Featuring: Florence Black, South of Salem, Empyre, Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disaters, Twister,
Ward XVI, Ashen Reach, Firekind, She Burns Red, Mother Vulture & The Karma Effect

After a particularly great night’s sleep, we are back refreshed and ready for day two. I’m here this weekend with my two gig buddies Lynn Burt and Becky Crowthall-Brown. Like me they are mad fans of Rock music with many thousands of gigs between them under their belts. They are also great company; as a festival like this is about getting away from the mundane, relaxing and forgetting about all the negativity that life throws at you. I feel like a different person when I’m at a gig or a festival and surrounded by all these like-minded friendly people and bands do my soul no end of good. Oh and by the way, I forgot to mention a really important fact yesterday; this festival has clean flushing toilets and showers, none of your usual portaloo’s which is an added bonus for all.

Right, let’s get into the music. On the bar are A3 handout flyers and they tell you who is on at what time, god forbid that we miss any band. According to the leaflet the first band of the day is The Karma Effect starting at 11:30am prompt. Of course those still with hangovers are not up yet, but to be fair there are plenty of folk here and ready for the start of their 11 band day!! The five-piece band from London take to the stage and their two sunburst Gibson’s instantly ignite with some divine riffs that all of us guitar lovers enjoy so much.

Despite it being early there is no lack of energy or enthusiasm from the band, who give the audience both barrels with tracks like “Mercy” and glance in to the future in the form of “See You Again” from the forthcoming album. The Blues-tinged Rock n’ Roll captures influences from the greats of the past with the band’s own contemporary style. It’s hard not to enjoy with beer in hand and the sunshine on your face; they up their game further with “Tesify”, which sees the band end their set in style getting the audience on board with some willing participation.

Mother Vulture are more than a pleasant surprise with the chaos they create and the frenzied Blues/Punk that they play. The Bristolian Quartet bound onto the stage with their unique creations, frontman Georgie Valentine has a immense vocal range from delicate to orchestrated screams. His band feature Brodie Maguire on guitar, Chris Simpson on bass with Matt West at the back on drums. They all seem to have had a fair amount of sugar intake this morning as they are fired up like coiled springs, cavorting around every inch of the stage. From the serenity of “Objectify” to the intensity of “Rabbit Hole”, this band stick their necks out and dare to be different and the audience openly embrace all that they offer.

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She Burns Red have travelled over 500 miles, all the way from bonnie Scotland to be here. The journey is clearly worthwhile as the 4-piece band are greeted with a good sized audience as they take to the stage. Strikingly tall vocalist/bassist James McCulloch in his red face make-up and kilt leads the band through an energetic display. James’s strong West Lothian accent gives his vocal something unique, along with the bands melodic twin guitar arrangements and splendidly flamboyant memorable rhythms. The band’s multi influence-filled indelible set is full of highlights and the audience show plenty of appreciation for their afternoons work. She Burns Red
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Three piece Firekind from Newton Abbot in Devon provide some no-nonsense classic Rock n’ Roll on the 2nd stage with a host of great original material including the uplifting “Defend”, a well-constructed balled called “Burns Like The Sun” and a brand new track called “Ego”. The band features the fine vocal/guitar abilities of Jas along with the skilful backing of his brother Dan on bass and Robin Shute on drums. The trio certainly impress musically, motivated by the discerning Loverocks crowd.

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It’s now about 3pm in the afternoon and the temperatures are approaching 25 degrees and I promise that the majority of people are behaving themselves, applying sun creams and taking on plenty of fluids. (Mostly Cider….. well it has water in it)! Merseyside’s Ashen Reach have a job on their hands as us oldies are getting pretty lethargic in this heat.

They are a uniquely heavy band, possibly one of the heaviest of this festival line-up. The band include Kyle Stanley (Vocals), Paddy Cummins (Guitar), Joe O’Sullivan (Bass) and Jess Stanley (Drums). Their refreshingly different creative approach features a diverse mix of influences that give the band a really entertaining edge over some of their counterparts.

The epic anthem “Alive Again” which features the lyric emblazoned on their band t-shirts “My Gods Are Dead”, features mixed growled and clean vocals along with some intensely executed guitar work. The band also deliver the new single “Ghosts” which has echoes of influence from Disturbed. I loved what this band have to offer and if it was not so hot I might have been up for getting a over 50’s circle pit going to show my appreciation.

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Next up is something completely different in the form of Ward XVI, a totally idiosyncratic group that bring their distinguished theatrical stage show; backed with live music from their album “Metamorphosis” and horrific events contained in the song’s subjects. The stage is set with a collection of props to show a child’s bedroom and the evilness that appears in children’s minds. The young girl is scared awake by a nightmare that manifests as a mask wearing demon. This along with the melancholy of the track “Mister Babadook” is great to watch and a welcome change just listening to a band. However sadly the band’s set is littered with technical issues and credit to the band, they do their best to keep going.

