Posts tagged Gigs
13th December 2013
The final show of 2013 was a real riot, a line-up packed with stars future and present mixing up the sub-genre’s but providing their own slant on high octane rock.
First to stake out their claim, was the brash and rising young hard rockers The Treatment. Their set was a blast of power, guitar licks and melody flashing nifty moments of soloing prowess in a mix of big chorus’, thumping rhythms and a driving tempo. Their new material was ok, I Bleed Rock & Roll being the pick of the bunch, while the rest was difficult to connect with seeing this was the first airing. Melodies seemed to be there but they lacked the familiarity of the older repertoire which brought many more fist pumps from the sizable early crowd. Their stage act is slick, enthused and engaging which cannot be faulted (except for the stature of their bassist which seemed to irrationally irk fellow DiR man The Docktor). I wait with baited breath to see what the album has in store.
Orange Goblin were next out, they wasted absolutely no time is obliterating any chance of being able to hear anything the next day. Their muscular and lolloping Stoner Rock cut huge swathes of gigantic riffage out of the mire of fuzz and astounding aural plunder. With sweat, dropped tuned guitars and long hair as standard they came, they saw and the conquered with their mega-sound. Having been about for a long time, many tracks were unfamiliar, but their blues based guitar licks never failed to impress. Vocals however (as with many live rock leviathans), were drowned and pulled helplessly into the whirlpool of noise. Hypnotic repetition failed to interest The Docktor, who was still reeling from the strength of his opinion on the first act. A defiantly different approach, but no less entertaining.
Finally we arrived at the headline act, Airbourne, who have climbed to the upper echelons of Rock Mountain with effortless ease. A task made much easier by their standing on the shoulders of Rock Giants Ac/Dc. Tight and powerful rhythm guitars with a packed arsenal of dangerous riffs fronted by an equally perilous leader who seriously put his body on the line each and every night, tonight was no exception. From cracking open beer cans on his head (both macho and stupid), riding around on shoulders in the crowd and climbing to the balcony (both while continuing to blast out captivating guitar solos) the Joel O’Keeffe circus has an abundance of tricks.
Showmanship of the highest order keeps the crowd fixated throughout despite when songs seem to start merging together with their similar melodies. No questions asked, Airbourne were born to rock, as they ride each huge track from their pulsating opening riffs through rollicking and romping tempo’s to their cataclysmic crescendo’s. Simple and loud, their beer swelling party ethos and daredevil antics are the kind of rallying cry for all men to join and party, beers and fists aloft.
Standout tunes were mainly the slower grooves which sparked huge sing and bounce-a-longs (yes, the elder crowd were jumpin’ too) such as No Way But The Hard Way, Back In The Game and Too Much Too Young Too Fast fitting this particular billing. New album material went down well, mainly because it rather similar to all their previous records. While variety was in short supply, you cannot fault Airbourne for doing what they do best, putting on the best rock and roll show the world has ever seen! Tonight, they did just that!
I’ll be honest, a get together of the DoesItRock motley crew for ages took precedence this evening, resulting in a later than planned entry to the Electric Ballroom this eve. Forgetting about the ridiculously early kick out times of venues with Friday night club nights, we were instantly greeted to the swell of anticipation at the arrival of the Black Spiders.
After being the only high ranking band in my top listen charts that I haven’t seen live, It’s fair to say I was excited. So they came, like hard rock behemoths they swooped and plundered riff after riff and terrorizing the audience with their macho Marshall/Gibson combo rock sound.
It was a shame then that after the release of a new album that they stuck to this material like glue, never venturing 2 or 3 song from its track list before coming running back again I guess after years of touring the same material they wanted to get their new stuff out there.
The new songs were flooded with guitars and quite often drowned out the vocals, whilst the chorus’s didn’t quite have the sing-a-long nature or immediacy of album one tunes. The highlights including the super heavy Motorhead style thrasher Teenage Knife Gang their ode to a late night stroll in Croydon Trouble and the power punching opener Knock You Out.
When the past beckoned it was clearly a cut above the rest on the sedate but infectious run through of “KISS Tried To Kill Me, the romper stomping mammoth sing-a-long of St. Peter and the carnage causing wind up and release of What Goods A Rock Without A Roll.
On the whole though it was the slower groovier sluggers which took most of the DiR praise, mostly because of the big chorus lines which gnawed into your head until you were singing like everybody else. I’m glad to have finally seen them, but given the pedestal I’d put them on before they struck a chord, it was going to be tough to match.
19th August 2013
Stoner Rock Floridians Torche made the trip across the pond to bring their refreshingly pop-centric brand of heaviness to London. Some UK support band were up first, it was a mixed bag.
The Jerks were a simple duo who eminated a sense of normality, right down to the attire and jam style interplay. They really just seemed to be having a great time, which in itself is a crowd pleaser. They played a ramdon brand of fuzzy rock with spasmodic time signatures and tempos. Never the same for more than a minute they were tricky to keep track of, as they bounded on giddying gallops one moment to laborious plunders the next. A surprise package which was a early treat.
If The Jerks were a bit random, then the Dundee based sub-headliners Fat Goth had to fight out of their strait jackets to get here tonight. They played a combo of deep chugging noise riffs all with undercurrents of very technical mathy fret runs and off-kilter melodies. They were mesmeric and hard to ignore, no matter which angle they decided to take. However when the vocalist opened his mouth it fell apart. Comical (and creepy) voices such as cowboy, falsetto’s, girly yelps and spoken words meant I felt embarrassed for the guy. Entertaining, yes…but in the way that’s really cringe worthy. Totally random and superbly enthralling, although not sure if its for the right reasons though.
With the main event imminent, Torche lined up with a towering statue. With the lights set to darkly and mysterious with flashes of ambient they begun the onslaught of the senses (I say senses, I mean hearing). Unfortunately the sound stampeding from their Orange amps was really awful. Whether it was a poor sound check we’ll never know, but the first 3-4 songs were blur of amp buzz and slurred riffs which have no bite or distinguishing melodies.
This was never truly rectified and it was only on their more uplifting singles did the crowd really start to get behind them. Set highlights which did match expectations were the boulder thumping riffs of Kicking and the frenetic energies of Walk It Off restoring my faith in their sound.
Rarely am I as disappointed as tonight, but when technical issues take a firm hold it’s hard to wrestle back control.
23rd July 2013
After a rip roaring outing at the Monto Water Rats many years ago (Over 7 years ago now, wow), I could not resist the lure of The Thermals once more. This time they come after a couple of poppier LP’s laying back their sound, would their show be equally electrifying? The support tonight came from Slowcoach. After 6 months has elapsed, it turns out I have no recollection of the performance or their sound, which in itself is evidence in its own right.
The Thermals however left another rampaging wake in my memory with their blistering indie punk which belies their relatively polishes LP’s. Each song was a short sharp burst of energy, played with buzzing fuzz guitars and romping bass lines, enough of which have memorable pop chorus’s to keep the crowd happy. Alongside their true rock out moments which sparked crashing bodies to fly this was a balanced set of songs from old aggression, recent fine melodic moments all delivered with bursting enthusiasm.
Set highlights includes the recent return to fine rock out form “Born To Kill”, slow melodic bounder “Never Listen To Me” and the terrifyingly brilliant assault of “Here’s Your Future”.
The advancing years have not taken any toll on The Thermals, plus there’s no sign of them slowing down any time soon either.
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…
Stood still for the camera, which was more to do with their advancing years. Proper classic rock still sounds good to these ears.
Highlight: Storming rendition of Doctor, Doctor
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
Highlight: Whisky In The Jar getting a field full of old drowned rats jumping around like youthful loons in bright sunlight.
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.
Highlight: The Parting’s soaring vocal section, juxtaposed against their deep earth excavating riffs.
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.
Highlight: Simple Boy and its xylophone melody giving way to a stonking deep 7 string bass riff machine
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
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.
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.
Queens Of The Stone Age
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.
Highlight: Little Sister, where the guitar solo and thumping bass line collide, caused carnage.
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!
Highlight: Fear of The Dark, with the entire crowd bellowing the opening riff a Capella.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
16th April 2013,
It was a busy night in north London, police lined the streets and the riot gear was out in force. Thankfully the couple of hundred fans of And So I Watch You From Afar were not the reason behind such tactics. An Arsenal home game was in fact the cause of the red and white army moving towards The Emirates for a clash with Everton.
Crowd troubles aside (it took over 10 mins to get ascend to street level from the tube!), The Garage was stiflingly hot and already packed as Antlered Man took to the stage (I do admit to being a tad disappointed that there were no Minotaur’s in the band). This London bunch of alt-rockers plundered the stage with their heaving and hefty whirls of clanging guitar noise. A vast array of odd sounds and warped effects were generated with gusto and frenetic intents. Shame a lot of it was buzz and wailing amp feedback, especially the slide guitar which howled extra-terrestrial whoops and whizzes throughout the set. They were however enjoyable and had a good set of book end tunes with opener and closer being incredible hook heavy eclectic rock chaos. The meat of the sandwich however was a blur of noise which passed primarily unnoticed. However they get extra marks for basing a song on a 4 note riff played on a tin whistle. Not bad, but room for improvement in the depth of quality, time will tell for the Antlered Men.
Next up (well almost) were Gallops, who decided a full 10 minutes before their set time that they were too ill to play. Groans from the busy crowd but having almost slept through their set supporting Maybeshewill, this was fine by me. It did mean an awkward pause ensued, but earlier than planned the instrumental post-rockers …And So I Watch You From Afar took the stage.
