Festival Preview – Croydon Rocks 2018
Following a successful first year which saw the likes of Warrior Soul, the Ramonas, the Main Grains, the Idol Dead, Last Great Dreamers and Shush rock the town, Croydon Rocks returns for a second bout this coming weekend. With a Sunset Strip one-two of Love/Hate and Junkyard headlining the Saturday night and Tony Wright from Terrorvision bringing things to a close on the Sunday, it should be a good weekend. As is customary, we at Pure Rawk thought we’d pick a few bands from further down the bill that we reckon are worth looking out for…
THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING
The veteran steampunks unleashed their fourth album “Double Negative” earlier this year and it certainly looks as though it’ll be in the running when we come round to do our Album of the Year rundown in a couple of months. As the main support to Tony Wright on the Sunday, expect a set of newbies such as “Baby Farming” and “Obscene Fucking Machine” from that album, plus old favourites such as “Brunel” and “Margate Fhtagn” to make the evening go with a bang.
Always a solid live band, the veteran R&B rock ‘n’ rollers should bring a big dose of energy to the Sunday night line-up. Now with five albums under their belts, 2016’s excellent “Voodoo Eye” being the most recent, they’ll be bringing the spirit of the sadly missed Soho 12 Bar scene to South London for the evening.
One of the hardest gigging bands on the circuit, the Kut’s angular brand of alt-rock harks back to the time when groups like Hole and Babes in Toyland were tearing up the live circuit in the early 90s. Ferocious but with a definite melodic knack to them, they’re currently building up towards their debut album, and if the form they’ve shown on their EPs so far is anything to go by, it should be well worth waiting for.
Take half of the Main Grains (Ben and Ginna) and one of the Idol Dead (Polly), mix ’em together and what do you get? The Spangles is the answer. With their debut album currently close to release following a successful Pledge campaign, the Saturday Croydon Rocks line-up sees the trio play their first ever gig down south after a series of well received live outings in their native Yorkshire and it should be well worth catching.
Well obviously we couldn’t do a feature on Croydon Rocks without mentioning the town’s very own rock ‘n’ roll destroyers the Fiascos. Formed from the ashes of the sadly missed Kitty Hudson a few years ago, their three EPs so far have shown a ruthlessly tight and focused band capable of levelling an audience with scuzzy riffs and vocals on tracks like “Built For Speed”, “Olivia” and “Seen Your Face Before”. Having supported Junkyard around the country last year, they’re also going to be on just before them on the Saturday bill.
…oh also, as you may know, the Fiascos’ Richie Hudson is also the man behind the Croydon Rocks Festival, and has done a sterling job in putting this whole shebang together over the last two years. Richie was nice to take the time out to have a quick chat with us before the festival and you can read what he has to say about it below…
So, Croydon Rocks returns for a second year. What are your main memories of the first one?
Oh crikey, so many…
Obviously number one has to be the bands. Having Warrior Soul and The Ramonas blasting the crap out of suburbia was a bit of a highlight. Really nice vibe with no egos and all bands and crew giving it their all to support the local scene was such a pleasure to be involved with.
Trying to turn a corporate workspace into a rock n roll venue with hired in stage, PA, lights, bar, dressing rooms etc.
Being refused entry to my own afterparty as the venue was way too overcrowded was pretty funny – we made do by popping around the corner to the next nearest bar and having fun with the “overspill”… I must make sure that doesn’t happen this year.
Obviously there’s been a change of headliner for the second night with Tony Wright replacing Ginger Wildheart due to illness. How did you manage to get in touch with Tony?
I found out just a few weeks before the show. Sitting at a bar in Strasbourg at 11am (hey, it was my birthday!) and had a message from Ginger’s agent. Immediately I’m on the phone / emails / social media seeing what I could do, and within an hour Tony said he’d step in and save the day – what a gent!
It’s a shame that Ginger couldn’t do it and I don’t want to go into details as that’s his call, but over the moon that we’ve got an act of a similar calibre, and can’t wait to see him tear it up.
Also, it’s quite a coup for the festival to get two LA bands over to headline the Saturday in Junkyard and Love/Hate – how did that all come about?
I toured with Junkyard last year and we got on like a house on fire, so they jumped at it and it tied in nicely with their shows over here with Blackberry Smoke plus a few other gigs. I knew a couple of the guys from Jizzy’s band so just put the feelers out, and again he managed to fit it around some UK shows so worked out well for us all.
I saw Jizzy last year at Hard Rock Hell and he’s still got it – he’s like a coiled snake ready to attack and still has such a great set of pipes, can’t wait to see what he brings to the Cronx.
I can imagine that setting up and putting on a two day festival can be a bit of an all-consuming task – can you give us a bit of an insight into how it all comes about?
It’s been pretty insane. I’ve recently moved my tattoo studio to new premises so with the festival, business, band stuff and my other jobs it’s a bit like juggling water, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being crazy busy and then having a sit down with a nice cup of tea.
There are so many people who complain about the music scene dying a death these days, so it’s good to actually get out there and do something about it instead of whingeing… I wish more people would do it! That being said there are a few people that are actually doing similar things around the UK which is bringing rock n roll back to the old school AND the newbies… keep it up chaps!
Which other bands on the bill are you most looking forward to seeing?
Man, the line-up this year is so damn strong it’s difficult to pick a few. Off the top of my head with the smaller bands I’d say Blind River, Chasing Dragons and The Kut are all destined for VERY big things. Hell, ALL the bands are at the top of their game, too hard to choose… come and see them all!
We should probably mention your own band The Fiascos, who are also performing, while we’re here – what’s the latest from you guys? We’ve really enjoyed the singles so far at Pure Rawk, is there any news of an album coming up?
New single is ready, but not sure it’s going to be out at the weekend. Album-wise we’ve recorded around four fifths of it, and back in the studio in the new year to finish it off. Gonna be one hell of a debut… and THANKS!
I’m assuming there’ll be a Croydon Rocks 3 next year – if so, what would be your wishlist for bands?
I’m in talks with 3 MAJOR headliners at the moment who could probably pack the place by themselves. I can’t say anything for definite as ink on the contracts aren’t dry yet, but it’s another step up. I’m trying to run this festival so it grows every year, but don’t want to just jump in the deep end straight away. There have been a couple of festivals that have done this and they have ended up cancelling or not being able to pay bands etc. I want to make it as enjoyable, reasonably priced and focused for the bands, the punters and the staff as much as possible. Baby steps buddy.
Finally, anything else you want to plug while we’re here?
Not so much man, just come along to the show and have a bunch of fun. Having a load of my favourite bands coming and playing in my backyard is good enough for me. Let’s keep doing what we’re doing, support the scene, have a beer, watch some killer acts. Nothing better than that.
Thanks to you guys – LOVE what you do, Keep it PURE and Keep it RAWK!! Much love, Rx
Croydon Rocks Festival takes place at the Croydon Conference Centre on 3rd & 4th November. There are still a few tickets available at the official website but make sure you pick one up quickly if you haven’t yet as they’re going fast. As usual, there should be a healthy contingent of us from Pure Rawk down there so hopefully we’ll see you at the bar!