King Diamond – Kentish Town Forum, London – 21/06/2016

KING DIAMOND – LIVE AT THE KENTISH TOWN FORUM – TUESDAY 21ST JUNE 2016

10 out of 10

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One of the things I love about metal shows is all the different band t-shirts the gig-goers are wearing, fans of all genres brought together for their love of one band in particular, but I don’t think I have seen such an array of t-shirts as I did on Tuesday night in London for the King Diamond show. There was everything from Cannibal Corpse to Emperor, from Judas Priest to Mayhem, with even Kiss, The Scorpions and Led Zeppelin popping up here and there, proving just how popular this guy really is.

Born in 1956 in Copenhagen, Denmark, King Diamond has had a career spanning more than thirty years and his onstage antics reflect his real-life practising of Satanism, not so much a religion to him but a philosophy he has lived by since reaching a point in his life where he had “completely given up believing in anything religious.”

A triple heart by-pass in late 2010 meant all his musical projects at the time were put on hold but he was back onstage in December 2011 supporting Metallica’s 30th anniversary. He has not looked back since and having seen King Diamond just once previously, as the Friday headliner at Bloodstock Open Air festival in 2013, buying a ticket for this gig was a no-brainer. I am not the world’s biggest King Diamond fan but he put on such a damn good show then, I was sure he would again, and he did.

I arrived at the venue, the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, with a couple of songs remaining from the support band, Angel Witch, and I was amazed at the amount of people there. I know Angel Witch are not just any support band but with the venue almost full for the support, how on earth would any more people fit in for the main event?

With Angel Witch vacated from the stage, their backdrop remained up, hiding the multitude of work going on behind it. One thing this gig promised, if Bloodstock was anything to go by, was a fantastic stage set.

And it didn’t disappoint. Depicting the hallway area of the large mansion house in which the album “Abigail” is set, the drumkit was surrounded by a huge double ended staircase and balcony, huge gargoyles perched on top of stone look pillars, the wrought ironwork good enough for any stately home. Large inverted crucifixes lit up the back drop and the whole stage was given an eerie feeling with spectacular lighting and special effects.

Then, to the sound of Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, we waited, and waited, the crowd finally erupting with cheers and whistles as “Out From The Asylum” from the album “Them” kicked off the show.

With two more songs from that album, “Welcome Home” and “Them”, “Sleepless Nights” from “Conspiracy”, “Halloween” from “Fatal Portrait” and “Eye of the Witch” from “The Eye”, that was four of his most popular albums covered, and with a couple of Mercyful Fate tracks “Melissa” and “Come to the Sabbath” thrown in for good measure, any King Diamond fan could have left then and still be happy.

But the fans had come for something more. They wanted to hear “Abigail”, the band’s first concept album and a story about ghosts, possession and demons, in its entirety and in all its glory, and that is what they got. With actors playing the parts of Miriam Natias and Jonathan La’fey, the two main characters, and King Diamond, himself, acting out various scenes, the fans were treated to an aural and visual spectacular.

Musically, the band were note perfect, each member performing their part immaculately and King, known for his extensive vocal range especially falsetto, was on top form, sounding almost like his vocals had been lifted straight from the cd.

There is nothing I can say that could fault this performance. I, alas, didn’t know every single track but this cannot take away from what a fabulous gig this was. The venue must have been almost at its capacity of 2,300 and I am sure that the 2,299 true King Diamond fans there went home very happy indeed.

I, personally, would have liked to see it at a different venue, the layout not allowing for everyone to witness fully the visual displays on offer, but all in all it was a great night and well worthy of a 10 out of 10.

 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

 

Metal Church – The Underworld – 10/05/2016

METAL CHURCH AT THE UNDERWORLD, LONDON – TUESDAY 10th MAY 2016

10/10

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Ever since The Underworld announced back in February of this year a one off UK date for one of my favourite metal bands of all time, I knew I had to be there. After over two decades away from British shores, Metal Church were coming back, and with a new album to boot.

Their eleventh studio album, appropriately named XI, marked the return of vocalist Mike Howe after twenty years out of the band, debuting at number 57 on the US Billboard chart and the ensuing tour of the US, with substitute guitarist Chris Caffery, who was deputising for the side-lined Rick Van Zandt, went down a storm.

The one and only UK date, held on the anniversary of original singer, David Wayne’s, death, was no different.

Opening up with Fake Healer, from the 1989 album Blessing in Disguise, the tone was set for the rest of the gig. Followed by In Mourning, from Howe’s second album The Human Factor, and Start The Fire from The Dark, the new album wasn’t even mentioned until the fourth song in when the band, and the crowd, erupted with Reset, proving that the mass of metal-heads, of all ages, appreciated the new songs as well as the old.

