Xmas Rocka Day 2 @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK)

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GIRLSCHOOL / VENOM INC. / VARDIS / STAMPEDE / GRIM REAPER / TRESPASS / DEMON / TYTAN / TOKYO BLADE / QUARTZ / CHARIOT / SAVAGE

Date: 03rd December, 2016
Venue: O2 Academy Sheffield
Ticket: £59 Festival ticket - £29 day ticket (€69/34 - $72/35)
Promoter: HRH Festivals


Even if it wasn't fun to be dead tired the night before, it felt good that lovely Saturday morning being rested and able to eat a good breakfast before talking a stroll downtown to check out the winter-market. A great start of the second day if you’d ask me, but I have to admit it would have felt just as nice to take a beer breakfast, like some of my friends did.

Starting the day was CHARIOT, or actually SAVAGE also as they clashed and started at the exact same time. I really wanted to see both but since I haven't seen CHARIOT before and definitely have listened more to them the choice came pretty easy. SAVAGE have been good the times I've seen them but yes, I've seen them before. After “When The Moon Shines” and “Love Me Or Leave Me” from the debut “The Warrior” came the fantastic title track from “Behind The Wire” LP; I really like that album and this one along with “Burning Ambition” are the ones I've been listening the most to. I have to admit that I haven't kept up with all CHARIOT releases so a few of the songs in the set weren't familiar. But they sure got it, looking now “Demons & Angels” is definitely something I need to buy. The title track is a true epic and sounded amazing. The heavy beat went down very well even if it's mellower than the rest the groove got the crowd moving. Pete Franklin did a very god job to stir up the crowd even though people looked a bit torn when entering the venue but it was nothing some good old Heavy Metal and another pint of beer could not turn around.

Standing at the O2 Academy I realized I haven't listened to “The Warrior” as much as the others LPs and I can't understand why; I mean the last two songs out “Warriors” and “Vigilante” sounded amazing and CHARIOT was really all I expected. Good energy, sounded great and it was good fun to watch them play - a very good start of the day. Then, the stress was on again and when I finally got a break and was heading for the merch-stand to get some CHARIOT stuff, everything was already gone. Bummer!

CHARIOT setlist:

01. “When The Moon Shines”
02. “Love Me Or Leave Me”
03. “Behind The Wire”
04. “To The Extreme”
05. “You Rock My World”
06. “Horizon”
07. “Screams The Night”
08. “Demons & Angels”
09. “Pack”
10. “Warriors”
11. “Vigilante”

CHARIOT

Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Chariot @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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To see that QUARTZ and TOKYO BLADE almost clashed was a real horror; both bands have been absolutely fantastic the times I've seen them and I haven't seen either of them enough. Also, the fact that the QUARTZ brand new release “Fear No Evil” really appealed to me, made the choice very tough. And it wasn't easy to leave the QUARTZ show after the first three songs. David Garner is amusing to watch, he's a very good performer and a great frontman. At least I got to hear “Fear No Evil” from the new one and two classics before it was time to go. I must admit I missed Geoff Nichols though, it was clear there was one guitar short but in general QUARTZ sounded very good.

QUARTZ setlist:

01. “Bloody Fool”
02. “Fear No Evil”
03. “Mainline Riders”
04. “Stand Up And Fight” / “Charlie Snow”
05. “Street Fighting Lady”
06. “Wildfire”
07. “Zombie Resurrection”
08. “Satan's Serenade”
09. “Heaven & Hell”

QUARTZ

Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Quartz @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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So, the decision was to see TOKYO BLADE and the main reason was because Alan Marsh was singing again. He did a fantastic job at 'Keep It True' and it was such a pleasure to hear the classics with his voice on them, so I had to see it all again. And just as it happened at 'KIT', TOKYO BLADE really killed it and everything sounded fantastic. Also, Alan looked more comfortable on stage this time. He came around after a few songs in Germany too but now it was confident from the start. I was really happy about the setlist too, not that there's anything wrong with “Death On Main Street” and “Someone To Love” but I like “Lightning Strikes (Straight Through The Heart)”, “Mean Streak” and “Love Struck” more, so I was glad to be out of the photo-pit to enjoy these songs. It felt really good to hang out, have a happy hour Carlsberg pint and scream along to these songs. I was actually surprised to see TOKYO BLADE so early on the Saturday billing, but again, I don't know what works in the UK when compared to Germany where I've seen them else-way. Or it was a trick to get people in to the venue in time as they drew quite a crowd.

