Danzig live at the Relentless Garage

danzig_doyle_london_misfitsThere were only two ways tonight could have gone: horribly awful or brilliantly spectacular. Luckily for the black leather jacket-wearing crowd it was the latter.

Most bands on their 25 Year Anniversary tours seem to lack in charisma, energy and passion but this was not the case for Danzig tonight. As soon as the 5ft 4″ King of Darkness walked on-stage, there was undoubtedly a sense of worship from all spectators present as this set was for the fans and only made up of requests.

“Do you want to hear songs from Danzig I or II?” said the Misfits legend. Goths, Punks, Metallers and psycho-billies united for an alternative hit-filled evening and called out their choices.

Playing a set consisting of Her Black Wings, Am I Demon? Twist Of Cain, She Rides, Long Way Back From Hell to name a few, Danzig and his band even threw in a few songs from III & IV. If that wasn’t enough, he then welcomed Doyle to the stage to play a full blown Misfits set. Doyle comes out like a T-Rex looking for his prey and completely dominates. Danzig and Doyle are then thrown back right where they belong, together. Changing his guitar after every song due the breakage of strings, it was Punk Rock as it’s meant to be: dark, heavy and nihilistic. At this point, fans are loosing their shit as they thrash through a set of classics that include ‘Vampira’, ‘London Dungeon’, ‘Last Caress’, ‘Skulls’ and ‘Die, Die My Darling’. Venue meltdown.

The rest of the band are completely overshadowed by Danzig and Doyle, but tonight was only ever going to be the Danzig and Doyle show, and rightly so. This is the only way to see the Misfits, not the cheap imitations that came after Danzig departed.

As they exit the stage, the crowd are chanting “We are 138, We are 138!”. They encore ‘Mother’, but the crowd are still chanting “We are 138” until Doyle returns to the stage and they give the crowd what they want. The entire audience erupts as they knew it was going to be the last time to dance. You could barely hear Danzig’s voice from everyone in the room singing along. It was a truly magnificent moment!

If there’s one anniversary show you have to go and see this year, make sure it’s Danzig’s. The dark king has returned and he is showing no mercy.

Lianna Davies

Fist City / Cousins – Shacklewell Arms

Fist City / Cousins
Shacklewell Arms
16.05.2013

keir-fistcity

Canadian bands have always delivered great underground punk music, from the recent slamming sounds of Fucked Up through to the old guard of SNFU and DOA, they just seem have a knack of digging out some classic stuff and bringing something beautiful to the scene.

Last night, Alberta rippers Fist City rolled into town for their debut London show over East and delivered an absolute treat to the lucky few who witnessed their balls-out, garage fueled surf attack. From the opening track ‘Endless Bummer‘ to their epic version of Devo’s ‘Uncontrollable Urge’, (video below) the quartet packed massive amounts energetic punk into their 30 minute set and blew the roof off.

fistcity_evan

Fronted by Keir Griffiths on guitar and vocals, Fist City’s overall sound is trashy, powerful and underlined with a surf twang that invites a feel good factor on par with the best of them. We are talking the cheekiness of the Black Lips and Fidlar, riffs that would rival Rites of Spring, all delivered with a confident presence that brings their live work directly into your face.

This is not a band that plays a show and doesn’t get involved. These guys shake and move to the banging sound of Ryan Grieve’s pounding drums. Griffiths threw his guitar onto the stage and then threw himself into the audience, pulsating and gyrating like a woman on fire in a sandpit. His mic was hurled into the open jaws of the lucky few watching, whilst bassist Lindsay Munro and guitarist Evan Van Reekum kept the rolling pace flowing from the stage. Born a girl and now a man following gender reassignment, Keir stomped the shit out of every inch of space between those surrounding walls and left the onlookers in awe.

This band are special and they don’t come around that often, so look out for them on your travels and pick up their album ‘It’s 1983, Grow Up‘ whilst there’s still vinyl available.

fistcity_keir_lyndsay

Headliners Cousins followed this carnage well and put on a good show. They hail from Halifax made up of guitarist/singer Aaron Mangle and drummer Leigh Dotey. The duo play rock and roll at each other with thunderous riffage. Their stripped down presence hails a sound as loud and as finely perfected to any four piece. Dotey’s rolling drum assault does a grand job of keeping Mangle’s deep garage swagger fulfilled and made this evening one of the most enjoyable this year.

