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Cyderbaby Reviews

Call Of The Wild Festival 2023

It’s taken me ages to write this, the Festival was at the end of May and we have just started August!  The recent Maid Of Stone and Steelhouse endeavours across social media reminded me of my time in Lincolnshire and I have finally got some time to myself after finding myself acquiring a complete radio station with all the work needed to learn how to run such an operation.  So, along with Cyderbaby,  I now run Rock Radio UK.  The size of the venture in Facebook land makes me second to Panet Rock, however for the moment,  we are seemingly a well kept secret.  It takes time to build a good reputation.....just like festivals This is true of Call Of The Wild,  this year was its third outing and if I’m completely honest,  it felt like home to me. Everything about the place is welcoming, the reception on the gate, the layout and the general vibe of everyone there. Is it because its probably the first festival of the season?  I don’t know,  in my time there didn’t hear anyone grumbling and not wishing they were there.  It was relaxed but running like a well oiled machine.  The draw for this festival is like every other,  the music and what a line up we had! Kris Barras, Terrorvision and Those Damn Crows headling,  with the latter possibly pulling the largest crowd of the weekend. This proved the vision of the organisers,  whereas some festivals put the Crows on further down the bill, COTW correctly foresaw the reality that this band are a major first class act. To prove this point, the band put on one helluva show to close proceedings. Shane didn’t even seem shaken by our earlier interview in the day where I may have taken the proverbial out of Welsh Rugby.  I’m getting ahead of myself in review standards,  I should be talking about all this in order.....but why? This is an overview with pictures surely?  Two months on and I can still recall most of the weekend,  contrary to my name...I don’t drink a huge amount of Cider so I haven’t destroyed too many braincells yet. But the vividness of my time at the festival is testament to the event. We arrived late on Thursday,  putting our tents up in the dark after a long drive from Devon,  it’s always fun! Yet the evening was kind to us and it was dry verging on rather warm. By Friday morning,  we were ready to go! On tog duties this year was Oren, no more running around like a blue arsed fly for me this year,  however.....I didn’t bargain on the amount of interviews I would end up doing.  This did cut into my days there so I only saw a handful of sets. Mercia, well they were an excellent start for me, I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but they exceeded whatever level I’d pitched them at. Spot on with the tunes, telling stories related to the folklore of the area and to top it all.....they dressed up! We had a great chat later and they are a band I will continue to follow in their career. Ashen Reach, a number of firsts for these guys, first as a 4 piece,  first using various techniques that involve backing tracks,  inner ear monitors and click tracks,  but importantly a first for us to hear Ghosts. Such a step up and these guys are heading for the top! Who was that teacher and school that bought a group of kids to the festival on an outing? How inspired was that?? The kids were loving every second and then, they got a one on one with Ashen Reach as well! Utterly brilliant!  Mike Ball &The Company....I’d never heard of them but those dual guitar solos were very reminiscent of Lizzy, apparently a big inspiration....who’d of thought? Excellent though and exactly what was needed. Anti-Clone, bloody hell those guys were good! A change in musical direction for the festival to mix things up but absolutely smashing it. The stage presence was superb and they captivated my attention for the entire set.  Its a shame our interview was corrupted on my phone because they were as entertaining off stage as they are on it. Aluna, I only managed a couple of songs before dashing off however,  there was definitely something magical there. Note to self....make time to see this band again. Square Wild deserve a mention, I didn’t see the set but Oren did. If he’s impressed enough to go and buy Merch straight after a show then they must be damn good. ‘Nuff said The 3 main acts for me were on at the end, Troy Redfern is just superb. I had not seen him until this point but I’ve been loving the singles and albums. With a choice of around 200 guitars on stage, this particular style of slide is utterly brilliant and sounds even better live. His band are top notch and I’d pay good money to go and see him play again.  Considering how tight I am about buying tickets...this is abig admission for me. Ginger Wildheart, I think the lad has finally become at peace with himself and is looking truly happy. The set was tight, the band were on form and you even got Gingers dog onstage. If I’d taken my 2 goons anywhere near a stage, there’d be a total blackout after they pulled out every plug possible.  Kris Barras and his band are on fire at the moment,  they can command a crowd easily and you can see why they pay the guy the big bucks. Everything Kris turns his hand to  turns to gold. I think the man has a perfectionist attitude to everything he does and this is why the music  is top notch. I am so glad that he has evolved his style from Blues based to a more modern New Blues sound. I’m sure Joshiah has a big input to the sound and his presence on stage is astounding . Kris has the boots and balls though,  he was interacting with the crowd and being the ultimate showman, the perfect way to close the first day. Saturday was going to be busy, music media stuff as well as dodging a Dinosaur! Shadow Smile, just how good were they? I’d known of them for ages but to hear them in the flesh was outstanding.  