Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WinterStorm rock weekender review 2017

Tyketto - a highlight for me
 The brilliantly attended and organised rock weekender, WinterStorm took place in November for the second time. The event was the vision of one man from the area, Ian McCaig and saw Troon Concert Hall in Scotland, which overlooks a glorious beach taken over for a rock weekend. WinterStorm 2017 had a great atmosphere, an awesome bill and was a sellout. I was lucky enough to go last year too and both years have been a real success. The format of this family-friendly festival (it was great to see plenty of youngsters there!) was 9 bands on Friday and 11 on the Saturday. Here are my highlights.

Friday

Bigfoot delivered a set full of power and melody
Despite the early start, many people turned out to see Bigfoot. I recently reviewed their self-titled debut album and having seen the band a couple of years ago at the Steelhouse Festival in Wales, I was really looking forward to their slot. The guys powered through a brilliant set including tracks such as Freak Show with a hard yet melodic sound, to the glorious ballad, Forever Alone which sees singer, Antony Ellis shine.


Twin guitar duo Mick McCullagh and Sam Millar work so well together, delivering shredding riffs and tasteful solos. It was just a shame that as the guys were settling into the groove of their final song, The Fear, an unexpected pyrotechnic set the fire alarm off, causing the building to be evacuated. However the staff and crew dealt with the situation brilliantly, and everyone was soon back inside. Check out my interview with Mick and Sam.

Next up for me was Stone Broken. I had heard great things about these guys, and they've had an amazing year, so I was looking forward to seeing them live for the first time. 
Stone Broken got a great reaction from the WinterStorm audience
The crowd were certainly pleased to see them too, singing along throughout! The 4-piece rocked their way through a fabulous set, with a sound reminiscent of Black Stone Cherry. The highlight for me had to be the cracking, Wait For You which included some brilliant crowd participation which the band clearly loved! Stone Broken have an exciting time ahead - check out what Rich and Chris had to say just as they came off stage.


Due to interviewing commitments, I did not manage to catch all of Bernie Marsden's set, but I did get in just in time to hear the Whitesnake classics, with the legendary Neil Murray on bass!

Bernie Marsden, back onstage with Neil Murray
As you can imagine this had the crowd right onside with everyone singing along. In fact, the audience couldn't get enough of him, starting a chant to get him back on stage after the set came to an end. Due to a tight schedule, an encore wasn't possible, but Bernie seemed very humbled by the enthusiasm from the audience.

The band I was most excited to see was Tyketto. I have been a fan for ages, but saw them for the first time 3 years ago at the Steelhouse Festival and they blew me away.


Danny Vaughn was in fine form at WinterStorm
Their set was my highlight of the entire weekend. It was brilliant to hear songs from the latest album Reach, as well as Wings and Forever Young from the iconic Don't Come Easy album and everything in between!
The band were in brilliant form, and Danny Vaughn's vocals were astonishing as always! Guitarist, Chris Green did a marvellous job playing those wonderfully melodic guitar parts you hear on the original recordings. Check out my interview with Danny here.





Bringing the night to a close was Heavy Pettin' (reformed especially for the event) who's brief set went down a treat with the crowd. Day 1 - a big success!

Saturday 

Massive Wagons explode on to the stage at WinterStorm 
Massive Wagons have been building a great live reputation and the band delivered a set at WinterStorm full of energy and enthusiasm. Frontman Baz Mills was a blur, covering the whole stage and blasting the band through a set full of catchy, feelgood tracks such as Back To The Stack (a tribute to Rick Parfitt) and Tokyo, along with the heavier, Nails. They went down a treat and were a joy to watch. See what Baz had to say, when we spoke after the show.

The girls from the recently reformed Rock Goddess were next up. and hit the audience with their classic sound. I caught a word with the lovely Jody, Julie and Tracey after their set, check out our interview.


Another of my Winterstorm favourites had to be the brilliant Mason Hill. This young Scottish band made waves when they appeared at the festival last year. They returned with a new record deal in the bag, more confidence, and a big following.  

