It doesn’t take much of an excuse for the guys who organise the annual Chaos festival to have a party so, as last Sunday fell on a bank holiday weekend and it was May The Fourth (Be With You… if you’ve not been keeping up with the puns) and thus Star Wars Day, it seemed a perfectly suited time to warm up for their 10th anniversary festival at the end of June with a long evening of live music at The Fermain Tavern.
Things started in mellow mode with Autumn and her harp playing a selection of songs and tunes. Its been a while since I’ve caught Autumn and I have to say while her harp skills had always been great she had, in the past, sometimes been let down by her vocals. Here though there was no such issue as she sang and played in a nicely relaxed style to start the day and, while many stayed outside on the Tav’s deck in the sun, those inside they were treated to something unique.
Following an appearance by The Phantom Cosmonaut (who I won’t review for obvious reasons, look him up, you’ll see why) it was The Black Vote’s time to hit the stage and really kick up the speed and noise with a set of their brand of punk rock.
As ever The Black Vote delivered exactly what everyone has come to expect and, while it’s not to everyone’s tastes, and wavers on taking things too far most of the time, if hard, fast, noisy punk rock is your thing then they kicked off the full bands in style.
Much like a few weeks ago at Fermain Fest, The Doomsday Project had the job of following The Black Vote. With a set of pop punk it seemed more to the tastes of the crowd as frontman and bass player George Russell, complete with Darth Maul costume, and co played through a set of mostly pop-punk covers that, for me, took me back to the late 90s and early 2000s.
Performing a few songs with a guest female vocalist varied their sound a bit, which was nice to hear, and they had some originals in the mix too which hint that they are heading in the right direction and could be a band to keep an eye on over the next few years – although Cuttlefish is fast becoming a stand out, ill-fitting, low point of their performances – decent tune but could do with some reworking in the lyrics.
It was time for a debut next as One Mind To Lose took to the stage. Fronted by Gemma Honey, formerly of Party In Paris, a good vocal performance was expected and delivered and the rest of the band all seemed to be hitting their marks admirably (despite a couple of issues from the lead guitarist’s cables).
With a mix of pop-rock covers and originals on offer they delivered a set that sounded a little loose and undisciplined in places, but for a first public show it was an admirable outing and with a bit more stage presence One Mind To Lose could become another on the list of new bands to watch out for.
The night was rounded off by a couple more established, but still fresh, bands. Brunt began this, hot of a performance at the previous weekend’s Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses event (the final of which is coming up on May 17th).
As ever their sound stands out from the crowd in the current crop of regularly performing bands over here but once again it attracted a dedicated group of followers and the vaguely psychedelic, stoner grooves seemed to draw in quite a few others as well.
Bedecked in Sith-style robes Brunt seemed more at ease of stage here than I have seen them in the past and there seemed to be some new material in amongst tracks from their recently released debut EP and, while it was slow and heavy, they seemed to strike a chord at the Tav.
The night was rounded off by Static Alice, back on more familiar ground than at their #Triplestoked show, as they mixed covers and originals and really got the crowd going despite the show running a bit late – well it is called Chaos!
Dressed in a range of Star Wars inspired outfits, including guitarist Luis rocking a Princess Leia look without a care, Static Alice’s wall-to-wall pop rock brought a great, fun atmosphere to the show and there seemed to be much more balance and dynamic amongst the band members than at their last outing here.
It’s not often you see Lightsabers on the dancefloor but they were all but mandatory during Static Alice’s performance and, even though it was late, the party kept rolling to the bitter end of Ballroom Blitz and an original song that worked brilliantly to close the night and showed a real confidence from the band in their own material which is always encouraging to see.
With a little less than two months until the festival, Chaos continued the road to their big show with great style tonight, and some amazing Star Wars inspired costumes from both bands and audience to boot.
My review was published in The Guernsey Press on Thursday 15th May, here it is: