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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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)