Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Mates

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Mates

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Mates

 

Steelhouse family came together on a Welsh Mountain united by rain, sun and MUD! The glue binding us was live music and the super glue the brilliance of Bernie Marsden not once, not twice but all three days on the stage entertaining.  We had dragon magic gracing the festival that you climb up slowly to the top driving up a rough track to the top of a Welsh Mountain above Aberbeeg. The weather may at times be trying, we all know the welcome and cwtch from the Steelhouse volunteers will be full of warmth. So many memories for the music memory box, friends, brilliant bands Planet Rock DJs and the array of stalls to kept us fed and watered, the endless cuppa’s from Motley Brew hot and refreshing the gallons of Trooper consumed and the selection of cocktails. The festival is for everyone young and old, family friendly with a play area, camping, glamping and merchandise. We may only be in each other’s company for a few days but the friendships forged last forever.

 

Bluesdoodles, Liz Aiken could not make Friday night, rain, parking and other issues conspired against her. Nothing though was going to deter us from getting to the festival on Saturday that started warm and sunny with the weather for now set fair. We missed Free Friday, but those who got here in time were entertained with Revival, the awesome Hand of Dimes joined by Bernie Marsden already a festival favourite and Trucker Diablo.

 

The two bands that open the show were local bands, Saturday, Florence Black & Texas Flood on the final day all setting the bar high rocking the show for the first notes always a challenging slot and they got our attention. Then the new line-up from Tequila Mockingbyrd who flew the flag for women and rock Steelhouse know how to weave the line-up reflecting styles of rock and peoples different tastes.

So many thoughts whirl around as I edit the photographs, the excitement that the festival has left spilling over to Monday, continue to be motivated as the work continues listening to the music that fuelled the weekend, Steelhouse 2017 delivered the best line-up ever and it was a triumph. Music for all tastes across rock. There are always bands and for everyone the list will vary for us at Bluesdoodles it was Rival Sons, Last In Line, Monster Truck, Stone Broken, Broken Witt Rebels, Jared James Nichols, Wayward Sons, Saxon and the hero of the hour Bernie Marsden across the festival Friday, Saturday and the unplanned return on Sunday. The list is a mix of styles, ages and experience the common link was quality, performances.

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesStone Broken bought a vitality, energy and love of performance to the stage, heating up the atmosphere. The set was played out with every note played and song sung confirming the meteoric rise from a self-funded album to the band they are today.  The journey has just begun they will soon be headliners wherever they play, why the crowds will demand it the Broken Army will not be silenced.  With a follow-up album to debut All In Time tantilisingly close live performance will keep us entertained until the release date early 2018. Every fan is waiting in anticipation which will just build and build, with every performance and radio play. Stone Broken play the music rock fans want to hear. Every time they play live they grow in stature tighter, more confident. Everyone’s day is brightened by Robyn’s infectious smile and drumming.  Rich leading from the front energised with vocals that demand to be listened to. Chris & Kieran, guitar and bass creating the sting in the tail with the strings ensuring there is nothing broken about Stone Broken. They nailed it at Steelhouse 2017.

 

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesMonster Truck, were monstrously good, the guitar sound is loud and we are pulled into the hot atmosphere they create. It was so hot it was as if the rain vapourised before it hit the ground! Awesome sums up the performance lifting the crowd’s mood into the stratosphere.  The set included all the numbers you want to hear live from Sittin’ Heavy as we heard staggering vocals, hard rhythm and licks that curl around the stage and cascade across the field in melodic delights.  There will be other bands but for now it doesn’t get better than this performance or will I eat my words?

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesHaving never heard Last in Line live, this was a band I was looking forward to having listened to Heavy Crown, loud and often since reviewing early in 2016. The band named after Dio’s second album carried the torch shining high and burning bright with a set that was full of Dio classics. The two orginal members of Dio’s band Vinny Appice on Drums and guitarist Vivian Campbell are joined by vocalist Andrew Freeman, Phil Soussan on Bass an keys from Erik Norlander.  They delivered adrenalin fuelled rock that pounded the mud and the sound that was Dio. Andrew’s vocals were reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio. The rain did not wash away the sound and atmosphere of a festival that was now rocking as the skies darkened on the Saturday.

