Archive for the Gig Category

Mick’s Gig Highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Gig, Live, Metal, Misc., Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 5th January 2020 by mickbirchy

2019 was a great year for going to gigs and an even better one for seeing band I never thought I would have the opportunity to see. Great discoveries and fun bands that I wouldn’t have had the chance to see if I didn’t take a risk and just get to the shows. So I thought to round off the year and to relive some memories. This is not a complete list of everything I went to see, just some really great highlights.

February

Godsmack w/ Like A Storm @ The Ritz, Manchester

Starting of 2019 was a real dream come true. I finally got to see a metal band that I have long admired. It had been over 14 years since the last time, Godsmack had actually toured in the UK. So with the release of their latest album, When Legends Rise they finally made the time to get out to the UK. I got my ticket and got to this show. Yeah, it blew me away. Opening the show was another band that I had always wanted to see, Like A Storm. So overall, this looked like it was going to a gig that was handcrafted for me.  Both bands freaking nailed their set! As for me, finally getting to see Godsmack live in concert, was such a treat. Getting to hear some of my favourite songs like, “Voodoo”, “I Stand Alone”, “Awake”, “Cryin’ Like A Bitch” was great and it’s so nice to report that Godsmack is an incredible live band. I had heard mixed things for so long about their live sets but on the night, the band, the crowd and the atmosphere was truly excellent.

March

Skarlett Riot w/ Sister Shotgun and Fahran @ The Flapper Birmingham

What a birthday treat. Getting to see one of my favourite bands with some excellent support acts to boot. It was my first time checking out Sister Shotgun and I have to say that I was really impressed, their mix of glam rock and heavy metal reached me and I ended up picking up their albums after the show. Fahran is always a treat when they play live and by this point, in the night the crowd was building up a little so there was a little bit of an atmosphere. Then you Skarlett Riot… Well, there’s a reason they’re one of my favourite bands. They really bring their A-game to every show. They’re one of those bands that love being on stage and entertaining the fans. With every song, the crowd was singing along with the band and at times the crowd was louder. They continue to be one of my favourite bands and with the announcement that they will be getting around making some new music, you know I’ll be front and centre whenever they return to the stage.

 

 

May

Mutant Monster w/ The Innocent Bystanders and The Papashangos @ Jimmy’s, Manchester

This is the result of deciding to go to a gig at the last minute. I heard about this gig on a Monday, bought the ticket on a Wednesday, went to the show on Friday and wrote and uploaded the review on Saturday. This was a crazy experience. Before going to the show I didn’t know any of the bands playing and yet, when I got to the show, I felt right at home in the crowd. The drinks were flowing, the music was loud and the atmosphere felt just right. The opening bands were enough to get the energy flowing in the venue, with the rough sounds of The Innocent Bystanders was a great welcome for punk fans. The Papashangos injected the venue with a lot of life and energy. Then you have Mutant Monster, oh what to say about them? They were excellent. The Japanese punk-rock trio lifted the spirits of the Manchester crowd and got them moving and shouting. They were truly something else, playing right through an hour and forty-five minute set with little to no breaks or even slowing down. I was impressed by the mere stamina of them. Trust me, you’ll want to see all three of these bands if you get the chance.

 

June

Muse w/ Tom Morello and Pale Waves @ Etihad Stadium, Manchester

So this was the centre-piece of the year. Also the most expensive show of the year, with a £75 price tag. Let me say this right now, it was definitely worth it. This wasn’t just a concert, it was a spectacle. Opening up the show was Manchester-based rockers, Pale Waves. Who were decent though I feel their set was dampened by the rain. That being one of the pitfalls of playing an open-top stadium. However, the night dried up and Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello took the stage by storm. His guitar skill is something to be envied. Also, he brought a charity group on stage to sing the anthem “Killing In The Name”. Then you have, Muse, another band that I have always wanted to see, so finally getting to see this show was an amazing experience. They are just such an enigmatic act to watch. Their stage show in itself was amazing with a giant catwalk going to the middle of the crowd, backing musicians and a giant cyborg mutant creature. The set was a great mix of new and old material with the main part of the set dedicated to the latest album Simulation Theory. It was one night that I will never forget.

