Reviewed: Neck Deep’s World Tour

Reviewed: Neck Deep’s World Tour

6th Feb 2016 marked my trip to London’s O2 Forum in Kentish Town to see Neck Deep supported by Light Years, Creeper and State Champs (supposed to be ND/SC coheadline but it was all about Neck Deep…). This was my third time seeing the Wrexham lads and I can honestly say they have got better and better every time (first time was with All Time Low in Wembley in March 2015, second with BMTH in November), and the second I’d seen Creeper (though my first being a real fan!) and my first for the other 2.

Light Years

Setlist: Are You Sure, I Can’t Relate, Living in Hell, Summer She Broke My Heart, My Whole Life, Let You Down

Before this show, I hadn’t even noticed a fourth band were playing but I have to admit, they played a stunner. Always thanking us for getting there early and going against every pop punk rule by talking about how they love their home town Cleveland, they were very much in control of the crowd. Despite a couple of guitar issues mid-set, they warmed up the crowd well and they were definitely the right band for the opening slot.

LYForum

Creeper

Setlist: VCR, Black Mass, The Honeymoon Suite, Allergies, Gloom, Lie Awake, Henley’s Ghost

wp-1454969681560.jpg

Walking through the doors to this show, I would have said Creeper were one of my favourite bands and their new single Black Mass was the song I was most looking forward to hearing during the show, bar none. I’d seen them briefly before as they played the underground bar stage at Alexandra Palace for Warped UK last year but since then I had become pretty obsessed. As they walked out on stage, I had butterflies just waiting to see how awesome they would be and they didn’t disappoint. Tearing through VCR with their fiery punk attitude, the crowd were going crazy already and leading into Black Mass that energy didn’t drop off. Strong instructions came from vocalist Will Gould which inflicted the biggest circle pit the Forum has probably ever seen, and from a support act that’s not bad going at all. They then got started on cracking out The Callous Heart EP with The Honeymoon Suite and Allergies before a debut break for Gloom and back to finish with an emotional recital of Henley’s Ghost which really did strike a chord with the crowd, along with much swaying and singing along. Sadly it was then time to bid them farewell, and just to remind myself that I’d be missing their next London show (*cries*) but hopefully seeing them again soon as they get bigger and even better!

State Champs

Setlist: Secrets, Simple ExistencePerfect Score, All You Are Is History, Hard to Please, Easy Enough, Losing Myself, Remedy, All or NothingElevated

SC are a band I’ve admired for a long time as champions of modern pop punk. The genre has been growing out into post-hardcore, emo and various others, and core pop punk has been starting to be forgotten in recent years but State Champs and Neck Deep have been more or less single-handedly led the revival so obviously I was pretty happy to see them walk out in such good form and play a solid set. After the success of their latest record Around the World and Back, they’re very much seen as an up and coming band in the alternative scene, common features of Rock Sound magazine and Kerrang! too, though more rarely. Set opener Secrets got the singalong vibes going right from the off and following it up with old favourite Simple Existence was a good move. DiScanio stopped for a chat break then announced Perfect Score, much to the delight of the 5-man mob stood just in front of me… Rattling through it with ease, the response they got was insane and then came the best moment of the set: the huge drop in the beginning of All You Are Is History, which led to mild hysteria in the sea of bodies filling the floor. They then pushed through a few more before slowing it down for the end with All or Nothing and Elevated to finish in style.

SCForum

 

Neck Deep

Setlist: Citizens of EarthLosing TeethGold StepsCrushing Grief (No Remedy)Over and OverSerpentsKali MaLime St.Growing PainsSmooth Seas Don’t Make Good SailorsWhat Did You Expect?A Part of Me, Head To The Ground (Ben Solo Acoustic), December, Can’t Kick Up The Roots

