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Amplified

Live review Friday 21st July 2017.

Let The Good Times Roll – The sun was shining and as the venue started to fill with eager party goers and musicians alike, the first band on any stage were Dorja, over on the VMA Stage, a five piece all female band, from parts unknown. I’ve known of this band for some time, so was keen to go check them out. I also know their bassist, Becky, quite well, from other projects. These ladies seriously rock, but for me, the operatic vocalist seemed slightly out of place compared to the rest of the band. Great vocals though, not sure it worked with the bands sound but I was suitably impressed non the less. Their current tour ended with this show, but more is coming from these “soon to explode on the scene” rock chicks!

Knowing the Sponsor for stage 2 ‘Very Metal Art’, I know Andy Pilkington’s (the man behind this company) knowledge of the underground music scene is impeccable, mostly because he’s the ‘go to’ man for anything band art or video related these days. As this is common knowledge in the music industry now and because of his fairness, bands recommend him to other bands and quite rightly so as he does a lot for the music scene, so all credit to the man. I also know he’s done a lot for charity over the years, the best one was getting Simon Hall to do a barrel roll live on the Sophie Stage at B.O.A last year. I both witnessed the event and gave money in aid of a great cause. People like Andy are a much needed resource, yet a rare commodity in the music industry these days! I know, after speaking with him, he did in fact hand pick all of the bands that were to feature on this stage over the weekend, so this was looking like my favourite stage.

Bleed Again’s set was great, I really enjoyed these but the band Codex Alimentarius, which is a bit of a mouthful, kinda blew everyone else who featured on this stage, off the face of the earth with their performance today! Having seen this band perform at Beermageddon in 2015, I was aware of what these talented musicians were capable of. Elliot, one of three guitarists in this band, I’m aware of from other projects and is a very accomplished musician. Ray, the bands vocalist though, gave his all and that was evident with his whole persona. He kinda freaked me out a bit, with the way in which he approached the crowd, it was reminiscent of something out of a horror movie! After speaking with Ray after their set, I’m aware the band have a charity all dayer coming up, but I’ve forgotten the full details as I’ve slept since then!

I was both shocked and pleased to see Conjurer performing on this stage, in day light no less! The last time I saw these guys was at KOKO in Camden, as part of last years DessertFest, which was quite a dark and dingy affair, but that’s how they like it and lets face it, that’s the conditions you want for a doom metal band right? Dan, one of the bands vocalist and guitarists kept it real though, hiding himself away from the sunlight (yes there was sun at some point during the day) with his hoody pulled over his eyeballs, like Kenny from Southpark – he wasn’t gonna risk getting a sun tan, that’s for sure! DOOM BABY!

As I flitted between stages, I felt myself starting to gravitate towards the Shoot The Hoops stage more frequently as I was enjoying the youthful exuberance of the bands that were playing on it. As I love to discover knew music and like to think I’m down with the kids, I was keen to see who was coming up next. Out of the bands I got to see who were playing this stage, I really enjoyed ‘We Come From Ashes’, I, The Lion and Woes, which is where the day started to turn on it’s head but they’re from Scotland, so I can only assume the sight of rain made them feel at home! (haha)

Out of the bands we got to see on the main stage, I loved Rival Bones, who are only a two piece, believe it or not and consist of James on guitar and vocals and Chris on drums. I was seriously impressed with the volume and fullness of their infectious rock sound, despite the lack of instruments and musicians to play them. We were scheduled to conduct an interview with these guys, but that didn’t happen so we’ll definitely have to catch up for a chat next time!

In my experience, I’ve noticed their are two types of musicians in this world. The first are solely into the music and get on with it and the others are born entertainers and are very much in tune with the crowd. Although New Volume fall very much into the second category, they felt a very professional outfit and will appeal to a mass audience within the commercial music world. This is true of all of the bands that featured on the main stage today, such as Tess of the Circle, who appeal to the folk rock world, The Amorettes, who I have a love/hate relationship with. I love them, but they hate me, so I’ll go no further with them. Incidentally these ladies were the last band to feature on the main stage, sadly due to the weather. Puddle of Mudd, of course, are a massive success story from the 90’s. They, however, didn’t headline on the main stage tonight, instead they got moved to the beer tent, which was a much more intimate affair!

