Robert Jon & The Wreck World Class at Maid Of Stone

Maid Of Stone – Sunday. Robert Jon & The Wreck close the Phoenix Stage with one of the finest sets of the festival, their own brand of traditionally rooted Southern-flavoured rock full of soul and grit. The band are frequent visitors to these shores and, as such, have built up an ever-growing, fanatical following.

Robert Jon & The Wreck

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

Given the strength of their albums, this is no wonder, and the career-spanning set played tonight was a cherry-picked walk through some of their finest moments. There’s a chemistry here that, like openers Brave Rival, is born from hours on the road, perfecting their craft and bonding together as a family.

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

It’s quite a leap from the furious bounce of Ragga Metal from Skindred, who had just finished on the Jeff Beck Stage, to this, but the contrast was a delicious one, the Californians wrapping everyone present in a down-home warmth that speaks of nights camping out with friends around a fire. 

Whilst there is this hospitable glow, there’s never a sense of anything twee or folksy here, the band razor sharp and classy as they spin their tales of love in all its guises. 

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

With the rich tones of Robert Jon Burrison as the storyteller, the sublime guitar of Henry James, Jake Abernathie’s keys, the drums of Andrew Espantman and the bass of Warren Murrel all weave their magic.

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

The big, brawling riff of Pain No More kicks things off, the grandstanding soul a powerful opening number that reaches to the heavens as it shakes the ground. Rockers like She’s a Fighter pepper the set, and the blazing Don’t Let Me Go balances heft and a deftness that speaks of a hazy day with aplomb, the drive of drum and bass a bedrock onto which the multi-hued colours of vocals, guitars and keys are liberally splashed. 

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

The band are soaked in the classic sounds of the ’70s. Bring Me Back Home Again exudes a timeless quality that delves deep into their roots whilst still sounding fresh, and the Gospel tinges of Shine A Light On Me Brother pack a knock-out punch that turns even the hardest-hearted into believers.

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

From the soulful balladry of Oh Miss Carolina, featuring a stunning solo by James, through to the thunder and majesty of closer Cold Night, Robert Jon & The Wreck stamped their seal on what was for many the highlight of the day. 

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

On their current form, they’re hard to beat, and their swift return to these shores for an Autumn tour is a very welcome prospect indeed. World-class.

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Maid Of Stone Festival 2023
Robert Jon & The Wreck – Maid Of Stone Festival 2023. Photo: Robert Sutton/MetalTalk

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

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