Firefest II - Explosive Nottingham debut!
Nottingham Rock City 26/11/05
“We Aint F…..g Dead Yet” Bruno Ravel (Danger Danger)
It was a brave decision to move the Firefest to a new home, the Rock City in Nottingham but when you are flying bands in from the USA it’s shit or bust anaway.The weather was against them, ticket sales a week prior were slow and the lead vocalist of the headliner House Of Lords had an accident and was left with broken ribs and may not make the gig. (Who wants to be a promoter?)
Thankfully the fans summoned up the enthusiasm to brave the weather and turned up in their numbers. James Christian also discarded the pain, not wanting to let the promoters or the fans down (now that needs applauding).
Its been 25 years since the Bailey Brothers helped start off this famous venue, back then we were working with the Sweet and Ian Gillan et.c It was so cool to see so many old friends as this was like a flash back to the 80’s. Man we are talking rubber hot pants, low cut tops, lipstick and leather…. (but that’s enough about Danger Danger ha ha) Only joking guys but you really had to be there to feel the vibe and a complete idiot to try and pick the best band on the night.
It may be safer to say everyone contributed to the success of this years bash, we asked the first three fans after the show “who was your favourite band on the night? They all picked different bands. (See what I mean)
For my money Vaughn raised the bar so high that it was hard to surpass it. Looking as cool as a cucumber sporting long hair and in good shape Danny Vaughn took the audience by the scruff of the neck. He had them participating through out. With a very tight band around him with the likes of Tony (Have you met my wife) Marshall on guitar it looked easy. By the time they unleashed the old Tyketto favourite “Forever Young” it was bedlam. Every one joined in the chorus including yours truly, don’t Miss Vaughn on tour as we hear they will be playing a really long set covering old Tyketto tunes plus many songs from Vaughn’s solo career.
If its marks out of 10 for entertainment then these dudes are a rockin’ 9 out of 10 for sure. Rob Marcello was as impressive as his bright yellow guitar with cool lead breaks through out. Ted Poley has come along way since starting out on drums and vocals with the NJ band Prophet way back in 1984.He had left before they did the “Cycle OfThe Moon” album to join Bruno Ravel and it’s a partnership that works as good live as it did on album. Ted was struggling a little at times to hit those high notes and said later he couldn’t hear himself on stage but he never winged, just partied with Danger Danger who had that Poison type of vibe going down. They were very up and entertaining. They pulled out two gems to prove they too can get the crowd going wild, “Naughty Naughty” and “Monkey Business” were right on the button. The best quote of the night came from Bruno Ravel who thanked everyone and their dog for putting the show on then said “We Ain’tF…..g Dead Yet” referring to the rock scene we all love.
Although all the acts were using the same back line it was Harem Scarem who retained their unique individual sound and style .Songs from their new album Overload sat comfortably with the classics from Moodswings.
Harry Hess was very powerful and the vocal harmonies created their familiar tone. You know when I said it was good to see some old friends? Yeah it was but for fucks sake Nicola did you have to talk through the HS set? The words “They look like bank managers” were totally irrelevant. To quote Paul Gilbert (ex Mr Big) when he cut his hair short, “Amazingly I can still play guitar” In terms of music which is what it’s really about, Harem Scarem were faultless. Ok, not as visually dynamic as some of the previous acts but it was a quality polished performance. To hear the likes of “Higher Ground” live was a moment to savour. It’s amazing that even stars like Ted Poley have their idols and Harry Hess is one of his old time favourite singers. He even asked Mick to introduce him to the band and take a picture of them together.
He was then rocking away down the front when Hess shouted him up on stage to sing “Saviours Never Cry” with him (a song that is found on the Moodswings album) It’s cool to see interaction between artistes during the fest. It gave the crowd another lift and talking point whilst waiting for House Of Lords.
“Forgive and Forget ItAll” was my favourite from the new songs, it was delivered like a battering ram through a castle door.
An excellent performance guys.
House Of Lords
“It’s great to be able to hear someone sing live with such an amazing range”
Vocalist James Christian deserves the winner’s rosette for me tonight as many a band would have cancelled this show. The minute he opened up his lips to “ Sahara” the House Of Lords magic was there, the 1990 album title track re-emerging live like a hidden treasure brought up from the sea bed. There was an ocean of adoring fans for sure. “Chains Of Love” was followed by “Love Don’t Lie”, well need we say more? It was like listening to the album but with the added bonus of being able to see these brilliant musicians on stage. At a time when some 80’s stars are dropping the keys to sing their songs James seems as good as ever. Definitely a talking point as a fan pointed out “it’s great to be able to hear someone sing live with such an amazing range”. Ok point taken that some of the new material forced James to sing at a lower registrar but how best to describe the vocals to the old songs? It was like going into the garage and pulling back the cover of an old E-Type Jag and finding it still runs smooth and is in pristine condition.. Then take into consideration he’s performing with damaged ribs well enough said.
It would have been the icing on the cake to have seen Greg Giuffria on key boards instead of a backing discs but it wasn’t to be.
Greg Giuffria put House Of Lords together back in 1987 after Kiss legend Gene Simmons launched his label Simmons Records and signed them to it. They were soon on tour with the likes of Cheap Trick in the USA and the mighty Scorpions in the UK in 1989. I guess it all went bit tits up after the release of Demons Down in 1992.
The Millennium saw them return with a classic line up but it was 2004 before another album release. I will say one thing for Greg, man does he know how to pick quality musicians to work with. Ken Mary on drums was mind blowing, the kick drum cut through the crowd like a Samurai sword. It was like a punch to the ribs from Mike Tyson. When you look who these musicians have worked with and who has actually played with Greg Giuffria it’s like the who’s who of rock. So why isn’t he here today? Reports say he was offered a solo deal by the bands label so he was then no longer interested in doing the Power And The Myth album.. The other factor may be he didn’t contribute to the album either (apart from one song “ Havana” available as a bonus track on the Japanese release)
Don’t quote me on this but we also heard he had been working for almost 3 years on a business project that involved a new Casino in Mississippi
Two weeks before it was due to open The 250 million pound casino was hit by the Hurricane which levelled it to the ground. Now when you look at it that way playing keyboards in the UK may not be Greg’s top priority. Anyway it was the crowd that was blown away at the Rock City “ Pleasure Palace” “TalkAbout Love”, “Edge Of Your Life” it was none stop and sheer class. They saved “Cant Find My Way” and “Slip Of The Tongue to the end but it was all over bar the shouting. It was job done.
We missed the early part of the festival but by all accounts every one played their part in one of the most relaxed and enjoyable gatherings we rock heads have enjoyed in a long while. Now if just one fan brings a mate next year they will be peeling us off the walls. Well done Kieran, Bruce Mee and the Fireworks team, the Notts Rock City, all the bands and most of all the brilliant fans that supported every act on the bill.
We have said it before but we will say it again - “You Should Have Been There”! Roll on Firefest III!
Report by The Bailey Bros (baileybros "at" rockunited.com)
Still want more Fire? Check out PART TWO!