BREAKING BANDS FESTIVAL | Live Review 1-5 June 2022, Stoke Prior, Worcestershire (UK).

    Coverage Saturday & Sunday with honourable mentions to 3 bands playing on Thursday & Friday By Karen Clayton. All Picture Credit - Indie Images (Including FULL GALLERY below).

    Breaking Bands launched as a festival in 2015, it became an established festival quickly, and sells out year on year. This festival is not only family friendly, but it is community based, with all profits being ploughed back into the festival, making it an easy choice if you want to support bands who are starting out.

    Thursday – Luke Appleton Power Trio I caught up with Luke after his epic set on Thursday with his solo project, The Luke Appleton Power Trio. For those who don’t know, Luke is involved in 3 projects – Absolva, Blaze Bailey and the Power Trio, there’s certainly a lot going on now we are back to ‘normal’ in the live music space. This is the 4th time, Luke has appeared at Breaking Bands, having also played with Absolva and Blaze Bayley. I asked Luke to select a track to introduce his solo project to people who don’t know you, “Interesting, I won’t use my favourite track as that’s got a different vibe and not representative of what our style is”, Luke picked the 2 singles, ‘Medusa’ which is a proper rock ‘n’ roll track, followed by the title track of his solo album, ‘Snake Eyes’ which is a moody track and shows the range and depth of the band including slide guitar. In case you’re wondering, Luke’s favourite track is ‘First Star’ with guest singer Teresa Smith from Metaprism, the song is a love story about a couple who despite lots of obstacles always come back together.

    Absolva released their latest album, ‘Fire in the Sky’ this year which has to rate as one of the best this year marking their 10 year anniversary with a headline slot at SOS festival (UK). Then there’s touring with Blaze Bayley, as well as Absolva, where they literally do 2 sets a night, Luke states how odd it felt not to have to play a second set at the festival. Both bands head back to Europe on tour before heading back to the UK for more shows later in the year – be sure to catch them when you can, see you there.

    Friday Night – White Raven Down are a band from Essex, who like fables and Greek mythology. Following their set on Friday, I took the opportunity to chat with Stu Bailey about how things are going, particularly as White Raven Down have just been ranked 14/ 40 on the NWOCR poll for the best albums of the last 5 years, what an accolade for a debut album. The album ‘Don’t Shoot The Messager’ was released on the 8th of April, after being delayed as a result of Covid 19, with the latest single being ‘Lost Your Hold’. Following the album release, the band have had a change of line-up as their lead vocalist left, so Stu Bailey is currently handling both lead vocals and guitar, to his immense credit he’s also pulling off a performance too “it’s a great festival, the room is packed with a loud crowd, it’s really good to be back playing live music again”. Asked how he would introduce other people to White Raven Down, the choice of track is ‘Salvation’ from the EP which precedes the album, as it’s got everything from powerful riffs to a catchy chorus; or ‘Void and Flame’ from the album which showcases their love for storytelling. The band have made a couple of videos to showcase their wares, check out ‘Roll The Dice’ and ‘Masquerade’.

    The Darker my Horizon (TDMH) are no strangers to the festival scene, and they have a loyal following, some of which were at the festival. This is of no surprise to me, the band are one of the most welcoming I know, ensuring that no-one travels to gigs alone and often arranging pre or post gig meet ups. They are a hard melodic rock outfit and a great bunch of guys who thoroughly enjoy what they do. The packed set on the ERB stage includes both charitable singles, donating funds from ‘Carpe Diem’ to the NHS and their most recent single ‘‘Propaganda Pt 1’ to the Ukraine Relief effort as well as the crowd pleasing ‘Still Alive’.

    Saturday – Amongst Liars Formed the end of 2019, they released their first single ‘Over And Over’ in February 2020 at just about the worst time to launch a new band, but that gave them plenty of time to write. What’s up next? They are playing Love Rocks and Wildfire festivals and set to release their debut album on 8th July. This is likely to be followed by an acoustic EP and more touring in October. Plans are afoot to record their second album in December. To get a taste of Amongst Liars, the band recommend, the last track of their set ‘Wolf Machine’ as it’s got everything in it and playing it live just elevates it to another level as the crowd at BB would agree. Exciting upcoming band – grab the chance to see them when you can!

