Category Archives: Music

Architects – An Open Letter After The Brixton Academy Gig

Dear Architects,

Let me begin by saying that I don’t normally write about a gig where I have been turned down for a photo and review pass.  I cover literally hundreds of bands a year for a number of music magazines so I don’t often get turned down but  I was turned down for last nights gig.

That said, once in a while you are privileged enough to witness an event so extraordinary and, so deeply moving that making no comment would simply be a dereliction of journalistic responsibility.  I witnessed just such an event at last nights Brixton academy show.

In many ways last night was always going to be an extraordinary event.  The Brixton Academy is a legendary venue, the atmosphere at a sold out show incredible.  Your choice of support bands was simply genius.  In Bury Tomorrow and Stick To Your Guns you selected two great bands to support you.  Bands who are not just a great foil for your own music but bands who share your belief that music can change the world.

The message across the evening was a simple one and one shared by all of the bands present, and I include Stray From the Path though they were not playing.  There cannot have been a single person in the 5000 strong audience who don’t agree that music can change the world.  The love and respect in the room, from the audience and from the stage was humbling.  The mosh-pits were brutal, but everyone looked after each other, united in the sheer joy of rebellion and the understanding that we all had 4999 people around us who, for the most part, share our view of the world and our concerns for the future.

 

There can be little doubt that most of us are united in the understanding of Sea Shepherds message “If the seas dies we die too.”  You won’t have found anyone who disagrees about bands selling VIP access tickets.  I have loved Blink-182 for years.  In June they are back in the UK and selling VIP access for up to £505 a head.  Sam was 100% correct when he said this is nothing more than fan exploitation.  Not only will I not be paying for VIP access, my son and I are both saying “fuck you Blink-182.”  We won’t be attending any of the shows as fans and I won’t be covering them in a professional capacity.

Blink-182 are supposed to be punk band, where is the punk ethos in exploiting fans in this way?  Dan from Bury Tomorrow was absolutely right when he said every successful band should be willing to stand by the march stand and high 5 every single person who paid to come and see the show.

In many ways it was humbling to hear Dan say that Architects will never take being able to play their music to their fans for granted.  You know, no-one resents bands like Architects achieving the level of success that they so richly deserve.  Architects have always been true to themselves and, just as importantly true to their fans.  Your success has been well earned and it is a pleasure to have had the opportunity to play an infinitesimally small part in that by buying tickets for your shows, your merchandise and of course your music.

It was really interesting to hear Sam talking about the power of Metalcore music to change the world.  This year should be a clarion call for your generation.  Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and recent announcements that climate change is already touching the upper-limit that we are warned could lead to global catastrophe.  Sam’s call to action is a powerful one.  The current generation “will” change the world he said.  Sam is almost right, the fact is that this generation “must” change the world.

The problem is that your generation faces a system of government and a world economic system that is stacked against you.  You can’t have failed to notice the number of people waving their iPhones in the air last night.  That small symbol of corporate greed is a microcosm of the challenge your generation faces.

We know that almost everyone at last nights show had fire in their bellies for the four hours we shared last night.  Sadly, as we all return to our lives, we will almost all fall back into the consumerism that supports the world order.  We will all be looking to upgrade to the next iPhone model or to buy the next gadget.  Most will return to crappy jobs, happy enough to be exploited by a system that further lines the pockets of the multi-billionaires who exploit the poor and the planets resources to make money they can never spend.

This is a system so corrupt, so disingenuous and yet so “normal” that we rarely give it a second thought.  It is tragic that we don’t just allow the system to fuck us over, we bend over and hand it the lube.  If we are to learn anything from Brexit and Trumps election, it is the fact that people are “sick of this shit.”  Anything, simply anything looks better than what we have now.  Its not true of course.  Brexit and Trump show us that things can get worse.  In our “so-called” democracies we have three choices.  The first two are “bad” and worse.”  The third is the one no-one talks about, real change.

It is easy to sit back and say that nothing I do will change things.  That collective apathy is what blocks real change.  As a youngster during the 1970’s punk rock changed my life.  Growing up in conflict torn Belfast in the 1970’s was no picnic, at 16 I was already on the fringes of paramilitary organisations when Stiff Little Fingers Inflammable Material changed my life.  It gave me the courage to change my life, to leave Belfast behind and to seek a better way.

It was a better route for me, but I really believed punk-rock could change the world.  It failed and sadly I and my generation have failed yours.  Make no mistake we tried.  We got out on the streets, we rioted and we fought.  We even had some small victories.  We managed to overturn the hated Poll Tax but we lost the war.  Through the miners strike and the Wapping dispute we fought hard but we lost. Our defeat meant that a way of life was lost.  We allowed “money” to destroy our ability to organise.

Your battle is far more important that ours, your battle is for the future of humankind.  I am ashamed that my generation has put you in this position, but for the sake the generations to come you must win.  I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that, in todays world, it is perhaps only music that can be the catalyst for change.  Music can unite us.  Bands like Architects, Enter Shikari and The King Blues understand this.  I beg you all to be that catalyst, last night showed that you understand what is at sake.  Never surrender, never give up.  Be the change the world so desperately needs.

Finally I applaud you all for the way you honoured Tom Searle last night.  Both Dan and Sam showed us that life is fragile and fleeting.  I can only imagine how you all felt.  How proud you must have been and yet your hearts must have been breaking you wished that Tom had been able to share such a remarkable moment in your history.  Tom would have been incredibly proud of you all and I am sure that the whole Searle family must have been bursting with both pride and sadness.

I fell incredibly humbled and grateful to have been present to witness such an amazing evening.  I haven’t had the privilege to know any of you personally but I was very proud of you all last night.  I shared the experience with my 18-year-old son, both of us proud to have shed tears and experienced incredible highs right along with you.

Architects, and all of the bands who share your ethos, are the future.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring, for trying and for fighting to change the world.  I wish you every success and victory in the battles to come.

 

Aaron Keylock: All The Right Moves Video Release

Teenage guitar sensation Aaron Keylock will release his highly anticipated debut album Cut Against The Grain on 20th January 2017 via Provogue/Mascot Label Group (Black Stone Cherry, Monster Truck, Big Jesus, Vola, Joe Bonamassa)

Before releasing an official single he has already been highly touted as one of the UKs hottest acts to watch out for; Kerrang! declared him the “New Solo Superstar” in the 2015 Fresh Blood List (Alongside PVRIS, Slaves, SHVPES, Qween Kwong & Knucklepuck); at Bloodstock 2014 Metal Hammer wrote “It’s ludicrous that someone as talented as Aaron Keylock is a mere 16 years old but if anyone can shred like Gary Moore, this young buck can.” Total Guitar called him one of 2016s ‘Ones to Watch’ after seeing him at Dot to Dot saying “TG caught his set and we walked away with our brain thoroughly melted”, Classic Rock included him in the Sounds of and Class of 2015 and have called him “blistering” and a “precocious talent”.

 

He picked up the guitar aged 8 and by the age of 11 he was rocking the clubs in his hometown, Oxford. Already a young road rock warrior with hundreds of shows under his belt; at age 12 he was arguing with club doormen who wouldn’t let him into venues he was booked to play, he performed at the historic Jazz Café and Alexandra Palace in London as well as the Ace Café. He’s played Biker rallies across the UK where Harley Davidsons would screech on the stage around him, filling the room with smoke during the gigs.

 

By the time he was 13 years old he was playing every night of the week and met modern guitar icon Joe Bonamassa who gave the young Aaron advice from his time as a young guitar hero; aged 14 he was bundled out of the backdoor of the Camden Blues Kitchen as the London Riots raged across the city; at 16 he supported US rockers Blackberry Smoke on their ‘Leave A Scar’ UK tour, bedding down in shops after each show with one night sleeping in a workshop surrounded by motorbikes, rifles, snakes and a 9 foot python.

 

The Bloodstock Festival crowd head-banged to Against The Grain in 2014 and at Download 2015 he played to a squeezed to capacity tent. Since then, he has gone back on tour with Blackberry Smoke for the 2016 ’Like An Arrow’ tour, been on the road with The Answer, The Cadillac Three, The Graveltones, Wilko Johnson, Joanne Shaw-Taylor and Dan Patlansky as well as blistering sets on the 2015 festival circuit at Dot to Dot and Ramblin’ Man.

 

The young gunslinger headed to LA to record Cut Against The Grain in 2016 with producer Fabrizio Grossi who has previously worked with Alice Cooper, Dave Navarro, Slash, Ice-T, George Clinton and Zakk Wylde.  The album highlights a prodigious young British rock talent completely at one with his guitar, blasting out his first songs with a raw and powerful attitude. He showcases Americana tinged slide rock guitar in tracks such as Against The Grain, Down and Sun’s Gonna Shine whilst flashes of Gary Moore haunt the epic Just One Question and All The Right Moves.

