The 3rd Boom Boom Rocking R&B Festival might not win many prizes for it’s strap line, but The Sharpeez, DeepBlue Sea and Spinout Uk more than make up for that with three engagingly varied and well received sets.
All 3 bands are stylistically different, but it makes for a coherent and well paced evening which flows from the opening Phil Spector wall of sound that is Spinout Uk, through the bouncy rock, pop and funk of Deep Blue Sea, to the melodic bluster of The Sharpeez.
Spinout Uk hail from Bournemouth, though front man Gary Boberts is a Scouser whose brief introductions are a counterpoint to the wall of sound that follows.
Spinout Uk are hard to pigeonhole, which is probably how they like it. They evolve from stoner soundscapes full of big drones and psychedelic guitar, to weighty grooves while occasionally evoking the stadium rock angst of Springsteen and U2, with layered Dave Gilmour style guitar.
They interlock perfectly on their own material which has a sense of grandeur. Their slow building anthemic chorusses rise above bass player Len Surtees’s mellifluous West coast pulse – Jack Casady eat your heart out – and Will Pike’s psychedelic tinged solos.
Songs such as ‘Changes’ have a widescreen sonic appeal and an irresistible pull as the band fills it with sonic splendour.
Lyrically the song evokes emotional fragility in sharp contrast to the huge enveloping sound.
‘Watch’ hovers gently above another throbbing bass line, on an apparent yearning love song which features an Edge style guitar line.
They draw the crowd in with their subliminal psychedelia and seal the deal with the anthemic ‘Like Sunshine’, another song about love and change, as the drummer rattles his cymbals almost as if to punctuate the vocalists angst.
They rise again on the Hawkwind influenced ‘When Love Comes Your Way’ though someone much younger in the crowd suggest The Stereophonics, as guitarist Will Pike sculpts a defining ascending solo that helps transform the graveyard shift into a portal for 3 diverse but musically linked bands.
Next up is Deep Blue Sea who describe themselves as: “new shoots from old roots”, which might well have been an apt description for the evening as a whole.
Their fiery attack is underpinned by Graeme Wheatley ‘s rock solid bass lines, Iago Banet’s piercing solos and the exuberant presence of vocalist Dregas who lights up the room.
They sensibly open with the riff-driven ‘Rock Star Status’, one of their best songs, as Dregas gives a full performance as well as attacking her phrasing with gusto and real self belief.
The band’s ability to shift between musical style and to embrace tempo changes sometimes camouflages a good song trying to get out.
‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ is an example, with its funky undertow and some neat rhythm guitar from Banet, before he slips into a caustic solo.
By the time of ‘Dance Of The Dead’ – a song that again contrasts lyrical meaning with the sheer energy of the band – they are getting whoops from the crowd.
There’s real muscular interplay between bassist Wheatley and guitarist Banet who finally dominates an extended version of ‘The Well’ with a blitzkrieg guitar solo, and all too soon its over. They light the fuse and depart with a bang.
And so to The Sharpeez, arguably the most improved band on the rocking blues circuit at the moment. Buoyed by a recent tour of Russia and Scotland, they are a well drilled unit who leave plenty of space to improvise without ever losing the focus of a song.
William Mead is both a fine songwriter and old school rhythm guitarist who snarls his lyrics over a blur of infectious rhythms, memorable hooks and Loz Netto’s imperious slide playing.
They play to their strengths to elucidate Mead’s songcraft and that makes them stand out from a lot of their R&B contemporaries. They rock hard on ‘Heat Of The Night’ while Netto’s slide lines nuances the melody line. In between the highlights of the soaring ‘Automatic Mode’ and the stuttering beat of ‘Desperate Man’ they revisit their back catalogue for the choogling ‘Tower Of Love’ and blistering ‘Mississippi Thrill’, which is another Mead penned snapshot narrative.
The animated ‘Wild One’ lifts the set again and you can feel the road miles deeply ingrained in grooves such as ‘Jacky D’ which earns them a fine reception.
‘Desperate Man’ provides the perfect finale to a night of rocking R&B that does what it say on the tin, and so much more.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Photos by Karen Frost (1/4/6)
Ken Jackson (2/3/5/7/8/9/10/11)
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Power Plays w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)
WARM RAIN Here Comes The Rain Again (Rain Recordings)
DARWIN Cosmic Rays (indie)
MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND Love & Beyond (Frontiers)
MARQUIS DRIVE Shine On (indie)
YOUR LIFE & MINE Remind To Remember (indie)
EMERALD SUN What becomes Of You (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JIM PETERIK WORLD STAGE Winds Of Change (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BUFORD POPE The Waiting Game (Unchained Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
NEVER THE BRIDE Surprise (2005)
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