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Live Reviews

The Hella Mega Tour

London Stadium

Friday 24th June 2022

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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
Amyl and The Sniffers – ‘Security’

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.

Read our review of ‘Van Weezer’ from 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
Green Day – ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’

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!

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Album Reviews

Nova Twins

Supernova

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NOVA TWINS – SUPERNOVA – ALBUM REVIEW

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.

WATCH ‘ANTAGONIST’ ON YOUTUBE
Nova Twins – ‘Antagonist’

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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!

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Live Reviews

Download Festival

Donington Park

10th to 12th June 2022

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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.

Read our review of Download Pilot Festival

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.

FRIDAY REVIEW

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.

Read our review of ‘The Ides of March’ from Myles Kennedy

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.

Read our review of Airbourne live in Norwich

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.

Read our review of ‘Sticky’ from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

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 REVIEW

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.

Read our review of ‘The Greatest Mistake of My Life’ from Holding Absence

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.

Read our review of Creeper live in London

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.

Read our review of ‘Senjutsu’ from Iron Maiden
SUNDAY REVIEW

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.

Read our review of ‘Marching In Time’ from Tremonti

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.

Read our review of ‘Nowhere Generation’ from Rise Against

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.

Read our review of Volbeat live in London

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.

Read our review of ‘Don’t You Feel Amazing?’ from Trash Boat

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.

Read our review of ‘Requiem’ from Korn

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.

Read our review of ‘Seize the Power’ from Yonaka

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.

Read our review of Biffy Clyro live in London

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!

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Album Reviews

Def Leppard

Diamond Star Halos

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DEF LEPPARD – DIAMOND STAR HALOS – ALBUM REVIEW

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.

WATCH ‘KICK’ ON YOUTUBE
Def Leppard – ‘Kick’

Listen to ‘Kick’ on our ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist

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.

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Live Reviews

Airbourne

The Waterfront, Norwich

Friday 27th May 2022

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AIRBOURNE – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

Summer is almost here and so is the first full festival season in three years! We all know the reason why that is, and that is the same reason why Airbourne’s ‘Boneshaker’ Tour was cut short.

There is a sense of resumption in the air tonight, of the world getting back on track. Soon we will all be standing in fields again and tonight Airbourne are able to finish touring their 2019 album, ‘Boneshaker’.

Plotting a handful of intimate shows ahead of their own festival run; Airbourne pluck for The Waterfront in Norwich. The venue sold out months in advance and with the weather today being very warm, this show is destined to be a sweaty affair!

Sadly the support act, Gorilla Riot, are unable to make it to the venue so the high levels of anticipation are stretched as fans await the headline act, who finally grace the stage 2 hours after the doors open.

Any boredom is quickly blown away by the incredible sound shockwave emanating from Airbourne as they break straight into ‘Ready to Rock’. Evidently both the band and the crowd are indeed ready to rock and the onslaught of high energy rock n’ roll is underway.

WATCH ‘BURNOUT THE NITRO’ ON YOUTUBE
Airbourne – ‘Burnout The Nitro’

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The band spread the setlist evenly across their five albums tonight with the title track and ‘Burnout The Nitro’ featuring from latest effort ‘Boneshaker’. Airbourne have a formula and they stick to it, so these tracks naturally fit in.

There is little in the way of innovation either in their music or their tried and tested stage antics, but to be fair that is what the fans want. As frontman Joel O’Keeffe jests on stage, nobody is here for a jazz concert or a techno rave. The venue is sold out with guests wanting old fashioned rock n’ roll, and that is exactly what Airbourne give them.

By the time the last notes of ‘Runnin’ Wild’ ring out, the venue has become a hot, sticky, sweaty, beer soaked mess. Airbourne will leave your ears ringing for days, and your mind racing for weeks. This is a simple but effective show that we are all thankful we are once again able to witness.

Now onto festival season!

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Album Reviews

Liam Gallagher

C’MON YOU KNOW

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LIAM GALLAGHER – C’MON YOU KNOW – ALBUM REVIEW

The resurrection of Liam Gallagher has truly been an incredible thing to witness. Anyone placing bets on Liam becoming one of the largest solo acts in the UK following the dissolution of Beady Eye would have gotten more than a few sideways looks.

