Sunday, September 17, 2017

VEGA set to rock the UK this month with headline tour!

I have had a couple of weeks off from my gigging adventures after a busy few months, but in a fortnight I will be travelling down to Newcastle to see my good friends from the fantastic VEGA!
The guys are heading out on their 'This Is Who We Are'  headline tour next Thursday (21st September) and are playing 6 shows right through to 30th Sept with support from Gin Annie!

Formiddable songwriters that they are, VEGA have a lot of unreleased and unused songs which have been made into a bonus demos CD which will ONLY be available at the merch stall at the gigs - what better reason could there be to get your tickets for this tour?!
See what the guys themselves had to say about the upcoming tour and CD in my Amplified interview

Along with the exclusive CD, this tour is set to be the best so far and is rumoured to include songs never played live before, and some which haven't been played for a while.
I love catching up with VEGA!
VEGA are one of my favourite bands and so much fun to see, so please support the guys and get yourself to one of their shows - you wont regret hearing their catchy anthemic tracks!

White Fag - official video

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wayward Sons, Ghosts Of Yet To Come - album review

More than 20 years after Little Angels disbanded, vocalist Toby Jepson is back with a bang. After writing and producing for the likes of Toseland and The Answer, as well as performing with GUN, Fastway and Dio Disciples since Little Angels called it a day, Jepson returns with his new band, Wayward Sons. Well, what a start this is. What took you so long, Toby?!

It may be the debut album from a new band, but Ghosts Of Yet To Come oozes rock and roll attitude and is full of energy. Written in a live band rehearsal setting, the record roars into life with opener, Alive. A huge riff, that sounds like Black Sabbath on steroids, provides the platform for a great Jepson vocal that suggests he is delighted to be back and has plenty to say. Jepson himself has said that he has a lot of unfinished business, which is apparent when listening carefully to his lyrics.

First single Until The End is a wonderful piece of modern melodic hard rock, built on an insanely catchy riff with a glorious chorus. It's not surprising that it has had plenty of radio airplay and is surely a contender for song of the year.

Until The End official video

Be Still strays into Little Angels territory somewhat, along with a verse that sounds reminiscent of a vintage Thin Lizzy album. Highlights for me are the brilliant Crush (this one will kill live), Don't Wanna Go (I can hear some great riffs similar to AC/DC in here!) and Ghost which hold#s a great melody. The quality and urgency of the songs mean that from top to bottom, Ghosts Of Yet To Come is a very consistent record that the band should be proud of. It's a throwback to the days of vinyl too, with 10 great tracks over forty minutes making GOYTC a true album experience.

 Crush Official video

Toby Jepson has made it very clear that this is not by any means a vanity project, but a true band made up of some fabulous musicians, including outstanding guitarist, Sam Wood who has provided sharp catchy riffs throughout the record alongside bassist and drummer Nic Wastell and Phil Martini who create a rocking rhythm section!

Vocally, Jepson is in fine form throughout and has captured and delivered some emotional performances that add power and passion to a strong set of tunes – it’s great to have him back. I interviewed Toby recently and he told me that he feels Ghosts Of Yet To Come is the best record he has made. He may just be right. Wonderful.

Watch as Toby Jepson tells me all about the new record

Ghosts Of Yet To Come is released through Frontiers Music on Sept 15.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Bikes, bands and banter! Thunder In The Glens live review 26/8/17

I decided to take a trip up to the picturesque Aviemore, in the Scottish Highands to experience the Thunder In The Glens Harley Davidson bike rally. It was brilliant to see so many bikers brought together by this event which absolutely filled the town!
James Toseland in action!
The main attraction for me was the amazing Toseland. Despite being a man down (get well soon Ed!) and playing to a room of shy spectators unfamiliar with their original material, the band put on an absolutely stunning show as always! It was wonderful to hear a spread of material from their 2 albums (including a favourite of mine, Kingdoms). Frontman, James' vocals sounded superb throughout the night - these guys never disappoint , and by the end of evening had won over the crowd!
Toseland rocking the venue!
A very special feature at the event was a charity raffle for a customised Harley Davidson bike. This was a one-off Harely, which had been painted in honour of James Toseland's phenomenal biking career! For the draw of the raffle, James himself rode the bike in and performed a mind blowing burnout, filling the room with smoke before the lucky winner was announced by headlining act and motor racing driver, Rick Parfitt Jnr. Rick is of course also son of the late Status Quo legend.