 

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesSunday dawned bright and clear with blues skies and warm sunshine we all knew the music was going to be hot. The Sunday came alive as Broken Witt Rebels may have opened with Low from Georgia Pines but the music took us to new highs. Danny Core’s vocals are outstanding they pierce with a depth of emotion. The feel of the guitar sound tinged with blue, heated by southern rock from James Tranters lead guitar. The sound builds with tambourine and rhythm added by Danny and a rhythm section that burns the groove as Luke Davis and James Dudley join forces. This is a young band who are growing in stature as with every performance the layers of polish are burnished, the beat tightens and the sound gets bigger, bolder as the Broken Witt Rebels blow the mist away through Georgia Pines, what a Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Matesnumber.  They were quickly followed by the guitar-led blues-rocking power trio of Jared James Nichols. The talent of the guitarist who is making a name for himself as he flashes his prowess with the six-strings, this set was the most guitar-dominated set of the weekend.  Another young performer who never fails to deliver, always improving developing the Nichols tone and sound. Building on his album and the last EP Highway Man.

A new band, Wayward Sons that has every one talking. Why? It is a Toby Jepson band this, the bands third gig and first festival appearance, did not disappoint. The opening was intriguing as we entered the Twilight Zone before the opening line of Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas and then the band stepped on stage.  With a debut album out in August, Ghosts Of Yet To Come the sound we heard was grittier this is a rocky sound that sets quivers of an earthquake erupting through the audience on top of a mountain.  As to be expected Toby’s vocal shone through the rain drops With the Little Angels – Young Gods – song dedicated to Alan Nimmo, who to many people’s disappointment was not swirling his kilt with King King on a mountain. The whole Steelhouse family wish Alan a speedy recovery.

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesRival Sons, well worth the wait in the mud and rain they delivered with music that sears the heart and soul. Jay Buchanan’s voice is always stunning as he strode down the stage in rolled down wellies he captivated – what a band. The only slide guitar of the weekend cascading notes swirled across the mountain courtesy of the slide of Scott Holiday. The rhythm and structure added a depth of tone thanks to David Beste and Michael Miley. There is nothing hollow in the bones of the rock they deliver every track has something to say with sweet licks, righteous riffs and lyrics that draw you deep into the heart of the music Rival Sons are simply electric.

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesClosing the festival with lights, pyrotechnics and a metal eagle Saxon left their mark on the mountain once again.  A band that the fans wanted to see many so excited seeing a band that was one of the first bands they had seen back at Steelhouse once again. The rain did not deter Biff as he strode down the runway kneeling on a towel and rising again hands aloft uniting with the fans as he sang in the rain. The festival went wild as Biff sung to them Battering Ram soared out across the mountain quickly joined by many classics Princess Of The Night & 747 Strangers In The Night. By now there were no strangers in the crowd, we were united by music, mud and Steelhouse friendship.

 

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and MatesCometh the hour cometh the man. Steelhouse 2017 it had to be the one and only Bernie Marsden.  Scheduled to play with Hand of Dimes of Friday and the acoustic set on Saturday that was a delight. With King King having to pull out there was a yawning gap. Hand of Dimes stepped in with Bernie on electric guitar that was exciting but this was the Steelhouse Band with two special Planet Rock guests.  Hand of Dimes always popular and they know how to please as they add keys and harmonica to Nev’s special brand of rock. Nev was back on stage with Bernie Marsden joining after a couple of Hand of Dimes numbers to massive cheers of Bernie, Bernie!! Hand of Dimes has a new album out Raise so we heard Guilty and Pin-Stripped Arrogance, what a band. Then we had the change as Ian Danter took control of the drums and Darren Redick on Bass for a couple of numbers this is what festival magic is all about memories never to be repeated. The ‘cover’ of Whitesnake classic Here I Go Again was superb vocals from Neville McDonald took the roof of if there was one! Bottom of Form

The heroic Steelhouse Band created a great atmosphere what fun a pleasure for everyone listening to Hand of Dimes and friends over the Bernie weekend.

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Then if I could only pick a band it would be  a toss-up between Rival Sons and Broken Witt Rebels both were superb the vocals stunning, out I have made the rule only one band so it will be Rival sons, why? Soul made me cry as I was absorbed by the music an even stopped photographing during Electric Man.

Steelhouse 2017 raised the bar in terms of music and fun we are counting down the days until Steelhouse 2018. Thanks once again to the band of volunteers and Mikey and Max  who make sure we all have a wonderful Mountain top festival.

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Steelhouse 2018 the clock is ticking ! show your interest and keep to-date on Facebook Event

July 27th – July 29th 2018

Steelhouse 2017 Simply Marvellous Mud Music and Mates

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Glory


Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GlorySunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Glory

How does Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Festival Glory? The glory part is easy two days of phenomenal live music on top of a mountain in Wales. The sunburn and rust that is the vagaries of a Welsh summer, Saturday was scorching hot, whilst on Sunday the misty drizzle dampened the ground but not the spirit of rocking fun.

