Concert Reviews, Daxx & Roxane, Music Reviews

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It was great to see Daxx & Roxane again, this time headlining their own tour. Last time I saw them, they were supporting Bad Touch with Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics on tour. Daxx & Roxane gave us their signature style of rock ‘n’ roll with explosive and dynamic live shows. It was great to meet and chat to Daxx & Roxane and the other bands. This time they were joined by Goodnight Venice, Far Suns Fall and The Smokin’ Aces.
The first support act was the fun and energetic Goodnight Venice, kicking off the night and getting everyone in the mood for dancing. They had an eclectic look, complete with cowboy hat and fringed shirt. Their show was packed full of catchy beats, and plenty of crazy dancing.

“It’s only a few days away from Christmas, so we thought it’s fitting to play a Christmas song! But then we thought, we’re in Camden, so they won’t want anything cheesy, so we’re going to do the exact opposite”. And I have to admit it might be the best Christmas song I’ve heard, even getting me into the Christmas spirit!

All the lights go down, so we’re all left in darkness, as they slowly stuck notes out into the blackened room. Then suddenly the stage was flooded with a glowing, burning red light, which seeped out into the room. Then they started to pick up the pace. They had impressive energy for a Friday night! Leaping about the stage, and jumping off into the crowd, still leaping and dancing all the way.

Far Suns Fall marvellously combine influences from across hard rock, folk, pop and even blues. Each band member brings with them experiences from their own music career, giving them a unique sound. They released their hit debut EP only a few years ago.

“Thank you for coming out and supporting live music!”, a very worthy cause indeed! They treated us to a new song, “Masquerade”. Chris Sagan’s soulful, wailing vocals gave the song a unique and bluesy twist. Followed by a heavy drum solo, which marks the songs second half. They used the lighting to good effect, flashing on and off, spreading a psychedelic and trippy atmosphere.

“This song is called, “No Way out”! Then a single off key note rings out, and he laughs “… or this song called tuning”! I like their sense of humour! They recovered from their technical problems, making a joke and carrying on regardless.

Slow, gentle notes rang out, developing in richness and layers, effortlessly interchanging between soft, bluesy feels and hard rock. Packed with heavy drums, electric riffs and fused together with Chris’ emotive vocals, ringing out above the symphony of sounds. We even got to hear their first single “Shape of the World”. It was an amazing, full power and loud show. Crammed full of pounding drum beats and electric guitar riffs. I’ll be looking out for their debut album, “Aphelion” set to be released in April 2018.

The final support act, The Smokin’ Aces are another band that transcends genes. This time combing elements from dance, disco, country and funk, as well as rock, pop and punk of course. Hailing all the way from South Florida, but came to visit us to join the madness! “Merry Christmas everyone”! The crowd clapped and cheered in response. They dedicated one of their songs, “Full Flow” to Daxx & Roxane. The electric blue lights flooded the room, mirroring the bluesy influences in the songs (The blue lights give a great effect, but no mess up my photographs! Haha). “Thank you for coming out to support us!”, everyone cheers. “We’re going to play one of our new songs for you now, which is very important to us, it’s called ‘Love and War’”. Falco points out at the audience, whilst singing, then turns his hand and points his finger to his heart. Although it was a shame the drums and guitars overpowered the vocals, so it was hard to distinguish many words. Would have liked to hear more from Falco! The lights flashed fast, triggering an epileptic effect. The last song they played was called “The Darkness”. Falco showed off his impressive vocal ranging, with a piercing scream.

Daxx & Roxane’s show was packed full with high energy and heavy beats, just how we like it. They got everyone crowding around the stage with their hands in the air, shouting and cheering. They launched straight into a proper, hard rocker. Caught me by surprise! They start head-banging, getting the crowd to clap along. The boys were dancing all about the stage and jumping up, messing around with the crowd. You can clearly see how much fun these guys have, and that they’re genuinely all friends. As they mess about, play and pose together.

The room finally filled up, and everyone was dancing and clapping along. The crowd literally went wild for them! With their hard-core fans at the front, dancing, singing and head-banging along. I just love the power of music! Something about it, it can pull you out of real world, even just for a short while. Its own special kind of magic, I think we all need sometimes.

“Let’s celebrate as it’s the end of the year!”, ripples of cheering and clapping reigns out, “are you ready?”… of course, after that challenge was made, their fans knew how to respond, jumping and head-banging. Going mad, and of course, celebrated how any metal-head should, by forming a mosh pit, even in that cosy little room above a pub.

Their energy really is infectious. Suddenly everyone woke up and started jumping and dancing along. Showing the true effect or good, hard rock! They brought out a bottle of whiskey and poured shots straight into the mouths of each band members, then the crew members, and finally their adoring fans (not going to lie, I couldn’t resist joining in! haha)…
Cheers rang out, as the exited the stage. But of course, they aren’t gone for long. As their fans inevitably called out for an encore. And they ended finally on their catchiest, party song, “Wrong Side”. Everyone started clapping and singing along “walking… walking on the wrong side!”… Cédric jumps down off the stage and start head-banging with his fans. Cal and Simon step up onto the speakers to play out to the crowd. The perfect end to a great night!

Daxx & Roxane have proven themselves to be true rockers, and are definitely one to look out for. Their upbeat tunes and infectious energy spread through the room. Before long everyone migrated towards the stage and started jumping, dancing and singing along. It’s hard not to get swept up in the frenzy and find yourself singing along too. Can’t wait to catch them again, as it’s sure to be crammed full of catchy lyrics, electric riffs and lots of energy.

