For those of you who havent heard of Damaged Stock before, it’s an all-day charity festival held at Rock City’s Basement in Nottingham to raise funds for Epilepsy Action. It’s organised by a bunch of escaped lunatics (or Evil Scarecrow as they prefer to be known) and their Manager Jennifer Hill. They deserve a lot of praise for organising the event, and even more when you realise that they don’t just organise it, they do everything – they man the lighting console, man the mixing desk, carry gear for bands to get the changeovers between bands done quickly and efficiently – in fact they do almost everything, with the only job they don’t do being serving at the bar (a job we’re told is done by rock city staff who have volunteered to work for free so that every penny raised goes to charity).
With the lineup they’d arranged there was no way I wanted to miss this event, so spent my Birthday taking photos and making notes for the review, and listening to some great bands.
First on stage was Line of Fire. I’d seen them for the first time just a few weeks earlier at Hammerfest where they put on a great show, so I’d made sure I was at the venue at 2pm ready to see them go on stage at twenty past. As at Hammerfest they put in a great performance. They’ve got a sound that’s part metal, part stoner and part Southern rock, with the southern rock element being far more obvious in the new material from their forthcoming 2nd EP. I was surprised to see guitarist Dave lamont had got rid of his long hair since Hammerfest – I’m guessing the others were jealous of him having hair and chopped it off while he was drunk. It was great to see that there was a good sized crowd even before they went on stage with lots of fans there for the whole 8 hours of the event. A great start to the day’s music.
Next up were Dreed (formerly known as “A deeper Dreed”. They were really impressive with some great guitar playing and frontman Shaun Lion Lotay not only has a great voice, but is a great performer too. For this reason it was sad to hear them announce that this was to be their final ever show. Hopefully the demise of Dreed will see other bands formed by the various members.
Next up were Derby band Cruel Humanity. They were much heavier with growly vocals and a black metal sound. They were another impressive band and their bone-crushingly heavy riffs not only sounded great, but went down well with the crowd.
Up next came Fury. Their music is more NWOBHM, so a real contrast to the Black metal that preceded them, but once again the strength of the lineup showed as they put in a great set which the crowd really enjoyed.
Next on stage was RSJ. Well most of them were on stage, but after a couple of minutes of bounding around like a demented Kangaroo, singer Dan Cook decided he’d prefer to stand on the barrier instead as he sang, before deciding he’d rather sing from the middle of the crowd where he had more room to leap around. RSJ are great to watch, and put in a great ultra-high energy performance that left me exhausted just watching it. When not in the crowd or on the barrier Dan was climbing onto speakers, and just occasionally being on the stage. An excellent set.
Next up a Challenger tank arrived on stage. Ooops my mistake, it was just Bane Holland, lead singer with A thousand enemies, who is built like a tank. A thousand enemies are a band I’d heard a lot of good things about, so I was really looking forward to it. Apparently Bane was suffering from a dose of flu, but he certainly didn’t let it show and he and the rest of the band put in a superb performance.
After A thousand enemies came Voodoo Johnson, whose hard rock sound and polished performance went down extremely well. They’ve previously supported bands including Europe, so have plenty of experience and this definitely showed. A great band I look forward to seeing again in the future.
Then it was time for the headliners – the awesome Evil Scarecrow, who’s live shows are always some of the most entertaning around, which is why they keep getting asked back to play at Bloodstock festival. By this time they’d changed out of their normal clothes and were wearing their stage outfits and makeup. How many bands could get away with singing about a pair of trousers? Ok they sing about Vampyre trousers, but still it’s not your typical song idea.
Singer Doctor Hell gets the crowd to do their best howling dog impressions for Hell Dog, before the band sing about “the most heavy metal cartoon ever” – Thunder Cats. Evil Scarecrow may play up the comedy but behind that you soon realise they’re actually bloody good musicians and song writers, so they’ve got great songs and music on which to base the comedy. For ‘Crabulon’ they’re joined by a giant robot crab with huge pincers and they get the crowd forming pincers with their hands, waving their arms in time, and then scuttling left and right on command – Evil Scarecrow really do know how to engage a crowd. After ‘Blacken the everything’ they bring the set to a close with ‘Robototron’ where they get a huge percentage of the audience doing their robot dance. A great end to the set, but there’s no way the crowd will let the night end without an encore, and realising this, the band don’t even make the pretence of going off stage and waing before returning, but instead stay where they are and do the encore – their cover of the Europe hit, ‘The final countdown’. It always goes down extremely well and while they get half the audience doing a heavy metal can-can, quite a few fans who were on their way out from the Wonderstuff gig upstairs are drawn into the basement by the familiar song. A superb end to the night (well the musical part anyway – the serious drinking started in the Turf Tavern after the gig once the band had finished all the cleanup work and got everything packed away).
A superb day of music at a bargain price of £5 in advance for eight bands, and the fact it was making money for a great cause just made it even better. A huge thank you to Jen and the Evil Scarecrow guys for putting on such a great event. How they’re going to be able to top this for next years event I don’t know, but I’m sure they will.
Evil Scarecrow setlist:
War and seek
Blacken the everything
The final countdown