This was my first time at Guilfest in Guildford and it won’t be my last. Guilfest is definitely not Reading, but it does attract bands that have also played that non-punter friendly festival. I only came for the last day which was the Sunday. It was a nice hot, but not uncomfortable day. After a fast train from Waterloo and a long walk, I found the park it is in, paid my £30 entrance fee and was shocked when I walked in, not to be manhandled by security, and to be any able to go the bar at any time I liked without having to queue. Everything was well priced, but not over priced. There were families everywhere and everyone was laid back and the attitudes were left at the entrance except for thoseon stage.

I only watched bands on the main stage because these were the ones I came for. I would of liked to have seen Howe Gelb of Giant Sand and the Stranglers ,but both of these clashed with other bands I wanted to see.

First up for me was Glenn Tilbrook who like me comes from Blackheath, and who played a fine, solid set armed with just an acoustic guitar. Glenn played a mixed set of classy Squeeze tracks from the golden age of his writing as well, as as one from Squeeze’s last straight to the bargain album, but which he still likes. Tracks from his solo album, ‘The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook’ were also well received by the packed audience.

Next on was my warm up for the following weekend, the Cureheads, whom at the moment are not really the Cureheads. They are Gary, the Cureheads' Robert Smith who was backed by an Italian Cure tribute band ‘Easy Cure’. As I worship the Cure, I think they do their impression very well, but sadly Gary had rehearsed too much and had fucked his voice up . They played a mixed set which featured a killer version of ‘A Forest’ and even ‘Killing An Arab’, a track which the Cure don't do anymore, which they played with extra strength.

This was then followed on by two of my favourite ever bands, Echo and the Bunnyman and the Pretenders. The Bunnymen played a punter friendly 55 minute set of hits, concentrating mostly on the singles but throwing the odd album track thrown in. The band played like their lives depended on it. Vocalist Ian "Mac" McCulloch spent a lot of time kicking cigarette butts around the stage and apologized for his throat which sounded very sore after his solo gig the night before in Glasgow, the first to promote his new solo album , 'Jeepster'. Although it was very hot Mac was in his brown Bunnymac ,while guitarist Will Sergeant looked cool in his sergeant jacket. As this was a festival, there was no encore but they still included 'Do It Clean'and and finished with 'Ocean Rain'.

Echo and the Bunnymen Set List:

Lips like Sugar
Seven Seas
Villiers Terrace
Bring on the Dancing Horses
Killing Moon
The Cutter
Heads will roll
Nothing Lasts Forever
Do It Clean (including 'Summer Wind')
Roadhouse Blues
Ocean Rain

Part 2 of Anthony Strutt's Guilfest review concentrates on the Pretenders set

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Commenting On: Guildford, Surrey, 21/7/2002 - Guilfest Part 1

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