And the prize for the most annoying Xmas video goes to………….

Bigfoot, Piston, Theia and Kikamora

 

DSC05339The Station was kicked into life with first performance of the night from the fabulous Kikamora. This was my first time seeing them, and they certainly lived up to expectations and then some. I was lucky enough to catch them for a quick photo before the gig. Kikamora are a 5 piece Hard Rock band from the southwest of the UK. Jimi Bessant on lead guitar, Wilf Kite on vocals, Daniel Marshall on rhythm guitar, Rob Ives on Bass and Andy Page on drums. Andy is the newest member of the band, having only done two shows with Kikamora, but as you will clearly see from the video footage, he has nailed both shows, and is a natural fit to the band.

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The performance overall was energetic, and the tracks played were excellent choices for the night. Although the lighting in the station, is as always, lacking when it comes to photos and videos, the feel of the band comes across well on the footage I caught. Please take a look, and if you like what you see from Kikamora, why not head over to their facebook page to give it a like/follow, or twitter if you prefer. Click here to visit their website.

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Next up were the mighty Theia, a band that has a firm place in my heart. As always, a strong performance, with frontman Kyle Lamley pleasing the crowd, encouraging people to participate, not to mention performing the signature songs, Whoop de fuckin do, and Ride On.

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It seemed that their set was a little short compared to the other bands, but where Theia are concerned, quality is much more important than quantity. Paul Edwards was more engaging with the audience which certainly went down well, and not to forget the powerful performance from Jake Dalton who was on fire for this gig. Even from the back of stage, he engaged well with fans and got everyone singing and joining in. These guys just continue to get stronger and stronger each time I see them, their fan base must be quite substantial by now too.

Again, I have caught some pretty good footage, which I’m sure you will enjoy.

If you enjoyed the footage from Theia, why not visit their facebook or twitter page, or go to their website to stay up to date with news from these guys, as I’m sure they will be going places.

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A band called Piston followed, another strong band, and again one that I’ve never seen before, and thoroughly enjoyed. This 5 piece band certainly put on a great show, and I would be keen to see them perform live again. Rob Angelico, Jack Edwards, Luke Allatt, Brad Newlands and Stuart Egan were on form throughout their performance.

Sadly I didn’t get any photos for this band, which I will speak about later in the review, but I did get video footage. Please enjoy these guys, and if you like them why not give their facebook or twitter page a like/follow.

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The time came for the headline act, Bigfoot to take the stage. I had been looking forward to this for some time, as I had been given the opportunity by Midlands Metalheads Radio, to review the album pre-release, and had thoroughly enjoyed it. If you would like to read my review I have my own page on their website, please click here.

Unfortunately due to an issue I will speak about later, my evening was cut short, and the opportunity for photos/videos was forfeited.

Bigfoot are a 5 piece hard rock band from Wigan, which was formed in 2014. They consist of Antony Ellis (vocals), dual lead guitars from Sam Millar and Mick McCullagh, Matt Avery (bass) and Tom Aspinall (drums).The band are currently celebrating the release of their debut self titled album with Frontiers Records. If you would like to know more, you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

A high voltage start to their set was enjoyed by all, and I’m sure that the songs that followed would have been top quality too. Below is the only footage I got of the performance, which lucky for me includes one of my favourite songs of the album.

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So I just want to quickly cover what happened to cut my night out short.

It seemed that the majority of fans of certain bands were competing for pole position at the front of stage, and for some reason, two ‘ladies’ (believe me I use that term very loosely indeed) decided to constantly barge, verbally abuse, and try to intimidate me throughout the night, in the hope that I would move out of their way.

I did make the security staff aware of the situation quite early on in the evening, however, nothing seemed to get done. Sadly, their behaviour escalated throughout the course of the evening, which is why eventually, I decided that I should leave rather than be caught up in anything more serious.

I would like to say that we are all music lovers, and we all like to get a good position, in order to see the bands we support, however, the majority of us do not resort to this immature and unacceptable behaviour. It saddens me that these people have to let the side down. The message I would like to give is…..IF YOU WANT TO BE AT THE FRONT, GET THERE EARLY! It’s quite simple really isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m not going to let them use up any more of my time.

I would however, like to apologise to Piston and Bigfoot for the lack of material, and if ever I should be able to meet up with these guys in the future, I will endeavour to put things right.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

 

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Kikamora kindly posed for a pre show photo 

All photos on this feature are courtesy of Dave Briggs. You can follow him on facebook here.

 

 

Well it took a while….but I finally caught up with those lovely Theia lads!

 

Theia photo

Photo courtesy of Rob Billingham of Billibee Creative

Theia is an interesting name for a band, what’s the significance or reason for it?

