Path To Prevail

The Victoria Inn Derby 22nd August 2014.

Tonight, got invited to take a look at Mr. Harwood’s new band “Path to Prevail” as well as the three other bands supporting these guys tonight and I say new band as these guys have only been together for six months. The last time our paths crossed, Luke was playing in the band “A Thousand Enemies” at the infamous “Damaged Stock” at Rock City which even though its small, dark and a challenge for taking pictures at, it does give new bands the opportunity to play their music and the sound engineer gets the sound spot on every time.

Tonight was branded “Top string snappingly brutal” which saw all four bands giving their all and you could say it was a night of blood, sweat and beers, quite literally! Each band brought their own flavour of aggression with them, which saw each member in each band “venting” their anger out on stage which was certainly powerful thing to see from a spectators point of view, that’s for certain. I’m not a big fan of the metalcore/post-hardcore genres, but many are, and like it or loath it, these are popular genres, with a large following. Bands of a similar sound, that have made it into the mainstream consists of Bury Tomorrow, While She Sleeps, Architects, Asking Alexandria and (a personal favourite) Feed the Rhino.

First up then, “Famous for Nothing” (which is a great name for a band by the way) all the way from Nottingham. I love how, on their Facebook page it states clean and harsh vocalists being Sam and AJ respectively. Sam was sporting a fully bandaged left arm tonight, afterwards I asked what and how. He can’t quite remember what, but how was during a mosh pit session, metal! As much as I tried, I couldn’t get an image of AJ, as he was off into the darkness, scaring the shit out of the crowd with his harsh vocal style but thankfully, no more mishaps for these guys on stage, who played a very powerful set and set the bar high for the next three bands. These guys are playing Macmillanfest at the Rescue Rooms on the 6th of September, however the event is spanning over a total of five venues throughout the day, with some great acts performing, so do check it out as it’s for charity, mate.

Tony Hales - Famous For Nothing

Buried by Atlantis were next, all the way from “Derbados” and these guys were a personal favourite of mine tonight. Although both the bass and lead guitarist lost strings, they carried on regardless which meant they had to improvise. Personally, if I hadn’t seen the strings snap, I’d never of known as I was enjoying them play so much. Lead vocalist Anthony is a real comedian, helping to add to the bands appeal. Here we have a metalcore band that has all the aggression you’d expect but don’t take themselves too seriously, which certainly worked for me. I got to speak with these guys afterwards, which was a real pleasure. Apparently the band hadn’t performed in two years, until tonight which I’d never of guessed, so get your act together and get out there as people need to see you guys play!

Anthony Needham - Buried By Atlantis

I,The Crusader, from Sheffield next. These guys were f’in crazy and this was clearly evident long before the first chord was struck. By the end of the first track, Dan, on vocals, had emulated so much of himself into performing it, he burst a blood vessel and contracted a nose bleed. I offered him some tissue from the toilets, but he cast that aside, proclaiming he’d probably contract an STD, which was clearly false, but funny non the less!

Dan Meares - I, The Crusader

Vinnie on guitars was one cool customer and is a great guitarist. Dan got into the spirit of the night and suggested the crowd beat the shit out of their bassist, Matt, who ventured out into the crowd. Thankfully, the crowd ignored him and instead opted to watch the band perform an insane set – wise choice. The last track was dedicated to Dan’s mother, who sadly passed when he was young. It was a powerful performance ans one that choked me a little, as I could see the emotion on the young mans face!

Liam Elsom - I, The Crusader

When Path to Prevail took to the stage for their set one thing was clear, that these guys are a young, good looking band, lucky b*%”$*s, lol. Being headliners, I hoped for something special and I wasn’t to be disappointed either. Still as aggressive as the previous three bands, yet a little more refined and with clear vocals in the most part, it was easier to relate and get on board with the band. These guys still have that metalcore feel going on, which kept with tonight’s theme, but I’d say they had a slightly more southern rock sound going on also.

