“You’re not making this any easier for me,” jokes Simon Hall of Bloodstock, after a string of strong performances in the 2017 M2TM Final.
“Isn’t that the point?” I joke back.
Seriously though, some of the performances were out of the park.
Some things I’ve kept close to my chest. When anyone asks my opinion on who will go through I’ve said stuff like “we’ve 4, 5, 6 great bands tonight” (depending on how many playing) although the truth is, in some of the rounds I did have an opinion… and in most cases I was wrong!
This is a good thing, mostly, because for the best part I’ve been proven wrong because another band has upped their game.
End result – lots of great performances.
So, I’m going to break rank and say going into the final I felt it would be between Trendkill and Decrepit Monolith.
But, The Unholy Concoction threaten to prove me wrong from the start!
They’ve been an interesting one this competition – in their heat, there was a clear winner in Decrepit Monolith but judges were divided in who else to send through – TUC were Iain from Jack Ketch’s pick (he was a guest judge that night) and we swayed over to his choice. We can put it on record that his call was clearly justified.
In the semi finals they were amazing and just pipped out of an automatic place in the final (like really!) and were a convincing second in the play off, but that wouldn’t have been enough to get them to the final.
However, massive blow as Vigil found flight cancellations stranded them in Europe – and so the logical band to invite to take their place was TUC – so they ended up doing this show on 6 hours notice and it was a massively strong showing. It’s the type of opening band that sets the level for everyone else and a tough one to beat.
You know, I frequently joke about Trendkill being so young and I shouldn’t – but seriously, these lads have a good future ahead of them. It’s gonna be challenging cos the music industry is just that – I’m old enough to have seen so many “this band could make it” that don’t – certainly though, I want to see where they go from here : they’re just oozing confidence whilst aiming just to have fun – and if they can keep that balance, they’re gonna have more good times ahead of them.
Proper ear melting thrash – it’s interesting cos there is a clear Pantera influence going on, but I don’t personally like Pantera (we’re all allowed opinions) but love these guys and I’ve just been so stoked to see them cruise their way through he competition.
Decrepit Monolith up next and they just don’t disappoint. They play with such conviction and their blend of black metal is truly mesmerising.
It’s a difficult genre to get right – but fuck, they get it right. They’ve absolutely steamed through the competition laying unholy waste at each round time after time again.
Fucking brutal – and the visuals and image is spot on. Although why they brought fire on such a warm day, I dunno…
I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for Blood Moon Bandits – they entered at heat 1, but only a few days before it – proper late additions, and you know – they might not be the heaviest and thrashiest and brutalist, but they hit the mark if you know what I mean.
Like other bands on the bill are ales, but they’re a nice refreshing cider.
They’re lively, they’re energetic and I think they make a good impression but they’ve had such a tough run of bands to perform after.
Likewise, I’ll Play the Villain – really decent metalcore act and it’s been so good to see how they’ve come along since last year. They’ve a lot more conviction but an extra spark again would make all the difference. They’re strong and they’re decent.
So anyway, I said I thought it may be between Trendkill and Decrepit Monolith… for the first time in weeks I’m actually right.
Because of the high standards of both bands, Trendkill are offered the Jaegermeister Stage – and Decrepit Monolith go through as winners to play the New Blood Stage.
a round of thanks…
First off – always the most important, you lot – those who’ve been coming along to our shows, watching the bands, supporting bands you like and discovering bands you didn’t know about. Without you, it’d just be bands playing to bands in an otherwise empty venue. There’s a lot of great stuff happening in Newcastle for assorted tastes and some amazing promoters and nights and that you’ve chosen on certain days to come and spend your time and money with us – we really genuinely appreciate it.
Of course, the bands, we ironed out a couple of problems from last year so hopefully it was all a lot better on the bands – thank you for getting behind the spirit of the competition : to my knowledge there’s been no drama or anything and I hope you’ve all picked up some new fans and made some new friends. The quality this year has been consistently high and I’m looking forward to seeing how some of you develop.
Trillians – for getting behind my shit and letting me do my thing with no real problems, they’ve also provided the backline, made sure posters have gone up and been generally great to work with. I will say this time and time again that it’s so good to see the bar back in good hands.
Truth Hurts – they’ve been recording a lot of the bands sets and generally helping with some of the promotion and been generally good people : I’ve poached Allan who helps me a lot with the compering and also some of the band scouting. Like, seriously, have you heard me trying to compere? It just, well… naw… I haven’t got the excitement he does – and of course their overall help shouldn’t be played down.
And, of course, Simon and Bloodstock – it’s been such a fucking pleasure to run this competition here again and as music promotion goes it’s quite rewarding because you can see how some of the bands and fans benefit from it : it’s difficult to phrase this without sounding like I’m having a pop at other promoters which I am certainly not – there are a lot of amazing promoters locally and nationally who do a fucktonne more than I do (and even those who do less, still have contribution that shouldn’t be played down) but, I mean, I think we’ve all ran gigs where everyone has wondered what the point is : and this is a set of gigs I’m really happy to be apart of. So, thank you for having faith in me to run the competition, thank you for being supportive and thank you for having me part of the overall picture.
Fuck, it’s been exhausting.
I’m going for a lie down and to nurse my hangover.
Same time next year?