PS: Photos by Kriz-p

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Music Reviews

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Blood Of The Sun cleverly combine 70s classic hard rock and heavy prog-rock. Mixing in classic guitar riffs and melodies with stoner rock vocals and one of their key unique elements is the electric organ solos. Their sound has changed and developed over the years as their formation constantly changes, creating a pool of musical talent. However, of course, the line-up always includes Gryder and Vasquez. Blood Of The Sun’s mission is to carry on the traditional classic rock style of the 70s. They were accompanied by the German heavy rock band Lucifer, who relased their sophomore full-length album in July 2018. And they are fronted by the lovely Johanna Sadonis from The Oath.

Lowen created a slow, deep and mystical doom folk metal meld. Nina’s long wavy hair, combined with her medieval style dress created a beautiful elven look. The second half of the set picked up the pace with a more rocky edge. Starting with the electric guitar taking the forefront, then the drums crash in for a fast and heavy solo. Nina joins last, with mystical yet almost Sci-fi esque wailing vocals.

Blood Of The Sun hit the hard rock straight off the bat. The vocals are and raspy, with an almost blues feel. The keyboard adds a new and quirky sound which is symphonic organ-esque. They bring with them the 70s American look, complete with denim flares with the USA flag patch. A single fiery orange light hits Mark the vocalist, with the rest of the band in opposing cool blue.

He calls out “I want to see some bodies moving, and some hips shaking”… and then the drums and electric guitar start off a funky rock ‘n’ roll beat. It was a great combination of heavy yet bouncy. It gets your feet tapping and hips swaying. The next song starts with a slow beat, slowly building up. They get the crowd to join in and clap along, then Mark scream “Let’s go!”… and they launch straight into another hard hitting rock song. As one song ends the drummer immediately smashed straight in the next, keeping the audience on their toes. They manage to skilfully find a balance between strong and heavy yet still fast and energetic.

As the singer points and gesture in my direction, I fumble for my camera to try and get the shot. But came out a bit blurry sadly. The metal drummer in the background adds a heavier layer and gives the rock some edge. He screams as he smashes the drums and cymbals. “This is our last song, so get your hands up”! Of course the hands and horns shot up. The audience made the most of the last song, dancing, jumping and singing along. They ended on an incredible drum solo and a final double cymbal crash. As he rises his hands up and the crowd are set ablaze with raucous applause.

The stage started pitch black with eerie and ominous music playing slowly. They start facing the back then with crash of the cymbals the lights go up and they turn around. “Hello London! It’s a pleasure to be here”, shouted Lucifer! They matched Blood Of The Sun in full 70s spirit with flared trousers, fringing and paisley shirts. Johanna joins in on tambourine, as well as vocals, dancing about to the electric fast riffs. When she raises her arms, the white fringing hangs down like wings. And when the light catches her long golden hair, she’s transformed into an angel of death. They played a song from their new album, “Dreamer”. With the guitarist joining on backup vocals. She shouts out to the audience as she takes a swig from a wine bottle. And she dances about the stage, flicking her hair back and forth. The drum beats in the next song and the crowd shouts “hey-ho, let’s go!”… they hit in with some faster songs that get the band and the crowd to start jumping about and dancing. And all too soon there’s a rumble on the drums and crash of the cymbals, which marks the end.

But of course, not for long, as the crowd chant, “Lucifer, Lucifer, Lucifer!” and they can’t say no to their fans, so they reappear with the singer adding the cheerful “we’re back”! They give the audience another deep and crashing song. With an added glam metal twist. Johanna slides her hands up and down the mic stand as she dances and twirls, with many rocking head-bangs. They pause, and people think it is all over, and start to clap. Then they smash back in with a high tempo rocking second half.

Blood Of The Sun and Lucifer complimented each other well, as both combine element from 70s rock revival and heavy rock, each with their own unique twist. Blood Of The Sun also brings elements from heavy prog-rock, stoner vocals and organ solos. Conversely, Lucifer take inspiration from doom, proto and hard rock and metal. They really brought a great energy and are definitely keeping the 70s alive; at the end of each Blood Of The Sun song there’s a proper cymbal crash and they each strike power poses.

 

Concert Reviews, Kamelot, Music Reviews

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Kamelot are on their biggest ever world tour, and I caught them on their European leg, after already hitting North America by storm. Kamelot were supported by Cellar Darling, who are a great example of incredible folk metal, fronted by Anna Murphy, from one of my favourite folk metal bands, Eluveitie. Although Kamelot have been around since 1991, they have won over a new generation of fans across the globe, with their dark and mystical theatrics. Combined with their innovative mixed of genres, taking inspiration from across the rock and metal sub-genres. Including; prog. rock, melodic power metal, symphonic and doom Metal. Their 2015 album “Haven” already won them #1 on the Billboard Music Charts. But, their new album, “The Shadow Theory”, is pushing even more boundaries not only in terms of musical content but also in terms of symbolism, psychology and emotions.

 

The blue lighting added to the mystical feel and seemed fitting, since we were in the Electric Ballroom. Then the lights went down as the band entered the stage and excited cheers echoed about the crowd. A single white beam hits each musician as Cellar Darling started to play. They started a slow beat, heads down, and then Anna entered the stage. Her beautiful folk and fantasy singing both contrasted and complimented the heavy metal drums and bass.

They used a different colour scheme for the lighting for each song, to fit the tone. After the first couple of songs, Anna shouted out to the crowd; “Hello London! It’s good to be back! I won’t talk long, because I’m not very good at it. And, I prefer to sing and tell you stories. This one’s about ice and cold, which is fitting right now”! And she did tell many beautiful tales! The song started with a light tempering on the cymbal, building into a light ballad style. But entered into a heavier second half. Anna has a piercingly beautiful voice, as she dropped to her knees and sang and screamed to the depths of hell beneath. Her melodic and lyrical vocals impressively rang out above the pounding drums and electric guitars. Anna switched between singing and playing the Hurdy-gurdy and flute, which added an additional layer of mystical folksy twist.

