Photographs - Rebeca Ulken (@rebeca_ulken)
From the very moment The Wild Weekend 2019 was announced there was no question as to whether I would be attending. Come hell or high water - I would be there! Having already attended the first two of the three previous Wild Weekends; two Las Vegas Grinds (run jointly between Tom Ingram and Josh & Babz Collins), and numerous Frat Shack nights back in 1990s, I say this with hand on heart, no other events of this ilk have ever compared to theirs. In a scene now saturated with garage/surf/beat festivals, there is certainly an abundance to choose from. However, the previous Wild Weekend/Frat Shacks were never just about the bands - there was always something else, something special - or am I looking nostalgically through rose tinted specs? Also I think they were also one of the first clubs in the UK to present garage/surf/beat & trashy rock ‘n’ roll together (I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong, good readers). Prior to that it was a choice between Rockabilly and Mod nights - neither of which were ever that appealing (to me), lest one wore the wrong shoes.
The fourth Wild Weekend, this time located in Palmanova, Mallorca, got off to a cracking start with mystery band (although it didn’t take much to work out who) the inimitable Das Clamps, as delightfully Bad Taste as ever - I love these girls, they encapsulate off the wall humour and kick-ass tunes all whilst looking deadpan glam. A few hours later it was off to Tito’s nightclub in Palma - an opulent Art Deco establishment for the first of the themed night’s - tonight’s being Hollywood Glamour. None of the weekend acts were on offer tonight, instead we are granted the dubious pleasure of the Velvet Cabaret. A tassle-twirling troupe of burlesque bombshells, backed by a cod rock ‘n’ roll band that had more camp than Maplins, indeed there was definitely a touch of the Ted Bovis about them. Still, the drinks measures were muy grande, which helped to smooth the way, and good fun was had by all.
Day two gave us ‘Trash Talks’, the first in a series presented by Lowbrow Artist and Tattooist - Sunny Buick. Sunny gave a compelling presentation of the history of Lowbrow art, which she did in three different characters. It was a real privilege to hear her talk - where else would you hear this? She was both informative, and tres stylish. The next talk was presented by Domenic Priore, Pop historian, Dj and TV producer no less, who chose to bestow his audience with The Rise and Fall of LA’s Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier. Unfortunately I missed out, as the sunshine was calling, but I hear from a friend that it was fascinating. A very affable and interesting man indeed.
Band time! and onto one of the bands I’d really been looking forward to - purveyors of the ‘North 7 Action Sound!™’ Cee Bee Beaumont. Following a few (shall we say) technical hitches, they prove once again that they are indeed a force to be reckoned with (delving into my memory banks for a comparison as to when I last saw them play - 20 odd years ago?). Perfect musicality is boring right? They played with more oomph than a band twice their size. Their overall sound was impeccable. Another band that stood out, that hadn’t played together for 17 years (announced Babz) was the long awaited return of The Diaboliks - still as full of attitude as ever, and sounding terrific, all delivered with that tongue in cheek naughtiness which the crowd lapped up. Great to see Dan, Babz, Anya and Sophie back together again.
Plenty of mid-20th century miscreants were to be found on Friday evening, at the ‘Villain’s Hideout’. The night was in full dubious swing with a cohort of baddies such as Penguin’s G.O.O.N.’s, from She-Devil on Wheels - The Man-Eaters MC, Bad Cowboys, creepy child psychopath Rhoda Penmark from The Bad Seed, Bonnie & Clyde, and Medusa to name but a few (I certainly felt inadequately dressed in my ubiquitous robbers mask). Norway’s The Scumbugs didn’t have any problems fitting into the villainous surroundings with their big bug heads, bad attitude and bonkers stage show; Mummies-esque full throttle instro ‘Shrimp Nose’ being a highlight for me. Next up The Go-Devils from Japan made their boot mark - right in the middle of our foreheads. Certainly as ferocious as their cover of ‘Get Off The Road’ (from She-Devils on Wheels (1968)) plus a mixture of other well known ‘60s Girls in the Garage covers, as well as their own, joined on stage at one point by Mad “Motor” Matty, and... I won’t say anymore about that. You had to be there.
Fancy a suitcase swap meet around the poolside whilst being serenaded by Ugly Things DJ’s Anja & Mike Stax and Tony Tyger? Yes please! What a civilised way to spend the afternoon. Saturday daytime also bought us more Trash Talks from Dominic and King Khan. Ozzie pop-punksters Thee Cha Cha Chas were definitely a welcome hangover cure and full of light-hearted bounciness, all very engaging. Unfortunately I missed some of the local afternoon bands (I needed to utilise the Spa), plus The Men From SPECTRE and The Loons, and later that evening, The Breadmakers. (That’ll teach me for overindulging at the Villain’s Lair - oops).
Which leads us to Saturday night’s ‘Technicolour Freakout!’ There was an unfortunate cancellation by Screaming Lord Stax - due to their bassist falling off stage earlier in the day. But fear not, The Ogres (featuring Phantom Surfer Johnny Bartlett) were a stone-aged riot. Plenty of all-American Frat-Rock standards with a touch of the ‘British Invasion’ about them (read those pesky Liverpudlian mop-tops); however, the highlight was definitely Bartlett paying tribute to Dick Dale at the end of the set with a fast and furious version of 'Miserlou' - pertinent of course, and loved by the crowd. Cee Bee Beaumont ended the night or started the morning at 2.30am (once again with feeling lads?) and were much more together than Thursday’s performance, and again proved that keeping it simple (two guitarists and a drummer) really works - no frills here, just a gritty solid wall of guitar - hard AF!
Sunday, and the gentle sound of Laurent Bigot’s Glamrock Stomp could be heard poolside, followed by a Ramones sing-along to ‘Rock and Roll High School’, both of which I avoided (nothing personal - sorry!). Later on at the last of the ‘Trash Talks’ Lluis Fuzzhound showed his fabulously fun mid-20th century style animations. If you’re a fan of Hanna Barbera and ‘60s cartoons, then check out his work - it’s very cool indeed. The rescheduled Screaming Lord Stax was monstrously marvelous - I’m SO glad I didn’t miss them. Their version of Sutch’s ‘She’s Fallen In Love With A Monster Man’ was gloriously creepy and kooky - the all important part sung by Anja Stax - thank you! It’s been an ear worm ever since.
Wrapping up the weekend, and an obvious favourite for me were Les Kitchenettes, who performed on the outside stage at the hotel. They have both ‘60s pop sensibilities a la Yé-Yé, and that effortless ‘60s Parisian cool. They also have plenty of bite, and are not shy with unleashing the fuzz when needed. Ludo and Lucille are real stars of yesteryear, and their energy radiates through to the crowd. I have a feeling that it’s going to be very difficult to top their performance this evening...
Johnny Bartlett and The Crab Shack Shakers serenaded us through dinner with some very much welcomed and desperately needed (by me at least) surf. Ending the evening headliners The Tandoori Knights, who amongst their members have Bloodshot Bill and King Khan, served party time Rock ‘n’ Roll on a spinning plate, and for those who could muster up the energy, dancing and whooping was the order of the evening.
All in all, a fantastic weekend. I hear that there is talk of Wild Weekend 5, possibly in 2021. I sincerely hope that is true. Babz and Josh did it again, with knobs on. Lastly a mention to the fantastic array of DJ’s over the weekend who played the most danceable tunes, and to the Go-Go girls for adding their provocative presence - it wouldn’t have been the same without you.
Why not follow Debbie on instagram @ms_sheringham_boom ?