High Voltage Festival 2011

Saturday 23rd July 2011

Line-up:

Main Stage

Judas Priest *
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy *
Thin Lizzy *
Queensrÿche *
Rival Sons *
Skin
Michael Monroe *

Prog Stage

Barclay James Harvest
Neal Morse
Anathema *
Caravan
Amplifier *
Von Hertzen Brothers

Hammer Stage

Electric Wizard – Replaced by Rival Sons due to Norway incident.
Grand Magus *
Sylosis
Triggerfinger *
Ravens Creed
Primitai
Attica Rage *

* = Seen some of or all of set and reviewed.

Prior to the Festival

Living in the Midlands I decided to travel down the day before to a B&B booked in Dartford where I was due to stay for a couple of nights and as my parents live near by it gave me an opportunity to visit them also.

Sadly due to other commitments I was only able to attend the Saturday, hence this review only covers that Particular day. I would of loved to have been able to go on the Sunday and to have to seen Black Country Communion, Dream Theatre as well as Spock’s Beard – but alas it just wasn’t possible. Hopefully next time things will be different to enable me to see both days. Getting to the Festival

I got up later than intended due to a poor nights sleep, this unfortunately meant that I arrived at the festival a bit later than I had originally planned to. When I arrived the day was shaping up to be a warm one, with clear skies making a pleasant change to the last festivals I’ve attended where there was lots of rain and therefore mud, but I went prepared for rain (and mud) anyway. Before the show began

I arrived at the festival gates feeling rather exhausted// in part due to my journey and the previous nights sleep or should I say lack of, and I’m not in the best physical shape as I also suffer with Fibromyalgia [but try not to let it hamper me best I can]. I went through the festival press entrance [thus avoiding the queues], and then I made my way to find somewhere to sit and rest for a short time after that walk, I then headed off to catch the first of many acts of the day I also used this time to orientate myself to the layout of the stages to aid getting to them quicker and easier for going between them later. I had an itinerary, which I tried to stick to as best I could, but only ever saw it as a rough guide for the most part.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

The Festival Venue

Finding the festival was relatively easy once I got off of the bus, I just followed the metal and rock fans heading the right way. I then had just to walk to the press entrance which was located somewhere other than the Main entrance which allowed for easy ingress and egress from the venue.

Once inside, the layout of the festival was pretty straight forward with the Main stage the furthest from the main entrance, and with the Prog stage the nearest and finally the Hammer stage off to one side between to the two. Finding them was pretty easy and a relatively short walk.

As well as the three stages – Prog, Hammer & Main – there were also three smaller stages located in the Beer tent, HMV tent and Ace Cafe London tent. I didn’t go in any of these as – a) I had no money to spend – b) I didn’t really find the time – c) I don’t drink alcoholic beverages so I tend to avoid beer tents as a general rule.

I didn’t really get chance to check out the food stands although I did note some of the prices, they were typical festival prices really. There was plenty of choice at least, I just could not justify spending that much on food. I snapped a few photos of the areas away from the stages as well as photos of the various acts.

There were a number of stalls selling merchandise for the various bands, as well as HMV signing stall where you could get autographs for the bands who had just finished their sets. There looked to be plenty of choice for those interested in such, personally I tend to avoid buying stuff at festivals as it means there is more to carry and usually the prices are higher than those found on the Internet.

 

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

After a suitable rest I from my journey to the festival, I headed towards the Main Stage to catch Michael Monroe.

Let the show begin…

Michael Monroe

Lineup:

  • Michael Monroe – Vocals, Saxophone
  • Sammi Yaffa – Bass [ex-Hanoi Rocls]
  • Steve Conte – Guitar
  • Karl Rosqvist – Drums
  • Dregem – Guitar

Setlist:

  • Trick of the Wrist
  • Got Blood?
  • Modern Day Miracle
  • Motorvatin’ (Hanoi Rocks)
  • ’78
  • Nothin’s Alright (Demolition 23)
  • Back to Mystery City (Hanoi Rocks)
  • Dead, Jail or Rock N’ Roll

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

When I’d looked at the lineup I have to admit this wasn’t an act I’d mentally added to my list of ‘to see’ for the day, however due to necessity to some extent I sat and listened to his set. I found myself rather enjoying it. I’d previously not heard of Michael Monroe, although I had heard of Hanoi Rocks, but not to any great extent.

