Southern/country rock band These Wicked Rivers took a brief break from their tour supporting bluegrass legends Hayseed Dixie to do a hometown gig. And what a gig it was. Playing to the absolutely packed Derby crowd at The Hairy Dog, it was definitely a night to remember for everyone involved. Add to that the fact that it was a fundraiser for These Wicked Rivers’ new album, and it was an awesome night for sure.
Other local boys 28 Double were the first to take the stage. While it wasn’t long after the doors had opened, they still drew a fair crowd. Being easily the heaviest band on the line-up, bordering on metal, it did feel like it took the crowd a little minute to warm to them. However, the band ripped through a fantastic short set of some of their best songs. I’ve seen them multiple times over the years, having gigged with them a fair bit back in the day, and they have come on massive amounts since. They put on a great show and sounded awesome!
Next up was the Manchester blues machine known as Gorilla Riot. Friends of the channel, it’s been almost a year since we last saw the band, at Amped last year. They were on top form again here. Arjun has such a fantastic swagger and stage presence, feeling like you’re watching a true rockstar. And yet he never overshadows the rest of the band, moving out of the spotlight even on longer instrumental parts. The band have great chemistry on stage too, clearly enjoying themselves and regularly joking around. The crowd ate up everything they laid down, too. They loved their grungy sound and great songwriting. If anything, my only criticism is that they didn’t have long enough on stage. However, they for sure won over some new fans with their set and were the perfect warmup to the headliners.
Then, came the headliners, the anticipation in the room palpable. These Wicked Rivers soon came on and left not a single person disappointed. Rattling through a set full of their older tracks and a few of the new singles too. This was by far the best set I’ve seen the band do. That’s a surprise too, as I’ve seen them a few times over the last couple of years. They keep getting better and better, both live and on track. If this gig is anything to go by, they are going to be HUGE in a year or two. One hell of a way to cap off a fantastic night and honestly one of the best sets I have seen from a band this year.
And there we have it, a brilliant night of great music from some of the best underground rock bands the scene has to offer. These Wicked Rivers are back out on the road with Hayseed Dixie while Gorillia Riot and 28 Double still have a few gigs left this year. Both bands are also headlining both nights of SharkFest in Cannock next year!
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Check out our interview with our good friend and awesome blues guitarist/songwriter Jack J Hutchinson! We spoke about his upcoming EP/DVD boxset, his upcoming tour and his new line-up!
Obviously we were going to see each other at Rockin’ the Bowl this year before the cancelation. Having said that, what do you think of the music scene at the minute?
I mean there’s a lot of bands that were on at Rockin’ the Bowl that I’ve seen at a lot of festivals in the last year or so so there are some great acts. A lot of guys that I’ve been on the same bill as that I really rate. Some great players. The biggest thing for me is songwriting really, bands that have good tunes, and there’s tonnes of great stuff. I like quite a variety of different music too, from blues to heavy rock and even acoustic folk stuff as well. We’re sort of overloaded with music at the minute which is cool!
You have the EP/boxset coming out next month, how did that come about?
Well, I released an album earlier on this year called ‘The Hammer Falls’ and during that process I was offered the opportunity to work with Kevin Shirley who’s produced some incredible artists: Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamasa, just loads of people. So I was kinda in the latter stages of mixing the last record when Kevin offered to do one or two songs. I had this idea of doing a remix of some of the tracks we were working on last year. So what you hear on this EP is alternate takes of some of the songs.
I think it’s quite interesting to compare them to the other versions on the album. And then there’s a brand new song on the EP as well. So that’s pretty cool!
A DVD isn’t something you see much in the underground scene these days, do you think bands are having to do more ‘out there’ merch to make more of a living?
