High Voltage Festival 2011 Sunday Review

The forecast rain had failed to materialise, and once again the sun shone on Victoria Park as High Voltage festival day 2 got underway. And what better way to kick things off than with Furyon on the Metal Hammer stage ???

Having followed the band for a while it was awesome to see so many people there in Furyon shirts, and to see so many people singing along. And what a show it was, this is back in full effect. Guitarist Chris Green has rejoined his bandmates after an extended trip to the US and he made his presence felt, trading awesome solo after awesome solo with fellow axeman Pat. Chris’s performance was all the more surprising considering he was here against medical advice. He is presently nursing a badly smashed up jaw that must make life difficult. Wouldn’t like to be in his shoes when his doctor finds out he’s been headbanging on stage

Come on rest-of-the-day, top that….

The unenviable task of following Furyon onto the Metal Hammer stage fell to The Treatment. Now this is a band who seem to keep on getting better and better. Set opener (and new single) Drink, Fuck, Fight kept the sunshine party atmosphere going as the band demonstrated just why they have been nominated as best newcomer by Classic Rock magazine. The highpoint of their set was undoubtedly Shake The Mountain though, a track which shows just what this band are capable of.

It’s strange that The Treatment are signed while Furyon aren’t, both bands deserve some big money support to propel them on towards the next level.

2 bands seen, two brilliant sets. Not a bad start to the day 🙂

It looked (or rather sounded) like some of the concerns about the PA had been addressed overnight and although the noise limit was clearly still in force things sounded much better today, especially on the Hammer stage.

Honestly, this is what summer festivals are all about, none of that mud and sleeping in a tent nonsense 🙂

Right, well as the Metal Hammer stage was in awesome form we stuck around to see what Leeds’ own Gentleman’s Pistols had to offer, couldn’t be three really good bands in a row could it…

Yes, actually it could…

I’d not heard much of what GP had to offer, but on the strength of today’s performance they’re a band that CackBlabbath are definitely going to be finding out more about. They’re another band who have clearly sought inspiration from their predecessors but add enough of their own twist to the sound to keep it sounding fresh and interesting.

Gentleman’s Pistols were definitely the discovery of the festival, nice to come away from these things excited about a band you’ve not seen before.

Unfortunately we couldn’t stick around for the end of their set (hopefully they’ll be playing live in our vicinity soon), as we had an unmissable appointment at the main stage with a certain Mr. Michael Schenker. And it was to be the defining moment of the Summer festival season for at least one of Team CB.

This wasn’t an MSG show, instead it was part of the build up to Michael’s forthcoming “all star” temple of rock album which is out later this year.

The band opened, predictably, with Into The Arena followed by Armed And Ready, muchales “new” band (which included Herman Rarebell on drums and Michael Voss on vocals) delivering in a way that the “classic” MSG line up just can’t. Another Piece Of Meat came and went in a blur before there was a change of vocalist for a new track, Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead. It’s a good one which bodes extremely well for the upcoming album…. But the best was yet to come and as Voss announced “for the next 4 minutes, we are going to rock you like a hurricane” who should join them on stage but Rudolph Schenker…

RUDOLPH FUCKING SCHENKER !!!!!

And the guest appearances didn’t stop there. Next out was Pete Way for UFO’s Rock Bottom before everyone and their dog piled out on stage for a chaotically brilliant rendition of Doctor Doctor.

Another eagerly anticipated set followed, with Thunder playing another “one off last ever show”. I was taken aback by the response that they received and right from the opening notes of Back Street Symphony the entire crowd sang along with every word.

Say what you want about Thunder (and some of us did beforehand) but it’s impossible to deny that they knew how to write an arena rocking tune. If this really is their last show then what a way to bow out (again).

Now for a dilemma, stay here for the rest of Thunder’s set or head back to the Metal Hammer stage for the omni-present Black Spiders ??

So, Back on the Hammer stage the Black Spiders were ripping it up as only they can. There are a lot of bands to who the label “hard working” can be attached but surely no one clocks up more miles, and more gigs, in a year than these sons of the north.

The Spiders are a band who just always seem to put on a great show, whether they’re playing to a couple of hundred or several thousand they never give it anything less than 100%, and today was no different.

Fuck You Black Spiders 🙂

But that was enough rock and metal for one day and Team CB made their way back to the Prog stage for the legendary Jethro Tull.

Now whereas lots of the Prog bands we had seen briefly in passing had their heads firmly implanted in their collective arses (Land of hope and glory, anyone ?) Tull treated us to a set full of old favourites, no obscure proggy epics here. Living In The Past opened their set and as the sun went down there was no better place to be than sitting on the grass to the side of the stage letting it all wash over you. Thick As A Brick followed, then Farm On The Freeway then, oh, well, you get the picture.

Joe Bonamassa even put in a guest appearance for Tull’s encore of Locomotive Breath, and with that our High Voltage Festival drew to a close. Oh, I know there was still the small matter of Dream Theater on the Main Stage but, for us, Jethro Tull was the perfect end to a near perfect weekend.

As the journey back across London began the discussion turned, inevitably, to the set of the weekend. Now usually at a festival this is an easy call, someone stands out but at High Voltage 2011 there was just too much to chose from. Thin Lizzy, Slash, Furyon, Thunder, Michael Schenker, all answers that it would be difficult to argue with.

High Voltage is definitley one of our favourite entries in the festival calender. Fingers crossed that we can do it all again next year.

Hopefully see you there…