All photographs supplied courtesy of Renegade Wolf Photography
All photographs supplied courtesy of Renegade Wolf Photography
The 1865, Southampton, UK
Review by Lotty Whittingham
The concert hangover is a common thing amongst the rock and metal community; these usually take place after experiencing an excellent live show. Symptoms can often include sore muscles, pounding heads and ringing ears. The most common of the symptoms is a huge desire to go back and experience it all over again.
I definitely experienced this concert hangover the day after NozFest. This fantastic event took place at ‘The 1865’, Southampton on 10th August. Given it was the same weekend as Bloodstock and Boomtown, lots of people came through the door which was great to see. JodieBowie was the promoter of this event; after running successful Rock Nights around the UK, this was her first festival.
It was clear that the high winds were not going to dampen the spirits of festival goers better known as Nozzers. As the venue began to fill, you could instantly see fans securing their spots to watch the bands, buying their first pints, browsing the band’s merchandise and talking excitedly amongst themselves about what bands they were most looking forward to seeing.
To kick off the proceedings, Bournemouth based 27 Days were the first band to take to the stage. As the opening act, the pressure is higher than ever to get the crowds warmed up. Especially when it’s early doors and alcohol consumption had barely begun. 27 Days conquered that pressure and showed NozFest what they were made of. Their performance consisted of great guitar solos, brilliant harmonies and infectious energy on stage and their cover of the Darkness classic ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ went down a treat with the crowd and got them participating. This is another achievement for an opening band to conquer and 27 Days did just that.
The Wicked Jackals
As the day went on, the venue started filling. With a performance from the next band The Wicked Jackals looming, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Their melodies contained some great hooks that kept the crowd alive and engaged. Their charismatic and passionate stage presence also seemed to win fans over, particularly when the booze gun came out. Advice: be sure to catch The Wicked Jackals when they come to your hometown. Where else are you going to see a water-pistol filled with alcohol?!
The Outlaw Orchestra
For the next act The Outlaw Orchestra this was their first hometown show for a long time and given the warm reception they received; it was evident it was an anticipated one. The first thing I noticed with their stage performance was it was clear they were having a great time. This energy and positivity passed onto the crowd alongside their tight live sound as they performed a selection of material from across their EP’s. After experiencing their live show, I instantly felt much happier. I will call this ‘The Outlaw Orchestra Effect’. If you wish to feel this effect, experience hard rock with a country tinge and watch banjo solos then catch them soon!
Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters
There was no beating around the bush when Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters took to the stage. They got straight to the point to play us some no-nonsense Rock and Roll. Their dominant stage presence and excellent live sound meant that audience members were under their control. They performed an eclectic selection of songs from the emotional ‘You & I’ to new drinking anthem ‘Jack & Coke’. With their fire, passion and energy; they could quite easily be the UK’s answer to Halestorm. It’s highly recommended you catch them when they next tour.
The appearance of StOp, sToP! was baffling at first. It seemed they had dressed as elderly men as they played the first song ‘The Last Call’. As they finished the grey wigs came off and the glam rock outfits were gallantly revealed. The message behind this appearance became clear: rock and roll makes you feel alive, it keeps you young and can turn back the years. A great message told in a fun way. If AC/DC decided to go glam, then StOp, sToP! would fit that category easily. Their live show was fun and energetic, which matches their uplifting music. They are due to play HRH Sleaze in a couple of weeks so if you are attending this, then be sure to catch them and get involved.
The name Marco Mendoza is a household name in the Classic Rock community. Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and The Dead Daisies are among the portfolio of bands that he has played alongside. This was the first date of the UK Tour and with his previous work with JodieBowie, it couldn’t be a better date to start the tour on. For this performance, he played his solo material alongside Micky Crystal (Tygers Of Pan Tang) and Kyle Hughes (Bumblefoot). From the word go, it was evident who was in control. The mighty opener ‘Viva La Rock’ got the crowd going instantly, this gave the audience a first taste of his excellent showmanship and tight live sound. His set consisted of solo material and cover songs that went down well with the crowds. His passion for the community shone through during his performance, as he sang and spoke you could feel that heartfelt, genuine, spirit that caught on in the crowd. He is currently on tour so be sure to catch him.
