Home Gigs Gig Review : Love Rocks Day 2 – St. Leonards Farm Campsite, West Moors, Ferndown, Dorset

Gig Review : Love Rocks Day 2 – St. Leonards Farm Campsite, West Moors, Ferndown, Dorset

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Review by Gary Spiller for MPM

Friday 24th June 2022

So, the trip through the Love Rocks wardrobe door commences; this is Sanctuary Promotions, the genius organising team behind the festival, musical equivalent of Narnia.

At the gates to the campsite, one escapes the clutches of the ‘outside world’ to be embraced by an arena of magic. A small slice of what is great in the underground rock scene; no symbolic lamppost here but there’s a shining sincere passion for the music delivered within the mystical realm of St. Leonard’s.

Cardiff-based electro-rockers The Autumn Killers have been handed the task of opening Love Rocks’ main body. It’s still a.m. there’s 30 minutes or so of the morning after the night before remaining but a healthy sized crowd is up and about to greet the trio of Welshman onto the Love Rocks main stage.

With haunting electro backing tapes capably overseen by guitarist Duncan Richardson the regal overtures and shadowy tones ‘One of 5’ receives a warm early-doors reception. Bassist and splendidly attired frontman Rob Preece jokingly enquires “Anyone got a hangover out there?” Noting the raucous response, he adds “Good we’re gonna make it worse!”

Quite the opposite however as the threesome mix the pounding electronic beats with nightfall riffage in ‘Do you want it’. What The Autumn Killers present is far removed from generic rock by numbers, melding early 80s new wave into an almost gothic noir metal.

They certainly capture the attention with this unusual alloy. Preece asks “Wh o wants something heavy?” before introducing the wondrously entitled ‘Mother of the Monkeys’. “This is about government and how they’re a bunch of …..” Preece trailing off to leave the final word of choice to the audience. Within deep rumbling bass dovetails neatly with sparkling keys and chopping guitars.

Rousing call to arms ‘Stand Up’ rammed full of Celtic pride, once ably mined by the likes of The Alarm and Big Country, cranks up a set drawn entirely from latest album ‘Darkside’. It’s the title track of this release that follows to close an enthralling 40 minutes.

Switching to the second stage a large crowd – probably the largest witnessed in front of this stage to date – has gathered to catch London five-piece The Karma Effect in action. Formed just prior to the pandemic TKE have come roaring out of the traps generating a truly seismic reputation for dynamic performances.

Rapidly garnering a sizeable reputation this instantly likeable quintet is breaking out of their South-East headquarters with recent dates supporting Scarlet Rebels and a festival season that begins right here in Dorset prior to heading out to Just Push Play and Rockin’ The Bowl in the coming weeks.

Alongside the legendary influences of such luminaries as Led Zeppelin, The Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd there’s a certain respect paid to their more immediate peers like Bad Touch and Dirty Honey. Boasting keyboardist Seb Emmins amongst their talented ranks gives TKE’s sweet soulful take on southern rock a further expansive dimension.

A fact not lost on the sound crew who strike a remarkably good balance by lifting those emotive keys to their rightful place in the mix. From the searing Texas-blues vibe of ‘Wrong Again’ right through to fervently impassioned Crowes-drenched tonage of their first ever single ‘Testify’ the loud and appreciative crowd sashay to the laid-back groove. The collective summery vibrancy delivered throughout is an impeccable accompaniment to the bright, breezy lunchtime weather.

Swaggering, stomping blues-rocker ‘Doubt She Is Coming Back’ leads into the highway trucking of ‘Better Days’ with frontman and guitarist Henry Gottelier proclaiming “We’re gonna play some sweet, dirty rock n’ roll for ya!” One thing’s for sure there’s no dissenting voices; this is their crowd, and the band are revelling in it.

With a well-received eponymously debut album released in March, having come into being just over a year previously the band’s humble sincerity gleams as Gottelier thanks the crowd for embracing them. The Love Rocks crowd is in the palm of their hand; the dirty rock of ‘Mercy’ alongside the rollickingly country-rock of ‘The River’ is a potent fusion.

Ascending semi-balladic ‘Stand’ eases the tempo a bit with its keyed Bruce Hornsby-esque intro morphing into a Rod Stewart / Faces vibe. Fellow reviewer Jo looked across sagely noting “a modern-day Quireboys”; I wouldn’t argue against that description as Gottelier’s gravelly vocals doff a cap towards both Spike and Rod – guitarist / producer Jim McCregan being a defining link between these two.

