Rockin' The Bowl -
Don Valley Bowl, Sheffield, Saturday 14th September, 2019
Well this was literally the first time that this had ever happened... something that many of us had looking forward to in anticipation due to it having a massive build-up on social media for a good few months. Now it was finally here and on this very day, the weather could not have been more perfect.
The legendary Mr. Badaxe got the ball rolling and filthed his way up there manuring his way now and again with the microphone – coded up enough to not let the kids on what he was on about haha! Recently saw this Cat at The Rock & Blues, Pentrich and was really impressed.
Set List: Black Tooth Grin/Lies & Fool/Routine Habit Of Mine/Vanity/Number 12/Heroes Of Mine/Bill & Chief.
The first of many bands to take the stage today went by the name of Renegade Twelve who were more than twelve and less than that in numbers as well – sorry, I had to do it... my bad. They truly warmed up the crowd with tight hard-edged rock that had a fresh sounding modern twist to it.
All the way from Suffolk they've travelled to be here for us in Sheffield, gracing us with the impressive racing 'Bill & Chief' with it's melodic guitar riffery and proggy delvings or the chugging 'Vanity'.
Set List: House Of Cards/That Ain't The Way/Grape N Grin/Spoonful/Stealer/Experience/45.
Cranking first in The Big Issue tent were no strangers to Sheffield, those up and coming bluesmen, The Black Hands who pounded their way through a mammoth measurement of delta groove that all the old veterans from days gone by would certainly approve of.
Even the good ole harp made an appearance in one the numbers too and as well as the famous Willie Dixon ditty 'Spoonful' that many a legendary artist has taken a grip on.
Set List: Wasted/Show Me Your Skeleton/321/Invidia/Reckless/Covered In Roses/Hey, Hello/La Di Da
Kane'd are one of those bands that I heard a lot of people rave about and it's not hard to see why since they are a real driving unit with three incredible female vocalists in Steph, Stacey & Chez Kane - don't ever say that number is a crowd because these girls have sure got it.
Steph as you can no doubt see is actually pregnant and due to give birth at any moment – it didn't happen today though which I'm guessing she was rather glad about. Memorable melody moments in their set include the in-you-face ballsy 'Reckless'; the well-vocalled 'Show Me Your Skeleton'; the brilliant closer 'La Di Da' and ballad 'Covered In Roses'.
An utterly exceptional band that has been criminally ignored by the UK Music Industry – if they were there in the mid 80's, this band would be megastar status like Vixen or Heart were. A must see-again band!
Set List: Fools Paradise/Burn Out Boy/When Darkness Falls/High On Life/Breath/Caught In The Fire/Giants.
Next up are some older Rockers who are happily from Rotherham called 'Wolf Within' and I am sure I recognise the frontman – yep – it's Stuart Craig (of Bumblefoot fame) who also fronts a covers band who play WMC's and MC's around the area called Coyote. In fact, he said they were a bit worse for wear due to late-night drinking the previous night.
You would never know from the performance they put on in the band that also featured a former member of Deadline/Crimes Of Passion, Andy on lead guitar as well. Good ole heavy metal and rock 'n' roll the way we remember with E.P.'s being available too!
Stand-outs included the killer, roaring vocalled melodic rock opener that is 'Fools Paradise'. Love the southern like rocking ballad that is 'Caught In The Fire' – a definite hit for certain. Be sure to buy their new album and EP because money from Spotify or I-Tunes is a total pittance and goes nowhere.
Set List: Ryder/On The Road/How Ya Feelin'/Rise/My Life.
Ryders Creed are a brilliant tight rock band who my buddy Steve Cooper has been banging on about for a while since they sometimes throw a Status Quo number in their set. They come across very bold and ballsy with stomping numbers like the magnificent 'On The Road' that raise the roof off... hang on we're outside – dang – well they would if we were indoors.
Then there was the raw 'n' riffy rocker 'Raise The Hoof' and stoner like 'Rise' – rather good to say the least and would definitely like to see the Ryders again.
Set List: Heart/Simon Says/The Thing Is/Trace/Wallflower/Somebody Told Me (The Killers)
Steal The City are a young band who have been around a wee while. By all accounts they've changed their style from more ballsy rock and metal to a more indie sound but seem to go down okay in this here set. The guitarist has a marvellous mane on him showing he ain't forgot his roots and they do play a ballsy, gutsy cut for the old school in here today.
A nice addition in throwing in a cover of The Killers song 'Somebody Told Me' for those not familiar with the 'City's own songs. These guys obviously have a real liking for green.
Set List: The Day I Lost My Soul/We Escaped A Cult/Hell In My Eyes/Come On Down/My Town My City/Rebel Yell/Enemies/If You Ain't Down With The Rock.
On the main stage are a gang of guys who are no strangers to Steel City who I caught up with last year at another major festival. I am talking about those men on a mission, Falling Red, fronted by Rozey – a young whipper-snapper who hurls up some gutsy vocals with a band who put Newcastle on the map.
