Musicians (from left) Shannon Cooper-Garland, Nathan Kahukura, Rob Carson, Jason Schmidt, Marc Hansen (front) and Morgan Bickley (absent) will perform epic songs including Run to the Hills, Number of the Beast and Whole Lotta Love in Gods of Rock 2

THE Gods of Rock are returning this year and along with being bigger and badder, they’re staying for longer.

Once again featuring epic guitar riffs and powerhouse voices, Gods of Rock 2 will be the second instalment of the tribute night which was first held at ILT Stadium Southland in July last year.

Guitarist Jason Schmidt is one of the Southland musicians returning to the stage this year.

He said members of the backing band, the Four Horsemen, got together to rehearse last week with some of the guest performers.

The show would be a similar format to last year.

Favourites from bands including Metallica, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Motorhead would be performed, with Dio being added to the mix this year, Schmidt said.

“People want to hear the greats, and the greats are the ones we covered.

“I think the only one people were disappointed with last year was that we didn’t have Dio. Because Rob [Carson] can sing Dio we chucked them in this time.”

This time the show will be performed at the Corinthian Centre over two nights, with a big lighting rig and sound system coming from Dunedin.

“It’s all on.”

Schmidt said they had had a lot of interest from people outside the region wanting to be part of, or to come and see, the show.

“So there’s a lot of interest in the show, but it’s all about the music.”

And with so much music in the rock and metal catalogue to choose from, Schmidt said he hoped the Gods of Rock shows would become regular events.

“You can only fit three hours of music into a night, so we want to keep doing them.”

Drummer Marc Hansen, of Christchurch, was in Invercargill rehearsing with the band last week and is looking forward to performing in the show.

Hansen said he had been drumming since he was very young and spent a lot of time travelling and playing music with different artists.

He was approached to perform in the show by Schmidt and singer Shannon Cooper-Garland, he said.

“I heard and saw some snippets of the show last year and pretty much I was amazed by what these boys are doing.”

Hansen said he grew up with all types of music and had played most types of music throughout the years. However, he did love metal from the 1970s and 80s.

“When I was asked I was really excited about coming down and meeting them and playing with them – and learning a lot of stuff that I haven’t actually played before.”

Another guest for this year’s show will be Justin “Jackhammer” Niessen, from 8 Foot Sativa.

“He’s 100% on… and he’s doing Pantera,” Schmidt said.

“It’s extremely exciting and the last few days we’ve had a lot of fun.”

And the public were excited, too, with some people booked in for both nights, he said.

“Once again people are going to be blown away by the instrumentation.

“It’s [five] weeks out and we’re in a really good place. We look forward to giving the public a really good night out.”

Gods of Rock 2, Corinthian Centre, Invercargill Workingmen’s Club, December 14 and 15, 8.30pm. Book at TicketDirect.Adidas shoesMen’s shoes