Day two at the most diverse winter rock festival in Wales (and probably the only winter rock festival in Wales) kicked off with the grim realisation that we were still in a ground floor chalet overlooking more ground floor chalets. Only this time there was no hot water.
But there was no queue for the toilet, no mud and our en-suite accommodation was better than a tent. Well, maybe not one of those big tents with three bedrooms and a jacuzzi. Then again this was never meant to be a holiday and the hard work started at 11am with back-to-back interviews in the media suite/snooker room. First up was back-from-the-dead rock troupe The Glitterati and three fifths of the band were in buoyant mood as they talked next year’s new record, touring with W.A.S.P. and that new deal with Demolition. Look out for a full interview here soon.
And so to Estonia’s answer to Lita Ford as we chewed the fat with Baltic bombshell Marya Roxx and discovered she’s super keen to break the British market. Smaller than Ronnie James Dio but with similarly powerful pipes she might just make it. And she has a 2010 calendar out now – there’s an in-house rushonrock raffle later tonight to determine who bags the best prize of the weekend.
So to the action and setting up camp to the left of Stage 2 proved to be a master stroke as a succession of pumped-up performers delivered set after set of sweat-soaked quality. Pig Iron’s super charged country rock sounds is like a vintage moonshine – maturing and improving with time. And The Glitterati mixed old with new to win over one of the smallest crowds of the day with free download Fight, Fight, Fight and another newie, Too Many Girls, the pick of a pretty raucous bunch.
Next up were second generation NWOBHM stars Girlschool and it was impossible to turn away from the veteran rock chicks. Opening with Demolition Boys was guaranteed to get the crowd on their side and C’Mon Let’s Go slugged it out with Race With The Devil for top honours. Brilliant stuff.
But maybe not quite as brilliant as Cardiff’s answer to Poison – Tigertailz. The Welsh wizards made the most of a receptive home crowd to harvest all the hits from classic album Bezerk including sensational versions of Love Bomb Baby, the Pepsi-tribute themed Heaven and Action City. Girlschool’s return for the Motorhead encore capped a cracking show from the all grown up glamsters.
Seeking to maintain the momentum, and in front of the biggest crowd of the day, The Quireboys were initially hampered by the failure of Spike’s mic. And this was before he threw his stand around with gay abandon, dropping it once and frequently placing rushonrock‘s pit-based paparazzi in serious danger.
Once the technical issues were resolved a trademark set ensued with Spike carefully cajoling his audience in the comfortable way only he can. This didn’t look like a band which had only left Belfast 12 hours earlier and had no sleep as a result. Throw in the fact Spike broke two ribs in Barcelona last month and it’s a miracle this set was so sparkling.
But it was yet another bright spot as Quireboys classics Tramps & Thieves, 7 0’Clock. Hey You and the sleazy set-closer Sex Party boomed out across Pontins. If you miss this lot on their 20th anniversary tour throughout December then you’ll miss out. Big time.
A quick hop to the main stage, via the horribly long queue for roast pork with apple sauce (any bit of pig is worth the wait), and there was Ms Roxx roaring through a set previewing her 2010 Kevin Shirley-produced debut album. Energetic but there’s really no need to shout. You’re better than that.
With W.A.S.P., Queensryche and New York Dolls to come it really ain’t over until it’s over. Thankfully.