Category Archives: Gig reviews

Butcher Babies

With support from Klogr and Eyes Set To Kill.
Rescue Rooms Nottingham 20th February 2018.

As I travelled North up the treacherous M1, to get to the Rescue Rooms which happens to be our venue tonight, I thought it only correct to blast out the new album ‘Lilith’ from the Butcher Babies (tonight’s headline act) which got released last year. In doing so, thanks to this bands sheer aggression and raw power, I found myself at the venue in no time at all, was I driving fast, probably faster than normal, as a result. I also appeared to have pins and needles in my face, due to all the grinning I was doing, forced on in the knowledge that I was off to see Butcher Babies again. It’s been some four years to the day, since I saw this band last!

As a side note, I’m starting to really enjoy visiting the Rescue Rooms venue as the staff are so friendly, are always happy to see me and they usually have the guest list ready for when the doors open. Tonight though, they didn’t because the band were late giving it to the door however, I told them my name and they stamped me in, no questions, in the knowledge that I was there for a reason and wouldn’t be lying. I guess, when the staff start to recognise your face, what with the amount of times I’ve attended this venue, they’re starting to trust me. This is just a small observation that makes me feel good. Thanks Rescue Rooms!

The first of the two support bands on tonight started their set very soon after doors opening, as it would appear the nights schedule was running late due to the Butcher Babies having a meet and greet in the venue, prior to the show, which meant the support bands didn’t really get a sufficient amount of time to complete sound check. I digress, tonight’s first band go by the name Klogr, which means absolutely nothing to me but seeing as this band are primarily from Italy, it may mean something profound and inspiring, in their native language? Either way, these guys play rock and metal and have toured the UK many times now, with the likes of Prong and Ghost, I think Rusty said, when I briefly spoke to him and PQ between sets. During that conversation we discussed many things, like the fact metal isn’t really celebrated in their own country as much as it is in the rest of Europe, so I asked, how did you get into rock/metal then? His reply, probably the same as many others our age “My older brother loved Metallica”. Enough said! The band are performing at every show on this run of 24 dates, across the UK and Europe and are travelling by van, driving themselves. Seriously, look at the locations, that’s a lot of driving, going past venues to be played at later. Seriously, who organises these tours, do they own a map? I thought Klogr where slow starting tonight, but they soon warmed up and the crowd started to respond but it was only the first night! By the end of the tour, this band will be on fire!

Eyes Set To Kill were the second support band on tonight and are also from America, Tempe, AZ to be precise. They too took a little time to get firing on all cylinders, which was a shame because I was looking forward to seeing this band perform. By enlarge, it was a credible set, but sadly Alexia’s amp was playing up on her and after 3 cable changes, I think she gave up on it and stuck to vocals. The band paid tribute to the late Dolores O’Riordan, of the Cranberries, who sadly passed away earlier this year, by playing one of that bands biggest hits ‘Zombie’. Although Alexia’s guitar kept cutting out and her vocals suffered as a result, the crowd appreciated the bands gesture and cheered generously, out of respect for the late artist. Great band, just not at their best tonight, due to lack of sleep, mostly, but these guys will be a band to watch out for, in the future!

As previously stated, it’s been almost four years to the day since I last saw the Butcher Babies perform, in the very same venue, no less. That doesn’t mean to say they haven’t been here since, I recall them playing at Rock City Basement in 2017, but I missed that show, sadly. I have noticed this band seem to play the smaller venues here in the UK, which surprises me greatly, as they are one of the best and quite possibly one of the most brutal metal-core bands around at the moment. In a over saturated genre, I feel Butcher Babies have found a winning formula and stand out as one of the best in this genre.

They’ve got a very distinctive sound, which is easily recognisable. Yes, the two lead vocalists are drop dead gorgeous, which does help to give this band a dynamic edge but they are no less brutal, as a result. If anything, they are even more hard working, almost as if they are trying to prove that woman can do it too. Well, I know they can and I support them 100%! I love this band, they should be selling out arenas, they are that good. I also love how they make me work for my shots too, I mean, who doesn’t love a challenge, when photographing a band that doesn’t stop moving? It makes it more rewarding when you get a decent shot. I was respectful enough to adhere to the first three tracks rule usually imposed on gig photographers and as a result, it was the fastest 3 songs, of my life!

It may have been a long time since I last saw Butcher Babies perform, yet they are no less energetic or brutal since our last encounter! If first night nerves were present, they didn’t show – not with these professionals! If you’re a fan of Hatebreed, Devil Driver and Jinjer, then you seriously need to see this show while they’re here in the UK, because it’s BRUTAL!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Your Alibi

With support from The Dalliance, Fear Without Reason and Second Cities. O2 Academy3 Birmingham 27th January 2018.

