*Competition* Avenged Sevenfold & Disturbed 3Arena, Dublin on January 7th!

The competition ends on the 26th of August, the winner will then be picked!
Just Retweet the tweet below and Follow @IrishRocknMetal on Twitter to enter!

You can also enter by liking and sharing the image below on Facebook!

avenged 3arena
AVENGED SEVENFOLD & DISTURBED

Live at 3Arena, Dublin

Saturday, 7th January

Under 16’s to be accompanied by adult

Tickets from €55.65 on sale Thursday, 4th August at 9am from Ticketmaster

AVENGED SEVENFOLD today announced a co-headline show for 3Arena with DISTURBED for January 7th. Tickets will go on sale Thursday, 4th August at 9am.

With several awards under their belt including “Best International band” and “Rock song of the year”, Hail to The King is the latest album from Avenged Sevenfold following up from their 5th studio album Nightmare. This earned the band it’s highest ever debut on the Billboard album chart when it took the Number One spot and spawned three Number One, hit-singles “Nightmare”, “So Far Away” and “Welcome To The Family”.

After a four-year hiatus, Grammy Award-nominated, multiplatinum hard rock titans Disturbed released their new album entitled Immortalized in 2015.

Disturbed formed in Chicago in 1996, Disturbed have sold 12 million albums globally, scored nine No. 1 singles at Active Rock Radio, and had four consecutive albums debut at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, a feat shared only with Metallica and Dave Matthews Band.

Don’t miss rock heavy weights Avenged Sevenfold & Disturbed, Live at 3Arena
January 7th – Tickets on sale this Thursday at 9am from €55.65!

For more information on the bands, click:
www.avengedsevenfold.com
www.disturbed1.com

 

Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to headline Tennent’s Vital 2016 on August 25th!

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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS TO TURN UP THE HEAT AT TENNENT’S VITAL 2016
Thursday 25 August 2016, Boucher Road Playing Fields

Tennent’s Vital is back for 2016 with a red hot line up for Boucher Road Playing Fields on Thursday 25th August.

Tennent’s Lager and MCD are hugely excited that the Red Hot Chili Peppers will headline joined by special guests, Fall Out Boy, Labrinth, Cage the Elephant and Otherkin.

Brian Beattie, Marketing Director for Tennent’s NI, said: “Tennent’s Vital has earned a unique place as a highlight of Northern Ireland’s music calendar and each year we have to up the ante by delivering top international plus fresh home-grown talent. You may feel that 2015 was, literally, a hard act to follow, but 2016 has shaped up to be something special – all credit to our industry- leading partners at MCD!”

One of the best-selling bands of all time, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have sold over 60 million albums, including five multi-platinum LPs.  They have six Grammy Awards to their credit, including ‘Best Rock Album’ for Stadium Arcadium, ‘Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group’ for Dani California, ‘Best Rock Song’ for Scar Tissue and ‘Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal’ for Give It Away …  creating for themselves a worldwide fan base that spans the generations.  The band holds the all-time record for most No.1 singles at Alternative Radio – a total of eleven singles with a combined 81 weeks at No.1! No surprise, then, when the band which came together in LA back in 1983 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

The US giants of rock last played Belfast as part of the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2011, and RHCP’s return to Northern Ireland has been hotly anticipated with much speculation on whether singer Anthony Kiedis, bass player Flea, drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer would play Tennent’s Vital.

Chicago’s favourite rockers, Fall Out Boy, made it big on the international stage with a run of amazing albums. Infinity On High hit the No.1 album slot in 2007 and Save Rock And Roll took the slot again in 2013.  American Beauty/American Psycho was their sixth studio album, spinning off three solid chart singles: Centuries, Uma Thurman, Irresistable (featuring Demi Lovato).  The album also includes an alternate version of Immortals, the band’s RIAA Gold, UK No 1 single from the soundtrack of the record-setting Disney movie, Big Hero 6.

Although the Illinois foursome – of Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz, Andy Hurley and Joe Trohman – have been making mega hits for 10 years, it wasn’t until November last year that they won their first American Music Award for favourite artist.

Long celebrated as one of the most explosive live bands in the world, Cage the Elephant has toured extensively, selling out several headlining runs and have performed with The Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Muse and Queens of the Stone Age.

The band first hit music consciousness in 2008 when their explosive first album went gold and the single ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked’ earned platinum. Their challenging and eclectic sound built them an eager fan base across Europe as well as America and they followed up on early success with the more punk-ish album ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’, before hitting their musical stride with the release of ‘Melophobia’ which earned a Grammy Award nomination in 2015 for Best Alternative Album. The album delivered two Number One singles on the Alternative charts and elevated the brand to new heights. The band’s current album ‘Tell me I’m Pretty’ pushes the advances they made with ‘Melophobia’ and draws on the sounds that originally inspired them to make music.

