Samantha Fish – The Junction, Cambridge – 13/05/2019

00 Samantha Fish Poster

Samantha Fish
The Junction, Cambridge
13/05/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse
Photo by Laurence Harvey

Let’s just start by saying this: Samantha Fish is one of THE BEST guitarists you will ever see. Currently touring Europe, she has both the musical chops and the material to put on a real masterclass with her unique brand of country infused blues rock that is, by turns, seductive and eviscerating. Backed by a formidably tight three-piece band, she blew away the packed audience in a display of ferocious virtuosity showing that not only is Blues alive but just as vibrant and relevant today as it ever has been.

‘American Dream’ opens the set with a real swagger and kicks things off supremely, a template for the thrills to come. This was no warming gently into the show but a full-blooded leap into her world, the delightfully twisting rhythm of the song and fantastic vocal intonation of the chorus immediately drawing the crowd in. Whilst the band propel the groove, Fish is full of effortless cool and unleashes the first of many slide solos that highlight her deft touch and feel. Never someone to get complacent, there is a real shift in style to next number, the title track from the 2017 album ‘Chills and Fever’. With a delightful retro sound, it’s a much more jazzy/soul number that has a swing and style more akin musically and vocally to the late Amy Winehouse. With its terrific keys solo by Phil Breen, the song shows how Fish isn’t afraid to grow naturally and infuse her material with some of the best elements of 20th and 21st century music. In fact, it’s lazy to label her as ‘just a Blues artist’ because she is so much more than that and shows a really unique blend of different styles whilst at the same time very much having her own unique identity.

‘Wild Heart’ adds another twist with its galloping and insistent riff, the song rocking along as the passionate vocals power over the top of it. Fish looks utterly consumed by the music as a curl of blonde hair falls over her eyes whilst she rips into her guitar, her whole body lost in the glorious sound. ‘You Can’t Go’ wasn’t so much an instruction as an impossibility, transfixed as the audience were by the four musicians onstage and featured yet another outstanding solo whilst the more mellow ‘Hello Stranger’ cooled the pace once more with its soulfulness. ‘Cow Town’ was introduced with the tongue in cheek “for all you Hillbillies out there” and featured a much more ‘country’ twang to the vocals. Breen was again given the platform to shine as individual solos by both keys and guitar took the spotlight and highlighted the superior calibre of musicianship, each member of the band a master of their craft.

The first of two newly released singles, ‘Watch It Die’ is an incredibly catchy taster from forthcoming album ‘Kill or Be Kind’, propelled along by a pedal to the floor riff that is unpinned by bass player Chris Alexander and drummer Scotty Graves who lock in to provide a rock-solid base whilst adding their own style and panache. Coming over like a heavier version of prime late 70’s Fleetwood Mac, it transported the Monday night Cambridge crowd to the widescreen vistas of desert highways of Mid-West America, speeding along in an open top Pontiac GTO, a testament to the songwriting flair and an evocation of Fish’s Kansas roots. Further capturing the spirit of America, ‘Little Baby’ was an exercise in joyful rockabilly that saw the band having as much of a ball as the audience, it’s lyrics of longing and regret juxtaposed with the upbeat bounce of the music. Once more, the rhythm section of Alexander and Graves shone as they drove the beat along, the live version ramping up the fire of the original recording.

The slow, soulful country blues of ‘Go Home’ provided a much-needed breather and showed how Fish could shine equally as well with an acoustic guitar as electric, delicately plucking at the strings as her plaintive voice soared. A truly beautiful number, the vocal harmonies lifted it even further into the realms of the angelic and there was a hushed awe as if the slightest noise could break the spell. Following that with another tender number would have proven impossible so ‘Gone For Good’ was a rocking, raging storm of bottleneck slide guitar masterstroke, sandwiched as it was between the ballad and the second of the new releases ‘Love Letters’. Again, it can’t be overstated that Samantha Fish is not only an incredible player but a superb songwriter too and the track is both slinky and seductive whilst being instantly memorable therefore making it a perfect single to release.

A phenomenal ‘Somebody’s Always Trying’ is an exercise of swing that strips the sound to a pulsating, mellow soundscape, its breakdown building to an extended solo that really is a highlight of the night as the guitar sighs and screams before heading back into the chorus to finish the song. Rounding off the set, ‘Shake Em On Down’ was a perfect slice of down and dirty blues, the four-string cigar box guitar adding exactly the right level of authenticity and grit as the song slides along with the smoothness and slightly rough edge of a good bourbon. Of course, the crowd weren’t going to let the band just go without an encore and their chants and claps were rewarded as, to a huge roar, the four musicians strolled back on stage. Ripping into the heavy-duty rocker ‘Bitch On The Run’, it’s snotty, snarling attitude and irresistible chorus squeezed ever last drop of energy out of the audience and left them empty before saying a final goodnight. A barnstorming showstopper in every sense of the word, it was the perfect end to a perfect evening and one that those lucky enough to be there will be talking about for years to come.

