Amplified Festival – July 21st to 23rd 2017

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Amplified Festival 2017

Quarry Downs, Gloucestershire, July 21st – 23rd

Review by Beth Jones

Photographs by Beth Jones & Sian Irvine

6.5/10

So, as this is my first review, let me give you a bit of back story here first. I was a metal head / goth back in the late 90’s at college and loved the scene, only to be swept off my feet by what I thought was my knight in shining armour at the age of 20. Fast forward 17 years, and after 10 years of living in the purgatory of Northern Soul and Motown (I have nothing against the genre I might add, and some damn fine tunes came out of it), I am back in the scene and loving it, but also trying desperately to catch up on lost time and learn about bands I had completely missed out on whilst locked in to ‘Tears Of A Clown’!

Rick and I have been together for just over two years and really wanted to do a festival this year as a family, as circumstances beyond our control have stopped us doing that until now. The obvious choice would have been Bloodstock, as this year’s line – up is the best yet, and we have so many friends both locally and from further afield who attend, however wanting to go VIP and having my two girls with us pushed it unfortunately out of our budget. I was at the point of giving up on a festival for another year and starting a savings account for BOA next year, when I stumbled across the Facebook event page for Amplified 2017, with an amazingly diverse line-up, headlined by none other than REEF!!!

I was instantly transported back to the late nineties, at the Saturday Rock Night in the Tivoli, Buckley – dressed in my ankle length black crushed velvet dress and my DM boots, with elbow length black gloves, corpse makeup and rollies made with multi coloured Rizlas on a roll, (that you could get from the hippy shop in town for a quid) dancing on tables after too many vodka jellies, knowing every word of ‘Place Your Hands’ and singing it in my best mates face as loud as I could!!!

With the family ticket priced very reasonably at a little over £230 for all four of us for the whole weekend + camping, I made the executive decisions that we were going!

As the week preceding the event progressed, the weather forecast transformed from ‘yeah it’s gonna be quite nice for the time of year’, to ‘yeah, you best give Noah a call – you may need his help!’

We arrived on the Friday at around 1pm, and entered the Ease Of Access campsite which I had secured to help Rick make it through the weekend. We ended up being able to pitch up our tent right by our car, which was a god send. Now, pitching a tent in gale force winds is an experience I hope most of you never have, but to put it in perspective, plaiting treacle would be easy in comparison! However, it was made more pleasing by the sounds of the first band on the ‘Very Metal Art’ stage drifting over whilst I wrestled with canvas. The all female band ‘Dorja’ absolutely nailed it and were a great way to open a festival! Aiym Almas, the lead singer, had a killer range and immense power and absolutely smashed a Dio fronted Black Sabbath cover as the last song, and the pumping bass of Becky Baldwin held everything together perfectly.

I thought the weather gods may have been kind to us, but sadly I was mistaken. After pitching the tent, we made it on to the main arena for one band, Bleed Again, on the Very Metal Art Stage, who were heavy and growly and dirty and damn good, especially with the tempestuous clouds building behind them. Then it rained, and everyone was sad, but hopeful that it would pass.

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After hiding from the wet stuff for a bit, we made it out to see a band that Rick had been really looking forward to seeing, Tess Of The Circle. Rick had alerted me to them a few months back. He had said they would be right up my street. A real fusion of punk, indie, grunge, folk, blues and classic rock, and fronted by singer / songwriter Tess Jones. They were indeed right up my street! I love to see music genres marry together well and that is what Tess Of The Circle achieve. We had the great pleasure of having a chat with Tess when they had finished on stage and it is clear to see that he is as passionate about the music off stage as he is when in performance mode, and this is really reflected in the music he writes.

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We were just settling in to the all female ‘The Amorettes’, who were putting on a great show when sadly the heavens opened on a biblical scale again and we were forced to abandon and retreat to the tent amid much swearing and cursing and hating of the world.

