Posts tagged Blues

The Answer @ The Electric Ballroom

25th  October 2013

Abandoned for the night I head alone into the electric ballroom with trepidation. Only to be greeted by a bunch of howling guitar slinging Aussies! Business as usual then! Tracer we’re good value go their sub slot tonight and played with the swagger of a headliner with nothing to lose. Thumping guitars riddled with hard blues fuzz gave them more of an outback stoner sound akin to QoTSA than fellow hard rockers acdc and Ac/Dc Jnr (Airbourne).

Tracer (1)

Tracer

Plenty of heavy toe tapping drop d riffs and a fare dose of sing-along sections which had even the stoniest faced onlooker humming the in a joyous crowd chant. Plus they were good at working the crowd too, plenty of jokes and japes all with that cheeky Oz charm. A startlingly good set from a band I’ve not given enough credit till today!

Tracer (3)

 

Following the desert beer swilling fist pumping rock fest of Tracer, The Answer had much to prove, especially s Ii hadn’t yet spun their new album New Horizon.

The Answer (3)

The Answer

I had need not worry despite them kicking off with the new eponymous title track as it was roof raising. Full of sparkling melodies, driving bluesy rhythms and supersonic vocals…all the best The Answer has to offer.

The Answer (4)

Cormac Neeson

With brilliant delivery of new material and great clear sound they didn’t seem to want to do much else. In fact between this and their debut album, this accounted for what felt like 90% of the set. I’ll never complain about hearing golden oldies again, but it did feel like I was trapped in a time warp. Familiar also was their double header renditions of bluesy and soulful Memphis Water and Preachin’. Both put a very rootsy spin on classic rock and blues but clocking at 15mins between them, I’d rather have heard 3 or 4 other tunes (No New Day Rising…sad face).

The Answer (6)

Not to wholly disappoint on set listing, On and On and Under The Sky were aired with aplomb, as 2 of the best hard rocks songs in the game. The best song of the night however was a really beautiful mellow and vocal heavy reworking of Nowhere Freeway, a moving and beautiful power semi-ballad. Brilliant solos, extended jams, crowd walks, ‘all sit down’s and thunderous guitars made to fling your noddle to is what they do best. Playing blues and musicianship is high on their agenda which despite the extended noodling, The Answer are still the class prefects of the new school (of the old school) of classic rockers!

 

The Answer (7)

 

Voodoo Six, New City Kings @ The Garage

9th May 2013,

A fairly sparsely inhabited Garage awaited for evenings openers Fighting Wolves. They came, they played a few tracks, they departed. My notes read thus… “amateurish, bad sound, over stretched vocals. Decent songs, poorly executed…possibly.” I think that just about covers it.

Fighting Wolves

I was totally unaware of the sub-headline act, which I think has made my new found admiration all the more greater. Alongside their home town, the new 2012 Jubilee city of Chelmsford, New City Kings are rising fast. There was a marked swing in the female direction as their charismatic front man stood tall centre stage as many besotted onlookers swooned. With plenty of local support cheering them on they played a remarkably assured and professional set, packed with melodic hooks and strong chorus’s, I was rather impressed. Note to self, add these guys to the watch list.

New City Kings

Voodoo Six strutted rather than walked, postured rather than stood and rocked their hearts out for a hours worth of corking hard rock anthems worthy of any festival stage or arena venue.
Voodoo Six
While a twin guitar will always make my eyes light up, these axe men were a delight to watch a they entwined their licks and solos between each other raising the bar each and every time. What works the best is that their two totally different musicians, which doesn’t really come across on record. There’s the metal head and the blues man, long hair vs. short, smooth soulful licks vs. frantic shreds, wailing string bends vs. sweep picked speed. Put together their a force to be reckoned with. Vocalist was strong and they played their home town roots to rapture and applause all night.
Your Way was the pick of their new material with twin solo in Falling Knives being the highest moment  of melodic thin Lizzy-esque bliss, while oldies such as groove heavy Long Way From Home and the wahhed stomper Like The Other Did didn’t  fail to impress. Tonight was a masterclass in hard rock and working of a smallish crowd into a buzzing riot of wide eyed acolytes ready to obey all commands from the Voodoo Six bible of hard rock.