Absolutely incredible.

LINKS:

Samantha Fish


https://www.facebook.com/samanthafishmusic/

https://www.instagram.com/samanthafishmusic/

 

01 Samantha Fish by Laurence Harvey

 

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.

Photo reproduced here with kind permission of Laurence Harvey

 

Can’t Swim – House of Independents, Asbury Park, NJ – 23/03/2019

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Can’t Swim
House of Independents, Asbury Park, NJ
23/03/2019
Reviewed by Stephen Moss

This has been the first Headlining Tour for Can’t Swim. They ended the tour at home just a few miles from where it all began. They played at House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ and this was their last show in the States before they embarked on their very first overseas tour playing the UK and Europe.

The atmosphere at the venue was incredible! I spoke to kids who had driven from other US States just to see this show!

This show was also Can’t Swim’s album release party. They played their brand new album “This Too Won’t Pass” in its entirety. During the very last song they brought out hundreds of big red balloons and dumped them all over the crowd.

After all the tracks on the new album had been played, the crowd still wanted more and kept chanting “One More Song!!!” Then Can’t Swim returned and played not one but three more songs and finished the show with their biggest hit ‘Stranger’.

01 Can_t Swim Middle

I can’t stress enough how awesome this band is! All the members are so humble and down to earth. Before and after their set you could find them in the crowd interacting with their fans!

I asked Can’t Swim for a band photo and they one upped me. They had every band come out on stage and I had the privilege of taking a tour photo! Please check out the accompanying photos of the show. You will see that whether it’s the first song or the last Can’t Swim play with the same intense energy and excitement. They give everything they have for each show and fans have taken note. Selling out venues is becoming common place for Can’t Swim!

This was my fourth Can’t Swim gig and each time I find myself saying, “No, this time was my favourite show.” It’s always refreshing to see a show where the band is so genuine and really connects to their fans.

LINKS:
https://www.cantswimmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cantswim/

https://www.instagram.com/cantswim_/
https://cantswimmusic.tumblr.com/

 

02 Can_t Swim Tour Photo Bottom

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephen Moss 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 photographs reproduced with the kind permission of Stephen Moss.

 

 

UFO ‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’ – The Junction, Cambridge – 22/03/2019

Tour Flyer

UFO
‘Last Orders; 50th Anniversary Tour’
The Junction, Cambridge
22/03/2019
Review by Paul Monkhouse & Photo by Daniel Ackerley-Holmes

Very few bands in rock are as legendary as UFO. Since forming in the late 60’s theirs has been a mercurial and notorious history, filled with fights, stellar musicians and peerless songwriting. When last year main man Phil Mogg announced his intention to retire, tickets for this 50th anniversary became some of the most eagerly awaited and sought after and rightly so. The ‘Last Orders Tour’ is a cherry-picked celebration of some of the finest slices of hard rock ever to be committed to tape.

When the lights dimmed and a bar bell rang, one by one the band strolled onto stage and tore into opening number Let It Roll like it was freshly minted. Buoyed by the ecstatic reaction of a packed crowd the band tackled the material with a passion that mixed their seasoned professionalism with a sense of genuinely having an absolute ball onstage.

Mogg in particular was in truly great form, looking fit and lean, cracking jokes between songs and with a voice that arguably sounded the best it ever has. With old friends and foils Andy Parker on the drums and Paul Raymond on keys and guitar it was a joy to see these three on stage providing a masterclass of muscular and melodic music. The two ‘new’ boys Rob De Luca and Vinnie Moore more than held up their ends, De Luca meshing perfectly with Parker to provide a tight rhythm section that pinned down the grooves of the songs with élan and Moore firmly stamping his own identity into tracks previously played by ex UFO alumni and world class six stringer Michael Schenker.

This wasn’t though just an exercise in nostalgia as newer tracks such as Baby Blue, Burn Your House Down and a brilliant Messiah of Love from 2015s ‘A Conspiracy of Stars’ stood shoulder to shoulder with the classics. In fact, along with a outstanding solo on Ain’t No Baby, the acoustic guitarwork on these three were some of the highlights of the evening and showed why Moore was such a great choice to replace the, once more, departing Schenker in 2003. Be it the interplay with the superb keys of Raymond or his own showcase during the extended workout of Rock Bottom Moore truly put his heart into his playing.

