ROCK & BLUES CUSTOM SHOW 2018 Day 2 - Pentrich, Derbyshire 27.07.18



Up with the lark, I was looking forward to the second full day of the festival. The rain was falling and the skies looked full of it. Not great when one stage was outdoors plus the wind had picked up, boots and poncho packed in with the cameras, I was ready to battle the elements.

Arriving on site, sleepy faces and cups of tea prioritising the morning for many, the rain holding off but so windy! A complete contrast to the day before.

An early start with two stages running concurrently, VICKI JAMES in the acoustic tent and THE CLINKS on the outdoor stage. Both very young and very talented.

Vicki James is an alternative folk singer from the midlands whose debut album ‘One’ was released in 2016 and The Clinks who were winners of this year’s Battle of the Band’s to win a spot on the outdoor stage.

The Clinks have a great pop rock sound and singer Sophie Littlewood seems very comfortable in such large surroundings. A great job by both bands.

HENRY’S FUNERAL SHOE opened the main stage, brothers Aled and Brenning Clifford producing a huge sound. “Amazing!” was how I heard them described from those watching – people were flooding into the main stage to take a look at this band. Heavy rock, blues, some punk mayhem, but definitely their own sound. A great visual band too, so much energy. I bought the album.

Next on the outdoor stage were SCARLET REBELS (formerly Void). A classic sounding band from South Wales. Nice heavy riffs, great lyrics and infectious melodies. Even with the wind swirling the sound around, they sounded great.

CADENCE NOIR played the acoustic stage, formed in 2011, the band have a professionalism and an ease in an acoustic setting. Gothic Folk/Alternative rock is definitely their thing. The Nottingham based band had some fans in the tent and made some new ones too. I will definitely try and catch their full electric show in the near future.


The heavens opened and the rain bucketed out of the sky. The crowd predominantly sheltered in the main tent which was a shame for those bands playing the other stages, but there were a few hardened festival goers who braved the elements in support of those troopers.

One band I have caught a few times recently was next up on the main stage. KANE’D is fronted by sisters, Chez, Steph and Stacey bringing a unique sound with the familial harmonies of their vocals and a power that can shake the tent poles. Musically the guys in the band are strong enough to compete, not just with the power of the girls voices, but also their energy on stage. A very dynamic visual band with bags of melodic hard rocking songs to enthral any crowd.

‘Show Me Your Skeleton’, ‘Reckless’ and ‘La Di Da’, being personal favourites, sound epic in a big venue. Huge riffs and pulsating basslines drive the music into the stratosphere only to be accompanied by the strength of the girls voices.


Loved it! Great set.

Less bands today due to the Custom Bike Show which is so well supported. More bikes to look at today, the smell of polish mingling with hot exhausts, the noise deafening as they revved up and some ventured out into the rain.

As the rain continued to pour and outdoor stage sound engineers shook their heads in frustration, NEW GENERATION SUPERSTARS played surrounded in bin bags and plastic coverings. A sterling performance and the rain seemed to lighten in sympathy for their efforts. The sound was mashed by the wind totally but even with just a few dedicated watchers, they played as if they were playing Wembley Stadium. The Nottingham rockers played a set of classic hard rock smattered with some punk sprinklings, they make you smile and obviously love what they do.

Meanwhile in the Acoustic tent GORILLA RIOT flooded the packed-out tent with great stripped back versions of some of their songs.  They are a great live band and seemed really comfortable with performing in such a toned down way despite being known for their hard rocking full electric performances..

Back on the main stage MASSIVE WAGONS are eagerly anticipated. They have played Rock and Blues before and the crowd love them. They’re not the only ones as the backstage crew gather side stage to also watch.

The Lancaster rockers have gathered momentum recently and dynamic, charismatic frontman Baz Mills soon has the crowd eating out of his hand. Smiling as they play, the band are clearly enjoying the atmosphere too. Opening with ‘Back to the Stack’, ‘Billy Baloon Head’, ‘Red Dress’, the crowd are bobbing along, the faces on the barrier smiling, it’s an applaudable performance and not just from Baz, the whole band sound tight and their sound fits well in such a big venue. Their album ‘Full Nelson’ is to be released on the 10th August and I, for one, will be pre-ordering, but it is their live performance where they come into their own. Bravo Dale for getting them on the bill.

