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Sixfields Rock Festival, 21-22/07/18

 

Sixfields Rock Festival, 21-22/07/18

Duston Mill Northampton

Day One

Now in its third year Sixfields Rock Festival started off as a one- day event: one stage and a small beer tent, last year it expanded to a three-day event three stages, camping and over forty bands including Girlschool and Stray. This year it was to be different again: one stage over two days. The main bands were to be playing in the afternoon and the evening was to be for the covers and tribute bands as the organisers found this is what the overall attitude was of the punters. Myself, I’m old school and love to see original bands and hear new things but I appreciate it is a way of hearing your heroes music without having to pay the huge prices at the arenas and gigs; it’s a case of horses for courses I guess?.

I mention the organisers who are Mark Sawer and the legend that is Andy Green who, with a dedicated team of guys, shift gear and set the stages up to put this festival on for everyone. Andy week in and week out oozes blood sweat and beer to put on gigs and events for the people of Northamptonshire and deserves every bit of praise he gets.

Kicking off the proceedings were local boys NUMB: Lee vocals, Darren guitars, Barney bass, and James drums. Formed in 2015 they recently released their first self-titled album. This was their second outing at the fest and the moment they started with Time Of Need I noticed a difference: with James’ heavy double pedalling and thumping sound this ex-Cerebral Scar drummer definitely brings a new dynamic to the band along with Lees incredible voice range and Barney’s heavy bass. If anyone was still tired, I’m sure by the time these guys had finished their set everyone was wide awake, a great opener.

Second band up were Via Dollarosa: another local group fronted by the high heeled Hailey Ducker with her looong legs and mini skirt I’m sure many fans were more interested in her than the music, (I know two who were) along with Mark Denham guitar, Liam Durrant Bass, and Chris Whitley Drums a post punk alternative rock band that play very loud and by the time they were into their fourth song Control the fans were more interested in the music instead of the singer. I spoke to Hailey after and said she reminded me of Siouxsie Sioux with her voice but she wasn’t getting that: sorry Hailey, but it was a compliment. If you like a hard LOUD punk sound give this band a go.

Third band of the day: a glam rock band and I know they wouldn’t mind me saying that, White Coast Rebels. They look and play 80s metal but with a modern style, an Anglo-Spanish rock metal band complete with eyeliner and bandanas, with a base in London and the European sin city Benidorm. With songs like Hangin’ with the Bad Boys, Lock Up Your Daughters, So Many Chicks they have been compared to Steel Panther, but they play their music much more seriously; they even have the names: Johnny Hellraiser lead guitar and vocals, Acey Lust bass and vocals, Rob E Wolf guitar and vocals, and finally Dangerous Dave Sabatero on drums. Yes, I can see the comparison to Panther, but this is no comedy group: they play serious hard and heavy metal.

Due to traffic problems the next band Spreading The Disease were going to be late. This meant that some bands were going to have to play slightly shorter sets as there was a 10.30 curfew, but with the sun absolutely scorching by now I’m sure none of them minded that one bit!

Spread hail from Kent and have two vocalists: Connor Russel Snyder doing the black metal thing, and Martin Osbourne guitars and backing vocals, Steve Saunders the head man of the band bass and vocals and the wonderfully named Jack Apella on drums. Having Connor and Martin mixing it up gives them an interesting multi-layered vibe and they played songs from their Viral EP and their 2017 album Insurrection, with the first two song on the said album: Find My Path and Words Unspoken with complex drum patterns from Saunders along with a mix of angry aggressive falling into calm lyrics, this is an interesting band and I can only see bigger things happening for them.

Next a second outing for local four piece Over The Influence: Bex Lead vox, James guitar, Phoebe Bass, and Stu Drums, playing hard rock and roll with powerful vocals and chunky riffs along with sing along choruses definitely a crowd favourite

Anyone who has read any of my previous reviews will know what I think of the next band, EMPYRE, coming from Brackley Northamptonshire this hard-working four piece comprising Henryk on lead vocals guitar, Did Lead Guitar, Grant bass, and the one I call the quiet one, Jack, on drums deliver a unique atmospheric, dark introspective sound both in lyrics and in their music. Having played the Crauford Arms on the Friday night supporting Porcelain Hill and had just finished performing at the local Brackley beer fest this very morning and then driving here to play shows you their dedication and work ethic: they have many EPs and are in the process of producing their first long awaited album. They played a slightly shorter set than planned but still included favourites like Stone, My Bad and New Republic.

