Kicking off 2018!

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Welcome to 2018, people!

I think it is going to be a smashing year for rock music as I have seen a lot of exciting things happening already!

New Music

Bad Wolves – “Zombie”

First off I want to share a cover song with you that has captivated me for the past week. I have shared this song with everyone I know, because it pays homage to the original but the band solidified their stamp on it. The late Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) was meant to lend her vocals to this cover, but then news broke that the singer had passed away before that could happen. The band released their version that Dolores had approved of as a tribute and all profits will benefit Dolores’ three children.

This song affects me in ways that I can’t explain and I could probably write essays about this cover. Vext’s vocals are a major highlight for me, every nuance is perfectly placed and that goes for the instrumentation as well.

Major respect go to “Bad Wolves” for this one.

Story of the Year – “Bang Bang”

An energetic offering from Story of the Year and I find their latest song seamlessly combine different genres within one song. It jumps from an electronic-like intro straight to screamo to punk rock over to a rock chorus. The band’s fans are delighted about their return after their hiatus. Their latest album titled “Wolves” was released in December 2017.

Red – “Gone”

The title track from the band’s latest album is a solid rock song with some electronic beats weaved throughout the song. The lyrics question the legacy that we leave behind and the quality of the impact we made, that stay behind when we pass away.

A valid point to ponder.

 

Black Veil Brides – “Wake Up”

Black Veil Brides have returned! A politically charged video and theme run through the band’s latest single with a delicious guitar solo thrown in for good measure. It is an anthem for the majority to stand up against what they believe to be unfair, corrupt or unjustified behaviour. A great message to share considering the power that politicians/leaders wield.

 

Marmozets – “Run With The Rhythm”

An interesting song that I would never have expected to hear from Marmozets. The intro almost has a folk/indie sound to it, up until the chorus kicks in. The video is captivating and the cinematography is amazing. An artistic release in every way.

Pop Evil – “Colors Bleed”

A great concept for a video which leaves the viewer with more questions than answers and a reflection of today’s society or a reality we might still face. I’m loving every second of the heavier direction Pop Evil has taken.

Three Days Grace – “The Mountain”

It is so good to hear Three Days Grace back on the scene again. The lyrics are inspiring and is the best way to get your year started. Three Days Grace’s latest album “Outsider” drops on the 9th of March 2018.

 

Paddy and the Rats – “Join The Riot”

The strangest and most entertaining discovery I have made in recent history. I wouldn’t have taken this band seriously if they weren’t signed by Napalm Records and if I didn’t listen to their other songs. Different, exciting, funny and a carnival to your ears, enjoy me matey!

 

Jonathan Davis – “What It Is”

Surprise, Jonathan Davis just went solo! I think this will be a very interesting venture for non-fans and fans alike. I’m excited to see what is to come from him in the near future. I liked this song from the first listen which is rare for me. Straight-up good, honest rock music.

 

Local Events

There are some exciting concerts heading to Cape Town’s shores.

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There will definitely, without any doubt be a blog post about Mr Myles Kennedy when I meet him on the 6th of March 2018.

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Have a smashing week and I hope everyone had a good start to their year so far!

If not…we will have to take it up a notch next month!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

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Best 17 Rock Songs of 2017

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Best Rock Songs of 2017

17: Imminence – Up

Imminence, a Swedish band which took me completely by surprise! The song starts out like any other modern rock song and then escalates, becoming more intense with each verse. The band’s material is diverse and their music often crosses over genre boundaries.

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16: Skarlett Riot – Warrior

A high-energy song that is enveloped by powerful female vocals and some truly impressive breakdowns that is enough to get you hooked on to the band’s material. The band incorporates hard rock mixed with a metal edge into their sound which creates a great experience for rock fans. This song stood out to me, because it has so much heart and the drumming creates a solid support base for the song.

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15: Avatar – A Statue Of The King

A truly theatrical experience, as we have come to expect from Avatar. A spectacle of metal perfection and phenomenal musicianship. Avatar is releasing their new album “Avatar Country” on the 12th of January 2018 and I’m salivating!

