After over forty years since his last visit, Slash finally made his long anticipated return to his hometown of Stoke on a beautiful sunny evening. With people queuing from as early as 5am, it was clear to everyone that this gig was going to be special. To mark the occasion, limited edition t-shirts with the clever pun “Stoked” were available as well as the matter of filming to be released on DVD next January.
After a delay on the doors, the venue quickly filled up before opening act Japanese Voyeurs took to the stage. Whilst sounding good, I personally find singer Romily Alice’s vocals a little too on the whiny side for my liking. The crowd didn’t seem to quite understand them.
After a short turn around of 25 minutes, a booming voice echoed round Victoria Hall introducing the band and questioning the audiences will to rock.
Bursting into Been There Lately, the excitement from the crowd and the band filled the room, which was elevated to another level when Night Train kicked in. With encouragement from the brilliant Myles Kennedy, fans of all ages sang along and it was clear the night was only just beginning. Ghost and Mean Bone followed before Back From Cali, a track contributed from Myles to Slash’s solo album. Gunners classics Rocket Queen and Civil War were big crowd pleasers before Nothing To Say, confessed as one of the favourites of the band, and it is clear to see from their sheer enthusiasm. New addition of Promise followed and was one of the best sounding of the night. Myles Kennedy really is an amazing talent and easily takes the variety of songs in the set and makes them his own yet still keeping all the elements that made the original so popular. His own song writing talent is on show once again with the track Starlight, introduced by Slash with glowing praise for his chosen singer. Bassist Todd Kerns, who’s backing vocals added another dimension all night, then took to the lead vocals for the Lemmy track Dr Alibi. The talent in the band is over flowing and their passion for music and chemistry comes across on stage. A Snakepit track in the form of Speed Parade is next, another new track to UK audiences, once again was brilliantly executed. Slash was then given the chance to display just why he is considered one of the best guitarists of all time with the instrumental Watch This and his solo which included the Godfather theme. The genius of his playing had the audience mesmerised and was greeted with huge cheers. Sandwiched between the two was Beggars & Hangers On and the beautifully performed Patience. Sweet Child O’ Mine was the penultimate track before crowd favourite Slither, complete with loving band introductions in which Slash and Myles Kennedy tried to out embarrass each other due to their modest natures.
Safe to say, they fully deserved the huge cheers for an encore and return to the stage to a very delighted audience. The encore was composed of By The Sword, Mr Brownstone, which had everyone dancing, and lastly, Paradise City, accompanied by confetti canons.
The night ended with huge thanks from the band and adoration from the crowd. As they all link up and bow, this gig certainly lived up to its hype.
Here at Let the Music Do the Talking, we understand your shyness and that getting on stage can be daunting. However, if you are in a death metal band and you are screaming to your feet instead of the crowd, it makes the whole thing a little less intense which kind of ruins the whole act. If you’re going to be controversial, you need the attitude to back it up otherwise you’ve lost your audience.
Making demands of the audience
Unless you are CERTAIN that you will get a response, do not shout to your audience to headbang, mosh or sing along. Chances are, the majority of your audience don’t know who you are and have no interest in doing anything but listening to you. I have on too many occasions watched a band not get much crowd response and in turn have shouted to them to start enjoying themselves… it doesn’t work that way. Get a dedicated crowd and THEN make demands.
Wear your own band t-shirt on stage
Come on. COME ON. We should know who you are without you advertising yourselves. WHERE IS YOUR SHAME?! As ‘Fro’ from What’s The Damage said, ‘if Kerry King can’t do it, neither can you!’
Make private jokes with audience members
How lovely, your friends have come along to your gig. They’ve been to a few now and know most of your songs off by heart. They’ll buy you a drink after you play and have supported your band for a long time. What a nice guy. You probably have in-jokes with this super duper guy, you probably repeat them so much that they’re not funny any more. You know what else isn’t funny? Repeating these jokes to your oblivious audience. In-jokes are a pain in the arse at the best of times but when you’re on stage telling them… even worse.
Not telling the audience your band name
I felt quite stupid typing that as it should be said at every single gig. It should go without saying. If your audience like you, they need to know who you are and when writers like myself are reviewing your shows, it’s rather handy when we know who we’re reviewing.
That’s all for now, I’m sure I’ll come up with more but please, PLEASE take these rules into consideration!
