LIVE: Hit The Deck Festival @ Nottingham (21/04/2013)

Date: April 21st, 2013
Venue: Rock City / The Rescue Rooms / Stealth / The Forum, Nottingham
Website: www.hitthedeckfestival.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hitthedeckfestival
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hitthedeckfest

Rating:

Gallery: Click here!

Growing and expanding to be able to now accomodate two dates in two separate cities, Hit The Deck Festival has certainley come a long ways since its humble beginnings a few short years back in 2011. Taking place across new second home Bristol and original location Nottingham, we decided to take part yet again this year and headed to Nottingham to catch what will yet again be a great day for rock and alternative music.


ROCK CITY – MAIN STAGE

SINNERS HIGHWAY – 6/10
Local Nottingham boys Sinners Highway have the task of opening the main room at Rock City to start off this year’s Hit The Deck Festival and begin their well rehearsed set in some fashion. Although the whole thing seems to start overly Americanised and choreographed with synchronised head banging, they quickly find their feet with confident frontman Si Ross leading the band through tracks from their 2012 EP. Armed forces dedicated ‘Dust To Kiss’ and closer ‘Reaper’ show that Sinners Highway are more than comfortable on a larger stage and are sure to be branching out of the Nottingham scene to the rest of the country soon enough. [MH]

ATTENTION THIEVES – 8/10
Touring profusely over the last couple of years has given Attention Thieves the publicity they’ve needed to show the country how good of a band they really are. Fresh from supporting Enter Shikari this month, fans are out in number to watch the Reading rockers and they sound huge. Alex Green powerfully screams to the room with perfection and grabs the attention of everyone in Rock City. Big tracks like ‘Can’t See The Light’ and ‘You’ll Be The First One’ are only going to push Attention Thieves higher up festival line-ups this year, and deservedly too. [MH]

MALLORY KNOX – 6/10
A great set in the basement at 2012’s festival plus a commercially successful year sees Mallory Knox promoted to the main stage and the room is as busy as it will be all day. There are no surprises when Mikey Chapman powers through the singles from their debut album ‘Signals’, with ‘Beggars’ and ‘Lighthouse’ getting the highest pitched screams from the flood of fans filling Rock City. Unfortunately, everything seems a bit comfortable and predictable from the Cambridge band today who seem somewhat tired from a year of constant touring, but the kids don’t care as you can hardly hear from the huge sing-a-long to crowd favourite, ‘Oceans’. [MH]

SONIC BOOM SIX – 8/10
The Manchunian ska-punks have a sense of rejuvenation about them since the release of their eponymous album last year. Line-up and record label changes have given Sonic Boom Six their freshest sound yet and have become festival regulars of late. Laila Khan and Barney Boom always bring the fun and are here to make Hit The Deck bounce from wall to wall with big singles ‘Virus’ and ‘For The Kids Of The Multiculture’ leading the mass dance. Everyone leaves the room with a big smile on their face and it’s a job well done as usual for SB6. [MH]

ATTACK ATTACK! – 8/10
Attack Attack! have split opinions since their formation in 2008 to say the least, and with so many lead vocalist changes it’s almost impossible to keep up with what the band are currently doing. Phil Druyor is the new man with the microphone and has given the band a lifeline they desperately needed, with his energy and stage presence dominating the set. Plenty of fans are here to see the US group and are happy to hear old tracks like ‘The People’s Elbow’ mixed along with ‘Smokahontas’, ensuring that there will be a lot of sore necks in the morning. [MH]

WE ARE THE OCEAN – 9/10
We Are The Ocean seem to get better and better with every show and even though they have slipped down the undercard at Hit The Deck since the departure of Dan Brown, Rock City is full for the Essex band. Liam Cromby now leads the line and pleases the crowd with a mixture of tracks from latest album, ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’, and the re-imagined ‘Go Now And Live’. Fans seem to finally accept where the band are headed now with 2000 people singing along to ‘Young Heart’ and ‘The Road’, but the real insanity is left for ‘The Waiting Room’ to prove a real highlight of the day. [MH]