For Bigfoot, this was one of their last performances before they go their separate ways. Whether you are a long-time fan or a new listener, it was the perfect chance to catch them live before they call it a day. It is more than safe to say that this was a great performance from the band. When listening to them, Alter Bridge and The Answer come to mind. Their harmonies were on point and their stage presence was fierce. There was a high amount of passion and energy on the stage. They provided a more chilled out vibe to the evening and were a great warm up for the two main bands of the night. (Rick Here – I will be just one of many very sorry to see them go)
Those Damn Crows
As the night drew in, the crowd got bigger and the atmosphere was happy, people excited to catch the two main acts of the night. The main support Those Damn Crows are one of the best new up and coming bands. They were fresh from appearing at Download Festival this year and from their live performance it’s easy to see why they are receiving high praise from fans and critics. Their stage presence was incredibly energetic and it was clear that this passed on to the Nozzers that were still standing, bearing in mind some of them had been standing all day. They provided a modern edge to the evening with their sound reminding me of Shinedown. They performed a great selection of music from both their albums. They ended with the new album track ‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Dead’ which was very apt. Those Damn Crows are easily the future of rock and provided the perfect set to get the crowds ready for headliners Massive Wagons.
Having got off an arena tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Status Quo, NozFest headliners Massive Wagons were a hugely anticipated performance for the evening. From the moment they took to the stage and opened with ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’, it was very easy to see why they were the headliners for the night. They did a fantastic job bringing a stadium like atmosphere to a small venue and they got everyone involved with their performance, even the newer listeners who didn’t know what to expect. This stadium like atmosphere included fans singing along to their anthems such as ‘Ratio’, ‘Billy Balloon Head’ and ‘Red Dress’. Hearing the chants echoing around the venue truly was one of the magical moments of their set. Whether you have two albums or ten albums in your discography, it can be tricky picking the right balance of songs for a setlist.
Massive Wagons got this balance perfectly and showcased songs from each of their albums. This setlist seemed to go down well with the crowd. Their boundless energy on stage was incredibly infectious, so much so that they even got those sitting standing up. They ended with the classic ‘Back To The Stack’ that marked the end of a triumphant set and a successful festival.
It’s now a week after the event and the positivity for the festival on social media is still rolling in. People are already booking hotels and time off work ready for next year’s date. If this doesn’t show how much people and bands enjoyed the festival, I don’t know what will!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Images Courtesy of Renegadewolf Photography!
Interview with Marco Mendoza
By Lotty Whittingham
Marco Mendoza is no doubt one of the hardest working and passionate musicians to date. He has played with the likes of Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and currently The Dead Daisies. He is due to appear at a brand new festival ‘NozFest’ which takes place very soon. Lotty Whittingham spoke to him about this festival appearance, his latest release “Viva La Rock” and his process when it comes to songwriting.
Hello Marco, thanks for joining us this evening. So, you are due to appear at the brand-new festival NozFest soon. Can you tell us more about that?
The UK are famously known for having some of the best festivals around. This one in particular is special to me because it’s been organised by a friend of mine. Jodie and I have worked together previously on other events and she have been a great support of my solo career. Jodie approached me when I was on tour with The Dead Daisies and she said she was putting a festival together. She said there isn’t a lot going on in the south of England at that time of the year. Jodie, her dad and I came to an agreement that we should move this thing forward using my name so we could get the ball rolling.
I was very clear with them that I might be busy with The Dead Daisies at that time and if I needed to pull out, I would have to. She was very cool about it and stated that she was trying to get commitments from some bands. She also said that my solo stuff would make a great fit at the festival. It turned out that The Dead Daisies weren’t doing anything until towards the end of the year and I have been putting a lot of time into promoting my latest album “Viva La Rock”. In order to do that, you have to do any and everything you can to promote your music. I was happy to say yes let’s do this.
I have worked alongside a lot of the bands that are on the bill for NozFest and I am happy to be participating in that. I have some great cats rocking with me; I have Micky Crystal from Tygers Of Pang Tang and Kyle Hughes who has been with me for a while and he’s a great drummer. We have done a lot of touring together when they aren’t busy with their other projects. So, it’s a great fit and I am looking forward to appearing at this festival.
