Words by Mosh, Ross Green, Ryan Callander and Gary Cooper. Photos by Gary Cooper (the posh ones that aren’t up yet!) and Mosh. Edited together by Mosh.
We did most of the blether about the festival itself in the Friday review, so we’ll jump straight in with the band coverage. Due to 5am partying, Ross missed the first couple of bands (Spartan Warrior and Crowsaw). I didn’t get to site until around 2pm as I had a Duke of Edinburgh expedition to set off elsewhere, and had some interviews to do so didn’t get to see as many of the acts as I’d hoped to either. Apologies if we missed your band – in no case was it deliberate! There were three stages today and tomorrow with the addition of the Horrorfly indoor stage, featuring only the heaviest of acts. Those reviews are towards the bottom of the page as they didn’t schedule around the other two stages.
Apriori bring their unique brand of hard rock to the festival, they get the crowd going despite their early afternoon slot. Throwing in a groove-heavy version of Buckcherry’s “Crazy Bitch” and a more venomous “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine, they receive a well-earned response and are easily one of the tightest bands of the weekend.
Baleful Creed follow and are almost of the same breed, if a bit fuzzier with some added sleaze for good measure. Another band from across the Irish Sea, they bring something dark and menacing to the festival with their stoner grooves and hooks in the form of dual guitarists Fin Finlay and John Allen. It’s a great combination and one which shouldn’t work but it comes together seamlessly without sounding haphazard or falling into the trap of trying to do too much.
Sister Rose are in the same vein, opting for a more modern flavour, even if drummer Wayne Miller looks like a kilted Izzy Stradlin. Taking time to pay respect to a recently departed friend, the crowd laps up their modern take on 80s rock – the side which didn’t rip a hole in the Ozone layer. They don’t pull any punches, intent on making the most of their time on stage and like many bands, thank Dave Ritchie for making the weekend possible.
RSJ bring bags of energy with them as they batter out some of the heaviest music to date this weekend. It’s almost like an angry Slipknot without the masks and jumpsuits. I manage a few songs before calling it quits as it just isn’t for me. It’s not to say they were a bad band, they weren’t, just not my cup of tea (or coffee since I drank that most of the time there). It’s the only band I did it for and having seen about 80% of the bands on both stages, I’d say it’s pretty good going.
Blending thrash and speed metal, Sinocence are put in a weird yet welcome slot. After the brutality of RSJ and before the boogie of Fireroad. Yet it works excellently, running the gamut of my own interests and breaks any chance of monotony. Riffs comes thick and fast, brooding and heavy in equal measure while there also seems something colossal to them, making a great contrast to the melodic vocals.
Bringing the pace down a notch, Fireroad take to the stage and lay out their stall of bluesy riffs. Richard Jones on vocals and guitar has an air of familiarity to him, one I can’t shake. It follows through the melodic music and has a sense of boogie rock and rhythm which makes for a nice change of pace in amongst all the hard rock and metal.
The Idol Dead ramps things up once more, bringing a punk flavour into the mix. Jumping and strutting about the stage, Polly Phluid looks like a skinny Billy Idol. After the laidback romp of Fireroad, it’s great for a band to take a balls to the walls attitude and it works excellently. Time slips away from them as they have to skip their ballad, Polly even takes time to apologise to the sound crew for having them sound check a now-redundant acoustic guitar. As both band and audience feed off the energy of each other symbiotically, they hammer through their set and are personally, one of the best (of the many) discoveries I made during the weekend.
Technical difficulties plague Cairo Son’s set but that doesn’t stop them. Dropping things back down a gear, their blues hard rock is catchy, reminiscent of the many modern bands utilising the bluesier end of the spectrum. It makes perfect sense for the band to be a three-piece, laying out riffs and grooves for you to nod your head along with.
The Deep are one of the various New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands to appear over the weekend. Rising from the ashes of previous band Deep Machine, there’s an air of polish and like many of the oft-overlooked bands of this era, you need to be a true connoisseur to appreciate it. Whilst it’s not my forte, I enjoy the set and by no means are they amongst the worst of the weekend.
Hellbound Hearts are incredibly happy to be here, the three-piece bring their straightforward brand of rock, previewing tracks from their forthcoming debut album (I’ll be sure to look out for it). With a brand new drummer in tow, they’re intent to make an impression and they manage to do so. The reception over the course of their set becoming more appreciative. Whilst there’s no shortage of talent over the weekend, it’s one of the sets which seems to go by in a flash, highlighting just how good the band are.
Screaming Eagles bring their massive sound to prove a point. One which they succeed at doing. With riffs by the bucketload, they rely heavily on their newest album, Stand Up and Be Counted. Full of catchy hooks and singalong choruses, it’s high-octane rock which works far better in a live setting than it does on record. Don’t get me wrong, their two albums are great but they’re one of those bands you have to see live to get the full effect of the songs. A cover of AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)” gets an outing and let’s face it, it’s AC/DC so it goes down a storm. As the band run full steam ahead shortly after this, their power is cut having had their allowance, much to the dismay of the crowd.
Drawing in a crowd to rival Mason Hill’s, Massive Wagons burst onto the stage to the sound of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and from the first note, it’s easy to see why the place is packed. Their performance is polished to a high sheen. The band fill the stage, the energy is rippling from them and as people begin to flag at the end of the second day, it perks them up. They cherry-pick songs from their back catalogue with their newest album, Welcome to the World, given a substantial outing. The title track is still rattling around in my brain.
Forever Never bring their unique brand of metal backed with rhythms you’re more likely to find in the UK Top 40. And you know what? It’s just as excellent as the night I discovered them, supporting Theory of a Deadman. Frank Ransom (recently un-bearded) spits out riffs which wind around George Lenox’s. Meanwhile, frontman Renny Carroll looks like a hip hop star as he bounces around the stage in between his rapping lyrics. A lot of it covers social injustice and the world we’re currently living in without preaching. It shouldn’t work but it does. The extra dollop of melody makes for a fresh sound and not something you hear all that often. The band are due to return to Scotland in November and provided you have an open mind, you’ll have a ball.
Inglorious – despite what the name suggests, their performance was far from it. Frontman Nathan is a power-house of rock with that classic wail leaving the venue full of not only Wildfire goers, but also a resonating energy that he and the band delivered song after song. This is a band who are due to make the next leap to larger venues and bigger crowds. They rocked, they rolled & they swaggered through a fantastic set of tunes that would
grace any of the great classic rock bands such as Bad Company/Free etc. Go see them now as they will not be at this level much longer – a true highlight of the weekend.
Brutal but fun seems like the best way to describe Glasgow band Burning The Dream. Also, popular. They were probably the third most popular band to be seen on t-shirts over the weekend, including those worn by other acts on the Horrorfly stage. They had a great sense of humour of the drunkest frontman of the festival so far! Paul spent a lot of the set out in the audience, marching around and making a wonderful arse of himself… yet never once screwing up the words or stopping the crowd from smiling. We’ll not mention the point where he sat on the stage and broke the wireless mic receiver. Ssh. But we will mention that they’re playing Bloodstock this year (they did drop a hint once or twice) so we’ll be covering them again in a few weeks.
I only got to see a part of their set due to interview duties, but had to draft up just a few words to give them some well-deserved credit. Typically hard and heavy, as was the remit for this stage, and their last song was absolutely killer.
Both groovy and heavy, Lifer did their Welsh heritage proud with a great set. They made full use of the untapped talent in the crowd, with plenty of handing the microphone over for shouty choruses during “Bastard Sons of Sabbath”. The last song, “Cursing Them Out” I think, was fast as a fast thing and demanded a pit. Which it got. With three people. The same young nutters from yesterday. Power to them – they’re our future!
Another set I missed a bit of, what I did see was plagued by technical problems (mainly relating to one guitar and a wandering drum kit) and an audience scared of the lead singer’s BO. However, the band followed their own advice to “Be Like Pete” and ploughed on having fun regardless. A great value for money performance from what I saw.
Again, apologies to those bands we missed. Sometimes you just get spoiled for choice, caught up elsewhere… or hung over!