Review & Photography by Lindsay Smith for MPM
As the bleary eyed surfaced into the sunshine, the second day of Rock & Blues Custom Show moved up a gear with more bikes arriving ready for the following days judging and the outdoor stage was brought to life by the legendary compere Mr BadAxe.
Armed with an array of tinned goods and bric-a-brac, families gathered around the stage to join in the fun and games which commenced prior to the first band The Desperados waking those still snoozing up with their rock /blues tunes flooding over the Derbyshire hills.
The Cheltenham trio nailed their early set to bring the day to a solid start.
Ragged Glory kept the crowd in the sunshine as they stomped punk attitude all over the show before the main stage sprung into action with Crooked Revival driving many from the bar to get a closer look at a band who were formed during the pandemic as they smashed out hard rhythm and strong catchy tunes.
Stoner Blues band Quiet the Thief from Stoke on Trent were next upon the outdoor stage, proving popular with many but back in the main stage the talented boys from Switzerland via London, Daxx & Roxane had the barrier rocking with their melodic, catchy songs full of riffs and hooks.
The band know how to put on a show with so much energy emitting from the stage it must have helped power the national grid.
The stages were running at full tilt, the choice of who to watch was made more difficult with Dead Blonde Stars now on the outdoor stage.
You must hand it to the bookers at Rock & Blues, they know how to mix it up with the different genres of rock and this band have a wonderful heavy stoner, grunge feel in complete contrast to the melodic classic sounds which had just been flooding out the main tent. Sheffield has produced some great bands over the years and Dead Blonde Stars are helping to maintain the reputation.
Speaking of different genres – Bad Touch describe themselves as “Rock’n’Soul” and you could never dispute that label, always a fabulous band to see and hear, the smooth, rich vocals of Stevie and a mountain of soaring guitars with plenty of rhythm ensure they are a welcome addition to any festival.
Unfortunately, a power outage meant that their set was cut short so let’s hope they are back next year to play a full set.
SlowMo 75, a five-piece hard rock band from Nottingham drew the crowd to the outdoor stage. It was lovely to see so many families with young children spread out on the grass in the hazy sunshine enjoying these bands. The future generation of rock fans being educated perfectly well by their wonderful parents.
The power was restored for burlesque troop Reenie’s Rockettes to entertain the crowd as they have done for numerous years here at Rock & Blues allowing everyone to catch their breath and recharge their singing voices whilst enjoying the talented troops performance.
Outdoor stage headliners Black Roze brought the live music back with a thump and a flood of riffage and expressive vocals. Viixan is a fabulous front woman, hair flying, using the stage well and all the time delivering a strong and intense vocal while Baz on lead guitar delivers soaring solos and rampaging riffs. A band not to be missed, please go and check them out on their socials!
Grand Slam kick the evening into classic rock mode with a set of songs from their album ‘Hit the Ground’ together with older material and memories as Laurence Archer with his familiar baseball cap pulled low, cranked up the riffs from his V to full and as Mike Dyer added the vocals.
Benji Webb in drums is a hard hitter, keeping the tempo along with Rocky Newton on the bass. A thoroughly enjoyable set of good music full of massive riffs, effortless hooks and choruses that had so many of the Rock & Blues crowd singing along throughout the set. A job well done.
Those who had been sitting in the dying embers of the sunset crammed into the Main Stage arena which was now rammed full ready for tonight’s headliners H.E.A.T.
A band well known with a long career, the Swedish melodic rockers have recently seen a line-up change with the wonderful powerhouse, Kenny Leckremo returning to vocal duties after 10 years away and I must admit, I was so looking forward to this band and by the look of the crowd, it wasn’t just me.
HEAT t-shirts everywhere, adoring the barrier, the young and the more mature, the anticipation was visible to see as their into of ‘The Heat Is On’ played over the PA’s
Bouncing onto the stage, arms aloft, punching the air as he took complete control of not just the stage but all those watching and listening, Kenny and the band belted out ‘One by One’ to a delighted crowd, followed by ‘Rock Your Body’ and ‘Dangerous Ground’ racing full on through more from their albums and from their brand spanking new album ‘Force Majeure’ due to be released on the 5th August.
Oh Kenny, welcome back! How can anyone maintain that vocal while charging round the stage, onto the barrier, bouncing his way through the songs, I will never know but it was an absolute delight to witness.
This is a band who look extremely happy, their musical talents are without question, and they are back – I will never tire of seeing an audience who are enjoying a band as much as everyone did tonight matching the energy from the stage.
I could ramble on about how good the band and setlist was but really you need to go and buy tickets for their autumn tour and go see yourself. Thank you HEAT! That was simply fantastic. Band of the weekend for me totally.