Archive for June, 2018
23rd March 2017
A sizable queue snaked up Camden high street prior to this anticipated evening of rock and roll and the visit to these fair shores from Canadian rising stars, Monster Truck, here to promote their great “DiR.net Album Of The Year 2017 Sittin’ Heavy.
First up at the racetrack this evening was a The Picturebooks, a German Duo of Guitars and Drums. What they lacked in numbers they certainly made up for in decibels and drumsticks as their drummer beat his low rise kit to within to a bloody pulp. If those skins could talk they’d be in the police station reporting assault charges. The resonance was deep and thunderous which gave everything a foot stomping vibe that was brightened by the gruff vocals. Guitars were as bluesy as you’d expect and they has a few decent rabble of songs that shined out from the set. In contract to their precise deliberateness our main event was ready to ramp up the engines…
The throttle went well and truly through the floor as Monster Truck launched somewhat ironically straight into “Why Are You Not Rockin?” which set the tone for the rest of the evening. A night of ‘Monster’ riffs and ‘Truck’ loads of high octane rock and roll ensued (puns intended!). There was little in the way of diversions with a focus firmly upon their set, not even the bare chested guitar slinger could divert much attention. Whilst its clear they can riff with the best in the business, of me its the overlay of vocal harmonies and powerful wooo-ooaaaahhhs…which provide the melodic hooks scaled to land moby dick.
With such a straight-up hard rock band, they could easily have repeated the same winning riff, chorus, riff formula. But yet they balanced out the set with mid-tempo ‘pop’ numbers (“For The People”) between their all out attack gung-ho guitar frenzies (“The Enforcer”) and even threw in a few more swaggering slow-burning blues numbers (“Seven Seas Blues“). Not to mention the James Brown “I Feel Good” cover which should get its own release! A gigantic show from a rising band who are heading for the top of rock mountain.
15th March 2017
It’s clear after many years of being in and around the London rock’n’roll circuit that times have changed. Gone are the days of a cheeky pre-gig grab and run from McD’s, a few cheap ones at the local bar before heading to the venue sharpish to start swilling on more cheap lager. Nowadays we now like a nice comfy pub with good beer and a quality kitchen to satisfy our rumbling tummy’s.
Nevertheless, we did managed to get in for the only support band of the night, Miraculous Mule. What was miraculous that I remember them at all, which being honest is hazy at best. They were a rootsy 3 piece blues band that struggled with captivating the crowd and stuck to same tempo. Honestly…a forgettable Ass.
In stark comparison, on bounded the talismanic presence of Danko Jones, band in tow to a rapturous rousing applause. He wasted no time in kicking into his trademark punchy punk infused hard rock. Stopping regularly his stage banter is second to none, away from the crafted and scripted lead-ins he lives, breathes and sweats rock and roll so its no wonder he speaks with such passion to his fans.
Rather than revert to stereotype and dwell on the recent album Wild Cat, this evening’s set list was truly career spanning. From early raw punk of Sugar Chocolate and Cadillac, to their (in inverted quotes) “Pop” song First Date, the sweltering dirty groove of Legs and the menacing thunder roar of There’s Gonna Be A Fight Tonight. When the new material did surface it was warmly received, with plenty of crowd singing despite the relatively short time between its release and today. They were soaked in pop, macho rock posturing, general merriment and uplifting melodies.
What is 100% guaranteed at a Danko show is that we’d finish the night with the epic Live only track that is ‘Bring On The Mountain’, tonight was no exception. This unreleased song (and probably never will be put to a studio record) captures the essence of the man and the band, one that’s so steeped in rock tradition, grit and determination that can only be put into perspective from the summit of rock and roll. As he finished his heartfelt monologue he calls all the names of those with him at the top (a british feel to the list tonight including Lemmy & Strummer). Inevitably the cheers go up, and finally as we build to the finale, the taught guitars are finally unleashed in an avalanche of furious power chords…Fade to Close!
Job Done! Next City! The Next Crowd Awaits! Danko Jones Has Left The Building!
“This heart gets stronger, this skin gets thicker, this mouth gets louder”
January 19th 2017
Fast forward into 2017 and I (after many missed opportunities) thought that “The End” of Black Sabbath was a worthy tour to catch before they crumbled into the heavy rock and metal history books of which they authored many years ago.
