Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Belfast Telegraph - you can piss away off!

FIRST of all thanks to all who read this blog - this is the 1,001st post and from our inbox loads of you still read the ramblings contained within.

Now down to business - that's the rock 'n' roll business. Before starting I want to say the Belfast Telegraph can piss away off.

Yes - the biggest circulation daily newsaper in Northern Ireland can just fuck off and die, with their attitude to hard rock and heavy metal. It rehards it as something barely worthy of a few paragraphs when they deem it worthwhile to allow reviewers like Andrew Johnston to pen a few token lines.

And their true nature is revealed in their 'business' section today (20th November) when in a feature about how the music industry can be a source of income blah blah blah fucking blah...

Did they mention ANY Northern Irish hard rock acts? No. Did they mention ANY Northern Irish heavy metal acts? No.

So let us take stock here for a moment. Northern Ireland has, and is, producing some of the finest hard rock and heavy metal acts, supported by venues like the Diamond Rock Bar, and promoters like James at the Distortion Project, and SO

While we doff our hats to the work of Stuart Bailie at the Oh Yeah Centre we have to wonder just exactly WHAT THE FUCK hard rock and heavy metal have to do to be recognised as a valid and potent part of the Northern Ireland music scene?

We have had SLF and Therapy! blazing a trail. We have had Sweet Savage influencing generations of NWOBHM followers, not least Metallica.

We have the likes of The Answer playing to hundreds of thousands across the globe, but regarded as a light feature piece for the mainstream media.

We have Million$Reload and Stormzone with record deals, and Trucker Diablo proving that a party doesn't mean banality.

We have Worldsend touring the UK; we have Sinocence blazing a metal trail, we have the hardcore sounds of By Any Means; and we have the smart, intelligence in musical and lyrical terms of A Little Bitter.

And that's not to mention the likes of Baleful Creed, Double Wide etc etc. The Belfast Telegraph did feature Bakken, but one wonders if that was a result of the back story rather than the music...wait a minute it definitely was the back story.

Instead of featuring this wealth of talent we have a feature piece name checking shoe gazing numpties with dodgy fringes and checked shirts. (Believe us, after attending the NI 2011 Music Awards we could use more colourful language about the so-called talent!)

So what other 'entertainment' stories did the Belfast Telegraph cover today? Well Page 3 had the illusionist David Mead pulling some 'outstanding' feat of levitation, or as we prefer to call it self-publicity (and we dislike the land of woo as much as Mr Mead...)

Then on Page 6 we have a picture and story about 'I'm a Celebrity just shoot me; sorry that I'm a talentless knob stuck in the jungle.

On Page 15 we have a jolly wee story about the Orange Order doing self-deprecating Christmas cards.

There's a wee mention on Page 18 that Snooze Patrol are doing a charity gig this Yuletide (hands up the hundreds of you out there who have played, organised or attended a charity gig...yep there's hundreds of y'all who do that without needing Gary Shitebody and his band promotion disguised as charity...)

Then comes the 'Life' Feature section where there is more about 'I'm a wannbe talent trying to be a celebrity in some Australian carefully controlled TV exploitation show -  this time with the veneer of 'concern' at bullying.

So, apart from a few paragraphs grudgingly inserted occassionally the largest circulation daily paper in Northern Ireland has all but said we don't want those smelly, long-haired hard rock and metal types.

The easiest thing would be to turn our back on the mainstream media, and say 'screw you' we'll just get on.

But the money men read this type of coverage. Of the 54,000 to 60,000 circulation of the Belfast Telegraph there are few who actually 'read' the snippets on music, but every publicity chance and every piece of coverage counts.

Why should the darlings of the scenesters and the fawning BBC types get more share of the column inches?

Do they 'sell out' shows more than the hard rock, metal and punk acts? If they do, it is a marginal call at best, and with the mainstream media behind them to such an extent they should be at arena level by now.

So, Belfast Telegraph you can fuck away off and alienate the thousands of rock and metal fans.

And to all of you who have been to a rock or metal gig recently, have (legally) downloaded and paid for a track from a local rock and metal artist; you are the proof of what a music community is, and that community is one that still exists, still flourishes despite the sneers and sideways glances.

Hold yer heads up high, raise a glass and raise the horns!

Thank you to all the promoters, all the bands, all the fans and all within the community we have shared a handshake or a pint with. And until they recognise us, the Belfast Telegraph and its like can fuck away off!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Reflections on Vaughn, 'Thrax and SLF

IN every reviewers life there comes a time to put aside the notepad and the carefully hewn phrase from the bedrock of lingual sources and just enjoy the fecking gig.

Amongst the amateur crowd there is a temptation to assume that the wide world of the 'tinterweb gives them carte blanche to type their views, without ever realising that a little used 19th century law 'technically' means they must have permission to review. In the modern era the '+1' is that tacit permission, or a specific referral by the record label or publicist.

That is why it is important to distinguish - and we always do - between reviews and reflections.

So these are reflections on three recent gigs - Danny Vaughn at the Diamond, Anthrax in Limelight (1) and SLF at the Ulster Hall.

The précis of the reflections? Well all three performances can be summed up in two wordsw: "FUCKING AWESOME!"

Classic adult-orinetated rock, thrash metal and Belfast punk - all FUCKING AWESOME in their own sweet indistinguishable way.

