o2 Institute Birmingham 16.12.16

WOW, two gigs in Birmingham in two weeks – I must be desperate to review a live show, especially after the nightmare I had getting into Birmingham last week! Truth is, we got invited to interview the amazing Valient Thorr (thanks Napalm Records) and these guys are insanely good live and their music speaks volumes! More on them in a bit, along with our interview link.
Valient - Valient Thorr

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, up until recently, tonight’s venue in Birmingham, known as ‘The Institute’ was called just that but got re-branded as part of the o2 franchise, so I can be forgiven for going to the o2 Academy right, right? No, I’m a douche and should have read the details right! I did manage to get to the correct venue in time to interview the band and I even got invited up to watch sound check!

Being my first time here, I was slightly dubious and didn’t quite know what to expect – this place is massive and like a rabbit warren so you could easily get lost here. The main room, where tonight’s gig was being held is great and I’m pretty sure that once upon a time it use to be a grand theatre, complete with overhead viewing galleries which are still accessible and does give the spectator a great view point. Being a theatre, the acoustics in the room are great too! Apparently, the lighting here can be a little hit and miss but although there was a lot of smoke, I had no complaints about the lighting tonight, which is a rarity and some what of a relief, seeing as getting here is a complete ball ache!

With our interview all wrapped up with Valient Thorr, it was time to get ready for Lionize who were up first. We’re familiar with these guys as we first saw them on Metal HammersLord of the Riffs Tour II’ which is where we also discovered Planet of Zeus, incidentally (amazing band).

A little about Lionize, they’ve been around a long time and are multi diverse in their musical style. Their early stuff is very reggae orientated but as they’ve developed, their style has become less reggae and more rock. A contributing factor may be the fact that they were signed to Clutch’s record label, but it now states that they’re on their own label ‘Wheatons Finest Music’? As stated last time, we prefer the bands earlier material however, tonight’s performance was fun though, almost as fun as Nate’s stage outfit – almost! Wow!

Valient Thorr however, are now my new favourite band to watch live! These guys are a group of energetic, talented musicians, who are intelligent and seriously passionate about the music they produce. They are also a lot of fun and don’t appear to take life too seriously. Now on their seventh album ‘Old Salt’ which was released in July and is a great body of work that they’ve only just toured in Europe and the UK. From what we can gather, these guys maybe gearing up to tour the US in 2017, so fans over there need to check these guys out, should they come rolling into your home town.
Storm Thorr - Valient Thorr

I also get the impression after talking to these guys in our interview, that this group are constantly creating new music, so I doubt we’ll have to wait too long before they release new material. Also, now knowing the kind of bands these guys tend to tour with, here in the UK, the likes of Mastodon, for example, I don’t think we’ll have too long a wait either before they grace our shores again! Watch the interview with Valient Thorr.

We last saw Clutch back in 2013 in Nottingham, when they first started touring the release of their most commercially viable album to date ‘Earth Rocker’. Since then, the band have been back here every year and have also been able to release another albumPsychic Warfare’ which includes the hit new singleXray Visions’ which we love. According to Spotify, the band have also released a lot of their older albums this year, such as ‘La Curandera’- I may be wrong, but I’m sure this is older material, feel free to correct me if I am!

Now, back in 2013, I immediately got the impression that Clutch are a band who like to get on with a set with little or no interaction with the crowd, which is fair when you consider the number of tracks they cram into it. Some say Neil is a great front man, which we agree with, but the rest of the band are very much in the moment, especially Dan and Tim! Tonight was very different to that show back in 2013 and a complete contradiction to peoples general consensus! Neil literally lived up to his ‘great front man’ status! The rest of the band did what they are meant to do, perform like a unit and allow their front man to entertain the crowd!
Neil Fallon - Clutch

And what a crowd too – the venue was nearly at capacity, so you could say it was a sell out! Trying to take pictures was hard though, I’ve never found it difficult to stand up whilst photographing a gig before but the bass from Jean-Paul’s kick drum was so strong, it proved a challenge but one I was willing to accept mind!
Jean Paul Gastor - Clutch

We love this band and everything they do, so tonight’s biggest achievement was that we managed to actually say hello to Neil Fallon in the corridor on the way to Valient Thorr’s dressing room and he even said hello back… I know it’s wrong, but everyone’s allowed a fan-boy moment.

This was my last gig of 2016, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the bands, venues, promoters and most importantly our readers and I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! See you in 2017!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Bullet For My Valentine

O2 Academy Birmingham 7th December 2016.

Having not been to a gig for a while, I was quite excited about getting back to what I love doing. Tonight’s gig promised to be special, but my enthusiasm soon died when I tried to drive into Birmingham at the height of rush hour. Thankfully, I managed to arrive at the venue before doors opening, which in itself was a miracle! I don’t suppose it helps that Christmas is just around the corner!

Michael Paget - Bullet For My Valentine

Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) were scheduled to do two dates here in Birmingham, the first of which was last night. Initially, we were down to review that show but due to the fact the venue was up to capacity (SOLD OUT), they had to cut back on the press numbers, which wasn’t an issue really, however it appears both nights were completely different. It also turns out that the lighting at last night’s show wasn’t as good as tonight, which must have been completely terrible, as tonight wasn’t ideal but we managed to get a few pictures we like! BFMV’s set list differed as well – new stuff last night, old stuff tonight, which suited me fine! More on these guys in a bit, but first the support bands.

Supporting BFMV on both nights, was the up and coming quintet from New Orleans, Cane Hill. It quickly became apparent where they draw their inspiration from ‘musically’ as you simply had to look at was written on the drum kit. Described as head bangin, beer drinkin, pot smokin metal, they’re clearly trying to make a statement however, due to their chosen topics, are they limiting their audience, do kids these days still do these substances……of course they do but should these topics be endorsed? I wouldn’t of thought so, but I’m old (er), so I’m meant to appear responsible.

Elijah Witt - Cane Hill

There’s no disputing these guys have got talent, buckets of energy and plenty of agro about them, sadly, however, no one could see them. I’m all for allowing the music to speak for itself but the lighting for these guys was terrible. Personally, I felt sorry for the people who paid good money to see a show but instead got darkness with WAY too much strobe lighting!

Second up, were a band I’ve been looking forward to seeing live for a while, Killswitch Engage. There are some bands that just connect well with a variety of metal fans by enlarge. Some merely appeal to sub genres and only those people who follow that particular type of metal sub-genre, but this band seems to appeal across the board. People say these guys are predominantly nu-metal, with elements of classic metal thrown in. According to Spotify, the bands second most played track is in fact their cover of Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ and it’s one of those covers you could easily consider as being as good as the original! I wouldn’t say better, but that track has helped them to appeal to more people and helped them to connect with a crowd who may not necessarily know who they are and in KSE’s case, that track has helped them immensely! It’s hard to believe these guys have been going for the best part of 16 years now and have produced seven albums, the latest of which was released this year, titled ‘Incarnate’ and it’s a belter!

Adam Dutkiewicz - Killswitch EngageTonight’s set was full of energy, with everyone playing their part to gee up the crowd. Although these guys have been doing this for many years, it’s great to see a well seasoned band still get up on a stage and still look as though they’re enjoying themselves and that was very much the case tonight! Mike D’Antonio, on bass – what a performer and those facial expressions… priceless!

Jesse Leach - Killswitch Engage

I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw these guys again, very soon, in the summer in fact, at a festival near you!

Although the headliners, Bullet For My Valentine, hail from Bridgend in Wales, you wouldn’t of thought it as all three bands worked very well and complimented each other nicely. It’s refreshing to go to a gig where all the bands have a similar style, yet are all very original and to see the crowd rocking the night away!

Jamie Mathias - Bullet For My Valentine

Seeing as BFMV released their latest album ‘Venom’ last year, it makes sense they would go on tour to promote it, however, doing two consecutive nights within a city is a bold move and not one many bands can get away with!

To ensure selling enough tickets to warrant the move, you have to do something different. If you dedicate one night to the new stuff and another night to the album that made you, which in BFMV’s case was the album ‘The Poison’ released back in 2005 and has their monster anthem ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ on it, it’s certainly going to draw in as many fans as possible. Matthew Tuck, the bands lead singer, even acknowledged what that track has
done for the band and thanked the fans for helping them achieve everything, within their career so far, which I though was nice!