All you could wish for and more was played with each song being greeted like an old friend. Lights Out, Only You Can Rock Me and Cherry came in a rush of euphoria and a truly epic Love to Love was enough to make grown men cry, such was its magnificence. With the unbeatable one / two punch of set closers Too Hot to Handle and the aforementioned Rock Bottom there was only one way to come out for the encore. The moment the familiar glistening keyboard started and was joined by the tasteful guitar work, shivers ran down spines as the place erupted. This turned into the out and out adrenaline rush of THAT riff as every single voice in the place sang the titular opening lines “Doctor Doctor please…”. Probably the first song that most people get to hear by UFO, this is still one of the greatest tracks in rock and something that is seen as the bands very own calling card. Following that was nigh on impossible but a triumphant Shoot Shoot rounded off the night perfectly on part of what is potentially going to be the tour of the year. No-one quite knows what the future holds for UFO but even if this is their swan song they couldn’t go out in finer style. Absolutely unmissable.

LINKS:
http://www.ufo-music.info/
https://www.facebook.com/UFOofficial/

DANIEL ACKERLEY-HOLMES PHOTOGRAPHY
https://www.danielackerley.co.uk

 

RockSinsUFO32

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.

Photo supplied courtesy of Daniel Ackerley-Holmes

Warrant & Sweet Sienna “The Dirty 30 Tour” – The Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ – 22/03/2019

Gig Poster

Warrant & Sweet Sienna
“The Dirty 30 Tour”
The Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ
22/03/2019
Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons

One of the most popular Glam Rock / Hard Rock bands of last three decades, California rockers Warrant, are currently on tour for the 30th anniversary of the release of their first album “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich”. This tour, which is currently seven shows in, started in January and will last till mid August. They don’t have a specific support band, but have a bunch of local Rock bands joining them on their show dates.

To be honest, I did not get a chance to see the first local band of the night, but I caught a most interesting and promising young band from New York, called Sweet Sienna.

Fronted by the beautiful and talented Katrien Van Riel they performed an electrifying set. Playing their songs ‘Rise’, ‘No Reflection’ and ‘Your Love’ among others, Sweet Sienna moved the audience with quality in music and showmanship on stage. Their sound is pure rock with some heavier riffs and melodic singing. Katrien interacted with the crowd like a seasoned professional, singing with emotion and passion. At this point your best option would be their website and social media to look up who they are and what they sound like. They are currently scheduled to perform as support for such rock legends as Ace Frehley, Skid Row and L.A. Guns to name just a few, so that may change quick, and they could become popular much faster than we might expect.

Warrant were received with some very loud screams, almost like it was still 80’s. All of the eight opening songs from their set came from the aforementioned anniversary album. They only left out ‘In The Sticks’ and ‘Ridin’ High’. All the other songs were played in the order they appear on the album starting with ‘32 Pennies’ and ‘Down Boys’ and finishing with ‘Heaven’ and ‘Cold Sweat’.

Another five songs were played from their huge second studio album “Cherry Pie and, obviously, the title song was the show closer. Until this day ‘Cherry Pie’ is the most recognized song from the band and the glam rock era.

From their newest album “Louder, Harder, Faster”, which was released in 2017, Warrant performed just two songs, ‘Only Broken Heart’ and the title track.

Current vocalist Robert Mason, who took over as Warrant’s front-man after Jani Lane passed away, and who has now been with them for over a decade, was phenomenal. He was joined on stage with original members Erik Turner, Jerry Dixon and longtime member Joey Allen although they are still without Steven Sweet who is recovering after being diagnosed with cancer.

The show was a great success with the venue near to capacity, and it was not only old fans that came to indulge in a trip down memory lane but quite a few younger rock fans as well!

SWEET SIENNA LINKS:
https://www.sweetsiennaband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sweetsiennaband/
https://www.instagram.com/sweetsiennaband/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-ktAuVGoCoZ76d5Pzc0qww

WARRANT LINKS:
http://www.warrantrocks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/warrantrocks/

https://www.instagram.com/warrantrocks/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP0tGGgcnoHoPoobLkxVyIA
Warrant Pic

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.

All photographs courtesy of Andy Jansons.