Mason Hill showed confidence and class
 There is something about this band that I love. Their sound is a great blend of classic hard, melodic rock with a modern feel. Their set included songs from their self-titled EP such as Now You See Me and Where I Belong (a personal favourite of mine) along with some brand new songs from their forthcoming debut album. Singer, Scott Taylor showcased his marvellous vocals whilst talented guitarist James Bird treated us to some wonderful solos (particularly impressive on Where I Belong), along with the rest of the band who were tremendous. Watch my interview with James, Craig and Marc here:


Dare delivered some of the best songs of the weekend 
DARE brought a wonderful contrast to the weekend, with some gorgeous melodic/AOR, and with a back catalogue like theirs, it's easy to play a set of great tunes!  It was fab to hear tracks such as Abandon and Into The Fire from the classic Out Of The Silence album. Darren Wharton's vocals sounded brilliant and Vinny Burns delivered those gloriously melodic guitar parts like no one else can - perhaps one of the most underrated guitarists in the business.


I had a great chat with Darren and Vinny right after their set. Watch it to hear what the band has planned for next year.

The Quireboys brought their party to Troon
The Quireboys are always sure to spice up the night with their bluesy rock n roll, and that is exactly what they did! The guys started off with tracks from their latest album, White Trash Blues before hitting the classics such as 7 O'Clock, Sex Party and I Don't Love You Anymore. The band always deliver a brilliant show and the audience loved them. A perfect act for Saturday night. 

Bringing the festival to a close was the supergroup lineup of Chris Glen, Doogie White, Paul McManus and friends (including James Bird from Mason Hill for two of the songs) playing a mixture of tracks from each of their back catalogues. Everyone enjoyed the set, but the real surprise came when Jools and Tommy from GUN appeared, to perform Better Days and Word Up. A fabulous end to a brilliant weekend.

This was the only time organiser, Ian McCaig sat down all weekend!
Huge congratulations to Ian and his team of helpers and volunteers who made the weekend such a success. Everyone played a huge part in making the event happen, and were all so smiley - a credit to the festival!

That's two years now that the brilliant WinterStorm and all of it's visitors have invaded Troon. I feel very lucky to have been a part of it and can't wait for next year. Get the dates in your diary; Nov 23 & 24 2018. Tickets and line up info coming soon! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sam and Mick from Bigfoot talk new album and 'Chug' Rock! Interview WinterStorm (video)

They've just released their excellent s/t titled debut album (review here), so it was great catch up with Bigfoot guitarists, Sam Millar and Mick McCullagh after their eventful set at WinterStorm in Troon. We talked album, their influences and fire alarms!

Danny Vaughn of Tyketto talks Don't Come Easy - interview WinterStorm

Here's a real treat for you! Tyketto frontman, Danny Vaughn kindly took some time to chat just before he hit the stage at WinterStorm. Danny told me all about the band's hefty tour schedule, and why Jon Bon Jovi, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins and Bruce Springsteen were all in earshot when he recorded the classic Don't Come Easy album! A massive thanks to Danny for his time.     

Darren Wharton & Vinny Burns from Dare talk classic tracks & new material - Interview at WinterStorm (video)


It was a real treat to chat with Darren Wharton and Vinny Burns from Dare, shortly after they came offstage after a tremendous set at Winter Storm in Troon, Scotland. Watch, as the guys talk about their setlist, how the music business has changed, and the upcoming re-recording of their classic Out Of The Silence album. A big thanks to Darren and Vinny for their time.  


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mason Hill on their debut album, touring, and Justin Bieber! - WinterStorm interview (video)

James, Craig and Marc from Scottish rockers Mason Hill tell us what to expect when they release their debut album in 2018, why they will be touring heavily, but won't be supporting Justin Bieber!

Baz from Massive Wagons on gigs, the 'lairy' new album, and Malcolm Young - WinterStorm interview (video)


I was delighted to talk with Massive Wagons frontman Baz Mills, right after the band had stunned the audience with a cracking set at WinterStorm in Troon. Watch as Baz talks about the band's new record deal, missing Malcolm Young, and just why he loves WinterStorm. Thanks to Baz for his time.   

Rock Goddess on Kiss, Led Zep, and reforming - interview at WinterStorm (video)


It was a real pleasure to talk with Jodie, Tracey and Julie from Rock Goddess, just after their storming set at Winter Storm in Troon. Watch as we chat about their influences, what brought them together, and why they reformed. Thanks girls!