The lights went down fashionably (10 minutes) late for the little intro that Neck Deep had prepared, before they came storming on for a wall-shaking rendition of Citizens of Earth – BEN DID THE F*** NECK DEEP MATE, THEY’RE S*** BIT!!! – and carrying on with few breaks to smash out Losing Teeth, Gold Steps and Crushing Grief.They then had a typical pop punk speech about how they’ve been a band for about 4 years and that they’re grateful to all of us for being there blah blah, then went on with Over and Over which frankly half the crowd didn’t know. They then came back to a LNOTGY run with Serpents, Kali Ma and Lime St. which were all fantastic as expected and had a huge crowd response with screaming fans and even a circle pit which was unexpected and led to Ben kicking out a couple of guys who started a fight as he told them “get out or I’ll knock you out” which gathered huge cheers from us all (though this bloke would’ve had him in a fight…). After that, more singalongs with Smooth Seas and What Did You Expect, followed by an emotional, flashlight-filled A Part Of Me with Creeper’s Hannah (see link in tweet below) before going off and taking a surprisingly long time before coming back on, but when we did see movement on stage again, it was only Ben which brought some confusion though that was quickly ended as he announced he’s be playing an acoustic of a “ditty [he] wrote a f*** of a long time ago” known as Head To The Ground, then the band came on again for the full-band version of December and Can’t Kick Up The Roots and finishing with a real bang then coming on for a dance party on stage with photographers and various band and crew members to our amusement.

NDForum

Finally to round off the night, we went to try to meet Creeper as I’d tried to arrange on Twitter and I was pretty sad when we got sent out of the venue by security but thankfully Will was hanging around outside to meet us all so I went and had a decent chat with him and I went to take a photo but I couldn’t stop shivering/shaking (bit of both probably…) and he took it for me! He’s a lovely lovely guy and he knew who I was and told me he was looking forward to hearing my cover of Black Mass I’m currently writing/recording so I’m pretty happy about that!

12671998_1108995439125315_7619061301066627147_o

Advertisements

I’m Poor… Again

Well guess what. I’m once again poor. “Why?” I hear you screaming frantically at your screens, “James, why are you poor again?!?!” The simplest and most straightforward answer I can give you is that I spent my money…

I spent most of this hard earned capital on gig tickets as well as travel expenses for myself (and a few others) and when Slam Dunk tickets are £50 each, one’s bank sums decrease fairly rapidly. 4 gigs in 4 weeks does definitely take its toll too though; I think I spent somewhere in the region of £230 and I’m still owed around £40 of that back (yes, if you are reading this Gaby and Megan, that’s you).

As well as gigs, I’ve spent quite a fair bit on merch and records this year already. Not even 40 days into 2016 and my bills from Grindstore have amounted to over £50, not to mention the £35 I spent on a preorder bundle for the new Asking Alexandria album The Black

In addition to all that, I have my favourite acquisition of recent weeks; on Saturday at Neck Deep’s World Tour Show, Creeper played (full review coming up soon) and they had a merch stall. Now for a long time I’ve been looking for one of these and finally I found one: a Callous Heart patch. The guys all wear them on stage and it’s the one real way to cement yourself into the Creeper Cult and I’ve finally been able to do that. Now just to see it onto the jacket…
image

But I guess what I can say is that I frankly regret none of it and it’s just the life I enjoy living at the moment. As a great man once said, “what’s money if it isn’t spent?”

Streaming: My Confession

Streaming: My Confession

After several conversations with my bosses at work, I was thinking about music streaming and all it offers, both positively and negatively and I did what I would have seen unthinkable: I paid for my first month’s Spotify Premium.

I’ve blogged about this, I’ve debated and I’ve even given a speech about this matter and now I feel a huge sense of hypocrisy which is why this is a confession, but I’ve decided it can actually be positive after all despite such a fight to spread my opinion.

My thought process basically went along the lines of “artists that are happy with it put it up for streams, the rest don’t…”, which is a pretty simple one and since paying that cash last week I’ve gotten into several bands I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise and of course I’m enjoying it!

But me being me, I’ve pledged to still buy CDs and I’ve just paid for my first ever vinyl (SUPER EXCITED) to support my favourite baby band Creeper and I have no intention of giving up on adding to my rapidly expanding CD collection, and Spotify will be my method to playlist and share but CDs will be my main way of supporting artists still.

So there we have it, it’s off my chest and out there for everyone to see and it feels better honestly!

 

(PS a few more posts will be coming over the next week, potentially up to 4 before next Saturday so stay tuned!)

2016: Exciting Events

With the new year finally here, I’ve been looking forward to a fair few things this coming year, both lives and records, so follow the links for the full experience and in no particular order, here are the most exciting we know of so far…

 

The Black, the newly announced Asking Alexandria record that comes out March this year. The record will be the first to feature new singer Denis “Stoff” Shaforostov, formerly of Make me Famous and Down & Dirty, and will feature the first two singles released (I Won’t Give In and Undivided) which went down very well in both sales and crowd reactions. The band have hinted at a new music video which hopefully will be a new song altogether but we’ll see. Safe to say I’m very excited.

askingalexandriatheblackcd.jpg

 

Related to The Black, Asking Alexandria hinted at a post-album UK tour when playing Warped UK. This will be the first tour that Denis has a proper chance to sing his own lyrics and based on the performance on the last tour, this could be a vicious and enthralling experience like no Asking tour before  and if I have any choice in the matter whatsoever I’ll be there.

