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

Cauldronated Live At The Queen Of Hoxton, 20/12/14

Venue:- The Queen Of Hoxton, The Junction of Worship Street and Curtain Road, Shoreditch London.

Date: – 20/12/2014

Update:- Since writing this review and forgetting to post it (How professional of me!!) a tower of characterless glass has been erected opposite the venue!!

”The night before i had one of my usual boozy binges and i overdid it as per usual! One should have stopped after the first bottle of wine but no i had to ruin everything!! Saturday afternoon i woke up with no memory of the night before and with the early stages of flu setting in. The flat was a mess, there were bottles everywhere along with empty plates replete with chicken bones, bread and indecipherable vegetables! I was in no state to go out Saturday night, i had no energy and my face looked like i’d been slapped around with spatulas simultaneously on each cheek!! ”I must make an effort” i said to myself!! So after numerous black coffees, paracetamol and rounds of toast i got ready in a half arsed fashion and then dragged my barely alive carcass down to The Queen Of Hoxton.”

”The Venue was located on a corner at the far end of Worship Street in the city of London opposite, well opposite nothing really, there was a building there but it’s not there now, another part of old London pulverised to nothing probably to be replace by more characterless glass. After negotiating the barriers and if i may say so, very accommodating staff, i entered the venue and descended the stairs to the stage/bar area!! I was just in time. Cauldronated were the stage and getting ready for the forthcoming set. Eva going through her pre set routines whilst Dave Barbarossa made final adjustments to his drums. The crowd was not an alternative crowd tonight. Totally different people to the crowd i am used to but there was plenty of them. A mixture of locals and out of towners readied themselves for the force that is Cauldronated!!”

”I have seen Cauldronated many times this year and as the year has progressed so has the confidence and presence of Eva Menon on each stage. Each gig is a progression, a letting go, an opening up, a statement of intent!! She uses the stage with much for fluidity, marking her territory with the the words that are spat forth with a subtle hint of ”don’t mess with me!!” If Cauldronated were a F1 car engine they would be this past seasons V6 that won the championship for Mercedes!! Well oiled, all the components working in perfect harmony with each other and fuel/air mix just right to facilitate the perfect explosion!!’

”Ibossa, Ring Of Khan, the new single ”BUY THIS THING!!” all went down well with the ”normals” in the crowd, there was a lot of foot tapping in front of me i noticed whilst the group of girls sat behind me on the left side of the stage looked on with expressionless faces but the feet tapping under the tables showed their true emotions!! As i have noticed from other gigs that Cauldronated have played, the venue is packed for their performance and thins out like an Arctic Foxes winter coat in the summer sun when they finish!!”

”These Guys have got something, if you’ve not noticed!!”

They know that!!

 

https://www.facebook.com/cauldronated/

WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN REVIEW!!

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Panorama Tower

 

”I arrived in Leipzig on a hot and sunny Thursday to get my wristband from the Agra Messpark and meet up with a few friends in the Bayerischer Bahnhoff for a few beers and a bite to eat.”

 

”To be honest i was feeling quite subdued in mood for some reason and also in the back of my mind i had thoughts of the terror attack in Manchester at the end of May. From the time i got off the Flixbus outside the central station i was looking around for suspicious activity and continued after the London Bridge attack on the Saturday. But  there was a visible police presence in Leipzig that was not there last year. After finishing with my photography/gig duties i’d sit outside the Haupfbahnhoff by the taxi rank for a few moments of rest and reflection and i lost count of the armed police i saw walking about or patrolling in their vans!!  I did not really start to relax and enjoy  myself until the Sunday, i loosened up and dropped out of meerkat mode! The Thursday and the Friday were both very hot days (29/30 degrees) and for the life of me i have no idea how most of these goths got through the day  caked in layers of make up, petticoats, corsets and  pvc boots!!  No! in fact i do because i used to spend hours and hours refining my look before i went out and i was prepared to tolerate extreme temperature as long as i looked good. Not any more though, i have less tolerance for that kind of thing and my time could best utilised elsewhere!! Having said that minimalist cotton was still not good enough to stay comfortable but i coped, i had too!!”

