Category Archives: Recommended

Conan

Nottingham Trent Student Union Bar Nottingham 23rd November 2018.

With support from The Media Project and Conjurer, the latter of which continue on throughout the tours remaining dates. The night’s event took place at Nottingham Trent Student Union Bar, The Loft which is a new venue for us, although we did cover an Evil Scarecrow gig in the main hall once, which was fantastic! Although this particular venue is upstairs and has a slightly smaller capacity, it has everything a music fan could want. It’s intimate, close to the stage, with easy access to the bands who sold their wares and the sound was great. My only issue was there was no pit, the stage was low and lighting was a thick mix of reds and blues, which is a combination that fills me with dread but like I say, from the punters perspective, tonight’s show was a great experience.

First up were The Media Project and try as I may, I can’t find any information on social media about these guys! Not something I usually have a problem with these days, I must say! Anyhow, I did discover the band originate from London and consist of a vocalist/guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a rockabilly esq double bassist. As far as their sound and appearance, for that matter, I’d describe this band as very experimental, consisting of a real mixture of influences. I especially enjoyed the sound of the double bass, which gave them a very rich full sound and plenty of originality.

Next up were the mighty Conjurer, who I first saw at 2017’s Amplified Festival and on that occasion, they impressed me greatly and thankfully, tonight was no exception – if anything, they stepped it up a gear! Predominantly, these guys are a doom metal band, although some might say they’re more of an extreme progressive metal band, what’s the difference? If you’re a fan of early Mastodon, like me, then you have to check these guys out! Not to take anything away from the headliners, as they too are a fantastic band, but on the night, Conjurer literally blew me away!

So much power, so much energy and feeling with every note played. If I was to give any kind of constructive criticism, knowing the type of music they play and as a spectator, I couldn’t help feeling that certain songs could have been stretched out longer as I didn’t want them to end! I was so impressed with their performance tonight that I made full use of the intimate environment of the venue and actually approached the band, talked to them and get them to sign their debut LP, which I actually bought, with my own money! Superb!

Conan are an exceptional band in their own right and a band I was yet to see play live, until tonight that is. As these guys are signed to Napalm Records, I requested my media pass with my usual contact, who also offered me an interview with the band on the night. Sadly, that interview never materialised, nor did I receive confirmation that I could attend tonight’s show, which was very odd. Thankfully, Conjurers PR company did furnish me with the necessary pass, so I could witness these bands play, live.

Conan’s current UK wide tour is in celebration of the band’s latest release ‘Existential Void Guardian’ which continues in the same vain that this band are well known for. Following the raw energy of a band like Conjurer must be very difficult, but Jon, the bands guitarist/vocalist should know that, as he was stood to the side of the stage throughout the bands set and would have seen first-hand, the crowds reactions to Conjurer. The experience of that should have prompted Conan to step it up a gear but sadly not and although a great performance, Conan, for me, failed to show me why they were the headliners!

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

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

HRH Doom Vs Stoner

O2 Academy Sheffield 29th September 2018.

Now in it’s third year, it’s of no surprise that this particular event just keeps getting better and better! With the wealth of bands available within these genres, the band bookers must have a daunting task when it comes to booking a festival such as this, as they just don’t know how us, the general public will react! I think its safe to say, HRH is one of only a few festival that get it right, virtually every time! This year was exceptional but we were only able to attend the Saturday.

Having seen the line up for the Sunday, which looked even better (if that’s possible), we were feeling a little bummed that we couldn’t attend both days! I’ve now also seen next years line up and my word, it’s going to be an absolute cracker…AGAIN! Monolord headlining, we’re there! Before that though, we wanted to pen a few words about this year, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Proceedings kicked off around 2pm, which gave us plenty of time to get up to Sheffield, get parked and say our hellos. At first, I thought attendance was a little thin on the ground but as the first band took to the stage, we were virtually crammed to the rafters in both rooms for the duration of the days event.

First up this weekend we had a rather hungover Sedulus – according to them, however that didn’t stop these psychedelic stoners from London, blowing away the cobwebs that had formed since my last outing, which was back in August for Beermageddon! Surprisingly, I even managed to obtain a smile from Rich, one of the band’s guitarists, which is unusual from the first band of the day but it was welcomed non the less. The other guitarist, Amit, hid behind his long black hair, which was more of what I was expecting to be honest, especially considering the genre of bands appearing today! These guys are all about the music, which is fair enough. Luckily for them, I love both these genres, so I persevered!