I didn’t catch all of the set unfortunately, but what I did see/hear got my foot tapping nicely. Good classic rock, the sort of sound I like from the 80s really. Quite a lively set too, the crowd that had gathered enjoyed it quite a bit too.

Michael was wearing what seems like a typical outfit for 80s glam/hair rock/metal, tight trousers and a leather jacket and waistcoat with makeup and blonde hair typical of that time.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Michael was rather energetic in his performance running all over the stage and at one point climbing the rigging.

The former Hanoi Rocks singer was in good form I felt today even going as far as playing a couple of Hanoi Rocks songs in the set.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

 

I felt he got the festival off to a good start, with a lively enjoyable set. A good start to the day.

7/10

Attica Rage

Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Formed: 2003

Lineup:

  • Richie Rage – Drums
  • Jonny Parr – Vocals, Guitar
  • Bic C – Bass, Vocals
  • Stephen Bell – Guitar

Setlist:

  • 36 Insane
  • Altered Reality
  • Contradictions
  • Through the Inner Eye
  • Back to the Old School
  • Overkill

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

 

I headed over early to try to get a good vantage point to see these guys from and to be able to take photos [sadly was lacking a photo pass so couldn’t use the pit].

Their set opened with sounds of roaring motorbike engines to kick the Hammer stage off. The set started with 36 Insane [off new album Road Dog], which I liked quite a bit.

They reminded me a bit of early Metallica and Megadeth, with a touch of Iron Maiden and perhaps a bit of Motörhead thrown in for good measure. In fact they finished off the set with a rendition of Motörhead’s Overkill with singer Parr dedicating it to former Motörhead guitarist Wurzel [who recently passed away].

 

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

They certainly got the Hammer stage off to a flying heavy start. The sound on the Hammer stage seemed pretty good to me, and pretty powerful, just right for hard rock and metal that was to thump out of the PA later in the day.

Left me feeling like I wanted to check out their albums at a later stage as really rather liked it.

Of the first two acts I think I preferred these, but only just and then on balance because I prefer their hard rock style to that of Michael Monroe’s glam rock style generally.

I really rather enjoyed their set. A good bluesy hard rock and metal fusion that felt very energetic. The crowed seemed to also enjoy the set too.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

 

They’re a relatively new band and I think they have a potentially bright future ahead of them.

However, I had to go find somewhere to sit down by this time so headed over to the Prog stage where I caught some of Amplifier’s set.

7.5/10

Amplifier

Origin: Manchester, England

Lineup:

  • Sel Balamir – Guitar, Vocals
  • Neil Mahony – Bass
  • Matt Brobin – Drums

Setlist:

  • Interglacial Spell
  • Planet of the Insects
  • Interstellar
  • The Emperor
  • The Wave

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

This Manchester based space rock band were new to me prior to the festival. With the lack of a keyboard player they produce all the ‘weird’ sounds with guitar alone.

They sounded good. Just the sort of music I needed to sit and rest for a short time and to jot some notes down about Michael Monroe and Attica Rage.

I didn’t stay very long unfortunately as I really needed to get a drink by this point. But what I did see/hear convinced me they were worth checking out further, sounding like a good mix of Porcupine Tree with touches of Opeth thrown into the mix, all good in my opinion.

The sound again on the Prog stage seemed good to me with good clarity.

As I didn’t stay very long I can’t really comment on the entire set, so my review of this act is a bit smaller than the rest of the reviews in this feature.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

However they sounded very melodic, combined with deep lyrics and walls of noise. As I say I enjoyed what I saw.