Red Hot Chilli Pipers – South Orange Performing Art Center, New Jersey – 06/03/2019

Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Red Hot Chilli Pipers
South Orange Performing Art Center, New Jersey
06/03/2019
Review and Pictures by Stephen Moss

I have to admit, I was sceptical about this show. After the first song however, I was blown away. Let me explain what happened!

Before the show started I had some preconceived ideas about what it would be like. For one, I’m not a big fan of Classic Rock. So, mixing Classic Rock with Celtic music, mmm, I didn’t think I was going to like it.

Celtic music does mix well with Punk, so I tried to keep an open mind. I love bands like Flogging Molly, The Real McKenzies, Street Dogs, and the Dropkick Murphy’s. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are a little different from that, though. They are more on the Celtic side of the spectrum and really stress the bag pipes and make that the highlight.

At the show in Jersey, The Chilli Pipers played a mixture of Classic Rock tracks including ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ by Queen, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ by Journey, ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC, and ‘Eye of the Tiger; by Survivor to name just a few.

One of the coolest things they did was actually a medley mash up of ‘Starlight’ by Muse and ‘Charlie Brown’ by Cold Play. They added more guitar and three bag pipes, and dudes, it worked! They also do cool versions of ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes and put their spin on ‘Jump’ by Van Halen.

In 2007 the Red Hot Chilli Pipers walked away with the top spot on a UK TV show called “When Will I Be Famous.” They call their style of music “Bag Rock” and it has done well for them in the States. The show in South Orange was a sell-out and SOPAC, which is a beautiful Performing Arts Theater just outside of Newark, NJ, was full to the brim!

After the show, I immediately went to Apple Music and bought their albums.
If you’re looking for something new and outside the norm, I definitely recommend checking these guys out. They are currently on a huge world tour so check out their links for dates!

LINKS:
https://rhcp.scot/#
https://www.facebook.com/redhotchillipipersofficial/

https://www.instagram.com/redhotchillipipers/

US Tour Poster

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephen Moss 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.

Hollywood Undead – The Wellmont Theater, Montclair, New Jersey – 06/03/2019

HU9

Hollywood Undead
The Wellmont Theater, Montclair, New Jersey
06/03/2019
Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons

Since the release of their fifth studio album “Five”, California Rap Rock giants Hollywood Undead seem to always be on tour. After a worldwide album support tour they have embarked on The West Coast High tour co-headlining with Hip Hop legends Cypress Hill. In the midst of all this they are working on recording a new album slated to be released sometime this year.

Hollywood Undead are one of the cross over bands that are enjoying huge success to both Rock and Rap fans. Their latest album had a hard and heavy hitting track ‘California Dreaming’ and a hip hop style track ‘Black Cadillac’ featuring Cypress Hill front man B-Real. They can easily tour with Hard Rock bands and Rap artists, and enjoy a warm welcome from all music fans.

In the midst of the West Coast High Tour the band performed in the beautiful Wellmont Theater in Montclair, New Jersey. Hollywood Undead hit the stage after performances from Demrick and Xzibit who will be, most likely, unknown to Rock fans.

The first two songs in their set came from “Five”, ‘Whatever It Takes’ and ‘California Dreaming’. The second of those could make any Metal band jealous, arguably one of their heaviest songs to date. They played three more songs from “Five” during their set ‘Bad Moon’, ‘Broken Record’ and, of course ‘Riot’, an excellent song which got the crowd into a frenzy.

Other notable hits played included ‘Day Of The Dead’, ‘Hear Me Now’, ‘Comin’ in Hot’ and ‘Everywhere I Go’.

On ‘Comin’ in Hot’ Charlie Scene (the guys all have stage names) brought a random fan on stage to play the guitar, Anthony was his name, and he did not disappoint. He impressed band members and fans alike. J-Dog also had his family from Brooklyn in attendance.

Hollywood Undead performed the show without masks, as they have taken to do lately and they gave their all. Johnny 3 Tears, Funny Man and Danny were all amazing. Since 2017 they have been using a touring drummer, Matt Oloffson, for their shows and he did one hell of a job!

Whatever your subgenre preference is in Rock, it would be well worth your time to check out Hollywood Undead if you haven’t already done so. This was a great show!

LINKS:

  • https://hollywoodundead.com
  • https://twitter.com/hollywoodundead
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYEIC1WKHEJHR971HIySQMg
  • https://www.facebook.com/hollywoodundead
  • https://www.instagram.com/hollywoodundead
  • https://open.spotify.com/artist/0CEFCo8288kQU7mJi25s6E
  • https://www.deezer.com/en/artist/17000

 

 

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.

