The Alma Inn July Showcase 2019 – The Alma Inn, Bolton – 20/07/2019

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The Alma Inn July Showcase 2019
The Alma Inn, Bolton
Review by Beth Jones

What is the best way to drown your sorrows about not being sat in a field listening to great bands with the best people? That’s easy – go and sit in a pub and listen to great bands with the best people instead! And that is exactly what we did on Saturday 20th July, by making a trek up to Bolton, to the Alma Inn for the Badgerfest Promotions / Alma Inn Presents July Showcase. It promised a cracking day of music, with some familiar names, and some that were new to us, and it didn’t disappoint!

We had never been to the much talked about Alma Inn before, so weren’t entirely sure what to expect. What we found was this: It is a cosy little venue, and really has the feel of a classic metal pub from the 80’s / 90’s, with some spectacular graffiti art in the beer garden, and interesting toilets! But the atmosphere was instantly warm, and the girl behind the bar, whose name I didn’t catch, was great!

Ninety Nine Mercies
First on the bill, and a new name to us, Ninety Nine Mercies kicked off the proceedings. Being the first band up is always a tough job, and their set was delayed by, and then hampered by a range of technical difficulties and sound issues that were beyond their control, so it was difficult really to get a good judgement of them. They were pretty solid, but had a few timing issues in places, but again this may be because they couldn’t really hear properly what each member was doing. I think I need to see them again to make a better judgement of them. They certainly gave it their all, which is always good to see at that time on a Saturday!

01 Ninety Nine Mercies

Fresh from their comeback show after a 6 year hiatus, the Severenth guys put on yet another stonking show here, and gained a whole pub full of new fans in the process! They are exciting to watch and musically they are spot on. Peet Bailey, as a front man, is brilliant. He can scream and do clean vocals with ease, and has a very expressive face, which makes the performance hypnotising to watch. The rest of the band are also not afraid of showing their spirit, and don’t hide in the background. Bass player, Ben Jones, provides some mighty powerful backing vocals, and this, combined with the heavy rhythms of Dave Roberts on drums, and some really technical guitar work from Adam Sidor and Jack Somers make for an all-round package that would not look out of place much higher up on a bill. I cannot wait to see these guys again very soon and would love to see them back on the festival circuit next year.

02 Severenth

Black Sheets Of Rain
This band had actually recently done an EMQ’s for us, so it was nice to put faces to names and see what they were about. They were very different from what we had seen already today, in so much as they were more a classic hard rock band, so a lot lighter in style. They were very tight, and very good, but my one ask would be that they didn’t look quite so nervous on stage. They all looked slightly terrified, possibly because they were having to follow the Severenth performance we had just seen, but they had no reason to be, as they were very good, and we certainly enjoyed their set!

03 Black Sheets Of Rain

Lost In Lavender Town
In a showcase, you always like to see a bit of variety, and what better way to do that could there be than to chuck in an instrumental prog band, with three guitarists?! These guys were a bunch of insanely talented musicians who clearly live for noodling! They were like Pink Floyd after a marijuana binge, and it was incredibly relaxing! It was certainly music to chill out too!! I was however disappointed, as they had a brilliant ambient keyboard sound running through each track, but sadly no real life keyboard player, instead opting to use a backing track. Call me an old fuddy duddy if you like, but I do like live music to be 100% live, and if you are going to have keys as an integral part of your music, please use a real keyboard player!

04 Lost In Lavender Town

Portrayal Of Ruinn
So, now we were all nicely mellow, it was time to get the shit beaten out of us, in a metal sense, by the insanely heavy Portrayal Of Ruinn. There are times when being a gig photographer can make you realise why the sofa and a nice cup of tea are so comforting – this was one of those times! Trying to take pictures when lots of big gents are erupting into pits in a space not much bigger than my living room is, err, interesting shall we say!! That aside, Portrayal Of Ruinn really know how to put on a great show, and delivered a punchy brand of melodic deathcore to the delighted crowd. Frontman Calvin Fayle has a terrifically manic look in his eyes when performing, and this captured the audience. Whilst vocally they are a little heavy for me, I really enjoyed their performance, and I didn’t die, so that’s a win in my book!

