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Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside...especially when that means seeing the voice of rock himself - Glenn Hughes!
It's certainly not our first time witnessing Glenn Hughes' live shows, however we were never lucky enough to be present during Mark III or IV Deep Purple. This makes nights like this that much more exciting and with Glenn bringing this tour to lesser known areas such as Bexhill-On-Sea, we feel as if we're on holiday!
After a short walk along the breezy seafront, we take our seats at the front of the stunning De La Warr Pavillion. The grand stage is dressed with the deepest purple backdrop and in the distance, the echoes of Glenn's vocal warm-up can be heard, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. The moment Glenn sets foot on stage we're reminded of the pure soul and sensationalism that he executes. His stage presence is cool and effortless. He struts across the stage, bass hanging low, playing along to the opening riff to 'Stormbringer'. It feels natural to stand, applaud or dance and at times it seems as if Glenn is beckoning the audience to do something more than sit. Surprisingly and unlike other seated rock events, the fans do not take away from the atmosphere. Many fans tap, bounce and sing along to every word. There aren't any new numbers in this set...only fan-favourites and Deep Purple classics.
Glenn's band are first rate and prove this as they break into Burn favourite 'Might Just Take Your Life'; the perfect opportunity for keyboardist Vince Dicola to show-off his skills and pay unspoken tribute to the late Jon Lord. Glenn announces "It's good to be home" as he sports his Union Jack emblazoned sleeves. The soft hum of the moving bass line vibrates across the Pavillion and a light buzz fills the room. 'You Keep On Moving' from the masterpiece Come Taste the Band is soothing and the ultimate evidence to prove how Hughes' vocal range seems to continuously improve over time. A song like no other.
The set continues with Deep Purple classic after classic including 'Sail Away' and 'You Fool No One/High Ball Shooter' where Glenn truly connects with the audience, showing off his pearly whites and pinpointing individuals in the crowd. 'Gettin' Tighter' and 'Mistreated' arrive later down the line. Glenn shares stories of his time in Deep Purple, including that time in Ritchie Blackmore's kitchen where the beginnings of 'Mistreated' were first composed. Guitarist Soren Anderson does a phenomenal job playing the styles of both Ritchie Blackmore and Tommy Bolin. Drummer Ash Sheehan not only blows the audience away with a charismatic and varied drum solo but is able to deliver every Paice beat with ease. Hughes compares Sheehan to the characters in the movie Snatch, going on to say "he's completely crazy... and that's why he's in my band". The stage banter and connection only adds to the musicianship and on-stage relationship.
They say time flies when you're having fun but this set is flying by quicker than expected. Hughes continues with a bluesy medley of 'Smoke On the Water/Georgia On My Mind', the classic 'Burn' and a surprising finishing number in the form of 'Highway Star'. He delivers this with pure power and passion yet I'm left wanting more... more from the Marks of Deep Purple that Hughes contributed on. A personal preference would have been to replace these Mark II songs with 'Love Don't Mean a Thing' or even an added treat with something from Seventh Star (I'll keep dreaming!) It was Hughes himself who introduced the set as "songs that Paice, Glover and Gillan do not play!" This is all minor in the grand scheme. The room is moving and as Glenn hits every note, the audience attempt to do the same. Smiles surround me and I try to remember the last time I was at a show with such an uplifting vibe from all present.
A truly moving performance by a unique, modest and humble human being who somehow manages to make you feel like you're the only one in the room. His vocal range is consistently impressive and his ability to reach those extraordinary high notes keeps fans coming back for more. Glenn's positive spirit shines through both on a personal and musical level and we can't wait for him to be back again.
Photography: Michelle G
Writer: Kayleigh V
The boys are back in London again!
Judging by all the pushing and shoving at the stage of the packed Underworld, it's clear from the get-go that Brian Downey's Alive and Dangerous haven’t lost any of their appeal. It’s the fifth time that they've brought their celebration of the 1978 masterpiece to Thin Lizzy’s London fans whose numbers seem to grow each time.
