Tag Archives: camden

TNT: Dynamite gig

TNT – Camden Underworld – 30/11/12

It’s never easy opening at 6.45pm on a Friday night, but since the Underworld had a club at 11pm, NeonFly, Stampede and TNT were on a tight schedule to finish by 10.15pm.

Credit has to go to NeonFly for the show they produced. The crowd topped 50, which, for a band that has toured with Magnum was perhaps a little deflating but they never gave that impression. Vocalist Willy was dynamic and engaging with a fantastically powerful and emotive voice. The synchronised head-banging looked at times rather silly but at least it came across as rehearsed and part of the show. There were no airs, graces or unnecessary arrogance – this was a band that plays for their enjoyment as well as the crowd’s. Unfortunately the sound was rather cluttered. I would attribute this to the Underworld’s system rather than the band’s performance; though the band’s recorded backing tracks didn’t help. They crammed a lot into 30 minutes, including their latest video track A Gift To Remember – a moving power-metal track that NeonFly performed to a T. A band that is great live with a raw and edgy sound.

Stampede is a British rock band that have been around for as long as headliners TNT. Vocalist Reuben Archer showed what a great voice he has, making me wish I’d heard him in his heyday, and the band gave a tight performance. The sound was clear and definitive, thanks in part to guitarist Laurence Archer’s characteristic sound. They had a friendly rapport with the crowd and put in lots of effort to make the performance one to remember. The songs weren’t all to my liking; Missing You, Humble Pie and Moving On were just some of the tracks from the band’s repertoire but I almost felt like the songs weren’t up to the performance. They’re enjoyable and talented band and while you won’t exactly be raving to your friends if I saw them on a bill I’d get there in time to see them.

Wow. TNT. If I said they were all they’re cracked up to be I still feel I wouldn’t be doing them justice. Guitarist Ronni Le Tekro, the only original member, played with a passion and zeal that almost seemed to control his fervent performance. And he is one heck of a guitarist. His instrumental was short enough to be sweet while cramming in technique that still allowed the solo to flow coherently. It was great to see a live keyboardist instead of silly recorded backing tracks. Vocalist Tony Mills proved he still has the lungs of his Shy days though maybe not as enduring or as powerful. Still, he was taken aback by the loyalty of the fans and how many knew the words. Hits like 10,000 Lovers, Intuition and Caught between the Tigers took the Underworld by storm while the band’s later tracks were received well. On the whole, a very warm and energetic appearance by a band that is clearly gifted both in musicianship and performance. Don’t miss out if you get the chance.

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funk, fireworks and a flippin’ good night out

Electric Boys – The Underworld, Camden – 27/11/2012

The Brits, Americans and Swedes. What a mash up eh? And the night proved to be just as fluctuating and unpredictable as a mound of that lovely fluffy, lumpy stuff.

The timings were shifted heavily towards Electric Boys giving them 75 minutes compared to 30 for all three supports, a little unfair to Adam Bomb in some respects who was third up. Bad Touch opened to a rather meagre crowd but gave it their best shot. They had energy and dynamism but just not yet that much to talk about. They’re still young though and with the live experience, and maybe a bit less commerciality, they could go much further.

King Lizard surprised me in that again, I found them better live than on their album. This time they completely sold title track Nightmare Livin’ The Dream from their latest offering, most of which the set list was from. Their ramped up introduction took a bit of a hit when the size of the stage meant they could only shuffle on as opposed to striding out to the backing track. At times, however, King Lizard seemed as if they’d been taking it too easy. With a wave of good reviews just before the release of album number 2, I’m wondering if the boys have taken their foot off the gas a little. The songs weren’t tight enough and the attitude fluctuated between amateur, can’t be bothered and wannabe-rockstar. They had the energy to whisk up a fairly small crowd and their rapport with their fellow Londoners is to be admired but I couldn’t help feeling let down. To end, they did a fantastic cover of Johnny Be Good before ruining it with a drawn-out incoherent ending that saw vocalist Flash disappear off stage before the final note while guitarist Niro Knox simply turned the amplifier off. At this moment the drummer Moyano El Buffalo was still waiting to finish off. They gave it a good shot but they’ve outdone themselves much better before.

