RockWich 2018, Lostock Club Northwich, 26th August 2018

00 RockWich 2018 Poster

RockWich 2018
Sunday 26th August 2018
Lostock Club, Northwich
Review By Beth Jones

After the cracking Saturday ‘Unplugged’ session, we were really warmed up and raring to go for the main event on Sunday and headed over to the venue in perfect time to start the day. One word summed up the weather on that morning…wet! My, was I glad we hadn’t camped, as mother-nature had clearly fallen asleep in the bath with the taps still on again, and Cheshire was definitely under the drip!

After wading through a few puddles, we were greeted at the door by the ever smiling and welcoming face of Colesia Pryse, one of the event organisers, who lovingly works the door for the majority of the day, in the cold, draughty and underwhelming entrance to the Lostock Club. Hats off to you Colesia – you do a fantastic job.

The first thing that struck me was how many people had turned up at lunchtime on a Sunday in time to see the first band, and the other thing that struck me was everyone was smiling even though most were a touch damp! What is very clear from this crowd is that RockWich is very definitely an annual meet up of old and distant friends, and that really makes the heart of this event. The abundance of handshakes and embraces was very warming and lovely to see in today’s society which, on the whole, seems to hate each other most of the time!

But enough of these melancholy musings – to the music!!! First up were a new name to us, Quiet The Thief, a Stoke based four piece who were ready to wake us all up with a hearty dose of hard rock, which they did, big time! They gave us a full-on Sunday carvery with all the trimmings! Great meaty riffs, solid rhythms and some pretty catchy melodies on the side, topped off with aggressive punchy gravy in the shape of Stig Chell’s vocals. Well lush!!!! I almost wished they had had a longer set, but just like a perfect meal, they left us wanting more – so much so that we purchased their EP and will try and slot it on to the review list!

01 Quiet The Thief RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/ThiefQTT/

There is only one thing to do after a hearty meal like that, and that is have a quick fag, and then go back for dessert! So, after a quick nip out in the rain for a vape (cos we is all new age and healthy-ish now) we headed back in for Novacrow, another new name for us. I knew I was going to like them when the guitarist appeared on stage in a top hat – quirky, random and fun where three words that instantly popped into my head. Yet again I was not disappointed. Like a delectable dessert, they served up an almighty helping of randomness and lively stage craft, with bass player Federico bouncing about like a recently uncaged animal, the impressive stature of guitarist, Jonyx, traversing the entire length of the stage in three steps and fronted by the awesome vocals and guitar of my new favourite pocket rocket, Kitty Staunton, who incidentally also has epic hair.

Their version of sleazy hard rock was peppered with brilliant humour and extremely polished performance techniques, worthy of a much higher spot on the bill. Their cover of Tragedy (The Bee Gees / Steps – depending on what era you were born) was ingenious and Kitty broke the forth wall by coming into the audience for this song, and having a good old amble around, as did Federico towards the end of the set, basically so he could jump off a table! These guys were too cool, too good, too funny, too stylish and I think I may be a little bit in love with them. My favourite band of the weekend, and they were only the second to perform on the day. I kind of felt sorry for the next band up, because that was going to be hard to follow.

02 Novacrow RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial/

Next up were Empyre. We had earmarked these as one to watch at Amplified in July but had not managed to get into the tent to see them, so we were very glad they were on this bill. Hailing from the Midlands, they bill themselves on their website as performing ‘intense, atmospheric rock, with a dark and introspective edge to their writing’, and this is what they did. But to be honest, I’m not sure if this was the right setting for them to bring an introspective edge in, especially after we had just been beaten around the head with a pointed Novacrow shaped stick. The first and last track were lively and upbeat, and worked in the party atmosphere that was forming inside the Lostock Club, but the rest of the set felt a little laboured and down beat. They didn’t really look like they were enjoying it either. Perhaps they were having an off day, who knows, we all have them. It left me a little meh, but I think I need to listen to them more to really cast judgement.

03 Empyre RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/EMPYRE/

After another quick vape break, we headed back in for The Idol Dead, a bunch of seasoned punks sent to deliver their own brand of Punk Rock and Soul! And that is what they did. If there is one thing we can do well up North, it is combining lots of genres to make good tunes! They gave us a half hour set of absolutely brilliant, thrashy, punky bangers which you couldn’t help but lose your shit to. They were perfect for this party atmosphere and they had the audience in the palm of their hands for the whole performance. Guitarist KC gave it some welly all the way through the set, and sadly towards the end his beloved guitar suffered a bit of a catastrophic malfunction incident (the head stock decided it didn’t want to be a headstock any more RIP), but this didn’t stop them in their quest to jump around like loonies and make the audience have a damn good time. Really well worth earmarking as a band to see if they are in a venue near you. Great fun.

