Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Rock & Blues Festival 2017 live review

The great bill at this festival included headliners, the legendary Steve Harris and his British Lion, and the amazing Y&T, alongside Toseland, FM and The Amorettes (some of my favourites). Plus the brilliant new band Wayward Sons (fronted by Toby Jepson), Graham Bonnet Band, and quirky Spaniards, StOp STop to name but a few.
StOp STop rocking the crowd
Thursday saw some fabulous tribute bands open the show in Derby last week, but I arrived on Friday which was when the party really got started. Kicking off the main stage on Friday was the fun, whacky and marvellous StOp STop! The interesting image of this Spanish-UK based band caused much curiosity amongst the crowd, who by the time the guys reached a mash-up of Proud Mary and Thunderstruck, were highly impressed by the energetic trio. A great bit of fun, and I’d love to see them again!

StOp STop after their fab set!
Following the quirky trio were female-fronted band, Syteria (featuring Jackie Chambers of Girlschool) who delivered a set that the crowd loved and showcased some incredible musical talent and impressive four-part harmonies. 

It was lovely to chat with Toby before his set!
Brand new and hot to trot, Wayward Sons took to the stage (only their second live gig together!) and delivered a blinding set of brand new material from their forthcoming debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come. Despite the crowd not being familiar with the tracks (which Jepson remarked on gleefully, causing a chuckle from the audience), the band were very well received. Highlights from the set have to be the two released tracks, Alive, and highly successful first single, Until The End, along with some classic Little Angels tracks, Kickin Up Dust and Young Gods. Check out my interview with Toby here to find out why he feels that Ghosts Of Yet To Come is the best record he has made yet!
Toseland on stage on Friday night
Next up was the marvellous Toseland who rocked the tent right from the word go, as they marched on stage to perform the brilliant Living In A moment. The band jammed their way through a set full of favourites including Cradle The Rage and Renegade. As well as We’ll Stop At Nothing of course, which has been chosen as the official anthem for the Special Olympics to be held in Sheffield next month – click here to see James talk about it in full with me!
Closing the night were the much-anticipated Steve Harris' British Lion. The legendary Iron Maiden bassist led his band on stage to a packed marquee who went mad for the band. The guys played a great set of tracks that went down a storm with the audience. Performing as though he was playing to an arena of Maiden fans, it was a real treat for fans to see Harris playing up so close.
Graham Bonnet had a great reaction from the crowd!
Saturday saw three ace girls (who go by the name of The Amorettes) take the stage (who I will be catching again later in the year), before another legend took his place in the spotlight – Graham Bonnet Band! Bonnet’s set went down a treat with the crowd who were in love with his distinctive vocals and outstanding band.
The mighty FM showcasing their undeniable talent
Following Bonnet’s set was the one-and-only FM. These guys have been on the go since the 80s (with a break in between!), but boy have they still got it! With Steve Overland’s outstanding vocals and their unbelievably good songs, like Dangerous, That Girl and of course the original version of Shot In The Dark, you can’t go wrong with these guys! Check out my backstage chat with Steve and Jim from the band here, as they talk about their new album, plans for next year and why some guitar solos just shouldn’t be tampered with!
It was a pleasure to catch up with Steve and Jim prior to their set!
 And finally, to close what was a cracking weekend of music and fun, the legendary Y&T took their place on the main stage. Also having been on the go since the late 70s/early 80s, it was a pleasure to see such a well-respected and talented band. Despite being a member short (get well soon John!), the band were highly professional and made the best of the situation through both a last-minute stand-in, Ross McEwan (who did a fantastic job!) playing guitar with the band for several of the songs, and performing as a three-piece, highly impressive. Frontman and lead guitarist Dave Meniketti had everyone hooked with his iconic tracks like Mean Streak and Winds Of Change. Check out my lovely backstage chat with Dave here, to hear him talk about being both the lead guitarist and vocalist as well as the band’s fans!
Dave Meniketti of Y&T very kindly spent a couple of minutes speaking with me before their fabulous set!
Along with the main stage, the festival also hosted an acoustic tent and an outside stage which featured the likes of Tequila Mockingbyrd – Aussie, all-girl trio who had some fab tracks and did a great job with the crowd.

All-round, this was a festival with brilliant bands, plenty of stalls to wander around (shout out to All Body Jewels for my lovely new piercings!), a covered main stage (which meant despite heavy rain showers both the bands and fans could enjoy the sets in the dry!) and most importantly, a lovely, friendly atmosphere! Big thanks to Dale and his team for having us and huge congratulations on creating such a fun, successful weekend – I hope to attend next year!

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