Archive for live review

Review: Hellfest 2014 June 20th – 22nd (Clisson, France)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by Tickets There

Bq-gbMUIUAEU5NlHellfest 2014 may be over, but the ninth instalment of Europe’s fastest growing heavy metal festival won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Over the course of the weekend, more than 150,000 fans descended on the small town of Clisson in France to witness what can only be described as the greatest line-up any festival has ever managed to gather in a single year. From headliners to openers – every orifice of the metal world resonated with excitementand and there was no shortage of crowds for any band throughout the weekend.

IMG_9433On top of the incredible line-up, Hellfest organizers really enhanced the festival grounds for this year’s event. The market moved from the arena to the metal corner and developed into an actual miniature town in the form of Hellcity – with paved streets, actual footpaths, street lights and a massive number of new stalls and space. As well as that, greater seating areas were added allowing those of us with ‘walking difficulties’ more chances to relax when needed. The arena itself also got upgraded with a massive Ferris wheel added, paved paths, far more variety for food and more bars than you could shake a stick at. All in all an incredible set-up for just four days of festivities and a good sign of how quickly Hellfest is growing.

It wasn’t all glamorous however as Irish fans struggled in the extreme sun, dust and high temperatures to keep cool in black t-shirts, battlevests and corpse paint. But we survived and now it’s time to look back at just some of the highlights on and off the stage from Hellfest 2014.

Compact site means little walking between stages,

Compact site means little walking between stages,

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Hellfest 2014 Begins

DAY 01 – FRIDAY: There had been rumours that the scorching sun experienced on Thursday was due to continue for the entire weekend. On Friday morning festival goers found out that not only was the sun still here, it was actually hotter. Baking heat scorches the festival site with little opportunity to hide. Tents turn into saunas while main stages become roasting pits with thousands of black-clad metal maniacs enduring the punishing conditions to catch glimpses of the earlier bands.. and endure it they do.

Friday boasts one of the most popular line-ups of the whole weekend with Rob Zombie, Sepultura, Slayer, Death, Electric Wizard and Iron Maiden all on the bill. Powerman 5000 kick things in off epic style with a child chorus sing along that gets the crowd in a jolly mood before they crash in with their punishing electro-metal style. Irish rockers Therapy? provide a sharp contrast with catchy upbeat tunes that get the crowd hopping. All the major singles are included for a pretty decent set (except ‘Diane’).

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Rob Zombie @ Hellfest 2014

Rob Zombie is one of the major draws for the day and he doesn’t disappoint. Although he plays without his full stage show, Rob and co. deliver an incredibly strong set packed with classics such as ‘Dracula’, ‘Superbeast’, ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’ and ‘Living Dead Girl’ before also throwing in some White Zombie classics and a cover of Diamond Head’s ‘Am I Evil’. He finishes up with White Zombie’s ‘Thunder Kiss ’65’ and blows the crowd away. An epic start and only a few bands in!

Terrible blurry photo taken b y myself. Sorry......

Iron Maiden @ Hellfest 2014 – Terrible blurry photo taken by myself. Sorry……

Sepultura keep things going as the heat starts to die off with a solid set of classics, but the real excitement was reserved for the legendary Iron Maiden who’s stage set-up captivates some fans’ attentions during the Brazilian’s set. By nine o’clock, the entire crowd has gathered in the arena for one of metal’s most beloved bands and they punish the hell out of us. Brining their ‘Made In England’ tour to France, Maiden deliver two solid hours of incredibleness. Wall to wall classic songs, a mouth watering stage show and their sound is just jaw dropping, Maiden may be getting older, but they can deliver a live show above almost all others.

‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Maddness’, ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’, ‘The Trooper’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Seventh Son..’ – it’s like a dream watching them. I should be clever and wordy here – but I can’t. Maiden are everything I’d ever hoped for and it only took twenty years, four shows and France to get it. Job done – happy in life now. Leaving the stage after an encore filled with ‘Aces High’, ‘The Evil That Men Do’ and ‘Sanctuary‘ – it’s almost hard to believe there was more to come.

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Slayer @ Hellfest 2014

Maiden, Therapy?, Death Angel, Powerman 5000, Rob Zombie and Sepultura. Not too shabby for one day – but add the next act onto that and you have heaven….or hell.

SLAYER are not a band to fuck around with and when they hit Mainstage 2 for their late night slot the crowd is there on time. Opening with ‘Hell Awaits’, Slayer perform a compact, but juicy set that both fulfils and delights attendees and leaves us gasping for more. ‘Antichrist’, ‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Disciple’ – on and on they come and each one delivered with bone crushing force. Even their new tune, ‘Implode‘ sounds as strong as their older material. An excellent end to the day and time to relax with Sabaton and look forward to two more days.

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Hellcity at night – just part of Hellfest’s Metal Corner

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The Temple Stage after Gorgoroth

DAY 02 – SATURDAY: More heat, more music, more diversity. After a fairly solid lashing of proper heavy metal on Friday, Saturday is a mix of intensely heavy music and older classic rock. Well, any day you see Carcass, Deep Purple, Tsjuder and Aerosmith in the one place is always going to be a little strange. Add a previous night of drinking, no sleep and hotter than hell temperatures – you’ve got yourself the perfect cocktail of highly diverse chaos and incredible music.

Skid Row, Buckcherry and the excellent Lez Zeppelin are all fantastic bands to kick off the day – each one draws massive crowds (a shocking factor for me given the temptatures, but then again non-Irish people seem to cope quite well). Extreme followed with a lovely relaxing set of classics that filled the whole arena and set a nice, calming mood for the day. Gorguts and Tsjuder really changed the vibes with the latter crushing the Temple stage with fierce, violent black metal. God I missed Hellfest these last twelve months.