“Sunrise In Tokyo” was another of those moments of complete joy, both band and Alan did great here, even if his voice started to sound a bit rougher towards the end of the set. He nailed “Night Of The Blade” though, so it was no big deal, just those things you have to expect when bands play live for real. So, hell yes, TOKYO BLADE delivered a fantastic set again, no disappointment there and it felt ok to choose them over QUARTZ when the show was as fantastic as it was.

TOKYO BLADE setlist:

01. “Death On Main Street”
02. “Someone To Love”
03. “Dead Of The Night”
04. “Warrior Of The Rising Sun”
05. “Lightning Strikes (Straight Through The Heart)”
06. “Mean Streak”
07. “Love Struck”
08. “Fever”
09. “Sunrise In Tokyo”
10. “Midnight Rendezvous”
11. “Dead Of The Night”
12. “Night Of The Blade”
13. “If Heaven Is Hell”

TOKYO BLADE

Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tokyo Blade @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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For some reason, I tend to confuse TYTAN with the UK’s TYRANT and I am always surprised when these guys show up. TYTAN killed it at 'Headbangers Open Air' though (and TYRANT at 'Muskelrock' some years back), so I wasn't really disappointed to see them hitting the stage. The thing that really struck me with TYTAN was the punch and drive in their songs. All are really good musicians but the most kudos should go to the young and very talented drummer James Wise. The punch and groove he has and also the finesse he possesses are absolutely fantastic. It's also good to see Tom Barna and Kevin “Skids” Riddles fight for the spotlight at the front. Both are very charismatic and hard to look away, something that kind of makes the rest of the band vanish. So yes, TYTAN sounded amazing and to hear these songs live - the “Rough Justice” record is great and the songs work perfect on stage. What an opening of a set with “Cold Bitch” and “Money For Love” that was; these are killer songs and even better live than on record. Tom's voice works perfect for these songs. Third one out was announced as a new one from the upcoming TYTAN record; “Fight The Fight” sounded like a heavy piece that goes straight into the TYTAN sound and shows that the band really has a promising future. I mean, you can only tour on the classic stuff so many times. So, that there's a new record coming soon is a good thing and that the songs coming off of it sounded great is even better.

“Women On The Frontline” is another live-favorite of mine and worked really well here too but time started to run out and DEMON were getting ready on the main stage. Damn these clashes, I definitely didn't want to leave the TYTAN, but I also wanted to see DEMON.

TYTAN setlist:

01. “Cold Bitch”
02. “Money For Love”
03. “Fight The Fight”
04. “Women On The Frontline”
05. “The Watcher”
06. “Reap The Whirlwind”
07. “Billy Who”
08. “Forever Gone”
09. “Blind Men And Fools”
10. “Far Side Of Destiny”
11. “Ballad Of Edward Case”

TYTAN

Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Even if I left the O2 Academy 2 stage in time to see DEMON from the start, they were already on - checking the list on stage I also realized I've missed the entire first song. “Night Of The Demon” is a favorite, so that was a bit of a shame. But it was really annoying the schedule couldn't be trusted as it was stressful enough to try to see parts of super-shows and then run to the next.

And DEMON delivered as always; there's such a joy to see them play and it doesn't matter how many times I see them, it's always good and always fun and I always look forward to see them, again and again. Dave Hill's charming attitude creates a feel good moment and that they're having fun reflects in their music. Their new release came as a bit of a surprise earlier this year and I only by chance saw the post flashing by on their Facebook page. A must have of course, but again, when I hit the merch-stand to get me some DEMON gear, it was already gone.