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14: I Prevail – Come and Get It

I don’t think the band could have compiled a better video to convey the amount of energy and passion they have for what they do. This live performance video montage conveys the raw energy that I Prevail possess. This song is incredible, because it is heavy but at the same time it has great rhythm to it. Throw me in the pit!!

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13: Papa Roach – Born for Greatness

A great arena rocker and a music video to match the energy of the song. Papa Roach delivers a solid crowd-pleaser with this song. An instant way to improve your mood!!

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12: Incubus – Nimble Bastard

Incubus deliver an undeniable groove with this song and lighthearted lyrical content. The video plays out like a meme and you can see the band members having a lot of fun with this one. A refreshing departure from the rock music genre’s heavier subject matter.

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11: While She Sleeps – Empire of Silence

The only way I can describe this song is by comparing it to a roller coaster, from the use of the strategic silences to the smashing drums combined with the switch between clean and unclean vocals. This song is a feast to any metal head’s  ears.

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10: Seether – Let You Down

The lyrics are melancholy and the hook tends to reel in the listener slowly but surely. I’m in love with the visuals of this video and it has been expertly crafted to be creepy while still leaving a lot to the imagination. Art house horror is the only way I feel I can describe the video.

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9: Escape The Fate – Empire

I made the mistake of reading some comments posted on YouTube below this video, which were very negative. I disagree with all of them. This song has grit, energy and fuels the need to head bang. It is a party song and can get you in the mood for the weekend from the first note. I don’t think fans should take it so seriously, it is not meant to be debated about. It is meant to be enjoyed.

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8: Asking Alexandria – Into The Fire

Asking Alexandria released a video for “Into The Fire” that plays out more like a scene straight from Sin City than a music video. I’m definitely not complaining, because I loved every second of it. The highlight of this song, in my opinion, is Danny’s vocals. The song really shows off his vocal range and versatility, not taking anything away from the band’s performance at all.

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7: In This Moment – Roots

The lyrics of the song is empowering and I can’t help but feel that this is an incredibly personal song to Maria Brink. A blistering chorus combined with verses that hypnotize the listener. A solid delivery by the band.

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6: Fozzy – Judas

A charismatic front man combined with an entertaining video supported by solid bass playing surrounded by flames and Marshall speakers, sounds like a recipe for success to me! This describes Fozzy’s latest music video in a nutshell.

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5: Marmozets – Major System Error

The Marmozets are back! A delicious bombardment of guitars, drums topped off with girl power in the form of Becca’s vocals. I can dance and head bang to this song, a rare combination. 😀

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4: Myles Kennedy – Year of the Tiger

I will start by admitting that I’m biased when it comes to Myles Kennedy. He has been working on his solo album since 2009!! It seems like his solo project will finally see the light of day. Year of the Tiger is different to any of Myles’ previous projects, but that was the goal. Myles loves blues and has incorporated that sound into his solo work. His debut album will be released on the 9th of March 2018. This song is refreshing and the lyrical content tells the deeply personal story of the emotions Myles went through as a child when he lost his father. I’m so proud to be a fan.

PS: Myles is launching his solo tour in my home town of Cape Town in 2018! I can hardly contain myself!

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3: Nothing More – Go To War

Grammy nominated rock song, just says it all, doesn’t it? The song is relevant to today’s current political climate and the chorus is incredibly powerful. Jonny Hawkins never holds back and you can definitely tell with this song, his vocal range is impressive as well. The band managed to nab 3 Grammy nominations and I couldn’t be prouder.

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2: Five Finger Death Punch – Gone Away

All of us are well aware of what Five Finger Death Punch are capable of, but I for one did not expect this. The band released a cover of Offspring’s song “Gone Away” and I’m in love with it. I was not aware that Ivan Moody’s voice was capable of the subtleties of this vocal performance. An immaculate performance by the entire band and an instant classic.