By 8pm that night, everything was shit. The rain had been coming down for 6 hours solid in what could only be described as mother nature’s version of a critical error that required the sky to be restarted in order to restore the programme, I was cold and wet, in a tent with a leak, with no money left and no cash machines on site (they hadn’t turned up), wishing I was at home on my sofa. The stages had had to be closed due to safety concerns and all was looking lost. I reverted to my default setting for situations such as this – I went to bed! Had it not taken me two hours to pitch the tent, I would have been packing up there and then, and heading home, but something made me stay….

And what a difference a day made. Yes, there were organisational errors, yes there were issues, and yes the insane weather made them all very stark, however, Gary Paterson, the main organiser, and his team were determined to make the best of a bad situation. Despite probably having to deal with some of the most horrible criticism, they ran around like a deranged army on the Saturday morning to try and put on a show for the people who had been brave enough and strong enough of character to stay with them. So, from 12 noon on Saturday, bands went on and although we didn’t catch them all, here is my pick of the best:

Outright Resistance: Wow! Now I have to admit I’m not massive on death metal vocals, but for sheer performance skills Paige Lee wins! Rather than letting the monsoon season get to her, she took the biblical rain and made it part of the performance and all those who saw it had a ball. Musically, they are a great band with lots of solid chunky riffs and rhythmic bass to bang your head to and it is impossible not to toe tap even if death metal isn’t completely your thing. And they had awesome fun in the face of adversity, and the audience got that.

08 Outright Resistance

Massive Wagons: Great punchy classic rock, which really worked well on the newly formed ‘Bar Stage’. For me they are somewhere between Status Quo and The Foo Fighters in style – just good, fun classic rock and everybody was having a jolly good boogie to them in the tent. They are definitely on my list of bands to see again very soon.

Krysthla: If you like extreme metal then these guys will float your entire armada! Very loud, very growly and very heavy. I prefer my metal more melodic, however they are brilliant musicians and have already gained a huge amount of acclaim from all corners of the metal music press. They put on one hell of a show and needed a big mention on my favourites list because they know exactly who they are and they do what they do with finesse and this makes their stage presence unmissable. YES!

Evil Scarecrow: What can I say…. These guys are THE best. They take the serious side of metal and beat it to death with a robotic space crab! Audience participation is at the heart of what they do and to see the whole crowd making the Robotatron Square, scuttling from side to side, waltzing with their nearest and dearest and beating the boss with 90’s computer games moves is something very special and it spans across the generations – my girls are 10 and 15 and they worship them! Not only are these guys awesomely funny, they are amazingly talented musicians and all round nice guys. After the show, the girls were able to meet the band and they even took them back stage so they could get autographs from every member – to say they were chuffed is an understatement, and the kindness of the band and their crew nearly reduced me to a blubbering mess.

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During all of this craziness, and still a fair amount of mental rain, our solace was a cosy little tent tucked away at the end of the field, belonging to The Motley Brew. For those of you who have not experienced the Motley Brew, it is like reaching Mecca at the end of a pilgrimage! They sell tea of all varieties, and a bit of coffee too, and my god was it needed! And the atmosphere in their tent was homely and warm no matter what time of day or night it was. Directly opposite them was the London Pie And Mash Company Ltd, whose pies were the dietary godsend of the weekend. Proper pies, proper mash and proper gravy, served with a smile and friendly banter from the lads, and they are even going to do some gluten free pies next year so I can eat them and not feel crappy!

On Sunday mother nature finally decided to get her shit together and make the weather a little more conducive to having fun in a field! My Highlights of Sunday were:

Instill: (from Brazil apparently ;-P ) They were riff heavy, raw and quirky, with undertones of funk and classic rock. A real mix for someone fancying something a little different with their Sunday lunch. Front man, Hodge, goes for the smart casual evening attire on stage, looking very dapper in shirt, tie, waistcoat and jacket, but he didn’t like to take to himself too seriously and could carry a tune very well which really drew in the crowd, in the way only a great frontman can. Whatever ‘it’ is, he has it and I liked it a lot. This is a band that understands rhythm and they work really well together on stage, even though each member has a very different look, and I liked it on many levels not only for the music.

