It’s once again Independent Venue Week and it’s a fantastic time to celebrate the integral network of grassroots venues that play such a pivotal role in the music ecosystem. It bears repeating – no local venues, no opportunities for new talent and ultimately no superstars.
Tonight we head out to one such venue, the fantastic Voodoo Daddy’s. Pizza, beer and live music are a great mix and that’s exactly what you’ll find tucked down a vibrant Norwich alley.
You’ll also find some brilliant entertainment! Up first tonight are Ecto Peach who cross the border from Ipswich. There’s no football rivalry here though and the already packed venue gives the group a warm welcome.
That welcome is returned tenfold with a superb performance from the tight and energetic four-piece. A short set of catchy rockers, the band are evidence of why it’s ever so important to get to shows early!
The mood changes next as songwriter (the best in the world some would say!) Ben Brown graces the intimate stage surrounded by fairy lights. He proceeds to serenade the audience with delicate melodies and comical stage banter.
A change of pace indeed but one which the audience takes in their stride and welcomes with open arms. Brown will certainly leave with more fans than when he arrived after a delightful little show.
Finally though it’s time for those fans filling the venue with Pet Needs t-shirts to enjoy the band of the moment! Pet Needs are one of the brightest prospects in the country right now; after all they did win our ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year Award for 2022!
Yes, crowds are getting larger, venues are getting bigger and t-shirt sales are booming. The reason? Well, perhaps you should pop along to a show and see for yourselves, but given that it’s our job to tell you we’ll keep it simple! If you could bottle the energy of the band to sell, you’d be a Billionaire overnight.
It takes more than energy to be a great band though and two albums in, the band already have belters for days. Both of their albums have produced multiple live staples which exemplify the quality of song writing within the band. These songs are catchy as hell with sing-a-longs infectiously mandated at Pet Needs shows.
The setlist tonight is well structured and represents a good mix of their albums. The pace never relents and the audience laps up tracks such as ‘Pavlovian’, ‘Spirals’, ‘Punk Isn’t Dead; It’s Just Up For Sale’ and ‘Toothpaste’.
The highlight tonight though is new track, ‘Yeah!’, which whets the appetite for what’s to come next. The future is clearly very bright for Pet Needs, and tonight has been a great night for those making the effort.
There are great nights like this happening all across the country every night of the week. So this Independent Venue Week, please remember folks that an independent venue isn’t just for Independent Venue Week – it’s for life!
With the release of every single, Lincolnshire’s MOSKITO have built anticipation that something special has been brewing in that neck of the woods, and now the band are unleashing their potent debut Mixtape, ‘BAD LOVE’!
Bursting out the traps with ‘Gone With The Girl Next Door’, ‘Miss Me’ and ‘Sweet Fruit’, your instantly stuck by the delicate mix of ferocity, passion, energy and swagger. Like a Frank Carter fronted Arctic Monkeys, the record packs a punch with spiky guitars and razor-sharp vocals.
It really does feel like there is something special here and ‘Bloodshot’, ‘517’ and ‘Don’t Touch My Baby’ all further evidence this over the second half of the EP. The tender ‘painkiller’ closes out the record in parallel to the intensity of what comes before and is another early glimpse of what’s on offer from this group.
For a band threatening to breakout, you couldn’t really wish for a better opening gambit. Expect to hear the name MOSKITO a lot in the future!
We’re fully embedded in the new year now, so it must be time for music fans to get back into the UK’s fine music venues. In fact we are close to the ever important, Independent Venue Week, so it’s great to start the year at one such venue – Epic Studios in Norwich.
The versatile venue can host events of all sorts but on this bitterly cold January evening, it hosts lots of denim and leather rockers as British Lion come to town!
The final night of a full UK Tour, the band led by the legendary Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, attract a very healthy crowd tonight. Those in attendance are treated to not one but two accomplished support acts with the first of those, Airforce, in full effect as most attendees enter the venue.
Musically very suitable to supporting a member of Maiden, Airforce make the most of their short time on stage with a succinct and vociferous performance which no doubt wins over any uninitiated in the audience.
Next up is Voodoo Six, a band that Maiden/Lion fans will be very familiar with. The band stepped in on short notice to fill the void left by Canadian group Coney Hatch being unable to fulfil the tour.
Disappointing for some, for others like myself, this was actually an upgrade. Voodoo Six have consistently put out quality music and put on great shows for two decades now. Numerous line-up changes haven’t prevented the band putting out six albums and playing shows all over the world.
