Review & Photos by Tony Gaskin
Day two was destined to be an even more frenetic affair with a whole bunch of class acts from the worlds of thrash and hard core lined up to destroy what was left of my senses! It was going to be a long day for many, with the first band kicking off at around 2.30, my night began though much later with me not being able to get there till about 7.30ish.
First band up for me then was The Atrocity Exhibit who strangely enough proved to be more grind/crust and would’ve been more suited to last night’s antics. But their heavy riffs were counter balanced by a more subtle groove that gave them a more rounded sound.
One of the main figures behind this weekend is Chris “Selfless” who along with his team from Fear Me Music had made such a success of the event, so no one can begrudge him the placing of his own band, Selfless, on the bill. Furthermore, Selfless thoroughly deserve their high billing with their fast, aggressive mash-up of punk/thrash/hc/grind. Two minute songs interspersed with humorous banter from Dunc are the norm. The energy is infectious, with Chris’ ferocious shredding kept in check by the more measured riffage from Nat. The grin on Chris’ face said it all, this was a moment of triumph for him and the icing on the cake as far as he was concerned.
For me, UK Hardcore has never been a match commercially for the giants of the genre from across the pond, but when it comes to dedication and enthusiasm, we can match them blow for blow. One of the stalwarts of the UK scene are Freebase and much like P.O.A. from last night, have only recently got back to gigging again, and boy have we missed their explosive sound on stage. Founding members Mark and Nick have put together a team of HC legends to bring their hard edge sound back to their eager fans, and the past ten years in the wilderness suddenly fade away with every incendiary song. Mark looks pumped up and revitalised on stage and I witness one of the best hard core sets I’ve seen in a long time.
So to the climax of todays whirlwind assault on the Asylum as we welcome SSS to the stage (Short Sharp Shock for the uninitiated).
Foxy urges the crowd forward, in his soft scouse accent. They willingly oblige, and he leans his tall lanky frame forward, like a mantis ready to pounce, then bam, they unleash a thrash onslaught.
Coming at you from the more punk side of thrash, SSS ensure the night ends with a high octane set that seems to be over far too quick, although they manage to fit in most of their back catalogue with a couple of new tracks! In between songs we get the usual banter from Foxy, including the fact that the new release won’t be on Earache! At one point Foxy berates the crowd for not responding when he pays tribute to Brum Reggae legends Steel Pulse (I think he failed to hear my shouts of Ku Klux Klan, their eponymous anthem), then even more when he mentions Asylum owner Roy Davis of Shy fame to little response.
Banter aside, the new tracks are sounding as fast and as aggressive as ever and it will be interesting to see how they get them out to their fans.
So the end of day 2 ends on a high. Two days of fast, energetic and brutal music with a packed room both nights, a sign that if you get the bands, promotion and backing right then these events can be successful. Fear Me Music worked in partnership with The Asylum, Punks Alive, Iron Man Records, Midlands Rocks, Heretic Promotions, along with various other records companies and of course all the bands, to pull off a great weekend. From what I witnessed, there wasn’t a single major hiccup, all the bands were extremely professional in the way they conducted themselves and timings were kept pretty much bang on. A final note, big shout out to Tracie and Queenie who manned the door and provided the veggie chilli. Day 3 was set to be a more sedate affair with the Doom Crew taking over, but for now I had a big grin on my face.
Read Tony’s review of Friday here
You can check out Paul Castle’s thoughts of Day 3 here
See more of Tony’s photos from Day 2: