James Concert Review – Cape Town, 24.11.2018

It was a beautiful evening when I arrived at Kirstenbosch Gardens and the enthusiasm of the crowd was evident as the winding queue portrayed.

We entered the venue and managed to find a little spot atop the hill of the venue, with an incredible view of the city and the stage below us.

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Watershed started their set at 19:00 and it is always lovely to be able to watch a local staple perform at Kirstenbosch. It allows us to appreciate our local talent and show our support.

James is an English rock band from Manchester, which was formed in 1982. Lead singer Tim Booth departed from the band in 2001 and the band became inactive. In 2007, the band reunited and went on to produce six more albums.

Tim Booth is a very entertaining frontman, with a ton of energy, but with no tolerance for cellphones. He expressed his desire for the audience to “live in the moment” instead of taking videos/pictures to post on social media later on. He performed two songs amidst the crowd, but didn’t want to spend time with “one-armed people”. Considering the world we found ourselves in, it is refreshing to be reminded that the world doesn’t revolve around social media.

“Getting Away With It All (All Messed Up)” was a true crowd pleaser as it should be. It is an enigmatic song and one of the band’s most popular tracks.

“Say Something” was another hit with the audience and they were very happy to perform backing vocals to the entire song.

“What’s It All About” is a song from the band’s latest album, “Living in Extraordinary Times”. I love the vibe of this song, it deals with a serious topic, but the melody is extremely catchy.

“Hank” was another track that the band performed from their latest album and the drumming on this song in particular was impressive.

“Leviathan” is a compelling song about two people’s journeys coming together as one.

“Many Faces” closed the band’s set and it was a beautiful experience. As Tim ended off the song slowly, the crowd took over chanting the last verse;

“There’s only one human race
Many faces, everybody belongs here
There’s only one human race
Many faces, everybody belongs here”

It was absolutely magical, while the full moon was high up in the sky, the audience came together as one in that single moment.

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I thoroughly enjoyed James’ performance and I can say that for the first time the studio albums don’t do the live performance of the band justice. I have never said that about a band’s material before, but I mean it as a massive compliment.

I will admit that I wasn’t familiar with the band’s material before, but I loved every second of their set. My friend and I were standing the entire time, which locals will know is not the norm for a show at Kirstenbosch Gardens. We were dancing the whole time!

Shout out to We Are Live! for the free tickets!

Thank you to James for a memorable night!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Great Rock Albums released in 2018…so far

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Due to studying and life running away with my time I have not been diligent in keeping the blog updated, but hopefully this won’t be a problem any longer. In the past few months I have listened and discovered new music by some talented artists and I even discovered artists that are in a different genre. I absolutely love discovering new bands/music, it makes me want to share it with the world.

Shinedown – Attention Attention

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Shinedown – Attention Attention Album Cover  Copyright: Shinedown / Atlantic Records

Released on the 4th of May 2018, this is a concept album depicting an individual who is overcoming negativity and being reborn as a new person with a healthier mindset. Shinedown always provides us with hard-hitting, in-your face rock music with honest lyrics. They don’t shy away from the uncomfortable truths. Shinedown is able to craft songs that blend different techniques seamlessly. I was blown away the first time I heard their first single from this album “DEVIL”. The drums shine on this track as well as Brent’s intense vocals. “PYRO” is stellar. It builds up through the intro to launch into full on mayhem, especially that chorus! Zach’s guitar riffs provides the basis for this track which is a treat. “HUMAN RADIO” is an interesting commentary on the current state of the world we live in, which I found fascinating. The concept for the video is thought-provoking in the best way possible and memorable. I highly recommend this album as there is not a song on here that I didn’t enjoy.

 

Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

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Year of the Tiger – Myles Kennedy Album Cover Copyright: Napalm Records

I have wanted to do an album review of YOTT for such a long time. I have to admit that it has been something that I have found quite daunting. As most of you know by now, Myles holds a special place in my heart and mind, as a human being and as a musician. I was in awe the first time I heard the title track, I was surprised by how much I loved it. This might sound strange, but I had no idea what to expect from Myles’ solo album. I would struggle to categorise this album in a specific genre, which to me is actually a good thing.

