The first Redemption Festival was held on the 12th September 2015 at Warehouse 23 in Wakefield. Redemption Festival is a charity event to raise to raise money for Barnsley Hospice and Wakefield Hospice.
With ten bands and a couple of comedians the event started just after 1pm with festival organiser Matt Black’s acoustic Invisible Idols. I missed their set but I asked a couple of guys at the bar (who were able to get up earlier than me) what they had been like and I’m told they were very good and had ‘Cracking voices for the time of day’
I made it in time to see the last couple of songs by Grunge band Hands off Gretel from South Yorkshire. Fronted by Lauren Tate, who in tiny pink shorts and white knee socks looked like a Punk Barbie with some impressive blue dreadlocks. Although I didn’t catch the full set, from what I heard, I thought they were like a cross between Hole and Healthy Junkies.
Sheffield’s The Prog Doctors were next, they play a mix of classic and modern prog rock and opened with Emerson Lake and Palmer’s Fanfare for the Common Man and I caught some Genesis and something which sounded like Atomic Rooster but probably wasn’t. I was a bit gutted that Keyboard player, Paul Marhsall, who had been flashing his ‘builder’s bum’ to us ladies of a certain age, when setting up, kept it covered up on stage, although I did wonder if he was a builder in his day job! I managed to get a few photos of the offending item but I’m not putting them in the review so tough!
I then headed out to find some food and had to venture down to The Six Chimneys where you can get two meals for £6.89! Alas by the time I got back I had missed Captain Horizon (sorry) but I was reliably informed that they were very impressive, reminiscent of Terrorvision.
I made it back in time to see one of the comedians cracking a few jokes about being a metal fan, whilst A Thousand Enemies were setting up and, when singer Bane Holland got up, I had to do a double take as I thought it was Matt Lucas for a minute, and Bane did tell a few jokes throughout the set. I wasn’t expecting his amazing voice either, very powerful. Bane told us that is was Chris’s (one of the guitarists) first gig with them and he’s so new he isn’t on the Facebook page yet. We also got a new song, which Bane said meant we wouldn’t know if they fucked it up. It sounded good to me, I enjoyed their set. A Thousand Enemies reminded me of Great Harwood’s Valyria.
We then came to the half way point, with half of the bands having played. If we were at a Football match it would have been half time, and time for a beer and a pie, but beer was flowing and there was time between bands to nip out and fill your pie hole or cake hole as we say in Barnsley although hole is pronounced more like oil!
The first band of the second half came on all snarls, ripped jeans and chains in the form of Cumbria’s Falling Red. A band I’ve probably seen more times than all the other bands on the billing put together (including today’s event) but only for the second time with new guitarist Danny Joseph. Their set consisted mainly of songs from second album Empire of The Damned. Front-man Rozey asked us to give a big cheer to festival organiser Matt Black which we did. Their last song (I think it was the last song anyway) came from their EP ‘Hasta La Victoria Siempre’ and Rozey asked that the audience split into men on the left (facing the stage) and women on the right, to see who could sing the chorus to ‘If You Ain’t Down With the Rock‘ the loudest! I think I’m right it saying it was the women because, well women are always right! Another good set and I’m liking the latest line up.
Fahran, fronted by festival organiser and fellow Barnsley lad (lass in my case) Matt Black came next. More ripped jeans and chains, with their first song reminding me of The Cult. I didn’t get set lists so I can’t tell you which song but I was also reminded of Aerosmith’s Same Old Song and Dance in one song, Skam’s No Lies in another. I also picked up a bit of Marilyn Manson in places and Motley Crue’s Too Young to Fall in Love. Matt told us to look out for the video to their latest single Cased in Steel on Scuzz. Matt and lead guitarist Chris Byrne got the audience clapping along and Chris was doing lots of fancy fret work and holding his guitar above his head whilst managing to keep playing. Matt then took some photos of the audience, who were probably a little drunk by then! If you haven’t yet seen them I’d say the sound is similar to Skam. Another great set.
