• Claire Cameron Band at the 100 Club, 30th September 2011

    Out 3 2011, 7h50

    Fri 30 Sep – Claire Cameron Band Headline show at 100 Club, London

    Claire Cameron Band at the 100 Club, 30th September 2011

    The hallowed portals of this Oxford Street venue have witnessed performances by musicians as diverse as BB King, Lonnie Donnegan, John Lydon and The Horrors (as shown by the gallery of framed photographs inside). This night belonged to the Leeds-based Claire Cameron Band with sterling support by Genetic Revolution, The Hounds and Moonlighter. Headlining a central London gig - or anywhere else for that matter - can sometimes mean that partisan punters have all left for the tube home by the time you get to play. Not tonight, though. An expectant audience surrounded the stage as the band set up and soundchecked, while Claire disappeared shortly to make a visually striking entry on cue as the band settled into the introductory groove. The 45 minute set gave the players a great opportunity to present their finely-honed songs, each musician contributing to the excellent full electric band versions. Claire has said in interview that the band is now at a stage of maturity where they are writing songs collaboratively, which points up the fact that these are no mere support players for the singer/keyboardist. A tight unit playing the gig of their lives in the warmth of an Indian summer at this their third West End booking in a year is the stuff of media hype, but on this occasion it's true. Claire's connection with the audience is immediate and to her right, Pete Nash's always excellent guitar and backing vocals, with on her left Jim Gaylard (whip-smart drums and harmony vocals) and Mike James (pulsing bass and grin) are an ideal showcase for her powerful, soaring voice. Smartly trilby-hatted, the three men exchange grins and musical interplay, clearly enjoying the collective experience. Favourites 'Question every day', 'Time I start', 'Amethyst' and 'Spinning tops' brought rapturous applause from the crowd. A storming encore finished a hot, memorable evening which was being recorded and filmed, we hear. We look forward to reliving the experience with the performers in front of the famous, huge, three dimensional '100' backdrop (against which the White Stripes were once photographed).

    -Borin Van Loon
    www.borinvanloon.co.uk
    Claire Cameron Band
  • Gig Review: Black Country Communion & Michael Schenker Band

    Ago 4 2011, 9h21

    Tue 26 Jul – Black Country Communion, Michael Schenker Group

    Tuesday 26th July O2 Academy, Leeds

    Michael Schenker is the perfect choice to open tonight, and this is clear from the first number. The instrumental ‘Into the Arena’ brings the guitar playing to the fore and chugs rhythmically to a strut as the sound becomes fuller and brighter in time for vocalist Mike Voss’ entrance. These guys are real rockers and clearly real friends as well; evident in the way they move around the stage and interact with each other. ‘Armed and ready’ really gets the crowd going and ‘Another Piece of Meat’ in particular has a strong rock vocal performance from Voss.

    ‘Yeah! So we have a new album coming out called ‘Temple of Rock’ and this song is from that album- it’s called ‘Before the devil knows your dead’. It’s a catchy, shamelessly rocking song merging ACDC-like riffs with Whitesnake-esque melodic elements. The guitar solo is excellent, and it is impressive to witness Wayne Findley on guitar and keyboards which he achieves effortlessly.

    ‘Rockin’ like a hurricane’ whips the crowd up into happy frenzy and it definitely doesn’t feel like we’re watching a support act. Which we’re not, really! These musicians have been plying their trade for a good long time and it shows in their delivery and the quality of the songs. ‘Hangin’ on’ has an amazing vocal and the guitar line is satisfyingly sweet for the rock ballad. The more songs they do the better they sound. Then they are joined on stage by Pete Way for ‘Rock Bottom’ which gives Schenker his best guitar solo yet. What is impressive about him is that it is never too much- he plays brilliantly but he never overdoes it. He plays one handed for a minute, stops for a salute and then finishes, polished and spot on. ‘Doctor Doctor’ begins with keys and bluesy guitar, melodiously clear and brilliant. There is much grinning and dancing from both the Michael Schenker band and the crowd and everyone knows the words. They finish fully warmed up, full on rock n roll and nobody wants them to stop! I honestly haven’t seen or heard a response for a support act like the crowd gives Michael Schenker Band tonight- and it is really refreshing to see the whole group come to the front of the stage and bow together before they (deservedly) strut off!

    A dense black stage lights the words ‘Black Country Communion’ while an instrumental overture builds and climaxes in a fanfare. The anticipation is palpable and exciting as thunder crashes and lighting flashes across the stage...just as we can’t stand it anymore the tension is shattered with the call of the ‘Black Country’. There is barely a pause for breath between this and Bonham bringing in the next hit ‘One Lost Soul’ which is even better live than it is on the recording. Glenn Hughes has still got it and lives up to his reputation as ‘the voice’ with some incredible vocal acrobatics. It is such a pleasure to watch this Four Piece make enough melodic noise to fill any stadium and boy do they do it well. Joe Bonamassa and Glenn Hughes make a powerful pairing at the front of the stage and they are really enjoying themselves. Bonham is as well, as claps us into the ‘Crossfire’ from the new album, which has a heavier feel to it and is driven so seamlessly by the drums I’m willing to say I don’t know if I’ve seen live drums this good before!

    ‘Good evening everybody it’s a great evening tonight I can feel it! We’re a new band and we love playing music so I hope you enjoy it!’ – Glenn introduces ‘The Battle for Hadrian’s Wall’ which is sung by Joe Bonamassa while he plays a double guitar and it has a more country, folky feel to it. To have two such great voices in one band is impressive, and to have the musical pedigree of both their musicianship, Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham makes for a magical combination.

