Sunday, 19 June 2016

Surfer Joe Summer Festival 2016 Part 5

Saturday, shortly after midday, Surfer Joe Diner. Incoming at 3 o'clock, young man in black t-shirt. Correction: black LOS FANTASTICOS t-shirt. This can't be right; we've only sold a few and mostly to people whose birthdays we know. Hold on, Clive has a vague memory of selling one to a young guy at our last gig with Bang! Mustang in Brighton. What a very strange and small world this is.

I later meat this young man and he tells me that he was inspired, upon seeing that Brighton gig, to go home to Chichester and start a surf band. I feel strangely humbled. We chat for a while about the Surfy Bear reverb unit, theremins and other gear related things and I tell him about the gigs we promote and to contact me on Facebook. He promises me that he will and we go our separate ways. Damn! I didn't even get his name.

We eat lunch in the garden of a nearby restaurant and, while it's nice enough, we remember why we usually go to the chicken restaurant.

Back at the Diner, I catch the last part of Mocoto's talk on Brazilian surf music and manage a quick chat with him about the sadly defunct Estrume'n'tal. Next it's the demonstration of the new Surfy Trem pedal, which sounds lovely, although the technical aspects of Bjorn's explanation are somewhat baffling to me. Fortunately, Hastings' own technical genius, Justin, is on hand to give me the layman' version of just what a harmonic tremolo does. I am less baffled by Martin Schmidt's surf guitar clinic. I understand almost everything he says and can even do quite a few of the things he plays. It's only when he puts all of these things together that I understand the cold, hard truth: I will never be able to play guitar like Martin Schmidt.

Today's music begins on the Tiki Stage with two Italian bands. Second are The Psycho Surfers,who I've seen a couple of times before and who I enjoy no less for that and openers, Bad Riders, are also hugely enjoyable, making extremely effective use of their organ player. Third on are Los Venturas, from Belgium, promoting their new album, Miles High. They are great. Bye the album and catch them while you can. We hope to bring them back to England in November.

Next up are Boss Fink and their hot-rod-surf-fuzz mashup proves a hit with the crowd; several people are speak to are particularly wowed by the drummer., who apparently once played with The Monks.

Les Agamemnonz, resplendent I their maroon robes, are the first band on the main stage tonight and I greatly enjoy the portion of their set which I watch with Alex, from Horse Rock, who is a big fan of the Frenchmen. Alex also introduces me to a couple he has just met and who are from Brighton. One of the lives just a few hundred yards from us. As I've already said, it's a very small world. We hope to meet them again when (shameless plug alert) Horse Rock play at The Prince Albert on July 1st, along with The Space Agency and Sir Bald Diddley.

Back at the Tiki Stage, The Razorblades are on next and the boys are in full-on rock'n'roll assault mode. Their infectious energy spreads to the crowd, although they tempt the wrath of the surf-instructions gods with several numbers featuring (gasp!) vocals. The gods respond with a few drops of rain, but, as Martin explains to me later when I interview him on North Sea Surf Radio, The Razorblades just play harder and louder, the gods are appeased and the rain abates.

Unfortunately, my slot on the radio with Martin and Niels, means that I only get to catch a very small part of The Barbwires' set over on the main stage, although what I did see was great. Just as I was finishing up on NSSR, The Bradipos IV hit the Tiki Stage. I first saw this band at the very first Surfer Joe festival in 2003 and this is the fourth time I have seen them in total. They never fail to please and this show is no exception to that; the tunes are great and they play so so well. Bravissimo!

It's been a very long day and I am certainly starting to wilt as Germany's Los Banditos begin their set in the main stage at around half-past midnight. However, their highly original and varied sound keeps me going until the rain returns and we beat a retreat to the shelter of the diner. I would love to see The Surf Coasters' second show, upstairs in the Tiki Bar, but I am shattered and the rain seems to be driving many of the thronging Saturday night crowd up there, meaning it's likely to become rather uncomfortable. We admit defeat and, safe in the knowledge that at least we witnessed their majestic performance on Friday, return to the hotel.

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