Stonedead Festival 2020 Preview ‘The Monster Returns’ By Paul Monkhouse
After two years Stonedeaf Festival is no more. This isn’t due to any issues with the event at all but just purely a need to change the name due to a rival event. Announced during this year’s festival, it was revealed that the new name of this rapidly growing gathering of the cream of the rock scene would be Stonedead and they have certainly continued the trend for stunning line-ups as the reveal of the bands booked thus far has proven.
Once again, the ethos is very much a music festival run by music fans and recaptures the excitement and spirit of those early halcyon years of Monsters of Rock. In the two years since its inception, the event has grown from strength to strength and seems to have truly captured the hearts and imaginations of whole families and generations who just want to hear some of the best bands around in a friendly atmosphere that is well run, affordable and genuinely cares for the rock community that gathers there to worship at the stacks of Marshall Amps. With two hugely impressive festivals under their belts already the announcement of the artists booked so far for 2020 will push the excitement levels up to 11.
Black Star Riders
Headlining will be classic rock supergroup Black Star Riders and anyone who witnessed them on their latest tour will know that the band are firing on all cylinders and knocking every show out of the ballpark. Since forming in 2012 the band have certainly fulfilled their avowed intent to be the next stage in the evolution of Thin Lizzy and have very much grown their own identity whilst capturing the Celtic fire and spirit of the legendary Irish rockers. Helmed by Lizzy axeman Scott Gorham and former Almighty frontman Ricky Warwick, BSR are titans in the rock scene and the immense talent and charisma of these two hugely respected musicians has led them to new heights. Each album has continued to build the formidable machine and their lives shows have become the absolute epitome of what a visceral and exciting celebration of hard rock should be. One of the best bands in the world, Black Star Riders will blow you away.
Tyketto ripped up the rule book when they emerged and produced one of THE classic debut albums of all time in “Don’t Come Easy” and have genuinely never looked back. Formerly fronting Waysted, Danny Vaughn brought his incredible voice and writing talents to form the band with three like-minded New Yorkers and lead single ‘Forever Young’ broke through big time, enjoying constant rotation on MTV. Their rapidly soaring profile saw them opening shows for Bon Jovi and Whitesnake, often blowing the headliners off the stage with their own brand of street tough rock that had a gift of unassailable melody. Grunge put a dampener on things but the band regrouped and proved that you can’t keep quality down. Although the line-up has changed throughout the years, Vaughn has truly been the beating heart of these masters of their craft, his superb voice and stage presence never letting up. After such a stunning start it would be difficult for most bands to reach that high-water mark but Tyketto have produced album after album of immense tunes, fuelled by a craft and determination that Bon Jovi left behind years ago. Prepare to fall in love.
Kris Barras Band
‘Bruising’ is the perfect way to describe Kris Barras as this former MMA cage fighter has produced album after album of muscular blues rock with his self-titled band as well as fronting the supergroup Sonic Blues Machine alongside ZZ Tops Billy Gibbons. A man totally committed to his craft, Barras has toured relentlessly around Europe to growing audiences and each album has grown heavier and won more accolades than each previous release. A player of remarkable sensitivity and verve, he’s certainly caught the imagination of not only the general public but also blues purists who have hailed him as one of the finest guitarists on the scene. Latest album ‘Light It Up’ is a powerful testament to the importance of the blues as a genre while never holding back the punches and providing a crunching soundtrack that more than satisfies fans of rock too and his set at Stonedead should provide the highlight for many on the day.
Blaze Bayley is best known as front man for Tamworth rockers Wolfsbane and then as the man Iron Maiden handpicked to replace the departing Bruce Dickinson and latterly fronting his own titular band, constantly on the road and pouring blood, sweat and tears into every show. His appearance at Stonedead celebrates his time with Maiden so expect some classic tracks from ‘The X Factor’ and ‘Virtual XI’ albums along with a few other prime cuts. A magnetic performer, Bayley will be bringing his own brand of Midlands Metal that will doubtless thrill all those lovers of British steel.
Tygers Of Pan Tang
Arguably better than ever, Tygers of Pan Tang are one of the most legendary bands of the NWOBHM and follow in the footsteps of Diamond Head this year as leaders and vanguards of the genre who have appeared at the festival. Featuring original guitarist Robb Weir, the band have seen themselves touring all through Europe and beyond to packed houses, rammed with people who appreciate the constantly high class of the writing and performances. From the seminal debut “Wild Cat” through to new album “Ritual” the band have always brought the perfect mix of melody and heaviness that has been their trademark since they emerged from the wilds of Whitley Bay in the North East and they certainly show no signs of slowing down.
Myke Gray feat Kim Jennett
You would have to been hiding under a rock to have not heard of the perfect pairing of former Jagged Edge, Skin and Red White & Blues guitarist Myke Gray with former Voodoo Blood frontwoman Kim Jennett, such are the seismic ripples these two have caused. One of the hardest working and highly thought of musicians in the country, Gray has played on some of the biggest stages in Europe and toured with giants of the rock scene, his skill as a writer and six stringer drawing plaudits from rock fans and peers alike. With her incredible blues rock voice and commanding stage presence, Jennett has met her perfect mentor in the guitarist and has grown immeasurably since they started working together in the Summer of 2018. With a well-received support tour with Black Star Riders and an absolutely incendiary show at Download this year under their belts the two have proven to be one of the genuine ‘must see’ acts on the live circuit and are destined to prove one of the truly legendary ‘’I was there…’’ sets in the history of Stonedead.
With the Special Guests and opening band slots yet to be announced it already looks that Stonedead 2020 will be one of the events of the year and at £50 arena entry or £60 arena and camping fee (cheaper for children) it’s an absolute bargain. The festival happens on 29th August 2020 at the Newark Showground and full details can be found at www.stonedeadfestival.co.uk. See you down the front!
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Rabidfest 2019 The Bullingdon, Oxford 18/08/2019, Day Three Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
They say that as you get older, time goes quicker. They also say that time flies when you are having fun, so for us oldies having fun, time seems to go very quickly indeed, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, here we were at the last day of Rabidfest, which again promised a very full, and very heavy line-up back at the Bullingdon. Bring on the metal!!!
The task of opening the final day fell to Oxford based, King Bolete, who offer a fusion of blues riffs, fuzz and groove, and harsh vocals, combining to make a sort of sleazy stoner metal which was very akin to a lazy, and for some, slightly hungover Sunday lunch time. They were the perfect way to start, went down well with the crowd and set the tone for the day ahead.