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Entrance to The Kingdom of Museadet

Over at the Valley stage, Clutch are delivering their brand of stoner funk metal with a packed crowd and savage sound. Clutch wouldn’t be my own cup of tea, but there’s no denying they have an incredible live sound and know how to handle their crowd. With Neil Fallon’s announcement that the band are heading back to the studio to record a new album soon, fans go insane and lap up a little taste of their new material before they finish with ‘Electric Worry’, ‘One Eye Dollar’ and ‘The Wolf Man Kindly Requests..’.

Over at MS1, Soulfy brace the heat to crush Sepultura’s performance from the previous day. Max Cavalera’s outfit may not be the most exciting metal band in history, but they’re solid and a couple of Sepultura covers help keep the momentum going. A quick visit to Brutal Truth ups the ante as they crush the altar but for this writer, the time had finally come to see one of heavy metal’s founding stones – the legendary Deep Purple.

Having never seen Deep Purple before, it was hard to know what to expect. They’re getting on in age terms but judging by their show they still have it. Seeing this kind of musicianship concentrated in one space is scarce and the obvious enjoyment from the band and the older crowd brings a sense of order and relaxation to Hellfest as the light starts to fade and night takes over the site. ‘Into The Fire’, ‘Strange Kind of Woman’, ‘Lazy’ and ‘Space Trukin’ are all delivered with restrained perfection. Of course the major cheers came for their biggest hit, ‘Smoke on the Water’ which woke the crowd up and left a great energy for the remainder of their set. As they finish, this writer bites his lower lip for missing Monster Magnet in the Valley, but Purple did not disappoint.

Aerosmith lighting up MS1 - My headliner pic curse continues.

Aerosmith lighting up MS1 – My headliner pic curse continues.

Then it was time for Saturday’s major draw – the mighty Aerosmith and their jaw dropping balls out two hour hard rock spectacle. Starting with a massive video introduction, the famous smith logo shot to the screen before Stephen Tyler grabs the crowds attention with a whistle as the band kick into ‘Back Into The Saddle’. They sound great, they look great and they blow Hellfest wide open with hit after hit after hit. There’s no holding back as they reach back and pull out all the stops from their career. ‘Eat The Rich’ (personal favourite), ‘Love in an Elevator’, ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Livin’ on the Edge’ all fall out like it’s nothing and you could be forgiven for thinking their entire set is one long encore – designed to beat fans into submission. The set finishes with further dazzling displays of the bands tightness and incredibly strong back catalogue of singles before Stephen returns to the stage solo to play ‘Dream On’ in the middle of the crowd before the final track – ‘Sweet Emotion’ brings the show to a triumphant end. Incredible, absolutely incredible and there’s still more to go.

Carcass @ Hellfest 2014

In between the feel good rock ‘n’ roll of Aerosmith, a helping of Gorgoroth is needed. Only knowing them by reputation as an incredible live band means they have the task of convincing a potential new fan on an Aerosmith buzz to like them… and they do. They have a packed crowd and play a brilliant few tunes. It means missing a few Smith classics, but worth every minute. With both shows over, it’s time to devote myself to Carcass who own the Temple stage and force a lot of fans to wake up and ignore the fact that we were now going almost 36 hours without sleep. “Are you awake? Are you drunk? I’m fucking drunk” announces Jeff Walker to the crowd before offering us the chance to see Avenge Sevenfold instead. Err, no thanks man – grand here. Carcass play one of the most intense sets of the festival and ensured there will be no sleeping tonight either – back to the camp site for more Carcass and beers!

The arena at night - filled with light and fire

The arena at night – filled with light and fire

VIP

The entertainment in VIP was not dissapointing

DAY 03 – SUNDAY: The final day comes and with it some rain in the early, early morning for those who …forgot to sleep. When the sun returns temperatures soar, meaning it’s time to put serious faces on and get in early because Crowbar except nothing but your uninterrupted attention.

Kirk Windstein has made headlines recently after kicking a fan in the face for attempting to stage dive at one of their shows. Whether you agree with bands allowing stage diving or not, it’s hard to hold it against the man as they plough through twenty five years of sludge metal. Ten albums later and Crowbar are savagely strong – even in this blazing sun. ‘Planets Collide’ is of course reserved for last but what a way to spend an hour on a sunny Sunday morning.

Fire displays at night. Well what did you expect? Taking pictures of hot people is weird with an iPhone and I don't condone it

Fire displays at night. Well what did you expect? Taking pictures of hot people is weird with a phone and I don’t condone it

Before going too much into the bands on Sunday, it has to be acknowledged at this point that Hellfest has to be home to some of earth’s most beautiful people. Add baking heat and those people get up close and personal with naked and that is a difficult thing to deal with when your girlfriend is hundreds of miles away. The heat, the tiredness, the lack of ….sustenance – the stakes rise.

Powerwolf have to be enjoyed from the comfort and shade of Museadet’s Kingdom. They sound great, but the shade won this round. Things manage to get back on track for the amazing Annihilator who up the temperature with their set – annihilating (pun intended) the crowds with a bruising set in the fiery heats of hell…fest. Having never seen them before – Annihilator quickly become one of the festival’s major highlights.

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Behemoth @ Hellfest 2014

Next up is another band I’ll be familiarizing myself with more and more over the coming months before their headline show in Dublin this December. Poland’s Behemoth are certainly full-f**king-on! With a show that rivals any band of the whole festival, they make mince meat of the crowd that gathers for their main stage 2 performance. Fire, full costumes and more fire hold up the theatrics end of an amazing hour of black metal. Thus far Behemoth have conquered all other black metal performances of the weekend and it’s comforting to know they’re just warming up the stage for Emperor who’ll be out in an hour.