    ‘A Song of Yesterday’ is introduced with a stage drenched in turquoise light, shimmering around Joe Bonamassa as he plays alone in the blue leading into the moving opening. It is atmospheric and it has all the ingredients of the classic rock ballad with extra seasoning. There is a wonderful synth part in this one from Derek Sherinian which rises and falls with melodic poise as Glenn Hughes comes in with an outstanding dual vocal that is matched only by the hauntingly magnificent Joe Bonamassa guitar solo that follows. This is the highlight of the night for me as this song has everything, light, dark and downright moody blues leading to a rocking finish with the perfectly placed double vocal line ‘going to fly me away and I need you now like a song of yesterday.’

    Jason Bonham ramps it straight back up to full throttle next for ‘I can see your spirit’ and the rhythmical power he brandishes over the drum kit is evenly matched by the rampant rock riffs of the guitars, the synth and the fierce vocals. Yellow spotlights search the audience throughout making sure we’re all in it rocking out together while each breakdown and variant in the texture of the music is like a real conversation between each band member. Absolutely none of this performance is contrived; you can tell the material comes originally from a raw jam session and a shared love of real rock n’ roll. Sherinian’s synth is awesome in this number, his fingers moving so fast they’d be hard to see even close up. Now Bonham unleashes his full force on the drum kit for a solo that is so professionally delivered he has time to stop, grin for a split second and then come straight back in with a slap-bang-in-time hit.

    ‘So here’s the story; Jason started writing this song in 2007, then he didn’t get to finish it but then he we finished the song together. It’s one of our favourites as well it’s called ‘Save Me’ Hughes’s words are met with very loud applause- this is definitely a favourite with the crowd too. A quiet start with light percussion, synth and suddenly a riff worthy of Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple launches the song into a sexy, rocking and melody heavy mover! It is up there with the best rock anthems of all time for me, and most importantly it meets the criteria but brings with it a fresh, bold intensity that comes from a new band that really, really means it. Sherinian must have a mention for the exceptional synth playing throughout this one, especially in the eastern sounding breakdown moments. Bonamassa pulls yet another spectacular guitar solo out of the bag and it’s clear that Black Country Communion are what the world of real rockers have been waiting for; pure Rhythm & Blues, Rock n’ Roll, deep drama and a fusion of extraordinary musical brilliance exhibiting the kind of talent you have to be born possessing.

    A sharp contrast to the heights of ‘Save Me’ comes next with ‘Cold’ which is brought in with a heart wrenching blues guitar and beautiful synth. You really feel the song; the notes ring true and Bonamassa’s guitar cries with melody. ‘The Outsider’ is a triumph too and it is every bit as catchy as the singles from the first album.
    Derek Sherinian’s spotlight serenade comes at just the right moment and he delivers a passionate, virtuosic performance from his platform of electric notes. It is an outstanding array of intertwining contrapuntal melodies and rhythms and he deservedly receives his applause before Bonham brings the rest of boys back in. ‘Sista Jane’ is a really good tune and a great pre encore tune to rock out to. Even though we know they will come back there is a standing ovation on the balcony as they leave the stage ‘Thank you Leeds! Our name is Black Country Communion and we’re a Rock n’ Roll band!’

    They return with single ‘Man in the middle’ which has hints of Aerosmith inspired moments, and the energy levels are still riding high as the heavy riff leads them into the final number. Black Country Communion don’t hold back for the finisher: an electrifying cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ that they deliver with gusto and happiness. Everyone is on their feet to show their appreciation and the cheers and applause is deafening. ‘Thank you so much everybody we love you.’ And we love Black Country Communion right back- a real rock band who really deserve our love and will have people coming back for more.
    Words: Claire Cameron
    Black Country Communion
    Michael Schenker
  • Gig Review: Dream Theater, support: Eden’s Curse

    Jul 28 2011, 13h28

    Fri 22 Jul – Dream Theater, Eden's Curse

    Friday 22nd July O2 Academy, Leeds

    A dream comes true for Eden’s Curse tonight as they take to the stage to support ‘real Rock n’ Roll.’ In the words of their likeable and gregarious front man, Michael Eden ‘Thank you-you could do a lot with your money but you came out tonight to watch a band you have heard of and a band you have never heard of; We wanted to rock like Dream Theater, and it just shows that if you work hard enough that dream just might come true.’ Notably the heavier ‘Jerusalem Sleeps’ was well received but the set was well rounded as a whole. They put in a strong performance packed with energy, harmonies, shredding guitar solos and that song that Bruce Dickinson himself is a fan of ‘Angels & Demons’ winds up their set to a warm response from the crowd.

    Not many bands could get away with an overture like the one Dream Theater announce their entrance with this evening. Dream Theater dwell in a category of their own, however, and their musical prowess has certainly earned them the right to a rousing start! The ascent of new drummer, Mike Mangini to the colossal drum kit is accompanied by a cacophony of cheers and whoops as he grins and takes his seat.

    Dark clouds scud across a moon moving faster and faster on the screen behind the band as ‘Under a Glass Moon’ anthemically marks their prog rock territory. James LaBrie is in excellent voice and the crowd stand and absorb as Dream Theater deliver. ‘These walls’ follows and the backdrop for this one is travelling through tall grass as LaBrie’s storytelling vocal style weaves its hypnotic and compelling spell. This is emotive music done properly and the crowd, while largely standing still as they listen, take it in with delight.

    Mike Mangini looks at home already and his playing is going down positively with die hard Dream Theater fans. The rhythm section is complete and tightly interlocked for the whole show with strong bass lines from John Myung, and while you can’t help but compare Mangini to Portnoy it is clear that if anyone could come close to Dream Theater with him it is Mangini, who is one of the happiest drummers I’ve ever seen! LaBrie is also pleased to be here: ‘Merci Beaucoup thank you! We are here in Leeds-every time we come here we have a great reception and that’s what it’s all about, correct?!’ Uproarious cheers lead into ‘Forsaken’ which showcases some wonderful keys playing from Jordan Rudess and some brilliant anime like visuals behind.

