Saturday, 18 June 2016


Your name: 
Nick J Townsend.

Name of band: 

Where are you from?
I'm from the home of heavy metal. Myself and my band members are located in areas of the Black Country in England.

Who else is in your band?
Neel Parmar who is also know as “The Asian Sensation” is our drummer and Wesley Smith mans the bass guitar. I sing and play guitar and it's great working with such an awesome pair of musicians. The three of us click so well.

How would you describe yourselves?
I'd say we are an independent satirical rock band with metal riffs but I'm sure others see us as working class terrorists. That's not stated to make me or the band sound cool either; honestly we will eventually find a way to dismantle the current elitist mainstream music industry, sabotage its brainwashing and reverse the dumbing down of society. The mainstream music industry is a joke; it's like the short tale by Hans Christian Andersen “The Emperor's New Clothes”; when the time is right we'll show the entire world just how naked of talent the corporate mainstream music industry is and it'll collapse overnight.

Who are your main influences musically?
Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix have always been a massive influence in my life. Soundgarden, Love/Hate, Biohazard and Prong are bands that really inspired me during my teenage years and filmmaker John Carpenter is just a musical genius. These days I mainly get inspired by musicians in the underground, people I meet, artists I discover myself.

What do you hope to achieve in music?
To make history by changing the mainstream music industry and open a door for musicians with real talent. The last thing the music industry wants is a band with an opinion or any independent thoughts.

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
Working with producer John Stewart and recording the “They Live” album without a record company or any help from the music industry. We've made superb friends along the way and that to us is a career highlight.

And what’s the moment you want to forget?
I don't think I want to forget any failure because a bad experience is something you can learn from. Some of my worst experiences have created our best songs.

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
I'd choose “Joke” from the “They Live” album; killer riffs and lyrics that people can relate to. That's not me being big headed; we get fans tell us they love that tune.

Where can we listen to it?

Where can we find out more about your music?

Anything else you’d like to say about your band/music that I forgot to ask?
I could write a book of questions but right this second I'm just letting you know that WEAK13 continues to grow in popularity and we will keep making music in this age of illusion.

The Psykodelik Vampyres Q&A

Your name: 
Gethin Lewis.

Where are you from? 
Philadelphia PA, USA.

Name of band: 
The Psykodelik Vampyres.

Who else is in your band? 
Scott Murray (drums) and Dave Murray (bass).

How would you describe yourselves and your music? 
A group of trans-dimensional beings from the farthest regions of inner space. Having escaped the confines of the prismatic void, The PVamps venture forth across the desolate wastelands of their adopted planet Earth, consuming any dark energy that they encounter and radiating positive vibrations by means of the ancient art of neurosynthesis. 
The Earth creatures call it "music".
Blending of many diverse elements of sounds and visions, psychedelic, goth, jazz, blues, punk, reggae, waltz(!), steampunk, classic horror, funk, glam, electronica...we like to call it Heavy Mental.

Who are your main influences musically? 
Way too many to mention, but since I write the majority of the music, I'll say Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Syd Barrett, Yes, and thousands more.

What do you hope to achieve in music? 
Being able to make a living at bringing good vibes and hope to people as well as having a good time all the time. 

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
Still awaiting some highlights, especially with the grey hairs coming in...

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
If one song could represent your music, that'd be pretty boring.

Where can we listen to your music?

Where can we find out more about your music?

Anything else you’d like to say about your music that I forgot to ask?
Thanks for the interest, and all good vibes/thoughts/wishes to you!

The Devil In California Q&A

Your names:
Eddie Colmenares and Jamie Cronander.

Where are you from?
Oakland, California.

Name of band:
The Devil In California.

Who else is in your band?
Matt, Snake and Tony.

How would you describe yourselves?
Eddie: Heavy, hard, twangin' rock that you can shake your ass to.
Jamie: Old school rock music in a new school way. Loud and low, with lots of harmonies and Big guitars!

What do you hope to achieve in music?
Eddie: International act, baby.
Jamie: Ultimate unity between all people's of the world through glorious rock n roll enlightenment... And maybe a comfortable living too.

What has been the highlight of your career so far, and why?
Jamie: Getting to play The Fillmore. It's the ultimate historic coolest venue in the bay area. A perfect room,  with perfect sound, and lots of amazing history.
Eddie: That indeed was a killer show. Packed wall to wall from the get-go. Great sound there as well.

And what’s the moment you want to forget?
Jamie: Not one moment,  ever. the best and worst are all amazing.

If you had to pick just one of your songs to represent your music, what would it be and why?
Jamie: If it had to be one song, maybe Delta Sludge. It's big and heavy with a bit of a southern drawl, and a fun vocal hook to sing along to. Its lyrics address the California water crisis.

Where can we listen to it?

