Last night at Bomfest...another crazy live experience in the company of Nick Harper & friends. My Partner Claire and I arrived at Locke Park in Barnsley yesterday in good time to miss the afternoon's big downpour. Judging by the amount of bedraggled souls wandering around the park, others were evidently not so lucky! After negotiating our way around the park (which boasted several stages), we managed to establish that Nick was headlining the "Herbal Jazz Woodbine" tent. Nick was supposed to be on about 08.20, so we took in some of the other acts. These included a Norwegian guy (?) with a soulful voice. An aged stoner next to us proclaimed "Heartfelt, very heartfelt..." I have no idea what the guy's name was but we caught an entertaining half-hour or so of his set. I did remark to Claire that his swarthy good looks didn't harm his cause! Next up were Three Wise Men, featuring perrenial Harpic support & "Right-on" troubadour, Andy Shades. The trio featuring Andy on guitar/vocals, an electric violinist & electric bass player who proceeded to play many of Andy's original songs. The aged stoner declared "Heartfelt, very heartfelt..." following a song about George Bush. Anyone who has seen Andy supporting Nick recently will know that he is an engaging & witty performer. Personally I'm not that struck by his songs, although this time I noticed that I had remembered some of the words this time around, which could be a good sign. There were some inadvertant moments of comedy, as the bassist pulled off a series of elaborate & increasingly ludicrous stage moves. Gurning champions nationwide better watch out! Next up was Nick...almost. At the conclusion of the Three Wise Men set, it was obvious that there were some issues with the P.A. By the time Nick had set up his gear and warmed up, it became clear that these problems had graduated to "Not actually working at all". Thirty minutes later, things were no closer to being resolved and a miriad of sound engineers, Andy Shades, passers-by and members of the audience were no nearer to establishing the root of the problem. The thing that always strikes me about Nick's audiences is that they never seem to get bad-tempered or impatient when technical gremlins strike. Last night was no exception, and when the P.A problems were (temporarily) resolved, there was a huge round of applause. It's measure of how much the audience respect Nick, who really was a complete trooper tonight - professional, calm...and just a little bit stoned. "Building A New P.A System" opened Nick's set, followed (in no particular order) by a truncated "Guitar man", "Simple", "By My Rocket Comes Fire", "Aeroplane" & "Love Junky". The P.A lurched between stereo & mono, but Nick took it all in his stride and (I think) won over a few new punters, if some of the comments I overheard were anything to go by. The only issue then was that the P.A problems had eaten into a good chunk of Nick's allotted time, so unfortunately it didn't come as a great suprise when the plug was unceremoniously pulled during a cracking "Love is Music". Nick soldiered on, concluding with an excellent reading of Jeff Buckley's "Grace" ("Heartfelt...very heartfelt" etc, etc") before taking the show unlplugged and out into the open air. It was funny to watch Nick delivering "Galaxy Song" to a trio of bemused coppers before disappearing into the night. Despite the obvious issues with the P.A and the set ending abruptly, We really enjoyed another evening in the company of Mr Nick. It was great to meet Linn, Paula, Craig & Uriel - wish we'd spotted you earlier guys!