Pentrefest Summer Session 2018 McLeans Venue – Pentre, North Wales, July 14th 2018


00 Pentrefest Summer Session Poster

Pentrefest Summer Session 2018
McLeans Venue – Pentre, North Wales
July 14th 2018
By Beth Jones

It had been a few days since our return from Amplified, and a serious case of post festival blues had hit the Jones-Tilley household. The washing was nearly done, the ironing mountain was ever growing, and anything and everything was royally getting on my tits. So, when Fozzy sent us a Facebook invite to the ‘Pentrefest Summer Session – A Day Of Casual Mosh’, we could think of no better way to spend our Saturday and hoped it would be the antidote to the crushing withdrawal from live music and alcohol that we had been suffering, cold turkey, for what felt like an eternity!

Mcleans Pentre is a very unique venue; the space is fantastic, and the acoustics are great, but it seems that its location has a tendency to pull out a serious case of the ‘can’t be arsed’s’ in a lot of local music fans, which is a real shame. We arrived just after lunch, ready to watch a lovely collection of music ranging from local talent, to Italian metal heads Slave Steel.

Our first performance of the day was an acoustic set by Mike West. Based locally, he delivered a great set of southern style blues rock, which was perfect for a sunny afternoon. It was the sort of thing you would expect to hear being played from a porch on a ranch in Texas in a Levi’s advert, and I liked it a lot. There is something very appealing about that style of music for me, and Mike’s gravelly voice worked perfectly. I could quite happily have listened to it all day to be honest – it was just chilled and relaxing and very well executed.

01 Mike Westhttps://www.facebook.com/mikewest333/

Next up was another local act in the shape of Edd Case, again performing acoustically. He was more edgy than Mike, and delivered a great set, including one song which had, what I shall term as, rhythmic talking sections and a sung chorus. Now usually this sort of thing winds me up, but this particular song was a masterpiece – emotive and powerful, based on the experiences of his friend in the forces, and written as a letter home to family. It got me in the feels big time, to the point that I had to pretend I had something in my eye! I was emotionally teetering before this, due to the aforementioned festi-blues, so had to do a certain amount of internal pulling myself together before heading off to the smoking area for a break before the next act!

02 Edd Casehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZXLlhJSn5g32dafnT6mCCA/videos

Things got a bit noisier next, as the acoustic acts were done, and we got our first full band of the day; a new band to the local scene, Renegades Of Fire. We had seen these guys at the Metal 2 The Masses heats in Wrexham, so kind of knew what to expect. They have only been around since November 2017, and I think need a little more time before we will see the best of them. They have a good sound but look a little tentative on stage at times. As individuals, they are all good musicians, but they need to settle in together and become more of a whole in order to really make their sound gel more and have fun with it; it is a skill in itself to be able to look confident even if you are shitting bricks, but it is things like this that will come with time. I am looking forward to watching their performance techniques grow.

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

From the nervous to the uber confident next, with Bad Earth. These guys had buckets full of dirty grooves and banging bass riffs, and some pretty fine rhythms to boot! Frontman Steve Coxon’s vocals were great, with a scratchy rugged tone, and excellent rock range, and he cuts an awesome figure on the stage too, he is a giant amongst men, or he certainly looks it from my 5’0” perspective! Both him and bass player Rob Murray performed topless too! I will let them off because it was very warm in that room, but they didn’t really need to – their music spoke for itself without needing to enhance it with sweaty torsos!! They led us through a rip-roaring set, which wouldn’t have been out of place on a bigger stage, and certainly deserved a bigger crowd than those of us interested enough in the local scene who had turned out on the day. They are a must see for anyone who likes bands such as Witch Tripper, Orange Goblin or Clutch.

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

The standard so far today had been excellent, and up next were one of our most favourite discoveries from Metal 2 The Masses – Lullaby For A Unicorn. A psychedelic bunch of chaps who like to harness their inner nutter and splurge it out for all to see!! When is a Unicorn not a Unicorn? When it’s a large man in a onesie strapped to a light up bass guitar! They are certainly an interesting sight to behold, but when they start playing you realise that their music is not as mental as their appearance – well maybe lyrically it is, but on an actual composition level, they are an extremely tight, solid and well-rehearsed band of talented players, and their timing both musically and comedically is spot on. It is always nice to see their seagull mascot, Steven, swinging above the stage, and they perform a very lovely song in his honour towards the end of their set, which is always a crowd pleaser and actively encourages audience participation. Very good, very funny and well worth a watch!

