ROCKMANTIC – Brickworks in Carlisle Friday, Feb 3, 2023 (Festival Report)

ROCKMANTIC - Brickworks in Carlisle Friday, Feb 3, 2023 (Festival Report)
ROCKMANTIC – Brickworks in Carlisle Friday, Feb 3, 2023

The Journey

Rockmantic in Blackpool took me four hours to get to, the motorway (M6) being particularly nasty that day. Today, however, it was kind, heavenly in fact.  Although being a daft Midlander I thought, once I was passed Blackpool, Carlisle was just a bit further up the road.  I saw a sign saying, Carlisle 83 miles…… Truth is, once into the Lake District, this country is beautiful, even if I am viewing it from a motorway. Just before the Tebay services on the way up the M6, mist on the hillside (we call them mountains in this country but trust me, they are hills) the scenery is stunning. I want to stop, pull over, and take a load of photographs.  At this precise moment, the soundtrack at this wondrous location is “Oblivion” by Palaye Royale and it just feels so fitting, random but perfect, although I know it wasn’t sky and sea.

I’m in between the sky and sea
I’m floating in oblivion
I’m in between, entrapped and free
I’m floating in oblivion

Songwriters: Christopher Greatti / Phem / Emerson Barrett Kropp / Remington Leith Kropp / Sebastian Danzig Kropp

Oblivion” lyrics © Sony/ATV Tunes Llc, Catsnip Music, Royal Council Publishing

I felt that this was a sign of things to come, a weekend of fun, great music and lots of laughter, I wasn’t wrong….

The Venue

Friday night in Carlisle at the Brickyard. I think I was expecting a bigger venue but that’s nothing bad, it’s a cool place. It’s a medium-sized hall probably around 350. The stage is high and visible from the whole of the room, the lighting smoky. All photographers complain about light so I will try not to because Dio is playing in the background “We Rock”.  Got here in time to purchase my Rockmantic Weekender T-shirt. I Love the vibe of this place, the staff are really cool, helpful, it’s just a bit far North…

Square Wild

Lucy Shevchuk (singer), Tom Cooper (drums), Jack Vallance (lead guitar-final gig) Benedict Rhodes (bass)

Having spotted these guys recently filling the Waterloo with vibrancy, not only with their coloured outfits but their varied sounds, this evening I’m looking forward to getting another viewing. Well, you either have great taste in music or you haven’t. I happen to know I have awesome tastes, I know this because they are mine and I love this band.  Honestly though! You gotta love this band, in a world where everything sounds like everything else, then we get Square Wild, pigeonhole at your peril. The energy alone is like having a massive bowl of fruit and fibre, Weetabix and sixteen coffees. They help to loosen up your movement. Fronted by the extremely versatile vocals of Lucy Shevchuk, she is certainly fluid, her movement, hypnotic, vocals are stunning. They put me in mind of Hazel O’Connor, Bjork and Siouxsie Sioux, although hard to nail down. Definitely lovely, smooth and fluid.  They open with, what I believe is their regular starter of “Tubular Bells“, showcasing the talent of this band right from the off. And on with “Kill the King” and featuring Sloth, Witch and Gadge which I believe is Inspector Gadget to you and me?  With no written setlist, they make it fun for reviewers. The music has rock, funk, punk n reggae going on, sometimes in one song, which is probably why I love ‘em.  The other charm of this band is their apparent innocence and lack of awareness of how good they are as a unit.  Lucy is the star of the show, she captivates the audience with her passion and enjoyment of both the music and the stage show.  A band that should be a household name. I think I like Square Wild they keep me fluid….. and they make me smile.


Tony Lang (vocal & guitar), Mark Wilson (keyboard), Mouse (drums)

On the back of two excellent albums, A’priori is another band on the rise, looking majestic on this stage in this wonderful venue. As you know another band that I really like, Tony Lang’s (vocal & guitar) guitar tone sounds particularly good tonight. Really like it, meaty and heavy, even if the lead dropped out during the opening bars. Tony, consummate professional, gets on with it, whilst Mouse and Mark play on as though the whole thing was planned, smiling away.  Opening with “Watch the World Burn“, A’priori are starting the fire. This powerful trio seems to get better every time I see them. I can’t see them staying in venues of this size for much longer. They are gaining a reputation as one of the rising stars and on tonight’s evidence, it’s easy to see why. “Shotgun Blues“, “Black Church” and the wonderfully catchy “Better Man“. There’s no room at the barrier and very little room in the crowd as A’priori conduct the crowd through “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah” and the show closer, “Wasted Years” (not that one). These guys are truly majestic, cool guys too, You really do need to check them out before this world burns.


Kyle Lamley (guitar & vocals), Ash Lamley (drums)

I might have been able to cadge a lift with these guys as they have travelled from Burton upon Trent which is just up the road from my hometown of Tamworth.  They’ve shrunk a bit since the last time I saw them, they are now a two-piece.

