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beermageddon

Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club Saturday 27th August 2016.

As people were nursing some severe hangovers after a brilliant nights entertainment (Friday) and the fact that the first band of the day wasn’t until 2pm, ensured that everyone would be up and fighting fit for a full day of fun and frolics!

Witch Tripper were entrusted to kick things off in style and now knowing these guys well, I knew they’d do a great job and thankfully, they didn’t disappoint. This trio from Mansfield are one of those true hard working bands whose material reflects this perfectly. Probably one of the more placid bands on today’s bill so they managed to nurse us in gently, but they are by no means soft – oh no, as they pack a mighty hard rock punch, right between the eyes. Before the show, I managed to have a quick chat with the bands bassist, Chris, who showed me his war wounds, blisters the size of gold balls from all the gigs they’ve played recently. Having played at many festivals this summer, these guys have had a dream year which I’m sure will continue throughout the remainder of 2016 and well into 2017! Thanks for the T-shirt too, I’ll be wearing it with pride, where ever I can!

witch-tripper

The name of our next band reflects their style perfectly, Cruel ‘to’ Humanity and my word, they are brutal. They certainly left no one in the room stood still, with their outright assault on the senses! I know I’ve seen this band play before as I recognised the band members, especially the lead singer although saying that, they do come from Derby, which is local to me so it could have been anywhere. Trust me, once you’ve seen this band play, they are extremely hard to forget. I feel suitably warmed up now!

cruel-humanity

On a personal level, I really enjoyed the next band, Solitary, as they were a full on thrash assault and I like thrash. Not only that, I hung around a little longer to take a few more photos than usual, so that’s always a good sign! Strangely, although the band have been around for over a year and are signed to Corpo Records, I’ve never seen them perform live, until now that is. I must say, these guys are very talented, especially their lead guitarist Andy, well, what do you expect, they’re a thrash band and any thrash band worth their salt, has to have a member of the band who can thrash the f**k out! I’ve just noticed Solitary are playing Hammerfest, next year so if you’re going, make sure you check them out – they are well worth a watch!

solitary

Oooooo, it’s that band, Outright Resistance next and who hasn’t heard of this lot, just lately! Sadly (for them) my first encounter with this band was unfortunate as they had all their gear stolen. Metal heads, being the amazing bunch that they are, successfully crowd funded them the necessary funds to replace their missing instruments and enabling them to continue entertaining the masses and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see this lot play, they are insanely good! My next encounter with this band, was seeing them perform on the Yagermeister stage at Bloodstock this year, where I believe they managed to start the first ever mosh pit that stage has ever seen, which is no mean feat as it’s tiny. How they all managed to fit on that stage is beyond me, especially after seeing today’s performance as the whole band have so much energy, they couldn’t contain it, the stage just wasn’t big enough today, so they decided to share that energy out in the crowd, which was great to see. Mid song, Paige, the bands lead vocalist, decides to go walk about and generallyy, she’s a polite and delicate flower off stage, but on it, she’s spitting venom and metal heads love her for it! It appears they can relate with her anger, so she can instantly connect with the crowds that come to see her and the rest of the band perform! Seriously, if you’re a fan of metalcore, check out Outright Resistance!

Over the years, I’ve come to accept the fact that there are bands out there who just work with certain festivals and the regulars that generally go to a specific festival. Demons of Old Metal, or DOOM for short, are such a band, here at Beermageddon. The fans love them and they love the fans and as it has a great family vibe here, it’s easy to see why they would love it so much, as I feel exactly the same about Beermageddon. Although the band wear masks, mostly to protect their anonymity, it does help to give them a sense of theatrics which works well with their style of metal. Truth be told, everyone knows who they really are and what they really look like,but shhh, don’t tell anyone! This band are a real crowd pleaser, so I’m hoping to see them perform at a few more festivals in the future.