Where can we find out more about your music?

Anything else you’d like to say about your band/music that I forgot to ask?
Eddie: Beer is awesome. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Download Festival Day Three Review

I'LL be honest - by the time Sunday morning arrived, I was pretty fed up. The rain had, literally, put a complete dampener on things. 

I had no dry clothes left and the levels of mud had reached boot-sapping proportions. Part of me felt just like packing up the tent and buggering off home. Many others did. But I stuck with it and was rewarded with some of the gems of the weekend.

Frank Carter meets the crowd - Photo by Derek Bremmer
I made sure I kept myself busy, taking in Monster Truck (very enjoyable) on the Lemmy Stage, before nipping over to see White Lies (not so enjoyable) in the Maverick tent.

Amon Amarth gave us some really heavy songs about Vikings and drinking beer with fire and dragons to boot, while The Raven Age bashed out their melodic metal under canvas. 

The Dirty Youth were OK but not very memorable, while I also took in parts of The Temperance Movement and Delain. But like other periods across the weekend, no one managed to convince me to stay for more than two or three songs.

My hope was that would change with Attila. They promised to bring the party to Download and much of the crowd they gathered in the Maverick tent seemed to be along for the ride. But I just found it all a very juvenile and, well, shit.

Instead, I trudge across to the Zippo Encore stage and rewarded with the wonderful Periphery. I hadn't heard any of their music before, but their technical djent metal was just what the doctor ordered. A real find for me.

Buoyed on by that, I watched some of the Halestorm set on the Lemmy Stage and, wow, can Lzzy Hale wail. The songs may not be the greatest, but her voice is truly one of the best in modern rock music. 

Disturbed point the way - Photo by Ross Silcocks
And for the hattrick - Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes absolutely smash it into the back of the net in the Maverick tent. Quite possibly the performance of the weekend.

Getting the crowd involved in lots of fun and antics, including a circle pit around the tent - yours truly getting splattered in mud in the process. The frontman is on fire.

But there is more to this act than *shudders* banter. Frank is a great singer, as shown in his ballad Beautiful Death, which he performs among the crowd in the middle of the tent. Juggernaut and Devil Inside Me are also superb punk tracks.

Snarling, sneering, swearing, cocky and brash, Frank is every inch the archetypal punk rocker. He even has the stare. But among the angst is a whole lot of love, humour and emotion gushing through. Modern and relevant, Frank is surely one of the most important artists in British music right now.

As you may be able to tell, I was blown away.

It's safe to say then that what followed could not take me to such a high. Tremonti, relegated from the main stage last year to the third this time around, were really good. Shinedown? I could take or leave (I did the latter to get pizza!).

So then to Disturbed, who started their set with a steady selection of hits but really cranked things up when the covers came in.

Their first - Simon & Garfunkel's Sound of Silence - is already a big hit for them, but they deliver a flawless version here complete with orchestral accompaniment. 

Lzzy Hale lets rip - 

Photo credit:
Jen O'Neill
Lzzy Hale then joins them for a cover of U2's Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley for The Who's Baba O'Riley and Breaking Benjamin's Benjamin Burnley for Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name.

All excellent stuff before Disturbed finish off their set, as expected, with Down With The Sickness.

That was me done. I'm not a fan of Nightwish or Maiden, who I've seen before, and I get to go out on the high of Frank Carter and Disturbed.

While the weather tried and tried to bring down the spirits of those gathered in the Midlands over the weekend, the music ensured it didn't succeed. \m/

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Download Festival Day Two Review

A NEW day, a new set of (dry) clothes and a new hope that the rain would stay away - how wrong that last one was.

But the rain from above and rising mud from underneath failed to dampen my spirits as I went on to take in 17 bands across the course of another fantastic day of music.

I started the day (with a beer and) Shvpes - and the Birmingham boys bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the early slot in the Maverick tent. A decent start to the day.

Photo credit:
Ben Gibson

But things were ramped up even further on the Lemmy Stage as Beartooth - themselves in the Maverick tent last year - let rip.

They started with hit The Lines and never looked back as Caleb Shomo led the band through an excellent set that really connected with the crowd.

I then took in a bit of Black Peaks back in the Maverick who were also really good. There really is a big bunch of super-talented, heavy British bands emerging.

A bit past it, and taking me on a bit of a downer, were Atreyu on the Lemmy Stage. Their sing-along tracks offer nothing fresh or exciting. They weren't terrible, but they just didn't get my juices flowing like the earlier bands did.

It was the same with Danko Jones and Sixx:AM. Having caught a little, but not enough, of Turbowolf, I switched between DJ on the Maverick and Nikki Sixx's gang on the Lemmy Stage. The fact I did shows that neither did enough to capture my attention. Surely there is better than this.

