Category Archives: Gig reviews

The Heretic Order

With support from V0iD, Eradikator and Secrets Of Mariana.
O2 Academy3 Birmingham 23rd June 2018.

It’s Saturday night in Birmingham and once again, the O2 Academy3 is set to play host for another Hils Ovation night, in celebration of the great live music that is to be found in the West Midlands.

So, first up tonight were Secrets Of Mariana and I’ve yet to see a disappointing set from Amy and the band – ever! With such a great mindset within this band, their music and performance just gels and from start to finish, Secrets of Mariana carried the audience along in the thick of a perfect storm. I believe that the band will be taking a little time out to write but will be back up on stage early August, so do make a point of keeping an eye on what they have lined up as Secrets of Mariana are definitely a band you don’t want to miss.

Next up were Eradikator and once again, these guys always deliver one hell of a great set, as thrash metal and Eradikator were just simply made for each other. Fast, fearless and down right ferocious was the nature of this evenings performance which was over way to quickly for mine (and the audiences) liking! Having said that, the band will be back up at the O2 Academy on September 29th when they will be headlining yet another spectacular Hils Ovation night – so be sure to head on over to their Facebook page to find out the ticket details first chance you get.

Our third band of the night and new inductees to Hils Ovations regular live music excursions were V0iD, who hail from the beautiful area of South Wales. V0iD have been out on the road for four dates with The Heretic Order and I have to admit, these two bands are not an obvious match but when a band writes and plays classic hard melodic rock as good as these guys do, its a win win situation all round!

Our headlining band The Heretic Order are fast becoming a regular must go see band whenever they venture up into our neck of the West Midlands and having seen them play live now on several occasions, I always find myself wowed by their pagan persona and outright ability to deliver the most charismatic of metal performances. Tonight’s set saw the band raging amidst smoking yellow and red embers, courtesy of the O2’s finest lighting, which most excellently served to add an opulent atmosphere to their set.

With the bands recently released albumEvil Rising‘ going down a treat and their inclusion in this years Bloodstock line up getting even closer, 2018 is looking set to be a mighty fine year for The Heretic Order!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.


With support from Black Ink.
Rock City Basement Nottingham 23rd June 2018.

Tonight doors were scheduled to open at 18.30, but due to traffic conditions (likely the M1) TRC couldn’t make it to the venue in time, so doors got moved to the later time of 19.30. This delay afforded me some time to bask in this glorious spell of sunshine that we’re currently experiencing. It also allowed me the opportunity to discover a great Mexican food place, where I devoured a fat beef burrito!

With only one band in support tonight, it was a nice easy night from my perspective, but by no means less important!

Support came courtesy of Black Ink, who are a local band from Nottingham and as they play hardcore/metal, they are getting some great support slots of late, which is great for them but also show’s that this genre is very popular at the moment! I first saw these guys late last year when they supported non other than Jinjer, who I’m looking forward to seeing again when they play Amplified Festival. They also play Tech-Fest the same weekend, so they’re getting known here in the UK, which pleases me greatly.

On my first encounter with Black Ink, they had a much larger band playing, which consisted of 6 members – 2 vocalists, 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. Tonight, they only had 4 band members, 1 guitarist, 1 bassist, 1 vocalist and a drummer, this reason is evident on their Facebook page, with their latest announcement, so what we see now is the bands full line up, for this and any future events.

Both Kam and Chis, the bands guitarist and bassist, respectively openly admitted to me they were nervous, after the show, which was nice, as it shows they care. They also admitted they’ve been massive fans of tonight’s headliner TRC for some time, like me then!

One thing that strikes me about this band is their vocalist Sam with his big personality, which shines through during their set but above all, it’s the range within his voice that impresses me most. He can go from baritone, to tenor, in no time at all. What a front man and with every show he performs, he grows in confidence. I wish them the best of luck as a 4 piece but with support slots like this, they’re on their way!

I first discovered TRC back in 2012 when they released ‘The Story So Far’ and with tracks like ‘Heartless’, ’Bastard’ and ‘Cocky is Back’, it was very easy to see why these guys were grabbing the attention of big media outlets and festival promoters around the world although these guys have been rocking the underground UK Hardcore scene since 2004. This band are a true DIY success and I love that about them. There are many hardcore metal bands out their at present but these guys are one of the founders of the scene, who clearly stand out with their unique approach to the genre. Their style is like no other and I believe it’s down to their cut throat song writing and lyrical style. Chris, the bands clean vocalist (mostly) is also bit of a celebrity in his own right and appears to be the driving force in the band. I could be wrong, but that’s the impression I get.

After a sustained period of heavy touring between 2012 and 2016, the band took some time off for a couple of years. Thankfully, they’ve released a stunning new EP this year, titled ‘Lifestyle’ which makes me very happy, as I’ve been itching to see this band live for some time as I’m a massive fan. Stand out tracks on this new EP are ‘Moaner’ which they released as an official single earlier in the year and it has a great music video, seriously, check it out on You Tube, it’ll help you to understand that these guys have got a great sense of humour! Also check out ‘London’s Greatest Love Story Part II’ and Scrounger.

During Black Ink’s set, I saw Chris sat over by the merch table. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to meet him in person, I went over and shook his hand. Not wanting to look too much of a fan boy, I left it at that and ran off! haha!

