Hammerfest IV 2011 – My Blog

My Personal Hammerfest Blog – originally published online at The Bite Mag’s website.

Well I’m back in one piece after my first Hammerfest experience…which is more than can probably be said for a few people haha! Hammerfest IV was held at Pontin’s in Prestatyn, an ingenious use for this holiday camp out of season…Hard Rock Hell is also here every year. It is a strange but not unwelcome experience to have regular access to a bed, shower and toilet at a festival. The fact it’s mostly indoors helps significantly with weather issues and this in turn means lots of people wearing fabulously weird and wacky clothing (not covered head to foot in plastic waterproofs!). On a personal note it was also nice not to have a sea of people wearing those awful printed ‘festival wellie’s that are so fashionable these days! I’m all for having your own sense of style, but as a girl who grew up on farms I think I care less whether I have pink skulls on my wellies and more about whether my feet are dry and comfortable…perhaps I’m just getting old.

Infact Hammerfest is probably a festival that appeals to a more mature crowd anyway due to its amenities and atmosphere, there were young people but not in the quantities you get at other music festivals. Of course being an 18+ festival has something to do with that too. Overall everyone we spoke to from bands, staff, festival goers agreed that there was a very warm, welcoming, partying atmosphere. I didn’t worry about people trying to half inch my purse and thought nothing, as a lone female, of wondering around the stages on my own. I met tons of lovely people, all willing to chat, mosh and drink with me. It was a great festival and I will definitely go back.

The Bite Magazine Staff arrived laden with our equipment, cowboy hats and a suitcase full of booze. We shared a chalet and I was the only female member of the team. Yes, I can confirm boys smell. But then according to them so do I! A huge amount of alcohol was consumed, in between hard working of course, but it was in no way equal to the legends staying near us who lined up their bottles and cans in their windows. It was impressive and my liver hurt just looking at it.

I won’t lie, we knew we’d have to do a lot of work, but I think we also all felt we’d have a bit of a jolly too! Late nights, early mornings (for some anyway!), long days on our feet and running from stage to stage actually was a little harder than we’d imagined. The key is more staff we think, we started small but we’ll have to expand as we do more of this kind of thing. It became apparent how a few people can’t be everywhere at once! And so I spent the majority of the festival on my own getting my jobs done, as did the other staff as we had little time to socialise with each other. This did mean I got to chat to lots of people and enjoyed a different kind of experience all round. And at night of course we had a few cheeky pints together and let off steam. Thankfully the camera went home at that point so there’s little photographic evidence of this!

Naturally the staff team did their research before they came and lined up interviews with some promising, up and coming bands. We will be writing a small feature for the next issue, including interviews, with my top tips of the festival …the bands to keep your eye on in the next twelve months. These include Fury, Inferno, A Thousand Enemies, Raven Face and AR. All our interviews will feature in the next issue of the mag and reviews and photos will be posted on the blog in the coming weeks.

As a huge Anthrax fan they were always going to my highlight, and boy did they bring it! I have seen Paradise Lost and Skindred before and both are great bands so I looked forward to their sets. I missed Skindred as I was getting a tattoo at the same time. Paradise Lost were a little disappointing, I’ve seen them do better. Another band I was really looking forward to was Senser, as I was a huge fan in the 90’s. I wasn’t disappointed, they were brilliant. I also enjoyed Evile, first time I’ve seen them, and Lawnmower Deth! Evil Scarecrow really stole the show, lots of people talked about how great they were and they won a lot of new fans at Hammerfest. On the third stage Kyrbgrinder and Trucker Diablo tore it up with crowd pleasing gigs. Of the up and coming bands Fury, Inferno and A Thousand Enemies excited me personally the most. For very different reasons I loved these bands and will be watching their future careers with great interest. I was very sad to have missed Falling Red’s set and I shook my ass to AC/DC tribute Dirty DC.

Don’t forget to check out our June issue which will feature a full Hammerfest review, interviews with lots of the bands, an interview with award winning tattooist George Astrix, fan comments, reviews and pictures.

To Chic Festivals, Metal Hammer, Pontins, The Bands, The Crazy Fans, Staff and all those involved…Thanks for a memorable weekend , and we’ll see you next year! x

Fury at Hammerfest – Orginally published in The Bite Mag

Fury, yes that’s the band I have been going on and on about since Hammerfest in March. They are a 4 piece thrash/speed metal band with a clear NWBHM influence. They are also a small band with big plans, playing the media game really well and understanding and appreciating the role of the press. Connecting with their fans very effectively through their social networks and putting huge effort into it (which has been rewarded, check out their ‘likes’ on facebook!) and with a great selection of merchandise available, they are like a powerhouse of marketing before they even begin.

However all of this is going to get a band only so far. Surprisingly enough you do need talent, even in this day and age, and believe me…they have it in bucket loads. I caught up with Julian, Joel, Alisdair and Martin before they went on stage at Hammerfest for a quick chat at their chalet. They are tuning up their equipment and cracking open the rider when I arrive. Having been added late to the lineup they unfortunately can’t stick around for the festival and will have to rush off to play the final of a Battle of The Bands. ‘We only entered it as favour’ they tell me ‘because a band had to pull out last minute’. They didn’t expect much to come of it but they ended up being voted through to the final.

Fury are a Worcester based band and through a few lucky connections are beginning to get the credit they deserve. Don’t get me wrong they do work hard. When I asked them what they had coming up they bombard me with gig info. Including some key events in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leicester. They also tell me they hope for a mini UK tour in July, possibly a German tour and hopefully Greece in October. They were also booked to play the Hard Rock Roadtrip to Ibiza. So basically, world domination right?! ‘Hopefully’ laughs lead singer Julian Jenkins. He comes across as a very shy, sensitive man. Not at all the kind of ego fuelled front man I usually meet! But he transforms on stage into something quite ferocious and powerful to watch.

This is their first timing playing the festival and we chat about how nice it is having proper toilets. One of the band (I’ll name no names!) tells a story about a bathroom emergency at a festival once where he was forced to use a loaf of bread as they’d run out of bog roll. Why bread I ask through tears of laughter? ‘It’s more absorbent’ he says. I’m guessing nights out with this lot could get messy!

I ask them about whether they hope to get signed; they have chosen an independent route so far. They tell me that this way there’s ‘more control for the band, but you have to be prepared to work’ and so far everything I’ve seen tells me these guys are. Alasdair Davies, the drummer, and Joel Peters, guitarist, are the two who seem to put a lot into the organisational aspects and talk most animatedly about the bands future plans. This is the kind of drive that’s needed.

Martin Trail, the very smiley bassist, tells me with great glee how he wishes they could stay to see Evile and Anthrax. The rest of the band chime in with bands they’d like to see, such as Skindred, Savage Messiah, Amon Amarth, and you can just tell how much they really love music. I love bands at this point in their careers, hungry and eager and all about the sound…before they get cynical or bored or too media savvy. I wish the guys the best of luck and head off to enjoy their set. Which I do. I even spy Benji Webb moshing along in the crowd.

When I asked them to describe the band in 3 words they gave me energy, power and epic. The set really lived up to that and I have their album on a constant loop when I get home. I urge you, go and see this band, you will not be disappointed. They are indeed, epic!

Mother’s Ruin Interview – originally published in The Bite Mag

Becky chats to ex Heavy Pettin’ drummer Gary Moat. Heavy Pettin’ were an Scottish hard rock band that roared onto the scene in the 80s and toured with the likes of Ozzy, Kiss, Motley Crue and AC/DC. Not content to grow old gracefully Gary has swapped his sticks for a plectrum and microphone to form new band Mother’s Ruin.

Hi Gary, Nice to meet you. How would you say the scene has changed over the years as someone who’s been around (ahem) a while?
Yes, yes, I’m ancient! It’s just the same except there are less people at gigs these days. The world doesn’t have enough money. If you do, you’re middle aged, not much evidence of teenagers at gigs. I guess they are all at home with their playstations and tins (4packs).

We recently ran a story about how HMV are banning their staff from having visible tattoos and long hair. What’s your take on that?
In these days of no money it’s really crazy, everyone is cutting back and everyone’s downloading music for 99p so banning people with tattoos is going to annoy people and surely that’s the last thing you should do. Everyone has a tattoo these days, except me! But I really want one. I’m thinking of maybe a cool Medusa one but I don’t know.

Do you think that having previously played drums and now moved onto guitar that you have a greater understanding when you’re writing your own music?
Obviously I started playing drums, when I was 13 or 14, but Gordon (Bonnar) and I always wrote the songs together. I picked up a few things on guitar from him too. The transition wasn’t difficult, it came naturally. I’ve always wanted to sing, never wanted to be the lead singer but you have in your head how you want it to sound and sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself you know?

Have there been any stand out gigs so far for Mother’s Ruin?

Our first gig, that was in Manchester in March, it was a great gig! We did Hard Rock Hell Road Trip to Ibizia in the summer, really good fun, great crowd and a good atmosphere.

A metal gig in Ibiza, bet that’s a bit strange?

It was, it’s in a bar, and its very hot. We were walking down with our guitar cases and things and there were all these clubbers wondering who the hell we were!

Have you come across any interesting new bands on our travels?

Well, my heroes are AC/DC – we try to sound like that, bluesy rock, no nonsense, bang it out and there we are…nothing fancy! I like that kinda music, I don’t like anything ‘noisey’, all that scream stuff. I was never a big punk. There’s this band called The Treatment, they sound a bit like Motley Crue, they are amazing, a great sound. They sound a bit like us but 30 years younger! Also this band BlackWolf that played after or before us in the Glasgow HRH gig, they were good.

Have you played Wales yet? Any plans to?

I’ve only ever played Wales once in my life, in ’81-’82 before Heavy Pettin’ were signed. It was a working mans club. We’d love to play now though!

Do you have any big gigs coming up?

We are playing Ivory Blacks (Glasgow rock venue) on Nov 10th, first time I’ve played there since the mid 80’s so I’m looking forward to that.

So why have you chosen now to come back with Mother’s Ruin?

I’ve always felt like doing it. Heavy Pettin’ split up in ’89 so that’s when I stopped playing drums. About 2 years ago I played in a few local bands and it got me thinking I really miss this. By coincidence people started saying to me, you’ve got all these great songs you’ve written why don’t you do something with them. So I did.

Can we expect anything big from you in the next year?

I hope so. We hopefully have an album out by next year. There is something exciting in the pipeline but I can’t say anything about it yet.

Thanks for talking to us Gary and we look forward to seeing you at gig soon, and maybe seeing that tattoo!

Find out more about Mother’s Ruin here:
http://www.mothers-ruin.co.uk/

By: Becky Beynon-Lewis