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/

WAVE GOTIK TREFFEN 2017

WGT Banner

Venue:- The city Of Leipzig, Eastern Germany.

”Its that time of year again when the annual pilgrimage of Goths all converge on the city of Leipzig for 4 days of dark chicanery!! There will be bands, exhibitions, clubs, lectures, theatre and movies in over 50 venues across the four corners of the city. And there will be free travel on the trams and buses with your event pass as well, which means more bucks for your booze!!!! I will be here for a second time after an enjoyable jaunt last year. This year i shall get to see many new bands and old favourites and i’ll get to go to the venues i did not get to last year!! I said in a previous review that you need to go twice to get the full experience of the event plus the sights of Leipzig itself!! I remember last year getting lost a few times on the transport system and ending up taking a long trip to a venue that i could have gotten to more easily if only i’d taken a tram, ie The Felsenkeller. On the bright side i got to travel on a different rail line which will be handy for future use!! Who’s playing at this event i hear you ask!! Well we have a large assortment of sonic confectionery that includes The Mission, Desperate Journalist, Saigon Blue Rain, The Agnes Circle, VNV Nation, Revolting Cocks and Sex Gang Children to name but a few!! And of course loads of bands i’ve never heard of like Black Nail Cabaret and Bloody Dead and Sexy!! ” As of writing there are over 145 bands confirmed for this years festival, more will be added/or deleted as the events nears!! And again as of writing i do not know of what parties/clubs or DJ’s will be on the roster as yet but that should change over the coming days and weeks!!”

”Apart from the event the city of Leipzig has many things to keep you from descending into the cellar of boredom. You will probably have an exhibition at the central station, there is the Monument To The Battle Of Nations, The Panometer Leipzig, The Grassi Museum and if you are into football then there is the Redbull Arena!! There are Goths into football, i know cos i have met them : )”

See you there folks!!

Below are a few teasers for your aural delectation:-

LINKS:-

http://www.wgt-guide.de

http://www.sadgoth.com/overview-wgtfestival-prewgtmeeting.html

http://www.wave-gotik-treffen.de/english/info/info.php

http://www.hostelworld.com/findabed.php/ChosenCity.Leipzig/

https://www.facebook.com/events/122977274790719/

http://lostinleipzig.com/use-tram-bus/

http://www.bayerischer-bahnhof.de/en

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Battle_of_the_Nations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leipzig

VNV NATION LIVE!!

Venue:- The Scala, Kings Cross, London.

Date:- 26th February 2017

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”I am going to write this review without any research, just raw as it materialised from the inner parts of my brain!! I’ve not been to the Scala since the early part of this century and that was to see Brendan Perry, he of Dead Can Dance. It was packed then, it is packed to the rafters now!! I’ve known of the existence of VNV Nation since that latter stages of the 90’s but i have never consciously gravitated towards their music. Sure, i may have heard something at the Slimelight or The Electric Ballroom or Reptile but I’ve not done an internet search or sifted through their Cd’s in a music shop or been drawn towards their  stuff on Spotify etc!!  What can i say about them here? They are the musical equivalent of Black Forest Gateau!! i like Black Forest Gateau, if there is a BFG at a party i’ll gravitate towards it! i will cut myself a slice and consume with glee!! i will quiver at the sugar rush and then go back for  a second slice!! I will do that eye rolling thing and start bellowing ”oh, oh, oh my gosh!!” One mouthful into the third slice and i start to feel sick, the urge feeling in the back of the throat starts to assert itself so i have to put the plate down and walk away from the offending article!! That’s VNV Nation!! Pounding bass drum and textured synth filigree, but the vocals seem samey! i feel that there is no resolution when the vocals go off on a roll, i feel there is a build up of tension but no release!! i personally end up feeling frustrated, it’s like a good thing and getting too much of it, you know what i mean?? The vocalist is a showman though, he can work a crowd! He had the knack of rebooting flagging enthusiasm and getting the crowd to sing at various points. Also i was brought onside at the beginning when he said that people could film/photograph the show but don’t block the view of those who have spent good money to see a band and not see a QHD/AMOLED image of the band on a bloody smartphone screen!! i do find that annoying! Wardruna were saying the same thing when i saw them back in November i think it was, for the most part the crowd respected this request!! As an aside, the crowd were very polite tonight!! Apologising for getting in my way when i took photos, holding doors open, picking things up when i dropped them etc!!”

”To sum up i’d say that VNV Nation are a band that i will listen to on occasions but i do not thing they will become a favourite!!”

7/10

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/VNVNation/

http://www.anachronsounds.de/

LUXURY STRANGER :- ”DARKNESS FALLS UPON THE LIGHT ” PRE RELEASE ALBUM PLAYBACK & POST RELEASE PLAYBACK.

