Back in 2013, Barry Brownlie had the idea to put together an all-day show titled Friends With Benefest featuring some of Glasgow’s best rock and metal bands. After four long years, he finally resurrected the concept and put together a second event.
Ten great acts for ten pounds; one pound each. Quite the deal in our minds, and with that, we were down there like wildfire.
The duo of Slow Walkers kicked things off. We were more than familiar with vocalist Matthew, who has always been known for more experimental projects, so we expected something cool, and it was just that.
The pair gave us a simple yet theatrical set with blaring strobes, a lone lantern illuminating the middle of the stage and the use of a megaphone at the beginning.
Fearsome yells, thumping fills and electronic screeching made up what was an interesting performance from undoubtedly the most unique act of the entire day.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we had Northern Nightlights who gave us fast and furious melodies with the likes of Best Friends and Such A Shame.
The vocals were amped up in Save Your Breath, and they got the crowd rallied up and singing along to their cover of Fat Lip by Sum 41, where an individual got really into it and partook in a one-man mosh.
We thought their support slot with The Bottom Line was the best we had ever seen them, but they may have just topped themselves here.
The place was really filling up now as Misguided Anchors stepped up, a group who we have held in high regard for a while as one of our favourite Scottish metal bands, and they reminded us just why, plus tenfold.
For starters, they had a vast presence on stage and were very active. Ben was sensational as frontman, with a hell of a voice, a natural flow and a real sense of control that had us sucked in. There was immeasurable force behind the riffs and bass, and Donal demonstrated some pure strength in tow of the kit.
We were blown away by the choruses – especially those of Lust and Self Hatred – and there was a fantastic display of writing in the two closing numbers, We’ve Walked Alone and There Is An Answer.
Without hesitation, we can easily say that Misguided Anchors stole the entire show; why they were so low on the bill is beyond us. This was certainly a proving ground for their potential, and we hope that somebody in a notable position takes notice, for these guys are too good to pass up.
And then disaster struck, as severe technical difficulties ruined Serenity Came Calling‘s chances of playing, only being allowed to do a pair of tunes.
We were really gutted for them, but to be fair, they did manage to squeeze in the most sizable pit of the whole event, and they deserve a lot of credit for willingly handing out free tees to the attendees to make up for the commotion.
Here’s hoping we get to see them again in more forgiving circumstances.
It was up to What Dreams May Come to regain the immersion.
Cameron McCrory was front and centre, who had plenty of energy and worked hard to hook in the audience.
A Thousand Ways was quite heartfelt, they got us clapping to Four Corners and Pathways proved to be a satisfying finish. Not bad at all, given the tough task they had.
At last, Horizons got everything back on track for good.
Jonathan was really intense, dishing out ferocious screams both on and off stage, backed up by some decent harmonies, pretty good riffs and driving rhythms; the highlight for us being Pathfinder.
A strong first impression well made on us here.
Crashes then caught us off guard with a very good set of songs such as Red Rivers and Violent Little Things, all defined by energised melodies and polished riffs.
Really impressive stuff that earned them a positive response, and we are already looking forward to seeing them again supporting Freeze The Atlantic in April.
Now we were entering the major leagues, as Rainfalls stepped up and elevated the ante.
They performed a line of very formidable tracks carried forth by bulky bass tones and booming fills that created a massive sound with sheer weight behind it, further topped off by unadulterated intensity from vocalist Gary.
He had a firm grip on the crowd, and it finished with him being encircled by a legion of people, before he collapsed in a heap on the floor. Simply brilliant.
By the way, a stroke of genius from engineer Michael Butler sending them off with The Sound Of Silence.
Hayworth were pelted with Nerf bullets as they got ready. As always, they were dead brilliant, with focal points including the all-new Haunt, Voice Of Reason and Can’t Do Right For Doing Wrong.
They provided us with top notch harmonies, dynamic solos and crisp drumming. Everyone was clearly into it, headbanging and shouting back the words.
Another excellent appearance from one of Aberdeen’s finest.
And last but certainly not least, Swallows.
They commenced beautifully by starting off their new song which had a great intro going, only for Colin’s guitar to cut off. That was awkwardly hilarious.
But on the second attempt they succeeded and it was a fantastic track, and the same can be said for the likes of Hangman, Weathered Hands and Reflections; each tune louder and larger than the previous one.
This was the first time we got to see Scott Forwell in action, and he was a tour de force. Aside from being fixed in the zone, he portrayed tonnes of emotion and authority through his powerful voice, keeping the “heartbreak crew” in his palms all the way.
Add in some forceful riffs and a tight rhythm section, and you had ourselves one heck of a way to close out what was overall a very memorable event that was more than worth the price of admission.
Same again next year, please?