Sunday morning comes around all sunny and clear…well ok not necessarily for the whole day as it did bucket it down as well, but you get my meaning. This was the last day of the festival and today was all about Stage 1. Why? Well, cause that was the only one open. Today was also HRH Xmas Rockers Ball and another opportunity for the Hard Rock Hellions to dress up for the occasion (more on that later). Today was also another day with interviews, as was my job but again I managed again to see a few sets throughout the day and I could not write today’s review without beginning with the band that impressed me the most this weekend. I had loved watching a fair few bands so far and been converted to their following as well, but what for me makes a festival is when you see a new band and you’re just totally blown away by them. For me this weekend that band was Breed 77. I only got to Stage 1 half way through their set but by the end of that first song I was pretty much sold – as were many of those around me. Throw in a brilliant cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ which is one of my favourite songs and you’ve sealed the deal. It’s a song you have to get right and they certainly do and make it their own at the same time. It’s the same ‘poison’, but harder and filthier. It’s also available as a free digital download as a B-side to their new single ‘Drown’, so get onto their website and have a listen! The acoustic ‘The River’ following this was so haunting and lovely it gave me chills. A captivating song indeed. Again go and have a list, but better yet go see them play live as that’s where you’ll get the full effect.
I’ve mentioned a fair few times in my various reviews that I tend to favour those bands that have a good rapport with the audience and this band is a prime example of this. They engage so well with everybody that it feels like your standing shoulder to shoulder watching the show together – I know you’re not, but I hope you get my meaning. There’s plenty of banter and even teasing of the crowd, telling us this is a festival, act like it! So cracking out their version of ‘Zombie’ we do just that and proceed to jump about and shout and sing along. If the cheer they got for ‘The River’ was good, with this song they absolutely nailed it. \m/
Afterwards I headed off happy to conduct more interviews (the first with the very band that had just let the stage) and didn’t manage to get back until much later in the day, catching only some of The Union’s set. Which was a strange experience to be sure. Not The Union’s set, but what you saw around you as you entered Stage 1. I mentioned earlier that this was the HRH Xmas Rockers Ball and that dress up was a given for many attendees; and it sure as hell was. I saw some cracking outfits, from the many Santas both male and female, some adorable and hilarious elves and even a Christmas Badger. The Union are a great rock band and there was a real party atmosphere as everyone was ready to rock out for the last night. There were big cheers and plenty of clapping going on, and for this and for during Dr Feel Good, there was a sense that everyone was happy being right where they were that night. If you could bottle that and take it with you on a night out, you know you’d have a good time. At the stage people were joining in and cheering, and towards the back people were mingling and chatting away. It was a real Christmas party.
Later on I moved right to the barrier in preparation for Buckcherry’s set in time to watch all of Soil’s set. I knew the songs but had never seen them live before and this is another band I would recommend you put on your must see list. Literally getting right on in there with the crowd the atmosphere at the front was amazing. The crowd just loved this band, there’s no two ways about it. If it was any other band but Buckcherry set to fellow them onto the stage I may feel a bit sorry for them as this was a brilliant set and really hit the party mood. (Even better that I got to see them and Breed 77 and Fozzy all over again later in the week at the Electric Ballroom – and yes, it was equally as good.)
Now very much warmed up the crowd awaited the arrival of the headliners of Buckcherry. Again a great choice to headline this festival and another band that thoroughly converted me to their following after their set. Scoring very highly on a particular mate’s list and with ‘Crazy Birth’ bound to be on the set list, I was standing my ground at the front determined to have a good view. Well what can you say about this set apart from it was the best way to close the festival. This band know rock and how to rock and they bring it in spades to their set. Following the festival I went home and bought albums and listened to them pretty much constantly since. You must dear reader have heard Buckcherry songs before and so for those of you that have you need no further explanation of their style, but for those of you that haven’t this is rock; plain and simple. It’s a gritty, beautiful, dirty, big stage festival sound. The crowd around me were totally in the moment enjoying the whole set and when the famous ‘Crazy Bitch’ did indeed rear her head, it went into overdrive. There was a lot of movement, cheering, singing, shouting, dancing – this is a song that has one hell of an effect. In summary, their set was fucking awesome – thank you HRH for showing me the way. \m/
Photo credits: Sean Larkin