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/

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/

09 Logo

 

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