04 The Idol Dead, RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/theidoldead/

Psychobabylon were next up. Before they started my first impression was, ‘this is what it would look like in another dimension where a tall Dani Filth was the front man of The Levellers’. They didn’t have the look of classic rock, or metal, but were instead a weird meld of a bit of everything. I was dubious about what they would sound like, given their strange look, and to me they did sound a little like they looked, almost like it was two different bands playing at once. The vocal style of Rusty D was great, but I’m not sure if it went with the band, and equally the rest of the band were all very tight and well-rehearsed, but it just seemed a weird fit. That being said, they did play some catchy songs, and they were good fun to watch onstage, even if they were a bit like the musical version of eating a cheese and jam sandwich.

05 Psychobabylon RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/Psychobabylon/

We were now heading dangerously towards tea time, and I had one thing on my mind – CHIPS! Lovingly served in a polystyrene tray from the kitchen hatch by the bar, in true working men’s club style. Bloody tasty and a perfect accompaniment to our next musical serving – the outstanding Witch Tripper. We have seen these guys at pretty much every gig we have been to this year, which shows how hard they work; however, they never get tired or boring. They are so groovy, so smooth and so full flavoured that you can’t help but lap up their energy and stage presence. They ooze dirty great riffs and the bass rumbles like a freight train, and if you aren’t drawn to move with these guys then you definitely have no soul. This coupled with their ridiculous work ethic, will see them going big places very soon, I have no doubt.

06 Witch Tripper RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

The next band had been one of the stand out bands at Amplified earlier in the summer – the Southern Rock ‘n’ Roll Meisters from Cumbria, Thirteen Stars. Seriously could have listened to these guys all night. They are so cool and so chilled out, with a great dry sense of humour, that it takes you away to somewhere, on a paddle steam riverboat, with a bottle of bourbon in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other. Aside from this coolness, however, is a band of very accomplished musicians, with some excellent guitar licks and perfect timings to boot. It was a shame that their set only allowed time for six songs; it seemed to be over far too quickly.

07 Thirteen Stars RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars/

So, from Southern Rock ’n’ Roll, it was time to move swiftly on to some good meaty British Rock, in the form of New Generation Superstars. These guys have been on the circuit now for a good few years, but it was my first time seeing them (Rick has seen them before and really likes them) and I was impressed. They are good, no nonsense, sleazy rock, and really know how to work the crowd. Their liveliness and sense of fun really shows though in their performance and they are tight as anything. It certainly gets you tapping your toes and nodding your head. These guys are all seasoned pros and are able to demonstrate a level of understanding of who they are that only comes with experience. Gaz Wilde on drums totally lived up to his name, putting in a thunderous performance, and Johnny Suicide made a new friend during this set, a little person that could not go unmentioned in this review. All day long, a tiny little chap (aged just 2) had been busting out some killer moves and headbanging with the best in the mosh pit at the front. It was now nearly 6.30 in the evening, and he was still killing it on the dance floor. He was up against the crash barrier, rocking his little battle jacket in perfect time to the music. He was the dude! Hats off to his parents – parenting level epic: Achieved! I do not know how he was keeping going, as I was seriously starting to flag by this point!

08 New Generation Superstars RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/newgenrocks/

Next up were Red Spektor. A total contrast from the comfort of knowing where you are with New Generation Superstars, these guys are Psychedelic 70’s heavy rock stoner doom, with some US hard rock and blues thrown in. Pass the mushrooms will you darling! They are incredibly difficult to describe, and to be honest, I’m not sure I quite got it. It was all a bit shy and insular for me, they didn’t seem to be aware they were playing to an audience, they were just playing and there happened to be some people there listening. They did make a lot of sound considering they are only a three piece, so they have to have credit for that, but it didn’t grab me in the way a lot of other bands on the day had done, and it wasn’t quite ‘party’ enough for the atmosphere in the hall. This was kind of evident in the thinning of the crowd after a few songs. I expect that they would be great to listen to on recording or as part of a ‘chill out’ session, but in this atmosphere, for me, it didn’t quite work.

09 Red Spektor RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/redspektorband/

It was time to liven things up again next, with Wicked Stone, a band from Devon who had just had an extreme 7 hour journey to get to the venue, all to play a 40 minute set. That is dedication. Thankfully, the room filled up again almost as soon as they arrived on stage and were delighted by the thumpingly catchy songs of this merry band of west country gents. Set Me On Fire was a track that really stuck out for us and had me heading to their merch stand to buy a CD! Would love to see these guys again soon, and really want to try and get a review done of their album as it is fab (It is called ‘Ain’t No Rest’ if anyone wants to check it out).

