Category Archives: rock

Live Music:Renegades (of Feeder) at The Electric Ballroom, Camden 22/04/10

Old bands ‘going back to their roots’ is nothing new, but when Feeder completely regenerated as Renegades, something changed significantly. Gone were the slow and thoughtful songs of old which dwelled on the untimely death of original drummer Jon Lee and in their place fans found the energy and simplicity of a fresh new band, as if the group had been transported back to their formation in 1992.

In the transition drummer Mark Richardson was replaced with Karl Brazil, from the relatively unknown band Ben’s Brother, who encapsulates the bands new-found new energy with furious and relentless drumbeats.

Front-man Grant Nicholas, who you imagine came up with the ‘back to basics’ concept, continues to impress on stage at The Electric Ballroom, a venue far smaller than the likes of the Hammersmith Apollo which they played on the Silent Cry tour only a few years ago.

Nicholas admitted he had a soft spot for the Ballroom, saying: “I love this venue. We haven’t played here for about 12 years, but even now I remember the great atmosphere it always has.”

Posters on the front doors warn Feeder fans expecting the likes of ‘Buck Rogers’ and ‘Just A Day’ that the band will be playing ‘predominantly new material’, and sure enough they don’t disappoint, the most recent, and debatably well-known, of the tracks played is 2006’s ‘Lost and Found’.

“We know you all want to hear the hits”, Nicholas cries across a crowd spanning decades, “but this is really about the new material and moving forward.”

Luckily the new material delivers the sort of quality we’ve come to expect from Feeder over the years, albeit a bit more gritty, new band anthem ‘Renegades’ has even the most lost-looking fans singing along and ‘Home’ and ‘Down By The River’, a nod to the bands native Wales, stand up well on stage.

Free with the gig comes Renegades EP2, complete with four tracks: ‘Home’, ‘Goodhead’, ‘In Times Of Crisis’ and ‘All I Ever Wanted’, making a perfect souvenir for fans who are now left salivating expectantly for the bands new(/debut?) album.

For those feeling out-of-step with the Renegades there were a few ‘covers’ of Feeder tunes including ‘Tangerine’, ‘Godzilla’, ‘Sweet 16’ and grungy set-closer ‘Descend’.

While many may have been disappointed with the lack of hits – the crowd broke into ‘Just A Day”s infectious main riff more than once – the band is doing what it wants to do, from the plain but bold style of the merchandise to downsizing to smaller venues, and it feels a lot more personal and as though they are more connected with their fans than ever before.

Verdict: Possibly too much for the Feeder pop fans, but for those longing for some dynamic and striking music from fantastic musicians the night was nothing short of amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Album Review: Muse – The Resistance

Like an eerie remake of the Doctor Who theme tune, The Resistance trundles into life with the haunting “Uprising”, its first single, ushering in a welcome return for Devon’s greatest ever export: Muse.

It’s three years since the band’s epic Black Holes and Revelations stormed the charts, delivering the band their second number one album and the first to go double-platinum, as well as the distinctly un-Muse-like single “Supermassive Black Hole”.

Listening to Resistance the gaps between the Muse of old and the band as they are now have been filled in, stripping back some of the dancier elements in favour of a more bass-driven sound like that used on breakthrough release Origin of Symmetry.

The album as a whole takes rebellion as its central theme, and despite much discussion about its 15 minute song, the “Exogenisis: Symphony”, it is tucked away at the end of the record, but provides a worthy climax of musical and song-writing prowess to summarise what the entire album is about.

The piano makes a welcome return in this album, with over half of the tracks featuring frontman Matt Bellamy’s instrument of choice prominently, creating moments where the band resembles Freddie Mercury’s Queen. In many ways they have become the Queen of the modern day, since no other current guitar-based British band has maintained popularity for so long with such a theatrical feeling.

The third track, “Undisclosed Desires”, (the second of four tracks beginning with ‘U’ on the album) deserves to be the strongest single release, with the synthesized strings and relentless beat driving forward a story of the deadly nature of love.

There’s none of the anger of Black Holes’ “Assassin” here, but that doesn’t mean the album is without it’s powerful moments, just that they come in dark lyrical choices and a continuous strong bassline. The guitar takes a back seat once again this time, with only a few notable riffs to speak of, but strangely it isn’t missed as much as expected, as the other instruments step up to take its place.