Asking_Alexandria_2015_press_shot

 

Of course BMTH had to be in here somewhere… In the late stages of last year, it was announced that they had been booked to play the first Teenage Cancer Trust gig of the season in the Royal Albert Hall but with a twist: they are going to play the whole gig (on Friday 22nd April) with a full orchestra, so expect tunes like Follow You and Avalanche to be pulled from the catalogue and used on stage. The show sold out in around 2 hours, only taking so long due to the queueing process that took ages to get through! In the last week, they have also announced a full UK arena tour for November (for £45 a ticket…), but it’s pretty safe to say that won’t be with an orchestra…

Bring-Me-The-Horizon-Royal-Albert-Hall-April-2016-concert-poster.jpg

bringmethehorizon-uk-tour

 

After much teasing through the year, 30th October marked the announcement of Tonight Alive‘s new record Limitless, produced by David Bendeth [Of Mice & Men, Asking Alexandria, Bring Me The Horizon]. The record marks a shift towards an electronically driven sound evident in second single To Be Free. The album will hopefully take the Aussies to unseen levels after the critical acclaim of [2013’s] The Other Side.

Tonight_Alive_limitless.jpg

 

Again related to a previous one, Tonight Alive touring the UK in February with support from Our Last Night and Milk Teeth, hitting all the mid-sized venues. It should prove to be pretty important for OLN and MT to play such large venues as they’re on the verge of breaking into the Kerrang/Rock Sound worlds but need something to just tip them over and this could finally be it.

Tonight_Alive_UK_Tour_2016.jpg

 

On 22nd December, renowned hardcore label Fearless Records announced a load of new records would be turning up from their roster, namely the afformentioned Tonight Alive record, plus pop-punks Real Friends, hardcore men The Word Alive and The Color Morale. This is set to be a huge year for fearless by all accounts, and they’ll be brought to new heights by new bands like I Prevail, which will add depth to their quality even further.

CW2bXYGWIAUZTCw.jpg

 

As a fair few of you may have worked out from the above picture, the silence has been partially broken with the announcement that a Pierce The Veil album will drop this year, having been finished for about 3 months already. This will follow the release of The Divine Zero at the start of the Vans Warped Tour (during which PTV played headline slots), and hopefully this album will turn up sooner rather than later. As with The Divine Zero, there are rumours created by a Twitter release from the record label that the record could drop with little to no warning at all. All of us have been waiting over 3 years for this record and it should be a pretty good one if that single is anything to go by.
EDIT (8pm GMT 1/1/16): New album from As It Is included on the list as of today.

fearlessteaseptv.JPG

 

Fearless aren’t the only record label doing a little bit of hinting, Rise Records are hitting the social networks too. A huge festive season has just passed for them as they released first edition vinyls for practically all of their albums including some that have left their roster [Sleeping With Sirens]. They confirmed via Facebook that Of Mice & MenISSUES and many others will be getting releases out this year, as well as “some surprises” so I guess we just have to wait and see…

riseteaseomamissues.JPG

 

Now a one-man band, Panic! At The Disco are releasing the 5th instalment to the catalogue, Death Of A Bachelor which features the huge new songs VictoriousLA DevoteeHallelujah, Emperor’s New Clothes and the title-track. Brendon Urie has actually played and sung everything on this album, as well as having a hand in the production and mixing, so it really is his band. This album actually comes out very early on this year, hitting UK stores in a fortnight on the 15th Jan, which leaves the market wide open as few albums come out so very early. Good move Brendon, very tactical…

tumblr_nwlpwb7wQp1qzpuf4o1_1280.jpg

 

Elsewhere in the world, the initial lineup for Slam Dunk festival has been made with the second announcement set for the 20th January. The initial announcement came with the news that Panic! would be hitting the UK for the second time this year (after a 12th January pre-album show in Brixton Academy, London). The line-up also includes lots of metalcore with Of Mice & Men, Issues, Memphis May Fire and Every Time I Die. Look back for an update on the next update to the lineup on 20th Jan.

