Kissin’ Dynamite w/BlackRain & Serpentyne The Underworld, Camden, London 18/10/2019 Review by Lotty Whittingham, Picture by Natalie O’Neill
On my way to the venue, given it was the same night as the sold out Gloryhammer show, it was difficult to know what to expect with regards to audience size. The last time Kissin’ Dynamite were in the UK, they were the opening band for Powerwolf. They were now doing their own headline tour and they were making a stop in London. No better place than The Underworld, Camden; the alternative heart of London.
As I arrived, it was great to see people there already. Some of them had seen the band on the Powerwolf tour; others were long-time fans of the band who had been waiting to see them in the UK. Whether fans were securing their space to watch the bands, buying their first drinks or browsing the merch; the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and anticipation.
The first band to take to the stage were London based Serpentyne. Sometimes when a band is a completely different style to the rest of the line-up, this can pay off massively or back fire immensely. Their haunting sound consisted of angelic vocals, brilliant guitar work, some energetic stage antics (one including the guitarist jumping on top of the drum kit) and orchestral pieces on the system. The only criticism I have regarding their set was that sometimes you couldn’t quite hear these orchestral parts, then again, that could have been to do with the sound system. Overall, they were a great choice to open up proceedings.
French Hard Rockers BlackRain were the main support act for the night. From the moment they took to the stage, it was clear they weren’t here to mess around. They brought no nonsense Mötley Crüe and Airbourne style rock to The Underworld. This stadium like atmosphere was reinforced by the fact that fans and new listeners were already singing along to their songs. The setlist consisted of a mixture of songs from across their discography, mainly from their latest album “Dying Breed” that was released this year. If closing with a cover of Twisted Sister classic ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ didn’t get them nice and warmed up then who knows what would have?
Regarding headliners Kissin’ Dynamite, I came across them a few years ago through the song ‘DNA’ when casually browsing on YouTube. In turn, I discovered the album “Megalomania” that was released the same year. I was finally getting to see them headline a UK show at one of my favourite venues.
They kicked off the night with anthems ‘I’ve Got The Fire’ and ‘Somebody’s Gotta Do It’. I’ve Got The Fire is one of my go-to songs when I need to smile and need that morale boost. The power of the song increased when it was performed live and it instantly lifted those spirits.
The thing with stadium shows is that they are built up with magical moments that are unforgettable. I know this wasn’t a stadium show but given the way they performed; you would have thought you were at one. I will never forget their live performance of ‘Heart Of Stone’ with a piano; it was a great way to tone down the wild atmosphere for those few moments. I was also highly impressed that they were able to lug a huge piano down to the stage in a venue with no lifts.
Another was the song ‘I Will Be King’, especially where vocalist Hannes Braun sang whilst sitting on a silver throne and wearing royal garments. Like the piano, getting the throne onto The Underworld stage was impressive. A personal highlight for me was when they performed ‘DNA’; this was the first song that got me into the band so it was great to experience the energetic performance of this song.
I should also mention that Ana Bruner (Exit Eden) joined the band on stage for a few numbers, including their duet ‘Ecstasy’. The title of this song is incredibly apt because of the energy which comes across. When it was performed, this energy transitioned to the crowd. Ana’s powerful voice and her passionate energy on stage made her a great addition to the band.
They closed their remarkable set with ‘You’re Not Alone’ and Ana joined them one last time for ‘Flying Colours’. These gave the audience one last blast before ending the night on a literal high, with Hannes Braun standing on top of a mini pyramid.
I deliberately made the notes after the show as I was busy soaking in every aspect of their mind-blowing performance, sometimes literally soaking from all the sweat. It was clear they worked incredibly hard to pull out all the stops to give The Underworld a stadium like atmosphere. Hannes Braun was in control of the crowd that night, his charisma and passion to give fans an unforgettable show shone through.
Judging from the crowd’s reaction and the band’s mind-blowing performance, it is more than safe to say they will be welcome back to the UK anytime.
https://www.facebook.com/Kissindynamiterocks/ Tweets by Kissindynamites
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whitingham 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Arkdown w/ In Which It Burns & Scarfoot G21 At The Saddle Rock Bar, Chester 05/10/2019 Review by Beth Jones
Another Friday, another trip to the G21! This week’s entertainment was being brought to us by a familiar name in the shape of Scarfoot (but with their new bass player) and two names who were completely new to me – In Which It Burns and Arkdown. Sadly, Rick was laid up with his back again, so I took my substitute gig companion and oldest child, Sian.
For those who haven’t been to the G21, it is an intimate venue created from an old stable building at the back of Chester’s best rock venue, The Saddle Bar. It is a great place to spend an evening and this is something that I am going to rant about in a bit, so be warned! First, to the bands!
Having seen these guys on a number of occasions before, we knew what they were about, and regular listeners will know that I have always said that they were ok, but something was missing. Enter stage right their new bass player, Rhys, and bingo! This was what I had been waiting for from these guys! It felt so much tighter than it was before, and Vocalist/Guitarist Oliver Carins and drummer Phil Eakins, the backbone of the band, looked so much happier and content with the sound. Everything had more depth, more confidence and more groove. They have also filled the gaps between songs and developed more of a stage presence. I am so happy to be able to write this about them – there is nothing more pleasing than seeing a young band find themselves and look genuinely content and relaxed. This enjoyment also rubbed off on the crowd, and they were grooving along with them for the whole set. Whilst they were probably the lightest band on tonight’s bill, they have a chunky sound, enhanced by the gruff dual vocals of both Oliver and Phil. The new bass sound, with little fills, and more complex riffs really complimented this and I am really excited to see where this rebirth takes them next!
In Which It Burns
Because I like to go into things with no preconceptions, I had no knowledge of these guys at all. From their name, I had had a guess at what type of band they would be, and I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like them or not – this is the beauty of actively seeking out new music. From the first riff, my ears picked up, and by the end of the first song, my mind was made up – they were bloody good!! Joining us all the way from Pembrokeshire, these guys deliver heavy grooves and roaring vocals, and would be enjoyed by fans of early Metallica, through to Pantera but also fans of more modern, Djent style Metal. They were really tight and well-rehearsed, and a special mention must be given to drummer Eugene Lowe, who was an absolute machine! I was gutted Rick wasn’t there to see it to be honest, as he would have been falling over himself with superlatives to describe this guy’s rhythms! They all had a great presence, and their personalities and technical prowess stood side by side to create a brilliant performance – they even had a pit going at the front for one of the songs – not an easy thing to start in the G21!
