Michael Schenker Live!!

Venue: _ Shepherds Bush Empire, London, UK
Date:- 2/11/2017

”I’ve never seen Michael Schenker live before although i have listened to his music now and again either as a solo artist or when he was in The Scorpions. When i came across a competition online to win tickets to see him live i thought ”Fuck it, what have i to lose??” I won a ticket!! Off i trundle down to Shepherds Bush on the Circle line and arrive at the venue just as support band The Departed are taking to the stage!! I’ve never heard of them before and to be honest on first exposure they were not my thing. My fires were lit but they only flickered not roared, that had to do with the extreme belly ache i acquired once i had found a suitable spot stage left to stand. Anyway the sound was hard rock 80’s style, a bit Bon Jovi, a bit David Coverdale, well executed and well rehearsed and confident onstage, something you’d expect from a band that i read afterwards had played on bills with the likes of Graham Bonnet, Status quo and Ginger Wildheart. As i write this my view of The Departed is one of comme si comme ca, something to try again at a later date sans belly ache!!”

”From where i stood stage left there were people who had no interest in The Departed whatsoever, they stood impatiently waiting for the main act of the evening, when the intro music started playing these guys were shaken out of their chats, their eyes pulled away from their phones and an air of life and excitement meandered through the tightly packed throngs!! My experience of the Michael Schenker set was, like for The Departed, sullied by a, at this point, worsening belly ache. But the musicianship and charisma was not lost on me!! There were 5 guys onstage but my eyes were constantly drawn to the right hand side of said stage only offering cursory glances to the rest of the band, sometimes it was as if they were invisible. he could have stood at the back of the stage in the shadows and the charisma would have lit him up like a firecracker. As i am not familiar with any of the tracks played tonight i’m unable to pick a stand out track that wowed me or the crowd, all i can say is that it was a great 90 odd minutes of musicianship that did on occasion become tedious, i mean some of the guitar solos just went on for way too long and my inner voice kept piping up and saying ”Oh FFS get with it, you can play, i know!!”

”And then about 45 minutes to an hour into the set the sound in the venue cut out for 15 or so minutes, i took the time to freshen up and mitigate against the effects of my belly ache to no avail. When the band came back onstage i stood right at the back behind a crowded bar for the remainder of the set. And then i left….”

7/10

 

 

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/pg/MichaelSchenkerRocks/about

https://www.facebook.com/pg/departedbanduk/about

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CROWS LIVE!!

Date:- 31/10/2017

Venue:- The Lock Tavern, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, London.

 

”The other night i was asked by Shaun, one of the dj’s at Wicked Spins Radio, if i’d pop along to the Lock Tavern in Camden to check out a band called Crows, he said they are a good band that are on the up and destined for great things so i said i would go,check them out and write this review. I  turned up around 7:45pm where i met a friend and chatted for a while  before the support, a band called Krushed Puppies took to the stage. Sounding a bit like L7 or Hole but with weak vocals in want of energy and to be honest a bit ”whiney teenager”. There was a lack of oomph in said vocals and on occasions it was way out of tune. The drums were to high in the mix and the bass didn’t sound poignant enough in my view!! I was glad when they left the stage to be honest!!”

”The tables were removed for Crows and i can see why now because within 10 minutes of Krush Puppies leaving the stage the pub was already filling up for the headline!! The vocalist took to the stage in a dress/wig and dressing gown and mainly performed back at the band and not to the audience. or  if not  doing that spent a lot of time actually  in the audience or standing on the bar. There was a fair bit of crowd surfing too. The set on this Halloween night consisted of only covers from bands of pedigree such as Black Sabbath/The Ramones/The Damned and The Cramps  with the last track a cover of the Hives ”Hate to say i told you so” !! A band  full of energy that is reciprocated by a crowd that is as raucous as the sound. obnoxiously so on occasions, a total antithesis to other gigs i have been to where everyone just stand around politely or is too scared to let themselves go. I went to gig last week and everyone in the crowd just stood passively with arms folded apart from one guy who stood in the middle of everyone going absolutely mental!! Tonight there were many more going mental!!”

”Anyway, this was a good covers set, i shall make a date to see them perform their own stuff soon. a good band!!”

 

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/pg/crowsband/about

SOLSTAFIR LIVE IN DUBLIN

 

 

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Solstafir

”I was having a short break in Belfast with a friend at the end of August which included a road trip around County Donegal and when i got back to Belfast it was suggested that i go to Dublin to attend this festival. I was reticent at first but after a short bout of coaxing i relented and bought a ticket. So 3 days after getting back from Donegal i was off again to the Irish Republic for an afternoon and evening of heavy psych!!”

”The Voodoo Lounge is a club/music venue situated on the north bank of the river Liffey with 2 bars, 2 stages and a woman selling flip flops and chuppa chups in the loo, my first port of call when i am feeling hungry!! And the sound system was very good, manned by attentive engineers!!”

”All of the bands on the bill sounded very Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelinesque  except for Vulpynes, a female duo that were very L7 sounding with a hip thrusting and lip sneering attitude. Just drums and lead guitar with plenty of reverb and fuzz. In fact, apart from Solstafir i’d heard of none of the bands on the bill so this festival was in a sense a blind punt! A punt that turned out well!! The aforementioned Vulpynes were worth the listen along with Crowhammer and Lord Vicar, Gorilla Pulp and Witch Sorrow. If you like your music sludgy and the consistency of  blackened treacle then check out the bands i have mentioned!!”

”And then there was Solstafir:- Very earthy and peaty in sound, with undertones of sulphur. It’s a sound that conjures up images of a sparse landscape scarred by millions of years of geological activity, i see geysers and sulphur clouds and windswept beaches overlooked by snow topped volcanoes. This is a sound that cannot be mistaken for anything else, no other band sounds like Solstafir, this sound is unique in flavour except perhaps for a hint of  Fields Of The Nephilim in the bass sound , just a subtle hint though!! They are another band that conjure up images of open landscapes, feelings of desolation, isolation and introspective thought. When you watch a Solstafir video one gets the rawness and honesty of the landscape, the stripping away of pretence, you are in the moment where you can live and breath without restriction from without or within, there is a focus in my view, everything superfluous evaporates because it is exposed for what it is!! Superfluous!!! I think the track they opened with was ”Silfur – Refur” from the new album ”Berdreyminn” or ”Dreamer of Forthcoming Events”, which i have listened to a few times, it gets better and better with each listen though it’s not ”Otta” so don’t expect it to be!!”

”Solstafir played for around 60 minutes, an enjoyable 60 minutes i must say, the set felt like they had played for a lot longer, an hour and a half would’ve been great but i won’t grumble!!”

”As i said, this was a punt that paid off, i thoroughly enjoyed the festival and it’s offerings and i think i’ll pay a visit again in the future!! ”

 

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/pg/solstafirice/about/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/crowhammerdublin/about/

https://www.facebook.com/lordvicar/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/vulpynes/about

WACKEN OPEN AIR 2017

The Festival:-

”One of the festivals on the European metal/alternative circuit that i have always wanted to go to is the Wacken Open Air festival which is 50km north of Hamburg in the state of Schleswig Holstein. Over 3 days in August over 130 bands from various different metal subgenres will play on numerous stages to thousands of dedicated metal pilgrims, many of whom will be making their annual pilgrimage from all over the globe. It will be a time to party, to catch up will old friends,meet new ones and listen to some of the finest music created by some of the most influential acts from all over world, established acts and also new ones too!! All sub genres are catered for, from Hair Metal to Nu Metal all the way through to Black, Death, Thrash, Industrial etc etc! The average age of attendees is around 27 years old and 84, 000 tickets roughly are sold every year and for the past few years all the tickets have been sold out within 24/48 hours of them going on sale which is usually the day after the current festival ends. A nice touch is that  approximately 1800 residents  of the village of Wacken get free passes which is only fair considering that the village has to cater to thousands of people for 3 days, acting as guides, offering accommodation, catering/beer etc and of course putting up with a disruption to their peace and tranquillity!! In 2011 expansion to the festival was halted so as to not abuse the hospitality of the village and also for safely and logistical purposes. I personally think that was a good idea, obviously you want your event to be popular and grow but there comes a point at which the bigger you get the more problems you  encounter and the unique vibe that makes an event what it is can end up being watered down and being totally ruined!!”

