Lullaby For A Unicorn – The Tivoli Buckley 17/03/22

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Evil Scarecrow, Lullaby for a Unicorn, Severenth – The Tivoli, Buckley

Evil Scarecrow Tivoli Poster

Evil Scarecrow, Lullaby for a Unicorn, Severenth
The Tivoli, Buckley
17/03/2022
Live Review by Rob Sutton

My second time at the Tivoli in Buckley and it is a fantastically large venue with a decent stage and plenty of good viewing points. For me this is about the only good thing about the venue, the beer is ridiculously overpriced and the toilets may as well just be a hole in the floor! No toilet seats, no locks and they hadn’t been cleaned! (I was the first one to use them). This is frankly unacceptable for a venue, especially when you are hosting larger touring bands. 

Rant over.

It was local boys Severenth kicking off the night. These guys are very much out of place on this bill being a more ‘serious’ Metalcore band but this doesn’t stop them giving it their all. Sadly another downfall of the venue strikes here as the sound for Severenth through the first half of the set consisted of just drums and vocals. Both were done well, but I would honestly like to hear the guitar and bass! Oh wait, they come in during the second half of the set, but this time with the vocals being barely audible and everything then got drowned out by the backing tracks! Honestly I would love to have reviewed these guys properly, but the only bits I could properly get my head around was the addition of some guitar tapping over the solos and an effective use of a vocal harmoniser for the new song. Sorry Severenth, I don’t think this was all down to you; the sound guy seriously cocked this one up!

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth

Lullaby for a Unicorn fared slightly better from the sound, as you could actually hear everything and the riffs really shone through beautifully. Not only, but that the guitar affects which add that little magic to the Unicorns worked a treat. After watching Lullaby at Hammerfest I was disappointed with the lack of charisma on stage. This was back tonight, which did elevate them somewhat but this sadly fell on deaf ears. I think the crowd either didn’t get the humour or didn’t find them funny. Perhaps they were just a bit too crude? To me a ‘comedic’ band should be entertaining to watch and even with the bassist dressed as a unicorn, he still looked like he couldn’t be arsed with the show and I don’t think the bass was even tuned correctly… As I said the riffs were solid, the drums were solid, but the whole show fell flat. I don’t even think the party poppers or the ‘cupping the unicorns balls’ would have saved them tonight. Oh and ending on a brand new song… rookie error.

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn

I’ll be honest, by this point I was fed up. The sound was crap, the crowd was thin and seemed completely disinterested with the support bands (probably the sound), I’d taken out a mortgage for the bar even though I was driving and I’d had a tetanus jab after using the toilets. Evil Scarecrow were the only thing standing in the way of this being a waste of time but luckily they quickly turned the whole night around! 

Their choreography on stage is so rehearsed, but still looks natural. Their banter with the crowd was side splittingly funny, we had many free DVD’s (not VHS to the crowds disappointment) and an improvised song about Asda. Not only that, but they brought with them their usual arsenal of stage props and even a new one! The giant inflatable karate kid! 

Back when they started, each song fitted together; they are now just a mix of whatever comes into their heads and I love it! Each song has a completely different story with a completely different way of getting the crowd involved. Even without their keyboardist, it worked fantastically with backing tracks and their light show was sublime (even setting off the fire alarm a few times). Their set could have gone on for another hour and I honestly wouldn’t have minded this. It was by far and away the funniest most entertaining set I have seen to date. 

Evil Scarecrow saved this night; the venue seriously needs a clean, a rethink on bar prices and a new sound guy. Had Evil Scarecrow not been fantastic I would have asked for a refund.

https://www.facebook.com/Evil.Scarecrow

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Beth Jones. 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.

N.E.W Metal Productions’ Merry Christmosh – Mclean’s Pentre – 11/12/21 

Merry Christmosh Poster

N.E.W Metal Productions’ Merry Christmosh 
Mclean’s, Pentre, 11/12/21 
Review by Beth Jones

Photography by Beth Jones

The year is drawing to a close (thank god, let’s be honest, because it’s not been the best) and what better way is there to mark the festive season than with some proper Metal, and good friends! And that’s exactly what I did at Mclean’s, Pentre for N.E.W Metal Productions Merry Christmosh Christmas gig, featuring a host of heavy hitting bands for our listening pleasure. But what sort of a night was it? Well, let’s find out! 

We were supposed to start the day with everyone’s favourite busker, Edd Case, but typically the bloody ‘Rona caught up with him the day before the gig, so he couldn’t perform. We missed him lots.

So instead, starting proceedings was one-man Industrial Noise machine, Leatherback. Now last time I saw him I wasn’t keen. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I was clearly having some sort of moment. My age, the fact I’m a woman, or the fact that the strobe lighting made photography hard may have been the reason behind my narkiness. I want it noting for the record that I was wrong. Today’s performance was outstandingly tight, and heavy as fuck!! There’s something very mysterious about Leatherback’s stage show, possibly enhanced by the strobe lighting or the fact he doesn’t talk at all, giving it a hypnotic quality. He also has a very expressive face, which is full of energy and rage. A great performance, and wonderful way to start. 

