M2TM North Wales Launch Party 2020
Date: 25th January 2020
Bands: Bad Earth & Cadence Noir
Venue: XS Wrexham
Review by Rick Tilley & Photos by Beth Jones
As we head into another year, one of the first things to deal with musically is the 2020 Bloodstock M2TM Competition, specifically for us, in the North Wales region, which has once again been put together by our good friends at North East Wales Metal Productions.
Rather than heading straight into the competition, this year we got a proper ‘Launch Night’ with live performances from 2019 finalists Bad Earth and 2018 winners Cadence Noir, plus the announcement of which bands would be playing which heats, and a DJ set from the main man himself Fozzy!
With Beth and I having been out of the loop for what feels like months (rather than a few weeks), it was great to see so many familiar faces and to have a good old catch up chatting about all the great events which are coming. XS Wrexham (with Penny Blacks downstairs), which hosted the final in 2019 and will do again this year, is a grand Venue and it was great to be back, although, if I’m being honest, they could really do something about improving the toilets!
First up on the stage were three-piece Hard Rockers Bad Earth. If you’ve seen our reviews before then you’ll know we like them lots, but the inclusion of new bassist Timothy Nicholls in 2019 has taken them to the next level. Not only does he fit perfectly in a live setting, but Bad Earth’s music is now tighter and heavier than ever. Most importantly he, Vocalist/Guitarist Steve Coxon and Drummer Ren Stefan now look like they are really enjoying themselves which wasn’t always the case before. Ren in particular seems to have come out of his shell. As a former drummer I know how important it is to find the right bass player and present a totally united rhythm section, and I wonder if he just feels more comfortable now! Bad Earth ripped through a great selection of older and newer tracks and the news that they will finally be releasing an album in 2020 went down very well indeed. If they are on a line-up at an event you are attending you must check them out!
While a number of people stayed down at the stage, playing the now regular inclusion at North East Wales Metal Production gigs – the Jäger game, we went to replenish our drinks and have more chats with people before everyone’s favourite Gothic Folk ‘n’ Roll band, Cadence Noir, hit the stage. I’m not sure I can say much more about these guys and girl that we haven’t told you before, but just in case you don’t know about them, then here goes! Cadence Noir are totally unique and are fronted by the enigmatic and darkly humorous Vocalist/Guitarist Adrien Perrie. Their self-penned genre, which on first read sounds like a complete mismatch of styles, actually describes them perfectly, as they blend Folk, Gothic and Hard Rock seamlessly. Their Folk element is brought to the fore by the wonderful Violin work of Emma Bennett and together, thanks to a wonderful wardrobe of outfits, her and Adrien never look anything less than spectacular on stage. Backed up by Nick on rhythm guitar, Tom on bass and the fabulous rhythms of Dave on drums they present a wonderful selection of catchy songs, full of clever lyrics, that you cannot help but shake your head to. As they were headlining, we got a chance to hear some tracks that aren’t played as often, and they even managed to fit in a cracking cover of Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’ for good measure! Always a pleasure to meet and watch, they are a welcome change of pace in a saturated ocean of bands playing ‘Metal’ and they gig all over the place, so if you haven’t seen them before, make sure you catch them soon!
With the live music completed it was down to our Master of Ceremonies (Or Beanie as we call him) to announce the dates of the North Wales M2TM Heats and who would be playing at each one. At the time of writing they haven’t been announced on Social Media so I won’t be giving that away, but what I can tell you is that I think this is easily the strongest line-up of bands amassed for the competition in this region and, if they all play to the best of their abilities, it will be a very tough call for the judges to decide who to put through in each heat.
At this point, thanks to the fact that Beth and I are old and infirm we left the crowd to rock the night away with DJ Fozzy while we went to find our comfortable bed! It was a cracking start to the large number of gigs and events that North East Wales Metal Productions will be putting on in 2020 and, as always, we send our huge thanks to them, the bands and everyone who turned up for making it such an enjoyable night!