Toseland customised Harley Davidson
James Toseland back on 2 wheels!
Rick Parfitt Jr and his awesome band then took to the stage to perform a headline set of rocking covers which had the whole place going wild. From Kings Of Leons' Use Somebody to Don't Stop Believin and Sweet Child O' Mine, there really was something for everybody! I thoroughly enjoyed the set which RPJ and his impressive live band performed with high energy and infectious enthusiasm! 
RPJ Band had everyone going!
It was lovely to catch up with James again, and a pleasure to meet Rick Parfitt Jnr!
I had a brilliant day and spent time with some great friends, supporting a worthwhile charity (Crohn's and Colitus UK), I just wish I could have spent a bit more time there and got to experience the whole weekend - I hope to make it up there again next year!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Watch the brand new H.E.A.T video for "Redefined'

Here's a Friday H.E.A.T treat for you! The brand new video for "Redefined" from the brilliant, forthcoming Into The Great Unknown album. If you've read my review of the album you'll know I love it, and this track is a great taster. "Redfined" builds throughout, to become a really classy piece of modern melodic rock.

“Into The Great Unknown” is out on EarMusic, 22nd September.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Devilfire turn up the heat with debut album!

There is so much great new music about at the moment, and I recently discovered some tracks from a new, up and coming band called Devilfire, which I thought I would share with you all!

 She's Like Fire by Devilfire

Devilfire are a Birmingham based melodic hard rock band who initially formed in 2013 under the name of Devilstar, have been special guests to former Nightwish vocalist, Tarja Turunen, and are due to release their debut album, Dark Manouevres on 6th October.

I have been lucky enough to get a preview of the whole album, and brand new track, She's Like Fire is a great example of what the record holds! Opener, Ready For War includes some cracking riffs and a really catchy chorus that I love - I really like what I have heard from this band. Take a look at the new video and keep an eye out for the album.
The guys also have 2 live dates here in the UK coming up...

26th August - Birmingham, O2 Academy (Headline Show)
2nd September - Sheffield, O2 Academy HRH Sleaze

With more dates to be announced soon. Ticket links here.

You can find out more from the band's Facebook page here!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

H.E.A.T, Into The Great Unknown - album review

H.E.A.T fans have been getting a bit hot under the collar recently. Lead single, Time On Our Side split opinion with it’s contemporary sound, but do not fear, it sits at the heart of a tremendous record. The talented 5 piece have indeed experimented with more modern recording sounds, and in turn have delivered possibly their best album.
Exploding out of Sweden in 2007, H.E.A.T are a band with a strong following all over the globe. Vocalist Erik Gronwall rose to fame when he stunned everyone with his amazing talent, winning Swedish Idol in 2009 before joining H.E.A.T for their excellent Address The Nation album in 2012. Into The Great Unknown is the band’s fifth release and shows them really hitting their stride.

The record gets off to a flying start with cracking track, Bastard Of Society which spreads the message of living in the moment. The stunning guitar riffs and catchy chorus captured me immediately and the pacey, rocking nature of the song just makes you want to dance! This is one of my favourites from the album, and has that classic H.E.A.T sound.

Next up is the more abstract, Redefined which builds and builds into a glorious mid-paced ballad, perhaps reminiscent of Canadian rockers, Honeymooon Suite in places.

A couple of tracks in and we reach the single, Time On Our Side, which out of the album context seems to have divided fans slightly, but it‘s a true grower and a great track. 

Time On Our Side by H.E.A.T

Another of my favourites just has to be the wonderful ballad, Eye Of The Storm. In true H.E.A.T style, the track goes from a low, intense verse before exploding into a glorious chorus in which Gronwall showcases his vocal talent as he soars into the high notes. This song is heaven to the ears, and I absolutely love it.

Bringing the album to a close is the epic title track, Into The Great Unknown. I love this one too and think it is the perfect way to finish what is an outstanding collection of songs. This again returns to the more traditional H.E.A.T style whilst keeping the new, modern and mature sound.
I have been a huge fan of H.E.A.T for a long time, and must admit that my favourite album was Address The Nation. Into The Great Unknown is a step on from that with a new refreshing edge and some top tunes. I think it may just be my new favourite. 

With the return of original guitarist Dave Dalone, killer songs and a crystal clear production by Tobias Lindell, H.E.A.T have taken the next step in their development and have created something very special indeed for their fans. I Love. It.

