at HRH Blues, I knew I was in for a treat Jack J Hutchinson Band. Jack has been described as one of the best things about modern blues, he has been playing and recording music for nearly eighteen years and he has supported the best of them: Big Boy Bloater, Ian Siegal, Ron Sayer, ZZ Top, Dr Feelgood, the list is endless. I love his rapport with the fans and they return it back to him with loud applause and cheers throughout his dynamic set, his cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well was amazing, as was all of the performance. The band today was Jack guitar/vocals, Lazarus Michaelides bass, and Felipe Amorim drums. With brilliant guitar work and scorching vocals, he plays old school blues and then brings it into a modern style. If you want a real rocking blues night out go and see Jack somewhere on the road.

Red: back to the larger stage and Tricky Business, this four piece from Birmingham – Ali guitar, Rhys guitar, Luke drums, and Jack Vox and bass, play a mixture of genres: hard, classic and heavy rock as well as a bit of blues thrown in. Each of them has their own style, hard beating drums, nice riffs, powerful vocals, but anyone who has read my reviews know that I like a bit of stage presence as well as good sound, and I’m afraid to say you just didn’t look like you were enjoying yourselves, you just played to the crowd but that was it, there was no energy there and I’m you just didn’t do it for me (once again just my opinion don’t lynch me).

Blue: a band I had wanted to see for a long time were playing next, a huge fan base going by the t-shirts and hats I had seen throughout the day, and also the packed hall Gorilla Riot a stoner country band with a real grunge feel, how’s that for a combination. Arjun Bhishma lead vocals & guitars Liam Henry guitars & vocals, James Degnen bass, Charly T guitars & vocals, and David Thomas drums. Ask these Manchester lads their influences and they say there are just too many, and that comes across in their hard-hitting non-stop energetic performance: Arjun’s dynamic and powerful vocals along with their crossover style sometimes country, other times you get Nirvana, along with multi part harmonies and you have the ingredients of in your face balls out rock. The packed crowd loved everything and at one time they played a snippet of Sweet Home Alabama taking a friendly piss take out of the dude who requested it. I loved them and I can see why they are so popular.

Red: I had seen the next band Ryders Creed a few times before at HRH fests and had the pleasure of reviewing their debut album early this year. Formed in early 2017, then winners of the Hard Rock Hell Highway To Hell award in the same year, since then things have gone from strength to strength for this midland five piece and deservedly, so, the album was brilliant and they showcased it to the fans incredibly tonight, a hard and fast performance never slowing down and you can see why they have been endorsed by so many people and are a huge favourite with the N.W.O.C.R fans. Having already supported Black Star Riders, Quo, Airbourne and many more, Ryan Hulme lead Vox, Lee Spencer and Miles Cooper guitars, Richard Clark bass, and Lee Gilbert drums I’m sure won’t have to wait very long before they are headlining the big stages and festivals, their fan base is growing and growing. With the promise of bigger and better things to come from them, if you haven’t seen this band yet WHY!!

Blue: Stevie R Pearce and the Hooligans, the Hooligans being Richard Jones guitars, Dave Sanders drums, and Lewis Clarke rhythm guitars. I didn’t get to see all of the set but what I did see was an original performance by Stevie (Love-Hate & Warrior Soul). He plays a garage hard and heavy rock guitar blues style but with an attitude, it is difficult to carve out your own identity in this mad music world of ours but these guys have done that, a laid-back approach on stage but a great voice. The stand out song for me was Till Something Better Comes Along, sorry I missed some of your set, but went to get food.

Red: The Dust Coda – this London band are creating whispers around the music scene; Planet Rock have championed them and you understand why the minute Australian born front man and guitarist John Drake opens his mouth: he has an incredible vocal range and a falsetto to die for. Along with Adam Mackie guitar/ Vox, Tony Ho bass/Vox, and Scott Miller drums, they play a soulful rock and roll sound in the vein of the Temperance Movement and also have a blues vibe going on. I was surprised to not see more people in the main arena as these guys really impressed me playing songs from their self-titled album. Mackie boasts that they want to be the biggest rock and roll band on the planet: a big ask dude, but you’re going the right way about it.

Back to Blue and the room was rammed with the biggest crowd of the night in there for Dead Man’s Whiskey. This London five piece have fast become one of the UK’s up and coming rock acts since forming in 2016, they play a mix of classic and modern rock anthemic chorus’s, heavy riffs, and power ballads all driven by the impressive vocals of charismatic front man Nico Rodgers, with guitarists Elliott D’Alvarez, and Billy Kons, bassist James Titley and beating the skins Charlie Gray, playing songs from their album Under The Gun as well as an unusual cover of Seal’s Kiss from a Rose the massive fanbase, or Whiskey Chasers as I am lead to believe they are called, sang, headbanged, and generally went mental during their fifty minute set which seemed to fly by, with two encores culminating with AC/DC’S Highway to Hell. This was a hell of a performance and I will definitely be chasing the Whiskey boys again.

Red: final band of the night was on the big stage and one who I have only seen once before but was really impressed with –Hollowstar. Joe Bonson lead vocals & bass along with brother Jack on drums, Tom Collett and Phil Haines guitars. Hailing from St Ives, Cambridgeshire these four lads have been on the Planet Rock’s One to Watch, and get endless airplay on Hard Rock Hell radio. Right from the start you know you are in for a good night with their hard and heavy sound, Phil never standing still for a minute sweating for England, and Joe’s chats with the crowd as he introduces songs and tells you a little bit about them. He promised tonight would be a bit different and they were going to have a bit of fun with surprises, and it wasn’t too long before it happened, joining them on stage was good friend and Whiskey front man Nico for a brilliant version of Lay Down, then they got Phil to take over bass and Whiskey’s Billy Kons took over, and for the song New Age Lullaby Whiskey’s James Titley joined them and they became Hollow-Whiskey for a short while. But that wasn’t the last of the surprises: Joe announced that there was going to be an album at the beginning of next year and we were going to be treated to one of the songs from it, never played live before Save A Seat. A brilliant end to a fantastic day.

Big respect to the Crazy Cowboy himself Alec, and his partner in the ticket booth all day Steph, it is no mean feat to put on an event like this and have it run so smoothly, and they deserve all the praise they can get. But the only way they and other promoters can keep these going is if you tell your friends about the amazing time you had and get their backsides off the sofas. Fuck Bake-off and X factor Come and support live music and keep it alive.

Review by Dave Martin, Photos Carol Henson aka LadyGigger

Crazy Cowboy Festival 2. The Face Bar Reading, 22/09/18.

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