05 Portrayal Of Ruinn

I saw Daybreaker opening last year’s Badgerfest, and was impressed, so I was looking forward to seeing them again today and was glad that Rick also got a chance to see them. Again, they put in a great performance, which produced another lively reaction from the crowd. Bass player Lynden Garrad has a hugely expressive face and looked like he was having a ball on stage, whilst front man Sam Higgins paced the performance area like a man possessed, delivering some hellish hardcore vocals that bang you right in the gut. They are fun to watch. I like them.

06 Daybreaker

Kringer And The Battle Katz
Well! This performance was an experience. I want you to imagine The Sex Pistols, but with more musical skill, and heavier, having a crazed party following a month-long binge of mayhem and debauchery, and that kind of explains this performance! They describe themselves as Idiotcore, and are a mixture of punk, groove and deathcore, which bizarrely works pretty well! Even if you didn’t really like the music, it is impossible not to smile and get drawn in by their madcap insanity. They were perfect for this point in the day when us oldies are starting to flag a little – it peps you up and gives you a second wind! Bonkers. That is all!

07 Kringer And The Battle Katz

Witch Tripper
We have seen these guys almost as many times as we have seen Lullaby For A Unicorn (and that is quite a few!!), but we never get tired of them. They are pure funky groove metal, and playing music is their life – this comes across in every show, and this one was no exception. It was hot, it was sweaty, but it was so much fun. Their all-round performance is always exceptionally tight, and the now packed out venue lapped it up. Their new drummer, Gary-Eric Evans, has really added a further depth to their music, that has enhanced an already superb product, which is brilliant. Add to this the fact that they are all truly lovely chaps, and it is easy to see how they have endeared themselves to so many audiences around the country and further afield.

08 Witch Tripper

Finishing off a great day of metal were Vice, a gang of three young and aspirational local lads, who you can’t help but love. Again, we have seen them a few times now, and absolutely loved their first album, “The First Chapter”, and are eagerly awaiting their second. They are superbly polished, and each show is measured and well thought out. They delivered a sterling performance again here, and it was great to see them getting such a warm reception from the crowd. We had to duck out a little before the end again, because we have no staying power! But we left a venue full of very happy people behind us, with big smiles on our faces.

09 Vice

Again, this was another brilliant day created by the seemingly unstoppable John Badger! There had been a few technical and sound issues towards the beginning of the day, which delayed things a little, but the people didn’t care, and it didn’t take away from the day at all in the end. It was great to see so many familiar and friendly faces, and to make some new acquaintances along the way. The metal scene in Manchester is alive and well and totally thriving, thanks to a host of brilliant underground bands, and the tireless work of people like John Badger, and James and Jayne at 0161 Manchester Underground Metal Community, and it really is a joy to be close enough, location wise, to be part of it.



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of 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.




Black Sheets Of Rain Logo Top


Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Lancaster based NWOTHM band Black Sheets Of Rain. Huge thanks to them for taking part!

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hello Ever Metal and your esteemed readership! This is Rich Davenport, lead vocalist and guitarist with Black Sheets Of Rain. We’re a power trio influenced by Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Anthrax, Kings X, Accept, Iron Maiden, Saxon and Thin Lizzy. My bandmates are Dave Nuttall (drums/vocals) and Matt Lambourne (ex Solomon Groove, bass) Dave and I have been playing together in various bands since 2012. We hooked up with Matt in 2016, and everything seemed to fall into place, his bass style and songwriting was a perfect fit and helped us define our sound, which is melodic Heavy Metal with hints of doom and thrash.
Dave has previously played with the Toy Dolls, a punk band that some of you may know, and I was in a later version of Atomkraft with Tony Dolan, who’s now in Venom Inc. Tony has guested on one of the songs on our debut EP, more on that later!

