The much anticipated Franklin Fest 2016 kicked off proper on Friday evening in our favourite green shack (to read about the warm up gig on Thursday click here) appropriately with Glasgow’s The Brutes, making it a fun and enthusiastic start to the proceedings. They rip through a mixture of their own Pebbles-y style garage-punk with numbers like fuzz-tastic 'Real Gone Gasser', and stirling covers of The Sonics 'Shot Down' and The Wailers snotty 'Hang Up'.
Up next are The Gastronauts, who are a supergroup if you will, with members of MFC Chicken, Les BOF! and The Shook-Ups to name but a few. As you’d expect, it’s all done with tongue firmly in cheek and big fat dollops of fun. With songs like ‘Really Chewy’ ('Louie Louie'), surf-tastic Wang’s Dang Noodles, the exotica of ‘Bongo Burgers’, ‘Chimps Tea Party’ (including prerequisite go-go gorilla on drums), and a foodie rendition of 'Surfin’ Bird'. They even dragged up Sine Wave’s maestro Project X to join in with ‘Bacon Slap'.
After a quick change over it’s time for the the amazing Brazilian / Danish garage-mayhem duo - The Courettes. Flavia and Martin Couri ooze coolness and passion. They clearly love what they are doing, and want everyone else to to join in, and it works because what they give out is infectious. And they are loud, with fuzz switched into overdrive, sassy Flavia screams her way through the set, hardly stopping for breath. It’s full-on boisterous fun, which includes the excellent ‘I’ve been walking’, the fuzzed-up brilliance of ‘The Boy I Love’ and knock-out ‘Nobody But You’. They ask MFC Chicken front man Spencer Envoy avec sax to join them for a number, and this addition, makes them sound just like The Sonics!
Moving on to French tarts, Les Grys Grys, the final act of tonight. Having seen them perform at The Franklin last year, I knew that this was going to be good. Never giving less than 150%, these guys are full throttle ‘60s R&B, with added sweat. I have a feeling that were it 50 years ago, they would no doubt have ladies throwing their knickers at them. They storm through their set and it gets wilder, hotter, and more intense. They end up in the crowd, on the floor, on tables, upside-down and partially dressed. This is rock 'n' roll people - Les Grys Grys style. They are masters of the build-up, and controlled chaos. 'Milk Cow Blues' being a fine example of this. Their two encores (or was it three?) are almost as long as their set, and it ends with a bit of maraca smashing, and the poor old Franklin banner behind the drums hanging loose; disheveled. Says it all really.
Follow that Saturday night!
Whilst our senses are still very much in recovery mode, it’s time to head along to the Leith Depot for the Saturday afternoon showcase. Today the weather is hot and humid, and inside the small upstairs room it’s even hotter.
Kicking off the afternoon are The Nettles, a fab new organ fuelled garage band featuring some familiar faces, including Saskia from Lord Rochester, and Angus McPake on drums. They give impressive renditions of The Sonics' ‘Strychnine’ and The Monks' ‘How To Do Now’, I hope to get another chance to see them soon. They are quickly followed by edgy garage-surf trio The Fnords. ‘Scum Baby’ is sang with such bloodcurdling velocity that it gives me goosebumps. They only really stop when vocalist Sarah’s guitar string snaps just in time for their last number - who needs it anyway? They carry on regardless.
Geek Maggot Bingo are next, and if you’re looking for un-poncey rock 'n' roll - look no further. Andy Maggot proclaims that he’s 'had longer shits' than the length of their set. It’s short, but hits all the right spots, ending with the marvelous ‘Swingtown’. Onto Fanny Pelmet And The Bastard Suits, who were quite unlucky to suffer two snapped strings during their set, not to mention a malfunctioning mic stand. Despite this they still managed to shine through with cool covers of The Standells' ‘Rari’ and The Eyes' ‘You’re Too Much’.
To finish off the afternoon, The No-Things hit the small stage, and they appear to have a new member for today in the shape of a small cute girl wearing ear protectors. They are as maraca-shaking-ly entertaining as always, and despite the overwhelming heat, and a poor punter passing out, it was a brilliant afternoon.
Tomorrow… Saturday evening at the Franklin Fest.