 

Saturday 23rd July 2016 – Hot and Sunny Rocking

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GloryOpening a festival is a daunting experience. Bigfoot, a young rock band from Wigan, stepped on the stage and left a lasting impression. This is a band with the potential to go places, full of confidence and good songs they were a hit, still remembered as the festival drew to a close on Sunday. Saturday was warming up throughout the day, with each successive band raising the Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Glorybar ever higher as the temperature, excitement and fun grew. Next up was Dirty Thrills, they definitely thrilled the crowds with rocked up individuality with a thread of blues as bright as the skies overhead. Full of energy on stage they interact with each other and the crowds, the high jinx’s though never deflects from the deep groove-laden music. A great set they will keep building their reputation as rocked-up contemporary excitement from Dirty Thrills.

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GloryCentre stage of any festival is the music from the stage, but to get a true festival vibe it is the added extra. After the steep climb up the mountain on a dusty track you are greeted with a vista that spreads across the horizon it is beautiful. The stage dominates the area. In addition there is a wide seleSunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Gloryction of foods and drinks alcoholic and some delicious coffee. Then there was the lovely jewelry made from guitar strings, leather goods, bandanas (the doodle, Othello, in bluesdoodles is delighted with his new red bandana that is his little bit of The Dead Daisies) and the festival and bands merchandise.

The next two bands show different sides of rock, Vega, with a charismatic lead singer who knew how to flaunt the power of the runway stage they got everyone’s attention with the dramatic entrance, and cartoon backdrop. Once their attention was gained the audience warmed to them this is rock that will always, please. Young dudes that are getting deserved attention are Tax The Heat, and in the heat of the afternoon if they were tax collectors they would have pulled in the money. They do not need to be tax collectors the heat is in the rock they deliver from the strong rhythm section through to Alex Veale up front this is a stylish band with depth and delicious slide guitar from JP. The heat will continue to rise for this young band.

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In between the sets the breaks are long enough to catch up with friends, make new acquaintances and deepen the relationship between Steelhouse and festival attendees. This year as the festival develops the campsite area has a new addition, Glamping tents, which proved popular as they were sold out weeks before the festival dates.

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The shadows lengthened and the sun cooled as the last four bands of a wonderful opening day got ready to strut their stuff. First of the international bands from Finland, Von Hertzen Brothers, with a spectacular backdrop telling a story of two Ravens in chains against the red background. New Day Rising their current album cover is certainly a powerful image and the music hit the mark with a prog-rock twist and keys that provided a textured background sound. Mikko the vocalist has wonderful phrasing singing gently then with vigour and at times with a roughened edge. They added another layer of rock strata building the Saturday into a perfect festival memory. Following on Blues Pills kept the Scandinavian feel with Swedish/American/French inspired rock and the first woman, Elin Larsson up front burning up the stage with her stunning vocals at Steelhouse. The quartet mix up the flow with a definite sixties feeling as the lead guitar curls around the music redolent of early Fleetwood Mac, Hendrix, Aretha Franklin creating a sound that is their own Blues Pills mesmerizes with an addictive psychedelic rock.

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GloryTo follow this we had The Answer, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut album, Rise. Cormac’s distinctive vocals got the set underway as unusually for a festival they played the album in full. The set was full of emotional command reminding you of how good the album was and still is. In this day and age of streaming and random play the set re-asserted the inherent power and flow of hearing the whole album as the artist planned it. There is context story and drama. The audience participation was enthusiastic on Preachin’ Blues this was quality festival entertainment. Now the final live band of the opening day.

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Glory

Saturday Headline

The only threat of bad weather today was always going to be from the stage where a storm of Thunder was being counted down by the phalanx of fans up front they wanted to see every moment of the final set as the day darkened into a summer’s night. Yes, the air temperature was dropping high above Ebbw Vale, the festival was heating up a light display, entrance music and then Thunder hit the stage to the chant of Harry! Harry as the drummer took his seat. Danny Bowes lead from the front building the vocals and the crowd’s excitement. Thunder did not disappoint, hitting the music running with a thunderous set that connected with fans and beyond. The audience sang to the words that tripped off the tongue we were partying the night away creating a great atmosphere as the last notes faded away. For those who wanted to party the night was young with the DJ’s setting up for dancing and fun at a festival with no neighbours to upset.

