BLACK STONE CHERRY & THE DARKNESS – BIRMINGHAM – LIVE REVIEW
One fateful night many years ago in the depths of the forests of Thetford a relatively spontaneous pairing occurred as Black Stone Cherry jumped in to support The Darkness after an infamous festival cancellation.
I was there that momentous evening to witness the magic that transpired. I was rather pleased then when the two bands announced a co-headline arena tour a decade or so later. So, tonight I head to the Resorts World Arena in Birmingham to relive that fine evening.
Opening on this tour is Danko Jones, who always delivers the goods. You know that you are in for a good rocking with Jones and tonight is no different. When your time onstage is short, you need to make the most of it and that’s exactly what Jones does with a fast paced rock n roll romp.
The first of our two headliners to take to the stage are The Darkness and as their set progresses I find myself reminiscing of that night in 2012. I remember that the band were fresh into their return and finding their feet again as a live act. The Darkness have always been considered a fantastic live act, but tonight I realise just how much further they’ve come.
Consistently good new material over the past decade has helped, but the band has really fine tuned themselves with drummer Rufus Taylor having a large role in that. The Showmanship of Justin Hawkins, the flamboyance of Frankie Poullain and the flair of Dan Hawkins now have a harnessing force that makes them incredibly slick.
When you then throw in plenty of pyrotechnics, you have a recipe for a stunning show and that’s exactly what The Darkness deliver tonight. From opening number ‘Growing on Me’ through to theatrical set closer ‘Love on the Rocks With No Ice’, The Darkness not only reassert themselves as one of the best live acts around but demonstrate the progress that they’ve made in the last decade.
WATCH ‘OUT OF POCKET’ ON YOUTUBE
Progress is a key word also when considering Black Stone Cherry who close the night this time around. They’ve come a long way in the last ten years and are now a regular arena filling act in the UK.
Tonight their time onstage is perhaps slightly shorter than usual, but they still manage to pack a career spanning setlist into that time. Less theatrical then The Darkness, Black Stone Cherry have always been happy to let the music do the talking and the crowd tonight are more than content with that.
Newer material like ‘Burnin’’, ‘Again’ and their latest single, ‘Out of Pocket’ feel at home in the set and evidence the great work produced by the band since 2012. Of course though tracks from that time like ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘Blame It On The Boom Boom’ elicit huge response from the audience.
These are three different performances tonight from three different bands all bound by the love of rock. I knew walking into the arena that I’d be catching three of the most consistently good live acts on the circuit, so the quality of the evening isn’t a surprise tonight. Walking out of the venue however, I’m most impressed by the growth and evolution shown since that memorable evening in the woods!
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
It’s all about new music releases as we commence our News Report for this past week. We start with the return of the legendary Iron Maiden! This week the band started the latest era in their historic career with the release of a brand new single.
‘The Writing On The Wall’ comes complete with stunning video and provides the first glimpse of what to expect from the bands rumoured next album. You can check out the song above or on your platform of choice here.
Moving onto the live section of our News Report now as we all anticipate the return of live music. This week saw Nothing But Thieves announce a short run of intimate dates, taking in Oxford, Norwich and Liverpool.
Support comes from Kid Kapichi and tickets can be found here.
Green Man gets go-ahead and reveals line-up
Festivals now in our News Report roundup, and first up is Green Man. The event was this week given the go-ahead to proceed next month and fans have finally been shown the long-awaited line-up.
The stunning bill includes Fontaines D.C., Mogwai, Working Men’s Club, Shame, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, John, Jose Gonzalez, Black Midi, Teenage Fanclub, Self Esteem, Snapped Ankles, Porridge Radio and The Goa Express.
The full line-up for the 2021 edition of Wild Paths Festival in Norwich has now been revealed. Some 200 acts will grace 20 stages over the course of 4 days in the fine city.
Those acts include Sports Team, The Big Moon, Billie Marten, Bessie Turner, Gaffa Tape Sandy, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, The Mysterines, Feet, Press To Meco, John, Anorak Patch, Gabby Rivers and The Islas.
Full Pelt Music launches new ‘Hard & Heavy’ Playlist on Spotify
Finally this week, we can announce the launch of our brand new ‘Hard & Heavy’ Spotify Playlist. This playlist will showcase the best new releases from the world of hard rock and heavy metal – so PLAY IT LOUD!
First additions comes from Iron Maiden, Wayward Sons, Fozzy, Bullet For My Valentine, The Wildhearts, Volbeat, The Fallen State, Massive Wagons, Gun, Danko Jones, The Datsuns, The Treatment and Trivium!
The trend of festivals selling out continues following the recent government roadmap announcement. We again start our News Report this week with the pick of the festival news.
Up first is Slam Dunk Festival. The organisers had already announced that the twin event would move to the 4th and 5th of September at Leeds Temple Newsam and Hatfield Park. Now they have unveiled a line-up that includes headliners Sum 41 and Don Broco!
