Live Review: Macmillan Fest – Nottingham – 03/09/2016

There might be a downpour signalling the end of summer, but that doesn’t dampen Macmillan Fest from delivering its biggest festival to date. Now taking place across seven stages, including Rock City’s main hall, the Nottingham-based all-dayer once again celebrates national and local music all in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.


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Our day starts off in the poorly lit Stealth room with Cut The Heroics. The local trio provide a bouncy brand of old school pop-punk; power chord guitars, basic tempos and plucky bass lines. Although they do the best to get this stagnant crowd moving, their style comes off as too generic. (2.5/5)

A first visit to the main hall sees The Five Hundred delivering a blistering display of straight up metal. John Eley stands over the crowd, growling alongside pummelling riffs and a thick rhythm section. At times, Eley’s delivery is scathing especially when the bands breakdowns are vicious. As they chug along, The Five Hundred gives the festival a kick start , even if they do play it stylistically safe. (3/5)


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Back in Stealth, Chesterfield alt-rockers Our Saving Day are showcasing their radiant style, albeit one that sounds like the numerous Mallory Knox’s of this world. Regardless, the quintet show a favourable, upbeat side with an edgy undertone; muted guitars contrast their energetic choruses. (2.5/5)


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We’ll admit it’s a sorry sight in the main hall as we easily stroll into the smattering of people watching Beasts. The trio with their grunge-tinged, fuzz-centric sound don’t help the situation by not being the most energetic bunch. Despite this, songs such as ‘My Girl Is A Serpent’ favourably wallow with angst giving the three-piece a hint of potential. (2.5/5)

Upstairs at Spanky Van Dykes we find Derbyshire pop-punks High Tides. Much like their showing at the Red Room a few weeks back, they provide a solid display of urgent pop-punk yet they’ve seemingly took things up a notch, pulling a more impressive set. As cliché as it is to say, but High Tides are ones to watch in the pop-punk scene. (3/5)


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Back over in the main hall, Shields are on hand with a set of destructive breakdowns and twisting riffs. Over the course of 30 minutes, they show a sturdy set of ferocious metalcore, however the growing crowd don’t seem to be fully engaged. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive outing from the quintet. (3.5/5)


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Having played Download, 2000 Trees along with a load of other festivals this summer, today is a smaller affair for Black Peaks as they prepare to destroy the UK with Heck this month. Thankfully the main hall is busy for the Brighton quartet who, once again, deliver a powerful display. Will Gardner’s vocals roar through the room whilst he band mates provide a jarring yet stunning sound. Closing with ‘Glass Built Castles’, Black Peaks remind us why they’re one of the best emerging bands on these shores right now. (4/5)


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Over at the Rescue Rooms, Adelphia are bidding farewell as today marks their last show. The melodic rockers don’t quite get the grand send off, playing to a half full room yet with their vibrant style, it’s enough to stir up a response from those in attendance. However with their somewhat generic soaring hooks, it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. (2.5/5)


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Back at Stealth, Lock & Key blast through a series of metallic hardcore numbers simultaneously trying to stir up the crowd. Their style demands a lively pit, but a majority just stand and watch for the first few songs with a handful of people soon getting into the spirit of things. With a growing reputation in the British hardcore scene, Lock & Key tick off the right requirements but it looks like this isn’t entirely their audience. (3/5)


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Two weeks removed from an intimate sold out hometown show, local pop-punks Catch Fire are on hand to play a quick set to a handful of people. Nevertheless, as they near completion on their second EP, the quintet pull out an ever-improving display with ‘Bad Behaviour’ and ‘Anaesthetic’ quickly becoming fan favourites. Their Autumn run with These Minds will give the band the touring experience they need to fine-time themselves to become of the UK’s brightest pop-punk hopes. (3.5/5)


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With the walls becoming sweaty, Yorkshire’s Blood Youth are on hand to display their punchy brand of melodic hardcore. The festival crowd now seems firmly warmed up with a well-sized mosh-pit. Vocalist Kaya Tarsus is energetic, spurring the crowd as they showcase cuts from their two EP’s so far. They’ve achieved a lot in the space of 18 months, and with a headline tour to come shortly, Blood Youth’s status will surely rise as their live show gets better every time; engaging and impulsive. (3.5/5)


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The day ends with main hall headliners SiKth. With new vocalist Joe Rosser in tow, the Watford are technically proficient. Whilst the crowd takes a couple of songs to warm up, once they’re on board a growing number of people truly let loose with a growing circle pit. On stage, Rosser and Mikee Goodman exchange vocals whilst their band mates storm through with a tight-knit display of progressive metal, pulling through their collective jet lag. Songs such as ‘Peep Show’ and ‘Philistine and Philosophies’ are meaty and unorthodox, highlighting SiKth’s unique style. It’s a strong showing that justifies their place as headliners. (3.5/5)

Although the festival may have outstretched itself by using Rock City’s main hall, it still achieved its purpose in raising awareness and money for Macmillan Cancer Support, all the while celebrating alternative music from up and down the country, and the local area. It may not be the biggest event on the festival calendar but it’s clear Macmillan Fest is quickly becoming one not to be ignored.

3/5

Macmillan Fest links: Facebook|Twitter

View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Mamcillan Festival 2016 here.

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86). Photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard.

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