And finally we have the closing band of the entire weekend..........
Well I guess you really had to be there.
To fully celebrate 40 years of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, we were honoured to have the face of the NWOBHM himself Thunderstick Mr. Barry Graham Purkis. The ex Iron Maiden/Samson drummer who is such an iconic figure. Many people had bought tickets well in advance and travelled far and wide to witness the new line up: Raven Blackwing, Rex Thunderbolt , Mike Gibbons, Lee Quenby and the main man himself Thunderstick, who sat at the back, buried within the most impressive drum kit Mearfest stage crew had ever had to assemble during the longest time given between bands just to prepare the stage.
As the SAMSON classic 'Riding with the Angels' opened the set, the air was full of excitement as their brand new female lead singer had recently been revealed as Raven Blackwing. Raven was a complete revelation, owning the stage with true unadulterated passion, confidence and charisma, with many costume changes between each song. In steps Joanne Purkis as chief dresser, busy in the wings behind her cloth and metal dressing screen, where she ruffled feathers, threw around yards of black lace, hooked up beaten leather, hoisted tight boned corsets, rhinestone facemasks and belts, belts, and more belts. Just imagine the time logistics for a minute here? But miraculously, everything started and finished on time, and what a mighty powerful voice in between. The stage set became pure rock and roll visual theatre. Props had purpose, a coffin, suspended dollies, a blacked-out mask and stake for me to be tied to a post during 'Blackwing' which was a moving story all about rebirth and enlightenment, they had really done us at Mearfest proud. All in all, there were more props and costume changes than Alice Cooper could ever have dreamt of, along with moving and descriptive story telling via the enchantingly sung word.
Each band member was not only creatively unique within their own right, but true professional show people. Rex was a wonderful charismatic bass player, Lee and Mike are both superb animated guitarists, which added so much to the bands glorious sound and visionary experience. Thunderstick himself was simply mind blowing to witness, as I knew he would be. His legendary rhinestone face mask was first created in 1979, this went against the normal facelessness of a drummer, no one sees them anyway so why not make something of it. Yes, he was sat behind his band, surrounded by drums and high cymbals, but his presence was notably eminent. One of the best most thunderous drummers around today.
Thunderstick the band is a formidable machine. The overall effect produced something wondrous, which if I am honest, not witnessed as much now a days as it should be. It was pure entertainment and that ladies and Gentlemen, is what a live rock performance is all about. Rob Grain and Joanne Purkis work tirelessly on and off the stage, creating 180 degrees of perfection, if something went wrong it was seamlessly fixed.
There was a lot at stake here and I am not just talking about myself in a mask! Everything ran like clockwork, it had been so well thought out and rehearsed. The show, and let us be honest here, that this was a real end of show SHOW was magnifique. We couldn't have wished for a more fitting band to put the cherry on our special anniversary Great British festival.
1979 Revisited was exactly that.
As the classic 'Vice, Versa' is brought back to life decades later.
Now resplendent in its new radiant clothing, sparkling with new life.
Thunderstick had done something quite remarkable here.
As the final track from the Rocky Horror show 'time warp' came to a close, the stage was invaded by the village hall staff who had worked tirelessly for two very long days. Blessings go to Marie Edwards and Karen Barker and her team, who said we could let as many party poppers off as we liked, and not to worry about the mess on the floor, I think we found a disappointing handful in time for the finale.
The hall was filled with raised arms, clapping, cheering, finger horns and lit phones filming every last moment for future retrospection, the joyous shouts of " More, More! More! was the rebel yell of the weekend. Beyond all their multifarious creative talents was the hand of Molly, who we both felt was watching from the heavens in complete wonder.
We as a collective had set the spirit free by turning all our losses into legacy, that truly lives on within each one involved.
the band are currently looking for management representation, if you feel you can help contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Bx
The real finale end of show SHOW.........
Quotes post show.......
It has been a long struggle...Thunderstick after playing Hard Rock Hell last November were once again left in tatters after an ongoing rift had come to it's natural conclusion a parting of the ways leaving Myself Rex and Lee with the daunting task of finding musicians to fill the vacancies. A long search ensued.The replacement guitarist in Mike Gibbons came about quite quickly but the search for a girl singer took much longer with a lot of potentials being seen. Until through a mutual friend I contacted Raven. Possibly the best vocalist this band has had since the '80's we were once more whole.
Rex Thinderbolt What can I say Brian and Claire?
Paul Lewis Satan's Empire....
Brian & Claire Mear pride themselves on putting on a good show. Photography is Claire's passion, only the finest collection of images will be added here by the best photographers.