 

Talking about the album Aaron reflects; “Just One Question was probably the first song I ever wrote when I was 13. Musically and lyrically it was just a blues song and it’s funny to think it’s still with me and that I’ve been playing it for almost 5 years!” Continuing he adds “Against the Grain was penned about 3 years ago now and has grown on the road; I had a Led Zeppelin style riff, mixed it with some Johnny Winter vibe and stamped my own style on it.”  Crowd favourite Medicine Man was the first song he ever demo-ed whilst the hints of Rory Gallagher on All The Right Moves is a lightning rocker that’s fast becoming a live favourite.

 

Down has 3 different time signatures and oozes positivity about keeping strong and believing in yourself, That’s Not Me was inspired by The Faces and No Matter What The Cost is an expressive nod towards the Allman Brothers . “I guess what I’ve always loved about Rock n’ Roll is that you’re free to express yourself in many ways and to use many guitar techniques to convey different emotions…My influences really vary!” he adds.

 

Falling Again was a song I wrote about trying to find my way through rock n roll as a 16 year old kid and Try is about feeling lost and trying to find somewhere that felt like home. I guess growing up in a small village in Oxfordshire and being the one 70’s inspired long haired hippie kid kind of influenced me as songwriter trying to find something to say.”

 

Things have been building momentum and in Cut Against The Grain, Aaron Keylock is set to launch himself on the world full throttle.

 

 

AARON KEYLOCK UK TOUR DATES

 

Wed 16th Nov Southampton, Talking Heads w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Thu 17th Nov Brighton, The Haunt w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Fri 18th Nov Cardiff, The Globe w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sat 19th Nov Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Mon 21st Nov Nottingham, The Bodega Social Club w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Tue 22nd Nov Wolverhampton, The Robin w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Wed 23rd Nov Bristol, The Tunnels w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Fri 25th Nov York, Fibbers w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sat 26 Nov Crewe, The Box w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sun 27th Nov Norwich, Waterfront w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Mon 28th Nov Sheffield, The Greystones w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Wed 30th Nov Newcastle, The Cluny w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Thu 1st Dec Glasgow, O2 ABC w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Fri 2nd Dec Edinburgh, The Mash House w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Sat 3rd Dec Manchester, The Deaf Institute w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)
Wed 7th Dec London, O2 Academy Islington w/SIMO & Federal Charm (Planet Rock Roadstars Tour)

[Featured image by austin_hargrave]

ED sheeran

Ed Sheeran Set To ‘Get It On’ In Court Over Marvin Gaye Song

British pop star Ed Sheeran is renowned as one of the nicest guys in the music business. Since winning the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough act in 2012, Sheeran’s career went into overdrive, and he grew to become one of the world’s most popular artists. Online streaming platform Spotify has identified Sheeran as the most-streamed artist of all time on their platform, with over three billion streams to his name by December 2015. Despite his huge popularity, Sheeran has never lost sight of the important things in life.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3403541/ed-sheeran-set-to-get-it-on-in-court-over-marvin-gaye-song/#2yBwq0J6hYT74f75.99

Twenty One Pilots Show Why They Are Rocks Hottest Ticket

Trying to categorise Ohio outfit Twenty One Pilots is enough to give even the most hard-bitten music journalist a headache. Twenty One Pilots music spans so many genre’s that they defy being pigeon-holed, so much so that fans have labelled Twenty One Pilots music as “Schizophrenic pop.” Whatever the genre it cannot be denied that their 2015 album Blurryface has propelled Twenty One Pilots into the big time with huge sales and a sold out tour. Twenty One Pilots rising stock also sees them win prominent billing at major international music festivals including this years Reading and Leeds festivals in August.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/3324376/twenty-one-pilots-show-why-they-are-rocks-hottest-ticket/#SRlItFexgtKe7SeY.99

Enter Shikari Release Live Video of ‘Redshift’ from Ally Pally

Enter Shikari today unveil a live video for recent single ‘Redshift’, recorded at the bands biggest headline show to date at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Whilst plans were afoot to release the whole show visually in some way or another, technology had other ideas; and so the band members jumped in to salvage what they could, in the DIY fashion that has become their stock-in-trade.
We’ll let frontman Rou Reynolds elaborate :
“After such a spectacle, we decided to cobble together and edit the footage from the jumbotrons on the night. Unfortunately a lot of the crowd footage was warped and unusable, but we were only able to put together one great track rather a whole show, but we hope this’ll give yous an idea of the energy on the night. As I edited the video, Rory and our engineer / foxy hunk Tim Morris edited the audio too.

Being such a DIY tour  – programming the video screen content and 4.1 surround sound mix ourselves, for example – it seems only right and proper that we apply that approach to the documentation of the show too. Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, and all that”.