Leatherback

https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackworld

Next up were the Lullaby boys. If you’ve not heard me talk about them before, where have you been?! You know you’re always going to have a great time when Lullaby play, and today was no exception. There was much toilet roll, many party poppers, and even a new song – ‘Pre Cum Face’… This performance was one of the tightest I’ve seen them give, and it’s great when they perform like this – they were relaxed and it showed, the party was in a very messy full swing, and everyone was having a ball… Apart from the poor souls who had to clear up the mess!! 

Lullaby For A Unicorn

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn

Following the standard Lullaby big clean up, Scarfoot graced the stage. This is a band that I’ve seen grow and develop over the last few years, and bloody hell have they come a long way. And they meant business here tonight… with guitarist/vocalist Oliver starting the set with no top on!! They have now become one hell of a good stoner band. It’s sludgy, and grimy, and dirty, and it’s got an awesome groove to it. It makes you pull a face like you’ve just smelt something potent and satisfying! Really so chuffed to see how far these guys have progressed, and keep progressing. LOVED IT! 

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband

Some Modern Thrash/Groove was racked up next for us, in the shape of State Of Deceit! These young South Waleians haven’t been here before, so it was the first time we’d seen them. They’re a lively bunch! Their sound is full of a bit of all sorts – Thrash predominantly, but with modern twist, and some Speed and Groove, and growl vocals just for the sheer fucking hell of it!! They were giving it their all despite a couple of technical hitches early on, and the vocalist even ended up in the crowd at one point. Can’t beat a bit of audience interaction I say! Great set! I was impressed, and took a trip to the merch stand to purchase me a CD – got to love a physical copy! 

State Of Deceit

https://www.facebook.com/StateofDeceit

Terrible Claw sounds like a villain from Scooby Doo. Turns out they are in fact a Death Metal band, and they were next on the bill here! Now I’m not the world’s biggest Death Metal fan, but these guys are groovy with it, and the lead guitarist has some vicious soloing skills! The vocalist also has an impressive growl! They had some technical issues – to be specific, a noise of unknown origin between songs! But I actually think this made them perform with more ferocity, and it was very enjoyable, in a sort of ‘slash you face up with the shreds’ kind of way! Maybe that’s where the name comes from?!… Another really great set. 

Terrible Claw

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063478450984

The penultimate band of the night were Merseyside Death Metallers Exhumation. I knew we were in for heavy purely going off the band logo! And I wasn’t wrong. Crunching riffs, heavy as you like bass, guttural roars and growls, and blast beats a plenty. These guys are super technical and extremely good at what they do, although their songs do all seem to have unexpected endings! Again, not my cup of tea, but I appreciate skill, and they certainly have it. I want to also give a special shout out to the drummer, who is insanely good at hitting things quickly!! My middle daughter is learning drums, and she would have been in awe of his skills, which he made look effortless.  

Exhumation

https://www.facebook.com/ExhumationBand

Headlining the night were Nottingham based Thrash band, Incinery. I don’t know why but there’s something about Nottingham that just seems to create brilliant metal bands. Maybe something in the water. Who knows. But these guys are certainly no exception to the rule. From the very first chord it was obvious that the bar had been raised and we were in for a show of an extremely high calibre. Thunderous rhythms, crushing riffs, and epic vocals, alongside bass lines that punished every sinew, and made you want to move, which made for a blistering headline set from, in my humble opinion, one of the finest UK Thrash bands. I’m fussy when it comes to Thrash. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. I frikkin loved these guys!!! A brilliant way to end a perfect day. 

Incinery

https://www.facebook.com/incinery

And that was that! Absolutely fabulous gig, with fabulous people, in our very own little secret slice of heaven that is McLean’s Pentre. Massive thank you, as always, to Beany and Fozzy for putting together this show, and making sure that the night was a success. And now I was fully in the Christmas spirit, all that remained for me to do was get tucking into the Christmas spirits! Mine’s a gin! Merry Christmas everyone. 

NEW METAL PRODUCTIONS LINKS: 


GOOD FOR AUDIO LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. All photographic images are the property of Beth Jones. 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.

Lullaby For A Unicorn – I Can’t Believe They’re Not Better

Lullaby For A Unicorn – I Can’t Believe They’re Not Better
Dates & Raisins Records
Release Date: 04/07/2020
Running Time: 34:09
Review by Beth Jones
6.5/10

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, a unicorn got jiggy with a seagull, and spawned 4 ne’er-do-wells. It taught them the language of the unicorn gull, then threw them out of the nest, to find their own way in the doldrums. The young hoodlums roamed the galaxy for years, serenading the planets with their unique sound, until one day, around 30 million years later, when they could finally be arsed, they decided to put their music on a record. And, ladies and gents, that record is the subject of my musings today!

