Category Archives: TVD UK

TVD Live Shots: KISS at the O2 Arena, 7/11

This is the seventh time I’ve seen the self-proclaimed “hottest band in the land” and sadly it will likely be the last. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer took to the stage in front of a capacity crowd at the legendary O2 Arena for one final statement to the fans in London and to say goodbye and thank you for more than forty years of love and support.

It’s bittersweet to write this review knowing that I will likely never see these guys again live,  and it’s interesting to watch Paul and Gene do their signature move and antics one last time. It’s hard to believe that Paul Stanley is 67 years old as he looks to be in the best shape of his life. It looks like the guy just finished a triathlon.

Opening up the evening with the KISS classic “Detroit Rock City the band descended from a steel platform gliding through an enormous cloud of smoke from the opening fireworks. Within seconds Gene and Paul were front and center interacting with the crowd (and the photographers) in classic form. These guys don’t miss a beat and they still have the energy of a rock ‘n’ roller half their age.

In traditional KISS fashion, Stanley brought the stage to the middle of the arena as he ziplined over the crowd with his guitar strapped to his back arriving in style to deliver a rousing version of “Love Gun.” Gene took it up a notch with his fire-breathing and blood spitting for “War Machine” and “God of Thunder.” While it would have been epic to see Ace and Peter return for a song or two, Tommy and Eric have proven to be worthy members of the line up over the years and when they all come together it’s truly magical.

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UK Artist of the Week: Galileo’s Fan

Get ready to be blown away by Scotland’s latest majestic offering. Galileo’s Fan are a duo from the Scottish highlands who create stunning cinematic pop with flawless harmonies.

Their latest single “I Won’t Be Found” is taken from their upcoming new album of the same name, which is out on 16th September 2019. The track is instantly spellbinding, combining indie-pop sensibilities with their traditional folk roots to create something that is truly breathtaking. Think Of Monsters and Men meets Sigur Rós and your almost there.

Galileo’s Fan are siblings Fi and Martin Vass (surprise!). They have two other siblings—one of whom is renowned folk musician Mike Vass—but the pair decided to step out as a duo in 2012. “I Won’t Be Found” is the second single to be taken from Galileo’s Fan’s upcoming album and what’s up their sleeve next. Here’s hoping they’ll make their way across the pond sooner rather than later.

“I Won’t Be Found” is out now via GF Records.

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TVD Live Shots: Rammstein at Milton Keynes Stadium, 7/6

I’ve seen thousands of shows in my life, and I get asked quite often what’s the best show I’ve ever seen. After last week’s stadium show in Milton Keynes, I will answer that question with the same way for the rest of my life: Rammstein. Hands down this is the biggest, baddest, coolest gig I’ve ever seen.

I’m not even sure how to describe it, but I’ll give it a shot. The music falls somewhere between metal, industrial, techno, and rock, but that’s just the beginning. Oh, and they sing in German, which means that 90% of the audience here in the UK have no idea what they are saying, but that doesn’t matter. This show is bigger than the music, it’s bigger than the constant stream of controversy that follows the band and the top the charts, it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever seen before; it’s a culture of its own.

I saw Rammstein back in the states on the Family Values tour in 1998 with Korn, Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube, and Orgy. I thought they were great back then, but twenty years later these guys are on a new level. I remember meeting frontman Till Lindemann backstage at that tour, and although he didn’t speak English and I don’t speak German, we hung out for a bit along with the others in the band. I remember him having a very good sense of humor about the backstage experience, even when the singer from Orgy brought out the porn video of his wife.

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TVD Live Shots:
Live at Shepherd’s
Bush Empire, 6/30

Live made a triumphant return to the UK for the first time in almost a decade. Touring in support of the 25th anniversary of their magnificent 1994 release Throwing Copper, the original members of Live are back and sounding better than ever before.

The last time I saw Live was back in 1997 when the band was at their peak. Their highly anticipated third album Secret Samadhi was just about to be released and the band was touring intimate theatres debuting the music and playing nothing additional. This idea would be career suicide for any group in today’s confused musical landscape, but twenty years ago it was bold and made a certain statement of confidence that the new material was solid.

Lead by the hard-edged single “Lakini’s Juice,” Live had kept the mystique behind Throwing Copper while adding a harder edge to their sound which would showcase a third evolution of the band. The record debuted at number one the Billboard chart and went on to go double platinum, but it may have proved a bit too ambitious for the band. They would follow with The Distance in 1999 which would also achieve platinum status, but nothing would match the enormous success and mass appeal of Throwing Copper.

