Winterfest 2014 Review

1st February 2014 – Warehouse:23, Wakefield

Bonafide, Texas Flood, AJENDA, Hamerex, Massive Wagons, Sacrilege

Winterfest 2014 was brought to us by Warehouse 23 and TFFM Online with the show being aired live. Originally featuring – Sacrilege, Massive Wagons, Hamerex, AJENDA, I AM I and headliners Bonafide. At the eleventh hour I AM I had to pull out and a last minute replacement was found in Texas Flood. I know Wakefield fairly well, as I went to school there, but I’d never been to Warehouse 23. It turned out to be a reasonable sized venue on Smyth Street, conveninently close to Wakefield Westgate Rail Station, with good links to the motorway network and ample car parking nearby, which was free after 6 pm. The acoustics and lighting in there were pretty damn good for a small venue, bar prices were reasonable and there were plenty of loos! Although it was bitterly cold in those loos perfect for Winterfest though, I think it was warmer outside!

Opening Winterfest 2014 were Sacrilege from Gillingham, Kent. Renowned for their fantastic stage shows in the eighties singer Bill Beadle has resurrected Sacrilege after a hiatus of over twenty-five years. I obviously don’t drive fast enough because I missed their opening song and arrived during second song Live Another Day which reminded me a little of Slaughter’s Up All Day.  Sacrilege are a bit heavier than Slaughter though and with a strong drum beat and plenty of metal riffs I picked up similarities to bands like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. Jeff Rolland on bass was head banging away during r The Unknown Soldier, hair would have been flying if he had any! The Wraith  was a Black Sabbath/Kiss hybrid and included a drum solo from Neil Turnbull. The chorus ’We’ve got to get out of this place’ had the audience singing along. Driving Home reminded me a little a slow Killed by Death by Motorhead. Then we came to the last song Ashes to Ashes a Black Sabbath type number ending a good set. A couple of drum sticks were  thrown out  and managed to catch one! Well not quite but I retrieved it from the floor. Why they hadn’t played for over twenty-five years? I don’t know yet but Bill has promised us an interview so – watch this space!

Sacrilege
Sacrilege

Set List:
In the arena
Live another day
Ratrace
The unknown soldier
My time to die
The Wraith
Driving Home
Ashes to ashes

Band Members: Bill Beadle – Vocals / Neil Turnbull  – Drums  / Jeff Rolland – Bass / Dave Burgess – Guitar.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sacrilegerock
Website: http://www.sacrilegerock.com/

Next came a band that have definitely played within the last twenty-five years, in fact some of them haven’t even lived that long yet – Massive Wagons, a five piece from Carnforth, Lancashire. A band I’ve seen many times and reviewed only six weeks ago. http://planetmosh.com/massive-wagons-grand-central-manchester-12122013/ Massive Wagons opened their set with Rising Tides which is on their forthcoming album Fight the System, as were most of the songs on the set tonight. Massive Wagons always put on a lively and energetic performance with front man Baz posing with the mic and Adam doing his fancy fret work on the Flying V. Not to overlook Carl, Bowz and Alex as they all give every performance their all/

Baz said it was their first time in Wakefield, but it won’t be the last, as they’re on the line up for the ‘sold out’ TBFM Online 5th Birthday Bash, at The Snooty Fox in May. Heavy Metal Man is the song they wrote to the late Ronnie James Dio and tonight it was dedicated to ‘Mr Stevi Rox (TBFM DJ) who can’t be here so he can fuck off!’ I think that’s what they said anyway! SWT was about sexy guitar player Carl. Coming to the end we got Fight the System which is a classic rock ‘n’ roll song and finally Red Dress before a short burst of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock n Roll. This was one of best performances I’ve seen from Massive Wagons, and I’ve seen a few. These guys play good old rock ‘n’ roll hard and fast and if you like your music hard and fast they are worth seeing if you get chance.

Massive Wagons
Massive Wagons

Set List
Rising Tides
Mother
Dirty Little Secrets
Buck
Heavy Metal Man
Look Around
SWT
Fight the System
Red Dress

Band Members: Baz Mills – Vocals / Adam Thistlethwaite – Guitar / Carl Cochrane – Guitar /Bowz Bouskill – Bass Alex Thistlethwaite – Drums

Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/MassiveWagons?ref=br_tf
Website: http://massivewagons.co.uk/

Third band on the billing came in the form of local band, Hamerex. These were very heavy almost thrashy, with the vocals being more shouting than singing, but it wasn’t a death metal growl. I could tell what they were shouting and they were good, lively and entertaining. Singer Chris Moules looked the metal man in heavily studded armbands. The guitarist Steve Blower, with his long hair and bandana,  was playing some really heavy riffs, on his black and white guitar. Hamerex looked to have brought a few fans with them, youngsters in reversed baseball caps or beanie hats. The band reminded me of October 31, an American band, and also Fyre Power, a fellow young British band. My friend described them as being a bit brutal on the ears and he had ear plugs in – the wuss! My own ears are pretty hardcore and I’ve never worn earplugs to a gig yet!

