There’s a cost-of-living crisis going on. Everything is really expensive. This is especially true of live music it seems. Streaming services don’t pay so gigs and merch are the only way bands make any money. If you want to see a major artist in an arena this summer, you’ll likely be shedding north of a ton for a seat that carries a vertigo health warning.
So, against this backdrop, if I were to tell you there still existed a way to see ten, really top-quality rock bands in one afternoon/evening for £3.50 each, you’d quite understandably think I’d lost my mind. Well, my friends, read on. There is, and I haven’t.
The event in question is Bradstock, a one-day indoor festival taking place on 29th April at Nightrain, a venue tucked in a narrow, pedestrianised quadrant of Bradford. Developed in 2019, Nightrain is sufficiently new that if you look for it on Google Streetview, you still find the boarded-up nightclub it replaced. Check it out on the Nightrain website however, and you find photos of a vibrant live music venue with queues round the block to get in and a really atmospheric interior.
So, the venue is good and the event is great value for money. But who do you get to see for your thirty-five quid? Headlining Bradstock in 2023 will be Welsh hard rock powerhouse, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, featuring the legendary ex-Motörhead guitarist and his three sons Todd (guitar), Dane (drums) and Tyla (bass). As you might imagine given their lineage, they all know how to kick arse. The last time we saw the band, they were fronted by vocalist Neil Starr. Joel Peters now occupies the role. Expect formidable levels of growl, especially when Motörhead numbers get an airing.
The Bastard Sons aren’t the only musicians traversing Offa’s Dyke for Bradstock. Also representing the valleys of South Wales will be outstanding four-piece Buck & Evans, whose classic ‘Rock ‘n’ Soul’ sound will be sure to bring Nightrain alive. The Buck is Chris, a YouTube guitar phenom with a stack of awards and 203k subs (probably more by the time you read this). The Evans is Sally Ann, a pianist and vocalist with a truly outstanding voice. The sort that gives your shivers the chills. Rounding out the quartet are Dominic Hill (bass) and Bob Richards (drums), both of whom are in regular demand for session work and both of whom lock the band down with a groove so tight you’ll need a crowbar to unseat them. They’ll be playing material from their outstanding debut album Write A Better Day. Some new, as yet unrecorded songs are also promised.
The Virginmarys have been a consistently strong band through the years originally as a trio and now as a power duo of guitar and drums. They’ve played a number of significant support slots to artists such as Queens of the Stone Age, Shinedown, Slash and Eagles of Death Metal, as well festivals such as Download, Sonisphere, Isle of Wight and most recently the main stage at Reading & Leeds.
There really is strength in depth through this line up with acts sure to impress running through the entire afternoon. The Fallen State are a band we’ve seen before and have appreciated – albeit with previous vocalist Ben Stenning at the helm. Adam Methven now holds the tiller but we only hear and read good things. Talking of frontman, they don’t come much more flamboyant than Angelo Tristan of Kent based four-piece Collateral. Expect eye-liner aplenty and the heady aroma of hairspray during their set. They have a very commercial sound to go with the very commercial look but certainly have the songs to back it all up.
King Kraken are another band from the Welsh valleys making the trip to Bradford (honestly, it would probably be cheaper if they all hired a solitary artic). A’priori are a band with an interesting name and interesting instrumentation: they eschew a bass in favour of guitar, drums and keys. A’priori are a little less of a pure guitar riff band and those keys afford a slightly more proggy sound. They certainly do command your attention.
Edenthorn are another quartet, this time from the North-East. They’ve carved a reputation for excellent live performances and have a committed following as a result. Unknown Refuge are a young band with a hard and heavy sound who have already played a support to Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons, and appeared on bills with bands such as Wayward Sons, Inglorious and Florence Black. Dead Demons complete the line-up. They’re another comparatively new band, having formed in 2020 and are unknown to us, though YouTube reveals a band with Marshall amps, pointy guitars and pick slides aplenty. Quite honestly, what else do you want out of a decent hard rock band?
So there you have it. One day. Ten bands. There’s no need to pitch a tent and no need to pack a poncho. Opportunities for belly surfing in knee deep mud will be limited, but I guess not every rock fest can tick every box.
At the time of writing, tickets for Bradstock are in short supply, but you still can grab yours here. Tickets are £35 + £3.50 fees. We thoroughly recommend that as a course of action.