6.5/10

Having found something to eat and drink – chips and a bottle of water [usual high festival prices £2.50 each …] but did the trick – I took the time to rest for a while and let some painkillers do their job. The intention here was to wait a bit before going to see Caravan, however things didn’t quite work out like that.

So far to this point I’d quite enjoyed the day, with 3 good acts which I enjoyed. A good vibe to the place, certainly feeling glad I’d come along.

Feeling the need for something stronger than water I found a stall selling tea and I bought a mug of Earl Grey and then I found somewhere to sit to drink it. Whilst doing so Rival Sons came on the main stage.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Rival Sons

Origin: Los Angeles, California, USA

Lineup:

  • Jay Buchanan – Vocals
  • Scott Holiday – Guitar
  • Robin Everhart – Bass
  • Miley – Drums

Setlist [partial]:

  • Get What’s Coming
  • Blues jam
  • Pressure and Time
  • Gypsy Heart
  • I want More

Hailing from Los Angeles, this 4 piece presented a 1970s swaggering sound with grungy, loud and a touch psychedelic touches to it.

These guys weren’t an act again I’d looked to see before the festival, but sitting there drinking my tea as they started I found them too good to move away from and so Caravan were given a miss on this occasion.

I’d not heard of these guys before today, but had I been paying a bit more attention to the cover discs with the issues of Classic Rock I got on subscription I’d of noticed a sampler CD featuring them. Classic Rock and the press generally really do seem to rate them quite a bit and feel they’re a rising star on the rock music scene.

If I’d been able to at this point I’d of possibly been up ‘getting down’ to their blend of hard rock which I was enjoying quite a bit at this stage. Clear influences by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix et al come through in a welcome blend. During their 30-35 minute set they found time to fit in a blues jam.

I Want More [from 2009’s Before the Fire] was a good bluesy number that I liked quite a bit with a powerful bass line, strong vocals and great riffs. Reminiscent of Led Zeppelin.

Pressure and Time [from latest album] was another powerful bluesy song, again somewhat reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. Another track from the newest album [Pressure and Time] was Gypsy Heart. The set was strong I felt.

Singer Buchanan was lively up on stage.

I liked these guys a lot in the end and was very glad I took the time to sit and listen/watch them. I shall be checking out their music sometime I feel. Very much one to watch as I reckon they’ll be big.

From their performance I can see why they’re rated so well. Apparently their performance on the Hammer stage [where they took the place of Electric Wizard] was even better than the performance on the Main stage I saw [which suffered all of Saturday to one extent or another with PA technical issues].

7.5/10

Taking this time to rest also gave me chance to make notes so I didn’t forget everything.

After Rival Sons set I headed back over to the press area to sit and write more notes as well as to check train times to make sure I avoided the trouble of becoming stranded.

Later in the day it was announced that Rival Sons were to play on the Hammer Stage as Headliners in place of Electric Wizard who were unable to make it due to the events in Norway.

Before long it was time to go see Queensrÿche. The time had felt like it had flown by to this point.

Queensrÿche

Origin: USA

Lineup:

  • Geoff Tate – Vocals, Keyboards, Saxophone
  • Michael Wilton – Guitar, Vocals
  • Eddie Jackson – Bass, Vocals
  • Scott Rockenfield – Drums, Percussion, Keyboards
  • Parker Lundgren – Guitar, Vocals

Setlist:

  • Get Started
  • Damaged
  • I Don’t Believe In Love
  • NM 156
  • Screaming In Digital
  • Jet City Woman
  • Empire
  • Eyes Of A Stranger

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

 

When I first saw the line up for this years High Voltage festival one of several acts to stand out that I wanted to see [as well as Judas Priest and Slash] were Queensrÿche.

They started off pretty energetically with Get Started.