Hearing these songs live again reminds you instantly how many hits they did have and why they sold more than 20 million records. The setlist didn’t include anything from their debut album, and rightfully so. Throwing Copper is simply on another level. Few bands can take their songwriting and production to new heights in such a short amount of time. These guys did it all while upping the ante with a statement and a lot of mystique.

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TVD Live Shots: Lynyrd Skynyrd at Wembley Arena, 6/29

When you think of Southern Rock, there’s really one band that comes to mind, and that’s the rebels of the south known as Lynyrd Skynyrd. Through tragedy and triumph across four decades, this band has not only defined the genre and carried the torch, but they inspired every generation after them to keep the spirit alive.

The band’s impact is even more impressive as it crossed over into pretty much every other genre on the planet. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the group No. 95 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and the following year the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced that Lynyrd Skynyrd would be inducted alongside Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, and the Sex Pistols. That’s some fucking good company to be in. Having never seen the band live, I thought I had better get off my ass and go see them in a proper arena, in London of all places.

Does southern rock ‘n’ roll translate across the pond? Holy shit, yes it does. How about a sold-out Wembley arena for starters? While technically there’s only one original member in the farewell line-up—the great Gary Rossington—that really doesn’t matter. There remains a bloodline and furthermore a legacy that has evolved and has continued to celebrate the most crucial element here: the songs. Johnny Van Zant does an excellent job of leading the pack while the triple guitar attack of Rickey Medlocke (who was absolutely on FIRE this night), Mark Matejka, and Rossington being second in command. The band was rounded out by piano, bass (I swear that was Johnny Colt from the Black Crowes?), one hell of a drummer, and two incredible backup singers elevating those southern style harmonies.

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UK Artist of the Week: KTG

Those Irish know how to write a song, don’t they? It must be something in the air—which is certainly the case for young KTG who is our latest Artist of The Week.

KTG—aka Katie Gallagher—is pretty new to the scene but we’re sure that won’t be for much longer if her new single “Don’t Tell My Mother” is anything to go by. Her second release to date, “Don’t Tell My Mother” feels like a wholesome hug that keeps on giving. KTG combines elements of country-pop with indie-folk to create an undeniably infectious earworm, perfect for the summer months. Citing artists like KT Tunstall and Wallis Bird as her influences, it’s clear that her upcoming album Searching For Magpies will include even more tracks to get addicted to before the year is out.

At just 22 years old, Katie is already exhibiting huge potential and an incredible ability to write poignant lyrics way ahead of her years. With Searching For Magpies out on 26th September and another single on the way before that, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this wee, Irish gem.

“Don’t Tell My Mother” is in stores now via Beardfire Music.

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TVD Live Shots: Riskee and the Ridicule at The Black Heart, 6/22

Ah, the joy of going to an album release show for a band that is primed to be the next big thing out of the UK. It’s a rare thing these days to catch a band just before they explode and I just caught lightning in a bottle last week at the legendary Camden Town rock ‘n’ roll shop The Black Heart.

Ashford based Riskee and the Ridicule came onto my radar a bit last minute as the record was sent to me along with an invite for the show. I get a ton of links to records and videos alike, but when a publicist with a stellar track record recommends something, I take a listen. The next question is always, when’s the London gig? Friday? Too perfect, I’m there.

Riskee and the Ridicule blasted onto the stage to a full house celebrating the release of their stellar new record Body Bag Your Scene which sees its worldwide release today. The energy in the room matched the explosiveness of the new album perfectly, and I’m so glad that I made it to this gig.

These guys have crafted their own over-the-top style over the years, but on the new album they take it up a notch. That sound falls somewhere between The Dropkick Murphys, The Clash, and Eminem, bringing together the angst and fury of punk with street smart storytelling tackling issues of addiction, depression and more. The new record hits hard out of the gate with tracks like “Accelerate” and the insanely catchy “Kaboom,” but it keeps your attention with stories of self-destruction and hope brought to life through another standout track “In the Dark You Dwell.”

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TVD Live Shots: Candlebox at the O2 Islington Academy,

I was a teenager in the ’90s growing up in the Midwest of the United States and I remember the exact day and time when grunge single-handedly killed hair metal. It was during an episode of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball and host Rikki Rachtman had just finished introducing Motley Crue’s “Don’t Go Away Mad” as the number one Skullcrusher of the week (yeah, I know). Rachtman declared to the viewers, “I have a new band from Seattle that I think you all are going to like, they are called Nirvana.” This was the nail in the coffin for bands like Poison and Warrant, but it paved the way for a new breed of rock ‘n’ roll.

While Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains owned the harder edge of the genre, there was room for a band to step in and bring a bit of soul to this new sound. That band would be Candlebox. Their debut self-titled record is arguably one of the best debuts of the era and it stood out from its peers because of one man, Kevin Martin. The first time I saw the band was during a promotion for Jolt Cola, an overly caffeinated drink that was all the rage with rebellious teenagers at the time. If you brought a bottle cap from the drink to the venue (the famed Mississippi Nights in this case) you could get in free.

There were about 20 people at the show that night as the album had just been released and it was just beginning to get traction. I remember the band being on stage but missing their singer, literally calling out to the crowd, “Has anyone seen our singer Kevin?” Several minutes later said singer comes waltzing through the crowd unassumingly as if he’s at his own house party with high school friends. Seconds later as he grabs the mic, history would change once again with one of the most electric and dynamic performances that I’ve seen.

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TVD Premiere: Gallery 47, “Weeklong”

It’s been quite a while since we featured young singer-songwriter Gallery 47 here at TVD, so it gives us great pleasure to share this exclusive with you today! His latest single “Weeklong” is his first official release of 2019 and its premiering right here, right now!

“Weeklong” has more of a classic rock feel than Gallery 47’s previous work, but that’s certainly not a bad thing. With a full band behind him, Jack’s warm, softs vibrato is filled with colour and a power that we haven’t really heard from him before. It makes sense that Gallery 47—aka Jack Peachey—has decided to change things up a bit, as the whole folk/singer-songwriter thing is starting to get a bit old isn’t it? With “Weeklong” Jack has stepped out of his comfort zone and it’s certainly paid off in our eyes. Fans of the likes of Canned Heat and Easyworld will feel at home here.

On the single, Jack elaborates, “‘Weeklong’ is a simple track which deals with the personal side of trying to make it in the music industry. Nobody knows quite how to treat you, and a lot of the time it ends up being down to how valuable you’re being perceived at the time. Anyone aspiring to achieve anything has to be willing to drop the rational anchors of stable life when a decent chance comes along, but as quite a cautious and cynical person I’ve often found it stressful to deal with that level of risk.

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UK Artist of the Week: BRIDGES

Indie rock is looking alive and well if our next Artist of the Week is anything to go by. BRIDGES’ new single “Return To The Drake’s Nest” is an indie anthem from the offset that will have your toes tapping in minutes.

The rising quintet have been making waves in the UK for some time now, having already supported We Were Promised Jetpacks, Slow Readers Club, and All Tvvins to name a few. With their latest anthemic single, BRIDGES hope to continue to captivate fans far and wide with their poetic lyricism and celestial soundscapes. Fans of The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit will feel at home here. Oh, and the harmonies between these guys are absolutely stunning by the way.

BRIDGES are the latest signing to Big Indie Records, a label we’ve had our eyes and ears on for a while now and they are yet to disappoint. Based in both Austin and London, Big Indie Records have been making a splash on both sides of the pond recently and we’re always excited to hear what they’re getting up to next. Catch BRIDGES live on 10th July 2019 at London’s Two Tribes Brewery in association with Big Indie Big Nights.

“Return To The Drake’s Nest” on 25th June 2019 via Big Indie Records.

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TVD Live Shots: Deadland Ritual
at the O2 Islington Academy, 6/13

Who doesn’t love a proper rock ‘n’ roll supergroup? Especially when it’s made up of four people you never really thought would jam, let alone write songs and tour together. Say hello to Deadland Ritual, the new band featuring bassist Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Michael Jackson), drummer Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses, The Cult, Velvet Revolver), and singer Franky Perez (Apocalyptica).

Even though these guys have only been together since December of last year, they’ve already written seven songs, played their debut gig in LA last month, and embarked on a European tour of select club dates and major festivals including Download and Hellfest. Filling out the setlist with various numbers from their past, Deadland Ritual is quickly building a fan base and looks to be setting itself up for a full-length record as well, but that remains to be seen. When I saw that the band would be stopping by the intimate O2 Academy in Islington on their way to play to tens of thousands at Download, I jumped on it.

I will say that I’m a bit partial to Steve Stevens and Matt Sorum only because they played with two of my favorite artists, The Cult and Billy Idol, respectively. Sorum’s not only one of the best dressed and most stylish musicians on the planet, but he’s also one hell of a drummer to boot. Then you have easily one of the most innovative guitarists on the planet with Stevens, the man who single handedly redefined what the word “tone” means for a new generation of guitar players. This is enough to pique my interest alone. Add a real metal icon in Geezer Butler to the line up, and you have a supergroup, along with the very capable vocal power of Franky Perez taking things up yet another notch.

