Pentre Fest 2020

Pentre Fest 2020

McLean’s Pub, Pentre Deeside

21st & 22nd February 2020

I’m sure everyone who was there will agree that this year’s Pentre Fest was the best yet.  The bands were fantastic; the were more people; the vibe was magnificent.

Held at McLean’s in Pentre, Deeside, North Wales, this festival features underground, unsigned rock and metal from near and far.

I attended the full two days this year, and saw most of the acts performing.  I only wrote up a few though, so if you want to read the full review, visit the Ever Metal website here.

There were many highlights.  Witchtripper had been on my “must see” list for a while – they didn’t disappoint.  Old favourites Impavidus and Lullaby for a Unicorn were superb as always.  Cry for Mercy, Stormrider and Womenowar were some of the newly viewed bands that I was very impressed by.

The whole weekend was unmissable and I was genuinely sad when it was all over.  A brilliant, positive experience – well done to Fozzy, Beany, Frank and all the McLean’s staff.

You have to be there next year!

Ryuko

Ryuko presented a couple of surprises on Friday night’s acoustic stage.  First off, they were fully plugged in and electric.  Second, they play more of an alternative rock sound, which was something of a contrast to the majority of other Pentre Fest bands.  Readers may not be aware, though, that I am in fact King of Grunge, with my 90’s credentials well proven.  Ryuko’s set included some melody and even jangly pop along with heavier riffs, which was an enjoyable diversion in a Dinosaur Jr/Nirvana style.  Well performed, Ryuko just need to test their audience further and throw in additional surprises in either a “Negative Creep” or “About a Girl” vein.

Rhiannon and Rachel

Sadly Pentre Fest suffered a few casualties this year.  One such example was on the acoustic stage, where half of duo Rhiannon and Rachel was hospitalised and (obviously) unable to perform.  But the show must go on: and Rhiannon performed a short but enjoyable set on the acoustic stage.  Admittedly out of her comfort zone, playing guitar as well as singing, she soldiered on and won plaudits for her effort.  Only a few minor mistakes were noticed – and easily forgiven.  A beautiful singing voice that even managed to add a ghostly, ethereal sheen to a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Bad” – making it sound good for the first time ever.

Mike West

If the connection between metal and outlaw country isn’t obvious to any readers, I can only pity you.  I’ve never witnessed Mike West before, but his amalgamation of southern rock, dusty country and swampy blues was a delight to my old whiskey-soaked soul.  Mike delivers his songs with a hard rockin’ swagger, as if he’s just busted out of Tombstone jail and is riding across the plains, lamenting women and fortunes lost.  A great voice and an outstanding presence, Mike is one to catch when you can.  Has anyone done a “Wild West” gag yet?  If not, there’s a headline for us there!

OMV

On the main stage, OMV entered dressed like a bunch of West Coast gangsters in masks and bandanas.  Introduced as “hardcore street metal”, these guys definitely showed some great musical skills and energy.  Somewhere between Bodycount, Suicidal Tendencies and Biohazard is where I’d stack them.  Either way, OMV delivered some brutal songs and bounced around with massive crossover riffs.  OMV were very entertaining, although hugely confrontational onstage – I wasn’t sure if they actually were going to pistol whip the audience into submission.  The music has enough intensity and power to speak for itself.

Luke Appleton

A really fantastic set was delivered by Mr Luke Appleton on the acoustic stage.  In truth, this was a duo performance with Rishi Mehta (of Babylon Fire) playing too, and it was a genuine highlight of Pentre Fest 2020.  Dubbed “acoustic metal”, the songs were both suitably laidback, yet delivered with a metal edge.  Expertly performed, we had tunes from Luke’s solo “Snake Eyes” project, plus of course some Iced Earth and Absolva numbers.  Not to mention a bit of Dio and Tenacious D for good measure!  A real class act in every sense of the word, and both very talented and down-to-earth gentlemen.

Son of Boar

They have a cool name, and they looked pretty cool on stage in matching denim battle-vests.  And from the very first notes of the bass rumbling on the very first song, I had a feeling that Son of Boar would be something special.  I wasn’t wrong.  These Bradford bruisers have everything in spades: they’re unfeasibly heavy; they have slow, doomy riffs with a Sabbath-like infectiousness; they have a sludgy, swampy groove that can pack an aggressive punk punch.  The best band of Pentre Fest 2020 as far as I was concerned, Son of Boar were superb.  I even bought a t-shirt.

Pentre Fest on Facebook.

N.E.W Metal Productions on Facebook.

Goodfor Audio Entertainment on Facebook

Mcleans Pub Live on Facebook.

Songs of the Week 21.08.2016

Well then, I missed a week out on this fascinating weekly musical review.  And this latest edition is late.  Oh well – this isn’t about sticking to rules and regularity.  It’s all about the joy – and freedom – of music.

Here’s five songs from last week that resonated:

  1. Metallica – Lords of Summer
  2. Ohio Players – Fopp
  3. Toots & The Maytals – Funky Kingston
  4. Agent Orange – Tearing Me Apart
  5. Dinosaur Jr – The Wagon

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #5

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 4th December 2015

Unlike the last event, I didn’t have a theme for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night this time around.  Just some tunes I fancied playing.  I hadn’t even decided exactly what they would be till the show was on.

For anyone still uninitiated, the night is hosted in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales.  There are two turntables and each participant gets to play 15 minutes of whatever music they want, vinyl only.

I had myself a couple of beers and rattled out this selection:

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

When you buy your first Motorhead album, you know you’ve entered the world of grown up music.  Big, nasty unapologetic rocking grown up music.  A song that never gets old, I was introduced to “Ace of Spades” when the band performed it on the classic “University Challenge” episode of The Young Ones.  It’s just a non-stop, joyous racket that simply will not stop or slow down for anyone.  Absolute perfection.  I played this in memory of drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who sadly passed away recently.

The Vapors – Turning Japanese

A New Wave/Punk Rock classic, I was donated the brilliant “Turning Japanese” by a friend.  Thank you, Simon.  It was supposed to be part of a tribute set that I’m still working on.  It was going to be hard to follow up the adrenaline rush of the previous song, The Vapors pulled it off here though.  A great power pop song that kept the pace of the set nicely.

Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

A slight fast forward to the late 1980’s for this next track.  The first track on Dinosaur Jr.’s album “Bug”, this track nicely covers the appeal of early American alternative rock.  Born out of punk and hardcore, with one foot in old Black Sabbath and one in jangly pop; Dinosaur Jr. constantly delight.  Reminds me of my skateboarding youth.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

I couldn’t decide which track to play last, so I let the audience choose the album.  The Beastie Boys “Ill Communication” won hands down, and I chose “Sabotage” as the track to play.  Another unrelenting monster of a song, “Sabotage” has a funky groove delivered with a rocking style.  Again, a song I never tire of.  Plus the Spike Jonze video, with it’s 70’s cop show homage, is a work of genius.  It’s been over twenty years and I still want to dress up and play Sabotage Cops for a day.

My buddy Adam strode up to the decks next, and delivered another fine set.  It went something like this:

  • Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
  • The Blasters – I’m Shakin’
  • Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
  • DJ Kool – Let Me Clear My Throat

Four top songs from Adam there, the Queen track was a load of fun and had me doing my world renowned Freddie Mercury impression.  It was nice to hear a modern song on vinyl too, with the Ronson/Mars number.

Great night, great songs – well done all on another fine evening’s entertainment.  I’m currently stumped what to play next time.  I’ll work on it.

The Halcyon Dreams blog is here, where you can find listed (very helpfully) all of the songs played on the night.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.