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
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
Somewhere in the outlying stretches of our world is a thin expense entitled alt-metal, experimental drone and Blackgaze. Its that forbidden zone where Metal and hipster collide. Tonight I stand on that exact apex as this may be classed as a metal gig, but the audience as one looks like they should be running organic beaver milk cafes in Shoreditch. It really is trendy à gogo; the beards are neatly trimmed, the beer extra hoppy and every t-shirt is of bands that you will never ever hear of. I miss Caina completely. Its too hot and I had a paddling pool to fill, so sue me.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
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
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
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.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
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.Read More
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”.Read More