Last night, 27th February, took me to Bloody Mary’s in Dublin for the launch of the SUNSTROKE 2020 Festival, for an introduction to a few of the bands who will be taking to the stage on June 13th and 14th in Punchestown. For those who don’t know or were living under a rock, Sunstroke was a major rock festival in Ireland that drew massive crowds but has been on a very long holiday, returning this year after 25 years, bang into a new decade.
Attendees were treated to trays and trays of food (there was even asparagus – proper posh) and an open bar and of course, some pretty serious music. Fergal Darcy, of Today FM fame and self-confessed metal head, was compere and he had a big grin on his face the entire night, just like the rest of us mere mortals.
First up were GREY FACE and what a full on power force of an intro! Their energy matched their make-up (I use the term lightly here), leather, sequins, and they were technically brilliant, loud with heavy thumping riffs throughout.
I’ve got to give special mention to their bass player Evra – what absolute intense presence on stage and incredible skill. Singer Shaye gave it socks and knew how to engage the crowd, and those who were at the back weren’t long making their way closer to the stage.
People should make sure not to miss these guys at SUNSTROKE – great move putting them on the bill.
For something completely different, more ska punk in style than metal, we were treated to PARANOID VISIONS in the form of mighty vocals from Aoife Destruction and a brilliant pounding on the skins from Jay Suss Christ (deadly or wha?).
An angry Deko Dachau happily reminded us all we could get knifed parking our cars…different indeed.
These guys know what they are doing given their decades of experience and will be a definite crowd pleaser.
Next up were four-piece thrash metal band, DEAD LABEL, who played support to ALIEN WEAPONRY recently.
I was at that gig and feedback was the same – DEAD LABEL are bloody fantastic and deserve far-reaching success. Not afraid to work the crowd, a good old-fashioned mosh-up ensued at the instruction of singer Dan and people didn’t hesitate to get stuck in (except me, because I’m a wuss).
Their music is angry and energetic and these guys didn’t miss a beat. Mark my words, DEAD LABEL are going places and they will rip it up at SUNSTROKE.
Finally, we had FANG CLUB, who were introduced as the hardest working band on the circuit, which was proven by their incredibly tight performance.
Stephen, Kevin and Dara looked so at ease on stage and clearly enjoyed themselves. They only played two songs and I, like everyone else, would have happily listened to more, but what a musical onslaught to close the festival launch.
These guys are a hell of an addition to SUNSTROKE and I’m already looking forward to their full set.
The bands only played two or three songs but it certainly gave us a flavour of what to expect over the two days of rock and metal madness in Punchestown. SUNSTROKE is going to be a hell of a weekend and the line-up is entertainment at it’s very best. All people have to do now is save for rain gear and wellies!
Finally a big thank you to MCD for the invite to the launch (keep me a bit of asparagus next time!) and for bringing back an epic Irish festival – bring it on!
𝗗𝗔𝗬/𝗪𝗘𝗘𝗞𝗘𝗡𝗗 𝗧𝗜𝗖𝗞𝗘𝗧𝗦 on sale NOW at bit.ly/SUNSTROKE-TM
Review by Fiona Duignan for MPM