Tremonti - HMV Ritz, Manchester, 17.02.13
Sending tremors through the rock world and surprising the majority with some mighty strong vocals; Tremonti came to shake Manchester’s foundations, even after another bomb scare!
First up were Glaswegians Logan who warmed up the crowd nicely with brutal drum beats and plenty of enthusiasm. However; any thoughts of the quintet were quickly forgotten as Heaven’s Basement took to the stage. Aaron Buchanan prowled this stage with charismatic intent and had the crowd wrapped around his little finger from the get go. Backed by an explosive classic rock sound, it’s not surprising the group are turning heads and gaining momentum.
The moment the room had been waiting for arrived and guitar hero Mark Tremonti walked out to a wall of cheers. Opening with Leave It Alone, the band ripped through all 12 tracks on the solo album, and the 2 bonus tracks, matching the energy of the passionate, rowdy crowd; so rowdy the last time infact, that they decided to film their second visit to the city. From the ferocious All I Was to the fiery So You’re Afraid, the audience screamed the words back as Tremonti dazzled with prolific shredding and booming vocals. New Way Out added a tender moment to the evening, followed by the thundering Decay; complete with audience participation. Leaving to rapturous applause and chants of his name, Tremonti shortly returned to deliver the explosive Brains.
It’s rare to attend a gig with such an electric atmosphere with energy levels never fading; the band and the crowd encouraging one another, Tremonti & co are at the top of their game, that’s for sure!
Picture from Rich Booth.
RECKLESS LOVE @ Camden Barfly, London 25.10.12 (extreme extended review edition).
So tonight is the final show of Finnish rockers Reckless Love’s massive month long UK tour. Phew! The guys have been on the road throughout October, and have spent every Thursday night right here, at Camden’s Barfly. They’ve had their own little residency here, something you would usually see on the streets of Vegas or in the City of Angels. But tonight’s show is the climax of their hectic touring schedule, and they made sure it was an explosive ending.
There have been many surprises during Reckless Love’s Octourber. They’ve had special guests join them onstage during their Barfly residency, with members of Jettblack and The Treatment getting up to help shred Camden apart. Both bands have previously toured with the Merry Metallers, so it was great to see the reunions onstage. Other tour surprises included a variation of excellent cover versions, a different one for every city. I had seen the band perform in both Norwich and Nottingham previous to the final London date, where I witnessed Def Leppard’s Hysteria (a popular cover of theirs that I’m sure long time Reckless fans have seen at some point) and Judas Priest’s Living After Midnight. There was also the addition of bonus song Push on the setlists every night, a tune from the Japanese edition of either Animal Attraction or their recently released Born To Break Your Heart single. A wonderfully winter themed song that is catchy as hell, with just a little hint of cheese. (We’re talking about Reckless Love, of course there is cheese).
Back to the Barfly though, and the last performance of the Animal Attraction 2012 World Tour: The UK Edition…
The setlist was perfection, adding much loved songs from their debut that were sadly missed off at some of the other UK dates. It was also long, a 19 song setlist, far longer than anything else previous on this tour. Brilliant!
The band walked out to whistles, screams, cheers, and raised fists before smashing into Feel My Heat. The opener from their debut and the song that once started the old shows here at Barfly, the crowd erupted into chorus along with frontman Olli Herman and didn’t miss a beat. From there they wasted no time and fell straight into Wild Touch, another debut favourite, and followed it up with Born To Break Your Heart and the classic Beautiful Bomb.
Then we were thrown a curveball. Coconuts. Probably the bands’ most hated track from their Animal Attraction album. The song that has every fan and critic confused and the one that most people truly loathe. Either everyone in the room was drunk, or people were just willing to embrace it and sing along anyway. But it was soon over, and we got back into the rhythm of things.
Dance, Back To Paradise, an ear shattering drum solo courtesy of the topless tattooed Hessu Maxx, Speedin’, Sex (which was a lovely surprise, as the only ballad they usually play at shows is often now given to Fantasy), Animal Attraction, bonus song Push, and On The Radio. The crowd, and indeed the band, are sweaty and delighted. The singing, dancing, fisting pumping, headbanging, arm swaying and clapping don’t falter once. During a little break, Olli’s now infamous Hustler t-shirt with the slogan “Sorry Boys, I Only Blow Kisses” (I’ll leave you to make up your opinion on that…) was peeled from his back and thrown into the crowd. His parting words were it had been with him all tour and he felt like he should leave it as a parting gift to the beautiful UK. A girl behind us caught it and was delighted. It smelt really bad. She’s welcome to it.
