Gods 2003 Sunday - 25th May - Bradford - Penningtons
When Baileys Comet was booked to play the Gods festival last year our good friend and vocalist for our “Day Of Judgement Tour ”Tony (sad cap) Martin said, “I haven’t heard of the Gods festival”. Well he did spend about ten years in Black Sabbath, if it was called "The Devil Festival" he may have took a bit more notice. So for those of you who may not know what this annual festival is all about let us try and bring you up to speed.
The Gods started 11 years ago, so you can imagine why the Bradford Gods audience were totally bemused when Carsten Schulz, vocalist of German rockers Evidence One said “It's great to be playing at the 10th Anniversary Of the Gods” during their set. The band do have a track called “Frozen In Time” on their debut album so maybe he thought it was 2002? If so he would have been following us on stage (confused? you soon will be). The festival was and still is a showcase for melodic rock acts signed to Mark Ashton (Now And Then records) and Italy’s Frontiers Records but there are acts not signed to these labels but are of a similar style who feature on the bill. Over the years the festival has become the melodic rock event of the year.
For many years it was held in Mark’s home town Of Wigan at a cool little venue called Maximes but eventually it out grew the clubs facilities and last year the festival moved over the Pennines to Bradford in West Yorkshire. The new home of the Gods is called Penningtons.
It doesn’t look that impressive from the out side but Penningtons is one of the best venues on the UK.circuit. It has a very large stage, good in house sound and lights good production and superb dressing room facilities.
The only down side, if there is one, is the size of the venue. It must hold going on for 2,000 on a good day. 600 rock fans would seem like a poor turn out and up and coming bands are going to struggle to drag a large enough audience to make it work. The management there are very cool and just want to keep live music alive but for all their efforts it’s always going to be a struggle because there may not be the bands around to fill that venue 6 days a week. The facilities for the public are also first class as you can see from some of the photos.
This year the festival was spread over two days and staged during the UK Spring Bank Holiday period. A little break away from it all was planned for yours truly so the Gods fell on the wrong weekend meaning the Bailey’s would be missing for once. Before I could close the lid on my suitcase there was a crash at the door, It was a pigeon carrying a note from Bandi Coot! Yes, RockUnited's very own blonde bombshell [Ed: we call him "Our furry friend"...] requesting the Bailey’s cover the Gods. We had to decline even though RockUnited's Urban offered us a dressing room full of Swedish women if we came to Bradford.
To cut the story short we compromised and at short notice made it for the Sunday shindig.
Unfortunately Paul Hodson had laryngitis so couldn’t sing on the day and his band therefore couldn’t open up. This brought the show forward and Talon had finished by the time I arrived (Sorry guys). Paul Hodson was really disappointed Hodson couldn’t play: ”I was really looking forward to fronting it all but I caught laryngitis from my daughter and I couldn’t shake it off. I’m still playing keyboards later” (with Bob Catley). It would have been Paul’s debut performance as a frontman vocalist as he is mainly known for his talent on keyboards and vocals with bands such as Hard Rain and Bob Catley’s touring band. He’s also wrote and produced Bob Catley’s new solo album “When Empires Burn”. I’m sure Hodson is a name you will come across in the future. We will check the band out live another time and let you know what they are all about.
I had no sooner wiped the Guinness froth from my lips when Germany’s first representatives at the Gods, Evidence One hit the stage. The band have evolved thanks to the vision of AOR Heaven boss George Seigi who was looking at putting a Robby Boebel (Frontline) solo album out and ran into Domain vocalist Carsten Schulz at a show in Munich. The up shot of this meeting is the two musicians ended up writing together and soon realised this could be much more than a solo project and formed the band Evidence One. If you like big guitars, ripping harmonies and a Helloween style delivery then these cats have definitely got your cream. They were only a whisker away from being one of my favourite acts of the day, mainly because they proved to be a lot heavier than most of the other acts but still melodic (which I dig). “Criticise The Truth” is their new album but didn’t get to hear it before the day, which is a shame. On this Evidence there was certainly no need to criticise.
Patricia Tapia may be pretty, dinky and sexy but to most genuine lovers of rock it isn’t always enough. Reminiscent of Doro Pesch in places but with a powerful vocal range that you would find hard to match anywhere in female rock today. The crowd certainly warmed to the band and it was quite a pleasant change from the norm. Lead guitarist Barnardo added that Spanish flamenco style which kept the interest levels up for a while. It was basically a Patricia and Barnardo show and that’s no disrespect to the other band members who were all adequate players. At one point it felt a bit like a Eurovision song contest as the set was very mid tempo. It’s all down to personal taste but there were enough good songs from their Colours album such as “Remember” to justify adding an act like Nexx to the bill. In the long term you can’t ignore the tremendous vocals of Patricia Tapia whose performance was hotter than a mid afternoon in Madrid. She will emerge as a very successful solo female artist for sure. She has the talent to sing various styles of music some producer could make her an international star someday. She came out front to meet the fans and her radiant smile and personal charm will have more than those lust hungry males taking home a copy of Nexx’s Colours album.