The History:-

”The Seminal Wacken commenced on the 24th August 1990 with a band called Skyline and finished the following day with 5th Avenue, Ax’n Sex, Motoslug, Sacred Season and Wizzard (I assume this was not Roy Woods Wizzard but Wizzard from Sweden who were formed in 1985) The 26th Edition in 2016 commenced on Thursday 4th August and finished on Saturday 6th August and bands that played that year included Iron Maiden, Henry Rollins, Ministry, Borknagar and Twisted Sister Amongst others. In the intervening years there have been many bands that i have never heard of playing on the bill with plenty of familiar faces that have included the likes of Dimmu Borgir, Black Dahlia Murder, Motorhead, Cradle Of Filth, Therion, Saxon, Iced Earth, Celtic Frost, Gorgoroth, Mayhem and Amon Armath. This years iteration will include Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Lacuna Coil and the Cavalaera Brothers to name but a few. So, in 26 years we’ve gone from humble beginnings with a handful of bands to the pulsing behemoth we have today with hundreds of artists who are part of the global metal family. May this years  festival be a roaring success  and for many years to come.”

LINKS:-

All travel and accommodation information can be found here. Please do your research carefully and thoroughly, i shall not be held responsible for your mistakes!!:-

http://www.wacken.com/en/

https://www.facebook.com/events/165108507250281/

ROB ZOMBIE LIVE!!

robzombiecolor1wickedspins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue:- The Kentish Town Forum, London.

Date:- 17th October 2016

 

”First off, I was bloody disappointed that I did not get a photopass!! But the person who was giving them out went to hospital  so obviously they had more important things to be attending to. I did however get in due to an amenable security guy ushering me in the back way and letting me blend into the crowd in an urgent manner!! The place was packed so I decided to stand near the bar stage right so I could leave my bags on the end of the bar!! I was surrounded all manner of people waiting for the action to start, Rob Zombie clones, tattooed rock chicks, spaced out dread heads and a clown!! The only place where clowns can’t be arrested at the moment, at a Rob Zombie gig!! So, I settled in,  bought a plastic stein of Carlsberg and readied myself!! With bright streaking lights and through a wail of screams, yelps and cheers Rob and band populate the stage and dive straight in to ”Last Of The Demons Defeated” from ”The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser” album. I had not listened to this new album so all the tracks played were unfamiliar!! I did recognise ”Superbeast” , ”Dragula”, ”Living Dead Girl”,  ”More Human Than Human” and ”Thunderkiss 65” Personally ”More Human Than Human” was laboured vocally,  there was no stamina for the rap I felt, I didn’t feel satiated by it so I  didn’t enjoy it that much but The cover Of The Ramones ”Blitzkrieg Bop” and Alice Coopers ”Schools Out” were brilliant, the mix was right and the vocals paced like one wave following another!! There was an allusion to the US election ”But no one is talking about Alien Abduction!!” Rob says, the crowd cheers and then straight in to ”Well, everyone’s fucking in a UFO”, another track from the new album. These tracks don’t seem as strong as those from other efforts, Hopefully they’ll grow on me. Another great track on the night was ”Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga” from ”Venomous Rat Degeneration Vendor” Try singing that after a plastic stein of lager!! I did, I couldn’t lol!!”

 

robzombiebw2wickedspins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

”This show was a stripped down show with none of the costumes worn at earlier events, just corpse paint, tee shirts and flairs, a few plastic aliens to lob into the crowd and some beach balls!! The lights were bloody bright though, shutter speeds of 1/300 or above would have stopped the action nicely, I tried to get some from where  I was standing near the bar, not bad but not good either as you can see!! The rest of the photos are from my phone which are equally rubbish!! But the event was recorded which is the main thing!!”

