ROCKWICH - 26.08.18

LINDSAY SMITH-BOAM

PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA-PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Looking down the lists of bands playing at RockWich I can see why, when I pull up in the car park, it is already full. The main difference from last year is the number of camper vans parked up rather than tents pitched, the weather having turned and the usual bank holiday weekend restored to its familiar dampness.

 

The first band on are Stoke-on-Trent based, QUIET THE THEIF, they are loud and heavy, thumping basslines from Gaz Harding partnering the hard drumming from Rob Hussey giving a lovely thump to the tunes which slide up from your boots to the ends of your hair.  Dirty riffs from Neil Bailey and some rocking tunes have the early birds hedging towards the barrier. Stig Chell has a rough tone which fits well with the music, making it feel angry and aggressive.

 

Check the band out on their social media: https://www.facebook.com/ThiefQTT/

 

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A band I was very much looking forward to seeing was Liverpool alternative Horror rockers NOVACROW. Flamboyant singer Kitty Staunton has so much energy it’s exhausting to watch, she’s never still… Lead guitarist Jonyx and bass player Federico provide an entertaining and also musically sound background. A very clever version of ‘Toxic’ had Kitty in with the early revellers, writhing on the ground and dancing around the room like a whirlwind. The vocals were good too. I really recommend seeing this band live.

 

Check them out at: https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial/

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The last few times I have seen EMPYRE, I have been completely blown away.  An electric set at HRH then an acoustic at Rock and Blues left me wanting to hear more. The music is precise and feels concise and clever. The vocals haunting and dark, the music atmospheric and emotional. Henrik Steenholdt has a voice that burns into your soul with intensity and when you pair that with guitarist Did Coles, bass player Grant Hockley and drummer Jack Bowles, you cannot be less than impressed with the quality of the songs.

 

I needed to hear more than this 30 minute set, the same as I feel every time I see them – I want more!

 

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/EMPYRE/

 

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It’s one extreme to another again as THE IDOL DEAD take to the stage. Describing themselves as Rock, Roll, Punk with Soul is absolutely perfect. They have bags of attitude, smouldering hard guitars and a singer, Polly, who captivates the audience and stamps on the notion of musical conformity with his bare feet. Tim and KC eat up the riffs and smash some pretty mean hooks as they barrage their way through the songs, so much so that KC breaks his guitar. A quick borrow of another and everything continues as if it was part of the performance. Dan and Nish keep the rhythm flooding through the PA’s as the crowd clap and sing along. A band packed with strong personalities and a vibrant energy that transfers across to their music. I loved it, check out their new album ‘Tension & Release’.

 

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/theidoldead/

 

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Carrying the energy on are PSYCHOBABYLON. Metal edged, hard rock delivered by vocalist Rusty, guitarists Robbie Gray and Andrew Mewse, Andy Quinn on bass and Andy Knott on drums.  The riffs are filthy, the bass is guttural and it sounds great. Rusty is another great frontman, engaging the crowd who had now filled the room. This little club in Lostock had become a hotbed for awesome music on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon.

 

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/Psychobabylon/

 

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WITCH TRIPPER are one of the nicest bands around, lovely guys from Mansfield always friendly and chatty enjoying taking their music on the road, bringing metal to the masses.  The minute they get on stage they become metal rock demons full of hardness and aggressive attitude. Angry lyrics, angrier guitars, Ritchie’s vocal is gravel hard, almost demonic and between the three of them, Ritchie, Christof and Jimmy, they make so much noise it enters and reverberates through your head mashing your brain on the way before exiting through your eyeballs.

 

Crushingly heavy riffs, stonking bass-lines and so much energy in the tub thumping it’s almost obscene. With two albums to go at, the guys have their infectious energy bouncing from the stage and into every corner of the room. Well done to the sound guys too, the whole set sounded pretty damn good.

 

Check out their music on social media https://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

 

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THIRTEEN STARS provide another genre of rock represented on this fantastic line up today, southern tinged rock delivered with a calmness and swagger. Stomping good songs to keep the crowd in the party mood. Hoss has a gravelly tone to his voice which just adds to the southern feel of their music. Andy providing the tempo on the drums with Steve laying down the bottom line whilst Hoss and Jax lay down some seriously stomping guitar work.

 

Beginning their set with ‘I’m Ready’ the band have an ease on stage which adds to the enjoyment. Their 6 song setlist included ‘Daddy’s Girl’, ‘Tired Of Waiting’ and finished with ‘Only a Soldier’.

 

Check them out at: https://www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars/

 

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NEW GENERATION SUPERSTARS had impressed me at Rock and Blues, they know how to play, they know how to write a song and they know how to deliver a great set. Flooding the room beginning their set with ‘Keys To The City’, with wave upon wave of rampant riffs and power packed tuneage, the band have a good following. You cannot help but smile as they play, it’s feel-good rock, punk influences, some classic rock vibes but it definitely sounds good.

 

AJ has buckets of attitude packed into his vocal, Davey Massiah adds the meaty riffs and Jonny Suicide gives the tracks some added ‘umph’ to accompany Gaz Wilde’s drumming.  Songs including ‘Life Of Crime’,  ‘Guess What?’, ‘King Of The World’ and finishing with the classic ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ which actually suits the bands style wonderfully well. A solid set of enjoyable tunes!

 

Check them out at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/newgenrocks/

 

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This was the first time I’d seen RED SPEKTOR and I was looking forward to it after hearing good things about their live performances.

