Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire, July 8th 2018, Day Three

00 Day3 Lineup

Amplified Festival 2018
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 8th 2018, Day Three
Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones
10/10

I’m not quite sure when everybody else got back to the tent Saturday Night/Sunday Morning because, as soon as my head had touched the pillow, I was away with the fairies. This is, somewhat, a double edged sword for me with my back problems. I usually don’t sleep very well but when I do, because I’ve lain in the same place for too long, I feel much more pain. Add to that the fact that camping is not very good for me, so when I woke up on the Sunday morning, I looked and felt like Quasimodo. Once I had managed to negotiate actually getting out of the tent, which certainly wasn’t as easy as it should have been, another thing hit me…it was even hotter than it had been the previous two days. My fresh T-Shirt literally crumpled and stuck to me, the sky was shimmering and the angry red orb, that was the sun, looked like it was ready to take top billing in a 1970’s apocalyptic disaster movie. Even the bullocks in the field across the road from us, who the previous day had looked like a gang of naughty teenage boys ready for a punch-up, suddenly looked like they had been let out from an old people’s home for the day and could barely stand up straight!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018 Day Three!

Once everybody was awake and ready we crawled slowly over to the arena and immediately stocked up on water. I’m not sure it’s particularly healthy but I was literally beginning to sweat salt and this was before any band had played a note!
We arrived at the Very Metal Art Stage just as the first band of the day, Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters, were starting their set! Cardiff’s very own rock chick, Beth Blade is always a good way to pass some time and at 10.15am, on an already ludicrously hot morning, was no exception. The first thing we noticed, from the last time we had seen the band live, was that the bass player had shrunk by about 18 inches. It wasn’t the heat but new bassist Vincent Grieve! If you’ve not seen or heard Beth before then imagine a mix of Kiss, Suzi Quatro and Joan Jet, good old 70’s/80’s Rock N Roll. She has huge power on stage, a proper gravelly rock voice and massive presence plus a great band behind her. She isn’t a shy lass, certainly woke everybody up and the sizable crowd had a blast, as well as huge grins on their faces!

01 Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters Day3.jpghttps://www.facebook.com/BBATBDofficial/

Heading over to the Red Stripe Main Stage it was clear that people were starting to slow down slightly, unless your name was Michael Randall that is, but I certainly didn’t want to miss the next band. Carrying on the Hard Rock theme, albeit in a Jack Daniels coated Southern style, Thirteen Stars ambled onto the stage and promptly blew any remaining tumbleweed away with a huge bang. Hailing from the sunshine state of…Cumbria these guys are so laid back they’re horizontal but WOW, they are good. If you didn’t know better you would swear they were from Kentucky, Tennessee or Louisiana. They play proper bluesy, groove laden Rock N Roll and even though, having seen them before, I know they rip it up in a club setting, they were perfect for this Sunday Morning slot, especially in the sun with a cheeky Cloven Hoof Rum! I got so lost in the moment that, in what seemed like about ten minutes, they had ambled off stage again to rapturous applause. Absolutely superb!

02 Thirteen Stars Day3https://www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars/

Just as we were starting to get all Woodstocked up and considered changing outfits to flares and one of Simon Yarwood’s shirts we arrived back at the Very Metal Art stage and I got my soul ripped out by one of the most mesmerisingly brilliant and emotionally charged performances I’ve witnessed in many years, courtesy of the utterly incredible King Leviathan. With them being one member down and not wearing their usual garb onstage there were a few mutterings from some, before they started, as to whether it would work but I can tell you now that there wasn’t one person, who watched their performance, that wasn’t absolutely astounded at the end. Vocalist/Guitarist Adam Sedgwick was an unstoppable force on that stage and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from him. Blackened Thrash Doom isn’t usually Beth’s thing but we were both gobsmacked at the ferociously beautiful music that was coming out of the speakers. To know that King Leviathan will soon be no more is a very sad thing indeed. Completely compelling and enthralling from start to finish King Leviathan, amongst an ocean of fantastic performances over the weekend, were my band of the Festival!

03 King Leviathan Day3https://www.facebook.com/KingLeviathanMetal/

After the emotion of King Leviathan’s performance and also realising that, even though I had covered myself in sun tan lotion, my neck was starting to blister we found a small area of shade by the sound desk and chilled out, chatting to others, whilst the VMA stage was readied for another “do not miss” band Resin!

I’ve known some of the band for a fair few years now and having seen and interviewed them a number of times before, plus knowing violinist Emma Bennett from her other band Cadence Noir, we were really looking forward to seeing this performance as it was the first time Beth had seen them and the first time I had seen them properly live with this line-up. It was also going to be interesting to see how the, as yet unstoppable, sound team handled a six-piece band with a violin player and three guitarists. I needn’t have worried because the sound engineers nailed it and Resin were absolute class from first note to last.

Musically this is a band of ultra-talented musicians (well, cough, apart from Simon). Their songs are incredibly dark and emotional, and the performance echoed these emotions. What they do is almost installation art as well as music; with the stage being jam packed full of a motley crew of tattoos and piercings, loud shirts, and the statuesque gothic beauty of Emma. Off stage the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Dave Gandon, guitarist/vocalist Mark ‘Chez’ Roseby, bassist/vocalist Drask George and guitarist Simon Yarwood are absolutely lovely guys but on stage they are incredibly intense. This is the place where they thrive and their emotions are laid bare. Backed up by the fantastic drumming of Ryan Hextall and the beautiful violin work of Emma, Resin were nothing less than haunting, a perfect fit for the Sunday line-up and a must see if they gig near you!

04 Resin Day3https://www.facebook.com/resinonline/

Because we were covering the event and wanted to properly watch as many bands as we could we walked back to the main stage again and I thought to myself that if I hadn’t lost at least half a stone by the time I got home then I would be a bit miffed, however, it was now so stupidly hot that some people had either left the arena to find some shade amongst the trees or just stopped, wherever they were, and sat/laid down. Many had done this about midway between the two stages so that they could still hear/see the bands without moving (the beauty of no clashes working a treat). This did result in some of the Sunday afternoon bands playing to, what looked like, a thin crowd but that wasn’t actually the case, everybody was just spread out!

Next up on the Red Stripe Main Stage were Scottish Progressive metallers Ramage Inc. and, as they played, a thought went through my head and it went something like this! “Fuck Me it’s hot, how is nothing on fire?” followed pretty quickly by the realisation that something was on fire and it was Ramage Inc. Having never seen these guys before, or listened to much of their music, it was another of those ‘Why the heck have I been so stupid?’ moments! This four piece band from Edinburgh has oodles of talent and their songs are so damn catchy and dark. Equal parts melody, rhythm and power, fans of Devin Townsend will adore them, although you probably already know that as I appear to be very late to the party. On the day Ramage Inc. were absolutely superb and, since returning home, their albums “Feel The Waves” and “Earth Shaker” have been played whenever I have the spare time! They are another hugely compelling band!

