ASCENSION DAY 1 - The Patriot, Crumlin 07.06.19
CLAIRE HILL | NAOMI JEREMIAH | DAVID LYDIARD | FIONA DUIGNAN
PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM: LINDSAY SMITH | PAUL MCGOWAN | TERRY MARLAND
Not to be confused with May 30th’s Ascension Day, the day that commemorates the moment Jesus ascended into Heaven 40 days after Easter, this inaugural ASCENSION will forever commemorate the moment that potential future Rock / Metal gods descended onto The Patriot, got their rock on, and, perhaps, proved unequivocally that rock is most definitely not dead!
ASCENSION took 25 handpicked bands, gave them all equal set times (40 minutes), drew names out of a bowl to determine stage times, turned the amps to 11, stepped back and let the riffs fly. Of those 25 bands playing, Friday evening saw the first 5 take to the stage.
Welsh trio TRIBELESS are all about bringing a lot of energy and mixing soaring melodies together with a broad, anthemic, sound that has grown from the band’s origins in Pop Punk. Although the band formed in 2013, vocalist Lydia McDonald has just joined recently, becoming the final piece of the puzzle they had been searching for.
Being first on stage is difficult for any band, but TRIBELESS got stuck into it straight away with Lydia showing us exactly why she is a great addition to the band. She sang with ease and passion as if she had been with them forever, proving that her joining has gelled the band into a tight live unit.
The energy TRIBELESS brought to the table was great and it never dropped throughout their whole set. They were unphased by opening ASCENSION and as soon as they started playing, people flowed into The Patriot, eager to hear more. Utilising a bass DI to round out their live sound, TRIBELESS’ angular rhythms and pounding drums made an impression. Certainly a young band to keep an eye on.
All in all, the band are a cool Alt-Rock trio, who proved that they were a fantastic addition to ASCENSION and we can’t wait to catch them live again soon. A perfect way to open up the weekend.
Lydia McDonald - Vocals
Latif Bryant - Guitar
Max Rhead - Drums
PEARLER are one band playing at ASCENSION that could never be accused of taking themselves too seriously. Describing their music as heavy metal, but constantly evolving, the Swansea four-piece have, to date, released two EPs, ‘Belter’ (2018) and the imaginatively entitled, ‘Another Belter’ (Feb 2019).
PEARLER tore into their set with reckless abandon and high energy with charismatic frontman Wendel leading his troops into battle, with his beefed up rhythms and gruff yet melodic vocal delivery. New song ‘The Masters Plan’, dedicated to Stuart Cable, brought a fantastic response from The Patriot's crowd. PEARLER’s brand of '90s hard rock groove with a slight tinge of '80s sleaze was the perfect antidote to the miserable weather outside and the shredding solos, 3 part gang chorus vocals and monstrous drumming went down an absolute storm.
PEARLER really know how to command the stage, not just because of their infectious enthusiasm, but because of their ability to give everyone a Heavy. Meaty. Pounding! Nice!
ASCENSION knows we’ve had one!
Wendel Kingpin - Guitar & Vocals
Evs - Guitar
Freaky - Bass & Backing Vocals
Gwary Hunt - Drums
Indie-rockers GUN RUNNERS from Bedfordshire are a four-piece band who got together in late 2017 and released their debut EP, ‘Brothers’ last year, receiving airplay from Down The Front Podcast, Planet Rock, Kerrang! radio and BBC Radio Wales.
GUN RUNNERS' live performance is dynamic from the off, putting everything into their time on stage. Sean's alt-rock power-pipes are perfectly pitched, crisp and seemingly effortless. The band were slick, evidenced perfectly by the talented musicianship of Benn, Jordan and Alex - powerful, hard-hitting drums, a booming bass and rhythmic riffage, underpinning the soaring solos. Drummer Benn was fierce, attacking the kit like his life depended on it - we were utterly captivated.
New songs were tested on the crowd, as well as a pretty sweet cover of Wolfmother’s ‘Joker & The Thief’, all of which got a fantastic response. They also introduced a slower, melodic track that was beautifully intense and built to an emotional crescendo.
Like most bands, GUN RUNNERS are much louder live than in their recordings and are clearly a band that need to be seen to fully appreciate the raw energy in their music.
Hearing ‘Save Our Souls’ live was simply exquisite, with closer 'Mask' ensuring that the audience didn't forget GUN RUNNERS performance. Nor will we.
Sean Kennedy - Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Jordan Smith - Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Benn Davis-Gregory - Drums
Alex Manley - Bass / Backing Vocals
VELLA are a teenage four-piece Alternative Rock band from South Wales, who recently released their new single ‘Unpopular’, as featured on Episode #114 of Down The Front Podcast.
After having seen them a few times previously, VELLA have certainly found their sweet spot when it comes to live performances and their obvious enjoyment in playing together spills into the crowd, meaning everyone goes home with a smile on their faces.
Naturally charismatic frontman Chris wasted no time in engaging with the crowd, snarling confidently through his lyrics and seemingly full of vibrant energy. It didn’t take much encouragement from him to get the audience closer to the stage, as they powered through their set.
A special mention to formidable drummer Dylan for his powerful, hypnotic tribal beats that drove every note home. As the band play together more, their cohesiveness on stage becomes more proficient and it is truly wonderful to see a fresh, young band grow in front of your eyes.
Their European tour kicks off at the end of June with gigs lined up in France, The Netherlands and Belgium and we wish them all the luck in the World with these shows.
Chris William - Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Dylan Blue - Drums
Ross Wall - Bass
Liam Jones - Lead Guitar
RAVENBREED’s debut EP, ‘Hollowed’ was released in April 2018 to critical acclaim and the Cardiff four-piece walked away with Down The Front Media’s award for EP of the Year. The band have been cutting their teeth on their local, live music scene and further afield since first forming in January 2018, including appearances at festivals, and they’ve been finalists in Hard Rock Hells 'Highway to Hell' competition.
Their impressive live performances have been winning them new fans up and down the country and it is easy to see why. Each song is attacked with an aggressive dynamism, yet with so much control. Zoey is sassy and ferocious, demanding attention with her impressive range of vocals and commanding performance.
RAVENBREED may go down at ASCENSION as the band that emotionally broke the DTFM team. There were so many emotions. We were overwhelmed, overjoyed, overawed and completely under their spell.
It’s going to be difficult to find the words to do this review justice, so bear with us.
The first thing to say, is that RAVENBREED flew (see what we did there??) from another gig in Bournemouth to take the stage at The Patriot, and holy fuck, were they worth waiting for.
Their performance was saturated with raw, emotional ferocity that will never be forgotten. With every note spat out at 110mph, a 40-minute slot was nowhere near enough, with the crowd salivating and wanting more and more, eager to lap up everything they were given.
But it was when they played ‘I’ll Take You On’, which they had only finished writing the night before that the atmosphere became emotionally charged, drawing everyone to the front of the stage to experience the electric thunderstorm of musicianship about to blow the roof off and rip the place apart. The emotional intensity of this track is off the scale - this band has created an intensifying song that rattles your soul, for sure.
Needless to say, we were left as speechless, emotional wrecks. This is the high that we, as music lovers, seek to experience.
If there were any potential critics in the crowd, they were surely won over by the end of their set, equally overawed and wanting to hear more.
RAVENBREED are growing stronger with each gig, and are worthy of closing any show, no question of a doubt. Do not miss the opportunity to see them live and feel what we felt.
Zoey Amelia Allen - Vocals
Mikey Watkins - Guitar / Vocals
Ross Formosa - Bass / Vocals
Oli Watkins - Drums
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