As we pulled up for our third day of the wonderful New Day Festival, Mott the Dog and team were still amazed at the English weather being so kind to us with another day starting out without a cloud in the sky. With the promptness we had come to expect from festival organizers, the doors opened at the appointed midday and we were soon treated to our first music of the day.
True Deceivers can hold their heads up after delivering a set of fine rootsy Americana, and Chris Conway & Dan Britton rocked the Shindig! stage while Opensight took aim from the Spitfire arena with their energetic take on global music.
We settled back on the supplied hay bales outside the Spitfire beer tent awaiting the Wooton. He was late; getting caught up in the Kent country roads, but fortunately we were not penalized for this and still having our trusty previously bought beakers with us sampled more of the Kentish ales. But then the Wooten turned up to complete the Mott the Dog trio and increase the beer sales at the New Day Festival by quite a margin.
It was fortuitous timing as we were able to maneuver our way to the front of the Shindig! stage for House of X (Or X–UFO whichever you please.) This suddenly grabbed everybody’s attention and sent the festival a rockin’. The band derives its name from all the members being at one time or another in UFO or a derivative thereof. Although they do play some UFO favourites, they also play their own songs which fit in well with the overall sound.
Now this band rocks out to extremes. Laurence Archer is a gifted lead guitarist rocking a flying-V axe whilst Danny Peyronel is one of the great underrated singers of his era. They blasted onto the stage and did not let up for one moment. When it came to the last song they played a masterstroke by bringing on Dave ‘Bucket’ Caldwell for “Doctor Doctor”. If The New Day Festival had a roof it would have been raised several feet.
This brought Home Service to the stage, which left us all rather confused so we again returned to the beer tent (there is a theme building here.) Jackie McAuley then appeared on the Shindig! stage and delivered his very professional brand of Rock.
Then came Gryphon and I was not expecting great things as Richard Harvey, long time leader of the band, had left and I thought they might be a bit of a mess without him. Never have I been more mistaken, they were magnificent playing their unique brand of Medieval Rock. The standard of musicianship was not matched all weekend as Gryphon ploughed on with one banquet after another. They held the audience in the palm of their hands and held them there, firmly but carefully. They got a fully deserved ecstatic reception as they exited the stage.
This left us with Dennis Greaves & Mark Feltham who for years were the backbone of Nine Below Zero. I do not think it is fair to judge them on this performance as I think they were rather out of place and had an off day. Not their finest hour.
Moving back to the Spitfire stage we got a full on performance from those Dutch men Focus, a sterling routine encompassing full tilt Rock, Jazz, Prog/Rock, Cosmic Flute, lots of yodeling , and of course “Sylvia” and two goes at “Hocus Pocus”. They proved themselves to be festival favorites.
Then it was a mad dash up to the Shindig! stage to see Slade where Dave Hill, head yob guitar player of the century, admitted he was seventy-one years old, but that did not matter one jot as the band rampaged through an hour and fifteen minutes of solid gold misspelled hits. They have found a replacement singer for Noddy Holder, but that did not really matter either as we in the crowd knew all the words anyway and sang along louder than the band. They had the amps but we had the numbers. What a party! The whole audience was as one, all dancing, singing, stomping along all the time Slade were on the stage.
The final band to perform at the New Day Festival were New Model Army and they had an unenviable job following Slade and quite honestly were not up to it. So again it was an early exit to the tents and other accommodation.
All in all the New Day Festival was a fantastic success. I wonder who they will get on the bill for next year?
Note: Written by Mott The Dog who can still be found spouting off about the wonders of the New Day Festival at Jameson’s the Irish pub on Soi AR in North Pattaya.
(Photos by Strang the Steward)