How perfect a choice Brian Downey has made with his band is clear from the moment they begin to play. We’re treated to not just a faultless run through of Live and Dangerous but a genuine and heartfelt tribute to the music and those behind it. Matt Wilson embodies the spirit of Phil whilst implicitly making it clear he is here to pay tribute rather than to imitate. He doesn’t let us forget the man at the back either, giving plenty of credit where credit is due. Brian draws attention to himself through his drumming alone, showing how little has changed in his musicianship and style since the good old days.
Phil Edgar and Brian Grace bring Lizzy’s twin guitar magic to life again, capturing hearts during ‘Still In Love With You’ and getting the whole room moving to the melodies of ‘Don’t Believe A Word’, ‘Sha La La’ and well, everything else. It’s a joy to watch a band who are truly making the most of what they’re doing - having fun with each other and with some of the best music that the world of hard rock has ever seen.
With ‘Got To Figure Out’ we get something a bit different - a new song, written by Alive and Dangerous this year. There’s a little confusion from the crowd perhaps expecting only to hear songs they’ve heard time and time again. No matter, people are moving to the tune of this modern creation soon enough.
Finally, after a goosebump inducing ‘Black Rose’, we’re sent on our way to the sounds of ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ and promises of a next time we’re already looking forward to.
Upcoming 2020 February tour dates with Don Airey:
22nd - Waterfront, Norwich
23rd - Welly, Hull
24th - Academy 3, Manchester
26th - Foundry, Sheffield
27th - Lemongrove, Exeter
Check back at www.briandowneysaliveanddangerous.com for added dates in the future.
Gallery coming soon!
Writer: Louise Dornan
Photography: M Godding
Sunday, 13 October 2019
Grim Reaper are back at London's Boston Music Room tonight, launching their new album 'At The Gates!
Grim Reaper are no stranger to London music venues, and what with this being 1 of 2 London shows in close proximity, I was initially unsure of whether or not the venue would fill up. Oh me of little faith. Of course, throwing an album launch alongside Toledo Steel, Salem UK and Blizzen, as well as having a reputation of great consistency, it was no doubt that tonight would have a decent turnout.
Germany's Blizzen kick the night off and although the atmosphere is yet to pick-up, these chaps waste no time getting stuck right in to a set list of songs from their 2016 release 'Genesis Reversed'. Through image, sound and delivery, Blizzen show-off influences of '80s heavy metal with added epic choruses, fast paced riffs and melody.
With Desolation Angels pulling out of tonight's line-up we have NWOBHM legends Salem UK next up on the bill. Vocalist Simon Saxby fronts the band with the swagger and confidence we expect. The band look like they're having the time of their life as they work through a short set consisting of tracks from their new release 'Win, Lose or Draw', as well other recent releases including songs Black and White, Attrition and Forgotten Dreams.
It's time for Toledo Steel whose fans make it quite clear that there is a reason they're this high on the bill. The empty space that has been surrounding the front of the floor has now started to fill as fans enthusiastically pump their fists and sing along to songs from their full-length album 'No Quarter'. Toledo Steel continue to prove what dedicated and impressive musicians they are as they power through a fast and energetic set. The band have gained themselves quite the reputation, and rightly so; you wouldn't guess from their enthusiasm that they're almost at the end of a European Tour!
The venue has begun to pack out with fans of all ages nearing the front for the arrival of Mr Steve Grimmett and his band of Reapers. He graces the stage with such a powerful presence matched perfectly with the immediate pelt of the impressively unique vocal range we all know and love. Steve's still got it and although (like many other long-time musicians) he reads his lyrics from a tablet, this isn't met with criticism. He does so with grace and modesty and delivers exactly what the fans want and expect from NWOBHM royalty. The set list consists of songs taken from their new release At the Gates as well as crowd-pleasing favourites such as 'Lust For Freedom' and 'Rock You To Hell' A personal favourite and welcomed surprise 'The Show Must Go On' is executed wonderfully and Steve acknowledges those joining in unison. In such a small venue, one wouldn't expect a stage diver- however someone attempts to do just that, blocking the band and knocking equipment. As he falls to the ground he's met with unimpressed stares from each member of the band. Needless to say, he didn't attempt it again.
Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper never fail to impress. They're incredibly active and tour regularly, all across the world, but it's never a chore witnessing the pure love that Steve and the band have for playing the songs that they clearly enjoy playing. The reception they receive is impressive and the singalong to 'See You In Hell' is always an instant goosebump moment. Steve is passionate about music and life and this is reflected in their live performances and recent releases.
Thursday, 15 August 2019
Inspired by the sounds of the '70s, heavy rockers Tanith release their full-length debut album!
Tanith seemed to appear from out of nowhere with the Citadel single in late 2017, presenting an unsuspecting public with something new and exciting with little initial hype. The largely-NYC-and-also-Newcastle Upon Tyne four-piece have as clear an idea of what they're about as any band I've encountered. Their own promotional material invokes Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heep and Blue Oyster Cult as inspiration, and it's easy to detect some early Rush lurking around in the grandiose, fantastical vision they offer. Their debut full-length, 'In Another Time', communicates this clearly from the vivid, cosmic cover work by Brooklyn based artist Luke Cantarella to the wealth of melody, riffs and atmosphere contained therein.
Opener Citadel (Galantia Pt 1) pushes the listener straight into the world that Tanith have created with this record. The key features of the their sound are quickly given prominence here: dual guitar leads supplied by Russ Tippins (Satan, Blind Fury, Pariah, Russ Tippins Electric Band) and Charles Newton, powerful riffs in a lush, over driven sound and the interplay and harmony of Tippins' and bassist Cindy Maynard's vocals. The pacey bombast of Citadel is immediately followed by the more sinister-sounding, traditionally 'heavy' Book Of Changes. This reinforces the band's effortless command of dynamics and atmosphere with stately-sounding dual leads giving way to a surprisingly heavy main riff played at a marching pace. Melodic, harmonising vocals reinforce the heavier atmosphere through contrast.
This well-honed sound continues with minor variations throughout the album, lyrics chiefly keeping a studied focus on fantasy themes with a generally positive bent. The chief example of this comes with album highlight Under The Stars, a paean to confronting a world of cynicism and materialism with childlike wonder. Eleven Years provides something of a break from the 'Wishbone Ash with more bite' formula, this song's tale of a man afflicted with ennui lent an almost 1960s psych-pop quality and allows for some low-key showing off by drummer Keith Robinson.
By the album's conclusion (a short instrumental reprise of Under The Stars), the listener can be sure of a band greater than the sum of its' parts. In the songwriting, the vocal harmonies and the overall musicianship this band is a force to be reckoned with. Do yourself a favour and see them on tour this Autumn!
Saturday, 8 June 2019
There’s been a buzz around Idle Hands for some time now and it only intensified as they embarked on their recently concluded, European mega-tour. 50 dates across 12 countries allowed the band to live up to the excitement their debut EP Don’t Waste Your Time had been creating since its release one year ago.
Some of us were lucky enough to catch several shows and witness exactly why Idle Hands are being touted as the next big thing. Keep It True Festival was our first of three. Early on a rainy Saturday, only a few short hours since the finale of Friday’s after party and the crowd of damp, headache ridden fans couldn’t have been more aware that this might not have been the best time for a heavy metal show. The explosive opening to 'Nightfall' turned that atmosphere around instantly, the band launching in as though they were in the midst of a headline set. The energy was infectious and it did not let up. For the next 45 minutes it didn’t have to be a rainy Saturday morning in Baden-Württemberg. A Friday night in a sweaty club, the ending of a huge outdoor festival, wherever this performance took you, that’s where you were staying until the end.
Two weeks later and it’s London’s turn, this time in a venue a fraction of the size of Tauberfrankenhalle - Camden's The Black Heart. Idle Hands have been playing their debut album Mana throughout the tour but today, the official release date, feels a bit special. From start to finish there is passion spilling from everyone on the tiny stage. Brandon Hill and Colin Vranizan form a crystal clear and super tight rhythm section, quite the feat in a tiny box room above a bar. Sebastian Silva and Cory Boyd on guitar are a joy to watch as well as listen to. Silva and Gabriel Franco on vocals bring heaps of attitude and charisma in equal measure. As things close out with ‘Dragon, Why Do You Cry?’, I notice that despite any melancholy in the music, I've been grinning like a child at Christmas through most of the set, totally captivated.