 

November

Anneke Van Giersbergen @ Effenaar, Eindhoven

I bought the tickets for this show as soon as it was announced and I made an entire holiday around this concert. For the longest of time Anneke Van Giersbergen has been one of my favourite singers, songwriters and performers. So, flying to the Netherlands for her 25th Anniversary show was a pleasure. Getting to see the great city of Eindhoven was a really nice part of my holiday and then there’s this show. The show was broken down into four parts. The classical part, where Anneke performed with a string orchestra and Within Temptation singer Sharon den Adel came on to play “Somewhere”. That honestly brought a tear to my eye. Then the rock part with Agua de Annique and playing some of her songs from her solo career and The Gathering. Next was the acoustic segment with Danny Cavanagh from Anathema, a beautiful moment of the set. Then ending on the metal set with Vuur. The variety of the show and Anneke’s genuine and soulful performance made this a night for the ages.

 

December

Tantric w/ Scarcasm and Attic Theory @ Fac251, Manchester

Finally, the show that I had waited for pretty much all my life. My all-time favourite band finally toured the UK and I got to see them play! The openers Scarcasm and Attic Theory rocked the night and set the crowd up well. However, actually seeing Tantric was such an experience. I still can’t believe this happened. Getting to hear the classic hits like “Breakdown” and “Mourning” and mixed with a great set that represented their whole career, for me this was the ultimate experience. The only sad thing is that there wasn’t much of a crowd to speak of. Maybe playing on a Sunday at the start of December in Manchester wasn’t the best time to get people out to a venue. So that was kinda bad, but I didn’t care and I don’t think the band did either. They were just happy to be playing to new people in a different country and I was happy for them. This was their first time in the UK and hopefully not their last!

Mick Birchall

Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 15th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Infected Rain, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
14th December 2019

My last gig of 2019! Mid December; still over a week until the holidays start. This is the time of the year when most people are getting ready for the festive season. It is rare to find any decent gigs on at this point in the year. Sometimes you might get lucky though…As soon as I found out that Eluveitie were in town I decided to go. I’ve seen Eluveitie once before, oddly enough at the same venue four years ago. They have had some line-up changes since then and they released one of the best albums I have heard this year.

The show was sold out and the venue was so packed that they had opened up the next door venue, Klubi to create extra space.

First up was a Moldavian metalcore band called Infected Rain. I’m not the biggest fan of metalcore, but I have to admit that vocalist Elena Kataraga aka Lena Scissorhands did a good job of agitating the crowd. They even succeeded in getting a mosh-pit going towards the end of their show.

Then it was Lacuna Coil’s turn. I have never seen them live before. I used to listen to some Lacuna Coil when I was younger but I lost track of them over the years. I couldn’t really get into the newer material but I was happy to hear some of the older songs such as ‘Swamped’, ‘Heaven’s A Lie and their cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ live.

Then it was time for the headliners, Eluveitie. Once again they did not disappoint. There are not many folk metal bands out there who are capable of delivering a show this good. A flawless blend of celtic folk instruments, two very different singers with melodic death metal. They played lots of songs from their latest opus ‘Ategnatos’ including ‘Rebirth’ and one of my new favourites ‘The Slumber’ along with a Swiss language version of ‘Call of The Mountains’ and ‘Inis Mona’.

In summary I am glad that I decided to attend the show. I had a great time. I got to see Lacuna Coil live for the first time. Luckily the set included a few tracks which I recognized. Eluveitie were as good as they were the first time that I saw them live. It’s good to see that the line-up change has had a positive effect on the band and I hope that they will return to Finland soon.

Iza Raittila

Powerwolf live at Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 6th December 2019 by mickbirchy

Artist: Powerwolf

Support Act: Gloryhammer

Venue: Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

10 November 2019

It’s weird that I had never done a gig in the Netherlands until now. I have always wanted to go there for a metal gig as it seems that the metal scene is far more vibrant and fertile there than it is here in the UK. Well, I got my chance as I was going to the Netherlands on holiday and it just so happens that while I was over there, Powerwolf were playing Tilburg. So I got my ticket and got myself to the venue. It was a weird feeling in the queue, in the UK Powerwolf don’t play venues that are even half of this size. I had a feeling that this was going to be a very special night. The crowd was packed, the drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was abuzz with excitement.

Opening up the proceedings was the commanding and ever-entertaining sci-fi, fantasy metallers Gloryhammer. This is my fifth time watching them live and they never fail to impress. I love their music and their on-stage antics. They are just the best mixture of power, intensity, comedy and power all in one great package. They came on stage to a ravenous ovation from the crowd and they went straight into a set of power metal goodness. Their set was filled with a decent mix of their new and old material giving newcomers a good taste of what the band is all about and gives the fans exactly what they were looking form. I have to admit that I love that they come on stage to Tom Jones’ “Delilah”. The crowd sang it so loud and it was a good way to warm up the crowd before getting on stage. The live production was excellent from where I was standing, the instrumentation was excellent with Thomas Winkler’s vocals shining. Their stage antics are goofy and fun, it’s all to get the crowd involved and it worked. The audience was having a right old time with them and Gloryhammer more than did their job in getting people ready for the main event.