05 Ramage Inc. Day3.jpghttps://www.facebook.com/RamageInc/

While Beth nipped over to see Marc and Nici at the Corrosive Merch/Goblin Dreams Stands I ventured into the very hot and VERY crowded G’s Bar Stage to check out The SoapGirls. Now, if you don’t know about The SoapGirls they are two Sisters, Noemie and Camille, who play Raw Rock/Punk Rock tunes and they play them whilst pretty much in the nude! I got told many times over the weekend that they are both lovely girls and I’m not disputing that for one second. I’ve also got no objection to anyone, male or female, who wants to get up on stage with nothing on and play music, a prude I am not. However, I’ve heard 1,000+ bands play their style of music and play it much better. With all due respect to The Soap Girls I really don’t think they would have the huge following they’ve managed to get if they went onstage in T-shirts and Jeans. You can call me cynical if you want but it’s a promotional tool that they have used well!

https://www.facebook.com/thesoapgirls/

By this time my body really wasn’t responding very well but, if you know me, you’ll know I don’t give in without a fight so it was back to the Very Metal Art Stage to watch a band, that we hadn’t seen live before, but were really looking forward to. I could wax lyrical about Twisted Illusion, because they were so good, but I’m going to leave this bit to Beth because her write up sums it up perfectly!

“Twisted Illusion took the bronze medal spot for performance of the weekend for me, only outdone by Evil Scarecrow and Soil. If heaven exits, this is the soundtrack that is playing! Matt Jones, Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff are three unbelievably gifted musicians, all meeting in perfect harmony to make Prog Mecca! It reminded me of the bit in Bill and Ted, when Rufus takes them to the utopian future after Wild Stallion’s music has brought about world peace! I was absolutely blown away by the tone and range of Matt Jones’ vocals and his incredibly decadent guitar solos. It was self-indulgent and ego laden but all tongue in cheek. Twisted Illusion’s stage presence plus witty repartee and banter from Matt J made it mesmerising and they are now my new favourite band, so much so that we are going to see them for my Birthday treat this year!
Twisted Illusion – So good they make you pull a sex face!”

06 Twisted Illusion Day3https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

What I’ve heard of Florence Black, up to this point, has been really good and when speaking with people, across the course of the weekend, it was a name that had come up a fair bit as a band punters wanted to watch so it was back to the Red Stripe Main Stage to see them and we were very glad we did. A trio from Merthyr Tydfil (Hey, we definitely had to support the Welsh bands) they play thumping Classic Hard Rock, with a little modern twist, and they do it very adeptly too. Vocalist/Guitarist Tristan has an awesome set of pipes and, along with their strong melodies, this made for a really enjoyable performance. Florence Black were another great booking for a Sunday slot, especially with the good weather, and a band I very much look forward to seeing live again soon!

07 Florence Black Day3https://www.facebook.com/florenceblackUK/

What I had loved about the Sunday, so far, was that the bands booked, with the odd exception, had been a little more laid back and perfect for a crowd whose energy levels were probably a little on the waning side, but if anyone mistakenly thought that things were starting to wind down, then they were rudely awoken when the magnificent Shrapnel hit the Very Metal Art Stage. Another band I have been a fan of for a fair while, but had never seen live before, Shrapnel are an utterly furious juggernaut of Thrash & Speed Metal, their sound giving a huge nod to the likes of Testament and Exodus but stamping their own twist onto proceedings as well. They sounded like a squadron of advancing Challenger Tanks and had heads snapping in all directions. I love my Thrash and this felt like a starter, main course and dessert all in one go. Rather than feel completely drained by the time they left the stage I felt utterly re-invigorated!

08 Shrapnel (Sian Irvine)https://www.facebook.com/ShrapnelOfficial/

With a renewed spring in my limp I hobbled, with Beth, back to the Red Stripe Main Stage because there was absolutely no way we were missing the next band. We first saw Mason Hill live, about a year ago, at RockWich 2017 and they absolutely blew us away, in fact it had almost brought Beth to tears so emotional was their performance. Since then we’ve met them, interviewed them, seen them live a couple more times and have championed them on Ever Metal and we were absolutely stoked they were playing on the big stage at Amplified. Unfortunately, the heat had got the better of a lot of people by this point, so sadly the crowd was a little sparse but that never stops Mason Hill and they gave every ounce of energy they had. They play Classic Melodic Rock with a Modern twist, have great material that is really catchy, they are all gifted musically and they play with excitement and passion. They even graced us with some new tracks that will be on their debut album and they are fabulous. We aren’t the only ones who think they rock, they’re now signed to Frontiers Music and they don’t sign unless they see something special! It’s a shame more people didn’t see them because they deserved to be playing to a much bigger audience but they still made some new fans at Amplified. Part of my step-daughters photography prize was to photograph them being interviewed by us later in the day and it was a joy to catch up with five of the nicest people you’ll ever meet! We love Mason Hill!

09 Mason Hill Day3https://www.facebook.com/masonhillofficial/

From a photography point of view Beth says that, Misfit’s guitarist, Doyle’s band was her favourite of the weekend. ‘Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’ is an incredibly striking subject with his sculpted make-up and hair, body of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and towering stature enhanced by some magnificent platform boots! Musically Doyle are, unsurprisingly a bit like The Misfits, churning out catchy, Horror themed, sludgy Punk/Rock n Metal. Frontman Alex ‘Wolfman’ Story is also an intriguing character. He looked like he had sunk three bottles of Jack Daniels before hitting the stage and his banter, in-between songs, was unusually humorous with each track being introduced as ‘this one is a love-song that you can dance to if you want’ in a slurred accent, before launching into another great performance. It was too hot to dance and there were a few too many love songs but Doyle are the embodiment of US Rock n Roll excess. You feel like they should have been playing this material at New York’s CBGB’s club in the 1970’s whilst throwing TV’s out of hotel windows and driving vintage cars into swimming pools. It’s hard to believe Mr Doyle is actually a vegan! Make sure you catch them on tour!

10 Doyle Day3https://www.facebook.com/OFFICIALDOYLE/

By this time my legs were completely numb, it’s very weird walking on what feel like lumps of wood, but I had said at the outset that I intended to watch as many bands as I possibly could and next up on the Very Metal Art stage were a band I hadn’t seen live for many years…Xentrix!

Alongside Onslaught, Xentrix were always one of my favourite UK Thrash bands and it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly thirty years since I trudged into London, as I used to do on a regular basis, to buy their debut album ‘Shattered Existence’. Like many bands they’ve gone through a couple of break-ups and many line-up changes but at Amplified they were utterly superb. Bull-Riff Stampede guitarist Jay Walsh is now also vocalist/guitarist in Xentrix and he did a cracking job. They were tight with razor sharp riffs and thunderous drumming fighting for supremacy and once again, any thoughts of slowing down from the Amplified crowd were banished as necks shook and legs stamped. As the sun slowly started to dip and the inferno level temperature subsided by a degree or two, it looked like everyone had been given booster pills! This was a fantastic performance from an excellent band and it certainly won’t be years until I see them again!

