Planet Rock Brings Rockstock 2016 to Trecco Bay
Rockstock 2016 officially starts on Friday 2nd December, but if you have a Planet Rock Golden Ticket then you have an extra injection of music with four bands getting Trecco Bay rocking on Thursday. The honour of starting the proceedings fell to local band Mojo Sinners, with a set that with its heavy drum beat allows the guitar of David Williams to swirl and rise. With a new E.P. out in January, we were treated to a preview with the track Jester. They delivered a short set opening a weekend of rock that will roll.The next two act’s music remained as a weekend highlight as the last notes faded away on Sunday. French progressive rock with twists of Eastern promise provided by Lazuli creating an atmospheric opening with an eclectic mix of instruments including a Chapman Stick and French Horn. Quite different for a Rockstock weekend and definitely music that excites the inner progressive. The keyboard orchestration combined with Geddy Lee-like vocals made for a great 3-D sound. If you like Prog you will love Lazuli with a rush of emotions as the all too short set was very impressive. Definitely want to see the band with a longer set on a larger stage. Next, in contrast, was a young blues-rock band making quite a name for themselves in the West Midlands and beyond, the Broken Witt Rebels. Hitting the ground running with their single Low which sounded great live they immediately engaged to crowd getting them to join in the rollercoaster ride that was to follow including title track Georgia Pine. What a voice!! Really goose-pimply raising the hairs on the back of your neck. There is a strong hint of Rival Sons about this band which is no mean thing. They had numerous technical problems on stage – but you wouldn’t have noticed such was their professionalism these are definitely going places. Can’t wait to see them supporting King King early 2017. Closing the night were Tax The Heat delivering a class act with a typically intense rocky set punctuated with great riffs and licks. The crowd were now in the mood for rock that would keep them warm as they went out into the cold night air. They certainly raised the heat in bringing a very impressive first evening of music at Planet Rockstock to a close and certainly whetted the appetite for what was to follow in the coming three days.
Last year Wyatt rode from London To Rockstock overnight raising £40,000 for CALM. If that journey sounded tough Wyatt set himself and epic ride this year. Wyatt cycled nearly 1,100 miles across the UK in just under seven days! On Friday 25th November 2016, Wyatt set off on an incredible 1,100-mile journey across the UK, with the aim of raising £40,000 for CALM. He achieved the goal and in fact his ride motivated people and he raised over £70,000 for Campaign Against living Miserably CALM.
Now for the main event, this is the proverbial long-lasting delicious aural stick of rock. On the outside vibrant red stickiness that is Planet Rock that come together to Trecco Bay, South Wales in December to play rock live to the Planet Rock family. The Red layer are the DJ’s Wyatt, Paul Anthony, Darren Reddick and of course the Hairy Bikers. That is not all there is a huge dedicated hard-working team that deliver lights, sound, backstage support and at the heart of the team Jon Norman, Mr Rockstock himself. The sugary white layer are the family that congregate to spend the first weekend in December to sing Rockaoke, compete in the Quiz, partake or listen to the DIY Band and above all to hear live rock music and meet up with old friends, make new ones and have fun. The lettering that runs through are the thirty-three bands that will be delivering Southern Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock bands that are new and old favourites like every seaside event there is something for everyone.
Opening tonight were Stone Broken and the first of the women to play the festival this year across both stages. Drummer Robyn Haycock flashed her winning smile and then drummed with her heart on her sleeve. The vocals have a rocking snarl as Rich Moss fronts a band with attitude, style and energy playing large stages higher up the running order will be the norm for a band that definitely isn’t broken. Friday night the heat of rock kept the icy chill from the outside world at bay. Then the opening night like the closing night provided a strong billing. On with the music, and A Thousand Horses, the first Southern Rock fuelled band of the festival. The music was faultless what a stunning festival set. Michael Hobby’s vocals were like honey drip, drip, dripping onto a vat of moonshine. The rock hardened as Phil Campbell’s Bastard Sons were back to entertain with Lemmy’s spirit, not for the last time to join us over the weekend. The Motörhead numbers certainly hit the spot with the crowd. Their rendition of Ace Of Spades delighted a crowd whose excitement was getting hotter with every rock chord played. The rock unfurled more delicious music with the first and definitely not the last all woman band of the weekend as Girlschool entertained with a mix of numbers off their new album and classics from the past like Race With The Devil.The anticipation and excitement was now fever pitch as The Dead Daisies returned to Porthcawl once again tonight to headline with their hot-tempered brand of rock n’ roll. With numbers from Revolucion and their current album Make Some Noise, noise was certainly made by the festival crowd. What an opening night the depth and breadth of rock on display for every taste. The highlight tonight was A Thousand Horses, first time I have heard them live and they really impressed.
Early doors on Saturday for Stage 2 as Haxan brought the darker side of rock before Bad Touch provided the shades of their rock with rock n’ roll and southern rock. The afternoon was full of bands people will want to see on the main stage and culminated with Darren’s DIY Band. Early evening and The Colour of Noise a multi-talented rock band picked up the stick of rock and opened an evening where the rock was loud and varied. They were followed by Amorettes the girls were certainly rocking across the festival in 2016 with a hefty set of heavy rock. Opening with We Will Bring The House Down; they certainly did. As they say Keep it hot Keep it heavy. For me, the only stand out act tonight on the weakest evening of the weekend was Whiskey Myers. They delivered Southern Rock guitar warmed by the southern sun and roughened with the stinging moonshine. There is an infectious beat as country collides with hard rock via the Blues. Southern dialect fills out and warms the lyrical vocals. The delta meets the open road of adventure with all the possibilities of a rock beat drums set the route and the guitars explore the by-ways of expectations. They took us to a party in the empty barn before harvest. The urgency was slowed with gentle riffs and the dance foot tapping beat. The fiddle was hot as a square dance was imagined. Now the audience were heating up. The title track of their new album Mud was given an airing as the fender was really strung on stage! Taking us on southern tour Louisiana/Texas border riffs with glass slide slithering across the six strings as fishing in the bayou is explored. The percussion was infectious and the Cowbell rock tango was beguiling. Wow! The acts did not excite me but like any family what delights one member leaves another unmoved and Planet Rock knows how to weave together a rocking melody of styles.
All too soon it is the last day and like all good treats, the best have been saved for us so much rock music left to hear from 11am until midnight. Every band played with verve, delivering thrills and spine-tingling moments. It is those moments that make live music so special and festivals have an intensity as the music flows and sweetens the very air we breathe. Every player deserves a mention but space is limited. These are my highlights of the day and yes, yours will be different no one is wrong or right. What we enjoy is subjective it is the difference in our tastes that makes the Planet Rock family full of interesting conversations and the opportunity to find new bands and new sounds.
With two all-women bands Joan Ov Arc and Tequilla Mockinbyrd on stage two’s bill the rock was flamboyant and exciting Main Stage next year could be dominated by women who are stirring the rocky pool with music that rings with a clarity that excites. The closing act of the afternoon SIMO is a force field of guitar and vocals that thrills. This is a trio full of power and they unsurprisingly blew the roof off. JD Simo went for it with an energy that burns up the stage and audience as he delivered an opening couple tracks off the current album, Let Love Show The Way and then it merged into a jam with a whirling shapes of tones and textures. This is rock burning with Nashville fire simply mesmerising.
With a few minutes to draw breath before the baton is taken over by the Main Stage and the last mouthful of rock to enjoy and savour. Jackaman opened the evening; her vocals have a searing purity with a gritty edge. A lighter rock with the only saxophone of the festival as funky tones wove into the musical textures of Rockstock 2016. They were followed by the Finnish Von Hertzen Brothers who entertained with prog rock with attitude. The interaction between lead/rhythm guitars upped the tempo. The set was eclectic full of interest, creating a great atmosphere that was continually building. Tonight without the keys, the band still managed to create the Von Hertzen sound. Next up were Inglorious. Stepping out on stage the journey this band has been on since playing their first live set at Rockstock 2015 has been amazing. They played the rock from the self-titled album Inglorious as we wait for the follow-up album early next year. What a difference a year makes Nathan was full of his usual confidence and vocals that can fill the largest auditorium. Nathan James has real charisma a front man that loves being centre of attraction. What has changed for the better is the interaction between the band, less standing on the monitors more playing of the guitars. The sound created was rocky and we all loved hearing Breakaway, High Flying Gypsy with its great bass/drum duo to close the number out. The Atmosphere was electric, excited we wanted more music. Following that the penultimate set of the weekend Ricky Warwick & The Fighting Hearts, fast British heavy rock. The lyrics were powerful as the rock cascaded from the stage. All too soon the finale, and what a final act for us tonight as we had the last bite out of the stick of Planet Rock. Black Stone Cherry took to the stage auditorium packed, hot and excited. Unfortunately, vocals were muffled for another headlining act was poor. But like British Lion the night before; Black Stone Cherry had their own sound engineers and had removed the infill speakers at the front of the stage to create more space. That said, the show they put on was electric and punctuated with favourites such as and Me and Mary Jane, Shakin’ My Cage from Kentucky album raising the excitement of the packed venue to fever pitch… BSC win more fans of their distinctive rock every time they play and tonight was no different as the mighty headliners bout the show to an end. Here’s to Rockstock 2017!