Call of the Wild 2023: The Big Bad Review

Hundreds of rock and metal fans once again descended on Lincolnshire Showground last weekend for the third Call of the Wild festival. Boasting another incredible line-up of some not just the UKs, but the worlds best bands, it was another weekend not to miss. Thankfully, we were once again able to go down and cover it, so expect plenty of interviews as well as this over the coming weeks!

Unfortunate disclaimer, I couldn’t make it down on the Friday. I was off gigging with Eddie and the Wolves so couldn’t make it down. However, our good friend Tom over at CGCM Radio will have their review up of it soon, so keep an eye out for that here.

There was no better way to start out the second day of a festival than the shot of adrenaline that is Shadow Smile. While a little heavier than a lot of the rest of the bands on, as well as being at 11am, the Sheffield band garnered an impressive crowd. Be it punchy riffs, heavy breakdowns or Connor’s amazing range of soaring vocals and harsh screams, the band showed off every ounce of their incredible talent. Ripping through a short setlist featuring crowd favourites, latest single ‘Hellbound Heart’ and even some off the upcoming album. THIS is how you win over a crowd!

Next up we took a sharp turn into punk with Continental Lovers. I love that NWOCR has really grown to encompass such a wide variety of different sounds, maybe more so than any other sub-genre. It means we get line-ups like this and the crowd loves every single band. This one was no different as they went down a storm. They reminded me a little of City Kids from last year, though a little more traditional in their approach. The band looked to be having plenty of fun on stage and it easily translated to the crowd.

Shifting gears a little again, we got a heathy dose of bluesy rock goodness with Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters. No stranger to big stages and crowds, Beth looked right at home strutting about across the whole stage. And on top of having the charisma to hold the crowd to her every move, her powerful, soaring vocals and amazing guitar playing were on top form, too. And that’s not to take away from the Disasters either, who played their parts to perfection. She ripped through all of her hits, including some from last year’s phenomenal Mythos, Confession, Tragedies and Love. They definitely left the crowd happy and buzzing throughout!

The next band we managed to catch were ones I’d wanted to see for a while, The Hot One Two. The band lived up to the hype too, being just as good live as I had heard. They heavied it up a little live yet still maintained the sleazy, sludgy rock sound that brought them to the dance. The crowd were familiar with a fair bit of their work which was great to see and seemed to energize the band even more. They are fantastic live performers and I’d definitely recommend going down to see them if they play near you.

Next we headed over to the tent stage to catch a band that I’d gigged with the day before, Star Circus. This was honestly one of the highlights of my day. After having seen them at Glastonbudget the day before, a festival where the crowds typically shun original music, it was so nice to see them play to an appreciative audience in a pretty packed tent. A fair amount of the crowd knew the music and it was so good to see the band play off them because of it. They had fun and played well, putting on a great show. I’d definitely see them again if they play near me!

Time to heavy it up now as we headed over to catch the thrash awesomeness of Solitary. The fact that the band even got a bit of a pit out of this sort of crowd was amazing, and I have to applaud them for that. Considering how not really into Raging Speedhorn the festival was last year, seeing a heavy band get this much love from the crowd was amazing. The band were top notch as always, wipping the crowd up into a frenzy with a fast-paced rip through their best tracks.

The glam/sleaze Cruel Intentions were up next. Somewhat unfortunately frontman Lizzy DeVine was suffering with a sore throat throughout the set. Props to him and the rest of the band for soldiering on, and if anything it kinda worked in their favour. The raspiness of the voice added an almost Dani Filth edge to it all that fit surprisingly well with their heavy punk-glam sound. Plus, Lizzy is such an entertaining frontman that he could make anything work. Their tracks translate well to a live environment and the crowd loved every second of this. They did amazingly with the hand they were dealt and I’m sure won a lot of new fans by the end!

Sour Tusk were up next in the tent and were certainly interesting! The side project of Doomsday Outlaw’s own resident stick-man Nic Rudd is a lot more groove and sludge orientated than the Outlaws. The crowd were big into them and the trio knew it, playing off them well. I have to admit I wasn’t fully into it, but I did really enjoy their cover of Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’. And there is no denying their talent!

Next up was the glam-rock powerhouses Shiraz Lane. After blowing the crowd away during their set last year they returned somehow even better than before. A lot of the crowd were clearly more familiar with their music this time around and were fully into this. Every single band member worked their ass off to put on a great show. They genuinely looked like they were having fun and were one cohesive unit on stage. I can see this band becoming huge in the next few years based on this performance alone. One of the best sets I saw all weekend!

Headlining the Southall Lawless stage on Saturday were another familiar Call of the Wild face, Kickin’ Valentina. Becoming practically the festival’s house band by this point, they never fail to disappoint and are massively loved by the crowd. Unfortunately I did feel the band were a tad quiet, though that very much may have been the wind. Still, they put on a headline worthy set that brought the house down. The crowd was one of the biggest I saw all weekend and there was barely an eye taken off the stage throughout. Another band that are going to be massive over here sooner rather than later. Their sound and Appetite for Destruction style and attitude are both incredible and I’d urge anyone reading this to check them out on track or live as soon as possible!

Last up were the mighty Terrorvision. My notes only say ‘I mean, it’s fuckin’ Terrorvision’. Need I say more? One of the best live bands around for the last two plus decades, they ripped through a perfect set of all their biggest back-catalogue hits. Heck, we even got treated to a preview of new music, which didn’t disappoint at all. Tony Wright is one of the most effortlessly captivating frontmen of all time and shows no signs of ever slowing down his crazy stage antics. And all the rest of the band played their asses off for the over-hour long set. Hats off to them, it was another phenomenal performance.