SOS Festival 2017
14th-16th July 2017
The Longfield Suite, Prestwich, Manchester
Review by Andy Miles with some boring comments from some bloke called Rick!
Hi Everyone, Rick here!
I had been so looking forward to covering the 10th Anniversary of SOS Festival. There was an absolutely cracking line-up over the three days and I was going to get the chance to meet up with loads of friends that I hadn’t seen for a good while, so you can imagine how devastated I was when, at the last minute, circumstances beyond my control scuppered my chances of attending!
My immediate thought was that I would be letting organisers Lynne and Mark down. They are two of the hardest working and loveliest people I know, in fact the complete team behind SOS are amazing and it really has become one of the ‘must attend’ Festivals on the calendar!
However, within thirty minutes of starting to let people know I couldn’t make it, my good friend Andy Miles got in touch with me and said he would have a go at reviewing the event for me. Now that would be a brilliant offer from someone who had written reviews before but Andy struggles to write his name (that is a joke by the way!!) and he had certainly never reviewed or covered an event/gig/festival before! For those of you that do cover events though, you’ll know that it isn’t as easy as it sounds so it wasn’t just a brilliant offer, it was beyond kind for someone who had bought tickets and was actually meant to be chilling out with his mates to offer to help me in this way and I will be forever grateful to Andy!
What makes it even better is that he’s actually made a damn good job of the review and if he wants a job (non-paid of course lol) at Ever Metal then he is more than welcome.
So, I’m now passing you over to the words of Mr Andrew Miles who seemed to have a rather good time!
SOS FESTIVAL 10th ANNIVERSARY
Well here goes!
Having attended SOS Festival, with amazing friends for the first time in 2016, the 2017 event couldn’t come quickly enough, only this SOS was going to be slightly different as I’d offered to do a review of a few bands and the whole experience as my dear friend Rich Tilley was unable to attend due to various reasons.
Now, I’m no expert on doing this kind of thing, I’m a fan of metal music but hey… I thought ‘why not, let’s give it a go and help my mate out!
SOS is now in its 10th year and is organised by some of the nicest folk I’ve ever met. They aren’t in it for the money; they do it with love and affection for the bands and the people that come to watch great bands so Mark Appleton and Lynne Hampson please take a bow along with your backroom team because you nailed it!
For starters the venue is great. The Longfield Suite in Prestwich, Greater Manchester has superb facilities with a well-stocked bar serving a decent selection of ales, spirits and soft drinks for the kids. Food is also available and is great, the burgers and chilli were both very popular and the chips were lovely! Seating is available for the older generation who can’t stand all day and there were some really great stalls selling a variety of things from jewellery to lamps, glasses and bloody scary dolls!!
There was also a kids club to keep the little ones happy which was run by Mark & Lynne’s daughter Lindsey Appleton. Top job Lindsey, you worked bloody hard!
The Merch stands were well stocked with T-shirts and hoodies from most of the bands which were great quality and well-priced.
Now let’s not forget this is a three day and night festival indoors so there is no mud lol and you get the best part of 30 plus bands for the giddy price of £15…yes £15!!! It’s the most amazing value for money ever. Good ale, music, decent food, all indoors, £15… What’s not to like? This truly is a family friendly festival and seeing so many faces from last year just proves it’s a winner all day long! It was great to catch up with folk and chew the musical cud over a beer! When folk travel over from Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Sweden as well as from all over the UK you know it’s something special.
The venue is split between two stages, the main stage (named after Nightvision bassist Dean Hocking, who was a great friend to many involved with the Festival and who was sadly lost to us in 2012) and the acoustic stage, which this year had been named ‘The Wizz Acoustic Stage’ after Wizz Beauprez, ‘Wizz Wizzard’ vocalist and another huge friend of the Festival and many of the attendees who passed away in 2016. This was a lovely touch, especially as his wife was attending. She was a truly lovely lady who said that the love around the venue for Wizz was amazing to feel and seeing the banner with his face on was very special!
The venue also had a well-run press room which I stayed well away from Ha-ha (Rick here…I don’t blame him lol!)
We arrived at the venue on Friday at around 6pm and I was greeted by the sight of Luke Appleton, bass player in Iced Earth who supposedly couldn’t attend due to touring with the band! However, he had made the effort to fly in from Germany to support his brother, his family and all his friends. Now that’s dedication and it brought a bloody tear to my eye let me tell you!
6.20pm arrived and the first band hit the stage. ‘I Saw The World Burn’ are a four piece metal band from the Midlands, fronted by a female singer (Katie Cairns) who couldn’t have been more than eight stone wet through and about 5″4 tall, but sweet Jesus could she growl! This was proper heavy, brutal, riff laden thrash metal and it certainly got my attention! By god she gave it her all and it was some start to three days of SOS 2017!
Next up were ‘Amethyst’ from Manchester (winners of the 2015 Metal 2 The Masses Manchester competition). They were another four piece band who were fast paced with a big bass element and big beards! They had a proper Thrash/Groove Metal sound. “No Redemption” was a great track!
Next to hit the stage were the band that I thought stole the show last year ‘A Jokers Rage’. They’ve been away from the scene for a short while due to various reasons but my god did they make a stunning return. Zakk Taylor is some front man, his vocals are superb and as a band they are tight and crisp. They bounced off each other and the crowd playing a superb set and it was great to see them get a few of the kids on stage with blow up guitars supplied by Mr Graham Horne…a nice touch, they went down well with the kids!
Now it was down to the Headline band ‘Kill ll This to show what they were made of! ‘Kill II This’ are a four piece band from Manchester who were originally around from the late 1990’s to 2004. They returned in 2014 for unfinished business. It’s certainly extreme metal at its best with a nice touch of electronic keyboards and a dash of opera thrown in for good measure! Simon Gordon (ex Xentrix) on lead vocals certainly leaves nothing in the tank, he just blasts it out! They are a top band, they played a top set and it finished Day One of SOS off to perfection!