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UK Artist of the Week: Chloé Caroline

This week’s Artist of The Week is a surefire sizzler who is bound to get you in the summer spirit. California’s Chloé Caroline has just released her infectious new single “Messy” and it’s an absolute delight from start to finish.

If you’re a fan of Shania Twain or early Taylor Swift then Chloé Caroline is definitely for you. Her new single is full of colour and feel-good vibes that will get your toes tapping instantly. Chloé combines country and commercial pop sensibilities to create a sound both vibrant and warm—along with being a totally addictive ear worm in the process. You’re welcome.

Talking about the track, Chloé elaborates, “This song is meant to unify people through our messiness and celebrate the strength it takes to keep moving forward despite the struggles.” Amen to that.

With residencies in Los Angeles and Las Vegas already confirmed for later on this year, it’s safe to say Chloé isn’t doing too badly for herself. We actually can’t believe this is the first we’re hearing of her, but we’re sure it won’t be the last.

“Messy” is out now via AWAL.

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UK Artist of the Week: Hein Cooper

PHOTO: ROBIN CERUTTI | Get ready to have your soul soothed by Hein Cooper’s mesmerizing musicality. His latest single “Hijack” is a breath of fresh air and will have you hooked in seconds.

The Australian artist has been making waves in his home country for some time now, even supporting huge talents such as James Bay and Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeros to name a few. He’s now preparing to release his ethereal new album Underneath It All on 14th June 2019 and if “Hijack” is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.

The single soars with crisp electronic beats and velvet-like vocals that could easily be mistaken for that of the late, great Jeff Buckley. Cooper manages to combine his warm voice with a celestial musicality that creates a sound entirely of his own. If Jeff Buckley and Chet Faker were ever able to collaborate, it would sound something like “Hijack” (in our opinion anyway).

You can also check out previously released album tracks “Like That,” “Fear Of Missing Out,” “Over Again,” and “Hear My Voice” to give you even more of a taste of what’s to come before the album release this Friday. So what are you waiting for?

Underneath It All is in stores on 14th June 2019 via AntiFragile Music.

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TVD Live Shots: James Walsh at Bush Hall, 5/30

Starsailor frontman James Walsh has just released his second solo record, Tiger on the Bridge. It’s one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever heard, and sees the celebrated UK-based singer-songwriter taking a page from the Americana playbook.

If you’ve read any of my past reviews, then you know that Starsailor is favorite of mine, having seen them four times here since I moved to the UK three years ago, with an additional three shows in the US. I think they are easily the best band from the ’90s Britpop invasion and have followed them ever since. 2014 saw the release of Walsh’s first solo record, Turning Point. I was first in line to pick that one up, and I thought it was a solid debut. Tiger on the Bridge is on another level.

From start to finish every song showcases Walsh’s exceptional voice on top of some of the best songwriting I’ve heard in a decade. The opening track “Germain” sets the stage and preps the listener for the Americana twist that many of his fans probably didn’t see coming. “Germain” segues into arguably the strongest track on the record “Heavy Heart” with its tribal-like crescendo, reminding all of us very quickly how no one on the planet can sing quite like this guy. From a soft soprano to a powerfully piercing perfect falsetto in an instant, he makes it sound so easy. I was in the studio when he recorded this record, and it’s fucking mindblowing how remarkable and powerful his voice is.

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UK Artist of the Week: Kidsmoke

Are you ready for summer? Well you will be after listening to our Artist of the Week’s newest single. All the way from Wales, Kidsmoke kick off the summer months with their dreamy new single “She Takes You Under,” in stores now via Big Indie Records.

If you’re a fan of sparkling harmonies, jangly guitar riffs, pleasant drum beats, and general feel-good vibes, then “She Takes You Under” is the song for you. Reminding us instantly of fellow brits Bombay Bicycle Club, Kidsmoke prove there is nothing quite like a bit of uplifting indie-pop to get you going. Consisting of Lance (vocals/guitar), James (bass/vocals), Sophie (guitar/vocals), and Ash (Drums), the quartet’s harmonies are on point throughout.

Lead guitarist Sophie’s powerful guitar twangs are undeniably infectious and, as a result, it’s no surprise that they’ve been making waves over in the UK for some time now. They’ve also already been making some splashes over here as well, having played SXSW earlier this year and now signed to Austin/London-based label Big Indie Records, we’re sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Kidsmoke in the coming months.

Due to perform as part of Big Indie Big Nights on 12th June 2019 at London’s Two Tribes Brewery, we have high hopes for Kidsmoke and wish them all the best with this fantastic release.

“She Takes You Under” is in stores now via Big Indie Records.

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