Category Archives: Gig reviews

Enter Shikari

With support from Black Peaks and Palaye Royale
Rock City Nottingham 11.01.2019

“Happy New Year everyone, Who else is looking forward to another eventful year in the music world!” This is our first gig of the year and we’ve noticed that straight after Christmas, there’s usually some great events on offer, just like tonight promises to be! Enter Shikari are a stadium capable band, with a massive following. The last time this band played Rock City was around 2012, so for them to play here again, must be a humbling experience and it’s no surprise to see that tonight’s show was a sell out!

On arrival, we managed to get into the queue and wait for doors amongst some very excited fans, eagerly waiting, in anticipation. This gave us an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere and truth be told, despite the many gigs we’ve attended over the 10 years of doing this, we too started to feel excited ourselves! Just goes to show that attending, photographing and watching bands is still as enthralling as ever, which is re-assuring!

Once inside, I was keen to see what the venues new floor looked liked, after their announcement this week made the mainstream news feeds! Must have been a slow news day? If this venue holds a special place in your heart, for what ever reason, you can purchase a piece of the old floor, covered in piss, sick and beer and just for a mere £30 English Pounds! No thanks, but the new floor looks good enough to play netball on without sticking to it, so that’s good!

As this was a Friday night show, there was a club night after so all the bands started relatively early. First up were Black Peaks from Brighton, who are a band on the up, with regular air play on the mainstream Radio 1 Rock Show, so it’s no surprise they’re getting noticed. It’s hard to pigeon hole these guys, so we’re going with modern metal, with it’s angsty, aggressive, progressive sound and a twang of djent thrown in for good measure! Having toured with many great bands, over the years, such as Mastodon, Architects, Deftones and System of a Down, they are no strangers to big events and thanks to the release of their second album, ‘All That Divides’ which was released in 2018, they’ve managed to sign to Rise Records.

Will Gardner, the bands lead vocalist, is a real character and thankfully, is a great showman aswell, as the rest of the band are simply boring to watch, live. Sure their musical talents are of exceptional quality but it’s a good thing Will’s off doing his thing and entertaining the crowd. We’ll be honest, we’d not heard much, if any of the bands music before but after what was heard tonight and what I’ve heard since, we can easily see why this band are turning heads! Loved them, but was a little disappointed with the length of their set! Hoping to see these, for a headline slot, ASAP!

A special mention has to go out to Noise Cartel for getting us in tonight, as they represent the next band on to the stage, the self described fashion-art rock band Palaye Royale. On first appearances, these guys would make Paul Weller, the mod-father, proud, with their post modern mod appearance. It’s evident to see and hear that these guys are a new wave of heart throbs, for hordes of young female fans “Soldiers of the Royal Council” who were in attendance tonight. Despite their screams, the band didn’t acknowledge their fans which was a little disappointing, a quick wave would have made all the difference and their day! Ah well, they’ll learn to appreciate their fans, as it’s these people who buy their music and attend their shows.

From LA, the band is made up of three core members, although there were 5 people in the band tonight. I was impressed with their energy on stage and their sound is very original, albeit an amalgamation of many genres, past and present. Yet another short set, which left their fans wanting more.

The bands latest album ‘Boom, Boom, Room-Side B’ follows on from Side A (Obviously) and was released in 2018 and three tracks off this album, ‘You’ll Be Fine’, ‘Teenage Heartbreak Queen’ and ‘Dying In A Hot Tub’ appear in their top 5 most played tracks on Spotify, which tells us, their fans are loving their latest album. It’s worth mentioning, the media world love this band too, as their music has featured on ad campaigns for Samsung and even featured in a teen horror movie, recently. Let’s just hope fame hasn’t gone to their head and they alienate themselves from other people they work with, which I hear, has been the case recently. Well that’s Rock and Roll, I guess!

We’ve always admired Enter Shikari for their originality and their willingness to experiment with the different sounds and genres that we’ve all grown up with, but maybe not all appreciated, all the while, staying true to their core sound. Having been the darlings of the air-waves for many years, anything these guys touch turns to gold. Sure they’re mainstream and not to everyone’s liking but you can’t take anything away from these four lads from St. Albans, they’ve succeeded in a very difficult industry and many would love to be touring the world and selling out arenas, with every new release! Their latest offering ‘The Spark’ was released in 2017, believe it or not and having listened to it, extensively, we love the track ‘Rabble Rouser’. As with all of ES’s songs, their lyrics are concocted and amalgamated with clerical precision, giving you a wondrous array of imaginary visuals, when listening to their music. The bass lines help, also!

Tonight’s performance was executed as well as their music, with their energy onstage, matched equally by the fans in attendance. The show was also a sell out and it’s easy to see why, these guys are true performers. Loved it! We Stand hear Like Statues….or not, as the case was tonight, far from it in fact!

Seriously, if the January blues are getting you down, get yourself to this tour as it passes through the UK, it’s certainly a mood changer! We feel refreshed and ready for whatever 2019 has to throw at us! Come at me bro! Peace!

To see more photographs from the night, be sure to check out Music224 over on Facebook.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Fear Without Reason

With support from Glory Fades, Wakedown and State Of Ember.
O2 Academy3 Birmingham 1st December 2018.