Time for a couple of beers in the searing heat before the second outing for local favourites Stormbringer. Formed in the summer of 2011, now into their third album and having been on the stages of both Bloodstock Open Air and Download festivals, they are Jimi Brown vocals, Dom Wallace guitar, Jamie Peters guitar, Darren McCullagh bass, and John Paul Quantrill drums, with the charismatic front man Jimi throughout the set telling stories of the songs and thanking the fans for coming and supporting live bands. These guys play hard and heavy metal with an attitude: the power and energy these guys have has to be seen. They never let up delivering a powerhouse of sound, they have a statement: to rock as hard as we can, wherever we can and have a good time doing it, and man do they do that, a wonderful set once again lads.

Penultimate band of the band of the night and once again a second appearance at Sixfields, having played last year, was Yorkshire’s own OD Saxon. Speaking to people at the fest some thought these were another trib act, but they couldn’t be more wrong: Steve Dawson and Graham Oliver were founder members of Saxon along with Biff Byford: Dawson and Oliver left Saxon and in 1994 recruited Seventh Son’s lead singer Bri Shaughnessy along with drummer Paul Oliver (Graham’s son) and Gav Coulson guitar. Biff went on to keep the original Saxon name after a court battle but Ollie and Steve have the right to all the original songs as well, so not a tribute act at all. Probably the biggest crowd reaction of the night, playing all the hits: Strong Arm Of The Law, Dallas 1pm, 747 and more they have a fantastic front man in Bri who is not only a great singer and performer but also a comedian on stage as well. I love meeting these guys and chatting to them and they always give a fantastic performance.

Final act of the long day was to be a tribute act: Birmingham based Food Fighterz. They pride themselves on being the most authentic thing you’re going to get to seeing the real band and the crowd that was forming obviously proved what Andy and Mark said that the punters love trib acts. I’m sorry guys, it’s probably me, and where lead singer Gavin Leach may look like Dave Grohl, that’s where it ends: the voice is not powerful enough and Matt Handley you certainly aint no Taylor Hawkins but listen the crowd loved you and that’s all that matters.

Review by Dave Martin

Photos by Carol Henson aka LadyGigger

						
						

						
						

Sixfields Rock Festival, 21-22/07/18

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Sixfields Rocks Festival 21-22/07/18

Duston Mill Northampton Day 2

After a great host of bands yesterday, the people were ready for more today: once again in the baking hot sunshine.

First band today, a Bedford quintet: The Hero Dies First. Once again, a multi layered band that mix black metal and melodic voice. The band are Mikey Vocals, Michelle Vocals/Guitar, Jon Guitar, Andrew Bass, and Matthew Drums playing all the songs from their EP The Beginning Of The End Game part III they impressed me a lot, I have to admit I’m not into the entire black metal thing but this mix of two vocalists I do like, and the small crowd enjoyed them too.

Second band: Family Of Noise from Corby doing my homework I was surprised to find they have been going since 1993; shame on me for not knowing of you earlier. Two brothers Jim and Andy Holland and drummer Darren Starmer set the stage alight with their instrumental prowess: these guys have no vocals hence the band’s name and they play post punk sounds that remind you of Bauhaus, the Cure, Theatre of Hate, you know what I mean? The high screech guitar sound with dynamic harmonics and echo, they don’t need vocals as these lads definitely let the music tell the story; playing tunes from their two EPs but mostly from Full Potential the new one out now. I loved their performance the way each tune almost segued into each other, telling a story without lyrics. I really look forward to catching a full set of their’s on the road and I enjoyed meeting you guys.

For the crowd and especially this reviewer I was being spoiled with the next two bands, they were who I grew up listening to, in my twenties first was Satan’s Empire, coming out of the N.W.O.B.H.M stable in the eighties. Originally from Scotland but they then based themselves in London and had a short success and then, like so many other bands, went their separate ways; but with scores of fans begging them to appear again, after thirty years they have reformed: with Derek Lyon vocals, Paul Lewis Guitar, Sandy Mcritchie guitar, Wayne Hudson Bass, and are joined by the legendary Magpie on drums who has played with Mötorhead, Bernie Torm’e, and Ozzy Osborne. They played songs from their brand new album Rising, with Derek forever prowling the stage, fist pumping and giving the horns and screaming like a ferocious pit bull, the two double screaming sounds of Paul and Sandy’s guitars and Magpie beating the bejeejus out of the drums this was a powerful return to stage. The songs Dragon Slayer and the anthemic Shout it Out (Hail) especially stood out for me and with Hail The Empire and Secrets in the set, let’s just say this headbanger went away happy! Cheers Derek and the guys, see you on the road again.