Datsuns @ Dingwalls

The Datsuns & Free Fall @ DIngwalls, 13th February 2013

Surprisingly it was the first time we’d been to Dingwalls, the venue hidden within Camden market a stone’s throw from the lock and its associated party places. Once inside, it’s a fine setting, with a multi-tiered seating area views were excellent whilst being small enough to remain very intimate to all but the furthest onlooker.

Up as we wandered in Free Fall, the side project of “The Soundtrack of Our Lives” guitarist Mattias Bärjed (who has clearly had enough of mid tempo pop-rock on tonight’s showing), were powering up their amps. Once they begun striking their strings it was immediately obvious these guys worshiped in the church of Page & Plant at the altar of Black Sabbath. Mixing the euphoria of classic rock guitars with heaving blues of zep and Sabbath they managed to craft a sound which was both familiar and at the same time, their own. Vocals were classic Robert plant, powerful and eclectic with howling wails backing the bold and meandering melodies. Another band trying to be zep? Yes…at this they succeeded emphatically! Their nagging choruses were still ringing in my ears as the headliners strutted on stage.

Free Fall

Bias alert! Ever since The Datsuns self-titled debut record hit my ears way back when, I have been totally in awe of their guitar driven garage rock. Many years have passed since that release earned the New Zealand boys proclamation from NME as the best new band in town, some of us have not forgotten. Armed with a sackful of classic blues melodies and frenetic air-guitar anthems I’m ashamed to admit this is the first time I’ve been able to get down to one of their London shows, this one in support of their 5th release, 2012’s Death Rattle Boogie.

The Datsuns

Songs from this corking album dominated the early set, adding in more psychedelic side trips alongside their trademark riff fuelled thrust. Early highlights included the fuzzed up Bullseye, thunderous bass melee of Skull Full Of Bones and the bearer of scorching ‘DiR.net riff of the year 2012′ Gold Halo. The small crowd were buzzing as the on-stage energy of the band reflected in a small chaotic pit of over excited rockers. The number of crowd surfer’s be-lied the limited numbers holding them up, obvious casualties and painful drops ensued! Still for that little pocket of mayhem, nothing mattered beyond exuberantly letting the music snare them into the mouth of garage guitar nirvana.

Song after song of incredible melodies were piled sky high by the reigning riff kings, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Sittin’ Pretty, Maximum Heartbreak, MF From Hell and their well known favourite Harmonic Generator. Yet their set was closed out with one of their most revered and rawkus offerings, Freeze Sucker which combines their firecracker blues, frantic vocals and huge melodies with an extended mellow passage and inevitable return crescendo which pushed the crowd above and beyond boiling.

It was such a great show to finally be a part of, an amazing band with a catalogue of awesome rock anthems. Just surprising they are still haven’t graduated above venues of this capacity, still all the better for me!

Albums of 2012: 25-11

It has to be said that 2012 was an awe inspiring year for the UK. What with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympic Games, national pride and enthusiasm has never been higher (hell… I witnessed a Mexican wave down 2 tube carriages! Unspeakable behaviour !). So it was only fitting that the year also brought with it one of the strongest contests in years to, the bout to be crowned DoesItRock.net’s Album of the Year. A prize to be scoffed at by critics and one loved by fans of honest rock and rollers everywhere.

Let the (slightly delayed) countdown commence!

25) Katatonia- Dead End Kings

Dark and menacing, Dead End Kings is a brooding melodic metal record of the princes of doom. This is a starkly barren soundtrack to a cataclysmic end of the world event, where great waves of guitar noise sweep across the landscape backed by fittingly clean and soulful vocals. It is a superb master class in atmospheric melodies, yet somehow they retain an unexpected accessibility to those less ‘metal’. Often brutal, mostly beautiful.

24) Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living

Abrasive ranting vocals spit lashings of gravel baked growls, drums thrashes, bass thumps and dirt bag guitars soaring anthems from the underbelly of the rock monster. A gargantuan effort which veers further into hard rock territory than they have before, bringing with it the punk beast who’s still a kickin’ and screamin’.

23) Hot Water Music – Exister

Chuck Ragan has won me over with his solo material, so it was about time he pushed his raggedy vocaled chords back into the punk rock arena. An album packed with standout tunes which are seriously catchy, showing there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet.

