As the second day broke on the Wildfire site, so did the hangovers. The camp site itself was quite eerie to look at as the mist hung in the air with only the odd person drifting (or was that drunkenly staggering) about the site. With the excesses of the day before, it was always going to be unfortunate for the first couple of bands playing as the action started at 11:00am sharp – a respectable time for some certainly, but not for everyone.

Wiston Lodge, Biggar
Saturday 27th June 2015

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid.

wildfire festival

The Idol Dead were the first band on the main stage where they produced a fun and frantic Pop Punk set. The band quite rightly made no apologies for being more Punk than Metal and their energetic show went down well with those who managed to crawl out of bed and make it to the main arena.

‘Everybody Knows Your Name’ is placed late in their set as is amongst their heaviest numbers with drummer, Nishan Gonsalkorale, setting out a ferocious beat as front man Polly Phluid gives it everything he’s got.

Rounding out their set with a double barrel blast of ‘Buckle And Howl’ and ‘I.D.O.L.’, the former doesn’t slow the pace any and has guitarists Tim Jeffs and KC Duggan getting the chance to take centre stage before the latter gives the audience the chance to have a sing along, something they’re more than happy to do – the chorus is pretty catchy so that always makes it easier!

As the band leave the stage they were certainly playing to more then the forty or so festival goers who turned up for the start of their set, so who knows – a return visit may see them higher up the bill with the advantage of a later stage time could be just what the band need.

The Idol Dead are:
Polly Phluid – Vocals
Tim Jeffs – Lead Guitar
KC Duggan – Rhythm Guitar
Dan Sugden – Bass Guitar
Nishan Gonsalkorale – Drums

The Idol Dead Setlist:
Summer That Never Was
Six Feet Under
Bones Of You
Black Eyes And Prose
Travelling Man
Everybody Knows Your Name
Buckle And Howl

By the time Line Of Fire hit the stage, it was nearing lunchtime and those who had partied long and hard during the night finally seemed to be making their way to the arena.

For those unfamiliar with the Line Of Fire boys, they were formed in 2009 by guitarists Dave Lamont and Gavin ‘Paddy’ O’Malley (also known for his work with thrash band, Lawnmower Deth who appeared later in the day). There was a lot of anticipation from the audience to see the band’s set and I have to say that no-one went away disappointed.

Book-ending their set with ‘What Will You Say Tomorrow’ with its heavy guitar riff and the epic ‘Wrong Side Of The Track’, both of which were taken from the band’s 2013 EP ‘Nowhere To Go’ this band put on a fine display throughout their short set.

For me, the highlight of their set was ‘Lifetime Alone’ with the heavy but slow paced groove led by Lamont getting the head bangers in the front row going. Frontman Baz Shaw’s vocals were a bit difficult to make out at times, but this was down to the soundman rather than the band. It’s a great number overall, though, especially when the faster middle section kicked in.

All I can say is with solid tunes and great stage presence, I really hope the band have plans in place for a full album because this has the potential to be an absolutely solid piece of work.

Line Of Fire are:
Baz Shaw – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Gavin ‘Paddy’ O’Malley – Guitar
Dave Lamont – Guitar
Ste Dudley – Drums

Line of Fire Setlist:
What Will You Say Tomorrow
Purple Sky
Lifetime Alone
Something Ain’t Right
Wrong Side Of The Track

As Thrashers Solitary walk on stage, frontman Richard Sherrington gives a genial welcome and a big grin to the burgeoning audience.

The main stage really was the place to be that afternoon as it’s pretty much solid act after solid act and those in the tent looked to be moving nowhere except between the bar and the front of the stage. Getting straight down to business, the band blasted into ‘Trigger Point Attrocity’ which is taken from their forthcoming album. The song has a great solo from guitarist Andy Mellor while bass player David Cunningham lead the way with some vigorous headbanging.

The band seize the opportunity to impress some potential new fans by playing two thirds of their set from their forthcoming album including what could be the title track, ‘The Diseased Heart Of Society’ which, as it turned out, was amongst the best for me. In fact, it’s safe to say that if this material is representative of the rest of the material on the album then it’s definitely made its way onto my “To Buy” list.

Of the remaining older tracks, both are taken from 2008s ‘Requiem’ album with Sherrington giving an excellent vocal performance on ‘The Aftermath’ whilst ‘The Predator’ (written about Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe) provides Mellor the opportunity to pull out one of his best solos. It’s tight, fast and sustained as he covers every inch of the fret board until it reaches its inevitable crescendo to generous and well deserved applause from the audience.