10 Wicked Stone RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/wickedstonemusic/

We were now heading quickly towards the business end of the show, with only three bands left. Filling the second support slot here was Falling Red, bringing an explosion of excited energy from the wilds of the North! They had also played Amplified in the summer, and we had missed them! Epic fail on our part! Their set included one of my favourite songs of the year, and one which had been on my own Amplified playlist all summer, ‘Hell In My Eyes’. I LOVE this song, and it gave me my second wind. They are a great melodic rock outfit and they kept on throwing out really catchy tunes, which have great depth, solid melodies and are backed up by tight rhythms. They are very current and appeal to a wide range of tastes, young and old. Really impressed by them. Another band to add to the ‘to see again soon’ list.

11 Falling Red RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/fallingredofficial/

The penultimate act of the night, Stop Stop, are a tenacious gang of Glam Rockers with a very rock ‘n’ roll back story, which Rick had filled me in on some weeks before the show. I was really looking forward to seeing them and damn they did not disappoint. They were jaw droppingly good. They had everything; catchy tunes, cheeky smiles, brilliant riffs, superb vocals, lights, dry ice, and crazy energy. It was relentless brilliance and it blew me away. Not content with the stage, as it was clearly way to small for that much personality, this trio of hair and skinny jeans decided towards the end of the set that it was time for a wander around the crowd, so drummer Danny Stix harnessed up a snare drum and off they went like a merry gang of pied pipers into the crowd. They climb on seats, they bantered with the sitting punters, and they partied on the dancefloor with those that still had the energy to do so (including the little dude who was still down there!) and they made every person in that room feel part of their performance. It was very special. They just ooze charisma and totally own their craft. It isn’t just music for them, it is their entire soul, right there in a performance. It literally ticked every box for me. Some may find them cliched, but I really don’t care! They were bloody ace!

12 Stop Stop RockWich 2018https://www.facebook.com/stopstopofficial/

Yet again I kind of felt sorry for Trucker Diablo, our headliner of the night, as they had a bloody hard job following Stop Stop! But as always with these guys they put on a great show, whilst they are not as raucous as the crazy Spaniards, and a completely different style, they are equally as tight, catchy and professional. They bang out cracking tune after cracking tune with confidence and ease and do it all with a cheeky glint in their eyes. They have a very dedicated and growing fan base, and, like last year’s headliners, Massive Waggons, are definitely going somewhere. For those of you who haven’t seen Trucker Diablo before, (why the hell not, where have you been, get you head out of the cave and go watch them) they are a 4 piece from Armagh that bring a brand of feel good rock with a punch. They were a great way to finish off the party for another year and it was brilliant to see the smiling faces and feel the vibe in that room.

13 Trucker Diablo RockWich 2018 Headlinershttps://www.facebook.com/TRUCKERDIABLO/

As we headed out we felt very happy to have been witness to this great little event once again. Yes it has its weird bits – the venue for me being the main bit that I just don’t quite gel with, but all in all it was a great weekend and it gave us a bit of everything; the discovery of some great new names to us, the chance to catch up with some other names that were more known to us, familiar faces and new friends, chips, chips and more chips, the little dancing dude in his groovy little battle jacket, and there was even a marriage proposal live on stage, which made all us girls go gooey and romantic! And all this was encased in awesome music. A massive well done to the organisers, Prometheus Promotions, on doing a sterling job again, and to all those involved in making the event run smoothly, from Colesia on the door, to Mik Matzen and Sharon Cooke stage managing, Simon Dunkerley keeping us press types in check, and a host of others making sure things ran smoothly, we thank you again for having the passion to do this and keep us, the fans, stoked up with live music.

 

Social Links:
https://www.rockwich.net/
https://www.facebook.com/PrometheusPromotionsSoundandLight

 

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 all parties. Failure to do 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/

Amplified Festival 2018, Gloucestershire July 6th 2018, Day One

Amplified Day1 Poster

Amplified Festival 2018
Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire
July 6th 2018, Day One
Review by Rick Tilley with help from Beth Jones
Photographs by Beth Jones
10/10

If you attended the first Amplified Festival in 2017 you’ll know that there were some logistical and organisational issues and that these were highlighted, even more, by the biblical storm that hit the Festival on the Friday which nearly caused its closure before it had really got started. There were also a lot of negative comments on social media, mainly from people who weren’t there. However, by the Sunday, the weather had cleared up somewhat and the people that had decided to stay had a great time, we certainly did. Organiser Gary Paterson vowed to address the problems and come back fighting in 2018 and boy has he done that BIG TIME!!

