|Slugf3st (Day 1) - Abertillery, The Doll's House - 23rd July 2010|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Friday, 30 July 2010 05:00|
Once upon a time, a couple of fuckwits decided to throw a crazed fortieth birthday bash and christen it Slugfest.....
As Slugfest version 3.0 unfurls itself around us the differences of a few short years are painted in broad, brash strokes across every aspect of the now must-attend festival. As I enter tonight's venue, the classy Doll's House, and see great event shirts on sale alongside sixteen track companion albums, I can't help but be impressed at how Über noise-monger Darryl Sutton has fashioned this crazy concept into a hugely successful charity event where the freaks, geeks and the generally unloved are welcome to shake their booty and slowly kill themselves at the greatest (now three day!) counter culture event that these parts have ever seen. And then Gallini take to the stage.....
It has become tradition for Sutton's notoriously disastrous musical pet project to open the Slugfestivities and tonight is no exception. 'Ma Baker' by Boney M makes its first appearance of the weekend and is suitably unrecognisable. Grins abound and we're off.
Youthful trio Phobus are first up for real and their spunky set of punk rock covers gets everyone loosened up and ready to riot. Normally, opening a set in front of a legion of gnarly old punks with 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'I Fought The Law' would see three young men wearing phlegm facemasks but, as is the spirit of community amongst all the Slug-attendees, the classic tunes are well received and the boys are given the credit they deserve. The singer/guitarist has some real star quality itching to burst out of his skin and I'd like to see him knocking people out cold with a set of original material.
The Obvious Wankers - "It was obvious we were gonna be playing and we're wankers" - are the uglier cousins of local punk legends This System Kills who crash through an incendiary set of killer cover tunes full of attitude. A punk rock dollybird offers free pints of a mysterious death brew to the punters as a snotty cover of Sham 69's 'Hurry Up Harry' spews out of the speakers, before a chaotic version of 'Nobody's Heroes' by Stiff Little Fingers gets almost every limb in the venue flailing.
Deathbullet are up next and, considering that they have only played a handful of gigs together, they certainly ain't too shabby. Spattered with familiar faces, including a former member of Lifer and someone who used to live in my house, they are guaranteed a good reception but their brand of thrash meets stoner rock happily gets people interested for purely musical reasons. The guys have some cool gigs coming up - including a support slot with Ricky Warwick - and they can only make new friends with this promising noise that they bringeth.
Legendary Welsh punks Foreign Legion have been around, in one form or another, for over a quarter of a century. That's probably around the same time that several of the sweaty bastards going batshit bonkers at the front during their set last gave their armpits a good wash. Mixing up some of their own great material like 'Death Valley' with choice covers by the likes of Angelic Upstarts, the band goes down a storm...like that was ever in doubt!
A mysterious injury forced Mutator to pull their appearance so, at short notice, Battle For Bloodstock winners Tempestora step in to save the day. The frontman is wearing an 'I Heart Thrash' shirt so you can guess where this is heading. For a young three piece (the drummer looks so young that he probably isn't old enough to see The Goonies let alone be one) the noise that they create borders on the fantastic. Sure, there's a hefty dose of old school Metallica in the mix but, c'mon, who couldn't listen to that shit all day?! They drag Sutton onstage for a frantic and fucked up version of 'Creeping Death' and leave to a deserved bout of mass metal hysteria. They play the Bloodstock Open Air festival next month and I for one am hoping that the boys tear it a new one.
The guitarist from Newport anarcho punks Rejected is quite possibly the drunkest person in the building tonight and, given the circumstances, that is quite an achievement. The last time I saw the band they were supporting Discharge and tonight, like then, they impress. We're into the witching hour and many have departed to ready themselves for the coming day's debauchery. The hardcore Sluggers who remain continue to go mental at the front and, as I prepare to leave, show no signs of stopping.
Twenty six bands, three days, two venues, one fucked up weekend - if Slugfest is a blemish on the face of the beautiful then, as it continues to grow, the beautiful are gonna start to resemble the Singing Detective. And grow it will because, for reasons that may never become clear, the masses have taken Slugfest to heart and there it will remain for years to come - onwards and upwards. Roll on Saturday!