demons-of-old-metal

When I saw Old Corpse Road announced to play Beermageddon, I was extremely happy and excited at the prospect of seeing them perform live. This band are one who I love listening to at home and based on that fact, I knew I’d enjoy them live.. but sadly that wasn’t the case. Although they are extremely theatrical and tend to tell stories about all manner of things in their songs, their performance was lifeless. I do love this band and I do love their music, but after seeing the amount of energy the other bands before them had put into their performances, Old Corpse Road left me feeling just that, dead and discarded at the side of the stage. This is a little harsh and I don’t mean it to be because as I say, I love listening to them but live, they did nothing for me. If ever opinions were to be split down the middle, these guys would be the ones to do it. Most of the crowd loved seeing these guys play live and that is what matters as they appealed to some, but not all. You can also catch them at Hammerfest and if you do, let me know what you think!

Today, I mostly saw people wearing Kambrium T-shirts, so I was eager to see what all the hype was about. Having missed them at 2014’s event, I listened tentatively to those who did see them and the majority thought very highly of these guys from Germany. After a delayed start, mostly down to the amount of electronic gadgetry they’d brought with them, they eventually exploded into an ore inspiring set, mostly consisting of death metal! The band couldn’t wait to get back to play Beermageddon and they made it count, which the crowd appreciated immensely! As they were the penultimate act before Saturday’s headliner, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be anyone else. As the crowd cheered the bands name, over and over again, I could clearly see the crowds appreciation for this bands efforts, as they gave their best cheers of the weekend.

kambrium

As this was the fifth consecutive Beermageddon, all of which have sold out including this one, Jim felt it apt to ask the one and the only Def Con One back to headline tonight, as they played the first ever Beermageddon, back in 2011. That year, they actually closed the festival on the Sunday and I distinctively remember falling in love with them, right there and then. Since that show, which blew my mind, I’ve been fortunate to see these lovable Geordie’s a few times since and oddly, I’ve even become quite good friends with these guys too, which doesn’t happen all that often. This gives me a massive advantage when trying to photograph them live on stage, as when I stick my camera in their faces, they usually respond, sometimes in kind, but mostly, they flip me the middle finger. That’s not entirely true, but it does happen! Having headlined the Thursday night, at the prestigious Download Festival, which is officially called the Boardie Takeover, over on the Dog House Stage, it’s definitely a great show to play and as a punter, it’s the only thing worth watching on the Thursday. Just take a look at the pictures that were taken, the tent was rammed for these guys and tonight was no exception. Def Con One gave us exactly what we wanted from a headline show, an excuse to bang our f**king heads!

def-con-one

Sadly, due to personal reasons back home, I couldn’t attend on the Sunday, which is equally as special as the previous two days. I’m pretty gutted I missed Eradikator, Cambion, Haerken and of course Anihilated, but there’s always next time.

Last year, I proclaimed I understood Jim’s thought process behind the bands he chose. It never got confirmed if my prediction was right or not, but I’m going to try again this year, which in all honesty isn’t easy, however, I’m going to state the following. As this was the fifth successful year for Beermageddon, I believe Jim gave us the bands he felt would blow our socks off, the bands we wanted the most, but ultimately the bands he felt would ensure everybody had such a great time that we’d want to come back for the next five years to come. Jim, I don’t think you have anything to worry about mate as every year the line up gets better, the facilities improve and the people all feel like family.

Speaking of facilities, the food was a vast improvement and this is something that every festival should take heed of as seriously, check out Muffin Research’s Utility Kitchen as the food there was sensational! It was real food, consisting of curries, chillies, the best burgers I’ve ever tasted at a festival, wraps, toast and teas, you name it, they did it, AMAZING.

Horns up and see ya next year…. BEER, BEER, BEERMAGEDDON!

Photography and Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club Friday 19th August 2016.

As summers go, I’ve had a pretty shit one to be honest and with other festivals done and dusted, Beermageddon is the one summer festival that we here at music224 always look forward to with open arms. And long may that continue as we plan on attending every year that this festival is on – providing they want us! Read on to discover why we think this festival is a must in your summer calendar for 2017!

