I'll be honest with you here – I like Def Con One and have done so ever since I first heard their (frankly fantastic) debut album 'Warface' that I reviewed for MetalTalk here, and even though they tour quite a lot all over the UK, I just never seem to have a free night to be able to see them, so I was absolutely delighted to find out they were playing this year's Les-Fest so I could see how good their live show is – and I was not disappointed one single bit.
The Newcastle quartet are gaining a solid reputation for their live shows, and there was an expectant crowd in the arena a good ten minutes before their allotted stage time. Once the band got up on stage, we had an hour of fast paced Metal that didn't slow down from the first beat of the drum to the last faded guitar note.
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The band give a highly polished performance and have something of a in a gem with front man and lead singer Davey Meikle, with his (almost) irreverent humour and his powerful vocal style, which is displayed throughout the set and none more so than on 'No More Hate', where his voice deviates from harsh almost screaming vocals to some quite tuneful singing within the blink of an eye. It's also during this number that drummer Antton Lant shows his Metal credentials if anyone was ever in doubt, as works away relentlessly at the back creating the solid backbone of the Def Con One sound.
'Never Look Back' is another solid number with a killer riff coming from guitarist Johnny Hunter whilst bass player Steve Miller's vocals sound like they could come from the depths of hell themselves. Miller's moment of glory on the bass comes early in the set during 'March Of The Dead' where his bass guitar sound vibrates round your body rattling your bones together.
'10 Bullets' gets the headbangers down the front moving whilst Meikle stalks the stage with his electrifying stage presence whilst 'Give Me Strength' slows the pace down slightly which gives the band a chance to cool down in the sweltering heat. Having said this, it doesn't mean the song is any less heavy - if you like Pantera, then you should definitely give this track listen – fantastic stuff.
'In Death' brings the tempo back up with Hunter producing some quite extraordinary sounds from his guitar before the band lead into the final track of their set - title track from their debut album, 'Warface', bringing to the end a triumphant performance.
Def Con One have done a lot in their short career so far, but you can expect to hear (and see) more from them in the future - we'll keep you posted.
I caught up with the band just before their debut les-Fest performance for an update on all things Def Con One, and I sated by asking them what they have been up to recently?
"We've been recording our new album," Davey Meikle tells me, before adding "it's untitled as of yet, but it's definitely going to called 'Vortex Of Brutality' - that's all I'm saying," he adds with a laugh.
"The albums going to have ten tracks on it", he continues. "We've recorded twenty tracks and we'll try and whittle them down."
"We'll try and whittle them down," stresses Antton Lant as he explains that "'Warface' was only supposed to have ten tracks, and it ended up with twelve as we couldn't all decide on ten so that's how it ended up like that - value for money!"
When asked what they expected from Les-Fest, Davey is very clear. "Loads of crazy Scottish people going absolutely daft to some proper Metal," before adding that they have previously played Dundee and Aberdeen in the past and the Aberdeen gig "in the Moorings Bar, was off the hook - it was brilliant!"
When asked how they heard about Les-Fest, Antton confirms that they were playing Hammerfest when Fede (Valls - one of the organisers of Les-Fest) "grabbed us as soon as we came off stage and said we were playing Les-Fest!" When asked what they expect the Les-Fest audience to be like Davey quickly replies: "Loads of crazy Scottish people going absolutely mental to real proper Metal" to the amusement of everyone else before adding innocently - "have I said that already?"
Talking about the future after the album, Davey confirms that they will definitely go out on tour and have a couple more festival commitments this year to fulfill before saying that they are "provisionally booked for a couple of festivals next year already so next year is starting to fill up nicely already. Basically we've taken ourselves as far as we can so we're looking to take it to the next level."
The band are managing themselves at the moment, which Antton confirms "is hard because you don't necessarily have the contacts, and the music industry is a lot of..." he pauses, "it's not what you know but who you know. You see bands playing these big festivals and they don't have a record out and you kinda scratch your head, don't you? When you have other bands who are struggling to get gigs - crazy!"
"There's a lot of places that want you to play for free too", Antton adds, "We have to put fuel in the van and live y'know. We've done a few gigs where the place was packed and they offer you peanuts but you think "well, hang on, cos you've just made a few grand over the bar, profit-wise, easily to the owners or manager. It's really hard to do a lot of these gigs and get your van home", he continues in a serious moment.
"At least with Management, they will hopefully get us a good support tour - things like this (festivals) are good because you are playing to other people's fans, and hopefully we can, y'know, steal them!" he says with a wry smile.
Lots to look forward to in the Def Con One camp then, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled and make sure that you support everyone's favourite Geordie Metal band.
Thanks to Davey, Antton, Johnny and Steve for their time.
March Of The Dead
No More Hate
Steeped In Pain
Give Me Strength
Never Look Back
You can catch Def Con One live here:
Saturday 3rd August - Headbangers Balls Tour, Club Academy, Manchester (supporting Xentrix)
Monday 5th August - Headbangers Balls Tour, O2 Acedemy, Newcastle Upon Tyne (supporting Hatebreed)
Saturday 24th August - Scarfest, Longton Harriers Football Club, Stoke-on-Trent
Saturday 7th September - The Cradle Will Rock 2013, Shildon Civic Hall, Shildon
Def Con One are:
Davey Meikle – Vocals
Johnny Hunter – Guitar
Steve Miller – Bass Guitar
Antton Lant – Drums
Official Website - www.def-con-one.com
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