RockWich 2018 – ‘Unplugged’, Lostock Club, 25th August 2018

01 RockWich 2018 Unplugged

RockWich 2018 – ‘Unplugged’
Saturday 25th August 2018
Lostock Club, Northwich
Review By Beth Jones

It seemed hard to believe it had been a year since we were last descending on the Lostock Club, in the heart of the industrial end of Cheshire for RockWich 2017, but here we were; and following a host of great line up announcements, we were excited. The Saturday ‘Unplugged’ night was promising to be a great, but slightly more mellow lead in to the main event on the Sunday!

The Lostock club is a real throwback venue; a proper nod to the good old days of the 80’s and early 90’s, complete with a decibel meter to the side of the stage, which spent the weekend in an apoplectic state! Nothing says ‘Old Skool’ more than a working men’s club on an industrial estate, and it makes the perfect venue for this event, who love to show us that old-skool is still very, very cool!

The line up on the Saturday night offered familiar names in the shape of The Senton Bombs and Cadence Noir, and new names to us, Baxter and The Howling Tides.

First up were Baxter, a seasoned local duo who specialise in ‘acoustic tunes and daft banter’, and just like Ronseal, they do exactly what they say on the tin. They took us though a vast selection of 80’s and 90’s covers, performed accomplishedly and loved by all. It was a great way to kick off the event as they were fun, light-hearted and didn’t take themselves too seriously. Their talent and experience showed clearly in their relaxed and commanding performance, which warmed the audience up on what was turning out the be the first wet and chilly day mother nature had subjected us to in a good few months!

02 RockWich Unplugged Baxterhttps://www.facebook.com/baxterduo/

Next up were Uttoxeter based band, The Howling Tides, a fairly new name to the scene, having only been formed in 2014. I am clearly getting old, as my first thought was ‘aww bless, they’re so young’, but that quickly turned from awww to awe when they started playing. Even in this acoustic setting, they grabbed our attention instantly, with their accomplished and extremely well-rehearsed performance which had all the hallmarks of a band serious about their future. They are essentially Classic Heavy Rock and Blues, but this setting really brought out their softer side! Their song writing skills are exciting and their arrangements intelligent. Lead singer Rob Baynes has a very appealing gravelly tone to his voice, which works perfectly with this style. It is also worth mentioning here that this was only their second acoustic gig ever! Hats off to them! We were impressed enough to buy their EP straight after their set, and really want to catch them in a full-on gig soon.

03 RockWich Unplugged The Howling Tideshttps://www.facebook.com/TheHowlingTides/

The Senton Bombs had been billed as headliners for the unplugged night but, at the last minute, the lead guitarist became otherwise engaged, so after a quick swap of instruments, followed by a quick, and probably stressful rework of some songs, they decided to swap the headline spot with Cadence Noir and come on next with a shortened, but no less impressive version of their set. Lead vocalist and bass player Joey Class took on rhythm guitar duties, which he pulled off without a hitch. Kudos to them for doing this – it can’t have been easy, and it shows a very commendable level of professionalism. We saw these guys last year on the main day and loved them, and they have a very dedicated fan base who were also slightly tipsy by this point, so audience participation ensued, which only enhanced the great atmosphere that was building around the room. There sound was still full, even without bass guitar, and they had a very ‘cool as a cucumber’ feel, even though they were out of their comfort zone. For those of you who haven’t yet seen these guys, they are hard rockers full of energy and always give a great live performance – well worth checking out.

04 RockWich Unplugged The Senton Bombshttps://www.facebook.com/thesentonbombs/

Closing the night were Bloodstock M2TM North Wales 2018 winners, Cadence Noir, freshly back from their performance on the Bloodstock New Blood stage a couple of weeks previously, and raring to go! We properly love these guys, because they are totally in a genre of their own. Billing themselves as ‘Gothic Folk and Roll’ they take elements from so many genres and meld them all together in some weird alchemy that somehow works. Their image is folk pirate with a hint of bondage, and their music follows suit! They have a highly accomplished string section, in the shape of Emma Bennett on Violin and Tom Smith who switches between conventional electric bass, and Double bass, which gives them a real depth and a natural acoustic feel, strong rhythms provided by Dave on percussion and Nick on guitar (who wasn’t with them for this performance) and front man Adrien Perrie brings in the rock, with a gritty powerful voice, a commanding stage presence, and a glint in his eye that Jack Sparrow would be proud of! Their songs are full of quirky humour and Adrien’s banter and confidence makes their performances mesmerising. This is a band that seriously know how to make a performance fun to watch. The Idol Dead vocalist Polly Phluid even joined them onstage for a track and it worked a treat! Everyone was merry by this point! It was a great way to end the night, and to set people up for the full day to follow.

05 RockWich Unplugged Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

We had a top night, and headed home, thanking our lucky stars that we lived close enough not to need to camp in the rain. With ‘The Howling Tides’ EP cranked up on the car stereo we started looking forward to a Sunday full of ROCK!

SOCIAL LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/408497059344112/
https://www.facebook.com/PrometheusPromotionsSoundandLight/

 

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 photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Final Central Station, Wrexham 15/06/2018

00 M2TM North Wales Logo

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Final
Central Station, Wrexham 15/06/2018
Review by Beth Jones with pointless bits from Rick Tilley!

After what seemed a very long time, Friday 15th June was the night – The Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Final! It was the culmination of months of hard work by both the bands and the organisers, and was set to be a great show, combining competition bands and showcase bands for an evening extravaganza! We, at Ever Metal HQ, were really excited for the event, not least because it was a chance to have a catch up with old friends, but more so because we had been at most of the heats, and the semis, and were excited to see which band would be rewarded for their efforts with the ultimate prize – a spot on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2018.

Following the packed nature of the heats, it was good to see a move of venue for the final, from the ‘cosy and bijou’ Atomic, to the much more substantial Central Station Venue. This allowed NEW Metal Productions to have two stages and alternate them – a brave decision, but did it work? We will come to that later!

First up on the main stage, to get us all in the mood, were instrumental trio, Archetype. This was our first experience of them. One word – Proggywoggydoodahh! I don’t think I need to explain any further than that. It was quite funny trying to watch the audience bang their heads to the rhythm, only to be fooled by a random bar of 13/8 instead of a good old 4/4 beat. Watching reasonably sober metal heads collectively trying to look cool when someone steals their solid rhythm is quite amusing! Aside from that, Archetype were clearly very talented musicians and clearly know how to write a good prog tune, but I have to say, after a short while, I found it quite difficult to listen to. It was too much for my brain to take sober, Rick, on the other hand, loved them!

01 Archetypehttps://www.facebook.com/wearethearchetypeUK/

A quick hop over to the second stage followed to catch Pelugion. We love these guys and it is easy to see why they have had success this year in the M2TM final in Coventry – if their performance that evening was half as good as their performance as guests here, then they were very worthy winners. They make one hell of a sound with just the three of them, and their connection is really strong, which gives their performance a confidence beyond their years. They provide you with classic heavy metal, quite Sabbath like in places, and give everything 100% welly! Love them.

02 Pelugionhttps://www.facebook.com/pelugion/

Next was the first of the competition bands on the main stage, Impavidus. In my last review, I called them ‘female fronted’ and got a bit of stick for it, so this time I shall refer to them as Michelle and her all male backing band!! Joking aside, these guys are all properly talented musicians, and Michelle’s vocal versatility is astounding. We had been massively impressed with them at the Semi Final and felt certain that they would walk it in the final. Sadly, the sound let them down. Central Station is a notorious venue for problematic acoustics, and Impavidus were not helped by this one little bit. I think that the bad sound quality gave them a bit of a knock, and the spark and chemistry we saw in the semis just wasn’t quite there, which in turn affected their overall performance. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was the size of the venue, maybe it was the low – level lighting or the way it sounded on stage, who knows. We were truly gutted for them, but I think it was probably a worthwhile experience – things like that tend to focus your mind on areas that you can improve on.

