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  DAMNATION FESTIVAL 2011
Leeds University Union
5th November 2011


Words & Pics: Daryl Soar

daryl soar

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Starting with the boast, "I could run a festival better than this", Damnation has managed another year. And while it might not compete with Download, it does fill a niche in the market. Hosted at Leeds University, the three stages are dispersed amongst a warren of multi-layered confusion and packed with half-drunk revellers unsure of the next stop. The walls are festooned with posters and signs that hide the obligatory complement of festival info, but with security every ten feet, there's always someone at hand to help.

devintownsenddamn
Devin Townsend Project

Check the site - www.damnationfestival.co.uk - for the full line-up, but this year's big gun was DVT...BLT...no...DTP...got it...Devin Townsend Project! Genius of Metal, apparently.

Main Stage = Jaeger. Large hall with balcony for disabled access and a large temporary bar.

Second Stage = Terrorizer. Three levels, two bars, nearly as big as the Jaeger.

Third Stage = Zero Tolerance. A cavern-like stage with a single bar.

Article continues below...

 
 


Almost like a real festival...because it bloody well is. If you think you might pay 5 or 10 quid to get into a club on a night out, for 29 quid, you get twenty-three bands, beer's still 3.20 quid a pint and you can get change from a tenner after feeding two people. Bargain!

Once I'd had a wander round the venue, got lost, had an asthma attack on the fourteenth set of steps and growled at a security guard enforcing a corridor one-way system, I decided I should probably watch a band.

First up was SHINING. The Terrorizer Stage or, rather, welcome to the jazz club. While ascending sax offsets dissonant guitar, extreme vocals marry up with mixed tempo rhythm, brass and crazy guitar. Grrreatt.

TURISAS next. A novelty act and passing fad. Well, battle Metal has survived three albums and while the line-up has changed, the show fights on. From the first notes of 'Stand Up And Fight', it's obvious why Turisas have survived and remain popular. Warlord (Mathias) Nygard on vocals is an unstoppable character, wooing the crowd with humour and charisma. You never need to know the song to hear the music, it's well-written enough to speak for itself. The performance was stellar, as ever. I'm definitely going to take up the band's offer and join them for at least 'One More' of their gigs.

turisas
Turisas

I arrived at the Zero Tolerance stage feeling like I was at Monsters Of Rock: everything was late, nothing quite went to plan and everyone battled past each other between stages.

TALONS: twin violins, twin guitar, I almost missed a second bass. The place was rammed and the band put in a crowd-pleasing show. The music was a lot tamer than anything I had seen so far and, for me, didn't really take advantage of the instrumentation. Everything came across well - I just hoped for something even more epic and orchestral.

EVILE: undisputed kings of thrash. The crowd swayed and swirled, arms flailed, elbows shoved. Moshing was mandatory and security got a decent workout as bodies were passed to the front. The broken rythmns were played tightly, but there's no denying it's the breakdown riffs that come across best. Ending with 'Infected Nation', which stands out as a classic, the show finished on a high.

eviledamn
Evile

All I had to do now was hang around for Grand Magus. My stomach had other ideas and took me on a tour of the facilities. There was a good selection of food and, unlike other festivals, you didn't need to take out a mortgage to fill your belly.

GRAND MAGUS: the band of the festival for me. Hailing from Stockholm, the band's English was perfect and singer JB's personality came across. The simple groove of this rock -influenced Metal was quite infectious. Compared to Evile, the crowd looked hypnotised as they all nodded and punched their heavy-Metal fists in time with the music.

"I have problem with royalty" announced JB. "I believe you have the same problem in this country." What better way to introduce 'King Slayer'! Shortly after, he was challenging the fans to sing along. Unhappy with their performance, he challenged them to sing along one more time. This time, an unaccompanied round of the chorus earned a little redemption. Great crowd participation and a great show. It's amazing to think a three-piece could have such a massive sound and make such a huge impact. Powerful, soaring vocals backed up by the bassist made the tunes stand out and the hooklines even more epic. Ending on 'Outlaw', Grand Magus left the crowd happy and have gained a new fan in me.

eviledamn
Grand Magus

GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT: headlining the Zero Tolerance stage, this trippy mix of rock and dance had me confused. Is it Metal? Does it belong at Damnation? Looking round and seeing the Carcass and Deicide T-Shirts reassured me. I guess we all need something to relax. The instrumental music maintained interest and energy. Some of the audience vanished off to see Ulver or Devin Townsend, but the show was so good, those that remained were vocal in electing to stay over their expected choices.

