OK so I should point out straight away that I am a Bon Jovi fan.
Indeed I have been a fan since 1989 when at the tender age of 15 I heard ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ for the first time. In fact I liked that song, and the New Jersey album that it came from, so much that I saw the band in concert on December 28th 1989. My first ever live show and an experience I will never forget.
So with my “potential bias” disclaimer out-of-the-way, what of Bon Jovi, a band usually dismissed by critics? Well they are now thirty years into a highly successful career…a career that nearly came to an end as early as 1990 when the band were suffering from severe burn out (the success of “Slippery…” and “…Jersey” and the never-ending tour that followed meaning the band just didn’t want to see each other for a while). Luckily they carried on. If they hadn’t there would have been no Keep The Faith, no Crush and no These Days and it is the latter album that is the benchmark to which I compare all Bon Jovi albums.
I see the band as having three parts to their career. The first part from 1983 till 1991, a period where they became the biggest rock band on the planet. The second from 1992 until 2002 where they survived grunge and creatively hit their high point with These Days in 1995. The third part could be seen as from 2003 to the present day. The four albums during that time have all been good…just not that great. For every ‘Welcome to Wherever You Are’ we got a ‘Joey’. For every ‘When We Were Beautiful’ we got a ‘Whole Lot of Leavin’. They just haven’t been consistent and the band hasn’t’ stretched themselves. Their twelfth album What About Now is more of the same.
Continue reading “Bon Jovi – What About Now” »
Twenty years ago a 17-year-old me saw Living Colour in the Glasgow Barrowlands. It was their ‘Stain’ tour and I’d already been a fan for many years; though I’d never seen them.
As impressionable as I was at that age I couldn’t help think they were fantastic. Corey Glover’s vocal, Vernon Reid’s guitar playing, and Doug Wimbish’s bass. Did I mention Will Calhoun yet? Hell there was just such an impressive array of musicians on that stage. A few years past, and the band split up. I honestly thought I’d never see them again.
Twenty years later (almost to the day) and the band (who reformed several years back) are playing the city for the first time since that ‘Stain’ show. This time around they are playing their debut album Vivid in its entirety. How are they going to sound? Can they be as good as the wet behind the ears me, thought they were back then? What has changed?
This time the band is playing the somewhat smaller Glasgow Garage. At a little over 8:45 the band hit the stage and stumble into an unfamiliar groove which seems to play and play and play, not really going anywhere. It did feel like an intro-jam at first, but after close to ten minutes the crowd are a bit restless. The sound is good, Corey’s vocal is as impressive as ever, but (as it turns out) this Robert Johnson cover just isn’t cutting it with the crowd. The song finished to over-zealous applause and the band say “Hi!” and start the next track.
Continue reading “Living Colour @ Glasgow Garage 07/03/13” »
As he continues to make a comeback, David Bowie has released the second song from his new album The Next Day.
‘The Stars (Are Out Tonight)’ is a much more upbeat and rocking track than the reflective and melancholic “Where Are We Now?”. The video stars Tilda Swinton and Bowie as a couple who seem to be stalked by celebs, one of whom is an excellent ‘Bowie’. My take on it all is how celeb culture permeates into our lives. As always there is no doubt a much more wonderful deep, arty meaning to it all, but even taken at face value it a great song and video combo.
Actually from what has been released so far, both tracks are fantastic and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so excited by the prospect of a new Bowie album. Click below to watch the video now.
Continue reading “David Bowie – The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” »
It was on Sunday night that I realised my tickets for tomorrow night’s The Lumineers gig had not arrived. In all the gigs I’ve ever gone to, this has never happened. They were bought in November, shortly after seeing the band support The Civil Wars at the O2 Academy Glasgow so should definitely have turned up by now.
Now three months later – after a series of venue upgrades – the band were due to headline the very same venue I saw them in previously. Only my tickets hadn’t arrived. In fairness to Ticketweb they were extremely quick to respond to a panicked Tweet and told me to collect my tickets at the Box Office. I honestly didn’t think it would be that simple; “treat your tickets like cash” we have always been told, “they won’t be replaced.” I hadn’t lost them, they hadn’t arrived but even still I expected a little bit of push-back.
Too good to be true it seems. Even though they had three months to send them it seems that nobody received their tickets. At least, not anyone who had bought a ticket after the original (tiny) venue had sold out. The queue to collect tickets was wrapped around the building! Talking to Security who had policed the queue of disgruntled (and freezing) attendees for the past few hours it did seem like almost everybody hadn’t received their tickets! Continue reading “The Lumineers – O2 Academy Glasgow, 18/02/13” »
Much has been made in the media of Biffy Clyro’s new album Opposites. For the months leading up to the release there have been interviews, “exclusives”, two tracks released, and Radio gigs to promote it. But also not least the excitement felt from the fans in the wait for it to be with us.
