Three bands took over the Jamaica Inn for the inaugural Demon Night on 4th May 2012 with a mix of metal and stoner rock.
First on stage though were newcomers Stone Em All who may have been playing their first ever show in a small pub, but, judging by the attitude of their frontman, they were headlining Download to thousands of adoring fans.
While in the hands of some this may come across as entertaining confidence, for me tonight it simply felt misplaced and arrogant and tarnished the band’s set.
Musically speaking, for a first gig, Stone Em All put in a decent showing (even if it could have done with a bit more energy from the guitarist, bass player and drummer) and, while covering songs like Cathedral’s Hopkins (The Witchfinder General) is an ambitious thing to do, they almost pulled it off – it was just a shame the antics of the frontman made it hard to tell if this was meant to be a Spinal Tap like parody or a serious band.
There was no question as to the intent of Distant Shores though as they once again tore through a set combining the best bits of metalcore and classic heavy metal with a power and ferocity that really connected with their dedicated fans who were out in force tonight.
Demon Night was the first time Distant Shores have played with their slightly altered line up which has removed Ali Huntley from the band, with guitarist James Holmes taking on the extra vocal duties. While Huntley’s performances had been great, this new line up seemed to present a more united front on stage with a more coherent stage presence, tonight at least.
Playing a set made up entirely of original songs at such an early stage in their musical careers is also an impressive feat and I hope this band find an audience beyond their dedicated group of friends as they deserve it and I could easily see them becoming a major player in Guernsey’s metal scene in years to come.
Dead Wing rounded off the night with their brand of groove driven rock and metal which seems to be delivered in a tighter fashion every time I see them.
The highlight of this band remains the rhythm section who work together in a machine like fashion to back up the lead guitar and vocal work.
Mixing covers and originals, it maybe the likes of Sabbath and Hendrix that gained the biggest crowd reaction tonight, but for me it’s the impressive originals that could set Dead Wing apart as a band to watch on the local scene.
So the first Demon Night could certainly be called a success with a good-sized crowd engaged with the music for the whole night and, with an event headlined by SugarSlam coming up, things certainly seem to be heading in the right direction.
However, free shows, which seem to be increasing in number, do leave me with a nagging question as to the perception of the value of the work put in by the bands… but that might just be me being cynical about things?