Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Events, Kissin' Dynamite, Music Events, Music Reviews, Powerwolf

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PowerWolf Live Concert Review

Supported by Amaranthe and Kissin’ Dynamite

 

Powerwolf are a dark and mysterious German heavy metal band. Exploring mythological tales of vampires and werewolves. Combined with their gothic clothing, corpse face paint and their use of fantasy pseudonyms and back stories, they create a dark and mystical atmosphere. They are embarking on their Wolfsnächte Tour 2018, after releasing their latest album “The Sacrament of Sin”., which contains plenty of their classic power and heavy metal anthems, with the added depth and variety from their first ever ballad and some of their darkest and heaviest songs yet! Powerwolf are joined by their very special guests Amaranthe and Kissin’ Dynamite. Amaranthe is a Swedish heavy metal band, rising to fame through the unique sound created by the varied female and male vocals. Kissin’ Dynamite are another example of a fantastic German hard & heavy band. I was lucky enough to get to interview lead vocalist Hannes, before the show.

The energy and excitement was at fever point before Powerwolf even reached the stage. Kissin’ Dynamite and Amaranthe had already drawn everyone to the stage, singing and dancing along. The lights go down and cheers ring out, with people chanting “Powerwolf, Powerwolf, Powerwolf!” and the cheers become deafening as they finally hit the stage. After the first couple of songs, someone dressed as a monks brings out a thurible, the catholic incense holder, handing it to Attila Dorn. Who steps forward and shouts out to crowd; “To power our army, we need iron! And incense!”… Crashing into one of the songs from their new album “Incense and Iron”. Which you definitely imagine being in the back drop of a Viking battle scene.

Attila has fun joking around with the crowd and getting them involved. He tells us to raise our fists into the air and cross our arms, to mirror his own, and asks us to sing along with him.
“We’re not just here for the heavy metal mass; we’re also here to sing! Will you sing with me?”…. The whole room joins in with the catchy “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friends”. Another song from their latest album, the fact people can already sing along to the songs released just months ago, is a testament to them.

There were continuous crowd surfers and then before you knew it half the room was engulfed in a mosh pit. People stomp and pound their feet, sending reverberations through the floor. The whole audience is awash with cheering, chanting and clapping. Attila lifts his hands into the air, basking in the applause from his adoring fans. Falk, organist, brings out a flag with their symbol on it, the material billowing about as he flies it across the stage. A couple of monks then roll out a piano! And he asks everyone to hold up the lights from their phones, as Falk begins his solo. Then Attila’s vocals call out clearly, forming a soulful but empowering ballad. Building in intensity and heaviness. The people in the mosh pit slow and form a circle, linking arms and head banging into the centre. Greywolf takes to the second raised stage and strikes a killer power pose. Then the lights go down, and then a single beam hits him as he begins to play. Finishing the song on an epic guitar solo as snow like bubble fell from above.

“A big thank you my friends! It’s so good to be back in London. Always get such applause and feels like home! Now we have your blood… Now we drink your blood!”, he shouts out as he raised a golden chalice. And they launch into “We Drink Your Blood” from their earlier album “Blood of the Saints”. Another powerful Viking ballad, calling all warriors to war. Blood red lights flood the room as the audience joins in chanting “we drink your blood!”… “We are altogether here to celebrate the heavy metal mass, and altogether here to sin! London, you’re f@cking amazing”!!!

After interviewing the lovely vocalist Hannes just couple of hours before, I was really excited to see Kissin’ Dynamite play. And they didn’t disappoint! The stage even had massive red glowing sticks of dynamite!

“We’re here to bring back rock ‘n’ roll!”… Hannes brought a full power hit of the 80’s glam metal scene, with skin tight leather trouser, half undone shirt and the obligatory big hair! Hannes has great stage presence; dancing, gyrating and joking about. You can tell they love performing! Hannes gets everyone’s fists in the air, punching the sky and singing along. He exits the stage, and we think it’s all over, but they hit back in with an epic guitar solo. And out comes Hannes, complete with fur trimmed red cloak flowing about him, and sceptre! For the catchy “I will be King”.

