Will Preston

Music

A haircut and a crystal meth habit later…

by on Feb.12, 2012, under Albums, Music, Review

Hair metal is the most laughed at genre in music history. Even skiffle has maintained more dignity. Whilst it’s always argued which band started what, Van Halen were often credited as the forefathers of hair metal craze. Bringing to light one of the most influential guitarists who could ever abuse his fingers, the band are an icon for frantic rock solos, athletic stage presence and enough spandex to gift wrap a whale.

Nothing says old like wearing sunglasses indoors

But 6 years into their fame, they reached their peak and demise with golden haired David lee Roth leaving the group, only to be replaced with red-obsessed rocker Sammy Hagar. Van Halen slowly descended into sounding less like the band that started it, to sounding more like the bands that copied them. The 1998 album Van Halen III was the final straw. Not even Extreme’s Gary Cherone could save the band from itself.

Like a carrot on a string to a donkey, fans were led in false hope as constant rumours of reforming with Roth filled the circles. Despite a few fleeting appearances of the Hagar line up together with the eventual exile of Michael Antony, there was still hope for the golden days of the early 80’s to return. When Diamond Dave cut off his thinning hair and Eddie’s teenage son stepped into the 4 string role, this same hope was still strong.

Back in the day

Last month saw the release of the band’s new single Tattoo, a rumoured rehash of a previously unreleased song from the bands prehistoric days. First impressions of the song was the same as any other group from 30 years ago: they’re long passed it. After the appallingly dull Final Frontier by Iron Maiden and Gun N’ Roses long overdue Chinese Democracy, nobody was really expecting another MTV-era group to pull it out the bag after storing it away for so long. The new album, A Different Kind of Truth, would need to be an effective apology for the last 2 decades.

The video didn’t help that much either. Eddie is looking just about healthy after a long bout with crystal meth, Alex Van Halen resembles the ghost of drumming future, David still clings to his cool rather well, and Wolfgang Van Halen seems overwhelmed to be there. No jumping. No crazy poses. The band is showing it’s age and making the lesson about growing old taste bitter. But the song slowly grows, providing you just listen and don’t watch. It’s a steady beat number with everything in the right place. Dave’s lyrics still feel as abstract as ever, but you slowly decrypt his nonsense behind it.

Without warning A Different Kind of Truth reaches back into it’s glory days like the last 30 years never happened. Suddenly, the hard rock sound of Fair Warning and Van Halen I jump out. She’s The Woman, You And Your Blues, and China Town provide the soundtrack to what must be retro tour of the bands early days. But one small problem lies. Once you get to the chorus of You And Your Blues, the vocal harmony reminds you of the angelic voice the band had. They almost have that, but without Anthony screaming his ultra high tones against the rest of the band, the chorus loses a vocal range that makes you feel like someone is still being missed.

Flat caps and dungarees for the older gentleman

As soon as Bullethead thunders in, this thought goes away and the bands range to break into a full fast force. From here on, the rest of the album continues its flawless routine of reuniting the bad long lost sound. Even the weirdness of some of the lesser known album tracks are relived. Towards the end of the album, the 1978 blues cover of Ice Cream Man gets its 2012 counterpart with Stay Frosty. Starting with a stripped down blues progression, the song explodes into an electrically charged rock anthem with blues beat still intact. You could almost say that this track is the band signing its name to win back your trust.

So after 10 years of water down Bon Jovi-esque pop number, with another 15 or so years of near obscurity, why have they waited for so long to bring the A material out at the end game? Has their punishment of fading away and growing old been the long overdue kick up the arse? Whatever it was, it’s a miracle. Van Halen are back.

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Dead Pinups EP

by on Oct.28, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

Click the picture to go to the bands site

Well my large clock is yelling to me that Halloween is this weekend. If all hallows eve is going to really go off without a hitch, you need some anthemic tunes that are going to define 2011’s darkest day. The ideal melding should include the dark metal of White Zombie, the rotting rawness of misfits, and perhaps spray some right old dirty rock out of your jugular whilst you’re looking for a bandage. Which brings me to this month’s newest act, Dead Pinups.