Both bands are playing at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton this weekend alongside a bunch of other fine Canadian acts down there. If you find yourself on the beach, do yourself a favour and seek these two out.

Zac

fistcity_keir

fistcity_london2

Tripwires live at Hoxton Square Bar + Kitchen

Tripwires / Towns / Lola Colt
Hoxton Square Bar + Kitchen
London – 2nd May

I don’t usually expect much from an opening act, but as a dark and mysterious six piece materialise before me at Hoxton Square I sense this gang aren’t just ‘some indie band’. Lola Colt opens with a lazy guitar line, sauntering beside a hazy blend of percussion before exploding into a deep, dark groove. Reminiscent of 60’s psychedelia, and capturing a little swirly shoegaze magic too, just as you think this lengthy instrumental is receding, front woman Gun Overbye’s cavernous howl makes the room shake.

After witnessing the bar being raised phenomenally high for an opening act, Towns kick into gear with their up-beat and effect drenched guitar noise. With a definite nod towards the early 90’s Creation Records sound, Towns almost exhaust that blend of angelic vocals and hooky bass lines. Whilst they certainly kick up a tuneful fuss on stage, these lads are still honing their craft, I look forward to what they do next.

Finally, Tripwires take to the stage, easing into their set with watery guitar swells, until they kick into adrenalin fueled ‘Emerald’, with some Cobain-style riffing these guys reveal their heavier edge. The highlight of the set comes in the shape of new single ‘Shimmer’, boasting a baggy groove and ethereal backing vocals that sandwich growling, fuzzed out chords and Rhys Edwards’ sweet placebo-like whine. Tripwires have a knack for a slow builder, and a distinct musical swagger that sets them apart from other acts making this new breed of melodic grunge. Their debut is released 17th June through French Kiss Records; on the back of this, I think it’s going to be a corker.

Dave Palmer

The Men and Parquet Courts Live at the Garage

The Men / Parquet Courts
The Relentless Garage, London
March 19th

The-Men_liveatthegarage_london_crossfire

New York quartet Parquet Courts are creating quite a healthy little buzz for themselves at the moment and it’s not hard to see why. They were the ‘band everyone was talking about’ at SXSW this year and tonight they face a crammed to capacity Garage as they swagger out onstage to confront a London crowd eager to see what all the fuss is about. And they take it calmly in their stride. Parquet Courts are effortlessly cool, brooding with a Velvet Underground menace, a spiky Mark E Smith snarl and wailing Pavement-esque out of tune guitars, they are minimal, jagged and have some excellent songs hidden amongst the noise and snarl. You’re going to be hearing a lot from this band this year.

Parquet_Courts_live_garage_london-crossfire

Whilst Parquet Courts are rigid and tight, The Men couldn’t be set further apart. The Men are lose, raw, wild, explosive and all over the fucking place. In short, The Men are utterly life-affirming and incredibly exciting to watch. Live, like their recorded output, they swerve wildly from and between abrasive noise punk, Neil Young country-tinged rock, wild psychedelia, melodic grunge and everything in between. The Men pay no heed to rules. This is music flowing freely for a multitude of influences. They’re like the 13th Floor Elevators meets Spacemen 3 meets The Wipers meets Mudhoney meets Neil Young meets Black Flag and it sounds so good it makes you want to hold your breath and detonate. The Men are utterly thrilling. Grab the first chance you get to see them live.

James Sherry

My Bloody Valentine live at Hammersmith Apollo

Live Review:
My Bloody Valentine
Hammersmith Apollo
12th March 2013

As a devout fan of My Bloody Valentine, Kevin Shields, Fender Jaguars and everything surrounding these three golden Shoegaze fundamentals, I was utterly stoked when I discovered the Valentine’s had announced a tour of their new record mbv and more importantly, that they were to descend upon London for a string of live dates in March.

To my own surprise, I am more sceptical than excited about My Bloody Valentine’s performance tonight. Almost in disbelief that this mysterious, genre defining outfit are actually about to climb onto the stage at the Hammersmith Apollo before my very eyes. My reservations are scuppered when Kevin Shields, Bilinda Butcher, Debbie Googe and Colm O’Ciosoig materialize from back stage, easing into hypnotic crowd pleaser ‘I Only Said’, one of my personal favourite tracks from Loveless. It sounds sweet.
Eager to hear some new material from what was probably the most anticipated album in alternative music since 1991: mbv, the quartet’s third album and follow-up to Loveless is unveiled with, ‘New You’. A track with an almost-Hip-Hop drum beat paired with shimmery tremolo guitar grooves; typically My Bloody Valentine, typically awesome.

