RockWich 2018, Lostock Club Northwich, 26th August 2018

00 RockWich 2018 Poster

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!

01 Quiet The Thief RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/ThiefQTT/

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.

02 Novacrow RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial/

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.

03 Empyre RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/EMPYRE/

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.

04 The Idol Dead, RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/theidoldead/

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.

05 Psychobabylon RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/Psychobabylon/

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.

06 Witch Tripper RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

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.

07 Thirteen Stars RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars/

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!

08 New Generation Superstars RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/newgenrocks/

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.

09 Red Spektor RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/redspektorband/

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).

10 Wicked Stone RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/wickedstonemusic/

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.

11 Falling Red RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/fallingredofficial/

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!

12 Stop Stop RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/stopstopofficial/

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.

13 Trucker Diablo RockWich 2018 Headlinershttps://www.facebook.com/TRUCKERDIABLO/

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.

 

Social Links:
https://www.rockwich.net/
https://www.facebook.com/PrometheusPromotionsSoundandLight

 

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

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

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

01 RockWich 2018 Unplugged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

00 Day3 Lineup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 Amplified Logo

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

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

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