Firevolt / Sunday with The Golden Leaves, Ashen Reach, Atack and Jack J Hutchinson

Firevolt Festival 2023 – Sunday. There’s a really cool back story on how today’s first band came to be opening the Trooper stage in the barn on Sunday. Organiser Stret had been on his travels in Scandinavia to watch his beloved Deep Purple, and whilst in a bar in Trondheim, Norway, he got chatting with some guys. Those guys were in a band, and they have since kept in touch. When Stret and Bev achieved their dream of organising a rock festival, they invited the band over to take part.

Firevolt Sunday – Part One

The Golden Leaves

The Golden Leaves hit the stage just after midday to a very healthy crowd, considering for most people, this is their fourth day of rocking out and partying. With an eclectic range of influences in Led Zeppelin, Rival Sons and the Arctic Monkeys, their quirky brand of modern melodic rock puts a smile on everyone’s face.

The Golden Leaves - Firevolt Festival 2023
The Golden Leaves – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

Songs like Somebody and the new single Goodbye Blackbird kept the feel-good factor going. Now, left-handed drummers are a bit like buses in the sense you might not see one for ages, then three come along all at once, and The Golden Leaves man at the back is the third one this weekend.

The Golden Leaves - Firevolt Festival 2023
The Golden Leaves – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

Singer David Nikolaisen introduces Higher Than Ever as the first song the band ever wrote, and they leave on a high with a medley of The Ramones Blitzkrieg Bop and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B Goode. I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing them again.

Ashen Reach

Scousers Ashen Reach have been making waves the last couple of years with their brand of modern Metal, incorporating both growl and clean vocals and enough big chorus’ and melodies to keep everyone interested. After a false start to Epiphany (it happens to the best of ’em), there was no holding them back.

Ashen Reach - Firevolt Festival 2023
Ashen Reach – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

I’m pretty sure I’m Alive brought the first circle pit to Firevolt, which is no mean feat, considering it’s still early afternoon. New single Neophobia gets its first airing live, and the title track off their debut album, Homecoming, is received with great enthusiasm from the crowd, leaving Ghost, from the band’s forthcoming album, to round off a great afternoon for the band.

Atack

Atack could possibly be labelled a supergroup of sorts but are probably under the radar for most people here this weekend, being a new project put together by celebrated session man Keith Atack, formerly of ’70s pop band Child.

Atack - Firevolt Festival 2023
Atack – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

Wanting to bring his inner rock yen to the fore, guitarist Atack has assembled an impressive group of musicians, including bass player Chris Childs from arena band Thunder, vocalist Lee Small from Sweet, session Hammond organ extraordinaire Nick Foley and drummer Bob Richards of Buck & Evans who has also depped on a couple of AC/DC videos no less.

However, with Lee Small on Sweet duties, Atack has shrewdly asked Dan Byrne, one of the most talented and up-and-coming vocalists in the UK, to step in for the next three shows.

Atack - Firevolt Festival 2023
Atack – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

There’s no better sound than a Hammond organ, and Foley caresses the keys, teasing the sweetest sounds out of it during My New Addiction. Dan Byrne introduces Poison Water but not before explaining why he’s actually there and, as humble as ever, thanks the band for inviting him to join them.

The former Black Diamond/Revival Black frontman plays Stonedead festival with Myke Gray’s Skin, and Gray certainly knows a thing or two about vocalists, consistently working with some of the best in the business. Byrne’s stock couldn’t really be any higher at the moment before he starts out in earnest with his own Dan Byrne Band.

Atack - Firevolt Festival 2023
Atack – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

The set rings out with the quite brilliant Twister, which rocks along at a pace reminiscent of classic Deep Purple and sees Chris Childs front stage for a short solo before Foley lets loose, rocking the Hammond back and forth, squeezing everything possible out of it. Judging by the grin on his face, Keith Atack is absolutely loving it.

Wonderful stuff, and if this is what’s in store on the new album, then my pre-order is going in right now.

Jack J Hutchinson

The award for the coolest dude of the weekend goes to Jack J Hutchinson, who is rockin’ a new Telecaster these days to go with his Les Paul. In my opinion, this looks and sounds so much better than previous weapons of choice, such as the awful Wylde lump that simply didn’t suit.

Jack J Hutchinson - Firevolt Festival 2023
Jack J Hutchinson – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

Opening up with Call Of The Wild gets me thinking he does need to write a new song called Firevolt for the next time he returns. Gunslinger continues on with The Hammer Falls theme with some frantic fretwork from the man in the hat, then Hutchinson tells the crowd like a proud brother that drummer Keith has just got off the road with Keifer Sutherland and quips, “He’s now back slumming it and sharing hotel rooms with me.”

The frontman says he would like to play us a Peter Green tune and goes straight into Oh Well, which he turns into a medley with a bit of Hendrix and Zeppelin thrown in after jumping into the photo pit and shredding on the barrier amongst the appreciative crowd.

Jack J Hutchinson - Firevolt Festival 2023
Jack J Hutchinson – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

Hip Slickin’ brings a Skynyrd Southern vibe to proceedings, and Written In Stone takes it down a bit with JJ channelling his inner Neil Young, which I much prefer to the Zakk Jack.

Before Introducing the last song, Hutchinson remarks that it’s great to see so many Jack J Hutchinson t-shirts in the crowd but then quips that they all spell Kriss Barras wrong. Having toured earlier this year with tonight’s headliner, he tells how much he loves Barras’ music and has all his CDs. What a nice guy.

Jack J Hutchinson - Firevolt Festival 2023
Jack J Hutchinson – Firevolt Festival 2023. Photo: Linda McDermott

Introduced as a drinking song, Rapture winds up a slick set by the band to a well-deserved huge reception from the well-attended Big Top stage.


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 and Dave Davies.

All MetalTalk Bloodstock Festival 2023 coverage can be found at  MetalTalk.net/tag/firevolt-festival-2023.

For more details, visit the Firevolt MCR website.

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