Iron Maiden @ Download Festival 2013

Once again I headed once again to the spiritual home of Rock, Donington Park for a stunning lineup to listen and capture some eclectic up-comers, resurgent groups, underrated rockers and true megastars taking influence from the entire spectrum of the rock/metal clenched fist.

I took some photos and watched some bands, here’s the day in brief…

UFO

UFO (2)

Stood still for the camera, which was more to do with their advancing years. Proper classic rock still sounds good to these ears.

UFO (1)

Highlight: Storming rendition of Doctor, Doctor

Heaven’s Basement

Heaven's Basement (1)


Finally the band we have been trumpeting here at DiR.net for years have made it onto the first rung of the ladder, destination rock rocket to the top. They truly ran rampant on huge stage and I loved every glorious minute of this power packed energetic set of high attitude modern rock and roll. Huge crowd and fantastic reception…the general public seem to now agree with me! Sure to rise and rise on from here.

Heaven's Basement (3)

Highlight: The band’s remarkable display of happiness,astounded that so many people actually turned up, each rewarded with a huge version of Executioners day!

 

Hardcore Superstar

Hardcore Superstar (2)

Swedish sleaze glamsters clad in objectionable outfits came and conquered the utterly terrible weather which saw 2 huge downpours deposited on the crowd. Despite this their upbeat party anthems and fist pumping punk rock tunes provoked much singing in the rain and dancing in the aisles.

Hardcore Superstar (1)

Highlight: ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sunday’s‘, sparking a massive sing and dance along in the middle of a torrential soaking. it was a case of “c’mon skies, is that all you got!”

Black Star Riders

Black Star Riders (1)

Ricky Warwick and the remains of the Thin Lizzy crew were back again this year under their new moniker with a set of (oddly enought) Lizzy-esque rock tunes which could be easily be plucked straight from the 70’s legends. Throw in some greatest hits such as Jailbreak, Boys Are Back In Town, Rosalie and another rain defying epic Whisky In The Jar…their set was a absolute pleasure from the first rings of Scott Gorham’s guitar to the final note of Wawick’s Lynott lined lungs.

Black Star Riders (3)

Highlight: Whisky In The Jar getting a field full of old drowned rats jumping around like youthful loons in bright sunlight.

Katatonia

Katatonia

With dark clouds looming and a mist like patter of rain descending over the 2nd stage, there was no better atmosphere for my next band, the black metal titans, Katatonia. Their dour gloom, huge guitars and soulful clean vocals cut a lonely figure which crashed wave after wave of sorrow into the skies. Yet somehow there is a glimmer of hope running through them which is hard to pin, melodic and beautiful, a unique set.

Katatonia (3)

Highlight: The Parting’s soaring vocal section, juxtaposed against their deep earth excavating riffs.

Karnivool

Karnivool (3)

Aussies Karnivool were here to make a statement that Progressive Rock/Metal still reigns, on a performance like this its hard to disagree. A dazzaling assortment of melodies and sounds, given punch with sparse but crushing overdriven guitars and bound together with the beautifully fragile and powerful voice of front man, (one of my favourite vocalists). His emotive and distinct vocals were just as good live as it cut like knife through the gathering booming soundscapes. A pause for thought and refelection, but unmissable nonetheless.

Karnivool (1)

Highlight: Simple Boy and its xylophone melody giving way to a stonking deep 7 string bass riff machine

Mastodon

Mastodon

Being a hell of a long way back I could only pick out a few cool riffs here and there, time to exercise the zoom lens.

Alice In Chains

Alice In Chains (1)

A faithful following swarmed around the main stage for the return of these heavy grungers. New material from their comeback albums were typified with some pretty awesome bass riffs which had the hard rock crowd salivating. Vocals from DuVall/Cantrell were as good as expected, not overplaying but leading charged singalongs on their biggest hits Rooster and Down In A Hole. Despite the lyrical subject material they sounded uplifting and this well rounded set of loud and soft moments really impressed.

Alice In Chains (2)
Highlight: The sheer number of blow up chickens which found their way stagewards during Rooster.

