28/10/19 - Forged In Fire Festival - Friday 25th October 2019 [Live]
Last weekend The Loose Cannon on Oldham Road in Manchester played host to the inaugural Forged In Fire Festival: a showcase of some of the best hard rock and metal bands from across the country. Organised by Liverpool based Forge AMP (Artist Management and Promotions), 'Forged In Fire 1' featured fifteen bands spread over Friday night and all day Saturday. The event also boasted the talents of comedian Pete K Mally who compèred both days by introducing all of the bands and whipping up the crowd into furious cheering and applause whenever necessary.
Kicking off proceedings on the Friday night were Huddersfield alternative rockers Days of Riot who immediately took to the stage with classic heavy rock riffs in the vein of Diamond Head or Led Zeppelin. Frontman and lead vocalist Lewis Bojar gave a larger than life performance that even Robert Plant would be proud of. Particular highlights for me were “Stellaris” which had a full throttle almost speed metal ending and “The Dream” which had a more funk groove akin to Rage Against The Machine. Days of Riot finished off with “Fire in the Sky” which was filled with energy. A great end to a great start to the festival.
Next up came A Joker Among Thieves, a heavy rock band from Barnsley whom on this occasion performed as a three piece. They didn't let this stop them however and quickly proceeded to make the stage theirs with their own brand of bluesy rock. All throughout “Stomp on My Heart” bassist Tink could not stand still and, although they described “Addicted” as a ballad, it featured some impressive bass tapping the likes I have never seen. Definitely has to be seen/heard to be believed. Vocalist/guitarist Joe oozed real passion in his vocal delivery on “Don't Run Away” whilst also showcasing his guitar skills too. “Preachers Daughter” was perhaps the most intriguing track of all however with regular shifts in time signature that kept the tightly rehearsed band and entranced audience on their toes. As a musician myself I found this song especially entertaining. A Joker Among Thieves rounded out their set with the aptly named “Friday Night” and “Zombie”, the latter of which was as catchy as it was heavy.
And finally, Kent based rock band Gallows Circus closed the night in spectacular fashion, opening with the title track of their 2017 debut EP entitled Game On. Despite some minor technical difficulties following their first song (guitarist had to change guitar) the band demonstrated that the show must go on with frontman Ian Day taking on the role of stand-up. The chemistry between the band members was undeniable as they ploughed through all of the songs from their debut and then some. Ian even dug out a harmonica during their performance of “Above Snakes”, filling in for the slide guitar part that is on the EP version. In the spirit of true rock 'n' roll Gallows Circus even slotted in Fleetwood Mac's “Oh Well” mid set to give the audience “something to sing along to” as Ian quite rightly put it. The track went down a treat with a number of the audience indeed joining in on backing vocals. The band ended their set and the first night of 'Forged In Fire 1' with ultimate crowd-pleaser and their 2018 single “Fade to Believe”.
With that, day one of 'Forged In Fire 1' was over and boy was it a good one! I left the venue in high spirits and couldn't wait to get back in the following afternoon for day two of the festival which promised a considerable marathon of rock and metal. Please check back tomorrow for part two of this review where I will be delving into all that occurred on the Saturday.