Chris asked the audience what they thought of Massive Wagons and Sacrilege  and their were plenty of whoops, so all good so far. Chris then asked as we were live on radio could we say things like fuck? Cunt? A bit late if we couldn’t! Andy First, the bass man, was playing a five string instrument, I don’t know if it makes a difference but there was a good rhythm anyway. From Aftershocks of Death, a Mortuary, and anArmy of Darkness we finally came to the Gates of Hades and Chris jumped off the stage and encouraged members of the audience to ‘make some noise’ into the mic, the loudest roar being from a woman (who I initially thought was Jen from AJENDA, but it turned out not to be. However the lady in question was very flattered to have been mistaken for Jen, and who wouldn’t be!?) and he tried to get a bit of a circle pit going but the young audience members wimped out! It’s a rock gig – join in next time guys and have a bit of a fun – you might enjoy it! A good set from the local guys!

Hamerex Guitarist: Steve Blower
Hamerex Guitarist: Steve Blower

Set List:
Aftershocks of Death
Edge of Madness
Mortuary
Descent of Angels
Army of Darkness
The Extremist
Samhain
Gates of Hades

Band Members: Chris Moules – Vocals / Steve Blower – Guitar & Vocals / Andy Firth – Bass
Darren Kelsall – Drums

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hamerex
Website: http://www.hamerex.com/

AJENDA
AJENDA

Half the bands down and on to the second half starting with AJENDA from Belfast. With front-woman Jen we got the only female performer of the evening. Jen, wearing the tightest of spray on pants, is petite with an envious figure which belies her amazing powerful voice. A voice with the power of Pink. Jen put on a fantastic performance with facial expressions and dancing. AJENDA were much more melodic than Hamerex but had some screaming riffs. Unrecognizable was a kind of fusion of The Doors and Shania Twain. Unrecongnizable being the title track from AJENDA’s debut album which they were keen to promote. Hatred and Greed was another track from Unrecognizable, a bit funky with a strong bass-line. The band then took a photo of us all which is now on their Facebook page and I managed to sneak in on left! Heaven’s Tears an acoustic track from the album slowed things downs a little with Gavin getting a rest! Not really just sitting down to play the acoustic guitar. Coming to the end of their set we got the latest single and last song on the agenda, Tattoo and when a member of the audience shouted ‘Show us Your Tattoo’ Jen laughed and wiggled saying ‘Show us yer tatts’ Back to the electric guitar for the this one. Another good set leaving only two bands to go.

AJENDA
AJENDA

Set List:
Dirty Rock n Roll
Unrecognisable
Drinking Games
Blue in the Face
Paranoia
Heavens Tears
Tattoo

Band Members: Jen – Vocals / Gavin – Guitars / Peter – Drums /Janny – Bass

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AJENDA/174619224854
Website: http://www.ajendamusic.com/

With only a few days to go I AM I had to pull out of Winterfest and the promoters were left with the unenviable task of having to find a last minute replacement. Stepping into the breach came The Texas Flood a three piece from South Wales. I didn’t have much time to check them out so didn’t really know what to expect but from the moment they started I was captivated. Opening with Barking Like an Underdog they got off to a rocking start sounding a bit like AC/DC.  Tom Sawyer was encouraging people to ‘Come closer for the best sound at the front’ although they sounded pretty good from my vantage point on a raised platform to the right, as you faced the stage. Rock N Roll Queen was another AC/DC style number, with a Thunderstruck bass-line. Tom (Sawyer) had to change guitar because a string had broken but luckily he had a spare so the show could go on! . Texas Flood also reminded me of Vintage Caravan a young Icelandic band. Tom Williams was giving the drums some stick,I thought they were smoking – until I realised it was just dry ice! Someone shouted ‘Sheep Shaggers’ fortunately the response wasn’t – ‘they do that in Yorkshire too’ but ‘If we sound stupid it’s because we’re Welsh’

Texas Flood
Texas Flood

A song about a girl called Linda was a catchy, fast number and a few were singing along. Tom said the ‘singing was good but I think you guys can sing better’ and we all joined in with the chorus of Let the Wind Blow then someone shouted ‘Who are you?’ getting the response ‘We are Texas Flood’ and I’m glad we got Texas Flood when I AM I had to pull out! Bulletproof had a strong bass line putting me in mind of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The last song was announced as ‘She ain’t Worth a Whisky though the singer of last band – maybe. She’s a babe. she’s a superbabe’ as I’m sure most of the men noticed. A bit more advertising was going on and this time in time to music. Every band, so far, had been good and put on a great show but these guys just had the edge for top performance of the night although the headliners were still to come.

