16 - 19 September.
second Blast Off! Festival in Nottingham proved
to be a blast indeed – proving that small is beautiful,
this three day event took place across two city centre venues,
with a heady mix of bands, DJs and fun for lovers of classic garage
rock n roll, psychobilly, Sixties psych and more.
Unfortunately, your humble editor was unable to make the third
day, an all-dayer that is still taking place as I write this,
for assorted irritating reasons. But unless something disastrous
happened, I’m sure it was a splendid event, given that the
first two nights were magnificent!
Taking place in – ahem – Spanky Van Dykes, the event
opened up on Friday with a welcome change to the announced line-up,
in the shape of Empress of Fur. This is a band I’d long
wanted to catch up with, having managed to miss previous shows,
and they didn’t disappoint, as the slinky Empress crept
and crawled – quite literally – across the stage as
the band pumped out some thumping beats, winding things up with
a welcome Cramps cover and generally setting the bar high for
the other acts to follow.
Local heroes Thee Eviltones stepped up to the challenge, banging
out MC5 flavoured rockers that got the crowd stomping, and feeding
of the increasing audience vibe – and what an audience!
A fascinating mix of mods, rockers and sexy, sexy girls, this
was a trulty cosmopolitan crowd, with – I suspect –
more non-locals than locals, and a truly global smattering of
This international flavour spread to the bands too, as Swedish
rockers The Fourtune Tellers took to the stage and promptly tore
it up with a spectacular performance that earned them a number
of new fans. If you’re into Sixties garage music, you really
need to check these guys out!
Although scheduled to run through til 4am, it seemed that most
of the audience drifted off after the last band of the night,
possibly to save their energies for the next evening, and I did
On Saturday, the crowd was bigger, the vibe groovier and the bands
more spectacular. Things kicked off with all-girl outfit The Nuns
– not to be confused with the New York goth band of the
same name – who cranked it up and cranked it out with some
style. It would take a lot to top them, and Northern rockers The
Mourning After, though no slouches, didn’t quite manage
to do so. That’s no criticism of their solid, infectious
performance – just that when the quality is this good all
round, you have a lot more to live up to. As one fellow attendee
commented, the worst band at this event was still better than
99% of the stuff you might normally see.
The final band of the night were Wild Evel and the Trashbones,
a bunch of Austrian lunatics who took the stage dressed as Robin
Hood’s merry men (apart from the sole female member, who
looked like Maid Marian) and promptly blew everyone away with
a frantic, thunderous, out-of-control performance that probably
had them groaning in pain when they sobered up in the morning,
but which had the audience roaring their approval. Joined on stage
by the Star Trek-inspired green-skinned go-go girls and a couple
of ladies from the audience, these guys were spectacular!
With DJs from across the UK keeping the party going into the early
hours, this was a glorious night – certainly the most fun
I’ve had at a gig in a long, long time. My only complaint
is that shindigs like this only take place once a year –
we need more sleazy rock n roll events!
Your editor was filming during these two nights, so expect to
see some raw live footage online soon!