STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL 2018 Day 3 - Ebbw Vale 29.07.18
PHOTO CREDITS: MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
The overnight weather had unfortunately worsened and was horrendous, and by morning a few of the hardy festival goers had unfortunately been defeated and packed up and left. The organisers recognised the conditions and, whilst putting into place track mats to allow easier access around the arena, they also opened up early to allow the campers some respite from the weather and access to warm food and drink in the arena. The immense team of volunteers deserve medals for their efforts.
The bands also felt the brunt of the Great British Summer as The Quireboys and The Dead Daisies were unable to get here due to the weather and transportation difficulties. The festival could have ended here, just like a couple of others around the UK, but the Steelhouse spirit meant the show would go on. A late sound check by The Black Star Riders was a treat for those in the arena with Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson applauding the fans who were stood in the appalling weather to watch them in action.
First up, after a delayed start, were The Dust Coda, this four piece band, who had also had an interesting morning, were just the tonic for the damp crowd. Given a slightly extended set they ripped into tracks from their self titled debut album. They gratefully accepted the extra time and the enthusiastic crowd.
The Dust Coda are
John Drake - Vocals
Adam Mackie - Guitar
Scott Miller - Drums
Tony Ho - Bass
Local Lads, Those Damn Crows were next up an they had attracted a big crowd, they launched into tracks from ‘Murder and The Motive’ and the crowd seemed to forget about the weather for a while. Shane Greenhall (Vocals) knows how to work a crowd and the crowd knew how to work the Crows with chants of “Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie” aimed at the powerhouse behind the drum kit, who saluted the crowd whilst the other band members laughed.
Treating the Steelhouse faithful to a couple of new songs to go with the tracks for their debut album, they enjoyed the attention, and the crowd willingly joined in with the lyrics. I’ve seen the Crows many times before but they raised their game to suit the big stage.
One of the outstanding performance of the weekend so far and they deserve to play bigger events as Those Damn Crows say ‘Rock n Roll Ain’t Dead!’
Those Damn Crows are:
Shane Greenhall - Vocals
Ian 'Shiner' Thomas - Guitar
Ronnie Huxford - Drums
Lloyd Wood - Bass
David Winchurch - Guitar
Glasgow based Mason Hill were next to brave the weather, but as Scott Taylor (vocals) and gang took to the stage the rain stopped and the sun briefly appeared much to his amusement. Continuing the excellent tempo of these young upcoming bands they also embraced the opportunity of extra stage time. Mixing tracks from their self titled debut EP, some new tracks from a forthcoming album and an excellent cover of ‘Cochise’ by Audioslave.
A special moment was when Taylor and James Bird walked out to the edge of the runway to sing ‘Where I Belong’ with the support of the crowd that knew the track and Bird’s outstanding guitar work. These guys are on tour with The Dan Reed Network later in the year and I can’t wait for those shows.
Mason Hill are:
Scott Taylor - Vocals
James Bird - Guitar
Marc Montgomery - Guitar
Matthew Ward - Bass
Craig McFetridge - Drums
The Lancaster heavyweights, Massive Wagons rolled onto the stage with their usual no nonsense rock and roll, the heavens may have opened but it didn’t dampen the spirts of the band and the crowd as they started with their tribute song to the late, great Rick Parfitt ‘Back To The Stack’. The crowd complete with crowd surfing bear, lapped it up, track after track of full on rock, interspersed with Barry Mills’ (vocals) charismatic banter took the day to another level.
Poking fun at Social Media with ‘China Plates’ and the music industry in general with ‘Tokyo’ the band leave the fans satisfied and wanting more. Their new album ‘Full Nelson’ is due for release on the 10th August 2018.
Massive Wagons, as with the previous bands proved that the current set of young bands, if given an opportunity, will grasp it with both hands.
Massive Wagons are:
Baz Mills - Vocals
Adam Thistlethwaite - Guitars
Stevie Holl - Guitar/Vocals
Adam Bouskill - Bass/Vocals
Alex Thistlethwaite - Drums
The penultimate act of the festival where The Wildhearts, who took the loudest cheer of the weekend as they hit the stage. Ginger took no time in whipping the crowd into a frenzy with their Punk edged sound.
Their set was crammed with their hits including ‘Sick Of Drugs’, ‘TV Tan’ and ‘Caffeine Bomb’ amongst others, this band is greatly underrated and took the Steelhouse party to a completely other level. Not only did they lift the energy in the arena, they somehow managed to lift the crowds as a glimmer of sun and blue sky appeared.
The Wildhearts are:
Ginger - Guitar/Vocals
CJ - Guitar/Vocals
Ritch Battersby - Drums
Danny McCormack - Bass/Vocals
As darkness fell on the mountain, it was finally time for the headline act - Black Star Riders. Well deserving of the honour of closing the festival, the band, fronted by Ricky Warwick and with the legendary Scott Gorham on guitar, gave the festival crowd the show they had come for. With plenty of their own material to choose from, they filled the 90 minute set with a selection of old and new, including a couple of my own favourites, such as ‘Blindside’ and, as they went into ‘Kingdom of the Lost’ the mountain seemed to shake with the bouncing crowd. They have not forgotten their roots, and incorporated some old Thin Lizzy favourites - ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’, ‘Jailbreak’ and ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ - into the high powered set. As their set drew to a close, the sky lit up with fireworks. A fitting end to a festival that had everything.
Black Star Riders are:
Ricky Warwick - Vocals/Guitar
Scott Gorham - Guitar
Damon Johnson - Guitar/Vocals
Robbie Crane - Bass/Vocals
Chad Szeliga - Drums
The 2018 Steelhouse festival was, for us, over. Despite the weather, which is always a challenge on a Welsh mountain, it was probably the best I have been to. Each year, the organisers take note of feedback, and, where they can, act on it. They were well prepared for the rain, even though a week before, there had been no hint of how challenging it would be. This years field arrangement meant there were no long walks to and from car parks, and the track mats on the heavily used areas meant less trudging in mud.
The festival is supported by a huge army of volunteers, who prepare the site, run the festival and return the site to its original state. They do so with such a commitment and dedication to the festival and share in its high and low points.
2018 was a sell out. The early bird tickets for next years festival are already on sale. These are the sales that are used to bring in the bands. Don’t leave it too late. Get yours soon, and help support this unique festival.
Tickets are available here. https://www.steelhousefestival.com/
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