The Main Stage opens with performances from RavenEye, Bernie Tormé, Rock Goddess, Bernie Marsden and Monster Truck.
Following their triumphant slot at Winter’s End in February, Milton Keynes trio RavenEye truly got the party started with a typically rip-roaring, energetic set.
From the moment they blitz into aptly titled opener ‘Get It Started’, musically the trio were a highly-honed, rock n’ roll beast with their colossal riffs, screams from singer Oli Brown (“I can scream all I want, I’ve got ages to recover”), sublime bass skills from Aaron Spiers and pounding drums from Adam Breeze who is a blur of hair for most of the performance.
Highlights are aplenty; from their searing rendition of recent single ‘Come To Me’ (dedicated to the “best f***ing radio station out there”, yours truly) to the “hey, hey yeah!” crowd singalongs to Oli shoulder riding on Aaron through the crowd before pounding out some riffs amongst the Planet Rockstock faithful. Magnificent.
Bernie Tormé © Darren Griffiths
Despite having driven 332 miles throughout the day from South Shields, sexagenarian Gillan and Ozzy Osbourne guitar virtuoso Bernie Tormé was on fine form kicking off with a rousing performance of 1983 tune ‘Wild West’.
Taking things up to the present with the recently released ‘Dublin Cowboy’, Bernie delivers a solid and accomplished set that showcases his musical prowess. Delving into a scuzzy, slower direction towards the culmination, Bernie somehow balances his guitar on his fingertips and holds it aloft – “I haven’t dropped the guitar… yet”, Bernie tells us.
Rock Goddess © Saskia Dugan
A joyous celebration of unadulterated and pure heavy metal music throughout, Wandsworth’s prodigal daughters Rock Goddess performed a driving and fiery set that rolled back to their eighties glory days.
Lapped up by the crowd, Jody, Tracey and Julie’s blistering performance culminated with a storming rendition of 1982 single ‘Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll’ that was met with a mass singalong and ‘We’re All Metal’ from their 2017 EP ‘It’s More Than Rock and Roll’ with its refrain “We’re the heavy metal team, we’re all metal yes we are” echoing around the room.
Bernie Marsden © Saskia Dugon
Drawing a huge crowd, Bernie Marsden was met with football terrace-esque chants of “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” as he took to the stage. Brushing off a technical hitch with an amp (“I’m going down to Marshall on Monday morning to give them some stick”, Bernie joked), Bernie and his tight-knit band featuring fellow Whitesnake legend Neil Murray were imperious throughout.
The set effortlessly melded blues classics like Albert King’s ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’, with Bernie’s solo material from over the decades including the funk-tastic instrumental ‘Strictly Latino’ with, of course, early Whitesnake classics like ‘Fool for Your Loving’ and the ultimate mash-up of ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Is This Love’. Sublime stuff.
Monster Truck © Saskia Dugon
One of the most anticipated acts of the entire weekend, headliners Monster Truck delivered a rock n’ roll masterclass. With singer/bassist Jon Harvey straddling a toolbox with the words “Don’t F*** With The Truck’ emblazoned across it and shirtless guitarist Jeremy Widerman shredding while prowling the stage, they’re a captivating live spectacle.
Inspiring plenty of “woooah-oh-oh!” singalongs, the Canadian quartet dispatched a series of gems from their distinguished back catalogue including ‘Why Are You Not Rocking?’, ‘The Enforcer’ and an epic ‘Things Get Better’.
Hinting at great things to come from album number three, they also played several previously unheard new songs including powerful blues-rock stomper ‘True Rocker’. “We had a f***king awesome time,” Jon says after emphatic set-closer ‘Don't Tell Me How to Live’. “We’ll see you in 2018. Be safe.” Next year can’t come soon enough.