THE HELLA MEGA TOUR – LONDON STADIUM – LIVE REVIEW
The mass hysteria of excitement over the initial announcement of The Hella Mega Tour was something to behold. Of course, multiple unpredictable delays have occurred since then and these shows take place now almost three years later.
That initial excitement naturally dimmed by the events of the past few years soon returns however as you approach the impressive London Stadium in Stratford. Spirits are high as fans funnel into the venue ready for three iconic acts.
Before then though, they are greeted by opening act Amyl and The Sniffers who christen the stage with their unique brand of punk rock. Punk was built on rebellion and spite so it’s refreshing to see a band going back to those roots after the genre has become somewhat safe over the last decade.
WATCH ‘SECURITY’ FROM AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS
Some fans get it, others look on in bemusement, but one thing is sure and that is that playing a potentially poisoned chalice of a support slot, the group deliver something memorable.
Any opening band was always going to be overshadowed by what follows on The Hella Mega Tour. It’s soon time to start the feast of music on offer today, and the crowd has piled in early for the first of our three headlining acts Weezer.
What makes The Hella Mega Tour special is that each of the three main acts get not just a headline set length but also full production. Weezer take full advantage of that with a stunning stage setup, but for me the appeal of Weezer live has always been the music, and today the fans are treated to a stunning setlist.
Opening with ‘Hash Pipe’, ‘Beverly Hills’, ‘My Name Is Jonas’ and ‘Pork and Beans’, the band instantly have the packed audience in the palm of their hands. The band proceed to mix old, new and covers. By the time they take their leave with ‘Buddy Holly’, the band have set the bar very high for their contemporaries to follow!
Thankfully for both those following bands and the fans in attendance, both are more than capable to keeping pace with the very best. Next to grace the stage are Fall Out Boy who again waste no time in plying the crowd with huge hits.
‘The Phoenix’ sees the band flex their muscles with pyro galore and the extravagance of the band never really fades with their set designed to tell a story. There is no real lull in pace by the band today as they blast out hit after hit; the only short respite coming due to an issue in the crowd.
Fall Out Boy are slightly younger than their tour buddies but with their performance today they show that they have reached that iconic status already. You really could go home happy at this point following three great performances, but that’s the beauty of The Hella Mega Tour, it’s mega and there is a final performance remaining from global superstars Green Day.
WATCH ‘BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS’ FROM GREEN DAY
By this point anticipation from the crowd has reached a fever pitch and after years of delay and hours of acts behind us, fans are ready to explode. Imagine the response then when the band open with ‘American Idiot’ and ‘Holiday’!
Yes, it’s clear that the band are prepared to make up for lost time and it’s an old fashioned rocker of a show from Green Day. Perhaps they are trying to keep up with Fall Out Boy or justify their position on top of the bill, but their performance is slick and removes some of the bloatedness of latter year Green Day.
Of course, the band has the hits for a situation like this and hearing a packed stadium sing every word of the likes of ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’, ‘Minority’ and ‘Basket Case’ just shows what we have missed over the past couple of years.
We may have had to wait an awful long time for The Hella Mega Tour but wow was it worth the wait. Every band brought their A game, and the show as a whole will become a thing of legend from here on out!
Welcome to another edition of our weekly music News Report, where we check out the best stories from the past week. We start this week with a host of huge tour announcements.
Up first, fresh from headlining Download Festival, are Biffy Clyro who have announced a huge Arena Tour for this November. Support comes from Architects.
About the tour, Biffy Clyro said – “It’s been way too long… we are so excited to announce our tour of UK/Ireland this November and over the moon to have Architects join us on what is going to be a very special tour. You will not want to miss it”.
Black Stone Cherry & The Darkness team up for UK Tour
Another huge tour revealed this week will see Black Stone Cherry and The Darkness team up for seven arena shows early next year. They will be joined by Danko Jones for what promises to be a tour to remember.
Mr Justin Hawkins – “Legend tells of a night, some ten or more years ago, upon which The Darkness and Black Stone Cherry serenaded the nocturnal creatures of Thetford Forest, receiving generally favourable reviews in the woodland press. Like the owls and squirrels of that fabled evening, we give to you an opportunity to stand beaks and mouths a-gape in awe and wonder at the awesome power of power chords played by the very same fingers, but within the convenient shelter of an arena instead of in a moon-dappled forest clearing.
There may be some seating so you won’t have to sit on toadstools. Also, modern flushing toilet facilities, not just tree trunks and bushes. Remember what the Thetford fauna say – “The music of Black Stone Cherry and The Darkness is TREEmendous, and Never LEAVES you.”
Black Stone Cherry – “The rock n’ roll history books will tell you that on a summer’s night in 2012, tucked way back in the English countryside, two bands, from different parts of the world, came together to bring people a night of high energy, pedal to the metal, in your face unscripted rock ‘n’ roll. A bond was formed that could only have been blessed by the wizards of said forest.
While discussing each other’s outfits and stage moves, a tour was spoken of, put into the galaxy if you will, and now we are honored to say the stars have finally aligned and we will be joining forces with The Darkness for what will be the UK’s most exciting tour of the season! We absolutely cannot wait to create more magic and release the lightning that both bands caught in a bottle so many years ago. Grab your friends, grab your family, but hold on to your asses because this tour is going to ROCK!”
Their was some bittersweet news for fans of ROAM this past week as the band announced their imminent split. Fans will however get one last chance to dance with the band as they also revealed their final shows.
Our News Report moves onwards now to the best new releases from the past week.
Up first are The Wonder Years who debuted their latest track, ‘Wyatt’s Song (Your Name)’, which you can listen to above. The song will feature on new album, ‘The Hum Goes On Forever’, which will arrive September 23rd.