Welcome to Ever Metal’s review of Amplified Festival 2018, Day One!

This year we arrived on the Thursday evening so that we were completely up and running for the start on Friday morning and immediately we noticed how much better organised things were. With photographer Will Tudor in place as Accreditation and Media Relations Manager (a position, this weekend showed, he was born to do) everything had a place, everybody knew where to go and what to do and everyone was in good spirits.

With the weather forecast this year promising temperatures matching the inside of an active volcano we slowly unpacked the car and put the tent up. Even though I had made the conscious decision not to go as official press this year because the line-up was so strong and I wanted to watch bands, we were still in the media area as my step-daughter had won the Amplified Photography Competition (more on that later) and it was noticeable that there were more tents set up and people about than there had been on the Friday last year, a great sign, and once we had rung out a couple of buckets of sweat we headed off to check out the arena and catch up with friends at the only place you can ever meet up at a Rock Festival ‘The Motley Brew’!

The arena this year was more compact, the Red Stripe and Very Metal Art stages had been turned in the opposite direction and there wasn’t a huge separate area, through the trees, with further stages and stalls to spread everyone out. Camping areas were more sensibly thought about, on what is an extremely beautiful site, and even though things looked different it felt familiar and complete! With no clashes between bands on the two bigger stages and virtually none on the G’s Bar Stage you could pretty much watch every band over the three days if you wanted to. With smiles on our faces and beer/tea in hand we settled down for a good old chat with people in anticipation of what would happen on the Friday.

By 7am on the Friday it was so hot it was impossible to stay in the tent, it had turned into a portable sauna, so we got up and plastered ourselves in sun-cream, ready to stay hydrated, watch some great music and soak up the atmosphere!

First up on the Red Stripe main stage were British Thrash outfit, Eradikator. This was a really great, upbeat way to kick off the festival, no messing, just straight in with a precision wallop. It was immediately obvious to see/hear that, like last year, the sound engineers had got this completely right, the sound was more than superb, and for that to happen for the first song of the first band on the first day is not something that many manage. It was also pleasing to see quite a few people turn out for the band even though it was still early and most were still arriving or yet to arrive. Eradikator could easily have played much higher up the bill, such was their quality, you definitely need to check them out and their performance put a huge smile on our faces. From that moment on there was something in the air that told me this was going to be a special weekend.

01 Eradikatorhttps://www.facebook.com/eradikatoruk/

As the arena was set up much more thoughtfully this year, and with the aforementioned ‘no clashes’, it was easy for us to walk over to the Very Metal Art stage to see Impavidus. They had been one of our standout bands at the Bloodstock M2TM heats in Wrexham, and although they didn’t win, we knew they were more than capable, so we were eager to see them and what an amazing performance this was. Vocalist Michelle Adamson can do such amazing things with her voice, we have no idea how such a brutal growl comes out of such a small person but she has a huge stage presence (and is also one of the sweetest people you could want to meet). In fact when she sings, I’m reminded of the legend that is Sabina Classen (Holy Moses vocalist)! Every band member has fabulous energy, they are really strong both as individual musicians and as a group (think Arch Enemy meets The Agonist) and the crowd obviously felt this and really reacted to them. Their material is of a very high standard and they were hugely impressive – A ‘Must See’ band!

02 Impavidushttps://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

It was back over to the Red Stripe stage next for the mighty Torqued!! We have known vocalist/bassist Marc Cleave for a while now, and have been watching, with growing excitement, the build up to the release of the Torqued EP “RESURGENCE” (out now), and the band in general, so again we were looking forward to this performance. We had seen them play a short set at McCleans, Pentre late last year but it was great to finally see these guys live on a big stage, especially as they should have played Amplified last year but couldn’t because of the weather conditions. Guitarist Rimmy Sinclair is an immense talent and made intricate shredding look easy, with his ginger locks flying in all directions. There is great chemistry between the guys on stage and they do definitely live up to the hype; they had a good, solid sound, again enhanced by the skills of the sound engineers. It is very chunky and bass driven, courtesy of Marc’s awesome playing (and his fabulous facial expressions) plus his connection with drummer Kurt Johnson, but nothing was overdone, and less is definitely more in this case. Torqued really don’t sound like anyone else; the best I can come up with is VoiVod playing Groove Doom. They also had a great connection with the audience who lapped up every note! #wearetorqued

