Monday, February 12, 2018

Fragile Things - Echo Chambers EP review

Releasing their first EP, Broken Sun in 2016, 4-piece UK rockers Fragile Things have gone from strength to strength building a solid fan base through gigging, and have just released their second EP Echo Chambers. I am pleased to report that it’s stunning!
Born out of Heavens Basement and Endless Mile, Fragile Things consists of Richie Hevanz performing astounding vocals, Mark Hanlon providing guitar, whilst bass and drums are driven by Steve Lathwell and Hugo Bowman. I first met vocalist Richie Hevanz when he was fronting Heaven’s Basement and I am so pleased that he is out showcasing his stellar vocal talent and performing again.

The guys merge heavy, rocking riffs with well-crafted lyrics containing messages that listeners can connect to. The EP features a punchy production across 5 excellent tracks, with the highlights being Adrenaline, Disappear and The Big Reveal.

Heard that catchy song Disappear on Planet Rock radio recently? Well, these are your guys! This song was so instant for me, I was hooked as soon as I heard it (as were many other listeners). It still has that Fragile Things sound and the stunning, distinctive vocals of Hevanz throughout, but there is something woven deeper into the track that I must admit I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it is the obvious heartfelt message within the lyrics. The one thing I would say, is just listen to it and you will understand. A true masterpiece.
Check out the very moving official video for Disappear

Adrenaline, for me comes across like the sequel to Disappear. It is perhaps slightly heavier but again carries a clear message of struggle through the lyrics. The uplifting chorus has you singing along in minutes and I’m fairly sure I had it on loop for what is longer than considered normal! Another exceptional track from these guys.

The Big Reveal takes the band back to their heavier roots. When I say heavy, I mean prepare yourself for a hurricane of guitar riffs and bass lines, with plenty of melody. It’s one of those songs that you just can’t resist headbanging to.
Check out the official video for The Big Reveal

This new release features modern melodic hard rock and ballads of the highest order. If you haven’t checked these guys out before, then what are you waiting for?! Not only has Disappear had substantial national radio airplay, the guys were also tipped as Planet Rock’s ones to watch recently. The band will be hitting the stage at the Winter’s End Festival this month. If you are lucky enough to be attending, then make sure you don’t miss the guys! A band with serious talent and potential, and a new EP of which they should be very proud. They may be Fragile Things but they sure rock hard!

Watch what the guys had to say when I chatted to them at the Amplified festival last Summer. 

Like the guys on Facebook:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Marco Mendoza keeping rock alive with new album and European tour!

Legendary rock bass player, Marco Mendoza (The Dead Daisies, ex Thin Lizzy, ex Whitesnake) is set to embark on a solo European tour in support of his forthcoming album, Viva La Rock. Viva La Rock is Mendoza's third album and available from March 2nd.
Don't miss Marco on tour!
Sadly, due to venue age restrictions I will not be making any of the dates on the tour, but I have seen one of his solo shows before and I can tell you that you wont be disappointed - grab your tickets fast!
Check out Marco's single, Viva La Rock (which has recently had frequent airplay on Planet Rock).
I can't wait to catch Marco again on tour with The Dead Daisies in April!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Disciples Of Babylon, The Rise And Fall Of Babylon - album review

Last summer I flagged up an EP from Hollywood rockers, Disciples Of Babylon, which featured a brilliant track called Karma. Since then the band have released their first album, The Rise and Fall of Babylon, and I am delighted to report it is even better.

Disciples of Babylon forge together classic and alternative rock, to create a modern sound that is full of melody and power. Imagine Shinedown jamming with the Foo Fighters, add in a touch of U2, and you will get the picture.

Formed in 2012, the band have really honed their songwriting and with GRAMMY award winner Andres Torres producing, it’s no surprise that the record sounds wonderful. There's a depth to the sound that allows the songs to jump out of the speakers. 

                                                        Watch the band in the studio

It’s a short album though, just seven songs but there are some real gems with a common theme about issues in society, heard throughout the lyrics. Freedom is a heavy opener, We Are The Ones a gorgeous melodic pop-rocker, whilst the riffs of Idiosyncrasies and first single Without You both include uplifting choruses.

One of my favourites, Simple Life, is a radio hit waiting to happen featuring clever guitar lines from Ramon Blanco as well as a great vocal performance from Eric Knight (who is excellent throughout the album).     

