Tag Archives: evil scarecrow

Amplified Festival 2018

Quarrydowns Gloucestershire – Saturday 7th July.

After a traumatic night, feeling ill and having to take a shit in the woods, I kid you not, I started Saturday, rather jinjerly…get it! Yes, today is the day I get to see my favourite band on planet Earth, right now!

Before that though, we had many an amazing band to watch, before hand!

Sadly, the only band I managed to see, on the ‘Legendary G’s Bar Stage’ today was Pretty Addicted” as due to the continuing heat, I didn’t wanna melt. Bear in mind, this stage is in the marque bar which proved as the festivals saviour last year! This area has had an upgrade and now has a proper stage area which works very well, despite the heat. Having seen the only two band members, who bothered to show up this weekend around the festival all weekend, they looked like pretty interesting characters, so I wanted to check them out. Although not a full band, we had a vocalist and the bands bassist who gave us one hell of a show! Great to photograph too! Wonderfully weird and extravagant!

The first band I managed to see over on the ‘Very Metal Art Stage’ were the Derby lads, Fahran, who I haven’t managed to see since their show at Derby Theatre, when the pyro set off the fire alarms and cleared the venue during the first song! Haha! I love their energy, which they had in abundance during their Amplified Festival set today. I also love their sound as it’s very original! These guys are being tipped as the next big thing and mark my words, given the right guidance, they will get there! Someone said to me recently, “we all have a book to write, within us” and this story would most definitely feature within it!

Irish lads ‘Animator’ caught my ear this weekend again over on the VMA Stage. These guys play a great mixture of metal that I’d mostly class as thrash metal, to be honest! Not that that’s a band thing, as I personally love old school thrash. Think Anthrax and you’ve got these guys in a nut shell!

Sadly, X-Method didn’t mange to make it to over to play the festival, so Paul McMonnies, managed to send the band a personal and heart felt ‘Hello’ from all of us here, to make up for it!

I’m also disappointed with the fact that I missed Arron Buchanan as I believe I was interviewing the awesome Evil Scarecrow, at the time. As much as I hate interviewing bands, for this very reason, Evil Scarecrow made it worth while, as it was loads of fun! Check that interview out here – we think this interview was/is hilarious and really helps to give people an insight into the crazy minds, behind one of Britain’s best loved metal bands!

Back to thrash then, courtesy of the AWESOME Bull-Riff Stampede! It’s been a long time since we last saw these guys play a show, in fact I think the last time was when they supported Lawnmower Deth, at their Christmas show down in London at the Underworld! This is apparently only their second performance of 2018 and to be fair, family life is more important than music (but music is life). Certain members of the band are also performing in other bands, like Jay, who plays guitar for Xentrix’s and James, who has recently been announced as Onslaughts new drummer, which is awesome news! As much as I love both of those other two bands, for me, these five individuals ARE Bull-Riff Stampede and should remain that way and yes, that’s me being selfish! I hope to see more of these guys soon, as I love them. P.S, I’m still waiting to hear ‘Mask of Five Skulls’ live fellas, sort it out!

Headlining the VMA Stage today we have the ultra funny Psychostick, all the way from Chicago – America, to entertain us, with their unique style of metal! Funny hats, beards, songs about beer and boobs, what’s not to love! I’ve never seen these guys play before, so was intrigued to see what the Amplified crowd would make of them? To describe into words, if you threw Evil Scarecrow, Alestorm and Gwar into a room and they had an orgy, Psychostick would be the resulting love child and I think it’s safe to say, the crowd loved them! Thanks to the fact that their was no band clashes, between the main stage and the second stage, it meant that there was no excuse for missing these guys, or any other band that you wanted to see. If however, there was a band on the 3rd stage you wanted to see, you were screwed but the festival did try to schedule these bands sensibly. Well done, this worked very well!

