Home Gigs Gig Review: CORNWALL ROCKS – Tencreek Holiday Park, Looe, Cornwall 7-9th Oct 2022

Gig Review: CORNWALL ROCKS – Tencreek Holiday Park, Looe, Cornwall 7-9th Oct 2022

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Review by Paul Sabin for MPM

Day 1

The powerful Blues Rock vocals of Brave Rival’s Chloe Josephine and Lindsey Bonnick kicked off day one of Cornwall Rocks as they zoomed through `Guilty Love’, the slow rocker `Long Time Coming’, boogie based `Heart Attack’ as well as the sweet blues number `Come Down’ and their latest single `Run And Hide’.

These guys are way too good be bottom of the bill! The smouldering vocals and tasty slide guitars made Brave Rival a big winner with the crowd.

These Wicked Rivers brought their brand of modern rock to the stage next replete with their now familiar carpet and lampshade! This is a band that at times have elements of ZZ Top groove but mixed with Black Cherry’s attitude and all from Derbyshire! Grungy rocker, `Shine On’ gets things moving nicely as the shuffle beat and Aaron Day’s soloing gets everyone hooked in. John Hartwell guides the band through `Evergreen’ and the power rocker `Black Gold’ before stepping into `The River’ which will be on the upcoming album release. The band finish the set with a soulful, rousing version of `Don’t Pray For Me’.

Syteria, up next may have roots in the foundations of rock in the shape of Jackie Chambers from Girlschool but they bring a fresh, semi punk sound to the gathered crowd. Taking material from their debut `Rant-o-bot’ as well as the follow up album, `Reflection’ they power through their set as Julia Calvo sings her heart out, bounces around the stage and contributes additional guitar parts into the bargain. There’s no two ways about it, Syteria come across as a punk party band, keen to get the audience jumping but whether its too early in the day or those watching are just diehard classic rockers, they fail to ignite much of a spark with those attending despite superb guitar work from Jax and great catchy hooks on many of the songs.

After the evening break, Scarlet Rebels get things moving again, and judging by the enthusiastic crowd participation they’ve got a lot of loyal followers here tonight. Launching straight into `Take You Home’, its obvious that these guys are having a blast and love to play live. Chris Jones whirls like a dervish with his locks flowing as he unleashes great cutting guitar licks and Wayne Doyle’s warm but strong Welsh tinged vocal as the audience lap up the songs. A passionate `I Can Sleep Now’ sees Doyle have to borrow a guitar from Jones before we head off into `Save Me’. By the end of Scarlet Rebels set the floor is filled as is the rest of the room.

Collateral build on the excitement in the room as frontman Angel Tristan has the audience spellbound. `Mr Big Shot’ gets the rollercoaster going and they hardly pause for breath as they run through `Lullaby’ and Todd Winger introduces `About This Boy’ as being about Tristan living the dream and the are part of that dream. The crowd enthusiastically sing, dance and jump to rocking, country tinted `Midnight Queen’ ahead of their new single `Sin In The City’ which is equally well received. These boys never fail to give a great performance and always give 110%. As the band leave the stage, the mood of the room is high and smiles all round.

So, we reach the last band of the first day, King Creature. These are local boys and are now signed via Marshall and have toured with the likes of Phil Campbell and Doro so there was an air of anticipation as they hit the stage. The band sound is without compromise and each note from Dave Kellaway’s bass shook the room, only to be added to by Jack Sutton-Bassett’s crashing drums and the wall of guitars created by Matt Vincent and Mike Stennett. `Beautiful Fatality’ sounded wonderous and kept the attention of some of the audience but despite giving a sparkling performance much of the audience seemed to find them too heavy which is a shame but compared to all the other bands of the day, they were extremely metal!

Day 2

The feisty Loz Campbell and her band get things moving apace with `Green Eyes’, the title track to her 2017 album. Her sultry vocal, crunchy guitars and energy start to reel the crowd in. Campbell clearly love to leave an impression as both her guitarist and bassist went walkabout in the audience whilst playing `My Motivation’. Campbell did a great rendition of Skunk Anansie’s `Weak’, but that wasn’t the only cover of the night, The Runaways `Cherry Bomb’ also got the Campbell treatment and what a stupendous version it was! The band were on fire tonight as their energetic barebones rock ticked all the boxes. Set closer `The World Is Made Too Destroy You’ had added excitement as the band made a human pyramid with Campbell on top whilst still playing!