    Silverjet Unfortunately I didn’t catch their full set, but these boys blew me away, loved what I did heard, and I’ll be back for more – great presence on stage, great material – check out ‘Valentine’ and ‘Trouble’ to get a taste. Midnite City What can I say other than this set was an absolute blast from start to finish and the marquee was bouncing. Great fun and everything you’d expect from Midnite City.

    Hollowstar This is another band who have been waiting years to play this festival and they are in the mood to rock out with us, from the opener ‘Take it All’, talking to us about the changes in the band’s lives including acknowledging the circle of life, with a poignant nod to their recent tour with Mason Hill and taking time to for a heartfelt thank you to the crowd for supporting them. When Hollowstar blast through a cover of ‘Wishing Well’ and the audience is in fine voice, then the party is more than underway! To sum up the night, this is a Hollowstar masterclass performance.

    Fury are here as a late replacement and are delighted to be here, they have been touring the UK since spring, citing this as a friendly practice run for Download Festival (UK), next week playing in the Village on Wednesday be sure to check them out, they will definitely get you in the mood! They are looking forward to seeing you all fresh and ready to party. After that Fury head to the SOS festival (UK) and then to Europe, promoting their latest album is ‘Born to Sin’ which is immense. Chatting to the band, about a track they would recommend to introduce themselves to people who haven’t heard of Fury before, Becky chooses ‘If You Get To Hell First’ as that’s a good middle ground.

    “We found out that Saturday is Viking day at Breaking Bands, we are more known for pirate influences, but they’re pretty similar right, all criminals of the sea, so we are making a few changes to our set to incorporate more of a Pirate/Viking theme with guest Matt Jones from Dakesis, joining us for a rather epic closer that has forced them to shuffle their set.”

    I Lightning caught the set, it was epic from the start, opening with a couple of tracks from the latest album, ‘Born to Sin’ the band rip through ‘If you get to Hell First’ and ‘Hell of a Night’ which sets the bar nicely! The band covered material from all albums pleasing even the most die-hard fans (‘Lost in Space’, ‘The Dream’, and ‘The Grand Prize’) and singles released last year ‘Rock Lives in My Soul’ and there was more than a nod to the Viking theme of the day throughout the setlist. There was a swift costume change and Matt Jones joined them on stage for the rip roaring conclusion, they were on fire and the crowd loved it. Catch them while you can!

    Sunday – Bad Actress So, this is the surprise act of the festival. Bad Actress are a Scottish 5 piece including 3 brother and 2 best friends, with a shared love of the rock music they grew up listening too (parents clearly had great taste!) that formed in 2018. Their band mantra band is ‘be the band you’d want to go and see’. They certainly weren’t born in the 1990s, however their original material all sounds like pure classic rock, and they perform it with gusto, simply put, the crowd loved this set! Bad Actress are definitely going places, as an introductory track try ‘She’s on Fire’ and catch them on tour, you won’t regret it.

    King Kraken have taken the award for being the funniest band I have ever spoken to, it was certainly a Kraking way to spend some time (sorry I’ll get my coat), even reading my notes back I was giggling! They are a 5 five piece from South Wales who formed in September 2018, and their Welsh tones may have caused some confusion on the track they would suggest you listen to give you a taster, ‘Green Terror’ but there’s no disputing the sublime riffs and catchy chorus. They have a new album ready for a record company, entitled ‘MCLXXX’ which is 1180 in Roman numerals, the significance of 1180 is in terms of legend, this is apparently the timing of the first ever sighting of Kraken, and they like to be factually correct, myth or not! If this was out now, the band would point you at ‘Haddowfield’ to try due to a rather magnificent guitar solo borne out of a fit of pique as a result of a rather frustrating house purchase. Having seen them on stage all I can say is you’re in for one hell of a party, they are full-on, high-octane rock, played by accomplished musicians who have a cracking sense of humour. I loved their set from the start to the finish, they are now firmly on my must see again list (& have a beer afterwards with), what a band!

