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Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Sports & Country Club Stoke Prior 25th August 2019.

August Bank Holiday is always a special time of year for us, as it means we get to make our way to Bromsgrove, for our annual pilgrimage to Beermageddon! Now in it’s eighth year and true to form, it sold out – again!

Sure it’s one of the smaller festivals on the circuit but that doesn’t mean it’s of any less quality! In fact, it’s one of the cleanest, friendliest and safest festivals we’ve ever attended and every year it gets better! It’s like having 500 of your best friends and family camping in a field, consuming your own body weight in alcohol, whilst watching the very best talent that metal has to offer, hand picked by the man himself, Mr Jim Beerman! It’s for this very reason, after watching all the kids running around this year, that I too will bring my own son along to a Beermageddon in the not too distant future, which will be his first ever. Sure, I’ve seen younger kids than he’ll be, but I’m not that brave! This means I’ll get to experience it as a punter for once and enjoy the weekend with him. I may sneak the camera in though, as I won’t be able to stop myself from jumping in the pit for a few cheeky shots, as it’s what I love to do!

For many reasons, this year was a special year as it may never have happened at all, had it not been for the courageous souls in the NHS, saving young Jim Beerman’s life! As many of you know, Jim had a heart attack, the full details I’m not aware of but seeing him make a full recovery and be fit and healthy again in time for this years Beermageddon, was a sight to behold and, if I’m totally honest, a miracle, as so many don’t ever recover fully, let alone live to tell the tale! It’s for this reason and quite rightly so, Jim got a little emotional during the half way point when they held their silent auction to raise money for various charities, one being the hospital ward that helped to save Jim’s life.

Most years, we’ve attended the Saturday, which means we get to buy our official T-shirt but this year, we missed out as we attended the Sunday and they’d sold out, so the collection is now missing two out of the eight, which is annoying. To prevent disappointment next year, we’ve pre-ordered out T-shirt to avoid further disappointment, however, all was not lost, as we got to be a part of the annual group photo, which is our first, yay!

Now onto the days bands, which were far more spread out than with previous years and was great as it’s almost become secondary for us and is merely the icing on the cake when attending Beermageddon, as we love to wander around and talk to everyone we know as much as possible! It was also a welcome respite from the heat, as this year was the hottest Bank Holiday on record! It was hotter inside the venue than out, which says a lot when it was 30 degrees plus outside!

Hands of Attrition were up first and what a way to start! These five West Midlanders fuse groove metal with doom, which is a recipe that our taste buds approve of greatly! They executed their set like seasoned pro’s, so imagine our amazement when we discovered that this was their first ever gig! Jim clearly saw something in these guys which paid off, as they turned out one of the best sets of the day for us!

Voidlurker, are a 3 piece doom band from Birmingham – the home of metal, so we were expecting good things from these guys! We’re big fans of this genre, so every dropped note was welcomed with open arms! They started strong and ended stronger, with little deviation in the middle. A little more variety in their sound would have improved their set in our opinion, but then that would be out of character of the doom genre, so is purely a matter of taste!

Frozen In Shadows were on everyone’s to-do-list today, as they are what you might call a super group and features members/ex-members of Footprints in the Custard, Prognosis, Impavidus, Vice and Godhand! Everyone in the scene knows of Russ, courtesy of his time in Footprints and we’re also aware of his sense of humour, so it was no surprise to hear Elsa belting out ‘Let it go’ as the band took to the stage, only to end in a car crash…. a sign of things to come? Certainly not, their take on the melodic death metal was nothing short of exceptional, perfectly executed with a side helping of humour! Not sure what the significance of the painted cat whiskers was, but hey, nothing surprises us anymore!

Atorc are a band we know of, having seen them at this years HRH metal. I use the word ‘seen’ loosely, as there was so much smoke we couldn’t quite make out who was what! The band deliver battle hardened folk metal which wouldn’t be out of place on the set of Vikings! This genre is ever increasing and is a firm favourite amongst metal heads, as are these guys, as they’ve amassed a huge following of both music lovers and musicians alike! My favourite aspect from this set was the violinist, as it’s now become fashionable to have one in your band! A trend that’s increased in popularity, thanks to the triumphant performance the band Resin have conducted recently! I for one am not complaining, as it’s an instrument that sounds divine!

Kill All The Gentlemen (please don’t) are a well established metal band, from Exeter. Signed to Sliptrick Records, they’ve acquired several accolades and having researched this band after the fact, the most notable being the winners of Hobgoblin’s Online Video Competition which earned them the right to play B.O.A, back in 2014! Although not a band we’ve come across before, we were eager to see how they fared! After a nervous start, they soon found their groove, which they delivered with intensity and prowess and the crowd lapped these guys up in abundance!

Foetal Juice, as disgusting as the name sounds, is one which is a very unique name, especially when putting this bands name into google – as we did and were inundated with links to this bands social content! It all makes sense, when they start playing though, as they’re a death metal band!