But… that is exactly what has happened with Gallagher selling out arenas, festivals and huge outdoor shows consistently over the past five years. He has two solo number one albums to his name, and now you’d be a fool to bet against him gaining a third with new record, ‘C’MON YOU KNOW’.

There is no doubting the iconic status that Gallagher holds, but what he has achieved in recent years will change his legacy forever for the better. Out from the shadows of Oasis and his brother, Liam has shocked many with the way he has carried himself musically and personally.

A new generation of fans has discovered his iconic voice, not just for his past successes but also for his current output and that is a beautiful thing.

His first two solo albums have been more than solid, whilst sticking closely sonically to what his has always been known for. ‘C’MON YOU KNOW’, however sees Gallagher opening up musically to incorporate wider influences.

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Liam Gallagher – ‘Everything’s Electric’

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Perhaps not genre-bending in the truest sense, as the album is still rooted in familiar territory, but this is the most diverse collection of songs to feature Liam’s name. Perhaps slightly ironic given his jovial jousting at his sibling, although I do doubt there is any scissor playing present here.

The singles have been well selected and in fact the likes of ‘Everything’s Electric’ and the title track are literally the standout tracks. The rest of the album is once again solid and task achieving but perhaps slightly underwhelming in the grand scheme of things.

What saves this album from mediocrity and raises it to the standards expected is the diversification. This is perhaps the most interesting album of Gallagher’s solo career, if not the best in quality. What is does do is once again prove the critics wrong and demonstrate that Gallagher is a viable solo artist.

More than that he remains one of the biggest names in the industry and somehow retains relevance some thirty years into his career. Gallagher is remarkable and of course iconic!

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Live Reviews

Fatherson

The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Wednesday 24th May 2022

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FATHERSON – CAMBRIDGE – LIVE REVIEW

In the week that the Music Venue Trust launches their new #OwnOurVenues campaign, it’s somewhat fitting that we find ourselves at The Portland Arms in Cambridge.

Not only does the venue signify everything that the organisation seeks to protect, but they have themselves benefitted during lockdown from the Frank Turner led Independent Venue Love series.

It is venues such as this that act as the lifeblood for artists and music fans alike and The Portland Arms is a particular favourite of mine.

We find ourselves here tonight to catch the brilliant Fatherson, as the band tour their latest album, ‘Normal Fears’. As it appears are many others who fill the venue despite the favourable Spring weather outside.

BLACK FOXXES

Opening tonight is a band that has been building a solid reputation over the past decade, but one that is emerging again after large structural changes. Black Foxxes released their third album mid-pandemic shortly following major line-up changes.

Tonight they show that this refreshed version of the band is still a viable prospect with huge amounts of potential. A raw and intense performance is underpinned by the quality of musicianship, which ensures that the crowd are suitably enthralled.

FATHERSON

Soon enough it is time for the headliners Fatherson to step onto the intimate stage, and they do so by bursting straight into ‘Dive’, ‘Charm School’ and ‘Lost Little Boys’. This trifecta is a superb opening salvo which gets the audience into high spirits.

Singer Ross Leighton then introduces ‘Normal People’ and their fourth studio album, ‘Normal Fears’, gets to come to life in the live setting. The new tracks slot in seamlessly with older favourites, and demonstrate the impressive back catalogue that the band has now amassed.

Throughout the evening the band show their quality as a live act, with Leighton’s vocals particularly captivating at times. Once you catch Fatherson live, you will be hooked moving forward such is their power as a band.

Picking a set list with four quality albums behind them must be a tricky conversation now for the band, but tonight they come up with a good mix from across all albums. Older favourites are present such as ‘Cat Stevens’ and ‘Ghost’, with newer tracks like ‘Better Friend’ and ‘Honest To God’ also serving a highlights.

All in All, as the band finish with an encore of ‘Making Waves’, fans can leave the venue reflecting on another fantastic night of music. It really is nights like this, in venues like this where music truly thrives.

