Tag Archives: diamond head

Amplified

Live review Sunday 23rd July 2017.

Sunday dawned dry and sunny which is an excellent start to any festival – add in a host of great bands, great music and good company to look forward to and voila, you have day 3 of Amplified Festival 2017!

So, and without further ado, it was time to head on over to the Beer Tent to get acquainted with my first of many Amplified bands and getting my Sunday well underway, were Hell’s Gazelles. This four piece band had brought a pretty dynamic dose of hard hitting rock ’n’ roll up with them from Oxford and if you like to go check out the up and coming bands who pack a punch, then Hell‘s Gazelles need to be at the top of your list!

My first experience of the Red Stripes main stage came courtesy of Instill and once again, here was a band that were new to me and who really do need to be seen and heard when the opportunity arises.

With 2.30pm fast approaching, it brought along with it the ultimate fear of many a festival goer – the stage clash! I desperately wanted to see Garganjua but I also wanted to see Courtesans aswell, so at times such as this, there really was only one decision to make – go see both.

Having had the great pleasure of seeing Garganjua live on a few occasions over the past eighteen months, I really was quite blown away with the strength and power present today within the bands song content and stage presence. Garganjua’s music sits with the mesmerizing genre of doom, but their style of doom is one of the most animated that I’ve seen and these guys certainly put their life’s blood into today’s performance. Intense and bloody marvelous to say the least!

A quick gallop across the field brought me to probably the midway point of the Courtesans set and immediately it was clear to see why this band are such a talking point for so many. Courtesans posses a thought provoking mix of both beauty and the beast – the element of beauty being obvious to the eye, whilst the beast lies within their music and its lyrical capture of the darker side of life. With both elements combined, Courtesans stand tall in a league of their own and their set today was really quite something to behold.

After a quick break, I headed back on over again to The Red Stripes stage to catch Bad Touch who really seem to be making excellent headway on the live music scene and also brought the sun out with them. The bluesy rock and roll just flows from this band and their set this afternoon certainly delivered that good time festival feel to one and all.

Next up for me were In Search Of Sun and once again, these guys were another must see band of the day. The one thing that I find really interesting about In Search Of Sun is that they manage to span the boundary between hard rock and metal with effortless ease, resulting in songs that can fit whatever your mood or particular preference is and today’s set from them certainly hit the right spot indeed!

As afternoon turned into early evening, it was time to go check out Massive over on the Red Stripe stage and if I were to choose my favourite performance of the day, then these guys would be it. Not only do Massive deliver a colossal dose of great rock and roll but their infectious personalities and humour just fixed the smile on my face from start to finish.

And carrying on in that same vein of big rock sounds – but this time in a more melodic style, were my next band of the day, Vega. I first saw Vega several years back in 2011 at Firefest so it was excellent to see them up on stage again today and clearly at the top end of the melodic rock ranks.

Amplified Festival has given me, and quite possibly many others, the chance to see bands who I haven’t come across before and I have to hang my head in shame and confess that Unzucht were one such band. With a sound and style that is darkly charismatic, their set today was an absolute excursion into the depths of industrial metal and an experience that I will look forward to repeating again!

Today had definitely brought about some pretty impressive performances and with that thought in mind, my next pit stop was Heck but boy oh boy, in no way was I prepared for the madness and mayhem that these guys were about to unleash! Heck are most definitely not for the faint hearted as they pack a punch on par with a charging rhinoceros and that was really quite something to witness.

With daylight finally slipping away into night, our two remaining bands of the day held the honour of bringing Amplified Festival 2017 to a close and with those bands being Reef and Diamond Head, then I just knew that this would be an ending to remember.

With the Red Stripes stage lit to cool blue perfection and ready to rock, 90’s icon’s Reef took to the stage amidst some of the warmest cheers of the day and what a set they gave us indeed. With many of their past iconic songs being given the big seal of approval from the audience, this was a pretty cool trip down memory lane for sure, but I did love the fact that newer tracks were included aswell and hope we will have plenty more Reef to look forward to.

And so, my last band of the day were to be Diamond Head and you just gotta love these guys as they always give 110% with each and every performance and all their great songs, both old and new just kept coming tonight. It certainly seemed like both band and fans alike were set on enjoying the moment and with plenty of dates still in their diary for 2017, do make a point of getting to see them live if you can.

I must add that Jay Hawkin’s had chance to chat with Karl Wilcox from Diamond Head earlier in the day so be sure to check that out here.

Looking back on my day at Amplified, I can only say that it was a great day and an experience that I would happily repeat and recommend. So huge thanks going out the Gary Paterson and everyone whose hard work, can do attitude and helping hands, made this festival something pretty special to be part of. My one regret from today was not checking out the Tavern Stage, so I do give my sincere apologies for that.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle

Diamond Head

 The Robin2 Bilston 18th August 2016.

As the steam cools on the heels of Bloodstock tonight’s gig at the Robin2 is set to raise the metal momentum again with none other than the cult metallers Diamond Head fired up to raise some horns in true British metal style.

But first up and definitely a band never to miss were Fire Red Empress, whose enigmatic delivery of fully charged rock is fast becoming second to none.

Jen Diehl - Fire Red Empress

With the impending release of their debut album including a track co-penned by Brian Tatler himself, the song ‘Black Morphine’ was a must have and fitting inclusion in their set tonight and judging by the hearty cheers of appreciation it received from the Robin2’s audience, this song is set to become a firm favourite from the band.

Benny Picken - Fire Red Empress

Fire Red Empress are one hell of a great band to see live and tonight’s set from them has definitely gone down in my book as first class!

So what can I say about Diamond Head that hasn’t already been said over the past forty years – probably not a lot as here we have a band who have consistently and continuously made their mark on the NWOBHM scene.

