GIANTS OF ROCK - DAY 3 ROUNDUP  28.01.18

LINDSAY SMITH-BOAM

(PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY)

The 12pm start saw Killit, another of the 2017 Introducing stage winners open up the main stage.  They are young, talented and work the stage well.  The singer, Gaz Twist is a strong frontman, a real showman in the making.  The Londoners have a strong metal rock sound and throw themselves into their performance, delivering hard rock together with a melodic vocal and soaring riffs.  A big, guitar heavy sound which in the main arena sounded very good.  Niro Knox on lead guitar really pulled out all the stops as did Claire Genoud on rhythm guitar, Ben Smart on bass and Pete Jean on drums.  A great set which was cemented into Giants history with a broken guitar caused by Claire’s fall from the stage; such was the focus and energy of the performance.

 

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Roscoe Levee & Walrus, a four-piece country, rock and roll, stomping band.  An enjoyable way to kick off the REDS stage and get those beer induced cobwebs blown away. 

 

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Charging over to the main stage to see Chantel McGregor was so worth it!

Chantel has not just the talent but the likeability factor too.  This northern lass first came to my attention at a Rock & Blues festival last year in Sheffield and I have since then, caught her a few times, each time she is just awesome. 

Her songs are a clever combination of hard rock and blues mixed with her sweet but strong vocal.  But for me, it’s her guitar playing that takes her to a higher plane in the talent stakes.  Intricate and clever riffs, crescendos and soaring melodies and a feeling that parts are improvised (they probably aren’t) but the music always feels very fresh and you cannot take your eyes off her playing.  The bass player and drummer fill out the sound, underpinning it in a very natural way.  Hearing songs from her last album, Lose Control and some new music was a delight.

 

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Hot footing it back to REDS to see Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, the mood had definitely changed back to the night before’ s fun feel as hangovers had cleared and the crowd were up to a bit of Stan’s southern rock.  And they got it!   Stan has been around for a very long time and the Londoner has a wit and humour that gives his set some added entertainment with the banter alone.   

 

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Larry Carlton, the 69 year-old American guitarist famous for playing with such artists as Steely Dan, the Crusaders and Joni Mitchell continued where Chantel had left off on the main stage but with a smoother, rock fused jazz feel, almost easy listening on a Sunday afternoon, a real chill out for the eardrums and a very pleasant respite.  Time to sit, have a brew and recharge ready for even more marvellous music.

 

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On a line-up full of classic bands and superstars of the rock, prog and blues world, how would probably one of the most famous Thin Lizzy tribute bands do?  Epic that’s how!

Limehouse Lizzy are a very hardworking band and to be honest with you, they are superb musicians and to hear the songs live is just awesome.  The crowd certainly felt so too.  A room bursting at the seams and a sound engineer who deserves a pat on the back, the guys blasted and riffed their way through the best of Lizzy.  Attention to detail, audience participation and an obvious love of Lizzy / Lynott/ Moore shone through and make this one of the best performances of the weekend.  Brilliant renditions of ‘Jailbreak’, ‘Waiting for an Alibi’ ‘Bad Reputation’, ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’, ‘Suicide’, Do Anything You Want To’, ‘Killer on the Loose’, ‘Chinatown’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Don’t Believe a Word’, ‘Cowboy Song’, the iconic ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’, my personal favourite ‘Rosalie’ and of course finishing with fabulous ‘Whiskey in the Jar’. Outstanding, bravo!

 

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Black Whiskey opened the Introducing stage. Powerful vocal and blues fuelled guitar riffs, these guys know how to play rock and with a sound erring back to the 70’s they went down very well with the crowd.  So much so we will see them again on the main stage next year. 

 

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Mohawk Radio are an alternative rock influenced quartet who have made significant progress in the 4 years they have been together. Mia Page has a powerful vocal and is very dynamic front woman.  There is an impressive quality to the song writing lyrically and musically with nice hooks, strong riffs and catchy lyrics.  A great job and a band we will see a great deal more of in the future.

 

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Anonymous are going places, no doubt in my mind.  I had heard their name mentioned several times around the midlands live scene and heard their music played on the Down The Front Podcast and seeing them live re-enforced my thoughts.  These guys have some blistering talent from all angles.  Cracking vocals, a cohesiveness in their playing on stage and some great songs.  With so many good bands on the Introducing stage, there unfortunately had to be some that we will not see here next year but I do hope we will see these guys headlining in a few years-time.  Good classy heavy rock and roll.  Awesome!

