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Calexico

Festival Review

The Black Deer Festival 2023

Eridge Park Royal Tunbridge Wells
East Sussex

Saturday

 The second day starts early, the many varied sounds of a festival are relentless and I wake up early to the sound of Skylarks taking to the air producing a remarkable chorus, I take a look at the time it is 5:10 A.M and nature is calling me to the Toilet Block. I soak up the view across the array of snoring canvas cocoons to the rolling hills, atop which is a new days sun just breaking the hills grip, perfectly round with a milky film to lessen the glare.

Tents at Black Deer Festival

 The intention today is possibly less bands to photograph while trying to watch more full performances. This will obviously mean taking less shots but trying to really get the whole experience of the great Saturday line up.

 To begin it's down the hill to Haleys Bar and a performance from Motel Sundown, as voted for by the fans to play at the festival. This decision is vindicated as they gave us an excellent set of songs, surely they will rise up the ladder of British

Country Artists.

Motel Sundown
Motel Sundown
Motel Sundown
Motel Sundown

 The Main stage has a run of three artists I plan to see, Cardinal Black, Calexico and The Teskey Brothers. Cardinal Black are a smooth bluesey four piece, fronted by the charismatic Tom Hollister. They are just the ticket for the mid afternoon slot. I have heard great promise of Chris Buck's guitar skills, he has a unique style the way he caresses the notes and uses volume with amazing dexterity. Quite astounding to hear every note carefully produced with the care of a father holding a new born.

 I have not seen Calexico before though know some tracks, none of which they play. This does not matter as they produce a great mix of styles from up beat Mexicana to Desert vision instrumental soundscapes. 

 The Teskey Brothers are now well known after building and building over the last few years, their quality and control of their audience is mesmerising. Josh's vocals are a blend of sixties southern soul with an Aussie twist. There are a lot who make it to the main stage to take in their show, the finale of Hold Me has the hillside singing long after the band depart.

Cardinal Black
Cardinal Black
Cardinal Black
Black Deer Festival
Cardinal Black
Black Deer Festival
Calexico
Calexico
Calexico
Calexico
Calexico
The Teskey Brothers
crowd at Black Deer Festival
The Teskey Brothers
The Teskey Brothers
The Teskey Brothers
The Teskey Brothers
The Teskey Brothers

 Time for some relaxation and sustenance while taking in part of Robert Vincent and his band, an ideal way to unwind.

 It is time to catch up with The Pretenders again, the third time I have seen them this year and this turns out to be the best sounding and best performance of the three.

The sound is spot on and the four members are totally on their game, as Chrissie Hynde mentions, is there anything better than a four piece band? James Walbourne puts in his usual guitarist master class in hitting those perfect shapes practiced by millions in their bedrooms. First stand out track Message of Love dives from speakers and clasps you in it's brutal riff. The older tracks obviously get the most response, for me it is Kid and Talk of the Town that are joyous to hear. It is also Mystery Achievement that hits the right notes and leaves us in awe of Chrissie and that voice still showing no sign of giving in to time.

The Pretenders
The Pretenders
The Pretenders
The Pretenders
The Pretenders
Black Deer Festival
Black Deer Festival

Sunday Review to follow

Photographs by Dan Reddick

Review by Dan Reddick

Please let us know if this type of review works for you

it would be nice to hear... thanks, Dan

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