And So I Watch You From Afar
ASIWYFA, only have 1 gear so it seems…full throttle! From the very first sombre chords to the highest pinnacle of their epic rock repertoire, they bombarded The Garage with bomb after bomb of explosive guitar power. For a band with no lyrics, they manage a very good job of manufacturing a connection with their audiences, sparking crowd exuberance through bombastic man-rock sections and rising spirits alongside the harmonious crescendos of their muscular and often chaotic tunes. Somehow the music is better for their omission, but that has not stopped ASIWYFA attempting to slip some in on their newest album. While a simple tool, the odd “yeahs!” of yore have been updated with “woos!”, “las!”, and most vexing “Ka Ba Ta Bo Da Ka” alongside other actual words. Sometimes they word to bring the crowd up in reflected harmony, other times it’s just filling a gap where another corking fret board run could be inserted.
Tonight was special for ASIWYFA as this was their biggest sell out crowd outside of their native land of Northern Ireland, something which could be read from the beaming smiles on the faces of the band. In fact at every opportunity they could not help but thank each and every one of the crowd for being here. Truly genuine and honourable, as this venue is a long way from Shepherds Bush Empire, let alone Brixton Academy or Wembley.
After an extended run of sonic pummelling ASIWYFA retired knowing that each of the crowd would be back for another sample of their intense and exhilarating performance, most probably dragging all their friends along for the white knuckle ride too!
14th March 2013,
After missing out on Kvelertak’s first time down at the Borderline last year, it was with great pleasure I wandered into the Electric Ballroom tonight ready to be blasted by the monsters of black and roll. As you may imagine many things have grown over this last 12 months for tonight’s headline act; the budgets, the crowds, venue capacities and line-up quality.
Sadly the latter does not account for the openers El Doom and The Born Electric. Their 70’s retro influenced guitar and piano noodling outfit, had a couple of decent melodies in among their expansive songs indebted more to Americana than their native Nordics. Still they were entertaining to watch as the lead singer (who is the Father of a Kvelertak Guitarist) act as if he’s 21 and doesn’t have a son backstage. Calls to screw groupies and plenty more crude jokes must make a son proud of old dad! To his credit though, he’s still can rock a cool cowboy hat!
El Doom & The Born Electric
A few weeks before DesertFest 2013 arrives in Camden for a 2 day/3 night Stoner spectacular, one of the main attractions were here tonight for a trial run in support of their Scandinavia counterparts. The reigning lords and masters of fuzz, Truckfighters! After witnessing their incredible set. I believe I have found the true definition of ‘the’ power trio. Every sonic wave created by this band is intended to knock you on your ass with it’s mighty seismic force, obliterating all in its path. The Orange amps were kicking out was more fuzz than the combined casts of The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.
Despite being an mainly instrumental band, these guys are a blast live. All eyes were on the adrenaline fueled, semi naked guitarist Dango, who was bouncing, pogoing, spinning and pulling skateboard tricks Tony Hawks would be proud. His axe partner in crime bassist/vocalist Ozo, by comparison was far too cool to be jumping about like a loon, concentrating instead on thumping out some hefty bass lines and sparse vocals. Minds were sore after this set due to the epic noise onslaught and the infectious head bang which pervaded through the enthused crowd. Brilliant and boisterous!
Kvelertak were here on serious business tonight with 5 of more professional video cameramen were strewn around the floor at varying vantage points (the guy who was placed to cover the unfolding chaotic mosh pits must have drawn the short straw tonight). From the very first glimpse of the band, they were here to make a big impression. When all 4 guitarists and the lead vocalist wearing a menacing owl headdress lined up on centre stage, back dropped by their huge amp stacks and lit up by blinding lightning strike strobes you wouldn’t be hard pushed to imagine the Apocalypse was coming. I for one can’t shake the captivating visuals of this raw and unhinged Norse Viking power, both sonically potent and visually striking.
Immediately into their groove they gave a lesson in high octane rock with a rasping metallic edge as they showcased many new tracks from their upcoming album, Meir. These new tracks had all the melody and attack of their fantastic debut, but also shifted into slightly more accessible realms for the casual listeners.
Gang vocal hooks and even a high bend classic rock solo were on display. Vocals were literally as understandable as Norwegian screams, but it never seems to matter as they provide clout and machismo to the stunning triple guitar work. Their live axe wielding is some of the best I’ve seen as the talented trio chop and change between solos, dueling riffs and rhythm responsibilities never missing a chance to flare or thunder another huge chord.
There was no mistaking tonight that Kvelertak have most definitely arrived…on tonight’s performance, they are also here to stay! Long live Black and Roll!
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.
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.
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!