was the first time that we had ever attended one of the mighty Z Rock
Festivals and it was a bit of an unknown quantity.
Being billed as all AOR bands we weren't entirely sure whether it would
be our cup of tea or not.
The main reason we went was to see Seven Wishes, a band from Sweden
whose two albums really capture our imagination. And so it was that we
travelled down from the North East to see what other treasures this
festival had in store.
First on the bill was Contagious. A fairly new band hailing from
Liverpool who really know how to warm a crowd up. The mood was slow to
start off with but considering it was only 12.40 pm when they hit the
stage most of the crowd were either just arriving or still sluggish
after an early lunch.
Opening the set with 'Flying High' which was obviously a strong
favourite from the look of the crowd, this 5 piece band looked and
sounded like the good old days when we had all the NWOBHM bands hitting
the rock scene with vigour and stamina.
This band may be labelled a melodic AOR rock band but once they get
going, especially onto their newer material from their current EP 'Red,
White & Slightly Blue', they really knew how to get the crowd
pumping and ready for action.
With songs like 'Find a Way' and 'Muscle' under their wings it won't be
long before we see them hitting the rock scene big time. These guys are
one of the better British rock bands I've heard in a long time and most
definitely one that I will be keeping a close eye out for in future.
Luckily enough for us we will be seeing them perform again at the August
Z Fest. Their set lasted approx 45 mins and was a good start to the day.
Flying High, Time and Again, Hear it
Calling, Fantasy, Out of Time, Danger, Find a Way, Lost and Lonely,
The second band on the bill was our favourites Seven Wishes. Like I said
earlier it was this band that we had travelled down to see and it was
also the first time we had been lucky enough to catch them play live
Hitting the stage at 1.50 pm it was obvious that we weren't the only
ones that were keen to see this band in action. There may have been a
queue for the Enuff Z Nuff signing that was going on at the rear of the
hall, but there were equally a large proportion of fans standing eagerly
at the front of the stage to see this band in action.
We saw lead singer Pelle decked out in skin tight blue snake-skin
trousers with a blue chiffon top tied at the waist take centre stage. To
his right we had guitarist Anthony who wore an open blue shirt and black
gloss pvc's. Looking as stunning as ever we saw bass guitarist Tony in
his trademark leopard print shirt and studded black trousers. Behind
Pelle we saw the newest member of the band the lovely Linda peering out
from behind the drum-kit.
Before we knew it we were off and running as they launched into 'Face
that Evil'. A familiar song to a lot of their fans and one that got the
mood just right for the rest of the set. It has to be said that this was
the most glamorous band we saw all day. Not only did they look the part
but they gave it their all in every single song that they performed.
It's been a long time since we saw such an eye-catching band that
actually made an effort with both their looks and their music. Half way
through the set we were even treat to a costume change for lead singer
Pelle. But don't just judge a book by its cover, they may look like a
load of pretty boys, but these guys rock with intensity and passion.
Liken to the mighty Dokken they gave us a gig to remember them by.
With catchy tunes such as ' Caught by Surprise' and 'Take my Heart' its
easy to understand why one enthusiastic young man shouted out to them
'Sweden Rocks!'. The set was a good mixture taken from their two albums
and even included a magnificent cover version of 'Unchain the Night', a
song that no other band has in my opinion been able to cover so well
before now as what this band have. They were naturals at it. It was if
it ran through their very veins.
Unfortunately the band were dogged with a few technical difficulties
throughout their set and this meant that there were a few gaps between
some of the songs. However, the fans didn't seem to notice this and
enjoyed every minute of the set that they did do.
An overall strong set was performed and one that regardless of the dodgy
moments, still stood them in high esteem with a lot of the fans.
This was made all the more evident by the way the band were mobbed when
they appeared later in the day at the rear of the room and were quickly
besieged by a hoard of people wanting autographs and photo's with them.
They may have felt frustrated by the way things went, but by and large
they were impressive. It's one of those things that has come and gone
now. Very few bands don't have a concert that didn't go according to
plan, today it was the turn of Seven Wishes. The other bands took a deep
sigh of relief that it wasn't their band's turn and for the large part
felt sorry for what this band had to go through.
Now they have to look to the future and carry on bringing us the music
we love to hear so much.
The set lasted 50 mins but actually felt like a lot shorter than that to
the eager crowd at the front of the stage. We could have listened to
them all day.
Face that Evil, Too late
for Tears, Holy Man, Life goes On, Take my Heart, Out of Sight, Caught
by Surprise, Unchain the Night, One to Blame
Just after 3 pm we saw the band Prisoner take centre stage. Having never
seen this band before it was quite a contrast to see them dressed so
casually to that of the previous band.
This band seemed very popular with the more traditional rock fans in the
crowd who were obviously a lot more informed about the band than what we
were. Indeed this was one of those bands that had a lot of the AOR media
people in a bit of a tis.
Not my cup of tea but they were a very talented band who obviously had a
lot of followers in the crowd. I'm sure I heard someone say they had
travelled over from Ireland just to see this band play.
Traditional and classy these seasoned pros knew how to give the crowd
what they wanted. Their set lasted about 50 mins and seemed to please
the large crowd that had gathered to watch them. The only downside to
the set was that Tommy Denander was not able to be present as he isn't
I know both the band and the fans missed this excellent guitarist and it
is hoped that he will soon be well again and back over on these shores
with the band so all his fans can see him in action once more.
Tommy's replacement for the day was a chap called Sayit and he certainly
seemed to carry off the songs well.
The set was a good mixture of songs taken from their first album and
their newest offering S2. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if they
sold out of this album today as they had a lot of die hard fans just
ready from the off to buy it. In fact looking at the faces singing along
in the crowd I think a lot of them probably already had it.
The fourth band on the list was another Swedish band called Dreamhunter.
Yet another band I hadn't heard of until today, (what planet have I been
living on?), and yet another band I took to like a duck to water.
In 60 mins I went from not having a single idea what or who they were,
to being a very happy camper and rushing over to buy not one, but both
of their cd's! I kid you not! If they hadn't told us that they were from
Sweden then I doubt anyone would have realized.
Their style was a cross between Little Angels and some of the more good
time bands that we loved for so long. To label them as an AOR band is
sure to put off a lot of people for one reason or another, people have
funny ideas about admitting to liking bands who fall into this genre.
Quite a few of their songs would go down a storm at a lot of the clubs
over here and would soon have the place jumping. 'All dressed Up' is
just one of them, another is 'Anyway you want It'. Both infectious, both
While lead singer Stig Gunnarsson really gets into the spirit of the
songs and has quite a spunky little attitude to him, it is guitarist
Olle Zimmerman who really knows how to whip the crowd (and the
photographers) up into a state. Together the band are quite a cheeky
little 5 piece.
I would like to see some of these songs released as singles and touted
around the clubs. Together they make a great band and gave us an
Bad Attitude, Braveheart, When heaven
calls your Name, The heart is a lonely Hunter, Money loves Hate, My days
are Counted, Kingdom Come, Long cold Winter, Keep the fire Burning,
Dangerous Game, Anyway you want It, All dressed Up, You're in the