Event: S.O.S. XII Festival 2019 (Day One)

Bands:   The Quireboys, The King Lot, Witch Tripper, The Howling Tides, Snakewater

Venue: Longfield Suite, Prestwich, Manchester

Date: 12 July 2019


With the Summer almost upon us, this could mean only one thing.  We are heading out to the Longfield Suite in Prestwich, Manchester for the best three-day festival on the UK Rock Calendar.  I am of course talking about the legendary S.O.S. Festival.

Now in its twelfth year and hailing our own eleventh visit this festival is quite unique, as it's an all-ages festival, which actually does mean all ages.  That includes all ages from the aging rockers like myself to the new young rock fans coming up through the ranks, from the cradle to the grave S.O.S. festival welcomes one and all.  

With a total of 25 bands on the main stage (The Dean Hocking Stage) and 10 bands on the acoustic second stage (The Wizz Beauprez Stage) all for a £20, that's right, a mere 20 quid for three days of some of the finest rock and metal bands around, that works out at less than 60p per band!  How's that for an inflation busting bargain!

The weekend got off to a great start with Manchester Blues Rockers Snakewater.  The trio of Bobby Grant (vocals and guitar), Michael Bromley (bass) and James Sydney Shackley (drums) hit the stage running with a set of great bluesy rock, which featured tracks from their recent album 'Ainít No More Room In Hell' with songs like 'Girl Like You', 'Dark Side of the Blues' and 'Girl With the Red Dress On', whilst also rolling back the years with 'Same Mistake'. The boys really kicked off the weekend started in style.  

Next up it was The Howling Tides from Uttoxeter, as Rob Baynes, Hayden Kirk, Luke Lawley and Steven Herbert brought an altogether harder hitting set than openers Snakewater, with their mix of groove infused hard rock.

The bands heavier sound really rocked the Civic Hall as they brought the heat with the likes of 'Running Blind', the excellent heavy blues of 'Cheap Painkiller', the stunning all out rocker 'Crack My Soul' and the riff laden 'He Told Me'.  In fact I was so impressed with these guys that immediately after their set finished, I promptly dispatched the wife to go and grab a copy of their EP.  Definitely one of the bands of the weekend for us and one we shall be keeping a close eye on to see how they progress.    

After the thunderous Staffs is was up to Witch Tripper to follow and it looked like they had more than a few fans in the crowd.  The Mansfield power trio took the whole heaviness to the next level, as Richie Barlow, Gary-Eric Evans and Chris Stoff took no prisoners with their powerful Stoner driven set. To be honest not my favourite genre, but the crowd obviously got down with the groove.  Standout tracks from their set for me were 'White Lines' and bass ridden 'Roll the Dice'.

Not my favourite band of the weekend, but that's what S.O.S. Festival is all about, bringing together a wide variety of bands from different genres on to one bill and not sticking to any particular genre.  This is what makes this festival so great, because there really is something for everyone.  

It was a change of pace once again, this time from Scotlandís Melodic Hard rockers The King Lot.  The trio of Jason Sweeney (Vocals, Bass), Chris Gillon (Drums, Vocals) and Jay Moir (Guitar, Vocals) delivered one of the sets of the weekend, which is quite ironic as the lads have decided to take an extended hiatus from the scene after this yearís run of gigs.

The band really showed what they are made of with tracks like 'All I Want', 'Damaged Girl', the album title track 'A World Without Evil' and the groove filled rocker 'Save Me'. The band's debut album was given a rockier edge with 'One of These Days', before the lads rounded off their set with their current single 'Hearts on Fire'.  All in all, a great rounded rock n' roll set that really got the juices flowing in anticipation for the headliners.

Now what can be said about the headliners The Quireboys that hasnít been said before.  Itís been a while since I last saw Spike and the boys in action and I was a bit apprehensive to say the least, as to whether would they live up to all my expectations.

Well to be quite honest, they rocked the house. This was as Spike stated ďProper English Rock n' RollĒ

Opening up the set with 'I Love This Dirty Town', instantly Spike had the crowd in the palm of his hands.  The set continued its blues honky-tonk vibe with 'Misled', before a veritable crowd favourite 'There She Goes Again' had the SOS choir (or should they be called S.O.S. Quire?) merrily singing along.  

It over was to the bands new album 'Amazing Disgrace', for the funk filled 'Seven Deadly Sins'.  I donít care what is said about Spike the guys, there is no disputing they can still write a great song and this is corker.  A quick mention that the album was available on old school vinyl, (not the last plug by the way), and they continued their honky-tonky blues with the wonderful 'Mona Lisa Smiled'.  'Hello' quickly followed this.

Then it was back to the new album once more for 'Eve of the Summertime'.  Iíve said it once and Iíll say it again, Spike and the boys can sure can write a great song and this is one of the best from the new album and live it was just superb.

But what Quireboys set wouldnít be complete without the classics and they came thick and fast with the likes of 'Hey You', 'This is Rock n' Roll', 'Sweet Mary Jane' and '7 oíclock', all getting the S.O.S. Quire in full sing-a-long mode.  

The band left the stage to riotous applause before returning to put the icing on the cake to Day 1 of this year's S.O.S. Festival with 'I Donít Love You Anymore', before adding the musical cherry on the top with what else than 'Sex Party'.  This wrapped up Day 1 in fine style and what a day it had been.  We'd seen so many great bands and this was only the start of the weekend.  After all this I couldnít wait to see what Day 2 would have to offer.

Review by: Barry McMinn, Photo's by: Little Linda




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