In case you weren't aware, 2012 was the year that Les-Fest was launched in the village of Lesmahagow in Central Scotland near Lanark. This two-day Festival won the Music Event of the Year at the 2012 Scottish New Music Awards and is very proud of being Scotland's one and only Rock and Metal Festival.
Such was the success of last year's festival that the organisers are running the Festival this year (now running for three days with over sixty bands appearing) and in a smart move to boost their profile in the rock community, they have started to promote gigs on their own, and this gig at Pivo Pivo in Glasgow city centre started the ball rolling with a highly successful first gig.
MAIR are an energetic five-piece Groove Metal band from Glasgow, who put on a great show tonight even though their set time was on the short side. Lead guitarist Andrew McGalone is outstanding on the track 'Harder' even though the sound man tries his best to undermine the band with the quality of sound varying during the first few numbers, but the band continue as best they can.
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Bass player Miranda happily bounces from side to side whilst Den Bonura keeps solid beat on the drums at the back and Davy Wilson on rhythm guitar seems to be enjoying himself as he gives his all in front of the burgeoning crowd. Full marks go to vocalist Del Wilson whose vocal style is not unlike Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies-fame, and gives an excellent performance tonight. Amongst the best tracks they performed here were 'Ace', 'Paralyzed' and their set came to a solid close with my favourite track from them, 'R.I.P'.
Next up are local band Dana O'Hara who are a mix of melodic death Metal and power Metal and give another truly powerful performance. Certainly a big draw tonight, the venue is packed to bursting point as they hit the stage. Lead guitarist Colin Scott is giving his all during the first few numbers as the curse of the sound man returns to try and rob him of some of his best work. 'Light The Lanterns' and 'Interception' are a great double blast to start with and vocalist Gordon Scott has a great death Metal vocal style, whilst having a bit of onstage fun with rhythm guitarist Scott 'Scoosh' Harper.
Gordon Scott does his best to energise the crowd, but it's early in the set and the crowd are with the band already with a big group head banging in unison down the front of the stage occasionally spilling into other audience members who are happy to watch the band from a distance. 'In The Arms Of A God' has the keyboards very much to the fore giving the band their distinctive sound before their set wraps up with 'The Apostle', the debut single from their upcoming EP. On the strength of their performance tonight, there'll be a good few copies of the EP sold when it's finally available - so stay tuned for more news on that - I'm sure it'll be well worth waiting for.
So to the final band on tonight's bill - headliners, Severenth. Hailing from Chester, the band were worthy headliners tonight as they are a supremely polished band, but that's no disrespect to the other bands who played - they will have their chance to bask in the spotlight of a headlining slot in the not to distant future, I'm sure of it.
Anyway, back to Severenth. 'Wayward Days' gets a warm reception early in their set as drummer Dave Roberts punishes his drum kit within an inch of its life. Vocalist Peet Bailey has a good vocal range whilst guitarist Ste Ensall becomes the third and final victim on the curse of the sound man tonight.
'Annakina' has the band head banging in unison as the crowd down the front really go for it with Bailey taking a quick sojourn into the audience to press the flesh with the excitable and enthusiastic fans. We're treated to a new song tonight in the shape of 'The Trouble Is' which is a solid tune and has Ensall concentrating hard whilst the rest of the band head bang away to the delight of the crowd.
'My Illusion' keeps the tempo up and gives Adam Sidor his chance in the spotlight with bass player Ben Jones giving some great shouty backing vocals, whilst 'Two Mirrors' brings the set towards its conclusion as the room is a mass of head bangers from back to front. A great set from a band that had a lot to prove with the high calibre of the support bands to rise above and they did so with a professional and entertaining set.
For those who are attending Les-Fest next month, this was just a little taste of what to expect and I suspect that more than a few extra festival tickets were sold on the back of this gig. It was also a triumph for the organisers of Les-Fest, so let's hope this is the first of many showcase gigs to come from them.
Devil May Cry
You can catch all three bands live at Les-Fest 2013: Friday 28th - Sunday 30th June - Valley International Park, Crossford, Lesmahagow.
Peet Bailey - Vocals
Adam Sidor - Guitars
Ste Ensall - Guitars
Ben Jones - Bass
Dave Roberts - Drums
Severenth (Facebook): www.facebook.com/OfficialSeverenth
Dana O'Hara (Facebook): www.facebook.com/danaoharaband
Mair (Facebook): www.facebook.com/mairband Devil May Cry