NEVER SHOUT NEVER – 4/10
Frontman Christofer Drew Ingle has the teenage girls exactly where he wants them, but the shouts of “Shut the fuck up” represent the rest of the audience. Rock City is slightly awkward as Never Shout Never spend an age between songs, be it changing instruments or timid boring customer interaction, which hinders any fluidity in the set. ‘Piggy Bank’ and ‘Coffee And Cigarettes’ have little excitement to them but still receive a warm reaction from the younger crowd, but nothing compared to the deafening squeal that accompanies ukulele ditty, ‘Trouble’. Their set may have been wasted on the Hit The Deck crowd, with more new haters leaving than new fans. [MH]

WE ARE THE IN CROWD – 7/10
Bumped up the line-up from last year, We Are The In Crowd return to the main stage as pop-punk favourites in the UK following a successful year. Their fun female-fronted sound is booming thanks to the popularity of Paramore, and the New York group are welcomed back to Nottingham with open arms. The room sings along to ‘Exits And Entrances’ and ‘Never Be What You Want’, with Tay Jardine and Jordan Eckes both at full volume. A perfect mix of songs old and new make a great set for the US band who are going from strength to strength in their genre. [MH]

DON BROCO – 8/10
Rock City is far more full for Don Broco than it was for Kids In Glass Houses last year and Underoath the year before that; a real testament to how far the Bedford lads have come since they played midway through the day in the basement last year. A huge sell out tour, top 20 album and mainstream radio play are just a few of the many achievements Don Broco have racked up over the last 12 months and they have quickly become the top sought after festival band. Fun onstage frolics lead to Bobby D sporting some fetching blue knickers while the push-up squad dominate the floor, a signature move ever since Hit The Deck 2012, makes the headline show just that little bit more special. Big tracks from the excellent ‘Priorities’ fill the set, along with past classics ‘Thug Workout’ and ‘Dreamboy’, rounding off a big moment in the Don Broco history book. [MH]


ROCK CITY – BASEMENT (BIG DEAL CLOTHING) STAGE

FORT HOPE – 7/10
Forming from the ashes of previous band My Passion, Fort Hope are brand new for 2013 but it shows that they’ve been performing together for years. The Hertfordshire quartet sound very different than before with stronger melodies and fiercer vocals, and seem to have plenty of material behind them already. Smashing through songs with hardly a breath inbetween, Jon Gaskin takes centre stage and bellows out big sounding single ‘Control’ with no holding back. Their support slots with Fearless Vampire Killers has brought in a crowd early in the day and we’re sure to be hearing more from them very soon indeed. [MH]

DINGUS KHAN – 6/10
Dingus Khan win the award for craziest dressed band at this year’s festival, with members wearing wizard outfits and white dungarees, it’s quite a sight to behold. The band only just manage to pack themselves onto the stage with 3 drummers, 2 bassists, a guitarist and a ukulele player; an incredible line-up that creates an incredible sound, especially considering that their third bassist was unable to attend. With dance moves to match their craziness, Dingus Khan are a bit of fun and aren’t to be taken seriously, especially when frontman Ben Brown begins to play the guitar with his face. [MH]

MAX RAPTOR – 9/10
It’s been a couple of years since Max Raptor‘s mini-album ‘Portraits’ hit the shelves and they played their famous Barney Hall show, but 2013 will see the Burton band finally release their highly anticipated debut full-length album. The Big Deal Clothing stage is treated to brand new tracks ‘England Breathes’ and ‘Breakers’, which sound just as impressive as their earlier material, with Wil Ray on his regular top form. ‘The King Is Dead’ closes the show, with Max Raptor proving once more that when it comes to English punk rock, they’re as good as it gets. [MH]

EVAROSE – 6/10
All girl band Evarose return to the Basement at Hit The Deck Festival after being the first ever band to play the festival back in 2011. The room’s pretty full for the Banbury quartet, thanks to securing some impressive support slots lately with Straight Lines and Canterbury. People seem to be curious rather than die-hard fans, but there are certainly some familiar voices there when ‘We Can Pretend Anyway’ and ‘Cough It Up’ arrive on the set. The girls look like they’re having just as much fun as the audience and should have more people singing along in the near future. [MH]

SUMMERLIN – 6/10
“Every story has its ending” sings frontman Drew Lawson on ‘Let It Go’ as Summerlin play their last ever show before their members explore other projects. Their happy-go-lucky pop-punk is fun and gets the feet tapping in the Rock City Basement, with many fans eager to see the Yorkshire lads return to Hit The Deck after their performance in 2011. Tracks from ‘You Can’t Burn Out If You’re Not On Fire’ mark a good performance by the band and send Summerlin out on a high. [MH]

FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS – 7/10
Fearless Vampire Killers thrive on the attention of mixed reactions and controversy. Their emo lyrics combined with make-up and coloured hair makes them an easy target for many, but also brings them a growing fan base. Although outrageously over theatrical, the band sound good tonight and put on a great show. The music is certainly good enough for them to not bother with overacting, but when they seem to have so much fun doing it, why would they? ‘Could We Burn, Darling?’ gets a big reaction to finish the show and FVK are on their way up. [MH]

LOSTALONE
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

TITLE FIGHT – 5/10
Fast-paced Pennsylvania punks Title Fight headline the Big Deal Clothing stage as part of their European tour. Usually tight and exciting, Jamie Rhoden and the rest of the band seem slightly distracted tonight and fail to capture the imagination of the crowd. Whether the audience for American hardcore punk isn’t here or the band are thinking of their trip over to Germany tomorrow, it’s an unusual blip for Title Fight as most of the songs fail to stand out. Oldies ‘Symmetry’ and ‘Loud And Clear’ still provide enough for the die-hard fans to enjoy, but it isn’t enough to close the Rock City Basement in the expected style. [MH]


THE RESCUE ROOMS STAGE:

GREAT CYNICS
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

THE FRONT BOTTOMS
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

NATIVES
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

MAYBESHEWILL
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

THE JAMES CLEAVER QUINTET
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

GNARWOLVES
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

CANTERBURY
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

ARMY OF FRESHMEN – 8/10
Californian pop-punks Army Of Freshmen have built up an impressive following in the UK thanks to a close friendship with Bowling For Soup, which has seen the bands tour together over several years. Now with 15 years under their belts, the band are touring their fifth full-length album and their set at Hit The Deck shows how impossible it is to dislike the band. Chris Jay is the happiest man in the world and his smile spreads throughout the room, while Owen Bucey‘s and Aaron Goldberg‘s harmonies grace every chorus of the set. New songs ‘Ava’ and ‘Concrete Hope’ combined with ‘10,000 Years’ and ‘Waiting On Me’ result in Army Of Freshmen providing one of the most fun performances of the day. [MH]

PURE LOVE – 9/10
Enlisted to close of The Rescue Rooms stage in style, who better for the job than energy filled rockers, Pure Love. Though stating that he’s filling ill and not fully up to scratch, frontman Frank Carter still has more gusto and flare in his performance than most frontmen across this year’s festival and even walks from the stage to the bar to order a vodka and coke mid-song. As is true Pure Love tradition, Jim Carroll seems far more comfortable and at home being passed around the audience as he surfs the crowd than on the stage. To keep the band’s tradition going, by the time we reach ‘Beach Of Diamonds’, the band have brought down the drum kit to the middle of the floor and finished off their final few songs there, not before conducting a full circle pit around the members in the centre of the room. Far from boring, Pure Love may be a newly born band, but they certainley know how to close a show. [ZR]


STEALTH (HARD TIMES CLOTHING) STAGE:

WHIRR – 3/10
The best way to describe Whirr is the musical equivalent of a hangover. Within the first ten minutes they have it all, the tedious and slow ringing out chords of a prolonged headache, the simple stabs of pains in your stomach, the droning “ohhhh ohhhhh” as the only vocals all combining to send you almost into a sense of nausea. Admittedly, things pick up a bit from there, but not by much. As an opening and developing band, Whirr need to scrap their half a set of headache-inducing sounds, immediately. [ZR]

BLACK DOGS – 8/10
Malice fuelled Northerners Black Dogs certainly whip things up a couple of hundred notches for the Hard Times Clothing stage, delivering to Hit The Deck its first few kicks in the balls of 2013. The quartet sound somewhat like the neglected genetic mutation of Cancer Bats and Architects, with frontman Gollo thrashing himself about the stage for most of the set and even introducing the meaning of one of their songs as being about “the biggest living cunt I have ever met”. Far from charming, completely exhilirating. [ZR]

DEPARTURES – 7/10
In the middle of a tour supporting Stick To Your Guns tearing across the UK, Glaswegian emotionally charged hardcore outfit Departures are a more than welcomed addition to the festival line-up. Shoving several tracks from last year’s ‘Teenage Haze’ full-length into their setlist, the growth of this band’s popularity is certainly evident and, off the back of this show, the rise is indeed yet to decline. [ZR]

