Unholy Messtival

The Victoria Bikers Pub – July 16th -17th 2021

Giving a place to emerging artists that are the quirky misfits of music the Unholy Messtival has proven over the years that there is a place for all and that diversity knows no bounds. This year with some restrictions still in place due to the pandemic the festival was a seated affair with table service for drinks.  The atmosphere was still buoyant though with people very happy to be at a live event again. Devolution caught the action from Saturday’s full day programme with some acts already having played the previous evening.

Mr Badaxe was the compare throughout and played a little intro spot before the main fayre. The clearly highly experienced MC16 open up with a solid set of songs. Fyzz Wallis Band make their point with clever lyrics and an engaging style. They prove you can tackle topics such as feminism without the need to rant. Discovering little gems is what makes music festivals so much fun. In the case of This Party Sucks the Messtival may have unearthed a real diamond. Taking a hard and fast approach to pop punk the Yorkshire combo have what it takes to grace far larger stages in the future.

Luddite Bastard mix and match the genres with real skill producing a sound that has wide appeal. Lincolnshire’s Scumbus are a young band that fans of traditional punk rock will love. Their set today has echoes of the late 70s but with an up to date vibe. Guitar skills take centre stage for the Acme Sewage Co. It’s a strong showing throughout their set which finishes with a real flourish. And now for something completely different with Felicia Lumpz who channel early Marylin Manson mashed up with punk, modern metal and a hint of Vauderville. It’s a performance high in quality and utterly unique.

Howlin Bones start proceedings on the indoor stage. Their rockerbilly sound gets people dancing. The sight and sound of a spectacular double bass is a high point of the event. Swan Prince may be young but they produce old head music. Thier’s is a modern rock sound that takes a little from indie and grunge too, with some fine vocals thrown in for good measure. Who Killed Nancy Johnson? take the prize for most interestingly animated guitarist. The guy just makes use of every inch of space he has. Their punchy raw sound fits the venue and mood perfectly.

Thee Acid Tongue close the outdoor stage with a set that shows off the fine song writing this group are capable of. Lyrical smarts earn them bonus points too. With people wilting a little after a hot and sticky day this is the sort of music needed to wring the last ounces of energy out of the audience. There’s still more fuel in the festival tank though in the shape of crowd favourites Army Of Skanks. They put in a great shift standing in for the sadly missing Dragster who pulled due to illness. Full credit to Wendy and the gang for being total pros and closing this year’s Unholy Messtival with such panache.

So there we have it. A festival supporting emerging artists is on point as we head out of the lockdown restrictions. Full credit has to go to everyone at the Victoria Bikers Pub for making sure the law was followed without making a song and dance (figuratively speaking) about it. Everyone involved in putting together the Unholy Messtival deserve nothing but praise. A special mention must go to Lawrence Mahmood who must be the most amiable and unflappable promoter in history. This is such a special festival for so many reasons. Let’s hope it prospers for many years to come.

Review and photos by Gary Trueman