Dying at the age of 27 is tragic. It’s more tragic than it will ever be beautiful. Having a troubling life and dying at the age of 27 is even more tragic. Can we please stop the notion that the 27 Club is somehow romantic or beautiful? It’s quite the opposite.
Since Amy Winehouse’s death, a lot of people have (obviously) had their say on it. Some saying it’s a terrible waste of life and talent, some saying they saw it coming and she deserved what she got. Then we have the absolute morons who say that Winehouse doesn’t deserve to be part of the 27 club because she brought this on herself.
Not one member of the 27 Club didn’t take copious amounts of drugs. Not one member didn’t have a troubled life. Not one member wasn’t immensely talented and the only difference between Winehouse and the others is that she hasn’t been romanticised and made into a cult icon… Yet.
Amy Winehouse had an incredible, unique voice. She was a troubled musician who never seemed to gather the strength to battle her many, many demons. She was also a very talented woman who re-introduced a style of singing into the mainstream market and paved the way for similar artists to step up. She was in no way a role model but she was a damaged person and it should be pointed out that addiction is a mental illness and despite most celebrities miraculously ‘overcoming’ such issues, Winehouse was clearly beyond repair as many addicts are.
I think it’s better to not judge those suffering but to try and help them.
A loss of a life, a daughter, a friend and an incredible talent.
I can therefore tell you that it is not always an easy task, especially if you want your compositions to resonate with people. Catchiness is often difficult to achieve- will people remember your song? can you sing along? Does it have a “hook” riff? These are all things to think about.
I can also attest to having a vast and varied musical taste; from Iron Maiden to Imogen Heap (above); Def Leppard to Duran Duran, Sublime to Steve Vai and Wagner to Whitechapel without belabouring the point too much. many others claim a similar variation in their appreciation.
Why then, is there such a deficit in good songwriting in both popular and alternative music today?
I’ll not dwell too much on current pop; that is not the focus of this article. There are bands out there who insist on splicing together the most ill- fitting and opposing of musical genres; as ill-fitting- you could say- as the women’s jeans the male members of these bands wear.
Lets get one thing clear, am in no way opposing diversity or innovation in songwriting- such things are a joy in music!
The latter is a guitar piece written to accompany Pachelbel’s Canon in D. The video proclaiming itself as the original has attracted over 12 million hits, and climbs daily. It has encouraged many of youtube’s guitar playing community to cover it and do their own renditions of it, one of which (by guitarist funtwo) has attracted 90 million views. What I am putting across here is that these are examples of when the mixing of genres and musical “feels” yields a positive (and sometimes impressive)result.
And then we have bands such as Attack Attack, A Day to Remember and Design the Skyline.
Attack Attack (Above right) were the first band of this style that I encountered, and their song Stick Stickly has been retained on my I-pod for its presumably unintended comedic value ( a friend and I satirically refer to it as “our jam”) it shows quite unequivocally a collection of musical genres that simply do not cohere well. It is easy to imagine the band members being at loggerheads over the sound of the band, and this being the compromise- a shambolic tug-of-war between Metalcore, Pop-Punk and Electronica. Design the Skyline (above left) don’t even have the benefit of being catchy. I am completely incredulous as to why they have been signed to a record label. The Youtube feedback on their video single speaks louder than my words ever could. Such “scene” music holds absolutely no worth in my eyes- because it’s more about image than the music itself.
To me, this is the musical equivalent of eating a rare steak smothered with custard and Bovril infused strawberries- you can in fact enjoy all of these things on their own merits, but having it all together will succeed only in leaving a strange and unpleasant taste in the back of your throat. Why bother listening to this when there are celebrated and skilled artists in the fields these bands encompass? You could have Blink-182 and Bowling for Soup when it comes to pop-punk, and there are no shortage of great Metalcore acts such as Killswitch Engage and All Shall Perish- why settle for less?. Good music is often good music because the performers are adept at their art. In the case of these bands, the old chestnut rings all too clear- In seeking to be “Jacks of all trades” they only cement themselves as “masters of none”
However, If you are in your early teens, have ADHD, and have to sweep aside your long, lopsided and multicoloured fringe to read this article, your opinion will likely differ from mine- and fair play to you, if you genuinely enjoy this. I would recommend though, that you shop around more when it comes to music. There are more accomplished artists out there, creating songs that provoke thought, push the boundaries of songwriting, and move the listeners. Please take the time to listen to the examples bullet pointed above and scattered around the article; It’ll be worth your while- just click on the linked artist/song names!
