Archive for December, 2013

Iron Maiden @ Download Festival 2013

Once again I headed once again to the spiritual home of Rock, Donington Park for a stunning lineup to listen and capture some eclectic up-comers, resurgent groups, underrated rockers and true megastars taking influence from the entire spectrum of the rock/metal clenched fist.

I took some photos and watched some bands, here’s the day in brief…

UFO

UFO (2)

Stood still for the camera, which was more to do with their advancing years. Proper classic rock still sounds good to these ears.

UFO (1)

Highlight: Storming rendition of Doctor, Doctor

Heaven’s Basement

Heaven's Basement (1)


Finally the band we have been trumpeting here at DiR.net for years have made it onto the first rung of the ladder, destination rock rocket to the top. They truly ran rampant on huge stage and I loved every glorious minute of this power packed energetic set of high attitude modern rock and roll. Huge crowd and fantastic reception…the general public seem to now agree with me! Sure to rise and rise on from here.

Heaven's Basement (3)

Highlight: The band’s remarkable display of happiness,astounded that so many people actually turned up, each rewarded with a huge version of Executioners day!

 

Hardcore Superstar

Hardcore Superstar (2)

Swedish sleaze glamsters clad in objectionable outfits came and conquered the utterly terrible weather which saw 2 huge downpours deposited on the crowd. Despite this their upbeat party anthems and fist pumping punk rock tunes provoked much singing in the rain and dancing in the aisles.

Hardcore Superstar (1)

Highlight: ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sunday’s‘, sparking a massive sing and dance along in the middle of a torrential soaking. it was a case of “c’mon skies, is that all you got!”

Black Star Riders

Black Star Riders (1)

Ricky Warwick and the remains of the Thin Lizzy crew were back again this year under their new moniker with a set of (oddly enought) Lizzy-esque rock tunes which could be easily be plucked straight from the 70’s legends. Throw in some greatest hits such as Jailbreak, Boys Are Back In Town, Rosalie and another rain defying epic Whisky In The Jar…their set was a absolute pleasure from the first rings of Scott Gorham’s guitar to the final note of Wawick’s Lynott lined lungs.

Black Star Riders (3)

Highlight: Whisky In The Jar getting a field full of old drowned rats jumping around like youthful loons in bright sunlight.

Katatonia

Katatonia

With dark clouds looming and a mist like patter of rain descending over the 2nd stage, there was no better atmosphere for my next band, the black metal titans, Katatonia. Their dour gloom, huge guitars and soulful clean vocals cut a lonely figure which crashed wave after wave of sorrow into the skies. Yet somehow there is a glimmer of hope running through them which is hard to pin, melodic and beautiful, a unique set.

Katatonia (3)

Highlight: The Parting’s soaring vocal section, juxtaposed against their deep earth excavating riffs.

Karnivool

Karnivool (3)

Aussies Karnivool were here to make a statement that Progressive Rock/Metal still reigns, on a performance like this its hard to disagree. A dazzaling assortment of melodies and sounds, given punch with sparse but crushing overdriven guitars and bound together with the beautifully fragile and powerful voice of front man, (one of my favourite vocalists). His emotive and distinct vocals were just as good live as it cut like knife through the gathering booming soundscapes. A pause for thought and refelection, but unmissable nonetheless.

Karnivool (1)

Highlight: Simple Boy and its xylophone melody giving way to a stonking deep 7 string bass riff machine

Mastodon

Mastodon

Being a hell of a long way back I could only pick out a few cool riffs here and there, time to exercise the zoom lens.

Alice In Chains

Alice In Chains (1)

A faithful following swarmed around the main stage for the return of these heavy grungers. New material from their comeback albums were typified with some pretty awesome bass riffs which had the hard rock crowd salivating. Vocals from DuVall/Cantrell were as good as expected, not overplaying but leading charged singalongs on their biggest hits Rooster and Down In A Hole. Despite the lyrical subject material they sounded uplifting and this well rounded set of loud and soft moments really impressed.

Alice In Chains (2)
Highlight: The sheer number of blow up chickens which found their way stagewards during Rooster.

Motorhead

Motorhead (2)

This was not their finest outing, plenty of really old and obscure tracks had the faithful worshiping and the classics were all here too. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still you can’t mess with Motorhead, neither would I recommend it.

Motorhead (1)
Highlight: The set ending knockout 1-2 combo of Ace of Spades and Overkill

Queens Of The Stone Age

QOTSA

A newly re-invigorated QotSA were here today, which marked one of the best sets of the day. Equal measures of high quality, heavy desert stoner drawn from the latest album and Fuzz driven upbeat dance rock from Songs From The Deaf, they stuck to the formula which has brought them so much success. Their greatest hits were all aired and picking the more melodic and high octane tracks really pumped up the crowd. A fitting warm up for the epic headliners to come.