    ‘Endless Sacrifice’ is up next with an amazing Continuum solo topped only by a drum solo from the new boy which definitely earned his stripes and right to be there! It is a truly phenomenal display of talent and is justly rewarded with rapturous applause.

    Transportation is a strong theme in the imagery projected to accompany the music tonight and after the instrumental ‘Ytse Jam’ finishes we spend a spell ‘Under Peruvian Skies’ in a dreamy virtuosic delight. ‘The Great Debate’ gives us a superb guitar solo from John Petrucci only topped by the guitar line in ‘On The Backs of Angels’ next. Mike Mangini is welcomed to the family by LaBrie and the audience and ‘Caught in a Web’ is an amazing mesh of Guitar and Keys in a tight dual solo.

    ‘I know you guys know the words so sing this with me Leeds, ok?!’ and they do- ‘Through My Words’ is sung back at LaBrie with gusto. ‘Fatal Tragedy’ is the kind of song that makes you feel the sky is no limit and the rising up majestic melody is wonderful to witness. Chords progressions that hold you, harmony that haunts you and keeps you firmly in its grasp Dream Theater’s music is magnificent stuff. ‘The Count of Tuscany’ closes the set with a flourish and the encore is satisfyingly close following as the band are back on the stage almost straight away to play it for us. It has been a night to remember from the virtuosic group and an intense display of technically incredible musicianship.

    Words: Claire Cameron
    Yorkshire Evening Post
    Dream Theater
    Eden's Curse
  • Gig Review: The Kabeedies, These Ghosts, This Many Boyfriends at Milo, Leeds

    Mai 22 2011, 18h08

    Gig Review
    The Kabeedies @Milo Thursday 12th May
    Support: These Ghosts, This Many Boyfriends

    It starts hot and quiet in the cubby hole performance room above Milo tonight. Having met This Many Boyfriends downstairs beforehand I’m curious to see their set. Taking their name from a ‘Beat Happening’ song called ‘The This Many Boyfriends’ they describe themselves as ‘a poppier version of The Cribs’. They are professionally un-perplexed by the minimal audience as they launch into their indiepop hero introduction to the evening, in a nonchalant and Nirvana esque style. By the time they round off their set with ‘You should be my number one’ the room is healthily warmed up and rapidly filling with bodies. TMBF, to quote their own lyrics: ‘were willing and god were they able’.

    These Ghosts take to the stage with a catchy, clever, and perfectly layered sound. A funky beat, solid bass and tight groove confirm are a force to be reckoned with and they have the makings of anthemic sound. Instantly it’s clear that these walls can’t hold These Ghosts- they should (and I’m sure will) be haunting festivals. Radiohead, Mansun and Incubus all come to mind when they play, and emotion is evident in their performance. It is astounding that there are only three men on a small stage creating this full, rich sound. ‘Footsteps on a Frozen Lake’ makes it feel cold on a spring day, conjuring up icy landscapes and making you want to freeze your ears listening to it. It is the top of the glacier in their other worldly performance and I can’t wait to hear the recording!

    ‘I’m not getting naked don’t worry’ she says as Katie delights the crowd with her strong opening notes. Her voice leads a deliciously funky, Indie Rock Pop fusion into a brilliant set. The Kabeedies are all jumping, and the energy is infectious as their spot on vocal harmonies and tight licks hit you between the eyes. Summery music vibes are reminiscent of Art Garfunkel and upbeat No Doubt performances, and the family-like on stage banter only adds to the party spirit! Everyone is on professional holiday on this stage, and the musicians are a perfect complement to each other. Impossible not to be move and groove to, it is refreshing to see a band on the up who prove that they are earning it with such an energetic and dedicated performance, and a really appreciative attitude. Shifting between songs quickly The Kabeedies will not allow you to be a passenger at this gig- they dose out hits of happiness and every song maintains the momentum. ‘Drowning Doll’ is a highlight with some beautiful breakdowns and melodic variety, and ‘Fuzzy Felt’ goes down a treat with its Beach Boys esque style. ‘Santiago’ is the most joyously delivered, though, with a crowd dancing in the palm of their hands and delighted to be there. With the band themselves confirming that ‘the Leeds atmosphere is much better than London- Leeds is a home away from home’ I’m looking forward to their next visit already. I was promised I wouldn’t be able to leave the gig tonight without smiling and I have the grin plastered to my face right into the small hours...

    Words: Claire Cameron
    Yorkshire Evening Post- Published in YEP on 19th May 2011
    The Kabeedies
    These Ghosts
    This Many Boyfriends
  • Gig Preview: The Kabeedies

    Mai 13 2011, 9h29

    Gig Preview, The Kabeedies

    Milo, Leeds 12th May

    Energetic, indie pop party starters The Kabeedies are back with a zingy follow up to 2010 single ‘Come out of the Blue’, and it’s arguably their best single yet. ‘Santiago’ is a burst of summer sound featuring trumpet, flugelhorn and charming vocal harmonies. As they gear up for a UK tour to bring the single to beaming crowds across the UK, Bassist (and Vocalist) Rory Hill is looking forward to returning to Leeds to play Milo on 12th May.

    ‘Milo is a good venue for us- we’d much rather play a small venue and really connect with the crowd. The live set is always fun, sometimes it’s kind of dumb and I think people really like that!’ Rory is keen for the band to be involved with the audience’s experience of the live set; ‘I hate it if a band’s not enjoyable to watch- it is so boring for the crowd!’ The Kabeedies approach live shows spontaneously- so much so that sometimes they don’t know the set list order until just before they go on! They live for the moment on stage, too, with their more rock n roll moments including Evan leaping over the drum kit and through a curtain off the stage….

    With all four band members contributing to the song writing ‘it can be any one of us that brings ideas to the others- even sometimes ideas for someone else’s instrument’, it is at tight knit creative group working together with the aim of sending gig goers home feeling that ‘they can’t stop smiling’.