And finally, DEVIN TOWNSEND. Seeing him for the second time this year has not added to my understanding of the phenomena that is DTP. As a performerm I have to give him full credit. He storms onstage in that crisp suit all full of the kind of attitude that's been evident since the bald patch and hair of Strapping Young Lad. The songs came across well live. Judging by those around me, the set was great. My favourite moment was when he invited people in the audience to chat amongst themselves before telling them to "shut the fuck up" as he was ready to carry on. I love the silly crowd interaction Devin delivers, he's always entertaining and a worthy show topper.

At the end of the gig, I left happy. It was difficult to find my car, near impossible to park and at times disorganised. But at 29 quid, this is a gem of an event. Roll on Damnation 2012.

08.11.11


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dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPE HEADLINE TOUR FOR JUNE 2015
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carl sentance BREAKING NEWS: CARL SENTANCE ANNOUNCED AS NEW VOCALIST FOR NAZARETH
Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance replaces Linton Osbourne to start the next chapter for the Scottish hard rockers...

rockingham firefest BREAKING NEWS: ROCKINGHAM RELIGHTS THE FIREFEST; GOTTHARD, DAN REED, STAN BUSH AND MORE ANNOUNCED
The AOR flag will be raised high yet again over Nottingham Rock City...

pentagram PENTAGRAM RE-SIGNS WITH PEACEVILLE RECORDS - ALBUM RECORDING UNDERWAY
Through four decades of adversity and triumph, Pentagram have become a legendary international act...

uriah heep URIAH HEEP 2015 UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
This tour follows on from the release of the band's acclaimed album 'Outsider' which enjoyed excellent reviews...

godsmack GODSMACK VOCALIST SULLY ERNA TO MAKE AN ONLINE POKER COMEBACK
For Godsmack fans this could be disheartening as Erna shifts his attention from music to poker...

quo convention FIRST EVER STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION ANNOUNCED
There will be live music, very special guests and a packed programme this October for this very special celebration...

queensryche THUNDER CONFIRMED AS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS TO ZZ TOP AT WEMBLEY ARENA PLUS MINI UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
The group's first studio album in six years, 'Wonder Days', reminds us why Thunder are now more revered than ever before...

queensryche QUEENSRŸCHE TO TOUR EUROPE AND RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN 2015
It's a busy year for Queensrÿche with headline shows and festival appearances before the new album release...

dir en grey dir en grey RETURN FOR TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS
The Islington O2 Academy will be the scene for Japanese avant-garde Metal in May...

unleashed SWEDISH LEGENDS UNLEASHED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND ARTWORK
The founders of the Viking Death Metal movement are back and as brutal as ever...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ REVEAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'MY REMEDY'
Get a taste of the new album with 'My Remedy', the third single to be released...

Shattered sun LEGENDARY BRITISH MELODIC ROCKERS FM RETURN WITH 'HEROES & VILLAINS' ON APRIL 17TH
"We're on a roll! Some of the tracks on this album are better than anything that the band has ever produced, and Steve's voice is as good as ever..."

nightwish NIGHTWISH ANNOUNCE ONLY UK DATE THIS YEAR WITH ARCH ENEMY SUPPORTING
"Who would have thought about headlining at Wembley Arena one day when we were starting our UK touring history..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS GO UNPLUGGED AND PERSONAL: ACOUSTIC DATES ANNOUNCED
After last year's highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015...

killit KILLIT UNLEASH DEBUT VIDEO AND ANNOUNCE FIRST EVER LIVE SHOW
'Shut It Down' is the first single from the album and is out now and available...

state villains STATE VILLAINS TO RELEASE SECOND EP IN SPRING
State Villains have an honesty that harkens back to an era of integrity and a distinct lack of gimmicks...

chris slade BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS SLADE IS BACK IN AC/DC
Chris will rejoin the legendary hard rockers for their appearance at the 57th annual Grammy Awards as well as the band's upcoming tour...

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