The Answer

Rescue Rooms Nottingham 19th March 2015.

It’s not every week that we at music224.com get the chance to review a number 1 selling artist, but this week The Answer’s new album “Raise a little Hell” has done just that and topped Radio 1’s Rock Album Chart, great stuff and congratulations to them, it’s also well deserved as it’s a great album.

Before we get onto The Answer though, we had two great bands providing tonight’s support, the first one being the German duo The Picturebooks – oh, and their charismatic manager, who is was their third band member tonight aswell as also controling how these guys sound on stage!

As stated, there are only two members to this band, Fynn Claus Grabke – vocals, guitar & Philipp Mirtschink on the drums, but where they are lacking in numbers, they make up for it with true passion as every note is played with conviction. Philipp is either really angry or really loves playing the drums, as he kicked the shit out of his kit tonight! As you’d imagine, the bands sound is minimal yet rhythmic, which conjures though provoking images as you watch in amazement! These guys won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and initially I didn’t quite know what to make of these guys but after listening to their new album ‘Imaginary Horse’ I’m warming to them, a lot!

Philipp Mirtschink - The Picturebooks

Bad Touch next then and a band I first came into contact with at HRH 8, who I may have over looked slightly at that event and as tonight’s performance was great, we now have them firmly fixed on our radar for the future! Originally from Norwich, (The same town as The Darkness, ah it now makes sense) the band have won some pretty prestigious awards along the way, aswell as playing some major UK festivals, Download, Steelhouse, Legends of Rock and, as mentioned Hard Rock Hell – twice!

Daniel Seekings - Bad Touch

If I was to sum these guys up in a nutshell, I’d have to say something like “A very original rock and roll band, with great on stage presence” Stevie, on vocals is another charismatic character and a great front man, yet he’s still only 23 years of age. For a young band, they are mature for their years and an example of this maturity was seen by all tonight, when someone shouted something from the crowd, Stevie reassured the band “never ask” hahaha!

Stevie Westwood - Bad Touch

I have to give Mark Drewry, the bands manager/driver and father to drummer George, a massive shout out for finding and keeping safe a piece of very expensive camera equipment that I’d left at the Rescue Roomsand I’m happy to say, I managed to retrieve my property two days later, so thank you sir, you’ve managed to restore my faith in humanity!

So, before tonight’s show, we got exclusive access to The Answer, in particular bass player Michael Waters, who’s turn it was to be interviewed! Funny, I was in a room with the band and said, “so who’ve I got?”, to which the rest of the band all pointed at Michael, haha, they all love doing interviews, clearly.

Michael Waters - The Answer

So, after the obligatory “hello’s”, I got to ask Michael a few questions and here’s how the interview went:

I asked how they were all doing since the tour started a week ago?

“Well, it’s the first week, with a year since our last tour, so we’re all pretty drained getting back into the tour life, but we all get used to it and back into the groove by the second week”.

Are you Northern Irelands answer to rock and roll, as they’re ain’t many bands from that part of the world?

“You’ll have to come to tonight’s show and find out won’t you! Yes, I will, did and loved it!

We did actually see you guys play at Hard Rock Hell, during your tour of the album New Horizon, which was fantastic, can you remember that show?

“ah yeah, that was towards the end of a very long tour, we remember there were a lot of drunk people at that festival! Always!

“Raise a little Hell” is deservedly a number one album this week, what was your inspiration when writing this album?

“Well, we all contribute to the writing process, we don’t like to make stuff up so we tend to write about love, life and experiences within the band. In fact, we wrote a lot of this new album whilst on the last tour we’ve just mentioned”.

Paul Mahon - The Answer

My favourite track off the new album is “Long Live the Renegades” which opens the album, which is your favourite track to play and to listen too?

“To play, it has to be the title track “Raise a little Hell” which is going down a storm on ourlive shows. To listen to I’d have to say “Strange kinda nothing”, it’s just a great track!

There is a Deluxe version of this new album, which features some nice acoustic versions and bonus tracks, do any of these feature in the live set?

“Yes, it’s the first time we’ve tried it. Half way through, we strip it right back and its a real highlight for the fans. For years, we’ve been playing the same songs, pretty much, but we’ve ditched a lot of the old stuff and added in a lot of these new tracks into our live set, simply because we feel they can hold their own. We even have fans coming up to us and thanking us for playing the new material”.

Which has been your favourite night on this current tour so far?