God of Second Chance from 1994’s Hanging in the Balance and The Human Factor’s Date with Poverty followed before the band reverted back to the new album. The only introduction the song needed was “the video we made” and the whole crowd knew No Tomorrow, my personal favourite from the album, was up next.

And of course, no Metal Church gig would be complete without the classic Watch the Children Pray from the aforementioned album The Dark, everyone singing along word perfect.

No Friend of Mine, new song Killing Your Time, and fan’s favourite Beyond the Black from their 1984 debut album, Metal Church, completed the set but it didn’t end there.

After rapturous chants of “Metal Church, Metal Church” the band took to the stage once more for their encore of Badlands and ended with Human Factor, disappointing some of the more hardened fans by not finishing with the definitive Metal Church.

But did this take away from the atmosphere of the gig? Certainly not. The crowd were enthusiastic and energetic and so were the band. In my humble opinion, if a band seems as if they are having a good time, so will everyone else and, with vigorous drumming from Jeff Plate, riffs galore from guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof and onstage antics between Steve Unger on bass and Rick Van Zandt, also on guitar, along with the powerful, unfaltering vocals from Mike Howe, these guys were definitely having fun.

Their interaction with the fans, both during the gig and afterwards, with signing and photo opportunities, shows this is a band who value those who got them where they are, and who keep them there. They are a band for the fans, and, I, being one such fan, who never thought she would ever see them, hope they come back to our shores very soon.

Metal Church are back at the top of their game and I defy anyone not to have a good old head bang at one of their gigs.

Band

  • Mike Howe – Vocals
  • Kurdt Vanderhoof – Guitar
  • Jeff Plate – Drums
  • Steve Unger – Bass
  • Rick Van Zandt – Guitar

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Mearfest 4 – The Borderline , London – 13/08/2016

MEARFEST 4 – THE BORDERLINE, LONDON – 13th AUGUST 2016

10/10

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I was approached by Brian and Claire Mear well over a year ago to dj their event, organised to help raise money for The Willow Group, a charity that provides support to parents of stillborn babies, and I jumped at the chance. Not only was this a great opportunity to support them in their grief, after losing little baby Molly, but what better way to gather a crowd of metal heads together to raise money for such a worthwhile cause than a day of NWOBHM?

A genre that is still very popular with a lot of metal fans, the day boasted four original NWOBHM bands in Troyen, Sacrilege, The Deep and headliners Desolation Angels, as well as Kaine, a younger band heavily influenced by the NWOBHM sound, and up and coming guys Not Fit For Humans.

Held at The Borderline in London, a downstairs venue with a capacity of 300, a bar at one end and a stage at the other, this was the perfect location for an event such as this, its cellar like qualities adding to the atmosphere.

Brian and Claire had a personal connection to this event, and that showed in how well run and organised it was. Having a curfew of 10:30pm, there was a strict timescale to stick to, and this was handled brilliantly by both Brian and the stage manager Kevin Riddles, each band getting on and going off when they were supposed to. The place had a great sound system, although I, personally, thought the microphones of some of the bands needed to go up a touch, and there was a fantastic vibe from the crowd that showed they were all there to have a good time in support of such a wonderful cause.

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The evening kicked off with Not Fit For Humans, a band who have featured in every Mearfest event since its conception six years ago. Although not a metal band, more a punk band, these guys put in a blistering performance for the whole twenty minutes they were allocated. A four piece, they describe themselves as “the best band to come out of Slough EVER!” and they were a great opener, playing a mix of covers and original songs, and as they said to me afterwards…you can’t go wrong with a bit of Motorhead, eh?

Next up were Kaine, a four piece originals band and these guys total brought the house down. Playing older tracks, songs from their latest album The Waystone and new tunes, they put in one of the best performances of the night. The bass player is simply superb and Rage Sadler is the perfect frontman, playing off the crowd as only a frontman should.

Troyen were the next band to take to the stage and I must say I didn’t really know too much about these, despite being friends with at least one of the band members on Facebook. Another four piece, this time hailing from Warrington, they put in a much more subdued performance than that of Kaine before them but this is still a talented band, with a great guitarist and I hope to see more of them in the future.

I had seen Sacrilege a few times before but I must say this was the best I had witnessed them. A crowd favourite, they were full of energy, playing the first half an hour of their set without a break. Bassist Jeff Rollins is the onstage character and Bill Beadle’s voice hit all the notes, even the high ones, every single time. This was another great performance, NWOBHM with a little bit of doom thrown in for good measure.

Five piece, The Deep followed next, kicking off with their version of “The Sound of Silence” as a tribute to Brian and Claire, before launching, steadfast, into their own material. Vocalist Tony Coldham has a fantastic voice, backed by great guitarists, another superb bassist and a young, but talented, drummer. These were another crowd favourite and finished their set with Prepare To Rock, a song written after the atrocities at the Battaclan in 2015.