The day the album was released I was already well acquainted with the title track already. First off, I have to mention that I’m very reserved when it comes to expressing my emotions, except if something gets me really excited. I sat in my car, listening to the album and when “The Great Beyond” came on, my jaw literally dropped. The intro is very theatrical and I was in absolute awe. If you want to know the calibre of the musician that Myles is, then that is the track you need to listen to. His skills on guitar is impeccable and the note that Myles hits in that chorus amazes me every time I listen to it. You can hear the passion in this song and it reminds me a little bit of Spanish guitar combined with theatrics.

“Devil on the Wall” has a great storyline and it has some country swagger to it. “Ghost of Shangri-La” was a neat little surprise tucked away amongst the other songs and despite the lyrics, it has an uplifting feel to it. “Haunted by Design” will haunt your ear, that is for sure. An easy listening song where you can appreciate the lyrics. “Love Can Only Heal” takes you on a sonic, atmospheric journey encapsulated by Myles’ ethereal vocals. This song is definitely a fan favourite.

I had the privilege of seeing and meeting Myles on the first show of his solo tour, read my review here: Myles Kennedy in Cape Town 2018

Tremonti – A Dying Machine

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Tremonti – A Dying Machine Album Cover No copyright infringement intended

It is pretty apparent that this band improves with every album they release. I think there is more variety on this album and the guitar technique/skills always stand out, but that isn’t the only focus. The band has grown and incorporated solid lyrics, vocals and diversity in their sound compared to their other releases. The timing on “A Dying Machine” creates a good contrast to make the chorus stand out, with a more subtle guitar solo in the bridge. “Throw Them To The Lions” is a hard hitter of note and that signature Tremonti sound shines on this track. “The Day When Legions Burned” is a masterclass in drumming, Garrett’s technique on this track is undeniable. I absolutely love “The First The Last” and this track took me by surprise. Mark’s vocals on that track really makes you sit up and take note. This shows how much Mark’s vocal ability has grown these past few years. “The First The Last” tugs at my heart-strings.

“You are the heart that beats within my dying core” – What an incredible lyric.

A solid album for the hard rock/metal lover with a few pleasant surprises in between.

 

Bad Wolves – Disobey

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Bad Wolves – Disobey Album Cover

I probably don’t have to tell you that I heard about Bad Wolves the first time I heard their now extremely popular cover of The Cranberries’ Zombie.

What I didn’t expect was how hard I was going to fall in love with this band. I love the melodic verses surrounded by some serious heavy metal screams/distortions. They have managed to create something that is pleasing to the ear, even if you are not a heavy metal fan. They manage to get the combination just right. “Disobey” and “Learn To Live” are quite heavy and punchy, but they are lifted by melodic choruses. “Remember When” tells the story of Tommy Vext’s childhood and the tragedy that caused him to land up in a hospital bed. I would like to elaborate on this story on the blog soon. It is a powerful song and one of the stars on this album. The bass line on “Better The Devil” reels you in and takes you on a journey that attack your senses. “Hear Me Now” is a tender moment on the album and features hard rock chick DIAMANTE. It is a stellar performance and even the version with only Tommy on vocals is outstanding.

 

Pop Evil – Pop Evil

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Pop Evil Album Cover

Pop Evil knocked it out of the park with this album. This is a hard rock fan’s dream come true. Solid song writing, utilising instruments in a balanced mannner complimented with powerful vocals. The Rock Riff ranked “Waking Lions” as the Number 1 song of 2017, which means the expectations were high for this album. “Art of War” and “Be Legendary” are lyrically captivating and melodic.  “Nothing But Thieves” starts with an interesting intro which incorporates an electronic sound, but you can’t help being intrigued and waiting to hear what will happen next. The inspiring track “When We Were Young” will make you reminisce and have hope for the future. Leigh’s smooth vocals have the ability to transport you to another place, the best example of this is on the track “Rewind”. Hayley Cramer is magic on the drums, especially on “Colors Bleed”, this girl doesn’t need to stand back for any drummer.

