Author Topic: Butlins Skegness 2016 - A sort of review.  (Read 2319 times)

Offline Rockula

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Butlins Skegness 2016 - A sort of review.
« on: October 15, 2016, 06:16:06 PM »
The Great British Alternative Music Festival, Butlins Skegness - 7th - 10th October 2016

Day 1: Left home early allowing 4 and a half hours for a 3 and a half hour journey. Unfortunately it took 5 and a half hours as it took an hour to get through the Boston rush hour and school chuck-outs. Oh well...

We arrived and found our room. Took half an hour to find a parking spot. This meant that, although we could hear them, we didn't actually get to see 'Chaos 8' (who I'd been looking forward to) or 'March To The Grave' (who I know nothing about) on the 'Introducing Stage'. I'm told they were both very good so that's 2 to add to the 'must see another time' list.
After getting our dinner (included in price, eat all you want, very nice) we got to see 'Knock Off' and 'Heavy Drapes'. Both entertaining. Also met up with Mr Fish and Graham Saxby hanging around the ale bar like a couple of 'dodgy geezers'.
The 'Introducing Stage' offered all the bands (four per day) professional sound and equipment and you could vote on favourite band of the day; winners to play on the main stages next year. Didn't vote on Day 1 'cause of not seeing the first two bands. Also bumped into Fleagle. Actually, being mostly a Northern crowd, I think we only met maybe 20 people we already knew over the whole weekend. Didn't matter. Made new friends all weekend.

Evening Friday; We decided on the 'Centre Stage' (Main Stage 2) and saw an absolutely brilliant set by 'Big Country' and, dare I say it, an even better set by 'The Tom Robinson Band'. 'Big Country' sounded note perfect and if you closed your eyes you couldn't even tell that Stuart Adamson wasn't on stage. Bodes well for the 'Skids' reunion as both these guitarists are involved. Tom Robinson performed songs from all over his career, included all the ones we love, and updated the lyrics to suit 2016. The songs from the new album sounded great with a full band. He was also very affable and got everyone singing along to the likes of 'Martin' and '2468 Motorway'. I noticed some folk wouldn't sing along to 'Glad To Be Gay' and I think I made some skinheads at the next table uncomfortable when I joined in. Ha ha.
So, what did we miss on the other stage? 'The Lambrettas' and 'UK Subs'. Didn't care about one and the Subs I've already seen at least 4 times this year already. Think I'll let the new guitarist 'settle in' before I see them next. That other room ended with 'Anti-Nowhere League' that do nothing for me and our room ended with Tim V's version of 'Sham 69'. I have nothing against them but we were tired and so we went to bed.   

Day 2: After breakfast we took a stroll along the coast to the fairgrounds and the market. Had a great time in town and nearly got back too late for the afternoon set by 'The Fuckwits' on the 'Reds' (Main Stage 1). But we caught a bus and made it and they were great. Very jolly set. After dinner we headed over to 'Centre Stage' for an absolutely blinding set by 'Angelic Upstarts'. This was one of the highlights of my weekend. I hadn't seen them for years and have to say they sound better now than I ever remember. I must see them again soon. All the classics were played and there was much baiting of Tories, Nazis and the Police as you might expect. But all with a great sense of humour.
The 'Introducing Stage' this afternoon gave us 'The Negatives' from Bradford who had every conceivable technical thing go wrong but soldiered on and gained respect for doggedness. They were followed by 'Resistance 77'. Not my scene so we went to the pub. And we stayed in the pub so I can't give any clear or unbiased report on 'First Wave' or 'Suburban Toys' 'cause we were chatting with a nice couple from Bolton and a drunken Mod from Hull instead.
What else did we miss this afternoon apart from that? 'Bad Manners' (whatever) and 'Loyd Grossman' (nope).

Evening Saturday; Tonight is 'The Stranglers' night and we knew half the camp was planning to go to their 11pm set. And so, after dinner, we got in the queue for 'Reds' at 6.15pm an hour BEFORE doors at 7.15pm. We were about numbers 15 and 16 in the queue. By 7.15pm the queue was over 1,000 strong. Glad we thought ahead. We got seats and met with a fine fellow called Jerry from Dorset. He was such a gentleman he insisted on going to the bar so that we didn't have to fight through the crowds on our sticks. We held his seat for him and insisted on buying most of the rounds. He is also an old 'Members' fan and was quite pleased when we introduced him to the band who came a day early to enjoy the event. So that all turned out mutually beneficial. But had to endure a tedious set of folky/traveller songs by Dave Sharp previously of 'The Alarm'. There's only one guy that can perform solo on stage with just a guitar and hold my attention and unfortunately this wasn't him. We were rewarded for our patience (or impatience) when 'The Rezillos' did a fine show; even if there were some technical difficulties and a shortened set. Unfortunately Butlins is very strict about timings.
Then 'The Stranglers'. I'm a fan obviously. But I will admit that the 'newer' songs were played much better than the 'old classics' as Dave Greenfield seems to be quite bored of playing them. The 'greatest hits' songs were a bit 'perfunctory'. Luckily for me I was more interested in the songs from the last two albums and they were amazing. Spot on. And the 'nostalgists' didn't seem to mind. The room was heaving and jumping from the first song to the last. And they didn't play 'Golden Brown'; RESULT! A late session after the bands is all a bit blurry. Much ale and rum, etc.

