Sep 022021
 

 

(We’ve been enjoying the hell out of our friend Gonzo‘s reports on the 2021 edition of Psycho Fest in Las Vegas a couple weekends ago, and hope you have too. Today we present his third and final write-up, concerning his adventures on the fest’s last day.)

 

“The possibility of physical and mental collapse is now very real. No sympathy for the Devil, keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

Hunter S. Thompson

Those words from the good doctor rang out in my brain the moment I opened my eyes on Sunday morning. My ears were still ringing in spite of wearing earplugs for the majority of Saturday, but like so much else, Vegas cannot be bothered with your feeble attempts at self-care. Continue reading »

Aug 312021
 

 

(Denver-based NCS contributor Gonzo was in Vegas two weekends ago for the 2021 edition of Psycho Fest, and has been sending us some great write-ups of what he witnessed. His journal for Day 1 is here, and this is his report on Day 2.)

Vegas is a devourer of good intentions.

Its only purpose in this existence is to rob you of your sobriety, your bank account, your dignity, and your sanity. It cares nothing for your early-morning lamentations of the bad decisions you made the night before. The endless air-conditioned hallways of cigarette-crusted casinos and overpriced restaurants and tourist traps will be there the next day, waiting for that inevitable moment when you’ve become inebriated enough to shrug and once again say “what the hell, why not.”

The likelihood of you succumbing to this seemingly innocent urge increases with each passing hour on any given point during a weekend in Vegas. I knew from the moment I rose out of bed on day 2 of Psycho Fest that this would be the case, and the day would soon stretch beyond an ordinary festival and into an endurance contest. The schedule of bands we had carefully crafted ahead of time would either prove untenable or test the limits of how hard we could party in one day. Or maybe both.

At around 11 a.m., we left the tranquility of our Excalibur hotel room and sauntered once more into the soulless void. Today’s main attractions? Cannibal Corpse, Poison the Well, Dying Fetus, Cult of Fire, and a whole helluva lot more. Continue reading »

Aug 302021
 

 

(Our pal Gonzo took in the 2021 edition of Psycho Fest in Las Vegas and returned to Denver fortunately symptom-free, other than what happened to his head over the three days of the fest, and he has provided a synopsis of the experiences, beginning with the following report on Day 1. We expect reports on the next two days as well)

DAY 1

There is no source of frustration quite like being forcibly stuck in an airport for any length of time longer than absolutely necessary.

I was reminded of this grim reality two Fridays ago when my arrival at Denver International Airport coincided with one of the airport’s underground trains catastrophically breaking down. Ensuing damage and delays had forced the airport to close all but one terminal. The scene was absolute chaos – security queues wrapped around entire terminals, people screaming at TSA agents, confusion, madness, panic… one woman ended up in handcuffs after going into a terrifying rage and sobbing. It was looking like the 10:15 a.m. landing at my final destination, Psycho Fest 2021 in Las Vegas, was slowly slipping out of my grasp.

By the grace of Thor, the one terminal that stayed open ended up being the one we were flying out of. The flight was delayed by an hour or two, but we were somehow able to board and land safely and without any further unexpected pandemonium. Vegas would have plenty of that in the days to come anyway. Continue reading »

Mar 022020
 

 

(On March 1, 2020, Andy Synn witnessed the performances of Harrowed, Calligram, and Geist at the Chameleon Bar in Nottingham, UK, and provides this review of the show, accompanied by videos that he made.)

It’s a little-known fact, but Hardcore was my “first love” when it comes to “alternative” music.

In fact, bands like Earth Crisis, Shai Hulud, and Vision of Disorder weren’t just some of my earliest encounters with music outside of “the mainstream”, but were my gateway into Metal too.

And while my tastes have definitely moved on since then, I’ve still retained a lot of love for the more metallic side of Hardcore, especially when/where it collides with other, even heavier, genres (last year’s Fuming Mouth and Totaled albums being prime examples).

My attendance at this evening’s gig was, therefore, pretty much mandatory, as all three of the bands on the bill (all of whom I’ve written about here before) have, over the course of the past couple of years, developed a well-deserved reputation as some of the best proponents of Metallic Hardcore that the UK has to offer.

And how was I going to say no to the opportunity to see them all together in a small local venue no more than twenty minutes from my house? Continue reading »

Jan 312020
 


Leeched

 

(Andy Synn turned in this review of the performances by Leeched, Geist, and Tuskar in Nottingham, England last night — January 30th — with some of his own video documentation of the experience.)

Sometimes, despite all our best intentions, things just don’t work out quite the way we want them to.

That was certainly the case this evening, as, for various reasons which I won’t go into here, I ended up being massively delayed getting to this show, and therefore missed both the local openers Pemphigoid and Underdark.

