One Day Fest: II – Festival Review – Cornwall, 24th March 2018
Do you remember that feeling when you’re a kid and you go down a medium sized hill on your bike
2018’s version of One Day Fest kicked off in the Inn on the Shore pub, Downderry, with the sun dappled sea playing its role as a backdrop to the afternoon performances. All nerves soon dissipated, however, because it’s hard to be introspective when a 14-year-old girl has the guts to get up in front of a room full of people and sing her heart out. Rosie Ugalde is such a girl and one with an outstanding voice. At the age of 14, Ugalde has already mastered a soulful tone with a superb range which, when blended with a deft touch on the guitar, makes for a thoroughly engaging performance. The cover of Birdy’s ‘Wings’ was as haunting as it was warm and heartening so I think there’s plenty to be excited about for this fledgling artist. Time for a quick jog up the hill to the new second stage to catch local collective the Deviock Community Music Group and, for a large ensemble, these guys are becoming tighter with every performance and their range of songs in this first of two sets was a real Greatest Hits of songs from Jazz to Soul and Pop. The Village Hall stage was just about big enough to cope with the size of the group but it’s going to take a bigger structure to contain their talent if they keep improving at this rate.
Back in the pub it was time for Plymouth based Eilidh Sinclair to make the stage her own. With a quiet, understated confidence and an ease that draws the audience in, Sinclair got to work on a set that was perfect for an early afternoon show with a sweet melancholy to proceedings, typified by a sumptuous reworking of the classic ‘Tainted Love’ as a highlight. Charlie Harris was up next as another scarily prodigious teenage talent that I had first seen supporting Wildwood Kin at the tail end of 2017. There is still an endearing honesty and enthusiasm to perform within Harris which, coupled with a wonderfully warm tone, makes her a thoroughly exciting talent. As the grey skies outside swirled and the winter made a final attempt to hang on, Harris won over the hearts of those huddled within the hall by regaling us with a note perfect and, more importantly, tone perfect version of the Bill Wither’s classic ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ – fitting in perfectly alongside her clutch of original songs, I should add.
Now, when you’ve had three angelic voices in a row and everyone is settling in to a post-lunch stupor, there’s only one thing for it – bring in Dew Barf. With a name that literally translates from Cornish as ‘Two Beards’, these gents are pretty easy to spot in a crowd but when they start playing they’re impossible to miss. Fuzzed up guitar, a foot stomp of a drumkit and some smooth bass licks make for a raucous sound that will get any venue pumping but especially one that’s starting to warm their ears up to quality music. In the Village Hall, Roz Birch was a commanding presence on stage with her bassist accompaniment adding depth to her deft playing of the piano. However, it is Birch’s huge and soulful voice that is the real star of the show here with it’s Moyet-esque tones filling the tall space of the hall and warming the cockles of all those lucky enough to witness this performance. Walking back down the hill, I notice that there is an ice-cream van and a Coffee and Crepes van trading in the car-park in front of a huge, pink, inflatable castle slide – the wheels on my bike are wobbling violently at this point but the breaks aren’t ready to be squeezed yet.
LWM favourite Gozer Goodspeed is the first artist of the day to have featured on both One Day Fest events and his stomping, rattling blues justified the rebooking. With a third EP on the way later this year, Plymouth based Goodspeed has mastered his take on the blues genre but, not one to rest on his laurels, he has added loop pedals to his arsenal and this makes for a truly original sound. ‘What You Got Going On, Lewis?’ was a highlight of the set getting everyone moving with a classic story-telling slice of blues just perfect for the occasion. Having travelled from Newcastle to Cornwall just to play at One Day Fest, it was only right that the sun made an appearance just as Nick Gladdish took to the stage to play a set of original pieces written on the piano, including tracks from his new EP. Working through a range of genres from sombre indie pieces to more lively jazz influenced tunes that kept the audience guessing and engaged for the whole set. Throw in Gladdish’s husky voice and easy repartee with the audience and you know you’re dealing with a consummate professional.
Every village has its local heroes and Downderry is no different. With only his second performance of the last two years (joining Goodspeed and Gladdish on the list of One Day Fest ever presents), Mark Cornwall climbed on to his stool and hit us square between the eyes with Greenday’s ‘Basket Case’. A mixture of acoustic and electric guitar driven covers had the pub singing along as we transitioned smoothly from the afternoon to what is known in these parts as ‘the evening’. Watching a man with a crowd in the palm of his hands is one thing, knowing that man also owns a speed boat takes this to a whole new level. Soloist Frozen Houses was joined by Little Lapin for his slot in the Village Hall, making a duo of wonderfully pseudonymmed artists – like He Man and She Ra but with guitars instead of swords. The Cornish pair eased the audience through a set of gentle but intricate songs which oozed with affection, wit and charm from start to finish. Classy, effortless and exactly the kind of music to lift the spirits on a grey British afternoon.
