Three of a large collection of bands in the Nottinghamshire area vying for the chance to play the legendary Bloodstock festival. Playing at one of the best venues in the city, the three bands competed in the Metal 2 the Masses opening round, with only one having the chance to advance.
First on were the best band who ever existed. Although they were a member down due to illness, Eddie & the Wolves rocked the place. Swaggering blues riffs dripping with attitude and a huge sound for just the three of them, the band knew how to pack a punch. Rattling through some of the highlights of their debut album, alongside single ‘Bad Touch’ and even a rendition of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, it was a fun set. Of course it could not have been done without the exceptional playing of bassist Joe Griffiths, truly a visionary of our time.
Next up were the proggy metallers Confyde. Being a mixture between Alter Bridge and Gojira, this writer loved it. The riffs were INSANE and a huge highlight, but the vocals were amazing too, soring high as well as hitting some powerful notes. It was also the heavyiest, most metal band on the line-up, which was awesome to hear. All four of them were fantastic at what they do, I was jealous of all of them for their talent.
The final band of the evening were Lincolnshire’s own Velvet Queens. We were familiar with them already, having first seen them and interviewed them at Call of the Wild last year. (Check out the review here). Since last May they have gotten even better. Their unique brand of sleaze is a lot of fun, and the guys were clearly enjoying themselves up on stage. Their cover of ‘School of Rock’ is always a lot of fun, but their own music sounded just as good.
It was a hugely stiff competition, with all three bands bringing the fire. With the three judges at a tie, it came down to an audience vote, and the amazing Confyde came away victorious. A well deserved win in front of a packed hometown crowd felt almost poetic.
We had the chance to speak to frontman Martin after the show and they had this to say:
‘Confyde had an absolute blast playing our M2TM heat! Every band played a blinder to a packed out room and everyone seemed to be having a wicked time. Our material and setlist is usually very eclectic, with a lot of ebb & flow with different styles. It was a nice change to just bust out the heaviest songs we have, including the new song “Scalper”!
So thankful to everyone who came out to see and vote for us, not to mention Mangata Music and the Tap n Tumbler for having us. We’re stoked as hell for the semi-final 🤘🏻’
The Metal 2 the Masses competition runs annually and is continuing every weekend through until the end of April. Find more details of it here.
This is the first time I’ve simultaneously interviewed two bands, so I hope it sounds/reads alright! Sons of Liberty and Preacher Stone are headed on a co-headline UK tour next month, so we got the chance to sit down ahead of that and ask how it all came about!
How did the tour between the two of you come about?
Ronnie: I think it started with a conversation between Freddie Hale and Jim Bolt. And I know Freddie had gone back and forth with Marty Heal, the guy who founded Preacher Stone and struck up a good friendship. It call came down to ‘wouldn’t it be great if we went over there?’. We were like ‘hell yeah, that’s impossible!’. That’s what we like to do, we like to find out if something’s possible. If it is we’re not really interested but if it isn’t hell, sign us up!
So that’s really how it started. And I have to say from the onset it’s a really organised piece of work. The routing is absolutely pristine.
Andy: Yeah we’ve proof tested the run around the UK geographically. A couple of times, actually. We got screwed over big time when Covid hit, of course. We had one nice run around the UK which got completely messed up because of that.
We actually did a similar, much shorter duel hook-up with a band called Comancheros from the US around springtime last year. Just three gigs and they jumped on the back of stuff we were doing. It made us realise something like this is absolutely gonna work.
Ronnie: Exactly! My task for tonight is hotel rooms. At least with them knowing where they’re staying it’s a lot simpler than the audacious task of going ‘okay, I’ve never been to this country, let alone this city, so what hotel rooms should be nice?!’ So thank you for the Sons for being so organised!
Are you planning on filming bits of the tour like Preacher Stone’s European tour video?
Ronnie: We’ll probably shoot some things on our own, we won’t be bringing a camera. We’re shoe stringing this one. It’s going to be really close to the vest. What we’re hoping to do is that this is the beginning of a regular thing. Our people at No No Bad Dog were kind enough to see the necessity to go and said they’d underwrite this. But the thing with record companies is you get to pay it back. You want to spend as little as you can.
Andy: From a video point of view there’ll be loads of little clips, iPhone shots and stuff. You should be able to follow the tour, day by day, just through the social media channels. We’ll try and make that as much fun as possible.
Ronnie: Yeah, we’ll show the fun bits!
Have you been fans of each other before this, then?
Andy: Sons of Liberty started off as a southern rock tribute band. My personal choice was never to do the really obvious ones like Synyrd. We were always on the hunt for different tracks to put in the set, so we actually played a couple of Preacher Stone songs in our set going back to 2015. I think it was probably through the Sons of Anarchy TV programme.