Particular stand out tracks from the set for me were Empire, Jet City Woman [both from album Empire – one of my favourite Queensrÿche albums] and Eyes of a Stranger [from the album Operation Mindcrime]. Just before they started to play Jet City Woman, Geoff Tate talked about where they’re from [Seatle] and how it is known as Jet City [because of Boeing mainly] over there.

From their new album [Dedicated to Chaos] which I haven’t really had a chance to listen to prior to this festival or since they played Get Started.

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I felt there was a good mix of the classic songs in the setlist, featuring only one new song in the set for me felt a good thing as Get Started felt the weaker of the set. I got the impression they would normally do a much bigger set than what the time slot they were given allowed.

There were some who complained the sound was poor, and I did find at the sides the sound dropped out quite a bit, which was definitely a shame. I did try to get a better spot to stand and listen, but moving through the crowds gathered to see them made this rather difficult. Could perhaps of been a bit louder, but where I was it didn’t seem too bad.

Despite these problems they didn’t let them bother them and continued to perserve through a good energetic set. I for one enjoyed it.

Even so, Geoff Tate had a lot of presence up there and really commanded the stage well, exciting the crowd in the process. Playing a number of crowd favourites in the set. Geoff was certainly giving it his all I thought and if the sound problems hadn’t been as they were I think the crowd would of enjoyed the set far more. A shame really.

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Really glad I got the chance to see them live finally. I hope to get the chance again sometime to see them to witness a fuller set that isn’t afflicted by the technical PA problems they suffered on this occasion.

7/10

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I then headed back to the Prog stage where Anathema were on.

Anathema

Origin: Liverpool, England

Lineup:

  • Vincent Cavanagh – Vocals, Guitar
  • Daniel Cavanagh – Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards
  • Les Smith – Keyboards
  • Jamie Cavanagh – Bass
  • John Douglas – Drums
  • Lee Douglas – Vocals

Setlist:

  • Thin Air
  • Summernight Horizon
  • Dreaming Light
  • Everything
  • A Natural Disaster
  • Closer
  • Universal

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

I sat and listened to these whilst I took a bit more time to rest and catch my breath for a moment. I rather enjoyed their set – at least the bit I saw. Was quite relaxing and pleasant to just sit and listen to them play.

A melodic and chilled mix of music.

There was quite a crowd watching them too, who all seemed to be enjoying it as much as I was. Was really quite addictive sitting there listening. I would of liked to have listened to more but I’d made an agreement to go and see TriggerFinger and to pass on my thoughts of them to my editor via this review.

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6.5/10

Triggerfinger

Origin: Antwerp, Belgium

Lineup:

  • Ruben Block – Vocals, Guitar
  • Mario Goossens – Drums
  • Paul Van Bruystegem – Bass

Setlist [partial]:

  • Short Term Memory Love
  • My Baby’s Got a Gun
  • All This Dancin’ Around

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

I headed over and managed to get a good spot near the side at the front. I’d missed the start due to listening to Anathema – no bad thing really – but when I got there they were rocking the crowd quite nicely.

This three-piece from Belgium were a new band to me, so it was a pleasant surprise to be greeted by an explosive mix of hard rock with a definite blues edge to the guitar playing.

Whilst I don’t quite remember the setlist [and one hasn’t appeared online as yet] they did I know play Short Term Memory Love [from 2009’s What Grabs Ya], My Baby’s Got a Gun, and All This Dancin’ Around from their new album [2010’s All This Dancin’ Around].

Ruben Block was lively and flamboyant on stage and engaged with the crowd, much to their pleasure.

One to check out I feel. Looking at their website it appears they have 3 albums out, 2004’s Triggerfinger, 2009’s What grabs Ya and 2010’s All This Dancin’ Around. Only All This Dancin’ Around so far has a UK release however.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

I’d planned to go see Thin Lizzy as they’ve been one of my favourite bands for a long long time, however Triggerfinger were so good I stayed to see more of their set and as a result missed the start of the Thin Lizzy set.