    Sons of Liberty Since I last saw Sons of Liberty at HRH 14, they have changed their front man, with Rob Walker (from Yesterday’s Gone) taking the mantle, this will be a considerable stint as the band are pretty much on tour for the rest of 2022, with a number of festivals and headline dates to fulfil. Getting their views on Breaking Bands festival, they loved the fact local rock schools get involved on the first day, being Wednesday, and the sheer value that the festival represents. Being totally honest, the band are just delighted to be playing here having waited for 2 years and we all know why.

    Chatting to Rob about what it’s like to step in as a lead vocalist, I was surprised to learn he’d only had two rehearsals, with today being his first live Sons of Liberty gig, even more impressive as the band had their set brought forward due to another band having issues with traffic. “There was literally no time to think about it, it was just a case of get the gear in, get set up, attempt a sound check and get going” and oh boy did they get going. This was a classic Sons of Liberty performance, and they were raising the roof on the ERB stage on a somewhat dismal Sunday afternoon. We partied the clouds away and we were definitely in the mood for ‘more.’ If you haven’t heard of this Bristol band who deliver pure Southern Rock, then Rob picks his personal track which stood out to him as ‘Don’t Hide Behind Your Weakness’.’ taken from ‘Aces & Eights’, whilst the others opt for ‘Dixie Whiskey’ from an earlier EP. I am pleased the band are also working on new material. It is always a pleasure to see Sons of Liberty on a bill, as you’re guaranteed a great team, it was a pleasure to meet you, I’ll catch you on the road again soon.

    King Voodoo Another band where I caught the end of the set, another one to see again, their epic delivery of ‘Tie your Mother Down’ caught my ear and had me legging it into the tent to catch the rest. Well worth a listen.

    BlitZ are a 3-piece band from Nottingham, formed in 2015, with 3 albums (‘Welcome to the Rock Show’, ‘Fight to Survive’ and a live album) plus a 7 track EP under their belt, they are currently working on the next album and anticipate this will be ready for release in summer 2023. Citing their influences as all the bands they grew up listening to such greats as Queen, KISS, AC/DC amongst others, they live and breathe rock ‘n’ roll and no cliché is left unturned in their quest for rock perfection, lyrics are poignant, the musicianship is skilled and delivery is a performance, they truly have it all. I knew when I listened to them ahead of the festival they were absolutely my sort of band, what I wasn’t expecting was for them to be my standout band of the festival. BlitZ grabbed the opportunity to headline and close the STMS on Sunday night, after late changes to the line-up, and they raised the roof, with a passionate set that made us all forget it was a tad chilly Sunday night in rural Worcestershire. This band really came alive when they’re on stage and they work it with all of their might. I love them, can’t wait to see them again, go check them out.

    To get a taste of BlitZ, they recommend you try ‘One In A Million’‘Born To Rock’ (from the EP) and ‘Waiting For A Miracle’. Original, classic rock with poignant meaningful lyrics, with high energy performance, long may it continue.

    Midnite City
    Sons of Liberty

    Ones to Watch:
    Bad Actress
    Amongst Liars
    King Voodoo

    What a fabulous weekend at what has to be one of the most friendly festivals ever, staff and crew were helpful and good humoured, the bands were amazing and the fans were great company – many new friends were made, I’ll be back.


    • A Ritual Spirit • Amongst Liars  • Cry Mercy  • Darker My Horizon  • Fury    •Hollowstar  • Luke Appleton Power Trio  • Midnite City  • Secrets Of Mariana      • Silverjet  • Splintered Halo  • Titan Breed  • Verity White  • White Raven Down  • Bad Actress  • Blitz  • King Kraken  • King Voodoo  • Sons Of Liberty  • Stand •Amongst Giants  • Silver Lines

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