 

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Tear It Down another young, up and coming band.  The trio from Wolverhampton were definitely the hairiest band of the weekend, masses of hair flicking going on but they can, they aren’t all looks and no substance, the music was absolutely great.  Rock fused blues with a guttural metal edge.  Ones to watch in the next few months. 

 

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My anticipation was growing for Big Country.  They are one of the best live bands around from the 80’s and the long career is well deserved.  The stage presence and musicality of all members, Mark Brzezicki - Drums, Bruce Watson - Guitar, Jamie Watson - Guitar , Simon Hough – Vocals and Alan Sagar standing in for Scott Whitley - Bass, is pretty epic.  The songs have their place in history but still feel current.  ‘Harvest Home’, ‘Look Away’, ‘Steeltown’, ‘River of Hope’, ‘Lost Patrol’, ‘The Storm’, ‘King of Emotion’, ‘Chance’, ‘Wonderland’, ‘Fields of Fire’ and of course the final song was of course ‘In a Big Country’ and a couple of thousand people sang and bounced to every word.  What a cracking set with the best sound of the weekend in my opinion.  Looking round the room it was evident how many people had enjoyed Big Country, so many smiles and revellers on a high ready for Slade.

 

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Deborah Bonham has a voice that is so full of blues and passion, it makes it a crime to only be able to see a small part of her set.  I committed that crime.  With a voice fabulously rich and smooth Deborah had the appreciative audience enthralled.  I tore myself away to the main stage for Slade.

 

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Slade had the 9pm main stage slot and I’m not sure why.  Surely Big Country would have been a more obvious choice.  Slade play the songs, perform them well, Dave Hill is a showman.  It’s a show not a set for them.   They are all great musicians but without Noddy Holder, this is just not Slade for me.  After the fabulousness of Big Country, this fell a little flat; perhaps if they were the other way round on the bill I may have enjoyed them more.  The songs were all familiar and there was a good atmosphere as the crowd sang along to classic songs including ’Gudbuy T’Jane’, ‘Take Me Bak ‘Ome’, ‘Look Wot You Dun’ and of course the finale of ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’.

 

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Back to REDS for Snakecharmer.  A band of musicians from other bands, genres, that all come together in various line-ups to perform classic tracks from Whitesnake, Free and other icons.  They always do a sterling job and this was no exception.  Jon Finnigan was in for regular Harry James and Simon McBride was guitar slinging for the night and admirably so.  I like Simon so was happy to see him on the stage.  Chris Ousey does a fine job on vocals and it was very enjoyable.

 

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Nazareth headlined the main stage and the Dunfermline rockers are always a crowd-pleasing choice.  ‘Silver Dollar Forger’ opened proceeding followed by ‘Miss Misery’, Razamanaz’, ‘This Flight Tonight’, ‘Beggars Day’, ‘Changing’ Times’, Hair of the Dog’, ‘My White Bicycle’, ‘Expect No Mercy’, the very lovely ‘Love Hurts’, ‘Turn On Your Receiver’, ‘Broken Down Angel’ and finishing a strong and enjoyable performance with ‘Morning Dew’.  With so much experience under their belts this was a great way to end the main stage of Giants of Rock.

 

Overall this had been an awesome weekend, music so mixed across the wide-ranging rock genres but all fitting together beautifully well.  The Introducing stage is a credit to the organisers.  Allowing great new music into such an event helps to ensure the future of rock but also gives the bands the experience and platform they deserve.  A few stage time clashes and overlaps especially of the big acts meant missing one or two and were perhaps avoidable but some not so, technical issues can cause problems and delays.

Yes, there have been one or two disappointments, Magnum with sound issues /guitar issues, Bobby Kimball being below par but other than that I come away a very happy live music lover.

The security teams manning the doors, the pit and ensuring the safety of all those attending were beyond great, doing their jobs but with a smile and effortless politeness.  The stages themselves were good, the lighting challenging at times for those of us wanting to actually see some of the bands or photograph them but the sound quality, which after all is what really matters, was pretty much spot on.  Particular note in this capacity were FM, Limehouse Lizzy and Big Country who sounded absolutely splendid.

Butlin’s staff were all friendly and efficient and kept the food and drink flowing well.  For a wet, windy and cold January, this is just the tonic us music lovers need.  Thank you Giants of Rock and we look forward to next time.

 

 

Grab your tickets for Giants Of Rock 2019 here: https://www.bigweekends.com/your-break/190464

 

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