Stonedeaf Festival 2019

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Stonedeaf Festival 2019

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 - Showground Newark, Newark (UK) - 24 August 2019

Having attended last year's inaugural festival at Newark Showground, and having enjoyed it as much as we all did, the date for this year's second go had been in my diary since it was first announced. Last year's bands were very good, but they had gone up a notch with the line-up this year, with more big(ish) names than last time attending to tread the boards. And the festival gods smiled on Newark for the second time, covering the site with bright, warm sunshine, and what appeared to be a larger crowd than before, right from the start. Krusher was here again, to tell us all we needed to know (which we probably all knew already, but he's a good lad), and off we went.

Samarkind kicked off the festival at 11:30 in fine form. Hailing from Ireland (I believe that they are the victors of one of those competitions where you win a slot on a festival bill), this was the first time I had heard them and I quickly came to the conclusion that vocalist David Paul Byrne was firmly in the Glenn Hughes mould. And as they progressed I noticed one of the songs, probably 'Fire And Blood', had a little of Child In Time' In it, and then in another later on, the guitar sound was very reminiscent of Mr Blackmore in 'Gates Of Babylon.' A good start then.

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Samarkind Live

Massive were also a first timer for me. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, my first thought would be that they would probably sound like a poor man's AC/DC, or Airbourne for short. But they didn't really. Vocalist Brad Marr also played guitar, and was another who possessed a strong voice, although he did exhibit signs of being out of breath between songs. There was a lot of energy in their performance, not an easy thing on a hot, humid day, but hey, it's not usually that cold in Melbourne. They invited half the crowd and an alien on stage with them for one number (after which he claimed that one of the young ladies on there had "the largest breasts he had ever seen", (which I didn't think was true)), and then announced that after attending the signing tent they would be in the crowd "like the rest of you" watching all the excellent bands. And they were. During the final song, 'Long Time Coming,' he sang a long, loud and high note without passing out, and probably shattered glasses somewhere.

Generation Riot, Blood Money, Blues, One By One, Roses‬, If You Want Blood (You've Got It), Dancefloor, Ghost, Long Time Coming.

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Massive Live

I believe I have attended festivals where the Amorettes have played previously, but I think I would be right in saying that I missed them, for whatever reason, but I would correct that oversight today. The all-female band kept the crowd on their toes, and the girls have been doing it long enough now to know just what the crowd wants, and they gave it to them. They did have a little problem with feedback, but nobody seemed to mind. However, I do have one criticism with the fact that there was very little interaction, if any, with the crowd. One song, the title of which I do not know, had elements of Madonna's 'Holiday' in it, while another reminded me of Quo's 'Down Down'. And somewhere in there was a small snippet of 'Whole Lotta Love.'

Born To Break, Let The Neighbours Call the Cops, Come 'n' Get It, You've Still Got Rock And Roll, Whatever Gets You Through, Coming Up The Middle, Bull By The Horns, Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock And Roll)

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 The Amorettes Live

Introduced as legends, Diamond Head are one of those Thrash bands that a few years ago I couldn't listen to. They have inspired many bands who gained greater fame (I believe Metallica was one), but never got to that height themselves. And as I am now finding out, a lot of those bands I wouldn't look at before I now find OK. Before they came on, Krusher said that there would be a surprise later, and I wondered if someone from one of those bands would make an appearance with them. Coming on with a theatric and dramatic intro, they were noticeably heavier than any of the previous bands (which may not come as a surprise to anyone), but had a slight problem in that the vocals were just a little too low in the mix. There were new songs alongside old, which all seemed to work together. We didn't get anyone from inspired bands on stage with them, but towards the end of their set we had a visit by a Dakota aircraft that flew over three times. Was this DH doing an Iron Maiden? Dunno, but as impressive as that was for a new festival, I was even more impressed that it was from the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight. Quite a thing to organise for such a young festival.

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

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Diamond Head Live

I was surprised to see Geoff Tate so low down on the bill, and I wasn't sure what to expect of him, as I had read that he was nowhere near as good as when he was with Queensrÿche, and I had not seen him since he left that band. Whether they meant the music, or just his voice, I don't know, but I personally thought he was very good OK, it was sometimes slightly, but only slightly, strained when he went for the high notes, but playing mostly Queensrÿche numbers, including 'Empire', 'Operation Mindcrime', 'Jet City Woman' and, naturally, 'Silent Lucidity' (which was great to hear again), he sounded just like Geoff Tate singing in Queensrÿche. He looked happy on stage, and I thoroughly enjoyed the set. There were obviously a lot of people who felt the same way, as he got a very good reaction after he finished off with 'Eyes Of A Stranger'.

