Sunday, 28 March 2010

Eagles Of Death Metal (24.06.09)

It was a sweaty day in June, and waiting backstage at the Brixton Academy, I was in awe at the smell of excitement in the air. And cigarettes. And the smell of anticipation as Eagles of Death Metal were preparing to go on stage for one of their first major headlining gigs in the UK. Beer was flowing and a group of various musicians, including drummer Rat from the Damned, friends and various industry people were amounting in the small dressing rooms above the academy hall. Having never been backstage at a high profile bands’ gig, I was unsure of myself, especially at the sight of Joey Castillo-originally the drummer for Queens of the Stone Age and buddy of the band, I was in a trance. My expectations at this point were very high, and the band did not disappoint.

EODM played with a gusto that did not diminish throughout the hour and a half set, with crowd pleasers Cherry Cola and I Only Want You belting through the PA system and into the bleeding ear holes of every screaming fan. Scanning the crowd there were lots of aviator sunglasses and fake moustaches-clearly this band like to have fun, and want their fans to embrace the light-hearted rock and roll ethos that’s echoed in their sound. These guys know how to party, and everyone’s invited.

Here to promote their new album, Heart On, a slightly more mature sound then their previous two albums, EODM played a few tracks off the new record which were gobbled up by the crowd in an instant. They had the audience in the palm of their hands, and this is where the band really started to have fun. Closing with Speaking in Tongues, the gig ended on an awesome high, cementing the band with British fans as one who celebrate rock and roll, and all that it epitomises with a little extra kick for fun.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

TEENAGE CANCER TRUST (2010)

The Royal Albert Hall is truly an immense and awe inspiring venue. When walking the halls there is a great sense of status, wealth and generations of entertainment before tonight’s event having echoed through the enormous hall I find myself in. Tonight’s gig is part of a series of music and comedy gigs taking place to help raise awareness and funds for the ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’, a charity set up by The Who’s Roger Daltrey (CBE) that recognises the importance of entertainment as a form of escapism for teenagers suffering from cancer. After a short speech by Daltrey himself, introducing the significance of the charity and tonight’s acts (there are numerous acts playing throughout the last week of March 2010 to cater to a multitude of tastes) before the first act takes to the stage, Oxford based duo Little Fish.

Little Fish, which tonight were accompanied by a Hammond player, are an unexpected delight opening the evening’s entertainment. Lead singer and guitarist JuJu has a compelling and at times haunting voice, and a stage presence that echoes the likes of Juliette Lewis, clearly having fun yet taken away by the music entirely. The drummer Nez pumps out some blistering beats to an inquisitive crowd trying to decipher the genre mixing sound of the band. There are elements of punk, a little blues and some heartfelt rock riffs that with time will cements the duo as a great band on the up. One to definitely watch.

After a short interval the main act, the super group if you will, salute the stage and audience, and Them Crooked Vultures are ready to rock. The band, which, if you wanted a masterclass in how to rock, would be the ultimate choice of tutors consist of John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, and Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age (not including the many side groups each have formed and participated in.) These men know their stuff. So, with this in mind, the band swoop into the brilliant Dead End Friends, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of excitement and a circle pit of doom, which at the start of the gig appears relatively harmless. Although the songs on the self titled debut album are immense journeys of discombobulated timing and mesmerizing lyrics, the tunes are played with ease and in quick succession, with initially little banter between Homme and the crowd. With three seasoned musical pros, I would expect no less then a night of exceptional entertainment, and although a little short on the dialogue, TCV did not disappoint.

Halfway through the gig an eloquently performed Interlude with Ludes was sung by a swaggering Homme, who appeared possessed by the ghosts of the Albert Hall, and seemed to like it. From this moment on it was clear TCV are above and beyond the realms of any regular band, their lack of musical boundaries only serving as a catalyst to their exceptional sound. Most of the songs played were extended to defying lengths, and indeed volume, and at one point I became entirely entranced by the music to such a level it was as if the walls of the Albert Hall had melted away, and all that remained were the hypnotic sounds from the stage, with three musical giants pounding their instruments with all their might. I was completely caught under their spell, and I liked it. TCV performed an incredible set, and with expectations so high, the only disappointment was knowledge that the night had to come to an end, and it did. Bring on the new album, with even higher expectations and greater boundaries to blur. Daltrey said at the outset that music is there to help forget reality, and for the teenagers that the week long gigs are there for, tonight reality was a distant memory.