All three acts had several things in common - a considerable back catalogue to draw upon; more recent and in some cases brand new tracks; and a professional, yet engaging ability to connect with their audience.

Danny Vaughn's acoustic solo set was an example of what intimate gigs should be, up close and personal, able to chat with individual members of the audience and draw from right back to Waysted days to up to date Tyketoo songs.

Anthrax went right back to Deathrider and up to date with new tracks, of which Fight 'Em Til You Can't Fight No More is outstanding.

SLF drew from Inflammable Material through to two new tracks Trail of Tears and My Dark Time. And hats off and considerable kudos to Jake Burns. It taskes a real man to share his pain live and onstage.

The son of Belfast 14 stood in front of a packed Ulster Hall to say that the new album had been delayed because he had been suffering from depression, but it work was now well underway - My Dark Time explained it more in song.

So, we applaud and bow down to Jake for his honesty and candour and we hope he knows all our thoughts are with him: and equally if any of you out there are feeling similarly, please speak to someone, call a helpline, just get help and surround yourself with people who care.

There - reflections not a review. Danny Vaughn, who could be a journeyman but who has the voice to amaze and stun; Anthrax, possibly more fierce and more fun than ever; and SLF, sons of Ulster with the flame of youth burning brighter than when they were young.

We'd like to leave you with this thought, taken from an SLF t-shirt "Assume Nothing: Question Everything!"

And, remember, if you feel stressed or depressed, get help because you are valuable to you and all those that care about you!

AOR, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal....FUCKING AWESOME and more honest and challenging than any numptie on wank-factor...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Journey and Whitesnake confirm Odyssey date

JOURNEY and Whitesnake have confirmed an appearance at the Odyssey on May 16th. As yet  no word as to whether Thunder will be joining them, as they are also on the bill for the mainland UK dates....

Press release in full below:

Together for the first time in Belfast
Journey and Whitesnake
Odyssey Arena, Belfast - Thursday 16th May
Tickets on-sale: Wednesday 14th November at 9am.
Journey and Whitesnake are set to appear onstage together for the first time ever in May 2013.
Journey, one of the most popular American rock bands of all time, are responsible for creating some of the best-known songs in modern music. Over the years they have gained multiple accolades - including 19 Top 40 singles, 25 Gold and Platinum albums and single 'Don't Stop Believin'' holding the #1 digital catalogue song in history. In 2011 they drew nearly a million fans to their 2011 Eclipse World Tour which included a sold-out UK leg and ranked in the Top 15 Tours of the year. In the same year the band were awarded the prestigious "Legend Of Live Award" at the Billboard Touring Awards in honour of the band's significant and lasting contributions to live music and the touring business, and in acknowledgement of their commitment to the fans and the art of performing live. Journey will be joining the tour with their line-up of Neal Schon (guitars, backing vocals), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, backing vocals), Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals), Deen Castronovo (drums, percussion, backing vocals) and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals).
Journey's Neal Schon said of the tour: "Looking forward to getting back to the UK and playing our best for you all. You guys are the very best, cheers and see you soon. We will be rocking!"
Co-headlining the 2013 tour are the legendary Whitesnake who carry a rightful & righteous reputation as one of the world's leading rock'n'roll bands. Founded and formed by Deep Purple singer David Coverdale, the band have earned multi-platinum albums and multiple top 10 hits worldwide, including 2 number 1 singles with 'Here I Go Again' and 'Is This Love' as well as the unforgettable hammer of 'Still Of The Night'. Bombast, bravado, talent and passion have helped establish Whitesnake as the perennial platinum favourite they have become and they're back with a vengeance in 2013, with plans to release a live DVD ahead of the tour as well as a double album."Unfinished business..." as Coverdale says slyly. "We all wanted the last tour to continue as we got closer to the end...After a year in the studio we're ready to rock on stage again...We're coming back for more..."
Harnessing Coverdale's blues and soul roots & fuelled by incendiary guitarists Doug Aldrich & Reb Beach you have all the elements needed to shape the 'Snake's hard rock identity.
Tickets are on sale Wednesday 14th November at 9am.
In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour): ROI - 0818 719 300, Northern Ireland - 0844 277 44 55
Buy Online: www.ticketmaster.ie
Odyssey Arena Box Office
Tel: 028 9073 9074
Tickets priced from £44 including booking fee
For more see:

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Inflammable Material

"It won't change cos it's always been the same
People hating, people fighting, they say it's so,
Do you believe that? Perhaps you do but it's only up to you
." *

GONNA get a wee bit controversial here, but those shy and retiring, influential and awesome punks in Stiff Little Fingers have once again proved the just because you get older doesn't mean you slip on the slippers and slide off to ranting at the TV screen; yep SLF are taking a stand.

They are using their November 16th Ulster Hall gig to throw their weight behind the Integrated Education Fund, after bassist Ali McMordie learned that his old north Belfast primary school had achieved integrated status.

They will use the gig to highlight the Integrated Education Fund and make a financial contribution.

As Paul Caskey, IEF Campaign Director, said: "They are a band that always brought young people together in our community and it is wonderful that they are helping to continue that by supporting integrated schools. SLF helped inspire people to look beyond sectarianism and the establishment here – to encourage us to realise we hold more in common than what might divide us."

Whether you agree with integrated education or not, you got to take your hat off to a band that is more than self-obsessed image whores.

* Stands to Reason - SLF