After a morning of interviews (evidence to be found elsewhere on the site) and full English (the least said about evidence of that, the better?), the fun started again.
First up was Psycho Kiss. Surprisingly, the after effects of the night before’s entertainment didn’t seem to cause too much of a crowd shortageand so these guys deserved. A full throttle performance from a great, female fronted band was what graced us. Good effort and hopefully we will see and hear much more from these guys.
The second band of the day Tainted Nation – great performance despite illness affecting frontman, Pete Newdeck. Seen by some as a strange choice for the AOR bill, we weren’t in that camp. Sure, Tainted Nation are definitely at the heavier end of the melodic rock spectrum but they have a knack for the melodic and the added “crunch” was welcome amidst some of the ultra-fluffy on show this weekend.
KingDragon, all the way from Greece, were next (another of our interview victims earlier in the day!). A great set featuring songs from their “Hide the Sun” album (album review still available on here) … they certainly looked like they were having a great time and I know that this sheer joy came over well with the crowd (I guess a few CDs were sold following the performance?). Lots of melody, great guitars and some great mix of influences to infuse the songs that really made the transition to thelive forum. It would be great to see more of KingDragon in the UK if it can be organised.
Another band that we love were up next, Night by Night. Having had their singer announce his departure just before this show the boys had to overcome a few hurdles to make it … but they did. The guys did an awesome job – the songs from their debut album (“NxN”, review still online) really came alive in the live environment. My favourite is still “Holding On…” – great on the CD, even greater live. Hopefully, the guys will remedy the singer issue quickly and get back out on the road/into the studio quickly.
Ah … then we had VEGA. Before the “controversy” about the use by “some” of the bands on the festival bill, these stalwarts of the UK AOR/Melodic rock scene gave us all a great show and it was, without question, the best I’ve heard them live. Mixing up the set so that the audience got a great mix of the songs from all three albums (including the latest, “Stereo Messiah”). The big stage really suits the band – although I think festivals might, unfortunately, be the only way bands within this genre are likely to fill venues to make it possible. Please let me be wrong!
Some Swedish genius came next courtesy of The Poodles. First time for me and if we thought that the bar had been set high before (and it had!), Jakob and the boys came to prove a point … studded cod-piece and costume change included. With a career comprising so many great albums picking a set could have been rtricky but I think they got it bang on. Even the inclusion of songs from their upcomig new record didn’t create that well known “Oh lawd, it’s a new one. Fancy a pint?” from the crowd. Great performace from an awesome band who are definitely on my must see again list.
Then Rock-Zone had a dilemma, the only big clash of the festival. Kamelot at Hammerfest, Hardcore Superstar on the Sleaze Stage and Dare on the main stage! We did it (just!) and managed to get shots of Kamelot and Dare (Hardcore Superstar proved tricky as their singer had decided that he wanted to go “walkabout” so the pit was closed … oh well, next time?
First was quick sprint to the Hammerfest stage to cathc some of the Kamelot set. Our first reaction was something like “WOW! That’s loud!”. Even the safety ear plugs couldn’t keep up with the volume we found in the photo pit. It was, howeverr, totally worthwhile to see these masters of symphonic, power metal do their thing. I was a big fan of their last record, “Silverthorn”, which impressed with the blend of metal, melody, power, light and shade. That’s what they gave the Hammerfest crowd and they were stunning.
Back to the “Boardwalk” satge for Hardcore Superstar. Well, their PR team have certainly done a good job. The arena was rammed, fans bouncing around with sheer delight at was clearly an action filled set. Next time, we’ll try and get in the pit to get some photos!
Then we finished up back in the main arena for the end of Dare’s set. Darren Wharton’s rejuvenated band saw some staggeringly great guitar from Vinny Burns and we were treated to a set from across the Dare back catalogue. I was just delighted to be there to catch the Dare version of Emerald – it’s clear that Mr Wharton is still very fond of Phil Lynott/Thin Lizzy and the celtic themes are what has drawn me to Dare albums over the years.
I’ll be honest, Starz didn’t do it for us so we took the opportunity to have a break from the picture taking, have a small libation and a chat to get ready for the last band of the day. H.e.a.t certainly know how to work a crowd like this … Erik Gronwold clearly left his medication at home as he was running, jumping, bouncing, head-banging, shadow boxing and spitting into his own mouth (????) to close the second day with a MASSIVE bang. So much of a crowd pleasing set that, come the end, nobody in the band wanted to stop and the crowd were with them … the powers that be promptly switched the pa off (a wise move as we all had another day of music and fun fast approaching).
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