A Updated

When the Primordial line-up was first announced it was immediately added to the calendar as a “must attend” event.

Wolverhampton : KKs Steel Mill - 29th April 2023

When the Primordial line-up was first announced it was immediately added to the calendar as a “must attend” event. Of the six main bands playing, I was unfamiliar with only one (Rews). I had never been to KKs Steel Mill before and the ticket price was fantastic value for money, so the ninety minute journey down the M6 seemed no kind of inconvenience. The first four bands were only given half an hour to make an impression, so there was very little time for between-song chatting and, thankfully, there were no unnecessary solo spots. What was also noticeable was that there were no covers played during the day.

When Marisa And The Moths took to the stage, at exactly 4pm, the crowd was already sizeable. Beginning with a new(ish) song was a bold move, but ‘Wither Away’ went down really well. Marisa is a very personable front-woman, with an incredible voice and this was highlighted throughout the short set. The more familiar ‘Choke’ and ‘Skin’ had this reviewer singing away and the energy levels never dipped. Liam Barnes (bass) and Alez D’Elia (guitar) were constantly on the move and, despite being hidden behind his kit, Alex Ribchester still made his presence felt. I think MATM made many new fans, judging by the number of people buying merchandise, and it was a great way to get the day started.

I saw Led By Lanterns in a small club in Manchester, in April 2022, after being impressed by their debut full-length album, ‘Paralysis’. Hard-hitting riffs, accompanied by boy-band vocals, may seem to make strange bedfellows, but they work really well. LBL picked up where MATM left off, with a high-energy performance and some nice crowd interaction. Despite having a new bass player, the band came off as well-rehearsed. Chris Lanterns (guitar) was constantly in motion and Shaun Hill took every opportunity to get the crowd involved. The four-piece have a much heavier live sound and ‘Catacombs’ even had one of the members of security near me trying to contain his head-banging enthusiasm.

If MATM and LBL had energy to burn then South Of Salem took that energy to an incendiary level. John Carpenter’s haunting ‘Halloween’ theme brought the band to the stage and they wasted no time launching into ‘Pretty Little Nightmare’. Lead-singer Joey Draper prowled every inch of the stage, but was followed closely by the two guitarists and bass player. ‘Let Us Prey’ and ‘Made To Be Mine’ followed in quick succession and the front few rows of the crowd must have burned several hundred calories in no time at all, as they bounced in unison whenever instructed to do so. Even I had to put down my drink during ‘No Plague Like Home’, as the enthusiasm spread through the room. I was impressed the first time I saw SOS, when they supported Mason Hill in 2022, but on a bigger stage, in front of a bigger crowd, they sealed the deal completely.

Just before Rews began their set the crowd thinned somewhat. It took just a couple of songs to understand why. They were the wrong band for the bill and should also have been lower down. They are led by singer/guitarist Shauna Tohill and there was no denying she is a very talented artist. Unfortunately their Indie style did not sit comfortably with me and I have to confess to taking very little interest with the set, after seeing them up close for the first three songs from the photo pit. Judging by the number of people taking a cigarette break and having food, my thoughts were shared by many.

Mason Hill were afforded a little extra time and they used this really well. Along with the more established ‘DNA’, ‘Out Of Reach’, ‘Hold On’ and ‘Find My Way’, they also took the opportunity to air a brand new song, ‘Def Con One’. If this is typical of what we can expect from the forthcoming sophomore release then it should be a cracker. As expected we got ‘We Pray’ and an emotional ‘Where I Belong’, before ‘Broken Son’ and ‘Against The Wall’ brought things to a close. I have seen MH many times during the last few years and they never failed to deliver. Having said that, it will be nice to have some new material to listen to, when they hit the road for their next proper tour.

I had seen Those Damn Crows just two months earlier, in a packed Manchester venue. Having the opportunity to see them again, with room to breathe, was another reason Primordial was a no-brainer. ‘Inhale/Exhale’ was released in February, receiving glowing reviews in the process. The band have wasted no time including the new material in the set, clearly confident with what they have created. ‘Fill The Void’, ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Sick Of Me’ got things under way and with hardly chance to take in a breath, these led into ‘Kingdom Of Dust’ and ‘Waiting For Me’. The set was the same as the Manchester one, so it was no surprise when they got the crowd bouncing with rip-roaring versions of ‘Sin On Skin’, ‘Blink Of An Eye’, ‘Who Did It’ and ‘Send The Reaper’. When ‘See You Again’ brought things to a close, seventy minutes had passed in what seemed like half the time.

The sound quality throughout the day, except for the first few songs of the Crows set, was excellent and though the Primordial General Mayhem festival was a sell-out, there was still plenty of room to move around inside KKs without feeling trapped. Unfortunately everyone was trapped. It is the first indoor full-day festival I have been to where people were not allowed to leave the venue. There was a small area where food vans were set up, but many also used this area to smoke as well, so it was hardly comfortable. KKs is in the middle of a retail park, so there are no places close by to take a breather and I think the organisers need to take this on board if this is to become an annual event. Having said that, for the price of the ticket and the quality of the bands on display, it was still a brilliant (if tiring) experience.

Dave Bott

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