Ronnie: Yeah, we were on Sons of Anarchy seasons 3 and seasons 5. That’s where a lot of people heard us. Being on that opened the door to us being able to do stuff like the Simple Man Cruise and the Rock Legends Cruise and festivals in the States like Rocklohoma, Rock the Ridge and stuff. That’s really helped us. It always seems to come back; just when you think it’s run its course someone will be like ‘you guys were on Sons of Anarchy!’. As I introduce the song every night, ‘here’s the song that brought us here’. We probably wouldn’t have met you guys if it hadn’t have been for this song.
Andy: Yeah, that’s how the connection started. We realised we were coming form the same rootsy position. We’re not that full-on country and Preacher Stone aren’t either. We’ve got more of that edgy guitar southern sound.
Ronnie: I mean, we’re southern because we’re from the south! This accent is real!
Are you guys planning anything special for the tour? Any collaborations?
Ronnie: I don’t know, we’re open to about anything. I don’t see how you can take two bands like this and not doing something or sharing a stage.
Andy: Absolutely. I think the last night of the tour is Leo’s Red Lion, that’s going to be a bit of a party. That’s as close to London as we came.
Ronnie: And we’re perfectly adept at flying home wounded!
Andy: And of course first night of the tour is in our hometown, Bristol! I think on the day off we’re gonna have a day in Liverpool too.
Ronnie: I’m excited about that. We’re as big a fans as we are band members, and to get to go where some of our influences came from and to be playing… I can’t tell you how excited how excited we are. This is a bucket list thing for us. And we want to make this a regular deal.
Are you both working on new material, then?
Ronnie: It’s been a while for us. We’re working on number 5 right now. We’ll have released a single in the coming days, maybe two releases before we board the plane to come over.
Andy: We’ve got musical backing tracks down so we’re halfway through album number 3. We’ve got no vocals down as of yet though so there’s a bit of work still before that’s in the can.
Ronnie: We’re six done and we have four more to go. We have the first video shot for the first single, it’s ready to go, we’ve just gotta throw it out there!
Outside of this tour, do you have a dream tour line-up?
Ronnie: I mean realistically we’ve got Rocks, Ribs and Ridges with 38 Special, Blackberry Smoke, Samantha Fish, the Outlaws, a real southern rock who’s who. We’ve got a bunch more festivals in the States, in the Eastern parts and even some in the mid-West. After we get back from the UK we’ll be back on that run. The US has a lot of weekend runs. That’s what we do, just get in the van and go!
Andy: Namedropping southern rock royalty, a lot of those bands have been over for one off tours to the UK. But Black Stone Cherry are definitely a big band for touring the UK and Europe so they’d be cool to go out and do something with!
Ronnie: Our idea is that we’re another band in the US so to speak as there are a lot of other bands of this ilk but in the UK we have the distinction of being somewhat authentic.
Southern rock seems to be doing better than ever over here!
Andy: We lucked in. Just at the point where we started doing original material Cadillac Three, black Stone Cherry, Brothers Osbourne really kicked off from the States over here. So there was a real buzz going to the scene. And then bands like us, Outlaw Orchestra, Bad Touch, there’s a few British bands that have that Southern storytelling thing going on as well. We were able to make the most of that really!
Wales’ own King Kraken sat down to chat to us ahead of the release of their new album, talking about the recording and writing process as well as their plans for the future. Check it out below!
So firstly, how would you describe your sound?
Yeah, it’s a bit of a difficult thing to describe to be honest. There’s so many different influences in there that it’s difficult to nail down one sound. Like the second song on the album, the middle part, is something completely different to the rest of the song. I don’t think we’re just one genre of music.
We sort of drift between everything to do with rock and… we’ve been told thrash, which I don’t really agree with. There’s just elements of different genres in there and it’s difficult to pinpoint what we are I suppose. We fit in every little genre which is great!
I suppose the main way we sound is a heavier version of Clutch, Mastadon, Black Stone Cherry, a mix of all of three!
What was it like to write and record the new album?
We came out of the dreaded lockdowns and said, right, we need to get back on it. Because we live so far apart from eachother we couldn’t actually get together during lockdowns. We had lost of different bits of songs we’d written and used them as building blocks to start off the album. We’re really picky writers and we just tear everything apart so it’s quite a long writing process. It always works out for the best! It was an enjoyable process and we had vision of just getting it done. We had a date that we wanted to get it done by and we did it. It just kinda flowed to be honest.
I imagine there’s not a full story to the album? I saw you’d written a couple of tracks a bit ago?