Adam Bomb was rather less conventional. Feather boas twisted around his microphone stand and what was with the bright yellow lights around his amplifier and guitars? I know it’s nearly Christmas but….still, it brought an atmosphere to the show and that in turn brought the crowd. The main thing I liked about Bomb was that there was no messing about; he got on that stage and tore through half an hour’s worth of songs with barely ten words in between. The slight problem was that there were only ten words and at times I think the crowd were hungry for a little more interaction. But hey, the fireworks kept them happy. Yeah, you did read that right. The poor bassist had to cower near the drum-kit as sparks exploded from Bomb’s guitar in several songs, adding a whole new dimension. No, it didn’t take away from the fact that a lot of the songs were far too similar and monotonous and his solo, while illustrating his undeniable technical ability, didn’t exactly bridge that gap between him and the now much quieter crowd. He was a showman however and ended the show with grateful thanks and I’m sure, several new fans too.

You can’t beat a good funk band. And a good funk-rock band? That’s been around since 1988? Nah, you can’t beat them. Electric Boys couldn’t put a foot wrong, both in the eyes of the adoring crowd and in terms of their music. They knew that set-list down to the t. They had the tendency to drag out some of the endings and to dabble with weird and wonderful instrumentals part-way through songs before breaking back into the choruses with neck-breaking intensity. It was great to see such an experienced band still loving what they do and still doing it with courtesy and good humour, especially in their dealings with the crowd. Spanning their musical library with songs including Mary in the Mystery World, Bad Motherfunker, Father Popcorn’s Magic Oysters and of course, All Lips ‘N Hips they brought a fresh feeling of musical talent and raw energy to Camden. And you know, they don’t still look half bad either.

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Olli & Pepe give the news on Reckless Love

Reckless Love Interview – Olli Herman/Pepe – 18/10/2012

As Reckless Love prepared to take to the stage of Camden Barfly for the third Thursday running, I popped into their dressing room to get the gossip on the Finnish rockers’ residency:

What made you want to do a residency?

Olli: Well because, you know, the fans in the UK are the craziest in the world. Last time we played London we played in Islington so the option for London, this time around, was like to push it forward and do it later or to come back and do something special. Our management had the gorgeous idea of doing a residency because nobody’s doing residencies anymore

Pepe: It’s the old school thing to do. It gives you freedom to do more than you can do in the space of just one show. We can jiggle things around.

Olli: The Barfly is where we had our first London show; it’s something special. It’s not like Islington where, you know,

Pepe: It would be empty in one of those places

Olli: And you know it’s also a really good thing to do. This way you can get awesome influence from the fans and that was one thing we wanted to do. It felt really good; it felt like a good option to do it. Like Pepe said, we’re old school rockers; he’s wearing a Kiss t-shirt!

Have you heard the new KISS album?

Pepe: I haven’t yet. Didn’t it just come out? We’ve been on tour so-

Olli: Yeah we haven’t had the chance to go into an HMV yet. We had the chance in an HMV in Glasgow but it hadn’t come out. Maybe tomorrow when we have a day off.

Pepe: I might buy it tomorrow, yeah.

How does it compare playing in England to Finland?

Olli: Certainly different fanbase. There are differences but there are similarities. The main difference is that Finnish fans don’t speak English as their first, or even their second, language so they tend to sing along only on the choruses whereas English fans usually know the words better than I do.

I suppose that’s helpful sometimes?

Olli: Yeah, that’s always helpful!

Talking about Animal Attraction, your 2nd album, how did that develop? Was it spur of the moment?

Olli: Actually it was quite chaotic. Like, we were on tour when we wrote it and then we went into the studio and just laid it down like that; it felt like we had barely any time.

Pepe: That whole period is just like a blur to me, it went so fast. We were doing so much.

Do you wish you’d had more time?

Olli: Actually no. I think if we’d had more time we would have over-worked it. It was great because we didn’t fuss about, we didn’t spend ages looking at production and stuff, we just did it.

Onto the mini-album then, was that in the same spontaneous streak?

Pepe: Like the residency, again the old-school thing to do is to do an EP. And you know, put out some rare tracks, some live cuts, kinda like Guns n Roses did on Lies.

Olli: We wanted to do that kind of thing. And it worked out really well. Push is an unreleased album from Animal Attraction , like an outtake, but it’s actually kind of like a counterpart to Hot. Because Hot is such a summer song and Push is more of a winter tune. Then again, we did like, the live cuts ; everybody is always telling us how great we are live, you know “Reckless Love is a great live act” and well, you know, we didn’t know that; we’ve never seen us live. We were desperate to capture the live moments but even in today’s modern world the equipment isn’t usually up-to-date and there’s something wrong with the recordings. So we had this huge concert in Helsinki, called Helsinki Day and we were like “well let’s listen back to the recording” and we were like “amazing, let’s just put these on the album!” We really had a good time on that stage and felt like we nailed it that time.

