THE BORDERLINE, LONDON
13TH AUGUST 2016
I was approached by Brian and Claire Mear well over a year ago to dj their event, organised to help raise money for The Willow Group, a charity that provides support to parents of stillborn babies, and I jumped at the chance. Not only was this a great opportunity to support them in their grief, after losing little baby Molly, but what better way to gather a crowd of metal heads together to raise money for such a worthwhile cause than a day of NWOBHM?
A genre that is still very popular with a lot of metal fans, the day boasted four original NWOBHM bands in Troyen, Sacrilege, The Deep and headliners Desolation Angels, as well as Kaine, a younger band heavily influenced by the NWOBHM sound, and up and coming guys Not Fit For Humans.
Held at The Borderline in London, a downstairs venue with a capacity of 300, a bar at one end and a stage at the other, this was the perfect location for an event such as this, its cellar like qualities adding to the atmosphere.
Brian and Claire had a personal connection to this event, and that showed in how well run and organised it was. Having a curfew of 10:30pm, there was a strict timescale to stick to, and this was handled brilliantly by both Brian and the stage manager Kevin Riddles, each band getting on and going off when they were supposed to. The place had a great sound system, although I, personally, thought the microphones of some of the bands needed to go up a touch, and there was a fantastic vibe from the crowd that showed they were all there to have a good time in support of such a wonderful cause.
The evening kicked off with Not Fit For Humans, a band who have featured in every Mearfest event since its conception six years ago. Although not a metal band, more a punk band, these guys put in a blistering performance for the whole twenty minutes they were allocated. A four piece, they describe themselves as “the best band to come out of Slough EVER!” and they were a great opener, playing a mix of covers and original songs, and as they said to me afterwards…you can’t go wrong with a bit of Motorhead, eh?
Next up were Kaine, a four piece originals band and these guys total brought the house down. Playing older tracks, songs from their latest album The Waystone and new tunes, they put in one of the best performances of the night. The bass player is simply superb and Rage Sadler is the perfect frontman, playing off the crowd as only a frontman should.
Troyen were the next band to take to the stage and I must say I didn’t really know too much about these, despite being friends with at least one of the band members on Facebook. Another four piece, this time hailing from Warrington, they put in a much more subdued performance than that of Kaine before them but this is still a talented band, with a great guitarist and I hope to see more of them in the future.
I had seen Sacrilege a few times before but I must say this was the best I had witnessed them. A crowd favourite, they were full of energy, playing the first half an hour of their set without a break. Bassist Jeff Rollins is the onstage character and Bill Beadle’s voice hit all the notes, even the high ones, every single time. This was another great performance, NWOBHM with a little bit of doom thrown in for good measure.
Five piece, The Deep followed next, kicking off with their version of “The Sound of Silence” as a tribute to Brian and Claire, before launching, steadfast, into their own material. Vocalist Tony Coldham has a fantastic voice, backed by great guitarists, another superb bassist and a young, but talented, drummer. These were another crowd favourite and finished their set with Prepare To Rock, a song written after the atrocities at the Battaclan in 2015.
So that just left us with headliners Desolation Angels. “Purveyors of melodic, face melting, heavy rock riffs” as stated on their Facebook page, these guys have been around since the early 80’s, albeit with various line-up changes, and this was my first time seeing them with ex-Midnight Messiah singer, charismatic frontman Paul Taylor. Playing tracks from their back catalogue, including previously released as a single Valhalla, Desolation Angels were the perfect headliner. Given nearly an hours playing time, they gave 100% to each song, putting in a performance they should be very proud of.
It was great to see a collection of bands working so hard to achieve what they have. If NWOBHM is a dying genre as some people believe, and after Mearfest 4 I seriously doubt that, then the guys in these bands are doing their best to keep it alive.
All in all Mearfest 4 was a total and utter success. Selling out the 300 capacity and raising £4,000.00 for The Willows Group, Brian and Claire Mear should be extremely proud of what they achieved. They have worked tirelessly for over a year to make sure this event was as great as it was, despite their grief and they truly have turned “loss into legacy”
Here’s to Mearfest 5!!
Not Fit For Humans
Blitzkreig Bop (Ramones cover)
Let It Rain
Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover)
Hell Has A High Price
Suffragette City (David Bowie Cover)
Damage Case/ Overkill Outro (Motorhed cover)
A Night Meets Death
Fall of Jericho
Voice In Hell
Quality of Madness
Dreams Never Lie
Finish What You Started
Don’t Send Me To War
In The Arena
Ashes to Ashes
Cry Of The Night
Live Another Day
Welcome To The Dragons Den
Rock n Roll With The Devil
The Wraith (we gotta get outta this place)
My Time To Die
The Sound of Silence
All I Want
Out Of Touch
When The Rains Came
Prepare To Rock
Only Time Will Tell
Dance Of The Demons