Call Of The Wild Festival 2022
CGCM Rock Radio has just experienced The Call Of The Wild Festival in Lincolnshire, UK. Two delegates, Scotsman Tom Cornell and Canadian Rich “The Meister” Dillon begin their coverage of the event here with this dually written account of Thursday May 19. More coverage will follow including daily accounts, band interviews, and photo galleries. Organizer Dave O Hara will also be live on air with Meister on Friday June 3rd as well for a wrap-up radio show.
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From Rich “The Meister” Dillon on-site at COTW 2022
“Epic. Motherfuckin’ epic in every regard”. That’s how CGCM Rock Radio‘s Rich “The Meister” Dillon would sum up The Call of the Wild Festival 2022! Here’s his story below:
To say I was excited to attend 2022’s Call of the Wild is an understatement. Let’s face it, I’m a complete music festival whore all the way to the bank, but in 2019 I went to the inaugural COTW and it blew me away. For a first time ever event, the complete smoothness with which every went off from a customer perspective was like a well-oiled machine. In fact, I was soon touting it as my favourite event of the year that year. It’s not just me either as, COTW was shortlisted for the UK Festival awards that same year.
What made it so special? The personal touch. From the top organizers to the employees and volunteers to the awesome folks in attendance. Everyone was personable and made a real effort to know you. I felt happy to be spending my money there. And was all set for my return to year two, but of course that would have to wait.
Approaching The Event
In the weeks leading up to COTW I did three weeks of live stream video radio shows on MixCloud/CGCM Rock Radio featuring many of the bands from the event. One of the festival organizers, Dave O Hara, even dialed in on video live for one of the streams. We took questions from the interactive chatroom and generally spoke about the event. You can catch the audio of those shows on CGCM‘s MixCloud page.
At points it seemed as if it might never happen. Or we as internationals may not be able to attend even if it did. But soon the day dawned upon us and I set out from Toronto with a first-time attendee and fellow 🇨🇦 for the UK. Arriving on site, top organizer Raz White was there to greet us and personally show us to our glamping tent, our home for the next four days!
The Meeting of Tom
Before long we ran into CGCM writer Tom Cornell, on site to cover the fest with written articles and band interviews to match up with my wrap-up radio shows, articles and photo galleries (which will be some days down the road as I am still traveling right now). Soon enough, we were meeting friends new and old throughout the campgrounds and the excitement was completely palpable. In fact, it was so thick you had to brush it away from your face. Everyone feeling the same after the past tough times was ready to go and it showed!
VIP group photo was taken and Ey Up Maiden delivered some great Iron Maiden covers as a soundtrack to the hugs that I feel flowed from every single person in the field. Before long, the general admission gates opened and Mad Haven took the stage! Tom Cornell had the opportunity to speak to the band later in the afternoon and you can read Tom‘s thoughts on the set below:
First Impressions by Tom Cornell
I was personally delighted to be given the chance to be involved in the Call Of The Wild Festival at the Lincolnshire Showgrounds along with the one of our chief Canadian geeks Rich Dillon. The festival was happening over 3 and a half days with the Thursday being a day which starts out mainly for those who support the event via being VIP members. I was lucky to be travelling down from Scotland with a family who let me stay with them in their campervan throughout the festival.
We met some folks outside the grounds who were involved with another festival later in the year (I am sure the organisers of COTW won’t mind me naming it) called Stonedead and we were invited in along with them to get ourselves set up which was a lovely touch by the folks behind this event and I thank them on behalf of my friends too. From moment one we found the staff to be friendly, helpful and it seemed all hardcore rock fans! The setup was good for camping etc. Once inside again the set up was well thought out with the two main stages side by side and a third in a tent near the gate entry (which was about a 5 minute walk).
Background To The Reviews
There was a photoshoot with VIP members then a period of time with The Sisters of Spin (Caz and Tina) playing some music as folks made their way in. Followed by a Maiden tribute band just to get early folks into the mood for what was to come. Both of them did sterling jobs. Before I start my personal review of the bands that played that I want to mention I didn’t see all the bands. Due to organising and doing interviews along with trying to write up notes I did miss a few, it is not a reflection on those artists I haven’t featured. With all that in mind let’s get going…
Mad Haven, Young Welsh Three Piece
TOM: When the main event started it was with a Welsh band called Mad Haven. This young energetic three-piece (who I was lucky to catch up with LATE in the day, cheers guys, and the interview will follow soon at CGCM) were a smashing start to the festival. Guitarist Tom might be the main singer but both drummer (who is also the guitarist’s brother) Alex and bassist Morgan are able to supply good vocals allowing plenty of harmonies throughout their show. Musically they are a bit of a cross of Foo Fighters and AC/DC in places in that most of their songs are both infectious with big easy to sing choruses but rock pretty damned hard.
