Joe Bonamassa

Nottingham’s Trent FM Arena 25.10.15.

It’s not often a tour of this calibre comes around these parts, however tonight’s gig is stuff of legends and see’s an artist who is just that, a legend! Joe Bonamassa released a sterling album “Different Shades of Blue” in 2014, which was met with rave reviews and hailed as one of the best blues albums of last year. This year he’s also been very busy and has released two live albums “Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks” and “Live at Radio City Music Hall” which see Bonamassa fulfilling a life long ambition to perform at this legendary venue.

Joe Bonamassa.1

Bonamassa is regarded as one of the greatest modern blues guitarists of our generation and is seen as an artists artist. Many aspire to match his legendary skills as a guitar player, but few have managed to accomplish it, in his own unique style of playing at any rate.

Joe Bonamassa.2

Tonight’s event at the massive 10,000 capacity Trent FM arena in Nottingham, was very nearly a sell out, with all the good seats taken, which also saw an all seated floor. Having been given a photo pass, I was relishing the thought of capturing the guitar god in all his glory tonight, especially at this great venue – chances like this don’t come along all that often. Having people sat towards the front of the stage meant we couldn’t shoot from the pit, like we normally would, but we were allowed to shoot from the sides which was perfectly acceptable, as I’d hate to ruin someone else’s enjoyment of this amazing show.

Joe Bonamassa.3

Once I found a suitable position in which to shoot from, I did in fact study the first three tracks, ‘See See Baby’, ‘Never Make Your Move Too Soon’ and ‘Angel of Mercy’, in great detail through my lens, hoping to capture Joe in that perfect position. Joe makes playing his chosen six string for the evening, a custom Gibson guitar with his signature etched into the neck (which is a really nice touch), look a breeze. What he manages to do with this, or any guitar is so absolutely amazing, that I can only describe as being music to my eyes (and ears) as it was as much a visual spectacle as it was an audible delight and was truly magnificent to behold. So much so in fact, every time he turned away from us, to jam with other band members, like his bass player Michael Rhodes, I simply wanted to pick him up and turn him around to face us, the crowd again, so we could continue to watch those magic fingers at work!

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Joe does in fact continue on with his UK tour, with Cardiff on 27th October, then Bournemouth on the 28th and finishing off with Brighton on 31st, or so the tour flyers say. Joe does in fact have another date, on the 1st of November at Mr. Kyps, in Poole Dorset, which see’s him keep a promise he made some ten years ago at his first ever show in the UK, at the same venue. This is in fact a free concert, details of which can be found on Joe’s site, but as this is a free show, I can only assume all the tickets have now gone, but it’s worth checking out, as this guy is one not to miss!

Joe Bonamassa.5

Full set list consisted of:

1.See See Baby 2.Never Make Your Move Too Soon 3.Angel Of Mercy 4.Hey Baby 5.Oh Beautiful 6.Happier Times 7.Trouble Town 8.Going Down 9.Gave Up Everything 10.Double Trouble 11.Breaking up Someone’s Home 12.Love Ain’t a Love Song 13.Sloe Gin 14.Ballard Of John Henry 15.Spanish Boots 16.All Aboard

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Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Cradle Of Filth

Rock City Nottingham 16.10.15

The tours are now coming thick and fast and tonight is a special one as Cradle of Filth haven’t toured the UK extensively like this since 2001. Truth is, they have a very good reason to and it’s called “Hammers of the Witches” which is their latest album and it is brutal!

The Filth brought with them to Nottingham’s Rock City tonight, two equally brutal support bands that were well suited for tonight’s witch hunt, of sorts!

Billed as “Support 1” I first thought what a lame ass band name but it wasn’t until I saw the stage times in the venue that I actually discovered the first band on tonight were called “She Must Burn” who are from London. As six ghostly figures took to the stage (there’s an irony here, as the band are actually signed to Ghost Music) I could tell from their appearance these guys were gonna border on the extreme and I was right, to an extent. The vocalist virtually screamed, growled or grunted every word, yet between tracks and whilst addressing the crowd, their location became clear, as he had a broad cockney accent. If I was to liken this band to anyone, I’d have to say Rotting Christ or Carcass, but these guys have a twist, as their (rather attractive) female keyboardist doubles up as a second vocalist and produces some rather nice, clean vocals. This, I feel, will make this band more accessible for some. Other than finding out these guys have just released their self titled EP, which is available everywhere, I can’t find an awful lot else out about them.

Frankie Keating - She Must Burn

However, I do know most of the band stood to the side of the stage to witness their tour mates perform, which says an awful lot about their character and how excited they must be to be touring with both Cradle of Filth and Ne Obliviscaris, who were up next.

These guys had travelled an extremely long way to be here tonight – over 10,000 miles in fact, as they are from Melbourne Australia, but I’m glad they made the trip, as I loved them! For a band from Australia, a place that isn’t well known for producing metal bands, they’ve done very well to amass a following nearly 60,000 strong. These guys have gone that extra mile to include an array of genre busting styles within the music they produce, which helps to set these guys apart from the rest. Thanks to a very talented and diverse bunch of musicians who makes up Ne Obliviscaris, in 2012 their debut album “Portal Of I” got released onto the world and quickly made these guys an underground favourite and the metal fraternity welcomed their unique style with open arms. Tonight, I too got to see this creative genius and energetic live show first hand!