Based upon the strength of what I saw I’m really keen to get hold of their latest album [All This Dancin’ Around] to have a proper listen and also to see them again sometime when they are back in the UK.

8/10

Thin Lizzy

Lineup:

  • Brian Downey – Drums
  • Scott Gorham – Guitar, Vocals
  • Darren Wharton – Keyboards, Vocals
  • Marco Mendoza – Bass, Vocals
  • Ricky Warwick – Lead Vocals, Guitar
  • Richard Fortus – Guitar, Vocals
  • Michael Monroe – Guest Saxophone

Setlist:

  • Are You Ready
  • Waiting for an Alibi
  • Jailbreak
  • Dancing in the Moonlight (it’s Caught Me in its Spotlight) – with Michael Monroe
  • Emerald
  • Whiskey In The Jar (Editor’s personal favourite)
  • Cowboy Song
  • The Boys Are Back In Town
  • Rosalie
  • Black Rose

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

When the line up for this festival was first announced, there were a few bands that for me were ‘must see’, amongst them headliners Judas Priest. Thin Lizzy were also for me personally on that list also.

I’ve always had a fondness for Thin Lizzy’s Irish inspired folk-rock style. Perhaps it has something to do with some of my ancestry [my grandmother was from Northern Ireland] or my fascination with Irish culture and legends [and Celtic designs]. Either way Thin Lizzy’s music connects with me in a way that isn’t easy to put in words and I find myself taken away by the music. So to get to see them live [even if it was sadly sans Phil Lynott and Gary Moore] was an event I couldn’t miss I felt.

As a big fan I was rather interested to see how they sounded without Gary Moore and Phil Lynott. Nobody can replace either of those two, but the remaining former members and new lead singer; former Almighty singer; Ricky Warwick put on a great show.

When I got to my spot near the stage there was a large crowd whom appeared to be up for what Thin Lizzy had to offer. As I got there they were just bringing Michael Monroe as a guest appearance on Saxophone for Dancing in the Moonlight. Missing Jailbreak – I arrived just as it was getting to the end – was a little annoying as it is amongst my favourite songs by Thin Lizzy.

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Their set included a number of the hits and favourites including Emerald, Whiskey in the Jar, The Boys are Back in Town, Rosalie [a Bob Segar cover] and finishing off with a fine rendition of Black Rose. A good mix of classic Lizzy songs.

It was particularly pleasing to hear some of my favourite Lizzy songs live, especially Whiskey in the Jar and Black Rose.

What was nice was Ricky Warwick getting the crowd involved in saluting the late great Phil Lynott and Gary Moore. Definitely a highlight of the day for me.

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Thin Lizzy proved that whilst Phil and Gary may no longer be with us, there is still life in the songs and people willing to enjoy them, I for one did. A definite highlight of the day for me I feel. I’d certainly be very happy to have the opportunity to see them again as whilst some purists might feel without Phil it cannot be Thin Lizzy for me the show and performance was of good enough quality to make it a good thing they’re playing again.

Singer Ricky Warwick certainly has the right mix of energy and flair for the job I felt, and his voice feels to fit with the songs well too.

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Based on this performance I would really like to see them again sometime, hopefully when they’re touring the UK in January 2012.

8/10

Afterwards I took the time to get a bit more rest before going to catch Slash’s set, something I’d been looking forward to.

So far to this point the festival had been great, but the age old festival problem reared its head, that of too many great acts on and feeling torn as to which to see.

At this point I was trying to decide who I could manage to see as well as Slash and Judas Priest – there was no way I wasn’t going to see either! – Unfortunately Electric wizard clashed with Priest so were out [in the end they couldn’t make the festival due to events in Norway and were replaced by Rival Sons] – but did feel I could manage to see Grand Magus and maybe Barclay James Harvest.

