So after a heavy night of sleeping(I know no drinking dont boo me), I woke up bright and somewhat early cause I really wanted to kind of check out Ventura before the fest opened up. For me, a fest includes the area you staying and if its nice I’d like to do a bit of exploring. This was no exception as the beach was so nice and fresh to see compared to the crammed suburban neighborhoods at home.
So after relaxing a bit for the afternoon, I headed out to the show and well noticed right away how tight security was. Like damn security was on everyone all weekend. It was a strange feeling but I think all the fans and bands got the last laugh but more on that later…Openers Gatecrashor were pretty good and had a similar sound to Glare(well alot of similar members so its bound to happen) and then one of my top bands for the weekend who didn’t disappoint were Blackened Speed Metal group Bewitcher. As one of the earliest bands of the day, they really brought their A game playing all songs from their debut album with ferocity and precision. They definitely are a band I wouldn’t mind seeing again and up close you could really feel the energy radiating from them. Riot City were another one I was excited to see and while I enjoyed them, I could tell the guys felt a bit rough from the night before. They still brought an entertaining short set though and their cover of “See You In Hell” bringing half the crowd onstage was a cool moment so early in the day and was quite comedic to watch people absolutely lose their minds. After running back to my room I managed to catch Substratum just as they started and even though I have seen them before, this show was just as good. Amy is one of my favorite frontwomen in the scene today because she just knows how to command a band and get a crowd into the music. Afterwards I unfortunately was too caught up talking to people that I missed Walpyrgus but I heard they did good so kudos to them. Spell was the next band I was curious to see and they brought that retro scorpions/UFO sound but looked like a mix between budgie and hendrix which was interesting. They had a good grooving sound to them even though they were one of the more oddball bands on the bill, I still enjoyed them as a live band. Next up was easily the biggest surprise of the weekend with Ryan Waste’s band Volture on the main stage. Now as I was walking in, I thought “Holy shit that vocalist is amazing, how is he singing like that?” and looked up and saw it was John Gallagher from Raven! He had learned the bands material in a week so he had a music sheet with him but I didn’t care about that at all because they were easily one of the top 5 bands of the weekend. Despite basically reading from a music stand, Gallagher still gave a memorable performance still acting wacky and giving a lot of energy on stage. Definitely a band I would love to see him do more of.
Cauldron honestly I felt had a hard act to follow. Now I am not the biggest cauldron fan in the world but I can appreciate them. I really like their earlier stuff and overall weren’t bad and I enjoyed getting to see them. But finally the time at come for a big bucketlist band of mine. Jaguar are one of my all time favorite NWOBHM bands for their ferocity alone. Seeing them front row(most of the time) and seeing them do mainly “Power games” and their well known singles like “Axe Crazy” was great and considering I may never get to them again, I soaked it up as much as I could. The instrumentation was very tight and Jarvis on vocals in a live sense worked very well. I just like the energy he brings even though he isnt an original member, I think it was the perfect example of injecting younger blood into an older band done right. Savage Master I kind of took a back seat for and enjoyed them at the bar but hot damn it was great to finally see them. I love the schtick they bring with the hoods and costumes it fits their style well and doesnt come of as something try hardish which is very easy to do. They played a lot of material from their first album and e,p as well as some new songs which worked great. Definitely another great one to see on the bill. Ending the night was Raven and well…it was Raven. If you saw my review of their show back in May then my opinion hasn’t changed much. High energy and quirky but having more older songs injected into their set. I watched about 3/4 of their set but the fatigue of the day really hit and I had a few too many as well so I went back to my room and sat up with friends until 4:30 in the morning which was a reoccurring thing all weekend.
Overall, for the first full day of the fest it was like Christmas time. With great new bands that didn’t disappoint to surprise guests to bands I will never forget that I had the luck of seeing, I really couldn’t ask for more. It was funny because I remember leaving back to my hotel and going “holy shit…there is still a day 2!”.