“I’m f@cking speechless! Serious f@cking goose-bumps, and that’s from you lot! We have bee to a lot of places, but this was my favourite to play, as it’s our first time in London town! Can you feel how strong a metal community you are?”! He stands at the front and looks out at the adoring audience, and he grins. You can see his raw love and passion for music and his fans.

The stage lights went down and a recorded voice started playing, a dystopian political speech about the state of society, seemingly fitting for right now! Then Amaranthe hit the stage, to raucous applause. Last to hit the stage is Elize. She takes off her leather coat to reveal a stunning red latex body suit and knee high boots. “Get those horns up in the air, and get ready to jump”! The layers of instruments and vocals add depth and a unique sound. The mix of Elize’s beautiful, lyrical female vocals combined with the death metal male vocals and proper emo screams. They create a formidable line-up with all three singers full on head-banging their long hair.

“Get your phones out and light them up, and sing with us”! Chiming in with the more soulful ballad “Amaranthine” with a beautiful solo by Elize and Morten on drums. Then hit straight back in to the heavy metal. Johan, bass, take centre stage at the end, “You kiss your mother with that mouth?! Now it’s time for the offending guy”! Laughter ripples through the room. He then proceeds to go through all the swear words and insults a few members of the audience, to everyone’s amusement. They really do have great fun and gets the audience involved.

In full corpse paint and gothic style, smashing their powerful heavy metal songs, they create an intimidating line up. Mixing up some of their old classics with the highlights from their latest album. Of course they played their famous heavy metal anthem “Blessed and Possessed”. They give the show an added dimension with theatrics and audience participation, their energy and passion was infectious. The whole room was chanting and singing along throughout, forming mosh pits or crowd surfing to the front. The obvious love their fans have for them is a true testament to their skills as musicians and their characters.

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Events, LORDI, Music Events, Music Reviews

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LORDI – Live Concert Review

Lordi are the infamous Finnish hard rock band, with influences from shock rock, melodic and 80s heavy metal. I was lucky enough to see them play on their tour, after releasing their new album earlier this year. Lordi rose to fame during the 2006 Eurovision, after becoming not only the first Finnish act to win, but also the first and only Hard Rock band to win. They’re also now equally famous for their incredible horror mask, costumes and stage effects. All hand made by the seemingly endlessly talent Mr. Lordi. As a cosplayer, I am in awe of his amazing masks and costumes. Lordi were joined by Egokills and Silver Dust. Egokills are another hard rock and metal band from Finland, who skillfully find a balance between hypnotic yet gentle melodies, fast thrashy drums and electric riffs. Silver Dust are a delectable dark rock and gothic metal band from Switzerland. They lead the audience through romantic yet eerie tales, using magical visual effects. This is not the first time they have toured with Lordi, so it seems to be a reunion of the 2016 European tour!

Lordi and me! Amazing to meet them after the show

On stage throughout the support acts there were large objects covered in cloth, before Lordi began, they uncovered an epic drum kit. And a demonic archway to hell, even lit with fire to guide lost souls. The lighting melded perfectly, with fiery reds and yellow, on top of a cool contrasting blue.

After a fantastic job of warming up the crowd, by Ego Kills and Silver Dust, the excitement was at fever point. Even the drummer’s test solo before the start got cheers and applause. The monsters hit the stage, to deafening cheers and screams.

Mr. Lordi took centre stage and addressed his adoring fans: “I know it’s a Sunday, and some of you may have work or school tomorrow. But I have spoken to your bosses and teachers and have agreed that you don’t have to go to work or school tomorrow, so you can rock and party hard tonight”!