THEIA is one of a long list of name ideas doodled in the back of a school science book! It stood out from the rest because it had a nice, memorable ring to it and also because THEIA is the name of the asteroid that started off the Big Bang.

Who is responsible for the band forming in the beginning? And when exactly was that?

Kyle and Paul actually met under less rock and roll circumstances than you might expect! They were both rehearsing for the stage musical adaptation of the 80’s classic film ‘Footloose’. At the time (2011) Kyle was looking to put together a band and needed a bass player, Paul, having never touched a bass in his life, came over to Kyle’s place to jam some songs and took to it like a duck to water! Jake joined the ranks more recently after responding to an ad we put out on the internet and the rest might hopefully become rock and roll history!

What has been the most memorable point so far in the band’s history?

It’s so hard to nail down one moment that is the most memorable or a favourite but this year has brought us so many amazing moments in the band. The success of our pledge campaign took our breath away – we reached 100% of the target within 8 hours! That felt really surreal, and humbling too. We’ve also played some awesome shows that will live long in our hearts, the heart of it all has been seeing our fan base grow steadily and to know that we’re connecting with people – you can’t put a price on that feeling.

If you could choose a band to share an event with, who would it be and why?

If we could share the stage with Black Stone Cherry, that would be a dream come true! We’re all huge fans and have no doubt it would be one hell of a story to tell…… maybe one day!

Who are your biggest musical influences each?

We’re all influenced by a massive range of artists but if we had to pick then we’d go with the obvious choices:  Kyle would say AC/DC, Paul Guns n Roses, (the original line up of course) Jake owes his love of music to Motley Crue.

Your first album was an awesome opening, were you nervous about how your second album would come out?

Definitely! Anything we put out there is something personal for us, a snapshot of our lives at that time and a reflection of who we all are. I don’t think we’d have been doing things right if we weren’t nervous! It’s been over a year since Take The Pill was released and we certainly weren’t in a rush to get back into the studio just to churn out another bunch of tracks for the sake of it; all of the songs on Back in Line mean something to us and we were so excited to let people hear them!

Since releasing your latest album Back in Line, you’ve received numerous reviews which have all been fantastic, how do you think the album has been received by fans and general public?

It’s really nice to be able to say that we feel like Back in Line has been well received everywhere its gone! Of course, everybody likes different things – that’s part of the spice of rock and roll – but we’re feeling confident that we’ve got enough flavours going on to keep people hungry!!

Are you planning any videos to support any of the tracks on your new album?

Absolutely! Today’s generation of music listeners in particular appreciate the visual aspect of a band and it’s something we’re working as we speak. There’s a couple of videos were working on getting done this year but they may take some time; we want to make sure that they’re the best quality possible.

Do you feel that, as a band, you have evolved? If yes, why?

It definitely feels that way from inside the camp. It would be strange to say we haven’t evolved when this has been happening for some 8 years now. Thankfully the evolution all seems to be positive and forward thinking!

Who’s responsible for the writing process, or is it a collaboration?

Mostly Kyle brings the initial ideas and themes to the table, sometimes riffs, sometimes lyrics and occasionally a more complete idea. the songs only really come to life when all three of us get in the practice room and put the puzzle pieces together.

Standard question I know, but what does the next 12/18 months hold for Theia?

Besides a lot of crossed fingers and hopes for bigger and better shows, you can be sure to hear more new music coming your way!

You seem very busy with things at the moment, is it a difficult pace to keep up?

It has its challenges – each of us have our own families and jobs to keep us going in the day. It can be like spinning plates on hot coals! thankfully our families are all understanding and help to push us forwards.

Keith is your manager, does that work well for you and why?

Keith has been the manager from day one really. It was an unspoken thing at first since he had the same passion we did for the band. After 8 years and hundreds of shows, he’s only missed 3, so his dedication has been the fuel that keeps us going, especially when times have gotten tough. He’s so much more than a manager to us, (obviously he’s Kyle’s dad) Keith is the 4th member of THEIA.

Do you have any set targets, or are you just pushing on and going with the flow?

We always have goals in mind, some are easy to manage and others take a lot of blood sweat and tears to come through. You have to go with the flow to a certain extent – the music industry is a living, breathing beast that can’t be tamed. As long as we stay on our toes we should keep rolling on and rocking out!

Could you please give me one juicy titbit of information, either from a professional level or a personal one, something that you haven’t disclosed as yet?

That’s a trickier one to answer! It really depends what you’d consider to be juicy information! What if we told you that the character ‘Roxy Pigwhistle’ wasn’t dead yet and we haven’t heard the last of her?

Lastly, I think I already know the answer to this, but if one of you had to be committed to The Rock Asylum for ;in -the-chair’ treatment (one of my blog pages), which one would it be and why?