Full audio from the show does, however, exist. It is currently at mixing stage and will move into the “what are we doing with it now we have it?” stage very soon.
Enter Shikari BMTH-13
Enter Shikari are spending the summer appearing at various European festivals (including a one-off 5000 capacity outdoor headline show in Budapest, Hungary), and will end their working year with tours of Japan & Australia, while demoing new material filling in the gaps in the diary.

JULY
Tues 5th – Czech Republic – Rock For People
Fri 15th – Romania – Electric Castle
Sat 30th – Russia – Amber Beach
AUGUST
Thur 11th – Latvia – Kubana
Fri 19th – Ukraine – Zaxidfest
Sat 20th – Germany – Rock Am See
Mon 22nd – Austria – And There Come The Wolves
Wed 24th – Hungary – Budapest Babanegra Track (headline show)
Thur 25th – Poland – Czad Festival
SEPTEMBER
Sat 3rd – Italy – Home Festival
Tues 6th – Japan – Tokyo (w/ Crossfaith + Beartooth + Noisemaker)
Thur 8th – Japan – Osaka (w/ Crossfaith + Beartooth + Noisemaker)
Fri 9th – Japan – Nagoya  (w/ Crossfaith + Beartooth + Noisemaker)
Sat 10th – Japan – Tokyo (w/ Crossfaith + Beartooth + Noisemaker)
Mon 19th – Australia – Melbourne (w/ Hacktivist + Stories)
Tues 20th – Australia – Brisbane (w/ Hacktivist + Stories)
Wed 21st – Australia – Sydney (w/ Hacktivist + Stories)
Thur 22nd – Australia – Adelaide (w/ Hacktivist + Stories)
Sat 24th – Australia – Fremantle (w/ Hacktivist + Stories)

Reasons To Be Thankful – Precious Gifts

I started out blogging, mostly about music, less than three years ago. Little did I imagine that a hobby I started as a creative outlet would give me so much pleasure and lead to the making of a huge number of new friends and a second career.

My site now sees around 30K visitors a week and has led to paid work as a writer.  More importantly to me is that i now get numerous requests from artists and musicians asking me to review their work.

I can’t possibly meet all these requests, especially during the summer months, but I am really honoured that people are prepared to put their work into my hands to ask for a review.  An artists work is an extension of their person, every note in every song took thought, creativity and a huge amount of work to create.  An artist trusting me to review their work fairly and objectively is a huge leap of faith.  Every time I listen to a new piece of work I am aware that I have been handed a truly precious gift, a piece of work that someone has poured their all into.

I try very hard to that each piece of work with the respect it deserves.  I listen to an album numerous times before finger meets keyboard and I try to only review things that resonate with me on some level.  If I hate something I recognise that others may love it, I know that my view is not going to be shared by some who read my writing.  It is hard to tell an artist you won’t review their work because you don’t connect with it.

I am so thankful that people like to read my work.  As any musician will tell you it is incredibly difficult to be heard in today’s music industry.  It is equally hard to build an audience for your writing.

That is why it is such an honour to see musicians sharing your posts and reaching out to thank you for a review.

If you want to write about music it takes endeavour but much more importantly it needs total honesty if you are to gain any sort of credibility.

This week is something of a case in point.  I am off to Europe’s best and biggest rock festival, Download, on Thursday.  I have been inundated with requests for interviews and coverage of bands performance at the festival.  Of all the bands I have asked to interview not a single one has turned me down (though I still await two responses).  Those I will be interviewing are amongst the biggest names in rock music and they have agreed to be interviewed by me.

I do realise that bands are keen for any sort of coverage that will help to keep their name out there, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that I am blessed to be able to do “work” of this nature.

This has been a very very good week.

Cappadox Festival – photographs of a true wonderland

I am just home from my trip to Cappadox festival in Turkey.  It was an incredible environment to hold a music and arts festival.

Check out some photographs of an event that is unique in so many ways.

Cappadox Festival Turkey – preview

What do you think of when you envisage a festival?  As a UK festival fan I see gathering with friends and those of like mind to enjoy music and cider in a field.  I anticipate that at some point I will get wet, both inside and out, and I come prepared for mud.  I expect quality music, perhaps some visual entertainment and an atmosphere that would save our health service billions if only it could be bottled.  For me music festivals are the elixir of life, the beating pulse of the UK music scene.  I have never seen music festivals in any other way.  Until now.

Earlier this year a press release from Flint PR dropped into my Louder Than War mailbox.  It advertised Cappadox Festival 2016.  Like many of you this was a new one on me and, because I have worked with Flint PR in the past, I assumed this was a new UK festival.