The band will hopefully be heading to Europe this year, and reports from the US suggest they are some act live. Be great to see the guys in the UK. Ones to watch for sure - check them out.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WinterStorm rock weekender review 2017

Tyketto - a highlight for me
 The brilliantly organised and attended rock weekender, WinterStorm took place in November for the second time. The event was the vision of one man from the area, Ian McCaig and saw Troon Concert Hall in Scotland, which overlooks a glorious beach taken over for a rock weekend. WinterStorm 2017 had a great atmosphere, an awesome bill and was a sellout. I was lucky enough to go last year too and both years have been a real success. The format of this family-friendly festival (it was great to see plenty of youngsters there!) was 9 bands on Friday and 11 on the Saturday. Here are my highlights.


Bigfoot delivered a set full of power and melody
Despite the early start, many people turned out to see Bigfoot. I recently reviewed their self-titled debut album and having seen the band a couple of years ago at the Steelhouse Festival in Wales, I was really looking forward to their slot. The guys powered through a brilliant set including tracks such as Freak Show with a hard yet melodic sound, to the glorious ballad, Forever Alone which sees singer, Antony Ellis shine.

Twin guitar duo Mick McCullagh and Sam Millar work so well together, delivering shredding riffs and tasteful solos. It was just a shame that as the guys were settling into the groove of their final song, The Fear, an unexpected pyrotechnic set the fire alarm off, causing the building to be evacuated. However the staff and crew dealt with the situation brilliantly, and everyone was soon back inside. Check out my interview with Mick and Sam.

Next up for me was Stone Broken. I had heard great things about these guys, and they've had an amazing year, so I was looking forward to seeing them live for the first time. 
Stone Broken got a great reaction from the WinterStorm audience
The crowd were certainly pleased to see them too, singing along throughout! The 4-piece rocked their way through a fabulous set, with a sound reminiscent of Black Stone Cherry. The highlight for me had to be the cracking, Wait For You which included some brilliant crowd participation which the band clearly loved! Stone Broken have an exciting time ahead - check out what Rich and Chris had to say just as they came off stage.

Due to interviewing commitments, I did not manage to catch all of Bernie Marsden's set, but I did get in just in time to hear the Whitesnake classics, with the legendary Neil Murray on bass!

Bernie Marsden, back onstage with Neil Murray
As you can imagine this had the crowd right onside with everyone singing along. In fact, the audience couldn't get enough of him, starting a chant to get him back on stage after the set came to an end. Due to a tight schedule, an encore wasn't possible, but Bernie seemed very humbled by the enthusiasm from the audience.

The band I was most excited to see was Tyketto. I have been a fan for ages, but saw them for the first time 3 years ago at the Steelhouse Festival and they blew me away.

Danny Vaughn was in fine form at WinterStorm
Their set was my highlight of the entire weekend. It was brilliant to hear songs from the latest album Reach, as well as Wings and Forever Young from the iconic Don't Come Easy album and everything in between!
The band were in brilliant form, and Danny Vaughn's vocals were astonishing as always! Guitarist, Chris Green did a marvellous job playing those wonderfully melodic guitar parts you hear on the original recordings. Check out my interview with Danny here.

Bringing the night to a close was Heavy Pettin' (reformed especially for the event) who's brief set went down a treat with the crowd. Day 1 - a big success!


Massive Wagons explode on to the stage at WinterStorm 
Massive Wagons have been building a great live reputation and the band delivered a set at WinterStorm full of energy and enthusiasm. Frontman Baz Mills was a blur, covering the whole stage and blasting the band through a set full of catchy, feelgood tracks such as Back To The Stack (a tribute to Rick Parfitt) and Tokyo, along with the heavier, Nails. They went down a treat and were a joy to watch. See what Baz had to say, when we spoke after the show.

The girls from the recently reformed Rock Goddess were next up. and hit the audience with their classic sound. I caught a word with the lovely Jody, Julie and Tracey after their set, check out our interview.

Another of my Winterstorm favourites had to be the brilliant Mason Hill. This young Scottish band made waves when they appeared at the festival last year. They returned with a new record deal in the bag, more confidence, and a big following.  

Mason Hill showed confidence and class
 There is something about this band that I love. Their sound is a great blend of classic hard, melodic rock with a modern feel. Their set included songs from their self-titled EP such as Now You See Me and Where I Belong (a personal favourite of mine) along with some brand new songs from their forthcoming debut album. Singer, Scott Taylor showcased his marvellous vocals whilst talented guitarist James Bird treated us to some wonderful solos (particularly impressive on Where I Belong), along with the rest of the band who were tremendous. Watch my interview with James, Craig and Marc here:

Dare delivered some of the best songs of the weekend 
DARE brought a wonderful contrast to the weekend, with some gorgeous melodic/AOR, and with a back catalogue like theirs, it's easy to play a set of great tunes!  It was fab to hear tracks such as Abandon and Into The Fire from the classic Out Of The Silence album. Darren Wharton's vocals sounded brilliant and Vinny Burns delivered those gloriously melodic guitar parts like no one else can - perhaps one of the most underrated guitarists in the business.

