Firefest - Friday
19 October 2012
Rock City, Nottingham
Due to celebrate its tenth anniversary next year, Firefest is a champion of melodic rock in the UK, drawing bands and fans from around the world to Nottingham for two and a half days. With the genre currently experience a renaissance, it's no surprise this event sold out in advance and a good portion of those ticket holders were in the venue when the curtain dropped and Lionville opened proceedings.
Representing the new breed of melodic rock, the mainly Italian band are led by guitarist and occasional vocalist Stefano Lionetti. Lionetti's masterstroke has been to bring in Work Of Art frontman Lars Säfsund on vocals. Säfsund, who never stopped smiling throughout the set, is an engaging frontman with a rich voice that perfectly complements Lionville's slick rock.
Unsurprisingly they draw the bulk of their set from their sole self-titled album with one new song, All We Need suggesting the follow up due next month will be more of the same.
With a fantastic sound mix, Lionville easily win over the Firefest crowd and the only disappointment was the brevity of their performance which finished five minutes under time.
Here By My Side / Power Of My Dreams / The World Without Your Love / All We Need / With You
Following Lionville's solid opening was a tough ask but musically Dante Fox are able to cope with that challenge. Again, the soundman had things balanced perfectly, with Sue Willets' voice soaring above the band's backing.
The Last Goodbye opened the set strongly as the band went on to visit each of their three released albums, together with a preview from their new album which the band were releasing today. Who Stole The Innocence from that CD had a verse reminiscent of Dio's Rainbow In The Dark and another Dio reference popped up later in the set with the Rainbow tinged Remember My Name.
Where Dante Fox fall a little short however is in engaging the crowd. Guitarist Tim Manford certainly pulled his weight, living out every note and throwing himself into the performance. Willetts however felt detached, barely making eye contact with the crowd and saying little between songs. Whilst the musical performance was unquestionable, there was a definite lull in crowd reaction.
Dante Fox setlist:
The Last Goodbye / Firing My Heart / Under The City Lights / Lost & Lonely Heart / I Can't Sleep / Who Stole The Innocence / Walking The Line / Remember My Name
The first surprise of Ten's set was when the curtain dropped and mainman Gary Hughes was revealed to have shaved off his familiar blonde locks. There's no Samson moment however, as Hughes' presence is towering. Tirelessly working the crowd by getting them to clap and sing along, the vocalist notched up the atmosphere in Rock City.
Ten were also releasing an album today and were keen to preview it with no less than three inclusions. The songs sat well amongst more familiar material and will no doubt become mainstays in the band's set. The Light's Go Down was catchy enough to have people singing along before the song ended, meanwhile Gunrunning bounced along with an infectious rhythm and hook laden chorus.
Hughes has surrounded himself with a strong line-up including the impressive skills of guitarist Dan Mitchell. Mitchell was absorbed in his playing barely looking up throughout the set, though his lack of stage movement was compensated by fellow guitarist John Halliwell, who with bassist Steve McKenna, roamed the stage.
Hughes was however the obvious focal point, swinging his microphone stand around like David Coverdale and singing with a clear relaxed tone. The band's set flies by and soon we are at the Celtic flavoured Red, with the crowd at the front bouncing along. The Name Of The Rose saw the band departed to much acclaim.
The Light's Go Down / Spellbound / Gunrunning / Ten Fathoms Deep / After The Love Has Gone / Unbelievable / Red / The Name of the Rose
"Still on your feet?", questioned Danny Vaughn as the curtain fell to reveal Tyketto. "Well let's get you singing". That was not going to be a challenge with this crowd who are clearly onside with Tyketto from opener Strength In Numbers. Indeed, Tyketto and Vaughn in particular have a long history with Firefest, with Vaughn speculating that he's probably appeared more often than anyone. The band also have history in this venue. Vaughn recounts an appearance here in 1991 when promoter Any Copping questioned why the band where opening for White Lion in a venue he told them one day they would pack out, as they had today.
Tyketto put a strong new album out this year and songs from it feature throughout the set. Vaughn picked up an acoustic guitar for the infectious Here's Hoping Hurts, about which Vaughn notes when the band returned it turned out they were "More pissed off than ever".
Of course anything from the band's debut Don't Come Easy garner the biggest responses. Burning Down Inside lifts the roof, whilst Standing Alone has the crowd singing along.
Whilst Vaughn worked the crowd, the rest of the band were visibly enjoying the performance. Guitarist Brooke St. James impressed and was given a brief solo spot before Meet Me In The Night.
This is clearly a special night for Vaughn and its confirmed when he tells us that two years ago he met his wife here. Things come to a peak with Wings which leads to the inevitable Forever Young with the crowd in full voice. Tyketto set the bar high for the next two days headliners and signed off Friday in style.
Strength In Numbers / Faithless / Burning Down Inside / Lay Your Body Down / Here's Hoping It Hurts / Catch My Fall / Sail Away / Standing Alone / Rescue Me / Meet My In The Night / The Fight Left In Me / Wings / Forever Young