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

Bands:   A Joker's Rage, Collibus, Florence Black, Fantasist, Gio, Metaprism, Samarkind, Tomorrow Is Lost, Toledo Steel, Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters, Hell's Gazelles

Venue: Longfield Suite, Prestwich, Manchester

Date: 13 July 2019


Well itís the morning after the night before and the sun again hits the windows of the hotel, time to hit the road once again, so after a hearty late breakfast it was glad rags on once more as we headed out for Day 2 of this years SOS Festival. 

We arrived just as Hells Gazelles finished their set so sorry guys from missing you, but word at the bar is you were awesome.  Well with drinks bought and seats acquired, we were ready for another great day of rock.

First band of the day for us was Cardiff's very own, the excellent Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters, who got their set going with the aptly titled 'Give It All You Got', and boy did Beth and boys do just that.

This was classic hard rock at it's very best.  Led by the charismatic Beth Blade, this band delivers classic hard rock with bite. The set powered through with tracks from the debut album 'Hard Habits' and their latest album 'Show Me Your Teeth'.

Their rocking set kept its high energy feel with 'Hell In High Heels' and the funky feel of 'Get Down Get Dirty', both from the band's debut.

It was over to new album for some good time rock n' roll with the storming 'I Ainít Got Nothing (If I Ainít Got Rock n' Roll)', before bringing it down just a touch with the excellent 'You And I', where Beth showed what a great vocalist she is, as this old school power ballad simply rocked.

Talk about leaving them wanting more, the set was rounded off in great style with the riff fuelled Lemmy Kilminster tribute 'Jack and Coke', with set closer following in the form of 'If Youíre Ready To Rock'.  A great set from one of our favourite bands of the weekend and one we'd definitely love to see performing at a future SOS festival.  Definitely one to watch!   

All eyes were on the acoustic set for Gothic Rockers Cadence Noir, who pit their own spin on Goth Folk Rock that was just refreshing.  Donít be surprised if these guys arenít listed on the main stage next year. 

It was back to the main stage for some old school Heavy Metal courtesy of Southamptonís Toledo Steel.  To say these guys were influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. would be an understatement.

Led by Rich Rutter, who has the vocal might of a young Eric Adams, they rocked through their riff filled extravaganza of old school metal, opening up with 'No Quarter'.  Again quite an apt opening, as they were certainly taking no prisoners with this set.  That straight shooting metal continued with 'Rock Nights', again just shoot from the hip Heavy Metal.

It was time for a new song as the band brought the heat with 'No Time To Lose'.  Speaking of heat it was soon time to turn up the flames for 'Visions in the Fire'.

It was all heads down for another new song from their EP 'Zero Hour' with the storming 'Speed Killer', before rounding the set off in style by rolling things back some five years with 'Black Widow'.  This rounded off a great set.  if you're into the likes of Maiden and anything N.W.O.B.H.M., then these guys are well worth checking out.

It was another change of pace and genre as Newcastleís Tomorrow is Lost hit the state, led by the mighty vocals of Cass King.  These guys have that modern angsty Rock style that seems to be very much in vogue with the rock fans today.

King has a powerful voice, but at times the power drowns out the lyrics.  However they did impress with the likes of 'Shadowman' and 'We are the Lost'.  

Next up it was Samarkind, who we'd already heard so much about prior to the festival, but hadn't had the chance to catch them live in action yet.  The band brought a change of tempo as Irelandís blues rockers consisting of David Paul Byrne, Mark Dempsey, Darragh OíHehir and Michal Kulbaka, brought much more of a classic rock feel to Day Two.

David and the guys really rocked with their blues infused hard rock with the likes of the funky 'Skinny Rivers',  the mellow tones of 'Good Man Call', the slow burning blues of 'Fire and Blood', before rocking out big time with the thumping 'Blue Mountain'.

It's been a few years since weíve heard a full length album from these guys, so hopefully a new album is in the pipeline   

Well SOS Festival is all about the music and not the genre and so once again itís was a switch in styles as Bournemouthís Metaprism brought their all-out Metal assault to the event.

The duel beauty and the beast vocals of Theresa Smith and guest vocalist for today's set Grant Stacey (GraVil), who did a phenomenal job.

The bands hard hitting style really was a world apart from Ireland Samarkind, as they instantly unleashed pure Metal hell on the masses with opener 'Reload', taken from the bands 2015 album 'The Human Encryption'.  They stayed with this album for the massive 'Nebula', with the vocal pairing reinforcing the beauty and beast vocals.

It was to their latest album 'Catalyst to Awakening' for the intense 'Catharsis' and the extreme metal of 'Anomalous I: Illogical Era'.  The intensity did fall just a touch with the more Melodic Metal tones of 'Carved In Stone', which showed despite the Beast vocals, Grant Stacey really does have a great metal voice behind the growls and this came through just touch on this one.  Personally I would have liked to have heard a lot more of that in the set, but as guest vocalist I guess he has to do as directed.

The pace picked up big style with 'Unanimous' a blistering attack on the senses, before the set closer 'Unleash the Fire', which wrapped up a truly impressive set.  This might not be my favourite genre, but Metaprism really showed this genre has it ability to turn out a massive sound and that they can really entertain the crowd  

 Well the next act was certainly one for the ladies in the crowd, as 2018 X Factor Giovanni Spano, or Gio and his band deVience hit the stage.  With nearly all the front row being female dominated, many of the photographer nearly got squashed in the rush. (mop up on aisle 4)

Providing us with a set mixed with covers and original material, the band certainly had that X Factor for all the ladies, with the songs like 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting', 'The Boys are Back in Town'  and Guns n' Roses 'Welcome to the Jungle', all getting the SOS choir in full swing.  But it was the original songs like 'Move' that  really showed this band is in it for the long haul and arenít just going to be a covers band.  Add to that Gio's  stage presence, charisma and voice, and the band could really bring back that classic rock sound in spades.