They never disappoint, with this being a special show since all proceeds of the the raffle of the band banner are going to Bassist, Mikey, who happens to be extremely ill but still nails every note regardless. Credit to ya buddy!
An exceptional set comes from the stage that includes many a fave over the last couple of years like the gorgeous balled, 'My Town, My City', the rapturous rendition of Billy Idol's 'Rebel' and their anthem 'If You Ain't Down With The Rock'.
Set List: Midnight (Born To Lose)/Pretty Ugly/Ready To Play/Roll With The Punches/Drinking Man/Ace Of Spades/Turn It Up/Under My Skin/Monster In Me/Paranoid.
Now when 'Tusk hit the stage you always have the feeling anything could happen and more than often usually does. Grannies and kids prise out your eardrums because this duo will forever be after-the-watershed listening no matter what time of day it is. If you don't like the idea of hearing the words 'c*nt' or 'm*therf*cker' then leave now... (Disclaimer – lol) – no one left the tent though and they started without a warning regardless.
They had everyone rocking and more in here with tunes from their debut album 'Turn It Up', laughing in pain to their humour, treated to free helping of 'Cloven Hoof' during the song aptly titled 'Drinking Man', not to mention being ordered to shout 'Glenn' at me (private inside joke - ask me if you dare).
We were deafened throughout with folk laughing near to the point of pain to their twisted, obnoxious off-the-wall humour along the way too. With raw-as-hell vocals, glorifying guitar-work and suffer no fools drum kit attacking, Sour Tusk could well be the boys who stole the show in here today.
Set List: See You In Hell/Hangman Jury/Ship Face/Too Much Willie Nelson/Whiskey Drinking Liar/Burn The House/Send Some Whiskey Home/Chicken Fried Snake/What You Say/Milk My Cow/Laughing All The Way.
No they aren't a thing to do with the sounds and styles of Joe Loss or Glenn Miller for that matter since this quartet are from down south UK and pile out some fun-loving humour-filled Dixie like tunes about all things whiskey, loving country music and other topics related.
They come complete with a Mexican Sombrero and baseball caps too to add to the rather splendid visualisation of a home-made tea-chest guitar, banjo, upright bass and steel guitar as well.
A musical outfit that myself and Steve Cooper can't get enough of recent since we caught them at two other festivals within weeks of one another who never cease to impress with their jovial presence, tight unity and exquisite material that jams and flows along so naturally, getting the outdoor crowd as one and involved in every cut where possible.
You've gotta be dead not to bop along to this orchestra as they grab you straight away and refuse to let you go 'til they are done. You can't go wrong with redneck rollickings like 'Too Much Willie Nelson'; 'Burn The House' or 'Milk My Cow' - love 'em!
Set List: Endless Rain/Into The Fire/Left For Dead/It's Not Heaven/Chemical Child/Fallen Saviour/Roller/Super Gravity/Monkey Chains/Last Stand/Reflection.
Lowdrive are another superb local band who have been doing the rounds and got themselves noticed in a variety of venues these last couple of years in the area. Here in the tent they truly impressed the crowd with cuts from their 'Roller' album. No doubt, quite a good handful are hardcore fans of the 'drive and rightly so too since they totally have their style and sound nailed.
Frontman, Andy Sawf has got to go down as the coolest dressed dude of the entire day who looks like a rock 'n' roll desert messiah with the presence of the late Jim Morrison of The Doors. They pound out some supreme stoner-edged songs that included giants like 'Fallen Saviour'; 'It's Not Heaven' and the forever brilliant closer 'Reflection'.
I can see them being onto big things in the future far and wide. Nicely done guys and here's to many more killer performances soon!
Set List: Left Me For Dead/Fire, Fire (HB)/The Devil That Needs You/Welcome Home (HB)/Fire In The Fields Of Mayhem/I Am Electric (HB)/Mind Of A Mute/Dancin' Down Below (including 'I Can't Stand Losing You')/Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch (HB)/Morals.
Well this was cool to see the second former Heaven's Basement singer, Aaron Buchanan (& The Cult Classics) on the big stage as I'd previously seen them in a support slot to another band in the small room at a prestigious Sheffield venue. His Sister, Laurie, also a member of the band is also a member of The Amorettes too who I'd seen recent at another festival not too far away.. anyways I'm tangenting here..
Their material went down well here with a superb inclusion of a classic by The Police during one of their numbers. I was actually surprised that they were relying on material from when he was in his former band though as opposed to having new stuff solely by them. Not a dig – just an observation.
Highlights of their material was the Queen'esque meets Muse'ness of 'Morals' or the darker 'Mind Of A Mute that is very much in a Soundgarden kinda vein. Wonder what the future holds....?
Set List: All In The Name Of Rock 'N' Roll/Alternative Jesus/Hellvis/Down In The Gutter/Wrecking Ball/Taking It Back/She's My Witch/Doing Just Enough/Strychnine/King Of The Road/Wilko/The Devil Rides Out/Coloured Blues/Born To Die/Scream It If You Wanna Go Faster.
Encore: Let There Be Rock.
