Check out all of today’s new releases in the music world! Continue reading
The popular Bourbon & Beyond Festival was forced to cancel day two of the festival headlined by Sting and Robert Plant among others due to terrible weather that affected the fairgrounds, in an effort to keep fans and artists safe. Held at Champions Park in Louisville, KY, also the home of next weekend’s massive Louder Than Life fest, which at this point is not in danger of interruption or cancellation right now. The fest had no choice, but to do this and considering the disappointment of ffans, they have done a great job offering refunds or partial refunds whenever possbile. The festival made a post to their social media and also informed ticket goers about refunds via email. This was on the heels of the announcement that the fest is expanding in 2019 to be even bigger. Continue reading
August 2018 saw the lives and times of UK bluesy rockers Massive Wagons change, perhaps irreversibly, as hot on the heels of a headline performance at SOS Festival that impressed punters and Ghost Cult alike, their fourth album Full Nelson not only hit the racks, but mounted a serious, and unexpected for the band, assault on the UK album charts, achieving a truly impressive week one position of #16.
With the band experiencing a step up in profile in the run-up to release, guitarist and founding member Adam Thistlethwaite took time out to shoot the breeze with Steve Tovey. Continue reading
UK rock band Massive Wagons will release their new album Full Nelson on August 10th via Earache Records. The band will tour throughout the UK and Europe in 2018, and already have performances confirmed at Download Festival, Camden Rocks, Steelhouse, Boomtown and a sold-out special guest show with Blackberry Smoke – with more to be announced. Continue reading
Last’s year’s debut of Bourbon And Beyond, a weekend celebrating music, classic spirits, southern cuisine and life was a huge hit. This year it’s back on Saturday, September 22 And Sunday, September 23 with another killer lineup of bands, the best bourbon crafters in the land and more. Lenny Kravitz, Sting, John Mayer, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Counting Crows, David Byrne, Sheryl Crow, Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!, Magpie Salute (featuring members of The Black Crowes), Kaleo, Gov’t Mule, Keb’ Mo’, Blackberry Smoke and more. Tickets on sale on 4/20 at the link below.
The final day of a festival is often filled with many emotions: a wonderful weekend sadly coming to an end; another day spent celebrating brilliant innovative and life affirming music; hours spent trying to dry your tent out… So it again proved with Sunday at Download.
Leaden skies greet the hordes either nursing hangovers of epic proportions or gathering their belongings for the trudge back to cars and the dreaded long trip home. It’s cold on the field so a bit of warming up is required. Bacon rolls and coffee do part of the job but Dead Daisies do the rest in a punchy late morning slot that has a much bigger crowd than perhaps even they were expecting. Dead Daisies inhabit that strange world where it is perpetually 1986, eternally sun-soaked California and every band is the last gang in town, riding steel horses into sunsets or the arms of star crossed maidens. As you have probably guessed, I thought it was terrific and an object lesson in how to warm up a crowd.
Sweden’s h.e.a.t. have gathered plenty of plaudits for their two albums of 80’s inspired rock and from this performance it’s easy to see why – they are pumped full of energy and chutzpah and have a genuine love of big tunes and even bigger riffs. It may not be the most original sound of the day but it does the job very nicely indeed. Finland’s Von Hertzen Brothers finish the morning off in predictably brilliant fashion with vocalist Mikko Von Hertzen channelling his best John Travolta via a natty white suit that he does well not to get covered in the ubiquitous festival mud. The VHB brand of rock is so packed full of intelligence and hummable tunes, particularly the peerless ‘Flowers and Rust’, it does make you scratch your head as to why these guys aren’t absolutely massive but their time will come…..Please make it so.
Backyard Babies’ raucous and efficient cock rock gives way to the studied and equally efficient metal of Mark Tremonti who does Alter Bridge without the tunes (if you’re not a convert) and Alter Bridge with added metal (if you are). I’m in the latter camp, as are most of an appreciative if slightly wet crowd on the main stage. The new songs from his second album, Cauterize seem to stand up equally well with the more familiar tunes from All I Was (both Fret12) too. Boxes ticked, job done.
