Moor Fest 2005 - Stockport - 13.8.5

Tricky thing these open air festival events.  Three months ago the weather forecast was that today would be one of the  hottest of the summer.   The reality is that, well, it might be but you would be hard pressed to feel that under the weight of the rain.  The main promoters, Jamie and Lee, have seen the event continually grow from on open air stage where the band were in danger of being electrocuted (Wizzard), to having two large tents, plus "proper" sound facilities and security.  Money will always be tight, so attracting the biggest acts to down town Stockport may not be the easiest thing, so it requires a judicious picking and  selecting of bands that have a strong local following, hence the line up today

Replete in all black outfits, Bonebox effectively bring their sleazy sound to the big tent at Moorfest, yards from where front man Jay Taylor and drummer Ben were brought up.  "Trusty Hound" opens a set to the punters who have braved the showers on a typically grey summers day.   The sound systems does justice to compendium of instrumentation that includes an electric violin and trumpet as they weave though a swamp-blues type thing seemingly taking in diverse influences such as traditional Celtic tunes.

(Pic: Bone Box)

The fake, plastic TV screens found in the tents wish Howard Marks a belated happy birthday. The fervour with which he is greeted is eye opening.  Everyone apparently want a picture taken with the man mostly famed for being arrested in possession of narcotics. The mobile phone networks might have overloaded trying to cope with the number of excited people of all ages forwarding on images of "Me and Howard Marks"  On stage he politely asks of anyone would be offended by him telling tales of "How to smuggle drugs". Of course they wont Howard that's why they are here in the tent.  Why they are even throwing "herbal" cigarettes of the stage for you,

Reformed for a 1 off gig that may develop into a more permanent arrangement, 80's cult heroes  Easterhouse take to the  stage with Andy Rourke helping out.   When the line up was originally announced, old eyes were wiped in disbelief and questions asked "Is it the original band?"   Indeed it is, but their lyrics, such as "I blame George and Barbara" or "This country will be the ruination of us all" of still maintain a relevancy a twenty years on.  Old favourites "1999" and "Whistling in the Dark" still sound as fresh and vibrant as when first aired.  No pouches are on show although the hair is greyer and thinner,  and there still a sense of mischievousness as the between song banter such as  "Shit I've left the gas on" illustrate.

Tom Hingley is up for a solo set, and knows what the crowd want to hear - old Inspirals hits, and he duly obliges with a set that included "Saturn 5" and "This is how if feels to be .." That keep the crowd in a sing-along mood

The Haven crowd are out if force to support a band that always seems on the cusp of "making it big"   Well, they produce a "big" sound that fills the tents and keeps their followers happy

(Pic: Denise Johnson of ACR)

With a little help from his friends, Badly Drawn Boy has acquired a harmonica holder from Bob Dylan, and a guitar from Haven. He also has a knack of turning a gig into something resembling an intimate occasion reminiscent of a party in someone's front room.  So tonight he wants half the  crowd to clap in 6/8 time (and explains it) whilst the other half goes to a different signature. And they do it, such is the warmth and affection Damon can generate. His allegiance to the (wo)man on the street is revealed as he announces that "Eugene is the true winner" of the Big Brother contest.   He's joined on stage for a few numbers by Andy Rourke and "Mani, though we don't know what has is going to do"

Upon taking to the stage, Damon asks "Turn down that (dance music racket in the next tent), I've only got an acoustic guitar".  But the people in that darkened tent are now twisting and partying to a set delivered by "Mr Scruff", and if it's all the same with you Damon, they would like it turned up bit more

Pete Wylie is a born entertainer and showman, thriving on being on stage with the audience under his control. Plus his bands in their various guises have plenty of catchy, commercial pop tunes.  So "Comeback" is followed by "Story of the Blues" and suddenly it doesn't seem like 11 or more years since they were in the  charts

A Certain Ratio dipped their instruments into almost every area of the musical spectrum throughout their long career as musical chameleons, but tonight they are firmly focused on getting the tent filled crowd to dance, and they successfully manage that.  The chants for "ACR  ACR" go on long after the band has finished on the stage

Ged Camera -

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