So after doing a week of mega-gigs courtesy of Nightwish and Def Leppard, here I am back in my element. Namely a dark, dinky poorly lit upstairs room of a pub and also as usual there are probably less than 40 locals joining me, but none of this matters as this for me, is where our music really comes to life.Read More
I may spend approximately eighty percent of my time listening to obscure extreme metal (according to Spotify) but I absolutely adore Cheap Trick. They are the sonic equivalent of devouring all of a king-size packet of Haribo by yourself; decedent, indulgent, sickly sweet and so so wrong but god oh so enjoyable.Read More
Johann rocks up to the house, sends me a text “Thanks, Love!”. It’s sweet but I think the sentiment is misguided, I’ll take it though, it’s a harsh world and the cold is eating through my chequered shirt. If K is reading this, I think it was meant for you! We are on the road early; New Years resolutions are being activated early. It’s the new way, Johann assures me. So of course we get to the gig with ten minutes to spare. “Should I move to Manchester?” He jokes, “Manchester people are so much friendlier!” just as he is cut up by an errant Mancunian in a silver Volvo.Read More
I've traveled all over this country and to the continent to see Nightwish, so it was quite nice for once to see them with just a simple twenty minute tram ride home. Though, to be honest I suspect booking the cavernous Manchester Arena may have been a slightly over-ambitious move on their part as it is only about at best, a third full and there was enough space at the back of the seating area to build a small nuclear reactor. Though I shouldn't really complain as taking residence in the biggest venue Manchester has to offer means that they have been able to bring their full mega production and that production includes obligatory support act that haven't played UK before.Read More
I regularly dip my toe into Prog and my signed vinyl copy of ‘Misplaced Childhood’ would be the thing I would save in a fire, but tonight I may be out of my depth as I am in serious hardcore Prog devotee territory. This is top shelf, sold in a brown paper bag, hundred percent proof, not for lightweights full strength stuff and this is an audience of devotees and connoisseurs, very much not the ‘I heard one song on the radio I thought I would check them out’ crowd.Read More
The most satisfying success comes when you push and push and something happens beyond the prescribed boundaries. Often it is where you can see opportunity that others can’t. So it was, that in the sixth minute of four minutes injury time, Divock Origi saw what no one else did and caused much celebration for one middle aged Frenchman, who now sits beside me, bottle of water to hand and the effects of a 96th minute derby winner steering him nauseously to Manchester in the red, bullet wagon of death. “I don’t skimp on brakes and tyres” he assures me, testing his unnerving creed to the limit, but thankfully not past it.Read More
It’s getting to the busy time of year for gigs, Johann is out most nights. We agree 2018 is a year we could both forget. March onwards, 2019 beckons and omens are looking good. Transition is in the air. The countdown, the car & the traffic jams are all there. The European driving style is better suited to the city streets and tonight gets to the gig for the opening act. It’s dark all the time now, I see in perpetual orange and rain magnifies the colours in the windscreen. I’m a shit passenger, hanging on to the handrail on the passenger side for dear life.Read More
Due to children and trains I miss the first ten minutes of openers Inter Arma, given that they manage to traverse a good twenty-odd genres and musical touchstones in the four tracks I do see (it could have been six, they did rather blur into each other), I could have easily missed their takes on Nu-country, Bolivian folk and Hi-NRG dance. What I do see is a collusion of Doom, Black, Post and Prog metals with a splash of Faith No More and generous glug of Pantera. It's not bad at all and the introspective Prog breakdowns (which see vocalist Mike Paparo reverentially kneel in front of the drum kit) makes it stand out from other identikit Blackened Doom acts I could mention.Read More
I’d literally just clicked send on the Just Eat order, the anticipation of a large chicken kebab swirling around the axions and synapses. Was I droolin? Then that little ping and a blue message “I’m on my way”. What? Why are you on your way? What purpose? I check the Rockflesh calendar, clear as a bell 1st Oct - Sons of Apollo. I quickly throw a t-shirt and hoodie on and dive out. Johann’s late for a gig I thought was tomorrow. He roars down the street, I’m already missing the kebab. The rain has turned the roads black, slick and shiny. Distorted brake lights multiplied in the windscreen. After a few death defying, maybe law breaking manoeuvres we are at the familiar side street in Manchester city centre. The Academy 2 is the epitome of a box auditorium. It looks like a glorified Punch and Judy stand.Read More
Finally reaching the third installment of live music this week, I head tonight to the Arts Club in Liverpool City Centre. I had been there recently, attending the Russian World Cup troublemakers Pussy Riot. But this evening the performance is set in the smaller and more intimate room up the stairs; Jaret Reddick’s 5 U.K. shows Heartache & Hilarity tour or in other words '‘songs on acoustic and a few stories in between’.Read More
It’s the second part of a trilogy of live rock viewings this weekend and tonight I am heading to Hangar 34 in Liverpool for the djent founding father SikTh. Situated in the middle of the rejuvenated Baltic Triangle, the venue lends itself well to the dance scene happening most weekends. Now that our familiar rock venue, the Krazyhouse has closed its doors and is unlikely to be developed into a new rock club, Hangar 34 have recently taken up the mantle by picking up the occasional metal gigs here in scouse land.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
We’re in Wales, well Buckley, on a wet Saturday night on what feels like the start of winter. The accents in the queue are thick with wool. Why the queue? Technical difficulties are holding back the doors. I always wonder why they don’t just let us in, they’re not keeping a secret from us. We know how bands sound check. The bar is still working.
Johann is nervous, I missed the deadline for last review, by some way, a gig I requested. There is talk of interlopers, a support slot for the headlining act. I don’t blame him, I’m a naturally lazy fucker and he’s not. I must be a pain in the arse to know.
An admission, nothing too shameful, I can’t drive. The thought like an itch scratches the inside of my skull, we are powering along the M62 towards rebellion. Johann is nursing a can of lemonade. Rehydration, he looks fucked, it was a long night. “Fuck it”, he shrugs, accent thick with nonchalance. I’m inclined to agree. Friday was a good gig, I have high hopes for tonight. I grew-up fast, on 70’s swagger, eighties excess, my first night out was my mates thirteenth Birthday, it was a different time then. I had a denim jacket, arms cut off, patches everywhere, like a less ginger mate of John Connor minus the mullet and PTSD.
We knew for certain we where going to see Bonafide, Swedish, denim, sports shoes and more than a seasoning of high energy, short fuse rock and roll. What we didn’t know then, there would be three other bands of equally high energy and full of punk, blues and rock so prevalent in the 70’s and 80’s.Read More
On November 30th, I returned to the Live Rooms for the swedish Electric Boys who were touring the UK for the 25th anniversary of their release "Groovus Maximus".
Beth Blade and The Beautiful Disaster were the only support act on the night and the Cardiff quartet wasted no time in introducing their highly energetic set of melodic hard rock. Beth had great vocals and great stage presence whilst assuring the crowd that she does not bite.
In the last couple of weeks, I have been quite busy with my photography work. While one may think that the glamourous life of being a rock photographer allows me to lounge around the rest of the week and write at my own leisure. But with a full time day job, I am not fortunate enough to have this luxury. So here is a weekly roundup of recent gigs.