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Uprising 2019

O2 Academy Leicester Saturday 14th September 2019.

I’m going to write this review in the first person, for once, as this one’s personal and means a lot to me! The organisers of Uprising kindly give me free reign to cover their event every year, which means an awful lot! I just hope that in some small way, I manage to do it justice.

Why do I do it, well, it’s not for the money that’s for sure! First and foremost, I’m a music lover – I always have been and always will be. My second love is photography as it gives me a way to express my creativity, in ways my every day life does not allow. I’ve learnt we’re two a penny, some are better than others for one reason or another and like any other aspect of life, it’s a political mind field, so you try hard to win people over and not be a dick.

I’ve never confessed to be a great writer, yet I know it means a lot to the bands that someone has taken the time to write about them, as it helps them to obtain gigs at future events. I hate conducting interviews as meeting your idols can be daunting, yet those moments we spend together gets captured forever and for all to see. I wish I had hours to prepare for an interview, although I do as much research as I can however, this doesn’t pay my bills, so dedicating 100% of my time isn’t possible. I do it, because in some small way, it helps the bands that I speak to, to get out there what it is they have to say at that very moment in time. Whether they choose to acknowledge and utilise this resourse is down to them!

I also do this because it’s my hobby. Sure, I could go to work all day, go home afterwards and do nothing else – but where’s the fun in that! Instead, I spend £1000’s on equipment and I have more black t-shirts than I know what to do with. I buy albums and merch from the bands I like and I even help support organisers, by buying a ticket. I spend hours editing photos, compiling videos and writing reviews, for absolutely no financial gain but I do all this because I want live music to survive. In exchange, I do get an opportunity to meet some amazing people from all walks of life and I get to meet festival organisers, like Simon Yarwood, who put on amazing events like Uprising. I get to meet the bands, who make the event what it is. I get to meet like minded media folk, which I love but best of all, I get to meet fellow metal heads, who love their music as much as I do. Whether the metal community accepts me for who I am remains to be seen but I’ve adopted them as my kind of people – the people I want to spend my free time with, because they enhance and enrich my life more than anything money could buy! This is what I get all from attending shows like Uprising and for that I’m eternally grateful!

As previously stated, this years Uprising took place at the O2 Academy in Leicester, which is situated just a stones throw away from it’s previous home and unless this changes, consecutive years of Uprising will be held here now too, which is great news. As I was eager to be a part of this years event, I got there early as it gives me the opportunity to talk to people. Uprising has always opted for a two pronged attack strategy with the bands they host, which usually means there’s no clashes, or very little, so you get to see everyone on the bill. As today was choker block full of great acts, we were grateful for this fact as we didn’t want to miss anyone and to ensure that I didn’t, I enlisted the help of a dear friend to help cover the bands that I would miss due to other commitments.

First up on the main stage and with the honour of kicking off today’s proceedings, were our good friends in Seven Hells. The bands front man, Marc, was born for this role and never disappoints. The rest of the band executed their set perfectly and are a true joy to watch, as they never fail to deliver a crushing metal show. Their Debut EPPrologue’ still features heavily on my playlists and I’m very much looking forward to hearing new material from these guys, soon!

After Foul Body Autopsy, literally a one man band with his electric guitar and backing track played over on stage 2, it was the turn of Resin to take to the main stage. Resin’s music has been our soundtrack for the best part of two years now ever since they released their albumThe Cycle of Need’ and as they’ve featured at virtually every festival, I’ve attended since, they’re hard to ignore. This fact has to be contributed to the strength of that album, however, the band are not the type to rest on their laurels and they’ve continued to improve their live show, which has grown into what we saw before us today. Three guitarists, a bass player, drummer, a violin player and now an entire string section aswell, which consists of a double bass player and two further violinists! It’s safe to say that they’ve taken the concept of a live metal show and turned everyone’s perception of this on it’s head. Resin now provide a live performance like no other and we enjoyed every minute of their set!

The Darkhorse were new to me, but my god, I wished I’d discovered these guys sooner as this energetic three piece blew me away! First formed in 2013, this band’s fast ascent brought them to Bloodstock in the following year and Mammoth Fest in 2015, with their official music video, for ‘Dead Crows’ being released 2 years later. The Darkhorse fuse southern groove with sludge and doom, which is a recipe that tickles our taste buds a lot! Let’s hope the likes of Bloodstock invite them back for 2020, as I’d be down the front for that!

