Gigs. You don’t need an excuse to go to them but if there is one it’s always good. Charity has to be the best excuse for a gig; enjoying plenty of tunes and occasional moments of rhythmic violence. On the 20th of October one such gig happened. In aid of the Meningitis Research Fund Ashford’s Platform 5 witnessed a musical tidal wave.
The earthquake that trigged this tidal wave of sound was Jessica. Armed with just an acoustic guitar she took to the stage and delivered a set of powerful and sometimes genius songs. As originals and covers sauntered out of her guitar one moment of genius occurred when she covered Slipknot. When acoustic Slipknot starts your gig it’s never a bad thing. Later during her set she was joined by Matt Finn, the two of them extending the genius with a cover of Korn’s Freak on a Leash.
The momentum kept coming as Topaz played a lively set of covers. Ranging from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to The Black Keys it took the mental strength of a monk not to sing along, proving I am not a monk. There was even a moment John Peel himself would have smiled at as Teenage Kicks sailed across the room.
Push the Boundaries took to the stage bringing with them energetic and lively pop-punk. The first thing that hits you about this band is the energy they have on stage. The drummer smashs the kit like a Greek guy in a plate shop whilst the bassist stands still for a maximum of 15 seconds at a time (I counted). Add to this some gritty real vocals and what you get is pop punk at its live best. The band covered pop-punk by bands like Blink 182 and even caused controversy when covering Green Day’s Basket Case like Topaz before them. In the mix were originals like Mr Negative standing up to the covers, complete with CD plug and charity donation.
People re-appeared in the tent as Atlantica took to the stage. This was the point the wave of sound broke the surface. With more guests than a Jay Z album the set featured guest vocals from Rob Hall and guest bass from The Homecoming’s Jake. Kinetic and melodic hardcore followed; personified by front man Elliot Dixon’s energetic performance, getting right into the audience. The tracks sounded big, with a few unreleased songs thrown in just ‘cause. With equally big stage presence the band proved why they recently played a New Blood night at The Westcoast Bar. See them live!
Next up were Insult. As potent as ever, moshing began at the first note. The band slammed harsh guitars and drums into the path of onlookers. Knowing how to make the friends the Fokestone punk band took a few digs at the Ashford crowd as they dedicated a song about chavs to the town. Braving the mosh pit main vocalist Josh couldn’t be called lazy, going for it so much he fell over and continued singing laying on his back. With live standards like Down That Beer agreeing with the audience guitarist Jak stepped up and did a unique cover of Nirvana. The whole set was spectacle in all the best ways, every band member giving it some.
Now the wave of noise was getting big. I say big, I mean a tidal wave you see in films smashing ships around. Blacken the Name had reached the stage. A loud and heavy assault from the start the band intensified the mosh pit just a tad. Even louder than normal it was the debut of new guitarist John Shaw. Powerful tracks bounced around the room as front man Dan Wyatt joined the festivities. Singing the eye of the storm even the crowd got in on some vocal action. And then something happened. The band suddenly busted out a lounge version of Jekyll and Hyde. Strangely this worked, well. After the metal scene Blacken the Name could be playing an expensive restaurant near you. Ending in style the Ricky Martin cover sounded genius, before coming back for an encore.
Now the wave had hit land and just like New York in The Day After Tomorrow the audiences ears had been thoroughly destroyed in the best way by the nights music. Circle of Rage appeared on stage. The band went straight into fast and heavy tunes as front man Tommo exploded into life. Layered with meaning and importance the tracks stormed down the crowd’s brain holes, compelling them once more move .. violently and fast. Smashing the it like Thor wanting more coffee the band showed how skill and passion can meet in the middle to make a monster of a set. A big way to end a big the gig the band came back for an encore, not taking too much persuasion from the audience.
All in the name of charity this event showcased a lot of great live music and raised over £300 for the Meningitis Research Fund. The event was made by the audience, both donating generously and showing the bands a lot of love. This is a testament to the hard work put in by the organisers and promoters and something to look out for in the future.