All posts by music224.com

SOS Festival

Manchester 17-19th July 2015.

HERE COME THE GIRLS… or so it would seem, but there were in fact a very equal mix of acts at this years festival which is in fact in it’s eighth year, unknown to me, as this was my first year attending this remarkable weekend of fun and frolics!

I’ve written many a gig and festival review over the years and in a bid to keep it fresh, I’m going to try and paint a picture of the weekend as a whole, for people who may be thinking of attending next year and I strongly recommend you do, as 2015 was so much fun that I’ve already bought my ticket for 2016!

This year was the first time the organisers (Rocksector Records) had decided to include the Friday night which I believe was to ensure the same number of acts got seen by the fans who usually left for home early on the Sunday – as many poor sods (like me) had to work on the Monday! Some, of course book the Monday off to recover, I wish I had, I will do for next year!

SOS festival gives Rocksector Records an opportunity to showcase some of the bands they have amassed to their ever growing label which was set up in 2007, and also to showcase some of the bands they are feeling creatively that work with the acts they already have on their roster. Or simply just because they love the bands, as these guys, like me love good live music!

This year featured several Rocksector acts, such as Knock Out Kaine (who were the last band I managed to see on Sunday) who are such a great band and I’d strongly advise checking out their music video “Set the Night On Fire” as it features a guest appearance by non other than Bruce Dickinson (Lead vocalist for the band Iron Maiden, you know who they are!) I managed to talk with Dean Foxx (Lead Vox) before they went up onstage to ask how they managed to get Bruce to appear in the video, to which his reply was “we simply asked him if he’d be interested in appearing and 48hrs or so later, he came back with a yes, we was well chuffed”. I then went on to ask, who produced the video for you, as it’s very well made? “We asked a bunch of Uni guys studying media if they’d be interested, they jumped at the chance!” Having seen this band play before, I was familiar with their style of sleaze rock & roll and I love it! These guys are heading to Bloodstock Festival, this weekend and play the Jägermeister stage, on the Saturday, the lucky b*st*rds!

Knock Out Kaine

On the Saturday, label mates, Die No More played the main stage, which was my first time seeing these guys play – which was great for me, although many in attendance have seen these guys play many times before, lucky them, but now I know what all the fuss is about and I’ll certainly be paying a lot more attention to this bands goings on in the future! If you ever get to meet Marc Farquhar, the bands lead singer/guitarist, he has to be one of the nicest guys in metal! Great band, fans of Metallica check um out!

Die No More

Triaxis headlined the first ever Friday and rightly so as their new album “Zero Hour” has been getting some major praise by all the main stream media outlets since its release and we love it! We managed to obtain an interview with CJ, Becky and Krissie, which won’t feature in this review, because it was such a great interview we are going to run another feature on the site solely dedicated to it so keep your eyes peeled for that one! The band are also heading to Bloodstock this week where they will be playing the Sophie Stage at 11am on the Sunday, I’d strongly recommend you get out of your sleeping bags early enough to catch their set as it will be one you won’t want to miss!

Triaxis

Garagedays were a real highlight for me personally, both on and off the stage (if you were there, you’ll know what I’m talking about) All I will say is Marco, the bands lead singer/guitarist does a great impression of a wild animal however, I’m still trying to figure out which one! Hahaha! Musically, they reminded me of bands such as Destruction, Kreator and Sodom.

Garagedays

Other bands on Rocksector Records, that featured ay SOS this year, were Black Whiskey, Obzidian, Wizz Wizzard (acoustic set, with both Chris and Luke Appleton), Captain Horizon, Avenger and Secret Rule, all great bands but just not enough space to talk about them all I’m afraid!

SOS Festival has a great family feel about it, which isn’t too far from the truth. With the quality of bands on the bill year after year, they have managed to attract quite a following from music fans both domestically and abroad, who make their way to sunny Manchester (the weather was actually very nice this weekend) every year. I was meant to attend this festival in 2014 (when Savage Messiah played) and for the life of me, I can’t remember why I didn’t attend so I’m kicking myself now like!

