Just back from a another great rock’n'roll Weekender at Pontins, Pakefield.
Dave Savage (Great Balls of Fire)
Friday nite Dave Savage and The Savages did a great tribute act to Screamin’ Lord Sutch, but it was much more than that. It included rock-horror and spectacular magic/illusionist tricks such as sawing thru a woman’s arm, spectacular fire effects during ‘Great Balls of Fire’ which set the fire alarms off and three fire engines heading our way, and a mock execution of ‘Jack The Ripper’ by guillotine. There was fake blood and severed heads and writhing severed hands, and songs included Murder In The Graveyard, Jack The Ripper, I’m a Hog For You Baby (all songs his screamin’ Lordship sung) but also the great Alligator Wine by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Dave has a good voice, and the only sad note was after the show at his stall where he said he doesn’t usually do this act any more as it takes such a lot of setting up and clearing away afterwards. If he’s invited back to Pakefield or other Weekenders, I hope he does do this whole act, including being carried on stage in a casket like Sutch and Hawkins used to do.
Robert Gordon was the American headliner Friday nite, and I have to admit he has a good, strong voice, but he’s never been my favorite, though he got a good reception and others really liked him. The evening was closed by Furious, the young Teddy Boy band, with a new drummer (the previous one, very good, is now in CorrupTED, also playing this weekender).
There were other bands on earlier, but we didn’t arrive till late, and some were in the other hall. Saturday was the Beach Party, and the weather was great all weekend. Jiving and bopping on the beach to the Two Hound Dogs’ record hop.
I caught Johnny Farina on his steel guitar later that afternoon, backed by the Di Maggio Connection. Great sounds including ‘Sleepwalk’. Rudy Grayzell was the American headliner that evening, a manic little guy who has plenty of energy for a man his age. ‘Don’t Mess With My Ducktails’ being one of the songs, many others had nonsense lyrics in the style of good old fashioned rock’n'roll.
Lou Cifer and the Hellions from Germany next, a Teddyboy style group, then the smooth Si Cranstoun, who is playing all the main Weekenders this year it seems. His ‘Dynamo’ is very popular, and he went thru a number of other self-penned numbers and towards the end of his very popular set included a great rendition of Jackie Wilson’s ‘Reet Petite’ very close to the original, also ‘I Got A Woman’ and ‘Twistin’ The Nite Away’.
The evening finished well after midnite with my favorite British group, Crazy Cavan and The Rhythm Rockers who I’ve been following for about 40 years now. Nice to see Mike Coffey back on drums (I believe he sometimes lives in Canada). This Welsh group never fail to excite, and there was the usual stage invasion with Dixie flags waving. As soon as they start playing, it’s impossible to keep still.
Travis Le Doyt and Ritchie Gee
Sunday was the classic car cruise to Lowestoft to greet Travis Le Doyt, the American headliner that evening. Travis looks and sounds remarkably like a young Elvis Presley, and on Lowestoft seafront we also had Danny & The Seniors playing live, the Two Hound Dogs record hop and jiving from the jive champions, among others.
Travis Le Doyt
Sandy Ford (Flyin’ Saucers)
Back to Pontins to catch Flyin’ Saucers, another of my favorite British groups which I’ve also been following since the 1970s. Sandy Ford, lead singer, doesn’t look a day older and they perform as well as they ever did even with their slimmed-down line-up since the 70s. His wife Yvonne on slap-bass and electric bass.
Yvonne (Flyin’ Saucers)
In the evening I caught a bit of the Fireballs, dad and two teenage sons on guitars, both very competent – one 18 one just turned 15.
Then in the main hall the Capitols doing a tribute to the early Gene Vincent, complete with caps. Then Travis Le Doyt running thru early Presley numbers and taking a roving microphone to sing amongst the crowd twice. He’s far superior to many of the Elvis impersonators, and sticks to the 1950s songs and image before the flab and jumpsuit era.
The weekend closed with the fantastic Lennerockers from Germany with their great stage acrobatics, self-penned and standard numbers, all sung and played excellently.
It was 1 am when Graham Fenton’s Matchbox took the stage, and he also included a Gene Vincent tribute, this time the later version in his black leather period (my favorite Vincent era) with three of my favorite Vincent songs ‘Baby Blue’, ‘Be-bop-a-lula’ and ‘Over The Rainbow’ (OK, a Judy Garland song originally, but Vincent’s version was the best in my opinion). During a series of encores the stage was one big party, Dixie flags and cats dancing. I’d restrained myself for Furious and Cavan during the stage invasions, but couldn’t hold back this time, and joined the others on stage. What an end to a fantastic weekend!
Graham Fenton’s Matchbox
Only drawback was the Queen Vic self-service restaurant which had plenty of forks but a lack of knives for some strange reason, and also they were slow replenishing some of the vegetables. This has never happened before, so perhaps staff shortages were to blame. I also noticed two Bluecoats, not usually seen during Weekenders, helping out the bar staff in the main hall.
Some video clips of the Weekender which I took can be found on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxXovvm2SHU
I’ve already booked with two friends for next July (all three of us in our chalet) when The Collins Kids, Wanda Jackson and Sleepy La Beef are the headliners.
Before that I’ve got the Mistletoe & Wine mid-week break (Mon-Fri) in November immediately followed by the Wildest Cats In Town Xmas Party. I’m taking my mother, who’ll then be 97, to this double Pontins break.
And I’m also going to the Rhythm Riot! at Pontins, Camber Sands in November. MaryJean, Jerry Lee’s niece, will be performing there with her band, and at next July’s Wildest Cats. She attends every year with her partner Gary, and it was so nice to meet up with them again this year.