Concert Reviews

Rockingham 2018 (second review) Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     November 19, 2018    
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Rockingham 2018 (second review) - Trent University, Nottingham (UK) - 19-21 October 2018


Openers Mason Hill had a great melodic but balls against the wall Metal sound. Despite their young appearance they are seasoned performers, with 'Where I Belong' proving an epic end featuring a forceful vocal delivery from singer Scott Taylor.

Rockingham 2018 Mason Hill by Dawn Osborne

Massive are a beer drinking Rock 'n' Roll band from Oz. Singer Brad Marr is a loveable scamp, an unlikely looking figure perhaps for a Rock band called Massive, reminding me a little of Jack Black; in his blind optimism and enthusiasm he was pushing everything to the full and undoubtedly has just the right personality for a front man. After a set of meat and potatoes Rock, they delivered a fairly decent cover of Deep Purple's 'Highway Star'.

Rockingham 2018 Massive by Dawn Osborne

Hamstrung a little by sound issues, Pink Cream 69 battled through regardless. Bassist Dennis Ward was not playing with the band tonight and I didn't know whether this was why they were undoubtedly less tight than when I had seen them on MORC, or the tech problems were to blame. New material from their excellent latest album 'Headstrong' such as the power ballad 'Man Of Sorrow' featured heavily, but there's no doubt that their most famous songs 'Shame' and 'Do You Like It?' got the best reception, being most easily distinguishable to the crowd under the circumstances.

Rockingham 2018 Pink Cream 69 by Dawn Osborne

Next up were Vixen and I was so pleased to see these lovely ladies play. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although many people were still complaining about nagging sound issues during their set for the next two days. It was surprising to hear Deep Purple's 'Perfect Strangers' and UFO's 'Doctor Doctor' at a festival where time is limited, but they had clearly put a lot of thought into changing it up having played Firefest in Nottingham a few years ago.

Rockingham 2018 Vixen by Dawn Osborne

As well as brilliant versions of 'Cryin'' which showed off Janet's fine voice and classics 'Love Is A Killer', 'Love Made Me' and 'Edge Of A Broken Heart' to close, we got deep cut 'Only A Heartbeat Away' and two tracks from the new live album 'Live Fire', 'You Oughta Know By Now' and 'Big Brother'. New guitarist Britt Lightning fits right in and they didn't forget to pay tribute to dearly departed Jan. They thoroughly deserved the headline slot and I'm only sorry we didn't see more ladies grace the festival with their presence and glamour across the three days.


Saturday's opener Departed were hard rockin', good quality Rock 'n' Roll with great vocals and guitar from the UK. Lyrics were not always deep, such as 'Come On, Come On' but they were enjoyable regardless.

Rockingham 2018 Departed by Dawn Osborne

Wildheart are not a band I'm familiar with and I thought they were decent enough, with singer Gabriel Lindmarkrevealing a powerful voice and lots of shredding, but those familiar with them from record seemed of the opinion that the singer was not on top form, not giving his best and seemly impatient with the sound problems. Due to the latter, I guess the jury has to be out as to how they would have performed in better circumstances.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Bigfoot have a new singer in Sean Seabrook, although it has to be said as another large hairy man he fitted seamlessly in. Slightly less "in your face" than Ant Ellis, there's no doubt that he is a good replacement.

Rockingham 2018 Bigfoot by Dawn Osborne

Next up were Ammunition, and ex-Wig Wam singer Age Sten Nilsen was not going to put up with not being able to hear himself for long, and after a false start stood his ground till his monitor issues were sorted out, apologizing to the crowd but explaining that it was like driving blind. Erik Martensson filled in with a little folk instrumental and a cover of 'All Right Now', making light of a tense moment and getting all the crowd to join in which was much better than leaving a pregnant silence. Once they got going they delivered a good set. Heavier than Eclipse, they have a huge sound with big catchy anthems that get the crowd singing, although I thought they might have omitted the second version of cover of 'All Right Now' given the earlier rendition!

Rockingham 2018 Ammunition by Dawn Osborne

Boulevard are really not heavy enough for my taste, although having apparently charted in Italy for seven months so many Italians probably cannot be wrong. There were a lot of high vocals, plenty of saxophone, great keyboards and songs that were easy on the ear. No one had expected an appearance of the Leeds Pop-Up Gospel choir for 'Confirmation' which added a bit of diversity to proceedings.