The single is a song singer Dan Campbell wrote for his oldest son, Wyatt. “It’s about the polarising forces of love and anxiety that come with being a new parent—simultaneously being so overjoyed that they’re here, about the miraculous nature of their existence, but afraid of all the ways you could fail them,” Dan explains.
“It’s about raising children in a world that feels like it’s actively ending and how to make them feel safe and cared for despite that. It tries to breathe in the small, beautiful moments and exhale all of the invasive thoughts of despair.”
There was also more new music this week from Nothing More as they prepare to release their upcoming album, ‘SPIRITS’, on October 14th.
This week they debuted the title track, which you can listen to above.
“Isn’t it interesting that we give the same name to something holy and something wholly intoxicating?” asks Nothing More frontman Jonny Hawkins.
“The song ‘SPIRITS’ describes that very conundrum. When you drink liquor, it has been said that you are welcoming that pneuma (spirit) into your body. Most of us have seen and experienced how alcohol (or rather ‘al-ghawl,’ which means demon/spirit) can make us feel. It’s almost as if we turn into someone else when too much of the spirit has been consumed.
Sometimes it’s eye opening and can lead to wondrous life-changing conversations or bonds that would never normally happen…and sometimes it can lead to the exact opposite. It may turn us into Dr. Hyde’s Jekyll and cause us to do or say horrific things we would never normally do sober. Spirits are both a little bit heavenly and a little bit sick.”
‘Happening’, the debut album from Launder arrives on July 15th, and this week saw the release of single, ‘Intake’.
On his new single ‘Intake’, Launder aimed to record something uplifting, he explains, “‘Intake’ carries the rhythm of someone and something new, anticipating all the best and all the worst. These themes inspired a faster tempo and ascending chords. I let this track be indulgent in all the best ways and really leaned into all of the cleaner guitar sounds and single note guitar interplay similar to the early Launder songs. For those reasons, this track is a total joy for me and was a lot of fun to rehearse and record.”
Blight Town – ‘Swerve’
Exploding onto the UK Alternative Scene is Nottingham based outfit Blight Town. The progressive post-hardcore band have today unleashed their infectious new single ‘Swerve’ to the world.
“Swerve is a reflection on how the difference between medicine and poison is often in the dosage. It plays with the idea that to be truly happy and content, you sometimes have to court the darkness a little. This single explores the idea that depression is something to be wallowed in, to allow it to wash over you completely. That you might feel the disparity all the more fiercely when you come out of the other side.” – Vocalist, Jake Hough.
Northern Captives – ‘Distraction Or Cure’
Continuing their sonic shift, Northern Captives have released a brand new single titled ‘Distraction Or Cure’.
“Distraction or Cure is a song about how many of us find ourselves heavily lead by our own ego’s. How we’re viewed by others feels more important than anything, and influences our decisions and occupies a lot of our mental space. You spend your teens and a lot of your twenties assuming people are observing you and passing judgement a lot more than they really are.
There’s a huge satisfaction in the realisation that people are often far too preoccupied with themselves to notice you. ‘Kill your ego’ is a chorus about living for yourself, not trying to project an image for those around you at the detriment of your well-being.” – Sam Cook, Vocalist
Welcome one and all to another edition of our weekly music News Report, where we roundup the best news from the past week. We start off this week with the best tour announcements.
Up first are Shinedown who have announced a UK Tour for later this year which will include a date at Wembley Arena. Support comes from Asking Alexandria and Zero 9:36.
Frontman Brent Smith states, “We have always been inspired by the UK and European audiences. Their passion for music is extraordinary. We are beyond excited to be returning as headliners, with our biggest show yet!”
“We are overwhelmed by the love and support of our new album, ‘Planet Zero’ and look forward to sharing our new songs, along with all of your Shinedown favorites!!! Cheers!!!”
Inglorious will also be touring later this year with a lengthy trek planned in across the UK. Support comes from A New Tomorrow.
Frontman, Nathan James, comments “I am so excited to get back out on tour with the guys . Over the pandemic we were not able to tour as much as we usually would, but we were able to release albums. So we did! We recorded the We Will Ride album, The Heroine all female covers album and the 1st ever Inglorious live album and dvd. It’s amazing now to be able to pick songs from all of those albums to make the ultimate inglorious set.
On this tour we will be bringing something totally different set wise and we’re really looking forward to playing songs from across all of our albums. Inglorious has always been a strong live act and now more so than ever. Tighter, harder and more determined to show people what we are about.
We hope to see everyone on the “Until We Die 2022 UK Tour” and cannot wait make some noise for you all again.”
Burn It Down Festival takes over Torquay again this September and the event has confirmed their stacked line-up for this year.
Headliners Trash Boat and Deaf Havana will be joined by the likes of Static Dress, Our Hollow Our Home, Haggard Cat, Cassyette, VUKOVI, Tigercub, Salem, As December Falls, Death Blooms, Pupil Slicer and more.
LIFE continue to gear up for the release of ‘North East Coastal Town’ on August 19th. You can listen to their new single, ‘The Drug’, above.
Speaking on the new single vocalist Mez Green says: “The Drug is a love song. I wrote the lyrics in the cold mountains of Italy before taking them into the room with the band. ‘The Drug’ I needed has always been here, the drug I needed has always been near” is, for me, realising that loved ones and those that love you, no matter where you are, can always be present.
I’d never really believed this before and whilst this purity is at the lyrical heart of the song musically the band decided to inject flecks of dance, pop, harmonics, and dirty pulses to give the song drive, repetition and jerk-ability.”
Norway’s Sløtface return with the news that the group’s figurehead Haley Shea will now be leading the band, with Lasse and Tor-Arne leaving to focus on new passions outside the group.
To signal this era beginning they have released a double a-side of ‘Beta’, and ‘Come Hell Or Whatever’. You Can listen to ‘Beta’ above.
“”Beta” was the very first song Mikhael and I worked on together in his studio. It should be listened to while wearing sunglasses, even on cloudy days!
