It’s no doubt it has been an incredible summer of music, and it’s not over yet as the legendary Reading and Leeds Festival takes place this weekend. With dozens of acts playing across 8 stages over 3 days, there is lot to choose from. As always the Already Heard team has got together to pick out what we think are the 20 must-see acts at Reading and Leeds 2014.
Bloody Knees are the latest band to emerge from the UK lo-fi punk scene. On August 25th the quartet release their new EP, 'Stitches' which promises to be a catchy and raw in equal measures. We spoke to vocalist Bradley Griffiths to discuss the new EP, joining Dog Knights Productions, being part of the UK emo and lo-fi resurgence and more.
If metalcore is your thing then say hello to From Her Eyes. The Welsh quartet are exclusively streaming their debut EP 'Demons' right here on Already Heard.
After a mixed opening day, the second day of Hevy Fest 2014 looked more promising, especially with Scottish punk trio The Murderburgers kicking off the day on a slight high. With their through and through punk sound, the 3 piece powered their way through cuts from their 'These Are Only Problems' LP whilst witty stage talk from frontman Fraser entertained the relaxed crowd in-between songs. Despite their fast-paced, energetic set, the lack of crowd response meant that unfortunately The Murderburgers' set was quickly forgotten about, even though they showed musical promise. (3.5/5)
Thankfully things picked up for emerging UK emo stalwarts Moose Blood. With their debut album ('I'll Keep You In Mind, From Time To Time') set for release in October, the band teased us with a mix of old and new songs. Whilst they suffered from an early hiccup, they soon got things back on track with 'Anyway', 'Moving Home' and 'Boston' receiving strong responses. (4/5)
After a problematic 2013, Hevy Fest made its return last weekend at Port Lympne in Kent. Whilst it was certainly a scaled down affair, Hevy still offered its fair share of emerging and established names to get people talking.
Heavily hyped London quartet The One Hundred had the tricky task of drawing in the sparse crowd as openers of the festival. Tucked away in the intimate second stage tent, the four piece played a pleasing set that showcased their brand of energetic electro-infused metal. With recent singles 'Breed', 'Kingsmen' and forthcoming newbie 'Downfall' all receiving a strong response, The One Hundred show once again whilst they are ones to watch. (3.5/5)
If The One Hundred had a tough task of opening the festival itself, Apologies, I Have None had the even trickier job of opening up the outdoor main stage. Having drawn in a thin crowd, the London trio played on with 30 minutes of down to earth punk with tracks from their recent 'Black Everything' EP and the superb 'London' LP. Yet the lack of atmosphere led to a disappointing set, even 'Sat In Vicky Park' couldn’t stir up a mass singalong it deserves. (2.5/5)
A trio of bands all touring the UK for the first time, and the positive summer vibes which always bodes well for the pleasantries within the human race, makes for a rather particular show. Particular? I meant special of course.
First on the list is Headroom, who have turned plenty of heads with their debut self titled EP released earlier this year. New EP 'Carry Me Away' is soon to be released and so the set comprises of material from both. The band are it’s own band and take influences from 90s emo and post hardcore circa 2009 Title Fight. Despite Headroom being a side project of bands such as Nai Harvest and Survival, it still has time to take influences from these two very contrasting bands.
