Pentre Fest 2019 Day Two
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
Review by Beth & Rick Tilley
Pictures by Beth Jones
…We arrived back at McLean’s Bar around Midday, fresh faced and ready for Day Two of Pentre Fest. To say there were a few faces looking slightly less fresh would be an understatement, but a good old ‘hair of the dog’ session was already ensuing for most! The weather was fine, everyone was smiling & chatting and we were thoroughly looking forward to another day of full on Metal, starting with a relatively new, local band, Navnlos.
Its always nice to see local acts perform at events like this, and Navnlos certainly kicked the day off in style, with there thrashy groove metal style executed really well. It certainly cleared the head of the already growing crowd, and was a great way to get people back in to the swing of things. They had catchy hooks to their songs, and you could move to them, and everything they played was executed really well. Our one qualm with their performance was the length of time between songs, spent in relative silence. It was too much and they lost all the energy that the song had just built up. Their stage craft will grow the more they gig but, apart from that, musically they are a talented bunch and we are both very much looking forward to see what they do!
Next, we went from the sublime to the cor blimey, with another new local band, who hadn’t played many gigs before. They were a kind of punk pop metal crossover, and their lead vocalist was certainly up for it, and had everyone joining in with some audience participation on the majority of their quirky, funny and bizarre set. They weren’t the best band that we were going to hear on the day, but they certainly weren’t the worst we had ever heard. With a bit more gelling time, and a bit more confidence as a band together, they could be good. I hope they carry on working on this because it was funny and light – hearted, but if it doesn’t work out, then frontman Adam (who reminded us of comedian Jack Whitehall) could probably do really well as a kid’s party host, after managing to command the hungover gathering here, and get them to sing random things with seeming ease!
I hadn’t heard these guys before, so wasn’t sure what to expect, but my ears pricked up when they started playing, as their style was instantly recognisable to me as the sound of the 90s! A Rage Against The Machine / Alice In Chains / Corrosion Of Conformity influenced sound that got me jigging along and took me back my formative years! They were really tight and very bloody good. Formed in 2011, and hailing from the Manchester scene, you could tell that they properly know what they are doing, and they deliver it with passion and style. For me they were one of my stand out bands of the weekend, not only because I love their sound, but because of how well rehearsed they were. A new one to add to my list of ‘must see again’ bands.
I saw these guys at Badgerfest last year, and was not as impressed with them as I thought I might be. I had wanted to see them again, and for Rick to see them too, to see if my first impression was founded, or if I was just a complete dick. The answer to that question was, ‘I’m a complete dick!’ Although, in my defence, I don’t think the sound issues at Badgerfest helped them last year, and thus the performance I saw then wasn’t their best, but I am so glad that I saw them again here, where the sound was superb, and I was able to make a more informed judgement about them. They are a super-talented product of Lancaster and well worth a watch. Lead vocalist Steve Graham has a great set of pipes on him, and the Rhythmic work of Kev Yates on drums and Ben Macfarlane on bass is spot on and If you top that with some crunchy, groove laden and intricate guitars then you have a recipe for awesome. Rick said they were one of his top bands of the weekend and that he actually preferred hearing them live rather than on album.
Next up, and getting dangerously close to clashing with the most important game in the Rugby Calendar – Wales vs England in the Six Nations – were the Merseyside monsters, Deified! With as much punch as an angry gorilla on amphetamines with a score to settle, we LOVE these guys. We first saw them at the Christmas Mosh back in December, and were impressed then, but somehow, they were even better at this performance. Putting the OOO into groove metal, and the AAAaAAraragh into thrash, with an added spoonful of death metal vocals, they crushed our skulls continuously for their 45 minute set, and left us all wanting more. Fair play to these guys – they kept the crowd until the end of the set, and put everyone in a great mood!
The next set was delayed, because of a small matter of one of the best Rugby games in recent years playing out on the big screen in the bar, and everybody, including the bands and the event organisers wanting to watch it! It was nail-biting, but Wales managed to overcome England! CYMRU AM BYTH!!!!!!! (Apologies to the English members amongst the merry gathering, but it was a damn fine game, and the best team won! We still love you though).