They played songs from across their repertoire, including their classic hard hitters like”She’s a Demon”, as well as a slower ballad piece, combined with the lights carried through the smoke, gave a mystical yet eerie vibe. Suddenly the large skull of the archway lights up with neon ‘day of the dead’ style design. Amen takes centre stage, dancing and spinning about. Then Mr. Lordi hits the stage complete with truncheon and police hat on top of the monster costume! And shouts “We are the Rock Police!” – sing it London!”… the audience respond chanting “We are the Rock Police”! Mr. Lordi gets the crowd riled up as Amen steps up for a blistering guitar solo. As each of the band members performs a solo, a single beam of light hits them. He builds the suspense and excitement, shouting “Get yo’ asses ready”! To my surprise they suddenly transition into an almost dance track style. Ox, on bass switches it up, as the strobe lights hit in with almost pop-art effects. Followed up by a “shake yo’ ass”! As Mr. Lordi re-enter the stage through the archway, injecting an extra shot of energy, spirit and fight into the room. Getting the audience chanting and stomping along.

Halfway they asked for song requests, but so many people shouted out in excitement, you couldn’t distinguish any words! So, Mr. Lordi replied “we couldn’t hear any of that, so we’re going to play one off the “To Beast of not to Beast” album, “The Riff”. Then there’s a sudden big scream and crash of the drums and bass. Mr. Lordi crouched down and let the fog consume him. Then Amen crashes in with a fiery guitar solo, as a pillar of smoke rose up around him, under-lit by fiery coloured lights. Amen stands centre stage with his arms crossed, holding his horns out, and the crowd raise their horns in return. Then they hit straight back in with a proper hard rocker. Mr. Lordi then enters with mischievous, evil laugh, and the songs turns to the thrash metal side.

If the costumes weren’t already amazing enough, Mr. Lordi stood with his arms out stretched as amazing wings rose from his back! The keyboardist gestures to hear the crowd chant that they want more! A slow ominous organ tune plays out, then there’s a sudden switch, as they launch into their most famous song “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. Mr. Lordi brandishes his double headed axe mic, raised above his head in triumph.

The green lights flooded the room, mirroring the greed of their namesake ego. A sudden crash of the drums announced the start: “Hello London, we are Egokills! Are you ready to kill your ego?”! Their passion and commitment clearly shows, as one band member had broken is arm but still played. And the slight give-away of Janne shouting out – “we’re so f@cking happy to be here”! In stark comparison to the majority of their grungy hard rock or metal songs, they threw a slower ballad style song into the mix, with a soft lyrical start. Joined by a slow and deep, yet heavy drum beat. Slowly building in speed, heaviness and intensity. Janne combines raspy yet sultry vocals with lots of energy, movement and crowd interaction. Getting the whole audience clapping and dancing along. In his excitement and dancing about stage he even accidentally sent the mic stand flying offstage at one point! Now that’s rock and roll!

All the lights went down, then a Victorian-esque apocalyptic video started playing on a large screen on the stage. Mirrored in their gorgeous Victorian clothes, including Top-hats. Which I absolutely adored, as part of me will always be a Victorian Goth. Watching a Victorian Goth playing electric guitar creates great juxtaposition-imagery.

Silver Dust have a unique and interactive performance style, using video clips in-between songs that told a story. It’s always important for bands, especially as a support act, to interact, captivate and entertain the audience. Silver Dust provide a refreshing yet compelling new way to branch media that attracts and retains a new crowd. With amazing theatrics and stage presence.

The righteous Lord Campbell has an impressive vocal range, hitting the softer, higher lyrical songs as well as the deep heavy metal and emo screams. They exit as the stage darkens. The video plays out and when it stops, all is silent. We think it’s all over and start to turn away. Then there’s a heavy crash on the organ, the video leaps into action and a blue light shines out. The plague doctor on the organ is joined by a blistering guitar solo, and lastly the drums crash in as an alchemy video starts. There’s a sudden increase in pace and energy, as they get the crowd to clap and sing along. As the rest of the band hit the stage once more. The alchemy scene ends with him making a necklace, which now hangs around the lead mic stand.