Jim Beerman

Many people arrive on the Thursday now, set up camp and make a holiday of it and why not! Thankfully, the weather is usually pretty good at the end of August, so camping isn’t usually an issue. The on-site facilities at Bromsgrove’s Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club are improving every year but for those who seek plusher accommodation, there are plenty of affordable rooms at hotels close to the venue. I’ve only ever camped at Beermageddon once in the five years that it’s been held and this is something I need to rectify because I miss out on so much of the fun that goes on over the weekend – I’m just shit building a tent! Haha!

Friday is fun day and personally, my favourite day of the weekend as it’s the day everyone makes an effort to dress up. This years theme was Vikings, obviously! As the contestants lined up to be judged, by us the crowd, each was eliminated when Jim asked us to shout the loudest for our favourite costume. I’m aware Clare and Wolfie’s daughter took part this year, this being her first year at Beermageddon but sadly she didn’t win although she came a respectable second. The winner, however, was a deserved winner and the same person that also won the event last year. For his efforts, he won a pair of ticket for next years event (AGAIN), to which Jim asked him, ‘Are you ever going to buy a ticket to Beermageddon?’. Sadly I don’t know the young mans name, but it was a great costume!

At 6pm sharp, Prolapse AD took to the stage to officially open the festival. First though, a rousing speech was delivered from the Master of Ceremonies himself, Mr Jim Beerman, the festival’s organiser and adjudicator. Jim’s even an ordained minister, which is technically a Pagan Priest and he has successfully conducted a wedding, every year on the Sunday, since the festival began five years ago!

Matthew White - Prolapse AD

As you’d expect, the first band on had to make an impression and I think we can safely say Prolapse AD did just that, as the people that I spoke to over the weekend absolutely loved these guys! Primarily thrash, they remind me of Slayer but with a lot more energy and personality! The bands front man, Alex Lewis was a very charismatic and energetic young man, trying to capture him, on camera was hard work but the crowd loved it. These guys were the perfect openers, they even got the crowd moving, with the best mosher winning a t-shirt!

Having never seen The Dead XIII before, nothing prepared me for what I was about to see. The band are from Manchester and I could easily compare these guys to The Defiled in both their appearance and their style of music. The lead singer however, is totally unique and a complete inspiration in my book as I’ve never seen a front man with only one arm, play in a band and stand in-front of the crowd completely comfortable with their appearance as an amputee, and it certainly didn’t prevent him from belting out those songs! Kurt Blackshard, we salute you, you sir are an inspiration, respect!

The Dead XIII

Boy, it’s the half way mark for the bands tonight, so that can only mean one thing, Beerma-Bingo! Last year, the Boat Race was a highlight and a lot of fun so I was looking forward to this! If you can imagine getting 600 people around your house for a party, this is what you get at Beermageddon with everyone having a great time, drinking, laughing, yet someone else clears up the mess! So the rules of this game were simple – those participating had to split into two groups and each person was given a ball with a number on it. When your number got called out, you had to rush to the front and down a glass of mead and the first group to get all their players numbers called out and having downed a glass, won, only it’s never that simple with the Beermageddon lot, which just adds to the fun. Lets just say, a lot of people lost their balls!

Beerma-Bingo

Garganjua took to the stage soon after the party games were over and it’s safe to say that people were in high spirits for these guys – well, they were full of mead! Having successfully gone through the MTTM’s final over at Leicester’s successful event ‘Uprising’, this meant the band would play at Bloodstocks, New Blood Stage, which I heard went down very well and having missed them there, I was keen to see how they faired here. Since that gig in Leicester when I last saw them, Garganjua have played many other shows up and down the country and already I could see a vast improvement with the bands ability to play alongside each other. They appeared to be a lot more comfortable on stage, performing with each other and this really showed in tonight’s performance, as they were amazing! However, they don’t like their pictures being taken when they perform, which makes promoting them from a visual perspective very difficult. They opt for all blue lighting and lots of smoke, which sucks for me but I’ve hopefully said enough here to make you want to go see these guys live for yourself, as their music really does do all the talking. By the end of their set, they had the crowd in fits of hysteria, cheering, shouting, clapping, chanting and above all, wanting more. I’m going to predict these guys will be back at Beermageddon in 2017, for more of Doom’s finest!

Scott Taylor - Garganhua

Having played at Beermageddon last year, Gehtika won the right to come back this year and headline the prestigious Friday night, which is a great honour not only for them but also for the Beermageddon masses, as they are one of the best live acts on the circuit today! As this was a headline set, the band got to perform for a whopping 70mins, which enabled them to play tracks that they wouldn’t normally get time to play. This also enabled them to make their show, a show to remember. To help them achieve this, they enrolled the services of Haerken, who played a brilliant part in making this show a show that people will speak of, for a long time to come – lets just say the confetti cannons helped it all go off with a bang! Every member of the band is a born performer, who love every minute they are on that stage, entreating the crowd they so love. They can also get said crowd to do anything they want, within reason. I can safely say, tonight’s set had me smiling from ear to ear throughout. The band even stayed and camped the whole weekend, allowing fans the opportunity to talk to, drink with and take selfies with them over the course of the weekend.

Gehtika

I’m also aware that the band all signed one of Marc’s drum cymbals for a young fan, I only know this, because I photobombed the picture they took with the fan, when they presented them with it… sorry buddy! Respect guys!

Roll on Saturday!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Beermageddon 2015

It’s the last Bank Holiday of the year, which can only mean one thing, it’s time to make my annual pilgrimage to sunny Bromsgrove for Beermageddon and yes, the weather was kind to us this year, of which I’m grateful for. As were all those who were camping and there were a few, as this year is the second year this festival has managed to sell out! It’s worth mentioning that people could get onto the camp site on the Thursday for a very small charge, which ensures they can get camped up and ready for the festivities ahead, from what I can gather many took up this opportunity to do so.

Over the three day festival, which starts early Friday evening, we will be subjected to some of the finest music the metal genre has to offer, courtesy of some of the finest bands this country has produced. Each band has been hand picked by Mr. Jim Beerman, personally, the chant of the festival rung true “In Beerman we trust”! As this festival’s reputation grows, so does its reach, which now manages to attract some quality acts from some of the furthest parts of the European Union also! For example, this years line up included a Belgium band, who go by the name of Sanity’s Rage and a band from Finland, who go by the name of Re-Armed. More on them in a bit.

I stated earlier that all the bands are picked by Mr. Beerman, but that isn’t strictly true and hasn’t been the case for the past two years as one individual, who goes by the name of DJ Valkyrie has managed to get one band of her choice onto the past two rosters. Seeing as she travels a whopping 4,100 miles to get here and has such a good taste in music, I think its only right she gets to pick a band she’s championing at the time and she should be allowed to do so every year! We salute you Valkyrie!

As for the rest of this years line up, what an eclectic mix of bands, yet (technically) they all fall under the genre metal! Mr. Beerman has expertly managed to include every sub-genre which falls under the metal umbrella! This really isn’t easy to do, to get this many sub-genres to work must be a nightmare to plan for yet with his knowledge and skills, he manages to pull it off well! There really wasn’t a dull moment on that stage this year. We had punk, Old, British, Neoclassical Pirate, Folk, Death, Thrash, Black, Stoner, Southern, Groove and every other kind of Metal in between, INSANE, but it worked!

Sadly, I can’t mention every single band that played at this years Beermageddon and I don’t really see the point, as no-one usually reads my reviews anyway, but for those that do, I will mention the bands that appealed to me on a personal level.

Opening the festival were the Scottish contingence linked to this festival, but this time in the form of “Zero Hour”. These guys and girl make the trip here every year, whether they are playing it or not and are the life and soul of the festival. Most of them never seem to remember who I am, as they are usually too blottoed to remember their own names, but whilst on stage, they are as professional as they can be. A punk enthused metal act that get’s the party started. It’s worth mentioning, not this group, but friends of theirs are responsible for the official Beermageddon song…..beer, beer, Beermageddon! Not many festivals can say they have their own anthem, however I’d like to know if you can buy a copy of this, if not, they should release it!

Gehtika are a well establish band that have managed to work their way up the ranks, winning the hearts of everyone that see’s them play. I for one was itching to see this performance and by jove they were spiffing. It was great to see five well dressed men wearing corpse paint and as the set went on, so did their eye liner, all down their face. I jest, this look is in fact intentional and helps to give these guy’s a unique identity, as there are plenty of bands out there doing the metal core style these guys deliver. I can now finally say I’ve seen Gehtika play and it was one of the sets of the festival, so much so, an online poll looks to be going in their favour and if they win, they may get asked back to headline Beermageddon next year, which I for one want to see this happen. One note-able event happened on their second to last song when they invited a young metal head up onto the stage to jam out with them. The little thing looked petrified, but managed to raise the horns and even managed to strum a string or two!

Gehtika

As this years fancy dress theme was pirates, I have to mention Red Rum, as this band are just that “pirate metal” I never knew there was such a thing, but looking around the venue many had made the effort to dress accordingly and a good time was had by all. I’m also aware these guys went down a storm at Bloodstock this year, which was just two weeks prior.

A fellow journalist mentioned the next band “Demons Of Old Metal” or DOOM for short and has championed the band on his radio show over at Metal Nation Radio – he couldn’t speak highly enough of these guys and I can see why. On arrival, on the Saturday, the stage was set like Satan’s shit box, with limbs hanging from every possible angle. Each band member has a very different satanic look about them, together they deliver a classic metal sound, yet manage to give it a unique sense of brutality and make it their own! I loved both the visual and audible attack on the senses and hope I can catch this band again real soon!

Demons Of Old Metal

The next band who I was very pleased to see at this years Beermageddon were Designs Of Chaos. I first saw this band in Bromsgrove, at another festival that no longer exists, but since then tragedy has struck, so to see them back here, or gigging at all for that matter is a true testament to their resolve. Check out our interview with Designs Of Chaos to catch up on their latest news.

Re-armed are one of the bands I mentioned earlier, who were willing to travel all the way from Finland to be here to play for the Beermageddon faithful and it was very much appreciated by all, my self included. This was a brutal set, delivered by a very talented bunch of musicians. I do wonder if they’ve seen the footage from Godslave’s set from last year though, as they too went walk a-bouts and played most of the set out amongst the crowd. Thanks to the intimacy of this festival, we had a lot of access to this band after their set, so much access in-fact, it was borderline inappropriate, as two members of the band thought it would be funny to run around the camp site NAKED, to dry off after their shower. Many missed it, thankfully (or not) I was in the right place at the right time, to capture the event with my camera. I’m pretty sure this is a first at Beermageddon, yet I doubt it will be the last! Since this set, I’ve spoken to several people about this band, most of which still remember their set from a Bloodstock a few years ago and they all loved that set and I can see why! I’m going to go out on a limb and say we haven’t seen the last of these guys in the UK, although, they are soon to embark on a tour of Asia. These guys are gonna kill it out there! Please come back to UK soon!

The other band, from a far were Sanity’s Rage and any band willing to travel from Belgium has to be worth a mention. I for one loved their old school thrash sound, which harped back to the days of ‘Kill em All’, by Metallica, and ‘Spreading the Disease’, by Anthrax. This was also DJ Valkyries offering this year and from my perspective, they didn’t let her down. It did take them a while to warm up, but as the crowd grew, so did their confidence and by the end of their set, the room was full of both people and their egos (in a positive way mind). After speaking with Kenny, the bands vocalist, I discovered this band love coming over here to play for UK metal fans, as us Brit’s are willing to give anyone a listen and judge them on their performance, rather than judging them on their reputation like music fans do back in Belgium. Come back again soon and be sure to tell me where you’re playing.

Sanity's Rage

Martin Walkyier goes Skyclad finished off day two and the legend that he is, had been hanging around all day waiting to go on stage, however, he managed to fill his long wait by talking to fans and signing stuff for them. I, like another journalist here this weekend, have managed to miss this guy so many times, but I can now finally say I’ve seen what all the fuss is about. As a pioneer in the metal music scene, for many years, he certainly showed some of the younger bands a thing or too about how to entertain a crowd! Accompanying the legend were some very fine musicians indeed, Ian (Rannoch) on guitars, Justin (Hærken) on Bass, an electric violinist (who was ace) as well as a surprise guest appearance by Ms Jacqueline Taylor. All told, this was a fantastically entertaining set, one of which I’d like to see more of from this genre!

Opening the Sunday were another band I’ve been trying to see for a while now and they were Children Lost In Time or CLIT for short, haha! We desperately wanted to speak to these guys, to find out more about them, which we managed to do and if you’re a fan of this band, or have recently discovered these guys, may I suggest you watch Children Lost In Time’s interview, as it was very informative and clearly shows these guys are very passionate about what they do. These guys don’t just do serious though, as their party tune was very funny and very entertaining and the Beermageddonites loved their cover of ‘Gay Bar’, by Electric Six.

I’m not ashamed to admit, one of the reasons I love coming to Beermageddon is the fact I’ve not heard some 90% of the bands that usually get announced, so I use it as an excuse to discover new bands. I don’t think there’s any shame in that and it’s certainly a better way to discover new music than a soulless email or press release! One of those discoveries, from this weekend were the band Sanctorum, who literally blew my socks off from start to finish. I immediately bought their latest album, as did many others (in fact the merch table was doing very well for bands) and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. If you like it hard and heavy, these are the guys for you!

Sanctorum

Another great find were By Definition who hail from Brighton, these stoner metallers are set to play both Breakout Festival and Mammothfest in a couple of weeks, we got to speak with these guys also, so please do go and check out our interview with By Definition aswell.

I’m no stranger to the band Line of Fire who, in my opinion played the set of their lives at Beermageddon. The reception they received from the crowd was awesome, especially when you consider these too are more of the stoner variety. These guys just get better and better every time I see them.

Line Of Fire

To close this festival, Jim always manages to find someone very special and this year he out did himself. Billed as M:PIRE of Evil, who no one had heard of, they turned out to be original founding members of Venom, MANTAS – THE DEMOLITION MAN – ABADDON reincarnated. I shamefully had no idea who venom were, although after doing some research, I do in fact know some of their original songs, but I couldn’t say I was ever a fan as it was a bit before my time, I’m young, forgive me Jim…lol. The anticipation for these guys to get up onto the stage was electric, you could cut the dry ice with a knife (and there was a lot of smoke for these guys). Incidentally the track ‘Smoke’ is now my new favourite track! This band were the icing on the cake and ripped Beermageddon a new arse hole to make sure that no-one would forget what was an already unforgettable weekend.

Mpire of evil

This festival just gets better and better, with every year that passes. Many return and with them, they bring fresh faces who also enjoy themselves, but then it’s hard not too with such a great line up, year in, year out. Never have I experienced so much love at a music festival, everyone looks out for one another, the amenities are adequate, the food available could have been better, but it was fit for consumption, the beer however was top notch, so much so, we drank more than any other festival that gets held at this great venue. With a festival called Beermageddon, what do you expect! I’d like to consider myself a life long fan of this festival and every year it’s on, I’ll be there and I know Mr. Beerman is already busy planning for 2016, of which you can now buy early bird tickets at the insanely low price of £35!!!! Seriously, with the reputation that this festival has and the fun that’s to be had, the organisers could charge more, but they choose not to – unlike so many others, these guys are all about having fun, at an affordable price! I’m in, are you? You should be!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)