Kerrang! tour 2011 lineupKerrang! magazine. It’s something we all started reading around the age of 12 or 13 and grew out of by the time we’d finished our GCSEs. Nevertheless it’s a publication that’s somehow influenced all of us at some point in our teenage lives and one thing they’re particularly good at is finding great new artists and launching them to UK success. Tonight is a classic example of this being put into practice, with a line-up ranging from the likes of fairly unknown act The Wonder Years to household name Good Charlotte. Of course, being a magazine that influences a a largely under-16 audience, the crowd at Southampton’s established Guildhall venue was a lot younger than what you’d expect to see at a rock concert. For the first time in my life I actually felt old! This is a great reminder, however, that live rock music is a beast that won’t be dying out any time soon and it would seem the younger generations have made sure of that. Good for them.

Up-and-coming, mostly unheard of in the UK, septet The Wonder Years were first to hit the stage tonight, warming up the crowd with their own brand of pop-punk. As someone who’d never really given this band a chance previously, I was massively surprised by them. Their set consisted of plenty of material from their 2010 release Upsides, an album that I’ve since been convinced to buy following their live performance.

Next up were Kerrang! favourites Framing Hanley, who were met with loud girlish screams from the audience. While I have no quarrels with their music, their performance didn’t have me feeling particularly pumped. They were okay and there were clearly a lot of fans loving it in the audience, but for me it wasn’t anything special.

For the straight-edge five-piece pop-punk steam train that is Four Year Strong, however, there was no fucking about. They hit the stage and, along with the eager crowd, gave it everything from the word go. Instead of trying to describe their performance, it’s best you check out this video I recorded (below) and see for yourself. Easily the strongest act of the night, I only wish they had played a longer set:

When headliners Good Charlotte made their way onto the stage, the ear-piercing screams of thousands of fangirls, as expected, rung out like knives throughout the venue. Playing a mixture of old favourites (The Anthem and Girls and Boys) the set got off to a great start. “I have a confession to make,” croaked singer Joel Madden, “I’m sick so I hope I don’t get any of you guys ill. Let’s sweat it out!” Despite being under the weather, which explains his occasionally flaky vocals, Madden did plenty to work the crowd and had a good level of interaction with fans from his place on the stage. Just look at this video I captured of them performing The Young and the Hopeless and you’ll see what I mean:

It became clear that this was a band tired of being out of the picture since their period of global success almost a decade ago, a band that’s is doing everything they can to get back in the game. From the manic response of their fans, it would seem, this is a band we could see returning to the UK again in the near future. Is this Good Charlotte’s second wave of success? Who knows?! They’re certainly still reeling in the fangirls.

Overall it was a great night. A chance to see four bands that, while looking fairly similar on paper, differ completely when it comes to their live stage presence. It was a lot of fun and I will strongly consider buying a ticket for Kerrang! tour 2012.

To see more videos from the gig and to make sure you don’t miss out on any future live music recordings, subscribe to my Youtube channel HERE.

A Day To Remember UK tour poster 2011Floridian pop-hardcore bruisers A Day To Remember have hit the UK hard this month with their headline tour. Following the release of their fourth studio album What Separates Me From You, this is ADTR’s fourth full UK tour and its announcement was both anticipated and well-received by their ever-growing fan base.

Support act Pierce The Veil were first to hit the stage, warming up the crowd with their mixture of heavy music and girlish-squealy vocals. One would have expected ADTR vocalist Jeremy McKinnon to make an early appearance to contribute to the song Caraphernelia, a track that he features on in the studio recording providing guest vocals. Instead Pierce The Veil had the audience sing his parts, which was a slight disappointment to some but good fun all the same. Bayside then followed up with an energetic performance that was well-met by the eager crowd.

When the time for A Day To Remember finally came and the lights went down, the eerie, distorted, intro sample to their intensely heavy new track 2nd Sucks was piped into the venue. As soon as the song kicked in and the band appeared, the crowd erupted. I, like many others, found myself becoming a part of the violent churning beast that was the crowd. This atmosphere in the audience, a sea of people in the midst of a raging storm, continued through the likes of the equally successful new single All I Want and old favorite There’s A Danger In Starting A Fire.