All in all, a fine set from a band who I’ll definitely look forward to hearing more from in the future.

Solitary are:
Richard Sherrington – Vocals/Guitars
Andy Mellor – Lead Guitars
David Cunningham – Bass Guitar
Roy Miller – Drums

Solitary Setlist:
Trigger Point Attrocity
The Aftermath
The Diseased Heart Of Society
Architects Of Shame

As I rocked up to the main stage expecting to see reactivated Eighties Thrashers Re-Animator, I was surprised to see Promethium setting up instead. A quick check on my laminate showed that indeed I was at the right stage but it seemed that Promethium had been upgraded to a main stage appearance in place of the absent thrashers – a fortuitous decision if ever I’ve seen one.

There is quite a buzz going round at the moment about the Lancaster based quintet since their current album, ‘Origins’ dropped and I was quite glad that I got the chance to experience their show from the relatively relaxed surroundings of the VIP area in the main arena, and as the rest of the arena filled out, it seemed I wasn’t the only one interested to see the band.

The band gave a good overview of their back catalogue cherry picking the best from their two released albums and throwing a couple of brand new songs in for good measure. Of the three from their 2011 debut album, ‘Welcome To The Institution’, it’s ‘Tribute to the Fallen’ which is amongst their best, which probably accounts for its inclusion towards the end of their set. It’s a slow paced number but goes down well with the audience with guitarist Rossi Andrew James giving some mean backing vocals with his deep (and almost dirty) voice.

wildfire festival

From 2013s ‘Origins’ there were a couple of standout tracks in the shape of ‘Rain’ slap bang in the middle of the set and the fast paced ‘Gunslinger’ which closes their set to raucous applause.

The band also debuted two brand new songs – ‘Henry’s Song’ named after new bass player Henry Greenwood which had the band in fully fledged head banging mode and the excellent ‘Battle Axe’ both of which front man Gaz McGahon tells us are slated to be on their new album (provisionally titled ‘Faces Of War’).

All in all though it was a solid set from a band who really grabbed the opportunity of playing on the main stage and hopefully they’ll get a chance to return to the festival in the future.

Promethium are:
Gaz McGahon – Vocals
Daniel Lovett-Horn – Guitar flying v guy
Rossi Andrew James – Guitar
Henry Greenwood – Bass
Adam Hargreaves – Drums

Promethium Setlist:
Won’t Break Me
Meaning Of Trust
Henry’s Song
Tribute To The Fallen
Battle Axe

Next on my list to see were old school metallers, Anihilated. Formed back in 1981 they quickly gained a reputation as one of the hardest working live bands on the circuit sharing the stage with bands like Onslaught, Sabbat and Xentrix. Disbanding in the early 1990s, the band lay dormant for a decade before they reformed coming out stronger than ever – a fact which is borne out by their live set here.

The title track from their new album ‘Anti Social Engineering’ is given a good reception as drummer Paul ‘Bod’ Rodwell sets out a ferocious beat. Frontman Simon Cobb sounds like it could be slightly too fast for the lyrics but he manages to get through the lines without missing any before guitarist Todd Manning steps forward for the guitar solo. It’s a good track that certainly kept fans of the heavier side of music happy with their heavy sound.

Also worth of note was Rodwell’s performance during another new track, ‘A Vile Congregation’ (written about the controversial Westbro Baptist Church) where he punched out the solid sounding beat whilst guitarists Danny Biggin and Manning laid down the guitar riffs. It was a frantic paced number which had a group of dedicated headbangers down the front for pretty much the bands entire set – where they got the energy from, I don’t know! Manning’s guitar solo was nearly drowned out in the mix but the soundman rescued the situation at the very last minute.

Overall, though, it’s another well received set as the band leave the stage for the last time, a queue at the merchandise table tells its own story.

Have Anihilated still got life in them? Yes, of course they do. Are the band going to doing more gigs to back up their new album? I bloody well hope so!

Anihilated are:
Simon Cobb – Vocals/Bass Guitar
Danny Biggin – Guitar
Todd Manning – Guitar
Paul ‘Bod’ Rodwell – Drums

Anihilated Setlist:
Blood of the Martyr
Anti Social Engineering
Somewhere Underneath
Chase The Dragon
Scorched Earth Policy
A Vile Congregation
They Lie, We Die
We Are Legion

Dutch quintet Lord Volture are described as “classic Heavy Metal” and if you’re a fan of Iron Maiden/Judas Priest, then this band should be on your list.

