Five years since forming and several line up changes later, it’s fair to say Heaven’s Basement have somewhat exploded onto the music scene since the release of their debut album Filthy Empire. Sandwiched between appearances at some of the biggest festivals across Europe is a headline UK tour. A sold out Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton brings them their highest pre-show ticket sales, and it’s easy to see why this quartet are making a mark. Striding ontage brimming with confidence and passion for their art, they have the crowd in of the palm of their hands from the opening chords of Welcome Home. The setlist is relentless and commands the attention of the audience from the pounding beats of I Am Electric to an acoustic Price We Pay with the energy levels never once dipping. The crowd are only too happy to mirror their enthusiasm, bouncing around and singing along at the top of their voices, particularly in the brilliant Nothing Left To Lose. Vocalist Aaron Buchanan is one of the most charismatic frontmen around, bounding around the stage and even taking part in a little crowd surfing. As the final part of the Heaven’s Basement puzzle, they appear a solid unit with a bright future.
Fire Fire and Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch send the crowd into a frenzy and by the time the foursome walk off stage, the chant of we want more is being yelled by everybody in the room. Returning to blast Executioners Day, a tired, thrilled, and extremely sweaty audience make their way out knowing they’ve just seen one of the leading names in the future of rock.
"Music will save lives, not haircuts." - An interview with Ginger Wildheart
2013 has so far been another crazy year for Ginger Wildheart. The amazing success of his second fan funded album projects Mutation and Hey! Hello! (which is released commercially from Monday!), the reformation of The Wildhearts, non stop touring and news of a new Pledge Music campaign on the way, is there any stopping this guy? The answer is definitely not.
2013 has already been an incredibly busy year for you, what has been your favourite part so far? There really have been too many great moments to isolate any single one. Being acknowledged by Classic Rock by being given an award was amazing, as was the whole occasion, Hey! Hello! being received so well in US and Japan, The Wildhearts shows, the Slash tour, playing with Courtney….aaaahh, the whole year has been amazing! And I have a feeling that next year will be even more insane.
Your Mutation project was something completely different to 555%, did it worry you at all what peoples reactions may have been, or were you confident the fans would love it, as they clearly did?
As I said in the Pledge video I don’t expect everyone to like everything I do, for me that’s part of the relationship with a band or artist. There are albums by Cheap Trick, Sparks and Zappa that I just can’t listen to, but I love that they have the drive that makes them want to make these albums. I will always warn people that my albums might or might not be to their taste, but that’s why I try to make Pledge albums collectible, so they can sell them on if they don’t like them.
Where did the idea behind Hey! Hello! come from? I had wanted to play all the instruments on an album for years now, and when I decided to make a power pop album I figured it’s that time. I specifically wanted the songs to have an element of AC/DC basics in the rhythm section, but with accents that hit every syllable and to be honest I don’t know any drummers who would do that better than me, being as i wrote the songs and know where all the accents are.
The Hey! Hello! album has been extremely popular, was this something you were expecting? And how did this contribute to the decision to release it commercially? We love it. Nothing about Hey! Hello! has been anything like what I was expecting. In fact I was expecting very little apart from people saying “it’s catchy, I like it”. I guess it’s happened at the right time where the world is in steady turmoil, that and the current heatwave presumably makes catchy, fun pop more appealing that it might normally be. Whatever the reason, and there’s no point in trying to find one, I’m really enjoying seeing this funny little project develop confidence in front of a new and loving audience.
Are their any plans to tour either Mutation/Hey! Hello! (or both) further? I really don’t know what will happen as far as playing live with either of those two. It’s not something I want to spend too much time dreaming about when I could be writing new material for new projects. I’m a man possessed these days, and tend to just run in the direction of my inspiration. And I’m really enjoying the recording process more than I ever did before. Having said that, if I start getting into recording that’s usually when a ton of touring work will turn up.
You have already indicated that work will begin soon on your next Pledge campaign, what sort of thing can we expect from that? It’s the Ginger Wildheart Band, my touring solo group, featuring Random Jon Poole, Denzel, Rich Jones, Chris Catalyst, Victoria and now Bryan Scary, our newest recruit. So many talented people and a private residential studio for two months. What could possibly go wrong? Don’t worry, you’ll be in there with us to find out. The music is going to be an insane array of styles that I’m hoping will redesign what a rock album should sound like. I’m crazy excited about this one. Interacting with fans is a big part of what you do, why is it so important to you to keep them involved? They’re the boss, they pay my wages. I will never understand bands or artists that don’t want to maintain a close relationship with their fans. Surely you want them to be proud to be on your side, right? I’ve always believed that you should do the right thing by your people, and that feeling only gets stronger every year.