The prize for effort on this occasion goes to Sam Thornton, frontman and bundle of energy of San
Blas. Despite other members of the
band not being able to make the show, Thornton continued his pilgrimage which
started 5 years ago in Perth, Australia, via London and now finds him standing
naked (metaphorically) in front of a bunch of Cornish strangers, save for a ukulele
and the kind of smile only Australians can smile. With a wild ‘1,2,3,4’ and a
strum of the 4-string uke, Thornton kicked off and hearts were won round
without much trouble as his mix of frantic originals and cleverly adapted
covers from the likes of Gorillaz make for a heady experience. Meanwhile, the
order of the day for local lads LGM One is
frenetic synth fuelled indie-rock, the sheer noise and force of which drew folks
in from all around. With the laser beams dancing around and the band wringing
every little note out of their instruments; the steadily growing crowd were
transfixed to the extent that I can confidently predict big things for their
album due out this summer.
|Sam Thornton of San Blas|
The fourth and final return performer, Paul Armer, can be considered entirely new for 2018 as his previous performance was solo whereas this time he has a full band behind him. Armer’s songs of heartache and protest are fuelled by his acoustic strum, harmonica blasts and fantastically unique vocal but they are given a new vigour by the bass, drums and pedal steel guitar of his band. Between the four of them, these guys make a sound that is not only heart warming and inviting but also ridiculously slick and too big a sound for the pub circuit for much longer. In terms of the volume stakes, however, Cornish Mods the Viewers were unparalleled on the day as they turned the evening in to the night and the dancing got going in a way that only a solid day of drinking and good music can cause. These four gentlemen have absolutely mastered the art of writing catchy songs that you feel like you’ve always known with choruses that make you just want to sing along before you’ve even heard the words. Their songs stand shoulder to shoulder with the odd cover, like Spencer Davis Group classic ‘Keep On Running’, and I’ve not seen a mixed age group of people so united in the utter joy of music and dance in a very, very long time.
With the first of two sets, Dr Thud’s Remedy brought their many stringed beast of a band to the stage at the Inn and it was time for shoes to be kicked off and hair to be let down. With the steady, constant beat of Dr Thud’s bodhran giving everyone a beat to dance to, the rest of the band set about their instruments with a passion and enthusiasm that was truly infectious and before long the jigging and reeling was everywhere. With the band’s first of two sets complete, it was time for the Deviock Community Music Group to close things out in the Village Hall with a set chocked full of Motown, Soul and Funk classics. Once again, the dancing and singing-along bordered on the religious as the smiles of the crowd were reflected in the faces of the musicians on stage and half of the festival came to a close. There was still time for Dr Thud’s Remedy to seal the deal, however, and they did that by upping the energy levels, getting more people dancing and generally just being the great sports that folk music tends to create by necessity.
|Deviock Community Music Group|
And so, as the bottom of the hill approached, and I squeezed on the breaks everything felt like it was going to end just perfectly. However, upon checking back in on the Village Hall I was met by the sight of four ladies belting out karaoke versions of 80s tunes from a now empty stage to an equally empty hall. The music had got in to them, the giant inflatable castle had deflated, and I hadn’t seen the pothole in the road. It’s the kind of thing that happens in one day in Downderry.
All Photographs by Don D (aka the Lazy Photographer): https://www.facebook.com/thelazyphotographers/
Rosie Ugalde – https://www.facebook.com/Rosie-Ugalde-Music-190756224741961/
Deviock Community Music Group – https://www.facebook.com/Deviock-Community-Music-157291934816328/
Eilidh Sinclair – https://www.facebook.com/eilidhsinclairmusic/
Charlie Harris – https://www.facebook.com/charliehofficial/
Dew Barf – https://www.facebook.com/dewbarf/
Roz Birch – https://www.facebook.com/rozbirchmusic/
Gozer Goodspeed – https://www.facebook.com/GozerGoodspeed1
Nick Gladdish – https://www.facebook.com/Nick-Gladdish-66424538803/
Frozen Houses – https://www.facebook.com/frozenhouses/
San Blas – https://www.facebook.com/sanblasmusic/
LGM One – https://www.facebook.com/lgmone/
Paul Armer – https://www.facebook.com/paularmermusic/
The Viewers – https://www.facebook.com/theviewersband/Dr Thud’s Remedy - https://www.facebook.com/drthudsremedy/