With the festive season about to commence, this evenings Ovation Music Management event at the O2 Academy3 had that wonderful feelgood vibe about it and why not indeed with a line up including State Of Ember, Wakedown, Glory Fades and the wonderful Fear without Reason who were our headliners tonight.

And getting this evenings event underway were Worcestershire based threesome State Of Ember, who certainly set them sparks flying tonight. With rhythms that combine both pop punk elements and in your face rock, the bands set went down a storm with the audience tonight and a notable highlight of their performance for me, was the skill and precision of Chelsea McCammon’s whirling drumsticks. Be sure to check out State of Ember if you haven’t already, this band are up and coming fast!

Next up were Wakedown and these guys need little introduction as they have certainly made a fair few waves in 2018 with live performances, a debut EP and video releases aswell. All that hard work has served the band well as Wakedown’s rock is rich and charismatic – as was their set and performance tonight. I’m very pleased to say that it won’t be long before the band are back up on stage again in 2019, so be sure to check out their Facebook page for live dates and details yet to come.

With the stage lights dimmed to shades of cool blue, the anticipation increased as our penultimate band of the night Glory Fades took to the stage. It’s been quite a while since I last saw these guys live (shame on me) and it was certainly the first time of seeing them with Justin Griffiths at the mic – and what a power house of a vocalist he is! Their line up as it is, has a blissful feel of longevity about it and this band are a must see for fans of adrenaline fuelled and magnetic rock.

Headlining tonight were Fear Without Reason and from the moment the band took to the stage, the atmosphere both on stage and off was remarkable – when a band are caught up in the moment and also on top form, you’re guaranteed a set to remember!

Fear Without Reason have this wonderful attribute within their music that captures the soul of the beholder and lyrically, they strike an affinity with many, myself included. Songs such as ‘Broken’ and ‘Holding On’ strongly serve to clinch that connection and in my opinion, define the wealth of this bands song writing ability. Tonight’s performance from the band was by far the best I’ve seen them and that in itself is saying something, as these guys always give 110% but from my perspective, Fear Without Reason delivered the jackpot tonight.

Big thanks must go out to Hils for putting on yet another fantastic night for the bands and all present, and also to tonight’s Sound and Lighting Engineer – 11/10 all round!

To see more photographs from the night, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr!!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Eyes Of The Raven

With support from Influens, Obzidian, Christgrinder and Rawkas.
O2 Academy3 Birmingham 24th November 2018.

Tonight’s Ovation Music Management gig has all the makings of being one of a kind with a rather fantastic line up that includes Eyes Of The Raven, Influens, Obzidian, Christgrinder and Rawkas – impressive or what!!

Getting this evenings shenanigans underway were Birmingham’s very own Rawkas and just as their name suggests, these guys have a sound that is packed with both raw energy and heaps of magnificent moodiness which certainly hit the spot tonight. With the band having released an EPAll Your Ghosts‘ earlier in the year, tonight’s set was a great taster for it and if you want to check this and Rawkas out for yourself, just head on over to their Facebook or Bandcamp pages for a right proper ear full!

Our second band of the night were Christgrinder and if you enjoy your metal dark, love your metal to have attitude and relish the experience of seeing a band whose performance will have you entranced from start to finish, then PLEASEEEEE go check out Christgrinder! Tonight’s set saw the band suited, booted and grasping Satan firmly by the horns, amidst lashing of sordid guitar riffs, a back line that ricocheted across the O2 Academy3 and vocals that captured the very spirit of black metal. Having not seen or heard these guys before, this first encounter was one I won’t forget and also one I can’t wait to repeat!

The next band to take to the stage tonight were Obzidian and here we have a band whose long standing presence within the metal community stands tall and quite rightly so, as their intensely adrenaline fuelled metal goes way beyond impressive. Front man Matty Jenks truly commanded the stage tonight, with his delivery of the set showing man and music completely enmeshed as one and in my opinion, that takes a very special kind of skill which really was quite something to behold. Sadly, the bands set was cut a little short due to a technical failure but one thing for sure and despite that, Obzidian certainly did themselves proud tonight.

Our penultimate band of the night were Influens and yet again, here we have another well respected and much talked about band within our metal community. Tonight’s set saw the band starting a new chapter of their evolution, now as a three piece. And not only did they raise their tried and trusted flag of groove infused metal, but they also gave us the chance to hear some of their new material and to see the shape of the great things yet to come from Influens.

And finally, we come to our headlining band of this evening, the one and only, Eyes Of The Raven. It’s been quite a while since I last saw these guys however lasting impressions never fade away and having repeatedly watched the video ‘Crown Of Serpents‘ which was released earlier this year, I felt there was something pretty exciting happening here!

Live tonight, Eyes Of The Raven took their music and performance to a whole new level – ABSOLUTELY off the scale in fact! They looked different, their musical precision was in a league of its own and they sounded better than ever. The one thing that did remain unchanged was the straight, honest connection these guys have with their fans, they may not boast about how good they are but the response they received from their audience, most definitely said it all for them.

2019 is already set to be one hell of a year for Eyes Of The Raven and you can catch up with them supporting Orange Goblin at KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton on 8th Feb, HRH Metal O2 Academy Birmingham – which takes place over the weekend of 16th/17th Feb and then 28th Feb, when they are back again at KK’s Steel Mill for Wolverhampton’s M2M first heat – bring it on!

To see more photographs from the night, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.