Live Review: Uprising - O2 Academy, Leicester
25th June 2022
Words: Cat Finch
Photos: Tim Finch
After a two year hiatus thanks to a global pandemic, Uprising is back in Leicester. Three days two venues and 28 bands for just £25. At less than £1 a band, that is the best value for money you will get anywhere this year, and given the current financial climate, it is very much welcome. Simon, Matt and their team at Uprising have poured their heart and soul into the event and ensuring it is a fantastic weekend, so we pop along to the O2 Academy in Leicester on the Saturday to take in the biggest day.
Opening up the event on the main stage were recent Leicester Metal 2 The Masses runners up Bile Caster whose brand of sludge is so deliciously heavy it has us firmly entrenched in their world for thirty minutes. Whilst over on the second stage, late editions to the bill, thrashers Hellfekted help the festival goers shake off their hangovers with some balls to the wall aggression.
The heaviness continued on the main stage with Garganjua and their take on the doom genre. Scott Taylor’s riffs melt faces as the bands aura oozes through the venues PA and syphons through the thick cloud of dry ice. Back on the second stage it’s progressive rock infused outfit Twisted Illusion who serenade us. The band are about to head into a period of hiatus, but not before a blistering set in Leicester is finished. Wonderfully expansive music, melodic and full of high energy all in one set.
It is now that the pace of the day ramps up, Häxan unleashed a new album ‘White Noise’ during lockdown to critical acclaim and following the pandemic are in full touring mode. The trio of Jess (drummer), Sam (vocals/guitar), and Harriet (bass) are ready to rock as Sam jokingly announces that they are “the heaviest band of the day” and certainly following on from the doom/sludge of Bile Caster and Garganjua they change things up. Their rock aesthetics freshens up the room, their energy revitalised the crowd and it’s a set thoroughly enjoyed by all.
It's back upstairs for the newest band on the British hardcore block. Cage Fight are making waves following the release of their self-titled debut. Through the intro of fans chanting of “Cage Fight” over and over they launch into ‘Shine Don’t Fade’. Just as on the album, this track hits hard. The pit gets moving for the first time today, flailing limbs and banging heads as the distinctive vocals of Rachel Aspe rip through the arena. Having seen them just a few short weeks ago in Buckley, their ferocious set gets stronger and the band are tighter with more shows under their belts. As they get exposed to more and more fans their stock can only rise further. If you get the chance, see them on their tour with the Cro-Mags, at Mangata Festival in July or at Bloodstock in August. You will not be disappointed!
Next up on the main stage is Red Method with their spine crushing riffs, aggressive roaring vocals, samples galore and a groove that is untameable. Frontman Jeremy Gomez roams the stage menacingly as their masked eight string wizard causes mayhem. They are another band who have been chomping at the bit to get out live following a mid-pandemic album release. Finally seeing them produce this music live is a thing of beauty.
Richmond, Virginia crossover thrashers Enforced finally hit the UK, for one of the most anticipated tours of the year. Bathed in a harsh blue light throughout their set they destroy the main stage at the O2 Academy in Leicester. Riffs atop of riffs, pummelling hardcore mixed with hard edged thrash. The band produce one of the stand out sets of the day!
King Creature are everywhere, literally. If there is a festival bill anywhere or a tour worth playing, you can guarantee they will be on it. Their fast paced heavy metal with a bit of groove thrown in is always a great listen. Matt Vincent’s Zakk Wylde worship has been reigned in a little since the first time I saw them, but the great man’s influence on this guitarist is obvious. Vincent has the prowess and stage presence of Wylde and his riffs are laced with his stylings. As the band unite they deliver their hard hitting metal melee with aplomb.
Brian Tatler and Diamond Head should need no introduction, having influenced all of the modern day great bands. Tatler is humble in stating his song writing is his legacy and with such a back catalogue its hard to ignore that fact. With Rasmus Bon Andersen fronting the band Tatler has found a vocalist with power and grace, one who can deliver a perfect performance time after time. From opening with ‘The Prince’ through ‘Lightning To The Nations’ and ‘Belly To The Beast’ through to set closers ‘It’s Electric’ and ‘Am I Evil?’ Diamond Head can do no wrong. Forty five minutes of a classic band at their best.
Much like King Creature before them, Raging Speedhorn are everywhere right now, from tours with Skindred, Napalm Death and Sepultura to festival appearances they are the hardest working band in the UK. A band not afraid to mix up their set, you never know what you are going to get, and tonight they open with ‘Dungeon Whippet’ off their debut album. It’s a heady start which includes ‘Motorhead’ and ‘Redweed’, before the groove laced ‘Hand of God’ and ‘Fuck The Voodoo Man’ kick in. The vocal ferocity of Dan and Frank combined on ‘Spitfire’ is bloodthirsty, their words dripping in anger as they deliver them. Classic ‘Thumper’ raises the crowds bloodlust before they close out with latest anthem ‘Brutality’. Bones are broken, blood has been spilt, that was a classic Speedhorn set!
And thus we come to the close of the evening and British stoner rock royalty in Orange Goblin. As AC/DC’s ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ rings our the fans sing along, the atmosphere builds and we know what’s coming next.
‘Scorpionica’ has long been the opening staple of the Goblin set and it remains so tonight, firmly entrenched in the band and fans psyche. As ever the band mix up their back catalogue from the early material to the new, all melded together in one seemless set. The giant figure of Ben Ward roams the stage, his gruff voice thunderously echoing around the venue. ‘Sarumans Wish’, ‘Made of Rats’ and ‘The Filthy and The Few’ all get an airing this evening. Harry Armstrong has been with the band over a year now, but he’s settled in like a life long member, as he opens up for the intro of ‘Blue Snow’ the crowd are rocking, the Goblin classic on the tip of everyone’s tongues.
After the harrowing ‘The Fog’ the band round out the show with ‘Quincy The Pigboy’ and ‘Red Tide Rising’, again two familiar set closers, but ones that never disappoint. They were Orange Fuckin’ Goblin Baby and they ruled the roost at Uprising.
As the crowd disperse we can only thank Simon and Matt and the team for a fantastic day, each year they step up to put on this festival and each year they surpass expectations. Roll on Uprising 2023.