Review By Darren McIntyre Photos by Zee Zee Photography
Winterstorm is a festival held in Troon Town Hall that has been rocking the Ayrshire coast since 2016 and has seen many of the world’s top acts grace the main stage and bring us the best music has to offer. This weekend sees the Legends & Legacies come to the seaside and give us a fantastic star-studded, action-packed rock n roll extravaganza that will bring this little piece of heaven to life with the cream of the rock world as we descend to rock out with rock family, friends, musician pals and just have a fantastic 4 days that will be talked about for a long time to come. I rock up to the venue collect my media pass set out my stall and chat with many many friends that I have made throughout my journey in the rock world, I set up my interviews walk into the main arena and feel the energy, buzz and excitement build as we ready ourselves for the day –
Winterstorm Festival is an absolute powerhouse of a winter metal extravaganza that left me spellbound and craving for more. The lineup was a brutal assault on the senses, curated with the precision of a seasoned rocker dream playlist. From the bone-chilling blast beats to the face-melting guitar solos, Winterstorm Festival was a sonic journey that transcended the mundane.
The venue itself was a fortress of sound, reverberating with the echoes of heavy metal legends. The stage lighting, expertly synchronized with each thunderous riff, created an atmosphere that was nothing short of electrifying. It felt like being thrust into a maelstrom of pure metal energy, and I loved every moment of it.
First up on day 2 were the fantastic Scottish rocking 4 piece Lyin Rampant who had the honour of lifting the curtain on the hallowed Steve Strange Stage and boy did they bring the noise, Stewartie’s vocals reaching every corner of the venue.
The boys had some technical issues that were beyond their control but like true professionals they are they powered through and got the fists pumping and the juices flowing, the setlist was a throwback to yesteryear and their epic debut album that just got us all fired up for what was to come, I had to pinch myself as I so wanted these boys to pull off a sensational opening slot and they delivered, to coin a phrase from one of the boys it was as good as Stovies & blowjobs on a cold winter’s day out in Troon, thought that was a perfect way to end a sizzling opening act.
I wandered around as usual and chatted with many folks and was busy setting up my media duties for the day and readied myself to engulf myself in the day’s activities, I slipped into the main hall to catch my buddy Jim Kirkpatrick as he dazzled with his exquisite bluesy guitar work and thought-provoking lyrics that had the crowd nodding along to. Jim is just an incredible musician who knows how to work a room and get the best from his fans, we had 45 minutes of colossal tracks that were expertly brought together by his six-stringed wizardries that paid dividends with this excited audience.
I was alerted to a 4-piece outfit from Brazil that I was asked to check out and I am so glad I did as they were my find of the day on the sessions stage, or so I thought, stayed tuned for more.
The boys reminded me of a young energetic Van Halen as they delivered a faultless Hot For Teacher amongst a smattering of their debut album and how they worked the sold-out crowd into a frenzy with their dazzling guitarwork, powering vocals and monstrous rhythm section that lifted the roof clean off The Sessions Stage today, we watched with anticipation as the boys thanked us for stopping by and checking out these four boys from Belo Horizonte. They powered through their 45-minute set and left the stage to a waiting pack of eager merch punters who bought up their swag in record time, check out these boys and miss them at your peril.
We rolled back the years on the main stage as legendary vocalist Paul Di’Anno entered the arena and entertained us with his vocal work from his tenure with the mighty Iron Maiden, Paul is confined to a wheelchair with some medical issues but that doesn’t prevent him from blasting out the old favourites that were really delighting this sold-out crowd.
The audience chanted, fist pumped and sang their hearts out as this legend of the stage delivered hit after hit that just brought back old memories from back in the day, he chatted with the crowd and seemed to be on form as this delighted crowd were smiling from ear to ear as we reminisced about the good old days and reliving our youth as we jumped around air guitaring and stamping our feet to this larger than life character.
Paul left the stage for a hero’s welcome/departure that enabled him to connect with many punters after his set as he posed for pics and chatted to many and thanked them for stopping by and checking him out.
As always I cannot be everywhere but I managed to catch the next act for a short while(Sorry Boys) what I heard and saw were nothing short of spectacular as this older crowd really enjoyed their throwback to the early 80s as they powered through their impressive back catalogue that delighted this swelling crowd, I wandered around and chatted to many who were telling me that Thursday’s opening day was simply spectacular and again I say that this is down to the sterling work from Winterstorm’s Ian McCaig as he brought this festival together and hand-picked every act as he wanted to bring a little something for everyone, once again I tip my hat to Ian and his tireless team who deliver whatever the eventuality.