Slash feat. Myles Kennedy

Lineup:

  • Slash – Guitar
  • Myles Kennedy – Lead Vocals
  • Bobby Schneck – Guitar, Vocals
  • Todd Kerns – Bass, Vocals [Lead on Doctor Alibi]
  • Brent Fitz – Drums, Percussion

Setlist:

  • Been There Lately (Slash’s Snakepit)
  • Nightrain (Guns N’ Roses)
  • Rocket Queen (Guns N’ Roses)
  • Ghost (Slash)
  • Mean Bone (Slash’s Snakepit)
  • Doctor Alibit (Tood Kerns on vocals; from album Slash)
  • Speed Parade (Slash’s Snakepit)
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns N’ Roses)
  • Slither (Velvet Revolver)
  • Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses)

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

I’ve been a fan of rock and metal for all of my life since my teens, and I grew up with Guns ‘n Roses, so seeing Slash was always going to be a highlight for me – I’d previously seen him in 2005 at Download as part of Velvet Revolver however.

No-one these days can really honestly say they don’t know who Slash is, they either known him from his days in Guns N’ Roses [often drinking to excess] or his time in Velvet Revolver with other former Guns N’s Roses collegues [Matt soram, Duff McKagan] and Scott Weiland [former Stone Temple Pilots singer] or if none of those then from the game Guitar Hero III where Slash is featured on the front of the box and features in the game quite prominently.

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It was instantly obvious when Slash walked onto stage, his trademark top hat and long black curly hair being very distinctive. Some artists have stage makeup and props etc, Slash? he has a top hat that is quintessentially him. Preferring to hide on stage a bit, being a bit of an introverted player perhaps and preferring to let the singer take the spotlight. But when he came forward [especially later when he took his shirt off] the crowd went quite crazy!

Today was Slash’s birthday also, and he was enjoying it by the looks of things. He later tweeted that Classic Rock had gotten him a 10 kilo cake for his birthday!

He didn’t disappoint either. The set was a good mix of GNR, Velvet Revolver and Slash’s own from Slash’s Snakepit and his newest album ‘Slash’ [which features Myles Kennedy on two tracks].

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

The unknown element to me prior to this was Myles Kennedy, I’d never seen him live or really listened to him sing prior to Slash’s album, so was a good chance to see how he coped with the classic GNR songs.

The renditions of Sweet Child O’ Mine and Paradise City were great, both transporting me back to the 80s/90s growing up listening to such music, Paradise City being a particularly pounding rendition that I liked a lot. These songs were huge back in the early 1990s and so for a lot of people around my age they’ll of been almost anthems of that era. The crowd certainly enjoyed both of these renditions, with the crowd participating in the rendition of Sweet Child O’ Mine quite nicely.

The sole Velvet Revolver song played – Slither – happened to be one of my favourites and has been stuck in my head ever since!

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Of the songs on Slash’s album, Doctor Alibi is one of my favourites on that album, it was performed by Slash’s bassist Todd Kerns and whilst not to my mind as good as Lemmy’s rendition – nobody can out-do Lemmy – it was still great to hear.

The rendition of a few of the tracks which other people sang on the album also seemed better when sung by Myles, much to my pleasure.

I thoroughly enjoyed Slash’s set, as did the crowd. Not really anything of a surprise mind!

I never got the chance to see Guns N’ Roses play back in the 90s, but did get chance to see Velvet Revolver play in 2005. So now to have seen Slash’s solo performance rounds things off quite nicely.

9/10

I wandered over to the Hammer stage after Slash had finished to catch some of Grand Magus. There were some Goth Morris dancers on the way that I managed to get a few pictures of. Throughly entertaining.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

 

 

 

Grand Magus

Origin: Stockholm, Sweden

Lineup:

  • Janne “JB” Christoffersson – Vocals, Guitar
  • Fox – Bass, Vocals
  • SEB – Drums

Setlist:

  • Kingslayer
  • Iron Will
  • Hammer of the North
  • The Shadow Knows
  • Ravens Guide Our Way

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Hailing from Sweden, Grand Magus are 3 piece metal band playing a Scandinavian blend of metal, inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Dio with pounding heavy riffs and traditional metal melodies thrown in for good measure. Their lyrics draw inspiration from nature and Nordic tradition as well as Swedish history and Norse Mythology, both important things to the band due to their origin.