But this was a classic set, “The Plague” sounded extra good this night, perhaps the sound made it real justice since I doubt DEMON did anything different. It's good to see the full house shouting along to “Sign Of The Madman” and “Liar” and so on, any not only the set-opener and “Don't Break The Circle” which ended the whole show as it have been on occasions. It would have been cool with one new song also as the DEMON set felt very short, it was over in no time and they definitely not filled their whole hour worth of playing-time which made me wonder how to go on from here, when would the bands start playing and where to be to make sure to not miss anything important.

DEMON setlist:

01. “Night Of The Demon”
02. “Into The Nightmare”
03. “The Plague”
04. “Sign Of A Madman”
05. “Standing On The Edge”
06. “Liar”
07. “Life On The Wire”
08. “The Spell”
09. “Don't Break The Circle”

DEMON

Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Demon @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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The short DEMON set gave me a bit of a break before the TRESPASS set at the second stage and a much-needed food-break. It's so easy to just grab a beer and watch the bands and forget about eating, especially when the schedule is hectic. So, this was next for me, and it was nice and good to not have to stress all that much to catch the next band.

In a way, I think it's a shame that TRESPASS completely ignore their 1993 album “Head”; it sure sounds really dated to the '90s but the songs are very good and played live, it should work. But perhaps most people present at the 'X Mas Rocka' just wanted the old stuff. And by all means, these old songs are great and work very fine on stage. Mark Sutcliffe has gathered a fine line of musicians to perform with him and TRESPASS surely sounded fantastic. “Jealousy” is a favorite, and so is “Be Brave”, and both sounded amazing live. That “One Of These Days” should come towards the end of the set was no wonder; the dumb thing with that though was that I was going to miss it as GRIM REAPER started on the main stage 20 minutes into the TRESPASS set. So, the “Bright Lights” song was the last one I caught, a good ending and boost for the next show. The powerful live-sound really did that song justice, showing its true hit potential.

TRESPASS setlist:

01. “The Duel”
02. “Jealousy”
03. “Be Brave”
04. “Dragons”
05. “Bright Lights”
06. “Visionary”
07. “Momentum”
08. “Live It Up”
09. “Stormchild”
10. “One Of These Days”

 

TRESPASS

Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Trespass @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I had no doubt that GRIM REAPER would deliver a good set; Steve's voice is fantastic and the GRIM REAPER songs are classics. I don't think I've ever seen so many ecstatic posts on Facebook after a show as for this one stating that “See You In Hell” was the best moment of the festival. It sure was a good moment and the entire set was fantastic. And I really liked it that Steve and his gang added some new songs from “Walking In The Shadows” to the set. Apart from the title track, the fantastic “Call Me In The Morning” came quite early and then “Temptation” later on. Even if that album has not struck me as hard as “See You In Hell” has, it is a great one and I think it needs some time to settle before becoming a classic that one too.

And it was an excited crowd that greeted the band; the support and singing along was immense. DEMON did a good job heating everyone up and now GRIM REAPER took it over the edge. “Rock Me 'till I Die” was another live-favorite from this set. Of course Steve has a great voice but nailing the DIO song “Don't Talk To Strangers” shows how damn good he really is. It sounded great and even if I would have preferred another original song, this went down really well and at this time of night, a classic like it is never fails. “Waysted Love” stood out, ballady and heavy as it is it felt a little odd to have it so late in the set but it worked very good as a build up for the last song, the one everyone was waiting for. Don't get me wrong, the support GRIM REAPER got straight rough the show was great, everyone basically knew everything they played. But it was still a step up for “See You In Hell”, which is a super-Heavy-Metal-hit so it's no wonder.

GRIM REAPER setlist:

01. “Rock You To Hell”
02. “Night Of The Vampire”
03. “Lust For Freedom”
04. “Walking In The Shadows”
05. “Call Me In The Morning”
06. “Fear No Evil”
07. “Wrath Of The Ripper”
08. “Temptation”
09. “Rock Me 'till I Die”
10. “Don't Talk To Strangers” (DIO cover)
11. “Waysted Love”
12. “See You In Hell”

GRIM REAPER

Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Grim Reaper @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I actually gotten as far that I did a test listen to STAMPEDE's “Hurricane Town” on a record store but ending up putting it back in the rack, leaving without it. I had no expectations whatsoever that STAMPEDE would do any impression on me here but since it wasn't anything else going on I might as well see it. And damn, I'm glad I did; Reuben Archer had similarities with Phil Mogg with the same style of moving on stage and being a grey gentleman. What he also had in common was the ability to charm a crowd which made the second song out “Having Fun” a perfect soundtrack for what was to come. Right away, I started to grieve that I didn't pick up the album when I had the chance. But ok, more chances will come and now I definitely know better. That song was from the 2011 release “A Sudden Impulse” as about half of the set, these as well as the classics sounded really good. “Hurricane Town” was a real favorite from the set and also “Stone Cold Turkey” stood out.