Today on the main stage, there was a real mixed bag of music that didn’t follow any one genre or theme, it simply showcased the best in music, today and had something for everyone! It’s worth mentioning that last year, the main stage was on the opposite side of the field, facing the sun. Acoustically, I though this worked well but it didn’t appreciate or take into account the sun as it passed over. I’ll be forgiven for not factoring this in, as we didn’t see the sun last year! With the main stage in it’s new location, it worked very well I thought, ok, the sun was super bright this year, so photography was a challenge in the morning, but as the sun set we were treated to some super cool colours and even managed to capture some cool sunset images in the background, behind the main stage. Acoustics weren’t affected either! Bonus! Going forward, I can see the main stage remaining in this location for future years!

Another band that caught my ear today were King Creature and what a great sound, live. I’ve since gone back and listened to their recorded material but sadly, that same energy which I saw on stage today, appears to have been lost in their recording of ‘Volume One’, which got released last year. Coincidentally and in a conversation I had with Sean, Voodoo Bloods lead guitarist, he admitted many bands fall foul to the modern way of recording an album these days. He agrees that the live, musical element gets lost when each instrument is recorded separately, then layered over the top of one another and suggests, if/when Voodoo Blood get around to recording their debut album, they’d look to record tracks in one take together, like bands used to back in the day! Yes Sean, this will work very well, especially with a band like his, whose live shows sound phenomenal!

The next band that literally blew me away today were non other than Jinjer, who I knew would do just that after seeing them perform at Rock City’s Basement Room back in December 2017. So sure was I of this bands talent, I took a punt and shared one of my images in the Amplified Festival Facebook group, suggesting they book them for this year! Amazingly, Gary messaged me back 24 hours later, stating he’d booked the band and was just waiting on them to sign the contract! Since then, the music industry appears to have opened their eyes and their ears and have taken notice of these guys from the Ukraine, especially after touring with Arch Enemy in Europe and Cradle of Filth in North America!

Jinjer are already massive in Europe, as it’s easier for them to get visas to enter those countries. After speaking with Eugene, the bands bass player and voice, he admitted it’s the UK border control that makes life difficult for them when trying to enter the UK. This problem reared it’s ugly head again after driving from their own country and across Europe to Germany as they needed to get an approval stamp, granting them entry into the UK. Sadly, this process took a whole two days, which meant they had to cancel their appearance at Tech Fest and another show that they had planned to use as a warm up. They did eventually get permission to cross the channel and to enter into the UK, just in time for them to get here and perform for us. Although extremely tired, they put on one hell of a show which clashed with the England quarter final game, which sucked, as the crowd wasn’t nearly big enough for a band of this caliber!! Those that did bother to witness Jinjer’s first and only UK festival performance in 2018 were blown away by it! I know this, because I spoke with many people at the festival over the weekend, who said so! Fair play Gary, you did us proud!

Evil Scarecrow are now a worthy headlining band and after their impromptu headline set at last years event, Gary clearly saw their potential and granted them an official headlining slot for this year. To make their set even more fun, the band had upped the anti, going all out on their performance and features to enhance the spectators enjoyment of the show. Features include pyro, CO2 cannons, confetti and of course, people dressed up in various costumes, relating to their songs! Fair play to the person, who dressed up as Red Riding Hood and who ventured out into the crowd, during the bands performance of the yet to be released track off their fourth coming album due out this October! I thought they were going to slip and fall, but they managed to stay on their feet!

I love photographing this band – it’s true, but I enjoy watching the show even more these days! Although it was an open pit, which meant I could have sat there throughout, taking pictures! Instead, once I got the shots I needed, I raced into the crowd, found my friends and watched the rest of the set with them which for me, was way more enjoyable!

Sadly, after a very long day I made my way to bed so I missed Electric Eel Shock, who, by all accounts, were very entertaining and very funny to watch! Next time guys! Roll on Sunday!

Be sure to visit us over on Flickr for more photos from Amplified 2018. https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

HRH Metal

Saturday’s Review (Part 2).
O2 Academy Birmingham 17th February 2018.

So, after spending the early part of Saturday over on Stages 2 and 3, it was time for things to get underway on Stage 1 and a saving grace in my opinion, when it came down to my personal enjoyment today as the lighting was exceptional, which is why I caught every band playing on it! First up then, Collibus.