03 Torquedhttps://www.facebook.com/Torquedband/

At this point there was a break in the performances on the Red Stripe/VMA stages because it was time to kick-start the G’s Bar Stage into gear! In 2017, because of the horrendous weather, a stage was hastily set up in the bar tent to accommodate some of the bands unable to play their designated slots elsewhere and it was also a place where the punters could keep sort of dry… and it was a huge success, with people braving the rain and wind, with a typically British stiff upper lip, to have a beer and watch some great music which took their mind off whether their tent would still be standing when they returned. Therefore it was a no brainer to bring it back properly in 2018, and the first band on was Gloucestershire based Metalcore band Proteus. Now I’ve got to be honest, when I walked into the tent the heat hit me like a thunderbolt, the meds I take for my spine play havoc with my body temperature, and it was just too hot for me so I couldn’t stay in there for long but what I saw of Proteus was extremely positive. They were catchy; very tight; incredibly heavy and owned the stage impressively. They also had a very good crowd in there watching them and once again the sound guys had worked their magic so what could have sounded like a wall of noise was crystal clear. Not my preferred genre but I’ll definitely be checking them out more!

https://www.facebook.com/ProteusUK/

With the temperature rising we made a quick pit-stop to get a slushy from one of the many good and reasonably priced refreshment vendors on site before heading over to the VMA stage again, this time for Midlands Dark Death metallers Ashen Crown. We had seen lead vocalist Kieran Scott before, guesting with Mad Spanner, but not the full band. This kind of metal is not usually Beth’s cup of tea but she actually really enjoyed them and I have to agree that Ashen Crown played an excellent set. Yes, the vocals are very growly, but Kieran varies his delivery and they are never too shouty or irritating. He is also backed up by a very tight band and their material is very catchy. With more people arriving (all with huge grins on their faces) there was an awesome reaction to the band, which was really good to see. Everyone was having a great time and the smiles between people, whether you knew them or not, proved that the special atmosphere Amplified was creating was growing with each band!

04 Ashen Crownhttps://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk/

After the musically thunderous and heavy start to the day, it was time to head back to the Red Stripe Stage for something completely different. Templeton Pek are a three piece Punk Rock band from Birmingham and they were great for the latish lunchtime slot they had been given! Amplified hadn’t just booked lots of bands and thrown them on stage, instead, every occupied slot felt like it had been thought about and that each band had been listened to carefully and given a slot that complemented their genre/style. Even though Templeton Pek have been around a few years I’m sorry to say I hadn’t come across them before, which slightly hampered my enjoyment of their set, but they were extremely good musicians and very tight as a band. Their performance certainly warranted me checking them out on my return home and latest album “Watching The World Come Undone” is a very good listen!

05 Templeton Pekhttps://www.facebook.com/templetonpek/

After the Punk Rock of TP, it was time to head back to the Very Metal Art stage which was lit up again with the very metal Manchester band Vice and there are only two words to describe them…’fucking awesome’! We had missed them at Hammerfest earlier in the year because of our interview schedule, but it was so worth waiting for! At Hammerfest they had given us a copy of their debut album “The First Chapter” which is a massively good slab of heaviness, if you’re looking for a comparison band then I suppose Primitai would be a good start, and we were REALLY impressed by their performance here. They have great energy and presence even though they are only a three piece and filled the stage both physically and audibly with their music sounding just as good live as it does on their album. Vocalist/Guitarist Tom Atkinson, whom I’ve known since his days in Absolva, has a cracking voice and shreds like a demon! Beth also thought he had very lovely Pantene style hair but I couldn’t possibly comment!! Check them out!

06 Vicehttps://www.facebook.com/Vicemetaluk/

Up until this point, every band had blown us away with how good they were, and how good the sound was, but we weren’t quite as bowled over by all female, London based, ‘Basement Rock’ act The Kut, who were next on the Red Stripe stage. I know they’ve been getting a lot of good press lately and they have a growing fan-base who adore them but their L7, Courtney Love brand of alternative rock didn’t sit comfortably in my ears live, although I do quite like their debut album “Valley Of Thorns”. Maybe it was because it was so hot, or that we needed a recharge but they just left us feeling a bit meh and they looked a bit swamped on the main stage. I think they would certainly come across better in a more intimate club setting!