HAND OF MERCY – 8/10
Originating from the otherside of the world, Aussies Hand Of Mercy describe themselves as a mosh/hardcore band. There’s definitely plenty of mosh to be had, and as many of their native peers have taught us, these guys from down under know how to work a crowd. Songs like ‘Chump’ see the crowd clambering to get onto the stage whilst frontman Scott screams down at them. Maybe their current time supporting Bleeding Through has brought a few new tricks to the band’s table. [ZR]

THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE – 7/10
Also on tour alongside Bleeding Through, Pennsylvania’s This Or The Apocalypse succeed in keeping energy levels high and volume levels loud. At times, it seems like the American quintet are a little restricted with the small space provided on the Hard Times Clothing stage, but frontman Rick Armellino throws the occassional crowd surf into the mix. The sound levels for the vocals seems a little dampened throughout too, not bringing TOTA to their true potential. [ZR]

DEAD END PATH
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.

FIRST BLOOD – 6/10
With multiple albums under their belt, First Blood are probably the most experienced hardcore band of the Hard Times Clothing stage. Though definitely an interesting band to watch perform live, you’d think there’d be a bit more energy in them, especially considering their experience. Maybe they’re just warming up with it being their first day on UK soil. Still, they set mosh pits alight throughout their 30 minute set, and frontman Carl Schwartz is definitely one who can relate with the audience following his brief talk about the relevance and importance of hardcore music. [ZR]

LANDSCAPES – 8/10
Bringing things back to British, melodic hardcore mob Landscapes sure have made a great impression since the release of their debut album ‘Life Gone Wrong’ towards the back-end of last year. Sets like tonight’s one proves they can back it up when they put it into action live too. Frontman Shaun Milton appears to be bearing many demons throughout the songs that compose their set, such as ‘Coming Of Age’. Things can only go up from here for this Somerset quartet. [ZR]

SILENT SCREAMS – 6/10
Equipped with newly drafted frontman Joel Heywood (formerly of I’ll Stay In Memphis), Leeds based metallers Silent Screams have confessed they have gained a rejuvenation in themselves. This may certainley be the case, as the tattoo covered up-and-coming outfit are undeniably an active bunch on stage. In terms of sound, however, things would need improving upong. Joel‘s lows are destructive yet sound muffled and almost nothing other than white noise. The drumming of Adam Mallabone, although impressive, sounds a little clammy. Most probably a sound issue on this account, but Silent Screams are a band who have the opportunity with upcoming album number two to rise with the tide. They just need to make sure they’re ready for when that happens. [ZR]

HEART OF A COWARD
Sadly, we were unable to catch this set.


THE FORUM (FRONT MAGAZINE) STAGE:

SKIES IN MOTION – 6/10
Providing one of the earliest sets of the day and opening up the FRONT Magazine stage, Skies In Motion might also be one of the lesser known bands of the day, but still manage to get the crowd jumping along. Though admittedly there are a few things that need to be tightened here and there and the band look a little unsure of what to do with all of the room that they have on stage, the Derby outfit successfully set the tone right for the rest of the acts to follow in The Forum. [ZR]

HUNDREDTH – 7/10
South Carolina’s Hundredth step it up another notch. After a few years on the touring circuit, the melodic metalcore five-piece know all of the tricks to get the crowd moving. Frontman Chadwick Johnson bounces around the stage like a frog whilst screaming his lungs out to songs such as ‘Ruin’ and ‘Weathered Town’, whilst guitarist and back-up vocalist Alex Blackwell brings come cleans to provide plenty of sing alongs. [ZR]

BOSSK – 4/10
A atmospheric introduction to set the scale of what should be a performance approaching epic proporitions is one that many bands do, some of the time successfully. What Bossk do when attempting this is not successful. When only being provided a 30 minute long set, it’s not the best idea, especially when trying to draw in some new fans, to have an instrumental intro that takes up about a third of their whole time on stage, especially when that intro provides little to no excitement. When frontman Sam Marsh does finally make an appearance, his vocals are shrill and hard to comprehend. Sadly a disappointing effort. [ZR]

