Review & Photography by Lindsay Smith for MPM
Day 3, more marvellous bands on today and there seems to be more people around . The sun is once again cracking the flags outside, streaming into the Pavilion heating the air or is it just the anticipation that’s making it warm?
Opening band THESE WICKED RIVERS have been a firm favourite on the live circuit for a number of years and I had been looking forward to seeing them with the new band members, Rich Wilson on keys and Dale Tonks on bass.
The music is a stark contrast to the relaxed and dated vibe of the Nan’s front room set up with guttural riffs, bold blues vocals and of course the soaring riffs from Aaron Day.
The powerful hooks and riffs are spine tingling, especially in ‘Testify” and the poetic lyricism which John so effortlessly conveys make this band unique. “Don’t Prey For Me’ has to be one of the most emotionally powerful songs written and every time I hear it live, I get completely lost in the lyrics. Today was no exception.
No way anyone can follow that, the whoops and cheers continue after the band leave the stage. However, the cheers continue as VALHALLA AWAITS take to the stage.
I’d heard so many good things about this band and as their Singer is Andrew Hunt, I had no doubt that the South Wales band would tear it up and they did. Holy Sh!t, what a sound! Relentless, hard rock, snarling riffs, power-packed low lines and of course the vocal…immense.
Skin and Bone’ I’d listened to earlier but live it’s a spectacular track. I’ll be first in the queue to see these guys again they are totally my cup of tea.
DAXX & ROXANNE have an energy to them that is hard to be matched in the live performance stakes. Running across the stage, bouncing around, leaping over each other, all without dropping a note.
High octane rock and roll by a band who seem to enjoy themselves on stage as much as the audience do watching. Catchy choruses, swagger, buckets full of charm and all delivered with professionalism and perfection.
The Swiss band are a welcome addition here in Swansea and let’s hope we see them again very soon. Festival organisers, booking agents- you need this band!
Norfolk blues rockers BAD TOUCH take the pace down a notch or two, another band who give your ears a treat with their songs carried by Stevie’s rich vocals.
An always dependable band to get hold of the crowd and get them partying along. ‘Lift Your Head Up’, ‘ Good On Me’, ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’ sound fabulous, it’s been a while and it is great to see these guys back.
I’ve not mentioned the ‘C’ word once over the last couple of reviews but unfortunately it hit. Rearing its ugly head again disrupting live performances and still being a nightmare for organisers. Today’s casualty was SCARLET REBELS with the full band due to perform.
Not wanting to let their fans down, guitarist Chris and vocalist Wayne pulled together an outstanding acoustic set. It was pretty special to hear just how good Wayne’s voice is, the clarity and power hitting every corner of the Patti.
Thanks for providing a really special performance, hearing some of the songs from the new album in this setting was lovely.
Masters of atmospheric, hard rock , EMPYRE hit our ears with their intricate, sometimes grungy, sometimes, progressive, sometimes pure hard rock driven music.
The smoke and low lights on the stage added to the whole atmosphere with Henrick Steenholdt delivering haunting vocals while the bass and drums rumble up through your feet before the scorching riffs smack you in the face. They have a huge sound and it only seems to get bigger every time I see them play.
FLORENCE BLACK are certainly riding the crest of a wave currently with their reputation for hard rock, guitar driven performances almost becoming legendary and the Welsh band are definitely amongst friends at the Patti.
Fresh from their support slot on the Kris Barras tour, they are polished and spot on with their delivery. ‘Sun & Moon’ is an incredible song and one I turn up on the radio but live it’s on another level. A set that seemed to fly by it was so good.
The atmosphere of anticipation for tonight’s headliners and the last band of this fabulous festival was palpable.
The room suddenly seemed to explode as Baz and the band burst into our ears with a ferocity and frenzy, we have now become accustomed too. MASSIVE WAGONS are the band of the moment. Baz’s relentless energy together with the musicianship of the band always delights the crowd.
The Patti was jumping! Adam moving across the stage, standing forwards, singing along with Baz and the man himself darted around, jumping about, playing to the crowd and photographers while all the time delivering on the vocal front How does this guy do it? He’s an enigma, to sing like he does while covering every inch of the stage is staggering.
Back to the Stack’ is one of the songs that sees the Patti and everyone in it go stratospheric. Slowing things down with a song dedicated to his daughter, you could really hear the tone in Barry’s voice, still powerful but also emotional.
Bangin in your Stereo’ is such a crowd pleaser, well actually, they all are… the set list was indeed banging and closing out with ‘The Curry Song’ and ‘In It Together’ cemented Massive Wagons as one of the best live bands around.
What a way to close out 3 days of amazing bands and music. A mix of blues, hard rock and alternative rock catered for all and the venue itself lent itself to the weekend really well.
Harking back to my Friday review with the opening comments from Aled Lewis about the difficulties in putting this festival together, I can honestly say that from a music fan and press point of view it was worth it, I hope this is an event to be repeated and well attended going forwards.
Thank you to Aled and all at Big Day Productions and to all the bands for pulling out all the stops to play Soundbay and treat Swansea to such a good weekend. Even the weather was fabulous!!