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Backstage chat, front stage view: A look back at Rock The Coast Festival 2019 – Sohail Castle, Fuengirola Malaga

Words and Pictures: Chris Willow

Additional Pictures: Alexandra Wierzbinski

Fuengirola, a Spanish, Mediterranean, Costa Del Sol resort in Malaga Province, with its south of the city located medieval, magical Sohail Castle is a place where music, beach and holiday atmosphere has mingled together during the first edition of Rock The Coast Festival 2019. This three days, the 13th -15th June event has brought on over 40 various kinds of hard rock and heavy metal bands. Scorpions and Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow were the main headliners who attracted most of 15,000 alike crowd to the Marenostrum Music Castle Park.

Wardruna a nordic, trance and doomy rock band gave the exceptional show which opened the festival. They were supported by the legions of their fans dressed up in cavemen’s alike wardrobe and other inventive outfits. And it was really thrilling Viking in style night opening this festival.


An extraordinary and exceptional performer of this Rock The Coast Festival was Ritchie Blackmore with his Rock Memories version of Rainbow. This 74 living in States, English legendary guitarist, together with Tony Iommi/Black Sabbath and Jimmi Page/Led Zeppelin has started it all, what now is called ‘heavy metal’. In spite of struggling with serious arthritis in his hands and with other aging symptoms now, Ritchie Blackmore managed to present emotional and magic full Rock Memories versions of his 70’s & 80’s Deep Purple and Rainbow eras, timeless hits.

It was an amazing night. He played faster and more up-tempo than while touring Europe last year. It seems like the sunny, warm weather and spontaneous crowd did their thing too. Ritchie Blackmore got some extra speed while playing ‘Spotlight Kid’ and ‘Burn’ which made the show like tens of years ago. The crowd was singing to most of the setlist songs. And that was a feeling, that was fabulous.

I’ve chatted backstage with Rainbow bass player Bob Curiano who told me he is happy and excited about playing rock with Ritchie now. He explained that current Rainbow’s music is not strictly heavy rock but those are Ritchie’s memories of heavy rock he used to play a long time ago. And Bob also mentioned the full Moon (pointing the sky) effected him in a strange way and was magnetizing their music. Ronnie Romero, a lead singer for touring Rainbow showed his first-class rock attitude and the exceptional sound of his voice, which is getting much deeper, much more David Coverdale alike, the thunderous roar from the guts.

Ronnie and Christina Lynn Skleros, Rainbow backing singer met us backstage too and enjoyed pictures with our apprentice photographer Alexandra.

Ronnie Romero and The Ferrymen have just released new video ‘New Evil’

Scorpions concert wasn’t any worst with their vicious significant sound that was slamming our ears. Rudolf Schenker’s Gibson Flying V riffing and running about the stage trick are still hooking on. Mathias Jabs’ iconic figure and his virtuoso solos echo with great memories and are knocking down as before. The duo Schenker /Jabs is still unbeatable.

I met Mr. Schenker and Mr. Jabs backstage, where I was invited by Rudolf Schenker. They told me,
they still record music the old way, they meet together in the studio where jamming and that triggers new ideas and keeps the rock spirit alive. Rudolf at his 70s is still fit and full of ‘Animal Magnetism’ (Scorpions 70’s song) that sparks on stage with a blazing power. My countryman Pawel Maciwoda was there too and he admitted that during ten years of doing the bass line for Scorpions he feels like in the family now and he is very happy working and performing with Scorpions guys. Mickey Dee, their time machine drummer was running all over the place like seventeen years old kid who couldn’t wait to get the stage to explode with his energy on that magnificent night. ‘Coast To Coast’ a worldwide Scorpions hit from 70s was there too and its heavy, classical rock sound was like an exclamation mark for the red hot audience.

Tarja Turunen, an ex-Nightwish singer with her band Tarja was supporting Scorpions and her highly colorful orchestral singing was fabulous – a crucial element of the band’s expression. And it was worth to travel thousands of miles to hear her singing like that. She put her heart in every note as she was singing for her home audience performing older songs as well as a new one from the new album. We can wish Tarja to carry on and maybe to create a bit more diversified music but …we can’t complain she is the greatest heavy metal diva and personality of the 21st century.

Europe with his melodic rock hits gave the drive to the Mediterranean climates and rocked on the whole audience.

Mobile Uploads: RTC 2019

UFO who supported Rainbow was very good and Phill Mog presented quite a good form and Doctor Doctor and Belladonna and Lights Out were sounding like in the old days when Michale Schenker was playing with them. It is a pity they couldn’t get him as a guest for their Fuengirola concert. Maybe the next time they would spark an idea like that.

Death Metal was well represented by Dark Tranquillity from Sweden. They played quite a well-set list with their greatest numbers such as…. and a new song from their forthcoming album. Mikael Stane was the star of the show and his stage behavior and workmanship are high-class death metal of the top shelf.

The festival was also good for Arkona from Ukraine. Their music was very different from the other bands and slaving traditional motives put into death metal, made it sounded mystical and gave the feeling of the dark ages of sword and magic.
Other bands like Mopets, Udo, ….. had their devoted fans traveling with them too. Those groups were a solid base bringing the younger fans to the festival and their concerts made the difference in its image and we salute them!

The event itself didn’t feel old-fashioned or staid but because of its atmosphere it looks like mores are changing and ever-evolving sunny beaches of Fuengirola could easily be turned into a huge music picnic alike place, straight from flower power, free love, rock-n-roll sixties era. It was a very well organized event with all facilities working on. And yet it was a first edition it brought so many different bands, styles, and stage appearances. It was a significant festival for every band participating in it and gave them a nice aura and publicity. We look forward to the next edition and other new bands and more fantastic music to come…

PHOTO GALLERY – (C) Alexandra Wierzbinski

 

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