Inverness indoor rock festival Monsterfest returned for its second year with a crowd-pleasing mix of new, revival and current hot names
IT was 2018 that spawned the monster – but this weekend saw Monsterfest 2019 evolve into a more sprawling, multi-headed rock beast.
To be accurate, the event got going before the weekend, when on Thursday a fringe of local rock acts marked the event’s territory at the Ironworks.
Friday got things properly started with five acts, then Saturday kicked in from 2pm with a nine-band line-up brandishing almost as many genres of rock.
A big hand should go to those choosing a bill of bands with subtly different hallmark sounds, contrasting pedigrees, but united by an ability to perform and hold a crowd.
And the excitement ramped up in a steady ascent to the top of the night when Gun banged out their hits and newer songs with the adrenaline and passion of the kids they all once were.
South Wales female rock threesome HAXAN opened the afternoon with a credible set of classic rock songs starting with Back To My Place, singer and guitarist Sam Bolderson stamping her presence on the Ironworks stage while bassist Harriet Wadeson swooshed some traditional head-banging hair tossing into the mix, drummer Jess Hartley rock solid on drums. Bearing in mind they had driven all night to make their early 2pm start, there was a ton of energy on show, Gravedigger maybe the song that left the biggest impression.
FEAR ME DECEMBER were harder to read musically, pitched somewhere interesting between melodic, heavy and nu metal. Frontwoman Victoria drew the attention with tiger vocals, lashing dreadlocks and a constant rampaging presence across the stage. But despite the imaginative speed-shredding power of the guitars of Josh and Valentin, only songs such as Fly, Fight, Dream, The Mess, drum-triggered Find Me and new song White Noise made an impact to match.
What made the gargantuan sound and full-on attack blues-rock on steroids of THE GERRY JABLONSKI ELECTRIC BAND so powerful? Everything. Each of the four-piece was instantly possessed by the music including Ain’t Gonna Work No More, single Heavy Water, Trouble With The Blues and the ballad Anybody which showed off the voices of both Gerry Jablonski and more contemporary vocal style of drummer Lewis Fraser.
Singing Welsh wizard Shane Greenhall of THOSE DAMN CROWS just took his performance to new levels of intensity, charming his crowd, forcing them to follow his lightning progress up the stairs to the balcony twice, playing piano, nicking the band’s drinks – one to gallantly restore to Glasgow Gun fan Helen Bremner after he spilled it on his way through the venue.
And he created one of the night’s strongest rockalongs with Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead.
Veteran AOR rockers ROMEO’S DAUGHTER brought all the melody you’d expect from the band that gave Heart Wild Child. Four albums in 30 years, wasn’t that many, lead singer Leigh Matty with her long ebony hair and warm crackly rock voice implied, though they are working on the next one.
But who needs a faster rate of productivity when you’ve got their assets?
GUN looked like headliners from the off. They opened with hyperactive singer Dante Gizzi getting stuck into She Knows. Their feast of songs allowed them to create a mini encore-style climax just four in – Better Days from first album Taking On The World then chart-bothering Cameo cover Word Up.
Most bands would save those to end on a high – but after a trawl through the big hitters from four albums, Gun chose right with the perfect killer festival-topping cover Beastie Boys’ (You Gotta) Fight For The Right (To Party).
COMING SOON: Read an update on future plans for Monsterfest: www.whatson-north.co.uk