Saturday saw an outing to the Winter Rocks Festival at The Corporation in Sheffield City Centre. I was pretty excited about this one with eleven top bands ready to rock, the day was set to be a stormer.
Steal The City
On entering the venue, the opening act Steal The City had just started their set, hailing from my home town I was keen to get down the front get some shots and soak up the volume. This fantastic four piece have been around since 2014 and judging by the number of gigs they have under the belt an extremely hardworking touring act. This was clear to see and hear, an extremely tight band banging out some great tunes, visually excellent to watch they delivered a perfect opening set.
Next up on stage 2 was Fallen Mafia, complete with gothic style stage wear and makeup they certainly grabbed the crowd’s attention from the off. Haunting and powerful vocals from Hannah Neil set the scene with a show full of hard-hitting rock originals, great to watch and listen to, the crowd lapped it up.
Back over to main stage and She Burns Red, hailing from West Lothian and with a recent new EP co-produced by none other than Toby Jepson, these guys were sure to please and please they did. Great on-stage energy with some killer hard rock tunes to boot the band totally nailed there set, check out the EP Take Back Tomorrow on all streaming platforms.
She Burns Red
Sam Millar and the Sass Bandits on stage 2 lived up to their name with some great on-stage styling, coupled with strong songs and competent musicianship. Sam was formally the guitar player for Bigfoot and that fantastic guitar playing was on show tonight soaring solos and strong vocals, Sam’s charisma shone through to an appreciative Corporation audience.
The Idol Dead describe themselves as Rock and Roll Punk with Soul and the hard working five piece didn’t disappoint, high energy rules with these guys with an impressive stage performance it was hard to know where to put the camera next! Singer Polly Phluid admitted to be suffering from a burst ear drum, but you wouldn’t have known as undeterred he battled on to deliver a fantastic performance.
The Idol Dead
The Brink next over on stage two, what a band these guys are, I was hugely impressed; singer Tom Quick had an incredible voice and the band were solid as a rock. To be honest after a few snaps I gave up with the camera as I really wanted to properly watch these Cambridge based lads. Some great hard rock tunes with chorus lines designed for audience participation the band had the crowd in their hands singing and rocking along. A fantastic set, I really must see these guys again soon, and so should you at the earliest convenience.
Bournemouth rockers South of Salem have a tonne of live dates ahead and I can see why, smashing their way through hard hitting 80’s inspired tunes and entertaining the enthusiastic crowd these lads clearly love what they do. Singer Joey mentioned the lack of live shows due to recent events and you could really tell by the energy on stage that these lads were relieved to be hitting the scene again. Great band and an excellent performance, debut album ‘The Sinner Takes It All’ is out now, check it out.
South Of Salem
Twister on stage 2 and after the first song I was left wondering why these guys hadn’t made the main stage! Hailing from the North East this 4-piece anthemic rock band kicked out a high energy and musically inspiring (that guitar player wow!) show that left the crowd shouting for more. Another must see band, great songs, great audience interaction and for me the complete package. A New Year’s Eve hometown gig was mentioned and I was left wishing I lived further up north! Go see Twister live you will not be disappointed trust me.
Now for Chez Kane who had already performed an acoustic set for the VIP early crowd, something that I sadly missed as judging by the soaring vocals on offer it was something special. There is probably nothing I can write here that hasn’t been said before about Chez, who has honed her craft really well, superb songs, great stage presence and a loyal following. In Chez’s words ‘we are stuck for time so let’s smash through the album!’ They did exactly that with powerful melodic tunes and a fantastic band. Chez acknowledged the hard work her band puts in to support her. Something I find often not fully understood is the hours of effort it takes off stage to make what happens on stage a reality, so it was great to hear this. Overall a class performance as expected.
Sheffield based Doomsday Outlaw on stage 2, this distinctively sounding five piece impressed with charismatic frontman Phil Pool standing out and a solid hard hitting band laying down the music. I have to admit that despite being a Sheffield lad I hadn’t checked out this band before and I really wish that I had. Some great tunes which were blues hard rock orientated. Fantastic set and another huge crowd reaction. I will definitely be checking these guys out again soon, highly recommended.
So onto headliners VEGA, who were called up late in the day due to last minute issues but you wouldn’t have known! Six albums behind them there was no danger of a lack of class tunes to play and from the off the crowd lapped it up. Singer Nick Workman impressed with great vocals and stage charisma, holding the crowd in his hands. Pete Newbeck on drums was fantastic (I’m a drummer, I know!) Billy Taylor on Guitar was full of energy and hammed it up for the photographers lined up to catch the perfect shot. A great band I can see why they have been around for so long and why they were given that headline slot. What an end to a fantastic day.
Special mention to the organisers and to the MMH Rock Radio presenters who did a great job keeping the show moving. The sound was immense on both stages something that can make or break a band it’s so important.
Even the merch stand deserves a mention! with the guys behind the counter creating a great atmosphere to pass by as you switched stages.
I left the venue in awe of the musicianship on offer, well done to all involved and thanks for having me.