Now a huge venue and a huge band needs a suitably big support act and rising hard rock and blues busters Rival Sons took this coveted slot. Having first seen them back in 2012 supporting Black Stone Cherry, apart from the elapse of 5 years, not a lot has changed. Sure they have polished up their professionalism and got better kit, but my opinion is still the same. Underwhelming. They have a lot of precious materials to work with showcasing a knack for retro styles blues riffs, swagger by the jagger-full and a vocalist whose range nearly blew the roof off this dome. Yet it all seems lazily patched together with the same mid tempo ploddy beats, riff, chorus, beats, riff chorus repeat… It’s just not inspiring seeing such a talent going through to motions and certainly the overkill on the retro effects do nothing to mask their tepid blues by numbers formula.
The tolls of the bells rang loud over the PA at tonight’s chosen church of heavy metal in anticipation at the eerily empty stage. The crunch of Tony Iommi’s darkly menacing Gibson SG finally signaled the entry of the forefathers of metal and all round darkness. Speaking of which, the “Prince of Darkness” Ozzy Osbourne himself swiftly…no gently…no shuffled slowly, onto stage centre to utter the immortal words “What is this that stands before me?”. 20,000 Heavy Metal fans was the correct answer and they immediately showed their captors for the night they can sing as loud as any crowd they’ve witnessed over their last 40+ years of touring.
Ozzy Osbourne & Tony Iommi
After such longevity, its clear they had their live stage craft honed to absolute perfection as they slothly pummeled their way through an outstanding set of career spanning metal monsters. They may not move as fast, but they still gracefully levitated between songs and evaded intense fire cannons proving their theatrics were not of this world. The show was a set piece masterclass in suspense, perfect timing, humongous riffs and often surprisingly up-tempo dynamic shifts, often many times within a single song (Exhibit A: War Pigs).
The highlights for me was witnessing the grandfather of metal Iommi chugging our deeply tuned riffs which sounded as earth shattering today as i’m sure they did way back when. He has lost nothing, deftly skulking around the fretboard for those huge chords before dexterously dancing through epic solos with ease. The setlist was drawn primarily from their early heyday and those first 4 albums which defined the landscape for all who followed in their wake. The riff-fests of Children Of The Grave, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots and Into The Void were all stunning and gloomily anthemic.
As could be expected, Paranoid played us out to allow everyone to say farewell to the Black Sabbath (Osbourne, Iommi & Butler) in fitting style… on stage doing what they have always done, rocking, shocking and rolling!
19th August 2016
Tonight marks the end of the line for one of the most universally loved DiR.net bands. We’ve been to see them 5 times before, from small gigs in underground venues, festival appearances, now defunct legendary theatres. The most memorable of which wherein they played their first 4 albums in 2 nights in a row in Shoreditch. Motion City Soundtrack on their “So Long, Farewell…” tour were about to strike their final chords, but before they did do they had a few support acts…
The Excerts kicked us off with a mixed bag of alt rock tunes which was largely uninspiring and totally unmemorable.
Dinosaur Pile-Up upped the ante somewhat as they played a riotus set full of rock anthems with a grungy slant and a pop heart. Tracks from latest album 11:11 were harder, heavier and packed full of effects to ramp up their muscle. Energetic riffing and singalong melodies are their strong point, both of which were all here in abundance. A set of high energy fist pumping pop rock that really got the crowd revved up.
Motion City Soundtrack entered to mixed emotions from the crowd. Both equally glad to be here, but sad their leaving. Still none of that seemed to matter as MCS got straight down to business and ran us ragged through a huge all killer, no filler greatest hit set. They selected their best work showcasing their unrivaled craft for infectious pop-punk that’s as intelligent as it is infectious, energising as it is sobering. Their blend of poetic witticisms and tremendous songwriting was cranked up full volume and the partizan crowd truly gave it one last hurrah. Most of the sold out venue, young and old knew every word to every song, such is a tribute to their brilliance and longevity over nearly 20 years.
Motion City Soundtrack
It was clear this was a business night, not much in the way of band banter, MCS were here to play like it was their last night on stage. However as the set closer and pop anthem “The Future Freaks Me Out” rang to a close, the goodbyes from Pierre and the gang were full of heartfelt honesty and sadness that the time of MCS had run its course. Of course you never can rule out a re-union these days and you can rest assured that DiR.net will be there waiting for them when/if they do reignite the flame.
I’m not one for videoing, so enjoy someone else’s footage from the front…