Here in the Wales, we like life to be lived at a more leisurely pace than our English neighbours. Most parts of the country now have running water, which is pretty damn high tech, let me tell you. Apparently soon, we may also have something called 5G, or at least 4G, however, dial-up does us just fine. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Lullaby For A Unicorn call North Wales their home! It will also come as no surprise that the majority of their debut album, “I Can’t Believe They’re Not Better”, is taken up by songs that anyone who has followed them for the last couple of years will have already heard, many times over! But that doesn’t make them any less groovy/unhinged.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure of an evening with the Lullaby boys, then prepare to be medicined! Make sure you bring plenty of rum, leave your serious boots by the door, and put on your tongue in cheek sense of humour hats (and/or unicorn onesies, which ever you feel more conspicuous in)!

‘Alan Raiders’ opens the album (There’s a funny story behind the name of this song – for more details, spam Lullaby on their Facebook page). A classic hit of theirs, which introduces us to the tortured vocals of Justin, Baxter’s sexy bass skills, Dan’s riffage, Gaz’s animal-esque drumming, and some dude shouting ‘Alan, Alan, Alan…Alan’ (could be any of them, probably Gaz, but I prefer the mystique of not knowing). It’s difficult to describe their sound. They don’t really have a genre. Unicorn Thrash is probably the closest I’ll get. Imagine you were a unicorn, having a really bad day, sick of everyone telling you that you’re mythical/not real, and fed up with farting rainbows, then you pick up a guitar and play some Thrash on it, and manage some pretty tasty fingerings (ooh err Mrs), even though you have hooves instead of hands, because YOU’RE MAGIC, SO THERE! That’s Unicorn Thrash.

Anyway, moving on. Track 2, ‘Huffing on the Whiskey Smoke’, starts of quite mellow, with stormy sea sound effects, and pleasant guitar, then kick in to a 90’s inspired, sludgy grunge style, with plenty of overdrive, some double bass kicks, and the eternally pissed off vocals of Justin, with the added injection of alcoholic slurring!

These two tracks essentially set the tone for the rest of the album, sludgy, grungy, slightly doomy, thrash, with a bit of funk popping up every now and again (the opening of ‘Kung-fu Bukkake’ being one fine example). Musically, it couldn’t be further away from polished if it tried, but I would expect nothing less from the boys, really!! However, this lack of finesse, rough around the edges, approach does make it, and them, strangely exciting!

My favourite track has to be ‘WTF’. Not because it’s a stroke of musical genius that’s better than the rest, but because it takes me back to the good old days of the Tivoli Nightclub in Buckley. The Saturday rock nights there were my happy place, back in the late 90’s, and this track is almost an illustration of them. Picture the scene – it’s around 11.30pm, and I’m sitting on the dubiously stained sofas, on the balcony area, drunk as a skunk and stoned out of my tree, trying to make sense of the metal music drifting from downstairs, as it merges with the music from the Indie room upstairs. It was mental torture, but it was great. This track is exactly that!

In fact, that pretty much sums up the album, really. Epically lovable mental torture. It’s not the most technically put together album you’re going to hear, nor is it the most musically adept. But it’s jolly good drunken fun, and they do have a great sound, and an endearing attitude towards both music, and life. One suggestion though, if you’re not drunk, go and get drunk, then come back and listen to it, and I promise you’ll be jumping about like you’ve lost your mind within seconds.

TRACKLISTING:
01.Alan Raiders
02.Huffing On The Whiskey Smoke
03.March Of The Unicorns
04.Rancid Santa
05.Kung-fu Bukkake
06.WTF
07.Lords Of Vice Live at HRH Metal 2020 (Stage Three)
08.Pointing At Seagulls (2018…honestly, not filler at all)

LINE-UP:
Justin – Vocals and Synths
Gaz – (D)rums and Funny Noises
Baxter – Rumbling Bass Noises and Onesies
Dan – Guitar, Stupid Facial Expressions and a Terrible Posture

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. 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.

Skinflick – The Year Of The Fuck EP

Skinflick – The Year Of The Fuck EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 19/07/2020
Running Time: 12:32
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

It’s review day here at EMHQ! Or it is for me anyway – Rick’s posting news! Next up for my listening pleasure, a jaunty little three-track EP from industrial techno project, Skinflick! I, and many others, know this crazy one-man artist for his work in another one of our favourite bands (It’s Justin Williams, vocalist with Lullaby For a Unicorn), but Skinflick is his little side project, delving into the sleezy world of dirty techno. As this is only a small release, I’m going to give you my take on each track.

The EP title track is up first. It reminds me of the sort of music that is always playing in ‘trendy cybergoth/steam punk’ clubs in futuristic edgy films – you know the ones; always in a basement, through an unmarked door, lit purely with UV light, which conveniently hides all the dark corners! It’s obviously very synth driven, but it has a real punch to it. Vocally, it’s early Marylin Manson-esque, which also doesn’t displease me! Kind of a whispery scream, which gets the message across with enough mystique and sleaze!