The Final Clause Of Tacitus
From the moment these guys took to the stage, I could see they had the 90’s written all over them, and this made me pay attention – this was my era!! If you liked Rage Against The Machine and Clawfinger, you will love these guys. Rick already knew about them and really likes them because they had been featured on Ever Metal before. They offered a solid dose of Rap/Funk Metal executed brilliantly. I know this doesn’t happen very often, but I am going to give a special mention to Andy, the bass player (I know right – get the flags out)! He was the epitome of funk and was great to watch – definitely grand master level cool! The guitarist Tom, on the other hand, was a total nutter!! I have never seen someone go quite as bat shit on stage – there was definitely some sort of exorcism brought on by their music I would say! Trying to take his picture was like trying to herd cats! When we spoke to them afterwards, he told us that he had actually passed out on stage not so long back, from all the crazy jumping about! Lunatic! They were, very definitely, one of our highlights of the whole event, and when we got home I ordered both of their EP’s straight away!
From the old to the new, with a good dose of modern hard rock, Broken Empire! We liked these guys because they are fresh and very current – I could see my teenage daughters going wild to them, especially frontman ‘Ieuan’ with his far-out hairstyle! They have only been together since 2017 but have been gigging regularly and with two EP’s released already they are very well rehearsed and know exactly what sound works for them. Very enjoyable and definitely a band to keep an eye on!
This was a band that we had been really looking forward to seeing. We had heard a lot about them, and they are Welsh, so that alone makes them better than everyone else by default! They didn’t disappoint! Melodic death metal, with a more than sizable nod to classic metal, they ripped up the room for the entire of their set, with vocal powerhouse Steve Jenkins telling a story with his facial expressions, and engaging the assembled throng with some audience participation! There music was like a checklist of how to make it sound good – soaring power vocals – check, face melting guitar – check, epic rhythms – check, a hangman’s noose – che-wait, what?! Yes readers, you did read that right – towards the end of their set things became slightly more menacing when Steve produced a noose and promptly simulated hanging the other band members then himself, which was fun! (Don’t try that at home kids, not unless you are into that kind of stuff of course!) This was a really great performance and Democratus are now definitely on the list of bands to see again!
I have decided that I am definitely getting old, as here was yet another band that looked like they could be my daughter’s mates! From just up the road in Whitney, Bloodshot brought us some progressive death metal, with tricky stops and cross rhythms, and harsh vocals, on top of intricate guitar work. They were good to bang your head to and two characters in the crowd, who we very originally named ‘Dancing Guy’ and ‘Dancing Girl’, were having an absolute blast to them! I’m going to again mention the bass player, Will, just because he pulled some epic bass faces, a couple of which I managed to capture on camera!
Rick Here, I’m going to add that sometimes I find the harsher, more extreme bands a little difficult to listen along to at home or in the car, but seeing them live is a different thing entirely. To me this is where really heavy music completely comes alive and shines, it’s almost primal and Bloodshot were definitely a band that invaded my brain and intestines in a good way!
The Five Hundred
Guitars with too many strings alert!! It was time to get technical again with The Five Hundred. Thankfully I have no need to rant about having too many strings just for the sake of it, as the technical prowess of the musicians in this band required the extra strings. They were very very good. Down tuned and powerful riffs, intricate melodies, and on point vocals, mixed with killer drops that made the roof rattle, made their performance exciting and exhilarating. We were at the mid-point of the day, which historically is where I start to flag, however The Five Hundred made sure that this was a break from the norm by really waking me up! Again I am putting these on the ones to see again list!
Next up were Groove/Sludge Metal quartet, Gutlocker (or Stomach Padlock as many in the know were calling them!!). Again they were a name that we had heard quite a bit about and were looking forward to seeing. They were groovy, they were sludgy, and front man Craig McBrearty’s vocals were terrifying (in a good way, of course). I don’t know about my guts being locked – the rumbling bass licks were enough to replace all the fibre in my diet in that department – oosh! Again one thing that was not lacking in their performance was energy – a running theme from just about every band over the weekend, and they had the entire room banging their heads good style. Very pleasing indeed!
Coming to us all the way from the wild North, Scotland to be more precise (you know, that place where wild Haggis roam the hills – Rick), were Dog Tired. They were a mix of the brutality of Death Metal with the riffs of good old-fashioned Thrash but also a thundering Groove which, brought together, quite simply makes battle music! It kind of made us want to paint our faces blue, grab a big mother of a sword and stand on a hill shouting FREEEDOMMMMMMMMMM!! They were bloody good. We got a bit of hair envy again though, as guitarist Luke James has a proper mane of Pantene hair which was incredibly flickable! Their whole set was fast paced and full of growl and we loved it! Who’d have thunk that two genres I don’t get on with usually (You’re on your own there Beth, I love Death and Thrash – Rick) could come together to make something pretty frikkin good! Bought the album, listened to it in the car on the way home! Their new album is out in September and it’s a beast, in fact it makes us a want a pet haggis!!
This may make me unpopular, so be warned. If you are a fan of doom, these guys are for you. For me, there is only one thing worse than doom, and that’s experimental doom. Bast are experimental doom. Whilst there is no denying that they are talented and competent musicians, and that they work well together as a group, I just don’t get it. I want to feel excited, like the rest of the weekend has built me up to be, but I just couldn’t get into a groove. Admittedly some of the songs were quicker paced than the sort of slow doom that Conan inflicted the night before, but I just couldn’t do the guttural screamed vocals, the melodies that were kind of smudged together, and the weird beats that were impossible to go nuts to. Sorry!
So, yeah, erm. Papa Shango. It wasn’t what we were expecting! I spent a good few minutes wondering if my Pepsi had been spiked, and if this was a very vivid hallucination! Rick was actually concerned he had overdosed on his medication! Papa Shango are a many many pieced group of complete nutters, who bring together a Day of the Dead-esque shaman, a rock band, and RaRa girls adorned with Day of the Dead make-up, because why not eh? Whilst musically Papa Steve, Papa Dale, Papa Ryan and Papa Barry would be just a normal, half decent rock band on their own, the addition of The Pappettes Shango, and Papa Shango himself, turns them into a very hallucinogenic experience, full of double entendre, crazy naughtiness and hundreds of props! They were such good fun, and most of the musicians, including Papa Shango, spent a lot of time out in the audience! Were they under-rehearsed with some of the change overs? Yes! Did they go completely over the top? Yes! Were they extremely silly? Yes! Did anyone care? Not one bit in the slightest! They were good, light-hearted Sunday afternoon madness and we loved it! If you love the thought of Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen TV Series joining forces with The Rocky Horror Show then Papa Shango will be your bag. They were also a photographer’s dream because of all the vivid colours and beautiful make-up. Awesome!
