Tag: gig review

GIG REVIEW: The Lovely Eggs in Birmingham

The Lovely Eggs on stage with text "GIG REVIEW: The Lovely Eggs"

I hadn’t even heard of The Lovely Eggs before about March this year. As with pretty much all of my musical discoveries, I was introduced to them by the husband. Not in a “he controls what I listen to” kind of way. Just that I’m not that musically minded and don’t actively choose to listen to stuff.

This is Eggland

Anyway, The Lovely Eggs. With tunes like “Dickhead” and “Would You Fuck!” on their latest album – This is Eggland – they’re probably not the most singalong family friendly band, but they are bloody great! A husband and wife duo, they make a hell of a lot of noise for just two people. Last time they played in Birmingham earlier this year, we didn’t go because it was a mid week gig. This time around, last week, was also mid week. But with me not yet rejoining the realms of employment and a few more months of listening to the album under our belts, we decided to head along.

It was a great decision! They’re every bit as good live as listening to the record, and they like to have a chat and banter with the audience in between songs too. Singer Holly veers between venomous vitriol and fairy tale sing-songyness in her delivery. Her Northern accent shines through and adds to the anthemic vine of songs like “I Shouldn’t Have Said That”, while “Wiggy Giggy” has a mind bending psychedelic repetitiveness that has been stuck in my head ever since.

Their don’t give a fuck attitude shines through and you can tell they’re doing it their way, and for the love of the music. They’re not in it for the adoration or pretention, and they actively don’t do fake encores to please the crowd.

How would I describe The Lovely Eggs? A bit punky, a bit alternative, a bit indie, very real and a lot of fun!

 

GIG REVIEW: Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown O2 Academy Birmingham

The husband and some friends have been waxing lyrical about this band for a while now, so when we saw they were playing at the O2 Academy in Birmingham we jumped at the chance to go and see them live. They were supporting The Cadillac Three, who held less appeal, but at just £15 a ticket it was still good value.

Weekday gigs are often a bit of a struggle as I have a 30 mile drive home, a portion of which is currently plagued with roadworks and slow traffic, and getting back into the city centre for a support band isn’t easy. At one point it looked like we might miss them, but fortuitously their stage time was later than we expected and we got to see the entirety of their set.

Wow. What a great great band. From Nashville, they play Bluesy Southern rock with meaty bass guitar and chunky drums. The eponymous front man, Tyler, is full of energy, charm and swagger, plays guitar like a demon and looks like he’s just stepped out of the late 60s. At just 25 years old he’s already had a lot of exposure and acclaim from a young age, and the band have opened for rock legends like Aerosmith, AC/DC and ZZ Top. His steel guitar playing was outstanding and vocally he’s raspy, gritty and growly – like a rock and roll singer should be.

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Musically there’s a lot of 60s and 70s influences too, and a touch of country alongside good old rock n roll. Special mention to Caleb Crosby who’s drum solo at the front of the stage towards the end was as exhilarating for the audience as it must have been exhausting for him.

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Humble, gracious and polite (thanking the crowd for spending their money and supporting live music, praising the venue and the audience) it was all together an outstanding gig experience. A really cool band, with charisma for days, who I’ll most definitely be checking out again.

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As a footnote, headliners The Cadillac Three didn’t ding our dong. We hung around for a couple of songs but they’re so Southern that the song lyrics were unintelligible and they came across as a bit of a bad parody. Sorry guys! On the plus side this meant that I was at home in pyjamas by 10pm! Rock n fuckin’ roll!

If anyone has any suggestions of bands I should be checking out, let me know!

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this live video so you can judge for yourself.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Motley Crue – The Final Tour

This time last week I was basking in how great Motley Crue were at the Genting Arena the night before, and how excited I was to be seeing them at Wembley.

Motley Crue band logo

I’ll start this review by saying wow.

Now I’ll tell you why.

Firstly, Motley Crue as a band have been releasing records for over 30 years. When a band has had commercial success for that length of time; touring the world and playing to hundreds of thousands of people, it’s pretty fair to say they know their stuff. They know how to tour, how to put on a show and how to please an audience.

So it’s pretty difficult to review them in the way you would a smaller/lesser known band at a smaller venue.

Even so, there are bands that lose their shine and passion as the years go on; and perhaps their performance suffers as a result. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s band fall outs, maybe it’s quality of musicianship.

