Novana @ Jazz Cafe 03/04/2014

Screen shot 2014-04-07 at 11.04.51It sounds like a cliche, but after watching Nirvana‘s Smells Like Teen Spirit video on MTV at the tender age of 13, it really opened up my eyes and ears to the genre blending possibilities that would shape my music tastes forever. As a teenager, it was the Nevermind album that really spoke to me; with my newfound love of grunge and acoustic guitar in hand, it was then that I felt my most unstoppable.

So with the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death looming, I thought that by watching Novana (the UK’s number 1 Nirvana tribute act) it would hopefully be the closest thing to the real deal.

Opening the set with Aneurysm it’s all systems go, with the punchy number allowing James Cooper (Cobain) to showcase his gravely tone, which perfectly compliments the former Nirvana frontman down to a tee.

In fact, they do very well to pay homage to each individual member, with Sam Howell on bass owning the Krist Novoselic bounce and Rob Burgess on drums rocking the messy-haired Dave Grohl head bang.

Watch Novana play Lithium below:

The crowd go wild for every single song and I really am serious when I say every single song. There are 40-year old men in moshpits and crowd surfing topless…I mean, this is just crazy.

It’s a clean cut, well rehearsed set with obvious standout tracks like Heart-Shaped Box, Come As You Are and Lithium that build the most excitement.

It was inevitable that Smells Like Teen Spirit would feature late on, but unfortunately it’s just awfully disappointing. The track feels rushed and with tuning issues from Cooper’s guitar, it quite frankly means the song falls miserably flat.

Usually you might be slightly peeved that SLTS is a shoddy remake of the original, but tonight everyone is here to pay their respects and have a good time. It’s during a mid head bang moment that you realise just how special Nirvana were as a band and it’s tribute acts like Novana that are helping to keep their spirit alive.

Tallinn Music Week in pictures

I’m currently recovering in bed after a crazy weekend in Tallinn, Estonia. My full article will be posted on the Q Magazine website this week, but for now, here are a few highlights summed up in picture form…

Day 1: Arrived at the hotel, picked up my pass, headed to the nearest bar (obvs)

Tallinn Music WeekChecked out local authentic music by award-winning girls choir Ellerhein

Girls ChoirListened to some light hearted indie-rock melodies by Junk Riot 

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Day 2: Pussy Riot spoke about how protesting remains their priority

Took to the streets of Tallinn for some sightseeing in the medieval old town

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A lot of the time, it felt like a hipsters paradise…

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So I felt it was only right to try and look like one, selfie ‘n all

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Saw plenty of bands 

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Visited the local beer hall with some lad, lad, lads. Hashtag banterrrr, hashtag ladzontour…

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Day 3: Plenty of water was consumed the next morning

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A man played the trombone on a roof (as ya do)…

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Souvenirs were bought

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Things got a little homoerotic in the Depeche Mode bar 

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Day 3: My hungover/tired/ugly mug before flying home. Bye bye Tallinn!

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News: Turbogeist release new video for ‘Comatose’

TurbogeistWell well well, look who’s back again, it’s only those rowdy punk rockers called Turbogeist and this time they’ve managed to command my attention with their gritty video for new single, Comatose.

The slightly morbid video sees unconscious patients waking up from a coma, mirroring the movements of creepy crawlies and snakes as they come back to life.

With escalated riff carnage mixed in with er, lots scenes of twisted bodies and snakes, it’s certainly not one for the squeamish that’s for sure.

Watch the video for Comatose below:

Turbogeist’s 5-track EP Ancient Secrets is available now.

The band are also confirmed to play Camden Rocks on May 31. £20 early bird tickets for the festival are available to buy here: http://po.st/CamdenRocksTickets

Jungle @ The Exchange, Bristol, 21/03/2014

JungleYou know you’re at a good gig in Bristol when ‘Big Jeff’ is there. For those of you who aren’t Bristol natives, Jeff can be described as a gig fanatic who’s become a local legend. His voluptuous barnet, energetic hand waves and reputation for catching the best upcoming bands, all viewed from the front of the stage, have earned him an honourable reputation in the city. big jeff bristolAlthough Big Jeff’s seal of approval is appreciated, you don’t actually need any spelling out that Jungle are one of the hottest new bands around and with an array of UK festival bills already confirmed for this year, it’s highly likely they’re only going to continue to explode in popularity.

Part of the build up to seeing Jungle is to discover what they actually look like, as up until now they’ve cleverly kept the media guessing – PR masterminds? I think so.

Their undercover operation has clearly worked, with the crowd clambering to catch a glimpse of the band arriving on stage to the loud roar of rainforest sounds.

The two lead singers/rhythm makers are joined by backing vocals, guitar and drums and kick things off rather promptly.

The band inject some serious funk into the compact venue with Busy Earnin’ a particular crowd pleaser. Watch a snippet of the song below:

The setup is experimental and fresh, with an entourage and technicality which Jungle have crafted to ensure they have the very best live sound possible. It’s a testament to show that they take their craft seriously and seeing a band play host to a number of musical influences with personality and raw passion tells us that it really is all about the music.

The Heat and Platoon seal the deal, with the electro dance vibes ensuring the crowd are dancing, whistling and getting down and dirty to the radio friendly hits.

Jungle are a serious contender for earning the title of best new band of 2014. Make sure you catch them at a festival this year, you won’t be disappointed.