So is there a full live album or DVD in the works?

Pepe: Well, it’s not a thing we’re thinking about at the moment but in the future-

Olli: of course. Never say never you know? At the moment we’re just thinking about the 3rd album. We’re flying back to Helsinki in November.

Pepe: We’ve actually written the core of the album already. We have over 10 songs already written and there’s more to come.

Olli: Actually, after this tour, we have a couple of weeks off-

Pepe: One week.

Olli: One week? We’re planning to use that time like we’re doing on this tour, write some more new songs then rehearse them. Late November,  we ‘re going into the studio. So basically when we fly back from Germany on the 3rd November, it’s one week off after that. Then we start the pre-production and have two weeks of that.

Give us a taste of Reckless Love life on tour?

Olli: Well with Finland, it’s a large country but with a small population, only little cities to play in; the touring tends to happen around the week so we get Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays off usually. But yeah, it’s wakeup call next day, try to find some clean or not that dirty clothes, do the sound-check, get something to eat, do the show, get fucked up and wake up again.

Does it ever become monotonous?

Pepe: We fight back to it becoming monotonous. When we go on stage the crowd is always different; the crowd lights us up. It never becomes boring.

Olli: There isn’t a day that’s alike; there’s so many different things you have to take care of. I mean, in a day on tour it’s basically just a big cloud of chaos. Somebody in the band is having the best party in the world right next door while you’re trying to sort out a problem that, you know, could kill the rest of the tour. I don’t even know where to start to describe it.

Anything else for the UK fans?

Olli: The reason we keep coming back here is because we love you! It seems to be such a good place for us to tour and we hope to do it a lot more in the future.

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Camden Barfly: melting pot of glam Finns, hard-eyed French rockers and young Bucks

18/10/2012: Reckless Love, BlackRain + The Wild Lies – Camden Barfly, London

Reckless Love to take over the Barfly for October 2012. The announcement was met with, dare I say it: cynicism and a few hidden smiles. Would they really? Play 4 Thursdays in the hope that fans, preferably different ones each time, would sell the show out every week while they filled in time trawling from Glasgow to Reading and back again? Whether they hoped or not, those hidden smiles turned from mockery to, a sort of pride almost.

But let’s start at the beginning, where it didn’t start so well. The Wild Lies are an up-and-coming rock band from High Wycombe, Bucks; the first similarity to older counterparts Jettblack. The second? They act like them; they sound like them; they even look like them to some extent, but The Wild Lies just don’t seem to have grown up yet. There’s a sad element of puppy fat about them and while they held the stage with drive and enthusiasm, there wasn’t that command or quirky arrogance that can work a crowd. Of course, it’s all down to experience; in their favour, the sound was tight throughout and, among the medley of songs, there were some like Heartbreaker, Stone Cold Love and Angels that were catchy enough to engage the first-time listener.

French rockers BlackRain have been a little quiet on the scene recently. It turns out they’ve been recording their third album while dabbling in live performances here and there across Europe. Singer Swan wild-eyed the audience while delivering blisteringly high-vocals akin to those on the albums. No airs or graces here, just good rock’n’roll played to entertain and to please. The fact that all the band members have their own unique style, threaded loosely together by the glam-punk theme, made it even more appealing and diverse to watch. The set list was well-rehearsed but appeared a little formulaic at times, almost boredom for a couple of the band members; I won’t name names. A solid performance however and a band who can live up to their albums, if not out-perform them slightly in the enjoyment sense.

And onto the main event. Reckless Love have a special place in their hearts for the Barfly, it being one of their first shows in the UK for their self-titled debut. Apparently now confident of their spirited live show and passionate stage-craft, this time they were here to show the UK fans something really special. And they did, too. After seeing them a few times I was starting to get bored but singer Olli Herman cranked up his smile and, less enchantingly, his hip gyrations. Grinning, punching, chanting, laughing; we saw it all as the band ran through hits from both of their albums. Notable performances were those on Sex where Olli’s voice rang clear of coarseness, Dance and the more up-beat One More Time; an effortless crowd-pleaser.