Tonight, they are on top form once again with an assured performance, mixing tracks old and new, to the delight of the crowd. Perennially tipped for bigger things, perhaps that ship has sailed but the constant of quality music and great shows doesn’t appear to be going anywhere as Voodoo Six once again show themselves to be criminally underrated.
Finally the time arrives for British Lion to take to the stage and they naturally receive a hero’s welcome. It’s the last show of the tour but also a (close to) hometown show for a number of the members, so the atmosphere is relaxed and the band let the music do the bulk of the talking.
The group have two albums in the bank at this point and the set list is a good mix of the two. Harris and co are able to give a good account of themselves, with singer Richard Taylor even acknowledging the apparent identity crisis that the band often have thrust upon them by others.
Long since dispelled as a mere solo project for Harris, since their inception in 2012 the group has evolved and that’s evident tonight with the stage presence of Taylor as exhibit A. This is a package now and not a vessel for Harris alone.
That makes the spectacle greater as far as the live show goes and places more emphasis on the music as opposed to the “oh look there’s Steve Harris” feeling for their early shows. It’s great to see and will hopefully lead to greater longevity from the project.
As this tour draws to a close with ‘Eyes of the Young’, British Lion may take a step back to Iron Maiden once again, but with performances like tonight you know it won’t be long before the band are reunited onstage again.
THE MURDER CAPITAL – GIGI’s recovery – ALBUM REVIEW
With their debut album, 2019’s ‘When I Have Fears’, The Murder Capital fully thrust themselves in the burgeoning post-punk scene and gained themselves a dedicated fanbase in the process. A lot has happened in the intervening years but now the group are back with their all so important sophomore album, ‘Gigi’s Recovery’!
This second record certainly sees the band stretching their legs and testing the boundaries of their art. Expansive and explorative this is a delicate yet decisive collection of songs which brims with belief.
WATCH ‘The stars will leave their stage’ on youtube
This is undoubtedly a brave sonic adventure undertaken by a band confident in their ability to conjure magic and assured by the acceptance of their audience. The album slowly leads us on the journey that the band has creatively been on over the past few years.
It’s methodical yet loose, meticulous but elegant, and therefore has no real standout moments. The album as a whole is the standout moment as The Murder Capital evolve into something very special indeed.
Already identified as a great hope, now it’s clear to all that The Murder Capital are not to be slept on as they endear themselves with their triumphant second album!
BLACK STAR RIDERS – WRONG SIDE OF PARADISE – ALBUM REVIEW
It hasn’t been an easy road for Black Star Riders, formed from the backlash against the idea of the last incarnation of Thin Lizzy creating new music. The group has proved all doubters wrong with their subsequent output – four albums of undisputed rock and roll class, and ten years of effortless cool, delicious riffs and belting melodies.
Black Star Riders have long established themselves as a credible entity in their own right and that’s despite numerous line-up changes testing their resolve. The biggest line-up change however came in 2021 with the departure of guitar-slinger extraordinaire Scott Gorham. Gorham was integral to the formation of the group and his departure leaves singer/guitarist Ricky Warwick as the sole remaining original member.
With Warwick firmly at the helm though, the band retain the heart and soul of their signature sound and presentation. Warwick’s career renaissance may have started in Thin Lizzy, but Black Star Riders allowed him to rediscover himself and unleash his natural talents back on the world.
New album, ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’, may be another new beginning but it’s also a continuation of the essence of Black Star Riders. That signature sound remains firmly and passionately intact, and Warwick’s distinguished vocals remain front and centre issuing that iconic battle cry as only he can!
Those famous riffs remain also as the album presents the perfect stable yet evolutionary prose that acts as the necessary statement to show that sans Gorham, this band remain a powerful force with a prosperous future.
Fans have a fifth album of pure rock and roll majesty, which still owes all to the faith that the initial cohort placed in themselves. They knew they had something special and now ten years later, the world knows it too!
It hasn’t been a smooth road for The Subways to arrive at the release of ‘Uncertain Joys’, their first new album in eight years. Recent years have seen change, change in the world, change in the band and change in their personal lives.
For change on all those fronts, you could also read turmoil. The pandemic after all has played a role in the tumultuous world we all inhabit, this combined with the departure of drummer and founding member Josh Morgan from the band and a period of personal growth for front man Billy Lunn (including a stint at University) has left an uneven path to tread for a constantly underappreciated band.
Thankfully though, the band are now ready to unleash their new era on the world. Drumming stability has been returned with newcomer Camille Phillips now joining Lunn and fellow original Charlotte Cooper, a tour is lined up and ‘Uncertain Joys’ is here!
