Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Grand Final 2020 (!) – Central Station, Wrexham 03/07/2021 – Scarfoot

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Grand Final 2020 (!) Central Station, Wrexham 03/07/2021

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Grand Final 2020 (!)
Central Station, Wrexham
03/07/2021
Review by Beth Jones, with interjections from Rick Tilley
Pics by Beth Jones

You know that feeling you get when something you’ve been waiting for, for so long, finally happens? It’s a kind of warm nervousness, that consumes you and you literally can’t think about anything else. Well, that was me, leading up to this gig – the first since the dizzy days of early 2020, when no-one was ill, masks were something you wore at Halloween, and Covid was that new bug that people, thousands of miles away from us, were getting sick with. To say I was a little nervous was an understatement. A lot has happened since March 2020, and very few of us are the same people that we were back then. The thought of being in a room full of people was terrifying. The thought of having the responsibility of taking photographs after barely even looking at my camera for 15 months filled me with fear and trepidation. But the thought of seeing dearly missed friends again, and getting to watch live music as well, filled me with a kind of euphoria that’s actually impossible to explain, but equally doesn’t need any explaining at all.

The fact that this gig was the long-awaited Final of the Bloodstock M2TM North Wales 2020 competition made it all the more special, because one of the 6 brilliant competing bands would finally get the chance to grace the New Blood stage at, what is without question, one of the most loved festivals on the metal calendar. As an extra treat, Thrash metal legends, Virus were headlining. With the current restrictions, this gig had to be seated, and socially distant, with table service, masks, and hand sanitizer aplenty, so it was a little weird, but damn were we in for a treat with the music. So, here’s my rundown.

Thrashatouille

Thrashatouille have become a household name around these parts, with their comedic culinary Thrash Metal anthems that are guaranteed to cook up a storm. This would, in normal times, be accompanied by a lot of people violently hurling around inflatable food and generally losing their collective shit in a good old fashioned mosh pit – remember them?… Despite this not being able to happen, these crazy chefs still pulled off an awesome show. Given the fact everyone’s been out of the game for so long, it was amazing to see how tight and polished their sound still was. They supplied everyone with cake too, which was nice (although I couldn’t eat them because I’m allergic to pretty much everything)! They took us on a rip-roaring tour of their classics, finishing, as they do, with ‘Red Velvet Romance’. And what a joy it was to witness frontman Rob Sutton smashing a freshly primed red velvet cake into his face again. I’ve missed that.

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille

Krank

Next up were Krank, those crazy kids from up the North Wales coast, whose show is guaranteed to be a little weird, if nothing else. Before they started, they distributed squeaky rubber chickens to the gathered crowd, and before long the venue sounded like a battery farm. I mean, the inner child in us all just can’t resist a squeaky toy, right? Now, it’s fair to say, in the past I’ve never really ‘got’ Krank. Their madcap zaniness was too much even for me. But this time it was different. They had a coherent story running through their show and were even joined on stage by some lizard people, and a sugarplum fairy fly! It was still zany and madcap, but it had a structure that I thought definitely improved the show, and certainly my enjoyment of it. Again, musically they were tight.

https://www.facebook.com/krankislife

Cry For Mercy

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. These guys deserve to go a very long way. Their brand of Southern Blues Rock always makes for sweet listening, and they are thoroughly nice guys to boot. Over lockdown, they released their second EP “Automatic Breakdown” and debut album “Resist”, which I was lucky enough to review, and we got to hear some tracks off both, alongside some of their older tunes. Lead singer Kev Plant has a stunning voice and guitarist Andy Cutty knows exactly how to make his guitar sing the blues. But much as it pains me to say, I don’t think Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage would be right for them, although they would be superb playing a set on the Jager stage. However, I’d love to see them at some of the bigger Rock festivals as, at those, they would go down an absolute storm. (Call Of The Wild and Ramblin’ Man Fair please take note – Rick)

https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial

Scarfoot

Scarfoot are a 3 piece that have intrigued us from their inception. And this performance was by far the best performance Rick and I have ever seen them give. Newish bass player, Rhys Jones, has really settled in now and what a difference he has made. Prior to him joining, they were good, but something wasn’t quite right. It was a je ne sais quoi that was missing from what they did, which always irritated us, because we could see the potential for them to be great. This performance answered our question of ‘have they got it right now?’ with a resounding ‘HELL YES’! They were by far the most improved band on the night, and they have grown their sound into a kind of dark Progressive Stoner/Sludge/Doom-esque thriller. Scarfoot are not easy to pigeonhole and that is to their benefit. Seeing as they’re still fairly young as a band, if they can keep this level of progression going then their future is pretty damn exciting.