“Glasgow was really good, it was a crazy Friday night”

So not the Liverpool gig then, seeing as it was St. Patricks day? (not sure if you celebrate it)

“We did actually, Cormac emptied two full bottles of whiskey, into glasses along the front row, so the crowd enjoyed it with us!

Cormac Neeson - The Answer

So what have you guys got on for the rest of the year?

“Well, we have the rest of the dates in the UK, then we head off to Europe for two months, basically were on the road until August now. Hell Fest is a big one for us, which were really looking forward to playing, as it’s one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to”

Who you looking forward to seeing play at that festival, if you get a chance?

Well I love ZZ Top, we’ve played with them a few times, in fact Billy Gibbs lent us one of his guitars to record some tracks on one of our albums once”. really, that’s fantastic!

I’ll finish with this, whilst on tour, do you guys having any games you play whilst on the road?

“Well, we don’t play many games, as such, but we all have a nasty habit of putting random objects in each others beds, which can get quite amusing!

As suggested, after trying to capture the lads on stage, I stuck around to watch the band rip through an amazing set, the new tracks are sounding great live. These guys have my vote, great stuff.

Review, Interview and photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Papa Roach

Rock City Nottingham 18th March 2015.

A quick little review of a lesser known band, Papa Roach (I jest) when they played Rock City the other week. Apologies as it’s taken me a while to get around to this, what with the sheer volume of gigs I’ve attended recently, it must nearly be festival season, can’t you tell?

The headliners had two bands supporting them tonight and sadly we missed The One Hundred who were on first, so apologies to them. We did get to see Coldrain though, which I was pleased about especially after tonight’s performance, as these guys, all the way from Japan are mental! Personally, I can’t think of a better band to warm up a crowd, what with their heavy, energetic metal. Speaking of energetic, these guys are like Ricky Hatton on speed, so I’m guessing it helps that their music isn’t all that technical as it enables them to run around and band their heads (A LOT) their riffs are basic, but do the job. Tonight’s lighting wasn’t good for these guys, which is a real shame as I doubt I’ll get to see them again in the UK any time soon, or will I…?

Masato - Coldrain

It seems Coldrain are regular festival goers, what with playing Download last year and this year they’ve already played the massive Soundwave Festival in Australia, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are here again very soon! I know Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter has championed their new single ‘Evolve, and with such high profile support like Radio 1, major success should be immediate right? Still, it remains to be seen if they are bigger than their country (wo)man Babymetal though, but I can assure you their music is much better and the crowd tonight certainly enjoyed these guys! Their new album ‘Welcome To The Revelation’ is now available to preorder, just follow the link  here. The band consists of the following; Singing & Screaming – Masato, Lead Guitars – Y.K.C, Rhythm Guitars & Vocals – Sugi, Bass & Vocals – RxYxO, Drums – Katsuma

Sugi - Coldrain

With a short change over, it was the turn of the now legendary band Papa Roach. These guys are somewhat like marmite, you ever love them or hate them, personally I love the older stuff, that said this new album F.E.A.R has really grabbed mine and many others attention.

Jacoby Shaddix - Papa Roach

The band have been branded a bit of a teen band, but if you consider they exploded onto the music scene around 94, that was when I was a teen, so these guys have featured throughout half the time I’ve been alive and with tracks like ‘Last Resort’, ‘Between Angels And Insects’, ‘Broken Home’ and ‘Scars’ which are my personal favourites, it’s easy to see why these guys have stood the test of time and are still adored by many. In my opinion the album ‘Infest’ is a classic and still features in many of my playlists, as it helps to remind me of my days at university, trust me, I need all the memories I can get when it comes to that period in my life! So I can safely say I jumped at the chance to see these guys play live again, and to be given the chance to photograph them was a little bit special! I’m pretty gutted I missed the London show though, as they performed the album Infest’ in its entirety, you lucky lot!

Jerry Horton - Papa Roach

Tonight was the loudest I’ve heard a crowd at a Rock City gig – it was deafening, especial during the tracks I’ve previously mentioned. OK, it wasn’t so loud during the newer tracks that were played tonight, but the die hard faithful still knew the words and made as much noise as those that were probably hearing these new tracks for the first time.

Tobin Esperance - Papa Roach

I think I’m safe in saying Jacoby Shaddix is still a great front man, still very energetic and still a little bit cheeky, especially with a water bottle, I had to run for cover at one point as he was using it to squirt the crowd (and me) Jerry Horton, Tobin Esperance, Tony Palermo were also on top form tonight also.

