Hell’s Addiction - Raise Your Glass
Every now and then a band comes along that embraces the raucous debauchery of rock; Hell’s Addiction are certainly one of those groups. They’re debut album Raise Your Glass explodes out of your speakers to encourage you to forget your troubles and just enjoy yourself.
Opener Feels Like Rock N Roll features some quirky riffs and is your first introduction to Ben Sargent’s raw gravelly, tone. It’s a great opening track and immediately gets you involved in the Hell’s Addiction rock n roll party message. The pace is picked up in the ferocious Let The Good Times Roll, a classic hard rock anthem along with the bold first single Alcohol. Breaking Free displays they’re classic rock influences with it’s brash chorus and snappy riffs and features an 80’s influenced guitar solo. Sargent’s vocals have a real Jocke Berg feel to them that are intense and powerful, delivered with passion and energy. Brand New Story really showcases his vocal abilities, particularly the softer side and is accompanied by some beautiful guitar melodies.
From start to finish, Raise Your Glass is a frantic, captivating debut and a great one to turn up to 11!
Wednesday 13 - The Dixie Dead
It is hard to believe that Wednesday 13 is now 20 years into his career, and here we are in the year of the 13 with another album from the dark prince himself. Full of his usual dark tongue in cheek humour and fist pumping tunes, does The Dixie Dead follow his usual recipe for success?
The album kicks off with Blood Sucker, the usual fast paced stomper you would expect to hear from Mr 13, and a track that shows great promise for the album ahead. Get Your Grave On follows, a nice play on words and a solid groove and catchy as hell riff to go with it, an early highlight.
What is always so great about a Wednesday 13 album is his clever, sometimes humorous lyrics and song titles, crafted into tales of the Ripper, telling ghost stories and even a song about little Carol Anne from the Poltergeist movies. As always there are many references to blood, gore and slasher cinema which doesn’t really get dull because the music backs it up.
Too Fast For Blood is another standout track. Wednesday 13 has always been very vocal of his love for Motley Crue and this song kind of pay homage to that, not only in the title but also in the style and pace of the track. Hail Ming is another fist pumping anthem, one that would sound killer live i have no doubt, along with the title track and its Southern rock feel.
The Dixie Dead certainly packs all the elements of a great album and builds up to a great climax at the end, leaving many a tune stuck in your head.
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)
The Darkness - Manchester Apollo, 02.03.13
After a triumphant comeback both on stage and in the studio, The Darkness train is still rolling with great determination and focus and stopped off to entertain the people of Manchester.
With Ginger Wildheart’s solo band in support, his loyal fanbase were out in force to hear his latest creation Hey! Hello! take centre stage, and let me tell you, it sounds just as brilliant live! Lock For Rock was a set highlight with it’s sheer force and obscurity gripping your attention.
The usual blasting of Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town to announce The Darkness’ impending arrival to the stage encourages rapturous applause with Justin Hawkins flouncing out in a black & white striped, sleeveless cat suit. Launching straight into Every Inch Of You, both band and audience are up for giving it their all tonight with the energy levels never letting up. The set is heavy with old classics such as Growing On Me and the hugely popular Get Your Hands Off My Woman with the new material slotting in nicely. Justin’s wailing is on fine form, particularly in Concrete, and he is as charismatic as ever, jumping in the crowd, bouncing around and being carried round the audience mid guitar solo. He revels in the applause and it is clear that he is right where he is meant to be, with the audience hanging on to his every word. With a mighty trio of Givin’ Up/Stuck In A Rut/I Believe In A Thing Called Love to end, the quartet stride away leaving an ecstatic crowd behind cheering for more.
The encore features their well known cover of Street Spirit (Fade out) which made it on to their most recent album. Their take on this Radiohead track is truly mesmerising and brilliant live. Love On The Rocks With No Ice brings the evening to a close with ample audience participation, a fantastic end to a fantastic evening.
The Darkness have proven the last couple of years that they still have what it takes both live and in the studio, and long may it continue as you’re always guaranteed a fun night when these guys are in town!
The Union - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, 19.02.13
After another success story coming from Pledge Music, The Union headed out to support the release of The World Is Yours, finding themselves in Nottingham this particularly chilly evening.
Up first were Leicester trio SKAM, delivering thumping riffs and gravelly vocals, they went down well with the early comers. BlackWolf followed doing a great job warming up the crowd with plenty of audience participation sandwiched between raw, punchy tracks infected with blues. Scott Sharp’s vocals were simply stunning, commanding your full attention.
Kicking off with Step Up To The Plate, The Union have identified their audience well and cater to their musical taste. They are on fine form and Peter Shoulder’s vocals are spot on, the only thing they lack is a bit of character. The energy level is fairly stagnant which is a shame as musically they perform so well. Obsession’s dirty grooves are a highlight in the set and provide some much needed charisma to their set with snarling vocals and gritty blues hooks. Ending on Siren’s Song, featuring a crowd sing a long, the cheers echo round the Rescue Rooms for their return. Watch The River Flow brings the night to a close, a night performed brilliantly, and well suited to the audience but sadly missing that injection of life.
Pictures by Sean Larkin.
Ten Ton Friday - Trillians, Newcastle, 15.02.13
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.
