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Scorpion Child

With Support From Blues Pills.

Queens Hall Nuneaton 16th November 2013.

I’ve known about tonight’s gig and the four dates that Scorpion Child were doing in the UK for some time, thanks to the regular updates via Nuclear Blast. The excitement for this band is starting to snowball and supporting the quintet from Texas tonight were Blues/soul rockers, Blues Pills, all the way from Sweden. Orchid, who’d also supported these two in Europe, didn’t come across to the UK this time which was a real shame as I’ve also heard great things about them, but just to have these two phenomenal bands on UK soil was a real joy!

Driving past Queens Hall is a regular thing with me, as the venue is tucked away in a corner of the high street and if you’re not paying attention you miss it. Knowing I’d driven too far, I made a U-turn and got to the venue with 5mins to spare, which gave me the opportunity to sit in and listen to Mark ‘Tosh’ Davies’ interview with Scorpion Child. Unfortunately I wasn’t conducting an interview this time, but I did get chance to speak with Shaun Diettrick Avants (Bass) aka the tour manager, about British beer, various other bands and his band in general.

With the venue started to fill, also in attendance were some of the biggest names in the media world. It would seem that Nuclear Blast are signing a select group of bands that are emulating a certain genre, so make sure you also check out “The Vintage Caravan & Orchid” as they sound very similar to tonight’s bands!

Admittedly, the crowd wasn’t bursting at the seems tonight but for all those in attendance, it was a great opportunity to enjoy what could only be described as an intimate show. I wasn’t complaining as having no pit at this venue, it gave me more freedom to move about!

First up then, were the relatively young band “Blues Pills” currently from Sweden, but I believe some members are from other countries also. The first thing that strikes you is the powerful, gritty and yet quite beautiful vocals (and looks) from Elin Larsson, which are a cross between Janis Joplin and Christina Aguilera, that serves in fact to be very unique.  Elin also shacks and bashes her tambourine and when she’s not looking quite scary as she belts out tracks like “Devil Man”, she does in fact manage to make eye contact with the crowd long enough to share an intimate smile or three.

Elin Larsson - Blues Pills

Both Cory Berry (Drums) and Zack Anderson (Bass) seemed a little camera shy, opting out of any attention and content only with getting on with what they do best, play their instruments. This left people to stand in ore, myself included, of both Elin on vocals and Dorian Sorriaux on guitar (as he played his guitar, it gently weeped!) Sporting a festive woolly jumper, his guitar playing is mesmerising and as I watched, his hands seems to float like a butterfly, but what was produced stung like a sharp thing! With masses of concentration, he does come across as a very cool customer. There’s no disputing this lot have got soul, but they ain’t no soldier!

Cory Berry - Blues Pills

I think it’s fair to say that given the ingredients of Janis Joplin on vocals and Eric Clapton on guitar (Hypothetically speaking), these guys are bringing the 60’s bang up to date, kicking and screaming, as they do and my god, it sounds good! Definitely check out their EP “Devil Man” which currently can be purchased from their website, but it’s still available on 10″ vinyl via Nuclear Blast’s website for £11.47 which makes a great collector’s item or Christmas present (hint, hint to the Mrs) or if you’re a tight arse like me, then you can download the new EP from iTunes for £2.49, bargain, and I can clearly see the price! ;) Safe travels to them, as they now go off to wow Australia, good luck guys, knock um for 6!

Set list may of looked like this… 1.Bliss  2. 2.Dig In  3.Devil Man  4.Little Sun  5.Astralplane  6.Black Smoke.

As Scorpion Child took to the stage, their presence had an immediate impact. Some have described this bands live performance in parts, as a jamming session, but have people forgotten those bands from the 70’s, like Sabbath, Zeppelin, Priest and UFO, with their 7, 8 or 9 minute long epics? Let’s get one thing straight – these guys are real musicians, applying their craft of music and are not a pop act that conforms to the mass produced drivel that we hear in the charts today.

Coined as the new, new, NEW wave of British heavy metal, like Blues Pills before them, they are reviving a genre that’s been neglected for a while, Scorpion Child are putting their own spin on a sound that’s much loved by many. Unfortunately, we are now at a point that any new band can be likened to another, but these guys sound fresh and exciting.

Not to sound too contradicting, I couldn’t help but liken lead singer Aryn to Robert Plant, not only vocally but in his persona on stage also. Sporting a Budgie T-shirt, from a tour way back in 1972, you sensed the music they’re creating is heavily influence by those bands that I’ve just mentioned. Clearly enjoying himself on stage, he danced about, treating us to some fine pirouettes, as well as flicking out the mic stand towards the crowd, catching the chord (just in time) and pulling it back towards him, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to the folks directly in front of him, if he hadn’t caught the chord in time? lol

Aryn Jonathon Black - Scorpian Child

Tom, on rhythm guitar is a real showman and played up to the many cameras that were flying about taking pictures. We know the guitar poses are for our benefit aswell as the audiences entertainment, so thank you for that, we really do appreciate a good axe shot!