Papa Roach

Having released not one, but four singles from their new album ‘F.E.A.R’, it speaks volumes to me that this album is very popular and is selling very well and in all honesty, I’m loving most of the album as it’s loud and it’s heavy with some very catchy tunes and great lyrical content. When you consider these guys are still producing music of this quality, some twenty one years since they started out, there ain’t many artists that can say that – long live Papa Roach!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Hils Ovation

Martyr de Mona at the O2 Academy3 Birmingham 14th March 2015.

This weekend really does seem to be alive with opportunities to get out and see a great band or two but even with being so spoilt for choice, the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham was the place to be for me. Hils Ovation has once again set up a great night of live music, provided for us by Mallen, Go Primitive, Eyes Of The Raven and our ultimate headliners for tonight, Martyr de Mona.

It has only been a matter of weeks since I last saw our opening band Mallen at their own headlining event for the release of their new EP ‘Ignition’, but when a band writes and plays live music as well as this band does, every performance caught is one to be glad that you didn’t miss. Tonight, the band took to the stage amidst a roaring intro and went straight into the glorious second track of the EP ‘Welcome To The Edge’ and based upon all I’ve seen and heard from them over recent weeks, I do strongly believe that 2015 is going to be one hell of a year for this band. Kelly Mallen is the kinda female front person who you cannot fail to admire as she has the ability to be a vocal chameleon for each song as required, whether that be a ballad or a kick ass piece of raging rock ‘n’ roll so do get yourself down to one of their gigs or go online and purchase the EP, or even better – do both!

Kelly Mallen - Mallen

In comparison to Mallen, it seems like a million years ago since I last saw Go Primitive here at the O2 Academy3, but we are talking about back in October 2011 and the band I saw tonight were very different to the band I remember from back then. There were one or two familiar faces up on stage tonight but I must say there was no sign of them being stuck in the past as Go Primitive have a sound and a stage presence that is very much geared up to the here and now. Having just completed the recording of their new EP, tonight’s gig was a fine opportunity for Go Primitive to give us all a taste of what will be hitting the airwaves shortly, so keep your ears open readers as there’s a few tasty tracks heading our way, for sure.

Tomm E Williams - Go Primative

When it comes down to our next band for this evening, I can only describe Eyes Of The Raven as a band that you simply love to love. I shall forever hold in my mind the image of them dressed as Santa’s and Elves at Hils Ovations Christmas Metal Crusade and even though they were dressed in far more suitable attire tonight, their was no denying that their personalities remain just as large and just as all consuming as they did back then. Tonight’s set from Eyes Of The Raven was a whirlwind of tight groove infused metal – with a few cans of Carling thrown in for good measure and boy oh boy, did these guys own the stage tonight! Do yourselves a favour and go check Eyes Of The Raven out, you won’t be disappointed.

Eyes Of The Raven

2015 see’s yet another new year for our headliners Martyr de Mona and brings along with it many new and exciting happenings in the MDM camp. January brought along two nominations for the band at the Pure Rawk Awards in London – Ashley Leatherland, Best Drummer and ‘Influence & Persuasion’, Best Video, and February saw new axeman, Joshua Jones getting the thumbs up from the guys and making his debut live performance tonight – and if those aren’t achievements to be proud of, well I’ll eat my hat!

Joshua Jones - Martyr de Mona

Some things haven’t changed for the band and that’s all good stuff too as Martyr de Mona remain one of the major ambassadors and supporters of the West Midlands live music scene and the respect their endeavours have earned them shone just as brightly tonight as the glorious stage lights, with many a band member there to show their support and including representation from My Great Affliction, Left For Red, Valous and Stone Broken to name only a few.

Louis Hale - Martyr de Mona

Tonight’s set was an hour long excursion across the bands past five years and featured many a track from their two milestone albums. Highlight for me from their performance was hearing and seeing Martyr de Mona perform ‘Influence & Persuasion’, with it’s momentous drive and harmonies but that choice is a close call as each song performed tonight was a master class in execution.

Martyr de Mona

Of all the gigs that were happening this weekend, this was definitely the one to be at for me. Martyr de Mona, Eyes Of The Raven, Go Primitive and Mallen simply made for a fantastic musical match on stage tonight and the sound and lighting at the O2 Academy3 was probably the best I’ve ever known it – can we do it all again please??

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.