Tickets for Tennent’s Vital 2016 on Thursday 25th August, headlined by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and featuring Fall Out Boy and Cage the Elephant, at Boucher Road Playing Fields, priced £49.50 including booking fee, are on sale now from http://www.ticketmaster.ie. Visit http://www.tennentsvital.com for further event details.

Tennent’s Vital is an over 16s event.  However, a parent aged 25 and over can take up to two under 16s to the show.  Parents will be required to show age identification and sign a consent form in order to gain admission on the day. Under 16s must be accompanied by their parent at all times. Bars will operate a strict Challenge 25 policy.

Also on Friday 26th August Swedish DJ Avicii is set to headline the 2nd day of Tennent’s Vital 2016 with support from Jess Glynne, Duke Dumont, Galantis and Zak Abel. Tickets cost £39.50 including booking fee.

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*New Show + Competition* Beartooth in The Academy 2, Dublin on December 16th!

The competition ends on the 29th of September, the winner will then be picked!
Just Retweet the tweet below and Follow @IrishRocknMetal on Twitter to enter!

You can also enter by liking and sharing this image on Facebook! via:


Live at The Academy 2, Dublin
Friday 16th December
Tickets from €20 are on sale NOW
Available from ticketmaster.ie and outlets Nationwide

Following their incredible performance on the main stage at this year’s Download Festival – Ohio hardcore mob Beartooth (who are nominated in the Best Breakthrough category at tonight’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards) are thrilled to announce an Academy date on 16 December.  

In the two short years since their debut album was cooked up in front man Caleb Shomo’s basement, Beartooth has catapulted into heavy music’s stratosphere. They have collected over 10 million views on YouTube, trekked around the globe sharing the stage with Slipknot, Pierce The Veil, Bring Me The Horizon and Sleeping With Sirens and playing festivals like Reading & Leeds, Download and the Vans Warped Tour. They’ve earned multiple Alternative Press and Kerrang! award nominations, gotten daytime airplay across the globe and been named a “New Artist You Need To Know” by Rolling Stone.

 For Aggressive (Out now on Red Bull Records), Shomo again retreated to his home studio to write, perform and produce the album’s 12 tracks, re-teaming with John Feldmann (The Used, Blink-182) for a bit of songwriting contribution and enlisting David Bendeth (Killswitch Engage, Paramore) to mix the release. The resulting songs have as much in common with stomping metalcore as old-school punk, vintage screamo and harder-edged pop punk, combining circle pit-inducing bangers with soaring choruses and bridging raw authentic intensity with accessibility.


*Review* Bring Me The Horizon (With ASIWYFA & Don Broco) Belsonic – Titanic Quarter, Belfast 17/06/16

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On Friday the 17th June I headed up to Belfast for the weekend, that day I headed to Belsonic in its new home of the Titanic Quarter to see English rock band Bring Me The Horizon. Support on the night came from fellow English rock band Don Broco and local heroes And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA). Belsonic’s new home has gifted the festival with a larger capacity, tonnes of space to make use of and a view of the nearby Titanic Belfast. The extra space has allowed for some fair style attractions and a larger VIP area, due to this space the venue feels far from cramped as empty space was only a small stroll away from the best views of the stage. Speaking of the stage it was both very large and very impressive, it was relatively high off the ground too giving everybody a great view, something you would normally only see at much larger festivals.

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Despite taking to the stage an hour after the gate opened Don Broco are greeted by a relatively sparse crowd, not that they let it bother them. Having caught them live back in February last year as part of The Kerrang! Tour 2015 I knew exactly what to expect from them, fun and at times borderline cheeky English pop rock. The always catchy ‘You Wanna Know’ kicked off their set to much fanfare from the crowd. Before ‘What You Do To Me’, off their latest album ‘Automatic’, vocalist Rob Damiani asks the crowd to get on the ground before getting them to jump up as the song started. ‘Money Power Fame’ was a fun song to finish their set off with, with Rob and Matt trading vocals throughout it. A brief set from a band who could have easily played, and kept the crowd entertained, for longer but it was easily enjoyable by anybody regardless of if they knew the band beforehand or not: 8/10.

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By the time And So I Watch You From Afar took to the stage the venue was starting to fill up, even moreso by the end of their set. ASIWYFA’s music is largely instrumental, at times featuring either sampled or live vocals that are little more than ‘oooh’s and ‘aaah’s, resulting in these vocals sounding more like sound effects than singing. Their set consisted of songs from all four of their albums. The local crowd seemed pretty into the set, with fans near the front starting a mosh pit pretty early in the set, this mosh pit was quickly broken up by the security (due to Belsonic’s strict ‘no moshing’ policy) who from then on kept an eye on that section of the crowd for the rest of the set, despite this a second attempt at a mosh pit was not stopped. ASIWYFA finished their set off with ‘The Voiceless’ off their debut self-titled album, ‘The Voiceless’ being both an even more atmospheric song than the rest of their set and the perfect chilled song to finish their set with, to serious applause from the crowd. Arguably not the right band to fill the main support slot on this show but being out of place took nothing away from their set: 8/10.