All photographs are courtesy of Andy Jansons.

Corrosion of Conformity – The Gramercy Theatre, New York City -13/02/2019

COC Gramercy Theatre 13-02-2019 Poster

Corrosion of Conformity
The Gramercy Theatre, New York City
13/02/2019
Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons

More than thirty years on from their formation, legendary North Carolina Heavy Metal band Corrosion of Conformity are still going strong and drawing sold out crowds. They are currently on tour throughout the US supporting their most recent album “No Cross No Crown”, which was released on January 12th 2018 via Nuclear Blast. They are being supported on the current tour with the excellent Metal bands Crowbar, Mothership and Weedeater. After February 13th show they will be replaced by The Obsessed. New York Cities, The Gramercy Theatre was almost filled to capacity, with very little room left to move around.

All the support bands did their job perfectly and got the crowd going, with Louisiana rockers Crowbar playing just before C.O.C. giving us that Southern Metal vibe readying everyone for what was to come!

Corrosion of Conformity started their set with ‘The Stonebreaker’ from their seventh studio album “In The Arms of God”, followed by ‘Wiseblood’ and the only song from the “No Cross No Crown” album called ‘Wolf Named Crow’.

They were amazing! COC’s longtime vocalist Pepper Keenan delivered an excellent performance and sounded just like he did in his youth, with a deep southern voice.

Bassist Mike Dean brought full energy to the show with his relentless running around the stage. Another long time band member Reed Mullin was flawless on the drum set whilst the only original band member and founder Woody Weatherman who has been in the lineup throughout the bands existence, delivered a perfect performance on the lead guitar.

The assembled crowd embraced all their songs with excitement, but COC’s hits ‘Albatross’ and ‘Clean My Wounds’ were the pinnacle the of the show!

LINKS:
http://coc.com/
https://www.facebook.com/corrosionofconformity/

https://www.instagram.com/coccabal/

 

COC12

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.

All photos courtesy of Andy Jansons.

 

Evil Scarecrow, Ten Foot Wizard & Footprints In The Custard – The Tivoli, Buckley – 31.01.19

Evil Scarecrow - Tivoli, Buckley 31-01-2019 Poster

Evil Scarecrow, Ten Foot Wizard & Footprints In The Custard
The Tivoli, Buckley
31.01.19
Review and Pictures by Beth Jones

Ah the Tiv, my spirit home! I had a certain amount of de-ja-vu going to the Tiv for this gig, as once again the weather forecast was pants, and the roads were all snowy and icy! Our last trip to this venue had been the same, in December 2017 to see Mason Hill! Coincidence or are we Jinxed? Only time will tell.

For this gig my partner in crime was not our Ever Metal head honcho, Rick, but instead our trainee and my daughter, Sian, and she was very much looking forward to it!

Thankfully, a good number of people had braved the weather in order to support all the bands on the bill, and as a thanks for that, we were treated to a cracking show. Complete with much silliness, a Mankini, fruit costumes and spontaneous baa-ing from the audience!

Footprints In The Custard where given the job of opening the night and warming up the crowd, which given the sub-zero temperatures, was no mean feat! But as usual they tackled it with ease, pleasing us with such jaunty little ditties as ‘Willies Are For Weeing’, ‘Gail Platter’ and their awesome cover of The Weather Girls, ‘It’s Raining Men’! As usual, they were on top form, and as usual, got semi naked half way through, with guitarist, Ross, sporting a very fetching shiny blue Mankini, and frontman Russ donning his trademark luminous green Tutu! These guys are always a great laugh, with bags of crowd participation, and they did a grand job considering the stage was pretty cramped with the amount of gubbins Evil Scarecrow had ready for their performance! If you haven’t yet experience Footprints, you really need to – there style of crazy metal, mixed with their childlike, ‘naughty school boy’ humour is a must see. Their onstage energy and charisma are impossible not to get hooked on.

01 Footprints In The Custardhttps://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard

Next up were Ten Foot Wizard. These chaps were a new name to me, but you could tell it was going to be interesting, when they had a microphone lodged in a Heron donned with Hawaiian lei, and a mic stand covered in Ivy! They have somewhat, a penchant for cow bell, oddness, and bright colours, and play a kind of stoner/doom/rock style which comes together to make a pretty hallucinogenic performance. Whilst I’m not a massive fan of that type of music, I have to give it to them – what they do, they do incredibly well. The Bassist was having a few issues with a dodgy lead, but he hid this really well, and managed to get it sorted, whilst the rest of the band played some very nice elevator music, which kept us all entertained! They brought out the big guns for their final song, ‘Covered In Tits’! The Heron microphone, loads of cow bell and a Theremin. I have never seen one of these played live before, so this made me happy!