The Virginmarys - King Of Conflict
Emerging from the shadows, and gaining big name fans on the way, come Macclesfield trio The Virginmarys. Recruiting a loyal fanbase through two fiercely strong EP’s, they’ve taken on the task of producing their first album.
From the opening chords of first single Dead Man’s Shoes, you can hear the distinctive twang of The Virginmarys; that punchy, raw rock n roll sound. Ally Dictaty’s gravelly, distincitve tone really commands your attention and he cleverly utilises the textures in his voice to great effect. The screams in the brilliant Portrait Of Red showcase Ally’s vocal talents accompanied by sharp riffs and crashing drums. Those of you familiar with the EP’s will recognise a few tracks that made the debut; the super catchy Bang Bang Bang and captivating Out Of My Mind join forces with new blood creating an exciting, enchanting record. Taking The Blame’s simple, yet addictive riff matched by a bold chorus and dramatic build up, followed by the pounding off beats of You’ve Got Your Money, I’ve Got My Soul, display the trio’s creative growth and add to the anticipation surrounding their future.
The Virginmarys have taken a step back from today’s electronic world and gone back to pure, simplistic rock n roll at it’s best. King Of Conflict is a strong, powerful and damn addictive debut album!
The Bronx - The Bronx IV
It has been five years since we have seen an album from The Bronx, well under The Bronx name anyway. For a while now they have doubled up as Mariachi El Bronx, releasing mariachi music, proving that the separate entities of mariachi and punk can actually be brought together and produce something pretty awesome. But, moving on from that, The Bronx IV sees the band tackle their flagship genre once more, and with great success.
The sound of the album is undeniably fun, fast and furious. The Unholy Hand is the perfect opening, the riffs and the sheer catchiness, it gets you right away. Together with Style Over Everything and Youth Wasted, they deserved to be listened to loud. Melody seems to be at the forefront of this record, it is less ferocious than those of the past but still as energetic. Channelling Black Flag via At The Drive In, with even a hint of grunge in there, its a little different, but good different. The album has a killer hook from start to finish, it is still undeniably The Bronx.
Technically, there are no faults here. The riffs are intricate and the timing of the drums match perfectly. It leaves it sounding polished and ready, but also rough and heavy in the right places. It shows the flexibility of the band nicely, and that they still have the ability to go back to their roots of hardcore punk. Torches slows things down for a change but the likes of Ribcage and Valley Heat bring it right back up again.
A group of incredibly talented musicians, they are certainly fantastic at what they do and are now seen as a classic band who always produce solid records, and this one is no different.
Classic Album Review: KISS - Destroyer
KISS are a band that often divide opinion. Some people see them as little more than a joke band, but they also have legions of hardcore fans that are willing to buy anything they release, from ‘KISS Kondoms’ to ‘Kiss Kaskets’, which also happen to double up as a fridge.
Destroyer, released in 1976, is probably their most critically acclaimed album, featuring on Rolling Stones ‘500 greatest albums’ list. The album opens with the popular ‘Detroit Rock City’, which on the album features an intro over a minute long, setting the scene for a song about a fan who was killed on his way to a KISS show. On vinyl it works as a brilliant lead in to the song, but doesn’t work as well in todays instant gratification mp3 market, perhaps why the intro is rarely included with the song on compilation albums. The song is a fan favourite, with a guitar solo that is used in the Megadeth song ‘She-Wolf’ as homage.
This is followed by track 2, ‘King Of The Night Time World’, which is a typical song about teenage rebellion. The protagonist of the song laments having to go to school and do homework, feeling as though he can only really be himself at night when he can go out with his girlfriend. The next cut, ‘God Of Thunder’ is a song that is a lot heavier than every other song on the album, and most of KISS’ back catalogue. Featuring Gene Simmons on vocals, with his bass line also being the most prominent instrument in the mix, it is a song that really shows a different side to KISS. The following track however couldn’t be more different, ‘Great Expectations’ is a brilliant ballad that uses elements of classical music. As opposed to being about a girl, this ballad is about the band and how much girls want them, a typical display of the bands arrogance.
The two numbers after that, ‘Sweet Pain’ and ‘Flaming Youth’ are great album tracks that fit in perfectly, but they’re not going to change anyone’s opinion on the band, unlike ‘Shout It Out Loud’ which is an excellent rock and roll song with call and response style verses. The next track, ‘Beth’ is the better of the albums two ballads. Co-written and sung by the much-maligned Peter Criss, the song was included as the B-side to the single ‘Detroit Rock City’ and wound up getting more radio airplay than any other song on the album. It was later released as a single in it’s own right, and charted at number 7 in the US. ‘Beth’ also re-ignited album sales, allowing ‘Destroyer’ to be certified platinum in November ’76.
The album is closed with ‘Do You Love Me?’ a song that features Paul Stanley questioning whether girls are with him because he is a rock star, and not because of his personality, something that is perhaps unintentionally hilarious given the fact that most of the bands songs treat women as objects of desire instead of people.
Overall the album is a great example of rock songs done incredibly well within a pop music structure. There is nothing deep or meaningful here – but that’s what KISS are all about, they just want you to turn the music up, forget about your troubles, and shout it out loud.
Songs to Spotify: God Of Thunder, Shout It Out Loud, Beth.