Review by Rob Billingham, Photos by Lisa Billingham
Over the last week, there were one or two bands call to say they were no longer able to play, so schedules were adjusted. Unfortunately today was no different so much so that the day of music which was to have started at 3.30, started at 6pm with a much reduced band list due to a couple of very late withdrawals BUT those who were here stepped up to the plate and put on their own outstanding shows.
Before the first band took to the stage Alan Sutheran briefly talked about the charity which was going to benefit from this weekend’s event …. http://www.trusselltrust.org/ and thanked those who had brought in contributions today.
First up was Eight Great Fears, a band who had been off the circuit for some time and chose Basementfest 2014 to make their come back. Organiser Alan Sutheran must have thought the day was totally jinxed when, before a note was struck, Eight Great Fears suffered an amp failure! Thanks to the Roadhouse sound engineer, Tom, for rescuing the situation which I believe was a popped fuse. Underway at last, this sharply attired bunch of guys belted their way through a six song set that was gutsy, laden with heavy, raw riffs ad was played with dynamism that shouted “we’re back!”
As a comeback gigs go, this was impressive stuff. So good luck to Wee John, James, Gavin, John and Dean for a future success, and a nice touch from the band with the giveaway EP that they had prepared in advance of the set played on the night.
Set list included We Are The Sick, The Fallen, Porno Queen, Rise Against The New Politician.
Divided Silence were such a late replacement to the bill that even Alan Sutheran didn’t know they were playing until they turned up! A very young outfit who describe themselves as an alternative rock band and are in their early days of playing live. Sure there are some rough edges which will doubtless be smoothed out the more gigs they get under their belts. They have some decent things going on in some of their music – ‘Reckless Mind’ and ‘Christmas Horror’ particularly, but becoming a tighter unit will improve things no end and with Dan Carter (Left For Red) involved in their progression, I’m sure this will happen.
Divided Silence are Swaine Divided (vocals), Tony Stripe (guitars), Lewis Chambers (rhythm guitar), CJ Rainbow (bass) and Hayley Sixx (drums).
Hard rock and melodic metal men, A Thousand Enemies, were next in line to batter the ear drums of the Roadhouse crowd and in all honesty I would say was by far the loudest set of the night. I have seen them before and knew exactly what to expect and they didn’t disappoint. The now sizeable and very appreciative gathering cared not however, and proceeded to enjoy a seven song blitzkrieg with Bane Holland’s powerful vocals at the very front of the action. Dave Ward and Liam Johnson provide some tight guitar harmonies as well as raw power chord riffs. Andy “Snakes” Goulter on bass and Paul Gore on drums complete a band moving in the right direction. Their debut album, Stand As One ,from which several of tonight’s tunes were taken, has received much acclaim and in my opinion, quite rightly so………my ears hurt!
Set list included Shadow & Substance, Gutter Life, Chaos State and Passion of St Tibulus.
The very popular Birmingham rock/metal gang known as Valous seem to be playing everywhere lately. Guess what? They are here tonight to inject some Valous venom into Basementfest. Influenced by too many artists and musicians to list here. Valous are a band who play heavy, catchy, melodic metal that just makes you feel good and always leave you wanting more. Vocalist and frontman Mat Shutt led the band through a relatively short but nonetheless explosive set which included songs from their album The Things You Once Knew. Valous are a fine band who give their fans exactly what they want and fully deserve their reputation as a top live act. A “must go see” band every time you see their name on a poster!
Valous are Mat Shutt (vocals), Rig (guitar), JD (guitar), Andy (bass) and Ron (drums)
Set included Just Defied, Dreams, Crucifixation, Blistered, Why D’ya Hurt Me?
After a short refuelling break (water and a cheese roll) it was back to more metal mayhem, this time in the form of the always improving Left for Red. What has been impressive so far is the power of all the vocalists. Indeed Left For Red’s LC Decoy’s vocals have been described as “musical terrorism” (Global Metal Apocalypse 2014). These Dudley men of metal are an imposing sight on stage and their music reflects this with hard, strong riffs, thudding bass and drums and, of course, LC’s mighty vocals.
In the 25 minutes Left For Red were on stage, their potential to become a big name in the world of rocking heavy metal was evident in spade-loads. Set closer and my pick of the bunch was the heavy and dark ‘Kneel Before You Die’.
If you like Pantera or Metallica then catch these guys at their next gig!
Set list included Master of the Grave, Reborn, Mercy Flight, Kneel Before You Die.
With a bio that reads like an episode of “Tales of the Unexpected”, main support band Calatrilloz, were certainly different to all that had gone before. I’m struggling to define this band to be honest. With signs of much time spent in make-up and wardrobe departments, my initial thought was this would either be brilliant or a damp squib. In the event, I guess it was somewhere in between, but mainly because I was not sure that the Roadhouse crowd quite knew how to respond.
Purveyors of the symphonic metal and progressive rock with operatic influences, Calatrilloz are musically excellent and vocalist Zahyin (aka Luciano Lanna de Vasconcellos) with his operatic training, has a stunning voice. Despite a minor techie with some effects kit that caused the opening song ‘Origins’ to be restarted, we were soon being treated to a night at the opera! In a nutshell, the music is based on the tale of the search for five marionettes, each imprisoned by a demon Lord, the powers of whom can only be curtailed by the location of the said marionettes.
The story is told in music using a fusion of genres. The songs are heavy, sometimes complex, but always with a sense of theatre at their heart. Personally, I really liked Calatrilloz – the music, make-up and obvious theatre worked really well, but I can appreciate they may need a couple of viewings for some people. Just an observation, but I felt the set continuity suffered somewhat by the pregnant pauses between most of the songs and at times, the crowd were left wondering if a song had actually finished or whether it was in transition. Ultimately, a band worth checking out.
Calatrilloz are Zahyin (vocals), Mobius (bass), Vargovov (guitar), Azriel (guitar) and Leberus (drums).
Set list was Origins, I am Alive, The Long & Winding Road, Glimpse at a Fools Destiny, Burden, Lords of Misery, Psychopath.
After what seemed like a very long day, we were at last ready for the appearance of Saturday headliners, Gypsy Pistoleros, although time was pressing and a full set would take the Gypsy Pistoleros very close to the Roadhouse curfew time of 11.45pm. Sadly by now the crowd had dwindled considerably, which was somewhat disappointing, but unperturbed the guys threw their glam/sleaze brand of rock n roll in our direction in typical GP style with their very edgy songs written to be played mean, moody and very dirty!
The Gypsy Pistoleros are a band that feeds off its audience and a full on atmosphere but tonight was always going to be a bit of a struggle, despite the best efforts of both band and the loyal few still in attendance. I know we didn’t really see these guys at their genuinely fantastic “in your face” best but they still managed to squeeze in a 9 song set before the dreaded curfew descended prompting Gaz Harris to comment “apparently we’ve gotta go – we’re too loud apparently” and so, here endeth the gospel according to the Gypsy Pistoleros ….. unfortunately.
Gypsy Pistoleros are Gaz Harris (vocals), Iggie Pistolero (guitar), Kenny K Doll (bass) and Jeff Pistolero (drums).
Set list included Too Drunk, Sex Drugs Rock n Roll, Cocaine Queens, Dirty Side of Midnight.