Event: S.O.S. Festival 

Artists: Gun, Exit State, Attica Rage, Citizen Charlie, Vega, Wizzard, Neonfly, Velvet Star, Afterdown, Ten By Ten

Date: 17th July 2011 

Well after yesterday's Metal Day it was time to do it all again with day two of this years S.O.S. Festival and the mighty Rock day.  Today we would be treat to another great mix of bands and styles all fitting under the "ROCK" banner.  We had Sleaze, we had Old School, we had Heavy Metal, we had Melodic AOR, we had it all.   

Getting day two underway were the excellent scallywags Ten By Ten, who really got day two off to a great start with their old school hard rockin’ big licks and chunky melodies. This band well and truly took the audience by the throat and forced them to wake up and get the party started.  The band's set included some sterling moments with ‘Keep Up With The Jones’, ‘Seven Year Scar’ and ‘Jesus Road Trip’ just a few of the highlights from a great set.  

Luckily enough although it was early in the day and a Sunday, there were still a fair number in, so for this set everyone up for the day ahead very nicely, especially the tribute to today's headliners Gun which had the lead singer instructing us to roll our 'R's' while singing 'Word Up'.  

A band I for one would definitely like to see again as they were not only entertaining and fully engaged the crowd, but they also has the musical talent to back it up.  It's one thing being able to perform a song musically, but it's another one to be able to able to entertain and engage with your audience at the same time.  Well done lads!

Last year the day continued to get underway in fine form with Afterdown.  The band were back again to wow the crowds and to kept the momentum going with their metal edged hard rock.  Familiar tracks of their set included ‘What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger’ and ‘Rise', both going down an absolute storm.  Even the new one’s like ‘Obey’ and ‘The Devil Inside’ were well received by the crowd today.  

A great band who appealed to both the fans from the metal day and today’s rock orientated crowd, with both sides nodding in approval.  Definitely a band to watch out for. 

Next up were a band that simply took the day by the scruff of the neck and really shook some life into it.  That band being Glampunksters Velvet Star.  I’ve seen this band before but many in today hadn't and boy did the band make a huge impression with their performance today.  

They came out all guns blazing as Danny, Corey, Adie, Ginna and new guitarist Zeb simply exploded onto the stage with ‘Revolver’, before carrying straight into ‘Rockstar/Superstar’.  The band hit us hard and fast with their high octane rock n' roll right from the very first chord.

The tempo was brought down just a touch with ‘One Of Us’, as frontman Dan joined the crowd to get up close and personal with the guys and girls down the front.  Then it was time to turn up the heat once more with the excellent ‘Zero’, which provided new guitarist Zeb with a platform to really show us all that he was more than up for today's set, as he fired out the licks like a man possessed.

The rocket fuel soaked rock n' roll continued with ‘It Ain't Over’ and ‘Ego’, before dedicating ‘Something I Want’ to Deb.  The band even threw in a new song ‘Just Let Go’, before capping off one of the sets of the weekend with a Sex Pistols cover.  So to sum up ... THEY CAME, WE SAW, THEY CONQUERED!  

A firm favourite of ours that we look forward to seeing again soon. 

Now I wouldn’t have wanted to be the band that had to follow Velvet Star's set, but someone had too and so it was over Neonfly to give it their all.  Luckily they were more than up for the task with their own brand of Power / Heavy Metal.  The party was kept in full flow as they brought in the big guns as they opened up with ‘Stand Up’.  Other memorable songs from their set included the outstanding ‘The Enemy’ and the equally impressive ‘Ship With No Sails’. 

Next up it was time to introduce some international talent to the proceedings with Belgium’s finest Wizzard, with their old school Hard Rock as the frontman Wizz, Smb on guitar, Sluise on rhythm guitar, D Troy on bass and drummer Steve DC.  All of whom really brought a touch of class to proceedings as they opened up with ‘Back Forever’.  

It was plain from the off these guys were pro’s through and through and the number of Wizzfest (the bands own festival held in Belgium) t-shirts on display from the British fans showed their fans are well-traveled rockers, who know a good thing when they hear it.

It was straight shooting rock from here on in as the band went straight into ‘Queen Of Desire’, the storming ‘Out Of Control’ and impressive ‘Crazy Wizard.   Although song of the set for me had to be the tongue-in-cheek ‘Vampires In The Valley’.  A song straight out of the NWOBHM era featuring some great riffs and a solid back beat.

The set closed off with the excellent ‘Reunited’, before the bands own tribute to Lemmy and the boys with ‘Motorhead Music’.  I was well impressed with these guys so don’t be surprised if there is another appearance by the Belgium rockers next year. 

One band that I really looking forward to seeing perform live on day two was Melodic Rockers Vega.  A band that really impressed me (and a great many others) with their debut album ‘Kiss Of Life’.  With frontman Nick Workman they have a singer well known throughout the Melodic Rock community.  Joining Nick on stage were Tom and James Martin on guitars and keyboards respectively, Dan Chantrey on drums and also for today at least, we had the infamous Rob Wylde on bass.

The band set out their stall from the off with ‘Into The Wild’, a great up-beat melodic rocker to get the set started.  Then it was straight into the excellent ‘Staring At the Sun’, by which time Workman was really getting into his stride, whipping up the crowd, although perhaps not as much as Wylde who turned out to be showing a little more of himself than he would have liked, as one of the crowd down the front pointed out, much to Rob's embarrassment ... “ hey one of Wylde's bollocks are hanging out!”.  Whether they were or weren't  we couldn't tell you from where we were standing but this had both band and crowd in hysterics of laughter and saw Wylde readjust his bass position.

