Looking back

Some great fun was had when I visited the lovely guys from Anonymous in their practice room.

Here’s a few clips to jog your memory


If you would like us to visit your band on a practice night, please fill in the contact form here . Our visit will include some free photography by Dave Briggs as well as videos of the visit to you tube.


Gig Review – W.M.D @ Route 44 with support from Tear It Down and Rai Kah Mercury


Aran Grant of W.M.D – Photo Courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

This is the first gig I’ve attended for the Rock Asylum this year, and as I am a strong supporter of W.M.D, a great bunch of lads from Burntwood in Staffordshire. I got really excited when I saw this advertised, and I was eager to attend, firstly because I wanted to see the guys perform their recently released tracks, and secondly because of the awesome line up this gig was offering.


route 44 pic


Route 44 is a great venue, easy to access, and with the pub being open prior to the gig starting, its a great place to have a few pre gig drinks whilst waiting for the doors to open.


Tear It Down – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography

So first in the line up were Tear It Down from Wolverhampton, with their newly recruited bass player Matt Ratcliffe added to the mix. These lads have bags of confidence which clearly shows throughout their performances. Their set was a good strong collection of tracks, performed well, with extravagant displays from guitar player Jesse Taylor. Lead singer Blade Edwards kept us entertained throughout, with his strong vocals and passionate stage presence, he kept it together even when things didn’t go to plan. Rhys Jones as usual got on with the job without any issues, and was more involved in the set than I’ve seen at previous performances.

Unfortunately, whilst I was out of the room, the guitar got dropped which made the rest of their set quite interesting, which included a great little treat from drummer Jamie Roberts, who entertained us whilst techs were trying to sort things out.

Overall a good set from Tear It Down.


Rhys Jones of Tear It Down – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography


Matt Ratcliff of Tear It Down – Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography


Jesse Taylor of Tear It Down – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography


Blade Edwards of Tear It Down – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography


Rai Kah Mercury – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography

Next up were the lads from Rai Kah Mercury from Burton on Trent. Something a little different with a softer, more alternative edge to it. Since I last saw them perform, they’ve grown in confidence and once again they put on a fantastic set for us. My attention was drawn particularly to the drummer Joshua Anthony Lowe who came into his own. I could see he was really working flat out and enjoying being there, which is an essential quality required from anyone who is in the entertainment business.

Some of the tracks they performed had a more ‘rock’ influence, but I would like to see these lads really let loose with something more rough round the edges. With only a handful of gigs behind them, I’m sure as their confidence builds, their performances will become amazing. They have bags of talent and charisma, the rest will come as they grow into this fantastic band they’ve created. Well done guys.


Tomas Crean of RKM – Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography


Reece Schaefer of RKM – Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography


Joshua Anthony Lowe of RKM – Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography


W.M.D @ Route 44 – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography

Then, we were onto the headline act W.M.D. These guys always put their heart and soul into their work, and this gig was no exception.

Exceptional guitar work from all three guitarists, even though Simon Wood tends not to steal the limelight, his talent should not be taken lightly. At one point I found myself shouting ‘more Mike’ as I really enjoy bass player Mike Wood‘s work, both vocally and on the bass, and as you will see from my videos, it adds variety to the set. Not many bands have a bass player that will perform a solo piece of this calibre. Jack Revill blasted out an energetic performance as always, and Aran Grant performed well throughout the night, putting in a solid, heartfelt performance.

Well done guys, and thanks for asking me down, me and the rest of the crew really enjoyed it.


Aran Grant from W.M.D – Photo credit Dave Briggs Photography




Jack Revill of W.M.D



Simon Wood and Mike Wood of W.M.D


Simon and Mike of W.M.D


Jack Revill of W.M.D

I have to say that the drummers of each band really stood out for me during the gig. Each one of them took the opportunity to show off their talents at some point during their set, which I really enjoyed.

The drummers always tend to be left at the back of stage and pretty much ‘forgotten’. Photographers have a real fight on their hands to get photos of them too.