Ok, so Olli beamed a little too much and the dancing can make you cringe, but at least you have no doubt that this band are desperate to provide you with a spectacle. Olli is a showman and while I berate the vanity in him, where would he be without it? I suppose the one downside was that at times it came across as a little false; as if they flicked the switch and the lights went down, their smiles lit up and they played out of habit while careering around the stage. The songs were tight yes but sometimes they need just a bit more straight solid playing and fewer enhancements. The vocals were ridiculously over-effected; just because it’s on the album does not mean we need it live. On the upside, they were more manipulative with their sound too; Jalle’s bass at a fantastically heart-jumping boom while Hessu pounded out his bass drum until he was happy with the level. Yes, I expect to see musicians in control like this, but you’d be surprised at how many who aren’t.

The set list was roughly just over an hour, including the sensual Push – a track recently released on the mini Animal Attraction album; this catchy, glammed up tune just goes to show that this band can still write original material. The band never failed to interact with the crowd, grouping together at the end for a final bow. They promised something special and that’s what the Barfly crowd got; who can say whether the two previous Thursdays were better, or even if the next one will be? It doesn’t matter, because while Reckless Love may, to quote Olli “wear a bit of make-up and look like girls,” if you like fist-pumping rock and a passably solid performance you will never fail to have a good time at a Reckless Love gig.

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Interview: fatally charming smiles and a sense of humour

Fatal Smile

Hailing from Sweden and known for their party reputation and fierce, make-up smothered image; Fatal Smile was a band that promised to be fun to interview. Sat in the bar of World’s End, Camden, guitarist Mr Y and drummer Philty, relaxed in casual clothes and flat hair, a world away from the leather-clad, white-faced rockers that would later burst onto the stage downstairs.What made you decide to self-produce the latest album 21st Century Freaks?

Philty: If you can produce a Cd that’s totally self-produced, if you can do everything, you get everything 100% pure of the sound from that band.

Mr Y: After working with legends such as Stefan Glaumann and Michael Wagener it felt natural to go and do it. We had loads to choose from but picking the 11 on the album was easy.

Philty: I still think one of the bonus tracks is the best. Maybe we’ll release a bonus track in the future.

So there’s something for fans to look forward to in the coming months. Did they enjoy producing it themselves?

Philty: We fucking hated it. We did it every day for a year. Like 9, 10 hours a day.

Mr Y: Yeahit sucked. We were so close to a nervous breakdown. But by the end it was fucking sweet. I don’t know if we’ll do it again, time will tell. Our sound totally developed more. It was better this was because we had the time and knowledge to do it. We had something in our heads, the way we wanted to have it and we didn’t stop until we had it on tape.

That would explain the long days in the studio then. Writing wise, “everyone puts in their shit together. What was it like recording? Do you collaborate, write separately etc?

Mr Y: It’s like a big fucking happy family, at the end.

Philty : (points to Mr Y) He’s the riff master, the riff lord! He records these real old-fashioned demos. He even has a drum machine that doesn’t stay in time. How do you even do that?

What are your thoughts on playing in the UK? How do you like the scene here?

Mr Y: The UK fucking rules.

Philty: Camden’s great, I love Camden.

Mr Y: We don’t get the biggest clubs to play but the people here are diehard. The UK has always been more of a punk scene though. It’s a great mix of everything; you get people you don’t see in Sweden. We really like it.”

Philty: In Sweden, metal is huge, really big. A lot of kids play metal.

So what makes you stand out in the genre?

Mr Y: The music? Or the good looking guys?

Philty: Check out our newWelcome to the Freak Show video. It’s like 4 30-second clips of just what we feel like and what we want to do.

Mr Y: It’s all about kick ass music and having fun. We actually do we love so playing music, getting drunk and getting laid.

Do you feel the new, stronger image helps?

Mr Y: Yeah, before this album we had a class hard rock image, ordinary rock’n’roll make-up and every fucking review we got they said good looking guys blah blah blah and there was no fucking focus on the music.”

Philty : We’re trying to look worse, switch it off a bit.”

Mr Y: We look worse but we play better. So it’s good.

How has the live show developed with the new album?

Philty: Loads more fire. Lots more bombs. But we can’t bring any of that here.

Mr Y: That really sucks. It’s a shame we couldn’t bring it but hopefully for the next festival we can bring it all.

What’s it like on tour with Fatal Smile?

Philty: Well there are about 6 or 7 of us.

