BROFEST UK 2017 FINAL DAY
Here we go with the final day at Brofest #5 in Newcastle UK. So far over the last 2 days, we have seen some truly fantastic bands! Every act on the stage has come packing their A games to this incredibly well-organized festival event. For those enjoying the traditional or old school or NWOBHM or whatever you want to call it style would do well to consider this event next year. I know that Decibel Geek will be returning…..wish it was sooner!
Be sure to check out the Decibel Geek YouTube channel for live videos from all days at Brofest 2017.
Starborn led the way this afternoon. They blasted out some face melting metal, more in the power metal vein. Starborn seemed to be made up of just young guys and also a female drummer, who appeared to be hitting quite hard. The music was good and they seemed to play well but it could have used a little more of a melodic touch. I shall have to further investigate Starborn once back on home turf.
Next up would see Blackmayne taking the Brofest stage. Yet another band here at this festival that I was totally and completely unfamiliar with. As Blackmayne launched into their first song selection they had my attention right away. The fantastic, meaty and hooky riffs of this first Blackmayne experience absolutely spoke to me. No, they attacked me! Reaching out and exacting an iron grip on my chest. Beautiful! Never having any previous knowledge, I have no idea of the song titles, but #2 was just the same effect! We were assisted with the next selection’s title, the vocalist announcing it as “Dead or Alive” (I think). This fast headbanger of a song exhibited a great groove and literally blew me away again. What the hell was happening here? Already eating out of the palm of their hands, they ensured I wouldn’t be leaving by throwing in a Saxon cover, “Redline”. Blackmayne continued to impress with tracks that may be named things like “Hot Blooded Woman”, “Twilight” something or other, “Whiskey in the Jar”, and “Chosen Few”. Blackmayne just dropped a bomb on this place! Who the fuck are these guys and where did they come from? To the merch table Meister! Unfortunately, there were no CDs or recordings for purchase. Their CD will be being issued by Eat Metal Records soon! Could this have been the show of Brofest? Hands down it is for me. I feel sorry for whoever has to top that one!
Stormtrooper had the unfortunate task of following up Blackmayne. They were a bit more on the prog side and a very Rush-y influence. Well, being Canadian, maybe I just compare everything in this style to Rush. The vocalist displayed a much higher register of voice than expected based on his appearance. I just expected a gruffer delivery, not that it was bad and I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover! Stormtrooper had their own following but unfortunately, for me, they didn’t touch Blackmayne.
Up next Traitors Gate was back to the NWOBHM feeling of the event. Their songs were quite catchy and had some riffage, but for me, I struggled to hear the guitar. It almost seemed muted in the mix. Was that just me? Had I finally damaged my hearing not wearing ear plugs? Traitors Gate would definitely sound much much better without the guitar muting (that later I found out was indeed just me….too many Troopers today Meister?). They are a band to investigate further upon returning home.
Saracen flooded the stage. Again the guitar was a little muted to my ears (again just me). What wasn’t muted were the vocals! Oh my God! This guy can sing. Even not knowing the material overly well I was drawn in by the vocals. I did my first ever Facebook live video thing where I broadcast a snip of Saracen performing. Tagging the band proved a good choice as one comment read something like “thanks for posting. This is my dad and I couldn’t be there”. Very cool. More listening in the future as I dive deeper into the Saracen catalog. Check out Mikael‘s spotlight review for a more in-depth account of their performance: Saracen Kills It At Brofest (Concert Review)
Demon graced the stage next. I am quite familiar with Demon thanks to my first Sweden Rock Festival excursion. Great band with their 2012 Unbroken album being a perennial fave. Dave Hill and the guys led out with “Night of the Demon” fittingly and encompassed their most popular compositions ending with “Don’t Break the Circle”. Now having collected most of Demon‘s catalog, I have to say that 2012’s Unbroken tops the list. Sadly it was not represented in this night’s set. However, another great set by this band that I’ve now witnessed 3 or 4 times.
Time now for Chicago’s High Spirits. This band’s albums are all written and performed by Chris Black. A one man band…maybe not like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins though. When touring Black brings along his mates to round out the live set. High Spirits is certainly high energy as these guys ripped through the setlist all dressed in white pants and black tees. Black led the way charismatic and animated. Not to be outdone, the bassist jumped into the crowd for a quick surf at the end of the final song. Check out Graham Spark’s spotlight review of the band he names his top of Brofest: High Spirits At Brofest (Concert Review)
I had a great little chat with Mythra‘s vocalist, Vince High which resulted in missing most of Ghoul. We popped out into the lobby area and found a couple of chairs in a quiet corner to chat. Vince seemed impressed that I had traveled from Canada for the event. We spent time discussing the various differences in the music scenes worldwide. Basically the kinds of things that you would chat with to any festival goer from a different part of the world. What a super guy all around. Although I am a little mad at Vince…it’s thanks to him that I am considering a venture to Frost and Fire festival in October in LA to see Mythra and many other stellar acts!
Tokyo Blade is a big bucket lister here at Brofest. Tokyo was slated for a Canadian show in Montreal a couple of years back but the event was canceled. Now I can scratch them off my list. Man did they sound good and looked to be having the time of their lives up on stage. Songs such as “Death on Main St.”, “Someone to Love”, “Dead of Night”, “Lightning Strikes”, “Highway Fashion”, “Mean Streak”, “Lovestruck”, “Sunrise in Tokyo” and “Night of the Blade” all had their day in the sun and sounded amazing. Posting a quick cell phone photo to Facebook elicited comments from a young lady back home in Canada who was a huge fan. Turns out she had also been wanting to make the trek to Montreal before the cancellation. I (now an expert I suppose) went Facebook live again with a little of a song for her. All in all a great set to close up a great festival. Mikael has written a more in-depth spotlight review here: Tokyo Blade Close Brofest On A High Note (Concert Review)
Brofest, thank you for a fantastic time! Tons of new bands discovered, friends made, eardrums blown and beers consumed. I will be back next year. Hopefully with my friends from Lady Beast in the roster as well :).