Sadly, I missed Krysthla on the main stage due to interviewing Acid Reign, but I have it on very good authority that they played an absolute blinder – again! I’m also aware they won over another fan on the day! Good work lads, if you keep going from strength to strength, it won’t be long before you’re sharing the stage with the massive touring bands who perform worldwide.

Alunah are a doom metal band who I literally fell in love with, the first time I saw them perform back at HRH 7, 6 years ago now! It’s not often you discover a band that literally resonates to your very core! I contribute Alunah to introducing me to the doom genre, as I believe they were the first ‘good’ doom band I’d encountered. Since then, the band have undergone some personnel changes and have enlisted Siân on vocals and Dean on lead guitar and although they have a very different sound now, they’re still the formidable force I fell in love with all those years ago! Having risen from the ashes like a phoenix, they are ready to unleash their latest album ‘Violet Hour’ onto the world, on the 11th of October. Although I’ve only heard two original tracks ‘Hunt’ and ‘Trapped and Bound’ which feature on the new album, I’m predicting it’s going to be my favourite album of 2019!

Acid Reign then and just WOW – what a show! If you’ve never seen this band live, then you’ve not lived! The week before Uprising, they released their long awaited third full length album ‘Age of Entitlement’ onto the press world and all who received it, myself included, fell deeply in love with it. It’s a big fat slice of genuine thrash metal, crafted by masters of their craft, who also remember the golden age of thrash the first time around! Check out our interview with the band, YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK!

We first encountered our next band Ohmns, last year at HRH Doom V Stoner and can recall how unique they were then. You could sense they truly believed in every note they played and that it meant something deeply profound within them. They’ve continued in that same vein since then and today, delivered a truly mesmerising performance at Uprising. I also remember complementing the bands bass player for having a baby shoe attached to his bass guitar as it reminded him of his children, that shoe was still there!

Memoriam are an old school death metal band signed to Nuclear Blast who have recently released a new album entitled ‘Requiem for Mankind’. On the day, they were very accommodating with the press, especially Karl, who played up to the cameras, perfectly – if only more bands did that as all we want is one decent picture to showcase who you are and what you’re about. As soon as we get that, we can get the hell out of your way!

Compare, extraordinaire, Rob Bannister, who introduced every band throughout the three days of Uprising, proclaimed that the band closing stage 2, Vardis, had produced one of the best albums ever written, called ‘100MPH‘ and that any music lover needed to hear it, at least once in their life time. With that little nugget of wisdom, I went searching for it and discovered it was released back in 1980, the very same year I was born! These guys are the real deal and are true rock n rollers, from back in the day! I thoroughly enjoyed the music they played, which was a welcome break from the rest of the days music, as much as we’ve loved hearing every single one of them!

The honour of closing stage 1 was given to none other than fellow Midlanders Napalm Death, the most extreme metal band on the face of the planet and yet the nicest guys you’d ever wish to meet, as I did briefly, whilst loitering outside their dressing room waiting to interview Acid Reign! I believe it to be a fan tradition when attending a Napalm Death show to hurl abuse at the band, so comments like “you’re music’s shit” were heard more than once this evening but Barney remained ever composed, with only polite replies back to the crowd! The band announced they have a new album coming out soon, so if you’re a fan, keep an eye out on the bands social media pages for more info on that!

For Uprising day 3, I’ll hand you over to my apprentice, Masaaki Black, as I couldn’t attend so I will bid you a found fair well until next time – stay safe and look after each other!

Massive thanks again to Uprising and all involved. Hope to see you again next year!

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on FLICKR.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

Amplified Festival 2018

Quarrydowns Gloucestershire – Sunday 8th July.

Sunday, so soon! I was having so much fun as well! Still, I do have almost a full day ahead of me! Sadly I couldn’t stay the whole day but thought I’d stick around long enough to immerse myself within the bands who were scheduled to appear today. Out of the line up, there were one or two I definitely had to see and maybe some surprises, I never knew existed! Glad I stuck about to be honest!

As I sat, basking in the sunshine, enjoying my morning breakfast cob, I got a message, asking me If I wanted to interview Doyle, from his UK PR agent! I sat there and pondered for a minute, then thought, ah, why not but more on that later!

