Summer Smash 2022

Summer Smash 2022 Poster

Summer Smash 2022
Asylum 2, Birmingham
Review by Rob Sutton
Photography by Sian Irvine Photography

It seems 2022 is the year for me to be travelling to Birmingham as, prior to this year, I hadn’t been in over 10 years, yet here I found myself back for the 3rd time! Not like I’m complaining as there is an insane number of venues. This time round I found myself at the Asylum for the first time, and straight away thought the venue was lush! Proper toilets with bog roll and working locks, a substantial bar with many beverages on offer and a dedicated room for merch! Perfect don’t you think? So this gig was a crossover with both Metal and Punk being alternated throughout the day, however the Metal side did thin substantially as Wired THC unfortunately pulled out the evening before, and a member of Embodiment fell seriously ill at the venue and ended up in A&E. This left just 2 metal bands playing and 4 punk bands. 

First up was Short Heath Boys… Well, it was 1 guy and an acoustic guitar but this seemed an appropriate way to begin the gig, and he wasn’t short on humour, which is something I definitely like when it comes to acoustic artists, mainly because most of them spend the whole set moaning about their life. Don’t get me wrong he was moaning about things… but this was moaning about having the shits, something I am all too familiar with considering the lyrical content of my own band. His voice itself had a gritty tone to it; more of a rock style, which really fitted well, honestly this was a very uplifting and comedic way to start the day.

Now at this point I have to point out that I was playing this gig as well and because of this I had to set up, do interviews etc. boring bands stuff basically. This meant I was unable to catch any of Curbdawgz but my glamorous photographer did manage to grab a fair few shots.

After them was my own band, Thrashatouille. Now I won’t do what I did last time and write a jokey review about how unbelievably brilliant we were because… I am not that type of person, so again there are photos of our set and a pile of destroyed inflatable’s as some of the crowd thought they were edible and actually tried to eat them! Though, the vocalist was bloody epic 😉 (Dark Juan here: the lead “singer” of Thrashatouille is a hyperactive bloody pixie, spends half of his life sounding like he’s vomiting out his own anal tract and doesn’t seem to have a home to call his own considering he’s ALWAYS bloody out! Thrashatouille are actually rather good, though!)

With 2 bands pulling out of the gig last minute this did mean there was plenty of time to fill, which was rather lucky as the vocalist for Sick Pins barely made it to the venue in time to start their set. Once these guys kicked in their concoction of many influences became apparent. Yes, they are punk, but there is also the influence of Ska and even reggae in bits as well. This mash of genres was utterly genius and incredibly fun to watch. Couple this with a very energetic show and it just worked beautifully. A personal love of this set was the vocal harmonies which came from pretty much every member. These just made parts of their songs sound huge. Another personal highlight was the bass tone, just yes! Crunchy and so clear within their sound, I love it. I may not have been much of a fan of Punk music before but these guys certainly have made me want to delve deeper into this genre.

From one Punk band to another and this time Face Up take the stage, first things first, what a voice! She uses a combination of shouts and screams, which really seemed fitting on a line up such as this, and Face Up seem to bridge the gap between Punk and Metal perfectly. Again there was so much energy exerting itself from the stage, with the vocalist bursting into the crowd to knock a few people around and begin the pits which were then present throughout their set. The control these guys had over the crowd was simply stunning; they had everyone in the palm of their hands, even making them do the Macarena! Musically as well, everything just fitted the day perfectly, with a personal highlight being how clear the guitars were within their sound! As before, I think I’m being won over by Punk bands!

It was back to normality for me next, with some Metal from a band who I previously raved about in their M2TM final. Since then, they did get the call to Bloodstock and from that performance, they did deserve it! But could Hellfekted top the last time I saw them? Well, in honesty… no. That is not me saying this set was bad because it was, in fact, far from it. The sheer speed these guys play is just brilliant and their blackened thrash just hits the spot with so many metal fans. Hellfekted are also well known for being very engaging while on stage and again today was no exception, with plenty of shouts to the crowd and getting over the barriers to mosh with the crowd. This leads me straight on to a personal annoyance. When you are speaking to the crowd, please shut the drummer up! Happening once is fine, but between every song we were met with him pissing about on the drum kit, which meant no one could hear what is being said. Honestly, shut up please! Anyway, guitar wise the riffs are simply fantastic and really drive their songs along, with an outstanding thrash tone from both guitars, which just makes this so much better. Same with the vocals, they are absolutely on point mixing both a thrashy shout with black metal rasp. This was by no means the tightest I have seen Hellfekted, but I honestly really love these guys. The music is just phenomenally good and this is proven by the fact they are now playing Bloodstock.

The final band of the night was SuckerPunch, and they made it a special one, as it was their album launch! Now this was more of the Punk I was expecting, no real gimmicks or mixing of genres, just straight up Punk and hey, straight off I found myself really enjoying the sound! Again the bass tone for these guys was just fantastic and, as I’ve said about previous bands, really cut through. Now by this point there was a huge crowd who were fully on board dancing and moshing away throughout the set, and SuckerPunch did a fantastic job of keeping the hype and continually pumping the crowd up. Though it was a bit of a shame that there wasn’t much in the way of movement on stage. Seeing the other Punk bands earlier being hyper and bouncy, I was expecting these guys to look a little more engaged in their music, but sadly it was just a slight bob of the head. Having said that, the crowd didn’t seem bothered by this and that seemed to be all that mattered. I enjoyed the music a lot, but there wasn’t much in the way of stage antics for me to watch.

So, I took a few things from this gig! Firstly, I now like Punk music, secondly Birmingham’s music scene is bloody mega, and thirdly, this was an extremely well organised event, and I would recommend next year’s event to anyone! I will take this time to wish the singer of Embodiment a speedy recovery and I do hope to see them live soon, as their music is right up my street. Also I really need to catch Wired THC as they’re another band whose name floats around but I have never managed to watch. (Beth here – they’re fecking mega live! Can’t wait to see them at Beermageddon in a couple of weeks!!)




Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. Photography by Sian Irvine. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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