Gig review: PLANET ROCKSTOCK – Porthcawl, 6 December 2014 (Day 2: Michael Schenker, Joe Elliott)

Michael Schenker - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Jagermeister Stage

Day 2 at Rockstock and the first day on the Jagermeister second stage and opening up are local band Serpentine.  The band have recently had line-up changes and it is certainly nice to see them back in action again.

Serpentine - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

New vocalist Adam Payne does an admirable job in performing the older material in ‘Whatever Heartache’ and the band seem glad to be back, with guitarist Chris Gould on fine form.  The band also give us a taste of what is to come with a new song ‘Forever’.

Electric River - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Londoners Electric River have had a successful year culminating in a support slot on Toseland’s UK tour a few months back, the four piece have a unique sound with hints of early Big Country/U2 in the guitar department creating a refreshing sound.  They waste no time in getting the crowd up on their feet for the last two songs ‘Keep The Engine Burning ‘ and ‘Chorus of Fire’, and left with a lot more fans than they started with.

Gun Metal Gray - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Gun Metal Gray, are an American metal band with a twin guitar harmony not unlike Maiden/Priest, and quite fast and heavy sounding vocals. I didn’t think it would go down that well with the assembled crowd but judging by the standing ovation they went down really well, and definitely the biggest queue of the day at the meet and greet table.

In all honesty I have seen Vega a number of times over the last couple of years and I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan but since listening to their new album Stereo Messiah  I am really liking it.

Vega - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

I searched out some of their older material and have to say I have changed my mind about them.  They opened up with ‘Kiss Of Life’,  a song that once it gets its hooks in you won’t let go and you find yourself singing it all day long.  They certainly know how to write a good tune.  Frontman Nick Workman does a hell of a job to get the crowd going and I think in fairness Vega deserved a spot on the main stage to truly show us what they are capable of.

Skam - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Whenever I have looked at a gig listing I have usually seen the name Skam touring somewhere in the UK and that experience is telling in their performance.

A real powerhouse trio full of energy and great songs, however you do tend to find your eyes being diverted towards bass player Matt Gilmore, the guy is like a runaway truck with no sign of a handbrake.  Check out their video for the new single ‘Peacemaker’ for proof. Nevertheless a real crowd favourite to close the Jagermeister stage for day two.

Michael Schenker - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Main Stage

With Tax The Heat walking on stage in suits and ties and leather brogues, you would be forgiven for thinking wrong place, wrong time! But from the opening song ‘Millionaire’ through to set closer ‘Fed To The Lions’, Tax The Heat proved they are more than just smart dressers.  2014 has been a rollercoaster year for the band and 2015  promises to be an even bigger and better ride.

Tax The Heat - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

The Graveltones are possibly the most unusual band on the Main Stage bill tonight. Comprising  a drummer and a guitarist/vocalist, they are maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, however the main stage crowd absolutely loved them.

With boundless energy, Jimmy and Mikey give everything in their performance even enticing  Planet Rock’s Daren Reddick – in possibly the worst suit ever – to play bass which only added to the crowd’s enjoyment.

Cadillac 3 - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Hailing from Nashville, and just been voted best new band by Classic Rock magazine, Cadillac 3 were one of the bands a lot of people were looking forward to seeing tonight and believe me when I say, those people would not have been disappointed.

Southern rock or whatever name you want to call it is on the rise and at this moment in time Cadillac 3 are flying the southern flag for the genre.  The moment they walk on stage and Jaren Johnson  starts playing his Telecaster the crowd ignites and the reaction fuels  the band to deliver what was hailed by many to be the performance of the weekend.  When Cadillac 3 return to these shore expect them to be playing bigger venues and sold out shows.

Joe Elliott's Down 'N' Outz - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

This is only Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz second gig in three years and Joe is severely under the weather. The band consists of Guy, Keith and Paul from the Quireboys and Share Ross (Vixen) on bass and Phil Martini on drums.

Their sound is a mix of 70s glam/rock with a Faces/Mott The Hoople kind of style.  While the music was first class, I feel it was slightly let down by the stage presence of the band. Joe stood centre stage with a glittery Gibson and hardly moved more than three feet either side as did most of the members.  It just felt as if it was missing a spark.

Michael Schenker - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Having grown up with Michael Schenker back in the early 80s and MSG being a big part of my musical make up in my youth it was sad to see the years where Michael struggled with health issues which affected his music.

Thankfully those days are long gone and with a solid band behind him – and Doogie White – handling vocals Schenker is back on form and once again the mad axeman.

Michael Schenker - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

Surprising everyone by opening with ‘Doctor Doctor’ – normally placed towards the end of the set – proved a masterstroke, getting everyone in the mood from the off.  Michael stalks the front of the stage with a huge smile, his trademark Flying V  straddled between his legs, even touching fan’s hands between guitar licks.

With a sizeable back catalogue he delivers classic after classic rock song from ‘Armed And Ready’ , ‘Victim Of Illusion’ and ‘Into The Arena’ through to UFO’s ‘Rock Bottom’,’ Let it Roll’ and ‘Lights Out’.  This isn’t just a classic hits set, they even introduce a new song titled ‘Vigilante Man’ from the new album released next year.

Michael Schenker - Planet Rockstock, Porthcawl, 6 December 2014

With the band consisting of two ex -Scorpions members in Francis Bucholz and Herman Rarebell on bass and drums respectively they also plunge into the Scorpions back catalogue with ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ and finishing the set with ‘Blackout’ sending the jam packed venue into a frenzy.

With Michael Schenker in good spirits you are guaranteed a fantastic rock show and tonight the crowd appreciated a bonafide rock legend at his very best.

Review and photos by Darren Griffiths

Day 1 (5 December 2014)
Day 3 (7 December 2014)


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Power Plays w/c 15 October 2018

BIRDSONG AT MORNING Waterfall (Blue Gentian Records)
GUN RUNNERS Save Our Souls (indie)
THE BUZNIKS Nail It To The Floor (3MS Music)
NAZARETH The Secret Is Out (Frontiers)
CITY OF THIEVES Fuel And Alcohol (Frontiers)

Featured Albums w/c 15 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 STEVE PERRY Traces (BMG)
12:00-13:00 URIAH HEEP Living The Dream (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BIRDSONG AT MORNING Signs And Wonders (Blue Gentian Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 STEVE MORSE/SARAH SPENCER Angelfire (2010)



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