My first encounter with this band, was at another fantastically run festival, called SOS Festival which is based up in Manchester, where this band are from. I remember thinking then, what a phenomenally powerful singer Gemma was and still is today! I love the originality in this bands music although it is hard to categorise, so we’ll simply call them a great metal band.

Another band I haven’t seen for a long time is Ballsdeep – since Swampy played on bass, to be honest. I’ve always enjoyed watching this band perform but today’s set was magnificent. Their sound and energy suited the larger stage and the crowd loved them. I was pleased Paul remembered who I was and managed to flip me the middle finger, which he has done in every other show I’ve photographed him at. Bez pondered whether they were the best band the crowd will see today? That’s a bold statement, but they were very good, so a just comment.

Surprisingly, today’s next band up, on the main stage, were an Iron Maiden-esq type band, who go by the name Monument and they were definitely another highlight for me today. I say surprisingly, because I’m not a massive fan of Iron Maiden, I find them a little, how do I put it, over the top but these guys impressed me greatly. Although they follow a similar style, I’d say they were a more stripped back version, yet with the same raw power as Maiden. Peter Ellis is a very charismatic front man, a bit like Bruce, to be fair and I love his style and energy. Not sure how many people know this, but Peter actually makes belts, not your typical trouser belt, no, the kind that gets awarded in sporting events, like wrestling and boxing, which is a fact I find very interesting! What a cool job! As a live music act, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better, more hard working act than these guys. Definitely check out Monument, if you get the chance!

Next up on Stage 1 and yet another band I’ve encountered before, were Haerken but it has been a long time since I’ve seen them perform, so I was looking forward to seeing how these guys have changed – if at all. These local lads opt for a viking/medieval themed style of metal, which is very unique to them but is growing in popularity with live music lovers, as it’s fun to watch. It would appear their stage set up, costumes and props have improved along with their popularity, judging by the crowd that turned out to see them. I’d like to say I’m pretty good friends with Justin, the bands lead singer/rhythm guitar player and Ben, the bands bassist, as I’ve met them at many other festivals over the years. I recall Justin and I being the last two standing at the first ever Beermageddon, many moons ago. They performed at that festival and I recall how much fun they were back then, throwing out plastic swords and watching the crowd attack each other, in a playful way, and this was one of the reasons why I fell in love with this band. I’m happy to report that they’ve lost none of that playful interaction with the crowd or amongst themselves and are every bit as much fun as I remember. Today, we had the band playing the classic game with the audience of who’s louder – Justin’s side or Ben’s side, and with the crowd shouting back at the band, Ben’s side was the clear winner – much to Justin’s disappointment but all in good humour. Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist even joined the band on stage towards the end of their set to help with a song. He wasn’t their only guest of the day, as we also saw a bag pipe player, which is a remarkable instrument that makes a great sound. I’m aware Haerken will be performing at another HRH event this December, aptly named HRH Vikings, so these guys will definitely go down a storm!

The Dread Crew of Oddwood were up next and I can safely say they were the least metal band on today’s bill, but by no means the least interesting. Their self proclaimed style of ‘Heavy Mahogany’ consists of an organ player, a double bassist, a flute player, a drummer and some kind of ukulele (small guitar, you usually see in medieval movies). I believe these guys have been main support on Alestorm’s current tour, so it made sense to include them on today’s bill as they are a very entertaining act indeed. Great fun to watch, musically very unique and very funny, albeit close to the bone humour on occasion. If you’re playing a metal festival, it’s probably a good idea to not alienate your audience, just saying!

With a main stage bill, built around the humour of Alestorm, it was no surprise to see Evil Scarecrow next up on the main stage. Let’s face it, this band generate just about as much fun as you can have, with your clothes on! They are now also every promoters wet dream because they are sure to bring in the crowds. After obtaining a couple of great shots of this band I made a swift exit, simply because I felt as if Princess Luxury was going to gauge out my eye balls every time I pointed my camera at her.

As I’ve seen Evil Scarecrow so much, I thought I’d run on over to Stage 3 to catch the headliners, Elimination, closing the days events out on this stage. Let’s face it, any band that goes up against ES on a bill is going to struggle to pull in the punters, as everyone is usually watching them. Sadly, this was the same situation here, which must be demoralising for any band, however Elimination didn’t let the lack of crowd stop them from giving it their all. I tried desperately to capture these guys, but I’m sad to report I couldn’t even manage one decent picture. Pretty dismal situation, all round then!