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Live Reviews

Volbeat

O2 Academy Islington, London

Saturday 21st May 2022

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VOLBEAT – LONDON – LIVE REVIEW

Tonight is one of those rare occasions where you get to catch a big band in a smaller venue; this intimate show helping Volbeat to celebrate their latest album, ‘Servant of the Mind’.

Sold out instantly, it’s not a surprise to see the queue worming its way around the shopping centre that the O2 Academy Islington is held within.

Once inside, fans are already packed in like sardines before support act Benediction take to the stage. Once they do they are entrusted with a whole 45 minutes, which is handy given their lengthy back catalogue.

During this time, the band do their best to entertain and warm up the baying, crammed and sweaty crowd. By the end, they’ve done enough to earn themselves a solid round of applause.

Clearly though those in attendance are here for Volbeat and the band are given a heroes welcomes as they arrive on the stage. Diving straight into ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’ and ‘Pelvis on Fire’, it doesn’t take them long to have the audience on a string.

Volbeat are a phenomenal live act with the addition of Rob Caggiano in 2013 really helping to take them to the next level. Newest member, bassist, Kaspar Boye Larsen is also now fully established and watching them move around the stage along with Michael Poulsen, you can’t help but feel the band has achieved optimum status.

WATCH ‘WAIT A MINUTE MY GIRL’ ON YOUTUBE
Volbeat – ‘Wait A Minute My Girl’

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The setlist tonight is a good career-spanning mix, but with an understandable focus on ‘Servant of the Mind’. ‘Wait A Minute My Girl’, ‘Temple of Ekur’, ‘Shotgun Blues’ and ‘Say No More’ all help to showcase another quality release from the group.

There are naturally huge responses to the likes of ‘Lola Montez’, ‘Sad Man’s Tongue’, ‘Dead but Rising’ and ‘Black Rose’. But really the entire time the band is on stage, the audience are lapping it up.

As we said at the start, it’s really great when you get to witness a big band in intimate surrounds and tonight has a special feel to it. A memorable night for fans is finally ended with a rousing rendition of ‘Still Counting’.

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Live Reviews

My Chemical Romance

Stadium MK, Milton Keynes

Thursday 19th May 2022

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MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – MILTON KEYNES – LIVE REVIEW

It’s March 2013 and the following statement appears on the website of My Chemical Romance, breaking hearts around the world:

“Being in this band for the past 12 years has been a true blessing. We’ve gotten to go places we never knew we would. We’ve been able to see and experience things we never imagined possible. We’ve shared the stage with people we admire, people we look up to, and best of all, our friends. And now, like all great things, it has come time for it to end. Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure.”

My Chemical Romance statement – March 2013

Fast forward to October 2019 and those hearts are sent racing with news that the band will reunite for a show in LA that December. Following that show many more shows are announced including three dates at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes. Of course just weeks later the world stopped as the pandemic took hold, and those shows fell by the wayside.

Finally, now in May 2022 the band can make their long awaited return to the UK; their show at the Eden Project just days ago being their first show on these shores since headlining Leeds Festival in August 2011.

So with the magnitude of these shows established let’s get into it! Stadium MK is the home to MK Dons Football Club, but has also become a popular destination for live music following an appearance from Rammstein back in 2019.

There is a great supporting bill in place this evening, with the hotly-tipped Witch Fever opening up proceedings. The band are able to grab the attention of the early crowd and hold it throughout their short but impressive set. The band will release their debut album in October, and after this performance that is certainly one to watch out for.

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Another reunited band is next as LostAlone return having split back in 2014. The band toured with My Chemical Romance early in their career, so it’s a nice touch to have them back on this show. Frontman Steven Battelle does a fantastic job getting the crowd warmed up and the band leave the stage victoriously having conquered their big return.

Main support comes from the incredible Placebo who have just released their first album in 9 years, ‘Never Let Me Go’. In true Placebo fashion the band don’t cater towards the crowd and for the first thirty or so minutes stick with a mix of new songs and obscurer tracks from their back catalogue.

