Weather wise, we must be the unluckiest people in the world. After weeks of gloriously hot, dry and sunny weather, bang on cue the rain came sweeping over the Hafod-y-dafal Farm (think highest mountain top between Abertillery and Ebbw Vale) for the start of the Steelhouse Festival.
Did it dampen our spirits? Hell it did. And what a day's music we had, as well as a few drinkies etc.
Hand Of Dimes were just finishing as we pulled up in the car park, so the first band I saw were Fighting Wolves who had visited the Steelhouse club previously. Next up were rock radio flavour of the month, from Scotland, Temperance Movement and they were excellent.
Dai Crespin....tired and emotional
And then it was time for the mighty Anvil, all the way from Canada. Enjoying a new lease of life due to 'that film', Anvil split opinions at the festival site. I enjoyed them, others thought their reputation was better than the reality.
It's simple no nonsense 80s heavy metal: 666, Bad Ass Rock'N'Roll, This is Thirteen and, of course, Metal On Metal.
Robb Reiner and 'Lips'
No nonsense heavy metal
"This Is Anvil"
Next up in the special guests slot were the melodic FM. I took a step back for them, but I have to say they were excellent and what they demonstrated was how superb the sound was at the festival site. You could hear every note off the keyboard even standing well away from the stage.
FM have had something of a revival recently, with much radio airplay of "Crosstown Train". Definitely my surprise package of the weekend.
What was no surprise was the magnificence of the mighty Saxon.
It may have rained, and boy it did on times, but this band just gets better and better.
Doug Scarratt and Biff
Nigel's drums go up
Biff and Quinny
It can be seen now see why Saxon are so popular at festivals like Wacken. Freed from the constraints of the smaller venues they have to play in the UK, for the first time in 20 years the Eagle dominated the backdrop magnificently. Combined with the flames at the stage front, this gave it a true big show feel.
Power, precision, song writing, great vocals and a genuine feel for the fans, this is a band who at last have the rock credibility that they seemed to have lost for a while.
Nibbs and Doug
All the classics were there together with material from the new album. We had Sacrifice, Heavy Metal Thunder, Strong Arm Of The Law, 747 Strangers In The Night, Dallas 1pm, Crusader, Solid Ball Of Rock, The Power And The Glory, Denim And Leather, Wheels Of Steel and Princess Of The Night...and more.
What a night!