Maid Of Stone – Sunday. Welsh power trio Häxan have come a long way since starting off as The Kix, shaping their craft into something that is sugar-rush melodic but wonderfully heavy. It’s a big nod to their rise that they headline the Maiden stage, but they’ve earnt things the hard way through sheer road work and a set of songs that see them follow in the footsteps of some of the very best rock and metal bands of the last forty years.
The band exude a bonhomie that draws you into their circle, everyone part of the gang as singer/guitarist Sam Bolderson peels out the big crushing riffs one minute but quickly switches to the easy between-song banter with bandmates bass player Harriet Wadeson and drummer Jess Hartley.
From a set that used to be liberally laced with covers, their own self-penned material has taken sole focus, and with bangers like Skeletons and Living Dead in their armoury, the days of throwing in numbers by AC/DC et al are reserved for extended sets.
There’s never any excess here. The taught playing and hard rocking tunes are sleek and speak loudly enough for anyone’s tastes. With a throwback to The Kix days, Bring The Thunder’s anthemic swing and big chorus could have been written by Suzi Quatro at her grittiest.
Certainly, Häxan have built on the foundations of artists like her, the Runaways and Girlschool, to prove once again that the female is deadlier than the male.
One of the great things about the trio is that they don’t have to be like anyone else, and with their focus on the music that’s brought them this far, there’s a long and fruitful road ahead of them.
Maid Of Stone was just the latest step, and their performance shows them as definite contenders for the bigger leagues.
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