Archive for June, 2011

So, It’s June and I’ve got plenty of gigs on the horizon for the rest of the year and I know there’ll be a shedload more added too.

I’ve just been to see Suicide Silence, After The Burial and Bleed From Within (All Shall Perish weren’t there as previously billed), which was a really good show. All the bands were pretty damn awesome, and it’s cool to watch After the Burial shredding the nuts off their guitars and Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence doing his big crazy stomps! More on this soon!

Next up, I’ll be watching Cavalera Conspiracy in my home town!! Having missed Soulfly playing last year ‘cause I was on holiday (if you see me, don’t talk about it. I’m still bitter), I’m really looking forward to this show. It’s the beginning of Sonisphere week, so I’ve booked the whole week off, so I can imagine it’ll be a night of some awesome Cavalera/Sepultura tunes and drinks with friends.

Then is the main event itself: Sonisphere. I missed Download, so Soni is my only festival this year and there’s a fair few bands I’m looking forward to seeing. Some old favourites, and some I’ve never seen. Gotta catch the Big Four, well at least Megadeth and Metallica. Saw the other two last year, so I’ll probably watch Protest the Hero and/or Black Dahlia Murder if they clash. Was really looking forward to the return of One Minute Silence, a band that highly influential to my metal lifestyle for a long time, but sadly they’ve pulled out of the line-up!

We’ve also got great bands to watch like Parkway Drive, Cancer Bats, Black Breath and Sylosis, playing alongside old favourites like Limp Bizkit and Weezer. Not to mention Headliners Biffy Clyro and the returning Slipknot. Should be awesome!

I’d have to say though, that there are two bands I’m eager to see. I’ve never see either before and they should both really get the party atmosphere going! The first is House of Pain. You just know that ‘Jump Around’ is going to be a highlight! Guaranteed to get everyone, well, jumping around!

The second is someone whos music has been a great influence on my love of Lounge music and Cocktail parties. Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine. Classic.

After Sonisphere is done and dusted I get to go and see my guitar hero himself, Slash! A trip to the Manchester Apollo is on to see Slash along side Myles Kennedy performing Slash’s solo tunes and Guns N’ Roses classics. Caught him last year, and it was epic and a tad emotional to say the least!

After that, and in no particular order (mainly cause I can’t remember the dates) I’ve got First Blood to see at the Bolton Alma. A titchy venue that produces some awesome shows and home to much local talent.

Then I’m off to see 36 Crazyfists on their headlining UK tour in support of ‘Collisions and Castaways’. Love 36CF and they’re always good live (even with technical difficulties). Fingers crossed for a decent support band for that one!

After that, is the ‘Hell on Earth’ tour, headlined by my favourite metal thrashing mad band, Unearth! Can’t get enough of Unearth and I’m well looking forward to the new album ‘Darkness in the Light’ too. If the tracks I’ve heard are anything to go by, it should be a classy album. Also on the HOE tour are Full Blown Chaos, Bane and Evergreen Terrace. Not heard anything by Bane, but I like Evergreen Terrace and partial to a spot of Full Blown Chaos. Should be a winner.

Also just got tickets for Alter Bridge. Missed them at Download so I’m pleased they’re touring. Bringing Black Stone Cherry and Theory of a Deadman with them. Just hope Myles can keep up with all this touring and band-swapping!

…and December is brewing up to be a stormer as Machine Head will be returning to the UK! Always love a Machine Head show, and they’re bringing Bring Me The Horizon and DevilDriver with them for an epic line-up.

There’s probably more, but I can’t remember them all. Check back for reviews of some of these and other rantings. Ciao!

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Just a random thought I had on the way to work this morning whilst listening to ‘In Dreams’ by After the Burial, but have you ever come across a band at a gig that you’ve never heard anything by that have truly blown you away?

Generally, I like to know something by the bands I’m going to see before I can enjoy watching them.  Sometimes, and in hindsight stupidly, I’ve neglected to watch a support band at a gig because I didn’t know them (and probably because Jim said they were amazing and we don’t always agree) and have sat at the bar and missed bands the calibre of Protest the Hero and Whitechapel.  Silly me!

Anywhoo, I have found myself at a few gigs over the years where I’ve been utterly stunned into laughter by an unexpected gem of a band.  I can think of three occurrences that spring to mind.  One I’ve already mentioned on here before, so I’ll keep that one brief…

First up, was waaaaaaay back in the day. Anyone familiar with Canadian all-girl group ‘Kittie’?  Well, I went to watch them.  Didn’t have a ticket and it was sold out so I took a chance and headed to Manchester to see if I could get one off a tout.  Robbing bastard touts wanted £50 for a ticket which I was not willing to pay for a £12 gig!  So, I thought I’d try one more avenue.

