Pentre Fest Summer Session 2019 – McLean’s Pentre – 06/07/2019

00 Pentre Fest Summer Session Poster

Pentre Fest Summer Session 2019
McLean’s Pentre
06/07/2019
Review by Beth Jones

Is there anything better on a summer’s day than having a good time with friends, with good music and cheap beer? The answer to that question is of course ‘No’ and this year’s Pentre Fest Summer Session was one such summer’s day that we have had the pleasure of enjoying so far this year! The weather this year looked questionable, but thankfully by the time everything kicked off, the sun had decided to get its arse into gear and put in an appearance!

The lineup was a great mix of styles from classic heavy metal to groove death metal and everything in between, and it also saw the return of the now infamous Edd Case and his acoustic stage, which is just the best way to chill out between bands ever. This takes place out on the veranda (!!) and this year saw Edd kicking off proceedings there, and then going inside to do an opening slot on ‘the big stage’, which he was uber happy about!!

Edd Case
What can I say about Edd that hasn’t already been said?! If you don’t know him, or haven’t seen him perform, then you really do need to check him out. He is so much fun, and he never fails to put you in a good mood. This is a man who has come close to death and now has a newfound love of life, and it is infectious. He finished his ‘big stage’ set with a song he penned himself, called ‘Letters Back Home’, which personally I think is lyrically one of the most emotive songs I have ever heard. I have seen him perform it a number of times now, and I can’t watch it without getting the mother of all lumps in my throat. Every god damn time! You have no idea how much will power it takes me not to turn into a blubbering mess!

01 Edd Casehttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014628035630

Scarfoot
Again, we have seen these guys on a good number of occasions, the most recent being the Bloodstock M2TM Semi Final. This was a very different performance to their last few however, and they seemed a lot more relaxed, which came through in their performance. Lead singer / Guitarist Oliver Carins came out of his shell a bit more and really looked like he was enjoying the performance – something which I haven’t always seen in the past. Drummer Phil Eakins was solid as ever on the beats, and his voice came through really well thanks to the impeccable sound, which once again the sound man has to be applauded for.

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

Thrashatouille
After their shock exit at the semi-finals of Bloodstock M2TM, it was great to see these guys back to their culinary best! Their madcap meld of food and thrash is always a welcome teatime treat in my book, and they again pulled off a brilliant performance here, with some new songs as well as the classics, finishing up with the temporarily named ‘Chocolate Romance’, as they hadn’t been able to get their hands on a Red Velvet cake for front man Rob Sutton to smash into his face at the end! They played a super tight set and had a great laugh. It was also amusing to see the ever-lovely Nick Gregory of Radio Deeside being turned into a human hoopla peg, with giant inflatable donuts!

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

Mad Spanner
These guys are really starting to find themselves properly now. They have a great new logo and a real identity as a band now, and that is showing through in their madcap, post-apocalyptic punk thrash performances that continue to amuse and delight us! This performance was no exception, and yet again they looked like they were having immense fun, with Michael Randall bouncing about like Tigger on speed (I swear he is trying to get a sponsorship deal from Duracell), and the immense power of Dan Ashley’s guitar and Ben Codd’s drums making sure that everyone knew that it was Mad Spanner time! I love these guys because they are just totally nuts and don’t take themselves too seriously, and this is what performing should be all about. Manowar could learn some useful life lessons from Mad Spanner!

04 Mad Spannerhttps://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner/

Midnight Prophecy
We saw Midnight Prophecy last Christmas at the Twisted Illusion Christmas Gig in Manchester, and were completely blown away by them, so we were super chuffed that we would get the chance to see them again on our doorstep! They didn’t disappoint. Their performance was exquisite. They are old school classic British Heavy Metal. They are melodic and impeccable and exciting and enticing, and I love it. Lead singer Craig Cairns has such an amazing voice and reminds me very much of a young Bruce Dickinson, and the rest of the band provide enough energy and noodling skills to competently cement their sound together into something very, very exciting. I thoroughly recommend them to everyone. One of the Pentre regulars, who had never seen them before, said to me that they were probably the best band he had ever seen there, and I have to say that I totally agree.

