Friday night 'Thrash Night' headliners at this year's Les-Fest were Huddersfield based Evile. Their booking was a bit of a coup for the festival organisers as it was their only UK festival headline appearance this year, and their only Scottish festival appearance this summer too, so with a lot of expectation on their shoulders you have to wonder how much pressure the band were under to deliver.
As they took to the stage at a little before a quarter past midnight any worries about the audience went straight out of the window as they received a truly euphoric response from the packed out crowd. After a quick introduction from festival organiser, Dave Ritchie, it seemed that everyone at the festival was a fan of the band and had turned out to see them.
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For the next seventy minutes or so, the band powered through an amazing set. From the off, bass player Joel Graham was just a mass of hair as he head banged his way through the set without missing a note. 'Underworld', from the band's new album 'Skull' (released in the UK in March 2013) is met with loud appreciation, as the band plough through the song at full tilt.
'In Dreams Of Terror' and 'Cult' both get an especially rapturous reception so it's safe to say that these numbers will be kept in the bands live set for some time to come. Vocalist Matt Drake doesn't need to spend too much time energizing the crowd as everyone seems to be having the time of their lives, as the fans jostle down the front for a better viewing position. Lead guitarist Ol Drake has a bit of fun punctuating the guitar chords of 'Eternal Empire' with theatrical stabs to his power chords, whist drummer Ben Carter just seems to pummel the drums from the start of the bands set right through to the end of it.
Sections from Pink Floyd's 'Money', 'Day Tripper' by The Beatles and the Megadeth classic 'Peace Sells (But Who's Buying)' from Ol pepper the set in between numbers, much to the delight of the crowd, before the band literally fly through some early classic material in the shape of 'Enter The Grave' and 'Killer From The Deep' before wrapping up tonights set with a blistering rendition of 'Infected Nations'. The Les-Fest audience were looking for a top notch act to headline tonight, and they certainly got one with Evile – as far as the band concerned, they can leave happy in the knowledge that they have made a lot of new fans tonight.
I caught up with Matt Drake and Joel Graham before their Les-Fest set, to ask what they'd been up to lately and their thoughts on Les-Fest:
I started the chat by mentioning that the band's last Scottish gig was in 25th October 2012 at the O2 ABC in Glasgow (which was reviewed by MetalTalk here) to which Matt asks: "Have we played the O2 in Glasgow? I have the worst memory, so I'm sorry", but asking them what they have been up to recently, he continued: "Well, we've just done a couple of festivals in France and Belgium. We've just started to tour the new album really. We have this gig and then we have a gig with Suicidal Tendencies next week and then a gig in Lithuania, I think", before Joel adds that in September, they return to the UK for four shows in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
When asked how the Suicidal Tendencies support show came about, Joel is ruthlessly honest when he says "someone called us up and asked if we wanted to support Suicidal Tendencies and we did, so we said yes!" Well, you can't be much more honest than that - can you?
When asked what they expected of Les-Fest, they both have a good think before Matt replies, "We don't really know honestly, we didn't even know what the place was like! We saw signs for the pet shop and the little train and these lovely surroundings - it's great!"
"The first thing, literally, that I noticed when we drove in," Matt continues after a pause to collect his thoughts, "it looks like Bloodstock (the annual festival held in Catton Park, Derby) the very first year I went. That was the very early days of what is now, a great festival, but they way we have been treated here and how everyone has looked after us here, it's been awesome!"
When asked how they heard about the festival, Matt says that he knows Fede Valls (one of the orgainsers of Les-Fest) quite well, and "(I) speak to him quite often on social networks, and I do remember him saying that he was involved in a festival, but you meet so many people", he continues, "that you don't take it all in sometimes, but then we received an email asking if we'd play it and we thought - why not."
When asked what the band have planned for the future, Joel mentions that they don't really know although they would like to "revisit Les-Fest if it's still here" before he changes his mind and suggests that we meet up here (at the Les-Fest site) in ten years and we can have a talk about it!"
Matt adds that "in ten years, I hope we're still recording and playing gigs - we've not just jinxed the future of the band have we? I hope not!" Before the chat can go any further, however, they have other duties to attend to - so let's hope that the band are still gigging and recording in ten year's time, and if so, I'll do another interview at Les-Fest - and who knows, they might just headline there when we meet up again!
With thanks to Matt Drake and Joel Graham for their time.
The official lyric video for 'Underworld' can be viewed here:
You can see Evile live here:
Sunday 7th July - Electric Ballroom, London (supporting Suicidal Tendencies)
Saturday 3rd August - Formoz Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
Saturday 24th August - Scarfest, Launceston
Saturday 14th September - Raismes Festival, Raismes, France
Thursday 26th September – CF10, Cardiff University, Cardiff
Friday 27th September – Button Factory, Dublin
Saturday 28th September – Academy II, Manchester
Sunday 29th September – Audio, Glasgow
Saturday 19th October - Kyttaro Live, Athens, Greece
Friday 25th October - Maximum Festival Bucharest, Romania
In Dreams Of Terror
Five Serpents Teeth
Enter The Grave
Killer From The Deep
Matt Drake – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Ol Drake – Lead Guitar
Joel Graham – Bass Guitar
Ben Carter – Drums
Official Website: http://www.evile.co.uk/
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