Rock songs for the soul

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I know that there have been many controversies regarding music streaming services, but at the moment I can’t imagine my life without Spotify. That might sound a little dramatic, but it has given me the opportunity to discover bands that I never thought I would. I’m a huge advocate for the artists and that they should be properly remunerated for their material, but Spotify has given me so much to be excited about.

I have this innate need to share music that I love with people, therefore I would like to share some of my discoveries here.

 

Deaf Havana – “Sinner”

I never expected to like this song as much as I do. The lyrics and melody are contrasting and I tend to love that in a song. It delivers itself as a religious song, but the narrator is berating himself because he doesn’t believe that anyone or anything can save him from his sins. The lyrics paint a picture of someone who is asking for forgiveness, but he is not sure if he deserves it.

 

Deaf Havana – “Hell”

 

As you can tell, I’m obsessed with this band at the moment and their latest album “Rituals” is incredible. The reason I’m featuring this song, is because it really hit home for me. I can relate to each lyric in this song. The narrator admits that he did wrong by his significant other, he confesses that his behaviour hurt the person he was in a relationship with. He seems to want to shift the blame onto his significant other by telling him/her that they were blind to his faults and he never made any promises about his intentions.

 

Hands Like Houses – “Overthinking”

 

I think many of us can relate to the title alone! The narrator is beating himself/herself up for holding onto someone, even though they know better. The narrator is dealing with a lot of doubt and self-criticism instead of letting go of the situation/person that is causing all his/her distress.

 

You Me At Six – “Straight To My Head”

This song reminisces about the trials that two people have gone through and how the lyricist wouldn’t know how to replace the relationship if it ever had to end. It is a song about a strong bond between two people and the adventures they have shared together since they were young.

Normandie – “Dead”

The songwriter ponders death through his lyrics and marvels at what happens when we “leave”. He wonders what all the doubt and fear we experience during our lifetime means, in essence we leave them behind. A song that leaves you feeling a little empty afterwards, because the thoughts of the songwriter are transferred to you and you are just left wondering what life is about.

 

Daughtry – “Death of Me”

The songwriter is overwhelmed by a situation in his life and he can’t seem to cope or find his way through it. The storyteller would like to protect his heart from feeling anything, because if he gives in to this feeling he is afraid of what will happen. This situation is causing him immense anxiety, but in the end he believes that love will prove to be stronger than his doubt.

We all have our personal battles to deal with on a daily basis and this is mentioned in the song.

“Another day, another battle
We all have a cage to rattle”

 

Badflower – “Ghost”

This video/song deals with a very heavy topic. It deals with cutting (self-harm) and eventually suicide. The song starts out with the protagonist wanting to feel some sort of release and wanting someone to notice that he is in emotional pain. There is an extreme feeling of emptiness and despair from this character when he cuts himself again.

The protagonist is crying out for help at this point and the chorus indicates that he is capable of rational thought even though he is in distress.

“Take the blade away from me
I am a freak, I am afraid that
All the blood escaping me won’t end the pain
And I’ll be haunting all the lives that cared for me
I died to be the white ghost
Of the man who I was meant to be, yeah”

The protagonist cuts himself again and he went further than he meant to. He ends up regretting his actions which hurts even more.

He cut a little deeper and ended up passing away without leaving a letter behind. He expresses deep regret because of this and how he was never a good son to his Mother. He found his life overwhelming and he wasn’t able to cope with it.

This song is extremely powerful and reminds us to look after one another and not to be blind to what someone else is going through.

Please bear in mind that my interpretations of these songs are my personal opinions, based on my own experiences. Therefore feel free to interpret them in your own way.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

(MusicMonkey14)

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Our Last Night – Cape Town, 17.11.2018

We arrived at a sold out Mercury Live show on the 17.11.2018 and our tickets had been purchased months prior, due to the popularity of the band on South African soil.

Later on another show was added to accommodate more fans. There was a lengthy lineup of local talent prior to Our Last Night’s set.

Treehouse Burning was up first and I was taken by their energy on stage. It might not be the type of music that I normally listen to, but I really enjoyed their set. What stood out to me the most was the use of the electronic sound. It really impressed me so much, that at times my mouth hung open. The use of intermittent silence really intensified this feeling.

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OneDaySky was up next and they have an interesting dynamic. The band originates from Johannesburg and started their journey as a band in 2008. The lead vocals range from clean vocals to unclean vocals which create an interesting dynamic between Chris Watts and Eric Barnfather.

 

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Set For The Sky was brimming with energy when they came on stage. The lead singer’s enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd got swept up in it immediately. I enjoyed this band’s set a lot and I would love to see them again.

 

 

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As Time Divides was up next and there were definitely a few hardcore fans in the crowd, that is for sure. The band came on full force and didn’t let up until the end of their set. As Time Divides was founded in 2016, so they are relatively new on the scene and I’m sure we will see a lot more of them in the future.

 

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We waited almost an hour for Our Last Night to come on stage, but when they finally did it was a moshpit from start to finish. They opened with “Same Old War”, an older song but definitely a favourite amongst fans.