05 Midnight Prophecyhttps://www.facebook.com/midnightprophecy/

Bloodyard
I watched the soundcheck for these guys and it made me chuckle in amazement because Donna Hurd’s powerhouse vocals literally made my eardrums bleed, and then they stopped and a tiny little voice said, ‘Yeah that sounds good’, and it blew my mind! How the hell she does that roar I do not know but flipping heck it is powerful!! They are a North West based Groove Death Metal four-piece and for this performance they had a stand in bass player, but you wouldn’t have known – they were super tight and super heavy, and Donna absolutely owned the stage. We had to leave a little early, as we are both old and broken and these all-dayers take their toll on us now, but we caught most of Bloodyard’s set and they are definitely worth checking out if you like metal to punch you in the face with RRRRRRRAWRR!

06 Bloodyardhttps://www.facebook.com/bloodyard666/

Before I sign off on another live review, I must also mention in more detail the acoustic stage, run by the acoustic king himself, Mr. Edd Case, which kept us chilled and entertained during the main stage breaks, and saw a couple of sets from Edd, along with performances from Neill Murphy, Captain Andy, Zanda Stone, and Scarfoot’s Oliver Carins. It is such a calming place to be between the main acts and I love it. All the acoustic performances were spot on again, and full of the feel of a long summer’s day.
Yet again we had a smashing time at Mclean’s, and I for one feel quite lucky that we get to go there, because it is quite possibly one of the friendliest places to be, where airs and graces are left at the door, and everyone is relaxed, which creates the wonderful and warm atmosphere that surrounds every event there. Thanks again to Fozzy and Beany for their tireless work putting on these showcases, to Edd Case for working like a trojan for the love of the acoustic stage, and to all the bands and acoustic acts for keeping us thoroughly entertained. Here’s to doing it all again next year!

07 Acoustic Stage

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

 

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

Twisted Illusion + Midnight Prophecy, Equinox (now Ashen Reach) & John Ainsworth – Manchester Academy 3 – 21/12/2018

Twisted Illusion + Midnight Prophecy, Equinox (now Ashen Reach) & John Ainsworth
Manchester Academy 3
21st December 2018
Review by Beth Jones

The 21st of December is always my favourite day of the year, because it is my birthday! So, you can imagine my joy when I discovered that my band of the year was doing a big gig in Manchester on that very day. We had hotly awaited it for months. It got to within one week of the gig and Twisted Illusion dropped the bombshell that Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff (the brilliant rhythm section of the band) were calling it a day as they felt they couldn’t give the level of commitment that was needed to fulfil their increasing schedule, and frontman Matt Jones got a bad case of laryngitis. I was beyond mortified. I had visions of the show being cancelled and my new favourite band becoming a memory. But being the consummate professionals they are, they insisted that the show would go on!

So off we set to Manchester. Getting there was….err…..fun! If you have never been to the Academy 3 (like me) it is like finding a needle in a very confusing haystack of bus routes and one-way systems. I may have got a ticket for driving in a bit which was busses and taxis only, and I may have ended up on the wrong side of the road at one point and narrowly missed getting hit by an oncoming bus, but Jesus was it worth it when we finally got there! (Rick here – I’m still shaking!!!)

The evening started with a mesmerising solo performance from a young guitarist by the name of John Ainsworth. He is a very slight and unassuming chap to look at, no different from the next person in a crowd, but put a guitar on him and magic happens! What that guy can do with his old, slightly battered semi acoustic is unreal! It is as if he was born with it strapped to him. He makes it sound like a complete band, and his musical creations are as intricate and complex as they are zany and pleasantly disturbing! This blew my mind and reminded me why I love live music so much. What a stunning way to start off the evening.

