GIANTS OF ROCK - DAY 2 ROUNDUP 27.01.18

LINDSAY SMITH-BOAM
(PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY)

 

After the marvelousness that was the opening day of the festival, how would Saturday’s line-up top or at least match the blistering start?

 

Welcome Back Delta were a 2017 introducing stage winning band and opened proceedings on the main stage on a wet and cold day.  A hard rock blues band from Gloucestershire with Andy and Rob being very decent guitar players, a strong vocalist/ guitarist, Joe, hard hitting drummer Steve and bass player Phil laying down the rhythm to wake the crowd up and prove that they could handle the size of the main stage with gusto and energy.  A loud and well performed set ripped the sleep from those out and about early enough to catch the guys.

 

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Clearwater Creedance Revival opening the stage in REDS.  A solid performance of classic Creedance songs delivered in professional and enjoyable manner had the crowd singing along with songs such as ‘Proud Mary’, ‘I Put A Spell On You’, ‘Fortunate Son’ and ‘Bad Moon Rising’.  This was a southern rock/blues feeling start of such well known singalong songs to help gently lift the beer mists.

 

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A more gentle a mood was also on the cards with John Verity, ex Argent next on the main stage. As John took to the dark blue lit and smoke-filled stage, it was clear that many had made the effort to come out for Mr Verity.

John’s wonderful and massively varied set blew me away!  Not too many songs from his new solo album ‘Blue To My Soul’ but so many classic tracks performed in a superb manner.  Opening with ‘Help Me’, followed by ‘Cocaine’ and launching in to ‘Rocky Mountain Way’, ‘This Dog Ain’t Done Yet’, ‘Say Why’, ‘Never Gonna Change’, ‘Going Down’, ‘Hold You Head Up’, ‘Purple Haze’, ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’ the skill of the guy was something to behold.  The crowd went nuts and an encore was insisted upon.  ‘Johnny B. Goode’ was a great up beat way to finish the set.

John is 68 but the tone and power in his voice was something special and where do you start about his guitar skills?  An awesome move from the Giants of Rock organisers, well done guys.

 

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Irish singer songwriter Marc O’Reilly followed CCR on the REDS stage to deliver his folk/blues set with a beautiful smooth vocal and demonstrating his talent with the guitar.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t catch the full set, but I definitely will in the not too distant future.

 

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Manfred Mann’s Earth Band continued with the variety on the Main Stage.  This was one I was looking forward to as Robert Hart is one of my favourite singers and he was in outstanding form.  Manfred Mann himself is in his late 70’s but strolled around the stage with his keytar delighting the audience.  The guy on the sound desk had this one bang right or was it just the excellence and professionalism of the band?  Whatever, they sounded awesome.  ‘Captain Bobby Stout’, ‘Don’t Kill It Carol’, ‘Martha’s Madman’, ‘Father of Day, Father of Night’, ‘For You’, ‘Blinded By the Light’, ’Davy’s on the Road Again’ and finishing with “Quinn the Eskimo’,  a mix of styles and genres, all perfectly performed and very enjoyable.

 

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A stage clash between the main stage and REDS meant I was only able to catch the beginning of Fran Cosmo’s set but it was so worth the hotfooting across Butlin’s in the rain.

Fran has an energy on stage and presence which ensured the room were with him from the first twang of the guitar.  ‘Don’t Look Back’, ‘More than a Feeling’, oh the memories and those weren’t tarnished!  Fran still has a great voice and the supporting band especially the backing singer really kept the standard high. I hope to see Fran tour the UK soon.

 

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The Introducing Stage burst to life with the American/southern rock/blues sound of Straightshooter.  With powerhouse Mike Kenworthy on drums (Raven) and his daughter Keira on bass (Syteria), this had a lot of promise.  Jon Berry has a good voice and the dual guitars of Jack Davison and Dan Gibbons gave a rich and riff ridden quality to the music. It was a good set and the crowd were very appreciative.

 

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Departed hit the stage at a rocking pace, with a number of fans in their midst, the audience came to sing a long and cheer the boys on. 