As a huge fan of the band, their set is fantastic, but from the audience reaction those in attendance clearly want the hits. Finally the band oblige and close out their set with the likes of ‘For What It’s Worth’, ‘The Bitter End’ and ‘Infra-red’. Placebo are defiantly going to do whatever they want to do, for some the results are stunning, for casual bystanders the results are somewhat lacklustre. Thankfully I’m in the first camp!

One thing for sure is that audience response levels are guaranteed to be high as we prepare now for our headline act. After a decade of inactivity and a couple of extra years of delay, it’s finally time for My Chemical Romance to hit the stage.

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My Chemical Romance – ‘The Foundations of Decay’

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The stadium erupts as they do, with singer Gerard Way taking the stage in blood spattered all white suit and mask for their new single, ‘The Foundations of Decay’. The noise levels then go through the non-existent roof with classic tracks ‘Helena’ and ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Kid’.

With the band mixing the setlist up every night, fans are kept on their toes and that just adds to the general excitement, making the atmosphere inside the stadium as hot as it comes.

There are huge moments within the set, with ‘Teenagers’, ‘Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)’, ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ and ‘The Ghost of You’ all getting the entire stadium on their feet singing.

Then there are moments for the old school fans with deep cuts such as ‘It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Fucking Deathwish’ and ‘Skylines and Turnstiles’ featuring tonight.

It almost feels like the band has never been away, with the group typically cohesive yet brash. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, yet those with the band in their heart already hold them up as aloft as a godlike entity.

This return is only going to amplify that, but with showings like this the band are only going to solidify their position as one of the biggest on the planet.

‘Famous Last Words’ and ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise)’ both feature towards the end and the band finally send fans home happy with ‘Vampire Money’. My Chemical Romance are back, hearts are healed and there are big things to come!

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Gary Numan

UEA LCR, Norwich

Sunday 15th March 2022

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GARY NUMAN – NORWICH – LIVE REVIEW

Music icon and pioneer Gary Numan arrives in Norwich on a warm Sunday night, as his lengthy UK Tour draws towards a close.

This has been a tour that has included a statement headline show at Wembley Arena, as the career resurgence continues for Numan. Part of the reason for this renaissance is the cult-like devotion of Numan fans who fill the venue well in advance of their hero’s arrival.

The second reason for this rejuvenation is the current hot streak of releases from an artist very much in form. After reaching Number 20 in the Album Charts with 2013 effort ‘Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)’, Numan has delivered not one but two Number 2 Albums with 2017’s ‘Savage (Songs from a Broken World)’ and last year’s ‘Intruder’.

Vindication for an artist who has never taken the easy route via the nostalgia circuit and has always followed the creative path.

The third reason for recent successes is that Numan is a force of nature live, but we will get on to that in just a moment. First a mention to opening act, Divine Shade, who do a fantastic job in warming up the receptive UEA LCR.

Fans early arrival is well rewarded with a superb performance from the French trio; who much like our headliner are able to perfectly blend rock and electronic influences into an aurally stimulating sound. Combining this with a visually pleasing stage presence, the band has the winning formula down.

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Gary Numan – ‘Intruder’

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Soon enough, it’s time for Numan to take to the stage, but he doesn’t just take to it… he owns it. As we mentioned, the live presentation of Numan and his band is a large reason for his recent success, and from the stunning opener, ‘Intruder’, onwards the band have the audience in the palm of their hands.

The visual effects on offer on this tour are incredible and complement the music splendidly. This dynamic typifies Numan live and creates an immersive experience for gig-goers. It’s hard not to be mesmerised by the light show whilst simultaneously being captivated by the music.

On the set list front there is a great mix of new and old material with latest album, ‘Intruder’ at the forefront. There is no real lull in the set, but obvious highlights include ‘Metal’, ‘Down in the Park’ and ‘Cars’.

It’s newer tracks though such as ‘The Gift’, ‘My Name Is Ruin’ and ‘Love Hurt Bleed’ that really standout this evening; which again provides evidence that whilst undoubtedly a music icon, Numan is far from a nostalgia act.

An encore of ‘A Prayer for the Unborn’ and ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric’ sends the audience home happy and cements Gary Numan as an artist at the top of his game.

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Read our review of ‘Intruder’ from Gary Numan