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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Glenn Hughes performs Deep Purple - O2 Academy Bristol, 02/10/18

Glenn Hughes, legendary bass player and co-frontman with Deep Purple at their 1970s height, performs their classics live for the first time in 40 years.

It's kicking off at the O2 Academy in Bristol tonight and Laurence Jones, labelled 'the future of blues' who is warming things up seems every bit the master.

In shades with slick short hair, the epitome of cool, he is easily keeping the crowd's attention with renditions of Hendrix's All Along The Watchtower and CCR's Fortunate Son being lapped up by the second. He's blending (quite literally) songs from his latest album The Truth album with classics like this, giving instant goosebumps moments. 
The clean cut illusion of Laurence is ousted when he starts playing his guitar with his teeth - how very rock 'n' roll of you young man. It's fantastic.

When Glenn and his band including Jesper Bo Hansen (Hammond organ) and Soren Andersen (guitar) hit the stage they start with Stormbringer and everything instantly seems to slot into place - we are watching a Deep Purple show for real here. 

Glenn is a self-professed chatterbox but to hear his stories should be relished. He tells of his love for Tommy Bolin and how they were like brothers; now Glenn along with the guys on this stage seem like a close-knit family that are able to read each other's minds musically.  
Jesper rocks the Hammond organ like you never thought possible, making it sound like a fictional, space-age machine. At times, it's like a distant cousin of Glenn's bass sound, and with Soren's gritty solos and finger-smokingly fast fret work, the thunderous roots of this combination are threatening to tear up the floor. 

The classics are on tap with High Ball Shooter, Mistreated and the finale that is Burn. This show is a pleasure from start to finish and everything a fan could want from a DP show. Glenn has such genuine gratitude and that combined with his mind blowing vocal range, it makes you ponder how more shows should be just like this. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Planet Rock Presents: The Bad Flowers and Federal Charm - Birmingham 02 Institute, 29/02/18

Words by Adrian Ball
Photo credit: Olivia Johnston 

Planet Rock Presents Federal Charm and The Bad Flowers show has rolled into Birmingham 02 Institute tonight with a crowd buzzing in anticipation of a glorious night of rock ‘n’ roll.

A dry autumn night for the penultimate show of the tour, with the latter closing out the nights festivities in what is practically a home town gig for the Cannock rockers.  

Those Damn Crows open up the evening and their incredibly catchy brand of rock kick starts the audience into action.  A musically tight outfit that are sure to rise through the ranks based on tonight's performance.  Keep a look out for the album release in early Oct.

Federal Charm arrive on stage and immediately kick out Swing Sinner, setting the bar high from the outset and the crowd lap up every morsel of this rock feast.  The guys are smartly dress and are delivering classy songs one after the other, they have a stunning new album on offer and the live performance takes this up by a massive scale.  Tom Guyer (vocals) has a great set of pipes that blast through the rafters and with Paul Bowe on guitar, the band has the audience in the palm of their hands.  Tracks from the new album make for a shining set list but they pull out a few older tracks and end on a high with Gotta Give it Up from their self-titled debut album.  This is a band set for a higher plain and it’s well deserved on this performance alone.

The audience is building up the anticipation again as The Bad Flowers stroll out and prepare to rock the joint some more.  The set list is built to entertain and engage from the opening Hurricane all the way through to Planet Rock favourite Thunder Child.  The band is receiving rapturous applause at every interval as the audience continues to submerge themselves in the show.  The band are well loved and this shows from the reaction of every person in attendance.  
The show closes and both Federal Charm and The Bad Flowers make their way to the merch stands to meet the fans; surely every gig should be like this.

Monday, 1 October 2018

The Blinders - 'Columbia'

Words by Katie Macbeth

The Blinders, a band who claims to be in your face at all times, smelting loud and visceral political punk rock with enigmatic, psychedelic poetry and tones, has just released their debut album Columbia. Based around a dystopia, the album has been much anticipated by an already eager fan base; they are also popular on the live circuit, headlining the BBC Introducing stages at both Reading and Leeds, supporting bands across the UK and have been touring for a solid two years.

Opening with Gotta Get Through, their usual live opener, a heavy drum beat is present throughout, with a strong bassline backing it. The track is intense and immediately sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Hate Song hints to the rise of hate speech, focusing on Trump and Brexit. The track has repetitive riffs with passionately shouted lyrics which descend into blissful chaos.
Free The Slave tackles many current affairs and ends abruptly halfway through the last line “free the boy soon to become a man, in a society like this who the fuck would want that?” Very concise.
The influence of the works of George Orwell is ever clear in this album, especially on acoustic Ballad of Winston Smith named after the protagonist in the novel 1984. The track speaks of the mainstream media reporting and building stories out of nothing, while letting those in charge get away with whatever they like.
Brutus is seven minutes of pure noise, with frantic energy and furious venting. The George Orwell influence showing up again, with the references to Big Brother.

A stand-out track Brave New World provides commentary on the American Dream and if such thing is even achievable with Trump in charge. Political references soar, plus commentary on the ever-controversial but seemingly popular Kardashians.

The album provides a unique and enjoyable listen, leaving you feeling fully involved with the dystopia that is Columbia, all helped by the vivid imagery of the lyrics. This band is essential to 2018, and with this album they have literally pulled a blinder.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Jawbone - 'Jawbone'

Words by Adrian Ball
Jawbone is a thrilling four-piece from North London’s blues scene and are about to self-release their debut album in November.  Starting as a collaboration between Paddy Milner (keyboards/vocals) and Marcus Bonfanti (guitar/vocals) they were joined by two more great musicians in Rex Horan (bass/vocals) and Evan Jenkins (drums/percussion).  A band with an envious pedigree and songs to match the buzz around the album release, this is an eagerly awaited recording.