The song is about wanting to connect with people on a deeper level, but feeling like social media sometimes gets in the way, with things becoming somewhat intimidating, shallow and superficial. The song is a confidence booster for myself where I’m trying to be cooler than I am. It was written at a time when I really, really missed the rush of playing live, and I needed to find some of that spark and edge in myself that only really comes out on stage.”
Finally, this week Twister shared their latest single, ‘Own Worst Enemy’, which you can listen to above.
Singer and guitarist Stevie Stoker comments: “Twister are evolving and progressing with every release and the momentum we’re building on the road is really driving us to bigger and better things in the studio. It’s such an exciting time.”
Indie rock band Sunsleeper have shared their newest track, ‘Blemishes’.
“’Blemishes’ is about the slow unraveling of a deeply important friendship, as well as the acceptance of the relationship’s end,” shares vocalist Jeffery Mudgett. “The freedom in letting go of a toxic relationship is underrated. Sometimes there’s no need to mourn the end, but rather we should celebrate leaving that toxicity behind.”
cheerbleederz – ‘notes app apologies’
London indie punk trio cheerbleederz reveal their latest single ‘notes app apologies’.
Commenting on the track and video, the band say: “This song is about letting go of an abusive relationship. There’s a lot of fear and doubt that comes with separating yourself from somebody who manipulates you, and it leaves behind feelings of anger, as well as guilt and doubt.
You end up questioning everything while simultaneously harbouring a lot of resentment for the person who treated you that way. We wanted this song to feel cathartic and unapologetic—it ultimately feels very healing.”
MODES – ‘Infamous’
Kent’s MODES deliver their new single, ‘Infamous’.
MODES frontman Ted Berry reveals that the new single“Infamous is a song we wrote to reflect on anger and past trauma that we have experienced. We wanted to put this into words to help others feel understood and seen. It’s only human to have been in situations that lead to feeling hurt, angry, and even disappointed in how you have been treated by others.”
Nova Twins have been slowly building their fanbase with impressive support slots and festival appearances. In February 2020, you know just before the world stood still, the duo released their debut in ‘Who Are The Girls?’.
Despite the difficulties for music promotion over the next year or so, stock in the band has only risen with their debut album a critical success. The quality of that first album helped to back up the hype that had begun to surround Amy Love and Georgia South.
Now, the duo are unleashing their sophomore album on the world as they continue to lay the groundwork for stardom.
The potential for this band is unlimited with their genre-defying sound making them a true crossover act. Fans of various musical types will find comfort in ‘Supernova’, which sees Nova Twins once again delivering a slice of action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled, electro-punk groove.
Single, ‘Antagonist’, is straight in your face and sets the tone for what’s to come from the rest of the record. ‘Cleopatra’, ‘K.M.B.’ and ‘Fire & Ice’ are highlights but there really isn’t a bad track on ‘Supernova’.
The duo are clearly growing in confidence with every record, and this album is a timestamp of a band transitioning from having potential to delivering the goods.
If you like music with attitude, passion and ferocity then this album and Nova Twins are most definitely for you. ‘Supernova’ really is a half hour of power and it will do nothing but continue to push this incredible band on their upwards trajectory!
With the pandemic taking a hold back in early 2020, Download Festival became one of the first major festival victims. It was perhaps fitting therefore that the small Pilot version of the event was the first step on the road back to normality last year.
That does mean though that as we head into Donington Park in 2022, it is the first fully fledged festival since the 2019 edition. After three long years, it is finally time for rock and metal fans to convene again on these hallowed grounds.
There are a number of changes this year to the layout of the festival but the best change is the installation of a strange golden orb in the sky. The usual brown flooring has also been painted green. Yes, goodbye Drownload and hello sunburn!
The main changes to the festival relate to the layout of the campsites, parking and transport hubs. Given these new changes, a little extra signage may have assisted seasoned attendees finding their way around, but in general the changes work well. There is a lot of walking required, however there always is at Donington Park however the event is laid out.
Once inside the area the setup is pretty standard if a little cut back with smaller stages, fewer food stalls and no wrestling or other extra areas. But, it’s Download and everyone is just glad to be here.
So then, on to the music! Opening the main stage on Friday are NWOCR favourites Wayward Sons who make the most of their short time on stage. They are quickly followed by Canadians Theory (of a Deadman) who also only have a short time to show their stuff. Thankfully for them they are able to call upon some festival-perfect material as the crowd sing along to ‘Bitch Came Back’, ‘Hate My Life’ and ‘Bad Girlfriend’.
Recently rejigged Bury Tomorrow follow on the main stage and bring the first real taste of heavy to the festival. The band are clearly honoured by the opportunity and try their best to win over the audience, with our first pyro of the weekend helping to add to the occasion. By the time the band leave the stage and a pile of bodies in the audience, the set has to be considered a success.
We go walkabout next and visit first the second stage for a man who has already played Download Festival with both Alter Bridge and Slash, Myles Kennedy. With two solo albums now to his name, Kennedy only grows his legacy with another top class performance.
Secondly we head to the Avalanche Stage for something new. American pop-punk band Meet Me @ the Altar have intensifying hype around them, and keeping with the tone of the day they are able to grasp this opportunity with both hands. Expect bigger things from the band in the near future.
As day one begins to draw to a close with catch two of Download’s house bands with Skindred on the main stage and Airbourne over on the second stage. Both bands attract big crowds, because fans know what to expect from them. High energy, entertaining rock shows are delivered by both as fans get to revel in what they have missed over the last three years.
Having delivered an incredible headlining performance at the Pilot event last summer, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes return to Donington Park next to headline the second stage. Carter and co show the crowd what they missed last year with another stunning performance. This band must be considered one of the best live bands on the planet and who would put it past them headlining the main stage in the future.