Oli Heaton Loewenbach - Path To Prevail

Tonight’s gig was the penultimate show of the bands current tour, which has consisted of nine dates in total. Luke on guitar looked as happy as a kid at a theme park, lead vocalist Oli stripped off to the waist, to show off his “cough” tattoo’s, Craig also on guitar looked as calm as a cucumber, James on Bass, looked a badass in his batman t-shirt, leaving Thomas on drums, who makes up the entire band, who are all the way from Derby, so this was a home town show for them! Oli is clearly a great front man and managed to get the crowd to participate and looking as though they were enjoying themselves as I certainly did! You can next catch these guys also at Macmillan Fest, in Nottingham on the 6th of September, alongside Famous for Nothing.

Path To Prevail

I’m aware that these guys are currently locked in the studio creating their new EP, so keep checking their Facebook page for more details. Top blokes, top bands and a top night!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Lichfield Rocks

Part 1 of 2.

The Bowling Green Lichfield 26th July 2014.

Today see’s the Lichfield Rocks Festival in its second year of existence and first time visit for music224. It has to be said that not only does today hold the tremendous promise of thirteen top musicians and bands, but it’s also about raising funds for the Mercian Regiment Benevolent Charity and much respect goes out to this charity for their tireless support of past and present regiment members in times of difficulty. Our base for the day is The Bowling Green pub in Lichfield and these guys really have pulled out all the stops in making today just that little bit special aswell.

The Lichfield Rocks Festival starts smack on time with the acoustic talents of Andrew Cache. I’m a great admirer of all the musicians who get up on stage with just a guitar and a mic for company as I imagine it can at times seem a little lonely up there, but when you have such a great voice to keep you company, which Andrew certainly has, it’s an absolute pleasure to get drawn into that rather special experience.

Andrew Cache

Danni G kept the acoustic vein going and once again, it truly was a pleasure to hear such defined vocals and cleverly written songs. With Danni’s set combining her own self penned songs along with a few covers that she made completely her own, her thirty minute set seemed to fly by. Highlight of Danni’s performance for me was her version of ‘When Doves Cry’ by Prince – brilliant!

Danni G

The 95th were next up on stage today and this threesome from Stafford, were the first band of the day to take it electric. With drummer Jason Davidson late to the stage, the earlier part of the set was carried forward by James and Pete and much credit is given to them for their commitment in that. The style and sound of The 95th makes for a great inclusion at a summer festival so here’s hoping I see these guys back here again next year.

James Peate - The 95th

Now if you want to get the good time vibes really flowing, Mr George And His Famous Last Words are just the right band to do it. With music that never fails to get them toes tapping, this up and coming band have caught the attention of many a new fan this past year and it really isn’t hard to understand why. Consisting of five very talented musicians and including the charismatic Mr George himself, this band are a lot of fun to watch and with a trip to the studio in their diary for later this year, 2014 is looking to be all systems go for this great band!

George Langman - Mr George's Famous Last Words

Next up and keeping the rock n groove going, were the Birmingham based band, Friday Club. These guys have an easily enjoyable sound that is perfect for a summers day and with Josh Smithyman having a voice with many colorful shades to it, this band are one that you really can sit back and enjoy. Check out their track ‘Monster’ as it has a great edge to it with moments where the haze of 60’s psychedelic blues colours its vibe – outstanding track.

Josh Smithyman - Friday Club

With the time fast approaching 2.40pm and summer in full swing in Lichfield, the time had come to enjoy a tune or two from Brothers Of Caedmon. I first saw this band only a few weeks back and found their style of folk, rock and blues distinctly refreshing and original and I have to give them a big thumbs up once again for delivering yet another top set today.

Conor Rabone - Brothers Of Caedmon

Well, the first half of the Lichfield Rocks Festival has run like clockwork, so time for a quick butty and a sparkling beverage to see me through all the music and sunshine yet to come.

