Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1 – Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019

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Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1
Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019
Review by Beth Jones

It doesn’t seem like two minutes since the first heat of this year’s M2TM North Wales competition, and yet all of a sudden, here we are at the business end of proceedings!

The first semi-final promised a definite step up in standards, and we were very much looking forward to it. Sadly, again, one competing band, Mindriot 15, had to pull out due to a family emergency, so we were left with four really good bands to battle for just two places in the final; Favela, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Bad Earth and Scarfoot.

When we arrived at Mcleans, it was great to see a really good turnout, despite road closures and all sorts of other things happening that weekend. The running order was drawn live, and Favela were picked to go on first.

Favela
After seeing these guys in the heat, we knew what they were all about. They are heavy, 90’s inspired, shouty and tight. They certainly put on a performance here, with front man Tom Harrison covering every inch of available stage space in a performance full of energy and vigour. This might make me unpopular, but I actually think I preferred their performance in their initial heat. I don’t even know why! I think maybe they were almost trying too hard here, and it didn’t feel as real as in the heat. Rick however totally disagrees with me! He thought they were really good. Maybe I was just in a bad mood! Hard day at work and all that!!

01 Favelahttps://www.facebook.com/FavelaUK/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
I don’t need to say much about these guys, apart from it is always a pleasure to be in their company and watch them play, and they were on fire for this performance. Even though it was shorter than their usual craziness, they still managed to make a huge mess! Guitarist Dan Alexander also looked like a man possessed. Usually very reserved whilst playing, he was jumping round like a complete nutter and really going for it with his presence and witty banter, which was great to see. They were super good, as always, and super tight. I have a real soft spot for these guys. Luckily, I’m not a judge, so it doesn’t matter if I am biased!

02 Lullaby For A Unicornhttps://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Bad Earth
Here is a band who have been through the mill a bit recently, but they have had good news, just this week, with the appointment of new bass player, Tim Nicholls. Having not heard him play before and knowing that he had had just 5 days to learn the set, we were nervous for them, but we needn’t have been. Oh my word, what a show! Big, big kudos to Tim, who did an outstanding job, and seems to have just slotted right in to the band perfectly. Drummer Ren Stefan and Guitarist/Vocalist Stephen Coxon looked so much more relaxed on stage, and their performance was spot on. I spoke to Stephen afterwards and he said that was the best he has felt on stage for a while – that it felt comfortable. We could really tell from out front! A great performance. And, just for Stephen’s benefit, I would like to point out that the lighting was perfect, and they all had the correct number of clothes on 😉.

03 Bad Earthhttps://www.facebook.com/BADEARTH/

Scarfoot
They were definitely up for this performance and put on a pretty good show on the whole. They are very passionate and are great lads, but for me they were lacking in something here, and I can never quite put my finger on what it is. Don’t get me wrong, they have come on a long way from when we first saw them, but I think that they still have more locked up potential that they need to find the key for. Their songs are creative, quite proggy in places, and they perform them well, but it just doesn’t gel quite right sometimes. That being said, they did work their socks off and the crowd were appreciative. They are really lovely guys too.

04 Scarfoothttps://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

That was the final competing band, and after a swift round of voting, and a trip to the bar, and while the judges went off to deliberate on their choice, we had the pleasure of discovering an interesting bunch from South Wales!

Apathy Avenue
On their Facebook page, these guys say they are Alternative/Hard Rock. The lead singer certainly had a hefty does of alternative flare, a bit like if Dr Who went to Glastonbury stoned out of his tree! They were very tight and well-rehearsed, and had a quirky style. Sections of rap peppered their songs, along with clean vocals and some nice guitar work. Whilst they were not what I was expecting, they were good, and I quite liked them. They weren’t particularly heavy, and I think some of the crowd were in need of something a bit more growly, but the ones that did stay to watch them seemed to enjoy it too.

05 Guest Headliner Apathy Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/Apathyavenue/

And so, the results were in. It was going to be a really hard one to call, as every band had upped their game. I knew who I thought it should be, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Progressing to the final were (drum roll please)…………. Bad Earth and Lullaby For A Unicorn! I was very happy with this. It was, in my humble opinion, the right choice. Favela missed out by the narrowest of margins, but it is all about what happens on the night, and Lullaby and Bad Earth just had that edge. Well done to all the competing bands for getting this far, and we shall look forward to seeing all of you, in some capacity, very soon.

Thanks again to all the bands for a great night, and of course to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Paul Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North for their constant hard work and dedication to the scene here in North Wales. See you at Semi Final 2, which is going to be even tougher than this one!

