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Wiston Lodge, Biggar
Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June 2015

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid.

johnny main

wildfire festival

With everything seemingly happening around the main stage, you often forget that festivals these days are multi-stage events, and Wildfire festival is no exception.

On the Saturday and Sunday alongside the main stage there was also the partially covered Stage Two which saw an array of bands (well, those who turned up!) from straight up rock bands to bands with a heavier tinge to them. As happens at festivals these days, despite the very best efforts of those who run these events, there are the inevitable stage clashes, so I didn't manage to cover all the bands but here's a selection of some of the bands that I did manage to catch on the second stage over the weekend.

There's nothing like a bit of Thrash Metal to waken you up after a heavy nights partying and for me Corrupt the System were well worth getting out of bed to see early in the afternoon sunshine. I'd seen the Glasgow four piece a couple of times before and the band looked energised for what was to have been their first gig of a two gig day for them as they were supporting another band later in the day in Glasgow.

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The band drew a small but appreciative crowd for their short set kicking off with 'The World' and 'Dehumanized' both of which are cornerstones to the bands live set. The latter had guitarist Paul McAllister playing the driving guitar riff before the pace slows and drummer Adam McSherry pounds out the steady beat at the back.

The mid-set inclusion of 'Game On' as one of the band's newer songs is great with the rock solid bass guitar track courtesy of Gary before front man Neil Parkinson adds in some flanged guitar. It has to be said that despite the heavy nature of the songs, Parkinson is a polite and amiable front man who's very good at enthusing the crowd so they have as much fun as the band.

The band round off their set with 'Clay Soldiers' which is a favourite of mine and has Hughes and McAllister in a wee headbanging world of their own before McAllister beckons to the crowd to join in before they leave the stage to generous applause.

Corrupt The System are:
Neil Parkinson - Vocals/Guitar
Paul McAllister - Guitar/Vocals
Gary Hughes - Bass/Vocals
Adam McSherry – Drums

Corrupt The System Setlist:
The World
Left For Dead
Game Over
Temptations of Anarchy
Clay Soldiers

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wildfire festival

Edinburgh based thrashers Disposable opened last year's festival and since then their star has been shining brightly. In the past twelve months the band have built a solid fan base and released their debut album, 'At The Foot Of The World' to critical acclaim, so it's only right and proper that they get a return offer to perform.

Despite having only one album out, the band put on an impressive display during their eight song set, and the crowd in front of the stage is markedly larger than it was the previous year. Title song 'Disposable' is hard and fast which is followed by the equally fast 'Addiction'. There are no half measures here as the band do their very best song after song.

'Void' provides frontman William Robertson with his best vocal of the set as drummer Liam Tucker thrashes out the beat. 'Leave This Place' sees the first proper mosh pit of the day break out and is ironically dedicated to Robertson's Mother and Girlfriend (the latter who is in the audience at the time). The track itself is just a stunning piece of work and wouldn't look out of place on a Slayer album with its killer riff and demon vocals.

'Into The Water' sees the band throwing out a few inflatable sharks which provides a bit of fun but doesn't detract from the band's performance. Closing off with a cover of Slayer's 'Raining Blood', which they didn't really need as any other tracks from their debut album would have done just fine, but nevertheless, it's a faultless cover of a classic Thrash song.

wildfire festival

Disposable are:
William Robertson – Vocals/Bass Guitar
Andrew Anderson – Guitar
Jack Batcharj – Guitar
Liam Tucker – Drums

Disposable Setlist:
Leave This Place
Into The Water
Now It Ends
Raining Blood

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A big draw at Wildfire were Dog Tired, who first came to my attention at the festival last year when they played quite early on the first day. Since then I've seen the band numerous times and while their performances get better and better, so the crowds coming to see them are getting bigger and bigger. Their Special Guest status on the second stage only cements their reputation as one of the best young bands out there and I have to say that, again, I wasn't disappointed with their performance.

What the band delivered was a five song set with four established numbers, all taken from the bands 2013 opus, 'Titan' and one brand new song from an as yet unrecorded album. Quite why Dog Tired, like Disposable before them, weren't on the main stage is a mystery to me, but the audience were out in droves to see the band's set.

The band offer up a new song, 'Deverium', mid-set which may have been unfamiliar to some of the audience but it didn't show as they head banged their way through it with no encouragement from the band required. If this is the sound of the future from Dog Tired, then you can take my money for a copy of their new album right now!

Never a band to stand on ceremony; "Whose been fucking steamin' this weekend?" hollers front man Chris Thomson to loud cheers and laughter from the audience before continuing on with, 'The Digital Plague'. A firm favourite with the audience it has those down the front head bang away whilst guitarist Luke James plays a crowd pleasing solo.

The band have been around in various guises for ten years says Thomson before he explains that the reason they do what they do is because they "love Metal" which garners more applause from the audience.

The band close off with 'Impact' which has then giving their performance everything one last time and the audience shout for more as the band leave the stage – so we'll expect more from the band at Wildfire 2016 making it three in a row? Here's hoping!

Dog Tired are:
Chris Thomson – Vocals
Luke James – Guitar
Barry Buchanan – Bass Guitar
Keith Blaikie – Drums

Dog Tired Setlist:
Iron Sky
God Disease
The Digital Plague

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Carlisle based quartet Die No More are becoming one of the leading lights in British Thrash. Their debut album was released just under a year ago and the band have worked hard to get their music out there. I'd first seen them live last year and was duly impressed with their set so with anticipation I made my way down to the second stage and was happy to see a sizable crowd ready to support the band.