QOTSA (2)

Highlight: Little Sister, where the guitar solo and thumping bass line collide, caused carnage.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden (5)

When you can commission a flypast from a WWII Spitfire to start your set off with a bang, you are clearly in for something very special. Their ‘Maiden England’ tour was a success on its first outing, today its reprise was just as epic. Triple Guitar attack and a greatest hits set spanning their best albums this was a blast from the past which has endured its time and is clearly still as popular today. Pyrotechnics, flames, fireworks, costume changes, a 20 ft Eddie, plenty of British & war imagery was all part of the elaborate staging which was just as absorbing as the music on offer. The crowd were in full voice and knew every word coming from Bruce Dickinson’s falsettos vocal chords. A magnificent performance from a band who has been doing this size show for decades! A Superb Show!
Iron Maiden (6)

Highlight: Fear of The Dark, with the entire crowd bellowing the opening riff a Capella.

 

Iron Maiden (4)

Fucked Up & Titus Andronicus @ The Electric Ballroom

30th May 2013 @ The Electric Ballroom

A trio of North American acts packed tonight’s bill, all sharing a loose punk connection. It certainly provided a varied night of guitar driven energy.

Canadians Metz occupy the punk spectrum labeled, “I don’t care what you think we sound like…because we like it, and you can lump it!”. With barely any regards to their aural chainsaw guitar attack the profusely sweating front man blasted distorted guitars with no remorse. This was unrelenting and aggressive music making, with the faintly audible screams of probably very decent songs  resonating deep inside, desperately failing to escape. Not for the faint hearted, one for the hard of hearing.

Metz

Metz

The American meat in the lineup’s Canadian sandwich shuffled out, totally unassuming as they tooled up. These guys I had all but written off. As much as I liked their latest LP, I never took to it for a repeat spin beyond a catchy ditty or two. Still, there’s nothing like a good live outing to show me where I’m wrong. Titus Andronicus play melodic rock which doffs it’s cap to Americana through a technical triple guitar attack of multi-melody madness. These weaving guitar lines were not effect heavy but still powerful while occasionally mimicked tin whistle style familiar Americanish marching melodies.

Titus Andronicus (1)

Titus Andronicus

Epic crescendo’s were the general result of the meandering which were lively and resulted in many man turning to their friends partners stating ‘I’ll be back soon’ as they dashed stage wards for some jumping about lunacy. Yet Fans far back were happy reciting these terribly verbose lyrics and the non-simple chorus lines were seemingly rolling off everyone’s tongues right back at front man Patrick Stickles. Oddly he casts a rather Rich Hall shadow in both appearance and vocal delivery. The latter Dour and grumpy with a hint of irony and alcohol. The casual listener would have no clue what he was warbling, but that mattered none! These danceable toe tapping tunes turned on the smile machines which really captivated me in a shared wave of euphoria emanating from the buzzing overexcited masses of onlookers. A brilliant set which totally took me by surprise!

Now after Titus came the Fucked Up crew, trying to earn their headliner stripes this night. Sad to say they failed.Fucked Up

Fucked Up

Although a large portion of the crowd would disagree as this was clearly one for the ‘hardcore’ hardcore punk fans as the hugged their sweaty frontman hero Damian Abraham, all set long and bounced around like supercharged pin balls. But while I’m all for singers to come down on the level of the fans, after spending the whole set hanging over the guard rail it gets kind of irritating as you a) can’t see them b) vocals are interrupted by mic passes to enthused fans, c) you lose the band ethic! (although it’s not like ‘singing’ in it’s truest sense was really ever on the cards here.)

Attitude was ever present though as the vocalist made multiple jaunts amongt the crowd, spitting vocals like a venomous rattler.

Musically though, something was missing. The much revered melodic elements and complex arranges were lost in the crashing waves of energetic guitar onslaught. The static band was at opposites with their absent front man which is not surprising really. Their attire was vastly at odds too with the slimline clean cut blue collar band and the rough unkempt half naked punk singer. A juxtaposition if ever they stood near each other.

Fucked Up (1)

The crowd provide a host of entertainment. A guy doing a blocker lemming impression, a stoned/drunk wobbler trying is best to stay vertical and a arm sling bearing chick smashing into the mosh pit!

Titus ruled the night, a sublime show of top notch rawkus energy nonetheless