A little exploration of the festival website revealed the festival was in fact smack bang in the middle of Turkey.  The description of the location of Cappadox festival on Lonely Planet immediately had me intrigued.

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“As if plucked from a whimsical fairytale and set down upon the stark Anatolian plains, Cappadocia is a geological oddity of honeycombed hills and towering boulders of otherworldly beauty. The fantastical topography is matched by the human history here. People have long utilised the region’s soft stone, seeking shelter underground and leaving the countryside scattered with fascinating troglodyte-style architecture.”

I confess I was hooked.  This sounds like the stuff of photography dreams.  It is clear that Cappadox festival is about much more than just music.  Cappadox aims to provide the definitive Cappadocia cultural experience through a progressive multi-disciplinary programme of music, contemporary art, gastronomy, nature and outdoor events over four days.  In other words Cappadox aims to provide a unique experience in a unique location.

MUSIC LINE-UP

Cappadox will host more than 20 prominent names in ethnic jazz, world music, experimental electronic and classic instrumental on five stages, including: The Sun Ra Arkestra, Dhafer Youssef Quartet, Fennesz, Erik Truffaz Quartet, Taksim Trio, Kaki King, Ceylan Ertem-Cenk Erdoğan-Cihan Mürtezaoğlu, İlhan Erşahin & Oceanvs Orientalis, Karsu, Laraaji, Esmerine, Gevende, Şirin Pancaroğlu, İnsanlar, Udi Yervant, Adam Hurst a nd Emre Engin.

Cappadox will also reveal Surprise names during the festival, to perform in the Full Moon and Sunrise Concerts.

The prospect of taking a guided walk through the incredible landscape, on which Cappadox festival is located, to enjoy a sunrise concert to a backdrop of hot air balloons simply blows my mind.  Guided walks, cycle rides yoga, meditation and pop up stages in incredible locations are all part of the Cappadox experience.

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Cappadox arrived on the scene in 2015 and aims to help festival fans to experience something unique through music, contemporary art, gastronomy and outdoor events.

Cappadox has a fairly unique approach to festival pricing.  Events can be booked separately and through a choice of two levels of access pass.  Obviously the pricing is different dependant on how flexible you want to be.  The highest price tickets offer the greatest range and flexibility and even the highest priced tickets are broadly in line with UK major festival prices.

Taken as a whole Cappadox festival offers an opportunity to visit an unspoilt region of Turkey to enjoy a unique cultural experience.  With concerts from both local and international artists, contemporary art performances and installations, gastronomy events, 21 outdoor expeditions and a multitude of select well-being sessions spread across three days.

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Cappadox 2016 has me excited, so much so that in three weeks time I will be on my way to Turkey.  Be sure to keep an eye out for my review of Cappadox festival and find out if it can live up to my expectations.

NB This article is my work though I did originally publish it on louderthanwar.com

Jedward Give Us Good Vibes in New Video

Good Vibes 3

Irish duo Jedward dropped their latest single, ‘Good Vibes’, on 25 March. It was preceded by a video released on 17 March, in honour of St Patrick’s Day.

Good Vibes 10

A glossy, slick video with a 90s vibe, the song opens up on gorgeous scenes in and around Los Angeles, including Santa Monica, Runyon Canyon, and bridges over the Los Angeles River, in downtown LA.

Good Vibes 9

‘Good Vibes’ is a funky, feel good track, making you want to get up and dance – it’s got a real 90s boyband flavour, which isn’t surprising considering the Dublin twins honed their early singing skills lipsynching to the tunes of Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync.

Good Vibes 1

Known for their creative independence, ‘Good Vibes’ is the sixth track from Jedward’s as yet unreleased fourth album, with all songs written and produced by them. Not only that, the video has been made by them as well – from storyboarding, videoing, directing, editing, right up to uploading on Youtube and VEVO. It’s no amateur effort. Shot in 4K, the video is cinema quality.

Have a look now (and make sure to view in 4K):

You can find Jedward online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+. Check out their videos on JedwardTV and Jedward VEVO.

Something Else Somewhere Else – Friday Photo’s

The past weekend saw me head off to Duns Tew in Oxfordshire for my third festival of the season.  As you are probably aware I love grass roots festivals and the Something Else Festivals are top of my list.  I simply love them, it is like a gathering of family in a field whilst surrounded by great music and fuelled by beer and cider.

These photo’s are all from Friday and you just have to check out Gaz Brookfield’s new biggest fan.  Look out for some more photographs and a full review in the next day or two.