Bloodstock Festival 2023 – Sunday. With an eleventh-hour phone call, KK’s Priest were drafted into Bloodstock as last-minute replacements for Helloween. With minimal time available, the announcement did not arise until last Wednesday, and the band had little time to fly back into the UK, having played a festival in Belgium on Saturday.
Bloodstock – KK’s Priest
With one solo album, Sermons Of The Sinner released a couple of years ago, it gave the band the opportunity to play some of this as well as treat the fans to a few Judas Priest classics as well.
Opening with a schlock-horror apocalyptic intro film, the band opened fire with Hellfire Thunderbolt, the first of three songs from their first album. One More Shot At Glory, from the new The Sinner Rides Again album, followed, which, though not a self-serving title, may be seen as such, as KK now looks to build a career outside of Judas Priest.
With ex-Priest singer Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens on board on vocals and with a cry out to the audience of ‘What’s my name?’, the band belted into The Ripper, the first of a number of Priest songs being aired.
What was great about this set was that there was a high percentage of Priest numbers, which of course, under the circumstances you would expect. The songs played were not necessarily the greatest hits. Of course, there were a couple of the obvious favourites played, but a few golden oldies were aired, which made the set that much more refreshing.
Interspersing the KK’s Priest songs with the Judas Priest numbers kept the audience on their toes. There was no skulking off for a quick beer during a, perhaps, lesser-known solo number, with the likelihood that you might miss a Priest classic following up.
With Ripper on vocals, you could see why he was drafted in as Rob Halford’s replacement for seven years. The vocal similarity is incredible, yet now, I would say, on this performance, and having seen both Halford and Owens in the last couple of years, Owens clearly now has the edge.
It goes without saying that at some point, Halford’s voice would start to drop, but at present, the younger man clearly has the upper hand, and he was more than intent on making the point on this showing.
Like Halford, he has the scream down to absolute perfection, but as proven on this Sunday afternoon, he is more than capable of hitting the big notes and holding them, and holding them, and holding them. Perfectly. God, that man can hold a note.
With old Priest favourites such as Night Crawler, Burn In Hell and Beyond The Realms of Death played, the welcome was euphoric. This really was a fan’s set with numerous pleasers interspersed with the solo material.
Yet those songs from Sermons Of The Sinner should not be dismissed lightly as they more than held their own with the older, more familiar material. Certainly, Reap The Whirlwind, the second new song offered from the forthcoming The Sinner Rides Again album, stands out, as well as more traditional fare such as Brothers Of The Road, which blew life into the headbanging hordes.
But of course, it was the close of the set which made the point, not only reminding was great songs KK was involved in co-writing but what an incredible and diverse guitarist he still is.
Pulling out a song that many still believe to be an early Priest number, but in reality, is a cover of an old Fleetwood Mac song, The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown) had everyone on their feet, with horns in the air.
Following up with the all-time singalong Breaking The Law, the pit was bouncing. It was clear that inviting KK and the boys in to fill the slot was a masterstroke.
With Victim Of Changes closing out the set, it was clear that this was a triumphant homecoming for the band. Quite simply, KK’s Priest were the perfect band for that late afternoon slot, and they certainly showed why they are as important in keeping Priest’s legacy alive as much as the great band themselves.
Bloodstock Festival 2023 is held over the weekend of 10-13 August 2023. MetalTalk’s Paul Hutchings and Adrian Stonley report from Catton Park.
All MetalTalk Bloodstock Festival 2023 coverage can be found at MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2023.
Weekend early bird tickets for Bloodstock 2024 will be available to purchase at the box office on-site for £165. This is the cheapest way to buy a 2024 ticket, minus any online booking or admin fees.
Bloodstock 2022 can be relived at MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022.