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband

Severenth

Since their comeback gig in 2019, Severenth have been firmly planted on our radar. Their Modern Metal vibe and incredible stagecraft give me a little warm feeling – joy, I think! They are just so bloody good at what they do. They also have an incredible frontman in Peet Bailey. Not only is he super talented, but his stage presence and expressiveness are mesmeric, and exudes the passion that the whole band put into their performance. He’s also a photographer’s dream because he’s incredibly photogenic! Everything about their performance, for me, was next level, and I’m excited for their future as a band.

Rick Here – I agree with everything Beth has said but, as a former drummer, I have to also mention Severenth sticksman Dave Roberts, who is absolutely thunderous behind the kit. There were several occasions during their performance when I actually thought he and the drums were going to launch into orbit, such was his ferocity and precision.

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth

Mad Spanner

This gig was probably the last time we’ll ever see Mad Spanner as, very sadly, they decided to call it a day last year, due to different personal issues and other commitments. But they came back for this gig to give us what we wanted – the madcap trio of Extreme Metal and comedy that they are. Unfortunately, drummer, Ben, had to pull out the day before, as Track and Trace identified him as a close contact of someone who was Covid positive. Bloody Covid! This didn’t deter Michael Randall and Dan Ashley however and they, bravely, cobbled together a show of Stand-Up comedy from Michael (something else he is annoyingly good at – Rick), some instrumental versions of their favourite Mad Spanner tracks, with Michael on Drums (yes, he is good on those too – Rick) instead of Bass, and Dan downtuned to make up for the lack of low-end sounds, and a guest appearance from Ashen Crown’s Kieran Scott to dep on vocals for several ‘classics’. It was still fun, it was still mad cap, but it was a real shame that their swan song wasn’t with all three of them together. They will be successful at whatever they, individually, choose to do next!

https://www.facebook.com/MadSpanner

Virus

With all the competing bands done, it was time for the headline act. Thrashers Virus, with Venom Inc. frontman, Tony Dolan subbing on Bass. I couldn’t help but have a little titter at the irony of a headline band named Virus in the middle of a pandemic…

Rick is a huge Virus fan, and a huge Venom Inc. fan, so was a little bit pleased about this choice of headliner. He was also really chuffed that he would get to see Tony again for the first time in 30 years. So, it’s probably best if I let him tell you about them…

Hi Everyone, It’s Rick. I never got to see Virus play back in the dim and distant prehistoric past of the 1980’s, and with the band splitting up in 1990, I thought my chance had passed. However, in recent years they have been active again and in 2019, released their stunning fourth album “Evolution Apocalypse”. When they were announced as special guest headliners for this I was overjoyed. To then find out that Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan was standing in on bass nearly sent me over the edge! I last met Tony in 1990 after seeing him play with Venom and I was also a big Atomkraft fan so, as you can imagine, this was turning into something of a ‘bucket list’, must see, gig for me.

Did they deliver…HELL YES, THEY DID! The inimitable Coke Finlay was firing on all cylinders and the band were as tight as a tight thing. Tony hadn’t even had a chance to rehearse with them in person and had learnt everything, by ear, remotely. He was note perfect for the whole performance, highlighting what great musicians these guys are, he also throws some of the best shapes and bass faces in the business. This performance was pure joy for me and I hope I get to see Virus (and Venom Inc.) again soon!

Meeting and chatting to Coke, before they played and catching up with Tony, for the first time in three decades, afterwards, also proved what absolute gentlemen they both are. Honestly, after being stuck in the house for nearly 18 months, thanks to Covid, I really couldn’t have wished for anything better. There was definitely a tear in my eye as they came offstage!

https://www.facebook.com/virusthrash

Now I’m going to hand you back to Beth for the conclusion…

Just as Virus were heading onstage, we had the tough job of coming to a decision about who the winner of this North Wales M2TM Grand Final should be. Usually this would be decided by Bloodstock’s Rob Bannister, but again, due to the damn virus (not the band), this job was left up to the organisers, Fozzy and Beany, and a judging panel consisting of Rick and I representing the Ever Metal posse, and Powerzone’s Dani Maguire. For us, it was a pretty clear-cut decision, and after a short deliberation, it was decided. Severenth had played a blinder and were the fully deserving winners on the night. We hope they have a thoroughly amazing time at Bloodstock Festival.