I had a great chat with Darren and Vinny right after their set. Watch it to hear what the band has planned for next year.

The Quireboys brought their party to Troon
The Quireboys are always sure to spice up the night with their bluesy rock n roll, and that is exactly what they did! The guys started off with tracks from their latest album, White Trash Blues before hitting the classics such as 7 O'Clock, Sex Party and I Don't Love You Anymore. The band always deliver a brilliant show and the audience loved them. A perfect act for Saturday night. 

Bringing the festival to a close was the supergroup lineup of Chris Glen, Doogie White, Paul McManus and friends (including James Bird from Mason Hill for two of the songs) playing a mixture of tracks from each of their back catalogues. Everyone enjoyed the set, but the real surprise came when Jools and Tommy from GUN appeared, to perform Better Days and Word Up. A fabulous end to a brilliant weekend.

This was the only time organiser, Ian McCaig sat down all weekend!
Huge congratulations to Ian and his team of helpers and volunteers who made the weekend such a success. Everyone played a huge part in making the event happen, and were all so smiley - a credit to the festival!

That's two years now that the brilliant WinterStorm and all of it's visitors have invaded Troon. I feel very lucky to have been a part of it and can't wait for next year. Get the dates in your diary; Nov 23 & 24 2018. Tickets and line up info coming soon! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sam and Mick from Bigfoot talk new album and 'Chug' Rock! Interview WinterStorm (video)

They've just released their excellent s/t titled debut album (review here), so it was great catch up with Bigfoot guitarists, Sam Millar and Mick McCullagh after their eventful set at WinterStorm in Troon. We talked album, their influences and fire alarms!

Danny Vaughn of Tyketto talks Don't Come Easy - interview WinterStorm

Here's a real treat for you! Tyketto frontman, Danny Vaughn kindly took some time to chat just before he hit the stage at WinterStorm. Danny told me all about the band's hefty tour schedule, and why Jon Bon Jovi, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins and Bruce Springsteen were all in earshot when he recorded the classic Don't Come Easy album! A massive thanks to Danny for his time.     

Darren Wharton & Vinny Burns from Dare talk classic tracks & new material - Interview at WinterStorm (video)

It was a real treat to chat with Darren Wharton and Vinny Burns from Dare, shortly after they came offstage after a tremendous set at Winter Storm in Troon, Scotland. Watch, as the guys talk about their setlist, how the music business has changed, and the upcoming re-recording of their classic Out Of The Silence album. A big thanks to Darren and Vinny for their time.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mason Hill on their debut album, touring, and Justin Bieber! - WinterStorm interview (video)

James, Craig and Marc from Scottish rockers Mason Hill tell us what to expect when they release their debut album in 2018, why they will be touring heavily, but won't be supporting Justin Bieber!

Baz from Massive Wagons on gigs, the 'lairy' new album, and Malcolm Young - WinterStorm interview (video)

I was delighted to talk with Massive Wagons frontman Baz Mills, right after the band had stunned the audience with a cracking set at WinterStorm in Troon. Watch as Baz talks about the band's new record deal, missing Malcolm Young, and just why he loves WinterStorm. Thanks to Baz for his time.   

Rock Goddess on Kiss, Led Zep, and reforming - interview at WinterStorm (video)

It was a real pleasure to talk with Jodie, Tracey and Julie from Rock Goddess, just after their storming set at Winter Storm in Troon. Watch as we chat about their influences, what brought them together, and why they reformed. Thanks girls!  

Rich & Chris from Stone Broken talk new album, tour and Scottish weather! - Interview at WinterStorm

Watch my chat with Rich and Chris from Stone Broken, just after their cracking set at the Winter Storm festival in Troon. A big thanks to the guys for their time. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Winter Storm rock weekender about to shake Scotland again!

Winter Storm, the rock weekender in Troon, Scotland returns this Fri & Sat (Nov 24 & 25) for its second year. I was there last November and I am really looking forward to heading down to Troon again this week.