In all honesty we’d all feel right at home in the chair! However Kyle is the one with the mighty mouth so you’d be best strapping him and bracing yourself for some madness!

 

Album Review – Theia – Back in Line

album cover

Written by Deb Gardner

I must wholeheartedly agree with Theia’s own descriptive of their music, classic rock feel for the modern era, played with a smile on its face. This Burton-on-Trent raised three piece have certainly put their stamp on the UK’s rock scene, even more so with the release of their second album Back in Line, which is based loosely around a character in an asylum. Delusional and with multiple personalities, a lot takes place in her head. Gathering initially around the fire on the outskirts of a western town before the gunshot and the story of the main personality Roxy begins to unfold in My Poison. The bar saloon of Whiskey Business develops more delusions. Is she Lorraine in Just Go? Tipped over the edge by a horrific experience, or is that just a delusion? Back in Line is the concept of lining up for medication, hence the album cover. Maybe Home is a dream of what might have been? Afterglow rounds off the tale of Roxy, for now.

Keezheekhoni sets the scene, where you are taken to the Wild West (or as Theia Frontman Kyle Lamley describes it, the Wild West Midlands). The western style guitar certainly grabs your attention, and just before the first main track, the guns are cocked, ready for this album which is an all guns blazing rapid fire of heavy, gritty, guitar led rock tracks and finished to perfection with some meaningful acoustic numbers.

My poison is a full on heavy guitar and drum pounding track insists that you rock out. It’s catchy lyrics including ‘seven deadly sins you know I’ve tasted every one, nothing relates to the taste of my poison’ make you want to sing along. Then comes the intense guitar riff and pounding drum beat as it builds into a big finish. Whiskey Business is a rousing track that is punctuated with a clever combination of heavy drums, and stimulating guitar with an infectious simplistic chorus that entices the crowd to join in and sing along to. Back in Line, the thunderous title track of this spectacular album. The intensity of the guitars on this track is immense, with both lead and bass guitar playing in unison to achieve its strength. Just Go is highlighted by stunning guitar work from lead man Kyle, before the bass and drums jump in to deliver the soundtrack to a very serious ‘message’. The music emulates the turbulent theme of the track, delivering a strong addition to the album. Signed Sealed Cemented is full of deep thudding meaty guitar playing which along with Kyle’s distinctive voice tells the story of a difficult journey which was dogged by doubters and non-believers.

My personal favourite, Paper the House gives a real sense of the rock n roll life as seen from an artist’s viewpoint. With an electrifying feel to this song and its lively chorus, it definitely gets you roused. The vocals in this song are exquisite. Next comes Sparkplug, which explores what songs really stand for and how an individual may interpret them. The track is dominated by outstanding guitar work, emphasising the bands musical abilities with a big exclamation mark. The tempo is brought back down with Home which is a beautiful acoustic track, mainly just Kyle and his guitar, when he’s not strumming it, you can hear him tapping the body of the guitar which along with the soft tones laid out in the song, gives it a more emotional feel. Kyle often dedicates this to his partner and daughter when singing it live. (An array of phone lights would be a nice touch at a live performance of this song).

Finally, Afterglow takes you back West, with its distinctive guitar intro and powerful drums which lead into the final chapter of this fantastic album, which combines the western elements with the deep chugging guitar riffs throughout, Kyle tells one last story about Roxy Pigwhistle.

This benchmark album is a testament of the band’s commitment and solid rock values. Lyrically stunning and with a noticeable presence of some creative guitar work from front man Kyle, this collection of tracks sends a clear message that Theia are serious contenders of (and deserve) greater things. Although Theia possess a sound reminiscent of the golden era of rock in the 70’s, they are very much serious contenders on today’s scene. These guys are certainly destined for a bright future!

Once you have enjoyed the album, you must see a live performance!

Sempiternal Festival

I want to share with everyone, some awesome photos that were taken by my partner Dave Briggs on the Saturday of this awesome weekender that took place at The Station Venue in Cannock on 22nd and 23rd July 2017. Unfortunately, due to illness, Dave missed the start of the show, and we were gutted to find out that we had missed Anonymous.

So before you scroll through the photos, please take the time to read below, an insight into how Sempiternal came about.

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Gig Review – Uttoxeter Rocks @ The Old Star

The Old Star

The Old Star Pub, is a traditional pub, that serves cask ales as well as traditional lagers/ciders etc.  The Pub houses live entertainment in the beer garden and inside during the winter on a Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday 15th July 2017, The Old Star hosted the Uttoxeter Rocks gig.

