CALL OF THE WILD 2024 – Saturday (Festival Review)

CALL OF THE WILD 2024 - Saturday (Festival Review)Once again I was lucky enough to be part of the team here at CGCM to have the chance to be involved with the Call Of The Wild Festival at the Lincolnshire Showgrounds. The festival is well run, with plenty of good camping spots and you are never too far away from the action. That action involves two outside stages which sit side by side and a smaller tent stage further back nearer the entrance to the main arena. This year I had some interviews lined up before I arrived and by the end had done a number more than I planned. The thing is the festival is so friendly and most of the bands are really happy to chat with interviewers. Of course, doing that means I do miss bands at times but it is for me a price worth paying as I hope the interviews when uploaded onto the site shall show! Here is some of what I enjoyed on day two of Call Of The Wild.

Saturday was a busy old day for this reviewer due to interviews, those of course will follow in time after the music reviews are online! I am focussing on the bands I caught more or less all the sets by. The day started with a band who played last year as well but in the small tent. They created merry hell so were invited back to show what they could do on one of the two big stages. That band?


The band hit the stage like it was Wembley. I don’t think they know any other way to perform and with a frontman like Matt Fielder, they can drag an audience across a field and keep them entertained and rocked. The four-piece comprised of (I hope I have all the names right) Dave Barlow on guitar, Zach Barlow on bass and Zippy Lee on drums, have been called a “pub band” but they wear that as a badge of pride. They play where the crowds are and give them what they want (and need). Opener “Vindication” was, ahem, a vindication of their hard work. The song talks about having “paid our dues” to a musical style that mixes AC/DC and Motorhead with a wonderful sneering Alice Cooper-style vocal. From moment one the whole stage was being used and the crowd being cajoled with smiles on their faces. “Strap Yourself In” came next, another slice of dirty hard-hitting rock ‘n’ roll. Both opening songs just dripping with attitude and physical intentions. Before the next track, Matt quipped about how a certain well-known radio station never plays any of their music despite them being sent it so they decided to send them a song they couldn’t actually play, which caused laughter. Even more so when he announced the song as “Even Nuns Watch Porn” (a quote, believe it or not, from a Pope). The bass on this thumped hard. Lyrically really funny with lots of Catholic references but still making a point about the hypocrisy of religion. We also got to see the benefit of a frontman/entertainer as well as a singer when there was a technical issue. Matt knew that there was a wee child in the audience who had a birthday so he turned his attention to her and got the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” for her. He described the fact her folks were there was pure “parenting done right 101”. Right after we sang for the girl some bloke near the front shouted it was also his birthday, as quick as a flash Matt went “Good for you” causing laughter all round.  “Predator” he explained was a tribute to the song “Night Prowler” by AC/DC and a warning about the internet and how you can be stalked if not careful. A stomper with an edge befitting the lyrical message and the crowd clapped along without even being asked which shows what a track it is! They finished with their ode to the pub, “Back To The Boozer” leaving the crowd with massive grins on their faces. Now that’s what I call entertainment! CGCM‘s RichThe MeisterDillon also wrote his thoughts on the Ransom set here in this COTW Spotlight Review: RANSOM – COTW Spotlight

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This is a band I seemed to have missed as I didn’t recognize them from other festivals. I didn’t know much about them but they definitely kept me at the stage they were playing. The singer reminded me a little of Jeff Keith from Tesla both in looks (from back in the day) and vocals with a raspy throaty growl but lower pitched than Jeff‘s. The band have a couple of EPs out, from which they played three or possibly four songs along with a couple of new tracks. One of which (I noted as called “Can’t Save Me“) he said they had “only practiced twice“. I would never have guessed as it sounded pretty spot on and together. The other newby “You Want It” was an immediate singalong due to having a massive bloody chorus that was easy to join in with. At one point we were asked if we “liked Coldplay“? The general response was negative. Just as well they weren’t playing one of their songs then. The cover they did do was “Nutbush City Limits” from Ike and Tina Turner. It was pretty faithful, perhaps a bit heavier and the drummer did throw in loads of extra fills whilst sporting a Cheshire cat grin on his face. There were a few laughs at one point when the singer (possibly Ollie Tindall?) went to button up his shirt a bit and a female in the audience shouted “OFF. He misheard and thought it was a polite heckle to leave the stage. He had a little back and forth showing his sense of humour and was happily involving the crowd. The last song “Scream” got an excellent reaction being a solid frantic rocker with an easy chorus. A very good set from a new band to me.

