WINTERS END 2018 - Saturday 24.02.18

DAVID LYDIARD, NAOMI JEREMIAH, CHARLEY FARLEY, MORAG FARLEY & CLAIRE HILL

(Photo Credits: MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY)

 

Opening up Saturday afternoon with the sometimes tricky 11am slot, THE DUST CODA delivered. It’s as simple as that. They may not have had much sleep from the night before but you wouldn’t know it. On a high since the release of their self-titled debut, they are going from strength to strength and this performance showcased a confident, hard edged rock ‘n roll swagger that oozed with soul. Vocalist John Drake was sublime as he showed the full range of his talents throughout the set which peaked vocally on ‘Sweet Love Is Gone’, a soulful, bluesy number that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end. The rhythm section of Scott and Tony were powerful and Adam Mackie on guitar was giving a lesson in less is more playing, subtly weaving around Drake, with a little lick or a jagged riff here and a blistering solo there, most notably on set closer, and new song, ‘Breakdown’. A reasonably sized crowd showed up and were not disappointed. A great way to start the day’s proceedings.

 

Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/TheDustCoda/

 

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THIRTEEN STARS, who hail from “As far north in England as you can get…we’re basically wildings” and look like they’re from the deep south of the US, played their set of classic toe-tapping rock to a slightly subdued crowd, though there were plenty of heads nodding. Frontman Hoss Thompson’s style of audience banter had a certain comedic value, as he introduced a new song, he said “If it’s shit, let us know after and we’ll stop playing it!”, also on appealing for people to buy their merchandise, “We have t-shirts that will make you look more attractive!” There is a certain tunefulness to their melodies and there were people swaying along. The quartet finished their set with a long instrumental show of their accomplished musicianship.

 

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

 

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Texan ERIN BENNETT and her band from her adopted Scotland had a slightly different feel from most of the other bands of the weekend. Arriving onstage with a “How are you fucking doing, Winter’s End?”, Erin had two backing singers with strangely soporific synchronised dance moves and when they sang with Erin their harmonies sounded great. After introducing ‘Tension’, a song “about someone who really fucking ripped my heart out”, Erin’s vocals were even more angst-ridden than in the previous songs. No doubt Erin is talented, and her band accomplished musicians.

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/ErinBennettMusic/

 

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All the way through this weekend, I had stated that the sound at Winters End was superb and that meant every band had a level playing field. GASOLINE OUTLAWS came onto the field, picked up the ball and ran with it. The Northern Irish band tore into their set with aplomb, delighting us with their meaty riffs, and vocalist Matt Fitzsimons gave us one of the outstanding vocal displays of the entire weekend, delivering a flawless, powerful performance, never once showing signs of faltering or strain. Recent single ‘Breathe Again’ went down extremely well and two new songs fit seamlessly into the set with ‘The System Is A Lie’ being a standout.

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/gasolineoutlaws/

 

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As the afternoon headliner, The Amorettes are a familiar sight at Planet Rock events. They haven’t been doing much in the way of gigs recently as they have been concentrating on their new album that is due for release in April. A combination of technical issues and sickness meant that their set was not quite up to their usual standards, but it was still a great set enjoyed by those who filled the room.

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/theamorettes/

 

Opening Saturday evening, DEEVER’s first song of the night was their first single ‘Fire at Will’, which seemed familiar to more than a few people in the audience despite vocalist/guitarist Billy Taylor’s remark “We’re going to play a bunch of songs you’ve never heard before, but that’s what these festivals are for, right? New bands. New songs. New friends”. I couldn’t have put it better myself. I think Billy just about summed up the whole weekend right there!

 

With a nod and smile to the smattering of Deever t-shirts in the crowd, the band proceeded to play the more rock/punk tracks ’Not Back Down’, ‘Alright’, which saw guitarist Stevie Stoker banging out some serious riffs, and ‘Only Enemy’ before some more chat with the audience. Then ’Waves’ and second single ‘All Come Running’ during which bassist Phil Appleton and drummer Dan ‘Higgy’ Higgins were on fire! Considering they’ve only been together since last summer, Deever play like they have been together for much longer, and they really look like they are having fun up there. The early crowd were lapping it up, heads bopping, clapping and cheering.

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/thisisdeever/

 

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Arguably one of the bands you could see getting mainstream success that could easily slot into a Radio 1 festival lineup, would be BROKEN WITT REBELS. Their sound, which marries up Indie and Alternative rock with Deep South rootsy Americana, is perfect. Groove is the name of the game for bass player Luke and drummer James D, which allows James T all the space he needs to layer his intricate guitar work on top, which in turn gives vocalist Danny the foundation with which to rest his strong vocals upon. His tone is incredible and his performance – effortless. Each instrument is given room to breathe and the space between the notes are as vital as the notes themselves.

 

Playing their first gig of 2018, Broken Witt Rebels are a band that keeps on getting better with each performance and Winters End was no exception. The room was packed and we were all witness to one of the best live bands in the country. Up The Rebels!

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/BrokenWittRebelsUK/

 

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Every time I see THOSE DAMN CROWS, they sound better than the last time. What we witnessed here was a band at their zenith when it comes to live performances. Buoyed by a string of positive reviews regarding their live shows over the past year (Down The Front Media fans voted them live band of 2017 no less!) and with a new EP on the horizon, Those Damn Crows were visibly pumped to be here and that adrenaline fueled what was to be one of the standout sets of the entire weekend.

 

Shane Greenhall’s voice packed a punch and he was backed superbly by the dual guitar riffs of Shiner and David, the melodic bass work of Lloyd and the rhythmic power of drummer Ronnie. Again, the room was packed and the band seemed elated to hear their songs being sung back to them. Watch these crows fly.

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/thosedamncrows/

 

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Saturday nights ‘Special Guest’ slot was brilliantly filled by a band who could easily have taken the headline slot. WAYWARD SONS have been around long enough to know how to play to a welcoming crowd and play they did. The crowd were simply enthralled by the showmanship and musicianship as they delivered a flawless set. With banter between themselves and the crowd, the end of their set came too soon - the capacity crowd would have been quite happy to listen to them continue.

 

On the way down to Winters End, we had been listening to Planet Rock, and their awards ‘The Rocks’. The applause was deafening as Toby was presented with their award for ‘Best New Band’. It’s a well-deserved award, and I’m sure they will be getting plenty more in the future. As Toby reminded us during his set “I heard Rock in this country is dead, but I see 2,000 motherfuckers in here that disagree with that!”

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/waywardsonsbanduk/

 

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Headlining Saturday night were THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT who closed the day with a barnstorming set made up of old classics and songs from their new album ‘A Deeper Cut’ (debuted on the UK album chart at number 6!) Frontman Phil Campbell has always been a captivating performer and here was no different, flailing his arms wildly and dancing energetically. As smoke filled up the stage, the band played anthem after anthem to a very receptive audience and closed out their main set with a beautiful rendition of the title track from the new record before returning for the encore. The room was packed to capacity and the crowd left on a high after witnessing a glorious set.

 

Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/TheTemperanceMovement/

 

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