 

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Jake Hampton And Simon York

Amendment 9th May 2017:-

What a difference 7 months make!! Jake has now left the band for reason i know not of leaving Driving force and main man Simon York on his tod to do the remainder of the work leading up to the release. Kevin Bales played  drums on track 9 and Robert Squirrell did some trumpetry though! Now that the album has been released (28/4/17) I have now had a chance to listen to the finished product at my leisure in a warm room not having to worry about how shit i feel or how many coffees i need to stay awake. This album is well produced, very well produced!! Everything in the mix sounds even and at just the right level in the mix!! It’s not overblown, crowded out or too pompous! Every instrument is crystal clear and no straining of  ear  nor tweaking of EQ is required to get the most out of this album. ”Wash” has a snarling emphatic drum beat which is the perfect counterbalance to  the melted chocolate vocal. The guitar comes in out of the shadows and adds some silvery flourishes before dipping out again. Everything about this track is just perfect!! I actually like the pondering wandering flamenco Wimsey of ”Lady Takes The Blame” Another great track is ”Side of the Road” A great head nodder, just the right side of pensive and perfect for working to!! If this album does not bring in some well deserved and steady revenue for the band then i’d like to know why because a lot of hard work, dedication, sweat, tears, trauma and personal trials have all gone into the crafting of this along with a great engineer!!! I mean, seriously!! There is a lot of crap out there that in my opinion should not be given the light of day or be classed as art and stuff like this gets overlooked ?? Luxury Stranger have been  around for years and deserve recognition in my view!!”

If Ansel Adams was a recording artist he would be pleased with what he’d produced here!!

 

Venue :- Chameleon Arts Cafe, Nottingham, UK

Date:- 30/11/16

”This venue was cold!! I turned up at around 6pm when the band were setting up and getting the sound right on the PA. The venue is just up the road from the Old market Square and you access it from an alley between a Game Shop and a fast food outlet!! It is on two floors with a bar/lounge area on one level and the stage and loos upstairs. My first impression of the place was that it looked  like a squat and the fact that it was bloody cold did not subdue that assumption!!”

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”Simon set up chairs for the invited guests who arrived around 8pm for the 8:45 start. I was expecting a live performance/playback of the album for some reason but it turned out to be just a playback. Two chairs were set up in the stage area as props. When the playback started i had a thought, that it was cold for a reason and as the album progressed the heat would be turned up, it wasn’t!! My imagination was also seeing ghostly figures inhabiting the chairs, staring at each other, staring ahead, flitting from one chair to the other, standing etc. The cold was not part of the performance at all, it was incidental but the ghostly images and the music took my mind off it for most of the 45 minutes.”

 

”Cold aside, i  enjoyed the playback, the album is basically reworkings of old tunes such as ”Wash” and ”Diver” and my foot tapped for the most part all the way through the proceedings. The Engineer/Co producer on the album was Guy Elderfield from Random Recordings in Nottingham. His credits include working with the Libertines and The Donna’s, there is a link to Random Recordings below if care to have a look!! .  As i said previously, i enjoyed the playback but the cold in the building was having an affect on my concentration and cold does have an affect on how sound travels through the air so in this environment a few tracks did not come across as maybe they should have. So be wise as not to assume that this is my definitive review of ”Darkness Falls Upon The Light” because it is not!! I look forward to having a lot more listens at my leisure when the album is finally released in March 2017”

 

LINKS:-

http://www.facebook.com/luxurystranger

http://www.luxurystranger.net

https://www.facebook.com/pg/The-Chameleon-Arts-Cafe-Nottingham

http://www.random-recordings.co.uk/

 

 

WARDRUNA LIVE!!!

Venue:- The Union Chapel, Upper Street, Islington, London.

Date:- 17/11/2016

Main Members:-

Einar Kvitrafn Selvik:- Founder/Lyrics/Music/Most Instruments/Vocals

Lindy – Fay Hella:- Vocals

”That was brilliant that was!! I’ve not come out of a gig in a while feeling invigorated and entertained!! It was was not only the hairs on the back of my neck that stood up but also the ones on the small of my back and on the back of my legs!! The Union Chapel, a place I pass most days and is just up the road from where I live, I have lived in Islington for 18 years and it took Wardruna to get me into the venue!! It is brilliant for this type of music!! Music that speaks to your soul, your inner being!! The only other place that Wardruna could have performed in London with this type of music is The Royal Albert Hall, but then again maybe not!! The Union Chapel is just the right size for intimate!! It is cavernous but not mega cavernous, the gothic arches and the oldness meld with the music in a kind of symbiotic pureness!! Wardruna is an experience that commands your attention just like a charismatic preacher in the full flow of a sermon!! The band asked that people did not constantly use their phones during the performance as it was distracting and is irritating to other audience members and to the performers alike! Go old school and absorb the experience in your minds eyes, live the experience and give your memory a work out!! For the most part the audience respected this request and I appreciated the fact that I was at a show where bloody smartphone screens on show were kept to a minimum. As a photographer I am used to going to gigs and being told that I have 3 songs maximum and no flash!! If I can’t get some good shots in 10 minutes or so then there is something wrong with me!! Maybe the audience should be given a 3 song maximum as well, if the band wishes it???