I quite liked these guys. Enjoyed their energetic set. The crowd were too by the looks of things.

Good crunchy heavy metal, just how I like it. Fast and energetic it had me quite interested throughout the time I was there listening.

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Featuring battle horns at the start of their set they started in style with Kingslayer [from album Wolf’s Return].

Hammer of the North [from latest album of same name] was a fast, crunchy battle metal type song, which the crowd seemed to enjoy [as did I].

Sadly, I wish that I had longer to enjoy their set, but the timings were a little against me; I had to consider getting a decent spot for Judas Priest.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Will look them up at a later date as quite enjoyed what I saw of them. If the chance arises I think seeing them again would be somewhat agreeable.

7/10

That just left Judas Priest to see before heading home.

So the moment I’d been waiting all day had finally come around. Judas Priest.

Judas Priest

Lineup:

  • Rob Halford – Lead Vocals
  • Glenn Tipton – Guitars, Keyboards, Synth
  • Richie Faulkner – Guitar
  • Scott Travis – Drums
  • Ian Hill – Bass

Setlist:

  • Rapid Fire
  • Metal Gods
  • Heading Out to the Highway
  • Judas Rising
  • Starbreaker
  • Victim of Changes
  • Never Satisfied
  • Diamonds & Rust
  • Prophecy
  • Night Crawler
  • Turbo Lover
  • Beyond The Realms of Death
  • The Sentinel
  • Blood Red Skies
  • The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)
  • Breaking the Law
  • Drum Solo
  • Painkiller
  • Electric Eye – Encore 1
  • Hell Bent For Leather – Encore 2
  • You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ – Encore 3
  • Living After Midnight – Encore 4

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I had high expectations for an amazing show from these guys this was their farewell tour, so as a long standing fan I expected a Great performance and a career spanning set list.

With the recent departure of K K Downing in April I was a bit worried how the replacement would fare and how the sound would compare to how I remember it on the albums.

Downing’s replacement Richie Faulkner didn’t disappoint however. Sparring nicely with Glenn Tipton in the classic Priest dual guitar sounds of their classics.

Whilst it would of been fantastic to have seen the classic line up play with Tipton and Downing sparring together on stage, it wasn’t to be and all things have to come to and end, so Downing’s decision to retire has to be respected.

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The set list was a good mix of classics and newer tracks and seemed to be a good balance I felt between the hits and expected songs and some of the more recent songs. Good stuff.

Did they deliver?

I don’t really think words can quite express how good they were yes there were people leaving before the end and yes people complained about the sound. But the former I suspect was because of the wish to avoid the huge crowds heading to the tube station and the latter perhaps to do with noise abatement laws locally? I have since read that the sound was different depending on where you were standing so who knows?

When they played Breaking the Law the entire crowd sung it, including me talk about audience participation the atmosphere was electrifying.

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The renditions of You’ve got another thing Comin’, Hell Bent for Leather and the encore Living After Midnight were pounding and terrific, especially the encore, which ended the night on a great high for me.

All I know is I thoroughly enjoyed their set. It was truly a privilege to see them live. There are a number of acts I’d quite like to see at least once in my lifetime, the list includes AC/DC, Black Sabbath and of course Judas Priest. I saw Black Sabbath in 2005 and they blew me away. I thought that was the most memorable live act I’d seen.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Rob Halford made comments during the set that the set would be filmed for a Live DVD. when that might be released I have no idea, but I shall look to get a copy if one becomes available.

Now I’ve seen Judas Priest and they blew me away also. So they can definitely be added to that list I feel.

