Category Archives: Gig reviews

Evil Scarecrow

The Level Nottingham 2nd June 2017.

Tonight’s show at The Level was, I believe, an end of academic year show, available to both Nottingham University students and the general public alike. Initially, I wasn’t going to go to tonight’s show but the opportunity to shoot at a new venue that I’d not visited before was too great and I’m so glad I did!

Not only because I got to see Evil Scarecrow again – which is always a pleasure but I also got to see two new Nottingham based bands whom I’d yet to see play live. As a venue goes, The Level is of course, The Students Union Bar, which doubles up as a night club, a safe haven for students, which I know serves as an invaluable service for students. It’s very rare for the venue to act as a music/concert venue as both Rock City and the Rescue Rooms are just down the road but I wish there were more live shows held at this venue as it’s got one of the best stage and lighting rigs that I’ve seen in a long time, especially here in Nottingham!!! Seriously, other venues in Nottingham need to visit it to check it out!

Hung Daddy then, as stated, on the night, it’s pronounced as it’s spelt…HUNG DADDY! These guys are a lot of fun and it’s easy to see why they were chosen to support Evil Scarecrow, as their humour on stage, is every bit as good as the Crow’s! Jason Parker, the bands lead vocalist and guitarist also admitted that this was the largest stage and show his band have ever played! Admittedly, Dave Marzec, the bands bassist looked a little lost up on that large stage with so many photographers in front of him – I don’t think he quite knew what to do! It was quite adorable actually – welcome to stardom guys, learn all you can from a show like this and from Evil Scarecrow, they’re use to all this showbiz stuff! Their success may continue as the band have managed to secure themselves a place, at Nottinghams MTTM’s final which will be held at The Maze on 24th of June, where six bands having won their semi final heat, will battle it out for a place at this years Bloodstock Festival. To be honest, they should smash it – their energy is great, they’re very entertaining, but above all, they play heavy!

Speaking of heavy, tonight’s next band have got heavy in abundance! Also from Nottingham, The Five Hundred are currently signed to London Road Records and have recently released a new album called ‘The Veil’ which perfectly demonstrates how brutal this band are! I seriously wasn’t expecting these guys to be so brutal. These guys are the perfect example of how music, good music, played live, can provoke some serious emotions within me. When that happens, you know you’ve witnessed something very special and these guys have got the potential to make it all the way to the top. Look out While She Sleeps, these guys are coming for you, in a good way!

Looking at the bands social media page, I can only see that these guys are playing Macmillian Fest on the 3rd September and why they ain’t playing every metal festival up and down the country this summer, is beyond me – unless they’ve neglected to update their page? Seriously, next time these guys are about, be sure to check them out!

The last time I saw Evil Scarecrow was last year at their annual Halloween party which was at Sheffield Corporation. On that occasion, I recall the amazing Anti-Clone were one of the bands supporting. Due to personal reasons, I never got around to writing a review, so sorry for that. I also recall, Evil Scarecrow, allowed me to photograph the whole show whilst using my flash, which to be honest, is pretty rare however, I didn’t need to shoot the whole show as I’ve photographed these guys so many times, I’d rather watch the show live. Evil Scarecrow are my ‘go to’ band, when I need cheering up, yes, I even find the track ‘Blacken The Everything’ uplifting, which got played tonight! As Mr. Russ Russell produced the bands last album, he’s got quite use to the bands sound and how they like others to hear them, so it was no surprise to see him behind the sound desk for tonight’s show. Another surprising feature of the night, was the fact, I think it’s the first time I’ve seen the bands instruments being set up by tech’s, outside of Bloodstock, which was a bit of a shock!

This tells me these guys are getting big, they always were in my eyes but they really have become a very professional band indeed, yet it’s been a long time coming! They now also have some serious backing, as far as endorsements go these days, what with Blackstar Amps standing proud on stage. Costume guitars, courtesy of Dean Guitars, one of the leading names and many artists first choice, as far as instruments go. There are others, guitar strings, drum kits etc. I can’t be arsed to name them all, it’s not like I’m getting paid to mention all these companies, I should like, but hey ho. HAHAHA! Seriously though, I’ve followed Evil Scarecrow now for many years, which is the only endorsement they need really, fans appreciate these guys, for who they are, a truly unique metal outfit who never fail to entertain and who put on an amazing show, which appears to grow larger every time I see them! The band are appearing at several festivals this year, the next one I’m looking forward to is Amplified, providing I get accredited, that is!

Thanks for also supporting and allowing us to come down and see the shows, we love you for it!

Until next time folks, WHAM, BAM, THANK YOU MAM!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

While She Sleeps

Rescue Rooms Nottingham 10.05.17

Don’t you just hate it when the venue website says doors open at 18.30, but when you get there it’s actually 19.30, so rushing to get there on time was a complete waste of energy, yeah me too! Still, it gave me an opportunity to hang with some seriously die hard While She Sleeps (WSS) fans, who’d been queuing since 14.30 today – now that’s commitment! As they’d been here all day, they were rewarded with getting to meet their idols and also got the opportunity to take photos and talk with all the members in While She Sleeps!

Lawrence Taylor

Supporting WSS first tonight, we have a band who go by the name of ‘Fizzy Blood’ who, I’ve only just discovered, having received an email from the band earlier in the week, are promoting their new single Pawn’ which has managed to get airplay on Radio 1. 

After hearing their set tonight, I was suitably impressed with their hard hitting, rock sound, similar to the Indie rock days of the 90’s and it’s safe to say, these guys brought it, well, you’d have to when your primary audience are all WSS fans. Getting on this tour must be great for these guys, getting seen by hundreds of new fans at each and every date on this tour, which has been sold out, most nights. People suggested these guys weren’t heavy enough to support WSS’s, but I thought they held their own and warmed us up well enough, to appreciate the insanity that was about to ensue.

Benji Inkley - Fizzy Blood

These guys are getting some major support, across the media world, so they must have something special about them (or deep pockets). The bands new album ‘Feast’ is out now, via DMF records, check it out. You’ll also get the opportunity to see these guys play Download, alongside many other festival dates, over the summer.

Australian band ‘In Hearts Wake’ up next and if Fizzy Blood failed to get anyone in the crowd going tonight, these guys sure as hell didn’t! Personally, I’m not a massive screamcore fan, but tonight I was one of the converted. I find every track sounds the same but the one thing that goes in this genres favour is the bass drop, I love it, it penetrates your very existence and these guys do it well! So much energy, so much anger but a lot of fun. They even managed to get an inflatable crocodile into the crowd, so that lead singer Jake could go crowd surfing!

Jake Taylor - In Hearts Wake

There’s no disputing that this genre and the bands within it, are defining a generation along with the young men and woman, who follow and support them.

In Hearts Wake’s latest album ‘Ark’, will be released on May 26th and is a great example of Screamcore, done well.

It’s great to see so much support for While She Sleeps on this tour, which coincides with the release of their latest album ‘You Are We’ which was successfully backed, via their pledge campaign, as the lads from Sheffield have decided to release it independently, having grown weary of record labels and the music industry, as a whole.

Also available on that same pledge, is some of the coolest stuff we’ve ever seen, such as visiting Mat & Sav in a private tattoo studio and getting a YOU ARE WE tattoo done by them. This will set you back £100 but it’s a pretty unique opportunity for any die hard fan and I met a few of them earlier today, so I know they exist. The winning pledge offer though, has to be for the guitar string ring, which uses the actual strings used to produce the new album which looks stunning – what a piece of merchandise to own. With quality like this, there is a price tag associated with it but for a true fan, £159+shipping is a small price to pay, right?

Aaron Mckenzie - While She Sleeps

It’s worth mentioning, these guys are now totally independent from any record label funding, so any money they make helps to keep them alive. I spoke with a fan, outside, before WSS’s set and asked why he thinks these guys are getting so much support and what it is the band have done or do, that commands such a loyal fan base? His response what comprehensive and justified, he stated that the band, as a whole are really down to earth guys, who ain’t pretentious douche bags and who have time for their fans. They are also very hard working, have been persistent when things haven’t gone their way, but above all, they don’t give a f**k when they’re on stage, they are there to entertain the crowd and give them a good time.