Track two, ‘Kustom Kar Kollision’, has quite a Gary Numan feel about it musically – I’m guessing from the title, this may be deliberate! Again, its full of fuzzy bass and synth wizardry, and a continuation of the tortured vocal style. It goes off into a breakdown halfway through which is massively 80’s synth inspired, but I love it!

The final track, ‘Bootlickers’, is slightly faster, and probably my favourite of the three. With a nice pulsing beat, and bass driven melody, we get to hear the full tormented delights of the vocals, and it peaks and troughs just in the right places. This is definitely the tune playing in the back rooms of the aforementioned clubs, where you’ll likely find a dominatrix and some dude in a gimp mask and leather straps!

This little EP is pleasingly very well produced, too. The balance of sounds is spot on, and the instrumentation is great, considering it’s a solo project. My main criticism is that I want more of it! Three tracks isn’t enough!

If you like anything remotely techno/cybergoth/industrial/Gary Numan, then you’ll like this!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Year Of The Fuck
02. Kustom Kar Kollision
03. Bootlickers

LINKS:
www.skinflick.org.uk/
www.facebook.com/skinflickx
www.skinflickx.bandcamp.com/
www.soundcloud.com/skinflick
www.reverbnation.com/skinflickx
www.youtube.com/skinflickinc

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. 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.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020 – Lullaby For A Unicorn

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales Heat 2 – Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020

Bloodstock M2TM 2020 – North Wales, Heat 2
Mcleans, Pentre 07/03/2020
Review & Pictures by Beth Jones

We were still dusting ourselves down from the first heat of this year’s Metal 2 The Masses North Wales, when suddenly, quicker than you could say ‘get me on the New Blood stage’, it was time for heat 2! Originally this heat was going to be taking place in Bangor, on the North West Wales coast, but sadly the venue is now an ex-venue. However, because this is North Wales, and the NEW Metal Productions team can handle pretty much anything, it was reorganised to our regular haunt, Mcleans, Pentre!

Five bands were set to take to the stage in this heat, and there were rumblings that this was going to be the toughest heat we had ever seen. Our very own Rick Tilley was asked to stand in as a judge on this heat, as one of the regulars, Phoenix Rising’s John Matthews, was unable to attend. It was pretty certain the judges were going to have a hard task. The ‘order of service’, drawn before we arrived, was Winter Hotel, Thrashatouille, Lullaby For A Unicorn, Krank, and Leatherback. This was going to be fun!

Winter Hotel

Hailing from Bangor, these guys play a hard hitting, modern alternative metal style with a pretty hefty punch. They haven’t been round that long and were using a stand-in bass player. While they had done a fair bit of prep for this, bringing with them printed lyric sheets for the judges, their relative infancy showed in their stage craft, which this year is one of the main things the judges are looking at. Musically they were great, and the charisma of front man, Warren Porter, did shine through. But, in my opinion, they weren’t quite ready, performance wise. However, this is something that will come with practice, and more gigging. They definitely have something exciting to give; they just need to work out how to present it.

https://www.facebook.com/WinterHotelband/

Thrashatouille

We’ve seen these guys a good few times now, including last year’s M2TM North Wales, where they narrowly missed getting a spot in the final. Not to be downtrodden, they decided to return this year to give it another go. It was instantly noticeable that they had a new toy on stage – front man Rob Sutton had a synth that goes boom (not a technical term, but good enough to describe it – I’m old and all this synth trickery goes over my head)! I love the effect that you get out of them, so was looking forward to seeing how he used it, and to seeing how they’d come on since last year. I was not disappointed! From the first chord, to the final boooom, they were bloody brilliant! By far the best we have ever seen them perform. Their madcap food-based death/thrash metal, complete with inflatables, energetic movement on and off the stage from Rob, and a healthy dose of booooooom, was totally something I could imagine going down a storm on the New Blood stage. Epic performance!

https://www.facebook.com/Thrashatouille/

Lullaby For A Unicorn

After being within touching distance of the New Blood stage, as one of last years’ runners-up in the M2TM North Wales final, it was no surprise to see these guys coming to give it another go. I’ve lost count how many times we’ve watched them play but was still as eager to see them again. They are quirky and have an endearing band personality that makes you feel happy, despite the manic and slightly psychotic look in front man Justin Williams’ eyes! They seem to have a bit of a curse on them in this competition though, and they do have a nasty habit of over thinking it. In this performance, a gremlin had got into the sound, and they were plagued with feedback, which I feel threw them off their game a bit. There was none of the usual party popper madness either, which was possibly like taking away their comfort blanket. I still really enjoyed their set though, as I always do, and I was very hopeful that the audience would see past the gremlins, because I know what their ‘A game’ is like.

