Gig review: STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 – Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015

Dee Snider - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015Photo: Simon Dunkerley

What a difference twelve hours can make, from beautiful blue skies to masses of mud, the lovely Welsh rain has made an appearance but, no matter, the show goes on.

Skam had the unenviable task of starting today off (in the absence of Wild Lies) and in fairness to them they did well to get as many out of the beer tent as they did considering the rain that was falling.

As the beer and rain flowed, and inhibitions were lost, more and more braved the weather and joined Skam at the front of the stage, a little help from an AC/DC cover always helps too.  I had the fortune of catching this Irish band when they supported FM on their May UK tour and remember being being suitably impressed so I had a slight advantage over many of the gathered punters who had never heard of them before.

Their brand of melodic rock seemed to go down rather well but the lack of familiarity with any of the songs is compounded by seemingly the lack of any album that people can get at the moment.  Since that FM tour they have added another guitarist which gives them a bigger sound.

Colour Of Noise - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015

Bruce (Little Angels) Dickinson’s new venture back into the music business sees him join up with Furyon lead singer Matt Mitchell ( who looks a deadringer for a young Paul Rodgers ) in Colour Of Noise.

They amble onstage almost to no introduction and delivered a slice of classic blues rock with a dirty underbelly.  Matt commands the stage well throwing shapes with the microphone stand and his soulful voice is unnervingly different from the harder edged Furyon and a pleasant change.

Bruce has been away far too long  and the Colour Of Noise seem to be the vehicle with which he shows us his maturity as a guitarist.  The people in attendance started to care less about the rain and started to get into the groove that the band were laying down and it will be great to see how they develop over the next 12 months.

FM - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015

You know what you are going to get with an FM show and that is what makes them so popular in their resurgence.  Whilst limited to an hour slot they quickly hit the ground running with ‘Digging Up The Dirt’, Steve Overland smiling as always as he greets the mountain.

I was a little surprised that this was the only song from the new album given the standard of the songs, however nobody is disappointed when they reel out classic after classic including just one ballad in ‘Closer To Heaven’ to show off Steve’s stunning voice.

As is usually the case with an FM show it is all about big choruses to sing along to and about enjoyment – on stage as well as off.  ‘Burning My Heart Down’ and ‘Bad Luck’ signalled the end of a welcome return to the mountain.  They are the torch bearers in this genre and there is nobody who can do it like FM, hopefully we will have them for a very long time.

Doro - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015

The German blonde bombshell Doro gets carried by one of the crew to the stage and rightly so, this is the Metal Queen after all and should be treated accordingly.

Doro gave every band on the bill a lesson on how to work up a crowd, she wasn’t bothered that it was chucking it down with rain, she got right out to the front of the walkway and headbanged with the best of them and saluted the crowd with a pumping fist.

Doro - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015

While I have never been a big fan of her kind of euro-metal, you can’t deny her appeal. Not a frequent visitor to these shores, this was a chance for all the die-hard fans from the Warlock days to catch up and re-live their teenage years and they gratefully accepted that chance.

Backed by a band that included drummer Johnny Dee (Britny Fox) – remember them? – and with a twin guitar attack  in Luca Princiotta and Bas Mass they gave their all throughout the slot which included ‘Burning The Witches’, ‘All We Are’ and even the Priest cover of ‘Breaking The Law’.  The rain couldn’t dampen Doros’ performance, she possibly received the best reception of the day.

Tyketto - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015

Doro laid the gauntlet down to follow and Danny Vaughn and his troops in Tyketto duly picked it up and raised the bar to another level.  Musically they were perfect – almost too perfect sometimes – though I doubt any of the ladies in the crowd noticed the music when Danny was only two feet away risking the slippery conditions to soak up what can only be desribed as, er, adulation.

That is not to say Tykeeto were there just to please the female section of the crowd, they generally had a great reception, Danny is as charismatic as I remember and his voice is still capable of sending shivers down  your spine.

‘Love To Love’ and ‘Rescue Me’  were  received well but the best responses came when they played ‘Burning Down Inside’  and ‘Forever Young’.  Tyketto seemed genuinely grateful for the fans staying in the miserable weather to witness this set and it was a nice touch by Danny the next day when he took to social media to acknowledge this.

Simon Dunkerley writes: So at the end of a rain battered day and with a crowd soaked to the skin it would take an incredible set to lift them for one final time and to end the festival on the high it deserves.

Dee Snider - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015
Photo: Simon Dunkerley

Dee Snider burst onto the stage and the party was about to start, his T-shirt sporting the logo ‘Just Say F..K It’ seemed right as the crowd instantly lifted from damp and dishevelled to all out rockers as Dee broke into ‘You Can’t Stop Rock And Roll’.

It has been 30+ years since I first watched Twisted Sister back at Monsters of Rock in 1983 and although he is now not wearing as much make-up his energy and showmanship hasn’t diminished at all, thundering through AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ before bringing the crowd to a frenzy of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.

Dee Snider - STEELHOUSE FESTIVAL Day 2 - Ebbw Vale, South Wales, 26 July 2015Photo: Simon Dunkerley

Snider showed that all you need is a great tune and an energetic stage presence to create a great show.  As we wandered off site before the end of the show – to battle with getting the car off the car park – we could hear Dee and the crowd chanting away.  It was a fitting finale to another excellent three days in the shadow of the mountain.

Review and photos by Darren Griffiths, except where stated
Additional reporting: Simon Dunkerley

Steelhouse Festival, 25 July 2015 (Day 1)


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Power Plays w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)

WARM RAIN Here Comes The Rain Again (Rain Recordings)
DARWIN Cosmic Rays (indie)
MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND Love & Beyond (Frontiers)
MARQUIS DRIVE Shine On (indie)
YOUR LIFE & MINE Remind To Remember (indie)
EMERALD SUN What becomes Of You (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 13 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 JIM PETERIK WORLD STAGE Winds Of Change (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 WHITESNAKE Flesh & Blood (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BUFORD POPE The Waiting Game (Unchained Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

NEVER THE BRIDE Surprise (2005)



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