Emmins in partnership with six-string slinger Robbie Blake driving ‘Steal Your Heart’ along with the muscle of a souped-up Dodge hitting the badlands highway with the axe-wielding Blake heading along a Skynyrd groove. Just two bands in and one senses this has been a moment of arrival, a feeling of being and belonging.

Essex hard and heavy rockers White Raven Down switch the attention back to the main stage for an intense 45-minute set of striking riffage from guitarist Stu Bailey and earth-crunching beats and rhythms from bassist Luke Chappell and steam hammer skinsman Tomas Mrazek.

The Conspiracy sinks their claws into Love Rocks from the very off with the thunderhoof buzz sawing of ‘Roll Of The Dice’ announcing their arrival in typical uncompromising fashion. After sadly losing vocalist Will Taylor just a month after the release of their killer debut lp ‘Don’t Shoot The Messenger the remaining band members rallied with Bailey stepping forward to take on the vocal duties. A task which he seems born to do; with every respect to Will’s fine talents just one song in and if you didn’t know any different then one would think that WRD’s axeman had been singing his entire musical tenure not for just a handful of gigs and a couple of rehearsals.

Snorting fiery rings, the herd thunders across storm-plagued skies in ‘Take Me’ before ‘Salvation’ – the only track in this afternoon’s setlist to feature on both the album and 2018s ‘Conspiracy’ EP – sees Bailey drop into the pit to personally deliver some choice licks to the crowd.

Cheers even louder than the singing of chorus “Rise again” greet the song end and Bailey’s reflective comments regarding that whilst it was sad to lose Will how the band have strengthened as a trio since.

in a set drawn equally from EP and album standout track the moody, brooding ‘Silence’ veers off into a howling demon of a rendition of Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’. Not the last on-stage tribute to the Midlanders this weekend as it would happen. Indeed set closer ‘Lost Your Hold’ takes a leaf from ‘Children of the Grave’ whilst exuding a condensed powerage that the Raven faithful vigorously savour.

All-action Swiss hard rocking outfit Daxx & Roxanne storm out into the Dorset sunshine with the combined energy of an entire warren of battery-related bunnies. Magnetic frontman and bassist Cedric Pfister is straight into the faces of the Love Rocks crowd enquiring “How you feeling?” further adding “We’re gonna go really wild.” Those that have seen D&R in action know Pfister isn’t kidding and those first-timers who don’t will be left in no doubt well before the ultra-vivacious set-ending ‘Wrong Side.’

40 barnstorming party minutes of star jumps, high kicks and rock n’ roll shenanigans kicks off with AC/DC-infused ‘Ticket To Rock’. A track that knocks your front door right off its hinges, storms in and consumes the entire contents of your beer cupboard! No time to pause or draw breath as the London-based quartet rock right into the brassy Motley Crue-inspired ‘Strange Woman’ for a sharp jabbing one-two opening combination.

2019 single only release ‘Interstellar’ with its sleazy groove that blends Def Leppard and AC/DC in a glorious metalliferous potion. Proffering medicinal snarling vocals and growling six-strings it makes a welcome return to the set having not made the cut at Nozlite a few weeks previous. Midway through the set, following a cracking Aerosmith-fringed ‘What Was’ Pfister confidently declares “Love Rocks absolutely rocks!” It’s hard rock fiesta time but D&R are not fearful of dropping it down several notches for the blues-drenched overtures of ‘Lust & Love’ with its sweet as honey harmonica.

Top gear party mode is soon re-engaged with full throttle applied by the aptly named ‘Fast Lane’; the band are collectively in full flow demonstrating a dynamic kinetic with bare-chested drummer Luca Senaldi ending out front stage whilst his seat was taken by lead guitarist Cal Wymann. Most redolent of blue-rockers The Hamsters musical chairs performance back in the day during their cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man.’ Swigging neat from the freshly uncorked bottled ‘Wrong Side’ provides a suitable crescendo to their balls-to-the-wall performance.

With a brand-new line-up about her sultry Bastette vocalist Caroline Kenyon, in her beautifully handmade flowing leopard skin catsuit, takes to the stage with the beautiful grace and poise of the big cat on the hunt.

With the Hot Damn’s highly animated six-string wielding Laurie Buchanan to her left and the solid, dependable pairing of Arran Lomax (bass) and Bootyard Bandits guitarist Tom McCarthy stage right and solid-as-you-like drummer Paul White (also Bootyard Bandits) behind it’s not long before the band is into its collective stride with the sultry ‘Talk About It’.