There’s nothing more entertaining than a great drummer engaging with the audience and showcasing their talents. These bands are still progressing, however each band found a place for their drummers to be at the forefront of their performance at some point during the night, albeit for Tear It Down it was accidental. Jamie Roberts is a great little drummer to look out for, with his face appearing full of rage he soon rips into the drums given the opportunity.

A great night full of fun and fab music. Not without technical issues, but these things happen. Well done to all of the bands who performed, in particular to the headline act W.M.D who put on a great show.

4.5 Stars



Thanks to Dave Briggs Photography for supplying the photos for this review. If you would like to see more of his work, why not visit his facebook page here



A band to look out for in 2018 – Black Country Road

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Black Country Road’s sound would be best described as a Southern Heavy Country Rock but with a British Twang ! With influences such as Black Stone Cherry, Audioslave and The Cadillac Three as well as having elements of Country, it’s commercial enough to draw in a diverse crowd while still having its own identity and feel. Ultimately … its LOUD ROCK N ROLL!


Steve Photo

Steve Nunn (Vocals) , is a current solo artist and former vocalist from Piston. Previous band achievement , making a ‘top played’ milestone for a month on Kerrang Radio.















Ben Bakhsh (Guitar) , was previously a guitarist for Questions of Angels.
“Every gig I did with Questions of Angels felt like an achievement, and every time I’m able to translate what I feel into music is the same. My biggest “moment” was probably opening up for a fashion show in Birmingham with an old band.”















I asked Ben how the band came about, and here’s what he told me.

“Steve had an ad on facebook for the project . The bands he mentioned as inspirations i.e. Audioslave and Black Stone Cherry immediately caught my eye because a couple of years earlier I’d tried to put together the same kind of project but couldn’t find a singer so I we just had to meet up. Anyway I had the main riff in my head for Grenade anyway so I met with Steve at his home studio and the chemistry was there musically and we got Grenade written in a couple of days.

Our debut song, Grenade, is about having a break from writing as part of a band, and having 3 years worth of feelings and lyrics to get out, making you want to explode.

Basically me and Steve are writing while working with other session musicians to create an ep and tour it” he told me.

The Rock Asylum‘s take is that this debut track is packed full of heavy, dirty, rock  n roll, with mighty guitar displays, and massive vocals, not to mention that special ingredient that so many bands are forever in search of. The voice of Steve Nunn sounds shivers down the spine, which when teamed with the explosive guitar work these guys take you on an exceptionally intriguing journey of some heavy Rock n Roll, with a Southern Rock twist to it. I’m excited to see where this journey leads with these exceptionally talented guys.

Here’s the link to a demo of their first track Grenade


If you’re interested in following Black Country Roads’ rock n roll journey, why not follow them on facebook here .







Gig Review coming soon – W.M.D + support from Tear It Down and Rai Kah Mercury

My review of last night’s show at Route 44 Birmingham is nearly ready, including video footage of each of the bands as well as photos supplied by Dave Briggs.

Don’t miss it!



Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs



Tear It Down













DSC08833-Edit-1Rai Kah Mercury
















Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs






Coming up …..Gig Review ………W.M.D with support from Third Angle Projection, Tear It Down and Rai Kah Mercury

route 44 picreceived_10156107793933836172806161.jpeg


This cracking gig is on Friday 16th February at Route 44, Birmingham

The Rock Asylum and Dave Briggs Photography will be capturing the whole night on camera for those of you who can’t make it, but any locals why not head down there and come and say hi?

I’ve seen all of the support bands live, and can honestly say this will be well worth the trip, and as you know, I’m a huge fan of W.M.D who will no doubt be smashing it.

Hope to see you there!




This Elegant Chaos – House of Destruction

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This Elegant Chaos born from the major elements of rock music, love, angst, desire and alcohol!

Steph, Mark, Greg and Keith bring real in your face rock music to the waiting world, writing songs about the dark side of their lives, it’s hard to define a genre.

With influences ranging from Adam Ant to Nirvana, Tool to My Chemical Romance, This Elegant Chaos live up to their name with an energetic live show, that leaves you wanting more.