This was actually doubly-unfortunate too – firstly because while I’ve never been the biggest fan of the latter, the last few times I’ve seen them it’s felt like they’re finally starting to live up to (at least some of) the hype , so I was hoping to see if this trend continued, and secondly because I’ve not yet managed to catch the former band live, and this was going to be my first chance to do so.

Still, putting aside these regrets and recriminations for the moment, I suppose you’re all wondering how the rest of the show went? Continue reading »

Jan 242020
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the performances by Cannabis Corpse, Withered, and Violated Flesh in Birmingham, England, on January 22, 2020, with video highlights.)

One of my resolutions for this year has been to go to more gigs. In fact I’ve already got several booked in for February and March, and another one to attend next week.

Sadly, however, the twin constraints of money and time mean I can’t go to every single show I’d like to, which is why I was forced to miss the Darkest Hour/Fallujah show in Manchester this week.

Thankfully, however, I’d already made firm plans to hit the Birmingham date of the Cannabis Corpse/Withered tour, which definitely helped ease the pain somewhat, especially since this would be my first time seeing Withered since way back in 2005! Continue reading »

Nov 062019
 

 

(Andy Synn was fortunate to catch the Nottingham stop on Imperial Triumphant‘s current European tour, with support at the show by Bast and Abduction, and transmitted the following report along with videos of the performances.)

If you’re not at least a little bit concerned about the state of the underground Metal scene in the UK then you’ve not been paying enough attention.

It’s nothing to do with a lack of talent, by any means, as there are innumerable bands out there right now who are all more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the best that the rest of the world has to offer. No, the real concern is a combination of two factors.

First, there’s the ongoing gentrification of our inner cities, with rising rents and rapacious developers continuing to exert crushing pressure on our small-to-mid-sized venues (we’re losing two of my favourites, Temple of Boom in Leeds and The Flapper in Birmingham, very soon), which in turn results in both greater competition for dates between bands as the live circuit contracts and more and more promoters/venues pivot towards courting more profitable, mainstream-friendly fare.

Then there’s the ongoing travesty of Brexit which, regardless of the politics behind it, is going to make it much more difficult for small/medium sized bands to tour the EU, and is likely to also cause problems for foreign bands wanting to tour the UK (where the margin of feasibility, when all costs and logistics are summed up, is often razor-thin).

So please, make sure to support your local promoters and local venues whenever and wherever you can. Because without them gigs like tonight’s extraordinary experience just wouldn’t be possible. Continue reading »

Oct 292019
 

 

(For the second day in a row we have a show review by Andy Synn, this time devoted to performances by Dawn Ray’d, Underdark, and Arboricidio in Andy’s hometown of Nottingham, UK, on October 25th, 2019.)

Two shows in two days? How rock and/or roll of me!

All joking aside, seeing two of the UK Metal scene’s current standard-bearers – Conjurer yesterday, Dawn Ray’d tonight – playing my home town was an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss, especially since the latter show (the one you’re about to read about) was being held at Stuck On A Name Studios, which is where I/we practice and record too! Continue reading »

Oct 282019
 

 

(Andy Synn turned in this review of the performances by Conjurer, Earth Moves, and Armed for Apocalypse on October 24, 2019, in Nottingham, UK.)

Despite all evidence (or lack thereof) to the contrary, I’ve actually been to quite a few gigs this year (including three different festivals), even though I haven’t necessarily been writing about them all.

As a matter of fact, I even saw tonight’s openers headline a different venue here in Nottingham a few months back, and although I didn’t end up reviewing that particular show it definitely made me keen to get down this evening in time for the early start (with doors opening just after 18:30) so I could catch them again! Continue reading »

Sep 102019
 

 

(Our Seattle-based contributor Gonzo re-joins us with another lively concert review, this time reporting on Iron Maiden‘s performance in Tacoma, Washington, on September 5, 2019.)

“It’s only gonna get better from here,” bellows a spry Bruce Dickinson, addressing the Tacoma Dome crowd while standing under a replica Spitfire plane. Dickinson and his band of merry men in Iron Maiden had just torn through iconic opener “Aces High,” complete with said plane dangling from the top of the stage like a marionette during the song’s entirety. This alone would be an impressive spectacle for any live act to pull off, but for Iron Maiden, it’s the warmup.

At this point in the band’s storied career, to expect anything less than this from Iron Maiden would be silly. At 61, Dickinson is as energetic as someone half his age, and Steve Harris and the rest of his bandmates in the indispensable UK metal crew aren’t far behind. Not surprisingly, then, would the band’s 2019 Legacy of the Beast tour be anything less than spectacular? Continue reading »