Category Archives: Gig reviews

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)

Epica

Epica with support from Myrkur and Oceans Of Slumber.
Rock City Nottingham 6th April 2017.

It feels like forever since I last attended a gig, but in fact it has only been two weeks ago. Once upon a time, I use to attend two gigs a week but truth is the gap helps me to appreciate it more, when I do eventually get out to a show and tonight’s was very much appreciated indeed and was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Here come the girls. All three bands that featured tonight, all have female vocalists and all three couldn’t be more different if they tried, yet they all complemented each other rather well, I thought!

I was given exclusive access to interview tonight’s first band ‘Oceans of Slumber’ from Huston Texas. Sadly, due to their stage time, I couldn’t get to Rock City in Nottingham early enough to conduct an interview, which saddened me greatly. Thankfully, the bands excellent PR company, The Noise Cartel, managed to organise an emailer, which you can read here.

To conduct my interview, I did undertake a fair amount of research about OSS, in preparation. To do this, I obviously had to listen to the bands music, all three albums, in fact. Their latest album ‘The Banished Heart’ clearly stands out as being a master piece and so say many other music journalists, not just me and as a collective, we can’t all be wrong! I urge you to check it out if you’re a fan of Doom/Prog music and in general, music that moves you!

Tonight’s set only consisted of five songs, which was way too short but it was no less powerful – I’ve never witnessed a crowd listen so intently! It was very moving indeed. I loved the fact that I got the opportunity to see this band live and I urge you to do the same. Singed to Century Media Records.

Set List: 1.Fleeting Vigilance 2.A Path to Broken Stars 3.Howl of the Rougarou 4.The Decay of Disregard 5.No Color No Light

Next up, a band that I have mixed emotions about, who go by the name Myrkur, which means darkness, in Icelandic. Classically-trained multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Amalie Bruun, is in fact from Denmark and primarily sings in her native tongue which is quite rare in this day and age, although music is considered a universal language so you can either relate to it, or not. This is by no means a disadvantage, in fact, it works rather well in adding to the mystery within the music she produces. After releasing only one EP, Relapse Records signed her up which is pretty impressive really. We miss you Relapse!

Considered primarily as black metal, it is very powerful indeed and was executed perfectly tonight. Incidentally, I’ve never seen a bass guitar being played with a violin bow before, but it sounded very eerie, indeed, which sums up the music you hear from this band. I’ve listened to Myrkur’s music at home since this live performance and it works and wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack to the hit TV show, Vikings. Live though, I couldn’t get into it, as it’s not the sort of music you can start a mosh pit with. They play Download Festival this year as well as continuing on with Epica, so I’ll let you make your own mind up.

The bands website states Amalie is a solo artist, so she’s probably employed professional musicians to accompany her on this tour as she can’t very well play all the instruments herself, which may explain why, they guy playing guitar was very reluctant to have his photo taken tonight. Every time I pointed my camera at him, he just turned away and faced his amp. After two or three attempts, I gave up trying.

Tonight’s main event came courtesy of Epica, who are one of the best symphonic metal bands in the business. Currently touring the UK, they themselves are very much a mixture of European decent. Lead singer and fiery red head bomb shell, Simone Simons comes from the Netherlands. No disrespect to the rest of the band, as they are all born performers but Simons, in my opinion, is the main attraction in this band! As a friend (Ben Cook) stated on the night, Epica do exactly what they state ‘BE EPIC’! Simons has openly admitted that a live show should look pretty and I agree. No one want’s to stare at a band, for the best part of forty five minutes, who look at the floor and do nothing and expect you to pay for the privilege!

Signed to Nuclear Blast, Epica released the band’s sixth full length album ‘The Holographic Principle’ on September 30, 2016, and was described as the bands most ambitious offering to date. On September 1, 2017, the band released their first EP ‘The Solace System’ during the second North American leg of the tour. The EP features tracks that were planned and recorded but never included in The Holographic Principle.

The band will celebrate their 1000th show, when they reach Tilburg in the Netherlands, which should act as a home town coming. To celebrate, they have a whole days worth of entertainment planned and I’m aware many die hard fans from the UK have planned to make the trip over, to celebrate with this truly wonderful band! They are in deed epic!

Set List: 1.Eidola 2.Edge of the Blade 3.Sensorium 4.Fight Your Demons 5.The Essence of Silence 6.Storm the Sorrow 7.Ascension – Dream State Armageddon 8.Dancing in a Hurricane 9.Victims of Contingency 10.Cry for the Moon 11.Unchain Utopia 12.Once Upon a Nightmare 13.Sancta Terra 14.Beyond the Matrix 15.Consign to Oblivion

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Witch Tripper

With support from Ritual King, 28 Double and Primal.
The Hairy Dog Derby 23rd March 2018.

