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

Rock Fans became a Hoard for Saxon Tonight


Rock Fans became a Hoard for Saxon Tonight


Thursday night in Bristol was buzzing and all rock fans footsteps were heading to the O2 Academy for a trio of bands that promised to entertain. The connection that ran through the three acts was Motörhead as Girlschool the aperitif with sparkles, Fastway the taster buzzing and the main event Saxon on fire.

The venue was packed as Girlschool got the night warmed up, this was British Heavy Metal that was dramatic, entertaining with strong vocals and even the promise of a tongue in cheek promise of a drum solo. This was a perfect opportunity for drumming to be the intro but we didn’t wait long when the rest of the girls joined the party with huge riffs and depth of sound. With tracks from their new album Guilty As Sin, including Come The Revolution a call for change with guitars and bass that is raucous the driver to motivate a revolution! The set delighted the cheers and applause as they left the stage showed what promise the evening held.

Now for a shout out for the roadies who work unnoticed the change-overs, tonight were quick and effective, the sound was awesome and the lighting full on this all adds to the energy of live music.

Now for Fastaway, Classic heavy rock reformed in 2007 with acclaimed new album Dog Eat Dog we knew with Fast Eddie on guitar this was going to be an entertaining classic rock ride with the band. Toby Jepson on vocals was tremendous full of rock power and energy. The set pulled on the talents of the band with Deliver Me from their latest album and a tribute song Telephone dedicated to Lemmy, There was a lot of emotion for Lemmy on the stage and throughout the venue, who was here in musical spirit tonight. Fastaway delivered a very strong set of good old heavy rock that boomed through the venue. Now for the main act of the night, the anticipation was rising with every second until Biff Byford stepped on the stage.

Rock Fans became a Hoard for Saxon TonightThe heavy rock crowd  here for Saxon the chants were heartfelt as the music-driven Saxon Hoard stood and listened to the new wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) sound that everyone wanted to hear and tracks from the new album Battering Ram the motivation for the tour.
The venue was now bursting at the seams with the tiers full flags draped over balconies the mood was electric.
The set was one hundred percent Saxon with two exceptions the opening number It’s A Long Way To The Top the AC/DC anthem for the dramatic entrance and the Encore a tribute to Lemmy with Ace of Spades.
Biff Byford was tonight definitely master of the stage for the whole of the gig. The power is a gift from the talented musicians that surround him on stage, Nigel Glockler on drums provides booming bass drumming through to tom toms that sing the rock chant combine with bass delivered by Nibbs Carter this is a true powerhouse of a rhythm section. The guitars of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt gave depth of riffs that cascaded through the music acting as the punctuation of the lyrics reinforcing the anger, joy or fear being sung by Biff. Saxon are a band that stands and delivers honest, authentic rock full of drama. Tones and shapes that lead on to chorus’ that we can all sing back. This is music that charted our youth and continues to entertain from young to those with grey in our hair a united a Saxon hoard that has a treasure the heavy rock that is Saxon.

Rock Fans became a Hoard for Saxon TonightOpening with Battering Ram from the album of the same name we were in for a ride of deep joy. Many of the tracks tonight, like the first are the title tracks of the albums being dipped into tonight for our enjoyment. There is always something special about hearing tracks live and tonight is was pure delight, especially the tracks from the new album, Battering Ram. Queen of Hearts was outstanding but the highlight for me was Devils Footprint, gothic, eerie and atmospheric modern rock full of vitality. Long live Rock in every shape and form but especially Saxon’s interpretation. Sacrifice, was stunning with smoke that shrouded Biff and then as it faded away he picked up the next chorus, the crowd was mesmerized as they followed every move and pulled in every word to hold deep in our music memories to treasure. Biff the showman, got the best Rock Fans became a Hoard for Saxon Tonightout if a very vocal crowd, he had us all in the palm of his hand. Frozen Rainbow took us back to the very beginning of the first album Saxon a power ballad that soars above all others.