During The Amorettes set the heavens opened and caused some electrical issues, preventing any further performances to take place upon it. In fact, the weather was so bad, it caused the entire festival to grind to a halt and preventing any further performances to take place, on any of the planned stages for the rest of the day. The VMA stage never got used again, so many bands who were meant to play on it, didn’t get the opportunity to do so, although the organisers did try to accommodate as many of them as they could elsewhere. However, this meant organised time slots got moved to later times and as a result, some bands couldn’t play until later, so never played at all, but they were given the opportunity if they wanted it. Some called it biblical and at one point the rain was horizontal, but thankfully the water didn’t turn to blood or any fish die, but that didn’t stop the keyboard warriors from spreading malicious rumours about it on social media.

One such rumour was that someone got electrocuted and died at the festival, which was pretty stupid of them and forced The Amorettes to issue a formal statement to say everyone was fine!

Truth is, the organisers managed to set up a decent sound system within the covered bar area, where everyone was hiding from the elements. As there was no room for a photo pit, my work for the day had stopped, but that didn’t stop me from getting pissed and socialising with bands and party goers. The make shift stage enabled Acid Reign to perform, which some are calling their best performance to date and it was certainly one of the most fun, if that’s possible. If you’ve never seen this band perform before, then you may be unaware that unusual events generally occur, on a regular basis so they were probably one of best bands to have, in a situation like this. They certainly lifted everyone spirits on the night, along with a few free beers, which I know Gary is still talking about! haha!

Headliners on the main stage, Puddle of Mudd, also got to perform in the bar area, having come a very long way to be here, so it was only right and everyone was looking forward to seeing them play. It was a very stripped back and personal performance, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Before their set though and as Wesely, the bands lead singer and guitarist was walking to the stage, Ritchie of Witch Tripper stopped him and asked him if he was in a band and that he looked like he was in a band…….its safe to say, Wesely thought he was a nut job and walked off, to the stage, to perform with his band, Puddle of Mudd! Bonkers night, it’s safe to say, I got a little drunk, but we all got on with it and because we were all together, we had a great time.

At 2am, I thought it would be funny to conduct an interview with Witch Tripper, but I can’t even bring myself to watch it, as I know we were all really quite drunk!

I usually hate sleeping in tents but thankfully, my £15 bargain, from Tesco withstood what mother nature threw at it and remained dry. I even slept very well, but the amount of alcohol consumed probably played a massive part in that. I know the air bed didn’t, bloody thing!

If you was there, you’d know, but if you wasn’t…………….You don’t know man, you weren’t there! Roll on Saturday!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

The Treatment

The Rescue Rooms Nottingham 12.5.16

As the summer draws ever closer, the days are longer and the temperature’s rising, which can only mean one thing, festival season is just around the corner! By now, you’ve ear marked your ‘go too’ festival of choice, usually the one that has the best looking line up which suits your own personal taste in music, or that one festival, you go to every year, religiously, simply because the atmosphere is always great and all your mates will be there, regardless of who’s playing. Either way, it’s time to get out there, have a few beer, meet old friends, make new ones and support live music!

Tonight was an excuse to do just that and with three great live bands on the bill, you’d be a fool not to be a part of it, so we made sure we were there to enjoy the fun.

As I loitered about outside in the sunshine, I spotted The Treatments new vocalist, Mitchel Emms, taking in the wonderful Nottingham scenery, so I though I’d ruin his day and go speak to him. Being a polite young man, he entertained me while I asked him how he’s getting on since joining the band, sometime last year. The last time I saw these guys, it was next door, in The Basement Bar, at Rock City, with the bands original vocalist Matt Jones, who parted was after the bands last tour.

Mitchel is an accomplished musician, with a natural ability, which he’s nurtured from an early age. Before joining The Treatment, he fronted several other bands in the past, the two most worth mentioning were MisterNothing and Fahran. As he needed to go and get ready for the show, he politely excused himself and ran off to meet up with the rest of the band, who were tucked away in their dressing room!

