This is the third time we have played at The Isle of Wight Festival. The two previous occasions have been as the backing band for Elizabeth McGovern’s Band, Sadie and the Hotheads.
Up at silly-o’clock. Tube to Hammersmith. We meet outside the Red Lion, Barnes. In the people carrier there’re keys player Nick Lacey, bass player Drew Milloy and the Nelson Brothers. We’re meeting drummer Phil Crabbe at the ferry terminal in Portsmouth.
Musicians spend a lot of time hanging about. I think The Rolling Stones drummer, Charlie Watts, said something along the lines of ‘I’ve been a drummer for 50 years, 49 of those were hanging about.’ We have a laugh, talk about music, antisocial behaviour and living next door to a drummer. Choice music for the journey – Tom Waits (The Piano has Been Drinking, Step Right Up), Little Feat, (Dixie Chicken, Roll Um Easy) and Tucson’s finest – Calexico.
The ferry crossing is a breeze. On the Isle of Wight accreditation runs smoothly and we are taken by golf buggy to the backstage area of The Hard Rock Stage.
We spend the afternoon variously mooching about the site catching some of the other acts on the different stages, eating, drinking tea, and hanging backstage. Paul Young and his band Los Pacaminos are also hanging backstage. At one point I observed them daubing on sun cream – it didn’t look too rock ‘n’ roll. (Yes, despite all the wellies in evidence the sun did make an appearance). However, when a bottle of tequila and some shot glasses appeared we all concluded that definitely was rock ‘n’ roll! They were friendly, and fun, and highly recommended. They have a new album A Fistful of Statins. As it says on their website “Los Pacaminos got together in London as an antidote to the bleak English winter.”
The amazing Mr Crabbe is transcribing some drum parts for a couple of songs that he hasn’t yet played with The Nelson Brothers (but you’d never know from his authoritative performance).
3:00 pm – stage time – we amble on the Hard Rock stage. All is incredibly well organised. We are helped out by stagehands. A quick and expertly handled sound-check and we’re off. The Nelson Brothers Band set list?
This is the River
Green Me Blue (a Drew Milloy song)
Riding on the Back of a Whale
You Got a hold on Me
Keep Movin’ On.
Trouble with a 30 minute set – you’re just warming up and it’s all over. But it was an enjoyable set, well received by a relaxed Sunday afternoon crowd. Some of Los Pacaminos said how much they had enjoyed the songs and the performance.
Afterward we hang about to see our good friends The High Kings. A couple of years ago Phil Crabbe and Simon Nelson played in a house band on a tour that The High Kings were guesting on, so we got to play with them for a whole month. They are an Irish folk band formed in Dublin. They have quite a pedigree – Finbar Clancy has performed as one of The Clancy Brothers, Martin Furey is the son of Finbar Furey, Brian Dunphy and Darren Holden have both performed in Riverdance.
Finbar announced from the stage, “Good to see Simon and Phil here. We haven’t seen them for a while.” They pulled off a rousing set, an Irish flag billowing in the crowd amongst the happy dancers.
Then it’s all over; a reverse journey; golf buggy back to the car, a return ferry and the long drive back up the A3.
For The Nelson Brothers that was The Isle of Wight Festival 2015. A fabulous Sunday. Big thanks to the Hard Rock Café, John Giddings, Richard Barber and all at Solo UK.