Winter Storm is a brilliant event. It is run by fans, is family friendly (please take note other festivals!) and boasts a great bill of new talent and established acts. This year fast rising bands such as Stone Broken, Mason Hill, Massive Wagons and Bigfoot are joined by Tyketto, Dare and The Quireboys amongst many others. Winter Storm 2017 also sees 80's Scottish rockers, Heavy Pettin reforming and hitting the stage for the first time in 30 years.

It is great to hear that the event is sold out - there may be a few tix left for the Fri so check here. but be quick!   

Check back next week for my full review, along with lots of interviews with the acts! Here are the main stage running times (although I understand since being published by the organisers, Florence Black will NOT now be performing, so some adjustments may have to be made to this. Please check the event facebook page for any updates ).

Friday 24th November

1430 - 1505 | Florence Black  
1515 - 1555 | Bigfoot  
1610 - 1650 | Syteria
1705 - 1745 | Attica Rage  
1800 - 1840 | Stone Broken  
1905 - 1955 | Praying Mantis
2015 - 2115 | Bernie Marsden
2135 - 2245 | Tyketto
2300 - 2345 | Heavy Pettin’

Saturday 25th November

  1200  | Doors Open  
1230 - 1300 | Black King Cobra
1310 - 1340 | Anchor Lane  
1355 - 1435 | The King Lot  
1450 - 1530 | Massive Wagons
1545 - 1635 | Rock Goddess
1650 - 1730 | Mason Hill
1745 - 1835 | Tygers of Pan Tang 
1855 - 1955 | DARE
2015 - 2115 | Graham Bonnet Band 
2135 - 2245 | The Quireboys 
2300 - 2345 | Glen White McManus    

Official Winter Storm website

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Swedish melodic rockers Degreed talk new album, touring with H.E.A.T, & sounding like Toto meets the Sex Pistols!

One of the best modern melodic rock bands out there are Sweden's Degreed. Before a blinding set in Glasgow, supporting H.E.A.T (review here) I caught up with Robin Ericsson and Micke Jansson to talk about their excellent new album, why they love Scotland, and what they might have in common with Toto and the Sex Pistols! A big thanks to the guys for their time.     

Monday, November 20, 2017

H.E.A.T - Erik & Dave talk new album, tour, and just what they get up to during Swedish winters! Exclusive interview

I was lucky enough (and very excited!) to catch a word with Erik Grönwall and Dave Dalone of H.E.A.T for an exclusive chat, just before their incredible show at the Cathouse in Glasgow (read my full review here). See what Erik and Dave told me about being away for 3 years, their comeback album, and why they knew some fans would feel strongly about their new material! A huge thanks to the guys for their time.

H.E.A.T turn up the temperature - Live review, Glasgow 18/11/17

I am just 15, but have been lucky enough to see a lot of bands so far, but I do have a list tucked in a drawer that I like to call my bucket list bands; acts that I have never seen live but would really like to before the chance is gone. I have ticked a fair few off, but one band that has been on it for years is H.E.A.T . Last night I nearly burst with excitement as I finally got the chance to see the talented Swedish rockers in action….in the flesh!!
 Erik had the crowd in the palm of his hand all night
Fans were still filing into the venue as the night began with an energetic, powerful set from Swiss band Black Diamonds. The guys delivered some classic, feel-good hard-rock and are well worth checking out.
Black Diamonds did a fab job kicking off the night
Taking the stage next were another Swedish band, Degreed – another band I love! These guys have a melodic, edgy modern heavy rock sound which is enhanced by amazing keyboards from Micke Johanssen. They delivered a great set, from power ballads, to heavy rockers. Vocalist, Robin Ericsson wowed the crowd with his stunning powerful, versatile voice. They went down a treat and did a brilliant job preparing the venue for the headliners.
Degreed really rocked the venue!
I had waited a long time for this moment, and after a 3 year break away from the live scene, H.E.A.T. were back. The packed venue went mental as killer new track Bastard Of Society blasted from the  speakers and charismatic frontman, Erik Grönwall exploded onto the stage.
H.E.A.T blew the roof off!
The fast paced opener had everyone jumping and singing along which was so special to be a part of. The guys stormed through a best of set featuring tracks from all 5 of their studio albums.
Particularly well received tracks were epic power ballad Eye Of The Storm (from latest album, Into The Great Unknown), A Shot At Redemption (Tearing Down The Walls, 2014), Living On The Run, In And Out Of Trouble and the aptly named, Breaking The Silence (all taken from Address The Nation, 2012). But if I’m being honest, there weren’t any tracks that the crowd didn’t go mad for – all killer, no filler!

