SLUGFEST 2 – Alma Street, Abertillery - 7th & 8th August 2009 Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Monday, 10 August 2009 14:05

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Last year’s inaugural Slugfest was an all day counter culture celebration that has somehow mutated into a two day pandemic of punk and metal with all proceeds being donated to the Hospice Of The Valleys charity. Taking place in two venues on the same street of a picturesque yet put-upon Welsh mining village, and with a potentially immense line up, this year’s event threatened to level buildings….


The first night of this fucked up festival took place at the really very cool Doll’s House venue. Slug svengali Darrel Sutton’s legendary noiseniks Gallini opened the event with possibly the shortest set in music history, which many believed still went on a little too long. Their appearance, which perfectly set the tempo and tone for the entire weekend, was merely a teaser for their full theatrical show that would take place, and no prisoners, on the second day of the fest. Sheriffs Of Hong Kong, easily sporting the finest selection of instruments known to humanity, never fail to turn in high octane performances of melody cursed rock ‘n’ roll. Sounding great and looking handsome, rumours of a second appearance on day two of the event are met with fevered excitement.

John Q Public have stepped onto the bill at relatively short notice and their brand of Bad Religion and NOFX influenced punk rock is the first to get a horde of degenerates and ne’er-do-wells making fools of themselves at the front. On the day that is was announced that John Hughes, legendary creator of 80’s teen movies, had died, it was a fitting tribute that the band’s guitarist was a total nerd who wouldn’t have looked out of place getting melvined by jocks in a two decade old flick. 9xDead label themselves ‘dark rock’ and turn in a set of hard and heavy tunes - with one in particular owing a debt of honour to The Almighty – but, before their appearance at December’s Hard Rock Hell festival, the band need a severe personality injection to avoid losing themselves amongst the also-rans.

a470A470 have been blessed with awesome talent and an awful band name. The news of an impending name change comes on the back of the performance of the night, an incendiary set that crushes skulls and positively bruises. ‘Don’t Trust Me’ is massive and these guys really have a chance of making a severe dent in the industry. Serious contenders - I wouldn’t wanna follow them. Adam Bomb’s biography is so littered with respected names in the rock ‘n’ roll world that you wonder why he spends his Friday nights in Welsh mining towns. The fact that he ignores much of his back catalogue and litters his set with covers – and plays for about half an hour too long – may hold the answer. Still, he brings the cock rock with a full-on performance spattered with fire, spark showering guitars and four minute anthems. The teenagers at the front seem to be impressed with his bouts of fret-wankery, the rest of us settle for a cool couple of Kiss covers. Adam “rocks like fuck” and, no, a member of Team Über Röck didn’t see him getting a spanking from Hanoi Rocks guitar legend Andy McCoy a few years ago for using that very term, which was used by Michael Monroe two decades previously……

The second day of Slugfest sees the furious festivities move to The Mount, an old school public house that will end up, as it was last year, shaken to its very foundations by old school riffage. Gallini, whose tour merch sporting seminal porn movie ‘Pretty Peaches’ was the weekend’s essential garment, are the day’s foreplay. They finger fuck the swelling audience with the answer to the following question – is it possible for music to gouge out your ears? Modern folk tale ‘Sheriff Of Cwm’ rubs shoulders with power ballad ‘Adefryisacunt’ and a severe mauling of Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’. Satan’s trampoline, a stage prop born of the jackal, is seriously underused although it does provide the springboard for a twisted troupe of fucktards to launch themselves into the darkness at various junctures during the day. The ghost of Michael Jackson, looking curiously like Über Röck söldier Jöhnny H, closes the gallant Gallini set with a monstrous medley of King of Pop classics. Music crack, man – music crack.