Just one example of how their whole performance and aesthetics was beautifully crafted, co-ordinated and interlinked. Their whole performance is incredibly well designed and produced. Not only do they play great music, they throw a mini movie and show in too. The video splits the show into distinct acts, yet also merges with the performance as they time their music to fit the video. Their final song had a shot of energy and a faster beat, in a more dance track style. They got the whole audience crouching down then jumping up, shouting and screaming. They even took a photo with the audience behind them to take back to Switzerland.

An incredible show, and so much fun to watch! They brought the theatrics to a new level, with ghostly dolls flying out at the audience, and guest performers joining them on stage to perform skits with them to the songs. The red lights in the eye sockets of the skulls adorning the archway gave an extra demonic hit.

Lordi are still going strong, even after over a decade has passed since they took the world by storm at Eurovision. Touring after the release of their new album “Sexorcism” earlier this year. With many die-hard fans trekking in from about the country to see them play. The love was returned, even after a full heavy show they came out to meet and take photos with their die-hard fans, before setting off to Sheffield for the next leg of the tour. Showing their true dedication.

 

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Events, Music Events, Music Reviews

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Incendia Music offers band management, as well as help with publicity. Specializing in bands and artists across the heavy metal, rock and progressive genres. And it is headed by the talented Lulu Davis, who put on this fantastic Christmas Party, which showcased some of their top bands, such as Brutai. On the run up to Christmas there’s always lots of events on, but I’m glad I made it out to the Incendia Music Christmas Party. At club 229 Great Portland Street, it was a new venue for me and I’m not gonna lie, I got a bit lost! Then I saw a set of stairs leading down off the street, and discovered a whole music venue hidden underneath the street.

Brutai are a killer progressive rock and metal band, based in our very own city of London. Taking the genre by storm, and were nominated for the Metal Hammer Golden Gods “Best New Band” award in 2017. After the release of their popular album “Born” in 2016, winning many hearts over. Their new songs delve into an honest look into modern life and society. They have an interesting mix of aesthetics, the bassist dreads and Viking style beard, teamed with a bright red bass. They were joined by a new drummer, who hasn’t played live with them before. Not that you would know it! He fitted in well and smashed the drums.

“It’s good to be back! It’s been at least 10 months or so”! They played some of their popular classics, such as “Deep”, which was met with much excitement from their fans. But we were also lucky enough to be there for the first time they played their new single “Upside Down”, live. So it was a gig with lots of firsts! “Upside Down” started off with Alex performing a keyboard solo with soulful vocals. Then the others crash in with a heavy metal storm of drums, bass and guitars. Picking up the pace and intensity. Definitely one of my favourite pieces they played. It was great to see them master the slower, lighter tunes, as well as the heavy metal songs. “Better see you head-banging!”, he calls out!

They finished with one of their older songs “Sleepers” from their debut self-titled EP, back in 2013. With a light start, mixing layers of differing paces, they draw you in. Slowly building it up, adding more layers and sounds to develop it. The drums beat out, setting a battle worthy beat; you can imagine the pounding of horse’s hooves as they charge into battle.

When The Five Hundred steps on stage, the singer gives out a deep, throaty scream. Giving the classic emo scream of the 2000s, a face lift and plunged it into the heavier side of metal. Rough and raw roars bellowed out, backed up by the booming drums and heavy bass. They performed with great stage presence, a wide stance and head-banging in unison.
“Next we’re going to play a song from our new album, called ‘Bleed Well’ and this one goes out to Lulu”!

In stark comparison to the heavy shredding metal, they also played light and mystical tunes, leading into a psychedelic symphony of lights and sounds. Then they suddenly crash back into their classic heavy metal style.

As Everything Unfolds, this female fronted heavy rock band, giving The Five Hundred a run for their money. Charlie packs a good set of lungs, switching between the lyrical vocals and emo screams. Giving an almost BabyMetal vibe, with high yet heavy female vocals, backed by heavy metal drums and bass. Charlie jumps, kicks and dances across the stage, with infectious energy.

The Incendia Christmas Party was a great combination of heavy metal, hard rock and a bit of classic Christmas spirit. Brutai’s music is a catchy combination of modern progressive rock with a hit of heavy metal thrown in for good measure, just the way I like it! They draw on other styles from across rock and metal genres. Their music is packed full of technical drum patterns and emotive electric riffs. Brutai have cultivated their own unique sound, by incorporating panoramic synths and keyboard into their heavy metal.