Our headliners tonight were joining us from Sheffield, and from their logo, I had deduced that they were probably going to be pretty heavy! They got a big tick in my book before they even started playing, as they had brought their own stage lights! Anyone who has followed any of my reviews / photography outings will know my biggest gripe is lighting! The G21 lacks lights and makes me say words my mother would not be proud of, however I was able to snap away to my heart’s content with these guys! They play a brand of modern metal that, in all honesty, has the ability to get right on my tits when it’s not done right, however these guys really know how to do it right and their performance was superb. Everything was like a well-oiled machine, from the stops and changes within the songs, to the programming of the lights, even down to the choreographed headbanging – nothing was out of place, nothing was over or under done and it was bloody spectacular! The shared vocals duties of front man Kyle Dawson and Guitarist Mike Dyson had a kind of call and response feel in parts, which really worked, and their voices blended together well to create a brilliant version of the scream type sound that has become synonymous with the modern metal style. When it is done well, like these guys do it, I love it! I really cannot find anything to criticise about them. Everything was superb. I picked up a copy of their EP “The Calling” and listened to it in the car on the way home, and their stage sound was just as good as the recording. I am so glad I was one of the select few in the audience and I can’t wait to see them again!
Right, so that is my band write up done, now I am going to rant about something that I have kept my mouth shut about up until now, but that came to a head at this gig and really pissed me off (anyone who knows me will know it takes a hell of a lot to piss me off).
Here we had three great bands, who have been playing up and down the country, working their backsides off to bring shows to people, and by the time Arkdown were on stage, they were playing to a handful of people – literally. One of the audience members was me, two were girlfriends of band members, and one was the gig organiser – if you take us out of the equation, the rest of the audience could be counted on one hand, but they still put everything into that performance, and played as if they were playing to a packed out stadium, and for that I have the utmost respect for them, because mentally that is tough.
This is sadly echoed in many town, in many countries globally at the moment, and then people complain when venues shut down – IF YOU DON’T USE THEM HOW ARE THEY GOING TO STAY OPEN DICKHEADS??!!! Don’t bloody complain that you didn’t know it was on, or that you hadn’t heard of the band – ACTIVELY GO OUT LOOKING FOR NEW STUFF!!! In an age of social media, where our entire lives are there at the touch of a button, we have become fucking lazy, and expect everything to be spoon fed to us – STOP IT! Check out your local venues’ Facebook or Twitter to see what is on! Search for your local scene and like any pages that come up that are connected to it, and check them out regularly to see what they are up to! In the old days we used to get the ‘What’s On’ guide somewhere in the back of the local free paper every week, and we would search through the paper to find it, and circle in red, or cut out and stick on the calendar the things we wanted to go to! There is zero reason why we can’t do the same now, using the technology that we all have in our back pockets, but we’re too fucking lazy!!! These bands, and hundreds like them on the emerging and underground scene, deserve more than we are giving them. They are working so hard to entertain us, with entry to their gigs costing the same as a pint, but we can’t be arsed. Please, for the love of music, sort it out!!!!
As I dismount my soap box, I would like to say a huge thank you to the bands for giving me a brilliant evening’s entertainment, and also a huge thanks to North East Wales Metal Productions again, for putting on this gig, and for working tirelessly to reboot the scene around here. And before anyone say “Well you only go because you get press passes” or “You get given CDs for free”, NO – we buy tickets for these gigs to help support the scene, and we buy the CDs to help support the bands, so suck it up, don’t make excuses, and get out to watch bands – you might find something you like! GRRRRRRR!!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/
The Alma Inn September Showcase 2019 The Alma Inn, Bolton – 28/09/2019 Review by Beth Jones
There is simply no better way to spend a wet and dreary late September day than listening to live music in a pub full of people. The Alma Inn September Showcase took place in these very conditions – the really fine rain that gets you properly wet was falling when we arrived, and we were glad to get in and grab a pint, sadly not an alcoholic one for me – I was driving, and settle in for another nine bands from the thriving underground metal scene. The line-up was more eclectic than the last showcase we attended, and two of the names on the bill were household regulars for us – Thrashatouille and Scars Of Remembrance, who we always look forward to seeing, however we were also eager to see some new names, and the day was to start with one of these.
This young band from Leeds were here to start the day off in style, and they did just that! Calling their style ‘progressive spooky filth’, they whipped up the crowd with their lively and bouncy tunes that were perfectly fitting for their hyperactive charisma. I would say they were a great example of classic heavy metal, with a more modern and progressive twist. Their look and youthful exuberance took me back to the Bohemian Rhapsody scene in Wayne’s World and this made me happy. They are all extremely talented musicians too, and reading their bio on Facebook, I have learnt that they released an EP in 2018, and are currently working on their album, which I shall very much look forward to hearing! What a great way to start the day! Well done lads – four thumbs up from me and Rick!
We have seen these guys on a number of occasions now, and they are always dependable for a tight, but bonkers, food-based show and this performance was no exception. Front man Rob Sutton pulls some of the best faces ever, as he describes to us, through the medium of song, the pain of brain freeze, explosive chilli shits, and his love for red velvet cake. All this is backed up by the rest of the motley chefs, adorned in their chefs’ whites and crunching out banging tunes, which makes for a wonderfully nuts image to behold! I recently reviewed their EP “Rise Of The Bludgeonaise”(read it here: https://ever-metal.com/2019/06/21/thrashatouille-rise-of-the-bludgeonaise-ep/) and I can confidently say they are the same bonkers foodies on stage as they are on recording, and should definitely be a staple in any metalhead’s diet, and even if you don’t like their music, which I very much doubt, it is always immensely pleasurable to watch Rob smash a Red Velvet cake into his face at the end of their set!! Tasty!!
Next up were Blood Church, a blackened death metal outfit from Telford, who we knew of, but had not seen before. They have obviously thought a lot about their look and it is dramatic; Full corpse paint, and blood capsules made their genre instantly recognizable even before they had started playing! Thankfully their music lived up to their look, it was dark and doomy in places, but not dirgy, which was good. They took us through a 30-minute set of chunky, down tuned, roaring tracks which ate into your soul in a pleasurable way! Having spoken to front man Chris Thomas before the gig, it was quite amazing to see the transformation on stage – from a mild mannered and unassuming gent, to a crazed maniac fuelled by carnal rage, savagely emitting guttural roars and screams! I think he was possessed by the ram’s skull effigy with light up eyes that adorned the front of the stage! They were finalists in this year’s West Midlands M2TM and it is easy to see why they made it that far – they put on a very good show and we really enjoyed it!
Today, They Are Older
Today, They Are Older – mathematically correct, but the name didn’t give us many clues as to what they were about! We found out pretty quickly when they fired into their first song! They bill themselves as progressive post hardcore, and that is exactly what they are – djenty rhythms and riffs, and screamo vocals. They were very lively and three members of the band spent a lot of their time playing and pitting in the crowd at the same time, which was fun, but I moved out of the way a little as I didn’t fancy getting impaled on a guitar whilst trying to get a picture of the vocalist – I’m too old for that shit now! Fetch me my slippers and a mug of tea will you?! Whilst this style isn’t really my bag, there is no denying that they were very good and very tight, and I can definitely see the appeal that they have to the younger generation! They are full of anger and rage, and it comes out with a bang in their performance. If you like this style of music, you need to get out and see these guys sometime soon.
