Born out of and inspired by the words below, Firevolt Festival was the dream of owners Stret and Bev. It was put together in just the first six months of last year, ignoring all the naysayers and doubters to bring a quite brilliant lineup to an idyllic setting of sprawling countryside with waterfalls and creeks on the edge of the beautiful Etherow country park at Whitebottom farm just outside of Manchester.
And so the legend was re-born, Voltairre came amongst them, the maddening crowd split, leaving her standing alone, eyes as bright as a lightning strike. Then the Riff shredded, the crowd attacked and surged at each other in a rock ‘n’ roll fuelled frenzy. Little did they know as she spiralled out of control, her evil energy cut through them with her lance and changed their DNA forever.
From there in, they were destined to rock, mainly as followers, disciples, some would say, but for some, the lance had infected their heart that day, and their destiny was not to follow but to lead. The mosh pit was born, and she had taken more souls for her 27 club. They just didn’t know it yet!
Monsters of Rock (Survivor)
Still very much in it’s infancy, this fantastic festival started out last year as Firestorm and has been rebranded this year as Firevolt.
Firevolt Festival – Thursday Evening / Friday
Covering the Thursday evening opening barn dance party wasn’t on my remit, but the ‘cover’ band booked to warm all the punters up for the main event completely changed my mind. Billed as Tygër from Birmingham, they brought the glam to the barn and swept through a bunch of everyone’s favourite Sunset Strip covers, throwing in a touch of Metallica and AC/DC along the way.
Come curfew time, and singer Nip Turner reveals they’re actually called White Tygër and have a CD of original songs on sale at the merch. Would we mind if they played one off the album to finish off the night?
Turns out No Fucks Given was the best song of the set and included the Steel Panther-inspired gold medal line, “I’ve got ninety-nine problems, but my dick ain’t one ’em.”
Great fun from start to finish, and there’s more come on them, but that’s for later.
Starting off the festival in earnest early on Friday afternoon were Manchester-based Luna Marble, who won a battle of the band’s competition for the privilege of doing so.
Kicking off with The Ride, energetic frontwoman Maria Rico is immediately the focal point with her huge voice, which is gravelly in parts, dominating the psych-rock sounds that immediately pull in a decent crowd in the early afternoon on the Trooper stage.
Thirty minutes pass by far too quickly, incorporating songs such as Crazy Loving, The Best Of Me, Sea Of Sorrow and Redemption, before Running finished off their short but sweet set to rapturous applause.
These guys are on their way up with their retro sounds and style, which are particularly hot right now. Think The Damn Truth a couple of years ago, and you’re maybe on the right track. In fact, a tour with those guys would be a perfect match. I’ll definitely be seeking them out again.
White Raven Down
White Raven Down opened up the day’s proceedings on the Big Top stage, and the Essex trio’s stock is pretty high amongst the NWOCR bandwagon at the moment, though leaning towards a harder edge rather than the classic side of things which is never a bad thing in these eyes.
Drawing plenty of die-hard fans to the front barrier well before hitting the stage, by the time the band had finished the opening track Mind Reader from their well-received debut album Don’t Shoot The Messenger, the huge tent was impressively attended, considering it was still very early afternoon.
Price You Pay leads into Salvation, giving the crowd a chance to shake off the cobwebs and get involved before Stu Bailey lays down a killer solo in this seven-minute epic. Guitarist Bailey has morphed effortlessly into frontman duties since the last time I saw the band in their four-piece days, possessing a fine voice that was obviously wasted on backing vocals.
A teaser of the new song Stole My Light, which is released this coming Friday through Roulette Records, bodes well for the new album and was a bonus for the crowd. Next up is All Day Long before Demons At Your Door cements itself as the set’s standout track for yours truly.
Take Me brought the groovy heavy riffs before Roll Of The Dice ends a perfectly thought-out set that was lapped up by all in the now quite full and humid Big Top. A great start to the day on the bigger stage.
Back to the Trooper stage for the next band Hells Addiction, a five-piece from Leicester who describe themselves as the bastard child of an illicit three-way between Skid Row, early Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC. They were not shy in bringing some high-energy rock ‘n’ roll to the barn.
These guys have escaped me so far, which is some feat considering they have a Download appearance under their belt and are already working on the release of their third album, 9 O’Clock Horses.
Opening up with We’re On Fire, first impressions are pretty good, and next song, The Rocker, is a tribute to the great man Lemmy which is always going to put you on-side with an enthusiastic rock crowd.
There’s no let up as they take control of the crowd with On The Road Again. Three consecutive new songs from the upcoming album in Upside Down, Cannot Hide and Scream Your Name, shows the confidence they have in the new material to throw them in the middle of such a high-profile set.
Going out on a high with a run of crowd favourites, including Blue Lights, What You Gonna Do, The Way I Feel and bowing out with Running Away, the band worked the stage well with lots going on up there demanding your attention and they certainly had mine. I’ll be checking out their gig guide forthwith.
Firevolt Festival 2023 was held over the weekend of 11-13 August 2023. MetalTalk’s Dave Bonney reports from Whitebottom Farm.
All Photography: Linda McDermott
All MetalTalk Firevolt Festival 2023 coverage can be found at MetalTalk.net/tag/firevolt-festival-2023.
For more details, visit the Firevolt MCR website.