Well here I am again, having posted a review of my first experience of going to this event for only a day, I have just done it again.
Last Saturday 16 May 2009 I made the two hour drive up the A12 (a rather infamous road in this part of the country) to go to probably the most famous weekender anywhere in the world.
Having arrived, paid and found some lunch I went to watch the first band of the day, a slot that no band can really look forward to I am sure, when half the camp are still asleep or out on the summer car cruise you could forgive anyone for thinking this was a bad time to play. However add to that that Warren Scott and the Memphis Playboys, are actually the country alter ego of none other than Jack Rabbit Slim, who closed the show at 2.00a.m on the night before and this task becomes even worse.
Warren Scott is all about authentic sounding '50's rockabilly, hillbilly boogie, having said that it is played with a real 2009 energy that lifted it way above what some of the other bands of a similar vein are doing. Their set was tight, professional and highly energentic mixing some great covers , Do Me No Wrong and some superb originals like Rocket Ship Mama, Scarecrow Bop, they were very warmly received by, despite the problems mentioned above ,a good sized crowd.
They launched their first album at the event, which sold like hot cakes, and a very well respected record dealer was raving about it, (I'll place a review of it here soon). Speaking to Bob, the singer after the show he is enthusiastic about the project and has plenty of plans for the Warren Scott persona, I wait with interest to see how big this can become.
The next act up were the Tunebusters, a fine solid rockin band but unfortunately they were hampered by some technical sound problems which became quite frustrating for them, although their set was very good, their real time to shine would come later on the main stage.
Then a band I have been waiting to see for some time hearing nothing but outstanding reports of their shows, The Excellos play pure Rockin Blues, its hard core, low down dirty stuff and they rocked the place! A very large crowd packed the venue to witness this great show which included their dance floor hits Jump, Bad Boy Blues as well as covers of stuff like Shake Your Hips and Jekyll & Hyde (although technically this may not be a cover because Paul Sheahan of the Bopshack Stompers is The Excellos front man and he wrote it!). Singing through the harmonica mike to give great distorted vocals on some tracks and for many of the songs playing with 3 guitars and no bass produce a sound that is unique on the scene today.
They also launched their album at the event, it is set to be huge, listen out for it! (Again a review will follow.)
That was all for the afternoon shows, but what great stuff the day had already produced, it was time to eat (again) have beer (or two) and browse the many stalls selling a great aray of clothes, CD's and other related stuff, you can easily get into debt here, and being short of cash I did not buy very much.
Then we headed for the main ballroom for the evening entertainment, that tonight was kicked off by '50's legend Art Adams, he's played Hemsby 4 times now and is very welcome, he played his well known originals, Dancing Doll, Indian Joe and plenty of rockabilly standards, but in addition Art is still very much a recording artist, unlike some of his other counterparts he still writes and release new CD's and showcased some of this work, which was extemely authentic stuff.
It must be said that his energy levels and excitment were that of a much younger person, when you play somewhere like this you get 45 minutes plus if you're lucky an encore, no one could of told Art this, because it was about an hour before he decided it was time to stop and after encores as well I think he would have happily carried on for another one.
Mention must go here to The Tunebuster, who were brilliant backing him, it was clearly difficult to keep up with what was coming next but their sound was spot on throughout and made up for the poor technical issues they had earler in the day.
I was lucky to meet Art later in the night, (standing in the queue for coffee, he had fried chicken) he is off to Scandanavia next month so watch out for him and show him your support.
Next was the turn of the rock n roll legend that is Sleepy La Beef, it is well written that he knows over 6000 songs and he was out to prove it. A Sleepy gig is not so much a set of songs but one long medley of every conceivable genre of 50's roots americana all thrown into a melting pot and producing something rather brilliant and for someone of years inspiring.
He rattled through all his well known 50's tracks, I'm Through, All the Time etc, his '70's Sun sound, Tore Up and covered just about anyone who was anyone in those early days.
After abou 40 minutes when he should have been winding his show up, he invited Roddy Jackson to the stage, Roddy had been headline the night before and brought to the stage his R&B saxaphone Specialty Rock n Roll sound. It is impossible now to say what they covered, Lucille was in there, but so was Amazing Grace, then Jambalya, the show lasted 1 hour 20 minutes and quite literally brought the house down, with people stamping and hollering for more.
The last band that I saw was the 80's rockin group Riverside Trio (now a 4 piece with the addition of a drummer). They play everything in a very stripped down rockin way whether it is original Hank Williams covers or R&B shakers like Drinkin Wine, together with their own original stuff.
I enjoyed their set enormously and will have to see if can track down some of their stuff on CD, I hope that their reforming for this gig becomes a more permanant thing, their musical style is quite different and certainly deserves a regular place on showcase stages like this.
It was now well after 1.00 in the morning and having grabbed a cup of strong coffee to keep me awakle I had to hit the road home.
I would like to also mention the DJ's who keep the dance floor full day and night, each with their own distintive playlists. Special mention must go though to the showcase DJ from the afternoon at only 15 years old Ed Chipperfield is the future of the rockin scene, so a big well done to him, I hope he gets a slot in October when I'll be back for more, and money. time and family permitting for longer than 13 hours.
Some photos of the acts are attached for you.
If anyone out there went also why not add your own review in the comments.