Radcliffe Community Hall, which is situated on the outskirts of Greater Manchester, is a great little venue with great facilities. There is a nice little press area, for us media whore types to conduct our interviews, we were even supplied with biscuits so take note other festivals lol! Along side that we had a nice selection of both hot and cold food that was prepared daily as well as your usual snacks. I found it interesting as over the 3 days, everyone seemed to get hungry at exactly the same time, so the poor kitchen staff struggled a little during peaks times, but they got there in the end so everyone went away happy, eventually! I especially enjoyed the chilli and rice. The bar was very comfortable, the staff were very pleasant, however the selection was limited and expensive (expected these days) but that didn’t stop many getting wrecked all weekend! haha! There are plenty of space for stalls around the edge of the main hall for bands to peddle their wares, the organisers even provide a trusted member of staff to sell your stuff for you, whilst you’re on stage!The best part about this venue though has to be the stage set up a both the lighting and the sound on the main stage were fantastic, best I’ve ever seen at a festival of this size and even better than some well established venues, that appear on many tour posters, my mind boggles! The acoustic stage, operated between the acts that featured on the main stage sounded great, but because of its lower position, visibility was restricted to the first 2 rows and the lighting was a challenge, but we got through it. I especially liked the 60’s style swirls that were projected onto the walls behind the stage…..I certainly felt my mojo coming on, yeah baby, yeah!

My opening statement is dedicated to the next three bands that I’m about to mention, as they really stood out at this years SOS festival and are a testament to the quality of bands this festival features!

Collibus, are a female fronted progressive metal band with classical elements, who played the main stage before the headliners on the Friday. The band hail from Manchester and took the music world by storm in 2014, having played pretty much every major festival going, largely contributed by their success in winning the Parliamentary Rock the House Discretionary Metal Award in 2013. Being personally endorsed by Brian May (Queen) goes a long way too! Tonight’s set was powerful, to say the least, I don’t know what Gemma’s vocal warming up process is before a gig, but they must be intense, as they are powerful and only got better as the set went on! I’m loving their album “The False Awakening” that got released in 2013 too, as it helps to remind me what a fantastic set at SOS was.

The Amorettes played the main stage on the Saturday and are a band I’ve interviewed at HRH8 and seen play, when they supported Europe and Black Star Riders on their tour this year (Rock City). Consisting of three rockettes, who hail from Scotland, who aren’t afraid of hard work and they’ve been doing a lot of it these past few years which shows (in a good way) and is starting to pay off. These ladies are going to be big, mark my words! Similar to Motorhead in style, yet more aggressive and young, fit and ready to rock!

The Amorettes

Having attended the rock industry seminar ROCKCOMM.com this year, I’ve learnt a lot about what the music industry are looking for “The whole package” springs to mind. If I was to ever see a band that had it all, it would have to be the band “Chasing Dragons” from Leeds. Playing on the main stage on the Sunday and having never seen them before, I didn’t quite know what to expect. After the first song though, I was hooked! I can’t explain exactly what it was that drew me to this band, as there were a number of factors that attracted me, but If I had to pick I’d have to say the musical content these guys have produced is brilliant, along with its execution, they prove to be a formidable force. I’m certainly counting the days to when I can see this band play again, hopefully in September, but they have many dates booked, seriously, check um out!

Chasing Dragons

I can’t leave without mentioning Saturday’s Headliner Mr. Blaze Bayley though, who seemed rejuvenated at SOS Festival, possibly thanks to the likes of Chris Appleton (on guitar) and others in the band. Having seen Blaze at HRH8, tonight was a whole different matter. I managed to see the man conduct several interviews throughout the day, where he seemed in high spirits and I’m not surprised after arriving on his lovely Triumph motorcycle! I never thought I’d get an inspirational pep talk from a rock-star, but some of what Blaze said during his set at SOS really struck a cord with me, personally! Tonight’s set was dedicated to the album “Silicone Messiah” which was played in its entirety and sounded every bit as awesome as I’d hoped it would!