Mr Y: Well you know, we always say like, we’re not going to drink tonight or whatever but it always ends the same way. It’s like a ticking fucking bomb

Philty: He’s the worst of them (points to Mr Y.) Sometimes you stand there and watch him and think is this actually real? What the hell is going on?  It’s like children in a candy store.

Mr Y: Yeah but candy is good, so why stop? He’s the youngest of us but also the wisest, sometimes.

Philty: I thought you were gonna say all the time.

Mr Y: Yeah, I didn’t hear that.

What have you been listening to in the genre recently?

Mr Y: With being in the studio so much we wanted music to chill to. I love it-

Philty: Yeah like waterfalls and rain and shit. We play hard rock all the time so you get kind of sick of it. I’m more into like, John Mayer and music to chill out to. But really, if I was going to get my party mode on, then it would have to be AC/DC at River Plate. Holy shit, have you seen that?

Mr Y: Yeah. It’s basically about good fucking music. Music with balls.

And what does the future hold?

Philty: Well we have lots of plans but we can’t really talk about them yet. A bunch of stuff in the next couple of weeks though.

Mr Y: Yeah like a new video. We haven’t even thought about another album, we’re just doing this right here, right now. We’re just a bunch of guys having fun. Nothing strange; all about rock’n’roll.

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Interview: Crazy Lixx on driving in London, W.A.S.P and the sleaze scene

Crazy Lixx

Crazy Lixx first played in the UK in 2005, returning to support fellow Swedes Hardcore Superstar and also playing Firefest in 2010. Today, they were here to support Fatal Smile. Vocalist Danny, guitarist Edd and drummer Joel clustered in their dressing room amidst beer, hair straighteners and more beer. Edd fiddled with an adapter, at one point even asking me if I could get it to work. I couldn’t; so much for the hair straighteners. Laid-back, chatty and with a dry sense of humour us Brits are no stranger to, Crazy Lixx let me delve into their thoughts on the latest album (Riot Avenue), the music scene and their own plans and ideas.How would you compare Riot Avenue with your debut Loud Minority?

Danny: We produced this album ourselves because the others were produced by Chris Laney so there was more of a coherent sound on those two. When it comes to song writing, I’d say it’s more like the older album. We went for a more straight hard rock style, more old school.

Edd: Yeah I guess there was certain theme to the 2nd album with all the religious stuff but we wanted to keep it simple, going for like a vintage style

Danny: We had this image of apost-apocalyptic future, Mad Max type thing. Not lyrically (laughing) more of an image in our minds.

What made the decision to have dual-guitars as opposed to lead and rhythm?

Edd: It was natural. I felt it was what I wanted to do.

Danny: We found that when we rehearsed for this live we needed the extra guitar so Andy kept recording the solos and then we did dual for the live show.

Joel: It all felt very natural; it just happened.

How does it feel to be back in the UK since 2010?

Joel: It’s nice to come back

Danny: Yeah those November shows have actually been cancelled now though.London has lots of people with a strong image and people from all different kinds of scenes.

Edd: In Sweden, there’s more competition between glam bands now.

Joel: Nobody wants to be sleaze anymore. Everyone has changed their labels to street-rock or fresh-sleaze.

Is that a shame do you think?

Danny: No, it just is. In Sweden, trends pass quickly.Calling yourself a sleaze band is kind of bad for your image.”

Edd: If you have make-up and long-hair you have a label on you that says sleaze. People are like “Oh you play sleaze?” And I’m like “No, I don’t.”

Danny got up with a rather stormy expression to slam the door shut as first band Motherload took to the stage in a scream of distorted guitar.

Joel: Playing in Malmo (where the band is from) doesn’t bring a crowd.”

It was easy to see a slight disappointment here; Malmo is Sweden’s 3rd biggest city and while hard-rockers Hardcore Superstar may enjoy a small celebrity status in the more metal-orientated city of Gothenburg, it seems Crazy Lixx don’t have that.

Danny: Our biggest following is abroad.

What about plans or hopes for the future?

Danny: Looking at sales we should try Japan because that’s where we sell half our albums. But it’s so far away. We’re gaining popularity so the US or Japan as they’re both big markets but it’s so hard to get there. We came here alone today. Our official tour guide is due tomorrow so it’s just like the good old days. We even drove ourselves. We’re not big rock-stars with crazy demands.”

Joel: Though we’d prefer someone to pick us up. Especially driving on the left hand side of the road!

Edd: But we’re so proud of the great result with the new album done by ourselves and now we’re managing to get other things done by ourselves.

