Fairports Cropredy Convention

Alice Cooper..

Day 1
Cropredy Oxfordshire 7th To 9th August 2013.

Who’d have thought all those years ago that Fairports Cropredy Convention would be in its thirty seventh year and it certainly shows no sign of loosing momentum. Rather the convention is gathering pace, attracting more youthful crowds along with the more mature faithful regulars.

For anyone who’s never heard of the Fairport Cropredy Convention, the festival started life as just as small intimate performance to locals by the band Fairport Convention in a village back garden in July 1976. The following year there was a repeat performance where not just locals were allowed to attend.

In 1978 it was moved to a new location behind the Cropredy Village School. A new venue along with better organization, the festival took on a whole new look. In August 1979 Fairport Convention played their farewell performance to 4,500 fans but promised an annual reunion and remained true to their word returning each year to close the festival.

This years festival saw a massive17,000 expectant fans descend on the quaint village of Cropredy. Since those early years the festival has gathered formidable notoriety and now attracts music lovers from all over the UK, Europe and as far away as the USA and Australia.

Festival show closers Fairport Convention also has the inaugural task of opening the festivities on the Thursday afternoon with an impromptu acoustic set which set the benchmark for what was to become an afternoon of laid back and enjoyable music.

Fairport Convention Accoustic

No sooner had Fairport cleared the stage, the roadies were out like an army of worker ants clearing and re-setting the stage for Fake Thackeray. Talented guitarist and vocalist John Watterson engaged the already growing crowd with covers of Jake Thackray’s funny, satirical and at times, very un-politically correct songs.

Fake Thackray

Haled as the number 5 female rock singer of all time by classic rock magazine, Leigh Matty took to the stage along with the rest of her band Romeos Daughter. I saw the band perform earlier in the year at Hard Rock Hell in Rotherham and I was eager to see if they could emulate that success again here. I wouldn’t necessarily have placed them in the Folk genre category like so many of the other bands performing here, but the key word for this festival seems to be eclectic…

As we headed into the back end of the first day the atmosphere at the festival just kept getting better. There was barely enough time to look around at the thousands of people packing out the main arena field before Mancunians Edward II appeared on stage. A must to listen to with their fusion of British folk dance and Morris music with reggae cuts.

Mancunians Edward II

As the First night drew to a close the diversity of the music so far comes to a head as Alice Cooper took to the stage with his infamous shock-rock stage show. Opening with “Hello Hooray” and backed by a huge shower of sparks, Coopers set Includes Crowd favorites such as “Poison”, “Under my Wheels” and “Feed my Frankenstein”.

Alice Cooper...

In true Cooper fashion during his set he was beheaded by a guillotine, electrocuted and he also sang with his trade mark boa constrictor around his neck with more blood on stage than you’d find in an abattoir. There were also covers of hits by The Doors, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Who before Cooper finished his set in classic style with “School’s Out”.

Alice Cooper

Review and Photography by Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)

Destroyed Beyond Belief

Ovation Music Presents

Upon Descent, Scare Tactics and Proteus.The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 20th July 2013

(a.k.a. Hils Birthday Bash!!)

Ovation Music

Another night of excellent metal mayhem at the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton courtesy of Ovation Music Management. Yet again, a superb night of noise was organised with the bill consisting of ‘Scare Tactics’ who ventured down from Liverpool to show off their monstrous metal and hard hitting rock tunes, ‘Proteus’ with a great progressive metal set, ‘Upon Descent’ axe grinding and roaring the night away, and headliners ‘Destroyed Beyond Belief’ giving a humorous disco inferno start to their set before descending into their comfort zone of out and out brutal metal. Credit has to be given to the crowd who turned out for a hot and sweaty night of rock and metal with the night apparently breaking the record of attendance for an unsigned metal night with over 200 awesome metal heads streaming through the doors to support unsigned metal and rock music!,

Destroyed Beyond Belief
Upon Descent
Scare Tactics




Words and pictures by Stephen Turner

Doomsday Outlaw

Self-Titled Debut EP Review.