Having seen one legendary band it was time for another, SACRILEGE. NOT to be confused with Sacrilege Official, the doom/thrash metal band, these guys are the real deal and play what I call proper rock. Once again out of the N.W.O.B.H.M. stable, although both Satan’s and Sacrilege prefer just to be called heavy metal bands, which is after all what they are. They reigned from 1982 to 1987 but before that a female fronted band took their name. Now they’re back and ready to rock again, but with the two bands having the same name Bill Beadle and the guys are finding it hard to get gigs: if you want to book his band put NWOBHM in front of it and you will find them. I remember back in the day I saw these guys at the Marquee Club in London and was pleased to see them on the Sixfields list of bands, and hearing songs like Lies from the new forthcoming album. The band are Bill Beadle guitar/lead vocals, Tony Vanner Guitar, Jeff Rolland Bass, and Neil Turnbull. Their influences are Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc and always had a theatrical stage show. In 2007 Bill decided to rerecord old SACRILEGE songs and started to write new material. Now I’m pleased to say with a new album on the way they are back and ready to show old fans and new that they can still play good old school metal the way it should be done; in fact, Bill’s falsetto is as good as it ever was. If like me you like vintage metal go and see these guys somewhere on the road.

The River Chickens from Leicestershire play original music along with covers fronted by the wonderfully named and always shirtless with wireless guitar Joel Wildgoose, along with Ben Milner Guitar, Ian Mitchie Bass, and Dave Abbott Drums. With nice twin guitar solos and anthemic songs the Chickens give a wonderful performance and the charismatic Joel with the energy and love he shows the audience can’t do anything but warm you to this band. Along with performing with the Chickens, Joel is an accomplished acoustic performer and has supported Joan Armatrading.

The last of the original bands were to be Fueled Hate with front man Raymond Lindsay who has to be the craziest mothafucker I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and I had been speaking to him all weekend as the band were camping, and he will know I mean that with love, a top man. These guys from Corby started out in 2012 and with a few band changes have now settled and the line up is Ray vocals/and general mayhem, Grem Darroch – guitar/back vocal, Barry Philips guitar, Lukas “Kozi” Mozdzenski – bass and David Lindsay – drums. They are a black street rap metal band and their sound is that of Anthrax and other thrash bands, but the main attention is Ray himself: the amount of energy this dude had on stage with the roasting day it was he must have had an energiser bunny up his arse, never standing still and introducing the band and saying, you had better fucking love this. The attitude and the interaction with the crowd, Ray jumping off stage and in your face screaming and (I think) singing, (sorry man, never understood a fucking word) but I love these guys. Ray I look forward to sinking a beer at a future gig with you, power to you brother.

The final two bands were to be tributes, the first, Motorpace a Motorhead trib with Andy Green himself on lead guitar. They get the name from the bassist, Mr Pace, who does a very good Lemmy. Incidentally all the band members are locals and in an original band, one of Andy’s called STILL REMAINS UK.

Final band of the festival and one of the longest sets was dirtyjACkDC from Oxfordshire, they played all the favourite AC/DC songs and their sound is one of the closest I have heard to the original band. Fronted by singer Matty Keefe, who has a great range in his voice and sounds very like Bon Scott, this hard-working band are getting quite a fanbase and you should check them out on one of their gigs.

Finally, a HUGE thank you to all the bands on Sunday who donated shirts for Marcus the headbanging dude in the wheelchair: he only has upper body movement and very little speech. There was no merch that day and he really wanted a shirt so LadyGigger and I sorted it with the bands, and by the end of the night he had six shirts. You are all heroes and I know how much it meant to him.

ALSO, A BIG THANK YOU to Andy and all the hard- working staff who help to put on this festival. It is now in its third year and the one thing I noticed is the small attendance, this is a huge ground and it is very cheap: TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS FOR A WEEKEND and TEN POUNDS CAMPING! The stage is minutes from the camp site, no mud: hard ground, good beer and food. If you enjoyed yourself tell your friends, word of mouth goes a long way and the more people who attend this festival each year the more it will help Andy and the crew to keep it going: LET’S KEEP MUSIC LOUD AND LIVE.

Review by Dave Martin, Photos by Carol Henson aka LadyGigger.

 

Sixfields 2

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