TAILGUNNER - COTW 2023 (Spotlight Review)


About one year ago now I met a new friend at Wildfest Festival in Belgium. That gentleman’s name was Justin Cotchin from the UK. He raved about a new, young band called Tailgunner. Listening to a couple of track snippets on his crappy cell phone speaker while we had beers in the square was not enough. Getting home I checked them out properly. These young dudes are flying the heavy metal flag high and true! Chocked full of Iron Maiden et al with some thrash sensibilities thrown in here and there, they quickly became CGCM Rock Radio buzz amongst our team!

Bassist and band leader Tom Hewson joined us on the CGCM Podcast for a chat about all things Tailgunner past, present and future back in November. You can hear that chat including Tailgunner music here: CGCM Podcast EP#153 – Tailgunner.

Seeing them on the bill at Call Of The Wild Festival filled me with an excitement that was not disappointed at all…..in fact it exceeded! About a week ahead of the event Tailgunner published a statement that they had released guitarist Patrick van der Vollering for improper conduct and poor representation of the band at another event. The band acted swiftly in distancing themselves planning to continue as a 4 piece. Only a few days later, it was announced that Rhea Thompson would step in on the second guitar. Wow, that was quick! These dudes don’t screw around!


Ready in the photo pit for my first Tailgunner show, they came out hard, strong and fast with “Guns For Hire” and straight into my favourite “White Death“. With not even a breath, “Beast In The Night” followed . Like the old Batman TV series with Adam West, it was “biff“, “pow“, and “kablam“! They slapped the crowd with a flurry of songs so tightly woven together that the photographers didn’t even know it was song 4 and they were still shooting away! Typically we are allowed the first 3 songs only in the photo pit. What began as a guitar solo quickly morphed into an entire band instrumental of “Hall Of The Mountain King” as they continued to pummel the crowd. This is how it’s done right here, no fucking around and wasting time whatsoever!

Warhead” and “Crashdive” continued the heavy metal assault, necks bending all over the crowd! Finally, a moment’s talking break came in, allowing us a chance to intake air, warding off the breathlessness I was experiencing. Vocalist Craig Cairns announced to the crowd that the past week had been eventful for Tailgunner. “We started and ended the week with different guitar players!” New addition Rhea learned the entire set in just three days! And holy fuck did she do an awesome job and fit in perfectly despite at points (and understandably so) looking a bit timid and to the rest for silent cues and guidance! Great addition to Tailgunner, welcome Rhea!

Way Too Shortly, The End Is Near

The band pounded through a rippingly spirited cover of the Judas Priest classic “Painkiller” to finalize the set. They took a photo with the crowd, which I may or may not be seen in (the curse of being short). As they exited the stage I stood there, speechless, attempting to comprehend what had just happened. I haven’t had that feeling for quite a while at a show. Blown away does not even come close to a valid description!

Tailgunner Online: FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM


CGCM‘s Full Coverage of the whole 2022 event can be found here: CALL OF THE WILD FESTIVAL 2022


The Meister

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