Rockin' The Bowl @ Don Valley Bowl –
Day Two – Saturday 11th September, 2021
Welcome to the second day of this fabulous Sheffield Rock festival that started a bit late this morning due to Doro's bunch taking a while to sort out their soundcheck, pushing the openers alloted start time back a bit. It gave us the chance to chat away before they went on, not to mention an opportunity to have a gas with tonight's special guest.
Set List: Into The Light/Last Stand/Fallen Saviour/Super Groove/Shield Wall/Roller.
So later than planned Lowdrive with the recognisable line-up of Andy Sawf (Vocals), John Hodgson (Guitars), Satio Von G (Bass) & Mat Washington (Drums) amble onto the Mikey Lawless stage after being introduced by Mr. Mally in their usual coolness.
A local band I have seen quite a bit in various venues around the city and never fail to impress with their ballsy hard rock brilliance that gave the folk who had been waiting a big flavour of beefy, bombastic power that came from these seasoned geezers.
Andy Sawf has this presence that is both friendly and strong with a voice that means business and can certainly fill any given venue offered to him, with the perfect band solidifying their stance even furtherly with opener 'Into The Light' establishing the fact straight away or the balls of 'The Last Stand' that follows it up with its thundering riffery.
It was definitely a brilliant idea to have them on the main stage this time around after their fabulous performance in the tent last year. They've yet again done themselves proud – they could open for anyone and give any act a serious run for their money with closing cut 'Roller' further defining their memorable start of the day.
Set List: Kill the Void/Blackened Spaces/Becoming Infinity/Epitaph.
So if you aren't awake yet you certainly will be a few bars in to this happening in the Steel City Tent! Zero Point Zero funnily enough take zero prisoners and suffer zero fools with their own aggressive brand of angst metal and shouty Metalcore who have the ability to both alarm your senses and batter your ears in equal doses.
They hail from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire with a line-up of Chris Dolby (Vocals), Ade Tilley (Lead Guitar), Paul Frewin (Bass Guitar/Programming/Samples), Tom Johnson (Drums/Percussion) & Sebastian Kewecki (Rhythm Guitar) who blow the tent away with cuts like 'Becoming Infinity, whilst another like epitaph is more slower and melodic.
Frontman, Chris never seems to hardly keep still at all doing the classic leaning/bowing over motions during the set whilst the other guys hold a solid more motionless stance on their guitars and basses. They have a nice touch with the sample sounds as well which add an extra element to the songs.
Set List: Live Rock N Roll/Mister Mister/Say Sayonara/Silver Sun/Invisible Enemy/This Way/Isolation.
Now here's an all-female band I have wanted to see for a few years but for one reason or another it's not happened. JoanOvArc have changed line-up too quite a bit since their original incarnation and even have a new lady fronting the band for the first time today in Hazel Jade Rogers (no pressure girl!) plus of course Shelley Walker (Lead Guitar), Keira Kenworthy (Bass) & Ellie Daymond (Drums).
Miss. Rogers fits into the groove just fine so they must have put the rehearsal time in quite a bit prior to this show, giving off no indication of nerves at all – well they hidden if present, with the rest of the gang oozing nothing but confidence.
It's good old hard rock all the way, with JoanOvArc commanding the crowd with no problems at all with highlights including the drum-blasting 'Silver Sun' or 'Say Sayonara' with former Syteria bassist, Kiera on lead vocals for the latter. They have definitely found a great audience right here in Sheffield and I would not be surprised if they are back here again some time in 2022.
Set list: Ride The Storm/Mountain/The Circle/Crabs/Firebird.
More local heroes up next in the tentt and this time in the form of everyone's fave proggers, Firegarden made up of Jake Mann (Guitars/Vocals), Ashley Tuck (Drums) & Chris Heald (Bass/Backing Vocals) who give us a strong five song set in the tent with one from 2017's 1649 E.P. opening it up with its early Iron Maiden feel to it or 'The Circle' with its quirky guitar solo.
Okay, maybe I am being biased there but they have certainly earned their keys to the city and those to all the cities rock related venues too – they've no doubt played most of them and feel like one of our house bands.