Yeah I guess. I’ve always wanted to try and come up with new ideas in terms of the product that I put out there. When I put my album ‘Who Feeds the Wolf’ out I did it on a splattered red and black vinyl which seemed quite a unique thing at the time but everybody’s doing it now. I’m not insinuating that they’re doing it because I did it but…
I could have done this release as another multicoloured vinyl release. There are two reasons why I didn’t. One was because I wanted to try something different and I wanted to do something that was a two disc set, like the Rolling Stones ‘From the Vault’ boxset. Also I brought this Winery Dogs DVD a couple of years back that was pretty cool. Like a companion disc for the record. So that’s where the idea of it came for.
Another reason I didn’t want to do it on vinyl is because of the experience of the manufacturing of it over the last two years. It’s taking so long to do it. I was lucky with The Hammer Falls as I got a heads up about what was coming. I put my order in before the album was even fully recorded. I paid for the slot like 10 months prior. There was only like three songs that we still had to record but there was a risk in it. It could have gone completely, horribly wrong.
But for this release I wanted to get something out for the latter half of this year. Then the Kevin Shirley thing came about and I thought it was exciting and something just a bit different!
Is it touring for the foreseeable or are you writing again already?
I’m actually supposed to be going to Spain next month. It’ll be the first time I’ve really been over to Europe since the pandemic kicked off. So at the moment I’m just trying to work out all the visa stuff and all that. When I started playing guitar when I was like 14 I didn’t envision that it’d all just be admin at one stage in my career. It’s all I’ve really done this week.
So next month we’re headed out on tour. I’ve got a new band heading out with me later on in the year which is cool. This Brilliant bassist called Charlie Rachel Kay who’s joining. She’s the bassist for Ashley Sherlock. Then the drummer is Phil Wilson who’s played with tonnes of people: Elles Bailey, Sean Webster, Lawence Jones. It’s going to be exciting to take a new band out. I’ve had the same band now for almost four years. We work really well together and had some amazing experiences but they’re kinda moving on to do different projects.
Yeah, it’s exciting to be playing some new songs. And I have been writing a lot of material recently so we’ll have to see if any of it makes it into the setlist. I hope it will! It’ll be a real shift from the last tour where we were kinda doing stuff that we’d been playing for two or three years. Now’s the time to refresh it a bit!
Do you think it’ll have a bit of a different feel on stage with new members?
I don’t know, man. I’ve never been one to over-rehearse ahead of tours. I think you’ve got to allow things to organically develop. You’ve got to trust your players. The person who really needs to do their homework tends to be me, I’m a bit of a scatterbrain with all of this stuff. I move on from project to project quite quickly so I need to be reminded by my manager that I should be playing songs off the current album.
We’re looking at getting some rehearsals in at the end of this month, which is exciting in of itself. With bands you’ve got to foster a vibe with the people who are part of the band. Music is one element of it, but if people are miserable in the band they’re not going to play very well. I want every band I take out with me to enjoy it. This is rock’n’roll man, they should be going out and having a blast on tour, not moping and moaning about it.
The few support bands announced for it so far look sick. How would you say the environment of the NWOCR scene is?
Yeah, I mean I speak quite closely with Wes (my manager) on who to take out. I always see support slots, although I don’t really like using the word support, as an opportunity for the bands that come out with me to meet my audience and gain fans. But also I want bands to come out that are going to make it a pleasurable experience for me. I make sure I listen to the acts and I want a badass collection of bands on the tour. It means that before I go on stage I can go out and have fun and watch the bands myself.
We have a band that are doing a few of the dates, Firekind, they were the support act for my tour last year. They’re great, just really fun to have around. They make you laugh and that’s what you want. And obviously White Raven Down are a fucking incredible band too.
Everybody Wants the Blues – Committee of Vultures. Written by Javier Zepeda.
Everybody has the blues these days, but we didn’t know that “Everybody Wants The Blues”. At least, that is according to the Committee of Vultures, as they release their newest album. We must say, this band is truly a force to be reckoned with as it has already hit the airwaves and has everyone talking!
You really should know a little bit about the Committee of Vultures to really appreciate the genius of their music. This is a collection of musicians that all assembled to really put their masteries together and make truly revolutionary material. They are able to capture the true soul of Rock music while utilizing a plethora of genres to their disposal. Let’s just say they are able to jump from Rock and Roll, to swamp boogie, to alternative country, all in one album.