    Citing their biggest influence right now as Vampire Weekend, with a bit of 50s rock n roll thrown in, The Kabeedies have enough variety in their cocktail of happiness to suite many tastes. Get your dancing shoes along to Milo on 12th May to be part of the crowd with a spring in your step!

    Words: Claire Cameron
    The Kabeedies
  • Claire Cameron Band at The Bowery, New Oxford Street, London (12.3.2011)

    Mar 15 2011, 15h43

    Sat 12 Mar – Claire Cameron Band, Sawsound and Japanese Fighting Fish!

    This cosy venue, one of the few places in central London where you can see up-and-coming bands and artists play live, played host to three Leeds (and two London) bands on a sunny, chilly March evening. First up was the Claire Cameron Band, the Leeds-based unit centred on the vocals, songwriting and keyboards of Claire. First to strike the audience was the professionalism of the musicians. On stage on time and not a second wasted in their muscular half-hour set. The sound was excellent and well-balanced from our vantage point towards the back of the basement room and it proved to be a great setting for a band at the peak of their powers.

    Although familiar with the first three numbers, the second part of the set proved one thing: this is a band who are unafraid to take risks. Angular, challenging passages are skillfully built into the songs which often swirl around Claire's outstanding voice. Pete Nash's guitar is always inventive and varied in tonality and technique, but always musical and always at the service of the songs. The same can be said of the experienced bassist, Mike James whose unfussy, magical bass meshes with Jim 'The Hit' Gaylard's drumming to provide the ideal rhythm section for the band. This is a band comfortable in each other's musical company and inspired by the input from each member. In other word, they're listening to each other; not always the case where egos can dominate musical aspiration.

    The last and perhaps the most prominent thing to strike the listener was the sheer variety of songs and treatments. Conga mixed with controlled feedback, a touch of reggae rhythm complements a controlled instrumental wig out! So many shades and colours from a four piece; the recent of introduction of backing vocals from Pete and Jim only extend this. The Claire Cameron Band - the whole world's watching. If they're not yet, they soon will be.


    Words: Borin Van Loon
    www.borinvanloon.co.uk
    Jim Gaylard
    Claire Cameron Band
  • Yorkshire Evening Post Review Rob Zombie, support: Skindred 21st February

    Mar 3 2011, 9h35

    Mon 21 Feb – Rob Zombie, Skindred, Revoker

    Gig Review: Rob Zombie, Support: Skindred

    Monday 21st February O2 Academy, Leeds

    A ska punk clean guitar entrance leaves any who aren’t familiar with Skindred completely unprepared for the metal ska they’re about to be marked with. This band knows how to cross genres with menace and melody and they do it extremely well. The sound is catchy, and if it wasn’t these musicians creating it, it would be almost unlikely to work. Skindred’s strains of metal funk make for an exhilarating opener. ‘Get your hands up!’ ‘Hey I didn’t tell you to put em down’ lead man Benjii’s interaction boosts the already pulsing movement of the crowd. ‘If you’re stood still you’re in the wrong f****ing place! You don’t need no f****ing mathematics to know that when you come to see Skindred you need to move!!’

    Metal, Ska Rasta-Reggae swells and grooves in a completely new sound experience and it is difficult to believe that this performance can be topped. Uplifting, dancy and sunshine filled one moment to down, dark and dirty the next, it takes you all over the place in an energetic, head moving grin. ‘Pressure’ sounds like KoRn, Limp Bizkit and Bob Marley having a house party, and there is not one still body in the room accordingly. Benjii’s vocals are outstanding throughout and Skindred have made their mark on the night laying their raga rap metal attack at the feet of the Zombie’s crowd in an offering of sweaty brilliance.

    There are not many acts who could follow a support like Skindred. Luckily Rob Zombie is next. As the stage is converted into the expression of a twisted mind the roadies themselves have been touched by the un-dead, their white masks hide their true identities as they busy themselves shifting skeletal mic stands into position. There is a smell of burning rubber as an organ dramatically plays to a backdrop of Frankenstein stumbling through a forest...and the crowd goes wild. Rob Zombie appears brandishing a skeletal arm and as he pays homage to ‘Jesus Frankenstein’ the crowd chant ‘all hail’ back at him.

    Flaming torches and flaming screens ignite for ‘Superbeast’ which is a heavy, hard bright terror to witness. The air smells like pain as the band hits every beat with ominous venom. The flames feel hot and the crowd is mad with pleasure. ‘Scum of the earth’ follows and Rob looks like a living dead man as the drums kick and cut to the gut behind him.

    ‘Leeds’ he shouts, to double bass drum pedals by Joey Jordison; ‘We’ve made a decision today that since this is the most ridiculously tiny stage we’ve ever seen we’ll give you a better show. It’s not going to be a rock n roll show it’s too f****ing cramped!! Time for the ladies of Leeds to transform themselves..’
    ‘Living dead girl’ goes down very well with some enthusiastic dancing from the fans. The live sound is excellent too. ‘American Witch’ transfixes with the supporting graphics and the music as we see a naked, attitude-filled witch defeat men, zombies and scary wolf-like creatures wielding axes.


    White Zombie’s ‘More human than human’ is classic rock with a metal tinge. Rob yells ‘Jump zombies jump!’ and we jump as a massive zombie lurches around behind the band. ‘Scream’ - we obey. ‘so happy to be here tonight. This is our 5th show which is good for you ‘cause it gets better every time!’ Red balloons pour out from the stage as ‘Sick Bubble Gum’ explodes into the room with is chugging filth funk riffs and screaming guitars. Pentagon stars are projected either side of the awesome raised drumkit for ‘Demon speeding’ and the bass is prominent and deeply satisfying in this Halloween-esque number, with Piggy D clearly enjoying his role in the churning funk.