After the half hour transportation to the lunatic asylum that had just happened, things got quickly back to normal for our penultimate band of the festival, with the entry of Desert Storm. Another local band, they brought a good mix of sludge and blues into their metal, and they did it very well. The room was full and getting back into the groove. There were definite nods to the old greats such as Sabbath and Zeppelin, but they were very current, and their performance notched up a level for me when there was suddenly a digeridoo type sound which took me aback for a moment – I was wondering who was playing it, then realised that it was actually a technique that vocalist Matt Ryan was using, which was similar to Tibetan throat singing, and was very mysterious and enticing, and gave the whole sound an added depth which was impressive and made them unique. They were a perfect balance of modern and classic, with some really great riffs and melodies, and toe tapping rhythms. I like this sort of stuff because it is clever, but not pretentious. Well done guys! We are Desert Storm converts!
Here we were at the final band, and it appeared it was going to be Groundhog Day. Once again, on paper, they were a good choice as they have a large following but they just didn’t do it for us. It was an anti-climax. They spent more than twice as long as any other band sound-checking, a large proportion of which was getting their Apple MacBook to work, only for it to stop working three songs in, when they stopped playing half way through a song because most of the song was on samples. Call me old fashioned, but if you rely that heavily on samples, and can’t play it live, don’t put it in. Whilst they did manage to carry on without it after, what I’m guessing was a quick set-list change, I, like a fair proportion of the crowd, had seen enough. I know this will again make me unpopular, but honesty is the best policy and I don’t do blowing smoke up people’s arses. If I reflect on them from a purely musical point of view, yes they could play their instruments well, and the front man did have an angry sort of charisma, and they are indeed slamming death metal, but without the samples it was just another death metal band. If you like death metal, you will love them – so definitely check them out. If you don’t, then don’t. That’s all I have to say.
And that was that. We took some last pictures, said our goodbyes, and headed off for our digs, via our new favourite food place, the Chinese restaurant a bit further down the road for take-two of the night before’s supper. It had been a great three days. We met some absolutely fab people and saw some really cracking bands. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the organisers for having us, and the great team that made the whole event run like clockwork. A huge shout out must go to the in-house sound guys at The Bullingdon, who were seasoned pros and were in control at every second – hats off to you chaps, a great job well done! Also to Mark Gibbs for being mad enough to attempt a three day festival, and to Greg Brown and our own Sheri Bicheno for making the chaos organised, and to the rest of the team for doing all the jobs that needed doing, and being genuinely fab people – we look forward to seeing you all again.
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Richard Tilley 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.
Interview with Imminent Annihilation Rabidfest 2019, 16/08/2019 By Sheri Bicheno
Hi everyone, Rick Here. I would like to make one thing very clear, Sheri Bicheno is a workaholic! Not only did she deal with all her Marketing duties at Rabidfest, as well as anything else that she was asked to do, she also managed to fit in some interviews for Ever Metal. I secretly think she has managed to find a way of duplicating herself and be in five different places at once! However she does it we are very grateful.
On Day One, at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford, she caught up for a quick chat with Aylesbury based Metallers Imminent Annihilation!
Sheri: Thank you, first off, for that absolutely face melting set!
I.A: Thanks for having us!
Sheri: No, thank you! I actually wanted to ask you about the single you have out called ‘Strong And Stable’. I get a little bit of a middle finger vibe to the politics of this country which are turning everyone upside down a bit at the moment?
Sheri: Does that give us a bit of insight into the concept of your upcoming album?
Jordan: Well not necessarily, I mean, the album is about the idea of us as humanity losing our innocence… because that’s kind of how I feel like, when I lost that I realised that the world’s a big place. I mean I’ve always been into history and when you were a kid and you were watching things like 10 years ago, it seems like 1000 years ago. So that’s our touch upon things that need addressing such as how women are treated, who have to go through abortion through either personal choice or through rape and incest and things like that… so it’s just kinda like us talking about things that pisses us off in the world… and ‘Strong And Stable’ is like my happy place, I love that song so much haha!
Sheri: You bring up a lot of points that need addressing in the world, a lot of people and artists that talk about other things like… drugs, whores and shooting people haha. So this is a contrast where it’s quite important haha!
Connor: There needs to be more discussion of it haha
Sheri: Where did you all start off, what brought you to this point?
Connor: Oh my goodness! It starts off as a cover band; we were called Dolphin Rocket as well haha.
Sheri: Dolphin Rocket? Is there a story behind that? Haha
Connor: I was in art class and we had to do a futurism thing and we had this ukulele and it was like a dolphin ridge. We ended up splitting it up into different pieces and it ended up looking like a dolphin rocket and we were like “That would be a good band name.”… It wasn’t…. Haha!
Sheri: It was at the time though! Haha!
Richard: So yeah we just formed into what it is now, I guess, the evolution of like, Metalcore to… heavier Metalcore haha.
Sheri: That should be a legit genre haha! You’ve got a gig coming up at the end of September with Evil Scarecrow and the guys in Damaged Reich.
Jordan: Yes, Damaged Reich, they’re great guys, they’re playing tomorrow. Joey is such a cuddly person, when we were at the final of Metal 2 The Masses, he just kept on hugging me and I was like “Mate, I love you so much.” Such a lovely dude! He looks so like a stereotypical 1980’s thrasher haha, looks like he’s just got off from being in the crew of Slayer in 1987 – lovely dude, man haha!
Sheri: They’re all always lovely guys. Have you got any other events that are coming up at all?
Jordan: Nothing at the moment actually, we’ve been trying to finish off this goddamn album that we’ve been doing for like the past year haha!
Sheri: I was going to ask if it’s going to make an appearance soon?
Jordan: Well I bloody hope so haha, the single idea came about to give us more time – and we’ve kind of just not used that time. We’re a poorly organised band haha! To the point that – we kind of rocked up as it was time to do change over haha. I mean I called them at 7 o clock and I was like “where are you” as I was coming from work and I actually turned off the google maps and turned onto the exit to the M40 so umm… haha… that was a panic, we are quite badly organised but for the album, we mainly just have vocals left hahaha!