11 Xentrix Day3https://www.facebook.com/xentrixmetal/

Back on the Main Stage it was time for Industrial/Alternative Metal heavyweights Sulpher to crank up their amps but I had to bow out due to needing medication/water and a fresh t-shirt, however, Beth went to watch them so here are her thoughts!
“I really love Industrial Rock/Metal, I don’t know why; I think it’s the raw edge power of it. The low bass and harsh drums just get to me. I think that the band were on stage, although it was a little difficult to tell sometimes with the amount of dry ice that was being pumped out! Having not seen Sulpher before, I didn’t know if this was a normal occurrence or if someone back stage had broken the switch on the machine but it certainly added to the atmosphere of their music! Again, the crowd was a little thin as many were still in the process of finding shade/nursing burnt skin or were in the G’s Bar Stage watching the, much talked about, Ward XVI and unfortunately I think this got to the band a bit with the between song banter being a little harsher than was necessary. It was a shame because, musically, Sulpher were absolutely outstanding”

I will add that even though I couldn’t see the band properly, I could hear them pretty well (I hope those sound guys were well paid because they deserved every penny) and Sulpher sounded fantastic. Since returning, Beth and I have checked out a fair bit of their music and neither of us would hesitate to go and see them again!

12 Sulpher Day3https://www.facebook.com/SULPHERMUSIC/

We were now heading towards the twilight of Amplified 2018 but the Headline band on the Very Metal Art stage was one I love but didn’t think I would ever see live so, even though I felt like a rat with no legs stuck up a drainpipe, I was as close to front and centre as I could be. With a massive portable lighting rig having appeared on stage along with a drum kit the size of a military cargo plane there was very little space left to actually stand but when Belgian Thrash/Speed Metal machine Evil Invaders flicked the on switch it was like they were playing Wembley Stadium.

I’ve already told you how much I like my Thrash and that there had been some awesome Thrash bands on over the course of the weekend but Evil Invaders took it to Def-Con 4. Their energy levels could have supplied the National Grid, which was just as well considering the amount of aircraft landing lights onstage. Vocalist/Guitarist Joe looked like the bastard lovechild of Lemmy and the Tasmanian Devil, his scowl utterly monstrous, and was a whirlwind of adrenaline from start to finish. Lead guitarist Max and bassist Joeri weren’t far behind and how the three of them managed to circumnavigate the space available without crashing into one another was astounding. All you could see of drummer Senne from behind the massive framed kit was a tornado of arms and hair and the occasional maniacal grin. If you’ve never heard of, or seen, Evil Invaders before then rectify that now because a band that is made up of equal parts Kreator, Heathen, Holy Moses, Iron Angel, Metallica, Exodus, Motörhead and a pinch of Septic Death is a pretty magnificent one in my book! They were a perfect wat to bring proceedings to a close on the VMA Stage and I really hope I get to see them live again!

13 Evil Invaders, VMA Stage Headliners Day3https://www.facebook.com/evilinvaders/

During the Evil Invaders set Beth and I discovered Rum Bellini’s from the Cloven Hoof stand and they were absolute nectar, just about giving me enough energy to walk, one last time, to the Red Stripe Main Stage!

“And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…” Here we were for the final performance on the Main Stage for another band from Beth’s formative years, Irish Rockers, Therapy? Now I’m going to be honest, when people, including Beth, talk to me about music in the 1990’s I nearly always do a ‘meh’ face. However, I cannot deny, that I was proved wrong yet again! Therapy? gave a fabulous performance with a mix of classic tracks and new material from the forthcoming album “Cleave”. Andy Cairns must be one of the nicest frontmen I’ve ever watched and between him, bassist Michael McKeegan and drummer Neil Cooper they make a heck of a lovely noise!

Everyone was having the time of their lives, singing along to just about every track and the atmosphere was electric, as the angry sun finally dipped below the horizon to give us some respite. It was almost as if Therapy? were battering it into submission! We had to sit down for most of their set, because we had definitely hit the proverbial wall. My back was agony and my legs were in serious danger of losing circulation plus Beth had developed elephantiasis in her ankles, but from our picnic blanket which had been very kindly supplied by the Motley Brew and with our cuppas aloft, we sang and cheered and smiled that melancholy smile you do when you know that something utterly fantastic has happened, but is coming to an end. Thank you Therapy? for an enthralling and brilliant way to end our Amplified 2018!

14 Therapy (Sian Irvine)https://www.facebook.com/Therapyofficial/

If you wanted still more then Welcome Back Delta were getting ready to play on the G’s Bar Stage but, like the previous two evenings, we finished with the Main Stage Headliner. We settled back down in the Motley Brew tent and chatted to anybody and everybody that arrived and we said goodbye to some who were packing up and leaving that night. There were no words to describe how we felt by this point, we were ridiculously tired, sweaty, dirty, in pain, drained, thirsty and a thousand other things but we also felt elated, thrilled, rapturous, enthralled, inspired and intoxicated, not by alcohol, but by the atmosphere and experience. It was very clear to see that we weren’t the only ones who felt like it either. After what felt like a wonderful eternity we finally dragged ourselves back to the tent for much needed sleep.

We didn’t get any sleep because a group of people, camping near us, decided that Sunday night was party night, hey they were just enjoying themselves, but with very groggy eyes we finally gave up trying to sleep at 6:00am and started to pack up. Mercifully, but also ironically, the temperature had decided to drop, somewhere in the region of 15 degrees, overnight. Had that happened a day earlier there would have been more people watching bands on the Sunday and my neck wouldn’t have looked like a bad case of Leprosy but I can say, with a clear conscience, that this was the best open air Festival weekend I have ever attended. It may not have had the largest audience, every event has to start somewhere, and it may have been hotter than everlasting purgatory in Hades but the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced. You all know that we are family and I have never experienced that family feeling quite as much as I did at Amplified 2018. It would take me too long to name people individually so thank you from the bottom of my heart…you all know who you are!

I’m only going to mention one name because without his vision, drive and stubbornness Amplified wouldn’t have happened in the first place and, after last years debacle, it certainly wouldn’t have got to year two without his bloody mindedness. Gary Paterson take a bow and make sure you have a rest because Amplified 2019 is going to be even bigger and better, I’m not sure how but it will be!
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/

15 Amplified Logo

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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Shrapnel & Therapy? Photographs courtesy of Sian Irvine Photography
https://www.facebook.com/siankirairvinephotography/

All other photos courtesy of Beth Jones
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire, July 7th 2018, Day Two

00 Day2 Lineup

Amplified Festival 2018
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 7th 2018, Day Two
Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones
10/10

It was still very early when I woke up on the Saturday morning, 5:30am to be precise, but it was even hotter than it had been on the Friday and much too stuffy to be in the tent so I quietly got myself ready and went outside. I alluded to it in my Friday review, but it’s worth repeating, that Amplified is set in some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. My Sister lives very close to the site and my Mum is only ten minutes further away so I know the Cotswolds quite well. Sitting in those surroundings, when there is literally silence, apart from the birds and farmyard animals in the distance, whilst watching the sun rise above the trees really was a wonderful feeling and totally at odds with what would be happening about five hours into the future!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018, Day Two!

