Review by Maria Glover for MPM
Steel Paws is a rock festival which raises funds for Rain Rescue. Run by married cat/kitten foster carers Phil and Donna Elsey, Steel Paws began life as Mogstock a few years ago at a small independent venue in Sheffield and became Steel Paws held at Corp this year.
Rain Rescue believe every cat and dog has the right to a happy life, free from fear and pain. Founded in 2002, the charity has saved the lives of thousands of the cats and dogs most at risk in and around Yorkshire.
Steel Paws, this year, is back baby. Bigger and better. With a knock-out line up and new venue.
Chris Cooper Band start the day off and it’s a great lesson in not judging a book by its cover for me. I wasn’t sure what I expected but as they got stuck into the first track ‘Mediocre Joker’ I was blown away. A deliciously gruff vocal brings a huge smile to my face as they dish out some fabulous indie/americana rock n roll alongside a little social commentary. Stand out track for me was ‘Black Sheep’ which is as satisfying as it is true. I’m seriously impressed by this 4-piece and will be looking out for them again.
A new single ’13’ was dropped at the beginning of June, from the forthcoming album ‘The Glorious Sins’, and is available as a free download via their website.
Slomo75 are another new band to me and I am loving them from the off. A powerhouse vocalist dressed in SoA jacket and looking as mean as he sounds fierce, what a fantastic balls to the wall performance. And those guitars! There are some serious licks and riffs and a colossal wall of sound surrounds us.
A heavyweight set with a southern tinge and I’m gutted I have barred myself from buying any merch after a flat tyre the day before. Stand out track for me is the new single ‘Freakshow’ which is raw and guttural and utterly addicting. I’m already checking out your next gigs!
Check out Freakshow here https://youtu.be/O_JXzrXHMGQ
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/slowmo75band
I saw Eddie Huntley Band last year at Rockin The Bowl and loved their blend of blues and funk. They open with ‘Carry Me Home Tonight’ which is remarkably cheerful for a blues song.
Seriously though, this guy is upbeat and energetic and sounds new and fresh, his take on Bee Gee’s classic ‘Stayin Alive’ uniting the room in dance and voice. We’re told he has a few last minute stand-ins in his band but you would never guess. It’s polished and his vocals delectably soulful. Love these guys.
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/eddiehuntleyband/
Sheffield-based local favourites Baranovich waste no time in getting the party started and the room is packed with people singing and dancing. This band are no-nonsense classic rock with a little hair metal thrown in for good measure.
With crushing riffs and melodic vocal, they are a hit and obviously loving every minute. ‘Hyde’ gets the crowd joining in. This is the second time I’ve seen them in the last month and I always love to see them perform.
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Baranovichrocks
The Dukes of Bordello always give a 100% performance with fast and furious vocals and guitar from Andy Barrott, accompanied by Chip on double bass and Craz on drums. Chip throws that double bass around the stage with ease and athleticism as he thrashes away on those strings.
This is a full on spectacle with a fantastically punk-rock troubadour theme-tune. ‘Hellvis’ is a complete banger of a track and always raises the temperature, and their set is so fast-paced that at times I’m not sure how they keep up! The drummer beats and pummels those skins consistently throughout with no chance to catch his breath. This is another tremendous set that few can compare to. If you haven’t seen these guys you really need to fix that.
Coyote Mad Seeds are a local band who keep going from strength to strength and aren’t afraid of hard work. After a slight technical hitch (flat battery not a number 2 as was surmised on the day) where festival-lead Phil stands in to entertain us on “vocals” (sorry Phil), they get into their groove and their brand of heavy metal stirs up the crowd.
There’s a southern flavour to them and Joe on vocals and guitar has a good soulful voice, though I personally think they could’ve turned his mic up a bit at the start. They have a loyal fanbase who repeat every line back to them. They are enigmatic and ferocious, ‘Jaded Son’ is good solid rock anthem and man that lad can play that guitar! Always a pleasure to see this band, check them out.
Where do I start with Yesterday’s Gone? I’ve known singer Rob for many years now and a few different bands, and I love the bones of him. He’s currently lead vocalist with Sons of Liberty aswell as YG and the recent tour has upped his game. Wow.
He has always been a great vocalist but now he is a seasoned and compelling performer, his stage presence almost magnetic. If you like your rock n roll dirty, your blues southern-fried (I’m sure I coined that phrase by the way) you will adore Yesterday’s Gone.
