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Amplified Festival 2018

Quarrydowns Gloucestershire – Friday 6th July.

We attended the first ever Amplified Festival last year and it certainly was a wet one but the spirit of the event couldn’t be dampened and Friday 6th July 2018 saw it return for another bite at the cherry and we’re glad it did as the atmosphere we experienced throughout the weekend suggested that everyone was right behind Gary and the team in willing this festival on to be a success. In contrast to last year, we experienced some of the hottest weather to be encountered at a festival in this country and without a doubt, Amplified can now being dubbed ‘The Extreme Weather Festival’ but this year will be mostly remembered for the killer bands who played there, aswell as the excellent atmosphere that was produced by the metal/music community that we’ve all grown to love!

Sadly, I was covering this event on my own this year, which filled me with both dread and excitement in equal measures as on average, I think I covered around 9 miles each day in the sweltering 31 degree heat and I still have bruises on both my big toes to prove it, but with some of the finest bands that the music industry currently has to offer performing over the three days, it was certainly worth it.

Impavidus opened up proceedings on the Very Metal Art (VMA) stage today and to great effect. Michelle, the bands front woman was a Force majeure that few could match. Full of energy, smiles and some superb metal – what a way to kick off the weekend and they did themselves proud in more ways than one. I saw the whole band throughout the weekend watching their friends in other bands aswell as bands they admire, so credit to them for giving Amplified their all.

The first band over on the Red Stripe main stage, was non other than Torqued and having first spoken with Marc Cleave at last years event, it was good to see that they were invited to perform this year and honestly, these lads have some real energy and passion for both their music and the scene in general. I was impressed to say the least, as these guys are a credit to the industry. Marc also runs corrosive merch which offers some of the best music related items I’ve seen for a while!

I first caught Ashen Crown at this years HRH Metal event back in February and they too impressed me greatly. Over this weekend, I had an opportunity to share a hot dog with Kieran and friends, where he admitted that even he’s surprised at the level of interest and opportunities the band have received since their inception. Personally, I’m convinced it’s down to them having an amazing talent and being a great product that people will enjoy – it also helps that they’re managed by Rachael Harrison, who is one of the best in the business!

I can’t write a review of a music festival without mentioning Footprints in the Custard as these days, it would appear they are everywhere and for a very good reason too as they deliver the feel good factor where ever they perform and festival goers love watching them. They are just good fun and help to lift peoples spirits which is what live music should be about and they are pretty good musicians too, who knew! Today’s performance, saw Ward XVI’s guitarist step in at the last minute, which was greatly appreciated! I for one, love watching these guy – it’s true!

One band who are local to me, are Witch Tripper and these guys are always fun to watch. Great musicians, who also do have a love for the industry so credit to them for that. Whilst hanging with the band and grabbing a breakfast cob, one gig goer suggested the bands name reminded him of someone throwing a bit of wood into a chipping machine, which got us all a little puzzled until I clocked where he was going….wood chipper!!! HAHAHA You had to be there really! On the Saturday, they had to leave to go play a gig in Plymouth but they came back for Sundays antics, which saw me inviting Stoff to come meet Doyle for my interview with him, which he greatly appreciated but what a strange encounter that was – more about that later!

Dust Bolt also caught my attention today over on the main stage and it’s hard to believe that despite these guys having been around since 2007, I’ve only just discovered they exist! They hail from the small Bavarian town of Landsberg in Germany, so god knows who their influences are? It’s no secret, I love a good thrashing and have done so since I discovered the amazing Savage Messiah, who helped to reaffirm my love for this genre! Since then, I’ve discovered a wealth of underground talent within this genre, like Bull-Riff Stampede for example, who also played here this year! It’s not often I fall head over heals for a band these days, but when I do, I fall hard and love them instantly, I just loved the power of their music!

By the time The Dirty Youth came on to close the first day out over on the VMA Stage, the sun was going down and everyone was in excellent spirits, myself included! I don’t wanna take anything away from this excellent band but I honestly think I was high on vitamin D by this point, so these guys sounded even better than I remembered! I loved them so much so, I was screaming like a girl! They did have a very good ‘feel factor’ about them! Odd to see them on this stage, but they did do themselves proud!

SOiL headlined the main stage tonight and seeing them really was bitter sweet. The last time I saw these guys, I was given the opportunity to interview Ryan McCombs who then went on to have a heart attack two days later. Thankfully, he made a full recovery and was back up on the stage, which is great. I thought the rest of the band were great too and what’s more, the lighting tonight was much better than they are usually known for having which was also a bonus! Headliners, yes but in all honesty, not worthy of this spot tonight and this was also the opinion of many others who I spoke to over the weekend!