A fearless track about sleeping with the enemy and regaining control that catches the ear. Bastette, not content to be a stationery beast, are looking forwards with a feline predatory instinct and not resting on their laurels. Recently released single ‘Psycho’ is a polished affair and with the alternating phaseology of latest single ‘Good Time Girl’ this is a band that’s going places at a rapid pace.

Caroline out front is an assured presence and is the obvious focal point with her wide-ranging vocals that tip a nod to a heavy metal Stevie Nicks in my mind. It’s a stunning voice that is equally suited to the emotive ballad ‘Sunglass’ or to alt-rockers such as ‘Poison’ and ‘Sick & Twisted.

A brace of tracks that bracket those moments of gentleness which seem so apt as the sun begins to break through cloudy skies overhead. The utterly relentless ‘Rip Me To Shreds’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, reminiscent of primetime Halestorm, take the set to fine finale.

Wherever they rock up to The Hot Damn! bring a vividly hued rock n’ roll vista with them. Renowned for their highly colourful and innovative merch range – a subject now firmly incorporated into the set – these four ladies are striding forwards not glancing backwards in the direction of their roots in The Amorettes and Tequila Mockingbyrd. In fact, this afternoon’s set is the first I’ve bore witness to that doesn’t contain at least a single track from the one of the aforementioned pairing. Transition into full-on tie dye nirvana has been completed.

Fronted by Friesian-attired, former Amorette, Gill ‘Cow Spice’ Montgomery the foursome head down the rock n’ roll runway with ‘Catch Me If You Can’ rapidly ascending. Keystone six-string virtuoso Laurie Buchanan, having hot-footed it across from second stage, sets about sparking notes from her smoking fret whilst former Mockingbyrd percussive force Josie O’Toole sets about pummelling her kit into oblivion. Awhile her rhythm partner-in-crime bassist Lzi Hayes, strikingly suited in her bright pink outfit, completes the accomplished quadrumvirate.

Planet Rock approved single ‘Dance Around’ has the Love Rocks crowd afront the main stage doing precisely that to its infectious vibrancy. Recently added to their live repertoire ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ is an accessible punchy singalong track, in the Tequila Mockingbyrd mode, with the message being delivered, aloft, on the rear of guitars and bass. Taking a breather at the end of ‘Loud and Clear’ Gill wryly notes “We’re catching the drumkit as it likes to escape” before adding their gratitude to the festival’s organising team.

Errant percussive elements successfully rounded up The Hot Damn rip into the hard riffing ‘Gonna Make You Love Me” a real headnodder, before being joined on stage by their tie-dyed roadie Neil for the previously threatened ‘Merch Song.’ Sung to the tune of Janis Joplin’s a capella track ‘Mercedes Benz’ – ironically, in certain quarters, considered a rejection of consumerism – Gill encourages the crowd to, verse on verse, purchase t-shirts, cd’s, hats and stuff. This is the very first airing of this gimmicky segment; mildly amusing initially but I’m left wondering whether it will be extended further into festival season and it then, potentially, lose its desired impact. A decent percentage in the crowd appear to be enjoying the interlude, so I guess time will tell.

Sadly, on a personal level, interesting tracks like ‘Figure It Out’ and ‘Little Pretender’ don’t make the grade here in Dorset. What this does serve to highlight is that it’s a difficult balancing act between generating an income to be able to record new material and playing that material live. Back to the serious business in hand and purring v-twin ‘Going Down’ and second single ‘I Didn’t Like You Anyway’ finish their set on a high note. In no uncertain terms this corner of Dorset has been treated to a multi-coloured coating of hard rock Hot Damn style.

Hollering down from their Bristol hq Southern rockers Sons Of Liberty bring their bourbon-drenched take on life to St. Leonard’s Farm. They’ve deservedly become a firm favourite of the festival circuit – both indoors and out – through their hard touring ethic which sees their Liberty wagon rolling nigh on every weekend right across Britain and even across The Channel into France.

With a roaring whisky running big black Dodge of an intro Taking to the main stage with a youthful exuberance ‘The Sons’ are straight into kick-arse mode. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear that this quintet of grizzled, rugged musical prospectors had just popped into town, on one of their bi-annual visits, for some copper line and a hundred pounds of yeast. What we have on offer here is rocking moonshine right out of the Sons’ very own still.

