This review was written following the Rock of Ages 12 event at the Carlton Plaza in Guernsey on 21st October 2011 but was never published.
Three of the Channel Island’s top heavy bands stormed the Carlton Plaza in October 2011 as part of the 12th Rock of Ages event showcasing unsigned bands in the Channel Islands.
For the last three years Mark Guillou’s Rock of Ages nights have given new bands the chance to share the stage with some of Guernsey’s more established acts and play through a large-scale PA and on a big stage.
In recent months the nights have evolved to feature bands from Jersey and tonight’s show featured two of that island’s top heavy bands alongside local groove rockers Teaspoonriverneck, and ,while the crowd was disappointingly small, the sounds were huge.
First on stage were Jersey’s Whitechapel Murders.
Led by Dave Spars, well-known to rock fans on these shores as half of FalenizzaHorsepower, the Murders take part of the Horsepower sound and add another bass guitar and more space rock vibe to create a unique musical experience inspired by science fiction and images of a dystopian future.
Formed from two bass guitars, drums and Spars’ unique vocals the band create music that veers from groovy to rhythmically jerky and back again seamlessly – their opening salvo of three songs that merged together through walls of feedback set the scene and seemed to baffle and delight those new to this band in equal measure.
For me this is the perfect music to get lost in and the fact they reference books like Dune (on tracks Atriedes and Harkonen) and 1984 (Imagine A Boot Stamping On A Human Face Forever) is always going to help win me over.
Next up were Guernsey groove merchants Teaspoonriverneck.
While this band have been relatively quiet in recent months they haven’t missed a step. Playing mostly new songs tonight didn’t hamper the audience reaction which was immensely positive from the off as they launch through new numbers like Map of Reason and Bed on Fire.
As the set went on the Spoons were joined on stage by a guest vocalist which added a new element to some of their older songs and closing their set with an encore of guaranteed crowd pleaser Eaten By The Devil meant the small but highly enthusiastic crowd was left deeply satisfied but still calling for more.
Finally it was time for Jersey thrashers Beef.
The band mixed covers of the likes of Pantera and Slayer with original material reminiscent of the thrash sound of the aforementioned bands as well as the likes of Sepultura, but all with their own unique touch.
While the crowd had shrunk even more by this point in the night those still at the Carlton moshed and head-banged to Beef’s take on thrash metal which was delivered expertly with the band engaging with the audience and playing brilliantly until a glitch in the power system killed the front of house speakers.
It didn’t take long though for Mark and his crew to get things running again in time for Beef to round off their set with another rousing slab of metal.
This was a night unashamedly celebrating the heavy side of music in the Channel Islands and any fans of heavy music who weren’t there really missed out on three storming performances which really demonstrated the level of talent in rock music that our islands have to offer.