The first band over on the VMA stage who really grabbed my attention, were King Leviathan. These guys play blackened thrash metal, so no surprise they appealed to my senses then, is it! These guys hail from Brighton and were founded in 2014. In a very short space of time, it would appear that they are making a lasting impression – one gig at a time, on the people who go to see them at a live show. Thankfully, I managed to see them at Amplified Festival although I’m aware they are appearing at another prestigious metal festival, in a couple of weeks. Someone, far more intelligent than me, proclaimed that these guys are three gigs away from entering the stratosphere within their genre! And the best of luck to them as from what I saw, they’ve certainly got the potential – go for it!

It just so happens, that the far more intelligent and undoubtedly better looking person I previously referred to, features in the next band I’d like to speak about and they go by the name of Resin. Yes, you guessed it, it’s Simon Yarwood I’m speaking about and I love this human being! Not only does he play guitar within Resin, he himself is a pioneering figure within the music community, as he is one of the organisers behind Uprising Festival. He also does a lot to promote other bands through his promotion company “Resin Events” but I think that’s enough sucking up for one review, so back to todays set!

The band have just released their new album ’The Cycle of Need’ after having successfully reached their pledge campaign target. I’ve managed to listen to it and can confirm it’s very good. It’s well thought out musically and you can hear that a lot of work has gone into producing this album, which is very clear from the off! Dave’s voice has a striking resemblance to Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam, as does their music but that is by no means a bad thing! Emma, on the violin, helps to give a very unique dynamic and sound to the band, which I loved hearing today! All told, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Resin today, despite failing to get certain members to smile!

The next band I caught up with over the main stage today were Tequila Mockingbyrd and these gals genuinely blew me away! It’s hard not to comment on the fact that Louisa, Jacinta and Josie are absolutely gorgeous but equally as important, is the fact that they are VERY talented as musicians too and given the right opportunities, like Amplified Festival, I can’t think of anything that will stop Tequila Mockingbyrd from going on to become mega superstars!

Whilst on the subject of female superstars, I also managed to see the super talented Soap Girls over on G’s bar stage today. These ladies are beautifully bizarre and also have the kind of approach to their post punk/rock that makes them stand out from others. Sure, they’re racy and yes, they do play semi naked, which isn’t to everyone’s liking but they don’t bow down to hateful opinions either and I applaud them for that and not letting the reactions of some, spoil it for the rest of us.

As the day went on and time drew ever closer to meeting up with Doyle, I received a request from Doyle’s manager for The Soap Girls to join us for the interview. Well it’s safe to say that my interview didn’t go quite as I’d planned……. so if feeling awkward is your thing, then you’re gonna love this interview for sure. (https://youtu.be/5tgG8Pp2Kps)

Thankfully, I did get to see the legendary guitarist play his set, which was kinda weird yet super exciting all at the same time. Doyle was everyone’s main focus – I think I looked over at one point, whilst photographing the rest of the band and there must of been about twenty photographers stood in front of him, twenty photographers I hadn’t seen all weekend, to be honest! There is a core bunch of us who try to see every act throughout the weekend, or at the very least, cover as much as possible like in my case (little old me) all on my own. It’s hard work, but we do it because we love it!

Alex, the bands singer, was clearly zoned into his own little world, yet coherent and loving life and this stance awarded me with one of my most favourite shots from the whole weekend! It’s just him perched on the end of the stage looking into space – most likely seeing dead people dancing around but I love it, it’s a real moment!

After seeing Doyle, I had to leave to save my family from the In-laws house, which disappointed me greatly as it meant I had to miss so many other amazing bands, like legends Therapy!

There’s always next time, I guess, providing I get invited back and by all accounts, Amplified Festival 2019 is already looking very likely, which is ace news and I will be buying a ticket for next year, to show my continued support for the festival, as I believe it’s one of the great summer events of the festival calendar! I’m glad to see so many others share my sentiments as well, as the pre-sale tickets which went on sale straight after this years event, sold out in record time. So fast in-fact, they released another 50 more!

I’m biased, I guess, but with very good reason as I know a good thing when I see it. I just hope I see you there in 2019, having a good time like me! BOOYA!

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)

Uprising

Metal to the Masses Final Leicester 2016.

Now Drownload’s out the way, I can sit down and pen some words about this fabulous new event, that is Uprising (Resin Events in association with Firebug & Andy Wright) the brainchild of Matt Kirk and Mr. Simon Yarwood who are responsible for the M2TM’s events in Leicester and its new ‘Goldenboys’, as they managed to pull off the largest and best M2TM’s final to date.