And with that, some quick elbow bumps, a few more photos, Rick catching up with Tony Dolan and a few waves, the night was over. What a fantastic way to start getting back to some sort of normality. A huge thanks to Stew Bassett and the team at Central Station for ensuring that everything on the day was as safe as possible in these weird times. And of course, to North East Wales Metal Productions’ Fozzy and Beany, who never gave up hope, and were determined to put on a great show, come hell or highwater.

But the special thanks from the day must go to all the bands who turned up and played their hearts out to remind us why we’re all in this community. The love and binding power of music, especially live music, is what makes it a pleasure for me to be involved with our metal family, in however small a capacity. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that has never been truer. Friendship, as well as the music, make all of us tick. And damn did it feel good to be ticking along with friends again!

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

Disclaimer: This review, and photographs, are solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick Tilley, 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.

In Which It Burns w/ Scarfoot and SICK – The Hideout, Wrexham, North Wales 06/03/2020 – Scarfoot

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

In Which It Burns w/ Scarfoot and SICK The Hideout, Wrexham, North Wales 06/03/2020

In Which It Burns
w/ Scarfoot and SICK
The Hideout, Wrexham, North Wales
06/03/2020
Review and Photography by Beth Jones

After a few quiet months on the gig front, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of a bit of a flurry of local gigs, which is great! Friday 6th March saw us heading into Wrexham, (a brave move some might say) to check out a few bands performing at yet another show put on by our maestros of metal, North East Wales Metal Productions. The venue, previously called Atomic, has now had a name change and somewhat of a rebrand and refurb, especially upstairs, where the gig was taking place. It’s a cosy little space, but now has a small bar, and has had a wall removed to create a little more standing room. It’s not perfect, as because of it’s shape, some parts of the stage can’t be seen properly from the back, but hey ho – it’s a venue, and we have some awesome bands coming there, so who am I to complain!

For this occasion, we were set to be serenaded by, firstly, Liverpool speed rock band Sick, followed by one of our local favourites, Scarfoot, and then South West Wales lads, In Which It Burns.

SICK

These guys haven’t been together very long and play ‘Speed Rock’. This description raised a few eyebrows here at Ever Metal HQ, because it was essentially just Punk. Their relative infancy is telling in their performance. It’s messy. A lot of the songs sound the same, and the drummer, who is also the singer, seems to have a bit of an issue with drumming and singing at the same time. At one point in the set, they announced that they were going to play ‘a slow one’, and the guitars came in at quite a slowed down pace, but then had to speed up to keep up with the drummer, who came in with the same beat that he had done for every song. They were very enthusiastic though, and if you like messy 70’s Punk, then these guys are for you, but personally I think they need to focus on listening to each other more, in order to tighten up their live performance. The bassist stood out for me, as he was a good player and knew how to perform!

https://www.facebook.com/SickBandOfficial/

Scarfoot

We’ve seen these guys so many times in the last couple of years it almost feels like we’re related! To say they’ve progressed recently, after a notable change in line-up, would be understating their improvement. Last time we saw them, there was a new magic that hadn’t been present before.

They’d been on a bit of a shopping trip since we last saw them, adding some lights and a smoke machine to their stage set-up, and we were excited to see what new wizardry they were going to give us. Two words: LEVEL UP!!!!!! Holy hell! It was like seeing a whole new band! It was obvious they’ve really been putting in the practice, and thinking deeper about how they present, as every element of their show is massively improved. Grooves were heavier, riffs and stops where tighter, the energy was on full power, and the addition of the lights and smoke machine really put the pretty smoky blue icing on the rather fine Scarfoot stage show cake! This was by far the best we have ever seen them, and a perfect example of what hard work paying off looks like! If they can do it like that in their upcoming Metal 2 The Masses heat, they will blow the audience’s mind!

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

In Which It Burns

I saw these guys late last year over in Chester at the G21 bar in The Saddle. Rick was laid up that night, so hadn’t been able to come with me, therefore, when this venture to Wrexham was announced, I made certain that we would both get down, because I knew they would be right up Rick’s street!

Hailing from Pembrokeshire, they play a real meld of metal styles in a very tight and exciting way and I absolutely bloody love them! They are all very talented musicians, and down to earth guys to boot, and the little snippets of dark humour that front man Wayne Mayhew injects between songs go down very well. They really deserve to be a much bigger name on the scene than they are.

As predicted, Rick was also suitably impressed with them, and had a long chat with Wayne after their set to tell him that! Seriously, if they are coming to a town near you soon, get out and see them – you will not be disappointed. We are mega happy that they’re coming back up here in a few weeks, playing with Ashen Crown and Incinery at the one and only Mclean’s, Pentre! They also impressed Fozzy and Beany so much that, at the end of their set, Beany announced that they were being adding to the bill for next year’s Pentre Fest, which was met with much cheering!

And, as if that wasn’t enough, I was given an In Which It Burns beany hat, and it is the first hat ever that doesn’t make me look a complete dick!! Happy Beth!!!

https://www.facebook.com/InWhichItBurns/

And with that, we slunk off quietly through the streets of Wrexham which, believe me, are not pretty at that time on a Friday, and headed home to go to bed, because we’re old, and needed our beauty sleep before our next gig adventure, M2TM North Wales – Heat 2, the following day!

LINKS:

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

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are 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.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 1 21/02/20 – Scarfoot

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 1 – 21/02/2020

Pentre Fest 2020 Day One
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
21/02/2020
Review by Rick Tilley & Alun Jones
Pictures by Beth Jones

Hi Everyone – It’s Rick.

Before you get into reading about Day One at Pentre Fest I would like send our love to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester of North East Wales Metal Productions. Very sadly, Fozzy’s Mum passed away just before the Festival yet, in what must have been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family, Fozzy was present on both days manning the sound desk on the acoustic stage and running the event in the professional manner to which we have become accustomed. Many of you reading this know Fozzy and what a gem of a bloke he is and I hope you can all join me in wishing him and his family all the very best. This review is dedicated to Fozzy’s Mum!

It doesn’t seem possible that this was our third trip to Pentre Fest, the last two years seem to have gone by in a blur of gigs, photos, reviews, interviews, albums and laughs but, once again, Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester, Ian ‘Beany’ North and Frank Williams of North East Wales Metal Productions had assembled a ‘must see’ line-up of bands and acoustic acts who would be appearing over the two days at Mcleans, Pentre. Our gratitude and thanks must go out to them for continuing to persevere at a time when getting people to come out and see original music is something of a struggle. I would also like to welcome our colleague, friend and fellow Ever Metal reviewer Alun Jones who was at the Festival on both days and has kindly submitted his thoughts on some of the bands!

Pentre isn’t a big place and, therefore, Mcleans is somewhat stuck in the middle of The Twilight Zone so, within an hour of arriving on Friday evening, it was wonderful to see that so many people were turning up. This was easily the biggest crowd we had seen at the venue for any event. On top of that we knew pretty much everyone so the atmosphere was amazing!

Oliver Carins (Scarfoot)

Local legend Edd Case, who usually hosts the acoustic stage, wasn’t around on the Friday as he was very poorly, and with us also being in the midst of a series of storms bad enough to get their own names the decision had been made to move the second stage inside so after a small delay, Oliver Carins (Vocalist/Guitarist with Scarfoot) got things underway with a wonderful cover of John Butler’s ‘Ocean’. Personally, I think Oliver’s confidence has grown considerably over the last few months but this was the first time I had seen him playing acoustically and a very talented guitarist he is indeed!

In what seemed like seconds Oliver was done and, suddenly, we were all heading to see Cry For Mercy open things up properly on the Main Stage.

Cry For Mercy

If you want to open a Festival with a bang then Rock/Blues power trio Cry For Mercy provide it. We’ve now seen them a fair few times over the last twelve months and they never disappoint. Vocalist/bassist Kevin James Plant has a wonderfully soulful voice with just the right amount of gravel (he can sure play the bass well when he wants to as well), guitarist Andy Cutty lets the riffs fly and the solos fly higher and drummer Steven Taylor provides an ultra-solid beat with plenty of smiles. They treated us to some brand new tracks from their forthcoming EP as well as from last year’s “Overload” release and they all ROCK! It struck me a few weeks back that they remind me a little of Mama’s Boys, who I saw play on a number of occasions in the 1980’s and that’s high praise because I’m a big fan of Pat ‘The Professor’ McManus. Cry For Mercy = Excellent!

