Brofest #3 @ Northumbria Univ., Newcastle (UK)

'Brofest Festival #3 - 2015'

Date: February 27th - March 01st, 2015
Venue: Northumbria University
Ticket: $50 / £35
Promoter: n/a

Last year took place the third edition of ‘BroFest’ with an awesome line-up and I think the promoters achieved in establishing the festival’s brand among the top choices for all the old-school Metal lovers. So, a few days before its 2016 return, let’s see what happened a year ago.

‘BroFest’ is located in Newcastle, the spiritual capital of NWOBHM, and is hosted at a wonderful venue inside the Northumbria University of Newcastle. The billing offers to the fans of old school Heavy Metal and particularly the “nostalgics” of the NWOBHM a dream place to be at the end of February of every year. On top of this, Newcastle happens to be an amazing city to visit offering great surroundings for downtown walks. As for the venue, it is as big and as warm as it should be. Add to all this the university's pub downstairs, offering all the necessary "brew and eat" stuff at any time, the always welcoming record stalls and the "after gig" night parties full of NWOBHM and classic Rock and Metal adrenaline (this wa one of the great additions of last year's festival) and understand that there was nothing else to ask for.

And of course above anything else; the mighty billing which was a mixture of old, obscure and/or reformed NWOBHM bands with the addition of some young blood and some strong and ever beloved dinosaurs that keep growing old like the good red wine... aka BLITZKRIEG! Hell yes, BLITZKRIEG were also there as the Saturday headliners. BLITZKRIEG performed an amazing set and celebrated the 30 years of the classic “Time Of Changes” album combined with some new stuff, mainly from their last albums; “Back From Hell” (2013) and “Sins And Greed” (2007). To say that Brian Ross is a fantastic frontman is not anything new but what is needed to be said is that all members of the band were equally amazing. I’m already looking forward to seeing another performance at this year's ‘BroFest 2016’ and not only under the BLITZKRIEG saga but also with the mighty SATAN. I am sure it is going to be an overdose of riffing and soloing.

But first things first; Friday's headliners were HOLLOW GROUND who had also performed in 2014's ‘BroFest’ and is what I would call the "working man's" band. Preceded by the mighty MYTHRA and AVENGER provided the perfect template for Friday's ‘welcome-to-Brofest’ ‘drink-and-headbang’. It is wonderful to see and enjoy all these obscure bands gathered at one place. Apart from some smaller little gigs hosted mainly in some UK cities and venues, ‘BroFest’ is the only festival that gives the opportunity to see all these bands at the same billing. And this is just great! To this point, let's not forget that the price of the ticket was something like £30, which for God’s sake nowadays is just peanuts, especially if you consider all the hard work that these guys have put down in order to materialize what is seems to be a stable festival gathering every February.

Day 1

Avenger @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Mythra @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Hollow Ground @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis)

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I was really looking forward to seeing TRESPASS who delivered a hell of a show with the legendary “One Of These Days” included. HAMMERHEAD were also amazing (who by the way are on 2016's bill too) as the obscure PHASSLAYNE from Newcastle were. I had no idea who these guys were before the show, but believe me, they were just great. WARBASTARD opened the day’s festivities with a bombastic performance that reminded a lot of early VENOM and SLAYER. HUNDRED were another young band that played a really nice amalgam of traditional Metal, influenced by IRON MAIDEN's early works; very melodic and interesting stuff. No need to introduce HIGH SPIRITS though; the Chicago boys nailed another show and gave us the perfect Hard Rock groove to enjoy plenty of pints. Needless to say they were one of the best bands of the weekend. TROYEN, HAMMER and RADIUS / RACE AGAINST TIME were the other names of that day.

Day 2

Warbastard @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Hundred @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Hish Spirits @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Trespass @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis)
Phasslayne @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Blitzkrieg @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis)

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Sunday had some really lovely new bands to start with; SEVEN SISTERS with their traditional Metal influenced cocktail and AMULET, who were really great and their self-titled last year's first full LP was just as loud and as crafty as it could get. Really great bands both of them and I hope to see them both performing live soon. The obscure Danish outfit WITCH CROSS did great and as a trivia I’ll say that back in the day they were using the same studio engineer as MERCYFUL FATE. Anyways, their stage appearance was really good. TYRANT from Mansfield were also there with their melodic stuff fitting really well. CHASAR, STORMQUEEN the Welsh outfit - believe me, it cannot go more "digging to obscure" than them - performed excellent, along with BLACK ROSE and TYTAN that kept the spirit really high!

Sunday’s headliners were JAMESON RAID led by frontman and old member Terry Dark. Terry's onstage theatrics and the way he sings and imposes the lyrics of every single song are beyond any means amazing. Their setlist featured a lot of stuff from their 2015 LP “Uninvited Guests” and for many people in the crowd that was a bit foreign from what they were expecting to hear, but to me, it was just a joy and pleasure. Every single moment of their live show was worth it and to my humble opinion, JAMESON RAID were the winners of the weekend. I know it may be a bit too much to say that, thinking that Brian Ross was on the same billing and for sure many will disagree with me, but that is how I saw things. The epilogue of their show was as predictable and as awesome too, with the “Seven Days Of Splendor” closing another fantastic NWOBHM weekend. This song is an all-time classic that will never fade away and I think it’s point of reference for the NWOBHM era. Every NWOBHM collection should include this song.

Day 3

Seven Sisters @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Amulet @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Witch Cross @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Tytan @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis) Jameson Raid @ Brofest III (UK) (photos by Giorgos Filinis)

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This year's ‘BroFest’ with BLITZKRIEG and SATAN in the bill along with the awesome sounds of Martin Turner's WISHBONE ASH looks really promising and I cannot wait to just let myself be part of that wonderful experience. All the praise to the organizers - I hope to meet you this time - for all the passion, the great and hard work that makes this festival so special and so different to anything circulates around. After all, it’s you, guys, that keep the fire burning, I hope for many years to come!