Download Festival after all needs to begin focusing on that next generation of headline acts, because many of the old guard are saying farewell. It is the ‘End of the Road’ for KISS, but not before one final triumphant showcase this year.
The band are able to deliver all the pageantry of a KISS show with every party trick played with precision. As the fans walk away with ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ stuck in their heads, the band have brought the party and night one is closed out in style.
Saturday morning brings a fresh day with the sun still shining bright, but early risers at the main stage are left waiting with opening act The Raven Age almost forty minutes late. When the band do arrive they are able to show their continued growth with a matured performance.
This delay subsequently leads to a 30+ minute lag on main stage times throughout the rest of the day which plays havoc with fans carefully curated schedules. It does mean however that we can head to the second stage and catch the energetic Cassyette who is capitalising on the momentum earned over the last year.
It’s then back to the main stage for the classic rock sounds of Those Damn Crows and Monster Truck. Both bands continue the impressive start to the festival. Clearly every act is out to cast off the shackles of recent years and make an impression.
Both of these bands leave the fans wanting more, which is all a band can do with these early festival slots. It’s probably a good thing then, that these two bands will be touring the UK together later this year!
Up next for us is one of the performances of the weekend from Holding Absence over on the Avalanche stage. With songs like ‘Afterlife’ and ‘Wilt’ seemingly made for festival crowds to sing along to, the band completely own the packed tent during their time on stage.
Shinedown are also a band that knows how to control a crowd, and they have a large crowd to play with next on the main stage. With a new album on the way, the band incorporate new tracks ‘The Saints of Violence and Innuendo’ and ‘Planet Zero’ into their tried and tested, crowd pleasing set.
It’s then back to the Avalanche stage for another standout performance. This time it’s Creeper on the stage, the band again showing an innate ability to hold the audience in the palm of their hands. Creeper continue to grow and evolve and it will be interesting to see where the band head next.
We stick next to the Avalanche stage for headliners Funeral For A Friend. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve just witnessed two fantastic performances on this stage from Holding Absence and Creeper but something feels a little off for this set. It’s not a lacklustre performance as the band give it their all, but on a weekend full of great performances what is probably a really good one feels a little underwhelming.
There is never anything underwhelming however about Iron Maiden. The band are icons for a reason and their current stage show is possibly their best ever. With Maiden on form and a packed Donington Park in fine voice, this headline set was always going to be one for the ages, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Now onto Sunday morning, with hangovers taking hold, feet aching and stamina’s waning. It’s up to Wargasm to blow away any cobwebs as they open the main stage, and that’s just what they do. The band are developing into something of a marmite band, but there is no doubting the passion and energy that they put into every performance; and judging by the reaction they go down very well this morning.
Sidetracking from the music for a moment, we commented in our Neck of the Woods Festival review about the cost of food and drink this year. There are no surprises therefore that prices are high at Download Festival, but the quality on offer at that price is disappointing. Inflation is one thing, but shrinkflation begins to rub, and more than one meal this weekend leaves a sour taste in our mouth (figuratively and literally in one case!).
Well, if the amenities on offer are disappointing, thankfully the music isn’t. As we have said, the quality of performances this weekend is consistently high. Both The Velveteers in the Dogtooth tent and The Last Internationale on the second stage are fine examples of this quality from top to bottom.
Massive Wagons follow on the second stage and again appear on top form. As many bands have this weekend, they tailor their set list perfectly for their time on stage and it’s wall to wall bangers as the kids would say.
Tremonti next are more methodical as they display their technical prowess. Mark Tremonti and co are mightily impressive and the audience are equally receptive.
We shoot then across to the main stage where Rise Against are another band that fail to meet expectations. The band are an incredible force, but sadly today they struggle to translate from the stage for whatever reason.
Volbeat have no problems though as they are instantly able to grab the audience. They deliver a career spanning setlist to the delight of the field, which shows just why they have established themselves as potential future headliners.
We then find time to dart across to the Avalanche stage one last time as Trash Boat showcase one of the albums of last year, ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’. Trash Boat have really come into their own and have the entire tent bouncing along.
Korn are the penultimate band to play the main stage this weekend and they make the most of their position with one of the best performances of the festival. The band are longtime Download Festival favourites and they evidence today just why that is.
There is another look at the future next as Yonaka pack out the Dogtooth tent. Those that have made the effort to catch the band are rewarded by an incredible performance from one of the most exciting young rock bands around.
Last but certainly not least with have Biffy Clyro who are one of the biggest rock bands in the UK, but seemingly another marmite band amongst regular Download Festival goers.
One thing for certain is that those that chose to the stay until the end are rewarded by way of a sublime headlining performance. Biffy Clyro are another level live act and tonight they deliver a superb closing show fitting of closing this event.
Consistent high calibre performances have encapsulated the return of Download Festival this weekend. The event has a special place in the hearts of its fan base and will celebrate next year with a special four day 20th anniversary celebration. We can’t wait!
As we bang our heads in Donington Park, we welcome you to the latest edition of our weekly music News Report. We therefore start with some rocking tour announcements.
Up first is the news that Black Star Riders will be touring the UK in February to celebrate their 10th Anniversary. A special throwback line-up will include Scott Gorham and Jimmy DeGrasso.
Frontman Ricky Warwick had the following to say, “Can you believe 2023 is 10 years of Black Star Riders … How time flies while you are having fun! We decided to do something special to commemorate this occasion. For the UK tour only, to co-incide with the album’s release, we will be bringing back the legendary Scott Gorham (guitar) and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums) for the dates to make them extra special!”
The BSR news doesn’t end there however, as the band will also be releasing a new album, ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’ on January 20th.
The first single, ‘Better Than Saturday Night’ was shared this week and you can check the video out below.