Despite remaining spellbound by Shields’ whammy bar wielding guitar wizardry, I begin to wonder why tonight’s set has such a narrow selection of their new material. There are plenty of the old favourites thrown in there, ‘Only Shallow’, expectedly sends everyone nuts and pre Loveless ‘Thorn’ and ‘Cigarette in Your Bed’ receive rapturous applause from the 5000 strong crowd. Yet only three tracks from mbv are on offer tonight from Shields & Co. Is this simply because they reached their peak with Loveless all those 22 years ago? Only Kevin knows.

It is at this point when the arguably most famous feature of My Bloody Valentine’s live shows is about to commence. Midway into ‘You Made Me Realise’, the bowel shaking cacophony of overdriven guitar feedback and fuzz that literally sounds like a space ship taking off increased in volume by the minute. I’m not entirely sure how long it lasted for, but time seemed to stand still during this insane breakdown.

My delicate criticisms toward their set list now seem irrelevant after that aural telling off, however up until this penultimate track I have been wondering, “is this as loud as it’s gonna get?”. Be it the Hammersmith Apollo’s acoustics or a timid soundman I am unsure, but something wasn’t quite right for the duration of My Bloody Valentine’s gig. I know their trademark sound comprises of Bilinda’s sugary sweet whispers fading in and out of those fuzzy guitars but at some points, when unaccompanied by Kevin’s harmony; she was inaudible. To add to that, after hearing so much hype and rumour about the sheer volume of this band’s live shows I was expecting it to be a lot louder. Regardless, after experiencing ‘You Made Me Realise’ my hearing is a little delicate this morning.

I loved My Bloody Valentine before this gig and I continue to afterward. Other than a little throbbing sensation in my ears, I’m left thinking one thing; did the Valentines need to do this whole third album and tour malarkey? No. And nobody thought they ever would again. But after 22 years in the making they’re still playing sold out shows, and even if they didn’t quite live up to my expectations at the Hammersmith Apollo, they continue to blaze a musical trail wherever they roam.

Dave Palmer

Funeral For A Friend live at the Garage

Funeral For A Friend
The Relentless Garage, London
18th February 2013

It’s a cold Monday evening and London’s Relentless Garage venue is graced with the presence of Funeral For a Friend. A somewhat intimate venue for these guys, who are no stranger to filling Brixton Academy and the like. The post-hardcore band have had a good, solid last ten years, enjoying major label success with ‘Hours and Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ to taking a more indie route with the last few albums including the new album ‘Conduit’ which hit the shelves earlier this year.

The band have had a varied sound over the years, and ‘Conduit’ takes a step backwards, going back to their post-hardcore roots which isn’t a problem at all at the Garage because the atmosphere is as electric from the get go, to the ballad at the end. Singer, Matthew Davies greets the audience and asks if anyone had attended the matinee show in Kingston earlier in the day, to which half the crowd cheer. Pretty interesting, doing two shows in a day, and even more interesting for the lucky people who went to both!

The crowd, and myself, I have to say, were hit with a blast of nostalgia as they started the night off with ‘She Drove Me To Daytime Television’. Having had a look around, it looked as though pretty much everyone at The Garage were probably in their teens when FFAF’s debut ‘Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation’ was released, so this song was a perfect opener, taking us all back to our teenage years jumping around in a venue probably as intimate at this one. Davies introduced most of the set with a meaningful description and insight into what each track means to them as a band, the politics, the friendships, and the positive messages.

The diverse setlist was action packed. They chose to play some of their heavier songs, which fueled the mosh pit and left everyone in a sweaty state. But the evening was gracefully brought to an end with the song ‘History’, which Matt explains is about the 1980s miners strike in Wales and the lack of determination and faith from the government and what the country had to go through. The evening ended with all the support bands on the stage, arm in arm singing the chorus to ‘History’, along with the sold out crowed in the Garage. A great way to end a fantastic evening.