Strangely, people who witnessed Voodoo Blood play G’s Bar and bringing Friday’s event to a close, said that they should’ve headlined! Such an unbelievably talented bunch of musicians, who appear to be great to talk to as people, which was something I had the pleasure of doing earlier in the day. I just hope they stay grounded and not let fame ruin them as it has for so many others before them! Kim, the bands female lead vocalist is an absolute power house but to look at all 4ft 9inches of her, you wonder how the hell she manages to have such a powerful voice!!! Long will their set be cemented within the festivals archives, All hail Voodoo Blood! I’ve also managed to check out their new EP ‘Fresh Hell’ which offers four great tracks but what I really want to see is a full length album next, please!

Roll on Saturday…….if my stomach can handle it!

Be sure to visit us over on Flickr for more photos from Amplified 2018. https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums/with/72157696032365062

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)

Witch Tripper

The Sitwell Tavern, Derby 08.04.17

Tonight was a United in Fuzz event, which is actually the brain child of Witch Trippers very own bassist, Chris Stoff Daughton, which I early learned tonight! I once thought the music scene in Derby, was non existent but tonight’s gig kind of proved me wrong, which I’m happy about. Many local bands, like Raptorgeist turned out to show their support.

Chris Stoff Daughton - Witch Tripper

First up, where another local band who go by the name, Lodestone, who I sadly missed. Anyone who knows me, knows I usually turn up for all the acts on a bill and I’m quite proud of that fact but sadly I missed these guys playing. When quizzed by the band later on, they seemed a little miffed by the fact I wouldn’t be giving them any exposure on our website etc. Truth is, I’ve never heard of these guys, even with them being a local band. If band’s want to get exposure, surely, they should do some homework, know who’s actively promoting bands and make themselves known? All I can do is apologise and hope to catch you at another event, soon!

Following them, where Sound of Origin from Huddersfield. I’ve been reliably informed, these guys are very much in their infancy, however they have a very good base to work from. My initial reaction was these guys reminded me of early Alice in Chains, thanks to the swagger and arrogance of the bands lead singer, John. The bands bassist, Jax, initially looked bored whilst playing his instrument but as soon as I got the camera out, he soon perked up! A solid performance all round and plenty of riffs! There was a particular track that got every bodies attention, sadly I didn’t catch the name of it, but I’ll be sure to try and re-discover it, somehow.

John Bussey - Sound of Origin

I’ve become quite close to the next band up tonight, Black Chapter. Although they too are a relatively new band, they haven’t wasted any time in getting out there to play shows and get known! Earlier today, I’d organised a bit of a promo shoot for the band, such as it is, with the nature of these things, it was fairly impromptu and we made do with some free space in a pub, in Derby. I’m still yet to look at those images, as I’ve been busy getting this review ready but look out for a shoot on the bands Facebook page, we hope anyway!

Darren Hadfield - Black Chapter

I’m familiar with the bands lead vocalist as he’s none other than Carl, who use to front the band Doomsday Outlaw. Since parting ways, this lyric master has been busy working along side Darren the bands guitarist, to form what we have before us today. After a few songs, I started to see a pattern emerging within this bands song structure, which reminded me of the likes of UFO, where you have some rousing guitar solo’s, which wows a crowd and looks good on camera. Well done lads, a band that’s listened to me, for once! I’m sure Darren will love the fact, I’ve just compared him to Michael Schenker!

Carl Batten - Black Chapter

Yes, it’s well known, the sound isn’t all that great at the Sitwell Tavern and I’m aware some bands struggle, but that said, the atmosphere is amazing and the lighting is better than some of the bigger music venues around! I hope to catch these guys again soon, somewhere with a better sound system, so I can hear them properly!

The headliners, Witch Tripper, by now should need no introduction, however, I’ll give them the benefit of doing so for anyone else on the planet, who has yet to see this amazing three piece, rock monster of a band, who hail from sunny Mansfield! Saying that, if you haven’t yet seen these guys play live, there’s a very good chance you might this year, as they are playing every show known to man, all except Bloodstock Festival which they’ve played the past two years in a row. First on the Jagermeister Stage and last year, on the New Blood Stage, as they successfully won the MTTM’s event, for this region. This event, has now moved from The Intake Club, which is now sadly no longer with us, so the competition now takes place at The Maze, in Nottingham. The only other festival Witch Tripper hasn’t played yet, at all, is Download, but the waves these guys are making currently within the rock and roll scene, it’s surely only a matter of time. Less we forget how full the New Blood stage was, back at Bloodstock!!!

Richie Barlow - Witch Tripper

Tonight, the guys played a number of new tracks soon to be released on a new album. One track, that struck a chord, with me, was ‘White Lines’ not for its lyrical subject, but more for its musical prominence!

And energy, WOW! You’d never know this band were a three piece as you so busy watching them bounce around, like loons, even Jimmy, the bands drummer gets in on the act! It’s also fair to say, he’s got some mad skills with those drum sticks – I was mesmerized watching him throw them around, yet maintaining his duties as the bands drummer!

Jimmy Collins - Witch Tripper

I can’t wait for the new album and I can’t wait to see these guys play live again soon, they really are a world apart! I’m now off to bed, as I’ve got a terrible disease and I’m likely to die from its causes. I jest, but I do feel like poo, so I’m off to bed!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)