Pentre Fest 2019 Day One – Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales – 22/02/2019

00 Pentrefest 2019 Final Line-Up Poster 3

Pentre Fest 2019 Day One
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
22/02/2019
Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
Pictures by Beth Jones

Live music in this area has suffered somewhat of a hammer blow recently, with the closure of yet another venue – The Live Rooms, Wrexham – so it is more important than ever that we as music fans keep supporting our local scene, and vehemently refuse to let live music be taken from our area. Two of the local area’s biggest metalheads, Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, are great supporters of the local scene, organising a great events diary wherever they can, with Pentre Fest being their annual main event.

This year, as ever, saw a great crowd of likeminded folk from the local area, and further afield, descend upon Mclean’s Bar in Pentre for the third year running, to see what Rick and I personally thought was their strongest line-up to date, strutting their stuff!

Over the course of the Friday night and all-day Saturday, we were treated to some fabulous performances, both on the main stage, and on the outdoor acoustic stage.Friday night was very definitely crazy night, with all the bands on the bill having a zany edge. We were really looking forward to the madness, a perfect way to wind down after a hard week at work!

Mucus
Opening the show in one of their exclusive performances, Mucus did not disappoint. Guitarist, Dan Alexander, also of Lullaby For A Unicorn, had told us that they very rarely gig so this was a real treat, and they were actually very good too! Really tight and well-rehearsed, Mucus played good, solid, no-nonsense Thrash! I would really like to see them gigging more often as they got the crowd going and had a really pleasing sound. They were a fantastic way to start the night!

01 Mucushttps://www.facebook.com/MucusBand/

Thrashatouille
We had heard a lot about this band from our learned friend Dani Maguire at Powerzone, so we were looking forward to finally seeing them – I mean what’s not to like – they combine Thrash Metal and food, so its two thumbs good in my book! All dressed in chef’s whites, and with kitchen implements and giant inflatable food dotted round the stage, they were quite a sight to behold. It was obvious from the start that they didn’t take themselves too seriously, but their music was excellent! All themed around culinary delights, and fast paced and zany, they had the crowd really going for it, and even had a crowd surfer, surfing on an inflatable doughnut! With track titles such as ‘Shepherds Pie Squared, Chilli Con-Carnage, Deep Fried Mars Bar and the very non PC ‘Soggy Bottom’ much fun was had. They are definitely good drinking music too, and the beer swilling was kicked up a gear at this point by quite a few people! Unfortunately they couldn’t play their full set because of a small delay, but other than that, this was shaping up to be a pretty crazy evening!

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

Lullaby For A Unicorn
Just when you thought a peak of nuttiness had been reached with Thrashatouille, up pops our favourite mythical creature based metal band, Lullaby For A Unicorn! With Steven and Eddie the Seagulls both now retired, we were intrigued to see what inflatable creature would join this merry bunch of nutters next. Pretty soon, our questions were answered when the very lovely ‘Tiffany’ the three foot high inflatable unicorn was introduced to us! This along with a bubble machine, crazy lazers and smoke, confetti cannons, party poppers, Dan Alexander’s light up shoes, lead singer Justin Williams’ light up jacket, and the now synonymous unicorn onesie of Bass player Anthony Baxter, made for a spectacularly hallucinogenic experience! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more bonkers – they introduced the heavy metal colouring competition! The image we will never forget is a room full of slightly sweaty, slightly drunk metalheads all furiously colouring pictures of unicorns like their entire credibility depended on it, accompanied by the madcap sounds of Lullaby! Absolute genius! And musically, these guys get better every time we see them. They have also just secured a massive gig at next year’s HRH Metal weekender in Birmingham – be ready Birmingham, and potentially be a little afraid too!!

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

Mad Spanner
After a short delay for emergency cleaning works following the Lullaby boys, last year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales finalists, Mad Spanner, took to the stage. Like Lullaby, we have seen these guys quite a few times now, and have become friends with them off stage too. They are as equally as bonkers as our previous outfit, but in a far more reserved way in terms of costumes and shiny things! Their madcap humour comes through in their song lyrics, their insane speed, and the fact that frontman Michael Randall seems to have springs in his feet and be constantly wired up to the mains, with the amount of bouncing and slightly unhinged facial expressions he delivers in their live performances. This performance was no exception, and we were really surprised to find out after the show that he was actually ill, with suspected Glandular Fever (which thankfully it turned out not to be a few days later). This has to be given some kudos, as most would not have even played, let alone with that amount of energy, if they were that poorly – what a trooper he is! It was really great to watch them perform, as we have watched them grow over the last few months, and the improvement in their stagecraft is immense. They are so much tighter now than when we first saw them and they give a great show. They did a very impressive cover of Sepultura’s ‘Roots’, which always goes down well, and they also had Keiran Scott (Ashen Crown) join them on stage to do guest vocals! Their debut album is out soon and we cannot wait to hear what they have done!