Tom Frank - Scorpian Child

Shawn was all smiles on the drums, until a clutch or a spring went in his kick peddle. Thankfully, that got resolved quickly and didn’t ruin the show. The PA system at Queen’s Hall is fantastic, and coupled with the thumping beats from Shawn, I can safely say our ears were well and truly shot to bits!

Shawn Alvear - Scorpian Child

Shaun on bass, is actually a guitar player and writes most of the bands music, along with Christopher, on one. Opting to play the bass, as having stated in a recent interview with Rex Brown (Pantera), ‘that there are too many guitar player in the world’, I must say Shaun, your moves are legendary and your face pulling  priceless, t’was a pleasure to witness!

Shaun Avants - Scorpian Child

Best moment of the night for me was when Aryn, stopping for water between tracks, commented that he’d look a lot cooler if he had a shot of Jagermeister instead. Happy to put this to the test, I made a quick trip to the bar, purchased a shot and with said drink held aloft for Aryn (and hoping he’d not think me a nut job for doing so), one shot was taken, along with a few others of the photographic kind from my tog buddies who were quick to capture the moment on camera, cheers guys! ;)

I won’t take 100% credit for it, but I truly believe the shot, the fun everyone was having, especially those dancing around and singing back every word to the band, even Dorian Sorriaux was stood at the front enjoying Scorpion Child’s set, helped to give us an encore which was apparently, the first one the band had done on this current tour! The one track encore was a bootleg of a new song they are working on, so don’t expect the finished result to sound anything like the video I captured, if released?

I’d like to say a big thank you for signing my vinyl LP tonight and I hope the rest of the tour is a success and you all get home safely for Christmas.

Set List looked something like this: 1. Kings Highway  2. Polygon of Eyes  3. The Secret Spot  4. Liquor  5. Salvation Slave  6. Keep Goin’  7. She Sings I Kill – (Encore) Unknown*

Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

KT Tunstall

KT Tunstall at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 13th November 2013.

With support from Billy Lockett.

 

KT Tunstall

 

Kate Victoria Tunstall, the Scottish singer-songwriter better known as KT Tunstall, I thank you for a truly mesmerising performance in the splendour that is Symphony Hall in Birmingham. Opening the show with ‘Carried’ and ‘Old Man Song’ from her new album ‘Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon’, KT was soon telling her fans how she recorded the tracks in Arizona, America –too hot a place for most Scottish people according to KT.

 

KT Tunstall

 

It’s nearly ten years since she broke into the public eye with a live solo performance of her song ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ on ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ and tonight, armed only with a guitar, piano and loop pedal, KT showed she is an established performer, with a dedicated fan base who love everything that she does. Yes, her trademark loop pedal, mixing layers of beats with her own harmonising vocals, was put to full effect throughout the set and when playing ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ this energetically morphed into ‘Seven Nation Army’ by the White Stripes closely followed with an incredible cover of ‘Default’ by KT’s favourite band of the moment Atoms for Peace.

 

KT Tunstall

 

KT also announced tonight she was releasing a little book of poetry and explained how the song ‘Yellow Flower’ from tonight’s set started out as a poem. Overall, an awesome night of acoustic music from this incredibly talented and feisty folk-rocker, with plenty of witty banter littering the spaces between songs.

 

KT Tunstall

 

Support for the night came from the Northamptonshire singer Billy Lockett who brought his own brand of infectious acoustic music to Birmingham. The Radio 1 favourite warmed up the audience with a brilliant opening act full of real charisma and managed to fill this illustrious venue with a set of wonderful acoustic ballads and catchy acoustic-folk songs combined with warm, rich vocals.

Billy Lockett

See the full picture sets here:

KT Tunstall

Billy Lockett

 Words and pictures by Stephen Turner

Gary Numan

With Support From Losers.

Rock City Nottingham 10th November 2013.

Tonight, Rock City was to play host to one of the worlds most prominent and well respected musicians! His career has spanned some 35 years and in one way or another his music has influenced our lives. Other musicians such as Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Dave Grohl all acknowledge Gary Numan as an influence in their own musical journeys and have covered his tracks on their own albums (except Manson). Even artists, such as Basement Jaxx, have had great commercial success thanks to the use of a Gary Numan sample, (M.E.) on the track “Where’s your head at?” So, no time to delay then, this is a gig I’ve been looking forward too for a while, time to head over to Nottingham. Here in my car……

I’ll continue with that later, but first, supporting Numan were Losers, odd name, to which the crowd had great pleasure in shouting between tracks, whilst forming an L shape, using their index finger and thumb, pressed up against their foreheads, you remember doing it, don’t deny it, but this band are far from their names sake and are a very talented bunch indeed!

