All-Star Festival Belgium 2022

ALL-STAR FESTIVAL – Sunday

Sunday at All-Star Festival was right in my wheelhouse, loving the NWOBHM, this was my day “so to speak”.

Highway Chile led the charge on this traditional metal/NWOBHM-styled day! To me, they were basically unknown, but a good friend deemed them one of his bucket list bands and so I was paying attention. Again, blown away by a band I didn’t know! They also have a connection to Helloise which formed after members left Highway Chile.

Knowing that I was going to be catching Weapon UK next week in Stockholm, I used their set for my social engagements, listening from further back. The highlight for me was closer “Set The Stage Alight” which I’d featured in one of my radio shows on NWOBHM. NWOBHM Radio Show Part 2

Tytan for me were a fix-up band as in that I should have seen them for the first time at Headbangers Open Air, but a traffic jam prevented their airport transfer from getting them to the event in time. I love Tytan and especially the song “Love You To Death“. The band right away endeared themselves to me with their jovial internal banter between band members during the sound check. They laughed, joked and were clearly having fun. This carried into the set as well (the whole creepy daughters thing…you had to be there). Other emotions were also displayed in tears as bassist/founder Kevin Riddles teared up while dedicating a song to his wife.

Tytan’s Aftermath

Witch Cross, a band out of Copenhagen, Denmark came to my attention on the back of their 2021 release Angel Of Death and especially the track “Phoenix Fire“. Not knowing much else about their outputs (as yet, but definitely will do in the future), I thought their set was engaging and moved along quite nicely.

French band Sortilege had been much spoken about in the days and hours leading up to this gig by friends. I went into the show totally blind and came away thinking I needed to get into the Sortilege catalogue….and sooner rather than later at that!

Can the Day Get Even Stronger?

Having seen Praying Mantis in the past as well as already twice this year, I knew the top-quality set that the All-Star crowd was in for. The guys once again met all expectations in another great show! They are always excellent, but once again we were cheated out of “Cheated“. I will assume that they are just tired of playing that one they’re probably most known for. But I wanna hear it live….lol

Killer is another Belgian band and later addition to the All-Star event. I’d been aware of them for some time and quite like their albums. Of which a new one is on the way in 2023. When CGCM Podcast recorded the Belgian episode mentioned above, Killer was a brand new band to hit co-host Wally‘s radar, so that’s cool. They delivered an awesome set reminding a little of Motorhead in sound and trio of players….yet also somehow of Spinal Tap on the visual of guitar player/vocalist Shorty. CGCM Podcast – Around The World in 80 Episodes – Belgium

The Expected Guest and Perfect Headliner

Being a fan of the NWOBHM I was looking forward to Demon. I’ve seen Demon several times over the recent 10 years and one of my favourites live. As a humourous coincidence I actually just purchased a used vinyl copy of The Unexpected Guest the day before the show right here at a shop in Antwerp!

What a magical show, perfect setlist incorporating newer, older and also some I’ve rarely heard them do live. I sang and danced along near the back of the crowd hearing classics such as “Night Of The Demon“, “Into The Nightmare” and “Sign Of A Madman” for the opening trio tonight. Of course, we were also treated to the Demon classics of “The Spell” and “Liar” in the mix. From the excellent Unbroken album, “Fill Your Head With Rock” found its way into the list as well. Also represented were albums The Plague, British Standard Approved, Breakout and Better The Devil You Know. I don’t recall any selections from 2016’s Cemetary Junction making the cut for tonight, but I do hope that Demon is working on some new material and follow-up to that release! A fantastic closeout to All-Star Festival in Antwerp, Belgium.

For all the social media posted troubles ahead of the event, everything was wonderful here on site. OK, there are always a few things (*especially for photographers, there was no photo pit and the stage lighting was simply horrendous) but overall a great event. CGCM will certainly be back in 2023!

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