Call of the Wild 2023: The Big Bad Review – Sunday

Kicking off the final day of Call of the Wild for us were LaVire. Having never really heard the band before, they utterly blew me away. Their brand of heavier hard rock, bordering on metal was amazing. Frontwoman ChloĆ© stole the show for me, though. Whether it was her soring vocals or surprising, occasional and amazing screams, she blew me away. The band did good with their early slot, getting a decent crowd and for sure winning over a lot of them, including myself. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them next time they’re around my area again, I can’t wait to see them again!

Next up were our good friends Dead Writers. After a small afternoon slot in the tent last year, Paul, Fabio and co have been bumped up to the Lawless stage, and they made perfect use of that. Though their set was short, they played banger after banger like ‘She’s All the Animals’, ‘Among Spirits’ and recent single ‘Lisa’. Both core members owned the stage and played to a crowd that were appreciative and clearly remembered them from the previous year. Plus, since then they’ve added to their ranks. This was the first big gig for new bassist Naomi Boschetti and she absolutely smashed it, fitting in perfectly with the rest of the band. These guys are ones to watch for sure, they’re going to be massive when their EP drops.

I think Brad Marr is incapable of putting on an un-entertaining set. The Massive frontman’s new German project rocked the main stage and left everyone thoroughly happy. While he’s been a near constant in the UK underground rock scene for a decade now, his new band are all phenomenally talented a good fun to watch on stage. They also write some amazing music (as well as play one great, heavy LMFAO cover). However, there is no denying that Brad is the star of the show. Especially without a guitar in hand this time, meaning he has more of a reign to bounce around. At one point he even somehow managed to fall of the stage, save his pint, and march back up much to everyone’s cheers. One of the most entertaining live bands you will see, and I cannot recommend them enough.

The next band we caught were Tailgunner. Ripped straight out of the NWOBHM scene, these guys were the perfect blend of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. It was fucking awesome. The energy coming from every band member was infectious, and they were all so insanely talented at their craft. And they sent the crowd home happy with an amazing rendition of ‘Painkiller’, which will never fail to impress people! They have a new fan in me!

Off to the tent again to check out the first band I ever interviewed here at Overtone, We Three Kings (check it out here). They seem heavier live than they do on track, which is definitely a good thing as it played right into the genre for the festival. The tent was pretty busy for them which was great to see, and the band played their asses off. Unfortunately we could only stay for a couple as we had to check out the other band too, but it was great stuff!

Fury tore the Killmister stage a new one. I struggled to nail them down into a specific genre, having elements of power metal, hard rock and alternative stuff. Whatever they get put down as, they are a phenomenal band, both on track and live. And they put on one hell of a show, too. And of course, we have to talk about that ballad. ‘Upon the Lonesome Tide’ is maybe the best single song performance of the weekend for me. I was familiar with their heavier tracks but this took me completely off guard in the best way. It was almost like if Phil Collins wrote a pirate ballad. Julian’s vocal delivery was spectacular. It put more of a heaviness on the other tracks around it, too. Another band that I would DEFINITELY recommend checking out live if you ever get the chance!

The next band we managed to see were one of my most anticipated of the weekend, King Kraken. Bringing their unique blend of sludgey stoner metal, they were another band I was surprised and so happy went down a storm with the crowd. The Welsh lads were on top form too, playing a set full of their debut album which was released earlier this year. Considering they haven’t played much up this way recently, the crowd were hot for the band and gave them just as much energy back. Plus, they had tentacles on stage, which was amazing.

We then went over to check out our friends in Outlaw Orchestra. Somehow I’ve chatted to them a couple of times now and have been a big fan of their music, yet hadn’t seen them live until the festival. To say they didn’t disappoint would be an understatement. I’ve not seen a trio look more like they are just three friends enjoying themselves playing music together. Much like I have said for previous bands; if you look like you’re enjoying yourself, so will the crowd. And they (including me) most certainly did. It was another of my favourite sets of the weekend. The fact that they did a bluegrass/blues style version of Motorhead’s ‘Iron Fist’ should really say it all. If you are into the slightly more southern/country side of things check them out, you will not be disappointed.

Then we reach a slight low point for me. I don’t know what it was, but something about Black Spiders didn’t quite click for me. I’ve seen them before since their reunion (check out the review here) and enjoyed it. However here it just felt a little… meh. Even though they were playing new songs off their brand new album, it felt a tad like they were going through the motions. They sounded great, don’t get me wrong, but performance wise it didn’t hold my attention. Still, I loved the new album and the songs they did off it sounded great live.

Then we reached the festival closers, the mighty Those Damn Crows. One of the biggest bands to come out of the NWOCR scene, anticipation was high for their set. On a personal note, they currently have my album of the year, so I was definitely excited. They somehow managed to live up to and even surpass the hype and expectation. This was a band on top form from a playing and performing standpoint, and they knew it.

From new album tracks to their previous hits, this was a blissful hour plus of alt rock that ended far too soon. And they didn’t even need all the big theatrics that a band could have brought. They plugged in and played and let their talent, presence and charisma do the talking. This is maybe the best live show I’ve seen all year so far, or at very least up there with Nanowar of Steel. They ended the festival perfectly.

And there we have it, folks! Another year, another fantastic Call of the Wild festival in the books. So many amazing bands across three different stages and three days, and all of them played their hearts out. Next year’s is already looking amazing from the few bands that have been announced, so I’d advise picking up tickets sooner rather than later. Thanks again to everyone at the festival and UPSTGD for letting us come along, and long live NWOCR!