Motorhead

Motorhead (2)

This was not their finest outing, plenty of really old and obscure tracks had the faithful worshiping and the classics were all here too. Nothing out of the ordinary, but still you can’t mess with Motorhead, neither would I recommend it.

Motorhead (1)
Highlight: The set ending knockout 1-2 combo of Ace of Spades and Overkill

Queens Of The Stone Age

QOTSA

A newly re-invigorated QotSA were here today, which marked one of the best sets of the day. Equal measures of high quality, heavy desert stoner drawn from the latest album and Fuzz driven upbeat dance rock from Songs From The Deaf, they stuck to the formula which has brought them so much success. Their greatest hits were all aired and picking the more melodic and high octane tracks really pumped up the crowd. A fitting warm up for the epic headliners to come.

QOTSA (2)

Highlight: Little Sister, where the guitar solo and thumping bass line collide, caused carnage.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden (5)

When you can commission a flypast from a WWII Spitfire to start your set off with a bang, you are clearly in for something very special. Their ‘Maiden England’ tour was a success on its first outing, today its reprise was just as epic. Triple Guitar attack and a greatest hits set spanning their best albums this was a blast from the past which has endured its time and is clearly still as popular today. Pyrotechnics, flames, fireworks, costume changes, a 20 ft Eddie, plenty of British & war imagery was all part of the elaborate staging which was just as absorbing as the music on offer. The crowd were in full voice and knew every word coming from Bruce Dickinson’s falsettos vocal chords. A magnificent performance from a band who has been doing this size show for decades! A Superb Show!
Iron Maiden (6)

Highlight: Fear of The Dark, with the entire crowd bellowing the opening riff a Capella.

 

Iron Maiden (4)

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers @ The Electric Ballroom

Pulled Apart By Horses & The Computers  @ Electric Ballroom

23rd Februray 2012

Mr Flowers has fallen sadly behind the times over recent months, as evidenced by his album backlog stretching back to the summer of 2011. But thankfully his desire for live bands hasn’t faltered. So as we settle doan at The Worlds End for the Camden pre-pint ritual, it’s no shock to learn Flowers has no idea who is supporting. “The Computers! Wow! I didn’t know that! that’s awesome!!“, cue reminiscence on how we sadly missed them at Camden Crawl 2011 and how he still hasn’t heard their debut LP (no surprises there then). No time to waste then as we struck out, eager not to miss out, which turned out slightly enthusiastic given the first support slot went unfilled. All of a sudden the PA system flicked, circa 1955, retro rock and roll blaring…this signaled the imminent arrival of The Computers.

Band uniform’s are an overlooked weapon in the style arsenal as coolness tends to trump novelty. The Computers, fully clad in white shirts and trousers looking a bit like fellow garage rockers The Hives, embrace it. It’s rare to witness something genuinely unique and I am stumped to think of another band who have taken vintage rock n’ roll and blues and channeled it through hardcore punk to create the “Hardcore Blues”.

The Computers

Niche? yes. Good? absu-bloody-lutely! High octane throaty yelps, mixed up over clean backing vocals with riotous guitars thrashing out blues by-numbers melodies make a contagious combination. They play with force and confidence, bounding about stage barely confined by the lengths their instrument cables will take them. Lead vocalist especially has itchy feet as he played from atop of the speakers, on the barrier stage front and more impressively from 50ft back in the crowd. With the cables strung high by some thankfully tall fans acting as makeshift pylons the crowd closed a tight circle around him buzzing in the energy on display. The crowd themselves had seemingly endless energy tonight which made for a corking show. you know when a 20ft circle pit opens up for the support band, you know it’s gonna be one of those nights that you feel lucky to escaped bruising.

Their short sharp 3 minute blasts of inferno blues guitar and rootin’ tootin’ honky tonk piano punk were just stunning, their best being the thrusting “Music Is Dead” and soundtrack to a bar room brawl “Rhythm Revue“. Look out for these boys, they play hard, fast and take no prisoners…just how we like it!

After such a grand opening, it was a tough task to trump. Yet Pulled Apart By Horses went about the task, bit between snarling teeth, as they cranked up the ante one more notch. The crowd again didn’t waste any time in forming smash pits even bigger than before, causing carnage and chaos throughout the entire set. PABH’s alt-metal thunder was epic tonight; their hulking great guitar riffs and giant pounding drums were each on top form.

They plucked plenty of material from their newly release album Tough Love which despite its recent addition to their catalogue sparked furious sing-a-long and energetic reactions from where I was standing. Although it was slightly slower in tempo, their melodies were much wider in scope giving their tunes an added depth. Especially as the big wind-up release guitar rockets are still abundant, yet lie deeper into their songs. Lead single “V.E.N.O.M.” the pick of the newbie’s, unleashed frenzied vocals and an unstoppable melee of fret runs, crescendo’s and breakdowns.

Pulled Apart By Horses

Of course the first album favourites succeeded in unleashing the greatest crowd lunacy, resulting in a twisted sea of bodies enveloping over half of the venue. Set closer “High Five Swan Dive Nose Dive” started a chaotic riot, “The Crapsons” sparked grown men to sing at one another and  “I Punched A Lion In The Throat” with its Zepp’ riffs and calls of “Ultimate Power”  is befitting for one of the best and most powerful live bands around. Their confidence has been buoyed since the last time we witnessed them, if they have been getting this kind of reception up and down the country the it’s easy to see why.

The guys even had time to throw in a Nirvana cover at the death, “Tourettes” which suited their dirty fuzzed guitars and ear pummeling ethos. Tonight was the best show I’ve been at for quite some time. Madness reigned, but ultimately that’s what made it so addictive!

The Joy Formidable, And So I Watch You From Afar @ The Forum

14th October 2011

We were back at one of our favourite stomping grounds tonight for a show that’s come as the result of an accelerated rise through the indie rock ranks in 2011, The Joy Formidable. They brought along a packed support line-up, the first of which we missed out on. Oddly all support bands had the same length sets. Now I’m all for equal opportunities but the hierarchy of set times is one right that needs to be built over time with rising popularity, not assigned through an arbitrary all inclusive policy.

The Dig

Nevertheless despite a shortlived uprising, we were stuck with The Dig for 30 arduous minutes of heavily reverbed, surf styled, trendy indie scene dross which barely managed to keep us awake, let alone entertain us. Credit is due though to their final song which perked up a wholly dull performance from these Abercrombie NYC residents, rescuing it from the jaws of defeat just in the nick of time, a la Jack Bauer. Ready to make a bigger impact in their 30 minutes were tonight’s ‘sub-headliners’ (a moot title), And So I Watch You From Afar…

And So I Watch You From Afar

ASIWYFA are an interesting beast. An instrumental guitar band who like to blur the boundaries between rock, post-rock and prog on their album releases. Tonight regardless of genre classifications they had their serious rocking hat on a they blasted through the standout first 4 tracks of their blistering new album Gangs. The instrumental virtuosity was sublime with some of the most complicated interweaved sections played on two guitars standing on opposite ends of the stage. Standout tune 7 Billion People All Alive At Once leveraged plenty of huge rugged breakdowns beautifully complimenting their more melancholic guitar lines and soaring soundscopic effects. Playing both the beauty and the beast bears no problem for this superbly talented band. Despite being on top form tonight, they seemed to have some slight technical issues, which may or may not have been the cause of their sound being way below the 11 they’d clearly love to tune their amp dials to. An epic journey of prog infused melodic phrasing and hard hitting raw power, one nobody wanted to alight from.

Suddenly out of the cold Kentish Town night, a small Cornish seafront village has appeared on stage, complete with its own crashing waves, boat and operational 10ft lighthouse. It was set for headliners The Joy Formidable (I’ve clearly missed the whole maritime link here). First impressions were…where is the lead singer? I then proceeded to rise on tip toes and located the vertically challenged female firecracker who’s beautiful vocals mixed up stunning power and a subtle fragility. This trio certainly packed a punch with some tremendously thunderful drumming and overwhelming crashing guitars (akin to a stormy sea perhaps? I know…I’m fishing for a connection).

The Joy Formidable
Only having a single LP to your name on one hand is a good thing. Everybody knows what’s instore! The finest tunes from their debut all got a great live reception including the electro stormer A Heavy Abacus, a potently tormented I Don’t Want To See You Like This and the remarkable sound collision of Whirring.

