Now in its eighth year, Surrey’s Redfest has moulded in to one of the country’s best small festivals with 2014 seeing the Redhill event boast three stages of upcoming music from the UK. We took a two day trip to the festival, to catch up on some of the best up-and-coming and established acts that we have to offer today in Britain.
SKINDRED – 9/10
Welsh ragga-punks Skindred have cemented themselves as festival kings throughout the UK. Benji Webbe throws himself straight into ‘RatRace’ and floats around the stage sporting his usual crazy cyclops sunglasses along with 3-piece suit and Union Flag, ensuring the crowd complies with all of his demands. New tracks ‘Ninja’ and ‘Kill The Power’ slide alongside classics ‘Bruises’ and ‘Nobody’ as the band show their quality through every song on the set creating a melee at the main stage. Skindred have maintained their notorious live popularity over the years with entertaining interludes; whether it’s their on stage DJ triggering pop or metal sing-a-longs, their regular Newport Helicopter clothing routine or even the apparently not outdated Harlem Shake, the band excel and crowd interaction and amusing moments (and at beards if you’re guitarist, Mikey Demus). ‘Warning’ closes out an expected successful set from the metal pros, and these punters will definitely be back for more as soon as possible.
A MOMENT LOST – 7/10
Trekking down all the way from Kendal, A Moment Lost take the opportunity of opening the Total Uprawr stage to broadcast their brand of drum-fuelled metalcore and officially warm up the more alternative-minded Redfest crowd for two days of sun-and-beer soaked hardcore beats and breakdowns. The band explode through their set with destructively heavy riffs and vocals like a Cumbrian Parkway Drive as big single ‘Bloodlines’ loosens up the crowds neck muscles and starts the weekend in top fashion.
AURORA – 8/10
If you aren’t getting a pit started, then Aurora will do it for you. The Birmingham band aren’t taking any chances as it doesn’t take long for singer/screamer Jess Calvesbert to make her way to the crowd for ‘Ship Up Or Ship Out’ and ‘The Lucky Ones’, creating a whirlpool of devastation wherever she goes. The aggressive vocals work wonders next to the melodies, and with tracks as big as ‘Easily Broken’ it seems Aurora could be the next best thing to come out of In At The Deep End Records.
COLLISIONS – 7/10
Collisions are really up for the party today. The Brighton band mix up their metal with D’n’B, but aren’t giving up any of the intensity or heaviness with it. Frontman Olly Simmons leads the charge between headbanging and dubstep beats with ease and the prog rock noisemakers have stage presence and confidence of a band with far more than just one EP under their belt. Latest single, ‘We Know The Enemy’, proves to be fresher and more exciting than the rest of the material, which can only be good news for their impending debut album.
THE ONE HUNDRED – 8/10
The whispers surrounding The One Hundred are rightfully becoming louder and louder as the band prepare to release their first EP and convert hype into reality. The crowd lap up the grime/metal concoction as they watch vocalist Jacob Field expertly flirt between shouting and growling on ‘Breed’ then tackle the rapping on hip-hop track ‘Unleashed’; a real testament to his vocal prowess and showmanship. Sing-a-longs to both singles ‘Kingsmen’ and ‘Downfall’ is an impressive feat for such a new band, especially when the latter was released less than a week ago, but with such catchy choruses it’s no real surprise.
THE CARTHASIS – 8/10
This is hardcore at its most beautifully brutal – The Catharsis annihilate the Total Uprawr tent, strongly ripping through tracks from their excellent debut ‘Romance’, with ‘Amour’ and ‘Stray Dogs’ bringing out as much anger out of the Birmingham boys as possible. The vicious ‘Styx’ draws you in before ripping you apart with vocalist Morgan Tedd‘s melodic chorus yet maintains the destructive riffs that are inescapable throughout. Yet, it’s ‘Natural Decline’ that gets the biggest crowd reaction, with a pacey circle pit-enticing drum line that pushes the swarm of fans to finallly match the energy on stage.
BABY GODZILLA – 10/10
With a Kerrang! Award nomination under their belt, Baby Godzilla‘s live reputation precedes itself these days and this crowd got the treat they were expecting. Despite having to play a shorter set due to turning up late, the Nottingham band can’t help but break the rules of regularity as guitarists Jonny Hall and Matt Reynolds almost ignore the stage completely and cause devastation at all costs. Nowhere is out of bounds from opener ‘Whorepaedo’ and the mania is pushed to the limit during the live debut of new single, ‘The Great Hardcore Swindle’, which sounds like a set ever-present for the indefinite future. Fan favourite ‘Powerboat Disaster’ is the ideal close to an endlessly energetic set and gives the tent an echoed sing-a-long goodbye to the insane future of British hardcore. Yo ho, yo ho, a bottle of rum and off we go.
POLAR. – 9/10
People will start wising up to the pure anthemic hardcore that POLAR. are capable of bringing to this music scene. Since dropping one of the best albums the genre has seen in years, the Surrey boys have now taken to perfecting their live renditions of the ‘Shadowed By Vultures’ material, and they’re sounding bigger than ever before. ‘Mountain Throne’ begs for the crowd to scream back at frontman Adam Woodford, and ‘Glass Cutter’ contains the heavy with infectious choral sections that demands to be heard. Finisher, ‘H.E.L.L.’, gives the die-hards a reason to lose their shit, but new single ‘Black Days’ champions the set with a sing-a-long that no doubt any band on this bill would kill to have written.
THE DIRTY YOUTH – 4/10
Just one of many Welsh bands to grace Redfest this weekend, The Dirty Youth are rock representatives on the hardcore stage, but fail to make a similar impact as their heavier native counterparts. Singer Donni Monroe sounds great vocally, but her bright red jacket and gold glove combo would be more at home at a ‘Thriller’-era Michael Jackson lookalike contest than a British rock ‘n’ roll festival and the whole charade feels awkwardly tacky at times. The followers on the front rail happily lap up the ‘Red Light Fix’ material, but it falls flat on the unaware and there are certainly no new fans leaving the tent today.
HEART OF A COWARD – 6/10
Since a line-up reshuffle in 2011, Milton Keynes up-and-comers Heart Of A Coward have grown from strength to strength and a second stage headline slot tonight shows how far they’ve progressed under the backing of latest album, ‘Severance’. The volume has risen for the arrival of the djent quintet and the tent is able to appreciate oldie ‘We Stand As One’ as it was meant to be heard; loud, heavy and in your face. ‘Prey’ and ‘Mirrors’ get what can only be described as a pleasant reaction from the crowd as the late running of the stage means the set suffers from the majority of people leaving early to catch Skindred on the main stage. A valid attempt might leave a bad taste in the mouth of Heart Of A Coward, but there’s enough prospect there to improve on this outing.
Unfortunately, we were unable to cover any acts who featured on this stage.
Written by Michael Heath