Friday, October 27, 2017

Rockingham Festival, Nottingham 20-22 Oct 2017 - live review

Headlined by Americans Kix and Vince Neil (the voice of Motley Crue) along with Canadians, Loverboy (playing their first UK date for decades!), The Rockingham Festival in Nottingham UK was a huge success. Three days of the finest melodic rock from all over the globe attracted hundreds to Nottingham Trent University for the weekend.
Rockingham went mad as Vince Neil belted out the Motley Crue classics live in Nottingham
Maverick from Ireland kicked off the event arriving on stage full of energy and clearly pleased to be a part of the weekend. Next up were the terrific Blanc Faces who were visibly moved by the positive reception they received from the crowd.They proved their versatility when frontman Robbie LeBlanc along with bassist (and brother), Brian effortlessly kept the crowd entertained whilst guitarist Philip Lindstrand rushed off stage to repair a broken string - true professionalism!
Maverick did a great job kicking off the weekend.
John Parr was next up, his voice sounding great, but he only performed three of his own songs with the rest of the set being made up of covers. I felt this was a little disappointing, and would have preferred to have heard a few more originals.
It was great to meet John Parr
Headline act Kix closed the night in great style. With a slick set of well choreographed moves and great tunes, these guys owned the stage. Frontman, Steve Whiteman didn't stop grooving all night and had the crowd in the palm of his hand for the whole set. A fab way to end the first night.
Kix brought the first night to a close.
Saturday saw a few bleary eyes from those lucky enough to gain entry to the exclusive opening night  aftershow party. This featured acts from across the weekend (and others) performing fun, short acoustic sets which was enjoyed by those lucky enough to get tickets. 
Dennis from Cruzh
Swedish rockers, Cruzh woke everybody up and got things off  to a great start with their riffy, catchy sound. Watching these guys was great fun as they worked their way through material from their debut album. Ones to watch out for.

The Amorettes followed, rocking their way through a set of some of their best tracks. It is always a pleasure to see this powerhouse trio doing their thing. There's a new album on its way too!
Great to see The Amorettes in action again.
VEGA are always outstanding!
Taking the stage next, one of my favourite bands (you guessed it) - VEGA! This six piece ALWAYS deliver a killer set and perform with infectious energy. With so many amazing tunes to choose from, it must be difficult to put together a short set for a festival slot, but they chose wisely and had the crowd singing along to their anthems.
I always have great fun hanging out with the guys from VEGA
I unfortunately had to miss 80's US AORsters Fortune, but from what I have heard, they delivered a great set.
I was lucky enough to meet Dave Bickler!
It was however, an absolute pleasure to hear Dave Bickler (the original voice of Survivor) sounding mighty fine, belting out a mix of classic Survivor and cover tracks. Needless to say, the venue went mad for classics  I Can't Hold Back (in homage to the late  Jimi Jamison), and of course Eye Of The Tiger.
It was an honour to bump into the phenomenal Harry Hess!
Canadian rockers, Harem Scarem needed little introduction to the packed venue. This powerful four-piece, absolutely blew the roof off, and have to be, musically one of the best bands I have seen live. The powerful vocals of front man Harry Hess, along with the agile fingers of guitarist Pete Lesperance and cracking backing vocals, particularly from drummer, Darren Smith created a very full sound, which I have rarely heard done so well. A truly class act, it was an honour to see them live. I was lucky enough to catch a word with Pete prior to the set too - watch our interview here.
Pete Lesperance and I after our interview.
Vince Neil conducting the crowd.
It fell to Vince Neil, the voice of Motley Crue to bring the night to a close. There was a real sense of excitement and anticipation felt throughout the venue as people awaited his arrival on stage. Opening with Dr Feelgood, Vince worked his way through a selection of Motley classics, including Kickstart My Heart, Girls Girls Girls and Same Ol' Situation. The crowd relished the opportunity to see Vince performing these hits in a mid size venue. He was ably accompanied by his band, Dana Strum on bass, Jeff Blando on guitar and the astonishing drummer that is Zoltan Chaney. I have watched a lot of bands but have never witnessed anyone play quite like Zoltan does. Check him out! A fabulous end to the second day.
I was lucky to catch a few words with Zoltan Chaney, a very special musician indeed!
Sunday kicked off with Bailey (Nigel Bailey) followed by Moritz. Both bands were thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd.
Great to catch Laurie from Airrace.
Airrace were next up, and they delivered a fab set of well-crafted, riffy material, including their latest single, Eyes Like Ice, which was very wellreceived. New vocalist Adam Payne did a marvellous job delivering the tracks, old and new alike. I really enjoyed them, and would love to catch them again!
Brother Firetribe's set really took me back in time!
Taking the spotlight next were Finnish melodic rockers, Brother Firetribe. I have been listening to this band since the age of four/five, but hadn't ever seen them live until Rockingham. They blew. Me. Away! Hearing tracks from my early childhood played live really took me back in time - one of my favourite bands on the bill. The guys were genuinely surprised and humbled by the reception that they got here in the UK, joking that they may have to do a UK tour (yes please guys). I was lucky enough to interview Pekka and the guys right after the show - watch it here.
Brother Firetribe after our interview!
Next up were the forever popular, Dare. When you play songs loved by everyone in the melodic rock world such as Abandon, you can't really go wrong! The whole venue loved the set - Vinny's guitar and Darren's vocals really brought the songs to life. It was great to see the guys live for the first time, I can't wait to catch them at the Winter Storm festival next month in Troon.
Vinny and Dare working their magic
Great White were next up, and performed a fab set for the energetic crowd. The loudest applause of course came when they played their version of Once Bitten Twice Shy - such a classic and great to hear live!
Great White
Finally, it fell to Loverboy to close the festival. Not having been to the UK for over 30 years, there was a lot of excitement when Mike Reno and his band stepped out on stage. They kicked the set off with Notorious, and the adoring crowd loved every minute of it (see what I did there!) going mad for the final three songs which of course were, Turn Me Loose, Working For The Weekend and, er,  Lovin Every Minute Of It. I was lucky enough to catch a word with Mike just minutes before he hit the stage, watch what he had to say here!
I was so lucky to get to meet and interview Mike Reno from Loverboy!
Highlight for me had to be VEGA (of course!), Blanc Faces, Brother Firetribe and Harem Scarem.

This was such a great festival to attend, and I am so pleased that it was open to under 18s, meaning I could be a part of it. Besides the phenomenal bands which filled the bill and the friendly atmosphere, I have to say how well organised and run the event was. Everyone wearing an item of clothing emblazoned with 'Crew' was seen working their socks off, and forever had a smile on their face - a true credit to the festival. Everything ran like clockwork, and it was a pleasure to attend.

Congratulations to the organisers for pulling off such a fabulous festival, and special thanks to Rich, Martin and Steve for all of their help over the weekend. I can't wait to see what's in store for us all next year!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent Review Madz,see you next year if not before :)