Last night I went along to the G2 in Glasgow to see some of Scotland’s finest acts compete against each other to get into the final heats to perform at Surface Festival.
I’ll be honest here- I was incredibly stupid and forgot to bring a pen with me for taking notes. A writer without a pen, laughable. So I can’t do a full review but will give a quick run-down of my thoughts on the bands and the festival itself.
What’s The Damage?! came back to the stage after a short break with an absolute bang, stand-in bassist Gareth Dunion seems to have brought the band back to life with his killer bass lines. They played note-perfect and seemed to be genuinely enjoying being on stage. The chemistry between this band is almost as intense as their sound, they’re getting better every time I see them. Golden Silence was their stand-out track, by far. Unfortunately, despite that being one of their best performances to date, they didn’t get through to the finals.
The Colony described themselves as ‘rock n roll’ and said they were influenced by Thin Lizzy. As a self-confessed sucker for all things rock n roll, I was excited about this band before they even hit the stage. They were undoubtedly good at playing their instruments, they had very little chemistry on stage and wasted a lot of their twenty minute slot shouting to the crowd in an attempt to make them more responsive. They could easily be a three piece as a lot of their sound is quite limited and frankly, bland. They were not rock n roll in the slightest and I think they have listened to a screamo cover of Thin Lizzy and assumed that’s how they sound. I have absolutely no intention of seeing this band again and apparently neither do the Surface Festival judges.
You’re always guaranteed a party atmosphere when Let’s Play God are on stage. Right from the beginning of their set, the audience is treated to a dramatic intro followed by an incredibly alluring stage presence. Let’s Play God are by no means a band that does things by half and within minutes got a somewhat nonchalant crowd onto their feet. Last night wasn’t one of LPG’s best performances, there seemed to be something lacking but they still gave one hell of a show and got themselves through to the finals!
I’ve been listening to a lot of 90’s alt/grunge stuff lately, going back to stuff i used to listen to when i was a kid, so i compiled a little playlist for your listening pleasure! Enjoy and let us know if you like it!
Hailed as one of the bands to watch for 2011, Rival Sons are building quite the reputation for themselves. Having just released their album ‘Pressure and Time’, currently supporting Judas Priest and a spot at Sonisphere, they found time for 2 headline shows, London and right here in Leeds.
Squeezed into the tiny upstairs room of The Cockpit, they make their way through the small gathered crowd to the ‘stage’ in the corner of the room and tear into ‘Gypsy Heart’. From the word go this show is amazing.
The comparisons to Led Zeppelin are undeniable, however much the band don’t like it, but this is no bad thing, for they are the closest anyone has ever gotten to bringing back that authentic sound of an era, and they do it with so little effort, the music just pours right out of them, you can see it in their faces, especially in such a tiny atmosphere.
Rival Sons have a knack for writing songs that stay in your memory, powerful and raw, and ‘Torture’ is perfect evidence of this. It sounded huge and Jay Buchanan’s voice drowned out the whole room (and the whole of the downstairs for that matter). ‘All Over The Road’ and ‘Pressure and Time’ are the perfect double and build up the tension in the increasingly hot and sweaty room.
The band close with a mindbending cover of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, a nod to their musical roots and a perfect way to to end the evening. The set ran a little too short for my liking, coming in at just an hour, it went by too quickly. It was clear the people wanted to hear more, the band really went down a storm.
The comparisons with Zeppelin and The Doors are bound to die down sooner or later when people realise just how amazing this band are in their own right. All i can say to some up this gig is that is was amazing, and i really cannot wait for them to be back with a headline tour. Fingers crossed it’s soon!
After a sweltering hot day, the queue began to form in anticipation for one of the indie world’s biggest hero’s.
Opening act The Heartbreaks provided a slow start to the evening and despite much enthusiasm on their behalf, failed to get the crowd going.