Concert Reviews, Music Reviews, Sirenia

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Sirenia are a delectable gothic metal band, hailing all the way from Norway. Started by the talented Morten Veland, famous for his time in Tristania. I luckily caught them on their first leg of their tour, since releasing their ninth album “Arcane Astral Aeons” in late October 2018. They are joined on this tour by the fantastic Triosphere, Paratra and Mind Whispers. Sirenia combine powerful drums and bass, with rhythm and symphonic guitars. Which bring to life the deep and dark lyrical themes of love and hate, life and death, emotions and mental states.

With three supporting acts, the small room was pretty packed before Sirenia hit the stage, with cheers ringing out at their first step onto the stage. Since the delectable Emmanuelle joined the band in 2016, they have developed the depth of their songs. Adding in layers of new elements and sounds, whilst bringing back components and their mind-set from their earlier days with Nightwish. Which struck a chord with me personally, as Nightwish were the first band that got me hooked on symphonic power metal.

They played one of the songs from the new album “Queen of Lies”. It started with deep, heavy drums and Emmanuelle’s high falsetto scream. The contrast between the high, lyrical female vocals and the deep, death-metal male vocals. Creating an impressive vocal range and combination of sounds. In response to the raucous applause, Emmanuelle says “Thank you very much, we love you guys”! Which was answer by a fan in the audience shouting out “we love you too”!

Nils gets the crowd clapping along to a song from their new album. The drums and guitars create a slow, deep and ominous backdrop to Emmanuelle’s gentle and mystical lyrical solo. Then the drums crash in, signifying a change in tone, as everything deepens and darkens, increasing in pace and heaviness. Creating a dark magic concoction of sounds. “Come on London, let me f***ing hear you”! “My Mind’s Eye” starts with a beautiful and mystical opening few bars, then in crash the drums marking the split change in genre. And lastly, ending on one of their classics, “The Other Side”. Then all too soon it was over.

With the crowd screaming and chanting “one more song, one more song”… they couldn’t disappoint their fans, and returned for a killer encore. Starting with probably their most famous song “The Path to Decay”. Which starts with this psychedelic sci-fi meld of sounds, then slowly builds up, and crashes into a heavy metal storm. Finally, they went back to their roots in the final song, and playing one of their classics from their first album, “Sister Nightfall”. “Thank you so very much, it’s been a pleasure as always”…

Triosphere, the Norwegian heavy metal band, were the final support act. Their songs were filled with fast pounding drums, electric guitar riffs and high, screaming vocals. With Tor and Marius joining Ida as backup vocalists, adding an extra dimension of depth with the combination of male and female vocals. They made a formidable line up, with the two guitarists and bassist owning the stage, with wide stance power poses. And impressively head-banging their long hair in unison.

They treated us with a few songs from their new album, such as “Steal Away the Night”, which started with a fast pounding drum beat, with the audience clapping along. Then the guitars crash in. Lastly, joined by the soft vocals that grew in speed and heaviness, as did the instruments, as the song progressed. “Time to get those fists up in the air”! “Hey, hey, hey”! The crowd chants and pumps their fists into the air. Then in smash the drums and guitars with a fast, heavy beat. Only out down by the triple vocals harmonising. Afterwards Ida sips from a water bottle and holding it up, she adds a little humour an says: “I really wish this was a beer, but there would be a lot of mess on stage”!

Another fantastic song from the new album was “Breathless”, starting with a beautiful, gentle vocals, with a light drum background, created a mystical beginning. Building into a hard rocker, as the guitars and heavy drums crash in. But interchanging between the soft and heavy tones throughout. Creating a varied and different sound to the previous songs. They ended on two last songs from their new album, “Relentless” and “The Hearts Dominion”. They had wonderfully heavy, deep and dark vocals and drums. Finishing with the gracious; “Thank you so endlessly much”!

