With the Easter bank holiday sun blazing in the early evening sky it feels like a very Good Friday indeed as I descend on The Dolls House for the first night of the Dementia Aware Fest Wales being hosted by our good friends at The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus.
Unfortunately, tonight is the only night I can make this year, and even then, I can only make it for the last four bands of the evening, so my apologies to Kinstrife and Smithgrind for missing your sets, I’m sure I’ll catch up with you soon.
Scarlet Rebels are up first for me and they turn out to be a very competent Welsh five piece very much in the modern melodic rock mould, going down an absolute storm with the fans they have brought along with them. This Elegant Chaos on the other hand are an angsty gothic metal quartet from Birmingham who thunder through their set like they’re headlining an arena, with bassist Greg being like the band’s very own Phil Collen, but without the multi-platinum back catalogue to play…well not yet anyway.
The bastard sons of the Dorset Delta otherwise known as The Electric Shakes are the band I’ve really come here to see tonight, my 30 minute car journey paling into insignificance compared to how long it must have taken them to drive here from Bournemouth, so it’s a real shame there aren’t more of the local rock community present to witness the band’s fantastic blend of R&B (as in the 60s kind) infused garage rock. More fool them I say…suckers!!!!
Kicking off with the spritely new track ‘Lightspeed’, there’s no time for banter as the trio of Steve (guitar and vocals), Eric (bass) and Basha (drums) tear straight into the Glitter boogie of ‘The Doctor’ from their 2017 ‘Electrohypnosis’ CD and suddenly there’s a rock ‘n’ roll cure for all of our ill, yeah and it’s called dancing. Of the new tracks aired tonight ‘Rye N Dry’ sounds like the perfect aperitif for the band’s soon to be released EP whilst older tracks like ‘Shot Me Down’, ‘Magpie’ and frisky (geddit?) set closer ‘Blue Meanie’ make me wonder why someone hasn’t had this lot out on the road playing the length and breadth of the country with Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, reclaiming venues from the grips of the tribute terror that is feeding off the apathy of casual gig goers like the fucking Blob of Beige.
Having somehow managed to miss tonight’s headliners at Hard Rock Hell Sleaze last September all I seemed to hear following the festival was just how great The Midnight Dogs were that weekend, so its once again such a shame that a band commanding such a high reputation amongst those “in the known” end up playing to just the real Dolls House diehards by the time they hit the stage with a swaggering hunk of rock going by the name of ‘Fooling’.
The Leicester based band certainly remind me of the greats like Zeppelin and Aerosmith albeit they do it without the plagiarism of many of the current contemporaries (I could have perhaps have done without the cover of ‘Come Together’ though) and its their non-stop dancing and part time cross dressing frontman Rob Cass who is the band’s most critical element in their ability to continue to do so. New video single ‘Let’s Go’ sounds like a real doozy of a tune live but for me it’s its predecessor ‘I’m With You’ where The Midnight Dogs truly shine, this is 2 minutes of intense guitar driven hook laden rock, and if the Dogs can write a bunch of tunes as great as this they very well could be a true musical force to be reckoned with come October when they finally release album number two.
As it is The Midnight Dogs will return to The Dolls House a couple of weeks before said album is released when they headline Dollfest 6 on Saturday 28th September which is once again being organised by the metal gods at The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus.
So, kudos once again to Ceri and Paul at The Circus , along with Jammy and Southy at The Dolls House, as well as all the bands who played not only tonight but across the whole weekend, simply for keeping original rock music alive and well in south Wales, whilst raising money for a very worthwhile cause indeed.
Kudos indeed my friends…take a bow one and all!
Author: Johnny Hayward