After a breather, guitarist Pepe roared straight into a deafening guitar solo, almost clocking a few people on the squashed front row with the neck of his Fender. This lead us into Romance, and then Badass.
After having done so many shows, it doesn’t seem like the band can be bothered with the charade of leaving the stage, waiting for chants of “RECKLESS LOVE, RECKLESS LOVE”, and then running back on only if you scream for them loud enough. So instead they stand onstage and let the crowd scream anyway as Olli asks into the microphone “do you want more?!” Wouldn’t it be a surprise if one day a crowd screamed back “no”? But of course we want more, so we’re given Hot, without doubt one of Reckless Love’s most popular songs. For a while the band just let the crowd sing it note for note, word for word, perfectly. It’s a catchy and fun tune, definitely a good one for summer fun.
Then we’re given a little treat, for our ears only at this very last show of Reckless Love’s Rocktober. A working title named Bad Lovin’, a song that is apparently due to appear on their next album. Now this is where the magic was. It was a song very reminiscent of their first album and was far superior to anything on Animal Attraction. This was like Reckless Love roots, and it was bloody brilliant. You could almost see the fireworks erupting from the stage. The band rocked it out hard and the crowd were loving it. The cheers were phenomenal. They then finished off a crackin’ set with the Reckless Love classic, One More Time. And it truly was one more time, one last time, for this portion of the UK. Until the next time.
All I will say is keep an ear out. The next album seems like it might be promising, and hopefully make up for Animal Attraction and get back to the Reckless Love of yore. (Sorry, Animal fans…) We can only wait and see.
Photo’s by Laura.
BT London Live Closing Ceremony - Hyde Park, London - 12.08.2012
While big names such as The Spice Girls, Brian May, Take That and Jessie J were closing the Olympic games in spectacular fashion at the stadium in Stratford on Sunday night, an 80,000 strong crowd instead take to Hyde Park for an alternative ceremony of their own with a Best of British theme.
The crowds descended on the Central London venue in the early afternoon„ draped in Union Jack flags and British pride as the two week high the Olympics has provided is brought to an end. Suns shining and over priced beer flowing, with the last of the events being shown on the big screen gearing the people up for the evening ahead.
First up are relatively new band Bombay Bicycle Club. Being the newest act on the bill could be quite challenging but the hand take it in their stride and do their best to get the crowd going. It is undeniable that they must have been influenced by the three bands that follow them today, but they don’t quite reach the same level and are very much a warm up. Still the band impress during their short set.
Now, the 35 years of British music that is being represented today is certainly something to be celebrated. Three incredibly influential bands, each in a very different way. And what is really inspiring is that all represent the real Britain, celebrating the people.
Next up is New Order who get us all going with a whole set of classics. They get off to a bit of a slow start but by the time their hour is up, the crowd are evidently happy with witnessing such a legendary band today. Ceremony, True Faith and Temptation are all fantastic but it is the familiar sounds of Blue Monday that brings the people and the band together. That together with a rendition of Joy Division epic Love Will Tear Us Apart ends their set perfectly.
Something cheerful and joyous follows in the shape of The Specials. It is fairly difficult not to feel happy when watching this band. A band that have always held a great sense of importance and played a massive part in bring together the people, the messages in their songs are still as relevant today as they always were. Monkey Man, Message to You Rudy and Too Much Too Young fill the park with cheers and chants and a definite party feeling.
And so here we are, tonights headliners Blur take to the stage for their big 2012 comeback show. Hinted to be the bands last ever show, the anticipation is electric, along with the atmosphere. Girls and Boys kicks us off, the pounding bass riff from Alex James instantly recognisable, straight into London Loves and a sign that tonight is no straight up greatest hits show.