10 Instill

Courtesans: A hot, all female four piece from London, Courtesans are down tuned and doomy, which doesn’t usually do much for me, but they were brilliant! I am a huge fan of females in metal and rock and this was the first time I had heard them but lead singer Sinead has a really rich, deep, silky tone to her voice which I loved. Their use of electro and synth elements makes it feel really fresh and gives it ethereal properties which work brilliantly. I was so impressed by them and look forward to seeing them again.

Bad Touch: If you love a bit of classic Rock ‘n’ Roll and awesome facial hair, these are the chaps for you. I dread to think how many bottles of lavender beard oil and moustache wax the lead singer gets through a year, but it makes for a facial adornment that is worthy of icon status!! Musically they are just great classic rock – simple as. They look like they have just arrived in a time machine fresh from Woodstock and are here to revive good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. We bought both their albums as soon as they finished and have played them many times already.

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Vega: I had never experienced Vega until now, but I will be investing in the back catalogue very soon – THEY ROCKED!! A six piece melodic Rock band from the UK, frontman Nick Workman reminds me of a cross between Bruce Dickinson and Tobias Sammet and I loved it. Backed up by some awesome guitar work and face melting solos provided by Marcus, and intricate drums and keyboards, I was completely blown away by their stage presence and all round musicianship. Seriously, if you like melodic rock and you are as behind the times as me, check these guys out – fandabidoziiiiiii!!!

12 Vega

Reef: What can I say. Dem Boyz still got it!!!! Even though at least one member does look like the Hermit from ‘Life of Brian’. I was instantly 17 again watching them, and sang along to every word. The vocal range of Gary Stringer is just formidable and his control of dynamics had the audience eating out of his hands. From the highs of ‘Summer’s In Bloom’ to the tranquil calm of ‘Consideration’, it was sheer perfection and one of the best live performances I have ever seen. My only gripe is I would have loved them to do ‘Lullaby’ as that was always my favourite song. But that is by the by. It was a great way to close the festival and I am so glad that I was there to experience it.

There were so many other great bands on over the weekend that deserved a mention, Rival Bones, Codex Alimentarius, Acid Reign, Press To Meco, Illustr8tors, Anti-Clone, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, Unzucht and Diamond Head (who Rick absolutely loved) to name but a few, but these were the ones that really did it for me.

So in summary, this was a weekend of low lows and awesome highs. Things that made me lose my shit: Rain. No cash machines. Rain. Not being really sure of what was happening where. Rain. Tents and anything camping related. Not seeing Torqued. Rain. Rain… Things that made me sad: The look in Gary Paterson’s eyes when I saw him running around the field on the Saturday morning, which just said ‘I’m not in a good place right now’. I felt for him big time… Things that made me regain my shit and forget why I lost my shit in the first place: Awesome music, some of the best sound quality I have heard ever (kudos to the sound guys), an amazing standard of festival toilet (always impeccably clean and stocked with toilet roll and incredibly slimy antibacterial hand cleanser!), meeting some awesome friends, old and new, seeing good British spirit prevailing in the face of adversity, tea and pies, and most of all having a damn good laugh with the people I love the most in the world.

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Yes there were issues, as there will be at any festival in its first year, but Gary Paterson has stood up, admitted the flaws and taken it on the chin in a way that can only be described as highly commendable and humbling, and he should be saluted for that. I for one cannot wait for next year and am booking a family ticket again as soon as they are released. A huge well done to all involved and I am preparing already to get Amped in 2018.

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Sian Irving 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

SOS Festival – Manchester – 14th-16th July 2017

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SOS Festival

14th-16th July 2017

The Longfield Suite, Prestwich, Manchester

10/10

Review by Andy Miles with some boring comments from some bloke called Rick!

