Les-Fest, Valley International Park, Crossford
Sunday 30th June
Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid and Dutch Michaels
After appearing at the inaugural Les-Fest last year, this Scottish quartet have been busy making quite a name for themselves all over the UK and Europe, so it was no surprise that a warm welcome was in store for them at this year's Les-Fest.
There was standing room only in the arena as the band burst on with 'Shout', and the party down the front was already in full swing before the band got half way through the song. Somehow the les-Fest stage seemed too small for a band that is so full of energy.
'She's Got' has lead guitarist Luke Gunn showing his skills whilst vocalist brother Paul Gunn doesn't need to work up the crowd as the lap up the attention from him, as they reached across the barrier in an abortive attempt to press the flesh with their idols.
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Bass player Nathan Gunn (the third brother) gave a solid performance during 'One Love' whilst Luke pulls another astounding solo out of the bag before Paul gets the audience bouncing once again before he leading the audience into a community sing along - fantastic stuff!
With their set coming up to half way, it's party central right from here on, right through to the end of the last note of their set. Drummer Leo McPherson is a mass of hair at the back as he earnestly bashes out a solid drum track on 'Do It 'Till We Drop' - a song that the fans know only too well and are more than happy to sing and shout along with Paul.
Paul is the consummate professional front man as he shouts "Scream for me Les-Fest" (probably for the first time ever!) and the packed crowd replied with a collective scream of joy - this band could do no wrong during their performance and surely must go down as one of the highlights of this year's festival, as the squeezed out every inch of energy from band and audience during their set.
All too soon, they reach the end of their time slot, and 'Party' which has the crowd partying one last time. Estrella came to Les-Fest where they played, they rocked and they enlarged their fan base further. This was a job well done and these boys deserve everything they are undoubtedly going to achieve in the future.
I caught up with Luke Gunn and Leo McPherson after their triumphant Les-Fest set, to ask what they have planned for the rest of 2013:
"We plan going to England for a support tour", explains Luke, "before coming back to Scotland for a wee headline tour in August, but the main focus in planning another trip to Europe (they supported Robin Beck for seven dates in Germany and Switzerland in October 2012) in November/December hopefully", adds Luke, "but with the tour, what we're trying to do is to get support slots with bigger bands. We have a few lined up already with SkyFest in Mansfield and Attica Rage in Glasgow, both in September", he adds.
Bringing the conversation to Les-Fest itself, I'm interested to find out how the band was asked to play the inaugural one in 2012: "It was actually Ted Rock, a well know Rock DJ", confirms Luke, "who told us that this guy Dave (Ritchie - Les-Fest organiser) was putting this festival together, so a couple of days later I gave Dave a phone call and he explained what he was putting together. He checked us out online and then got back in touch and said he would like to add us onto the bill. From there, the rest is history", he adds with a smile before adding "y'know, he liked what he saw, and so he asked us back again this year, which was nice for us".
I was lucky enough to be at the inaugural Les-Fest where I saw the band live for the first time, and I mention to Luke what an incredible reception they got last year, but how did it compare to the reaction from this years audience? "When we played last year", Luke explains, "our album had only just been released and our tour set was still kind of fresh, we were still trying out ideas. Our tour show now", adds Leo "is stuff that we've worked up over time, so we're more polished. We're getting more audience interaction now", continues Luke, "so that's good!"
Moving onto other future plans, Luke confirms that the band have already laid down some plans to return to the recording studio to record the follow up to 'Come Out To Play'. "We're hoping to try some new material out", says Leo with a smile before adding "maybe a couple of tracks or a single" before Luke says they hope to "get some tracks put together in the last quarter of the year (for a projected EP to be released early in 2014) and we're in the planning stages of getting to the United States in the springtime next year, so that should be a good one".
"With America, y'see" explains Luke, "it's all about finding the right agent to get some good support slots or tours by knocking on a few doors and making a few contacts."
Bringing the chat to a close, I ask the band if they'd be up for playing Les-Fest 2014 if asked "Yeah" they both reply with obvious delight. I mention that the band got good reviews at Hard Rock Hell, so I ask if the Download festival (held annually at Donington Park) is on their agenda: "We do things the old school way by getting out there and playing anywhere and everywhere" says Luke, "so fingers crossed. With that I wrap up the chat and let them get sorted out to meet their eager fans. Estrella is a name that we'll all be hearing about in the future, and I can only wish them the very best of luck.
Luke Gunn plugs one of the festival sponsors...
You can see Estrella live here:
Friday 12th July - B@r, Montrose (with GutterGodz)
Saturday 13th July - Harley Davidson In The City, Brechin
Saturday 21st September - SkyFest 2013 Mansfield
Saturday 28th September - Classic Grand, Glasgow (with Attica Rage)
Saturday 5th October - The Brickyard, Carlisle (with Falling Red)
She's Got It
Do It 'Till We Drop
Come Out To Play
Whatever Is It
Paul Gunn – Vocals
Luke Gunn – Guitar
Nathan Gunn – Bass Guitar
Leo McPherson – Drums
Official Website: estrellarocks.com/