Manchester, UK - home of some of the best bands which has shaped UK music history, a place where freedom of expression, breaking down the social barriers and looking for the alternative in everyday life has made the city what we know it as today. With it still being the hub of musical talent, a place where you can hear sounds from multiple genres, bands, visions and still be wowed.
A rise in interest in metal, Doom and Stoner within the city over the past couple of years has opened up a new musical market, a place where people all over the world flock to to experience the creme-de-la-creme within the space. More people than ever are opening their ears to the talent that lies behind the riff - So why are these genres loved so much, and why do more and more people come to Riffolution Festival every year? As the name suggests - is it all about that Riff or what?
Brain child of Dan Godwin of Riffolution Promotions aims to bring the finest in Stoner, Doom and Metal, if that tickles your fancy. Every single year they have grown, with bigger venues and even more talented acts, the atmosphere has always been exciting, vibrant and welcoming - This time round we slink down as Acid Rain.
Hosted at Gorilla in the heart of Manchester, which is an amazing venue, and always has the best in acts no matter the time of year. With a deliciously international Line-up we were so excited to attend this years event. Back to back acts, we were in for a full packed day! one stage and nine acts, it was going to be a busy one.
Elder Druid was first on our list; Representing Ireland they gave us a taste of what was to come, slamming out hits such as Sleeping Giant and Golgotha. Their music is high octane, heavy and tantalisingly deep. Considering it was their last gig of the tour, they still brought an undeniably exciting energy to the stage, and giving their all - really setting us up for the rest of the day.
Dead witches gave us a lamenting performance, their music truly transports you to a darker place but it's a necessary dark which is found deep inside all of us, listen to When The Dead Sees The sun to know what we mean. Gothically cool, great riffs and deep lyrics they transformed the stage, and showed us a raw side to the genre which was poetic in its own way. and brought us into the evening of the festival.
Never seeing Ten Foot Wizard before, we did not know what to expect, but my lord did they blow us all away. The Manc based band sent out slick riffs to the crowd, bouncing around on stage, they had the whole crowd by their balls, a cult like position where people were head-banging in unison. Smiles all around as they played such epic tunes like King Shit of Fuck Mountain, where the lead singers voice is fruitily guttural and Broken Man, where the drums led you into the abyss of the festival. It was psychedelically delectable.
Other highlights were Boss Keloid, who were grungy and gave a strong performance, with songs such as Chronosiam and Gentle Clovis , their music is vocally heavy, and highlighted well by the epic nature of the song structures, with tasty guitar solos, rolling drums and a high vibrational frequency they gave a really powerful performance full of heat. Witchrider who are Austrian Gods who play dark and grungy tunes to fulfil your appetite , luring you in with their extended riffs, layering on instruments well and their dissonant lyrics which give off 90s nostalgia for the modern audience. you should 100% listen to Black & OCD - A brief break was what we needed, the crowd were still going strong and the energy never subsided, we were ready for the final band, with a hefty cider being guzzled, we made our way to the front.
Naxatras from Greece ended the night by giving us clean Neo- Psych Rock and far-out riffs that captivate you. They have a strong following and for good reason, by being beautifully hypnotic with amazing songs such as Waves and Space Tunnel they left you wanting more. For me personally, I click better with the psychedelic rock, as the music is dreamily addictive, sexy and fun and most importantly their music transports you to a happy place - preferable on the beach please.
From the crowds perspective, the energy was high, the drinks flowed freely and the music was perfectly powerful. We had the chance to get a few words from the man behind the fest Dan Godwin:
A: How did the night go in your eyes?
D: Personally I really enjoyed it, and the feedback I got was very positive. There were moments where I was stressing for various reasons, but that’s to be expected being that I’m the one that gets the blame if things don’t work out.
A: Why did you want to create Riffolution Festival?
D: Well as a brief history, I originally wanted to become a sound engineer in Manchester, but most places want to see that you have experience. The only way I could do that was by creating my own opportunities. From there I developed my shows, and I realised that there wasn’t really much of the Stoner / Doom type shows going on in my area, so that was my way in. Later on I changed my outlook and decided, rather than doing the festival for myself, I wanted to do it to keep building the scene in Manchester, and open up more opportunities for other bands to gig here. A: How long has it taken for you to arrange this years festival? D: So this year was the 5th instalment off Riffolution. As you can imagine we wanted to make it bigger than ever before, which took us months to get a massive line-up together. However, there were some complications which meant we had to change everything to make it a viable show. When it comes to organising a show, the work never stops. Once the bands and venue are booked, you have to keep on advertising to sell tickets, and putting out any fires that may arise. A: What’s the future for the festival? D: We have so many plans. After what we’ve learnt from the past years, we’re still working out the formula for the perfect set-up, and that takes a while. However, learning from mistakes and taking in feedback means we have a strong plan for next year, and then keep on pushing to make it one of them “must see” events. A: What do you want people to know about the festival, for someone who has never heard of it? D: What I would say is give it a try. We usually put on a line-up that doesn’t just appeal to ourselves, but the wider audience. The scene itself is very welcoming, and usually there are bands on there that are well worth discovering if you haven’t heard of them before. As a musician myself, I’ve gained inspiration from the incredible music that the bands display.
With this in mind, have we convinced you to come and explore next years festival? In the meantime, why don't you go and follow Riffolution Promotions on instagram here and be sure to check out all the artists mentioned!
Who knows what to expect next year! See you there 💃