Ritzy Bryan

Although on the other hand, unless the album is a 10/10 instant classic, there is a lot of filler to plug the gaps where you would normally press fast forward. Having these interspersed within the set dried their indie rock formula up prematurely, hence later songs sounded almost too similar and repetitive. A few covers would have helped proceedings flow better.

Despite this, they put on a very entertaining show with great spirit, especially frontwoman Ritzy Bryan who endlessly bounded about with a smile of enjoyment streaking across her beaming face all evening. Ones to watch, for sure…roll on album #2.

Album Review Shorts: Bomb The Music Industry! – Vacation

Short & sweet album reviews that never miss the point…

Bomb The Music Industry! – Vacation


RockOSaurus Says…

What a difference an album makes. Always known for their quirks and DIY ethics, this blows all their previous records out of the water with the change of direction into a indie rock land overdriven with pop melodies and clean vocals. Taking their foot of the pedal slightly and laying back somewhat, their tunes really find their feet and lodge themselves in your head. Ability to comprehend the vocals is a big win win, and with more emphasis on melody over speed makes this an incredibly enjoyable album. They still sail way out into the eclectic ocean mixing up tempo’s, synthy breaks, jagged punk guitar led numbers (Vocal Coach), lyrically potent acoustic strummers (Can’t Complain), Noise Rock (Savers) and more BTMI! trad tunes Everybody That You Love given a loving polish and pop makeover, Never to be second guessed this is an ever twisting album of wildly varied brilliance.

8

Album Review Shorts: Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone

Short & sweet album reviews that never miss the point…

Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone

RockOSaurus Says…

Instrumental post-rock bands fall into one of two categories, mostly bland or rarely brilliant. Thankfully this Leeds group left me stunned with their classically backed rock power. The lack of vocals is rewarding as their violin melodies epitomise the word epic. When this is twinned with idyllic/all out assault dynamics, the storming guitars, clattering drums and sweeping keyboards make for truly stunning results. The softer butterfly flutter moments are starkly beautiful and sparse, plus they inevitably become heaving behemoths as they wind up into cataclysmic sound eruptions. An awe inspiring collection of towering feel good harmonies and superb songwriting. A triumph of post rock glory!! It’s rock Jim, but not as we know it!

8.5

Camden Crawl 2011: Day One

30th April 2011

A thankful DiR.net team headed out from HQ without the hassle of tube engineering works halting progress. Shortly after departing, we arrived, acquired our wristbands and were already enjoying our first band. Its great when things just work isn’t it!

The schedule was typically full of prime time clashes, but the addition of The Forum (hang on isn’t that Kentish Town), had added another headliner sized venue to the already bursting seams of the Camden Crawl + Kentish Town. We studied this at length in the blazing sunshine to the backdrop of Heights on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage. These agro-metallers were adept in fashioning walls of chainsaw guitar buzz, which when cranked up made for some cool amped up soundscapes. The screamed vocals were below average however and failed to leave an impression.

Heights

Staying put we were ready for the dance-punk of Turbowolf! Thankfully their vocalist had improved since the last time we saw them (here), but it was still more deciphering rather than listening. His energy and enthusiasm cannot be faulted, his gypsy punk attire could. Backed with electro soaked guitar riffs with metally tendencies and spiky synths this band were on top form, kicking out huge melodies and thumping bass which had even the grandpa’s an head banging. An early contender for highlight of the Weekend for sure!

Turbowolf

Due to P Moneys no show we were ready for Pendul…sorry, The Qemists! After nestling in near the back of the crowd, I was astounded at just how loud their engineer was pushing the sound system. Even people south of the river were wondering “what’s that racket?”. As it transpired, their huge Drum n’ Bass madness was pushed a tad too much. A huge Crack” signaled a muted 15 minutes as they blew a fuse, much to my relief. They restarted somewhat quieter and were much better. Its amazingly hard to enjoy something blowing a hole in your ear drums! Entertaining? yes, original? not quite. The guitars were understated and the bass/bass/snare drum beats wore thin all too quickly.

The Qemists

After a short break we returned to find the punk pop delights of Attack! Attack! rounding out the day schedule on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage. This was by far the most accomplished set of the day. Polished pop songs with clouting guitars and plenty of vocal hooks were worthy of a much greater crowd. Still we really enjoyed this well crafted, catchy little set from these welsh boys!

Attack! Attack!

With a total of 16 venues hosting shows at 19:15, it’s beyond belief how we ended up watching such utter drivel next! The offenders were Glaswegian noise rockers Divorce. From their stage presence you felt like they were being forced to play against their will (I’ll excuse the drummer, he was quite likable, thus in the wrong band!). Their antagonistic apathy wreaked of attitude problems as they generated mere nonsensical noise from their guitars. Nothing of value came from the vocalists lips except silence! Here incessant thrashing and vocals which can only be described as squawks were utterly dreadful! They clearly thought that they were playing groundbreaking art rock….in reality, it was plain awful!

Divorce

What followed at the Barfly was much brighter, if a little more agro-centric. Turbogeist‘s speed punk was really quite good! Fast and furious riffs with poppy sprinkles gave it a really edge as you could both rock out and toe tap at the same time. In amongst their set were some belting tunes, such as Alien Girl, that sparked chaos in the mosh pit. I say mosh pit, this was all out macho man pinball! It even managed to fill 90% of the venue. The remaining 10% wincing at every clout while secretly hoping the next one to fly out, does so not near me! A frenzied set which was both dangerous and fun!

Turbogeist

Hawk Eyes (or the band formerly known as Chickenhawk), played an absolute blinder in the Underworld tonight. Aggressive alt metal was met with equally approving head banging as their hard hitting riffs and super technical fretwork took centre stage. This was not for the faint hearted as they blasted through most of their debut album including tunes such as NASA Vs ESA, Scorpieau and Son of Cern. We were even joined in the crowd by the lead singer who despite being the occasional scream merchant, has an impressive set of pipes! One to rock out to (without fear of flying bodies).

Hawk Eyes

Rounding off the night we ended up in the Jazz Cafe for the return of Dananananaykroyd. With a tiny stage for their bouncy frenetic live shows it didn’t take long for the singers to leap into the crowd, instantly sending camera bulbs flashing (guilty your honour) as their antics continued. Mr. Flowers even got a high five! Without their new album being out yet, much of the show was new to us, yet the songs on offer were as cheery as ever mixed with dazzling guitar work and their trademark dueling vocals. One new single i picked out Muscle Memory was an all out pop song with a catchy melody and bags off off-kilter kookiness which makes they so great to listen to.

Dananananaykroyd

More than any other band I’ve seen, Dananananaykroyd really look like they are having an absolute blast all the time, cracking jokes, bearing grins as wide as the Cheshire cat and bantering with anyone who dares. Their energy is totally infectious! Even when during one song both guitars and one mic malfunctioned. To their credit, they carried on regardless and had a little chuckle about it afterwards!

Free Hug, enroute to Hi-Five Mr Flowers!

So it was with some older tunes Black Wax and Pink Sabbath did Danananananaanana… bid us farewell this evening. They rounded off what was a great day one, for a festival whose crowning glory (of a shower and a cooked breakfast) was yet to come…oh and tomorrows lineup is pretty awesome too! Stay Tuned!

Tracks of 2010

Now our favourite albums of 2010 have been decided, that leaves only the small matter of the best songs. It was a tough task, but we managed to whittle down an enourmous shortlist down to the top 100 tunes as recommended by us here at DoesItRock.net. It is rather unfair to order them as they are all brilliant in their own way, hence why the debates raged long into the night. In order that we could get some sleep, we have each picked out some of our personal favourites from 2010 which kept our spirits high and ears satisfied all year long.