It's only Reuben and bassist Colin Bond remaining from the original line-up but young talents Rob Wolverson (guitar) and the drummer whose name I failed to find covered up in a very nice way. Looking at the time, I realized I missed most of CHROME MOLLY's set already, so I decided to stay and watch STAMPEDE till the end. After all, I was really having a good time watching STAMPEDE and I've never really gotten into CHROME MOLLY. They replaced MORE just a few weeks before the festival, which was kind of a bummer because I was looking forward to catch MORE. But now, I got to enjoy the whole STAMPEDE set instead and since they were such a pleasant surprise they became one of the favorite show of the second day. This closed the performances on the small stage in a great way. And in general, it was the shows on the O2 Academy 2 stage that I enjoyed the most throughout the festival.

STAMPEDE setlist:

01. “Shadows”
02. “Having Fun”
03. “Days Of Wine”
04. “Humble Pie”
05. “Missing You”
06. “Hurricane Town”
07. “Jesse”
08. “Stone Cold Turkey”
09. “Angel”
10. “Movin' On”
11. “The Runner”

STAMPEDE

Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Stampede @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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What was needed to really get the greatness of VARDIS was to see them at a small and intimate stage which happened earlier in 2016. After this, I've managed to see their greatness even on bigger places, even if I do prefer a smaller and intimate show when it comes to this type of Bluesy Hard Rock. There's no doubt that Steve Zodiac is one hell of a guitarists; his attack and tone is fantastic and that a trio as they are can create such a massive sound straight through the show is fantastic. I mean, Steve is playing a lot of solos but the sound is still thick and powerful. After a few classics with the highlight on “Radio Rockers”, if you ask me, Steve announced they were going to play a few from the new “Red Eye” album. That one is a real smoker so this part was the one I enjoyed the most. The title track “Red Eye” followed by “Jolly Roger” and “Paranoia Strikes” were the energy-boost I needed to continue the party as the day had both been rather long and very intense.

VARDIS have been playing high up on the bills all the times I've seen them but I here I think they should have switched with GRIM REAPER as the crowd was a bit dull for VARDIS. Some die-hard fans were going bananas of course but it wasn't the same response as for DEMON and GRIM REAPER. VARDIS ended their main set with “Let's Go” but came back after a very short break and played speedy “If I Were King” which worked very good live. And for me, the more I get to see of VARDIS the more I like them, the records are still too Bluesy for my taste but they sure are fantastic live. But again, them on a smaller stage is what I prefer.

VARDIS setlist:

01. “Move Along”
02. “The Lion's Share”
03. “Radio Rockers”
04. “Destiny”
05. “Red Eye”
06. “Jolly Roger”
07. “Paranoia Strikes”
08. “Situation Negative”
09. “Mods & Rockers”
10. “The Loser”
11. “Let's Go”
12. “If I Were King”

VARDIS

Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Vardis @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Then, from one power-trio to the next as VENOM INC. hit the stage right after VARDIS, and it felt like the atmosphere changed from the jolly cheerful attitude that had been going on to something a lot more fateful. Smoke came out of the stage and along with the red lights, a hellish atmosphere was created. And this is what I love with live-music, when bands manage to create an atmosphere around the show. And when VENOM INC. came out, everything was enhanced. It was almost scary pointing the camera at Mantas - he looks pretty scary actually. I wouldn't want to piss him off when he's on stage. On occasion, there was a beer flying on stage hitting him and getting him all wet and I was expecting a big rant about it. But instead he just looked out in the crowd with a steady stare and pointing his finger somewhere to the middle. I sure wouldn't have wanted to be in those shoes...