Now if you want some punkier edged stuff with raspin' throaty vocals and the sounds and images of an upright bass, then look no further than Sheffield's own answer to Cowpunk and almost psychobilly and then some in the form of 'The Dukes Of Bordello'.
These guys were the headliners in here who played a long set with stand-outs including the opener 'All In The Name Of Rock 'N' Roll' and the dedication that is 'Wilko' who is still going strong today!
Then what about the lovely titled numbers like 'Strychnine' and 'Born To Die' proving that the Dukes have a real dark sense of humour – well you need to have one living around here right? Hahaha!
Set List: Rock Juju/Drive/Lonely Girl In A Photograph/Voodoo/Other Side Of The City/Proud Mary/Drink Beer, Destroy/Black And Blue/Murder Ballad/Rock Kids Of The 80's/The Rebel/Party Like They Started The End Of The World.
Now these Belfast Boys have become firm faves over here in Steel City and I've witness them a couple of times myself before. They are brilliant in a small setting but it seems that it's the big stage that they favour best on as proven here. They totally make the big space work for them and the folk watching really seem to love what they are being treated to.
There are plenty of highlights in their set that include the Thin Lizzy like 'Girl In A Photograph'; a smoking take of 'Proud Mary' that got everyone singing along – that song never fails to get a crowd impact no matter what band cranks it up or their live pacey anthem 'Drink Beer, Destroy'.
Then take it down a bit in tempo by way of 'Murder Ballad' giving the band a breather and finish on the gutsy 'Party Like They Started The End Of The World' - Believe me, folks did just that and hopefully left some energy for the last couple of hours or so as well.
It was getting close to the main headliner moment but before this happening, the main folk who made the event become a reality in the first place took to the stage for a few words of thankyou's to us all – these being Steve & Zhany Hughes and Geno D Lora who received a lot of love and rapturous applause from everyone here today.
Set List: Everlone/Vanilla Radio/Suckerpunch/Sick Of Drugs/The Revolution Will Be Televised/Top Of The World/The Jackson Whites/Anthem/Let 'Em Go/Greetings From Shitsville/Caffeine Bomb/Stormy In The North, Karma In The South/Diagnosis/Love U 'Til I Don't.
Encore: My Baby Is A Headfuck/TV Tan/29 x The Pain/Just In Lust/Mazel Tov Cocktail/White Lies (Cover)/I Wanna Go Where The People Go.
So what's happening next? Oh yes, it's time for Mr. Badaxe to bring on the headliners which is done with pure ease! That dude rules! Go and see him at a festival as it's with the cash to see him alone!
When The Wildhearts hit the stage one by one, the crowd are utterly deafening and that's before Ginger makes his mark there. Earplugs at the ready when he gets up there as well – not for the band but the screams from the females at the front.
Their set is a flabbergasting 21 song affair that as my good buddy, Tonito pointed out was longer than was stated on the initial set-list that actually ended on 'I Wanna Go Where The People Go' but went way beyond that. They must have been having such a good time that they didn't want to leave the stage. Obviously so happy to be there with Frontman, Ginger complimenting the crowd with smiles to be seen all over the bowl.
Filled with ditties with plenty of points in their colourful career with at least a couple that are sung by Bassist, Danny McCormack who many us recently saw do the final gig with his own band, The Main Grains only a week previously. I must say that it's great to see him up their with his main band again on two legs and seeming totally natural with it too. Lead Guitarist, CJ Wildheart gets plenty of audience recognition as well since his name was bawled several time by the women here tonight with the line-up being complete with powerhouse drummer, Ritch Battersby.
Many of the fans wouldn't keep still and at times it was more like being among a bunch of pack animals, not knowing where the next surge or push was going to come from due to their overall excitement of having their heroes playing in front of them – who they hadn't seen live for many years. Toward the end of the gig, the crowd got a nice surprise when Ginger's black and white Collie was brought on stage who fussed him with so much love. “This is my dog. Her name's Maggie”, he tells us who is really happy to be up there with her master.
On with the show as he orders her offstage before she steals his fire – hahaha. You know what folk are like with pets – awwwwww!! Was Ginger getting jealous? Only kidding mate! There were so many top tracks in this headlining set that included the sticking in your memory forever whether you like it or not 'TV Tan' – I guess that was all part of the plan right? As well as the already mentioned 'I Wanna Go...'; 'Greetings From Shitsville'; 'Suckerpunch'; 'Let 'Em Go' and many, many more.. you will all have your own personal faves so that's an open-ended idealism anyway.
Overall, a killer day and night with a fitting end from a busy band who have many more shows coming on an up-and-coming tour, not to mention a brand new E.P. entitled 'Diagnosis' coming soon. Be sure to buy it, plus their back catalogue if you don't already own it!
Here's to next years 'Rocking The Bowl' that has a strong line-up nearly fully in place for 2020! See ya there without fail – it's on a Saturday – no excuses!
By Glenn Milligan
Set Lists by Tonito Bermudez
Photos of Mr. Badaxe
provided by Chris Heath
Opening Photo of Ginger Wildheart & with Maggie the Collie by Eliza Marples