This fact certainly gives them instant credibility to be one of the bands featured on this 'ere festival especially when they close on the very impressive instrumentally filled glory of 'Firebird' from 'Choose Your Own Adventure'.
Set List: Same Again/Bird On A Chain/Ghost/The Ride/Can You Feel It/Pierrepoint/Sun And Moon/Breadfan (Budgie).
A band that I knew nothing about previously – hey, I assumed that it was a female fronted band and her name was... anyway, they are nothing of the sort and Florence Black are actually a rock band from Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales comprising of Tristan Thomas (Vocals/Guitar), Jordan Evans (Bass/Backing Vocals) &
Perry Davies (Drums/Backing Vocals).
They make a lot of sound and atmosphere for trio as well, coming across very tight and confident with clear lead and backing vocals with standouts like the beautiful and melodic but at the same time pulverising 'Sun And Moon'.
Then in total comparison the opening chugger and abrasive guitar-work of 'Same Again' the highlight being Budgie's 'Breadfan' that got a second leases of life when Metallica famously covered it – a perfect way of closing their set to say the least.
Set List: Godless Men/Ghosts In The Machine/Edge Of Tomorrow/The Exiled/The Last Remaining Light/Man In The Box ( Alice In Chains Cover).
And it's off back to the tent to catch 'Blame The Sacred' consisting of Aaron Ward (Vocals), Kriss Rayner (Guitar), Andrew Wordsworth (Guitar), Wez Gill (Bass) & Scott Emery (Drums) who are very much on the heavier scale of music instrumental-wise that also have a very USA Radio Metal meets Stoner feel to them too with the distortive chug in songs like 'Edge Of Tomorrow' and 'The Exiled'.
Love the fact they finished on a firm favourite of mine too 'Man In The Box' by Alice In Chains that takes mw back to the times when I hung out in bars in Cape Coral, Florida as it was a staple in many sets for cover bands there.
In fact, it was not meant to be their last song but they were cut short due to whatever time restrictions they had to endure on the day. I will be sure to catch them another time to see them play longer.
Set List: Relentless/Something Remains/Walking Light/Parasites/Only Way Out/New Republic.
When it comes to Empyre, throaty voiced harder rock is what you experience from these boys who are like the UK equivalent of Pearl Jam for better or for worse. They've graced stages with legends like Eagles or Shinedown in a short time of their existence as an act on the UK forefront who hail from Northampton.
Consisting of Henrik Steenholdt (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Did Coles (Lead Guitar), Grant Hockley (Bass) & Elliot Bale (Drums), the people here seem to love 'em. A powerful unit indeed that got the folk going with bawlers like 'Something Remains' that has a catchy guitar riff in it or the rollicking, rocking and funkesque closer 'New Republic'.
Set List: Swinging/Hell Yeah!/Stomp On My Heart/Addicted/Get Up/Preacher's Daughter/Don't Run Away/Zombie.
Local boys, A Joker Among Thieves who are Joe Mell (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Nathan 'Tink' Tinkler (Bass) & Mark Swallow (Drums/Backing Vocals) give us a solid dose of Rock N Roll under the tarpaulin which is what the Doctor always orders!
They are crunchy and rather Rob Zombie like vocal-wise from Joe with a killer example being 'Stomp On My Heart' or the boomy 'n' gritty Zombie that brings their it all to an end in here who like many others in the tent started their humble beginnings in Sheffield too!
Another standout is 'Preacher's Daughter' that has some hard to grasp vocal tongue-twist bits in there that must taken a while to perfect – sing along if you dare!
Set List: Gimme A Sign/We're On Fire/Upside Down/Chicken With A Knife/Scream Your Name/Stare Into The Sun/Running Away.
With a line-up of Ben Sargent (Lead Vocals), Liam Sargent (Lead/Rhythm Guitar), Dan Weir (Lead/Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vocal), Jason Green (Bass) & Neia Hill (Drums), Hell's Addiction hit steel city once again. In-your-face and delivering the goods with the banging 'Gimme A Sign' that paves the way for what's to come.