A great classic rock sound and Mark Pascall has a melodic, wide-ranging vocal. A rocking choice of tunes hinged together with some showmanship, some top notch guitaring, banging bass-lines and energetic drumming ensured that the boys will be back next year on the main stage.  The whole room was rocking and the sound was big, it will be awesome to hear this on the main stage next year. 

 

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Hard Rock with a smattering of metal; Hell’s Gazelles kept the Introducing stage going.  It was a tight stage for their energetic frontman, Cole Bryant and they really rocked the room.  He’s like an energiser bunny and just keeps going whilst keeping the melody and hardness in the vocal without wavering.  Smashing the riffs and blasting the eardrums with cracking skin smashing, it was a strong set.  Already having numerous big festival appearances under their studded belts, the band deserved this opportunity to bring their energy to Giants of Rock.  A tour is in process, go and see them live.  A great band.

 

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Piston are experts at the live scene and proved their pedigree by being on the bill at Giants of Rock, was acknowledged.  A solid opening performance with riffs cracking through from the word go.  A band very much on top form on the day, loud, energetic and a consistently strong vocal but as I was only able to catch the start of the set due to another stage clash,  I can only apologise for the few lines in this review as I like Piston, great guys, great musicians.

 

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The Hiding Magpies opened the evening session in the Main stage.  Giants of Rock have the mix of genres and experience spot on and having these guys on the main stage was a good move.  A fairly new group of American rock/ rock and roll/ blues/country influenced guys from the North of England; they have a good sound, thumping basslines and a delicious amount of spectacular riffs.   

 

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Rews re-opened the REDS stage with their brand of high energy alternative rock.  The duo, guitarist /vocalist, Shauna Tohill and drummer / vocalist Collete Williams make some lovely noise!

Based in London, the girls have catchy songs and toe tapping melodies.  Playing songs from their debut album ‘Pyro’ they certainly gained some new fans with their enjoyable performance and easy banter.

 

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So, time for Hawkwind.  Opening the barely lit stage with ‘Born To Go’, it was obvious that the sound was magical and the crowd completely engrossed in the proceedings.  Hawkwind are either a band you love or just don’t get but they must have been doing something right all of these years!  A video backdrop and incredible sound added to the whole experience as the set progressed with “The Awakening’, ‘You’d Better Believe It’, ‘Have You Seen Them’, ‘Brainbox Pollution’, ‘Steppenwolf’, ‘Assault and Battery/Golden Void’ and Damnation Alley. 

 

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Uriah Heep although in the smaller room had definitely got the audience packed in.  You couldn’t move for Mick Box lookalikes and prog enthusiasts.  And were they to be disappointed? Of course not!  The consummate professionals with a sound that was simply perfection, the melodic tones of Bernie Shaw together with Mick Box, Phil Lanzon, Rusell Gilbrook and Dave Rimmer reminded those who had not seen them for a while of just why Uriah Heep (in one form or another) has been around and successful for almost 50 years. Epic is the word that comes to mind.

 

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Another major stage clash with Bobby Kimball and Stray meant that I was only able to catch Mr Kimball. 

I made the wrong choice.  My second disappointment of the two days. 

On a positive, the band were awesome having earlier supported Fran Cosmo, they were tight and spot on.  Again, the backing singer shone especially on the iconic ‘Africa’ as his warm, rich, melodic tone became the star of the show.  Bobby was just a bit too shouty and off key in parts and as such smashed my memories of such an iconic song to pieces.

Bobby seemed to struggle throughout and appeared to be a little out of sorts, constantly drinking water and sucking on lozenges and unfortunately his voice did not sound good.  Chatting to the crowd about Toto and how the name came to be, I felt he had said the same thing so many times, it just didn’t resonate with me.

With a set full of classics, ‘Girl Goodbye’, ‘Gift with a Golden Gun’, Africa’, Child’s Anthem’, I’ll Supply the Love’, ‘Rosanna’ and ‘Hold the Line’, the crowd did enjoy helping Bobby sing the big ones and his keyboard medley showed he still likes to tinkle the keys.

I do hope it was just that Bobby wasn’t well, but I was crushed and disappointed.

 

However, Day 2 had been another cracking one on a whole.  The organisers had got some great bands and performers and I was looking forward to day 3.

 

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Grab your tickets for next year at this link: https://www.bigweekends.com/your-break/190464

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