Another year means one certainty… another stream of Beat:Cancer gigs! It’s no secret that I’ve been to a lot of these events (in fact, you’ll find reviews of shows I’ve previously attended on this very blog), to the point where it may seem routine. Long story short, as long as Mark Haigh and co. keep on reeling in awesome lineups in the name of kicking cancer’s arse, then I’m going to keep turning up!

The weekend just gone (at the time of writing) was no exception, as I attended the first of many at a familiar venue; The Facebar in Reading. It’s unusual for the party to get started so soon, with even Mark himself stating it being “enthusiastically early”, but I really don’t think anyone was complaining. Besides, it’s nice to have something to do in the usually dull, quiet opening months of the year. Once again, the night boasted an eclectic range of styles, with each band/artist bringing something different to the table.

Opening the proceedings were Mouth of the Void. Hailing from Reading itself, it was the duo’s first live show in about 3 years. In all honesty, it was hard to tell that it had been that long, as they put on a great set. The style, whilst being Industrial, was more about creating ambience, with the focus being on creating a mood, rather than getting people dancing. It worked extremely effectively too, as I found myself drawn into it, to the point where the applause from the audience at the end of their set pulled me out of a trance. It’s rare that a band’s music can grasp me in such a way, but they nailed it!

Next up, all the way from the northern lands of Manchester, was Still Forever. Being a pretty recent music project, from the mind of Amy Griffiths, it was only started three years ago. This set was truly a testament to how much she’s developed and grown as an artist in such a short space of time. With the aid of David Fox (of St. Lucifer), they both put on a fantastic performance, the moody dark-wave tones generating an incredibly rich, mesmerising atmosphere. Sonically, it was truly gripping, and she had a strong stage presence. I honestly can’t wait to hear what comes next.

Things then got very bouncy, with an artist that needs no introduction; Bitman. He’s no stranger to Beat:Cancer, having performed once before at Beat:Cancer Festival, at London’s Slimelight back in 2017. Needless to say, his energetic Chiptune infused music really got the crowd moving, although with belters like “Bucket of Fuck” and “Final Fight” on the setlist, who could really blame them? It was electrifying from start to finish, ending with the mighty fan favourite, “Pashed Motato.” It was an extremely lively, uplifting experience.

Finally, Petrol Hoers took to the stage and, well… I still don’t know what was going on. I wasn’t prepared for them the first time I witnessed them live, and it turns out I still wasn’t ready. To put it into perspective, they’re more of a comedy band, their music being borderline insanity. I’ve got to admit, it’s pretty glorious how bat-shit crazy it all is! For example, when you’re presented with a tune that starts with a fairground melody, then suddenly bursts into heavy guitar riffs out of nowhere, reaching beats of around 260bpm as the singers scream down their mics, then you pretty much get the idea. Not to mention that their attire is interesting, for lack of a better word, when you consider one guy is wearing a horse mask and there’s luchador in his underwear. In all honesty, it was hilarious fun, their live shows have to be seen to be believed. I found myself in stitches throughout their time on stage.

It was yet another storming night, full of fantastic variety. The Beat:Cancer train has indeed started off strong in 2019, and I honestly don’t see the momentum slowing down. If this is how epic things are now, then I can’t wait to see how mighty things become as the year of events roll in!


Beat:Cancer will continue in 2019 with the following events and lineups:

July 27th – Aatma, Manchester: Zeitgiest Zero, Autoclav1.1, Luddite Collective, Sidewalks & Skeletons, Witch of the Vale

Nov 9thElectrowerkz, London: Beat:Cancer Festival 2.0 – iVardensphere, C-Lekktor, CygnosiC, Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand, Nature of Wires, Promenade Cinema, Vain Machine + More TBC!