Who have you enjoyed playing with over the years?

Joel: H.E.A.T.

Danny: We’ve known them for like 7 or 8 years so whenever we meet it’s always a friendly feeling. Last time we spent 5 hours playing a truth or dare contest with two of them.

Edd: We played Shout It Out Loud Festival in Germany and shared a room with the band Easy Dynamite. That was good fun. Though I’d like to play with Metallicain 1987.”

Danny: Not possible.

Edd: Danny’s smart you know, he can invent a time machine. I’ve asked him so many times.”

Danny: (laughing, in a way that said they’d been through this before) I’m working on it. But we’re supporting Gotthard and W.A.S.P  later on and we’ve heard a lot of stories about Blackie in particular that he can be quite an asshole to band so I’m looking forward to how he’ll treat us, just a small band from Sweden.

Small they may be but unambitious and quiet they certainly are not. Pick up their latest album Riot Avenue today for some great melodic stadium-style rock.

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Fatal Smile Live: a truly 21st century freakshow

Fatal Smile

It was the Swedish takeover of Camden Underworld on the night of 7th September when Fatal Smile and support act Crazy Lixx delivered thundering and raucous performances to a varied crowd. Playing alongside them were British rock bands Motherload and Wildside Riot.

The former, hailing from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, played their mix of classic rock with remarkable dignity and passion for a band facing a crowd of three people. Nevertheless, the drummer drove from the back seat of the stage, flailing arms and sticks a testimony to his enthusiasm and, while they were off as quickly as they were on, they didn’t pass without an impact.

Wildside Riot was less successful. A 5 piece melodic sleaze band, if you don’t know them already, didn’t exactly live up to the “instantly infectious” songs described on their website. The set was rather monotonous, delivered with a charisma akin to that of an overripe banana.  A bigger crowd found their way down to the main room to watch though their enthusiasm was limited.

Crazy Lixx was obviously hotly anticipated. I’d say it was unlikely anyone wasn’t there to see this band. As the floor thronged with fans, the band was greeted with a roar of noise. The band’s sound was solid, the performance tight and it was good to see vocalist Danny Rexon confident and competent with asking for the vocals to be raised in the mix; he was right, they were too far down. The stage at times seemed cluttered with the recent addition of second guitarist Edd. The dual solos with original guitarist, Andy, confused who was the dominant player though the thickened sound was no bad thing. Edd added some much needed fun and passion to the show while Andy’s experience and easily-deployed talent was evident in his playing. I felt Rexon could have engaged more; the show felt rather cold and impersonal even though it was professional. Spoken words were few and the rapport with the crowd floundered, though the diehard fans were determined to get their 2-cents worth in, chanting along to Lock Up Your Daughter, Hell or High Water and In The Night. Speeding through a medley of songs from all three albums, it is hard to fault the preparations made for Lixx’s performance; I just wish they had been as affable and laid-back as they had been during the interview backstage.

The headlining act, Fatal Smile, appeared to be the underdogs as the crowd slowly seeped back from the bar when they burst onto the stage. I’m not sure the band ever reached the numbers that Crazy Lixx entertained. It quickly became apparent however that this was not a show to miss. With white faces, streaks of war paint and the usual array of chains, leather and shaggy hair, the band brought with them a passion for a show unseen during the night so far. Wild-eyed and glaring, they immediately engaged with the whole crowd, erupting into the latest album’s title track Welcome To The Freakshow. When listening to his album I had some trouble with how undistinguished some of the tracks were from each other but the live show brought these songs to a new level with a high-quality sound and a band that just didn’t tire. By the time we reached the ballad For The Last In Time they were beginning to lose the crowd a little – playing successive ballads does that – and I don’t recommend singing along to a backing track either. Blades announced it as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio and I’m sure, somewhere deep underground, is a funny little, but much-loved man, akin to some sort of elf, turning in his grave.

Never fear though, vocalist Blades was quickly running into the crowd, screaming at fans to Run For Your Lives before a blood-curdling ending of S.O.B. rounded off the performance. By that time, they had everyone stamping for more but some curfews just have to be kept. I don’t know how exciting this performance would be for a second or even a third time but Fatal Smile certainly gave it their all; the most wonderful freak show.

Interviews to follow!