A truly immense and powerful set with crowd favourites such as Breaking the Law, Living after Midnight thrown in to much satisfaction.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Throughout the show there were a lot of lighting and special effects going off as well as smoke (Dry Ice/Thermal Fog) and pyrotechnics all of these adding to a very special and atmospheric show. My only disappointment with this was that the band especially Judas Priest were set so far back that from the sides it was quite difficult at times to see anything of what was going on unless Rob or the others came forward during a song.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

Judas Priest certainly showed, that whilst they might be retiring from world tours, there is certainly life in them, even if Rob cannot quite reach the vocal heights of yesteryear.

Photo Credit Courtesy of Kelly and The Evil Jam ©

9.5/10

The end commeth…

Was really feeling sad I wouldn’t be there for the Sunday at this point, but knew that I wouldn’t be able to manage to financially or physically and had in any case prior commitments elsewhere. The sad reality really of being a disabled reviewer, but I did try to do my best to get to witness as many acts as I could on the day in any case.

At least five of the bands live sets were available on CD as soon as they had finished their sets. I had the opportunity to purchase these, but declined due to costs. For more details please visit and look for High Voltage Festival 2011 at www.concertlive.co.uk. Travelling Home

At the end of Judas Priest’s set, the entire crowd started en-masse heading towards Mile End tube station, it was busy and slow going and I was at several points rather anxious about making it over to London Bridge before the last train to Dartford. The last thing I wanted was getting stuck in London!

Thankfully I managed to make it onto the tube and got to London Bridge with minutes to spare before collapsing exhausted onto the train to Dartford where I then drove to the B&B and rested and found sleep elusive as I was in a bit of pain plus so much energy buzzing around my head after such an immense day.

Final Thoughts

So all in all a fantastic day. Some truly monumentally memorable events – Judas Priest namely – and such good fun.

It wasn’t perfect though, but the faults I found are manageable and hopefully lessons will be learned for next year. It will be interesting to see if it is at the same venue next year due to the Olympics being on in 2012, but I hope it will be.

This is still a reletively new festival, only in its second year, and it holds a lot of promise to become a big name on the festival scene. Theres a lot of different festivals [such as V, Reading, T in the Park, Download and Sonisphere] and it is a crowded space in the summer for festival choice.

I think High Voltage seems to have the right idea in the balance of acts covering both new and classic rock and metal acts, something other festivals don’t do [they feel more to cater towards a younger audience than High Voltage does]. As a result High Voltage had a lot less crazy antics going on in the middle of the crowd and thankfully the weather was good so no swathes of mud either!

I’ve been to Ozzfest and Download in the past, and both of those are busy with a lot of younger people going crazy in the mosh pits and getting very drunk in the process. The lack of that here was a pleasant surprise.

Of the acts I saw I didn’t find one I didn’t like or a poor one, just a few problems that maybe marred the performance of Queensrÿche and Thin Lizzy [sound on main stage] but it didn’t for me deflate the energy and quality of the show.

My thanks to all at Duff Press for the Media Pass, which was very much appreciated.

I hope to go next year and already cannot wait to see what the line-up will be.

8/10 overall.

Festival Highlights

  • Judas Priest
  • Slash
  • Queensrÿche
  • Rival Sons
  • Attica Rage
  • Triggerfinger
  • Thin Lizzy

Disappointments

  • Usual costs of food/drinks being extortionate at festivals.
  • Toilets – usual festival issues really, even the ‘luxury’ ones in the VIP area were bad at times.
  • Not being able to make the Sunday. (But I can’t blame that on the festival)
  • Main stage sound could of been better at various times – particularly during the Thin Lizzy and Queensrÿche sets.
  • Electric Wizard clashing with Judas Priest – made immaterial in the end due to their not being able to make it.

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About the Author

Kelly Harding
Kelly Harding
30 something geek; gamer; sci-fi/fantasy fan, discworld fan; loves rock/metal/electronic music, seals, penguins and polarbears; linux, xbmc, mac & drupal user