THE RISING SOULS graced the Outdoor stage with their blend of soulful rock.  The Scottish band know how to play to a crowd and despite the poor weather conditions swirling the sound around, they sounded great and were consummate professionals.

Reenies Rockettes Burlesque Troop make another welcome appearance – full showgirl regalia and despite some sound problems the girls keep smiling. They have as much energy as Baz did and their efforts are met with cheers and rapturous applause.

Back to the music with GUN. Clive Jackson (of Doctor and the Medics fame) introduces the band and I can only say the crowd went absolutely nuts. No messing about as they rip into their set; ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’, ‘Here’s Where I Am’ and ‘Better Days’ to name a few. Dante’s voice is sublime, Jools’ guitar work is intricate and nimble. The band are very together and look confident and settled.

The album ‘Favourite Pleasures’ was released a few months ago, their seventh studio album, and hearing the title track brought life to it. The Glaswegian rockers know how to play and work a crowd and finishing with a cover of ‘(You’ve Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ was just genius – what a way to go out on a high, well out of the tent anyway. Tonight’s main stage Headliners would have to pull out all the stops based on the last two bands to say the least.

As the sun decided to put in an appearance and the rain clouds drifted away, THE KRIS BARRAS BAND closed the outdoor stage.

I was blown away – not just by the swirling wind but by the band especially Mr Barras himself. From the madness of the Gun set to the chilled vibe of the setting sun and passionate, soulful playing of Barras and the band, the number of people who had come out to see them was definitely the biggest outdoor crowd of the weekend and deservedly so. Not just beautifully delivered vocals throughout each song, but the way Barras himself plays, it feels like his guitar has a soul, every emotion is exposed. ‘Hail Mary’ was simply stunning.

The Kris Barras Band embarks on a nationwide ‘The Divine and Dirty’ tour in September – go and see them, no excuses.

To the headliners and final band of this year’s wonderful festival, THE DEAD DAISIES.

Another band who have played here before and are obviously well liked, side stage was filling up and the marquee housing the main stage was packed out.

If recent gigs have been anything to go by, it was going to be loud, very loud and very good.

‘Resurrected’ punched you in the stomach with the ferocity of the sound. Yes, it was huge.  ‘Rise Up’, ‘Make Some Noise’ (and everyone did), ‘Mexico’, ‘Dead and Gone’, minor chat, it was all about the music. John Corabi is one of the best frontmen in rock. He delivers live and not just with his bluesy, gravel hard rock tones but with his whole demeanour, enamouring the crowd to him through smiles, winks and just being himself. Marco Mendoza is not just there for his bassist skills, he too has a great voice and with the songs being so big, he provides many of the additional vocals. Deen Castronovo has proved he is a worthy replacement for Brian Tichy never missing a beat. David Lowy filling out the sound with rhythm guitar, calm and measured, an integral part of the band. Doug Aldrich, the guitar master, the king of the riffs, need I elaborate?

For the perhaps one or two who didn’t know the Daisies songs, there were a few covers, ‘Fortunate Son’, ‘Bitch’, a few nice flurries of well-known songs as an introduction to each band member which really got the crowd singing along. They certainly put on a fabulous live show, closing a 19 song set with ‘Highway Star’ leaving the crowd breathless and satisfied.

The end of another exhausting but exhilarating day.  This is a fabulous festival, well organised, well supported. Camping is a short walk from the main arena, VIP glamping, reasonable costs for food, clean loos, a family feel, near to Derby for hotels and great road links. I can’t find anything not to like and you know what makes it even better – the cost, ridiculously cheap! Look at the line up that’s been this year’s festival! Under £35 for 3 days …early bird offers give a great saving too.

Please check out the Facebook and website for details, tickets for 2019 are already on sale. We can only keep these wonderful festivals going by supporting them.


Apologies go to those bands I didn’t manage to catch, the weather and time didn’t play fair.


My personal thanks go to Dale Langham and The Outlaws. Dave, Paul, Rory, Trish, Keith Knowles and all the backstage crew.