Rockmantic 2022, Blackpool

Due to “other’ work commitments, a nasty looking crash on the opposite eastbound carriageway of the M62 and then the M62 becoming what its better known as a”Car Park’, I only caught the last 2 songs of A’PRIORI. This local Blackpool Trio were going down a storm, A’PRIORI are a trio with a difference though !!. Most bands with 3 members follow the same format, Guitar, Bass and Drums, But not this band they have no Bass guitarist, and instead use a Keyboard player, but for me this actually enhances the sound, The keys adding a lot more depth to the music.
Check them out at
Saints Of Sin
Bournemouth 4 piece were up next, I’d not heard anything by or anything about this band, so whilst stuck in traffic, I used the time to acquaint myself with their music thanks to spotify. What I heard I liked.
The set contained a mix of songs from their albums and even had a rocked up version of the Mark Ronson/Bruno Marrs collaboration “Uptown Funk”
South of Salem
It was clear to see that, this was the band the vast majority of the fans had come to the venue for.
These Bournemouth Hard Rock/Horror with a hint of Sleaze rockers are going places, Just over 15 months ago they played the new blood stage at Bloodstock and are now headlining the Friday at Rockmantic, mark my words, these 5 lads are going places and they have a massive 18 months ahead of them. South of Salem came out to the Halloween movie theme playing and as the final haunting bars are heard, They launch into album opener “Let Us Prey”, Lead singer Joey Draper standing foot up staring menacingly into the crowd, whilst the band Guitarists Kodi Kasper & StarFish McDonald carve out the opening riffs, backed by the rhythym section of Bassist Dee  Aldwell and new drummer James Clarke.
The band tear through their albums “The Sinner Takes It All” tracks, they play an extended version of “Made To Be Mine” where Joey gets the fans invoiced with the high and the low “Oh way oh’s”. they play “No Plague Like Home”, before slowing it down to the heartfelt song “Demons Are Forever”. Joey explains to the crowd “that prior to covid they lost a friend to suicide and during the covid epidemic lost a few more, the songs about coping with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts and that your not alone, there’s people that will listen when you want to talk, and even the band are their to talk to you if you need them by dropping them a message”. This is a sombre song for me but also my favourite on the album, that is beautifully written about a subject that people don’t normally talk about, let alone sing about, and yes I did shed a few tears whilst they played it.
They then play “Dead Hearts Don’t Break” which lifts the mood once again, Before they throw in the Velvet Revolver hit “Slither”.
Now its encore time and first up we are given “Pretty Little Nightmare” and then set closer “Cold Day In Hell” which has the venue bouncing and singing along, until the very end. This band is one of the most humblest you could ever hope to meet, after the final song, the band quickly get changed before coming out to talk to, and have a drink with the fans, having selfie’s taken and signing whatever the fans asked to be signed.
Keep an eye out for South Of Salem, these lads are going to be huge, if you’ve not heard of them before, check them out and buy their album, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are having suicidal thoughts or just need to talk, please don’t feel alone, please call 
Samaritans – 116 123 or search “suicide prevention” online.
Syteria are a Yorkshire based band put together by Pudsey lass and lead Girlschool guitarist Jackie ‘Sax’ Chambers, Argentinian Brother and Sister, Drummer Pablo Calvo and Rhythm Guitarist/Lead Singer Julia Calvo and Bassist Steph Dawson.
The band tore through a mixture of songs from both of their albums, They stopped to sing Happy Birthday to Pablo and Steph, although they’d eaten the cake on the way upto Blackpool in the van, But made up for it by throwing out into the crowd  “Trick or Treat” sweets.
She Burns Red
Having only seen/heard 2 of She Burns Red songs “Rise and Fall” and latest single the rocking “Killing Time” I was excited to see this band.
They didn’t disappoint, from the off they had the crowd going, vocals being shared between Guitarist/vocalist Andrew Moore and man mountain Bassist/Vocalist James McCulloch, and when not singing James never lost the smile from his face. Crunching guitars and thunderous drums and bass add to the aural experience, but the vocals are something else, cleaning sung with hard hitting lyrics.
Roll on Winterrocks when i’ll get to see these lads again.
Florence Black
A Welsh trio from Merthyr Tydfil, A fantastic debut album in “Weight Of The World”, Tours and shows with some big name bands, BUT is it all Hype (I’ll just add here that I didn’t most certainly expect it to be).
The band hit the stage with album opener ‘Zulu”, before blazing into “On The Ropes” and “Bird On A Chain”, They next brought the hit “Can You Feel It” to the gathered throng of fans who were pumped up, bouncing and singing along to every word.
Florence Black are they Hype, the answer is a huge resounding NO, they’ve done the hard graft, and are now reaping the rewards, Album 2 will be well received but will they suffer like many bands do with the sophomore release, Live they are good, onwards and upwards for the Boyo’s from the Valleys.
Words and Photos by John Pickford

Philip Goddard

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