After Behemoth’s performance, Soundgarden take the main stage and I don’t know whether it’s the fact that they’re not black metal or that the Misfits are on in the Warzone – but they seem very flat and dull. Chris Cornell’s voice is still incredibly strong but the music just seems extremely uninteresting and lifeless. Rather than hang around, it must instead be time to see a little punk this weekend.

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Jerry Only and Dez Cadena with The Misfits @ Hellfest 2014

The Misfits are now a Tickets There regular at Hellfest. Last year we were treated to a special Misfits set from DANZIG featuring Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and this year Jerry Only’s version of the band pops up. Amusing, fun and sing along brilliance. A massive array of songs all culminating in the classic ‘Die, Die, Die My Darling’. Absolutely epic performance and far more than you might expect.

Unfortunately Hellfest offered so much I should take the time to list the bands that couldn’t be seen without missing full sets from any bands this weekend. Apologies to Death DTA, Enslaved, Electric Wizard, Phil Anselmo, Nile, Monster Magnet, Dark Angel, Soilwork, Flogging Molly and Paradise Lost – I would have loved to see you but choices must be made and it’s important to stick by those choices.

As the night draws to a close, it’s time to settle in with the reason a lot of this year’s hard-core fans came to Hellfest 2014 – the much revered EMPEROR.

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Emperor @ Hellfest 2014

Emperor are at Hellfest celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their debut album, In the Nightside Eclipse and they’re playing it in full. Kicking off with ‘Into the Infinity of Thoughts’, the band play every song meticulously – right through to ‘Inno a Satana‘ with Ihsahn stopping to speak with the crowd between each song. A little cooling down from fire hoses doesn’t hurt the mood either – thank God!

For a band that hasn’t worked together much over the past few years – they appear unstoppable tonight. Also their stage show provides a subtle backdrop to the intensely dark and frightening sound. No corpse paint or satanic / pagan props needed – job done. They finish up with the classics ‘Ancient Queen’ and ‘Wrath of Tyrant’ and scare the living sh*t out of the older fans gathered for Black Sabbath’s headlining performance on the neighbouring stage next.

Black Sabbath – I can hardly believe they’re written down as the next band on the list. This weekend has produced some of the greatest live experiences from some of heavy metal’s greatest names and BLACK F**KING SABBATH are coming on now. It’s 11pm – way past their bed time these days but as the opening notes of ‘War Pigs’ ring out it’s very obvious that Sabbath mean business.

Black Sabbath @ Hellfest 2014 - wouldn't be a headliner without a terrible photo

Black Sabbath @ Hellfest 2014 – wouldn’t be a headliner without a terrible photo

Sabbath play a short set but ram it with classics and stand out tracks from last year’s 13 album. ‘Into The Void’, ‘Snowblind’, ‘Age of Reason’, ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘N.I.B’. all bombard their way through the nigh time air as they rival Maiden for the sher mass of people in attendance to see them. Ozzy interacts with the crowd, joking and getting us off our “arses” for ‘Fairies Wear Boots’, ‘Rat Salad’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘God Is Dead?‘ before Heavy Metal’s godfathers finish their main set with ‘Children of the Grave’. They’re only off the stage a minute before Ozzy’s voice booms over the PA, encouraging fans to chant for more. Ozzy, we don’t need your help. We want lots more!

The size of the crowd gathered as far back as the main entrance to catch a glimpse of Sabbath

The size of the crowd gathered as far back as the main entrance to catch a glimpse of Sabbath

Sabbath return and tease the crowd with the intro of ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ before launching into ‘Paranoid‘. Both would have been acceptable – but what a finish and what a band. Sabbath are a live force to be reckoned with.

Taking a break during Sabbath was never a goal I wanted to accomplish in life, but there was no missing 1349 a second time. Legging it to The Temple, the Norwegian black metal heavyweights could be found with an incredibly sizeable crowd (given who was playing two stages over).

1349 @ Hellfest 2014

1349 @ Hellfest 2014

After so many great black metal performances over the weekend, it’s hard to pick a winner – but 1349 are high up there and they manage all this after midnight on the fourth day of Hellfest (well, third with gigs) while Sabbath are playing a little down the way. Excellent show from an increasingly promising band. They’re also studio bound soon so expect to hear more over the coming months.

Sabbath and 1349 lead the way for the night’s final acts – Opeth and Tubonegro both manage to pack their stages despite the hour and the exhaustion felt by all. For this writer, Turbonegro have to be mostly enjoyed on the slow walk back to the campsite – much to my regret as they sounded incredible.

Another Hellfest comes to an end. An incredible weekend of music, fun, theatrics, surprises, beautiful people (excluding yours truly – I was sweaty), sun, food, drinking, partying, laughs and some of the greatest heavy metal names known to man. Hellfest assaulted the senses and left little of us to bring home. It’ll take some doing to recover but all eyes are already on 2015 and Hellfest’s tenth anniversary. Could they make it bigger? All will be revealed in time. Till then – thank you to all the staff, crew, bands and crowd for the craic. Yis were all fecking mighty!

TIME FOR TROLLY WARS!

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Review: Rammstein – Live @ The O2, Dublin (February 27th, 2012)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by Tickets There

They came with fire, brimstone, explosions and blood; to lay waste to a sold out crowd in Ireland’s largest indoor arena. For their first ever Irish show, Rammstein came to conquer and that is exactly what they did. Not for a long time has a ‘gig’ generated so much excitement and hype amongst an audience. Maybe the almost eight month wait been its announcement and  the actual event helped, but more so it is Rammstein’s long standing and well-earned reputation for delivering one of the most spectacular live shows on the road today.