What’s great is they are not shy when it comes to collaborating with other musicians to create even more everchanging sounds that we haven’t heard of.
“Everybody Wants The Blues” is really able to capture the range of eclectic sounds that is heavy with lyrics that hit you straight in the face. At the same time, you can get down with the get down and have a good time. What a talent to be able to give listeners this much to absorb and enjoy.
We’re excited to hear this album and all their true-telling tales that really gives us the Blues, in a good way!
As we get into all the deep cuts of the album, we see that there is no shortage of musicianship that is able to bring gentleness and raw truth to our ears. It’s an inviting record that incorporates everything we know about the blues, and then some.
We highly encourage you to check out the Committee of Vultures and their new album, “Everybody Wants The Blues”. Check it out from their Spotify here. And if you liked the review, why not head over to Instagram and give us a follow to keep up to date on all of our content!
Eight more rock and metal albums graced the scene this week, from all over the world. A lot of it is from some amazing newer bands too, while a few of the older ones still holding down the fort. It’s an exciting week for new music, so let’s get right to it!
Scorpions: Rock Believer
The German hard rock/heavy metal group are the oldest band on this list by a fair stretch, and with the release of this double album it takes them up to a whopping 19. It’s long, over an hour spread across 16 tracks, but it proves the band very much still have it. The opening track, ‘Gas in the Tank’ outlines my sentiments perfectly. The album is full of highlights but standout tracks include ‘Peacemaker’, ‘Seventh Sun’ and ‘Call of the Wild’. 8/10
Bad Omens: THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND
Another band to hop on the capitalise the album title trend are American metalcore band Bad Omens. The bands third album, much like their previous two, is on the lighter end of the metalcore spectrum, clearly inspired by Sempiternal-era BMTH. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave the album with a feel of ‘this has been done before’. Not every album needs to be ground-breaking, but I was hoping to get something a little heavier when I read ‘metalcore’. What a diverse, wide-spread sub-genre it is these days. Still, tracks like the opener and ‘Like a Villain’ are definite highlights. 6.5/10
Avril Lavigne: Love Sux
While primarily pop music, Avril‘s first album or two were definitely pop-punk, and with a promise of going back to that style with this album (alongside a fairly promising lead single), I thought it was at least worth checking out. I can confirm it is at least pop-punk. Whether it’s good or not… I’m not sure. It definitely has the same energy and feel as Let Go, but the issue I have, much like some of the other older pop-punk bands’ most recent albums is exactly that. She’s going on 40 now, and writing music like you are still 18, alongside spelling things like ‘bois’ and ‘Sux’, feels cringy. Plus, both MGK and Blackbear ruin their respective tracks. But Mark Hoppus kills it on ‘All I Wanted’, it being the best track he’s done since before Blink-182’s reunion over a decade ago. Plus, after his recent health issues, it’s really heart-warming to hear him back in music again.
However, despite all of the negativity, I cannot help but enjoy the album. Avril has definitely retained the ability to write one hell of a pop-punk chorus, and I’m going to again have3 ‘Bite Me’ stuck in my head for days now. An up and down album, but I think I can settle on a solid 7.5/10
Elles Bailey: Shining in the Half Light
Blues/NWOCR forerunner Elles Bailey released her third album on Friday, and it’s really good. It’s a Dorothy, American pop-rock sound but with enough blues and country edginess and twang to add some grit and darkness to it. Heck, opening track ‘Cheats and Liars’ perfectly encapsulates the sound, I would say, and is a damn good intro to her as an artist. Honestly though, if you are into the slower blues style, this whole album is one big highlight. It’s steady, chilled and full of great vocals and lyrics. Oh, and the guitars are enough for me to geek out over so they must be good! I would happily and highly recommend this album to anyone. Give it a list, you won’t be disappointed! 9/10
The Cannibal Corpse frontman finally released his much anticipated debut album over the weekend. To put it simply, it’s about exactly what you’d expect. I have become a rather medium fan of George Fisher due to the sheer amount of awesome guest slots he’s done on awesome tracks by other bands over the last couple of years. However, this didn’t quite measure up to ‘Take Your Pick’ or ‘Parpaing’. That’s not to say it’s bad by any stretch, though. It’s death metal through and through, and damn good death metal at that. Tracks like ‘On Wings of Carnage’ and ‘Crimson Proof’ were definite highlights for me, having me headbanging along from start to finish. And, I have to add, what an album cover! 7.5/10
Black Lakes: For All We’ve Left Behind
An awesome Welsh alt metal band, we had the pleasure of reviewing this album last week before it was released. It was good. How good? Read our reviewof it to find out for yourself!