The new album ‘House of Destruction’ was recorded by Stephanie Taylor Vocals, Paul Clifford Guitars/vocals, Mark Beach Drums, Greg Boden Bass. Going forward into 2018 Keith Armstrong is on guitars, after Paul made the decision to call it a day.

I asked Steph about the song writing process …..“Most of our songs are written by all of us having a jam to a riff or a drum beat and see what comes out of it 🙂 . I then take away the basic song and write the lyrics, adjusting the structure as need be to accommodate the lyrics… so they are nearly always a group effort.”

Steph also explained a little about some of the tracks on the album. ‘Take it All – This is my personal favourite. Myself and Mark are big Adam Ant fans, and I’ve always loved the dirtiness of his song “physical”. We considered trying to cover this, but as we’re anti-covers we wrote this in homage 🙂 Filled with subtle innuendo, its seductiveness is just (to quote Adam Ant) pure sex. House of Destruction – This came from Greg’s evil bass line, he had the idea of writing a song about a serial killer. Taking my inspiration from all the American Horror Story we watch, I delved into that troubled mindset. No way home – This followed a dream after watching Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton’s version of course). This is our darker and more sinister reality, the vision of which will be our next video…”


House of Destruction is the latest collection of tracks from This Elegant Chaos, which certainly lives up to expectations.

No Way Home sets the scene for this dramatically produced collection. The eerie intro captures your interest, which is soon followed by the sound of Steph’s vocals which are provocatively haunting. Once the track is in full swing you will be under its spell, with the powerful drums and menacing guitar, you have to stay…..’no one’s gonna hear you, no one’s gonna find you….no one’s gonna save you now’. Diseased is an in your face, wrathful number which is not for the faint hearted.


Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs

The pulsating beat combined with the fierce lyrics delivers a powerful addition to the album. Again has a catchy riff at the start which grabs your attention. This is one of my favourite tracks of the album, it strikes through various genres, punk, goth, rock, formulating to give another exceptional edition. More has a more sombre feel to it, with the fantastic tones of blackness, you get drawn into the mood of the track. Evocative lyrics add strength to this fantastic example of the capabilities of this band. Feel Me has a definitive punk feel to it. Playing heavily on the emotions with it’s seductive undertone, detailing the mind games and passion that one may endure in a troubled relationship. Run charges at you full force with the unrestrained pounding of drums and melancholy lyrics interlaced with the heavy guitar riffs which make this another strong feature to this collection. Get Out relays the frustrating end to a burnt out relationship. The story unfolds to riotous drums, brilliantly punctuated by expressive lyrics. Sick builds in pace from the start, before spitting the venomous lyrics at you. It sort of picks up where ‘Get Out left off, this time giving both sides of the story. It could quite easily be described as a blazing row to music.

Take It All sets out at a sultry pace, the words of this track lay heavy with seductive reference. The suggestive nature of this track sets it aside from the rest. With its distinctive and emotive lyrics it clearly demonstrates that TEC is multi faceted. House of Destruction, kicks off with a bass line which can only be described as possessed, and the lyrics suggest dark times from a troubled mind of someone wrapped up in their own world of darkness and death. HFYG finishes the album off with a massive celebration of all the qualities that This Elegant Chaos behold. Incessant drumming gets into your head from start to finish, and when the guitars are added to the mix, you will simply have to join in. Steph’s vocal performance and prominent lyrics perfect this number, which epitomises what the band name stands for. An almost chaotic pace and enigmatic vocals deliver this final portion of their journey so far.


This Elegant Chaos take you on a tumultuous journey, full of dark and sinister lyrics and eccentric performances which are infectious in a weird and wonderful way. They are a bizarre and mysterious creation which certainly draw you into their world, and once in, you won’t want to leave.

They certainly live up to their name when it comes to performing, and if you fancy seeing them in the flesh, why not head down to their album release night at Scruffy Murphy’s on 10th February ?

debut album

For more information or to follow This Elegant Chaos on Facebook click here

You can also follow them on Twitter

Take a look at them performing live in October 17.


Facebook – Issues with connection

Sincere apologies to those of you who follow my page on Facebook, or who are waiting for me to reply to your messages regarding reviews or features.