Sheri: It’s an organised pile and that’s what we like! Haha! What are your next plans? Apart from getting the album finished?
Richard: We’re just looking at as many gigs as we can really. We took a quiet year this year. Last time we played was a couple weeks ago and then the last before then was in February.
Sheri: Predominately in the South?
Richard: Yeah but we are trying to branch out a bit.
Sheri: Well finally, tell us a joke?
Jordan: Our music..!
Sheri: That’s harsh! Haha! ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ was amazing! (Imminent Annihilation played a cracking cover of the Sepultura classic at the end of their set).
Jordan: I shit you not; we haven’t played that in about two years, Very much a last minute idea. We were stumped as to what our last song was going to be and I was like HOW ABOUT… How about we do Roots?
Sheri: Well it did the trick! The whole room was heaving with you! Thank you so much for your time.
I.A: Thank you!
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Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, 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.
Rabidfest 2019 The Bullingdon, Oxford 17/08/2019, Day Two Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
Before we mention anything music based in this review, we would like to compliment the Cherwell Guesthouse for the comfort of their beds! I had an amazing night’s sleep, which is something I never say about hotels and even Rick managed a few hours which is not something that happens often! Feeling refreshed and full of the joys of spring (or apparently summer, although I am yet to see evidence that this season exists!) we headed off to the second venue, The Bullingdon, which was usefully only a couple of minutes’ walk from where we were staying and where the rest of the Festival would take place! Winner!! Today we would be seeing eleven bands grace the stage and all of them were bands we hadn’t seen before, so we were very much looking forward to checking them out.
We arrived slightly early and met up with the crew at the ‘stage door’ to the back of the venue, where they were attempting the near impossible feet of erecting two gazebos in quite strong wind! But with a bit of logical thought and knot skills any boy scout would be proud of, said gazebos stood firm and the first band loaded in, meaning it was time for some music!
A/M (Altered Myths)
When these guys came on to sound check, and there was only two of them, I was concerned that maybe some of the other band members hadn’t got the memo that they were on first, and were still asleep, but no – there were actually only two members in the band! But flipping heck did they make a big sound! They played through their set to the small gathered crowd, sounding huge and very well-rehearsed. Drummer ‘Matik’ was also the vocalist, and was adept at both jobs, whilst guitarist ‘Eskay’ managed to make his guitar sound like two guitars and a bass all at the same time. I believe they may be wizards – anyone who can tell me otherwise gets a gold star! They call themselves a ‘Two piece original recipe meal’ and that is spot on because they aren’t easy to pigeonhole! We both thought they were a great start to the day!
From a reasonably empty stage, to a very busy one – next up were Villainous, A four piece heavy prog metal outfit from Brighton. They hit you in the face straight away with punchy rhythms and clever melodies, but the most mesmerising part of their performance was front man Sean Stakim, who was the re-embodiment of the late great Keith Flint! His punk look, with check trousers and skin head, combined with his use of the available space, movements and mannerisms, and wild eyes which were only tamed by the lights on a pair of night vision style goggles that he donned for most of the set, took me right back to a festival in Switzerland in 1997, where The Prodigy gave a performance that left 17 year old me speechless. Seeing this performance at Rabidfest excited me, because, whilst musically they were far flung from The Prodigy, the mannerisms and charisma that exuded from them on stage was right there! I spoke to Sean afterwards and he confirmed that Keith Flint was one of his biggest influences. We absolutely loved these guys! Well done!
Any band that was to follow Villainous had a tough job in my opinion. That job fell to Master Charger, who were a late addition to the bill, and were heading straight off after this performance to a gig in Nottingham later that day – that is dedication! In contrast to what we had seen so far, Master Charger served up a dose of Stoner/Groove Rock, which was sludgy and in places quite grungy. For me it was a good, solid performance and they made a good sound, but it didn’t excite me as much as Villainous had, however Rick really loves their monster Southern Groove riffs and was very pleased that he had finally got to see them!
Next up were local chaps, Damaged Reich, who we had heard a lot about, but had never seen. If anyone else is in that same boat and you like good, honest Thrash, I suggest you seek them out and go and bang your heads to one of their performances – they were really good! I am fussy with thrash – some of it bores me and leaves me cold, but this was not one of those bands, as for Rick, Thrash is one of his favourite genres so he was in his element. Again the stage was full of energy, and frontman Joe Samuels commanded the audience and drew them into his powerful vocals, backed up by the speed and groove of Adrian Irving and Liam Hodgkins on guitar, the meaty bass and backing vocals of Dan Atkins and metronomic beats of Hayden Wheable on drums.
So far this was a very successful day of metal in my book, as everyone was playing a blinder!
Want to make a statement on stage, and inflict heat exhaustion on yourself in the process? If the answer to this question is yes, then do what Ascaris do, and play a set in the height of summer, wearing full dinner suits! Why not eh!! That’s exactly what these three nutters from Gloucester did and it was bloody good! I did spend way too much time trying to get the perfect photo of guitarist Sam Godding’s hair flick, which was mighty impressive! They took us through a rip-roaring 30 minutes of Blackened Death Metal, with some killer vocals and licks, and many facial expressions, showing that a good sense of humour and Black/Death Metal can work in harmony! Again, I am fussy when it comes to this style, and like very little of it, but I could get into Ascaris and, yet again, Rick had a massive grin on his face when watching them.
Again, this is a band we had heard lots about, but not seen in a live setting. I have one word to sum up their performance – WOW!! This took it to a whole new level. This was proper! We both loved every minute of it. Hard Rock, tight as hell, and full of life! The energy and passion this performance held was truly commendable – frontman Cole Bryant reminded us of Freddie Mercury in his performance (no mean feat), giving an incredibly lively performance, most of which was spent vaulting over the pit barrier and performing in the crowd! It was exciting and accomplished in equal measures and for us was the performance of the day so far! We cannot wait to see these guys again, and will be seeking them out very soon!
From down that there Somerset way, Kinasis brought to the table some uber technical extreme metal, and they were rather good at it too! All their guitars had too many strings, and their stunningly technical riffs and rhythms made use of all of them! Whilst some technical stuff makes me look on with disdain for the level of twattishness, these guys just made me look on in awe and disbelief, because they all appeared almost shy of their talent, and gave a very humble, but completely brilliant and lively performance! They also looked so young, none more so than drummer Noah, who has the cherubic face of a child, but the timing of a seasoned master – which made Rick, a former drummer of 30 years, very, very jealous ! Damn fine technical shizzle chaps!