Each and every song is a stunning showcase of the writing and performing talents and listening to the album is an absolute pleasure from start to finish.  The songs flow into one another with ease and progression throughout is effortless.  

The vocal duties are shared between Paddy and Marcus and are relaxed, smooth and atmospheric.  The keyboards are a-plenty, adding to the laid-back feel and full sound of each song.  The rhythm section brings the pieces together like a jigsaw that you’ve been waiting to see what the final picture would be and in this case it’s a giant sparkling gem.

Highlights are plentiful from the beautiful opening track Leave No Traces to the truly mesmerising  Two Billion Heartbeats, with emotive lyrics that draw you in and let you drift away to the music created by the masters.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Superseed - 'Superseed'

Words by Mark Williams
This is the 16 track (yes 16, count ‘em!) debut album from Superseed, a band boasting a three-pronged guitar and lead vocal attack. Stated influences include Queens Of The Stone Age, The Hives and The Dandy Warhols among others, and a fair bit of Green Day and Offspring can be detected too. But plagiarism this is not.

The self-titled album kicks off in aural assault mode with My Time is Now; a wall of sound punctuated with a nicely placed (and nicely played) interlude of bass and guitar, setting the mood nicely for what’s to follow.

Turn the Screw showcases that  Green Day influence; well-constructed and powerful pop-punk that can challenge the best.

The Face That Followed You Back Home with its staccato verses and earworm of a chorus will have you singing  it in your head all day. And surely that’s Ozzy singing, if not it must be his long-lost Bristolian cousin. Uneasy Swarm, is another Sabbath-esque ditty, incorporating some nice horn work, you wouldn’t think it would gel but prepare to be surprised.

No One Gets Out of Here Alive takes another sonic turn with a definite nod to 90s power-pop and some cracking harmonies from these obviously talented and seasoned muso’s.

Heavy Times has a very nice bass line and driving rhythm section that should make you crave for some Alice in Chains and for a frantic 1 minute 42 seconds of mayhem, look no further than You Failed!. It’s short, but my, it’s sweet.

This is a diverse collection of work, what the ‘pigeon-holers’ out there may see as a weakness, but that diversity is its strength, with three distinctly different lead vocals mixing it up nicely.

This is not just thrash-laden pop-punk, this is a well-produced, sonically pleasing debut album and if that’s your bag then it certainly deserves your attention.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Bad Touch - An interview with guitarist Daniel Seekings

Photo credit: Rob Blackham
Interview by Adrian Ball.

Bad Touch has been shaking many stages since they formed in 2010. They have made great progression with sensational live performances and a groove on their recorded material that many others aspire to achieve.
We caught up with Guitarist Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seekings just before they are set to unleash their third album Shake a Leg on Friday 5th October and embark on a country-wide UK tour.

How did the signing to Marshall records happen?
We've been looking for a label for quite some time and we wanted to see what more they could  do for us.  It came a little out of the blue that they wanted to sign us and we were really happy about it.  When we signed the deal we also got to look around the Marshall amp factory which was great too.

The new album captures your live energy so well was this a deliberate approach?
To an extent, yes.  A lot of people enjoy the band and we wanted to capture that energy.  It was probably more at the back of our thoughts.  We went into the studio at the beginning of the year with two songs with the intention to record an album!  So it gave us more pressure as we didn't want to waste time.  The songs we then wrote came onto the album.

Was recording in your home county pre-planned?
It was completely different this time as we were in and out of the studio over a longer period. We recorded a song, put them away and then moved on to the next one, so listening back then gave us a fresh view.

Your tour in autumn covers a great proportion of the country - was this your intention to get to see as many fans as possible?
We wanted to hit as much of the country as we can.  A big one for us was crowd reaction is Glasgow; it’s always been fantastic for us.  Norwich home-town gigs are great and London too.  The Midlands have always given us a warm welcome and on our last tour I managed to tick off Rock City as a venue I wanted to  play.

Do you still manage to get out and meet the fans after the shows?
We always try to when we can. We want people to enjoy the show and this is part of it for us.  It means a lot to us if you appreciate what we do.

What are your plans for 2019?
Hopefully bigger and better.  We hope to go out next as a support tour with a slightly bigger band, hit as many major festivals as possible, over to Europe and then finish the year off with another headline tour.  

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Off The Tracks Festival: 31st Aug – 2nd Sept 2018

Words by Adrian Ball
A look back on a glorious weekend for music and celebrations as the Off The Tracks festival rings in its 30th anniversary.

Great music and plenty of sunshine, real ale, plus a sprinkling of festival magic all add up to contribute to this magnificent event. It’s a family friendly festival with a large span of great bands spread throughout the days over a number of stages.  

So many highlights, including Tom C Walker who is a young blues musician playing the main stage. He delivers a beautifully crafted set that engages the audience from the start.  As his set continues, the buzz around the festival grows and Tom attracts more and more people eager to see what he’s all about.  Following numerous encores, the crowd show their appreciation with cheers and chants for more.

John Otway is a singer song-writer who has built a very loyal and large following over the years and he dertainly doesn’t fail to delight.  A high point of the set sees John showing off his theremin playing skills as the band blast through The Osmonds Crazy Horses.

The Saturday evening headliner Dreadzone are welcomed to the stage like returning heroes.  The audience are primed and ready from the earlier bands and now look set to dance the night away with everyone in the marquee eager to follow.  What a great band to top off a special day.