LINKS:
Semi-Final 2 Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/2350996518296726/
Grand Final Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/172760083629491/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 3 – McLeans Pentre – 19/04/2019

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Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Heat 3
McLeans Pentre – 19/04/2019
Review by Beth Jones & Richard Tilley

Ah, Easter weekend! What better way to celebrate the rebirth of a myth, than with some metalllllll! The venue for M2TM North Wales Heat 3 was the wonderful McLean’s again, but this week’s line-up was set to be heavier than last weeks, and on arrival, the crowd looked up for a good night! Sadly, the headliners couldn’t be there, so we just had the competing bands; Nights Tribunal, Favela, Thrashatouille and Renegades Of Fire. Three of these bands we had seen before, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, but Favela were a new name to us.

Nights Tribunal
Kicking us off were three young hopefuls in the shape of Nights Tribunal. They started quite tentatively, which isn’t the way to win over the crowd, but they did get better through their set, as they got a bit more in to it. The bass player was very enthusiastic throughout and looked slightly out of place, as they weren’t as heavy as his playing suggested! Their guitarist/vocalist, Ryan Bond, has a very quiet voice, and I think to progress, he needs to make a decision – if he is going to sing, SING! Or if he isn’t confident enough to do it with some gusto, get a vocalist who can. That being said, they did have one song that grabbed us, Maple Grove, which was a nod to Pink Floyd, and could work quite well with a bit more rehearsal.

01 Nights Tribunalhttps://www.facebook.com/nightstribunal/

Favela
These guys were a step up from the off. They describe themselves as Southern / Post Hardcore / Metal, and were definitely a nod to the nineties in style, with a bit of a rap/metal vibe going on – lots of influences from RATM and Deftones. They were super tight and well-rehearsed, and the drummer, Sam Martin was spot on, and didn’t half hit those bangy things with some force! Rick also loved the use of cowbell. Vocalist Tom Harrison had bags of energy, and brilliant stage presence – he made an instant connection with the good sized audience, which set them off to a great start. As a group, they didn’t take themselves too seriously, which is refreshing to see – if you have fun with it, so does your audience! They had a really cracking sound and moved to the top of my list of ‘ones to watch in 2019’! Every member knew exactly what they were doing, and the additional vocals provided by bassist Ross Cardno, and guitarist Mike Harrison, were very good. We like these guys a lot.

02 Favelahttps://www.facebook.com/FavelaUK/

Thrashatouille
Having seen these guys at Christmas, we knew that we were going to get a lot of food based craziness from them. They didn’t disappoint. For this performance they had two waiters with them, who stood motionless either side of the stage for a couple of songs, then screamed MOSSSSHHHHHHH, and started a pit! Happy days – perhaps someone might have told them there was a fly in the Ragu, and it made them lose their shit – who knows! Add into the pot an inflatable donut and some very excitable crowd members, and you can see how the atmosphere ramped up a bit! I know these guys are a personal favourite of Powerzone’s Dani Maguire, and he was merrily moshing his face off at the front throughout the set! They also introduced a new song to their set, which went down a treat, and they finished off with a nice bit of baking – with singer Rob Sutton burying his face in a rather lovely looking red velvet cake. You have to hand it to them, they are great fun, and musically they provide a hefty dose of good old fashioned thrash! Well done lads.

03 Thrashatouillehttps://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

Renegades Of Fire
Closing the night were a band we have seen a couple of times, including last year’s M2TM heats, and we were hoping to see how they had come on in a year. Thankfully there was a definite improvement. Guitarist Alex Wright and Bassist Connor Ormiston have really come out of their shell since the last time we saw them, and looked much more relaxed, and it was good to see them taking on some vocal duties too. Steven Taylor on drums has improved so much as a drummer this year, it is commendable. Lead vocalist Andy Lewis needs a bit more oomph in his voice to really make it stand out, but musically they are so much tighter now than they were a year ago. They still have some way to go but gigging and practice will bring that. They look like a band now, which was really pleasing, and we hope to see them continue their upward progression. Be confident lads – you definitely have something, just throw away those nerves.

04 Renegades Of Firehttps://www.facebook.com/Renegades-of-Fire-1929979253889558/

And so, again, it was time for the judges to go off and do their deliberating, although again I think we could put a pretty safe bet on the progressing two bands. Again, the public vote went the same as the judges’ thoughts, and it was announced that Favela and Thrashatouille were the victors on the night. All is not lost for the others yet though, as Fozzy does have the job of picking a wild card act, so who knows! The last of the heats is coming up on Saturday 27th April, at the Wrexham Lager Club, and we will be there once again!

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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