Stonedeaf Festival 2019 –

Newark Showground, Newark-Upon-Trent, Saturday 24th August, 2019

Well that has flown real fast – a complete year since we were all in this field taking in and enjoying nine great rock bands with the legendary Krusher compering who had some brilliant t-shirts and limited edition signed prints for purchase too. Sadly I missed the first band, Samarkind. They did sound pretty damn good from a distance and hope to catch them at some point in the future.

Set List: Generation Riot/Blood Money Blues/One By One/Roses/If You Want Blood (You Got It)/Dancefloor/Ghost/Long Time Coming.

Massive were up next – no they aren't anything to do with that band from last year with the W word added but in fact a killer independent act from the other side of the pond – Australia. Onstage were a load of guests plus a Stonedeaf monster which looked cool, not to mention cranking up some classic old AC/DC in 'If You Want Blood, You've Got It'.

These Aussie boys certainly had it and impressed me immensely with their full-on Rock 'n' Roll and cocksure bombastic attitude the way a band should be up there in my opinion. Definitely a solid well crafted act who utterly nailed it with all their cuts such as the opening 'Generation Riot', 'Dancefloor' and the spiritually awesome 'Ghost'.

​Wow – just wow! Now I must see them at one of their own touring shows. Hope it's not a 'Long Time Coming'.

Set List: Born To Break/Let The Neighbours Call The Cops/Come 'N' Get It/You Still Got Rock 'N' Roll/Whatever Gets You Through/Coming Up The Middle/Bull By The Horns/Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock 'N' Roll).

When it came to The Amorettes , their frontess, Gill Montgomery had recently lost her original rhythm section of the McKay Sisters after they had been booked for the festival, but as luck would have it, the frontwoman of Tequila Mockingbird had left so remaining members, Drummer, Josie O'Toole and Jacinta Jaye (Bass) teamed up with Gill plus Laurie Buchanan (on Rhythm Guitar) saving the day.

This gang of girls had real balls (in a musical and vocal sense without sounding weird – hahaha).Their were various highlights of the set such as songs like 'Let The Neighbours Call The Cops' or the closing 'Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock 'N' Roll)'. I am guessing they were still finding their feet somewhat with the new line-up but bit by bit the confidence was coming and became a real stronghold of a band.

In time I can see them being more like the new age Girlschool after a few more road miles as they have strong songs and plenty of zest about them. 

Set List: Borrowed Time/Bones/Lightning To The Nations/Death By Design/In The Heat Of The Night/It's Electric/Belly Of The Beast/It's Electric/The Messenger/Helpless/Am I Evil?

Now who was up next? Well, Krusher introduced one of 'em as a legend or words to that effect, yes I am talking about lead guitarist and only original band member, Brian Tatler. Immediately as the Diamond Head cranked up people noticed that there was a sound issue with the vocal of Rasmus as they couldn't hear him. After a few songs in, this was corrected thanks to the excellence of Stonedeaf's Soundman.

I had actually seen the band last month and I must say personally it was good to experience these diamond geezers again. The audience did seem to be loving it and sang along to many songs with of course fists and devil signs in the air as ever. Apart from the band themselves onstage, two other things made this set stand out: the dude in the crowd, dressed only in his red underpants dancing and rocking out, who looked like a cross between Iggy Pop and scarily enough Brian Tatler!

The second, and one of the main highlights of the entire day, was incredible flyover by the Dakota Bomber from RAF Conningsby to celebrate the Battle of Britain Memorial. All of a sudden, the audience's head turned upwards to the sky as the roar of the plane won in a decibel war over the boys last few bars of 'Am I Evil'.

To sum it up, plane aside, this was good ole heavy metal in your face that you can rock out to again and again. Here's to next time. Now go and buy their new album 'The Coffin Case'.

Set List: Empire/Walk In The Shadows/Operation: Mindcrime/Breaking The Silence/The Mission/Screaming In Digital/Take Hold Of The Flame/Silent Lucidity/Jet City Woman/Eyes Of A Stranger.

Now this is the first time I have personally experienced Frontman, Geoff Tate without the rest of that band beginning with the letter Q alongside him, although he is no stranger to the webzine over the last couple of years since both Dawn Belotti and John Mather covering two different shows on either sides of the pond.

This was very much a classic festival set that incorporated the best moments of Queensryche with songs that general rock fans would instantly recognise such as 'Jet City Woman' and 'Eyes Of A Stranger' that always go down well with their singalong chorus's amping up the crowd no end. Geoff was in sure-fine form both vocally and mood-wise, joking to us that he “could see 10,000 lobsters out there – get these people some lotion” even though he was looking in need of it himself – lol.

