Hafan y Mor Holiday Park Pwllheli North Wales.
Day 2 – 14th March 2014.
Today is a full days worth of music, starting at mid-day and going on right through until 3am, so its going to be a long day! Playing stage 2, at 12.55, for 45 mins were “The Bastard Sons” a band a lot of people were excited to see, but unfortunately I missed, that is, until a band pulled out at the last minute and they got asked if they’d like to do another set. Not one’s to look a gift horse in the mouth, they jumped at the chance and created a second set full of songs that they hadn’t featured in the first set. Thankfully, I got to see this second set, which was full of energy and featured some great music, these are definitely a must band to see, live if you can.
HRH house band Attica Rage, from Glasgow, playing on the main stage at 16.45, for an hour and were in usual fine form, and provided us with two great highlights of the weekend. One was getting a great shot of Jonny lead singer/guitarist, who must have recognised me from our interview at last years event, the other was their cover of The Osmonds “Crazy Horses” which I hear, they also included in their acoustic set, held over on the 3rd stage in the strangely named ‘Bonga Wonga Bar’…..mental!
Idiom, whom I’d managed to interview before their set over on the 2nd stage at 19.55, were very interesting. During our interview, I asked them to describe what people could expect to see at a live show of theirs, to which they had replied “Energy, lots of energy” and boy they weren’t kidding! These guys have played everywhere and with everyone, so they know how to rock a crowd and the music is pretty bloody good too. After, but before they left to go and play another show the next day, they said ‘I know we’re not the heaviest band on the bill, but we gave it everything we had’, to which I had replied, ‘you were heavier than most would have expected and not to apologies as it was great’!
Next up, to impress me, were Stormbringer, who I’d first encountered at The Rock and Metal Circus last year. Although I really liked them as a band, the first time I’d seen them I’d though that the vocalist wasn’t all that good. However, with tonight’s set, being on a bigger stage and having a louder PA system, Mike sounded great, as did the rest of the band. I’d say these guys are predominantly southern rock/metal in style, with some amazing riffs and grooves to their music and even if they were up against the mighty Grand Magus, they still had a healthy crowd in attendance.
Talking of Grand Magus, what a set and everyone got out of their caravans for these guys. There’s a point, even with a pint costing on average £3.60, people didn’t really feel the need to venture out of their caravans during the earlier parts of the day, which meant bands at the start suffered with low attendances. I don’t think it helped not having anywhere to sit, as it seemed the holiday park were doing some renovations, which meant people stayed in their comfort zones until the likes of Grand Magus came on stage!
Grand Magus, are a trio from Sweden and are signed to the mighty Nuclear Blast, and having just put out their 6th studio album “Triumph and Power” they were easily one of the best bands of the weekend. For saying there’s only three of them, telling tales of mythical creatures and gods, they pack a punch mightier than Thor’s Hammer! With the crowd in fine voice and pre-empting the chilling wails from the track “Hammers of the North, it really was a chilling moment when the band made it their last track of the night, OOOOOO, OOO, OOOOOOOO!
Overkill, the masters of thrash closed the main stage and gave a set capable of raising the dead and rock out. I got booted in the head by a crowd surfer, so I got my shots and got out of the pit quick time, leaving me safe to enjoy watching the remainder of the set.
As soon as these guys finished, I shot over to stage 2, where another band of the weekend were Feed The Rhino were about to start. I’d never seen these guys before but lots of people had recommended them to me. As I stood waiting for them to start, I noticed two heavy set stage hands also loitering around the pit, with towels over their shoulders. At first, I thought this a little pretentious, but when the band blasted into action, it all made sense. I’ve never seen anything like it before, the rest of the band are nuts, but having to play instruments, they were a little calmer, but Lee Tobin, on vocals is a mad man! He throws himself around like he’s possessed and relies on his stage hands to keep him alive as he jumps off the stage, barriers, speakers and into the crowd! I honestly feared for my life at one point, but I was so excited at the same time and stuck around to witness the onslaught, incredible! Everyone in the room, which was full to capacity, went away remembering three words “Feed the Rhino”.
Closing out the days music was the band I was most looking forward to seeing “The Vintage Caravan” from Iceland. Having played a show in Ireland the night before, they had taken a short ferry ride over the Irish sea to play Hammerfest in the early hours of Saturday morning, 01.50 to be precise. These guys are hot property right now, however, someone must of forgot to tell the lighting guy this, because when I eventually gave up trying to take shots, I looked over and he’d pretty much fallen asleep! That aside, although slightly less chaotic than the band before, these guys rocked the house with their hypnotic prog rock grooves, and included tracks like “Expand your Mind” which was the track that made me fall in love with this band in the first place. Thankfully, they are all still young and put on one hell of a show, even if it was well past my bed time – f**k, I’m getting old!
Review by Jay Hawkins and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK) and Nathan Lucking (NIL Photography)