lineup.jpg

 

Another band going very, very strong through to the new year is Neck Deep, and towards the end of last year the band announced a tour round the UK in early February, then a further 4 dates as a “homecoming” from their world tour. Along for the ride on both runs are up-and-coming band Creeper, the first run has fellow pop-punk sensations State Champs and Light Years, the second having WSTR. Should be a real way for the Wrexham boys to cement their position at the top of the scene, and for Creeper to get that little bit better known. See dates below…

Neck_Deep_2016_Touroriginal (1)

 

2016 marks some huge returns, but only one for which I’m very excited: the fathers of pop punk; creators of most of the recent masterpieces on the scene; Good Charlotte are coming back. They played a couple of shows towards the end of last year and released a new song Makeshift Love and being mates with All Time Low they’ve managed to get themselves a support slot for the Back To The Future Hearts UK 2016 Tour along with up-and-coming 3-piece Against The Current. The tour will hit London’s O2, Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena along with a few others, and of course I’m going crazy with anticipation for what the shows and comeback may bring…

12371148_10153260071482592_6796293602031228873_o.jpg

 

As with every year, Reading & Leeds festivals are back. While the first announcement is quite disappointing, it included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slaves and Crossfaith, as well as Twenty One Pilots (who I can’t stand but are quite popular in the scene) and since have announced Eagles of Death Metal will be there too, so let’s hope the next announcement is really killer!

reading_leeds_2016_eodm_announcement_05_16_12_15_approved_web.jpg

 

Last but not least least, the king of all large festivals Download has a massive, massive lineup this year, with headlining slots for Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden respectively. Further down the bill, the likes of Amity Affliction, Breaking Benjamin, Ghost, Halestorm and Tremonti will all be there, and the only real downside is that since the passing of Lemmy last week, there will be no Motorhead performance… But as the man himself would have wished, Download 2016 will go on, bigger and better than ever before and as per usual, I’m certain some other stunning bands will be added to the already stellar lineup!

Download 2016 December Announcement 1000x1000_No Website.jpg

 

Here’s to a good one, it’s looking to be one of the best so far for rock music so let’s hit it head on!

2015: A 15-Record Reflection

2015: A 15-Record Reflection

As the year draws to a close, I thought I’d write up a little top 15 albums of 20, 15 piece to reflect on what has been a pretty gargantuan year in the rock community so here goes…

 

To start, I’ve got a tiny band with a tiny fanbase and a tiny tracklist in Dead Reckoning’s Myth EP. This is a killer 3-track release, influenced by “Pantera… Trivium… Machine Head…”, so the Milton Keynes-based 5 piece are clearly of pedigree. I actually found them around mid-December this year after a friend of mine picked up the record free as they supported a Dorje concert (YouTube-famous Rob Chapman‘s band) and dropped it to me because it was a bit heavy for him. He wasn’t kidding. At first listen, [opening track] Omen was seemingly average, but Atlas was instantly bone-crushing with deep, resonating riffs matched with hellish vocals for a truly brilliant tune, followed up perfectly by closer Gaia. Highly recommended and I’m sure this band will go a long, long way in the UK metalcore scene.

8f81244677964a06980b02ccfca22510.jpg
Listen free here

 

At 14, it has to be Fearless Vampire Killers with the redefining mini-album Bruises. The long-teased 8 track CD includes both Danger and Braindead, the singles recorded before [2014 album] Unbreakable Hearts, both setting the world alight with the latter earning them their first play on BBC Radio 1. The tracks were recorded using the life savings of [guitarist] Shane’s mother, and until the release mid-August this year they had nothing to show for the cash. Luckily though, the two tracks were both quality surpassing anything of FVK past, taking them to the new height everyone knew they would reach. They’re one of the most genuine groups around, and every single one of them is very humbled to be in the situation they are.

fvk_bruises_600.jpg

 

At 13, Arizona catholic metalcore nuts Blessthefall with To Those Left Behind, purely for its beauty and grace fully intertwined with the incredible vocals of Beau Bokan, which creates a very nicely rounded, polished rock record. Not much more to say than that, just a pretty solid job done!

81qgXUCa2QL._SL1500_

 

At 12, High Wycombe/London band Young Guns with Ones And Zeros. These guys forged their reputation with second album [2012’s Bones] which gave them serious wide recognition so 2015 was a real test of their credentials and after supporting BMTH at Wembley Arena on their career and era defining iconic show, they were very much in the eye of the scene but this year proved highly successful. With this album getting a top 40 UK position and a top 3 in US Billboard Top Heatseakers chart and a headline run in the latter part of the year (including Warped UK), this band seemed to be unstoppable until Leeds robbers took a van-full of gear and they had to cancel a show in MK… Ah well!

Young-Guns.jpg

 

At 11, a band I found at Reading Festival this year in Nothing But Thieves wit their self-titled debut. After hearing the first few bars in that little tent in a field, I could just sense the star quality flowing from these 5, sounding like Muse but with even more depth and clarity which really does go to show that a new band is not always an underformed band. The wait between live and record was around 2 months but it was well worth the wait: the record is full of blues riffs and soaring choruses that are practically uncontrollable and in every way stunning. Hopefully seeing them again in the new year and looking forward to anything else they can show off!

nothing-but-thieves-album-cover-1437136361.jpg

 

At 10, a proper metal record in Saint Asonia’s self-titled debut. The Toronto supergroup consists of ex-Three Days Grace frontman Adam Gontier and ex-Staind and Newsted guitarist Mike Mushok, along with a couple of mates (Corey Lowry and Rich Beddoe). These are a real, hard, heavy 11 songs that are all total belters, and they’ve managed to push through to some pretty huge shows (namely Motley Crue’s final UK tour as a support) and become really popular with all of the forefathers of metal and will almost certainly be appearing at Sonisphere 2016 dates!

Saint_Asonia_by_Saint_Asonia

 

At 9, just pipping their ex-vocalist’s band is Three Days Grace. Human is the fifth album from the band, the first with new vocalist [ex-My Darkest Days frontman and brother of bassist Brad] Matt Walst, who brings another dark yet dramatically different viewpoint to the band to take them even further where Gontier could not. The album is a heavy but emotional journey through thoughts about what it really means to be human, with songs like So What talking about mental health and attitudes, and Car Crash about the distinct futility of life and how it can be changed in an instant. The return to heavy instrumentals and the hugely emotive vocals go on for a real winner of a record!

0yna_S_a

 

At 8, glam-metal/post-hardcore/hardcore-hiphop band Falling In Reverse with Just Like You. The record combines post-hardcore/metalcore screams and heavy riffs (most notably in The Guillotine IV) with rap/electronics (most notably in Wait and See) to produce a high quality record like few others in the genre. (Now ex) guitarist Jackie Vincent’s colourful sweeping solos and pacey verse riffs bring the same depth to the instrumental division of the band, and as per usual Ronnie Radke is so irritating yet so annoyingly addictive that this record itself becomes like a hard drug… Luckily, (new guitarist and close friend of Vincent) Christian Thompson can play practically all of the songs fully with aplomb, yet with his own unique twist that makes it even better. Looking forward to more crazy antics from this lot next year, and still hoping as always that Radke will be allowed to tour our very British shores.

2836996-500x500.jpg

 

At 7, electronicore from Herts with The Mindsweep. This record put Shikari into the big time as they started to sell out the biggest UK venues [namely Alexandra Palace, London] and Kerrang really started playing them this year. I was hooked at the first single The Last Garrison, and Anaesthetist only strengthened that further. The record is an even mix of nutty electronics with heavy vocals and acoustics and piano pieces with huge emotion and it really shows the depth of the band. As per usual, most of the lyrics are very left-wing and outspoken but that adds to the protest and outrage that Shikari always bring to us. Solid record and a well-deserved position in the chart.

10661873_10152430337262104_8581025738209870834_o.jpg

 

At 6, Baltimore heroes All Time Low with their 6th instalment to their catalogue, Future Hearts. This album was released after an arena co-headline tour with You Me At Six and a sell-out Wembley Arena date (at which I was luckily present) and featured guest writing from Good Charlotte’s Joel & Benji Madden, as well as guest vocals from the former of the pair (on Bail Me Out) and Blink-182 bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus (on Tidal Waves), and was produced by [5SOS, Black Veil Brides, Sleeping With Sirens] producer John Feldmann. The album features huge songs in the form of Something’s Gotta Give and (personally one of my favourite songs of all time, let alone the year) Kids In The Dark. This is a cracking album with great tracks and marks a definite step up for the band after hitting the charts in all the major markets.

original.jpg

 

At 5, the only real non-scene-kid record record on the list: James Bay’s Chaos And The Calm. Hertfordshire-born Bay has really hit the big time in 2015 with this album, peaking at UK number 1 and US Billboard 200 number 15 and considering this is a debut record, that’s not bad going. The songs are a mix of bluesy, soulful, jazzy rock tunes and acoustic folk tracks, combined to make a frankly stunning collection. Getting BBC coverage at Glastonbury and a load of radio airplay, he really is going somewhere and will hit new  heights in the next few years, no doubt.

71JIaBQu-4L._SL1500_.jpg

 

At 4, ex-Asking Alexandria vocalist Danny Worsnop’s band with their self-titled album We Are Harlot. The record is heavily influenced by 70s-90s rock & roll bands including Skid Row, Queen and Motley Crue, and it sounds right at home among those names. The whole album “is about sex”, yet Danny manages to make it seem a whole lot classier than a lot of Asking’s sexual lyrics and it creates a lot more of a censored album, much like those of the 20th Century. As with Saint Asonia, they’ve hit it off with all the fathers of rock and have landed themselves in festivals and as supports for some rather large tours, but hopefully a UK tour is coming next year (hint hint…).

WAH_Cover

 

At 3, YouTube star Patty Walters‘ band As It Is with debut album Never Happy, Ever After. I’ve been a huge fan of Patty and his music for a couple of years now and I watched as he pieced together his 5 man band, because he couldn’t play the songs live, as he played everything on them (the same was true of Dave Grohl when he first formed Foo Fighters, to give you an idea of talent here…) and I watched as they released song by song their early recorded pieces and I knew there was something special going on. With Patty’s sickly sweet American pop-punk vocals and Ben Biss’ English growls, it makes a masterpiece vocal-wise, backed up with great instrumentalists to form a pop-punk band to rival any US band, but defeated by one band and one band only who just so happen to have the penultimate record on the list…

as it is_1429106798.jpg

 

The second-last release on the countdown is Wrexham pop-punks Neck Deep with record number two in the same number of years, this one named aptly Life’s Not Out To Get You. The record was created with a surrounding of proven and successful people in A Day To Remember vocalist Jeremy McKinnon, as well as their producer Andrew Wade and ex-guitarist-turned-producer Tom Denney. 2015 turned life pretty real for the guys, supporting All Time Low in March at a sold-out Wembley Arena then hitting Slam Dunk festival then just before ATL on Main Stage at Reading & Leeds and finally to a sold-out Alexandra Palace in support of BMTH in November, and somewhere in that time bagging a top 10 UK spot for this record. Now, that’s pretty good going in all honesty. Sadly, however, they lost guitarist Lloyd Roberts amid sexual misconduct allegations and despite having no case to answer stepped down from the band to focus on family and other music projects, which made way for interim guitarist Sam Bowden to become a full time member and to move forward into 2016, with a world tour and Download festival dates announced, it looks to be another big, busy and successful one so best of luck to them!

11227533_863583557034067_411251285672495653_o.jpg

 

And finally at number 1, of course, is the latest installment to the BMTH evolution in That’s The Spirit. While it didn’t quite top the charts, the undeniable success of this album was cemented yesterday [30th Dec] as the band received a gold disc each for 100k record sales which, in this climate, is rather rare for a band of this type. Marking the final shift from metalcore to a more synth & rock-driven sound, That’s The Spirit further pushes the boundaries of what rock music can be: brutal yet mellow, electronic yet instrumental. With an incredible performance at Reading & Leeds festivals and a US & Europe headline tour completed this year, 2016 looks to be yet another enormous year for the Sheffield rockers and I cannot wait to see what they can bring with them next outing.

maxresdefault.jpg

 

So there we have it, the best 15 albums of 2015 (in my humble opinion, of course), check back tomorrow for a look forward through 2016!

Reviewed: BMTH @ Ally Pally

Reviewed: BMTH @ Ally Pally

Sorry for the hiatus (I can hear all you MCR fans crying still…)!

Onwards with the post:

On Saturday, I went to Alexandra Palace, London, to see the one and only Bring Me the Horizon play the biggest show of their lives so far and I must say they definitely didn’t disappoint.

We arrived at 9.15 am, far earlier than anticipated, with high hopes of meeting at least one member of one of the three bands but after hypothermia, most people singing along to Bieber, and 9 hours, we realised that wasn’t going to happen as doors opened, but no matter.