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Krank

We last saw Krank in the M2TM heats two years ago, and back then they just weren’t ready, so I was interested to see how they’d come on. Musically they have definitely come a long way, and they make a very good sound together. Carrying on the theme of the evening, it was quirky, humorous, and heavy. They’d obviously spent a bit of time thinking about their stage show, as they had a projector playing a random video in the background, and they also had a large ‘Doomsday clock’ displayed on a laptop for the audience, and the front man to see, as apparently they have a tendency to run over time! They’d brought a lot of fans with them, so they went down well with the crowd. They threw a load of miniature squeaky rubber chickens in to crowd at the start of the set too, which caused a bit of a gigglesome fracas. Unfortunately, even though I think they’re really good musically, something about the front man’s over the top, bullishness really irks me. I find it irritating. Yes, I’m a grumpy old woman, but I just think he needs to tone it down a bit. Let the music do some of the talking, and please, for the love of god, put your tits away! Oh, and another thing – my daughter has now stolen the squeaky rubber chicken we brought home and will not stop squeaking it! Goddamn you!!

https://www.facebook.com/krankislife/

Leatherback

The final performance of the evening was a one-man techno/industrial/metal crossover. My first thought was, ‘I hope they’re going to put the stage lights back on, because the photos won’t be much good otherwise!’ I asked the all-knowing Fozzy, and his response was ‘Just wait and see’. Hmmm, I’m not good with surprises! When the performance started, it became clear what Fozzy meant! Strobe… Lots and lots of strobe! It was like being in a 90s rave! Musically, there were samples, synths and pedals being controlled like clockwork by Matt, aka Leatherback. At the same time, he was playing some pretty tight rhythm guitar. Combined with the strobing and colour changing lights, also controlled by the music, it made for a pretty hallucinogenic experience! I had issues with this performance though, both as a lover of old-school, and as a photographer. He does what he does very well, and with a lot of skill, however what he does, and what I like musically are two very different things. My second issue was the lights. I spent so long looking directly at a strobe, trying to actually capture some useable photos, that my eye and the side of my face went completely numb. That was my cue to leave. I’m going to leave it at that. Clever, but not my cup of tea! It did get the audience going, but on a performance level, I don’t think that it would transpose to a big stage like the New Blood.

https://www.facebook.com/leatherbackworld/

So, with all the bands done, it was time to vote. For me, there was one clear winner, who stood head and shoulders above the rest – Thrashatouille. After a short break, for the judges to deliberate and the audience to cast their votes, master of ceremonies, Beany, returned to the stage to announce the results. I totally couldn’t call it, so can imagine how tough it was for the judges.

First to be announced, and winners of the public vote were Krank, which is a good bit of statistical evidence that other bands should take notice of – the more people you bring with you to your heat, the more likely it is that you’ll win the public vote (unless you really suck and all the people you brought secretly hate you!). The band taking the judges vote, because of their musical ability, professionalism, stage craft and preparation (and rightfully so, if you ask me) were Thrashatouille!

This heat had definitely been a tough one, and it was sad that there had to be winners and losers, but, by definition, that’s what competition is. Onwards and upwards my friends, onwards and upwards! Next up! Heat 3, which takes place on 4th April

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/m2tmofficial/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/phoenixrisingrocks/

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. 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.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 1 21/02/20 – Lullaby For A Unicorn

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Pentre Fest 2020 – Day 1 – 21/02/2020

Pentre Fest 2020 Day One
Mcleans, Pentre, North Wales
21/02/2020
Review by Rick Tilley & Alun Jones
Pictures by Beth Jones

Hi Everyone – It’s Rick.

Before you get into reading about Day One at Pentre Fest I would like send our love to Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester of North East Wales Metal Productions. Very sadly, Fozzy’s Mum passed away just before the Festival yet, in what must have been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family, Fozzy was present on both days manning the sound desk on the acoustic stage and running the event in the professional manner to which we have become accustomed. Many of you reading this know Fozzy and what a gem of a bloke he is and I hope you can all join me in wishing him and his family all the very best. This review is dedicated to Fozzy’s Mum!

It doesn’t seem possible that this was our third trip to Pentre Fest, the last two years seem to have gone by in a blur of gigs, photos, reviews, interviews, albums and laughs but, once again, Ian ‘Fozzy’ Forrester, Ian ‘Beany’ North and Frank Williams of North East Wales Metal Productions had assembled a ‘must see’ line-up of bands and acoustic acts who would be appearing over the two days at Mcleans, Pentre. Our gratitude and thanks must go out to them for continuing to persevere at a time when getting people to come out and see original music is something of a struggle. I would also like to welcome our colleague, friend and fellow Ever Metal reviewer Alun Jones who was at the Festival on both days and has kindly submitted his thoughts on some of the bands!

Pentre isn’t a big place and, therefore, Mcleans is somewhat stuck in the middle of The Twilight Zone so, within an hour of arriving on Friday evening, it was wonderful to see that so many people were turning up. This was easily the biggest crowd we had seen at the venue for any event. On top of that we knew pretty much everyone so the atmosphere was amazing!

