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

Dr. Steve Haines

29 apr. 2022

Station 18 Day 2

After the spectacular triumph of the first night, there was a lot to live up to on day 2 of the Station 18 Festival. To cut to the chase, it was equally brilliant. There were a range of rock styles on show and, to borrow from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all bands are created equal, but some are more equal than others, at least according to the festival patrons. But more on the only divisive band in a fantastic day of live music later. First off, we had Gallows Circus who, to coin a phrase popular with the young ‘uns, absolutely smashed it. A bluesy rock vibe throughout a set of songs like Bring Your Crucifix and Medicine Man got day 2 off to an incredible start. Musically tight, a great voice and strong stage presence – these boys have got something special so keep your eyes out for these lads on the circuit, you won’t regret it.

Next up we had Electric Black who continued the bluesy vibe and had massive energy throughout their set that included Put It Down On Me and Not Afraid To Die. The band were worried about following Gallows Circus as they knew what a stellar performance preceded them but they needn’t have worried because they did a great job with great music and much jumping and contorting. Very good stuff.

It should be mentioned that the whole day was peppered with sets of rock dance routines by the Metal Maidens. It is notable because I’ve known these talented girls since the troupe was assembled by Laura Brosnan-James who has done a remarkable job in turning them into the sassy and entertaining ladies they are. The evolution has been a joy to behold and it brought an added dynamic to the day.

50 Year Storm then arrived with a complete change of style. This three-piece comprising drums, guitar and keyboards was an atmospheric change of pace. While there was still a hint of the blues vibe, the lack of instruments left a lot of space for each element to shine. While lack of personnel and the stationary nature of keyboards meant the band were a bit more static than the bands so far, but the atmospheric feel to the set more than made up for it. It was a nice introduction for me to a talented young band.

Local boys Cancel The Transmission then hit the Hangar 18 stage and it was a set I was looking forward to having seen these guys a few times on the local circuit. They never fail to entertain and today was no exception. While there was a blues tinge, I always feel that the band veer more towards a pop-rock feel but regardless of genres, these guys just clearly LOVE playing music and it’s a very infectious energy. Another good job which was adding another layer to what was turning out to be a rollicking good day of live music.

Next was another band I’ve seen before, Twister brought a set more in the vein of classic rock with very high energy powered by driving drum beats. I always wonder if the drummer gets possessed during their shows because you get the feeling that he doesn’t just play music – he IS music. Another success in a day that was being a real sonic treat.

The female three piece Häxan were up next. I’d heard only good things about the band but in one of the only hiccups in a phenomenal festival, there was a significant issue with getting the bass amp system to work. After a delay, the band treated us to a great rock show with songs like Nine Lives but understandably the set had to be shortened. Despite the slight disappointment, the band’s talent and energy shone and the future looks bright for them.

Penultimate band were Ethyrfield and immediately the fact the band had two singers added a layer of textured harmonies giving a different dynamic from the outset. The three-piece band added to the vocal variations with a hard rocking energy that almost had a feel of progressive metal, These elements led to what seemed to be a Marmite feel with many loving the change of style and mood while others seemed to react with an apathy and disinterest which was a real shame because these guys are very talented and only perhaps didn’t quite fit the day for some of the audience. I expect the band to grow and I certainly look forward to seeing them again in the future. I hate Marmite, but I really like these guys.

Day 2 was headlined by Chez Kane. This local girl is actually a very polished soft rock project in a wonderfully attractive package. The band were musically very tight and provided the perfect platform for the beautiful lady who has a great set of pipes. I mean her voice, so don’t be naughty. While songs like Ball & Chain and Midnight Rendezvous alongside a brilliant cover of Mr. Big’s Daddy Brother Lover Little Boy could have veered towards formulaic, the crowd absolutely loved it and it proved a fitting end to another fantastic day of the festival. Ms. Kane, you made and old man very happy. Now to do it all again tomorrow!

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