I have to confess, I saw these guys a few times back in the day and went from liking them to, well! I dunno, just being a little less interested in them. Obviously, it was me that was a bit meh! I just lost my way with them. As stated, they are now a duo, but fair play, Kyle is an excellent frontman/showman, clad in funky clothing and both of them, looking and sounding as cool as!!! Opening with “Fire“, we’re heating up again, flaming hot and in need of a doctor….or a nurse. Kyle dedicates the next track “Blue Heart” to all those that wear the blue uniform, in the house, or anywhere, and, in particular, his sister that wears the uniform as a nurse. All hail our wonderful NHS workers!!! The set continues with “The Day“, “No Crisis“, “Hoo Woo” and finishing with “Back in Line“.  I would suggest that the band’s popularity has no crisis to worry about, for me anyway, today was “The Day” that I need to step Back in Line, find out my Theia album, and start enjoying them again. On this showing, they are in fine shape and ready to fire again. Great show guys!


Four piece from Kent, Gabrielle George (vocals), Max Raven (guitar), Anthony Durrant (bass), Dominic Smith (drums).

First time seeing this band from Kent and I was really excited and looking forward to hearing them live. I was right to be excited, captivating from the start.  Opening with “My Cold Shadow” they aren’t messing around, energy, aggression, control, passion and enjoyment. Love to see bands enjoying their set. Gabrielle stalks the stage and is the perfect front for the band. She holds you, even if ya don’t wanna be held. “Suicide Storm” and “My Bastard Gods” follow on. Visually captivating, lead guitar Max and bass Anthony joust powerfully around the stage behind Gabrielle looking almost satanic with her hair in massive bunches almost like ram’s horns, jet black and ominous. This unit isn’t to be messed with. The show is based around the six-track CD Uncaged and it made me buy it… “Black Teeth” and the aforementioned “My Cold Shadow” being the only tracks aired tonight not on the CD……hmmm where do I get more??  They close the show with “Freaky Fright Night” (I had already checked this out on youtube), great way to end a great pulsating and all-out rock show! Tonight I am slain, although I am also uncaged…..some might suggest unhinged. Pryma are heavier than one of those…..really heavy things, they’re heavy….


Caroline Kenyon (vocals) Laurie Buchanan replacement for tonight Tony Lang, we all love Laurie but Tony does give the band a slightly different dynamic.

Caroline strolls onto the stage ready to slither, dance and prowl her way into our minds and heart.  Unfortunately, even though it wasn’t a “drop the Mic moment” that’s the first thing she did. Unphased by this, Caroline and the band blast their way into the set. The brickyard soundman doing a terrific job, the sound has been great all night. Everyone knows I’m a sucker for female vocals, and I do think Caroline’s vocals are terrific. A similar vein to Amy Lee, controlled, melodic, taunting and haunting. She sounds great on the opener “Fiction“, (a fantasy song that features the classic line “six-string, a mahogany Gibson”) and throughout the set, which is a similar set to Sheffield. Next up “Hunter” and then “Poison“, although we don’t get my fave, “Talk About It” or “Good Time Girl”. We do get “Sick and Twisted” and a brand new track, “Karma” and the excellent wooaah, ooooh, wooooooaaah, woah, Rip me to shreds before the finale of “Rollercoaster”. I love the songs, love the vibe and look forward to an album release soon. Bastette were very powerful tonight and I loved every minute…

Florence Black 

Merthyr Tydfil Tristan Thomas (lead vocals & guitar), Jordan Evans (bass & backing vocals), Perry Davies (drums)

Florence Black are a band worthy of bigger stages, bigger audiences and tonight they flex their substantial muscle to a packed-out Brickyard, filled with a lot of Florence Black T-shirts. The crowd are expectant and let’s face it has been a fantastic evening, once again the team from Upstaged casting their particular magic spells for all of us, don’t know how they do it.

Florence Black is meanwhile casting its magic over the audience. A friend of mine said he loved the show but it was the same set list, he wasn’t criticizing the quality, he was just demanding more new stuff. Watch this space or even better follow the band’s socials, it’s bound to happen.  Truth is yeah we may have heard “Black Cat“, “Bird on a Wire“, “Zulu” and “The Ride” before but they do sound fantastic, some people are just greedy!!!  Tonight the guys are on a mission blasting their way through their songs, engaging with the audience. Loads of hands in the air clapping along in the Brickyard not a hod carrier in sight but there is plenty of heavy lifting going on. The sonic blast that is Florence Black pushes out like a nuclear assault blasting everything out of their way for the first time in 2023, I for one am glad I made the journey.  Dare I say it but “Breadfan” seems to have found a new home, these guys do it so well, they do Budgie proud with their wonderful cover and every head in the house is moving along.  When you stand at the back of the hall, sit back and listen and just wow, a three some….errrr no a three-piece, I am reminded once more that this is a fabulous rhythm section, just a monster a real monster. Love it.

Finishing the show with the awesome “Sun & MoonFlorence Black are a powerful monster, only three of them but they really went for it tonight and sure enough, they got it! Truly epic performance

OFFICIAL WEBSITE (Upstaged) / FACEBOOK (Rockmantic)

Ian “Roadie” Owen’s Rockmantic Blackpool coverage for CGCM Rock Radio

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