Call of the Wild: The Big Bad Review – Day 3

Day three for us started incredibly strongly, with two very different bands. Blues rock master Tom Killner opened up the second stage in style, playing a fantastic set packed with country-soaked awesomeness. His voice is unmistakable and amazing, fitting the vibe of music perfectly and definitely winning over a lot of the crowd in that early, including me! Then, contrasting completely, RXPTRS took to the main stage after for their blend of hard rock and metalcore. Surprisingly enough too, the crowd excepted them pretty quickly, despite their heaviness. Which is great, because the band were on top form. Simon Roach was on top form both vocally and performance-wise, and the rest of the band matched his talent and energy perfectly. Another band to watch out for in the future, for sure!

After that the wonderful Bootyard Bandits arrived to ramp up the silliness and fun of the day to 11. Always a good laugh, the band rip through a set of crowd favourites, including ‘Country Music’ and ‘Let’s Rodeo’. Even when down their usual vocalist and guitarist and having a couple of friends stand in in his place the band sounded great and just looked like they were enjoying themselves, meaning the crowd had a good time too!

After another short break to speak to a few bands we headed back in to see the youngest band on the bill, and honestly they were one of the best! Having formed not long back at their college, Archy and the Astronauts have talent and stage presence FAR beyond their years. The hard/indie rock band put on one hell of a show in their short time, gaining a pretty big crowd in the tent and captivating them throughout. Whether it was their Muse and RHCP inspired originals or their cheeky RATM cover, the band showed off their incredible talent effortlessly. They are going to be huge sooner rather than later, and I cannot wait to watch them go.

Next up were a band I saw at HRH a few years ago but hadn’t seen much of them since, Wicked Stone. The band have grown and evolved a fair bit in the few years since, almost unrecognisable aside for a couple of tracks I remembered. The band definitely sounded good, however the guitarist seemed to be under the weather, collapsing a couple of times and having to be seated throughout the gig. I’m not sure if, without this, the band would have maybe put on a better show? I completely understand why they were a tad more stoic because of it and the fact that the guitarist and the rest of the band carried on was more than admirable. It just means I’m going to have to see the band again soon and see how different it is! Oh, and ‘Another Round’ is still a banger!

Kickin’ Valentina are over here a lot this summer, also filling in at Stonedead in a few weeks. That is definitely a good thing, as they are a fantastic live band. Being the lovechild of GnR and the Wildhearts, the band ooze that sort of late 80s, sunset strip attitude that just isn’t present in rock anymore. Despite that, the band were also very polished in terms of talent and songwriting. I have been listening to these guys a lot since I got home from the festival, so they have clearly done their jobs well!

Romeo’s Daughter are an odd one for me. They are clearly all very good at what they do, yet they still do nothing for me. They come across as a slightly heavier Fleetwood Mac, which I knew I should love but just don’t find myself doing so. Honestly, they bored me a little bit. I get that they have been around for a pretty damn long time and have helped inspire a lot of great artists, but seeing them live did nothing for me. It’s a shame too, because I don’t mind a couple of their tracks.

Crashdiet are hard for me to judge. I used to be a huge fan of the band throughout my teens and still like them now, including their latest couple of albums. I was really excited to see them too. However, the sound wasn’t great for the first few numbers of their set and crowd was kind of dead for them, quickly sucking my buzz away. The band worked hard though and by the end of the set they had definitely won the crowd over. After all, how can you not enjoy the likes of ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ and ‘Generation Wild’ live?

Then we finally reached the headliners of the day, the awesome Reckless Love. And what a set they gave us. All four of them were on the absolute top form they could be, playing and performing their hearts out for over an hour. Olli was on top form, being one of the best, most charismatic frontmen around today, and Pepe ripped throughout the entire set. And, what’s more, the band seemed genuinely happy to be playing for the crowd. They were thankful to finally play in the UK again and it showed as none of them could stop from smiling for long. If I had to have one small critique… they maybe played a couple too many new tracks. I know that the album only came out a few weeks ago and it is a damn good album, but I think we only got three ‘classic’ Reckless Love tracks out of the set. Oh well, just another band I’mma have to see again, I guess!