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Sonisphere 2014: Sebastian Bach & Black Spiders

We headbang through the afternoon with two heavy rocking hairy-hitters. And do some dancing...

These days, you know what you’re getting with a Black Spiders show. Given that this translates as ‘a really fucking good time’, that’s a positive thing. With an arsenal of rollocking ‘heavy metal rock n’ roll’ at their fingertips (gratifyingly heavy, but smiley at heart), they comprehensively entertain and delight the Bohemia stage crowd - further cementing their reputation as one of the most enjoyable live acts around.

Heavier, fuzzed moments almost give the impression of a Pro Plus-addled stoner rock outfit, but the tongue-in-cheek joie de vivre of something like Stick It To The Man keeps ‘healthy fun’ firmly on the menu. Creatures is wonderfully crunching, Kiss Tried To Kill Me still kicks arse and the fact that even the Despicable Me ‘minion’ balloon - bedecked with large moustache - seems to be having fun bodes well for the middle-finger-raising fivesome.

Oh yes, sometimes a stage filled with guitars, hair and good-natured testosterone is all you want from life. Certainly at a festival creeping from rainy clouds into slightly more stable sunshine. This was one such time. Well done, men, well done. [8]

His hair gleams like the sun, his latest video brims with oiled-up ladyfolk (fresh from new LP Give ‘Em Hell) and armed with the octave-topping lungs of a startled demon, Sebastian Bach is set to induce extensive arm waving and singing along among the tent-full of punters present.

Striding on - open of shirt, shiny of chest - Bach and band deliver a spread of fan favourites/Skid Row cuts and select newbies, including a satisfying, chest-pounding romp through single Temptation. The likes of 18 & Life offer sound head-swaying value, while Seb’s shrill “ayeeeyayayayahh!” thrills punctuate the hardened, metallic grooves of Monkey Business. In the grand scheme of things he might be a tad stodgy as a tunesman, but Seb can work a crowd with nuts and gusto - a consummate showman, like a slender, effeminate Asterix in the Viking helmet he acquires midway through.

Skid Row’s sweet, high school prom-friendly_ I Remember You_ sees him melt a little, though the endearing effect is slightly tainted by hints of diva strop in his shout of: “they’re telling us we can only play ONE more song”, before All My Friends Are Dead rounds things off. A rather abrupt end, then, but one that’s left his onlookers wanting more. [7]

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.