Oliver Carins (Scarfoot)

Local legend Edd Case, who usually hosts the acoustic stage, wasn’t around on the Friday as he was very poorly, and with us also being in the midst of a series of storms bad enough to get their own names the decision had been made to move the second stage inside so after a small delay, Oliver Carins (Vocalist/Guitarist with Scarfoot) got things underway with a wonderful cover of John Butler’s ‘Ocean’. Personally, I think Oliver’s confidence has grown considerably over the last few months but this was the first time I had seen him playing acoustically and a very talented guitarist he is indeed!

In what seemed like seconds Oliver was done and, suddenly, we were all heading to see Cry For Mercy open things up properly on the Main Stage.

Cry For Mercy

If you want to open a Festival with a bang then Rock/Blues power trio Cry For Mercy provide it. We’ve now seen them a fair few times over the last twelve months and they never disappoint. Vocalist/bassist Kevin James Plant has a wonderfully soulful voice with just the right amount of gravel (he can sure play the bass well when he wants to as well), guitarist Andy Cutty lets the riffs fly and the solos fly higher and drummer Steven Taylor provides an ultra-solid beat with plenty of smiles. They treated us to some brand new tracks from their forthcoming EP as well as from last year’s “Overload” release and they all ROCK! It struck me a few weeks back that they remind me a little of Mama’s Boys, who I saw play on a number of occasions in the 1980’s and that’s high praise because I’m a big fan of Pat ‘The Professor’ McManus. Cry For Mercy = Excellent!

https://www.facebook.com/cryformercyofficial/

Scarfoot

Back on the acoustic stage it was time for Oliver again but this time with the rest of Scarfoot. They all know how Beth and I feel but I’m going to say it again. Since new bassist Rhys Jones joined them last year Scarfoot have gone from strength to strength. There is a new found confidence in them and it shines through in their performances. This was a first for them as they had never played a ‘stripped back’ set before but it worked very well. As I have become more familiar with their music it’s fair to say that it isn’t your standard fare. It combines many influences and genres and comes across as occasionally schizophrenic (in a good way) and having two vocalists (drummer Phil Eakins also sings) sets them apart. If you’re familiar with the band Primus, imagine a saner version of them and you’ll be on the path that leads to the road that sits on the hill that Scarfoot inhabit. Lovely guys too!

https://www.facebook.com/thescarfootband/

Lullaby For A Unicorn

Off to the main stage again. This time it was for (drum roll) the one…the only…the leg-ends… Lullaby For a Unicorn!! These four guys have become really good friends over the last couple of years and we love ‘em to bits. Before they went on stage we were treated to lots of stories of their antics the previous week when they played the main stage at HRH Metal and predictably they had us in stitches (if you haven’t already then go and seek out the photos online). For this gig they had a new friend on stage…a synthesizer, apparently something they will be using a lot more in the future. It was a superb addition to their arsenal and turned vocalist Justin into a demented looking/sounding Jean-Michel Jarre! There wasn’t a colouring competition this time but we were treated to the usual array of Party Poppers/Cannons and, in an attempt to get the audience to love them even more than they already do, had bought shots for everyone which they dished out mid-set. Never predictable but always fantastic, Lullaby For A Unicorn are totally unique. In an age with thousands of sound-alike bands we should all be very thankful for that!

https://www.facebook.com/rockmyunicorn/

Daniel Moran

After replenishing our drinks (reviewing is very thirsty work I’ll have you know!) we went back to the restaurant…er, I mean acoustic stage, to see the next act, Daniel Moran.

I’ve seen Dan twice before, once with his previous band Ashen Reach and at Beth’s Charity Gig last December with his main band, the wonderful Reaper, but I had yet to see him perform acoustically and what a talent he is, especially for someone so young! He launched into a fabulous set, punctuated with jokes and witty banter and it’s plainly obvious that he lives, eats and breathes music. He has incredible vocal range, is a fabulous guitarist and relishes every moment that he can play and entertain. Finishing with a cover of ‘Why?’ from Devin Townsends’s most recent album “Empath” would be a challenge for most, but not Dan, who pretty much nailed every note and left the audience in awe. He is also a lovely chap so do me a favour and go and watch him wherever you can. People like Dan don’t come around too often!

https://www.facebook.com/DanielMoranMerseyside/

Impavidus

With the turnaround time between the two stages working like clockwork, by the time I’d been to the loo and had a quick vape the mighty Impavidus were already half way through their opening track over on the main stage. It had been more than a year since I had last seen them live, far too long for my liking, and I was soon banging my head as much as my battered spine would allow me to. Vocalist Michelle Adamson has the voice of an angel and devil rolled into one. Her clean singing is haunting but her growl matches Angela Gossow for venom. In fact, classic era Arch Enemy is who Impavidus remind me of most. They may possess huge groove and power and be as heavy as a stampeding rhino but melody plays a massive part in the music and their songs are incredibly catchy. It was also great to see their ex-drummer, the gentleman that is John Badger, fill in for them one last time! Impavidus really should be more well-known than they are!

https://www.facebook.com/impavidusuk/

After the wonderful set from Impavidus I was hurting and in need of a break so I’m now going to pass you over to Alun who went to watch the final act of the night on the acoustic stage.