Standing outside the O2 on a warm Monday night, it’s almost impossible not to notice the very diverse crowd. Everyone’s here from skinheads in black bomber jackets, green combats and jackboots, long haired metal fans, punks, emo’s, indie kids and even hundreds of trendies – all aged between 10 and 60. It seems Rammstein’s appeal crosses all music genres, or maybe it’s a case of sever curiosity.

The night kicks off with the less than impressive Deathstars. Basically a mesh of Marilyn Manson and poor industrial metal. You can see their point, but as singer Andreas Bernadotte struts up and down the stage for 30 minutes, fist raised and army hat firmly perched, you can’t help but notice the fact they have one song and they insist on making a whole show out of it. You wouldn’t mind if the song was actually decent, but there’s very little here to get too excited about. Still, it can’t be easy supporting tonight’s headliners and they manage to complete their set without driving too many away. Now for the big guns!

With Deathstar’s banners and such removed, the stage falls into darkness and as the house lights go off and the screams rise; the PA erupts with industrial sync sounds and the ceiling of the O2 becomes the focal point as a giant gangway begins to lower above the crowd. Smoke blasts from all sides as lights flicker around it. When it’s finally lowered above the crowd’s heads, the band appears at the back of the arena and rise up to the gangways steps on a smaller platform stage. One by one they walk towards the main stage holding torches and flags, the Irish flag gaining the most excitement from the audience. They spread out, lighting giant Olympic stadium style fires on each side. As the intro music cuts out, the band instantly pound into ‘Sonne’, easily their most known hit in this country. Along with the massive lighting display, the song is accompanied by a massive pyro display. The flames àre so hot the heat hits the back of the crowd and sees hundreds of fans pour in from the front, all of them drenched in sweat. This is going to be fun..

‘Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen’ follows hard and the band are well in control. More flames for this, but this time they go off around the drums and just in front of singer Till Lindemann who, as always is unfazed by the wall of death going off around him. ‘Keine Lust’ (Towers of smoke), ‘Sehnsucht’ (pots of smoke/fire at the front of the stage) and ‘Asche Zu Asche’ all follow, each delivering their own unique theatrical display and an ever changing lighting rig and stage backdrops. The heat goes up immensely for their brusing hit, ‘Feuer Frei’ With Till, Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers all donning flame thrower masks and that send to towers of flame into the air during the chorus. For ‘Mutter’ the stage goes green and the band rely on the songs own excellent charm to satisfy the crowd, until the end when Till stands arms stretchered as a shower of sparks falls from the ceiling. ‘Mein Teil’ won this writers highlight of the night, as Keyboardist Christian Lorenz is wheeled out in a giant cooking pot by Till, and placed stage right as the band kick into the song. Towards the end, Till discards his machete microphone and grabs an nearby flame thrower and proceeds to douse the pot with flames…with Christian still inside. Failing to cook Christina, Till swaps the flame thrower for an even larger one and again engulfs the pot in flames, promoting the singed keyboardist to pop out with red sparks exploding from the back of his suit.

Du Riechst So Gut’ (giant twirling sparks) and ‘Links 2 3 4’ (stomping death!) follow before the machine heavy ‘Du Hast’ causes mass eruption from the crowd and further spills towards the back as 12 flame throwers mounted to the lighting rig and stage fire back at each other. How the band don’t drop with the heat or even bat an eyelid is beyond comprehension. It’s an amazing spectacle to say the least though. The band finish the main show with ‘Haifisch’ which sees Christian take the literal plunge and travel out into the crowd in a row boat – I shit you not! Taking a sail over everyone’s heads, the fairly mental keyboardist gets up close and personal with fans, before returning to the stage for the band’s exit. Thanking the audience, Till and the lads disappear under the stage.

Yeah, they’re not done yet. Leaving the crowd with a very rare interaction – not a hope. Rammstein return! Decked out in chains, leather, whips (general Berlin nightlife attire), the band crawl across the re-lowered gangway, whipped all the way as they make their way towards the miniature stage at the back before pounding into ‘Buch Dich’, ‘Mann Gegen Mann’ and ‘Ohne Dich’. After which they walk back to the main stage and continue with ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ (fire cane & fan) which sees a giant industrial style fan lowered from the roof centred under the four incredible round lights that alone make the stage show worth seeing.  With the fan lit up, ‘Amerika’ follows and the stage proceeds to fire confetti all around the venue with towers of smoke whooshing it around. The sing along ‘Ich Will’ brings things near close with towers of sparks exploding everywhere. The band finish and walk off one by one.

With hundreds leaving to catch trains and such, the band return for one final visual onslaught. The sparsely melancholic ‘Engel’ is first and sees Till decked out with wings that open during the performance before fire sparks at the top of each wing, eventually spouting flame thrower style fire into the air. I swear I’m not making this up, wings of fire! And the band bring the night to a rather less serious close, performing ‘Pussy’ (“You’ve got a pussy, I’ve got a dick so what’s the problem”) which sees Till straddles a giant phallus on wheels, rides it up and down the stage spraying the crowd with mountains of….white liquid foam. Amazing finish to an amazing night.

Whether or not Rammstein were expecting it, the sold out crowd was a shock to several people. No-body this writer has spoken to thought they’d manage it in Dublin for their first gig, but they did (if seating wasn’t sold-out I don’t care – standing is where it’s at). With people hailing this show as one the best they’ve ever seen, it will hopefully entice the band to return to these shores in the not too distant future so all our friends can see for themselves what we’re talking about.