02 Ten Foot Wizard.jpghttps://www.facebook.com/tenfootwizard

The main event of the evening was Evil Scarecrow. Now reaching the business end of their Lost In Antartarctica tour, it was great to have them play a venue so close to us! The stage was packed to the rafters with gadgets and gizmos and we spent a good few minutes guessing at what songs would be included in the set by which gizmos we could see – we guessed some, but not all! The show started at a rip-roaring pace and the crowd went to the next level. Everyone got a bit over excited when Dr Hell was teaching us the moves for ‘End Level Boss’ and broke out into spontaneous Baa-ing, much to the amusement of the band! Well, when in Wales and all that!

They also had a new member joining them, as Princess Luxury had not been available for part of the tour. Playing a mean Keytar, he was introduced to us all as Chucky The Bastard, and he was indeed a naughty little bastard! At one point he hijacked the drumstick of a rogue Ten Foot Wizard member, who had infiltrated the stage with a cowbell, and beat the poor cowbell within an inch of its life!

The performance included some of their classics; ‘Robototron’, ‘Crabulon’, and ‘Blacken The Everything’ being my favourites, and new songs from their latest album, “Chapter IV: Antartarctica”. You can tell the calibre of a band when the new songs already feel like classics – ‘Hurricanado’, ‘Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Polterghost’ already seeming like mainstays in their show. I particularly like ‘The Ballad Of Brother Pain’ as it is a total departure from what they normally do, and it is a really great song. The audience participation for ‘Cosmic Goth Moth Gong’ was also quite amusing. The stage props where as nuts as ever throughout – with the good old anti-gravity machine (powered by a 13 amp plug), the Robots, UFO’s and Crabulon, as well as some new additions – a giant slug, a severed head with glowing eyes, and one of those inflatable wavy things that you get outside car showrooms!

The night finished with the Ten Foot Wizard boys, donned in oversized fruit costumes and armed with cowbells, joining the Scarecrow gang on stage for a rumpus! How things didn’t get severely broken, including band members, is beyond me!

03 Evil Scarecrowhttps://www.facebook.com/Evil.Scarecrow

You can’t help but smile when you come out of a gig like that – what a top evening! The sound was great, the crowd were great, the bands were all epic, and the venue was brilliant. This was a proper party!! It is such a friendly atmosphere there, which takes me right back to the 90’s and my miss-spent youth. It makes me really happy to see this venue thriving again, and I would recommend anyone who has not been to seriously consider a trip there for one of their upcoming shows.

PS Sian loved it too!

The Tivoli:
https://www.facebook.com/The-Tivoli-Venue-111869355544823

 

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/

Twisted Illusion + Midnight Prophecy, Equinox (now Ashen Reach) & John Ainsworth – Manchester Academy 3 – 21/12/2018

Twisted Illusion + Midnight Prophecy, Equinox (now Ashen Reach) & John Ainsworth
Manchester Academy 3
21st December 2018
Review by Beth Jones

The 21st of December is always my favourite day of the year, because it is my birthday! So, you can imagine my joy when I discovered that my band of the year was doing a big gig in Manchester on that very day. We had hotly awaited it for months. It got to within one week of the gig and Twisted Illusion dropped the bombshell that Matt McDade and Mark Wagstaff (the brilliant rhythm section of the band) were calling it a day as they felt they couldn’t give the level of commitment that was needed to fulfil their increasing schedule, and frontman Matt Jones got a bad case of laryngitis. I was beyond mortified. I had visions of the show being cancelled and my new favourite band becoming a memory. But being the consummate professionals they are, they insisted that the show would go on!

So off we set to Manchester. Getting there was….err…..fun! If you have never been to the Academy 3 (like me) it is like finding a needle in a very confusing haystack of bus routes and one-way systems. I may have got a ticket for driving in a bit which was busses and taxis only, and I may have ended up on the wrong side of the road at one point and narrowly missed getting hit by an oncoming bus, but Jesus was it worth it when we finally got there! (Rick here – I’m still shaking!!!)

The evening started with a mesmerising solo performance from a young guitarist by the name of John Ainsworth. He is a very slight and unassuming chap to look at, no different from the next person in a crowd, but put a guitar on him and magic happens! What that guy can do with his old, slightly battered semi acoustic is unreal! It is as if he was born with it strapped to him. He makes it sound like a complete band, and his musical creations are as intricate and complex as they are zany and pleasantly disturbing! This blew my mind and reminded me why I love live music so much. What a stunning way to start off the evening.