A week ago, yes it’s taken me this long to write a review, I was personally invited by Witch Tripper to attend their show at the Hairy Dog. Personally, I love this band so obviously I attended! To top it off, we had some great bands in support.

I’m going to assume this was a warm up show for their album launch, soon to take place at The Old Salutation Inn, in Nottingham, which will mark the release of their second album ‘I, of the storm’. We’ve also been granted access to this album, ahead of its official launch on the 14th of April 2018 and it’s a corker but more on that in a bit!

Up first tonight, we had Primal who are a three piece rock band from Nottingham or so their Facebook says – it also says they are from Derby, maybe they moved? I’ve not encountered this band before and they openly admit that their chosen style of music is a little different from the other bands on tonight’s bill. None the less, they do play a style of rock that leans more towards the Deftones, rather than the psychedelic tones of say, Ritual King. I enjoyed what I saw and with a few more shows, maybe even getting on as a support band for a decent tour around the UK, this would offer the band an opportunity to figure out their stage presence and live performance style, which sadly was lacking in parts tonight. Primal currently have a new four track EP out and I would certainly recommend giving it a listen, especially to fans of Rival Sons and Black Keys!

Next up were Derby based, 28 Double, who I first saw a few months ago, again, supporting Witch Tripper and then, I though, ok, they’ve got a style, it needs work but they had potential. Back then, I picked up on the similarities in Nick’s vocal style and sound, to that of Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) who he openly admits is one of his idols, vocally. Tonight’s performance was a triumphant success, in my eyes, as they appear to have grown in confidence which showed on stage. Rob’s guitar playing is impeccable and is mesmerizing to watch. Gav’s got his bass face down to a T, along with his instrument! Nick has certainly improved on his stage presence and banter with the crowd, he even had time to pose for selfies, whilst performing on stage! He also appears to have discovered some new dance moves, all be it questionable, as far as dancing goes, but he appeared to be enjoying himself up on stage! Their new music is sounding really good too and if you can, check out their track ‘Grind’ what a banger that is and in my opinion, they need to do more with this track, like releasing a music video or something? Keep it up lads – I thoroughly enjoyed your set!

It’s always a pleasure to see Ritual King (who are from Manchester), appear on a bill and tonight was no exception! In my opinion, this band deserve to be massive! Whilst speaking with the band outside, they told me that their biggest listener base is actually in America! They also announced that they’ll be performing at a HRH event later in the year, not sure if it’s been officially announced yet, so I won’t say which one but I’m sure you can guess though! The first time I saw this band, their regular bassist couldn’t attend so I was keen to see how Dan would fair. Jordan’s well into his guitar playing, which is clearly evident, as are all three band members but when you play stoner, you have to be, I guess! I love their psychedelic sound, it’s still one of my favourite genres at the moment and as you’d expect, these guys are all about the music. Stage presence came courtesy of Dan, who was a box of frogs on stage tonight which helped me get more involved! According to Jordan, if the band manage to write one song a month, they’re happy with that so I suggest getting yourself a copy of the bands latest EP ‘Earthrise’ as you may be waiting a while for a full length album!

As stated, Witch Tripper have their second album coming out, titled ‘I, of the Storm’ on the 14th of April. Not sure why the album title isn’t ‘eye’ of the storm but I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation – I will be sure to ask, the next time I see the band. The album was recorded at Electric Bear in Mansfield, by Phil Abraham and took all of five whole days, to complete, which is pretty impressive. This album has been a labour of love, for Ritchie in particular, who has penned most of the lyrics. I’d love to know where his head was at, when he wrote the lyrics for the track ‘Poonstar’ – or would I, as I’m not sure getting inside his head is a good idea, to be honest with you! Haha!

I’ve also recently discovered Ritchie’s love for road markings, hence the track ‘White Lines’ cough! Both of these tracks are belters, but for me, tracks ‘Roll The Dice’ and ‘Hell Bound’ really stand out, as they are 100% Witch Tripper bangers! ‘Roll The Dice’ sums this band up perfectly. Deep, bluesy rock with thunderous bass lines, sumptuous riffs and heavy bashing of the skins that is deep and soulful. Ritchie’s voice suites this track exceptionally well, what with his deep gravel tones. Throughout this album and it’s nine tracks, you are made acutely aware of this bands talents and musicianship. For some reason, when ever I listen to this album, I can’t help but think of Alice Cooper, I can’t imagine why? Although the number of live shows this year are nowhere near as many as last years 86 growlers, Witch Tripper have got some great shows coming up. Obviously, their album launch is fast approaching which promises to be a great night, they’ve also got HRH Ibiza coming up along with Amplified Festival and Facebarmegeddon plus there are many other dates in between aswell, so be sure to catch them at a show real soon! AND BUY THEIR NEW ALBUM, IT’S KILLA! Peace!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)