Live Review : Godsmack + Like A Storm @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on February 28th 2019

Hooray. The Nu-Metal generation is alive and well. I've had my suspicions for some time that I wasn't completely alone, but standing here tonight in the crowd at Godsmack, I've got all the verification my baggy pants and chains will ever need.

I am still very much about the Nu-Metal which is probably why Break Stuff has always been my most favourite of all the club nights, even if I struggle to tie “Nu-Metal” and “Nostalgia” into the same sentence. Once I heard Korn on a classic rock radio station (and it was wubwub KoRn with Skrillex if you must know) and I wasn't ok for about 5 years.

Read More
Live Review: Pop Evil + The Fallen State @ Rebellion, Manchester on February 27th 2019

I stumble to the train at Chester station, my mind numb from three days of nonstop IOSH risk assessment training. It’s sent me mildly insane as I now see hazards and risks everywhere I look. Still, I get to the train and try to reset my brain ahead of tonight’s gig. Johann lets me know that it’s just one support and Pop Evil tonight...just two bands, an unusual billing these days I note. It’s a shame they’re not opening the doors earlier and giving a local band or two a slot, but maybe it speaks to the confidence in their respective projects.

Read More
Live Review : Gaahls Wyrd + Tribulation + Uada @ O2 Academy Islington, London on February 25th 2019

Inside the O2 Academy it is dark, very dark, and the smoke machines have created a thick swathe of fog that fills the air.  All very fitting as tonight we have the arrival (and only UK date) of the Northern Ghosts tour featuring Uada and co-headliners Tribulation and Gaahls Wyrd. So we can expect a night of melodic black, gothic and extreme metal, plus whatever other sub-genres you could throw in the mix.

Read More
Live Review : The Struts + Kelsy Karter @ Academy 2, Manchester on February 23rd 2019

The Struts have been a word of mouth sensation. There has been no big media push, instead news of this young vibrant rock fireball has been passed on covertly by one convert to another. The rumour mill has obviously been working overtime as the Academy 2 is not just sold out tonight, it is utterly rammed and in full sauna mode as everyone is here to experience the young up-starts that their friends won’t stop yapping on about.

Read More
Live Review : Deified + Impavidus @ Tank, St Helen on February 22nd 2019

I'm here hideously early. The doors are locked, the blinds still down, and the local youth have pointed out how ugly/fat/goth I am. Wonderful.

No fear though. Tank is on a street with several other drinking establishments and I while away the next 30 minutes on the diet coke and vodka, until it looks like I can head in.

I'm immediately thrown by the tiny space and lack of band but the barman is wearing a Deified t-shirt and another lady assures me I'm in the right spot.

“We've got over 100 people coming, so we've moved outside" guitarist Alistair lets me know whilst leading me through to the equally cosy beer garden, where the bands are setting up and sound checking.

Read More
Live Review : Stone Broken + Those Damn Crows + Hollowstar @ the Arts Club, Liverpool on February 20th 2019

A quick glance at the ‘Fans also like’ on Spotify for any of tonight’s three bands tells you how coherent a line-up this is. Yes, you guessed it, they all feature in each other’s lists. Other bands that they supposedly share common ground with are, according to the algorithm-loving app, Mason Hill, Massive Wagons and Wayward Sons. But to be honest these three bands have very different sounds and potential paths, even if they all have classic rock at their core.

Read More
Live Review : Haken + Vola + Bent Knee @ Academy 3, Manchester on February 15th 2019

It's modern prog-tastic Friday tonight at the Academy 3 as Haken start a lengthy European tour here in Manchester. Including the excellent supports that they have brought along for the ride, this package is three solid gold examples of why progressive rock is in a healthier form today than it ever was in supposed heyday of the Seventies.

Read More
Live Review: OTEP + Psycho Village + My Own Ghost + tHOLA @ The Bread Shed, Manchester on February 15th 2019

Through the never-ending stream of information on social media I manage to decipher that the OTEP gig has been moved from The Factory to The Bread Shed. Apparently, the stage has been removed from The Factory – maybe it’s been stolen, abducted by aliens or lost down the back of the sofa. We may never know. Now you might call me old fashioned but I do prefer a gig venue with a stage. So, with the hope that I haven’t being duped by social media fake news, I venture to The Bread Shed.

Read More
Live Review : Decapitated + Dyscarnate + Baest @ Academy 3, Manchester on February 12th 2019

Baest are first out of the traps tonight and their name translates from their native Danish as brute which pretty much sums up their very old skool approach to Death Metal. Their heads down lightning fast version of the genre may lack the subtlety and technicality of their touring partners, but for an ageing metal head like me it has a real charm to it.