01 john ainsworthhttps://www.facebook.com/john12string/

Next up were Equinox. It turns out this was their last gig with that name, as they have now rebranded and become Ashen Reach! By now the room was pretty full, and the crowd were loving the unique, Hard Rock/Melodic Metal sound that was being unleashed from the stage. Their set was full on, lively and fun, and they were all having a ball on stage. Their female drummer, Jess Stanley, was positioned to the front of the stage, which was great to see. Usually it is impossible to get good pictures of drummers from the front, but not here! She was really interesting to watch as she has a very unusual technique, playing open handed a lot and holding the sticks really high up. They were superb! The vocals of Daniel Moran were soaring, but with a great crunchy, growly tone that fitted their style so well. This was a real party. Everyone was smiling and having a great time, all knowing that this was a special night. They brought it down for their last number to say a farewell to their Equinox days in readiness for chapters new, and it was obvious that this was a big thing for the band, with Daniel getting quite emotional. Deservedly so – it was a cracking performance full of heart and spirit. It will be good to see what Ashen Reach now bring to the table!

02 equinox (ashen reach)https://www.facebook.com/EquinoxBandUK/
https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach/

Our main support for the evening was Midnight Prophecy. The best way I can describe these guys is good old bacon and eggs British Heavy Metal. They were basically a brilliant, young, Iron Maiden with lead singer, Craig Cairns, having the sound and power of Bruce Dickinson, but a lot more hair! They were flipping brilliant!! One of their guitarists also looks like a giant Viking and pulls the best guitar faces ever! So much energy, so much stage presence, so much charisma! They have a real connection as a band that is old and wise beyond their years. Their set was fast paced and electrifying, and the audience were bouncing. The evening up until this point had been spectacular and had gone by so quickly that I was almost sad that it would all soon be over.(Rick here again – Based on this performance I’m REALLY looking forward to see Midnight Prophecy again at Amplified Festival in July)

03 midnight prophecyhttps://www.facebook.com/midnightprophecy/

All too quickly came the last performance of the evening, and the reason why most of us were there. Twisted Illusion, with the added extra of a young talent by the name of Saxon Davids (ex Kaine) joining them on guitar, and their ‘roadie on the night’ and occasional extra member, Voodoo Blood’s Chris Norris, joining them on upright bass. We had spoken to Matt Jones earlier in the evening and his voice was still a bit spannered, but he was determined to give us a brilliant show, so called on the services of Craig from Midnight Prophecy to sing some of the songs with them, and he sang harmonies an octave lower. It is scary to try and comprehend the talent of Matt Jones, as him on a bad day was still immense! THIS is what music really is; proper music. I found myself just standing, with my head back and my eyes close, letting the music eat me, with a huge grin on my face. There are a very small number of bands that have this effect on me, notably Queen and Devin Townsend; they are the bands that make me just have to stop and do nothing, just let the music in. Twisted Illusion are now on that list. Every song, new and old was an absolute smasher – ‘Excite The Light’, ‘Hatred Is A Virtue’, ‘Medicated Society’, ‘No Compromise’, the brilliant cover of ‘The Spirit Of Radio’ by Rush (EEEEK it was soooo good), I could go on, but I would end up just listing the whole set list! It has taken me a couple of weeks to be able to organise my thoughts on this gig, because I simply cannot put into words how bloody good Twisted Illusion are. Every single note, every pause, every rhythm change is perfectly placed and there for a reason, and it just makes me so happy to be able to experience it. I can’t even make one of my usual quips about it, because it was too good. Whilst it is extremely sad that Mark Wagstaff and Matt McDade are not continuing in the band, Matt Jones has vowed to carry on in 2019, with a full tour announced, and the release of the remaining parts of the Excite the Light Album Trilogy, and I am super excited for this!

04 twisted illusionhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

My words do not do these four fabulous performances justice. Seriously if you get even the smallest chance of getting out to see Twisted Illusion, or any of the other bands on this bill, do it – you will not regret it. All that I have left to say is thank you – a massive heartfelt thank you to all the acts, for making my birthday a very special night that I will remember for a very, very long time.