Paratra are a novel Electronic Rock band hailing all the way from Mumbai! And confessed to being a little nervous, as it was their first time playing in the UK! Their unique sound comes from their mix of old and new instruments and genres, which contrast yet also complement each other. This comes from the combination of the enchanting Sitar, modern Synth and the amazing high falsetto screams. They started with some killer songs, such as “Inferno”, “Waves of Time’ and “Willpower”. “Duality” started with a strong beat, getting the audience to clap along. Continuing the audience interaction they got them chanting along with the “oi oi oi!”… ending on the fantastic song “Stairway”.

The first supporting act was Mind Whispers, a Melodic Death Metal band from France. They had a powerful aesthetic with the band in matching black military uniforms, and the lead singer in contrasting white. All the more surprising when he came out with brilliant deep, raw and throaty screams and growls. “Again” was my favourite song they played, it had a slow ominous start. With a gradual crash on the keys, the guitars and drums slowly joined the mix, building in pace and intensity. It would be the perfect soundtrack to a gothic horror!

Sirenia are a mystical Viking metal storm! With the amazing contrast between Emmanuelle’s high, lyrical vocals and falsetto screams next to Morten and Nils deep death metal vocals. Although Emmanuelle and Nils joined not that long ago, they seem to fit in perfectly and altogether make the best line-up for the band yet. Starting the next chapter for the band, and ensuring they are all set to take the symphonic power metal genre to the next level!

Concert Reviews, Music Reviews, Ross the Boss

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Ross The Boss has roots all around the metal landscape, well known for being a founding member of the punk band The Dictators and the heavy metal band Manowar. His contributions to epic metal as part of Manowar earned him a place in the Hall of Heavy Metal. It also started him on the path to forming this band, as they met at a festival in Germany where Ross was a guest star performing with the “Men of War” tribute band, later changing their name to the “Ross The Boss” band. Ross’ repertoire stretches from punk rock and proto punk to heavy and power metal. He even originally started his musical career as a violin and piano prodigy, but quickly discovered that metal was his true calling.

Uproar are joining Ross for the whole tour, and we were lucky enough to catch the second leg of the tour. They hit the stage with a proper classic heavy metal show. They cleverly built the layers up through mixing vocals, two guitars, deep bass, and smashing drums.

The performance was enhanced with the minimal but atmospheric lighting; the dark room was set off by a single white light behind the singer, catching his long hair like a halo, although he is anything but an angel.

They mixed in a bit of humour with the crowd to warm them up. The lights and sound went down mid song, after a pause the lights hit Johnny and he shouted out ‘how are you doing London?’, then before the crowd had a chance to answer, they slammed straight back into the song.

For the final song, they put on a bit of a performance, for each of the guitarist’s solos they stood up on a step on the front of the stage. The drums crash in and Johnny sets it off with some stellar head-banging, and ended on one hell of a scream.

The Manowar T-shirts about hailing from Ross’ past and highlights his diehard fans out there tonight.

“Are you ready?” a cheer from the crowd ripples out, which wasn’t good enough for Marc, lead singer, “I said Underworld, are you fucking ready?!”, which was met by a raucous applause and shouting. To reward the crowd he started with a beautiful falsetto scream. Then Ross took the lead with a blistering guitar solo. The second song opens with the Boss taking center stage on guitar and moved up to the front for a solo and the horns went up in the crowd to meet him.

They mixed in some of their new songs with the old classics into the set, with “We are the Night” from their new album “By Blood Sworn”. Marc takes a step aside for Ross’ solo, giving the crowd what they were waiting for. Marc gets the crowd clapping along ready for the start of the next song and pumped ready for more electric fast riffs by the one and only Boss. Marc let’s out a scream to the sky and falls to his knees.

Marc shouted out to the crowd: “I expect you to sing along”, which was met by shouts and screams reigning out. “Are you ready??”, answered by a roar from the crowd. He turns to the band “I think they’re ready!”. As Ross raised his fists to the air, then slammed one to his heart, the crowd uproared. “Are you guys all warmed up now”? “Shall we continue?!”, the crowd was lost into a sea of horns, headbanging and screams!