 

Another band from the Stoke area, John Scane, guitar and vocals, Daz Bowen on drums and Rob Farnell on bass produce a huge sound. Describing themselves as stoner, blues with a psychedelic edge, they have some classic vibes in their too. A massive sound comes from John’s amps as they fuzz and grime their way through the air. I’m impressed with how together it all feels, hard and heavy rock, dark and dirty with aggression and an easy flow to the playing.

 

We have been spoiled with the talent of the bands today and this is another example of a pure class band. Slugging, deeply sludgy riffs, gloomy and depressed but then flat out rip-roaring sizzling hot noise exploding through your ears. I was unfamiliar with their songs but find myself clicking buy on ITunes! Fabulous!

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/redspektorband/

 

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WICKED STONE are a five piece rock/metal band who seem to light up the room as they take to the stage. The audience pushed closer to the barrier in order to see the band on the low stage but they needn’t have worried, Joe Hawx is a showman and ensures he can be seen, standing on the barrier and moving around the stage as he sings. The band themselves, James Forrister on guitars, Olly Smith on drums, James Amos on bass and guitarist Callum Sullivan are equally as confident in their approach.

 

‘The End’ heralds the beginning of the set as the band blaze through ‘Ain’t No Rest’, ‘Slide Baby’, clearly enjoying themselves. The sound is perfectly audible, loud but clean which allows the riffs to be heard and the vocal to be appreciated by those watching. Finishing on ‘Another Round’ I wish there was another song. Great music played well with a good melodic rock singer. These guys will go a long way, a really strong band with just enough commercialism in the songs to give them airplay.

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/wickedstonemusic/

 

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FALLING RED are another one of the bands that I have been meaning to catch live for a while but failed to. So, would they live up to what I had heard and read from others? With a brand new album ‘Lost Souls’, Falling Red seem to be one of the hot bands at the moment and rightly so. The music packs a punch, singer/lead guitarist Rozey is personable and works the crowd well, bass player Mikey Lawless has some serious grooves in the bass-line and Dave Sanders commands from the back of the stage leading the tracks with power and drive.  Shane Kirk on guitar packs out the sound with rhythm. The tracks are heavy, packed with melody and many have a sing along quality, a winner with the crowd. A vibe of energy and enjoyment to the sound. I can see why they have gained such a following. A great band and  likeable guys who just happen to write and play good rock songs.

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/fallingredofficial/

 

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Heath Ledger’s Joker appears to have taken over StOp SToP singer Jacob’s body and bass guitar, the voice is the same, melodic but hard, packed with personality and a dynamic energy, he never stops. Vega provides sparkling solos, soaring riffs and fills out the vocals where needed. The Spanish band deliver mountains of energy, flamboyance and an act on the stage. One thing that they cannot act out though is the ability to play and sing live both of which they are more than able to do. Danny Stix matches the flamboyance happening towards the front of the stage with his drumming – exaggerating his movements, shirtless with a blonde afro he really does make an impression.

 

This is the second time I have seen them over the last couple of years and both times I have enjoyed the show. They tour relentlessly which has its benefits, they are so tight musically and so well rehearsed there is nothing to criticize. They bring the glam into heavy rock but in a weirdly dark way. All three band members wander into the crowd, a drum slung around Danny’s neck as they continue to play and sing, hyping up the crowd, getting them to sing along. Standing on tables, skipping around the floor, these guys are unique in their showmanship but it still doesn’t detract from the music, it just enhances it.

 

I have no idea what songs they sang, no real recollection of their sound, the show took over but it was very enjoyable.

 

Check them out at the following: https://www.facebook.com/stopstopofficial/

 

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Today’s headliners TRUCKER DIABLO are ready to hit the stage and it’s singer Tom’s birthday. The barrier becomes adorned with happy birthday bunting, the microphone stand wrapped in one too as the crowd sing ‘Happy Birthday’. A beaming Tom thanks everyone saying how happy the band are to be playing RockWich and thanking the organisers for letting them play. And then the music rips in…

 

...This is stadium rock in a tiny club in Northwich. The walls shake as the music floods every inch. I’ve liked this band for years and today is my first opportunity to experience them live and I’m blown away. I don’t think the smile left my face for the entire set. They have opened for some big names including Black Stone Cherry, Thin Lizzy and Foo Fighters and there is a reason for this. Powerful explosive riffs, enormous bass-lines pulsing under rampant drumming. I can’t describe the way the music fits together, each instrument complementing the other, the vocal hard classic rock with a plethora of attitude and melody. The Northern Irish boys certainly know how rock should be played and sung.

 

A setlist packed with energy and style starting off with ‘Red Light On’, ‘Not So Superstar’, ‘Voodoo’, ‘Girl In A Photograph’ and ‘Drive’. There’s lots of banter too around the songs, the crowd loving every minute with some of the other bands watching and enjoying the music too. ‘Let’s Just Ride’ and ‘Over The Wall’ are two of my favourite tracks of theirs and they really did sound great live.

 

Trucker Diablo are: Tom Harte, Simon Haddock, Jim McGurk and Terry Crawford.

 

Go to the bands social media to check out their music: https://www.facebook.com/TRUCKERDIABLO/

 

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A personal thank you to Prometheus Promotions, Mik Matzen, Colesia Pryse, Sharon Cooke and Simon Dunkerley. RockWich is a fabulously well organised festival with a family friendly environment, seeing toddlers pressed against the barrier with their ear protection firmly in place, smiling, dancing and taking it all in is just lovely.

 

The bands were all superb and the sound guys did an amazing job. Also, thank you to the two complete strangers who bought me cups of tea. The rock family really is a very special one.

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