For the risers of the fourth and final day of UK Tech Fest 2014, they’re welcomed by the overly abrasive Doomed From Day One; perhaps one of the most death metal band names we’ve heard in quite some time. Nonetheless the Guildford band draw a strong, mostly hungover crowd which take in DFDO's dominating mix of scaling riffs, pummelling drums and deathly screams. Add to that some funky groove-centric guitar moments along with some brutal breakdowns, and DFDO provide a frantic opening to the day. (3/5)
Next up is Shields from London who bring a rip-roaring set filled with subtle ambient elements and soaring guitars. The duel vocals of screamer Joe Edwards and clean vocalist Sam Kubrick isn’t as effective at first but that soon changes whilst guitarist Jamie-Lee Underwood supply a mix of powerful riffs and soothing lines. Whereas drummer Alex Rayner dominates at time with beastly pounding and patterns. However, we left with the impression that Shields aren’t entirely original and their set is quickly forgotten about (2.5/5)
Norweigan metallers Kodeks give a strong showing. Led by moustachioed Aleksander Emilsen, the four-piece give a dense set with spiralling riffs yet Emilsen’s vocals struggle at time and Jonas Magerøy’s drum work is messy. With the majority of the Tech Fest elsewhere and those in attendance mostly uninterested, Kodeks go through the motions with little to no effect. (2/5)
Now in its fifth year, Alcopopalooza may not spring to mind when cataloguing the many delights of British festival season, but whilst thousands descend upon Knebworth, the annual event at this little venue in the South East of London never fails to bring a smile to the face and more than a few beers to the mouth to the dedicated followers of Already Heard favourites Alcopop! Records.
Things were already well underway once yours truly arrived on the scene, including an impromptu reunion of much-missed Alcopop! legends Stagecoach, who performed 'We Got Tazers!', but I arrived in time to catch the majority of The Lion And The Wolf's set. TLATW is the performing moniker of the handsome and hirsute Tom George, who performs in front of a lucky few (well, those who could resist the appeal of watching Argentina vs Belgium) gathered underneath the Windmill’s canopy. He peppers his set of Dallas Green-cum-Bon Iver influenced melancholic (but not morose) tunes with a couple of well-received covers, including one of the theme tune to kids TV show The Raccoons. Apparently not big in Germany, much to Tom’s chagrin. (4/5)
Being a native of the historic market town of Newark-on-Trent and with the rock hub of Nottingham being a mere 30 minutes away, not much happens in the Newark music “scene”. So for that reason alone I was curious to see what would happen when the UK Tech Fest came to the town’s Showground. The other reason being that when some of the biggest and most impressive names from the underground tech metal scene does come to town, you just have to go.
Having missed the first 2 days of the 4 day festival, we jumped in at the halfway point. And even though we missed the likes of Vildhjarta, Devil Sold His Soul, Chimp Spanner, Martyr Defiled and Carcer City, UK Tech Fest still had a lot to offer.
The layout to the festival is close knit; the campsite is a stonethrows away, the 2 stages are separated by a bar/merch area and all of it is spread along 4 airplane hangers. The downside to this is the soaring heat makes it somewhat unbearable to watch some of the earlier bands.
Nevertheless, Orion provide a strong start to the day with their brand of melodic ambient metal. Sure they sound like dozens of other intimaters, yet today they sound crisp and tight to the point that I had to make sure they weren’t literally phoning it in. Thankfully with superb vocalist Phil Owen at the helm, and guitarists Ryan Robb and Alex Huzar providing a stellar backup, Orion are a early highlight that got pulled in a small yet appreciative crowd. (4/5)
After a 2 year absence, one of the UK’s premier metal and rock festival made its grand return as once again Sonisphere took over the legendary Knebworth House to celebrate 40 years of rock at the country house. And to make things even better, the sun decided to pay a visit for a majority of the weekend. With 3 days full of music and plenty to see, Sonisphere had a lot to offer.
Friday July 4th
Our weekend starts off in the intimate Satellite Stage where Pontypridd, Wales rockers Straight Lines provide a favourable set that just about woke up weary heads with their hook-filled brand of rock. With a selection of cuts from their recent 'Reflections' EP and 'Freaks Like Us', frontman Tom Jenkins’ vocals soar throughout the set yet the crowd’s unfamiliarity with Straight Lines in general leads to the band’s set to come off as ineffective at times. (2.5/5)
Over at the Bohemia stage, Canterbury draw a small yet dedicated crowd as they played a short set highlighting the best parts from their latest full-length 'Dark Days'. Although Canterbury are perhaps one of the more lighter bands of the weekend, their mix of alt-rock, pop sensibilities and atmospheric elements manage to win the crowd over. (3.5/5)
Back outside in the blistering sun, US political punks Anti-Flag produce a energetic set that picks out favourable highlights from their 20 year career. Songs such as 'Fuck Police Brutality', 'Die for the Government' and 'Power to the Peaceful' demand plenty of crowd involvement, and thankfully the mass crowd responded with the end result being one of the best sets of the day. Whilst the band’s posi-politcal talk can come off as too repetitive at times, Anti-Flag's punk rock core is enough to keep you interested from start to finish (3.5/5)
Waiting is a concept that we all have to endure, in various ways, places and times. This results in a consistent theme of anticipation. When coupled with patience, the results become completely worth it and paid for as the curtain of surprise drops. It has certainly been a very long time since Cornwall melodic hardcore band Vales have played home shores, almost two years in fact! By the end of this evening however, in this legendary London music venue, the phrase “worth it” rings true.