Lurking under your bed in Portsmouth, this frightening four-piece are the must have for anyone who knows how heavy rock should sound. I was convinced I could feel the leather after a minute in. Now that is scary. Mixing the repertoire of drink and drugs with stuff that makes you jump in the dark, there is nothing stopping you waving a severed arm in the air like you just don’t care. Bouncy, swaggering and just enough riffs to bury in a mass grave against UN regulations.

Without stopping to check the speed limit, Drone Zombie bashes through the wall of the EP as the opening track. Pounding with a creeping guitar riff. Bump in the Night feels more like a mosh in the pit. This one will possess people and have them chanting the chorus back at the band like the best dressed cult ritual you’ll ever see. Turning right at Serenade Boulevarde is Dancing Tonight, a headbanging declaration of filthy love. Finishing with a stunner is Facedown, a White Zombie-inspired track with unexpected jabs of Oingo Boingo.

Dead Pinups are the only thing you need to listen to whilst wearing leather and looking cool this month. Just remember to take a shower before, and preferably after; this is dirty rock.

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Chimaira – The Age of Hell

by on Oct.05, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

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It has been ten years since Chimaira’s first album screamed into existence and the band have just about perfected their heavy roar. The Age of Hell is the latest offering from Cleveland’s metalcore gathering and there is nothing light about this album.

On the whole, it’s a gritty and pounding affair with little call for calm. The title track bursts into the album like an epic doom anthem that draws you in. There are moments throughout of surprising guitar finesse. The track, Scapegoat, suddenly whips out a beautiful rush of Spanish guitar straight after a heavier than thou grindfest.

It’s also a pretty well produced affair, but you can tell that Chimaira have just about got their sound perfected. Not the most surprising album, but certainly not the dullest.

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The Interbeings – The Edge of Obscure

by on Sep.14, 2011, under Albums, Music, Review

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Like a supernova explosion, The Interbeing is a celestial force to be reckoned with. The debut self titled album plays like a mix between a charged up Tool and the soundtrack to the most brutal space opera epic yet to be released. Between bouts of driving hardcore metal, there’s enough synth based weirdness to keep your ears pricked up with surprise.

Opening with a quasi-prog cyberpunk intro, this band sound like the future of metal. As soon as Pulse within the Paradox launches off, it’s hard to tear yourself away. Each track keeps hitting harder and harder like a meteor shower made of lead titanium.

From the machine grinding intro to Fields of Grey to the awe inspiring doomsday cry of Swallowing White Light, there is never a dull moment. Add soaring melodies with the irregular drum patterns from Meshuggah and you have one of the finest first entries from a metal band in the last five years.

The Interbeing take you to the edge of obscure and launch you over it.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 10

by on Sep.01, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

Well it’s the final heat. Around 50 bands have tried their luck. Only a few have entered into the next stage. What happens to the rest? If they aren’t picked up as potential talent, they’re discarded like Paul Di Anno from Iron Maiden. Tonight’s heat was a weird mash from bog standard indie to avante garde mayhem.

Feuds

Not my favourite. As soon as the generic indie started, I knew I wasn’t going to dig this band. It wasn’t just the fact that the songs offered anything original; it just felt rough, unplanned and unfinished. The guitars were out of tune on the bits that counted and the singer was very hard to hear. As a set, it just went on and on with no hope of improvement. Even the band looked as if they felt the same as I did. If there was ever a soundtrack to purgatory, it would be Feuds playing on a loop for eternity.

CCAP

Fools and Scissors

The only time I’ve ever run full pelt to the front to see an unknown band was for CCAP. It wasn’t just the musical style that turned my head, it was the stage set up. How many bands have you seen lately where the lead guitarist uses a bow on a guitar that is attached to a workbench? How many bands have you seen play one long improvised wall of madness as their entire set? Needless to say, these guys were a bit of a niche act, but they were extremely talented. The drummer must have been jazz trained. At one point, the keyboardist started pouring water into a bucket whilst playing. Don’t ask me why he did this, I have no clue. CCAP are the most original and entertaining act I’ve seen in the last five years. There is no mystery why these guys won.

