The second incarnation of the Full Moon Dog Festival, an event dedicated in remembrance of the tragic death of Jay-Jay Winter, bassist and singer of Asomvel. Maintaining a passion for purist heavy metal the festival doggedly sticks to the roots of traditional heavy metal of the 80s with newer acts blending with more established outfits, each holding their own blazing flame in the spirit of the genre. Meeting up with fellow scribes in the real ale pub close to the venue provided some time to consolidate our mission objectives for the day and obviously down a pint or two before having to withstand the ridiculous club prices for drinks.
An early start meant an early finish due to the nightclub saw a scheduled finish of 9.50 on the stage times. Beginning the day was Mercenary, an old heavy metal act who were already on stage by the time I arrived, and was proved wrong that when I said festivals never start on time, but this one did. Entering the venue the sound was deafeningly loud, and actually hurt my wizened ears at times, as the bass sound felt like it was about to upend the venues foundations. As an opening act Mercenary were a little pedestrian, with a mix of heavy rock and sporadic metal sections being inserted into solid songs that lacked the swagger I expected and the groove required. Closing their set, however, was “Black Shadow” in tribute to Jay-Jay and was more of a punk and hardcore tune that was pretty darn good compared to the rest of their set. (MH)
Harrogate band Screaming Eagles had youth and exuberance on their side but letting it overflow and taking to the stage and calling your audience cunts is not a wise move and one which left a fair few people heading to the bar and ignoring them. I had them pegged as a rocking hard kinda band by their name and was not wrong either; a bit of a garage feel, a lot of swagger and a little punk etched gobby attitude pervaded their sound. I noted a touch of Motorhead to things as well as a snatch of guitar work sounding like The Shadows on speed, combined with the singer’s choice of Stray Cats shirt they certainly seemed to fit in with the somewhat retro feel of the day. They tripped over themselves a couple of times musically and the vocals were still way too loud and as the set progressed I have to admit that I lost a lot of interest. Still there was a fair bit of versatility here and I ended up name checking everyone from Alice In Chains during some clean vocal croons to Therapy? so they probably have a bright future entertaining crowds who don’t mind being called rude names quite so much. (PW)
I’ve been following the recorded output of Black Country power metallers Darkforest for a while now but I have to say said output has only impressed me in patches. I also gather that it was only the second gig with their new singer Josh Winnard so I was wary. They really had the eighties look down with skinny jeans and hi-tops. In his stripy top and permed locks Winnard looked a lot like a young Joe Elliott and they also appeared to have Nigel Tuffnel on guitar and a refugee from The Warriors on bass. They had a few sound issues but their enthusiasm and drive carried them through. The two guitars brought the fluid folk toned melody which tops off their sound and the vocals were nice and classy. They got the crowd going too and songs like the insanely catchy Hourglass, A Deadly Premonition and The Wizard Of Alderly Edge show that they really do have a lot to offer. They were perhaps a little polite, but better that than being called a cunt I reckon. Well worth their slot. (G)
Triaxis were a late addition to the bill but its fair to say that these Welsh guys and gals went for it with infectious enthusiasm. They hit it spot on from the outset; animated, committed and brimming over with energy. Sporting a Wonder Woman belt buckle vocalist Krissie was a revelation; glorious strong vocals combined with a dramatic and hugely charismatic presence meant she was a great focus. Thankfully the rest off the band were just as capable of filling the stage rather than fading into the background. Lead guitarist Glyn was frankly excellent and scary looking bassist Owen with drummer Giles kept the power up with a thumping display of touch and dexterity. Statuesque guitarist CJ was a great contrast in both appearance and playing style to Glyn but no less excellent and her backing vocals really rounded out an already full sound. Tight and polished Triaxis were three very definition off a real band. This was heavy metal with a huge great beating heart; a big powerful engine with a flawless touch for knowing how to balance it with melody. Favorite song Black Trinity had me shouting and head banging along and I was glad to see I wasn’t alone. An excellent set and an excellent reception from the crowd. Best band until the Goblin hit the boards. Check them out now, people, you will not be disappointed. (G)
I hate being negative about live bands but Eliminator annoyed me from the start, there was a distinct lack of cohesion on stage and the singer looked incredibly nervous. With the sound being so loud his voice projection was somewhat lost from my vantage point. I felt there was a lack of genuineness from the band with each seemingly content to play their bit with little interaction with the audience for the most part. I also felt the band weren’t as tight as they could be with the right side guitarist and bass playing being superior to the left for some reason leaving me rather disappointed unfortunately. (MH)
I had randomly picked Stiletto Farm to cover simply because of their somewhat different moniker. Even if I did not know them those more local did not doubt showing why they were placed quite so high up the bill. I was pleased to be confronted to a very lively bunch who again rocked hard with an almost Sunset Strip glam swagger and a punk attitude about them, visually the bandana wearing singer summed it all up nicely. Ticking plenty of boxes second song ‘So Yesterday’ had me thinking of a mix of Motley Crue, Sham 69, Green Day and The Stooges, which is a heady and damn fine mix which thankfully worked well. Dynamic was fast and there was plenty of adrenaline picking up those of us who had been here since the start. A ‘Bad Reception was not something they had got but it was the name of a new song and there was a nice and sleazy feel about next one Strawberry Sundae Red. Further citing the Pistols and New York Dolls I enjoyed this and was pleased to discover that the singer was Jay Jay’s nephew; the legacy continues (PW)
