The Tower of Song, Birmingham 8th October 2017.
So a week ago today, we attended the 5th installment of The Quinphonic Festival, which is a festival dedicated to all those bands that consists of five unique instruments, including the voice. It’s not necessarily a celebration of females within metal but they do try to include them within the band, where ever possible, in celebration of the fact that woman can rock too! I for one praise this stance too, as I appreciate woman that rock, in a widely male dominated profession. I mean, there’s only so many hairy sweaty men I can look at though my camera! I appreciate female musicians as much as the next man, if done well. The promoter responsible for putting on these events is a Ian Black, who I got to meet in person today for the first time and I can confirm, his profile picture looks exactly like him! We had a great chat about all thing Quinphonic and the music scene in general. The first thing to strike me about this man is he’s a conscientious promoter, who believes that any band willing to play for him, deserves to get paid for their efforts. We all know this isn’t always the case and many promoters could learn a lesson from this man.
Today’s gig very nearly didn’t go ahead as the original venue, as billed on the flyers, was The Roundhouse in Birmingham, which has since closed only days before this event was to take place, which left Ian in the lurch as he’d already paid to hire the venue! This meant he had to ring around and find a new venue with only four days to go so that Quinphonic 5 could take place. Thankfully, the lesser known Tower of Song venue said they would be willing to host Ian and his five unique bands, who were all still willing to travel a very long way to play this event. Having secured a new venue and all five bands still willing to perform, Quinphonic 5 could still take place. Well done to the venue – ‘I feel they deserve a round of applause, as does Ian for keeping his cool and sourcing a replacement at such short notice, so no one was disappointed’!
Orpheum, were up first and hail from our very own London town and play Gothic Progressive metal. I was suitably impressed with Erin, the bands female lead vocalist and her ability to belt out those high notes. The bass was heavy, the drums were dark and the guitar was loud and when they all combined, they made sweetly depressing music, music which the crowd very much enjoyed. Having no stage, a full capacity of 85 people and no pit, meant taking photos was hard to do but thanks to my spider like abilities, I managed we weave my way through the hoards of people and get a few, half decent shots of this band. The photos actually turned out better than I was expecting to be honest, despite the fact the lights were three inches from the bands faces and an intense array of colours! After this bands set, they were mobbed for merch which does say a lot, to be honest!
For what ever reason, I’ve never associated metal bands and France, other than Gojira, I suppose. It’s not a part of the world I would associate with metal bands, however, the next band, to take to the floor were the wonderfully creative Weend’Ô, who play a blend of progressive rock and metal, with a dash of reggae, courtesy of the bands extremely capable bass player, Maxime. Laetitia, the bands vocalist, keyboard player and band manager is a very hypnotic performer indeed and drew me into believing I like prog music, with her mesmerising and convincing performance tonight. Sure, some of their song went on forever which is to be expected, considering their chosen genre but with every note played, you could see the band were getting more and more into it and when that happens and you see a band who are truly into their music, you can’t help but get involved and enjoy it with them! A triumphant set, loved it!
Having seen Zephyra (yes, spelt it right again!) for the first time at another brummy based promoters event, the wider known Beermageddon, I was thrilled to be offered another opportunity to see this band perform live again, as I was blown away at Beermageddon! In Jim Beerman we trust! Anyway, arse licking aside, Zephyra were by far the heaviest band on the bill and they proved that, with their performance tonight, which is just what the crowd needed to liven things up again after an hour long set of prog music! (No offence!) The bands female lead vocalist Åsa has a great personality and interacts with her audience well. I think she’s great and could watch her perform all day! Her Swedish accent makes for great entertainment, as her English gets a little jumbled up, which does make for great comedy value at times, but lets face it, her English is much better than my Swedish, which is zero by the way. This band are a great metal band and we would love to see them perform here in the UK again!
As for tonight’s last two performances, courtesy of Alia Tempora and Wildpath, I believe I missed two epic sets due to a family matter preventing me from staying the whole night, so apologies to you!
All in all and considering the odds, Ian managed to pull off the impossible and maintain todays epic day and celebration of international musicians, who also happen to feature a female, within the band. That, in my book is a winner and if we can attend The ‘Quinphonic’ Festival 6 event, due to take place on the 1st of April, 2018, we’d love to!
The Quinphonic Festival is a concept conceived by three friends who have supported the Female Fronted Metal / Rock scene for many years. The idea was to create a festival featuring acts from the UK and Europe in which the five bands taking part, hence the ‘Quinphonic‘, would all have equal billing, all play a full one hour set and be paid an equal share of all the profits made from ticket sales. For more information follow The Quinphonic Festival on facebook.
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)