Blood Incarnation: Timewave Zero
What the fuck was that? Am I being pranked here? I was expecting some death metal, not 40 minutes of ambient sounds. This is Devin Townsend’s wet dream and not my sort of thing at all. 1/10, I’m sorry.
Just a Ride: Self-Titled
Another band we reviewed ahead of time (we are on FIRE this week) is the debut from NWOCR’s newest band, Just a Ride. It’s good, and if you want to find out the score, you’ll have to check out the review for yourself here.
Another fantastic week, with the smaller bands really bring it this time round! Black Lakes and Elles Bailey in particular put out fantastic albums that are up there in the running for top of the year so far. The British music scene is really thriving right now! As always stay tuned for next week’s NMM and for the big one… Stereophonics!
The ever awesome Sons of Liberty played Rockin’ the Bowl festival the other week and safe to say, they went down a storm. We managed to have a brief chat with them afterwards about their set, their latest album an their plans for the future. Check it out down below!
How was your set? Was this your first gig back?
“It was great! Absolutely awesome. We’ve managed to do a few gigs. We’ve done a couple of warm-up slots just a couple of days prior to this so that was good but yes this is the first big gig we’ve done for a long time for a long time probably since Planet Rock Stock nearly two years ago. Rockin The Bowl is a tremendous festival, there’s been a brilliant crowd, great reaction… we loved it! What else can we say?”
Have you played here before?
“It’s been our first time. It should have been last year. We’ve been looking forward to this – this was out first big ‘that’s where we’re going to be playing in a couple of months time’ and it was on the map. We’ve really enjoyed it and it’s better than I thought it would be to be quite honest with you, it’s been great.
“And I’ll tell you what’s nice, it’s great to see the other bands here because we’re always touring but we never get the chance to see other bands and we meet them as sort of ships in the night you know? So it was great to see them and see how they got through the times as well. It’s been good, it’s been really helpful.”
So you released an album this year. How did that go? I can imagine you went through the creative and writing process during the pandemic. How did that go?
“I think we used the time well. We probably took a lot more care over the writing and recording process. We worked with producers for the first time and that was a real experience and we took a long time over the writing the lyrics and everything. It’s been phenomenally well received so we’ve been really lucky. A couple of singles have been played on Planet Rock radio and that’s been fantastic for us. We’re very proud of it and proud of each other I think with everyone’s contribution to it. We’ll listen to it and every so often we’ll go ‘wow, that is us, isn’t it?’ No matter what age you are, when you hear yourself on the radio it’s quite a buzz. You get a buzz that you can’t explain to anyone. It’s there and it’s even better. It’s an incredible feeling.
“It’s quite interesting actually, when we had our first single out I was actually working at a gym and they had Planet Rock on and suddenly they started playing it. I got so excited, I was running around the gym going ‘this is me!’ It takes you to another world. We sat around in the seventies listening to some great bands thinking oh God wouldn’t that be great. And when you’re here on the radio, that’s it.”
“And the company that it’s played with – some of our heroes such as Zeppelin, Purple, Skynaryd. How does that work?”
What’s next for you?
“So we wrote the last album during lockdown but we’re already starting on some ideas, working on them quietly. You’ve got to get the timing right and we’ve still got another single to come out, we’ve got a vinyl release in October so there’s still a campaign going and the Aces & Eights tour for the album. We’re all over the place.”