As people started to wake up, and you really took a good look around, it was blindingly obvious there were a heck of a lot more people attending than in 2017. People had continued to arrive during the course of the previous day and it wasn’t long before more cars and Camper Vans started to come through the gates. Rather than the washed out, wet, tired, bedraggled and hollow looks on faces of the previous year, with many already packed and gone, this year everyone was smiling, there was happiness and laughter and plenty of sore heads, not just from one drink too many but also because of the sun. Yes, the weather was partly the reason for the joviality, but listening to conversations, it was very clear that people were talking about the site, the bands performances from the previous day and how relaxed, friendly and open everyone was being and that there was very definitely a special atmosphere.

We did find out later that day that there had been a security breach during the night, on the other side of the site, which slightly marred the weekend and needs to be addressed for next year, but, that aside, 99% of people seemed to be in seventh heaven!

Opening Day Two proceedings, on the Very Metal Art stage, with a thunderous bang were Stafford based band Obzidian. It was a great turn out for them so early in the morning and they punched us all repeatedly with precision fistfuls of heavy thrash. They were a bit too heavy for Beth, on the wrong side of her marmite gauge, but I’ve seen these guys a few times before and love them! They certainly aren’t your standard Thrash band incorporating chunks of Progressive and Death Metal, but they do it with a huge amount of catchiness and are incredibly tight! As I was watching them I thought back to just a few hours earlier, when I had been sitting peacefully, listening to the birds, and smiled…festivals are a funny thing aren’t they? Anyway, Obzidian had the crowd bouncing like loons and definitely set the pace for the day. If you were still asleep when they hit the stage, I’m positive you wouldn’t have been by the end of their set!

01 Obzidian Day2https://www.facebook.com/ObzidianBand/

Even though it was still morning the sun was beating down without mercy, so with bottles of water (and a nice pint) in hand we headed over to the Red Stripe Main Stage to watch Yorkshire’s Aggressive Pop Rockers, As Sirens Fall. I have received quite a bit of press about these guys and they certainly seem to be gaining a fairly substantial fan-base, but, as you can tell from the above description of their sound, they are a much more mainstream sounding band that very much appeal to the Kerrang/Rock Sound readership and they fell a little flat for my liking. Their songs are indeed very catchy and they certainly have plenty of energy but it all felt a bit polished and staged and they look like they are being moulded into something they don’t quite feel comfortable with. I’d also like to say that their Manager/Photographer was quite annoying, wandering around the stage, taking photos and generally just getting in the way (even though she had been asked not to). A professional photographer will be almost invisible, she most definitely wasn’t! As a 50 year old man I’m obviously not As Sirens Fall’s target audience but I wish them all the luck in the world!

02 As Sirens Fall Day2https://www.facebook.com/assirensfall/

We were straight back to the Very Metal Art Stage next for a band I was hugely looking forward to seeing, Nottingham based Hard Rockers Fahran. I’m ashamed to say, that even though I love their music, I had always missed them when they’ve gigged near to me in the past and this performance proved why I should have gotten off my arse a bit sooner. Fahran have passion oozing out of them by the bucket-load and even though they play Classic Hard Rock, it’s done with so much bite, energy and skill that they appeal to a very wide audience, certainly judging by the variety of t-shirts on display in the crowd! They gave us a set of tight and intelligent tracks that you could REALLY bang your head to, with melodies to die for, and in Matt Black, a vocalist with killer range and emotion. Put that together with the crystal clear sound courtesy, yet again, of the brilliant engineers and you were on to an absolute winner. Drummer, Josh Fahran (who the band is named after) should take a huge bow. If they are gigging near you, don’t do what I did, make sure you go and see them because you’ll love every minute!

03 Fahran Day2https://www.facebook.com/Fahranmusic/

Carrying on in the Hard Rock genre, but with a little more Audrey Horne and Down in their sound, were King Creature who were next up on the Red Stripe Main Stage and damn they were good! It was now midday and the arena was ridiculously hot but these four guys from Cornwall were in serious contention to match and surpass that heat. I want to know, with all the music I listen to, why I had never seen or heard much about King Creature before, but you can be guaranteed that will now change. They put on a blistering performance of huge crunchy riffs and massive rhythms and Vocalist/Bassist Dave Kellaway has a colossal set of pipes. This was Rock N Roll excellence and it’s clear to see why they’ve been picked up by Marshall Records. We were only on the fourth band of the day and I was starting to get overwhelmed with just how well everyone was playing. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about Amplified Festival that seems to bring the best out in everybody!

04 King Creature Day2https://www.facebook.com/KingCreature/

For those of you who have met or seen Beth you’ll be used to seeing a big swathe of black hair, but underneath the colour she is actually a bit of a ginger, so by this point she was literally melting into the grass and went to seek shade at the Corrosive Merch and Goblin Dreams stands, run by the awesome and lovely Marc Cleave (Torqued) and Nici Chapman which, this year, were situated next to the Very Metal Art Stage and I went to watch evil Death Metal titans, from Bristol, Seprevation! I’ve seen these guys live before and whilst they might be on the brutally heavy side, they kick serious arse. If you’re a fan of bands like Possessed, Sadus, Pestilence, Death or Sadistic Intent then Seprevation will get you wet in places you didn’t know could get wet and this performance proved how good they are. You perhaps wouldn’t expect their brand of Metal to come across so well in a field, in the Cotswolds and in broad daylight but they pummelled the assembled crowd into submission and then some. I, sometimes, find them quite difficult to listen to on CD but live they have so much power and precision that it’s a different prospect entirely, for this Rick at least.

05 Seprevation Day2https://www.facebook.com/Seprevation/

With Beth now somewhat refreshed, having tipped a few gallons of water over herself, we set off on the short journey back to the Main Stage to watch one of the 2017 Amplified bands that had been invited back again, the intriguing Rival Bones. I only vaguely remember watching them at the Festival last year, not because they were bad…far from it, but because the horrendous weather coupled with my back problems had me craving for more painkillers and hoping that Captain Nemo would appear in the Nautilus to submarine us all to safety!

How Rival Bones manage to make the sound they do, with just the two of them, is extremely impressive! It’s always great to see a drummer brought forward much nearer the front of the stage and Chris Thomason engages the eye with his style. Then you have Guitarist/Vocalist James Whitehouse basically doing everything else and it’s a bit like watching a game of tennis, your head constantly moving from left to right to try and work out how they do it. It’s not style over substance though, their music rocks, the tunes incredibly catchy and James has a superb voice. It was great to see them asked back to play again this year, especially as their music worked incredibly well in the sunshine and I look forward to seeing them again.