Fools and Scissors

These were another extremely young band, but with talent and a good direction. Fools and Scissors started with some floor shaking synth before bouncing into a bout of indie dance nonsense. The first song really held my attention, but the rest of the set was mostly hit and miss. The vocalist felt a bit inexperienced in places, but at some points, you could tell he is going to improve a lot. One thing that I found a little odd was the guitarist. At various points throughout their set, he was launch into some Van Halen-esque guitar tapping. Imagine The Automatic suddenly covering Hot For Teacher mid-song as that’s pretty much what happened. Fools and Scissors are an enjoyable new band who show a lot of promise.

The Rapids

Music To Drive Tanks To

Bursting on stage with a barrage of ear crippling riff hungry rock, I thought these guys would win by the crowd vote alone. Well tuned, well timed and tight enough to pierce a bullet proof vest. To compare sounds, it was like hearing early Offspring for the first time in ages. Not only was it fast and frantic, these guys decided to pull out some perfect vocal harmonies to ensure they had our undivided attention. I would bet my right buttock that these guys have been going for a couple of years at least. The Rapids play like they’re named and are an exciting band to watch live.

Music To Drive Tanks To

Clearly the oldest lot here, but they showed a lot of experience. Imagine if Kraftwerk and Massive Attack had a baby and made it conform slightly to mainstream music (try as hard as you can to imagine that!). That is pretty much what the result was with Music To Drive Tanks To. They were a very efficient three-piece with the drummer using an electronic drum kit about the size of a toddler. I have to say I really got into them. The only thing that let them down was the mid song banter which made them seem less cool than they set themselves up to be. I think the cold shoulder treatment could work a lot for these guys.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 7

by on Aug.22, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

Possibly one of the sunniest Sundays of the year. I came to the gig tonight with a glowing red face because I forgot to put on sun tan lotion, as usual. Lack of preparation was a theme for one of tonight’s bands, so I didn’t feel like I was completely alone. The results were very close and the crowd was very large throughout the rest of the night. It felt like it was the final, to be frank.

Join the Rising

Well, for the first band on, they didn’t sound too bad. Not that it was their sound they were playing. Think U2 covering The Cult in a shamelessly upbeat cookie cutter package that thinks it’s far more exciting than it actually is. Granted, the lead singer had a bit of confidence, talent and energy, but his demeanour was less of a rock star and more of a children’s entertainer trying too hard to appeal to the preteen demographic. This was made worse by too much talking in between songs. I’m all for the mid song chin wag, but half a minute later, I’m almost running up to the stage to shout into his ear to start playing; the irony of this being that I didn’t really like their music in the first place. It was pleasant and upbeat, but unoriginal yet dull at the same time. We’ll have to wait until Bono asks for their sound back before Join the Rising could look at going any further.

Citizen Unknown

Dead Man's Dance

These were most regular looking band of the evening. I would say they were regular sounding too, but that would be cruel. Living up to their name, the band entered the stage as quietly as possible in a doomed effort to not be seen. After more than enough second of awkward staring, they kicked in with some formulaic punky rock that was too pop to be punk, but too punk to be pop. From the back, the lead singer looked like a bizarre cross between Charlie Brooker and a darts player. The banter was a bit on the bizarre side; when introducing themselves, the lead singer claimed that the band was from Portsmouth, despite saying this in the most northern accent you can afford. Then he started giving an itinerary of what he plans to do later. I was bewildered, you can be sure of that. Citizen Unknown spent the rest of the set playing some rather samey numbers that started off well, but sounded like the last song they just played. Not the most enjoyable band of the evening, but not the least enjoyable band….

Dead Man’s Dance

These were the least enjoyable band of the evening. The compere didn’t even get a chance to introduce them before they snuck onto the stage and started playing. After roughly half a minute of sloppy by-the-numbers indie rubbish, they pulled the brakes and stalled the entire set due to the drummer snapping his only pair of sticks. No, seriously; that was the reason. I would have used that window to exit the stage in shame, but oh no, it carried on after the most cringing minute all week. There was nothing to rescue here at all. It was like I had just repaired a car made out of cardboard in order to drive to my own execution. Dead Man’s Dance could act as a stark warning to other would be bands about preparation, composition and how to avoid burying your chances at ever playing a gig again. Dead Man’s Dance?! Dead Man Walking, more like.