01 john ainsworthhttps://www.facebook.com/john12string/

Next up were Equinox. It turns out this was their last gig with that name, as they have now rebranded and become Ashen Reach! By now the room was pretty full, and the crowd were loving the unique, Hard Rock/Melodic Metal sound that was being unleashed from the stage. Their set was full on, lively and fun, and they were all having a ball on stage. Their female drummer, Jess Stanley, was positioned to the front of the stage, which was great to see. Usually it is impossible to get good pictures of drummers from the front, but not here! She was really interesting to watch as she has a very unusual technique, playing open handed a lot and holding the sticks really high up. They were superb! The vocals of Daniel Moran were soaring, but with a great crunchy, growly tone that fitted their style so well. This was a real party. Everyone was smiling and having a great time, all knowing that this was a special night. They brought it down for their last number to say a farewell to their Equinox days in readiness for chapters new, and it was obvious that this was a big thing for the band, with Daniel getting quite emotional. Deservedly so – it was a cracking performance full of heart and spirit. It will be good to see what Ashen Reach now bring to the table!

02 equinox (ashen reach)https://www.facebook.com/EquinoxBandUK/
https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

Our main support for the evening was Midnight Prophecy. The best way I can describe these guys is good old bacon and eggs British Heavy Metal. They were basically a brilliant, young, Iron Maiden with lead singer, Craig Cairns, having the sound and power of Bruce Dickinson, but a lot more hair! They were flipping brilliant!! One of their guitarists also looks like a giant Viking and pulls the best guitar faces ever! So much energy, so much stage presence, so much charisma! They have a real connection as a band that is old and wise beyond their years. Their set was fast paced and electrifying, and the audience were bouncing. The evening up until this point had been spectacular and had gone by so quickly that I was almost sad that it would all soon be over.(Rick here again – Based on this performance I’m REALLY looking forward to see Midnight Prophecy again at Amplified Festival in July)

03 midnight prophecyhttps://www.facebook.com/midnightprophecy/

All too quickly came the last performance of the evening, and the reason why most of us were there. Twisted Illusion, with the added extra of a young talent by the name of Saxon Davids (ex Kaine) joining them on guitar, and their ‘roadie on the night’ and occasional extra member, Voodoo Blood’s Chris Norris, joining them on upright bass. We had spoken to Matt Jones earlier in the evening and his voice was still a bit spannered, but he was determined to give us a brilliant show, so called on the services of Craig from Midnight Prophecy to sing some of the songs with them, and he sang harmonies an octave lower. It is scary to try and comprehend the talent of Matt Jones, as him on a bad day was still immense! THIS is what music really is; proper music. I found myself just standing, with my head back and my eyes close, letting the music eat me, with a huge grin on my face. There are a very small number of bands that have this effect on me, notably Queen and Devin Townsend; they are the bands that make me just have to stop and do nothing, just let the music in. Twisted Illusion are now on that list. Every song, new and old was an absolute smasher – ‘Excite The Light’, ‘Hatred Is A Virtue’, ‘Medicated Society’, ‘No Compromise’, the brilliant cover of ‘The Spirit Of Radio’ by Rush (EEEEK it was soooo good), I could go on, but I would end up just listing the whole set list! It has taken me a couple of weeks to be able to organise my thoughts on this gig, because I simply cannot put into words how bloody good Twisted Illusion are. Every single note, every pause, every rhythm change is perfectly placed and there for a reason, and it just makes me so happy to be able to experience it. I can’t even make one of my usual quips about it, because it was too good. Whilst it is extremely sad that Mark Wagstaff and Matt McDade are not continuing in the band, Matt Jones has vowed to carry on in 2019, with a full tour announced, and the release of the remaining parts of the Excite the Light Album Trilogy, and I am super excited for this!

04 twisted illusionhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

My words do not do these four fabulous performances justice. Seriously if you get even the smallest chance of getting out to see Twisted Illusion, or any of the other bands on this bill, do it – you will not regret it. All that I have left to say is thank you – a massive heartfelt thank you to all the acts, for making my birthday a very special night that I will remember for a very, very long time.

 

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

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