Oddly never having caught up with them before I was looking forward to Stuka Squadron, I have to say. They did seem to keep us waiting a bit though (maybe the coffin lids got stuck) but when they did begin I was struck by both their trademark undead Luftwaffe image and the level of professionalism they displayed. To say they worked their vampiric butts off is putting it mildly. Its easy to forget that the undead bomber pilots have written some fine slices off blood soaked metal in their time. They open with Stuka Squadron, to introduce themselves, with Duke Fang Begley the vocalist prowling the stage front with a wolfish air and a grim, dry howl. Another excellent front person with a flair for storytelling. The crowd respond very well to this display and instead off being banished to the Eastern Front they are welcomed as heroes. They have a solid, chunky sound; big, gruff riffs that sometimes slip past me but other times like Tales Of The Ost they grab me by the throat and rattle my teeth. As an introduction to this coven it was worth it and a great time was definitely had by the more knowledgeable Full Moon Dog crowd. (G)
As ever Asomvel were greeted rapturously by the crowd which had swelled considerably for their set and kicked off with the bruising “Fast Women (& Slow Horses)” and followed by “Kamikaze”. Probably due to my ears being adapted (read as flattened really) to the deafening sound, Asomvel seemed a tad quieter than the other bands on the bill plus I was stood near the front for their whole set. Previous incursions with Asomvel have always left me feeling well and truly mauled by their furious Motorhead styled biker heavy metal. “Stone Cold Stare” was next and the crowd was upping their enthusiasm as Conan barked his vocals cleanly and sharply and with a resolute fist in the air attitude. Standing stage right meant some of the guitar was lost amongst Conan’s deluging bass but Lenny did what he does best, pummel out infectious riffs and driving lead solos with a natural adeptness. There was plenty of banter from the guys on stage but quite why some idiot thought it would be a good idea to crowd surf is beyond me; some people obviously don’t understand that this was a heavy metal gig, not a thrash or death metal shindig. The guys played a couple of new tunes one of which was called “Knuckleduster” which, like the title suggests, was a fast ballsy song packed with power. The band dedicated “Internet Commando” to some individual whose name I’ll not state here, but I suspect the accusation was spot on as the song drove a riff assault into the crowd as Conan announced that the “Kamikaze” release was available on vinyl and accompanied by a cheesy sing back with the word fuck for some reason. As ever the band closed with a dedication to Jay-Jay and burst into “Full Moon Dog” as a result. The songs was greeted like Maiden’s “Number Of The Beast” by some people, such is the adoration for it, and closed their set exactly as it started, with massive drums, bulldozing bass work and corking guitar shredding. Darn fine band it has to be said. (MH)
I had drawn the drunk card in reviewing the last band of the night but to be honest what better ways is there to see Orange Goblin and it’s not a place I have been in many a time ago swaying around to the likes of ‘Red Tide Rising with the hulking figure of Ben Ward looming down over us. Obviously by now the place was heaving. I had expected it to get busier as the evening went on but unlike in London had been very glad that the locals were down in force for the whole day supporting the very first band on stage. Certainly The Gob were the icing on the cake and the band with the most time to play and looking at the set list it was going to be an epic one, even if some of us would trail out like zombies at the end of it (nice Dawn Of The Dead shirt Ben). Only two songs in the bastard singer decided to throw beer over us at the front and jump into the pit; of course the audience loved this and got even more mental in response.
Full Moon Dog may have been born out of tragedy but with a show like this Orange Goblin had quickly enforced the fact that they were playing it as a celebration to a fallen comrade here. There was no time for anything but moving about and partying like mad and the songs kept coming thick and fast. I was glad that the set was packed with some firm favourites such as ‘Ballad Of Solomon Eagle’ then we were whipped right back into the past with ‘Time Travelling Blues’ and a bit later on that perfect nut cracking number ‘Some You Win, Some You Lose’ really getting the place swinging. In fact OG actually succeeded in getting a bit of good natured pit action going during the course of the set. There were slight moments of calm as Joe managed to play out some slower more ‘Freebird’ induced riffs and a pause was needed to catch breath. ‘We drowned ourselves in both beer and the ‘Aquatic Fanatic’ and were threatened with a Slade cover from the frontman who has been on a bit of a Noddy Holder fix of late. We settled for Acid Trial instead from the new and excellent album ‘A Eulogy For The Damned.’ Things were by now getting messy and as we headed towards the encore, there was a moment to reflect upon what a great spirited gathering of like minded people this had been; audience, bands, crew and everyone involved had worked hard to make it happen and supported it in style. With the likes of ‘Quincy The Pigboy’ and Scorpionica seeing us race towards the finish line it was time to cheer not just for the band but everyone who had made today special. Here is hoping that this becomes an annual event! (PW)
Reviewers – Martin Harris, Gizmo and Pete Woods
Photos – Pete Woods, Photo edits Luci Herbert