The staging is beautiful as a replica of the Westway adorns the stage, all lit up with the band beneath, it looks perfect and a very fitting concept. Damon Albarn commands the Hyde Park crowd with ease, he must be so used to this by now, yet he still appears so humble. Dave Rowntree is a force behind the drums, while Graham Coxon appears as shy and vulnerable as ever, struggling to tame himself and his guitar, he throws himself (literally) into every song, physically exhausting himself at times, all through the passion of what he does.
Coffee and TV provides a great crowd moment, while Damon dedicates Out of Time to all the athletes in other countries who were not allowed to compete in the games. Then follow the surprises, B-side Young and Lovely makes an appearance as a dedication to the bands children, and also a truly touching rendition of Caramel, very rarely played it is a tender moment this evening. A definite highlight tonight is Phil Daniels joining the band for Parklife as always, but with the added bonus of Harry Enfield as a tea maid, bizarre yet brilliant. A trip back in time as we get Sunday Sunday, Colin Zeal and Advert, all superbly energetic and work the crowd into a frenzy.
The end in sight, the band wind down. No Distance Left to Run brings a stunned silence to the park, full of sentiment. It sets the tone perfectly for Tender, which brings for me the best moment of the night as the crowd sing louder than ever and the chants of ‘oh my baby’ roll around the park, it feels united, followed by This Is a Low it is the perfect finish. Though of course Blur come back for a mighty encore, including new song Under the Westway which Albarn advises was written especially for tonight, full of spirit. The Universal ends the night on an inspiring high and the feelings of the band are evidently emotional, Albarn holds back the tears as the crowd roar. Full of complete awe we are left happy and proud to be British.
Jaya The Cat - Trillians, Newcastle - 6.8.12
Guns N’ Roses - Manchester Arena, 29.05.2012
Let me start by saying this, if you buy tickets to a Guns N’ Roses show in 2012 you have to know what you are expecting. I don’t believe that anyone that is a fan doesn’t know about a certain Mr Axl Rose and his notorious lateness. Believe me, I am not condoning it, as I do think it is unfair to a lot of fans who miss out on the gigs because he can’t make a stage on time, but it has been happening for years. Recent news stories or reviews of the band’s latest UK tour seem to have concentrated on this fact and nothing else, like it is something new when it really really isn’t. Well, we went along to the show, fully expectant of a late night, and truthfully it was full of surprises…
At around 23.05 the lights of the Manchester Arena went down, the placed drowned in darkness as the sounds of Massive Attack rung through. The lights come up and the band storms the stage to the sounds of Chinese Democracy. The crowd, or what’s left of them get into a frenzy as a trio of Welcome to the Jungle, It’s So Easy and Mr Brownstone follow. It is great to see and hear these songs sung live by the voice that makes them so distinctive, and he sounds in good nick too, still hitting the notes and reaching the screams.
The highlight of the evening for me is getting to hear Estranged live. Always one of my favourite Guns N’ Roses songs it was definitely something brilliant. Along with Don’t Cry and November Rain which were particularly great. Dizzy Reed also delivered a blinding piano solo, playing Baba O’Reilly by The Who, cueing mass sing-along. I honestly can’t help but feel a little bored in some parts of the show however. One too many ‘jams’ and guitar solos for my liking. The decision to let Tommy Stinson and Bumblefoot perform their own tracks was a good idea, something a little different, and I think a good move at showing fans how they are fully fledged members of the band etc, but everything in between was just time filling as Axl took one of his many costume changes.
He may not look the same and he may be getting on a little, but that doesn’t stop Axl Rose from running around that stage like he is still in his heyday, which was refreshing to see, especially as he has a leg injury after falling on stage a few nights previous. The other guys do a great job also; they play well and know how to get the crowd going.
As the night draws to a close, it is hard not to notice the distinct lack of people left in the arena, but the ones that are left aren’t phased at all as they lap up every last second of the band. Closing with a cover of ACDC’s Whole Lotta Rosie, Patience which was lovely to hear and of course Paradise City, confetti cannons and steamers galore, the band proved tonight that they do have the ability to put on a great show, even into the wee small hours (it was after 2am when the lights came up) and a lot of very pleased fans left the arena with the sounds of GnR still ringing in their ears.
