LIVE REPORT: NozFest 2019 – The 1865, Southampton, 10.08.2019

The concert hangover is a common thing amongst the rock and metal community; these usually take place after experiencing an excellent live show. Symptoms can often include sore muscles, pounding heads and ringing ears. The most common of the symptoms is a huge desire to go back and experience it all over again.

I definitely experienced this concert hangover the day after NozFest. This fantastic event took place at ‘The 1865’, Southampton on 10th August. Given it was the same weekend as Bloodstock and Boomtown, lots of people came through the door which was great to see. JodieBowie was the promoter of this event; after running successful Rock Nights around the UK, this was her first festival.

It was clear that the high winds were not going to dampen the spirits of festival goers better known as Nozzers. As the venue began to fill, you could instantly see fans securing their spots to watch the bands, buying their first pints, browsing the band’s merchandise and talking excitedly amongst themselves about what bands they were most looking forward to seeing.

To kick off the proceedings, Bournemouth based 27 DAYS were the first band to take to the stage. As the opening act, the pressure is higher than ever to get the crowds warmed up. Especially when it’s early doors and alcohol consumption had barely begun. 27 DAYS conquered that pressure and showed NozFest what they were made of. Their performance consisted of great guitar solos, brilliant harmonies and infectious energy on stage and their cover of THE DARKNESS classic I Believe In A Thing Called Love went down a treat with the crowd and got them participating. This is another achievement for an opening band to conquer and 27 DAYS did just that.

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As the day went on, the venue started filling. With a performance from the next band THE WICKED JACKALS looming, this couldn’t have come at a better time. Their melodies contained some great hooks that kept the crowd alive and engaged. Their charismatic and passionate stage presence also seemed to win fans over, particularly when the booze gun came out. Advice: be sure to catch THE WICKED JACKALS when they come to your hometown. Where else are you going to see a water-pistol filled with alcohol?!

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For the next act THE OUTLAW ORCHESTRA this was their first hometown show for a long time and given the warm reception they received; it was evident it was an anticipated one. The first thing I noticed with their stage performance was it was clear they were having a great time. This energy and positivity passed onto the crowd alongside their tight live sound as they performed a selection of material from across their EP’s. After experiencing their live show, I instantly felt much happier. I will call this ‘The Outlaw Orchestra Effect’. If you wish to feel this effect, experience hard rock with a country tinge and watch banjo solos then catch them soon!

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There was no beating around the bush when BETH BLADE AND THE BEAUTIFUL DISASTERS took to the stage. They got straight to the point to play us some no-nonsense Rock and Roll. Their dominant stage presence and excellent live sound meant that audience members were under their control. They performed an eclectic selection of songs from the emotional You & I to new drinking anthem Jack & Coke. With their fire, passion and energy; they could quite easily be the UK’s answer to HALESTORM. It’s highly recommended you catch them when they next tour.

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The appearance of STOP, STOP! was baffling at first. It seemed they had dressed as elderly men as they played the first song The Last Call. As they finished the grey wigs came off and the glam rock outfits were gallantly revealed. The message behind this appearance became clear: rock and roll makes you feel alive, it keeps you young and can turn back the years. A great message told in a fun way. If AC/DC decided to go glam, then STOP, STOP! would fit that category easily. Their live show was fun and energetic, which matches their uplifting music. They are due to play HRH Sleaze in a weeks time so if you are attending this, then be sure to catch them and get involved.

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The name Marco Mendoza is a household name in the Classic Rock community. THIN LIZZY, WHITESNAKE and THE DEAD DAISIES are among the portfolio of bands that he has played alongside. This was the first date of the UK Tour and with his previous work with Jodie Bowie, it couldn’t be a better date to start the tour on. For this performance, he played his solo material alongside Micky Crystal (TYGERS OF PAN TANG) and Kyle Hughes (BUMBLEFOOT). From the word go, it was evident who was in control. The mighty opener Viva La Rock got the crowd going instantly, this gave the audience a first taste of his excellent showmanship and tight live sound. His set consisted of solo material and cover songs that went down well with the crowds. His passion for the community shone through during his performance, as he sang and spoke you could feel that heartfelt, genuine, spirit that caught on in the crowd. He is currently on tour so be sure to catch him.

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For BIGFOOT, this was one of their last performances before they go their separate ways. Whether you are a long-time fan or a new listener, it was the perfect chance to catch them live before they call it a day. It is more than safe to say that this was a great performance from the band. When listening to them, ALTER BRIDGE and THE ANSWER come to mind. Their harmonies were on point and their stage presence was fierce. There was a high amount of passion and energy on the stage. They provided a more chilled out vibe to the evening and were a great warm up for the two main bands of the night.

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As the night drew in, the crowd got bigger and the atmosphere was happy, people excited to catch the two main acts of the night. The main support THOSE DAMN CROWS are one of the best new up and coming bands. They were fresh from appearing at Download Festival this year and from their live performance it’s easy to see why they are receiving high praise from fans and critics. Their stage presence was incredibly energetic and it was clear that this passed on to the Nozzers that were still standing, bearing in mind some of them had been standing all day. They provided a modern edge to the evening with their sound reminding me of SHINEDOWN. They performed a great selection of music from both their albums. They ended with the new album track Rock And Roll Ain’t Dead which was very apt. THOSE DAMN CROWS are easily the future of rock and provided the perfect set to get the crowds ready for headliners MASSIVE WAGONS.

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Having got off an arena tour with LYNYRD SKYNYRD and STATUS QUO, NozFest headliners MASSIVE WAGONS were a hugely anticipated performance for the evening. From the moment they took to the stage and opened with Fee Fi Fo Fum, it was very easy to see why they were the headliners for the night. They did a fantastic job bringing a stadium like atmosphere to a small venue and they got everyone involved with their performance, even the newer listeners who didn’t know what to expect. This stadium like atmosphere included fans singing along to their anthems such as Ratio, Billy Balloon Head and Red Dress. Hearing the chants echoing around the venue truly was one of the magical moments of their set.

Whether you have two albums or ten albums in your discography, it can be tricky picking the right balance of songs for a set-list. MASSIVE WAGONS got this balance perfectly and showcased songs from each of their albums. This set-list seemed to go down well with the crowd. Their boundless energy on stage was incredibly infectious, so much so that they even got those sitting standing up. They ended with the classic Back To The Stack that marked the end of a triumphant set and a successful festival.

Check out the rest of MASSIVE WAGONS gallery here.

Find MASSIVE WAGONS on Facebook, Twitter and their official website.

It’s now two weeks after the event and the positivity for the festival on social media is still rolling in. People are already booking hotels and time off work ready for next year’s date. If this doesn’t show how much people and bands enjoyed the festival, I don’t know what will!

Words: Lotty Whittingham

Photography: Rikki Wolf

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