 

Honourable Mentions

Turnstile – Time & Space

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Turnstile – Time & Space Album Cover

The intro to “I Wanna Be Blind” is stellar and it is an energizing song with elements of classic rock and funk thrown together. The album is an interesting mix of various styles. The band didn’t hold back on this album and they are not afraid to take risks. They maintain an intense tempo throughout the entire album. This album is more suited to the average punk rock fan.

Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree

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Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree Album Cover

I love this band! I love their sound, because I find it so refreshing. Chris Robertson’s southern drawl is unmatched. This album had some surprising tracks on that I was a little surprised about. “Bad Habits” is the first song off the album and I think it represents the signature Black Stone Cherry sound perfectly. I feel that there needs to be a track on an album that is a classic representation of that specific band’s sound. They have incorporated a slightly more dominant country sound, especially on songs like “Carry Me On Down The Road” and “I Need A Woman” and even some blues on “James Brown”. The album does seem to take on a slower pace overall, but I think the band is developing their sound and trying new things. You have to admire that.

The Temperance Movement – A Deeper Cut

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The Temperence Movement – A Deeper Cut Album Cover

A fantastic band that I discovered on the airplane on my trip back from London to Cape Town. A British band that embodies the groove of true Rock ‘n Roll. You can’t help but be caught in the infectious beat and groove they emit. Their songs inspire me and instantly improves my mood. “Built-In Forgetter” is the one that got me hooked in the first place. “Backwater Zoo” really makes me feel like I have heard this song before, a few decades ago, it is like the song pays homage to classic rock bands in the 70s. The smooth guitar chords layered on top of “Love and Devotion” makes you want to grab someone to dance with. “Beast Nation” is an emotional song that soothes your soul with gritty vocals in the verses and THAT guitar solo in the bridge! The passion of the band members are evident on every track. “The Way It Was and The Way It Is Now” is another standout, the guitar hook on this track is incredible.

Hopefully I have more time to share more music with you.

I can’t wait, I’m excited!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Myles Kennedy, Cape Town Concert Review 6.03.2018

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MK

 

The event that I have been patiently waiting for, for the past 3 months had finally arrived. I was going to have the opportunity to meet and watch my favourite musician in the world launch his solo album tour here in my hometown. I honestly never thought this moment would come around.

I arrived at the venue four hours prior to the start of the show and went to check-in with the organisers of the meet and greet packages. On my way to the merchandise stand I saw some of  the fans that were going to join me in meeting Myles. While I was waiting at the merch stand, deciding how I was going to avoid spending all my money I met two other Myles’ fans and it was wonderful to meet like-minded people who adored the man as much as I did. We spent the rest of our time at the concert together and I really enjoyed their company.

Later on we got ushered into the venue, where we were allowed to watch Myles do a sound check. He seemed at ease and even joked around a little bit. He played “Haunted By Design” with Tim Tournier accompanying him on the acoustic guitar. A real treat was watching Myles tune and play the steel resonator guitar in a lap slide guitar style. Myles didn’t need to spend much time doing a sound check, as he would have if he was performing with his band. He seemed eager to wrap up sound check in order to meet us. Being even more eager, the fans started to line up for their chance to briefly chat to Myles.

I was feeling excited, but not nervous up until I stood face-to-face with him. I just thanked him for launching his solo album tour here in Cape Town and I told him that he was the only reason I went to watch “Kings of Chaos” in 2013. He seemed surprised that I held him in such high regard. What an honour…I will never forget that moment.

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There were two hours left before the show would start, which meant that we had a chance to absorb the experience we just had.

I made my way to my seat, which was perfectly positioned in the second row, right in line of the mic stand. Andy Mac introduced Myles to the audience, I felt quite emotional as he was speaking and had goosebumps the whole time.