    Burlesque is a recurring theme in the imagery for the music as are the flames which reappear at regular intervals. It is an immersive show which drags your attention from the heavy bass to the living Zombie to the pounding rhythm and round again.
    The pulsating dark tribal excellence of Jordison’s drum solo rumbles to its conclusion as red eyes gleam from behind him. The pauses in his playing only serve to prove his professionalism; he rushes nothing. He delivers fill after fill atop a writhing snake of double pedal fuelled hard playing.

    ‘Pussy Liquor’ is backed up by cascading bubbles and the funky bass line has taken possession of the females in the audience as they straddle male shoulders and dance. Japanese style anime is the theme for ‘Never Gonna Stop’ and the plethora of naked female characters on the screen divides the crowd’s attention between that and the musicians.

    John 5 comes into his own now with a stupendous guitar solo while pentagons gleam white upon black behind him and he makes the guitar melodiously squeal like there is no tomorrow. Rob uses a hand-held spotlight to highlight the performance and the crowd are wild for it!

    After a quick costume change into red army-like uniforms they’re back for ‘Werewolf women of the SS’ which includes footage with Nicolas Cage! An entertaining number it warms the room further ready for ‘Supercharger’ which is very much reckless hedonistic abandon with freely pouring riffs alongside the blood on the screen. This is not for the faint hearted fly by night fan.

    Chants of ‘zombie, zombie, zombie’ from the utterly engrossed crowd introduce ‘Dragula’ as blood falls again across the screen, flames alight and the band are back for the second encore wearing union jack tunics. A strange, freaky gas masked character dances behind Rob and the hells open to propel silver shards into the faces of the crowd.

    Rob Zombie have churned us up, spat us out and left us spluttering. Rob introduces the band, thanks us and says goodnight but it is still dark and then the lights are flashing again. ‘Spare body parts will be available at the box office for free’ flashes up on the screen and then they are back. ‘We were going to leave but you’re so wonderful we thought we’d stay a little longer, so let’s get mellow.’

    ‘House of 1000 Corpses’ is as mellow as they get; with sexy, dirty groovy metal and ominous rhythms. On the screen the embers curl, flicker and burn out and it is over. Hot, funk ridden doom metal reverberates in the ears of the addicted zombie loving living dead as the mass exodus begins. Rob Zombie was worth waiting 12 years for.

    Words: Claire Cameron
    Yorkshire Evening Post
    Rob Zombie
    Skindred
  • METRO & Yorkshire Evening Post: Claire Cameron interview with Piggy D, Rob Zombie

    Fev 18 2011, 14h10

    Rob Zombie: Interview with Piggy D ahead of Leeds date 21st February

    The unrivalled, horror metal genius of Rob Zombie is hitting the UK for the first time in 12 years.
    They are set to play Leeds on Monday 21st February as part of their highly anticipated, sell-out tour. 7-times grammy nominated, famous for originality and fantastical pyrotechnics this is sure to be an explosive stage show. Claire Cameron got the inside scoop from bassist Piggy D…

    Fantastic news that you’ll be coming to the UK with Rob Zombie in February, have you played Leeds before, and what kind of reception do you expect?
    Yes, I've played Leeds several times with my previous bands, and it’s always a blast. Everybody there really seems to enjoy themselves at the shows there. Leeds knows how to party!

    How did you go about making the new album run on so seamlessly from Hellbilly Deluxe 1 with such a large time gap in between? How would a typical day in the studio with the band play out- were you all there for the whole process?
    Honestly it just came very naturally. The band was new, and all very strong personalities. Everyone is a great player. So being in the studio together with Rob was the easiest recording process I have ever been a part of. Everyone was there every day, regardless of what else was going on. The record really came out sounding like a band, because it actually was. The "Hellbilly" elements are there in a different, slightly more organic way. It was never the plan to make an identical record, and I think the band being who it was at the time had a lot to do with that.

    ‘Sick Bubble Gum’ opens with the lyrics ‘we’re gonna crash and burn’ : would you say that Hellbilly Deluxe 2 has that reckless metal/party hard feel to it the whole way through?
    Yes, parts of it do feel very trashy and reckless. And parts of it feel darker and more sinister than the first one. It really mirrors the vibe of the stage show too. We throw a huge party; it’s a party atmosphere. But it’s also very dark and layered with all things that Zombie is known for. It’s sexy, it’s dangerous, it’s scary and funny all at the same time.

    ‘Virgin Witch’ stands out to me with its sexy, catchy guitar hooks and down n dirty bass lines; what is it that makes a song stand out to you and which one is your favourite on Hellbilly 2?
    I love that song, it’s total doom rock! I love ‘What?’ too. I think that song is the best graveyard party anthem. It reminds me of the first time I saw "Return of the Living Dead". It makes you wanna go throw a party in cemetery with a bunch of punks! Haha!

    What do you think it is about the Rob Zombie sound that keeps fans coming back for more?
    I think he's one of the few artists out there who put 100% of himself into everything he does. His movies, music, show the band. It’s all him and his sick twisted world, and he's invited us all into it. It’s really rare to see someone who it gives it their all, and all the time.

    Tell me about the artwork – what was the inspiration and how has the finished article gone down with the band and the fans?
    We wanted to do something epic. Since the record has such a broad scope musically, we felt visually it should as well. It was fun for me and my partner Carin to be able to chip in with the art duties for this one. We had a blast with Rob putting it all together. We all pulled a lot of different ideas together to make it a fun experience to listen to the record and read all the lyrics. The art work is very layered as well, and shows everyone’s personalities in the band.


    How would you describe the feeling of recording and performing again with the band in contrast to being a solo artist?
    What I do with Zombie is all about the group as a whole. We all have our own vibe, look, and approach to being on stage. But the overall effect is greater than the individual parts. It’s a perfect situation. To find people who are so different, yet all want the same thing on stage is incredibly rare. With solo work, or other collaborations I do, it’s about a different vibe and approach. The music is different, the looks are different. I'm the same person, I'm just painting with some different colors.

