Maid Of Stone – Saturday. Today saw the arrival of festival and fan favourites Bad Touch, and thankfully the rain began to ease off as they hit the stage and the conquest of the festival by the acts on the Phoenix stage continued.
Bad Touch are a band that continues to grow and develop, bringing their easy style of blues rock to the already converted. I could call them Norfolk’s finest though it’s just possible another band from said area may have something to say about that title.
Entering the stage to their backing tape intro of an AC/DC and Bee Gees mash-up, the crowd were already singing and dancing before they had played a note. With the weather finally starting to break (at least for a while), everyone was back out from under cover and heading back to the Phoenix Stage.
Bad Touch not only are growing musically, with a handful of albums under their belts now, and each getting stronger, they are also developing as a live band. With frontman Stevie Westwood at the helm, he has become the consummate frontman, and today was no exception.
If someone was out to shake a leg and bring the swagger, it was Stevie. This is a band who look rock ‘n’ roll and on stage bring nothing but adrenaline fuelled rock ‘n’ roll. He wore a glitzy jacket and matching shades, probably not such a good idea in the dull afternoon light, but it looked the part all the same.
Stevie hit the stage like a wound-up coil, and firing the band from the front provided an hour-long set of pure dynamic rock ‘n’ roll showmanship. Despite the weather, this is a band that brought a whole lot of sunshine to the masses.
As indicated, this was a set of pure enjoyment. With numbers varying from the slow blues of Wise Water through to the Aerosmith-infused Dressed To Kill, they were blowing the cobwebs away. “Tell me where you buy your drinks,” calls out Stevie.
With the familiar bass rumble, semi-solo from Michael Bailey, the band drove into a cover of Alanis Morissette’s Hand In My Pocket, which more than got the audience moving. With a couple of new numbers from their forthcoming album, Bitter Sweet Satisfaction, on show, it was becoming clearer by every minute they were on stage that this was fast becoming the performance of the day, not just for myself but also for many of the damp punters around me.
Not even the return of the rain could reduce the enthusiasm for the band, and with tunes like Sweet Little Secret in their pockets, they comfortably won over the crowd, not as though that was difficult as they were clearly one of the must-see acts of the day.
If the message that Bad Touch are in town had started to get around before, it was being blasted loud and clear by the end of the set. Having been warmed up by the Tygers and Gin Annie before, this was a band that was really bringing the party to the park.
Finishing with Stevie strapping on an acoustic guitar for 99%, the crowd was won over, and everyone was singing and dancing along. Quite simply, this was triumphal.
Maid Of Stone Festival 2023 was held over the weekend of 21-23 July 2023. MetalTalk’s Adrian Stonley, Paul Monkhouse and Robert Sutton were reporting from Mote Park.
All Photography: Robert Sutton
Early Bird tickets are available for next year’s festival held over 19-21 July 2024. Tickets are available from here.
All MetalTalk Maid Of Stone 2023 coverage is at https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/maid-of-stone-festival-2023