FESTIVAL REVIEW: STONEDEAF FESTIVAL 2019 Live at Newark, UK
One Day. One Stage. The taste of the old school vibes surrounded the luscious green pastures. To top things all off, the weather gods had blessed all with some glorious scenes. What more could we ask for? It was only last year that the inaugural Stonedeaf Festival had hit with a great line-up and an all-round fabulous ambiance. Could this year’s reedition match or top that? It’s a big ask but the fantastic team behind this wonderful festival we’re more than up to the task.
Opening the curtains of the day were Dublin lads Samarkind. As one should suspect, it’s never easy being the first ones up, especially in mid-morning leading into the afternoon. However, the band certainly did their spectators justice and gave a performance that would be appreciated at any show. Influenced by the classic bands of the 70s and a splash of southern rock, the band opened with a bang and the level of intrigue increased around the stage with songs “Good Man Call”, “Black Rain”, “Thru That Door” and “Blue Mountain”. It was the wake up that Stonedeaf needed to get the party started!
The next band up choice was a great choice for all to witness as this little Aussie quintet brought the party in style. Massive knew how to rock with rustic energy and their pedigree of performance didn’t diminish throughout their set. Bringing the high-end rock with tracks “Generation Riot”, “Blood Money Blues” and their cover of “If You Want Blood, You Got It” went down a storm with the crowd. If that wasn’t enough, the party atmosphere was turned up a notch by inviting fans and crew members up on stage for “Dancefloor”, which was a lively anthem that had serious amounts of groove. An impressive high energy set and undoubtedly Massive left the stage with considerably more fans than when they started.
The Amorettes already have a great following and this was clear from the reception they received. Despite of the sound feedback letting their set down, it did not stop the quartet from strutting the stage with “Born To Break”, which was a tight little rocker to open along with more high-impact riffing tracks “Bull By The Horns” and “Let The Neighbours Call The Cops”. The move to a four-piece helped in rounding off some rough edges and this was none more evident than on final song “Everything I Learned (I Learned From Rock and Roll)”.
Diamond Head were the first of the legends and probably the band responsible for thrash metal and the first of the real big New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands of the 1970’s. Bryan Tatler and the cohorts were celebrating the 40th anniversary of their iconic album ‘Lightning to the Nations’ and their recently released ‘The Coffin Train’, which was of no consequence as the band played an entertaining set with Bones amongst the classics of ‘Lightning To The Nations’, ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ and ‘Belly Of The Beast’. The set was bouncing and raced along with the climax of “Am I Evil?” concluding their set by which a low rumble turned to a deafening roar as a WW2 Dakota flew over the stage in perfect synchronicity to the end of the set.
Stripping back to basics, Geoff Tate along with his associates played that impressed all of their viewers with superb form. This was a Greatest Hits set and was proven to be a good choice for the festival. After the electric “Walk In The Shadows” was hummed through the speakers, there was a mini Mindcrime set with “Operation Mindcrime”, “Breaking The Silence” and “The Mission”, which went down a storm. Ending their set on a massive high was their triptych of the stunning classics “Silent Lucidity”, “Jet City Woman” and “Eyes Of A Stranger”, further proving the sheer chemistry the band have exposed to their viewers.
Wayward Sons somehow managed to have blown a fuse just as their set exploded to a wonderful start! It was clear as to why – it was an entertaining set that got the biggest cheers from the weekend. The mishap did not phase their splendid sound bringing the vigour in the arena right back up. With tracks “Alive”, “Don’t Wanna Go”, “Little White Lies” and “Killing Time”, their set was exciting when and while closing with the electric “Until The End”, this showed their razor-sharp rock in full display, working wonders to their audience nicely.
Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons have been going from strength to strength, blending the old and new seamlessly and continuing the work ethic implanted during the Motorhead years. The Stonedeaf crowd were treated to “Get On Your Knees” and as the band progressed, the spectators loved its flow. Covers of “Born To Raise Hell” and “Ace Of Spades” were the cherries topped on the cake while playing some firm favourites like “High Rule”, “Freak Show”, and “Step Into The Fire”.
The final two bands proved to be contentious choices for the one-day festival and while viewers were of different age ranges, it gives the opportunity for those to listen in to some new and old school rock and roll.
So, when UK’s outfit Inglorious took to the stage for their evening crowd, their set was very well received. The standout tracks were numbers “Holy Water” and “Until I Die”, both of which have been adored by their spectators. There were some high spots during the set including “Where Are You Now”, “Breakaway” and “Ride To Nowhere”, this dynamic five-piece hard rock band use inspiration from the 70’s and 80’s to fuse together a thoroughly modern mix of incredible rock music for all to enjoy. Covering Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited” was a bold move as well, showing the diversity of their set.
The final act of the second rendition of Stonedeaf Festival was Glenn Hughes, a bonafide rock performer and an inspired choice to headline the stage. The stage lit up in psychedelic colours as the rock legend looked far younger than his age but accomplished the youthful liveliness of someone half his age. Covering all the bases with his Deep Purple infused enactment with songs “Burn”, “Highway Star”, “Smoke On The Water”, “Stormbringer” and “Might Just Take Your Life”. The band played well and recreated the classics with a certain panache, which closed the all-day festival to an epic close.
The organisers at Stonedeaf had done it again, proving the festival to be superb once more. It could be argued that the line-up was not quite as strong as 2018, but the fact that the Stonedeaf team had once again amassed a top line up and the rise in numbers was always going to test the set up. Due to naming issues Stonedeaf is to rise again in 2020 as the Stonedead Festival, it will not take away the top-class atmosphere of rock and metal turned up to eleven.