Blackberry Smoke are the perfect band for a warm sunset, cold beers and a barbecue, so the presence of rain, wind, rain and some more rain probably didn’t help their cause but I found their performance compelling in an insouciant and entirely charming way. Billy Idol, by contrast, is a bit of a man for all seasons and you can tell why: he has an arsenal of hits that most bands would give their right arm for. You have to pinch yourself that this is 2015 and not 1985 but Idol turns in an effortless performance of crowd pleasers that you know and love- of course there’s ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Rebel Yell’ but it’s ‘Flesh for Fantasy’ and ‘Eyes Without a Face’ that are the standout tunes. Idol has this look of a man who won the lottery, the football pools and the EuroMillions over one weekend – he simply cannot quite believe that he is still the draw that he is – and, even more brilliant, no one in the crowd seems to begrudge him one iota of his considerable success. Bless him.
In much the same way that people gripe about Cavalera Conspiracy and how it’s not the REAL Sepultura (yawn, boring, get over it) so there is a similar constituency that seems to surround former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash and his latest incarnation with Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge. Honestly, I don’t know what the problem is: what’s not to love about an artist playing a blinding set of classic song after classic song peppered with huge tune after huge tune from his latest solo records? I tell you what’s not to love: nothing. Slash clearly writes mega tunes in his sleep and his set is one hour of aural bliss. The 55,000 or so on the main field lap it up like a horde of very thirsty Pavlovian dogs. And rightly so.
Likewise, the same old situation (song pun entirely intended) for LA’s Motley Crue. Crue, midway through a thoroughly deserved and valedictory world tour to say farewell are another act that many can’t seem to wait to sneer at. “It would be better if Vince Neil could sing better”- kids, Vince Neil hasn’t been able to sing since 1981. This isn’t the point at all. Crue are about the glamour, the sleaze, the rock, the roll, the girls, girls, girls. They bring a show that is part rock opera, part vaudeville, all fire and brimstone. Of course they are absurd and ridiculous- THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. It is absolutely silly and absolutely brilliant- all at the same time.
And so we come, finally, inexorably, to the self-styled hottest band in the world, Kiss. Arriving on site in a fully badged up Kiss-copter, the New York quartet turn this corner of a foreign field into a veritable circus of pomp, circumstance and old style rock n roll. There are stadium rock shows and then there is a Kiss show. There isn’t one second that passes by in this blistering set where there isn’t something going on – fireworks, drum risers, zip wires, crowd singalongs, flame throwing, blood vomiting all in glorious technicolour and all set to a soundtrack that you know and love. As an end to the best music festival I know, it is both fitting and invigorating.
I’ve booked my place for next year already.
Blackberry Smoke are starting their summer tour in Europe tonight, including some impressive festival slots at Sweden Rocks Festival and Download Festival in The UK. Their appearance at Download festival will see the band take the stage alongside such names as. KISS, Mötley Crüe and Slash. A second European leg commences in October. Blackberry Smoke is touring behind their Brendan O’Brien (AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden) produced ‘Holding All The Roses’ (Rounder Records) album which dropped in February.
Blackberry Smoke tour dates:
Jun 04 Amager Bio – Copenhagen, DK
Jun 05 Sweden Rocks Festival – Solvesborg, CH
Jun 06 Rockerfeller – Oslo, NO
Jun 09 Hedon – Zwolle, NL
Jun 10 Muziekodroom – Hasselt, BE
Jun 12 Liquid Room – Edinburgh, UK
Jun 13 Garage – Aberdeen, UK
Jun 14 Download Festival- Derbyshire, UK
Oct 17 Sala Arena – Madrid, SP
Oct 18 Bikini – Barcelona, SP
Oct 20 Trabendo – Paris, FR
Oct 22 Alcatraz – Milan, IT
Oct 23 Dynamo- Zurich, SW
Oct 24 Flex- Vienna, AT
Oct 26 CClub – Berlin, DE
Oct 27 Gruenspan – Hamburg, DE
Oct 29 Debaser Medis – Stockholm, SE
Oct 30 Mejeriet – Lund, SE
Nov 01 Paradiso- Amsterdam, NL