You have recently hinted at your disappointment in the UK press when it comes to independent music/artists, why do you think it is that they tend to shy away from giving exposure to new/independent music? Because they’re slaves to the advertisers that plough money into their mundane little rags. That’s why these companies hire editors that will happily tow the line, and if they try to make too many waves they’ll just replace them with another faceless, passionless drone who will do what they’re told. It’s an insane situation that stinks just as bad as the cookie cutter bands they feature. Just as long as the general public don’t buy the bullshit, and mistake this for the real face of UK music, then I’m fine with it. Who cares about passionless journalists and identikit magazine attitudes anyway? The reason why I get frustrated is because a gullible public could actually believe the shit these mags try to feed you, and lose sight of the underground scene. We’ve seen too many great things disappear to make way for advance, like vinyl, CD’s and DVDs, the inevitable casualties of tech war, but I won’t sit around and let the live circuit and independent bands suffer the same fate. I’ll go down fighting if nothing else. You have inspired many other bands/artists to go down the Pledge route, and also won awards for your own efforts, how does it feel to be a kind of spokesperson for keeping it DIY? It feels very frustrating right now, because not enough people are taking notice of the slow death of an actual DIY scene. But I’m a strong believer in water finding the right level, and suspect that there are a bunch of young kids who are more interested in their sound and songwriting than getting their entire body covered in tattoos. Shit, if half of these bands spent as much time writing as they do being inked we’d at least have a few decent songs, but once again it’s style over substance, and this traditionally makes way for a bunch of pissed off youth saying “fuck this”. That’s the punks spirit I pray to see now. It is the only thing that’s going to take the power away from corporate stooges and refocus attention on actual music. Music will save lives, not haircuts.
What advice would you give new bands wanting to break through? And is there any bands/artists at the moment you want to shout about? I’d just say do things your way, play hundreds of gigs and write better songs. Everyone, including me, needs to write better songs. Get amazing as a live band by playing every shit hole with electricity, and if you’re great word will get out, I’ll hear, and I’ll get you a gig. The passion that Baby Godzilla have at every single show they play is the passion I want to see from everyone. Lose your shit, lose your voice, lose your mind, but make it count. You only have this chance, don’t waste it by trying to fit in or join the trends. No one really cares about that shit anyway, and you will not make lasting fans if you look and sound like everyone else. Trust me on this.
Lastly, congratulations on the amazing reception the Earth vs shows received, are their any other plans to fit in anything else Wildhearts related into your tight schedule? No plans as of right now, but then the real stuff happens when you’re busy making plans, right? So I’ll avoid making them and just enjoy the ride, if it’s okay with you.
Hey! Hello! is released on Monday 22 July, get involved with what is probably the best album you will hear all year!
On to the final day, the sun was peaking through the clouds and everyone was preparing for the last day of blaring rock n roll.
Ghost Inside take to the Main Stage 2 to wake the crowds up and remind them they’re at a rock festival with their hard and heavy tracks hitting you like a brick wall in the face; and inject life they did encouraging plenty of fist pumping from their audience. They were followed by British quartet Heaven’s Basement on the main stage. It may be fairly early on in the day but these four are full of energy and raring to go. Frontman Aaron Buchanan commands the stage, fuelling a reaction from his crowd and even comes down to join them for a cheeky crowd surf. Their irresistible riffs and chorus’, complete with some sunshine puts a smile on everyones face. On to the valley and it’s time for Graveyard to take to the stage. The Swedes are taking the rock world by storm which is apparent from the whistles of anticipation before the opening rings of the siren echo round the tent. They are truly one of the best bands on the scene, full of passion and complete understanding of the music they’re playing; we highly recommend you check them out! Back to the main stages and Mass Hysteria have the crowd jumping along followed by Newsted, who are a very pleasant surprise. With some punchy riffs and strong vocal delivery from Jason Newsted himself.
The french crowd embrace homegrown Gojira with huge cheers and it’s clear the heavy metallers love playing on home soil. They punish the crowd with some brutal tracks which goes down extremely well with their home fans. Stone Sour follow with a set filled with a great mix from the bands musical catalogue. Corey Taylor is on top form and looks like he’s having a ball up on the main stage. He encourages plenty of audience participation, and the crowd are only too happy to olbige, they even sneak in a cover of Sabbath’s Children Of The Grave. Adnorned in full costume and make up, Lordi take to main stage 2, complete with pyro and put on a great, fun set full of pounding drums and gravelly vocals. Whilst over in The Valley tent, after a swap around Danzig shows us exactly what he is made of. The set is fierce, fact and loud. Danzig himself still sounds great and has so much energy. The introduction of Doyle to the stage creates a huge reaction from the crowd as they enjoy a set of Misfits classics, sounding absolutely incredible, and the anthem that is Mother provides possibly one of the biggest sing a longs of the weekend.
Attention turns to tonight’s headliners Volbeat. Closing a festival is no easy feat but the Danes take it in the stride and deliver a strong, varied performance that keeps the crowd on their toes. Throwing in a small medley of Breaking The Law and Raining Blood, there really is something for everyone in their set as they use elements from many rock genres.
Day two got off to a little bit of a murky start with the all too familiar dull clouds and rain that we are used to at a British festival, but nevertheless we trooped on and made our way to the arena for another day of great bands!
First up for us today were Krokus on Main Stage 1. They got things off to a loud start, full of energy and very entertaining, getting the crowd involved as much as possible and not letting the rubbish weather effect their performance, or the crowds enjoyment. We then took a wander over the The Valley to see Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, a name we had heard but the music we hadn’t. What a pleasant surprise they were, sounding like early Black Sabbath meets the spacey psychedelic 13th Floor Elevators, definitely a band to check out!