Also on the festival bill is a collection of some of our favourites including Reel Big Fish, A, Dream State, Normandie and Wargasm. Pick up your tickets here.
Another event cementing their 2021 line-up this week is Bloodstock Festival. Having lost Mercyful Fate from the Saturday headline slot, the organisers have moved quickly to bring in Kreator to fill that spot.
They join the already announced Judas Priest, Skindred and Saxon. Pick up your ticket here.
Steelhouse Festival reveals their final three
We also saw this week the final three acts announced for a fantastic looking Steelhouse Festival. The Wildhearts, Bernie Marsden and Wayward Sons join the likes of Anthrax, Europe, Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, Therapy? and Those Damn Crows.
Our final festival coverage this week goes to a stunning line-up from Black Deer Festival in Kent. The event is set to feature performances from Van Morrison, Saving Grace, Frank Turner, Imelda May and Emily Barker.
Enter Shikari reveal rescheduled tour with new dates added
It isn’t just festivals maneuvering in the wake of the governments roadmap. Tours have been also been adjusting to those plans. This week has seen more rescheduling from the likes of Biffy Clyro and Enter Shikari. The latter even adding in five additional dates!
Lincoln, Hull, Bristol, Liverpool and Leeds will now also get to witness the majesty of Enter Shikari with Dinosaur Pile-Up and Nova Twins in tow. Grab any remaining tickets here.
Fatherson plan huge UK tour
Another tour announced this week will see the incredible Fatherson hit the road for a lengthy trek around the UK. This promises to be one not to miss and you can pick up your tickets here.
Korn has announced details of a massive global livestream event taking place on Saturday 24th April 2021. Announcing the event frontman Jonathan Davis said “We hope you take part in this experience with us. And though it is not the same as performing live with you here, we still want to bring you some great music and a fun show.”
The show promises “hits, rare and sought-after deep cuts and select tracks from their latest album”. The event will be shot in downtown LA on the set of Stranger Things! Interest piqued? Grab your tickets here.
We move now into our new music section of our weekly news roundup. This week we were treated to the second single from the upcoming second album from Yonaka. ‘Ordinary’ is further evidence that the new album will be very special.
Finally this week, news from Danko Jones. The band will be releasing their tenth studio album, ‘Power Trio’, on August 27th. In announcing the album, the band also unveiled the first single ‘I Want Out’.
Download Festival postpones again and unveils 2022 line-up
Last Week the government announced their roadmap out of lockdown and into some form of normality. That roadmap paved the way, hopefully, for the return of music festivals after June 21st.
As such this week has seen many festivals selling out as fans rush to book up their first festival since 2019. Many festivals have announced their plans for 2021 and we will cover some of those in this News Report. Sadly for some, the date of June 21st has meant the need to postpone for a second year.
One such festival is the rock/metal giant Download Festival. Unable to go ahead this year, the Donington event has announced that it will return in 2022. The three day event takes place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th June, and will see headline sets from Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro.
This is truly one not to be missed, and you can pick up your tickets here.
Another legendary festival whose dates were incompatible with the governments roadmap was Isle of Wight Festival. Thankfully for the islanders, there was scope for the event to move to later in the year.
The island will now get its music fix from 16-19 September. There is no confirmed line-up yet, however organisers have stated they will be trying to keep as much of the existing line-up as possible.
Neighbourhood Weekender also makes move to September
September has featured a handful of late festivals in recent years, but September 2021 looks set to be festival central. Another festival making the move to the ninth month is Neighbourhood Weekender.
The event has already provided fans with its revised line-up that features a fantastic mix of old favourites and new artists. Headlining the event will be Gerry Cinnamon, James and Catfish And The Bottlemen. They are joined by the likes of The Coral, The Wombats, The Pigeon Detectives, Miles Kane, Shed Seven and Lightning Seeds.
There is also a plethora of young artists including some of our favourites such as Pale Waves, The Murder Capital, The Mysterines, Zuzu, Lauran Hibberd and Sports Team.
Standon Calling will celebrate its 15th Birthday in style as the festival returns over the weekend of 22nd-25th July. With huge sets from Bastille, Hot Chip, Primal Scream and Craig David’s TS5 the event is set to be a party to remember.
Also appearing across the weekend will be the likes of De La Soul, Mystery Jets and Bob Vylan. Grab your tickets here.
Splendour is on in Nottingham
Finally from the festival announcement portfolio this week is Nottingham event Splendour. The day event returns to Wollaton Park on Saturday 24th July. The event will feature performances from Richard Ashcroft, Supergrass and Rick Astley.
Great news this week from the Black Honey camp as the band unveiled a new UK Tour for later this year. The band will release their new album ‘Written & Directed’ on March 19th. If you pre-order that album before March 9th you will get priority access to tickets.
Danko Jones announce 25th anniversary livestream shows
Canadian rockers Danko Jones have announced details of two very special livestream events to celebrate their 25th anniversary. The European stream will take place on Saturday 13th March and you can grab your tickets here.