Setlist (thanks to Dextrimental  @ Metalsetlists.com

Sonne
Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen Sehen
Keine Lust
Sehnsucht
Asche Zu Asche
Feuer Frei!
Mutter
Mein Teil
Du Riechst So Gut
Links 2 3 4
Du Hast
Haifisch
————–
Buch Dich
Mann Gegen Mann
Ohne Dich

————–

Mein Herz Brennt
Amerika
Ich Will
————–
Engel
Pussy

Review: Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Steel Panther – Live @ The MEN Arena, Manchester (December 11th 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, Hy-Giy, INTO-NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2012 by Tickets There

Tickets There kept the head down majorly last year, but you didn’t think we’d miss one of the greatest touring line-ups in living history did you? The heroic conquering heroes Def Leppard, the filthiest grime and sleaze you can scrape off the streets of LA (Steel Panther :p) and the tided up and looking great Mötley Crüe all under the same roof! Not something to be missed no matter how far you have to travel.

Anyone that’s ever been to the MEN arena knows two things. First, it’s massive! Entering at the top level and walking down those oh so fun steps in the dark with thousands of people behind you is no fun whatsoever; but if fills you with plenty of adrenaline that can be doused with pints. Second, there’s no smoking….officially. What happens in the toilets, stays in the toilets. Aside from that, it’s easily one of the greatest venues in the U.K. with plenty of bars, merch stands, standing room and incredible sound. Walking in at the obnoxiously early time of 18:30, it’s strange to see the arena so full, but then again Steel Panther are already on stage and nobody wants to miss this.

Opening with ‘Supersonic Sex Machine’ from their new album, Balls Out, Steel Panther are on fire from the word go. While some felt their tongue in cheek take on metal wouldn’t wash with the English crowd (I cannot fathom where that idea came from) it seems Panther know what they’re doing no matter where they play. ‘Tomorrow Night’,’ Asian Hooker’ and ’Just Like Tiger Woods’ gain them a rapturous response from the crowd and an understood, open invite to return to the UK anytime they choose; but the night’s over yet. Their onstage banter, led by guitarist Satchel, and riff heavy tracks are the perfect entertainment to kick off a night of hair metal. The group close with the classic ballad ‘Community Property’, ‘17 Girls In A Row’ and the almighty giant, ‘Death to All but Metal’ and it’s oh so appropriate line, “Where is Def Leppard, Where is Motley Crue?”…well they’re backstage ”fucking groupies” according to singer Michael Starr. With the group earning “literally hundreds of pounds” to play this tour and their promotion over Reckless Love in the spandex genre, no doubt they’ll come back for more in 2012.

With the novelty side of the night over, it’s time for the first of our two headliners to lay the marker, throw the gauntlet and blow our heads off! Mötley Crüe explodes onstage with all the fire, energy and power they’re known for. ‘Wild Side’ (the greatest drinking song in their repertoire), ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ (proof they still know how to write bitchin’ tracks) and ‘Live Wire’ open the show. Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and the great Mick Mars all shine on stage with Vince and Nikki covering every inch of the stage, Mick holding his own with the fans and on guitar; and of course, Tommy the legend overshadowing all of them from behind his kit. How does he do it? Well you gotta be blonde to find that out. In every possible way, everyone in attendance tonight knows they’re witnessing one of the most iconic bands in rock music at their best.

 ‘Shout At The Devil’ boosts a mass sing along from the crows with arms raised, explosions from the stage and pounding on the bass. ‘S.O.S.’ and the awesome ‘Primal Scream’ keep the adrenaline going before the band convene around a grand piano for a stripped back rendition of ‘Home Sweet Home’ before re-launching the action with ‘Looks That Kill’. Taking a break, the band retires back stage to let Tommy begin his drum solo and did we mention….. his drum was set up on a rollercoaster track? Oh Yeah! Tommy kicks off his solo as standard before the whole kit starts to roll to the left and right of the track before going into full 360° action without a single beat being missed. Slowing down, Tommy asks for volunteers from the audience to come up, eventually catching one bewildered looking lady who gets strapped in and flown off as Tommy drums the beat from the Chilli Pepper’s ‘Love Roller-coaster’. And we thought Steel panther were meant to have the theatrics! With that, the band return for Mick Mars apocalyptic-solo  before the bands returns for ‘Dr. Feelgood’.

As Crüe’s set comes to an end (still have another band! TT – you’re writing too much nonsense – Ed), Leppard singer, Joe Elliott, walks on stage to present Nikki with a birthday cake and rouse the crowd to sing to him. The set’s closed with ‘Mutherfucker of the Year’,’ Girls, Girls, Girls’ and ‘Smokin’ In The Boys Room’. With one encore of ‘Kickstart My Heart’, the boys are done and the stage is dismantled. While Vince’s voice has never been known for its dominating power in the arena, the sheer force of the band’s sound and incredible wealth of tunes makes them one of the must see bands on the road today. Anytime ye fancy an auld visit to Ireland lads, Tickets There will be waiting.

Now, time for the true Gods of the live arena. The band that sell sex, love and rockin’ out with every note! The one, the only (we’re fans – get over it); Def Leppard! While Panther have the comedy, Crüe have the edge; Leppard will always be the force that pulls it all together and adds so much more. They overcome every single obstacle in the book of ‘Shit things that happen to bands’ and still come out on top every time. They’ve lost members, limbs, fans, popularity and sales and yet here they are, 30+ years after their inception still headlining arenas around the world and breaking new ground with every step. No matter what you say about Def Leppard, they are a true model of how a band stays together, stays successful and comes out ‘winning’ every time.

Leppard kick of their set on a stage that suddenly looks twice as large with ‘Undefeated’ from their new live album, Mirrorball. The band looks every bit in shape and together as they ever have and they waste no time displaying those traits that help them outshine all others in their class. ‘Rocket’, ‘Action’, ‘Make Love Like A Man’ and ‘When Love and Hate Collide’ all lead the traditional route into the heart of their set with Joe Elliott’s voice literally decimating the sound system with its power. Despite the Crüe fans bickering about the true headliners tonight, no-one in the arena can deny that Elliott is knocking Vince Neil out of the park with every note. And it’s not like the rest of the band are taking a break either. ‘Gods of War’, a rare inclusion, sets the night on fire with its powerful riffs, courtesy of Phil and Viv. It’s pounding, yet starkly placed drums (aka – Mr. Rick ‘Thunder God’ Allen) and its incredible wall of backing vocals and heaving bas lines. Step up Mr. Sav. If this isn’t everything you want from a Leppard concert, I don’t know what is!