redriotSheriffs Of Hong Kong side project, Sheriffs Of Ping Pong, are next up. Dazzling in their tight, white table tennis apparel, they produce a fun-filled set of up-tempo rockers that bear a striking similarity to events witnessed on the previous night. Frontman Rickles shows stealth and skills with both the bat and the six string and is as charismatic as a man in skintight sports gear can possibly be. Their classy stab at Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’ leaves the debauched denizens of the venue wearing huge grins which, sadly, are quickly wiped away with the news that the long awaited comeback of HRH Ivor Beynon, Lord of Steel has been beaten away by one fatal swoop of Thor’s hammer…..and the lack of a CD player. The job of rousing the tearful throng is given to Red Riot who turn the lame into flame and get the place jumping, with ease. Their Anti Flag inspired edgy punk rock anthems turn the sun drenched venue into a heaving, sweaty mass. With Fell On Black Days frontman Gavin Robinson joining them for a metal/punk crossover that they christen “munk” (or is that “monk”?!), the sense of community between these bands and all attendees hits you in the face like prime Roberto Duran.

georgeGeorge Annihilation And The Legion Of Hate bring things down with an acoustic set……do they fuck......they mark the 40th anniversary of the Tate/LaBianca murders with an intense performance that threatens to steal Gallini’s “Noisiest Fuckers 2009” title. With the ‘songs’ interspersed with cult movie dialogue, including Rowdy Roddy Piper’s legendary ‘They Live’ mantra, the band let off the aural equivalent of a dirty bomb and then creepy crawl to safety, walking a smudged line between genius and torture.
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Chaos reigns during the highly anticipated appearance of Lifer. Their chimera of old school thrash and heavy-as-fuck Down inspired groove threatens to lay waste to the building and all those contained within it. A mass of flailing limbs and flying bodies greets every humongous riff, each one delivered with the subtlety of a nailbomb. Set closer ‘Raging Waters’ reduces every human in the venue to a quivering heap of meat as the band turn in the performance of the weekend. This System Kills, featuring Welsh punk legend Wayne ‘Pig’ Cole, are playing their first show since completing work only several days previously on new album ‘Free Speech’. Tight as fuck and remarkably good looking, I have yet to see the band be anything less than awesome. The Valleys needs bands like This System Kills and characters like Pig like Whitney Houston needs crack. ‘Red Brick’ is a classic song impaled on a barb of attitude that sees the stage (if there really is a stage) invaded by fans, former members and gentlemen dressed in leopard print suits. I am counting down the seconds until the album release…..

How do you follow two great sets by local heroes? Jizzwagon attempt it by introducing their murky and maniacal take on retro rock to the piss party. Not taking their grimy and grebo material too seriously, this musical combo offer up audio treats like ‘David Gray Is A Cunt’ and ‘Shit On Your Tits’ – as subtle as Courtney Love, but much more liked. Bag Of Bones bring a more straight ahead rock sound to the event with vocalist Scotty, former member of seminal local thrash legends Gangland, sounding like former Gun frontman Mark Rankin on more than one track. They throw in a cover of ‘Pet Sematary’ and must have gone home happy at how well they were received.

When I saw Fell On Black Days support Onslaught a couple of weeks previously, they were forced to play part of their set as a four piece due to some ‘technical issues’ experienced by guitarist Matt Hall. Tonight, the day’s activities appear to have gotten the better of other guitarist Mark Tranter, who is having a little lie down in the band’s Ghostbusters-themed van while his bandmates tear the venue a new arsehole. I fear the day when these guys can actually get all five members together because they will be unstoppable – bruising, brutal and blistering metal from a highly promising band who, despite a legion of problems, still turn in a shit kicking performance.

brabazonThrash rats Brabazon are, as frontman Stu Harris’ t-shirt proclaims, “Proud To Be Thrash”. They are unashamedly old school and pretty much fucking awesome. Fusing Slayer’s intensity to Pantera’s rifferama, by way of Testament, they threaten to kick the teeth in of all the true metal survivors of a mental day…..that’s if the stage divers haven’t already done it. With some of the ugliest thrash metal fans in the country directly in their faces, these guys don’t falter. This heavy assault on the senses is the perfect way to close the event…..if the crowd will ever let them finish – a host of classic cover tunes are hauled out before the band can end their set.

Slugfest 2 is over.. The celebration of the unclean, unwashed and unwanted is done for another year. With tongue firmly in cheek and cock firmly in hand, the emphasis of the event is pure fun. But there is a serious side to all this – a serious sense of community between bands, music fans, zines and everyone with pride in their surroundings. Children of nothing, we are legion. Long live Slugfest!!!

Photos of all bands can be found at the Über Röck Myspace page.