Yeah, the last two tracks of the album are off an EP that was actually recorded just before Covid became a thing. And there is one other track that we basically finished before lockdown. Then the rest were after the long gap really. I think one of them only got finished about a week before we went into the studio!
That was ‘Green Terror’ that was! That was the last track we wrote for the album. Mad!
I assume you have a bit of a tour pensilled in off the back of the album?
There’s lots of stuff that we can’t actually talk about at the moment, but yeah, we’ve obviously got Call of the Wild, Wildfire fest in Scotland. I really want to go to Europe this year, I really hope we can pull something off there! We did Ibiza last year and that was awesome, a wicked experience. Even if it was a bit of a nightmare getting out there!
But yeah, there’s lots of stuff going on in the background. The beginning of ’23 has just been mental. Every day we’ve been doing something. I’m not used to this! The amount of interviews we’ve had to do is mad. It’s just been so many Zoom calls, we’ve been loving it! We wouldn’t have it any other way really, it’s been a hell of a ride. Ever since the album was announced in October everything’s been really cool.
What do you think to the music scene at the minute?
The Welsh music scene is absolutely kicking off at the moment. The Welsh bands are taking off and it’s amazing to watch the bands that were the next stage up jumping up another step. Those Damn Crows, for example. They’re selling out all over the UK and we love it. We’re so proud of them!
I don’t think the scene as a whole as recovered. There’s still a lot of venues that have gone under, there aren’t as many places that we can play. But it’s definitely getting better. Especially here in Wales. Covid seems to have done Wales an enormous amount of good to be honest, there are so many bands coming out of here.
But the weird thing is we have a bigger following in England than we do in Wales! It may be because we played our biggest gigs, Hammerfest last year on the main stage for example. It’s getting there, slowly.
What’s it like being added to the NWOCR scene?
It’s a bit mental isn’t it? None of us really actually like that genre so it’s kinda funny really. But being incorporated into a scene is cool as it means we get gigs in that scene. And I don’t think we’re any more out of place in that scene than we are in the metal thing either.
I think that because we have the ability to cross genres we have that ability to be on different bills wit all sorts of genres. We love that!
Have you got any plans for the next few years?
There’s definitely… play Download, play Bloodstock, play all the big festivals. We’re getting better slots and it’s just about working your way up the levels. I think this album has definitely got us off of the toilet circuit so to speak.
As for album two, we’ve definitely talked about it. We haven’t got any songs written for it yet because we really want to focus on this album. We put a lot into this album. For the next year it’ll probably be a split between touring for this album and writing for the next. Maybe not next year but the year after. It would definitely be nice to capitalise on everything with this album!
We had the chance to sit down with James of the amazing She Burns Red after their set at Winter Rocks Festival a couple of weeks ago (read our review of the festival here). Check it out as we talk about the set and what they have planned for the next year!
So, how was the gig?
Really good, I really enjoyed it! Really fun! Always love playing Sheffield, we’ve done it a few times now. We did HRH Sleaze and then we played here last year on the Saturday. It was just good fun, I just love playing music!
And how would you describe your sound?
So we’re a wee bit punky and a wee bit grungy and a wee bit heavy… I don’t know man! A bit Wildhearts and Therapy and a bit all over the place, in a good way!
What’s it like being a part of this scene at the minute? It seems like the NWOCR genre is encapsulating a bit of everything nowadays!
Yeah, I mean because the New Wave of Classic Rock is a fanpage on Facebook, if they like a band then you’ll be included in it, it doesn’t matter what you sound like. ‘Oh, you should check out this band, they’re great’ and suddenly you’re part of that scene. Whether you like it or not, and I don’t mean that in a bad way! It’s almost like this creation of this scene out of nowhere. It’s really good though because people are coming to gigs, and after Covid especially which we were all a bit worried about. But no, it’s been an amazing thing to be part of.
I mean you think about the grunge scene; there were load of bands that sounded fuck all like each other. Like The Gets and Pearl Jam and all these bands, nothing like each other. But they all kinda worked together. And it’s the same here. It means that we can play with bands like South of Salem or Twister or Ward XVI or Massive Wagons, all these that sound different but all fit together.
You’ve released a couple of singles this year, right?
Yes, our next single is also due I think the start of next year. We’re actually in the studio from Monday to record the next part of the album. Finishing that around January/February time. Releasing it hopefully May or June.
So I assume it’ll be touring for the rest of the year after that?
I really fuckin’ hope so! The stage we’re at at the minute is we’re doing a lot of support tours, because there’s less financial risk involved. However, if things start to spike by the summer, fingers crossed.
Any surprises from the new music? Anything a departure from what you’ve put out so far?