Gypsy’s Kiss picked up the baton next as we were transported back to the rock scene of 1974. `The trapper’ is first up as the band lay down pure straight ahead rock n roll. Three part guitar harmonies abound and flavours of Iron Maiden emanate especially when `Influence’ is announced by frontman Dave Smith as the first song Steve Harris played on! Part of the set morphs into a dual cover opus of Judas Priests `Breaking The Law’ and Deep Purples `Black Night’ which gained rapturous applause from the crowd. The set closes with a certain giant rodent appearing in the audience. Yes, it’s the `Heat Crazed Vole’! These guys are top quality entertainers and put on a great show tonight.

More local talent up next with the Devon based trio Ethyrfield. These guys always put their heart and soul into their live shows but tonight the gremlins were doing their best to make life hard as Zach Cornish had bass sound issues for the first few songs.

Ever the pro’s though they soldiered on, and we were even treated to some impromptu instrumental guitar fill ins from Ben Cornish whilst things were sorted. New song `Overgrown’ got an airing as did the crowd fav `Bag of Bones’. The band had the audience back in the palm of their hands when they finished their set with the Diamond Head classic `I Am I Evil’.

Moving to the second part of the day we kick off with Bristol’s finest southern rockers, Sons of Liberty. Tonight however, vocalist Rob Walker is absent due to illness so fellow Bristonian, Andy Milsom is on frontman duties.

Diving straight into `Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief’ it’s apparent that although Milsom may not be totally familiar with the songs, his voice and confidence make him a perfect fit for the role. `Texas Hill Country’, the glorious chanting from the crowd in `Damned If You Do’, `Brotherhood’ and `Fire and Gasoline’ all have master guitar pickers Andy Muse and Fred Hale smiling like Cheshire cats as they pound out riff after riff of whiskey -soaked southern rock. These boys love being on stage and are enjoying every minute of it but as the final notes of `Ruby Starr’ sing out its time for the next band.

Chantel McGregor is no stranger to the festivals put on by Solid Entertainments so there’s no fuss as the blues guitarist hits the stage. McGregor dressed in a flowing dress just lets her playing and singing take centre stage. `Killing Time’, `Southern Belle’ and `Eternal Dream’ all are here.

McGregor effortlessly releases licks and riffs that are sublimely good with a big grin and then continues to run through `Lose Control’ and an epic version of `Freefalling’. The crowd love the blues rock being peddled by McGregor tonight and are seemingly stunned that such a quiet demure lady can lay down such mighty guitar pieces.

Tonight’s headliners, Tygers Of Pan Tang have a special place in many people’s hearts for one reason or another, so the guys receive a big welcome tonight. Jack Meille, Rob Weir et al take us on a journey starting with `Love Don’t Stay’, `Destiny’, Keeping Me Alive’, `White Lines’, on through `Only The Brave’, `Don’t Stop By’ to `Don’t Touch Me There’.

With material being aired from the bands whole career span, their sound is wonderfully crafted and sounds immense in the room which is heaving with people by this point. The band finish with `Love Potion Number 9’ and leave us wanting more.

Day3

Devon based Sonic Kingdom get the last day under way. Their sound is a refreshing departure from the mainstream rock sound and brings a mix of light and dark in their material. Lead singer and guitarist, Kelvin Halloran’s voice is powerful and warm, the engine room handled by John Millington & Pete is might indeed as is the lead guitar breaks from Val Pandov.

What is most surprising is that this is only the third gig for these guys! Each song in their setlist is not just a set of words but is really thought provoking. Kicking off with `Hurricane’, the very apt and poignant `Love Peace Hate War’, `Stay’, `Everywhere’ and `Dreams’ we then get the mighty and heavy `Life Is A Hell Hole’. What comes across is that Halloran is not afraid to show his emotions, which comes over in his song writing and as we see tonight in his introduction to `If Only’ which comes from deep personal experience and loss.

