6 things we learnt at High Voltage

27th Jul 2011 | 13:52

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage

We spent the weekend livin’ it up at the classic rock-loaded High Voltage festival. Fittingly for an event filled with more experienced players and punters we came away with a shed-load of new knowledge. Here’s what we picked up…

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage
Judas Priest are still at the top of their game

As if anyone ever doubted them. Even on this, their farewell tour, Scott Travis and Judas Priest remained ear-splittingly awesome with their Saturday night headline set. Travis was on fine form throughout and while there were some grumbles that the set was pretty much identical from their Wolverhampton show a few nights before, when a show’s this entertaining you’re probably best not to mess with it.

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage
Mike Mangini is a machine

We all knew Mike Mangini was a superb drummer. We all knew he’d be a great fit for Dream Theater. But still, that he has come in and immediately slotted in as if he had been in the band for the last 20 years is astounding. He didn’t put a foot wrong during the band’s two hour set, and let’s be honest this wasn’t straight 4/4 stuff he was playing, it was a gargantuan set filled with mind-bending time signatures and rhythms. Astounding.

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage
Rock bands never retire

Judas Priest take note, we had two bands come out of retirement for appearances at High Voltage and between them they delivered some of the highest points of the weekend. On Saturday Skin (drummer Dicki Flisza pictured) put on a set of party rock and the following day fellow supposedly retirees Thunder did just the same.

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage
Nobody rocks harder (or louder) than Brent Fitz

When we caught Slash’s set at last year’s Download we realised that drummer Brent Fitz had done an incredible job in nailing drum parts originally played by Steven Adler, Matt Sorum, Josh Freese and more. At High Voltage we learned that Fitz not only knows the parts as well as anybody, he rocks than harder than anyone out there too. During Slash’s superb greatest hits set the sticksman was on electric form smashing the skins on his beautiful DW from the first second to the last. We should have realized that we were in for a seriously explosive set earlier in the day when Brent took us for a nose around his set-up and showed us his monstrous 28” kick drum.

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage
Just what Brian Downey's new Natal kit looks like up close and personal

We mentioned a second ago that Slash drummer Brent Fitz took us for a look around his DW kit, well while we were there we couldn’t help but take a detour and also check out Brian Downey’s new Natal set-up too. The red sparkle kit looked stunning and after being stood just feet away from Brian while he powered Thin Lizzy’s rapturously well received set we can confirm that it sounds fantastic as well.

6 things we learnt at High Voltage
6 things we learnt at High Voltage
Classic rock is in safe hands

With all the talk of retirement it was nice to also see plenty of young blood on the bill. Saturday saw Rival Sons (featuring drummer Michael Miley, pictured) prove that the spirit of Led Zep will never die with a blues rock sound that surprisingly works as well on a huge festival stage in front of tens of thousands of people as it does in a dingy club, while on Sunday fellow blues rock revivalists Saint Jude (like the Black Crowes fronted by Janis Joplin) proved just why they were such worthy Rhythm Introducing stars in issue 190 (you’ve got to admire that shameless plug) and fresh-faced The Treatment showed that you’re never too young for cock rock.

Live shots from this gallery came from Dave Phillips, author of the book A Drummer’s Perspective (reviewed in Rhythm 187). You can order the book here.

Apps you might like:

Most Popular

TopView classic version