Guerilla Gorillia

The Founders Of

After seeing that shambles before them, these guys seemed like they would have won the evening. In terms of instrumentation, there was nothing really wrong apart from the lead guitarist suddenly sounding like he was in a different band, but this didn’t happen enough to collapse the set. There was also a cheeky bit of dual guitar harmonisation. The band must have seen my Thin Lizzy t shirt and wanted to impress me on the fly. There were other moments like this where they wanted to show off their talent, but it often felt out of place in their songs. Still, they sounded alright. The problem is that these guys are all very talented technically, but they need to make more catchy songs before they could get a lot more gigs in. The minute that Guerilla Gorilla pen a few hooky numbers, we’ll have a band worthy of regular support, and maybe even a headline gig in a few years.

The Founders Of

This is the third time I’ve seen these guys and they have improved a lot. Still not my bag, but very tight and energetic. They had that poppy ska sound that doesn’t use trumpets, with moments of Radio 1 rock slid in to please the average punter. And it worked; the crowd got going and were shouting for an encore by the end of the set. It was pretty obvious that most of the people there were TFO fans, and it wasn’t just the phalanx of TFO t shirts that gave this away. The only thing that lets them down is that no song really stands out from the set. This didn’t stop them from winning the evening, however.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 6

by on Aug.18, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

Mid week is a brave time to host a local gig. As well as it being close to the end of the month where money supplies are low, most people have work in the morning or kids to look after. At the beginning of this showcase night, it felt like the entire crowd could fit into a crumbling outhouse. But thankfully, a barrage of hooting punters poured in after the first band. Bit unfair on the first guys on, but then again, efficient self promotion is the bread and butter of breaking through.

Jaqunion

Possibly one of the hardest band names I’ve ever had to write down or pronounce. What does it mean anyway? Thankfully, the band were ultra quiet at the start of their set to allow me to ponder this name even more. That was their first problem; lack of banter and stage presence. I don’t want to lay into them for this, but it was cringingly awkward at times, like the lead singer had been unexpectedly teleported from his bathroom and was still getting used to the fact he was in a band. But that aside, he had a very good singing voice. It was possibly the best feature of the band. As a group they played very well, but the songs were a little mild. Kind of a like a pop indie song you play to lift you up from a bad mood. Some of their material kept me interested, despite being a bit poppy for my liking. Jaqunion are one to keep an eye on.

Cavern Club

Kizmit

Now this had to be the youngest looking band of the entire night. It would have had to have been their first gig judging by how they played and how much they got the crowd going – which was not very well, I’m afraid. Not only did they feel rather sloppy in places, the songs just failed to get me going. They felt half finished and you could see the parts that they forgot to paint over. It was almost like they were so eager to get a gig that they didn’t give themselves more time to sort themselves out. They wanted to sound like an indie band that uses a lot of weird syncopated beats, but came across as a trio of kids who were trying to run before they could walk. Maybe they should give themselves a few months before they hit the stage again.

The Harrassments

It was pretty evident from just before their set that this group of swaggering Arctic Monkey wannabe’s sold the most tickets for the evening. They were the most boisterous following I’ve ever seen at a showcase gig, and I saw a group of kids moshpitting to a Rage Against The Machine tribute act last year. The Harrassments played like they were on their 6th gig of the month. They had the confidence and the skill to make the crowd louder than they already were. Swagger would be the right term to use when describing the stage presence. They had the banter, they had the fans and they could write a good tune. The reason why this well played group didn’t win the competition? They were essentially an Arctic Monkey’s tribute band. Right down from the fast drum playing to the same chords used by the Radio 1 baiting indie plank spankers. These guys will go far as long as Arctic Monkeys stay in the charts.

