Words & Photos by Shirin Hodgson-Watt
This was it, the day of King Creature’s hugely anticipated landmark headline show at the Pavilions, a celebration for the fanatically faithful on prime Cornish home turf of all that the county’s favourite probable-rock star sons have achieved thus far, from supporting Motorhead at their final UK show at the Eden Project, to playing festival stages across the country and signing to Marshall Records, and the release earlier this year of their debut album ‘Volume One’ internationally. Blazing sunshine and a horizontally mellow vibe washed everything in a laid back golden hue that was perhaps at odds with the concept of a three way rock assault, yet somehow perfectly fitting at the same time.
With King Creature generously making space for two fellow Cornish bands on the bill, new contenders Riders To Ruin mule-kicked right from the off, serving up tasty rootsy blues-stained rough carved nuggets of arena friendly classic rock to an immediately affectionate crowd. Flashes of welcome showmanship and all the hallmarks of a stand out star frontman persona cemented Riders To Ruin’s place amongst Cornwall’s consistently impressive roster of new bands that seem to appear from nowhere, preternaturally overflowing with professionalism and fully-rounded songwriting prowess right out of the gates. Most definitely ones to see again.
It was a joy to finally see Honey freed from the confines of Cornwall’s essential but typically cramped bar circuit. Unleashed at last on what seemed like a vast stage for a three piece, it didn’t take them long to hit their stride, and amid a tidal wave of gold sequins and rainbow holographic catsuits, they rapidly proved themselves able to hold their own in such daunting surroundings, the songs crucially strong enough to stand proud under such unflinching scrutiny.
With an undeniably partisan crowd packing the room, King Creature may have been forgiven for feeling like they were playing at a friend’s house party, albeit a particularly noisy and sweaty one, a mood only enhanced by it being an all-ages show with kids as young as nine in attendance (a girl who had badgered her mother, I suspect more than willingly, into bringing her, and who was later rendered speechless by Dave Kellaway’s kindness when he went down into the pit post-show to sign a set list and pose for photos with her). Clearly relishing the freedom of a big stage, with a Marshall rig of such epic proportions that Spinal Tap might have felt a little outplayed, King Creature basked in the warm bath of goodwill and impromptu crowd sing-a-longs, their increasingly broad grins showing they knew they had this one nailed.
Opening with dual motorbikes on stage and utilising their now-traditional DIY fire extinguisher trick (it works, don’t knock it), this was proper rock n’roll all the way, unabashedly theatrical and a genuine heartfelt thank you to their rapidly growing army of loyal Creature minions and the rock solidly supportive Cornish music scene that have delighted in their rise every step of the way, all taking tacit joint ownership of each little victory they’ve meticulously ticked off their to-do list.
Showcasing a strong mix of old and new songs, you can’t help but feel that the sour apple in the barrel is that we’re seeing the start of Cornwall’s loss; the rest of the world will soon want a taste of what we’ve become complacent in calling our own. Currently heading out on a fleeting series of shows in support of ex-Misfits legend Doyle and his eponymously named crushing horror metal outfit, it’s apparent we’re soon going to have to learn to live with seeing a whole lot less of them on this side of the Tamar than we’re comfortable with. But all baby birds must sprout their feathers and fly the nest, and these wings have grown strong and sturdy. The next chapter may, by necessity, be viewed more often from a distance, but there’s going to be a lot of proud surrogate mama and papa birds watching them soar.