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Tis the season for outdoor music festivals and I've been looking forward to attending this free local festival since enjoying the Haigh Fest last weekend. Warrington has lined up around 30 bands, all from the North West area, playing over two stages today. The bands played from 11.30am till around 8pm, unfortunately we couldn't get there till late afternoon so only managed to catch 8 bands on the Warrington Music Collective Stage, there was also a Plugged stage. I went armed with my trusty long time friend Vanessa and her teenage son Tom, and placed them in charge of my Dictaphone for little commentaries and compact video recorder. The festival was held in a park just across from the Parr Hall, notably famous for hosting the Heartbreakers show featuring Buzzcocks as support on Friday May 13th 1977. Anyway I digress, here we are, crowd a plenty, just hesitant to stand too close to the stand for some reason, many are standing around the beer tent. All bands had 20 min slots, and catering to all tastes, and the stage design & lighting was fabulous.I guess one little criticism would be that some of the bands vocals were a little low, as you can see in some of the videos here. Mainly young people present but some oldies who've been there, done it all before - thank god! Mudkiss selected our favourites to film, many thanks to Tom for assisting.

 Photo by Tom - Vanessa & Mel

THE STOCKS: Cool band to kick off the event for us, a 4 piece band from Warrington. Tom said he liked them and felt they had good potential in the rock charts, playing an assortment of different genres, from rock to blues music, definitely an original sounding band. I thought they sounded a little psychedelic & Luke’s a great frontman. Check them out:

EXILE PARADE: I almost feel like a stalker, as it's our third time in seeing this band. They gave us a few new songs and the set list was 'The Man Is Sick', The Groove', 'Schizophrenic', 'Fire Walk With Me', and no name instrumental.  in addition they played well and gave their all in a gruelling rocky performance, Lomax is a stunning performer, who really looks like he enjoys being on stage. What else to say but keep it up lads, you'll get there in the end. They have loads of shows around the North so go and see them.Check them out:

THE 66: Just as we tucked into our chippy tea, the opening track, of this band came on, with a twinkling oriental sound. The 66 singer Daniel (The Sinner) possessed a certain aloof Liam Gallagher look about him; hard to pigeon hole them into a certain type but sometimes sounding reminiscing of The Doors, with a modern day feel. The setlist was 'Shoot To Kill', 'Genghis Khan', 'Heartbreakers', 'Firefly'. A very hip sounding and looking band, the music was rock & pop based with indie overtones. Daniel has enormous potential and an interesting stage presence, to hold an audience captive. The future will be rosy I am sure and we all liked them! Check them out:

BILL DAVRO: A four piece band, introduced as alternative music. I can't say they rocked me out, bluesy and folk music, but they went down well with some of the crowd at the front. The thing I wanna know is who is Bill Davro?? Check them out:

LAZY FADER: Sorry but this band didn't do it for me either, rap, hip hop and backbeat style, complete with turntables and M.C. We went and crashed out in the bar with a Stella, and people watched till the next band came on. Once again movers & grooovers around the stage area, so they did appeal to some. Check them out:

OUR INNOCENCE LOST: A Manchester based band, who came in at the last minute. I thought they performed the best of the day out of all the bands, very energetic, fresh and lively. I've never encountered this band before but they brought indie, rock, and a bit of dirty punk to Warrington. A bunch of great looking guys, wonderful to capture on film and got all the pulses racing. Set list: 'Yours Cadence', 'She Wore Red', 'Riot on the Rooftops', 'Blood on the Stage' 'Dirty Diana' - Michael Jackson. Craig (Vocals) brought out Lance from the band Darling Waste, on keyboards and sang the Michael Jackson track 'Dirty Diana' which was brill, the crowd really got into them. I'd like to see them again with a much longer set, as it went far too quickly, and I am sure I will be. Check them out:

SMUDGE: The Wigan based band we saw last week at Haigh, I looked forward to seeing all their set this time and taking more shots as they were such an energy force. One young girl from the crowd shouted out "you'd better be good cos I named my guinea pig after you", hope she wasn't disappointed! They played a great set but had some sound vocal problems at the start. I just wonder why they turned my friend request down on MySpace, so any Smudges out there enlighten me please. Check them out:


CHINA WHITE: The heavens opened on the last band China White and I mean it lashed down by the bucket load, but they played on regardless and the crowd danced on like there was no tomorrow. They are obviously a big hit with the locals; they brought out two dancers who rocked the stage with their frenetic dance moves. A band who play a cross between funk, indie & rap music, but to be honest not my thing. I have to say we wimped out and left early for the train home as we got soaked. Check them out:

To recap, what a great show, not all bands were musically my taste, but offered a wide variety and couldn't fail to please somebody in the crowd, all the bands went down well and sounded super professional.What I would love to see is more women in the industry, photographers, musicians, reviewers, organisers, there wasn't one female I saw in any of the bands, it’s still very much a male industry. So come on girls, get out there, grab a guitar, or mic, write songs, make your mark, your never too young or too old either!

Big thanks to the organiser Steve Oates & the team for putting on a great day for all, shame I couldn't of been there for the whole day. We look forward to next year’s event. Support your local music!!

Review & photo's by Mel

Videos by Tom (pictured)