First Published 5 April 2016. Handmade by rockers, this sold out festival has become the go to event for rockers everywhere. Thousands of us descended in sunny Great Yarmouth to attend Legends Of Rock, this long weekend of music, madness and mayhem with over fifty rock bands all ready to rock this seaside resort to its very core.
Words: Sara Harding – TV Producer – Classic Rock Awards, Metal Hammer Golden Gods, Kerrang! TV, Scuzz and Headbangers Ball
Legendary creators of this festival Eddie and Elaine Yates, fondly known as Mr and Mrs Bastard, came up trumps again with a mammoth line up of sheer quality original and covers bands rocking two venues until the wee hours of the morning over this four day fan fest.
And speaking of fans, just talk to anyone and you will soon realise that it really is the fans who make this event. The party atmosphere is through the roof fantastic – imagine having all your birthday, wedding, office and backstage parties at once and then add another party for good measure – this just about sums up what this festival is like.
As you walk through the venue everyone is in their best fancy dress – some of which is so inventive I’m sure Brian Cox will be there next year to cast an expert eye! Although I’ve now seen enough men in their teeny, tiny pants, mankinis and tutus to last me a lifetime – eye bleach is definitely required.
The four day rockstravanza kicked off on Thursday with serious tunes from Garry Rokjok Lewis and the shenanigans commenced as glam/hair metal night kicked off. Stretching their lycra to the limit were living leg-ends Doctor And The Medics who raised with roof with their visual and audio onslaught of psychedelic rock and by the time they played the anthemic ‘Spirits In The Sky’, everyone was on planet freakout. All helped by the lashings of beer and lady petrols.
On Thursday morning we were treated to the Quo tribute act hailed by legendary rock journo, Mick Wall, as the best Quo tribute act going. They donned their double denims and got us all dusting off our air guitars to anthem after anthem. Following our fave three chord rock was a Legends Of Rock favourite, Pat McManus and his power trio of blues and rock from the Emerald Isle who had us all forgetting it was lunchtime – no carbs just seriously quality rock music with that Irish Twist.
At tea time we were treated to one of the UK’s best singer/guitarists out there. Back from his huge success supporting Inglorious, Ali Clinton and his band were simply on fire blasting out the best of rock to the packed V Lounge.
Friday evening saw an onslaught of covers action like no other with epic sets from Nirvana UK, Kings Of Lyon, The Scopyons, Dust Bowl, Sack Sabbath, Springsteen, Jef Leppard, Motorkill and Gallus Cooper. I felt like I’d been there, and bought the tribute T shirt. Friday night was topped off with a unique originals band, Walkway, who are tipped as the best rock breakthrough band in the UK. Having supported Black Stone Cherry and The Darkness, Walkway have been snapped up by Status Quo in 2016 so us Legends Of Rockers can always proudly say we saw them first at Yarmaggedon.
Saturday morning, and after a serious plate of slide in the resort brekker bar, our bellies were firmly full and ready for day three and what a day it was. Famously known as fancy dress day, every fan there went over and above the fancy dress code. Mexican wrestlers the Fat Bastardos, Lemmy and Blondie, Vikings of gargantuan size, Eddie and Elaine as our resident rocking widow twankees, an Elvis you’ve never seen the like of before, The Simpsons in more yellowy orange make up than the whole cast of Towie, the fabulous Freddie Mercury compete with his pink hoover and our favourites, Helen and Gerrie dressed as Austin Powers’ Mini Me’s who were so funny I literally had to go and stock up on some Tena lady!
Fresh from their sell out gig at the Half Moon, Cats In Space beamed down for a far out performance of 70s influenced psychedelic rock. Singer Paul Manzi had the crowd in the palm of his hand with a mindblowing set of original new tunes. This band will be headlining a venue near you soon so go check them out.
It was then time to head into the packed V Lounge for one of the best covers bands in the UK, Metal Fatigue. Their set list took us to every rock genre there is but it had to be the crowd rousing cover of the Toy Dolls punk classic ‘Nelly The Elephant’ that had everyone from the front to the very back shouting and stomping along at the tops of their voices.