‘Two Steps Behind’, ‘Bringin’ on the Heartbreak’ and the mega ‘Switch 625’ really lay it home how good the band are sounding these days. It’s obvious the lads are delighted to be playing their first proper UK shows in four years (not including their 2009 and 2011 headlining shows at Download – ahem – Ed) and they’re basking in every minute of it. ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Animal’ follow before the pile drive the set home with the classics ‘Armageddon It’, ‘Photograph’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On me’. The band scarified ‘Rock of Ages’ for Gods of War, but who’s complaining? Leppard return to the stage to round of an incredibly long but mind-blowing night with ‘Love Bites’ and the always classic, ‘Let’s Get Rocked’. Band happy, Lepp fans happy and Mötley Crüe begrudgingly tipping their hats – it’s a wrap.  After eight shows in five years, TT doesn’t know when we’ll get to see the mighty Lepp again, but one’s things for sure; there will be a next time. ..

….MAD4IT!

 

Review: ASH – Live @ The Academy, Dublin (Oct. 18th 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2011 by Tickets There

Just four months after they tore Whelan’s apart, ASH are back and this time they’ve got an old friend with them. Back in August, fans around the world rejoiced at the news that legendary fourth member; Charlotte Hatherley was joining the band for a one off U.K. & IRE tour to mark the tenth anniversary of their career defining album, Free All Angels. Charlotte amicably parted ways with the group in early 2006 to pursue a successful solo career and the group have carried on as trio ever since, but have on occasion called on the services of Bloc Party’s Russel Lissack for live performances. While Charlotte’s return may only be temporary, fans of the band will agree the group were at their live best with her in the line-up. She adds a quiet coolness, delicate character and shredding guitar to their sound and don’t even mention the harmonies – too good. With drummer Rick McMurray also present and correct after a short absence, the scene is set for the most memorable ASH gig of the last decade.

The night kicks off early with support acts Tieranniesaur and The Future but, no offence to them, there’s only one band people want to see tonight. As the lights go dark, dramatic music and NASA launch commands boom over the PA, ASH take the stage and the crowd explode with excitement. Seeing the four members back together is a dream come to life for those in attendance (and yours truly of course). Obviously delighted with the response, the band immediately delves into Free All Angels and kick off proceedings with Walking Barefoot, followed by Shinning Light and a jaw dropping performance of Burn Baby Burn. Right off the bat it’s clear that the time apart hasn’t hampered the group’s ability to perfectly fuse together and deliver these songs as they should sound. Charlotte’s overwhelming charm hasn’t diminished in any way shape or form since her departure and she still rocks like a motherf**ker on stage. Tim spends the first half of the set competing with the crowd to be heard as every word of every song is sung back to him. Mark and Rick just perfectly round off one of the hardest rockin’ bands this country has ever produced.

Tim pauses for a moment to thank everyone in attendance, ‘re-introduce’ Charlotte and highlight that now the band are about to play songs they haven’t performed in nearly ten years before kicking into Candy, Cherry Bomb, the Rick Mc Murray composed Submission and Someday with the songs sounding as fresh as they did in 2001. As the album continues, Sometimes and There’s A Star shine through with the incredible World Domination rounding off the set. Despite this being the first ever full performance of the record, the band don’t miss a beat and in itself delivered a quality show. But wait, there’s more!. Tim thanks the crowd who are still screaming with delight and announces the band will return in a few minutes to play another full set which sees the audience leap with astonishment and delight.

The band return quickly and fire off with Projects from Nu-Clear Sounds (the band’s first album with Charlotte) before continuing their assault with A Life Less Ordinary (earth shatteringly amazing performance), Star Crossed and Orpheus from the Meltdown album and the classic Wildsurf. There’s also a special performance of Warmer Than Fire which Tim reminisces used to be a set standard in the Free All Angels days before they close off their main set with the rallying Oh Yeah.

Returning to the stage, the band introduce two time Irish air guitar champion Deku Chan for one of the nights stand out performances, Lose Control. Kung Fu Follows sending the mosh pit into chaos and the night is closed with the triumphant Girl From Mars. With that, the band hit their curfew and take a well deserved bow before leaving the stage.

This was without a doubt the greatest ASH performance many have ever seen and it delivered everything any fan could have ever hoped for. Whether Charlotte’s return to the group turns into a permanent situation or not remains to be seen, but for now the group look and sound the best they ever have and this tour is just another reminder of why we love them so much. Fans in the U.K. – prepare to be amazed!

Set-List Available @ Swear I’m Not Paul.com

Review: ASH – Live @ Whelan’s, Dublin (June 6th, 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, IRISH NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2011 by Tickets There

Ash, Ireland’s favourite pop rock trio are back in Dublin tonight for a highly anticipated appearance at local indie haunt, Whelan’s of Wexford St. Excitement’s been building for weeks so it’s no surprise to see queue’s of hungry Ash fans geared up for a night of sweat, pints and tuneage. Entering the packed venue it seems tonight’s sell out crowd don’t seem concerned that they’ve lost the fashionably late edge by piling in just in time for opening act, The Plea. Fortunately it’s one of those nights you’re glad you came early as The Plea rocket through an incredibly well played set of heavy guitar laden alt-rock gems including ‘Praise Be’ from their split, special tour edition E.P. Definitely a band that requires further investigation and a great start to the night.