Ryuko

Ryuko presented a couple of surprises on Friday night’s acoustic stage. First off, they were fully plugged in and electric. Second, they play more of an alternative rock sound, which was something of a contrast to the majority of other Pentre Fest bands. Readers may not be aware, though, that I am in fact King of Grunge, with my 90’s credentials well proven. Ryuko’s set included some melody and even jangly pop along with heavier riffs, which was an enjoyable diversion in a Dinosaur Jr/Nirvana style. Well performed, Ryuko just need to test their audience further and throw in additional surprises in either a ‘Negative Creep’ or ‘About a Girl’ vein.

https://www.facebook.com/RyukoBand/

With medication taken, drink in hand and the pain in my back calming down a little bit I returned to the main hall to find our ‘Master Of Ceremonies’ Beany hosting The Tequila Game! This was basically The Jäger Game without Jäger!! It involves a large number of slightly inebriated and good-natured MetalHeads rolling pound coins towards a bottle of booze to see who can get the closest. Winner gets the bottle and the money raised goes to charity. It is always good fun and was the perfect lead in to our Friday night headliner…

Witch Tripper

If you haven’t seen, or at least heard of, Witch Tripper then you must live under a rock at the bottom of the sea. On any given weekend they will be playing somewhere in the UK or Ireland and they never stop. They arrived at Pentre Fest with incredible new drummer, Christopher Reed, in tow and proceeded to do what Witch Tripper does magnificently…blow the roof off. Vocalist/Lead Guitarist Richie Barlow is a manic ball of sweat and hair by the end of the first track and bassist ‘Stoff’ is a slightly more reserved, but no less brilliant rumble of thunder. Together, the three of them play an enticing mix of Stoner, Rock, Metal and Grunge all held together with lashings of heavy groove and they never fail to put a smile on your face, regardless of how many times you’ve seen them. As usual they were on fire and brought the Friday proceedings to a close, just as it had started a few hours earlier, with a bang!

https://www.facebook.com/witchtripperuk/

With an audible sigh, that only happens when every band has played a blinder, the crowd started dispersing to different areas of the pub for another swift pint, a smoke, a chat and to chill before heading out into the horrendous weather (the wind sounded like something out of a Hammer Horror film) to waiting Camper Vans, Hotels or homes. It had been an incredibly successful evening not just from a band perspective but also for the number of people who had turned up. As usual, Beth and I were completely knackered and hurting but we both knew that the line-up for Saturday was going to be brilliant…

…To Be Continued!

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/pentrefest/
https://www.facebook.com/N.E.WMetalProductions/
https://www.facebook.com/GoodforaudioEntertainment/
https://www.facebook.com/McleansPubLive/
https://www.facebook.com/Powerzonemetal/
https://www.facebook.com/TheImpactZoneOnRadioDeeside/
https://www.facebook.com/LA1Audio/
https://www.facebook.com/evermetal2017/

Disclaimer: This review and photographs are solely the property of Rick Tilley, Beth Jones, Alun Jones and Ever Metal. 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.

Top Ten Photographic Moments of 2019

Top Ten Photographic Moments of 2019
By Beth Jones

Hi Everyone – Rick Here. For her Top Ten, Beth has decided to do something different this year and that’s present you with the favourite music photos that she took this year and to tell you why they are special to her. I’d like to thank her for all the hard work she has put into Ever Metal in 2019, live reviews, album reviews and ever improving photography, as well as getting me to and from all the gigs we have attended and last, but certainly not least, being my fabulous other half and keeping me in check lol!!
This year’s been a funny old year. It started off strongly, with the prospect of a blisteringly full gig calendar, but, for one reason or another, ended up not being quite as full as we’d hoped. Looking back through my pictures from this year has reminded me of the brilliant gigs that we did attend, as well as the amazing people we have encountered along the way. With that in mind, I decided that my top ten photographs from 2019 would not necessarily be the sharpest shots that I caught, but instead would be the pictures that captured something special and mean more than just the image. So here they are; my top ten photographic moments of 2019.
01 Number #10 Evil Scarecrow

#10 Evil Scarecrow
@ The Tivoli, Buckley 31/01/2019

Way back at the beginning of the year, on a cold, snowy evening, my eldest, Sian and I headed over to The Tiv, my old haunt from yesteryear, to watch Evil Scarecrow, Footprints in the Custard, and Ten Foot Wizard. It was an awesome and crazy gig, but also the first outing of my new lens, which is always a fun time for a tog!


