Amplified

Live review Friday 21st July 2017.

Let The Good Times Roll – The sun was shining and as the venue started to fill with eager party goers and musicians alike, the first band on any stage were Dorja, over on the VMA Stage, a five piece all female band, from parts unknown. I’ve known of this band for some time, so was keen to go check them out. I also know their bassist, Becky, quite well, from other projects. These ladies seriously rock, but for me, the operatic vocalist seemed slightly out of place compared to the rest of the band. Great vocals though, not sure it worked with the bands sound but I was suitably impressed non the less. Their current tour ended with this show, but more is coming from these “soon to explode on the scene” rock chicks!

Knowing the Sponsor for stage 2 ‘Very Metal Art’, I know Andy Pilkington’s (the man behind this company) knowledge of the underground music scene is impeccable, mostly because he’s the ‘go to’ man for anything band art or video related these days. As this is common knowledge in the music industry now and because of his fairness, bands recommend him to other bands and quite rightly so as he does a lot for the music scene, so all credit to the man. I also know he’s done a lot for charity over the years, the best one was getting Simon Hall to do a barrel roll live on the Sophie Stage at B.O.A last year. I both witnessed the event and gave money in aid of a great cause. People like Andy are a much needed resource, yet a rare commodity in the music industry these days! I know, after speaking with him, he did in fact hand pick all of the bands that were to feature on this stage over the weekend, so this was looking like my favourite stage.

Bleed Again’s set was great, I really enjoyed these but the band Codex Alimentarius, which is a bit of a mouthful, kinda blew everyone else who featured on this stage, off the face of the earth with their performance today! Having seen this band perform at Beermageddon in 2015, I was aware of what these talented musicians were capable of. Elliot, one of three guitarists in this band, I’m aware of from other projects and is a very accomplished musician. Ray, the bands vocalist though, gave his all and that was evident with his whole persona. He kinda freaked me out a bit, with the way in which he approached the crowd, it was reminiscent of something out of a horror movie! After speaking with Ray after their set, I’m aware the band have a charity all dayer coming up, but I’ve forgotten the full details as I’ve slept since then!

I was both shocked and pleased to see Conjurer performing on this stage, in day light no less! The last time I saw these guys was at KOKO in Camden, as part of last years DessertFest, which was quite a dark and dingy affair, but that’s how they like it and lets face it, that’s the conditions you want for a doom metal band right? Dan, one of the bands vocalist and guitarists kept it real though, hiding himself away from the sunlight (yes there was sun at some point during the day) with his hoody pulled over his eyeballs, like Kenny from Southpark – he wasn’t gonna risk getting a sun tan, that’s for sure! DOOM BABY!

As I flitted between stages, I felt myself starting to gravitate towards the Shoot The Hoops stage more frequently as I was enjoying the youthful exuberance of the bands that were playing on it. As I love to discover knew music and like to think I’m down with the kids, I was keen to see who was coming up next. Out of the bands I got to see who were playing this stage, I really enjoyed ‘We Come From Ashes’, I, The Lion and Woes, which is where the day started to turn on it’s head but they’re from Scotland, so I can only assume the sight of rain made them feel at home! (haha)

Out of the bands we got to see on the main stage, I loved Rival Bones, who are only a two piece, believe it or not and consist of James on guitar and vocals and Chris on drums. I was seriously impressed with the volume and fullness of their infectious rock sound, despite the lack of instruments and musicians to play them. We were scheduled to conduct an interview with these guys, but that didn’t happen so we’ll definitely have to catch up for a chat next time!

In my experience, I’ve noticed their are two types of musicians in this world. The first are solely into the music and get on with it and the others are born entertainers and are very much in tune with the crowd. Although New Volume fall very much into the second category, they felt a very professional outfit and will appeal to a mass audience within the commercial music world. This is true of all of the bands that featured on the main stage today, such as Tess of the Circle, who appeal to the folk rock world, The Amorettes, who I have a love/hate relationship with. I love them, but they hate me, so I’ll go no further with them. Incidentally these ladies were the last band to feature on the main stage, sadly due to the weather. Puddle of Mudd, of course, are a massive success story from the 90’s. They, however, didn’t headline on the main stage tonight, instead they got moved to the beer tent, which was a much more intimate affair!

During The Amorettes set the heavens opened and caused some electrical issues, preventing any further performances to take place upon it. In fact, the weather was so bad, it caused the entire festival to grind to a halt and preventing any further performances to take place, on any of the planned stages for the rest of the day. The VMA stage never got used again, so many bands who were meant to play on it, didn’t get the opportunity to do so, although the organisers did try to accommodate as many of them as they could elsewhere. However, this meant organised time slots got moved to later times and as a result, some bands couldn’t play until later, so never played at all, but they were given the opportunity if they wanted it. Some called it biblical and at one point the rain was horizontal, but thankfully the water didn’t turn to blood or any fish die, but that didn’t stop the keyboard warriors from spreading malicious rumours about it on social media.

One such rumour was that someone got electrocuted and died at the festival, which was pretty stupid of them and forced The Amorettes to issue a formal statement to say everyone was fine!

Truth is, the organisers managed to set up a decent sound system within the covered bar area, where everyone was hiding from the elements. As there was no room for a photo pit, my work for the day had stopped, but that didn’t stop me from getting pissed and socialising with bands and party goers. The make shift stage enabled Acid Reign to perform, which some are calling their best performance to date and it was certainly one of the most fun, if that’s possible. If you’ve never seen this band perform before, then you may be unaware that unusual events generally occur, on a regular basis so they were probably one of best bands to have, in a situation like this. They certainly lifted everyone spirits on the night, along with a few free beers, which I know Gary is still talking about! haha!

Headliners on the main stage, Puddle of Mudd, also got to perform in the bar area, having come a very long way to be here, so it was only right and everyone was looking forward to seeing them play. It was a very stripped back and personal performance, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Before their set though and as Wesely, the bands lead singer and guitarist was walking to the stage, Ritchie of Witch Tripper stopped him and asked him if he was in a band and that he looked like he was in a band…….its safe to say, Wesely thought he was a nut job and walked off, to the stage, to perform with his band, Puddle of Mudd! Bonkers night, it’s safe to say, I got a little drunk, but we all got on with it and because we were all together, we had a great time.

At 2am, I thought it would be funny to conduct an interview with Witch Tripper, but I can’t even bring myself to watch it, as I know we were all really quite drunk!

I usually hate sleeping in tents but thankfully, my £15 bargain, from Tesco withstood what mother nature threw at it and remained dry. I even slept very well, but the amount of alcohol consumed probably played a massive part in that. I know the air bed didn’t, bloody thing!

If you was there, you’d know, but if you wasn’t…………….You don’t know man, you weren’t there! Roll on Saturday!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)