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Where do I even start with Bring Me The Horizon? I first came across the band when ‘Pray for Plagues’ off 2006’s ‘Count Your Blessings’ was the video that autoplayed on a girl I knews Bebo page back in 2009, it would be more than a year before I would even call the song or contents of the ‘deathcore’ album ‘music’, and it would be a few more years before I started to fully appreciate the album as a whole. Meanwhile I like many other surprised people had fallen absolutely in love with the metalcore sound of their 2nd album ‘Suicide Season’ and in turn with the experimental sound of 3rd album ‘There Is A Hell…’. I was meant to see the band live in Birmingham with Bullet for My Valentine in December 2010 but due to a clash with my college exams I was unable to attend, and then somehow nobody told me they were playing The Academy, Dublin until a few days before the gig, when the show was already sold out. Missing both of those shows has absolutely killed me ever since. When they last played Belsonic, again with Bullet for My Valentine, I was still living in Clare and could not afford it. So finally getting to see them over five years after I first meant to means a lot to me.

Over the course of their last two albums they have almost completely abandoned their metalcore sound for a heavy arena rock sound, despite this I, like most of their fanbase, have fully embraced this change. Even the mainstream media has had to embrace the band as both of their last two albums have charted on the mainstream charts in multiple countries, ‘That’s The Spirit’ debuting at No. 2 in both the US and UK, something none of us, myself included, ever expected from a deathcore band from Sheffield that once upon a time everybody seemed to hate.

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Bring Me The Horizon opened their set with ‘Doomed’ into ‘Happy Song’, the chants of ‘S P I R I T Spirit let’s hear it!’ from the crowd being almost deafening. ‘Go To Hell, for Heaven’s Sake’ off ‘Sempiternal’, unexpectedly one of the strongest tracks of the night, showcased that the heavier album fits in perfectly with the arena rock direction of ‘That’s The Spirit’, the song sounded absolutely massive live. As ‘The House of Wolves’ kicked in vocalist Oli Sykes demanded circle pits and the crowd ever eager to please formed multiple ones during the song. ‘Avalanche’, my favorite track off ‘That’s The Spirit’, was the highlight of the set for me, I will also not deny that I shed a few tears during the emotional ‘I need a cure for me…’ part of the song. ‘Chelsea Smile’ off ‘Suicide Season’ was the oldest song in the set, one Oli struggles to perform live due to the damage his throat sustained due to his screaming during the bands early days, so before they played it Oli asked the crowd to sing it for him, as the song kicked off Oli demanded that the crowd ‘jump, jump, jump’. Midway through ‘Chelsea Smile’ during the bridge Oli asked if the crowd trusted him then asked everybody to ‘sit on the fucking floor’ saying that ‘the memories will last forever’, the band members themselves and even some of the security joined in, then as the song kicked back in he said ‘3,2,1 jump’ and the crowd sprung back into life.

A sampled section of ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ from Metal Gear Solid signaled the start of ‘Shadow Moses’ aka ‘this is sempiternal’, clips from the songs music video played in the background on the large screen on the stage and at points during it the smoke cannons shot off clouds of smoke. Oli spoke about depression before they played ‘Sleepwalking’, they followed it up with a song that is the closest thing to pop song that the band will probably ever release ‘Follow You’, then started to restore the energy in the crowd with ‘Can You Feel My Heart’. They rounded out their main set with their heaviest anthems with the angsty, heavy, keyboard warrior activists calling out track that is ‘Antivist’ and the nu-metal sounding ‘Throne’. By the end of ‘Antivist’ Oli’s vocals were sounding a bit blown, despite that he got through ‘Throne’ with very little weakness in his voice showing through.

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Bring Me The Horizon’s encore consisted of their most chilled songs, which are much easier on Oli’s throat that late into a set, finishing on these more stripped back emotional songs in my opinion was perfect. ‘True Friends’ was a bit heavier than the other two songs played as part of the encore but it kept the tempo up and it resulted in one of the loudest sing-a-longs of the night. A very welcome surprise came during the encore with the addition of ‘Blessed With A Curse’ off their 3rd album ‘There Is A Hell…’,  something that those of us who keep an eye on tour setlists were not expecting, the members of the crowd that knew it happily sang along. They finished their set with the expected ‘Drown’ a song that nobody expected from them when they released it back in late 2014, a song that hinted at how arena rock focused their next album ‘That’s The Spirit’ was to be. The set ended with an explosive finish with smoke cannons shooting off before the reveal of the BMTH logo in lights.