They highlighted the forthcoming album/music and it really is a step or 5 in the right direction...Great stuff! Circus 66 were excellent,  they have to be one of my favourite rising bands at the moment.  The new music is brilliant and I’m really looking forward to the next album.  However,  our conversation about teabags later on needed a lot to be desired (I shall get you back guys!). Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters are always....I mean always on form. Beth looking as fantastic as ever in Red. The music just flowed like a river, mesmerising and entertaining.  I need to see these guys again soon, I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Rich Ragnany put on a damn fine show to promote his new album and he managed to be a soundtrack to a Dinosaur fight! Just who was that idiot in the inflatable T-Rex suit? Oh.....it was me.... man it was so flippin hot in that suit! Just prior to this I’d seen the amazing God Damn Smile in the tent (in the Dino suit), just how good were they? They’ve been friends for years but this was my first time seeing them live. They sounded great, the music makes you feel great and always puts a smile on your face. Gary is possibly one of the best frontmen out there and it’s not just me saying that, every tog that went there to shoot the band, walked away raving about them, some saying they were the find of the weekend.  Shiraz Lane had skimmed past my awareness before the weekend but what a show these guys put on! They are years ahead of contemporaries in showmanship and talent,  how have I missed them for so long? Definitely a high light for me and I managed an interview.  Kickin Valentina,  what can I say? I have huge respect for this band, they are what Rock and Roll is all about and deserve higher recognition within the industry.  The music just rocks and they know how to put on a show. If I had a choice between them and the Crue....its an easy win for KV. The foresight of the organisers to keep bringing the boys back is rewarded ten times by the band and the punters who just love these guys. Terrorvision .  What can I say? There were jaw droppingly good. On point from the very first note, right to the end and how the hell can they sustain the energy?  I’d only been a passing fan before but yeah.....they got me! We all knew the hits and it was like a throwback to the 90s, Saturday night is always a party night and Terrorvision wrote the rule book. Can I wait for the new album?  I shall have to and I reckon that it will propel the band back into daily life for everyone,  just like Tequila (Song or drink...I’ll let you decide) Sunday, I think.  Yes, yes it definitely is, let’s do it all again, one final time. LaVire were a very impressive start to the day, more modern than many bands but it was a breath of fresh air with cleared the head. A bombastic performance and really nice people to chat to as well. Dead Writers were back for a second run but on the main stages this time. I love the sound these guys create, more flamboyant,  more arty but still Rock in its purest form.  I managed to get hold of an E.p. so life is very good! This House We Built,  I think their album was one of the best releases of late and to finally see them live only confirmed a permanent place for these guys in my musical history. Full of energy, how could you not be drawn in by Scott’s performance on stage? This set was more than good...it was like unearthing a hidden gem. Catch them if you get a chance. Yes, I missed Fury (again) and A’priori but King Kraken, they were better than ever. I can’t get enough of the band to be fair and they always deliver the goods at a show.  The Karma Effect showed us All that they are going places, a fantastic set and the new music is massive! Pryma. It was a special weekend for these guys, they were quite high up on the bill and the pressure was on to deliver.  They had nabbed me on the Friday,  recognising me from our carpool video interview. They proved to me that they are not only talented but a bunch of great guys. They challenged me to Don the Dino suit yet again for their set....how could I resist? The band exploded onto the set and grabbed the audience by the throat from the outset. Musically as tight as f#@% and very able in what they do. Heavy with a splash of showmanship....this is what big bands are made of and in a couple of weeks, it’s Bloodstock for them, deservedly so after their set at COTW.  How many bands finish their set with a CO2 fire extinguisher? Black Spiders were next for me, fresh from the latest album release...their set was everything you want from them but it’s still a bit strange seeing them on a big stage, why is that? There were a few tech issues but overall a cracking set! To complete a fantastic weekend,  Those Damn Crows.  Everyone and I mean everyone was here to see them and they didn’t disappoint.  Banger after hit after classic, they have just about conquered the world. I can’t fault them and I truly hope the world now sees them as we all do. In a nutshell, that was Call Of The Wild.  I can’t portray to you all just how good the festival is, buy a ticket and work it out for yourself.  I, like everyone else was made to feel welcome and invited by all to enjoy the festival.  The organisers have created a fantastic event, complimented by the staff they have chosen to help, the security who are more friendly than postman pat and the Lemmy Bar which is the best local around. The vibe between everyone was just so cool, the togs joking with each other, the pit crew joining in with jokes and having fun while delivering a top  flawless show. All this makes the event extra special for the paying punter. It makes it all feel like you’re home. Dave Cyderbaby Rock Radio UK Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2023