    What emotions do you aim to evoke from the crowd when you play live?
    I get to let the other side come out and play for an hour. I act and care as if no one is watching, yet I'm very in tune with the crowd and the individual people there. I like them to feel like they are a part of the show, because they are. We all feed off of the energy in the room. We are all the same people on stage, there are just no inhibitions.

    Do you have a different on stage persona for each band you play in? Which one is the most satisfying and enjoyable one to be?
    I’m always myself. Some bands have a tighter filter on what is acceptable on stage, how far you can go. With this band, we really all take it to 10. It’s like an exorcism playing on stage with Rob. I get it all out. I feel every beat, note of every song. I think the best performers are the ones that allow you to see that. You can see it in their eyes that they live and love what they do. They are completely in tune with everything around them.

    When you are not touring yourself, do you get the time to go and watch other artists? Who would you most like to see?
    I always try to. It’s tough with the schedule sometimes. I like so many different genres of music that I really try to absorb everything I can. I love to see what bands do, and how they make music together on stage. It’s really fascinating to me, and almost voyeuristic.

    Do you have any other projects in the pipeline at the moment?
    Way too much!!!! I have country/rock/americana duo called 'Black Foxx' that I have been recording with. That music will be out in the early spring. I also have some more solo music in the works, and some videos for both. The biggest thing I have is a company called 'Black Victory' with my partner Carin. We do album art, merch design, and custom clothing for other artists. We have an online retail store (www.blackvictorystore.com) that really takes a lot of time and energy to run, but its lots of fun. Black Victory is also a label by which I'm able to release all the solo projects I have.

    Finally, What’s next for Rob Zombie after this tour?
    Well, everything I just mentioned. I’m dying to get back in the studio with Rob and create some new music, and a new show would be fun to put together too. This band is so psyched to keep moving ahead and conquering new territories. We have so many places to go and people to meet. I think we are really just getting started.

    Words: Claire Cameron
    Piggy D
    Rob Zombie
  • Gig Review: Thin Lizzy Monday 10th January O2 Academy, Leeds

    Jan 20 2011, 19h10

    Lively rock and roll from Supersuckers kicks off the proceedings tonight, the laid back nonchalance accepted with the nodded head of a rock veteran crowd. Their gruff, humorous attitude paired with their love of holding their guitars aloft in salute makes them a warming opener for the super-group that is to follow.

    THIN LIZZY is illuminated in red lights and they are back, the unmistakable drive of ‘Are You Ready’ blasting out across the supportive throng. Straight away it is clear that the line up works, every man on the stage nailing his part and deservedly grinning! Scott Gorham and Vivian Campbell are the perfect partnership for the vital dual guitar lines, and they are on right on the money.

    ‘Waiting for an Alibi’ is tackled next and the bass stands out on this one; Marco Mendoza doing the dirty, funky line delicious justice. It is impossible not to grin in response to live music of this calibre, and the audience is behind the band from the start. Ricky Warwick earns his stripes with a very true interpretation of Lynott’s vocal style, while keeping his own character in his tone with the huskier element his voice possesses. ‘Jailbreak’ is awesome with smoke and sound pouring from the stage accompanied by shots of the delighted crowd on the stage screens. This creates a stadium effect and underlines the feeling that everyone in the room already has; that we are really witnessing something special tonight.

    ‘As Phil said, you can do anything you want to’ Ricky states as he, Scott and Vivian play drums at the front of the stage for ‘Do Anything You Want To’. These songs really are brilliant guitar vehicles and Thin Lizzy 2011 launch seamlessly into ‘Don’t Believe a Word’ with a slick professionalism that is rarely pulled off so effectively.
    Everyone in the room sings for ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ and the atmosphere is hot and joyful. Scott’s solo is clear, piercing and brilliant. Ricky is spot on, injecting his sultry vocal tones into the wonderfully familiar songs, and they really are brought to life again.

    ‘Renegade’ is begun with a purple lit stage and Darren Wharton really has his moment now, with a psychedelic, immense keyboard solo that brings the pout out of every rocker here. The crowd lets it soak in with rapt attention and the whole room is gobsmacked. He follows this beautifully with a wonderful vocal on ‘Still in Love With you.’ This is a highlight for me; the rock ballad works really well with Ricky and Darren’s voices complimenting the subtle bass lines.

    What is really key to these outstanding musicians is the expression in everything they do; songs are treated with the respect they deserve and really performed. Vivian takes this solo and it is stridently emotive. Scott takes the next solo and he is amazing too- it is a treat to have not one but two virtuosic guitarists pouring their heart into solos on the same stage. Photos of Phil Lynott fade in and out behind the band and it is a fitting tribute for him, as Vivian begins ‘Whiskey in the Jar’.

    Ricky has an easy way with the audience as he introduces Scott (the band have all introduced each other tonight and it has been great to see the credit they give each other so evident) and ‘Emerald’ which is the best collective performance of the night. Brian Downey is a driving force on the drums and he doesn’t miss a beat! ‘Emerald’ is a heavy blues delight. The guitars in the middle section of this one are perfectly and powerfully executed.

    Ricky thanks us and ‘Wild One’ follows with Marco and Ricky stage left and Vivian and Scott a team on the right. A powerful reminder of outstanding song writing impeccably performed.

    ‘I speak for myself, the fans and the band now and we are just so delighted to have this man back where he belongs - behind the drums.’ Ricky’s introduction for Brian Downey is just in time for his moment as he executes a fantastic drum solo for ‘Sha-la la-la’.

    We’re criticised for our poor coyote call for ‘Cowboy Song’ but we get a second chance and Ricky yells ‘it’s ok Leeds you can let yourself go ‘cause Phil’s still riding with us, riding in this rodeo.’ This is evident in the familial spirit of the group on stage.

    ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ is obviously so much fun for the boys on the stage that we’re jealous we can’t be up there with them! The uplifting genius of the harmonious riffs sends the audience into a state of euphoria.
    ‘There is one reason why we’re all here tonight and we all know what that is- all of you give it up for the king Phil Lynott!’ All the songs ware dedicated to him tonight especially this one: Rosalie.’

    Energy levels are still riding high for this and the heavy fuel of ‘Bad Reputation’ keeps the momentum going with chugging riffs of majestic proportions. ‘Black Rose’ is an encore that demonstrates how to make Folk ROCK and it is with a feeling of deep satisfaction at having witnessed rock greatness that people go out into the night.



    I caught up with Ricky, Darren and Marco after the show and got their thoughts on how it went:

    Ricky, tell us how it felt to be up there tonight? ‘Leeds crowd were rocking. Every night it is an honour to stand up there and sing the songs- all I can do is put my heart and soul into it and do my best to make it a rocking gig.’

    Darren, how do you feel tonight went? ‘It’s lovely being back in Leeds and Yorkshire and we feel very passionate about this area as we’ve enjoyed the response from the audiences here, it’s great as the people are really taking to the new birth of Thin Lizzy if you like. We all feel very passionate about it, we feel very respectful towards Phil and we’re here for the right reasons, you know, we all wish Phil was here tonight. Unfortunately he can’t be so we want to do him proud. We love the music and we just had to go out there and honour his memory.’

    Marco, what was your favourite moment tonight? ‘At any given gig there are a dozen favourite moments and this is number four for us. But Leeds has always been a good place for us. I’ve been here with Lizzy before, and Whitesnake and I love this venue, it’s very happening. The first chord was a highlight (sings it) and the last chord was a highlight as well (sings it again with gusto!)- we had a few of them- it’s hard to pick! It’s only getting better as everything is falling into place-we have a blast and we all get on very well.’

    Thin Lizzy put the joy back in Rock n’ Roll tonight.

    Words: Claire Cameron

    http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/musicandgigs/Gig-review-Thin-Lizzy.6697088.jp

    Thin Lizzy
    Marco Mendoza
  • Yorkshire Evening Post: Claire Cameron Interview with Scott Gorham, Thin Lizzy

    Dez 23 2010, 9h35

    Yorkshire Evening Post: Claire Cameron Interview with Scott Gorham, Thin Lizzy ahead of their Leeds date 10th January on the upcoming tour

    THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN

    What was the inspiration behind this tour?

    To be quite honest we had some trouble a little over a year ago and myself and John Sykes parted ways. It was a period where I felt a bit down; didn’t know if I was gonna carry on with Thin Lizzy and I actually got a call from Brian Downey and he said ‘we gotta keep it going’ and he wanted to come back and be in the band. It had seemed for the longest time he didn’t wanna play and now for the last couple of weeks he’s been working harder than the rest of us!
    Vivian Campbell has been a big TL fan since the 70s- he’s such a big fan he knows all of the songs- He was teaching me parts of songs I’d written years ago! The good thing about Viv joining and with Ricky Warwick singing is that they know all the songs and they know all of the obscure songs also. In the past we’ve stuck to the Live and Dangerous set but now we are starting to pull out songs we’ve never played, or haven’t played in years.

    Do you think that the band has suffered from being associated with the early songs too much?

    The Lizzy fans know almost all of the songs anyway- its the casual Thin Lizzy listener that will only know those two or three songs- The Boys Are Back in Town, Jailbreak, maybe Waiting For an Alibi. But I’ve heard over and over again that people say ‘I didn’t know these guys wrote that song’.
    You’ve got to play your The Boys Are Back in Town and The Jailbreaks; I hope that when they hear what we’re doing they’ll download a couple of the other ones and check them out also.
    Musically we were never a one trick pony, especially with Phil and his writing he could show a lot of different sides to himself and he was never afraid to show that- lots of bands get their formulaic thing and stick to it. Maybe that’s why we didn’t break America so much, because we didn’t stick to one sound the whole way through and for the longest time I’ve figured it out. But then your speak to some fans and they say that’s why they love us, because we have that variety and we didn’t just find a formula stick to it.

    How would you describe your fan base now? Is die hard Thin Lizzy fans or are you appealing to a fresh set of ears?

    It’s both. The last time we were out there playing that’s what we were noticing- the younger crowd were up at the front and the older guys at the back just taking it in. There is a well rounded fan base now whereas before I think it was just one age bracket, now the age bracket has widened quite considerably. I kinda dig that fathers are passing the album onto their sons and we’re playing to the new generation. I’ve had father’s say to me ‘My song was listening to this pop crap and now I’ve introduced him to Thin Lizzy you’re his favourite band.’
    My Dad wanted me to go into the construction business like him and I wanted to do music- we were always butting heads over that. I always used to hear the phrase ‘Well you know you’re gonna need something to fall back on.’ A fair few years down the road you realise ‘I was actually really lucky.’ Because I wasn’t sensible or serious!

    Any plans for new material and who would be writing it now?

    Well that always seems to be the number one question- that has probably been the biggest hurdle of the whole thing. There are parts of Phil’s family that really don’t like that idea- they’d rather not. It’s a moral thing; there are moral hurdles you have to overcome all the time. As far as writing the material there are 6 songwriters in the band- there are no passengers!
    I’ve got another band a group called 21 Guns, and we’ve made two albums already. My partner lives in Oslo so it’s always tough to try and find time to try to work on that. We have recorded in the studio there and have 12 or 13 songs in the demo state and now its weeding out time to decide and refine which ones will go on it– it will probably be after this tour. That’s the fun bit- once you’ve worked out all the hard stuff!

    Is that your favourite part in music?

