The Ruskin is one of those places its best to imagine and not attend as it is a bit of a dive. There was some trouble about paying the bands towards the end of the gig which gave the whole thing a rather less than pleasant vibe. As is typical with these sort of festival shows the gig did not get off on time; closer to an hour late but no matter. What plagued the entire show was the piss-poor sound quality of the venue. Much of the time the bands on stage could not hear that themselves, which may have led to some of the rather less than spectacular performances on show.
Definite highlights of the day were Sacred Heart; who even though they were organising the show did not headline, and the Portsmouth band 'Dregs of Society. Having seen Sacred Heart once before I was not surprised that they delivered a tight and highly professional set of class melodic rock tunes. As with during the Dregs performance the audience ranged from disinterested to stoic, which was a bit of a disappointment.
It was fairly clear that most of the people who hung around all day were there to see the headliners Pride; as it was their final gig. The Dregs delivered an excellent set of LAGuns/Faster Pussycat-esque heavy rock. Their lead singer is a nutter singing sitting down, on a table, and even lying on his back. This lot could go far so keep an eye on them.
The two acoustic sets from Escape and Paul Hodson suffered from the crap sound and the indifferent crowd. The other acts on the bill Crimes of Passion and Lost Weekend provided competent if a bit standard sets. Pride delivered a decent if a bit indifferent set to a small but adoring crowd.
It was getting late and everyone in the audience was well aware that getting home was going to be right pain in the bollocks. (John Haithwaite and I had to take a dreaded night bus home.) Paul is to be commended for both organising this festival and for leading his band in tough circumstances through a cracking set. A good way to spend a Sunday afternoon/evening to be sure. Lets hope there is another one next year and its somewhere easier to get to and more pleasant.
Now I am further attempting to reduce the ludicrous pile of review CDs I have to go through. Here is the latest batch to get the treatment. We start off with the much anticipated release from The Darkness.