Station 18 Festival 2024 / Saturday, A Sunlit Day Of Music And Surprises

It’s back to it on a gloriously sunny day in West Wales. Somehow, it feels a bit wrong to spend all day inside when there are blue skies across the coast. Word reaches us of sightings of Kraken ballons on Wind Street, and I’m sure a couple made it to the waters of Swansea Bay. 

Station 18 Festival 2024

Hangar 18, Swansea – Saturday 4th May 2024

Words And Photography: Paul Hutchings

It may be a risk to enter the water for the next few months. But by the end of the day, it’s been worth the heat to experience another fine day of music.

The Virginmarys

The Virginmarys have been around since 2007, but to many, they are still a new discovery. They may not have been everyone’s choice of headliner, but they have earned their stripes and there’s a buzz in the venue as Ally Dikaty and Danny Dolan set up. 

The Virginmarys - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
The Virginmarys – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

They kick off with The Meds, which gets the audience pumped before they proceed to power through a set which is as energetic as anything that we have seen all weekend. 

The Virginmarys - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
The Virginmarys – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Dolan is a whirlwind on the drums, hitting as hard as anyone you’ve ever seen, snapping sticks as he hammers kit and ship’s bell. Drenched in permanent pink light, this is a performance that demonstrates why this duo are so well thought of. They finish with their staple, Bang, Bang, Bang, and close out another successful day.

Sons Of Liberty

It’s suddenly the business end of the evening, and Sons of Liberty are not here to make up numbers. They are buoyed by the recent success of latest album The Detail Is In The Devil and hit the stage full of bounce and vigour. 

Sons Of Liberty - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Sons Of Liberty – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Russ Grimmett has taken over vocal duties since I last saw them, and he brings a new energy to the band. As well as bounce, he’s got the voice to work with songs old and new. There is plenty for fans to lap up, from Time To Fly through to the anthemic Ruby Starr that brings their set to a close.

Sons Of Liberty - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Sons Of Liberty – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

In between, there is plenty to enjoy, with the emotion of Walk With You contrasting with the singalong Rich Man Poor Man. The band are tight, clearly enjoying what they are doing and delivered a fine show, with Russ’s boundless energy putting the crowd to shame when he jumps into the crowd to get everyone moving. 

Sons Of Liberty - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Sons Of Liberty – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

It’s a set that reminds you that Sons Of Liberty are a band to catch wherever possible. 

A’priori

Another new band for me is A’priori, who present one of the most intriguing visual options of the weekend with Mark Wilson’s double keyboard a contrast to the traditional mic stand and guitar of lead vocalist Tony Lang. 

A'priori - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
A’priori – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

The Blackpool trio impress with a feisty performance that is surprisingly heavy. Full of thumping riffs but also ample melody, there’s those that have seen them before nodding sagely, whilst new watchers are rushing to the Merch stand to pick up a CD or add them to the playlist. 

A'priori - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
A’priori – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Their combination of Seattle sound, classic rock and alternative Post-Metal all combine in a delivery that works on all levels. 

A'priori - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
A’priori – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk
KinStrife

There’s a Southern drawl to KinStrife, who are up next. The Herefordshire-based four-piece are now a decade into thier journey, and they pick the energy up another level. 

Kinstrife - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
KinStrife – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Frontman Mike Hoskins is an endearing watch, and he has a humour that grabs everyone’s focus. It’s a vibrant set, with the balls to throw in a new track called Queen Of Broken Hearts, which goes down well. Time for a singalong to end and Make Me does the job. Definitely a band to get a party going, KinStrife earn at least one new fan today.

King Voodoo

In contrast to the slightly below-par Edit the Tide, King Voodoo bring the A-game to their set and engage the crowd from start to finish. They have a general feel-good vibe, which gets the audience fully on side early on. 

King Voodoo - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
King Voodoo – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Whiskey Drive gets things moving, and their tempo is spot on. Hard-edged heavy rock is what goes down best in these parts, and the Merseyside outfit knows exactly what to do to keep interest piqued. By the time they hit Drag Me To The Water, they’ve cemented their reputation and earned a few new fans on the way.

King Voodoo - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
King Voodoo – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk
Edit The Tide

Last October, Edit The Tide earned plaudits for their solid show and crisp delivery. Riding on the back of their recently released debut EP Reflections In Sound, it was somewhat disappointing that today they present as slightly disjointed. 

Edit The Tide - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Edit The Tide – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

With a mix that is wholly unhelpful, their complex sound is somewhat lost, and the melodies and harmonies that have become their trademark are slightly out of sorts. They try hard, but Edit The Tide aren’t quite there. 

Whatever the reason, this is a band who can and will be improved again. I’m sure they will be back bigger and better, but today isn’t their day.

Ortario

A strong opening band always sets the bar high, but there’s another local band willing to give it their all in Ortario, who have been around since 2016. The Blackwood quartet are another who play their rock with an alternative flair. 

Ortario - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Ortario – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

They have an EMO / pop punk edge that ensures those in the room nursing those early beers are paying attention. Ortario also win the first band of the day with a Star Wars theme. They aren’t quite my bag, but they earn a warm reception and join the list of South Wales bands who are quite rightly gaining attention. 

Puzzle Tree

There are beaches and walks to be had in this part of the world, outdoor exercise to enjoy and beer gardens to sample. Thankfully, Puzzle Tree, who open day two, make up for missing such delightful extra-curricular activity with a fine set of alternative rock that gets the heart racing. 

Puzzle Tree - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Puzzle Tree – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

The Rhondda quintet, first of two winners of a Battle Of The Bands competition, play a pleasing mix of styles, which goes down well with the early audience. Songs such as Hollow, and the delicious Oceans show a class that some in the know have been mentioning for a while. 

Puzzle Tree - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
Puzzle Tree – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

One of the great things about a festival like Station 18 is the discovery of new bands, and Puzzle Tree certainly get added to a few lists for future reference.

You can read all MetalTalk’s coverage of Station 18 Festival 2024 here. The 2023 edition can be seen here.

The Virginmarys - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
The Virginmarys – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk
King Voodoo - Station 18 Festival - Hangar 18, Swansea - Friday 3rd May 2024
King Voodoo – Station 18 Festival – Hangar 18, Swansea – Friday 3rd May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Sleeve Notes

Sign up for the MetalTalk Newsletter, an occasional roundup of the best Heavy Metal News, features and pictures curated by our global MetalTalk team.

More in Heavy Metal

Comments

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Search MetalTalk

MetalTalk Venues

MetalTalk Venues - The Devil's Dog Digbeth
MetalTalk Venues – The Green Rooms Live Music and Rehearsal
The Patriot, Crumlin - The Home Of Rock
Interview: Christian Kimmett, the man responsible for getting the bands in at Bannerman's Bar
Cart & Horses, London. Birthplace Of Iron Maiden
The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton

New Metal News