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

Moving back to the second stage, we were greeted by local band, IN DEPTHS. Again, another first time for us, but with them hailing from just over the border and having had success recently in the Mammothfest Best Band competition, we were intrigued to check them out. The first thing that caught my attention was the bright white floor lights that they were using on stage. This totally changed the mood of the performance in a very clever way. The effect of it was almost like a bad dream – strange shadows creating distortions in features, which fitted well with their musical style. It was much harsher than I was expecting and quite intricate and complex, a bit Djent, and quite animated. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of the genre, it was really good to see them thinking about the overall look and staging and it was nice to see a bass player, on a six – string bass, actually utilising all the strings – kudos for that!

04 In Depthshttps://www.facebook.com/InDepths/

Returning once again to the main stage, we were ready and waiting for our next competition band, Cadence Noir. Again, we had really enjoyed these guys from their heat and semi and had high hopes for them. They were very different to everything that had been on so far, with much more of a party feel to them. They were lively, rocky, well-rehearsed, and had the best sound of the evening so far. They too had thought about their image, and the fact that they have a violin player and the bass player switches between standard electric bass and upright semi acoustic double bass gave them more of an edge. They gave a great performance and had the whole crowd bouncing and dancing and really partying. It was certainly a hard act to follow and I was pretty confident that we had just seen a winning performance, although the band themselves where not of the same opinion when we had a chat with them in the smoking area afterwards, during what was a well needed break from proceedings.

05 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

Following the short interval, the next competition band, Redwood Avenue, took to the main stage. As you all know by now, my opinion of these guys has changed a lot from when I first saw them, however I think this is because they have grown in confidence and finesse, and their performance here was no exception to this rule. They always have a good following too, which helps drive their performance along. Front man Aled is very animated, and the skills of the drummer keep everything very tight throughout their complex songs. With their Djent, Modern Metal sound, it was a huge contrast to the previous two bands we had seen in the competition this evening, which was great – variety is the spice of life, and they do what they do well. I sometimes wish their guitarists would be a little more animated though. I think this is made more noticeable by the fact that the bass player and drummer, along with Aled, are animated, so it sticks out like a sore thumb. To coin a phrase I used in my first review about them, they are only young; it will come with time and experience!

06 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

Once more back over to the second stage we headed, for the last band of the night on that stage, the fantastic Welsh nutcases, Lifer! Although I have listened to plenty of their music, this was a first time for me seeing them live. What a diamond bunch of lads they are, and what a chemistry they create on stage. They are thrashy, doomy, and heavy, and generally awesome. Scriv has a great presence as a front man and knows how to hold a tune and an audience in the palm of his hand. I really enjoyed their set and will endeavour to see them again soon. It was nice to have them in the mix with all the young bands that we had seen so far, as they are like the voice of experience for them – the ones who have been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and are still loving it and showing us that they are loving it!

07 Liferhttps://www.facebook.com/lifermetal/

The final Competition band was up next – OMV. Hold on to your hats folks, things are about to get a lot more sweary. One thing is for certain – Richie OMV certainly has a lot of fucks to give! Call me a prude, but there was a bit too much fuckery for my liking if I’m honest, which is a shame, as I really like their music, but the over use of our favourite expletive, as well as a few other choice words, was a big turn off for me. That said, they did put on a good show and it was, as ever, tight and well-rehearsed. I love the fact also that they had more than one generation of their family there to support them – as they have had at each of their performances in the M2TM competition. That was really nice and they did do their family proud with their performance – just please lay off the expletives a little – it doesn’t do you any favours!

08 OMVhttps://www.facebook.com/omvmetalband/

And that was it for competition bands. Whilst Rob Bannister deliberated on, what was most definitely, a very tough decision, we were treated to some good solid thrash metal in the form of Solitary. They were our guest headliners and they certainly filled that spot brilliantly, even if quite a few of the audience hadn’t got the stamina to stay until the end…lightweights! The people who did stay were treated to a fantastic performance from them, with huge energy and passion and groove laden tunes back to back throughout their set.

