Exclusive Interview: Weaponry talk Rabidfest 2021!

The 6th & 7th November saw this years incarnation of Rabidfest take pace at The Bullingdon in deepest darkest Oxford which not only saw sixteen bands take to the Devolution Stage over the two days but also raised a few quid for the Mental Health charity Restore. It was our first adventure to a festival in two years (and the first time we’ve had Subway since Upsurge Festival in August 2019) so we figured that we should make the most of it and talk to both Weaponry and Siderian about their experiences of the weekend. So here is the first of that pair of interviews…

Live Metal is back baby! How does it feel to be back on the stage after the 18 months of mothballed venues we’ve all endured? “It’s such a release! This is our third show since the pandemic started and it feels better every time. What with recording new material and uncertainty over venues closing we haven’t prioritised gigs but now everything is open again we will be getting out there again much more”

Was Rabidfest all you hoped it would be? How did you find the Oxford crowd and how did it compare with other Festivals and one dayers you’ve played in the past? “We’ve played the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses shows run by the same guys so we knew it’d be slick and well managed and it definitely was. It’s such a relief when everything runs smoothly and you barely need to do anything as performers to make sure it does other than be where they ask you to be at the right times! There’s a lot of prep behind the scenes too with tech riders and contracts and terms etc with Rabidfest. It just makes everything run smoothly. Rabidfest is probably the most professionally run festival/one dayer we’ve played in that regard”

How did you come to be involved in the festival? Was it the first you’d heard about the good work of the Mental Health charity Restore? “We got through to the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses semi final competition in Oxford where the winners play Bloodstock. That was Feb 2020 and the competition ended due to Covid without any winners. We had won 2 heats and it was looking good for us as we got through on the judges decisions so when Rabidfest was being set up last year (by the same promoters) we were asked to play and I can only imagine it was because of our showing in the competition. We actually didn’t know about Restore so it just shows again how great Rabidfest is. I really hope the promoters achieve everything they set out with it, they’re good people”

How difficult did you find it to shorten your set list for the more limited stage time of the festival sets? Were there any disagreements in the camp over what got dropped? “It was quite smooth to be honest. We know roughly how long all our songs are but we rehearse so much we just do run throughs and time them. I (Al Bristow, Vocals) had to isolate for about 4 weeks before the festival as my wife was ready to give birth at any point (she gave birth 48 hours before the show!) so a lot of the new songs were already written off from being in the set. We had played and rehearsed “Please Enjoy The Show” a lot though so it was good to include one new one. As the show was more of a metal vibe than some shows we play we geared our set towards the jumpy energetic songs we have and we all agreed quite quickly”

The Bullingdon is a fantastic venue with great sound but has a fixed barrier in front of the stage. How did that affect the theatrics of your usual performances? “It’s actually good to have a barrier I think because you get more people on it so you have people right at the front. It was so great to see so many people hanging on the barrier, being like 3 foot away from us. Love that. And Steppy (the bands grumpy, bone idle, work hating, alcoholic mascot step ladder) always helps us with bringing another dimension to the show. We were actually told the microphones would probably be cut off if I got in the crowd due to feedback. I almost went over by accident so that could have caused a problem!”

Did you find it a bit surreal being introduced to the audience by a compare? “We were asked if we wanted it and I said hell yeah! One thing I always do is make sure I say Weaponry plenty. It’s even on our amps! It can be so annoying watching a band and they never say their name so you have to find them after to ask them or just give up. So having a compere introduce you as well helps with that. And it’s pretty cool too!”

What’s next for Weaponry? You included the one new song in the set in “Please Enjoy The Show” which has a real earworm riff! Looking forward to the new EP. “Yeah as covered extensively on your great website the new EP “Forever Nothing” will be coming next year! We’ve got our previous 5 tracks collected together on to CD for the first time and that will be available soon (already is available on our merch stand at gigs!) So watch out for that. It’s called What Have We Done. And we’re playing with Press To Bloody Meco on December 18th as part of the Reading Rising festival/one dayer! Can’t wait for that one”

Tickets for Reading Rising Festival at The Face Bar in Reading on 18th December are available here.

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