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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

The Treatment

Rock City Nottingham 10th October 2014.

Tonight’s gig was a pretty exciting one for me, as those crazy rockers from the land of Oz were over here touring with Buffalo Summer and The Treatment, which is the first time, that I’m aware of, since I reviewed their fabulous new album “Full Throttle” and was only their fourth ever show in this country. I go into more depth about them, as a band and the album itself in that review.

Having only heard the album and read the reviews, I was eager to see how Massive performed on the live stage, as, lets face it, that’s were the music really matters. Surprisingly they were on first, which must have been an odd feeling for them too as they are usually the main attraction back home in Australia and it showed.

Let me tell you, these guys were rocking from the get go! The whole set consisted of tracks from the new album, which didn’t matter non, as I think the album is a great body of work from start to finish. The band kicked off with ‘Burning the Sun’, then went on to do ‘Hollywood’, ‘Lacey’, ‘Dancefloor’, ‘Ghost’, ‘One by One’ then finished with ‘Now or Never’. In true Australian fashion, fashioned by those nut cases Airbourne, we had plenty of beer drinking on and off the stage and at one point Brad Marr, Massive’s vox man managed to climb onto the Basement Bar, thrash out a few riffs, down someone else’s pint, throw the empty plastic pint cup at me, whilst I was trying to take a picture, then jump back onto the stage for the next song.

Brad Marr - Massive

I’ll be honest, these guys know how to work a crowd and have a party whilst doing so. I appreciated axe man, Ben Laguada posing throughout the set as it really did make for an awesome picture. Aidan Mc Garrigle was more of a shy creature, opting to hide behind his hair throughout most of the set, but I did mange to capture him busting out some moves. On drums we have a stereotypical Aussie look-a-like, surfer dude, Jarrod Medwin, who is super good looking and very charismatic sat behind his kit. I’ll say this about Brad, what he lacks in height, he makes up for in his larger than life personality, which stands tall! He is actually taller in the flesh!! An awesome set, which I thoroughly enjoyed, so much so, afterwards I was ready to go home, as anyone else playing the stage was going to have a really hard time matching that MASSIVE performance, over to you then Buffalo Summer! P.S Massive did suggest they may be back in the UK in 2015 during the festival season, so watch out for them appearing next summer!

Massive

I first saw the adorable Welsh bunch, Buffalo Summer, when they played on Metal Hammer’s first “Lord of the Riffs” tour, which, after seeing them play, again at Rock City’s basement bar, made me fall in love with this band instantly. They do exactly what they say they do, which is feel good rock and roll. As the guys have been touring with Massive and The Treatment, I feel tonight’s performance was a slightly more elevated affair from that first encounter. Having two very energetic bands on the bill, has surely helped them to up their onstage persona to maintain people spirits through their set. To do this, we had four very energetic and entertaining buffalo’s on that stage.

Andrew Hunt - Buffalo Summer

Andrew (vox) posed for the camera’s, which is a rare occurrence at any show, if you ever read this though Andrew, shoving your face straight down the camera’s lens, in low light, isn’t easy to fix focus on and capture, but I did appreciate the gesture. Darren the bass king was in high spirits and he too elevated to new heights and climbed onto the bar for a bit of a bass solo, his horns were being flashed a plenty. Jonny Williams, on guitar was an absolute monster with his axe tonight, hence why they were on the Lords of Riff tour, a pure genius, who was relishing his time on the stage, which is always nice to see. Brother and drummer Gareth Hunt was also very energetic and seemed to be loving performing for us all tonight. I haven’t got long to wait before I see these guys again, as the next opportunity will be in November, at Hard Rock Hell 8 in North Wales, which isn’t too far for these guys to travel, so see you there, you lucky, lucky people!

Jonny Williams - Buffalo Summer

Headliners tonight were “The Treatment” from Cambridge. At first, when they all took to the stage, I though I was on the set of Grease and was gearing up for a showdown with the T-Birds gang, but thankfully the band started playing and I remembered where I was, phew, back on track. All five members are strapping young lads which helped to explain the scantily clad rock chicks, or is that the pink ladies, in the crowd screaming their heads off……..disgusting behaviour, but all good fun and was reminiscent of the days of old, when swagga, style and rock n roll music was a lifestyle choice not a sub genre. Having a 22,000+ following on their Facebook page, these guys are really kicking up a storm amongst the younger generation.

Matt Jones - The Treatment

Lead singer Matt Jones reminded me of Sisters of Mercy singer Andrew Eldritch, with his mirrored Aviator shades, but that’s where the similarities ended. The rest of the band consists of Dee Dammers – guitar, Tagore Grey – guitar, Dhani Mansworth – Drums and Rick Newman – bass. To describe their sound, I’d have to go with AC/DC definitely (but only as far as a style and similarity in music goes) and as far as my own personal taste goes, I couldn’t really get on-board with them but I know many people do like these guys and I certainly respect what they are doing. I have listened to both their albums, ‘This Might Hurt’ and ‘Running With Dogs’ many times, the latter being my preferred choice out of the two, which was only released this year. As they are maturing, their music is becoming more palatable, so there is hope for me yet! Until next time music fans, stay crazy.

The Treatment

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Massive

Album Review – ‘Full Throttle’.

Massive

Before I begin, lets get one thing straight, I don’t usually do album reviews, because I don’t feel I have enough technical knowledge about how albums are produced and don’t want to under-value an artists work and for that reason, I will be approaching this review from a music fans perspective.

music224.com are proud to review a new hard rock album, from a band called Massive, its title “Full Throttle” lets hope it lives up to it’s name! First though, who are Massive, as they are a new band to us too, but they seem to be making waves in the music industry of late!

