Black Chapter Live at Matlock Bath Music Festival


Matlock Bath Music Festival isn’t one of the major days out in CackBlabbath’s diary, really. Although it does try and cater for all, there isn’t a whole lot of heavy metal on the bill. However, if you weigh up the facts that it’s about ten minutes walk from our Midlands HQ, it involves some great pubs and fine ales, the sun is shining and it’s all free… well it’s hard to pass on really.

With a Thornbridge Brewery tap takeover at the Fishpond, a chance to visit one our old locals over at The Midland and the best beer ever being served at The Temple (Kelham Island – Pale Rider, if you were wondering); even if the music doesn’t immediately grab our attention, then we reckon the beer will entertain us…

To be fair, we’re not as narrow-minded as we like to make out. We did see some great bands throughout the day, even if we didn’t know who most of them were.

One name that certainly does leap from the line-up poster to us here at CackBlabbath however, is Black Chapter. We’ve seen them a few times out on the United in Fuzz shows and that was enough for us to get up to The Temple to catch them on our doorstep.

That and the Pale Rider, anyway.

The Temple wins the award being up the steepest hill in the Matlock Bath gorge, and although you are rewarded with some fine views and by far the most picturesque of stages on the back lawn of the hotel; we wouldn’t fancy dragging all of our equipment up there… like Black Chapter have to!

We would give them a hand, but we are holding some beer.

The guys have a few reservations before they go on stage. Mainly that they are going to scare everyone off. We imagine this is one of Black Chapter’s broader crowds to play to! It’s certainly a bit more diverse a crowd than we are usually part of. We’re grabbing a quick beer before their performance and frontman Carl is (not very) chuffed that “The only other two blokes in a rock t-shirts have just buggered off”.

At least we’re still representing the black t-shirt brigade.

They needn’t have worried though. Although the crowd do look a little sedate, all sat at their garden benches. Most people stick around for the band, despite being forwarned before the set, and they drag a few more folk up the hill as well once they start blasting out the groovy stuff. And there’s the bloke who looks like he dropped off the grid a while back dancing his heart out for the whole set. He does looks like he’d dance to the sound of a washing machine if he had one though, so maybe not a total Black Chapter convert just yet.

All in all, everyone looks a though they are enjoying the show.

They may well be right at the heavy end of the festival line-up, but they aren’t that scary really. Just like our other local favourites in Witch Tripper, they play a brand of hard rock that has some real good momentum to it. The band combines the doom and stoner blueprint with a bit more groove and boogie to make them pretty much the perfect band for a festival in Matlock Bath. This motorcycle haven could do with more bands like this coming to play here.

Any chance of a United in Fuzz show soon?

The Black Chapter boys aren’t scared to strut their stuff and Carl and Daz regularly break out into the crowd to play amongst the punters. We’ve seen enough shows from these guys now that we recognise some of their songs. ‘Crow Flies’ has a wicked opening riff that packs a mighty punch. It may be a close relation of Filter’s ‘Welcome to the Fold’ but the riff certainly works better for a grungy stoner song.

Daz lets out a few guitar solos and we finally feel like we’re at home at Matlock Bath Music Festival. There’s only so much acoustic folky stuff and predictable covers that you can nod along politely with; so Black Chapter are a breath of fresh air and a bit of a release for the end to our day!

“We can play a bit quieter if you like?” Carl chuckles between songs as he addresses his newest fans. We don’t think that was ever an option though…


Words and Pics by Rob