The lights go out as the crowd claps the next song in. Anna stands with arms out stretched, basking for a moment in the adoration of her fans. “It’s an honour and a pleasure to play here! Come and say hello, we don’t bite, we’re Swiss”! Their last song was a truly heartfelt layered lyrical vocals on top of heavy crashing drums, and ending on an epic drum solo.

When I got to the stage I noticed a lot of big objects on stage covered in material. They weren’t removed during the warm-up act (as you may see in the background of some of the photos – made it tricky getting shots of the drummer!), so I was excited to see what Kamelot had in store for us. And I was not disappointed. The stage design was a dark and mysterious medieval and steampunk masterpiece, fitting their unique brand of music perfectly. Pride of place upon an additional mini stage was a Mad Max style drum kit, which I am still in awe of. I knew Kamelot liked their theatrics, but this was on another level! Combined with Kamelot’s crafted and theatrical entrance, they created an impressive and powerful opening. A couple of songs in, Tommy took center stage and shouted out: “I can tell this is going to be one fantastic night, and it’s only just beginning”! The lights in the smoke became melding hues of blues, purples and reds, into a concoction of psychedelic symphonies. When they announced they were shooting a live video for part of their DVD, the crowd erupted into screams and cheers of excitement. The anticipation and energy was feverish in the room. They got everyone clapping and singing along as they filmed. “Show your horns out there!”, they shouted.

Their set included songs from across their history, playing old classics such as “Karma”. They added in a few songs from their album “Haven”, such as “End of Innocence”, as they hadn’t played in London since it had been released. Finished off with a select few songs from their latest hard-hitting album “The Shadow Theory” such as “Ravenlight”, which was Tommy added was a really personal one to him. The lights went down, with a single spotlight on Tommy, the lead singer. “This song is dedicated to everyone tonight who has lost someone close, it can f***ing suck, but music can help”. They launched into the hauntingly beautiful ballad “Here’s to the Fall” from their award winning “Haven” album. Tommy sung with passion and conviction, you could really see the raw emotions behind it. His deep, dark and powerful vocals were layered with the keyboard.

The lights dimmed, a beam of light in the centre of stage highlights a cloaked woman on her knees praying. As the beat builds up she unveils herself and launches into melodic yet powerful vocals. Crushing both the lyrical vocals as well as the heavy metal roars. After each deafening, battle worthy roars she would swiftly head-bang, swirling her long hair in front.

As much as I love Tommy’s vocals, their instrumental pieces are also beautifully crafted. In one instrumental song, the stage went dark, and then a spotlight hit the drummer. He set a deep pounding beat, and everyone started to clap along. Then a second light hit Oliver on the keyboard, he added a layer of electronic mystery. Including some truly epic drum solos by Jo.

They paused mid-show to celebrate Sean’s, the bassist, birthday! They even brought a cake out on stage for him and got the crowd singing happy birthday to him. It was a really adorable moment, and great to see the human-side of the band. Everyone cheered and clapped, and he seemed genuinely touched. Looked like he had a smashing birthday, as he was stomping about the stage, with the occasional killer kick thrown in, even in his heavy new rocks.

After they exited the stage the crowd kept chanting “Kamelot, Kamelot, Kamelot!”, until they got their encore. The band seemed to have enjoyed the concert as much as the fans, as Tommy shouted out at the end “it’s safe to say Kamelot will be coming back to London”! Kamelot have taken the folk metal world by storm, through cleverly incorporating influences from across the rock and metal sub-cultures. Producing a unique sound that combines beautifully with their lyrical themes of philosophy, medieval and fantasy. Their new album “The Shadow Theory” delves further into psychological themes, tying in emotions and industrial elements. It is reminiscent of their early years, but increased in sophistication of musical skill as well as psychological and artsy elements. I can’t wait to see what they come with next!

 

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Music Reviews

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I was lucky to get two for one tonight, with two amazing heavy metal bands playing at the Black Heart, which is one of my favourite venues in Camden. Both fall into the broad heavy, power and thrash metal genres, but each take their own influences, styles and give it a unique twist.

This heavy metal band orientated in the sleepy Berkshire town of Sandhurst. So not the sort of place you’d expect to give birth to a heavy and thrash metal band! Primitai have combined influences from the 80s Glam Metal revival and classic hard rock and metal bands, such as Iron Maiden, AC/DC and Motley Crue. Creating melodic, rhythmic and powerful heavy metal. Whilst giving it a unique, modern twist to give them a unique edge in the resurgence of 80s Glam and Heavy Metal.

Primitai are a treat to watch, their energy is undeniable and instantly infectious, spreading through that dark crowded room. With their electric fast riffs pumping out into the night, creating to true thrash metal experience. I simply adored their whole style.

They’re high energy, hard-core, and die hard metal-heads. With a heavy yet fast beat, getting the crowd moving. Then the heavy crash of the drums layered with the psychedelic riffs created a mind-blowing experience.

As they announced their next song, someone shouted “YEAH” at the top of their voice, I had never seen such die-hard fans before. They interacted with the crowd, as Guy on vocals was belted out the lyrics, he turned to the audience and shouted “it’s your turn now!” and got them all singing and screaming along.

I noticed the drummer t-shirt read “Thrash is King” and I think that perfectly shows these guys dedication to keeping thrash metal alive, for which I personally am very thankful for! They certainly proved themselves to be the kings of thrash tonight.

The hues of blues and purples carved through the smoke created the perfect mystical and psychedelic back drop.

Primitai are fast and high energy, yet deep and powerful. You could feel the power surging through the crowd. They cleverly layer vocal and musical elements, with other bands members backing up Guy on vocals. And, it was amazing to see the incredible passion from their die-hard fans.