I headed to the back of the venue to see if I could get my stuff signed, and lo and behold, Morgan Lander of Kittie was walking to the bus.  Jackpot.  She kindly signed all my bits n bobs, CD’s, singles et al and said “enjoy the show” to which I replied “Not coming. Couldn’t get a ticket!”.  In a move of pure genius, she got me added to the guest list!  Oh yeah!  Bingo!  I’m in.

Pretty sure Sugarcoma were supporting on that show too, but don’t quote me on that.  However, the band that made this night so damn good were about to grace the stage.  I’d heard of them, but nothing by them. They were an unknown entity on this night out, so coke in hand (I was driving) I settled in to watch the show. …and the band was ‘Shadows Fall’.

Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall

They hit the stage hard with a barrage of fast, technical wizardry and thrash-esque riffage that put me in mind of Slayer and early Metallica in parts.  They were amazing.  Thinking back, they were probably the first band of this new breed of metalcore type band that I witnessed, leading to a love of bands like Unearth, Parkway Drive, Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying and more…

I pretty much stood there laughing to myself (I was on my own) as they blasted through some amazing sounding songs with great music and vocals. Topped off by the 6-foot dreadlock windmilling by frontman Brian Fair, Shadows Fall made the ever growing list of bands I needed to hear more of!  Needless to say I nipped to the merch stall after the show and got a copy of ‘Fear Will Drag You Down’ and chatted with the band (except Fair – his autograph still eludes my CD cover, even though I have met him twice since!)

The second band that did this (and the reason for me writing this) were ‘After the Burial’.  I was off to see Caliban with Jim and Ross and supporting were After the Burial, a band I’d never heard of.  Pretty sure I MySpace checked ‘em and thought they sounded ok, but couldn’t remember the song I heard or what they were like.

So we got to the gig and watched the opening act, then on they came.  The stage was dark and then they kicked in.  Silhouettes of two guitarists with their back to the crowd and their guitars behind their heads opened the show and blazed into perfect technical shreddery of their opening song, which I think was ‘Berzerker’!  They nailed some awesome guitar playing – sweeps, the works – from the back of their heads!!!

A brilliant show of skills and some fantastic tunes came from the stage. The only off-putting thing was the god awful illuminous colours of their guitars!! Really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them again very soon supporting Suicide Silence along with All Shall Perish.  A beast of a line-up, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Now, here’s where I’ve done that thing where I don’t pay attention to a band only to find they’re actually fantastic and I really like them.  Also on that Caliban line-up are the third band in this story.  A band who were so heavy and bass-pulse destructive that they left me in fits of laughter at the ‘Never Say Die’ Tour in 2010.  Emmure.

Yes, I didn’t pay attention to Emmure, and if I did, they sounded nothing like they did that day at Never Say Die.  I did a full blog about that gig if you wanna know exactly what I thought, but needless to say, I thought they were pretty damn special.  I laughed through their set.  They were immense and aided a thoroughly good night out and have since added a host of great tunes to my iPod!

Have a think.  Pretty sure we all come across a band we don’t know who just stick in the mind as a “fucking hell, these are ace!” band.

Having recently read Dom Lawson’s retaliatory post about all the people on t’internet being a bunch of whiny cunts about Download festival, I can see where he’s coming from.  Yeah, yeah, every year when they initially give a line up I inevitably say “that looks wank! I’m not going”, but I usually do.

So yeah, I love Download and do go pretty much every year.  Think I’ve only missed one (Kiss/Offspring/LostProphets year) so far. Well, and this years. Should be there right now and deep down, I’m pissed I’m not.  Last year, I did Download and Sonisphere for the full weekends, plus days at Leeds (for Limp Bizkit & Weezer) and Hevy Festival (For a Stag-do – and Sylosis, Black Dahlia Murder and Despised Icon were playing), and that run of festival madness damn near bankrupted me.  So please, this post isn’t to start a fight or anything, it’s just my point of view of the state of festivals today from my side of the fence.

No, I didn’t go to Download this year.  The line-up is fucking atrocious in my opinion, with the exception of a few decent bands and yes, I am going to Sonisphere.  Big 4?  Gotta see that.  I have gripes with all festivals, but Download gets the brunt of the barrage ‘cause it’s the one I’ve been to the most and seen change.

Here we go…

Announcing the line up:  Please, PLEASE stop fucking around and announce a decent amount of bands and all major headliners before selling tickets!  I’d like to know what’s on the bill before I fork out my hard earned readies on a ticket!  What if I bought one after you said “Headlining are System of a Down” only to find the next batch was topped by Kings of Leon and Panic at the Disco. What if all the tickets sold out and it turned into a good line up?? Just tell me the bands at the start and I’ll buy a ticket.  Or not.

Price: It’s always going to be an arguing point.  Festivals like Download have become ridiculously expensive and it ain’t gonna get any cheaper.  It’s gonna get to the point where people the festivals are aimed at won’t be able to afford to go. I can’t see the kids of tomorrow being able to raise the £250 price tag for Download 2015.  Some of them might even have to sell their GHD straighteners to raise funds!