It was now time for one of the event organisers, Mark Gibbs, to take to the stage for the final ever performance of his band VIG. Again hailing from the local area, they brought a proper dose of thumping groove metal to the day, and the audience lapped it up. Having spoken to Mark a fair bit since arriving in Oxford, it was quite a surprise to see this pleasant and mild-mannered gent roaring like a man possessed up on the stage! They again were a band that made your rib cage vibrate! I mean, is it really a gig if you don’t come out with at least one of your internal organs slightly displaced, right? It is a shame that they are not going to be a thing any more really, because we would have recommended you all to go and see them, but now you can’t, and we have seen them so ha!
Confessions Of A Traitor
Now we were getting towards the business end of the day, the stakes were higher, and it was time to ramp things up yet again with some metalcore in the form of London’s own, Confessions Of A Traitor. To me they were basically what you would get if you fed Aerosmith lots of sugar, cigars, and bourbon, and them made them really, really angry! They were a pretty bunch who had the look of a much lighter style, but they were lively, heavy and technical as hell, and frontman Stephen MacConville’s hair metal appearance was all a ruse, as his vocals were powerful hellish growls that had the audience, which was now much larger than earlier, going absolutely wild!! Again he spent a lot of time in the crowd – even getting involved in the pit whilst still singing, whilst the rest of the band kept things kicking on stage in impeccable fashion! Energy and effort was a ‘10 out of 10’ from me!
We were outside, in the ‘performers’ area’ when these guys turned up, gurning out of the window of their lovingly titled ‘tour bus’, which was more like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and we knew at that point that they were going to be good fun to be around. What we didn’t know however was how flipping astronomically good they were going to be live!! Heavy/progressive/tech/death/metalcore shouldn’t work, but Red Method were here to prove that wrong! Bloody hell did they put on a show. They had everything right – the sound, the look, the energy, the charisma, the staging and the actual music itself was so fresh and exciting and heavy and punchy that you could not help but be blown away by their performance. We absolutely adored it, and definitely need more Red Method in our life! This was by a country mile our performance of the day, and it was going to take something very, very special to beat it as the performance of the weekend! But the best part was that they were all such great guys too – humble and down to earth, with no airs and graces – the way it should be. Considering they have only been around a short time you might wonder how they seem to have generated such a following, but knowing they are made up of ex members of Meta-Stasis and The Defiled puts a different spin on things. They know what not to do this time around and if they carry on like this then a Metal juggernaut has been well and truly created!!
We had heard a lot about Conan, and knew that they had a very large following, explaining their headline slot here. From what we had heard from various people, we were looking forward to seeing them. Sadly, for us, after what we had just seen, their performance was somewhat of an anti-climax. Firstly, they are Doom, which Rick likes but I don’t really do, but I was willing to give them a go. Secondly, and more importantly, because of their style, there was no lively jumping about, filling the stage, and drawing the audience in – it was more about the music than the performance. This is ok if you like that sort of thing, but for the members of the audience who wanted to bang their heads and were hyped after the likes of VIG, Kinasis, Confessions Of A Traitor, and Red Method, it was a bit like being a fly on the wall in a rehearsal room. That said, they were very tight in their performance, and the fans that had come to see them were obviously enjoying it. Perhaps at one of their own gigs, we would have had a different experience, but in the festival setting it didn’t quite work for us.
That was Day Two in the bag. There was an after party for the people with more energy but we were both very tired, very sore and very hungry, so we stopped off at one of the many Chinese restaurants on Cowley Road for some proper Chinese food and it was bloody delicious!! With full bellies and reflective thoughts, we headed back to the lovely guesthouse to get our heads down and prepare for the final instalment of Day Three!
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick Tilley 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.
Rabidfest 2019 The Wheatsheaf, Oxford 16/08/2019, Day One Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
After a journey down to Oxford marred with torrential rain, traffic jams, road works, more biblical rain and a fair amount of motorway madness, Rick and I were more than ready for some R & R in the form of epic music. After we had checked into our digs for the weekend, we headed off to The Wheatsheaf on Oxford High Street. Before I start talking about the bands, I want to say a bit about this pub, as it is now my new favourite pub in the world! Down a small alleyway, it crosses the divide between old and modern, and melds them together in perfect quirky harmony. The staff and clientele were friendly, and the beer was good (they really did serve a fabulous pint of Guinness – Rick). It took me back to my youth, and how real pubs used to be, but also made me revel in the wonders of modern technology, when I realised that a Guinness advertising stand on the bar was actually a USB charging hub!! THIS is what every pub should be like, everywhere!
We also finally got to meet Rabidfest and Ever Metal team member Sheri Bicheno who proved to be even more lovely in person than she is on social media. After lots of hugs, selfies and waxing lyrical about the USB charging hub on the bar it was time for some music, so we headed upstairs to see what was on offer!
First up for our delight and pleasure where Oxford based four piece, The Crushing! What a way to start – they were lively and funny and gave a charismatic performance of good, solid and well executed metal. We were really impressed, and they instantly blew away the slightly irritable cloud that the journey had hung over us. Front man Snuffy Walden had such an expressive face that it was difficult to take your eyes off him, and his discourse between the songs was witty and Monty Pythonesque, as was his enthusiastic jogging on the spot whilst playing, that endeared him to the gathered crowd, which was growing by the minute. If the whole festival carried on like this, it was going to be great!
Next on the bill were Aylesbury’s Imminent Annihilation, bringing to the table a more serious, but equally adept sound, with chunky riffs and rhythms, and powerful vocals! Even though the room wasn’t big (it was long and narrow), there was some serious headbanging going on and the atmosphere was electric! The gruff and raw vocals of Jordan Gray, combined with the power of the music really made your internal organs rattle, which is the sign of a good night in our book!!
Having seen these guys on a couple of occasions previously, we knew we were in for a good show, and Fahran didn’t disappoint. The energy that every single member of the band always brings to the table is immense, and their style is a unique combination of current and classic which makes them a timeless band that I hope we will enjoy for many years yet. I seem to be going on about vocalists a lot in this review, but thus far, they had all been stunning, and Matt Black’s were no exception – Jesus this guy has some pipes! However, it was bass player Joshua Ballatyne that I found myself following like a hawk here, just for his sheer Tigger level bounciness!! Great performance!!