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

Footprints In The Custard
Bringing the Friday proceedings to a close where Manchester’s favourite comedy metal heads, Footprints In The Custard. These guys bring a slightly more refined version of random to the plate, but are still completely bonkers, and hilariously funny to watch. They play a whole range of catchy, funny songs, and do love a bit of audience participation, especially during their last song of the night, a great metal version of The Weathergirls, ‘It’s Raining Men’, when a wall of death style mass humping is strongly encouraged for those brave enough to participate, it always cracks us up! As usual, their performance here was on point, and the crowd lapped it up. The ever loved ‘Willies Are For Weeing’ song got a great reception, and with Tiffany The Unicorn and a fair few other inflatables coming out to play in the crowd, along with an impressive heavy metal conga going on, the place had a proper party atmosphere, which made everyone smile and be very happy. As a front man, Russ Custard has the brilliant ability to grab a crowd and make them have a good time, and this combined with the whole band’s excellent musicianship means that their performances are always well received, plus no-one can resist seeing guitarist, Ross Vickers, in a mankini, and drummer, Sladen, twerking in some very fetching short short shorts! All in all a great set, expertly executed, to finish off a properly good night of metal madness!

05 Footprints In The Custardhttps://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard/

And so it was time to head off home for the night, and we left the venue with a smile on our face, and a warmth in our hearts that you can only get from a crazy metal party like this. We were pretty knackered, but were both really looking forward to Saturday’s show…

…To Be Continued!

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

 

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 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/

N.E.W Metal Productions All Dayer – 20/10/2018

N.E.W. Metal Productions All-Dayer
The Live Rooms, Wrexham
20/10/2018
Review by Beth Jones

If there is one thing that I will say about Wrexham, it is that it has always had a good live music scene, however, in recent years that has been heavily dominated by the Indie scene, and whilst there is nothing wrong with that, it just isn’t quite metal enough for me! In recent months however, Ian ‘Beany’ North and Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester have been trying to change that, by putting on as many gigs as possible in genre, via their promotion company, N.E.W. Metal Productions, the ‘N.E.W.’ being North East Wales. We were super pleased when they told us that they were taking it one step further and proposing to put on a metal all dayer, not only because this is what has been missing round here, but also because it meant we got to check out the newly refurbished Central Station, which is now called The Live Rooms Wrexham. To add to our excitement, we also had a visitor with us – none other than Rick’s partner in crime on the website, Dawn, who had managed to navigate the rail network from London to get up and see us!

We arrived at the venue a little before kick-off, so that we could check out the adjustments. First impressions were good. The rooms which before had been open plan, were now split, and a small ‘green room’ had been added – and it was quite literally green, complete with astro turf flooring and a woodland scene on the wall! The main stage area was essentially the same and the roof still, in my opinion, requires lagging to get the most out of the acoustics, but it certainly had a more thought out feel about it. In the second area, there was a huge, table shaped, elephant in the room. Now, a table is always a good idea in a venue where it is pretty much all standing, as you need somewhere to put your drinks, but when said table takes up almost a third of the available space, and is pretty much un-movable, it becomes less of a useful thing and more of a thing of mind-blowing annoyance! However, a team of 15 strong gents managed to push it 3 feet to the side, so at least there was a little more room for watching the bands!

So, without further ado, to the bands! Opening the day for us were a new to the scene local band, Scarfoot. They were a good way to start the day, and it was a refreshing change to see a drummer taking on lead vocals too. They are a little bit proggy and a little bit whacky, and a small crowd had already gathered to watch them, which is never a given for all day gigs at the moment! They certainly had a good sound, but for me the songs sounded a little samey. I wanted them to take it a little further and explore a bit more. This will come though I am sure, as they get more experience under their belt. On occasion some of the harmonies were not quite there, and the rhythms were a little shaky, but with more practice and live experiences like this, they will develop that sixth sense that you get from spending a lot of time with the same people!

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

Next, over on the second stage, Bad Earth were ready to do their thing. Last time we saw them was at the Pentrefest Summer Sessions. Thankfully this time, they had a lot more clothes on than they did that day!! They are damn good! They are three guys who really know how to make a song groove. The power of Stephen Coxon’s vocals is excellent, and the sound on the day made them crystal clear. They always put on a brilliant show too, with the whole band being totally in to it. They are just great, solid, ‘meat and two veg’ hard rock, and had the whole room grooving with them. Enough said.

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

We went back to the main stage next, to be in the presence of the aptly named Mad Spanner. In a total contrast to Bad Earth, these guys serve up a huge does of crazy! Their fast paced, heavy as hell, schizophrenic songs are all full of humour and observations on life which completely endeared them to the gathered crowd. They really do look like they have been plugged into the mains, especially front man Michael Randall, who has more energy than all the Duracell bunnies! Ok, they might not be the most technically rehearsed musicians you will ever see, but they are fun, they are mad, and they are a great bunch of guys, who make you feel happy, and I love this.