As well as their classic hard hitting metal songs, they worked in a couple of the slower ballad pieces. Starting with a slow bass solo, next joined by ballad style vocals. Gradually building up, and launching into a heavier second half, with a crash from the drums and Ross joining finally with another of his classic blistering solos. Building into a full on heavy metal storm. Ross jumped up on the step and all the fists went up. “Are we having fun out there?”…

“We’re going to need your help on this one”, Marc shouted out, and the crowd joined the bassist on back-up vocals. With all three headbanging together. Another crushing solo by Ross set it off, and Marc held a perfect falsetto scream throughout his solo. They ended on one of my favourite songs from their new album, a reinvention of Manowar’s classic “Hail and Kill”. The crowd was so pumped and starting to mosh, people were slammed forward into the stage. Marc started filming Ross shredding on the guitar with the crowd’s chants in the background. As they finished, Ross threw out picks into the crowd and exited the stage, to the crowd chanting “Ross the Boss”.

They performed an amazing show and Ross set the guitar on fire tonight. I was lucky to catch Ross, Marc and the guys from Uproar, after the show and get some photographs with them; Ross even gave me one of his picks! They were genuinely super friendly and chill. Ross was talking about how much they enjoyed producing their new album and having the freedom to play the type of music they want. I personally can’t wait to hear what they come out with next! Ross is a true pioneer of the punk and metal genres.

Bad Touch, Concert Reviews, Music Reviews

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Bad Touch are an up and coming rock band, joined on their second headlining tour by the awesome Daxx & Roxane and Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics. Bad Touch and Aaron Buchanan are both known for their dynamic and energetic live shows, so I knew it was going to be a fun night. It was great to meet all the bands; everyone was really open and friendly, just chatting backstage. One of the photographers that joined them on part of their tour brought it some cakes for her birthday, in return the bands all signed a poster for her and we all sang happy birthday!

It was funny watching Bad Touch sound checking and getting ready, joking around with the audience. As soon as they hit the stage they smash straight in, starting with a heavy drum solo. Stevie jumps up and down as they switch to a more upbeat and faster pace. The lights go down, marking the change to a heavier tone, and they crash back in with a hard-rocker. They started off giving the audience a taste of a few songs off their latest album. Then flipped it on its head, following with an old favourite from their first album.

“It’s good to be back in London! Thank you so much, you have no idea how grateful we are”. Stevie calls out, showing their love for their music and genuine appreciate of their fans. “We have been looking forward to being back in London for the whole tour. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We’d be nothing without you”! You can see this love and dedication is returned by the fans, as someone flew in all the way from Finland just to see them that night! Now that is a true will and testament to their skill and the love they inspire in their fans. “We have a very simple message for you”, he pauses “take… your… time”!

In stark comparison to the majority of their hard rock songs, they also proved they can also master the slower and gentler songs. “Take Your Time” is a more soulful ballad style song with an almost bluesy twinge. Packed full of beautiful lyrical vocals and raw emotions. With a soft, psychedelic beginning, the drums crashing in almost takes you by surprise and woke the audience back up and injected some extra energy into the room. They get the audience all singing along to the catchy and upbeat “My Mother Told Me”.

“Congratulations, you get the sweatiest gig, and George might pass out!”, Stevie jokes with the audience – and thankfully George did just about retain consciousness throughout the gig! The heavy drum beat sent reverberations around the stage, you could see everything shudder and shake along. One of the guitarists puts his hat on Mike, bassist, who almost immediately head-bangs it off!

They ended on one of their old, old songs “Back from when we were just five boys and a dream in Norfolk”. Finishing with a rockin’ drum and guitar solos before exiting the stage. Of course they weren’t gone for long, as the fans called out for an encore. They burst back out and George starts with a very loud, pounding drum beat. Stevie struts, dances and twirls about the stage, getting the crowd singing along.