So that just left us with headliners Desolation Angels. “Purveyors of melodic, face melting, heavy rock riffs” as stated on their Facebook page, these guys have been around since the early 80’s, albeit with various line-up changes, and this was my first time seeing them with ex-Midnight Messiah singer, charismatic frontman Paul Taylor. Playing tracks from their back catalogue, including previously released as a single Valhalla, Desolation Angels were the perfect headliner. Given nearly an hours playing time, they gave 100% to each song, putting in a performance they should be very proud of.

Mearfest

It was great to see a collection of bands working so hard to achieve what they have. If NWOBHM is a dying genre as some people believe, and after Mearfest 4 I seriously doubt that, then the guys in these bands are doing their best to keep it alive.

All in all Mearfest 4 was a total and utter success. Selling out the 300 capacity and raising £4,000.00 for The Willows Group, Brian and Claire Mear should be extremely proud of what they achieved. They have worked tirelessly for over a year to make sure this event was as great as it was, despite their grief and they truly have turned “loss into legacy”

Here’s to Mearfest 5!!

SETLISTS

Not Fit For Humans

  • Blitzkreig Bop (Ramones cover)
  • Let It Rain
  • Breaking The Law (Judas Priest cover)
  • Hell Has A High Price
  • Suffragette City (David Bowie Cover)
  • Fall River
  • Damage Case/ Overkill Outro (Motorhed cover)

Kaine

  • Heaven’s Abandonment
  • Iron Lady
  • A Night Meets Death
  • Justice, Injustice
  • Fall of Jericho
  • Afterlife
  • Voice In Hell
  • Quality of Madness

Troyen

  • Backlash
  • Dreams Never Lie
  • Finish What You Started
  • Don’t Send Me To War
  • Futures Friend
  • First Blood
  • Syrian Lady

Sacrilege

  • In The Arena
  • Ashes to Ashes
  • Running Scared
  • In Hell
  • Cry Of The Night
  • Live Another Day
  • Welcome To The Dragons Den
  • Rock n Roll With The Devil
  • The Wraith (we gotta get outta this place)
  • My Time To Die

The Deep

  • The Sound of Silence
  • Premonition
  • The Rider
  • All I Want
  • Night Stalker
  • Out Of Touch
  • When The Rains Came
  • Prepare To Rock

Desolation Angels

  • Doomsday
  • Fury
  • Medusa
  • Archangel
  • Valhalla
  • Only Time Will Tell
  • Dance Of The Demons
  • Evil Possessor

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bring Me The Horizon – The O2 – 31/10/2016

BRING ME THE HORIZON – THE O2 LONDON – 31st OCTOBER 2016

9/10

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So-called “emo” or “screamer” music had never been my ‘thing’ but when my eldest son asked if I would take him to a gig by one such band, I thought, why not? Too many people are blind to other genres of metal and rock music, preferring to stay within the safe limits of what they usually listen to. But breaking out of the box once in a while doesn’t do anyone any harm, does it?

This is exactly what happened to me with this gig. I well and truly broke out of my comfort zone and I am damned pleased I did.

With their fifth studio album, “That’s The Spirit”, released in 2015, becoming a phenomenal success, November 2016 saw the band embark on their largest arena tour ever…..and what a better way to start it than with a Halloween gig at London’s O2 Arena.

Added as a second date after the original November 5th date sold out, you might have thought a band such as Bring Me The Horizon wouldn’t be able to pack out another night, especially on a school day. But how wrong you would be. With Basement, Don Broco and Enter Shikari added to the bill, the arena, although not quite a sell-out, was almost full to the brim of young emo kids, couples in their twenties and the…ahem….older generation such as myself, proving just how diverse an audience these sort bands can have.

With doors opening at 6:30pm, the first band onto the stage was Basement, from Ipswich, and although the arena was less than a quarter full, those who were there really enjoyed them. They were a basic band, no back drop, no special lighting but they were perfect as an opener. They pumped up the growing crowd with their mix of alternative, emo and punk rock, setting the scene well for what was to come.

Next to take the stage was Bedford band, Don Broco. With an entrance theme of the clip-clopping of hooves, the band emerged onto the stage wearing cowboy outfits and came complete with a pantomime horse!

But this was when I knew the gig had well and truly started. The band were well-known amongst the crowd, which had by now filled almost half of the arena, with many around me singing along to many of the songs. They had a huge backdrop and, with it, a stage presence that could rival even the biggest of bands. By the time their relatively short set of just six songs was over, even I was tapping my foot along with the music.