It arrived last Monday morning and I have played it pretty much all the time since. During the week I also discovered that there are two versions of the album; the “deluxe edition” which is the only version I thought existed (certainly how the band described it in all interviews) and a shorter, re-ordered single disc version which apparently the record label wanted to release. More on that later.
This review deals with the album as intended by the band – the two disc “opposites” of each other. I remember reading that disc one is darker, brooding, looking back at how life has changed, strains on relationships, and everything which has happened to get to the point at which they are now. The second disc is the uplifting look to the future and opportunities which await. When listening to the music the tone and mood is clear. There is much anger and pure rock out moments and there is the anthemic choruses and joy that Biffy seem to have discovered in their most recent releases. Continue reading “Biffy Clyro – Opposites (2013)” »
Following on from Paul’s top ten review last week it is time for me to put together my thoughts on the albums which really struck a chord with me this past year. Putting the list together this time around proved more difficult than previously as 2012 seemed a far better year for great new albums than 2011.
10. Halestorm – The Strange Case of…
Halestorm are great live and have been working extremely hard over the past few years constantly touring both on their own dime and as support to some big-name acts. They also have some great songs. Latest album The Strange Case of… is worth hearing overall. Tracks such as ‘Love Bites (and So Do I)‘ are up there with the best songs of the year.
Lzzy Hale’s voice is as amazing as ever, and the rest of the band’s playing is getting stronger and stronger. However if I’m totally honest, somehow the album just didn’t live up to all my expectations as the follow-up to the brilliant self-titled Halestorm.
Continue reading “Gareth’s Top Ten Albums of 2012” »
“Good Times Bad Times”, “Black Dog”, “In My Time of Dying”, “No Quarter”, “Dazed and Confused”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “The Song Remains The Same”, “Kashmir”, “Whole Lotta Love”. It is quite a legacy.
It is no wonder then that with such a top calibre selection of songs both fans and Promoters have wanted the band to reform time and time again. Led Zeppelin have always said “No.” Until one day in 2007 they announced for one night only they were reforming along with Jason, their late drummer John Bonham’s son, to play a tribute show for Ahmet Ertegun the founder of Atlantic Records who had died the previous year.
Most will remember the frantic scrabble to get tickets, the ballot system put in place and the millions from around the world who tried to get briefs for the show; myself included. I was unlucky. Five years later the unlucky ones finally get to see the show and those who got the ‘golden’ tickets get a gorgeous reminder with Celebration Day which documents the show in full. Continue reading “Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (2012)” »
Biffy Clyro are back!
Following the album track release of ‘Stingin’ Belle’ earlier in the year the first single proper got played on BBC Radio 1 last night.
Starting with a ‘drip-drip, drip-drip’ vocal the song is instantly recognisable as Biffy Clyro. Once Simon Neil’s vocal starts you are back in a familiar territory as if they’ve never been away. Understated this track slowly builds to a chorus which I guarantee you’ll be singing along to after only a few listens.
Around about the three-minute mark we are treated to a lovely little “rock out” interlude before the melody of the track returns for the big finish.
Based on this track, with a sold out UK tour already scheduled for May next year, and the album Opposites coming out in January it is very likely that 2013 is going to be the biggest year yet for this Scottish band. Today they’ve posted ‘Black Chandelier’ to their official YouTube channel. Click below to listen to the single from there now.
Continue reading “Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier (2012)” »
Alice Cooper is the original (and best) Horror Rocker on the scene. He’s been doing it longer and better than any other imposter out there.
Tonight it makes sense to go see him since it is Halloween. Halloween with Alice is Edinburgh this year. In the Usher Hall, a venue more used to classical shows actually. The seats have been removed on the ground floor of this gorgeous Victorian building to create a fantastic slanted standing area allowing virtually zombie, vampire, sexy nurse, nun, priest and many other Halloween costumed fan to see the stage from wherever they are stood. Having seen Alice many times before this definitely felt like the smallest and most intimate venue of them all.
The whole bill tonight is a stellar one, with both Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Ugly Kid Joe in support. I don’t always mention the support act when reviewing a show, but it is worth noting such a strong bill when one like this comes along. It felt like a mini-festival with both bands playing their hearts out and definitely re-animating the many zombies amongst us! Continue reading “Alice Cooper @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 31/10/12” »