Silverjet - Sheffield Corporation, 21/04/2012
Local heroes, Silverjet, are Sheffield’s finest band. They don’t get the credit they deserve. Sure, they have the comfortable option of supporting other, larger bands on their tours or playing decent hometown gigs, but their music should be entertaining a larger mass.
Tonight’s line-up is full of bands offering rock from the school of old and the crowd, small at number but gradually increasing as the night goes on, are eager for their next dose.
First up are a band called Suicide Tuesday, a name undoubtedly taken from the Gemini Five song of the same title, who promise to bring the older style of rock kicking and screaming into the new century. I don’t think they’d have to do much effort - plenty of bands in the past decade have already had that idea and others besides. But their songs are decent and they play them without a hitch, if a little predictable in the process.
Next up is Velvet Star, a band more in the punk vein. They are feisty and energetic. Quite refreshing after watching Suicide Tuesday. Their songs speak of the usual excesses of rock’n’roll with a rather punk arrogance but they’re good fun at the same time, singer Danny Jones accredits the aptly titled 'Ego' as being about him and who are we to argue? New guitar player Andy Mewse, who left tonight’s main band Silverjet a year ago, is fitting in well and leaving his mark with expert guitar riffs. All in all they put on a good show, gladly deviating away from the norms of so called ‘nu glam’. Others in the same vein should take note.
Now I could make an age-joke about New Generation Superstars, but I’ll leave that out for now. They speak of themselves as too punk for the rock crowd, and too rock for the punk crowd and to some extent I’d agree. They do do a rather good mix of the two though, sounding rather Wildhearts-y/Backyard Babies-y as they tear into their back catalogue aswell as delivering some songs from their upcoming album. They set the crowd going with favourites such as 'Come Over' and 'Overload' but they seem equally happy with the new offerings aswell. During new track 'Guess What' the crowd are invited to raise their middle fingers and shout along with the band, something tonight’s lot take to with gusto. Maybe that’s just what kind of people they are, maybe that’s just what the tutelage of a band like New Gen can bring out in you, who knows?
Last but not nearly least is Silverjet. Locally they are very popular, and why should they not be? They play to a comfortably-sized crowd tonight, in the Corporation’s smaller room. Like the bands onstage beore them, their brand of rock comes from the school of old but has their own take on the old standards. They are a bit bluesy, singing about love and the like but they have a bit of a kick aswell, quite a good combination. Who doesn’t like a good love song? Even the hardiest man covered in tattoos would be encouraged enough to sing along to the catchy melodies, I’m sure there were more than a few examples of this in tonight’s crowd. Plenty of singing along, mad dancing and even some questionable air guitaring maestros during crowd favourite 'Crazy'. They also played a number of new songs such as 'Red Alert' and 'Machine', all a tantalizing taste of the forth coming album ‘Push Kick Bravado’ which we are reliably informed, by singer Dave Kerr, is available for free download online next month. Something you should definitely check out, and hell, it’s a free download, so what can you lose?
Silverjet are releasing a new album on 19th May, available for free download, click here for more information.
If you can’t wait until 19th May, check out their remaining tourdates here.
Photo by Becky Martin
The Jim Jones Revue - York Fibbers, 20.04.12
On the outskirts of central York lies Fibbers, crammed in underneath a Job Centre, the Duchess venue and a bunch of old flats. The loudest band in the history (and perhaps future) of rock’n’roll was in town - The Jim Jones Revue.
The night’s support was …And the Hangnails, a noisy rock duo of guitar and drums (seems a more common set-up for bands recently), and Welsh surf-rock group Y Niwl (“The Fog”)- Pipeline, anyone? Quite an interesting mix, especially consecutively, but the audience seemed to enjoy them nonetheless - a few people in attendance left after Y Niwl which is odd if you consider what they missed out on during the rest of the show.
By the time The Jim Jones Revue took the the stage, Fibbers was packed and pulsing a real excitement in the air. The band burst into the night’s first song“512” which really epitomises their brand of dirty blues rock’n’roll meets punk - thunderously loud but with a rhythm you can easily dance to.