Not really. As we said earlier, there’s a few songs that are a bit punky, a few that are more grungy, some melodic stuff in there too. So nothing out of the ordinary. If you’re familiar with our stuff you’ll know what to expect.
We’ve kinda got our sound harnessed. And that’s what’s really good, is that we did our EP and that kinda took us one direction, but then we managed to harness our sound and go in a different one. We’ve got everything going at the minute and it’s working really well.
And do you have a dream tour line-up you’d love to be a part of?
Fuck man, I’d love to support Danko Jones, they’re one of my favourite bands. That’d be amazing! They just get on with it on stage, play three songs and then ‘hey, we’re Danko Jones’ and then bam, loads more music. I love them. To the extent that this year on Spotify, 4/5 top tracks were Danko Jones.
We also love the South of Salem guys, it’s so great to be playing with them. I’m sure some people would say like Aerosmith or Metallica or something, but for me it’s Danko Jones and South of Salem, that’s who I’d want!
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We were at Winter Rocks Festival last weekend (check out our review of the weekend here) and had the pleasure of chatting to Dallas of the amazing LA Maybe. Unfortunately the video and audio quality both suck as we were shooting in the smoking area, so I’ve painstakingly typed it all out, just for you! Check it out below!
So this is the first stop of the tour, right?
First stop of the tour, yeah. It was our first time out here at Call of the Wild earlier this year, did a little run then and now we’re back out! We’ll be here for most of December.
And have you seen any differences in playing here as opposed to the US?
Yeah, people seem to like us more over here! So we like it over here, we’ve had a blast. As far as rock fans, they’re rock fans, so we feel right at home!
And how did the whole UK shows comes about? I Know Raz (UPSTGD) got in touch?
Raz just discovered our album and then contacted us and we just kinda went from there. That would have probably been right before the album came out in 2021, so we were talking to him for about a year setting up that first time, and now we’re back. And it’s going really well!
And you guys just put out a single, right?
‘Down to Fight’, yeah! It came out when we were on the Kiss Cruise which was Octoberish. It’s gone well so far, the video was a lot of fun to make. It was crazy, we got to chainsaw through a couch on fire and all sort of stuff. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out.
And is it the start of another album or?
We’re gonna do singles, and it’ll lead up to an album! All the singles will be on the album and it started with this one! Probably be the end of next year for sure. We’re excited about that too!
Have you got much else planned for next year?
Yeah, we’ll be at home, hiding away money and figuring out where to spend it. Back here maybe or a tour at home. Fortunately in music there’s a lot of places your money can go these days. I don’t know if we’re going to come back here next year, it’d be awesome but I don’t think it’s on the cards, so to speak. But in 2024 I’m sure we’ll be back!
And you’ve started up a podcast, right?
We did, earlier this year! It’s called Your New Favourite Band. We’ve been highlighting bands we like as well as recap what we’ve been doing like the Kiss Cruise and stuff.
Oh yeah, how did that come about?
The Kiss Cruise, we actually won the contest for it! On there with Sebastien Bach and a bunch of other great names. It was super fun. A real once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully not just once though!
And speaking of, do you have a dream tour lineup you’d want to be a part of?
I mean I’ve always loved Guns N’Roses so that’d be fun! But then I don’t know how many years they have left in them. But that’d be a dream for sure! But also all the younger bands we’ve been playing with would be awesome. Dirty Honey, Black Crows, that’d be good. Any and all people!
And finally, what’s it like being adopted into the NWOCR scene?
Yeah, it’s really nice! It’s really vibrant over here. It feels really good to be back over here and be a part of this whole family of it all. It’s a lot of the same people which is all good.
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We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with rising leaders of the new grunge movement, Black Mirrors. Having already reviewed their most recent album (which you can find here) we were excited to talk to them about it! Check it out below!
Firstly, how would you describe your sound?
I would say it’s a mixture of a lot of different things. Like we love music from the 90s but in the 90s a lot of different genres just appeared. Look at bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, Soundgarden. Even bands from the stoner sound like Queens of the Stone Age. Rage Against the Machine as well! A lot of great bands just appeared at that time, and I’d say our style is influenced by all of these bands. Bands from the early 90s which we really really love.
And the album just came out, it seems to be going down well?
Yeah, we’re having some very positive feedback on it, it’s really cool to hear!
And what was the writing/recording process like? Did you get caught out in Covid?
Yeah. It was pretty special for us because we did everything remotely with our producer, since he wasn’t allowed to come to Europe, and we couldn’t go to the US. So we did everything remotely through Zoom and stream. And yeah, we actually wrote the songs during the lockdown because… we didn’t do anything else! So we thought yeah, let’s be creative. The best things we can do is music, you know. So we started to write songs. I started to write songs as well which is pretty different to the first record because most of the ideas came from Pierre.