We were taken from modern to classic next, with Whipcord, this being their comeback show after a few years’ hiatus, and appearing on drums with them was none other than local legend and workaholic, John Badger! This was the first of two appearances by him today, because organizing shows just isn’t enough is it John? (Think we should rename him Dennis Waterman – ‘Write the feeeme tooooon, sing the feeeme tooooon’ [NB if you haven’t watched Little Britain, look this reference up!]) Anyway, I digress, so this was Whipcord’s come back show and they were here to bring us some classic hard rock, and that is exactly what they did, much to the pleasure of us oldies. With some great harmonies and melodies, they certainly gave the day a different flavour, although they did look a little serious at times on stage but coming back after a break is a tough thing to do, so I will let them off! I would certainly like to see them again.
Scott Beveridge Project
Again, this is another of those bands that we had heard a lot about but had never seen. This was also Badger’s second outing on the drums – getting in practice for his ‘Drumming Up Change’ charity event coming in a month or so. Scott Beveridge Project (SBP) is the brainchild of front man Scott Beveridge, backed up by a variety of musical heads who appear in other bands too – kind of a supergroup of the Manchester Underground scene! Drawing influence from some of the great heavy metal musicians, their sound is good honest heavy metal, complete with widdly diddly solos, headbanging riffs and Hetfield style vocals. They are the sort of outfit that you know what you are getting, and I like that – it is comforting! We are definitely going to be checking them out again at the earliest opportunity. Loved it!
Asylum City Zoo
I was starting to hit the wall a little by this point – I’ll say it again, I’M OLD AND BROKEN OK?! But enjoyed these guys even if my outward persona looked like I had gone into stasis animation! They describe themselves as Beardcore/Stomp/Welly Metal, and I have to agree! I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I can definitely say that they are it! It is kind of early Metallica, with a more modern twist and better vocals! They were very tight, and they have a definite idea of who they are, which is always good to see. This assumption is also backed up when you visit their website, which is very nicely done – I recommend checking it out! I had to duck out and have a sit down about halfway through their set, sorry guys – I can’t hack the pace, but I really enjoyed their sound and next time I see them I promise I will watch the whole thing! In the meantime, I am going to digest a bit more of their music, which is available on their website, as it is right up my street!
Scars Of Remembrance
These guys were our North Wales M2TM winners this year, and their sound just gets better and better each time we see them. It was touch and go whether they were actually going to be able to perform here, as vocalist Mike Edwards was delayed, and the band were unsure if he would arrive on time – frantic reorganization ensued including which parts of the vocal duties would be taken on by guitarists Daniel Dawson and Mark Harris, and some nervous pacing from drummer Ben Burke and bassist Karl Ditcher, however Mike made it in the nick of time, and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief! AND they managed to do it again – they turned their anxiety into an absolute stonker of a performance that had the whole place bouncing. They mix together classic and melodic styles, with screamy death vocals, and pepper it with some groove, to create a unique sound that we love. Never be afraid to be different. Spot on guys – top show once again.
Our final band for the evening was Beyond Salvation – again another band we had heard great things about. Fronted by Jon Pedley, of Pedley Art, they are a four-piece technical thrash outfit from Manchester and are a huge part of the Manchester scene. Fast paced and meaty as hell, they make a huge sound that you can’t help but get involved in, with Jon’s roaring vocals and some epic guitar work from both Jon and Arun Kamath hypnotizing you into a thrash trance! As regular readers will know, I am picky when it comes to thrash – some of it floats my boat, most of it doesn’t. I am pleased to say that Beyond Salvation fell on the correct side of my metaphorical fence, and I am very happy about that! We had to duck out a little before the end, as the tempestuous weather was closing in, my body had finally hit the wall, and I still had to drive us back to Wales! But what a smashing performance to finish off a great day – again nice one guys.
And that was that! We hobbled off to the car, via the kebab shop, and set about the drive home (which was absolutely horrific, and I wanted to cry, I may add!). Yet again we had had another day of fantastic music. The day did have a couple of mild irritations for me though. Firstly, the sound – the whole day was slightly marred with technical issues. A lot of bands were complaining that they couldn’t here themselves on stage, and fiddling with leads and swapping mics became a bit of a theme for the day. That being said, this highlighted the quality of all the bands, as they still gave brilliant performances despite the issues. My only other gripe was the state of the ladies’ loos – I believe the expression is ‘fucking gopping man!’ I’m not posh, but I do like to have some home comforts when I go to a gig, and I can’t do horrid toilets! Sort it out please!
Apart from that, the whole day was great. Thanks again to the venue and organisers, and we look forward to coming back again soon!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Stone Temple Pilots North American Fall Tour 2019 The Met Philly, Philadelphia, PA 19/09/2019 Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons
Once upon a time, there was a musical movement, it was called grunge. Somewhat forgotten, it lost many musicians to suicide with bands changing their style. Through all that one band has survived and tirelessly worked their way back to stardom. Their name is Stone Temple Pilots. After finding mega success in the 1990’s the band dissolved due to differences. Upon reuniting they lost eccentric and ultra talented lead singer Scott Weiland to apparent overdose and later his ‘replacement’ Chester Bennington to suicide, both considered generational talents. STP’s current vocalist Jeff Gutt has been great in fitting into those shoes, which has helped them to retain their identity. With Jeff on lead vocals the band last year released a brand new self-titled album, which happens to be the second self-titled album STP have released to date.
Their current tour with Rival Sons is somewhat short, just a little under a month, but touches down in most American Metropolitan areas. After this tour STP will play a festival in Mexico and next spring head out to Australia.
On a pretty nice and warm September day STP came to America’s Independence home Philadelphia and the show took place in the wonderful Metropolitan Opera House or Met Philly for short. After Rival Sons rocked the house, STP came on the stage a few minutes early, prompting some fans to run to their places while spilling beer along the way!
Stone Temple Pilots opened their set with ‘Silvergun Superman’ and ‘Vasoline’ from their second studio album “Purple”, which will have a 25th Anniversary release later in October. They were mixed in with ‘Wicked Garden’ and ‘Crackerman’ from their debut album “Core”. These two albums were the most represented on the set list this night.
STP’s performance was just like the old days. Brothers Dean and Robert DeLeo were so energetic as if it was still the 1990’s. Behind the drums Eric Kretz was spectacular and his hair was flowing in the wind from a fan to the delight of all the ladies in attendance. Jeff Gutt definitely has his own vocal style, but sometimes there were flashes of Scott Weiland which older fans really appreciated. His vocal range complemented well with all of the band’s songs.
