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Gig Review: Winterstorm Day Two

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Winterstorm 2018 day 2

Waking up much fresher than day two last year( I even managed breakfast) I head out on the short walk from my hotel along the beach towards the venue in glorious sunshine. My head is clear and I am ready for another full day of music.


Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes were first up but we did get back to last years issues as we get a fire alarm and everyone is turfed out on the streets. After waiting on the fire brigade to give us the all clear everyone gathers round and catches up on what an amazing day yesterday was. One of the best things about this festival is how friendly everyone is. I may already know a big chunk of the people from gig life in Glasgow but Winterstorm has brought people from far and wide and every person gets the same welcome.

Once the boys get back on the stage they go for it as if trying to warm us up…bless their little welsh socks. I caught the boys earlier this year in a far more intimate venue so it was great to see the boyos with a huge stage to play with.

They made the jump with ease and as their southern blues rock bounced around the hall this could be a Black Stone Cherry gig at the Hydro, the riffs are massive, the vocals brilliant and with songs like “Storm” and “Little Bit of You” the vibe is very similar but these home grown heroes are the real deal. They know how to rock and with a song like “The River” you can just sit back and enjoy blues dripped rock genius. The slower tempo lets those suffering from yesterdays hard drinking ease into the day far easier.

I look forward to much more from this band and hopefully they get around to releasing some more new music shortly.



The Welsh theme continued with Kane’d but to be fair this band are in Scotland that much I expect they will be voting for independence next time around. I first caught them at another Scottish festival in Wildfire and I have lost count how many times I have seen them since then.

Kane’d always give a great performance and it is good to finally see the seven members with enough room on a stage to actually move. A special mention must also go to the first band member in a kilt.

From the most recent album we got “Show Me Your Skeleton” and the heavier than usual “Invidia” and as much as these went down well it was the older songs in “Covered in Roses”, “La Di Da” and the good old drinking song(Can’t go wrong in Scotland) “Wasted” that got the punters going.

A cracking set from the band with the three lovely sisters on fine vocal form as always. This bands dynamic makes them stand out above others and for those who maybe just strolled up for the pretty ladies I am sure they were thoroughly impressed with the level of musicianship from the band.

I am sure I will see the band again soon and I am also sure they will go from strength to strength as they must put in the highest milage count from any band in the UK.


Trucker Diablo

It was over to another bunch of Celtic cousins in Trucker Diablo next. The boys from northern Ireland were also on the same bill at Wildfire as Kane’d and also put on one hell of a show that day.

It seemed that some of the band were already heavily into the swing of things as they had been drinking on the ferry over and this amounted to wondering what songs were being played next but the music was perfect.

“The Rebel” with its lazy blues intro picked up the tempo from Kane’d and tipped the festival into overdrive with the punishing riffs.

“Over The Wall” was not written by Mexicans pissed off at Donald Trump but it is the lighter side of Trucker and shows their diversity…a beautiful song and the only quiet moment you will get in their set.

They done a cracking cover of “Proud Mary” which had the crowd chanting Rolling at the top of their voices but it was the song “Drink Beer, Destroy” that set down the marker for their set and the boys afternoon/ evening.

After their show the band were in fine form and were never far from the bar and definitely had the best craic of the weekend.


Eden’s Curse

Next up for me was part local but mostly worldwide band Eden’s Curse. The band hot off the back of the Michael Schenker Fest tour and currently having lots of tongues wagging had a late start due to technical problems.

When it finally did come together we got a huge roar and went straight into “Masquerade Ball”. An absolute beast of a song and a welcome inclusion in the bands recently released greatest hits album Testament.

It must be difficult for a band who are spread to the winds and even write songs independently before sharing with the rest of the band for comment/amendment but the live environment is where they have the biggest hurdle. When you have young bands who play constantly together they gel, they know what works but for the curse boys they do not have that luxury but the biggest compliment I can give them is that you cannot tell.

Bassist Paul Logue has a knack of writing some incredible songs which has given them the backbone and the leeway of not touring that often but the musicians within the band are incredible from the heart of the band in John Clelland on drums to Thorsten Koehne’s incredible fret work and Christian Pulkkinen keys you have maestros.