Nexx performed with Danny Vaughn on stage. I asked Patricia how this came about: “Danny came on stage with us in Madrid and we all enjoyed playing together. We thought we would return the favour and perform with him on stage at the Gods and it was fun again”.
The one thing about the Gods is you have more than enough bands to entertain you but it’s hard to absorb all of them. I thought I would ask the promoter Mark Ashton why they had so many acts on today considering there was a full show the day before: “It’s the one show where we can offer our bands a really big crowd to play for. Bands just kept being available so I let them play”. There’s not quite as many here as last year so has he made money? “No we lose money on the Gods especially last year after doing the live DVD. However, it’s not as costly as putting the bands out on tour and a good showcase for the label."
Now it’s one thing playing with a band behind you but another thing walking out with just an acoustic guitar. As Danny Vaughn told me, “There’s nowhere to hide, You hear everything including the mistakes” There weren’t too many of those in his set and he was brave enough to let the audience wait whilst he explained what the song “Ghandy Dancer” is all about. I asked him after the show what inspired the song? “I saw a documentary on TV about the Ghandy dancers who were the first black people to actually earn a wage for working. They were hauling these huge logs around and worked so hard for little pay”.
Another memorable moment from Dan was that he described Steve Tyler of Aerosmith as “a big lipped stealing M****r F****r” in reference to him stealing a riff from a black blues player. It was all in good fun and put a smile on the crowd’s faces.
Danny found some old rehearsal tapes of Tyketto playing songs on an acoustic, which helped him work out how to play some of the songs acoustically live. You can understand the logistics of an acoustic set (no band to fly over) but having seen him playing a range of music at two UK shows recently it’s obvious he needs a kick ass band behind him. Ok we know “Forever Young” is the Tyketto song that really started it all off for DV and Tyketto but when the guys from Pride (on Saturday’s bill) plugged in and cranked out the classic it lifted the roof off. Danny was a different person and all his stage presence shone out like a lighthouse beacon.
This was more like it and hopefully come the winter Danny Vaughn will be back out on the road with a band to kick ass with. Don’t be surprised if there isn’t a new album to go with it so watch this space because “It Sure Beats Working’ For A Livin”!
Vinnie Burns and Sam Blue unite again for a 2nd album “What If” but this time it’s not a stop gap for Vinnie whilst Gary Hughes writes the next Ten album. Burns has left and has formed Burns/Blue.
There opening song “Cool It Down” from there new album was a good opener and a great distraction from vocalist Sam Blue’s awful Hawaii five 0 shirt. Very British rock and a Thunder style chorus if I ever heard one. The track “Straight” also has the Danny Bowes (Thunder) trademark and was one of the last songs they performed from the new album. They finished off with “Superstar” from their debut album “The Journey”.
There’s was plenty to talk about in between like “Don’t Wanna Know”, a very simple commercial ploddy type tune - no saxophone solo as on the album but still came across well. “Deadly Sin” is a very up beat Cheap Trick style sing along that could put a smile on rocks depressed face.
If anything, the songs from their new album came across better live. “She Wrote” has a Phil Mogg UFO hallmark especially during the verses and Sam’s vocals are much stronger live. Vinnie’s playing is very tight as you would expect from a muso who has done more Gods gigs than I’ve had hot dinners. (Didn’t get many today for sure) Ever since Vinnie Burns hit the spotlight with Dare around 1988 he has applied himself to his trade with a smile, He’s respected all over the world and now he carries the heavy load of a solo venture. On this Performance Burns/Blue have the vehicle to drive forward to the next stage and we hope our paths cross many times during the “Journey”.
One thing that was really amusing at the Gods was diving in and out of the photographer’s pit, I ran into Fireworks editor Bruce Mee on many occasions as we all ducked and dived around trying to get some cool pics. Well Bruce kindly let the Bailey’s have a few great shots and none better than the one of Ken with his young children (left). I saw these kids walking around and thought they were really cool but it was a surprise to see them introduce dad on stage. A nice touch from Ken and a great way of relaxing the crowd as he then went on to perform what was a very entertaining set. Tamplin sure can “Wake The Nations”!
