This is my first ever time at the UK’s premier Metal festival and I am nervous. I’m so far out of my comfort zone here musically that it feels like being in a foreign country, but at the same time there are a couple of bands on the bill that I’m really looking forward to so tally ho! Marshall the troops and all that, and lets get down to the mayhem.Read More
The gig tonight has been moved from Academy 2 to Club Academy, which actually allows for a more intense and intimate event usually, tonight is no different. The support bands are both greeted by a decent size crowd as well, which is good to see especially on a Monday night. It’s interesting to see such a diverse demographic represented in the crowd as well, and that speaks to the unique offering of bands tonight.Read More
It's my first time in Satan's Hollow for a gig, and I’ve got to say it's weird seeing bands on the dancefloor! It's certainly intimate though, and as I know tonight is pretty much a sell-out I'm expecting it to get even more intimate. I leave Johann down the front and set-up shop by the stained glass windows at the back of the room…about five people back from the front of the stage still. It's a great line-up secured by Tapestry Promotions and I wait for local lads Where Oceans Burn to start things off for us tonight.Read More
It probably seems like I start most of my reviews with either a travel or weather report...but seriously when trains are delayed and cancelled due to melting overhead cables and buckling train tracks, then it’s worth mentioning! Right? With the journey to Manchester finally completed, I stroll down to the Academy 2 for doors. Now, Academy 2 is sweltering at the best of times, but tonight I'm early enough into the venue that it hasn't filled up yet, and so it's cooler than outside, bizarrely (spoiler – that doesn’t last!).Read More
Somewhere in the outlying stretches of our world is a thin expense entitled alt-metal, experimental drone and Blackgaze. Its that forbidden zone where Metal and hipster collide. Tonight I stand on that exact apex as this may be classed as a metal gig, but the audience as one looks like they should be running organic beaver milk cafes in Shoreditch. It really is trendy à gogo; the beards are neatly trimmed, the beer extra hoppy and every t-shirt is of bands that you will never ever hear of. I miss Caina completely. Its too hot and I had a paddling pool to fill, so sue me.Read More
Today has been an absolute scorcher. I'm sure half my face is now melting in my cleavage as I battle through the heat and humidity to make my interview slots with Crobot and Wolf Jaw. Being a fat bird in this weather is never fun.
At least Rebellion is surprisingly cool tonight. I'm grateful for the colder air as the evenings festivities kick off.Read More
I was a bit meh tonight when the support act came on. I mean when you have come to see an acoustic show by a very famous bloke with a good voice and a guitar it would really make sense to have something different supporting right? Maybe a woman? A skiffle band? A dog act? I mean, KISS had a painter recently on their arena tour and if it’s good enough for Gene and Paul…..Read More
It's been a rough week for Rebellion and there is still an air of dazed and confused about the place. However, there is also a very British aesthetic of keep calm and carry on. In a remarkably short time, Rebellion has become a second home for many of us and tonight the scene has rallied around to ensure that it is business as usual.Read More
A night out in Liverpool is quite a rare thing for me, and with two of my favourite bands on the bill plus another that I’d heard good things about I was looking forward to a good night, tonight.
With 3 bands to get through, Last Great Dreamers hit the stage early, and the room was a little more empty than I think they deserved. They powered through a short but wonderful 8-song set of their power-pop-tastic songs, starting with ‘Primitive Man’ from their most recent album “13th Floor Renegades” and ending with ‘Oblivion Kids’ from the previous one “Transmissions From Oblivion”.Read More
I feel like I need to apologise for this review before I have got started. It's probably going to be a bit vague in places...
Things have been a little bit hideous of late, and I needed to let my pink hair down. And let it down I did! My life was ruined for a full 24 hours after the gig finished, but I needed it and the spectacular Mushroomhead delivered me an escape from the stresses of my life at present. Also, they had water drums which has to count for something.