The next section involves the poisoning, shooting and disposing of a body and there is also some welcome crowd participation on a track called “Toybox” with some great props including a huge eight foot tall effigy walking amongst the crowd. Personally I feel the whole thing would have worked better after dark, what the band did show is a glimpse into something much bigger and some chillingly disturbing imagination that is hugely entertaining.

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After all that excitement it’s time for Twister who arrive in front of a wall of white Marshall amps that feature screens displaying the band’s graphics. The bands frontman Stevie Stoker explains that it has recently been quite a difficult time for the band and the current line-up have been together for just 17 days. They also lost friend of the band Hannah recently and the track “Monroe” is dedicated to her and the poignant emotive lyrics match the feeling.

Twister are a no frills classic Rock band that feature some impressive musicianship with a host of set highlights. Tracks like “Secrets”, “Favourite Underdog” and “64 White Lies” thrill the audience on one of the best sets of the weekend so far.

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Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters are a band that I am fully acquainted with after working with them a few times while stage managing them at Southampton’s Nozfest. They are a great bunch of humble musicians and unlike some are a pleasure to work with. They bound onto the Loverocks main stage full of energy with a determination to wow the audience. Their confidence seems to have just grown and the band seem to improve with age. Beth is a vivacious frontwoman and as her tattoo of legend Paul Stanley on her arm shows, Kiss are obviously a big influence; just look at her guitar. This Cardiff-based quartet deserve to be making the jump to perform in front of much bigger audiences… though sadly it may just be too late for a Kiss support slot!!

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The mighty Empyre are here and may just spoil the party atmosphere with their melancholic and atmospheric epic tunes. Frontman Hendrik has his sarcastic head on today and the vast majority of this audience knows where he is coming from. I’m personally overjoyed that Empyre are here, they have a new album “Relentless” out to sell; clearly written about the high caffeine energy drink. (Oh this sarcasm is catching)! These guys have some serious capabilities and the chemistry between them helps create some seriously awesome music.

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They effortlessly deliver tracks like “Hit and Run”, with pitch perfect vocals; creative rhythmic patterns and with mesmerising guitars. You cannot fail to be moved by the band’s pièce de résistance “Only Way Out”, which moves many to tears with its powerful emotive nature. They end their set with one of the new tracks called “New Republic” written clearly about Han; Luke and Leia a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. (maybe!!) The track shows the band’s continued inventiveness with all four players adding significant parts to yet another epic number. The band take their bows and the crowd pass the tissues round to wipe their eyes dry in readiness for the penultimate band.

The 2nd of the three local bands here this weekend are a band that have been putting their hometown on the map for quite a while now and their popularity is beginning to escalate. South Of Salem have recently finished a tour supporting the legendary WASP along with a host of shows up and down the country including slots at major festivals. They have pulled the largest crowd in front of the main stage of the weekend so far and burst onto the stage with opening number “Let Us Prey”.

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They are just a great visual band to watch; they are energetic, their members all know some great Rock Star poses and the frontman Joey knows a thing or two about whipping up a crowd such as this. There is a horror theme around virtually all their current songs from the debut album using clever lyrical homophones. Joey tells the crowd that the 2nd album is currently being cultivated and this will be a huge step on where the band will progress to next. There is such a positive feeling around everyone involved with this band and with some of the right decisions, who knows where they will be in the next 12 months. I can see them playing some of the larger stages at Download, Bloodstock and even performing at some of the larger festivals in Europe. The band gives us a great version of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” along with “Made to Be Mine”; a dark, mesmerising number full of smouldering guitar riffs and powerful deep set rhythms. The crowd reaction is off the scale and they show themselves to be contenders for band of the weekend.

Wow….10 bands down and one to go – I’m going to be honest, I’m bloody shattered its been a long day and just before tonight’s headliners I grab a coffee and some cake to give me that final push before the end. With that caffeine and sugar injection in place I make my way down to the front for Welsh trio the mighty Florence Black. These guys I have seen on a number of occasions and it’s hard not to love everything they do. They are a top quality band with great songs that are put together by three fantastic musicians. The Merthyr Tydfil-based band features lead Vocalist/Guitarist Tristan Thomas with Bassist/Backing Vocalist Jordan Evans and Drummer/Backing Vocalist Perry Davies. As a unit they are an absolute powerhouse of huge guitar riffs and commanding rhythms.

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Opening with “The Deep End” the band pummel our senses with their jaw-dropping stage presence. The band spectacularly close the day with a set that can only be described as dazzling full of impressive qualities. The encores arrive all too soon and their huge number “Zulu” is taken to a different level with a powerful intro full of chanting Zulu’s. Then we have our faces melted with a barrage of noise in the form of the Budgie classic “Breadfan” before ending on the sundown ballad “Sun & Moon”. What an end to another wonderful day at this fantastic festival, I’m off for a good sleep in readiness for the final 10 bands tomorrow.


More Videos from the festival can be found on our YouTube Channel here.


Words & Media by David Chinery (Chinners)
Photography & Sugary Treats by Lynn Burt of Lynn Frances Photography
Additional Media & Expert Rock Stars Selfie taker by Becky Crowthall-Brown

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