Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Balstock 2015 - Reflections

Well, if you don't know what it's all about but would like to:-

Three days of glorious music and which song do I have going on round and round my head? That most lingering of earworms, “Rain” by The Jesus Hooligan Drum Circle, that’s what, “Rain you love, rain you love down on me, rain your love, rain your love”, Oh well I suppose it could be worse!

 So we kicked off Balstock Friday in The Engine, it was good to see Some Oxford Station back in action and we stuck around for Mr. G La Roche’s very own, Billy Skins Fifth seamlessly blending punk, rock, techno and just about everything in between, sometime serious, sometimes tongue in cheek, often seriously tongue in cheek, whose cheeks I can only guess but a damn fine start to this years Balstock festival.

Some Oxford Station

Billy Skins Fifth
As Smiffy and Ben were doing the sound in The Rose and Crown we dropped in to see some of This Broken Empire before heading off to The Broken Drum to see what turned out to be one of the gigs of the festival, The Astronauts in their Los Astronauts Muertos incarnation, Mark, Grae & Andy in acoustic mode, absolutely fantastic, what could top that?

This Broken Empire

Los Astronauts Meurtos
We went to The White Hart for  G’s sing along a Balstock session, what a way to end a brilliant night.

Mr G La Roche
Saturday, for us, was devoted almost entirely to Folkstock at The White Lion with so many excellent acts, like, well, see the photo’s below:- 

Caution Horses


Daria Kulesh
Ragged Staff
Paul Booth
With just the odd excursion out to see One Leather Glove at The Rose and Crown

One Leather Glove
 and The Jesus Hooligan Drum Circle on the main High Street Stage

Jesus Hooligan Drum Circle
before heading back to see Cara Beard, Dodo Bones and Luke Tuchscherer and then heading off to The Engine for a session of extremely polished high octane rock from New Device.

Cara Beard

Dodo Bones

Luke Tuchscherer
New Device
After all that there was nothing that could top that so I headed off home for a well earned rest to get myself all ready for Sunday. I even got back home in time to watch a goodly portion of the Last Night at the Proms with Sue so that was rather splendid too.

This years charity was The St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust, a worthy cause indeed, we all hope loads and loads of money was raised.

Sunday once again was spent mainly at the White Lion with the Folkstock sessions again featuring a host of truly splendid folk and acoustic singer songwriter artists, needless to say I spent a small fortune on CD’s which I am slowly listening my way through. 

Pete Guy
Faye Brotherhood

Steve Warner

Minnie Birch
Again we had the odd excursion ‘out’ to see Harry & Co. as Roughage stepped in to fill the breach left by a band who could not turn up at The Rose and Crown.

 Then it was back to the White Lion to see Sandtimer

Before dashing down to the Broken Drum to see Ben Bubear do his first solo set and a damn good job he did too!

Ben Bubear
Followed by a mad rush back to the White Lion to see Aimee, Emma McGrath and the fabulous Kelly Oliver before, 


Emma McGrath

Kelly Oliver
Heading off back yet again to The Broken Drum for Smige’s farewell gig before he heads over the sea for a new job for several months and a damn fine set he delivered too!

The very wonderful - Smige
After having us sing, laugh and cry along the wonderful Smige finished at just the right time for us to head off to The Engine to catch those rocking ladies Joan ov Arc rip the roof off the marquee and bring, certainly our Balstock, to an epic close especially when G La Roche joined them to play Motorhead’s ‘Bomber’ before the very short but poignant closing speech.

There was an enormous crowd for Joan ov Arc

Over the weekend Balstock was of course somewhat of a Fellowship event with myself, Chris, Peter, Kevin all there at times as punters and with Smiffy & Lynne working there all weekend so we all send our thanks to G La Roche and ALL the Balstock Team and the artists who played for free and made this years 10th Anniversary Balstock one of the best yet, here’s to 2016!

And finally:-
Strange Occupation

Last night I saw him
on a train from Baldock station
Balancing a cola on his hand
strange occupation
You could all be forgiven
for thinking he was pissed
Trying to balance a cola bottle
on his wrist
But without the detail
we don’t see the bigger picture
We make wrong assumptions and
it’s just incorrect conjecture
You have to realise there’s something
that you may have missed
The cold cola was there soothing
his poor damaged swollen wrist
With so much information these days
tell me please how can you
Take everything you’re given
just upon its sad face value
The media feed us
just what the bloody hell they please
Or take directions
from whichever government that leads
One person’s migrant
is another’s refugee
Terrorist or freedom fighter
depends upon the regime and history
It’s all down to the perspective
and the way that it’s all fed you
So don’t believe the hype and lies
what you really must do
Is take a step back so you can
see the bigger picture
Assimilate the facts and
blow away the false conjecture
Think for yourself and don’t let
anyone else do it for you
And who knows we may even be able
to build a better tomorrow

Grant Meaby – At Balstock - 2015

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