Tonight see’s me heading on over to the O2 Academy3 in Birmingham for what looks to be yet another extremely promising Hils Ovation night. Headlining tonight are the up and coming Wolverhampton based rockers, Your Alibi, with support most ably being provided by The Dalliance, Fear Without Reason and Second Cities.

And opening up tonight’s occasion were Second Cities and I gotta hand it to these guys as their enthusiasm for their set tonight was as infectious as their energy. There was some pretty cool guitar work going on up their aswell with guitarists Jimmy Docker and Tony Mac working that stage aswell. Be sure to check out Second Cities over on their Facebook page or better still, get yourselves down to their next gig on the 9th Feb at The Flapper Birmingham.

Next up on stage tonight were Fear Without Reason and the fact that people just seemed to appear out of thin air told me that this was one set not to be missed. These guys certainly brought some great rock to the O2 Academy3 tonight with a very strong set list that also included their brand new track ‘Broken’, which held the audience completely spellbound. Overall, this was an awesome performance from Fear Without Reason and the only downside to it was that it ended way too soon!

I first saw The Dalliance at another of Hils Ovations nights back in July of last year and even in that short time frame, their set tonight proved that they have not wasted a single minute when it comes down to developing their sound and raising their own bar. With the impressive Andrew Kilpatrick now heading up the vocals, The Dalliance pack one hell of a punch live and they are definitely moving in the right direction – another must see band for you to check out, first chance you get.

Tonight’s headlining band were the West Midland based Your Alibi and not only do these guys deliver the kind of rock that leaves a lasting impression, they also have the ability to make you feel part of something great. With quite a few fans champing at the bit in anticipation for tonight’s performance, Your Alibi rose to meet and exceed expectations and the highlight of their set was in my opinion, their haunting cover version of Linkin Parks ‘Crawling’, which saw Nathan Talbot stepping out from behind the drum kit to become master of the violin. A top notch set from the band and a first class end to quite a night!

You just can’t beat the experience of live music, especially when it comes courtesy of bands as talented as these four bands were tonight. Great night all round – roll on the next one!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Fire Red Empress

With support from Netherhall, Scattering Ashes and Severn.
The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 20th January 2018.

The first Hils Ovation show of 2018 see’s four fantastic bands heading on down to The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton and with the Christmas and New Year musical drought finally about to end, tonight’s line up was exactly just what was needed.

With Torous sadly having made the decision to withdraw from tonight’s original line up, our opening band for this evening were the newly formed and local heavy rockers, Severn. For those fans of past hero’s Martyr de Mona and GlassBullet, there were a few familiar faces to be seen up on stage amongst Severn’s line up and despite this only being their second live performance, this up and coming band delivered a thirty minute set that was tight and expertly skillful – not that I expected anything less! Severn are most definitely a band to check out first chance you get, as I have a feeling that 2018 will see them grow and a host of new music unveiled.

Our second band of the night were the Warwickshire based Scattering Ashes, who are no strangers to the regulars of a Hils Ovation night. Lead vocalist Steve Smith makes for quite an impressive front man and his fierce vocals launched tonight’s set upon the Slade Rooms with powerful gusto. It was good to hear again, tracks from the bands recently released album ‘The Gift‘ included amongst their set choice tonight and to grab a copy of this for yourself, just head on over to the bands Facebook page for more info.

It only seems like yesterday that I had the great pleasure of seeing Netherhall at Hils Ovations Midlands Metal Crusade but even within such a small time frame, change has come upon Netherhall with the recent departure of lead vocalist Paul Berry, so tonight’s incarnation from the band came in the format of being an instrumental set. Bathed in blazing fire balls of stage light and amidst billowing smoke, the combined effect of this with the proficient skill base of Lewis, Tom and Jake, saw Netherhall take their performance to a new and emotive level and not only I, but MANY others aswell stood captivated by the experience that we witnessed tonight. An excellent set from Netherhall tonight and one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Tonight’s headliners were the unmistakable Fire Red Empress, who really are creating a lot of positive vibes far and wide across the current rock and metal scene – and who are also another firm favourite of mine. With their debut albumBlack Morphine‘ making quite an impact for the band, it was fab to see and hear so many of it’s tracks performed live tonight with an energy and enthusiasm that was equally as impressive. February will see the band performing at HRH Metal in Birmingham so if you’re heading over to Birmingham on the Sunday for that, be sure to catch Fire Red Empress’s set, you won’t be disappointed!

Tonight’s show at The Slade Rooms was one heck of a great start to the year – awesome!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.