Warwick shares, ““Better Than Saturday Night” is a feel-good, uplifting tune about staying strong in the face of adversity, being true to yourself, and the power of positivity. I wrote it for my kids, but subliminally I think I also wrote it for myself and everyone for those days when we need to find a little bit of extra strength.”
He continues: “We wanted to reflect the positivity, power, attitude and strength to endure sentiment in the lyrics of the song. And no better way to do that than Black Star Riders rockin’ out with the Los Angeles Roller Derby Dolls.”
About the album Ricky adds “I am very proud of this record, Black Star Riders fifth release and the first with our new and exciting relationship with Earache Records. As with all BSR albums, ‘Wrong Side Of Paradise’ is an anthemic statement of intent, driven by ferocious guitars and thundering drums. I can only write about my own personal experiences, my families, my friends and how I see a world that is unraveling and changing faster than we can comprehend. That being said, I’m a firm believer in the power of positivity, something that echoes throughout this album”
Scots The View will be returning for their first show in more than five years. The band will play Glasgow this December.
Kyle Falconer says, “It’s an honour to still be able to play our songs to audiences who love them. The View are probably in the best position they have ever been to play live. Taking some time to refocus has given us all the drive and the hunger to release more hits and blow everyone away again. It’s gonna happen so we hope you’re ready. We are!”
We turn to PIXIES now as our News Report continues. This week the band debuted a new track, ‘There’s A Moon On’, which you can listen to above.
The track will feature on a new album, ‘Doggerel’, which is out on September 30th.
Guitarist Joey Santiago says, “This time around we have grown. We no longer have under two-minute songs. We have little breaks, more conventional arrangements but still our twists in there.”
Vocalist/guitaristBlack Francis adds, “We’re trying to do things that are very big and bold and orchestrated. The punky stuff, I really like playing it but you just cannot artificially create that shit. There’s another way to do this, there’s other things we can do with this extra special energy that we’re encountering.”
There was also new music this week from The Blue Stones. The band shared their new single, ‘Don’t Miss’, which you can check out above.
Discussing the single, the duo noted, “We wanted every listener to feel just as confident as we did while recording this song, and give them a theme to revel in their own accomplishments with. This song is the smirk you give to anyone who thinks you aren’t worth the hype.”
Asylums this week shared their latest single, ‘Scatterbrain’, which you can listen to above.
The single will feature on new album, ‘Signs of Life’, which is due for release on October 14th.
Producer Dave Eringa on ‘Signs Of Life’:
“When Luke said he wanted to do an album at Rockfield in 8 days – all played live & to integrate big strings into their sound – it sounded so ridiculous I thought “let’s do this”! Only a band that can really play can do this kind of recording. No clicks, no tricks – all live off the floor, a few judicious overdubs, some amazing string arrangements from musical polymath Henry & a bizarre interruption from Countryfile – it was a pretty intense week and I couldn’t be prouder of them for what they achieved! They’ve really taken themselves to the next level!”
Tyneside’s Pit Pony have shared new single ‘Sinking’ – taken from debut album ‘World To Me’ out 1st July 2022.
“There’s a lot more layers and textures to this than most on the album and it was a welcomed contrast and learning curve as it’s not something we’d really done some much with previous tracks.”, says singer Jackie Purver. “We have a lot to thank Chris MacManus and his production for with this one. The doubled 60s girl group style vocals in particular were his idea, and it’s something we all instantly loved being such big fans of that genre and its sound.”
She adds, “I think that on the surface this is influenced in its imagery by the fact I’m from a coastal town (South Shields) and have always been by the river so the whole album has a theme running through it with water (see what I did there?). I think when all we were allowed to do was go on walks we spent a lot of time walking our beautiful North East coast and that seeped into the writing.”
Neversaid – ‘BRAVE’
London Alternative outfit Neversaid have unleashed their brand-new heart-hitting single ‘BRAVE’ to the world.
“Brave is about social anxiety. It’s about feeling completely alone and isolated, and feeling like everyone around you is out to get you. Neversaid is all about self – expression. Every Neversaid song is an explosion of emotion, be it anger, frustration, hope, anxiety or depression.” – Logan Samuel (Lead Singer)
Fitzroy Holt – ‘Medicine’
Fitzroy Holt has released a new single, ‘Medicine’, as he begins a new deal with This Feeling Records.
Fitzroy says, “‘Medicine’ is a love song with all the good bits and all the sometimes not so good bits. It’s about that special someone or something that makes your day brighter by just being there.”
Welcome everyone to another edition of our weekly music News Report! We start this week with the best tour announcements from the past week, and up first is the above run of dates from Kasabian.
Fresh from playing Knebworth with Liam Gallagher, the band has announced four huge shows set for later this year. Support for the shows comes from The Lathums.
Kasabian also debuted their latest single this week ahead of their new album, ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’ on August 5th. Listen to ‘CHEMICALS’ below.
“It is me telling myself that it is going to be okay” Serge Pizzorno said of the track.
“It was me seeing myself in those few weeks when everything kicked off. It’s the future me saying to that person: ‘This is shit, but don’t worry, it will get better.’ So having a song about talking to yourself is universal, I think. We all have to find a way to deal with the complications, the mess and the mortality of life.”
Of the new album Serge adds: “One thing about this record I feel over the other ones, is it definitely feels like a body of work that belongs together. It was a beautiful moment in mastering hearing it as a piece. I think it really holds up in our seven albums….The Magnificent Seven”
We move now onto the best festival announcements as our News Report continues.
With Live at Leeds holding this first outdoor event this week, they also revealed the line-up for their traditional city based event.
Acts includes Pale Waves, Working Men’s Club, Sea Power, Dinosaur Pile-Up, The Skinner Brothers, Anorak Patch, Chappaqua Wrestling, The Native and many more.
