Review By Darren McIntyre
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.
Day 3 kicked off in fine style just as day 2 finished with a banging Lancashire rockers Massive Wagons ringing in our ears, we welcomed the fantastic pocket rocket from Melbourne in the form of Cassidy Paris who is new to the Frontiers SRL roster and a recently endorsed Fender guitar user. Cassidy is a returning artist who graced the Sessions Stage last year and impressed so much that she was invited back to open the legendary Steve Strange Stage on the coveted Saturday slot, Cassidy was ripping up the stage and I believe she wore her Tartan get-up to please the swelling audience that turned up to hear this young talent give us what we came for. Cassidy is about to release her blistering new album New Sensation into the world on the 8th of December and she rolled out some of those new tunes to the Winterstorm faithful, she was ably assisted by her proud Dad the phenomenal Wicked Smile guitarist Steve Janevski who was grinning from ear to ear as he watched his daughter do her thing and it was plain to see that she was born to do this and boy does she do it well.
Today was interview day and I had set up many face-to-face chats with many of the acts that were here to entertain us today, but before I got my teeth into my first interviewee I caught the rampaging rockers Trucker Diablo as they took to the stage after a bumpy ferry ride getting to our fine festival as they returned to thrill us with their infectious brand or rock n roll that was sure to please this eager crowd as they rolled through an impressive set that brought us “The Rebel” that got the crowd on their feet to kick off this rasping set that rolled into “Let’s Just Ride” through the impressive cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” which got the juices flowing. We strolled through this guitar-crunching set with killer tracks like “Drink Beer, Destroy” that brought a huge cheer from the crowd as they were getting to grips with the boys as they led us into “Drive”, “Dig” and finished with the glorious “Juggernaut” as we left the hall I sauntered upstairs to catch my pick of the day,
The Blue Lena is a 7 piece Southern Country / Blues Rock outfit who was my outstanding new find of Saturday as they delivered a killer set of soulful blues songs that had the packed out crowd in The Sessions Stage in the palm of their hands from the moment they opened their incredible set. The mix of harmonies coupled with the cool keys that flowed effortlessly from the stage were just taking us to far-off places as we lost ourselves in the soulful melodies that were laid before us this afternoon. The set kicked off with the toe-tapping lyrical Only When She’s Dancing as we got our groove on and threw some shapes as this exciting 7 piece just dug deep and gave us the find of the day let me tell you, following on from the killer opener we strolled into Nashville as the country groove drove straight through Winterstorm this afternoon. The place is buzzing as we watch with real joy etched on our faces as this fantastic outfit delivers a storming set that will have us talking about them for a long time to come, I interviewed Peter & Nick after their incredible set and it can be viewed over at jacemediamusic.com / interviews and they gave me an insight into the making of their incredible album Darkwood and how the songs came to life and what they mean to the boys so please go check out firstly the album, then the video and then come back and tell me that you enjoyed their music, up next was my chat with the incredible Chantel McGregor who is a returning musician who is playing not one but two sets today, firstly she is on the main stage with her band and we have the pleasure of an acoustic set on The Sessions Stage which will be incredible let me tell you. Chantel walks on stage to rapturous applause as she removes her shoes and socks to feel the hallowed Steve Strange Stage beneath her feet, this, as usual, was a rip-roaring set full of blistering guitar solos and thundering drums that just set this place alight with scintillating lyrics and well-crafted guitar riffs that were just a joy to watch. We stand in awe as this killer musician strolls through a blistering set that is full of stories, jokes and true-life tales including the Ninja Air Fryer(watch the video and you will get the story), Killing Time sets the tone as Chantel delivers a faultless set that just lit up Troon for all to hear, we storm through the classics like I’m No Good For You as the crowd cheered and hollered for more as she led us onto set closer in the form of Walk On Land that was just incredible to watch, I consider Chantel a friend and we chat for ages about her new songs, an album and more tour dates for next year as Chantel teases us with new dates and how we are in for some surprises next year.
I have many interviews so it is inevitable that I am going to miss some artists excuse my ignorance as I catch Doogie White & Friends, Paul McManus & Andy Mason are amongst the musicians taking to the stage tonight as Doogie rolls back the years with songs from way back then as he belts out stand out tracks The Temple Of The King that brings a silence throughout the hall as we sing along and remember the incredible lyrics that wrap themselves around us tonight. Doogie chats to the crowd and asks us if we are having a good time and if are we enjoying ourselves as he recalls the departed from the music world reels off the ones we have lost as the place claps after each musician is given to us, we roll into the incredible Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City which is a nod to Bernie Marsden as he was due to appear at this years event but sadly lost his battle, a sad loss to the music industry and a sad loss full stop.
As I said earlier today is interview day and I was lucky enough to get some valuable time with Danny Vaughn, Steve Janevski, Cassidy Paris, Chantel McGregor and my find of the day The Blue Lena, I caught the boys from Melbourne Wicked Smile who kicked in the doors of The Sessions Stage as the brought us the barnstorming beast that is Killer @ Large that just set the tone as the boys got us all hot and sweaty as they thanked us for coming out to watch some Aussies do their thing again @ Winterstorm. they gave us some new tracks and some favourites and even brought on the fantastic Cassidy Paris to duet with Mr Danny Cecati as they let this full house know that they were glad to be back and feel right at home as this rowdy crowd took them to their hearts. The boys did a fantastic cover of Rainbow In The Dark(Dio Cover) which just whipped this place into a frenzy as the boys did it proud, I again call Steve a friend and felt he enjoyed the set as we made him and the boys feel right at home, the band are on a full UK Tour and will always have a place @ Winterstorm and be welcome back in Scotland anytime.
As I wander around chatting to many many of my muso pals I get a real sense that the 3 day event is a real success and one that will make a welcome return next year, I stroll into the main hall and look at the rammed bodies that are watching the fabulous Tyketto fronted by my buddy Danny Vaughn as the place erupts with a wall of cheers and fist pumps as the boys deliver a killer opening in the form of Strength In Numbers that just gets us all worked up as they bring us Wings, right through to the impressive beast that is Meet Me In The Night that lets these boys show their musicianship in real strength in numbers. we have an endless array of tracks that roll back the years and I watch the faces as they sing along and just let us know that Tyketto is here and here to stay, like most of the bands here they are in the middle of their own UK Tour which has been going down a storm let me tell you.
As the night draws to a close we are again in the main hall to welcome the unmistakeable Graham Bonnet as he wanders onstage with his dark glasses and smart suit, He says that it is good to be back in Scotland and good to be with friends as he rocks straight into the classic Eyes Of The World that gets us moving from the getgo, we dip our toes into the Rainbow back catalogue with the pounding All Night Long as the band just hit their stride and give us a show that is worthy of being headline material. We rock straight into Love’s No Friend and the classic Russ Ballard Since You have Been Gone that gets the crowd all swaying and feeling the groove from this classic frontman as he wanders around the stage catching some faces and waving like a little kid, we have a keyboard solo that lets Graham, Beth Ami and the boys get a seat and rest for a bit before we welcome the classic Deep Purple track Lazy which get people hollering and whooping before we catch S.O.S, Desert Song and the rasping foot stomping Assault Attack before we end the night with the blistering Lost In Holly wood that sends us homeward bound with a smile on our face, all in all, it has been a long but enjoyable day that is all down to the hard work of Ian and his staff as they strive to bring us the best music in the best setting with the best people as this year’s festival comes to a close, until next year.
The Players –
The Blue Lena
Chantel McGregor – Main Stage
Clann An Drumma
Chantel McGregor – Sessions Stage
Doogie White & Friends
The Brink – Sessions Stage Graham Bonnet