H.E.A.T release their new album “Into The Great Unknown”
via EarMusic on Friday 22nd September.
Further info:

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Rock & Blues Festival 2017 live review

The great bill at this festival included headliners, the legendary Steve Harris and his British Lion, and the amazing Y&T, alongside Toseland, FM and The Amorettes (some of my favourites). Plus the brilliant new band Wayward Sons (fronted by Toby Jepson), Graham Bonnet Band, and quirky Spaniards, StOp STop to name but a few.
StOp STop rocking the crowd
Thursday saw some fabulous tribute bands open the show in Derby last week, but I arrived on Friday which was when the party really got started. Kicking off the main stage on Friday was the fun, whacky and marvellous StOp STop! The interesting image of this Spanish-UK based band caused much curiosity amongst the crowd, who by the time the guys reached a mash-up of Proud Mary and Thunderstruck, were highly impressed by the energetic trio. A great bit of fun, and I’d love to see them again!

StOp STop after their fab set!
Following the quirky trio were female-fronted band, Syteria (featuring Jackie Chambers of Girlschool) who delivered a set that the crowd loved and showcased some incredible musical talent and impressive four-part harmonies. 

It was lovely to chat with Toby before his set!
Brand new and hot to trot, Wayward Sons took to the stage (only their second live gig together!) and delivered a blinding set of brand new material from their forthcoming debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come. Despite the crowd not being familiar with the tracks (which Jepson remarked on gleefully, causing a chuckle from the audience), the band were very well received. Highlights from the set have to be the two released tracks, Alive, and highly successful first single, Until The End, along with some classic Little Angels tracks, Kickin Up Dust and Young Gods. Check out my interview with Toby here to find out why he feels that Ghosts Of Yet To Come is the best record he has made yet!
Toseland on stage on Friday night
Next up was the marvellous Toseland who rocked the tent right from the word go, as they marched on stage to perform the brilliant Living In A moment. The band jammed their way through a set full of favourites including Cradle The Rage and Renegade. As well as We’ll Stop At Nothing of course, which has been chosen as the official anthem for the Special Olympics to be held in Sheffield next month – click here to see James talk about it in full with me!
Closing the night were the much-anticipated Steve Harris' British Lion. The legendary Iron Maiden bassist led his band on stage to a packed marquee who went mad for the band. The guys played a great set of tracks that went down a storm with the audience. Performing as though he was playing to an arena of Maiden fans, it was a real treat for fans to see Harris playing up so close.
Graham Bonnet had a great reaction from the crowd!
Saturday saw three ace girls (who go by the name of The Amorettes) take the stage (who I will be catching again later in the year), before another legend took his place in the spotlight – Graham Bonnet Band! Bonnet’s set went down a treat with the crowd who were in love with his distinctive vocals and outstanding band.
The mighty FM showcasing their undeniable talent
Following Bonnet’s set was the one-and-only FM. These guys have been on the go since the 80s (with a break in between!), but boy have they still got it! With Steve Overland’s outstanding vocals and their unbelievably good songs, like Dangerous, That Girl and of course the original version of Shot In The Dark, you can’t go wrong with these guys! Check out my backstage chat with Steve and Jim from the band here, as they talk about their new album, plans for next year and why some guitar solos just shouldn’t be tampered with!
It was a pleasure to catch up with Steve and Jim prior to their set!
 And finally, to close what was a cracking weekend of music and fun, the legendary Y&T took their place on the main stage. Also having been on the go since the late 70s/early 80s, it was a pleasure to see such a well-respected and talented band. Despite being a member short (get well soon John!), the band were highly professional and made the best of the situation through both a last-minute stand-in, Ross McEwan (who did a fantastic job!) playing guitar with the band for several of the songs, and performing as a three-piece, highly impressive. Frontman and lead guitarist Dave Meniketti had everyone hooked with his iconic tracks like Mean Streak and Winds Of Change. Check out my lovely backstage chat with Dave here, to hear him talk about being both the lead guitarist and vocalist as well as the band’s fans!
Dave Meniketti of Y&T very kindly spent a couple of minutes speaking with me before their fabulous set!
Along with the main stage, the festival also hosted an acoustic tent and an outside stage which featured the likes of Tequila Mockingbyrd – Aussie, all-girl trio who had some fab tracks and did a great job with the crowd.

All-round, this was a festival with brilliant bands, plenty of stalls to wander around (shout out to All Body Jewels for my lovely new piercings!), a covered main stage (which meant despite heavy rain showers both the bands and fans could enjoy the sets in the dry!) and most importantly, a lovely, friendly atmosphere! Big thanks to Dale and his team for having us and huge congratulations on creating such a fun, successful weekend – I hope to attend next year!