Category: Gig Reviews

Steelhouse Festival – Ebbw Vale, Hafod Y Dafal Farm – 23-25 July 2021

As a general rule of thumb, Steelhouse Festival is full of people who have been attending since 2010. The performance of lateral flow tests and the year delay was not going to dampen the spirits of some of the hardiest festival goers in the ÜK. At over 1000 feet above sea level, on a farm that serves as a good site for wind turbines, it doesn’t take too much imagination to realise it’s going to be windy and open. Punters were queuing on the road from 10.15am, with the gates not opening ‘til midday. However, it was hard not to spot anyone in the crowd who didn’t have a grin as wide as the valleys below. The ability to recognise people from the nose to the chin helped as they weren’t covered in facemasks. This helped restore a semblance of normality.

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For the Greater Good! My Time As A Festival Guinea Pig

For centuries, people have laid their bodies on the line to protect something that they strongly believe in and Jonny B has often wondered what he would do if that call ever came to him. And then a few weeks ago, it happened. There was a chance to help secure the future of live music events through a small trial festival with no restrictions – the Download Pilot. Naturally, JB jumped at the chance, bought his ticket and tried to remember how to festival again after what seems like an absolute eternity since the 2019 festival season!

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Emperor – ‘A Night of Emperial Wrath’ – 23 May 2021

It hardly seems that long ago since Jonny B was sitting in his living room settling down for an evening with Ihsahn to enjoy his most recent solo EPs played in full. But there he was again and it seemed like the weather had turned suitably grim with an eerie chill in the air because he was sitting here to witness Ihsahn in the form that first brought him to the forefront. That’s right, it’s time for some true Norwegin black metal in the form of the absolutely formidable Emperor! With a setlist that promises to span through the back-catalogue and some special guests from some prominent characters in Emperor’s history, there was no way JB could miss this one. So he smothered his face in corpse paint, cracked open a hefty beer (yeah he knows it’s a Sunday but fuck it) and turned out the lights ready for some serious metal from one of the finest bands to come out of the early ’90s Norwegian scene.

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Karnivool – ‘The Decade of Sound Awake’ (Live Stream) – 12 May 2021

Jonny B was one of the many who were excited at the prospect of Karnivool returning to ÜK shores after what feels like far too long, but alas, the world had other plans and the ÜK tour has been forced to be pushed back to 2022. Instead, we’re able to celebrate an entire decade since ‘Sound Awake’ was released (yes it really was that long ago!) with a, now familiar, video stream. What better way to spend a Wednesday night than watching these Aussie lads play through his favourite album from cover to cover?! With four time slots available to let fans from around the world pick a convenient time slot, JB found mimself on the 8pm ÜK slot and raring to go…

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Devin Townsend – ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ (Live Stream) – 1 May 2021

Set in the picturesque Farm Studios, cameras pan into a beaming and welcoming Devin Townsend. There’s a lot of positive buzz at the moment with talk of roadmaps and future planning for gigs to come back in person. While this is indeed an exciting prospect, we currently must make do with remote, streamed performances. On this occasion, a visibly keen Mr Townsend is prepared to take us through ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ in full with a splendid backdrop, beamed directly to wherever you’re sat. From the opening greetings, Click the link to find out why our Phil C was pulled into the infectious joy that Devin exudes.

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The Wildhearts – ‘By Request’ (Live Stream) – 17 April 2021

Even with a roadmap out of the COVID crisis now seemingly nailed to the table, at least in some parts of the Über Kingdom – here in our home territory of Northern Ireland all dates remain “indicative” and even when bars are eventually allowed to re-open they won’t be able to host live music until our so-called political leaders deign otherwise – we think it is safe to assert that streaming shows are set to remain part of our regular “gigging” routine for the foreseeable future. The latest act to throw their hats into the vagaries of the lives stream virtual arena this past weekend were those erstwhile rock ‘n’ roll reprobates by the names of Ginger, CJ, Danny and Ritch (or is it Mark, Twitterati), collectively known as The Wildhearts, emerging from the dustiness of the studio and into the spotlight of the live arena…

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Ihsahn – Notodden, Norway (livestream) – 4 April 2021

While many folk were going mad this past Sunday with the indulgence of chocolate eggs and such like, Jonny B was indulging in his own cravings in a very different way by settling down for an evening with Ihsahn. Now, you may have realized that Ihsahn was pretty busy in 2020 with the release of not one, but two fantastic EPs that we’ve yet to have the pleasure of hearing live. Fortunately, that all changed with a pretty packed live event ahead promising both EPs to be played in full! So, JB got himself dressed up in his finest black band T-shirt (well, the cleanest anyway), cracked open a can of delicious booze, and got himself cosy in the lounge for the spectacle ahead….

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Hollowstar/Daxx & Roxane – New Wave of Classic Rock Webfest – 26 February 2021

BoJo The Clown may finally have published his much-vaunted “roadmap” towards post COVID pan(dem)ic “normality”, but at least as far as the music business is concerned, any sight of light at the end of the tunnel is still the faintest of glimmers in some far-off distant future, with more shows, tours and festivals continuing to be cancelled, postponed or rescheduled for what seems like the umpteenth time. Thus, the only “normality” which those of seeking our regular fix for live music continues to exist only in the virtual world of cyberspace, via livestreamed events such as this, the latest in a weekly series brought to us by the lovely people behind the wonderful New Wave of Classic Rock Facebook group, who have continued to fly the flag for the genre, in all its forms, with these showcases of some of the finest ÜK acts around… The formula is basically the same every week, with two bands performing a handful of songs, either in full electric format or stripped back to an acoustic alternative, with each set preceded by interviews with the acts concerned.

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Spirit Mother – Live in the Mojave Desert – 20 February 2021

It’s a cold and wet Saturday night in the North West of England, so we tagged Jonny B in for a trip out to the desert (from the safety of his own home of course) to catch the third installment of the ‘Live in the Mojave Desert’ series. This week it’s the turn of Spirit Mother, who are possibly the youngest band in the series (yes, we know Stoner have only recently formed, but we’d say the experience of the members excludes them from the “young” title) which shows that these guys from Long Beach, CA are whipping up quite the sandstorm in the desert rock scene.

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Crowbar – Live from New Orleans – 20 February 2021

Live streams are getting as clash strewn as gigs used to be. Crowbar and Spirit Mother on the same night is quite a choice for our DJ by the name of Astrocreep, though luckily both have view on demand, which makes life a bit easier than choosing between gigs on the same night! So, the big lad poured a single malt, took his seat in his reclining chair and get himself ready for some serious armchair headbanging – while live streams are obviously not as good as being at an actual show, they’re a damn sight better than nothing at all – a junkie needs his fix after all!

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