Cauldron is a seriously melodic heavy metal Canadian band. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of Goat Horn. Cauldron have joined the traditional-sounding heavy metal revolution. Even taking inspiration for their name from other bands in the genre, such as White Wizard and Angel Witch. So they are now fully immersed and driving the revolution to new heights.

I briefly met the band outside as I arrived, luckily our smoke breaks coincided! They were chatting about their plans post tour back in Toronto. I was particularly interested for Cauldron as I know someone who has just moved to Toronto and is exploring the metal scene out there. Coincidences are funny eh?!

Wolf whistles called out into the night even when they were just on stage to tune the guitars! Shows their anticipation and pure excitement for Cauldron. The place was absolutely slammed, way before the scheduled start time, as people wrestled for the best spots.

They were an interesting change in pace from Primitai, always good to mix it up. They started slow and deep, picking up the pace and heaviness as they played through the smoke billowing out into the crowd.

The only problem was the lack of vocals on the tech side, Jason did shout out for more vocals, but alas we got no vocals! Ian, on guitar, added a twist of humour out of it and turned to the crowd and shouted out “he was talking to you, we want more vocals from you!” The crowd chanted: “We are Cauldron, We are Cauldron…”

You should have seen the wave of excitement that passed through the room when they announced they were going to play songs from their fantastic new album “New Gods”.

Of course in the excitement and power metal resurgence, moss pits appeared despite the size of the room nestled above the metal pub. There were so many shout out requests for songs, Jason gave in and shouted out “so what do you guys wanna hear?!” and played a couple of requested songs.

In the lull between songs, the crowd started chanting “we love you Cauldron, we do! We love you, Cauldron, we do” Ian responded with a sarcastic but genuinely heartfelt “I’m going to have to go backstage to cry now” and clasped his hands against his heart. It was impossible not to get swept up in the wave of passion and excitement that filled that room from both the band and the die-hard fans.

The love from their adoring fans is a true testament to these guys. Their heavy and fast songs created a truly power metal experience, with pounding drums electric riffs and rough and raw vocals. Especially with their epically styled power poses at the end of each song.

This gig was an incredible experience, the small dark room above one our beloved metal bars in Camden, was turned into Wembley Stadium. The room was absolutely packed to rafters, with die-fans shouting and jumping up. It was impossible not to get swept up in the excitement. The clever user of lighting and smoke show melded with the atmosphere perfectly. It’s a shame Canada gets to keep Cauldron for themselves, but next time they do a UK tour, I’d definitely recommend you check them out!

Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics, Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Music Reviews

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Formed over three decades ago, The Quireboys have become an iconic British rock band. They have dabbled with various genres, progressing from hard rock to gypsy styled folk rock, and most recently have delved into the blues. Their latest album brings with it a refreshing yet emotive change of pace and style. Combining slow and deep ballads with bouncy blues classics. Spike’s sultry, raspy voice perfectly melds the blues influences into their classic rock style. Few bands could play different genres with such authentic conviction, passion and confidence. A true testament to their skills as musicians and love for their music.

The mix of ages and styles in the audiences proves their skill in being able to both keep the spirit and sound of classic rock & roll and blues, whilst dragging it kicking and screaming in to the 21st century, with their unique Quireboys twist.

The suspense was palpable as we waited for them to enter the stage. Everyone immediately erupted into cheering and wolf whistling when they first caught a glimpse.

Spike looked amazing in his deep red velvet, pirate-esque appearance. With his flowing scarfs twirling around him as he danced about the stage. And he gave them the perfect introduction: “We are The Quireboys, and this, is rock and roll”…

The Quireboys played a varied set, including their first single “There She Goes Again” and got the crowd to sing along. Mixing it up with a bit of country rock, interacting with the crowd, he said “give me a, Ye-Har!” and of course, their fans responded with a chorus of Ye-Hars ringing out about the room. The catchy and bouncy tune injected a shot of energy into the room.

The combination of their music, look and attitude really brought you back to the hay-day of rock and roll. A great personal reminder to me of my teenage years, as this was the type of music I was brought up on. Over the last few years I have delved ever deeper into heavy metal, so it was refreshing change of pace to hear the classic rock of my roots and entry into the music world. And get the opportunity to witness one of the original classic rock bands, and they were as good as ever. Spike ended on the simple but perfect closing line; “thank you for keeping rock and roll alive with The Quireboys!”…

Those Damn Crows kicked off the show with a high energy, top showman performance. The lead singer ran out on to the stage and jumped up on a podium and screamed out their name in a thick, rough voice. His voice was a beacon throughout the show, ringing out load even about the booming drums and roaring riffs.

They played a great mixture between their old and new songs, which gave their show more depth as they switched between different styles. One of my favourite new songs they played was “Behind These Walls”, which brought with it a more relaxed pace in a ballad style.

I strongly believe that a show is won or lost, depending upon how they perform. Crowd interaction and use of the space can turn any concert from good to mind-blowing. The Crows got the crowd singing and dancing along, with the applause and cheers dragging the stragglers out of the wood work to join the show.

Despite the size of the stage, Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics owned the space, wildly dancing and leaping about with ferocious energy. Their clever mix of styles brought a unique sound and performance experience. His howling, screeching vocals rang out, calling all rockers to the stage. Combined with the flashing strobe lighting and the deep heavy beat created a trans-like atmosphere (although did make taking photographs a lot more challenging! But resulted in some great shots).

Aaron really brought the show to life, chatting with crowd and even joining Paul on the drums at one point, smashing the cymbal. He even took crowd surfing to a new level, turning the rules on their head, literally! As he performed an amazing acrobatic headstand on the crowd!

