Posts tagged 2019
Live Review : KISS @ MEN Arena, Manchester on July 12th 2019

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”).

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Live Review : Carach Angren + Wolfheart + Thy Antichrist + Nevalra @ Rebellion, Manchester on July 3rd 2019

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. 

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Live Review : Gojira + Rolo Tomassi + Dead Label @ O2 Apollo, Manchester on July 1st 2019

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.

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Live Review : Combichrist + The Alacrity + Sinnergod + Auger @ Academy 3, Manchester on June 28th 2019

Hay fever sucks. Well technically, having a grass pollen allergy is really awkward and annoying. It’s especially true when you’re off to an early doors four band gig. Ok, ok, just a fortnight ago, I was moaning about the rain in the North West, but I wouldn’t be British if I wasn’t moaning about something, right? The joy of a muggy, humid night is that Academy 3 is only as sweltering as outside tonight, rather than being a crazy sweatbox of its own making. I don’t know if it’s my imagination but this venue doesn’t seem to be used as much as it used to be, which is a shame as it certainly has its own unique layout, capacity and atmosphere.

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Live Review : Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequins + Bad Dog @ The Tivoli, Buckley on June 21st 2019

There’s a very famous comedy show that gave us the now immortal line “and now for something completely different” and that’s what I’m expecting tonight.

First up, we have local band Bad Dog, who I have seen several times before but not recently. So the different thing about them is that they have improved. Immensely. I recall a young band whose enthusiasm way outstripped their talent, and what I got tonight was a badass blues-rock band with a distinct twinge of Southern boogie about them.

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Live Review : Download Festival on June 14th 2019

Most reviews you will read of this year’s Download Festival will be from journalists who stayed in off-site hotels and who spent a predominate amount of their time on site in the distinctly less muddy press aware. ROCKFLESH is a site of the people, by the fans for the fans, so therefore no such luxury for us. We humped our gear from the sodden swamps of West car park with the rest of you, we spent hours trying to fit three sizable tents into a piece of grass no bigger than a postage site as you all did, we cursed the fact that we seemed to be camped directly at the end of the runaway as everyone else did and we yomped through the mudapocoalaypse brown quokemire that the Village had become with the everyone else.

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Live Review : Magnum + Theia @ Parr Hall, Warrington on June 13th 2019

I’ve known Theia for a while now, but I have a confession to make – I’m still not 100% certain of the correct way to pronounce their name! Thay-a? Thee-arh? Thy-ah? Nope, not a clue. Which makes it a bit difficult to tell people in person how good they are if I’m honest. They are a young 3-piece outfit from the Midlands. Guitarist Kyle and bassist Paul have been the mainstay of the band over the last 7 years, because they have a bit of a Spinal Tap thing going on with drummers. There have been a few, although to the best of my knowledge none of them have actually exploded yet.

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Live Review : Bad Wolves + RedHook + In Search Of Sun @ Academy 2, Manchester on June 13th 2019

Doing gig reviews in the North West of England does mean that travel and the weather are frequent battles, but not even I expect to be nervously checking the National Rail website (other train information websites are available) in June. It finally stops raining though and, unlike at the Heart Of A Coward gig the previous week, I turn up to the venue resembling a human rather than a drowned rat.

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Live Review : Midnite City + Devilfire + Atlas @ Eleven, Stoke on June 6th 2019

I love Eleven as a venue, it’s a cracking place. Total pain in the bum to get to in time for a gig start on a week night though! However, I persevered and best efforts of the M6 notwithstanding, I managed to get there in time to see all the bands. This was just as well, as tonight’s bill was a bit of an epic.

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Live Review : Heart Of A Coward + Any Given Day + Lock & Key @ Rebellion, Manchester on June 4th 2019

I’ve finished my pre-gig interview with Heart Of A Coward frontman Kaan Tasan (see the interview here), and now find myself stood in the gig queue in the pouring rain. Pouring doesn’t do it justice really, as it is absolutely thrashing it down. We shuffle ever closer towards the door until the welcoming heat of Rebellion wraps its arms around us and drags us in. Every last person who makes their way through the door looks like a drowned rat, but to a person when they see the Heart Of A Coward backdrop and merchandise table their faces light up.