Toby Jepson, from Fastway joined Biff on stage for an entertaining take on Wheels Of Steel; and we now had not battle of the bands but battle of the two halves of the venue. We may not be a hoard with axes but we were a vocal and competitive hoard. As the left side tried to out sing the right we responded to our team leaders Biff and Toby. The result, a heroic draw and a fun memory as we united together through music.

As the last notes of Ace of Spades faded away from Fast Eddie’s guitar who joined Saxon in this moving tribute. Bristol was rocked to the core tonight, live music is always special to Bluesdoodles and tonight is certainly one of the top highlights of 2016 can it be bettered we will wait and see.


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Set List

Battering Ram – (Battering Ram)
Let Me Feel the Power The Inner Sanctum
Sacrifice – (Sacrifice)
Solid Ball of Rock (Solid Ball of Rock )
Never Surrender (Denim and Leather)
Frozen Rainbow (Saxon)
Stand Up and Be Counted (Wheels of Steel)
Devils Footprint (Battering Ram)
Strong Arm of the Law (Strong Arm of the Law)
Killing Ground (Killing Ground)
Eagle Has Landed (Eagle Has Landed)
Queen Of Hearts (Battering Ram)
And The Bands Played On (Denim and Leather)
Terminal (Unleash The Beast)
Dallas 1 PM (Strong Arm of the Law)
Wheels of Steel (Wheels of Steel)

Ace of Spades (Motörhead – Lemmy Tribute)

Saxon Battering Ram Tour Reaches UK

Saxon Battering Ram Tour Reaches UK


With Special Guests: Saxon icons of the new wave of British heavy metal are touring for ten night across the U.K. as part if the Battering Ram World Tour kicking off in Newcastle on the 28th October the day, The Vinyl Hoard is released. Joined on the tour by special guests Fastway and Girlschool for these much-awaited shows.

 “Gonna be a great tour with Fastway and Girlschool” – said frontman Biff Byford. “I think this line up is unique, you don’t wanna miss it.  Looking forward to battering some halls… Welcome to the metal church!”

Here’s a short clip of Biff talking about Tour and the Box Set…..

Battering Ram, Saxon’s 21st studio album, was released in October 2015 reaching the UK Top 50 and #12 in Germany. It was described by frontman Biff Byford as “a natural progression from Sacrifice” with “a bit less rock’n’roll and a bit more ‘heavy’ on it”. Following its release Saxon hit Europe with Motorhead for their 40th Anniversary tour, accompanied by Girlschool. Sadly, the tragic passing of Lemmy in December put an early end to the tour, and the entire UK leg planned to begin on January 16th was canceled – with the exception of a Saxon headlining show in Brighton.



28th – Newcastle O2 Academy
29th – Glasgow O2 ABC
30th – Belfast Limelight


1st  – Dublin *Academy
2nd –  Manchester O2 Ritz
3rd  – Bristol O2 Academy
5th – London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
6th – Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
8th – Sheffield O2 Academy
9th – Nottingham Rock City

Tickets on sale HERE or HERE
* Fastway are the only support in Dublin.

Saxon Battering Ram Tour Reaches UKBox Set Release
The Vinyl Hoard

To coincide with the opening date of the U.K. tour Saxon releases  The Vinyl Hoard, their deluxe 8 vinyl album boxset which features four explosive live recordings.  The albums come in specially designed gatefold sleeves in a slipcase box.   They are: The Dogs Of War Tour, 1995” Recorded on tour in German and featuring: Dogs Of War, Denim And Leather, Wheels Of Steel; The Lionheart Tour, 2004” Recorded on tour in France, England and Germany featuring: Lionheart, Court Of The Crimson King, Are We Travellers In Time; A Night Out With The Boys, 2005: The 25th Anniversary of the NWOBHMRecorded on tour in Germany and Sweden and Featuring: And The Bands Played On, Suzie Hold On, Stand Up And Be Counted; Rocksound Festival, 2006” [2 LP] Recorded in Switzerland Featuring: Backs To The Wall, Princess Of The Night and Crusader.