From the latest self-titled album STP played just two songs ‘Meadow’ and ‘Roll Me Under’. Of course they played their most decorated hit single ‘Plush’ (that had won MTV, Grammy, Billboard and American Music Awards) and the show was closed with their banger ‘Sex Type Thing’.
It was a good way to finish because, needless to say, it left the fans wanting more..!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Andy Jansons 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Speed Queen, Toledo Steel & Skyryder The Firehouse, Southampton 13/09/2019 Review by Lotty Whittingham
Heavy Metal therapy should be a thing. Think about it; you have had a stressful week or month; you attend a heavy metal show that matches this energy and that helps you get it all out. You also enjoy this experience with likeminded individuals who might be there for the same reason. This was the feeling I got on Friday 13th September when witnessing Speed Queen, Toledo Steel and Skyryder conquer The Firehouse, Southampton.
As the doors opened, it was great to see punters coming in early. Some grabbing a much-needed pint or two from the bar, others finding the ideal spot to watch the bands from and catching up with some friends. It was brilliant to see that support for local music is still going strong. Given that a number of venues are closing all over the country, it’s more important than ever to keep on going to venues and support the scene!
The first band to kick off proceedings on this night of pure class heavy metal were the colourful Skyryder! Colourful in stage wear most definitely and in personality too come to think of it. From the energy and passion in their performance, it was evident they were having a great time on stage. This enjoyment was passed onto the crowd who really seemed to take to their set consisting of slick guitar work, on point harmonies and excellent vocal work. Their brilliant musicianship combined with their fantastic sense of humour made them a fantastic opening band!
Local boys Toledo Steel were next to take to the stage. I have seen them on previous occasions and they always put on a great show. Friday night was no exception. Their mission is to offer straight to the point, no nonsense Heavy Metal and they did this plus more. Their passion and energy on stage was incredibly infectious. They performed a great selection of songs from across their discography and the crowd got to hear two brand new songs that will be on an upcoming album. A great set of heavy metal goodness from Toledo Steel once again.
From the moment Speed Queen started to play, it was evident the name was more than appropriate, mainly in terms of musical tempo. It states on their Facebook page that they are a mixture of speed and heavy metal mixed with a nasty and sexy stage attitude. Judging from their performance on Friday night, it is easy to see that claim was incredibly accurate. Their mind-blowing performance consisted of finger blistering guitar work, dominant vocals and powerful stage presence. You didn’t need to be a detective to figure out who was in control of the crowd the whole time they were on stage. Let’s hope it’s not long until they come back to Southampton.
If Friday night proved anything, it’s that Heavy Metal is still alive and kicking. There was some solid music and passionate live performances, as well as the comradery from the community. If these bands tour together again, I highly recommend catching this line up in action!
Images courtesy of Tomasz Wrobel at TzW Photography https://www.facebook.com/Tzwphotography/
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime Greatest Hits Tour w/Gin Annie The Underworld, Camden, London 29/08/2019 Review by Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King
Having attended Bloodstock at the beginning of August for the first time in what seemed like an eternity (it was actually six years, but you know how time can play tricks on us!), I was in the mood for some more live music. Tickets for this had been booked well in advance so it was a gig I was really looking forward to.
Having seen Queensryche perform a stonker at Bloodstock with the fantastic Todd le Torre, I wanted to see just how Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime would measure up. Would they have the magic of the “old” Queensryche (although I had only seen the “original” Queensryche once before at High Voltage Festival way back in 2011 and, if I’m honest, they were pretty dire then!) or would they just sound like a covers band, which, I guess, technically, they are!?
So, the venue? The Underworld in London’s Camden Town. I, personally, like The Underworld. Its small so you don’t get the humungous amounts of people but large enough to have a decent crowd. There are a few pillars (holding up the ceiling I’m guessing!!) so depending on where you stand, your view could be obstructed a bit, but it really is only a problem if the downstairs (half a dozen steps down) is jam-packed!
So, amazingly for me, I arrived at the venue in plenty of time, so I actually managed to watch the support band (something I very rarely do!) I must admit I hadn’t heard of them before the gig but then I was expecting a band with ‘Wolf’ in their name for some reason!! Must be the blonde in me!!
Anyway, the support were a hard rock band called ‘Gin Annie’ and I must say I was VERY impressed. Hailing from Wolverhampton in the UK they feature (and I quote this from their website) “heavy guitar driven songs whilst maintaining a melodic vocal style; hook-laden choruses, and classy melodies.” I couldn’t have put it better myself! They were absolutely fantastic and judging by the reaction they were getting from some of the crowd, I am guessing they were already pretty well known (late to the party AGAIN!!)
They had a contagious energy that just made you want to get up and dance along with them, and if I had drunk one or two vodkas, I think I probably would have done. The guitarists were awesome, and the singer’s voice just blew me away. There was nothing fancy about them. They are a good old-fashioned heavy rock band, who obviously enjoy what they do. I don’t think there was a time when all five of them weren’t up on that stage smiling! A great sign of a band that work hard but have immense pleasure in what they do.
They played nine tracks in total and I must say I was rather disappointed when they had to leave the stage! I wanted more…..so on my way out I bought the CD from the merch stand and had it in my car for over a week! Instead of getting bored with it each time I played it, I loved it more and more!! I would really love to see these guys as a headline
band, and I will now make it my mission to see them as such!
Outstanding work guys!!
So, after a break of what felt like forever (I don’t understand why there must be such a long break between supports and the headliners. Festivals manage a quick turnaround, so why can’t they?) it was Geoff Tate’s turn. I was looking forward to it, but I must admit I also had a bit of trepidation about the gig. Going by the previous time I had seen him perform, and reports of other gigs over the years, I wondered if it was just all going to be a waste of time.
The band came on first, playing the introduction to track ‘Neue Regel’ followed by the main man himself, to rapturous applause and cheering!
Now, I have been a Queensryche fan for as long as I can remember and to hear all of my favourite Queensryche tracks being played right there in front of me was awesome BUT….and yes there is a but….there was just a little something missing for me! I loved Geoff’s voice during his heyday, but I don’t think he can quite cut some of the notes now. And yes, before I get bombarded with messages of hate etc, I know singers can tend to lose their voice as they get older, but this is a review and I have to be honest!
Despite this, he did do the songs justice, but then he should have done, shouldn’t he? He has been singing these songs for three decades and should know them inside out and upside down. The heroes of the evening, for me, were the musicians he had backing him, Felix Bohnke, the drummer from EdGuy and Avantasia being one of them.
These guys were simply magnificent and if you closed your eyes it could quite easily have been the Queensryche of yesteryear up there on that stage. Personally, I think they are all too good to be in what could only be described as a Queensryche covers band but if that’s what they are happy doing, then good luck to them.
