WDFD Magnificent 7 Festival - The Station, Cannock 11.05.19
Words & Photos by LINDSAY SMITH
What could possibly be better on a Saturday afternoon than seven of the best bands to grace the circuit recently. The talented and amusing Mr Pete K Mally is our compère for the day and his introductions of the bands keeps things moving along beautifully.
There are a couple of dozen people in The Station for the early start and first on the bill was PORCELAIN HILL who I was really looking forward to seeing live. Well, I was certainly not disappointed. Big D (Darnell Cole) is a seriously good blues/rock guitarist. I was in awe. The bands sound is a combination of rock, funk and downright dirty blues, but those riffs!
Nathalie Campos on drums never misses a beat and bassist Lucas Martinez simply and effectively supports the low end as Big D flies up and down his fretboard, even playing with the guitar round his back at one point.
I’m blown away by them live. It’s been a couple of years since the band, based in Southern California, were last here and they are around for a few more months again this time. If you like your rock music heavy with blues and smoking hot Hendrix inspired riffs, catch this band. I’m just disappointed that more people hadn’t made the early doors to witness the magic.
SPIDERVAYNE from Essex were completely new to me and as the lights dropped low and the band took to the stage, Faz, with his striking yellow guitar, and bass man Kev, covered in body paint, brought the grunge rock to Cannock. Vocals from Murf were expressive and dark. Kev threw himself around the stage, a total energiser bunny swirling around and seemingly never still and drums from Sam were thumping. The band were good and played a few covers including Alice In Chains ‘Man In A Box’. Awesome job!
SHYYNE are a well loved and well supported local band and the enigmatic Toni Gale almost steals the show in any line up. Sleaze driven 80’s feeling glam rock with some added attitude, Gale is such a performer. If he isn’t singing, he’s playing up to the crowd and it almost distracts you from the fact the songs like ‘Shut Up’, which they open with, are really strong. The guitar riffs from Mark Wilkins are outstanding and Matt on bass is a comfortable, solid player, keeping the rhythm ticking along with Bev on drums both providing the power. There were new tunes from their soon to be released new album and some crowd favourites. I could watch these guys all night but alas, we had to move on.
I have seen THE HOWLING TIDES a number of times including their EP launch show last year and they have evolved, no two ways about it – they were bloody good then but now they’ve progressed in my opinion to fucking amazing.
Hard rock, delivered with drama in the sometimes soaring, sometimes filthy guitar solos from Hayden Kirk, consistently strong vocals from Rob Baynes with some pretty fine guitar playing from him also, Luke Lawley on bass providing some boom along with Steven ‘Herbie’ Herbert on drums providing the rhythm. I still absolutely love ‘Crack My Soul’, a stunningly good song and one which has the now strong crowd singing along. These boys have grown, they have a maturity about them and their sound seems to have developed, it’s the same songs but with such a tightness live it just blew me away and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. A fantastic set and a fabulous response from the audience.
COLLATERAL seem to be everywhere at the minute, with new single ‘Lullaby’ receiving extensive airplay and they have been travelling the country in various support slots and some headline shows too, this is a band that are making waves and rightly so. Last time I saw the was at HRH last year and again they are a band who have come a long way in a relatively short space of time. A few good singles from their recent EP have done very well and the fact that they have a great image has given them a good fan base too. I love their sound, I’m a huge melodic rock fan and they have the sound down to a tee, changing it up slightly on songs like ‘Midnight Queen’ giving it a slightly country feel then bringing it back all power ballad style for ‘Just Waiting For You’. Angelo Tristan has a wonderful voice and can convey the emotion in the lyrics with ease.
Hugely impressive is Todd Winger on guitar who can stack up the riffs with dexterous ease and Jack Bentley Smith on bass supports the sound with solidity. Ben Atkinson on drums is technically strong and entertaining to watch, his concentration never fades. Another band who sound tight through gigging relentlessly. Fabulous well-written songs and a band who have a very bright future.
I was really looking forward to seeing THEIA and so was everyone in the room, the atmosphere had cranked up another notch as Kyle Lamley, guitar and vocals, Paul Edwards on bass and Herbie (Howling Tides) take to the stage. The recent departure of Jake had necessitated the need for Herbie to take the sticks and as such, being a solid player, the kit was in safe hands.
Did someone turn the volume up? I think so – the volume from the stage was high and the volume from the crowd matched it – a very popular band who had the crowd from the first song. Kyle is a showman, he can lead an audience while delivering a huge performance. With a set compiled of crowd pleasers, their brand of hard rock complete with some big fat basslines from Edwards, had the room bouncing. I was stood by the PA’s at one point and I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach the bass was that low, fabulous! I can only shower positive praise on this band, a couple of albums and plenty of songs to go at including ‘Throw Me A Bone’ and finishing of course with ‘Whoop Dee Fucking Doo!’ Amazing live, so much energy and just awesome.
Headliners SKAM are a band I had been trying to catch live for ages so I was very keen to see what they could do. I didn’t have to wait long to find out just how good these guys are as they opened with ‘Bring The Rain’ demonstrating the strong vocal ability of Steve Hill, who is also on guitar. Songs including ‘Iron Cross’ and ‘The Wire’ are packed full of stunning solos, rampant riffs and deliciously easy hooks. Choruses that have you singing along from the get-go. Matt Gilmore on bass stalks around the stage constantly, with drummer Neal Hill also providing backing vocals, this three-piece are a delight for the ears.
‘Wake Up’ from their upcoming album sounds good, a serious number of fans in the room are whooping and cheering throughout the set which the band have drawn from their 4 previous albums. No one has left The Station despite the long day, and SKAM are holding us all hostage with amazingly good songs.
‘Massacre’ and ‘No Lies’ close the set and I feel satiated, the need to see them at last satisfied for now that is! They deserved their headline slot. Damn fine hard rock music, full of crunching riffs, battering drums and grooving low basslines.
Thanks were given by the bands throughout the night to Keith Lamley (WDFD Records), Shaun Haynes (KOL Productions), Rockpulse, TMR band Management, Roulette Media and The Station and I would like to add my own. Always a pleasure to work alongside them all.
Can we do this again soon please?
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