The Jim Jones Revue played a varied setlist, from the crowd favourites such as“Burning Your House Down”, “Another Daze”, “Cement Mixer” and “Princess and the Frog”, a selection of new songs and some covers too. It was hard to catch the names of their new songs, but they included the dark “Chain Gang”,“Where’d the Money Go?” and “Seven Times Around the Sun” - the latter being a song unlike any Jim Jones Revue tune heard before: stripped back to percussion, a bit of piano and every band member doing a bit of singing.
The Jim Jones Revue really know how to get everyone on their feet and moving. There was plenty of crowd involvement, from just clapping to loud choruses of “fuck this shit” after a bit of preaching during an interlude in “Who’s Got Mine?” - the perfect remedy to days apparently. Who wants to just stand still at a show like this?
Just when you think you’re too tired, The Jim Jones Revue come back and do two encore sections of energising rock’n’roll. One of the encore songs was their reworked version of a unreleased Jeffrey Lee Pierce demo, “Ain’t My Problem Baby” (if you haven’t heard it look it up online!). If there’s one extra thing that The Jim Jones Revue are good at, it’s revamping old songs, such as “Big Hunk O’ Love”, the old Elvis classic. Their version has a lot more kick to it and Jim Jones possibly has just about as much confidence and presence as the King himself (but with fewer crazy girls in his audience) with a touch of Iggy Pop thrown in, right in the faces of the people at the front whilst somehow managing to avoid/ignore the annoying feedback buzz from the centre monitors that pierced every time he tried to more forward - the equipment at Fibbers just mustn’t have been up to such a loud band.
These guys are not a band to “lower the bar” - every show is great, guaranteed. So if you haven’t seen them yet, make sure you get down to one of their shows this autumn!
The Dandy Warhols - Academy 2, Manchester 20.04.2012
The Dandy Warhols are one of those bands that people sadly often overlook. They fall under that category where they have one massive hit that everyone knows them for, but then fall under the radar of the mainstream. Some may say this is a good thing, some bad, but whatever you think they still continue to produce their perfect breed of alt indie pop. Back with their new album This Machine released next week, they are back in Manchester to show us why they are still as important as ever…
Opening the show tonight are SULK. The first thing I notice about them is their style, kinda 90s, kinda grungey, their lead singer resembles Tim Burgess from The Charlatans, also in the way he moves. The music echoes this also. They sound like a new breed Horrors with a little Charlatans and Stone Roses thrown in for good measure. A little Britpop, but with more bite. Check out their single Back In Bloom, great stuff. I expect to hear a lot from this band in the very near future.
9pm and time for the Dandys to hit the stage. They walk on to a rapturous applause, and go straight into Be-In. Follows is a kind of stripped version of We Used To Be Friends that really works, and of course is instantly a crowd pleaser, and the appearance of Not If You Were The Last Junkie on Earth gets the crowd moving. I found it strange they played some of their biggest hits first but it definitely does the trick and the people are loving it.
Frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor announces the song I Love You and the cheers are deafening. Such a simple song, but so epically delivered. Courtneys presence onstage is so calm, standing in the dimmed light, but he gives it his all. His voice is so haunting at points, nervous and raspy but with an air of confidence he plays and sings with such perfect precision, as does the rest of the band.
Every note is played with such thought and effort. Zia McCabe in the corner on the keys creates such atmosphere with the sounds she produces, and the way she moves onstage you cannot help but be engaged by her. Pete Holmstrom pulls out some crazy effects on the guitar throughout the gig, including a string bow and even a laser at one point. The sound that evokes from his guitar is so loud and signature Dandys. Brent DeBoer on the drums keeps in perfect harmony with Courtney throughout the show, one of their many defining features is the perfection of the vocals on stage this evening. The whole show just really proves why this band are so important, and the appearance of some of their new tracks show that they are continuing to produce some great music, maybe some of their best in some time.
The shining light this evening is Courtneys solo performance of Everyday Should Be A Holiday. As the rest of the band take a break, he advises the crowd he needs help with this one and begins to sing alone with just his guitar. As it launches into the chorus, the people of Manchester sing along at the top of their voices, harmonising incredibly. It’s a beautiful moment, hair standing on end kind of thing. Tonight they also decide to play Ride, for the first time in a long time after shouts from people in the crowd. Very rare to see them play, but a reminder of what a great track it is, the guitars so loud my ears are still ringing now.