Metalheadz Open Air brings another special occasion - the very last tour date. Each of these guys has been through 73 days of trailing back and forth across Europe, but not one of them shows any sign of fatigue or lack of enthusiasm. It's nearing 40°C on stage and Metalheadz is living up to its reputation of having a crowd who can tend to favour campsite parties over watching bands. And yet, Idle Hands do it again and give their all.
This is where Idle Hands are going so right. They perform in every situation as though it is exactly where they are meant to be. Making sure their audience knows that they were made for this as they command the stage with total consistency across venues, crowds, and settings. They know what they are here to do and they’re going to continue doing just that.
Born Again's Louise had the chance to sit down with Gabriel Franco at Metalheadz Open Air for a detailed interview which will follow shortly... keep your eyes peeled!
Writer: Louise Dornan
Friday, 7 June 2019
The South London trio have released their first full length album since 1987's 'Young And Free'!
A comeback album will usually fall into one of two camps. There are those where the artist has attempted to revisit former glories, writing material that borrows from their earlier work. Not ideal, obviously, but at least it's somewhat safe. Then there's the more problematic approach, where the artist tries to keep up with the contemporary scene, drawing influence from younger acts. This is invariably an embarrassing exercise, simply because in the process a group tends to lose whatever it was that endeared them to the public in the first place.
Occasionally, a band returns from a lengthy period away with a recording that avoids either of these scenarios. This Time is one such album. Those who love the records that Rock Goddess made in the 1980s should have no trouble relating to the songs on offer here. The Turner sisters still sing and play with the same verve, but they have been confident enough to take their music forward. And throughout, we hear the stylistic elements that made their original output so vital.
By way of introduction, the listener is greeted with the unmistakable voices of Jody and Julie, previewing the chorus of opener 'Are You Ready?' in striking harmony. It's a marvellous sound, and one that we are to hear plenty of during the next thirty-six minutes or so. Then we plunge into a different realm with 'Obsession'. It's dark, edgy, ambitious - and it works. Next, 'Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right' takes us back to the Goddess style of the early years. If anything on the album recalls the raw energy of the band's debut, it is this.
As a trio, Rock Goddess have always thrived on great ensemble playing. But individually there is a lot to dwell on, too. Julie Turner's drum performance is supremely confident, and Tracey Lamb - recently departed, to be replaced by Jenny Lane - delivers bass lines that are as adventurous as her earlier work. Best of all, the voice of Jody Turner has lost none of its authority, unafraid to traverse the full emotional range from tender to furious.
One of the strongest moments must surely be 'Calling To Space', a hooky, dynamic and immaculately arranged composition that boasts impressive vocal variation. But then there's 'Flying To See You', a slow burner with yet more thrilling harmonies, or the anthemic title track, or indeed the outstanding closer, 'Drive Me Away'. What is clear is that despite the enormous changes in recording technology since Young And Free in 1987, Goddess have managed to retain their integrity. This album was some time in the making, and the results speak for themselves.
Pre-order This Time on vinyl here at Cargo Records - due out 06/09/19.
*Saturday 31st August - The Tivoli Venue, Buckley
*Sunday 1st September - Exchange, Bristol
*Wednesday 4th September - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
*Thursday 5th September - The Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
*Friday 6th September - Òran Mór, Glasgow
*Saturday 7th September - Yardbirds, Grimsby
*Sunday 8th September - The Robin 2, Bilston
Saturday 21st September - Heavy Metal Maniacs Festival 2019, Netherlands
Friday 4th October - Fatfest 2019, Swindon
*With Heavy Pettin'
Keep up-to-date with Rock Goddess news at: www.facebook.com/Rockgoddessrocks
Writer: George Colwan