Its August Bank Holiday weekend and that means one thing... no not a rainy weekend stopping us enjoying our extra day off work; its STONEDEAF! The festival now in its second year born out of the old Monsters of Rock ethos. One Day, One Stage, Old School Vibe. And to top things off, as luck would have it, the weather gods have given us the hottest August bank holiday on record what more could we ask for?
The one stage, named after the late great Tommy Vance and compèred by the legendary Krusher, kicked into action mid morning. First band of the day were Samarkind the hard hitting bluesy rock quartet with monster riffs to blow away the hangovers of those awake early enough to catch them. Next, stepping it up a gear were Massive, part of the new Aussie Rock invasion. Their high intensity show enthralled us all and with a stage invasion/dance off by the fans to close out the band proved to be one of the highlights of the day.
The new look Amorettes had to follow that act, the all female four piece demonstrate that line up changes wont affect their punchy rock and roll styling. Gill is commanding, a powerful voice with devastating guitar skills that drive this band forward. Ultimately their performance proves they are as strong today as they have always been and the Newark crowd seems to agree.
Fourth up on the nine band bill are Diamond Head, which seems a little lowly considering their influence over the likes of Metallica. For me, they are the stand out act of the day. Through all the classics, ‘It’s Electric’, ‘Helpless’ and of course 'Am I Evil?' Brian Tatler proves both he and his band still have it. The RAF flyover at the end of their set the icing on their cake. That was magnificent.
Geoff Tate, surrounding himself with young, vibrant musicians puts on a fantastic hour show of Queensrÿche classics. Whilst rock royalty Toby Jepson is next up bringing his new outfit Wayward Sons to the festival. Introduced by Krusher as the man who is responsible for a good percentage of his hangovers, Jepson and the 'sons whip up a frenzy. Hard rock nee. heavy metal riff's in abundance, heaps of energy and outright showmanship. This Wayward Sons act is fantastic to both watch and listen to and we hope to catch up with them again soon.
More famous for his time in Motorhead, Phil Campbell has moved on since Lemmy's passing. Now the driving force behind 'Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons' he mixes his heritage with the youthful vigour of his sons to put on one hell of a show. Easily the heaviest act on the bill, the raging guitars and anthemic vocals combine to get the crowd pumping their fists and banging their heads. All closed off with covers of 'Silver Machine' and 'Ace of Spade', you can just see Lemmy sat looking down on us all during his former band mates set.
By now early evening is already upon us, how did that happen? In that special guest slot just below the headliner are Inglorious, the self proclaimed future of British rock and roll. Following a line up change and a new album the band are reinvigorated and the performance shows it. All built off the back of Nathan James stunning vocals be band delivery on their proclamation. A dynamic and vibrant set really warms the fans up ready for the festivals closing act.
Its now dark, the stage lights illuminate the three thousand plus fans gathered to watch Glenn Hughes perform a set of Deep Purple classics. There are technical issues on stage, well outside of Glenn's control as he patiently waits side of stage to begin his set.
The stage lit up in psychedelic colours as Glenn and his band take ot the stage, the rock legend looking far younger than his age and performing with the youthful exuberance of someone half his age. Opening with Deep Purple classics ‘Stormbringer’, ‘Sail Away’ and ‘You keep On Moving’ some of the technical issue from prior still persist but do not stop or really affect the performance in anyway.
Glenn stomp around the stage, wielding his bass and gesticulating to his adoring fans. ‘Smoke on The Water’ brings the main set to a close, but its not the end. ‘Burn’ and ‘Highway Star’ round out the perfect show which any Deep Purple fan.
So as we reflect on year two of the Stondedeaf festival we look back at a second fantastic weekend, run to perfection and with a line up of gods for any self respecting rock fan. They may not have the budget of their more commercial cousins, but despite that Stonedeaf is by far the highlight of the summer and for the second year in a row its a raging success.