Firefest 23/10/11 @ Nottingham Rock City
Firefest began back in 2005, astonishing AOR fans with the exclusive UK appearances of the likes of Firehouse, TNT and Casanova. Over the years it has developed and grown so much that the festival, taking place at Nottingham's Rock City has grown into a two-day event with a Friday night opener consisting of a collection of bands, this year including Houston and Serpentine.
While I didn't get to see the Friday pre-party or day 1 (Saturday) of Firefest, I was lucky enough to enjoy Sunday's line up. Including, singer-songwriter Mitch Malloy, Swedish band Alien and headline Unruly Child, it promised to be an interesting day. After missing the opening band, Newman the festival for me started with White Widdow. They are the first Australian band to ever grace the Firefest stage and with Lizzy DeVine look-alike, they ploughed through a selection of tracks from their s/t album; nothing astonishing but enjoyable melodic rock performed with confidence, competence and just enough arrogant swagger. Want a song to check out? Broken Hearts Won't Last Forever.
Next up were Alien. For them, it was a reunion of the original line up, formed back in the 80s. They played the entirety of their debut album, released 1988, probably the strongest album if you're looking for something to test them out on. So it was a little cheesy given their age, but hey, it was catchy happy rock and it was great to see a band enjoy themselves so much. Third on was somebody I was definitely looking forward to; former Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts. It hurts to say I was bitterly disappointed. So he hasn't performed much live in the past few years, but that's still no excuse to look like you're reading lyrics off the stage and to have to nod to your band to tell them when to end the song. The two scantily-clad dancing girls didn't help to make the situation any less embarrassing either. On the up side, Kane still had much of his vocal range left and a great rapport with the crowd. An album to get you started? Saints & Sinners. After Kane Roberts promised to iron out all those “little” problems before he returns, Mitch Malloy was introduced. Hailing from Nashville, the AOR singer/songwriter was brought back due to the numerous requests and certainly did himself justice. The vocals were a little hard on the ears at times but Mitch's band were fantastic in their delivery and the man himself was definitely the most popular act of the night. Never heard him? Check out the song Anything At All or keep an eye out for his new album. I was pleasantly surprised by next band Coney Hatch. From Toronto originally, this was their first show in the UK and to say the band were more excited than the crowd is certainly pliable. They were a little heavier than the other bands and played a variety of songs from all three of their albums, a catchy selection with vocals shared between the bassist and rhythm guitarist. If you're into your melodic rock then definitely a band to look at.
Finally, we came to the headline act. It was bound to be interesting. Unruly Child were formed by Marcie Free (ex-King Kobra singer as Mark Free) and this was their first show outside America, as well as their only European show this year. Hey, you can't say Firefest don't get their fans a good deal! Contrary to the majority of the crowd it seemed, I felt let down. The band seemed less than professional and, perhaps like many who performed, were more interested in talking to each other on stage than in entertaining the fans. As for what I heard, well it was a bit of a mash. It could be down to production but the different layers of music just didn't seem to gel together. Feel free to check out their new album Worlds Collide or their 1992 debut.
Well, what can I say? Go next year! The crowd were great with lots of fans from around the world including Germany and Sweden. Rock City was a fantastic venue with plenty of time for opportunities to meet the bands and great viewing of the stage. Definitely a festival to keep an eye on.
Last Updated (Saturday, 05 November 2011 19:29)