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Mudkiss have always been keen to support local musicians its something close to our heart, and of course it’s coming around to that time of year again. I am talking about the wonderful free Warrington Music Festival, organised by Steve Oates, with a brilliant sound system, each band having their own unique lighting, combined with smoke machines, and their own style of music, this is what makes it such a professional show. So I find myself hot footing it down to the Golden Square, shopping centre, fresh from my camping trip, to witness a wide range of eclectic and multi talented musicians. Unfortunately I had missed a number of bands by the time I got there, disappointingly one notable favourite band Kindest Of Thieves fronted by talented melancholic singer/songwriter Chris Fox, who sadly played their session earlier in the afternoon. Here are the bands I saw on the day, however there were other stages and events going on around the town.


  • 5.00 Selfish Lovers
  • 5.30 Blast Tyrant
  • 6.00 --BREAK---
  • 6.30 Sonnic Image
  • 7.00 The Animus
  • 7.30 The Phoenix Experiment
  • 8.00 Cheap Cuts
  • 8.30 Exile Parade
  • 9.00 The Ambersons
  • 9.30 Poisoned Electrick Head
  • 10.10 The Kingsway
  • 10.40 Dropscience

The headliners of the main stage change from year to year, but it’s always a great show regardless of who has this special honour. I arrive around 5.10pm to find the band Selfish Lovers already knocking out some incendiary pop songs fronted by a sweet voiced, buxom wench, in floral dress, and stockings, and a tattooed leg with band name stamped proudly. They try their best to bring a small ray of sunshine to this miserable British weather. If you need a bit of summer loving pop check them out here.


At this point in the proceedings the turn out was a bit disappointing, but maybe they had gone home for their tea? But it’s a crying shame as the organisers, the bands, and people behind the scenes all work damn hard each year to show Warrington just how much talent they have. However there is still time yet…..

Next up was something a bit heavier and louder, out come the ear plugs. Blast tyrant are roaring and ripping up the stage, with their metal/hard rock, added to the mix are a pair of guitar thrusting machines, a taste for drama, and a wild beast of a guitarist doing all kinds of crazy stunts with his eyes, it was hard to stay focused. Many of the bystanders were elated, flags waved in the air, people danced as they wowed the crowd, performing with atom - fire away! Get your fix with these guys here.

30 mins respite to catch your breath and we are off running again with the next act.

Sonnic image are a bit cool and cocky, a rock band with psychedelic overtones, rather too much influenced by the likes of Stone roses, and Oasis, for my personal tastes, but none the less, many appeared to enjoy their set, as they try to get the audience worked up, but Blast Tyrant are a hard working act to follow. The singer informs us they have a single out on iTunes called ‘Our Town’! Maybe you want a bit of sonnic action, if so check them out here.


The Animus have arrived, formerly named The Soul back in 2011, they are nothing extraordinary, although they aren’t dreadful by any means, they are pretty melodic, and upbeat with songs such as "happy birthday uncle", 'Generation', 'Drive'.

I have to say it, sorry but I hate the name. Judging from last years performance they seem to have come a long way, showing more confidence and rapport with the crowd.

The young lad on drums was actually really fascinating to watch, getting into the task at hand, totally in a world of his own. Last song ‘Breaking down The Walls On Monday Morning’.  If the names grabs you check them out for yourself, rather than take my word for it.

Its 7.30pm and The Phoenix Experiment have dusted themselves off for a special show, with their unique offering of blues, psychedelia, and electric rock. Formed from the ashes of The 66, and featuring two main members Craig Harman on bass and Mike Bee on guitar. Usually renown for their underground recording exploits, and sharing free music, occasionally they come out of their lodge to play live. It’s a slot worth waiting for, and what you call something a bit special, with expert playing all round and frontman Mike, giving us all manner of guitar hero expressions amongst the smoky atmospheric stage lights. They certainly command the stage, leaving us all a bit awe struck! They should be the headliners - headliners I say…………but then I am bias, I love them! Cool as….don’t believe me check for yourself people, but be warned the free music has now gone.


Cheap Cuts, are a band I have seen banded around for a while, playing vintage 60’s style soul riffs, with hand claps, and sweet melodies, somewhat reminiscent of style council. They also do a nice line in ballads, and lyrically cover pretty interesting subject matter. Singer Gareth and his band of well dressed associates are bringing power pop back. I really like their clean cut vibe. If you want a cut of their action, try checking them out here.