Nomura

Nomura

I love it when a band has my attention from the start without acting like a gaggle of gits. Nomura calmly came on stage and exploded in a ball of crunchy rock. At first, I thought we had another tribute act on the go, but they started moving to an early 90’s sound. There were flecks of Led Zeppelin and Smash-era Offspring that almost turned them into an imitation, but they had a fresh take on it that set them apart from everyone else that evening. They were, by far, my favourite act of the evening and I cheered a little too loudly when they won. Nothing let them down during their set. They were very close to perfection. Stop what you’re doing right now and check them out.

Kizmit

Finished checking out Nomura? Good! Anyway, the last act of the evening fitted in with everyone else. Kizmit have been going for a while and they’re still playing as strong as ever. There sound is a bit too poppy for my liking, but it still had a good sound to it. After a while, the songs began to get a bit samey and I pretty much lost interest. There wasn’t much to look at on stage as it was just a crowd of well dressed guys standing still. Whether this was due to lack of space or lack of confidence, I couldn’t tell you. Kizmit are a well meaning band, but I think their sound is starting to show some serious crow feet.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 5

by on Aug.15, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

And so ends a four day booze and culture odyssey with the next heat in the age old tradition of the Wedgewood Rooms Showcase. I was promised a fair selection of dirty rock, but alas, I didn’t get the call in time to refit myself with some leather and long hair. The night went pretty smoothly and Martin Hoare’s burnt pizza served as mascot for the entire evening. At no point did I attempt to eat it. Neither did the following acts.

Platform Location

It’s always the young band that starts off the night. I have to say there was a bit of promise at the start with these guys, but after a minute in, my ears started to twitch. Another minute passed and I realised that the reaction I was having was due to a subtle mistake with Platform Location: the singer was slightly flat in places. It does sound like I’m picking away at a couple of nits, but it almost ruined a few pleasant sounding emo slash alternative numbers from being as best as they could have been. There were other moments where they were slightly out of time and the mid song banter seemed to have been abandoned. But I have oodles of respect for them for training up a last minute bassist, as they so proudly announced. A seemingly inexperienced and mildly pleasant band with some potential.

Grumpy Apples

Velvetine

Seriously, there should be a street named after this guy now. The most persistent man you’ll ever see wearing shorts and a tank top. Armed with a guitar and a foot drum, Grumpy Apples has always managed to produce more noise than a standard four piece. Belting out red raw blues to a gaggle of bewildered punters, there was no shame in this act whatsoever. All through the set, I kept wondering how thick the irony could be, and whether or not this was intended to be tongue in cheek. If this guy carries on any longer, a tank top wearing blues based cult will develop and I’ll be forced to talk sense everyone before they fulfil an apple based suicide ceremony…in Guildhall Square.

Velvetine

I got a red hot tip that there would be an Aussie style hard rock band on the cards for this evening, and I correctly guessed which one by name alone. Looking young enough to be ID’d at the bar, Velvetine toddled on to stage looking like a meek GCSE project, but ended up sounding like a top AC/DC tribute act. Ironically, that was their only downfall. Despite some ace sounding riffs performed almost perfectly, the whole thing was clichéd to the point that it was like hearing early Def Leppard playing in some kind of time warp. But in an endearing way, of course. The worst part of it was that, despite this blaring disadvantage, I couldn’t help but nod my head and get into their songs. After all this time trying to progress my music taste into the realms of absurdity and avant garde, I still have a raging soft spot for a bit of old school rock. Could someone please put these guys on again?

Forest Floors

Forest Floors

Within ten seconds, I had these guys summed up with a noise: an aroused gasp. I’m not into the whole powerful sounding emotional sound that modern alternative rock is saturated, but Forest Floors could have talked me into it without saying a word. They all looked like they had school in the morning, but played like they intended to come in late next morning. Not only did they play like a band that has been going for years, but they managed to swing over the hard to avoid pitfall of playing too many samey songs. I’m not kidding; each one still kept my attention going. They were obviously going to win by the time they finished their second song. I can really see these guys going far.

