Still in its infancy, Breaking Bands Festival has yet again shown how to organise, run and sell a music festival that was sold out way before the event. And, over the May bank holiday weekend and following days, it was receiving rave reviews from the many happy punters that took in the bands and frivolities.
The rather unassuming site and venue had being transformed into a Metal-heads summer camp with cheap, well stocked bars, a great selection of food, 2 stages and with the addition of glorious sunshine meant everyone had a great time.
Added to this the theme of Wild West there was a bucking bronco and many of the punters sporting wild and wacky fancy dress. When you look into what you actually get for the meagre £30 ticket cost it makes you think who is ripping who off at the big festivals!
It’s so hard not to mention all the bands over the weekend as the quality was exceptional but here are some of my highlight’s from the weekend.
First night as ever involves lots of alcohol as everyone gets into the festival spirit and by the time the bands hit the stage everyone was ready for a night of music, for me openers Skarthia and Reign of Fury edged it. Just prior to ROF taking the stage ex bass player Paul Bielby had his head shaved to raise money for Birmingham Children’s hospital where his son was treated, festivals like this are so much more than beer and music.
Saturday and most people emerged from their scorching tents with not only mighty hangovers but also sporting various sunburnt appendages that ranged from “mildly done” to “God that’s gotta hurt”.
Stage 2 was set aside for the acoustic sessions, opened and hosted by Ian Bourne. It featured some great bands that included Cadence Noir who pulled off a great set of mainly covers – but included a few from their live set – and there was also a welcome return for Resin who after playing an awesome set last year were invited back for the acoustic stage, great choice.
Crowsaw who followed played a great cut down chilled out acoustic set but one of the highlights for me and many was Chris Appleton who was joined by his brother Luke for the session. Even acoustically he showed why he is fast becoming one of the finest rock guitarists around.
The early part of the day showed why festivals like this really work well as the line-up ranged from a great rock set from Crash In Clouds to a gut wrenching, blood curdling set from Bloodyard that even made bassist Dave Cowley fall over and partly demolish the drum kit. I’ll give him his due, though, he didn’t miss a note. Vocalist Donna Hurd’s gut wrenching vocals near on turned the place inside out, for a wee lass she sure can belt it out .
Superhooch were one of my bands of the weekend as they hit the groove with their fuzzed out garage rock set full of energy and great licks, strangely enough so were Welcome Back Delta on Sunday who had a similar heavy blues fuzz infused rock which is definitely a style and sound that resonates with me.
Cadence Noir who had earlier played a great set on the acoustic stage now hit us all cylinders firing. Speaking to vocalist Mr Noir the night before he mentioned that he was unsure whether their style would fit in with the festival, I think the crowd reaction when they played put any nerves to bed and they went down a storm. Think of Dani Filth meets Willie Nelson and there is the attitude of the band and music, awesome fiddle paying atop acoustic goth metal.
If I had to pick a set of the weekend then I would have to go with Trucker Diablo, awesome sound, awesome songs and such a great band on and off stage. Having seen them only a few months ago on the Off Yer Rocka tour in Sheffield I was already warmed to their music but the show at Breaking Bands topped any that I had seen them play previously.
Saturday headliners Evil Masquerade were true to the saying ‘The Show Must Go On’ as they battled through van breakdowns and expensive taxi rides to get to the venue just because they didn’t want to let the crowd down, all credit to them as they played an awesome set to close off what had been an awesome day.
Sunday certainly bought a mixed bag of styles to the stage, Silent Jack tore our eyelids open and gave us a quick injection of sleazy hard rock, Crowsaw whom I have seen previously at HRH Blues kicked out a tight set of hard rock with a bluesy tinge. They definitely have a more rock oriented sound now that suits them well.
A Jokers Rage offered up their wares and filled the room with smoke as they bounced around the stage like they bounced around various styles, followed by the strangely named Thunderfuck and the Deadly Romantics.
Topping of the weekend Blaze Bayley was coming to the end of his latest tour for the new album ‘Infinite Entanglement’ and it was also his birthday. The set was as strong as I’ve heard him and no doubt helped by his band which is essentially Chris Appleton and Absolva.
Parkin Lot played the night out with a great covers set to all those that were still standing, a great chilled way to end what has been a great weekend of music.
Whilst the festival had some great headliners its motto of ‘Discover your new Favourite Band’ really did show in the line-up. Indeed I was only familiar with around a third of the bands prior to the festival but came away with a good few more to bolster the CD collection as I’m sure everyone else did.
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
SKARTHIA, LEFT FOR RED, METAPRISM, WRETCHED TOAD, REIGN OF FURY
CRASH IN CLOUDS, BLOODYARD, BLACK STAR BULLET , SUPERHOOCH, VALOUS, NYCOSIA, CADENCE NOIR, GODSLAVE, CHASING DRAGONS, TRUCKER DIABLO, EVIL MASQUERADE
SILENT JACK, BEDHED, CROWSAW, KILL ALL THE GENTLEMEN, A TOWER OF CROWS, A JOKER’S RAGE ,
THUNDERFUCK AND THE DEADLY ROMANTICS, HELL’S ADDICTION, WELCOME BACK DELTA, BLAZE BAYLEY, PARKIN LOT
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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