The crowd (already quite healthy being so early) seemed to know a few of the band’s songs and sung with great endeavour, especially on “Liar” and the closer “Where Did You Go” which had a riff that could have been from the Powerage album by AC/DC (this reviewer’s fave album by the Aussie legends) if it hadn’t actually been original! They even managed to have a bit of fun by playing an “extra track” which was just another possibly “The Truth” speeded up. They might be young lads but they showed they have stagecraft and personality already to go with the songs to entertain an audience. I am both jealous of their talent and their bloody long hair (I could never get mine to grow that long sadly).
The City Kids
MEISTER: The City Kids were up next and delivered a set of great punky-vibed hard rock as I expected. The band is fairly recently formed and I’ve known guitarist Dennis Post for some time on Facebook and also had the opportunity to speak to him for an episode of the CGCM Podcast back in 2021, check it out here. The City Kids featured their own original songs as well as a cover. This is a band to be on the lookout for with new music in the pipes. For me, “Best of You” was a set highlight. Great track and I found myself singing along.
MEISTER: Daxx & Roxane made an impression. They hit hard with an energy and electrically engaging stage presence. By song #3 my Canadian travel mate and first-timer at COTW was turning to me saying: “these guys are amazing and blowing my mind“. “My band of the day“, he said right then and there. This sentiment was also excitedly echoed by our new American friend that we’d just met earlier in the day as well. Tom offers more details below:
Daxx & Roxane, Swiss Rockers, Crazy Fun
TOM: The next band I caught was Swiss outfit Daxx & Roxane who definitely know how to entertain. In guitarist Cal Wymann they have someone who can keep an audience transfixed by his leaping around (the rest of the band have to not just do their jobs but keep their eyes opened for this madman) without seemingly a care in the world. Luckily he along with the rest of the guys Cedric Pfister (vocals/bass), Simon Golaz (rhythm guitar/harmonica) and Luca Senaldi (drums) are an excellently tight unit who have songs to go with the madness.
Opener “Sugar Rush” is a mix of Guns ‘N’ Roses punky sleaze and AC/DC‘s rifferama. The title track of their 2017 album Ticket To Rock was indeed just the ticket for the crowd to do some rocking with heads bobbing around everywhere. They played a “new song” which according to their setlist was called “Over” which definitely had a Lizzy styled guitar part. “Fast Lane” saw Cal climb over to the platforms where there were speakers and he ended up bent backwards over them whilst playing his solo. Even though it wasn’t a big barrier I wouldn’t have attempted jumping back over it whilst playing a guitar back onto the main stage. Apart from ballad “Heal” it was a lively 30 minute set which was a hoot to watch.
MEISTER: Next up, Revival Black. Unfortunately, I don’t recall much of their set with chatting with so many friends and also hunting down some much needed foodstuffs. However, I was in the photo pit clicking away on camera and the band sounded like they were hitting all points.
Revival Black, Liverpool Band With Good Crowd Connection
TOM: Revival Black have plenty of swagger to go with their heavy groovy hard rock. They opened with their last single “Believe” which rocked suitably hard. Many of the songs seemed to be well known by the crowd who were happy to join in. Before “See You Again” singer Dan Byrne asked who had seen the band before and from the response/noise it seems the majority there. He thanked everybody for “coming back again“.
One of the themes of COTW was the obvious appreciation from the bands to everyone making the event possible as well as the fans for coming back out. RB were no different. For the intro to “No Secrets, No Lies” the crowd yelled back the “YEAH“s so damned loud you could see the look of surprise on the band’s faces. “Wide Awake” had a riff that drove along nicely and led to a chorus that the crowd once again heartily took up, the “take it to the end of the line” being belted with gusto. These Liverpool lads certainly delivered on the day and had a strong connection with the fanbase.
