To be the first band on stage for the second day is always difficult because everyone seemed to party hard the previous day and so lots of people were taking a long time to surface on Saurday morning.
Glasgow based Bacchus Baracus had the task of opening the second day at 11:00am and the band were only too well aware of the mess that some attendees were in the night before but nevertheless, the band played a solid set to those who made it up for their set.
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Drummer cum vocalist Quzzy sets a solid beat as the twin guitarists of Gaz A. Riff and Iain McDuff swap riffs. Quzzy occasionally jokes with the audience between numbers but overall he's happy to let the music do the talking.
Amongst the best is 'Rock And Roll Man' which has Quzzy's voice sounding almost gravely but it suits the solid guitar rhythms perfectly.
Set closer 'I Am Mammoth' seems familiar to some in the arena and garners a warm applause before the band thank those who got up early to watch their set before they leave the stage.
This band are certainly worth catching if you get the chance to see them, and they're certainly on the list of bands that I'll be keeping tabs on in the future.
Bacchus Baracus Set list:
Memo From The Queer Desk
Rock n' Roll Man
Life Ain't Easy
I Am The Mammoth
Bacchus Baracus are:
Quzzy - Vocals/Drums
Gaz A. Riff - Guitars
Iain McDuff - Guitars
Steg, Bass Guitar
Bacchus Baracus Online:
Official Website: http://bacchusbaracus.com
Having caught Fahran in Glasgow recently supporting Eden's Curse, I was keen to see the band again and they delivered another great performance.
Bursting onto the stage with 'Silver Scene' it was clear that I wasn't the only one keen to catch the band's performance and with the hangovers from the previous day's drinking sessions possibly beginning to shift, the audience began to filter into the main arena or hang about beside the main entrance.
'I Heard A Joke Once' keeps the pace as the crowd continues to grow song by song. "How many people are drunk or hungover?" enquires vocalist Matt Black to a somewhat muted response from certain areas of the arena, showing that some may still be suffering from the after effects of the previous day's partying.
Such is the appeal of Fahran, however, that the younger members of the audience were able to make their way to the front barrier with some of the very youngest being hoisted on shoulders so they can get a good view.
'A Thousand Nights' from their new album 'Chasing Hours' which had the audiences' hands in the air as guitarist Chris Byrne grabs his chance to get up close and personal with the audience, much to the delight of those down the front.
Farhan produced another very accomplished set here, and the audience (new and familiar with the bands output) are left in not doubt that this band will be huge. If they're not, then it's a crime against Rock n' Roll.
Fahran Set list:
Take This City Alive
I Heard A Joke Once
Cased In Steel
A Thousand Nights
Matt Black - Lead Vocals
Jake Graham - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Chris Byrne - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Joshua Ballantyne - Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
JR Windsor - Drums
Official Website: http://www.fahran.com
Hailing from Worcester, Fury, have a solid sound in the studio (their latest album, 'The Lightning Dream' is due to be released shortly) but this is the first time I've had a chance to catch them live and what an experience it was.
The band waste no time with 'Into The Dark' which is about traveling back in time and has guitarist Jake Beesley thoroughly enjoying himself as he smiles to the crowd before front man Julian Jenkins joins him on some twin guitar action.
Jenkins is a great front man who tells the crowd that he's not sure "whether to play the next song 'Britannia' or not" (a clear reference to the upcoming Scottish Independence debate) before saying that he's "proud to be British" before they carry on with the track anyway, which is a sure fire winner in my book with it's slow and measured approach showing a different side to the band.
In comparison, 'Burn The Earth' is a full on thrasher giving all four members of the band their moment in the spotlight.
The band, and Jenkins especially, have a great sense of humour which the audience lap up. None more so than when they play a spirited version of 'What Shall We Do with The Drunken Sailor?' which has the crowd singing and dancing along, and you can't help but smile as the audience are having just as much fun (if not more) than the band.
There are some evil laughs and shouts of "Ahoy" as the band leave the stage to rapturous applause as it's clear the organisers have hit the jackpot once again when it comes to booking great bands.
Fury Set list:
Into The Dark
O. B. T. S.
Burn The Earth
Dawn of Survival
Julian Jenkins - Vocals/Guitar
Jake Beesley - Guitar
Martin Trail - Bass
Alasdair Davis - Drums
Official Website: http://furyofficial.com
Beers at festivals are usually the done thing but the fact that Cypher 16 have a Guinness bar pump (affectionately named Alfred) attached to a keg onstage causes quite a stir within the audience as it's readied by a member of the band's team.
The band come onstage shortly after in a fog of dry ice and immediately get the audience jumping around with 'Determine" which is a solid song which includes some inventive finger tapping from bass player Alex Hills and guitarist Will Cass.
'In My Line Of Country' has the arena in full head banging mode as vocalist Jack Doolan delivers a powerful vocal while still having time to joke with the other band members but nearly forgets to push the guitar pedal at the appropriate moment.
During 'I Am Scientist', Hills covers every inch of the stage and looking at those fans wedged against the barrier down the front, Cypher 16 seems to be high on the "To See" lists as the throng builds and builds as their set continues - in fact I'm sure I even caught sight of a few members of Demonic Resurrection head banging down the front!
The band offer a pint of Guinness to the fans who go "batshit crazy" and it takes the audience no encouragement at all to enjoy themselves down the front, but the gimmick of Alfred is for the band only it seems, as no pints are distributed to the audience.
As the band approaches the end of their time on stage, a young girl called Jessica is called on stage for some unrehearsed fun as the band serenade her with a rushed version of 'Happy Birthday' before they leave the stage for the last time.
A great set but I'm still not sure if the business with Alfred is really required as the band can sell themselves with their songs alone.
Cypher 16 Set list:
In My Line of Country
I Am Scientist
The Whole Sea To Cross
A Crack of Thunder, A Flash of Light
Cypher 16 are:
Jack Doolan - Vocals/Guitar
Will Cass - Vocals/Guitar
Alex Hills - Bass Guitar
Jerry Sadowski - Drums
Cypher 16 Online:
Official Website: http://www.cypher16.net
Reign Of Fury were another on my particular "To See" list having heard good things about them and I was not to be disappointed by their display.
'Internal Conflict' gets a huge ovation while 'Heaven Waits/Hell Takes' has guitarist Ed Westlake playing up to the front row of the audience before vocalist Matt Steed mounts the crowd barrier to the delight of the front row and the amusement of those standing further back.
The band promised "something special" during their set and what they deliver is a brand new song, 'Gates of Sanity' which gets a huge reaction from the crowd before they sing along to the chorus - not a bad reaction for a song that has never been performed publicly by the band before.
The band's concentration is understandably evident as they make their way through the song but if the audience's reaction is anything to go by then this could be a future classic for the band.
'Born To Die' has the band relaxing a bit after the complexity of the pervious song, as they venture onto familiar ground with Westlake taking centre stage before he and guitarist Jon Priestley between them play the solo to end all solos.
With a large audience present to witness their set, I don't think it'll be too long before Reign of Fury make another trip north of the border to play a headlining set.
Reign of Fury Set list:
Heaven Waits/Hell Takes
Gates of Sanity
Born To Die
Reign of Fury are:
Matt Steed - Vocals
Jon Priestley - Lead Guitar
Ed Westlake - Lead Guitar
Andy Pilkington - Bass
Dave Humphries - Drums
Reign of Fury Online:
Official Website: http://www.reignoffury.co.uk
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