The night before Uprising – Firebug, Friday 13th September 2019.
Now that we’ve had a little time to recover, we’ve also had time to evaluate the events of the past weekend and reflect upon all the positive energy we’re feeling after attending such a great event – well worth £25 of anyone’s money, we’ll say that from the start!
Uprising is now in it’s fourth year and is the brainchild of one Simon Yarwood, a late bloomer, when it comes to music but with his years, comes maturity and a willingness to put on a great event, that both bands want to play as a musician and also attend as a punter! He’s also in a pretty good band himself called Resin, who’ve graced many of the great metal events that the UK has to offer, so he’s seen both sides of the industry, giving him a unique perspective on how he sees an event such as Uprising, should be perceived?
Uprising Festival now takes place over three days in September, which is also a new date in the diary! A great time of year to hold a festival, as it’s still not quite winter, still relatively warm but it is a safe bet to hold it indoors as we live in the UK, so better to be safe, than wet!
Both the Friday ‘The Night Before’ and Sunday’s ‘Aftermath’ took place at Firebug which is Simon’s regular haunt and go to venue when putting on other Resin shows which are held throughout the year. The main event this year, took place at The O2, where as in previous years, it’s been just up the road at De Montford Hall, which is a spectacular venue but if we’re being completely honest, doesn’t fit Uprising’s image and we personally preferred the O2 Academy which was much better suited to host a metal event such as Uprising. It was familiar territory for us and we felt much more at home there, so long may it continue!
Having been mostly out of the game, personally, this year, for various reasons, tonight was a great way to ease my way into the swing of things, whilst meeting up with friends, mostly from the media world, who I’ve not seen for a while. It also allowed me to introduce a good friend into the media side of festival life, who I’ve managed to brainwash into attending festivals with me, who goes by the name of Masaaki Black. I dare say he’ll feature more, now he’s been bitten by the bug just like me and yes, it’s all my fault. I’ll apologies to his Fiancee now, as she may lose him to this world of media, photography and live music!
It’s been several years since I last attended Firebug. I was reminded of the last time, in fact, which was for Beholder’s final album launch. Back then, I remember the venue was a challenge lighting wise, so I wasn’t surprised to see just one white light beaming on to the stage – here we go, I thought but much to my surprise, when Mad Spanner, our first band of the night, took to the stage, it was lit up like the fourth of July, which pleased me greatly! The Firebug has always been regarded as a great music venue for it’s intimate atmosphere and great sound, so to see a lighting show equal to the other great aspects of this venue, in our opinion, makes the Firebug a ‘go to’ venue for any a touring band.
So, on to tonight’s bands and Mad Spanner, who pretty much do what it says on the tin! Mad, fun and metal, and the perfect band to kick off proceedings, we thinks! Hailing from Aberystwyth/Shrewsbury, they clearly don’t like to take life too seriously, which is the way we like it aswell. However, in amongst all the tom-foolery, there are three very talented musicians who do take their music seriously, which is even better for us! Thrash, punk, comedic metal, what’s not to love!
Next up, Mörti Viventi, who are a band we can relate with, both on and off the stage. Life’s a struggle but you carry on doing what you love, because it makes you feel good and that just so happens to be thrash metal. Having seen the music being played at several festivals, this year and last, the best bands we encountered all played thrash, so it’s no surprise to see that Uprisings line up was weighted heavily with bands of this genre, which is a wise and popular choice at present! Metal genres and trends alter, like any other aspect of life but Thrash will always be one of our five a day and these guys, from sleepy Stamford in Lincolnshire, are going to be a part of our staple diet for the foreseeable future! They are a confident band, who deliver with pure confidence and undeniable conviction!
As it was Friday the 13th, we thought it only appropriate to see a band of that name appear on the bill tonight but having not encountered them before, we didn’t know what to expect. As the band rattled through their set, it became apparent very quickly that Thirteen (13) know what they’re doing, especially guitarist James, who’s playing style is on a whole other level, we’d go as far as to say similar to that of Michael Schenker and even though it was effortless to watch, the technical sounds and abilities we witnessed were phenomenal. It was like watching UFO back in their hey day! As I looked around the room the admiration for this band was clear to see on the faces of those present! I also noticed the bands lead singer and bassist, James, was sporting a tattoo of B.O.A’s famous brand logo on his left arm, with the words ‘M.T.TM’s finalist 2018’ below it! It just goes to show what winning that particular event means to the bands that enter it, let alone win it. It’s a great event that the organiser of that festival should be very proud of!
As the night drew to a close, the honour of closing Uprising’s first day was given to Ward XVI, a band we’ve known of for sometime but were yet to see play live, so we were looking forward to this, a lot!
Although we’re not completely au fait with the ‘Theatrical Avant-Garde Rock’ genre, we could hazard a guess at what we were about to experience, courtesy of some of the props that lay before us. Imagine watching four escaped psychopaths from a lunatic asylum playing instruments, whilst chopping up bodies, with a metal sound-track and you’ve got this band, all wrapped up! OK, they’re not quite that easy to sum up and feel we need to see this band several times more, to fully appreciate what they’re doing throughout their set but we hope to see them again, very soon! Lead vocalist ‘Psychoberrie’ is the perfect front-woman for the job. She’s energetic, vocally talented and knows how to rip a corpse apart after disemboweling it – it wasn’t a real body, I hasten to add! Parts of the set, reminded us of an Alice Cooper show, which is great, yet Ward XVI are completely unique and completely original, so maximum kudos for that, as that’s no easy task these days!
Roll on Day 2
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)