Here’s a video I recorded at the gig of ADTR playing the hugely popular You Should Have Killed Me When You Had The Chance off their 2005 release And Their Name Was Treason:

One massive highlight of the show was the unexpected rare performance of their acoustic hit If It Means A Lot To You from 2009’s Homesick. Check it out in this video I recorded, note how the entire crowd is singing along as an indication of how much crowd participation made up the atmosphere here:

This is a band that just keeps getting better every time I see them and it’s safe to say that we can look forward to their festival appearances later this year and future tours. A fantastic show with a lively crowd and thrilling atmosphere, one of my favourite gigs of the year so far.

Make sure you don’t miss out on any future live music recordings and subscribe to my Youtube channel HERE.

Brighton-based metalcore quintet Architects refine their trademark brutality to include a more poppy, dare I say it, radio-friendly sound in their fourth release The Here And Now. Fans of classic Architects are sure to kick up a fuss when they hear the change in style, though what I hear when I listen to this album is the same old Architects taking a step forward and maturing as a band.

Opening tracks Day In Day Out and Learn To Live will have you pumping your fist and bobbing your head with their catchy riffs, harsh verses typical to Architects’ past work and vocalist Sam Carter’s salient ‘clean’ vocal choruses – something that remains a constant on the remaining first half of the album. From the first instance, the similarities between the sound and feel of this album and Underoath‘s late 2010 release Ø (Disambiguation) are clear and only continue to mount as the album progresses.

Day In Day Out is the first single to be released from The Here And Now. Check out the video, copyright Century Media Records 2010, here:

Things take a step into uncharted territory for Architects, however, with Carter’s self-written experimental track An Open Letter To Myself. A three-minute mixture of Radiohead-like wavey guitar sounds and wailing clean vocals, this is a track that’s sure to turn a lot of heads for both positive and negative responses.

Other points of interest on this album include Year In Year Out/Up And Away featuring Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan, a ball-busting track that mixes intense heavy parts with calm, free flowing, bridge sections.

This is definitely the same band that pummeled us with Hollow Crown in 2009 and their earlier releases, finally moving up in the music industry, even getting radio time on Fearne Cotton’s BBC Radio 1 show. Old fans may get pissy, but listening to this album it’s undeniable that Architects are a band ready to make their mark on the UK and aren’t afraid to mix things up to get there. It’s safe to say that The Here And Now is definitely worth giving a chance!

 

For fans of: Underoath

Listen to: Day In Day Out and An Open Letter To Myself

There was once a time when you could buy a games console along with a game cartridge and that would be it, hours of fun for exactly the price you expect. Today, however, if you want to keep up with your favourite first-person shooter then you find yourself being bullied into forking out an extra £10 for the latest map pack, which generally consists of mediocre new battlefields that scarcely improve gameplay.

Click for details on the map pack. Image obtained from Bungie.net

Take Bungie’s recently released Noble Map Pack for Halo: Reach, the colossally popular swan song to the Halo series. The map pack, boasting an impressive three new maps (note the sarcasm), will cost you a mere 800 points (again sarcasm). Now admittedly Halo: Reach is a great game and these maps are brilliant, but almost £10 worth of Microsoft points for three maps that will not particularly change gameplay at all seems a little steep. For that price I’d be expecting at least five maps and preferably some exciting new game play features. It’s not that the map pack is bad, it’s just that I struggle to justify parting with my hard-earned cash for something so small.

 

Another example of this daylight robbery comes from one of my personal favourite game development companies, Lionhead Studios. Now while Fable II (and the whole Fable series for that matter) exudes one of my favourite gaming experiences ever, they insist upon giving the game an achievement list that cannot be completed with the released copy of the game. There’s many a player, much like myself, that gets a certain sense of accomplishment from fulfilling every achievement set by the game and only then will they feel satisfied that the gaming experience that they paid for has come to an end. Such people were met with disappointment, however, when they loaded up their brand new copy of Fable 2 back in 2008 and found that they were unable to 100% complete the game’s achievement list without purchasing two DLC packs. Fortunately, Molyneux and his team set things straight with their mind-blowing 2010 release Fable III. This game ships with the full achievement list potentially completable with the disc purchased on release date! Furthermore, instead of charging people to complete what should have been on the original disc, Fable III offers downloadable content that rewards the player with new customisable armour and legendary weapons that would have previously been unavailable!