Texas Flood: Winterfest Set list
Texas Flood: Winterfest Set list

Set list:
Barking Like an Underdog
Bullfrog Blues
Rock n Roll Queen
Cards
Honey
Long teme
Didn’t need to say
Linda
Let the Wind Blow
Bulletproof
Worth the Whisky

Band Members: Tom Sawyer – Guitar and Vocals / Tom Williams – Drums / Ben Govier – Bass

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Flood/131451313547553
Website: http://www.thetexasflood.co.uk/

Bonafide
Bonafide

Tonight’s headliners Bonafide had come over from Sweden and at last there was a small crowd of people up by stage. Opening with Bombo and my first chance to see new guitar player Anders Rosell, with his waist length hair. Pontus introduced him with either a a pull or stroke of that hair, not entirely sure which as it was a quick movement! Martin on bass was posing and pouting to the audience, covering the stage well. Pontus told us his guitar was out of tune so had to tune up before ‘Doing the Pretty‘ which started with a Led Zeppelin, Rock ‘n’ Roll type drum beat. Pontus then said it was great to be back in the UK with a new member and told us about the horrible day they’d had yesterday when they went to Copenhagen for a flight to Manchester. As it was snowing they missed the flight and had to go back for a 5:30 am flight, they hadn’t slept and they’d managed to lose his guitars, so he was having to use a spare with old strings. They still sounded good to my un-attuned ears!

Their new single Rock ‘n’ Roll Skål from fourth album Bombo was released on 3rd February through Classic Rock Magazine and before they played it Pontus raised a drink. ‘I believe that calls for a Skål  – Cheers. Southern Comfort on ice’ and mentioned that Bonafide would be coming back to the UK for around 14 days in March on the Bombo Tour. I noticed that Martin was topless by this stage, as he came to front of stage and tweaked one of his nipples for us! A Bonafide classic came next Can’t Get Through from their debut album in 2007. A good rock ‘n’ roll song with some great riff refrains.

Bonafide: New Guitarist AndersRossell
Bonafide: New Guitarist AndersRossell

It seems Anders has already gained a following as a girl shouted ‘I love you Anders’ he seemed a bit taken aback and said ‘Sorry?’ then ‘Oh I Love you too!’ As Martin was still impressing us with his nipple tweaking Pontus said ‘I think our bass player is drunk, give a warm hand for the mighty Swedish Asshole’ which only encouraged him more, and surely warm hands are better than cold ones when it comes to nipple tweaking. Pontus threw a few plectrums out for the audience but I didn’t manage to catch one. With a ‘Here’s an oldie but goldie’ next came I Don’t Need No Doctor followed by a song Pontus wrote ages ago Fill Your head With Rock which was voted one of 2011′s best songs by Classic Rock Magazine. This one got people dancing, clapping and a few heads banging. Pontus came off the microphone but we could still hear him and when he requested that we sing with them everyone was singing Fill Your Head with rock.

Bonafide
Bonafide

Pontus with arms outstretched said ‘Thank you very much from Bonafide’ Guido McFister, TBFM Online DJ then got up and shouted ‘Lets hear it for Bonafide & for all you guys who supported us. You want some more? and it was apparent that we did so Guido said he would go and ask. His pleading must have worked as Bonafide came back on stage and did us a couple more songs giving Anders and Martin the chance to sing for us, even Niklas sang a few words from behind his drum-kit. Then it really was the end and Pontus thanked us all so very much again.

Band Members: Pontus Snibb – Vocals & Guitar / Anders Rosell – Guitar / Martin Ekelund – Bass / Niklas Matsson – Drums

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bonafiderocks
Website: http://www.bonafiderocks.com/
Rock ‘n’ Roll Skål Official Video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tqYCWKRbWE

Then TBFM DJs Guido and Mucka Jay got up and between them gave an Oscar worthy thank you speech. Including a ‘Give it up for Daz’ the owner (or manager not sure which) who also proceeded to thank people.

At only £12 advance this made the price £2 per band and although turn out was reasonable it could have been better. Despite that every band put on a really good performance. Hopefully there will be a Winterfest 2015. My own Winterfest award for 2014 has to go to Texas Flood, these guys stepped in at the last minute and really gave it their all! Sheep Shaggers or not I think these guys are one to follow!

Louise Swift
Planet Mosh
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