Even arriving at the venue I had no idea what to expect, I’d never tried anything quite like this before and there were a few moments in the months leading up to this date that I kind of wished I hadn’t. I knew we’d assembled a stunning lineup of great bands and I felt I owed it to them to make the event a success, after all how many first time small festivals attract bands form as far away as Norway? So I had the lineup, I had the venue, it certainly had the buzz.
All we needed now were people to come….
Arriving at the venue I had my first proper of “oh my god, this is real” moment when I saw our posters (designed by the awesome CJ from Triaxis) up outside the venue. I know I’d been looking at these for months on the computer screen as we refined the design, but here they were, out there, in the real world. Eeek.
So, deep breath… Knock on the door.
No one there yet. Go for a Kebab.
One of my biggest worries leading up to the gig was sorting out the gear situation. Sassy Krsimspri and Trucker Diablo were traveling light so would need to borrow everything apart from their guitars, but the other bands were more than happy to share their cabs and heads which I thought was brilliant of them. A special thanks to Giles form Triaxis for letting everyone use his uber-cool drum kit too. So, on paper we were covered and everything was as planned as I could get it. All we needed now was a little luck…
After the soundchecks and the introductions (and pointing the bands at the substantial quantity of alcohol in the dressing room) the doors opened to the public, and Twitrfest 2010 was officially underway. I was concerned that with the doors opening at 4 and the first band on at 5 Oaf may have been playing to an empty room, but I need not have worried as there was a decent crowd assembled when Dom and James took to the stage to be introduced to the crowd by compere Jim Beerman from Top Rock Radio.
Oaf are an, erm, visually distinctive band. Bassist / Shoutist Dom Lawson’s jeans and t-shirt look contrasting completely with the tweed, cardigan and bow tie of drummer James. After the usual “yes, there are two of us. No, no lead guitar” conversation with the DJ filling in as a sound man tonight Oaf kicked things off in good style with Todd Bernhardt Is A Friend Of Mine, causing all the virgins to take a step back. If ever there were a band to defy expectations it’s Oaf
When you first meet James you can’t really equate this rather dapper gent with the ferocity of his drumming. He looks like he’d be more at home in a 50s jazz club but by god can he smack the crap out of his kit. Then there’s Dom who has an on-stage larger than life shouty persona which is at complete variance with his quiet, shy…. no, that’s a lie. He’s the same off-stage. Dom is a top front man, albeit inclined to go on a bit between songs and overrun slightly. And he’s no slouch on the bass either
Among old favorites like A Euphemism For Tits and Black Whale, Oaf treated us to a couple of new tracks from their upcoming second album, probably. Inkeeping with the seriousness with which this band take themselves the first new track was We Know Why You’re Rubbish At Darts, followed by a deep and meaningful critique of modern religion called Marker Pen Cocks. About graffiti. On the wailing wall.
As Dom said, “if it all goes wrong, just blame Jesus”.
What a way to start the festival.
The original idea of Twitrfest was for me to invite my on-line mates to come, and I was delighted that a sizable contingent from Northern Ireland made the trip across, spearheaded by one of the province’s hottest talents Trucker Diablo.
I really liked Trucker’s debut album. The Devil Rhythm was as good an example of proper “southern rock” as anything else I heard last year, but good as it was it only hinted at how powerful this band were live. This is real grab you by the balls driven hard rock played by guys who live to do exactly this.
Trucker Diablo don’t do complicated. It’s straight up rock without any of the frills that other bands need to use to augment their whole aura. I think perhaps the best intro we heard all night was “This is a song about a big truck, it’s called big truck”.
This is another band that you feel are on the verge of bigger things. If their performance at Twitrfest is anything to go by you won’t be seeing them in these little venues for very much longer. The guys have some summer festival dates coming up in Europe, go see them if you can.
If I was pleased that Trucker Diablo had come across from Northern Ireland for the gig, I was absolutely beside myself with excitement that Sassy Kraimspri had traveled all the way from Norway to be here. I’d met the band a few months back when they recorded their Pussy Magnet E.P. and was really looking forward to finally seeing them live.
Sassy and the band lived up to the finest traditions of Punk by showing up for their set with minutes to spare, and missing a drummer. Fortunately just when they were starting to worry about how many acoustic songs they knew Stonehard showed up just in time and he was literally pushed straight onto the stage..