“Early December we’re going to France so that’s another ticked box with a European gig. And we’ve got a couple of lines in the fire for a support slot with an American band who we hope are coming over.
“Hard Rock Hell is another. We have a lot going on so we need to sleep.”
Catch Sons Of Liberty at the main Hard Rock Hell weekend as well as the following ABC weekend, and a few more festivals scattered around the country too!
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The UKs own Slow Mojo are aiming to ‘bring back the blues’. Having released numerous singles so far and gigged extensively in the London underground scene, it is hard to argue that they are doing a damn good job at working towards their goal so far. We had the chance to have a brief interview with the band to discuss various topics from their music to the industry as a whole!
The band wear their influences very much on their sleeves, as evidenced by their response when asked about their influences:
Brighty (lead vox): ‘For me personally as a frontman I used to watch people like Freddie Mercury and just think the world of them, how they held the crowd in the palm of their hands, everyone’s eyes just focused on them. I’m a bit of an attention seeker and ended up becoming an MC and rapper, performing on festival stages with a DJ. I’d always been a pretty good singer. After getting bored with doing endless karaoke, I found the other guys on Gumtree and the band just came together naturally. Rest is history, as they say’.
Tim (lead guitar): ‘As a kid there would always be music being played in my house – Led Zep, AC/DC, The Doors, you name it; If it had a good guitar riff it was being played on the stereo. I remember watching DVDs of AC/DC and Angus Young shredding on the guitar and doing the chicken walk, it was nothing I had ever seen before, it was magic! First time I heard the blues was on Back To The Future where Marty McFly plays at the school dance. I got my mum to write out the lyrics for me so I could sing along and re-enact all his moves. I was hooked from then on’.
While diving deeper into their own sound, Brighty tried his best to describe it:
‘We’re a modern blues band, basically. We’ve retained that blues-influenced sound and twisted it up with harder rock, punk, funk and hip hop. It’s good fun music, it slaps you hard and we all have a hell of an energy on stage. Some of our stuff sounds a bit Red Hot Chili Peppers, some a bit Black Keys, some veers into Rage Against the Machine, and we do more blues rock stuff not dissimilar to Alex Harvey’.
This last 18 months has been some of the toughest the music scene as a whole has ever had to deal with. When asked about how they had coped during the stream of lockdowns, they had this to say:
‘We had a gig booked literally on the week of the first lockdown. So we were left wanting with that annoying feeling of having no closure on our live music hiatus. Worse still our new drummer, Giorgio, had only joined the band a month or so prior so he was denied his first gig with us. But like all acts everywhere we just knuckled down and turned the whole experience into something more positive. We started recording more music from home – we actually recorded a fair chunk of our current output doing everything a bit DIY. Luckily we had the gear and the skills to create something pretty professional sounding. We recorded some home videos to keep up the social media conversations and then started live streaming, raising money and awareness for charities, which certainly filled some sort of void. Though the minute the lockdowns eased a little, we were all back into the studio in a heartbeat, desperate to get some semblance of what live playing felt like again’.
We wanted to make sure the boys were still enjoying themselves though, so wanted to know what their positives were of being in a band:
‘Honestly, it’s just knowing that we’re bringing people some joy. I think that’s been an especially poignant feeling in the shadow of the pandemic. Music is everything. The energy it brings us is the energy we give back to the crowd’.
Tim: ‘I love watching the crowd react to how we perform in front of them and see them reciprocate as they start to dance and headbang. We get such a buzz from playing live and on stage that it’s like a drug and the high lasts for a good few days after a show’.
‘However, we couldn’t address the positives without also discussing the negatives, of which there were unfortunately more:
‘About the current music industry, for obvious reasons, I think I’d like to see more of a return to more big bands playing live. Don’t get me wrong I love electronic dance music in pretty much all its forms, but the appetite for proper live band music feels like it’s been waning for some time now. There’s always a balance to be struck of course, but I feel like if we’re looking towards a future of purely electronic music at the elite level, then we’re all going to miss out on so much that is special and wonderful about live music’.