Sons Of Liberty - Welcome Russ!

The Sons have been through a few changes over the last 18 months or so, so it was going to be interesting to find out how the new incarnation would work. I love the old Rob and the slightly newer but now old other Rob, they are both superb at what they do. I believe it was logistics that prevented the band working with Walker and it is a big issue when you’re building a reputation as a band. SoL have always been a great band to watch and they’ve captured a lot of hearts over the years with their music. So was this new, most recent change going to be the right one? In essence...... YES! I thought of a clever analogy when I was watching them on stage, all down to a patch on Russ’ jacket. The Sons with Rob was a classic, like the Ford Escort Mexico, a beautiful thing which everyone loved, still going strong to this day. The image is spot on and the sound is superb. The Sons with Walker was like the MkII Escort, definitely a face-lift of the original, still holding on to their roots and revving like a Super Sport 1600 when required. The Sons with Russ, is like the MkIII Escort, a completely new model, front wheel drive and a whole new shape. The difference is phenomenal! You instantly stop comparing them to the old versions and accept it with open arms. The biggest difference is in Russ’ vocal sound style and approach. It brings the old songs to another level and to be frank, what new tracks I heard on this night means that this Escort is not a 1.3GL, but a full fledged Xr3i with a possible Cosworth upgrade! I should be writing about the gig really, it was supposed to be Molly Hatchets last gig of the tour but the vocalist had serious issues with his voice and unfortunately could not continue. Rather than waste a fine Friday evening, it was all pulled together by putting the Sons on as a headline set. Tickets are still valid to see Molly when they return, or can be exchanged for tickets by the same promoter. This was a good call and I don’t think there were too many grumbling about this. Adam Sweet were the opening band, I know next to nothing about them, but they were rather good! The crowd definitely thought so as the place was packed! They obviously knew a lot more than me so I shall hang my head in shame for not taking enough notes at the time and explaining how each track sounded. What I will say is that I’d definitely go a see them again! This article is about The Sons Of Liberty though, they are the reason I made the long arduous death defying trip to Exeter. Opening with both guitar guns blazing, the lads were taking no prisoners tonight. It didn’t see like a performance that was trying to prove anything to anyone, it was a bunch of talented musicians doing their thing and creating some great tunes whilst having a bit of fun in an honest and professional manner. I didn’t write down the setlist....I’m an idiot, yes I know! The summary of songs though was pretty impressive, starting with 2 new and unheard tracks that prove several things, the guys are ready to move on to this new chapter in their career, they have written some damn fine tunes for the album they are working on, Russ has a set of lungs that are incredible and finally....that Russ is the right man to fill some big boots! Throughout the evening, each song just sounded better and better, Russ has a completely different vocal style but he also has a fantastic range. Combine this with great stage presence...he has all the makings of a top front man . Some of the old songs I thought would be a challenge for Russ, but he handled each and every track in his own way which made them sound quite fresh. Belters like Damaged Reputation and Ruby Starr were just as good as Beef Jerky and Rich Man’. What the guys have done, is pull off the hardest trick in the book, how to find someone completely different to their old image, yet be just as good! With a couple more new tracks thrown in for good measure and I have to say, a slightly dodgy rendition of Molly Hatchets song, Flirtin With Disaster as a tribute to the band, the boys closed the show. In truth, they pleased a lot of people who had come to see Molly and probably had no idea who Sons were. So the Devil has made his choice as they say... Russ has been introduced to the world as the face and voice of the next Sons Of Liberty album. Well done chaps....you made the right choice! Dave Cyderbaby Rock Radio UK Copyright ©️ 2023 Cyderbaby Thanks to the band, O’Neill PR, PTO Pr for all their help.

Station 18 '23 - Swansea