Now in its fourth year, the Mearfest is a charity event run by the husband and wife team of Brian and Claire Mear to raise money and awareness for The Willow Support Group for those who, like themselves, have tragically suffered the loss of an infant who was stillborn.
Now most NWOBHM events are poorly attended so I was gobsmacked to see the event was practically sold out, even more surprising when you consider that over half of the London Metal community were away at the Bloodstock Festival for the weekend. And what a terrific event it proved to be with not only some superb sets but a friendly atmosphere full of true music loving Metalheads but also raffles galore with plenty of prizes.
Not realising the earlier than usual start, I missed youngsters Kaine who I have seen on previous occasions, a band that truly embody the original NWOBHM spirit that is inspired by early Iron Maiden. I must set my alarm next time lads!
Fortunately I was there in time for Troyen, a band that escaped my NWOBHM radar back in 1982. They never got past the demo tape stage back then but after reforming with three quarters of the original line-up intact in 2014 and going down a storm at the Brofest last year, the band are thankfully back to finish what they started.
Leading man Steve McGuire reminds a lot of FM’s Steve Overland in looks and his soulful voice but the music is solid hard rock full of melodic and pleasingly fresh hooks.
The anti-war message of ‘Don’t Send Me To War’ still rings true today and ‘Syrian Lady’ is a must hear track full of Eastern promise with a riff to die for.
Sacrilege are another band that get shamefully overlooked, possibly due to the fact that two punk bands have since half inched their name after they originally split in 1983.
Now back for their resurrection, Sacrilege mean business and what a hailstorm of fire they bring to the proceedings. A powerful mixture of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, Sacrilege made a thunderous noise of a heavy concrete slab pounding down on to an armoured tank.
Vocalist Bill Beadle possesses a voice from Hell full of wailing screams. Things turn more demonic for the Sabbathy ‘In Hell’ when drummer Neil Turnball wears a convincing devilish mask and when the charismatic bassist Jeff Rolland looks like the hybrid of Nosferatu and a bat out of hell,you can be certain than Satan is laughing, spreading his wings… Oh lord yeah!
With ‘Live Another Day’ being a catchy anthem, Sacrilege were simply magnificent.
I thought The Deep would have a hard job following that but they surprisingly started off with a cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic ‘Sounds Of Silence’, Disturbed style in tribute to the organisers and all of those who have lost loved ones. It worked a treat and vocalist Tony Coldham sang his meaty heart out.
From then on The Deep could do no wrong, playing tracks from their melodic ‘Premonition’ album; a success.
The night rounded off with Sarf London Metallers Desolation Angels who now feature former Elixir/Midnight Messiah vocalist Paul Taylor who is far too Metal to remove his leather jacket in this hot and humid venue.
Desolation Angels had more dominance and drive on the stage and really shone on the hard drive of ‘Medusa’, a track laden with deadly riffs, as is the compelling ‘Archangel’ but highlight for me was the thump of ‘Valhalla’ which bangs that head that dosn’t bang.
The Mearfest was a roaring success raising over £6,000 in total for the Willow Support Group. Next year is gonna be better with two nights announced for the weekend of 16th/17th September with the mighty Tytan and Satan’s Empire being the headliners. See ya there headbangers.
Thank you Mark Taylor from MF
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Brian & Claire Mear pride themselves on putting on a good show. Photography is Claire's passion, only the finest collection of images will be added here by the best photographers.