 

robzombiebw1wickedspins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

”Anyway, to sum up, 1.5 hours of entertainment, some J5 riffing, plastic aliens and 2 encores, a good night!! I wasn’t keen on the t shirts though, not the price (£25) , if plain black cotton of a lighter gauge with just a small RZ embroidered logo was available I would definitely have bought one, that’s just me!!”

All in all a good show!!

 

4/5

Setlist

1:- The last of the Demons Defeated

2:-Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown

3:- Superbeast

4:- In the age of the Consecrated Vampire we all get High

5:- Demonoid Phenomenon

6:- Wild Thing

7:- Living Dead Girl

8:- Scum Of the Earth

9:- Well, everybody’s Fucking in a UFO

10:- More Human Than Human

11:- Never Gonna Stop

12:- The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore

13:- House Of a Thousand Corpses

14:- John 5 guitar solos

15:- Thunderkiss 65

16:- Schools Out

17:- Blitzkrieg Bop

18:- Thunderkiss 65 reprise

Encore 1

19:- Lords Of Salem

20:- Get your Boots on, That’s the end of Rock and Roll

Encore 2

21:- Dragula

22:- Meet The Creeper

23:- Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Raga Laga

24:- Sick Bubblegum

 

LINKS:-

 

http://robzombie.com/news/

 

 

JOHN 5 LIVE!!!

John 5

John 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue:- The Garage, Highbury Corner, London.

 

”Mesmerising guitar riffery a la Satriani/Malmsteen/Vai/Friedman, a zombie not restricted by one particular genre or style! A journey through the streets of blues, jazz funk, metal, country/hill billy!! The finger speed was sublime and you know what? No vocals were needed for this at all, it would have ruined the vibe!! John 5 is a guitarist not a vocalist so why water down what you are good at??? Usually photographers get 3 songs with no flash, we were allowed flash and for the whole set! If I had known that i’d have taken my flash!! At times I forgot why I was there, to take photos of course, I just stared at the fingers, see those fingers go……….. Anyway I shook myself out of my trance and got on with my job! This was a show enjoyed by band and fans alike, John threw plectrums into the crowd and offered his telecaster to the crowd a few times, they gratefully touched the sacred object which sent invigorated spasms down their collective spines!! I read somewhere that the axes on show tonight were of a limited selection, the rest being in Berlin with Rob Zombie awaiting attentions for his tour, what would we have been party to if this collection had been brought here?? Who knows, next time eh?? The man himself finishes the show with a medley of riffs from well known tunes before departing the stage to gracious applause!!! A good night had by all methinks!!”

 

John 5

John 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 5

John 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John 5

John 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINKS:-

JOHN 5 AND THE CREATURES music videos

 

LUXURY STRANGER & COLD IN BERLIN LIVE!!

Venue:- Nambucca, Holloway Road, London.

Date:- 24th September 2016

 

Luxury Stranger

Luxury Stranger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

”The sound was very good tonight, this was a good set!! There were a few people in the crowd who have been following the band for quite a while, but one of them was on stage playing bass, he was good he was! A different dynamic to the one I have been used to, no live drummer at the moment but the drum machine does it’s job! The vocals were as strong and  chocolatey  as usual, the bass accented, assertive and full! The new version of ”When The Lady Takes The Blame” is a prime example of this strength! The venue was not packed but there was a good crowd in, i’d say around 40 people!! Why Luxury Stranger are not playing to 100+ people on a regular basis is beyond me, they are one of the hardest working, dedicated and unpretentious bands around, playing gigs of around 100 minimum should be the norm!!!”

 

 

 

Cold In Berlin

Cold In Berlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

”I have never seen Cold In Berlin before! I enjoyed the experience, they reminded me of Black Moth, a bit doom and shoegazey, Doomgaze i’d say!! The lead singer, Maya spent a lot of time performing in the audience which was tricky for me with photos, it was dark in amongst the crowd and I don’t use flash,  but both parties fed off of each other and the energy blew the to be mentioned rustiness off the surface!  I met Maya in the loo after and she said they were a bit rusty, I said that if that is what they sounded like rusty then what the hell do they sound like on top form!!? I will try and get to see them again when they play with Christian Death in October at the 02 Islington!!”

Both of these bands deserve your attention!!!