Nor can I leave without mentioning the young lad who allowed SOS Festival to cut off around 12inches of his precious hair and all in aid of a charity who produce hair pieces for young children who have lost their own hair through illness. For his efforts, I believe the total so far is around £1000, so well done son, what a great thing to do. Before his hair was cut though, he did manage to have a final head band, to Lamb of God, accompanied by Luke Appleton and his big sister!

Thankfully, SOS Festival will return in 2016 and they haven’t wasted any time in announcing the first crop of bands that will feature at next years event and they are as follows, Babylon Fire, tHE iDOL DeaD, Lord Volture and Aonia, with many, many more bands yet to be announced. If you’re quick, you can grab yourself a ticket for 2016 at this years poultry price of just £15, for a whole weekends entertainment, this is an absolute bargain and an absolute must! I for one cannot wait!

Words and Photography By Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Steelhouse Festival

Saturday 25th July 2015.

With a change in weather we had Florence Black kicking things off in the glorious sunshine. The young 3 piece teen rock band from down the road in Merthyr Tydfil started Saturday with some hard rock including “Zulu” and their new single “Grove Street”.

The five piece hard rock band Massive Wagons, from Lancashire up next and these I was looking forward to! They started with a heavy, foot thumbing, head banging “Rising Tides” that certainly grabbed your attention. They continued by playing their current single “Dirty Little Secrets” and crowd favourites “Fight the System” and “Red Dress”. Giving us a sample of what’s to come on their new album they played “Welcome to the World”, “Ratio” and “Jodie” and I am certainly eager to get my hands on this!

Baz Mills - Massive Wagons

Speaking with Barry the lead singer after the performance he was very impressed with the runway on stage, making the most of it and coming into the crowd. They certainly enjoyed themselves and by the reaction and participation from the crowd they did to. If you ever get a chance to see them, please do as they do an awesome live performance!

They’re back after playing at Steelhouse in 2012, playing some good British blues-rock Henry’s Funeral Shoe had a tough act to follow. The duo was formed by two brothers, Aled and Brennig Clifford, in 2008 from South Wales. They have been fortunate to share the stage with Feeder, Status Quo, Kiss and Lynyrd Skynyrd at various festivals over the last few years. Starting their set with “The Rebel” and treating us to a song they were banned from singing when on tour with Kiss “Morphine”.

The band Trucker Diablo from Northern Ireland were formed in 2008 and quickly gained a name for themselves in 2011, playing Download Festival supporting Black Stone Cherry on the sold out Irish leg of their UK tour. They then went on supporting Foo Fighters, Terrorvision and on the main stage at Hard Rock Hell festival and supporting their heroes “Thin Lizzy” in Belfast in 2012. After a brief break-up the band got back together with a new album released early 2015, Glenn Harrison unfortunately did not re-join the band but new addition bassist Jim McGurk certainly looked like he was enjoying himself.

Trucker Diablo

Trucker have that classic hard rock sound with a southern-rock influence, playing a few old favourites including “Drink Beer Destroy” and “Juggernaut” and then the recent album with “Party Like They Started The End Of The World” and “We Stand Strong”, they most definitely enjoyed being back on stage and doing what they do best and the crowd was not disappointed!

BTKOR!

The Treatment are an English hard rock 5 piece band, which formed in Cambridge in 2008. Playing high energy rock with influences by AC/DC, Sex Pistols, Aerosmith and The Cult. There was plenty there that had come especially to see The Treatment and were not let down, singing “The Doctor” and the appropriate “Shake the Mountain” which everyone did!

The Treatment

Nazareth are a Scottish hard rock band, founded in 1968, that had several hits in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. They gained an international audience in 1975. Inspiration comes from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Nazareth took their name from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, which is cited in the first line of the band’s classic song “The Weight”. Current members Pete Agnew, Jimmy Murrison, Lee Agnew and Carl Sentance. Past members over the years include Dan McCafferty, Darrell Sweet, Manny Charlton, Zal Cleminson, Billy Rankin, John Locke, Ronnie Leahy and Linton Osborne.