https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/

Scarfoot

Back on the acoustic stage it was time for Oliver again but this time with the rest of Scarfoot. They all know how Beth and I feel but I’m going to say it again. Since new bassist Rhys Jones joined them last year Scarfoot have gone from strength to strength. There is a new found confidence in them and it shines through in their performances. This was a first for them as they had never played a ‘stripped back’ set before but it worked very well. As I have become more familiar with their music it’s fair to say that it isn’t your standard fare. It combines many influences and genres and comes across as occasionally schizophrenic (in a good way) and having two vocalists (drummer Phil Eakins also sings) sets them apart. If you’re familiar with the band Primus, imagine a saner version of them and you’ll be on the path that leads to the road that sits on the hill that Scarfoot inhabit. Lovely guys too!

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

Lullaby For A Unicorn

Off to the main stage again. This time it was for (drum roll) the one…the only…the leg-ends… Lullaby For a Unicorn!! These four guys have become really good friends over the last couple of years and we love ‘em to bits. Before they went on stage we were treated to lots of stories of their antics the previous week when they played the main stage at HRH Metal and predictably they had us in stitches (if you haven’t already then go and seek out the photos online). For this gig they had a new friend on stage…a synthesizer, apparently something they will be using a lot more in the future. It was a superb addition to their arsenal and turned vocalist Justin into a demented looking/sounding Jean-Michel Jarre! There wasn’t a colouring competition this time but we were treated to the usual array of Party Poppers/Cannons and, in an attempt to get the audience to love them even more than they already do, had bought shots for everyone which they dished out mid-set. Never predictable but always fantastic, Lullaby For A Unicorn are totally unique. In an age with thousands of sound-alike bands we should all be very thankful for that!

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Daniel Moran

After replenishing our drinks (reviewing is very thirsty work I’ll have you know!) we went back to the restaurant…er, I mean acoustic stage, to see the next act, Daniel Moran.

I’ve seen Dan twice before, once with his previous band Ashen Reach and at Beth’s Charity Gig last December with his main band, the wonderful Reaper, but I had yet to see him perform acoustically and what a talent he is, especially for someone so young! He launched into a fabulous set, punctuated with jokes and witty banter and it’s plainly obvious that he lives, eats and breathes music. He has incredible vocal range, is a fabulous guitarist and relishes every moment that he can play and entertain. Finishing with a cover of ‘Why?’ from Devin Townsends’s most recent album “Empath” would be a challenge for most, but not Dan, who pretty much nailed every note and left the audience in awe. He is also a lovely chap so do me a favour and go and watch him wherever you can. People like Dan don’t come around too often!

https://www.facebook.com/DanielMoranMerseyside/

Impavidus

With the turnaround time between the two stages working like clockwork, by the time I’d been to the loo and had a quick vape the mighty Impavidus were already half way through their opening track over on the main stage. It had been more than a year since I had last seen them live, far too long for my liking, and I was soon banging my head as much as my battered spine would allow me to. Vocalist Michelle Adamson has the voice of an angel and devil rolled into one. Her clean singing is haunting but her growl matches Angela Gossow for venom. In fact, classic era Arch Enemy is who Impavidus remind me of most. They may possess huge groove and power and be as heavy as a stampeding rhino but melody plays a massive part in the music and their songs are incredibly catchy. It was also great to see their ex-drummer, the gentleman that is John Badger, fill in for them one last time! Impavidus really should be more well-known than they are!

https://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

After the wonderful set from Impavidus I was hurting and in need of a break so I’m now going to pass you over to Alun who went to watch the final act of the night on the acoustic stage.

Ryuko

Ryuko presented a couple of surprises on Friday night’s acoustic stage. First off, they were fully plugged in and electric. Second, they play more of an alternative rock sound, which was something of a contrast to the majority of other Pentre Fest bands. Readers may not be aware, though, that I am in fact King of Grunge, with my 90’s credentials well proven. Ryuko’s set included some melody and even jangly pop along with heavier riffs, which was an enjoyable diversion in a Dinosaur Jr/Nirvana style. Well performed, Ryuko just need to test their audience further and throw in additional surprises in either a ‘Negative Creep’ or ‘About a Girl’ vein.