06 Rival Bones Day2https://www.facebook.com/rivalbones/

With a quick stop off for food/more water we headed straight back over to the Very Metal Art Stage for a dose of Classic Thrash mixed with a pinch of Crossover, done the Irish way, courtesy of Animator. They are another band I hadn’t heard an awful lot about but Beth and I both absolutely loved them. It seems to me that there are loads of fabulous bands coming out of Ireland at the moment and it’s great to see. Animator absolutely nailed their performance and were hugely upbeat. They managed to make themselves sound classic and modern all at the same time and are great musicians with excellent material. They also drew a very good crowd considering the field was now the temperature of a smelting furnace and that crowd, including Michael Randall AKA Tigger (Lead Vocalist/Bassist from the band Mad Spanner) who has the energy of a Duracell bunny, bounced their way through the entire set. It was certainly a sight to see. I shall be checking out Animator’s back catalogue and cannot wait to see them live again! You should definitely be checking them out too!

07 Animator Day2https://www.facebook.com/Animatorireland/

At this point it was my turn to reluctantly take to the shade of the Corrosive Merch & Goblin Dreams stands. Heat doesn’t usually bother me, too much, but even I was starting to wilt. However, I also suffer with spondylitis and spondylolisthesis of the spine and in my enjoyment of the proceedings, so far that day, had forgotten to take my medication. It was very silly of me and because of it I had to miss Sinnergod who I was looking forward to so I apologise to them. The beauty of the arena set-up, however, meant I could still hear them pretty well and what I heard sounded very good. Beth also went to take some photos and said that they were impressive!

08 Sinnergod Day2https://www.facebook.com/sinnergod/

After resting for an hour we headed over to the Red Stripe Main Stage to watch a band who many were waiting for with baited breath. It was actually touch and go as to whether Jinjer would be able to play, as they had been stuck in the Ukraine having issues with their travel visas and had missed a Festival the day before. Luckily they made it, much to the relief of Gary and the Amplified team and their performance could now be billed as a UK Festival Exclusive!

There was a huge crowd of, mainly men, waiting for them to start and you could tell why when lead singer Tatiana Shmailyuk took to the stage. Imagine one of the Cheeky Girls possessed by the demon Pazuzu from The Exorcist and you would be somewhere close. They are all incredibly talented and technical musicians, bassist Eugene Kostyuk and drummer Vladislav Ulasevish seem to have an almost telekinetic bond with one another, and they gave a hell of a performance…many said it was their performance of the weekend…BUT, personally, I had a little trouble engaging with their material. I’m definitely going to give them another go, I may just need more time, but if songs don’t emotionally connect with me, then all the talent in the world won’t change that, however popular they seem to be with everyone else!

09 Jinjer Day2https://www.facebook.com/JinjerOfficial/

Unfortunately, we only got to see a little of the next two acts Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics and Warrior Soul because we wanted to go and watch the ‘EvilStick’ interview (see below) but what we did witness was very positive on both counts. What I need is to be able to clone myself so I can be in two places at once!

https://www.facebook.com/TheCultClassics/

https://www.facebook.com/warriorsoulofficial/

So, what was the ‘EvilStick’ interview? Well, it was certainly one of the more surreal parts of Amplified 2018 and you, sort of, had to be there but I’m going to try and explain briefly!

A group of bright sparks, including John Matthews (Totally Tankered) decided that it would be really fun to do a combined interview with Evil Scarecrow and Psychostick and call it…EvilStick. Bearing in mind the humour levels of both bands is somewhere in the region of Monty Python meets Naked Gun then it was always going to be a challenge to control them and a challenge it most certainly was, albeit a hilarious one! What was due to take place in The Motley Brew ended up in the woods and it was 20-30 minutes of insanity involving, amongst other things, a trip/race by two band members to get ice cream which ended up becoming a trip to get beer, scones with cream and jam, a box with a question mark written on it backwards, lots of quick-fire questions (not one of which was answered in a sane manner) and Evil Scarecrow hijacking the interviewers chair, all watched over by a slightly bemused Gary Paterson. It sort of reminded me of a human version of ‘The Clangers’. It was recorded but we aren’t sure if it’s been seen by anyone. Very very funny but also very very mad!!

10 EvilStick Interview Day2

After a chat with our mates from the band Lullaby For A Unicorn, who were there for the weekend soaking up the atmosphere (please check them out, they are brilliant), we headed back to the Very Metal Art stage to get back into music mode with the brilliant Bull-Riff Stampede. This was only their second gig of 2018, as guitarist Jay Walsh has been busy with his other band Xentrix, but you really wouldn’t have believed it. They deliver their brand of Thrash/Death Metal with devastating clarity, are all seasoned professionals and very gifted musicians. All four of them gel so well and front man Dave Garnett has a voice almost as loud as his toxic green Jackson guitars. Bull-Riff Stampede never fail to put on a fantastic show, they thrashed out a loud and loaded set and the whole crowd really got into the groove with them!

11 Bull-Riff Stampede Day2https://www.facebook.com/bullriffstampedebandpage/

We headed back to the Red Stripe Main Stage with huge smiles on our faces and everybody else around seemed to be smiling too. Whether people were in the bar, Merch tent, eating, sitting with a beer soaking up the sun or in The Motley Brew with a cuppa…the feeling of happiness, friendship, enjoyment and belonging was huge and it increased even more after watching Welshman Jayce Lewis and his band. I’m going to let Beth tell you about this because I couldn’t say it any better!

“This was one of my performances of the weekend. The masterstroke of dual bass guitars set Jayce Lewis apart from anyone else over the three days. It made the band totally different, insanely heavy and industrial. It was music that you could physically feel throughout your body, with the low frequencies of the basses rattling every sinew. This was a performance that highlighted the epic insanity of genius, as well as the incredible writing talent that is Jayce Lewis. His music is all about rhythm and it made me feel alive in its sparseness. The whole thing – the music, the look, the tone, the staging, all made for a stunning show which I am immensely happy that I saw. A new fan was very definitely born in me that day”.

All I will add, apart from agreeing with Beth’s sentiments, is that it’s clear to see why Jayce has toured with and is friends with Gary Numan as he is hugely influenced by him. This was a fantastic performance, almost hypnotic, and both of us are really looking forward to seeing him live again!