It was nice to grab the second pint of Guinness of the day and just let Tamplin do his thing. When you have guest on your album such as Reb Beach, Ritchie Kotzen, Marty Friedman etc you don’t need us to tell you how good he is. It was becoming very clear from early on in the set that a lot of fans had turned out to see Tamplin. It would have been strange seeing Ken front Foreigner but he did audition, running through songs such as “Hot Blooded”, “Waiting For A Girl Like You”& “I Want To Know What Love Is”. Now what would you give to hear that rehearsal tape? Whilst at the bar I ran into Tony Mitchell (Contagious) who had managed to drink 5 bottles of Smirnoff to get his free laser torch. He continued to entertain us all shining it on women’s bottoms (He’s not grown up yet but he’s so funny). During the few seconds he was serious we got to know that he had split with Contagious who were a half decent band signed to Z Records. He’s got his fingers in quite a few pies (including mine) so we will keep you informed when he adds the mushy peas!
I was already a bit brain dead after dashing in and out of the Photo pit and then getting a feel of what this day was all about. I decided to chill out for a while and enjoy Tamplin and another really cool band Royal Hunt who were promoting their new album Eye Witness. I caught up with a few friends in the business and talked to some of our fans who had bought our album. It was good to get some feed back and we will let you know in due course when the new material is ready. Until then keep in touch through our web site www.baileybrothers.co.uk and keep the faith.
We’ve been fortunate to witness some of Britain’s finest rock vocalists in a week full of brilliant live entertainment. Danny Bowes of Thunder, David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Bob Catley (Magnum). Bob is as much a star off stage as on it. He always makes time to meet his fans and friends and is one of the most respected rock gents in the business. The one thing that is surprising is he never writes his own songs. I had to ask him why not? “I just can’t do it, I like to think I have put my own mark on the songs and have been fortunate to have great songwriters to work with such as Tony Clarkin (Magnum), Gary Hughes (Ten) and now Paul Hodson (Hodson) ”.
If you have seen Magnum or Bob Catley live then you know what to expect. We go way back to the days when Noah was building the ark (well it seems a long time). One thing for sure is he never seems to drop a note live, his consistency is pretty remarkable and his range is as good as ever. However he is always at the mercy of the songwriter and is only as good as the song. Magnum has stood the test of time but a few critics had said that his solo albums were sounded like “a Ten album with Bob singing on it”. A bit harsh on Gary Hughes who helped give Bob the material and confidence to go out solo. “When Empires Burn” is the new BC solo album and is well worth adding to your collection. Bob described it as a “Heavy Metal album but something still commercial you can dance along to.”
I wouldn’t call it HM but definitely rock with a harder edge and the right album at the right time for Bob Catley. A train journey could have put his solo career back on the right track as he listened to song ideas from his keyboard player Paul Hodson “I was blown away and wanted to try them out”. Paul wanted to try and take Bob somewhere he hadn’t been before (What, like to buy a pint at the bar?).
The up shot of this collaboration is a well-balanced album, a very credible debut as writer and producer for Hodson but a very exciting vocal performance from Catley. BC now sees this as his own band and something he wants to continue with along side Magnum.
There’s a large crowd gathered here tonight so has he got pre performance nerves?
“No I don’t get nervous before I go on, not anymore, a little apprehensive that the stage sound is going to be ok. I know it will sound ok out front but you don’t like to be giving out instructions to the engineer, a bit more of this, less of that, bring this up (brings back memories) when you are trying to perform. I don’t drink much these days. I can’t do it any more anyway. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing to ten, or ten thousand I always put a 100% effort into it and hope the fans like what I do. I must go and piss with the fish.” (Making reference to the fishpond in the gent’s toilets - see photo)
Feeling very confident in the new material Bob Catley opens his set with “Children of the Circle” a song you could imagine Dio performing or even early Queensryche in the verse section. According to Hodson “It’s about archaeologists who wanted to dig up a wooden henge”. It’s got the drive and passion to grab the attention of a crowd who may be just a little surprised in the heavy direction. Follow that up with “This Is the Day” and you can forget “Rocking Chair”, Bob ain’t ready for the pipe and slippers yet. A very heavy guitar rhythm sets the tone and although Hodson is the songwriter, giving Vince O’Regan a free hand as guitarist was a great production move. He’s added the edge and brought Catley up to date. Any one who doesn’t agree may have their ship invaded by O’Regans Captain Pugwash pirates (see live photo). Trying to please all is always going to be tough and although the set was a skip through his career, songs from Middle Earth and Towers seemed a little tame after the freshness of the new openers, especially after following the title track “When Empires Burn”. It was the Magnum classics towards the end of the set that brought the best response. Danny Vaughn made sure he wasn’t going to be forgotten today by joining Bob on stage.
They missed out one of our favourite songs on the album “Prophecy”, but you don’t need a crystal ball to tell us that there will be a follow up album and tour. Hodson and Catley will work together again and it should be worth the wait. In the mean time there will be a new Magnum album and tour so Bob Catley is going to be a very busy Storyteller for some time to come!
