Friday morning at Bearded Theory (or any festival) is always a little tentative… If you are one of those who queued to get in on Thursday, then, once in, you would have undoubtedly gone OTT on the alcohol intake because… Thursday night is party night…
For that very reason, Thursday is a bit sketchy… Skanked to a Don Letts DJ set in the Woodland, which was pretty funky, lots of classic songs dubbed up. Then endured Reverend And The Makers fronted by Keith Lemon on the Pallet Stage, but that’s about it…


With the positives that social media brings, it also comes with the fact that everyone has an opinion, the majority of whom shouldn’t air them. It also means that news travels fast; particularly bad news (and fake news). OK, it’s a festival… thousands of people are converging to one spot down country lanes, you’re going to be stuck in traffic. The toilets will sometimes look like a shit pyramid. Some stages and areas will be crammed, it might rain and get muddy, and your neighbours might be noisy twats – it is a festival, weren’t you warned about these things? Unfortunately, there are also a tiny minority of utter cunts who’ll break into your tents and steal your money while you sleep… and had I found one of them in my tent I’d be writing this from a police cell… So it was heartwarming that people rallied round to help / donate to those few who were robbed and showed the true colours and community of this wholly wonderful event.


October Drift
kicked things off on the Pallet (main) Stage on Friday morning. I did write in my notebook ‘Indie nonsense’ and contemplated doing the whole weekend’s review with just one liners. Anyway, that line was more of a reflection of my over-indulgence last night and this miserable wet morning. This Taunton band are all over the place like a rash and have been supporting The Editors on their European tour (how ace is that!!). No wonder they looked so fucking happy to be here, with their enthusiastic guitar noise. It’s shoe-glare rather than shoe-gaze in a Kitchens Of Distinction cum Snow Patrol cum Ride sort of way with that washing wall of guitarFX swirling all around us.


There’s only time to quickly get to know the staff at the Hobgoblin bar before Membranes are due on stage. There’s a delay, technical difficulties, I see two drum kits and a choir… When most DIY bands are filtering themselves down to being a two-piece so they can travel cheaply, Membranes are expanding like a billion photons in a dark matter universe. Quite fittingly, when they do begin, with The Universe Explodes Into A Billion Photons Of Pure White Light and it is a fantastic noise. The energy and the sound is breathtaking, and all delivered by unapologetic middle-aged fucked-up 21st century men with real vigour. The set is almost purely of 2015’s ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’ album, with Dark Energy, the choir making great work of Do the Supernova and the brilliant dubbed down In The Graveyard. What is there not to like about this band? This band that started as a Blackpool mutation and mutated beyond recognition. Simply glorious… New album lurking on the horizon…


The wonderful setting of The Woodlands Stage is next and the dawning of Pizzatramp. When you come from Caldicot, the only grown up thing you can do is drink.. So to see Pizzatramp’s Jimbob up on stage completely wellied at 2pm could have spelt disaster. Instead, the huge crowd were not only given some truly excellent hardcore, they were entertained in between by some hilarious ranting and rambling from the said Jimbob. So much that he had everyone in stitches, particularly with the introduction to Bono Is A Fucking Cunt. They killed it – we all had grins the size of a Monmouthshire Cat. Felt (almost) for Dan the drummer who kept being singled out and told to speed up (all good humoured of course). Check out their stunning new album ‘Revenge Of The Bangertronic Man’ out now on TNS Records.


Across next to the Something Else Tea Tent – a 24 hour party of cake and laced tea run by the tireless Gail. Local (to us) boy Paul Henshaw is on with his guitar, declaring shenanigans to all and sundry, and they all lapped it up. Even the pirate nonsense at the end, which had (our) Deggsy take on Carter USM’s Fruitbat in a sword fight. Les (Fruitbat) also accompanied Paul at the end with an intricate kazoo solo and the party atmosphere continued.


Caught a bit of Sleeper, but too far away, and no A-Z to get us near… Also caught most of The Coral and was more than ready to dismiss them, but was taken by the mesmerising Arabian Sand, with the madman in the desert ranting and the psyched out feeling. The rest of the set was hit after hit and more than pleasant.


Couldn’t say the same for Jesus & Mary Chain. It was a box ticker for me, but in hindsight I’d have left it unticked. Yeah I know they have a reputation for being a miserable band, but they made the rest of us miserable too once they’d picked up their festival appearance cheque. It was dreary, unresponsive and barely conscious.


Keeping it Team Jesus and with night setting in, we headed back to The Woodland for a bit of Jesus Jones. International Bright Young Thing was being played out, only it was weak and thin – it lacked any bollocks… The bar beckoned and we continued to watch from the sidelines, and as the set wore on the band seemed to find their groove – it became funkier and got much better, heavier, louder… Yeah baby…

Managed to deliberately miss Blossoms, and forgot all about Altern-8… but you can blame that on Isaac and the crew at the Hobgoblin bar…