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

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Geoff Tate Live

Wayward Sons I had seen before, a few years ago at Download. Ex-Little Angels' Toby Jepson sang over what seemed to me like a much heavier sound. Mind you, it was some time ago. Although the sun had now become draining, Toby and the gang kept people on their feet for the duration of their set, which was just under an hour And a popular artist as Toby is, he couldn't go wrong here really, but unfortunately the day's first gremlins made an appearance as, right at the end of 'Killing Time', the power cut out and we had a rather sharper finish to the song than usual.

Drummer Phil Martini quickly got the crowd cheering and clapping, and many people didn't even notice the drop out. Power was rapidly re-established however, and they carried on, a little bemused but undaunted, cleverly grafting The Stranglers' 'No More Heroes' onto the end of 'Small Talk' later in the set.

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

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Wayward Sons Live

The very sweetly named Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons were up next, and again most people were on their feet throughout. Another lively set saw him play songs on numerous different guitars, including an eye-catching gold Flying V type. This was my first experience of Phil on his own, and he was always going to do OK simply by the number of Motörhead T-shirts on display today, but the two biggest highlights were a cover of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine and the classic Motörhead song 'Ace Of Spades', which included a nice touch with Phil dedicating it to everybody who had been in Motörhead.

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.

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons Live
Between Phil Campbell and Inglorious, Krusher came on stage and, with the help of the rock DJ, had nearly all the crowd singing along to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as a tribute to Freddie Mercury, with many people acting out the actions of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in 'Wayne's World' at the appropriate time, making it a memorable part of the day.

Despite Nathan James having put a bit of weight on in the last couple of years, probably due to the troubles he has had with now departed band members, it hasn't affected his voice, apart from possibly making it better. I have seen him with TSO, his original Inglorious, and now this new crew, and he just seems to get better. He exclaimed how pleased they were to be there, and on the same stage as such iconic Rock names, mentioning that they would be in the signing tent after their set, but warning people to be quick, and that he wouldn't be signing anybody's "bits", pointing to a particular young lady at the front, as he wanted to get back to watch Glenn Hughes. And the new musicians he has are excellent. I don't know where he found them, but they are a bit hot, particularly new guitarist Danny Dela Cruz, who James himself complimented a couple of times and announced "It is the first gig he has played with us as a 20 year old, and he hates it", and also commented that the crowd had pants older than him. I thought that there was quite a bit of Slash in his stance, his playing style and his look (And indeed, after coming away from photographing Glenn Hughes, the very same chap was stood in front of me coming away from the signing tent, and I mentioned this to him, at which he laughed and agreed totally). 'Holy Water' though, had the structure, chord wise, of a slower version of 'Mistreated'. They actually did a cover of 'Uninvited' that I wouldn't have believed was an Alanis Morissette song if he hadn't announced it. All in all, a really good performance, and the light show that they utilised was the most spectacular of the night

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

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Inglorious Live

And then it was time for Glenn Hughes. Well it would have been, as he was due on stage at 9:30, but due to technical problems, he didn't come on until around 10:00. I never saw him perform with Deep Purple, and the last time I did see him was on the Legends Of Rock Tour back in 2002. The passage of time can have a detrimental effect on a person's vocal ability, but it didn't appear to affect Hughes' voice in the slightest as he is still capable of hitting those high screams. And the tour that this was part of was all about playing classic Deep Purple songs, and this he did, starting off with 'Stormbringer' and 'Might Just Take Your Life.' Those technical issues still plagued them though, as the instruments kept cutting out, encouraging Hughes to have a slight dig and state that even without instruments he would remain on stage and carry on, not like some artists he could mention. He talked quite a lot, and told the audience on numerous occasions that he was honoured to play for us in Nottingham (?), and loved us all very much (which was a bit of a surprise as I had only met him the once). He occasionally spoke without making much sense at all (make of that what you will), but when he sang and played his classic Precision Bass lines, he made total sense and was totally Glenn Hughes. He dedicated 'Gettin' Tighter' to the memory of guitarist Tommy Bolin, and I had initially thought he would only do the songs from the albums that he was originally involved in, namely 'Burn', 'Stormbringer' and 'Come Taste The Band', but late on in the set he actually did 'Smoke On The Water' (which I was greatly surprised by), with 'Georgia On My Mind' tagged on to the end of it. And another surprise, he did 'Highway Star' from 'Deep Purple In Rock' as the final song of the encore.

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.

Stonedeaf Festival 2019 Glenn Hughes Live

So that was it for the second Stonedeaf Festival. A really good line-up, some glorious weather, a relaxed atmosphere with none of the stress of chasing from stage to stage to catch bands, and no schedule collisions, so you can see everybody. The vendors had increased so we didn't all run out of food (although I did hear that the fish and chip guy had left early as he had sold out), and the majesty of a BBMF flypast to top it off. What was there to complain about? I am sure after the second success that they will run with it again, and who knows who they will get next time?

Review and photos by Andy Brailsford

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