Enter Shikari were third on the bill. I had heard of these and I must admit, I really wasn’t looking forward to them. I had heard them in the past and I wasn’t really a fan of their music. The mix of post-hardcore, alternative and hardcore punk with electronic sounds and screaming vocals was just too much for me, and that’s saying a lot being a total thrash girl at heart. BUT, even I had to concede they were good. Actually, they were very good. Combining heavy Rammstein style riffs with The Prodigy-esque dance beats and keyboards even Jean-Michel Jarre would be proud off, overlaid with all manner of vocal styles, this band had a unique sound I have never heard before. Accompanied by a fantastic light show, one minute we were at a rock concert, the next we had been whisked away to the middle of a rave.

This was the band’s last performance in the UK for 2016 and they made pretty damn sure both they, and the crowd, enjoyed it!

Then came the main event! Having only heard one album, once, before I walked into the arena, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting but I definitely wasn’t expecting what I got.

Bring Me The Horizon are a band whose sound spans numerous genres, more recently incorporating “pop-rock” into what was once pure “metal-core.” But this shift in sound has done little to harm them. In fact it has elevated them almost to superstardom. Playing across such a wide range of genres brings the pop fans and alternative kids together, producing songs that can be sung along too, while at the same time, creating the same feelings and emotions that metal music as a whole generates.

So what of the gig itself? Well, I must say I don’t think they put a foot wrong. Ollie Sykes held the crowd in the palm of his hand, as any good frontman should, and the rest of the band were just as energetic and enthusiastic. Being a band that has toured relentlessly over the years, it is clear they give everything to a performance, and even a little bit more.

The stage at the O2 Arena was huge, a two tier affair that would have swamped lesser bands. But they filled it with ease. Backed with rows of screens that projected images as they played, along with another incredible lightshow, Bring Me The Horizon certainly know how to do things BIG.

Playing thirteen songs as part of their main set, then returning for a three track encore, Bring Me The Horizon deserve every accolade that is thrown their way on this tour. Having seen them being recently described as the “most exhilarating, boundary-smashing rock band on the planet” I have to say I very much agree.

Everyone who has a ticket for this tour is in for a treat. If this is your first time seeing the band, or your fiftieth, or if you have never heard of them before, the sheer energy, hard work and determination they put into their performance will leave you a fan.

I just need to go and check out all their previous albums now!

*

BASEMENT are:

  • Ronan Crix – guitar
  • Andrew Fisher – lead vocals
  • James Fisher – drums
  • Alex Henery – guitar
  • Duncan Stewart – bass

They played:

  • Whole
  • Aquasun
  • Bad Apple
  • Spolied
  • For You The Moon
  • Earl Grey
  • Promise Everything
  • Covet

DON BROCO are:

  • Rob Damiani – lead vocals
  • Simon Delaney – guitar
  • Matt Donnelly – drums, vocals
  • Tom Doyle – bass

They played:

  • Everybody
  • You Wanna Know
  • What You Do To Me
  • Priorities
  • Automatic
  • Money Power Fame

ENTER SHIKARI are:

  • Rou Reynolds – lead vocals
  • Chris Batten – bass
  • Rob Rolfe – drums
  • Liam “Rory” Clelow – lead guitar

They played:

  • Enter Shikari (reprise)
  • Destabilise
  • Radiate
  • Juggernaults
  • The Last Garrison
  • Slipshod
  • Sorry, You’re Not A Winner
  • Hoodwinker
  • Redshift
  • Anaesthetist
  • The Appeal & The Minesweep II

BRING ME THE HORIZON are:

  • Oliver Sykes – vocals
  • Lee Malia – lead guitar
  • Matt Kean – bass
  • Matt Nicholls – drums
  • Jordan Fish – keyboards

They played:

  • Happy Song
  • Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake
  • The House of Wolves
  • Avalanche
  • Shadow Moses
  • Chelsea Smile
  • Follow You
  • Crucify Me
  • Sleepwalking
  • Doomed
  • Can You Feel My Heart
  • Antivist
  • Throne
  • ENCORE:
  • True Friends
  • Oh No
  • Drown

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

UPRISING 2017 – De Montfort Hall, Leicester – 27th May 2017

 

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Live Review by Rick Tilley / Photography by Beth Jones

9/10

I’ve not reviewed/covered a live event for a couple of years so I had real anticipation travelling to Leicester to cover Uprising 2017 for Ever Metal and Metal Gods TV. It’s always great to catch up with familiar faces, make new friends and of course watch some cracking music. Being a London boy I saw most of my gigs at Hammy Odeon, Marquee and The Astoria so I was also very much looking forward to seeing the iconic De Montfort Hall properly for the first time and it didn’t let me down, what a fabulous building inside and out with wonderful grounds! To get this venue has to be seen as a massive coup for organiser Simon Yarwood and his team and long may it continue! Considering this is only the second year the event has been held everyone was in for a treat!