Hi Everyone, Rick here!

I had been so looking forward to covering the 10th Anniversary of SOS Festival. There was an absolutely cracking line-up over the three days and I was going to get the chance to meet up with loads of friends that I hadn’t seen for a good while, so you can imagine how devastated I was when, at the last minute, circumstances beyond my control scuppered my chances of attending!

My immediate thought was that I would be letting organisers Lynne and Mark down. They are two of the hardest working and loveliest people I know, in fact the complete team behind SOS are amazing and it really has become one of the ‘must attend’ Festivals on the calendar!

However, within thirty minutes of starting to let people know I couldn’t make it, my good friend Andy Miles got in touch with me and said he would have a go at reviewing the event for me. Now that would be a brilliant offer from someone who had written reviews before but Andy struggles to write his name (that is a joke by the way!!) and he had certainly never reviewed or covered an event/gig/festival before! For those of you that do cover events though, you’ll know that it isn’t as easy as it sounds so it wasn’t just a brilliant offer, it was beyond kind for someone who had bought tickets and was actually meant to be chilling out with his mates to offer to help me in this way and I will be forever grateful to Andy!

What makes it even better is that he’s actually made a damn good job of the review and if he wants a job (non-paid of course lol) at Ever Metal then he is more than welcome.

So, I’m now passing you over to the words of Mr Andrew Miles who seemed to have a rather good time!

SOS FESTIVAL 10th ANNIVERSARY

Well here goes!

Having attended SOS Festival, with amazing friends for the first time in 2016, the 2017 event couldn’t come quickly enough, only this SOS was going to be slightly different as I’d offered to do a review of a few bands and the whole experience as my dear friend Rich Tilley was unable to attend due to various reasons.

Now, I’m no expert on doing this kind of thing, I’m a fan of metal music but hey… I thought ‘why not, let’s give it a go and help my mate out!

SOS is now in its 10th year and is organised by some of the nicest folk I’ve ever met. They aren’t in it for the money; they do it with love and affection for the bands and the people that come to watch great bands so Mark Appleton and Lynne Hampson please take a bow along with your backroom team because you nailed it!

For starters the venue is great. The Longfield Suite in Prestwich, Greater Manchester has superb facilities with a well-stocked bar serving a decent selection of ales, spirits and soft drinks for the kids. Food is also available and is great, the burgers and chilli were both very popular and the chips were lovely! Seating is available for the older generation who can’t stand all day and there were some really great stalls selling a variety of things from jewellery to lamps, glasses and bloody scary dolls!!

There was also a kids club to keep the little ones happy which was run by Mark & Lynne’s daughter Lindsey Appleton. Top job Lindsey, you worked bloody hard!

The Merch stands were well stocked with T-shirts and hoodies from most of the bands which were great quality and well-priced.

Now let’s not forget this is a three day and night festival indoors so there is no mud lol and you get the best part of 30 plus bands for the giddy price of £15…yes £15!!! It’s the most amazing value for money ever. Good ale, music, decent food, all indoors, £15… What’s not to like? This truly is a family friendly festival and seeing so many faces from last year just proves it’s a winner all day long! It was great to catch up with folk and chew the musical cud over a beer! When folk travel over from Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Sweden as well as from all over the UK you know it’s something special.

The venue is split between two stages, the main stage (named after Nightvision bassist Dean Hocking, who was a great friend to many involved with the Festival and who was sadly lost to us in 2012) and the acoustic stage, which this year had been named ‘The Wizz Acoustic Stage’ after Wizz Beauprez, ‘Wizz Wizzard’ vocalist and another huge friend of the Festival and many of the attendees who passed away in 2016. This was a lovely touch, especially as his wife was attending. She was a truly lovely lady who said that the love around the venue for Wizz was amazing to feel and seeing the banner with his face on was very special!

The venue also had a well-run press room which I stayed well away from Ha-ha (Rick here…I don’t blame him lol!)

