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.
Unfortunately, we were unable to cover any acts who featured on this stage.
SET YOUR SAILS – 7/10
South coast boys Set Your Sails are playing their last ever show under this pseudonym and are ready to retire the name in style. Metalcore is apparently the perfect hangover cure as ‘Home Wrecker’ and ‘I Am An Artist’ wake up the tent and the Portsmouth band seem surprisingly pleased at how busy the tent is for the bowing out of this phase of the hardcore outfit. Upcoming single, ‘Darker Truth’, showcases a more post-hardcore sound and is the official start of the transformation as the band prepares to continue life under a new name. Say hello to Networks.
OUR HOLLOW, OUR HOME – 6/10
Connor Hallisey confesses that Our Hollow, Our Home aren’t used to playing on such a big stage, and he’s making sure he enjoys it while he can. The vocalist spends 5 minutes before the set recruiting anybody anywhere near the tent to get down to the front and is still clawing them in during the first song. The Southampton band incorporate the now classic harsh vocalist/guitarist singer metalcore combo that’s seen the likes of Bury Tomorrow see success, and the professionalism and togetherness of OH,OH could well see them follow suit. ‘Aversion’ and ‘If Those Were Guns, Reggie Be Dead’ show the potential of the new band who should get used to bigger stages right now.
CREATE TO INSPIRE – 9/10
Another extremely promising band with no album releases to their name, Create To Inspire are a bullet train of devastation en route to wherever the fuck they want. Sean Midson is in control of 100% of the vocals and doesn’t take his foot off the gas as he crosses the entirety of the tent until he is lying face down in the middle of the pit, screaming his lungs out into the mic. Their live show is ideal for ferocious new single, ‘Halfway There’, a monster rager that has finally been unleashed and has set the standard for their upcoming debut EP. Expect nothing less than CTI to make serious waves before the end of the year, because the songs are clinically excellent and the riffs are barbarically infectious.
WHEN WE WERE WOLVES – 7/10
Vocalist Mitch Bock modestly states that When We Were Wolves might be the smallest band these onlookers will see all weekend, but the band’s laid back attitude combined with their groovy choruses and hard-hitting riffs will ensure that they’ll be one of the most fun. The Newport group delve into ‘The More Things Change, The More We Stay The Same’ EP and pull out the excellent ‘Under The Water’ before exhibiting new material to a nod of approval from the audience. ‘Hounds’ wraps up a simple preach-less, good-time, no strings attached set and everyone inside the tent is happier because of it.
FATHOMS – 6/10
And the award for the heaviest band of the weekend goes to… Fathoms! The Brighton hardcore (or hategroove as they bill themselves) crew are crushing as much sweat and blood out of the tracks as possible and the extremeness is an acquired taste, or at least a growing judgement as the songs improve throughout the set. ‘November, December’ and ‘XIV’ uphold the turmoil with some seriously harsh vocals from Max Campbell and breakdowns strong enough to worry the structure of the tent.
SLAVES – 8/10
Tunbridge Wells punk duo Slaves are bringing something totally fresh to Redfest, and the UK generally. When he isn’t gathering the crowd round in for story time, Isaac Holman takes lead vocals while playing a limited drum kit standing up and enunciates lyrics with a thick British accent, like a rowdy Young Knives. Each track is preceded by an amusing song writing anecdote; ‘Where’s Your Car, Debbie?’ tells the tale of escaping the Sasquatch and the lead-in to ‘Girl Fight’ takes 5 minutes before the 15 seconds of music. Slaves are loud, exciting and damn good fun, and with a Virgin EMI Records deal behind them and new tunes like ‘Live Like An Animal’, things are looking exciting for future.
ASTROID BOYS – 8/10
Now for something completely different; Astroid Boys have been touring the hardcore circuit for years and their live grime/dubstep act has enough metal influences to validate that, but the volume of the crowd confirms it. Vocalist Traxx shines on stage in the absence of co-rapper Benji (who’s serving a stint in prison until November), making his way through ‘Rinsa’ and ‘Minging’ from their ‘Bacon Dream’ EP, and name checks Slipknot and Limp Bizkit on ‘Giggs’ to the rounding acknowledgement of the Total Uprawr tent. ‘Bada$$’ brings the dirty hip-hop to an end for the day, but the Cardiff group have left an impression on this open-minded stage.
THE FIRST – 7/10
Hey look, some pop-punk! The First are here to bring some happy music to proceedings, and with tracks like new single ‘Monster’ and ‘William’ there’s no real surprise to see them gracing the stage. Punchy well-polished rock tracks are the name of the game for the Cambridgeshire up-and-comers who confidently spark a wave of smiles in the crowd as they bop along to the new material from ‘Take Courage’, yet closer ‘Kicks’ is the real pleaser, with plenty of “Woah”s to echo back at Benny Salter who has moulded into a top frontman over the years. A decent showing from a band who are ready to push up to the next level.
LOSTALONE – 6/10
Big riff creators LostAlone are surfing on the waves of buzz and critical acclaim of latest album, ‘Shapes Of Screams’ and the front row is complete with fans who know every syllable, but the rest are more enticed by a beach ball. Steven Battelle quickly puts a stop to it and takes over the off stage entertainment, but it dies out quickly as there are large sections without any guitar. Back to normality, new single ‘G.U.I.L.T.Y.’ is such an easy sing-a-long and ‘Vesuvius’ has a strong head-banging tune which continues as a trend throughout, but the Derby band need to start delivering more on their promise or they’ll just be another band falling by the wayside.
HEIGHTS – 8/10
Redfest are honoured tonight with one of the last ever performances of Hertfordshire hardcore quartet Heights, who are set to finish their career in early October. Chat is kept to a minimum as the band tear through their two albums, with ‘The Noble Lie’ standing out as a sludgy yet melodic slice of ball-kicking aggression. Closer, ‘The Lost And The Alone’, sees vocalist Alex Monty use every last ounce of energy and emotion left in him as he crouches on the floor of the tent bawling out “We are, we are… never fucking going home” at the top of his voice. This Heights show is as moving as it is heavy and it will be greatly missed. Catch them while you still can.
THE BLACKOUT – 9/10
Welsh boys The Blackout are undoubtedly the biggest band of the Total Uprawr stage this weekend, and the size of the crowd is at least double that of anyone else this weekend. The dual showmanship of Sean Smith and Gavin Butler has kept the Welsh rockers relevant through four albums, but freshman EP track ‘I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!’ opens the show and Smith takes the opportunity to get in and around his fans as if he was doing the rounds at his own dinner party. ‘We’re Going To Hell… So Bring The Sunblock’ and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ pass and Smith is still in the thick of it with his guests. He manages to find his way back to the stage for big single ‘Higher & Higher’, yet still continues the interaction with the audience and even attempts to hijack a banana suit from an onlooker.
‘The Best In Town’ still remains as the most responsive material with ‘Said & Done’ and ‘Top Of The World’ causing a stir in the pitch black, thanks to the band requesting that all the stage lights are turned off. The crowd-pullers are in force to conclude the festival as giant-killing ‘Children Of The Night’ and ‘Save Our Selves (The Warning)’ lure the loudest sing-a-longs Total Uprawr could have wished for, and ‘Start The Party’ sets up the post-music atmosphere perfectly. The Blackout always have the ability and the songs to put on an entertaining experience, and their headline set tonight is no different as they reign supreme once again.
Unfortunately, we were unable to cover any acts who featured on this stage.
Written by Michael Heath