07 The Kuthttps://www.facebook.com/thekut/

We made our way back over to the Very Metal Art stage because the next band on were most definitely going to wake us up big time and do it with a huge cheesy grin. None other than our favourite Mancunian lunatics, Footprints In The Custard were ready to Mankini things up to 11! Hilarious; Sharp; Crazy; Adorable and Sexy! These are just some of the words that come to mind when describing Footprints In The Custard live. They had borrowed Ward XVI guitarist David Stott, to stand in for Ross, who had very inconsiderately decided to get married…I mean, come on, that’s a terrible excuse for not playing!!! Fair play to David though, he really got into character, and I think secretly enjoyed wearing his Mankini, plenty of females in the crowd seemed to enjoy David wearing his Mankini too! Seriously, if you have never seen these guys play then you need too, they are comedy genius! From kicking off with the Thomas The Tank Engine theme tune to their closing rendition of The Weathergirls ‘It’s Raining Men’ there is laughter, groaning and head-banging in abundance They always look like they are having so much fun up on stage, their humour is so off the wall you can’t help but smile and we absolutely love them!

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

At this point we popped back into the sweltering G’s Bar tent stage because Leeds based Rock/Metal band Chasing Dragons had just started their set and both Beth and I had heard some of their material and earmarked them as a must see. What hit us were the amazing vocals coming through the microphone. Lead singer ‘Tank’ has a powerful and hugely captivating voice, which she can bring down incredibly wonderfully to ballad level. At one point she moved from the stage to sit on the bar and sang the most beautifully emotional song, which actually brought Beth to tears and my eyes misted up as well! You know a song is good when it tugs at your emotions like that and looking around, it was clear to see that we weren’t the only people moved! It was an incredibly special moment and one neither of us will forget. Chasing Dragons were absolutely fantastic and are another of those rare breed of bands who don’t sound like anyone else. Their forthcoming debut album “Faction” will be a must have. Ignore them at your peril!

09 Chasing Dragonshttps://www.facebook.com/chasingdragonsuk/

After more slushies (which we have decided are the holy grail of hot weather) we headed back over to the Red Stripe stage to catch Irish Modern Metal outfit, Dead Label. Their name derives from not wanting to be pigeon-holed into a particular genre so I’m not going to try. We already love these guys and had a great time interviewing them for Ever Metal back in March. It was fabulous to see them on this stage, even though it did look quite big with only the three of them, however their huge, groove laden, sound matched the stage size. Claire Percival is tiny but she is an absolute powerhouse on the drums and bassist/vocalist Dan O’Grady and guitarist Danny Hall had plenty of space to do their thing and they did it with consummate ease! If you haven’t seen Dead Label before then you seriously have to check them out (a perfect chance will be at this year’s Bloodstock where they play the Sophie stage on Saturday 11th August). They are heavy but really melodic and very dark. They have something special and gave Amplified an excellent performance!

10 Dead Labelhttps://www.facebook.com/DeadLabel/

Usually, in this sort of heat I’d want to find some shade but the Amplified ‘special vibe’ was really starting to take hold on everyone and the smiles, laughter and happiness from all corners of the arena was palpable. With that in mind, there was absolutely no way we weren’t going to go and watch the next band on the Very Metal Art stage. After seeing Witch Tripper a few times now, we knew what they were going to give us…energy and effort by the bucket load, along with top-notch musicianship and great songs. They never disappoint and this performance was no different. Their style is pure good, groovy, sludgy old school heavy rock/metal. I love the bounce in their rhythms and the catchy hooks that they seem to write effortlessly. Witch Tripper really know how to rock and engage an audience. They also work their nuts off to make sure everyone gets a good show, and that is really commendable in this day and age. They tour incessantly, so if you haven’t already, go and watch them. You’re guaranteed to have a sore neck the next day!

11 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

Both Beth and I are huge Power Metal freaks, I’ve been there since Helloween first appeared, and my favourite Power Metal band is Gamma Ray, so we were hugely looking forward to seeing Southampton based Power Quest on the Red Stripe stage. If you don’t know, Power Quest were formed by ex Dragonforce keyboard player Steve Williams back in 2001. Sadly, this was to be guitarist Andy Kopczyk’s last gig with the band so it was a special evening. I know classic Power Metal isn’t a huge pull in the UK but Power Quest were absolutely amazing and more. By that point in the day Beth had lost the ability to express energy and excitement physically with the heat and I had to sit for much of their set but inside, our heads were going bananas with excitement!! I was absolutely blown away by the vocals of Ashley Edison (Dendera) as well as the technical skills of every musician. It was such a great atmosphere in the crowd too, with everyone having a great time and losing their shit in a good way to some full on, swashbuckling metal! I think this is why we both love power metal so much, it’s bouncy, uplifting, awesome and well…powerful and Power Quest absolutely epitomise what the genre is all about!