Yes, The Subways are back, which is exactly the sentiment I feel listening to the record. I’ve always felt that The Subways are both a fantastic rock band and also a superb pop group, with their songwriting able to harness the power of rock with the elegance of pop with aplomb. That ability clearly remains intact, perhaps even amplified! The elongated writing process for this album maybe the reason but this is a truly eclectic collection from the band.
Musically vibrant yet lyrically vulnerable, you can feel the love and care put into this album by its creators. Whether leading us into battle on ‘Fight’, taking aim at social media on ‘Influencer Killed The Rock Star’ or getting deeply personal on the title track or ‘Incantation’, the quality of songwriting remains intact but again it seems to have even greater depth.
A difficult period for the band has no doubt passed, and while other bands may have called it quits, The Subways have emerged an even stronger entity. ‘Uncertain Joys’ is a supercharged dose of classic Subways that is more than worth your time.
Upon his departure from Betraying The Martyrs, vocalist Aaron Matts was quick to reveal his next project ten56.. With the world and the music industry still in the midst of the pandemic and all the uncertainty that would bring, some may have questioned the logic in leaving an established entity to start afresh at such a time.
Clearly Matts would’ve required a great deal of faith in what he had lined up and over the past year or so that faith has paid dividends with ten56. taking the scene by storm and notching up some seriously impressive streaming metrics. A debut EP and a run of live dates have been well received and now ten56. are ready to capitalise on all that momentum with new EP ‘Downer Part.2’.
This EP is a full frontal assault on the senses with Matts’ ferocious vocals taking centre stage and underpinning the progressive sound of the group. ‘Downer Part.2’ certainly feels like a breakout moment for a band already breaking out. Yes, over a period just under twenty minutes, Matts has shown the world just why he had such faith.
Only time will truly tell, but at this point you’d have to put money on ten56. becoming one of the biggest metal acts of the next decade!
It’s been another big revival year for the music industry following the pandemic years, and it’s been another year of growth for us at Full Pelt Music! We’ve reviewed 67 albums, 7 EP’s, 6 festivals and 38 gigs in 2022 as some level of normality or even stability has returned to our industry.
That said, there are still many issues facing the industry with livelihoods, venues and organisations at risk for a plethora of reasons. Whilst government action is required in many places, what we as fans can do is support the industry with our money. Times are tough for us all, but purchasing an album, buying a t-shirt, nabbing a ticket and grabbing a drink whilst at a gig does so much to support the industry that we love.
In our now annual end of year awards we’ll be giving out seven hotly contested awards looking at both the recorded and live sides of the industry. Adding to our well established Album of the Year award this year will be the new EP of the Year award. We’ll also once again be revealing our Single of the Year. All awards have seen fierce competition, as once again it’s been a high quality year for new releases.
On the live side of things, we’ll announce both our Gig and Festival of the Year awards. This year of course provided our first full calendar of music since 2019! We were able to witness many great performances this year and we can’t wait to share with you are favourites.
Lastly we’ll look at the artists who’ve had special years as we award our Artist and ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year awards. So without further ado, let’s work through those award catagories!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
It has been a truly magnificent year for album releases and getting a spot anywhere in our Top 50 was hard enough but in particular the Top 10 was incredibly tightly fought. You can read the full list here.
‘IMPERA’ from Ghost was able to take the crown this year but any of the top 10 could’ve taken that spot. ‘Reeling’ from The Mysterines in particular would likely have won in any other year, but the majesty and magnificence of ‘IMPERA’ proved unbeatable.
‘Impera’ by Ghost
‘Reeling’ by The Mysterines, ‘FTHC’ by Frank Turner, ‘Skinty Fia’ by Fontaines D.C. & ‘The Price of Life’ by Bob Vylan
2021 – ‘Blue Weekend’ by Wolf Alice 2020 – ‘Ultra Mono’ by IDLES
EP OF THE YEAR
For the first time this year, we are separating EP’s out of our main award and giving them their own pedestal. That alone is the truest compliment to the quality of EP’s on offer this year.
Again, all EP’s in our top 5 are worthy of the number one spot, but it’s ‘coming of (r)age’ from As Sirens Fall that pips it. Catchy as hell single, ‘heaven (spat us back out)’, helps elevate the release to be crowed our first ever EP of the Year.
‘coming of (r)age’ by As Sirens Fall
‘False Start’ by James and the Cold Gun, ‘SCP’ by Oakman, ‘Tyrants’ by IOTA and ‘BLACKGOLD’ by BLACKGOLD
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
We look now at our Single or Song of the Year. In considering the award this year we’ve considered the ear worms that have stayed with us after live performances. We’ve also pondered which songs instantly struck a chord and created a buzz of excitement for the albums and live shows that would follow.