After receiving our press passes it wasn’t long before the lovely Angel Merry of FATangel PR/Management turned up to show us around the Press area. This was the first time Angel had run the Press Office at an event and what a fabulous job she and her partner in crime, Chris Sams did. This was easily the best organised event I have covered. No egos, lots of great fun and banter, bands turning up for interviews on time, everyone being where they were supposed to be and no stress (well, no visible stress anyway) Everything ran like clockwork and that doesn’t just go for the Press area, the whole day was a veritable masterclass in how an event should be handled. My only regret was not being able to attend either “The Night Before” or ‘Aftermath” events at The Firebug on the Friday and Sunday but by all accounts they were run in exactly the same manner as the main day!

To get things started the first five bands on the main stage were competing in the Leicester Final of Metal 2 The Masses, with the winner getting the chance to play at Bloodstock Festival later in the year. All I can say is what a fantastic event this has become and organiser Simon Hall is another that deserves huge credit for all his hard work. I wasn’t able to catch all of the bands due to my interviewing schedule, but I did catch some of Fractions, Ubiquitous and eventual winners Blood Oath. To see these smaller bands have the opportunity to play the main stage at this venue was great for the crowd so I can only imagine what it felt like for the bands!

01 Ready for M2TM

 

Progressive Metalcore band Fractions were hampered with a messy sound which somewhat muted my enjoyment, as I wasn’t familiar with their music but they put in a very energetic performance and I’m sure this experience will only make them better.

02 Fractions

 

Blood Oath were, without doubt, absolutely superb. Describing themselves as ‘Groovy Death Metal’ is a perfect description of their music. They owned the cavernous stage and looked like a band way beyond their years. Judging by all the positive comments about them after their set they appeared to be well-deserved winners on the day and the Bloodstock audience need to make sure they check Blood Oath out!

03 Blood Oath

 

Ubiquitous suffered a little following Blood Oath, especially as their music, which again I was unfamiliar with, was an extremely heavy mix of Black and Death Metal. They do however possess good stage presence and I have to give a full set of marks to their drummer ‘Typhoeus’ who was astonishingly precise.

04 Ubiquitous

 

As for My Legacy and, a band I really wanted to see, Mörti Viventi, I can only apologise for missing their sets. If I can find a way of growing a couple of clones then I’ll do my best to watch absolutely everything next time. However I heard both bands receiving good comments from around the venue!

With Metal 2 The Masses completed it was then the job of Resin to open the main stage proper! Resin are a very different prospect from when I last saw and interviewed them back in 2014. Now a six piece with a violinist their Grunge laden Hard Rock was a welcome change in styles from the M2TM bands and they really seem to have grown in stature. They had no problems looking completely the part on a big stage, vocalist/guitarist Dave Gandon looked very much at home and it’s always an absolute joy to see what shirt guitarist (and Uprising main man)Simon Yarwood is going to wear. They looked and sounded very professional and their most recent EP ‘Persecution Complex’ is well worth a listen!

05 Resin

 

After interviewing them earlier in the day we then went over to the wonderful small outside acoustic stage to watch three piece Heavy Rock band Pelugion. This was their first ever acoustic gig, not a bad way to start, and they were absolutely great. Playing a selection of their own material, such as the brilliant ‘Serpent’s Mistress’, the crowd were also treated to vocalist Andy Sweeney sing ‘Like A Stone’ as a tribute to Chris Cornell and he did it very well indeed. They are all lovely guys and I’m looking forward to seeing them again at some point to watch a full on electric set!

06 Pelugion

 

One of the beauties of Uprising is the huge variety of music on offer so our next port of call was over at the smaller, but no less impressive, second stage to watch doom merchants Witchsorrow and it can be summed up in one word ‘brilliant’. For a three piece their sound is absolutely thunderous and a joy to behold. They quite obviously enjoyed every single second up on stage and the assembled crowd lapped up every morsel! Easily one of my favourite bands of the day!

07 Witchsorrow

 

It was then back to the main stage to watch the fabulous Hærken. Death Metal, like all genres, can sometimes take itself a bit too seriously but you don’t have to worry about that with this band. I last saw them destroy the Sophie tent at Bloodstock and their performance at Uprising was no less impressive. If you want to be treated to a dose of Medieval, Gaelic infused & battle hardened Death Metal with full costumes, crests, shields and stage banter in Elizabethan English then Hærken will deliver. Played, sung and executed to perfection, their set was amazing, although next time I want even more bagpipes! I cannot wait until a new album is released!

At this point it was more interviews so the next band on the bill we were able to watch were the legends that are Lawnmower Deth. This is one band that NEVER fails to let anyone down. I’ve seen them a number of times over the years but they look as energetic and as happy as they always do. Hilarious and brutal in equal measures you will never watch an LD show and leave without a huge smile on your face. The antics and characters on stage are as bonkers as they are funny and the songs themselves are stupidly superb. You really cannot have a big event or Festival without Lawnmower Deth!