The Vortex Buzz

At first, I thought I wasn’t going to like these guys, but they started to warm up a fair bit after the first song rang out. A casual looking garage rock band that riffed their way through the set. They looked like the oldest band there, but played like they only just got together. They weren’t terrible, they just felt like they still needed to find their sound and build their stage presence. I still found myself jigging to a few songs before I realised that the riffs started to sound alike. They were still pretty good riffs, mind. Maybe with a bit more work and confidence, we’ll see an improved Vortex Buzz next year.

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EVOLUTION: A New Rock Culture Pt II

by on Aug.14, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

One day, the country will climb out of the recession. As the battered hand slaps down onto the ledge of the financial abyss it had just ascended, we’ll be allowed to have fun again without feeling guilty. Out of all the hedonistic luxuries that I’ll be entitled to, new gig nights in Pompey is one I’ll be looking forward to the most. We could get there sooner if we all pitch in and see more local bands, but that statement is a worn out platitude. So in brave times a new night is emerging at the Wedgewood Rooms and it deserved a few more punters, seeing as it was mostly top shelf acts and all for the price of a pint. Are times really that hard? Anyway, onto the bands.

Bare Your Scars

When a hard and heavy band are performing to a bare audience and still giving it 105%, it fills me with a sense of awkward respect. Despite poor numbers at the start of the night, Bare Your Scars were still playing like there were ten times as many people in the room. Late comers missed out on a slap up metal grill with enough angry vocals to fill up a death metal hospital. I’ve never seen a band so energetic whilst staring at a floor so empty. Some of the material started to blur into one long song, but with some fantastic rhythm and an aggressive stage presence, the guys managed to hold my attention for a good length of time. And considering that this really isn’t my sort of thing, the deserve a hard pat on the back. Think a young Pantera with a focus on bouncier beats. They deserve more than the first band slot, especially after the way they ploughed through the set. It was like watching a porn star in action, even though the cameras were off.

Freakpit

Picture courtesy of www.m4tography.co.uk

Costumes on stage are usually fun, even if the lead singer decide to go for the old clown phobia theme. Freakpit are a band who have enough dirt and raw to use, but need to focus on pimping out the riffage more and more. At times there was a soft Korn vibe going on, then all of a sudden a Motorhead-esque driving force would explode at my ears. Just when I was getting into this dish, the band snatch it away again like a fussy chef. Everyone on stage looked the part, but there seemed to be a slight lack of confidence that prevented them from enjoying their own songs. Also, there were moments where the band felt slightly out of time or the drums decided to stop for a bar or two. However, the lead singer did get into his clown guise very well and pretty much did the job. I really think that these guys should go a bit more psychobilly in the future. Don’t ask me why; just trust me on this one.

Kodiak Jack

Ah Kodiak Jack. Yet again, they haven’t let me down. Scroll back to my other reviews of them if you want. I’m fine to wait….still here? Fine! I’ll fill you in. Basically, if you like your 90’s alternative rock launched at you from a catapult; then done the rock helmet and spread your ears. Tight, well structured and not bad to look at either, these guys are a sure favourite for anyone with a pulse. I swear these guys have been going for a long while now as it bloody well shows. Nailing each song down perfectly whilst swaggering the living daylights out the stage. It’s top rock seepage! Think of Pearl Jam jamming with a stoned Stone Temple Pilots and you might be somewhere close. Please see these guys whilst you can still see them at criminally low prices. It’s only a matter of time, people!

Toxic Shock

Picture courtesy of www.m4tography.co.uk

Hooray! It’s dirty hair-ish metal. My favourite if I’m in the mood for some leather and denim strutting. Toxic Shock make the 80’s look slightly dignified, which can be an achievement in itself, I suppose. The songs have the right attitude, even if they sound a bit light in places. But if you’re up for a bit of no nonsense rock and roll with a whiff of cocaine, these guys do the line just fine. One niggle I had was with the lead singer being a bit too static. I mean the guy just looked the part and had the dress sense that I would commit war crimes to achieve, but most of the time, he was standing angrily and I felt there could have been a bit more movement. But that’s just me; if I smell out an old school rock band and the lead singer has not got a guitar strapped to him, I expect running, the splits and anything else that could cause a mild heart attack. Keep an eye on these guys, though. And I really do mean that.

