REVIEW: Croxteth Park Music Festival 05/08/12

The annual Croxteth Park free music festival took place over the weekend in the stunning grounds of the great hall. Adverse weather had already postponed the event back in June and torrential rain would cut short the festival again but not before many of the acts had performed to the gathered crowds. It never rains but it pours… Shaun McCoy reports

The day started on an energetic note with two dance schools dancing to the music of Jessie J and Sean Paul. Bolshy were the first band to grace the stage with a set of jazz/ska tunes that were a mix of covers and their own tunes. ‘Thatcher’ is about the disdain people still have for the former Prime Minister and also for today’s politicians. Bolshy also do a descent rendition of the ska classic ‘Monkey Man’.

Next up The New Caldera, a name thought up by the singer after watching the National Geographic channel. Apparently it’s a new crater created by a volcano. This 4-piece describe themselves as a ‘Scouse/country rock & roll band’. They play catchy rhythmic beat songs like ‘Book of Colours’ and ‘Caroline’. Ivy and the Chance follow with a very smooth warm sound which emanates from the lead singer’s beautiful laidback vocal and the 4-piece’s double bass and cello. Highlights from their set were ‘Falling’ and ‘Without You’.

Former Cook Da Books frontman Owen Moran is our compare but also plays two songs himself ‘When You’re Crippled Inside’ (John Lennon) and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstitious’ as a duo with festival organiser Paul Barwise on trumpet. Next up is Grammy Award winning Frank Maudsley, former Flock of Seagulls bassist who performs a few of their classic tracks like ‘DNA’ and ‘I Ran’, one of ‘the’ vintage tracks of the 1980s. Frank is followed by soloist and former contestant on The Voice Jay Norton who sings ‘mash ups’ of songs by Wiz Khalifa, Tracey Chapman and Yelawolf. Jay’s got a soulful delivery reminiscent of Craig David.

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Image: EB Productions

The Splintered Ukes give a spirited and accomplished performance of classic contemporary songs like ‘Dreaming of You’ (the Coral), Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ and Paloma Faith’s ‘Upside Down’. The Ukes possess a parade of musicianship and beautiful female vocals.

Esco Williams is one of the rising stars of the Liverpool music scene (and has just landed a Mobo award). He is a big crowd pleaser, especially with the ladies! Esco is an exciting contemporary funk/soul R’n’B singer backed by the funktastic Controllers. He puts his own stamp on Estelle’s ‘American Boy’ by renaming the song ‘Liverpool Girl’. Other standout tracks are ‘New Challenger’ and ‘I Want You More’.

Like Esco Williams, The Hummingbirds give the crowd another memorable performance. The drummer plays a Cajon drum creating a good backbeat to the band’s jangling country style guitars. The band’s lead singer has got a tinge of John Lennon in his voice which conjures up a link with him in their skiffle like music when a young Lennon played the Woolton Jamboree all those years ago. I particularly enjoyed ‘Bankrupt Blues’ and the big crowd favourite ‘Back in Liverpool’.

The 4.20s were the last band on before rain cruelly stopped play. They are a blues, funk, rock and roll trio lead by Ste Buhagiar and George ‘Fluteman’ Roberts. Yet another shining example of the eclectic music on show at today’s event.

Lead Image: Laura Carr Photography 

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