Of course Bohemian Like You gets the biggest reaction as it still remains the bands biggest hit, but it is a brilliant song, you can’t deny. Godless is a poignant moment, but the band end with Boys Better and it is hard to put into words the feeling it creates. Heavy, brash but effortlessly delivered. The band put everything into it tonight and remind us of their brilliance. The Dandys most definitely rule, ok?
Black Stone Cherry - Manchester Academy, 18.03.2012
After their fantastic support slot with Alter Bridge on their arena tour, Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry are back and ready to rock the UK once more on their own headline tour. Tonight they play Manchester, with Rival Sons joining them, looks like it is going to be a good one!
Kicking things off early are LA band, and LTMDTT favourites Rival Sons. They have already made quite the name for themselves due to overwhelming support over the last year from the likes of Classic Rock etc, but tonight they are here to win round some new fans which I don’t think they will have much difficulty in doing. The minute they take to the stage they rip through a 30 min set of raw, energetic rock and roll. Jay Buchanan’s voice silences the academy as he hits each note perfectly, whilst Scott Holidays guitar work is mesmerising. By the time they end their set with Get Whats Comin, I think the crowd have got it. The cheers are loud, hands in the air, they got the job done.
Next up are tonight’s headliners Black Stone Cherry. Now, I have heard some strange intro music in my time but I never thought I would see such a band walk on to some 90s RnB. I was wrong, as the sounds of Blackstreets No Diggity rings around the place. The band walks on and storm straight into Change, Maybe Someday and Blind Man.
The set tonight covers material from the bands three studio albums; everything from Rain Wizard, to White Trash Millionaire, to Things My Father Said, with such an impressive selection to choose from it is hard to pick the best. They also include a blinding acoustic set which sees them cover snippets of Rape Me by Nirvana, Adele’s Rolling in the Deep and even Oasis’ Champagne Supernova, which being in Manchester, goes down a storm.
The energy from the band tonight is incredible and the banter nonstop. Guitarist Ben Mills leaps around the stage enthusiastically, encouraging the crowd, while Chris Robertsonwows everyone with his vocal. Considering he had a scare with his voice only days earlier, he sounds on top form this evening.
They finish the set with the comically sleazy Blame It on the Boom Boom, and the encore of Peace is Free and Lonely Train, and the crowd love it. Singing along with every word, the place is really moving. The band just seem to be getting better and better with time and they put everything into their live performances, you can clearly see they love what they do which is wonderful to watch.
Jon Gomm - The Prince Arthur, Fleetwood 09.03.2012
Every now and then someone amazing comes along and makes you realise just how wonderful music really is. Jon Gomm is one of those people. One man and a guitar, creating some of the most wonderful sounds i have ever heard.
Hailing from my hometown of Blackpool, he has recently been catapulted to instant fame thanks to a cheeky tweet from Stephen Fry, and also Tommy Lee of Motley Crue. Cue appearances on BBC news and offers flooding in of collaborations everywhere, but tonight he came back home, well almost, to Fleetwood to play a gig at probably one of the smallest pubs i have ever been in.
You see, the unique thing about Gomm is that he plays percussion, bass and melody all on one instrument, his trusty guitar Wilma. The sounds that evoke are incredible, i don’t know how he does it, he tries to explain and says it is easy but i think i will leave it to him.
His music crosses genres, fusing country and blues, African and rock, it is clear in his playing he has many influences. And the result is beautiful, soulful music, and his voice is pretty incredible too.
Tonight he gives us songs from way back, including Gloria which is about his forbidden teenage love with his ‘chav’ girlfriend, Rescue Song which was written for his wife and my personal favourite Hey Child. He also plays his new single which is a great instrumental cover of Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan, aswell as a twisted version of The Police's Message In A Bottle.
He ends his set with a song about David Cameron called The Weather Machine, i can honestly say the power in that song was tremendous and you could not hear a sound in the whole place aside from Jon.
I urge you, check out his music, watch his videos on youtube, go and see him play wherever you can, you will not be disappointed, i promise.