09 Solitaryhttps://www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary/

So, to the decision – Rob took to the stage, the room divided into four definite parties! Who would win? I had a feeling I knew but was intrigued to see if Rob would go that way. ‘The winner of this year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales Final is ………… CADENCE NOIR!!!!’ Whilst there was obvious disappointment in the room from the fans of the other bands, the general consensus was that it was the correct decision on the night – apart from the Cadence Noir guys, who were completely shocked and thought Redwood Avenue should have won! After obligatory congrats / commiserations / photos, the crowd drifted off, all knowing they had just witnessed a super night of music with a competition of four bands, completely diverse in style, but all equally talented at what they do. It really was anyone’s game. We had an absolute blast, as we have had throughout the competition, and came home happy and content that a good night had most definitely been had. My only criticism was that the night seemed to take a long time to get to the decision. I think the second stage was good, but possibly dragged things out a little too much, however all the bands on there were fantastic. The sound on there was better than the sound on the main stage, which kind of irritated me a bit, but the room which the second stage was in is much easier to set sound in – that is more a fault with the building though – believe me I saw Soulfly in there a good while ago and it was a wall of noise, so even the big bands struggle.

Myself and Rick feel very privileged to have been at all these gigs and would like to express our thanks for the hard work and dedication of all involved, not only the bands, But Fozzy and Beany for having the determination to pull off the events, all of which ran like absolute clockwork. Also, thanks to Rob Bannister for coming all the way to little old Wrexham to judge it, as well as Dani Maguire from ‘Powerzone’ on Calon FM and John Matthews from ‘Totally Tankered’, who cast the judges votes in the heats and semis. Not only have we had a great time at each show, but we have met and become friends with some wonderful people along the way, and that is what music is all about – the universal language that brings people together. It would be lovely to see this as the springboard for more of the same in this town.

10 Winners

Huge congratulations to Cadence Noir – have fun at BOA 2018. LONG LIVE METAL!

SOCIAL MEDIA

North East Wales Metal Productions:

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/

The Powerzone Radio Show:

https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

Metal 2 The Masses Official Public Group Page:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/

Bloodstock Festival:

https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/

Central Station, Wrexham:

https://www.facebook.com/centralstationvenue/

 

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 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

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Semi Final 2, Atomic, Wrexham 25/05/2018

05 M2TM North Wales Logo

Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses –  North Wales –  Semi Final 2 – Atomic, Wrexham  –  25/05/2018
Review by Beth Jones

As the light evenings get longer and summer doesn’t look quite so much like something that happened in the old days, the North Wales M2TM competition is nearing its climax, and the penultimate gig saw us return to our new favourite little venue, Atomic in Wrexham. The night was set to be a good one, with a strong bill of four bands all vying for the prize, and awesome special guest headliners in the shape of the mighty Witch Tripper. Unfortunately, one of the four competition bands, Cobolt Collision, had been forced to pull out earlier in the day, due to illness – we were gutted, but I can guarantee we weren’t as gutted as them. Hopefully they will get another chance at the competition sometime in the future. But these things unfortunately can’t be helped. And so, the stage was set, the atmosphere was great and the nervous tension palpable, as we entered what I shall lovingly call ‘the Snug’!

First up were Redwood Avenue, a band that we had seen originally at Hammerfest earlier in the year and were a little non-plus about. I wrote in our review of that… “They were good, but for me the music needs more of a hook; it felt a little disjointed in places, but the guys are only young, so this will hopefully come with time”… Now this doesn’t happen very often, but…… OK I ADMIT IT – I WAS REALLY WRONG!!! We have now seen them three more times, and they have been better each time – it’s funny how first impressions can be so wrong. I’m not saying never listen to me because I am clearly an idiot, but NEVER LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY AN IDIOT!! They were tight, they were catchy, they were riffy and their mix was crisp. They got the place instantly bouncing, and gave the audience a great show to start the night. They are more modern metal, but they properly know what they are doing, and I am ashamed that I passed it off after our first encounter. My humblest apologies guys! This performance was by far the best we had seen them. Cracking!

01 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

After a quick vape/bar/comfort break, it was back up to the Snug for band number two – the utterly loopy Mad Spanner. These guys are just hilarious – they are the Monty Python of metal, combining off the wall observational comedy with chaotic thrash / punk! Lead singer Michael has one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen, and his height and huge amount of hair add to the overall manic-ness of their performance. They humoured us with tracks such as, ‘Get Off Your Bastard Phone (You Antisocial Dickhead)’ and ‘We Are No Longer Forced To Use A Shitty Drum Machine’, and everyone had a great time throwing people round the pit and laughing manically as they did it. Absolutely hilarious, wild, manic, fun. So much so that I even took my hair out of a ponytail and had a little mosh! Whilst, musically, they may not be the tightest band in the world, for the sheer fun factor, they are two thumbs good in my book!!

02 Mad Spannerhttps://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

The final competition band were Cadence Noir. When we saw these guys in the heats, bassist Tom was somewhat incapacitated, on crutches, so had to sit down to play, but by the Semi he was up on two feet again and it did make a difference to their performance. Again, their sound was great, and you could tell that they were really up for the competition. They say that their style is ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’, which is right up my street – I would possibly call them Pirate Metal, because that is what it makes me think of! I love the fact that their music does have folky roots, and the roll played by Fiddle player, Emma, is integral to their music. For this show, Tom was also interchanging between his standard electric Bass and a mighty sexy electric double bass, which added another dimension again. Their upbeat, bouncy, rum drinking tracks had the whole room moving again, and my personal favourite is their jaunty little ditty, ‘Fuck, Fuck, Boom, Boom’! Loved it!

03 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

And that was the last of the competition bands – this was going to be the toughest decision yet for the judges – all three deserved a place in the final in my opinion. So, whilst the judges deliberated, and after another quick vape/bar/etc break, the special guest headliners, the mighty Witch Tripper, took to the stage. Beany, our Master Of Ceremonies, had announced them as ‘the hardest working band in the UK at the moment’, and I have to say that, with the exception of Absolva, I completely agree. Their passion and complete dedication is conveyed superbly by their musicianship and performance technique and I love them! They fill the stage even though there are only three of them and produce song after song after song of solid, groove laden, proper hard heavy rock. They are the genre’s equivalent to a top quality 8oz fillet steak (or vegetarian equivalent!) and deserved to be savoured and enjoyed! Seriously if you have not heard these guys, you really need to check them out. We are hugely looking forward to seeing them at Amplified in a couple of months’ time.

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

After the sheer brilliance of Witch Tripper, it was time for the big reveal. It was too close to call, and Beany milked this for as long as humanly possible, and then a bit longer! After truly putting the whole audience on tenterhooks, the bands announced to progress to the final were…… Redwood Avenue and Cadence Noir! It was such a shame that one had to go, and that one had to be Mad Spanner, but that is the unfortunate nature of competition. Regardless, the night was brilliant, the bands superb, and the atmosphere warm, friendly and jovial throughout. I was in my happy place. Bring on the final, because if it is half as good as the semi, it will be a cracking show.

For those who can get there, I thoroughly recommend making sure you do – there is a move of venues, to Central Station, and the addition of a second stage, meaning the night will be even more jam packed with great music. I think I should probably book the Saturday off work!!

SOCIAL MEDIA

M2TM North Wales FINAL – Central Station Wrexham – 15/06/2018 Event Page

https://www.facebook.com/events/562274997482339/

Bloodstock M2TM Official Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/about/

North East Wales Metal Productions

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/

Powerzone Radio Show

https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

Atomic, Wrexham

https://www.facebook.com/atomicbarwxm/

Bloodstock Festival

https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/

 

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 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