Words: Arif Noor

Deftones and letlive live at Brixton Academy

Deftones
w/letlive.
Brixton Academy, London
20th February 2013

Three Trapped Tigers open up tonight’s proceedings to a fascinated audience. A mesmerising creation of technical beats and soaring synths allures the otherwise timid three-piece to the crowd. Drummer Adam Betts is the centre of attention with his flawless and creative technique. However, Three Trapped Tigers do little to entice movement but they certainly arouse the ear drums.

In terms of stage dynamics, LA’s Letlive are quite the opposite to the static Three Trapped Tigers. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler is clearly engrossed in the music. Amps, drum mats and anything else on or off stage that crosses his path is used as a playground. He leaps and prowls around whilst the band deliver some of Fake History’s most emotive and socially directed songs, including a passionate rendition of ‘Muther’. ‘Casino Columbus’ sees Jason front flip, throw a mic stand and guitarist Jeff Sahyoun destroy his axe. After a frantic set, Brixton Academy are awe struck, not quite sure what just physically and aurally hit them.

If any other band were topping the bill tonight, Letlive would have stolen the show from their grasps. But no such task is possible when the mighty Deftones are headlining. Opener ‘Diamond Eyes’ sets the score, evidently this will be a montage of the band’s greatest hits with ‘Passenger’, ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ and newcomer ‘Swerve City’ all encouraging simultaneous head bangs, mosh pits and choral sing-a-longs. Chants of ‘Chinnnno’ in rest bites epitomise how well loved these metal titans are. Mind-blowingly heavy bass, atmospheric lighting and effortless stage presence all add up to create an undeniable spectacle.

Tonight’s show is something unique with every band on the bill impressing far beyond expectation in their own way… Three Trapped Tigers for their talent, letlive. for destructive suave and the legendary Deftones for again proving themselves to be one of the greatest musical treasures around.

Words: Emma Wallace

Your Demise live at The Garage

(w/Heights, Counterparts, Fact)
23rd February
The Garage, London

Your Demise only released their EP Cold Chillin’ at the start of this month and already it’s gone like a rocket, sky high in the hardcore/punk scene. The five-piece heavy titans have proved all the doubters wrong and to top it off is their recent UK leg, bouncing from city to city and taking hold of fans new and old on board for one of the mightiest adventures to date!

Joining forces is five-piece rock band from Japan, Fact, who took out the headliners on tour back home in Tokyo, selling out shows effortlessly. Tonight’s show sees them open a little earlier than their usual schedule but while many of their members sport Your Demise merchandise, it’s pretty clear that the early set time has had no effect on their optimism to chuck out their striking hardcore turn punk turn electro-pop sounds to our shores.

Canada crew Counterparts aren’t quite the turbulence. If anything they take off, putting their foot down and accelerating their chunky beat downs and thrilling rifts into a whole other dimension. With giant choruses led by vocalist Brendan Murphy, they’re the force tearing apart the four walls that frame them here tonight. “This is wild, I don’t even know why you care” says Brendan. The crowd turn into a hurricane, spitting out circle pits and chew apart The Relentless Garage whilst Counterparts lure in even those in the furthest corners of the room.

Now with lift off out the way, Heights take control and steer their post-hardcore set primed with infectious and brutal stormy songs towards an atmosphere filled with absolute carnage. Revving the engine, front man Monty elbows the killjoys at Newcastle and thanks security for “keeping you all safe” before dipping into ‘Dead Ends’. Their first class set is ruled by their great attempt to carry out a pit so grand there are more people participating than those standing back and watching. Monty begins to wrap his microphone around his neck, falling into the first few rows as the final chorus for ‘The Lost And Alone’ pours out.

Heavyweights Your Demise need no introduction. Dragging new hit ‘Karma’ through the air tonight, Ed and co tremble the room with the raging rhythm pushing through. Lifting ‘Nearly Home’ off this year’s EP, the monster vocals tear Your Demise through the sky, a place after tonight they can safely call theirs.

‘These Lights’ act as a birds eye view of Your Demise fan army flying head first towards the stage. The Southern mob navigate towards past creations ‘Scared Of The Light’ and ‘Like A Broken Record’. Front man Ed grabs a fan and starts counting down to when he informs the kid to do “the best stage dive”. As he reaches 1, the rest of the room swallow up said kid. Such actions even manage to tempt first support Fact to join in. This time round, it’s Ed that needs rescuing back to the stage.

