Tonight I thought I was taking you to the Wild Wild West. My (t)rusty Megane was headed towards the sunset and I’ve been to Wales before so can attest to its wildness. I’d fastened on my spurs, talked the Grumpy Husband out of wearing his Dolly Parton wig, and was ready to roll my wagons. All my cowboy homilys were poised and ready to be slipped into the review. Well until I got to the venue and discovered that tonight’s triumvirate of bands are actually Southern Rock and not Country and Western. Damn. Foiled on a technicality! Genre fail!Read More
Well recess is over and school is back in after summer. My festival tent has been retuned to storage and I am once again lurking in Rebellion like nothing happened (though video evidence does exist). Tonight it's modern progtastic heaven as a trio of bands, with not a member over thirty between them, prove that at the end of the 21st century's second decade Prog is indeed alive and high-kicking. Rendezvous Point are first out of the traps and straight away prove that there is more to Norwegian Metal than corpse paint and an unhealthy obsession with Satan. They share a member with Norway’s avant-garde prog uberlords Leprous, so from the off I am excepting random time signatures and sumptuous depth. What I get is still Prog, but a lot warmer and rawer than I expected.Read More
We start tonight with a female-fronted metal band from Romania. Scarlet Aura tried really hard, but as first band up on a Monday evening in rainy Manchester they didn’t really stand a chance. The music was OK, generic Metal, some rather intrusive use of backing tracks for intros though. The singer had a pleasant voice, she was in tune, but it wasn’t a Voice if you know what I mean. She was kind of a minor version of Doro. A moon of Doro. Doro-lite even.Read More
Rockwich Saturday is a bit of a strange beast. Technically Rockwich was (is?) a one-day festival, The first one was part of a town-wide initiative and was intended to be very much a one-off event. But organisers Promethius Promotions had other ideas and having secured themselves a venue they set about organising a few years of what have turned into killer line-ups. This meant that, as word got around, people from far afield wanted to travel to attend, so to ease their travelling woes the campsite was opened on a Saturday evening and it kind of grew from there. This year they have moved to a new, better venue with much better facilities and more space for camping so once the local football team have trounced their opposition and gone home we start to get pitched up and begin the rock takeover.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
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
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
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
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More