You couldn’t say any of that about Motley Crue’s two performances last week. The stage show was big – there was lots of pyro, millions of lights, fire, and a drumkit on a rollercoaster.

Motley Crue drum rollercoaster 2

Motley Crue drum rollercoaster

Drum rollercoaster

Yep, Tommy Lee’s whole kit was attached to a rollercoaster that came right out into the crowd. During his drum solo he traversed the length of the coaster and back again; going upside down while also spinning around on the drum platform. Pretty spectacular stuff!

All of the big hits were in there with pumped guitar riffs and singalong vocals. Vince was flanked by two hot girls in tiny leather outfits, and why wouldn’t he be? This is a band who were instrumental in 80s rock and really lived the rock and roll dream of sex, drugs and debauchery. They’re over 50 now, yet to watch them you wouldn’t know it. There were no signs of lethargy or slowing down- each and every member of the band was really going for it.

Vince’s vocals have taken a battering in certain reviews I’ve read, and a lot of people decided not to see them again after outdoor festival performances at this year’s Sweden Rock and Download. I don’t think an outdoor festival is ever the best representation of how good a band can be, to be honest. And with the amount of energy and movement he puts into working the stage, it’s hardly surprising he doesn’t hit every single note!

I’ve seen them 6 times in total now, which is a lot for a band I never really thought I liked before the first time, but I can honestly say that I’ve loved each and every show. Part of the brilliance is that there are hardcore fans at their gigs who absolutely live and breathe their music, so the atmosphere and excitement is electric. And the band genuinely seem to care about their performance and giving everything. The visual aspect of the shows, as well as the audio, is above and beyond what a lot of bands do.

At the end, Vince and Nikki stepped onto two mechanical arms which then swept out into the crowd, so they were over and above the audience and playing to people below.

Nikki and Vince

Necessary? Not at all! Imaginative? Yes! Expensive and difficult to set up at each gig? You betcha! But they did it because the passion is still there to deliver a great show.

Nikki fireworks

Nikki finale

Nikki

Nikki Sixx

The finale couldn’t have been more different. The band left the main stage and made their way to a small platform half way in the crowd, lighting their path with torches. Just the four of them; Nikki on bass, Mick on guitar, Tommy on piano and Vince on vocals they sang Home Sweet Home.

Home Sweet Home

Nikki and Tommy Home Sweet Home

Vince Home Sweet Home

Nikki close up

No fancy effects, no bright lights – just the band in a pared down, intimate (well, as intimate as you can be in a sold out arena!) and emotional goodbye.

Crue famously signed legal documents stating that they will never tour again, so there was always going to be a lot of hype to this tour. Sceptics would say it’s a sure fire way of selling out venues, which they did. And of course there’s lots of sadness from lifelong fans that they’ll never see them again, but going out on a high was a good move. The fans will be left with nothing but positive memories of a great live goodbye.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Gig review – Biters in Wolverhampton

Sometimes a band comes along that you’re genuinely excited about – that you’re grabbed by right from the off. For me, this year, that band is the Biters.

Biters

I’ve only been aware of them for a couple of months (although they’ve been around for a while), but their current album – Electric Blood – is everything a rock ‘n’ roll album should be, and more.

So I was very excited to hear they were touring.

Biters tour

Less excited when I found out it was on a Wednesday, in Wolverhampton.

a) Wednesday – well, say no more. School night. No drinking or partying or really throwing yourself into the occasion because you have work the next day (not that I need a drink to have a good time, but y’know).

b) Wolverhampton. Despite it’s pretty close vicinity to Birmingham, it’s a bit of a ballache to get to.

There’s also the small matter that it was less than two days til our holiday, nothing was packed and some of it wasn’t even washed yet.

But still.

Husband has this band ticked for good things, and I had a heavy sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so we said “fuck it” to the practicalities, and off we trundled.

The Slade Rooms is a great venue – a big wide stage so you can see plenty of what’s going on, a good size gig room, ace sound and a big bar too. My favourite of the Wolverhampton venues I think – much more geared up towards a rock gig than, say, the Wulfrun or Civic Hall.