Ciba (bass): ‘We are witnessing a turning point on the music-making thing. See what Brighty just mentioned about the lack of live music and bands kind of fading away.
‘That’s related to how music is being made nowadays. When we started playing music 25 years ago we had to learn how to play an instrument, then endless practice and rehearsal, get some mates together, then more rehearsal, write songs, play together again, then get a gig and so on… Recording?! Forget about that! No computers or £50 audio interfaces. You had to sell your kidney to afford a recording studio (on a reel to reel tape recorder)!
‘Then here we are in 2021: Young people just don’t get excited enough to go through all this hassle again. Why bother ‘putting a band together’ if all it takes to make music is an app and a laptop? You write a song, upload, get viral and voilá!
‘This may wind down the bands IMO. There’s still some awesome musicians producing things on this new style no doubt about it, but I do miss the spontaneity of rock bands being born and raw talents popping out of the blue like before’.
Tim: ‘More often than not today’s popular/chart music feels too ungenuine. The beat sounds the same, the lyrics are pretty uninspiring and there’s a feeling of soulless, manufacturing of music that is there to appeal to the masses that blindly listen to it because it’s in the charts and it’s annoyingly catchy. It’s a money-spinner for companies. The very fabric of music is being torn and frayed for the reasons of profit all the while people with real talent, real understanding and feeling of music and song-writing are left in the gutter because they don’t have the right amount of followers, they don’t look the part or they’re not as marketable as someone who’s willing to get their clobber off and eye-fuck the camera’.
‘I think the music industry has followed the same globalization trend that we have seen in many other industries, prioritising high and safe returns over free thinking and innovation. This has made much more difficult for new emerging artists to achieve visibility and has overall impoverished the musical offer.
‘However, this process is not irreversible. I believe change can happen, starting with small steps, both from the top and from the bottom. From the top, with Record Labels and distributors (like Spotify) allowing for specific programmes to fairly promote emerging artists. This already happens in many other industries and can be highly rewarding for both parties. And from the bottom, with us musicians and listeners getting back in our old habits of looking for new bands, listening to new tunes and going to a local live concert, finding some time to step away from the mainstream distribution. If we think about it, it is much easier now than it was in the past, with everything just one click away. In a couple of years, we may find ourselves interested in a much bigger variety of music styles and with a music industry much more receptive of our interests’.
The band are thankfully already back to gigging, with them not long having played their return gig at Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden. We had to ask them about it, of course!
‘[it was] The best. I mean, we anticipated it would feel pretty amazing and it ended up being ten times better. We had our first gig in about 16 months in Camden Town and the atmosphere was just electric. You could sense that the crowd was up for it, that something had been missing and we were all in there ready to rock as one. We just went hell for leather. We sweated the sweat of a year and a half’s worth of missed gigs. Unbelievably, that was also Giorgio our drummer’s first live gig with us since joining in February 2020’!
As usual here at Overtone we like to ask the bands what song they wish they could have written, and I have to say that Slow Mojo did not disappoint in their response:
Brighty( lead vox): ‘So many to pick from! All things considered and given that we play this as our favourite cover song, I’d have to say Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash’.
‘For me personally, I think it would be Money for Nothing by Dire Straits. That song is just everything to me: one of the finest guitar riffs ever written; wonderfully wry social commentary in the lyrics; and road trips with my dad’.
Tim: ‘Lenny by Stevie Ray Vaughan. The man wrote the song for his wife and you can actually hear the love and emotion he has in the way he plays and attacks certain notes, it’s absolutely awe-inspiring’.
Giorgio: ‘oh, difficult one… Money by Pink Floyd maybe…’
We also ask the band what was next for them:
‘We are in fact right in the middle of recording our last few tunes for what is planned as an EP release this year. We do have a few more gigs lined up, to be confirmed, so we’ll keep everyone posted about that on our social media and we’re going full-on with festival season next year’.
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