Usually held in late July Rock & Blues Custom Show Festival is a great little three-day event held at the Coney Grey Show Ground in the Derbyshire countryside. Impressively the festival is in its 38th year. Equally impressive is its line up of bands over the years which have included Slade, Saxon, Thunder, The Dead Daisies, Wayward Sons, The Wildhearts, and Massive Wagons.
Whilst the music is a big part of the weekend with a tented main stage and a smaller outdoor stage the festival also runs a custom bike competition. On the show, this weekend was an impressive array of custom-styled and painted bikes. Saturday afternoon saw awards being presented which were too many to mention here. The lucky owners then got to show off their labor of love by taking the machines for a lap of honor around the showground.
The festival is also well supported by ‘The Outlaws’ motorcycle organisation, so much that they get their own designated campsite and they provide assistance to the organisers of the event. There are also a plethora of proudly worn biker jackets each one adorned by the wearers local group. Noticeable I saw jackets from France and Louisville. The facilities at the festival are very well managed with the place looking spotless from start to finish. However the Rock News gold star award (Honest its in the post!!) goes to the bar staff for their well stocked selection of beers, lagers and ciders and the speedy service. Thank you for the hangovers you have provided!!
This years three days of live music is provided by a mixture of bands from the up and coming, the established and the ‘if you squint really hard, put one finger in your ear you’ll almost believe its them’ tribute bands. The compere is the one and only Rev Clive from Doctor & The Medics. Seamlessly keeping the audience entertained as the bands transitioned between sets. The Cheese competition was back with each band selecting a type of cheese for the crowd to cheer their acceptance or boo their disgust.
Thursday nights main stage saw the last minuet replacement of Venomous Rose with local band The Addiction (UK). The band only found out 9pm Wednesday that they would be opening the festival. Did that phase them? Not judging by their performance of Rock / Punk songs.
Thursday also saw two brilliantly named tribute acts, Hi-on Maiden and Scopyons. Anyone who knows me will know that I like tribute bands. I think tribute bands that are brave enough to dress up and go on to a stage, in front of a crowd who will know every word of every song they will perform and will undoubtedly be comparing them to the megastars that they mimic, well, I think those tribute bands have got balls!! Hi-on Maiden and Scopyons didn’t disappoint tonight with their line up of songs, all of them were fan favourites and we all sang along like we were in a karaoke bar. Remember, when the superstars like Kiss, AC/DC & Aerosmith hang up their instruments and call it a day we will only be left with tribute bands so get out there, buy their tickets, attend their gigs and give them the support they deserve. Enjoy them for what they are.
Friday nights line up included Crooked Revival. A band that really surprised me on how good they were for such few live performances they have had. Clearly musically talented with great vocals and rhythm in the songs they perform which included ‘Gimme the Lightning Bolt’. Talking to James Watson after he explained Crooked Revival have a clear vision of where they want to head with their music and a lot of drive to get there. Crooked Revival are currently recording and mixing their soon to be released EP, look out for it when it lands on Spotify. If Crooked Revival perform in a venue near you I highly recommend that you check out James (Vocals/Guitar), Pav (Lead Guitar), Adam (Drums) & Dom (Bass).
Imagine if 4 cans of Red Bull were on stage playing instruments they would look like energy filled Swiss rockers Daxx and Roxane! This isn’t a band that just gets on stage to perform a few songs for the pay check, D&R use the stage as their own personal playground of fun where swinging instruments guitar dueling and pogoing are the norm. They are the epitome of that rock star ‘thing’ that only few truly aspire to. Playing some great tracks off their two albums to date, Ticket to Rock and self titled Daxx & Roxane, the four members of the band were performing the biggest show of their life!. Cedric Pfister (Vocals & Base) put on a stella performance as the bands front man. Belting out the songs and handbagging along in a mass of black hair. Cal Wymann (Lead Guitar) energetically ran around the stage demonstrating that he must be the crazy one in the band!! When not swinging his guitar he his performing jumps over his band mate Simon Golaz (Rhythm Guitar & Harmonica) which were so high you’d think he was riding a motor bike!. At one point in the show the three guitarists joined in the centre of the stage and cheekily Simon began to help Cedric play his bass guitar. Luca Senaldi (Drums) whilst a long way back on the stage made his presence know with the pounding of the skins. At one point he was stood on his seat, towering above his drum kit urging the crowd to clap along to the songs. I really enjoyed Daxx & Roxane’s set so much so it has got me looking as to where I can get a ticket for their next show. Keep it up guys this is pure Rock ‘n’ Roll!!