Another thing I like about Wardruna is that the sound is not synthetic!! It is an organic sound created using traditional instruments such as the Kravik lyre, deer hide drums, tagelharps, goats horns and the like. It’s sound that is married to nature, the natural forces, the imagination and ancient ideas and thinking!! It is a sound that entrances and facilitates reverie. This is not shallow music, this is music that strips out the bullshit and gets down to what matters!! It reacquaints you with yourself, its a spiritual cleanser!! Tonight’s set was mainly music from ”Ragnarok” the third album in the RunalJod Trilogy, for those that don’t know the RunalJod Trilogy is 3 album music rendition of the runes of the Elder Fulthark. Gap Var Ginnunga is album one of the trilogy and first graced our ears in 2009, Yggdrasil is number from 2013 and Ragnarok wraps up the trilogy coming out this past October.”Tyr” opens the proceedings with enigmatic horns front lit to enhance the grandness and awe, ”Runaljod” closed said proceedings 90 minutes later with the same feeling!! Lindy – Fay Hella and Einars voices interplaying and interwoven, soft gossamer accented by harsh rope and visa versa, it was  like knotwork crawling around atop the skin before penetration into it, moving around the veins and every pore, intoxicating and openig the doors to the gods!!”

”And then it was all over!! I’ve seen a lot of bands this year but only two have had me leaving a venue with a satisfied feeling of ”WOWWWWW!!! and a cheshire cat grin!! Both are Norwegian!!!”

 

Darkher

Members:-

Jayn H Wissenberg – Vocals, Guitars, Production, sorcery.

Martin T Wissenberg -Atmospheric & Lead
Guitars/Bass

Shaun ‘Winter’ Taylor-Steels – Drums

”A short set of 30 minutes. Very Haunting. I see moorland, cold and desolate and shrouded in fog and mist! One moment I felt lost and then I feel empowered by being lost because I can only find!! In life one minute I know where I am, I know who I am and then the next, as if a switch has been clocked, I feel disorientated and confused, what the hell is this place I stand?? And then, with another click of a switch, I am back!! In places this sounds like Julianne Regan of All About Eve , PJ Harvey, the track ”Hung” and Tori Amos. Take a woman in a long white dress with long hair and  put her in an old chapel and what you also get is a Dante Gabriel Rossetti painting! The track ”Forgone” is the All About Eve sounding track, all tension and foreboding!! Wardruna were the guides who laid the crumbs and I found this!!”

 

 

LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/wardruna/

https://www.wardruna.com

https://soundcloud.com/wardruna/albums

https://www.instagram.com/einar_selvik/

https://www.youtube.com/user/wardruna

http://www.darkher.com/

twitter.com/DARKHERMUSIC

 

KAMPFAR LIVE!!!

 

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Venue:- The Underworld, Camden Town, London, UK.

Date:- 25/10/16

KAMPFAR!!!!! An Old Norse Battle Cry meaning Odin or Wotan!!

Abraham Ben Jacob:- ”Never before have  I heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings (in Slesvig). The growling sounds coming from their throats reminds me of dogs but more untamed!” 10th Century AD

 

 

”The last time I saw Kampfar was last year when they played at the Dome in Tufnell Park supporting Gorgoroth! They grabbed my attention more than Gorgoroth, the energy was captivating, the rhythm was intoxicating and presence of all the band was stereolithic! A brief biography, the band has been in existence since 1994 when  Dolk  parted ways with his previous band called Mock. The band started as a duo and their first release was a self titled mini cd followed by their first album in 1997 called “Mellom Skogkledde Aaser”. These guys are no wall flowers, you know they are there, they pull your attention and it is kept for the duration of the gig!! I’ve always found Kampfar spine chilling, i’m not fully up to speed with all their catalogue yet but what I have heard is sublime!! ”Mylder”, 6 minutes of raging goodness accented by a teasing airy and somewhat mocking flute, ‘Swarm Norvegicus’, rousing and bombastic, the guitar cutting through you like cheese wire! In fact the whole experience of listening to Kampfar is like listening to an opera whilst being garrotted with cheese wire, and loving it!! Dolks guttural utterances  mirroring your own gurgles as the blood spews out of your neck!!  I was on a bus the day after this gig listening to ”Glory Ablaze” and I was in a trance, a look of insular musings on my face and a propensity for uncontrolled jerking, I had a need to break out and thrash my head about but I could not, I was on a bus! Any one looking at me would have thought I  was mad! I was having an experience, a visceral experience, it was  like an orgasm but better, prolonged!! The set list for tonight gig consisted of tracks from albums, in no particular order:- ‘Kvass’ (2006), ‘Profan’ (2015), ‘Djevelmakt’ (2016). I was listening to ‘Lyktemenn’ whilst writing this, I went into a trance again, sorry!! And the other albums are:- ‘Heimgang’ and ‘Fra Underverdenen’. After skimming through all the albums online I have found some gems to explore in more detail and to be honest although there are some tracks that I don’t like the majority are satisfyingly brilliant, for example ”Hymne” from ”Mellom Skogkledde Aaser” and ”Troll, Dod Og Trolldom”  from the album ”Fra Underverdenen”.

 

”I know what  I like and I like this band!!”

 

SETLIST:-

 

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LINKS:-

https://www.facebook.com/kampfarofficial/

http://www.kampfar.com