Vale Earth Fair at Rocquaine Regatta – 04/08/18

Vale Earth Fair at Rocquaine Regatta
Vale Earth Fair at Rocquaine Regatta

For as many years as I care to remember the Rocquaine Regatta has concluded with a barbecue in the field opposite the iconic Fort Grey with live musical entertainment provided by the Vale Earth Fair.

After last year’s somewhat dampened event, summer 2018 has continued its almost unprecedented warm spell to more than make up for that (lets just ignore the global warming implications for a few minutes shall we?) and the music looked set to match the sunny atmosphere.

First up were Dead Steady.

As winners of this year’s Thirst music school battle of the bands they are certainly this year’s hot young prospects and that’s something that more than proved when I’ve seen them in the past at The Vault and on Liberation Day.

Dead Steady
Dead Steady

They made a strong start again here with their take on Ocean Colour Scene’s Riverboat Song, before a cover of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger.

While well-played, it looked like it might derail them as it didn’t have the energy they’ve shown before (likely the fault of the song more than the band).

Thankfully they soon reclaimed that energy and highlights came with the heavier moments, but tracks by the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Guns ‘N’ Roses sounded good too.

The highlight came with their closing track, a rendition of Black Sabbath’s N.I.B., that ended the set on a high and continued to confirm them as ones to watch going forward.

In the past The Space Pirates Of Rocquaine have, appropriately, been something of a mainstay of the Regatta entertainment but this year, as the full band were unavailable, one of their chief songwriters, Mark Guppy, played a solo set.

Mark Guppy

Drawing on the Pirates extensive songbook, at its best moments Guppy’s performance uncovered interesting and new aspects of the band’s well-known songs, but it was hard to escape the fact that one man and a guitar had trouble not becoming background music in a bigger outdoor setting like this.

That said, those gathered in the field enjoying the barbecue and the presence of the Earth Fair’s bar seemed to enjoy the performance as they got ready for the evening to come.

The summer of The Honest Crooks continued to roll on, following a successful outing at the Reasons festival in Jersey last weekend, as the band once again had people on their feet from the start and their take on ska (with a hint of punk rock) went down a storm.

The Honest Crooks
The Honest Crooks

Slightly more relaxed and chatty than some shows, and with an interlude of an interesting remix of the theme music from Thomas The Tank Engine, they couldn’t have been more suited to the event and, even playing mostly their own material, received a great reaction, showing the audience out west appreciate something new and lively.

After many photos were taken on smartphones of the spectacular sunset behind the Cup & Saucer (the less martial, colloquial name for Fort Grey) Static Alice hit the stage.

After their last outing supporting Morllyheads and PUNiK at The Fermain Tavern had proved to be one of their best, it was clear early in this wasn’t going to match that.

With the crowd now drifting into the twilight the band, by their own admission, were left playing to a dedicated few while others packed up after a long day in the sun.

Static Alice
Static Alice

None-the-less the pop rock four piece did their best to put on their usual high energy show but it was clear without the feedback from the audience it was hard work and, while Static Alice work in intimate pubs and big festival stages like Chaos, I’m not sure this was their natural environment.

Once again though, as a way to wrap up a hot summer day of fun in the sea and on the beach, I’m not sure there’s much better than some great live music from some of the best performers the island has to offer.

You can see more of my photos from the show on the BBC Music Introducing In Guernsey Facebook page by clicking here

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