Matthew Tuck - Bullet For My Valentine

Although I like the new album, I’ll be honest, it’s new and I’ve not lived with the tracks long enough to get ‘that’ passionate about them. The older material however, is what got me into the band in the first place, so to be given the opportunity to be in the pit, while BFMV played ‘Tears Don’t Fall’ is why I love doing what I do!

Tonight’s show was a true spectacle and one that can only be described well, if you were there. If you weren’t there, you seriously missed out on a brilliant night of metal.

Review and photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)


More bands added to the line-up!

27th May, De Montfort Hall, Leicester, Three Stages, One Iconic Venue and a whole lot of metal! Now into its second year, we are beyond pleased to announce our first bands, a selection from each of the three stages: Onslaught, Lawnmower Deth, Kill II This, Dave McPherson, Boss Keloid, Haerken.

Uprising 2017

Once again Leicestershire’s most prestigious music venue hosts one of the biggest metal events of the year with some of the finest up and coming acts joining what can only be described as icons from the world of metal. We spoke to a few of the bands about how they feel playing Uprising at De Montfort Hall.

Lawnmower Deth:
“De Montfort Hall. Who the hell doesn’t want to play De Montfort Hall. All Steve bangs on about is seeing Motorhead on the ‘Another Perfect Day’ tour at De Montfort Hall. It fits the Lawnmower ethos perfectly, it’s a tick box. Big rooms, friends, and killer bands. So, hello Leicester it is. Stand by your beds. Old men rolling into town… Now who’s going to offer us Wembley?”.

Kill II This:
“We’re absolutely delighted to be asked to appear at the 2017 Uprising Festival. The line-up is awesome and De Montfort Hall is a special venue. We can’t wait to bring Kill II This to Leicestershire to play for the Uprising crowd”.

Dave McPherson (InMe) acoustic:
“”I’m thrilled & honoured to be a part of Uprising in 2017. It’s always nice to play to new folk & try to win them over plus meet the acts playing & have a beer or three. Leicester holds a special place in my heart & the De Montfort Hall looks absolutely stunning. See you there!”.

Boss Keloid:
“Boss Keloid are most certainly looking forward to playing Uprising and De Montfort Hall for the first time. By all accounts last year’s event and line up was immense. A week after we’ll be going into Skyhammer Studios to record our next album, so Uprising will be a great opportunity for us to showcase our new material.”

Weare truly humbled to have received an invitation to join the mêléeat UPRISING in Leicester in 2017. Not only as a privileged part of this astounding hastilude, but as partisans of the M2TM tournament, having ourselves benefited greatly thither. Indeed, had it not been for our taking part many moons ago, our place in the lsits at the hallowed hall of De Montfort may never have come to be. We await the day with augmented anticipation! Was Hell!”.

With plenty more bands still to announce including our Headline acts and loads more for everyone to do on the day, UPRISING has to be the best value rock/metal even in the calendar. We are also pleased to announce that we will once again be hosting the regions Metal 2 The Masses final during the afternoon where the top five bands all play for a slot at Bloodstock Festival, following in the steps of Garganjua and Conjurer who both went on to play the Festival the year after their stellar performances at UPRISING in June.

Therewill be stalls offering some fabulous merch, top quality foods and most importantly, plenty of choice of real ales and beverages including those from Guinness, Fireball and The Motley Brew!

Tickets at the moment are being held at our early bird price of £20 and that’s including postage to your door and zero booking fee, grab yours new here:

UPRISING will be held at De Montfort Hall, Leicester on 27thMay 2017. Keep up to date with the latest info on UPRISING’s official website.

Guinness, Fireball, Moshville Times, GetYourRockOut, VeryMetalArt, Firebug, ResinEvents, Blackstar, The Motley Brew, BJF PR, Goblin Dreams, FatAngel PR.

The bands:
UPRISING, Evil Scarecrow, Tess Of The Circle, Kingbreaker, Seething Akira, Nine Miles South, Burnt Out Wreck, Last Flight To Pluto, Dethonator, Killatrix, Stone Circle, Vektrill, The Parasite Syndicate, Flotsam And Jetsam, One For Sorrow, Esther, Doomsday Outlaw, Temple Of Lies, I AM I, Stormbringer, Mordred, Jac Dalton, Blackmail Snaps.