Hailing all the way from Sweden, H.E.A.T. are single handily keeping punk alive and kicking, literally! The heavy beat was only outdone by their rockin’ attitude. The lead singer runs out and shouts to the crowd “we are tonight’s entertainment!” and they certainly did entertain us all. Gyrating on stage and getting the crowd to clap along to their classics, leading the crowd through their show. They transitioned effortlessly between hard hitters and acoustic guitar ballads.

Spike definitely has a unique and admiral voice and style, the red velvet pirate of rock &’ roll! Their look and attitude accompanied their music perfectly. Spike swung the mic stand around above his head, in true pirate swagger fashion. They definitely keep the spirit of rock and roll alive! They are true performers till the end, you can instantly tell they live and breathe rock, and this is where their true passion lies.

Their new album is an iconic turning point for the evolution and modernisation of blues, The Quireboys successfully played an honest and heartfelt tribute to some of the best blues classics, doing them proud, whilst dragging them into the 21st century with their own unique twist.

PS: A massive thank you to Kriz-P for his amazing photos! They really captured the atmosphere of the night and passion of the performers. Check out the rest of his collection here.

Bad Touch, Band Interviews, Music Reviews

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Bad Touch are a dynamic and energetic rock band performing their second headlining tour. They have hit the road again after releasing their latest album earlier this year, called “Shake a Leg”. It was a pleasure to meet all the bands and other photographers, everyone was very chill and we just chatted backstage whilst they were prepping. Luckily the whole band was available for the interview, so it was great to get insights from everyone, and some funny stories! These guys are not only talents musicians and dynamic performers, they’re also genuinely friendly and funny. It was great fun hearing about how they formed, some funny tales from their past and hopes for the future. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing great things from this band in the future!

 

Where did the album’s title “Shake a Leg” come from?

S: This is first time the true story has been told, my Mum came up with it! We were just playing around with words and had loads of different ideas.

A: Feel good, rock ‘n’ rock, shake a leg, get up and go!

Was there any new techniques or themes you included in this album?

A: The songs were a lot more written, if you know what I mean, we spent a lot more time work-shopping them. Instead of just going this a great idea, let’s go for it! We stripped everything back and rebuilt them. And also we wrote the songs as we went, the album was written over 7 months. On the weekends when we had all finished work. So, it was a bit more scary, and spontaneous.

Was there a particular reason you started this album, or did it come together organically?

A: Well, we needed a new album! (he jokes, and we all laugh). And we toured loads last year, playing over 120 shows I think, so we didn’t have much time to write. We went into the studio on the first of January with two songs we had ideas for. On the first day at the studio, we said we have this idea and this is what is happening. The producer said they like this, don’t like this. Then we’d have a little argument and throw our toys out the pram then come back, and go back to the original idea! And that’s pretty much how it went!

How have the fans reacted to the new songs?

A: It’s been really good actually; we have actually played a lot off the new album on this tour. I was quite concerned, as the boys will probably know. Then his expression change, he laughed and said: Actually no, I’m lying, I was actually fore-playing all the new shows actually. Once we made the set list and we were playing 9 of the 13 songs on the new album, I was worried it would be too much. But it actually was fine!

How do you feel the industry has changed over your time as Bad Touch?

A: We try and stay out of it to be honest. We enjoy playing music, and writing it. So we just want to go out there and play music, and we let the industry do what it wants. But obviously some things do affect us too, like YouTube and Spotify. When we first started, was when social media starting growing in popularity. But when we started it was Bebo and MSN!

Future direction of the rock ‘n’ roll industry?

A: I don’t think it’s every going to go away. Chart success has waned, as it’s dominated by Pop. But it’s had a bit of a revival, and it’s definitely coming back strong. It goes through phrases of different genres. But there’s always been a scene there, and always people who want to see it. Iron Maiden can still pull thousands of people.

Do you prefer being in the studio writing, or on the road touring?

A: There were murmurs and votes called in both directions. Both are great, but we do play live a lot more so it’s more comfortable for us. With the studio, we only do it every now and again, but it’s great fun playing around and trying different things out. Shakers, bongos, any percussion instrument! Chuck everything in and see what works!

Any regrets on things you didn’t try?

S: Heroin! (and we all burst out laughing!)
M: I regret standing on Rob’s amp many years ago and falling off it and breaking it!
R: I regret…”, he pauses for thought or dramatic effect, “nothing!”, he laughs.
G: I think everyone makes mistakes, and instead or regret them, you have to learn by them. If you don’t, you’re never going to get better.

How did the deal with Marshall Records come about? What are the things that you’ve gained with this cooperation?

A: With Marshal, we already had a contact there. And from there it’s now grown, and they’ve offered us a contract! And free beer! They just brought out their own beer, and gave us some free samples!

So, the band name is a bit unusual! Where did the name Bad Touch come from?

A: Every time! Just a random name generator on the internet, an old singer came up with it. We were 16 or 17 at the time, and the rest of the band loved it.

How did the band form and take shape?

A: Me (Stevie) and Rob went to school together, and started the band many years ago, and we’ve had many different line-ups since then. George was next – he lived in the same town and looked up to us in our band and how amazing we are. “The sad thing is, I actually did!” George replied.

R: We needed a new drummer and put an ad out, and George must have only been 14 at the time so we took him under our wing. But he’s actually a great drummer!

You’ve played some of the best festivals, such as Ramblin’ Man, Wildfire, Amplified and Cambridge Rock? And which was your favourite, and why?

A: “Download” was immediately called out, with lots of murmurs of agreement. Someone shouted out “Sunkfest!”, which was answered by a very loud and excited “Sunkfest, Yes!

It was your first headline tour last year, how did you find it and what lessons did you learn that you put into action for this tour?

A: We were a bit worried for our first headline tour last year, you go out on the road but you don’t know if anyone’s going to buy tickets. When you’re supporting someone the pressure is on them, but when you’re headlining the responsibility is on you to get the tickets sold. But we were overwhelmed by the amount of people that came out for it.”