Man that sun and heat was still relentless to us alI with it being so bright that Mr. Tate was forever shutting his eyes a lot while singing as the rays would have been directly penetrating his eyes – that must have been hard going. You ought to have stuck your shades on dude! An American caught out for the British weather – you'll never live it down!

While this was a strong retro set, it would have been good to introduce the Stonedeafers to some of his own newer material making them fans of him in his own right. Just a thought? He chatted to the crowd aplenty and ensured to introduce his band members that he was obviously proud of having with him on stage.

He referred to his stickman as a m*th*rf*ck*r of a drummer and if memory serves me right, calling the guitarist, his brother from another mother! To sum it up, this is a class act indeed who thoroughly deserved the appreciation they received.

Set List: Alive/Don't Wanna Go/Killing Time/Ghost/Any Other Way/Crush/Small Talk/No More Heroes/Little White Lies/The Jokes On You/Something Wrong/Until The End.

Now as soon as Wayward Sons took to the stage, you felt the love and the warmth between crowd and fans. No doubt because Toby Jepson is a well-established British Act who has such a deep soul and comes across so incredibly genuine to everyone because he is very 'what you see is what you get'. Both frontman and the rest of the band were very moved by the crowd and the response.

Highlights of the set include the gutsy opener 'Alive' and they definitely were; ballsy 'Killing Time'; the brand new cut 'The Joke's On You' from their forthcoming album 'The Truth Ain't What It Used To Be' and the aptly placed closer 'Until The End'. Solid, solid solid – what more can you say?

Actually there's a slight link to last years Stonedeaf Festival – sad anorack trivia time – The Quireboys played here 1st time around and Phil Martini at one point used to be their drummer...

Anyway, Wayward Sons have proved since their incarnation that they've got the gift and x-factor to make it in this hard climate – not to mention a hot one on this today as well. Looking forward to seeing them play here again in a few years from now!

Set List: Big Mouth/Step Into The Fire/Rock Out/Freak Show/Born To Raise Hell/Dark Days/Get On Your Knees/R.A.M.O.N.E.S/Ringleader/Straight Up/Silver Machine/Ace Of Spades/High Rule.

Now this was a well and truly fired up band. Everyone in the field seemed to be singling along from word go. It was like someone had flicked a switch and the Stonedeaf audience seemed to go into a new joyous dimension. 'The b*st*rds had them by the bollocks and more as though they were under a spell. It felt as though Lemmy was smiling down on everyone and they wanted to keep his close to stage presence alive.

The songs chosen were a healthy mix of their own plus a tincey, wincy bit of Motorhead that went down as brilliantly. Oh and how can I forget to mention the inclusion of that Hawkwind classic 'Silver Machine' – their only number 1 with Lem on lead vocals. Phil in a great mood, laughing and joking throughout – oh and absolutely gorgeous Gold guitar with Snaggletooth on it! There was talk that they were the highlight band of the day which is not surprising really.

It seemed like they were jamming in their living room and inviting us all in to be part of the house party. If you think about it they actually are since the band is made up of Dad, Phil Campbell and his three sons, Tyla, Todd and Dane and their mate, Chris Starr on lead vocals who get on so, so, well off stage and on. It all gels so well and they have fun.

They genuinely enjoy what they are doing and unlike other bands who can come across too serious like it's more of a chore than a performance job that they love. An incredible show that ticked every box vocally and musically – f*ck*n' exceptional.

Set List: Where Are You Now?/Taking The Blame/High Flying Gypsy/Read All About It/I Don't Know You/Warning/Freak Show/Breakaway/Uninvited/Instrumental/Ride To Nowhere/I Don't Need Your Loving/Holy Water/Until I Die.

Woohoo, another band I get to see a month later – yes I am talking about the marvellous Inglorious with the biggest voice of the biz this side of the Atlantic, Mr. Nathan James. Like last time his voice is monstrously powerful and show so many people how it really should be put over to impress – this man is an absolute master of the arts when it comes to larynx gymnastics since there doesn't seem to be any end to his range from what I can hear!

The new line-up are simply going from strength to strength as well and sound extremely confident and together like a tight musical family, astounding the crowd in the starlit setting that sees the stagelights come into full effect for the set of such a majestically epic, brilliant band.

So many stand-out moments here – I could be biased and say all of it but that would be lazy so I will have to pinpoint things such as the mind-blowing Alanis Morrissette penned ballad 'Uninvited'; the Whitesnake like 'Taking The Blame'; the relentless voicings of 'High Flying Gypsy'; the relationship breakup song that is 'I Don't Know You' and the mouth-watering closer 'Until I Die'.