Vocal chords warmed up it was time to head back into the V arena for German shock rockers Rammlied. As someone who has worked with the real Rammstein, this band are epic. They not only looked like the real deal with their make-up, costume props and Germaness but shut your eyes and they are the exact sound-alikes. Their cover of ‘Du Hast’ had every man in his guyliner chanting along.
We were then treated to some more fine covers from the best bands in the covers biz – Rainbow In Rock, Hell Bent For Priest, Saxonised, Live Wire, Lets Zep and of course the band that simply take us back to the best there ever was, The Doors Alive. Singer Willie’s voice and the killer keyboards of this band regressed us back to the greatest hits of one of the greatest bands of our generation. The production was epic (big shout out to the production team and Paul Collyer for their epic work on sound, light and staging). But for me and the gaggle of girls down the front, Willie’s leather trousers were a must see. Sad to know that Willie is leaving and this was one of the last performances we’ll ever witness so I feel honoured that we were all at Legends to be part of this mighty performance.
More originals came courtesy of Sacrilege with founder member Bill Beadle on lead vocals and guitar duty. Their huge fan base were up there and chanting along to this 80s heavy rock act who once headlined the Marquee Club.
Finishing off the original shenanigans were my old mucker Nigel Mogg’s band, The Peckham Cowboys. Their pedigree is like no other – their rocking CVs reads like a who’s who – from The Quireboyz, Slash, DNA Dolls, Primal Scream, Cherry Bombz, Cheap And Nasty. Their sleazy sounds of rock and blues had the whole place banging.
Then just as you thought your liver and ears couldn’t take another bashing it was time to turn it up to eleven with the best darn superjam on the planet with Voodoo Six and Metalworks guitar great Matt Pearce leading the main event.
Sunday and it was time for metal breakfasses with my matey’s from Momento. This band is one of the best in the West, with a huge fan base and even bigger set list of classic rock tunes. Guitarist Gus and the man with the biggest pipes in the biz, Tomas, had us shaking our bacon with classics from Faith No More and all our favourite bands.
Paracetamol necked it was time to truly blast away the hangover with the mighty Hi On Maiden. Officially approved by the real Iron Maiden, this tribute to the Troopers was frikking amazing. Sporting Raven Age t-shirts, this band are as authentic as they get. Every fan in the packed V arena was at the front proudly wearing their Iron Maiden t-shirts and fist pumping along to anthem after anthem. We were treated to not one, not two, but three Eddie visits which had the crowd screaming for Great Yarmouth!
There were a couple of killer covers acts to follow courtesy of Fragile, Bravado, Thin Lizzy Experience, Not The Rolling Stones and Too Petty who were simply sublime. It seemed like the whole of Great Yarmouth had popped into the V lounge to sing along to ‘Free Falling’.
And then the Screaming Eagles happened!
This northern Irish rock quartet strutted on stage and literally blew up the venue with a blistering set of serious attitude rock! And we were all there to witness the coming of age of this phenomenal new rock act. Massive kudos to Eddie, Elaine and the Legends Of Rock team for picking and supporting a new band like the Screaming Eagles and bringing them to this Great Yarmouth stage.
Their set of originals was the best set this side of Hades; they were hotter than hell and before the first song was over everyone was on that dancefloor and rocking along. You know you’ve seen a great band when everyone asks what the hell happened there?
Watch this space for the Screaming Eagles – sign up to their social media and support this band as soon they’ll be headlining stadiums and we can proudly say we were there at the beginning.
Bringing in the rest of amazing covers were Bon Giovi, Who’s Next and the Bohemians.
Normally Sundays are the time people are going home, starting packing and moaning about work but not this Sunday and not in Great Yarmouth as we all stayed for the ultimate finale culminating in Buster James and then of course the CRT Mega Jam with Howie G, Ali Clinton and the best jammers Legends has in their amazing line-up.
My liver is now the size of Australia and my insides must look like a mixed grill. But it was worth it.
The next Shebang is in sunny Spain in June and I already have my passport to rock. So we urge you – get your tickets and join us for sea, sangria, Spanish sun, siestas and super sonic sounds in Barcelona.