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

Scars Of Remembrance where our fourth act up. We saw these guys the first time at Wrexfest in July. We thought they were ok then, they all looked a bit nervous, especially their new front man Mike Edwards, as that was his first gig. Well, what a difference a few months makes! They were tight and all looked a lot more relaxed and gig ready, and Mike was on fire!!! He was up on the big table; he was bouncing about in front of the monitors, and on the stage itself, and looked like a man on a mission! It was definitely mission accomplished by the end of their set. It is so great to see a Wrexham based Metal / Metalcore band and I can’t wait to see them grow and progress further. Nice work lads!

04 Scars Of Remembrancehttps://www.facebook.com/scarsofremembrance/

Carrying on with the heavy theme over on the main stage were Abominate. They really do hit you in the face with heavy. Lead singer, Dave Ballantyne, looked like he was baying for blood! They didn’t seem quite ‘on point’ on the night, although talking to Dave afterwards, I think a heavy few days may have contributed to this. That said, they were still really good and they do what they do really solidly. Their drummer also pulls some quality drum faces!!

05 Abominatehttps://www.facebook.com/AbominateMetal/

Next up were a band that we hadn’t seen before, Ragnarok. They are a good, old fashioned, dirty hard rock band and they are now definitely on our ‘must see again’ list. Their set was laden with powerful riffs and good solid numbers that everyone was moving too. Guitarist Matthew Foulkes did it all with a very cheeky glint in his eye, and they all have an obvious passion for music. If you like bands such as Witch Tripper or The Senton Bombs, you would love these guys. They left us with a political number which was pretty raw and hard hitting given the current climate, and I was very impressed by them, both in their live performance and their song writing skills.

06 Ragnarokhttps://www.facebook.com/ragnarokUK/

The day so far had been superb, and we were now heading into the final three bands, with main stage support, All Consumed, up next and ready to take the heavy up another notch! Blooming heck they are heavy! They are a mix of death and thrash, but with the odd hint of prog – a random combination – a bit like a cheese and jam sandwich! But they are so tight and so well – rehearsed that everything slots together brilliantly. Their drummer, Dave Kenyon, is also insanely good, pulling off some amazingly fast and powerful beats. They had a good group of crazy moshers going hell for leather down the front too! They were perfect main support material.

07 All Consumedhttps://www.facebook.com/AllConsumed/

The second stage headliners were M2TM North Wales winners, Gothic Folk ‘n’ Rollers, and all – round top people, Cadence Noir. What can we say about these guys that hasn’t already be said! They had a bit of a shaky start, when the electrics blew and they lost all power for a few minutes. But this only made for a brief pause, and didn’t knock them off their stride one little bit. They are totally different and that is why I love them so much. They have a bag of folk elements in there, with Emma Bennett’s violin, but they are still heavy, groovy and super lively, making for a proper party atmosphere. This was sustained throughout their whole set. The atmosphere was absolutely on fire by the time they got to their last song, where they stepped it up one final gear to give us an amazing cover of Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear Of The Dark’! WOW! Superb! A couple of clowns in the crowd got a little over excited during this and became a little vigorous for mine, and a fair few others’ liking. There’s always one isn’t there! Hey ho, that aside, what a set this was. It just reaffirmed that they were totally deserving of their M2TM win, and that I, and Rick, will never get bored of watching them perform!

08 Cadence Noirhttps://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

And so, the end was nigh, and we had reached the final mosh pit! Our headliners for what had been an awesome day were seasoned pros, Hecate Enthroned. I was excited to see these guys for two reasons. Firstly, who can say no to a bit of banshee like screaming backed up by some awesome blackened death metal riffs; and secondly because my old college buddy and fellow member of ‘The Phreax Table’ gang, Pete White, plays keys for them! If you like your death on the Cradle Of Filth side of things, these are the band for you. Powerful rhythms and pumping bass below manic and technical guitars, with a symphonic element of strings and ethereal choirs provided by the keys and the immense screams of lead vocalist Joe Stamps. Now in their 25th year, Hecate have built up a worldwide following, and it is easy to see why. They have the knowledge and professionalism that matures with age, like a fine wine, and it was an absolute privilege for me to be able to see them playing a hometown gig. For Rick and Dawn, there were a little too many blast beats, for me it was brilliant! When you can feel the beat in your ribcage, and you think your ears may bleed, you know you are having a good time!

09 Hecate Enthronedhttps://www.facebook.com/HecateEnthroned/

What a day! All the acts were great, and the passion that every one of them played with was tangible. It is, by far, the best day of metal that has happened in Wrexham for a long time, and it is fabulous to see things starting to happen here again on the metal side. This is down, largely, to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North, who have dedicated their time, experience and their own passion of the music to relaunch the scene. Huge thanks must go to them for doing this, and also for the bands who entertained us superbly. Long may it continue! The metal scene in Wrexham is, once again, open for business!

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

 

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.