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Sunday 24th July 2016 – Grey, Drizzle and Misty Rocking

Day one, was a success, anticipation was high for day two as Last Great Dreamers started the day’s rock fest. With their take on glam rock, they opened up to a bleary-eyed crowd for me their pop rock got Sunday off to a meandering start and the weakest band so far. Next up were Hand Of Dimes full of Welsh verve and pizazz as both singer and front man Nev MacDonald got the early birds rocking through the drizzle and Sunday morning mist nothing was going to dampen this festival. This is rock music that warms your rocky heart and soul and the first and only harmonica of the festival thanks to Neil Garland the keyboard player and fellow ex. SKIN member. This is a band that understands space between the chords, the timing was superb and layers of sound certainly kick starting the day. Toseland were up next and the first technical gremlins hit the stage crew, quickly dealt with and the live music was back on stage. James Toseland, may have left the adrenalin-fueled world of motorbike racing but he still packs an adrenaline-fueled vocal punch. James has surrounded himself with a band that enhances his vocal prowess playing with energy and excitement. The set was the highlight pf the festival for many and Toseland certainly won new fans after this performance.

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Today, Welsh weather reverted to type, the sun was shrouded in mist, interspersed with drizzle and rain. That did nothing to dampen the festival audience spirits. Steelhouse in its sixth year is growing in size and the reputation is based on the music not the weather.

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GloryThe stage was now set for Raveneye, and we were in for some guitar fireworks from Oli Brown. He may have started out his career as a blues guitarist, but this young man certainly knows how to rock and put on a show. Including not missing a note as he is paraded around the stage on the shoulders of bassist Aaron Spiers. Raveneye’s set was animated and the music superb with the vestiges of his blues career a pick on his thumb and a shining sapphire blue guitar.

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GloryThere was no doubt that the excitement around the next out was equivalent for a headliner. Who? The Dead Daisies. Why? Their sound is stunning, awesome, they are a live band that excites with superb melodies, and fantastic vocals. The Dead Daises connect to your rocking heart and soul the music flows through your veins full of electric brilliance and spark. This is Rock n’ Roll that makes you want to scream, shout out loud and laugh with pure delight. The latest member is Doug Aldrich who fits into the Daisy gang perfectly. John Corabi, on vocals, fronts this charismatic group and is given the room to develop the lyrics and have fun. We are taken back to the seventies and forward to now as they blend the sounds, whilst delivering their re-takes of classics. The rhythm section powers through the rock with the animated and flamboyant Marco Mendoza on bass and drummer Brian Titchy and rhythm guitarist David Lowy. The festival was on fire with excitement as the set sadly drew to a close many just wanted them to play on as for them The Dead Daisies were the band of the festival.

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The programme moved on with Hey! Hello!, we were in for some noisy pop-rock with Ginger Wildheart, The Rev and two women Ai on drums and new singer up front they were fun and the pop rock contrasted to The Dead Daisies who are never an easy band to follow. Just as everyone had given up on being dry and seeing the sun the crowds rolled away as Terrorvision hit the stage. They have a distinctive lively rock sound with elements of rap, glam and the late eighties tonal context. Terrorvision are definitely the marmite band of the weekend, causing many a debate between the fans and those who just don’t quite get the band. The fans were treated to a set that captured rock they delight in.

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Sunday Headline

Now for the finale, the skies once again darkened the lights shone as The Darkness bought 2016 Steelhouse to a close. The Darkness rewarded the fans for waiting for them to play as the rock-pop theme of the last three acts was maintained. Jason and The Darkness provided an uplifting and rousing finale to the festival.

Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse GloryA big thank you to the organisers Max and Lee and the phalanx of volunteers who kept the bands happy back stage and the whole event organized, the sound crews, and security. Then a special award should go to the mighty Darren Redick from Planet Rock for carrying out the MC role, stopping and talking to many who stop him as he wanders around the festival.

Every band performed at the top of their game, bringing live music energy to the festival. Bluesdoodles standout acts were opening band Bigfoot and Von Hertzen Brothers, both new bands for us. Then we really enjoyed Tax The Heat another young band going places, The Answer, Blues Pills and Raveneye. The top band of the weekend just has to be the effervescent The Dead Daisies.

Sunburn and Rust combined for Steelhouse Glory 2016, for me The Dead Daisies should have been the headliners. But that said what a fantastic two days of rock energy and music high up a mountain via a dirt road. Roll on 2017 when we will be back up the mountain. Make sure you keep the Crepe stall they were perfect.