Three days. 62 bands. One main stage, one acoustic stage and from what I saw across the weekend of Les-Fest 2 it most definitely was all killer and no filler.
Planetmosh descended en-masse to take in the sights, the sounds and the craic, as Scotland showed it does indeed know how to throw a party all in the name of rock and metal. As with all festivals though, trying to take in every band is impossible. Having to pick and choose from this line-up of some of Scotland’s brightest talents and some specially invited guests was incredibly difficult in itself but here we go with our thoughts on how Les-Fest 2 came, saw and kicked our ass!
The Friday – 28th June
Work commitments didn’t allow me to get to Les-Fest itself until early afternoon and I was gutted to have missed MAIR kicking things off. Having seen them before I knew the festival would have been in safe hands and by all accounts they delivered an absolutely killer set that should set them up nicely for their appearance at the Metal 2 The Masses Scottish final. Another band appearing at the final that I did get to see, and my first band of the festival, were the absolutely stunning Hell is Harmony. Think System of a Down meets Rage Against the Machine and you’ll get an idea of what’s in store. Guitarist Bart Masiukiewicz in particular has to be commended for his guitar playing style that added a particularly special dimension to them. Outside of the big hitters these guys were definitely my pick of the weekend on the main stage and I look forward to seeing and hearing much more of them. Scottish east coasters Excellent Cadaver had a tough job following these guys up but they did so in fine form from what I saw and heard of their set before interview schedules came a-calling.
I was privileged indeed to also be involved in the festival with my own band, Diementia, on the Friday afternoon and needless to say of course it was a flawless set, the crowd loved us, we blew everyone away, yadda, yadda, yadda… probably best I let Sheila Hamilton take up the reigns here:
“I’ve seen Diementia in various guises before, however I had yet to experience the guys live with new guitarist Scotti Watson and vocalist Paul Kelly, who was drinking out of a welly boot onstage, before they ripped into their short set. The guys are on fine form tonight, blasting out a tight and powerful set. Jason Hinde is doing the cool laid back approach to guitaring, while the others bounce and mosh about during the songs. All the while Paul storms around the stage and banters with the audience between the tracks. His guttural growls really are quite something for a guy that’s only been at this since September last year. Sadly it’s all too soon before they bring their set to a close, but it’s definitely job well done as they leave the stage to the sounds of enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.”
Kind words indeed boss! Anyway, our own set done and more interviews followed before I finally had a chance to catch up to the main stage and see Sworn Amongst close their set out to a great response before a bittersweet performance from Mad Hatter 2.0 pretty much brought the house down. Their heavy groove rained down on everyone as vocalist Marc not only owned the stage but the venue itself, appearing amongst the crowd, behind the bar, hell, pretty much everywhere. Brilliant band, brilliant set, but sad that for the forseeable future we won’t be seeing them again. Ravenface to their credit pulled out all the stops, but you truly felt for them. Metalcore they may be, metal they do not look. No drummer thanks to a broken hand, following the grit of Mad Hatter 2.0 and preceding the brutality that was Achren, they stuck out like a sore thumb. To be fair though, they went about their business in a truly professional and enthusiastic manner producing an incredibly tight set. My cup of tea they ain’t, but their live performance was practically flawless.
Flawless is also a word that must be used for the final three bands of the night. Achren look evil, sound evil, took to the stage and proceeded to destroy it along with the massing throng of Les-Fest 2. Frontman Scott Anderson in full flow is one bloody amazing sight to behold and he directed the crowd through their set every step of the
way. Virus followed the brutality with a perfect reminder of why so many of us love thrash and also set the mood perfectly for Evile to follow. They definitely looked to be out for a good time of it and you could see that infectious feeling creeping across the room as mosh circles broke out throughout the Les-Fest crowd. They also produced one of the most memorable moments of this year’s festival as they finished with the Proclaimers very own 500 miles and you know what, transformed as a metal track it’s bloody brilliant!
With the departure of Virus we could suddenly feel a nervous anticipation throughout the crowd as the stage was prepared for Evile. It was late but no-one really cared as fans and bands alike crowded in, prepared to be blown away. For me Evile were the best band of the weekend by a country mile. My expectations on seeing and hearing them for the first time was huge and they did not disappoint one bit. They bring all the best elements of the big four together, Metallica and Slayer in particular, into an entertaining and devastatingly old-school influenced attack. We pretty much got a little bit of everything from them. From Enter the Grave right through to some stonking tracks off current album Skull we saw and heard exactly why they are at the forefront of not just the British thrash scene but British metal itself.
Filled to the brim full of metal from start to finish, Evile brought day one of Lest-Fest 2 to a hugely entertaining and blisteringly powerful end. Did we have any energy left for the Saturday and Sunday?
you can check out some of the photos from day one of Les-Fest 2 right here