Speaking about headlining Live At Leeds: In The City, Heather Baron-Gracie of Pale Wavessaid: “We’re super excited to be headlining this year’s Live At Leeds: In The City! It’s always been a great city for us and a fun one to play, we can’t wait to be back to play some tracks from our new album ‘Unwanted’.”
Speaking about Live At Leeds: In The City 2022, Festival Promoter Joe Hubbard said: “As we get ready for the inaugural edition of Live At Leeds: In The Park, we’re delighted to announce the first wave of names for the festival that started it all – Live At Leeds: In The City.
It’s been formative for so many artists’ careers and we’re excited to be criss-cross across Leeds City Centre this October to discover more of our favourite new artists who are set to takeover in 2023 and beyond! Headliners Pale Waves are a great example of this, having stormed the Brudenell Social Club back in 2018 for an unforgettable set – so having them return to headline the festival as a whole is sure to be a real moment.
With many more to be announced, it’s going to be an incredible day and we can’t wait to see everyone this October!”
We move our News Report onwards now to the best new releases from the past week.
Where else to start other than Muse? The band debuted their latest single, ‘Will of the People’ this week. You can listen to the track above, which comes ahead of the album of the same name on August 26th.
Matt Bellamy says, “‘Will of the People’ is fictional story set in a fictional metaverse on a fictional planet ruled by a fictional authoritarian state run by a fictional algorithm manifested by a fictional data centre running a fictional bank printing a fictional currency controlling a fictional population occupying a fictional city containing a fictional apartment where a fictional man woke up one day and thought ‘fuck this.’”
Bury Tomorrow release new single ‘LIFE (Paradise Denied)’
Next up in our News Report, we have Bury Tomorrow. The band this week released their latest single, ‘LIFE (Paradise Denied)’, which you can check out above.
Frontman, Dani Winter-Bates admits “as we head into this new era of Bury Tomorrow we want our fans to be as excited as we are and equally as we head into festival season and this year’s touring we hope this track gets people ready to go wild and celebrate the ‘reopening’ of the live music industry. Life and Death were recorded as stand-alone singles and a small taste of what’s to come next.”
The accompanying music video was directed and produced by the band’s long time friend, Aaran McKenzie (bassist in While She Sleeps). “Aaran is super-talented, proving his skills time and time again, we are grateful he could work his magic on such short notice and create such an awesome, raw video, that really suits everything the song is about.”
Speaking of the new era, the band share: “We have all collectively faced the craziest upheaval in both our personal and professional lives over the last few years. However, this time has given the band a chance to focus on what Bury Tomorrow means to them, and has equally provided a chance to channel influences, creatively expand and move forward with a new, driven direction.”
This week also saw Hot Water Music share the video for their track, ‘Turn the Dial’, which you can watch above. The song features on their new album, ‘Feel The Void’.
Guitarist/vocalist Chris Cresswell had the following to share about the song itself: “Turn the dial for nothing’ is in reference to searching for something that’s out there, while knowing that nothing you’ll find will ever make you as happy as what you can create yourself. Finding yourself so tapped and so exhausted by all this kind of life entails, but also never being able to put that fire out. The search always continues.”
London duo WOOZE have announced their return with a propulsive new single titled ‘Bittersweet Timpani’.
Speaking on the new single, the band say the track is, “A song about walking home alone, dejected and rejected. We thought the pitiful, pity-party lyrics would juxtapose nicely with the muscular glam-rock bravado of the music.”
Headshrinkers – ‘The Sea Has No Friends’
Black Country-based newcomers Headshrinkers, release their new single, ‘The Sea Has No Friends‘, a stately slice of poetic rock that arrives in tandem with new EP, ‘Doorway Conversations’.
Of the story behind the track, vocalist and songwriter Garran Hickman explains:
“It was quite the reflective day when I wrote that piece. Words and melody were both written in half an hour. It’s just two entwined memories really: one is of my older relatives sharing stories of their loved ones in the war, and secondly the opening line, ‘the sea has no friends’, are words my dad used to describe the sea.”
Final Stair – ‘Dreamhunter’
Berlin based three-piece Final Stair announce the launch of their new single and video, ‘Dreamhunter’.
The band comments: “Every person pursues big goals, ambitions or a lifelong dream. But these are not always achievable, as they are made more difficult by hurdles or fate. Even if you fail in striving for your goals and dreams, you are always first and foremost a wonderful and unique person.”
As May draws to a close, the traditional UK Festival season commences. Of course 2022 is the first full season in three long years following the pandemic-related disruption to the 2020 and 2021 summers.
It must be fate then that as we journey towards Earlham Park in Norwich, the skies are grey and the rain begins to fall. It wouldn’t be the UK summer without some of the wet stuff now would it?
Our destination on this chilly spring Sunday is a new venture called Neck of the Woods. The one day festival sees organisers take over a venue vacated by yesterdays Let’s Rock Retro Festival.
I’ve long championed the notion that Norwich needs an indie/rock festival and if tagging along to this existing event makes one viable then I’m all for it. Line-up wise Neck of the Woods is certainly going for the growing younger indie crowd with only headliners The Kooks of a certain vintage.
Access is quick and easy and the atmosphere once inside is nice and relaxed. The usual overpriced festival food and bars are present as are four stages of music.
Given the ongoing cost of living crisis it’s somewhat disappointing yet fully expected post-pandemic that food and drink prices have increased since last year. A hot dog, fries and a can of pop coming to a staggering £14.50! As I say, expected given the past couple of years, but a little frustrating.
The site is setup well for a one day event with the stages spread out between two different areas, each with one outdoor and one tented stage. As expected there is some sound bleed at times, but nothing too invading.
There are a handful of stalls and other activities scattered around the site, with ample facilities such as toilets plus a separate VIP area. Thankfully there are no major queuing issues all day with the amount and distribution of everything on site seemingly well measured.
That’s the amenities taken care of then, now onto the music! That is after all why we are all in this field, with a little sunshine now poking through.
