Archive for August, 2007

Monthly Mixtapes: Aug 07

My Mixtape

Mixtape#7 - August 07
After a months vacations Monthy Mixtapes is back, this time influenced by the fantastic August Bank Holiday Weekend @ Reading Festival 2007!

1, Kings Of Leon – McFearless … Upbeat deep south rocking frolic
2, Datarock – Fa Fa Fa … Turned a depressing afternoon into fun filled dance-mania
3, Lost Prophets – Last Train Home … 30,000 people all bouncing in unison, a glorious sight
4, Frank Turner – Fathers Day … Poignant acoustic track from ex-million dead front man
5, Brakes – Porcupine or Pineapple … Perfect festival band, fun! fun! fun! Randomocity Overload!!
6, Interpol – Slow Hand … Dancable classic from the understated new yorkers
7, Gogol Bordello – Not A Crime … Absolutly Amazing Live! Gypsy Punks is set alight the early Friday Reading crowd
8, CSS – Lets Make Love & Listen to Death From Above … Funcy Disco grooves from art rocking Brazilians
9, Nine Black Alps – Burn Faster … return single from these heavy grungy rockers
10, We Are Scientists – It’s A Hit … Shimmering pop gem from the sharp witted We Are Scientists
11, Ash – Orpheus … Driving drums and amazing melody, 100% rock!
12, Hot Hot Heat – Bandages … Classic feelgood singalong piano pop
13, Cobra Starship – Snakes On A Plane … Cheese overload, but a whole lot of fun!
14, The Hold Steady – Party Pit … “Gonna walk around, Gonna walk around, Gonna walk around and drink”
15, Billy Talent – Red Flag … Pop Punk Anthem for August!

Classic Rock is Back!!

Hyde Park Calling 2007 @ Hyde Park, London
23rd June 2007

Hyde Park Calling 07

The day had finally arrived and Hyde Park Calling’s all rock fans to central London’s premier outdoor gig venue for a full day of all out classic rock guitar assault. My expectations for the day were sky high, with a stellar lineup of acts new and old. So upon arrival not even the great British summertime weather of dark clouds and drizzle could dampen my spirits. The site was the same size as your usual Hyde Park setup, only with 2 extra “very small” 2000 capacity tents at either end of the main arena.

After scouting the 3 stages I settled upon the main stage and Micki Free Electric Blues Experience after a non-inspiring mix of classic rock and Americana I was about to grab lunch when the opening reverb riff of voodoo child rung loud in my ears. After a decent Jimi rendition another dive for food was interrupted by another unmistakable riff, Zeps Rock and Roll.

Micki Free Electric Blues Experience

After finally tucking into lunch I moved over to the 2nd stage and a band I’d checked out previously Black Stone Cherry. Sadly with the amount of flyers for these guys lining the floors they had generated a huge hype-buzz around their show, which displayed itself by way of a queue to even get into the tent!! After a short wait I got in, and was treated to a great hard rock band riffing the ass off the crowd who were clearly loving it!

Huge guitars and urgency of a young band whose going places, shame I was at the back really. They closed the set with lo and behold another voodoo child cover, (seems as if Jimi was the order of the day). This one however easily outstripped the first as they transformed it into a thumping dirty Deep South blues jam! When both guitarists play the guitar solo in perfect harmony with their axes behind their heads, you know they are damn good! Finishing with the drummer balancing atop of his kit hitting the bass guitar sums up the band, loud aggressive, and they don’t care whose ears are bleeding at their hands, because they rock and rock hard!

The Answer were next up on the main stage so after settling in pretty close I actually saw what they look like in the daytime. Again their classic rock mix of riffs and huge choruses was a treat to behold. The crowds were rather enthusiastic for early in the day and why not for this awesome band. I was rather let down because of the awesome time I had in Holborn. But they were still great, throwing in a workhorse performance which must have grown their fan base fourfold.

The Answer
The Answer

Here came the big decision,

Do I stay for Jet and run the risk of not getting into the tiny tent for Satch, considering the size of the queue for Black Stone Cherry?

I did in fact, sacrifice seeing Jet for the sake of Satriani. After getting to the tent (and out of the rain) I was happy, even though I probably could have turned up a lot later. Still I wasn’t gonna take the risk, I stood and endured Fastway

Fastway are a stereotypical 80’s British metal band a la Whitesnake, only without a single decent song. This dragged massively and I started to regret my decision not to see Jet! The only saving grace was watching a true British metal legend, ‘Fast Eddie’ of Motorhead fame on lead guitar.

Fastway
Fast…geta…way!!

Next were a band I’d seen previously in the Mean Fiddler and so wasn’t hopeful of a spectacular show. How wrong I was, Rose Hill Drive had clearly tightened up their material vastly and the songs had real catch-a-ability. The vocals of the bassist were clear and melded well with the thumping guitars. The blues riffage on show was not only impossibly loud, but so damn catchy. Impressively for blues riffs they didn’t drag at all and each track morphed 3 times into whole new beasts of rock and roll.

Rose Hill Drive
Rose Hill Drive

The lead guitarist was yet again doing his best “cousin IT” impression, but you can’t blame him when he’s playing some of the most innovative rhythm and impressive solos of the day! The all out rocking prog blues-outs were a pleasure to behold, even if I lost all hearing for a good 10 mins after the set closed. I can’t stress how much you need to see this band live, they are a totally different monster to their studio records… they were clearly born for the stage!!

My decision to get here early turned good as I got within 15 feet of the stage, anticipation in the tent is now fever pitch as chants of “Joe, Joe, Joe” rung round the tent! Joe Satriani appeared to a tremendous roar from the crowd, Flying in a blue dream ringing from his custom Ibanez. Joe in his customary shades displays exactly why he is such a great guitarist, blazing a trail across the fret board at breakneck speeds. Technically this was an absolute masterpiece, his energy onstage is abundant and the crazy soloing faces he pulls are a joy to behold.

St. Joe
Satch… God??

If I could have chosen the set list, I would have picked exactly what he did, newer treasures such as Super Colossal & Crowd Chant, stood up to the classic’s of Surfing With The Alien and Satch Boogie not forgetting the greatest instrumental song ever Summer Song. The tent was more a temple for this performance as the crowd worshipped St. Joe with all eyes falling upon the unrelenting talent of this guitar legend! Simply one of the most amazing Hours of my life, Amen.

After an already amazing day, there was still more to come. Aerosmith took to the stage 20 minutes late to the irritation of the rather agitated and damp crowd. Still once into full swing all was forgiven pretty rapidly. Steve Tyler has to be one of the great front men of rock. His calculated screams and cracked vocals are brilliant all the while he’s bounding across the stage with his trademark ribboned mic stand. As guitarists are the flavour of the day I can’t help but mention Joe Perry and his classic blues riffs with each song was driven along by the crunch of his guitar. Regressing to their bluesy roots Perry and Tyler jammed through tracks from their latest Honkin’ on Bobo album to uplifting effect.

Aerosmith
Aerosmith

The balladry they have perfected over the years was soon to follow with a stirring version of the first the notable rock-ballad Dream On, the girly charms of I don’t want to miss a thing (Oh! Raj where art thou..) and the sheer brilliance of Cryin. As much as they are tuned towards the ballads, they make a damn fine pop tune too, Livin on the Edge, Jaded, and their signature tune Sweet Emotion all sparking massive crowd vocals.

The lateness of their arrival showed with a single song encore and the early Sunday finishing time of 10:30 didn’t help matters. They missed loads of my fav songs but with the back catalogue the size of theirs that was expected. Just a good thing that they chose Walk This Way to close the night, showing the girl popsters where they went wrong with that awful cover version. It was great and topping that, D.M.C. made a guest appearance rapping alongside the demon of screamin’.

The day was simply one of greatness and I will remember it forever as a monster day of the best rock and roll has to offer!!

Certain Songs They Just Get Scratched…Into Our Souls

The Hold Steady @ Sheperds Bush Empire
Mon 2nd July 2007

Im back for more Hold Steady action, this time in Sheperds Bush Empire. This venue is impressive, the high ceiling classic decor and multi level balconies give a grandeur vibe. Its small enough to still be relatively intimate, but can also hold a fairly decent sized crowd.

The bar is easily accessible but the forced choice of carling at extortionate prices restricts this venue to a 4/5 recommendation.

The Steers
The Steers

Warm up act The Steers were really quite bad. A few chantish chorus’s save them from being a total waste of time, but the guitars are so drab indie scenster its an great insult to my ears being forced to listen to this drivel. quite simply there’s more originality in a recycling plant.

Good job The Hold Steady were up next and before long, bounding onto stage were the middle aged weathered bar band from Minneapolis. Yet again they employed their customary setup of whiskey/wine bottles and plenty of beer littering the stage. Stuck Between Stations jumpstarted the show and soon had the older than usual crowd (twas a school night) bopping away like loonies.

The Hold Steady
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady

This eve was all about the energy of frontman Craig Finn and the endless barrage of singalongs. This gig clearly meant alot to the band,

“we’ve played headline shows in the states before, but nothing quite as big as this”

Finn continued…

“Sorry im not ignoring you on the balcony, im just not used to you being there.”

This awe at their own powers to draw a large crowd was clear as while the final chords were ringing Finn got out his camera and started snapping the “look how many people came to see us” photos on his personal camera.

The Hold Steady put on a majestically happy and superb show. Finally they have ascended to the levels they so deserve and I can’t wait for their Reading Festival Carling Tent Headlining Set to close the weekend in party style!