Review: Orange Goblin at The Yard, Cornwall

Orange Goblin at The Yard
Featuring Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, Massive Wagons, Raging Speedhorn, White Raven Down, and Mother Vulture
31st July 2021
Review and photos – Rob Wilkins

You wait an entire pandemic for a gig and then two come along in the space of a week! I had barely got home from Steelhouse than I was packing my camera bag for the short trip across the Tamar to the most un-metal location on the planet, the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall.

Known for sandy beaches, tiny fishing villages, and “lost gardens” it seems an unlikely location for a day of rock and metal, but the “If you build it, they will come” feeling came upon “The General” (aka Jules Chenoweth) and he has begun the transformation of a builders yard and recycling centre into an ambitious outdoor venue capable of hosting 1000 people.

Arriving at the venue I was shown to a secure parking area for overnight stays in motorhomes (free) and then made my way to explore the venue. Outside the entrance is “Sam’s”, a food and alcohol venue providing superb burgers and pizza along with their own lager, great cider, and even some rather lovely cocktails. The surrounding units also feature a jewellery store and a deli/wine merchant amongst other vendors, which again highlight the unique nature of the venue.

Suitably refreshed and filled with minced cow in a bap I moved through into the arena itself. A huge open space with the most industrial vibe ever. So industrial that the challenge was to make it LESS rather than more, whilst making the most of the opportunities having heavy plant onboard provided. In front of the stage (itself converted from some storage) is the most immovable crowd barrier I have ever seen. A series of massive concrete slabs that could withstand the crush upfront at Download. To the side, two diggers have their arms raised to form an arch, and all around is heavy machinery. To the other side of the stage is another bar selling cold cans and at the rear a large merch area,

The crowd is pretty decent by the time the first band takes to the stage and for many, this is their first live music since lockdown was announced.

The band with the honour were Mother Vulture. Three smartly dressed young men took to the stage, one carrying a rather lovely Gretsch guitar. Then all hell broke loose. Holy crap! What a way to open a show! A scream, a crash of drums and cymbals, a barrage of power chords, and then guitarist Brodie Maguire took off. Literally! For the first song, he was in the air more than he was on the ground. Playing as a three-piece with no bassist, the sound was raw, punky and played at a frenetic pace. Vocalist Georgi Valentine’s range was phenomenal, hitting notes that made me wince, and drummer Matt West probably had to have his kit bolted down to prevent him from joining the mayhem. Their set left me breathless. On and off the crowd barrier (leaping between the two), into the audience, sliding across the floor and ripping apart the trousers of a once smart suit, bouncing off a wall, leaping off the guitar amp, and that was just Maguire! Definitely a band I am going to be seeing again!

The challenge of following them on stage went to Essex lads White Raven Down. Many in the audience appeared to be wearing their t-shirts and they got a great reaction as they took to the stage. They couldn’t match the manic energy levels that preceded them but instead, they used the full stage and arena in a more relaxed manner. They gave off a strong sense of camaraderie, of being a group of mates having a great time on stage and it felt wonderfully natural. Singer Will Taylor never stopped smiling and often ruffled the hair (and even licked!) one of his colleagues as their fun became quite infectious. “Broken Door” and “Take Me” both came over as classy tunes that stood out for me and I thoroughly enjoyed their set.

“And now, for something completely different” is the only way to describe the appearance on stage of Raging Speedhorn. The first band threw energy at the set, the second engaging good humour, but Speedhorn just smacked you right around the face with a baseball bat whilst drinking cans of lager. They start with a wall of sound at ear-splitting volume and then add twin vocalists Reagan and Cook who prowl the stage menacingly. A mosh pit forms (in Cornwall, never thought I would see the day!) as they charge straight into “Hate Song” to set the scene for the next three-quarters of an hour. It really is music at its most brutal. I can’t imagine sitting down to listen to them on Spotify or popping an album on whilst I sit in the garden, but live and in the flesh the energy gets into you on a primal level.

A quick chat with Baz before Massive Wagons came on stage led to the joke that they were going to look like the Spice Girls after Speedhorn’s violent assault on the ears and that they might start with a nice ballad, but Wagons are a band that knows how to play an audience. For me, they were the band of the day. The setlist was superb. Opening with “Pressure” they quickly followed on with lockdown anthem “In it Together” and the crowd was theirs. I have been waiting to hear “The Curry Song” live since it was released and it is bloody glorious fun. It split opinion when released but with a crowd singing back it is irresistible. How about this for a run to the finishing line? “Bangin’ in your Stereo” gets heads bobbing. “Tokyo” is introduced with a nod to the NWoCR compilation album that has just charted at number 10 in the charts. “Billy Balloon Head” follows and I almost lose my voice singing along (for months my Spotify decided that whenever I used it in the car the opening line of “HELLLOOOOOOOOO” blared out at me and it was a great way to start a workday). “China Plates” makes a welcome return to the set (for me one of Wagons best songs) and of course we finish with the perfect tribute of “Back to the Stack”. Spice Girls my arse!

The sun is disappearing over the horizon when, for the second time in a week, I get the pleasure of watching Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons take to the stage. A week ago at Steelhouse, I thought the sound was a bit “muddy” but here it is a tight as a duck’s underwater bits. It has only been a week but vocalist Andrew Hunt has already become a little more comfortable looking in his role. It may possibly have been the same setlist, opening with “We’re the Bastards” and alternating between homegrown songs such as “Step into the Fire” and “Son of a Gun” and Motorhead memories like “Going to Brazil” and “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.” but it moves along at great pace, with occasional laid back introductions from the self labelled “Welsh Wanker” himself. The art of setlisting is demonstrated once more as the final segment features “Silver Machine”, followed by another mosh pit opening to “Ace of Spades” (touchingly dedicated to “the three we lost this week”) and finally “Killed by Death”. Another great set by PCatBS that cemented their growing reputation as a damn good rock and roll band.

Finally to the headliners Orange Goblin. Oddly I have never knowingly heard or seen the band so didn’t really have much idea of what to expect but was slightly taken aback when the stage lighting was eclipsed by the sheer hugeness of singer Ben Ward! Kicking things off with arms raised and a primal roar that didn’t need amplification to be heard as far away as Truro, they were clearly playing to a crowd that had been waiting a long time for the experience of seeing “Orange fuckin Goblin baby” playing in Cornwall. “Solarisphere” opens the show and every word is sung back. I find myself in the privileged position of watching a band adored by their fans delivering just what they expected. The pit is seething as every last drop of energy is expended and still, Ward demands more as they switch between tracks from the duration of their back catalog. “Sons of Salem” is for me, the stand-out track of the performance, with its huge drum intro and crushing guitar and bass lines but the whole set is a showcase of power and skill.

Huge credit to all those involved in making this even happen, from “The General” to the stage crew that bore a remarkable resemblance to King Creature and Ward himself who is another part of the web of venue and booking agents involved. I really hope they keep up the momentum and bring more music to this sleepy little corner of Cornwall because the potential of the venue is immense. 

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