Unfortunately for the audience, the night never really picked up. Opening with The Smith’s I Want The One I Can’t Have, Morrissey’s commitment to entertain his fans was some what lacklustre. The banter he has become well known for was absent with the exception of a mini rant about how he hates the royal family. Musically, as always, he was pretty much note perfect, but again, you couldn’t help but feel something was missing making the show a little boring. Who knows, maybe he’s just getting a bit to old for lengthy tours now! The balance of solo and Smith’s material provided fans with their favourite tracks with a sneaky cover of Lou Reed’s Satellite Of Love thrown in.
Morrissey’s legacy is one that can never be questioned and he fully deserves the iconic status he has been given, but tonight he just didn’t quite hit the spot.
After creeping onto the music scene back in 2007 with their debut ‘Strange House’, The Horrors have had a pretty impeccable track record. Back then they were the darlings of the NME but were also disliked by many and written off as ‘style over substance’. Then came along ‘Primary Colours’, their second offering which saw a complete change from The Cramps style goth-punk and took a more My Bloody Valentine approach to things, and it was even nominated for the Mercury Prize.
So, album number three ‘Skying’. Once again they have managed to go away and come back bringing something completely new to the table. New and unexpected, ‘Skying’ has elements of psychedelia about it, but it also taps into the world of 80s electronica, not in a cheesy overdone kind of way, but so perfectly that it feels new to listen to, really fresh sounding.
There are still elements of the old in there, especially with the guitar sounds on tracks like ‘Endless Blue’ and the organs on ‘I Can See Through You’. First single from the album however, ‘Still Life’ with its synthy almost glam feel had major similarities to Simple Minds early work, no bad thing of course, just very obvious.
The closing song of the album ‘Oceans Burning’ is perhaps the bands most beautiful song they have ever produced. A dreamy, atmospheric track that fades the album out perfectly, and its hard to believe it is Faris Badwans vocals you hear, truly lovely.
Overall, it is hard to find any fault with ‘Skying’ at all. It delivers perfectly, and it most definitely a logical conclusion from their previous offerings. Hopefully their progression in sound will continue and they will just get better and better. But for now, stick this album on, lie back and dream away.
A scorching hot day in Shepherd’s Bush sees a gathering of veteran rockers lining up by the Green waiting for 80’s glam metallers Cinderella to show London that 25 years later, they can still rock the house.
It’s the band’s 25th Anniversary Tour, and today, queuing up outside the venue, is an array of people who excitedly await the band’s first UK show since Download 2010. Although the setlist is mildly short – 13 songs – in amongst the evening’s sparkly shockwaves are all the classic hits, enough to satisfy every hungry rock n’ roll soul in the room.
“One Around The Ride” is our opening nugget, a song about taking chances and grabbing life by the balls. And tonight it appears this is something the antediluvian glamsters are a long time from doing. Although they give a relatively charming performance there is something lacking from the overall show. Keifer’s voice sounds familiar but isn’t quite what it used to be and there doesn’t seem to be much enthusiasm from anyone. Is it because they’re jetlagged or jaded? It’s impossible to know. But having said that, this is 25 years later, and credit is due where credit is due, and I guess we have to be slightly forgiving in time’s cruel aging process.
So despite this, it’s fair to say the list of songs are as good as we’re ever going to get from a back-in-the-day band, and for the majority of people here this evening this is just fine. Because when the profanity smothered “Shake Me” rockets from the speakers, it’s drinks down and dance on for the couple hundred people on the floor, and on the balconies.
After several more songs, including “Somebody Save Me” and “The More Things Change”, it’s time to let the sweaty leather clad crowd have a breather and enjoy a mellow mid-set balladathon. “Coming Home”, “Nobody’s Fool” and “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” all encourage the lighters and swaying arms, aswell as allowing for bar time and a cool down. But then just as the crowd start to get itchy feet, the band rip into probably their most popular tune – “Gypsy Road”. Finishing with “Long Cold Winter” and “Shelter Me”, the crowd chanting and cheering, it’s apparent that Cinderella still have a place amongst the Grandpa Glam Bands twenty years on.
Rival Sons are one of the most refreshing bands to emerge at the moment, bringing something completely different to the table their debut 'Pressure and Time' is a swaggering, stomping classic rock and roll record fused with blues and at times even motown. Think bands like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Hendrix and you’ve got it spot on, they are bringing the 70s back in a big way.
Creating guitar sounds that stoner bands have been trying to emulate for decades, the whole record screams of authentic rage and energy you wouldn’t believe possible from an album made in the here and now.
