Despite the fact that the current Lynyrd Skynyrd line up only includes two original members; guitar players, Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke, Skynyrd is still a powerful and energetic act today with all the spirit of the old band... Read the full review Here
Emerging Bands at Glastonbudget 2011: Interview with the Tribal Suns Tribal Suns: The name conjures up either a heavy African drumming sound or at the other end of the scale atmospheric ‘60s hippy chant. The band’s sound is neither of those and indeed the name seems to be somewhat random, however their music is a fusion of two very different elements. Adam, Sean, Oliver and Joe formed less than a year ago in Nottingham, emerging from other local groups and bizarrely met up working on the wards as psychiatric nurses! Half the band hails from a dance, indie, and hip hop background whilst the rhythm section by contrast is from the heavy metal scene. Despite this odd combination, they are collectively influenced by U2, Kasabian, Black Stone Roses and . . .
Download at Donnington June 2011 Friday and Saturday at Download this year were less of a washout than last year, with weather holding up until the downpours plagued visitors during Sunday. This year there was a fabulous turnout with a sea of people sporting tour t-shirts anxious to get close to their idols. 2011 saw yet another fabulous line up of acts including headliners Def Leppard, System of a Down and Linkin Park. Download has now become such a big event and it is always exciting to see who will come crawling out of the woodwork or which new bands are sprouting up. I was particularly excited to see not crawling, but bursting on to the stage with customary theatricality, The Darkness. The Hawkins brothers were on excellent form with . . .
Rammstein at the Millenium 02, 24th February After a Rammstein concert there is simply nowhere else to go. This is a spectacle so mind blowing that one is at a loss to know what else could top it, save another Rammstein concert, or save being on stage with Rammstein which would be perilous. It is no wonder that the six East German individuals won the BEST LIVE BAND at the Golden Gods Awards last year, for the theatrics alone are stunning. The scene commenced with the band processing by torchlight through the crowd towards a lowered platform forming a bridge to the stage. Sombre and funereal, it was soon to crescendo into the battering ram of a show that Rammstein stands for. In fact the catalyst for the name was the town . . .
Amon Amarth HMV Forum, 23rd October 2011 Amon Amarth is the ultimate hell-raising metal band from Sweden and right at the top of my list for some time now although the live concert was a first. There are no holds barred – this is pure Scandinavian battle music mania from the moment these Norsemen march on stage. Amon Amarth represent head bangers paradise; my neck was rigid for days afterwards and today where the shaved head and beard look is common, the spectacle of four identical long manes flying around in unison was both fun and dramatic. The band renamed themselves many years ago after a place in Lord of the Rings and this somewhat unusual name has rooted-in well and suits their look and fantasy lyrics. A must for fans of mythology and fantasy media, some call them Viking . . .
Argent - Shepherds Bush Empire, February 2012 Anyone who remembers Argent from the 70s cites “Hold Your Head Up” and little else from their repertoire, they have been dormant for many years. In fact Argent did not perform as a full band for 36 years until they appeared at London’s High Voltage 2 years ago. That performance was so excellent – outdoors in the heat of the summer - sandwiched between Marillion and Uriah Heep on the Prog Rock stage that I had to get a ticket for this performance at Shepherds Bush. This time however the band was a big disappointment. First the event was seated and very dull, unexciting and serious. Maybe the . . .
Iron Maiden, Final Frontier Tour London 02, August 6th 2011 This was the last night of Maiden’s Final Frontier world tour covering some 40 countries with 98 shows in barely more than a year thanks to Ed Force 1, their Boeing 757 piloted by the singer himself ... and the final gig was as awesome as anticipated. So what does one expect from an Iron Maiden concert? To see the veterans of rock doing what they always do? Careering up and down the stage brandishing guitars? Bruce prancing about radiating ever more energy? To hear the f . . .
Saxon at Koko December 2011 Saxon was on perfect form as they played their last gig of the year and their last CALL TO ARMS tour date at London’s Koko just before Christmas. The band was on top form despite having been on a gruelling journey covering multiple countries and cities. As if not strenuous enough, lead singer Biff Byford took a 2 day ‘break’ between gigs flying Helsinki to San Francisco to perform with Metallica at their 30th Anniversary concert. Saxon was a strong influence on Metallica and so this was one Biff couldn’t miss including purportedly drinking till 5.30 am before rejoining the tour! . . .
MEMPHIS: THE STAGE SHOW We don’t usually offer up reviews on musicals but this one was so special that we thought, why not give them a little plug? afterall something of such quality really deserves a shout out. And quality it really was, from the first number through to the audience stomping finale there wasn’t a moment that was dull and the songs were terrific. Carefully crafted to seem as if they really were from the fifties, just at the beginning of Rock n Roll. Set in an underground dance club where there is a clash of ethnic cultures (and a bit of love of course) which creates all sorts of problems as a DJ tries to play black music on his radio show and a beautiful club singer tries to make it big. Ten out of ten. Just go and let the music take you over. Robin Smith
ROBERT PLANT AND THE SENSATIONAL SHAPESHIFTERS As aging Rock Gods go Plant certainly looks like a man who has enjoyed the pleasures and pain of a hedonistic lifestyle. Ravaged and bearded he may be but he can certainly hold an audience in the palm of his hand. He is currently touring his upcoming album Lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar with his band The Sensational Space Shifters and I got to see it at The Roundhouse in London. Actually, just about see, even though I was there pretty early I was nowhere near the front of the crowd. Fortunately the venue is not that huge so even standing well back was not a major disadvantage. I rather imagined the audience to be made up of old guys hoping to see a slither of Led Zep, sure there must have been some and sure there was a lot of grey hair b . . .