The band consists of a wide variety of musicians, all having varying success in previous projects, Tom Bellamy (ex Cooper Temple Clause) – Guitar & Vocals (Panzer Attack, by The Cooper Temple Clause is one of my all time favorite tracks, even to this day), Paul Mullen (ex YourCodeNameIs:Milo/Young Legionnaire) – Guitar, Keys and Vocals, Mark Heron (ex Oceansize/Kong) – Drums and Percussion, Eddy TM (DJ/new music radio and club guru) – Bass, Keys and Backing Vocals, as well as a young lady of the keyboards and an electric ukulele, who’s name I cannot find.

Tom Bellamy - Losers

The band formed back in 2009 and in 2010 their debut album “Beautiful Losers” grabbed the dance music media’s attention instantly, catapulting them into the musical spotlight.

After hearing the first album, I considered how their live show would work, being primarily electronic music and vocals, but the likes of Pendulum, Chase n Status and others have successfully produced captivating live shows, whilst maintaining their sound, so why not these Losers. I think it’s safe to say I was intrigued. The music they produce is deep, meaningful and thought provoking in their live show, whilst maintaining that electro feel, they have managed to accompany it with enhanced bass from the drums and bass guitar, leaving the 2 guitarists to produce some heavy riffs, drops and solo’s that translates well live.

I personally like dance and electronic music, but after tonight’s show, I couldn’t tell these guys were a dance act. The new album “And So We Shall Never Part” was made possible through the fan funded website Pledge and is being released as we speak. This new album is said to be heavier, leaning more towards their live show and less like the previous album. Tonight people at the gig could pick up a copy of that album, exclusively, as it is not yet available anywhere else, so if you do go to any of the shows on the Splinter Tour, make sure you pick up a copy, it will be well worth it.

Losers bass player, Eddy, dedicated the last track in their set “Azan” to Gary Numan tonight, stating this track had inspired Numan to write his latest album SPLINTER, he also went on to say, if he walked out into Nottingham and got hit by a bus, he could die happy knowing this fact……I hope this didn’t happen, they are performing in Sheffield tonight and will continue on with Numan throughout this tour, so check what all the hype is about for yourself!!

Eddy TM - Losers

Set list tonight consisted of: 1. Acro  2. Us Vs Night  3. Think You  4. The Chain  5. Turn Around 6. Azan (Set list taken from the stage list so may not be as per the actual track title)

Gary’s introduction was interesting as at the back of the stage, metal panels started to spell out the word “Splinter”, and once spelt, out rushed the band to a barrage of screams and applause, which only got louder once everyone recognised Gary. If one things for certain, despite his age, Gary Numan has taken good care of himself and is as energetic as ever. Trying to photograph him was a nightmare, factor in masses of smoke and back lighting, I struggled to say the least. My very first shot, however, was of Gary with his Gibson Les Paul, bought by his father, when he was only fifteen and is probably the inspiration that got Gary into music…..Thank you Gary’s Dad! Not that you could tell from my photos, but there was actually a full band along side Gary tonight, but knowing how important Gary is to the music scene and only having 3 tracks to shoot him, I didn’t get many of the others, sorry!

Gary Numan.

Another certainty is that a Gary Numan show is always going to be entertaining and tonight was no exception. This album has gone right back to his heavy synthesizer days, yet it sounds fresh and up to date. With plenty of emotion, feeling and energy from Gary, the rest of the band and the crowd, I couldn’t help but feel inspired myself!

Gary Numan

As cries of NUMAN, NUMAN, NUMAN and wolf whistles came from the crowd, I could tell they were thoroughly enjoying themselves and the show, so much so that during the track “Films”, I think everyone in the crowd were waving their arms about, side to side and in unison – clearly the crowd are well versed!

Rock City Nottingham 10.11.13

It’s fair to say, the show featured a lot of tracks from the new album “Splinter” and with this being the Splinter tour, that would make sense, however, I along with many of Gary’s fans and the music press will agree, this is his best body of work for a long time. From start to finish, the show was spectacular, but my favorite moment has to be hearing “Cars” live, it bought back so many memories from my youth, where I heard the track for the first (and many after that) time, when my dad played it at home, it almost bought a tear to my eye!

Gary Numan..

Full set list consisted of: 1. Resurrection  2. I Am Dust  3. Metal  4. Everything Comes Down to This  5. Films  6. Here in the Black  7. The Fall  8. The Calling  9. Down in the Park  10. Pure  11. Splinter  12. Lost  13. When the Sky Bleeds, He Will Come  14. We’re the Unforgiven  15. Love Hurt Bleed  16. A Prayer for the Unborn  17. Cars  18. Are ‘Friends’ Electric?  19. My Last Day

Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)