NWOBHM heroes line up for Brofest
NWOBHM heroes including Holocaust, Avenger, Scarab and Spartan Warrior will gather at the first Brofest event at Northumbria University Students Union, Newcastle, on March 1 and 2. Organiser and former Tygers Of Pan Tang vocalist Jess Cox explains why the event is so important.
In 1980 a new musical phenomena burst into the world, called the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. It spawned Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Saxon – and the North East’s very own Tygers Of Pan Tang.
The movement only lasted a few short years; but for a while it was the height of cool – and it influenced generations of major worldwide acts, including the biggest heavy metal band on the planet: Metallica.
Many of the movement’s foot soldiers were from Newcastle and outlining towns. Most of them were signed by Neat Records from Wallsend, who released 200 singles and albums through the 1980s by Geordie metal acts Venom, Raven, the Tygers, Tysondog, Fist, Blitzkreig and White Spirit (featuring guitarist Janick Gers, who found fame later in Maiden).
If you live in the UK you might have assumed NWOBHM ended some time in the 80s. But I still work with many of the acts that started the movement. There has been a resurgence of interest lately, especially in the Americas and Japan, where I’ve taken bands to play in front of many thousands of fans.
It’s time to bring them home. This weekend some of them will play Brofest, a brand-new eventin Newcastle, which I hope will become an annual occurrence.
NWOBHM heritage in the North East is represented by Tysondog, Avenger and Spartan Warrior. Of course, the movement was far more widespread, and so Hull’s Salem will take a break from headlining metal weekenders across the world to appear with us. Darlington’s Holosade represent the more thrashy element of the NWOBHM spectrum, combining the breakneck riffage of the likes of Megadeth and Anthrax with more melodic passages.
For the first time in nearly 30 years local heroes Badge will take the stage, along with cult Midland legends Bashful Alley and Scarab.
Edinburgh’s Holocaust headline the event. That band’s influence is well known amongst the rock fraternity –– a cover of their song The Small Hours was not only featured on TV show The Sopranos, but also appeared on Metallica’s Garage Inc album. German medallists Gamma Ray covered their signature tune Heavy Metal Mania and US hardcore car Six Feet Under recorded a version of Death And Glory. Reformed recently for festivals in Greece, Spain and Germany, it’s Holocaust’s first time playing in Newcastle (and England!).
Young talent is not forgotten: opening the show on Friday 1st March will be London’s Sabbath-inspired Amulet, along with fellow Cockneys and Judas Priest fanatics Deep Machine.
In total, 12 classic bands will play over the course of the weekend, which will also feature a large NWOBHM record and memorabilia fayre. The show will also be featured as part of a German documentary following the resurgence of the movement, and four film crews will shoot the entire festival for broadcast on European television and a DVD release next year.
A Holocaust lyric sums it all up: “I’ve got heavy metal mania in my blood, and I’d like to give it to you if I could.” We will this weekend in Newcastle – see you there?
Find out more at www.brofest.co.uk