After an amazing first day of Mangata, I could not wait to see what the second day would bring. The temperatures were set to be even higher than the day before as we were heading into a sudden heatwave the following week (we had 40C the following Monday and Tuesday). That Sunday certainly was a scorcher and many bands and attending folk dressed accordingly. A variety of flowy leopard and Koi shirts as well as kawaii cat shorts could be seen as well as plenty of sun kissed skin. Although the warm weather and probably the effects from the previous nights after party saw less people attend, the atmosphere did not suffer one bit. Nottingham metal folk are just way too enthusiastic about the scene to allow for the day to be quiet and dull.
The Mangata weekend has shown how much of a community the Metal scene in the Midlands and surrounding areas is as well as showcased the vast amount of talent that just seems to be ascending from here. Almost like demons arising from the hell mouth in Sunnydale, only in this case it’s Metalbands and the Midlands.
Now let’s get to the music, shall we?
The first artist on my schedule was Wilted Flower, who normally comes as a duo but was on stage on their own that day playing a full acoustic set. Having had a chance to chat with them for a moment before their set, I have to say that they don’t just have a beautiful voice but also a very sweet personality. From the start of their set, Wilted Flower managed to flood the brewery courtyard with their beautiful voice and created such a wonderful and personal atmosphere. Just a wonderful way to start the day.
Their music filled my heart with equal parts melancholy and happiness for feeling understood, as if their music is that weighted blanket your body is seeking to feel grounded but also allow yourself to accept the sadness within. Wilted Flower describe themselves as an Ambi-Punk band writing sad stuff and I find that is just one side of the coin as I also find their music to be comforting and grounding, but maybe that is just me. I highly recommend looking them up and listening to them yourself.
The next band that stood out to me were Crosslight playing on main stage – a riff smashing brutal pop band with infectious hooks and weird noises. Having a strong female lead vocalist, they sounded like Nottingham’s answer to old school Paramore to me. The band in itself is a diverse bunch that just gels so well, and you can hear that in their songs and see it on stage. Crosslight had a great stage presence with some serious crowd engagement that saw the guitarist utilising the barrier and steps to get up close and personal with the crowd. I always appreciate artists that do not shy away from engaging with their fans.
During their set they played old favourites as well as a new song that was released that very day called “This guy are sick” which has a darker sound compared to their other songs, but is still very much Crosslight. Overall, they were absolutely enjoyable to watch live and have a really fun mixed sound that is perfect combination of pop and rock/metal.
When having checked the days schedule Bad Llama stood out to me as a band that I just wanted to see based on their name alone. I went in with absolutely zero expectations as I had never listened to them prior. Turns out this alternative rock band was going to be a new favourite of mine after I saw them live on the second stage that day.
When they came out, all I could see was a 4 piece of dudes with long hair playing some sick and gnarly music. Their sound live is pretty bass heavy, which is a definite preference of mine, but Bad Llama’s songs aren’t just that though. Their songs are loaded with deep and emotional lyrics, sung by their vocalist Kyle Jordan, that just worms its way into your heart. He just has this impressive ability to convey all those emotions with his voice and you find yourself unable to stop listening to their songs.
Live on stage Bad Llama are more than capable to put on an enjoyable show as well. 7eventh sea were playing on the main stage at the same time and I would say that the crowd very much was evenly split between both bands. I personally choose Bad Llama over 7eventh Sea and feel like I made the right choice for me. Their set was very well balanced, and they finished by playing some Rage Against the Machine.
The next band I watched was Drip Fed Empire and these guys just completely blew me away with their pure, unfiltered and intense energy on stage. From the moment the first beat dropped, Drip Fed Empire created an atmosphere that was just charged with pure power and electricity and that wasn’t just created by the lead, but the entire band. We saw some great crowd interactions by one of the guitarists who not only utilised the crash barrier to get close to the fans, but also jumped into the crowd to continue playing one of their songs while running in circles around metalheads.
The band’s sound is a unique mix of Metalcore, Industrial, Nu-Metal laced with Drum & Bass. Their lyrics remind me of old school Enter Shikari, yet on stage I get vibes of Linkin Park dialled up to 11. All the above creates a potent cocktail that is just pure Drip Fed Empire.
Their sound mixed with their overwhelming stage presence makes them almost addictive to watch and leaves you craving for more. During their set at Mangata they played a great mix of their own songs as well as a wicked cover of Rammstein’s “Du Hast” mixed with The Prodiy’s “Firestarter”. Overall Drip Fed Empire were my highlight of day 2 of Mangata. These guys are just amazing.
After Drip Fed Empire, we had Chuggaboom on main stage. These guys were committed to their bands image as they came on stage in full garb, despite the near enough 40C weather we had. Commitment to their brand and the sheer talent these guys have, will hopefully see them going places in the near future. Saying that, they already have quite a bit of an online following with 13k followers on Facebook alone.
