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
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
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.Read More
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.Read More
A reverent ‘you can hear a pin drop’ reception is a rare thing for a main support act, never mind one that is third on the bill, but Jo Quail is no ordinary artist. She is a solo cellist and whilst that may sound as far from metal as you can possibly get, the sound she creates is simply astonishing. What Jo does is taps out a sound on her futuristic looking cello and then she loops that sound back so that it becomes part of the backing track, then she does it again and again and again and so on until she has a rich tapestry of textured noise that surrounds her still audible mournfully beautiful cello.Read More
Bank Holiday train engineering works, and the fact I’m feeling tired and emotional (aka a hangover, from my mate’s wedding the previous day), means I’m dashing to make it to the venue for the support band. Fortunately, I manage to make it into the already reasonably full O2 Ritz just as The Amorettes take to the stage. In the ten years since they started, they’ve shared the stage with some impressive names and made genuine professional connections.Read More
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
My passion is live music and there are many bands over the years that I have championed and talked passionately about to anyone who would listen. However i am very aware that most of the bands that I raved about have been acquired tastes and would never amount to anything more than a cult concern. But then once in a while comes around a band that I feel could and may be huge and have the songs and the presence to rule the universe. Savage Messiah are one of these bands. Tonight is a joyful celebration of both what they have achieved so far and more importantly what they will go on to achieve with the imminent release of their new album “Demons”.Read More
So here I am back in more familiar territory both geographically (I really should just cut out the middleman and get my post delivered direct to Rebellion) and also genrely. You see tonight is an unashamed celebration of the power and majesty of old skool death metal and provides a rare opportunity for us in the UK to witness performances by acts that simply don’t usually make it over here.Read More