Event review: Scream Lounge hosts Screamfest 2016

By - Monday 5th September, 2016

Paul Dennis rocks out at Croydon’s Screamfest 2016

Screamfest 2016 headliners Kyrbgrinder rocked an enthusiastic audience.
Photo author’s own.

Straight off the bat I’m going to confess that I wasn’t able to attend all three nights of the Croydon Screamfest that ran from 19th to 21st August inclusive at the Scream Lounge. But at least I was able to get along to Saturday night’s ‘Bleed to This’ production, headlined by Kyrbgrinder, with heavyweight support from Tenyson, Jacknife Seizure, Trevor’s Head, Dogtown Dojo and Out of Context.

Organiser Mark Turner deserves a medal the size of the Clocktower clock, for masterminding the event and keeping music real and live in Croydon.

I asked Mark about the timing of the festival, and his laconic reply was “if not now – when?”. And in a summer of European football, with a plethora of large open air festivals and the Olympics all competing for attention, I can see his point.

Now, rock music might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but music is music and it absolutely thrives on a live audience. With Croydon losing venues capable of hosting live music at an alarming rate, I’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone willing to rage against the dying of the light.

Rant over, what was the gig like?

Thebands’ fast changeovers put a Formula One pit crew to shame

Thanks to Mark’s genius, it was refreshingly diverse. Very different bands, each with their own slant on rock and playing to an appreciative audience.

The format of the gig was for fairly short sets by each band, with some rapid equipment changes in between. The bands themselves and their technicians could have put Formula One pit crews to shame with the fast changeovers – I’m old enough to remember leisurely roadies taking an hour to adjust between sets. At last! Enjoyable progress!

There are so many sub genres of rock, and in particular ‘heavy metal’, these days that it’s like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates: you never know what you are going to get. What I can say about all of the bands on Saturday’s gig is that, while they occasionally nodded in the direction of the rock categories that had influenced them, they were steadfastly inventing and defining their own genres – and there wasn’t a cover version in sight.

All I can say is that I liked everything that I saw and heard. Great musicianship from all quarters, but blazing technique was not an end to itself and all of the bands really let it rock.

Croydon favourites Tenyson on the top of their game.
Photo author’s own.

What was particularly enjoyable was the strong local connection, with Croydon’s own Out Of Context and Tenyson, and Redhill-based Trevor’s Head. It really is great to see the flag being flown by top local talent and they are deservedly building a loyal fan base. Play and they will come, to paraphrase a well-known film. Headline act Kyrbgrinder absolutely deserved their top billing too. I’d done a bit of research, and had also had my card marked by Tenyson’s thunderous bass player, Rawden Enever, but I still wasn’t prepared for what was a sheer force of nature.

Fronted by drummer and vocalist Johanne James, and with Aaron Waddingham on guitar and Dave Lugay on bass, the band managed to mix old school rock with more modern metal, a touch of funk and some punchy jazz influences, whilst steering clear of those dangerous rocks and reefs marked ‘fusion’. Superb stuff, and a top conclusion to what was a great evening of music.

There are some very talented bands out there, and the best way to discover what they have to offer is to see them live and tap into their energy! Thanks to all of the bands and to Mark Turner. More of the same please!


Paul Dennis

Paul Dennis

An award-winning journalist, Paul has worked on angling titles for much of his career, including 16 years as deputy editor of Angler's Mail and 4 years as editor of Total Sea Fishing magazine. He is a regular freelance contributor for a wide array of non-angling-related titles, author of two books on angling and a widely-followed authority on the subject.

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  • Ian Marvin

    Great review, I’ll try to catch Kyrbgrinder if they come back to Croydon. I’m not sure if we’re losing venues at the moment, i spent an interesting evening in the Odd Shoe last month, 3 bands playing, and there’s talk of live music returning to the Ship.