Norfolk rockers Bad Touch took to the stage for their set. Frontman Stevie Westwood wearing his signature hat performed a solid set of the bands songs along with the cover of Alanis Morrisette’s ‘One Hand In My Pocket‘. Rob Glendinning’s laid back playing of the lead guitar was a complete contrast to Daniel Seekings guitar performance. With sweat pouring you could see the passion in Dans guitar face. Michael Bailey on bass and George Drewry on drums made up the rest of the band. The set was brought to an abrupt stop for a short time as the festival generators failed. The crowd stepped in with good spirits and gave the band their rendition of ‘The Wobbling Song‘. The generators reinstated by the tech guys and the band went on to finish their set.
Grand Slam hit the stage like a steam train with their slick live show. Made up of Mike Dyer (Vocals), Laurence Archer (Guitar), Rocky newton (Bass) and Benjy Reid (Drums). Now if I was to list out the four band members achievements, bands, successes and collaborations id need someone like Elon Musk to invent ‘The Internet Ver 2.0’ as there is just so much they have been involved in. I will keep it simple Thin Lizzy…… Laurence Archer and Phil Lynott were founding members of Grand Slam until the music world was robbed by Phil Lynott’s untimely death. The sound of Lizzy (amongst others) is kept alive in the heart of Grand Slam and Mike Dyers performance of Rosalie was well received with the RBCS crowd singing along. Laurence and Rocky produced a great sound on the guitars with Benjy providing the power from the drums. Together with Mike’s constant attention to the crowd showed that Grand Slam are a talented group of musicians at the top of their game!
Friday nights headliners were Swedish hair metal rockers H.E.A.T. The five piece band were forged from former bands Dream and Trading Fate in the year of 2007. H.E.A.T. is made up of Kenny Leckremo (vocals), Dave Dalone (Guitar & Backing Vocals), Jimmy Jay (Bass & Backing Vocals), Jona Tee (Keyboards & Backing Vocals) and aptly named Don Crash (Drums). Kenny was the original front man for H.E.A.T who left the band in 2010, retuning in 2020. The band took to the stage and then Kenny appeared. Imagine a Duracell Bunny with fresh batteries and plugged into the mains and you will get a feeling for how much energy Kenny has on stage. He would give Luke Spiller of The Struts a run for his money with the amount running around, jumping on and off stage and generally enjoying himself performing. The band performed songs from their back catalogue of albums and a few off the soon to be released album ‘Force Majeure’ which will be out on the 5th of August. The audience had a great time especially when Kenny was standing on the crash barrier hi-fiving and interacting with the crowd. Great show that I’m sure would have gone on for longer if there wasn’t a curfew.
One by One
Rock Your Body
Straight for Your Heart
Late Night Lady
Back to the Rhythm
Beg Beg Beg
Living on the Run
A Shot at Redemption
Saturday night kicked off with a gritty sounding rock/punk of local band New Generation Superstars. Now holding the title of the band that has played RBCS the most with this appearance being their sixth. It’s easy to understand why as they play through their set with a great selection of songs from their albums stretching back to 2007. The mildly offensive punk/pop rock ‘King of the Road’ was a crowd favourite. I have a feeling if NGS had formed in LA rather than Nottingham they would have given Green Day a run for their money.