Bellamy teasingly reminds us of one of the band’s staples in “Unnatural Selection” by basing the riff around the impact-ridden guitar intro section of “New Born”, suggesting it may be some sort of sequel, something which the band have done in the past with “Sing For Absolution” and “Starlight”.

Every track feels very much at home, unlike the occasional track in the past where you feel the band have dropped the ball and things sound out of place like “Hoodoo” or “Megalomania”, this album is complete and listens well all the way through without nagging you to skip past to the next song.

The album as a whole is one where tranquility and anger are uneasy bedfellows. In “United States of Eurasia” for example, the sombre piano quickly makes way for a flurry of musical build up, but the transition is well handled and serves to hold the audiences attention. Because it is for an audience, as much as a CD is designed for a listener, this one is presented as a spectacle; grand strings, foreign vocals and quiet moments combine with pounding drums and bellowing bass to create nothing short of a fully modern rock opera.

Introducing: Streetfight Silence Live from the Cellar Bar Bracknell

Bracknell’s Cellar Bar was rocked to its foundations last night when 80s-inspired synth rock band Streetfight Silence took to the stage.

Though they were second on the bill, the three-piece, Bracknell based themselves, wipped the crowd out of their Sunday night comfort zones to get connected with some quality music.

Russ Merry, who spends his days working at Legoland to pay the bills, tackles lead vocals and guitar with Chris Cooley on the drums and Chris Penfold on bass. The group have already won the Wokingham Battle of the Bands, bagging them a cool £200 and time at a high end recording studio, making them a hot contender for this year’s Best British Newcomer at the Kerrang! Awards.

The gig drew an sizeable crowd and managed to get them singing along to melodic ballad “After All”. The energetic performance brought the dingy venue to life with some solid drumming, ambitious bass and impressive guitar work from Russ himself.

The band will soon go into the studio to record more material, but you can get your hands on the “Skys The Limit” EP now, or check out myspace.com/streetfightsilence.

Live: The Living End at Manchester Club Academy 21/04/09

Blistering guitar, infectious drums and slammin’ double-bass were order of the day in Manchester as Aussie trio The Living End stormed the Club Academy.

As competent support act Tellison left the stage the crowd was wrought with anticipation, it has been two years since the boys last played in Manchester, and tensions were beginning to run very high.

With an explosion of sound, the band leapt into fast-paced opener Raise The Alarm from new album White Noise. The crowd embraced the new material as if it had been in their minds for years, ‘woah-ing’ at every opportunity.

Following up a strong with a set filled with classics like Prisoner of Society, Roll On and We Want More. Anthemic new tunes such as How Do We Know were accepted by the audience after only a moments hesitation, uniting the groups wide age range of fans in one voice.

With such energy on stage you might expect the musical precision to suffer, but if anything it was enhanced, with lead man Chris Cheney’s fingers flying up and down the fretboard of his eletcro-acoustic axe, which is largely responsible for the band’s distinct rock n roll twang.

Beat master Andy Strachan relentlessly pounded the drums with an impressive mix of perfectly crafted rock beats, stopping only for a moment when he got a little over-excited and cracked a cymbal.

The third side of this rock triangle belongs to Scott Owen and his famous double-bass. Immediately giving Owen a massive presence on stage, the bass is over a metre and a half from scroll to spike and almost a metre wide, its difference in sound from a standard electric bass is noticeable, as well as the custom glow-in-the-dark paint job leading to the looming presence of a glowing skull when the lights go down.

Owen’s impressive party piece sees him hoist the great instrument up in the air and proceed to play behind his head in homage to the great Jimi Hendrix.

Cheney, not to be out-done, soon teamed up with Owen to climb up the side of the bass for a dramatic finale, before using a nearby beer bottle as a real bottleneck to unleash an astounding slide solo as beer sprayed everywhere, only relenting to down the last few drops.

Musical improvisation was by no means an isolated incident, as the threesome broke into fierce upbeat arrangements numerous times during the evening, as the crowd looked on with awe and wonder.

Despite the recent turmoil in their homeland from bush fires, the band were determined to show England that it had only strengthened their resolve on stage, and kept excitement levels raised until the very last. A truly mesmerising show.