When Markus Napier of ‘Tenderhooks’ fame invited me along to Parkstock, a local music festival, shamefully, I had to admit that this was a new ‘stock’ to my ears. He gave me an address on whose door I was to knock in order to gain entry to this clandestine event and so early in the evening on the 7th of September, I found myself on the doorstep of a grand looking abode in the centre of town. Ten minutes later I was joined by more potential festival-goers, to whom I explained that no-one seemed to be answering. Fortunately, they knew all the right people and after a phone call or two, I gained access to the portal (aka someone’s house) which would transport me to Parkstock. I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland … or Lucy finding Narnia through a wardrobe, as I walked through a fairly regular house in order to gain entry to the magnificently lush gardens which are normally exclusive to the residents within the surrounding houses.
‘Tenderhooks’ had just begun their set and as I took in the view of this little pocket of countryside in the middle of the city, frontman Markus greeted me warmly over the mic and so my evening began. In-between buying seven sweets for a pound and nosing around the vegan food stall, I was fortunate to be serenaded, along with the other festival-goers, by some of Tenderhooks’ finest musical fare. One of my favourites – the narrative song ‘Yolena’, with its catchy chorus and Britpop story-telling – was one of the first; followed by the rock ‘n’ roll ‘Russell You Up’; then the rousing anthem ‘Rule the World’. Reminding us of the power over our own destiny, it also reminded me how diverse ‘Tenderhooks’ are, with their shifting genres, tempos and topics.
As the sun dipped down, the fairy lights throughout the gardens came into their own and the mood settled into that of a Saturday night vibe; people started to dance on the grass in front of the band who were housed under pretty canvas. I couldn’t resist wandering along paths and around trees to take in the natural environment, so I did just that, swinging by the bar en route to collect a beer. But on my travels I could still hear the upbeat tunes from Tenderhooks with their quirky stories: ‘Mermaid’, ‘Never Stop Chasing Your Dreams’ and ‘No-one Gives a Monkeys’ to name a few.
Having watched this infintely talented band quite a few times now, I know to expect a great standard of entertainment at their gigs. Always they have new songs on offer, healthily mixed up with some of the familiar ones. Tenderhooks’ genre-hopping, from rock to jazz, classical to ska and even more, means that there’s certainly something for everyone to like … and judging by the audience reaction, everyone did like them – a lot!