Up and coming rockers Palaye Royale has announced that they have had to move their upcoming sold-out show at Koko to Electric Brixton due to a temporary closure of Koko. The show takes place on 7 of October. Ticket holders will be notified via email of the new date and venue change. All tickets remain valid. A limited 100 extra tickets are available now at the link below. Continue reading
Camden Rocks will spread through London next month as two-hundred bands will play across twenty venues from June 2nd on to kick odd the summer Maxïmo Park, Public Image Limited (PiL), Twin Atlantic, Sikth, Mallory Knox, Hacktivist, Pop Will Eat Itself, The Professionals and Crazytown are among the bands confirmed and many more bands to be announced still. Continue reading
Corey Taylor released Live In London last Friday, and it’s pretty damn awesome. During this sold-out solo acoustic set, Corey performed several Slipknot and Stone Sour songs, as well as covers by the likes of Grateful Dead, R.E.M., Eagles, KISS, and The Cure. Today he’s made the entire release available to view at Thecoreytalor.com. Continue reading
Ghost are the sort of band that attract a huge diversity of fans, all with an intensity of support and admiration for the Swedish occult rockers and their penchant for matters Satanic and enormous, 70’s influenced tunes. Now deep into a tour that has seen them traverse the USA as well as mainland Europe in support of their critically acclaimed and warmly received third album, Meliora (Spinefarm) – Ghost Cult’s Album Of The Year for 2015 – this final show of 2015 had a real sense of occasion about it.
The sold out venue is heaving; literally and (in terms of audience anticipation) figuratively. Fellow Swedes Dead Soul provide a, ahem, lively opening. Their atmospheric blend of Nine Inch Nails industrial rock meeting Nick Cave and Johnny Cash in a darkened alley and agreeing to go for another round of drinks somewhere less than salubrious is a dark and delicious delight and the audience’s annoyance that their 30 or so minutes seems to be over in a flash, is palpable. Come back soon, gentlemen.
Ghost arrive as long lost heroes. The roar of approval for the purple robed Papa Emeritus III is as loud as it is warm. Ghost have, quietly but assiduously, built themselves an enviable canon of songs that are greeted with raucous and genuine affection. Much of the set is inevitably around the latest record which is all fine and dandy given that it’s one of the best of the past 12 months. ‘Mummy Dust’ has an added venom and sense of danger than is perhaps initially obvious on the album and is all the better for it. ‘Majesty’ reveals itself as one of the album’s tent-poles, layered and intoxicating. ‘He Is’ has become something of an instant classic, 1000 voices joining in unison around a song that seems destined to be this generation’s power ballad of choice. Never has the phrase Satanic Abba seemed more apposite. ‘From the Pinnacle to the Pit’ has one of the filthiest basslines that you’re likely to hear this or any other year and is greeted like some twenty year old classic rather than a new cut from a new album.
Ghost’s ability with melody has been well documented; live they have become a beguiling and compelling proposition. Anyone who harboured any doubts about whether they could cut it as a headliner or move out of the constrictions of simple novelty act should dispense them immediately. Ghost are intelligent, self-aware and self-deprecating in equal measure. They have evolved; they have a better sense of showmanship and audience interplay. Where early shows revolved around Papa shuffling around the stage simply dousing the audience with incense has now morphed into a full on rock show with The Nameless Ghouls losing the monks hoods and sporting very fetching demon masks and dominating the front, sides and back of the stage. ‘Year Zero’ has drama and danger in equal measure, ‘Guleh’ feels cathartic and invigorating. The old – and misplaced – adage that cover versions are never as good as originals has now been ground to (mummy) dust as the band’s cover of the Rory Erikkson song ‘If You have Ghosts’ amply demonstrates- this is now, unequivocally, their song. Closing track ‘Monstrance Clock’, arriving as assuredly as the morning sun, is valedictory.
I doubt whether Ghost actually intended this, but this show at the start of Christmas week was the capital’s alternative Christmas Evensong, such was the intensity of performance, the proliferation of ecclesiastical ritual and an overall ambience of rich, invigorating passion.