For some unknown reason, Facebook is preventing me from logging in for the time being whilst they look into some ‘issues’, however I am assured that this will be sorted out very soon.

My Twitter page is still working, so if you need to get in touch, either message me on this site here or contact me via The Rock Asylum on Twitter.




Blank Parody set to release Under Achiever

BlankParody (2)

Formed in 2015 Blank Parody, a bunch of noisy lads from Birmingham, began with a year of songwriting and recording. After a year of gigging up and down the country they have supported the likes of Vukovi, Seprona, Tigercub and Electric Six! and played slots at festivals such as London’s Camden Rocks, Sheffield’s Tramlines and Birmingham’s ValeFest. Following the recent release of their highly well received debut EP ‘A Tension’, which featured tracks such as ‘Dark Pretenders’ and ‘Marching Through The Smoke’, the band now present their biggest offering from the record yet, ‘Underachiever’, before playing a string of dates across the country.



via Facebook 

via Twitter

via Spotify


19th January – The Bristol Pear, Birmingham
21st January – West Street Live, Sheffield
31st January – The Flapper, Birmingham (Supporting Dead! / The Kenneths)
11th February – The Black Heart, London
22nd February – The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton
8th March – The Shed, Leicester
30th March-1st April – Your City Festival, Stoke On Trent


Album Review – The Bad Flowers – Starting Gun


Photo courtesy of Mark Varney


***Information taken from press release***

Midlands based hard rock band, The Bad Flowers, are set to release their debut studio album Starting Gun on Friday 16th February 2018. The album is a follow up to 2016’s self-titled EP and shows the great progression of song writing and musicianship of The Bad Flowers over the past two years. The band will play an exclusive album launch show at the Birmingham Asylum 2 on Saturday 17th February 2018, playing all the songs from the new album plus more surprises. To dovetail the release of the debut album, The Bad Flowers will be special guests on Stone Broken’s nationwide 12 date UK tour that starts on Thursday 22nd of February at The Haunt Brighton. The tour also includes an appearance at Planet Rock’s Winters End Festival.

Following the September release of their recent single Thunder Child, The Bad Flowers we’re named as one of Planet Rock Radio’s “Ones To Watch”. Thunder Child, the first single taken from the Starting Gun, gained heavy airplay and was described by the station as “pure, dynamic, riff-heavy rock ‘n’ roll delivered with passion and prowess.”

Starting Gun was recorded at Vigo Studios, near the band’s hometown of Cannock. The band chose this studio because they wanted to make a record that sounded like their roots and had the chance to work with long-time friend of the band and producer Adam Beddow, who has recently helped produce Diamond Head’s most current work.

The members of The Bad Flowers reflect on what the new album means to them:

Tom Leighton – Vocals & Guitar


Photo Courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

The whole process of recording this album has been a huge labour of love, it’s come at the right time in our progression, we originally wanted to record an album two years ago but shelved the idea at that point, and I glad we did! The last two years have seen us play some shows with some amazing artists and we’ve all been though some ups and downs as everybody does, but it think it’s helped us to write some of our best songs. There’s all out songs with monster riffs and big chorus’ down to a song with just one acoustic guitar and vocals and plenty in between, I think this album will show that we have more than one trick up our sleeve and I’m really excited for people to hear what we have made. We plan on hitting the road as hard as possible in 2018 to get this music into everyone’s ears, we have a full UK tour the week after the album comes out, and a few festival appearances already in the diary and plenty more things in the pipeline!

Dale Tonks – Bass


Photo Courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

Recording the album and getting to the point where it ready to be unleashed to the world is an exciting, yet scary, thing to try and grasp. To me it’s like a time stamp on everything we have done up to now, how the band, sound, style and us as musicians have developed. It’s also been one hell of a ride in the making. It’s been hours in the practice room and studio slugging away and sometimes giving each other a constructive kick up the backside trying to better ourselves and mold the songs into what we want them. We never wanted to over complicate the songs or lose the meaning and passion that has gone into them. We’ve put everything into every single track. It’s been such a rollercoaster of emotions that I know we have all gone through at points, but when I’ve listen back to the tracks I think, man, we make some damn good noise together, that’s not me being big headed but I just love it and love playing these songs with what are now my brothers, I just can’t wait for others to be able to hear them and hopefully enjoy and get their groove on as much as I do.