Next up is no stranger to Rock News. It’s our friend ‘Kira Mac’. (Check out Rock News YouTube Interview with Kira Mac below). The singer from Stoke used her powerful voice to belt out ‘Dead Man Walking’ and ‘One Way Ticket’ and was backed with rhythmic heavy sounds of the bands guitars. Joe, Alex, Bret & Max make up the rest of the band. Keep your eyes on Bret if you catch a show as he’s a bit of a jumper, decent air on a few of them! Kira is a show woman on stage swinging her hair and throwing some moves on stage as the rest of the band play. She’s also a real down to earth person whilst informing the crowd of her troubles with knickers and the crack of her ars………. ill leave it there. The band are really approachable. After their set they went out and joined the crowd to watch Florence Black. I saw them talking and taking selfies with the fans. Just a warning though if you ever get to meet Kira don’t ask her what her favourite meal is as you will be there for a week as she decides. (Check out the interview its worth it to see her deliberating).
Winning Planet Rock’s award for Best New Band Welsh trio Florence Black took to the stage. From Merthyr Tydfil come Tristan Thomas (Lead Singer/Guitarist), Jordan Evans (Base/Backing Vocals) and Perry Davies (Drums/Backing Vocals). No dispute in their welsh heritage with surnames like Thomas, Evans & Davies!! The band ran through their set of heavy hitting songs with hair and rifts aplenty. As part of the set the band play homage to fellow country men Budgie, the welsh version of Rush.
This is the first time Folk/Punk/Rock band Ferocious Dog have played at the RBCS festival. Not having far to travel and the reaction of the band to the event I don’t think it will be long before they come back again. Originating from Warsop their songs are poignant and story telling to the experience they have had through their lives. The band are made up of Ken Bonsall, Sam Wood, Dan Booth, Kyle Peters, Nick Wragg and Luke Grainger. They play a multitude of instruments from violins to banjos. Their influences come from far and wide but I think its Punk that’s in the bands veins. Songs tonight included Punk Police, Broken soldier and The Hope. The band were popular with many in the crowd dancing and singing along to the songs. At one point Ken encouraged every one to put their arm round the person next to them and dance along. The band ended tonights show with ‘Slow Motion Suicide’, a song about the downfall of a miner who turns to drink through the desperation of the dark times ‘Thatcher’ thrust upon the UK’s mining industry in the 80’s. You can listen to the band on Spotify but In my opinion Ferocious dog are a must to see live!
Reef were the band chosen to end this years Rock and Blues festival. Tonight on stage are lead singer Gary Stringer, sporting a hat from the merchant stand promoting the bands latest album. Forest gu…..I mean bass player Jack Bessant. Jesse Wood & Amy Newton on guitars with Luke Bullen on drums. Reef played the RBCS festival in 2019 and Gary seemed genuine in his fondness for the venue. Gary walked the edge of the stage singing song after song. stopping to point out into the audience. Giving the thumbs up to the members of the crowd who were enjoying themselves dancing and singing along to the music. Amy and Jesse had some easy going guitar duels with both of them looking like they were having a real good time up there on stage. Jack played his bass upright for a lot of the night. Banging his head to the music in a mass of hair and beard. Having been releasing albums since 1995 Reef have no shortage of songs to play. (only a shortage of razors judging by the length of Gary & Jacks beards). Playing New Bird, Revelation and Place Your Hands to name a few. They even threw in a cover of Fleetwood Macs The Chain which went down incredibly well with the biking fraternity at the festival. Reef are a great band to end the weekend on. every song radiated energy with its catchy hook lines and ease to sing along with. I’m sure every one left with a buzz as they prop the bar up, drinking it dry till 2am with the now half priced selection.
- Shoot Me Your Ace
- Stone for Your Love
- Higher Vibration
- Right On
- I’ve Got Something to Say
- Place Your Hands
- Best of Me
- New Bird
- Come Back Brighter
- I Would Have Left You
- Precious Metal
- Don’t You Like It?
- Lucky Number
- I Do Not Know What They Will Do
- Summer’s in Bloom
- The Chain(Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Good Feeling
- Yer Old
Rock and Blues Custom Show organisers should be patting themselves on the back. Pulling off another successful weekend of great music and great atmosphere. Having been a few times now I can see that RBCS is more than a festival. Its a community, family to those who attend year after year. Its everything you could want from a festival. Like many I know ill be back next year and can’t wait to see what bands you will have on your line up.
Check out more from the Rock and Blues Custom Show Festival below