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 Degeneration Fest 2014 (UK) Live Review **Day 1 **

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PostDegeneration Fest 2014 (UK) Live Review **Day 1 **

Degeneration Fest
Torksey Lock, Lincoln, UK 29th/30th August 2014


Day One-

Summer 2014 hasn't been a particularly good one for Metal/Rock Festivals in the UK. Many have overstretched and underestimated attendance numbers and others have been cancelled completely. Over the last 2-3 years an increasing number of smaller all dayers/festivals have sprung up around the country. With all major events, bar Bloodstock, pretty much ignoring unsigned and independent artists and also with some metal genres, such as NWOBHM making a bit of a comeback, smaller promoters and bands have taken it upon themselves to start events and it was always inevitable that some would bite the dust, while others flourish but it's still sad when it happens.

One genre in the UK that has been overlooked until now is Hair/Sleaze Metal. In the US, and on several of the Metal/Rock Cruises, which seem to be everywhere now, events with these type of bands are still quite big business. However, on these shores, it's seen as a little dated. Degeneration Festival aims to change that and even though housed in a small venue, albeit with excellent facilities, attendance numbers at this debut event were unfortunately pretty thin which was a real shame. What was in abundance though was passion from the organisers and staff, laughter and camaraderie from everyone that attended and last, but not least, seventeen bands over two days! If you thought the days of cowboy boots, hairspray, spandex, backcombed hair and bandanas were gone (well, spandex are for me anyway) then everyone that was present will tell you something completely different!

First up on Day One were Silent Jack, a four piece from Birmingham and the festival couldn't have picked a better opener! I have already reviewed their EP 'Snakebite' (a good listen) but this was the first time I had seen them live. If Ratt, Cinderella and Appetite era Guns N' Roses tickle your fancy then you'll dig Silent Jack. Vocalist Rich 'Stitch' Mason has a great voice, the musicianship is there and, most importantly, so are the songs. They are due to commence a UK tour and are well worth checking out! Go and say hi too. They are a friendly bunch who aren't silent at all and none of them are called Jack either!

BrutifulEnt's Silent Jack album on Photobucket

In complete contrast were second band Beggarz Fixx! They might look the part but, very much like the second wave of 'not so good' sleaze bands that arrived in the 80's, the image appears to be more important than the music! They were loose, the songs a little pedestrian and vocalist Chazza B Bennett appeared to think he was actually a young Vince Neil. Unfortunately he sounds like an old Vince Neil and his shrieks did nothing for me at all. Being a new name to me I have since checked out some of their studio material and my view hasn't changed!

BrutifulEnt's Beggarz Fixx album on Photobucket

Nottingham based Teenage Casket Company were next on stage and this lot were completely on the ball. Described as Pop Rock/Powerpop, a title that might alienate some, they were actually great fun. All four of them are members of many other bands and their professionalism shines through. Vocalist Rob Wylde (also bassist with Tigertailz, guitarist for Steevi Jaimz and lead singer of tribute act Poizon, who were closing the Festival the following day) is a real powerhouse performer. TCC's songs rock but they are full of hooks (think Bowling For Soup meets Danger Danger) and they are damn tight. Definitely a name to watch for, they certainly impressed me!

BrutifulEnt's Teenage Casket Company album on Photobucket

Next up were a band I was very much looking forward to seeing. Wildside Riot have only been around since 2011 but you might well remember vocalist Rocky Shades from 80's band Wrathchild. With a well received album 'No Second Take' already released I'm pleased to say they confirmed all the good things I had heard about them. Even though Rocky managed to get a bit lost en route to the venue and had to jump onstage seconds after arrival Wildside Riot put in a thoroughly excellent performance! Guitarists Joss Riot and Jimmy Gunn, bassist Jonny Suicide and drummer Gaz Wilde ripped a hole in the venue and even sneaked in a brilliant new track. If that is anything to go by the upcoming second album is going to be killer!

BrutifulEnt's Wildside Riot album on Photobucket

Whilst I was outside earlier in the day, I had been told "please do not miss Stop! Stop, they are superb". Well, of course, I had no intention of missing any band and I'm glad I didn't because Stop! Stop (currently based in Birmingham, but originating from Barcelona & Bulgaria) are a three piece Glam/Hard Rock act that arguably were my favourite band of the whole weekend. Even though attendance wasn't fantastic everybody at Torksey Lock seemed to appear for their set and the place went mad! Vocalist & bassist Jacob A.M is a fabulous frontman. With his face painted white he looked like a mix between a demented clown and a blonde Marc Bolan. Guitarist Vega is a dead ringer for an 80's, make up free, Paul Stanley (thankfully without the carpet chest) and drummer Danny Stix's hair and antics are so big he looks like he's been plugged into the mains! Stop! Stop are just the ultimate party band and have a huge arsenal of great tracks to back up their charisma. They gig relentlessly and this show proved how much they enjoy the whole experience. Don't take my word for it, go and see them NOW! You won't be disappointed.

BrutifulEnt's StopStop album on Photobucket

After such a flamboyant and energetic performance from Stop! Stop, and with people going off to replenish beer and food, Damn Dice unfortunately struggled to keep those attending centre stage. That was the crowds loss though because they are a great band and put on a really top notch show. Alex (Vocals), Wallis (Guitars), Marco (Bass) and Fransoa (Drums, who by the way must be at least 6 foot 7 inches tall) have already toured as main support to L.A. Guns in Europe and received excellent studio and live feedback from a number of well known bands, producers and publications. It's clear to see why. The material is strong and their image and stagecraft is superb. Their E.P. Wild 'N' Ready is a fab listen and a band of this calibre really deserved to be watched by more people!

BrutifulEnt's Damn Dice album on Photobucket

With day one drawing to a close we were still to be treated to headline act Slam Cartel. Now I already know how good this lot are after seeing and interviewing them at last year's Rock & Metal Circus. I had also interviewed them again earlier in the day and met new vocalist Gary Moffat for the first time. Unfortunately, many of the people who attended, were still outside chilling, chatting, drinking or eating so once again we didn't have the biggest of crowds for the band. Did that matter? Well it did to the people that didn't watch because Slam Cartel put on a majestic performance. Gary is a superb find for them and effortlessly sings the material as if it were originally written for him. Their mix of Classic, Heavy & Modern Rock, Blues and Grunge makes SC difficult to pigeonhole, which is actually a good thing, but it proved they can easily play events such this as well as a much more metal tinged gig without sounding out of place. The choruses are so catchy you cannot help but sing along, riffs are chunky, songs well thought out and musicianship gets top marks. They will be supporting Y&T at Nottingham Rock City in November and Slam Cartel should be mixing with those types of band all the time. Excellent stuff! They also provided the backline for everyone so well done to them for arriving early and being there for the whole day!

BrutifulEnt's Slam Cartel album on Photobucket

So that is Day One of Degeneration Fest. Only living forty minutes from the venue we had decided to drive home and back again the next day, something you don't get to do much at Festivals! Apart from the small crowd the whole day was a huge success. Everyone there, regardless of whether they watched every band or not, were friendly and enjoyed themselves tremendously. The sound wasn't quite as good as The Rock Den gigs I review, but then I'm a bit spoilt where that venue is concerned because I've never heard better anywhere else. All the bands except Beggarz Fixx, and that's just my opinion of course, were top class and played as if it were a packed Wembley Arena. I'll tell you a bit more about the venue itself in my day two review where we due to start even earlier in the day and witness another ten bands!

Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley:

Photos by Helen Tilley for Brutiful Entertainment

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