Rockingham 2018 Boulevard by Dawn Osborne

Tokyo Motor Fist are far more up my alley and certainly one of my favourite bands of the weekend. Ted Poley is a confident and charismatic front man who brings a ray of sunshine onto the stage and a touch of glamour with his silver starred clothes. Initially concentrating on the material from their excellent Melodic Rock album from last year, they also managed to include Danger Danger, Trixter, Ted Nugent and Rainbow songs, reflecting the rich heritage of the members' former bands They got the crowd singing and dancing and to me provided a much needed uplift to the whole day, lifting the mood and paving the way perfectly for Saturday headliner Nelson.

Rockingham 2018 Tokyo Motor Fist by Dawn Osborne

Nelson had everyone going with a little trick, initially sending only one twin Matthew out on stage to play 'Hello Hello' without Gunnar, who only bounced on after the first song in a response to Matthew's cue "Wait isn't there something missing?" Even now they are visually stunning and make no apologies for being their bouncy wholesome selves.

Rockingham 2018 Nelson by Dawn Osborne

They played all their big hits, including 'Can't Live Without Your Love And Affection' and 'After The Rain', but eschewed their latest album 'Peace' in favour of a couple of covers, 'Your Love' and 'You Really Got Me', apparently to accommodate a surprise appearance of Steve Brown from Trixter and TMF. In my view, austerity Britain needs bands like Nelson and so I was very pleased to hear that they intend to spend more time here and have plans for a new album with Frontiers. It was also very sweet to see their elderly parents watching from the wings.


Sunday openers Creye sported a different singer from their lauded Frontiers album, but new vocalist August Rauer did very well, even if he looked a little subdued. No doubt he will look more confident as a front man with time. It's great to see people so young performing Melodic Rock, given the demographic of most of the bill.

Rockingham 2018 Creye by Dawn Osborne

Age Of Reflection continued the feast of quality AOR in the vein of Eclipse at full throttle, although since they are a little bit older than Creye, it is not surprising that they looked more confident. They had that easy good looking Scandinavian charm and made it look easy.

Rockingham 2018 Age Of Reflection by Dawn Osborne

White Widdow from Australia cut a more striking image, with Jules Millis resembling Brent Muscat and wearing all white with a sunset strip Bandana. I never complain about a bit of glamour on stage and they bring flawless AOR too to provide a complete package. Covers are not usually popular at Rockingham, but their choice of Icon's 'Danger Calling' goes down well as being within genre but not a hackneyed choice.

Rockingham 2018 White Widdow by Dawn Osborne

Robbie LeBlanc, after appearing with the Blanc Faces last year, returned with a rare appearance from his Frontiers project Find Me, providing a heavier and more rocky outfit. Great vocals and blistering guitar keep fans of heavier music happy and their choice of cover, Survivor's 'Desperate Dreams', goes down well proving once again the Rockingham crowd are prepared to hear the occasional cover as long as it's not too obvious a choice.

Rockingham 2018 Find Me by Dawn Osborne

Glass Tiger were a tad too light for me, although Canadian Scotsman Alan Frew got a good reception for Scottish-influenced songs and for their poppy hits. Backing singer Carmela Long added a dash of feminine balance with her smiling, easy manner.

Rockingham 2018 Glass Tiger by Dawn Osborne

I was back in my comfort zone with Pretty Maids. Unfortunately their set was cut short when Warrant, afraid of a curfew, insisted PM end on time despite having started late. PM 'Came To Rock' and I for one appreciated them for just that. They managed to fit in about eight songs, including some old raucous eighties Metal like 'Red Hot And Heavy', excellent new track 'Kingmaker' and melodic ballad 'Little Drops Of Heaven' before the plug was pulled, and as energy was building in the set, especially as we'd had very little Metal so far that day, it was certainly a little unceremonious, abrupt and anti-climactic.

Rockingham 2018 Pretty Maids by Dawn Osborne

This left Warrant as final night headliners and they were doing very well with decent sound, classics like 'Heaven' and 'D.R.S.F.R' and excellent tracks from new album 'Louder Harder Faster', until singer Robert Mason entered into an ill-advised pissing contest trying to make the overrun issue personal with Pretty Maids, sending many audience members running to PM's defence. This definitely injected a sour note into proceedings and overshadowed what should have been a great gig. Matters recovered slightly as they launched into the iconic 'Cherry Pie', but there was no doubt after the gig the whole audience were talking about Warrant for the wrong reasons. One of those "I was there" moments to be sure.

Rockingham 2018 Warrant by Dawn Osborne

Great and not so great moments happened at this festival. Constructive criticism would include more focus on technical back end, more lovely ladies and for me less easy listening acts in favour of more harder Rock acts, however Rockingham are still bringing bands to the UK that otherwise wouldn't be here and deserve a medal for this alone.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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