As Stage 2 hadn’t opened yet, the day continued with the second band on the main stage today, who go by the name Ancestors! These guys had travelled a very long way to be here today, all the way from Los Angeles in fact! The fact it took longer than allocated for them to get set up must of really upset them as it would appear Justin’s guitar was producing more power than it should have and when he tried to pick up his lead, to plug it into his guitar, he let out an almighty scream, as it gave him one hell of a shock! Once they got going, it was no surprise to see most of the stage lights go out, as these guys play a mixture of Post-Metal, Post-Rock, Progressive, Psychedelic, Doom Metal, Space Rock, all rolled into a very hedonistic one hour set! I enjoyed this bands creativity and their experimental sound. Their set also awarded me one of my more dramatic images of the day, with light beams all a glow!

As Desert Storm were up next, I decided to hang about for them! I generally have this band on repeat most days, so to see them play live was a real treat and thankfully, they didn’t disappoint! Matt’s vocals have so much gravel in, he’s practically spitting out sand! He also has the best swagger about him on stage, which suits the bands music perfectly! Even if people weren’t dancing (the majority were) just watching his hypnotic moves would be enough to find yourself swaying along with him! I love this bands bouncy beats as they accompany their riffs perfectly!

Sadly, I had no time to hang about as The Grudge were tearing it up, up stairs on stage 2, so off I swayed to check them out. The Grudge are new to me but after today’s performance, I’m hoping it won’t be the last time I see them – what a band! They had room 2 jumping along with them, especially Javier, one of the bands bouncier guitarists, who I later discovered, after speaking with him, is Spanish! This fact leads me onto four people in particular, who all turned up dressed as priests today! At first I thought they were all dressing up as Brother Pain, from Evil Scarecrow but it turns out they too, were also from Spain and thought dressing up would be a cool way to talk to people! What a great idea and it’s nice to see European fans making the effort to come to a festival, here in the UK!

As Ritual King were on this stage next, I thought I’d stick about! This was my third time seeing this particular band now, the first two of which were in my home town, Derby, when they supported those lovely fellas Witch Tripper, both bands I love! I recall having a conversation about this very show with the band back then and as I’m generally a man of my word (and I think they’re great) here I am, ready and waiting! I have to say, tonight’s HRH performance is the best I’ve see this band perform, as they appeared to go above and beyond, probably to coincide with the energy from the crowd and there was many in attendance! What a band and yet only a three piece! How they manage to create the sounds they do, is beyond me! If I was to hazard a guess, I’d have to say it’s down to the three very talented musicians that make up Ritual King from Manchester! Take a bow guys!

As Gevaudan were the only other band I saw on stage 2 (sorry Cybernetic Witch Cult) I’ll briefly say, what I saw, I thoroughly enjoyed! They also have an absolute legend in the band ‘Bruce Hamilton’ on guitar, who’s an avid music fan as well as a very talented musician and who I’ve personally encountered many times, over the years! I don’t think he recognised me though! Snigger! The band had great energy tonight and played up to the ladies in the crowd!

Throughout the day and up to the point OHHMS took to the stage, I’d had many conversations with people about this band, all of which said they really enjoyed them and I would too, so I was expecting a lot to be honest. They were certainly one of the most photogenic bands to shoot today, which was great. Musically, they were even better! I noticed the bassist had a child’s shoe strapped to his guitar neck, so later I asked him what the significance of this was. Apparently, it’s one of his four children’s items of clothing, he has attached to various pieces of equipment, which helps him to know he’s thinking of them, which I though was a lovely gesture! The bands vocalist was very charismatic and theatrical, who showed how a front man should be! Great to watch, even better to hear!

Elephant Tree were my find of the day though, having never seen or heard their music before, I was blown away with what I saw and heard. Their performance will live within my memory banks for a long time to come! Something about them appealed to me greatly, I think it had something to do with the great music they produced, yeah that’s gotta be it! Great set today and I can’t wait to see them play again. The sooner the better to be honest! It’s worth mentioning, I saw the bands bassist and lead vocalist having a right old jig during Stoned Jesus’ set! What a character!