Formed back in 2010 by front man David Marcelis they’ve shared the stage with Y&T, Firewind, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Blaze Bayley amongst others and for their first time playing live in Scotland, I don’t know who was more excited – the band or the packed audience.

David Marcelis certainly has a great set of pipes on him and could certainly equal Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson when hitting the high notes. He’s also a great, great frontman too – very amiable and chatty in between the songs but still able to command the audience when required. I’d not heard anything from the band previous to their set but afterwards, I am certainly looking to hear more from them.

‘Where The Enemy Sleep’ kicks off their set in fine fashion with guitarist Leon Hermans playing a great solo during the extended intro before he and bass player, Simon Geurts, get on with some synchronised headbanging. The song is every inch an epic and despite being their first number, it’s very much a real highlight of their set as both guitarists Hermans and Paul Marcelis show their soloing prowess and the audience are happy enough to sing-along when encouraged and it didn’t take long before the hands are punching the air in time to the beat.

wildfire festival

‘The Pugilist’ is reminiscent of Saxon with its chugging guitar riff and solid drum beat from drummer Frank Wintermans, who’s hard pushed to wipe the smile from his face throughout the bands set whilst the crowd clap along with little encouragement needed from the band. When it comes to the guitar solo, it’s time for Paul Marcelis to step forward into the limelight for a precise and entertaining solo.

The fast and furious riffing kicks off ‘Wendigo’ but subsides to leave only the drums and vocals remaining as Wintermans really punishes the drum kit before the guitars kick back in. Geurts and Hermans engage in some onstage tomfoolery as David Marcelis once again commands centre stage. A simpler effort yes, but it doesn’t lack any power or passion. David Marcelis really stretches his voice again and is never without a smile as he strode up and down the stage encouraging the audience to get involved.

‘Will To Power’, the title track of their latest CD, is a real moment in the band’s set and stands above everything else. The audience may not have heard it before but it didn’t take them long for them to start singing along and punching the air during the chorus. Wintermans really pummels the drum kit as Paul Marcelis produces a screeching guitar solo. David Marcelis gives another great performance and the overall rhythm may be a bit stop-start, but it’s still a pinnacle of their set.

This may have been the band’s first ever gig in Scotland but it’s safe to assume that it won’t be their last and when they do return they already seem to have an audience ready and willing to welcome them back.

Lord Volture are:
David Marcelis – Vocals
Paul Marcelis – Guitar
Leon Hermans – Guitar
Simon Geurts – Bass Guitar
Frank Wintermans – Drums

Lord Volture Setlist:
Where The Enemy Sleep
The Pugilist
Will To Power
Line ‘Em Up
Hearts of Steel

Lawnmower Deth were something of an unknown quantity for a cross section of the audience. Some were too young to have seen (or heard of them) before whilst some others couldn’t get over their “Comedy Rock” description whilst others waited with baited breath for the band’s stage time to arrive, so it was with an air of trepidation that the tent filled up shortly before the band came on stage.

I have to say at this point that I’d never seen the band live before (despite valiant attempts on my part to actually see them), so this was a real personal treat for me – not to mention ticking another band off my “To See” list! With a set length of just under an hour, this was never going to be an ordinary performance and I’m glad to say that, well, it wasn’t.

As the band kick off with ‘Spook Perv Happenings In The Snooker Hall’ those down the front know they’re in a great time but those towards the back of the main tent seem a bit reticent to join in. Frontman Qualcast “Koffee Perkulator” Mutilator (aka Pete Lee) is on fine form as he greets the audience before explaining the “ground rules” for the band’s set which includes making the audience swear a pledge to make dick heads of themselves during the band’s set before the head banging begins in earnest with ‘Flying Killer Cobs From The Planet Bob’.

“Have you had a lot to drink today?” asks Lee to a somewhat muted response before adding: “This must be the drunkest looking crowd – not the drunkest but the drunkest looking crowd we’ve ever played to!” he says before a run through of ‘Drink To Be Sick’.

wildfire festival

It may be a mere thirty seconds long but Lee tells the audience that it’s “probably the longest version the band has played”. They continue on with the drinking theme showcasing ‘Betty Ford’s Clinic’ which gets a good response before some wag at the back shouts “Play something by Taylor Swift” to howls of laughter all round.

From here on in, there’s no real plan. The band decide to throw caution to the wind and have a straw poll of long versus short songs with short winning hands down (or should that be has most hands raised in the air) as the band quickly go through ‘Egg Sandwich’ and ‘Icky Ficky’.