MEISTER: Some solid Hard Rockin’ by Gin Annie came next in another fantastic set put on by top-notch bands here at COTW. Having heard their album and playing selections in my livestream, I was looking forward to my first time with Gin Annie. There were no disappointments to be had! Knowing (not personally, but who he is) guitarist Bryan Green from Monsters Of Rock Cruise, I tried to convince my 🇨🇦/🇺🇸 friends that he was Frank Hannon of Tesla, but they weren’t having it! I’m sure Bryan hates that!
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MEISTER: South of Salem might have been one of my most anticipated all weekend long. Having never heard of the band before their COTW lineup appearance, I searched them out. So many wicked earworm tracks like “Cold as Hell”, “Let Us Prey” and “Demons Are Forever” went down just as well live as they did in my livestream shows. And the boys (and girls) brought a hell of a stage show with them, smoky dry ice pillars shooting up infront of the stage, and flash pods of firey streams. The photographers were only allowed to be in the pit for song #2 due to the pyrotechnics and everyone’s safety.
South Salem, Having The Best Day Of Their Lives
TOM: Bournemouth outfit South Of Salem brought a bit of the ghoul to the day with their image and music. Performing songs from their album The Sinner Takes It All they opened with “Let Us Prey” where they had two females side of the stage in what appeared to be possibly cheerleader outfits dancing around. At times they made me think of the Murderdolls with their punky hard rock with chanty songs that sound evil but are just a load of fun.
For “Made To Be Mine” vocalist Joey did the old splitting the audience down the middle for a sing-off, but unusually he got the names of two people in the audience at the front and gave each side a team name from that which I thought was a good touch. The fact the crowd kept going with the harmonies when the band kicked back in spoke volumes of how much fun the crowd were having. The band threw in a quick cover of Velvet Revolver‘s “Slither” which sounded damn good to this reviewer.
Joey got serious before “Demons Are Forever” to talk about having lost friends during lockdown due to suicide so he encouraged anyone who might still be facing their demons to get help, that we are never alone in dealing with fears and mental distress. It is a subject several bands talked about during the festival. Finishing with a comment how we had made this the “happiest day of my life… and I am married” (which raised a few laughs) they played a rollicking “Cold Day In Hell” bringing their set to a close. Another band who brought plenty fun to the event along with a message for those who may need it.
MEISTER: First-day headliners and final band of the evening, The Treatment always hit it out of the park. Tonight was no exception. Having followed them since 2012 and their first album This Might Hurt (Check out our interview from 2012 here), I’ve seen some differences in the styles from album to album as well as personnel adjustments. This current version with Tom Rampton on vocals is solid all around. Waiting for Good Luck is a wicked album and they covered their discography well in the setlist. They were a lot of fun to photograph.
The Treatment, Very Worthy Headliners
TOM: Headliners for this first (half) day were Cambridge retro rockers The Treatment who made sure they put on a headline performance. With a classy light show they played a set that went all the way back to their first album This Might Hurt from 2011. “The Doctor” swings and rocks and is the sort of thing that you cannot help but move along with. “On The Money” had even the volunteer paramedics dancing and clapping along near me (a huge shout out and thanks to all the medical folk giving their time to support events like this, we tend to all forget they are there).
Singer Tom Rampton asked the simple question “who here bleeds rock ‘n’ roll?” From the response I would suggest more or less everybody such was the response. Of course, that was just asked as an intro to the song of a similar name in “I Bleed Rock ‘n Roll“.
Apparently, according to Tom they did 18 shows in 18 days but even after that are “still here“. Well done lads. There didn’t appear to be any fatigue going by the energy put into this song and indeed show. “Bite Back” is pure AC/DC snot-nosed anthemed rock. The fans belted the chorus out, it definitely resonated with them. The band were all about partying and in the name of their song “Get The Party On” they encouraged us all to join in.
With great anthems, a band that are tight as Biff Byford‘s trousers and a singer that has not only a great voice but plenty of charisma it is a mystery how they are not even bigger than they are. They finished off the first day with great aplomb leaving everyone smiling. A job well done from worthy headliners.
More to come…
And there’s our account of Call Of The Wild Festival 2022. Stay tuned for much, much more content in daily accounts, interviews, photo galleries and livestream radio shows.
Tickets on sale now for COTW 2023 with VIP already 75% sold! Get yours today!
*Written by Rich “The Meister” Dillon and Tom Cornell for CGCM Rock Radio.