Closing the first day were four fine fellows from Lancashire, Troyen, who have been kicking it for a good while, and reformed in 2014 after a sizable thirty-two-year break!! Rick had really been looking forward to seeing them as he remembers the name from way back but had never seen them live. They bring to the table a very adept and tight hit of NWOBHM, which is always a treat for any classic metal fan. They looked so cool and collected on stage, which showed their experience, and it was impossible not to be drawn in and rock along with them. Like a fine wine, they have aged and matured, and were chilled to perfection making them an incredibly enjoyable end to Day One. Brandy and cigars anyone?!
It was safe to say that everyone in attendance had a fantastic evening and afterwards a bunch of us went in search of the magical thing that is food and, as is usually the case, there was a McDonalds about two minutes away from the venue. After filling our faces we said our goodbyes and Beth and I had a very pleasant walk back to where we were staying. Oxford is a very beautiful place, architecture wise! It was then time to get as much sleep as possible before meeting up with everyone at The Bullingdon venue on the Saturday where a much longer day of Metal and Rock awaited us!
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Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
NozFest The 1865, Southampton, UK 10/08/2019 Review by Lotty Whittingham
The concert hangover is a common thing amongst the rock and metal community; these usually take place after experiencing an excellent live show. Symptoms can often include sore muscles, pounding heads and ringing ears. The most common of the symptoms is a huge desire to go back and experience it all over again.
I definitely experienced this concert hangover the day after NozFest. This fantastic event took place at ‘The 1865’, Southampton on 10th August. Given it was the same weekend as Bloodstock and Boomtown, lots of people came through the door which was great to see. JodieBowie was the promoter of this event; after running successful Rock Nights around the UK, this was her first festival.
It was clear that the high winds were not going to dampen the spirits of festival goers better known as Nozzers. As the venue began to fill, you could instantly see fans securing their spots to watch the bands, buying their first pints, browsing the band’s merchandise and talking excitedly amongst themselves about what bands they were most looking forward to seeing.
To kick off the proceedings, Bournemouth based 27 Days were the first band to take to the stage. As the opening act, the pressure is higher than ever to get the crowds warmed up. Especially when it’s early doors and alcohol consumption had barely begun. 27 Days conquered that pressure and showed NozFest what they were made of. Their performance consisted of great guitar solos, brilliant harmonies and infectious energy on stage and their cover of the Darkness classic ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ went down a treat with the crowd and got them participating. This is another achievement for an opening band to conquer and 27 Days did just that.
As the day went on, the venue started filling. With a performance from the next band The Wicked Jackals looming, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Their melodies contained some great hooks that kept the crowd alive and engaged. Their charismatic and passionate stage presence also seemed to win fans over, particularly when the booze gun came out. Advice: be sure to catch The Wicked Jackals when they come to your hometown. Where else are you going to see a water-pistol filled with alcohol?!
For the next act The Outlaw Orchestra this was their first hometown show for a long time and given the warm reception they received; it was evident it was an anticipated one. The first thing I noticed with their stage performance was it was clear they were having a great time. This energy and positivity passed onto the crowd alongside their tight live sound as they performed a selection of material from across their EP’s. After experiencing their live show, I instantly felt much happier. I will call this ‘The Outlaw Orchestra Effect’. If you wish to feel this effect, experience hard rock with a country tinge and watch banjo solos then catch them soon!
There was no beating around the bush when Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters took to the stage. They got straight to the point to play us some no-nonsense Rock and Roll. Their dominant stage presence and excellent live sound meant that audience members were under their control. They performed an eclectic selection of songs from the emotional ‘You & I’ to new drinking anthem ‘Jack & Coke’. With their fire, passion and energy; they could quite easily be the UK’s answer to Halestorm. It’s highly recommended you catch them when they next tour.
The appearance of StOp, sToP! was baffling at first. It seemed they had dressed as elderly men as they played the first song ‘The Last Call’. As they finished the grey wigs came off and the glam rock outfits were gallantly revealed. The message behind this appearance became clear: rock and roll makes you feel alive, it keeps you young and can turn back the years. A great message told in a fun way. If AC/DC decided to go glam, then StOp, sToP! would fit that category easily. Their live show was fun and energetic, which matches their uplifting music. They are due to play HRH Sleaze in a couple of weeks so if you are attending this, then be sure to catch them and get involved.
The name Marco Mendoza is a household name in the Classic Rock community. Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and The Dead Daisies are among the portfolio of bands that he has played alongside. This was the first date of the UK Tour and with his previous work with JodieBowie, it couldn’t be a better date to start the tour on. For this performance, he played his solo material alongside Micky Crystal (Tygers Of Pan Tang) and Kyle Hughes (Bumblefoot). From the word go, it was evident who was in control. The mighty opener ‘Viva La Rock’ got the crowd going instantly, this gave the audience a first taste of his excellent showmanship and tight live sound. His set consisted of solo material and cover songs that went down well with the crowds. His passion for the community shone through during his performance, as he sang and spoke you could feel that heartfelt, genuine, spirit that caught on in the crowd. He is currently on tour so be sure to catch him.
For Bigfoot, this was one of their last performances before they go their separate ways. Whether you are a long-time fan or a new listener, it was the perfect chance to catch them live before they call it a day. It is more than safe to say that this was a great performance from the band. When listening to them, Alter Bridge and The Answer come to mind. Their harmonies were on point and their stage presence was fierce. There was a high amount of passion and energy on the stage. They provided a more chilled out vibe to the evening and were a great warm up for the two main bands of the night. (Rick Here – I will be just one of many very sorry to see them go)
As the night drew in, the crowd got bigger and the atmosphere was happy, people excited to catch the two main acts of the night. The main support Those Damn Crows are one of the best new up and coming bands. They were fresh from appearing at Download Festival this year and from their live performance it’s easy to see why they are receiving high praise from fans and critics. Their stage presence was incredibly energetic and it was clear that this passed on to the Nozzers that were still standing, bearing in mind some of them had been standing all day. They provided a modern edge to the evening with their sound reminding me of Shinedown. They performed a great selection of music from both their albums. They ended with the new album track ‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Dead’ which was very apt. Those Damn Crows are easily the future of rock and provided the perfect set to get the crowds ready for headliners Massive Wagons.
Having got off an arena tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Status Quo, NozFest headliners Massive Wagons were a hugely anticipated performance for the evening. From the moment they took to the stage and opened with ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’, it was very easy to see why they were the headliners for the night. They did a fantastic job bringing a stadium like atmosphere to a small venue and they got everyone involved with their performance, even the newer listeners who didn’t know what to expect. This stadium like atmosphere included fans singing along to their anthems such as ‘Ratio’, ‘Billy Balloon Head’ and ‘Red Dress’. Hearing the chants echoing around the venue truly was one of the magical moments of their set. Whether you have two albums or ten albums in your discography, it can be tricky picking the right balance of songs for a setlist.