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

After a good dose of psychedelic craziness, it was time for a bit of instrumental prog just to focus the mind – pass the mushrooms will you! Again, we had seen Archetype as one of the guest acts at the Metal 2 The Masses final and had really enjoyed them. They are pretty unique in the sense that there isn’t a lot of completely instrumental bands around currently, and they do serve up a hefty heap of prog for starters, followed by prog, with prog and prog, and a nice glass of prog on the side! But flipping heck they do it well! Intricate chord sequences, tapping, cross rhythms and perfectly timed pauses are enhanced by sections of pure indulgent groove that fill you up – if this set had a calorie count I would be checking in at my local Weightwatchers to shift the added pounds right now! However, in the same way as I would be with a very rich pudding, I can only handle a certain amount of these guys in one go; my brain gets into a bit of an overstimulated mush and can’t cope! But they are superb – go see them!

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

Our penultimate band of the day were I Assassin, a four-piece hard rock outfit from Shrewsbury. They had great energy on stage and a brilliant sound, and vocalist Adrian Turner’s voice was superb, with a real metal core twang. However, as a band, they were a mix of lots of styles and I wouldn’t like to try and genre them – they certainly weren’t metalcore, but they were heavier than the hard rock we had seen during the rest of the day. They were full of energy and gave everything in their performance, creating a massive sound that was mightily impressive. I love it when a band puts everything into a performance – it grabs hold of you, and I couldn’t resist a bit of a boogie! They were very, very good, and we will definitely be checking them out again.

07 I, Assassinhttps://www.facebook.com/iassassinband/

Bringing proceedings to a close were a band originally from Rome but now based in London – Slave Steel. One word. WOW! Heavy, loud, intricate, fast, growly, energetic and polished, and if that wasn’t enough, they were four guys with Pantene hair and smouldering Italian looks too! I’m sold!! As with Bad Earth earlier, these guys wouldn’t have looked out of place on a much larger stage and would have had the same impact on a much larger crowd. The energy they brought, especially the bass player and vocalist, was superb, and pretty amazing considering it was now heading quickly towards midnight. There was so much movement and vibrance in their performance that it was difficult not to move along with them, and thankfully the select gathering took the opportunity to rock out before bed! I was pretty much on my knees by this point so retreated to old farts corner to nod along approvingly and watch the young uns lose their shit down the front!! (Disclaimer – yes I know I am only 39 but I’ve had a hard life, leave me be!) It was a cracking way to finish! We will definitely be look them up again soon.

08 Slave Steelhttps://www.facebook.com/slavesteel/

After a hard day’s rocking out, it was time to make the short 20 minute drive home again and digest the varied talent we had seen today. We are so lucky to have bands, venues and promoters willing to put on gigs that are, essentially, on our doorstep. Long may it continue! It is a tough time for smaller venues and local music at the moment, with apathy for anything that involves getting off the sofa seemingly at an all-time high. But I am sure that, with persistence, the local scene round here, and elsewhere in the country will thrive again, and I for one will be at the front of the queue with a smile on my face ready and waiting for the next band. With that in mind, I would like to say a huge thanks to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North for their hard work, dedication and persistence putting on these shows. They do an amazing job. GET OFF YOUR SOFAS PEOPLE AND COME AND FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE MISSING!!!
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

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

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Semi Final 1, Atomic, Wrexham 04/05/2018

07 M2TM North Wales Logo

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Semi Final 1
Atomic, Wrexham – 04/05/2018
Review by Beth Jones

Following four great heats, Friday 4th May saw the first semi-final of the North Wales leg of the hotly contested Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses. With the ultimate prize of a spot on the New Blood stage at this year’s Bloodstock Festival, the competition was going to be fierce. The standard thus far in the heats had been excellent, so it was also going to be a very close contest, and I, for one, was glad that it wasn’t me having to stand in the judges’ shoes, as the evening did not disappoint.

The weather on Friday had been pretty nice and it was still quite warm outside. Now, for those of you who haven’t been to Atomic in Wrexham, which was the venue hosting the event, it is a cracking little venue – with little being the operative word! Let’s just say that it is a venue where you get very friendly with people very quickly, and it is a little on the warm side once you get any more than ten people in the room!