Beginning this free show are Bristol grungers Milk Teeth. This lot have been slowly but surely attracting ears to their filthily glorious 90s style sound. Tracks such as ‘Grease’ and ‘Forty Six’ prove this in a striking anthemic approach, pulling hooks from flesh and tearing them asunder. New single ‘Vitamins’ displays a perfect contrast of melodic pop and punk fuelled grit, a skill the band are bettering themselves at with every new release they churn out. The co-operation between the serene vocals of Becky Blomfield and the throated snarls by Josh Bannister lead this balance to great effect. If I’m not mistaken, I firmly believe that Milk Teeth, along with a handful of new British bands are doing the 90s style justice, more than their contemporaries in the U.S. are. Don’t believe me? Well, Bannister’s smashed up guitar seems to agree, in a metaphorical manner of speaking. (4/5)
Live Review: We Came Out Like Tigers, Doctrines and Patty Hearst - Travelling Man, Manchester – 21/06/2014
After a glorious day of warm weather (a rare occasion for the “rainy city” of Manchester), many retreat inside as the evening draws closer. For most, it’s either home or clubbing, for the few it could be ‘nerdy’ retreats like comics and underground live music. That would certainly be the case at the Travelling Man, one of a few comic book stores in the northern quarter. A free live show is being put on here (unusual I know), and it all kicks off with indie punks Patty Hearst. Featuring former members of Well Wisher, New Hips and With That Knife, this quartet play intricately brash indie rock. Despite having no recorded material yet, this new band shows plenty of promise in their delivery. Their current setlist contains songs named after famous Michaels and they all tick the right boxes of interest. The last song is the strongest highlight here however. Notes are gently plucked, combining with a warm bass and steady drum beat. Along with the vocals, they all delve into an angular loud to quiet fashion. Pretty promising stuff to sink your teeth into, Patty Hearst is a band to keep an eye on. (3.5/5)
Apparently the weather failed to get the memo that its basically the law that Slam Dunk Saturday is supposed to be bathed in glorious sunshine, instead lashing it down with rain for the entire time the expectant masses waited patiently in line. Despite the decidedly soggy nature of pretty much everyone on the Leeds Uni site by the time they got inside little had been done to dampen the enthusiasm for Slam Dunk North. Also known as the original and best day, despite what you Southern and Midland types may say.
Proceedings got underway in earnest with the appropriately named The First, whose performance on The Cheer Up Clothing Stage had attracted a more then respectable crowd for so early in the day. Between the rather cosy nature of the room and the Cambridgeshire lads determined attack getting everyone moving, warmth and dryness was quickly restored and the band’s take on melodic rock with heavier edges was quick to win over a visibly appreciative crowd. (3/5)
Live Review: I Am the Avalanche, Turnover, Major League and Moose Blood - Rock City Basement, Nottingham - 25/04/2014
I Am The Avalanche have arrived in the UK on an all-time high. They just released ‘Wolverines’, their superb new full-length named after a beast which is fully symbolic of their characters: fighters who are determined to succeed whatever the odds might be. They’re also playing a host of great shows this year, following an appearance at Groezrock with a European tour, and having also recently been added to the incredible Riot Fest roster in the US.
