freeline-22 - Page 126



Made in England
and has to be seen to be believed. It’s
all acoustic, but what he does with a
guitar is indescribable, and I have to
say even though I knew what was
coming it was even more impressive.
Leatherat followed and were their
usual meld of acerbic wit, scathing
social commentary, and driving folk
rock. I think of them as the jam
doughnuts of that sort of festival. It’s
impossible to eat a jam doughnut
without licking you lips and it’s
impossible to watch Leatherat without tapping your feet. Brilliant stuff
(although for some reason Pete didn’t
mention meeting me the night before.
Strange)!
When I’d heard that Robin Trower
was going to appear on the Saturday
afternoon I was a bit unsure what to
think. It’s many, many years since I
bought Bridge of Sighs, and I wasn’t
sure how he’d held up in the ensuing
decades. Bloody hell, what a guitarist!
Definitely one of the highlights of the
weekend for me. Bridge of Sighs, Day
of the Eagle, Too Rolling Stoned and
Little Bit of Sympathy were all songs I
knew from the album, but it mattered
not that I didn’t know the rest. From
ten yards away I just gazed, open
mouthed, at a guy in his mid-sixties
who is still an exceptional guitarist.
Not for the first time in this piece do I
urge you to go and see him live if you
get the chance.
Space Ritual weren’t Hawkwind,
but the closing number of Brainstorm
had Lin and I rolling back the years –
forty of ‘em. Heady, hippy stuff, as
were Solstice and The Enid, and when
Focus closed the evening, the smell of
petunia oil was heady as well.
After the rain of the morning, we
adjourned to the festival on Sunday
afternoon just in time to see the first
in an unbroken succession of wonderful acts. You may remember John
Otway from the late seventies with
The remarkable Rodney Brannigan.
126 FREE LINE
(Left) Robin Trower – gurning guitar god.
(Right) The Newt himself – wonderful performer.
lier in the year and I was mightily
his single ‘Really Free’. Well, thirty
impressed. I told a mate of mine
years on I have to say his is one of the
about him, and he declared that his
most entertaining acts I’ve seen for a
seven-year-old daughter, Louise, was
long time. Humorous, self effacing,
mad about him. So much so that they
excellent musicianship and a wondertravelled up on Sunday from
ful rapport with his audience, this is
Southampton to see him. Half way
another act I highly recommend. All
through the afternoon the compere
of the above can be applied to Jackie
announced that Newton would be
Lynton as well, although his humour
signing stuff at the merchandise tent
is a lot bluer than John Otway’s, and
very soon, and Louise was about ten
his band much bluesier as well, but
another great artist that
had everybody smiling
and tapping their feet.
The Crazy World of
Arthur Brown is still just
as crazy, but the young
band he had behind him
were anything but that
and the whole show
was startling , amusing
and much appreciated
at the end. For me, the
three best acts on the
main stage arrived
towards the end of the Louise meets her hero, and so does Pete.
day. Dr. Feelgood were
yards from said tent. She managed to
every bit as good as I remembered,
get a photo and a signed t-shirt and I
and the swelling audience seemed to
think the term ‘made up’ would be an
agree.
apt description! He was great; such
The Blockheads showcased the
an affable guy, easy with the audiwonderful song writing of the late,
ence, talented and very amusing. His
great Ian Dury. The more they sang,
closer of Bohemian Rhapsody is
the more you realised they’d left out,
another that has to be seen to be
as his pantheon of great songs is
believed.
huge. Clever Trevor was a highlight of
So, all in all, another wonderful festhe ones you didn’t expect, and they
tival, one of the friendliest and family
could have gone on for another hour
friendly that I’ve been to in years, and
without a doubt.
one we will definitely return to next
The final act was Newton Faulkner.
year. Why don’t you join us? n
We’d seen him at the Hop Farm ear-

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