Three thousand KERRAZZZYYY motherfKKKers, all chaleted up for a weekend of ear bleeding, alcohol fueled mayhem. We were at the centre of it all as usual, here is the first batch of thoughts and photos.

[L-Zone1]Perhaps it wasn’t made clear to her where the bar was, or perhaps the pungent lure of the moshpit proved too much; whatever, VF’s sassy icemaiden, Genevieve Williams managed to actually remember some of the musical goings on of the Kerrang! Weekender. Here’s the first of VF’s K! reviews. (AF)

On a good day, Hell Is For Heroes are boisterous yet refined, capable of inciting mayhem whilst capturing and breaking the crowd’s hearts. Today something’s missing – Hell is for Heroes are one of the first bands on this weekend, and perhaps the strange setting and the depressingly empty room play a large part in the lack of atmosphere, but the overall effect is disappointing.

Audiovent are the musical equivalent of trapped wind. OK, we shouldn’t hold it against them that Brandon Boyd is the singer’s brother…but… look at them! They’re shit! The Brandon-esque vocals do nothing for forgettable songs with little spark or sass about them; they’ve tried to pull together the funky infectious ethic of Incubus [though they’d never admit it] but they lack their charm, and it sounds contrived and mediocre. The music media is universally amused at how their PRs tell us ‘don’t give them good reviews just because their related to Incubus’. No problem.

[R-Zone2]Some might say Spunge are Britain’s favourite ska-punk never-weres. Others might say they’re damn good at what they do, bringing sharp, glorious relief to a genre that is all too often lazy and unimaginative. “Host With The Mostest” shines most brightly, with a shoulder-shaking, hip-twitching, skank-happy chorus that could thaw out the hardest cynic.

Come 9pm, it’s Jerry vs Terry – grunge demi-god [if you were an Alice in Chains fan] Jerry Cantrell’s mournful grunge pulls a crowd but wears pretty thin, and feels more like a rehearsal than the highly anticipated set that it is. Grunge’s wide-eyed little brother wins out as Vex Red steal the show downstairs with a heady mix of driving, crunchy riffs and dramatic, soulful melodies. The contrived coyness of previous shows has been replaced by an easy confidence that shows off their potential – so much so that one can even overlook the fact that their last song sounds like shite Ilford metal girlpoop, Sugarcoma.


[L-Zone1]Forget the posturing, snap-happy preening of this year’s garage-rock hopefuls – the real deal stands before you, hungover, squawking and vibrating, and looking not totally unlike Iggy Pop. With a gibbering, convulsing idiot-savant frontman, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster take the garage-rock blueprint and add a near-fatal dose of PCP. It’s a beautiful experience.

Thoria have the abrasive, anguished Nirvana act down pat. Unfortunately they don’t have any tunes. They rasp and roar and screech for half an hour, but don’t raise anything other than the odd yawn.

[R-Zone2]There’s something iconic about Queen Adreena. The testosterone-loaded lads shouting “get yer tits out” at the start are silenced halfway through the first song, and Katie Jane Garside is as disturbing as ever to watch – watching her rip herself apart onstage is an uncomfortable experience, intensified by a soundtrack of slashing guitars and songs that straddle the line between butterfly fragility and gut-wrenching brutality.

[L-Zone3]My Vitriol are still playing the same songs, but tonight they’re imbued with a defiance that hasn’t been so apparent at previous gigs, and the sound is mercifully clear, allowing the liquid tunes to do their work unhindered. That, and the inclusion of a sterling Depeche Mode cover make it a set worth seeing – although Som’s gibe at Kerrang TV is somewhat uncalled for.

Martin Grech is 19 years old. Many people here will not have heard of him, but he will spin together 200 years worth of music and leave a nu-metal-gorged audience speechless and bewildered. He is Jeff Buckley singing over Around The Fur-era Deftones; he is a songbird drowning in a flash flood; he sounds at once like everything and nothing you’ve ever heard. He comes onstage looking like a precocious, quietly unhinged schoolboy, smiles serenely at abusive hecklers, sings an operetta then whips out a string of riffs that Matt Bellamy and Tom Morello would take pride in. He is unquestionably the most astonishing solo artist you will see this year, and leaves the best acts on this weekend’s bill trailing in his wake.

Words: Genevieve Williams – Photos: Andrew Future