Help For Heroes Chapter 5, Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff
Now in its fifth edition, there was no better way to banish the winter blues than a hard rock all dayer at Cardiff’s main rock and metal hub. As it happened, this gig coincided with the march to Guildford Crescent, the latest show of opposition to the Rapport family’s decision to close the Independent Music Venue Gwdihw and the two restaurants next door, The Thai House and The Madeira. The show of feeling was impressive, and the numbers that turned out on a cold, damp afternoon were far larger than the march to save Womanby Street a couple of years ago. Having joined the march, and then stopped at the excellent Beelzebub’s for a cheeky pint, it was off to Fuel.
Opening the event was Foreigner’s Son (6), a three piece who were apparently playing their first ever gig. It didn’t show and although the band played a set mainly consisting of covers, they were comfortable and competent throughout. A couple of Thin Lizzy songs are never going to disappoint me unless they are badly performed, but Sam Hermanis possesses a soulful voice which captured the spirit of Lynott perfectly. Regulars at Fuel would have recognised guitarist Jack Davies from behind the bar but this time it was his playing that was welcomed rather than his pint pouring skills. Some sweet solos were probably the highlight of their set but there is plenty of potential for this band and their hard rock has a captive audience in South Wales, an area which loves the classic rock feel.
With Fuel already swelling to decent numbers, next up was Dark Valley (6), another three-piece from South Wales whose range of classic rock went down well with the assembled crowd. The band comprises Jamie Little on vocals and guitar, Marcel Mertens on drums and Dafydd Robbin-Hill on bass. They powered through their set and whilst it was a little generic, their compositions were interesting and well played.
Elliot Cadmore is a well-known face to most regulars in South Wales and his one-man project Sounds Of Insane Music (6) soon garnered a few new fans. Whilst the extreme progressive metal that Elliot plays was a little out of kilter with most of the bands on display, there can be no doubting the man’s talent and his set flew by. Having been plying his trade since 2011, his dedication and perseverance is impressive. Insuna (6), a melodic metal outfit from Cardiff. Led by the powerful vocals of A.K, the band introduced some new riffage to proceedings and received a healthy response from the ever-growing crowd. The band has shared the stage with some bigger names including Leaves Eyes and Triaxis, and their brand of metal was certainly watchable.
Female trio Firebrand (6) have been around for several years and in guitarist/vocalist B.J. they possess a striking frontwoman who can play a mean guitar and sing with power. Supported by Sarah and Chelsea, the girls proved once more that the ladies can match anything the lads can do and by the end of their set there were a lot of grinning faces around the venue.
And so we headed to the final two. Organiser Julian Birch had lost two bands in the run up to the event but that didn’t bother anyone, and we wish those who had to pull out all the best. [Matt] First up was Ill Fate (7) featuring a former member of Triaxis on the six strings, the Cardiff based punk powered trio, created a bouncing atmosphere, with some snot nosed abrasive punk but a pop vein sneaking in, a nice change of pace in the set shying away from the brazen rock of the majority of the
That left us with Haxan (7), the three-piece which comprises sisters Sam and Charlotte Bolderson, (Vox/guitar and drums) and bassist Harriet Wadeson on bass. On a day of trios, the three ladies brought the power and the grit to demonstrate who they were worthy headliners. A packed room roared their approval as the band crushed all with their classic rock style. Plenty of riffs, hooks and melody which showed their influences and a fine end to a decent day.
Full marks to Julian, whose heroic efforts in setting up the whole event were well rewarded with £720 raised for the charity. A staggering turnout during the day, and to all who generously donated their time, a huge well done.