Back over on the Main Stage, 3 Doors Down delivered a set that reflected the weather, a little bit miserable. They were too downbeat and needed some more energy in their set. Most of the crowd seemed to enjoy it, but sadly for us they were lacking. Now Witchcraft on the other hand, absolutely incredible. Again, another band we had been hearing a lot about, and they gave us a brilliant set. Their bluesy hooks and high energy set reminded us a little of Graveyard and they were a lot of fun, another to invest in we reckon.
From the fun to the pretty crazy with Down. Always a great show, but today was extra fun. The French crowd were insane and the circle pits huge, they injected some much needed life into the day. Phil Anselmo is a crazy frontman, taking any opportunity to punch himself in the head with his mic, leaving himself bleeding by the end of the set, that’s dedication. Accept followed and although completely different, just as much fun. The chants of Balls to the Wall echoed through the field, and the atmosphere, despite the weather had definitely picked up.
Time to get old school with some Paparoach, who sadly left us feeling like they were trying that little bit too hard to be something they weren’t. Frontman Jacoby Shaddix showed great confidence, maybe a little too much, but just shouted himself through their set. Last Resort however did get the crowd going for the last few minutes. A band who never has to prove how cool they are is ZZ Top. They ooze talent, effortlessly cool and they had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand. A set full of big tunes and some bonus dancing from Billy Gibbons. Bullet For My Valentine had the job of keeping us going before the mighty KISS took to the stage, and they did a pretty decent job. They were high in energy, and just played and played, no fuss. They may not be one of our favourite bands, but they know how to play.
Finally, the hottest band in the world were ready to hit Hellfest. KISS burst onto the stage to Psycho Circus and played a set full of killer hits and left the crowd in awe. Explosions, fire, lights, everything you expect them to be, completely over the top but utterly brilliant with it. They may be getting older, and they may not have the moves they used to, but they always deliver a fantastic show, that is no question. Paul Stanleys voice sounds a little strained as they come to the end of their tour , but he still finds the energy to fly over the crowd whilst performing Love Gun, pretty epic. And after the complete bravado of KISS, we have the gritty riffs of Korn to close the night. With Head now back in the band, it feels like a return to form for Korn. They deliver a fantastic well mixed set, with lots of old and new songs for the fans, they perform with precision and are almost perfect. Without a doubt one of the highlight sets of the weekend.
For festival season this year, we took ourselves off to Hellfest in Clisson, France. We fancied a bit of a change from the dull weather of England, only to be greeted with more rain there, can’t have it all! Anyway, what a great weekend we had, tons of brilliant bands and lots of new ones discovered! Here is our report from the first day…
Kicking off a festival on the mainstage is no easy task, but Kissin’ Dynamite aren’t fazed at all. They grasp their opportunity and deliver an energetic half an hour to get everyone pumped for the weekend ahead. Following them on the mainstage 2 are SSS, a very different group from their predecessors signalling the heavier of the two stages; they even get the first pits of the festival going. Black Spiders are up next and have the crowd following their every command. Opening with the brilliant KISS Tried To Kill Me (who are of course headlining the Saturday), they’re a great band to get the crowd going, even encouraging the middle finger salute as early as a Friday lunchtime, what more could you want!
Back to mainstage 2 and Vektor take to the stage for a very screechy set with no stand out tracks. Nevertheless, their fans are out in force and they receive a good reception. Bouncing out next are Swedish quartet Hardcore Superstar straight into the snappy drum rhythm of opener Moonshine. Frontman Jocke Berg has great stage presence and is bounding round the stage with the energy of a 5 year old! His charisma creates a great connection with the crowd and their set is perfect festival material with plenty of audience participation required. Pioneers Saxon blast through a set of classics which are always received well at festivals and a welcome addition to any line up.
On with another great festival band and it’s Europes turn. Despite the fact that the majority of people will be turning up for the massive Final Countdown (which went down a treat of course), they are thoroughly enjoyable to watch and Joey Tempest vocals are still on top form. The heavy rhythms of Testament boom around the field to a huge showing and the thrash pioneers blitz through a frantic set, lapped up by their audience. A switch in the line up presents Twisted Sister earlier than expected and they absolutely steal the day. Declaring in their earlier press conference that they are the best around and they challenge every band playing over the weekend to top them, they stick to their word and deliver a fantastic set full of energy, passion and precision. They are without doubt one of the bands of the weekend and are always an absolute pleasure to watch. The huge We’re Not Gonna Take It encourages 3 encores of the chorus, one started by the crowd which echoes round the field before frontman Dee Snider counts the band back in, long live Twisted Sister! The Who's My Generation signals the beginning of Whitesnake's set, and whilst the big hits such as Still Of The Night and Here I Go Again please the crowd, the newer tracks fall flat and there are a few too many solo’s to keep the crowds full attention. David Coverdale's voice is sadly not what it used to be as he croaks through the higher notes, when he decides to attempt them! Helloween on the other hand are sounding great, complete with giant inflatable pumpkins, and their enthusiasm is matched by their audience.