I had heard of Geoff being somewhat arrogant (something I really do not like), and this did come across occasionally while he was onstage and again, I am ducking to avoid anything that could be thrown at me at this point!
Overall, though, Geoff and the boys did a grand job. They played all the old Queensryche classics from ‘Operation:Mindcrime’ (the track) to ‘Empire’ to crowd favourite ‘Silent Lucidity’ and more. I am gutted I missed them on the tour when they played the whole of Operation Mindcrime 1 and 2 but this gig did make up for that.
So, Gin Annie get massive double thumbs up, for me, being the better band on the night and I WILL be going to see them again, while Operation:Mindcrime, although great, came in second!
Gin Annie – Setlist:
New Bad Habit
All I Want
Next 2 Me
Dying To Live Again
Love Ain’t Here
Born To Rock n Roll
Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime – Setlist:
Screaming In Digital
Spreading The Disease
Take Hold Of The Flame
I Dream In Infrared
The Lady Wore Black
Walk In The Shadows
Breaking The Silence
I Don’t Believe In Love
Jet City Woman
Eyes Of A Stranger
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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Rabidfest 2019 The Bullingdon, Oxford 18/08/2019, Day Three Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
They say that as you get older, time goes quicker. They also say that time flies when you are having fun, so for us oldies having fun, time seems to go very quickly indeed, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, here we were at the last day of Rabidfest, which again promised a very full, and very heavy line-up back at the Bullingdon. Bring on the metal!!!
The task of opening the final day fell to Oxford based, King Bolete, who offer a fusion of blues riffs, fuzz and groove, and harsh vocals, combining to make a sort of sleazy stoner metal which was very akin to a lazy, and for some, slightly hungover Sunday lunch time. They were the perfect way to start, went down well with the crowd and set the tone for the day ahead.
The Final Clause Of Tacitus
From the moment these guys took to the stage, I could see they had the 90’s written all over them, and this made me pay attention – this was my era!! If you liked Rage Against The Machine and Clawfinger, you will love these guys. Rick already knew about them and really likes them because they had been featured on Ever Metal before. They offered a solid dose of Rap/Funk Metal executed brilliantly. I know this doesn’t happen very often, but I am going to give a special mention to Andy, the bass player (I know right – get the flags out)! He was the epitome of funk and was great to watch – definitely grand master level cool! The guitarist Tom, on the other hand, was a total nutter!! I have never seen someone go quite as bat shit on stage – there was definitely some sort of exorcism brought on by their music I would say! Trying to take his picture was like trying to herd cats! When we spoke to them afterwards, he told us that he had actually passed out on stage not so long back, from all the crazy jumping about! Lunatic! They were, very definitely, one of our highlights of the whole event, and when we got home I ordered both of their EP’s straight away!
From the old to the new, with a good dose of modern hard rock, Broken Empire! We liked these guys because they are fresh and very current – I could see my teenage daughters going wild to them, especially frontman ‘Ieuan’ with his far-out hairstyle! They have only been together since 2017 but have been gigging regularly and with two EP’s released already they are very well rehearsed and know exactly what sound works for them. Very enjoyable and definitely a band to keep an eye on!
This was a band that we had been really looking forward to seeing. We had heard a lot about them, and they are Welsh, so that alone makes them better than everyone else by default! They didn’t disappoint! Melodic death metal, with a more than sizable nod to classic metal, they ripped up the room for the entire of their set, with vocal powerhouse Steve Jenkins telling a story with his facial expressions, and engaging the assembled throng with some audience participation! There music was like a checklist of how to make it sound good – soaring power vocals – check, face melting guitar – check, epic rhythms – check, a hangman’s noose – che-wait, what?! Yes readers, you did read that right – towards the end of their set things became slightly more menacing when Steve produced a noose and promptly simulated hanging the other band members then himself, which was fun! (Don’t try that at home kids, not unless you are into that kind of stuff of course!) This was a really great performance and Democratus are now definitely on the list of bands to see again!
I have decided that I am definitely getting old, as here was yet another band that looked like they could be my daughter’s mates! From just up the road in Whitney, Bloodshot brought us some progressive death metal, with tricky stops and cross rhythms, and harsh vocals, on top of intricate guitar work. They were good to bang your head to and two characters in the crowd, who we very originally named ‘Dancing Guy’ and ‘Dancing Girl’, were having an absolute blast to them! I’m going to again mention the bass player, Will, just because he pulled some epic bass faces, a couple of which I managed to capture on camera!
Rick Here, I’m going to add that sometimes I find the harsher, more extreme bands a little difficult to listen along to at home or in the car, but seeing them live is a different thing entirely. To me this is where really heavy music completely comes alive and shines, it’s almost primal and Bloodshot were definitely a band that invaded my brain and intestines in a good way!
The Five Hundred
Guitars with too many strings alert!! It was time to get technical again with The Five Hundred. Thankfully I have no need to rant about having too many strings just for the sake of it, as the technical prowess of the musicians in this band required the extra strings. They were very very good. Down tuned and powerful riffs, intricate melodies, and on point vocals, mixed with killer drops that made the roof rattle, made their performance exciting and exhilarating. We were at the mid-point of the day, which historically is where I start to flag, however The Five Hundred made sure that this was a break from the norm by really waking me up! Again I am putting these on the ones to see again list!
Next up were Groove/Sludge Metal quartet, Gutlocker (or Stomach Padlock as many in the know were calling them!!). Again they were a name that we had heard quite a bit about and were looking forward to seeing. They were groovy, they were sludgy, and front man Craig McBrearty’s vocals were terrifying (in a good way, of course). I don’t know about my guts being locked – the rumbling bass licks were enough to replace all the fibre in my diet in that department – oosh! Again one thing that was not lacking in their performance was energy – a running theme from just about every band over the weekend, and they had the entire room banging their heads good style. Very pleasing indeed!
Coming to us all the way from the wild North, Scotland to be more precise (you know, that place where wild Haggis roam the hills – Rick), were Dog Tired. They were a mix of the brutality of Death Metal with the riffs of good old-fashioned Thrash but also a thundering Groove which, brought together, quite simply makes battle music! It kind of made us want to paint our faces blue, grab a big mother of a sword and stand on a hill shouting FREEEDOMMMMMMMMMM!! They were bloody good. We got a bit of hair envy again though, as guitarist Luke James has a proper mane of Pantene hair which was incredibly flickable! Their whole set was fast paced and full of growl and we loved it! Who’d have thunk that two genres I don’t get on with usually (You’re on your own there Beth, I love Death and Thrash – Rick) could come together to make something pretty frikkin good! Bought the album, listened to it in the car on the way home! Their new album is out in September and it’s a beast, in fact it makes us a want a pet haggis!!