Must have been amazing touring with Skid Row earlier this year, if you could tour with any band, who would it be and why?

A: Headhunters!” was called out straight away, which was responded by “but we’ve already done that twice!”, which was followed by “and I would do it a third time”! We literally just love touring, so any band that wanted to have us, we would be grateful to play. We’ve met so many lovely people. If you do everything, you will never regret anything!

Is there any genres, themes or instruments you would like to experiment with in the future?

A: The hurdy-gurdy!”, he laughs, “But to actually answer your question seriously. No not really, we love what we do, and we like the fact that it’s simple. We just write what we want to write and it happens to fall into a certain genre”.

To finish off with, what can fans expect from Bad Touch in the future?

S: More music! Bigger and better things.

R: “Hoodies!”, someone shouts out, and laughs ripple round. Yes, they can expect hoodies, as they’ve been asking for years.

D: We’ll keep on moving up, keep the hard slog going. We’ll be back on the road, with plans to get to Europe. Then world domination – it’s like Binky and the Brain!

 

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, JoanovArc, Music Reviews

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JoanovArc are a hard-hitting all girl rock band. They are an influential and powerful example of women in the music industry; they have even now been proclaimed the “New Queens of Rock” by Gil Norton. Their hard-work and commitment is paying off, as they were nominated for the “Angels of Rock Hell Award” last year. I was able to attend their launch show for their new single “Girls Wanna Rock” at the Big Red, a usual hangout of mine.

Their new single “Girls Wanna Rock” is a lot more powerful and in your face than a lot of their previous work. And sends a powerful message about the inclusion of women in the music industry. Check out the official video below… the music video is an awesome Viking battle scene! Even include battle drums made from recycled construction materials, like Stomp. I arrived early, and found a booth near the front. It was an interesting hearing them sound check, whilst I was waiting to interview them afterwards. After watching their new single’s official music video, I was struck by how her voice sounded even better in real life.

Me and the JoanovArc gals!

 

Flowerpot is another great example of women in the Rock industry. I loved Steph’s, lead singer, style; grunge clothes, including ripped tights and undone combat boots, with an adorable cat tail! She also stared in JoanovArc’s new official video-single. And even features in pride of place on the CD cover.

Steph calls out “So it’s a Friday, what a time for a celebration”! Then she launches straight back into full on rock mode, complete with plenty of head-banging and screaming. Morgan, on bass, joins her center stage half way through. They made good use of the stage space, with Steph often down the runway. They mixed in old and new songs, as well as some classic rock covers.

Steph addresses the crowd again “I’m aware some of you won’t know us. But I want to play something a little more well-known, since it’s a Friday, don’t you know? School’s out!”. They drop a heavy beat and launched into the classic “School’s out for Summer”.

Steph announced that the next song was written with someone who has now passed away. You could feel the raw emotions behind it. They even played their new song “Dragon Fire” that will be released next year. It had an electric start, with a deep, slow and heavy beat. Steph got everyone clapping to a heavy drum beat. Then fell to her knees and her fellow band members joined. She let out a rocking scream as laid back flat on the ground. It was really interesting to see a female rendition of the classic “Ace of Spades” and they totally smashed it.

Steph calls out “You’ve been one of the best crowds we’ve played to! Are you all warmed up for JoanovArc yet?”… their last song had a faster beat with rough, gritty vocals, with a few of Steph’s classic screams thrown in. As they exited the stage, the cheers and wolf whistles rang out.

John Altman, the director of the music video, introduced the single launch. JoanovArchad the lovely idea to use their single launch as a fundraiser for breast cancer charities. They filmed the video in one or two days on Bodenham Moor. It was a labour of love and really hard work, given the heat, but everyone came together and we really enjoyed it. They then played the video on the projector, as it ended there was a raucous round of applause.

Then all attention turned to the band on stage. “I wanna see your hands in the air”! They launched into a full power live rendition of their new hit single. They owned the space, switching around the lead. It was great to finally hear the song live! They then played one rock anthem one after another. They even treated us to a song from the new album “Down by the River”.

They dedicated a song to Steph, from Flowerpot and the star of their music video. “I want to see you mosh to this one”. They picked up the pace with upbeat pounding drums calling the warriors to the battle field. They got everyone moving and dancing! They invited Steph up on stage, as their music video’s leading lady “thank you Flowerpot for being so awesome” and together they smashed a “Zombie” cover. Together they made an epic line-up and a formidable force to be reckoned with. The energy spread through the crowd and got everyone dancing. The leading girls stepped aside to put the full attention on the drummer. The pummelling drum beat builds up into an epic drum solo.

As well as plenty of standout rockers, they also played a ballad piece, taking a slower and more soulful approach. “Put your arm around the person next to you and remember when you were young”. They got everyone dancing or swaying with lighters. Then in contrast they crashed straight into a classic hard rocker, fast and more upbeat. They got fans of all ages dancing together. You can see they are really having fun with this one. After each song ended, they erupted into applause.

They invited John, the director, on stage to join them for “Wild One”. And the energy only intensified as John danced and sang along. Ending on a smashing drum solo. “In America we met a few cowboys, and I see a few here tonight”! I could feel the floor vibrating beneath my feet as people danced, jumped and stomped along. The crowd cheers and claps throughout the ending drum solo and exploded into deafening cheers, clapping and whistling afterwards. They ended on a reprise of their new single “Girls Wanna Rock” and Steph joined them onstage, thanking everyone at the end.

I was honoured to meet JoanovArc, as amazing examples of women in the rock industry. Which is definitely something we need to see more often! I have never seen so much energy in such a small space. It really was infectious and spread through the audience. People danced, jumped and sang along, you could they really loved the music and were having an amazing time! And it was a great idea from the girls to use the single launch as a fundraiser for such a worthy cause. I can’t wait to hear what their new album, being released in February 2019, has in store!

