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Franklin Fest, Edinburgh - Saturday Night

But follow it it did. On balance it probably actually even surpassed it, a feat in no way thought possible a mere 24 hours before.

Newcastle’s Ferriday Fireballs started us off tonight with their stripped back and primitive (lap steel guitar aside) rock ‘n’ roll. Clear winners in the least amount of drumkit stakes they pounded their way through recent single ‘Your Love Must Be Destroyed’ and plenty of other original material along with The Damned’s ‘I Feel Alright’ and Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love?’, a tune fast becoming ubiquitous this weekend. Well received by those sensible enough to be in a the start of the night theirs was a pithy reminder of the basics required to whip up a crowd.

Next up was an act that, for a few of us, were practically a litmus test of the whole event. Having seen The Baron Four just a couple of months ago at Cosmic Trip and been pretty underwhelmed (not that they were too pleased with the set up themselves) their performance here had a lot riding on it. What followed was like the difference between black and white. In intimate surroundings and with practically perfect sound to boot they were little short of wonderful. On record their commitment to authenticity clearly belies the fact that they can thrash it out and leave a crowd breathless when playing live.

Described later by one festival goer as almost a “religious experience” their interpretation of Swingin’ Blue Jeans numbers as well as their own recent single on State Records and many more originals, Mole being a highly entertaining drummer to watch and Mike Whittaker getting in amongst the audience elevated this to one of the finest performances I’ve seen at home or abroad in the last few years. Incendiary is probably the best way to sum it up in a single word.

Following this was always going to be difficult but Hipbone Slim & The Kneetremblers, providing Bruce Brand with his third stint of the weekend behind the drums, were on hand to give it as good a try as possible. Opting for the jumping on the table method Sir Bald Diddley managed to create some excitement at the risk of personal injury (it wasn’t a large table) and as with the opening night it was good to see an upright bass being put to good use. They inspired plenty of dancing and upcoming single ‘You Ain’t Got A Leg To Stand On’ shows they’re not slacking off in terms of new product.

The penultimate act tonight were what passes for a supergroup in the confines of the UK garage scene, featuring as it does a Thane, a Masonic & a Milkshake. The Wildebeests combine that wealth of experience and musical knowledge into a package that sees them time and again play as both the utmost covers band and one with at least as many classic originals as they’ve been part of in their day jobs. At times there’s almost telepathy going on as they joke, heckle each other and hammer their way through a set that proves, by dint of the lateness of the hour, too short but which nevertheless once more boiled the audience to a frenzy.

A state that was further improved upon by closing act The Shook Ups! Playing like men running out of time the Wigan sextet invaded the crowd, surfed atop it, tried to kiss it, had more exits than your average shopping centre and generally entertained with a level of theatricality seen nowhere else over the previous two days. Larger than life and with a comic book-like aura provided by their all black attire & singer Dan Coyote's exuberant persona they were definitely the right band in the right place tonight. A highlight at Hipsville in 2013, in the enclosed atmosphere of the Franklin they were like a controlled detonation from 1967 only now being felt in its entirety. “Mental” was the thought that kept occurring as they sweated and pounded to a close (helped in no small measure by some of Cornwall’s finest fortified alcoholic export) and they could no doubt have gone on for a few numbers more had the bar not had to shut. Amazing stuff and a glorious finale to an exceptional event. 

Angus, Calvin, Colin & the rest of the team behind putting the festival on can all feel justifiably pleased with themselves as it did exactly what it said on the tin. A thoroughly entertaining few nights of top class music and performances from some of the best acts of their kind that the UK has to offer. The future is bright, the future is Franklin. 

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