“Tongue Tied” was performed next and this is one of my favourites. It is heavy, interlaced with tender moments and then you get punched with Trevor’s screams on various occasions.

 

“Ivory Tower” really took the established moshpit to the next level and the crowd went absolutely bonkers when this song was being performed. It is definitely one of their heavier tracks and the crowd took full advantage of that.

It was super entertaining when Woody, the bass guitar player crowd-surfed over to the bar, crowd-surfed to the sound tech and back on stage with four beers and a guitar in his hands!! What a feat!

“Dark Storms” is exactly what is described in the title. It consists of a dark, broody melody and ominous lyrics. The chorus is great to sing along with and is a Our Last Night staple.

It wouldn’t be a Our Last Night show if they didn’t perform some of their signature cover songs. “Humble” took center stage and I always find it intriguing to see how the band interpret popular songs.

“Home” is a great rock song from the band and it was followed by one of my favourite tracks and from what I can tell a solid fan favourite….”White Tiger”!

“Soul Speak” is one of the latest tracks from the band and it is sonically diverse and captivating. “Prisoners” from the album “Younger Dreams” was up next followed by the very popular “Broken Lives”. “Broken Lives” is a motivational song, speaks about the fact that we all suffer in some way and how we need to take responsibility for our decisions.

“Ghost in the Machine” and “Road to the Throne” featured on the playlist thereafter.

The band performed their cover of 1-800-273-8255 originally performed by Logic. The crowd just loved the band’s version of this song.

“Reason To Love” appeared on the set list and this track was from the band’s “Age of Ignorance” album.

“Sunrise” is a really special song and great to sing along to, so it made sense that the band would close the show with this one. The love the fans have for this song was evident in their reaction when the first few notes hit the air.

Our Last Night returned for their encore with “Common Ground” which was a fantastic choice to end the gig with. The atmosphere was electric!

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The entire evening flew by except when we were waiting for Our Last Night to come on stage. This crowd meant business and they were there to have the best night, there is no doubt about that. Our Last night’s performance was a blur, because it went by so quickly and with incredible intensity. Luckily my friend snapped a picture of the set list, which made my job a lot easier!

I sincerely hope Our Last Night grace us with their presence again soon!

Thank you Jampacked Productions for bringing them to SA!

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

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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

 

Band of the Month – The Fuel

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Credits to Bart Heemskerk Source: https://www.facebook.com/thefuelrocks

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Credits to Bart Heemskerk Source: https://www.facebook.com/thefuelrocks

The Fuel originated one night on a balcony in Athens, Greece when two friends made a pact to start a new band. Arjen and Olly was at the end of a 3 week European tour with their respective bands at the time namely Hermano and Spoiler. The duo had shared the bill at numerous shows in the preceding years. The pair share a passion for high-energy, bluesy, soul injected rock music. The foundation for The Fuel was built on their mutual love for rock music.

After losing touch the pair reunited in Troy, Torino inevitably spending most of their time in a van. These road trips ignited the spark that was created many years ago. Early 2014 Arjen and Olly decided it was time to make their dream a reality. They decided to team up with long-time friend of the scene Jordi Langelaan an established and talented musician who owns his own recording studio called Barn In The Meadow. The trio played together for a couple of months, laying down the foundation for the band’s sound, but they felt like something was missing. The trio didn’t feel right and the band members felt like the vocal melodies needed to be expanded to create a bigger sound. Arjen had come across a vocalist singing some established blues songs on Soundcloud, a true diamond in the rough. The band asked Jelle to come to a studio, which was unknown territory for Jelle at the time, because he never experienced what it felt like singing into a microphone. The band was impressed with how easily Jelle adapted to the studio and evolved to become the essential ingredient in The Fuel’s recipe. The Fuel spent some time together creating and moulding their sound for the 5 track EP Add Fire to THE FUEL in July 2015. The EP has not been released yet.

The band consists of Jelle Klumpenaar (vocals), Arjen Rienks (Bass, Backing Vocals), Olly Smit (Guitars) and Jordi Langelaan (Drums, Backing Vocals).

I discovered the band when Jelle sent me a link to their new music video. I was blown away to say the least. The guitar intro is enough to give any rock music fan goosebumps. Jelle’s voice is raw, edgy, gritty with some bluesy soul thrown in for good measure. “Revolution” the band’s debut song has been on loop in my ears this whole week. The groove, guitars and bluesy sound is addictive. It is inspiring to see a new band produce a quality music video with high production value, because it creates a great first impression and fans buy into the band more easily.

All of us need to keep an eye on this band, because I can tell there is a lot more that this band can offer the rock music industry.