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DAY ONE

We arrived at the venue on Friday at around 6pm and I was greeted by the sight of Luke Appleton, bass player in Iced Earth who supposedly couldn’t attend due to touring with the band! However, he had made the effort to fly in from Germany to support his brother, his family and all his friends. Now that’s dedication and it brought a bloody tear to my eye let me tell you!

6.20pm arrived and the first band hit the stage. ‘I Saw The World Burn’ are a four piece metal band from the Midlands, fronted by a female singer (Katie Cairns) who couldn’t have been more than eight stone wet through and about 5″4 tall, but sweet Jesus could she growl! This was proper heavy, brutal, riff laden thrash metal and it certainly got my attention! By god she gave it her all and it was some start to three days of SOS 2017!

Next up were ‘Amethyst’ from Manchester (winners of the 2015 Metal 2 The Masses Manchester competition). They were another four piece band who were fast paced with a big bass element and big beards! They had a proper Thrash/Groove Metal sound. “No Redemption” was a great track!

Next to hit the stage were the band that I thought stole the show last year ‘A Jokers Rage’. They’ve  been away from the scene for a short while due to various reasons but my god did they make a stunning return. Zakk Taylor is some front man, his vocals are superb and as a band they are tight and crisp. They bounced off each other and the crowd playing a superb set and it was great to see them get a few of the kids on stage with blow up guitars supplied by Mr Graham Horne…a nice touch, they went down well with the kids!

Now it was down to the Headline band ‘Kill ll This to show what they were made of! ‘Kill II This’ are a four piece band from Manchester who were originally around from the late 1990’s to 2004. They returned in 2014 for unfinished business. It’s certainly extreme metal at its best with a nice touch of electronic keyboards and a dash of opera thrown in for good measure! Simon Gordon (ex Xentrix) on lead vocals certainly leaves nothing in the tank, he just blasts it out! They are a top band, they played a top set and it finished Day One of SOS off to perfection!

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DAY TWO

So after a superb start to SOS Festival we were up early on the Saturday morning! We had breakfast at the Orange Tree which is fifty yards from the venue (they serve a really cracking Full English) and a pint or five lol!

First band of the day were ‘Crowsaw’, a three piece band with a really unique sound mixing Blues and Rock! I liked ‘em, they were pretty cool!

‘Damaj’ were next up. They are a four piece band from Greenock, Scotland who describe themselves as “cutting edge, intelligent Heavy Metal”! They are nice ‘n’ heavy, a little bit on the Metallica side and I loved ‘em: Fast, Heavy ‘n’ Loud!

Next up were ‘Sister Rose’, a band who were actually formed in 1978. I loved them, they sounded very AC/DC! Top draw, great sound and everything flowed just nice!

Next were a band I had been really looking forward to seeing! ‘Primitai’ featuring our Saxon brother Srdjan Bilic on guitar (Rick here-Just so you know Andy, Srdjan, myself and many other good friends are all members of the awesome Official Saxon Forum),and my god I wasn’t disappointed. Primitai are a five piece band, loud as a train and are full on Heavy Metal, just how it should be!

At this point I wanted to meet up and chat with friends so the next band I got to see were my friends from Belfast ‘Screaming Eagles’. Now I’ve seen this tight rock band a few times, Chris Fry is one amazingly talented front man with great vocals but the whole band just nail it every single time and I absolutely love them!

Now I know I’ve not paid much attention to the Wizz Acoustic stage because I’m not a massive acoustic fan however, I’ll say this; ‘John Doyle’ was wonderful. He had a really crisp voice and played the guitar like a dream!

‘Bad Pollyanna’ were up next and were class. They are a three piece Alternative band from West Yorkshire. Vocalist Olivia Hyde is a stunning lady with a lovely voice and the guy on guitar and vocals was very good.

