There’s been real growth in the underground music scene recently which is great news for music and fans. It means there’s a lot of choice so Unholy Messtival has tapped into that rich vein by deliberately booking the bands that might be termed the square pegs in a world full of round holes. The quirky, the weird or the just plain daft can all be found at Messtival.  What they all have in common is real talent and passion, and the fact they deserve to be heard. While the likes of Pizza Tramp and the Kingcrows tore it up on the Friday and Sunday respectively, Devolution decided to focus on all the mayhem happening on the Saturday.

It’s World Cup quarter final day and for once England are still involved which means Messtival is competing with a big sportsball event. Any fears of a lean crowd are soon dispelled though with a great many people arriving well before the first band are due on. The early bands such as Eye Licker all play to a good crowd and the standard of music is high. There are a fair few nutters producing some classic moments too, none more so than event host Lawrence Mahmood and his band The Papashangos

Bexatron turn in a blinding performance with Bex herself showing what a phenomenal vocalist she is. You Want Fox are going from strength to strength and a special mention must go to Nat who is on stage just two weeks before she’s due to give birth. Her baby bump means she can’t play bass so Benjamin Elton stands in and does a mighty fine job. The Diablofurs are a class act who seem to be on the verge of breaking big. Their melodic fun sound is perfect party fodder for a festival of any size.

Weekend Recovery play it loud and proud while The Poly – Esters are fierce, brash and to the point. These two bands show why the music scene is so rich at the moment. They are so very different and yet compliment each other brilliantly. It’s at events like this where you see diversity being supported by fans who rush around to watch every act that you really see the state of music today. Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons wrap up the evening with a typically lively set. Their rock n roll tinged with rockabilly vibe is perfect as an evening closer.

Everyone at the Victoria Bikers Pub is happy.  They’ve all had a great time, watched lots of great music, and even occasionally diverted to see an England win. Unholy Messtival may not be huge, actually much of its charm is that it isn’t, but it is fantastic. This is the second year the event has run. Let’s hope it goes on for many more to come.

Words and Photos: Gary Trueman