From the front of the queue we all flowed excitedly into Palm Court and then the West Hall, to see it kitted out with the usual street eat stalls and a huge merch stand, which showed it was going to be a good night.

Slowly filling up as the 10,000 people were making their way round from the other side of the enormous building, I picked my spot just behind the barrier on stage left, close enough to see perfectly but not so close I’d die in the first crowd surge, which was to follow fairly shortly.

At around 7.00pm, Pvris came on stage. I must admit, I have never been their biggest fan; getting into Kerrang and Rock Sound magazines with little effort while producing nigh-on pop music seems illogical to me in every way, but no matter. The crowd went crazy and waves of pogo-driven metalheads started flowing along with the likes of Mirrors and St. Patrick, coming to a mighty climax in My House, which really does show off (vocalist & guitarist) Lynn Gunn’s voice to an extreme.

pvris_alexandrapalace2015_justinetrickett02

After a bit of hardcore interval music over the PA came the turn of Wrexham pop-punks Neck Deep. I love Neck Deep and I don’t care who knows it. They entered with the the opener of 2015 LP Life’s Not Out To Get You (which is a stunner of a record, may I add… produced by ADTR’s Jeremy McKinnon, their producer Andrew Wade and former guitarist turned producer Tom Denney), Citizens of Earth, which featured a surprise guest performance from one of the best in the business in ARCHITECTS’ Sam Carter, who came and screamed his heart out for 10 seconds then vanished once more. Crashing through other songs old and new, most notably Gold Steps, Can’t Kick Up The Roots and Kali Ma (all from LNOTGY), climaxing in an emotional rendition of A Part Of Me followed by the staple set-closer What Did You Expect? to finish off an awesome set (BRING ON THE FORUM!), despite what the guy behind me was musing…

NDAP

Then came the turn of the hosts. They’re the biggest band in the UK at the moment, one of the biggest in the world and they’re knocking on the doors of the various record books, and their name is Bring Me the Horizon.

The lights fell, the screens all piercing the gloom with a bright white glow and sure enough, the BMTH boys came bouncing onto the stage, with 10,000 of the most hardcore fans of any band ever screaming, cheering and all round being stoked for the next couple of hours.

Jordan Fish kicked off proceedings with the sampled opening of That’s The Spirit‘s intro track Doomed, following with Oli’s (rather appropriate to the weather) vocals, ripping through the verses that turn pain to pleasure as the screens displayed artworks from the TSS era of the band recently, and naturally the singalong had already started.

12314087_1027837023946723_8045488249324174389_n

Then came the first single of TSS, Happy Song. Lee Malia (guitar) ripped through the leads with precision and feeling as per usual, creating an absolutely killer atmosphere right from the off, but we all knew from the final chorus with Oli’s scream of “so let’s sing along a little f***ing louder” that they meant business and that this gig wasn’t going to be another average metalcore gig like so many on the scene these days: for this was a Bring Me gig and they never fail to impress.

11223878_10153765638408658_1454788967428517041_o

Then came a little Sempiternal interval in the shape of Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake and The House Of Wolves, during which Oli did the usual speech about this being an amazing gig and how much we mean to him, which only motivated the crowd that little bit further, and he knew he had us wrapped round his little finger, using this to his advantage as he ordered “circle f***ing pits” in the same scream as normal (and everyone joined in, we knew the drill…).

10988911_10153765640048658_796527697213333096_o

Oli spoke about the “band for 10 years” thing, then asked us the unnecessary question “Are any of you fans of [BMTH’s 2008 deathcore LP] Suicide Season?”, which only led to more screams as we realised what the next words were going to be: “this one’s called Chelsea Smile”.

(I’ll say now, Chelsea Smile is my favourite song of all time and whether that makes me “emo”, “scene” or “weird” then great, I love it anyway.)

With Oli tearing through the opening lines with little backing from the band (the fan favourite has morphed into a far more rounded song from its deathcore teenage roots…) and blasting into its iconic breakdown riff, there sprung up instant pits and mania among the lot of us which only made it the atmosphere all the more insane. The pause after the first verse came and Oli looked out over us, all 10000, and used the power he had in that moment to enforce a wall; 5,000 people on either side of the room with a gap of about ten feet down the centre, only to be closed with the words “f***ing kill each other” in his usual half-screamed violent fashion, which obviously led to the closing and violence that was expected, as he roared for repentance and the End. Another verse through and as per usual, during the synthesised 16 bars (doubled from its original 8 on the LP) he ordered us to sit down, and more or less every single person in the entire venue sat down on the floor. 10,000 people just sat down in the main hall of Alexandra Palace, awaiting orders which soon came in the form of “three, two, one” and the huge galloping breakdown we all know and love with all our hearts and once again the crowd were one in the pit.

bmth_alexandrapalace2015_justinetrickett014_970_645_s_c1

Another short speech before second TSS single was announced, Throne. The industrial electronic intro and verse absolutely thundered through the giant room and everyone just had a huge party really.