Stunning; absolutely stunning.
WORDS BY MAT DAVIES
PHOTOS BY GARY ALCOCK and SUSAN WALL
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These days the London borough Camden is mostly just a tourist trap; full of tourists, and overpriced beer. It is, however, still home to some quality venues, and is the perfect place to let Desertfest UK take over for a weekend of stoner rock in all its forms. Special thanks go out to Jessica Lotti Photography for sharing her images of the weekend with our readers.
Opening the proceedings over at the Electric Ballroom is Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan. Boasting some decent rock star shapes on stage, front man/guitarist Óskar Logi Ágústsson clearly has an affinity for the late 60s/early 70s, delivering a boogie-filled set full of riffs and jams Jimi Hendrix and Cream would be proud of. A nearly full Ballroom is bouncing long before their set is over.
Over at the Jazz Café’s Prog stage, London five-piece Sumer aren’t afraid to show off their love of Tool. Clearly a talented bunch with a talent for combining thick riffs, vocal melodies and subtle dynamics all into one crunching ball. Unfortunately, while they fill the stage with numbers there’s not a lot of stage presence. But their debut album, The Animal You Are, is well worth checking out if you like your post/progressive metal.
The Black Heart boasts not only the best range of beers and ales Desertfest has to offer, but also the sweatiest venue. A tightly packed and perspiration–drenched throng squeeze in for the excellently-named Jeremy Irons & The Ratgang Malibus. The Swedish quartet deal in retro-psychedelic stoner and deliver an enjoyable set of classic rock, but their secret weapon is the wailing vocals of Karl Apelmo. Not a million miles away from the Scorpion Child’s Aryn Jonathan Black, he lifts decent music to something a lot more impressive.
Next up are Ten Foot Wizard, who deliver one the best sets of the weekend. Sporting some glorious Hawaiian shirts, the Mancunians take an already hot and sweaty venue into even wetter territory with their blend of dirty, fuzzy riffs and good time rock’n’roll. The band clearly know how to have fun on stage and that translates into one of the liveliest crowds of the entire festival. Mixing riffs of Clutch and early Queens of the Stone Age with a dirty groove of Alabama ThunderPussy, chuck in some megaphones, Theremin solos and songs about tits, and you’ve got a winning combo. TFW are a hoot and far better than their (fairly decent) debut record Return to the Infinite suggests.
After such a party, returning to the cool and spacious Ballroom for Brant Bjork is something of a comedown. The set is full of quality tunes drawn mainly from his latest album, Black Power Flower, but the chilled out desert rock vibe, combined with a fairly static performance from Bjork – with his Low Desert Punk Band in tow – is kind of underwhelming. Bjork’s solo material is severely under-rated, but the former Kyuss drummer’s laid back style fails to really the get juices flowing.
Opening Sunday is Belgian psychedelic rockers Moaning Cities at The Purple Turtle. Sporting funky dance moves and the only sitar of the weekend, this Belgian outfit combine hypnotic atmospheres with 60s psychedelic pop and still manage to make a lot of noise. Trippy, intense, loud, and not a bad way to start the Sabbath.
Over at Koko, we’re treated with back-to-back instrumental bands with Karma in their name, but very different approaches. German four piece My Sleeping Karma do their best to create an atmosphere; employing eerie visuals [which unfortunately didn’t seem to be working right for much of the set] with soundscapes that create a nice audio-visual experience that’s easy to get lost in. It’s almost the opposite of Karma to Burn’s approach. The US power trio only deal in thunderous noise, punching their way through sonically crushing set that pounds your eardrums repeatedly for 60 minutes. There’s no subtly, but it is invigorating and gets and keeps the crowd’s attention throughout. This is how instrumentals bands should be done; Guitarist William Mecum is a one man riff machine that’s few on words but has stage swagger that makes up for the lack of verbatim, while drummer Evan Devine is an absolute powerhouse.
