Review by Alec King and photo’s by Kal Ahmed, KKLive Photography
What a scorcher!!! And not just the weather…
Trying to better last year, I thought it would be almost impossible. Skids, Wolfsbane, Bonnet, Quireboys and more. Gonna take some beating, and then I saw this year line up. Hmmmm… who?
Having only seen the Amorettes in Wolverhampton previously, not heard of some, were we in for a trick or treat?
So where to start? I know, last year. No such vehicular issues this time, but we can’t control the traffic, unfortunately. But hey ho… that’s life in England.
Bigger stage, new layout, new entrance points… confusing? Na, not really. The stage was awesome, and the lighting was amazing giving the chance for the photographers to get some great images. A few sound issues, but what festival doesn’t have those?
Other changes from last year… the pit, much better-controlled thanks to our Tony and security.
Backstage was brilliantly controlled, and the organisers certainly learned and improved from the sometimes-messy affair that happened towards the end of last year’s event. It basically meant the bands had the time to rest and recover without being constantly approached by fans. However, the fans were able to meet the bands because a signing tent had been set up. There were selfies galore, the fans loved it, and the queues ran half-way ‘round the field.
By all accounts, the camping was great, yet again, but there were some issues with the toilet arrangements, which already has been explained and addressed. Don’t ya just love the integrity and honesty of the organisers!?
One of the things that were really pleasing to see was the number of families here, the kids especially. The two little ones who’s mum had made them “Sweet Child o’ Mine” T-shirts were beyond cute. These kids are the next generation of Rock fans, possibly the ones who will be playing at these festivals someday.
Chris and the (formerly Stonedeaf, now Stonedead) team have really taken the ideas put forward from last year. This is something I love… listening to what the fans want. Even the comments from this year have been listened to & I dare say that many are being planned and will be implemented next year.
Free water, tents to rest in… away from the heat. The same areas would have been there if it was typical British weather, you know the one – rain. Yet again, fans paid reasonable prices for food and drink, not bleeding the fans dry.
Security, medics, even cleaners picking up rubbish, which encourages everyone to actually clean up after themselves and use the ample number of bins across the site. Some other festivals should really take a look at what’s happening here.
WDFD Records, home to Hell’s Addiction, Theia and many more, was giving away FREE compilation CDs in a bid to give up and coming bands some extra publicity. Lovely touch and wish you all the best.
The reason we all came is the music. SAMARKIND won the 2019 Opening Poll, a great achievement considering the standards of entrants. Having already been played on Planet Rock, they brought their own style of what one would call “Rock blues” Certainly one to watch for the future.
Australian rockers MASSIVE graced us with their presence. When I say graced, I mean, slapped us in the face a few times with their own brand of Aussie power and fun, went down a storm and have made a lot of new fans. Who would have thought that Brad Marr was in the crowd with us last year and blowing us away this year? Can’t keep him away. And on that note, keep an eye out as they’re back in the UK next year.
The AMORETTES, having already toured in France, Holland, Spain & Belgium this year, brought us their hard-hitting full-on riffs and amazing vocals. These ladies rock. A recent line-up change just proved how they can adapt to their ultimate goal of taking over the world one show at a time.
“Stonedeaf you were awesome!! Thank you for having us! What a cracking day! Huge thanks to Chris Sumby and the entire Stonedeaf team. One of the friendliest and well-run festivals we have ever played! And only 2 years old! We had a blast”
Seriously… no, thank you for coming.
DIAMOND HEAD. These guys were so good the RAF decided to not pay for a ticket but watch from the doors of a Douglas Dakota as we were treated to a double flyover.
Formed in 1976 just down the road from me in Stourbridge. With Brian Tatler, the original member from the Donnington ‘83 appearance, which Diamond Head graced the stage with the likes of Dio & Whitesnake. The many line-up changes through the years would have seen many bands disappear, but not these guys. They regenerate, morphing into the heads of the next generation of rock fans. Rasmus holds the stage, firing his voice like arrows into the crowd, each one collecting a new fan along the way creating many a “Happy Face”.
Geoff Tate, how to present this guy? For 31 years the voice of Queensryche, still has that voice of metal. Absolutely loved him… stage presence, voice, music, definitely ‘Operation Mindcrime’. Blasting out his setlist of Queensryche covers for us all to wallow in, he makes everything look so easy.
Former Saxon producer Tony Jepson brought his WAYWARD SONS to town. What a performance… high energy rock, reminiscent of the 70s & 80s rock scene but brought up to date with a style that defines their vast experience. A crowd-pleaser from start to finish. Anyone who hasn’t seen these guys had better do soon, and hopefully reading the notes from the programme “…is in awe of what SD has achieved and would be proud to come back and headline one day” Dear Toby & WS, I’m pretty sure the SD family would welcome you back with open arms. You made a lot of new fans here today.
When Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons were interviewed for the SD program, he stated “we heard great things about Stonedeaf last year and were honoured when we got invited to play this year” Great words from the former Motorhead Guitarist. His Bastard Sons, which I’m sure they’re not really, gave us one hell of a show. Proper metal. Fronted by Neil Starr, for some reason, there is a feel of the old Motorhead… deep bass, powerful vocals, and catchy enough to let your hair down to. During a walk across the field with Phil, we asked if there would ever be another Motorhead tour, the answer was simple “No chance, no Lemmy no Motorhead”. As long as Phil and his sons keep on entertaining us, I’m pretty sure there will always be a bit of Lemmy with them.
Oh, and don’t try to shake his hand, you might get refused. But the reasons behind it make sense. Maybe one day you could ask him too.
INGLORIOUS got mixed reviews. Probably one of those bands that are like marmite. Personally, I hate marmite but loved these guys. Nathan’s vocal range is something special… reminded me of early Coverdale. Also, the variants in lyrics, tones, and sounds were somewhat odd, but still it all worked when it came together. Seems to be many personal vibes behind the songs, even to include an Alanis Morrisette cover thrown in. Dare I say again, marmite.
On a more definite like was Danny Cruz. At the ripe old age of just 20, has the looks of a 1980’s glam rock star with guitar playing as though he’s been around forever. How can one guy be so good yet still has so much to learn and so many more years entertaining us? Well done young man, you deserve the plaudits.
How long did we have to wait for Glenn Hughes? Some technical issues caused quite a long delay, to the point where the guys & girls around me were looking at each other, questioning “what’s going on?” we didn’t know.
Some half-hour later Glenn came on, he loved us all, lots of times. Stories of himself, how he’s come back and had no intention of going away. Seemed a little self-indulged to me. Don’t shoot me… it’s just an opinion. But I’m not the only one that thought that.
He opened up with ‘Stormbringer’. When he hit them high notes, they actually hurt. Maybe it was me, but something just didn’t seem right… maybe sound issues still.
Glenn played his Deep Purple classics like ‘Sail Away’, ‘Smoke on the Water’ and finishing with ‘Highway Star’, are always going to be crowd-pleasers 30 years on. They have more than stood the test of time. Glenn himself has had some personal problems over the years, but so impressive to this day. How he can still hold his own on stage, blast out that voice that many of us would kill to have a fraction of?
Overall Stonedeaf nailed it again, I think all the fans would like to say a massive thank you for giving us another epic show.
In their words “We don’t want to be the biggest, we want to be the best”
STONEDEAF will be back next year as STONEDEAD
Whatever the line-up, one thing for sure, we trust Chris, Neil and the team to bring us
ONE DAY, ONE STAGE, ONE MONSTER ROCK SHOW
Thank you for reading, and last but never least, we’re going to end this recap with the fans of Stonedeaf 2019…