Simon Yarwood - Resin

This all took place at the marvellous De Montford Hall and as I walked from the car park, which is a mere stones throw away from the venue and very reasonably priced at £4 for parking all day, I couldn’t help but notice the grandeur of today’s venue and the grounds in which De Montford Hall is situated are equally as impressive. This lead me to investigate a little more and did you know, De Montford Hall was in fact named after “Simon de Montford” a late Earl of Leicester (c. 1170–1218, confirmed 1207) I shit you not! The Architect was Shirley Harrison and it’s auditorium alone has a seating capacity of around 2000 people, which houses a restored pipe organ, estimated to be worth over £5 million, back in 2014… wish I’d known that before I went!

As grand as it’s setting, the days line up for ‘Uprising’ was equally as impressive as on the main stage alone, we had five great bands (Garganjua, Blood Oath, Final Coil, Conjurer and Temple of Lies) who were all battling it out for a place on the New Blood Stage at this years Bloodstock Festival. We also had five of the biggest and best live acts, currently active in the live music scene today (Internal Conflict, Beholder, Conan, Hell and Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band) and if that wasn’t enough, we had Acid Reign, AGHAST, Morass Of Molasses and SWAMP DELTA over on the second stage, as well as acoustic sets from Resin, James Cull & Rhett Barrow and The Midnight Dogs. And it didn’t stop there either, as we also had some rather alluring Burlesque acts who entertained the masses between the acoustic acts on stage 3.

Beholder

The whole day was extremely well organised and thoroughly thought out, with everything taken into consideration. For example, outside in a safe and pleasant enclosure we had three types of food vendors to choose from, which I managed to sample two of, For me, the food selection is as important as the bands that play as in my book, I love eating! Motley Brew, who cater for all your caffeine and non caffeine related drinks, for the non-drinkers or those driving (like me) who, incidentally, were an official sponsor of today’s event. I’m sure you’ll spot him about, at a summer event near you, if so, go over and say hi, he’s now one of my festival highlights and saviors, especially the morning after a heavy days drinking! As for drinking, not only did we have the two bars to choose from, but we also had some very fine real ales to choose from but as this event was also sponsored by Hobgoblin, what did you expect!

As you can plainly see, this was a full days entertainment, in a fantastic venue, all for less than £20!!!

As this was primarily a M2TM’s finale, we were very eager to see who would go on to play Bloodstock, as we’ll be attending in an unofficial capacity (we won’t be covering the event as we’ll be getting drunk and enjoying ourselves for once) so it’s probably a good idea to discuss our thoughts on the bands that took part!

Garganjua were first up and are a band we know all too well, as this is a side project for Beholder’s lead guitarist, Scott Taylor! We have in fact reviewed Garganjua’s new album, which is fantastic so we’re aware of the doom-tastic capabilities of this band and wasn’t surprised to see them in this final. Lighting was dark and gloomy, just the way they like it, although difficult to shoot in but it does make for the perfect setting to their sound, so we can’t complain. I’m not 100% certain, but Scott sounded a little nervous in his vocals on the day, I don’t know if that’s because of the scale of this event, or if he’s not quite comfortable being a front man but Where he lacked in his vocal capabilities, he more than made up for with his guitar playing ability, phenomenal!

Garganjua

Blood Oath are probably the first band that I know of to get to a M2TM’s final, having only been a band for eight months, yet their attendance today based on the performance we witnessed, was justified! We can be forgiven for not knowing who this band were going into this event, as it appears very few people do looking at their Facebook page, with only an insulting 259 people following, s that really doesn’t do this band any justice! All I can say is, the few that have heard of this band have very good taste, so when these guys become massive stars, playing their Groovy Death Metal, which was brilliant to watch btw, at least you can say you knew of them, before the fame and the glory. Personally, I love discovering bands like this and watching them grow in popularity! I’ve seen it happen many times now and I’ve gotten pretty good a spotting real talent and potential, so I’m tipping these to be a huge success in the not too distant future!

Final Coil we’re our least favourite band out of the five, that doesn’t mean to say they were rubbish, but in a battle of a bands, you consciously rate bands in some measurable order, based on ability. For us, I felt the vocal were their weakest point, but their musical ability was brilliant and I got into their groove quite well during solo’s etc. This band consists of a great bunch of people though, and their bass player rocks!

