Grenoside Beer Festival 2021

Toast returned to the stage for our 5th consecutive appearance at the Grenoside Beer Festival. The crowd is always enthusiastic and everyone is there for a good time. There are usually about 10 different beers on and plenty of gins to choose from. This all helps fuel the slightly anarchic feel of this event. This is why it’s one of our favourite gigs of the year.

We turned up at 10am to start setting up our PA which includes a powered mixer that chucks out 800 watts of sound. In previous years we’ve found that this is not enough, even when combined with our own instrument amplification, to project the music at a suitable volume. A large marquee of 600 rowdy beer fans soaks up a lot of sound, so we boost the setup with a pair of powered speakers that deliver another 1000 watts. I know it seems like a lot but we don’t like being asked to turn the volume up.

There were two acts on before us who needed to use our PA. Gaby Bates a talented guitarist with a beautiful voice and rising star Charlotte Branson. Charlotte turned up with a full band and the stage didn’t seem quite so large once we’d got another drum kit, keyboards, backing vocalist, another bass player and Charlotte installed on it. Once the third sound check of my day was completed I was able to get off home at 2:30 for and hour or so before I had to head back to Grenoside marquee.

There was a good crowd of several hundred assembled when I returned to set things up for Gaby. Unfortunately we did experience some feedback issues that meant we weren’t able to give Gaby the volume she deserved. Every time we tried to turn it up something was feeding back. Looking back it was probably Gabys large Gibson electro/acoustic guitar, I think if I’d moved her vocal monitor from in front of her, to her side, this might have fixed the issue. In the heat of the moment it didn’t occur to me.

There were no such issues for Charlotte Branson and her band. They performed a 45 minute set which included Pharrell’s “Happy” and number of soul classics. Charlotte also sang her own song Lie With Me to the enthusiastic crowd. On one level I was delighted they sounded so good, on another they almost sounded too good. You don’t want the support act to overshadow the headliners. Had I been the architect of our downfall?

I had nothing to fear. Toast are a very different prospect and 4 songs in we had the tent bouncing around to Blur, Pulp, Oasis, Supergrass, Kings of Leon and many more 90s and 00s classics. We rounded off the first set with Dakota by the Stereophonics. Ben went off script and properly milked the “take a look a me nows” squeezing an extra 8 bars out of the outro.

We had a brief stage invasion by some over enthusiastic audience members during our break who seemed intent on paying the drums and generally dicking about. The second set kicked of with “Take Me Out” and we hit our first technical snag, Ben’s wireless mic stopped transmitting. With the vocal cues gone we almost got lost in the song. It only took Ben about 10 seconds to find the loose connection which was probably the result of drunken punter boots clumping around the stage. He re-joined the song half way through a verse but we’d already hit the chorus. No matter, with a quick sonic U-turn, we managed to rally together and brought the song to a satisfactory conclusion.

We rounded off the second set with Don’t Look Back in Anger. For the encore we did Sit Down and Seven Nation Army which always takes the roof off. We were all done by 10pm and packed away by 11, wired yet tired. Another Grenoside Beer Festival in the bag.