This may make me unpopular, so be warned. If you are a fan of doom, these guys are for you. For me, there is only one thing worse than doom, and that’s experimental doom. Bast are experimental doom. Whilst there is no denying that they are talented and competent musicians, and that they work well together as a group, I just don’t get it. I want to feel excited, like the rest of the weekend has built me up to be, but I just couldn’t get into a groove. Admittedly some of the songs were quicker paced than the sort of slow doom that Conan inflicted the night before, but I just couldn’t do the guttural screamed vocals, the melodies that were kind of smudged together, and the weird beats that were impossible to go nuts to. Sorry!
So, yeah, erm. Papa Shango. It wasn’t what we were expecting! I spent a good few minutes wondering if my Pepsi had been spiked, and if this was a very vivid hallucination! Rick was actually concerned he had overdosed on his medication! Papa Shango are a many many pieced group of complete nutters, who bring together a Day of the Dead-esque shaman, a rock band, and RaRa girls adorned with Day of the Dead make-up, because why not eh? Whilst musically Papa Steve, Papa Dale, Papa Ryan and Papa Barry would be just a normal, half decent rock band on their own, the addition of The Pappettes Shango, and Papa Shango himself, turns them into a very hallucinogenic experience, full of double entendre, crazy naughtiness and hundreds of props! They were such good fun, and most of the musicians, including Papa Shango, spent a lot of time out in the audience! Were they under-rehearsed with some of the change overs? Yes! Did they go completely over the top? Yes! Were they extremely silly? Yes! Did anyone care? Not one bit in the slightest! They were good, light-hearted Sunday afternoon madness and we loved it! If you love the thought of Papa Lazarou from The League of Gentlemen TV Series joining forces with The Rocky Horror Show then Papa Shango will be your bag. They were also a photographer’s dream because of all the vivid colours and beautiful make-up. Awesome!
After the half hour transportation to the lunatic asylum that had just happened, things got quickly back to normal for our penultimate band of the festival, with the entry of Desert Storm. Another local band, they brought a good mix of sludge and blues into their metal, and they did it very well. The room was full and getting back into the groove. There were definite nods to the old greats such as Sabbath and Zeppelin, but they were very current, and their performance notched up a level for me when there was suddenly a digeridoo type sound which took me aback for a moment – I was wondering who was playing it, then realised that it was actually a technique that vocalist Matt Ryan was using, which was similar to Tibetan throat singing, and was very mysterious and enticing, and gave the whole sound an added depth which was impressive and made them unique. They were a perfect balance of modern and classic, with some really great riffs and melodies, and toe tapping rhythms. I like this sort of stuff because it is clever, but not pretentious. Well done guys! We are Desert Storm converts!
Here we were at the final band, and it appeared it was going to be Groundhog Day. Once again, on paper, they were a good choice as they have a large following but they just didn’t do it for us. It was an anti-climax. They spent more than twice as long as any other band sound-checking, a large proportion of which was getting their Apple MacBook to work, only for it to stop working three songs in, when they stopped playing half way through a song because most of the song was on samples. Call me old fashioned, but if you rely that heavily on samples, and can’t play it live, don’t put it in. Whilst they did manage to carry on without it after, what I’m guessing was a quick set-list change, I, like a fair proportion of the crowd, had seen enough. I know this will again make me unpopular, but honesty is the best policy and I don’t do blowing smoke up people’s arses. If I reflect on them from a purely musical point of view, yes they could play their instruments well, and the front man did have an angry sort of charisma, and they are indeed slamming death metal, but without the samples it was just another death metal band. If you like death metal, you will love them – so definitely check them out. If you don’t, then don’t. That’s all I have to say.
And that was that. We took some last pictures, said our goodbyes, and headed off for our digs, via our new favourite food place, the Chinese restaurant a bit further down the road for take-two of the night before’s supper. It had been a great three days. We met some absolutely fab people and saw some really cracking bands. Our heartfelt thanks go out to the organisers for having us, and the great team that made the whole event run like clockwork. A huge shout out must go to the in-house sound guys at The Bullingdon, who were seasoned pros and were in control at every second – hats off to you chaps, a great job well done! Also to Mark Gibbs for being mad enough to attempt a three day festival, and to Greg Brown and our own Sheri Bicheno for making the chaos organised, and to the rest of the team for doing all the jobs that needed doing, and being genuinely fab people – we look forward to seeing you all again.
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Richard Tilley 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Rabidfest 2019 The Bullingdon, Oxford 17/08/2019, Day Two Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley
Before we mention anything music based in this review, we would like to compliment the Cherwell Guesthouse for the comfort of their beds! I had an amazing night’s sleep, which is something I never say about hotels and even Rick managed a few hours which is not something that happens often! Feeling refreshed and full of the joys of spring (or apparently summer, although I am yet to see evidence that this season exists!) we headed off to the second venue, The Bullingdon, which was usefully only a couple of minutes’ walk from where we were staying and where the rest of the Festival would take place! Winner!! Today we would be seeing eleven bands grace the stage and all of them were bands we hadn’t seen before, so we were very much looking forward to checking them out.
We arrived slightly early and met up with the crew at the ‘stage door’ to the back of the venue, where they were attempting the near impossible feet of erecting two gazebos in quite strong wind! But with a bit of logical thought and knot skills any boy scout would be proud of, said gazebos stood firm and the first band loaded in, meaning it was time for some music!
A/M (Altered Myths)
When these guys came on to sound check, and there was only two of them, I was concerned that maybe some of the other band members hadn’t got the memo that they were on first, and were still asleep, but no – there were actually only two members in the band! But flipping heck did they make a big sound! They played through their set to the small gathered crowd, sounding huge and very well-rehearsed. Drummer ‘Matik’ was also the vocalist, and was adept at both jobs, whilst guitarist ‘Eskay’ managed to make his guitar sound like two guitars and a bass all at the same time. I believe they may be wizards – anyone who can tell me otherwise gets a gold star! They call themselves a ‘Two piece original recipe meal’ and that is spot on because they aren’t easy to pigeonhole! We both thought they were a great start to the day!
From a reasonably empty stage, to a very busy one – next up were Villainous, A four piece heavy prog metal outfit from Brighton. They hit you in the face straight away with punchy rhythms and clever melodies, but the most mesmerising part of their performance was front man Sean Stakim, who was the re-embodiment of the late great Keith Flint! His punk look, with check trousers and skin head, combined with his use of the available space, movements and mannerisms, and wild eyes which were only tamed by the lights on a pair of night vision style goggles that he donned for most of the set, took me right back to a festival in Switzerland in 1997, where The Prodigy gave a performance that left 17 year old me speechless. Seeing this performance at Rabidfest excited me, because, whilst musically they were far flung from The Prodigy, the mannerisms and charisma that exuded from them on stage was right there! I spoke to Sean afterwards and he confirmed that Keith Flint was one of his biggest influences. We absolutely loved these guys! Well done!