Another band hailing from the city of steel, Sheffield were next up. Metal band Crimes of Passion. With his waist length curly hair and bandana vocalist Dale looked very much the old school metaller, and although I haven’t seen these before I recognised guitarist Andrew Mewse who I’ve seen in the now disbanded Velvet Star and Spill Sixteen. Dale pointed out that we (the audience) were all important, as all festivals have to start somewhere, Download etc all started off smaller. Dale’s vocals reminded me of those of Iron Maiden front-man Bruce Dickinson, very powerful with some great screams and, in his baseball boots, he was covering the stage well. Crimes of Passion will be heading out on tour (see dates here) with The Poodles next month, so with any luck I’ll get to see them in Camden! They have just signed to UDR and will be bringing out a new EP which should be out before The Poodles tour. Dale threw some copies of their CD ‘To Die For’ out into the audience and I managed to catch one so I’ll be able to sing along next time – God help them! Dale ended with an introduction to the band and a God Bless. I’d say these guys were something like a cross between Iron Maiden and Avenged Sevenfold.
Penultimate band for the first Redemption Festival were Eva Plays Dead a four piece from Nottingham/Derby. I have seen them before at NLC/Rocking for the Children in 2014 but with Tiggy’s hair now blonde and Zach minus the impressive mohican the haircuts have changed but the band haven’t as I recognised some of the songs, even though I haven’t seen them since then. Tiggy looked very sultry in skin tight black leggings and a black mesh top, reminding me in looks of the late Peaches Geldof. Tiggy looked to be swigging tea from a large mug. Easy to Hate was dedicated to one of her ex-boyfriends. Then she raised the mug and said ‘Ok let’s have some coffee’ so it wasn’t Yorkshire tea, after all! Their set inlcuded the fast, hard hitting Wonderland, the memorable Secret with it’s catchy refrain and 1950’s Woman, a song I could imagine Paloma Faith singing. Hope I don’t have to wait over a year until I next see them!
The festival headliners came in the form of five piece rock band The Dirty Youth from South Wales. Fronted by blonde Danni Monroe, who like Tiggy from Eva Plays Dead, manages to suit a wide range of hair colours. Danni bounded on to the stage wearing denim shorts and a short white leather jacket, guitarist Matt Bond all in black with some interesting red glasses and wild dark hair looked a bit Russell Brand. Formed in 2007 they have two albums Red Light Fix and Gold Dust under their belts and several appearances at Download. Opening with The One from Gold Dust, a Paramore type number then they played a mix of songs from both albums and a new song, Utopia which made it’s début at Redemption. Danni asked that the lights be turned off for two seconds and asked us to repeat after her ‘La, la, la, la, la, la. Let’s Get Drunk’ which we did. to join in the chorus of the punky Requiem Of The Drunk. Fight another punky number came next but for some reason I kept thinking of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky during the chorus ‘All I want to do is fight’ the last song of both their set and the festival was Alive with an Avril Lavigne vibe. An entertaining and enjoyable set from The Dirty Youth.
I’m Not Listening
Crying Out For You
Bury Me Next To Elvis
Just Move On
Requiem Of The Drunk
Danni Monroe – Vocals
Matt Bond – Guitar/Keys
Luke Padfield – Guitar
Leon Watkins – Bass
Freddie Green – Drums
All that was left to do was draw the raffle and as I was there as press I bought a few raffle tickets to make a donation to the worthy charities, and ended up winning 3 CDs and a vinyl album so all in all a good night! Aside from the wins it was a fantastic little festival with a good mix of bands, all veering towards rock but still covering a few different genres of such, prog, metal, punk and just good old Rock ‘n’ Roll. Matt Black has already started organising next years event and has extended it to take place over two days, at the same time (second weekend in September) and same place.
Follow the Redemption Festival page on Facebook for updates. Warehouse 23 is a decent sized venue, plenty of eating places nearby, several hotels and close to the M1 and Wakefield Westgate rail station so you have no excuse not to attend!
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