It’s not all quality however. Despite hailing from Hampshire, XII Boar really, really wish they were from the deep south of the US. The trio’s bland brand of cowboy metal is a concoction of groove, whiskey-soaked “YEAAAH!”s and unsubtly-recycled Pantera riffs. The kind of racket you’d expect at a keg party in a Bam Margera video, it’s really, really, really dumb fun at best, and a poor man’s Hellyeah at worst. The Underworld, meanwhile, has been wasted as stage dedicated to originally NWOBHM bands such as Quartz and Angel Witch along with a bunch of thinly-veiled tribute acts. Londoners Amulet fall unashamedly into the latter category. Sporting tight denim, bad moustaches and the Iron Maiden riff-book, Amulet definitely aren’t cool, but they clearly don’t care. An over-abundance of enthusiasm and a decent selection of riffs & solos ripped off from the likes of Maiden, Diamond Head and Angel Witch means by the end of the set it’s hard to dislike them. Painfully original, but harmless fun.
Back at the Purple Turtle, there’s a double bill of Doom. Despite some initial sound troubles, Sweden’s The Order of Israfel combine classic Black Sabbath-esque 70s doom with an almost Thin Lizzy-like appreciation of twin leads and guitar solos to create something evilly epic on a medieval scale. The Wounded Kings, by contrast are a bit of a let-down. Despite being chronically heavy on riffs, they’re surprisingly light on songs. They might be able to rattle the foundations of the building with the same kind of Earth shattering reverb as Electric Wizard, but vocalist George Birch is lost in the mix and things never really go as far as entertaining.
It wouldn’t be a proper stoner festival without the riffs of the mighty Matt Pike, and with Sleep he delivers spades of them. The stoner legends were under-appreciated during their original run but a rammed Koko goes crazy for ‘Dragonaut’, while new song ‘The Clarity’ get a rapturous response. More involved in their own playing than the audience, the band stomp through barely ten songs with no encore in an hour and a half set, but there no complaints. The likes of ‘DopeSmoker’ and ‘Holy Mountain’; manage to be both crushingly heavy, yet at the same time hypnotizing. An appropriate ending for a weekend of Black Sabbath-and-bong worshipping.
WORDS BY DAN SWINHOE
With Roadburn having just ended last weekend, the season for European music festivals is here Joining the ranks of it’s better known sister festival in Germany, Desertfest UK is fast becoming one of the best events in the world. The event will take place from April 24th-26th at stellar venues in London such as: The Electric Ballroom, Koko, The Underworld, The Black Heart, The Jazz Cafe and the Purple Turtle Especially if you pray to at the altar of the riff almighty, the subsonic tones of sludge and just a rocking good time in general, this fest is for you. The weekend passes are already sold-out, further proving the attraction these line-ups will bring.
Friday kicks things off in the early afternoon with up and comers Torpor leading off. Likely the best afternoon band of any day of the fest will be Floor at the Electric Ballroom. Following them will be The Atomic Bitchwax, and headliners Electric Wizard and the mighty Red Fang. The Underworld is host to grimmer acts such as Dopethrone, Agrimonia, Black Cobra, Minsk, and Noothgrush. Also not to be missed on Friday are comeback kings End of Level Boss. They are always super fun live!
Saturday has a super doom and sludge infection in the form of Vintage Caravan, Sex Swing, Pale Horse, Black Pyramid, Lo Pan, Anthromorph, Obake, Ten Foot Wizard, Hang the Bastard plus Brant Bjork And Low Desert Punks. EyeHateGod continues their return to Europe, promising another brutal set.
Adding to the awesomeness of Saturday is the fests first prog stage, led by Amplifier, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, I am The Morning, Landskap and others. This is really momentous for the fest and hopefully it becomes a regular thing in years to come.
Sunday will bring things to a boil with more underground bands Amulet, Quartz Cancer, Sallie, Witch Hazel, SSS, The Wounded Kings, and Angel Witch amongst many others. Of course the headliner Sleep might be half the draw for the weekend, as well as Ufomammut, Karma To Burn, and Acid King. With official after show every night of the fest, this promised to be a non-stop jamming party the whole time.