Review and photographs by Linda McDermott
Thursday. This festival started as it was meant to go on. It was well-organised and family-friendly, you could even take your dog. For those who had booked early enter there was a warm welcome, with the proceedings starting off around 6 pm when everyone was treated to a quiz, I’m not bragging but I got one question right about School of Rock and our team won, okay there was a lot of us but a win is a win, right? Then there was a very interesting talk by Kim Hawes, author of Lipstick and Leather, and tour manager of Motörhead, Black Sabbath and Rush followed by a question and answer session. We were then offered something to eat, which was free of charge, never had that at a festival before.
This was followed by a great set from a band called TYGER who sang Metallica, AC/DC and Motley Crew covers to name but a few, this got everyone into the festival spirit, with rousing support from the crowd, I’m surprised you didn’t hear the singing from where you were! Then it was onto a rock disco to end the night, before heading to bed for a good rest before the Friday festivities begin.
With nine bands on the bill, with no clashes, there was something for everyone. Headliners well, Royal Republic just wow! I’d never even heard of them before they were announced for FireVolt and wasI was a bit ‘they’re okay’ when I had a listen to a couple of tracks. But! There are not enough words to describe how bloody awesome they were live. Personally, I’m not a fan of bands chatting a lot through a set because I want to hear their music, but these guys were so funny I was hypnotised by them, so I didn’t give it a second thought. Hailing from Sweden the four-piece band formed in 2007 knows how to get a crowd eating out of their hands. Their music is kind of garage/alternative/rock and roll with a Franz Ferdinand/Electric Six feel to some of their songs and that gets you moving,
Band members Adam Grahn-Vocals/guitar, Hannes Irengård- guitar, Jonas Almén-bass, and Per Andreasson- drums looked like they were having as great a time as the crowd were, they were totally infectious.
At one point they disappeared off the stage only to turn up behind the crowd next to the sound desk to play a few acoustic numbers. Chatting and singing to a captivated audience they sang a couple of songs, one with harmonies in the chorus where the lyrics were easy to learn as they were dick, dick, dick, ……. I’m a dick……. dick, dick!
They then took off again back to the stage, and while they did that the Benny Hill theme tune played as the crowd reshuffled back around to wait on their arrival, how could you not be laughing at that?
At one point they had everyone crouching down, lower, and lower while Adam lay down on the stage, the next moment everyone jumped around, I was very confused as to why, but I was joining in and loving it!
To end it all Adam announced that we were all going to go through the this is our last song shenanigans, where they leave the stage only to come back on the stage, whether we chanted for more or not carry on. They left the stage and came back on only to announce that Adam wanted to be in a heavy metal band but he met the other guys…..who it seemed also wanted to play in a heavy metal band! This is when they played a brilliant couple of covers by Metallica and Motorhead. No one wanted them to finish, no one wanted them to leave, and everyone who watched Royal Republic was walking back to camp saying how brilliant they were. These guys are cool and cocky and rightly so, they are masters of their craft, they had the place jumping and they were a great addition to the festival.
My advice, if you’ve not seen this band you really should go and see them live, it’ll probably be the best therapy you’ve ever had or needed.
Massive Wagons walked onto the stage to a display of fireworks and smoke and frontman Baz bounced around like Tigger on Irn Bru. They were relentless as they delivered a jam-packed set that had the red tent buzzing. They released their fifth album last year, and have had four hit songs from it, the last one being ‘Forget the Haters’ though it’s called this because they are trying not to swear in their songs! That made me laugh! What didn’t make me laugh was trying to get a decent photo through the smoke and lighting.
With an extensive tour planned for the rest of the year, it would be rude not to go and see them!
When Rivers Meet.
I first saw this band a couple of weeks ago at Steelhouse and I loved them. They have a great bluesy rock feel to them and it’s Grace’s distinctive voice that draws you in. Releasing a new single, out on the 11th of August, ‘Seen It All Before’ and with a third album, Aces are High on the 8th of September, they are definitely a band to catch live.
Laid-back soulful rock music seeps out of their pores. Playing an impressive chilled-out set featuring songs from their album ‘January Came Close’ with beautiful backing harmonies. Singer Tom Hollister joked about the Firevolt poster and its tagline of ‘3 days of face-melting rock’ being false advertising but there’s more than one way to melt your face and that’s by relaxing it into some soulful rock music which Cardinal Black had covered. If you want to catch them they are touring up and down the country right through to 25th February 2024 when they’ll be playing Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival in Leeds.
I first saw this band at Rockwich a few years ago and they blew me away then. Playing old and new songs which fitted together naturally. The new songs are great and I particularly like ‘Little Miss Innocent’ which I think should be released as a single.
It was with a lot of feeling that they talked about mental health and how the singer had issues in the past and how lucky he was to have friends get behind him and they started the band.
Speaking to Phil from the band he said there is a new album in the pipeline, which had been put on hold because of babies and family life. They are playing again at Rockwich Festival as a rescheduled gig which they had to cancel last year, catch them there if you can.
Sons of liberty
Cowboy hats, baseball caps, white sunglasses and attitude erupted onto the stage with this band, Can you believe Russ on vocals had the cheek to give me the bird, he is obviously very brave or naïve but I’m going with he was playing up to the camera to give me the opportunity for a great photo. He was in full flow, running about all over the place and had a face-off with someone in the crowd while he sang away, it was hilarious. They certainly know how to make an impact.
Well, they turned the dial up a notch or two! They definitely brought their A-game to Firevolt and played to the crowd with some oomph! They sang a mix of old and new songs sounding like a mix of AC/DC and Guns and Roses and everything in between, I loved them, just as everyone else did and I’d definitely go and see them again. That’s what’s so great about these smaller festivals, they help you to discover your next favourite band.
White Raven Down
Opening proceedings in the big red tent, where a good crowd had gathered, the guys walked confidently onto the stage and got stuck right in with a great opening number called Mind Reader. Hailing from Essex they make a big noise for only being a three-piece. They have two albums out so far, Conspiracy in 2018 and Don’t Shoot the Messenger released in 2022. They have also got a few singles under their belts with a new one coming out on Friday called Stole My Heart which is sure to be a hit.
I’m sure from this performance they have gathered a few more fans, myself included.
Battle of the Band winners Luna Marble opened the Trooper stage to a great reception.
They were worthy winners with some great hippie rock tracks and styles. They blasted through their songs getting a great reaction from the crowd that had gathered and by the looks on their faces, they had a blast too. I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress in their musical career and I know I’ll catch them again.
What a great start to a great festival and we still have two more days to go! I’m not sure how it can equal such a brilliant start…………