Gig Review – The Contortionist, The Safety Fire, Protest the Hero, November 28th, Voodoo Lounge

This kind of lineup – progressive and mathcore bands – often attracts a slightly hipper crowd with haircuts and snapbacks alongside more stereotypical metal fans, thanks to mathcore’s strong roots in the (post-)hardcore scene. I’m not fully sure where I fell on this spectrum. I was there in black jeans and band t-shirt and boots, but the band was Job for a Cowboy (a reformed deathcore band), and they were kinda skinny jeans, but on the other hand my beard is a little too unkempt at the moment to be considered hip. It led to a tension of identity, but one that on reflection I think allowed me to be the ideal audience member for a gig of this kind.

I managed to again miss the opening act, on account of being on a bus to the gig while they were on stage. London’s Palm Reader seem to be a catchy, aggressive outfit, with short and punchy songs, and were probably worth a look. Their debut album is on Spotify. Sorry guys, I’ll try catch you next time!

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Gig Review – Malevolence, Goatwhore, Dying Fetus, November 20th, Voodoo Lounge

Last week was the beginning of a seriously music-heavy few months; Wednesday and Thursday saw the ICC 10 festival, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Irish Composers’ Collective. ICC are a wonderful organisation I’m involved in, allowing Irish composers the opportunity to have music performed by some the country’s top contemporary music performers. The festival was a great celebration of the past decade of new music, and it was a really wonderful experience to see so many members past and present in attendance, proving just how strong and vibrant the Irish new music scene is.

As well as ICC 10, there is a huge amount of metal happening in Dublin over the next two months, and this season was kicked off last Thursday at the Voodoo Lounge. This was a rare gig where I came away without any band t-shirts; I missed Fallujah, I wasn’t quite impressed enough by Malevolence to buy merch, and the other two bands I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing in polite company. Continue reading

10 Facts for Bob Geldof

GB on tour!

Dear Sir Bob,

Thanks so much for doing the Ebola fundraising thing. We hope you raise lots and lots of money. The only thing is, there is a world outside your window Sir, but it might not be quite how you imagine it. We thought you might like to refer to our handy list of facts and figures to help you along when you do the Live Aid 30 re-edit.

Do they know it’s Christmas? – Lovely sentiment, great tune, huge money raiser, but ever so slightly bonkers!

Lets take a look at the facts:

1. There is water flowing in Africa, really quite a lot of it in fact.

“Where the only water flowing Is the bitter sting of tears”

What? What about the world’s longest river? The river Nile is over 4000 miles long.

(The 5 biggest rivers in Africa are: Nile, Congo, Zambizi, Niger, Orange river)

And…

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Lorde: Master of Reinvention

Lorde, whose song Royals last night won Best Rock Video at MTV’s Video Music Awards, must surely be the modern-day David Bowie. No other contemporary artist has reinvented themselves so completely. Look at these photos, one from her victory for Finland at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, the other from a concert in 2013.

Lordei

It hardly even looks like the same person!

As well as this stunning visual turnaround, the change in Lordi’s music is remarkable. Who could believe that the woman behind Royals also wrote Bite It Like a Bulldog?

Well done Lorde, and I can’t wait to see how you reinvent yourself next!

Bloodstock Report Part Four: Summary and Other Thoughts

With a great lineup and lovely atmosphere, Bloodstock is definitely a festival I would consider returning to in future. As I mentioned in the second post, we bought the tickets almost a full year in advance, solely on the basis of Emperor’s appearance, when they were the only band announced. Though I would happily have returned to Brutal Assault, I chose to get the Emperor tickets while they were available and as it turned out, Bloodstock’s lineup was more suited to my tastes. In terms of cost, it is obviously a lot more expensive that Brutal Assault, due to their locations, but allowing for the cost of traveling it probably worked out about the same. This may change in future as Ryanair are now serving Prague airport. My choice of festival next year will again be based on lineup.

As I’ve already said, bar the issue of communicating with the fans, I thought the festival was excellently organised. The toilets were usually in great condition, the showers were adequate, and the one schedule change I was aware of was communicated from the main stage hours in advance. There were some disappointments at the merch stand; Emperor shirts  had sold out by Saturday afternoon, and Decapitated didn’t even have any shirts with them, but these problems can’t be blamed on the festival. If the CD selection from the independent vendors wasn’t as obscure as that I’m used to from continental festivals, that’s probably because it’s a lot easier for a merchant with a collection of releases by obscure scene bands to travel across mainland Europe than it is to travel to the UK. Even at Bloodstock, my hobby of seeking out the most offensive grind CDs is probably pretty niche, and it didn’t significantly impact on my fun at the festival, so I can’t hold it against them.

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Bloodstock Report Part Three: Sunday

Getting up to see the first band on the last morning is something of a tradition for Conor and me, and a charming sludge group from Guernsey by the name of Byzanthian Neckbeard fulfilled that role this year.

16-year-old blues guitarist Aaron Keylock was a strange inclusion in this year’s lineup, but personally a very welcome one. After a few days of listening to metal, to hear a performer that really explores the range of sounds available on their instrument – as Aaron does – was refreshing. This kind of blues guitar is a genre I find difficult to engage with but Aaron’s impressive chops and use of timbral variation kept me interested. His band seem to be as young as he is, and though his banter as a frontman is a little clichéd, that can probably be put down to his youth rather than a lack of ability or charm.

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Bloodstock Report Part Two: Saturday

Opening Saturday’s lineup was Back Down or Die who were good dumb fun. Violent slammy death metal, with the frontman interacting with specific audience members by name, which always adds a nice touch of intimacy to a gig.

I had planned on ignoring Evil Scarecrow because I thought their name was stupid; but while ordering a pint at the Bloodstock Arms, their elaborate costumes and props projected up on the big screen caught my eye, and they turned out to be by far the most entertaining and fun band of the entire festival. A large dedicated corps of followers turned up in robot costumes and with appropriate props to match the band’s silly songs about robot/crab hybrids, waltzing cyclopes, sci-fi war and the misery of black metal. They got the crowd to participate to a degree no other band acheived: seeing thousands of metalheads all crab-scuttle from side to side while waving the pincers in the air attests to the skill this band has in getting the audience to do stuff. The music is a good fun fare, symphonic and synthy. They weren’t among the most musically talented bands we saw but the music is really acting as a vehicle for the wonderfully silly and entertaining stage show.

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