Then back as a short sharp reminder of the album that made them who they are today in the form of Shadow Moses’ scream of “THIS IS SEMPITERNAL” followed by Sleepwalking, which was a huge sing-along moment yet again.

Next up was perhaps the most hardcore of the new LP in True Friends, with the crowd shredding the semi-screamed pre-chorus and the vicious chorus with aplomb and delight, followed by Sempiternal favourite Can You Feel My Heart.

Bring Me The Horizon (6)

The set closed with a fiery rendition of Antivist with the crowd declaring as always that they “don’t give a f***”, and keeping the pits rough right up until the final note.

Stupidly, some people decided this was in fact the end and started to leave, which meant they missed the most emotional performance of Blessed With A Curse in BMTH history, with 10000 of London’s finest singing through the tears dragged out by Sykes’ heart-wrenching words.

Then came the set-finisher Drown, the song that turned the band from a metalcore band to rock superstars and the entire crowd went nuts to end the night in style, and the band stayed on form.

After a long set of goodbyes and throwing kit into the crowd, we all made for the exit to the sound of Paramore’s Ain’t It Fun which led to a little bit more of that party atmosphere we had experienced that night, but alas it was over.

I can safely say it was the best gig ever and one of the best nights I’ve had in my life, so thank you to everyone involved!

All rights to photo owners

Asking and I

Asking and I

(Full live review/diary coming up later)

So as some of you may be aware, I was at Alexandra Palace for Vans Warped UK yesterday, which was to be headlined by Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides.
Asking are one of the first bands I listened to back in 2009 just after their first album came out, and they have been in my top 3 since then, at times my top one. Then yesterday, I was given the incredible opportunity to go and see them live, which I was super excited about and at 5pm they were doing a signing, but they had cut off the queue while we were watching FVK so I was pretty gutted, but a friend of mine was standing near the front of the queue so I walked towards her as they opened the gates and we managed to get in, and I spoke to my favourite band. I actually //SPOKE// to ASKING GODDAMN ALEXANDRIA.

First I spoke to Cam, who was quite quiet but he always has been one of the overlooked members, but he thanked me for my support and signed the card and book (UPSIDE DOWN).

12115734_1052293338128859_1935117842940807027_n

“Go on dude, get photos with us all” – CL

James also instructed me to get a photo so I followed orders as he signed:

12079320_1052293378128855_7204124308101334430_n

“Your hair covers half the picture, love it!” – JC

Sadly, I didn’t say much to Sam other than “photo?” but he gave me a grin nonetheless:

12088312_1052293424795517_3140357736390834262_n

“If you like this, wait til you see the set later…” – SB

I moved on to see Ben and I looked him straight in the eye and told him that his band has got me through so many bad days with a smile on my face, and thanked him for everything they have done for me over the last 6 years, and made a joke about them releasing singles then announcing that they were the whole album and he chuckled slightly as he shook my hand and thanked me for sticking with them through their bad days, to which I just freaked out really.

12118732_1052293468128846_7323667315765340752_n

“Shall I do horns for the photo? Ah screw it, generic rock s**t it is” – BB

Then I spoke to Denis, who was really cool and I told him that the new tracks are like a breath of fresh air into a band that was becoming more and more lifeless with the toxic influence of Danny, and he grinned and thanked me for being a part of something huge.

12088094_1052293501462176_6070857175717044334_n

“Oh is that a photo? Oops…” – DS


I now have a new Asking shirt, a signed card and a signed page in my book, and I genuinely couldn’t be any more grateful to the amazing guys that make up one incredible band that I have loved for so many years.
Then they went on stage and oh my goodness was it a sight. Denis was absolutely savage as he forced the crowd clean in two repeatedly, he has such an insane voice, the other guys were all on great form and I loved every second of it, best day of my life so far!

AA7

“Is that really all you’ve f***ing got, London? Push it back. Push it back. I knew you could do it… GO” – DS