So often it’s always about the artists and occasionally some of the guys in the background get a mention. STS Touring make sure the production and sound for the bands and fans is up to scratch and with so many artists on the bill at the two day event that’s quite a task. The main performers of the day were the audience. Speaking from experience there’s nothing better than receiving a warm welcome and the odd ripple of applause during your set. The Gods audience is very fair and gives every performer a fair chance and a polite response. We captured some of them in all their glory and sweat so here’s your 15 seconds of fame guys!
It’s well on its way to 1am and a ridiculous time to have to headline a festival. Those little invisible Zzzs men are clinging onto my eye lids in numbers and the hunger gremlins are shouting “So when do we have the curry?” Those beer monsters are saying “One more for the road what you got to lose?” well my drivers license for a start so water it is. Although Jeff Scott Soto was the talking point of last years Gods I only caught a glimpse of his show then. I was more concerned with the state of some of Baileys Comet band members and the loss of my mobile phone!
Down in the photo pit tonight from the minute Talisman hit the stage and it was as if the fore play was over and the lovemaking had begun. If there’s a better front man in rock I’d like to see him. More importantly play along side him. It’s not just about Soto but who else apart from maybe Dan Reed or Gary Charone could even attempt a track like “Break Your Chains”? It’s a sort of rap style but then a great big melodic hook takes it in another direction. Sod the Pit - I got loads of pic’s! I’m off in the crowd amongst the sweat. Soto is never still. He’s got the rhythm of a black man as his body locks into the groove. Nothing personal of course but some of my white mates dance as though they have just shit their pants and are shaking Richard the turd from each trouser leg. I’m not sure what JSS educational background is but he must have an honorary degree in stage presence.
I have to eat some Humble pie, as I was never that impressed with JSS live during his Malmsteen era (not that you could hear yourself sing with a thousand arpeggio’s ringing in your ears). I didn’t appreciate back then his talent as a singer/songwriter and especially as a performer. His vocals are soulful, powerful and delivered with style and a very impressive range to match. ”Mysterious” is another corker from the Genesis album or of you like it live then it’s on the “Live Out Of 5 Live In Japan” (try saying that when you’re pissed!). It’s another quality tune as he removes what looked like a hair-streaking cap to unveil those curly locks. “Colour My Eye”, “Over The Top” and “Skin On Skin”, a song from the new album “Cats & Dogs”, it don’t get much better than this. By now those Zzzs men are a thing of the past. Nothing like a dose of Talisman to wake you up. Another pure moment of orgasmic proportions was the performance of the song made famous by black artist Seal called “Crazy”. This was a crowd teaser pleaser. Like flies around shit the girls in the audience followed JSS arse and every move. If anything it’s a better version, Soto on the monitor speakers in total command, pulling the strings like a puppeteer and the audience dance to his tune. The rhythm section of Talisman is pretty stunning. It’s not your traditional bob standard rock. It takes a different understanding and chemistry to create live what’s basically a dance floor hit. Marcel Jacob’s bass playing is one of the key elements as it was through out the set. You need the sucker holding down but driving at the same time (the song not the musician) In comparison this is better than Seal’s original although I never saw him perform it live.
I was stood next to a guy who had only just come into the gig and paid all that money just to see JSS and Talisman, that gives you an idea of the impression he made here last year. A funny moment was when Soto lets a member of the audience have his microphone and then wanted the guy to chuck it across stage back to him. In fairness to the fan Soto was a distance off but after losing his rag and shouting, “throw it” the mic came flying across stage and Soto caught it with ease as if he had just been passed a baton. He muttered something to the guy as much as to say “What planet are you on”? and continued the song. His little party piece didn’t go to plan but nothing today is going to piss on his barbecue.
Just when you thought it was time for a toilet break Talisman had another surprise song up their sleeve.”I Don’t Know”, the Ozzy Osbourne classic delivered in Talisman style. The crowd sung the chorus as if Ozzy was up there on stage himself. There was another highlight during a song very reminiscent of “Living On A Prayer” from Bon Jovi (think it was “I’ll Be Waiting” but don’t quote me on it). The band actually broke into that song and the crowd was left to sing the chorus, The lights shone on a very vocal audience but it was Talisman and especially Soto who lit up the night with an electrifying performance.
If you ever get the chance to see Talisman live then don’t hesitate to grab a ticket. I said earlier that we had witnessed some of the best British vocalists this week. Well what a way to round it off - with one of the worlds finest. I got to eat the Humble pie and Soto is definitely the icing on top.
Leaving the venue and turning down the after show party due to the return of the Zzzzzzs men, I drive at Ahhhhh miles an hour on my way back down the M1 motorway. The light drizzle isn’t going to dampen this day. With Talisman still ringing in my ears I honestly hope it’s gonna be raining “Cats & Dogs”.
2003 - “You Should Have Been There”!