I like Gorilla for gigs, there's something cosy about it, so I'm intrigued as to how all 8 of Mushroomhead will fit on that small stage later on.Read More
Day 3 starts with a stonking set from Atlas. I reviewed them at some length fairly recently so I won’t bore on about them too much. Suffice to say they were just as good as last time, Craig still has a fabulous voice, I still think they would be improved with more backing vocals and I enjoyed them very much. My friend said that although their songs are good they have not yet written their That Song, and I kind of agree.Read More
Another mad dash up the motorway for me, and much to my delight I managed to catch all bar the first song of openers Hell’s Gazelles. They are a young band from Oxfordshire who play traditional metal – big riffs and soaring vocals abound. There’s been a line-up change since I saw them last but stalwarts Nate (guitar) and Cole (vocal) are still holding the whole thing together nicely.Read More
This year sees the 12th edition of Manchester’s SOS (School’s Out for Summer) Festival, and it will be the 5th one I have attended. The festival was originally envisioned by Lynne Hampson from Rocksector Records to be a family-friendly indoor gig. It continues on that basis to the present day, providing a platform for local bands whilst also adding some national and international acts into the mix.Read More
I spent a considerable part of my childhood in Norway. In the late seventies, there was a craze amongst the Norwegian kids to collect KISS trading cards. I was transfixed by these otherworldly comic book like characters. Resplendent in leather, steel with black and white face paint, they captured my imagination like nothing before. They didn't look like the drab rock stars I was used to seeing on telly, they felt more like super heroes. Pretty soon, I had developed a life long obsession with the band. I stayed true during the lean non-make up eighties (Hell! I even bought “Hot in the Shade”).Read More
I know Black Metal has an obsession with Satan and his dominion, but the authenticism seems to have been taken to another level tonight as the Outpost is so hot that you truly feel like you are in the very bowls of hell. This evening the smoking area has become a place of sanctuary where heat exhausted revellers go for air, before diving back into the all-consuming unbearable cauldron of undiluted heat that is the performance area.Read More
As I jump out of the taxi at Newark Showground it immediately feels like I’ve never left from twelve months earlier. This is only my second trip to Tech-Fest UK, but already I can say it feels like returning home when you enter through the main entrance. It’s a festival that genuinely creates a feeling of welcoming, inclusion, passion and dedication. And lots of technically impressive Metal musicianship. Lots. Add in some great on-stage performers, enough merch to sink a battleship, plenty of booze and you’ve got what is now my favourite festival. First seen in 2012 (and at Newark Showground since 2014), the not-for-profit festival has only been possibly thanks to the tireless devotion of founder Simon Garrod and his annually returning group of volunteers.Read More
Black Metal was always about bringing the theatrics and the mysticism back to Heavy Metal. In many ways, it was a reaction to how the stripped back nature of Grunge temporarily took away our Music’s escapism and other-worldliness. The Norwegian founding fathers were brought up on KISS, Merciful Fate and Celtic Frost, they wanted to create something that was far more immersive and engaging than four guy in jeans and t-shirts playing instruments. This was about world building and atmospherics, sculpting an entire alternative reality that their music could exist within. Tonight in Rebellion, we have a tour package that presents the best in wide-screen Black Metal. This is the real deal, larger than life performances, corpse paint all over the shop and enough Satanism to put even Alex Crowley off.Read More
I fell in love with Gojira back at Bloodstock 2010 and from the moment that I first clapped eyes on them I knew that they were doing something really rather special and that they should be huge, stadium huge. Nearly a decade later it feels that my premonition is finally becoming a reality. Tonight feels like the moment that they transcended into the big league and show that they are the ordained successor to Metallica’s crown. There was something so confident and so masterful about this evening’s performance, very much the hallmarks of a band completely in control of their own destiny. The Apollo is heaving, absolutely heaving and even though they were part of the same touring cycle, there is a clear difference between tonight and their 2017 Manchester Academy show. I had been worried that at the Academy that they were stalling, that the fevered audience reaction that I had expected for a band that had created one of the greatest Metal albums ever (“Magma”) was not materialising.Read More