BANDS BATTLE FOR BIG FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT
TALENTED bands are limbering up to do battle for a hot festival date, thanks to a Worcester man who knows exactly how crucial a big spotlight can be.
Stu Evans is a process engineer by day and a singer in an AC/DC tribute by night and his band Soul Stripper is soaring after getting a try-out session at the city’s Marr’s Bar eight years ago.
Now Stu and Drunken Monkey Rock Festival colleague, Chris Harvey who runs Tower Studios near Pershore, have launched the mega event’s first Battle of the Bands in which four local groups - including Worcester-based Vintage Inc. - will vie to win a coveted place in the 2018 August 3-5 extravaganza.
The ever-growing Festival was launched in memory of Ian Downton, who died in 2009 after a car accident. To date, more than £25,000 has been donated to the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity (MAAC).
Tickets are already selling fast for this year’s Festival, with a line up including Wizards of Oz, Pearl Jamm, Van Hailen and Gage, hot footing it from South Africa. Check out www.drunkenmonkeyrockfest.co.uk for the full line up and tickets.
The organisers had to turn away scores of would-be performers and the line up slots are already filling up for next year. But Stu and Chris, kept three 2018 places free for the winners of the Battle of the Bands.
“We wanted to give a mix of up and coming bands, and those who narrowly missed out on a place this time, the chance to get their work showcased at the Festival,” says Chris.
The four bands will do battle at Evesham’s The Valkyrie Bar, starting at 7pm on May 11.
They include Voodoo Stone, whose lead guitarist Chris Clarke is from Worcester, Hereford-based Hate.System and Evesham teenagers Ranstone.
Bigging it up for Worcester will be Vintage Inc., whose four highly experienced musicians can’t wait.
“We may not be the youngest or have the most hair, but we are really excited and honoured to be invited and will be giving all we have to gain a place at the Festival,” says drummer Rich Beard.
“We look forward to meeting everyone for a great night of music for a great cause.”
The popular band, which brings together 150 years’ gigging experience and belts out rock and blues classics with a unique twist, was formed in 2017 by drummer Rich.
Fellow city slickers are Danny McInerney (singer and frontman) and bassist Graham Clarke while rhythm guitarist Mike Brown is from Cofton Hackett, near Bromsgrove.
Soul Stripper’s Stu, a father of three who works for a cold storage company and lives in the city with civil servant wife Debbie, had only ever sung in front of family, friends and the bathroom mirror when he spotted a Facebook post.
Scott (Fast Fingers) Pinchin, from Pershore, gave him a try out and the Marr’s Bar-gifted chance to drop in and perform one song turned into all of the six they had ready and they never looked back.
The band morphed into Soul Stripper, now with Scott on lead guitar, Upton man Andy Noon on rhythm, Colwall bass player Barry Pedlingham and Dudley drummer Ian Overfield.
AC/DC fan Stu perfects the sound of Bon Scott. So how was it the first time?
“I was more nervous about whether we could pull it off as a band, but we did,” smiles Festival Music Director Stu, whose band is now in big demand and often offers support slots to up and coming sounds.
“We like to talent spot and give new bands a break, just like we had.”
Vintage Inc. and (below) Soul Stripper