‘Sumo Rabbit And His Inescapable Trap Of Doom’ has the crowd chanting “Sumo, Sumo” before drummer Explodin’ Dr Jaggers Flymo (aka Chris Flint) keeps everyone entertained with his drum solo.

A quick jaunt through ‘Did You Spill My Pint?’ before the set culminates with ‘7th Church Of The Apocalyptic Lawnmower’ and ‘Satan’s Trampoline’ as the band take their final bows and leave the stage to huge applause.

Like I said earlier, there were a lot of people unsure what to expect but Lawnmower Deth ended up being the band of the evening (and possibly festival) for a lot of them. Unfortunately the band didn’t have time to include a cover of Slade’s ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’ which was dropped due to time constraints, but if their set time had just been a bit longer to include that, it would have been great – but maybe next time, eh?

Edit: There’s a poll currently running on the Wildfire Facebook page to see which bands from this year should play next year and if Lawnmower Deth don’t come top of the list, I’ll be ordering a stewards inquiry!

Lawnmower Deth are:
Qualcast “Koffee Perkulator” Mutilator (Pete Lee) – Vocals
Concorde Faceripper (Steve Nesfield) – Guitar
Schizo Rotary Sprintmaster (Gavin ‘Paddy’ O’Malley) – Guitar
Mightymo Destructimo (Chris Parkes) – Bass Guitar
Explodin’ Dr Jaggers Flymo (Chris Flint) – Drums

Lawnmower Deth Setlist:
Spook Perv Happenings In The Snooker Hall
Jaggered Wedge
Flying Killer Cobs From The Planet Bob
Drink To Be Sick
Betty Ford’s Clinic
Egg Sandwich
Icky Ficky
Sumo Rabbit And His Inescapable Trap Of Doom
Urban Surfer 125
Watch Out Grandma
Fuck Off
Did You Spill My Pint?
7th Church Of The Apocalyptic Lawnmower
Satan’s Trampoline

After the expected mayhem of Lawnmower Deth, it was always going to be hard to follow their set, so what the organisers decided to do was have a band who were completely different in tone and performance, and also one that hadn’t played Scotland for many, many years (fourteen to be exact!), so forward stepped Melodic Hard Rockers, Ten.

Fronted by Gary Hughes, the band have been around in various guises since 1995, and have over a dozen albums worth of material to choose from so this was always going to be a good show. Now, you do get an anti-keyboards undercurrent of fans at events like this, but Ten have the songs to keep most people happy and on the whole, that’s exactly what they did during their 60 minute plus headlining set.

Hughes promised early on that we’d get at least one song from each of the bands back catalogue albums and sure enough, every corner of the bands history was revisited. From the band’s formative years, they produced two albums, ‘X’ and ‘The Name Of The Rose’ with the latter being showcased by four songs including ‘Wildest Dreams’ and the title track as the band’s final number of the evening.

wildfire festival

These may be nearly twenty years old but they more than stand the test of time. Core members Hughes and guitarist John Halliwell work so well together that it’s a delight to see the band strut their stuff after an overdue absence in Scotland.

The rest of the set time went quickly enough for the band and those audience members who stayed until the end. The title track from 1999s ‘Spellbound’ album is a high point for me as Halliwell seemed to be bit more relaxed as he smiled away as the track progressed. ‘Glimmer Of Evil’ which was taken from 2001s ‘Far Beyond The World’ is a surprise but welcome inclusion for me as I’ve not seen or heard the band performing this number before and it shows what a powerful vocalist Hughes really is.

Likewise ‘Battlefield, one of two tracks culled from the bands current album, ‘Albion’ went down well ensuring that those more familiar with the bands later work are catered for too. It’s a solid number with Max Yates holding down the simple beat whilst the keyboards of Daniel Treece-Birch take centre stage.

On the whole, though, it was a good solid performance from the band and certainly worthy of the Saturday night headlining slot – let’s just hope it’s not another fourteen years until they return to Scotland.

Ten are:
Gary Hughes – Vocals
John Halliwell – Guitars
Steve Grocott – Guitar
Dan Rosingana – Guitar
Steve Mckenna – Bass Guitar
Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards
Max Yates – Drums

Ten Setlist:
March Of The Argonauts
Fear The Force
A Smuggler’s Tale
Wildest Dreams
The Robe
Ten Fathoms Deep
Don’t Cry
Glimmer Of Evil
Goodnight Saigon
After The Love Has Gone
Lamb To The Slaughter
The Name Of The Rose

Sleeve Notes

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