https://www.facebook.com/RyukoBand/

With medication taken, drink in hand and the pain in my back calming down a little bit I returned to the main hall to find our ‘Master Of Ceremonies’ Beany hosting The Tequila Game! This was basically The Jäger Game without Jäger!! It involves a large number of slightly inebriated and good-natured MetalHeads rolling pound coins towards a bottle of booze to see who can get the closest. Winner gets the bottle and the money raised goes to charity. It is always good fun and was the perfect lead in to our Friday night headliner…

Witch Tripper

If you haven’t seen, or at least heard of, Witch Tripper then you must live under a rock at the bottom of the sea. On any given weekend they will be playing somewhere in the UK or Ireland and they never stop. They arrived at Pentre Fest with incredible new drummer, Christopher Reed, in tow and proceeded to do what Witch Tripper does magnificently…blow the roof off. Vocalist/Lead Guitarist Richie Barlow is a manic ball of sweat and hair by the end of the first track and bassist ‘Stoff’ is a slightly more reserved, but no less brilliant rumble of thunder. Together, the three of them play an enticing mix of Stoner, Rock, Metal and Grunge all held together with lashings of heavy groove and they never fail to put a smile on your face, regardless of how many times you’ve seen them. As usual they were on fire and brought the Friday proceedings to a close, just as it had started a few hours earlier, with a bang!

https://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

With an audible sigh, that only happens when every band has played a blinder, the crowd started dispersing to different areas of the pub for another swift pint, a smoke, a chat and to chill before heading out into the horrendous weather (the wind sounded like something out of a Hammer Horror film) to waiting Camper Vans, Hotels or homes. It had been an incredibly successful evening not just from a band perspective but also for the number of people who had turned up. As usual, Beth and I were completely knackered and hurting but we both knew that the line-up for Saturday was going to be brilliant…

…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/LA1Audio/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are solely the property of Rick Tilley, Beth Jones, Alun 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.

Scarfoot – G21 at The Saddle Rock Bar, Chester – 05/10/2019

 

 

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Arkdown w/ In Which It Burns & Scarfoot – G21 At The Saddle Rock Bar, Chester – 05/10/2019

00 Gig Poster

Arkdown
w/ In Which It Burns & Scarfoot
G21 At The Saddle Rock Bar, Chester
05/10/2019
Review by Beth Jones

Another Friday, another trip to the G21! This week’s entertainment was being brought to us by a familiar name in the shape of Scarfoot (but with their new bass player) and two names who were completely new to me – In Which It Burns and Arkdown. Sadly, Rick was laid up with his back again, so I took my substitute gig companion and oldest child, Sian.

For those who haven’t been to the G21, it is an intimate venue created from an old stable building at the back of Chester’s best rock venue, The Saddle Bar. It is a great place to spend an evening and this is something that I am going to rant about in a bit, so be warned! First, to the bands!

Scarfoot
Having seen these guys on a number of occasions before, we knew what they were about, and regular listeners will know that I have always said that they were ok, but something was missing. Enter stage right their new bass player, Rhys, and bingo! This was what I had been waiting for from these guys! It felt so much tighter than it was before, and Vocalist/Guitarist Oliver Carins and drummer Phil Eakins, the backbone of the band, looked so much happier and content with the sound. Everything had more depth, more confidence and more groove. They have also filled the gaps between songs and developed more of a stage presence. I am so happy to be able to write this about them – there is nothing more pleasing than seeing a young band find themselves and look genuinely content and relaxed. This enjoyment also rubbed off on the crowd, and they were grooving along with them for the whole set. Whilst they were probably the lightest band on tonight’s bill, they have a chunky sound, enhanced by the gruff dual vocals of both Oliver and Phil. The new bass sound, with little fills, and more complex riffs really complimented this and I am really excited to see where this rebirth takes them next!

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

In Which It Burns
Because I like to go into things with no preconceptions, I had no knowledge of these guys at all. From their name, I had had a guess at what type of band they would be, and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like them or not – this is the beauty of actively seeking out new music. From the first riff, my ears picked up, and by the end of the first song, my mind was made up – they were bloody good!! Joining us all the way from Pembrokeshire, these guys deliver heavy grooves and roaring vocals, and would be enjoyed by fans of early Metallica, through to Pantera but also fans of more modern, Djent style Metal. They were really tight and well-rehearsed, and a special mention must be given to drummer Eugene Lowe, who was an absolute machine! I was gutted Rick wasn’t there to see it to be honest, as he would have been falling over himself with superlatives to describe this guy’s rhythms! They all had a great presence, and their personalities and technical prowess stood side by side to create a brilliant performance – they even had a pit going at the front for one of the songs – not an easy thing to start in the G21!

