The Insane Rock Festival Tour came to the Railway Venue Ipswich this week, and if Bank Holiday Monday’s line-up was anything to go by, the rest of the event will be a massive success. With the prize of supporting Lord Bishop on tour in Germany up for grabs, the standard was very high.
Local band The Handsome Dead started the evening with their subtle take on rock music with an unmistakeable indie twist. Packing the stage with band members including a keyboard player, the band’s influences include Blur and David Bowie, and this was audible. ‘I am a Pinball’ is one of their more memorable songs, with a catchy tag line and more of a raw Nirvana-style feel to it. A polished set by a professional-sounding band.
When A Free Mama took to the stage, with their Italian accents, saxophones and high buns in their hair, no-one quite knew what to expect; but their take on rock and roll was truly something to behold. An epic set followed by this six-piece band from Florence. Everyone in the venue was on their feet thanks to the perfect harmony between the sax and the traditional modern rock instruments. Rock & Roll went right back to its original funky blues roots in Ipswich on this bank holiday evening. Fantastic crowd-pleasers, A Free Mama got the audience involved with ‘Mother’s song’ to finish an impressive performance.
Bad Touch came next, and had big shoes to fill. As ever, they didn’t disappoint, bringing their own version of Rock & Roll funk to the stage and upping the tempo with ‘Set the night on Fire’. The Railway Venue is made for live music, with the stage tucked into a corner, allowing ‘Waiting on the morning light’ and ‘Too late’ to reverb around the whole room perfectly. A mid-set rhythm guitar change didn’t hamper the set in any way; in fact, it merely went to show off Stevie’s ad-libbing skills. ‘New Day’ and funky favourite ‘Preacher’ followed, before the boys lifted the roof with ‘Rock and Roll’ and ‘Down’. Not to be outshone, Bad Touch played a tight, professional set with a good mix of classic rock riffs and modern basslines, brought together with catchy lyrics and a fun, feel good approach to performing which has earned them many fans and will continue to do so.
The main event was an immense performance by Lord Bishop, his bass guitarist and drummer. Lord Bishop himself was mesmerising - a larger than life character in size and personality, with a double jack in hand; he commands (and gets) the attention of his audience. His voice is full of soul and is a throwback to the beginnings of this genre of music that we all love. There’s a pain and sadness in his lyrics that speaks volumes and leave you in awe. Then, in the very same set, he throws his hat off and belts out Black Sabbath classic ‘Paranoid’ to bring the performance bang up to date. An epic journey of Rock & Roll from its humble beginnings in South America to its global audience today, Lord Bishop takes you on a rollercoaster ride you’re not expecting when you walk through the doors.
Tasked with choosing a band to support him on tour, Lord Bishop will be at the Railway Venue, Ipswich all week; and with plenty of talent on display, his task won’t be an easy one.
For Bad Touch, the busy schedule continues on Thursday at The Hole In The Wall, Colchester, before Friday’s support performance with ‘Dressed to Kill’ in Wolverhampton.