Starting off bright and early at around 11:30am (after a slight delay), Lowdrive took to the stage. Bringing what I felt like was a great stoner/doom vibe reminiscent of the likes of The Sword or Down, the band did a great job of blowing away the last of my grogginess and setting me up well for the rest of the day! I feel like everyone felt the same as the crowd responded better than they did to the first band the day before. They were still a tad quiet though, making me feel like if the band were put in front of a crowd that knew their stuff it’d really be something special!
The second stage was open today too and the festival did a great job of alternating between the two stages, ensuring no clashes and making sure there was always music on throughout the day.
The first band to grace this stage were Zero Point Zero, a metalcore band from our neck of the woods, Derby/Notts. The frontman had a fantastic scream, but unfortunately his cleans were a tiny bit weak – it may have just been nerves or time away from playing live or the questionably VERY loud mix. The rest of the band were good, playing a good mix of clean, slower stuff and great heavy riffs. The least polished band so far but that was expected, being on the second stage.
Next up on the mainstage was the all-female band Joanovarc. Considering it was their first time performing with their brand new singer, Hazel, I think they absolutely smashed it! Like, so much so that they were one of the highlights of the weekend! All four women were fantastic at their given job and all had a natural chemistry with each other on stage. These girls have a BIG future under this line-up and I cannot wait to see what they do next.
Back over to the second stage we head afterwards for a band called Firegarden. There was a major emphasis on the instrumentation, being a lot more of that than vocals. It was fine because all of them were fantastic at their given instrument. The crowd clearly loved it too as the tent was pretty packed out from start to finish.
Welsh hard-rock band Florence Black were up next! Given how they were building up to the release of their debut album this coming Friday, they did a fantastic job adding hype! The band get such an amazing, HUGE sound out of just the three of them, and they had the kind of style and stage-presence that a band ten years their senior may not even have. Another very polished band yet, just like City Kids, they have an edge of grit and improvisation to them – making it all the more enjoyable. And any band that covers Budgie is a win for me!
Unfortunately we missed the following second stage band as we had interviews, but managed to catch Empyre afterwards. They were good, if a little slow. I spent the entire set waiting for a big drop, for the band to get a little heavier or faster, but it didn’t come. There were a couple of parts that sounded a little like Tool, but it never quite hit the same heights. They were all still fantastic musicians, though, and the vocals were a particular highlight.
Shooting back across to the second stage we got to catch most of the awesome A Joker Among Thieves. They were another band that pulled and maintained a pretty decent crowd throughout their set, and for very good reason, they were great! They had a real great, genuine energy about them and seemed genuinely thankful to be there. Their slow song around the middle of the set was awesome too.
Hell’s Addiction were another fun, enjoyable and pretty tight band. They were on the same sort of level as City Kids in that they felt like the first band of the day people had gone there to see. Shoutout to the guitarist’s soloing.
Next up were a personal favourite band of mine, Bad Touch. I’ve known the guys for years and it’s so amazing to see them go from playing tiny pub venues in front of a limited audience to being a lot of people’s highlight of the weekend. It’s down to earth blues/country rock, no bells and whistles, just five guys giving it their all to play enjoyable songs and give the crowd the best time they can. Stevie is one of the most charismatic frontmen I’ve ever seen and he had the audience in the palm of his hand throughout. What other band could play a badass Alanis Moressette cover that weekend and get away with it? And not to mention 99% being a crowd favourite. A cracking set!
Gin Annie were another enjoyable band just like Hell’s Addiction that were all extremely talented and owned the stage with their polish and professionalism… but it did feel a little too much at times. There is a pretty fine line between being well put together and being TOO choreographed and rehearsed, and I felt like the band landed on the wrong side of that line from time to time. There is a grit and realism that I feel must exist in rock music, especially when it’s underground like this, and taking that away makes it feel much more corporate, something that no one wants from their rock music. Still, they were a good, enjoyable band none the less!
Finally, we reached the headliner of the evening, the almighty Doro. The former Warlock frontwoman blasted through a set full of classics and hits, both from her old band and her solo career, having the crowd in the palm of her hand the entire time. It was just an hour or so of classic metal goodness, even complete with a separate drum solo! All the band members were fantastic and she’s still such a charismatic frontwoman that it really helped carry the performance. A great way to close the night!