One more Festival to go……

It really has been a hectic couple of months, have shot or attended a number of Festivals in July/August/September so far and one more to on the books this coming weekend. A little over a week ago it was HRH Sleaze in Sheffield, another cracking weekend with some great sets from old and new bands alike, a cracking atmosphere and again a really good variety of styles.

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Davy Vain & his band VAIN headlining HRH Sleaze III

It’s been difficult to keep up with the writing as my head’s been in a bit of a whole lately, nothing picking it up yet either, the little guy picking up a nasty bug and trying to keep my mother on track certainly hasn’t made things any easier, and the madness of work really pushes you to the edge. But hey getting away for some music is great, really helps to keep you sane.

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Just about got everything tidied up from Ramblin’ Man Fair, some writing to do from Sleaze and next up we’ve got Uprising 4 in Leicester, first time in that City, and in interesting Heavy lineup with the likes of Napalm Death, Acid Reign, Godthrymm all taking to the stage alongside a number of up and coming local bands, should be really interesting.

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After that still have some trips this year for gigs, not sure I’ll try and shoot any of them, but still will be good breaks away. Especially looking forward to hitting Nottingham for a couple of days in December to catch AlterBridge/Shinedown/Sevendust one night, followed by Dan Reed Network/FM/Gun the next……that will be a great weekend and will hopefully be able to catch up with some friends along the way.

This has been a very mixed bag of a year, but have thankfully been able to shoot a lot of bands in different places, including some at home, most recently at the always excellent Unleashed Festival in Dublin. Keep an eye out for Fornoth, those lads have something that just might elevate them to something special.

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Fornoth – Unleased Festival 2019

On the health side, so far touch wood another year Fit free, so continuing to manage my Epilepsy even though I think over time the medication is making me more and more lethargic, alongside that sleep patterns have been really bad recently, so will hopefully not tax the body too much at Uprising. Mentally, well I see more and more friends stuggle and just think we are all going through this stuff now, added stresses of everything, seem much less than what our parents may have had to deal with, but the immediacy of life now has brought with it a whole new raft of problems.

If you have time and like music go check out my Ramblin’ Man Fair reviews, Day 1 & 2 are up there at the moment on the Reviews page, just click on the link and Day 3 as soon as it’s published. Photo Galleries for everything will continue to be posted when I can and will hopefully get back to posting a couple of Blog posts here and there again.

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Rick Nielsen – Cheap Trick – Ramblin’ Man 2019

Sadly my trusty, and also my standard for concerts, Sigma 24-70mm lens has died, happened at the most inappropriate moment of course just before travelling to HHR Sleaze, so will be on the lookout for a replacement, but managed to get through the Sleaze Festival with a 35mm f2 Canon prime lens, so hopefully it will also do the job at Uprising, but would really prefer to be bringing something a little wider, so may try and grab a second hand 18-35mm lens somewhere, we will see, time is short. Will hopefully get a few days away in between everything else and see some nice scenery 😉  with a bit of luck.

 

Difficulties travelling as I get older……..

One thing that I am finding it amazingly difficult to get my head around as I get older is the fact that I am honestly getting much worse at travelling, which makes no sense. This is especially true when getting early flights. Having always been a person that travels on the redeye to the UK for gigs and Festivals, it was really second nature to get up and to the Airport for 5am and grab whatever Airlines 6:30am flight to various destinations, no problem, always arrived at the gate in plenty of time, and then this year as I hit 49 everything changed. This time around I was better prepared though, Tablets split between bag and case, essentials too, chargers, laptop, hat all with me, case locked keys split between key ring and bag, so not too bad I think.

Today has probably been the worst of a number of stupid trips in 2019, left a little late but bag dropped off and still an hour to boarding, Security was very light until an elderly gentleman in front a couple of places had every item removed from his bag to be thrown out, all over 100ml liquids and gels, took ages, then his bag was brought back as there was a scissors in it. Right now I am running late, but the most stupid part is to come, checked the boards for my 6:30am Birmingham flight and somehow I pick the Ryanair gate ahead of it and start moving rapidly to the other end of the Airport, of course checking Birmingham in the boards on the way and just thinking it’s an oddity that an Aer Lingus flight is from that Gate, then I see the Ryanair sign and a massive sinking feeling with a sick stomach, IDIOT. Not sure if it’s getting older or just too much going on with work, home, looking after mam, just everything, but next trip I will leave early and wear my glasses. The stress is certainly unwelcome when already feeling a bit off and tired, and definitely already stressed the last few weeks.