12 Power Questhttps://www.facebook.com/powerquestofficial/

Even with the best will in the world we had to take a break at this point so we headed for the oasis that was the Motley Brew for a cuppa (honestly Phil and his team are absolute saints) and then to some shade in the media area where we were able to just chill out with others and discuss what had been, up to then, one of the best days of live music I had ever experienced in 35 years of Festival attendance. Once our energy levels had replenished and we had poured water over ourselves it was back to the Red Stripe stage to witness the lightning bolt that was German Thrash band Dust Bolt! Holy thundercrackers where do these guys get their energy from? They supplied Classic Thrash, German and Bay Area styles with aplomb, so Destruction, Exodus, Kreator and Testament fans were all catered for. They had immense energy and connection with each other and the audience. I love my Thrash, but Beth is pretty picky, in the same way that people are with marmite, she either really loves it, or really hates it. For her Dust Bolt were definitely in the ‘really love’ pile! It was so good that literally the only thing that annoyed her was that the corner of their banner, at the back of the stage had come unhooked, and it looked untidy on the photos she was trying to take! We really hope we get a chance to see them again, believe me they are absolutely phenomenal!

13 Dust Bolthttps://www.facebook.com/dustbolt/

Trying to conserve some energy, but not succeeding, Beth nipped over to the Very Metal Art stage again to catch South Wales based Alternative Pop Rockers The Dirty Youth, who were filling the headline slot and these are her thoughts. “They were a little heavier than I was expecting, after watching their YouTube videos, but they were still a lot lighter than most of the bands throughout the day, which was actually kind of nice to wind down to. However, they were a bit too modern and ‘Kerrang Style’ for my liking. I’m getting older now and much of this more modern stuff just sounds the same! That said you couldn’t fault their musicianship, vocalist Danni Monroe had a cracking set of pipes and the sound was still impeccable!”

https://www.facebook.com/thedirtyyouth/

All that was left then, at least for us, were Red Stripe Main stage headliners SOiL! I had never been a huge fan of the band (at the time the 90’s were a bit of a lost cause for me music wise), but Beth loves them and never thought she would see them live, so she was like a chuffed fangirl waiting for them to get onstage. I have to admit I thought they were excellent and we spent the duration of their set jumping. The first half of their performance was really great, incorporating loads of classic tunes which got the, now much larger, crowd bouncing, and meant that Beth could squawk along with her rapidly disappearing voice. They did have some technical issues with wireless systems on both the bass and guitar, which lead to a bit of a delay and they somewhat lost the plot after that and had a weird game of sing a bit of a song and see if you can work out how to play it on the spot! Then it all went a bit more random when vocalist Ryan McCombs decided it would be fun to dive into the audience just for shits and giggles! I did get a big hug from him on the way back to the stage, and that, along with the fact that he had spoken to me, directly from the stage, earlier in the gig, made my night! It was definitely one of Beth’s favourite performances of the weekend, despite its randomness, and in me, they have found a new fan…even if I am about twenty years late to the party.

14 Soilhttps://www.facebook.com/SOiLmusic/

After that, we left the youngsters to go and party at the G’s Bar Stage with Voodoo Blood closing the night, whilst we made the huge walk of about ten yards to the Motley Brew, for the best mug of coffee I had tasted in years, a good chat with loads of mates about the performances that day plus the absolutely amazing atmosphere and then it was back to the tent for a damn good sleep before starting again for Day Two. Stay tuned for that…!

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK/

https://www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks/
https://open.spotify.com/user/1122837427/playlist/0czFgKJ1GgPHJjwG4s7DKR

15 Amplified Logo

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 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

 

Bloodstock ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ North Wales Semi Final 2, Atomic, Wrexham 25/05/2018

05 M2TM North Wales Logo

Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses –  North Wales –  Semi Final 2 – Atomic, Wrexham  –  25/05/2018
Review by Beth Jones

As the light evenings get longer and summer doesn’t look quite so much like something that happened in the old days, the North Wales M2TM competition is nearing its climax, and the penultimate gig saw us return to our new favourite little venue, Atomic in Wrexham. The night was set to be a good one, with a strong bill of four bands all vying for the prize, and awesome special guest headliners in the shape of the mighty Witch Tripper. Unfortunately, one of the four competition bands, Cobolt Collision, had been forced to pull out earlier in the day, due to illness – we were gutted, but I can guarantee we weren’t as gutted as them. Hopefully they will get another chance at the competition sometime in the future. But these things unfortunately can’t be helped. And so, the stage was set, the atmosphere was great and the nervous tension palpable, as we entered what I shall lovingly call ‘the Snug’!