Still grinning we headed back to stage two to watch Kill II This. I was familiar with them from when they were together originally but had never seen them live before. They proved to be an extremely welcome addition to the line-up although they suffered with sound problems throughout their set. Vocalist Simon Gordon has an excellent voice and Mark Mynett’s guitar work is fabulous and I’m very much looking forward to seeing them again when they headline the Friday at the forthcoming SOS Festival. You should also check out their new track and video ‘Sleeper Cell’!

08 Kill II This

 

Straight back to the main stage I then got ready to witness one of the bands I had been most looking forward to see, Onslaught. I was lucky enough to be at London’s ‘The Marquee Club’ when Sy Keeler played his very first gig with Onslaught and that night is burned on my brain as being one of the greatest gigs I’ve ever witnessed. To see Onslaught still so hungry and brutal after all these years is incredible. As far as I’m concerned they are the vanguards of British Thrash Metal, Sy’s voice is in remarkable condition, Nige and Iain’s guitar work is razor sharp and the precision with which the band spat out the songs at Uprising made me feel like that young man of so many years ago all over again. They were also blessed with a crystal clear sound and were my band of the day. Utterly brilliant from start to finish they whipped the assembled crowd into a thrash frenzy and their set was over far too soon!

09 Onslaught

 

Another band I had never seen live before were Barb Wire Dolls so, as the bands were staggered so well, they were starting their set on the second stage as Onslaught finished. To be fair, what I had heard of them in the past hadn’t really floated my boat but a good crowd had filled the room to see them so it seemed the perfect chance to check them out and I was pleasantly surprised by their set. Rock N Roll with a Punk attitude, they come across much better in a live setting. They were great fun and there were smiles all round from band and crowd!

Reconvening to the acoustic stage, where the selection of stalls and laid back atmosphere made it feel like a proper outdoor festival, albeit on a smaller scale, and thanks to ‘The Motley Brew’ who delivered a cracking cup of much needed tea we chilled out and watched some of InMe’s Dave McPherson playing an acoustic set. I wasn’t that familiar with Dave’s material but what I saw was beautifully played and sung and perfect for headlining this particular stage, especially as the weather was so nice.

By the time main stage headliners Primordial hit the stage it was getting late and many people had already left or were leaving. We too had a lot to do and journey ahead so we didn’t stay for their complete set but what I saw was huge. They are another band I’ve struggled with in the past when listening to them on an album but they always seem to bring the goods in a live setting and this appearance was no exception!

There were other bands I wish I could have seen so to them I’m sorry for not mentioning everyone but in the past week on social media I’ve read much and I haven’t seen a bad word said about any performance!

To sum up then I have to say that Uprising 2017 was a big success. As already mentioned pretty much everything ran like clockwork and a majority of the bands were on and off stage at the correct times meaning you could actually watch a huge amount, if you were willing to. Of course with the stages being so close together it was hardly a trek but like any event people have their favourites and so the whole thing was very relaxed and the atmosphere really friendly. De Montfort Hall is very well laid out and spacious so the venue never felt over crowded at any point. Having the second and acoustic stages either side of the main stage was well thought out and the main stage itself was beautifully lit with comfortable seating upstairs if you were a bit achy and needed a break

If I’m being picky, and regular readers will know that I’m always a bit picky, then it would have been nice if the Merchandise and CD stalls out in the main foyer had taken bank cards, after all it is 2017 and other stalls were accepting cards or Paypal. With that in mind, perhaps it’s time for a venue like De Montfort to install a cash machine, it could easily be achieved! It’s also worth pointing out that whist there was ample parking in the adjacent carpark the ticket machines weren’t completely clear on informing people that daytime tickets being issued only lasted until 6pm. I’m not sure if anyone was caught out on the day but I would be interested to know if you were! Lastly, living with someone who is gluten intolerant and has to be pretty careful with what she eats, having someone on site that sells, even a small selection, of gluten, nut or dairy free products might be something that’s looked at for next year and beyond! I know it’s a case of supply and demand but nevertheless, some people do have allergies!

Other than those small things Uprising really is a great event and I look forward to seeing it grow year on year! Simon and his team, Angel, Chris and the Press Room, security, police, stall holders and all the De Montfort staff were superb and they should all be applauded because every one of them added to the whole experience. Well done everyone and I’ll see you all again next year!

10 Back Door!

KISS Live at the O2 – 31st May 2017

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KISS

THE O2 ARENA, LONDON

WEDNESDAY 31ST MAY 2017

9 out of 10

 

OK, I admit I am not the biggest Kiss fan around but even I had to try and get tickets for this show when it was announced in November of last year. With a combined age of nearly a quarter of a millenium there was no telling when, or even if, the glam-rock band from New York City would hit these shores again. I had only seen them previously once before, a small charity gig at the Kentish Town Forum a few years back, a gig with no stage show, no pyrotechnics, no over the top antics so I was, in fact, a Kiss virgin.

