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SOS Festival ‘now In Its 9th Year’ July 15th-17th 2016 Prestwich Longfield Suite, Manchester

Review By Lindsey Appleton

Photos By Angel Gareth & La Photography Uk


After 8 fabulous year at the Radcliffe Civic Hall to which has been home to SOS Festival, we have had to say goodbye to this great venue as it has been demolished to make way for housing.

This year SOS Festival has been reallocated to Prestwich Longfield Suite, which is not only a bigger venue, with lots of lovely air con, more seating, a lift for the disabled/those with young children in buggies and the elderly but has 2 great big rooms within the venue, one of which has been allocated to press this weekend.

SOS Festival also hosts a new children’s corner ‘The Mini Mosher’s Area’ to which they can do art & crafts, chill out with their friends and which also features a play tent where they can just hang out away from the main room to which the music will be held so they can have some quiet time.

The main room features a large extensive bar with lots of beers, ales, ciders, spirits and soft drinks on offer, a restaurant area where food can be purchased, lots of seating, an extremely large stage for main bands and an acoustic stage at the back which bands will alternate over the weekend, so when main stage bands come off and swap over, while change over is going on there will be bands held on the acoustic stage.

There are lots of merchandise stalls from our usual punters the RACPA crew with their Larpies, to t-shirt stalls, patch stalls, jewelry stalls and many more.

We have been looking forward to this event for many months and now it’s here we can’t wait to get stuck in and see some juicy bands thrash it out over the weekend.


We went down throughout the day to help the organisers set up for the day, set up the press room and the kid’s corner with art & crafts. We spoke to festival organiser Lynne Hampson who said ‘I’m extremely excited about this year’s line up, we have chosen only the finest bands to play our festival, we have a mix of genres to suit everybody, this year is going to be hard to follow’.

Bands playing tonight are:

Beyond Salvation

A 4 piece thrash metal band from Manchester


A 4 piece hard rock/classic metal band from the North-west

Pythia (pulled out due to being stuck in traffic)

A 6 piece gothic metal band from London

Babylon Fire

A 4 piece Metal band from Manchester

Absolva (headliners)

A 3 piece Metal band from Manchester (this weekend featuring guest Luke Appleton from the band Iced Earth)




Well we are finally here at the venue after a short trip, and wow what a welcome, so many people here already setting up for the day, the children are playing quietly in the corner donning their denim cut offs with their patches in the ‘Mini Mosher’s area’.

On the door taking tickets and selling tickets is Festival Organiser Lynne Hampson who greets us with open arms, and her deputy for the weekend San Carnage Owens who directs us to the relevant places where we are needed. The first band we catch today are SomaDark who are hitting the main stage here at SOS Festival, these guys pack a mighty punch.

These guys hailing from Manchester are a 5 piece melodic groove metal band who shows that they are here to make their mark on this festival. With clear and growly vocals these guys show they are not a band to be reckoned with as they smash up the stage with their monstrous riffs, parading their magnificent Jackson guitars on stage, shredding some killer solos, these guys were a great start to the day.

Up next we caught IDestroy on the main stage who are a 3 piece all girl band these girls really know how to tear it up on stage.

Hailing from Bristol UK, this rock band have it all, looks, power and ability to perform of a high calibre. If you want to see some feisty passionate women that will blow your minds then these girlies will definitely not disappoint you. They have a punk edge to them, and show lots of energy and enthusiasm as they bound about the stage here at SOS Festival; these girls are ones to watch out for.

Next up are Aonia on the main stage, this band is definitely different i will give them that, my first time seeing these guys so i didn’t really know what to expect. Aonia are a female fronted Symphonic Metal band from Yorkshire, there styles combined of opera, symphonic and power. They are very melodic with vocalists showing their skillful range as they from very low key to high soprano operatic. Very enjoyable, if you like operatic type symphonic metal then these guys will be right up your street.


Next are the fabulous A Jokers Rage on the main stage here at SOS Festival. It is no secret i am a huge fan of these guys, and what they did here today on this stage was nothing more than amazing. They wowed the crowds, totally pulled everyone into their act, their stage presence was enticing. With great songs such as ‘Bounce’ which got everyone in the mood for the day, the vibe they created was nothing more than electric. Finishing with their cover of ‘California’ by 2Pac these boys had the crowds eating out of the palms of their hands.

Here are some of what the fans had to say about this band:-

Graham Horne ‘band of the day for me’.

Andrew Miles ‘They nailed it’.

Paul Belcher ‘I was blown away by A Jokers Rage they really made my weekend’. ‘Set of the day for me was A Jokers Rage, would love to see them back higher up the order next year. Fridays Headliners? ‘.


The last band we saw today as we had to cut the day short was Ritual King here on the main stage at SOS festival, this Manchester based blues fueled prog rock band stand out from other bands we have seen here on this main stage today, as they throw out some heavy blues filled riffs which take you back to your classic rock roots.

These guys really live up to their name as they really are kings of this stage, if your wondering if they are a blues/rock or a rock/blues band i would say that these guys are in the vicinity of both as they express a fair amount of both into their music.

With deep explosive bass and heavy drum beats their blues music is amplified through their use of guitars which evolves their melodic riffs into a crescendo of harmonies which makes you want to sway along to their tantalizing music.



