Email This Post Email This Post
Home » Featured, TBL News


25 July 2011 7,282 views 8 Comments

All photos Gary Foy/TBL

At a sun blessed setting in London’s Victoria Park last night, Black Country Communion made a triumphant appearance at the Classic Rock High Voltage Festival.

The remorseless bass riffing of Black Country was met with huge applause from the crowd and it was quickly apparent that this was a band ready to take proceedings up to a level that did justice to the festival name. From there the loose loping groove of One Last Soul confirmed their intent and at the centre of it all was Glenn Hughes. Stalking the stage with that familiar bass, hitting all the right vocal notes that few of his peers can match and working the crowd effortlessly, this was his homecoming – and after all the career ups and downs it was a joy to see him in his element. ‘’It’s a beautiful evening’’ he exclaimed and it so was. The power riff of the Zep inspired Save Me echoing out into the blue sky. Joe B came into his own on Song Of Yesterday and Derek on keyboards added thrust to Man In The Middle while Ballad Of John Henry opened with a pleasing When The Levee Breaks drum loop and included Joe’s theremin solo. Jason throughout was well…just Jason pushing the beat in his now accustomed surefire manner. The Purple standard Burn inspired mass communal singing from the crowd and by the time they had all grouped out front to wave a fond farewell, Black Country Communion had clearly triumphed at this High Voltage affair.

They did it with no frills and no hype – just full on rock attack. A great band, playing great rock music on a beautiful English summer night in the heart of East London.

Earlier I caught some of the all-encompassing flying V thrust of the Michael Schenker Band with a cameo from ex Midnight Blue singer Dougie White and the rather excellent Thunder, a band I’ve missed out on over the past 20 odd years (sorry Terry!). It was nice to say hi to a few TBL people including Simon Cadman plus Liz at Planet Rock, Lisa at Mascot Records, Jerry B, Carl and Glenn. Thanks as ever to Will and Peter.

I have to tip a big hats off to the High Voltage festival organisation –there was much to see and hear throughout the park, the only downer being a few sound problems on the main stage. I have a whole lotta room for many other music categories in my taste buds other than this thing called rock, but when guitars are driven by drums, bass,keyboards and vocals- there can be no finer live experience. Walking back to the tube it felt good to be amongst the tribal gathering of vintage t-shirts (see below) brought together in celebration of this musical form (in all its many guises) that was first pioneered all those years ago by the likes of Hendrix, Cream and some band called Led Zeppelin.

High Voltage then…High Voltage now…

Dave Lewis –  July 25 2011


Where else on a sunny Sunday afternoon would I be other than Victoria Park in London at this year’s High Voltage Festival to catch Black Country Communion. With that tempting London showcase in prospect, I even brought along the family. So Carol, Jimmy and I stepped out into the sunshine on Mile End Road and began the trek along Groove Road down to the park and we weren’t alone. The road heaved with the unbelievable site of hundreds of middle aged men, with portly bellies and balding heads with every conceivable t-shirt embossed with their favourite band on the front and back.It was like an A to Z of heavy metal bands. These people might normally be wearing a suit for work in the week and are probably usually busy on the garden at the weekend. Now suddenly they have been drawn to the dark recess of their wardrobes to pull out some ghastly multi coloured t-shirt that was probably unwisely  purchased under the influence of many a beer at some distance gig in an attempt to capture some lost youth. We’ve all been there…you stagger home to be met by the wife who, on inspecting said t-shirt will announce “When are you ever going to wear that?”

So today we can wear them with pride on this occasion, bonding with our t-shirt wearing brothers often giving an approving nod at a particular band that adorns a pasting stranger.

So off we go, snaking our way into Victoria Park and into the Festival site. Although I generally hate festivals this is a pleasantly surprise. High Voltage is well laid out, with three stages, Metal Hammer, Prog and Main stage, the festival is well run with all bands starting and finishing on time, something we only dreamed of years ago. Food outlets are everywhere with nearly every type of food available (no Chinese though) and dozens of outlets selling all types of rock/metal inspired goodies and oh yes t-shirts. I spy an attractive Rory Gallagher t-shirt but the words ring out in my ears “When are you ever going to wear that?” and I resist the temptation.

My son wants to visit the Metal stage and we do so with some trepidation but we are surprised by The Treatment, a young twin guitar lead band  full of promise and Gentleman’s Pistols who are really good with their retro sound. We head of to the main stage which by now is full of guitar players and one of them is, apparently Michael Schenker, who according to the MC is back on form, though from where I stood it was hard to tell. Thunder are up next and with the sun shining brightly Thunder are okay but I eventually tire of them and seek out some shade (Sorry Terry).