On to tonight’s main act and Def Leppard sneak onstage, kicking off with Good Morning Freedom. The first part of their headlining set is a mixture of classic hits, including Let’s Get Rocked, before a video interval which sadly got lost in translation with the French crowd. Celebrating their iconic album Hysteria, the video features clips of the making of the album but confused the audiences and appeared disjointed. Onto the album itself and it’s a wonderful hour or so of brilliant tracks. No doubt the band are showing their age and the wear and tear on Joe Elliott's voice is evident, but their passion and love for their music still remains which is what makes them so enjoyable to watch.
Another moment of confusion hits their set as ACDC's You Shook Me All Night Long blares out of the speakers as the band leave the stage, usually a sign that the show is over, however, midway through the second verse, Elliott reappears onstage questioning whether the crowd seriously thought they’d leave with no encore on their first visit to France in 17 years. Everyone hurries back down for a sing along to Rock Of Ages and Photograph top off a fantastic first day; a day that blends the old with the new and shows that some of the old bands have still got it, and the newer guys are giving rock a bright future.
Following their landmark performance at this years Glastonbury festival, legendary group The Rolling Stones returned to Hyde Park to celebrate their 50th anniversary and their iconic 1969 Hyde Park concert. Barclays British Summer Time lived up to it’s name as thousands headed for central London in the scorching heat. Accompanied by a largely indie line up, some of them fell flat with the old time rockers with no remote interest in the genre.
The main even began at 8:30pm sharp with an opening montage of their last gig here 44 years ago. The Stones took to the stage backed by a huge roar from the crowd, kicking off with the brilliant Start Me Up for the first time this tour. The crowd were treated to hit after hit by a band who genuinely looked excited to be there and to celebrate their illustrious career with fans old and new. Whilst maybe not as flexible as they used to be, and who can be surprised, they certainly still have that element of swagger and cool they possessed years ago. The exception of ccourse being Jagger, the personification of swagger himself, still waltz’s around the stage, pulling his famous moves with the energy of a man 20 years younger than himself. All Down The Line won the public vote and the group used the opportunity to display their blues influences on the huge screens side stage. New single Doom And Gloom fits perfectly into the set and is a joy to hear live against all the old classics. Paint It Black receives a huge reception from the crowd with just about everybody dancing along and singing every word. Band introductions follow before Keith Richards takes to the vocals. It’s fair to say he doesn’t quite have the charisma of Jagger, nevertheless, Before They Make Me Run is a great addition to the set with it’s upbeat rhythms and bouncy chorus. It wouldn’t be right for the quartet not to introduce some familiar faces with both Mick Taylor and Gary Clarke Junior making guest appearances, the former of course celebrating his first performance with the group at the very same venue. There’s plenty of opportunity for audience participation, particularly in Sympathy For The Devil, with Jagger enthusiastically encouraging the audience to give their best woo woo’s and they are more than happy to oblige! Ending on 4 big tracks, the final chords of Brown Sugar ring out as they leave the stage to thunderous applause and continuous cheers for more until their return. With the help of the wonderful Voice Chamber Choir and the London Youth Choir, they lead straight into You Can’t Always Get What You Want to finish on the lively Satisfaction. With the crowd dancing along and the evening coming to an end, the privilege of seeing a band so integral to the music scene and still an accomplished live band after all this years is evident on the faces of every single person in attendance. Tonight was a special day for all involved and one not to forget; The Rolling Stones are most certainly still a force to be reckoned with.
The resurrection of Alice In Chains back in 2009 wa a momentous occasion for their fans.They were always a band who mixed the filth of grunge with the broodiness of metal, creating a dark unique sound. Their last album, their first with singer William DuVall was received greatly, and now they are back with The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. The album the fans have been waiting for.
Kicking off with Hollow, we have that familiar plodding riff and vocal harmonies we are used to from Alice In Chains. It is heavy but beautifully melodic. Pretty Done again has that familiar sound of the early days, same with Voices, Chunky riffs and classic sounding. Lab Monkey is a great track, it is thick with bass and has that touch of Jerry Cantrell talkbox in the solo, again bringing back elements of who the band were, but showing what they have now evolved into. The title track is particularly great too, a thoughtful piece about religion and politics, aggressive with a new flavour about it.
It is obvious that the band have welcomed experimentation with this album. It shows they have grown musically and matured well as a band, comfortable enough to try new things which pays off, It is distinctive, risky but flows perfectly. A welcome return for an iconic band.
Over the past couple of years, the rise of Pledge Music has given us many great albums. More and more artists are turning on to this idea of getting the fans involved to help fund their records, thus creating their own little record labels. This makes the bond between artists and fans a special one, and nothing conveys this more than the new record from Todd Kerns. He went down the Pledge Music route, probably due to the influence of his good pal Ginger Wildheart, and decided to make a new solo album. The response was brilliant, Kerns reached 100% of his target in less than 24 hours and Borrowing Trouble was born, an acoustic album, something a little different to what you may expect.
