MEARFEST 4 at THE BORDERLINE, London – 13/08/2016

Mearfest

MEARFEST 4
The Boderline, London – 13/08/2016
Review by Dawn King

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.

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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.

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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!!

SET LISTS:

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)
Fall River
Damage Case/ Overkill Outro (Motorhed cover)

www.facebook.com/NotFitForHumans

Kaine
Heaven’s Abandonment
Iron Lady
A Night Meets Death
Justice, Injustice
Fall of Jericho
Afterlife
Voice In Hell
Quality of Madness

www.facebook.com/kaineband

Troyen
Backlash
Dreams Never Lie
Finish What You Started
Don’t Send Me To War
Futures Friend
First Blood
Syrian Lady

www.facebook.com/Troyen14%20/

Sacrilege
In The Arena
Ashes to Ashes
Running Scared
In Hell
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

www.facebook.com/Sacrilegerock

The Deep
The Sound of Silence
Premonition
The Rider
All I Want
Night Stalker
Out Of Touch
When The Rains Came
Prepare To Rock

www.facebook.com/TheDeepUK

Desolation Angels
Doomsday
Fury
Medusa
Archangel
Valhalla
Only Time Will Tell
Dance Of The Demons
Evil Possessor

www.facebook.com/DesolationAngels

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King 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.

Metal Church at The Underworld, London

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Metal Church at The Underworld, London
TUESDAY 10TH MAY 2016

By Dawn King

Ever since The Underworld announced back in February of this year a one off UK date for one of my favourite metal bands of all time, I knew I had to be there. After over two decades away from British shores, Metal Church were coming back, and with a new album to boot.

Their eleventh studio album, appropriately named XI, marked the return of vocalist Mike Howe after twenty years out of the band, debuting at number 57 on the US Billboard chart and the ensuing tour of the US, with substitute guitarist Chris Caffery, who was deputising for the side-lined Rick Van Zandt, went down a storm.

The one and only UK date, held on the anniversary of original singer, David Wayne’s, death, was no different.

Opening up with Fake Healer, from the 1989 album Blessing in Disguise, the tone was set for the rest of the gig. Followed by In Mourning, from Howe’s second album The Human Factor, and Start The Fire from The Dark, the new album wasn’t even mentioned until the fourth song in when the band, and the crowd, erupted with Reset, proving that the mass of metal-heads, of all ages, appreciated the new songs as well as the old.

God of Second Chance from 1994’s Hanging in the Balance and The Human Factor’s Date with Poverty followed before the band reverted back to the new album. The only introduction the song needed was “the video we made” and the whole crowd knew No Tomorrow, my personal favourite from the album, was up next.

And of course, no Metal Church gig would be complete without the classic Watch the Children Pray from the aforementioned album The Dark, everyone singing along word perfect.

No Friend of Mine, new song Killing Your Time, and fan’s favourite Beyond the Black from their 1984 debut album, Metal Church, completed the set but it didn’t end there.

After rapturous chants of “Metal Church, Metal Church” the band took to the stage once more for their encore of Badlands and ended with Human Factor, disappointing some of the more hardened fans by not finishing with the definitive Metal Church.

But did this take away from the atmosphere of the gig? Certainly not. The crowd were enthusiastic and energetic and so were the band. In my humble opinion, if a band seems as if they are having a good time, so will everyone else and, with vigorous drumming from Jeff Plate, riffs galore from guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof and onstage antics between Steve Unger on bass and Rick Van Zandt, also on guitar, along with the powerful, unfaltering vocals from Mike Howe, these guys were definitely having fun.

Their interaction with the fans, both during the gig and afterwards, with signing and photo opportunities, shows this is a band who value those who got them where they are, and who keep them there. They are a band for the fans, and, I, being one such fan, who never thought she would ever see them, hope they come back to our shores very soon.

Metal Church are back at the top of their game and I defy anyone not to have a good old head bang at one of their gigs.

LINE-UP:
Mike Howe – Vocals
Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitar
Jeff Plate – Drums
Steve Unger – Bass
Rick Van Zandt – Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King 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.