Review and photographs by Linda McDermott
Well, it’s the day after the night before and it was a quiet camp first thing, with only the birds in the trees surrounding the campsite singing. This wasn’t for long though, as the walking dead emerged and headed down to the big red tent before midday to see who was billed as ‘the ones to watch’.
The Hot One Two
And ones to watch they are. The band was founded in Cambridge in 2017 and has established itself on the festival circuit playing the likes of Call of The Wild and Hard Rock Hell. They delivered a slick heavy rock set and bounced around the stage like they were on pogo sticks, introducing an inflatable mic as they went! Unfortunately, there was a technical issue with the lighting but undeterred they gave it everything with the only complaints coming from the photographers trying to get a shot in the dark! I was kind of hypnotised by Kev and his ever-changing expressions, gurning would definitely be another career choice if all else failed for Kev. I thought they were brilliant, so much so that I’m going to see them again at Trillions in Newcastle on 12th Oct.
Thieves of Liberty
A 5 piece band from Sunderland and Saturday’s battle of the band winners they opened the Trooper stage with a cockiness that they knew what they were doing, and they did! With their own brand of modern rock music, they belted out a mix of old and new songs with some great guitar solos
They are riding a wave of popularity and rightly so, as they have played alongside the likes of The Darkness, Skid Row and Reef. You can catch them on tour up and down the country from now until February next year.
A three-piece hard rock band from Blackpool consisting of Tony Lang on vocals/guitar, Mouse on Drums and Mark Wilson on Keyboards.
They started with the first song they wrote together called Better Man to a now wide-awake audience and built on having the crowd’s attention. Playing songs from both their albums ‘Black Church’ and ‘House of Cards’ I loved Nah Nah Nah Nah which is taken from the second album and is definitely a great way to get the crowd singing along to the chorus, even I couldn’t get that wrong! If you want to catch them they are playing at The Gifford Arms, Wolverhampton on 16th Dec.
This 5 piece band who was a man down for Firevolt played tracks from their first EP called ‘Condemned’, I particularly liked ‘Black Waters’ which was a tremendous heavy track.
The latest EP ‘Reckonin’ was released in October last year. ‘Inside the Sun’ is my favourite track from this EP. They then surprised me by finishing off their set with a cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and who wouldn’t want to hear that on a sunny day while drinking cider in the countryside?
They will be playing at the Rockinburgh festival in Edinburgh on the 30th Sept if you want to catch them live.
I must confess I’d never heard anything by this band until this festival so I was looking forward to their set. George, Sass, Ryan and Jack hail from North Yorkshire and they released their EP ‘Face the Rain’ over a year ago. According to them, their music falls into the category of earthy fuzz rock with a serious and stylish attitude, and who am I to argue? With their second album out in May this year called Monster, they are gathering fans as they go. I particularly loved ‘Stories of Strange Women’ which is about embracing being ‘weird’ and I can relate to that!
Are a heavy metal 4-piece band from Manchester so were on home ground at the festival and had quite a few local fans cheering them on.
Their last album was released in 2022 and called Fire in the Sky of which they played the title track to a very appreciative audience. My song of the set is Refuse to Die with its gutsy guitars and vocals. Another favourite from this set is Side by Side from the same-titled album released in 2020, it had a slow start, building up with heavy guitars to pack a punch. They have 3 dates in their diary which you can check out at www.absolva.com
With a new single out called ‘Love to Hate’ and a brand new album, ‘Battlelines’ coming out on 8th September Vega is a well-accomplished 5-piece rock band with a loyal following. Singing the title track of the album, they gave everyone a taste of things to come on the release date. Nick, Mart, Billy, Pete and Marcus will be touring from the end of September and all of October promoting their new music.
The band of the day as far as I’m concerned. Awesome, epic, amazing etc, can you tell how much I loved them? I didn’t realise they were a two-piece band with only drums and guitar, how on earth can 2 people make such a great sound? They are punky and punchy and I was hooked as soon as they hit that first note. Like a lot of people at the festival, I’d not seen them before but I’d heard ripples of how good they were live. I’d listened to them a while back but not paid that much attention at the time. With a string of singles and albums under their belt I feel I have a lot of catching up to do, but it doesn’t matter if I’m late to the party, I’m definitely there now. They are touring extensively across the UK and Europe and I totally recommend you go and see them, to hear what I’m talking about, you won’t regret it. I’m looking forward to seeing them again, and there are a view gigs to choose from, check them out at any good ticket website. They have also just announced that they are supporting The Sisters of Mercy in September and November. I can’t wait.
This band have been on the festival scene for a few years now and has just gone from strength to strength. Taking time out to write their second album has been well worth it as the new songs just fitted seamlessly in with the tracks from the first album which was released in 2021. Writing the dreaded second album and introducing new songs into a set is always difficult, but they have no need to worry about either. They were slick and well-polished in their delivery and must have had the biggest following of the day going by all the merchandise worn around the festival. Singing the likes of ‘Against the Wall’ and ‘DNA’ got the crowd fired up and an emotional Scott, James, Marc, Matthew and Craig took the time to enjoy listening to the words being sung back to them loud and clear. Look out for the second album it’s going to be a big one for the band and elevate them up a notch or two in the rock band ranks. A great band with their next gig at WinterStorm in Troon on 25th Nov 2023.
Yet another band new to me, I love this journey of discovery, there are so many great bands out there just waiting to be found. It kind of seemed like I was the only one who hadn’t heard of The Answer and their songs because everyone around me was belting out the words. Commanding the stage, the 4 piece band, hailing from Northern Ireland let rip with a string of songs that seemed like anthems. With influences coming from The Who, Free and Led Zeppelin you get a kind of feel for the bluesy rock that filled the Trooper stage. If this is how you like your rock music you’re in luck as they have gigs coming up in Manchester, London, Wolverhampton and Glasgow before heading back to play in Belfast.
This brings Saturday to a close for me and it’s off to bed still thinking what another fantastic day it’s been and still thinking about the awesome Virginmarys, Mason Hill and the gurning face of Kev from The Hot One Two!