So basically for this one I added some ideas, we worked on it with Pierre and we started to work on the songs with our producer with a dual acoustic/lead guitar and vocals. Then with the whole band and then in the studio together.
And is there a theme running through the album? Or is it more a story per track?
We didn’t think about it as like, let’s do a project like The Wall, like a rock opera. But the thing is it’s true that after a while it was kind of obvious that the album was about how we just change and destroy the earth. How we’re leaving this planet and how humans are just destroying everything. That’s why we chose this title. It has different levels of meanings. The first one is very obvious, like at some point we’ll all be dead, so let’s do something nice between now and that time.
But you could also think about it like all the human beings; if we continue to behave like we are doing now we might disappear.
And the last way is that looking at not just human beings but all the living things on the planet, we are just one. One big thing. And it’s something that we should start to understand as people, to be like we share the same thing and the same energy, and we should fight for all the living beings, not just ourselves.
I imagine it’s quite cathartic to work through some of these issues through song?
Yeah, it’s something that you want to do as an artist, I guess. It’s our own reflection, our own vision on how it is now. A song like ‘Ode to my Unborn Child’ is really really deep for me and personal. It’s the most personal song I’ve ever wrote. It was like, we are now at an age where we’re thinking if we want kids or not. The whole thing was like, do we want kids on this world? It’s a world that I’m angry at, and I’m angry at myself too to be part of this world and this system. It’s a bit difficult and I’m struggling to live with that, daily. So it’s like, do I want any kids to feel the same thing that I do. So this song was almost a mourning process for me.
I imagine you’re doing a tour off the back of the album?
Yeah! Nothing is announced yet because we’re waiting for a good opportunity. The thing is this post-Covid situation is kind of tricky, it’s not that easy, especially compared to three years before. But yeah, we have something on the way and we’ll announce it in the next few weeks.
Have you had an issues setting up the tour?
Well, we can definitely feel that it’s different than before lockdown. Especially with ticket sales; now people are waiting till the last minute to buy the ticket. Or you have to pick between a lot of shows that you want to go to.
Also, the price of gas. It’s really expensive now. If you tour with a van or a bus it’s a big, big difference. Multiplied by two even, now. It definitely effects bands like us!
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Hard/classic rock band The New Roses put out their much-acclaimed new album, Sweet Poison, last month (check out our review of it here). We managed to sit down with frontman Timmy Rough to talk all about it, from the writing process to their touring plans. Check it out below!
You just put out the new album. What was it like to record it?
Yeah. So, every song on the record actually came to life during the lockdowns. The very first song sounded really terrible because we were dealing with all the frustration, it was really sad stuff. Nobody felt anything listening to them. We didn’t feel like making an album back then, all the material just made it worse.
So, I wrote a song called ‘The Usual Suspects’ and after that everyone was really engaged and really wanted to do something. We had the right motivation and vibe for the record. After that I wrote maybe 60 songs and we took the time and hooked it down to the last 11 songs that were lasting. Then we took all them and recorded them.
And what about those other 49 songs? Do you think they’ll ever see the light of day?
Yeah, maybe! You know a lot of them are just shit because for every good song I write I write maybe two or three shitty songs. But a couple of them are really good! They were a little too close to the new record though and we don’t want that. Maybe we’ll take them out when there’s enough space between the new stuff and the Nothing But Wild record and we can just blend them in, I guess.
You said last time we talked that it was the first time you’d written with the rest of the band. How was that compared to writing on your own?
It was way more fun. Still, the initial ideas come from me but this time everybody participated a lot more than we used to do it. Maybe that’s maybe because we had a bit more time; we could try things out and go back and forth a little. I guess you hear that on the record, everybody’s input. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there that I wouldn’t have come up with myself!
Is there a main inspiration or sound to the album?
We recorded at the same studio that we recorded all our other records in, so it’s just a little improvement but the same foundation of our sound. Every record we make we’re scratching stuff away, carving it away. You try to distil it down to a point where there’s just 100% necessary stuff. This record is really the most we’ve done that. It’s pretty much exactly what we play live. It was much easier to bring those songs to the stage this time because most of the songs are just two guitars, two vocals, bass and drums.
The other inspiration, the main topic, was not to bitch. Not to complain or take the victim role. We wanted to stand up for ourselves, stand up for our audience and give them a good time and demonstrate some strength and some faith. That was the main goal for the record.
Have you got any highlights or stories from making the album?
