Worcester Music Festival 2018 (Review)

I spent most of last weekend at Worcester Music Festival and I swear, it gets better each year. Here’s a few words on some of the acts I saw this year…

Friday 14th

Maefield: Formed only recently of the pairing of Theone Mae Dawes (Coat of Many) & James Chatfield, the two improvised most of their set and if that’s not talent, then I don’t know what is. The chemistry that Chatfield and Theone spark on stage is captivating throughout their set and the way they connect with the music that they make is truly breathtaking. Feeling every note, every loop, every effect is vital in any performance. A quirky set filled with audience interaction which is always a plus. The whole audience was crying with laughter when James looped Theone speaking about “how the set is completely improvised,” they then made that hilarious loop into a short composition. Genius work by my good friends.

The Pink Diamond Revue – Eccentric to say the least, but the band got my attention from the moment I walked in. Only managed to catch 3 of their songs, but they still left a big impression on me and my friends. The band are fronted by “Acid Mol” who’s a model from another dimension. The band’s sound is big for a duo, featuring elements of Electronic Rock and sound like The Prodigy had a baby with David Bowie. Yep. That bizarre. The band confirm that its ok to be different and I feel that’s what’s lacking with a lot of music. They have the balls and the whole package for a killer show. I reviewed their single “Acid Dol” featuring local artist Legpuppy here.

GOWST – Once again, only managed to catch the end of this band’s set but I was blown away with their melodies. Specialising in Math Rock, the boys of GOWST delivered a powerful set that filled the room with an atmosphere of warm smiles. Complicated melodies and rhythms but simply brought out and made look easy by the talented trio.

Connor Maher Quartet – Always deliver and get tighter each time I see them, if that’s even possible. The band bounce off each other and ooze with flair and clarity in all the right places. The songs are catchy and from the get go, you’re hooked on the lyrics. The warm sound of the quartet compliments the sweat and personal moments of the lyrics. You feel every single word Connor exclaims. I always get amazed by his vocal range, just wow, the boy can sing. I didn’t manage to see the last few songs of the set as we all had to leave for another show.

The Stiff Joints – Who needs the gym when you have the Stiff Joints is what I always say. I think I did at least 10,000 steps in their 50 minute set. It’s got to be the 7th time I’ve seen the Stiff Joints and they just grow from strength to strength. The energy, the songs, the instrumentation, they have the whole package. It’s hard to find a tight ska band but The Stiff Joints live up to every expectation. They filled the capacity and some of my friends couldn’t even get in to see them which sucked. They definitely need to play in a bigger venue next year.

Saturday 15th

I didn’t manage to see any bands on the Saturday as I played two sets myself (which I felt went pretty well, here’s some photos of my set!)

On the night, I went to another gig that wasn’t part of WMF, but a show for Phi Yaan Zek’s album launch which you can read that review here.

Phi’s gig finished quite early so I managed to shoot back to Worcester and catch my good friend Chris play in his blues original rock band called Voodoo Stone. They tore the roof off the Chestnut. Originally, they were a 5 piece band, and now they’re just 4. I must say, I prefer them as a 4 piece. The raw sound they give off is vintage and Chris’ guitar work reminds me of guitarists such as Joe Bonamassa and Jimi Hendrix, a true blues sound. Screaming through his marshall amp, the tones he created was to die for. Claire’s mature voice is rich and sings every note perfectly. Distinctive voice to say the least, you automatically know it’s Claire. The rhythm section were on point throughout the performance cementing the badass essence that blues music needs.

Sunday 16th

I went to see my fellow Kidderminster College friends play on their stage at WMF on the Sunday and the talent of the college never fails to amaze me. I finished college this year so it was nice for me to go back and to actually listen to the acts instead of play on the stage myself. Missed the first 2 acts though which was a shame. 

Vicki: Compromising of Vicki Pingree and Vikki Matthews, the two girls performed with Finn Fraser King on drums and made a lovely acoustic sound. Vicki’s voice is so identifiable, it’s like Kate Nash morphed into Portishead’s singer Beth Gibbons. I think it could have been the band’s second gig, so it’s nice to see them in the early days of their work and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing how their music progresses. 

Next were Tree of Wyrd. Fronted by the lovely Hannah Law (who I had a privilege to be in a band with a few years ago called Wyldwood) who’s voice is just a strong powerhouse. It was my first time seeing Tree of Wyrd and they honestly exceeded my expectations. Think “Folk Grunge” and that’s the sound of the band. The 5 piece will be climbing up the ladder in no time, I can feel it. Killer original songs and a lovely rendition of the well known Talking Heads song “Psychokiller.”

Hey Jester: Well I won’t be biased as my boyfriend is the front man, but the band absolutely killed it and that’s the god honest truth. Honestly, for a trio, their sound is huge. The crazy, melodic bass lines from Joe Davies, the unreal, powerful drum parts from Nick Davies and strange, unusual guitar effects and Jeff Buckley like vocals from Mirron Webb make Hey Jester. Stand out track for their set had to be Cleanse, not only is the rhythm of the song so funky, but the screaming guitar solo at the end takes us into a whirlpool of crazy imaginations. If you haven’t seen them live yet, you need to do so.
FFO: Muse, Jeff Buckley, Thundercat..

Shiraz Hempstock – Soulful acoustic set performed by Shiraz and Charlie Bird on acoustic guitar. Playing well-known covers for all to hear is always pleasing for a young audience in my eyes as they like to hear songs they know. Dynamically, some songs didn’t seem to go far but Shiraz’s voice stood out. With influences from Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran, the young 17-year-old has a bright future ahead of her.

Redwood – The one thing that’s always stood out from Ellie ever since I first met her was that she really does live for her music. Her songs are personal and you can feel every emotion drip out of every pour when she’s performing. She jokes about how her songs are about breaking ups and boys, but after all, love is such an important thing to preach about. Her songs are clever written and deliver perfectly when live. The imperfections of the sustain piano pedal and slightly out of tune guitar just creates more tension and eager to listen to the songs. She’ll go far, that’s for sure, I mean how couldn’t she? Her voice is exceptional.

Coat of Many – Reggae influenced blues pop vibes mirror off Coat of Many. You could easily identify Theone’s voice in a loud room full of singers singing, it’s THAT distinctive. Playing original songs featuring a new track “Bamboo” (which will be featured on their debut album), the 5 piece gel perfectly together to create the perfect atmosphere for their shows. A wonderful rendition of Amy Winehouse’s Stronger Than Me was performed as well. If you haven’t seen Coat of Many yet, snatch any opportunity to see them, they won’t let you down.

Last band of the festival for me were the insanely talented, Junior Weeb. What a fantastic band and their set list is improving all the time. Their stage prescence is incredible, with frontman Chris Phee coming out into the audience and playing guitar for us all. You just can’t help but dance to Weeb, and their originals songs are filled with nostalgia, 90’s funk rock vibes. Love them, they are such a party band and even lovelier guys. Just a shame that their set was cut slightly shorter because of the Arts Workshops curfew.

So overall, a successful year at WMF and here’s a pic from one of my sets! Taken by Geoffrey Head.GH

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