Continuing in the tradition of Monsters of Rock, the U.K.’s original heavy music fest which ran from 1980 – 1996, Stonedead’s ethos is simply; one day, one stage, one monster rock show.
Kicking off at early doors with a sterling set from Derby's retro kings These Wicked Rivers, Kickin' Valentina's unapologetic rock and roll which followed was enough to wake even the tardiest of arrivers to the capacity site.
With NWOBHM originators Tygers of Pan Tang following, The Treatment then proved that they’re still among the best hard rocks to come out of the U.K. in the recent past.
However things really notched up a gear when the next act took to the stage. Driven by the energy and enthusiasm (not to mention hair!) of singer Kenny Leckremo with the impressive understated shredding skills of guitar man Dave Dalone, H.E.A.T’s energetic set was a real shot in the arm for Stonedead.
Firing through tracks going right back to their 2008 debut, with the sun in the sky and temperatures at a glorious 23c, Leckremo declared simply; “What a beautiful day to be out here!”
Dutch melodic rockers Vandenberg meanwhile, mixed songs from their early days with a number of Whitesnake covers. “We haven't done this one in a while”, announced front man Mats Levén, ahead of the surprise inclusion of a stripped back acoustic take on ‘Sailing Ships’. Although suffering from onstage sound issues, the band battled on valiantly, with namesake guitarist Adrian Vandenberg showing off the skills that attracted David Coverdale’s attention in the first place.
The warmest greeting however, was saved for New Wave of Classic Rock favourites Those Damn Crows. Arriving to a hero’s welcome, the Welsh five-piece easily took the crown for the festival’s favourite band of the day. Raising the loudest singalong with a monumental ‘Who Did It’, the band’s status was assured. Taking in the rapturous applause, singer Shane Greenhall remarked; “a lot of you have been following us from day one”, before noting that; “The crow family is growing!”
It fell then, to headliners MSG to close out the event. "Hello everybody! Into the arena, 1 2 3 4", said an excitable Michael Schenker, announcing their arrival. Going on to dip in to all corners of his career, tellingly, save for his stints with The Scorpions, Schenker's flawless licks and incendiary flair for his instrument were, as usual a marvel to witness.
Fronted by the consistently impressive Ronnie Romero - the most recent vocalist of choice for Richie Blackmore - the band weaved their way through the Schenker catalogue; from solo successes to newer material like Ronnie James Dio tribute 'A King Has Gone', to his UFO glory years.
Closing with an incendiary 'Too Hot To Handle', Stonedead 2022 came to an end on an electrifying note.
Stonedead Festival returns to Newark Showgrounds in August 2023. For the latest news, visit the official Stonedead site.