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Rockin' The Bowl 2021 @ Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield.

Day One – Friday 10th September, 2021

Well wow, it's finally here at long, long last people... Rockin' The Bowl 2021 after it all being pulled from last year like everything else from mid March onwards. The RTB team had really put their work in tremendously to make it happen and had ensured to keep each and every one of us in the loop as how things were progressing bit by bit – plus even told us any issues they may have come across. That is big kudos from the get-go in my eyes.

Having Pete K. Mally as Compere was a real great move too – who kept it ticking over between each band with his unique brand of dry and at the same time fluid humour as well as throwing freebies of t-shirts into the crowd and plugging his books as well! 

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Set List: Talk About It/Primal/Hunter/Sunglass/Faultline/Sick and Twisted/Rip Me To Shreads/ Rollercoaster.

I had never heard of the openers before from Blackburn who go by the name of Bastette. They are female fronted by Caroline Eve Kenyon with the line-up completed by Sam Newiss & Eoin Kelly (both on guitar duties), Bassist, Paddy Duffy & Drummer, Rob Hirst who hit this anticipated crowd here with punchy songs for all they were worth.

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Dressed in tight black spandex, the lady with the microphone had a killer set of ferocious pipes on her and and was really personable for all and sundry to behold up there on that stage. The band was pure dynamite and oozed so much power. I really do think they will be the next biggy or at least at the same level as Scarlett Riot or Girlschool later on in a Florence And The Machine kinda way if that makes any sense.

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They were a perfect opener for the 1st day of the event and totally revved up the folks here who got in on the game (that may have just raced out of work), rocking along and and fist pumping for all it was worth and then some!

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Highlights included the sultry and ballsy chorused 'No Regrets'; the ballad in 'Sunglass' that saw her coming off the stage and sing to the front of the crownd or the slow sinister closer 'Rollercoaster'.

Later on it was lovely to see them in the bowl chatting bowl and having photographs taken with fans - especially the happy young lad in the wheelchair called AJ. It says a lot about an artist when they go out their way after their set is finished and meet everybody.

Set List: Ticket To Rock/Girl Next Door/Strange Woman/Lust & Love/Wild Child/Fast Lane/Good Vibes.

Let it be known that Mr. Mally is a big fan of these guys and he told us they knew too which makes it a bit embarrassing. He felt so privileged introducing them to the stage with their revved up, energetically blues filled rock 'n' roll.

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Now I remember seeing these Daxx And Roxanne supporting a band in a famous Rock venue in Sheffield a couple of years ago so it was great to witness them on a bigger outdoor stage on a Friday night. Hard Rockers with plenty of Pzzazz about that who despite how their name suggests are not a duo but a full band outfit.

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The Swiss, now London based band consist of Cedric Pfister (Vocals/Bass), Cal Wymann (Lead Guitar), Luca Senaldi (Drums), Simon Golaz (Rhythm Guitar/Harmonica) whose strong set of songs included highlights like the AC/DC'esque pounding opener 'Ticket To Rock' and the bluesy grooved 'Girl Next Door'.

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Another awesome song was 'Lust & Love' that again was pure hard blues that had a Hendrix Power flowing through it or the closing 'Good Vibes' which everyone here had after witnessing such an enjoyable set up here on the stage tonight.

Set List: Best Of You/Before You Fall/Alone/Heartbreak/Mazel Tov Cocktail/Scars/All I Want/Rats/You Get Nothing/ Round And (A)Round.

Now The City Kids are somewhat something of a supergroup whose culminate a crazy 'n' noisy mass of ragamuffins who blast off those cobwebs with no time for a pause with their punk almighty powerful tunes that are loaded with venom and throat throatal slaver of equal measures.

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The idea of the the North East band comes from the twisted mind of frontman/guitarist, JJ Watt (formerly of The Main Grains); Bassist, Berty Burton (Tigertailz); Guitarist, Dennis Post (Warrior Soul) and Drummer, Dave Saunders (Falling Red) who come on to the apt Twisted Sister Song 'The Kids Are Back' – they certainly are as well!!

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They got our attention immediately on the first note with 'Best Of You' with a cracking standard that followed in equal succession throughout the duration of their entire performance pumping it up furtherly with 'Best Of You' and later a cover of The Wildhearts 'Molotov Cocktail'.  Rightly so too since he was in a band, The Main Grains alongside Bassist, Danny McCormack which as you can guess went down a pure storm with the Rockin' The Bowl peeps. Dirty Berty got a chance to shine on lead vocals too with 'Rat' with someone shouting 'How many bands are you in?' hahaha!

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The most touching moment of it all while they graced us with their presence was the speech given by Dave Saunders who talked a bit about Mikey Lawless who the stage was named after – saying how they were so proud and moved for him to be remembered and thanked us on behalf on the members of Falling Red and all of Mikey's family too.

