Festival: Z Records Festival 2001

Artist: Blow Up 

Venue: Maximes, Wigan

Date: 26 August 2001  

After being totally blown away by the tremendous time we had at Part 1 in May we just had to come back for the Part 2. You certainly have to hand it to them, Z know great rock when they hear it and luckily for us they also know how to put on an impressive rock festival too!

Having realized at the last one that their idea of AOR and ours wasn't the same came as a welcome relief. AOR does not mean soppy ballads and simpering guitars. No sir! It might be what some of the other labels might go in for that sort of thing but not Z. Instead here we have lively performers, screeching guitars, classic rock vocals and bands that all have one thing in common - they rock big time.

We had our favourite bands, indeed we did, but after seeing all of them perform we can confirm that both fans, bands and technicians had a good time! Those that didn't turn up to this one missed a treat. Where else can you see so many talented bands all appearing on the same line-up for so little money? How on earth do they manage to do it for just 15? It was a bargain, an absolute bargain!

We are already looking into obtaining our tickets for next years Z Fest in May 2002. If you haven't been to one of these then get yourselves along as they are well worth checking out. There are so many quality bands signed to this label there's something for everybody at these gatherings.

Blow Up

The first band to hit the stage was Blow Up, a fairly new band from the States. Rather strangely this is not a Z band.

The big question on our lips was why are they on the line-up if they aren't signed to Z, and why the heck haven't Z snatched them up? This is one of the most commercially catchy rock bands we've heard in ages. When I say they sound commercial I don't mean they sound manufactured and shallow, no quite to opposite in fact. If I had to compare them to another band it would be The Goo-Goo Dolls, who I am quite partial to.

Blow upWe had the good fortune to catch Blow Up earlier in the week in our hometown acting as support to the mighty Vaughn and they were well received by all who saw them. We had been pretty impressed too and were looking forward to seeing them perform again.

They came onstage a little later that the published time but what's a few minutes when they give you so much in return for the delay?

Introduced by none other than Danny Vaughn himself, the band went straight into the set with a smile and a determined effort to captivate everyone that had turned up. Did they succeed? Yes, for a large part they probably did.

There are always going to be a few people who grumble and are never happy at a band if they sound different from the rest. They did a great gig and you can't ask for much more than that can you?

The songs were well delivered and the whole band seems to ouse that big arena sound. They had obviously impressed quite a lot of people by the looks of things.

There are not many opening bands from outside the UK that can amass quite so many people to the front of the stage as these guys did. Not only that but a large percentage had obviously bought the CD days earlier, had inwardly digested it, and were singing along to all the songs.

Many people would have recognized the familiar face of Jim Kennedy on bass. The former Tyketto man who has come back to prove that when you have that much talent you shouldn't let it go to waste.

On vocals we had the charismatic Mr. Jon Leidersdorff. Now there's one man who's voice actually carries much better live than on CD. Live he can fully expose the listener to the full range and passion he has for the songs and that's just what he did here today.

On guitar to his left we had Rob Muller and taking position of skinman we had Tom Cottone on drums.  
Blow Up sound nothing like Tyketto, or like Vaughn for that matter, and they're all the better for it. It means they can stand on their own two feet and take on the world with their own brand of rock.

Highlights of the set included my personal favourite 'Popstar', if ever there was a song destined for national airwaves then this is it.  If you didn't catch them live, or managed to nab a CD then you can actually hear this one on their website. If this doesn't hook you in then nothing will.

Another popular one with the fans was the song 'I'm on Fire' with its big build up. Both songs show you just what this band can do when they set their mind to it.

The band remembered to thank their road companions, namely Vaughn, Paul the roadie and Mary on the merchandise, for all their help and support during the past 10 days. In true rock tradition lead singer Jon even scrambled onto the speakers to perform a song just before they finished off the set.

Not original by any stretch of the imagination but still amusing to watch. It was good to see Danny stay upfront the whole gig and watch the band perform with the rest of the fans. The band seemed to enjoy themselves, as did the fans. You can't ask for much more than that can you?

If you missed them this time around then be sure to keep an eye out for the next time they come over. Decent bands are hard to come by and these guys know how to deliver the goods.

How could anyone not like them? We did actually wonder if it was compulsory for the bands here today to have a keyboard player?

Is this what's made Z hang on a bit while considering whether to sign Blow Up? 

Setlist: Lucky, Surrender, 'Cause I love Her, Generation, Shame, Popstar, R. U. OK?, Super, I'm on Fire


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