 

 

Artists / Bands, Band Interviews, Kissin' Dynamite, Music Reviews

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I arrived at the venue, and there was a queue forming at the doors already, went round to the stage door to meet their manager. He showed me in and led me down a labyrinth of passageways, and introduced me to the amazing vocalist Hannes Braun of Kissin’ Dynamite. We staked out a sofa backstage, although there was already someone taking a nap on it in the corner, but we didn’t seem to disturb him too much! It was so great to meet Hannes, and get to chat to him; he was really open and friendly. And hear how he first got in to rock music and the origins of the new album! After meeting I was even more excited to see them play, just a couple of hours later as they were the opening act. And they didn’t disappoint! Hannes really brought the spirit of his beloved 80s rock with him.

Why did you choose the name “Ecstasy”?

H: Of course we have the song on the album by the same name. But that wasn’t actually the primary reason. If you listen to this album to get positive, feel good vibes. We don’t mean the drug ecstasy! We mean the emotion. That’s the magic thing we feel about rock music, it brings you up, just like the drug! So, “ecstasy” is the headline for the feeling for the whole album.

How did the album form?

H: Normally we making a plan for which direction the next album should go. But with this one we didn’t. We didn’t even plan on writing a new album! Our old contract with AFM finished, we wanted to have a natural break and relax. Out of this relaxation, I started writing songs with Ande, and it felt super good because there was no pressure. We could easily do it, because we felt like doing it. We got about half the album done, and had some really good tracks. Then out of the blue, I got a call from someone who said we’re amazing and that they knew our contract had finished and wanted to sign us immediately!

Any particular inspirations or influences?

H: This is more or less a party and feel good album. Songs from Bon Jovi are always good inspiration. But we didn’t plan on pushing it in a certain direction, it just naturally flowed this way.

How have the fans during the tour responded to the new songs?

H: The response is really good! We have been starting with our radio hit back in Germany, “I’ve Got the fire” and it’s great for us because we love the song, and the fans go wild! We’re lucky with this tour as we have 40 minute set, so that’s eight songs, and half are new shit!

You have been touring all over the place, where has been your favourite, and why?

H: It’s always a hard decision; every country has its special elements that I love. I really like touring in France, for example, because the fans there seem to appreciate rock music a lot still, so they go super nuts in the shows. I was really impressed by Italy on this tour; we only played one show, in Milan. We’re the opening act, so it’s not common to have the room filled with people jumping.”

You’ve played in many countries across the world, where would you like to play?

H: I would like to play Brazil, as I have heard many good stories that rock and metal have a good standing out there, and that the people go f**king nuts out there! Bruce Dickinson once said, the further South, the heavier it gets! I want to feel that energy, not just see it on a screen.

If you could tour with any band, who would it be?

H: Powerwolf!” (i.n.: He answered excitedly, and we both laughed). I’m an 80s kid, so adore all my childhood heroes still, like Guns ‘n’ Roses and Scorpions. So they would definitely be on my wish list to tour with. But we will see what time brings! For now, it’s still amazing to be able to play a nearly sold out tour with Powerwolf!

So, I heard the band’s name ‘Kissin’ Dynamite’ was from the AC/DC song, after Andi Schnitzer’s ringtone. Was AC/DC also an influence to your music?

H: Of course! Everything starts with AC/DC, maybe everything will end up with them too! For example, my brother and I got into AC/DC at one of their concerts. When I was just six years old and my brother was seven, my dad took us to see them, as he was a big fan. So, we were just little kids in a massive sold out concert hall in Germany! This was when I decided that’s what I want to do. I listened to all his AC/DC albums and that soon led on to Scorpiona and such. And there was no way out after that. (i.n.: So, AC/DC were your gateway band to the world of rock ‘n’ roll!)

Congratulations on winning the Metal Hammer Award for “Best German Band”! What do you think it was that really set you apart from the rest?

H: We felt super honoured, as the list for nominees were huge acts like Halloween. I never thought we could win this award. We were so surprised to hear our name being called! And that makes us super proud, and no one can take it from us! It will always be in our discography.

Are there any genres, themes or instruments you would like to experiment with in the future?

H: You never know what you might get! So, possibly, but the biggest experiments are in the past. We had one really experimental album, “Megalomania” where we used synths, to push it in a super modern way. But it was too over the top. We have found our style and message.

To finish off with, what can fans expect from Kissin’ Dynamite in the future?

H: Super-hot, explosive live shows, great songs to come, and taking over the rock world!

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Music Reviews

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Visigoth’s fantasy battle and mythological themes seep through their epic power metal songs to bring their namesake nomadic tribe to life. You can imagine it being played as the battle music when the Visigoths invaded the Roman Empire. Fitting as it was the band’s first UK tour invasion, and they are going on to conquer Holland and Germany after, reclaiming their Germanic heritage.

Visigoth are an epic combination of heavy and power metal. With similarities to the likes of fellow American heavy metal bands Eternal Champion and Manilla Road. With the added twist of power metal elements coming through reminiscent of Omen, Twisted Tower Dire and Medieval Steel.

Their second full-length album, “Conqueror’s Oath”, bringing a faster pace and kick-ass attitude. This release sees them taking a different turn, with a larger focus on the wild, loud heavy metal influences rather than the slower, melodically power ballads. Jake Rogers’ piercing yet melodic vocals still ring out loud despite the electric fast guitar riffs and metallic battle drums. Leading the listener through the story of the Visigoths Invasion.