Myles opened up the show with “Devil On The Wall”, the third song that has been released from his solo album “Year of the Tiger”. He entered with the haunting intro being played in the background, before he launched into the first verse of the song. I find the lyrics of this song very poignant and the guitar work is exceptional.

“Standing In The Sun” was a pleasant surprise, a song that comes off the first album with Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators’ “Apocalyptic Love”. The song suited the acoustic set, with Myles belting out the chorus, true to form.

“Before Tomorrow Comes” was a hit with the audience and a welcome addition to the set. A song with lyrics that have the ability to make you wonder what a difference you can make to the world around you. This song was originally released as part of Alter Bridge’s second album “Blackbird”.

“All Ends Well” has never been performed live by Alter Bridge, so this is the first time that this song has been played live by any of the band members. I love the fact that Myles played this song and I think that was part of the vision for this tour, for him to get the opportunity to play songs he wouldn’t get the chance to perform with Alter Bridge. This song comes from the band’s fourth studio album “Fortress”.

“Addicted To Pain” is one of my favourite “heavy” songs from Alter Bridge’s catalogue and its rare that a song like that translates to acoustic so well. The power and intensity of the song is still evident, even through the acoustic version. This song also appears on “Fortress”.

“Life Must Go On” a track off of ABIII, has only been performed by Alter Bridge twice. It is an inspirational track that has meant a lot to fans, but is one of the lesser known songs that hide in the shadow of the monster that is “Blackbird”, among others. You know you are being spoiled when the artist performs a rare track and it sweetens the experience.

“Starlight” on the other hand was not a surprising addition to the set list, because it has been a staple when Myles and Slash do their acoustic sets together, wherever they perform. Fans will know that Myles’ vocal abilities shine on this track and last night was no exception.

“Open Your Eyes” was a killer sing along song for the crowd and Myles gave the audience a chance to harmonize which went well up until those high notes, much to Myles’s delight. He threw his head back and laughed at our feeble vocals.

I was so happy when Myles started playing “Traveling Riverside Blues”, he is so adept at performing that Robert Johnson song and he has a creative way of playing it that suits the style of the song perfectly. I’m sorry to report that I was jamming so hard to this song, I neglected to film it, but I’m not sure if I should be apologising for that.

There were a few gems from the Mayfield Four era that Myles treated us to, namely “Eden”, “Mars Hotel”, “Lyla”. I have to say that I really enjoyed his performance of “Lyla”, the entire song has a great melody to it and it still manages to lyrically convey the story to the audience. “Mars Hotel” is another popular acoustic track that Myles has been known to perform on occassion.

Myles Kennedy even performed two cover songs for the crowd. He performed “Levon”, an Elton John cover and the highlight of the two was when he performed a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” which showcased his technical ability on the guitar.

“Haunted By Design” is one of the songs from Myles upcoming solo album, that will be released on the 9th of March 2018. The song was performed with guitarist Tim Tournier accompanying Myles to perform the song that sounds like it was meant to be performed acoustically.

The stellar “Year of the Tiger” met all of my expectations. I have loved the song from the moment I heard it and the crowd really got into it. Tim Tournier joined the performance once again, which added another dimension to the song.

The popular and highly regarded “Watch Over You” inevitably featured on the set list. Myles actually received a well-deserved standing ovation for that one. The song comes from Alter Bridge’s second studio album, “Blackbird”.

Myles left the stage and to my sheer delight returned for an encore which ended the night with “Rise Today”. An absolute Alter Bridge staple, that originated from their “Blackbird” album.

The entire night you could see that Myles was having fun, he became more and more at ease as the night went on with plenty of jokes and charisma to mesmerize the audience even further.

I want to thank Andy Mac and the team at AMP events that they made my dreams come true. I honestly thought I was lucky to see him when he came down with “Kings of Chaos” in 2013 , but I never knew I would have the honour to witness my idol playing solo on stage let alone being able to meet him.

Myles has been an inspiration to me and many others, he remains a humble human being despite his success and he keeps pursuing what he loves.

Thank you.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K