Tonight’s set from the band was ablaze with adrenaline from start to finish and was a powder keg of songs that included the long standing crowd pleasing tracks ‘Shoot Out The Lights’, ‘It’s Electric’ and a particular rare live performance of ‘Knights Of The Sword’.

Brian Tatler - Diamond Head

But as much as those great songs will always remain iconic of Diamond Head’s achievements, it was the opportunity to hear some of their new material, including the songs such a ‘Diamonds’ and ‘Bones’ played live, which really did hit the spot for me tonight!

Andy Abberley - Diamond Head

There is something quite awesome about the bands recent writings and self titled release ‘Diamond Head’ as it marries both their ageless sound and style, which we all know and love, with a freshness of energy and to me, that all equates to the start of great things still to come from the band.

Dean Ashton - Diamond Head

As for the highlight of the evening, well for me that has to be without doubt, the most anticipated song of the set ‘Am I Evil?‘. A Highlight not just because it is synonymous to Diamond Head but because both band and audience gave it 150%, which really was the most fantastic experience to be part of.

Rasmus Bom Andersen - Diamond Head

The next couple of months will see Diamond Head touring the UK and judging by tonight’s performance for the band, what a tour that is going to be!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Twisted Ninja Presents

The Haygate Wellington Sunday 1st May 2016.

This Charity Weekender has provided an absolute wealth of great music and also set about raising funds for some well worthy charities and today is set to follow in exactly the same vein. Sunday’s charity of choice is Blesma and here were have an organisation whose mission is to assist veterans who have suffered the loss of limbs or sight, in the course of serving their country. It’s difficult to comprehend the impact that this kind of life changing event can have on a person and their family, but the work of Blesma has been tireless in it’s campaigning and the testimonials on their website shows just how much they have achieved for those in need of Blesma’s support.

Blesma

With a slight change to today’s line up due to PTO being unable to play, the first band on stage were Black Star Bullet. Due to my late arrival at The Haygate, I missed their set, so apologies to the band for my lack of coverage of their performance.

And with the band Buzzard already in full flight, the Haygate was definitely rocking. Buzzards style of in ya face rock is first class and with songs such as ‘Another Chain’ plus a rather impressive version of ‘Teenage Kicks’ that included Mat from Valous on guest vocals, Sunday was looking to be a very promising day indeed!

Andy Ve - Buzzard

Next up were Wolff and it was good to see these guys again as their debut EP released back in early 2015 left quite an impression – especially the track ‘Lycanthropic Tendencies’, which I was chuffed to hear included in their set today. The band have quite a few dates coming up over the next few months, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for all the latest Wolff news.

What can I say about Torous that I haven’t said already as there really is something about this band that never fails to capture the imagination. Today’s set included some of the unmistakable tracks from their EP ‘Dried Bones’ and also gave us an introduction to the forthcoming new single ‘God Game Suicide’ which has all the attributes of another raging success for the band!

Marc Malone - Torous

Another band that are ever popular at The Haygate are West Midlands based The Black Hounds. The band have a busy time ahead with the forthcoming launch of their new EP ‘Gallows‘ which I can assure you is a bit of a cracker and one that needs to be checked out, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for more details about that!

Tonight’s set from Left For Red was one of the must see performances of the day for me as with Dan Carter planning on a little Paternity leave, tonight’s set was quite possibly the last chance I will get to catch this everlasting line up for a little while. And as always and very much true to great form, Left For Red absolutely nailed it tonight, despite having played three gigs over three nights with a fair few miles travelled aswell.

Rob Hadley - Left For Red

Our next band of the night were the one and only Theia and when it comes down to loads of on stage energy, great rock ‘n’ roll and a performance laced with the fact that these guys are all having a great time aswell, then this band is one that should never be missed. Theia’s set tonight was a combination of some of their timeless classics plus a few of their newer songs and it was so impressive to see once again, a band who never take their musical progression for granted.

With Sunday evening well and truly in full swing our next band of the night were Valous. Recent changes to their line up brings Lee ‘Wilf’ Wilson back again but now on full time bass duties and also Ben Read on guitar, who is the second new addition to the fold. Valous always deliver 110% metal and tonight’s set was once again, a powerhouse performance from Mat and the guys.

Mat Shutt - Valous

With the end of the day fast approaching there was no chance to catch your breath as our penultimate band for Sunday were Worcestershire based, Fury. The stage really is a natural habitat for these guys and forty minutes of epic metal just wasn’t enough, as these guys have the knack of making time fly. With a new album set for release next month, I hope it isn’t too long before Telford see’s them back up here again, as that will be a must go to gig for sure!

Julian Jenkins and Mart Trail - Fury

As far as our headlining band goes, you could be forgiven for assuming upon seeing the name Diamond Head on the poster that it was referring to a tribute band or cover act, as ultimately these guys are not out of place on an arena stage just about anywhere in the world, but I kid you not, we are talking about the real mccoy here!!

Karl Wilcox - Diamond Head

The Haygate simply lapped up the hearty set that Diamond Head delivered, which truly was a great thing to witness as these guys clearly put the full weight of their commitment into supporting this great event and brought an amazing weekend to an end on an incredible high!

This weekend has been one to remember and the amount of preparation and organisation that has gone into making it happen, must truly have been a labour of love and none of it would have been possible without the support of the bands, The Haygate, Stage and Studio Services and of course, The Twisted Ninja Team. Andy, Helen, Becky, Lee and Louise deserve a huge amount of recognition for all of the effort and commitment that they put into this weekend and I’m sure that all the bands will be most happy to raise a glass…. or two, in appreciation of all their tireless support.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.