STONEDEAD FESTIVAL 2022
How has it been a year already?
Another sold out show in the short life of Stonedead Festival. and we got the big stage that we should have had last year…
Greeted at the gate by the smiley faces of the Stonedead volunteers, part of the backbone of the festival- working tirelessly to welcome us all for another great year of live music.
It seems that the Bank Holidays bring out those road ragers, racers and careless drivers as there were plenty of accidents to hinder your journey…
There were several incidents on the Friday especially a nasty accident on the A1 / A46 causing huge tailbacks but with the help of good old google maps we managed a little tour of the little villages yet arriving nice and early. Later on there were more incidents causing our photographer to miss a couple of performances ….. What would he do without me…
As with all festivals this year, due to the dry weather, a decision was made not to allow BBQs on site, and rightly so. Improvisation came in, we bought food, from the varied and respectably priced outlets.
I’m not sure now whether this has become a 2-day festival or still a 1 day monster show. There seemed to be almost as many there on the Friday as the Saturday.
As with all festivals there are a few issues that need to be resolved such as the disabled camping area- they were taken in hand and sorted – you learn for the following year.
Gates opened on time, many excited rockers entering, posing for the obligatory selfie under the Stonedead arch, before drifting in with their chairs. Looking for their allocated seating area, (only joking)
I’m not sure why, but the atmosphere was a little strange, possibly due to the party for some, starting at exactly 2pm.
Revival Black opened the evening’s entertainment, playing a great set to start the high standard that we’re used to- Daniel Byrne was in fine form and (what a voice) performing tracks from their debut album followed by Massive, the Aussie group minus a couple of their band members played their complete “Full Throttle “album in their usual energetic style.
Then came the headliners for the opening night, Black Spiders, opening with an explosion of confetti, the band headed by Pete Spiby started an intense performance which didn’t hold up throughout their set. The first time since the start of Stonedead(f), i actually saw a moshpit break out, bottles being thrown on the stage, but for those involved, it was good fun with nobody getting hurt… As with Stop Stop‘s ‘fuck you’ chants from the crowd last year, this year it was the turn of the occasional ‘fuck you Black Spiders’ A great performance ending the day with 4 scantily clad dancers with ‘Kiss’ style make up dancing with the band to final track KISS Tried To Kill Me…
As the night grew to an end with MMH playing some belting tracks from the past, keeping them still able to stand, dancing in the moonlight, the atmosphere had calmed, and no problems arose.
Apart from the few over excited folk, the amount of mess that had been left behind was totally uncommon for the previous Stonedead days and the dedicated staff cleared it in no time.
The after-show party continued back at the tent, funny, one group changed the theme to real cheese- Abba, Black Lace, and Tight Fit. It was well worth staying up the extra hour for.
Saturday was very different, starting with a well needed bacon butty at normal café prices.
Gates open on time, a mad rush, not really it was all very polite, friendly, smiling folk. Many a guest raising a glass to absent friends, this is always a very respectful toast, this year to Stonedead’s own Jon Hendley who sadly didn’t make this year’s event.
As with most festivals, there are usually a couple of bands / artists stand out, last year, Chris Barras and Absolva, but this year it didn’t happen, why not? Because every band was equally and amazing as each other. A real plus to the organisation team, another plus that went unseen to many was the visit from the HSE, who left and vowed to come next year as customers. It was said that “Stonedead should be a blueprint for others”.
These Wicked Rivers introduced themselves to us, having won the right to open the day playing a great set to start what was going to be a day of fantastic live music with that added bonus of being blistering hot with ‘Shine On’, followed by ‘Force of Nature’ as well as their new single ‘Black Gold.’ Hints of Blues, Rock and a harmonica thrown in… Seems like they’ve set the bar for the day.
Kickin’ Valentina, replace ThunderMother who opted to go on a US tour with Whitesnake and the Scorpions. The American sleaze rock band, played a great set but was it up to the standard we’re used to? Did they whet the appetites of the Stonedeaders? Hmmmm not too sure judging by the mixed reactions of the crowd.
The Tygers of Pantang, formed in 1978 in Whitley Bay roared onto the stage with an up to date remix of Fireclown, followed by various tracks from as late as 2019 to right back to Gangster from 1982. Well, they just couldn’t leave out ‘Only the Brave’, ‘Damn You’ and closing with Love Potion. A fantastic performance by a band that’s been going on and off for almost 43yrs…
The Treatment were next up to follow… To a intro of ‘Highway to Hell’ , the crowd were on a continuous high, when the Treatment gave the audience the thumping riffs and powerful vocals that showed why they’d been around for 14yrs and playing tracks like ‘Lets Get Dirty,’ ‘Doctor’ and ‘Vampress’ – they’re going nowhere…. A great performance that led us nicely onto H.E.A.T….
H.E.A.T, the Swedish rock group, you know the one where one of the founding members left the group and then came back 11years later, Kenny Leckremo graced us with his powerful vocals… starting their set off with ‘One by One’ with great renditions of ‘Rock your Body’ and ‘dangerous Ground’
Our reviewer did manage a little chat with H.E.A.T, nice guys, but the conversation was more about the history of the Lancaster Bomber that let loose with those 4 Merlin engines at low level driving the crowd wild, holding up those horns…
Next up on stage are a group that needs no intro, mention The Broken Army and I’m sure that God and his mates will have heard of Stone Broken. A 4 piece band from the West Midlands that seem to be quickly climbing up the ladder with their sound and the closeness of the band…
Playing a blistering set starting with the title song of their album ‘ Revelation. ‘ Playing old and new songs that prove that they can belt out a hard rock track as well as the ballads. A group to watch out for….
Vandenburg brought us a little Whitesnake to get the crowd going, but then, I thought I’d heard most things including a punk version of Dolly Parton’s 9 – 5 was nothing compared to Those Damn Crows version of “video killed the radio star”.
Kicking off their performance with from their 2020 album before playing tracks from their debut album of 40yrs ago, Whitesnakes‘ Judgement Day and that forever crowd pleaser ‘Here I Go Again’ and finishing with a Led Zepplin track. A great response from the crowd- definitely a band i’d like to see again…
A question was raised by one of the crowd, why do they not want bands to play covers, it gets the crowd up, especially if they haven’t seen the artists previously. A valid point that maybe will be discussed going forward.
Now what do we say about Krusher? Well, you know what you get, the nun joke very funny, but wow what an outburst at a chap that made, what should have been a personal opinion, really not necessary, however, Krusher and the gent have both kissed and made up, and a very honest apology from Krusher. Respect where its due…
As the anticipation for Michael Schenker Group grew, it was worth the wait, introducing his guest singer as the one and only Ronnie Romero. But what no rainbow songs? But there was plenty of UFO tracks including fans favourite of “Doctor Doctor” and “Rock Bottom”, mesmerising solos, but for some reason the front lighting didn’t seem as sharp, this was even noticed by Mr Schenker who asked for more lights.
Finishing off with “Too Hot to handle”, no encore, that was it. But curfew is just that and the festival must finish on time. A request for next year has already been made, can we go out with some fireworks? You never know.
As we look forward to 5th anniversary next year, all the early bird tickets had sold out. What an amazing tribute to the festival, with people wanting to go without even having an inkling of who’s performing.
Well done to everyone, to the organisers, Chris, Neil and all the volunteers who make this event so special and the festival goers- yet another great weekend..Will we see you next year? You bet your ass….
Here are some of the people that made thi year and previous 3years an honour to be part of…