In the heart of town, the Ramsgate Music Hall hosts the annual Kaiser Bill birthday party. This year produced the fourth run of the event, booking bands such as Those Damn Crows, Wicked Stone and Walkway.
Friday 12th October
On approach to the Ramsgate Music Hall a group of fans are gathered outside the door smoking and indulging in good conversation. The double doors to the performance area are now the only thing separating us from the party shenanigans that will later unfold. Grabbing hold of the handle the door swings open and there up on stage belting out the first song of their set is Wicked Stone. Lead singer Joe Hawx is showing off his brand new haircut and sweat pours off him as the room fills with heat. The crowd is packed, the room is dark and the ceiling is low. As the first song comes to an end, Joe asks if the air conditioning actually works. Callum takes centre stage to show off his guitar solo and the crushing riff at the end of One Time catches my attention. Olly wears a smile throughout the whole set and delivers a solid performance. Both James’ rock the bass and guitar parts whilst contributing to that party atmosphere Wicked Stone do so well. As a member of the crowd, you feel part of their party and the barrier between the band and the crowd is blurred.
Celebrations are continued upstairs in the bar area where organisers have also put on a buffet of sandwiches, cheeses, sausage rolls, crisps and the best part of all…. the homemade chocolate cupcakes. They were divine. Topped with either a Malteser or half a giant chocolate button. Once the first round of beer was brought in, Holly from Salvation Jayne came over and had a chat. There’s nothing better than seeing musicians coming out to support other musicians. It really is a family atmosphere at this event. She raved about the guitarist from Walkway and being a fantastic musician herself, I trusted her opinion and looked forward to their set for the rest of the night. Callum from Wicked Stone came over to say hello, and he described his time in Wicked Stone as great fun. He recently left his old metal band Stone Kings to move on and do something different, so it’s good to know everything has been going well. Hollowstar took to the stage next and brought the crowd of all backgrounds together. A few battle jackets were amongst the crowd. One girl was wearing a bleach denim jacket with a Skid Row patch and signatures surrounding it. Talk about Hollowstar didn’t die off as lots of people were raving about them long after their set had finished.
Walkway were up next sporting a vintage 70’s look, due to their regular drummer not being available they performed a set of covers. Blasting out the speakers was Golden Earring’s Radar Love and it was excellent. Studio quality, note for note excellent. I was thoroughly impressed with that. After a long day at work, I was knackered, but staying until the end of their set was made worth it by that performance.
Saturday 13th October
Day 2 of the Kaiser Bill extravaganza and we arrive super early. There were rumours flying around of curry being on the menu and to say I was excited about this is an understatement. As I walked into the bar area upstairs, on the table where the buffet had been the night before, was a huge pot of butter chicken and a second of dahl. Shane from Those Damn Crows hurried in on a mission for curry and left with a huge plate full that he could not wait to devour. I couldn’t resist the smell any longer, so I grabbed a beer from the bar and then got my own serving of curry, the amount I had on my plate I decided to blame on the size of the serving spoons… they were huge!
First band up this evening is the Smokin’ Prophets who have decorated their stage with two pumpkins, one with lead singer Marty’s face on and the other with the face of bassist Jayke drawn on. A heavily political set is performed by these old school punk rockers. Frontman Marty has a compelling stage presence in the way he moves and how he delivers his vocals. He performs the first song wearing sunglasses which reflects that classic I don’t give a fuck punk rock attitude. The band encourage the crowd to make as much noise as possible which could earn them one of the pumpkin stage props. Once Marty gets fully in the zone, his entire presence ignites the room. It’s like he’s the only one there. The guitar gets brought to the floor, to the speaker, to the pedals and so on. There’s a kind of Cobain feel about this section of the performance, because at points it’s just noise, and by the end of the set it’s just feedback and Marty walks off stage leaving it to the rest of the band to turn off.
After the set Marty and drummer Alex head upstairs to the merchandise table where I am eager to tell the band just how great their set was. Marty was super grateful for the compliment and he sold me two t-shirts which I have been wearing proudly ever since. Kaine took to the stage next and brought their own brand of classic metal which the crowd loved. There was long hair flying around and a bit of good old fashioned headbanging.
The end of the weekend extravaganza slowly draws in. Hype amongst the mingling rockers begins to build for the final act of the night. Cigarette breaks are taken, people run to the loo and grab another pint before heading downstairs for Those Damn Crows. They have come all the way from Wales to be here and the room is full. The crowd sing their lyrics back to them, they applaud and raise their pints. The crowd are hungry for an encore and Those Damn Crows deliver. At the end of the final song the band thank the audience for coming and head upstairs to chat and sell merchandise. The guys in the band are caring towards their fans and participate in having photos taken with fans who loved their set and signing CDs for those who want a souvenir of the night.
If you’ve never been to a Kaiser Bill weekend, I hope you will now. It has proven to bring great bands, great people, great food and a great time! Check out all of the bands who performed via the links provided below.
Links To All The Bands Who Played Kaiser Bill 4