The meagre crowd, clutching more Starbucks than Stella, doesn't make for a great atmosphere, but The Jokers set out their stall from the off, in their minds this is Monsters of Rock, this is Wacken, this is Graspop, and The Jokers are headlining.
Guitarist Paul Hurst leads the charge and steals much of the limelight from singer Wane Parry, while Parry calmly gets on with the job in hand, Hurst prances and headbangs, grins like a loon, throws shapes and in general fulfils al the stereotypes expected of a rock axeman, and all the time he's driving the band through some stonkingly good hard rock songs.
This is just what the doctor ordered for the final day of a festival, with two days and nights of bands and drinking behind you it takes something special to perk up your jaded senses as you head into the last third of a music marathon. The Jokers are just perfect, wildly energetic and with great music to boot. In their 30 minute slot The Jokers do themselves proud, the shambling hangover victims are transformed into cheering fans, and when Hurst takes his guitar for a walk through the audience and plays his solo up close with the crowd, he has become, just for 5 minutes, a real rock god.
Well done The Jokers, when the festival promoter gives you the 'bugger off I feel like death' slot, what to do is play like you're in front of a hundred-thousand adoring fans. The Jokers were among the best bands of the weekend, on exuberance and attitude alone, they came out pretty much on top.