From what I can gather, after speaking to people on the day, the next band, Conjurer went into this competition as a firm favourite to win it and their energy and style of music (post-sludge) was faultless on the day. Andy, the band’s Bass player even decided to jump off the massive De Montford stage and jam out in the photographers pit, where he was soon set upon by said photographers – like a swarm they were! Great set, from a very hard working, competent band, who are currently signed to Holy Roar Records and we expect to see more of these guys!

Conjurer

The final band battling it out for a place were Temple of Lies and another band tat we’ve not come across before today but are now happy we can say we’ve seen them play live, as they played out of their skins on the day and we really enjoyed their set. Front man Si Shaw is a born performer and a joy to watch on stage. Signed to Attic Records, I’m certain we’ll be seeing these guys playing again very soon!

All the bands that played in the final are winners in our book, if it was left to us, we would have sent through either Blood Oath or Temple of Lies but thankfully, that responsibility wasn’t ours and we didn’t envy the judges, who’s job it was to decide the winners! That honour went to more distinguished gentlemen, who chose Doomer’s Conjurer as their overall winners, but with a plot twist, they also decided to grant Garganjua a runners up prize, so they too go on to play at BOA this year and much kudos to these guys, we’ll see you all there!

Looking at both the winning bands and the doom metal style they play, this clearly tells us what the festival were looking for this year, it’s true, doom has grown in popularity of late – just look at Desert Fest, for example. Great stuff, the losing bands shouldn’t give up, as the M2TM’s event is a great way to play to a well distinguished organisation and if nothing else, it gets you recognised by new fans!

As for the rest of the day, Internal Conflict were subliminal and it was great to see them playing on a large stage, such as De Montford Hall. These guys are a great example of what a band can achieve going through the M2TM’s event and we love them for it. They’re hard working, produce great ‘energetic’ music and all members of the band are grounded, down to earth guys and who are easily approachable, yet they have ambition and desire to do well, which no one can fault them for!

Internal Conflict

We saw yet another flawless set from Beholder, who’s latest album ‘Reflections’ has been their most successful offering to date and has catapulted them into new territory and stardom. It’s popularity has also earned them a return slot on the Sophie Lancaster stage at this years BOA, so we look forward to seeing them again this year,which must be our fourth time in 2016 alone!

Doom lords, in comparison, Conan, wow’d the crowd with their crushing riffs and these guys were a great compliment to today’s line up and a great choice, as they’ve already played Desert Fest and are soon to embark on their second tour of Australia, which also includes their first trip to New Zealand. These guys are going places in the music world, so to catch a glimpse of them here, at Uprising, was a great honour.

Hell, who hail from rival city Derby (my current place of residence) stole the show today though, with a full stage production, that included all the pyrotechnics you’d expect at a Rammstein gig! Although, this was only our second time seeing Hell, it was in fact our first full show experience, as not every venue you play in can accommodate 12ft flame blasts, which are as hot as hell it’s self – let me tell you! I was under the impression the togs were only allowed in the pit for the first three songs, as only after that, would the flames be fired but nope, I was stood right next to one when it first fired and I shit my pants, quite literally! I survived though, with an experience I’ll never forget as this band are truly amazing. What a show, wish they’d also play Bloodstock this year aswell, nudge nudge, wink wink!

Hell

As the stage was stripped bare in preparation for Motorhead’s own Phil Campbell’s All Star Band, I felt a little sorry for them having to follow on from Hell, but with Phil’s legendary statues and guitar playing, if anyone could pull it off, he could, well, you’d think so anyway. The start of their set seemed to be plagued with issues, with Phil not entirely happy with the sound and few grimacing faces from other band members and the lead singer constantly looking down, to read the lyrics to cover songs. This wasn’t the band I remember seeing a few years back at HRH, when they were excellent! Less we forget, Phil has recently lost a lifelong friend and former band member in Lemmy Kilmister, earlier this year, god rest his soul, so maybe I’m being a little too critical, but as a viewer, it wasn’t the best performance of the day, by any means! As their set went on though, it did get infinitely better and watching Phil shred was a delight – he truly is a master guitarist, of that I’m certain!

Phil Campbell's All Star Band(1)

Mr Yarwood and co. pulled off a truly memorable all day event, of which I’m certain will only grow as I’m aware that the gears are already turning for next years event! We’d like to extend our gratitude, to Resin Events for inviting us to cover their first ever Uprising and certainly hope it isn’t our last, as today was incredible! I feel I’ve waffled on enough, but I’m sure you’ll agree, this event was far from ordinary, it was in fact very special!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)