Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once. We visited Café René because the Gloucester Blues Fest was supposed to be there and we assumed the stage was going to be set up out on the street. To our delight, the Festival was actually on a green out behind St Mary de Crypt (a quite wonderful medieval church and yard just above the dockyards). Moreover, they had a Beer and Cider Festival on AT THE SAME TIME. Brilliant.
The pub was okay but we were right, the big attraction was the music (and, of course, the picture of The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies they used for the sign). First up as we walked up was Damon T, a local who brought along a couple of mates who were all excellent together.
The next guy, Funke and the Two Tone Baby, from Kent, was pretty talented but he really overworked his loop pedals, beat boxing on one, doing a bar on the harp on another, etc, etc, then finally playing a little before yelling over the cacophony.
The venue was great, though, with the Blackfriar’s ruins behind us in addition to the other atmospheric bits (St Mary’s and Café René, as already mentioned).
Thomas Ford was next up but, due to a completely overblown sense of self-importance, he showed up 45 minutes into his 45 minute set then took another 20 to kind of sound check. Good voice, granted, but really not worth the wait and the set barely qualified as any sort of blues. Quite an asshole.
The best act of the day was, by far, John Crampton. I didn’t snap a photo, but he is just a middle-aged guy with more talent than any of us deserve. Great soulful voice, good repertoire (he did some Blind Willie McTell, fergawdsake). The 2nd best was easily Damon T, but a very close third would be the hog roast served with grilled onions and some lumpy apple sauce.