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1: Pop Evil – Waking Lions

I’m delighted with the approach that Pop Evil took with this song. The heavier sound compared to their previous album is a pleasant surprise. A soaring chorus framed by heavier verses is refreshing and I have to admit Hayley’s drumming is impeccable. Bottom line….we need more!

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Cheers to 2017!!

It has been a great year for rock music!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Concert Review – Grand Arena, Cape Town 7.11.2017

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Our evening started off with a long walk to the venue, due to the long queues that stretched for meters past the entrance to the casino.

We eventually arrive with quite a good view from the Golden Circle. I was eager to see what the opening band would be like, especially since I know that they have a female lead singer. The name of the band is The Sweet Resistance and they are a South African alternative pop rock band, but the lead singer Tash hails from Canada. They released their debut album in September 2016, titled “Where There Is Hope”.

The band opened up their set and the crowd was silent, trying to gauge the band’s performance. It didn’t take me long to realize that this band was a solid unit and not intimidated by their position as the supporting band for Live’s Reunion Tour.

The Sweet Resistance performed an impressive cover of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”. View their performance here:

The band ended their set and I was so glad that I got introduced to them as I would definitely go and watch a performance of theirs if I get the chance.

The crowd naturally couldn’t wait for Live to take to the stage. You could see the happiness on each of the band members’ faces as they came on, grateful to be doing what they are doing, together again.

Live currently consists of Ed Kowalczyk on (lead vocal, rhythm guitar), Chad Taylor (lead guitar, backing vocals), Patrick Dahlheimer (bass) and Chad Gracey (drums).

The band  brought along two touring band members Zak Loy (rhythm guitar) and Adam Diaz (drums). The two drum sets on stage were a real treat and I can honestly say that I haven’t been to a live performance with a similar set-up.

The excitement in the air was tangible as the band opened their set with “All Over You”. The sound was incredible and honestly the best sound quality I have experienced at the Grand Arena.

“Pain Lies On The Riverside” is such a melodious song, due to the skillful layering of each instrument that the band plays and it translates so well during a live performance.

The band performed the ever-popular “Dolphin’s Cry” early on in the set, to my surprise and utter delight. Personally I think hearing this song live alone is an honour and worth every penny of the ticket price. It is such an iconic song of my youth and one of the songs that my generation use to relate to the band.

“Selling the Drama” did exactly that, the breakdown when the chorus hits is magical and it is a great song for the band’s guitarists to indulge in.

Live even treated us to their cover of Johnny Cash’s “Walk The Line”, which was a refreshing addition to their set and certainly one I didn’t expect.

Live performed “Sh*t Towne” which is about the town where the guys grew up and hated it at the time. The excitement on their faces was evident when they played that song and you could see the bond they share over that song. They like visiting their town in the current day, because there is more life there now in comparison to when they were growing up.

“I Alone” has become one of my all-time favourite songs and I can’t get the song to play loud enough. It is a raw and powerful song on all fronts, lyrically and musically. The song emits an energy, which you can only convey when you mean every word of what you are singing. I find that this song is more aggressive in nature in comparison to many of their other songs and it is one that will defy age. I was privileged to witness this song performed live and I couldn’t absorb that moment long enough.

“Lakini’s Juice” is a delightful, gritty piece of music, with that signature rift threaded between the lyrics and drums. A song that hits you right between the eyes and doesn’t let go until the last note.

After another song, the band left the stage and the audience had instant separation anxiety and started chanting for the band to return.

Ed lead the encore on his own for the first part of “Heaven” where he forgot the words to the song, it was an endearing moment and the audience actually seemed to enjoy it. I felt for Ed, but he handled it extremely well and I’m selfishly glad that I caught the moment  on video.

“Run To The Water”, is an invigorating song and one of the highlights of the band’s discography. I always find the song refreshing, because it is about seeking solace.

The band performed a tribute to Chris Cornell with a cover version of Audioslave’s “I Am The Highway” which was touching.