Bad Touch crashed in with a full on rock ‘n’ roll storm, packed with electric riffs, heavy drum beats and plenty of head-banging! They keep the spirit of the 70s rock alive, complete with flares and floral shirts, whilst dragging it into the 21st century. I was lucky enough to meet the boys backstage and interview them before the show, and not only are they skilled musicians, they’re also all genuinely friendly and funny. I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots more great music and explosive, dynamic live shows in the future!

Daxx & Roxane’s show was packed full with high energy and heavy beats, just how we like it! They were the perfect warm-up act, they got everyone crowding around the stage with their hands in the air, shouting and cheering. “Let’s get this party started!”, Cédric shouts out to the audience. The boys were dancing all about the stage and jumping up on the railings round the stage, to play out into 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.

They paused briefly for a moment after one song, and invited a guest star up on stage to join them. So, we got the unexpected bonus of hearing them play together for the first time! His bluesy harmonica tunes and raw, sultry vocals fitted perfectly in with Daxx & Roxane’s style and sound. Whilst also giving it a unique twist. Everyone started clapping and singing along to the catchy “Wild Side”… “Walking… walking on the wild side!”…

It was great to see Aaron Buchanan and The Cult Classics again, after seeing them back in September when they supported the Quireboys. Psychedelic sounds play as they enter the stage one by one. Paul stands up on the stool behind the drums, bugging the crowd up as Aaron hits the stage. “Let me hear you make some f**king noise!”, Aaron shouts out.

They mixed together some of their old favourites, and brand new songs such as “The Devil that Needs You”. With a fast, cheery and almost folky start. Crashing in to a full heavy rock second half. “Let’s see those hands in the air”! As Paul goes in to a slow, heavy drum beat. Slowly building up as the guitars join in and Aaron starts smashing on the cymbals. At the end of the song they pause for a moment and the crowd starts to clap. Then they smash straight back in with another hard rocker.

Aaron sat on the railings at the front of the stage and read out social media quotes of the funniest posts from their tour so far. “I always find them funny, especially when they’re about me”! One quote he read out “this punky stuff does nothing for me” then asked the crowd “do I look punky?? Have you seen this aesthetic”, which even included suspenders, so closer to Amish than punk!

They end on one hell of a drum solo and some killer power poses. I love the mix of styles, between the heavy metal drummer, and the almost folky lead. You never see Aaron still on stage! He’s constantly dancing and jumping about stage, I don’t know where he gets his energy from!

PS: Photos by Kriz-p

Artists / Bands, Concert Reviews, Music Reviews

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Dan Patlansky, hailing all the way from South Africa, is hitting the UK stages in celebration of his recently released album “Perfection Kills”. Dan is a rising star in the blues revival, combining rock with the blues feels to bring it bang up to date. He has taken the blues and soul genre by storm; in 2015 Dan was chosen as Male Artist of the Year by Blues & Soul Magazine.
The show kicked off with one his older songs, back in 2009, “Love City”, which was met with raucous applause. Dan Patlansky mixed in a range of his new songs, with his old solid classics. The crowd went wild for his top hits, such as “Backbite” and “Sonnova Faith”. It was a real treat to hear some of his tracks from his latest album “Perfection Kills” such as “Johnny”, “Never Long Enough” and “Too Far Gone”.

Dan is famous for his impressive guitar skills on his classic six-string Fender Stratocaster, but also boasts many other enviable talents in singing and song-writing. His vocal range is impressive, hitting the beautiful, soulful blues as well as the raw and emotional power vocals on the rock side. The perfect accompaniment to his bluesy rock instrumentals. His voice is so silky smooth; it can’t help but evoke an emotional response from the crowd.

Dan somehow he effortlessly combines classic soulful blues tunes, with modern angsty and almost psychedelic rock. Reminiscent of some of my favourite great bluesy, rock legends like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. At the age of 30, he has already achieved what would take most blues artists a lifetime to get to. So, I am sure we are going to see some great things in the future from Dan, definitely one to look out for!

PS: Photos by Kriz-p

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!