Update: The Niche website has now been taken down, scroll down the page to read the full review
On Sunday 5th May 2013 Chaos Events took over The Jamaica Inn for a day of music warming up for their big show, Chaos 2013 in July.
The day saw a mix of outdoor acoustic performances in the sun during the afternoon and full band sets in the bar in the evening.
The sun was shining, it was a bank holiday weekend, so what was there to do? Well, in time honoured Guernsey tradition, there was a day packed with great music going on out in the sun – this time round it was Chaos taking over the Jamaica Inn for what has become an annual warm up to their summer festival and this year’s show certainly set the scene for the big show in fine style.
The day started off out in the beer garden with acoustic acts galore. First up was Luis Morais who has played lead guitar in several bands over the past few years but is making his first forays into solo acoustic performance and, with a set ranging from Hendrix to Nirvana via Red Hot Chilli Peppers, both he and the crowd warmed up together and by the end of his set the mixture of music and chat had the steadily filling beer garden ready for their day.
Going under the guise of The Starship Troubadour, veteran performer Paul Fletcher was up next and, in a unique moment before he took to the stage, flyers were handed out detailing his mini space rock opera Castle which comprised a part of his set this afternoon. With a voice at times reminiscent of Jim Morrison, Paul’s set was a relaxing meander through a kind of acoustic prog that suited the chilled out feeling of the afternoon excellently.
In a change to the general men with guitars style of most of the afternoon’s acts Jo and Lydia took to the stage with a piano and through a set ranging from Imelda May to Guns ‘N’ Roses demonstrated an excellent vocal range and performance. The highlight of their set undeniably came with a version of a Tenacious D song I’m not sure we can publish the title of here but, suffice to say, it had people singing and laughing along in equal measure.
Better known for being a full on rock ‘n’ roll band, Of Empires stripped it back for an acoustic set this afternoon that proved equally as satisfying as their full on shows. With acoustic versions of their own songs, along with a few covers, the highlight for me was Carla, which is also their new single, and it made for an interesting experience to hear these songs in this new light.
The outdoor afternoon session was rounded off by Mike Meinke, accompanied by Becky Hamilton and Sarah Van Vlymen, with his acousti-hop and percussive guitar sounds. As ever Mike played an excellent set which was perfect for a warm early evening in the sun with Chillin’ in particular catching the mood of the afternoon. Mike rounded off his set with a ‘one-handed’ guitar tune which had the whole beer garden transfixed with the unique playing style that even garnered a round of applause barely 30 seconds into the tune and by the end had the crowd applauding wildly.
After a short break where a vast amount of BBQ chicken was consumed, the music moved inside as the sun set for some full electric sounds.
First up was a band making their live debut. Comprising two-fifths of Deadwing, in rhythm section Christiaan and Elliott Mariess, along with guitarist Ave Thompson, Brunt take the groove metal of the aforementioned band and slow it down further driving it into real head nodding stoner rock territory. Clearly worshipping at the altar of Black Sabbath and all that has come since Brunt have made the interesting choice of being primarily instrumental which works excellently to highlight a side of the electric guitar which we don’t get to see so much as Ave really takes the lead across most of the songs as the grooves got many in the room nodding along. For their final song the band were joined on stage by guest vocalist Jade Grace which added a different element that fitted in excellently and it was nice to see a band doing something a bit different and I think Brunt are certainly one to watch this summer.
It wouldn’t be a party without Rentoclean and, as ever, they were in fine party starting form tonight as their gypsy punk-ska got the now packed Jamaica Inn lounge bar bouncing and skanking from the off. Rentoclean just seem to keep getting better as a band as they somehow manage to mix tight danceable sounds with a shambolic quality that seems on the constant verge of collapse like no other band I’ve seen, and, with songs packed with Guernsey references, they have become firm favourites for many.
Finally tonight it was the two-man riff machine Heave’s turn to take to the stage and I think the only word that can sum up the band tonight was volume. Doing their best to destroy the newly renovated bar with sound, Heave smashed their way through a set dedicated to late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman with a power and intensity rarely seen on any stage in Guernsey or elsewhere. By the mid point of their set the crowd who’d packed to the front were veering from headbanging to a manic mosh and back to headbanging again as Heave’s grooves, riffs and songs about motorcycles, rum and skydiving really struck a chord.
Rounding off with the epic Tomahawk the band left the crowd calling for more and rounded off a day that has set the bar high for summer 2013’s upcoming all dayers and festivals.
A few people got videos of some of the music too and they are here: