Tag Archives: ritual king

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)

Witch Tripper

With support from Ritual King, 28 Double and Primal.
The Hairy Dog Derby 23rd March 2018.

A week ago, yes it’s taken me this long to write a review, I was personally invited by Witch Tripper to attend their show at the Hairy Dog. Personally, I love this band so obviously I attended! To top it off, we had some great bands in support.

I’m going to assume this was a warm up show for their album launch, soon to take place at The Old Salutation Inn, in Nottingham, which will mark the release of their second album ‘I, of the storm’. We’ve also been granted access to this album, ahead of its official launch on the 14th of April 2018 and it’s a corker but more on that in a bit!

Up first tonight, we had Primal who are a three piece rock band from Nottingham or so their Facebook says – it also says they are from Derby, maybe they moved? I’ve not encountered this band before and they openly admit that their chosen style of music is a little different from the other bands on tonight’s bill. None the less, they do play a style of rock that leans more towards the Deftones, rather than the psychedelic tones of say, Ritual King. I enjoyed what I saw and with a few more shows, maybe even getting on as a support band for a decent tour around the UK, this would offer the band an opportunity to figure out their stage presence and live performance style, which sadly was lacking in parts tonight. Primal currently have a new four track EP out and I would certainly recommend giving it a listen, especially to fans of Rival Sons and Black Keys!

Next up were Derby based, 28 Double, who I first saw a few months ago, again, supporting Witch Tripper and then, I though, ok, they’ve got a style, it needs work but they had potential. Back then, I picked up on the similarities in Nick’s vocal style and sound, to that of Miles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) who he openly admits is one of his idols, vocally. Tonight’s performance was a triumphant success, in my eyes, as they appear to have grown in confidence which showed on stage. Rob’s guitar playing is impeccable and is mesmerizing to watch. Gav’s got his bass face down to a T, along with his instrument! Nick has certainly improved on his stage presence and banter with the crowd, he even had time to pose for selfies, whilst performing on stage! He also appears to have discovered some new dance moves, all be it questionable, as far as dancing goes, but he appeared to be enjoying himself up on stage! Their new music is sounding really good too and if you can, check out their track ‘Grind’ what a banger that is and in my opinion, they need to do more with this track, like releasing a music video or something? Keep it up lads – I thoroughly enjoyed your set!

It’s always a pleasure to see Ritual King (who are from Manchester), appear on a bill and tonight was no exception! In my opinion, this band deserve to be massive! Whilst speaking with the band outside, they told me that their biggest listener base is actually in America! They also announced that they’ll be performing at a HRH event later in the year, not sure if it’s been officially announced yet, so I won’t say which one but I’m sure you can guess though! The first time I saw this band, their regular bassist couldn’t attend so I was keen to see how Dan would fair. Jordan’s well into his guitar playing, which is clearly evident, as are all three band members but when you play stoner, you have to be, I guess! I love their psychedelic sound, it’s still one of my favourite genres at the moment and as you’d expect, these guys are all about the music. Stage presence came courtesy of Dan, who was a box of frogs on stage tonight which helped me get more involved! According to Jordan, if the band manage to write one song a month, they’re happy with that so I suggest getting yourself a copy of the bands latest EP ‘Earthrise’ as you may be waiting a while for a full length album!

As stated, Witch Tripper have their second album coming out, titled ‘I, of the Storm’ on the 14th of April. Not sure why the album title isn’t ‘eye’ of the storm but I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation – I will be sure to ask, the next time I see the band. The album was recorded at Electric Bear in Mansfield, by Phil Abraham and took all of five whole days, to complete, which is pretty impressive. This album has been a labour of love, for Ritchie in particular, who has penned most of the lyrics. I’d love to know where his head was at, when he wrote the lyrics for the track ‘Poonstar’ – or would I, as I’m not sure getting inside his head is a good idea, to be honest with you! Haha!

I’ve also recently discovered Ritchie’s love for road markings, hence the track ‘White Lines’ cough! Both of these tracks are belters, but for me, tracks ‘Roll The Dice’ and ‘Hell Bound’ really stand out, as they are 100% Witch Tripper bangers! ‘Roll The Dice’ sums this band up perfectly. Deep, bluesy rock with thunderous bass lines, sumptuous riffs and heavy bashing of the skins that is deep and soulful. Ritchie’s voice suites this track exceptionally well, what with his deep gravel tones. Throughout this album and it’s nine tracks, you are made acutely aware of this bands talents and musicianship. For some reason, when ever I listen to this album, I can’t help but think of Alice Cooper, I can’t imagine why? Although the number of live shows this year are nowhere near as many as last years 86 growlers, Witch Tripper have got some great shows coming up. Obviously, their album launch is fast approaching which promises to be a great night, they’ve also got HRH Ibiza coming up along with Amplified Festival and Facebarmegeddon plus there are many other dates in between aswell, so be sure to catch them at a show real soon! AND BUY THEIR NEW ALBUM, IT’S KILLA! Peace!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

United In Fuzz

Presents Live at The Hairy Dog Derby.

28 Double, Quiet the Thief, Ritual King, Voodoo Blood and Witch Tipper, The Hairy Dog Derby 30.06.17. Five Bands, for £5, bargain – especially with the quality line-up. I’m glad I made the effort, as it’s been a while since I attended a show at this venue, the last time was when the new stage area was officially opened, so this was some time ago.

The doors opened at 7pm and with the first band not on until 8pm, this gave me an opportunity to annoy a few familiar faces, namely Richie and Chris, of Witch Tripper. It’s always a good laugh when we meet up so the time passed relatively quickly. Thanks for the pint, Richie and for the coolest hand mark I’ve ever received, having paid to enter tonight’s gig (Yes, I don’t always expect to get in for free!) but ‘Buckfast’ though, hahaha, it’s taken me three days to scrub off the permanent marker from my knuckles!

28 Double first up then and I’ve not seen these guys play live before. I did notice the guitarist was wearing last years Beermageddon T-shirt, so after their set I asked if he attended that festival, which he replied, yes I did, but I was in another band, then. I knew I recognised his face but don’t ask me to remember his name though, as I cant! That said, a quick look at the bands Facebook page, reveals the band consists of Rob TallantGuitar/ Backing Vocals, Josh WoodhouseDrums, Nick WardVocals and Gav ArcherBass. I’ve also discovered, that these guys are from Derby and for a little city, we’re starting to produce some pretty cool bands. Having venues, like The Hairy Dog certainly helps, as it’s a great venue and I know that bands enjoy playing here. The bands sound did remind me of Alter Bridge, what with Nick’s voice, sounding very similar and now knowing he’s a massive fan of Miles Kennedy, it all makes sense.

Quiet the Thief next, yay, I spelt their name right this time. These guys are well respected in the underground music scene, of that I’m certain and it’s easy to see why, as everyone in the band are really nice and friendly and up for a laugh. The bands ethos is to do what they enjoy doing, irrespective of whether they win Metal to the Masses, or not. Truth be told, I’m sure every band that enters that competition wants to win, so changing the area you play in, to better your chances, makes good sense, right? QTT hail from Stoke on Trent and I know there’s some stiff competition in that part of the UK. Needless to say, they didn’t get through but that doesn’t bother them, they took part and that’s what matters. Tonight’s gig, was a solitary affair with albeit no more than 10 people, myself included and I’ve no idea why as these guys are fun to watch live. They made light of the situation, which I thought was funny. I really like this band, but, musically, there’s something missing?

Ritual King are another first, for me live. I’ve heard lots of great things about these guys, that said, the bassist tonight, was a stand in, however, I wouldn’t have known this, had someone not told me earlier in the night! I was also informed, whilst conducting an interview, with Voodoo Blood, that they, along with Ritual King, were up for a chance to support the mighty Blues Pills, in Manchester, however these guys won that honour so be sure to get down early, as this three piece can rock. Some bands go for theatrics, some go for stage presence but these guys go for loosing themselves in their music. I think the bass player forgot he was on a stage with people watching, until he looked up inbetween tracks and saw us all gawping in amazement! These guys have got some serious talent and produce some seriously cool riffs! Love this band and I’ll certainly be checking them out again, at the next available opportunity!

I forget who it was that suggested I should check out the next band, was it Chris Stoff Daughton or was it Darren Hadfield – either way, it was at a previous ‘United in Fuzz’ event at The Sitwell Tavern, which was another good night. Voodoo Blood is their name and they come from Manchester. Having spoken with them, in an interview after their set, (which can be seen here and is well worth a watch) I know these guys and girl have only been producing music together for a year and a half now, which is incredible really, when you consider what they’ve achieved in such a short space of time. I’ve instantly fallen in love with their anabolic blues sound, as they’ve coined it. Their stage presence is second to none, as is their work rate and their entertainment value. Not primarily a metal band, as they draw their influences from the blues but these guys sure do rock out, none the less. This has been noticed by the organisers of Bloodstock, as they participated in the MTTM’s competition up in Manchester and they only went and won it, so be sure to check them out on the Jaegermeister Stage, on the Sunday! Since starting this music journalism adventure, I’ve come across two great bands very similar to these guys – Purson, who are sadly no longer with us but who were an awesome band when they were around and Blues Pills, who have gone on to be superstars. I’m predicting Voodoo Blood will follow in the footsteps of Blues Pills and will eventually take over the world. Such a unique act, so seriously, check them out before they become mega famous and charge a fortune to see them play live! haha! The band are made up of the following, Kim Jennett – Vocals and Guitar, Sean Owens – Guitar, Will Lewis – Drums and Chris Norris – Bass. As stated, exclusively, in our interview nad it pleases me to say, they announced their new single title and date of it’s release, so if you are a fan, watch the interview

Last, but by know means least – Witch Tripper, who finished the night off in the same super fashion as they’ve done at the other thirty nine gigs they’ve already played this year and it’s only July! How much longer they can keep this up before they burn out, remains to be seen but they’re giving it their all and it’s paying off. The crowd seemed to appear from nowhere to watch tonight’s set, which was great to see. This three piece from Mansfield, are super talented and are wowing crowds up and down the country and it’s easy to see why these guys are firm favourites of ours and also with many others in the underground music scene. I think it’s about time these guys got signed to a record label or at the very least, got their music the mass coverage that it deserves. I’m not clear on how many radio stations support this band but more needs to done to help these guys reach a larger audience. I’m doing what I can, by covering as many gigs as possible but this isn’t enough as these guys are superstars, already, in their own right – on and off the stage. Come on music industry, notice this bands potential and get them out there, everyone needs to know who Witch Tripper are! Great guys and a great set tonight, I think I even managed to get a few half decent shots as well, which I’m pretty please with myself about as previous encounters have proven difficult, simply because they don’t stop moving on stage. This is great for the punters and a nightmare for photographers, but I struggle on!

Until next time music lovers, stay cool, in this belting hot summer we’re having! Peace!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)