STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL – Ebbw Vale, Wales – Day Two, Saturday 24th July 2021 LIVE REVIEW

Mark Warburton (review)

Pippa Maunder-Warburton (photos)

So, with the weather a little mixed to say the least and gale force winds having battered the stage, but thankfully the forecast looking ok for the rest of the day, we arrived on top of the mountain for day 2.

Unfortunately, because of some major repair work required to the stage, set timings had been delayed a tad before First band of the day, hard rockers Revival Black from Liverpool kick off proceedings with a great in your face rock n roll set. They have a great frontman in Dan Byrne, and if the awful weather had not cleared people’s hangovers, then this band surely would do. Again, another band who I had not heard much, but will changing as I was suitably impressed, with great vocals and super tight band who offered up a great set to a decent sized crowd, and a great way to start day 2.

Next up, the punky/rocky infused Hands off Gretal took to the stage, and with the weather bucking up a bit, vocalist Lauren Tate took full advantage and led her band through a fun filled set that the crowed really appreciated. Tate who struts about the stage like she owns it, leads Hands off Gretal through a thoroughly enjoyable set.

So, from punk influenced rock to in-your-face rockers Florence Black, featuring multi-talented vocalist/guitarist Tristan Thomas together with Jordan Evans and Perry Davies blast out a super heavy set to the pleased Steelhouse Crowd. Florence Black then provides a bonus with their final tune, when local boy, Michael Paget, from Welsh Rockers, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE rip through a cover of the BUDGIE classic ‘Bredfan’, made famous by superstars METALLICA, that gets everyone bouncing and is a true sight to see, just brilliant.

So, another band who I had seen several times and were looking forward to, blues rockers Kris Barras Band took to the stage, with frontman, Kris Barras, featuring a new drummer and bass player, together with the multi-talented Josh Manning now on guitar, having switched from keys. The Kris Barras band deliver another super polished set to the packed crowd, including ‘Ignite ‘, ‘Dead Horses’, ‘Kick Me Down’, Long Gone’ and my personal Favourite ‘Lovers or Losers’.  With the wonderful ‘Hail Mary’ bringing this entertaining set to a close.

We headed back into the arena for the next act early to get a good spot to witness Toby Jepson from one of my all-time favourite bands from 80/90s, LITTLE ANGELS and now Wayward Sons. Toby plays the whole set acoustically and we are treated to the following LITTLE ANGELS classics such as ‘Do You Wanna Riot’, ‘Big Bad World’, and the amazing ’90 In the shade’. Before the crowd pleaser ‘Boneyard’ that gets everyone singing along, together with classics ‘Don’t Prey for Me’ and Womankind’. The Final tracks of the wonderful set just take me back to my youth, ‘Radical Your Lover’, the radio friendly, ‘Young Gods – Stand Up Stand Up’, before my personal favourite & dancefloor classic ‘Kickin’ Up Dust’ and the Brilliant ‘Too Much Too Young’ provides another highlight to our weekend.

Now onto the band of the moment, Welsh Rockers and fans favourite THOSE DAMN CROWS. Credit where credit is due, because today THOSE DAMN CROWS were on fire and for me blew the roof off Steelhouse Festival, with vocalist Shane Greenhall proving he is a cracking frontman and has a great set of pipes too. ‘Who Did It’ from the band’s album ‘Point Of No Return’ gets the packed crowd absolutely rocking, with a cracking ‘Blink Of An Eye’ and ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ which are driven through by the great rhythm section of drummer Ronnie Huxford and bassist Lloyd Wood. David Winchurch and Shiner on Guitars smash through ‘Behind These Walls’ and the majestic ‘Set in Stone’, and personal favourite ‘Be You before the set was cut short by two songs due to the unfortunate delays with the weather.

Having to follow that was no mean feat, and for me Irish rockers THERAPY? Struggled to match Those Damn Crows in every department. They delivered a great energetic set which Pippa was impressed with, and seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage.

That cannot be said for Saturday Night Headliners THE DARKNESS, a band who I have seen many times live over the years, from the first time I saw them back way supporting DEF LEPPARD on the X Tour. In Justin Hawkins they have one of the best frontmen in the game, just bonkers & brilliant. The band kick off their fun filled fuelled set with ‘Black Shuck’ before the packed crowd are treated to fan favourites ‘Open Fire’ and Barbarian. The truly amazing ‘Growing on Me’ gets the crowd rocking, before the wonderful ballad, ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’ leads us into my personal favourite, the super catchy, ‘Friday Night’. Its hit after hit, including One Way Ticket, and mega selling single, and band anthem ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’, before encore ‘Love on the Rocks with No Ice; brings this barnstorming set to a close. THE DARKNESS were magnificent tonight, and band of the weekend for both of us.



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