All photographs supplied courtesy of Renegade Wolf Photography
All photographs supplied courtesy of Renegade Wolf Photography
The 1865, Southampton, UK
Review by Lotty Whittingham
The concert hangover is a common thing amongst the rock and metal community; these usually take place after experiencing an excellent live show. Symptoms can often include sore muscles, pounding heads and ringing ears. The most common of the symptoms is a huge desire to go back and experience it all over again.
I definitely experienced this concert hangover the day after NozFest. This fantastic event took place at ‘The 1865’, Southampton on 10th August. Given it was the same weekend as Bloodstock and Boomtown, lots of people came through the door which was great to see. JodieBowie was the promoter of this event; after running successful Rock Nights around the UK, this was her first festival.
It was clear that the high winds were not going to dampen the spirits of festival goers better known as Nozzers. As the venue began to fill, you could instantly see fans securing their spots to watch the bands, buying their first pints, browsing the band’s merchandise and talking excitedly amongst themselves about what bands they were most looking forward to seeing.
To kick off the proceedings, Bournemouth based 27 Days were the first band to take to the stage. As the opening act, the pressure is higher than ever to get the crowds warmed up. Especially when it’s early doors and alcohol consumption had barely begun. 27 Days conquered that pressure and showed NozFest what they were made of. Their performance consisted of great guitar solos, brilliant harmonies and infectious energy on stage and their cover of the Darkness classic ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ went down a treat with the crowd and got them participating. This is another achievement for an opening band to conquer and 27 Days did just that.
The Wicked Jackals
As the day went on, the venue started filling. With a performance from the next band The Wicked Jackals looming, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Their melodies contained some great hooks that kept the crowd alive and engaged. Their charismatic and passionate stage presence also seemed to win fans over, particularly when the booze gun came out. Advice: be sure to catch The Wicked Jackals when they come to your hometown. Where else are you going to see a water-pistol filled with alcohol?!
The Outlaw Orchestra
For the next act The Outlaw Orchestra this was their first hometown show for a long time and given the warm reception they received; it was evident it was an anticipated one. The first thing I noticed with their stage performance was it was clear they were having a great time. This energy and positivity passed onto the crowd alongside their tight live sound as they performed a selection of material from across their EP’s. After experiencing their live show, I instantly felt much happier. I will call this ‘The Outlaw Orchestra Effect’. If you wish to feel this effect, experience hard rock with a country tinge and watch banjo solos then catch them soon!
Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters
There was no beating around the bush when Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters took to the stage. They got straight to the point to play us some no-nonsense Rock and Roll. Their dominant stage presence and excellent live sound meant that audience members were under their control. They performed an eclectic selection of songs from the emotional ‘You & I’ to new drinking anthem ‘Jack & Coke’. With their fire, passion and energy; they could quite easily be the UK’s answer to Halestorm. It’s highly recommended you catch them when they next tour.
The appearance of StOp, sToP! was baffling at first. It seemed they had dressed as elderly men as they played the first song ‘The Last Call’. As they finished the grey wigs came off and the glam rock outfits were gallantly revealed. The message behind this appearance became clear: rock and roll makes you feel alive, it keeps you young and can turn back the years. A great message told in a fun way. If AC/DC decided to go glam, then StOp, sToP! would fit that category easily. Their live show was fun and energetic, which matches their uplifting music. They are due to play HRH Sleaze in a couple of weeks so if you are attending this, then be sure to catch them and get involved.
The name Marco Mendoza is a household name in the Classic Rock community. Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake and The Dead Daisies are among the portfolio of bands that he has played alongside. This was the first date of the UK Tour and with his previous work with JodieBowie, it couldn’t be a better date to start the tour on. For this performance, he played his solo material alongside Micky Crystal (Tygers Of Pan Tang) and Kyle Hughes (Bumblefoot). From the word go, it was evident who was in control. The mighty opener ‘Viva La Rock’ got the crowd going instantly, this gave the audience a first taste of his excellent showmanship and tight live sound. His set consisted of solo material and cover songs that went down well with the crowds. His passion for the community shone through during his performance, as he sang and spoke you could feel that heartfelt, genuine, spirit that caught on in the crowd. He is currently on tour so be sure to catch him.
For Bigfoot, this was one of their last performances before they go their separate ways. Whether you are a long-time fan or a new listener, it was the perfect chance to catch them live before they call it a day. It is more than safe to say that this was a great performance from the band. When listening to them, Alter Bridge and The Answer come to mind. Their harmonies were on point and their stage presence was fierce. There was a high amount of passion and energy on the stage. They provided a more chilled out vibe to the evening and were a great warm up for the two main bands of the night. (Rick Here – I will be just one of many very sorry to see them go)
Those Damn Crows
As the night drew in, the crowd got bigger and the atmosphere was happy, people excited to catch the two main acts of the night. The main support Those Damn Crows are one of the best new up and coming bands. They were fresh from appearing at Download Festival this year and from their live performance it’s easy to see why they are receiving high praise from fans and critics. Their stage presence was incredibly energetic and it was clear that this passed on to the Nozzers that were still standing, bearing in mind some of them had been standing all day. They provided a modern edge to the evening with their sound reminding me of Shinedown. They performed a great selection of music from both their albums. They ended with the new album track ‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Dead’ which was very apt. Those Damn Crows are easily the future of rock and provided the perfect set to get the crowds ready for headliners Massive Wagons.