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This is another band that has had the chance to move up onto a bigger stage from previous years (thankfully COTW want to grow bands and not let things stagnate). This is one of the bands that I must have missed doing interviews so I am thankful I have had the chance to catch up. Most of the set was taken from their 2022 album Separate Sides with definitely six numbers from that. The four-piece has quite a full sound as the lead guitarist also plays keys (not always at the same time though) and they have a kind of singer-songwriter vibe about them. I didn’t quite catch what the first song was but the second was “Times Get Tough” which was introduced with the simple phrase of “Let’s get the party started“. It did remind me in one part of Cliff Richards‘s “Devil Woman” but it passes quickly into a Kiss-style chorus. I noticed that the bass was nicely up in the mix on this and even more so on “Just Like In A Movie” when the bass really underpinned the guitar solo. There was some lovely dual harmony guitar work on this and the chorus was ridiculously infectious and had a sense of an old-time movie soundtrack which I suppose was the point! This was such a good time song and it did have a little bit of variation in pace and levels but flowed nicely. “Love Is The Enemy” could be an out-take from a 1980s Rick Springfield album. It is a great song. I also noticed a little Kansas in there too. “Bridges“, singer/guitarist Dave Winkler, said was his favourite song to play. I noted it as the most “prog” sounding of the set as it ebbed and flowed. They did introduce us to a new song called “Chained To You” which sounded very good and fitted into the set nicely, with no dip at all which says they are maintaining their quality. Apparently, a video will soon be out for this so keep your eyes peeled for that folks. The most recent track “Gina In A Bottle” sounded great too with some cool guitar work. Apparently dedicated to a friend who likes to drink. This brought on the dancing girls that were around during the festival (I think they were advertising something but I have no idea what). Star Circus had some great songs and choruses yet had an edge to them and left us all, I feel, happier than when they arrived. I might have had to wait to catch up with this band but it was worth the wait!

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Before they even got around to starting their set I had been impressed. I was stood getting a cuppa (not exactly rock ‘n’ roll but I was working) and chatting with another person in the queue. The band did a quick soundcheck and we looked at each other and went “bloody hell”, it was so tight. About 10 minutes later the band came on and kicked in with “Living Dead“. The Welsh three-piece didn’t muck about, with riffs and lyrical riffs aplenty. In this case, the “know, know, know” refrain that just makes the fist pump and the neck muscles move. It floats between dark ominous evil and a very uplifting melody around the chorus part. Bizarre but brilliant. “Skeletons” is heavier to start with, a mix of Sabbath and Diamond Head before twisting around quite an open-spaced track verse and a catchy chorus. Plenty of variation in there. I noted on “Nine Lives” that it made me think of Priest in the riffage/verses and the chorus was almost power pop. When the crowd cheered for the announcement that the next song was “Killing Time” singer Sam joked “It’s not THAT one, it’s the shit one“. Self-deprecating humour but even if wasn’t the Sweet Savage one (as covered by Metallica) it was a quality original with a great vocal opening and chorus (the bass was nice and fuzzy sounding underneath it). The vocal harmonies on “Louder Than Words” caught my attention, I felt it was the best of them all and it wasn’t that other songs lacked in any way, it was just they seemed to excel on that. Sam joked a bit with the crowd pointing out that it was as cold onstage as off claiming that she was “almost a corpse now” which got laughs. The next intro also got a laugh when she remarked that the next song was for “anyone with a job as an undertaker, or for anyone with questionable interests“. They went into “Grave Digger” a song so infectious they could play it several times in a row and I wouldn’t complain. It has that occult vibe that bands like PurzenBlood Ceremony etc have, groove swagger with a hint of danger. “Black Sheep” is another terrific chorus and had a lovely guitar intro. They finished with “Bring The Thunder” which had drummer Jess working the crowd nicely. What a treat of a set. Fun, energetic, hard rocking, slightly evil and huge fun. I was blown away. Simple as that.

