The Scottish town of Troon is fast establishing itself as Ayrshire’s jewel in the ‘rock n roll’ crown. With the sound of Live@Troon still faintly echoing through the quiet seaside streets, Winter Storm 2017 arrived with a thundering boom; proving that Ayrshire locals, and visitors from further afield, have a real thirst for well-organised music festivals with a tight line-up of talented musicians. With over 800 weekend tickets sold, Winter Storm 2017– now in its second year- pulled in the crowds- ready to be entertained.
And indeed they were; with the festival split between the Main Stage and a breakout area – the Jägermeister Stage– the organisers planned well. There was a lovely balance between the spectacular shows performed on the Main Stage by the likes of Bigfoot, Syteria, Attica Rage, Stone Broken, Praying Mantis, Bernie Marsden, Tyketto, and Heavy Pettin’, and the more intimate Jägermeister stage where less high-octane but equally as talented acts such as acoustic ‘one-man-and-his-guitar’ Jamie Angus, the soulful Mandulu & Hephzibah, original Ayrshire three-piece Spleen and progressive punk band Losing Ground played great sets to a smaller crowd.
Led by Girlschool’s Jackie Chambers, Syteria are a band from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal- a male-dominated genre; Syteria were Winter Storm Day 1 line-up’s only female fronted rock group. Dressed in tight black leather and knee-high boots, Syteria are visually awesome and with powerful vocals, punky guitars and thrashing drums they pack a hefty punch.
Committed to touring, Glasgow-based original band Attica Rage have a BIG sound; they have perfected their head-banging live act. With heavy drums and melodic riffs, Attica Rage are a gutsy hard-core rock band.
Following on were four-piece band rock/metal band Stone Broken who, as self-styled ‘Godfather of Rock’ Tom Russell put it, certainly knew how to put on a rock n roll show. What a spectacular performance; recognised by Kerrang! and Planet Rock Radio and influenced Nickelback, Stone Broken have great stage dynamic and a bloody brilliant drummer- Robyn Haycock! Her extended drum solo was really impressive. With the crowd singing along to choruses from their album ‘All in Time’ (2016), Stone Broken’s radio-friendly rock show was noisy and fun: just the way I like it.
Formed in 1974 by the Troy brothers and returning to Winter Storm 2017 for a second year, fast and furious legends Praying Mantis owned the stage. Big hair, powerful vocals and tremendous base lines, Praying Mantis conjured up a storm with hits ‘Sanctuary’ and ‘Threshold of a Dream’.
Delighting with a genius set of blues-rock, Bernie Marsden showed Troon why he is a living music legend. Marsden, founding member of 70s band Whitesnake, delivered an astounding set including Whitesnakes’ ‘Here I Go Again’, Booker T & The MGs ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’, and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’. A special set from a true guitar icon.
With their luscious well-conditioned hair (no jealousy here), formed in 1987, New York glam metal band Tyketto leaped around the Concert Hall with glory and spirit. Passionately blasting out songs ‘Strength in Numbers’, ‘Big Money’, ‘The Run’ their set was upbeat and epic. Finishing with an encore of ‘The Last Sunset’ and finally closing with ‘Forever Young’ Tyketto delivered a brilliant ‘fist- in-the-air’ high energy show.
Finally closing Day 1 of Winter Storm 2017, the bold Heavy Pettin’ blasted onto the stage with exuberance- I suppose not having a gig together in over 25 years might do that to a band. They played their hearts out, opening with ‘Love Times Love’ and closing with ‘Hell is Beautiful’.
Day 1 of Winter Storm 2017 was a resounding success. One thing’s for sure there’s not likely to be much snow left on Goatfell in Arran, not after organiser Ian McCaig and his team put together the loudest event in Troon’s history. Can next year be louder? I’ll put my money on it.