Stone Valley Festival North
5-7th August 2022
It is by no means going to be easy competing versus the return of Insurrection Pageant about the exact same weekend, but Stone Valley, which has been establishing alone amongst British isles festivals over the last handful of years, lifted the bar and then some. Sunny weather, decent priced drinks, attractive workers and protection and people possessing a ball. What is not to like?
This was my to start with knowledge of Stone Valley it’s a pleasant, entertaining and laid-again event which extremely a lot put me in thoughts of the much-skipped Wickerman, with a incredibly comparable chilled truly feel, a scooter-helpful line-up from the ska, soul and punk scene and a loved ones-welcoming vibe. If tenting is not your matter, it will not be for you but that was all portion of the enjoyment – significantly of the soon after-several hours shenanigans back again at the campsite have been truly worth the selling price of admission on your own.
With a lot of of the bands out in the North of England for their dates at Rise up, there was a reasonable bit of crossover individually, I was not complaining as the likelihood to see some of these legends up shut and personal and on an outdoor stage was very a thing. A lot of of the bands were being out wandering the main arena and the sight of customers of Terrible Manners and Big State attempting on daft hats and digging by means of crates of vinyl was certainly an indicator of the peaceful atmosphere of the full weekend.
The competition started a couple yrs again (and pre-covid) as a meeting of minds and machines from the scooter scene and advanced from there. There is even now a truthful outdated smattering of chrome and brilliantly comprehensive paint work opportunities puttering close to the web-site, and the Saturday early morning trip-out of the scooters was apparently brilliant I have to admit I skipped it as I was suffering from the earlier night’s gin extravaganza but the missus loved it massively, inspite of becoming an old-school female on a motorbike herself.
Anyway, to the audio. Friday night’s highlights for me were being an oddly ebullient Hugh Cornwell who was out with a band somewhat than solo acoustic giving the lie to his popularity as a curmudgeon, he joked with the substantial group and performed the effectively-identified materials which was one thing of a surprise. A juddering Walk On By and a soulful Strange Small Female had the group swaying, and a singalong Normally The Sun sent the people back again to the tents delighted.
The Primitives experienced an unenviable opening slot on the primary stage but lifted their sport, ahem, gamely. The seem was fairly suspect early on in their set as the crew appeared to be struggling with the outdoor setting, with Paul Court’s guitar using a minor while to settle into its chiming self leaving the rhythm portion a tad murky. Joking about “You’ll know who we are now” prior to chart-smasher Crash was providing them selves a very little shorter the fantastic Spin-a-rama and Sick Of It noticed the group lap them up.
The Bootleg Beatles are rather anything to behold having the tribute band idea to the complete max (the drummer is carrying a “Ringo” nose, the suitable handed bassist is playing still left-handed a la Macca and somebody tells me that “John Lennon” has experienced medical procedures to search a lot more like the serious John. That may well be apocryphal, however….), they did all of the tracks, among-tune patter and phase moves just as-was in the course of the Fabs profession. Superior exciting and faultless.
The Rezillos – what can you say? I’ve seen them a lot more times than anyone (apart from The Tumble, it’s possible) and they hardly ever disappoint energy, élan, surrealist pop art and songs about aliens. Fantastic.
Craig Charles shut out the opening night with a DJ set drawn from his exceptional Saturday evening funk and soul demonstrate on 6Tunes. I personally adore all of this stuff, the unusual groove, disco and funky stuff and inspite of the point that I’d have individually experienced the out-front quantity up A Full Lot More, this was a bash from start out to end. Chatting backstage (I know, I know) about his “trunk of punk” portion on his daytime demonstrate was excellent fun (he’s a attractive fella) and he had me grinning with his tales of Aaron Neville whose Hercules is a mainstay of his set.
Saturday observed the day open, albeit a very little bleary-eyed with local lads The White Line, whose just take on the modernist scene drew a very good crowd. With whole self confidence oozing and eyeballing the front row, they shook the spot awake. Excellent minor wah solo in the very last tune, as well.
Sleeper took a tiny while to get into their groove but their goodtime Britpop tunes went down nicely in the major arena. Again, an unenviable early slot which they managed to use to their advantage offered the sunny weather. Death Of Guitar Pop should really be big, pretty frankly. I have no plan why these guys are not substantially even larger profile than they are. Only excellent.
From The Jam did what they do and the men and women cherished it smashing the primary stage with a established of Jam requirements (and a number of of the significantly less possible tracks – But I’m Various Now was remarkable), the really like for Bruce Foxton et al was palpable. Both of those he and frontman Russell Hastings have had pretty significant overall health challenges in modern yrs and it was great to listen to them and see them joking about their ordeals.
Ash, whom I’ve viewed and liked lots of, many occasions about the yrs ended up fairly moribund today I’m not totally positive why or what was the issue, but they seemed to be phoning it in. Hopefully a one particular-off aberration.
Not so, the mighty Stranglers. A excellent close friend of mine who’s seen them additional times than he cares to confess often suggests that are living, The Stranglers are a complete machine he’s not erroneous. From the opening Toiler on the Sea through the quirky Nuclear Product to the closing No Extra Heroes, this was a lesson in electric power and sheer muscular musicality. They had been the first “real” band I ever saw as a teeny punk again in Glasgow in ‘77 and they under no circumstances disappoint. Incredible.
Sunday noticed a couple of contact-offs thanks to covid (Section S getting 1 of them) and a fantastic number of people from the campsite had headed back dwelling, presumably functioning the Monday. Even so, Geno Washington took the prize for performance of the weekend. Shuffling onstage, bow-backed and frail-looking (he’s 78 I think), he looked as if a excellent breeze would knock him off his toes. That, nonetheless, was right up until he opened his mouth and sang – great lord, what a voice this man nevertheless possesses. Sheer electric power and soul personified – he held the group in his hand with his vastly entertaining stories and as I say, when he opens his throat, angels and devils collide. His band have been a uncomplicated 3-piece but they sounded like an orchestra at occasions. See him if you can, he’s the very best.
Toyah had currently wowed the Rebellion group the working day ahead of and did so all over again in Durham she’s a performer, I’ll say that for her and her pint-sized but substantial personality gained the working day. Terrific hair, also, according to the wife….
Peter Hook And The Mild struggled in the beginning with equally specialized complications and a stage bathed in bright sunlight, which isn’t notably conducive to the tracks of Pleasure Division. Manfully powering on, the mighty Shadowplay and Monaco tune What Do You Want From Me”won them some new lovers. Liked the camo shorts and t-shirt combo, Hooky….
The Neville Staples Band blew the roof off he’s yet another frontman which is had well being challenges and he seemed quite frail strolling onstage no anxieties, his super-skanking band and partner Sugary Staples bounced all around the stage as Impolite Boy Quantity Just one took command. The crowd appreciate this male the connect with and reaction stuff was a pleasure to enjoy.
Closing out the festival ended up The Boomtown Rats which was a bit of a coup for Stone Valley Geldof and co were being on sparkling type and the opening Trash Glam Little one from the latest album established the tone properly. They don’t simply engage in the hits (despite the fact that they’re all current and right) and the more recent tunes sit properly among the chart-botherers. Geldof does not give a fuck, in any case he’s embroiled in the music from minute a single and is a lanky pile of sweaty hair by the finish. As Bob would place it, “Mega…”
In essence, Stone Valley is wonderful – I’ll definitely be back subsequent time. If you miss out on The Wickerman and other smaller boutique festivals, you will enjoy this. Give it a go.
All text by Joe Whyte, you can obtain his LTW archive here
Images by Paul Buxton