One of the highlights of the set had to be the superb epic feeling of ‘One Of A Kind’.  With such a shortened set the band were quick to cover as much ground as possible and it was on with more great Melodic Rock with the up beat ‘Heart Of Glass’, before following it up with the AOR rich ‘Stay With Me’.

It simply wouldn’t have been right if they hadn't included ‘SOS’ in the set today given the name of the festival and all, so guess what was next?  Again pure gold Melodic Rock.  Their short but impressive set was wrapped up with the title track of the debut album ‘Kiss Of Life’, which is perhaps a bit more Hard Rock than Melodic Rock, but a great way to top off the great set.  One band that didn’t disappoint the crowd here today in the least. 

After the Rob Wylde incident we got a little more than we bargained for with Norway’s Citizen Charlie as Charlie Forsberg came on stage showing a little more than was decent for a family crowd.  Let's just say the long t-shirt wasn't quite long enough and the barrage of male photographers pointing the lens her way almost caused a riot as they rushed to get a snap of what Charlie had to show underneath.  Least said about that the better me thinks!

But this didn’t seem to put Charlie and the band off their stride as they opened up with ‘Until The Day’ and despite the poor wardrobe choice, Citizen Charlie really hit the mark musically this year.  Last year I was a little disappointed with their performance but this year was the opposite, this was musically much more like what I had been expecting for the Nordic Rockers.

The set continued to impress with ‘The Easy Way Out’, the rocking ‘Back And Forward’ and the thumping ‘Loser’, before rounding off in great style with ‘Cheater’, taken from the bands debut album.  Musically this was the performance I had been expecting last year from the band so I’m glad they've finally managed to pull things around. 

It was back to the home grown talent as Glaswegian rockers Attica Rage hit the stage with an almighty crash bang wallop as Jonny Parr - lead vocals, guitar, Stevie Bell - guitar, Big C - bass, vocals and Richie Rage - drums unleashed their no holds barred Hard Rock.  Opening up with ’38 Insane’ and the straight shooting rocker ‘Altered Reality’, before cranking things up even higher with the massive chunky riffs of ‘Contradictions’, all three taken from the bands storming 'Road Dog' album.

Sticking with 'Road Dog' for the moment but bringing it down a touch the band continued with ‘Ashamed’, before bringing back the big licks and pounding rhythms once more with the dark edged ‘Change In The Iris’.  This was followed by the superb almost Sabbathesque bass lines of ‘Through The Inner Eye’ and the riff fuelled ‘Dark City’, before closing up their monstrous set with excellent ‘Back To The Old School’.  

For those of you wishing the next Almighty (band not the religious chap) would come along, your wishes have been answered because Attica Rage unleash the same power and full force rocking machine ethic that Ricky Warwick and co. had all those years ago.  Definitely worth checking out if you see them advertised at a venue near you during September as they take to the road for their UK tour. 

It was almost time for the headline act but before that we had just one more band to go and what better way to pave the way for Gun was the lighting rock n' roll of Exit State, who kept the hard edged rock going with a tight set that really kicked serious ass.

As Roy Bright and the rest of the band went for the jugular mixing tracks for the 'Death Of A Rockstar' album and their soon to be released on Rocksector Records new album ‘Black Veins’.  

We were bombarded with monster rockers like ‘Tonight We’re Free’, ‘Bad Days’, ‘I Know Where You Are’, ‘In That Place’ and the show stopping ‘Death Of A Rockstar’, all mighty rock anthems from the lads from Burnley who have a big big future ahead of them and well deserved their high billing today. 

Now for the main event and the closing act of this years S.O.S. Festival, the mighty Gun.  The band return to the UK stage once more with a line-up that really highlighted the fact the band haven’t lost any of their original edge over the years.  Leading the band is Dante and brother Jools, alongside fellow Glaswegians Paul McManus on drums and Derek Brown on bass guitar.  It has to be said that Dante was doing an outstanding job on guitar and vocals today as the band set out to impress from the off.  I must admit when I first heard Gun were to headline this years festival I had my doubts about them, having not really been a big fan in the past.  However, the band really blew us away with their great set that included hit after hit, together with a few more recent songs from their ‘Popkiller' album.

Some of the highlights for me had to be ‘Money (Everybody Love Her)’, the excellent ‘Better Days’, ‘Taking On The World’, ‘Don’t Say It's Over’ and of course ‘Steal Your Fire’ and Word Up’.  The superb rocker ‘Seraphina’ and even the rapperesque ‘Something Worthwhile’ rocked the place.  

This was Gun at their very best and at the top of their game, with Dante more than a match for Jepson and Mark Rankim to be honest, the perfect frontman for the band.  I'm sure with him at the helm we'll be hearing a lot more from them in the not too distant future, because tonight these guys just rocked and were the perfect ending to another great weekend.  I for one can't wait to see what next year has to offer, I'm excited already!

I'd just like to finish by saying a big thank you to Mark and Lynne for putting on the festival and making it such a pleasurable experience for all attending once again, also thanks to all those involved behind the scenes for making these two days so memorable for all the right reasons.  


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