22) …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs

Reigning in the progressive angles, Lost Songs has struck out on the pure rock sound of AYWKUBTTOD’s earlier releases. Full on face planting into their walls of noise is not uncommon throughout this cathartic and unpredictable release of pent up energy. Oddly unrestrained from the loose binds of prog they have taken up the battle axes and brought us their most edgy and surprising release for years.

21)  Joe Bonamassa – Driving Towards The Daylight

Joe Bonamassa is the new King of the Blues, his latest album showcases everything which makes the man every bit the undisputed bluesman of his generation. Melodies flow effortlessly from his fretboard, vocals of deep heart and emotive soul, slow burning grooves and funky upbeat shuffles all with a country twist thrown in for good measure. Oh did I mention he can play demon guitar. If ever there was another who went down to the crossroads… JB is that man!

20) Jack White – Blunderbuss

Whatever this man touches turns to gold (ignoring The Dead Weather for augments sake) and his first official solo release is no different. A bluesy, country inflected track list of swaggering tunes which swing from pop groove to rawkus retro rock whilst retaining an enigma only Jack White can conjure. His personality flows free lyrically and stays musically true to his vintage sounding ethos. Dramatic and unmissable.

19) Train – Highway 37

A pop rock record, my! my! Yet somehow with every spin a ray of California sunshine brightens the air and fills your life briefly with the kind of roller-skates by the beach, driving down the pacific coast highway kind of carefree optimism, rarely managed by a record (not by the Beach Boys). For this alone they hit the countdown in 2013. A number of pop classics line the track list which only bolsters it’s credentials further.

18) Tenacious D – Rise Of The Fenix

What a fantastic return to form Rise of The Fenix proved for the hard rocking acoustic-men. Crammed full of tongue in cheek lyrics, big riffing and comedic moments. But a chuckle only gets you so far, these tunes are bigger and better, returning to former glories, instantly banishing any ‘Pick of Destiny’ demons with the euphoric opening title track. This rollicking romp of a record is fun and kick-ass, just as we’d all hoped for.

17) The Smith Street Band – Sunshine & Technology

This band’s sound is almost perfectly aligned for me. If Frank Turner hooked up with the Gaslight Anthem and moved to Australia you’d have something very special, in the meantime though The Smith Street Band are a pretty close approximation. Rasping ranting vocals with potent lyrics documenting life the universe and everything from an everyman’s perspective. The lo-fi punk melodies back the spoken verse perfectly, being understated but never forgotten. yet it’s the passionate delivery and chorus’s which shouldn’t work, but do, what make this record stand out from the crowd.

16) Danko Jones – Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue

One of the most underrated Hard Rock bands on the planet. These Canadian ambassadors of no-nonsense guitar, bass, drum, voices with driving punk attitude and succinct songwriting have again produced the goods. Plenty of rousing anthems for long drives, sing-a-long choruses for the shower and fiery riffs for those air guitar moments when no-ones watching. This album is a whole lotta fun, which by not taking its ‘we’re rock’ credentials too seriously, only boost it further. We all know Danko lives and breathes rock and roll anyway.

15) Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky

For the third album in a row since their reformation, Dino Jr. produce a brilliant collection of rough around the edges, fuzzed up indie rock numbers. Plenty of pop melodies maintain focus on the slacked vocals and songwriting rather than the master guitar work of J. Mascis, which as ever is totally mesmerizing!

14) Fighting With Wire – Colonel Blood

FWW aren’t messing about upon their long overdue return. Colonel Blood is packed with big mainstreamed rock numbers brimming with infectious sing-a-long choruses and nifty guitar licks, its hard not to let them embed in your head. Song for song, these guys would give the Foo’s a good run for their money… straight laced fist pumping rock and roll for the masses.

 

13) Pulled Apart By Horses – Tough Love

DiR.net favourites are back and still have plenty of energy to burn. PABH clearly do not like to be tamed in the studio, hence this record sounds like the band going bat-shit, crashing every ounce of blazing rawkus energy into each guitar freak-out or throaty howl. Short sharp songs with minimal lyrics aping both punk’s abandon and heavy metal’s epic riffing. Not to be missed live!