Opening the main stage are local favourites Youth Killed It who do a fantastic job in getting the early attendees engaged. Their unique brand of indie punk captures the imagination of the young audience and shows great promise for a band coming into their own.
The main stage and the tented second stage, sponsored by local venue The Waterfront, alternate meaning eager music aficionados can catch an endless stream of musical pleasures if their legs can hold them. We are able to hold this pace for the first half of the event, allowing us to take in some great young acts including a fair few to have featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist!
One such act is Liverpudlian indie upstarts Rats who open the second stage with a blistering set which wins over every single person present. A glimpse into the future of indie music, and the future is once again looking bright.
Next on the main stage are The Lottery Winners who, with their great onstage banter and even better musical output, may be the perfect festival band. The group have the audience in the palm of their hands throughout their short set and leave the crowd wanting more, which is all you can really hope to do.
Another enthralling act grace the second stage next with their superb 80’s tinged Synth-Pop are Deco. This is a name that is popping up on many a festival line-up this summer and is certainly one to watch out for.
Also on the one to watch list is the fabulous Lauran Hibberd who has been making waves for a couple of years now. Hibberd is preparing to release her debut album later this year, and on the evidence of today it is set to be a big one. Fully expect to see this name playing higher up festival bills next summer!
The Royston Club continue the hot streak of great young bands at Neck of the Woods next with another top showing in the tent. With many fans seemingly already in the know, the band are able to create a fun atmosphere as our legs begin to tire.
No time for rest just yet as we return to the main stage for a band that feel on the cusp of something really big. The Snuts hit the number one spot with their debut album and recently played some huge shows across the country including Brixton Academy.
Songs such as ‘All Your Friends’, ‘Always’ and ‘Glasgow’ from that album feel like they were made with days like today in mind. With the sun now making regularly scheduled appearances from behind the cloud and the crowd fully in the festival spirit, the band go down as expected. A hero’s reception for a group surely destined to headline this sort of event.
Now after that relentless run of superb music, we must stop and retreat to check out the VIP offerings. With a private bar and toilets along with ample seating including a good view of the main stage, the VIP area is basically what you’d expect at a festival; nothing too fancy but a nice place to chill out.
But whilst we rest, the music doesn’t. The organisers have done well to secure a line-up featuring some of the best new bands on the scene with a splattering of larger acts to draw the crowds.
Whilst we relax we get to enjoy dodie who offers something slightly different to the indie lad rock predominantly featured. An enjoyable set from dodie allows us time to recuperate before another onslaught of music.
We pick things back up towards the top of the bill now with Sea Girls on the main stage. Sea Girls are a band that I’ve heard of but never actually listened to. Not really knowing what to expect, the band are able to quickly get my attention. They also have the attention of the majority of the attendees with a clear connection existing between band and fans.
Their time on stage sails by very quickly which is usually a good sign, and with their name featuring on many festivals this summer, I feel they’ve earned a little more attention from me before I hopefully see them again.
In fact, one of my favourite things about festivals is discovering new music. I’d like to say NOISY on the third stage are a new discovery but they’ve actually featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist already. That said catching them live here gives new emphasis to their music as the band play one of the most energetic and passionate sets of the day.
Perhaps this energy and passion is what make our sub-headliners DMA’s fall a little flat having to follow them. Another band that I’ve not personally delved too deeply in before, I can’t say that are able to grab me as much as many others have today. A slower paced set perhaps wasn’t what the doctor ordered following NOISY in a small tent and prior to Yonaka in the big tent.
DMA’s are pleasant enough and perhaps do deserve deeper inspection, but as the weather gets colder and the feet start to ache, they struggle to capture my imagination today.
That was never going to be a problem for our second stage headliners Yonaka however! This after all is a band built on energy and passion, a band whose bond with the audience is synergetic.
Arriving slightly late on stage, the band power through their set which just adds even further impedance and immediacy to their performance. A sublime mixture of the stunning and the powerful encapsulates Yonaka as they deliver the likes of ‘Ordinary’, ‘Call Me a Saint’ and the incredible ‘Rockstar’.
Fans in attendance have probably just witnessed the performance of the day, but having slightly overrun it’s time to leg it back to the main stage where The Kooks have just arrived for their headline performance.
Their setlist tonight features debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ predominantly to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Adding in a few hits from that albums successors makes for a pretty great festival setlist.
Opening with ‘Seaside’ and ‘See the World’, the band instantly have the crowd in hand. They are able to maintain this connection throughout their performance which is more than worthy of the headline slot.
By the time ‘Naïve’ closes their set and sends the fans off into the night, it is very much job achieved both for The Kooks and for Neck of the Woods. Norwich does need an event like this, and whilst far from sold out, the event is well enough attended to be deemed a successful debut.
Hopefully Neck of the Woods can build on this solid start, build their brand and bring some of the biggest indie acts to Norwich in the coming years. Most importantly though I hope that they maintain the focus on new bands!
Today has been a day of discovery, finding great new acts before enjoying a handful of the best indie acts around at the moment; the perfect mix. I’d imagine we will be hearing a lot more from a number of these acts over the coming years, and hopefully we will be back at Earlham Park next year.
Welcome everyone to another edition of our weekly music News Report, where we share the best music news from the past week. We start this week with a real smorgasbord of tour announcements.
First up, is the above special set of shows from Ash. The band will play 3 ‘Free All Angels’ 21st Anniversary Shows in Manchester, Birmingham and London this September!
Drummer Rick McMurray had the following to say: “We’re delighted to announce that we will be commemorating the 21st anniversary of the release of our 2001 classic, Free All Angels. Not least because we will be joined by the fourth member of Ash, guitarist extraordinaire, all-round Shining Light, the one and only, Charlotte Hatherley. Can. Not. Wait.”