So after a superb start to SOS Festival we were up early on the Saturday morning! We had breakfast at the Orange Tree which is fifty yards from the venue (they serve a really cracking Full English) and a pint or five lol!
First band of the day were ‘Crowsaw’, a three piece band with a really unique sound mixing Blues and Rock! I liked ‘em, they were pretty cool!
‘Damaj’ were next up. They are a four piece band from Greenock, Scotland who describe themselves as “cutting edge, intelligent Heavy Metal”! They are nice ‘n’ heavy, a little bit on the Metallica side and I loved ‘em: Fast, Heavy ‘n’ Loud!
Next up were ‘Sister Rose’, a band who were actually formed in 1978. I loved them, they sounded very AC/DC! Top draw, great sound and everything flowed just nice!
Next were a band I had been really looking forward to seeing! ‘Primitai’ featuring our Saxon brother Srdjan Bilic on guitar (Rick here-Just so you know Andy, Srdjan, myself and many other good friends are all members of the awesome Official Saxon Forum),and my god I wasn’t disappointed. Primitai are a five piece band, loud as a train and are full on Heavy Metal, just how it should be!
At this point I wanted to meet up and chat with friends so the next band I got to see were my friends from Belfast ‘Screaming Eagles’. Now I’ve seen this tight rock band a few times, Chris Fry is one amazingly talented front man with great vocals but the whole band just nail it every single time and I absolutely love them!
Now I know I’ve not paid much attention to the Wizz Acoustic stage because I’m not a massive acoustic fan however, I’ll say this; ‘John Doyle’ was wonderful. He had a really crisp voice and played the guitar like a dream!
‘Bad Pollyanna’ were up next and were class. They are a three piece Alternative band from West Yorkshire. Vocalist Olivia Hyde is a stunning lady with a lovely voice and the guy on guitar and vocals was very good.
After that it was finally the time for the headline act ‘Blaze Bayley’ backed by the guys from Absolva and Luke Appleton from Iced Earth and what a set it was, I just loved it! The crowd were right there with the guys, Blaze still has it and he lets you know he still has it track after track! It was a really polished performance with wonderful vocals and superb guitars and drums it was a brilliant way to finish the night
Now I only saw a few bands on Sunday, due to having a rather cheeky lie in bed after being slightly the worse for wear thanks to copious amounts of alcohol the night before lol! Hey it’s a festival it’s what we do lol!!
If you’ve never heard of all female metal band ‘Dorja’ then, sweet mother of god, they are five simply stunning lady’s! Vocalist Aiym Almas has an amazing voice and the musicianship is top class. I’ve not seen a soap box played before and it just works perfectly. They are truly wonderful to listen to!
Now we come to my personal highlight of, maybe, even the whole festival! It was time for Chris & Luke Appleton to take to the Wizz Acoustic Stage and ‘Rise Again’ was simply stunning! These guys are so bloody talented and so genuine! I love ‘em and I’m very proud to call them my friends!
‘Fire Red Empress’ are a five piece, female fronted Rock band. Vocalist Jennifer Diehl has certainly got a serious set of lungs, that’s for sure! They had a nice, punchy sound and some nice melodic rock vibes!
I thought from the start that I wasn’t going to be into Nottingham five piece Rock band ‘Fahran’ but I certainly got that wrong. They had a very ‘Down’ sound and I got right into them! Superb set!!
Ok, ‘Triaxis’, Oh my good lord they are just mega, there is nothing more to say really! New Vocalist Angel Wolf-Black has got some serious power, that’s for sure! She completely owned that stage and she had proper amazing hair! The drums were crisp as they come and bassist Becky Baldwin (who also plays in Dorja) totally nailed it! Triaxis are sweet as! (Rick here – The recent announcement, that after so many line-up changes, Triaxis are calling it a day next year is a big shame but I can understand why they’ve made the decision. What I can say is that they have been a pleasure to follow over the years and they’ve always been fantastic whenever I’ve seen them as well as being some of the nicest people I’ve met, whoever has been in the band!)
So we finally come to the last band and another group I had so been looking forward to seeing ‘Power Quest’ Oh my god, vocalist Ashley Edison (Dendera) is so good. This guy can sing and the notes he hit and held were biblical! I loved them, they are fast and powerful. They’ve also just acquired a new guitarist, ironically Glyn Williams from Triaxis! It’s very Ronnie James Dio with a bit of Bruce Dickinson mixed in for good measure and the keyboards worked a fucking dream (apologies for the language but fuck me they were belting)!
Well that’s it, I’m no gig journalist I’m just a simple fan of metal and I’ve done this whole SOS Festival review to help a friend out so please don’t judge me, I speak from my heart!
I’ll sign off with thanking the Appleton family. They’re truly amazing folk and they along with their backroom staff from lighting to sound to stage hands absofuckinglutley nailed it! If anyone can find a three day and night music festival at a great venue with superb amenities for £15 then good luck because you’re going to struggle!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart XXX
P.S. My hotel is already booked for next year so get to SOS Festival 11, 2018 IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING XX
Rick here again! As you can see Andy had a fabulous time and his review only makes me more upset that I wasn’t able to get to the Festival. I’d just like to thank him once again for giving this reviewing lark a go…just to help me out, he really is a good friend. I’d also like to say well done to the Appleton’s. Not only do they run one of the best independent Record Labels (Rocksector) but I haven’t seen a bad word written about SOS Festival and that’s because these people do everything properly. They are kind, considerate, and friendly plus they work their backsides off to make sure everyone has a great time. I will definitely be there next year even if I have to walk!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Andrew Miles and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities