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Club Reviews

Knowsley Hall Music Festival

Date: Saturday 23rd to Sunday 24th June 2007
Knowsley Hall, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 4AG
Occurrence: Yearly
Ticket Price: £70 for both days, or £42.50 for the Saturday and £37.50 for the Sunday
Genre: Various
Dress Code: N/A

Saturday: The Who, The Coral, The View, Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah
Sunday: Keane, Zutons, Madness

Teething problems still happen at Glastonbury, so the grumbling and griping at the queues and stage time changes alterations. Being uttered during this, the debut of an event that gives the North West something to talk about is a little puzzling. Unlike many Festivals this year, there is a strong local flavour to this one. The organisers have really tried to give local acts a chance to shine and make this a distinctive occasion. Grabbing that opportunity with both guitars is the electro tinged local trio The Delta Fiasco. They woo the Myspace Stage with a contemplative and slightly troubled, slow building approach. Possessing the same moody reflection and uplifting jolts as modern upstarts The Pigeon Detectives, something that comes through in the vocals of the passionate Nathan Walczack. Those who beat the queues, appreciate the energetic aspects of forthcoming single ‘Paperhouse’ and several nods of approval implies that upon its release, The Delta Fiasco may have the music press in all of a flutter.

Evergreen Liverpool outfit and perennial nearly-men, Shack provides the increasing crowd at the Main Stage with some skiffle skirting spirit and showcase their slightly eccentric lyrics, as material from an act that spans three decades, provides a familiar if unspectacular touch. Singer Michael Head’s voice has worn well over the years and he battles early technical problems to help remind people of their quirky touch. A warm welcome greets the Irish outsiders of The Thrills, who despite a sun-drenched Californian sounding first album and yearning pop containing second album worth of material. Conor Deasy and co chose to open out with a vision of their future in the pleading, yet positively projected, non-album offering ‘It’s All We’ve Got’. The big hitting pop pearl of ‘Big Sur’ sets off a crowd chorus and weather defying bounding starts to occur towards the front.

A Festival vibe is starting to filter in and the young indie kids look on with increasing anticipation. The scene is similar to the looks that will have greeted Oasis as they were carving a name out for themselves. Although, Dundee’s The View possesses the same uplifting hooks, pulsing drum-beats (provided with cock-sure craft by Steve Morrison) and cocky self-belief as Gallagher and co, their material is not quite as universal, yet. Deep Dundonian references puzzle even those seemingly in the know about them. The angular riffs and thrusting percussion of ‘Superstar Tradesman’ has a familiar, gritty push and catchy chorus, ensuring that gatherers get into it from the off. Despite being banned from every single Travel Lodge in the country for their rowdiness. This evening, the young pretenders are nothing but calm and amiable The rugged and rhythmic anthem of ‘Same Jeans’, retains freshness in a live setting, despite its numerous airplay and the party spirit continues to climb, as though to stick two fingers up to the lingering black clouds.

They have a reputation for quirkiness, fuelled by the spirit of The Beatles and an off-kilter tune-crafting touch. The prolific Wirral-ites, The Coral opt to stick mainly to the familiar singles including the heart-tugging Pass It On and the spring-time, loved-out anthem of ‘Dreaming of You’ from their now vast back catalogue. For an ever forward looking outfit, the new numbers on display inclusive of the thrusting guitar-led ‘Who’s Gonna Find Me’, shows that a raw coat is slowly starting to cover their polished range. James Skelly and crew continue their low-key stage presence that has overtaken their frivolous bantering days, as they get into their quaint musical zone and stay there. No-one here seems to have a gripe with that approach.

There were a few fears beforehand that the main attraction here tonight, The Who may use this as a rehearsal for their Glastonbury closing performance the following day. Not a chance, as the lofty cry led ‘Can’t Explain’ is rolled out with their customary belief and tightness in delivery. Material as far back as the early 1970’s is aired with pride, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ still captures the sense of bemusement felt towards ignorant leaders by a generation. Nothing changes, eh? However, it is not often that people will leave a The Who performance with a sour taste in their mouths, but news seeps through about the paramedics rushing to the aid of spectator John Astey, who later died. At a time when James Barton (Cream boss), who could be seen enjoying the Festivities in the VIP lounge throughout the day, should be patting themselves on the back for having commenced, with a few inevitable glitches, an event that could be the focus of the North West’s musical calendar in years to come. He, along with the other organisers, will no doubt have been saddened by this tragic occurrence.

Sound System:
Total: 36 / 40

Rating: Gold Award
Review written by: Dave Adair dadair@uk-cl.co.uk
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