 

 

It is my proposition, therefore, that games companies take a leaf out of Peter Molyneux’s book and, instead of charging their loyal fans for content that should have shipped with the original game, they should seek to make massive extensions to gameplay that fans would genuinely be excited to wait a little longer for. Games should be sold at their best possible standard anyway, so the idea that a game somebody’s just forked out £40 for isn’t going to be the full intended version they spend a further £10 in the Xbox Marketplace seems absurd.

Lets hope many game companies will follow Lionhead in continuing to release fantastic games with appealing DLC that compliments gameplay appropriately with good value for money!

Hey guys! Embedded below from my Scribd Account is a feature article piece I wrote about the live music scene in Bournemouth for a journalism assignment. The article was written, designed and edited by me. Check it out and remember to zoom to 100% so that the formatting doesn’t look messed up while you view it:

 

 

Comment any thoughts below!

Here’s a slightly half-assed video film review for the recently released musical Burlesque featuring the likes of singing stars Christina Aguilera and Cher.

This review was bordering on a vlog more than a film review, but I thought it would be of interest to you guys nonetheless!

Keep up with my video endeavours by subscribing to my Youtube channel HERE.

Comment any thoughts below! Cheers guys!

Hello again Internet!

For a recent assignment on web communication, I wrote a comparative analysis of the popular music journalism sites AltPress.com and SputnikMusic.com.

I’ve written a short summary of the essay (with screenshots!), which is located beneath them embedded PDF below. If you like, however, you can read the full PDF document (uploaded/embedded from my Scribd account) here:

 
 
 

One of the main points that the article focused on was the searchability of each site. As you can see in these screenshots, each site was only findable through very specific search terms (click thumbnails for full-size images).

 

Click for full-size image Click for full-size image

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

While AltPress favours a more traditional navigational bar for journalism sites, Sputnikmusic offers a navigation bar consisting of the main genres of music that the site covers, suggesting that Sputnikmusic predicts its users know specifically which genre they are looking for as opposed to the article style (click thumbnails for full-size images).

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Alternative Press is ahead of Sputnikmusic in its integration of photo albums, videos and podcasts. On the homepage, the use of large images at the top of the page for the top stories draws user attention to what the web designer feels they will be most interested in. Sputnikmusic utilises images in a much-less busy way, using only thumbnails to highlight their most important stories/reviews. Alternative Press goes further that Sputnikmusic again with its embedded video section. Sputnikmusic, on the other hand, chooses to give links to videos and other multimedia, rather than embedding them like Alternative Press (click thumbnails for full-size images).

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Where Sputnikmusic really exceeds Alternative Press, is through its user-generated content and the sense of community. While Alternative Press is very much a traditional journalistic site with reviews/news being posted by staff members, Sputnikmusic takes a different format in that a combination of both professional (employed staff) and amateur (user) journalists submit their own music news and album reviews, which can then be rated by the community and discussed in the comments section. Although Alternative Press does have a forum section and gives users the opportunity to discuss albums, it is not as directly accessible as the format of Sputnikmusic (click thumbnails for full-size images and hover over them for a description).

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In summary Alternative Press is a website that boasts the functions of a great journalistic outlet. It makes well-written news and features easily accessible to a vast audience. It is the case in my opinion, however, that websites such as Sputnikmusic, that embrace social media and encourage citizen journalism, are going to be the future of journalism on the net. Yet there may always be a need for traditional journalism websites such as Alternative Press to provide the ‘hard news’ that society still accepts as most-valid.

 
 

Read the full PDF document up at the top of this blog post for the full non-summarised argument. If you have any thoughts on what you think the future of music journalism on the Internet holds, post a comment about it below!

Nice one guys. Hope you all had a pleasant new year!