Pentre Fest 2019 Day One
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
Pictures by Beth Jones
Live music in this area has suffered somewhat of a hammer blow recently, with the closure of yet another venue – The Live Rooms, Wrexham – so it is more important than ever that we as music fans keep supporting our local scene, and vehemently refuse to let live music be taken from our area. Two of the local area’s biggest metalheads, Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, are great supporters of the local scene, organising a great events diary wherever they can, with Pentre Fest being their annual main event.
This year, as ever, saw a great crowd of likeminded folk from the local area, and further afield, descend upon Mclean’s Bar in Pentre for the third year running, to see what Rick and I personally thought was their strongest line-up to date, strutting their stuff!
Over the course of the Friday night and all-day Saturday, we were treated to some fabulous performances, both on the main stage, and on the outdoor acoustic stage.Friday night was very definitely crazy night, with all the bands on the bill having a zany edge. We were really looking forward to the madness, a perfect way to wind down after a hard week at work!
Opening the show in one of their exclusive performances, Mucus did not disappoint. Guitarist, Dan Alexander, also of Lullaby For A Unicorn, had told us that they very rarely gig so this was a real treat, and they were actually very good too! Really tight and well-rehearsed, Mucus played good, solid, no-nonsense Thrash! I would really like to see them gigging more often as they got the crowd going and had a really pleasing sound. They were a fantastic way to start the night!
We had heard a lot about this band from our learned friend Dani Maguire at Powerzone, so we were looking forward to finally seeing them – I mean what’s not to like – they combine Thrash Metal and food, so its two thumbs good in my book! All dressed in chef’s whites, and with kitchen implements and giant inflatable food dotted round the stage, they were quite a sight to behold. It was obvious from the start that they didn’t take themselves too seriously, but their music was excellent! All themed around culinary delights, and fast paced and zany, they had the crowd really going for it, and even had a crowd surfer, surfing on an inflatable doughnut! With track titles such as ‘Shepherds Pie Squared, Chilli Con-Carnage, Deep Fried Mars Bar and the very non PC ‘Soggy Bottom’ much fun was had. They are definitely good drinking music too, and the beer swilling was kicked up a gear at this point by quite a few people! Unfortunately they couldn’t play their full set because of a small delay, but other than that, this was shaping up to be a pretty crazy evening!
Lullaby For A Unicorn
Just when you thought a peak of nuttiness had been reached with Thrashatouille, up pops our favourite mythical creature based metal band, Lullaby For A Unicorn! With Steven and Eddie the Seagulls both now retired, we were intrigued to see what inflatable creature would join this merry bunch of nutters next. Pretty soon, our questions were answered when the very lovely ‘Tiffany’ the three foot high inflatable unicorn was introduced to us! This along with a bubble machine, crazy lazers and smoke, confetti cannons, party poppers, Dan Alexander’s light up shoes, lead singer Justin Williams’ light up jacket, and the now synonymous unicorn onesie of Bass player Anthony Baxter, made for a spectacularly hallucinogenic experience! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bonkers – they introduced the heavy metal colouring competition! The image we will never forget is a room full of slightly sweaty, slightly drunk metalheads all furiously colouring pictures of unicorns like their entire credibility depended on it, accompanied by the madcap sounds of Lullaby! Absolute genius! And musically, these guys get better every time we see them. They have also just secured a massive gig at next year’s HRH Metal weekender in Birmingham – be ready Birmingham, and potentially be a little afraid too!!
After a short delay for emergency cleaning works following the Lullaby boys, last year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales finalists, Mad Spanner, took to the stage. Like Lullaby, we have seen these guys quite a few times now, and have become friends with them off stage too. They are as equally as bonkers as our previous outfit, but in a far more reserved way in terms of costumes and shiny things! Their madcap humour comes through in their song lyrics, their insane speed, and the fact that frontman Michael Randall seems to have springs in his feet and be constantly wired up to the mains, with the amount of bouncing and slightly unhinged facial expressions he delivers in their live performances. This performance was no exception, and we were really surprised to find out after the show that he was actually ill, with suspected Glandular Fever (which thankfully it turned out not to be a few days later). This has to be given some kudos, as most would not have even played, let alone with that amount of energy, if they were that poorly – what a trooper he is! It was really great to watch them perform, as we have watched them grow over the last few months, and the improvement in their stagecraft is immense. They are so much tighter now than when we first saw them and they give a great show. They did a very impressive cover of Sepultura’s ‘Roots’, which always goes down well, and they also had Keiran Scott (Ashen Crown) join them on stage to do guest vocals! Their debut album is out soon and we cannot wait to hear what they have done!
Footprints In The Custard
Bringing the Friday proceedings to a close where Manchester’s favourite comedy metal heads, Footprints In The Custard. These guys bring a slightly more refined version of random to the plate, but are still completely bonkers, and hilariously funny to watch. They play a whole range of catchy, funny songs, and do love a bit of audience participation, especially during their last song of the night, a great metal version of The Weathergirls, ‘It’s Raining Men’, when a wall of death style mass humping is strongly encouraged for those brave enough to participate, it always cracks us up! As usual, their performance here was on point, and the crowd lapped it up. The ever loved ‘Willies Are For Weeing’ song got a great reception, and with Tiffany The Unicorn and a fair few other inflatables coming out to play in the crowd, along with an impressive heavy metal conga going on, the place had a proper party atmosphere, which made everyone smile and be very happy. As a front man, Russ Custard has the brilliant ability to grab a crowd and make them have a good time, and this combined with the whole band’s excellent musicianship means that their performances are always well received, plus no-one can resist seeing guitarist, Ross Vickers, in a mankini, and drummer, Sladen, twerking in some very fetching short short shorts! All in all a great set, expertly executed, to finish off a properly good night of metal madness!
And so it was time to head off home for the night, and we left the venue with a smile on our face, and a warmth in our hearts that you can only get from a crazy metal party like this. We were pretty knackered, but were both really looking forward to Saturday’s show…
…To Be Continued!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones 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.
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images