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The Big Gig Thread 2020

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    The Big Gig Thread 2020

    I'm just back from the 2020 instalment of Rockaway Beach, the frighteningly early in the year festival held at Butlins in Bognor Regis. Due to going out and about during the afternoons, and completely running out of steam on Sunday evening, I only saw twelve bands across the three days. The tickets were only 90 a head including accommodation so it was pleasant not to feel obliged to cram as much in as possible to get value for money.

    Highlights for me included Adwaith, surf tinged and mostly Welsh language indie pop band from Carmarthen, and a bludgeoning set from Brix and the Extricated, featuring the peerless bass of Steve Hanley. The Jesus And Mary Chain headlined on Saturday night. Jim Reid was in good voice and knows how to make good silhouettes. William rumbled away in the gloom towards the back of the stage. The live drums weren't as crisp on some songs as on the recorded versions which is a shame. Jim Reid also did an entertaining and informative Q&A with John Robb earlier on in the day.

    On Friday night, John Cale was far less abrasive than I'd expected, playing warm and quite mellow versions of material from Paris 1919 and other albums. He was preceded by SOAK, an engaging singer songwriter from Derry whose material has quite a polished sound. A couple of 'haven't I heard this in an advert' moments too.

    Disappointments included Black Country, New Road whose commitment to free jazz parping and multiple time signatures in each song isn't really my thing. They aren't from the Black Country either, which grates a bit. Merseysiders Eyesore and the Jinx were a more engaging take on the jerky, semi-spoken vocal style that seems popular at the moment. Shit name though, in the venerable Liverpool tradition. International Teachers Of Pop weren't as good as at The Lexington last year. Momentum was lost in too much aimless banter between songs, which in a large room translates to the people at the back thinking the act are just pissing about for their mates. ITOP's catchy synthpop and knowingly silly dance moves were still entertaining and they win points for coming onstage wearing Butlins redcoats.

    Next up are three dates with Italian glam stomp kings Giuda the week after next and leading satanic doo-wop practitioners Twin Temple at the end of the month.
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