Recently returned original guitarist, Dave Dalone did a wonderful job delivering gigantic riffs and solos, whilst Keyboard player, Jona Tee added great melodies and clever harmonies throughout.
I love Erik's voice!
I have seen a lot of bands and many amazing frontmen, and I had very high expectations for Erik, and he did not disappoint! Combining high energy with a stunning vocal range, Erik was regularly in with the crowd, even singing on top of the bar at one stage. He even orchestrated a marriage proposal between two fans on stage; thankfully accepted ! This was an incredible performance, and it may seem high praise, but Erik Grönwall truly is the best frontman I have ever seen.
Erik even made an unexpected trip to the bar via a crowd surf!
This gig was every bit as amazing as I had hoped and the 9 year wait was so worth it! I think this has to be my best/favourite gig of the year and possibly of all time. I’m very glad these boys are back in action, I just hope that they don’t leave it too long before they are back in the UK!  Another bucket list tick for me.
I was over the moon to get to meet Erik (and to shoot an interview with him and guitarist Dave Dalone, keep your eyes out for that) - one very happy 15 year old!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bigfoot deliver a monster! Album review

5-piece melodic rockers Bigfoot emerged from Wigan, UK in 2014 and since then have been making their mark in the music scene. I first caught these guys live 2 years ago at the Steelhouse Festival in Wales, UK. They clearly showed promise and after releasing 2 EPs, the time has finally come for the guys to deliver their self-titled debut album.
The 11-track album released on Frontiers Records, features some wonderfully chunky, dual guitar riffing from Sam Millar and Mick McCullagh along with a glorious blend of melody throughout. Opener Karma, leaps to life with a heavy, industrial riff before exploding into a tuneful chorus. Most albums come with a ballad and this one has two. Forever Alone sees singer Antony Ellis deliver some glorious vocals, reminiscent of Steve Perry particularly at the beginning. It builds beautifully and includes a haunting guitar solo from Millar which I feel really makes the song. A well-crafted track – one of my favorites.

Something which really impressed me is the variety of sounds and styles which the guys create. The songs range from heavy but melodic rock tunes, to powerful ballads and even a brief touch of Reggae in I Dare You (sounds mad I know, but it really works!). Clever tempo changes throughout also help to create an album which is full of depth, making it interesting to listen to throughout.

Tell Me A Lie, another stand-out track with its catchy sing-along chorus and fast paced guitar has a fun melody and I can hear traces of Tyketto in places (no complaints from me on that note!). The Fear, with its more staccato rhythm is another well-honed song. The album closes with Yours, an anthemic power ballad which just grows and grows into an eight-minute epic.

From start to finish the rhythm section drives the songs forwards, whilst both guitarists complement each other providing often a fast paced melodic, chunky hard rock sound with soaring solos. Ellis showcases an impressive vocal range throughout the record, going from the deep soulful intro of Forever Alone to a grittier delivery on the rockers.

The band say they are influenced by everything from Pantera and Guns N Roses, to The Eagles and this mix can certainly be heard throughout the album. To my ears the record gives a nod to bands such as TEN, Tyketto/Danny Vaughn and Lionville.

Bigfoot have certainly stamped their mark with their debut album. It is a well-produced record with depth and variation, of which the band should be proud. If the sound of a modern rock band playing classic hard rock appeals, this is one for you. A monster!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

H.E.A.T and Degreed set to tear down the walls in the UK

Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T arrive in the UK next week as part of their European tour, promoting their fab new album Into The Great Unknown (read my review here). Away from the scene for the last 3 years, the band are certainly back with a bang. Fellow Scandinavians Degreed are also on the tour, along with Black Diamond.

Degreed recently released their brilliant self titled fifth album and are set to win more friends out on the road. I will be chatting to both bands at the Glasgow show next weekend - check the blog soon for that and full review of the gig! Don't miss this tour - ticket details for all of the dates here.




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Midnite City - bringing back feelgood rock and roll

*Watch Midnite City's debut performance!  
 As if there wasn't enough great bands at the brilliant Rockingham festival in Nottingham, kicking off the weekend were melodic rockers Midnite City, who performed their debut show in local venue the Tap n Tumbler, to launch their self-titled debut album (out now on AOR Heaven).

I love this band! They have a real goodtime, Danger Danger sound, and Rob Wylde (Tigertailz) did a great job, fronting the band and interacting with the audience. I even got to see the guys for a second time at the special Rockingham after party that night and was blown away again, as Rob and drummer Pete Nudek performed acoustically. Keep an eye on these guys, they are definitely ones to watch out for.

It was great to meet Rob Wylde at the show
Video courtesy of Robert Shaw