On a busy Sunday, returning from Red Rooster I just had time to get washed and changed before heading straight back out again to see Hot Raisin in King’s Lynn for the final of the Twisted Melon/KLFM/Festival Too Battle of the Bands. It was an early start in this quite formal setting with Mammal Not Fish kicking things off at 4:30pm. They had a good entrance and opened in funky fashion with some nice guitar from James Maas and some very sharp songwriting from lead vocalist Davey Whales who has a good voice, I particularly enjoyed the true story about Prince of Wales Road.
Hot Raisin were on next, in good humour as always and as a band as tight as ever too. The set was all originals, the dynamics just perfect and there was nothing showy about the performance, they had fun doing what they do and let their excellent songs and playing speak for themselves, as one of the judges mentioned, they seem to play with a natural ease. Top class playing from all of them.
Next up was Sam Coe and the Long Shadows, featuring Mark Howes on lead guitar. Mark had made a similar journey as myself, also being at Red Rooster for a Dove and Boweevil set the previous day. It’s been quite a while since I saw Sam Coe and the Long Shadows, probably since last summer but they played really well and impressed the audience and the judges. A nice cover of Jolene featured too and they were well-received at my table.
Penultimate act were the charismatic Flint Moore, who seemed to have played on the same bill as all the Hot Raisin ones in this contest so this was my third time seeing them. They play with earnest passion and intensity, have a lead singer with a distinctive growl and a great bassist who is every bit as animated onstage. If you don’t remember the songs you certainly remember the energy and performance – it’s easy to imagine them on a big festival stage with their brand of energetic folk-prog.
To close the live performances was The Wise Naive, who on this occasion were one or two members down but were still a seven-piece band with a huge sound. A singer with a belting voice she is also lively, animated and charismatic onstage. Memorable songs and presence.
The judges once again had difficult decisions to make but on the night gave first place to Flint Moore who will play the festival supporting Busted, whilst runners-up will support KT Tunstall. The final was once more played in great, friendly spirit which really struck me in each heat, there is no competitive edge and the cameraderie was pleasingly supportive and encouraging. That was really nice to see, people seemed to be taking part for fun rather than taking things too seriously.
Huge thanks to Hot Raisin (always winners in my book), and congratulations to Flint Moore and The Wise Naive.
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