12 Jayce Lewis Day2https://www.facebook.com/jaycelewisofficial/

One of the reasons I had been looking forward to Amplified so much this year was the inclusion of Psychostick on the bill. I have been a big fan of these guys for about six years now and, when I find myself at a low ebb in life, one of my go-to places is the P section of the cavernous CD collection I own because they always make the corners of my mouth turn upwards into something resembling a smile. Giving Psychostick headline status on the Very Metal Art stage was a genius way to finish that part of the day and WOW, did they deliver! They are completely the real deal. Natural Talent + Zany Humour + Impeccable Timing + Hard Work & Dedication = Psychostick! Hilariously funny and incredibly talented to start with, they have also managed to put together a show that is a piece of live art. Clever, witty and lovable they take everyday annoyances and events that we already groan and smile about and turn them into a, laugh a second, collection of perfectly timed musical gags, peppered with sound effects, kazoos, great vocals, wonderful riffs and lots of hats. Audience participation is paramount, especially in ‘Sombrero Prophecy’ Psychostick were utterly brilliant from start to finish and, easily, one of my performances of the weekend!

13 Pshycostick VMA Headliners Day2https://www.facebook.com/Psychostick/

If Psychostick had been the band to finish off Day Two proceedings then I think, just about, everybody present would have been more than satisfied but we still had the best band in the world ever…to write a song about a robot to headline the Red Stripe Main Stage, yes I’m talking about the mystical beings that are Evil Scarecrow!

Before we talk about this year’s performance, we need to mention that last year at Amplified, Evil Scarecrow were the band that grabbed everyone, that had stuck it out, by the soggy proverbials and dragged us all to the place called happiness! Their performance was the lift everybody needed so it was an absolute no-brainer to get them back to do it again.

We had heard that they had a new character to add to the arsenal of characters that already join them on stage, that they would be playing a new song and also that their performance would involve lots of pyro! We were stoked and with very good reason. Apart from wondering whether it was wise for ‘Brother Pain’ to be anywhere near pyro, Evil Scarecrow were magnificent. There is something very invigorating about watching performers faces when pyro goes off and flames leap into the air at the best of times but, when it happens at an Evil Scarecrow show, the glint of maniacally laughing demons escaping from every band members eyes when they lit up set the tone for this performance.

They threw in all the old favourites and had the crowd waltzing, scuttling and drawing robot squares in unison, and the stage show was as madcap and colourful as we have now come to expect from the Nottingham nutters…and then came the new song and new character; ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. However, this Red Riding Hood was far from little, she was ten foot tall and absolutely terrifying! The song was as dark as the character, and the swathe of red light that filled the stage made the performance the stuff of nightmares, not least for the photographers who pretty much all hate red light! With Dr. Hell announcing that a new Evil Scarecrow album was in the works and that it would be available sometime before 2025 everyone, in the sizeable crowd, looked like they were floating with joy. As the band left the stage we cried for more, and even after an encore, we still cried for more. By the time the cheering had quietened the stage lights were on and a good amount of equipment had been dismantled.

14 Evil Scarecrow, Main Stage Headliners Day2https://www.facebook.com/Evil.Scarecrow/

If you fancied it, and had the energy, the party then continued at the G’s Bar Stage with the madness of Electric Eel Shock but I was absolutely exhausted and after a lovely cuppa, and the obligatory chat with people, I retired to the tent safe in the knowledge that I had experienced my best day at a Festival ever…yes EVER! Beth wasn’t quite as tired though and stayed at The Motley Brew with a motley crew of our lovable buddies playing the best game ever ‘Cards Against Humanity’!

I’ll be back soon to tell you if Amplified Festival 2018, Day Three was the icing on the cake!
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/

15 Amplified Logo

 

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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire July 6th 2018, Day One

Amplified Day1 Poster

Amplified Festival 2018
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 6th 2018, Day One
Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones
10/10

If you attended the first Amplified Festival in 2017 you’ll know that there were some logistical and organisational issues and that these were highlighted, even more, by the biblical storm that hit the Festival on the Friday which nearly caused its closure before it had really got started. There were also a lot of negative comments on social media, mainly from people who weren’t there. However, by the Sunday, the weather had cleared up somewhat and the people that had decided to stay had a great time, we certainly did. Organiser Gary Paterson vowed to address the problems and come back fighting in 2018 and boy has he done that BIG TIME!!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018, Day One!

This year we arrived on the Thursday evening so that we were completely up and running for the start on Friday morning and immediately we noticed how much better organised things were. With photographer Will Tudor in place as Accreditation and Media Relations Manager (a position, this weekend showed, he was born to do) everything had a place, everybody knew where to go and what to do and everyone was in good spirits.

With the weather forecast this year promising temperatures matching the inside of an active volcano we slowly unpacked the car and put the tent up. Even though I had made the conscious decision not to go as official press this year because the line-up was so strong and I wanted to watch bands, we were still in the media area as my step-daughter had won the Amplified Photography Competition (more on that later) and it was noticeable that there were more tents set up and people about than there had been on the Friday last year, a great sign, and once we had rung out a couple of buckets of sweat we headed off to check out the arena and catch up with friends at the only place you can ever meet up at a Rock Festival ‘The Motley Brew’!

The arena this year was more compact, the Red Stripe and Very Metal Art stages had been turned in the opposite direction and there wasn’t a huge separate area, through the trees, with further stages and stalls to spread everyone out. Camping areas were more sensibly thought about, on what is an extremely beautiful site, and even though things looked different it felt familiar and complete! With no clashes between bands on the two bigger stages and virtually none on the G’s Bar Stage you could pretty much watch every band over the three days if you wanted to. With smiles on our faces and beer/tea in hand we settled down for a good old chat with people in anticipation of what would happen on the Friday.

By 7am on the Friday it was so hot it was impossible to stay in the tent, it had turned into a portable sauna, so we got up and plastered ourselves in sun-cream, ready to stay hydrated, watch some great music and soak up the atmosphere!

First up on the Red Stripe main stage were British Thrash outfit, Eradikator. This was a really great, upbeat way to kick off the festival, no messing, just straight in with a precision wallop. It was immediately obvious to see/hear that, like last year, the sound engineers had got this completely right, the sound was more than superb, and for that to happen for the first song of the first band on the first day is not something that many manage. It was also pleasing to see quite a few people turn out for the band even though it was still early and most were still arriving or yet to arrive. Eradikator could easily have played much higher up the bill, such was their quality, you definitely need to check them out and their performance put a huge smile on our faces. From that moment on there was something in the air that told me this was going to be a special weekend.

01 Eradikatorhttps://www.facebook.com/eradikatoruk/

As the arena was set up much more thoughtfully this year, and with the aforementioned ‘no clashes’, it was easy for us to walk over to the Very Metal Art stage to see Impavidus. They had been one of our standout bands at the Bloodstock M2TM heats in Wrexham, and although they didn’t win, we knew they were more than capable, so we were eager to see them and what an amazing performance this was. Vocalist Michelle Adamson can do such amazing things with her voice, we have no idea how such a brutal growl comes out of such a small person but she has a huge stage presence (and is also one of the sweetest people you could want to meet). In fact when she sings, I’m reminded of the legend that is Sabina Classen (Holy Moses vocalist)! Every band member has fabulous energy, they are really strong both as individual musicians and as a group (think Arch Enemy meets The Agonist) and the crowd obviously felt this and really reacted to them. Their material is of a very high standard and they were hugely impressive – A ‘Must See’ band!