12) Killing Joke – MMXII

For all their back catalogue, this release is the first Killing Joke album to set these ears a wagging. Deep booming bass lines, and sedate atmospheric guitars dominate the bleak industrial backed wasteland vision of MMXII. Only the walls which suddenly blast into euphoric waves of noise provides any sense of escapism. Its this thunderous meld of electro-keys, menacing guitars and robotic drone vocals which transports to another world, one dominated by the impending of total annihilation. Dark, emphatic and unmissable.

11) Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint

Exuberance, energy and enthusiasm…everything a fresh hard rock band should be striving for can be found on A Sinner’s Saint. This Northern Irish Sleaze/Punk influenced bunch have the attitude for chaos, the canny knack for pop melodies, the ability to pull off a decent ballad and pen some epic driving rock anthems. A solid sophomore which has really grabbed my attention by the scruff of the neck and doesn’t look like relenting anytime soon.

Stay tuned for the top 10!

Marshall 50 Years of Loud Live @ Wembley Arena

Marhall Amplification…50 Years of Loud Live

22nd September 2012,

After the terribly sad passing away of company founder Jim Marshall earlier this year, tonight’s celebration of all things LOUD is is less a celebration of Marshall’s ass kicking amplification it was envisaged to be. Instead it was a fitting and emotional posthumous eulogy to the Lord of Loud. A last hurrah from Jim’s closest friends and industry allies to turn it to 11 one last time in the name of rock and roll, many of whom are now brand ambassadors. Tonight saw a unique line up of music legends collaborating in a star studded show the likes of which are usually reserved for staving African children. No tonight…

“This one’s for Jim!”

Tonight was hosted by 2 men on opposite ends of the professional drumming scale. Our comedic compère Al “Pub Landlord” Murray was all British Pride and Glory keeping the insults flying all night, while Jim’s close family friend, Iron Maiden’s Nicko McBrian, brought an emotional and personal edge to proceedings. With the guitar stars out in full force, each jumping on and off stage to play some of the greatest cover versions from the rock gods of yesteryear, it was a) hard to keep up and b) absolutely mesmerizing!!!

Nicko McBrain

Al Murray also pointed out that tonight we were probably going to hear many, many extended outro’s, probably the longest in history of the world. He wasn’t wrong, but the joy brought by these virtuoso’s playing at the top of their games was overwhelming! A stunning shred here, tap solo there, wailing wah-wah’s, stellar string bends and thunderous power chords were never more than a moment away on a special night of rock!

In order to cover the highlights of this 3 hour spectacular, I’ll pick out the highlights…

Whitesnake man Doug Aldrich slung his Gold Top Gibson Les Paul axe plugging into his Marshll stack with pride, as her punched ace classic rock, while Judas Priest front man Tim ‘The Ripper’ Owens provided vocals on Judas classic Living After Midnight. Doug’s measured melodic playing was soulful and careful, with any flashy solo’s always retaining a harmonious and catchy vibe.

Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake) & Tim ‘The Ripper’ Owens (Judas Priest)

The Trio of classic rock covers from Paul Gilbert paid homage to the old masters, adding in some of his trademark shreddy fret runs whist retaining the hard rock backbone of the originals. The highlight being Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression, played with such soul, flair and exuberance it was impossible to fault.

Paul Gilbert 

A heavier edge soon arrived in the shape of Phil Campbell of Motorhead who gave the crowd what exactly they wanted, “The Ace Of Spades, The Ace Of Spades“.  Slayer’s bad-ass beardy metal guru Kerry King jumped at the chance of being a part of this truly explosive 3 minutes of out and out chugtastic handbanger.

Kerry King

Kerry King continued on more a metal mayhem tornado as he ripped through some classic Judas Priest sung with ‘The Ripper‘ himself.

Phill Campbell  & Corey Taylor

Vocalist of the night goes to the magnificent Corey Taylor. His octave range was unparalleled and ambiguous style shifts saw him howling a beautiful bluesy Thin Lizzy cover (w. Phil Campbell) of Still In Love With You, gutteral screams on the Pantera’s metaltastic Mouth for War and many other soaring hard rock numbers throughout the show. My expectations of him were well and truly blown skywards.

