Festival season has pretty much drawn to a close and whilst gigs have been somewhat limited, IRON REAGAN set to end August with a bang. The thrash crossover group have been all over Europe this summer and in the intimate walls of The Star and Garter in Manchester, the stage was set for the band to really give people a night to remember. The question is, is the hangover from festival season still dragging on?
Prior to IRON REAGAN taking the stage, the packed venue was treated to two local supporting acts. Whilst slightly different than the other bands on the bill, FORGED IN THE FURNACE OF THE SUN did an admirable job of being as loud as humanely possible given the intimacy of the venue. Riffs were absolutely enormous, creating a huge wall of sound that consumed all in attendance, and the vocal deliveries from frontman Ben Kelly were trademark to the DIY approach to their sound. Blending the stylistic characteristics of metal, hardcore, crust and grindcore is a difficult job in itself, let alone in the live setting, but FORGED IN THE FURNACE OF THE SUN did more than enough to make it work, bringing a solid opening set.
DENIM & LEATHER‘s DIY approach sits more on the punk side of the spectrum rather than metal, but regardless, the Manchester based band are more than suitable on the bill. You get the feeling the event is all about championing the raw and do-it-yourself attitude to punk, crossover and metal and in that regard, DENIM & LEATHER did a admirable job at inciting chaos. Guitar riffs were simple yet effective, the blasts from the drums kept the rhythm flowing at breakneck speed and vocal deliveries lacked any trace of harmony, instead pummelled those in attendance with sheer intensity. They may not be musically proficient but given the mood and style of the event, DENIM & LEATHER were more than adequate throughout their set.
After a short delay, IRON REAGAN took to the stage and almost immediately chaos erupted inside The Star and Garter. From the offset, the band roared into life and the intimate setting worked highly in the band’s favour. The dual riffs of Land Phil and Mark Bronzino were absolutely huge and backed by the rapid tempo of Ryan Parrish on the drums and thick bass tones from Rob Skotis kept the rhythm flowing fast. Tony Foresta‘s presence as a frontman was a perfect fit for the crossover style, with his shouts and screams packing an almighty punch. Full of charisma and working well as a unit, the band were able to make their songs sound even more meaty in the live environment. Miserable Failure brought a massive pit, I Won’t Go had the swelling crowd chanting in unison and the ‘chicken fight’ mosh pit was a fine example to what IRON REAGAN are all about; unadulterated enjoyable fun. The party spirit was in full swing, and even though it isn’t their style, a cover of A Skull Full Of Maggots by CANNIBAL CORPSE was lapped up in great appreciation and didn’t sit out of place in comparison to the rest of the set. Full on, high octane and utterly relentless, IRON REAGAN gave a performance that perfectly captures the essence of DIY crossover. It was stripped down, not polished and damn enjoyable from start to finish.