Although older and slightly wiser, they haven’t lost any of that raw energy that these guys have been well known for over the years. It was hard work, trying to photograph the band, to be honest, I literally tried every conceivable angle available to me, in order to capture these guys, but they bounce around like loons – I loved it! The crowd loved it too, especially one guy in particular. Having not toured for a couple of years, I can’t help but think TRC have forgotten how crazy their fans are in the pit. Chris came to the barrier and got the mic shoved up his nose from said fan but no hard feelings, as this is what TRC are all about, helping you lose your shit for an hour and ensuring you have a great time but it shocked him! As this was a very short run of dates, both here and in Europe, I was surprised to see Nottingham on the list, to be honest. I’d love to know why this city was chosen? In all honesty, for a band of this caliber, it won’t take long for word to get about that they’re back and better than ever. Don’t be too surprised to see TRC appear a lot more over the coming months!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

The Dead Daisies

With support from The Treatment and The Amorettes.
Rock City Nottingham 13th April 2018.

Gig day, yay! Two in two weeks, I’m being spoilt! To ensure the day went smoothly, as it’s Friday the 13th, I avoided any black cats and ladders which seemed to pay off! Traffic was a nightmare, as per usual but the sun was shining for a change, so I was in good spirits as I made my way to Rock City, for tonight’s show.

I’d known about tonight’s show for a while, since I attended HRH metal to be precise, as Claire over at Central Press PR, asked if I was interested in covering The Dead Daises, sure I said, seeing as it’s you! Un-be-known to me, these guys appear to be wining over the hearts and minds of classic rock fans all over the globe and have been since their formation in 2012 the brain child of guitarist David Lowy. The band are a musical collective created by a rotating line-up that has featured some of the best rock musicians on the planet. The band currently consist of Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio), John Corabi (Mötley Crüe/The Scream), Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake), Deen Castronovo (Journey, Bad English), David Lowy (Red Phoenix/Mink)

More on those rock gods in a bit, before them though and warming us up tonight, we have two of Britain’s best up and coming bands to entertain us!

Getting things underway were those lovely ladies that call themselves The Amorettes, who are energetic and vibrant to watch, live. Their music rocks, although, every new track they produce, is starting to sound like previously released material, well to me anyway, but I’ve known of these three ladies for some time now and have covered them numerous times. As their popularity grows, so it would appear does their album chart position, which is pretty impressive when you consider their new album ‘Born to Break’ was only released a week ago! This tour will have given this band some great exposure to new fans aswell as existing fans too, which is great for them.

Next up, another band I’ve seen quite a bit of during my time doing this and they go by the name ‘The Treatment’ and during that time, I’ve seen a few personnel changes and tonight it would appear, they have a new vocalist, who replaces Mitch Emms and appears to be every bit as confident as his predecessors. According to Wikipedia, Emms fronted the band from 2015 to 2017 and replaced the founding vocalist Matt Jones.

After their hedonistic start and leading up to Matt’s departure, this band appeared to be destined for big things, having toured with the likes of Kiss, Slash, Motley Crew Steel Panther and Thin Lizzy, but are they only ever going to be a great support band? If tonight’s set is anything to go by, then the answer is no, as tonight they performed out of their skins and the crowd lapped it up. It would appear, the arrival of Tom Rampton, the bands new vocalist, has given this band a new found vigor and direction in which to venture. After tonight’s performance, I could see in them that desire they started out with, when they exploded onto the scene with their debut album ‘This Might Hurt’ back in 2011! The Treatment are back and fighting fit! Bring it on – I’m looking forward to see what they can produce.

The Dead Daisies then and it would appear that they harp back to the late 70’s – early 80’s rock bands, when the likes of Whitesnake, Journey, Europe and Def Leppard ruled the air waves, which is by no means a bad thing. As this music appeals to so many seasoned rockers out there of that generation, The Dead Daisies present the perfect reason to dust off the leather trousers and denim jackets and go out and have a few beers whilst giving everyone the chance to relive that era and for that, we thank you. I’m not sure if you’re aware of the term ‘Dad Rock’ personally, I prefer retro rock, as this term sounds a bit of an insult but it really isn’t, as it sums this type of rock and roll music up perfectly, but it does remind me of the type of music my dad listened to when I was as a kid. OOO the irony – I’m now grey, have a kid and love this type of music now as well! Yes, I finally fit a stereotype!

Now on their 4th album ‘Burn it Down’ which was released earlier this month, The Dead Daisies appear to be filling the air waves up with those classic rock sounds that we have all grown to love over the years and to celebrate, the band have embarked on an extensive world tour. Watch the official music videoRise Up‘ taken from the new album ‘Burn It down‘, smash the link for more information -> The Dead Daisies official website.

It was a busy night for the Daisies but they took it in their stride, which is a relief as 2018 appears to be a very busy year for the band and is a credit to them for all their hard work over the years. It was also a busy night for me and twelve other photographers in the pit but above all, a packed to the rafters Rock City, which certainly did that…. IT ROCKED! I loved it and what a great night of Rock and Roll. This band are proving Classic Rock is certainly current and doing well, as are the band.

It would appear, due to the overall resounding success of the band, Crystal Head Vodka have cottoned on to the bands popularity and have teamed up with them to support the tour. I actually own a bottle of the classic crystal head decanter, which is still unopened and will remain that way, as I hate vodka. I only bought it, because the owner is non other than Dan Aykroyd (and John Alexander) an actor from my childhood, who I greatly admire!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)