Any band that was to follow Villainous had a tough job in my opinion. That job fell to Master Charger, who were a late addition to the bill, and were heading straight off after this performance to a gig in Nottingham later that day – that is dedication! In contrast to what we had seen so far, Master Charger served up a dose of Stoner/Groove Rock, which was sludgy and in places quite grungy. For me it was a good, solid performance and they made a good sound, but it didn’t excite me as much as Villainous had, however Rick really loves their monster Southern Groove riffs and was very pleased that he had finally got to see them!
Next up were local chaps, Damaged Reich, who we had heard a lot about, but had never seen. If anyone else is in that same boat and you like good, honest Thrash, I suggest you seek them out and go and bang your heads to one of their performances – they were really good! I am fussy with thrash – some of it bores me and leaves me cold, but this was not one of those bands, as for Rick, Thrash is one of his favourite genres so he was in his element. Again the stage was full of energy, and frontman Joe Samuels commanded the audience and drew them into his powerful vocals, backed up by the speed and groove of Adrian Irving and Liam Hodgkins on guitar, the meaty bass and backing vocals of Dan Atkins and metronomic beats of Hayden Wheable on drums.
So far this was a very successful day of metal in my book, as everyone was playing a blinder!
Want to make a statement on stage, and inflict heat exhaustion on yourself in the process? If the answer to this question is yes, then do what Ascaris do, and play a set in the height of summer, wearing full dinner suits! Why not eh!! That’s exactly what these three nutters from Gloucester did and it was bloody good! I did spend way too much time trying to get the perfect photo of guitarist Sam Godding’s hair flick, which was mighty impressive! They took us through a rip-roaring 30 minutes of Blackened Death Metal, with some killer vocals and licks, and many facial expressions, showing that a good sense of humour and Black/Death Metal can work in harmony! Again, I am fussy when it comes to this style, and like very little of it, but I could get into Ascaris and, yet again, Rick had a massive grin on his face when watching them.
Again, this is a band we had heard lots about, but not seen in a live setting. I have one word to sum up their performance – WOW!! This took it to a whole new level. This was proper! We both loved every minute of it. Hard Rock, tight as hell, and full of life! The energy and passion this performance held was truly commendable – frontman Cole Bryant reminded us of Freddie Mercury in his performance (no mean feat), giving an incredibly lively performance, most of which was spent vaulting over the pit barrier and performing in the crowd! It was exciting and accomplished in equal measures and for us was the performance of the day so far! We cannot wait to see these guys again, and will be seeking them out very soon!
From down that there Somerset way, Kinasis brought to the table some uber technical extreme metal, and they were rather good at it too! All their guitars had too many strings, and their stunningly technical riffs and rhythms made use of all of them! Whilst some technical stuff makes me look on with disdain for the level of twattishness, these guys just made me look on in awe and disbelief, because they all appeared almost shy of their talent, and gave a very humble, but completely brilliant and lively performance! They also looked so young, none more so than drummer Noah, who has the cherubic face of a child, but the timing of a seasoned master – which made Rick, a former drummer of 30 years, very, very jealous ! Damn fine technical shizzle chaps!
It was now time for one of the event organisers, Mark Gibbs, to take to the stage for the final ever performance of his band VIG. Again hailing from the local area, they brought a proper dose of thumping groove metal to the day, and the audience lapped it up. Having spoken to Mark a fair bit since arriving in Oxford, it was quite a surprise to see this pleasant and mild-mannered gent roaring like a man possessed up on the stage! They again were a band that made your rib cage vibrate! I mean, is it really a gig if you don’t come out with at least one of your internal organs slightly displaced, right? It is a shame that they are not going to be a thing any more really, because we would have recommended you all to go and see them, but now you can’t, and we have seen them so ha!
Confessions Of A Traitor
Now we were getting towards the business end of the day, the stakes were higher, and it was time to ramp things up yet again with some metalcore in the form of London’s own, Confessions Of A Traitor. To me they were basically what you would get if you fed Aerosmith lots of sugar, cigars, and bourbon, and them made them really, really angry! They were a pretty bunch who had the look of a much lighter style, but they were lively, heavy and technical as hell, and frontman Stephen MacConville’s hair metal appearance was all a ruse, as his vocals were powerful hellish growls that had the audience, which was now much larger than earlier, going absolutely wild!! Again he spent a lot of time in the crowd – even getting involved in the pit whilst still singing, whilst the rest of the band kept things kicking on stage in impeccable fashion! Energy and effort was a ‘10 out of 10’ from me!
We were outside, in the ‘performers’ area’ when these guys turned up, gurning out of the window of their lovingly titled ‘tour bus’, which was more like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo, and we knew at that point that they were going to be good fun to be around. What we didn’t know however was how flipping astronomically good they were going to be live!! Heavy/progressive/tech/death/metalcore shouldn’t work, but Red Method were here to prove that wrong! Bloody hell did they put on a show. They had everything right – the sound, the look, the energy, the charisma, the staging and the actual music itself was so fresh and exciting and heavy and punchy that you could not help but be blown away by their performance. We absolutely adored it, and definitely need more Red Method in our life! This was by a country mile our performance of the day, and it was going to take something very, very special to beat it as the performance of the weekend! But the best part was that they were all such great guys too – humble and down to earth, with no airs and graces – the way it should be. Considering they have only been around a short time you might wonder how they seem to have generated such a following, but knowing they are made up of ex members of Meta-Stasis and The Defiled puts a different spin on things. They know what not to do this time around and if they carry on like this then a Metal juggernaut has been well and truly created!!
We had heard a lot about Conan, and knew that they had a very large following, explaining their headline slot here. From what we had heard from various people, we were looking forward to seeing them. Sadly, for us, after what we had just seen, their performance was somewhat of an anti-climax. Firstly, they are Doom, which Rick likes but I don’t really do, but I was willing to give them a go. Secondly, and more importantly, because of their style, there was no lively jumping about, filling the stage, and drawing the audience in – it was more about the music than the performance. This is ok if you like that sort of thing, but for the members of the audience who wanted to bang their heads and were hyped after the likes of VIG, Kinasis, Confessions Of A Traitor, and Red Method, it was a bit like being a fly on the wall in a rehearsal room. That said, they were very tight in their performance, and the fans that had come to see them were obviously enjoying it. Perhaps at one of their own gigs, we would have had a different experience, but in the festival setting it didn’t quite work for us.
That was Day Two in the bag. There was an after party for the people with more energy but we were both very tired, very sore and very hungry, so we stopped off at one of the many Chinese restaurants on Cowley Road for some proper Chinese food and it was bloody delicious!! With full bellies and reflective thoughts, we headed back to the lovely guesthouse to get our heads down and prepare for the final instalment of Day Three!