Massive Wagons got this balance perfectly and showcased songs from each of their albums. This setlist seemed to go down well with the crowd. Their boundless energy on stage was incredibly infectious, so much so that they even got those sitting standing up. They ended with the classic ‘Back To The Stack’ that marked the end of a triumphant set and a successful festival.
It’s now a week after the event and the positivity for the festival on social media is still rolling in. People are already booking hotels and time off work ready for next year’s date. If this doesn’t show how much people and bands enjoyed the festival, I don’t know what will!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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.
RockWich 2018 Sunday 26th August 2018 Lostock Club, Northwich Review By Beth Jones
After the cracking Saturday ‘Unplugged’ session, we were really warmed up and raring to go for the main event on Sunday and headed over to the venue in perfect time to start the day. One word summed up the weather on that morning…wet! My, was I glad we hadn’t camped, as mother-nature had clearly fallen asleep in the bath with the taps still on again, and Cheshire was definitely under the drip!
After wading through a few puddles, we were greeted at the door by the ever smiling and welcoming face of Colesia Pryse, one of the event organisers, who lovingly works the door for the majority of the day, in the cold, draughty and underwhelming entrance to the Lostock Club. Hats off to you Colesia – you do a fantastic job.
The first thing that struck me was how many people had turned up at lunchtime on a Sunday in time to see the first band, and the other thing that struck me was everyone was smiling even though most were a touch damp! What is very clear from this crowd is that RockWich is very definitely an annual meet up of old and distant friends, and that really makes the heart of this event. The abundance of handshakes and embraces was very warming and lovely to see in today’s society which, on the whole, seems to hate each other most of the time!
But enough of these melancholy musings – to the music!!! First up were a new name to us, Quiet The Thief, a Stoke based four piece who were ready to wake us all up with a hearty dose of hard rock, which they did, big time! They gave us a full-on Sunday carvery with all the trimmings! Great meaty riffs, solid rhythms and some pretty catchy melodies on the side, topped off with aggressive punchy gravy in the shape of Stig Chell’s vocals. Well lush!!!! I almost wished they had had a longer set, but just like a perfect meal, they left us wanting more – so much so that we purchased their EP and will try and slot it on to the review list!
There is only one thing to do after a hearty meal like that, and that is have a quick fag, and then go back for dessert! So, after a quick nip out in the rain for a vape (cos we is all new age and healthy-ish now) we headed back in for Novacrow, another new name for us. I knew I was going to like them when the guitarist appeared on stage in a top hat – quirky, random and fun where three words that instantly popped into my head. Yet again I was not disappointed. Like a delectable dessert, they served up an almighty helping of randomness and lively stage craft, with bass player Federico bouncing about like a recently uncaged animal, the impressive stature of guitarist, Jonyx, traversing the entire length of the stage in three steps and fronted by the awesome vocals and guitar of my new favourite pocket rocket, Kitty Staunton, who incidentally also has epic hair.
Their version of sleazy hard rock was peppered with brilliant humour and extremely polished performance techniques, worthy of a much higher spot on the bill. Their cover of Tragedy (The Bee Gees / Steps – depending on what era you were born) was ingenious and Kitty broke the forth wall by coming into the audience for this song, and having a good old amble around, as did Federico towards the end of the set, basically so he could jump off a table! These guys were too cool, too good, too funny, too stylish and I think I may be a little bit in love with them. My favourite band of the weekend, and they were only the second to perform on the day. I kind of felt sorry for the next band up, because that was going to be hard to follow.
Next up were Empyre. We had earmarked these as one to watch at Amplified in July but had not managed to get into the tent to see them, so we were very glad they were on this bill. Hailing from the Midlands, they bill themselves on their website as performing ‘intense, atmospheric rock, with a dark and introspective edge to their writing’, and this is what they did. But to be honest, I’m not sure if this was the right setting for them to bring an introspective edge in, especially after we had just been beaten around the head with a pointed Novacrow shaped stick. The first and last track were lively and upbeat, and worked in the party atmosphere that was forming inside the Lostock Club, but the rest of the set felt a little laboured and down beat. They didn’t really look like they were enjoying it either. Perhaps they were having an off day, who knows, we all have them. It left me a little meh, but I think I need to listen to them more to really cast judgement.
After another quick vape break, we headed back in for The Idol Dead, a bunch of seasoned punks sent to deliver their own brand of Punk Rock and Soul! And that is what they did. If there is one thing we can do well up North, it is combining lots of genres to make good tunes! They gave us a half hour set of absolutely brilliant, thrashy, punky bangers which you couldn’t help but lose your shit to. They were perfect for this party atmosphere and they had the audience in the palm of their hands for the whole performance. Guitarist KC gave it some welly all the way through the set, and sadly towards the end his beloved guitar suffered a bit of a catastrophic malfunction incident (the head stock decided it didn’t want to be a headstock any more RIP), but this didn’t stop them in their quest to jump around like loonies and make the audience have a damn good time. Really well worth earmarking as a band to see if they are in a venue near you. Great fun.
Psychobabylon were next up. Before they started my first impression was, ‘this is what it would look like in another dimension where a tall Dani Filth was the front man of The Levellers’. They didn’t have the look of classic rock, or metal, but were instead a weird meld of a bit of everything. I was dubious about what they would sound like, given their strange look, and to me they did sound a little like they looked, almost like it was two different bands playing at once. The vocal style of Rusty D was great, but I’m not sure if it went with the band, and equally the rest of the band were all very tight and well-rehearsed, but it just seemed a weird fit. That being said, they did play some catchy songs, and they were good fun to watch onstage, even if they were a bit like the musical version of eating a cheese and jam sandwich.
We were now heading dangerously towards tea time, and I had one thing on my mind – CHIPS! Lovingly served in a polystyrene tray from the kitchen hatch by the bar, in true working men’s club style. Bloody tasty and a perfect accompaniment to our next musical serving – the outstanding Witch Tripper. We have seen these guys at pretty much every gig we have been to this year, which shows how hard they work; however, they never get tired or boring. They are so groovy, so smooth and so full flavoured that you can’t help but lap up their energy and stage presence. They ooze dirty great riffs and the bass rumbles like a freight train, and if you aren’t drawn to move with these guys then you definitely have no soul. This coupled with their ridiculous work ethic, will see them going big places very soon, I have no doubt.
