Following last weekend’s opening #Triplestoked was always going to be a huge task as, for the best part of four hours, The Fermain Tavern was jumping on Easter Sunday night to the sounds of Yes Sir Boss, The Recks and Buffalo Huddleston.
Well, last Friday things were slightly different, particularly to start with, as To The Woods rushed onto the stage after doors opened late to tear through their set of grunge soaked hard indie-rock. As has become their standard over recent months, regardless as to the audience reaction, the trio put in a solid set with guitarist/vocalist Bobby Battle as incorrigible as ever – his opening, expletive strewn, greeting setting the scene for what was to come.
While this was lapped up by the few friends and fans who’d turned out early and headed down the front, it didn’t seem to connect with those hanging around the back of the Tav.
None-the-less, To The Woods do what they do and those who like that loved it and it was good to see Bobby and drummer, Dan Garnham, playing off each other more on stage giving the band’s performance a more rounded feel that looks like it should set them in good stead for the future.
As a few more began to arrive it was the turn of the second local support act to take to the stage and Static Alice treated us to a set almost entirely made up of original material.
Having built a reputation for their covers based shows it was good seeing the band stretch their creative muscles and, predominantly, they sounded like they have some good songs on the go, though there were a few moments where it seemed Luis’ lead guitar and Dom’s powerful vocals were, maybe, lacking dynamics and certainly some polishing will be required before they fulfill their potential.
Ending with a cover of The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz really got the still small but enthusiastic crowd going and ended Static Alice’s set on a high point, though it seemed the amount of effort the band were putting in on stage wasn’t entirely translating to the rest of the room.
As the night’s first visiting band took to the stage a few more had arrived at the Tavern and headed down to the dancefloor and, while the crowd wasn’t a patch of the first leg of #Triplestoked, it was starting to feel busy for Jersey’s Frankie Davies.
Combining soulful and upbeat country tones, in a way that brought to mind Dolly Parton, made for something of a clash of sounds to the two support acts but, by a couple of songs into the set, it was an easy sound to relax into as the five piece combined some fantastic harmonies with great instrumentation.
Certainly there is not another band like this in the Channel Islands today and I was certainly left with the feeling that Frankie Davies would be a perfect fit with the poppier end of the material on offer at the Sark Folk Festival.
The highlight of Frankie’s set came with an astonishing run at Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain that showed off everything the band is capable of and their set closer was an excellent original which left me hoping it’s not too long before these ladies are back in Guernsey again.
In the run up to this show a lot of fuss had been made about the visit to the island of up and comers Brother & Bones so, it was with some sense of anticipation, I found my place near the front.
Unfortunately, it soon became clear that while the band’s frontman, Richard Thomas, played with a real passion and seemed genuinely happy and excited to be up on stage, and to be getting a reaction from the decent sized and largely enthusiastic crowd, the rest of the band looked and sounded very much like they were going through the motions.
With two sets of drums on stage I was hopeful for some exciting sounds, but this never appeared and I was left with the impression that, musically, Brother & Bones probably have a lot of great ideas but, for me, these really didn’t come across.
While they certainly weren’t a bad band on any level (it would be hard to get to the point they are if they had been) I was left largely underwhelmed with their songs which sounded something like Biffy Clyro-light with a bit more of a pop-folk edge to it, though their fans in the Tav that night were lapping it all up.
While the second #Triplestoked show may not have lived up to last week’s there were still a lot of good things on offer and it was Jersey’s Frankie Davies who provided the night’s real highlights.