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gig to go to: Buckcherry

Buckcherry: 6th December, Electric Ballroom, London

Arriving in the UK on 20th November, American rock band Buckcherry will be performing a string of shows across the country. They formed back in 1995 and have since released 5 albums, their sixth due or release this year. Tickets are £16 and can be found at ticketmaster, ticketweb and seetickets. The gig will also include so-far unannounced special guests.

With hits including Sorry, Crazy Bitch and Lit Up the band have had success across all their albums and I’m hoping for yet another lyrically-deep and musically-explorative album in Confessions. Vocalist Josh Todd has a mammoth set of lungso on him and the show is a real pleasure to watch; the band is solid and well-rehearsed with a trademark raw, rough sound that emulates their life on the fringe of the rock’n’roll scene.

The band is also fairly well known for their pending lawsuit with manager Allan Kovac, claiming he conspired to poach both the Buckcherry name and Todd himself. The band have toured with Lenny Kravitz, AC/DC, KISS and The 69 Eyes. Josh Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson are the only original band members.

It was rumoured that Todd would become the lead vocalist of the roject led by Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum (2002-2005) but after Todd spent a month in the studio he was dropped from the project by Slash. Todd spoke up, saying “It was amazing, the band was slamming, and then Slash just came in one day and just shit-canned the whole thing”. Slash later wrote in his autobiography, that he was displeased with how Todd’s voice sounded when they played the material back.

So we have something to thank Slash for. We still have Buckcherry.

Links: www.buckcherry.com


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born to break your heart: because you’re so bored of hearing it

Finnish “merry metallers” Reckless Love have announced that they will be releasing a mini-album ahead of their UK tour this October.

The album will include several unplugged versions of their hits as well as a cover of Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back in Town. And it’s true; they are. The October tour will include a “residency” at The Barfly, Camden in London where every Thursday the band will be headlining a show with guest support acts. The other UK tour dates will have British band Mallory Knox supporting.

While I love this band’s fresh and appealing take on the 80s bubblegum scene, the mini-album seems just another push for commercial success. Yes, they’re a band, and they want to make a profit and gain fans, but on the back of the cool edition of their first album, these takes are getting a little tiresome already.

Vocalist Olli Herman declared: “We are all so excited about this release. As old school ’80s metal fans, we wanted to put together something we were dying to get from our own idols, in the fashion of Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Lies’ (which was like a gift from heaven for us as kids); a sort of bonus item designed to reveal more of the whole band and its foundations. So, instead of just releasing ‘Born To Break Your Heart’ as a straight single, we’ve thrown in some kickass live tracks, plus a couple of badass acoustic cuts and more, to give a special treat to our fans. To top it all off, we’ve got a great new mix of the title track by the legendary Tim Palmer himself…”

The one track I would urge you to hear from the album is Push, a so-called “outtake” from the Animal Attraction recordings. As it’s the only new song it’s worth a listen, though the synth sounds aren’t my cup of tea. I’m not sure how a few live tracks and hits from the deubt album reveals more about the band than going to their show or looking them up on google, but hey, I suppose he had to come up with something.

Reckless Love have always put on a sweat-soaked, energetic and raucous show so I’m hoping they’re up to scratch once again, despite Herman’s cheesiness on stage increasing with every gig.  If you can, hit the Barfly, if not, find a date near you!

Links: http://www.recklesslove.com/

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not into karma? how about banana karma?

inSpiral, Camden High Street, London

inSpiral is a food company and cafe that specialises in gourmet and organic food is very popular with people who have specialist diets. All their food is created freshly behind their cafe counter from juices and smoothies (though you find these in the fridge so they aren’t made to order) to their main dishes, salads and ice creams. Everything is also vegan-friendly.

Today, I popped in to sample a smoothie. Banana Karma has to be one of the best names I have found stamped on a menu. It consists of banana, cashews, dates, vanilla essence and cacao and rice milk. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Like many smoothies, it wasn’t the most appetising of colours and was rather pricey too, at £2.95 for what looked like roughly 80z.

But the lowdown is in the liquid, right? It was a great consistency, thick without being too sticky or gloopy. The banana was the strongest flavour, but you could taste the dates and cashews and the vanilla essence lifted the whole taste, keeping it light. The cashews lurked further down the spectrum, subtle but giving it a nutty undercurrent. Needless to say my glass was empty pretty quickly, though that may have been to the small serving…

I won’t pay £2.95 again for it but I will go back to inSpiral I think to sample the food; given other reviews and it’s popularity I think there maybe something special hiding in there too. The truffles and chocolates are also great for gifts.

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