We weren’t bothered about seeing the support band, as is often the case, but arrived in time to catch them. And am I glad we did! Shock Hazard are a 3 piece from Norwich and they were great! The singer played lead guitar like he was in a full house at Wembley – a great frontman throwing himself around the stage, getting into the audience and, at one point, climbing up to the top of two big stacked amps (I actually said out loud “this isn’t going to end well” which probably wasn’t the reaction he wanted!) The band themselves look pretty mis-matched; a curly haired crazy rock god in the making, the bassist who looked like he’d be better suited in This is England 90, and the drummer who was so skinny he barely looked capable of lifting the sticks. But together they were amazing – tight, loud, fun to watch. It was a great opener.

And then came The Biters. They didn’t disappoint. Right from the off they kicked ass. Musically brilliant, vocally brilliant – loved them. 4 guys from Atlanta Georgia, this was their debut UK tour and I really felt for them – they deserved better. Wolvo on a Wednesday night is not going to go crazy, regardless of how fantastic you are (they were) and they deserved a bigger, better crowd. The front man actually said at one point “what do I need to do to get you guys going?” But what they were doing was just fine by me. Guitar riffs with a 70s flavour, singalong chorus’ and the kind of drums and bass that you can’t help but stomp along to. Singer and guitar player Tuk has the coolest style – all punky hair and skinny jeans and he’s a funny guy too; interspersing their songs with tales from the tour and home, and having some fun with members of the audience. But the music was the absolute star of the show, as it should be.

Highlights of the night for me were 1975 and Low Lives in Hi Definition, but really it would be wrong to put them out their as favourites because everything was so freakin’ good!

At times sounding like Thin Lizzy (never a bad thing!) with a distinctive vocal that makes them instantly recognisable, their songs are varied in tempo and style, but all with that inimitable 70s rock ‘n’ roll attitude that to me embodies all that I like about rock music.

If they do get as big as husband predicts, I’ll be honoured to say I saw them in a small venue in Wolvo on a Wednesday night.

But next time, if they could play a weekend date, the crowd might actually engage and show them just how great they really are!

Stupidly, I deleted all my pics (noooooo!) so here’s one courtesy of the husband.

Biters singer

And here is “Low Lives in Hi Definition”

Check ’em out!

 

Gig review – The Amorettes and Danko Jones at the Key Club in Leeds

We’re quite a fan of road trips to see bands we like and would generally rather travel to a weekend gig than do a mid week gig closer to home.

Which is how we found ourselves in Leeds on Saturday to see Danko Jones.

I was first introduced to the band by the husband (no surprise there!), about 5 or 6 years ago. They’re punky, funky, loud and in your face with great riffs and brash singalong lyrics but we’d never yet seen them live. So when they announced a UK tour, we were all over it.

Common sense would have been to go to the Wolverhampton date, but that was on a school night, and where’s the fun in that?

The Key Club was a great venue – small, intimate, dark, with great sound and a cheap bar! Seriously though, the sound quality and volume was very very good.

Support band The Amorettes are an all girl group that I wasn’t familiar with. They were pretty good – musically tight and full of attitude. For me it was spoilt by the fact that the lead singer delivered all her segues between songs in an OTT fake American accent. Why? You’re from Scotland! I hate fakery, and I hate it when bands feel they have to sound American to fit in. It completely undermines and spoils the rest of the performance for me.

And, in truth (which isn’t their fault) I was only really interested in the main band. Who did not disappoint!

One word.

Wow.

They literally blew me away. Right from the first chord the energy was incredible. Vocally, lead singer Danko is strong, raw and full of passion. Musically, for just three people, they make a hell of a lot of noise! It was like listening to the CD. Stand outs for me were “Legs” and “Do You Wanna Rock” (there aren’t many rock songs with cowbells in!)

Danko Jones Key Club Leeds

Disappointed to not hear “I Think Bad Thoughts” which was the original song that got me into them (and is probably my favourite) but that’s a very weak complaint in what was an incredible set, performance and night.

I already can’t wait to see them again – come back soon!

And, because I missed it, here is “I Think Bad Thoughts”

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Hey, Ho – Let’s Go! A review of Richie Ramone at The Oobleck, Birmingham

Here’s a funny story about The Ramones (actually it’s mainly about me).

Up until about 10 years ago I’d never heard of The Ramones. Sure, I knew some of their songs (Baby I Love You, Blitzkreig Bop – which I actually thought was called “Hey Ho, Let’s Go” until last night) but I didn’t know who sang them. I certainly didn’t know they were an iconic group with a cult following. So much so, that when Ramones t-shirts started appearing in High Street fashion stores like Primark about 12 years ago, I actually thought they were a new band…

Fast forward to the present day, and years of musical education and appreciation mean I know a lot more now than I did back then. I know, for example, that there are no surviving members of the original group. I know that Richie was the drummer from 1983 and also wrote some of the songs. And I also know, thanks to the power of Youtube, that his solo album is an absolute corker.