An opening triple burst from their critically acclaimed debut album ‘Animism’ gets things underway in a determined manner. Vocalist Rob Walker (Yesterday’s Gone) slots right in, his muscly vocals are well suited to the Sons’ material. The likeable Midlander fits like a glove in musical terms; based on this evening’s showing it’s hard to believe that he’s got just a pair of rehearsals and four shows in the Liberty camp under his belt. There’s absolutely every respect, no question of it, of that which has brought the band thus far but it’s with a forward-thinking drive that things must proceed.

‘It’s My Bad’ blows a barrel of TNT in typical explosive manner with the chain reaction being furthered by the molten coupling of ‘Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief’ – heralded by drummer Steve Byrne’s military beat – and ‘Up Shit Creek.’ The latter answering the age-old question of what the offspring of Lynyrd Skynyrd and AC/DC would actually sound like. The growling Les Pauls of firebrand guitarists Fred Hale and Andy ‘Moose’ Muse shine brightly whilst bassist Mark Thomas lays down an ever-dependable rhythm.

Attention swings from 2019 to last year’s ‘Aces & Eights’ – an album which was firmly ensconced in my year end top five – for the remainder of the set. It’s party-time up the holler from the V8 clamour of ‘Damaged Reputation’ and the foot-stomping ‘Texas Hill Country’ to the rousing set-ending ‘Ruby Starr’ via the riotous humour of ‘Beef Jerk Boogie’ – “Have we got any meat eaters in? Beef Jerky eaters?” enquires Walker tongue planted firmly in cheek.

All is perfectly encapsulated in the white-hot magmatic southern groove of Planet Rock playlisted single ‘Fire & Gasoline.’ As the mighty Mississippi glides effortlessly through the American landscape so the Sons stride with ease through what is their signature tune for me personally. Their 40 minutes have been incendiary from start to finish and the Sons smile broadly, with a watery sun attempting to break through the leaden skies, as they take the deserved cheers from the Love Rocks crowd.

Drafted in as late replacements for Welsh metallers Florence Black – who had most understandably taken up the opportunity of a European tour supporting Steel Panther – Rews burst on to the Love Rocks main stage with bullish intent. It’s full throttle from the very off as vocalist / guitarist Shauna Tohill raucously enquires “Are you ready to rock?” before launching into ‘Shine.’ Tohill, with a revolving cast of musical cohorts, is pretty much Rews nowadays following an amicable split with original drummer Colette Williams in April 2019. Current regular bassist Nic and drummer Sam are unavailable, so Tohill has, for this evening, drafted in the considerable talents of Becky Baldwin (Fury, Hands Off Gretel) and Bristol-based percussive force Loretta Cheng.

‘Shine’ – off 2017s debut ‘Pyro’ – literally has the stage and crowd, alike, bouncing before 2020s ‘Razorblade’ bursts alive with the cross-pollinated attitude of Blondie meets Queens Of The Stone Age. This alternating between Rews’ two albums continues for a further four songs with the quickfire lyrics of Garbage-infused alt-rocker ‘Miss You In The Dark’ translating well to a three-piece. Originally, quite understandably, compared to Royal Blood and The White Stripes Tohill appears to have a defined destination in mind for Rews.

Tohill, takes stock, before driving headlong deeper into the second half of their enthralling set “We’re delighted to be here. We only knew a couple of weeks ago. These two legends learnt the set in those two weeks!”

Demonstrated by latest single ‘Breathe Into Me’ – breaking the trading of punches from the albums – is an expanded sonic assault with Nirvana-fuelled rage nestling neatly alongside the softer Shirley Manson-fringed moments herein. Low frequency phenomenon Baldwin is a blur of activity with her ‘Rickenbeccy’ reverberating whilst Cheng pounds her kit with a confidence that belies the remarkably quick turnaround in becoming attuned to the material.

The rain, that has been threatening, begins to descend and is pouring by the time the trio strike into the distorted alt-groove of ‘Today We’re Warriors.’ Spirits out in the arena are not going to be dampened; the Love Rocks crowd are a hardy bunch for sure. A brace of ‘songs’ quite literally close out a terrific set with the all-out noir buzzsaw rocker ‘Birdsong’ partnering the angst-fury of ‘Love Hate Song.’ The metaphorical house has been well and truly brought down.

If one has any doubt that when celestial bodies harmoniously align beautiful things occur, then I can’t recommend one of this evening’s star attractions the multi award-winning outfit When Rivers Meet highly enough. Formed in 2016 by East Anglian husband and wife duo Aaron and Grace Bond WRM are amongst the very hardest gigging and working of bands on the current scene.

