Naked Sunday, This Elegant Chaos, WEAK13 and Bad Monkey – Swan Hotel, Stafford Sunday 22/05/2016


Damian finds himself in Stafford on a Sunday with Naked Sunday. Hopefully he kept his clothes on

An ad posted on the WEAK13 face book site led me to Furzefest, a mini festival in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support in The Swan Hotel in Stafford. A worthy cause, free in and did I mention there was a plentiful supply of Real Ale.

I arrived at a marquee in the rear of the hotel to find what turned out to be Bad Monkey or Mick Connor strumming a guitar and sauntering around the stage. We get a few covers and homegrown numbers before he leaves the stage.

1WEAK13 were up next and I was really looking forward to seeing them, having recently had the pleasure of reviewing their wonderful debut album “They Live.” The boys, Nick, Neel and Wesley had promised something different and certainly delivered it in a semi acoustic set. Sticks man Neel strumming away on a trug, which is what I can only describe as an oversized plant pot or laundry basket!! The set kicks off with the fabulous almost anti war anthem “Obey The Slave” before we get a kind of WEAK13 love song in the form of “Ashes in Autumn” written in Cork Airport of all places. The chorus of “Those tears will make us sad” always rattle around in my head after hearing this tune. This shortened set continues with “Loyal Coward” followed by an oldie called “Lunatic” before things are wrapped up with the superb “My Last Summer With You.”

A short but nevertheless cracking set.

Bad Monkey again took to the stage for a few numbers before This Elegant Chaos took over.

The group are a heavy rock  quartet, based in Birmingham.First up was “Black Mirror” from their most recent five track EP “Darkness Falls.”

The band run through “Diseased”, “More”, ”Again” and “Get Out” before sharing the track “Bloodlust” from their 2014 self titled release. “House of Destruction”, “Take it All”, “No way Home” are blasted out before the band ends their set with “Alive.” I really enjoyed this band, who can rock out a song and have a real gem in vocalist Stephanie. Her voice reminded me of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin at times and she can certainly belt out a tune.

A little left of centre and a break from the live music on offer, up step the superb burlesque outfit The Cocktail Croquettes who were also joined by another outfit from Stoke on Trent, of whom sadly I didn’t get their names. The troupe went through two or three routines which were extremely well received by the cheering audience and left us all with a smile on our faces.

The day was rounded off by Naked Sunday, described as a Dirty Blues Rock three piece based in The Midlands. The band ran through a couple of their own numbers but this was a set that was mainly comprised of sing-a-longs and crowd pleasers and why not. We get snippets of “With or Without You”, “Under Pressure”, “Beat it” and “Living on a Prayer” The group are an energetic. enthusiastic and wonderfully personable outfit and the ideal band to close out a real uplifting day, and an excellent way of supporting such a worthy charity.

Here’s to all the artists and participants who gave up their time and talent to make such a memorable day.

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