So I head back across to the other Terminal certain I had missed the flight, wondering how I get my case back, gotta sort out another flight etc…..everything goes through your head. So back past the travelators, back past T1 security, all the way around to T2 and much to my surprise the girls are still at the gate, they are expecting me, I’m massively embarrassed and then where the hell is the plane, 5 mins walk down the tarmac, so I get on, very apologetic that I may be holding everybody up, but am seated and ready to go with 12 mins to go. You see there is a difference with the first flight out, the plane is at the Airport so no need to be late leaving, walking down the aisle of the plane it’s only one third full, but I am very sorry for the delay if there is one, pumping sweat and very relieved it’s time to start this pilgrimage to Bloodstock Open Air once again.

Going to be an interesting weekend, lots of great bands on the bill, some I have not seen for many years, some never before but more than enough to have me running between the 4 stages most of the weekend, Bring It On 🤘🤘

Thankfully today doesn’t start till 5ish but it’s always better to be there in time, was going to camp, but treating myself to a Hotel this time around so get there hopefully check in a little early, shave shower feet up for an hour and onwards. This is the easy day, 5 bands, culminating in Irelands very own Ten Ton Slug and the mighty Rotting Christ from Greece. This will be a nice holiday from work and stuff but will of course miss the family a lot over the guts of 5 days. Will eat breakfast each morning, probably live on chips and Toasties while at the Fest, but in reality will eat better than I have been the last few weeks, which have been hectic to say the least.

Whatever you are up to this weekend have an awesome time and make some great memories. Will be bumping into lots of friends this weekend so going to be great.but at this stage with everything in life can’t say that this won’t be my last full weekend Bloodstock, much as I love it 5 days is a lot to take away from stuff just for my own pleasure.

Sometimes we get thrown a nice curveball……

Was still rather disappointed with the cancellation of Amplified Festival, and missing the opportunity to shoot a number bands for the first time and some of my favourites, but these things happen, and had resigned myself to staying home this coming weekend. Then out of the blue you see a message that intrigues you, initially you go, no, not possible, can’t be done, but you decide to check out the details, the travel options, accommodation etc….etc….

But still, there’s no way, it can’t be done……so this is my Sunday…..many hours of option checking, re-checking, deliberating, questioning, pricing, saying no, and eventually saying yes. So with many planes, trains and automobiles to come over the next 4 days I’m off to Photograph and Review the Ramblin’ Man Festival in Maidstone in Kent, haven’t managed to make it over to this Festival for a couple of years, so really looking forward to being in that chilled out atmosphere again, and a great lineup this year, along with a couple of acts that were playing the list time I was there, including the mighty Airbourne, and headliners The Darkness and the legends that are Foreigner. The third headliner I managed to see at home here in Dublin last night, and Black Stone Cherry were on fire.

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Not their first time closing out that main stage but they are a great live act, so should be a great set to look forward to. Another 2 RMF acts were on the bill last night, the excellent Kris Barras Band and OTIS both of whom are well worth checking out.

 

This particular Festival has a bit of everything, lots of Rock, Metal, Blues, Prog, Country and a stage just for up and coming bands, it works, and it’s a great way of doing things. Everything from Beth Hart and Kenny Wayne Sheppherd to Anathema, to Foreigner, some really top acts like Cheap Trick, there really should be something for everyone. This time around

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So it’s time to get off and finish the packing, and try to get some sleep…..it’s been sorely lacking this week, so could do with a few hours before it all kicks off, could do with another week to prepare and relax a little 😉  not likely. So although it’s going to be a full on weekend I need to also make sure I do some of the sensible things, eat, take on liquids, take tablets at close to the correct times, and try and sleep a little, just a little. So expect lots of updates over the weekend most especially on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and see you all on the other side. Although the stress isn’t really good for the mental health, the elation of the event itself certainly tends to balance that off.

The madness of the season…..

Haven’t posted anything in a while, to be honest at times I really haven’t felt like doing anything, this has been a very strange month for me for many reasons, but as usual littered with good and bad, highs and lows…..and through it all a fair few photos. One thing that is becoming more and more difficult to deal with is the loss of friends, and sadly it is happening at a much increased rate in 2019, may they all rest in peace. This of course can have a massive effect on everyone, the sorrow and grief and put you in a very low place, your mind drifts, sleep patterns are mashed up and that of course can bring on other health issues, Staving off depression in dark times is never easy at all, no matter how well balanced or strong you believe yourself to be, there are triggers, and one event can rapidly roll in on top of another and boom…… you just have to try and keep looking at the good things, keep working on it.