Nothing Personal, the records opener, is a really catchy one to start with, but it’s juxtaposed with a dark tale of life’s choices and the outcomes you are faced with. It has a great piece of electric slide guitar in there which gives the track a gritty edge, much like its lyrical nature and the repeated line “Ain’t nothing personal, it’s just business” can be such a harsh statement, it really resonates with you. The Devil in Me is one of my personal highlights. There is something about the melody and the use of the electric sitar that along with Todd’s vocals has this really haunting feel about it. It would make a great big, full bodied, ferocious rock song, but stripped down like this it makes just as much impact. The same can be said for This Changes Everything. The song has so much packed into it and a lot going on, it is really not your standard acoustic track, but it is by no means too much. So many layers, with a collaboration of voices and harmonies and the use of different instruments, it makes for a very interesting listen.
Some of the best songs on Borrowing Trouble are the ones that are simply just Todd and his guitar. Tracks like The Maker and Its Always Been You showcase his voice perfectly, and they are so intimate and intricate that they feel personal to listen to, like he is singing directly to you, which can be a very hard thing to achieve, but it is done with such ease. So Scandalous is sweet and bouncy, performed just with a ukulele, and Hideous is a real interesting one, it has this big stomper of a beat running through it, and the guitars give me a kind of Sneaker Pimps vibe. You Can Always Go Home is particularly beautiful. Simple and delicate with such a strong sense of emotion in the lyrics, it’s a perfect closing track. It’s really difficult not to go into detail about each song to be honest, the album is so much more than just another acoustic album, each song has a different flavour about it, but put together they fit so well.
Borrowing Trouble is one of those records where every song is your favourite, there is nothing to criticise about it, and it’s pretty perfect to be honest. The themes that run throughout, preoccupations and worrying about things that may not even happen, and overcoming these feelings, realising that there is more to life than worrying is what makes it feel all the more personal to those listening. It’s stripped back, bare bones, guitar and voice and the storytelling in the lyrics is vivid, as you listen you can see each story playing out in your head. It is a special record for so many reasons; I sincerely hope there is more where this came from.
30 Seconds to Mars have alway been a band associated with ‘epic’ music. Epic in the sense of grandeur, atmospheric, spacey compositions, big big songs. Since they released A Beautiful Lie back in 2005 they have been propelled into the mainstream, and their last release This Is War in 2009 only catapulted them even more. Now they are back with LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS, much awaited, but does it live up to its predecessors?
The grand opening of Birth introduces the album, leading you into Conquistador which is one of the strongest tracks here. A big drum beat and a strong riff, it seems to resemble previous work well and gives optimism for what is to come. Up In The Air, the first single is also a decent track, with some very strong points, although a little repetitive.
The band seem to have taken a more experimental route on this record, choosing a more electronic sound. Sadly, it hasn’t really done much in the way of creating an exciting album, and it does end up becoming somewhat predictable. There is a lot of instrumental, which is never a bad thing, but when it all begins to sound so similar, and is pretty much used to fill the album up, its not as effective. There is a huge use of strings and synth used as lead melody rather than a guitar, which is a cool idea and at first sounds good, but again, it is totally overused.
The songs themselves are good songs, Bright Lights, City of Angels etc, but they don’t seem to change. The level and the tone of the album stays the same throughout, it doesn’t move anywhere. Gone are the days of the more metal edge of their self titled debut, which i would personally love to hear more of in their recent stuff, instead it is replaced with overproduced ‘sounds’ to put it basically. There is however, towards the end a good track in the form of Do or Die which is very typical 30STM. Quick paced, big melodies and harmonies, the it uses the electronics effectively, leaving a brilliant sounding song. Sadly though, a handful of decent songs is not enough to save the record.
LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS had the potential to be a great album had the band combined the many elements and styles they have previously offered to create a unique sound. Instead it just sounds uninspired and its a real shame.
Trent Reznor confirmed yesterday that Nine Inch Nails have signed with Columbia and WILL be releasing a new record this year.
He said in a press release, “I’ve been less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately. For the last year I’ve been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly fucking great. This is the real impetus and motivation behind the decision to assemble a new band and tour again. My forays into film, HTDA and other projects really stimulated me creatively and I decided to focus that energy on taking Nine Inch Nails to a new place. Here we go!”
The 2013 incarnation of NIN features Reznor, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, and Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv, as well as previous NIN collaborators Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini, and Ilan Rubin. We are pretty excited about this, it is bound to be brilliant!
The band will play Reading and Leeds festivals this August.
Openers Gecko were already onstage as I got to the venue. The crowd is sparse enough to wander straight to the front, but it doesn’t seem to put them off as they start a singalong with the audience. Their singer is more enthusiastic than the rest of the band who are fairly static to watch, but musically they’re a fun, upbeat band who warm up the steadily growing crowd nicely.
It’s fairly busy by the time they leave the stage, and second band Current Swell more than deserve the audience. Starting with a lap steel, they have a country influence to them, and they switch lead vocalists from song to song and include harmonies most bands would beg for. They’re much livelier than Gecko, and seem like they could burst out of the confines of the tiny Academy 2 stage at any moment.
