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Wildside Festival - Marcus Garvey Ballroom, Nottingham

Saturday 18th November 2006

Turning up fairly late considering the festival kicked off at 4.30 in the afternoon I'd already missed the likes of ROLLING THUNDER, NEW GENERATION SUPERSTARS and SWEET SEDUCTION. Thankfully, the diehards from all over the country had stepped up to the plate, made the grade and got there early to show their support to the opening bands. A large, impressive crowd was already on hand by the early evening which was encouraging to see and were giving good vocal support in the large venue.

Opening with perhaps the worst sound possible, RED STAR REBELS kicked into their low strung sleaze attack with an awful sound encompassing only Drums and Bass. Eventually the guitars kick in but the sound for the most part did little to improve and the Rebels appeared sloppy and struggled to hold their songs together. Vocalist Blacky Rebel kept the stage-hand permanently in a job by dropping his microphone after almost every chorus and delivering his Liam Gallagher gone 80's Sunset Strip swagger whilst the rest of the band decked out in vintage denim and ripped shirts enthusiastically attempted to battle with the messy sound. When the band take their foot off the gas though further into their set, spending less time postouring and giving out attitude, the songs and sound improve and the Rebels show they can actually blast through the odd decent rock anthem. Get an equal balance of the attitude, attention to song detail and delivery fellas and you could be onto a winner.

Should RATTLESNAKE REMEDY ever need a new member I'm sure on the application form a requirement must be to sport a shaggy mop top harido alongside the ability to deliver fine, solid rock and roll! A marathon amount of live shows and a brand new album, Magic Man, ensures that the band have little in the way of the same sound problems that the Rebels earlier battled with. Their entire set is totally polished and professionally delivered from start to finish, mixing the laid back guitar rock of The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin and maybe even a dash of Skynard for good measure. Vocalist Lee Stone casually strolls the stage but his voice comes equipped with a Jizzy Pearl cry that gives the material more of a dirty edge. The crowd respond well but whilst this music is always good value, whether it can ever evolve from mearly a great support band to world beating headline draw in today's day and age is yet to be seen. I'm sure Rattlesnake Remedy don't plan to let that get in their way though.

Sleaze levels crank up a little with the arrival of KID EGO to the Nottingham stage and band come out all guns blazing with the track 'Lady Conniver', perhaps their most instantly commericial tune with it's Motley meets Skid Row attitude. Hats off to Kid Ego as they really try and deliver the full rock show each time they perform, even bringing along their very own dancers in the form of The Glitter Kittens, but very few of their songs meet up to the catchiness of the set opener. Tonight's set though is much more solid than their recent Rock City headline slot and the band do have a sweet charm at times. Vocalist Zakk though is never going to be Vince Neil, Bret Michaels or Axl Rose no matter how hard he tries so perhaps mixing more of the fun angle and maybe even a little more comedy to their quirky image it may give the band more of their own identity like with their ace in the hole - the somewhat irritating, but charmingly likeable cartoon bassist Rookie. Kid Ego could easily leave the attitude and credability at the door cause there aint nothing wrong with being a fun and happy rock and roll band and making people smile!

Although we were in Nottingham for the Wildside Festival the noticeable amount of Welsh accents in the venue is evidence enough that TIGERTAILZ are still a much loved act and this rare live appearance on UK soil is one that hometown fans certainly didn't want to miss. The Bezerk Era line up of the band with Kim Hooker looking scarlily like the hybrid offspring of Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley, is eageraly anticipated and just for good measure they bring along their own stadium sized backing vocals just to make sure that tracks such as 'Noise Level Critical' and 'Dirty Needles' meet up to their hair metal, anthemic studio versions. Who am I to complain, if it's good enough for Trixter and Danger Danger to have the help of twenty extra pitch perfect singers on tape then I can't shoot down our own countrymen can I?! Despite a rocky start to the set, Tigertailz proved good value for money and with perhaps the all time killer of chorus hooks, 'Love Bomb Baby' in their bag, they cold never really fail to raise the biggest cheer of the day so far.

VAIN are fucking good and they know it! With the volume of the entire sound system seemingly being pushed up ten fold, the San Francisco kings of sleaze almost flatten the venue with the monster opener 'Secrets'. Following their welcome reunion last year, the band have stepped things up even more and now come equipped with a real fire in their bellies and perfect combination of super slick sound delivered with a raw, edgy attitude. There's no real need for crowd interaction in between songs when the likes of 'Love Drug' and 'Going Down for the Third Time' are at their disposal, and as Davy Vain points out, 'It's like sex - doesn't matter if you stop and take a break, it's how good the fucking is when you start again!'. The crowd show no signs of letting the already marathon run of bands spoil their enjoyment of their heroes in action and respond it fine voice. An encore of 'No Respect' which was sorely missing from last years set caps off a quality headlining and show stealing performance from a band that even after twenty years can still show the young new blood how it should really be done!

The debut WILDSIDE FESTIVAL was without a doubt a great success and a real hats off is needed for Al and all the other people involved for having a firm vision and taking an idea up to the next level and creating a real, quality, festival style Rock Show. With two solid headlining crowd draws in the form of TIGERTAILZ and VAIN it gave the whole thing a cool event feel that whilst playing on the nostalgia angle a little, it did give great promise for even bigger things to come in the future - get set Nottingham, you aint getting off that easy.

See you next year!

 
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