Nazareth

Playing a lot of their classic songs the crowd loved having Nazareth back on stage. Favourites like “Razamanaz” and “Love Hurts” had the crowd singing and dancing for a whole 70 minute set.

Y&T were established in 1974, originally named as Yesterday and Tomorrow with Dave Meniketti, Phil Kennemore, Leonard Haze, and Joey Alves. In the early days they set the standard for hard rock bands that followed, being the influence of many bands today. The 80’s marked an era of change with Jimmy DeGrasso on drums and Stef Burns on guitar. With Kennemore’s untimely passing from lung cancer, the band carries on the legacy that is Y&T with Dave Meniketti, John Nymann, Brad Lang, and Mike Vanderhule, playing songs that span the band’s five-decade career.

Y&T

Y&T stormed the stage beginning with “Hurricane”. There was a lot that had come especially to see Y&T and they did not appear disappointed, playing many from the album “Black Tiger” including “Forever” and “Open Fire”. I myself had not seen these on stage before and felt they lacked interaction with the audience, just playing as many as they could get into their 75 minute set.

UFO are an English heavy metal and hard rock band that was formed in 1969. Current members Phil Mogg, Paul Raymond, Andy Parker, Vinnie Moore and Rob De Luca and past members far too long to list.

UFO

Finishing the line-up for Saturday, UFO played crowd favourites “Shoot Shoot”, “Doctor Doctor” and “Rock Bottom” and also treated us to some from their new album, “Conspiracy Of Stars”. Everyone left the field that night on a high, UFO had certainly left us feeling content, some good British rock and roll had been heard!

Review by Toni Reed and Photography by Neil Reed.

Hil’s Birthday Bash!

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 18th July 2015.

It’s that time again folks, and ain’t we glad it is – cause Hil’s always knows how to put on a great Birthday Bash!

And claiming tonight’s opening spot were Evil Empire comprising of Dave Gwinnutt (Vocals), Dan Morgan (Guitar), Keiron MacGough (Bass) and Matt Evans (Drums). Considering these guys have only been around for about twelve months, they’ve already got a strong set of songs that are heavy to the ear but melodic to the touch and all with a great pulse of solid metal guitar riffs. If you’ve not yet checked out Evil Empire, make sure you do as clearly these guys are on the up!

Evil Empire

Next band on stage were Silence The Weak and time for a spot of relentless and down right formidable metalcore. This band really are a force to admire and lack no shortage of energy when it comes to capturing the stage and tonight’s performance saw them do exactly just that.

Silence The Weak

The midway point of the evening was marked with distinction by another band who are relative newcomers to the West Midlands Metal scene, and that band being Conjurer. This band have a stage presence that is as intense as their music and that certainly makes for one hell of an experience! Yet again, Conjurer are a band you need to check out if you’ve not yet seen them live before – you won’t be disappointed!

Conjurer

I really can’t imagine Hils holding a Birthday Bash that didn’t include Destroyed Beyond Belief, cause let’s face it folks, these guys are more than a wee bit good and top guys with it aswell! Albeit they were intent on delivering some serious metal tunes tonight, the occasion could not pass without a song or two that nestled within madcap mayhem and misdemeanor and lets just say that tonight saw these guys stand as Gods amongst us mortals in their delivery of the greatest of Birthday tunes. Tonight‘s cover ‘of ‘Danger Zone’ was outstanding and never will I ever be able to watch ‘Top Gun’ again with a straight face!

Destroyed Beyond Belief

Our headliners for tonight were Gehtika and with a new album that is just about ready to be launched, it is certainly an exciting time indeed to catch these guys live. Gehtika are in a league of their own when it comes to creating a theatrical atmosphere and amidst the haze of pink and red lights, they created quite an impression. The band will be launching their new album ‘A Monster In Mourning’ on 29th August at the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham so that is undeniably a don’t miss date to add to your diary.

Gehtika

And there endeth ‘Hils Birthday Bash’ for another year and a spiffing night indeed!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.