He was so deeply huddled under a blanket that it took a while to locate the source of the voice hollering my name. Eytan Wineapple, curator of the rumbling beast that was the NOIZ All-Dayer, initially celebrated its second incarnation looking like death warmed up. After a long couple of days, with Wineapple escorting eventual headliners Dukatalon to Sheffield and back, they eventually bedded down in today’s venue. “They got here around 3 a.m., and I tucked them all in!” joked Rebellion manager and event collaborator Hayley. Five minutes later, the flat-capped Wineapple was bounding around like a madman: putting to serious shame Ghost Cult’s scribe who, twelve hours later, and still nearly three hours from the denouement, interviewed said host in a rather weary and addled fashion…
NOIZ is not your average festival. Displays of album-style art and guitars in various stages of completion (one of which is raffled off later in the day) stand beside the S.O.P.H.I.E. merch stall in the upper level of the club-style venue. A dedicated handful, meanwhile, witness the pulverising Industria of openers Khost: looking for all the world like a couple of local scallies bumbling about on a stage, yet laying waste with a mystical power which deserved a better slot and much more attention. The Birmingham duo’s ambient, crushing set, its implosive chords and guttural scours blending with a wonderful and passionate line in Middle-Eastern vocal samples, ended bang on time: a courtesy that some of the festival’s other performers could have tried harder to match.
Local boys PIST would potentially have been a better choice of opener: their Southern Stoner bluster far more suited to a live setting than their initial album suggests, and possessing enough local ‘pull’ to generate a big increase in the throng. A filthy, vibrant set ramped up the interest for London’s lively Funk-Metal trio Vodun, who would benefit future punters and bands alike by commencing their physical transformation during the preceding act rather than causing such major delays as they did here. The vibrant colours of the band’s make-up and outfits was, however, mirrored by an irresistible Living Colour / Skunk Anansie style groove, further empowered by the electrifying soul of vocalist Chantal Brown, and created arguably the most pleasant surprise of the day.
The first of the day’s eleventh-hour additions wove a web of molten gossamer over the hypnotised audience. Nottingham’s Dystopian Future Movies was wholly apposite to the frenetic rhythms and stage presence of the previous act yet proved remarkably affecting: the Kate Bush-like demeanour of bassist Emily Azadpour counteracted by the heartbreaking melodies of Caroline Cawley. The stark, striking sound fell somewhere between Chelsea Wolfe, Mazzy Star and the similarly-comprised Ides of Gemini, and was utterly captivating. DFM’s original tour partners, Glasgow-based trio Fvnerals, followed with more moving desperation: however, whilst keyboard-vocalist Tiffany Strm carried a haunting edge that sent shivers down the spine and guitarist Syd Scarlet wielded his axe in Thurston Moore fashion, the emotional connection of their predecessors was somewhat lacking.
The sound of Londoners Limb has leaned further toward its Stoner influences in recent times and here, dictated with emphysemic yet energetic abandon by charismatic vocalist Rob Hoey, it was basic yet entertaining fayre. The heavy NOLA vibe of Liverpool’s Iron Witch, meanwhile, has morphed suddenly into a marauding, Sludgy brute: the groove of former years retained, now embellished by a savage, brooding intensity. Led by the imposing presence of new vocalist Dave Mould and legendary drummer Will Adams, the quintet were pouring in sweat by the close and left everything they had on the stage.
Being unaware of the wonderful kebab joint around the corner from the venue, I was at this point bemoaning the effects of a slit throat. Wigan Psych heavyweights Boss Keloid saw off those hunger pangs: displaying the results of hot new album Herb Your Enthusiasm (Black Bow Records), and an added versatility above other Low-end acts of the day so far, their brutal fuzz interacted with Alex Hurst’s amazing pipes and had the adoring throng roaring every word. Likeable on stage despite the dubious fashion sense, and enthralling musically, they received the warmest reception thus far.
Witchsorrow rumble in their own way with their Electric Wizard-esque thunder but, as last year’s No Light, Only Fire (Candlelight Records) indicated to the discerning few, there’s a feeling of having heard it all before. Nick Ruskell had great interaction with the audience, donning a pair of sunspecs from the crowd for the last offering, and makes this resonant power paradoxically entertaining. Londoners Steak, meanwhile, are equally perplexing. While nothing mind-blowing in the way of recorded output, the night’s set introduced a monstrous boogie into proceedings which were threatening to become a little stodgy. Their fizzing groove ploughed through the floor of a soaked venue and enlivened a slightly flagging horde.
How to get from Devon and back…in a day. A near 500-mile trip is mere pocket change for legendary Occultists The Wounded Kings, possessing in George Birch the consummate frontman: confident and grinding, adding extra beef to Steve Mills’ bone shuddering riffs. The band’s long-awaited first Manchester appearance was so monumental, so meaningful as to induce watery eyes among certain devotees: an immense power unstoppable even as drummer Myke Heath dislodged a cymbal, the spirit of unity displayed as an audience member jumped the apron to assist with its reassembling. Perfectly embodying the event’s tagline of big riffs and heavy tones, with howling solos creating the perfect alchemy, this consummate performance most perfectly embodied the ethos of the day.
The raw animal power of west Londoners Hang The Bastard tore holes in the floorboards trying to follow such an amazing set. Rollicking riffs rolled in tandem with powering, Low-end party vibes and a towering frontman performance from Tomas Hubbard. The devilish, stirring outing showed no signs that the band would, only two days later, sadly announce that they would soon be calling it a day: a fact which subsequently made the performance even more memorable and poignant.
Things were now running an hour late, but that didn’t stop cheeky Hastings trio Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell kicking in with some friendly Chas ‘n’ Dave-esque banter and a seriously rhythmic pummel. Their savage brand of Psychedelic Blues was the grooviest sound for some time and saw some serious windmill action. Johnny Gorilla’s guitarwork was as startling as the mutton chops and 70s gear on display whilst, somewhat surprisingly, the Blues-Punk of ‘Do It Now’ got the first pit of the day going. It’s the most enjoyable interaction of the day, a crowd as enthralled as they are amused by this likeable and musically urgent outfit.
The revised timetable indicated that the proposed slot for Post / Stoners Soden had disappeared: thus giving the opportunity to finally defeat those hunger pangs: unfortunately, and unknowingly, this meant missing what was, by all accounts, a chaotic yet stoic set from the Worcester trio. Manchester’s own Barbarian Hermit showed no signs of fatigue, however: their crunching Stoner rut ripping up the stage; the dramatic livery a mix of Vietnam vet and the dapper vampire fashion of theatrical frontman Si Scarlett. An irrepressible groove machine, their phenomenal snaking power was harnessed by a controlled brutality, dictated by understated drummer Loz Brindley, and generating huge crowd participation.
It was disturbing to see so many female punters dancing and yelling to Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, during which the almost mythical Israelis tuned up. A full two hours after the billed time, Dukatalon commenced their first show in Manchester with debut album opener ‘Peis’, and few seemed to care about the hour. Zafrir Tzozi and his boys laid waste to the ears and the bones, whilst the adoring Wineapple was finally free to lose his shit in heroic fashion. Scything and emotional, it was a sheer privilege to see these guys finally hit our shores with this mammoth wall of sound and, given the joyous and exuberant stage invasion during a rousing finale, it’s sincerely hoped by many that it won’t be the last time we see them.
So, what to think of this incredible achievement? Having stated that “There ain’t no closing time with a day like this”, our curator was keen to stress the fact that its success is the result of teamwork. Charmingly eager to pass around the plaudits, Eytan lavished the venue’s staff, bands, ticket-buyers, and even attending journalists in fulsome praise. It took some probing to elicit any level of self-acknowledgement, and it’s a testament to his modesty and his passion for the scene that he alluded to the event – one of many he promotes – as “My indulgence. I’ve put on bands that I want to see – despite not getting to see much of them!” He also opines that “Some of the best bands around are on this bill today”, and that’s something no-one in attendance would have disputed. NOIZ was an incredibly long and tiring day, especially for those of us over 40, but a fascinating and great one.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY PAUL QUINN