Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, February 27, 2012

Justice for the 96

THIS is pretty much a site for hard rock and metal, but as it is my site I'm taking you on a wee bit of a tangent tonight.

On 15th April, 1989 96 Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough Stadium: Justice has never been delivered for the families of the 96, and the Tory Government of the day and The Sun appeared to have conspired to maintain a tissue of lies.

Throughout the Liverpool fans at today's Carling Cup final banners were held asking all football fans, and all lovers of decency not to buy The Sun. Even Murdoch knows the ban is working. Despite the rest of the nation who have not heard about the Hillsborough story and the media lovies all welcoming his new The Sun: Sunday there were only 14,000 delivered to Merseyside.

Still the fight for Justice can go on.

Music can help the fight for Justice for the 96. On March 31st the Justice Tour comes to Belfast, Featuring Mick Jones, of The Clash, Pete Wylie of Wah and The Farm, plus guest musicians it is a set all self-respecting football fans who believe in Justice for the ordinary supporter should not miss.

For music lovers the fact that Mick Jones will be playing tracks from The Clash like Should I Stay Or Should I Go’, ‘Clampdown’, ‘Bankrobber’, ‘Armagideon Time’,  and ‘London Calling’ should be enough to coinvince you.

The tour is in aid of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

For Mick Jones this will be the first time he has toured performing Clash songs since 1982 and says:

“I’m totally honored to be part of something so meaningful and I hope that we can do some good.

"Every gig should have a reason and these shows are about getting Justice for the families, survivors and supporters of the 96 people who died at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough football ground on 15th April 1989."

The Hillsborough Justice Campaign continues to fight for justice for the victims of the disaster and for the truth to be established. Everyone volunteers their time and skills for free. As well as challenging the official version of events, the group also helps survivors of the disaster, many of whom have suffered long term psychological damage.

The HJC has operated in the face of great adversity for years and has had to utilise new technology to promote the campaign in the face of a hostile media. It is the view of the HJC that the Hillsborough Disaster and subsequent cover up is a miscarriage of justice. Human and civil rights were denied in the aftermath of the disaster. It is for this reason that the HJC is pleased to support the concerts which aim to promote the broader issue of justice in a society where rights are increasingly being eroded.

Don’t miss this very special show on Saturday 31st March at The Spring & Airbrake. Tickets £20 on sale from www.ticketmaster.ie Katy Dalys Bar & www.limelightbelfast.com

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An EP that packs a Double-Wide punch

BACK in the land that time forgot there were wee things called LPs. These were long playing records; vinyl records, 12 inches in diameter that played on a mystical 'deck' with a needle calling forth the sweet sounds of metal. Bands also released 7 inch singles. Occassionally when they wanted to pack more in they releaseed an EP - standing for 'extended play'.

There were also rarer beasts called 'mini-albums' with more tracks than an EP and less than a full album.

When Double-Wide's latest offering landed with a heavy thud on the doormat, the postman staggering away having shed himself of the heaviness, your editor here was expecting maybe four tracks; a sampling of where the groove merchants after their 18-Wheels Of Misery offering.

Well slap my face with a wet kipper and consign my soul to the torment of heaven, but the Heavy Oil EP crams in five full tracks and a two-minute instrumental - almost 30 minutes of monstrous sounds.

With the kick of a diseased mule to the balls the trio lay down a mighty sound. Southern metal influences like Pantera are there, but this Northern Ireland act have carved out a sound, marking them out as well worth some ear-battering.

Opener Roll On sets the riff-heavy tone, before Not Broken rips up the playbook, heads go down and hair goes a-flying - yep traditional headbanging approach needed for listening to this. And lyrically it asks a few pointed questions...

Title track sticks to the Double-Wide no nonsense approach; riff-tastic!

But this mini-album is not wthout its subtelty. Seven Roads to Hell claims the prize for a slow-burning potential live classic, while the acoustic version of Dead River tears up pre-conceptions with a deft touch and a tale worth telling.

Overall this mini-album, sprry EP, lays down a template for success. It is not without its flaws, not least a mix that puts the high end, especially the cymbals too bright at the expense of the vocals. Leave that aside, crank it like your ears deserve a treat and rock along like a smackhead with two speeballs and hyperactive metal glands. Heavy Oil? Best enjoyed loud, best enjoyed with Jack Action and several beer chasers!

For this EP we took a vote here at Metal Towers, and the result of the vote...one big HELL YEAH for Double-Wide

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm back and I'm angry...

I'VE been away from blogging for a wee while - loads a sh*t to do and loads that needs doing. But right now I'm one pissed off wee metal bunny.

With the good grace of Odin, more luck than Loki and the thump of Thor's fist bringing joy with each rythmicd pound I know that when my time comes to cross the Rainbow Bridge to reach Valhalla and eternal feasting, ale and metal my offspring (children that is, not the Californian surf punks) will still have the faith in Liverpool FC, American Football, hard rock and heavy metal.

Both are blessed with the ear for volume, the love of the riff and the toe tapping, head nodding, mosh loving beauty that is rock and metal.

Yet, my youngest cannot see many of the acts on stages across Norn Iron.

At 15, well he looks 15 and no amount of facial hair or fake ID will grant him access to the over 18 venues. I do not blame the promoters and licensees. I blame the ridiculous licensing laws that assume that parents will allow their sprogs to wander incoherent and unknowing through a crowd to be trampled upon and puke up.

That may be a risk associated with night clubs and mind-numbing dance shit, but when it comes to hard rock and metal...just doesn't happen.

And you may alse recall how many young people were at Maiden, Metallica et al, it. This shows they want access to metal. So why can they not also see local acts too, and international acts at smaller, more intimate venues? Why could he not see Manowar, Alestorm, Turisas, amongst a host of others.

Generally most rock and metal; loving parents are delighted that their children take an interest in their music, so why of recent are so many venues slamming their doors on a potential ticket sale bonanza.

All hail those who in the past have welcomed under 18s through their doors, from all ages shows in The Limelight to the armbands for those who want a drink at Dragonforce in the Spring and Airbrake and Mandella Hall. Indeed the Mandella has had several gigs where the ability to have under 18s present has been a success. And a salute to the likes of the Diamond with its common sense policy.

So here's a challenge. Let's see if the venues can work out a sensible approach, that allows under 18s access to the finest live rock and metal and their parents to have a sup or two.

In the meantime, at least he can see W.A.S.P. in the Ulster Hall...taking 15-year-old to see W.A.S.P. where I saw Blackie and crew twice on their 30th Anniversay tour really makes me feel angry!