You know at first it was very difficult because we couldn’t get into the rehearsal room together. We always had to send tracks around and everybody recorded their stuff at home. We’d always meet in Skype or Zoom meetings and talk about the recordings. At first it was really weird because the songs were coming to life but we weren’t playing together. But when it finally did it was really weird. We all knew the songs so well, but we’d never played them together. But when it happened, and fortunately it did happen before we went to the studio, so in the end we recorded in the studio like we used to do.
That was very fortunate for us, we were afraid we would have to record and create the whole record without even once being together. But that didn’t happen. So, when we finally got together it felt really energetic and really cool to get the stuff recorded together.
And I assume you have a big tour planned off the back of it? There are some UK dates, right?
Yes sir! It’s gonna be December. London on the 1st, Cardiff on the 2nd and Sheffield on the 3rd. Winter Rocks festival is the Sheffield date. I’m really looking forward to it, it’s been a long time. I think late in the Covid year we did a festival in the UK, we did Call of the Wild, so it’s been too long! It’s gonna be fantastic!
And I assume there’ll be a bit more of an expansive tour coming in the new year?
Yeah! So, at the moment we’re on the German tour and we’re playing all our important German cities. Then after that we’re in the UK. Early next year we’ll be in France and then we’ll kinda see how winter goes and see how the Covid thing is gonna be. As soon as we’ve got a bit better of a vision we’re gonna be all over the place!
I imagine there’ll still be a hint of writing going on, too?
Hell yeah, that’s what I do. I’ve got my notebook, my scratch book with me. I keep on collecting stuff right away. It’s what I always do. When touring is done I’ll take everything out and lock myself up in a small room and I go through everything I wrote down and start making songs out of that nonesense!
A true legend of the classic rock scene after playing with the likes of Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Journey and many more, Marco Mendoza returned to his solo project earlier this year, bringing out an album and announcing an extensive tour. Taking along the phenomenal Bad Actress along with him on the UK leg of the tour, it was set to be a fantastic couple of weeks! We managed to head along to Chesterfield’s legendary Real Time Live last night to catch the show in person and chat to both bands. Check out what we thought below!
After a slightly late start, Bad Actress take to the stage to much fan-fair. And, to put it simply, they tear the stage a new one. I’ve not seen a band so young have such stage presence, attitude and energy for a long time. In fact, scratch that. I haven’t seen a band of ANY age have this much of those qualities in a long time. The band tour that stage up from the moment they got on it to the moment they left. That sort of performance seems reserved for just a few medium sized bands nowadays, so to see it in such an intimate venue from a younger band is fantastic.
They ripped through a full set of their own glam/sleaze tracks, that a lot of the audience seemed to know and enjoy. Every member of the band shone, from the tight rhythm section to Vinnie’s amazing vocals to the frankly insane leads from Chick. All of their talent blends well into their combined songwriting, too. Tracks like ‘Outta My Head’ and ‘High-Speed Heartbreak’ are firm fan favourites and sound if anything better live than they do on track. These guys are gonna be MASSIVE in the very near future, and I can’t wait to see them play to packed out, huge crowds.
When asked about what being on the tour with Marco was like, Chick and Lui had this to say:
‘It’s been really good actually. He’s a really supportive guy. This is his second time taking us out. We’ve got him in the van actually for this tour! We just brought ourselves a new van back in July and kitted it out with like seats and a table. It’s got nine seats so we’ve got all of his three in too. It’s all good craic getting to know each other!We had to come over from Swansea this morning; it was a long drive but it was good fun!‘.
Then the main man himself took to the stage. The anticipation in the air was palpable, and as soon as Marco Mendoza and his band ripped into the first few notes of the lead single of New Direction, ‘Take it to the Limit’, everyone cut loose. From the crowd singing along and dancing to the band’s high energy, the whole room kept the buzz high.
From there, Marco and co ripped through his back catalogue, playing the very best of his solo stuff, alongside a few cheeky highlights from his time in Thin Lizzy and other covers. Whether it was Thin Lizzy, Stevie Wonder or even Plastic Ono, all were fantastic. Heck, bringing Vinnie and Chick out at the end to jam ‘Boys are Back in Town’ with them was amazing, and went down a storm. However, his own material arguably went down even better. Tracks like ‘New Direction’, ‘Sue is on the Run’ and ‘Sweetest Emotion’ were clear crowd favourites, even more so than some of the Lizzy classics.
Much like Bad Actress, each of the three members got to show off their incredible talents for their instruments, too. Honestly, this felt like a set for the musicians in the audience. Between the extended instrumental parts in a few songs, drum and bass solos and even some beatboxing/scatting from Marco, there was plenty to love even when there were no vocals at play.