Karl Selickis – Drums


Photo courtesy of Dave Briggs Photography

It’s been a year-long process with the writing and recording process that’s resulted into the Starting Gun album. We’ve all encountered many different emotions. There’s been highs, and a lot of lows, but as an end product I can happily say without being too cliché, that I’ve never been happier. Starting Gun shows our raw talent enthusiasm and professional attitude to our craft.

The album itself I think shows true dedication to a new generation rock revival. True to our word and influences! Not apply has it had us work our knuckles the bare bone it has made us tighter as a unit as friends and as a family! I am truly proud to call this our debut album and hope that everyone else feels the way we do come February 16th.

TheBadFlowers_AlbumLaunchShow-hrThe Bad Flowers – Starting Gun

Album Tracklisting

1. Thunder Child (3:59)
2. Lions Blood (3:49)
3. Secrets (3:44)
4. Rich Man (3:14)
5. I Hope (3:24)
6. Let’’s Misbehave (5:40)
7. Who Needs A Soul (3:17)
8. Be Your Man (2:56)
9. Hurricane (3:44)
10. I Don’t Believe It (3:16)
11. City Lights (4:44)

Produced by Adam Beddow and Tom Leighton
Recorded and engineered by Adam Beddow at Vigo Studios
Mastered by Fabian Tormin at Plätlin Mastering, Hamburg, Germany


Full review by Dave Briggs and Deb Gardner of The Rock Asylum

So, before getting into the review of this Black Country trio’s debut album a little history of how we came to find them in the first place. We had visited a number of charity gigs across the West Midlands during 2017 and, although we had heard good things about them, we always found ourselves in a different room watching other notable bands whilst they were doing their set. We kept saying that we needed to catch their

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performance. That opportunity came about in October 2017. After booking to see The Picturebooks at The Flapper in Birmingham we were delighted to discover that The Bad Flowers were supporting them. Up until that point I’m ashamed to say that we hadn’t heard any of their tracks properly. That said I was thoroughly looking forward to witnessing them live (and as it turns out, up close too). The set they delivered was awesome. (If The Picturebooks had decided not to play I’d have still been over the moon with the night.) I can honestly say that I was a fan before they’d finished their first track.
We got a second opportunity to see them headlining at The Giffard Arms at the beginning of December 2017. Another blistering performance which cemented our firm appreciation of this faultless trio. Having been featured on Planet Rock and receiving thoroughly deserved rave reviews this was their final gig of 2017. I have to say they  appeared to genuinely enjoy performing and treated the assembly of fans to an early Christmas present. They received thunderous appreciation from the crowd and quite bloody right too. Easily one of the best gigs of 2017, hands down.

On to 2018 and with the upcoming album release is looming over us, I thought I’d chance it and message Tom to see if there was any chance of the little old Rock Asylum reviewing the album. “Yeah, no problem, get in touch with our PR and they’ll send you a copy”, was his reply. Feckin’ awesome, I couldn’t wait. Now, I wanted to do this review, and the lads, justice, so was taking my time to soak in the awesomeness of the albums contents. Meanwhile, I was considering a relaxing Saturday night in front of the TV (knowing that I was up at 6am the following day) when I noticed a Facebook post from Tom stating that they were doing a gig at the Stumble Inn, Cannock. Just up the road. And to put just a little bit more icing on the cake it was free!!!! I couldn’t believe my luck. So off we went. Needless to say we were presented with another incredible performance. These guys always give 100%, without exception and they never show any hint of arrogance. They are totally down to earth, chilled and grounded. Considering their successes last year you would be able to excuse it if there was a hint of cockiness, but no, not in the slightest. Makes you like them even more.

Right then, onto the review of the album, ‘Starting Gun’.

