||JETTBLACK/ HANGFIRE/ SKARLETT RIOT
Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid
Since 2007, High Wycombe based band Jettblack have been providing the UK with a great mix of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal songs, and this is one band who know exactly what they're doing when it comes to live shows, so being Special Guests to a band as mighty and professional as Bonafide on the last night of Les-Fest surely meant that the band would have to be firing on all cylinders to compete with the headliners.
Kicking off their debut performance at Les-Fest, the band are off and running straight away with 'Two Hot Girls'. Bass player Tom Wright is straight into the groove delighting the crowd throwing Metal poses whilst singer Will Stapleton is a solid performer, and the first guitar solo has the audience down the front pumping their firsts into the air.
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'Less Torque More Thrust' is an unabashed solid rock number that keeps the room moving and some great drumming from Matt Oliver at the back keeps the rest of the band in check. 'In-Between Lovers' gets the headbangers going whilst still managing to slow the pace down. From my vantage point at the side of the stage, you can see the drum riser vibrating such is the power of Oliver whilst bass player Wright head bangs his way through the set with vigour.
'Sunshine' and 'Mother Fucker' are among the better songs in the set with the former being a fast and frantic number with Stapleton and Dow along with Wright standing in the classic "at the front of stage" shot before delivering another solid number whilst the latter sees Stapleton breaking out his Flying V guitar for a track that seems to be a firm favourite of the audience – whist all the time, Dow continues to throws some Metal poses much to the delight of the crowd.
This band can also do slower numbers and this is ably demonstrated by 'Black Gold'. This gives both the band and the audience a bit of breathing space however, just when it's getting comfy, the song takes off to another level thanks to a fantastic solo from Dow who gives his Les Paul guitar a good workout.
Bringing their set to a close is 'Raining Rock' - a track which seemingly needs no introduction at all, as the hardcore fans down the front sing for all they are worth one last time.
With only the headliners to go, it seems that putting Jettblack on as the second last band of the festival was a stroke of genius – and who knows, they may return to Les-Fest 2014 and may even be headlining. If that's the case, I'll be more than happy with that, and so will, I suspect, a vast majority of those who witnessed this performance.
Will Stapleton – Vocals/Guitar
Jon Dow – Vocals/Guitar
Tom Wright – Bass
Matt Oliver – Drums
Two Hot Girls
Less Torque More Thrust
Slip It On
Official Website: http://jettblackuk.com
Having never seen South Wales quartet Hangfire before, I was quite interested to see how good they actually were live and I'm pleased to say that this is certainly one band I'll make the effort to see live again as it seemed like the bands entire set was a party for the audience from start to finish.
'Lord, I'm No Angel' kicks things off with guitarist Lizzy Evans playing a short solo while Swedish vocalist Max Rhead does his best to get the best reaction he can from the audience.
'Rising Sun', from the band's 2010 'Confessions' EP gives bass player Bobby Goo his moment of glory in the spotlight early in the set and along with drummer Matt Blakout, this pair make a solid foundation for the band. Having driven over 700 miles to play at Les-Fest, the band are very appreciative of the crowd and they in turn receive a rapturous round of applause from the audience.
Their new album is nearly finished we're told and the next song in the set, 'Hell This Time' is taken from the as yet un-named album, which is scheduled for an August release by the way!
The track, we're told, was written about the Hard Rock Hell festival (held annually in Wales), and it's a good solid number with guitarist Evans taking a backseat leaving singer Rhead and bass player Goo to lap up the attention. This track does beg the question, however, will the band be writing a song about Les-Fest for a future album?
Slowing the pace down slightly, we're treated to two tracks form last year's 'Shoot The Crow' album with 'Fire In The Hole' showing Evans' skill with some nice lyrical guitar before Rhead encourages the audience to sing-a-long before the last song, 'Drop The Bomb' which is a final frantic hurrah from band to audience.
their final goodbye shouted from the stage the band run off to the backstage area – safe in the knowledge that the long drive north and their hard work during the set has paid dividends with this audience tonight. Good job, lads.
Max Rhead – Vocals
Lizzy Evans – Guitar
Bobby Goo – Bass
Matt Blakout – Drums
Shoot The Crow
Faith In Me
Hell This Time
Fire In The Hole
For Crying Out Loud
Drop The Bomb
Official Website: www.hangfire-rocks.co.uk/
At pretty much exactly 8:45pm, Scunthorpe based quartet Skarlett Riot took to the stage to a busy main stage arena for a set that lasted just under an hour – but they made every minute count.
From the off, vocalist Skarlett works the audience so very well that it's easy to see why the band have found acclaim for both tier live shows and for their debut album 'Tear Me Down' that was released earlier this year.
Skarlett prowls the front of the stage, obviously enjoying the close attention for the audience as she sings for all her worth on the first number which is a well received start to their set. By the second number, the audience are rocking out down the front whilst guitarist Danny shows his value in the band with a cracking solo whilst drummer Luke seems to spend more time during the early part of the set out of his drum stool and urging the audience to get involved - something which they are more than happy to do.
The band literally fire through tracks like 'Rock N' Roll Queen', 'Faded Memory' and 'What We've Become' to the growing delight of the crowd, and in a brief break, we are informed that the band are currently writing a new album that they are hoping will be out later in the year.
With performances like this one, it's clear that Skarlett Riot are certainly on the ascendancy and with the band leaving Les-Fest to undertake a support tour for Heavens Basement, this is one band that you should certainly make the effort to got and see.
Skarlett Riot are:
Skarlett – Vocals/Guitar
Danny – Lead Guitar
Tom – Bass
Luke – Drums
Official Website: www.skarlettriot.co.uk/