When talking about his recent approach to touring, Marco had some very candid words to say:
‘We’re out there making a difference. What’s going on now with the state of mind of the fans and the music industry alike, worldwide, is that people are very apprehensive, very concerned. They really think about it twice, buying that ticket, going outto that show or supporting that venue. I’m here as a little reminder to say that if we don’t make a difference, it’ll all go. We’ve seen it, the past year or two, some of my favourite venues here and in LA and New York and everywhere, they’re disappearing.
‘So, something to think about folks; please make an effort to show up when your local bands are playing, national or international, and support the local venues. Without them, there’s no place to play! Whenever you can, make a difference‘.
So, as I’m sure you can tell, it was one hell of a gig. Both bands are on a roll currently, both live and on track. They still have plenty of stops left on the tour, too, so if you can make it down to any to them I would very much urge you to do so. You won’t be disappointed!
Alt rock singer/songwriter Burridge. recently released her second EP, Here Are Your Words (read our review of ithere). We got to speak to her about it, alongside her plans for the future. Check it out down below!
How would you describe your sound?
I would say it’s just generic angry girl rock. I don’t know. I’ve always struggled with… you know when people are like ‘oh, my band is this genre’, I don’t really understand strict genres. A lot of the music I listen to crosses over so many genres. Or maybe I’ve just not got a very good ear for them! But yeah, I’d just say it’s generic angry girl rock.
The EP came out recently, it seems to have gone down well?
I think so! I’ve had some good feedback and some good streaming numbers which is apparently what it’s all about nowadays! So yeah, I think it’s gone down okay!
And is there a specific story running through it?
So there kind of is and isn’t. There wasn’t meant to be. But my first EP, if you listen to it from start to finish, is kind of a journey from me being early 20s, discovering the world and realising God, this is an experience. Then with this EP I’ve not released in order of when I wrote the songs, but the whole thing is me getting to grips with ‘okay, life is not always great, how are we going to work it out’. So, there is a story, but it isn’t linear, it’s kind of everywhere. But then so is life, so it’s fine!
And do you use session players, I assume?
So my producer, Sean Kennedy, plays everything. He’s a genius. I can’t ever thank him enough. I’ve worked with him since I was 22, so like nine years. I’ll go in and Ill hum a tune or I’ll take my guitar and I’ll play something really badly and sing along and he’ll be like ‘no, that’s great, we can make a song out of it’. He’d just pick up his guitar and he just gets me, he gets exactly what I want things to sound like.
But I do have a full live band now. We are a band so we’re gonna start writing together. Kieran, my guitar player, is an incredible songwriter so we’re gonna start. Maybe the next EP or album or whatever we’re going to do, we’ll do it together instead of just me. I’m excited to do that as I’ve never done any co-writing before.
Are you aiming for an album next or EP or more singles?
I don’t know. I never like to force writing. I’ve never sat down and been like ‘I need to write a song because I’m recording next week’. It’s always ‘I’ve written a song, lets get it recorded’. If we start writing stuff together and suddenly we come up with a huge album worth of songs that we feel is great and has out sound then lets do it.
But I’m quite happy to just keep dropping singles every now and then. That way it keeps you relevant. Unless you’re like, Fleetwood Mac where you can disappear for 10 years and then suddenly drop an album. Wehn you’re at my stage you’ve just got to keep as relevant as possible so singles might be the way forward. Maybe we’ll then compile them all onto an album. But we’ll see, you never know what can happen in this industry. It could all change overnight! It’s just about being reactive and proactive.
Do you have a general plan for the next 5 years? Any goals?
I have like realistic goals, and then I have huge goals. I would love to record with Dave Grohl, that’s my pinnacle. But I just want to go out and play as many shows as possible. Now that I have a band and I don’t have to just do acoustic shows, I just want to play everywhere, anywhere that will have me. What I want is to play all the really dirty, small venues that no one else wants to play. I thrive off it, I love it! Like wow this is gross, let’s do it! It’s that like nothing to lose attitude where I can try new things, I can throw myself on the floor I can climb things, whatever. That’s what I want to do anywhere, I don’t mind if it’s central London or a tiny village in North Wales, let’s go!
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Derby Alt Fest is the biggest metal festival to hit Derby city in maybe ever, we just had to cover it, right? Go and check out the line-up now if you haven’t already, it’s insane. Liam has put on one hell of a bill for everyone this year at the famous, already nearing packed-out Hairy Dog, and we’re here to give you a taste of what to expect!