The opening song is Thunder Child. As the title suggests it’s a thundering track. This is everything that we could expect from the lads – great lyrics and excellent composition. The exclusive sound of Toms voice sets this track up to be a blinder, but when coupled with the top notch guitar work, powerful, incomparable drumming, and hefty bass lines this track jumps out and demands your attention.

Lions Blood is another thumping rendition which clearly displays Karl’s blistering ability on the tubs. The musical prowess is further emphasised by Tom’s incredible guitar work, neatly blended together with Dale’s faultless bass lines. Tom has a voice that you hope you will never stop hearing. Secrets delivers another welcome dose of The Bad Flowers signature sound. It is peppered with amazing guitar work and superb lyrics, perfectly delivered with those unmistakable vocals. That chunky riff that’s present throughout the track is insane, not to mention some of the clever guitar motifs displayed which bring power to the track. The drumming from Karl puts him out there with the best, this man could have his own show with the amazing talent he possesses. Rich Man has an evocative opening from Tom and his guitar. The song builds slowly as the story unfolds, then you get that massive slap to the face when those piercing vocals take their place. This track takes the opportunity to exhibit the immense qualities of this great band, giving something a little different to what we’re used to, and it really works. This is a stomping track that you will not be able to switch off once you’ve heard it.  The last part of the track is just a massive showcase of immense vocals, intricate guitar, incessant drumming, and massive bass lines, an absolute showstopper. I Hope is an acoustic track that really showcases Tom’s lyrical expertise. The story relayed will likely strike a personal cord with many a listener with its sentiment. Let’s Misbehave starts off with an almost eerie calmness and has you wondering when the power will kick in. Tom dishes out another masterclass in lyrical proficiency whilst the intensity of the track builds. Then you’re taken on a rollercoaster of pace, this song is packed solid with intensity and power, and delivered seamlessly and effortlessly by every member of the band at one point or another. It’s definitely a significant number on this stellar album. Who Needs a Soul is another signature Bad Flowers production. With its groovy bass lines, the lads have found the perfect recipe to create brilliance once again. This is a really strong member of the collection and, not that it’s needed, proves why these guys are destined for much bigger things. Be Your Man has a great blues rock tone to it that will certainly get you going, and an explosive drum display towards the end, coupled with powerful vocals. Yet another cleverly written and exceptionally performed track. This is as good as blues rock gets.  Hurricane is another dose of brilliance with Tom and the boys building it up then slowing it down a little before catapulting you back into the thick of it. We’re treated to yet another slice of stunning guitar work during this track.

I Don’t Believe is a seductively heavy, blues rock number that jumps pace frequently and hooks you from the beginning. Once again, the astounding musical prowess of each member is thrown open for all to witness.  City Lights was previously released on EP, but is a very worthy edition to this incredible album. This gives a humble story of desire to succeed in life. It’s a fitting final track as I firmly believe that this trio are unequivocally destined for those very bright city lights.

In Summary

As debut albums go you would certainly be hard pushed to find another to stand against this one. I’ve rarely listened to a band where each instrument is clearly evident in every track.  The material is very cleverly composed and the vocals delivered by Tom throughout the album are exquisite. Dale’s base playing is unusually entertaining and solid throughout every number, and Karl’s drumming ability is off the scale. As I said earlier, he is up there with the best in my opinion. To see these guys live is a pleasure to behold and to hear them perform any song at all in a live setting will set the place on fire, without a doubt. They have a huge stage presence that few other bands can match. Extremely charismatic and engaging to say the least. Tom is an exceptional guitarist, while Dale’s passion for what he does is clearly evident. And I have seen very few drummers that can throw down like Karl does. For a three piece band the sound they produce is exemplary.

I urge you to go buy this album, I guarantee you will be blown away. If you have a love for blues laced rock then your music collection should definitely contain Starting Gun!

Rating   star rating

If you like what you’ve heard about The Bad Flowers, why not follow them on Facebook, Twitter,  or Instagram?





Coming This Week

TheBadFlowers_AlbumLaunchShow-hrOur review of The Bad Flowers – Starting Gun is almost ready to publish.

This is a joint effort from Dave and myself, and is in depth, with great photos and videos.

Don’t miss it!