 

Although the month really hasn’t gone to plan and this last weekend it’s a perfect example, Friday night shot a really enjoyable 5 band Metal show with some excellent local bands being headlined by Belfast , and then on Sat after some crushing news really didn’t feel like leaving the house and missed out on a show I’d been looking forward to for ages. As we get older sadly we start to lose more and more family and friends, and more and more to cancer, it really is a crappy disease. Sat was a pretty crappy day all around really as a Festival I was so looking forward to shooting next month was also cancelled leaving me feeling at a pretty low ebb.

 

But I still have lots to look forward to, so much to be happy for and maybe I can get a little more done, lets see if we can organise something else for the time the cancelled Festival was on and maybe we can move forward a little. If not I’ll have a few more days off to reuse, and be a few Euros poorer with nothing to show for it.

 

Back to Friday night for a minute, and it’s always such a pleasure to finally catch a band a number of your friends had been telling you about, and singing their praises, and then you get to see them live and they are all that and more, young band but really powerful with a wicked groove for an extreme band. Dublin’s Fornoth could well be going places, they have a lead vocalist that just has it, the power the aggression and there are elements of a number of styles in there but still maintaining his own sound, the band are really impressive and I honestly can’t wait to catch them again soon.

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Fornoth frontman Daire Coburn – Fibber Magees, Dublin – 21-06-2019

Another band on the night that I was eager to catch again were Dundalk’s Words That Burn, now these guys have very recently been through a whirlwind launching their excellent new album Pyres and having that hit No.1 in not only the Irish iTunes Metal charts but also the main iTunes chart, a great achievement and add to that some excellent live shows over the last couple of weeks it’s onwards and upwards for these guys.

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Roni MacRuairi of the excellent Words That Burn – Fibbers – 21-06-2019

Cracking night all in all, getting to see some bands new to me and some I already like, these guys are massively important to keep our local scene running, bring through new bands, give an opportunity to hone a talent in front of a live audience, so many thanks to Mikey O’Riordan (O.D. Promotions and lead singer of Infectious) for his hard work putting on shows like this, it’s very much appreciated.

 

So lets roll with the rest of the week and hope the coming weekend brings good fun, good music and hopefully the chance to mark another band off my shrinking Bucketlist 🙂

 

 

More content and the weather’s picking up again……

Ok, thinks have been really busy, but very up and down, over the last couple of months you may have seen a number of Galleries getting posted on the site from HRH AOR VII, still a few to be posted will get through them this weekend hopefully, and you can catch them at the link below if you’d like to see them. Little did we know at the time that it would be the last time a lot of us would see UFO Guitarist/Keyboardist Paul Raymond, tragically sad news of his passing was released while I was working at HRH Blues, always a class act, may he Rest In Peace x

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The late Paul Raymond of UFO.

 

HRH AOR VII Photo Galleries 

 

add to that some new Reviews over on the Reviews page, both Album and Live reviews  (and a bunch more to be added after the weekend) everything has been a little on hold with a very busy time with work/home/life 😉

so here’s a link to the reviews page –

Album and Live Gig Reviews

a few weeks ago also managed to shoot the brilliant HRH Blues V Festival, some really wonderful performances and a bunch of massively talented musicians,, and from what I’ve managed to get through really happy with the Photographs which also seem to be going down very well with Artists and Fans alike, which is great, always makes it feel worthwhile.

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Jack J Hutchinson – HRH Blues V – April 2019

 

Plenty of stuff coming up over the Summer, back off to Donegal to complete our exploration of the County, it’s connection to the Wild Atlantic way and will see if the little guy has some more enjoyment recognising different aspects of wildlife. A couple of big enough Festivals in Amplified (which I’ll be shooting/reviewing) and Bloodstock, which would love to be shooting but we will see, fingers still crossed, a tonne of gigs in and around June/July too.

 

Bank Holiday weekend here in Dublin, so hopefully get some writing done and also recharge the batteries a little, couple of chores completed today and already feel tired……definitely getting old 🙂

Wishing everyone a great and fun weekend 😉

 

So many gigs ;-)

Where have the first 3 months of the year gone, wow they really have flown in. On a personal level, I’ve made it to a decent number of gigs, managed to shoot roughly 50% of those and a lot more in the pipeline, on the downside, have missed a couple of shows due to ill health, which is never any fun, and have been extremely over tired of late, which definitely doesn’t lead to a good place.