Their live set was absolutely pure joy to watch and I loved their sound. Dual vocals that can give you both growls and beautiful melodies, sung and spoken words supported by pure talent on guitar, drums and bass. Chuggaboom played their original songs, but on platforms like Apple Music you can find a variety of amazing covers as well. These guys have managed to create a Metal version of songs like “7 Rings” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” while sticking their Chuggaboom stamp on it.
While checking out their other socials I came across some incredible reels where Chuggaboom showcase their incredible talent by doing some open verse challenges on platforms like TikTok. Do yourself a favour and look them up, they are highly entertaining.
Bottomline for these guys; they are incredible and talented and worth every Metalheads time, so Metalheads – make the time and listen to Chuggaboom.
We are now going to change gear and talk about Cage Fight. This vicious hardcore, trash crossover band fronted by French Rachel Aspe was a pure force on stage. Introduced to us as London’s musical power “outhouse” this band did not disappoint. Their stage presence was great, their sound outstanding and their energy was exceptional. I honestly was so looking forward to seeing them live.
Rachel does not take prisoners with her strong vocal skills and its pure bliss to feel the vicious vocal energy coming from her on stage. She gives me Alissa White-Gluz meets Tairrie B vibes and I want more of that!
Cage Fight describe their sound as Hardcore Punk and you can certainly hear that in their songs. Rough around the edges to fit the punk and the evil spirits to make it into the hardcore genre.
This band is a force to be reckoned with and I highly urge you to see them live as you will see mosh pits and circle pits and maybe even walls of death. Their songs contain all the ingredients to create a brutal gig atmosphere and the band knows exactly how to use those ingredients to deliver a sick show.
So far, this weekend had been absolutely amazing, and we were now heading towards the end of it. Blood Youth were the headliner on the second stage and there could not have been a better choice. These Yorkshire guys reminded me so much of old school Atreyu, that they had me wrapped around their finger from the first chorus of their set. I wasn’t the only one who felt like that as the crowd agreed and responded by not only pooling into the room from Main Stage but also by getting their body’s moving to the songs.
Blood Youth's music can be described as melodic Hardcore with their fast pace rhythms, melodic guitar riffs and the mix of sweet sounding singing and that every now and again turns into the trademark screaming for the genre.
These guys don’t just sound like a sweet assault to your eardrums but also know how to create an enjoyable show. Their passion for their music is addictive and translates really well on stage. Blood Youth are a full package that screams to be enjoyed live but are equally addictive when enjoyed from the safety of your own four walls. Do yourself a favour and check them out.
Headliner on the 3rd stage were Inward Strange – a grunge pop band made up of supernatural misfits that are a fairy, an alien spider and a death god who fully commit to their alter egos on stage too. Their sound is a mix of cute and spooky pop punk, something for those who enjoy Halloween on the other 364 days of the year. The band to me as a Halloween nerd is just so enjoyable to listen to and to watch. They have a huge entertainment factor on stage with their alter egos while playing their songs that just sound so delightful and eerily sweet. Their music just leaves me smiling while I keep wanting to sway along. I also have to say that they had some very unfortunate technical issues during their set by no fault of their own, yet they managed to not get phased by that at all and instead they found solutions to still put on a solid show that was highly enjoyable.
I do however hope to be able to see Inward Strange on a bigger stage to be able to see their full potential as I felt the small 3rd stage was a bit restricting for them.
The big-ticket item of the day was definitely Oceans Ate Alaska who headlined the Main Stage. The progressive metalcore band from Birmingham were an impressive powerhouse who brought unfiltered energy to the stage and ensured that the very first Mangata Festival finished on a high.
Reminding me a lot of artists I would see at venues like Grosse Freiheit in Hamburg, I felt taken back 10 years to my younger days when I would travel for hours to bands like Caliban at an iconic venue. I still very much feel like Oceans Ate Alaska would just fit in the midst of those bands.
Their set was a mix of older songs as well as songs like Metamorph which was at the time one of the few songs available from their new album Disparity (released on the 1st of September). Oceans Ate Alaska had a strong natural presence on stage, engaged with the crowd, were grateful for every single person attending and just looked and sounded so at home. Their whole set was just phenomenal, and I didn’t want it to end. Luckily you can see Oceans Ate Alaska live soon as they are going on tour in the UK this year.
And that concluded our Mangata weekend. If I hadn’t known that 2022 was the first year Mangata Music ran this festival, I would not have noticed. It was a well organised event with every band being right on schedule and yes there were a few technical issues, but which festival doesn’t have those?
When I left site that night, I was hoping to see Mangata return in 2023 and in fact we have already been given the dates for next year’s festival! Mangata will be returning next year on the 14th and 15th of July 2023 and tickets are already available online.
All photos in this post are shot by Luke Agger-Joynes