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Mr. Lawless would have loved it I am sure – no doubt watching down from somewhere enjoying every second of the set. Dave really did him proud and everyone in the Bowl did too with their heartfelt reception that was created. The City Kids will no doubt be back again to rock out Steel City with unadulterated vengeance.

Set List: Serendipity/Wallflower/Good Old Days/Manufactured/Know It All/Supremacy/Beating Heart.

Who remembers them from the 1st time round in 2019 when Steal The City were here? Yep I do, who this time have been upgraded to the main stage after their obviously memorable performance in the marquee two years ago.

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To be honest, I think they have upped their game quiet a lot since then because their set this time around is way more metally and rockier than previously – it paid off as well as these local boys have a gift to get the people on their side – unless most of them are known friends and fans in the 1st place – jury is out on that one.

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Made up of Joe Chuggy (Vocals/Guitar), Jake Bailes (Guitar), Tom Smit (Bass) and Ellis Bullement (Drums) they pump out a 7 strong song show and convince us that they have a right to be up there, taking the spot of 'Liberty Lies' with their crashy, upbeat fast 'n' thrashy 'n' bawly ditties that begins with 'Serendipity'.

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Then there are other falling down a mountain with an avalanche behind you equivalents like 'Manufactured'; the humour intro'd 'Know It All' – an act that make you sit up and listen to what the younger folk of the area have to say. Another band who made their mark at RTB!

Set List: Rocky Mountain Way/Chicken Fried Snake/Done My Time/Blame It On The Horse/Competition Giveaway/No Easy Way/Back To Georgia/Rattlesnake Sour/Enough About Me.

This trio can never put a foot wrong in my eyes who as always crank up that Dixie filled swagger and mix it with tongue in cheek fun and musical expertise. I have seen The Outlaw Orchestra many times over the past few years and were so good here 1st time around that this year, they were invited back again showing us all how it should be done and coming across just as tight even though they went from a four to a three piece.

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Frontman/Guitarist, Dave Roux is having more to deal with as a result sound-wise but still does a fantastic error free job regardless with Banjo/Lap Steel Extraordinaire, Pete Briley and Drummer, Ryan Smith as solid as ever, pleasuring up the people with their material that have become epic favourites with so many people in Sheffield.

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In fact, they consider it their second home and always love coming back here as much as they can, with this being no exception to the rule. We have adopted these lovable boys as our own who fill everyone here with mammoth joy with a bunch of bopping great numbers like 'Chicken Fried Snake'; 'Back To Georgia' and 'Enough About Me' with a lot of tongue-in-cheek on the spot humour coming in-between each song too plus even a new number in 'Rattlesnake Sour' too!

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Nothing but pure excellence, battling through some rain with a set so good it went past us in am absolute flash and left everyone begging for more. The party is always on when The Outlaw Orchestra come to town.

Set List: Revolution/Spaceship Superstar/Too Many Gods/Twilight/Only In Vegas/Mr. Heartache/Scars/Silver & Gold/Listen To The Radio/September Rain,Marionettes/Atlantis/Thunder In The Night/Mad Hatters Tea Party/I Fell Out Of Love With Rock 'N' Roll/Great Story Never Told.


Encore: Hologram Man.

The 3rd time I have seen Cats In Space this year and they have simply got better and better everytime. Their frontman, Damien Edwards totally seems at ease now with the rest of the Cats who has no doubt not been there for much more than a year if that. The other 'In Space dudes being Greg Hart (Guitarist/Backing Vocalist), Steevi Bacon (Drums/Percussion), Dean Howard (Guitars), Jeff Brown (Bass/Backing Vocals) & Andy Stewart (Piano/Keyboards/Synths).

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Back to Atlantis we go again but we are happy to do so with these space cadets taking us there in full glory and quality momentum. It's smiles all round too as they are oozing confidence and joy right through the set which sounds utterly incredible out here in the bowl tonight. These lads deliver pure prowess and pristine passion with their massive AOR epic songs that are full of strong, addictive, magnetic hooks that grab you instantly.

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Their set is soothing, warm and caring while at the same time rocks like hell with vocal gymnastics of supreme clarity that are backed up by solid, musically incredible melodies and arrangements coming from all aspects of the band – be it guitar, bass, keyboards or drums, that create a gargantuan symphonic beautifully crafty bombast of greatness.

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There are loads of highlights in the set that include new numbers like the opening 'Revolution' that we all need or the fantastic pounding and vocally tantalising 'Spaceship Superstar' that immediately follows. Then later on the excellence of 'Marionettes' and gorgeous ballad 'I Fell Out Of Love With Rock 'N' Roll' with the mouth-watering 'Hologram Man' closing the 1st night of Rockin' The Bowl'.

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Bring on Saturday if the opening day is anything to go by! A staggering start to the festival for sure!

Review & Photographs By Glenn Milligan

A Special Thank You to Tonito Bermudez for supplying all the bands Set Lists.

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