But for tonight they were doing what they love. Playing an intimate club show in Rock City Basement to a small section of their hugely devoted fanbase, who seem to hold the band at something approaching a cult status similar to that afforded to Vinnie Caruana’s previous outfit, The Movielife.
Opening act Moose Blood were hand-picked by Vinnie after he requested a UK band joined the tour, and was given a selection of five by his manager. The young group from Canterbury have just finished recording their debut over in the US where they are signed to the prestigious No Sleep Records.
Live Review: Real Friends, Modern Baseball, You Blew It! and Nai Harvest - The Star & Garter, Manchester - 14/05/2014
It’s hard to talk about modern, alternative music these days without the four names on last Wednesdays bill. I mean, Nai Harvest, You Blew It!, Modern Baseball and Real Friends, do you really need an introduction?
Nai Harvest were first up, and being the second time in the space of about a month I’ve seen them grace this stage, I was only further impressed. They made their way through some classic hits from previous releases and even threw in a couple of new tracks to wet fans’ appetite for their forthcoming album. Nai Harvest aren’t ever quite perfect live but their trashy delivery is exactly what fans have come to expect, and seeing so many people singing lyrics with arms in the air whilst only one band deep is testament to their importance. A headline slot would be what I want to see next. (4/5)
There was time when (unless you thought being featured on the pages of NME was the definition of ‘cool’ and quality music) that the Live At Leeds Festival probably wasn’t for you. However, thanks to its increasing popularity, and presumably an increased budget to match, the festival has developed into one of the most diverse and best value for money of the urban located festivals. A passing glance at the 2014 line-up suggested that fans of almost any genre of music (ok admittedly not hardcore, death metal or the like) could fairly effortlessly fill the full day watching great bands to meet their tastes.
By all accounts, an early improvement to previous events was the experience of even getting access. The delays and chaos of wristband exchange being solved by using Leeds’ shiny new arena as an exchange point. In fact, the festival had basically taken over the city, with every possible venue being put to use in a vibrant and all inclusive celebration of live music. The only minor drawback of this being that due to the long distances between many of the venues, meticulous planning was needed to allow time to see as many bands as possible.
Farewell tour after farewell tour, hiatus after hiatus. We live in a disposable age where everything we love happens in an apocalyptic burst and if you’re not there the first time round you can always catch it on the reunion tour a few years later. But that’s all been said before so, I can’t be bothered to type it up again. Just type “Your Demise farewell tour” into google and you’ll find every side of the argument, but for tonight, it’s Pure Love’s turn to say goodbye to their fans.
The sole support for this evening were canadian born, PUP. Fresh of the back of a headline slot at Live at Leeds and an impressive booking at Groezrock, they were well into their road cycle and it showed tonight in their set. They took very little time in talking to the crowd except to drop the C (not Canada) bomb a few times and drive the band’s name into everyone’s head, which they need not have done as the music itself was enough to do so. The set itself was driven by the band’s (fairly) recent self titled release that took an altogether different shape in the live format. The record is well produced and recorded in itself, but live the band really seemed to really come into their own, the gang vocals seemed all the more present and the music seemed more aggressive somehow. For it to really make sense you have to have heard the record and seen them live, both of which I recommend you do. PUP are definitely ones to watch; their aforementioned impressive bookings and a solid album and live show to back it up mean they won’t be support slots for farewell tours for much longer. (4/5)
The tough part of being in a successful band like Alkaline Trio is that after 8 albums and 15 years of touring, your fan base is severely divided. How do you cater to fans who’ve been there since the start, those who were into the goth-punk operatic of ‘Crimson’, and newer fans who’ve only heard the latest album? Of course it’s not possible, but Alkaline Trio tries their hardest, even carefully choosing a mix of support bands to reflect this.
First up are Love Zombies, an average slice of female-fronted power-pop with hints of Gwen Stefani about them. Those who are familiar with the Horrorpops will find a lot of similarities here, however Love Zombies differentiate themselves slightly with a more London edge and blissfully keep their lyrics free of blood and gore references. The Love Zombies play a perfectly inoffensive set, which unfortunately fails to drum up any interest within the crowd. (2/5)