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Franklin Fest 2016 - Saturday Evening - The Sine Waves, The Mindreaders, Thee Jezebels, The Embrooks and Oh! Gunquit

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How can Saturday evening possibly get any better than Friday evening I hear you ask? By opening with surf-tastic instro-minstro's The Sine Waves that’s how. One of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing over the weekend. Unfortunately I only managed to catch their last two numbers. But it’s quality, not quantity right? What they did in those 8 minutes or so was utterly captivating. They sound just as good as they look; bassist and 'all systems are go-go' girl from another dimension, Spectrum, tantalises the crowd. They end their set with a corking rendition of The Mummies ‘The Fly’ - good choice. Another goosebumps-y moment courtesy of The Franklin.

No sooner are Dr Magnus Psyke and his chums off, than Medway three piece, The Mindreaders, are on. We are assured of a certain standard in the form of Russ Wilkins (The Milkshakes, The Wildebeest, Lord Rochester), and possible misdemeanors from the mystery that is Sexton Ming. You may know Ming best for his artwork, and poetic efforts with Billy Childish. We are warned in advance that anything could happen... and there is an air of trepidation as he takes to the stage. Tonight Ming treats us to stopping mid-song to read and answer a text message, later he produces a sizeable kitchen knife from his back pocket and after thinking about it for a short while, promptly discards it (thank goodness say a shrinking audience) and then gets into a mini-tiff with the missus about the phone. it’s both bizarre, and a bit ridiculous; that said Wilkins takes it all in his stride and they play a really good solid set. Mrs Ming, or rather artist and ethereal beauty Ella Guru (latterly of The Voodoo Queens), joins them on bass for their last number, a cover of MC5's ‘Looking At You’.       

Time for Thee Jezebels - good old-fashioned pub rock ‘n’ roll. Possibly the act that most punters have been waiting for. Their reputation of working and partying hard supersedes them, and they’re definitely up for a lark tonight. They plough through their set in a jovial manner with lots of cheeky banter. When Laura’s and Letty’s guitars are out of tune, they laugh it off and carry on, after a few attempts to manage to get them in sync. Tumultuously turning out tracks from their E.P.’s (released on State Records), and ending with a Wilko Johnson number ‘Going Back Home’. The girls are definitely a crowd favourite.

As if Lois Tozer hadn’t worked hard enough during her previous set with Thee Jezebels all of 5 minutes ago. She’s now back again with Freakbeat trio The Embrooks. And this isn’t an opportunity for her to take it easy, because The Embrooks take the roof off. Having seen them as recently as 20 years ago, my recollection is slightly hazy, but tonight they are absolutely on it, all that and they win the stripiest trousers contest hands down. They debut a fab new song, the new single perhaps? And old fave ‘Helen’. Their power-pop freakbeat Who-esque predilection is evident, but it’s their own sweat, tears and drive that make the difference. Absolutely stonkin’.


Oh! Gunquit are reserved for the finale of the Franklin Fest 2016, and quite rightly so. They know how to pound out those rhythmic hypnotic voodoo beats. (And is it just me, or do the band always appear to have a green light shining over them, like the lighting from a 60’s monster movie?) Anyhoo, that steady rhythmic beat is the link that keeps it all together, and the crowd entranced. Oh! Gunquit know how to put on an animated performance, and tonight they don’t disappoint. ‘Lights Out’, ‘Bad Bad Milk’ and ‘Sink Hole’ all go down a storm (natch), but it’s ‘Caves’ where vocalist Tina crawls through the legs of lucky Franklin Fest-ers, that things get just a little bit wild. They’ve reached the end of the set, and as much as we all don’t want this to end, it does. What a fitting finish to the weekend. Viva la Franklin Fest!  


Franklin Fest 2016 - Friday Evening & Saturday Afternoon - The Brutes, The Gastronauts, The Courettes, Les Grys Grys

  • Published in Live

The much anticipated Franklin Fest 2016 kicked off proper on Friday evening in our favourite green shack (to read about the warm up gig on Thursday click here) appropriately with Glasgow’s The Brutes, making it a fun and enthusiastic start to the proceedings. They rip through a mixture of their own Pebbles-y style garage-punk with numbers like fuzz-tastic 'Real Gone Gasser', and stirling covers of The Sonics 'Shot Down' and The Wailers snotty 'Hang Up'.