After a brief intermission, it was time for the mighty Powerwolf to take the stage. A massive banner cloaked the stage as the tension built to the start of the show. Once that banner came down it was time for the show to begin. And what a show it was. Pyro and heavy metal have always been a great combination. The stage was ablaze with fire for the songs “Fire and Forgive” & “Amen and Attack” and the crowd was ravenous for the music. Screaming the lyrics back to the band and just screaming in general. The music was so well performed by the band and the stage presentation was simply breathtaking. As the show progressed and the band hit their stride more and more, the crowd just got louder. The setlist comprised mostly of the newer material from the album Sacrament of Sin and it was so nice to hear these songs effortlessly blend into the rest of their material. Giving the whole set a real timeless feel and also a really nice flow to the evening. If there is one thing that is for certain, it that Falk Maria Schlegel & Attila Dorn are two of the best showmen in the industry. Their charisma and stage presence was second to none. They engaged the crowd at every opportunity and took the audience for a ride, all the way through the night.

A chorus of cheers echoed through the venue as Powerwolf was welcomed back on stage one more time for the encore. They were just as energetic at the end of the night as they were at the start. They close out the show with “Sanctified With Dynamite”, “Coleus Sanctus” & “Werewolves of Armenia”. A loud and rawkus way to end the energetic night. This was simply fantastic. An excellent night all around. The support act was awesome and a fantastic headliner to boot. I have to say not a bad night for my first gig in the Netherlands. 

Mick Birchall

 

Rytmihäiriö live in Tampere

Posted in 'Core, Gig, Live, Metal, Punk Rock with tags , , , , on 19th October 2019 by izaforestspirit

I Revolt, Rytmihäiriö
Jack The Rooster, Tampere, Finland
18th October 2019

Autumn is here. The leaves are falling, the nights are getting longer and Halloween is only weeks away… I haven’t been to a live show since the Rammstein performance back in the summer. There have been a few gigs that caught my attention but I simply did not have the time. Last night I decided to take a gamble and try something new. This was one of those occasions when I knew very little about either of the bands. Rytmihäiriö is a band that I have heard of but I am not too familiar with their music. Someone claimed that they are similar to Turmion Kätilöt, whom I like, so I decided to check them out.

The event took place at rock pub called Jack The Rooster. The pub serves food in the day time then it is transformed into a small live show venue at night.

First up was I Revolt. This is an up and coming Finnish band which was established two years ago. Their style is pretty difficult to classify. It sounded like an amalgamation of thrash metal, metalcore and Entombed-esque melodic death metal. I wasn’t super keen on their cover of a Slipknot song but the show had its good moments.

Someone told me once that there is a thin line between what is hardcore punk and what is thrash metal. Well, Rytmihäiriö is somewhere around the boundary zone. The guitar riff patterns bear some resemblance to thrash metal but the vocals and the overall attitude is decisively more hardcore punk. Perhaps a little too punk for my liking. They have their fans and they drew in a sizable crowd. Sadly the music was not something that I enjoy.

Overall, it was a decent night out. Now I know what Rytmihäiriö are all about. I like thrash metal but hardcore punk has never really been my thing. I Revolt put on a good show and it would be interesting to see how their sound develops.

Iza Raittila

Rammstein live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Industrial, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 10th August 2019 by izaforestspirit

Duo Jatekok, Rammstein
Ratina Stadium, Tampere, Finland
9th August 2019

Last night Tampere’s Ratina Stadium was literally on fire. But not to worry, there is no need to call the fire brigade. The world-renowned industrial metal legends Rammstein were in town. Words cannot describe how much I love this band. They have been my obsession since my early teens. I have seen them live twice before. This time they came to play at my local stadium so this was an opportunity not to be missed.

This was the first out of two sold-out shows at Ratina Stadium in Tampere. The support was a French group called Duo Jatekok who played piano instrumental covers of Rammstein songs. While it was interesting to hear alternative versions of these well known Rammstein classics, the band didn’t do much to entertain the crowd. It acted as a pleasant background noise.

