So July 19th 2003 and my last day of freedom as I walked down the aisle with Claire Jayne Runacus at United Reformed church on Mather Avenue. No other church would have me having not been christened !! So fast forward 11 years and it’s our steel wedding anniversary. It was Friday night and I had written Mrs Fay’s card and I was thinking were can I leave it so that she would see it in the morning and there right next to me on the kitchen table was the ideal place presenting itself in all it’s glory a gift from the gods. It was of course the basket of dry washing (See pic below) Thankfully the card was located pretty quickly by Mrs Fay and I avoided a frying pan to the head when I got up and after a quick family swim at Garston all three kids were lashed to their grandparents and me and the missus were heading off to The Astral Coast music festival in New Brighton.
So we headed into town about 3.30 and decided on some pre festival drinks in Liverpool including The White Star, Railway and Lion Tavern. In one of these boozers a girl came around selling badges for charity. Always wonder if these are the real deal or not. My twisted mind instantly created doubt but I suppose I better give the benefit of the doubt to the badge sellers of the world though you aint getting an “Alan Whicker” from me. A quick stop off for a beer in Williamson Square where there was temporary pub put up and a stage which was to do with the Brazilica Festival so technically I would have been to two festivals in a day. Next up the train to New Brighton and the empty train was heading into New Brighton the sky was turning grey and the light fading early for summer. It was gonna piss down, and was just a question of when. Now many of you will know (and some won’t) that I am dodgy weatherman @Liverpoolweath on Twitter and previously described by Radio City as Liverpool weather expert. Well this Liverpool weather expert had come out in shorts and a t-shirt and as it looked as we got down to the coast the heavens opened and it was a quick dash to Morrisons for shelter were I must have looked like a smack head on the rob pacing up and down the aisle’s of Morrisons looking for a brolly to buy. I took this chance to treat Mrs Fay to an all expenses paid anniversary meal which was a three course delight of sausage roll for starters, a wrap for main course and a pack of Seabrooks prawn cocktail crisps for desserts. As you can see below the venue for the meal was under door shelter in Morrisons New Brighton and the look of joy on her face will stay with me for ever and I am sure with finding her card in the washing and such a lavish meal she still thinks on a daily basis how lucky she is to be married to me !!
So onto the main event and the Astral Coast music festival 2014. The festival had kicked off at 2pm and was over two stages but with the excellent twist that the two stages ran side by side time wise so there were no clashes and minimal waiting in between acts. A great idea. The festival was held in The Floral Pavilion in New Brighton and when sitting off having a beer we could see some Peppa Pig stuff. A night with no kids and there is still no escaping that bastard Pig. So the first act we got to see were The Sundowners who were fronted by two female vocalists and this nicked from their Facebook bio “Two girls from a seaside town on the Wirral bonding over a mutual love of psychedelics and west coast harmonies. A friendship that sees them nurturing each other’s musical talents, with Niamh Rowe teaching Fiona Skelly how to play guitar, and Fiona teaching Niamh to sing. It’s the start of Sundowners’ story.” A decent band and as they finished it was next door to see the next band on called By The Sea. I seem to recall seeing these before possibly supporting The Tea Street band. After the first track it was evident I had seen them before. The music deffo seemed to have a hint of 80’s about it. I think it’s the synths together with the dreamy vocals and dare I say it a hint of Stone Roses about them at times. An excellent performance and well worth catching live. Next up were The Lucid Dream (We sadly missed Bird as I had to leg it the bank to get more dollar) and something not so local as they were from Carlisle a place I have only ever been to once to watch Liverpool play there in the F.A.Cup in about 1989. They had a write up in the programme notes saying they were ‘Psychedelia” and I have been getting into a bit of this recently so was looking forward to see what they had on offer. Their last track (Which I must find) was a rip roaring musical journey that went of for ages but had me fully engrossed from start to finish and the band seemed fully engrossed in what they were delivering. Such was the effect of the final track me and the missus ended up talking with the friendly security guards about the track after their set had finished.
We decided to have a few more drinks and as well as two stages their was a DJ playing choons by the bar. Now I think when the DJ got his gig for 11pm he would be thinking play a few choons to a few people by the bar but what developed was a full on mini rave with some belter choons and quite a few people dancing away to the music. Now you can’t beat a bit of good house music with a girlie vocal on and some great tracks were being dropped. So onto the final act of the night and save the best until last and Liverpool’s finest The Tea Street Band. Originally we thought they would be playing around 9:30 so bought the tickets to the festival only to find out they were on at 12am which is well past my modern day bedtime never mind being over in New Brighton. This is the fourth time I have seen The Tea Street band over the last 12 months and I have never done that with any band so I feel like a bit of a stalker/groupie !! There debut album is boss REVIEW HERE and after buying it on iTunes I treated myself to the vinyl as well and it’s still high up on the Faymondo playlist. So to the gig and as ever they did not disappoint. The crowd were well up for it and the band put in another great performance and their mixture of synths, guitars and a large hint of dance gets mixed up in a musical pot that can only be described as one of the best albums I have heard for years. They even managed to throw a new track in which I don’t recall hearing and can only blame that on a 3:30 start on the ale ! Mrs Fay who can’t avoid listening to the album in ours and the car was very impressed by the performance as well.
So The Astral Coast music festival was a great day out, well organised and a very friendly vibe about it. As mentioned a great method in the timing of bands and two lovely intimate venues for the bands to play and highly recommended to go to next year and the ticket was just £11 which is an absolute steal. By The Sea won the best performance for an act I didn’t know and now we were faced with just one more question how the hell do you get home pissed from New Brighton at 1am in the morning ? Thankfully there was a night bus that turned up as we reached the bus stop. Now night busses can be a strange beast but there was only one other couple on the bus so it was a pleasant ride back over the water, well under really. Mrs Fay who has recently lost her diamond from the engagement ring I bought her all those years ago was offered a replacement diamond if she deleted her Facebook account (I am now on there with no friends, it’s the future believe me) but she said no. Back in Liverpool and we swerved any more late bevies to head for a scran and a cab home.
Sunday morning and no kids we headed to The Otters Cafe for breakfast outdoors as the Penny Lane Striders 10k ran past. To think I was a marathon athlete just a few weeks back and now it’s back on the ale big time going to gigs and festivals again. Good job I did not throw away all my “fat” pants eh !! A post breakfast walk and a token beer in the beer garden of The Victoria Pub (Aiggy Arms) and it was back to reality as the three daughters landed and the one day fun filled oasis of music and booze that was our wedding anniversary was over and we head into our 12th year as strong as ever (Christ that was a bit heavy for me)
Fay x x x x x x
EDIT also caught some of Bill Ryder Jones but only two tracks so not enough to review really. What I heard was sound.