Belfast indie rockers LaFarro take the stage next and initially drop the quality a little. While The Plea presented themselves as well seasoned, confident performers; LaFarro singer Jonny Black looks uncomfortable, inexperienced and unexciting on stage. He stares at the floor, doesn’t connect with the crowd and lacks any energy as the band kick off their set. This drop is heightened by poor sound on the vocals which trespasses on the rest of the band’s efforts. As the set continues, Herb MaGee (the “only Catholic in the band”) begins some onstage banter that seems to liven LaFarro’s mood as well as the crowds. From there we’re treated to some great tunes as Johny finds his feet and Dave Magee’s head banging can be properly enjoyed. Nice save and another band you’ll be hearing more of soon.

As the lights go dark, the crowd erupts at the site of Ash taking the stage. On the rare occasions you get to see a band of their size take the same stage as your mates on their EP launch night, it’s hard not to feel that special tingling. ‘Lose Control’ opens the set and pounds the audience with its furious intensity. Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton and tonight’s stand in drummer Alan Lynn (LaFarro), all sound fantastic as they command the stage, kick ass and deliver some of the finest hits any Irish band has ever produced. Tickets There favourites ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ and ‘Dionysian Urge’ follow, immediately cementing this as a great night. ‘Twilight of Innocents’ makes an early appearance, which Tim passes off as an “experiment” and leads to mass sing-alongs from the crowd before hit after hit pile drive the crowd into submission. ‘Girl From Mars’, ‘Gold Finger’ and ‘Petrol’ bring us back to our youth while ‘Joy Kicks Darkness’ holds up the recent material’s crown for all to see.

Walking Barefoot’ has to be one of the highlights and it serves as a reminder of how great Free All Angels is. Again, the band are drowned out by the crowd, leaving them no choice but to rip through ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Kung Fu’ and ‘The Dead Disciples’ which sends the pit into frenzy mode. ‘Shinning Light’, the mega-powered up ‘Orpheus’ and ‘Return of White Rabbit’ – the A-Z singles flagship dance-floor epic, finish the main set; giving all at the front a well needed chance to breath and mop the brow. Before long Ash return and bring us home with the stunning ‘Arcadia’, the punk fused classics ‘Angel Interceptor’, and ‘Jack Names The Planets‘ before calling it a night with one final blow out; the shredding ‘Burn Baby Burn’.

As surprising as it is to think Ash have been around for nearly twenty years, it’s even more incredible how amazing they are on stage. Their energy, passion and enthusiasm ensure they never lose connection with the audience and their songs sound better than ever. While the crowd leave,  ears ringing and looking blown away from tonight’s amazing show, the band brim from the stage at a job well done. Come back soon lads!

Review: Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy – Live @ The O2, Dublin (June 8th, 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by Tickets There

Back by popular demand, Def Leppard are in Ireland after a two year absence; once again warming up for another headlining  slot at the Download Festival. Two years ago they arrived with Journey and the jaw dropping Whitesnake in tow. Tonight’s line-up is even more astonishing with the legendary Thin Lizzy and Mr. shock-rock / Mr. Rock N’ Roll Hall of famer, the one, the only Alice Cooper, around to beef things up. The crowd in the O2 may not be as impressive as 2009’s show, but that just means a few thousand less Journey fans and I think we can all agree that’s never a bad thing.

Kicking of the proceedings tonight are Thin Lizzy and it has to be said, WOW. Anyone who was at their recent shows around the country can surely agree that the current line up are incredible. Ricky Warwick is definitely a worthy successor to the coveted space left by Phil Lynott. At no point tonight do you feel they’re anything less than the real deal, with original members Scott Gorham (original-ish) and Brian Downey rockin’ as hard as they did forty years ago. New guitarist Richard Fortus; whose last appearance in the O2 ended in near riot last September when he rolled into town with his day band, Guns N’ Roses; is more than capable of replacing John Sykes as he tears away at those rolling dual lead guitar solos with Scott. The only thought about the new line-up is that Scott and Brian will never be afforded the chance to be their age. With Phil in the band, Lizzy would be able to grow older and fans would go with it. Unfortunately, the band need to tear every song to pieces and ram it forcefully down your throat In order to walk away with a satisfied crowd to see them off. Maybe that’s the genius of Lizzy, they were never meant to slow down and this ensures it’ll never happen. Either way, Thin Lizzy have too many incredible songs to just leave idle. They need to be played and this line-up are more than up to the task.

Lizzy finish up their set with a pounding performance of ‘Black Rose’ before the mega Cooper stage show is pieced together. As the giant curtain rises up, fans pack around the stage in eager anticipation for one of rocks finest showmen to begin. The Vincent Price intro booms over the PA as the houselights go black building the spook master’s arrival. As the curtain drops, Alice stands atop a towering pulpit, decked out with spider arms around his waist as the band launches into ‘The Black Widow’; from his most recent album, Along Came A Spider. Discarding the jacket, Alice follows through with ‘Brutal Planet‘ before appeasing the greatest hits fans in attendance with his classic, I’m Eighteen. As canes get flung into the crowd amidst sword waving and exploding gloves, the band carry on with the classic ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ (which of course includes the traditional sharing of the Cooper insignia dollars), ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ and the incredible, living snake accompanied ‘Is It My Body’. ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’ follows with the crowd being informed the title and the fact that’s it’s a new song via Alice’s jacket and blood soaked shirt.