Seen these guys two or three times in Sheffield at over venues and festivals in recent year and they always command the stage – this time being no exception either. I gottta say that they sported the best t-shirt of the weekend (well if you have a sick twisted mind like mine – hahaha). Let's get Motorfreddin'!!! Baaaad! A party without a patio in sight!
As for the songs, it was the bollocks to be honest – meat and potatoes greatness with tons of gravy, I mean melody poured out in lavish amounts that came to a cracking closure with 'Running Away' when Ben put the young dude on his shoulders while on stage with anthems like 'We're On Fire' inbetween!
Set List: Jaded Son/Get Outta My Way/Cavalries Call/Extremis/No Way/Wish You Well/Pale And Cold.
Coyote Mad Seeds culmination is Joe Elsey (Guitar/Lead Vocals), Nathan Mace (Guitar), Chris Whitehead (Bass/Vocals), Rik Smith (Drums) who like Firegarden are no strangers to these parts and trod the boards here for a number of years – if you haven't seen them before, then you obviously have not attended many Metal and Rock shows in the city of Sheffield.
Elsey's boys played an ace on the indoor stage and definitely shone as one of the scenes leaders of the pack for sure. They give us good ole old school like songs with knife-cutting, slicing hot riffs and hooks such as opener 'Jaded Sun'; the nasty sounding 'Extremis' with its almost Motorhead undercurrent at times; the fast 'n' cruising 'No Way and closing bitey 'Pale And Gold'.
See them at a Sheffield venue near you or maybe further out! I hear the've got new music in the pipeline too!
Set List: Let Go/Too Much Of A Good Thing/Waste My Time/Good On Me/Strut/I Get High/Solo/Can You Save Me/Come A Little Closer/Pocket/Outlaw/Dressed To Kill/99%/Lift Your Head Up.
Before I start, I gotta say that these Norfolk boys, Bad Touch are one of my fave UK bands that have emerged and grown in popularity bit by bit over the last few years. Made up of Stevie Westwood (Vocals), Rob Glendinning (Lead Guitar), Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seekings (Guitar/Vocals), Michael Bailey (Bass) & George Drewry (Drums/Vocals), they are forever fully bringing to the boil their retro 70's warm sound.
A band who put you in mind of legends like Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin plus the power of The Rolling Stones and extra added party-filled positivity of bands like The Quireboys and kick it all off with the bopping greatness of 'Let Go'. It's their up-tempo vibe that speaks volumes that travels right into the audience immediately and turns everyone's pair of lips into a happy, glowing smile with many singing along too.
Stevie owns the stage and an impressive beard too I may add, even giving yours truly a run for his money... hahaha... they interject tongue-in-cheek humour with 'Good On Me' that asks where you buy your jeans and really get the crowd going, rocking us all out with cuts like 'Too Much Of A Good Thing'; 'Outlaw' and personal fave '99%' that has a groove and riff that many no doubt wish they had dreamed up!
Rob is one of the finest guitarists around today and things will only get better and better here while Daniel is the Parfitt equivalent and a perfect match for him musically. George and Michael are an impeccable rhythm section too – as tight and solid as you can possibly get – no water can seep through here!
I am so thankful that a band like Bad Touch exist since they totally fill the gap of what is really needed in music – a hark back to the 70's without becoming a cliché since they add in their own delightful spark that kinda makes it almost unique amongst all the many younger acts around these days.
They end the fantastic performance with the fabulous 'Lift Your Head Up' that leaves everyone yearning for way more than allows them to do because of time limits.
Setlist: Uphill Battle/Emerald Causeway/Can't Even Hang A Man Right/The Fiendish Blue/Wildfire/Hero's Welcome/Devil's Basement/Gatling Gun/Truth Be Told/Freeman On The Land/Drowning Heart/On The Ropes.
Now these guys really stood out to me, not because of their heavy feel but due to the fact they incorporated some ballsy southern grit via a banjo plus Cajuneque and Zydeco classicness via a piano accordion which you don't get a lot of these days.
It's nice to see the steadfast instrument boundaries being pushed for a change since Shanghai Treason have mixed in elements of hard, brash rock and Celtic punk to the mix - imagine The Wildhearts meets The Chieftans and dare I say even The Proclaimers (but with bollocks)!