Call of the Wild Festival 2024 Shakes Up the Season with Stellar Acts Day 1 Highlights

Call of the Wild Festival Brings the Heat Despite the Rain...

Words and Photos: Smudge

 

Summer is here, and it’s official! For me, Call Of The Wild signifies the start of the season, and I find myself wondering what these three days will offer besides rain.

Upon entering the site, I was greeted by the melodious tones of Loz Campbell, who was halfway through her set on the Southall Lawless stage. The performance was impressive, and I noted that she would be performing again on the Trailblazer stage later, so I made a note to catch her full set. Following her on the same stage were We Three Kings, a duo featuring guitar and drums with bass being electronically supplemented. Their style wasn’t to my taste. The Heat Inc followed with some energetic rock ‘n’ roll before I headed to the Trailblazer stage to see Archy And The Astronauts. I first encountered them at the Lincoln Tattoo Convention last year, where they won a ‘battle of the bands’ competition. It was gratifying to see them perform a longer set. Their brand of heavy alt-rock included a love song, and they featured a special guest, young Chloe (surname unknown), who delivered an impressive cover of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name,’ which was well-received by the audience.

Next, I returned to the Southall Lawless stage to watch Muddibrooke, whom I had previously seen supporting Wayward Sons. In a past review, I compared singer/guitarist Harriet McDonnell to ‘a less scabby Courtney Love,’ which sparked some backlash on social media, but Harriet and I have since clarified the context. Today, they delivered a powerful set of heavy, dark angst rock. As a trio, their performance was tight and compelling. Despite the early hour, they drew a respectable crowd, with highlights including ‘ADHD,’ ‘Liverpool Guy,’ and their unique take on ‘You Don’t Own Me.’ McDonnell’s powerful voice, complemented by bassist Anna Melidone, stood out. Later, Harriet shared some exciting future plans for the band, which could elevate them to the next level. I wish them the best of luck.

It was time to experience Lavire on the main stage. Having seen them multiple times, I am consistently impressed. Midway through their set, renowned guitarist (now photographer) Myke Gray endorsed their performance, despite guitarist Aaron’s unconventional style of not playing solos. Lavire commanded the stage with a huge sound, and Aaron’s Telecaster produced tones I’ve rarely heard before. I conversed with a couple from Barnsley (Hi, Ruth and Steve) who recommended Until 9. Despite recently becoming a trio, they delivered an impressive set of alt-metal. While not universally appealing, their performance maintained their strong reputation.

I then hurried to the Trailblazer stage to catch Loz Campbell’s full set. Initially, I mistakenly thought she was a blues artist, but she proved to be a dynamic rock performer. Her hard-hitting, attitude-laden rock ‘n’ roll, especially songs like ‘Bad Girl’ and the heavy ‘Beautiful Liar,’ was electrifying. The bassist’s energetic stage presence further enhanced their performance.

Outside, I watched Dobermann, an Italian trio whose performance attracted a predominantly female audience. The band’s blend of heavy melodic rock was well-received, with standout tracks like ‘Summer Devil,’ ‘I Need A Holiday,’ and covers such as ‘Please Don’t Touch’ and ‘Hot For Teacher’ energizing the crowd. Their set was a festival highlight.

After a meal break, I returned to see She Burns Red. Despite recent controversies, they delivered a stellar performance. The crowd’s support, evident from the number of band t-shirts, was strong, with ‘Cross Hairs’ being a major highlight. Surprise guest Beth Blade joined for a spirited cover of Don Henley’s ‘The Boys Of Summer’ (and no, Beth, I won’t mention how obviously cold it was!).

Initially skeptical about Scarlet Rebels headlining the main stage, I was quickly proven wrong. Despite limited recent performances, they excelled with standout tracks like ‘I Can Sleep Now,’ ‘Take My Breath Away,’ ‘Will You Let Me In,’ and the climactic ‘Heal,’ which gave me goosebumps. Guitarist Chris Jones was particularly impressive, with his dynamic stage presence and skillful solos.

Finally, the headliners, The Quireboys, exceeded my expectations. Previously, I found their performances lacking, but tonight, Spike assembled a top-tier band including original member Nigel Mogg, Thunder’s guitarist Luke Morley, and Willie Dowling on keyboards. The band was tight, and Spike’s energy was infectious, delivering a set of classic rock ‘n’ roll that engaged the entire audience.

 

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