Slugf3st (Day 3) - Abertillery, The Doll's House - 25th July 2010 Print E-mail
Written by Johnny H   
Sunday, 01 August 2010 06:00


Into the final day of this year's Slugfest, and yours truly decided to wimp out of the afternoon acoustic jam back at The Mount. Given the calibre of drinkers due to be present I feared for my liver and decided to just take in the night event.


Arriving at the Dolls House in plenty of time to catch This Is Suffering I'm not exactly sure if I was more impressed by the metalcore that was exploding from the venue's PA or the fact that Grace_Under_Pressuremost of my drinking buddies from the previous night were all there ready for another full on session. Perhaps the ultimate hangover cure for those still teetering on the abyss, This Is Suffering put in a steadfast performance that set the scene perfectly for the night.


With vehicular horror stories coming in regarding tonight's headliners' journey to the promised land of Abertillery, a quick rejig of the running put Grace Under Pressure on next. Now before you break into a panic thinking I'm going to be reviewing a Rush covers band here, rest assured this Grace Under Pressure played a set of their own music with what can only be termed a 'Rage Against The Stone Age' sort of vibe. Grace Under Pressure may be a band that are growing into their own sound right now, but any band with a guitarist playing a BC Rich Warlock will obviously get an immediate Über Röck thumbs up.


Organiser Sutton and professional pisshead Plug take to the stage for an impromptu version of 'Rivers Of Babylon' ahead of the next band, Conquer The Decade. The four lads from my hometown making up Conquer had perhaps what you might call the first serious following of the night gathered stage front. This maybe down to the fact they were playing to a local crowd, or it maybe down to the fact that their singer is shall we say.... 'enigmatic' as only frontmen with an ego way too big for a venue this size can be (and I should know as I was one once). But playing with a guitarist down, Conquer never got past sounding like a disjointed mess. Leaving the stage describing their performance as "their shittest gig ever" I certainly wasn't going to disagree.


And so it was Caldicot's finest (and possibly only) exponents of the fine art of thrash metal Outgunned, who really did turn up the temperature performance wise, as Slugf3st entered into Ramonesits final trio of bands. Coming out of the traps all guitars blazing like the feral thrashing machine we were all hoping for, this was a much-changed band from the one I had witnessed less than six months earlier in the very same venue. With tracks from their impressive 'Through The Eyes Of Despair' EP packing their set chock full of huge riffs and guttural screams, Outgunned are right now a band full of confidence and great songs. 'Rats And Paradise' in particular got the pit moving nicely and proved to be a fitting climax to the band's all too brief set.


Not being what you might term a 'lover' of tribute bands the last minute addition of Rhondda Ramones to tonight's bill wasn't exactly high on my list of must-sees. But once the guys thundered in with the 1,2,3,4-opening riff to 'Rockaway Beach' I immediately found myself standing stage front singing every fucking word. Clancy on vocals, Williams on guitar, Bambi on bass and Andy on drums may not try and look like da bruddas, but they certainly sound like them, and the drunken mock fighting that ensued on the dance floor during 'Blitzkrieg Bop' was a sure fire sign that the rest of my, by now walking wounded, Slugf3st buddies thought so too. Put simply Rhondda Ramones are fucking great fun.


Having moved heaven and earth to get here tonight Gloucester's Hellbound should be applauded for their resilience in the face of adversity for the cause of heavy metal. So with HellboundSlugf3st's final night seriously overrunning it would have taken a very hard man indeed to deny the band who had moved mountains to actually get to the venue any chance of playing.  Specialising in rib rattling heavy-as-fuck-metal, Hellbound's thirty-minute set flew by in a joyous celebration of why every one of us return to Slugfest year on year, 'great music'.


Slipping in a cover of 'The Boys Are Back In Town' mid set had me immediately thinking of the previous night's stupendous display of rock stupidity from Scutty Neighbours, and just like the lads from Bakewell, Hellbound managed to get everyone going absolutely mental right until the last chords rang out across the otherwise silent Tillery valley.


And so it came to pass that at 11:50 on Sunday 25th July 2010 Slugf3st ended just as it had chaos...just how we all like it. 


I cannot end this review without mentioning the amount of hard work the guys behind Slugfest put into organising this event, they just didn't stop all weekend. From the organisers to the venues, the bands to the people who give up their time to run the food stalls and activities.  Kudos to you all, as the sense of community you have engendered within Slugfest makes it one of the must attend events of the musical calendar year after year. Oh and after all that you managed to raise £1,200 for the Hospice Of The Valleys...Fantastic stuff.


See you all in 2011 for Slugfest 4.