Having got off an arena tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Status Quo, NozFest headliners Massive Wagons were a hugely anticipated performance for the evening. From the moment they took to the stage and opened with ‘Fee Fi Fo Fum’, it was very easy to see why they were the headliners for the night. They did a fantastic job bringing a stadium like atmosphere to a small venue and they got everyone involved with their performance, even the newer listeners who didn’t know what to expect. This stadium like atmosphere included fans singing along to their anthems such as ‘Ratio’, ‘Billy Balloon Head’ and ‘Red Dress’. Hearing the chants echoing around the venue truly was one of the magical moments of their set. Whether you have two albums or ten albums in your discography, it can be tricky picking the right balance of songs for a setlist.
Massive Wagons got this balance perfectly and showcased songs from each of their albums. This setlist seemed to go down well with the crowd. Their boundless energy on stage was incredibly infectious, so much so that they even got those sitting standing up. They ended with the classic ‘Back To The Stack’ that marked the end of a triumphant set and a successful festival.
It’s now a week after the event and the positivity for the festival on social media is still rolling in. People are already booking hotels and time off work ready for next year’s date. If this doesn’t show how much people and bands enjoyed the festival, I don’t know what will!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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.
Images Courtesy of Renegadewolf Photography!
A full review of the gig can be found here:
Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images – https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/
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.
Massive Wagons + Those Damn Crows & Mad Haven
Full Nelson Tour
The Live Rooms Wrexham
Review by Beth Jones & Richard Tilley
Following the recent signs of life in what appears to be the resurgence of the Rock and Metal scene in our little town, we were very happy see that one of the dates on the Massive Wagons ‘Full Nelson’ tour was to take place in our newly revamped Live Rooms Venue. It was the ideal opportunity for us to get out of the house and see what the motley crew from Lancaster were all about. We had seen part of their set at Amplified 2017, and at RockWich 2017, so were eager to catch a bit more of them and see what all the fuss was about.
When we arrived, the doors hadn’t quite opened, but there was a small queue forming, which is pretty unheard of now in Wrexham! This boded well for the audience numbers, and indeed, once the doors were open, people kept on coming.
The first band were a relatively local band, Mad Haven. They were very young and vibrant, with a good Blues /Hard Rock sound. Their songs were catchy and they were getting the audience warmed up nicely. The overall sound was very good too, and the tin roof on the venue didn’t seem to be interfering too much with the quality. Everything was crisp and clear and the guitar had a lovely tone, especially in the solos. For a young band, they did a brilliant job of opening the show, but my only criticism of them would be that their songs ended weirdly – they just, sort of, stopped! It seemed like they had got really good ideas for the intros and main bodies of their songs, but they couldn’t work out how to finish them. This I am sure will be something they will fine tune as they get more experience behind them, and truly master the craft of song writing.
Our main support for the night was Bridgend hard rockers, Those Damn Crows. I had heard a lot about these guys and was looking forward to seeing them for the first time. Experience showed instantly here as there was an immediate step up in quality when they started. The growing crowd was loving it too, and were joining in with full voice. They oozed charisma and stage presence, and had a whole host of good catchy songs. Some were very hard rock, some were like a heavy Stereophonics but it worked really well. They were having great fun on the stage, and it was creating a really brilliant atmosphere, which was so pleasing to see. With them being that bit heavier, however, the tin roof immediately played its part and distorted the sound somewhat, which is a shame. NOTE TO THE VENUE – PLEASE DO SOMETHING WITH THAT ROOF!!!! Apart from that little niggle though, this set was absolutely cracking, with just the right amount of everything in, and I was very impressed. I look forward to seeing them again soon. To be honest I was now thinking that they would be a pretty hard act to follow, they played as if it was a headline slot.
And so, it was time for Massive Waggons. I (stupidly) hadn’t got a photo pass for the night, as I didn’t expect the sort of audience that was, even now, still turning up. I tried to position myself at a reasonable vantage point to be able to get some shots, however once the band came on, it quickly became apparent that my miniature stature was to be my nemesis once more! I spent the next 30 minutes or so cursing and huffing until I finally had a big old artist hissy fit and angrily put my camera away! I don’t lose my shit often, but tonight was one of those rare occasions, so at this point in the review, I will hand you over to the thoughts of Richard Tilley!
Respect to Massive Wagons for pulling a huge crowd into The Live Rooms Wrexham, and for coming to our town on their Full Nelson tour. Beth commented it was comparable to when she saw Skindred at the venue in 2013. However, considering how ‘in’ and popular the Wagons are at present, I may not make myself popular with this review.
They are great musicians, there is no doubt, and they whipped said crowd into an apoplectic frenzy, BUT, this is the third time I’ve seen them live now and I cannot, as yet, understand why they are becoming so popular. Perhaps I’m missing something, or perhaps the luck you always need has played its part, or perhaps they know the right people, but I’m simply unmoved when I watch them. They do all the right things with their instruments and make all the right moves on stage, but I found myself thinking of all the bands I have seen who should be at this level but never got the breaks, and that’s not what should be happening when I’m watching a band live.
I know I’m in the minority and I really don’t mean to sound this negative but I have to say it as I see it; they just don’t give me that exciting, hair standing on end, pit of stomach feeling that many other bands do. In fact, their 2017 Amplified and RockWich sets were better than this showing and, on the night, Those Damn Crows were, for me, the better band. I wish Massive Wagons all the success in the world, they are nice guys, have worked very hard and I will still follow their progress and listen to new material to see if I eventually ‘get it’, but it’s fair to say that I’ve already spent 5 years trying to do that and it hasn’t happened yet!
My qualms aside plus the fact that the tin roof, very definitely, hampers the sound quality of the bands the heavier the music gets and Beth’s annoyance at not being able to get any good photos of Massive Wagons we both had a fabulous evening. It really is great to see Rock and Metal coming back to Wrexham, it is the biggest town in North Wales, and based on the huge crowd that turned up at the venue I’m very much hoping that many more bands will begin to see that Wales isn’t just Cardiff and Swansea!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Richard Tilley 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 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