The night’s headliners, Rammstein had a bit of a slow start. The first few songs, bizarrely enough including the usual crowd pleaser ‘Links 2 3 4’, failed to agitate the audience. It wasn’t until ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ came on that things really got going. These guys are known for their elaborate pyrotechnics and they definitely lived up to the hype. I’m not the biggest fan of the song ‘Puppe’ but the massive burning pram on stage was a quite the sight. ‘Ausländer’ was really good too. The real highlights for me though were ‘Deutschland’, ‘Du Riechst So Gut’ (a personal favourite) and the classics ‘Sonne’ and ‘Du Hast’. The only minor downside of the flames and the light show was that, at this time of the year in Finland, the darkness doesn’t fall soon enough. Once it got dark the flames and the light show were all the more visible to the fullest effect.

In summary, this was another amazing show by Rammstein. I’m really glad that I got to see them live again. Like an old diesel engine, it takes a while to warm up but when it gets there the engine is roaring.

Iza Raittila

Rave The Reqviem and Combichrist live in Tampere

Posted in Alternative, Dubstep, Gig, Industrial, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 29th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Rave The Reqviem, Combichrist
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
28th July 2019

Last night was one of the hottest days of the summer. Normally the only two places that I wish to be on days like this are at home with the air conditioning on or at the nearby lake. But Combchrist were playing a show in Tampere so I decided to go and see them. They are one of the bands, whom I’ve seen live a few times before but I still look forward to their performances. They usually put on a good show. This time the venue was the newly refurbished Klubi.

First up was a Swedish industrial metal band Rave The Requiem. Ok, maybe calling them industrial metal is a bit too simple of a classification. Their style appears to be a weird mish-mash of dubstep, drum n’bass, industrial metal plus some elements of Gothic metal. Yes, it’s pretty confusing, especially with the two very different singers. I liked parts of the show but I couldn’t really get into their music. 2.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. There has been a a few line-up changes since the last time that I saw Combichrist live three years ago. They have two new drummers. Front-man Andy LePlegua is and always will be what makes Combichrist special. He really knows how to agitate the crowd. It did not take long before everyone was dancing. It was great to hear some of their hit songs again including Get Your Body Beat, Blut Royale, Scarred, and What The Fuck is Wrong With You? along with songs from their latest album ’One Fire’. The only downside was that their set felt a bit short. I would have loved to hear more. 5/5

In summary, I had a great time and I’m glad I chose to go out in spite of the heat. Another great show by Combichrist.

Iza Raittila

Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 17th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bokassa, Ghost, Metallica
Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto, Hämeenlinna, Finland
16th July 2019

Metallica, it’s been a while… The last time I was at a Metallica show was back in 2007 when I still lived in The U.K. They were and, in many ways, still are one of my favourite bands. I have always hoped that some day I will get to see them live again and this year I finally got that opportunity. This was one of the main events that I was looking forward to. This time the venue was Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto (Kantola Event Park) near the city centre of Hämeenlinna. I do not normally travel to Hämeenlinna and this was my very first time at the venue so I planned my trip well in advance.

Everything went as planned. The one thing that I cannot predict too well however is the weather. It was sunny when I arrived, then there was some heavy rain and thunder just I approached to the entrance. Luckily it did not last long and it had mostly cleared up by the time Bokassa took to the stage. I’m not really into stoner-punk but I have to admit that they were entertaining to watch. It was far more energetic than your average stoner rock, so not a bad start to the night. 3/5

I never really understood the hype surrounding the Swedish hard rock band Ghost. I keep hearing their songs on the radio and seeing their videos on Youtube. Yet I find it hard to fathom why they are so well regarded. I mean if you ignore the elaborate outfits and the imagery, the music itself is good but nothing ground-breaking. This was the first time that I have seen them live and I actually liked the performance. Their singer, Cardinal Copia, as he now calls himself, has a very charismatic stage presence. 4/5

Then it was time for the main event. The Metallica show was absolutely spectacular. They played most of the classic hits including: ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘One’, For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Seek and Destroy’. The set also featured some songs from the mid-career period and several from the latest release ‘Hardwired to Self-Destruct’. There was pyrotechnics, lots of visual displays and even fireworks at the end. One of my favourite moments was the Rob and Kirk guitar medley when the performed a cover a Finnish rock classic – Popeda’s ‘Kuuma Kesä’. I could have done without ‘Frantic’ from the dreaded ‘St. Anger’ album and perhaps played more songs from ‘Death Magnetic’ instead, but that is the only extremely minor fault with what was otherwise a flawless performance. 6/5

Overall, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to see Metallica live again. Twelve years is a very long time to wait but it was totally worth it. The show was an experience that I will cherish for many years to come.

Iza Raittila