That leaves the more animated members in Paul and singer Nikola Mijic who own the stage and give the band it’s whole presence. I have seen the band many times with a few different members but this line up seems very settled and with a huge stage and huge sound I have not heard them better. “Evil & Divine” was just exquisite.

A large chunk of the band’s performances are at festivals so I think the boys excel in this situation and as they closed out on “Angels and Demons” you see a group that have learned every lesson in their 10 years and luckily for us they bring it every time they play.

The only issue with Winterstorm is the quality of the bands and the fast turn around. If you don’t take a break you will end up doing 12 hours straight without eating so I had to make a call and miss out on another two bands from the Glasgow Apollo’s past in Girlschool and Bernie Torme. Some may say I chose foolishly but it was after much consideration and the fact that I have seen both many times prior.


Geoff Tate: Operation Mindcrime

After finally getting some food and a quick feet up I was ready for what was probably my pre festival must see in Operation Mindcrime. Back to the Apollo days again as the first time I caught Geoff and Queensryche live was as a hardly known band supporting the legend Ronnie James Dio himself.

It has been a long road since then but about four years after that set the band released what I class as the best concept album ever released. I saw it performed live by the original band and earlier this year I saw it again with Operation Mindcrime.

For that reason I was eagerly awaiting tonight and probably my last time to see this played in full for some time( if not forever).

As soon as “I Remember Now” pulsated through the speakers and as the band took to the stage in all black I had goosebumps. Then when Geoff appeared to a massive cheer ringing around the hall I was gone. The only thing that woke me out of the spell was getting soaked in the photo pit as Geoff emptied out his water bottle.

That aside what came next was the best rendition of this album I have ever seen. Geoff was on fire, vocals pitch perfect and he hit every single note which is not easy with some of those songs. I have no need to go through the set list as the band only had one hour so it was the album in full.

If I need to explain these songs to you I have to ask where the hell have you been for the last 30 years. This album is hit after hit from the moment it starts, so much so it is hard to pick any highlights but if I had to I always revert to the title track, “Suite Sister Mary” (where his daughter Emily plays the part of Mary), “ I Don’t Believe In Love” (which holds a very personal message for me) and the incredible “Eyes of a Stranger”.

I sang my heart out, I had tears in my eyes at points and when it was all over I could not speak. The same look was on everyone’s face as they walked away after the set…pure disbelief at how good this was. I spoke to people who had not seen Geoff for over 20 years and they could not get over how amazing his voice was.

As much as this is all about Geoff and his amazing voice and songwriting, hats must be taken off to the band. When you look back at the original line up there was something very special there so to replicate (no! top) those members is a real feat and one of the biggest compliments I can give. Considering two of those members are local lads and very young it is a hell of a thing to say. Kieran Robertson on guitar and Jack Ross on bass take a bow as you were sublime.

The tour of the 30th anniversary of operation Mindcrime is ongoing so make sure you catch it if its near you. Also stay tuned to Jace Media for an interview with Geoff where he gives an insight into how this album was written.


Wayward Sons

Wayward Sons were up next and I was a bit perplexed at their time slot tonight but I was on such a musical high I was happy to let that go, well that and the fact they are awesome. My connection with Toby Jepson goes way back to the beginning of Little Angels and I followed him through every incarnation of bands he has been in but alas, those projects all seemed to be short lived or basically just a bit crap(sorry Toby).

As usual I bought the album purely on the basis of it being Toby and I sat up straight away. This is by far miles better than anything released since Little Angels and I finally got to catch the boys live in support earlier this year but I could not judge anything on that night as the sound was awful. I did, however, note that the band around him were the real deal. Nic Wastell on Bass is in a world of his own and is in his element on that stage. Sam Wood on guitar is mesmerising but the star is definitely Toby. As he struts his stuff, pulls stupid faces and demands the best out of the audience you know he was born to be a star.

Wayward Sons are the real deal, songs like “Alive”, “Ghost” and “Killing Time” are a slice of NWOCR brilliance. Add to that a cover medley of “Small Talk” and “No More Heroes” from the Stranglers and you could go away happy but as “Young Gods” comes on I think I peed myself…thats it, toilet time for me…thanks for that guys.