Songs which fell into both of these considerations competed for the award and it was again a tight decision, but ultimately for us this year ‘Dangerous’ from The Mysterines has not just ticked both boxes but also remained on heavy rotation throughout the year despite being an early arrival in 2022. That’s why that track is our 2022 Single of the Year!
Check out the winning single below:
‘Dangerous’ by The Mysterines
‘Talk Hard’ by Jamie Lenman, ‘Compliance’ by Muse, ‘Wicked Ways’ by Halestorm, ‘Spillways’ by Ghost
2021 – ‘Test of our Resolve’ from Press To MECO 2020 – ‘Obey’ by Bring Me The Horizon feat. Yungblud
FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR
2022 was the first full festival season since 2019 and what a return it was. All eyes were on Glastonbury once again, British Summer Time curated a stunning line-up, Download Festival breathed fire and 2000trees was able to remind everyone what’s so great about smaller festivals.
Our winner this year though is Reading & Leeds who went big, sold out and delivered an action packed weekend even with the huge loss of Rage Against The Machine amongst others. Always a perennial contender for this award, 2022 felt like the year the event reclaimed its identity.
Glastonbury Festival, British Summer Time, Download Festival, 2000trees Festival
2021 – Download Pilot Festival 2020 – Wild Fields Festival
GIG OF THE YEAR
We’ve reviewed many gigs this year but in reality there could only ever be one winner. Rammstein’s tour is less of a concert and more of an experience; one that everyone, fan of the band or not, should experience at least once.
Beyond that there was still some incredible, top tier gigs in 2022 and our contenders are all worthy of glory, but Rammstein are currently on a whole different level.
Royal Blood @ O2 Arena, London, Ghost @ Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, Muse @ Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, London, The Killers @ Carrow Road, Norwich, The Hella Mega Tour @ London Stadium, London, Creeper @ Roundhouse, London, Idlewild @ O2 Kentish Town Forum, London
2021 – Bring Me The Horizon @ O2 Arena, London 2020 – Frank Turner @ Arboretum, Nottingham
ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Artist of the Year now and for this award we look for somebody who has had a huge, perhaps even career-defining year. Previous winners Frank Turner and Biffy Clyro have done so by delivering incredible feats, far above the norm.
This year was a big year for many acts, but we’ve gone for Bring Me The Horizon as a band that have had a career-defining twelve months. Long tipped as festival headliners at a major event, many felt that the time would never come for one of the best live bands on the planet. Big releases, sold-out tours, no matter what the group did they never seemed to be given that torch, that is until this year!
Watching Bring Me The Horizon step up and headline at Reading & Leeds this summer felt like a real moment, not just for the band but for the whole scene. For any metal band, let alone one once considered so unfashionable to headline the biggest festivals in the UK is massive.
Already announced to finally headline Download Festival in 2023, 2022 will forever be linked for Bring Me The Horizon to taking that final career-defining set. Throw in their genre-defying collaboration with Ed Sheeran, 2022’s Artist of the Year had to be Bring Me The Horizon.
Bring Me The Horizon
Ghost, Rammstein, Biffy Clyro, Muse
2021 – Biffy Clyro 2020 – Frank Turner
‘DISCOVER’ NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
As a publication we always want to put new music at the heart of what we do, and that’s why our final award is perhaps our most important! Our ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year is awarded to the act we’ve chosen to highlight on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist and Podcast who we feel has made the biggest impact this year.
At the beginning of 2022 we put the spotlight on new Colchester act PET NEEDS as they continued to promote their debut album, ‘Fractured Party Music’. From that point on the band never looked back with a world tour, a second album (‘Primtime Entertainment’) and a sold out hometown show all under their belts.
They even found the time to become the first (and only at the time of writing) band to progress from our ‘Discover’ New Music Podcast and appear on The Full Pelt Music Podcast! Yes, fighting off some stiff competition for the ‘Discover’ New Artist of the Year award in 2022 is PET NEEDS!
BERRIES, As Sirens Fall, Oakman, James and the Cold Gun, Daytime TV, MOSKITO
2020 – Miss Vincent
So, that’s it! Another year in the record books, it’s been another difficult year and it has again been particularly tough on the music industry. That said, we’ve had a full year of live music for the first time since 2019 and the creative juices remain flowing with some absolutely stunning new releases over the past twelve months.
Below you can enjoy some of our favourite gig photos of the year courtesy of our wonderful photographer Denis!
All 📸 (c) Denis Gorbatov / Full Pelt Music
We hope you’ve enjoyed our The Year in Review 2022 and we wish you a very Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2023 is a good one!