The crowd by now have increased in size; they are beginning to come out of the shadows, its party time. A few of them are feeling a tad merry and we ain’t talking a few shandys here, some of them have been at it all day. It’s all good fun though and everyone appears to have having a good craic.

Strangely enough Exile parade are not headlining this year, yet they are this week playing to huge audiences in China - how mad is that?

Last year we had a booming, theatrical performance, from the boys complete with body paint, and I wondered what gimmicks we would have if any this year. Strangely enough they have adopted a change of style, stripped down to basics, witness to just sheer musical delights, whopping riffs and a stunning performance as usual from Lomax and the guys – I expected nothing less!

They are certainly amassing bags of confidence and stage presence. The sons of Warrington reigned supreme! If you want them to rain on your parade go here.

The stage is prepared for a beach party, plants and balloons, are brought out, the signs and lights are set into place. The Ambersons stroll onto their  smoky ‘Amberland’ beach fun set, lights, camera action, are we are heading for some frolics? The Ambersons vocalist is a bit of a heartthrob crooner, and this band always go down well with the crowd. At least an effort was made, they paid a quid for the balloons…..and that was a joke, they are a fun and lively pop band, really enjoyed their set. Go get a slice of the Amberland action here.


A surprising entry in this years festival are St Helens band Poisoned Electrick Head - a colourful bunch wearing fantasy costumes, white boiler suit, masks, and the singer, known as Emerald Greenshade has a fluorescent sponge alien thing on his head, with matching x ray spectacles. I say thing cos I have no idea what it was, or meant to be, this could be interesting.

A name I've heard over the years, but never had the privilege until now! They could be described as theatrical, psychedelic rock, with elements of post punk, loud and entertaining….. just what you need. Rebellion favourites from last years punk festival.

All the lights went out on the last track, but this band certainly warmed us up nicely, just as the chill of the night began to set in. Get some head here.


The Kingsway didn’t manage to move me much last time I saw them in 2010, I thought they were a bit staid, however this year I though they were quite refreshing and much improved, with their 90's style driving guitar sound. Sadly it has to be said that they are not a particular exciting band to watch, but with the added addition of a newish guitarist, they became far more interesting. The James Dean leather jacketed guitarist stole this bands thunder, with his posturing.  They just need to try and get some stage personality and move around a bit more. Get the lowdown here.

And the night is almost over, but finally its time for the six piece headlining band DropScience, arriving first up on stage is their drummer Adam Baldwin, who grabs the mic, speaking passionately to announce this would be his last show, and that every beat was for his pal [apparently 'Jimmy' his Granddad] who had passed away an hour earlier. The show must go on, but beneath that heavily beating drum kit probably lay a very sad beating heart. DropScience, are a reggae, ska based dance explosion gang, fronted by the energetic Phil Cain, who can’t seem to keep his feet still for a second. They throw in a couple of covers to get the crowd in the mood. Now I’m not a fan of covers but these were all given a fresh spin by the band, as they torn into The Specials 'Gangsters' , Madness ‘One Step Beyond’, Prodigy’s ‘Out Of Space’ and Marley's ‘3 Little Birds’. Borf on rhythm guitar gave us a cheeky flash of his arse, and his heavily tattooed backpiece got another airing, I love watching him move, his smile says he is loving every minute. These boys can play and then some, they are a rabble rousing, foot stomping delight, playing out to a backdrop of fantastic moody lighting, and a crystal clear sound system.


Once again these boys nailed it to the floor, dancing for joy, and by now the audience are a heaving mass of party goers complete with the obligatory drunken dancing and shouting out. Another band that have really stepped up their game this year, and closed the show in style, they have done the town proud. Fancy some reggae, ska, dance music, then step this way.


Intro (walk on track) Marley Marl - Dropping Science
Gangsters Daughter
Something Head
British Armada
Bitchin' in the Kitchen
Cocaine Nation
One Step Beyond - Madness
Gangsters - Specials
3 Little Birds - Bob Marley
Out of Space - Prodigy

So that's it, another year's entertainment done and dusted, and whilst not all to my taste, they do cater for everyone and its a guarantee you will see and hear one or two bands that will rock your world. Thanks to Steve Oates and everyone else for putting on yet another successful and professional show – here’s to 2013!

Review and photos by Melanie Smith –

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