Arena rock and arena shows suit Bring Me The Horizon far more than I ever expected them to, the band felt right at home playing Belsonic. The crowd sang along throughout the set and Oli interacted with the crowd perfectly. Despite Oli’s vocals being far from perfect at times I simply can not fault the band: 10/10. When are they back?

*Review* Slam Dunk Festival Midlands – Birmingham, The NEC 29/05/16

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On Sunday the 29th of May I grabbed an early morning flights to Birmingham, England for something I had been looking forward to for months, a day long alternative music festival with 3 dates that I had been trying to attend since 2013, Slam Dunk. In my humble opinion the lineup this year was insanely stacked, picking the bands I was going to see took a lot of effort, I had been waiting to see a few of the bands playing live since as early as 2006.

The queuing system seemed a bit intense this year with long ques for wristband collection for those who already had their tickets, luckily I had considered this beforehand and selected box office collection, as I knew that box office collection at an event like this means you get your wristband straight away instead of a ticket, this easily saved us a half an hour queuing as the que for collection was non-existent. By the time we got through the entrance que it was 12.55, perfect timing at the festival started at 1, I headed to the Atlas Stage for Japanese metalcore band Coldrain.

Sadly technical difficulties were prevalent during this year’s dates, Yellowcard had only managed to play half their set the day before in Leeds, and Birmingham was to be no different, Coldrain were unable to play due to the equipment Slam Dunk rented for the stage not being adequate (this is according to a statement released by the Festival apologizing and stating that they take full blame for this happening). After it was announced that Coldrain was not going to play I quickly took a look around the festival site, being particularly impressed by the various Record Labels who had stalls at the festival: for example Fearless Records, Rise Records and UNFD. I also managed to catch Moose Blood playing ‘Bukowski’, which I appreciated as I love the song, it’s easily my favourite by the band.

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I made my way back to the Atlas Stage for a set that I expected to be a highlight of the trip, from a band I had been waiting to see live since 2010, American band, The Word Alive. The crowd was surprisingly large for a band that the UK has not quite fully embraced yet and for a band playing second. The Word Alive made the questionable choice to play mostly songs off their new album ‘Dark Matter’, which does not entirely make sense at a festival, where the crowd is less likely to be your dedicated fanbase, I knew the new songs as I think ‘Dark Matter’ is an incredibly strong album and a huge step in the right direction after their previous album did nothing but fall short of my expectations, but a lot of the crowd clearly did not know these songs. ‘Dreamer’ opened the set before they played recent single ‘Sellout’, their fastest music video to get a million views on Youtube, the crowds reaction to ‘Sellout’ was much larger than the one ‘Dreamer’ got. Another new song ‘Face to Face’ followed before they played ‘Lighthouse’ off their previous album, a catchy borderline pop punk song that had the crowd singing along, it works much better live than I expected as it is a song I normally can’t stand to listen to. Here is where the crowd got really confused, vocalist Telle said that they only had ‘3 more songs left’ then asked the crowd to put their horns up, which then did, declared that the next song was a heavy one, then stated that it was a song off the new album ‘Made This Way’. As soon as he said ‘off the new album’ a lot of the crowd put their hands down, Telle asked why they were doing this, but it was obvious that people expected ‘2012’ off their first album a staple of their live set, a song I had personally been waiting to hear live for years and it was the song I was most excited to hear live at Slam Dunk. ‘Trapped’, my favourite single of 2016 released so far, an incredibly powerful track that makes you think of Deftones, was played next before they finished with ‘Life Cycles’ the title track off their 2nd album. Playing five new songs was both very questionable and disappointing but The Word Alive are a very strong live band overall: 8/10.

I decided to head to the Kerrang Freshblood stage next to catch most of English rock band Dead!’s set. The sound during their first few songs was not great but by the time they played their stand out recent single ‘You’re So Cheap’ it was much better, on my way to the Impericon stage I managed to hear them finish their set with ‘Skin’ a song that makes me think of My Chemical Romance, a band they are regularly compared to. Dead are a band that show a tonne of promise and they already show a lot of that promise off live: 7.5/10.

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The Impericon Stage was packed to capacity for French easycore band Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, but I managed to get into catch the last three songs of their set. The crowd was absolutely mental and I was far more impressed than I thought I would be, they are clearly a band who sound better live than on record, their older songs like ‘Restart’ & ‘In Friends We Trust’ sounded way stronger live, just as strong as newer number ‘Pull You Under’ did: 9/10.