As the year draws to a close, music publications such as us turn our attention to our end of year lists. There will be nods to the best albums, singles, festivals and gigs as December progresses towards it festive finale. The only problem is that 2022 isn’t quite done yet!
Tonight for example the O2 Arena in London welcomes a fantastic package tour with three incredible acts set to grace the stage. Perhaps then those engravers should hold fire on etching the award winner’s names just yet!
This evening is the final night of a tour that has hit five other UK and Irish arenas already this month having first made its way around Europe, and there’s an end of tour / end of year atmosphere in the venue.
The first band up is Mammoth WVH led by Wolfgang Van Halen who showcases his natural talent and feels right at home on this massive stage. Playing a blistering set of material from their self-titled debut release, the band finish with ‘Don’t Back Down’ and leave the stage with many more fans than when they arrived.
Next up are a band who debatably should be headlining arenas themselves these days, as the screams of Lzzy Hale welcome Halestorm to the stage. Opener, ‘The Steeple’, sets the theme with new album, ‘Back From The Dead’ taking centre stage. That’s no bad thing though as it’s a fantastic album as demonstrated by the likes of ‘Wicked Ways’, ‘Mine’ and the title track.
All the usual Halestorm fun is packed into an abridged set where we still get crowd interaction, over-sized drumsticks and massive rock songs such as ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’ and ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’. ‘I Miss The Misery’ closes out the short but sweet set and leaves you thinking surely a Halestorm arena headline tour must be next on the cards.
WATCH ‘SILVER TONGUE’ FROM ALTER BRIDGE ON YOUTUBE
A band very familiar with headlining arenas at this point though is our headline act tonight, Alter Bridge. Another band with a new album to show off, the huge ‘Silver Tongue’ gets the ball rolling as the group once again demonstrate their obscene talents.
A musically sublime performance features their debut album more than recent tours with ‘Shed My Skin’, ‘Burn It Down’ and ‘In Loving Memory’ all highlights. The set list weaves between albums and highlights the musical dexterity of the band along with the commitment of their fans that stand in awe through hits and deep cuts alike.
‘This Is War’ and title track ‘Pawns & Kings’ show that the band remain very much on form as far as new material goes, but naturally it’s favourites such as ‘Metalingus’ and ‘Blackbird’ that elicit the best audience responses tonight.
An encore of ‘Rise Today’ and ‘Open Your Eyes’ seals the deal and sends the crowd into the wintery embers of 2022 happy and thoroughly entertained. It’s tours like this that remind us what we’ve been missing in the past couple of years, and serve as grounds to hold back on those end of year awards until all the entries have made their case!
Shinedown fans have long wondered why the band had yet to progress to Arena’s in the UK. Having grown exponentially in this region over the past decade, recent tour expectations had been larger venues for the group, only for the band to opt again for academies. Not this time though, welcome Shinedown fans to Wembley Arena!
The final date of their first full arena tour, tonight feels like a big moment for the band and the atmosphere in London echoes this. Outside may be a Christmas wonderland but inside the venue rock fans are more than ready for an evening of entertainment.
Opening proceedings on this run of dates is rapper Zero 9:36 who does well to warm up the early attendees with his brand of rock. Next up, Asking Alexandria get a hero’s welcome as they arrive onstage and they return the favour with a solid set featuring a number of clear fan favourites which really ramps up the energy levels.
Both bands have done a great job, but tonight is really about one band and there isn’t long before Shinedown make their big entrance. The band have a new album out, ‘Planet Zero’, which is incidentally their highest UK charting album; so it’s fitting that they open with new track, ‘The Saints of Violence and Innuendo’, as they begin their biggest UK show to date.
WATCH ‘THE SAINTS OF VIOLENCE AND INNUENDO’ ON YOUTUBE
‘Devil’, ‘Planet Zero’ and ‘How Did You Love’ all follow as they band stamp their authority on the stage. For their biggest UK shows, they’ve brought their biggest ever production to these shores and the visuals tonight are just as stunning as the music.
Amongst the newer material of the last decade or so, we get a splattering of early material such as ‘45’, which is up next and helps elicit just one of many huge sing-a-long moments.
The band have amassed a seriously deep back catalogue and the setlist tonight is well curated to showcase all the talents of the group from the heavy to the heartfelt. The juxtaposition of ‘Cut the Cord’ straight into ‘Second Chance’ really highlights their dexterity.
By the time ‘Sound of Madness’ brings the show to a close, there can be no doubters that Shinedown absolutely belong on the biggest stages. There are many Download Festival t-shirts in the audience tonight and it’s fitting because this was a performance worthy of headlining the UK’s premier rock festival!