‘Feed My Frankenstein’ swiftly follows suit and easily stands out as one of the night’s highlights, especially when you factor in the 12 foot Frankenstein donning the Cooper make-up that’s brought to life to sing the last chorus… while walking around the stage Oh God yes, it is that good!. ‘Poison’ and ‘Wicked Young Man’ cause mass hysterics,  followed by the classic ‘Killer’, which ends in the traditional guillotine gorge of death. Alice, wrestled into a headlock by sadistic ghouls meets his end by violent execution. With his decapitated head being displayed by the ghouls, fans are united for a sing along to ‘I Love The Dead’ before the master returns with shiny top hat, coat; with his sword and balloons to boot for a blow out version of ‘Schools Out’, appropriate given the week that’s in it (although any JC/LC students may not agree). With a little break, the band return for one last blaze of glory; ‘Elected’, which Alice dedicates to Dublin while waving the tri-colour and dressed in the Irish jersey. Amazing show from start to finish, time to head ho…oh wait (cheeky)

With the crowd gleaming up to the nines from Cooper’s performance, it’s time for the Mighty Leppard to take the stage and show all the naysayers out there why they can headline above any other act in the world. With a striking new stage setup, Leppard emerge triumphantly to rapturous cheering from the now packed O2 arena. Starting with ‘Undefeated’, one of the three news songs that’ll be on their forthcoming live album, Mirrorball, the band are on fire. Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell and thunder God himself, Mr.Rick Allen are all at the top of their game, adorned by glittering gloves, mike stands, headphones – the works. ‘Action’ and ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ follow, sending the crowd into a sing-along frenzy before older fans are treated to the incredible ‘Foolin’. ‘Make Love Like A Man’ and the iconic ‘Love Bites’ drive the point home that Leppard can damn well do anything they please  because this is a band with more hits per album than most others can achieve over a whole career. Sav’s now standard bass solo/intro for the bands cover of David Essex’sRock On’ has to be noted as a highlight.

A duelling guitar solo between Vivian and Phil follows; before the pace is slowed down for acoustic renditions of ‘Two Steps Behind’ and ‘Bringing on the Heartbreak’. Steve Clark’s incendiary ‘Switch 625′ launches the band back into hard rock mode before and extended performance of ‘Rocket’ is unleashed in all it’s pounding drum glory. ‘Hysteria’, ‘Armageddon It’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ nail the set down before Leppard brings things near close with the almighty ‘Rock of Ages’. Of course they do return for an obligatory encore, performing one of their biggest Irish hits, ‘When Love and Hate Collide’ which goes down a treat before stunning die-hard fans with a final, hell-raising crack at ‘Wasted’ from On Through The Night.

Easily one of the best shows Ireland will see this year. Three amazing bands in one place, every one of them playing a blinder and not a hint of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. Value for money in anyone’s books.

Review: Eric Clapton – Live @ The O2, Dublin (May 9th, 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2011 by Tickets There

Up front and honest, Tickets There have never been very knowledgeable fans of guitar god, Mr. ‘Slowhand’ himself – Eric Clapton. Aside from a handful of standout classics from his long and very illustrious career, we are unfamiliar with the legend on an album to album basis. Not that this interfered with tonight’s show at the O2 Arena however as we were treated to two hours of ‘incendiary’ (all young writers like to stick that word in ever since we all saw Almost Famous – finally justified to use in this instanceJ) guitar playing, amazing musicianship from two of the best key belters you’ll ever find; not to mention the presentation of the entire night. Great showmen will always leave you feeling happy, but inspiring musicians will leave you feeling gobsmacked. Eric is of course the epitome of the latter experience.

Arriving early is a necessity tonight as Mr. Clapton has brought the excellent Andy Fairweather Low and his band, The Low Riders along for the tour. Apparently everyone else feels the same as the Low Riders are greeted by a full house for their guest spot. Andy is best remembered for his time with the British pop rockets, Amen Corner but he’s matured with the years to become a shinning example of excellent live musicianship fuelled by an experienced, seasoned love from blues rock. Andy’s onstage banter and accompanying selection of early rock classics, blues numbers and his own material make for a perfect warm up show. It may have been several decades since Andy last played the capital, but tonight’s reception will surely entice him to visit again soon.

With a short interval for set-up, Eric Clapton and band arrive on stage very unceremoniously to a roaring house. Clapton’s live shows have never focused their performances on gimmicks, theatrics or OOT novelties. Rather they centre on the incredible skill of the performers and tonight is no exception. Backing musicians Willie Weeks (Bass), Steve Gadd (drums) and accompanying singers all provide an excellent rhythm section, while keyboardists Chris Stainton and in particular Tim Carmon,  push things over the edge and nearly steal the show with their awe-inspiring talent and control of their instruments. Of course, no-one in the world is going to upstage tonight’s star! Clapton wastes no time displaying his almost effortless control of the guitar with note perfect performances of Key To The Highway, Going Down Slow and Hoochie Coochie Man. His cover of Bob Marley’s classic ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, thrills greatest hits fans while Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out brings a little happy swagger back into the night.

A man of few words, Eric takes the chair for a number of acoustic tracks including Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues, When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful and a reworked blues version of Layla. Aside from the regular thank-yous, Eric doesn’t communicate much with the crowd but does take the sitting down opportunity to joke he always “dreamed of becoming a DJ”. It may not have landed the laughs that Andy Fairweather Low had managed but it’s enough to show the legend is enjoying himself tonight.

Strapping the electric on, Eric returns to full form for an explosive version of Cream’s classic Badge before blowing the crowd away with a powerful performance of Wonderful Tonight. Of course, no Clapton show would be complete without his classic version of John Cale’s Cocaine which ends the main set and brings the arena to its feet. Just in case the crowd hasn’t yet understood that we’re in the presence of one of the greatest guitarist of all time, the band arrive back for one final blue performance of Crossroads. With that, Eric waves and the band are gone in the same unceremonious fashion they arrived. But they’ve done their job tonight. Crowd happy, TT happy. Now when’s he coming back?

View the SetList @ Swear I’m Not Paul Music BLog