On Saturday 22nd February 2014 I headed up to The Fermain Tavern in Guernsey as a bunch of bands took over the venue to show their support for local drummer Daz Carre who is soon to embark on the Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara Desert.
You can see my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page by clicking here, and my review was published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 1st March (scroll down for my full unedited review):
With one of the toughest races in Daz Carre’s very near future a bunch of local bands (and one from Jersey) got together at The Fermain Tavern last Saturday to help raise some money, and awareness, for the local drummer’s epic challenge across the Sahara.
With doors opening early the first band was on stage by 7 o’clock and, after a bumpy start, The OK soon set the bar for the night with their mix of covers and originals. Their set really hit its stride with a cover of The Hives Hate To Say I Told You So, and, while it wasn’t the tightest set I’ve seen them deliver it still went down well with those who turned out early.
Buffalo Huddleston were up next in their trio form, as appeared on their debut EP from last summer. Despite having less obvious energy on stage with MC Jull-z being absent, they still had a real sense of energy and strength in their music thanks to superb musicianship and great, evocative songs. Last Saturday they were as tight as ever as they once again staked their claim of being one of the most consistent acts on the island today.
As well as celebrating Daz’s upcoming feat, Dazfest also marked the launch of the self-titled debut record from stoner rockers Brunt. With new drummer Peter Mitchell joining Ave Thompson (guitar) and Elliott Marriess (bass) they took a track or two to get settled down but, once they got into the swing of things, they delivered one of their most engaging sets to date.
For the sort of music Brunt play to work it has to have a real groove and swing to it and they delivered this in spades. While it may not be the most traditional of Saturday evening entertainments, their brand of uncompromisingly slow and heavy stoner rock provided one of the highlights of the night as the many nodding heads around the Tav got lost in the groove.
The heaviness was only to increase next as a three-piece version of Byzanthian Neckbeard took to the stage, minus guitarist, and wizard of fuzz, Jon Langlois. This didn’t seem to slow them down any as they launched into a set of some of the most crushing riffs Guernsey has ever seen, with a bit more of a death metal feel to previous outings, before disaster struck as one of the beaters on a pedal went through one of the bass drums…
After a short break, and some excellent community spirit from the assembled drummers, the kit was fixed and Neckbeard were storming once again with the break soon forgotten. The second half of the band’s set brought more of a groove mixed in with the vicious vocals to create a sound heavier than any other in Guernsey today that has me still excited to hear their (hopefully) soon to emerge debut recording. They winded up their set by inviting Daz up on stage to provide vocals for a specially written song which reminded us of the main reason for the whole show.
While heavy metal was still on the cards next it was in the somewhat different form – the “True Power Metal” of Nemesis.
It’s been a while since ‘The Nems’ graced a stage and, as they blasted through a short (for them) set, they seemed to have renewed energy with Danny Joyce, as ever, the typically OTT frontman channeling an odd mix of Rob Halford and Freddie Mercury with his stances, posturing and vast amounts of leather.
While some of their newer songs have something of a darker tinge their whole performance was delivered with such gusto and fun that its hard not to get swept along and have a great time while Nemesis are stage and, while tongues may be firmly in cheeks (for the most part), it’s always good to see Guernsey’s answer to Spinal Tap meets Judas Priest take to the stage.
Following a band like Nemesis is never going to be easy and, with a protracted break due to some amplifier issues, it seemed Jersey boys Flashmob had their work cut out. Despite enjoying what I caught of their set last summer at Chaos, here the five-piece glam metal machine seemed to be firing on less than all cylinders.
Despite playing a few covers of songs I really like, from the likes of Motley Crue and Buckcherry, and generally all being good at their specific jobs in the band, something didn’t seem to gel for Flashmob. This, combined with originals that unfortunately fell way short of the covers and often seemed to result in self-indulgence, left the night on a slightly downbeat note.
But, that aside, as a celebration of a lot of heavy stuff, and a few other thing as well, and helping Daz Carre get ready for his Marathon Des Sables, Dazfest was something of a triumph with the heaviest acts Brunt and Byzanthian Neckbeard really stealing the show.