How did you come up with your band name?

It’s an album title and song by Bob Mould, formerly with Husker Du.

What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?

We’re from the UK, and there’s a thriving metal scene here, not least on the more old school/traditional metal side of things, which has been much healthier in recent years. We’ve gigged with bands like Seven Sisters, Eliminator and Conjuring Fate, all of whom are excellent twin guitar metal bands, and we’ve also shared stages with Damaj, who are thrash influenced and Dogsflesh, who are punk/metal crossover.

What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our debut EP “In The Eye Of The Storm” is out on April 26th via W.A.R. Productions, available from There are two lyric videos you can check out on the site, including one for ‘No Rest’, which features a guest appearance from Tony Dolan of Venom Inc. The EP was produced by Tony Wilson who produced the BBC Friday Rock Show with Tommy Vance for many years.

Who have been your greatest influences?

For me personally, Tony Iommi from Sabbath has been a huge influence, not only in terms of his monolithic riffs, but also with regard to his soloing. I really admire Gary Moore, Randy Rhoads and Michael Schenker when it comes to lead guitar, and from a songwriting point of view, it’d be Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy.

What first got you into music?

I listened to one of my dad’s Beatles albums when I was 7, one of their early records called “With The Beatles”. That got me interested in music, around the tail end of punk, and I started paying more attention to the radio. I got into metal through a friend at primary school when I was 8, his older brother was a metalhead. There was a kids TV show called Tiswas that had a lot of metal bands on, I saw Saxon, Motorhead and Maiden on there for the first time. I bought Run To The Hills after seeing the video on there when I was 9, and that was it, I was hooked!

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

It would have to be the metal god himself, Rob Halford.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken in Germany, I’ve heard so many great reports about it and I’ve never been. After we played I could hang around and watch the rest of the bill!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Thankfully I’ve never been given anything strange or disturbing!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you for your support and interest in our music, it’s very much appreciated and never taken for granted.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Jimi Hendrix. He was so far ahead of the curve, and moved guitar playing so far forward in such a short time. I’d love to see what he’d come up with next, and to hear his playing through a modern-day guitar rig.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Playing music is a huge release and it’s therapeutic when times get tough. Playing live is probably what I enjoy most, seeing and hearing the audience reaction, and locking in with the other guys in the band. On the hate side, it would be the behaviour of scam artists who try to prey on bands.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I’d like to see more easily available advice for up and coming or independent bands, so that they can avoid getting ripped off. The Musician’s Union is really good for that side of things, but not everyone’s aware of it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Judas Priest – “Screaming For Vengeance”.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

CD’s or Vinyl, purely for the sound quality. I’m old school, I prefer a physical copy of an album, so I can check out the artwork and lyrics.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Our last gig at the Bobbin in Lancaster, supporting Dogsflesh, was probably the best reaction we’ve had so far, although it’s hard to pick a favourite. Supporting Conjuring Fate and Damaj at the Venue in Carlisle was another highlight.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Stand up comedy, I’ve dabbled with it in the past and enjoyed it, and nobody threw anything at me, so that’s a good sign…!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Stewie Griffin, Dr Evil, Stan Lee, Robin Williams and Marge Simpson.

What’s next for the band?

As many gigs as possible, and we’re writing a full-length album which we hope to release in 2020.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people? and

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I’d go with biscuit. They’re addictive, and it’s hard to stop after one, so in the event of a pig out, it’s probably better to say you’ve just eaten a pile of biscuits rather than a pile of cakes, it sounds healthier.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks for your time too, and to your readers for theirs in reading this. Please check out the lyric videos on our website or Facebook page, and if you like what you hear, hopefully we’ll see you at a gig sometime soon! Cheers!


Black Sheets Of Rain Pic Bottom


Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of 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.