EMPRESS – 6/10
Tipped to be one of the latest up-and-comers within British metal, London’s Empress only have limited amount of material but lately are managing to score some pretty solid support tour slots. Drawing quite a bit of a crowd, the quartet suffer from some sound issues at the beginning of their set, cutting off Ollie Loring‘s vocals almost completely. From that point on, the band seem a bit unsure and uneased for the remainder of their set. It’s still early days and a bad one-off, but better circumstances, Empress may well be set to impress. [ZR]

DEVIL SOLD HIS SOUL – 9/10
Set to be one of the few final shows of Devil Sold His Soul‘s to feature original frontman Ed Gibbs, the atmosphere in the packed room moments before and right up to the final moments of the band’s set is definitely noticable. Newer tracks ‘VIII’ and ‘Crusader’ incite several pits in the middle of The Forum dance floor, whereas set closer ‘End Of Days’ brings to the forefront just how special of a band DSHS are as drummer Leks Wood batters his drums and Ed Gibbs bids a sincere thanks and tear jerking farewell to the Nottingham crowd. [ZR]

ROLO TOMASSI – 8/10
Sheffield noise makers Rolo Tomassi always have been and always will be a band that not everyone can completely understand, if not for the far from standard songwriting procedure than definitely for the vocal capabilites of frontwoman Eva Spence. She bends he body like elastic whilst shrieking and barking down the microphone alongside brother James Spence to the likes of ‘Party Wounds’ and ‘Ex Luna Scientia’, but also managing to display their more toned down side with ‘Kasia’. Certainly an enteraining band to watch, fan or not. [ZR]

FEED THE RHINO – 9/10
Kent’s Feed The Rhino are reknowned for their high energy blistering sets, and today at Hit The Deck is no different. Vocalist Lee Tobin is a man who can’t keep still; if he’s not on the stage he’s either face first with the front row at the barrier, or climbing atop the stage speakers. Songs like ‘The Burning Sons’ and Lee‘s constant demands for circle pits and crowd surfers keep the security on their toes and the audience filled with adrenaline. Definitely one of the UK’s strongest hardcore outfits on the circuit today. [ZR]

STICK TO YOUR GUNS – 6/10
Almost filling out the room, Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns are arguably the biggest hardcore band set to play at this year’s Hit The Deck Festival. The likes of ‘Empty Heads’ and ‘Such Pain’ get the pits moving and people screaming and, though frontman Jesse Barnett addresses many feelings that he and most probably a lot of their fans feel about the importance of hardcore music, the overuse of these little speeches really dampens a show that could have ultimately been far more exciting and deliver the message via the music rather than short intervals between nearly every song. [ZR]

BLEED FROM WITHIN – 9/10
It seems that seems Glaswegian metal outfit Bleed From Within are finally beginning to reap the rewards for their efforts for their past several hard-working years following the release of their latest full-length, ‘Uprising’. With a set like tonight’s, it’s more than deserved. Frontman Scott Kennedy is a formidable and engaging frontman, hitting each scream and growl to near perfection through songs like ‘Strive’ and older material like ‘The Novelist’. The constant windmilling of his remaining long-haired bandmates and a blistering intese set makes Bleed From Within‘s performance one of the best on the bill. [ZR]

BLEEDING THROUGH – 8/10
What is about to happen right now is another mark in the history book of modern metalcore: Bleeding Through‘s final ever performance in the UK. From start-to-finish, it’s evident that this is an emotional moment for the Californian sextet who have been going strong for over a decade now. The band reel off tracks throughout their entire back-catalogue, including ‘Anti-Hero’, ‘Love In Slow Motion’, ‘On Wings Of Lead’ and ‘Revenge I Seek’. Frontman Brandan Schieppati is built like a tank and the sounds that come from his throat sound like a tank too, Derek Youngsma provides a pummelling drum section, Marta Peterson adds a haunting aura with her synth input and axe-men Brian Leppke, Dave Nassie and Ryan Wombacher and all together the band provide one of their most memorable performances on UK soil, which is upsetting as this will be their last. Following Brandan‘s touching speech towards the end of the band’s set, it seems the feeling to mourn is mutual. RIP Bleeding Through. [ZR]


THE RESCUE ROOMS BAR ACOUSTIC STAGE:

Unfortunately, we were unable to catch and review any acts that performed on this stage.


THE RESCUE ROOMS RED ROOM STAGE:

Unfortunately, we were unable to catch and review any acts that performed on this stage.


Written by Zach Redrup [ZR] and Michael Heath [MH]

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