LIVE REVIEW: West Fest @ West Auckland Town Football Club (30.7.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image of Serinette by Louise Wilkin

It was World Cup Final 1966 anniversary day and where better to celebrate than at a music festival hosted by the first ever World Cup winners, West Auckland Football Club. West Fest was hosted on the pitch of Northern League Division One side West Auckland Town FC, winners of the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, or first “World Cup.”

On a glorious Saturday with bright blue skies and warm temperatures the bands blasted out their sound from a big system beneath the rolling Durham hills of West Auckland. Serinette were simply irresistible, the energy, catchy tunes, the windmilling guitar style and singer Louise Radford is upbeat, bouncy and infectious.

The Purnells, with only six months or so remaining of a glittering career, put everything more into this big stage performance. Turbo terrific riffing, rocking rhythms and lead singer Stu Blackburn in hat, cane and war paint blowing a fuse across the stage.

Meanwhile in the acoustic tent Elaine Palmer battled to be heard above The Purnells’ roar. Somewhat insensitive programming pitting acoustic acts head to head with a big sound system. She played on gainfully and accompanied by Pino on bass won the audience over crowding round to hear the songs of her rightly acclaimed recent album release, Show Me The Way.

Back across the pitch and The Jar Family were weaving their folksy, roots, bluesy, rockin’ magic from the big stage. Plenty of jaunty dances, hats and melodies. Everyone up onto their feet dancing to the setting sun.

James Gray Robson closed the acoustic stage with his golden voice shining forth above his rhythm box and the driving acoustic guitar of the Lovely Burn.

Finally over to Cattle And Cane to bring the festival to a memorable, rousing finale. They weaved  material from their newly recorded and much anticipated second album around old favourites and indeed old friends. The moving Infant Hercules could have be hewn from the hills behind them before being transhipped on the first steam railway to Victorian boom town Teesside. A recently penned ode to the Cleveland Hills also won favour by all in the crowd. A stunning rendition of The Poacher was a fitting way to close the second West Fest. A festival with real potential.

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