I thought it was so honest and tongue-in-cheek humour injected when Nathan said when they were going to be in the signing tent and that people needed to hurry up about it, not to mention that he wasn't signing people's bits – he “didn't have time because he wanted to watch Glenn Hughes – The Voice Of Rock'” - Rightly so too mate – can't fault you there as a fan. He is Nathan's absolute idol after all. No doubt he was utterly chuffed to f*ck that he was billed right below him.

To sum up their time at Stonedeaf – pretty easy really – this is how a proper rock band should sound – cream of the crop, professional exquisite musicianship with a Frontman who makes you proud to say you are British – easily one of the finest I ever seen and I would put Nathan against anyone the world over!

Set List: Stormbringer/Might Just Take Your Life/Sail Away/Drum Solo/You Keep On Moving/ Gettin' Tighter/Mistreated/Smoke On The Water/Georgia On My Mind.

 

Encore: Burn/Highway Star.

Okay, so I've already gave it away who had the headline spot on Stonedeaf Festival 2019 – the legendary 4-string twanger and screaming, voiced somersaulting extraordinaire, former Wolves boy, Glenn Hughes. You may know him in recent years for being one of two frontmen of Black Country Communion but for the last couple of years he's been taking his 'Performs Classic Deep Purple' all over the world.

For whatever reason he keeps us waiting for over half an hour – he should have hit the stage at 9.30pm as well. Gave me a chance to have a chat and warm up on stage left though as it was getting a bit chilly out there. Anyways when finally came on stage thy cranked straight into Stormbringer and it went from there onwards with DP cuts plus one cover.

There were some funny moments during his set such as referring to us as Nottingham – this is Newark- arghhh – it has been all day lol and still is. This reminded me of the classic “Hello Cleveland!” moment from Van Halen. It was a lovely gesture to perform 'Getting Tighter' a song written by him and the late Tommy Bolin, with Glenn telling us he has played it every day since he passed away, but did he really have to improvise it for over 20 minutes when there were way more songs he could have done as well?

He told us that he would play for us for free? I got a gut feeling he got paid but I'll take him on his word and he can play my next birthday if he is up for it. There was a bad buzz that got fixed after a while where he joked that others would storm off saying 'Do you realise who I was?' - looking at his picture – lol! Then gets on with the job regardless!

I was actually blown away by the fact that he had specially flown in today in order to do the gig as he seemed wide awake during the show and was even flying back that same night via Heathrow because he was so so busy. It's little wonder that voice sounded tired at times on those higher notes– though jet-lag is bound to do that to you but you must admit there aren't may guys aged 67 who can sing in these registers without popping a few blood vessels or worse.

He praises and thanks us for being there for him over the years, telling us he was born to do this, as in play music and that he actually always wanted to play for Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC) but I guess he didn't do bad out of the deal within the music business that his parents encouraged him to do who he also thanked tonight. He is an American and has been living there since the early 70's but has fond memories of the UK regardless. Man, can this guy talk or what??

His bass playing is absolute top dollar and the vocal pipes are second to none in many moments with song highlights including the breath-taking (no-pun intended) 'Georgia On My Mind'; my personal favourite 'Might Just Take Your Life' for it's freshly lit always killer riff and wailing chorus that I have always loved not to mention hearing the heat of the number that is 'Burn' during the encore; the slow blues beast that is 'Mistreated' or the rockin' funk of 'Keep On Moving'.

Just a pity that 'You Fool No One' was omitted from the set, yet we got 'Smoke On The Water' and 'Highway Star' that were recorded before he was even a member of the band and part of the Mark II output with Ian Gillan on vocals. Unless it was an attempt to please those in the crowd not as familiar with the output from Mark III and Mark IV material.

Mr. Hughes made sure to introduce his band saying that his drummer Ash never takes his cap off and that even in 86 degrees, exclaiming that he is some man who is able to do that. He was so, so overjoyed to have Soren as his guitarist who had been there for a good few years now. The last thing he said was to listen out for a special Planet Rock on the following Thursday for some big news that most of us knew already since what he was referring to was all over the Internet already. He broke his curfew time as well so no wonder that stuff wanted us out the show area virtually straight after he had done.

One of those sets that left you expecting more from a headliner of this proportion or was I expecting too much here? There were mixed feelings to say the least and I hate to say that at times I was rather disappointed but alternatively really pleased I had seen some of the Glenn Hughes Deep Purple era performed by the man himself and his cream of the crop solo band.

Let's see what next year brings when the festival will change its name to Stonedead.

Review & Photographs By Glenn Milligan

Special thanks to Eliza Marples for some invaluable input and her pic of Glenn Hughes plus Tonito Bermudez for the set list information, not to mention Chris Sumby, Jenny Duncan and all of the Stonedeaf Team for making it all happen!