Powered by an amazing strong and silky vocal, this band also have riffs and hooks to get your teeth into, and a drumbeat that will rattle your bones. ‘This is Rock n Roll’, ‘Roll The Dice’, ‘False Smiles’, they belt out hit after hit and smash the majority of those in the venue into submission. Stand out track of theirs for me is ‘Greed’ – from the very first bar I was gripped. Love love love this band.
Steal The City look a little different today and that’s because Joe on vocals doesn’t have his guitar. I’m sure by now he has had enough people asking why but he was unwell and didn’t want to cancel so they persevered and gave a knock-out performance.
They combine sweet melodic vocals with full-on angst and fury in a high energy set which features fan favourites ‘Wallflower’ and ‘Beating Heart’. This is a young and vibrant band who will steal your heart. New(ish) guitarist James is on fire and adds a new dynamic to the band I’ve followed for a few years now. FFO Rage Against The Machine, While She Sleeps, they are enchanting yet brutal.
They have a new EP on its way so keep a look out.
Haxan stunned me into silence. Yes, you read correctly. It took a few songs to compose myself to actually take any notes as I was lost in the music and the magic of it all. My mate said there must be something in the water in Wales and I think he may have a point. Another killer rock band to emerge from the valleys, Haxan are simply outstanding. The band have made a name for themselves of late with an array of shows and festivals worldwide and are currently supporting Florence Black on their headline tour of the UK.
From the absolutely stellar and genuinely exquisite vocals, to the energy and stage presence of each member of the band, and the pure exuberance displayed throughout, this is most definitely a band to watch and to be in awe of.
Their sound cannot be compared to another without doing them an injustice but think of the quality brought by some of the greats who influence them, Dio, Deep Purple, and match that with an impressive and enticing talent and a whole lot of passion, and you might get near enough. Pure, clean vocals literally soar over the audience – I swear I can see the words spilling from Sam’s lips. I’m ashamed to say this is the first time I’ve seen this band perform but it will most definitely not be the last. I was spellbound.
Personally I don’t care if you are man, woman or beast as long as you give me good music but it is inspiring to see 3 young women setting such a powerful example and just excelling at their craft. They set a great role model for any young aspiring artists of either gender.
Stand-out track for me was ‘Skeletons’ which is just amazingly catchy, the vocals and harmonies divine. Check them out!
It’s sadly been a few years since I’ve seen Bad Touch up here and I’ve missed them so much but they are here to rock this venue. Stevie looks fab as always in a rather dapper white and black floral jacket and his trademark skinny trousers, with super shiny cowboy boots that are the envy of many of us.
Bad Touch have a unique style and swagger that is backed up with a whole heap of quality music and talent and they hold us in the palm of their hands as they power and shake their hips through 14 tracks – 14 glorious southern rock, bluesy anthems that reach deep into your soul and take up root.
‘Good on Me’ (the Jeans song) is always a favourite and the audience know every word. The vocals are crisp and mouth-wateringly soulful, flawless and seemingly effortless. There is always a lot of energy on stage with Bad Touch, and tonight is no different, as each member shares their genius with us and it’s difficult to single any one person out as they are so tight as a band. I will though, just this once – Rob on lead guitar has to be recognised as one the country’s greats surely? He captivates as he squeezes every ounce of life out of his guitar in some elegant solo work.
The set is strong and includes the usual Alanis cover and my absolute favourite Bad Touch song ‘Outlaw’. There aren’t enough words to describe how excited I am to see them perform my favourite song live, and standing just a few feet in front of me, in a packed venue with friends and like-minded people.
They fill the stage not only physically but metaphorically too. They have presence and talent enough to fill an arena. It’s impossible not to get involved as they light up the stage. The anthemic ‘99%’ closes the set and we the crowd are left feeling satisfied, tired, and joyous.
Setlist: Lift Your Head Up; Good on Me; Strut; Dressed to Kill; Let Go; Too Much of a Good Thing; Waste My Time; Cover; I Get High; Can You Save Me; Hand in My Pocket (Alanis Morissette cover); Come a Little Closer; Outlaw; 99%
Discography: Half Way Home (2015), Truth Be Told (2016), Shake a Leg (2018), Kiss The Sky (2020)
Links to Steel Paws socials
Donations link https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/PHILIP-Elsey3
Photography by Paul McGowan for MPM