Walking Papers - The Garage, 04.05.13
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.
Crashdiet/Jettblack - Rock City, 26.04.13
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!
Eureka Machines - Trillians, Newcastle - 21.04.2013
Jettblack - Alter Ego, 20.04.13
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!
Rival Sons - Leeds Met, 13.04.13
Rocks latest rising stars Rival Sons have certainly created quite a buzz and are shooting up the rock ladder to bigger venues at a rapid rate. A mere 18 months ago, the quartet made their first visit to Leeds to play to 120 people on one of their first visits to the UK. Fast forward that 18 months and we find ourselves watching them at the Leeds Metropolitan University. Where next, the new arena Leeds is expecting?
Starting the night are Ulysses, whilst they’re fairly enjoyable through some catchy riffs, their music fails to capture your full attention until their final song (the name of which I didn’t catch). The Graveltones follow receiving a great reaction from the audience, however, those familiar with The White Stripes may notice similarities so close to the duo, that originality appears to have gone out the window.
On to the evenings main event and one by one the the Californian boys stroll on stage to mesmerise tonight’s enthusiastic gathering. Kicking off with the irresistible You Want To, the crowd instantly get involved, clapping and dancing along, hooked on every beat the band produce. The set features a great mix of the groups catalogue with earlier tracks receiving a slight revamp to keep older fans on their toes. Torture contains an extended, dreamy break down section before bursting back into the main vocal melody. Slower tracks Jordan and the beautiful Sacred Tongue showcase Jay Buchanan’s mesmerising voice, and whilst he is a little under the weather tonight, his charming tone still has the audience under his spell. After dedicating Face Of Light to his son back home, the group leave to deafening cheers for one of the shortest encore gaps I have ever experience. Drummer Mike Miley had barely set foot off the stage before he reappeared to assume his position behind the drum kit for an energetic solo ending on a comical cymbal tap. Back for the bold Burn Down Los Angeles, the night ends on Soul, complete with Jay’s small speech about the importance of staying true to yourself.
As Jay said ‘It may not sound like the record, but it sounds like tonight,’ and everytime you catch the Rival Sons, the experience is a special one.
Meat Loaf - Newcastle Arena 5.4.13
Suede - Alexandra Palace, London - 30.03.2013
After nearly a decade away, Suede have perfected the art of the successful comeback. Their 6th album, Bloodsports went top 10 last month and their announcement of a special concert at Alexandra Palace saw fans from far and wide come to witness their return. The surroundings of the Palace made it quite the spectacle, but the perfect setting to witness a band who have always been full of such grandeur.
From the second the band grace the stage, the tone of the evening was evident, it was going to be a lively one. Kicking off the evening with a trio of new songs, the crowd sing along lustily and the tracks already sound so familiar. Barriers is huge and the riff from Snowblind echoes throughout the venue. Brett Anderson delivers an exuberant performance from the beginning and remains the focal point throughout the night with his shaking hips and microphone twirling.
Moving effortlessly through their classics, Animal Nitrate, Metal Mickey, We Are The Pigs to name a few, they all still sound so strikingly brilliant and epic live. The crowd of course are pleased to hear such favourites, but are still as hyped up to hear the new tracks live, which sit along with the older material perfectly. Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away is simply beautiful and a breathtakingly long pause in the middle of the track, with the band frozen onstage emphasizes the atmosphere here tonight, we are hanging on every note.
Brett announces “It’s been twenty years ago yesterday since our debut album” and the band launch into Sleeping Pills, much to everyone’s surprise, followed by Pantomime Horse, it is safe to say the crowd are stunned. Both songs are so passionately performed, with all the might and drive they deserve, and they sound wonderful. We are treated to the likes of Everything Will Flow, So Young and the anthemic Trash, before finishing with Beautiful Ones and this all feels much more than nostalgia, it feels like this is a new chapter for Suede, a celebration of the old and new.
It has to be said that the band are at their best right now, they have managed to cement themselves an incredible comeback and show themselves to be an unbreakable force both live and in the studio. They are faultless, tonight, their dedication and excitement evident throughout the show. It just leaves us with the question, what’s next? Suede are most definitely back, and tonight is just the beginning….
The Treatment - Rock City, 31.03.13
On a bright Easter Sunday, Home Grown Rock joined forces with JCF to support the Anthony Nolan charity and the rising stars of British rock.