I can’t quite believe how quickly it’s come around.
It has come around so quickly. This year I have been to Japan twice, Europe three times, Russia and it’s only July. So, an extremely busy this year! After August, I will be spending time with my family and do a US run that we are putting together. After that, it’s back to Europe. Unless things change, I will be staying away from the UK for a bit to work on my new album that we’re shooting for next Spring. NozFest will be a chance for me to show people who I am and what my music is about.
Will this be your first time in Southampton?
It won’t be no. I have been part of the Thin Lizzy camp since 1994 or 1995, I am almost sure we played there a few times and I have toured with my solo project there. I can’t think of the exact venues, so I have toured there and the surrounding areas such as Bournemouth. I remember playing this little club called The Anvil. It’s got a lot of history, to me it’s like the whiskey of that area.
Actually, I remember the venue in Southampton was The Talking Heads. The Talking Heads was where I met Jodie and her Dad. They came to one of my solo shows, they approached me and said they would like to do more to support my solo career. She told me she can hook me up with shows in the south of England. She’s been a bit of champion when it comes to supporting my music, they are both fans of Thin Lizzy and Whitesnake.
This tour is promoting your latest release “Viva La Rock”. There is a variety of different sounding songs on there. Who are your main influences?
As you can tell, I grew up in the thirties. I was born in 1935, just kidding. The first CD I got as gift at Christmas was Abbey Road by The Beatles in the early seventies. It had been around for a few years at this point so that was the first album I got and let’s just say it had the Pandora’s Box effect. It ignited something in me and from that point I knew I was going to do music for the rest of my life. Once you start growing, you start seeing music in a different way and you start digging.
Creedance Clearwater Revival were a big band in the mid-sixties to mid-seventies, they had a lot of hits on the radio so for me they were a natural fit. I used to sing and play a lot of their songs. From then I got into to The Stones, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. To this day, I believe some of the best music and songs ever written were by these bands.
I am a big on a lot of these bands. Some of these bands I have been a part of myself. What they managed to accomplish in their time in 1964 or 1965 whenever they came out, they had an influence on the planet. Creatively and musically, the music business had its doors opened to these bands and what they managed to do was history in the making. So, I have a lot of respect for these guys.
When it comes down to song writing, do you have a specific process for it?
Lyrics for me are like the frosting on the cake. I might have a hook or theme or chord progression ready, it’s only because I try to fit in as much as I can when I have the time to do so and write it down. A lot of those ideas might not go anywhere and when it comes to write the album, you have all these ideas and whatever sticks is what develops and what you develop.
At the moment, I am in a really good place where everything is positive, optimistic and uplifting. All the lyrics are about my own experiences in life, relationships and love. There’s a song on the album dedicated to my wife because I was by myself in a studio in Denmark and I was missing my family. I was just like a little kid, if I could have got on the next plane home I would have done. However, we had studio time booked and had to make the commitment, then I had two months of touring straight afterwards. I was going to be gone for a while and had already been gone for six or seven months.
So emotionally I got a little drained and a little trashed. You know how it is when you’re tired, your emotions come to the surface. At the end of the album, we literally had a few hours to finish and we had to terminate it then because we had the tour the next morning. The producer said that we didn’t have a ballad for the album. We agreed on this but we spent so much time on everything else. Long story short he said “I got this chord progression; I really love it and it reminds me of something.” As soon as he started playing it, I realised that was the one. The song was written within two hours.
I’m not embarrassed to say that it was emotional when I was singing it. It’s one thing when the music and lyrics are written, when I started singing the words, I got knots in my throat. We had to stop a few times because I was blown away. I was asked if I wanted to take a break or do it another time but I thought we don’t have another time.
It probably won’t be played at NozFest as festivals are about going crazy and we have about forty-five minutes to an hour so there won’t be time to slow down.
Thanks, Marco, for taking the time out to speak to us today and best of luck with your UK tour.
NozFest takes place on Saturday 10th August at the 1865 in Southampton.
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.