But I was pulled out of my funk by a dose of Bury Tomorrow on the Encore Zippo Stage. The band came out to the Champions League theme music and then delivered a Champions League performance.

They killed it; each song connecting with the crowd. Frontman Daniel Winter-Bates' offer wait behind after to shake the hand of each and every audience member sealed Bury Tomorrow's place as a Download Festival favourite. Awesome stuff.

Things were a little mixed after that for yours truly. Escape The Fate were OK, Megadeth - with or without WWE legend Triple H - aren't my cup of tea, while Anti-Flag and Neck Deep offered something a little more exciting.

In between that latter two I had hoped to see the highly-rated Architects. But they were forced to pull out and while replacements Against The Current were solid, it wasn't what I had hoped to see at that time.

There were, however, highlights to come. Deftones - like they did at Sonisphere two years ago - absolutely slayed it with a superb performance on the Lemmy Stage. And Skindred are always enjoyable and made me for get about the rain - a little - over on the Zippo Encore.

I would return there after a short dabble watching England v Russia in Euro 2016 for a touch of NOFX, but then it was on to see Black Sabbath headline.

Like the night before, it was a little underwhelming. They played the hits. The musicianship is mindblowing and despite not always hitting the tune, Ozzy is still a force full of charisma.

But I was left feeling that the decision to wind things up after this one last tour is probably for the best. 

Download Festival Day One Review

ANOTHER year, another torrential deluge of rain at Download Festival. But it takes more than constant downpours and lakes of mud to stop the metalheads from enjoying their weekend - and so it proved.

My weekend started with a trip down memory lane with Alien Ant Farm on the Lemmy Stage. I only have one of their albums in my collection - 2001's ANThology - and the Californians' set was almost entirely from that. A good start.

As the rain began to fall, I took in a bit of Zoax under the cover of the Maverick Stage tent and they did more than enough to hold my attention. 

Jesse Leach on the Lemmy Stage
Photo credit:
Matt Eachus

But then the rain took centre stage and stayed there for much of the weekend.

So heavy were the downpours that they delayed the start of Babymetal - but everyone knows by now that you can't hold that force of nature back.

I first saw Babymetal at Sonisphere in 2014 and didn't know what to think, and I still don't think I get it. It's OK. It's bat-shit crazy. It's a novelty act. It sounds bad, but also quite good. One thing is for certain, there is nothing else like it and that made it a refreshing addition to the bill.

I had hoped to see the highly-rated Heck, but a dash back to the tent for some dryer and more waterproof clothes was needed in time for Killswitch Engage

One of my big "ones to watch" for the weekend, the metalcore heroes did not disappoint. Their 11-song set carried a few of the best songs from most of their albums and a couple from new LP Incarnate. And Jesse Leach's vocals were superb.

As well as renaming the main stage after Motorhead frontman Lemmy, the slot the band were to fill before his untimely death instead carried a video montage with some past performances included. 

It's a shame, however, that with the huge assortment of talent hanging around backstage that no live performance was arranged that the fans could really get into.

Over on the Zippo Encore Stage, Long Islanders Glassjaw pull in a threadbare crowd considering they are third on the bill on the second stage and up against the end of the Lemmy tribute at the start of their set.

They look dwarfed by the stage and other than frontman Daryl Palumbo are static. Guitarist Justin Beck seems as if his shoes were superglued to the floor.

That said, Glassjaw's angular, uncompromising hardcore still sounds good and if the band were disappointed by the turn-out, they didn't show it. The performance was excellent and Palumbo's energy (and dodgy attire) made up for the rest of the band.

On a weekend where some top-billed performances underwhelmed, Korn delivered a triumphant set full of power and vigour.

They're meant to be washed-up, bloated nu-metallers who have had their day, right? Uh-urrrr! Think again.

Jonathan Davies looked in rich health as the band stormed through a collection of greatest hits. His voice and energy were superb. Everything I could have hoped for and more.

Heck in the Maverick tent
Photo credit:
Ross Silcocks

Here To Stay, Falling Away From Me and Coming Undone were in the early part of the set and an excellent drop in Shoots And Ladders into Metallica's One.

The set powered on and finished with Got The Life and Freak On A Leash. Mind-blowing stuff. 

I'd heard so much about Rammstein's live show. 'You don't have to like the music', they said. 'You don't have to understand the language', they also said. Well, I'm sorry to say that I think you probably do.

Yes there were costumes and fireworks and fire and silliness, but I found it so underwhelming. Maybe it was lost in translation or that I just didn't get it but I really didn't see what all the fuss was about.

So much so that I took a stroll up the hill to the Dogtooth Stage and poked my head in to watch Essex boys InMe. That I did enjoy.

I still had time after to go back to Rammstein for the tail-end of their set - including the encore - but like the weather, the day ended on a bit of a damp note.