02 Number #9 Midnight Prophecy

#9 Midnight Prophecy
@ Pentrefest Summer Sessions, Mcleans Pentre 06/07/2019

Pentrefest, and the Pentrefest Summer Sessions, have both been awesome this year, but Midnight Prophecy’s set took it to a whole new level of awesomeness. We had seen these guys at the end of last year in Manchester and were impressed, but they managed to blow us away even more at this gig. I also chose this photo as bass players just don’t get enough recognition! Ladies and gents, I give you Pete Mansfield, awesome bass man!


03 Number #8 Lullaby For A Unicorn
#8 Lullaby For A Unicorn
@ Bloodstock North Wales M2TM Final, Penny Black / XS Wrexham 07/06/2019

These guys! They are my boys. They didn’t win the final, but as always, they gave it their all in the madcap way that only they know how. They frustrated me at this gig, because they overthought it, but it doesn’t stop them making the list, mainly because they are just great people. This is a picture of their lovely bassist, Anthony Baxter, who is another fabulous bass man!


04 Number #7 Red Method
#7 Red Method
@Rabidfest 2019, The Bullingdon, Oxford 17/08/2019

Rabidfest ended up being our only festival this year, but it was a good one, so that made the pain of missing out on many others more bearable. We met some fantastic people, including, at long last, Ever Metal’s Sheri Bicheno! It also introduced me to my band of the weekend, and probably my favourite performance of the year – Red Method, who absolutely blew my mind, and they were properly nice chaps too.


05 Number #6 Arkdown

#6 Arkdown
@ The G21, The Saddle Tock Bar, Chester 05/10/2019

It was a dreary October night and, once again, Sian accompanied me to Chester to see Scarfoot, In Which It Burns, and Arkdown. We already knew Scarfoot from previous gigs, but it was the first time seeing them with their new bassist, and the improvement in their sound was huge, which really pleased me. In Which It Burns were a new name to me, but I loved them, and Arkdown were another new name and they absolutely smashed it! This was made all the more commendable by the fact that the audience was tiny. I got really mad about this, because they and the performance they gave deserved so much more. If you ever get the chance to get out and see Arkdown, especially if it is round here, please do so, you won’t regret it.


06 Number #5 Severenth
#5 Severenth – The Comeback Show
@The Live Rooms, Chester 05/07/2019

Severenth had been a name that I vaguely remembered from a few years back but hadn’t paid much attention to. When rumblings of a comeback show came about, we decided that we should go and check them out, seeing as they were local. Bugger me, am I glad we did! For a start, the venue was absolutely packed to the rafters, which made for an electric atmosphere! Lullaby For A Unicorn opened the night, then In Depths played as main support, and Severenth headlined. Every act was superb, and I was in awe of Severenth vocalist Peet Bailey, not just for his versatile voice, but also for his epic dreads! Great night!


07 Number #4 Twisted Illusion

#4 Twisted Illusion – The Excite The Light Tour
@ The Zanzibar, Liverpool 12/05/2019

Matt Jones is a colourful character, and some people just can’t get on with him because of that, but for me he is not only a really nice guy, but unquestionably one of the most talented musicians and songwriters I have ever experienced. It was a privilege to be at this gig, and the emotion and effort that he put into every single second of this performance had me blubbing like a baby. There is nothing flash about the Twisted Illusion stage show, it is just Matt and his bunch of equally talented musicians letting the music speak, and it is beautiful.


08 Number #3 Fun Times
#3 Fun Times – Pentrefest Summer Sessions 2019
@Mcleans Pentre 06/07/2019

This picture sums up how music, and our little scene, makes us feel. In it are Michael Randall, bassist and resident Tigger impersonator with Mad Spanner, and my wonderful other half, and Ever Metal commander in chief, Richard Tilley. It was a great capture of the mood on that day. Whiling away the hours, listening to great music and having excellent fun with some of the best friends you could wish for. All problems are left at the gate, and life is perfect, for a day at least.


09 Number #2 Inspiration - Will Tudor
#2 Inspiration – Will Tudor
@ The Amplified Press Day 20/04/2019

We all know now that Amplified 2019 didn’t happen, and that was very sad and upsetting for a lot of people. I will admit that I cried a lot, for a long time, and not because I wasn’t going to see the bands, or have fun in a field for a weekend, but because it meant that I missed out on the chance to work alongside, and learn more about our craft from this man; Mr Will Tudor, who over the last two years, since I first picked up a camera, has been an inspiration and a guide for me. So thank you Will, you have no idea how much your input has meant to both Sian and me.


10 Number #1 The Fans
#1 Love Music – The Fans
@ All The Venues On All The Dates 2019

My number one picture for this year was shot at Rabidfest, at the end of Red Method’s blistering set, but it could have been taken at any one of the other gigs and more. It simply sums up the reason that bands make music, and in turn the reason why I get to go out and pursue something I love – photographing bands making music. If it wasn’t for the fans, there would be no bands, and the world would be a much darker place. So, thank you, to all of you, for sharing the passion that we all feel for the music, and getting out to watch it live, which tops off any other feeling in the world!
Peace, love and respect to you all. Merry Christmas x
 
 
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. 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.