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

Dr. Steve Haines

29 apr. 2022

Station 18 festival

Day 1

By way of introducing this inaugural edition of the Station 18 Festival, which naturally got messed about with the pandemic, it represents the culmination of a boatload of hard work by the Midnight Tornado team, Matt Jones at Hangar 18 and a load more people I’ve now offended by not mentioning them. So, would I dare to criticise the opening night? Yes, if I needed to, I would but, my word, what a bloody triumph! By the end of this review of the opening night, you will perhaps think me a sycophant but it really WAS that good.

The evening was kicked off by Beth Blade and The Beautiful Disasters who got things rocking straight out of the gate. A storming set of rock music with bags of attitude got Station 18 off to a strong start. Beth’s ability to write infectiously catchy rock music was on display throughout a set that included Down N’ Dirty, I Ain’t Got Nothing (If I Ain’t Got Rock & Roll) and culminated with Jack & Coke.They set the bar high and it didn’t drop throughout the night.

Next up were local boys Pearler. For the uninitiated, a ‘pearler’ is Australian slang for ‘a jolly good thing/a jolly good time’ so you always hope they can live up to the moniker – (SPOILER ALERT: they did!). The band’s infectious energy, strong riffs and the melodic snarl of Wendell Kingpin throughout a set of songs like ‘Desert Slut’ kept the night’s strong musical journey moving with aplomb. The band have a tendency to use the slang meaning of their name by using the hashtag #youknowwhenyouvehadone. Well, yes I did and yes, I definitely knew I’d had one.

Main support on this first evening came from Revival Black. Now, anyone who has heard me talk about this band in the past will know I tend to wax lyrical (pun very much intended) about these boys and with very good reason – they are very, very good. And singer Dan Byrne is exceptional. One of the strongest voices on the UK rock circuit today and I’ll fight anyone who tries to tell me otherwise*. Their Station 18 set was another strong showing for a young band surely heading for a big future. Soulful rock songs like Midnight Oil and No Secrets, No Lies were very gladly received by the crowd.

The first night was headlined by Hollowstar. Now, I admit I wasn’t extremely familiar with the band ahead of this set but, like a try for the All Blacks rugby team, I was very swiftly converted. The music had a similar vibe to Revival Black and while singer Joe Bonson joked about the difficulty of following a voice like Dan Byrne, the band comfortably fitted into their position as headliners for the evening. My prior unfamiliarity with the band almost threw me a curveball when Bonson asked: “Mr Haines, are you ready?” and my sphincter reflexively tightened! Of course, PHIL Haines is the Hollowstar guitarist and if he’d meant me, he’d obviously have said Doctor Haines, but still…..squeaky bum time! But joking aside, this was a very strong set featuring songs like Good Man Gone, Overrated and a great cover of Wishing Well (the Free song as opposed to the Terence Trent D’Arby, Juice WRLD or Wet Wet Wet offerings).

This was a staggeringly good opening evening for the Station 18 Festival. Roll on tomorrow!

*DISCLAIMER: I have no ability to fight anyone and would struggle greatly to punch my way out of a wet paper bag.

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