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Ted Poley – HRH AOR VII – 16-03-2019

Since returning from this years excellent HRH AOR VII festival which took place in Prestatyn it’s just been crazy, not much time to get anything done. Have got the photos pretty much finished, and just have to plough through some of the review and finish up a review of The Ocean Collective show in Dublin last week, and as soon as that’s done there are more albums, but so so many gigs getting announced at the moment it’s unreal. It doesn’t matter who you are, as you age it becomes more and more difficult to get to as much as you want to, and even then it’s difficult to organise work/home/gigs, that balance is becoming impossible, so this year I’m getting to absolutely as much as I can and next year may be very quiet.

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Chris Green – Tyketto – HRH AOR VII

 

So with new shows just added to my own list for Machine Head, and a number of bands later in the year I’ve found I’m also adding stuff in the near future I didn’t think I could get to, so looking now like Jizzy Pearl and Mike Tramp in Ahoghill next month, and also with a work trip to London next month I’ve managed to schedule an Avantaisa gig, so happy days. Tonight it’s my first chance to get to see Cellar Darling, should be an interesting set. with support from another new band to me, Appearance of Nothing.

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The Ocean Collective – Voodoo Loungt, Dublin – 22-03-2019

Next wee it’s a triple header, Dead Label in Dublin on Friday night (with some great supports), Jizzy Pearly in Ballymena on Sat and hopefully The Black Dahlia Murder on Sunday back in Dublin…….then it’s just a week to HRH Blues in Sheffield and the previously mentioned Avantasia in London…..all of fun and lots of hard work ahead……..

Ana Popovic with Ben Poole supporting kicks into May with another London trip, along with Cormac Neeson’s solo show in Dublin and Whiskey Myers. June is mental, July starting to fill up now, August sees Bloodstock, the Bash and HRH Sleaze III straddles August into September. Rocktober is building up and as always November/December will busy.

 

Another new Review live ;-)

Yes I’m flying, 2 added this week, the latest one once again for Rockposer.com of the superb new Elles Bailey album Road I Call Home which you should most definitely have a listen to.

Link now added to the Reviews Page  –  click here or the album cover below

 

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Elles begins here UK/Irl Tour this coming weekend and is in Whelan’s in Dublin next Thursday night 7th Mar 2019, well worth going to see if you can make any of the dates.

 

Busy times ahead, going to try and shoot some local bands this weekend, Elles on Thursday, off to see Tyketto in Nottingham next Sat night and then HRH AOR VII, wow that has come around quickly, preview of that event will be up today or tomorrow I hope. Will once again be doing what I said I wouldn’t do again and shooting + reviewing HRH AOR/Blues/Sleaze this year…….and Amplified in July if I can.

March busy, April sees HRH Blues and then we kick in towards a hectic summer, a couple of early nights are needed to keep the head clear and the mind functioning 😉  It’s very easy to start working on too much and let the mind get overloaded, then you just can’t get anywhere or anything done – have already had far too many nights at home just sitting there and not able to do anything created or not, will definitely get more done this year, and have to keep an eye on the sleep too, reality is I think I’m getting 4-5 hours a night at the moment, and while that’s ok for a while, long term it will end with me hitting the floor/ground somewhere, and that would not be fun. Everything in moderation 😉

 

Decapitated lay waste to what remains of Dublin \m/ \m/

It’s been a busy 7 days in Dublin City for Death Metal shows in my home town, with the big and totally crushing show in Vicar St last Sunday where Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates and the mighty Behemoth really set down a marker in front of a Sold Out venue, here we are again only 5 days later in an absolutely rammed Voodoo Lounge with another 4 band bill.

 

Tonight I’m not shooting, just at the gig as a fan and it’s another set of Polish legends that are headlining and a band I have somehow managed to miss out on seeing a total of 5 times in the past, yes that is a crazy amount, but this year seems to be the year of me finally getting to see some bands that I have missed the most over the years from an assorted amount of reasons….. so on top of every thing else it’s just great to finally see them live. This is a really strong bill though with openers Bloodshot Dawn, Danish blasters Baest and the always pounding Dyscarnate rounding the night out. With the Stage Times for this show having been brought down even earlier, Doors at 6pm and first band at 6:15, it did make me wonder once again how viable gigs with more bands on the bill are in the age of curfews and venues holding Nightclubs after live shows, but this week I guess things have shown me it’s possible, Wolves In The Throne Room played to an almost full house last weekend and tonight although starting off to around 15 people for Bloodshot Dawn the room rapidly filled up as the set progressed, the tightness of Doors opening and getting people through the Box Office certainly slowing the room filling up a bit.

 

England’s Bloodshot Dawn have been to Dublin before and are an experienced band that always look comfortable, hopefully we’ll see them back again soon, highlight for me was the excellent “Reanimation” from the album of the same name. Always difficult with such a short set but they ably warm up the crowd for the bands still to come.

 

Denmark’s Baest are making their first visit to Dublin and appear to be recording the show for a future release. Having only really checked these guys out before the show, and having been impressed by what I had heard, I really wasn’t prepared by just how good these guys are live, their sound was great and they were really up for it, with a frontman that tries to get the audience involved in the show at every opportunity, a very tight and powerful unit and they just sound great. The set here is far too short and judging by the reactions of the crowd as through the set I was far from the only one impressed by this band tonight, a much longer set is needed on their return visit. “Crosswhore” among others separate this band from most in the genre, “Ego Te Absolvo” is another punishing track but not without melody.

 

Main support tonight are a band I’ve seen many times Dyscarnate, and they’ve always been a cracking band, but something about tonight, I don’t know what but this is the best I’ve ever seen them, there’s little fuss with them, not a huge amount of banter between songs, but a relentless pummeling from a 3 piece that always sounding like they are bigger than the sum of their parts. The solid light colour and smoke machine output really do make it quite difficult to see the band for a lot of the set, but that doesn’t take away much from just how good they are. Having dual vocalists has always worked really well with this band and it continues to do so, Al Llewellyn (Bass/Vocals) is the perfect foil to Tom Whitty (Guitar/Vocals) voice, This is as strong as they’ve been as a band, as always Matt’s drumming is just pounding while remaining varied, each band tonight has managed to lift the crowd to a higher level and the packed venue is definitely loving this set, and for good reason. Looking forward to catching these guys again soon. Tonight for me “The Promethean” is probably the stand out or the set, cracking song, but everything is a highlight.

 

And so to the headliners, Decapitated, well nothing really needs to be said they absolutely leveled the place, easily one of the top performances I’ve seen in the Voodoo, and probably as busy as I’ve seen the venue since the last lot of work was done on it, packed up front and busy right down to the very back, you could tell that the band were really feeding off the crowd, but it was their brilliant playing and delivery that made all the difference tonight, they sounded brilliant,

Everything in the set fitted perfectly, it just flowed one song into the next as if it was all coming from the one album, not that it all sounded the same, absolutely not, it just all worked together in one set. The tracks off the latest album Anticult are just immense live, and this is a band that are just right at the top of their craft, musically the riffs are just so powerful, drums thunderous, bass so so solid with in that unit and vocals are stunning, this is how you do a Death Metal show, as with Dyscarnate there’s not much fuss, they got on with things, but never come across as a band in isolation, the crowd works in tandem and the atmosphere envelops you, drawing you in. Ending the set with “Sphere’s Of Madness” and the always popular “Winds Of Creation” is just nice. I’m always loathe to say a band could play a bigger venue, that’s not my business, the promoters know what they are doing, but it would be great to see them come back and play somewhere different and fill it too, as tonight has shown there’s certainly an appetite to see this band here. Been a hell of a week and this was a class way to finish it off.

 

Roll on next week when we have some very different gigs to look forward including another legend in former Queensryche man Geoff Tate again singing those amazing songs from the Operation Mindcrime album, but still ending with some legendary Death Metal in the form of Pestilence (yes another I’ve missed a few times – be it them being refused entry to the country or just bad luck) and sandwiched in between some awesome young Finnish Thrash in Lost Society – bring it on 😉

New review added – Behemoth – Vicar St, Dublin – 10-02-2019

Trying to get some bits and pieces done, fitting in around life, so I was happy to Review and Photograph the mighty Behemoth in Dublin last Sunday. The show was brilliant and having one of my Bucketlist bands, At The Gates, on the bill too was a massive added bonus.

The review was for MetalPlanetMusic and you can find it here –

Behemoth – Vicar St, Dublin – 10-02-2019

 

Also the Gallery for Behemoth is now live here, Photo Gallery   or click on the image below.

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Behemoth – Vicar St. Dublin – 10-02-2019

Will add the At The Gates Gallery hopefully tonight all things going to plan.

 

3 gigs coming up next week so busy times ahead…….