Following on from last years highly successful event and money raiser, it was always going to be a challenge to top it this year, but when the thirteen bands were announced you just knew something special was about to happen
Reading like a who’s who of the unsigned and underground scene, you would be hard pressed to find such a quality list of bands anywhere this year, and all for a measly £5!! Add to that all the family friendly activities going on around the site during the day and the fine weather then success was surely guaranteed.
To the music then, and after a chilled out acoustic set in the bar with the hugely talented Steel Threads greeting the early punters, Nottingham based Separation Anxiety started off the days main stage with a raunchy rock and roll set that shows a lot of promise. Next up ans emphasising the diversity of rock acts playing today were the colourful and unique Army of Walking Corpses, with an initial look and sound that might make you compare them to horror punk bands such as The Misfits, but these guys have took that genre and added a metal twist to it creating a sound all of their own.
Late addition to the bill, was heavy Midlands Rockers Line of Fire, who got the early crowd going with a set of catchy head banging songs. This was smoothly followed by the even heavier Broken from Yorkshire who played a set full of classic US Metal infused rock.
So far so good then, the early bands had proved to be entertaining and the crowd had shown an eager appreciation, but the change in atmosphere was noticeable as the room slowly filled in anticipation for one of the most talked about bands that were playing today, Dakesis!
The Birmingham based Power Metal band have had a great year with the release of their début album and playing here today after an appearance at Bloodstock. The crowd weren’t disappointed, despite some minor technical difficulties early on, from front to back the heads were banging, hair was windmilling and arms raised in Viking salutes to the Power Metal Gods of Valhalla! Confirming their place has one of the most entertaining bands on the circuit, Dakesis won over quite a few new fans here today.
Well what do you do to follow that? Well, dress up in orange and black, have The Joker as a front-man and kick beach balls into the crowd! This is exactly what Dip did to keep the crowd thoroughly entertained with their fun packed set of cheeky rock ‘n’ roll songs and ensuring an eager crowd for local favourite Fahran to close out the first half of the day.
I unfortunately missed their set whilst conducting interviews, but my spies tell me that the change in line-up and musical direction has breathed new life into the band who performed a blinding set of material that will be on the forthcoming album.
So approximately 5 hours down and 5 more to come, I’ve got to be honest and say I was feeling shattered already, but the second half line up had me salivating and after a pint, a burger and a handful of Haribos I was feeling refreshed and ready to go!
I’ve lost count the amount of times people have said to me “why arn’t these guys signed?” or “these guys should be huge”, I’m referring of course to the band that kicked off the second half, Captain Horizon. Unique, talented, entertaining, spell binding are all words that are used to describe the Birmingham based outfit. A blend of rock, indie, prog all go into the mix with these guys and you end up with powerful emotive songs like Patch and Torn Up My World, what a way to kick off part 2!
JD & The FDCs front man Jamie Delerict is no shrinking violet and the challenge laid down by the set of Captain Horizon was met with full vigour. Their punky style rock was every bit as entertaining and the crowd lapped it up, with the now obligatory shouts of “YES!” and the anthemic “Burn This City Down”, this band know a thing or two audience participation and play us like the proverbial fiddle.
When then had three bands who are making big waves in the rock community, first was Mordecai who have had a spectacular year with big festival appearances and going from strength to strength with their American inspired stadium rock and showed here today why they are on the verge of something huge. They were followed by Midlands favourites, Imperial Circus who impressed me at this same festival last year and have been getting rave reviews(including mine) for the album “Above The Deep”. A quality set confirmed their high billing on this years line-up.
Penultimate band tonight were the big local favourites, A Thousand Enemies who again have had a pretty impressive year culminating in a storming set at Bloodstock and front-man Bane Holland along with his partner in crime, Tracey have been the driving force behind this festival and made it such a success.
Closing out the day then were last years headliners and perennial favourites, Evil Scarecrow with their tongue in cheek metal anthems like Blackened, 66 minutes past 6 and Robototron, it was a fitting end to yet again another hugely successful event.
I’ve concentrated on the bands and the music here, but the main reason everyone came was to raise money for the R.A.C.P.A. Organisation and I can happily say that last years amount was completely blitzed. Total money raised on the day was over £2700! Well done to all the bands, volunteers, organisers, staff etc for a fantastic day of music. How you gonna top that one next year!!
See more of Tony’s photos from the Festival here