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Ever heard the jokes about pies “Who ate all the pies” & "pie eaters" if so you'll know it’s associated with Wigan. Well, we were in Wigan today and not a pie in sight.

Today marked a yearly music event promoting bands coming from the Wigan Borough, and the best part is that it’s free, it's at Haigh Hall Country Park in Standish. Glastonbury it's not, but it's a great day out, especially if your aged between 14 - 20 which seems to be the main age range, watch out we are gettin down with the kidz today.It's amazing how they can make your suddenly feel invisible. 

Let's get the negative out of the way first, the parking, organisers need to arrange this a lot better for next year as it was murder trying to find a parking space without the risk of being clamped. I was sorely disappointed I missed out on a photo pass, none left by 2pm and being that I work for Wigan Council too!

It was a gloriously warm day with just a few little showers, which in the end didn't amount to much. On walking into the festival, a couple of drunks were being hauled kicking and screaming out of the area, strongbow cider in the hands of the police, hey a good start to the day and it was only 2pm.

We missed the first three bands who were, Elias T Hoth, Eighth Wave and Mr Fist but we got there in time to see the remaining 9 bands. Each band had around half hour sets, and 10 mins to set up between bands, which was fantastic, no hanging around for long periods waiting for the next band to emerge. No time for boredom or lethargy to set in. It was straight onto the next, then kept em rolling.There was also something for every taste, although I'd liked to see more punky/rock n' rollin/rockabilly kind of music.What is really impressive is that they all write there own songs, hardly a cover in sight, and they were all very professional and worked there butts off.

This Devastated Fan

The first band we saw was This Devastated Fan, a bunch of very young lads, surely one for the young girls/boys in the crowd, they played pop with rocking guitars, chatty communication in-between numbers and generally nice lads. Songs with titles such as 'Masks & Mirrors','Blow Out Stars' and 'Elementary Girl'. Enjoyed their set, great guitar moves with some heavy riffs, unexpectedly gave a rockin performance, one of the best of the day for me.

Before Autumn Falls

The band title reminiscence of a horror movie, and they are a little on the dark side. The first thing that stands out is the stunning singer, Sarah Bamber from Standish, great vocalist, with musical similarity's emerging from Pat Benatar to Heart with heavy guitar riffs & an additional punk feel. They have songs titles such as 'Holding Onto Nothing', their recent released single. The crowd seemed to like them, it was like being transported into the 80's, rock scene, but very professional and plenty of classic guitar posing. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of this band.

The Klang

I would say this band were one of the highlights of the day, not for me but certainly from the crowds point of view. Sam Longhurst on vocals, worked the crowd and  they went crazy, some of the guys dancing were hauled out for getting too excitable and moshing around too much. 'Life & Soul', 'Daddy Fantastic',were highlights of the show, with indie overtones and melodic pop. They weren't really my kind of music but different strokes for different folks, but they gave a great show.

Hate writing negative comments about bands just because they aren't to my taste but it has to be said a bit too mellow for me, didn't have any issues with the performance at all. The Verve with a soft focus, Oasis without the bite, having said that listening to them on MySpace they sound pretty good. Love the mirrored shades, can I see myself in yours?
The most interesting band of the day award, with drum & bass improvisation, hip hop and experimental noises, snatches of known tracks interspersed between the music. They write their own lyrics, using different genres as influence as they perform and Emma Welsby gave a stunning performance on vocals and really got the crowd dancing into a frenzy.
Snakes Hate Fire
Liked them a lot,with a cute female vocalist/keyboard player, called Grace, the lead guitarist Phil was stunning to watch and photographed like a dream, a good move getting him into the band this year.They performed songs with heartfelt, modern day romantic lyrics such as  'Heartbreak Beautiful', 'Let's Runaway' and 'Please Don't Go'. They are heading out for a small tour of Ireland we wish them lot's of luck, I'm sure they'll go down a storm.
The Adjusters
Superb young guys belting out rock n' punk, influences which filtered through were, New York Dolls and Hanoi Rocks. Ash bellowed out " Here's a song by The Dead Boys, if anyone knows it , it's called 'Sonic Reducer', and we knew it alright (yes we are that old).They played notable tracks such as 'Drinkin Red Wine', 'I Get Paranoid' and 'Misery Addict'.
Ash gave his all in a confident performance strutting around the stage like he didn't give a shit, whilst the rest of the motley Crue (no pun intended) held there own with attitude and balls. This band will make any crowd come alive, and they went down a storm at Haigh Hall today. Watch out for them at the Rebellion aftershow party and a new Mudkiss interview.
The V.C's
Interesting 4 piece with a strange guy in a white medical coat, flaying his arms around a machine which responded to his movements (no idea what it's called).  I expected the band to look as appealing as their freakish images on their MySpace but seems they toned it down, Joe Oxley on vocals has to be the tallest, skinniest guy since Joey Ramone. The music was spot on and fresh, electronic and bass driven tunes. they kept the audience entertained throughout.Tracks were 'Forever And The Earth', 'Play It Like You Mean It' and 'The Sea Is Rising'. We had some technical problems, the lighting failed and the electrics went off, it wasn't long before power was restored again and the band played on.

Pleasantly surprised when they attacked the stage, as I'd expected a pretty boy band with little poppy tunes but was amazed when they bounded onto the stage and kicked ass. Songs like 'Lock And Load', 'Stay, Feel, Regret' and 'Speechless'. They gave a energetic performance, wild guitar moves, clouded in smoke and looking good then to my annoyance my camera battery ran out just a few songs into their set.Hopefully we will catch them again sometime soon, they've got a full schedule of dates throughout July so check them out @Warrington Festival on Saturday 11th July.
Festival goers enjoy the day
All the bands despite not all being to my taste, were professional and made the stage their own in their allotted 30 minute sessions, every band appealed to the audience and that's what it's all about.What a great event, long may it continue, it's a pity as Buzzcocks sang ' 16 again' we couldn't be. The young guys dance around to TheBrokenDoor.
Woodstock revived at Haigh? Whilst the girl in the bright red hair looks on bemused, a great day all round.

Many of these bands have albums or E.P's out, and well worth a look, go find them on myspace, let us know what you think, and remember to support your local music scene.It's incredible just how many talented bands we have in the North West.

The event is organised by Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust (WLCT), and  funded by Wigan Borough, a showcase for the borough’s best unsigned acts. It's now in its seventh year.

This Devastated Fan
The Klang
Snakes Hate Fire

The Broken Door
Before Autumn Falls
The Adjusters

The V.C.s

Review & photos by Mel

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