Machine Head are the ultimate metal survivors. Each time we think they are down and out, they get back up again, dust themselves off and re-enter the fray. In the mid-noughties it looked like they were outdated and out of ideas but then they returned with “The Blackening”, still one of the best metal albums of this century. This time last year it looked like once again Machine Head were over. Robb Flynn on Facebook dramatically announced that Phil Demmel and Dave McClain had left the band and for a while it seemed that was that. However twelve months later here they are again selling out the 5,000 capacity Victoria Warehouse.Read More
A month on from my nu-metal euphoria I have returned in all my chubby glory to review A Pale Horse Named Death. Again. I for one could not be happier.
My ability to attend gigs has decreased rapidly in recent months so I am absolutely determined to savour every moment of tonights doom-laden sorrowfest.
I rock up to the club like “What up, I've got social anxiety and I want to go home”... nah, but I am late from work and I was making my journey on public transport. So inevitably I miss a bit of MAIRU.Read More
Support tonight is from Harry Pane, a youngish singer/ songwriter firmly in the folk tradition, less ginger than Ed and a tad less cheesy. There’s a decent variety to his lyrics and an authentic connection that translates in his delivery pretty well. Of particular note was the third song in, he introduced as a tribute to his father who passed in 2016, 'Fletcher Bay' rang true and was the strongest contender for deeper ground within his set.Read More
John Peel used to describe The Fall as always different, always the same. I'm going to appropriate the phrase to illustrate how I feel about Damnation Festival. There is a wonderful familiarity about the place. After seven years, Leeds University Union feels like a home from home and every nock and cranny is filled with memories. As I enter, it does feel like only yesterday that I was last stood in its four venues. But Damnation does not rest on its laurels, every year it produces a new treasure trove of delicacies and oddities. Every year has it's own distinct unique feel, shaped by the exquisitely curated bill.Read More
I have no idea who tonight’s first support, Rocky Kramer is. A person? A band? Having watched them I now know it’s a person AND a band. Rocky is a rather charismatic Noel Fielding lookalike who hails from Norway and is now based in the US, and his band are a competent if somewhat proggy outfit that back up his singing and guitar playing.Read More
It seems like an age since I last reviewed a gig, but in fact it's only little under a month - it appears time does not fly when you’re not having fun. Fortunately, my first reviewing gig back is for a co-headline treat. Both Thrice and Refused don’t visit England that often (well, certainly not the North West), so I’m eager to catch a couple of my formative musical acts in the flesh for only the second or third time. As always I jump on the train, hoping that I’m not going to be held hostage to some trick or treat irony from Transport for Wales (spoiler: a rail replacement bus on the journey home turned out to be the trick).Read More
Any assertion or illusion that symphonic Metal does not have a following here in the UK is shattered by the fact that Rebellion is heaving on a Wednesday. Not that Beyond the Black would accept that label. When we speak to them earlier they distance themselves from that particular genre positioning themselves as more melodic metal. As far as I am concerned you can call what they do Bob for all I care. What matters is that it is well made, well performed and beautifully orchestrated. But more about Beyond the Black in a mo.Read More
Having had the pleasure of seeing all the bands on tonight’s bill before, there's a rather pleasant feeling in the Autumnal air heading to the gig. All three are peddling new wares at the moment. It’s a killer bill, with each one offering something a bit different from each other.Read More
Anna Von Hausswolff is the personification of effortless cool. She alludes such arty coolness that she makes everyone else in room seem like gorky teenagers with haircuts courtesy of their mums. She and her band of equally hip dudes started slowly and ethereally. There is no typical drums or bass here and the solitary ghostly notes meander their way across the majestic setting of Manchester’s Albert Hall.Read More
This is not an ordinary review but then again last Friday was not an ordinary day. I had my plans and they were watertight. I would head to London for work and then come back in time to jog across the road from Piccadilly Station to the Star and Garter for Conjurer. What could go wrong? Well I hadn’t banked on someone going walkabout on the tracks by Wembley. So when I arrived at London Euston to get the train that would get me in just in time for Armed for the Apocalypse, I discovered the station was closed and there was no trains North.Read More
There's a real buzz in the air surrounding these guys at the moment. A band fronted by yep, you guessed it Kris Barras, they are literally taking the UK by storm, treading the boards up and down the country in support of their third album; the recently released “Light It Up” and, by the sound of things on social media, they are literally doing just that, playing to near capacity and sell out crowds every night. Tonight sees the 15 date tour rolling into Manchester once again this year. Early in February, I saw Kris and the boys play at the Deaf Institute, but tonight sees them take a step up and play a cracking venue in the Academy 3, a credit indeed to just how their powerful high energy mix of rock, blues and country are turning people's heads and blowing them away wherever they play.Read More
Sadly the motorway gods are not kind to me tonight and I manage to completely miss The Clan due to sitting in traffic on the M56 for far longer than I wanted to. Sorry The Clan, I’ll catch you again soon no doubt.