    My favourite part in music is going out on tour and playing in front of people. It is only in the past 15 years I’ve really started to enjoy the studio. Making a Thin Lizzy album was like pulling teeth sometimes- we always seemed to be arguing all the time with everyone wanting to get their bit in. Now I’m more experienced and it’s a more relaxed process, I really like the music of 21 Guns.

    You joined Thin Lizzy on the brink of their breakthrough. What was that like to live
    through then and look back on from where you are now?

    It wasn’t their breakthrough; they were going broke! They were heavily in debt and by the time I got to that first day for the first jam with them they had already gone through 25 guitarists and not found the right one. I walked in and I was the last piece of the puzzle for them. We then spent 3 weeks in the rehearsal studio going over and over these songs. Just for 4 shows, and the 4th show was the London Marquee- it was on that night we had to secure a record deal and if we didn’t it was over. Thankfully we got it and everything was ok!

    It must be a challenge to replicate the chemistry between yourself and Brian Robertson with the dual guitar attack-how close do you think the live sound you achieve with Vivian Campbell gets to that signature sound?

    Well I think it gets alot closer than it did with John Sykes and that’s not to say anything against him- what happened with John was it started to sound Metal -sounding .We always said this is an Irish Rock Band not a Metal band. With Vivian it’s been easy to pull it back to what we originally wanted sound wise, same with Ricky. Everyone knows what it needs to be rather than ‘this is want it to be.’

    How important is your choice of Guitar to the overall quality of your performance- what is it about a Les Paul Axcess that draws you to it? Have you made it your own- is it customised?

    Yes it is to a certain degree what they’ve done is they’ve chambered it for me so it’s made it a little bit lighter, the neck has been shaved down- it’ll not be like any Les Paul Axcess that you can get off the shelf from the shops. The pick-ups are Gibson T500s. It’s tough when people say come over for a jam and they throw this alien guitar at you-yeah your instrument is really important.

    How do you feel the current vocal arrangement is working overall compared to Phil’s voice?

    It wasn’t only the texture of his voice but the timing and his phrasing that was unusual- I haven’t heard anyone that’s got in there and phrased like Phil. Ricky is kind of in the same ball park with a deep voice, he gets a real authentic sound being from N Ireland on that and he’s a hellava nice guy as well. The last thing we wanted was a Phil clone. When everyone comes into this band I tell them you’re her e for a reason- because we like what you do so we’re not going to tell you what to do, you’re up there for your personality. You gotta get in there with the spirit of the song- it’s not karaoke hour.

    How does it feel with this line up to play as Thin Lizzy and how do you anticipate the reception?

    I hope it’s going to be good I hope people are going take it for what it is. This isn’t something that’s new to me- I think everyone is going to have a really good time. I know that from the past shows we’ve done. I think it’s going to be great!

    What would you say to the TL fans/critics who feel that it can’t be TL without Phil Lynott?

    (Chuckles) Every band gets that. We’re were talking the other day and we said name two bands from the 70s and 80s who still have the same line up, and we could only think of Iron Maiden and one other one which I can’t remember now! It’s really difficult for bands to stay together! And for us it’s impossible: Phil isn’t going to come bounding out from the wings and grabbing the microphone- we have to do the best we can which is a pretty high grade of Thin Lizzy. There are always critics but what keeps me going is looking out at the crowd and seeing them enjoying it!

    What do you think Phil would say?

    I think Phil would be the first guy up on the stage! I don’t just miss Phil as a band member- I miss him because he was my friend for 11 years we did every single thing together then all of a sudden he wasn’t there , it was sad and it was tough. The first time I got up there and played a show without him it was strange- I’d look to my right and he’s not there when for years he had been. It was a really hard thing.

    What is your favourite Thin Lizzy track and why?

    I really don’t have a favourite- I think if I had one favourite song I’d be waiting around for that song to come around in the set. I have lots of favourite parts in the songs, moments that I look forward to- these songs are great guitar vehicles to play on!
    When you’re not performing on stage or in the studio what is your favourite place to be? I used to be embarrassed about this but I’m not anymore.
    I play golf, have done for many years. I play with Phil (Life on Mars) and John Hannah -we’re in the same club together. On tour it’s often in the worst part of town and indoors- an unhealthy way of life and outside it feels healthy, it’s a way different environment. I even had Alice Cooper out there on the course the other day- he’s got a lot of stories, and when he tells them it’s amazing at how similar they are to mine! I think of Golf as a learned skill rather than a sport in that sense it’s like music in that way: you’re learning a skill and you’re always learning.

    When you listen to music, how do you listen? Who are you listening to at the moment- is there any music out there right now that really gets you going?

    I get in moods where I really wanna listen to music, but in what way do I listen? I guess I look at it on a performance level- how well the person is singing or playing their instrument, but I try not to be too critical. It’s no good being over critical all the time. Recently I’ve been listening to Steel Panther- I met them: they were in the rehearsal room next to us.. I could hear some Thin Lizzy guitar licks. They’re kind of a comedy band, their new album is called: ‘Feel The Steel’. Turns out they’re big Thin Lizzy fans. It’s music you’ll never hear on the radio they’re pretty out there!

    What next for you?

    The tour will last for the whole year then I’m hoping to get back and finish 21 guns album. Will you tour with 21 Guns? We’d love to do that-a couple of European promoters are interested so we might take them up on their offer and do a tour.

    Well I’ll look forward to that! Thank you so much for your time- it has been an absolute pleasure and I really appreciate you taking the time to have a chat with me!

    Thank you! And I’ll see you on the 10th January!

    Words: Claire Cameron
    Thin Lizzy
    21 Guns
    http://www.last.fm/event/1535828+Thin+Lizzy+at+O2+Academy+Leeds+on+10+January+2011

    http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/musicandgigs/Music-Interview-Thin-Lizzy.6669838.jp