Doomsday Outlaw, should be considered as part of the modern day resurgence of the dirty/southern rock sound, as they are doing this genre justice. The genre started back in the 50’s, originating from the deep south of America and developed from rock and roll, country and blues music. Since then it comes in waves, each producing successful bands, to date some of the biggest and most popular modern rock bands have emerged from this genre, these include the likes of ZZ Top, who I love and Kid Rock, to name but two. Today’s musical tastes sees this genre come back around, with its popularity higher than ever, riding this fresh new wave are the mighty Doomsday Outlaw.

Doomsday Outlaw

Formed from the ashes of others, these guys have only been in their present incarnation since September 2012. Since their birth, as a band, they have used their time wisely to establish themselves as a formidable force. In such a short space of time, their popularity has gone from strength to strength and have amassed a huge following, their mission statement must be to set the “World on Fire”!

I’ve been lucky enough to see the band perform live, but only once, back in March this year. What I experienced that night simply blew my mind, so after the show I rushed out to look for more of their material as I’d been caught, hook line and sinker! Back then they had a couple of tracks available online, but the guys have been working hard since and it gives me great pleasure to be able to review their first, self titled, 6 track EP.

To fully appreciate this EP, I thought I’d familiarize myself with what makes a good dirty/southern rock band. My research suggests two key elements, the electric guitar, played phenomenally by Steve Broughton – lead and Gavin Mills – rhythm and the vocalist, exquisitely executed by Carl Batten…..obviously, the 2 elements couldn’t function alone, so also featured are Max Doubt slapping the bass and John Willis thumping the drums.

The opening track “World on Fire” starts in a dirty/grungy fashion, which instantly links them to the genre they have been categorized. Carl’s voice is deep and gravelly and that distinctive Les Paul guitar wails with every chord played. Throughout the song, there’s a real groove accumulating, which continues into track two, Devil’s tomb.

This track is a real crowd pleaser, especially live and has translated well onto this EP. Again, Carls voice is distinctive and features heavily throughout, along side him is a consistent dun dun dun dun from the guitars, which is hypnotizing. As the track progresses the energy and ferocity builds nicely, arriving at an epic guitar solo, mid way through the track and is a real highlight. Even the dead couldn’t resist this track, with its oozing, super cool groove, I can just imagine them rocking in the crypt, “Deep Within” which leads me to the next track.

Mid way through the EP already and the momentum it’s gathered so far continues on this track also dun, dun dun, dun. The lyrical content here is apt, but its the guitars that carry this tune along is superb fashion. The track eases off towards the end, fading to a complete silence, purposely, I assume, to give prominence to the next track, which deserves its place.

“Deadman’s Hand” for me, this track is the jewel in this beautifully crafted crown. Being the most obvious southern rock sounding track, it starts with an acoustic guitar melody, that quickly progresses beyond the genre, into its own world, one that sees me playing air guitar, ferociously! Again, this track is a beast live, but thanks to this EP, I can listen to it time and time again, trust me when I say, you wont get bored of this track, even Samuel Colt has been seen nodding along to this track, with his six-shooter by his side!

The end is nigh “Cold Love” the penultimate track on this EP, continues with the already established format of the previous tracks. The heavy grooves keep on coming, with guitar solo’s that continue to inspire and mesmerize! A cool track, overshadowed by more prestigious tracks, on this EP, in my opinion.

“Doomsday Outlaw” is the last track, from a band also called Doomsday Outlaw. Usually, I’d assume the band had a poor imagination, or lost interest, but after careful scrutiny and deliberation, it hit me. The line, in the chorus, “Doomsday Outlaw, you’ve never seen anything like me before” which suggests to me, this track is a band showcase, giving every member the opportunity to show off their skills, from the drums at the back to the vocalist at the front and everyone in between. After listening to the track several times, I can hear that statement in the context of the music.

Conclusion, a great EP that will stay on my i pod for a long time to come. Recorded at Snug Recordings, in Derby, with such an internationally sounding artist, its inspiring to know these guys live 5 mins away from me. I even saw John, the drummer eating in the 50’s American Diner, last week. I look forward to catching another live show soon, I’ll also be looking out for further recordings, I assure you, these guys are going to be around for a long time. All hail Doomsday Outlaw!

Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)