The entire playlist is available to listen via Spotify:

DoesItRock Tracks of 2010 Spotify Playlist


Frank Turner – I Still Believe … Superb lyrics on this rousing anthem for all those who love music, “Who’d have though, something as simple as rock and roll would save us all”, absolute genius.
Slash – Doctor Alibi – featuring Lemmy Kilmister … What A Riff! 3 Chords of loosely played, gibson driven, marshall powered, mega catchy punk rock power chords. Backed with wailing classic, flashy blues guitar solos and Lemmy’s trademark growl bringing even more rock n’roll spirit to this cracking track! Utterly Irresistable!
Pulled Apart By Horses – High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive … Just 4 notes of a furiously fast blues lick seems unstoppable throughout PABH’s showcase single, demonstrating their crushing riffing, semi-scream vocals and high intensity guitar workouts.
Carpark North – Just Human … I thought electro-pop had become stale over the last few years. Fear not though…this euphoric dancefloor tune has epic synths and a killer chorus.
Birds of Tokyo – Wild At Heart … Progressive rock turned pop is a joyous meld of tinkling piano keys, soaring electro and rumbling guitars. What breaks this above the pack are the superb lyrics and excellent vocals!
Cee Lo Green – F**k You … Pop classic from the soul sensation which everyone is probably sick of by now. You cannot deny its greatness. Would be higher if “Forget You” did not exist.
Foxy Shazam – Count Me Out … Glamtastic Pop from the alt-rock oddballs and their electic brand of rock madness.
Kvelertak – Blodtørst … Bursts out of its cage with a ferocius energy and blows away all that stands in the way of its heavy melodic punk madness.
The Jim Jones Revue – Elemental … From the inital bluesy riff and the roughly screamed “ELEMENTAL!!” this rolling tune just keeps on electrifying as it goes, taking towns and small children with it. A rampant rock n’ roll classic, simple in execution, perfect in execution.
Danko Jones – Full Of Regret … With a video staring Lemmy, Elijah Wood & Selma Blair this pop tune is steeped in stardom with it’s killer riff.
The Thermals – I Don’t Believe You … Yet another three chord wonder from the Thermals. Nothing fancy just pure brilliance.
Interpol – Barricade … Indie gloomsters returned in 2010 and struck gold with this uptempo fizzing tune.
Ozzy Osbourne – Let Me Hear You Scream … Ozzy’s new guitarist Gus G proves he is up to the challenge of facing his predecessors.
Meat Loaf – Love Is Not Real … Rock royalty, Vai, May and Hawkings lend a helping hand for this epic classic rock tune.
Reckless Love – Beautiful Bomb … If you loved the 80’s, Reckless Love are set on bringing it back, impossible  to hate, so god damned catchy!
The Walkmen – Juveniles …  Jangly indie guitars, melancholic feelings, soaked in passion and sung with true heart.
Tweak Bird – Sky Ride … Fuzzed up guitars, sweet vocals and labouring rhytmns make for stoner rock greatness
Black Mountain – Let Spirits Ride … Steeped in the 60’s classic rock era, this blasts off into retro land with no time to look back.
Sweetapple – Do You Remember … J Mascis stamps his authoritative riff all over this cathy little number!
Coheed and Cambria – Here We Are Juggernaut … Prog masters produced another stunning album, this time with a more industrial outlook.
The Black Keys – Tighten Up … The blues maestro’s are back to their souful best.
Les Savy Fav – Dirty Knails … Indie rockers found in fine riff hungry form, urgent and energetic!
The Glitterati – Fight Fight Fight … Leeds based hard rockers returned from the shadows with a cracking new album in 2010.
Bombay Bicycle Club – Ivy & Gold … Fragile acoustic track for kicking back on a sunday afternoon.
Violent Soho – Jesus Stole My Girlfriend … Grunge was back in abundance this year, this being the pick of such tunes!
Black Sunshine – Holy Gasoline … Stepping into the Southern Rock spotlight, these guys have some monster guitars and mega melodies.
Crime In Stereo – Drugwolf …  BListering track full of rise and fall, dramatic guitars and heartfelt vocals.
Wolf Parade – Palm Road … Breezy indie pop is perfect for that summer road trip.
Sleigh Bells – Tell ‘Em … Mashed up mayhen with these trend setting electroclashers.
Tame Impala – Solitude Is Bliss … Sit back and drift away to the dreamy, drung induced soundscapes of fuzz from this bright aussie band.

DoesItRock Tracks of 2010 Spotify Playlist