 

The Pretty Reckless – Going To Hell

The Pretty Reckless

The Queen of Smut is back and she’s filthier than ever. Yep that’s right, Taylor Momsen & Co return with their second album instalment Going To Hell. And if you thought the leather chaps, heavy eyeliner and raunchy hits were a passing phase then you’d be very wrong indeed…

Opening track Follow Me Down starts with stimulated sex noises and it wouldn’t surprise us if they were the real deal either. Like an evil mermaid luring men to sea, you then pursue the tortured songstress down to the water, where she tells you “I’ll be down here on my knees.”

Well if Momsen was looking for a reaction then she’s certainly got one. Some might see it as a hackneyed gimmick, but if you manage to look past the cheap façade and view her as an icon of self-expression then you’ll realise the music is a standalone achievement.

Losing any signs of returning to the light side, the former Gossip Girl star confesses her sins on standout single Going To Hell and the Marilyn Manson- esque gothic thumps of Why’d You Bring A Shotgun To The Party? cements her status as the anguished rock’n’roll bitch you really don’t want to fuck with.

House on a Hill and Dear Sister are stripped back to a vulnerable pace, which displays Momsen’s impressive vocal and gravelly tonality. It’s tracks like these that strengthen the bands credibility, allowing them to diversify themselves away from the looming threat of controversy, which at times undermines their genuine talent.

The Pretty Reckless will always put on a display and whether it’s a cringe-worthy one or not, the music shouldn’t be shunned for entertaining artistic expression. Especially in a time when a lot of acts are contrived to fit in, you have to give them credit for sticking to their guns and musically showing promise beyond expectations.

Momsen was always going to steal the show, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. The second album instalment from The Pretty Reckless offers a satanic palate of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll that’ll have you converted in no time.

Architects @ Koko 14/03/2014

Architects“It’s taken us a long time to figure out our sound and as a band we’ve definitely had our ups and downs,” reflects lead vocalist Sam Carter. It’s an honest statement that Architects fans are likely to agree on. The band quickly shot up the metal scene ranks and with 2009’s Hollow Crown firmly cementing their status as one of the most promising metalcore bands in the UK. But 2011’s The Here and Now was an anticlimax mid-career misstep, with the Brighton gang appearing to lose their footing almost altogether.

So tonight, Architects will play London’s Koko in an attempt to recover lost ground. And with their latest album Lost Forever//Lost Together already commanding attention in both the rock community and mainstream charts, after only a week’s release, it’s a sure sign that tonight could be a return to form.

Opening the set with Gravedigger and C.A.N.C.E.R the band are eager to promote new material and it’s easy to see why. There is an imposing wave of brute force and unity with tracks that are heavier and more bone-rattlingly satisfying than previous endeavors.

That said, Alpha Omega and Day In Day Out give those who haven’t learnt all the lyrics to the new album (which is surprisingly few) a chance to appreciate the gloriously crafted anthems of old, which are still sealed with conviction.

Architects have clearly toughened up their policy altogether, with grippingly intensified religious references in ‘Broken Cross’ through to the thudding muscular beatdowns in ‘Naysayer’ that concur uncompromising sensibilities.

It’s clear from the crowds’ reactions that this is what they’ve been waiting for from the Architects all along. And not since Bring Me The Horizon’s show at Koko in 2013 has there been a crowd so alight with appreciation for a new record that encompasses so much promise.

Tonight it’s overwhelming to witness just how far Architects have come and with a newborn sincerity and clear yearning to fight for superbly crafted anthems, it will unquestionably see them reign at the top of the metal ranks once more.

Radkey @100 Club 05/03/2014

Radkey

Three black teenage brothers from Missouri who were homeschooled as children have quickly morphed into one of the most unlikely punk-rock offerings of the year. Tonight Radkey descend on the 100 Club with support from Lyger and Turbogeist.

Firstly let’s get the venue rant out of the way – The 100 Club is a terrible place to host a rock show. Intimate it may be, but the wide stage and view-obscuring pillars just really don’t bode well with a scene of pogoing punks and Instagram kids, who get annoyed with things blocking their photo vision.

Comparable to the likes of the Nine Black Alps (albeit slightly less accomplished), Lyger kick off proceedings with a gloomy sound of moody stoner-rock. An adequate opener, but they’ll have to move away from college battle of the bands territory in order to be taken seriously.

With guitarist Jimmy Jagger breaking his arm last year, Turbogeist were forced to take a short break from the music scene, but tonight they return to full fighting form. The crowd are clearly glad to have them back, with a raw and punchier sound than their predecessors the showmen give all they’ve got.

So now it’s time for the main event, the Radkey brothers. The stripped back sound of punk, reminiscent to the Danzig-Misfits-era, certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed within the rock community. Start Freaking Out does exactly what it says on the tin, with older members of the audience (pushing sixty at least) throwing punches around left right and centre and quite frankly going a little bit mental.

A short snippet of Romance Dawn:

Out Here in My Head whips up a pit, with bassist Isaiah Radke crowd surfing across the room to a scene of drunk and disorderly louts clambering to get a fist pump in anywhere they can. A cover of Last Caress gives an energetic oomph to the classic hit, with Radkey paying homage to the horror-punk kings.

The encore is what we’ve all been anticipating with Romance Dawn crescendoing into a breakout of contagious headbanging, with lead singer Dee Radke leading the way with his dreadlocked head rolls.

Tonight’s crowd is clearly fucking crazy, but it’s that tight-knit I don’t give a fuck punk-rock community that you just don’t find much anymore. It’s probably because Radkey are a fresh take on something the music industry is lacking nowadays, reflecting and learning from the great musicians of late and crafting something wickedly whimsical that’s managed to re-ignite the crazies.

If Radkey keep it up they could be the ones to re-invent a new breed of punk-rock noise or, better still, awaken a disorderly rabble of individuals like we’ve seen tonight. Here’s hoping.