Read More
Live Review : Steel Panther + Gus G @ Academy, Manchester on February 11th 2019

I first encountered Steel Panther at Download 2009, they were directly after my beloved Sabbat on the third stage back in the days before it became a pop punk refuge. I stuck around to see what all the fuss was about and found them to be perversely enjoyable, but also felt that their approach was very much a one trick pony and predicted that within the year their star would wane.

Read More
Live Review : Behemoth + At The Gates + Wolves in The Throne Room @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on February 9th 2019

Tonight I am like some giddy teenager as this is simply put, my fantasy dream bill. Those hoping for an objective and balanced representation of the evening should probably look elsewhere. Openers Wolves In The Throne Room are in my completely biased opinion the most important thing to happen to Black Metal since its very inception all those blood red moons ago. They have stormed into its hallowed fortress, torn down the jet black drapes and let in the sunlight.

Read More
Live Review : Orange Goblin + PIST + Video Nasties @ Academy 2, Liverpool on February 9th 2019

It’s been a very long time since we had a gig in the Liverpool Academy 2 and thus take as much time organising our entrance as we would for a gig in Manchester.  It’s this size of gig that is particularly fascinating.  Smaller more visceral bands with a more engaged audience are a ROCKFLESH favourite, although the room to photograph get increasingly silly as the room decreases. I’m now onto sickness number three for the month and starting to feel quite Dickensian. 

Read More
Live Review : Obscura + Fallujah + Allegaeon + First Fragment @ Rebellion, Manchester on February 7th 2019

Demands for a second Mister Men book before I depart means that I arrive at Rebellion (still looks splendid after its facelift) just in time for opening act First Fragment final number. As fits the rest of tonight’s bill this is very technical death metal with notes flying all over the places. I may only have one track in which to form a highly biased opinion, but they come across as a highly competent act that sound not dissimilar to Dream Theatre played at double the speed.

Read More
Live Review : Buckcherry + Hoobastank + Adelitas Way @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on February 5th 2019

I may (or may not) have overdone it on the gigs the last few weeks, but it's all been completely worth it. Or so I think. I'm early to the venue and actually kind of queasy whilst I chat with co-headliners Hoobastank (full interview to follow). It dawns on me that I'm run down, juggling work, family and charity commitments. The lethargy has cloaked me by the time openers Adelitas Way take to the stage. My head hurts.

Read More
Live Review : SHVPES + The Five Hundred + Death Blooms @ Star And Garter, Manchester on February 2nd 2019

The Star and Garter is one of the true diamonds when it comes to Manchester music venues. It’s a Grade II listed building that oozes the kind of warmth and charm that can't be bought. I'm sat on a long row of seats where the cushion has worn down to nothing and there's burn marks here and there, a reminder of the days you could have a cigarette with your pint (I’m just about old enough to remember smoking in pubs and clubs, having clocked up 3 or 4 years of drinking underage). Tonight we're here for SHVPES, the band I spent November raving about.

Read More
Live Review : Imperial Age + Apparition + Stormrider + Pallas Athena @ Rebellion, Manchester on February 1st 2019

Rebellion has had a facelift. My central Manchester spiritual home is practically sparkling, the bar is, frankly, in a much better position and the whole place feels bigger. But this is not an interior design website so let's get to the important bits.

Read More
Live Review : Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage + Thy Art Is Murder @ O2 Apollo, Manchester on January 29th 2019

They breed their rock bands hard Down Under, I cannot name a single Aussie metal act who don't look like they could go six rounds with Antony Joshua and achieve the feat without spilling their pint. Thy Art is Murder mean business, they have under thirty minutes to make their mark but over six brutal heavy tracks, they chuck the gauntlet well and truly to the ground. Whilst Killswitch Engage and Parkway Drive have embraced the melody, this is pure unadulterated raw primal Death Metal and whilst it may be early, the pit opens accordingly.

Read More
Live Review : The Last Ten Seconds Of Life + Lotus Eater + Gassed Up + Bleach + Cut Short @ Night People, Manchester on January 29th 2019

Everybody in the world went to Parkway Drive. And why not? They are a titan in their field. But the sound check from Lotus Eater alone has burst my ear drums and I am confident I made the right decision coming here at Night People, instead. Maybe I need ear plugs if I am going to insist on standing so close to the bands which I am because I am well known for being an absolute fucking moron.

Read More