'Soul Destroyer' kicks things off well as front man Marc Farquhar kicks off the razor sharp riff whilst drummer Steve Orchiton keeps a solid beat at the back. 'Blood In The Veins' gets the head bangers down the front going whilst those towards the back nod along to the more mid-paced than fast track. Whilst Farquhar concentrates on the vocals it's left to guitarist Kev Smith and bass player Martyn Simpson to stalk the stage, as they swap from side to side.

New song 'Save Yourself' manages to pick the pace back up again as a group of diehard fans nod along to the solid number. As the band near the end of their set, it's the lead track from the album, 'Dark World' that picks things up once again. After its into has been negotiated, the band give everything they've got with Smith's guitar solo coming across exceptionally well.

Ending with 'Council Of War', the audience are happy enough to sing-along whilst singing along whilst bass player Martyn Simpson gives his most animated performance of the set before Smith pulls out one final great solo. A fine way to sign off, the applause as they leave the stage speaks for itself so look out for Die No More playing near you – you cannot afford to miss them.

Die No More are:
Marc Farquhar – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Martyn Simpson – Bass Guitar
Steve Orchiton – Drums
Kev Smith – Lead Guitar

Die No More Setlist:
Soul Destroyer
Blood In The Veins
Connection Lost
Save Yourself
Dark World
Council Of War

wildfire festival

Bigfoot are another band who are able to draw a sizeable crowd with their own unique brand of heavy rock. There's a slight delay as guitarist Sam Millar sorts out some small technical issues, but frontman Ant Ellis is more than happy to keep the audience amused with his sometimes off the wall sense of humour. As the bad settle into their stride, the sun makes a somewhat rare appearance as they burst into 'Tie Me Down'.

New song 'Just Like Me' is a faster paced number with bass player Matt Avery and drummer Tom Aspinall keeping a tight reign on the tempo. Ellis sounds not unlike Saxon main man Biff Byford at times and adds just the right amount of menace to his voice during the choruses, and the song gets a good response from the audience at its finale.

Another new song 'Run' slips seamlessly into the set and has the crowd dancing along as Ellis gives what could well be his best performance of the set. 'Come Down My Way' is a much softer tune by comparison with softly sung vocals and acoustic guitar from Ellis before the electric guitars kick in and the full band kick back into gear.

As with any Bigfoot show, the highlight if the set is 'Bitch Killer' which has the twin guitars of Millar and Mick McCullagh working well together. It's a great song and the band really knows how to get the best from it, and I really hope it remains in their set list for some time to come. All too soon, the bands curfew beckons and they tank the audience and get a loud ovation as they leave the stage. So, are we taken bets on a return for them next year? I would say it's a pretty safe bet.

wildfire festival

Bigfoot are:
Ant Ellis – Vocals/Guitar
Sam Millar – Guitar
Mick McCullagh – Guitar
Matt Avery – Bass Guitar
Tom Aspinall– Drums

Bigfoot Setlist:
Stone Soldiers
Tie Me Down
Just Like Me
Come Down My Way
Bitch Killer
Blame It On The Dog
The Other Side of Paradise

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wildfire festival

Saturday night headliners on the second stage was justifiably I.C.O.N – a heavyweight addition to the bill, and it was the quartet second Scottish gig in as many days as their unique brand of Metal drew a sizeable audience.

As part of their UK tour to back up their latest album, 'The Blacklist', it was my first opportunity to see the band live having immensely enjoyed their (recently released) new album, and their truncated live show didn't disappoint.

There were no fancy intro effects as the band's stage time drew up, they just strode defiantly onto the stage and without any fuss dived headlong into their set. Of course, the band's set was geared towards the new album kicking off with 'Feed The Negative' which had drummer Larry Paterson setting out the solid beat before guitarist Scott Knowles stepped up with his first solo.

The song from where the album's title originates, 'Devil's Blacklist' is a very Black Sabbath-esque sounding number which had Knowles long guitar chords punctuating the lyrics before As frontman Mark Sagar encourages everyone to raise their metal horns in the air. It may be a slower paced number but it still exudes heaviness.

As the band's set continues, you can almost see how happy they are that the tracks are finally being heard. Sagar really is the consummate front man with his amiable and sometimes comedic between song chat but when the vocals kick in, there's a serious amount of passion in every line he sings.

For me, the mid-set placing of 'Welcome To My War' was key to the band's performance. Not only is it one of the strongest songs on the new album, but it was played just before some of the crowd drift off towards the main arena – serendipity, I guess because if it had been included five minutes later, then they would have missed what could be the bands heaviest number.

The band close off their set with two tracks from their debut album, 2009's 'New Born Lie' but it's clear from these tracks that the band is a very different beast than it was in the past and the looks like they will continue to build on the success of 'The Blacklist' album.

wildfire festival

I.C.O.N are:
Mark Sagar – Vocals
Scott Knowles – Guitar
Reece Bevan – Bass Guitar
Larry Paterson – Drums

I.C.O.N Setlist:
Feed The Negative
Devils Blacklist
I'm The Venom
Grindin' Wheel
Welcome To My War
Drowning In Their Screams
New Born Lie
Seven Second Warning

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