First up were Northerners Massive Wagons, warming up the crowd with their punchy, in your face rock with added groove. Filled with energy, their charm, coupled with belting tracks such as opener Ride On, got the day of to a booming start. Next up were local lads Wraith, a hit with their loyal fans from back in the day. Their passion shone through as they were having just as much as the audience blasting out their hits filled with their powerful dual guitars and crashing cymbals. Following were fellow locals Sinners Highway bouncing about the stage to their monster riffs and pounding drum beats. Met by great applause, they went down a treat with the strong, building crowd.
Afterlife kicked off the big 3 with their heavy riffs and prominent, commanding vocal melodies before giving away to the ferocious Trucker Diablo. After a slight technical hitch, the trio launched into a brutal set packed with vigour and irresistible blues licks. With the audience eating out of the palm of their hands, they throw in an excellent cover of Proud Mary, leaving the stage to rapturous applause and fired up for tonight’s headliners. The kit adorned in the British flag, Land Of Hope And Glory blasting out, The Treatment walk onstage, themselves wearing the UK flag with pride, bursting into Drink, Fuck, Fight. Their explosive set features new tracks along side hits from their debut, both getting a huge reaction from tonight’s enthusiastic fans. I Bleed Rock N Roll is a brilliant, classic rock anthem complete with a hugely memorable, catchy chorus. The band are in fine form, engaging their audience every step of the way, fuelling their passion and enthusiasm. Finishing on Shake The Mountain, the crowd were left begging for more as they left the stage. Luckily for them, they soon returned inviting all tonight’s band members back onstage for a rendition of Slade’s Get Down With It before encouraging a mass stage invasion with half the audience joining them.
As the bodies filter out, the atmosphere is electric with everyone safe in the knowledge that tonight they were part of something special. Rock is certainly not dead!
Skunk Anansie - Newcastle Academy, 17.03.2013
Slash feat Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Olympia Theatre, Dublin 04.03.2013
It has been 3 years since Slash has visited Dublin, and upon announcement of his return, tickets to his 2 shows at the Olympia Theatre were snapped up in minutes. He makes his return of course with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators to play the last shows on the current European tour promoting the album Apocalyptic Love.
Kicking things off this evening are The Treatment. Since touring with KISS and Motley Crue in the States last year, these boys have certainly grown as a band and now deliver a performance full of confidence and swagger. A set made up of mainly new material with a few older tracks thrown in, they continue to show great promise and give us a taster of what is to come.
As always, Slash’s hugely energetic show spans material right across his career. Both solo albums, Velvet Revolver, Snakepit and of course Guns N’ Roses all feature in heavy doses, something for everyone. The opening trio of Halo, Been There Lately and Nightrain start things off perfectly and set the bar high, there is no holding back tonight. An evening of pure rock n roll faces the Olympia, as Slash launches himself into the air from the drum riser, you know he means business.
Fan favourite Back From Cali brings immense enthusiasm from the crowd as they sing every word incredibly loud, and Shots Fired taken from the recent release sounds fantastic live. Todd Kerns steps up to deliver his rendition of Doctor Alibi and Guns classic You’re Crazy, both with such force and energy the crowd are worked into a frenzy. Kerns is hard rock personified and his vocals on You’re Crazy are out of this world.
The double necked guitar makes an appearance for Civil War, which again gets the crowd singing, along with the masterpiece that is Anastasia, it proves the newer material fits alongside the old as pure classics. Myles Kennedy shows once again this evening why he is one of the most accomplished singers in modern rock. He gives a stunning performance of Starlight and the sublime Not For Me follows.
An astounding 15 minute solo from Slash in the middle of Rocket Queen cements the fact he is a genius on the guitar, so skilled and in tune, the passion in his playing is mesmerising. Sweet Child of Mine of course blows the roof off the place, and Slither close the show with the guitar hero adding that they couldn’t have asked for a better place to finish.
The band are welcomed back to the stage to mighty roars for a crazy encore of Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City. As the confetti rains down on the intimate theatre it is clear tonight has been special. Slash, Myles, Todd, Brent and Frank are solid. The chemistry they display as a band is remarkable and their performance is truly alive and kicking. For two hours they lure you in to a rock n roll euphoria and leave you begging for more. A fantastic ending to a hugely successful tour, let’s hope its not too long before they return!
(top photo courtesy of Hels Bels Photograhy)