We move on now to the new releases of the past week in our News Report. We start off with Skid Row who have unveiled the video for their new single ‘The Gang’s All Here’, which you can watch above.
“‘The Gang’s All Here’ for me represents the brotherhood of this band. And with the addition on Erik our bond is more solid than ever. Our fans have always been part of the family, so when it was time to shoot a video, we handed the camera work over to them. After all, they have the best perspective to capture the excitement of a Skid Row show.” – Scotti Hill
“I’m so f’ing psyched to finally release this video! This video is by the fans for the fans. A big shout out to all the fans who made this video happen. Thank you!” – Erik Grönwall
The song is the title track of their upcoming album which is released on October 14th.
October Drift release new single ‘Webcam Funerals’
October Drift released their latest single, ‘Webcam Funerals’, this week ahead of their new album, ‘I Don’t Belong Anywhere’ on September 23rd. You can listen to the track above, and pre-order the album here.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail out of respect,” begins Kiran, “but this song was written at the time of losing a friend during the height of the pandemic and lockdown. She passed after a long battle with cancer. Her son, a very close friend of mine, was living with me at the time of the funeral.
I watched online from my front room, while many others did the same from their homes. This song was a response to the strangeness and sadness of friends and family members not being able to be at the funeral or there for each other at that time.”
Kiran talks further about the track and album with us on The Full Pelt Music Podcast, which you can watch below.
TV Priest have shared new single, ‘It Was Beautiful’, taken from forthcoming album ‘My Other People’ out 17th June. You can listen to the track above.
Vocalist Charlie Drinkwater says of the single, “‘It Was Beautiful’ is a love song about the past, present, and future. A reminder that love is the most essential thing. The words came fast; it was recorded in a single emotive session, the first song we wrote together after my family had gone through a difficult experience and I think you can hear that in the kind of melancholy euphoria that plays out as the song progresses. In some ways it’s a coda to the whole album; a reminder to guard your hope fiercely.”
APHYXION have released their latest single, ‘Not Gonna Make It’, which you can check out above.
The band elaborate on the theme of the track:
“‘Not Gonna Make It’ is a song about broken love – a sad reflection of a relationship that once was – and trying to clutch at a straw while drowning in emotions. We never really touched the subject of love in our songs before. While our lyrics have constantly been circling around dystopic subjects both on a worldly and on a personal level, we simply wanted to embrace our emotions and thoughts from a new perspective.
While trying to leave a very black and white way of seeing things, we want to explore the polarity of emotions – where both love and hate co-exist because of their mutually dependent nature.”
We close this segment of our News Report with the latest single from Just Mustard. You can listen to ‘Seed’ above, and order their new album, ‘Heart Under’here.
Guitarist Mete Kalyoncuoglu shares more on the song’s inspiration: “Along with a lot of electronics and noise, I was listening to a lot of music which featured bowed string instruments. I had finished reading ‘The Rest Is Noise’ by Alex Ross around the time we started writing and I was revisiting a lot of the 20th century composers that I first discovered watching Kubrick’s films, like Krzysztof Penderecki. The rising tempo strikes at the beginning of ‘Seed’ were inspired from the rising and falling xylophone in Béla Bartók’s ‘Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta’.”
The Native return with their latest single, ‘Changes’, ahead of the band’s upcoming EP.
Singer Charlie Noordewier says, “‘Changes’ is about breaking out from the mundane cycle of life that so many find themselves stuck in, and pushing back against the people that put you down for trying to do something different.”
Chappaqua Wrestling – ‘Full Round Table’
Chappaqua Wrestling have shared their first new single of 2022, and first with new label EMI, ‘Full Round Table’.
The band explains: ‘We wrote Full Round Table as a reaction to the endless negativity put in our faces about our generation’s future. So much news is greeted with the response of how screwed we are – hopeless views from unhelpful people.
Negativity about youth is relative per generation but today it feels stronger. We want to ignore the cynicism, get together, appreciate what really matters, and not let people tell us what we can’t do. The Full Round Table is full of our friends, and that’s not changing.’
Fixation – ‘More Alive’
As Fixation prepare to release their debut album, they return with new single, ‘More Alive’.
“I wanted to highlight the negative effect social media can have om human relations. It’s harrowing how we spend more time maintaining our online facades, than taking care of our real-life relationships.
With “More Alive” we hope to bring attention to this topic and help our listeners make conscious decisions on how they interact with social media.” – Jonas Hansen / Vocals
With their huge American Stadium Tour on the horizon, Def Leppard have returned with their first new album in seven years. ‘Diamond Star Halos’ is actually only their 12th studio album since their inception some 45 years ago.
The band certainly hasn’t been prolific then, and there has been some mixed results amongst those 12 albums from the sublime and iconic, to the flat and forgettable. How then will this new release stand up?
Well, it starts off very well indeed with ‘Take What You Want’, ‘Kick’ and ‘Fire It Up’. I’d say that ‘Kick’ is up there with the catchiest songs of their career, which is a high compliment indeed.
I’ll note now the length of the album, sitting at just over an hour, and admit straight away that this feels too much. Cutting a few tracks to get the album around the 45 minutes mark would benefit the overall ease of consumption a lot.
Sonically the album is something of a throwback to their past glories and more than just a doff of the hat to their influences. Whilst this leads to some enjoyable moments, it also sees the band linger a little too long in others.
This is a difficult album to review, because there are plenty of high points and not many bad parts to pinpoint; it just feels bloated. It’s around twelfth track, ‘Angels (Can’t Help You Now)’, that I really begin to sap and feel the album needs to wrap up, but I’m daunted when I see that there is another thirteen minutes left!
‘Diamond Star Halos’ is worth your attention and patience, it is a solid album from a band with nothing to prove. I just feel with a few tweaks to the tracklist it could’ve been a great album.