Next I headed over to the Forum Live to catch UK pop punk band As It Is, fronted by former Youtube celeb Patty Walters, who sounds far too American to be in a British band due to being half American. I had been trying to catch As It Is live for a while and the crowd they had gotten so early in the day was packed in like sardines. They opened with ‘Concrete’ into ‘Cheap Shots & Setbacks’ off their debut album ‘Never Happy, Ever After’ and followed them up with ‘I Can’t Save Myself’ which was originally on their ‘This Mind of Mine’ EP, before they played two more songs off the aforementioned EP that I was not overly familiar with, but the crowd ate them up. Recent single ‘Winter’s Weather’ fitted perfectly into their set. They finished up their set with the expected ‘Dial Tonnes’, the whole crowd singing along to its catchy chorus. The set was a bit bland, very by the numbers, and As It Is come across as a generic as possible pop punk band, which is not really a bad thing because they do it very well, Patty sounds overly friendly at times, but I somehow find him to be a charming frontman and as a whole they are a decent live band: 8/10.

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I headed back to the Impericon Stage for UK progressive hardcore/metalcore band Heart of a Coward’s set, another band I had been waiting to see live since 2010, they played Dublin back in September but I was unable to attend, so I was pretty excited to see them live. Unlike The Word Alive they made the correct choice to play a balanced set composed of songs old and new. Hearing old songs like ‘Nightmare, ‘Shade’ and set closer ‘Deadweight’ live was simply perfect for me, I screamed, shouted and headbanged along like I was 4 or 5 years younger. This is not to say that new songs like ‘Miscreation’ and set opener ‘Hollow’ are not great live too, because they are. The crowd was intense, but friendly, the mosh pit did not get too crazy and those involved with it seemed to be looking out for each other. Frontman Jamie Graham is incredibly strong and got the crowd to chant along, mosh, circle pit and call out powerful breakdown lines like ‘Suffer, bitch!’ and ‘I don’t give a fuck’. Heart of a Coward may have gotten a smaller crowd than other bands playing the stage did but they are everything a live band should be and show just how powerful the UK live metal scene can be: 9.5/10.

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In between sets I caught up with Irish alternative pop punk band Beware of You’s bassist Brian who was selling merch for Chunk! No Captain Chunk. Brian had the following to say about the festival: ‘Working behind the scenes I could see why the whole Slam Dunk festival tour is so popular. It’s definitely the go to festival tour in the UK for people who like pop-punk, metal and alternative music. The people you meet there are all amazing, friendly and up for a bit of banter. Plus where else would you be allowed to hang out with some of your favourite bands at their merch stand for hours!?’

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Next up was UK progressive metal/grime outfit Hacktivist, a band I had previously seen support Enter Shikari in The Academy in May 2013. I thought Hacktivist was a relatively strong live band then but with plenty of new material off their debut album ‘Outside the Box’ they proved that opinion wrong with just how perfect they are live now. They got a pretty large crowd for their set and ‘Hate’ their recent single off their album made for a very strong opener. Their cover of ‘Niggas in Paris’ was a highlight of the set for me and the crowd went absolutely mental during it. Singles like ‘Deceive & Defy’ & ‘Elevate’ are bangers both on record and live. Hacktivist are a UK band doing something different to what everybody else is doing and over the last four years they have developed their own style into something that is incredibly strong, a sound and band that breaks barriers, a band who make new fans every single time they play a show, and it helps that they are now absolutely flawless live, I could not fault their set even if I tried to: 10/10. Perfect. Hacktivist need to get back to Ireland for a headlining show as soon as possible!

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I headed back to the Atlas Stage for another band I was insanely excited to see live, a band I have been waiting to hear live since 2012, a band that features vocalists I have been following since late 2010, Issues. I had a ticket to see Issues in 2014 with Of Mice & Men & Beartooth but due to complications at the time my plans to attend fell through, since then I have managed to catch Beartooth live as part of the Kerrang Tour in 2015 but Issues had to cancel the one time they were meant to play Ireland. The intro to ‘Flojo’ signalled the start of their set, before a funky pop track ‘Coma’ off their new album ‘Headspace’ and they followed it up with ‘Stingray Affliction’ one of the strongest tracks off their self-titled album. Issues easily had the Atlas stages biggest crowd of the day with people packed the entire way back, their catchy but sometimes equally as heavy tunes being an obvious reason for the giant fanbase they seem to have amassed during the few years they have been a band. Surprisingly they followed ‘The Realest’, one of the strongest tracks off their new album, with ‘Love. Sex. Riot.’ off their first release the ‘Black Diamonds’ EP, a song that originally started out as a purely RnB track that clean vocalist Tyler Carter played while touring as a solo artist, unclean (and now some cleans on newer tracks) vocalist Michael Bohn did a great job of mimicking Fronz’s(of Attila) rap screamed guest vocals. Another surprise came in the form of the incredibly catchy ‘Life of a Nine’ off their debut self-titled album, as both of these were not singles I expected them to be rotated out of the set for newer material, particularly as their set was not as long as a headlining one. ‘Blue Wall’, my favourite off their new album, was the heaviest track of their set, with them calling out corrupt cops before playing it. Even the more chilled and emotional ‘Slow Me Down’ off ‘Headspace’ got played. ‘Mad At Myself’ rounded out their set before they finished off their set with ‘Hooligans’. Issues are a band who set out to become the biggest band in the scene and they are well on their way to achieving that goal if their set at Slam Dunk is anything to go by, strong crowd interaction and reaction, and a flawless performance from every member of the band: 10/10. This band really needs to finally get to Ireland sooner rather than late(r).