Which is why I found myself at new-ish Birmingham venue The Oobleck at the Custard Factory in Digbeth last night. The Oobleck and Alfie Birds are sister venues – the former being the gig space and the latter being the bar/food area (although they do also have bands playing upstairs sometimes).

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Together they used to be the Medicine Bar, legendary for dance music all nighters and world famous DJs, but that incarnation came to an end around 10 years ago. Sometimes, they used to drain the pool on big event nights. I thought the floating lilies were a nice touch.

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The Oobleck/Alfie Birds has just celebrated it’s first birthday, but this is the first time I’ve been to the gig space.

Starting with a (very) brief mention of the second support band – Venrez. They’re just alright. Bit of an Alice in Chains vibe going on musically, but a poor man’s version. I’ve actually seen them supporting other bands before, about 18 months ago, and the best I can say about them is that they sounded better this time around. But the singer has no charisma or stage presence, and is also a pretty unpleasant dude – on the wrong side of arrogant and cocky when he really has no cause to be.

Having already proven myself to have no musical qualifications to even justify talking about anything Ramone-ish, here goes.

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Wow (profound, I know). Richie loped onto the stage with menace; he’s a hulk of a man in the height department with the shoulder width of two men.

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Splitting his time between vocals and drums he never missed a note or a beat – snarling and growling out the songs with real punk passion. He has a great voice, wasted purely as a drummer, so it was great to see him front of stage, engaging with the crowd, telling everyone to come forward to the barrier and reaching out to them. His drumming, too, was amazing (as you’d expect) – really passionate and loud and noisy and energetic. Because the focus was on him, the kit was further towards the front of the stage than is usual at a gig, which gave a great opportunity to properly watch his performance. His energy never faltered from beginning to end.

Lead guitarist Alex Kane, who I’m told is something of a legend who has worked with a multitude of the greats including Slash and Alice Cooper, was really fun to watch.

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Jumping about like a lunatic, crazy blond and black hair flying, he thrashed his guitar like he was trying to pull the strings off – darting around the stage, playing up to the crowd, posing for great camera shots and basically loving every minute. His lust for the performance really came through and he looked like he was having an amazing time, as well as banging out riffs like it was the last gig of his life.

Clare Misstake – bassist and all round cool mo’fo’ – skinny as a rake, shaved side of head and a glow in the dark quiff at the front of her ponytail, wow was she into it or what? Counting in at the start of each song, her vocals were strong and fearsome and her dexterity with the bass was amazing. Such punk attitude and delivery, she was great to watch.

Finally, Ben Reagan on rhythm guitar and drums (I had to Google him – he was at the other side of the stage and much less visible, both in terms of distance and presence, than the rest of the band) but, needless to say, when Richie was doing vocals only, Ben’s drumming was superb, the passion and pace never faltered.

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It’s fair to say I enjoyed the gig massively – I don’t have the fancy words and eloquent review patter to articulate just how good the music was. A combination of Ramones songs and Richie’s own stuff, it was superb from beginning to end. I didn’t stand still for the whole time and was left wanting more (the only criticism is that the set felt too short and there was no encore, but that’s just me being greedy!)

It may only be May, but it’s already a contender for gig of the year.

Here’s a taster from his current album.

How I wish I was seeing more dates (or going to Camden Rocks this weekend, where Richie, Ginger Wildheart and so many others are playing).

Check out more about Richie on his website http://www.richieramone.com/

Quick word about the Oobleck – the venue space has that urban gritty feel – nothing shiny or fancy about it – which I quite like in a gig venue, and the toilets are unisex (just FYI).

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The sound was very good; no complaints there, but the lighting was AWFUL (a photographer friend of mine who was getting some shots said the same) and what was with all the smoke? Way too much, obscured the view of the stage (you can get a feel for it by the clarity of my photos and I was right at the front!), and made the place smell like a 90s nightclub. Sort it out!

(On the plus side the drinks prices are good – £3.50 for a pint, £3.50 for a vodka and mixer).

Oh, and it has made me realise that I definitely want to go and try some food at Alfie Birds next door – menu looked fab! Review to follow as and when!