Steelhouse Festival 2023. The build-up to Steelhouse is always intense. Mainly around the weather. Holding a festival on the top of a mountain on a working farm in Wales? Only madmen would think of such an idea. And yet, for the umpteenth time since those early shows over 12 years ago, the festival sold out weeks before, such is the popularity of the three-day event “up the mountain,” as we say here.
Steelhouse 2023 – The Karma Effect – When Rivers Meet
Climbing the mountain road has become a rite of passage. If tour buses and wagons can get up there, it must be easy in a Ford Focus, yet the climb always fills you with dread. Deep potholes and large rocks litter the track, and it’s always a relief as you reach the summit.
Humour is in large supply, and the journey up is punctuated with signs displaying topical lyrics from rock and Metal songs. Over the Mountain, Flying High Again, and other Ozzy songs have been among those in previous years.
In 2023 we get more local acts like Florence Black sitting alongside the headline artists. Such is the Steelhouse way.
The Karma Effect
Having interviewed The Karma Effect a couple of hours earlier, their ’70s-style bluesy swagger was highly anticipated. “We are so excited,” singer/guitarist Henry Gottelier said.
The quintet didn’t disappoint, with possibly the set of the day.
In a day of dynamic frontmen and women, Gottelier stood comfortably alongside the competition. Cutting a striking figure in a fine shirt and hat, he took full advantage of the walkway into the crowd and had everyone singing along within seconds.
Drawing from their self-titled debut, this is a band who have an undeniable swagger. Huge songs, unashamedly drawn from influences including The Black Crowes.
Post Steelhouse, “A lot happens straight away,” Henry said. “We’re going on tour in September and November. We have finished our second record now. It’s coming very soon. Some stuff is coming.”
It seems repetitive to say, but The Karma Effect could be huge.
When Rivers Meet
Following that was no easy task, but When Rivers Meet are now oozing confidence and Grace and Aaron Bond are a fine watch. Road hardened from months upon months of touring, they now play with an assured and composed style that improves on each viewing.
Grace is the focal point and utilises the walkway well. Aaron is tempted on occasion, with the couple coming out into the crowd early on.
“This is one of the reasons we wanted to play,” Grace beams. They play a strong set, 45 minutes of older favourites, with a couple of the teaser tracks from the forthcoming album Aces Are High.
It’s a slick and polished show, and whilst they don’t wow in the same way as The Karma Effect, they still deliver a superb show and gain many new fans.
Steelhouse Festival 2023 was held over the weekend of 28-30 July 2023. MetalTalk’s Paul Hutchings reports from Ebbw Vale.
Early Bird tickets are available for next year’s festival, which begins on Friday, 26 July 2024. Tickets are available from here.
All MetalTalk Steelhouse Festival 2023 coverage can be found at https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/steelhouse-festival-2023