Photographer - Liam Moore
Beerfarm’s Blazing Brews returned for Cabin Fever 2021. Brews, Blues, bonfire and BBQ is a perfect combination for a winter’s night in the South West. With bus transfers and extremely well priced tickets, it was no surprise this was a completely sold out event.
Rain and icy temperatures were forecast for the night but Beerfarm had it covered. Enough space to keep everyone dry and beer keg fire pits with a view of the stage to keep everyone toasty. They even had the sugary touch of marshmallows on entry to roast by the fire and make listening to blues that little bit sweeter. Burnt Ends – Smoking Co had the BBQ on point with a drool worthy wintery menu with loaded fries, burgers and my personal favourite, the “Broastie” (beef brisket and cheese toastie). Absolutely delicious.
Lightning Jack was the first artist for the night, always a great opener and a performer who could sit anywhere on a lineup and keep the atmosphere pumping. It's hard to believe sometimes that he’s a solo artist, with the intricacy of his playing combined with the wholeness of his sound. If you’ve never seen Lightning Jack perform before, he entwines your classic blues elements with perfectly raspy vocals and endless energy. Working the growing crowd as they sipped Royal Haze and munched down brisket burgers, he had their legs bopping to fiery originals and covers performed so well you would think they were his own. Ending the night on 'Copperhead' road, the crowd was groovin!
Grand Casual is a three piece to be reckoned with. Honestly it's another act that you just cannot believe the amount of sound that's coming at you. Especially with Kyron Smithson focusing on his smooth and dreamy vocals, as well as transferring an insane amount of energy to the crowd with the way he works the stage, this leaves just two other instrumentalists! Joe Franzone keeping it tight on drums and Matt Cooper shredding guitar. This immaculate trio present a comforting vibe on stage, you honestly feel weird if you’re not moving about. Even though the night is cold, layers are coming off as everyone is going crazy to the fast paced riffs and old school Red Hot Chilli Pepper/Kings of Leon energy.
Songs are transitioning into each other, bants are being thrown around to each member here and there and then you realise - Joey is playing the drums one handed! Where’s his other hand? Playing the bass lines, believe it or not! Speaking to Kyron after their set he mentioned; “Yeah, we jammed with a few bass players in the past but no-one ever really clicked with what we were doing”. Sounds like they’ve got it all figured out and definitely an act to check out if you haven’t wrapped your ears around them yet.
Dan Howls followed with his four piece blues band with a twist of alternative rock. Dan’s sultry raw voice is complimented by the smooth vocals of Julia and the vibrant electric guitar. These guys were there to showcase their talent and changed the vibe. Playing their most recent singles 'Fever Chills' which showed originality and diversity and 'Down and Out' taking us back to old style blues.
Looking around from the dancefloor you could see all the silhouettes of people standing around the fire drums, absolutely captivated by the performance. Switching between slow dance blues and gritty grungy blues, it was the perfect full band act to carry everyone through to the rest of the night.
Finally, the crowd was eager for the main act Abbe May. Just as the incredibly talented singer/songwriter Abbe May's set was about to begin, the rain started, which brought everyone inside and everyone even closer to the stage. Perfect timing!
Abbe May performed with her band and her powerful soulful voice had us all pumped, we were ready to dance! Singing along to all time favourites like 'Karmageddon' and getting the crowd singing together with her cover of 'Pony'. Don’t be discerned though, you don’t need to know the big tunes to be completely captivated, lost in the tones and have sore legs in the morning! The sub was body tingling and the energy on stage, they bloody owned that stage! The production in all of May's tracks is next level, it was truly a treat to experience her music live with the full band.
The whole evening the beer hall was buzzing! The beers, mulled wine and mulled cider were flowing and the sea of flannos were either on the dance floor or standing around the bonfire. A lot of thought has been put into Blazing Brews and it was great to see a variety of ages coming together for good vibes and a great night. Next year I’ll be getting my ticket early to avoid missing out.
Reviewer - Nikki D'Amico, Keeley Connolly
Photographer - Liam Moore