Headliners The Skints are no strangers to Newcastle, yet I’ve always managed to miss them, and judging by this performance I’ve been missing out. Through a set list starting withPart & Parcel's Rise Up through to Live.Breathe.Build.Believe's Sociopath, “For the old school Skints fans” - of which there are many in attendance judging by the cheer that goes up for it - they’re a professional and together band, featuring an array of instruments without ever seeming to be too much. They have the crowd behind them seemingly effortlessly for the entire gig. Even with a cover of Katy B’s Katy On A Mission and a few new songs (including the recently released video Out Of My Mind), there’s no lull where the enthusiasm dwindles.
They finish the set with Culture Vulture, with the old fans singing along and the new fans fully converted, it can’t be long before The Skints are deservedly on to bigger and better things.
The Cult have announced Electric 13, a ten date tour across the UK this October.
"The Cult’s life blood has always been playing live, we are between albums and decided to continue the momentum created by Choice of Weapon, stay in people’s hearts and minds. As Love Live was such an incredible experience we have decided that performing the Electric album, an event that has been demanded by our fans and followers as the perfect live set to play in 2013." - Ian Astbury.
The Cult are one of the most influential and controversial bands of the late 20th century, making their mark selling millions of albums, headlining venues worldwide and fusing the worlds of art and fashion with music. Electric, released in 1987 is one of the bands most successful albums and saw them reach new levels of popularity around the world.
The band will perform Electric, raw and unfiltered on tour in 2013, an event branded as Electric 13. This will be one not to miss as The Cult have never performed the album in its entirety. The live show will also include a second set pulling from the band’s eight other studio albums.
It’s hard to believe that HIM have been bringing us their ‘love metal’ sound for almost twenty years now. It seems like a lifetime since we last heard from them despite their last album only being released in 2010, but after a few delays and a change of record label, they are back with Tears on Tape, is it a return to form?
The first single, All Lips Go Blue is a furious mix of noisy guitar and tender vocals, a really great track to kick off the album. The same goes for Love Without Tears, melodic with romantic lyrics, proving the the same formula for gloomy, dark, gothic rock that the band have perfected over the years still works. Some tracks bring the metal element of the band to the forefront a little more, such as I Will Be The End of You, which has a great riff. The title track, Tears on Tape, is a little more on the poppy side, with some nice keyboard sounds and a big sing along chorus. The closing of the album with W.L.S.T.D and Kiss The Void form quite a finale. Dark and haunting synths with an epic scream from Ville Valo, again highlighting the heavier side of the band.
Tears on Tape gives HIM fans exactly what they want. Themes of heartbreak, obsession, the darker side of love, more of what they do best. If you are a HIM fan you will love it, if not, then this record doesn’t give you anything new to win you over, it is however still a very impressive album.
This week has been a good week for music vids, with a controversial new video from David Bowie and an awesome animated video from QOTSA.
Bowie has roped in the help of director Floria Sigismundi for The Next Day, his third single to be taken from the album of the same name. The video also stars Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard, and is set in a pub which is full of religious characters. Bowie portrays a Christ-like figure, Oldman a Priest and Cotillard a saint character. It is filled with religious acknowledgements and some risky imagery. Take a look below…
Then we have the new track from Queens of the Stone Age, I Appear Missing, which is taken from the forthcoming album …Like Clockwork. The video features a man waking up in the desert, bandaged and bloodied and his journey back to the city for the storys conclusion. We meet the more experimental side of QOTSA once again for this one, a hint of what we can expect from the bands sixth studio album.
Crashdiet have issued a statement and a plea following the tragic death of their manager Michael Sunden in an awful accident last month. Sunden, a very respected professional, died after falling and hitting his head at Rock City music venue in Nottingham.
Following his death, the band have been left in a bit of a financial mess, as Sunden was the sole keeper of their money, transactions etc, and his passing has left them questioning how they are to carry on. The guys said in an official statement, “We have borrowed money from everywhere to be able to begin the tour as planned on Wednesday, but our situation is very insecure to say the least. It looks like we’ll be in debt for years to come. We have managed to get through rough times before, but this time we can’t do it alone.”
This is where you can help! Crashdiet have set up a support campaign right here where you can donate money to them in order to keep them on tour, and keep them together! They in return are offering ‘I Saved The Tour’ t-shirts, signed memorabilia and tour laminates valid for life, amongst other things.They have already managed to raise 168% of their target, but every little bit helps, and the campaign will run for another ten days.
When Guns N’ Roses legend Duff McKagan was brought in on bass duties for Seattle group Walking Papers, a ripple effect was triggered as to who this new group were. Upon their second jaunt to the UK, they have gained critical acclaim from fans and reviewers alike for a stunning debut album, and with more performances under their belt, we head out to see the difference live.
Once again Welsh quartet Buffalo Summer have joined them for the ride and there is a noticeable difference in their performance. A little bit bolder and braver than the last time, their tasty blues riffs and pounding beats have added extra snarling attitude from before, delighting the London crowd. Andrew Hunt bounces about the stage, the only thing missing is that hint of that rock n roll gravel in his vocals.