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick Tilley 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Jared James Nichols The Waterfront, Norwich, UK 16/07/2019 Review by Paul Monkhouse
Jared James Nichols has built up a solid reputation as one of the leading lights in modern blues rock, his firey gumbo of influences winning the hearts of audiences during tours with Glenn Hughes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, UFO, Saxon, Blue Oyster Cult and ZZ Top amongst others. It speaks a lot about the guitarist that he not only held his own against such legendary artists but gave them all a run for their money and on many nights blew away the headliners. His latest tour of the UK is part of a diverse triple band line-up that also includes Toby Jepson’s 70’s style hard rocking Wayward Sons and the topped-billed game-changers Living Colour. Despite the huge talent on show, Nichols opening set was the one that left the most lasting impression and brought the largest number of converts, all of whom stunned by the power of this three-piece.
Despite the early start time, a sizeable crowd was already pushing against the barrier as a siren rang out and Nichols strolled onto the stage, ripping into opening song ‘Last Chance’. This was rock ‘n’ roll as dirty and loud as you could have wished for, the muscular playing reminiscent of Cream at their most forceful but with an edge that spoke of years spent playing in rough bars all over small towns in the States. There was a real ferocity here that screamed to be let loose, all whilst being totally controlled by a band who knew exactly what they were doing. This juxtaposition of the feral and the crafted in their performance was such a fine balance that it equally thrilled and amazed, the adrenaline rush of being strapped into a turbocharged supercar driven by a Nascar champion.
‘Don’t Be Scared’ was a blistering display of heavy blues and saw Nichols flicking his guitar lead to slam and dance across the strings as he played the solo. This wasn’t the only extraordinary thing that struck about the performance as it was impossible not to marvel at how he played with such dexterity and heaviness without a pick, his right hand wrenching and dancing on the frets bereft of a plectrum to take the strain across the tight wound steel strings of his beloved Les Paul. The funky ‘Honey Forgive Me’ dripped with a raw passion and ‘End of Time’ rode along with a loping rhythm whilst conjuring a sound that brought to mind something akin to Jimi Hendrix jamming with Led Zeppelin.
The heads-down boogie of ‘Baby Can You Feel It’ really swung as bass player Ronnie Elvis James and drummer Dennis Holms were watertight, James a study in trucker cool whilst Holms was a mass of flying blonde hair. Nichols himself cuts an imposing figure, standing well over six feet tall and all muscles, tattoos and hair and it’s one of these tattoos that catches the eye: a curled snake on his left arm. Whilst a first glance looking like the one Metallica had on the cover of the ‘Black Album’, this was actually part of the Gadsden Flag, depicting a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and such it was with the jabs and controlled ferocity of his playing on new single ‘Nails in the Coffin’. The track opened to the sound of rolling thunder and rain and continued in this vein, a brooding and atmospheric track full of dread and dark power, providing an appetite whetting taster of things to come.
‘Hardwired’ may have shared a title with the San Francisco thrash giants but this was purely titular as the track came over as the love child of Whitesnake and Ted Nugent, all lascivious guitar work and macho strutting but none the worse for either. Closing the set was a staggering cover of Mountain’s classic ‘Mississippi Queen’, replete with the greatest cowbell playing in rock outside of ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ and a freshness that captured the vitality of the original but turned up several notches. Closing with such a well-known and much-loved song was a gamble but the fact that their own material can stand shoulder to shoulder and not feel out of place with it speaks volumes. The future, seemingly, belongs to him. All hail the new King of Blues Rock.
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Klavium, Killer Hurts & Scars Of Remembrance The Live Rooms, Chester – 27/06/2019 Review by Beth Jones
It had been a couple of weeks since we had been to a live show, and this was a gig that we had earmarked when it was announced, even though it was on a school night! It was a chance to catch up with the guys in Scars Of Remembrance before their Bloodstock adventure, and also to see a couple of new names for us, Classic Thrashers Killer Hurts and a new name to the scene, all the way from Trinidad and Tobago, Klavium.
The gig was in the smaller room at the Live Rooms, which we have never been in before. It is still a good sized room and perfect for this type of gig.
Scars Of Remembrance
Fresh from their M2TM finals win, SOR opened the show in great fashion. They still continue to improve each time we see them, and this performance was no exception. Their brand of 90’s inspired riffs with death metal vocals, and punchy grooves really got the gathered crowd going and in the mood for some heavy tunes.
Front man Mike Edwards really likes to get in with the crowd and paced like a man possessed throughout the set, which motivated the audience to move along with him. The sound was awesome and the whole band looked more than ready for their trip to Catton Park in August.
Norwich based Killer Hurts do their thing very well, and their thing is classic, no nonsense Thrash. They were a man down for this performance, with their lead guitarist unable to make the gig, so they were performing as a three piece.
Whilst I’m not a massive fan of classic Thrash, what I will say is that they were super tight, and obviously well versed in the business, because their performance was spot on. It did lack the guitar solos that I am assuming would have been there if the lead guitarist had been available. Rick absolutely loved them, as it is one of his favourite genres, but musically, despite being very tight, they weren’t really for me if I’m honest. Each to their own though isn’t it!
(Rick Here: Yes I did love them. I understand why some might say they are a bit samey, but for me Killer Hurts are all the things I love about an old-school Thrash band. Think of Slayer crashing head on into Destruction and Exodus and you might be somewhere close although you’ll probably hear your own influences)!
Its not every day you get a metal band from Trinidad & Tobago playing on your doorstep! Add to that the fact that they are only a two-piece band, and it becomes rarer still. They are Kahdil Beharry Singh on Vocals and Guitar, and Dylan Beharry Singh on Drums.
We were intrigued to see what sort of noise they made. The answer to that was BIG! Unbelievably big considering their lineup! But it wasn’t just big, it was tight, it was chunky, and it was heavy as hell. They were superb! This was Thrash that I could get onboard with. It was fast paced, with fantastic rhythms, and immensely powerful vocals. They sounded like a band that had at least five members, and after the gig we asked Kahdil how he managed to make it sound so big – was he putting his guitar through a bass amp, or using some crazy effects pedals? The answer was no – Just a regular guitar cab, and one pedal! It just goes to show that sometimes less is more, and all the technology in the world doesn’t necessarily make you any better. Although I do now suspect that these guys are wizards, as that sound should not have been possible with that set up!!! Brilliant, and terrifically nice and humble blokes too. If you get a chance to check these guys out, and you like early Metallica, great musicianship, catchy songs and HEAVY Metal then do it!
What a quality night we had, as did the small crowd who had made the effort to be there. That is my only gripe about the night – that more people didn’t make the effort to come out. Yes, it was a school night, yes it was the day before payday, but still. These guys had come on a shoestring from Trinidad & Tobago to play their first UK Tour – everyone should be getting off their asses and encouraging them, they definitely deserve it! I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, having seen them here, and would like to say a big thank you to them, and to North East Wales Metal Productions for putting on the show.
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