I get why it’s becoming increasingly expensive.  You want bigger crowds, so you add diversity (not the dance outfit) to the selection of bands and facilities you make available.  You want to cover all bases of rock, metal, punk, emo, hardcore, thrash and so on and so forth, so you add more stages and more bands to bring in crowds into that scene.  And that’s all fine, but…

Think about it.  You put on 40 odd bands per day, yeah?  We then have to pay for the privilege of having 40 odd bands and pay a little extra to cover the costs of said fantastic/shite bands to play for our amusement. Well, I can’t watch more than one at a time, can I?  So why should I have to pay the extra for you to add a bunch of Emo bands to the bill to draw in an Emo crowd?  Why should there be a price increase for everyone so you can sell more tickets and add bands that I won’t get to see ‘cause they’ll be on at the same time as other bands.  Ok, I like the fact that there’s choice.  I’ll pay for good choice.  Let’s say I wanna watch Linkin Park, but Rob Zombie’s on at the same time.  I’m paying for some of Linkin Park’s fee and I won’t get to see ‘em!  Heres another: Korn/My Chemical Romance a few years back.  Why should my ticket price increase so MCR can play.  I didn’t want them there, I was happy watching Korn.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ranting here saying we should have ticket fees depending on the amount of bands we intend to watch or a fee per band, etc. That would be shite.  But please, can you take into account that we can’t watch all bands that are on the bill. It’s just not physically possible, so why should we have to pay so much? £200 for 200 bands is a great deal.  Tho, I’m only gonna manage to see about 40 of em, so not so good.

Food: Right, there’s no way I can afford £7 for a feckin Burger n chips everyday.  Having already blown £200 on a ticket, £10 for a car park, money for fuel and camping drinks, I’m bloody skint.  So what do you do to help us poor, hungry metallers?  That’s right, you make us pay £5 for a burger.  Last year we were paying nearly £8 for a chicken wrap!

We’re not allowed to take food into the arena these days, so we’re forced to pay unfair prices for food. Same for beer! I remember when you were allowed to take in plastic containers of beer and drink. You even take unopened bottles of water off us! Daylight fucking robbery!!  Isn’t a music festival about us watching the bands that you put on for us to enjoy, and not about you robbing us blind at for the luxury of eating??

Download especially pisses me off for this point.  You’ve moved the arena further from the camp site, so now I can’t save money by nipping back to my tent for a cheeky pot noodle!  If I did, it’s a half hour stroll to the tent, cook and eat, walk back and oh! I’ve missed 3 bands!  Yes, I’m a lazy fucker, but that’s not a quick walk for anyone is it? At least at Sonisphere they didn’t fleece me of a bag of crisps and a fucking apple like Download did!

Beer:  It’s too expensive and you fucking know it!

Festival Bogs:  I can’t really complain about the festival bogs at Download or Sonisphere.  I went to Leeds for the day last year and I’ve never seen anything like it! Disgusting doesn’t cover the state of these things!  As much as I hate festy bogs, my congratulations go to metal festivals where we can have a relatively clean shitting experience!

Distance from the camp:  Ok, I’ve touched on this but why is the campsite soooooo far from the Download arena these days? Ok, they’re doing stuff to the track so you had to move the arena.  So move the bloody camp to be nearer it!  I like the newer layout of Download, it’s much better than it was when it was by the track, but there’s no point clinging to Donington Park if the festival isn’t there. It’s an epic walk now if you do need to go back n forth to your tent, as some people do.

It’s these reasons that do my head in about festivals and Download specifically, these days, not primarily the selection of bands playing. I’ll still go every year and tolerate the nonsense for the love of the music played, the laughs I have with friends there and the random people who make the camping much more fun!

My decision to not go to Download this year is just a money and line-up thing. If I miraculously came into a spare £200, I’d have gone.  I’d go for the day ‘cause I want to check out System of a Down and Alter Bridge, but £80 for a ticket is a li’l much, don’t ya think?  It’s £200 for weekend plus camping, so where did you magic the price of £80 for the day with no camping from?  Pull that out of your arse, did ya?  You might think £80 for all those bands is a good deal.  If I could watch all the bands, it probably would be, but it’s PHYSICALLY FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!  Ain’t it?

These are only my opinions based on going to festivals for the last 17 years or so and how things have changed… not always for the better.  I’ve got plenty of festival experience and love and hate them. I’ve been to Donington/Download, Sonisphere, Reading, Leeds, Dynamo and more. I’ve had some great times with many people and friends at festivals and some shite times where we’ve been robbed and had our weekends spoiled by fucking dickheads who’ve got no respect for anyone.

So please, I’m not after a ‘war of words’ over this. I’m just passing on my side of the story.