While She Sleeps

Tonight was insane, as soon as the band took to the stage, Rescue Rooms quite literally erupted into life. With an average song length of 4 minutes, the three tracks we were allocated soon went, so we had to be quick to capture our images, along with avoiding the most amount of people that I’ve ever seen, going over into the pit, crowd surfing. Props going out to the security guys at Rescue Rooms tonight who did their job well and were respectful to the fans, unlike some I’ve seen in the past. As soon as our three songs were up we were ordered out, probably for the best, as I’m sure the chaos was only going to get worse as the set went on. Tonight’s set list, was only thirteen songs but I bet it flew by. I wouldn’t know though, as I wasn’t allowed to stay until the end but what I did see was pure mayhem AND I LOVED IT! It reminded me I was alive and life is about living! Can’t wait to see these guys again, brilliant!

Set list consisted of:

1.You Are We 2.Civil Isolation 3.Seven Hills 4.Brainwashed 5.Empire of Silence 6.New World Torture 7.Wide Awake 8.Our Legacy 9.Feel 10.This Is the Six 11.Silence Speaks 12.Four Walls 13.Hurricane.

The album ‘We Are You‘ is available to buy at While She Sleeps.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Hils Ovation

Tonight’s Hils Ovation gig has been a much anticipated one in my gigging calendar, as it is set to mark the release of ‘Torousnew album ‘Mindfield’ and getting this rather special night underway, were the Birmingham/Stourbridge based rock/prog band, Unchanged.

Having already been intrigued by the content of their biography over on the band’s Facebook page, there was clearly a lot more to Unchanged than that which you initially see on the surface. Describing themselves as a concept seems to have opened wide the flood gates for the many musical influences they collectively hold and these varying genres just flow like a raging river through their songs. The bands skill on stage was equally as intriguing and I for one, was definitely left wanting more!

Adam Martin - Unchanged

Our second band of the night were Cause To Effect and over the past few years, these guys have steadily earned themselves a much respected reputation and quite rightly so, as these guys always deliver the kind of hard rockin sound that never fails to leave a great lasting impression. Whilst tonight’s set felt like quite a short one, it still hit the spot and with the band just about ready to play their headlining show over at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton on 20th May, which is also the official launch for the new albumCircumstantial Creatures’, then there’s not too long to wait for some more Cause To Effect!

Ged Green - Cause To Effect

One of the great things that I always love about a Hils Ovation night, is that it gives me the chance to discover some of the great up and coming bands from across the region and our next band of the night, Signs Of Fire, most definitely fall into that specific category! If you could bottle the on stage energy and presence of this band, then you’d never have a bad day again as the vibe that they deliver on stage, is really quite something. With the band currently in the process of recording some new material, I can’t wait to hear the finished product, so I will be keeping my ears and eyes open for more updates on that and wholeheartedly recommend that you do too!

Tommy Smith and Liam Dyer - Signs Of Fire

There is nothing quite like an intriguing band name to get me curious and when presented with a name such as Bad Llama – I’m hooked straight away! Hailing from the Burton In Trent area, Bad Llama have set about creating an all consuming alternative rock sound that carries its own individual stamp which is very easy to get engrossed in. Bad Llama are set to return to the studio shortly to record their second EP, so keep your eyes and ears open for more news from them on that too.

Kyle Jordan - Bad Llama

When our headlining band first came on the scene back in 2014, there was something about them that had me hooked from the very first encounter. For a band such as Torous, there is no limit to the heart, soul and depth that they capture within their music and with each new track that they pen, they always succeed in creating something quite spell binding. Recent months have seen the band busy writing and spending time in the studio with the final outcome being the glittering prize and rather spectacular debut album, ‘Mindfield’, whose launch was now upon us.

Marc Malone - Torous

Torous’s headlining set was very much welcomed by the O2 Academy3 audience and it was apparent from the get go, that ‘Mindfield’ makes for as much of an invigorating live experience as the recorded material does, when it comes pouring out of your home speakers. The set included the album pretty much in its entirety with only a few tracks omitted and Torous more than did it justice – this album will most definitely be a big smash with fans old and new.

Tonight’s set list from Torous consisted of: 1.Sideline (intro track) 2.Frontline 3.I Am 4.Colours 5.Close My Eye 6.Seven 7.Nine 8.Mindfield 9.God Game Suicide 10.Shadow Self

Tonight’s event was the kind of gig that lights up the path for the future of these five great bands and it’s gonna be one that I shall certainly class as a highlight of 2017. Big thanks have to go out aswell to Hils for making it happen and also to the sound engineer for giving us A+ sound and lighting tonight.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.