Beermageddon 2021 Day Three
Stoke Prior Sports & Country Club
Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove
Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
The festival life throws up some weird and wonderful goings on, that only exist inside that little bubble for the time you’re in it. It’s because everyone uses it as a chance to let their hair down, and leave the grey, soul-destroying world of adulting behind for a few days. And a perfect example of this led us into the final day of the festival, in the shape of an unnamed gang of campers having an all-night party accompanied by a rather loud, and very eclectic playlist.
It was lovely to hear the happy singing at 1am. It had become slightly less lovely by 5am however, and I think this sentiment was shared by the majority of others on the campsite. So, when someone eventually shouted, “Will you shut the fuck up!!”, I’m confident I wasn’t the only one who did a little silent round of applause. ‘The Floral Dance’, much as it’s a very unique tune, is probably not the best thing to play full blast at 5am, whatever the setting! However, this…er…interesting night did manage to fuel sleep deprivation to the point of being hyperactive, but not quite hallucinating, meaning we were ready for the final day!
First up was the job of taking the traditional Beermageddon group photo. At the helm of this mission was press co-ordinator, photography extraordinaire, and all-round top bloke, Will Tudor. Gathering together a bunch of people three days into field dwelling (most of whom had an 80% proof ABV blood alcohol content) and making them all look the same way, is a little like herding cats who’ve been on a cat nip bender. But Will has a big voice, and the photo was achieved without any deaths. Result!
With that, and a belly full of bacon and caffeine, it was time to turn our attentions to music again for the beginning of the final day. And providing the opening were Melted Messiah, a Stoner/Sludge, Jazz/Doom Black Metal duo from the wild North (Dunfermline, Scotland). Considering there was only 2 of them, they made a very big sound. Lots of crunchy rumble and distorted fuzziness from the guitar mostly filled the gap where there would usually be a bass, delivering a very doomy sound. And you could definitely hear some jazz influence in the drumming. They were good, and endearing, and the crowd looked on with pleasure.
Dead Mob were next, taking us from the sublime to the caw blimey! Hailing from up the road in Birmingham, this young Hardcore band were a bag of excited energy, which flowed out across the audience and made the entire room lurch. They certainly blew away any sleepy heads that were still trying to bring themselves round. But apart from being loud and full of chaos, these guys were tight and extremely talented. They brought me a lot of joy – at the ripe old age of 41, it’s great to see a young band who know exactly who they are and throw every bit of passion into their performance that they can muster. From a photography point of view, they were really fun to shoot, too. Constantly throwing shapes and moving, laying everything bare, and letting the audience feed off their power. Awesome set.
Next up, and keeping the pace afloat, were At Dawn We Attack; A 5 piece from the West Midlands who are a joyfully chaotic, crunchingly heavy multi-genre crossover collective, all of whom clearly have an appreciation for facial hair! Frontman Bryan was a live wire, thriving off the crowd, and ending up in it at one point, too. The best way I can describe him is, if you took Devin Townsend in the Strapping Young Lad days, made him smoke 50 Marlboro and drink a gallon of JD in quick succession, gave him some dreadlocks, and then injected him with the Tasmanian Devil, you’d be somewhere close. By now the room was bouncing. Damn it was good.
It was time to turn our attention to some good, salt of the earth, Old-School Thrash Metal next, with the maiden performance of UK Thrashers, Sun Of The Endless Night. With more than a little hint of the Big 4 in their sound, these guys took us through a rip-roaring set that continued to tear to shreds any Sunday-ness that we still had left. Powerful riffs and smashing rhythms, along with angry gravelly vocals made for a show that was confident and impressive, and I would recommend anyone to check them out.
Another band fresh from an appearance at Bloodstock graced the stage next; Alt/Progressive Metallers, Netherhall. Melodically I liked them. But in terms of performance, they were quite a stark contrast to the upbeat, feeding off the crowd, and quenching the onlookers’ thirst for engagement in return atmosphere that we’d been served with the last three bands. The invisible 4th wall between the audience and the stage seemed more noticeable than it had done the rest of the day. For me this made their set a little difficult to get into. But variety is the spice of life, and this is, of course, just my opinion.
After what had been a superb day so far, I decided it was time for food. Having cased out the menus looking for what I could eat at the beginning of Saturday, I knew exactly where I was heading – Little Al’s Kitchen, for Slow cooked beef. And it was the most awesome slow cooked beef and roast potatoes I’ve eaten in a long time (his Chilli on Saturday night was also superb)! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well at a festival ever and chatting to Al after partaking of his magnificent food made it clear that this was indeed his mission – to feed people properly and cater for intolerance ridden awkward heads like me – YAY! Between Al, and JW Catering, I’d managed to not eat shit all weekend, and that is an achievement!
Feeling full up and ready for more music, I headed back to the hall for the penultimate band of the festival, Symphonic Black Metallers, Kull. They were a new name to me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the second they started, I was in my element. Huge, full on symphonic synths, ridiculously precise rhythms, intricate and demonic guitars and bass, and the vicious and hypnotic vocals and presence of front man, Tarkan, made this the standout performance of the weekend for me. This thunderous and all enveloping sound had me transfixed from start to finish, and as soon as the performance was over, I headed to the merch stand to buy their music (incidentally, this was the point that I discovered their former guise. They used to be Bal-Sagoth!). The power of this music was addictive and I needed more! It’s been on in my car pretty much ever since. L-O-V-E-D IT!! I will be watching out for an opportunity to catch Kull again very soon.
And so, we reached our conclusion, with festival headliners, and all-round crazy nutcases, Acid Reign. The first time I saw Acid Reign was at Hammerfest 2018, so I was sure of two things. Firstly, we were in for some fun, and secondly, making a pictorial record of said fun was going to be hard work! The best way to photograph Acid Reign, and in particular front man, H, is to become a telepathic mind reader so you know where he’s going to, so you’re brain to hand co-ordination has time to make you press the button before he becomes a blur. I’m new and a novice at this photography lark, be gentle on me, please!!
First world photographer problems aside, what a show these guys gave us. The room was rammed full, and the crowd lapped up every second of this raucous romp through Thrashland, injected with comedic capers, crowd interaction, and a hell of a lot of love. From H disappearing in the middle of a song, and reappearing carrying a tray of beers he had just purchased from the bar to bassist Pete Dee getting involved in a pit, while still sustaining a steady bass line, this was a very special way to finish a very special weekend. No-one was frowning, no-one looked stressed, everyone was just having a great time.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a wrap. I’m not scared to admit that I got a touch emotional when it finished and the house lights came up, because it was all over. Apologies to Will Tudor, and Tony Gaskin for welling up in your general direction! We had just lived three days of pure blissful joy. I’m so glad that I talked myself back into going, and so grateful that we got to be there covering the event for Ever Metal. So, some huge thanks are due. To Jim Beerman, for being the Godfather of Beermageddon, and never giving up, to bring this beautiful thing to all of us. To Will Tudor for his infinite wisdom, photography and otherwise – I have banked all his lessons. To all the crew for creating, maintaining, and running this event like clockwork. To the bands who smashed everything out of the park to entertain us, the bar staff who kept our thirst quenched, the caterers who filled our bellies, whatever time of day we wanted it, and the security staff who kept us all safe, but had a good laugh with everyone too.
Incidentally, it appears that there were zero covid cases linked to this event, which in the current climate is a fucking magnificent achievement. But maybe that’s because this was more than just a festival, it was the reunion of a huge extended family, back together after far too long apart. And we were honoured to have been allowed into that family. See you next year xx
Beermageddon 2022 Event Page
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick Tilley, 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.