”The first act i saw on the Friday was Jarboe at Shauspiel in Bosestrase , a grand venue with red carpeted stairs and a long entrance hall/foyer, if one wanted to be seen here then you would be seen quite clearly. This venue would not be out of place in an episode of ”Once Upon A Time” I have visions of Lana Parilla in her wicked queen finery decending the stairs complete with full on scowl!! The  sound was great, Jarboe had a great voice that  was  expressive and full of emotion. The feel was pensive and thoughtful. Every note was precise and with an economy in delivery, i  thought that added to the performance rather than making it overbearing with pointless vocal gymnastics, i mean why show your full range unless it it is pertinent to the art?? The vocal has a passing resemblance to Diamanda Galas too but with a warmer bluesy tone, less strident i would say!! Also there was no talking between songs, which i liked. I get bored with pointless waffle, it does not add to the experience and i just end up saying ”yeah yeah just get on with it will you!!?” This was the first time i’ve seen Jarboe live and i must admit that her output is something i have not researched in a long time, since the 1980’s in fact when i was into the band Swans but as i say the voice is still great!!

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Devilment featuring Dani Filth

 

”After Jarboe finished i had a glass of wine before getting a tram down to see Devilment at the Agra Messpark. Devilment are a metal band formed in 2011 by Daniel Finch and who had problems finding a stable vocalist until  Dani Filth of Cradle Of Filth joined. The sound was good for this venue, i know a lot of people have issues with the sound, last year i listened to people who had issues with it but i thought everything was ok with Pete Murphy and Nouveau Vague etc and there were no issues tonight! The mix was just about a perfect as you could get and Dani’s vocal screeching were a joy to witness in the flesh, the quick changes from screeches to clean vocals to death growls had me mesmerised!! Yeah i’ve heard many vocalists who paint aural pictures like this but this was on a different level, i’ve tried to vocalise like this and all i end up doing is retching!!”

”Saturday  in Leipzig was sunny until around 5pm when the weather turned on a sixpence to dark, hot and humid with thunderstorms! The Altes Landratsampt where i spent all of my evening was warm and steamy, it was like a greenhouse inside. Fill it up with legions of people and the temperature for me was uncomfortable!! Lebanon Hanover were playing at Leipziger Stadbad and Rotting Christ were playing the Kohlrabiszirkus but due to scheduling issues and the weather i thought i’s stay put in one venue, the trams/buses would have been packed and most likely i’d have ended up hot, wet and extremely irritable!!  One of those great bands was Paris outfit Saigon Blue Rain. They are a band of reverie, dreams and  flights of fancy and have been in existence since 2012, if you know what The Chameleons and The Cocteau Twins sound like then you have a good gauge of SBR output. It is music that is easy on the ear but at the same time it sends a chill down the spine whilst recharging the batteries! They played a great set that went down well with the crowd and the sound was perfect. I think it is about time they were playing venues the size of the Altes Landratsampt more often, no bigger than this i think because the impact would be lost otherwise!!”

”And then came Italian band klimt 1918 who i have never heard of before, i was not that interested in them to be honest, they are a bit shoe gaze and i like shoe gaze but for some reason i was not that enamoured by the set or the sound so i went walkabout around the venue politely applauding now and again  Sylvaine were good i thought, i’ve not heard before either but there was something in the sound that perked up my interest!! From Norway and Paris, i would describe them as sounding like All About Eve, ethereal, dreamy, Pre Raphaelite, images of pained dead bodies in water surrounded by flowers fill my head,  Interspersed with the dreamy vocals are screams and screeches that i don’t think Julianne Reagan would have indulged in!! Think of Dani Filth like vocal contortions!!  The track ”Earthbound” is an interesting listen!! So is ”A Ghost Trapped In Limbo”

