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Station 18, Festival 29th April- 1st May 2022, Hangar 18, Swansea

Dr. Steve Haines

30 apr. 2022

Station 18 festival day 3

Well, they only went and did it. The final day of the Station 18 Festival 2022 has been and gone and it was an absolute triumph Two and a half days of phenomenal live music from some of the established and rising starts of the UK live music scene.

The final day was kicked off by remarkably young band Mad Haven. I think I have milk currently cheesifying in my fridge that’s older than these boys. But, as they say, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. This North Walian trio had a classic rock vibe, great energy and a cracking bunch of songs including Liar and Are You Ready? These boys are definitely worth checking out.

Now I had been expecting Ravenbreed up next, a Welsh band that have had more singers than a sewing machine showroom but instead we were treated to Kinstrife and what a treat it was. But talking of treats, the first treat was for singe Mike Hoskins as it was his birthday. Midnight Tornado presented him with a cake and a bottle of Jack Daniels then the crowd spontaneously burst into a rendition of Happy Birthday – it was a lovely moment. Onto the music, the melodic hard rockers were outstanding and Hoskins’ rasping vocals added to the power of the music. Very, very good.

Next up were Black Lakes and as I was hoping they would play Agadoo but I soon realised this was a very different band to Black LACE.The six-piece band had three guitarists which added layers to their heavy sound. The most admirable thing was their ability to adapt to change. The next band Kreek were stuck in traffic to Black Lakes needed to play longer so they added to their set list on the fly. An exceptionally talented bunch of lads and a particular highlight was their cover of Linkin Park’s One Step Closer.

When Kreek finally arrived, they were worth waiting for. They had a very bluesy classic rock style, belting songs and bags of energy. Another talented band and another success for the Station 18 Festival – that’s 16 bands in a row that have been brilliant, if you’re keeping count.

SKAM were up next and judging by the number of people with SKAM t-shirts, they had plenty of supporters in the audience. The first thing I found notable was that the bassist in this three-piece band was an absolute champion gurner. I have scarcely seen a guitar or bass player whose face is more animated than their fingers. A very high energy set, including the guitarist taking a walk through the crowd while faultlessly soloing throughout. Also notable was a great cover of ‘War Pigs’!

South of Salem were the next band and I’d heard good things about them so I was really looking forward to seeing them. A hard rocking 5-piece that lived up to the hype throughout a set including songs like ‘Demons Are Forever’ and ‘Pretty Little Nightmare’. The band had a really strong identity and the future looks bright for them.

Penultimate band were Piston and the rumours that they were named after what happened to me when I fell asleep under an elephant are strenuously denied. A very strong blues vibe with these guys and they gave us a great rendition of Rolling On The River. A great set from a great band. The thing I couldn’t shake, however, was that the singer was a dead ringer in voice, style and appearance for The Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson.

On the subject of lookalikes, as festival closers The Treatment hit the stage, I was stunned by how much the drummer reminded me of wrestler Sean Waltman, best known as X-PAC in the WWE. With that pushed aside, I focussed on the music which was very bluesy and most definitely crowd pleasing. With songs like Dirty and Wrong Way, The Treatment ended the Station 18 Festival perfectly making it a clean sweep of 20 out of 20 bands living up to reputations and exceeding expectations.

At this point, a special mention absolutely has to be made for the Midnight Tornado team who curated, assembled and otherwise pieced together this phenomenal festival. And of course Matt Jones of Hangar 18 who was, is and will continue to be an absolute star. Despite an insane number of band changeovers, the sound quality was magnificent throughout. The combination of a great venue, great organisation, great sound and great bands made this event a bigger success than anyone could have imagined.

One last thing. I need to mention the unofficial mascot of the Festival. A small sign appeared in the ticket booth just at the main entrance. It read: ‘Have you ever seen a spider-duck? Turn around and look up”. True enough, right there on the ceiling, upside down, was a small plastic duck. I can neither confirm nor deny whether he may have been assisted by the application of Blu Tac. It was, for me, the little bow on the gift that was the Station 18 Festival 2022. Roll on next year, for which early bird tickets are already available and if it lives up to this year’s Festival, it will be the best £30 you ever spend!

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