The next band had been one of the stand out bands at Amplified earlier in the summer – the Southern Rock ‘n’ Roll Meisters from Cumbria, Thirteen Stars. Seriously could have listened to these guys all night. They are so cool and so chilled out, with a great dry sense of humour, that it takes you away to somewhere, on a paddle steam riverboat, with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other. Aside from this coolness, however, is a band of very accomplished musicians, with some excellent guitar licks and perfect timings to boot. It was a shame that their set only allowed time for six songs; it seemed to be over far too quickly.
So, from Southern Rock ’n’ Roll, it was time to move swiftly on to some good meaty British Rock, in the form of New Generation Superstars. These guys have been on the circuit now for a good few years, but it was my first time seeing them (Rick has seen them before and really likes them) and I was impressed. They are good, no nonsense, sleazy rock, and really know how to work the crowd. Their liveliness and sense of fun really shows though in their performance and they are tight as anything. It certainly gets you tapping your toes and nodding your head. These guys are all seasoned pros and are able to demonstrate a level of understanding of who they are that only comes with experience. Gaz Wilde on drums totally lived up to his name, putting in a thunderous performance, and Johnny Suicide made a new friend during this set, a little person that could not go unmentioned in this review. All day long, a tiny little chap (aged just 2) had been busting out some killer moves and headbanging with the best in the mosh pit at the front. It was now nearly 6.30 in the evening, and he was still killing it on the dance floor. He was up against the crash barrier, rocking his little battle jacket in perfect time to the music. He was the dude! Hats off to his parents – parenting level epic: Achieved! I do not know how he was keeping going, as I was seriously starting to flag by this point!
Next up were Red Spektor. A total contrast from the comfort of knowing where you are with New Generation Superstars, these guys are Psychedelic 70’s heavy rock stoner doom, with some US hard rock and blues thrown in. Pass the mushrooms will you darling! They are incredibly difficult to describe, and to be honest, I’m not sure I quite got it. It was all a bit shy and insular for me, they didn’t seem to be aware they were playing to an audience, they were just playing and there happened to be some people there listening. They did make a lot of sound considering they are only a three piece, so they have to have credit for that, but it didn’t grab me in the way a lot of other bands on the day had done, and it wasn’t quite ‘party’ enough for the atmosphere in the hall. This was kind of evident in the thinning of the crowd after a few songs. I expect that they would be great to listen to on recording or as part of a ‘chill out’ session, but in this atmosphere, for me, it didn’t quite work.
It was time to liven things up again next, with Wicked Stone, a band from Devon who had just had an extreme 7 hour journey to get to the venue, all to play a 40 minute set. That is dedication. Thankfully, the room filled up again almost as soon as they arrived on stage and were delighted by the thumpingly catchy songs of this merry band of west country gents. Set Me On Fire was a track that really stuck out for us and had me heading to their merch stand to buy a CD! Would love to see these guys again soon, and really want to try and get a review done of their album as it is fab (It is called ‘Ain’t No Rest’ if anyone wants to check it out).
We were now heading quickly towards the business end of the show, with only three bands left. Filling the second support slot here was Falling Red, bringing an explosion of excited energy from the wilds of the North! They had also played Amplified in the summer, and we had missed them! Epic fail on our part! Their set included one of my favourite songs of the year, and one which had been on my own Amplified playlist all summer, ‘Hell In My Eyes’. I LOVE this song, and it gave me my second wind. They are a great melodic rock outfit and they kept on throwing out really catchy tunes, which have great depth, solid melodies and are backed up by tight rhythms. They are very current and appeal to a wide range of tastes, young and old. Really impressed by them. Another band to add to the ‘to see again soon’ list.
The penultimate act of the night, Stop Stop, are a tenacious gang of Glam Rockers with a very rock ‘n’ roll back story, which Rick had filled me in on some weeks before the show. I was really looking forward to seeing them and damn they did not disappoint. They were jaw droppingly good. They had everything; catchy tunes, cheeky smiles, brilliant riffs, superb vocals, lights, dry ice, and crazy energy. It was relentless brilliance and it blew me away. Not content with the stage, as it was clearly way to small for that much personality, this trio of hair and skinny jeans decided towards the end of the set that it was time for a wander around the crowd, so drummer Danny Stix harnessed up a snare drum and off they went like a merry gang of pied pipers into the crowd. They climb on seats, they bantered with the sitting punters, and they partied on the dancefloor with those that still had the energy to do so (including the little dude who was still down there!) and they made every person in that room feel part of their performance. It was very special. They just ooze charisma and totally own their craft. It isn’t just music for them, it is their entire soul, right there in a performance. It literally ticked every box for me. Some may find them cliched, but I really don’t care! They were bloody ace!
Yet again I kind of felt sorry for Trucker Diablo, our headliner of the night, as they had a bloody hard job following Stop Stop! But as always with these guys they put on a great show, whilst they are not as raucous as the crazy Spaniards, and a completely different style, they are equally as tight, catchy and professional. They bang out cracking tune after cracking tune with confidence and ease and do it all with a cheeky glint in their eyes. They have a very dedicated and growing fan base, and, like last year’s headliners, Massive Waggons, are definitely going somewhere. For those of you who haven’t seen Trucker Diablo before, (why the hell not, where have you been, get you head out of the cave and go watch them) they are a 4 piece from Armagh that bring a brand of feel good rock with a punch. They were a great way to finish off the party for another year and it was brilliant to see the smiling faces and feel the vibe in that room.
As we headed out we felt very happy to have been witness to this great little event once again. Yes it has its weird bits – the venue for me being the main bit that I just don’t quite gel with, but all in all it was a great weekend and it gave us a bit of everything; the discovery of some great new names to us, the chance to catch up with some other names that were more known to us, familiar faces and new friends, chips, chips and more chips, the little dancing dude in his groovy little battle jacket, and there was even a marriage proposal live on stage, which made all us girls go gooey and romantic! And all this was encased in awesome music. A massive well done to the organisers, Prometheus Promotions, on doing a sterling job again, and to all those involved in making the event run smoothly, from Colesia on the door, to Mik Matzen and Sharon Cooke stage managing, Simon Dunkerley keeping us press types in check, and a host of others making sure things ran smoothly, we thank you again for having the passion to do this and keep us, the fans, stoked up with live music.
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/
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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/
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!”
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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:
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/