Their 2019 debut EP ‘The Uprising’ firmly grabbed the attention and by the time they stole the show at the 2021 UK Blues Awards, becoming the first act to win four awards at the event, there was a further EP – ‘Innocence Of Youth’ and a much-praised debut long-player ‘We Fly Free’ under their belts. Later that year the, then, duo was awarded Planet Rock’s Best New Band title.

Following the last year’s highly vaunted release of the ‘Saving Grace’ album further awards have continued to flow in 2022. A further three at the UK Blues Award and a brace from Planet Rock including Album of the Year; incredibly pushing Iron Maiden’s opus ‘Senjutsu’ into the runners-up slot!

There’s much to live up to but by the end of set opener ‘Did I Break The Law’ I’m left in absolutely no doubt that the buzz surrounding this band is very much warranted. Live they are a force de majeure having expanded to a four-piece for their recent UK tour with the mercurial Troy Redfern in support. The ever-happy bassist Roger Inniss achieves a deep resonance from his six-string steed whilst drummer James Fox is the perfect percussive additive to ensure this partnership in rhythm ensures the expansive sound of their most recent offering is recreated live.

The quartet, following on from a 20 plus date UK tour, are a tight, cohesive match fit unit as one would expect. Inniss and Fox set about their tasks quietly and seem content to let the spotlight shine upon Grace and Aaron out front.

The rain that blighted the end of Rews’ set continues to sweep through but the hardy crowd, however, are not about to be deterred. Treating one and all to a condensed version of the recent tour WRM serve up delectable treat after treat; a veritable blues-soaked banquet.

Make no bones about it this is multi-faceted performance; all four of WRM’s releases have a spotlight shone upon them in a well-balanced 40 minutes, 9 track set. Grace isn’t simply a stunning voice; she is a multi-instrumentalist too. Equally at home on the eight-string slide resonator mandolin in the slide-tastic “Walking The Wire’ or the fiddle amidst the rousing rocker ‘Want Your Love’ that closes the set with a flourish. Alongside, Aaron’s precision harmonies are accomplished and he’s more than happy to let fly on a three-string cigar-box during the raging torrent of ‘Innocence Of Youth.’

Pigeonhole this talented band at your peril for they transcend defined musical boundaries with consummate ease; epitomised in just two of their forthcoming festival slots at July’s Dereham Blues and Planet Rock’s year-ending shindig Rockstock. A first time of seeing WRM and most certainly not my last; I’m off to check out the tour dates for October.

Having completely destroyed Leamington Spa’s Assembly with an off-the-scale performance at Planet Rock’s Winters End back in March the Love Rocks mission control firmly turn the dial to ‘Epic Celtic Pride’ for the entrance of Scottish hard rockers Mason Hill. Persistent precipitation steadily pours from battleship grey skies, but no-one is going anywhere.

Waterproofs and umbrellas are the order of the evening, but spirits have not been dampened in any shape or form. It’s been a long, winding road since formation back in 2015 but following the release of their debut album ‘Against The Wall’ – smashing right into the top 20 of the UK Official Album charts – these five long-time friends are rapidly ascending an ever-steepening exponential slope hurtling headlong towards an orbital trajectory.

Stepping on to the Love Rocks main stage to the anthemic strains of album opener ‘Reborn’ Mason Hill send the festival crowd into delirium. The battle cries of the Glaswegians’ ancestral clansmen course through their veins. All out rocker ‘No Regret’ tears down the ramparts before Craig McFetridge’s tumbling drumbeats at the beginning of ‘DNA’ heralds a further increase of the assault’s intensity.

With the crowd chanting the song’s titular letters along with affable vocalist Scott Taylor it’s a serendipitous moment. Talking to ERB radio presenter Craig Bailey later I completely concur with his assessment of this being “the right band, right time in the most right of places.” Taylor, full of pride, punches his chest as the crowd bounces and loudly roars as a unified one in the pouring rain. At song end he surveys the scene before him and sincerely proffers “This is amazing. Thanks for Love Rocks for having us!”

James Bird hits a stunning solo from his vivid purple / blue Gibson during the blues edged ‘Out Of Reach.’ Continuing the track order from the recently released epic ‘Live in Glasgow’ recording band favourite ‘Hold On’ is a growling beast that is performed with ultra-passion. It moves Taylor to comment “We dreamt of this day. When we could come so far from home to a place like Bournemouth and have so many people sing our word. Thank you so much!” It’s, indeed, a sight to behold; such is the strength of incantation employed herein.