After the encore, the crowd could not wait for the band to play “Lightning Crashes”, because I heard quite a few audience members becoming impatient. Once the band played the first few notes of that song the crowd went hysterical.

Live Setlist Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino, Cape Town, South Africa 2017

me

My friend and I at the Live Reunion Tour Concert at Grand Arena, Grand West Casino, Cape Town, South Africa

Photo from Lauren Kruger 🎼
It was a fabulous night of quality performances!
Rock Regards,
Lauren K

Alien Ant Farm Review – Cape Town, South Africa – 4th of November 2017

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The evening started off calmly, up until a notorious South African band called “Half Price” took to the stage. I was impressed by their skills, because my first impression was that I shouldn’t have any expectations at all. Half Price proved me wrong. The band impressed with enthusiasm, attitude and solid musicality.

In 2016 they became the first South African punk band to sign with an American digital record label, Punk Outlaw Records. Prior to that the band remained independent before that.

You can view a snippet of their performance below:

The second support band that took to the stage at Mercury was Made for Broadway.

Made For Broadway is a four-piece pop, rock, and punk band from Johannesburg, South Africa. The band formed in 2014, released 2 EPs and launched a local tour within the first 10 months. The band self-produced their debut album and created a tour to support it, which took them to California, USA.

I love the band’s energy and songwriting abilities.

You can see the band’s performance below:

By the time AAF was due to perform the excitement from the crowd was palpable. The audience started chanting for the band to start.

The band entered with a bang and launched their set with “Courage” which I find is more aggressive in comparison to the other songs on their “Anthology” album. It is a great song to get the crowd going.

“Sticks and Stones”, “Attitude”, “Whisper” and “Flesh and Bone” were the deeper cuts off of their debut album that they chose to perform. In my opinion those were great set list choices. I love the guitar intro to “Attitude” as it is really unique and instantly recognizable accompanied by structured drumming.

“These Days” was understandably another crowd favourite and AAF didn’t dissapoint with their performance of the song.

I wish I could tell you that I held my composure when the band performed “Movies” quite early on in the set, but I would be lying…

I had to record a second video, because I couldn’t stand still any longer and started jumping way too much, while recording the first one. A total failure, but totally worth it!

Needless to say the band ended their set with “Smooth Criminal”, hearing it live and seeing the crowd’s reaction was incredible. Added to that I think the crowd enjoyed every single song and wasn’t just waiting for the most famous song of all, which makes the entire experience more enjoyable.

Leading up to this concert, I think I was in the same boat as most people when I say that only “Smooth Criminal” came to mind when I heard the name “Alien Ant Farm”. At the time the band was at their peak I wasn’t listening to the rock music genre except for what was in the media at the time. Leading up to the concert I downloaded the band’s debut album and I enjoyed it immensely, although it made me feel like I had missed out on a great part of the punk rock era. This night made me feel like I could at least relive a part of what I had missed.

Shout-out to a friend who made this possible.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

Thumping Thursdays

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One day before the weekend arrives I think it is only right that I share some new videos that you can add to your weekend playlist.

Dead by April  – My Heart Is Crushable

Epic lyric video and crushing vocals mixed with some heavy riffs, you’re welcome. 🙂

 

Nickelback – Feed The Machine

A relevant song that is a departure from their traditional sound. The intro builds anticipation and makes way for the song’s strong chorus. I hope Nickelback’s new material is more or less in the same vein as their first single. I can’t wait to hear more.

 

Amaranthe – Boomerang

Amaranthe deliver another one of their deliciously unique songs and a great video to boot. The contrasting vocals are surprising at time, but in a good way. Love the way the video was shot and seeing the director’s vision come to life.

 

 

Twenty One Pilots – Heavydirtysoul

Twenty One Pilots never disappoint and that is definitely true in this case. A nail-biting video that plays more like a movie than a music video. I love watching Josh drum and this video manages to highlight his abilities.