Burnt Out Wreck are a band I’m not familiar with, and they are a proper old-skool metal band. They sound an awful lot like early Saxon, I think because the vocals are very similar, but not in a “this sounds just like a Saxon song” way, more of a “this sounds like a song that Saxon might have written” way. So similar, without plagiarism.Read More
Bit of a last-minute one this. Was told about it by Neil from the Takeaway Thieves the previous weekend and asked if I fancied coming up to cover it. Hmm. Blackpool from where I live at teatime on a weeknight? Not sure about that, I mean I love the Takeaway Thieves but I don’t know the other support band and who the hell are Lost Angels anyway? Well actually they are a bit of a supergroup, I will explain shortly, and when I realised who they were I immediately changed my mind and prayed to the gods of the M6 for an easy run. Sure enough we got to the venue in plenty of time and as the Grumpy One went in search of beer I marvelled that this cracking little venue exists in the upstairs of what, from the outside, is a fairly standard working mens club in the middle of a housing estate!Read More
Local band Apriori open the show today, and do a damn fine job of it too. They have changed a lot since I last saw them. Previous vocalist Mouse is now the drummer, his brother Tony still plays the guitar but also handles lead vocals, and new boy Mark covers pretty much all other bases on an impressive bank of keyboards. I’ve seen bands play with a drum machine before but I think this is the first time I’ve seen bass played on a keyboard, with feet!Read More
It’s been a helluva week. I started out by getting caught up in civil insurrection in Spain, got home intact thankfully only to come down with some variety of D&V bug that completely knocked me out for a few days. So it was a fragile Jo that trundled up the M6 to Blackpool on the Friday afternoon to attend the Massive Weekend. Massive because both nights feature local Lancashire lads Massive Wagons as headliners, ably supported by a plethora of some of the best up and coming bands on the circuit.Read More
Huddersfield’s Gandalf the Green have both a fantastic moniker and a massive Electric Wizard fanboy crush. They trade in massive scuzzy fuzzy riffs and psychedelic widdlings. What they do is under-produced and rawer than Sushi that is still swimming around the pool but is full of passion. This is a band that is loving the music they are playing and the fact they are playing it in front of a paying audience (admittedly not theirs).Read More
Primordial radio is trading on that often used phrase that we as a group of fans of the same music are a family. This is the second of their “Primordial Presents” events, designed to move the friendships out of cyber space and into a bar. As the bond that binds us is music, they have thrown in four bands and also, as we are a caring and sharing community, they have made this a charity gig. Which is where I come in. When not badly writing reviews of little known Sludge metal acts, I work for Mind as their Strategic Lead for Greater Manchester and one of the two benefiting charities tonight is Manchester Mind.Read More
There was a time where Kyle Falconer was the bees knees and with his Indie darlings The View was the best big thing. Sadly something happened on the way to paradise and here we are first on at half seven to a half full Academy. Its ballsy angsty acoustic stuff and those who have made it in sing along with gusto.
I'm not one to take umbrage against a band and I usually look for the redeemable features in every act I review, however I may have met my match with King Nun.Read More