Kent based Blues rockers, Gallows Circus kicked off the second day of proceedings at the O2 Academy Leicester on the main stage with a mix of upbeat tunes and some slower, melodic numbers, showcasing frontman Ian Day’ soulful vocals. With a voice reminiscent of Ed Kowalczyk from Live, and their whisky-drenched, blues-hearted hard rock, the four piece did a marvellous job warming up the crowd for the day ahead.

Up next, and also hailing from Kent, energetic sleazy blues and goth stylings were served up in the form of Black Roze. Impeccably dressed front woman, Viixen, kept the audience’s energy levels high with her outstanding vocals and charismatic banter between both the crowd and the band. Stand out tunes for me included their cover of Sweet Dreams which was practically dripping with sleaze, and a tune which I think was called Wake Up which features an awesome slap bass line. At The Devil’s Door tells the story of Viixen’s recent experiences with a life threatening illness where she had to be resuscitated which is full of haunting melodies before finishing out the set with a cover of These Boots are Made For Walking.

Opening up the second stage, South London four-piece, Ransom brought their own brand of catchy punk rock, rock and roll to a packed out room. Frontman, Matt Fielder, easily won over the crowd with his easy self-deprecating humour and classic rock inspired vocals. Formerly a covers band, now playing their own material including tracks about Lockdown in London and songs about Rishi Sunak all in a classic rock style are sure to win Ransom more and more fans as they continue to tour the UK.

To take us through twilight, four-piece blues rockers Daxx & Roxane took to the main stage. To my recollection they were the first band of the day to break out a harmonica which definitely brought a much appreciated texture to the set. They brought the tempo down a little during the middle of the set with a couple of melodic numbers containing harmonic solos and thumping bridges before kicking it back into high gear with driving riffs and AC/DC-esque vocals. While on the second stage, the heavy, driving blues rock of Electric Black saw us into the evening.

Next up, Yorkshire vocalist/guitarist Loz Campbell and her band brought heavy riffs, sultry vocals and some raw energy to the show. An excellent performance from one to watch as she undoubtedly gains a bigger following and rises through the uk scene as she is about to head out on her first uk headline tour. As an indication of just how heavy the tunes could get, drummer Tom played with such ferocity that he broke the kick pedal. Apparently the stage got a bit too crowded for some band members mid-set as the guitarist and bass player went on a walkabout through the crowd. And finally, we were given a hint as to some upcoming news about the forthcoming tour in the form of a cover of Cherry Bomb. What exactly this means, remains to be seen.

South of Salem took to the stage to the strains of the Halloween theme before exploding with their particular brand of high energy riffs and thunderous bass. Blowing away any lingering Sunday cobwebs and getting the whole crowd singing along. The Bournemouth based crew blasted through upbeat tunes as well as more melodic, thoughtful tunes such as Demons are forever serving as a reminder that we are not alone. Check the music video made during the pandemic as an anthem for those struggling with loneliness. This is a band that definitely connect well with their audience and proved to be a firm favourite for the day.

Speaking of fan favourites, second stage headliners, The Suicide Notes made fast friends with not only their sleazy blues rock offerings, but also by passing around Jack Daniel’s to the crowd to keep the cold outside at bay. Crazy guitar solos, glorious rock and roll antics and massive drum solo concert endings from the insanely talented drummer closed out the second stage in absolute style.

Tales of depression and just how shitty life can be are given an upbeat, riff heavy, bluesy hard rock makeover by Doomsday Outlaw. Opting to effect title changes such as changing the catchy One More Sip to make it slightly more palatable than its original title, Drink Myself to Death. Despite nearing the end of the day and indeed the weekend, the crowd were game for the audience participation segments and still in fine voice. Also, despite the late hour, there were firsts still to come in the form of an excellent slide guitar solo. Add on top of that some epic blues piano, crunchy riffs and masterful vocals and it’s well worth checking them out as their new album, Damaged Goods is released on Feb 2nd.

Closing out the event, Leader of Down took to the stage. Founded by former Motörhead guitarist Würzel before his passing in 2011 with bassist Tim Atkinson, Leader of Down injected a shot of blistering metal into the hardcore fans still up for partying to the end. They were rewarded with not only an excellent set of material and performances including an homage to Jack Nicholson with the insanely catchy Here’s Johnny. But, also a guest appearance from original Iron Maiden guitarist, Dennis Stratton, who joined the lineup to raucous applause for the closing numbers of the weekend which took the form of belting covers of both Kill by Death and Master of the Universe by Hawkwind.

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