23 June 2018 (gig)
29 June 2018
Every year when Eden opens it's gates to a carefully selected few artists to perform at the Eden sessions, we usually get a cross section of the musical spectrum across several gigs. Meaning there will usually be at least one gig out there for everybody.
Same applies this year, Gary Barlow has churned out the hits and littered the place with plastic, Massive attack have amazed and mesmerised with their hypnotic dark beats, the enigma that is Bjork will finish the sessions off on the 7th July. Next week we await in fevered anticipation for the arrival of Queens of the Stone Age to grace this stage.
Most of the gigs are evening affairs, a headliner plus support, but every now and again we get an all dayer . One that sticks in memory is 2012's Folk Session, which saw the likes of Bellowhead, Stornoway, Mull Historical Society and Frank Turner turn the place into a mini festival.
This year we've got the Beautiful Day Out, a mini sample version of The Levellers annual romp that takes place up the road in Devon. Five acts across the day. We were unfortunately delayed arriving today and missed Ginger Wildheart and Dreadzone, but both were superb going by popular opinion. Three acts left, everyone here will have a different one that brought them here today, for me personally it's Reef.
The sun is blazing and the beer is flowing by the time Gary Stringer and co come on and kick straight into a rousing Naked (the one that goes " So will you come with me? I'll blow you away " ) from debut album Replenish. It's a great tune to start on, everyone's singing along and Gary's voice sounds as strong as ever.
We get a cross section of Reef's back catalogue but mainly tracks from their massive 1997 album Glow and their brand new (after an EIGHTEEN year gap! ) effort, Revelation.
Place your Hands and Summer's In Bloom are belted out for the old fans (which lets face it, is most of us) but the superb Come Back Brighter steals the show from the Glow material. Direction wise, 18 years is a long break so unsurprisingly the new stuff shows a bit of evolution. The new album goes from heavy rock (title track Revelation couldn't be any more AC/DC if it tried) to blues to gospel to country and back again. Tonight, the crowd sing along to My Sweet Love, many clearly surprised the song that Radio 2 have championed is in fact Reef! Cheryl Crow doesn't appear for her guest vocals but nobody seems that bothered. Their cover of gospel classic How I Got Over is a highlight even without a gospel choir on stage and just emphasises the strength of Stringer's voice.
Show stealer this afternoon though has to be Reef's stunning cover of The Faces - Stay With Me. Rod, eat your heart out! Reef leave the stage after a beautiful I've Got Something To Say. They're back, they've still got it in abundance, and special mention has to go to to Bassist Jack Bessant's facial hair, great beard!
New Model Army are one of those few bands that you can hear any song of theirs and be in no doubt who it is. Justin Sullivan and co have been around for almost 40 years and they're still fighting for justice. Their unmistakable brand of folk/punk/rock, however you want to brand it, is still relevant today, and most recent album Winter sees them continue to keep performing to Justin't high standards.
Tonight they give us a mix of old and (relatively) new. Justin keeps us smiling with witty remarks inbetween songs and his band give it everything. Some of the obvious classics are missing here but tracks like No Rest and Vagabonds satisfy the hardcore and they close the set perfectly on a storming I Love The World.
The Levellers need no introduction. Everyone of a certain age either owned Levelling the Land or taped it off a mate! Anthems of the crusty generation indeed.
They kick off tonight (If memory serves me correctly, which it may not as a few beer tokens had been traded in by this point) with their anthem One Way, and of course, everybody knows the words.
The hits just don't stop, or were they hits? I'm not sure, but most of what they play tonight was on Levelling the Land ( pretty sure they play every track from it! ) The Boatman, Liberty Song, Far From Home, Another Man's Cause. I probably haven't listened to that album for over 20 years but I obviously did back in the day as I still know every word to every song.
The band didn't just stop after Levelling the land, they've kept going and put out plenty of albums since and are still recording now, 2018's We The Collective being the most recent. But the band know their crowd, this isn't a Levellers only gig, so they play their festival set and it goes down a storm. Fifteen Years and Beautiful Day keep the crowd singing and jigging. A Didgeridoo guy pops up on stage for one or two tracks and we all sing Happy Birthday to lead Singer Mark.
It's a party atmosphere and these guys have clearly been to and hosted a few.....they should think of organising their own festival.......