Sniff The Riff Vol 1 – Manchester, Rebellion – 21 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep   
Saturday, 18 November 2017 04:20

Have you ever just looked at a line up and thought it seems too good to be true? Stonebaked Promotions and United In Fuzz had just this scenario for me at Sniff the Riff Vol.1. There have been far too many instances of promises not being delivered upon, or the dreaded clashes that happen on a lot of festivals that the worry is always there. Nevertheless, I ventured forth, hoping that, for once, someone would get it right.


Rebellion is a venue I'm familiar with, after going to numerous gigs there. The heavy rain outside didn't really dampen my spirits, given the quality of bands I knew already, and enough unknowns that piqued my interest. I arrive, greeted warmly, and wander off to the bar, awaiting the first band. Sadly, only half of openers Civilised Worm decide to turn up. The promoter moots a jam with half of the next band, but it's quickly decided to leave it to be set up for the next band instead, meaning it's a slightly later start than planned.


The set-up of two stages facing each other can be problematic in a venue this size, but it's quickly proven to work well, as Stonebaked work it so bands are tight to set times, meaning there is no crossover, or bands fighting each other for people, to their credit.


Given there are 20 bands on the bill, I'll forego my usual run down of every band, and instead focus on those that impressed me most from the day, in no particular order:


Ten Foot Wizard


Sniff The Riff Ten Foot Wizard


I have waxed lyrical about these guys for a long time now and with good reason. I've been privilidged to have seen them on several occasions now, and have never been disappointed. Another high octane performance, culminating with their effervescent 'Covered in Tits', that I'm pretty sure would cause the crowd to riot if it wasn't played. It certainly produced the first mosh pit of the day!


Spaztik Munkey


Sniff The Riff Spaztik Monkey


Being second on almost seems like a shame, given how much I enjoyed them. There is a very similar feel to these as Master Charger just before them, though with vocals that change between harsh and slightly psychedelic, which works better than I had first thought, as the set continues. It's a sign of how loud the band are playing when someone has to crouch down in front of the drums to hold them in place, as the kick is being hit so hard it starts edging forward off the small stage! There are nods to both Black Sabbath and The Melvins at times, with them getting a good overall from the crowd that are slowly trickling in through the doors.


Master Charger


Sniff The Riff Master Charger


First on stage one were Nottingham's Master Charger. The heavy rain outside and early start conspire to around 20 people in, which is a tad disappointing, but also understandable, given the reasons mentioned. They come on to an instrumental piece that nods heavily to Black Sabbath's ‘Hand of Doom’, and continues in a similar vein. The riffs are mighty and those that have braved the conditions appreciate it as it deserves. Great opening to the day.




Sniff The Riff Kurokoma


The fourth time I have seen them this year and it is yet to get old. This set was quite different from their brutal assault of the joint headline tour with Vinnum Sabbathi. The numbers are picking up even more at this point, giving them the kind of audience they deserve. There is a lot more instrumental than I've heard in their previous sets, with a bit more emphasis on the distortion from the instruments. Despite there being a bit more to think about and appreciate than the usual bludgeoning sound, it translates well with the crowd, their approval sounding loudly at each opportunity.


Witch Tripper


Sniff The Riff Witch Tripper


A pretty busy main stage awaited the Mansfield groove/stoner merchants. They don't seem to have a bad gig, from the few I've seen them at this year, which is shown by the reaction to their set. There are people still talking about them after they finish and the next band start, with the videographer for the day asking them on a few occasions to play in Scotland so he can see them again. Not surprising, after they tore Rebellion a new one. Upbeat stoner groove that won't let go of your ears.


Sound of Origin


Sniff The Riff Sound Of Origin


I have to admit, I had not previously heard of these guys, so was curious as to what to expect. I admit to almost a sense of shell shock, in the best possible way, by the end of their half hour set. Heavy fuzz from the off, a bassist who couldn't keep still, and a front man who keeps you engaged, whether he is headbanging, almost punching the floor at times, who came across almost like a hippy Ozzy Osbourne, from his dress style and the manner in which you get basically drawn to looking at him. In terms of vocals, he is maybe closer towards Eddie Vedder singing Stoner songs, which is again a positive.


Red Spektor


Sniff The Riff Red Spektor


A second helping of these in a month for me, after their performance at Stoner vs Doom, though this time I was able to catch their full set! There is a bit more groove to their sound than the bands that have preceeded them, along with some hard rock and psychedelic influences at times. This translates very well to the audience, as the loud applause and cheering that greets their songs attests to. There is almost a Glenn Danzig sound to the vocals, in terms of tone and range, which sits well with the rest of their sound. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.




Sniff The Riff Soden


Another band chosen from earlier in the day, they set their stall out at the very beginning with the lighting of some incense as they start, trying to create a certain feel for everyone from the very off. An instrumental trio, the bassist and guitarist seldom look away from their orchestrating drummer, who leads their operation competently, whilst drawing you in with their noise-doom sounds. A very good reaction at the end of their set indicates just how well they are thought of.


There was not a single bad band on the bill - all performed admirably and were worthy of their slots. From the first band to play, Master Charger (after half of Civilised Worm, the band due first on, did not bother to turn up), right the way through the day, my head did not stop nodding, nor my feet tapping. There was a lot to be impressed by, as the venue was the ideal size and layout for the crowd that turned up - when they eventually did, given the heavy rain soaking everything that even looked at the outdoors. The promoters, Chunk and Charlotte from Stonebaked Promotions and the two Chris' from United In Fuzz, also worked to stage manage everything, making sure things ticked over well, whilst taking turns to welcome everyone in, deal with anything that needed done that cropped up in an efficient manner. Getting bands to stick to their set times is harder than herding cats, but they manage to do so admirably.


The order of bands shows a level of continuity in terms of the sound, kind of like a DJ mixing songs in, so it's clear that some thought has gone in to this. Bands have come from as far as Bath, in Sergeant Thunderhoof, and London, in headliners Steak, which shows quite how wide Stonebaked have cast their nets to book bands based on how they sound and what they can do, rather than the mistakes some make of getting in mainly local bands for almost nothing.


The venue staff are as friendly as always, from the owners, through the promotions manager Nikki, who seemed in her element herself, chatting away with everyone in a friendly manner, through the bar staff and the rest. All in all, a day that succeeds in giving everyone there whiplash in the very best possible way!


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Simon Dunkerley.


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