On to tonight’s main event and there is a great air of anticipation in the room as Walking Papers take to the stage. From the opening chords the audience are held under their spell as they are whisked through a set of powerful blues licks, hypnotizing rhythms and of course some fierce bass lines. Jeff Angell looks like a completely different person onstage, swinging his hips and engaging the crowd with his every move. His new found confidence gives him great stage presence to compliment his charming vocals. The Seattle foursome have perfectly clicked together and produce a gritty, tight sound from a combination of blues and grunge. The dirty grooves and crashing cymbals of Independence Day are a great example and topped with Jeff’s floating vocal, it is irresistible, easily encouraging the crowd to dance along. In contrast, the psychedelic, soft tones of The Butcher are mesmerizing and features some dramatic pauses in which Angell doesn’t even move. A beautiful rendition of Already Dead with it’s delicate, chiming keyboard melody cements the evening as a special one with a very special band. Walking Papers really have it all covered with each track standing on it’s own as a clever, charismatic piece of work.
Whilst the lure of Duff McKagan may have drawn people in, as soon as the intricate melodies enter your ears, both live and on CD, Walking Papers become a different entity entirely; one of musical prowess and brilliance.
Spring is finally upon us, so how about some awesome rock to go with it?
After their first successful uk stint last November, Walking Papers are returning for a one off show in London this weekend ahead of their appearance at this years Download Festival. Their bluesy licks are not to be missed! Grab a ticket here.
Whitesnake, Journey & Thunder
Three 80s giants are joining together to deliver a night of big riffs, belting choruses and even bigger hair. With plenty of epic ballads to sing your heart out too, join the party and find your nearest date for tickets here.
Bringing their brand of hard rock back to UK soil, a night with Enuff Z’Nuff is always a fun one. Don’t miss out and bag a ticket here.
The Temperance Movement
One of the hottest new bands on the rock scene, The Temperance Movements irresistible blues grooves are not ones you want to miss out. Find out what all the fuss is about and get your ticket here!
You know how we love to feature a new unsigned band every now and then for your listening pleasure? Well, say hello to Evilyn Strange!
Part English, part Swedish, they formed back in 2008 and have recently been in the studio working on their forthcoming debut Mourning Phoebe. Their music is a whole mixture of delights, heavy but packed full of melody, cracking riffs and a perfect hint of classic rock. The band have just released their latest single Everything, hot on the heels of the success of Love Finds You which found itself hitting number 4 on the Rock/Metal Hot New Release Chart over at Amazon.
Everything combines rough and gritty guitars with some sweet piano and synths to create a great heavy rock ballad. The solo is killer, and the vocals soothing, it almost sounds reminiscent of something by The Cult during the Sonic Temple era.
As i said previously, the band are getting ready to release their debut Mourning Phoebe, and Everything is a great taster of what they have in store. Check out more from Evilyn Strange over at www.evilynstrange.co.uk. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!
Glam rockers donned their animal print, back combed their hair to ridiculous heights and put on their chains to head down for a night of sleaze down at Rock City. Uncertain as to whether the gig would go ahead, understandably their was a sombre atmosphere surrounding Swedish outfit Crashdiet after the death of their manager at the very same venue one week previous. All credit to the quartet for their appearance which was of course dedicated to Michael Sunden.
Londoners Jettblack took to the stage for their headline set first and their enthusiasm for tonight’s set was clear from the opening words of Two Hot Girls. Leading straight into Less Torque More Thrust, the quartet ripped through a high energy, fun 45 minutes. The crowd didn’t need much encouragement to get involved, jumping around and clapping along throughout. Black Gold shows their more delicate side but still packed with a killer guitar solo and bold chorus. The anthemic Raining Rock brings their stint to an end with roars of Jettblack as they vacate the stage.
There is an air of excitement and anticipation as 9 o’ clock hits and Crashdiet walk onstage. Before they begin their set they give a heartfelt message about their tragic loss with the crowd responding to show their support. Their set is short but powerful and whilst it’s a difficult performance for the group, they deliver with great passion and sound tight. California is a particular highlight with Simon Cruz’s vocal soaring over pounding riffs with the frontman taking a second to thank the crowd for their never wavering belief and appreciation for them. Old favourites Riot In Everyone and Generation Wild get the audience pumped up before finishing on the dirty grooves of Cocaine Cowboys. The latter sounds brilliant live with it’s blues hooks and brash chorus.
Tonight was filled with varying emotions, but also plenty of gritty, punchy rock. The combination of the both bands makes for an excellent evening!
It isn’t everyday a band more or less decide to call it quits, change their mind, give it another go, then go onto make possibly the strongest album of their career…..cue Eureka Machines.
Eureka Machines saw a way to keep going and found themselves taking the route of the highly successful and increasingly popular Pledge Music, where fans could fund the production of the bands third album. The campaign was a huge success, where the band blew their original target way out of the water and exceeded all expectations, showing the adoration of their solid fanbase.Loud, noisy, harmonic guitar pop is the best way to describe the music of Eureka Machines and on the aptly titled, Remain In Hope, is the sound is a band showing a new lease of life and being the best they can be, loud, noisy, harmonic guitar pop at it’s best.