I headed back to the Kerrang Freshblood Stage to catch some of the headlining set from New Years Day. I had caught the band back in January with Motionless in White (the belated review for which is coming soon, it has been basically written since a week after the show but it has just been forgotten about due to how busy I have been with college and events I volunteer at), and they were surprisingly strong that night, vocalist Ashley really knows how to work a crowd and they perfectly capture the spirit of 80s LA Strip Glam Rock, just in an updated form. The industrial tinged sound of ‘Kill or Be Killed’ off 2015’s ‘Malevolence’ opened their set followed by the ever catchy ‘No Good’ off 2013’s ‘Victim to Villain’ which hints at the fact that they used to be a much more pop punk sounding band, at that point I had to go in to watch Memphis May Fire. I managed to make it back out for the title track off ‘Malevolence’ with Ashley asking fans to crowd surf towards the stage to hi-5 her, it was a touching thing to watch as multiple short and young females were carried over by the crowd to do so. Ashley’s vocals sounded a lot stronger than they had in Dublin. Post set Ashley even treated the fans to a meet and greet next to their merch tent. Ashley and New Years Day come across as one of those genuine bands you rarely ever see in the scene they are a part of and it works for them, they have been a band for years and have tried hard to make it, they still have work to do, but now that they are starting to make it I wish them all the best. Stupidly catchy industrial tinged songs played perfectly live: 8.5/10.

As I walked back into the Atlas Stage Memphis May Fire had started playing ‘Prove Me Right’, yet another song I had been waiting to hear live for years. Plenty of other cuts off ‘Challenger’ made appearances including ‘Legacy’ and ‘Alive in the Lights’, they even played ‘Miles Away’, a song they said was normally too chilled to play at festivals, Kellin Quinn’s guest vocals being played over the backtracking annoyed me, as sampled guest vocals always do, but it was fine, the crowd clearly knew the words well enough to sing them back. Very few songs were played off their not so well received newest album 2014’s ‘Unconditional’, they played ‘No Ordinary Love’ and ‘Stay the Course’ off the Deluxe Edition re-release of the album, ‘Stay the Course’ is a song I have a huge dislike of so I headed back out to the Kerrang Freshblood Stage during it, coming back in for the end of it, during songs like ‘Stay the Course’ it is worth noting that vocalist Mattie got a little bit too preachy, which I honestly feel takes away from the set, at least for those of us who are not Christian. They played ‘The Sinner’ off ‘The Hollow’, the crowd singing along to its catchy chorus of ‘keep me close, keep me close, keep my head above water, I need to hear your voice, I can’t do this on my own’ being possibly the catchiest thing Mattie will ever write. They finished their set up with one last song off ‘Challenger’: ‘Vices’. Memphis May Fire due to a lacklustre album and by being too preachy live have gone from being the shining example of their scene at its best to just another band playing their hits with much less enthusiasm than they once had, regardless those hits are still incredibly strong live, hopefully their next album brings some new ones that they can reinvigorate their live set with: 8/10.

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I headed to the main stage in the NEC Arena for the first time that day to catch some of Panic! At The Disco’s headlining set. The room is massive but not wide enough in my opinion, we were half way back but could barely see the band on stage, the lack of screens being utilized like at normal arena shows made the view even worse. Panic kicked off their set with their new single ‘Don’t Threaten Me With A Goodtime’, one of my favourites off their latest album ‘Death Of A Bachelor’, they followed it with ‘Time to Dance’ off their debut album ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’. At this point I had to leave to go catch The King Blues but I managed to make it back for the end of ‘This is Gospel’ and their last song ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’, during which the full stage production was on display with pyro and confetti cannons, the air above the stage being covered in confetti during the last few minutes of their set, a big finish for a great a day filled with both nostalgia and an amazing lineup for one of the UK’s best alternative festivals. Frontman (and only remaining member) Brendan Urie was as strong live as I expected him to be, being the real driving force behind their live set, what I caught of their set was perfect and I doubt the rest of it was any different: 10/10.