As per my previous post, I was asked to go check out this other outfit who were causing a stir as they delivered a sterling set of colossal speed metal thrashings to the swelling crowd that stood before them. The boys were fast, furious and ready for all comers as they shredded their way through an epic set of fist-pumping tracks that had us all in a spin as we were just in awe of their energy, drive and all-out excitement as they drove the Noturnall juggernaut straight through the heart of Troon on a Friday night.
I will say that they were top sellers on merch for the Friday spectacular and this must be the selling power of a Speed Metal outfit from Brazil that will surely be back on our shored in the near future.
As we powered through this impressive list of the cream of the music business I took time out to write up some notes taken in an interview and get some fluid in me as the heat from The Sessions Stage had me losing a pound or two(and I don’t mean cash) lol, I took in the mighty FM who are festival regulars and they did not disappoint with their impressive back catalogue and sizzling licks coupled with mesmerising lyrics that had the crowd singing and dancing along.
Steve shone bright out in front as he gave us silky smooth vocals that were entwined with slick clean guitar work that just dazzled this thrilled crowd. The place was buzzing and ready to be entertained as the boys chatted strolled from side to side and brought the tracks together with cool keys that were entertaining the crowd, the boys were so thrilled to be back in Scotland to see all the smiling faces as we welcomed these boys with open arms.
The last three acts to entertain us were bringing classic hits smothered in new soulful vocals mixed with a power-driven, ball-busting, ear-shattering gig that was sure to have something for everyone. First up was the maestro Uli Jon Roth as he brought his dazzling guitar work to the Steve Strange stage and threw out colossal guitar licks that were wrapped in soulful powering vocals that delighted this swelling crowd.
We watched as Uli sang and played with precision and just rolled back the years with his intricate fingerwork that was on show tonight, we were treated to an hour of magical hits with slick clean chords that were held together by his daughter on keys as she looked like a chip off the old block. The place was rocking and faces were still as they watched this master of his craft deliver a faultless set that just put us at ease tonight.
I wandered up to the Sessions Stage to catch my good friend Caroline Eve Kenyon(Bastette) bring us mesmerising vocals that were wrapped in slick clean guitar work that blended together to give us a show that just let us feel the energy oozing from this force of nature as she delivered towering vocals that held us and then told their own story.
This is Bastette’s second visit to Troon as she blew us all away last year with his impressive brand of sultry lyrics and impressive stage moves, she chatted with the audience and said it was an honour to be back amongst some of the best fans in the world, this drew a huge cheer from this excited audience.
I was pleased to see Caroline deliver a solid well-crafted and thought-out setlist that will certainly have them back again.
Onto tonight’s festival closing band the ear-shattering Lancaster lads Massive Wagons who entered the stage like 5 gladiators ready for battle. Barry catapulted himself onto the stage in his trademark chequered troosers and pork pie hat and immediately set about blowing up the Steve Strange Stage with his colossal vocals, we were treated to some old favourites that were amongst a smattering of new tracks and this just lifted the crowd as they punched the air with joy as the boys brought their A-Game to the fine folk of Winterstorm and we so appreciated it, I will say that I have seen these boys many a time and think this was their blistering best on a cold Friday Night in Troon
The festival organizers deserve a standing ovation for their impeccable attention to detail. The seamless transitions between bands, coupled with the relentless energy of the crowd, showcased a level of professionalism that is the hallmark of a world-class metal festival. I undoubtedly tip my hat to the flawless execution of this metal symphony.
The diverse range of bands brought their A-game, delivering performances that ranged from the guttural growls of the underground to the soaring vocals of the headliners. The festival captured the essence of the multi-genres in all its glorious diversity, proving once again that metal is a force to be reckoned with.
As I stood amidst the sea of headbangers, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of camaraderie. Winterstorm Festival wasn’t just a concert; it was a gathering of the metal tribe, a celebration of a musical genre that unites people from all walks of life. I undoubtedly appreciate the sense of community that permeated the festival grounds.
In conclusion, the Winterstorm Festival delivered an unforgettable experience that will be etched in my metal-loving heart for years to come. It’s not just a festival; it’s a testament to the enduring power of metal music and its ability to bring people together in a sonic storm of epic proportions. Horns up to Winterstorm Festival – a rockers paradise in the heart of winter.
The Players –
Tygers Of Pan Tang
Uli Jon Roth