First up were Redwood Avenue, a band that we had seen originally at Hammerfest earlier in the year and were a little non-plus about. I wrote in our review of that… “They were good, but for me the music needs more of a hook; it felt a little disjointed in places, but the guys are only young, so this will hopefully come with time”… Now this doesn’t happen very often, but…… OK I ADMIT IT – I WAS REALLY WRONG!!! We have now seen them three more times, and they have been better each time – it’s funny how first impressions can be so wrong. I’m not saying never listen to me because I am clearly an idiot, but NEVER LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY AN IDIOT!! They were tight, they were catchy, they were riffy and their mix was crisp. They got the place instantly bouncing, and gave the audience a great show to start the night. They are more modern metal, but they properly know what they are doing, and I am ashamed that I passed it off after our first encounter. My humblest apologies guys! This performance was by far the best we had seen them. Cracking!

01 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

After a quick vape/bar/comfort break, it was back up to the Snug for band number two – the utterly loopy Mad Spanner. These guys are just hilarious – they are the Monty Python of metal, combining off the wall observational comedy with chaotic thrash / punk! Lead singer Michael has one of the most expressive faces I have ever seen, and his height and huge amount of hair add to the overall manic-ness of their performance. They humoured us with tracks such as, ‘Get Off Your Bastard Phone (You Antisocial Dickhead)’ and ‘We Are No Longer Forced To Use A Shitty Drum Machine’, and everyone had a great time throwing people round the pit and laughing manically as they did it. Absolutely hilarious, wild, manic, fun. So much so that I even took my hair out of a ponytail and had a little mosh! Whilst, musically, they may not be the tightest band in the world, for the sheer fun factor, they are two thumbs good in my book!!

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

The final competition band were Cadence Noir. When we saw these guys in the heats, bassist Tom was somewhat incapacitated, on crutches, so had to sit down to play, but by the Semi he was up on two feet again and it did make a difference to their performance. Again, their sound was great, and you could tell that they were really up for the competition. They say that their style is ‘Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll’, which is right up my street – I would possibly call them Pirate Metal, because that is what it makes me think of! I love the fact that their music does have folky roots, and the roll played by Fiddle player, Emma, is integral to their music. For this show, Tom was also interchanging between his standard electric Bass and a mighty sexy electric double bass, which added another dimension again. Their upbeat, bouncy, rum drinking tracks had the whole room moving again, and my personal favourite is their jaunty little ditty, ‘Fuck, Fuck, Boom, Boom’! Loved it!

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

And that was the last of the competition bands – this was going to be the toughest decision yet for the judges – all three deserved a place in the final in my opinion. So, whilst the judges deliberated, and after another quick vape/bar/etc break, the special guest headliners, the mighty Witch Tripper, took to the stage. Beany, our Master Of Ceremonies, had announced them as ‘the hardest working band in the UK at the moment’, and I have to say that, with the exception of Absolva, I completely agree. Their passion and complete dedication is conveyed superbly by their musicianship and performance technique and I love them! They fill the stage even though there are only three of them and produce song after song after song of solid, groove laden, proper hard heavy rock. They are the genre’s equivalent to a top quality 8oz fillet steak (or vegetarian equivalent!) and deserved to be savoured and enjoyed! Seriously if you have not heard these guys, you really need to check them out. We are hugely looking forward to seeing them at Amplified in a couple of months’ time.

04 Witch Tripperhttps://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

After the sheer brilliance of Witch Tripper, it was time for the big reveal. It was too close to call, and Beany milked this for as long as humanly possible, and then a bit longer! After truly putting the whole audience on tenterhooks, the bands announced to progress to the final were…… Redwood Avenue and Cadence Noir! It was such a shame that one had to go, and that one had to be Mad Spanner, but that is the unfortunate nature of competition. Regardless, the night was brilliant, the bands superb, and the atmosphere warm, friendly and jovial throughout. I was in my happy place. Bring on the final, because if it is half as good as the semi, it will be a cracking show.

For those who can get there, I thoroughly recommend making sure you do – there is a move of venues, to Central Station, and the addition of a second stage, meaning the night will be even more jam packed with great music. I think I should probably book the Saturday off work!!

SOCIAL MEDIA

M2TM North Wales FINAL – Central Station Wrexham – 15/06/2018 Event Page

https://www.facebook.com/events/562274997482339/

Bloodstock M2TM Official Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/about/

North East Wales Metal Productions

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

Powerzone Radio Show

https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/

Atomic, Wrexham

https://www.facebook.com/atomicbarwxm/

Bloodstock Festival

https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/

 

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 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