The weather forecast was for a little ‘splosh’ on Saturday. But, as we blinked and stumbled out of our tents, the grass was warm and succulent under our feet, and the sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky.
So we stepped out valiantly to start a new day in the magnificent surroundings of Robins Cook Farm.
Waking us up, first thing on the Hype Stage, was the 5 piece Post-Hardcore band from Sussex ‘A Room Swept White’ with their unstoppable ‘Shadow Walk’ … Crikey – they must really burn up one helluva lot of calories on their stage yomp.
They played the audience a collection of unfettered songs like ‘Unsettled’ – which was a hustle-bustle of scurrilous activity – set against grinding bass notes that bounced around the inside of our morning heads – with clawing vocals that wrapped talons around our sore throats.
Their energetic stage show sent us dizzy. And those vertiginous guitars with those shining melodies really set us up for the day. A Room Swept White are something very special indeed.
We then sauntered over to the Boileroom Stage via some scrumptious breakfast outlets. On stage was Paul Coltofeanu aka Android Angel. His numbers sounded surprisingly familiar, hugely perceptive and richly sung. The songs gradually helped knock the sleep from our veins. And his tunes (together with the warmth of the sun) little-by-little helped our heads to recover.
After some heavy touring, the East London Waylayers trio are back with an EP of 5 songs titled ‘Fault Lines.’ Their new song ‘S.O.S’ is a sparkling number with acute high-pitched vocals and a gently rippling chorus. The band are masters of the anthemic build-up and soon had the Redfest crowd over at the main stage swaying and clapping along to their princely sounds.
The Moulettes create real music. We think music-makers should aim to create strong aural forms, vibrations and textures. Using a variety of tools. To manufacture things that are special and unique. And put all the collected elements within the packaging (of songs) that really work and are fun too. Moulletes produce this kind of music. Strong images, creative compositions and a whole series of memorable moments. And all their songs are provided with a thick slice of dark drama/humour too.
The last few times that we saw the band (at Guildford’s superb venue The Boiler Room and at Playgroup Festival last year) their violinist was either unavailable or unwell. So it was good to see Anisa Arslanagic (from the Evropska Quartet) has settled in well. The extra strings certainly added fire to the overall sound.
After the Moulettes, we headed over to the Hype Stage to see ‘The Call Back Academy.’ This Melodic Hardcore act from Brighton has recently issued a superbly constructed new EP entitled ‘Chapters’ – and the recording has been wowing punters and critics alike. Songs like ‘These Caving Walls’ have a lasting power and a sense of freedom that makes us smile and cry. The choruses are beautiful – with the increase in pressure – then the subsequent release that eventually comes headlong at you like a hydrothermal explosion. At Redfest their music was an eruption of celestially resplendent melodies set against stark landscapes of strong gritty reality.
After a long lunch we returned to the Hype tent for one of our favourite bands ‘Zico Chain’. The band are supporting IRON MAIDEN this weekend at the London Greenwich 02 arena. If you miss that show, you can still catch the band when they tour with ‘Lonely the Brave’ this autumn. Their songs are a complex network of brilliant sounds. The vocals [Chris Glithero ] are incredibly rich and the thoroughly immersing guitars will remind you of ‘modern’ classic rock bands like Velvet Revolver.
During the evening, the rain-clouds – which had been threatened all day – suddenly brought forth a huge deluge. The pelting downpour knocked the stuffing out of some of the less intrepid among us. But the wise-headed slipped out into the bracing rains, to make their way to the covered stages..
Frank Hamilton has been doing some extraordinary things recently. Creating ‘One Song a Week’ and recording (with a full band) inside one of the London Eye pods – 440 feet above the ground. Now he’s ruminating on his next #TeamFrank project.
We saw him playing at the little more down-to-earth stage, in the Boileroom tent. Frank packed out the flapping canvas big-top, and managed to get all the revellers singing along in no time. Tender songs like ‘Flaws & Ceilings’ are creative masterpieces. Full of joy. With soft, supple meanderings and cleverly wrought lyrics.
One of our favourite shows of the whole weekend was the torrid and relentless ferocity of those monsters of hardcore-rock ‘Feed the Rhino’ – who were playing the Hype Stage. Their snorting, blazing fury – the jets of fearsome guitarwork – coupled with the rattling, pile-driving rhythms and the bullying vocals- all helped to burn the memory of their show deep down within our cognitive cells.
Vocalist Lee Tobin was on top-form. He was so fearlessly animated – so dangerously vital – that the sweat ran down his gleaming muscles like miniature cyclonic eruptions. It was not surprising that he almost lost his pants – in the middle of things. This was violent, incredibly passionate – and a totally mesmerizing performance.
Bastille has been working almost every festival on the circuit this summer. Singer-songwriter Dan Smith had already already been seen on the main Redfest stage during the afternoon – to support some of his companions – and a huge crowd clucked and cooed about this. Now an even larger group of people had gathered in the field for the focal point of the entire festival. The headline show. It was the biggest crowd we had seen at Redfest over 4 years.
After supporting Muse on tour, this band are experienced and equipped to play a major show. And they didn’t let anyone down. ‘Pompeii’ has that climactic feel to it. The singsong chorus has a nostalgic ‘Jungle Book’ sense, and the rat-a-tat drums bring a sense of freedom to the Mardi Gras party.
Our abiding memory from Redfest must surely be the magnificent performance of ‘Bleed From Within’ on the Hype Stage scheduled for around about the same time as the Bastille show. The tent was uncomfortably uninhabited – due to the show-time clash. But this did not stop the die-hard fans from launching into a full-on celebration party with their favourite metal masters.
And the show was masterful in every way. The band played a type of metal that managed to combine the best of the ‘old world’ i.e. Black Sabbath and Motörhead– with the best of ‘new world’ of progressive metal. They call their sound “Scottish Metal.”
Their ‘Uprising’ UK Tour 2013 has been a huge success. The title song from that album is a burning, glittering, extremely brutal giant of a number.
Exemplified by sword-sharp guitars, shadowy dark bass notes and puncturing vocals. The entire show was a whirlwind of iron splinters, copper bullets and apocalyptic vision. It was an extraordinary thing to behold. And it was lapped up by the ecto-parasitic crowd – who hung onto every syllable, every word and every note.
We slinked off to our camp-beds very happy indeed.
As usual, the organizers of Redfest had created an energetic, diverse and full rounded festival experience.
We were deliriously cheerful as we emerged from our tents on Sunday morning. We had some wonderful memories spinning around in our heads – and we had a whole host of new friends to connect with.
Thanks again, Redfest.
– © Neil_Mach July 2013 –