The highly emotional ballad ‘Where I Belong’ is delivered with an intense Scottish pride. Sensitive guitaring from Bird is the perfect accompaniment as Taylor passionately sings “The wind cries out your name.” The crowd, in sonorous raptures, sings right back at their heroes with Taylor signalling his, and no doubt his bandmates’ gratitude, by tapping his chest above his heart.

The drizzle drives across the site but no-one notices as the words “Carry me home through fire and rain” are sung with gusto. At song end Taylor jumps down to the barrier to give ERB Magazine sub-editor Michelle Flynn a much-needed comforting hug; there is a deep symbiotic strength between the band and their supporters. A moving moment.

Powering through ‘We Prey’ and ‘Broken Son’ we’re, all too soon, at the final song of the set. Mason Hill have driven the rain off as patches of blue appear above. Titular track ‘Against The Wall’ sends the crowd into raptures for one final time. Bouncing along in unadulterated pleasure to the Nickelback-styled vibes. Deservedly Special Guests this evening but I get the feeling I’m far from alone in believing this spectacular Glaswegian quintet possess the potential to be headliner material very soon.

Following those herculean efforts will be a remarkable feat but if there’s a band capable of such it’s the talented ranks of Wayward Sons. Headline appearances of immense proportions, both, at Leicester’s HRH NWOCR and Planet Rocks Winter’s End in Leamington Spa – following stellar performances from Florence Black and Bad Touch respectively – is demonstrative should evidence be required beyond the strength of their three albums released thus far. Appearances at this summer’s Download and Graspop festivals have further enhanced the band’s burgeoning reputation as a quality live act.

Multi-hued spotlights circle and flash along to an intro tape before the set is inaugurated by a shout of “Here’s Johnny!” Hyper-energetic bassist Nic Wastell fully stretches out both hands as the flat-capped Toby Jepson hits the opening granular buzzsaw riff of ‘Any Other Way.’ Wastell lays down a thunderous bouncing bassline from his trademark Thunderbird whilst the ever-dapper Phil ‘Martini’ Martin, from behind his iconic ‘candy cane’ drumkit dovetails in perfect rhythm carpentry. Broadly smiling axe-wielding extraordinaire Sam Wood trades smoking licks, from his gleaming white Les Paul, with rock n’ roll troubadour Jepson’s diamond-edged riffage.

Martini and Wastell, jointly, bring in ‘Don’t Wanna Go’ at the epicentre of a Richter-registering beat with Jepson’s wit and craft gleaming in the lyrics as he declares “To be a rock n’ roller.’ Whilst Wood, quite economically, whittles out precise notes from his fret. The crowd gleefully clap along with darkness rapidly descending.

The opening hat-trick is rounded off with a barnstorming ‘Even Up The Score’ before Jepson looks out to the arena remarking “So this is fucking amazing. This could easily be a four to five thousand venue! From small acorns.” It’s a well-meant observation but the crowd as one reply with a resounding “No!” It’s the perfect encapsulation of the depth of passion for the scale of Love Rock from its loyal attendees.

Small is perfection here in this corner of the south. All is ‘forgiven’ as the Love Rocks faithful wave their hands from side to side along with Jepson in evergreen crowd favourite ‘Ghost’. Afterall he’s the masterful rocking ringleader; a role he was born for. The infectious wit of ‘Bloody Typical’ with its hooky chorus typifies his outlook on life as does ‘Land Of The Blind’ in which he muses that the one-eyed man is king of this realm.

A Motley Crue styled vibe underpins ‘Downfall’, marrying well with its Primal Scream sort of an edge to achieve a mighty application of boot to posterior. A delicious filling in a sandwich constructed of classic WS tracks the anthemic ‘Alive’ and lavishly melodious ‘Crush.’ Ripping through ‘Small Talk’ in boisterous style Jepson breathlessly exclaims “I’m an old man for fuck’s sake!” The main body of the set is brought to a sing-along crescendo with the hugely enjoyable ‘Joke’s On You.’ Aptly titled given that the weather has tried to apply some twisted humour upon the day.

However, the clouds have ceased their precipitative activities and the Love Rocks party continues uninterrupted. A triple-barrelled blast of an encore – comprising of summery rocker ‘Feel Good Hit’; 70s driven ‘Big Day’ and the impeccably situated resonance of the fearless ‘Until The End’ – brings the curtain down on a 90-minute performance that celebrates all that is good in the world of emerging rock. A perfect and befitting way to round off a sublime day that has showcased eleven widely varying bands. Anyone for a second full day of worship at the Love Rocks altar?

Photography by Kelly Spiller for MPM

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