My cherry was well and truly popped at the O2.

The journey to the venue was a sombre one. With the terrorist attack in Manchester just over a week previous, I was expecting tightened security and that’s exactly what we got. Airport style metal detectors and bag scanners were employed just inside the doors and additional ones further inside the venue but not one person complained. Music is there is bring us all together and if these added measures made sure this happened then it was fine by all of us.

Once inside the venue, I was confronted by an onslaught of Kiss logos emblazoned across the chests of people of all shapes and sizes ranging from the toughest looking man to the smallest child and painted faces were everywhere. I have been to a fair few gigs over the years but nothing really prepared me for the enthusiasm showed by Kiss fans.

Queues for the merchandise stall were ten or twelve people deep, each person wanting this year’s tour shirt to add to their many already hanging in their wardrobes back home, and venders selling the tour programme were literally everywhere.

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We all know the history of Kiss. Formed in 1973 in New York City with original members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, they have often been described in the past as a brand masquerading as a band. Ok, so they are not the most talented of musicians, and I can think of a LOT worse ones, but they don’t need to be. Their career has always been based on their live performances, their Kiss Alive album catapulting them to superstardom, and really they are just four guys playing good old fashioned rock and roll.

Opening with Deuce, from the album Kiss, it was apparent from the start this would be an evening of classics. Shout It Out Loud came next and this was followed by a moments silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing. Union Jack flags blazed onto the screens along with the slogan “We Stand with Manchester”, a fitting memorial for the atrocities that had occurred a week before.

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The music kicked in again with Lick It Up, an obvious crowd favourite, and this was followed by Firehouse. All in all there were only two songs on the whole set list that I didn’t know, so the die-hard Kiss fans would have been extremely happy.

All the hits were there from Crazy, Crazy Nights to Psycho Circus to Black Diamond and a Kiss show wouldn’t be a Kiss show without God of Thunder and Gene Simmons’ blood-spitting demon routine. I have heard this being compared to an old grandad’s party piece that people humour so not offend said grandad but I think it’s a little more than that. It’s part of the backbone of a Kiss gig and any new Kiss fans or people seeing them for the first time would hate for it to now, after all these years, be suddenly omitted from the show.

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With pyrotechnics galore, ticker tape (do we call it that here in England?) and Paul Stanley zip-wiring to a circular stage amongst the crowd, this show certainly had all the hall-marks of a Kiss show. But let’s face it. To call a Kiss gig a show is really an understatement, with words such as “spectacular” and “extravaganza” springing to mind.

All four guys were on top form for the whole performance, Paul Stanley’s voice faltering ever so slightly at times but his showmanship more than made up for it, Gene’s tongue appeared more times than a snake’s searching for food, and both Eric and Tommy were fantastic. Never before have I seen a band with more stage presence and charisma as these guys…..and I have seen some egos over the years.

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Their closing song was, none other than, Rock n Roll All Nite, with an encore of singalong song, I Was Made For Loving You and the awesome Detroit Rock City. My only gripe is that they never played Strutter, my favourite, but them’s the breaks I guess. They can’t play EVERYONE’S favourite song now, can they?

All in all, a Kiss gig is an absolute must and I, for one, am glad I was able to see them before they hang up their platforms and face paints for good.

Bring Me The Horizon – O2 London 31/10/16

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9 out of 10

So-called “emo” or “screamer” music had never been my ‘thing’ but when my eldest son asked if I would take him to a gig by one such band, I thought, why not? Too many people are blind to other genres of metal and rock music, preferring to stay within the safe limits of what they usually listen to. But breaking out of the box once in a while doesn’t do anyone any harm, does it?

This is exactly what happened to me with this gig. I well and truly broke out of my comfort zone and I am damned pleased I did.

With their fifth studio album, “That’s The Spirit”, released in 2015, becoming a phenomenal success, November 2016 saw the band embark on their largest arena tour ever…..and what a better way to start it than with a Halloween gig at London’s O2 Arena.

Added as a second date after the original November 5th date sold out, you might have thought a band such as Bring Me The Horizon wouldn’t be able to pack out another night, especially on a school day. But how wrong you would be. With Basement, Don Broco and Enter Shikari added to the bill, the arena, although not quite a sell-out, was almost full to the brim of young emo kids, couples in their twenties and the…ahem….older generation such as myself, proving just how diverse an audience these sort bands can have.

With doors opening at 6:30pm, the first band onto the stage was Basement, from Ipswich, and although the arena was less than a quarter full, those who were there really enjoyed them. They were a basic band, no back drop, no special lighting but they were perfect as an opener. They pumped up the growing crowd with their mix of alternative, emo and punk rock, setting the scene well for what was to come.