For my final full set of the day I headed outside to the NEC carpark to catch the recently reformed UK ska punk band The King Blues, a band I have been listening to since about 2009 and who I never thought I would get to see live due to their breakup. They opened their set with ‘Let’s Hang The Landlord’, off 2008’s ‘Save the World, Get the Girl’, a song I had been looking forward to screaming along to live since I first started listening to the band, and I did, as did the entire crowd assembled in the carpark for their set. They followed it up with ‘Set The World On Fire’, off 2011’s ‘Punk & Poetry’, a surprisingly strong song live for something so repetitive. They played songs spanning their entire career including ‘Off With Their Heads’ the title track off their latest EP, a heavier song attacking UK politicians, in my opinion the newer songs fitted just as well in their set as the old ones did. Songs off their debut album ‘Under the Fog’ showcasing just how much of a ska band they can be. Songs off ‘Save the World, Get the Girl’ being the largest chunk of their set with both ‘My Boulder’ and ‘I Got Love’ being perfect live numbers. ‘Headbutt’ was yet another song I was stupidly excited to hear live and it was everything I thought it would be, just like the entire set as a whole. They finished their set up with the catchy ‘The Future’s Not What It Used To Be’ into the expected ‘Save The World, Get The Girl’, a song well-known for lines like ‘Well I believe in the people of America but I still can’t believe the terminator is the governor’, and thanked their Birmingham fans for all the support they have shown the band over the years. Itch is simply an enthusiastic frontman live, he perfectly engaged with the crowd, encouraged them to move up throughout the entire set and encouraged them to sing along to every word of every single catchy song they played, which just happened to be all of them. The King Blues are a band worth waiting to see live, and a band the UK music scene is hopefully thankful to have back: 10/10.

The NEC is the perfect venue to host the festival, the individual venues for the stages are perfect, large rooms. One of the only real issues was how tight one of the walkways between the Impericon Stage and The Kerrang Freshblood Stage was, the crowd constantly came to almost a stand still there, but it was the first year in the venue so there was surely still kinks to work out. If the festival is still in the NEC next year I will be back, but after hearing about the capacity and queuing issues the other smaller venues for the two other dates had, and because of the amazing transport links, I really hope it stays in Birmingham instead of going back to Wolves.

All in all Slam Dunk was a great event, this year’s festival had an amazing lineup and one I am very glad I went over to Birmingham for, I am looking forward to next year already!

*Review* Busted (with Wheatus & Emma Blackery) 3Arena 31/05/16

Busted support

On Tuesday 31st May recently reformed English pop rock/pop punk band Busted finally returned to Dublin for the first time in almost 12 years to play the 3Arena, the exact same venue (but heavily renovated and under a new name) that they last played back in November 2004. The tour was aptly titled ‘Pigs Can Fly Tour 2016’ as a joke about how they have always said there’s more chance of pigs flying than Charlie Simpson coming back to Busted, but he has. Back in 2013 McBusted, a super group formed by members of Busted and fellow English pop rock band McFly, was announced, released an album, and went on two very successful arena tours, Charlie was the only member of either band not to join McBusted. Support for the Pigs Can Fly Tour came from American rock band Wheatus and Emma Blackery, a British singer-songwriter and YouTuber. Wheatus had previously brought Busted guitarist James Bourne’s band Son of Dork out on ‘The Get Happy ’07 UK Tour’ so James considers their support slot on this tour his way of paying them back for supporting him back then.

Emma Blackery opened the show, she had previously toured with Charlie Simpson on his solo acoustic tour back in January 2014, including a date in Dublin’s The Sugar Club, that night I recorded a video of her playing ‘The Promise’, you can check it out by clicking here. She opened her set with the title track off her new EP ‘Sucks To Be You’ which was released on the previous Friday, it showcases a more angsty take on pop punk than her older songs which are of a more positive nature. Unlike the previous time I had seen her live she was not playing acoustically or by herself, instead she was playing with a guitarist Arthur Walwin, however every other instrument was played via a backing track. While having Arthur gave the crowd more to watch on stage during her set it made the use of the backing track instead of a full band seem even worst, particularly at a show where the other acts were playing with full bands. An old song, the ever positive ‘Perfect’ followed ‘Sucks To Be You’, the only song in her set not off her new EP. ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ was played next before she finished her incredibly short set with the last song off the EP  ‘Let Me Be’. ‘Let Me Be’ is a surprising pop song, showcasing crossover potential with its very catchy chorus. Emma is a strong artist, but honestly a short set and the lack of a full band disappointed me, and while these issues may not have been her fault they did take away a lot from her set: 6.5/10.