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Lichfield Rocks

Part 2 of 2.

The Bowling Green Lichfield 26th July 2014.

Well, I’m fed, watered and champing at the bit in anticipation of the next five acts that are set to play at the Lichfield Rocks Festival and with Of Kings And Captains taking to the stage smack on 3.30pm, I didn’t have long to wait!

Of Kings And Captains were undoubtedly a firm favourite for many today and when a band has such energy and buzz on stage, as these guys do, then their popularity comes as no great surprise. Highlight of the set for me was the song ‘Takes All Night’ as that is truly a great party anthem and one you simply have got to sing along to.

Luke Wassell - Of Kings And Captains

Next up on stage were The Two ‘n’ Eights and having recently seen them at The Flapper in Birmingham, I had a feeling that playing on a bigger stage, the size of the one here today, would see this band come into a life of their own. Encouraged on by fans, both old and new, lead singer Jono could not have seemed more at home up there and as for the bands set today, it was damn near indie outstanding! If you haven’t seen The Two ‘n’ Eights before, then make sure you do.

Jono - Two 'n' Eights

I’ve heard so much about Mitchell Emms and Mister Nothing and never quite managed to get to see them play live before so their set today was something I had been looking forward to immensely. Was I disappointed – no way, as from their very first few notes it was apparent that Mister Nothing were going to play the hell out of Lichfield today! Mitchell Emms certainly can sing and play a mean guitar and if his energy on (and off) stage could be captured, then the National Grid could run for days on it! Time for a spot of fun and dancing from the audience aswell, which confirmed that Lichfield was well and truly rocking!

Mitchell Emms - Mister Nothing

You simply have to love Stubblemelt as in their three short years of existence, they have proven to be a band that has grown into something which truly is an amazingly original love child and if that ain’t enough, well you couldn’t wish to meet a nicer bunch of people either. Huge praise also needs to go out to the guys and gal of Stubblemelt, particularly to Kyle Perry as without their behind the scenes work on the Lichfield Rocks Festival, I very much suspect that today would not be half the event that it is.

Kyle Perry - Stubblemelt

In recent months, Stubblemelt have released their debut album ‘Gypaetus Barbatus’, which looks set to cement a prosperous path for their creative future but today the set took a trip down memory lane with many of the songs from their earlier days and the debut EP ‘The Search’ and it was also great to see Craig Pedley back behind a keyboard for part of it aswell. Combined with the heat of the day and an intensely jiggy audience, Stubblemelt put their meltingly good stamp on today’s proceedings as only Stubblemelt could do.

Craig Pedley and Tom Marshall - Stubblemelt

Our headlining act today was the unmissable Lucy Spraggan and what a busy lady she was, with the Lichfield Rocks Festival being her second festival of the day, having already played at The Fat Cat in Sheffield as part of the Tramlines Festival. Lucy’s set was a must see for many and people seemed to emerge from just about everywhere. Cars were even stopping and pulling over onto the grass verge beyond the perimeter fence to watch, cheeky yes, but not surprising really, as Lucy is one seriously talented lady.

Lucy Spraggan.

Lucy’s set included some of her finest songs with ‘Lighthouse’ heralding the start of a very enjoyable forty five minutes. There is something very special about the songwriting talent of Lucy Spraggan, as not only does she capture some of life’s tougher moments in her songs, but she somehow manages to add a sparkle to her observations and you need look no further than the ‘Jeremy Kyle’ song to see what I’m talking about. Lucy is a great storyteller indeed and today’s set was definitley appreciated by all present.

Lucy Spraggan

With Lucy’s set bringing the outside entertainment to a close and heralding the time for the acoustic vibe to continue indoors, I can wholeheartedly say that today has been my kind of festival. There are so many people whose hard work behind the scenes has made this festival the success that it was and with such a wealth of great music, sunshine and good company aswell, not even the rain clouds dared to spoil it. So, roll on 2015 and doing this all over again!

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.