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Bearded Theory 2018 - Saturday | FESTIVALPHOTO

Bearded Theory 2018 - Saturday



Kerri Watt opened the main stage. An acoustic guitar playing singer songwriter it's a fair gentle start to the day (probably appreciated by a few people with hangovers), but good nonetheless.

Random hand on the other hand were far more lively with their ska/metal/punk sound. They're not a band I've listened to before but I'll certainly be listening to them in the future.

I headed to the Convoy Cabaret tent to catch Circus insane (never has an act had a more appropriate name). It's sadly their only show of the year, and what a show it is with acts including swinging a car battery round on chains attached to pins through Doc Insane's arm skin, using his neck as a chopping block as a melon is cut in two with a samurai sword, eating a lightbulb, shoving drills up his nose whie having a coathanger down his throat and while his assistant hits him hard on the back of the head with a frying pan. There's a lot more but that's a taster of the show - crazy but great entertainment.

Over on the Woodland stage. Jake and the Jellyfish were putting in an equally lively set with their rock/punk folk influenced songs. Like most of the bands this weekend they're good performers too and go down well with the crowd.

If you want some old-school punk, you can't do much better than UK Subs - they really are punk legends, and unlike PIL still have their punk attitude. Seeing them in the blazing sunshine feels a bit odd - somehow a dark dirty venue feels more like the right place to see them, but despite that it's still an enjoyable set and quite a few old punks in the crowd looked very happy to see them.

Idles were up next, and were briliantly chaotic. After the UK Subs, this was modern punk and they've got so much energy none of them stay still on stage and it's great to watch them all going nuts as they play. It's a real contrast to the more restrained style of UK Subs, but both bands are great in their own way.

Fun Lovin' Criminals have been around a long time - well over twenty years, and that experience shows as they make entertaining a festival crowd look easy.

Next up on the Woodland were 3 daft monkeys - another Bearded Theory staple. How to describe them? Well it's folk with a twist, but above all it's music to dance to - they're one of many bands that play Bearded Theory that you can't help but enjoy, and today is no different. They bring out guest musician Roy Harter on accordion for a few songs - this is a man who flew in from the US just to play at Bearded Theory with them and the Doonicans. It's a great set and the time flies by.

Next on the Woodland stage was Lucy Spraggan. Knowing she was a former X-factor contestant I must confess my hopes weren't high, but I'm always open to hearing new acts and she was a pleasant surprise. She's not the bland sort of act you usually associate with the show, and put in a very enjoyable performance. Playing an acoustic guitar and singing she engages well with the crowd and I certainly enjoyed her set.

Sleaford Mods were next and were different. While they clearly had plenty of fans there there were an equal amount of people wondering what on earth this rubbish was. The Sleaford mods are a two-piece, and while one swears constantly and sings, the other one (who apparently writes all the music), presses play on the laptop at the start of each song then stands there looking like a bit of a twat. Presumably he turns up so he gets paid or so everyone knows he's the organ grinder and the singer is just the performing monkey, but they left me and many others totally underwhelmed.

Robert Plant and the sensational space shifters headlined the main stage and banished the photographers to the disabled platforms - clearly not a fan of being photographed as even audience members near the front were told to put their cameras away. The man is a legend though and drew a big crowd - main hoping to hear some Led Zeppelin songs I suspect. In practice we got a good mix of Led Zeppelin songs and his own songs, but it's a performance that drew mixed reviews with some fans absolutely loving it, while others in the audience were less impressed. It certainly wasn't the most exciting set of the weekend, but it's not often you get to hear a legend like Robert Plant sing classic songs such as "Whole lotta love". While I'm glad to have seen him, I was more impressed by some of the smaller acts on this weekend.

Speaking of more impressive, Therapy? closed the Woodland stage with a fantastic set. It's rare to see a metal band playing Bearded Theory, but judging by the superb reception that Therapy? got, hopefully we'll see one or two more playing in the near future. The Irish trio drew a large crowd and got them all having a good time. After the skillful but slightly dull set from Robert Plant, this was a great way to burn off any energy fans had before the end of the night.

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Writer: Anthony May
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