Casainhos Fest 2015
Mata-Ratos, Angelus Apatrida, Devil In Me, Simbiose, Hills Have Eyes, Reality Slap, Viralata, Tales For The Unspoken, Backflip, Dimension, Artigo 21, As They Come
S.C.Casainhos, Loures (PT)
29th August 2015
Promoter: Tiago Fresco
Casainhos is a small village in the central region of Portugal (less than an hour to the north of Lisbon) that has been holding this commendable festival since 2012 – more than supporting/promoting the underground scene, it brings together its different subgenres, showing how metal, punk and hardcore are all part of a big, happy family. Like Poli (Dimension, Devil In Me) would say, a festival for open-minded people, people who won’t judge you, whether you’re wearing black or pink.
Stoner/Southern rockers As They Come opened this year’s edition, at 3:30 p.m. sharp. The punctuality at this fest gets another thumbs-up, by the way. And it proved that 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for intermission between sets.
Despite the unholy heat, As They Come fans were restless. After all, most of them had contributed to the band’s presence at the festival, by voting in a contest promoted by Rock On Música music shop – the same shop that got a bus and organized a roadtrip from São João da Madeira to Casainhos. Singer Sick Danny even dedicated the last song, “50 Miles”, to the shop owner Vitinha, who was then carried by the crowd. Soon afterwards, that crowd would invade the stage to party up there with As They Come. The fest could have hardly begun in a better way.
Punk rockers Artigo 21 came next and they also had a fair share of fans singing along songs such as “Contradição” (contradiction) or “Espera Por Mim” (wait for me). The band is somewhat recent (2012) but the musicians aren’t exactly kids – at some point, when tuning a guitar took a little longer and someone in the audience complained, one of them said something like “take it easy, we’re old people”. On a more serious note, they announced that bassist Aureo had just become a father, to which everybody applauded. All the best to him and his family!
Another new band featuring veteran members is Dimension. Groovy hardcore “straight outta the nineties” – and for those who grew up in that decade, Poli dedicated the Sepultura cover “Slave New World”. But that was just a bonus, as their original songs, taken from the debut “Life Is A Mystery”, were enough to win the crowd over, proving the band’s worth both on stage and in the studio.
Backflip play a more straight-forward hardcore, with a female lead singer that kicks as much ass as any guy in the same position. Not sure when they were formed, but they’ve played in all editions of Casainhos so far, and their EP “New Ticket, New Journey” was released in 2011, so they’ve been around at least since then. The debut self-titled full-length saw the light of day in 2013 and features a few guests from other great underground bands, but that afternoon it was the crowd who helped Inês Oliveira (and guitarist Pedro Morais and bassist João Vidigal) sing along.
Tales For The Unspoken, on the other hand, had Raça from Revolution Within sharing the stage with them and singing “Taken”, from the band’s second album “CO2”. Their mix of thrash and death and groove metal kept the moshers busy. “CO2” was released in April, so they focused the set on it, but revisited the debut “Alchemy” with “Say My Name” and the usual closing theme “N’Takuba Wena”.
Back to punk rock, Viralata took the stage. A few problems with Ulisses’ guitar cable delayed the show for a few minutes, leading the singer to joke “what a grand start-up”. Their music is great, but it’s the lyrics – amusing as hell – that make them so popular, meaning that if you don’t speak Portuguese, you’ll miss the essence of Viralata. But if you were there, you’d certainly be carried away by the high spirits of both band and crowd. There was even a fan who climbed on stage and sang the lyrics to “Carocho” (if memory serves me well), totally unexpected but welcomed by the band. Huge fun!
Hardcore act Reality Slap latest album, “Necks & Ropes”, dates from 2012 but the band’s been working hard on its successor, hoping to release it this year still. Singer Johnny (or at least I think that’s his name – guys, please add who does what in the band in your Facebook page!) said something about not playing live in a while, but either “a while” is a little less than four months to him, or he meant playing in national territory, as the band toured through a few European countries last Spring. Whatever the case, this return to the stages was flawless, and when Johnny jumped to the middle of the crowd, pointing the mike to the fans, many were eager to take on the singer’s role.
Despite the rich bill of the festival, I confess it was only Hills Have Eyes that made me ride those 190 miles. So I won’t say their concert was the best, as more than presumptuous it would sound biased; but since I had people coming to me in the end – people who had never seen HHE before, despite their +10-year career – saying that now they understood why I liked that band so much, that I had good taste in music, it’s not the fangirl but the reporter that tells you WHAT A HELL OF A SHOW! This was probably the last gig before the release of their third album, “Antebellum”, scheduled for this month, but still only the first single “The Bringer Of Rain” was performed. The title-track of the previous album, “Strangers”, closed their set.
From the metalcore of Hills Have Eyes, the festival moved on to the crust/metal/punk of Simbiose. Formed in 1991, it was the band on the bill with the longest career, after headliners Mata-Ratos (the latter born in 1982). “Trapped” is the title of their latest, sixth album (released in March) and songs such as “Ignorância Colectiva” (collective ignorance), “Acabou A Crise, Começou A Miséria!” (the crisis is over, the affliction has started) or “Modo Regressivo” (regressive mode) are some of the new tunes – with the same old social and political critique – that were part of one of the most brutal sets of the fest.
Devil In Me are among the high-rank Portuguese hardcore bands and it will only take a couple of songs for you to understand why. Once again, Poli brought up the open-mindedness (and lack of it) subject, and staying true to one’s self – how he still loved hardcore now, as a grown man and family man, as much as when he was 15. Adding how much he missed his daughter that night, he invited all parents present to come up front and party. It seems that their new album will be out in October (“Soul Rebel”), but the title-track has been performed live several times now and everybody knew how to scream the chorus verse: “soul rebel… like a lion”.
Angelus Apatrida was the only non-Portuguese band of the fest, old school thrash metal from “country next door” Spain. But they’re part of the family, not just for the solid fan-base they’ve built here over the past years but also for recording a couple of albums here, at Ultrasound Studios, and becoming good friends with many local underground bands. One of the most notorious is Switchtense and singer Hugo Andrade even got on stage to sing “Fresh Pleasure” with Guillermo Izquierdo. Whether they were songs from the new album “Hidden Evolution” or oldies like “Vomitive” or “Give ‘Em War”, the circle pits were as restless as the thrash that was fueling them.
A lot of people left after Angelus Apatrida – not exactly because Mata-Ratos aren’t good at what they do (hardcore punk) but because they haven’t released anything new in eight years, and after eleven bands, half of them performing while the sun burnt at an average of 86ºF, it became easy to dismiss the headliners. But there was still a good handful of survivors, ready to scream their lungs out at classics like “C.C.M.”, “A Minha Sogra É Um Boi” (my mother-in-law is a cow) or “Deus, Pátria E Família” (God, homeland and family).
According to the promoters, circa 800 people attended this fest. Don’t think any had a single reason to be disappointed. I hope this fest will continue to thrive and many more editions will follow. I also hope every country has someone committed to their underground scene like we have Tiago Fresco and his crew here (among others) in Portugal.
Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino
Gallery on our Facebook page here.
This entry was posted on 7th September 2015 at 2:09 pm and is filed under Festival, Live with tags Angelus Apatrida, Artigo 21, As They Come, Backflip, Casainhos, Devil In Me, Dimension, Hardcore, Hills Have Eyes, Loures, Mata-Ratos, Metal, Portugal, Punk, Reality Slap, Simbiose, tales for the unspoken, Tiago Fresco, underground fest, Viralata. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.