Follow the band on Instagram: thefuelrocks

Follow the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefuelrocks/

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

View the video for “Revolution”:

 

 

 

Band of the Month – The Tremonti Project

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Since 2010 Mark has expressed his interest in releasing a solo album, since he has written many songs that does not fit the style of either Alter Bridge or Creed. He decided to the album within a three-month window where Myles Kennedy was touring with Slash and Scott Stapp was touring as well. He describe the album as melody-driven with elements of thrash and speed metal thrown in. Essentially Mark was going to back to  his roots, he was always interested in exploring metal music a little deeper, but never had the avenue to do so. He grew up on the likes of Pantera and Metallica. Although Mark was always interested in metal music, he was adamant to incorporate a strong melody in the songs. His sense of melody has improved through the years during his work with Creed and later Alter Bridge. I’m a strong believer in incorporating melody and structure to a song, it doesn’t matter how heavy the music is as long as a recognisable melody is present, I will probably like it.

On the 6th of April 2011, Alter Bridge announced that tracking of Mark’s debut album has begun. On the 20th of January 2012 Tremonti and FRET12 launched “The Tremonti Project”, a website where fans could go to find out more about the band, receive news and stay updated on the progress of the album. The song list, band members and title of the album were officially announced on the website. On the 20th of March 2012 the album artwork was revealed and the album was to be distributed by EMI. “You Waste Your Time” was announced as the first single to come off the album and the song was made available for listening on the 6th of May on Loudwire.com. A live music video for the song was released on the 17th of May 2012. The album’s release date was on the 17th of July 2012.

I will admit when I first heard that Mark will assume both the vocal and guitar duties, I was sceptical. I didn’t know what to expect and I wasn’t sure how strong Mark’s voice would be. Through my first listen to All I Was , I was overwhelmed. Keep in mind I hadn’t had much exposure to trash or speed metal. I was overwhelmed by the instruments at first, it was a lot for me to absorb. The more I listened to the album, the more the melodies and layers of instruments began to take shape. Mark’s voice has grown on me since the first few times that I listened to the album. He has a low register, but his voice can sound more tender when he sings higher notes. Garrett Whitlock did a stellar job on the drums, the drums play a huge part on the album and sets the ebb and flow for the songs. Eric Friedman is a fantastic guitarist and his style complements Mark’s in every way. Eric delivered impressive backing vocals as usual. The album is a technical masterpiece that only seasoned musicians could pull off. My favourite song off the album is “You Waste Your Time”, because of the fast guitars and heavy drums, it makes me want to headbang wherever I am. Last but not least the listener is treated to many guitar solos that once again demonstrates Mark’s amazing talent. His songwriting ability is remarkable to say the least and he manages to connect to the listener on another level through his songs.

You can follow Mark Tremonti on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MarkTremonti

You can follow Eric Friedman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IIEROCKII

You can follow Garrett Whitlock on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GWDrums

You can follow the band here: https://twitter.com/tremontiproject

Rock Regards,

Lauren K

Frontman of the week – David Draiman

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David Draiman

Original photo can be viewed here: http://www.clubzone.com/events/485798/las-vegas/chateau-nightclub/david-draiman-official-after-party

So today I put the spotlight on David Draiman lead vocalist from Disturbed. Last year I discovered a discounted compilation of music videos on dvd at a music store. I watched it and while going through about 30 videos I went back to Disturbed’s Stricken video, I fell in love with the song and David’s unique vocals. Disturbed is probably the “heaviest” band I listen to and I’m very proud to call myself a Disturbed fan. As a rock music fan I like structured music/songs with rhythm, Disturbed combine heavy guitar riffs and drums in a way that is still pleasing to the ears of a music lover, that is not necessarily a metal music lover.

After I started listening to a few samples of their songs on the web, I decided to purchase The Lost Children which is my favourite album of theirs thus far. After The Lost Children I purchased Asylum and their M.O.L dvd. There is a live performance of “Fear” on the dvd and it shows Draiman jumping up and down on  stage in sync with the audience which makes me want to join in and be part of the experience.

Disturbed has been on hiatus since July of 2011. Hopefully we will still enjoy some more of their work. I love David’s honesty and how he will stand up for what he believes in no matter what. He has a great love for animals which I share. He regularly interacts with his fans on Twitter which I admire, because Twitter is a great communication tool if you use it correctly and can generate even more interest in the band and Draiman’s other projects.

If you are interested in following David here is his Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/DAVIDMDRAIMAN

David is currently working on an industrial rock/metal project and this project is called Device. For more information check out the Facebook page for Device.  http://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf#!/Devicetheband

I’m looking forward to hearing what this new project is all about.

I have to praise Disturbed’s music videos they have released over the years, all of them are quite creative and creepy without making the viewer turn away from the screen in disgust. The  viewer can still appreciate the artistry that went into creating the videos even if it contains dark content/themes.

The way David distorts his voice differently in almost every song never ceases to surprise and amaze me. In my opinion Disturbed is probably one of the most unique bands out there.

You can like their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=nf#!/Disturbed

I will end off this post with a picture of “The Guy”, Disturbed’s mascot.

Original photo can be viewed here:http://s612.photobucket.com/albums/tt204/daryl889/?action=view&current=Disturbed_Indestructible_Guy.jpg&newest=1&call=1

Cover art from Disturbed’s Indestructible Album.

Rock Regards,

Lauren K