This band struck a chord with many here tonight as it takes a brave man to open up to the world about the internal emotional pain Halloran has gone through, but as result their music somehow meant more. By the time `Gonna Get Ya’, their last song finished, the whole place was onboard with this band. They are sure to be a name to watch for in the future.

Were the audience ready for Thunderstick? I suspect not! With stage props including a light up head and a crop, a drummer in a diamante mask (Thunderstick himself) and the lead singer Raven’s outfits ranging from a schoolgirl to a gestapo officer you just know this won’t be your average rock performance. Powering through tracks like `Go Sleep With The Enemy (I Dare Ya)’ and `Thunder Thunder’ you soon realise that there are two elements to this band, the musical side that is rocky and trashy but highly accomplished and also the theatrical visual side.

Their ace card is Raven who has a powerhouse voice that smashes through the mix like a steam hammer and then kisses your ears whilst performing semi horror theatrics into the bargain. This is firmly underlined as they play a cover of `Time warp’. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but if you like Alice Cooper then you’re likely to enjoy Thunderstick live!

Anyone listens to Planet Rock or has attended one of the many festivals over the summer is highly likely to have heard of the next band. Kira Mac are well on their way to becoming a household name (especially as Mac herself has now been on ITVs The Voice!) and rightly so too. The long blonde haired beauty, Mac may be easy on the eye but much more lurks inside. This girl can jump from country twang on to the blues via pop and end up rocking your pants off.

What a voice! Pulling most of the material from her soon to be released album including the bouncy `Hit Me Again’, `Chaos Is Calling’, and `Hell Fire Holy Water’ Mac and her tight band soak up the fun of performing live and the love they are getting from the audience but the set ends all too quickly with final song `One Way Ticket’. These guys are sure to be headlining in the not-too-distant future!

We move on now to another fav with regular attendees of these events – SKAM. How can three guys, Matt Gilmore, Steve Hill and brother Neal produce such a wall of sound? However, they do it, it works, and the crowd love them. Rocking through `Iron Cross’, `Take It Or Leave It’ and `Holy City’ Hill’s vocal is strong as are his power chords from his SG. If you’ve never caught them live before, Matt Gilmore, known as the man with the face and bass, gurns his way through the set with the most amazing facial contortions possible whilst laying down the deepest intricate bass lines ever! They even fired out a worthy version of Black Sabbath’s `War Pigs’ much to the delight of the packed in crowd.

We travel to the supersonic age as The Hawklords start their set with `Speed Of Sound’. Chris Purdon has his oscillators working overtime as Mr Dibs pounds out the hypnotic rhythm and Jerry Richards guitar charts the band interstellar course. We get back to more straight ahead rock with `Turn You On’ before diving headlong into the punky and stupendous `We Are One’. Pulling in 60’s sound samples, the trippy `Robot’ meanders in ahead of the psychedelic fun of `The Joker’. No band with any connection to Hawkwind can omit what is part the originators history and that is `Masters Of The Universe’. The crowd absolutely love these guys and lap up every note.

After what has been a varied and exciting weekend of music, we come to the last of the eighteen bands to appear over the weekend – Grand Slam. The first chords of `19’ ring out and we are off and running. The charismatic Mike Dyer’s voice is uncannily close to Phil Lynott’s, but this man is here purely to pay homage to the great man. The twin guitars take centre stage as `Gone Are The Days’ fills the air. The floor is packed with people by this point.

We could so easily be living in Thin Lizzy’s era as the sound is so close. `Crime Rate’ and `Grand Slam’ saw Lawrence Archer’s fluid guitar playing standing out. `Dedication’ and `Sisters of Mercy’ follow before the highlight songs of `Parisienne Walkways’ and `Rosie Lee’. Mr. Lynott would have been proud tonight and the gathered crowd appreciated the memories conjured up during this set. Grand Slam were the ideal band to close this weekend of music, friends and nostalgia.

Thanks to Stephen Stanley of Solid Entertainments for putting on the event and selecting the line up

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