The Dead Daisies

Today has already been immense but time to suck it up and say hello to one of the best live bands on the planet, ladies and gentlemen I give you Dead Daisies. I have been following this band since their debut release and as much as it was good it was not until John Corabi joined when things really started to take off.

For what was seen as a side project things suddenly became serious and the live shows were starting to make some noise with fans and media alike. My first review of the band live finished with this band are going to be festival headliners and in a few short years this has become the case.

The Glasgow apollo link keeps going as the band kick off with Alex Harvey’s “Midnight Moses” and the fans are quick to pick up on this personal touch. Next up is “Evil” and you get to see these incredible musicians in full swing.

There is so much rock history in those ranks, artists who have rocked my world for decades and have now settled in one band…how could they not be amazing?

What flows next is a lesson on how to put on a show. From their own catalogue we get absolute diamonds in “Make Some Noise”, “Last Time I Saw the Sun”, “Mexico” and “Burn It Down” before they throw in some covers and as much as people complain they still do this with all the songs they have I think it is what makes this band so good live. We get “join Together”, “Bitch” and finish on an out of this world “Helter Skelter”.

I do not care what anyone says this band are amazing on a stage and if they keep producing songs like they have been the world is their oyster. This is the best I have seen them and they owned that spot on the bill and the festival headline slots will fall one by one in short shift. The Dead Daisies are an old school arena filler, they do it for the music, they do it for the fans and they do it for themselves.

I was a little gobsmacked when John asked the crowd who had not seen them live and it was close to half of the people there. This shows the room they have to move in as I did not hear one bad word about the band and most were just as blown away as I was.


Glen, White and McManus

Last year Winterstorm was ended with Glen, White and McManus and as much as we all knew the names we did not know what to expect but I do not think anybody was disappointed and with the bands rendition of “Temple of the King” to finish the show and with Doogie White begging for cheers for some of our fallen heroes there was hardly a dry eye in the house.

Again we know who they are but again we have no idea what is to come but once again the band owned Winterstorm. They showed their class with a cracking set with highlights the two songs that are coming from the Winterstorm charity singles in “Bad Motor Scooter” and the excellent finale in AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way To the Top” with full pipe band. It also saw Conor Gaffney from Anchor Lane ditch the guitar and pull on the big boy, rock star pants with style. Once again the finale was old school and awesome.


Black King Cobra

Normally this would be the finale but over on the second stage is a band not to be missed in Black King Cobra. The boys have went from one extreme to the other from opening last year to strolling on stage at half past midnight and as much as I was dead on my feet knowing just how good this band are I was never missing them.

For one this was to be Stephen Buggies last show on drums…a short lived presence and as yet the band have no replacement but I am sure they will come up trumps shortly. Also if you are or know any drummers in the Glasgow area get in touch with this band as they are going places.

As usual the boys take to the stage with no pomp or grace and burst into one of the best songs I have heard coming out of Glasgow for a long time in “Blood Rush”. The groove train has just departed from Troon second stage.

Vocalist Callum is hiding behind his slouch beanie and running through his repertoire of rubber faces as he knocks your socks off with that voice. Next up is a new song in “Bad Man”, it is time for hyperactive Ross Clark to basically just loses his shit. As a photographer as well he sure makes your life a bit harder.

Next up it is a double punch of brilliance in “Ball and Chain” and “Wrack and Ruin”. Two songs that will groove your underwear right off your asses and you wont care.

In amongst the old gems they throw in the song that left me speechless when I first heard it and every time since then “Undesirable” has gotten better and better, this is a sure fire hit from its quiet start to its funky drop beats…and so Death Groove was born.

As we party into the early hours there is nowhere else I would rather be than listening to these boys in a packed room. I suspect this will be the last time I catch them this year and when I next see them it will be with another band member but I have no qualms or worries as I know these boys will pull through and go from strength to strength and honestly…if anyone says otherwise and they suddenly go missing it had nothing to do with me. I have an alibi for whenever it happened.


So, the longest day in Winterstorm history is over and it was incredible from start to finish. Every band played their piece and I could not see one disappointed face the whole day. Last year it was party time out in Troon and then back home but this year we have After the Storm to look forward to as the festival goes from two to three days so see you tomorrow.

Images and words Ritchie Birnie

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