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Live Review : Fit For An Autopsy + Venom Prison + Vulvodynia + Justice For The Damned @ Rebellion, Manchester on June 2nd 2019

This tour is a true barometer of where the extreme end of heavy music find itself in 2019. You have four bands that share a love of Death Metal but present that central influence in four highly distinctive ways, you have four continents represented, you have a diverse crowd made up of a cross section of extreme music's many distinct tribes (with scissor-kicking hardcore kids and head nodding trad-metallers both out in force) and you have a pretty decent turnout for a Sunday night where every single act gets an appreciative pit and their lyrics screamed back at them. Overall this feels much more like a package tour of acts of a similar stature as opposed to a headliner and an undercard of also ran's, there only to make up numbers.

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Live Review : Towers of London + Takeaway Thieves + Johnny Quadrio @ the Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool on May 31st 2019

I’ve been watching the Waterloo evolve over the last 18 months or so, and it’s been quite a sight to see. It started as a run-down pub used mostly by the local bowls club, with a tiny room and a tiny stage in one corner. Gigs got booked, bands and fans came. Walls got knocked out, the loos got renovated, a decent-sized stage was built, a new floor installed, a PA arrived, and now there is even a barrier to create the tiniest photo pit in the world. It’s all good, and kudos to Ian and his team who are grabbing some really great Rock and Punk bands to play and putting on some excellent nights of live music these days.

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Live Review : The Treatment + Bigfoot @ Rebellion, Manchester on May 30th 2019

Tonight's entertainment comes courtesy of two relatively new British rock outfits that are either coming or going. Support band, Bigfoot are going, having decided to call it a day after only 5 years together, and headliners The Treatment, despite suffering from exploding singer syndrome in recent years, are still coming, and currently busy promoting their recently released 4th album “Power Crazy”.

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Live Review : Buck & Evans @ JImmy's, Manchester on May 26th 2019

It’s another bank holiday weekend, and here in this cool little downstairs venue it's the debut appearance of the countries fast rising blues rock soul outfit Buck & Evans. Featuring guitarist Chris Buck and vocalist Sally Ann Evans, they came together over 4 years ago for a one off support gig, the chemistry worked so well they have since developed into somewhat of a sensation. In fact Chris has recently won the 'best guitarist' by Total Guitar magazine amongst many other accolades for this young Welshman.

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Live Review : Stand Silent + Recall The Remains + Leatherback @ The Live Rooms, Chester on May 24th 2019

I think it’s fair to say that metal bands, local to Chester, that play originals are a rare and unique breed. It’s a real treat then to have one of these young, up-and-coming bands playing a headline set at The Live Rooms in Chester. It’s a shame that more original metal bands, both local and from further afield, don’t get a chance to play this venue more often. As I’ve noted previously, this venue is a little gem of a venue and I’d like the excuse to get down to it more often, especially to see local rock and metal bands starting off on their journeys.

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Live Review : Brujeria + Venomous Concept + Aggression + Sangre @ Rebellion, Manchester on May 21st 2019

The course of true love never does run smoothly does it?

Metal has been my long time lover, and I find myself putting myself in more and more weird situations in the quest to prove myself worthy in its eyes.

Today it was “Do you want to interview and review Mexican extreme metallers Brujeria and Canadian underground thrashers Aggression?”

Erm... let me think...

Fuck yes of course I want to do that.

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Live Review : Manic Street Preachers + Gwenno @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on May 20th 2019

So a Manic Street Preachers gig in ROCKFLESH's hallowed pages may seem a little out of character and the fact that it is your friendly neighbourhood Death Metal fanatic covering it should bring accusations of the shark being well and truly jumped. But the truth of it, is that I have had a tempestuous and passionate love affair with these three Welsh men that dates back to when there were four of them and I saw them at the Hop and Grape (Academy 3 to you kids) thirty years ago.

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Live Review : Krysthla + Red Method + Deified + Clashmute @ Star & Garter, Manchester on 17th May 2019

Spending an entire day interviewing people for a new role at my day job is not necessarily the best preparation for a four-band gig, but it's what I've managed to serve up for myself. It means I'm dashing to get to the venue in time for the opening band, which I can hear starting-up from the street outside. I immediately bump into Johann at the downstairs bar as I race through the front door, and get his take on what’s going on upstairs. Truth is we grab a pint at a leisurely pace as I can hear every single note from the bar. It’s going to be loud up there, I think to myself, and once we make our way up there I find out I'm not wrong.

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