And finally, to Alestorm. Apparently, they’re from The Banana Islands in Sierra Leone and are a female fronted smooth jazz band, who are signed with Napalm Records – I did not know that, but it’s good to know! Seriously though, Alestorm are a multi-national pirate metal band originally from Perth, Scotland. Their music is characterised by a pirate theme, and as a result they have been dubbed a “pirate metal” band by many critics and their fan base. After signing to Napalm Records in 2007, their debut album ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, was released on 25 January 2008. ‘Black Sails at Midnight’, the band’s second album, was released on 27 May 2009. The band’s third album, ‘Back Through Time’, was released on 3 June 2011. The fourth album from the band, ‘Sunset on the Golden Age’, was released in August 2014. Their fifth and latest album ‘No Grave But the Sea’ was released on 26 May 2017. (Credit Wikipedia)

As expected, the crowd went nuts for these guys, with crowd surfers a plenty. Sadly, one lady hurt her foot coming over the barrier, as the security guard couldn’t quite get her to the ground safely. To be honest, there are in fact signs up, in and around the venue that clearly state “No Crowd Surfing. Doing so could get you ejected from the venue”. Security don’t even have an obligation to catch crowd surfers and could, by rights, let the surfer fall onto the metal security rails and the ground, so the fact they put themselves in potential harms way to save crowd surfers is noble. Remember that, the next time you think its a good idea to crowd surf, yeah it’s fun, but you could get hurt. I hope the young lady was ok, after the paramedics looked after her. Thankfully, this didn’t ruin anyone else’s enjoyment and the band continued on with their epic set.

It’s well know that lead singer Christopher Bowes wears a kilt but what isn’t known is does he wear anything else underneath? I’m pleased to report that he does in fact wear boxer shorts, as I got a pretty good view whilst he was flashing me, whilst I was capturing him with my camera!

This is a pretty epic review, even for my standards, just as today was a truly epic event! Some say we had an earthquake today here in Birmingham – I didn’t feel anything other than the bass line from the O2’s epic sound system on the main stage, which probably recorded a reading of 7.1 on the Richter scale today. BOOM!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Evil Scarecrow

Announce their ‘Lost In Antartarctica’ tour dates for 2018/2019.

Plus new information on their upcoming fourth album which is due for release later in 2018. A quote from Dr Hell about the new forthcoming album, for release later in 2018. ‘We are also really close in completing the writing of our 4th full studio album (as yet untitled)’.


Saturday 6th January 2018, Yardbirds, Grimsby

Saturday 17th February 2018 – HRH Metal, Birmingham

Saturday 12th May 2018, Ibiza, HRH Road Trip

Friday 6th July 2018, Amplified Festival, Gloucester

Friday 13th July 2018, Rock And Bike Festival, Derbyshire

Lost In Antartarctica’ Tour poster:

Quote from Dr Hell about the new forthcoming album, for release later in 2018: “We are also really close in completing the writing of our 4th full studio album (as yet untitled). In 2018 we’ll be back at the amazing Parlour Studios with our long-suffering (yet most excellent and legendary) record producer Russ Russell. Is that his real name? No-one knows. I’ve heard that his middle name is Rustle. Along side the album launch which should take place sometime in 2018 we’ll be slowly rolling out a whole new stage show, to compliment our latest musical stories about martians or ghosts or robotic beer or whatever. We’re also working on a new video early in 2018 to support our new show and summer festival appearances (soon to be announced).So 2018 is going to be big one for us. As long as Russ Rustle Russell does a good job in making us sound amazing and we don’t break of all our equipment or lose our costumes”

Now watch ‘Hurricanado‘ by Evil Scarecrow.



Evil Scarecrow are:
Dr Rabid Hell, vocals, guitars, Brother Dimitri Pain, guitars, Kraven Morrdeth, bass, Princess Luxury, keyboards, Ringmaster Monty Blitzfist, drums.