In early May 1994, as an enthusiastic but rather rough around the edges reporter I reviewed The Wildhearts playing the Student Union’s Main debating Hall for the Student Paper. I tell you this as here I am twenty-five years later as an enthusiastic but rather rough around the edges reporter for ROCKFLESH reviewing The Wildhearts play exactly the same room (now renamed Academy 2). Many things have changed (how many new buildings does Manchester actually need and where did that bloody spiral staircase come from) but other things have stayed the same; namely I still can’t spell, my social skills haven’t improved, my teeth are still in woeful condition (I remember someone at the ’94 gig commenting on it) and The Wildhearts are touring a stunning album seemingly on the verge of greatness.Read More
I first encountered Steel Panther at Download 2009, they were directly after my beloved Sabbat on the third stage back in the days before it became a pop punk refuge. I stuck around to see what all the fuss was about and found them to be perversely enjoyable, but also felt that their approach was very much a one trick pony and predicted that within the year their star would wane.Read More
Before I was able to rationale an argument against religion I often found myself as a child, stood behind a lectern reciting a letter from the Corinthians or some such babble to the elderly parishioners of Kirkby. Now as a young boy I didn’t know much about a rabbits dick, but I’m fairly certain not one person mentioned within the New Testament called Jesus “a shit stained cunt”. Alas the sheer misery of negotiating Manchester’s gridlocked streets took its toll on Johann. That was just the start.Read More
Eden’s Curse have an uphill struggle from the off. Theirs is smooth retro AOR and whilst it is melodic and even sweet in places, it just echoes around an almost empty Academy. The Schenker devotees that have crawled in early, look like they are still shaking off their Sunday morning hangovers and look in no mood to be swayed by Survivor-esque light rock, it is almost like they are playing into a void.Read More
Wayward Sons marks the second (or to be honest third or even fourth) musical coming of former Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson. Their debut album ‘Ghosts of Yet to Come’ emerged last year and was an enthusiastic and passionate collection of well-crafted and highly charged heavy rock songs. Live they display that same energy, lust for life and authenticity that made their first album stand out from the crowd.Read More
The red Audi screeches to a stop outside my door. I jump in, Johann is drumming the steering wheel. He is super excited and roars up the road. Manchester can’t come soon enough. I’d already been warned that Europe are a first love. Still integrity and all that. No one is fast enough and Manchester’s myriad of perma-road works aren’t helping. Doors open at 7:00pm so a 7:30 kick off isn’t unlikely and there is the usual gauntlet of getting in to run. The Academy has a large pool of staff so we don’t get recognised as press quite so quickly. There is also the matter of the little jaunt between parking and entry. All aforementioned problems evaporate, a smooth entry and we are at the bar. King King are due to start at 8:00pm. This is the start of Europe’s European tour.Read More
It’s Wednesday and hopefully, with the first balmy day of the year we turn our back on one of the longest winters for a generation. Manchester streets are trying hard, shorts, hot pants and sunglasses are out. We aren’t quite there yet, but we northerners don’t know when we might get a consecutive day without rain. It’s a well-travelled route to the academy, I’m starting to recognise the yellow jacketed security staff. Rockflesh founder and all round photographic wizard, Johann, the brobdingnagian European has left his phone in the car. This is a problem, we aren’t down on the press list and the staff aren’t volunteering options. Back to the car. After a few calls we get in touch with the tour manager, Bill. Problem solved.
The Academy 3 is a rectangle, bar, mixing desk & stage, all in line. The sound has no where to escape, a wind tunnel of rock and roll. The stage is small, a four piece fills the stage and there is an absurdly large gap for pro photogs (take note Hangar 34). In a venue this small, there isn’t the sense of anticipation, people lean awkwardly at the sides of the hall, or meander around waiting for focus.Read More
An injection of Heavy Metal was on the cards this past Saturday at the Academy 3 in Manchester with the London based metal newcomers Savage Messiah on their UK tour supported by The Raven Age.
Fresh from a recent Japanese tour, currently on their UK tour and with an appearance in the pipeline at the Download Festival later on in June, they seem unstoppable. I did say 'newcomers', and maybe they aren't exactly as they formed in 2007 and are now promoting their 4th release, the excellent 'Hands Of Fate'.Read More
Is it getting harder to commute to Manchester or am I getting slower? After my last experience on Tuesday, I decided to set off from Liverpool in good time to ensure I would arrive well before the support act Blackfoot Gypsies were due on stage.
The opening act was not publicised on any of the UK dates, was this meant to create an element of surprise or a last minute decision?Read More
On a classic Mancunian night of rain and football, Faster Pussycat, were too fast for writer and photographer to make it to witness one of Hollywood’s finest sleaze rock merchants strut and swagger across the academy stage. We arrived in time for the opening track of second support The Answer. A Northern Irish classic rock outfit in the tradition of Rival Sons, a mixture of blues, country and folk blended together with a rocking pentatonic swagger and groove. Cormac Neeson on vocals is a charismatic frontman, affable and talented.Read More