Corey Taylor & Billy Duffy (The Cult)

The fastest fingers of the night goes to Scandinavian flash lightning string striker that is, Yngwie Johan Malmsteen. Such speed combined with ‘arpeggio’s from hell’ left most onlookers stunned with awe. Not the most tuneful portion of the night but by damn this man doe not do half measures.

Yngwie Malmsteen

My personal guitar hero stepped up to the plate next, Joe Satriani. He kicked off with the fantastic Satch Boogie and then put in the song of the night, the emotion packed soaring instrumental Always With You , Always with Me, which stole the show with its beauty, heart and soul, without having to turn that dial to 11.

Joe Satriani

Joined by his G3 running mate Paul Gilbert they kicked a cool duelling jam called Going Down. Sharing the stage were two of my icons, this was true guitar heaven!!

Gilbert & Satch = Guitar Ecstasy

For the final set, we were greeted by former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath front man and current Black Country Communion, “The Voice of Rock” Glenn Hughes. Boy this bloke has a set of pipes! His range was outstanding and varied, I’m sure however a few notes were so high to be only audible by our canine friends.

Rounded out with a full ensemble the likes of which will never be seen again for a rip roaring rendition of Smoke on the Water. For completeness here is the full star studded cast of this outstanding hard rock rendition (including those I’ve glossed over in the aid of time):  Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Malmsteen, Corey Taylor, Doug Aldrich, Billy Duffy (Guitar – The Cult), Phil Campbell, Kerry King, Mike Portnoy (Drums – Dream Theatre), Nikko McBrain, Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne & Black Label Society), Fraser (Bassist – Free), Tichy (Drums – Whitesnake/Ozzy/Slash/Foreigner), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne) and the man who put this choreographed the whole show, Marshall demonstrator (since the age of 17) Chris George.

You’ll never see this again!!! Fact!!!

P.S. As I sped through the proceedings, the best of the rest includes:

Zakk Wylde stomping out some corking Black Sabbath covers despite having the single most annoying voice in the building tonight.
Al Murray playing the most underwhelming but most enthusiastically cheered drum solo.
Mike Portnoy and Nicko McBrain jumping on and off the drum kit for the odd song or two.
Free Bassist Andy Fraser looking either aged and senile or totally plastered as he joined Glenn Hughes.
The magnificent House Band who played for the full 3 hour spectacular including the spectacular drumming of Brian Tichy and guitar work of Chris George

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers @ The Electric Ballroom

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers  @ Electric Ballroom

23rd Februray 2012

Mr Flowers has fallen sadly behind the times over recent months, as evidenced by his album backlog stretching back to the summer of 2011. But thankfully his desire for live bands hasn’t faltered. So as we settle doan at The Worlds End for the Camden pre-pint ritual, it’s no shock to learn Flowers has no idea who is supporting. “The Computers! Wow! I didn’t know that! that’s awesome!!“, cue reminiscence on how we sadly missed them at Camden Crawl 2011 and how he still hasn’t heard their debut LP (no surprises there then). No time to waste then as we struck out, eager not to miss out, which turned out slightly enthusiastic given the first support slot went unfilled. All of a sudden the PA system flicked, circa 1955, retro rock and roll blaring…this signaled the imminent arrival of The Computers.

Band uniform’s are an overlooked weapon in the style arsenal as coolness tends to trump novelty. The Computers, fully clad in white shirts and trousers looking a bit like fellow garage rockers The Hives, embrace it. It’s rare to witness something genuinely unique and I am stumped to think of another band who have taken vintage rock n’ roll and blues and channeled it through hardcore punk to create the “Hardcore Blues”.

The Computers

Niche? yes. Good? absu-bloody-lutely! High octane throaty yelps, mixed up over clean backing vocals with riotous guitars thrashing out blues by-numbers melodies make a contagious combination. They play with force and confidence, bounding about stage barely confined by the lengths their instrument cables will take them. Lead vocalist especially has itchy feet as he played from atop of the speakers, on the barrier stage front and more impressively from 50ft back in the crowd. With the cables strung high by some thankfully tall fans acting as makeshift pylons the crowd closed a tight circle around him buzzing in the energy on display. The crowd themselves had seemingly endless energy tonight which made for a corking show. you know when a 20ft circle pit opens up for the support band, you know it’s gonna be one of those nights that you feel lucky to escaped bruising.

Their short sharp 3 minute blasts of inferno blues guitar and rootin’ tootin’ honky tonk piano punk were just stunning, their best being the thrusting “Music Is Dead” and soundtrack to a bar room brawl “Rhythm Revue“. Look out for these boys, they play hard, fast and take no prisoners…just how we like it!

After such a grand opening, it was a tough task to trump. Yet Pulled Apart By Horses went about the task, bit between snarling teeth, as they cranked up the ante one more notch. The crowd again didn’t waste any time in forming smash pits even bigger than before, causing carnage and chaos throughout the entire set. PABH’s alt-metal thunder was epic tonight; their hulking great guitar riffs and giant pounding drums were each on top form.

They plucked plenty of material from their newly release album Tough Love which despite its recent addition to their catalogue sparked furious sing-a-long and energetic reactions from where I was standing. Although it was slightly slower in tempo, their melodies were much wider in scope giving their tunes an added depth. Especially as the big wind-up release guitar rockets are still abundant, yet lie deeper into their songs. Lead single “V.E.N.O.M.” the pick of the newbie’s, unleashed frenzied vocals and an unstoppable melee of fret runs, crescendo’s and breakdowns.

Pulled Apart By Horses

Of course the first album favourites succeeded in unleashing the greatest crowd lunacy, resulting in a twisted sea of bodies enveloping over half of the venue. Set closer “High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive” started a chaotic riot, “The Crapsons” sparked grown men to sing at one another and  “I Punched A Lion In The Throat” with its Zepp’ riffs and calls of “Ultimate Power”  is befitting for one of the best and most powerful live bands around. Their confidence has been buoyed since the last time we witnessed them, if they have been getting this kind of reception up and down the country the it’s easy to see why.

The guys even had time to throw in a Nirvana cover at the death, “Tourettes” which suited their dirty fuzzed guitars and ear pummeling ethos. Tonight was the best show I’ve been at for quite some time. Madness reigned, but ultimately that’s what made it so addictive!

The Virginmarys and The Trews @ The Garage

6th February 2012

Our first band of the night had something of a personality crisis. To the un-informed this foot stomping fuzzed up blues trio kicked off as Mad Dog, playing some perky little riffs leaning heavily on the led zep wall of sound. But by mid set their vocalist/lead guitarist announced “As you know we have changed names” we are now called Born Mad. Was news to me, but thankfully their name change didn’t change the path of this really bright set of catchy numbers driven by enigmatic vocals and bold blues riffing with the occasional wandering voyage into trip-out psychedelia.

Mad Dog/Born Mad (or as Trews guitarist thought…Porn Mag!)

Far from being a “new” band, The Trews have been on my stereo since their brilliant 2003 debut “House of Ill Fame“, which still ranks as one of my favourites. Not forgetting they were nominated for ‘New Group of the Year’ at the 2004 Juno Awards! To see them subbing on the bill in a new music showcase is rather disappointing, but I have to count blessings as this is the first time I’ve managed to get to one of their precious few London shows.

The Trews

Showcasing their straight up non-nonsense, chorus driven pop, rock and roll, The Trews won many new friends this evening. Their songwriting was a clear head and shoulders above the rest of the night’s bands, providing thunderous guitars, immensely catchy sing-a-long moments and a fizzing lead guitar solos too boot. Songs such as the corking rocker “Misery Loves Company“, and the swaggering “So She’s Leaving” showed their talent for penning great riffs, while vocal centric bluesy strutters “Not Ready To Go” and “Poor Old Broken Hearted Me” had infectious melodies stamped all over them.

Their experience was evident as they inherently went off script with extended guitar solo’s (for which John Angus MacDonald routinely took up central stage rock god positioning,) intimate crowd/band banter and whole hearted crowd participation antics led by front man Colin MacDonald. These tunes were simply huge for a tiny venue such as this, but then after years of playing shows in their native Canada, this should not have been a surprise. Essentially this was a fantastic set of rousing popped up rock, all I’d hoped it would be.