The first band of the night, Lullaby For A Unicorn, decided to embrace the heat, by dressing their bass player in a pink fluffy unicorn onesie! It was a sight to behold! You know it is going to be proper metal when you have a unicorn light, a cowboy hat, light up shoes, a seagull suspended from a smoke alarm, and a large gentleman with a light up bass, in a unicorn onesie and shades!! And this eclectic gathering of lunatics did not disappoint. The ethos of the band was fun, crazy and madcap; however their all-round musicianship was superb. The singer was incredibly animated, sometimes looking a little unhinged, but this just added to the overall presentation. The drummer impressed me most and I found myself drawn to watching him, purely for the force at which he played with! The whole room was bouncing along with them, embracing the crazy juxtaposition of pink and fluffy with chunky riffs, growly vocals and general metal mentalness. They took us through 30 minutes of hilarious awesomeness and started the night off with a bang! They truly are the originators of the genre they classify themselves in – ‘Turbo Metal Unicorn Sexy Horn Time’.

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

The question then was ‘how the hell do you follow that?’ The answer was ‘with Impavidus of course’!!! Holy undercrackers! The was our first experience of these guys, as we hadn’t been able to make their heat, and it was, if you will excuse the expression, FUCKING AWESOME! The female fronted fourpiece from Manchester absolutely took the roof off the place with their fast paced, ridiculously funky heaviness. The vocal abilities of lead singer, Michelle Adamson, are just insane! She has the ability to switch between something that sounds like Gollum possessed by many demons, to beautiful, clean vocals in the blink of an eye. They absolutely owned the stage. The musicianship of each individual member was displayed brilliantly, with intricate guitar work, heavy bass, solid rhythms and the amazing vocals. Their tunes are not overly intricate, but have lots of changes and variations on themes, that kept it interesting and enthralling for their entire performance. You could not help but be drawn to them. We were utterly blown away by them. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what we got was something really, really great.

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

Next up, were a group of crazy kids from deepest darkest North Wales, who go by the name of Krank! These guys were a little bonkers and definitely a little erratic, and this came through in their music. They were tight and good as musicians, but a little too schizophrenic for me to keep up with. They did have a good groove though and the vocalist’s energy was insane. He was a tall chap, the ceiling in Atomic is quite low, and at one point I got distracted from the music, worrying that he was going to knock himself out by headbutting the ceiling! I did feel a little underwhelmed by them though unfortunately. This may have been because the two previous bands had been of such a high standard, that it would have to have been a very special band to top them. It is a shame, because they were good, they were funny, they were tight, and they were obviously all good musicians – they just didn’t quite float my boat.

03 Krankhttps://www.facebook.com/krankislife/

The final band in the competition for the evening was OMV. We had seen these guys at their heat and I was very impressed with them, so was expecting big things at the Semi Final, and again, they delivered. They have a very definite look about them, with all bar the singer wearing some form of mask, and have obviously thought hard about the visual image they want to convey to fit in with their musical style. They are again extremely tight as a band and are all really talented musicians. There style is very definitely Crossover Hardcore, and their music punches you in the face with heavy, angry vocals, complex bass lines, and fast intricate guitars. They have got something to say and they are going to say it whether you like it or not! Thankfully, I liked it! I didn’t think on the night, they were quite as on point as they were in their heat, however they were still very impressive and their performance incredibly energetic. It is clear to see that they put a lot of work into what they do, and hats off to them for that. I really enjoyed them.

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

So that was the end of the competition bands for the evening, however the entertainment was set to continue, whilst the judges deliberated and counted up the audience vote. That entertainment was brought to us on the night by special guest headliners Outright Resistance. Having seen these guys at Amplified Festival last year, and been mightily impressed with their tightness and stage presence, especially from their singer, and then being shocked by the news they had parted company with her a little later in the year, we weren’t sure what to expect. They were still tight and incredibly well rehearsed, and the new singer was good, but for me, it had lost a bit of the sparkle. It was a shame because they are so good. Maybe it just needs time to gel more. I don’t know.

06 Outright Resistance 2https://www.facebook.com/OutrightResistanceBand/

Then came the important bit of the night, the announcement (drum roll please!) After a very difficult deliberation the judges vote went to Impavidus. I have to say that we were in 100% agreement with this – they were by far the best on the night. The public vote went to OMV-Hardcore /Crossover – again this was definitely deserved. So two of the four bands progressing to the final were decided and we left, having had a great night, and thoroughly looking forward to semi-final 2…..

TO BE CONTINUED……

SOCIAL MEDIA:

M2TM North Wales SEMI FINAL 2 – Atomic Wrexham 25/05/2018 Event Page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1839085989436464/

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

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

North East Wales Metal Productions:

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

Metal 2 The Masses Official Public Group Page:

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

Bloodstock Festival:

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

 

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

All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages