For me Day 2 of the Rock and Blues Custom Show was where, to coin a phrase,
for me, the shit got real. There was a steller line up of bands across all the stages
and it was going to involve missing some bands that I wanted to see, which is
unfortunately how it has to work at festivals with multiple stages. I knew the bands I
just had to cover and anything else I got in would be an absolute bonus. The day did
not get off to the greatest of starts as I forgot to set an alarm the night before so we
all slept in and that meant we didn’t arrive on site until the music had already started.
Once again, the weather was glorious as we parked up and so we decided to have a
look around the rest of the sight quickly and take in some of the wonderful food being
served up by the vendors and peruse some of the great clothing stalls of which there
were plenty. A short while later, fully replenished, a few quid lighter but with some
new head wear for the ladies, this weeks team Metal Planet Music were ready to go.
First on the agenda for us today was an interview with Gin Annie, who are without
any shadow of a doubt, five of the nicest guys you could ever have the pleasure of
meeting and that interview will be available separately on the website. They made
me and my daughter so welcome and a ten minute interview turned into a 20 minute
interview and then after the recording stopped we just chatted and chatted for ages
afterwards. They were thoroughly enjoying their Rock and Blues experience and
they hadn’t even hit the stage yet.
After all that, the first band I got to cover on Day 2 were the main stage openers,
Piston. Now I have been really lucky and have been in possession of a copy of their
debut album since June so I know how great their music is and I had also seen them
last weekend at Ramblin Man so knew what to expect from their live set. That didn’t
mean however that they couldn’t blow me away again, which they did.
Given a longer stage time this weekend than they had received at Ramblin Man
meant that they entertained us with 9 great songs. Some of those from the album,
which is due for release in September, some from their 2014 EP and a truly
sensational cover version to bring their set to a close and which could not do
anything but get the crowd singing along with them.
From the opening track Fading Me Out, singer Rob Angelico prowled the stage as
he demonstrated what a great vocalist he is and Jack Edwards didn’t miss the
opportunity to wow us all with an electrifying guitar solo on that dazzling white
Gretsch guitar he plays so sensationally. “Captain” Brad Newlands got the crowd
going as he stood loud and proud behind his drum kit before the band played the
current Planet Rock Radio A-Listed single Rainmaker and then their first single One
What was quickly apparent was what a healthy size crowd the band had drawn in to
the main stage area, as Throw it Away, Gone Shootin and Carry us Home made up
the middle third of their set. I was thoroughly enjoying this elongated entertaining set
from the band, as were a lot of the crowd, after all they play top quality rock and roll,
with smiles on their faces and talent in abundance. They finished their set off with
three sublime tracks, Go Now, which is one of my favourites , Leave if You Dare and
then a spectacular version of the Ike and Tina classic Proud Mary. That 45 minutes
just wizzed past so fast and I wish they could have played for longer. A sensational
start from the Cannock 5 piece and I am sure we will be talking about them and
listening to them for years to come.
Next up for me were Gin Annie who followed on the main stage. I cannot use
enough superlatives to describe how much I like this band, their music and their live
shows and once again today, they did not disappoint. Again like Piston, they had a
longer stage time than the last few times I had seen them so we got an action
packed 11 song set that was captivating from start to finish. David Foster is an
enthralling frontman who gets the crowd involved at every opportunity and the twin
guitar assault from Brian Green and Byron Garbett is an absolute joy to watch and
listen to. Add into that the rhythm section of Phill Hammer and Jack Ryland-Smith
who provide an earth-shaking back beat to the classy tunes the band have written
and you get one of the best new British bands around at the moment.
The bulk of their set is taken from their killer debut album 100% Proof, plus two
brand new songs. New Bad Habit, All I Want, Fallin, Dead & Gone, Damage and
Next 2 Me take us through the halfway point in their set and there has been no
breathing space as great tune after great tune fills the Derbyshire air. The band are
obviously having fun on stage and this is definitely rubbing off on the audience as
smiles are aplenty and hands are clapping at every opportunity. Already Gone, which
is the bands new single, gets it’s first ever live outing next and is a super little
exclusive for the Rock and Blues faithful. This is followed by Dying to Live Again and
my daughters/wifes notes say “Top Quality Stadium Rock….perfect for Wembley”!
Whoever wrote it is not wrong. They follow these with Chains and Love Ain’t Here
and I have to say the joy of seeing them play this longer set has enabled them to so
much more expansive with the set, the solo’s and the banter. Born to Rock & Roll
brought this phenomenal set to a close and really raised the volume in the crowd.
This is an anthem for the NWOCR generation and got a massive response from the
crowd. Just a perfectly apt way to bring the curtain down on a sensational 60
After that set I needed to take on board some refreshments before Rock Goddess
hit the main stage. The band, Jody Turner, Julie Turner and Jenny Lane seem to
take to the stage when everybody has had the same idea as me and the main stage
crowd is very sparse indeed. The girls have however been doing this for long
enough, to not let this bother them and they rip into a classy and heavy hour long set
that entertained those that weren’t at one of the watering holes or eating
Jody’s voice sounds superb tonight. Powerful, aggressive and beautifully gravelly
and she plays a mean guitar to go along with it. She interacts with the crowd
superbly and is backed up by sister Julie on drums and “new girl” Jenny on bass,
who despite her diminutive stature gets everything out of her bass to create a
thunderous sound and perfect rhythm alongside Julie’s powerful drumming.
Their set was split between tracks from their 2019 album This Time and the albums
they released in the 80’s. From what I recall we got Are You Ready, Flying To See
You, It’s My Turn, Calling To Space and Drive me Away from the new album
although I didn’t get all the song titles so may have missed some and Gotta Let Your
Hair Down, Start Running, Hold Me Down and Back To You from their earlier
Those that were there really enjoyed the set and the girls on stage definitely enjoyed
their time up there as Jody so rightly said “We have always wanted to play the Rock
and Blues Show, it is a legendary festival and this is a dream come true”. It was an
entertaining set from the three ladies and it was a shame more people weren’t about
to witness it.
After all that time watching bands on the main stage, I finally made time for a brief
visit to the outdoor stage to watch a bit of Burnt Out Wreck, the band fronted by ex
Heavy Pettin drummer Gary Moate. I only managed to catch the first half of their set
for a couple of reasons, firstly, as with many festivals there are stage clashes and
secondly, after the wonderful weather of yesterday and this afternoon, the heavens
had now opened and it was raining.
What I did catch of Burnt Out Wreck I thoroughly loved and wished that I could have
stayed for their whole set. Gary Moate was happy to tell those festival goers who had
braved the weather, and there were quite a few, that he was wearing a Girlschool tshirt on stage in honour of Tracy Lamb who had been wearing a Burnt Out Wreck
one on her bands latest tour. They also had a new member tonight, in the shape of
Jeff Styles from Weapon UK who was playing his first ever gig with Burnt Out
Burnt Out Wreck treated those weather hardy fans to a set of classy kind of AC/DC
inspired classic rock and I managed to catch them play Medusa, Best of Your Life,
Swallow, She’s a Dirty Love and Flames before the weather and time meant I
headed back indoors to dry off before the next act took to the main stage. What I did
see of Burnt Out Wreck got my feet tapping and head nodding and I am guessing
that the rest of the set would have done the same if I had stayed and surely did for
those remained. I will definitely catch them again when I will make sure I am able to
watch their whole set.
So two acts remained tonight and what a two acts they were. I had the pleasure of
watching both at Ramblin Man the weekend before so thought I knew what was in
store for me but how wrong could I be. First up was the fabulous Kriss Barras Band
who had played on the Friday night in Maidstone. That night I thought he was very
very good and I wasn’t wrong, tonight he was just bloody brilliant, exceptional even
and completely blew his Ramblin Man performance out of the water.
The status that this man and his band hold with the British music fans is clearly
evident as there is not a spare seat or a bit of clear standing space as they take to
the stage. The packed tent is once again getting hot and sweaty, even if it is raining
outside and Kris Barras must have loved the sight of that after enduring an 8 hour
drive from Torquay.
Entertaining the crowd with a 14 song set of some of the most sublime and
sumptuous blues rock, he can also rock when he needs to and appears to have
every single crowd member truly enthralled for the duration of his set. Opening with
Rock & Roll Running Though My Veins, his exquisite husky voice a dream to listen
to and then going into What A Way To Go, he has the crowd in the palm of his hand
straight away. Stitch Me Up follows before a little foray into the world of Led
Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll. My review notes sum that up perfectly I think…”Not only
does he play great blues but he f**king rocks as well”
With his new album Light It Up due out on the 13th September, we get some dongs
from that forthcoming release tonight as well. Hot Fading is an absolute crackerjack
of a tune, a fast paced, heavy blues rock track that went down really well with
tonight’s packed venue. Heart on Your Sleeve sees another different side to the
man’s writing skills with a subtle country twinge to the guitar intro before Ignite (Light
It Up), the bands latest single gets an airing and a great response.
Watching Over Me, a song which is a truly emotional number is dedicated to Kris’s
Dad after his recent passing. Kris tells us that he played his first gig with his dad
when he was aged just 9 and he then played many more gigs with him in the years
to come. He really does make his guitar weep during a fabulously emotive guitar solo
and I fail to see how anybody could not have been moved in this moment.
After the emotion of that last number the set is closed out with Wrong Place Wrong
Time, Lovers or Losers and then Hail Mary. What a finish that is with Kris’s soulful
vocals over this bluesy rocking number that has all the crowd participating in a a
sing-a-long. The set was the perfect mixture of rock, blues, power and ballads. This
is what a Friday night should be like and I am so glad I was there to witness one of
the best live sets I have seen this year.
Tonight’s headline act is Inglorious, the fourth band I am seeing for the second
weekend in a row and to top it off it is Nathan James’ birthday. If you are going to
have a party, what a place to have it and with so many adoring fans in attendance it
couldn’t fail to be a great night. The man himself was in jubilant mood and his band
were on top form. This is the third time I have seen them this year, the first, being
just their third gig together and they have come a long way since then. They are now
most definitely a band and they interact well with each other throughout the set and
the songs are definitely benefitting from the time this new look Inglorious have spent
out on the road playing them.
One thing that cannot be doubted is quality of the set of pipes that Mr James
possesses and he sounds perfect tonight, hitting all the high notes with precision. In
Danny Dela Cruz, the ingenious 19 year old guitarist from just down the road in
Ripleyand and Dan Stevens he has a dual axe paring that can hold their own with
many pairings and the rhythm section of Vinnie Colla and Phil Beaver is tight,
powerful and provides the driving force behind the vocals and guitars that fills the
bands sound out so richly.
Rock and Blues is tonight treated to a 90 minute set that grips you from start to
finish. Songs from all 3 albums get an airing during the set and each and every one
of them is an absolute belter. Where Are You Now leads straight into Taking The
Blame, which is closely followed by High Flying Gypsy and what a start to the set
that has been. The band are clearly having fun on stage as they move through Read
All About It, Warning and Making Me Pay. The sound within the marquee is amazing
and I have to say that this is probably the best I have heard Nathan sound.
Breakaway and Uninvited with it’s intricate intro that really showcases Nathan James
vocal range lead us into a dual guitar solo from Danny and Dan that is as
mesmerising and captivating as it is technically proficient. Without taking anything
away from Dan Stevens, the talent that comes in the name of Danny Dela Cruz is
something to savour when you witness it in the live environment and I am sure that
in years to come he will be heralded in conversations alongside those guitarists we
treat as legends now.
Nathan introduces Ride To Nowhere as the heaviest song the band have ever
written before they slip into cover territory. “Ere’s a song for ya” leads into
Whitesnake’s Fool For Your Loving and a doff of the cap to Nathan’s hero David
Coverdale. As I have said, it was Nathan James birthday and even the silence from
the crowd when he tried to get them to sing-a-long during this Whitesnake hit was
not going to spoil his party and he laughed it off.
Another emotional moment followed as they played Faraway, a song written by
Nathan for his Grandad and which he played at his funeral before he brings on
Heather Leoni to sing I Don’t Know You with him. He describes her as one of the
best vocalists he has ever worked with and she is indeed very impressive. He even
gets given a birthday cake by Dr Clive from Dr and the Medics which leads the
crowd into an impromptu “Happy Birthday”, before drawing the night to a close with
Holy Water, which he sang the start of from within the crowd and then Until I Die
brought Day 2 of the 2019 Rock & Blues Custom Show to a close.
As Fridays go that was mightily impressive and each and every band brought
something to the party. I was still singing along to various tunes in my head as I
walked through the rain to the car. All I needed now was a swift drink at the hotel, a
good nights sleep and I would be ready for what was going to be a storming Sunday.