About five minutes later Wheatus took to the stage playing their other ‘one-hit wonder’ first, their cover of Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’, a single that reached No. 5 in the Irish Singles Chart, it was warmly recieved by the crowd. ‘Fourteen’, ‘the second song off their sixth album’ as vocalist Brendan put it, followed it before they dedicated ‘Lemonade’ to Emma Blackery. Brendan told a story about a time they played the south of England and a guy in the crowd tried to fight him as the introduction to ‘Leroy’ and then ‘Only You’ was played before the moment the crowd had been waiting for: ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ peaked at No. 2 in the Irish Singles Charts, a song that everybody in the room knew and you could tell this by just how loud the crowd sang along, with Brendan giving them a chance to sing the ‘I’ve got two tickets to Iron Maiden baby…’ section on their own before he sang it himself. While their set was short, the crowd clearly did not overly care about their ‘other’ songs because they all just acted as a prelude to ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. While I would not call their other songs bad in anyway the band themselves were relatively boring during them as they barely moved and the two backing singers on the stage seemed almost pointless as you could rarely hear their vocals, despite this I think they put on a relatively strong perfomance overall: 7.5/10.

Just prior to Busted‘s set, taking the tour name literally, a giant flying pig ascended above the crowd. As their set drew closer the three large screens on stage began to flash images featuring people in pig masks. As Busteds set commenced the curtains in between the screens dropped to reveal the ‘pigsty’ which featured VIP fans of the band in pig masks across three floors, and the three people in masks on the screen removed said masks to reveal themselves as the members of Busted: James, Matt and Charlie. Then the real James, Matt and Charlie arose from the depths of the stage as they began to play ‘Coming Home’, the first new Busted song in over 10 years. Busted was backed up by a drummer and an extra guitarist. ‘Air Hostess’, the first Busted ‘hit’ of the night, and ‘Falling for You’ off their second album A Present for Everybody followed ‘Coming Home’, before ‘Everything I Knew’ and ‘You Said No’, their first UK number-one single, off their self-titled debut album. ‘Dawson’s Geek’ sounded a little bit dated before their third UK No. 1 single ‘Who’s David’, with lines like ‘You stupid lying bitch, who’s David?’ and ‘You’re just some whore,who sleeps around the town’ the childish humor Busted was known for was still there despite how old they have gotten. Furthering the humor aspect of the show James made remarks about Charlie rejoining the band ‘sometimes I get starstruck by him being on stage with me, like its Charlie, its really Charlie’ and a joke about him not being a hologram.

James took to the piano for the next two songs, before playing ‘Easy’ James talked about the rebirth of Busted as ‘Easy’ was the first new song they wrote together, it was followed by ‘Meet You There’, a song they recently released a new version of recorded in Abbey Road. Another new one ‘One of a Kind’ followed, with James switching to playing a keytar for it. They finished the main body of their set off by playing hit after hit, ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’, ‘Sleeping With the Light On’, ‘Crashed the Wedding’ and ‘What I Go to School For’, the crowd singing along loudly to every single one of them. The band apologized for not being able to play longer, ‘we only have two albums’, before promising to be back next year with ‘new material and a longer set’. The band left the stage then returned for a quick two song encore of ‘3am’, my personal highlight of the night, and ‘Year 3000’, easily their most well known and impactful song.

A short set, clocking in at just over an hour, losses them half a mark but Busted have shown that they were not just a ‘boyband’ that played instruments from the 00’s and that they are here to stay: 9.5/10.

 

 

*New Show + Competition(Ended)* Against the Current in The Academy, Dublin on September 27th!

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Live at The Academy, Dublin
Tuesday 27th September
Tickets from €18 go on sale NOW
Available from ticketmaster.ie and outlets Nationwide

Following the release of their new album “In Our Bones” on Friday 20th May, Against the Current announced their highly anticipated return to Dublin. They play The Academy, on Tuesday 27th September. Tickets are on sale NOW from Ticketmaster.

In the past few years, Against The Current has evolved from an upstart band to an unstoppable, hardworking trio ready to take over the world with their debut album of intelligent pop songs. The band, formed by Chrissy Costanza, Dan Gow and Will Ferri in 2011 in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The band has grown to fearless pop punk trio they are today with the help of their new release “In Our Bones” which is the follow up to Gravity.Front woman Chrissy explains to Upset magazine; “Every song is different, every song has it’s own story and stands alone,” she continues. “The album itself is very true to us. It was definitely hard to cut it down but by the end it was clear that yeah, this is the right track listing.”

In Our Bones:
iTunes: http://smarturl.it/InOurBones
Google Play: http://smarturl.it/InOurBonesGP
Webstore: http://smarturl.it/atcstore

For more information please visit:
http://www.atcofficial.com/ | www.facebook.com/againstthecurrentband |www.twitter.com/ATC_Band | www.ticketmaster.com