After the difficulties of making it this far (I’m sure Stonehard was about 10 seconds from REALLY getting on Sassy’s bad side) and figuring out how to turn on the bass amp the band just looked relieved to be on stage doing what they do best.
Sassy has some great tunes, but it was the ones from the recent E.P. that really stood out for me, particularly Hit which sounded amazing with Sassy looking, erm, not unattractive while guitarist Tricky Dick was throwing the requisite rock god poses. This was proper old school punk, more so than the album would have you believe and it was played with such, I dunno, panache and energy that it was impossible not to be impressed.
Come back soon Sassy, we definitely need that duet with Oaf next time though. I’ve got the “beauty and the beast” headline all set to go
Stage Manager Laura was, amazingly, keeping things to our very tight schedule although trying to control drunk musicians is like herding cats, however and after some delays in the first half of the evening we were more or less back on track by the time local heroes Dakesis took to the stage.
This was the first time I had seen them live and I thought they were just incredible. This is what happens when you take ridiculous amounts of talent and mix it with generous helpings of not-taking-yourselves-too-seriously. Power metal is supposed to be over-the-top and these folk certainly tick that box while remaining musically tight with some killer hooks.
And a Keytar…
And a song about Shepherd’s Pie…
And the band didn’t feel the need to stay on stage either, with Wayne popping out into the crowd for a spot of guitar soloing. It’s easy to see why Dakesis are building up a considerable following on the Midlands scene, they are a massively entertaining live band and I from the reception they got from the crowd I wasn’t the only one who was really enjoying the show.
I think in my slightly drunken state watching Wayne and Matt playing each others guitars was one of the most amazing things I saw all evening. And I don’t mean that they swapped guitars, oh no, nothing so straightforward…
It’s also useful for someone as bad as me with names that the girls in Dakesis are colour coded
So far Twitrfest was going perfectly. The gremlins had been well and truly scared off and everything was running more or less on time, so I finally unclenched a little (the alcohol may have helped) and got on with enjoying the rest of the show.
Up to this point everything had been a bit of a blur, and it was hard to believe that it was time for the second last band of the evening. South Wales metallers Triaxis debut album was the first thing I ever reviewed for CackBlabbath, so I was absolutely stoked that they agreed to play my first ever festival. Seriously without the advice and support these guys gave me in the early stages of the planning this thing may not have happened.
Triaxis are one of the very best examples of the new wave of traditional heavy metal. After taking a break from gigging for a while the band are now back with a considerable bang as they build momentum on the back of their jaunt round the UK with Kobra And The Lotus earlier in the year.
Tonight’s performance was a powerful mix of the old and the new as Triaxis showed just exactly why they are getting such a reputation for themselves. Their set mixed tracks from the debut album Key To The Kingdom with some rather tasty new material. Opening with Gates Of Damnation you knew that Triaxis were going to hold their own against the brilliant acts we had seen so far. Sker Point was just incredible and closing the set with Lies was just the dictionary definition of “finishing on a high”.
Triaxis are a band who are definitely ready to make the step up to much wider recognition. I have a feeling this could be their year.
So that was it, only the small matter of our headline set from one of the best bands in the UK. Although Furyon were on board from the very first days of Twitrfest I still couldn’t entirely believe that they were actually here…
It was a slightly different lineup tonight, guitarist Chris was off in the US, so the band had enlisted Solsikk axeman Chris Webb for tonight’s show and, to be fair, he fitted straight in.
Furyon are, in all objectivity, a brilliant live band and I was massively honored that the band who headlined the unsigned stage at Bloodstock this year were playing my Fest. And what a show they put on.
Furyon’s debut album Gravitas is stuffed with brilliant tunes and the exhausting gig schedule the guys have embarked on means that they have polished them to fist pumping, head banging perfection. There are many “bigger” bands that would kill for a catalogue that includes songs like Disappear Again, Don’t Follow and Wasted On You.
And Souvenirs, oh God how good is Souvenirs ?
Sitting at the back of the stage beside Pat’s amp may not have been very good for my hearing, but it was a simply incredible experience. As the closing notes of Voodoo Me rung out over the cheering crowd I was, quite literally, the happiest person on the planet.
What a band.
What a night.
See you next year.