Day 3; No stroll along the beach today. Bit achey. So after a leisurely breakfast we popped into the booking office. next year's confirmed acts were already announced as 'Skids', 'The Vapors', 'Theatre Of Hate', 'Ruts DC', 'Lene Lovich' and 'Toyah'. We 'upgraded' our 'package' but it still turned out cheaper than this year. Excellent!

Afternoon bands today started with 'The Marc O'Reilly Band'. We were unfamiliar with this Irish roots artist but were very impressed. My wife, Xa, was particularly happy 'cause she's a fan of the late 'John Martyn' and this guitar band sounded somewhat like him only with a lot more bollocks. We stayed in 'Reds' for the next band. It was 'The Blockheads'. Ian Dury or no these are a brilliant band. They did the old songs proud and the new songs are similarly funny, sarcastic, caustic and filled with rhythms your feet can't ignore. The only 'Blockhead' missing was Norman Watt-Roy who was ill. But his bass stand-in was brilliant and I'm just sad I failed to catch his name. A great sing-a-long set. Knock me down with a feather.....

Evening Sunday; our last night was truly mixed-bag of treats. We saw 'Snide Remarks', Church Of Eon', 'Inequality Street' and 'Borrowed Time' on the 'Introducing Stage' and I'd be hard-pushed to decide which was best. They were all very good in different ways and with different styles making choosing one to go forward to play a main stage next year difficult. But I went with 'Church Of Eon' (anthem after anthem) and Xa went with 'Inequality Street' (who sound far better live than their studio recordings to my ears).
After dinner we went to see 'The Stiffs' who I loved and Xa found tedious. Can't please everyone. I wasn't over familiar with their material but they were super tight and there was some excellent guitar duelling. We went to see them 'cause 'Spear Of Destiny' were on the other stage and they don't do much for me; although I loved 'The Pack' and we'll probably check out 'Theatre Of Hate' next year.
Anyway, we stayed in our seats as the venue became rammed for 'From The Jam'. Entertaining yes. Almost note perfect yes. Something missing....yes. I'd rather hear this great band as Bruce Foxton's backing band doing his own, solo stuff. This set really is pure nostalgia and I'm not really into that. There were also some very drunk skinheads falling over the tables. So, after about 6 songs, we decided to go check out 'The Tubes' in 'Reds'.

And are we so glad we did. They'd gone on late so we'd only missed the first song. Jerry had not only held seats for us but had got a couple of rounds in ready. 'The Tubes' were fucking brilliant. They started out doing stuff that was more like James Brown than anything else I can think of then they jumped around in their back catalogue from funk 'n' soul to rock 'n' blues and back again. Yes, they did 'White Punks On Dope' but it wasn't even the best thing in the set. They were a revelation. And Fee Waybill is hilarious. A definite highlight. And totally unexpected.

And so to the last band. Yes, it was my mates 'The Members'. And what were they up against in the other room? 'The Sex Pissed Dolls'. Oh dear. A lot of people left after 'The Tubes' to go and check out that 'covers' band....but most of them were back halfway into 'The Members' 2nd song. Which was lucky because they were on the best form I've seen them in maybe a year. Old songs not performed for 35 years or so back in the set and sounding great. Very tight. 'Handling The Big Jets', 'Flying Again', 'Soho-A-Go-Go' plus all those one's they're obliged to play. You know which ones I mean. Great sound. An appreciative crowd. Great end to a great weekend.

Day 4; Monday. All there was left was breakfast and a long drive home. If we could've booked our room another night we would've to avoid the 'hangover drive'. But next year we're thinking of booking a B&B for one night in Skegness. Or Skag Vegas as it's known by some.

And then a week of chesty, phlegmy coughs and headaches. Some say it was over-indulgence, some blame the air-conditioning in packed venues, some even blame the plastic pint glasses in the bars. Whatever it was it's not put me off going back next year. We're booked. It's locked in. Looking forward to it.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 06:22:43 PM by Rockula »

Offline Alan

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Re: Butlins Skegness 2016 - A sort of review.
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2016, 10:47:55 AM »
Sounds like a great time was had by all!

Offline Fred21

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Re: Butlins Skegness 2016 - A sort of review.
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2016, 11:59:28 AM »
Yes indeed - except for missing Spear, especially since Kirk takes a rather 'fluid' approach to the chronology of his setlist and you probably missed a few Pack/ToH classics!

Thanks for the review.
TV SM!TH - for the beer and the company! (AND great songs too!)

Offline Uli

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Re: Butlins Skegness 2016 - A sort of review.
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2016, 04:46:40 PM »
Wow, great write-up, thanx!  :)
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