Question, did anyone else see the resemblance between Ben, the bands guitarist and Troy of Mastodon, yeah, us too! We even had our Mastodon T-shirt on the day as well! Bizarre!

After a slow start, due to technical issues, once up and running, these guys put the pedal to the metal and powered through an impressive set at 100mph, in true death metal style! I wouldn’t mess with the bands vocalist, Dez either, what a monster of a man! His vocals were exceptional and on point!

Necronautical – we like band names like this, as it conjures up images within our imagination, before we’ve even seen the band! Necronaut is a term derived from the Greek words Nekros, meaning “corpse” or “Dead”, and nautes, meaning “sailor”…. a person who experiments with near death experiences in order to explore the underworld! Let’s face it, this basically sums these guys up, to a T! They were the only band to actually embellish the use of corpse paint as well, which was good! We like corpse paint!

As expected, Jim had again managed to secure the most brutal of headliners possible and worthy of closing this years festival, in ear blistering style!

As the night drew to a close on an excellent days entertainment, the lasting sounds left ringing in the ears was Beer, Beer, Beermageddon! Seriously, how many festival do you know who have their own theme tune! In Beerman, we Trust! Until next year…be good to each other, look after one another and stay metal. Peace!

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Bromsgrove Saturday 25th August 2018.

Now in it’s seventh year, this festival has sold out every year since its conception and 2018 has been no exception. In one respect this fact is remarkable, especially when you consider the amount of festivals that have fallen by the wayside this year but when you look at what Beermageddon delivers over the three days of the August Bank Holiday weekend, its hardly a surprise that this event is such a success!

Evil Scarecrow’s drum tech likened Beermageddon to a mini New Blood stage reunion and some, I’ll take that! When you look at the quality of bands on offer, the ability to park next to your tent for free and see many of the same people, for a third of the price, it’s a no brainer really! I believe Bloodstock coined the phrase ‘coming home’ when attending a festival and many other festivals appear to be catching on with its meaning but I’ve ALWAYS felt at home when I’ve attended Beermageddon – I love my fellow Geddonites, each and every one of them!

As with the past couple of years, I’ve only be able to attend the Saturday at Beermageddon, as I have to rely on others (the details of which I won’t go into here) but I am eternally grateful to those involved, as it allows me to attend at least one of the three days on offer! My only reason for mentioning this, is to apologies to the bands that played on the Friday and the Sunday, it’s nothing personal, I wish we could have been there to see you all, but alas, it just wasn’t possible!

As the Saturday is Beermageddon’s second day, it was no surprise that the bands started at 2pm, as many attendees would most likely be nursing a hangover from the previous days events! Bang on 2pm and our first offering was primed and ready to rock our socks off and they go by the name Jackal’s Backbone and this quartet hail from North Hertfordshire and just so happen to have a self proclaimed female front woman, who packs a mighty punch, both vocally and through her low tuned bass guitar!

Shall I go into the whole ‘female fronted’ phrase being sexist, or not…….. I will say this, it’s not being sexiest, it’s merely a description that gets to the point as when stated, you can either relate or not but that doesn’t mean the band are any better or worse for the fact, as is the case with male fronted bands. I’m aware people feel very strongly about this topic, but the fact woman are being recognised more and more within the metal community is something I’ve personally championed for a long time! I’m far from being sexiest, believe me, cheeky, maybe, but not a sexiest!

Seven Hells are a bands I’ve enjoyed watching immensely this year, although I’ve only seen them twice. I was instantly blown away when I saw them perform at Uprising this year and I’ve been hearing great things from other people who’ve also seen them play the likes of Bloodstock and of course, here at Beermageddon. Marc Cross is a true inspiration and is someone who never gives up on a dream, which is something I admire greatly about him. It appears, he’s found the band for him and together they are destined to do great things together! I caught up with the band after their extremely well executed set, you can listen to what the band said, here – https://youtu.be/4nW5oDYck9g

Due to conducting my interview, sadly, I missed most of Trivax’s set so apologies to them, however, the last song I did see appeared to be going down very well with the crowd, so I’ll be on the look out for these guys, where ever possible.

Agrona are new to me and this is why I love attending this festival as Beermageddon certainly has it’s finger firmly on the pulse, when it comes to emerging talent, not only domestically, but globally as well. Although this Blackened Metal outfit are from another country (strictly speaking) it’s only as far as Wales, Cardiff to be precise! Although the genre isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t take anything away from the bands within it and the lengths at which they go to make their live shows as theatrical as possible! I loved this band, they certainly helped to spark my imagination and I’d like to think this showed on the photos I produced.

Twilight Embrace are a band that I discovered at the first ever Beermageddon, way back in 2011 and I distinctively recall how impressed I was with the bands vocalist Andy and the power in which he executed an awe-inspiring set, they blew my socks off! Little did I know at that time but that performance was in fact his first ever with the band. I’ve also learned today that the band have been trying to get rid of him ever since! Only Joking! The band have been very quite of late due to life simply getting in the way, however, when this festivals organisers heard of their re-emergence back to the land of live music, they didn’t hesitate to book them for this years event and I for one, am glad to see these guys back at it. With the promise of a new album currently in the writing process, I hope I’ll get another opportunity to see these guys play again soon!

Shadow Flag were up next and these guys too, have left a lasting impression on me, thanks mostly to their amazing set here today which almost felt like a headlining gig as it seemed to fly by! Hailing from Cheltenham, these guys are a stones throw away from Amplified Festival and knowing this, if I ever get asked, I’d certainly recommend this band to that festivals organisers in a heart beat. In all honestly, that statement would be true for every band I saw here today, as they were all very talented bands!

Greves, a Melodic Black Metal band….I never knew you could get melodic black metal, ah, the wonders of genres never ceases to amaze me – anyway, these four guys win a medal for travelling all the way from North Carolina to be here with us today. They also go down in this festivals history books as they are Beermageddon’s first ever cross Atlantic band and do you know what, they weren’t that bad! Personally, I thought they aired more on the side of a thrash metal band, what with all the fret work produced by David in his jaw dropping guitar solos – I love a good guitar solo, who doesn’t! Their energy was great, they were humble and all round nice guys. To be honest. I wish them all the luck in the world and hope to see them again sometime, when they’re massive and selling out arenas! I wonder if they’ll remember me then? Only time will tell!

Thankfully, Jim saved his ace card for the last band and my word, what a band! MartYriuM come all the way from Malta, that hardened metal music loving nation……hang on, I’ve been to Malta and the people there are as far from the Blackened Industrial Death Metal band I see before me now! Clearly, your origins do not define you or the music you love to produce and these guys are a true testament to that statement!

I quote “MartYriuM’s performances are both aggressive and theatrical, full of dark acts and occult imagery that will unleash infernal chaos from within your wretched soul”. Seriously, if this statement alone doesn’t get you excited, then I hope the images I produced during this bands amazing headline set, will! I’m counting the days to when I can witness this band perform again! Unbelievable, my jaw still hurts from when it hit the floor! Take a bow guys!

Well, after the conversations I’ve had, the bands I’ve seen, the great food I’ve eaten and of course, the beer I’ve drank, it’s just helped to reaffirm my belief that Beermageddon truly is a hidden gem of a festival, just waiting for you to discover it too!

Until next year, keep it metal, the blacker, the better! I’m now off to eat a ham and pineapple pizza!

In Jim Beerman we trust! Beer, Beer, Beermageddon!

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Worcestershire 26th August 2017.

So the 6th Beermageddon is upon us and our annual pilgrimage to Bromsgrove is imminent. Sadly, I could only make the Saturday, of this three day event, well four unofficially, as most people arrive on the Thursday to get set up and start the August Bank Holiday early.

As this festival runs until the Sunday, that means everyone gets Monday off, to get home and relax before work on the Tuesday. How thoughtful. As always, the weather was fantastic this weekend but I always find the weather calms down towards the end of summer. If I was to put on a festival, I’d do it towards the end of summer, rather than at the beginning, but that’s because I’ve lived in the UK all my life and know how volatile the British weather can be. You’re safe though, I’m not brave enough to put on a festival, but I’d love to try! haha!

As I was only here for the day, I thought I’d get down early to make the most of it. On arrival, I was greeted with many familiar faces, one such face, I’m always happy to see is our Clare Watkins-Gallar of Project Alpha TV, who took me straight over to the stall, where her husband and master chef had brought two amazing cakes along with him, that he’d baked to raise money for a worthy charity. Naturally I purchased a slice, the orange flavored one, as the other cake was a nine layered monster. I don’t think my stomach could of handled that much cake, but I heard many tried! Well done sir!

Although Beermageddon has sold out every year, since it started six years ago, it appeared busier this year. Maybe that had something to do with yet another amazing line-up. I wish I could have made it down on the Friday, as it sounded like a right laugh.

As it fell on the 25th of August, Jim thought it apt to bring forward Christmas, 4 months early, which provided everyone with this years fancy dress ideas. I hear people even managed to cook Christmas dinners with only camping gear, which is pretty impressive but they did it and Beermageddon provided all the trimmings, a tree and even the decorations!

This years game was pass the parcel, which was basically alcohol (like every year) wrapped up. These are just some of the many reasons this festival is so unique.

When everyone’s together it really is like one big happy family, which gets bigger every year!

Many new faces this year, only increasing the family even further. I’ve even seen this years youngest member, at a mere 1 year old, who was actually conceived at Beermageddon 2016……how many festivals can say they’ve had children conceived at their festivals, not many, I bet!

We say, visit Beermageddon online and follow them on facebook.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)