It all kicks off with 'All Over the Road', a perfect introduction to this incredible band. The musicianship on offer here is fantastic, and Jay Buchanan’s vocals are jaw-droppingly brilliant.
It is fast, it is raw and it is pure, and requires listening extremely loud and extremely often. Once played from start to finish you’ll want to go back and do it all again. Songs like 'Young Love', single 'Pressure and Time' and 'Gypsy Heart' stand out as particular highlights, but really the whole thing is cracking.
Overall, there is not one bad track on this album. Rival Sons really do fill me full of hope for rock and roll in the 21st century. Definitely a band to keep your eye on!
Yep, that’s right Slash is back again for another short stint of shows in the UK, bringing his ‘We’re All Gonna Die tour’ to an end after well over a year on the road. He is again joined by Myles Kennedy, Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz and Bobby Schneck, and if you are lucky enough to get hold of a ticket then you are guaranteed to have one of the best nights of your life! No kidding! He also plays T in the Park, Oxygen and High Voltage festivals this month.
Making their live return with new drummer Mike Mangini they are only playing a couple of dates in warm up to their appearance at High Voltage festival. Tickets and info here!
No introduction needed. The mighty Maiden are on tour all over this month and you would simply be a fool to miss them. One of the best live shows you are likely to see. All info here.
Again only playing a handful of dates, the King of British indie makes his return. If you don’t manage to catch him on this tour, he has just announced he will be playing another couple of gigs in London this August. Find out more!
Last but not least is Bright Eyes. After an amazing gig at the Royal Albert Hall last month, Conor Oberst is playing a few more dates this month around the UK. Ticket info here.
And of course, there are a load more festivals going on this month. Notably T in the Park, Sonisphere and High Voltage festival!!
The past couple of years has seen a resurgence in many a 90’s band, mostly of the Britpop variety, and many asked when the day would come that Pulp would be one of those bands. Jarvis Cocker would always hush any rumour or speculation, asking why would they need/want to, little did we know it would be a lot sooner that we thought.
Sunday night saw the return of Pulp, closing this years Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, a moment i have to say, i have been waiting for forever having been a lifelong fan, and being that little bit too young to see them before their split in 2002. Having already played numerous festivals around Europe, it was time for them to come ‘home’. “Although we’re from Sheffield this feels like a hometown concert,” Jarvis says, “Its the collision between Sheffield and London and what came from that”.
Opening with ‘Do You Remember The First Time?’ seems very apt, as many of us do (even if i was only little). They storm through a set of absolute classics, mainly from the ‘Different Class’ album, ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Underwear’, ‘Something Changed’ but threw in a few surprises too, notably ‘Mile End’ which the band recorded for the movie Trainspotting and which is a firm fan favourite. Absolute highlights of the evening were ‘F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E’ and ‘This is Hardcore’, which really can only be described as an epic performance.
The atmosphere amongst the people of Hyde Park was electric, and the band looked genuinely amazed at the reaction. Jarvis was on fire and he moved around every inch of the stage, climbing and jumping and thrusting his way around. It was like nothing had changed, as if time hadn’t moved on, even if Jarvis did refer to the band as ‘old farts’.
As the night drew to a close, only one song could end the evening, ‘Common People’. Introduced by Jarvis having a bit of a dig at the new One Hyde Park development, “We are in their back garden creating a bit of noise” he says mischievously as everyone gears up for one almighty sing along. It was a special moment, and one that they hinted maybe a last. As more confetti took to the skies Cocker said “Its like Christmas come early. We’ll see you all again….in about 15 years!”. I think we can pretty much guarantee they would still have the fans praying for that to happen.
Although, it may come a little sooner than that as today the band announced they will be playing two special shows at Brixton Academy on the 31 August and 1st September, with tickets going on sale this Friday 8 July. This may be the last chance to see the band for some time, if again at all and its likely to be a sell out!
Full setlist from Wireless:
'Do You Remember The First Time?' 'Pink Glove' 'Mile End' 'Mis-Shapes' 'Something Changed' 'Disco 2000' 'Sorted For E’s And Wizz' 'F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E' 'I Spy' 'Babies' 'Underwear' 'This Is Hardcore' 'Sunrise' 'Bar Italia' 'Common People'