Festival Review | Hellfest 2014 [Part 2]

[Part 2]

Missed Part 1? You can read it here.


[Note: Band scores are out of 5]

After a rather late night, we ended up missing the first few acts (though it was reported that Hark and Herder both went down well). For us, all-girl tribute group Lez Zeppelin [2.5] open things up on Saturday with an okay performance on Main Stage 1.

A trek back to The Valley for Mos Generator [3.5] yielded better results, with their swaggering hard rock tunes the perfect tonic to the previous night’s antics.

Skid Row unfortunately showed that they really miss Sebastian Bach. Johnny Solinger has been with the New Jersey rockers for around 15 years now, and he still doesn’t seem to have the charisma, nor the range to bring the back catalogue to life. It is a shame really, but if you want to see Skid Row classics performed with something close to the punch of the originals, then just go to a Seb Bach gig instead [2].

Business picked back up in The Valley with some epic, drawn-out sludge from Salt Lake City’s own SubRosa. With the handful of tracks all clocking in near to or over ten minutes, this may not be for everyone – but we rather enjoyed it. The quintet had a good set that showcased their talent and promise well, ending with goosebump enducing rendition of The Usher that toally blew us away. These guys are going to be massive (or, at least, as massive as a sludge band that does 10 minute songs can get). [4]

And now for something completely different. Over to The Warzone we went for our first day time act there, Swedish punks Misconduct. In one of the sets of the weekend, they hammered out bouncy tune after bouncy tune and left everyone in a fantastic, summery mood. Solution was the pick of a very good set [5].

If you like your doom with a side order of soulful blues, then definitely check out the sorrowful Witch Mountain [4] who spent around 50 minutes showing why they are one of the best at what they do. Lead singer Uta Plotkin’s voice divided opinion amongst the group we were with, but we thought she was excellent.

Saturday was definitely the cheesiest day of the weekend, exemplified with the inclusion of funky late 80s/early 90s rockers Extreme on the bill. The Americans put on a professional performance that included rousing ballad More Than Words, as well as a great Get the Funk Out to finish. There was a slight suspicion that the crowd only really knew those two tracks, but they went down pretty well none-the-less [3].

The second half of the doom-cheese 1-2 combo started with Acid King back in The Valley. Whilst also impressive, they didn’t quite stand out as much as Witch Mountain had done an hour earlier [3.5].

Conversely, Status Quo raised the bar when they took to the stage. The veterans have racked up a massive collection of hit singles over a career spanning around half a century. Down Down, In The Army Now, Whatever You Want and Rocking All Over the World were all wheeled out for the crowds aural pleasure. [4.5]

By this point, the temperatures were soaring into the 30s so an executive decision was made to head for the tents and have a break. This unfortunately meant missing Clutch and Soulfly but it could not be helped. From what we heard, both were expectedly really good.

Refreshed after a couple of hours out of direct sunglight, we headed back to the arena for rock legends Deep Purple. There may not be many original members left, and they may be getting on a bit, but they certainly could still jam. Ian Gillan’s voice is unfortunately thinning and not the powerful set of pipes it once was, but the sound techs did a good job finding the right levels to compensate for this. As for the songs themselves, aside from a couple of tracks from last year’s Now What?! the set comprised of songs from their most famous LPs – particularly Deep Purple in Rock, and Machine Head. Purple were one of the main selling points of the festival for us, and they did not disappoint. [4]

Injecting some glitz and glamour into our evening, Main Stage 1 headliners Aerosmith rounded out our evening in style (no 2am finish for us tonight!). Like Deep Purple before them, the Americans sprinkled the odd new songs amongst a set predominantly consisting of big hits (Walk This Way, I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing, Dude Looks Like a Lady) and popular songs from yesteryear (Mama Kin, Back in the Saddle). Frontman Steven Tyler was on top form, hitting every note and being the consumate showman (at one point he spots someone recording the show on their phone, and promptly borrows it to film himself/the band/the crowd whilst they do a song before handing it back. For all the bravado and sexually charged gusto, it is the equally moving rendition of Dream On that is the highlight of his performance. Whilst Iron Maiden probably had the tightest headlining performance, Aerosmith were probably the flashiest and most rock’n’roll. [5]


Bands of the Day: Aerosmith, Misconduct 
Honourable Mention: Status Quo.


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