Stoned Jesus are phenomenal noise makers, atmospheric and again, another three piece! Just check out their track ‘I’m the Mountain’ to see what I mean! This track is one of my all time favourites and seeing them perform it live was a real treat! Although I can’t attend every gig or festival that I’d like, the ones I do get to attend are all amazing for their own reasons! I’m quite lucky really, when I think about it and it’s truly humbling when I’m given the opportunity to witness a band, such as Stoned Jesus! These guys are future headliners, for sure! I’m aware these guys are currently on tour, so check them out if you haven’t already, although I know at least 45,000 people who have and I now they get these guys, as do I!

As headliners go, they don’t get much better than Elder, to be honest! The funny thing is, I saw both these guys AND Monolord at Dessertfest, opening the days events at KOKO, back in 2016! Now both these bands have worked their way to headlining slots, which is great to see! For their headline set, Elder enforced a three track rule, which I found Hilarious! If you’re a fan of these genres, you’ll know a fourth track equates to a full length album. Anyway, they opened with ‘Dead Roots Rising’ which is an incredible (12 minute) song, which only gets better at the playing time of 9:35! Hearing this track again live and by the time they reached that magical moment, I found I’d been transformed into a space goat and was floating within a mystical void, within my mind! This experience will certainly go down as one of many great musical moments I’ve witnessed over the years!

Thanks yet again to my HRH family, for a truly memorable event! Roll on 2019 and their 4th instalment!

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Amplified 2019

MUSHROOMHEAD confirmed headliners..

Gloucestershire based AMPLIFIED FESTIVAL makes their first announcement, and it’s a statement of intent as Ohio based Multi-Million selling MUSHROOMHEAD are confirmed to headline the Saturday Main Stage.

Formed in 1993 the band is known for their unique sound. A not-so delicate blend of Heavy Metal and Industrial Rock their theatrical imagery features masks and costumes as well as their unique live shows, which are normally played in more intimate venues. This will be the first UK outdoor festival Headline slot for the Cleveland based band, and it promises to be quite the set. MUSHROOMHEAD are primed and ready for the Cotswolds in 2019.

Joining them on the main stage bill are legendary Thrash lunatics LAWNMOWER DETH, who among their many accolades have played twice with Kim Wilde and are the current theme tune for the BBC Radio 2 segment “Dr. Mosh”. Frontman Qualcast Mutilator said “At our age it’s always nice to play somewhere that we can purchase shortbread in a tin with a picture of a thatched cottage on it. Nothing says metal like a tin of shortbread. South West and Amplified, we are coming”.

The Main Stage line-up additionally features IDIOM, BLOODSHOT DAWN, THE BAD FLOWERS, RYDERS CREED, THOSE DAMN CROWS, ROCKET DOLLS, BLACK BULLETS, LOTUS EATER, ESPRIT D’AIR, MORTISHEAD, TRC, SEETHING AKIRA, HIGHTOWN PARADE and AWAKENING HYPERIA.

Announced for the Very Metal Art Stage are bands KRYSTHLA, SEPTEKH, THE MEN WHO WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING, BYZANTINE, THIS IS TURIN, MAGE, COLLIBUS, META-STASIS, WRETCHED SOUL, PRIMITAI, KANE’D, VALAFAR, REPULSIVE VISION, THE KING LOT, TOMORROW IS LOST, MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, CALLUS, DAMAGED REICH and ETHYRFIELD.

In addition, the festival have announced the returning SULPHER and UNZUCHT to play the now legendary “G’s Bar Stage”

Joining them are SISTERS OF SUFFOCATION, BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE, WITCHSORROW, THE MIGHTY WRAITH, DISHONOUR THE CROWN, DEATH REMAINS, BLOOD OATH and SERTRALINE.

Remaining Early Bird Tickets will be on sale until midnight on the 31st October, 2018 via the festival website. For full details visit: www.amplifiedrocks.com/tickets.

Now that we have your attention please stay tuned for further announcements and a few surprises heading your way…these include the final headliners performing here Friday and Sunday on the Red Stripe Main Stage, those acts headlining the Very Metal Art Stage and the final act performing on the legendary G’s Bar Stage on Sunday night…the festival’s ‘coup de grace’ if you will.

You’ll have to keep those horns sharpened and be on the look out for more info coming soon!!!

Band applications are currently open via:

www.amplifiedrocks.com/band-applications

Be sure to check out: www.facebook.com/amplifiedfestivalUK

Or follow on: www.twitter.com/amplified_rocks

And: www.instagram.com/amplifiedrocks