Well we are back for our second day here at SOS Festival 2016, and what a memorable first day yesterday was for us with lots of tasty bands that just make you want to come back and see more, so here we are!.

First band we catch today are GANG a thrash metal band hailing from Fismes France. These guys show a lot of tempo variations and rhythm changes which makes their music effective and enthusiastic. With great songs such as ‘Save Me’ and ‘Dying World’, to which the crowds sang along to, these guys show great showmanship throughout their performance.

Capturing the crowds with their energetic performance their relentless creativity catapults their music and drives the audience into a trance like state to which everyone is satisfied with this bands magic to create an adrenaline filled set, with songs which are heavy and strong their the level of power is definitely something else which is to be admired.

A great band to see, to start the day off with a bang.


Next up we see Twisted Illusion on the main stage who are a new breed of progressive rock who hail from Manchester. These guys have a uniqueness not to be missed, they lay down some interesting songs with blistering guitar solos and soaring bass. Matt’s voice dominates the songs throughout, which are complemented by the riffs he shreds out on guitar.

These guys mix it up on stage going from power balledesque intricate songs to pounding out some hard and heavy riffs. You can hear elements of Dio/Ozzy vibe coming through their playing. For a group of young musicians these guys are very talented at what they do, well worth seeing.

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Next up we see one of my favourite bands of the weekend Asylum City Zoo on the acoustic stage, to which I’m dying to see them do an acoustic set as i haven’t seen them do an acoustic set before.

And with just 2 members they pull out all the stops, they show class and charisma here on this stage and they play Slipknots ‘Snuff’. Seeing both Mark & Rishi pay this song so intricately on acoustic guitars with such skillful musicianship, Rishi shows incredible vocals throughout this song ranging from low key to high falsetto. Absolutely flawless performance of this song, one of my favourite songs of the weekend.

Next we catch The Idol Dead on main stage, these guys are a Glam/Punk/Rock band from Leeds UK.

These guys definitely have a lot of the punk attitude which shines through their performance, they bounce about with enthusiasm and charm which is infectious.The crowds were intense people drawn into the stage performance of these great performers. They generated such a high buzz, the mood was more than electric. These guys have that straight up enjoyable factor about them that makes you want to see more.

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Now we see Gemma Fox from the band Collibus doing an acoustic set on the acoustic stage. I don’t think i can say anything other than – wow!. This girls vocal range can pack a mighty punch, and is on a different level from other acts that i have seen here today. Gemma did a cover of Miley Cyrus ‘Wrecking Ball’ , you may be thinking , ‘what at a metal festival’ , and yes she did a cover of this which was nothing more than breath taking.

Managing a vocal range that would make any man grab their crotch in disdain as she reaches some notes a man would only be able to reach if you booted them where it hurts. Gemma’s performance nothing more than absolutely flawless.


We head back over to the main stage to catch Massive Wagons next who are a fun loving hard rock band from Carnforth UK. If you want to see a relentless balls to the wall hard grafting band then look no further. Starting off their set with their almighty track ‘Tokyo’ instantly got everyone up out of their seats and bouncing about the venue, it was glorious to see. I think the crowds had almost as much fun as the band did on stage when they opened with this crazy little number.

Their dramatic effect of starting with this all time classic was like an assault on the ears of this intrusive highly addictive music. Massive Wagons sound is drawn from various influences as you can hear variations of genres through their music from AOR to blues to prog to classic rock. This band has gone from strength to strength and has catapulted their way to the top and has done an incredible performance here at SOS today.

massive wagons1 massive wagons6


Next up we have Chris Appleton (Absolva) and Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) here on the acoustic stage.

These brothers are an arduous duo, who work hard and play hard to get where they are today. Luke just having flown in from Germany from playing ‘Bang Your Head’ festival in front of 20,000 people with his brothers in Iced Earth has flown into the UK to join his brother Chris here on stage today. Reuniting brothers who were once known as the fabulous band Fury UK are here performing at SOS Festival 2016. Together these guys are a tight well oiled machine, you can tell they have this rehearsed down to a fine art as they are nothing more than spectacular on stage performing in front of a vast crowd here at the acoustic stage.

Their set which included the Absolva classic ‘Its never a good day to die’ to which all true Absolva fans chanted along with. These boys have shown true solidarity not only as musicians but as brothers standing united on stage through the love and passion of music unites everyone as one.

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Chris FB page

Luke FB page

Last band of this brilliant festival headlining tonight is Knock Out Kaine their second to last show before they take a 12 month break to have some down time.

These guys kick it up a notch as the final band of the festival and churn out one of the best performances ive ever seen these guys do. From classics such as ‘Cruel Britannia’ to ’16 Grams of a heart attack’ was the perfect way to round off the evening. Dean Foxx and co have staged the perfect performance to go out on here at SOS Festival, ready for their 12 month wind down. We hope to see these guys here again next year with new material and raring to get back out on that stage and show us what they have got in store. Their electricity on stage and vibe makes me feel sad knowing this is the last band of the evening, and from here we would all be heading home.



Suffice to say post festival blues are now kicking in. Thank you SOS Festival this year has been a blinder!. To Mark Appleton & Lynne Hampson, the sound guys the lighting crew, and all the other backstage crew, this year has topped them all bring on next year for SOS 10 year anniversary event!.

Get your tickets here for SOS 2017 10 year anniversary event!

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