‘Thrash Thursday’, as it has been dubbed, plays host to six of the very best in the genre in the UK scene right now. From Elyrean, Helgrind and our good friends at Thrasherwolf, it’s a damn strong opening to the day and the festival. We managed to get a few words from the frontman of the latter band, sharing his thoughts on the festival:
“Hi wolvers! Dan from Thrasherwolf here! Just to say we can’t wait to bring the pack down to ALT FEST and get some good old-fashioned violence started! We hope you’re ready for the carnage that night because you won’t be leaving the same way you came in! “
The evening then continues on its brutal ways with All Consumed and Hellfekted. Both are fantastic bands which you have to see live to get the full brunt of their energy and force. Then we reach the headliner of the evening, the mighty Cage Fight. The band have gone from strength to strength in the last few months since dropping their monster of a debut album, and this writer in particular cannot wait to be in the pit for them! They’re all worth the price of admission alone, and we still have two days left!
The more alternative day on the wonderfully odd Dacara. The band bring their big hooks and huge guitar tones to the Dog to open up a stellar day of music. Medusa Touch bring an air of old-school, NWOBHM sound to the proceedings while WarlocK A.D. bring the power metal in spectacular fashion.
Then we reach possibly the most interesting band on the line-up, Luna Kiss. They are the lightest on the bill by quite a margin, being the only real rock band on the bill. Despite that, the band seem more than excited to be playing:
“Wil here from Luna Kiss. We’re stoked to be playing on the bill at this years Alt festival at the Hairy Dog. We’ve got a beast of a set planned and it’s going to be a good ’en’”
They are going to be a band not to be missed, and I’m curious to see how the crowd will react!
The insane local boys, Raised by Owls, are up afterwards, sharing their own brand of craziness and heaviness with the attendees. The guys have been going years at this point and have perfectly honed their craft with a show that should definitely not be missed.
Then we reach the awesome headliners of the evening, the death metal legends at this point themselves, Evil Scarecrow. The comedic, heavy band are possibly the biggest to ever grace the Alt Fest stage, and always bring with them one hell of a stage show to entertain their audience with. Not to mention, their songs are incredible, and they are all at the top of the game at what they do.
We managed to get a few words from the band too about their sure to be legendary set:
“Evil Scarecrow are so excited to be back at The Hairy Dog for the first time in a long time and looking forward to be returning back since the big room was opened. So get them crab claws, karate moves and robotic dancing at the ready as we look forward to seeing you all on the Friday night!”
The final day is packed full of incredible bands, with a whole afternoon and evening of great music. OATHS bring the heavy straight away with some great deathcore while Past the Fall are set to follow them with their own brand of brutality. The crushing heaviness continues with the likes of Beyond Extinction, Worship the Sacrifice and Hounds before Abduction give us a more black metal tint.
Inhuman Nature bring it back to the thrash sound again but with an extreme edge while Monasteries look to blast everyone away with their heaviness and insane talent. Fairly local band The Five Hundred return to blow the roof off the Dog as they always do, while crowd favourites Osiah pile on more insane brutality to the proceedings.
Then we reach the headliner and final band of the festival, the incredible Martyr Defiled. What more could you ask for? They are the perfect way to close out a heavy festival. Huge, heavy, at the top of their game and ready to put on an insane show to a roaring crowd. This is going to be a fantastic set, I’m sure, and one that I cannot wait to see!
We also managed to get a quick interview with the organiser and Unearthed main-man Liam about the festival, which you can check out below!
How did you decide on the bands?
Alt fest has always been as alternative as I can make it. It used to be a lot more difficult when I had just one day to smash as many genres as we could into it but now, we can really experiment. For this year I’ve based it on Thrash Thursday, Alternative Friday, and Heavy Saturday, so then I built it around that model.
How long does it take to plan an event like this and how many people are involved?
Planning pretty much starts when the previous year finishes, you look at what went well and what might have not and then begin building from there, looking at potential headliners and then opening applications and seeing who’s about. I have to shout out my guy Harry who I run Unearthed with, he’s not only helped structure the line up with me this year but also done all the graphics internally, and also everyone at The Hairy Dog, for continuing to allow me to put as many bands as physically possible on over the weekend and looking after us all.
What’s the history of Derby Alt Fest?
I actually started it as a standalone in 2016 to go along with my old bands EP release show, and it really just spiralled from that. I’ve tried to make it bigger and better every year and to not only bring bands back who have become fest favourites but also bring bigger bands who have never played. Were now in the sixth year of the event.
What can we expect at the festival this year?
Every day is going to be different. The style of bands make the shows great as standalones as well as forming into the three-day weekend. Thursday we have Cage Fight who are just rising at a rapid rate, and after just smashing Bloodstock second stage I can’t wait to see them destroy the Dog. Friday really is mental thinking about it, EVIL SCARECROW. I’ve seen this band on huge stages in the past and it’s going to be an incredible show. The Saturday is just going to be flat out brutal from start to finish. Headlined by Martyr Defiled.