The arrival of Glenn Hughes and co finds me down the front in the company of Mr Lewis and our continuing love affair with BCC soon has us rocking alongside a healthy mixture of ages in the audience. I’ll leave the review to Dave but  I will comment that  that Joe, who is without doubt a true star, tends to take a backwards stance in the company of BCC and allows the true showman that is Glenn Hughes, to shine. A great singer and excellent front man, Glenn shines today with the swagger and bravado of a man who’s been there and done it all but with the desire to share his enthusiasm with all around. Glenn’s love of BCC is unquestionable and I hope the band continues to thrive.

After BCC the family head of to the Prog stage for Jethro Tull  though it’s all a little self-indulgent  so we head over to the Metal stage for Neurosis who are scarily morbid and we return to the main stage for Dream Theater and their full light show in the semi darkness.This “American progressive metal band” (copyright Wikipedia) are not for me, so after a quick glance around the CD store (Barclay James Harvest…thank you very much) its back up the road to the tube amongst the same t-shirt clad gentleman we saw earlier. Now looking a little weary and probably worrying about work tomorrow and the newly invested High Voltage Festival t- shirt they have purcheased which is sure to inspire the same old line..

“When are you ever going to wear that?”

For the record I was wearing and tasteful (actually ghastly –DL)  Joe Bonamassa t-shirt now destined to reside back in the wardrobe – at least until next year’s High Voltage Festival….

Gary Foy – July 25 2011


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)


  • Steve Way said:

    excellent reviews guys….am impressed that you actually took on THE TREATMENT…..have been alongside these guys since cambridge last august-and have watched them grow and grow..
    last august, standing behind the stage, i watched these boys grab hold of the audience, and left the majority wet and breathless…and the audience were 70% girls…
    at the time…i compared what i had seen re chemistry and energy akin to an early version of zeppelin….sexual and raw…
    and…..they are english….a band to be proud of…

  • geosoulberlin said:

    Thanks a lot, Dave and Gary, for the two reviews! I enjoyed reading them and I could notice the t-shirt-thing as well when I walked up the Groove Road and looked around later on at the festival site. 🙂

    BCC were truly fantastic, their performance was my absolutely highlight of HV and as André said: why couldn’t they play a bit longer when the people were screaming for more?

    And as I see you also missed the performance of Joe B at the prog stage with Jethro Tull? I just saw some pics on flickr and I could bite my a…rm that I didn’t know what was going on there:

    By the way: for me the sound of the main stage was perfect. But I stood in the first row in front of the right hand boxes on sunday and if it would have been lowder it would have blown my head off…;-)

  • André Cruz said:

    I was there ! The show was amazing, as the whole festival. My only complain: the second main act of each night should have more than one hour to play…. After Black Country Communion show, I was hearing from the crowd: We Want More !!!!!

  • shelfsidemark said:

    Hi Dave,good to bump into you on Sunday.As you said above,it was a fantastic performance,which really rounded off a great weekend for me.
    Only downside was that they didn’t supply t-shirts to the merchandise
    stalls…as it certainly wouldn’t languish at the back of the wardrobe !
    Should have got one at Shepherds Bush…that’ll teach me.
    The comments on the High Voltage forum have been very positive too.
    And Gary…I bet you wish random strangers would thrust beer in your hand at every gig ! Next stop Earl’s Court.

  • michaela firth said:

    Great review boys! We will make festival go-ers of you yet LOL! and YOU will wear those shirts!! usual garb is high heels , smart dresses and jackets for sensible work meetings …but WE all love to get out the band shirts and ‘nail our colours to the mast’to show our real passion…good pure ( loud) rock music ! XX

  • Neil Booth said:

    Great band saw them in Llandudno on saturday band were on fire but the audience were terrible

  • Dave Lewis (author) said:

    Simon – yes got to agree with that – the sound was not in the Motorhead league by any standard. Might have been due to park/local area restrictions. Highly successful aside from that and hope they build on it all for next year.

  • Simon Cadman said:

    Hats off for the usual quick turnaround with this review, Dave. And very nice pix too. Great to catch up yesterday. My biggest beef with the festival – though I agree there were plenty of positives – was with the volume. Let’s face it, a metal festival demands an all-enveloping sonic assault. High Voltage did not result in high decibels. Fancy a natter with your mates mid-set? No problem. The men from Zeppelin would not approve…

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.