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Esben & The Witch

”Finally i  got to see Esben And The Witch!! There is a Doors/Ani Di Franco/Savages feel to this band, which consists of  Daniel, Thomas and Rachel. The venue was by this time quite full and really steamy!! The band got appreciation throughout  their set, the sound was somewhat darker than Sylvaine, thicker and more spicy with an eastern sprinkling  in places like a dark chocolate laced with Aleppo Chilli flakes, the  sludginess complimented the steamy humidity of the venue i think but the  bass was a bit distorted. Apart from that the sound in the venue was pretty good!!”

”Gene loves Jezebel on Sunday at the Agra Messpark was a great set!!! The band came on late afternoon in a very light arena. The area around the front of the stage was busy all the way to the back where the mixing desks were but the areas outside of the Speaker positions were virtually empty. Jay Aston’s voice was very strong, another voice that is gymnastic and elastic and used to add tone colour to an aural painting with flourishes and accents etc. Arcturus, the band i saw afterwards at The Felsenkeller were just as good but in a different way! Again the vocals were tight but elastic with an expressive range!! If you have not heard any of Arcturus output before then the best way to describe them is spacey cosmic and astral. Just like the Gene Loves Jezebel show before there was a good crowd of appreciative die hards in the venue but it was not full

 

The Final Day!! Monday’s weather was warm and bearable!! After sleeping in late, showering and then packing my bags i made my way from Bad Lausick 15 miles south of Leipzig into the centre of the city where i left my luggage at the Absintheria Sixtina before making my way down to the Pagan Village which is located amongst the trees near Torhaus Dolitz  and not far from the Agra Messpark. The weather took at turn for the worst and for the rest of the time i was there it was raining.There was a German band that played at set times throughout the day called Nachtwindheim but i was here to see  Forndom even though i had to wait until 9pm. I was looking forward to this since arriving in Germany and the 50 minute set started out really well until the Tagelharp experienced  tuning issues brought on by humidity/temperature changes. This caused many drawn out pauses to rectify the problem, Ludvig Sward was patient and did not show any signs of frustration with this predicament and the crowd were patient too for the most part. some people moaned and many left but the bulk of the people in the audience stayed and allowed the performance to conclude although in an abreviated form. I bet Ludvig was seething when backstage though? Maybe?

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Anyway this was not the smoothest ending to my festival experience but hey ho!! I got a tram back to the Absintheria Sixtina, had wheat beer, took a photo of some goth girls still up for a party and then i headed over to the Haupfbahnhoff to get an early morning Flixbus back to Berlin.

To conclude, it took me a while to get into this years proceedings and i shall be back next year for round three!!

RANDOM APPLES:-

https://play.google.com/music/playlist/AMaBXylYwzoMxShyMjoyWiasQJISk5C-BE6TL1qlLy6tHyoUShWTnzTMwNXgkO_ZSAaTbFFlWHaVCqgv8G1PDsN9HbV764cM9w%3D%3D

LINKS:-

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Klimt1918/about/

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGeneLovesJezebel/

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

 

KMFDM LIVE IN LONDON!!

 

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Venue:- 02 Academy Islington, London.

9/9/2017

”Ventenner are, as I’ve stated in another review a very good band, i love the angsty feel to the sound, a sound slightly Numanesque/NIN, heavy, dark, atmospheric and abrasive but not too repetitive!!The sound was better tonight than their previous show i saw with Skinny Puppy and the crowd i observed were more appreciative!! The mix was just  right for my ears I absolutely love ”The Start is The End” and the other fav track of mine is ”Be Still”. What’s the word i want to use to sum up Ventenner?? Oh yes,  satiating!!”