02 Impavidushttps://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

It was back over to the Red Stripe stage next for the mighty Torqued!! We have known vocalist/bassist Marc Cleave for a while now, and have been watching, with growing excitement, the build up to the release of the Torqued EP “RESURGENCE” (out now), and the band in general, so again we were looking forward to this performance. We had seen them play a short set at McCleans, Pentre late last year but it was great to finally see these guys live on a big stage, especially as they should have played Amplified last year but couldn’t because of the weather conditions. Guitarist Rimmy Sinclair is an immense talent and made intricate shredding look easy, with his ginger locks flying in all directions. There is great chemistry between the guys on stage and they do definitely live up to the hype; they had a good, solid sound, again enhanced by the skills of the sound engineers. It is very chunky and bass driven, courtesy of Marc’s awesome playing (and his fabulous facial expressions) plus his connection with drummer Kurt Johnson, but nothing was overdone, and less is definitely more in this case. Torqued really don’t sound like anyone else; the best I can come up with is VoiVod playing Groove Doom. They also had a great connection with the audience who lapped up every note! #wearetorqued

03 Torquedhttps://www.facebook.com/Torquedband/

At this point there was a break in the performances on the Red Stripe/VMA stages because it was time to kick-start the G’s Bar Stage into gear! In 2017, because of the horrendous weather, a stage was hastily set up in the bar tent to accommodate some of the bands unable to play their designated slots elsewhere and it was also a place where the punters could keep sort of dry… and it was a huge success, with people braving the rain and wind, with a typically British stiff upper lip, to have a beer and watch some great music which took their mind off whether their tent would still be standing when they returned. Therefore it was a no brainer to bring it back properly in 2018, and the first band on was Gloucestershire based Metalcore band Proteus. Now I’ve got to be honest, when I walked into the tent the heat hit me like a thunderbolt, the meds I take for my spine play havoc with my body temperature, and it was just too hot for me so I couldn’t stay in there for long but what I saw of Proteus was extremely positive. They were catchy; very tight; incredibly heavy and owned the stage impressively. They also had a very good crowd in there watching them and once again the sound guys had worked their magic so what could have sounded like a wall of noise was crystal clear. Not my preferred genre but I’ll definitely be checking them out more!

https://www.facebook.com/ProteusUK/

With the temperature rising we made a quick pit-stop to get a slushy from one of the many good and reasonably priced refreshment vendors on site before heading over to the VMA stage again, this time for Midlands Dark Death metallers Ashen Crown. We had seen lead vocalist Kieran Scott before, guesting with Mad Spanner, but not the full band. This kind of metal is not usually Beth’s cup of tea but she actually really enjoyed them and I have to agree that Ashen Crown played an excellent set. Yes, the vocals are very growly, but Kieran varies his delivery and they are never too shouty or irritating. He is also backed up by a very tight band and their material is very catchy. With more people arriving (all with huge grins on their faces) there was an awesome reaction to the band, which was really good to see. Everyone was having a great time and the smiles between people, whether you knew them or not, proved that the special atmosphere Amplified was creating was growing with each band!

04 Ashen Crownhttps://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

After the musically thunderous and heavy start to the day, it was time to head back to the Red Stripe Stage for something completely different. Templeton Pek are a three piece Punk Rock band from Birmingham and they were great for the latish lunchtime slot they had been given! Amplified hadn’t just booked lots of bands and thrown them on stage, instead, every occupied slot felt like it had been thought about and that each band had been listened to carefully and given a slot that complemented their genre/style. Even though Templeton Pek have been around a few years I’m sorry to say I hadn’t come across them before, which slightly hampered my enjoyment of their set, but they were extremely good musicians and very tight as a band. Their performance certainly warranted me checking them out on my return home and latest album “Watching The World Come Undone” is a very good listen!

05 Templeton Pekhttps://www.facebook.com/templetonpek/

After the Punk Rock of TP, it was time to head back to the Very Metal Art stage which was lit up again with the very metal Manchester band Vice and there are only two words to describe them…’fucking awesome’! We had missed them at Hammerfest earlier in the year because of our interview schedule, but it was so worth waiting for! At Hammerfest they had given us a copy of their debut album “The First Chapter” which is a massively good slab of heaviness, if you’re looking for a comparison band then I suppose Primitai would be a good start, and we were REALLY impressed by their performance here. They have great energy and presence even though they are only a three piece and filled the stage both physically and audibly with their music sounding just as good live as it does on their album. Vocalist/Guitarist Tom Atkinson, whom I’ve known since his days in Absolva, has a cracking voice and shreds like a demon! Beth also thought he had very lovely Pantene style hair but I couldn’t possibly comment!! Check them out!

06 Vicehttps://www.facebook.com/Vicemetaluk/

Up until this point, every band had blown us away with how good they were, and how good the sound was, but we weren’t quite as bowled over by all female, London based, ‘Basement Rock’ act The Kut, who were next on the Red Stripe stage. I know they’ve been getting a lot of good press lately and they have a growing fan-base who adore them but their L7, Courtney Love brand of alternative rock didn’t sit comfortably in my ears live, although I do quite like their debut album “Valley Of Thorns”. Maybe it was because it was so hot, or that we needed a recharge but they just left us feeling a bit meh and they looked a bit swamped on the main stage. I think they would certainly come across better in a more intimate club setting!

07 The Kuthttps://www.facebook.com/thekut/

We made our way back over to the Very Metal Art stage because the next band on were most definitely going to wake us up big time and do it with a huge cheesy grin. None other than our favourite Mancunian lunatics, Footprints In The Custard were ready to Mankini things up to 11! Hilarious; Sharp; Crazy; Adorable and Sexy! These are just some of the words that come to mind when describing Footprints In The Custard live. They had borrowed Ward XVI guitarist David Stott, to stand in for Ross, who had very inconsiderately decided to get married…I mean, come on, that’s a terrible excuse for not playing!!! Fair play to David though, he really got into character, and I think secretly enjoyed wearing his Mankini, plenty of females in the crowd seemed to enjoy David wearing his Mankini too! Seriously, if you have never seen these guys play then you need too, they are comedy genius! From kicking off with the Thomas The Tank Engine theme tune to their closing rendition of The Weathergirls ‘It’s Raining Men’ there is laughter, groaning and head-banging in abundance They always look like they are having so much fun up on stage, their humour is so off the wall you can’t help but smile and we absolutely love them!

