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.

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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.

Bones, Gramercy Theatre, New York City, 12/11/2018

Band Bones performance

Bones
Gramercy Theatre, New York City, NY
12th November 2018
Review by Andy Jansons

It’s not every night you hear a lady yell at you “get ready to get boned”… but that is exactly what lead singer Rosie Bones, from British born, female duo, rock band Bones declared to the audience right after ‘Happy’, the opening song of their set. She said that shortly after taking a sip from her whiskey flask. What a character!

Bones are currently on tour, supporting American fashion-art rock band Palaye Royale. On November 12th they made a stop, for a sold out show, in New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. Bones started out in London, UK but now call LA their residence!

Bones are stylish, provocative and ultra-talented and although, as of now, they have no record released, they still have a decent amount of songs for a set. Their most popular with the public seemed to be single ‘Beautiful Is Boring’ and the David Bowie cover ‘I’m Afraid Of Americans’. Rosie sings with a devilish style, she like toying with the audience while delivering lyrics that give a middle finger to the sky. Carmen Vandenberg is simply amazing on guitar, delivering solos like a seasoned rock star. They incorporate Blues, Alternative & Indie Rock in their style of playing and have defined themselves as ‘Future Rock’. Both ladies have a great chemistry on stage and it’s simply a matter of the time until Bones hit the big time!

Andy Jansons Links
https://andrisjansons.com/
https://www.jmpressphoto.com/
https://www.facebook.com/jansonsofficial
https://www.facebook.com/andy.jansons

https://www.instagram.com/jansons_official/

Bones Links:
https://www.bonesuk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bonesbandbones/

https://www.instagram.com/bonesbandbones/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbh2UMlV0472Y3TqkIBjWxQ

 

Tour Poster

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.