The members of Fact guide the gang vocals in ‘Worthless’ while ‘Burnt Tongues’ see’s Monty of Heights join for the remaining verse and chorus, giving Ed some time out. But the jetway bridges open to the mass of flying bodies and raised arms. Just in time for ‘Miles Away’, the only thing setting the fans and YD crew apart is the stage as they unite in sequences of consistent stage dives. Massive anthem ‘The Kids We Used To Be’ elevates and all on board will be jet lagged until next time.

Jenny Chu

Mallory Knox live in Cambridge

Mallory Knox
19th January
The Junction, Cambridge

The Junction, Cambridge, was packed from wall to wall as Mallory Knox performed in their hometown. this was to be a triumphant return as the majority of the people in this room have been with the band since day one but now, their recent releases have pushed them to the top after being placed on the Radio 1 playlist and the venue is looking forward to something special.

The band’s performance was top notch as they played their first E.P for the last time in its entirety. Although their new album, Signals, was not due for another two days, the band treated the crowd to a plethora of songs off of the album such as ‘1945’, ‘Creeper’ and also opened the show with ‘Bury Your Head’, but without the lyrics.

‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Wake Up’, which are two singles that have previously been released from the new album, were also played at the show. The band stood in amazement at the response from the energetic crowd.

Some people wonder what the ‘hype’ around Mallory Knox is all about, but the delivery they give of pure passion and enjoyment infects the whole room. Guitarist Joe Savins has very impressive live vocals, as he screams and shouts down his microphone in a deep, heavy voice – watch out Oli Sykes. Drummer Dave Rawling is absolutely mental; he pounds the shit out of his drum kit as he looks like he’s having the time of his life.

The junction is buzzing. Every audience member were fully involved, from ages of about 10 years old to 50-odd years old. An earthquake was most certainly intimate.

As the band close the show with their first ever single ‘Oceans’, vocalist Mikey Chapman works his way in to the crowd as they go ballistic. Singing to the lyrics right back at him, Mikey appears to be reduced to tears. Soaking up the atmosphere, Mikey is help in the air by the crowd and pushed back towards the stage, he lays back and enjoys the ride. As the band leave the stage, Mikey says, “You’ve made our dreams come true, thank you!”

Since the band’s debut album ‘Signals’ was released on January 20th 2013, it shot straight up to number one in the Rock Album charts. ‘Signals’ is available from iTunes now. Check out our review of the album here.

Sean Hendrie

Fidlar live at Dingwalls

Fidlar
w/ Drenge
Dingwalls Camden, London
4th December 2012

Hidden away is Dingwalls, but tonight Fidlar and support band Drenge are determined to make their voices heard. Drenge are made of two brothers from Sheffield who capture the familiar indie sounds of the steel city tonight. While taking elements from indie veterans The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines, making Drenge sound like a distant relative of theirs.

Dashing through like lightning bolts Fidlar burst into the hysteria and ear-piercing guitar rhythm of ‘Cheap Beer’, before pounding every ounce of energy and mutiny in ‘Stoked and Broke’. Lead singer Zac Carper tells the storming crowd “I want everyone under 30 down at the front” and within seconds the stage gets completely gate-crashed. There are limbs being pulled in agonising directions as one member of the audience even manages to yelp that they’ve broken their hand. Well that’s Rock ‘n’ Roll for you!

Oozing from the L.A quartet comes ‘No Waves’ which prides itself on the birth of a sea of mighty mosh pits. Guitarists Brandon Schwartzel, Elvis Kuehn and drummer Max Kuehn at one point even attempt to make a deal with the security who have been taking a firm monumental stand centre-stage to fight off crowd surfers. This promise comes with trying to make peace with security by getting them out of the way if the crowd “turn it down a notch”. All is well for the first verse of ‘Max Can’t Swim’ then it is back to pure teen destruction.

The likes of rowdy tracks ‘Got No Money’ and ‘Carnivore Girls’ take a blow to the 500 capacity venue, soaking the walls in sweat. The stage diving continues song after song as the band advise kids to “drop out of school and start a band”. It’s Fidlar’s rendition of Blink 182’s ‘Damn It’ though that eats up the venue, swallowing the stage whole by the end of the truly exhausting set.

The rising skate-punk four-piece released their official video for ‘Cheap Beer’ last month. Check them out.

Jenny Chu