Tonight’s headliners The Virginmarys are in fact making quite a name for themselves. After we caught them at the Forum supporting Ash in 2011, we couldn’t get enough, hence we back for more. The second blues trio of the night had a tough bill to top, but they set about their task with vigor and passion. The great thing about them is that they are so eminently watchable. With three excelling musicians on display from the driving bassist, the ecstatic drummer who smashed the skins with severe warrior like blows and the hazy front man on guitar and vocals piling on the riffs and saturating the air with rough and ready vocals, careering from deep and soulful to range busting howls.

The Virginmarys

Each song steeped in the blues managed to grab either the attention with either a cracking vocal melodies or a treat from their over-stocked arsenal of rawkus guitar licks. all hot and bothered “Bang, Bang, Bang“. A surefire hit already within the rock scene, let’s hope the Virginmarys go on to deliver the debut album we’re all waiting for!

Ash @ The Forum

26th October 2011
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”…or so the story goes….
The Virginmarys

Tonight’s opeing gambit came courtesy of The Virginmarys. A bluesy vagabond trio plying stoked rock and roll wringing every drip of power and energy from their instrumental weapons of choice. Varying the pace between slow acoustic fables, mid tempo romper stompers and fiery riffed guitar free for all’s, this highly addictive set was nicely balanced. With only one guitar, frontman Ally Dickaty both enthralled with his flaming blues licks, overdriven  clattered chords and instantly lovable melodies. With attack, restraint and  raw blues pop power in equal measure, this trio gave their all in the name of rock and roll.
Top Drums

Futures, a much hyped pop-punk band felt somewhat stunted in their reply. Their polished pop rock was well crafted, shiny and skirted with Coldplay-esque stadium ambitions. Yet it all felt a little too pedestrian despite the three guitars on show. Their radio hawking melodies were mostly forgettable over which the vocals were barely audible.

Futures


This support battle was won and lost on the drummers stool! “A Tale of Two Drummers“, so to speak. One steam rolled through his set inflicting full blooded smashes, thrashing the skins to within an inch of their lives. The other sat calmly, looking cool, knockin out ‘rock band’ 1-2-1-2 beats without a whiff of passion. The Viginmarys triumph from this particular tale while Futures are left to face the guillotine of defeat.
Ash…incoming

As an Ash veteran, I was thrilled on the announcement of tonight’s Free All Angels show. It was a corking album which takes me back to younger summers, played in full no less + greatest hits (no a-z nonsence, phew!). To top that off we also are treated to a return to the Ash stage, of former axe slinging princess, Charlotte Hatherley!
Charlotte Hatherley

They wasted no time in small talk tonight. Straight on with the trio of knockout of tunes which lead off Free All Angels, feelgood punker Walking Barefoot, Sing your heart out Shining Light and the irrepressible Burn Baby Burn. “Not a bad start to an album hey…”, remarks flying v armed frontman, Tim Wheeler. Even If he says so himself.
Tim Wheeler

But then, I got that immediate wake up call, telling me that the highlights have been and gone after only 10 minutes.
Yet a top form’ ‘full fat’ dual guitared Ash threw themselves into every tune, even sparking mini crash pits with the furious punk combo of Shark and Pacific Palisades plus sparking mass soppyness with ballads Someday and There’s A Star. They managed to maintain the euphria from track 1 through 12 an impressive feat.
Wrapping up the album section they dived off, only to return with even more vigour and purpose. Their Greatest Hits set was even better than what came before. Tim was basking in the crowds reflective energy while fiery haired Charlotte looked like she was having a blast being back in front of the faithful. We can only hope for a permanent return, but On the strength of tonight’s show, there might be a chance…maybe?
Throwing in an extended run of classics including Girl From Mars. Oh Yeah, Orpheus, A Life Less Ordinary and a cool cover of  Teenage Kicks. They clearly overran curfew when returning for a second encore, not that there were any complaints  mind you. This ensure no classic was left unaired as Kung Fu rounded the night out… kicking and screaming in its pop rock magnificence. A masterful set from a live band who never, never, never, disappoint!

Album Reviews: The Answer – Revival

After almost two years on tour with Ac/Dc it was only inevitable the return of The Answer was going to be special!

The Answer – Revival

Unbreakable Cover

RockOSaurus Says:

Revival. It’s a pretty accurate title as it’s sparked life back into the stalled rise of Northern Irelands classic rock sons, The Answer! Right from the word go this LP has the blues flooding through it’s veins, showing it’s vinyl crackled charms and quickly baring it’s snarling teeth! The simple blues riff is totally revitalised here with brilliant production effortlessly toeing the line between old school style and new school power!

Song writing is incredibly tight with fuller and more dynamic layered sounds from staple blues weapons, the harmonica and psychedelic organs on top of their Les Paul Standard attack . The overly Americanised lyrics grate somewhat if you want to be pedantic,, but the booming chorus melodies are catchy enough to wash away these critiques.

This is a start to finish classic rock bruiser with hook heavy melodies, traditional blues riffs, blistering guitar solos and superb vocals from Cormac Neeson’s stunning set of pipes. Trouble drips with retro flair, Use Me cranks the amps, female backing vocals bring a new slant on Nowhere Freeway, while Caught In The Riverbed fires fretboard flares at will and New Day Rising‘s driven by of the best tremolo picked riffs this side of Thunderstruck!

Their time on tour with Ac/Dc has obviously rubbed off in abundance, almost matching the biggest rockers in the world for both raw power and total addictiveness! Revival is a fantastic return to form, one no rock lover should be without!

DoesItRock Overall Score: 9/10

Listen to The Answer – Revival now on Spotify!

Does It Rock? September Round-up

Summers over, time to put out this bumper Spotify Mix

Listen now on Spotify>>> DoesItRock.net – Sep 11 Mix

1) Maybeshewill – Critical Distance … An Epic classically backed instrumental rock that sparks ultimate euphoria!
2) Banquets – Forever Bender … Pop Punk leading lights have new rivals to contend with, energetic and massively enjoyable.
3) Fucked Up – Ship Of Fools … Punk has never sounded this good!
4) Blood Command – Summon The Arsonist … Scandenavian alt rockers mix up electronica, metal and punk with this frenzied, in your face track.
5) Bomb the Music Industry! – Can’t Complain … Sweet and melodic, a refreshing song from ever changing DIY punks
6) Dananananaykroyd – Muscle Memory … Fight Poppers return with this corking tune
7) Alkaline Trio – Calling All Skeltons … This classic punk track gets the acoustic makeover, still brilliant!
8) The Trews – Hope & Ruin … Canada’s unsung rock hero’s return with a brilliant new album, this is the corking title track.
9) Thrice – Yellow Belly … Epically brooding rock from the heavyweights of the US alternative rock community.
10) Arctic Monkeys – Library Pictures … The highest the fuzz counter gets on the latest Monkeys offering.
11) The Subways – Like I Love You … Chirpy and infectious pop rock tune from this british rock trio.
12) Laura Marling – The Beast … Superbly talented and so powerful with her beautiful vocals, the nu-folk superstar returns.
13) Black Tide – That Fire … The highlight of a disappointing foray into BFMV country, steering away from their trad heavy metal clout.
14) Hawthorne Heights – Is This What You Wanted? … Emotionally charged post-hardcore which demands attention.
15) Icon For Hire – Make A Move … The new Paramore perhaps? More focused on the rock but the pop sheen clear to see.
16) Opeth – Häxprocess … Steeped in the 70’s, prog rock hero’s are back (in time).
17) Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle … Delightfully different, BBC throw their latest curveball.
18) No Americana – Wax Poetic … Startlingly accomplished track from this brilliant new Brummy band.
19) Chickenfoot – Big Foot … Satch and Hagar are back to kick out asses with their hard hitting classic rock!
20) The Treatment – D***k, F**K,F***T … Rock and Roll chaos driven by baddass guitars, awesome vocals and a thumping melody.
21) Rose Hill Drive – Baby Doncha Know Your Man? … One of the best hard rock acts return with fuzz pedal workout.
22) The Brew – Immogen Molly … Dripping in retro style, the Brew’s latest album is a must for all blues fans.
23) The Kooks – Rosie … Jolly little pop ditty marks the return of the seaside boys latest dreamier album Junk of The Heart.
24) Zebrahead – Blackout … Rap and Punk Rock combine with finesse with this highly contagious tune.
25) Every Avenue – Whatever Happened To You … Pop Punk Anthem of the Month.Spotify Playlist

Spotify Playlist

DoesItRock.net – Sep 11 Mix