The first of three bands tonight are no strangers to us and they go by the name of SKAM. If you’ve not heard of these guys before, where the hell have you been? Amazingly, a lot of tonight’s crowd were new to these guys, but this trio of rock and rollers from neighbouring county of Leicestershire, soon changed their opinions with their no nonsense, classic rock and roll act! With so many sub-genres in the music world these days, it’s hard to find a band that produces that ‘classic rock and roll’ style, but these guys have nailed it and stay true to it!

Neal Hill and Matt Gilmore - SKAM

Since forming three years ago, it’s not taken SKAM long to establish themselves as a formidable live act, on the ever growing live music scene. Having signed to Off Yer Rocker Records, every show they get booked for appears to be better than the last! For instance, coming up, on the 22nd of May SKAM are supporting Tony Wright (Terrorvision) at the Soundhouse in Leicester. As people, off stage, these guys are salt of the earth, are always approachable and up for a conversation or willing to share a joke with. In fact, the last time we saw SKAM play, it was for a charity gig in Derby, so these guys are no strangers to the odd helping out of others for a good cause! After their set, we had a great chat about the prospect of the bands third album being released towards the end of this year, so look out for that news being announced!

Steve Hill - SKAM

Next up, a band I personally enjoy watching every time I see them live, Off Yer Rocker label mates, The Amorettes, who are an all girl trio from Scotland. These girls too, are going from strength to strength with every gig they play! Having recently announced their second album ‘White Hot Heat’ due to be released on the 27th of June, they’ve also announced they’ll be gracing Download’s fourth stage on the Friday, as well as announcing they’ve been booked to play ‘T In The Park’, which is a little closer to home for these rockettes!

Hannah - The Amorettes

Tonight, these ladies were in fine form – as ever, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I’ve always said The Amorettes are destined to be superstars, on stage and for their musical ability, but off stage, I’ve yet to see their personality really shine. As I talked to people throughout the night, everyone I spoke with said how good both SKAM and the Amorettes were tonight, which is a great advert for themselves, their genre and their fantastic record label.

Heather - The Amorettes

As stated, I last saw The Treatment when Matt Jones was in the band, which turns out was back in October 2014, where has the time gone! Anyhow, these guys have always been a great live act and despite having their line up change several times, there’s always one thing you can be sure of with The Treatment and that is, these guys will give you 110% on that stage and they proved that again tonight. Before the gig, I thought Mitchel Emms, was a nice and polite young man, but on stage, he stuck his middle finger up at me however I did have my camera up to my face at the time though. I can’t explain it but my camera appears to have that effect on rock stars, it’s all in the name of rock and roll, I guess? haha.

'Swoggle' Newman - The Treatment

Having recently released the bands third studio album ‘Generation Me’ this tour is to support the release of that album, however, tonight was the penultimate show on the fourteen date run. These guys have got a pretty busy summer, appearing at festivals all over Europe, so keep your eyes peeled, Treatment fans.

When I was speaking to Mitchel, I asked him if he’d had any creative input on the making of this new album, to which he replied “most of this album was already written and ready to go before I joined the band”. I also asked if that was difficult or an easy thing to do, coming into a band that has so much material already there for you? “Well the pressures off me really, all I have to do is learn the songs and rock out when we perform on stage. Having been a performer and vocalist for so many years, I’m continually writing music, lyrics etc so at the moment, I’m just enjoying myself, performing with the band but cometh the time, when/if we produce a fourth album, I’ll be ready to hopefully stamp a little of my own personality on the music we produce.”

The Treatment

Tonight was as expected, a very fast pace, full on energy roller coster ride of hair, teeth, screams and leather all flying about the stage, with enough smoke to cover a small city! Honestly, even superman’s super vision couldn’t see through all that smoke especially with the stage being all back lighting and little or no front lighting. Seriously, where do these venues get these lighting Engineers, a pre-historic cave? At least the sound was good tonight and I thought Mitchel did a fantastic job and really fits in well with the rest of the band. Everyone in attendance seemed to really enjoy themselves and with audience ages varying widely, these guys appeal to many and all, not merely a select few, i.e teenage girls, all screaming like children, which was my impression, the last time I saw these guys. It appears they’ve matured, but are still able to rock your socks off!

Tonight was a great night, spent watching three young bands, all of which play classic rock, awesome, roll on summer 2016, we’re ready for you and all of the awesome music we’re going to see this year! BOOM!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)