This didn't affect VENOM INC.'s performance one bit though; from start to end it was full on. And to get to hear all these classics is fantastic; it sure brings back memories from old days and I get as excited now as when I first heard a VENOM record thinking it was the hardest and most evil thing in the world. Opening “Rip Ride” is one favorite and a great way to open a show, hard and fast. And then later in the set came a real treat with “Poison” followed by “Buried Alive” and “Raise The Dead” - what a wonderful time that was! Extremely heavy “Warhead” is another favorite and that too worked really well, at least for me. The rest of the crowd came back with the last two in the set, “Sons Of Satan” and “Witching Hour”. The energy VENOM INC. had was absolutely fantastic, it was complete discharge and people were just walking around with a vacant look after this run-over of a set. So, again it felt strange that GIRLSCHOOL was still on, it would be really hard to beat this set.

VENOM INC. setlist:

01. “Rip Ride”
02. “Leave Me In Hell”
03. “Live Like An Angel (Die Like A Devil)”
04. “Don't Burn The Witch”
05. “Welcome To Hell”
06. “Angel Dust”
07. “Red Light Fever”
08. “Blackened Are The Priests”
09. “Carnivorous”
10. “The Seven Gates Of Hell”
11. “In Nomine Satanas”
12. “Bloodlust”
13. “Poison”
14. “Buried Alive”
15. “Raise The Dead”
16. “Warhead”
17. “Sons Of Satan”
18. “Witching Hour”

VENOM INC.

Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Venom Inc @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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So, the night and the 'NWOBHM X Mas Rocka' had come to an end and this was the last set of the event. It was a bit fun though that both days all-girl bands headlined. Stupid to point out since good music is good music no matter who plays it, but I still think it was cool, also that it didn't feel like a compromise. ROCK GODDESS carried their position with grace and even if I was hesitant that GIRLSCHOOL would be able to take over after VENOM INC., they proved very quickly that they too really were the right band for a headline spot.

Just as a few nights prior to this show, when GIRLSCHOOL opened for SAXON in Copenhagen, they spread their joy over the crowd. It's amazing to see them play - that they have this fantastic energy and just as with DEMON, it's contagious. This showed even if the crowd was getting really tired by now. The set GIRLSCHOOL played was a real treat, a lot of classic songs that sounds fantastic live. “Demolition Boys” and especially “Hit And Run” sounded fantastic. Jackie Chambers was on the front line at the SAXON show too but nothing compared to what she did here. She was posing like a true guitar-hero during the solos making it all great to watch too.

And now again the cheerful atmosphere was back in the venue and the party-mood back on. I normally promote that bands should play their new music and GIRLSCHOOL did feature their latest release “Guilty As Sin” in the set with “Come The Revolution” and fantastic MOTÖRHEAD-oozing “Take It Like A Band”. They could have played more of course but the nature of the set was really fantastic and I haven't seen GIRLSCHOOL all that many times either so I'm definitely not tired of their classic songs. So, GIRLSCHOOL ended the event in a very good way, they didn't really manage to create the same furious energy as VENOM INC. though, so people started dropping off during the second half of the set. A shame really since they sounded great and did a really good show. Perhaps it was the cheap Happy Hour beers earlier in the day that sent home the crowd prematurely?

The favorite shows this second day came from TYTAN, STAMPEDE, DEMON and of course VENOM INC but all bands did really well, both days. Everything I saw was good actually, and the 'NWOBHM X MAS Rocka' event was great. The atmosphere is what I really brought with me, very friendly and good fun. Reprise in 2017? Hell yes! Have you seen the line-up yet?

GIRLSCHOOL setlist:

01. “Demolition Boys”
02. “C'mon Let's Go”
03. “Future Flash”
04. “Hit And Run”
05. “I Spy”
06. “Come The Revolution”
07. “Take It Like A Band”
08. “Never Say Never”
09. “Screaming Blue Murder”
10. “Yeah Right”
11. “Kick It Down”
12. “Watch Your Step”
13. “The Hunter”
14. “Race With The Devil” (THE GUN cover)
15. “Emergency”

GIRLSCHOOL

Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Girlschool @ O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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