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Wedgewood Rooms Showcase 2011 Heat 2

by on Aug.01, 2011, under Gigs, Music, Review

I got the call on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Some bands needed judging with a glaring eye and I had two of those. Glaring eyes that is. I put on my sexiest shirt and made my way down to the Wedgewood Rooms to sort out which band deserved to get into the next round of this grand fight to the death. To spoil the ending for everyone, this is the hardest heat I’ve ever judged. Out of the five bands, three of them deserved to get through to the next stage. The other two? Well, I’ll save that part of the story when I reach it. Or remember it. It’s already a hazy night. Onto the first band.

Observing The Ghost

Advertised as some kind of Radiohead-esque Placebo thingy, this was a very young band. Some of their sound came off very well, but they’re a young band. Looking at them on stage, the sense of mild awkwardness waved at your face like a large dangling trout. It didn’t affect the music too much, but it would appear that the vocalists didn’t do their warm up session for their voices before hand, so a lot of their warbling came out a tad flat. Shame. There seemed to be something alright going on here, even if it was rather dull. What started off as promising songs just didn’t go anywhere. It was like they found the first groove they could find and just stick with it for the next four minutes. Nice first attempt, but no biscuit!

Waking Charred

This was quoted as the band I should be listening to. And it was. It was post rock instrumental nonsense; the kind of nonsense I love. Have we found a winner? Well, not in this case, but will look into seeing them a lot more. One massive turd nearly block up their set in the form of a technical issue on the first song. The most infuriating part was that I knew they had a good sound, but it was being spoiled. But chuck a band in the deep end and sometimes they’ll come up swimming. Or drown horribly. Waking Charred torpedoed back with some fantastic post rock. Even if their sound was a bit mainstream for the genre, I would use this to break someone’s post rock hymen, if you will.

The Fall Of Arcadia

I’m sorry, but I burst out loud with girlish laughter when this hulking metal behemoth screamed onto stage. Was it the fact that it was a vast contrast in tone to the last two bands? Was it the fact that they were so heavy it was border lining on sharp parody? Or maybe it was the lead singer’s metal “Oinking” vocals that caused me to suddenly crack up under pressure. All this aside, they were a superb thrash act. By the time they were halfway through their set, it was clear that the previous two bands wouldn’t be winning. How can music from the Isle of Wight be that good?! Am I missing out on something by having the good luck to live on the mainland? In case you haven’t noticed, this band has been making me ask a lot of questions, which can only be a good sign. Tight as Christian’s anus and just as unforgiving.

We Are Traitors

And yet another band who pretty much wiped the floor over the previous few. Not that the last guys were bad, but as I said: There were too many good bands in this heat tonight. Just like the last band, my head turned instantly. I could have been facing the other way and I would have turned my head so much that I would have ended up with permanent damage. Their sound was like an extremely heavy metal brick, but with some of the catchiest riffs I’ve heard all week (and it’s been a pretty riff-tacular week). Visually, every member of the band was showing the energy needed for this level of metal. And they didn’t look half bad either, speaking as a heterosexual male. It’s no surprise that they came out as the winners. Heavy, riffy and sexy.

Filthy Ramirez

Put your shirt on. Put your shirt on. Put your shirt on now! PUT YOUR SHIRT ON! PUT YOUR SHIRT ON!!! FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!! PUT YOUR FUCKING SHIRT ON YOU FUCKING GINGER FUCK!!! I could stop the review there and I would have pretty much summed up the entire set of this awful band. The first song was just a dull instrumental played by some long haired pre-teen hairdo’s before some shirtless, pigeon-chested, faux-angry ginger twat bag ponced on stage and started ruining music. Forever. The rest of the set was the same god-fucking-awful song played over and over again until, to relieve monotony, the lead singer tried to start a fight with “those cunts at the back”, who just happened to be me and two other people judging the competition. I really hope they came to some physical harm after the night was over.

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