Next to take the stage was Bedford band, Don Broco. With an entrance theme of the clip-clopping of hooves, the band emerged onto the stage wearing cowboy outfits and came complete with a pantomime horse!

But this was when I knew the gig had well and truly started. The band were well-known amongst the crowd, which had by now filled almost half of the arena, with many around me singing along to many of the songs. They had a huge backdrop and, with it, a stage presence that could rival even the biggest of bands. By the time their relatively short set of just six songs was over, even I was tapping my foot along with the music.

Enter Shikari were third on the bill. I had heard of these and I must admit, I really wasn’t looking forward to them. I had heard them in the past and I wasn’t really a fan of their music. The mix of post-hardcore, alternative and hardcore punk with electronic sounds and screaming vocals was just too much for me, and that’s saying a lot being a total thrash girl at heart. BUT, even I had to concede they were good. Actually, they were very good. Combining heavy Rammstein style riffs with The Prodigy-esque dance beats and keyboards even Jean-Michel Jarre would be proud off, overlaid with all manner of vocal styles, this band had a unique sound I have never heard before. Accompanied by a fantastic light show, one minute we were at a rock concert, the next we had been whisked away to the middle of a rave.

This was the band’s last performance in the UK for 2016 and they made pretty damn sure both they, and the crowd, enjoyed it!

Then came the main event! Having only heard one album, once, before I walked into the arena, I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting but I definitely wasn’t expecting what I got.

Bring Me The Horizon are a band whose sound spans numerous genres, more recently incorporating “pop-rock” into what was once pure “metal-core.” But this shift in sound has done little to harm them. In fact it has elevated them almost to superstardom. Playing across such a wide range of genres brings the pop fans and alternative kids together, producing songs that can be sung along too, while at the same time, creating the same feelings and emotions that metal music as a whole generates.

So what of the gig itself? Well, I must say I don’t think they put a foot wrong. Ollie Sykes held the crowd in the palm of his hand, as any good frontman should, and the rest of the band were just as energetic and enthusiastic. Being a band that has toured relentlessly over the years, it is clear they give everything to a performance, and even a little bit more.

The stage at the O2 Arena was huge, a two tier affair that would have swamped lesser bands. But they filled it with ease. Backed with rows of screens that projected images as they played, along with another incredible lightshow, Bring Me The Horizon certainly know how to do things BIG.

Playing thirteen songs as part of their main set, then returning for a three track encore, Bring Me The Horizon deserve every accolade that is thrown their way on this tour. Having seen them being recently described as the “most exhilarating, boundary-smashing rock band on the planet” I have to say I very much agree.

Everyone who has a ticket for this tour is in for a treat. If this is your first time seeing the band, or your fiftieth, or if you have never heard of them before, the sheer energy, hard work and determination they put into their performance will leave you a fan.

I just need to go and check out all their previous albums now!

*

BASEMENT are:

  • Ronan Crix – guitar
  • Andrew Fisher – lead vocals
  • James Fisher – drums
  • Alex Henery – guitar
  • Duncan Stewart – bass

They played:

  • Whole
  • Aquasun
  • Bad Apple
  • Spolied
  • For You The Moon
  • Earl Grey
  • Promise Everything
  • Covet

 

DON BROCO are:

  • Rob Damiani – lead vocals
  • Simon Delaney – guitar
  • Matt Donnelly – drums, vocals
  • Tom Doyle – bass

They played:

  • Everybody
  • You Wanna Know
  • What You Do To Me
  • Priorities
  • Automatic
  • Money Power Fame

 

ENTER SHIKARI are:

  • Rou Reynolds – lead vocals
  • Chris Batten – bass
  • Rob Rolfe – drums
  • Liam “Rory” Clelow – lead guitar

They played:

  • Enter Shikari (reprise)
  • Destabilise
  • Radiate
  • Juggernaults
  • The Last Garrison
  • Slipshod
  • Sorry, You’re Not A Winner
  • Hoodwinker
  • Redshift
  • Anaesthetist
  • The Appeal & The Minesweep II

 

BRING ME THE HORIZON are:

  • Oliver Sykes – vocals
  • Lee Malia – lead guitar
  • Matt Kean – bass
  • Matt Nicholls – drums
  • Jordan Fish – keyboards

They played:

  • Happy Song
  • Go To Hell, For Heavens Sake
  • The House of Wolves
  • Avalanche
  • Shadow Moses
  • Chelsea Smile
  • Follow You
  • Crucify Me
  • Sleepwalking
  • Doomed
  • Can You Feel My Heart
  • Antivist
  • Throne
  • ENCORE:
  • True Friends
  • Oh No
  • Drown

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.