 

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/

 

Sonic Rebellion! featuring Skyward & Grimpulse, Sinbin at The Plough and Harrow, Leytonstone, 10/11/2018

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Sonic Rebellion!
featuring Skyward & Grimpulse
Sinbin at The Plough and Harrow, Leytonstone
10/11/2018
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

A few years ago, when I was still doing my radio DJ stints, I decided to take my Metal Asylum show into a live setting and the Sonic Rebellion nights were born. I had to give it all up for various reasons but a friend of mine, Linz Griffin, decided to take the nights on for himself. He continued with just the DJ theme for a time, but after a while, decided to introduce bands into the formula, a decision which I think is one that should really have be taken a long time ago.

I must admit, I hadn’t been to many of Linz’s Sonic Rebellion nights for one reason or another, but I saw this one and I thought to myself, why not go and see what it is all about? So, I did.

I arrived at the Plough and Harrow at about 8 o’clock and there was already a fair few people there. Whether they were just friends of the two bands performing I don’t know, but it gave the place an instant atmosphere anyway.

The Plough and Harrow pub, itself, has been in Leytonstone since the early 19th century, but a few years ago, a side building was refurbished, rejuvenated and re-invented as The Sinbin, and has been hosting gigs and functions ever since.

The venue itself is a 150 capacity room, with plenty of space, lots of seating areas and a stage that can easily hold 4 or 5 musicians and all of their gear. I, personally, think the location is a bit of a problem for some people, as the nearest tube station is a good 10 to 15 minutes walk away, but you know what some people are like. They don’t want to know if the train doesn’t drop them directly outside!!

Being a DJ night too, there was a young lad DJ’ing when I first arrived. He had been given the opportunity by Linz as a guest DJ, and I must admit he did an awesome job, the crowd seemingly enjoying what he was playing. It actually made me miss my days as a DJ!

So, anyway, on to the bands!

Grimpulse were up first. They were due on stage at 9pm but, I think due to the weather being so crap (heavy rain!!) the organisers delayed them for a bit and they finally took to the stage at about 9.35pm.

Grimpulse are a young, four-piece local band, hailing from the East End of London. I was introduced to them before they hit the stage and I must say, for a young band, they had the air of a much more mature bunch of guys. They seemed to genuinely enjoy what they do, and at the end of the day, that’s really what is all about.

If I had to pigeon hole these guys, I would say they were a mix of speed and death metal. Musically, they were excellent, each member obviously a very talented musician. The gruff vocals, however, won’t appeal to everyone and this might cut down who they can reach out to but overall, they were very good.

I, personally, feel that any band should have the right to play whatever style they want to and be able to enjoy playing it without being judged or booed off stage. These guys were far from being either and the crowd seemed to be enjoying them.

The guitarists were both fantastic and both ended up without their shirts (one even had no shoes or socks on!) I don’t know if this has any impact on this review whatsoever but I thought I would throw it in just so you can see what sort of guys these are.

As if their stage antics weren’t enough to get the crowd going, they finished their set with an absolute stomping rendition of Sepultura’s Refuse/Resist, something that went down VERY well with the crowd.

03

The second band onto the stage were the fantastically named Skyward. These guys were formed in London in 2014 and, in their own words, fuse “World Metal with 90’s Epic Metal.” So, being a melodic, power metal band (which I had checked out before the gig) I KNEW I was going to enjoy them!

They opened up their set with a typical power metal epic, full of great guitar work and fantastic keyboards. I have heard people say they don’t like keyboards in metal, but I do think they add that certain “something” with the right band. And that “something” was apparent with Skyward, as Fabio Garau (who I am sure I have met before!) is awesome on the keys.

Again, this is a band with obviously a lot of talent, from the great solos supplied by the guitarists to the awesome voice of the singer. If you have read any of my reviews you will know that I am a proper fan of distinguishable vocals, something that stands out from the rest.

The singer in this band definitely stood out to me. His voice was strong and powerful just as a power metal singer should be, but he also had a stage presence that not all frontmen necessarily have. I would suggest that he has been performing a lot of his life, and if he hasn’t, he has definitely got the part down to a tee.

Upon hearing them live, I looked them up on Facebook and was pleased to see that they have released an EP and this I certainly will be adding to my collection. With a bit of promotion, I think these guys can actually go very far indeed.
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With both bands having done their thing onstage it was down to the DJ’s to take over. I didn’t stay right to the end of the night but I am sure the crowd enjoyed the rest of the night very much indeed 😊

Sonic Rebellion Links:

https://www.facebook.com/sonicrebellionsinbin/

Grimpulse Links:
https://www.facebook.com/grimpulse/?ref=br_rs

Skyward Links:
https://www.facebook.com/skywarduk/
https://skyward.bandcamp.com/

 

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.

All photos are the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King.