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metal talk
9th March 2017

sara harding
Words: Sara Harding, Pictures: Steve Barker

chiswick invasion

It's 6.00pm and nearly all of London's rock royalty is the packed into the Chiswick School hall for the second year of the Chiswick Invasion – a brilliant mix of kids, teachers and rock stars all rocking out for Nordiff Robbins charity.

This event is the brainchild of Thomas Gers and he should know how to put on a great gig as he's the 13-year-old nephew of Iron Maiden's Janik Gers and putting on a fantastic show is definitely in his DNA. Maiden management is here and the MC of this sell out gig for charity is none other that Dave Shackleton – a true ledge who makes an ordinary thank you speech extraordinary. This is one rock'n'roll assembly and he is the headmaster.

chiswick invasion

As the cheaply priced wine flows the kids take to the stage ably assisted by maths teacher Toni Corbin who keeps the children (and us grown-ups) in order. First on the line-up are The Martians from Year Seven whose rousing cover of 'Let it Be' had us all singing along. The confidence of these kids is amazing – if I'd had half their talent and swagger I'd have been in Black Sabbath by the time I was ten.

Then it's time for a large slice of indie rock from sextet Cut Short whose young female singer has the singing chops of Beth Ditto – we'll be seeing her on screen soon. Up next is Crimson and their Muse cover was so accomplished they could be playing Wembley not W4. By now the dance floor is filling up and the power punches are coming out. It was like being back at your favourite disco but with no cheesy ballads, just rock.

chiswick invasion

The school of rock continues with all female quartet The Hummingbirds who are so talented, they already have their first single out. Four incredible rock maidens who wrote and performed their whole set flawlessly. Then it's an A-Plus for effort from the Elastic Band, which is made up of Chiswick School Staff, our favourite Caretaker Harry Deegan and our host with the most Tom Gers who now takes to the stage, and by now his entourage of teen groupies are screaming and swooning. Their take on Van Morrisson's 'Brown Eyed Girl' has us all up and dad dancing.

Up next it's 'grown-up time' as the mature (well only in their 20s) Hekz take to the stage with their unique Metal prog set. As ever this band are polished and prog-tastic. Matt's vocals set the school hall shaking and we are treated to a glimpse of what their new album will sound like and it's epic, ending with a very fitting version of Iron Maiden's 'The Trooper' and once again Master Gers joins the band to give us the killer solo on this very apt cover. Everyone is shouting "Scream for me Chiswick".

chiswick invasion

Shot Through The Heart take to the stage now and they give us great classic rock. They are more polished than the caretaker's floors and even Andy Nathan is up and shaking his mullet to this AOR fest as the lyrics to Rainbow's 'Since You've Been Gone' are geniously changed to: "Your poison Twitter, your Instagram." Slaves are up next and Romeo's Daughter's Leigh Matty takes the lead. Her voice is as always spellbinding and they wow us with their prognographic set.

Planet Rock DJ Daren Redick performs bass duty with The Griffins, another supergroup formed for this rocking event with Let's Zep leg-end Billy Kulke giving us Robert Plant like no other. There's more pouting and posing than Ben Affleck in Zoolander and we are lapping it up.

chiswick invasion

The final supergroup to take to the school stage is Men With Beards with very special guest star, 10-year-old Archie (son of our very own MetalTalk's Chris Dale) who wows us with his killer riffs, his killer jump of the drum stack and his nod to Kiss on his full size Ibanez is stunning – Slash you better watch out.

The crowd go mad for this mix of yoof and legends with vocals by Doogie White classy as ever with a setlist that had us all rocking out, featuring anthems like 'Rock N' Roll', 'The Boys Are Back In Town' and of course the encore of all encores 'School's Out'. And then it's over, but thankfully before the slow dances come on and our dads arrive to taxi us home.

chiswick invasion

Tom Gers is the rock version of Tom Hanks in Big – he's a 49-year-old in a 13-year-old body and he’ll be putting on the next Live Aid, that's for sure. Bring on Chiswick Invasion Three!

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chiswick invasion

chiswick invasion

chiswick invasion



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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