Matt Klavins - Ne Obliviscaris

A lively bunch on stage with half of the band looking as though they should be in a metal band, while the other half chose to dress more conservatively, most noticeably was Tim Charles, the bands clean vocalist and violinist, yes, you heard right kids, a metal violinist! It’s not a common metal instrument which you’d expect to see, but it did in fact work very well for these guys. The bands other and more extreme vocalist Xen, who also writes all the lyrics, certainly looked more suited for his part and I soon felt slightly inferior as this guy is one hell of a good looking humanoid, however, he hid his good looks throughout most of the set with his hair, as if to hide his vanity, to which I am grateful for as being killed by a stampede of screaming young girls isn’t how I envisaged my parting from this earth!

Xenoyr and Tim Charles - Ne Obliviscaris2

Being killed by fire, now that’s a much more appealing way to go and Cradle of Filth bought a truck load along with them for tonight’s opening to their “Inquisitional Tourture” tour, well they had to start with a bang didn’t they! Obviously covering any opening night of a tour has to get the band maximum exposure so people become interested in the rest of the dates around the country etc and I’m pretty confident the images we’ve released via our social media outlets have done that, as the activity they’ve produced has been phenomenal – it also tells me how popular this band actually are. Although a modest gathering tonight, I’d love to see what the crowds are like for the remaining UK dates, which are Glasgow, Manchester and finally London, KOKO, in Camden. What a gig that’s going to be, I love that venue.

Richard Shaw and Ashok - Cradle Of Filth

I don’t need to digest a Thesaurus to describe how good this band are, or have an English degree to write about them either, as they are quite simply one of the most original metal acts this country has ever produced. If you ask any of the greatest bands around, what’s been their greatest achievement in their musical career, the answer is usually “we found our own style” and this I feel, rings true with Cradle of Filth. Yes, some find Danny Filth’s persistent screech a little grating but I on the other hand, see it as a characteristic that embellishes Filth’s identity. This has been well demonstrated on Cradle of Filth’s new album “Hammer of the Witches” which we’re genuinely enjoying immensely. My favourite track off this album so far, has been “Blackest Magick In Practice” and is a testament to this bands creativity. To still be able to produce such a unique sounding track that stands separately to anything already produced in their extensive back catalogue, which consists of eleven studio albums, is quite remarkable really!

Cradle Of Filth Dani

Creative mastermind and vocalist Dani Filth, dressed like a demon lord, showed us why he’s one of the best front men around tonight! When addressing the crowd between tracks, he’s funny, entertaining and also a visual wonderment to behold throughout the entire set. Early into the set, Danny states “It’s been fucking ages since I was last in Nottingham, the last time I was here, it was for a dwarf wedding and it wasn’t my own!” funny, here’s a guy who doesn’t take life too seriously and I’ve also heard he’s one of the nicest guys in metal! ALL HAIL CRADLE OF FILTH, I just wish I could be at the KOKO gig as I’m sure that’s going to be an absolute belter. Catch um there, as they set off for Europe soon after and who knows when these guys will tour again next!

Cradle Of Filth

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Wardance

Self Titled EP

Wardance are a Brit-rock trio based in London. Taking influences from 90s rock bands such as Nirvana, Weezer and early Soundgarden. They have a heavy sound with thick guitars, lo fi vocals and monstrous bass, so if you are a fan of 90s grunge scene then Wardance are definitely for you.

Release date 2nd October 2015.

This is Wardance’s debut EP and packs a punch from start to finish. The lead singer and guitarist Josh Newton has a distinctive voice sounding like Kurt Cobian with his own personal style added to it. The drums, which are played by Mike Dodd are heavy with great rhythm and make you just want to thrash your head around to the beat.

The first song on the EP is ‘Free Radicals’. This song starts with such impact, going straight into a heavy drum rhythm, thick guitar riffs with the backing of strong vocals and thundering base. The bass guitar, which is played by Tom Madica has a thick thudding sound throughout this song, making it stand out and it really gets you rocking!!!!!

‘Reality’ is the second song off the EP and also has a powerful drum beat and powerful vocals. This song speaks in volumes of noise with the lyrics near enough shouted at you. This song is the one for Nirvana listeners alike with heavy drums, guitar and thundering base.

‘Guiding Light’ is more of a softer sound with hi- fi vocals, light guitar playing and softer vocals at the start which soon liven up. The song then explodes into heavy guitar and strong vocals from Josh Newton. I would say this song is a head bangers dream and could become a classic in the grunge scene.

‘Come Alive’ is the last song on the EP and even though it may be the last, it is by no means the least and could become a hit in the future. This song has a catchy drumbeat which makes you want to tap your feet or mosh around the room. As with the rest of the EP,  it has powerful vocals and guitar throughout.

Wardance EP

All in all, this is a great EP from the band and makes you want to listen to them more and more with each time you play it. If this EP is the beginning then it makes you wonder what they have got planned for the future, so I would say this is a band to look out for.

Review by Matthew York.