Monday, July 29, 2013

Steelhouse Festival, Day 2, Michael Schenker, Magnum, 28/07/13

And so it was to day 2 of the Festival with the weather scarcely any better.

We left it until the evening to head on up, and at 7pm, we could hear the strains of the Whitesnake classics: "Slow'N'Easy", "Here I Go Again" and "Fool For Your Loving" coming from the stage as the band's former members now in Snakecharmer weaved their magic.
Magnum came on stage at around 8pm. It was with a little trepidation that I anticipated their slot as I've been massively disappointed with their live shows in recent years; namely too much newer slower material which just meanders too much for me.
This was a pleasant surprise, however, as even the newer numbers came over as more up tempo, and then we had the classics: How Far Jerusalem?, Days Of No Trust, Vigilante and, of course, Kingdom Of Madness.



Bob and Tony - the stalwarts

Lots of older classics

In the beer tent...a popular place on a wet weekend
And then it was time for the maestro - Michael Schenker.
Reunited with Scorpions Francis Buchholz on bass and Herman Rarebell on drums, and with Doogie White on vocals, the Temple Of Rock set is a celebration of the work of UFO, the Scorpions and the MSG.

The Temple Of Rock

Singing In The Rain

Wayne Findlay and Francis

Michael Schenker....back on song

Ten years ago, Schenker looked finished. With personal, financial and drink problems, his reputation plummeted, but in recent times he's got his act together is playing as well as ever.

What a set list we had. You name it, it was there: Lovedrive, Coast To Coast, Holiday, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Armed And Ready, Attack Of The Mad Axeman, Blackout (you tube), Doctor Doctor (you tube), Only You Can Rock Me, Lights Out, Shoot Shoot and so on.

This line up have a new album coming out and as they closed this, the last night of their tour, they looked happy and settled.

This was an absolutely brilliant set, what a band.

Despite the weather, the Steelhouse Festival was a great success. Credit should go to the organisers for all of their hard work in making it such a success. Roll on 2014!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Steelhouse Festival, Day 1, Saxon, FM, Anvil, 27/07/13

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.

Cake monsters

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'

Lips again

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!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Glamorgan v Northamptonshire, T20, Cardiff, 26/07/13

A bitterly disappointing home defeat by Northamptonshire left Glamorgan's T20 quarter final hopes hanging by a thread following this insipid performance at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff.
A promising start then stuttered along to a below par 125.
Northants cruised home with 9 balls to spare with Cameron White hitting 71 not out.

Another fine night for T20 in Cardiff

Steven Crook of Northants

Graeme Wagg bowls

A great scene, pity about the result

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Glamorgan v Worcestershire, T20, Cardiff, 23/07/13

Glamorgan got their T20 campaign back on course with a last over victory over Worcestershire, a win which leaves quarter final qualification in their own hands.
It was faster and bouncier pitch than usual at the SWALEC, and less suitable for spin, hence Worcester got an above par score of 157.
It looked a tough target but excellent batting from Allenby (50), Goodwin (59) and Wright (22 no) saw the home side through.


Graeme Wagg (excellent again) to Moeen Ali

Nathan McCullum was poor tonight (4-0-52-1)
A good night under the lights
Glamorgan's last 2 games are at home to Northants and Gloucestershire, on Friday and next Tuesday.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

England v Australia, Day 3, Lord's, 20/07/13

I know it's a bit of a cliché but there really is nothing like an Ashes test at Lord's, especially the Saturday, and this was no different.
The play itself was very traditional test cricket; steady batting, accumulated runs and a merciless grinding down of the Aussies by some fine England batting.

Joe Root was absolutely superb, technically sound, solid in defence but then put the bad ball away when the bowlers got tired. Just like watching Boycott, and there are fewer bigger compliments than that. He closed on 178.

England grind them down

Australia field all day

Bresnan and Root batted together....

... until after lunch

But Root goes on and on.....

....passing 100 on the way

A long day in the field for Australia

Ian Bell comes to the party

And the sun comes out in the afternoon

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gloucestershire v Worcestershire, LVCC2, Day 1, Cheltenham, 17/07/13

It really is one of the highlights of the summer to spend some time at the Cheltenham Cricket Festival and, in sweltering heat, this visit was no different.
It really matters little that we're talking about two struggling Division 2 sides, because a lively track, a fast outfield and a fine setting make the admission fee worthwhile.
The last time I was here I saw a Robert Croft hatrick and on today's visit I saw another hatrick, this time by Gloucestershire's James Fuller a the home side ripped through the Worcestershire top order to leave them 22 for 6.

Glos in control early on

Joe Leach...impressive

Worcestershire's Gareth Andrew does some hitting during a recovery
In fairness, Leach and Andrew got their heads down, to stage a recovery as Worcestershire eventually made 182.
In reply, Gloucestershire progressed serenely to 83 without loss by the close.

drinks on a sweltering day

James Fuller field on the boundary at Cheltenham..... of the most enjoyable parts of the domestic season

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Warwickshire v Nottinghamshire, LVCC1, Day 1, Edgbaston, 15/07/13

Edgbaston is one of the most impressively developed Test Match grounds in the country, and it's always nice to pay it a visit, especially as us Glamorgan fans get to see so little Division 1 Championship cricket.
That said, it's a bit rich, even for the Champion County, to double its admission prices from £10 to £20 for a day's cricket.
On another glorious July day, Warwickshire batted first and took a safety first approach, scoring only 54 by lunch off 31 overs.

Luke Fletcher to Will Porterfield

Forgotten England man Ajmal Shahzad bowls

The impressive Edgbaston

By the afternoon, Warwickshire had moved on largely due to an impressive piece of batting by Laurie Evans and Tim Ambrose.


On the pitch at tea....

...and down the track...

The Bears' Laurie Evans on his way to a ton