Up next are The Gastronauts, who are a supergroup if you will, with members of MFC Chicken, Les BOF! and The Shook-Ups to name but a few. As you’d expect, it’s all done with tongue firmly in cheek and big fat dollops of fun. With songs like ‘Really Chewy’ ('Louie Louie'), surf-tastic Wang’s Dang Noodles, the exotica of ‘Bongo Burgers’, ‘Chimps Tea Party’ (including prerequisite go-go gorilla on drums), and a foodie rendition of 'Surfin’ Bird'. They even dragged up Sine Wave’s maestro Project X to join in with ‘Bacon Slap'.  

After a quick change over it’s time for the the amazing Brazilian / Danish garage-mayhem duo -  The Courettes. Flavia and Martin Couri ooze coolness and passion. They clearly love what they are doing, and want everyone else to to join in, and it works because what they give out is infectious. And they are loud, with fuzz switched into overdrive, sassy Flavia screams her way through the set, hardly stopping for breath. It’s full-on boisterous fun, which includes the excellent ‘I’ve been walking’, the fuzzed-up brilliance of ‘The Boy I Love’ and knock-out ‘Nobody But You’. They ask MFC Chicken front man Spencer Envoy avec sax to join them for a number, and this addition, makes them sound just like The Sonics!   

Moving on to French tarts, Les Grys Grys, the final act of tonight. Having seen them perform at The Franklin last year, I knew that this was going to be good. Never giving less than 150%, these guys are full throttle ‘60s R&B, with added sweat. I have a feeling that were it 50 years ago, they would no doubt have ladies throwing their knickers at them. They storm through their set and it gets wilder, hotter, and more intense. They end up in the crowd, on the floor, on tables, upside-down and partially dressed. This is rock 'n' roll people - Les Grys Grys style. They are masters of the build-up, and controlled chaos. 'Milk Cow Blues' being a fine example of this. Their two encores (or was it three?) are almost as long as their set, and it ends with a bit of maraca smashing, and the poor old Franklin banner behind the drums hanging loose; disheveled. Says it all really.  


Follow that Saturday night!          

Whilst our senses are still very much in recovery mode, it’s time to head along to the Leith Depot for the Saturday afternoon showcase. Today the weather is hot and humid, and inside the small upstairs room it’s even hotter.

Kicking off the afternoon are The Nettles, a fab new organ fuelled garage band featuring some familiar faces, including Saskia from Lord Rochester, and Angus McPake on drums. They give impressive renditions of The Sonics' ‘Strychnine’ and The Monks' ‘How To Do Now’, I hope to get another chance to see them soon. They are quickly followed by edgy garage-surf trio The Fnords. ‘Scum Baby’ is sang with such bloodcurdling velocity that it gives me goosebumps. They only really stop when vocalist Sarah’s guitar string snaps just in time for their last number - who needs it anyway? They carry on regardless.

Geek Maggot Bingo are next, and if you’re looking for un-poncey rock 'n' roll - look no further. Andy Maggot proclaims that he’s 'had longer shits' than the length of their set. It’s short, but hits all the right spots, ending with the marvelous ‘Swingtown’. Onto Fanny Pelmet And The Bastard Suits, who were quite unlucky to suffer two snapped strings during their set, not to mention a malfunctioning mic stand. Despite this they still managed to shine through with cool covers of The Standells' ‘Rari’ and The Eyes' ‘You’re Too Much’.

To finish off the afternoon, The No-Things hit the small stage, and they appear to have a new member for today in the shape of a small cute girl wearing ear protectors. They are as maraca-shaking-ly entertaining as always, and despite the overwhelming heat, and a poor punter passing out, it was a brilliant afternoon.           

Tomorrow… Saturday evening at the Franklin Fest.

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