There is a slow start with Nice Guys Finish Last, but it soon draws you in, and as an opening track it introduces the album perfectly, setting you up for what is coming next, which is the stupidly infectious Pop Star. A brilliant, brilliant pop song with a machine gun riff and genuinely funny storytelling which will be stuck in your head for days, guaranteed, no bad thing. Affluenza, possibly my favourite here, is huge, with big drums and a catchy hook, it stays with you, much like the cold it is describing, clever that.
There are a few tracks where you can tell the guys have let themselves dabble with some new sounds, and it has paid off. None Of The Above is more full on, aggressive, punk noise but still keeping the familiar harmonies, whereas Wish You Were Her has a bit of a retro indie feel about it. Break Stuff continues the heavier, angrier side of the band, and the album closer Eternal Machines, again a meaningful tale of the life of the band, a great sing along song with some great lyrics. “We’re not old school, we’re just old.”
Honestly there isn’t a bad word i can say about Remain In Hope, brilliant from beginning to end. Eureka Machines should be huge, and this album has the potential to make them huge. So go away, listen to them, and enjoy the great mood they will leave you in.
I’ve heard a lot about the Eureka Machines lately, what with their recent tour with the Wildhearts and a successful Pledge Music campaign, so the chance to see them headlining Newcastle’s Rockstock all dayer was too good to miss. And judging by the amount of people in the venue it seems I’m not alone.
After walking out onstage to a distorted version of the 20th Century Fox theme, they have everyone dancing and clapping along straight away with Champion The Underdog, which is far too catchy a song to not dance along to. And the set is full of tracks with hooks that will leave them in your head for weeks. With the likes of Pop Star, The Story Of My Life and Affluenza it’s easy to see why I’ve heard so many good things. They’re entertaining to watch as well, with the perfect balance of chaotic and together.
At the end of their set, vocalist and guitarist Chris Catalyst explains why it’s so important to support live music, explaining that even if you don’t go see Eureka Machines again, you should go see someone. Although judging by the response they’ve received tonight, I don’t think it’ll be hard to encourage people to go out and see them again. Definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.
A man of many talents, Rob Zombie has turned his attention back to his heavy metal, groove infused music with his fifth solo studio album.
A distorted teenage voice opens the album before leading into the dirty groove and pounding bass of Teenage Nosferatu Pussy take control. First single Dead City Radio And The Gods Of Supertown follows with an irresistible beat and stints of muffled spoken verse about the death of creativity on the mainstream radio stations. The brilliantly catchy rhythms accompanying the lyrics result in a very clever, addictive track. Revalation Revolution instantly has you hooked through sharp drum beats, off beat riffs and a memorable bridge into a bold chorus. Every track contains that unmistakeable Zombie character; slightly mischievous and full of charisma. A small interlude displaying John 5’s guitar skills breaks out from the norm of opening/closing the album and allows you to fully appreciate the musical brilliance after grabbing your attention with the opening tracks. Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole) takes a more industrial turn with a robotic drum beat and droning, gripping vocal line; new territory for Zombie as it is minus the usual dynamic delivery yet every bit as impressive. The ferocious Lucifer Rising will have you tapping along and personifies Zombie’s song writing talents from it’s brash chorus to pumping beats.
With many strings to his bow, Rob Zombie’s care of attention to detail in his music never falters and results in a highly engrossing, enchanting album packed full of punchy, enchanting tracks.
Songs I’d Recommend:Revelation Revolution, White Trash Freaks, Lucifer Rising.
Reunited with Will Stapleton after his spell in the touring War Of The Worlds, Jettblack are back out on the road for a couple of headline dates before their joint tour with Scandinavian glam rockers Crashdiet.
Black Water kick the night off with some punishing riffs but don’t really bring anything new to the fold and as the set wears on, their generic sound gets a little dull. Local lads The Goddamn Electric follow bringing a good following with them. Powering through the first three songs of their set with great enthusiasm, a slight disagreement with the sound man brings their set to an early finish, much to the disappointment of the crowd who try all they can to keep the quartet onstage.
On to these evenings main event and Jettblack burst onstage and straight into Two Hot Girls much to the crowds delight.On to a trio from their latest album Raining Rock including the brilliant Prison Of Love featuring a mighty crowd sing along. Black Gold is a highlight of the night and really showcases the dynamic vocal tones of Will Stapleton. Old favourites such as Get Your Hands Dirty really fire the crowd and after successfully pumping up the crowd for Motherfucker they add cheeky hidden bonus of The Rolling Stones Paint It Black. The material from both albums work really well together, creating an electric set that keeps you on your toes. The energy and passion from the band is reflected in the crowd with every person in the room thoroughly is enjoying every single minute. Ending on the bold Raining Rock, complete with audience participation, the cheers for more mean that the band barely even attempt to leave the stage before resuming their positions for a killer rendition of Dangerzone.
An evening with Jettblack is always guaranteed to be a great one filled with energy and charisma. Don’t miss them out on the road with Crashdiet this month!