The event was run and promoted by Mark from Crackin’ Snapin’ Promotions, along with Erica, who is the Landlady of The Old Star.  Also playing a big part in the organisation of the event were Andy Hartshorne, who arranged the bands and ran the stage, and Andy and Ray, the sound techs from Audio Difference.

I was told by a number of band members that Andy Hartsorne had worked his butt off to support artists during the preparation and run up to this event, and that it was much appreciated.

I have to say that everyone who was involved in this event, should be very proud of themselves and of the successful night which was a product of their blood, sweat and tears.

On arrival at the Old Star, I found parking easy to find which was a bonus, more or less right in front of the pub itself set in the centre of the town which was very picturesque. First impressions told me this was a sleepy little place, however I was soon to find out that Uttoxeter was very much alive.

This quaint old pub beckoned me to go in….. I could already hear music being played so was eager to see who was on stage.

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An Evening to Remember

In order for Theia to raise funds for their new album ‘Back in Line’, they advertised items that people could ‘purchase’ via Pledge Music. I found myself pledging for a number of things, one of those things was a guitar 1-1 with Kyle Lamley.

As I have only been learning to play guitar for just a few months, I had hoped that this may not happen for quite some time, but as Theia are becoming more and more popular since the release of their latest album, with mini tours and various gigs getting booked around the country, when I got ‘the call’ from Manager, Keith, to arrange the 1-1 session for this week I knew that I had to take it, as who knows where things are going to lead for Theia? (They may not be able to squeeze me in again for ages!)

So a couple of days ago I headed off to Theia HQ……

A nervous knock at the door and it was opened by Kyle himself – gulp! He greeted me and my family and invited us in. What a surreal moment. I couldn’t believe what was happening….. I’m only used to seeing him at gigs…. Fleeting conversations or a snatched photo opportunity are normally what I expect.

 

 

Seeing where the band spend a hell of a lot of their time practising, writing, making videos was a huge privilege. It also brought home the fact that it is not all about the glamourous side of music. In order to entertain people, there is a lot of hard work, blood sweat and tears involved, and only the most determined, strong, committed individuals will stay the course and survive to tell the tale and, as these guys are destined to do, reap the rewards.

All I kept thinking was…. Is this real….. ?

I had a few photographs taken during the time I was there, and I attempted to video my 1-1, however, thanks to my camcorder actually deciding to die during the session, I was horrified to see that nothing had been saved at all. Luckily I did manage to film Kyle, albeit on my phone, explaining about the pedal board effects he uses, as well as some of the other musical equipment he has.

During the 1-1 we went through one of my favourite songs, ‘ride on’. This song makes me feel good, giving me energy and positive vibes. I have been learning parts of it during my guitar lessons with Rich Bates, however, as Rich told me, it’s Kyle’s song and he will want you to play it the way it was intended to be played.

Wow, what an eye opener! There is so much more to this song than I expected! It proved to me that there is a vast difference between playing along with the tune, which is what I was kind of able to do, and then actually performing the song. With all the extra techniques and significant intricacies added, Kyle effortlessly demonstrated how it should be played. Kyle patiently went through the finer details with me, and gave me some tips and techniques which I hope I will have mastered by the time we meet again.

Kyle played and sang the song as we practised, confirming to me that he is one hell of a musician!

I met one of his guitars called ‘Roxy’, which he made himself, such a beautiful guitar. This showed another side to this talented man, as this isn’t something that just anybody can do.

Kyle also played a song off his new album ‘Back in Line’ whilst he demonstrated his pedal board …. This is a video clip I will always treasure……(due to my piercing laughter at the start of the video I would turn your volume down a touch!)

All in all I had an absolutely fantastic time, learned a lot, and whilst I have a hell of a long way to go, I feel that the input I had from Kyle has set me in good stead to improve and help me along the very long journey I have embarked upon in respect of learning to play guitar.

We have already discussed having a catch up in the future to see how I am doing, so no doubt I will be making sure that the video actually works and I will share my experience with you guys when that happens.

I’d like to publically thank Kyle for his patience and generosity of sharing his knowledge, it was an amazing experience that has reinforced my respect and admiration for him and the rest of the guys in Theia.

 

 

They stole my heart

I feel it only right that I should use my first blog post to feature the band that captured my heart from the very first moment I saw them at the 02 Academy, Birmingham when they were supporting Stone Broken.

The lights dimmed and in swaggered this young man, confidence oozing, he placed his flat cap firmly on his head, looked straight into the eyes of the crowd, then at his fellow band members. His eyes lit up and a big smile took over his face……..then the magic happened! With their distinctive guitar led rock ‘n’ roll, Theia totally took the room by storm. A night I will not forget.

Since that night, Theia have grown from strength to strength, their music becoming more mature with each performance, and their stage presence attaining a polished level which belies their ages.

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