Massive are from Melbourne Australia and apparently, after reading their blurb, they formed back in 2012, by joining body parts together, to create what we have before us today, an 8 legged music machine that’s ready to rock hard and get the party started, even if that means they have to drive across a dessert to do it! The quartet (yes that makes up 8 legs) consists of Brad Marr – vocals, Ben Laguda – Backing vocals & lead guitar, Aidan Mcgarrigle – Backing vocals & Bass and Jarrod Medwin – Backing vocals & Drums.

Before me I hold a promo CD, the front cover is black and white and has a picture of a 1933 Ford Coupe, similar to that on ZZ Top’s legendary album “Eliminator”. The original number plate has been masked out and now spells out the album’s title “Full Throttle”. Over the top of the car, in large, capital letters, we have the band’s name “MASSIVE” which is in bright pink and black letters, which helps to make the cover stand out! There is a cautionary note at the bottom, with reads “Extremely flammable, high-octane rock n roll” which helps to get the curiosity going.

On the reverse of the cover, we are greeted by 4 cool dudes (the band) wearing aviator sun glasses and clothes, of course! Lead singer, Brad is giving us the obligatory rock/metal salute made famous by Ronnie James Dio during his time as lead vocalist for Black Sabbath.

The album has been released here in the UK by the legendary, Nottingham based, independent record label “Earache Records” and hit the ground running on the 21st of May 2014. The album is available in digital format via Itunes, CD format via Amazon and for all us vinyl junkies, you have the option of getting your mitts on 1 of 4 coloured, double gatefold albums, ghost white (only 100 copies) hot rod red/yellow (only 200 copies), MASSIVE pink (only 300 copies) and boring black (only 400 copies) lovely! These albums will be collectors items one day, trust me, grab one while you can.

Now I think its time we put our pedal to the metal and talked about the musical content on this album! There are a total of 11 tracks, which gives you a total playing time of 47 minuets. On my first couple of plays, i’ve come to the conclusion that Massive are an amalgamation of the following, Aerosmith, Buckcherry, Velvet Revolver and the band “The Treatment”, which leads me on nicely to the fact that “Massive” have just announced they will be supporting “The Treatment” along with Buffalo Summer in October for a leg of UK shows, you don’t wanna miss that one! Check their website.

Track 1 – Burn the Sun (4:34)
Right from the start of the CD, this track helps to set the tone of the album, a fast paced rock and roll ballad thats oozing with cool and guitar riffs are a plenty.

Track 2 – Hollywood (3:09)
This is a cheeky track, lyrically, about life in Hollywood. Its short and sweet, which i’m assuming is how it should be if you every get the chance to visit LA, California.

Track 3 – Bring Down the City (4:03)
Heavy guitar grooves and drum beats kicks this one off nicely, it also features a rather catchy chorus, which helps to demonstrate Brad’s vocal abilities. Mid way through this track we get an awesome guitar solo, which i’m sure will feature in a live show. I like this track, very catchy.
Track 4 – One by One (3.56)
This is the official single off of this album and it’s easy to see why. If you’re going to make a statement with your music, in this ever increasing market place, you’re going to want to put out a track that packs a mighty punch and i’m pleased to say this rock anthem doesn’t disappoint. Like the chorus say’s “do it again” so I did, several times, play the track that is! This track is for all the air drummers and guitarists out there, I include myself here!

Track 5 – Big Trend Setter (3:53)
This tracks is probably a jib at all the hipsters in the world (I hope i’m not seen as a hipster for writing this review??) the track is at a slower pace than the previous tracks, but still has that great guitar groove, which leads to an ear bleeding solo, all be it a short one!

Track 6 – Lacey (4:04)
COW BELLS….I love cow bells, groovy! Same format here, catchy lyrics, grooving guitar sound, which builds to a solo mid way through the track, settles down again, only to build towards a larger guitar solo to finish.

Track 7. Dancefloor (3.18)
As you’d expect from any modern dance floor, the bass is thumpin at the start of this track and remains throughout. I reckon this track is a real crowd pleaser at a live show and certainly has that infectious rabble-rousing chorus they talk about!

Track 8 – Ghost (6.01)
Being one of the longest tracks on the album, this track speaks of soul searching and finding your way in the world. Its probably the closest you’ll get to a love ballad from these Aussie hell raisers! This is a really nice track to listen too and helps to stir up emotions. Vocals also feature a little of Steve Tyler on this one!

Track 9 – Now or Never (3:58)
Like the title, for this band “It’s now or never” they’ve got nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Given the quality of the music on this album, I think they’re going to be a big hit, question is, who’s gonna have the balls to give this great music air play?

Track 10 – Best of Both Worlds (6.14)
The longest track on this album, yet it’s delivery continues in the same vain as the rest of the album, a fast pace rock anthem! I’m sure this track will get the crowd pumping their fists in the air, at a live show. I can see it now, fans will be singing along at the top of their voices, I hope to be there, in the crowd in October, hint hint!

Track 11 – Full Throttle (3.52)
Also the title of this album, the riff that starts this track off is brutal and is pleasing my ears muchly. This track helps to end the album in a blaze of glory and sure is full throttle. I can imagine driving extremely fast down the highway, with this as the soundtrack!

All in all, this album is fast, fun and has been a joy to listen too, but I feel its the live shows where these guys are really going to shine, can’t wait!

Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)