Making a welcome return to this years SOS Fest were Fantasist, as the trio of Ollie Cordwell, Seb Sweet and Robb Sutcliff brought their mix of Cheap Trick meets anybody else to be honest, back to the main stage.  This is a band that defies stereo types and who refuse to be pigeon holed.  Today they really brought their funky A-Game.  As this was the bands only show in 2019, this one was special, because it was also the bands 10th Birthday, so they played a "best of" set from the bands two albums, with 'The Sleeper', 'Time to Leave' and 'The Divide' all taken from their 'Gigglejuice' album, being some of my personal favourites. 

It was over to the acoustic stage for Luke Appleton's set.  Joining Luke on stage for this the first of three sets on the Wizz Beauprez stage was old pal Rishi Mehta from Babylon Fire, for three tracks from Lukeís solo album 'Snake Eyes'.  Opening with album opener 'Inside Out', which is such a great track from this  really great album.  N next up was the excellent 'Medusa'.  This haunting tune really showcases perfectly just what a fine voice Luke has.  This short first set rounded off with another of my favourite tracks off the new album 'Stone Broke from My Heart'.  Luckily we had more to come from Luke and his guests, but first it was back to the main stage. 

All eyes and feet made the epic journey of 30-40 feet to the front of the main stage for Merthyr Tydfilís Florence Black.

This trio from the valleys of South Wales really went to town with their no holds barred Hard Rock.  Opening up to a welcoming crowd with 'Ghost' from their debut EP, this was rip-snorting, high-octane rock n' roll at its best.  The band were taking no prisoners as they rocked into 'Same Again', another fine choice taken from their debut EP, with drummer Perry Davies fairly thrashing at the drums like the forgotten son of Keith Moon, while Jordan Evan threw out the bass lines like four string spaghetti, as guitarist and frontman Tristan Thomas threw out the licks like there was no tomorrow.

They took no quarter at they literally took us for 'The Ride' the set was rounded off by a great cover of fellow Welshmen Budgieís 'Breadfan' (if you donít know who Budgie were then please ask your parents!). A great set and another of the highlights of the weekend.   

It was back to the Wizz Beauprez acoustic stage for the second set from Luke Appleton, who was joined this time by brother Chris for another 3 song set opening up with the title track of Lukeís EP 'How Does It Feel To Be Alive', before a very moving tribute to Wizz, with something from 'Dance With The Duvel', the very haunting 'Reflection', which got a standing round of applause from the crowd, as Wizz was no stranger to so many of us and a great friend for many year.  The set was closed off with the title track of Lukeís album 'Snake Eyes', which rounded off another great set, with the last set coming up after the next band.

Well regulars to S.O.S. will know Gemma Fox, as she rocked last yearís acoustic stage, now she was back on the main stage with her band Collibus.

The crowd rushed to the front as the band opened a very impressive set with 'Life Blood', a rousing metal anthem that showed Fox at her vocal best.  The set continued with massive 'Hold Fire', but it was the superb 'End of the Line' that really showcased the band and Fox at their very best.  This mighty anthem really showed off Foxís truly great vocal power.

The set closer 'We Stand Together' should be the anthem for S.O.S. Festival, as no matter what genre of rock youíre into, the S.O.S. Family remains strong.  We may a bit dysfunctional, but what family arenít.  

It was back to the Wizz Beauprez stage for the third and final set from Luke Appleton and for this set Rishi Mehta joined the fray once more, as well as Terresa Smith from Metaprism.

This time it was time for a tribute to the mighty Ronnie James Dio, with a storming version of 'Last in Line', then it was time for Terresa and Luke to duet on the excellent 'First Star', again a track taken from the rather splendid 'Snake Eyes' album.

The set was closed with something from Lukeís other band Iced Earth.  A track which closes not just this set, also but his sets generally when he's pit touring his solo album.  I am of course taking about 'Watching Over Me', which had the crowd singing along.  Luke continues to tour his solo album later this year and I highly recommend you check out the full show out.

Well what can I say about todayís headline act, just last year they performed on this very stage, only slightly lower down on the bill.  Now due to popular demand and following that splendid performance which took everyoneís breath away, the band were deservedly put as top of the bill for Saturday.

It was time to get our #GameFaceís on and A Jokers Rage hit the stage with the absolute set of the weekend.

As guitarist  Adam Gauton took centre stage complete with LED Glasses with the bands hashtag slogan, he was hauntingly lite-up as he opened with his solo set building us nicely up for one hell of show.  As Zakk hit the stage dressed in complete full Native American headdress, the confetti canons exploded and everybody knew, the show was definitely on and was going to be something rather special.  

The boys kicked some serious ass to be honest, these guys have come a hell of long way and with a new album on the way, let's hope today's performance leads to more festival shows.

The boys kicked into top gear instantly with 'Temptress', before the Freddy Mercury tribute 'Ballet to the Masses', then the blistering 'Masquerade'.

With mixes from Guns n' Roses and AC/DC thrown into the mix, along with songs from the new album 'Rain Dance', songs like 'Shylock', the band more than showed their worthiness to the headline slot today. Zakk even rolled things back to the band we first saw him performing in, glam rockers Kid Ego, with 'In It For The Kicks'.  The band left the stage to rapturous applause and cheers before coming back to really rock the roof off the place with the anthemic 'Bounce', which literally had the place jumping.  

A great end to another great day, with two days under the belt, could Day 3 take things to the next level?  You bet it did! 

Review by: Barry McMinn, Photos by: Little Linda




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