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Sam was the guitarist in Wigan rockers Bigfoot (who I assume are no more?) and is now writing and performing his own songs as in a singer-songwriter way. Now I hadn’t heard any of his solo stuff so this was an adventure. My immediate thoughts were that it was quite poppy, AOR rock but the bassist didn’t realize as he headbanged like his very life depended on it (big respect). There was an 80s vibe with the keys but it still had the riffs, a bit like say FM meets The CarsSam won jacket of the day, a very lovely white number I certainly couldn’t have pulled off. “Fooling Yourself” was slightly synth-pop, and cheesy except the lyrics sounded quite dark. The strangest comment of the day actually came from Sam when referring to the cold when he asked “Anyone want to suck on my fingers to get them warm“. As most laughed one woman shouted “YEAH“. Sam quickly responded with “Get up here love” followed by “Woops I think I might be cancelled“. As you can imagine there were laughs and cheers. It is that kind of festival, relaxed with artists being able to chat and the crowd responding warmly. Somewhat ironically (it certainly wasn’t planned) the next song was called “Something I’ll Regret” and one of the lyrics asks that someone stop him saying something he might regret. Too late Sam, far too late! “Dancing On My Own” resulted in lots of folks dancing around the place. If this was the 1980s and a movie needed a song for a school dance then this might have been chosen. I had to head when he was doing “Showbiz” as I had interviews lined up. I was disappointed to miss the rest of the set. It is a bit lighter music-wise than I normally listen to at home, but it was well written and performed and without a doubt, he is an engaging frontman.

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Bad Touch are just made for a festival like this. Early evening chill vibes and a band playing bluesy hard rock with quality songs, some slightly cheesy but still rocking. The band are just so on point throughout, you can tell the amount of gigs they do. They came onto the stage to an AC/DC-styled version of “Staying Alive” before going into the title track of their newest album “Bittersweet Satisfaction“, a song that grooves, swings and rocks, kind of like much of their material. It is good-time music to dance to. Much of the set was crowd-pleasing, the majority being older tracks that nearly everyone in the crowd knew. “Lift Your Head Up” followed keeping folks moving. I did laugh at his almost religious sermon about how “the heavens have blessed us with water, unusual as the sun is normally shining when we are around“. It may have been a little wet (compared to the rains to come the next day) but the crowd wasn’t dampened in their enjoyment of the bluesy almost spiritual rock ‘n’ roll. Before “Dressed To Kill” vocalist Stevie remarked that the song was about “looking and feeling good” and this was the first of two songs about looking good as they followed it with “Good On Me” where he remarked that “only a 33-year-old can look good in this weather in sunglasses” whilst laughing. The former is a slower stomping tune with plenty of stop-starts and space for Stevie to stand alone singing with no musical backing whilst the latter was more a 70s Rolling Stones track. “Come And Get It” was a crowd singalong. Before it, Stevie came from under the stage canopy for a bit and after a few seconds of getting wet laughed and went “Still shit then?” It didn’t matter. We were having fun. The set was concluded by their version of Alanis Morissette‘s” Hand In Pocket” which always goes down well (they do it justice). At this point, I had to go back to the media area for a late interview. I went with a grin on my face and my head still moving. That is a success in my books.

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That kind of brought day two to an end for me due to media stuff, but what an excellent day it was. OK, a bit of rain and it wasn’t exactly warm but with great music and people these things don’t matter. It was just a case of what would come along on day three? Stay tuned, that is coming soon!


CGCM‘s Coverage of the previous Call Of The Wild‘s can be found here: CALL OF THE WILD FESTIVAL

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