Frozen In Shadows
I was a bit like a child with a new toy when I found out Frozen In Shadows were playing at Pentre Fest – I couldn’t wait for Rick to see them after they totally destroyed my mind with their immenseness at Badgerfest last year. They were once again brilliant! They are excitingly heavy, and it makes every bone and sinew in your body vibrate with their power. For me they are the epitome of a super group. Incredibly talented musicians from other bands, coming together to do something magical that plays to each of their strengths. They are incredible to watch, with so much energy, passion and technique, that I am quite sure they will blow me away every time I see them. I don’t really think I need to say any more than that!
After seeing these guys as a full band at Amplified 2018, and seeing lead singer Kieran guesting with Mad Spanner on a number of occasions, we knew what these guys were about, and they lived up to their Amplified performance of last year, which was fab. They are super technical and tight, and Kieran’s growly death metal vocals punch you in the face like a street fighter on steroids! They are brutal as, and always fill the stage with energy. The local crowd love these guys, and it is easy to see why, when they deliver a belting performance every time, and this was no exception.
Filling the main support slot were last years M2TM North Wales winners, and all-round lovely folk, Cadence Noir, bringing their unique ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’ to Deeside. I love these guys, and it is always a pleasure to watch them play, especially when they have a full quota of members, as they did tonight, with Nick on guitar making up the quintet. The thing that makes me love them is the way they blend heavy metal riffs, with folk melodies, and lamenting violin with crunchy distorted guitars. They put on a great show for everyone again here, whipping up the hall into good old jig! Speaking to frontman Ade after the show, he said that he was happy with the performance, and that it felt good – that was definitely transmitted to the room, because it sounded good too.
So, to the headliners. We had watched these guys earlier in the day doing an ‘acoustic’ (lol) set on the acoustic stage, so knew they were going to be heavy and loud as fuuuuuuck! They were. Crazy energy, meets brain shattering vocals, meets speed drumming, meets everything turned up to eleven, with a side helping of so much hair it would make bald men weep! I seriously thought that my skin might disintegrate, and needed to go hunting for my ear drums, which I could only assume had ended up somewhere in the car park! Whilst musically these guys aren’t really me cup of tea, tipping the scales into the realms of too heavy, they are very adept at their style and they are also endearing chaps who all have a great sense of humour. Good to watch, and if you like to feel like your whole body has been in an industrial tumble dryer, then you definitely need to look them up.
One thing that we have touched upon throughout this, but not gone into detail about was the Acoustic Stage, run over both days, by the one and only Edd Case, a stalwart of the local scene, with an immense passion not just for music, but for supporting underground, unsigned and local talent. His acoustic stage showcased a number of local acts: Neill Murphy, Captain Andy, The Hairy Bitches, and Zanda Stone, along with acoustic sets from Adam Robinson of Cheerfully Undiagnosed, Ade and Emma from Cadence Noir who pulled off an immense cover of AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, and a full on acoustic set, complete with a bin lid bass drum, from Sodomized Cadaver, which is possibly the funniest acoustic set I have ever seen. Edd himself also did a few turns on the stage, closing the proceedings by doing his final set with his pants round his ankles! Clearly one of those, ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ moments, as it was a little chilly! It was a brilliant side attraction to the main event, and a great place to chill out and have a right old giggle between bands. I definitely would like to see this return next year.
One other thing that I need to mention, before I stop waxing lyrical about what a brilliant weekend we had, was the sound quality. For every single band, throughout the weekend, on both the main and acoustic stages, the sound was completely faultless. With the diverse line-up, this was no mean feat, and a special mention needs to be given to LA1 Audio’s Edward Davies who absolutely stepped up to the plate and worked like a Trojan all weekend. A special thank you must also be given to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, for putting on yet another brilliant show in their tireless pursuit of bringing Metal back to North Wales. They both do a sterling job, and the local scene owes a lot to their dedication – thanks again guys. Bring on next year – HELL YEAH!!!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Tilley and Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images