”Lord of The Lost i have not heard of before!! Hailing from Hamburg they are a sugary mix of industrial metal a la Marilyn Manson with anthemic overtones! They also remind me of Lacrimosa for some reason and Mortiis. They are showmen with a well honed stage presence that went down well with the crowd!! Most definitely crowd pleasers this lot, the crowd sang along often and the air was seldom not filled with devils horns! I liked them but i  would get bored  pretty quickly. They are like a cream cake that gives a quick sugar boost before another energy dip!! Personally they are to be enjoyed on special occasions unlike Solstafir who i saw the week  before and who i can listen to over and over…  To end this part of my review i can say without contradiction that Lord Of The Lost are great to photograph!!”

”Unlike Inertia, who irritated  me!! I know a band does not take to the stage to cater to the whims of the gathering throngs of photographers in the pit, you deal with the conditions as they arise!! But from the off Reza Uddin traversed the stage like a hyperactive who had consumed too many expressos. I tracked him across the stage like a sniper after an un obliging kill to the point where i started to lose my patience!! There was no interlude from the darkness either with brief flashes of spotlight!!  This affected my appreciation of the music  because i started to get bored and fidgety and these feelings never really left me for the duration of the set!! Sections in songs went on for too long and i lost focus. The crowd were not as animated as with Lord Of The Lost in my view either, they were politely attentive  waiteing for KMFDM. I make no apologies but this set did absolutely nothing for me!! Even the rendition of Peter Gabriel’s ”Games without Frontiers” did nothing to bring me back onside!!”

”KMFDM or to give them their long name ”Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid” are a German Industrial band that have been creating music since 1984 and currently consist of Lucia Cifarelli, Jules Hodgson, Andy Selway, Steve White and Sascha Konietzko who has been a constant since the bands inception over 30 years ago. Not a band i follow closely like i would with many others although i have been aware of their existence since the mid 1990’s and I will dance to them when they are played at clubs like The Slimelight and Reptile in London along with other industrial luminaries such as Front Line Assembly, Nitzer Ebb, Oomph and Nine Inch Nails. They put on a blinding show and throughout their set  had me shoulder dancing as if i had an uncontrollable tick in both deltoids!!  They also have charismatic stage presence which facilitates the taking of some good photos!! The set was mixed up with metal/industrial/ebm/ sounds that kept your interest and kept the set fresh and as with the aforementioned Lord Of The Lost the crowd sang along and fist pumped/devil horned the air with the enthusiasm of a crowd at a political rally. In fact the front of the stage where Sascha Konietzko stood was furnished with his musical ”lectern” on which was placed the box of wizardry that accompanied the lyrical manifesto. The front of the stage was a bit crowded with stage furniture so  taking  good photos did involve plenty of movement from the photographers to shoot through gaps in the throng of stands!!I would highly recommend seeing KMFDM if you haven’t already as they are value for money and the facilitators of a great night out!!

 

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/pg/officialkmfdm/about/?ref=page_internal

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

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

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

 

The (Jay Aston’s) Gene Loves Jezebel Interviews 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date:- 26/6/17

Venue:- The Black Heart Camden, London.

”After spending the early summer touring around Europe not only playing to appreciative crowds on their own but also with The Mission Gene Loves Jezebel played a rare London Show at The Black Heart Camden to promote the brand new album ”Dance Underwater” and where i caught up with Chris Bell, James Stevenson and Jay Aston in the Bar. Initially i was going to interview just Jay but  that was changed to  James but when i turned up at the bar to prepare i happened to be sitting directly across from Chris so i introduced myself and did an impromptu interview before moving on to James and then finally Jay!! He does not really like doing interviews before gigs but was very gracious in giving me some time!! The recordings of those interviews are below, i apologise in advance for the sound quality!!”

 

 

https://play.google.com/music/m/B4gmj7ngiax6ob3a744h6x47loi?t=Dance_Underwater_-_Gene_Loves_Jezebel

 

LINKS:-

http://www.genelovesjezebel.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/OfficialGeneLovesJezebel/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/