After that it was finally the time for the headline act ‘Blaze Bayley’ backed by the guys from Absolva and Luke Appleton from Iced Earth and what a set it was, I just loved it! The crowd were right there with the guys, Blaze still has it and he lets you know he still has it track after track! It was a really polished performance with wonderful vocals and superb guitars and drums it was a brilliant way to finish the night

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DAY THREE

Now I only saw a few bands on Sunday, due to having a rather cheeky lie in bed after being slightly the worse for wear thanks to copious amounts of alcohol the night before lol! Hey it’s a festival it’s what we do lol!!

If you’ve never heard of all female metal band ‘Dorja’ then, sweet mother of god, they are five simply stunning lady’s! Vocalist Aiym Almas has an amazing voice and the musicianship is top class. I’ve not seen a soap box played before and it just works perfectly. They are truly wonderful to listen to!

Now we come to my personal highlight of, maybe, even the whole festival! It was time for Chris & Luke Appleton to take to the Wizz Acoustic Stage and ‘Rise Again’ was simply stunning! These guys are so bloody talented and so genuine! I love ‘em and I’m very proud to call them my friends!

‘Fire Red Empress’ are a five piece, female fronted Rock band. Vocalist Jennifer Diehl has certainly got a serious set of lungs, that’s for sure! They had a nice, punchy sound and some nice melodic rock vibes!

I thought from the start that I wasn’t going to be into Nottingham five piece Rock band ‘Fahran’ but I certainly got that wrong. They had a very ‘Down’ sound and I got right into them! Superb set!!

Ok, ‘Triaxis’, Oh my good lord they are just mega, there is nothing more to say really! New Vocalist Angel Wolf-Black has got some serious power, that’s for sure! She completely owned that stage and she had proper amazing hair! The drums were crisp as they come and bassist Becky Baldwin (who also plays in Dorja) totally nailed it! Triaxis are sweet as! (Rick here – The recent announcement, that after so many line-up changes, Triaxis are calling it a day next year is a big shame but I can understand why they’ve made the decision. What I can say is that they have been a pleasure to follow over the years and they’ve always been fantastic whenever I’ve seen them as well as being some of the nicest people I’ve met, whoever has been in the band!)

So we finally come to the last band and another group I had so been looking forward to seeing ‘Power Quest’ Oh my god, vocalist Ashley Edison (Dendera) is so good. This guy can sing and the notes he hit and held were biblical! I loved them, they are fast and powerful. They’ve also just acquired a new guitarist, ironically Glyn Williams from Triaxis! It’s very Ronnie James Dio with a bit of Bruce Dickinson mixed in for good measure and the keyboards worked a fucking dream (apologies for the language but fuck me they were belting)!

Well that’s it, I’m no gig journalist I’m just a simple fan of metal and I’ve done this whole SOS Festival review to help a friend out so please don’t judge me, I speak from my heart!

I’ll sign off with thanking the Appleton family. They’re truly amazing folk and they along with their backroom staff from lighting to sound to stage hands absofuckinglutley nailed it! If anyone can find a three day and night music festival at a great venue with superb amenities for £15 then good luck because you’re going to struggle!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart XXX

Milesy

P.S. My hotel is already booked for next year so get to SOS Festival 11, 2018 IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING XX

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Rick here again! As you can see Andy had a fabulous time and his review only makes me more upset that I wasn’t able to get to the Festival. I’d just like to thank him once again for giving this reviewing lark a go…just to help me out, he really is a good friend. I’d also like to say well done to the Appleton’s. Not only do they run one of the best independent Record Labels (Rocksector) but I haven’t seen a bad word written about SOS Festival and that’s because these people do everything properly. They are kind, considerate, and friendly plus they work their backsides off to make sure everyone has a great time. I will definitely be there next year even if I have to walk!

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Andrew Miles 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

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

163197074e

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

 

uprising

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

IMG_1563

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.

IMG_1625

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.

IMG_1609

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.

MEARFEST 4 at THE BORDERLINE

MEARFEST 4

THE BORDERLINE, LONDON

13TH AUGUST 2016

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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.