Join Festivalphoto at Faceboook
Follow Festivalphoto at Twitter
Watch our festival videos at Youtube
Follow Festivalphoto at Instagram

Defiance festival | FESTIVALPHOTO

Defiance festival


The Defiance festival was held at the Asylum venue in Birmingham. A few minutes walk from the city centre, the venue is located in a run-down industrial estate, and doesnt look much from the outside. Once inside however the venue's appeal becomes obvious. The venue is a decent size, has good sound and lighting, cheap beer and barmaids dressed in sexy nurses uniforms (a fact that many of the guys in the audience seemed to appreciate for some reason). There is also a sheltered smoking area where smokers are able to sit in the dry and out of the wind - a rarity these days.
The festival was organised by tonights headliner, Lahannya, and she has chosen all the bands on the bill herself. Sadly the cold weather seems to have kept the crowd smaller than the lineup deserves, but the bands dont let it bother them.

First up is Exoterik, from Yorkshire. Fronted by singer Anneka Latta, this band have only been around a couple of years, but are already polished enough to put on a good live show for the crowd. Whereas many female fronted bands in the UK seem to have good singers but be lacking in power, Exoterik have enough power to give the music a much needed punch. Judging by the queue of people visiting the merchandise stand at the end of their set to buy CD's and have photos taken with the band (or with Anneka at least), they have obviously made plenty of new fans tonight.

Second up is Dyonisis. Singer Nel Cave takes to the stage in what looks almost like a wedding dress with fairy lights sewn into it - certainly quite eye-catching when the lights are still low. After the powerful music of Exoterik, Dyonisis pack far less of a punch, but their more alternative style of music seems to go down well with most of the crowd.

After Dyonisis, next on stage is local band Hanging Doll, performing in their home town. Unsurprisingly they have a good number of their fans in the audience and get plenty of applause as they take to the stage. Hanging Doll have been around for around 3 years and have built up a strong following, particularly since they released their album "Reason and Madness" in 2008. Tonights performance is as slick and polished as we've come to expect from Hanging Doll, and earns them a few more fans. Singer Sally Holliday has a lovely voice that is balanced out by the grunts and growls from bandmate Kev. Their next album, "The Sacred and Profane" due for release in 2011 is definitely one to watch out for based on tonights performance.

Next up is Esoterica - the only band on the bill without a female singer. Since the festival has attracted a lot of fans of female fronted rock and metal, Esoterica have an challenge on their hands to try and impress the audience. As their performance starts, the singer leaps up and grabbing hold of a roof beam, quickly clambers up into the rafters where he hangs for a while before dropping down to the stage to start singing. Despite the lack of a female singer, Esoterica manage to keep the crowds attention and get a good reception.

Tonights penultimate band is Pythia, a female fronted power metal band who are rapidly gaining fans both in the UK and in mainland Europe where they recently played a very well received set at the Metal Female Voices Festival. Pythia are clearly the heaviest band here tonight and come out on stage all wearing costumes including leather armour for the men. Most of Pythia's set is based around tracks from their debut album "Beneath the veiled embrace", but one new track from their second album (currently in the process of being written and recorded) is played - "Just a lie". The new song goes down particularly well and means that expectations for the new album are very high - several fans were asking after the show when the album will be released (early 2011 seems to be the best estimate). The crowd are clearly enjoying Pythia's set, and singer Emily Ovenden keeps the crowd fired up and also enlists their participation to sing the chorus for the final song of the set - "No compromise". Pythia suffer tonight from several sound problems including when a member of Lahannya's band cuts across the edge of the stage from the dressing room and trips over a cable, unplugging guitarist Ross White in the process. Despite the sound problems, Pythia put on a great performance.

Tonights final band, and headliner is Lahannya. Emerging on stage in a skintight PVC outfit with her bright blue dreadlocks, Lahannya makes a striking impression. The PVC may be a decision she'll regret later as the temperature in the entire venue is roasting hot - and on stage its hotter still. Lahannya has been making music for many years and has beeen working with most of her current band for around 4 years. Her band is truly international with drummer Luca being Italian, Bass player Lutx being German, and guitarist Chris being English. Lahanyya's music is best described as Gothic/Industrial and is a change of pace from the power metal of Pythia. However you categorise the music, the crowd are clearly loving it, and are treated to a set including old favourites such as "welcome to the machine" and "Burn" as well as new material from the next album (the two new songs played - "Scavenger" and "Beautiful wasteland" are also included on a CD single/live DVD package, "Scavenger"). Despite people having been on their feet pretty much constantly for the last 5 or 6 hours. Lahannya still succeeds in getting the crowd jumping up and down during "Interference".

Despite the fact that all the bands have their own different styles, Lahannya has put together a lineup that virtually everyone who attended enjoyed. This may have been her first attempt at organising a festival, but judging by the fact that everything seemed to run smoothly and the fans enjoyed all the bands she'd chosen then I wouldnt be surprised if she chose to organise more events in the future.


Writer: Anthony May
I don't have Facebook