02 In Which It Burnshttps://www.facebook.com/InWhichItBurns/

Arkdown
Our headliners tonight were joining us from Sheffield, and from their logo, I had deduced that they were probably going to be pretty heavy! They got a big tick in my book before they even started playing, as they had brought their own stage lights! Anyone who has followed any of my reviews / photography outings will know my biggest gripe is lighting! The G21 lacks lights and makes me say words my mother would not be proud of, however I was able to snap away to my heart’s content with these guys! They play a brand of modern metal that, in all honesty, has the ability to get right on my tits when it’s not done right, however these guys really know how to do it right and their performance was superb. Everything was like a well-oiled machine, from the stops and changes within the songs, to the programming of the lights, even down to the choreographed headbanging – nothing was out of place, nothing was over or under done and it was bloody spectacular! The shared vocals duties of front man Kyle Dawson and Guitarist Mike Dyson had a kind of call and response feel in parts, which really worked, and their voices blended together well to create a brilliant version of the scream type sound that has become synonymous with the modern metal style. When it is done well, like these guys do it, I love it! I really cannot find anything to criticise about them. Everything was superb. I picked up a copy of their EP “The Calling” and listened to it in the car on the way home, and their stage sound was just as good as the recording. I am so glad I was one of the select few in the audience and I can’t wait to see them again!

03 Arkdownhttps://www.facebook.com/ArkdownOfficial/

Right, so that is my band write up done, now I am going to rant about something that I have kept my mouth shut about up until now, but that came to a head at this gig and really pissed me off (anyone who knows me will know it takes a hell of a lot to piss me off).

Here we had three great bands, who have been playing up and down the country, working their backsides off to bring shows to people, and by the time Arkdown were on stage, they were playing to a handful of people – literally. One of the audience members was me, two were girlfriends of band members, and one was the gig organiser – if you take us out of the equation, the rest of the audience could be counted on one hand, but they still put everything into that performance, and played as if they were playing to a packed out stadium, and for that I have the utmost respect for them, because mentally that is tough.

This is sadly echoed in many town, in many countries globally at the moment, and then people complain when venues shut down – IF YOU DON’T USE THEM HOW ARE THEY GOING TO STAY OPEN DICKHEADS??!!! Don’t bloody complain that you didn’t know it was on, or that you hadn’t heard of the band – ACTIVELY GO OUT LOOKING FOR NEW STUFF!!! In an age of social media, where our entire lives are there at the touch of a button, we have become fucking lazy, and expect everything to be spoon fed to us – STOP IT! Check out your local venues’ Facebook or Twitter to see what is on! Search for your local scene and like any pages that come up that are connected to it, and check them out regularly to see what they are up to! In the old days we used to get the ‘What’s On’ guide somewhere in the back of the local free paper every week, and we would search through the paper to find it, and circle in red, or cut out and stick on the calendar the things we wanted to go to! There is zero reason why we can’t do the same now, using the technology that we all have in our back pockets, but we’re too fucking lazy!!! These bands, and hundreds like them on the emerging and underground scene, deserve more than we are giving them. They are working so hard to entertain us, with entry to their gigs costing the same as a pint, but we can’t be arsed. Please, for the love of music, sort it out!!!!

As I dismount my soap box, I would like to say a huge thank you to the bands for giving me a brilliant evening’s entertainment, and also a huge thanks to North East Wales Metal Productions again, for putting on this gig, and for working tirelessly to reboot the scene around here. And before anyone say “Well you only go because you get press passes” or “You get given CDs for free”, NO – we buy tickets for these gigs to help support the scene, and we buy the CDs to help support the bands, so suck it up, don’t make excuses, and get out to watch bands – you might find something you like! GRRRRRRR!!

LINKS
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/Grosvenor21/
https://www.facebook.com/Thesaddleinnchester/

 

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/

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.

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1 – Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019

00 Event Poster

Bloodstock M2TM North Wales, Semi Final 1
Mcleans Pentre – 17/05/2019
Review by Beth Jones

It doesn’t seem like two minutes since the first heat of this year’s M2TM North Wales competition, and yet all of a sudden, here we are at the business end of proceedings!