When I first got there the room was relatively quiet, filling out a bit more during the warm-up acts. In the break before Visigoth started, I went out for smoke to cool down. When I came back in the room was packed, with people and tentative excitement. I struggled to sneak through to be able to take photographs! As I moved through the crowd I spotted a lot of Visigoth t-shirts, showing despite it being their first UK tour, they already had many firm fans.
After the first few notes rang out, the crowd erupted. The crowd chants “Visigoth, Visigoth, Visigoth…” Jake responds “Thank you for joining us on our first show of our first UK tour”! Despite probably still suffering from jetlag, they performed with amazing skill and energy. They played a combination of old and new songs. The second song was one of their classics, and a favourite of mine, “Dungeon Master”. Jake’s strong voice nails the heavy chants of “he’s the dungeon master”. As skilfully as the light and beautiful bridge power ballad solo. Their music is tied together with a consistent beating rhythm; it gets your blood pumping, as if on the march to battle. The clean picking guitar riff sets “Salt City” off to an epic start, reminiscent of Van Halen’s David Lee Roth. It’s one of their more playful tracks, which definitely gets you dancing.

My personal favourite song from the new album is “Warrior Queen”, as it epitomises the glamour and glory of warrior queens like Boudicca and the Viking shield maidens. It also showcases their musical talent across the two ends of power metal, transitioning with ease from a raucous battle charge beginning to a mystical power metal ballad highlight. So, I was very happy that I got to witness it in all its glory live tonight.

As they left the stage, the whole crowd chanting for an encore, as they stepped back onto the stage they were met with raucous cheering. As they played their final song, the whole crowd sang along and danced. The electric energy never left the room, from start to end.

I was honoured to be at their first ever gig in the UK, the atmosphere in the room reflected their fans excitement at finally seeing them live for the first time. You could tell by the number of crowd surfers alone! Visigoth’s new album “Conqueror’s Oath” and this UK tour have rocketed them to becoming a pivotal band in the American heavy and power metal revival.

 

Album Reviews, Music Reviews, Seven Sisters

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Seven Sisters

The Cauldron and the Cross

Album Review

Dissonance Productions
2018

 

“The Cauldron and the Cross” is Seven Sisters’ second full length album, released this year. Deeply reminiscent of Iron Maiden, it is dripping with old school rock/metal riffs and heavy metal bass. They cleverly master and interchange between a variety of paces and styles. They produce slow and mystical songs that draw you in but then flow into hard hitting rock melodies with electric sharp guitar riffs and fast drum action. They even interchange between slow and fast paces with ease during their first song, showcasing their musical talent. The fast pace and electric energy in the opening of “The Premonition” shakes you awake and gets you pumped. Setting the tone for a hell of a heavy metal album.

When I’m reviewing an album, I like to find a quiet place or time (which isn’t easy, and often only have the spare time on my long bus commutes!) and listen to the whole album. Preferably with my eyes closed, to be able to really focus on and listen to every element of each song. When I closed my eyes and listened to “The Cauldron and the Cross”, a vision, or a premonition if you will, came to me. To me, it told a story of suspense yet feverish excitement. As the Vikings set sail for new and foreign lands. So, I thought I would try and describe to you what I saw…

Blood and Fire has a different pace from “The Premonition”, starting with a mystical slower start, beginning the fantasy odyssey. Close your eyes and let the mists of time flood the darkness. You feel like you’re floating on a boat in the open ocean. The beat picks up, and through the mist you can see something emerging, the head of a dragon, carved into wood. Ahead a Viking Dragonship, as the heavy beats drop, they crash their axes against their shields, and call for blood and fire.

“Once and Future King” starts with a more electric and fast pace. The vocals take a stronger lead, echoing above the guitar riffs. One of the Vikings stands, at the prow of the ship, resting his hand on the dragon head. Addressing his warriors, he rallies their spirits and calls them to war. To fight for their once and future king.

The mists part, everyone holds their breath, as just the guitar plays slowly. Then as someone calls “land ahead” and the pace and excitement increase. Leading on to some incredible guitar riffs, in the second half of “Parting the Mists”.

“Turning of the Tide” brings back the heavy metal notes and rock’s faster pace and electric guitar sounds. As the Viking’s boats crash through the tide, onto foreign shore, they praise their Gods. The lyrics call out of the sound of Thor’s thunder and the clash of steel on shield once more. The lyrics paint vivid imagery of the battle, and perils they will soon face.

“Oathbreaker” has a more sober tone and pace. The leader once again stand before his people, to call them to arms, he raises his own sword above his head. In the moonlight you can read the name “oathbreaker” carved into the blade.

With yet another twist in pace, “A Land in Darkness” has a powerful start, blasting out after the very slow and mystical end of “Oathbreaker”. Loftin, on drums, coming crashing in with razor sharp guitar riffs in the final chapter of this Viking tale. Which sets the scene perfectly for the title song “The Cauldron and the Cross”.

Their final song is a sixteen minute spectacular featuring elements from across heavy rock and metal genres. With the galloping rhythms, reminiscent of Maiden, you can imagine the hoard of Vikings charging across the battlefield. The powerful vocal chorus tells a story and builds the anticipation. The commanding, formidable and fast arpeggios and guitar solo grabs your focus. The Iron Maiden influence seeps into the solo, with melodic harmonies reminiscent of neoclassical metal. The fully embody old school rock and metal, yet give it a modern edge by breaking out of standard rock. The occasional use of changing time signatures hint at a progressive rock influence. Somehow, they bring it all together, acuminating in a harmonious ensemble.

Seven Sisters cleverly bring together elements from power metal, neoclassical, early thrash and progressive rock. To create a unique modern twist on classic hard rock and heavy metal sounds. I really enjoyed listening to this album, and the story it created for me. I grew up on the old school hard rock & heavy metal of bands like Iron Maiden. So, having that undertone with modern influences brought the glory days to life.