There is much to do before this wonderful local music festival takes place. Organising and planning of the festival is a big job and many of us who volunteer there do so because we love it. Togfest is a local Milton Keynes festival that runs annually on a Friday evening and all day Saturday. I normally only do the Saturday due to other commitments but it is most definitely worth volunteering your time. You get fed and watered, a free t-shirt and get to see some amazing bands and artists.
This year, like many before it, the quality of artists was exceptional. In between my shifts as a crew member I was lucky enough to see some perform. Of course as a reviewer I want to let you know what I thought. As I often review theatre as well as music gigs – I thought it might be fun to suggest which musical they could perform in to give you an idea of their individual style.
Here are a few of the acts I was lucky enough to see.
The Faces of Sarah
First to perform on the main stage, The Faces of Sarah set the level of excellence for the rest of the day. They consider themselves ‘alternative goth rock’ but for those who do not normally listen to this – trust me this is a band worth finding out more about. Nick Shultz has one of the most amazing voices I have ever heard and he really did not only get the attention of the audience – but had them mesmerised in their melodic tunes. There were no screechy voices – just a perfect pitch to deliver the divine lyrics.
Musical Theatre analogy: I can see Nick playing Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Judas’ songs demand a more powerful voice than Jesus and Nick has an amazing range to deliver with authority. If Nick played Judas – I would be rooting for Judas!
Lost at Home
Lost at Home are a four-piece band from the West Midlands who are a stunning piece with great songs and a style that mixes funk pop/rock together. My first thoughts on hearing them are ‘wow – why aren’t they famous?’. Yes, they are that good! But the music world is not based on how talented someone is – it’s about clever marketing and who you know. Well I am going to wax lyrical about how great these guys are as they are absolutely fabulous. If I had a crystal ball I would say big things are in store for this band. Check them out!
Musical Theatre analogy: On The Town. I chose this musical as I wanted something that demonstrated how great they work together. Something about friendship. On the Town is a musical about three friends who are looking for adventure. I hope Lost at Home find their adventure!
I started to write about Jimmy and my fingers wrote ‘Jimming’. I like this as it says a lot about this talented singer/songwriter. Jimmy has the most amazing soulful voice. It instantly makes you sit up and listen. He is original and effortlessly cool. Jimmy could be Jimming his way into your heart from the moment you hear him.
Musical Theatre analogy: The Blues Brothers. Mainly because Jimmy is a soul man and his voice is from deep within his soul.
Jaelee was introduced by Caz (the compare) as bonkers. I cannot imagine a higher accolade coming from Caz and Jaelee certainly has something that makes her stand out in the crowd. Her name might be small but her personality is huge and her charisma on stage means you cannot stop watching her. She danced in purple wellies with a flower in her hair. She sang like someone who has an old soul. Her voice is compelling – full of soul with jazzy influences. She scats, she harmonises, she is just amazing to watch. Meeting her afterwards she hugged me like an old friend. She is a totally lovely person with a great talent. I would also like to put a word out for her band – those three backing singers were amazing giving her perfect harmonies together. I think this is one lady who will go very far.
Musical Theatre analogy: Rent. It has some strong women roles that Jaelee could do justice for. Maureen or Joanne would suit Jaelee down to the ground.
Just as the sun started to come out again after the shower – April Blue seemed a juxtaposition of their name suggesting raining April days – but their style of music with their laid back funky reggae beats really helped give the festival its sunshine feel. (well after all it is June!).
Musical Theatre analogy: okay so maybe not musical theatre but their music really wanted me to be on a beach in a tropical country. Ohh perhaps South Pacific then.
I knew as soon as I saw the lead singer’s biceps (I couldn’t help but notice!) that they were going to be rock. The lead singer told me they have been compared to Bon Jovi and Journey. So a good standard to set your rock standard to. Corvus gave a fantastic performance – really belting out some of those songs – but I do have to mention the guitarist who was exceptionally good. Well I am partial to a bit of good guitar! Chasing Miracles is their latest track and miracles are happening as they are supporting T’pau next month.
Musical Theatre analogy: Tommy. Cause it sounds rock but has a heart at its core.
The Bullfrogs are perfect for festivals. They are very professional in their delivery and give a great range of country style songs where a lot of the lyrics are about drinking. Well it went down a storm, along with the real ale from the barn!
Musical Theatre analogy: Oklahoma! Because there is no escaping that country vibe with its twangy guitar and violin. Totally fabulous!
As I was there on an early shift – I was exhausted and unfortunately couldn’t find the energy to stay for the end of the festival. I am sorry I didn’t have time to review all the artists as each one brings something different to the festival. It is such a fabulous event that brings a real diversity of music to the people of Milton Keynes and beyond.
I hope to see you there next year.
Photos from the event can be found on my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasminestormie/albums/72157670261667395