08 Footprints In The Custardhttps://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard/

At this point we popped back into the sweltering G’s Bar tent stage because Leeds based Rock/Metal band Chasing Dragons had just started their set and both Beth and I had heard some of their material and earmarked them as a must see. What hit us were the amazing vocals coming through the microphone. Lead singer ‘Tank’ has a powerful and hugely captivating voice, which she can bring down incredibly wonderfully to ballad level. At one point she moved from the stage to sit on the bar and sang the most beautifully emotional song, which actually brought Beth to tears and my eyes misted up as well! You know a song is good when it tugs at your emotions like that and looking around, it was clear to see that we weren’t the only people moved! It was an incredibly special moment and one neither of us will forget. Chasing Dragons were absolutely fantastic and are another of those rare breed of bands who don’t sound like anyone else. Their forthcoming debut album “Faction” will be a must have. Ignore them at your peril!

09 Chasing Dragonshttps://www.facebook.com/chasingdragonsuk/

After more slushies (which we have decided are the holy grail of hot weather) we headed back over to the Red Stripe stage to catch Irish Modern Metal outfit, Dead Label. Their name derives from not wanting to be pigeon-holed into a particular genre so I’m not going to try. We already love these guys and had a great time interviewing them for Ever Metal back in March. It was fabulous to see them on this stage, even though it did look quite big with only the three of them, however their huge, groove laden, sound matched the stage size. Claire Percival is tiny but she is an absolute powerhouse on the drums and bassist/vocalist Dan O’Grady and guitarist Danny Hall had plenty of space to do their thing and they did it with consummate ease! If you haven’t seen Dead Label before then you seriously have to check them out (a perfect chance will be at this year’s Bloodstock where they play the Sophie stage on Saturday 11th August). They are heavy but really melodic and very dark. They have something special and gave Amplified an excellent performance!

10 Dead Labelhttps://www.facebook.com/DeadLabel/

Usually, in this sort of heat I’d want to find some shade but the Amplified ‘special vibe’ was really starting to take hold on everyone and the smiles, laughter and happiness from all corners of the arena was palpable. With that in mind, there was absolutely no way we weren’t going to go and watch the next band on the Very Metal Art stage. After seeing Witch Tripper a few times now, we knew what they were going to give us…energy and effort by the bucket load, along with top-notch musicianship and great songs. They never disappoint and this performance was no different. Their style is pure good, groovy, sludgy old school heavy rock/metal. I love the bounce in their rhythms and the catchy hooks that they seem to write effortlessly. Witch Tripper really know how to rock and engage an audience. They also work their nuts off to make sure everyone gets a good show, and that is really commendable in this day and age. They tour incessantly, so if you haven’t already, go and watch them. You’re guaranteed to have a sore neck the next day!

11 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

Both Beth and I are huge Power Metal freaks, I’ve been there since Helloween first appeared, and my favourite Power Metal band is Gamma Ray, so we were hugely looking forward to seeing Southampton based Power Quest on the Red Stripe stage. If you don’t know, Power Quest were formed by ex Dragonforce keyboard player Steve Williams back in 2001. Sadly, this was to be guitarist Andy Kopczyk’s last gig with the band so it was a special evening. I know classic Power Metal isn’t a huge pull in the UK but Power Quest were absolutely amazing and more. By that point in the day Beth had lost the ability to express energy and excitement physically with the heat and I had to sit for much of their set but inside, our heads were going bananas with excitement!! I was absolutely blown away by the vocals of Ashley Edison (Dendera) as well as the technical skills of every musician. It was such a great atmosphere in the crowd too, with everyone having a great time and losing their shit in a good way to some full on, swashbuckling metal! I think this is why we both love power metal so much, it’s bouncy, uplifting, awesome and well…powerful and Power Quest absolutely epitomise what the genre is all about!

12 Power Questhttps://www.facebook.com/powerquestofficial/

Even with the best will in the world we had to take a break at this point so we headed for the oasis that was the Motley Brew for a cuppa (honestly Phil and his team are absolute saints) and then to some shade in the media area where we were able to just chill out with others and discuss what had been, up to then, one of the best days of live music I had ever experienced in 35 years of Festival attendance. Once our energy levels had replenished and we had poured water over ourselves it was back to the Red Stripe stage to witness the lightning bolt that was German Thrash band Dust Bolt! Holy thundercrackers where do these guys get their energy from? They supplied Classic Thrash, German and Bay Area styles with aplomb, so Destruction, Exodus, Kreator and Testament fans were all catered for. They had immense energy and connection with each other and the audience. I love my Thrash, but Beth is pretty picky, in the same way that people are with marmite, she either really loves it, or really hates it. For her Dust Bolt were definitely in the ‘really love’ pile! It was so good that literally the only thing that annoyed her was that the corner of their banner, at the back of the stage had come unhooked, and it looked untidy on the photos she was trying to take! We really hope we get a chance to see them again, believe me they are absolutely phenomenal!

13 Dust Bolthttps://www.facebook.com/dustbolt/

Trying to conserve some energy, but not succeeding, Beth nipped over to the Very Metal Art stage again to catch South Wales based Alternative Pop Rockers The Dirty Youth, who were filling the headline slot and these are her thoughts. “They were a little heavier than I was expecting, after watching their YouTube videos, but they were still a lot lighter than most of the bands throughout the day, which was actually kind of nice to wind down to. However, they were a bit too modern and ‘Kerrang Style’ for my liking. I’m getting older now and much of this more modern stuff just sounds the same! That said you couldn’t fault their musicianship, vocalist Danni Monroe had a cracking set of pipes and the sound was still impeccable!”

https://www.facebook.com/thedirtyyouth/

All that was left then, at least for us, were Red Stripe Main stage headliners SOiL! I had never been a huge fan of the band (at the time the 90’s were a bit of a lost cause for me music wise), but Beth loves them and never thought she would see them live, so she was like a chuffed fangirl waiting for them to get onstage. I have to admit I thought they were excellent and we spent the duration of their set jumping. The first half of their performance was really great, incorporating loads of classic tunes which got the, now much larger, crowd bouncing, and meant that Beth could squawk along with her rapidly disappearing voice. They did have some technical issues with wireless systems on both the bass and guitar, which lead to a bit of a delay and they somewhat lost the plot after that and had a weird game of sing a bit of a song and see if you can work out how to play it on the spot! Then it all went a bit more random when vocalist Ryan McCombs decided it would be fun to dive into the audience just for shits and giggles! I did get a big hug from him on the way back to the stage, and that, along with the fact that he had spoken to me, directly from the stage, earlier in the gig, made my night! It was definitely one of Beth’s favourite performances of the weekend, despite its randomness, and in me, they have found a new fan…even if I am about twenty years late to the party.

14 Soilhttps://www.facebook.com/SOiLmusic/

After that, we left the youngsters to go and party at the G’s Bar Stage with Voodoo Blood closing the night, whilst we made the huge walk of about ten yards to the Motley Brew, for the best mug of coffee I had tasted in years, a good chat with loads of mates about the performances that day plus the absolutely amazing atmosphere and then it was back to the tent for a damn good sleep before starting again for Day Two. Stay tuned for that…!

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/
https://open.spotify.com/user/1122837427/playlist/0czFgKJ1GgPHJjwG4s7DKR

15 Amplified Logo

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 all parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages