Gig Review: Redemption Festival 2018

Returning for its fourth year, Warehouse 23’s Redemption Festival brought rock fans from across the North of England and upcoming bands from all over the UK to raise money for charities including the local Barnsley and Wakefield Hospices, and the Dementia UK.

Tomorrow is Lost (c) Jack Barker

The 2018 event was kicked off by Newcastle hard rock band Tomorrow Is Lost, with massive stage presence from lead vocalist Cass King who had an equally impressive voice to match. Despite having formed around a year and a half ago, the band had some impressive tracks to showcase to the audience including the upcoming track “Shadow Man” which King promised would be released soon.

Having travelled a slightly shorter distance than the previous band, relatively local boys Wolf Within brought a much more classic rock feel to the proceedings. There was a comedy feel to this set with frontman Stuart Craig getting the crowd laughing on several occasions between songs, however the music spoke for itself with tracks “Breath” and “Caught in the Fire” being personal favourites in the set.

The contrast of musical genres continued with the third band of the afternoon, The King Lot who had a slightly more melodic style. During their seven-song set there were lots of guitar solos, during which band members Jason Sweeney and Jay Moir pulled some interesting poses in the centre of the stage, which of course were captured by the photographers. Saving the best till last, the band ended their set with tracks “One of These Days” followed by “Hearts on Fire”.

After a quick break for a burger from the food van that the festival organisers had conveniently arranged, I returned inside for the slightly earlier than advertised set from Ryders Creed. The set was full of energy from start to finish, especially from frontman Ryan Antony. Highlights of the bands set were the singles “Headspace” and “Raise the Hoof”, which for the first time during the festival really seemed to get the crowd moving.

A Jokers Rage (c) Jack Barker

Up next were two bands that I had seen a few years earlier at the inaugural and unfortunately the only Fort Fest in Bedfordshire. The first in this combo were Black Country boys Liberty Lies, whose appearance and line-up has changed in the past few years, yet their stage presence remains as strong as ever. The second Fort Fest throwback were Sister Shotgun who, after having a bit of a boogie backstage to Nickelback’s “Something in Your Mouth”, burst onto stage. During the set we were treated to two brand new songs, the second of which “Sacred Heart” was a Redemption Festival exclusive as it had never been played live before. Despite not many people having seen the band before, they have definitely gained a few new fans today as the question “Who’s going to come see us again?” got a much louder response than the previous question “Who’s seen us before?”. After the final song “Silhouettes”, there was a loud applause from the audience to show how much they had enjoyed the set.

When the next band entered the stage, there were more than a few confused faces in the audience. According to the line-up Hells Addiction were due to be on stage and while most of the band were there, Fahran’s lead vocalist Matt Black was in charge of the microphone. After a massive applause at the end of the first song “We’re on Fire”, Black cleared up the confusion by explaining “Ben isn’t dead, he just couldn’t make it”. The audience didn’t seem to mind the last-minute line-up as they give massive applause to the temporary frontman, to which Black joked “I think we are getting away with this, imagine if we had practiced!”.

Fahran (c) Jack Barker

Through the set fans were treated to the updated renditions of tracks including “Backs to the Wall” and “Blues Lights”. The rest of the band didn’t appear to be fazed by their change of frontman and didn’t play a wrong note for the entire set. Despite Black admitting he was nervous about the performance, I think it’s safe to say the audience unanimously agreed that he pulled it off almost flawlessly.

Bringing a party atmosphere to the festival, A Jokers Rage played their comeback gig after taking time out to deal with some personal issues. From the very beginning the entire band were jumping around the stage, however by the time they played arguably their most well-known song “Bounce”, this energy had spread to everyone in the venue with them all bouncing along to the band’s rocky yet somehow dancey sound. Frontman Zakk Taylor ended the set by saying the band are definitely back with a vengeance, or will be once his wife has had their latest child before the band played a very unique cover of Tupac & Dr Dre’s “California Love”.

With a change of hat and some eyeliner added, Matt Black returned to the stage, this time with the rest of the Fahran boys. Kicking off with “Stand Alone”, it was clear that Black was much more relaxed than during his previous performance and was able to move around the stage a lot more freely. The second track “Take This City Alive” showed that the entire band are true showmen and enjoy their time on the stage. The set continued flawlessly despite some heckling from a drunk lady in the crowd which Black dealt with brilliantly saying “I’ll take a bottle of whatever she’s on”. The rest of the set featured songs from both ends of the band’s back catalogue with the highlights being “State of Mind” and “A Thousand Nights”. With the band announcing they will shortly be releasing new material and the reaction from the crowd throughout the entire set, my money is on Fahran to be filling the headline slot at Redemption Festival 2019.

The King Lot (c) Jack Barker

With a fashionably late start due to what appeared to be a few issues with the setting up Hannah McKay’s massive drum kit, The Amorettes took to the stage to play their headline slot at Redemption Festival. Having seen The Amorettes several times in a supporting role on my outings for Moshville Times and other publications, I was looking forward to getting the chance to experience their modern take on a classic rock sound again. With their time slot only allowing them the chance to play seven songs, it was slightly disappointing not to get a chance to hear some more of their tracks live, but what we did get to hear was brilliant.

The band played back to back hits starting with “Born to Rock” and ending with as they always do “Hot and Heavy”, between these two tracks there were singles such as “Let The Neighbours Call The Cops”, “Bull By The Horns” and the band’s latest single of their third studio album Everything I Learned I learned from Rock N’ Roll which pays homage to some of the band’s influences including Sex Pistols, Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

With such a strong line-up this year, there was an evident increase in attendance which a few bands mentioned during their set. The increased ticket sales and probably a few extra t-shirts being sold at the merch stand meant that the festival has raised £1011 for its chosen charities.

Photos by Jack Barker Photography

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