The first semi-final promised a definite step up in standards, and we were very much looking forward to it. Sadly, again, one competing band, Mindriot 15, had to pull out due to a family emergency, so we were left with four really good bands to battle for just two places in the final; Favela, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Bad Earth and Scarfoot.

When we arrived at Mcleans, it was great to see a really good turnout, despite road closures and all sorts of other things happening that weekend. The running order was drawn live, and Favela were picked to go on first.

Favela
After seeing these guys in the heat, we knew what they were all about. They are heavy, 90’s inspired, shouty and tight. They certainly put on a performance here, with front man Tom Harrison covering every inch of available stage space in a performance full of energy and vigour. This might make me unpopular, but I actually think I preferred their performance in their initial heat. I don’t even know why! I think maybe they were almost trying too hard here, and it didn’t feel as real as in the heat. Rick however totally disagrees with me! He thought they were really good. Maybe I was just in a bad mood! Hard day at work and all that!!

01 Favelahttps://www.facebook.com/FavelaUK/

Lullaby For A Unicorn
I don’t need to say much about these guys, apart from it is always a pleasure to be in their company and watch them play, and they were on fire for this performance. Even though it was shorter than their usual craziness, they still managed to make a huge mess! Guitarist Dan Alexander also looked like a man possessed. Usually very reserved whilst playing, he was jumping round like a complete nutter and really going for it with his presence and witty banter, which was great to see. They were super good, as always, and super tight. I have a real soft spot for these guys. Luckily, I’m not a judge, so it doesn’t matter if I am biased!

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

Bad Earth
Here is a band who have been through the mill a bit recently, but they have had good news, just this week, with the appointment of new bass player, Tim Nicholls. Having not heard him play before and knowing that he had had just 5 days to learn the set, we were nervous for them, but we needn’t have been. Oh my word, what a show! Big, big kudos to Tim, who did an outstanding job, and seems to have just slotted right in to the band perfectly. Drummer Ren Stefan and Guitarist/Vocalist Stephen Coxon looked so much more relaxed on stage, and their performance was spot on. I spoke to Stephen afterwards and he said that was the best he has felt on stage for a while – that it felt comfortable. We could really tell from out front! A great performance. And, just for Stephen’s benefit, I would like to point out that the lighting was perfect, and they all had the correct number of clothes on 😉.

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

Scarfoot
They were definitely up for this performance and put on a pretty good show on the whole. They are very passionate and are great lads, but for me they were lacking in something here, and I can never quite put my finger on what it is. Don’t get me wrong, they have come on a long way from when we first saw them, but I think that they still have more locked up potential that they need to find the key for. Their songs are creative, quite proggy in places, and they perform them well, but it just doesn’t gel quite right sometimes. That being said, they did work their socks off and the crowd were appreciative. They are really lovely guys too.

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

That was the final competing band, and after a swift round of voting, and a trip to the bar, and while the judges went off to deliberate on their choice, we had the pleasure of discovering an interesting bunch from South Wales!

Apathy Avenue
On their Facebook page, these guys say they are Alternative/Hard Rock. The lead singer certainly had a hefty does of alternative flare, a bit like if Dr Who went to Glastonbury stoned out of his tree! They were very tight and well-rehearsed, and had a quirky style. Sections of rap peppered their songs, along with clean vocals and some nice guitar work. Whilst they were not what I was expecting, they were good, and I quite liked them. They weren’t particularly heavy, and I think some of the crowd were in need of something a bit more growly, but the ones that did stay to watch them seemed to enjoy it too.

05 Guest Headliner Apathy Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/Apathyavenue/

And so, the results were in. It was going to be a really hard one to call, as every band had upped their game. I knew who I thought it should be, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Progressing to the final were (drum roll please)…………. Bad Earth and Lullaby For A Unicorn! I was very happy with this. It was, in my humble opinion, the right choice. Favela missed out by the narrowest of margins, but it is all about what happens on the night, and Lullaby and Bad Earth just had that edge. Well done to all the competing bands for getting this far, and we shall look forward to seeing all of you, in some capacity, very soon.

Thanks again to all the bands for a great night, and of course to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Paul Forrester and Ian ‘Beany’ North for their constant hard work and dedication to the scene here in North Wales. See you at Semi Final 2, which is going to be even tougher than this one!

LINKS:
Semi-Final 2 Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/2350996518296726/
Grand Final Event Page
https://www.facebook.com/events/172760083629491/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
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 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.