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
First band tonight The Clan I have mentioned in these hallowed pages previously. They are a local 3-piece, competent, who play pub rock. Dad rock even. They have all the clichés (waistcoats, raccoon tails, synchronised guitar necks, songs about rock and motorbikes) but they do it with a smile. They are easy on the ear, they won’t set the world on fire but I bet they play at an awful lot of bike rallies.Read More
Thirteen Stars, aka The Cumbria Cowboys, have been a little quiet of late. A couple of years ago they were all over the place, you couldn’t go to a gig without tripping over a misplaced cowboy boot or bumping into a tasselled suede jacket but recently? They seemed to have dropped off the radar. Probably had real life and stuff to deal with I expect.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
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
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
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
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
Music, gigging and writing about the first two for ROCKFLESH are my escapes from work. However tonight was a bizarre experience that saw my two worlds inexplicably collide. You see this is no gig, this is a celebration of the dynamic community of like minded individuals that has been created by the fledgling Primordial radio. As part of the celebration, and also evidence that us, metalheads wear our hearts on our sleeveless battle vest, this is also a charity fundraiser on behalf of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and Manchester Mind, the latter of whom I work for. All of which leads to the bizarre experience of being able to head to a work event in my Slayer shorts.Read More