Have a rocking weekend!

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

 

I Prevail – Band Feature

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I Prevail is an American metalcore band formed in Southfield, Michigan and established in 2013.

The band currently consists of Brian Burkheiser – clean vocals , Eric Vanlerberghe – unclean vocals, Steve Menoian – lead guitar, Lee Runestad – drums, Dylan Bowman – rhythm guitar, backing vocals and Tony Camposeo on bass guitar.

The band was formed on the 1st of December 2014 and shortly thereafter they started working on their EP. On the 10th of December I Prevail released the first two singles from the EP, “Love, Lust, and Liars” and “The Enemy”. The band became popular after posting a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” on YouTube on the 17th December 2014. To date the video has received over 30 million views.

The band released their debut EP, Heart Vs. Mind on the 26th of January 2015. The EP moved over 60,000 copies as I Prevail toured with the likes of Hollywood Undead and Crown The Empire in 2015 on Day of the Dead tour and they opened for Pop Evil in December. On the 12th of March 2015  rhythm guitarist Jordan Berger left the band due to other commitments. The band added touring members Tony Camposeo on bass and Dylan Bowman on rhythm guitar. The band embarked on a few tours namely the Heart Vs. Mind tour, Massive Addictive tour and The Crossroads tour.

On the 17th of May 2016 the band announced that they would be embarking on a headlining tour with support acts being The White Noise, My Enemies and I and Bad Seed Rising.

In early 2016, the boys retreated to Wall of Sound Studios in the small and secluded town of Riley, Michigan to work with trusted producers B.J. Perry and John Pregler. The band worked a year on their EP before they released anything publicly. This allowed the band to learn one another’s musical style. This process prepared the band for the writing and recording for their debut album, they were able to merge their vision in order to create the sound they wanted on the album.

On the 20th of June it was revealed that the name of the band’s debut album would be Lifelines and it would be made available on the 20th of October 2016. The first single titled “Scars” was released on the 1st of July 2016 and you can view the music video below.

I Prevail supported Pierce The Veil and Neck Deep on the Journey’s Made to Destroy tour throughout the fall of 2016. The second single from the band’s debut album “Stuck In Your Head” received a lot of attention from rock music fans and was listed on numerous blogs/websites as one of the best rock songs in 2016 including our list:

https://therockriff.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/best-16-rock-songs-of-2016/

This is how I discovered the band and their music, now I’m addicted and the rest is history. 😉

The third single off the album “Come and Get It”, released on Short.Fast.Loud, an Australian-based punk and hardcore radio show on youth station Triple J. I Prevail was nominated for “Breakthrough Band” at the 2016 Alternative Press Music Awards and has since garnered features from Billboard, Detroit Free Press, AXS, Loudwire. 

I love how I Prevail always has just the right amount of clean vs unclean vocals. In general I’m not a metalcore fan, but I Prevail may have single-handedly converted me. The majority of their songs have catchy choruses laced with enough angst for any hard rock music fan. The band has created a beautiful balance with their layered vocals and a solid sonic backdrop.

I Prevail on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IPrevailBand

Rock Regards,

Lauren

 

 

Eight Acoustic Rock Songs That Will Blow Your Mind!

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In no particular order, here are some of The Rock Riff’s favourite acoustic performance video. These songs were chosen due to the emotion that it evokes from the performer and the listener as well as the quality of the performances.

1) Rival Sons – Open My Eyes (Acoustic)

2) We As Human – We Fall Apart (Acoustic)

3) We Are Harlot – Dancing on Nails (Acoustic)

4) The Pretty Reckless – House on a Hill (Acoustic)

5) Slash ft Myles Kennedy – Bent To Fly (Acoustic)

6) Alter Bridge – Watch Over You (Acoustic)

7) Three Days Grace – Lost In You

8) Seether – The Gift (Acoustic) – in South Africa

(*The Rock Riff was there!!)

I hope you have enjoyed this short, but entertaining article.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K