Saturday, 8 June 2019

Live Review: Idle Hands @ Keep It True Festival, The Black Heart & Metalheadz Open Air

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.  

Image result for idle hands don't waste your time

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

Album Review: Rock Goddess 'This Time'

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.

Upcoming Gigs:

*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:

Writer: George Colwan