Tag Archives: Skindred

Camden Rocks Fest mini-review

A sunny day in Camden Town, a few friends, more than a few beers and some rocking good bands.  I had a blast at Camden Rocks Festival this year, although I only got to see seven bands, due to so many clashes and a late arrival back from the Sheffield Heaven’s Basement gig the night before.  Anyway, here’s my mini review of the day.  Enjoy!

The first band of the day was Damn Dice (8.5/10), a native hard rock outfit who were all dressed in black leather, with more hair and eyeliner than I’ve seen on stage for a long while.  They kicked off with some riff laden, scissor-kicking mayhem, as they hammered their way through a convincing set, including the soundtrack to new video ‘Driven’.  With harmonics and headbanging aplenty, I thought their set was pretty good; this is a band on the up, with their debut album “The Great Unknown” hitting the airwaves on 24th August.  Watch out for them in future (and keep your eyes peeled for my interview with the band and my review of the album!).

Damn Dice on stage at the Camden Barfly

A swift trot over to the Stables and The Cuban meant it was time for the eagerly anticipated set from London hard rockers New Device (7.5/10).  Dressed in vests, with tattoos and biceps on display in equal measure, New Device gave a credible set, however for some reason they didn’t fully hold my attention and it all sounded a bit … generic.  They did perform to a packed room, however and I’d like to see them again to make up my mind.  I’m going to acquire a copy of their album “Takin’ Over London” next week …

New Device at The Cuban

I might get criticised for reviewing the next band, as it’s well known that they’re favourites of mine and perhaps I should have seen someone else instead, but Max Raptor (9/10) always give 110%, balls out, awesome energy to every single show and I couldn’t resist seeing them, as it’s been a while.  I wished I was anywhere else but at the Barfly though;it was absolutely heaving and I could barely breathe, let alone see the stage.  Wil and the guys looked lean, full of beans and more than up for a good show, kicking off with ‘The Great and The Good’.  There were clearly a lot of Max Raptor fans in the room and the whole place went nuclear with the crowd singing along to all the lyrics.  I was stuck at the back so I couldn’t get any decent pics, but with new song ‘Population’ thrown into the middle of the set, before the mayhem of ‘Obey The Whips’ and the pure genius of ‘England Breathes’, it was clear that the band were loving being on the stage as much as we were enjoying watching them.  A mad set culminated in ‘The King Is Dead’, with a massive circle pit going on down the front.  Never a disappointment, always mad, you’re seriously missing out if you haven’t seen this lot yet. Get on it!

A serious cool down was needed after that, so I headed to the Monarch to see The Wild Lies (9/10), a band that are full of old-fashioned strut and raunch, with a bang-on-trend sound.  Clearly a lot of other people thought the same as the place was packed.  A slick sound, coupled with 100% rock star appearance ensured that this lot went down a storm and I defy anyone not to want to rock out whilst listening to them.  With a Download Festival appearance lined up next week and a new video out for ‘Asteroid Central’, The Wild Lies should be on anyone’s playlist; certainly they didn’t disappoint any of the assembled throng in the Monarch.  Well worth a watch!

The Wild Lies at The Monarch

I couldn’t see Heaven’s Basement (9/10) and not review them;anyone who has followed my blog or Facebook page will know how fond I am of the Basement Boys.  Turning their usual set on its head and kicking off with ‘Executioner’s Day’, Aaron, Sid, Rob and Chris flew through a disappointingly short set, with crowd pleasers such as ‘I Am Electric’, ‘Can’t Let Go’ and ‘Heartbreaking Son of a Bitch’.  Sid did an admirable job of vocals with ‘Paranoia’ and Aaron couldn’t resist his trademark crowd surfing.  With some serious pit action going on I was surprised they chose to slow things down with ‘Price We Pay’, never a favourite of mine, but they eased the crowd back to fever pitch and finished a cracking performance with a two song encore of ‘Welcome Home’ and absolute favourite ‘Fire Fire’, which had the whole place bouncing.  This was my 15th HB gig and whilst I still adore them and their music, I think they need to crack on with album two and get some new material out in front of the fans.  Having said that, I headed to the bar absolutely dripping with sweat, euphoric at having been part of yet another awesome, atmospheric gig.  Roll on HBII and another tour …

Heaven’s Basement at The Underworld

I would love to tell you how amazing Skindred were, but by the time I came back from the loo, the crowd was packed tighter than a shopping centre on Boxing Day – I couldn’t get anywhere near them and the venue was getting ridiculously hot, so having caught a smashing rendition of ‘Kill The Power’, it was with regret that I headed back up to street level.  Judging from the reaction of those people closest to me before I bailed, Skindred’s set was going to be another good one.

With a banging head and aching feet, I headed back to the Monarch for the last band of the day.  Jett Black have been on my bucket list for a long time and whilst I couldn’t tell you what tracks they played, I know that they had an appreciative audience and sounded pretty awesome from where I was sitting (yes, sitting. I’m nearly forty, give me a break …).  Again, another band that I would like to see play a full set, sober and bright eyed and bushy tailed, to give them full justice.

Bands I didn’t get to see, but heard people raving about were – Glamour Of The Kill, Fallen To Flux, Bullet For My Valentine, Buck and Evans, Buffalo Summer and Voodoo Vegas.

All in all, it was an immense day.  I got to meet up with some friends, see some awesome musicians, spend time with The Boyfriend, sit in the sun and have a few beers.  That’s all you can ask for on a beautiful day in Camden Town.  Much kudos to the organisers and roll on Camden Rocks 2016.

All photos courtesy of Chris White

Interview with Ocasan

Buckinghamshire pop-rock trio Ocasan are all set to release the third instalment of their second album, ‘Elixir’ later this month. I caught up with them in the calm before the launch-storm to get answers to some burning questions …

 Ocasan band pic

 – Firstly, I have to ask, how did you come by your band name?

Ocasan is my family’s old Celtic name – ‘Okasan’ (with a K) is Japanese for Mother. Feels good to say, right?

– You’re about to release the third EP, ‘Confessions’, the last of the trilogy that make up your second album ‘Elixir’. That was a bold step, what made you decide to do that rather than release a complete album?

We think that the EP model is more suited to our listeners. It’s a great way for fans to digest your music over a period of time, rather than overwhelm them with a barrage of songs at once.

Confessions - Artwork

– What’s the reaction been to the first two instalments?

We’ve had no end of incredible feedback from these records, we’re very proud. You know the EP’s are doing their job when you see new faces constantly appearing at live shows.

– Who are your biggest influences when you’re writing?

We’ve gone back to our grunge and rock roots.  Reuben have been a big influence on our latest writing.  If you we’re to listen to ‘Elixir’ as a whole album, I’m sure you’d hear Foo Fighters, The Police and Incubus in their as well.

– Which two songs would you pick to introduce a new fan to your music?

We’re pretty eclectic as a band when it comes to genres. I would say a good intro would be something like ‘No One’s Safe in Soho’ from our first record and “The Whitey Two Step’ from our latest.

Ocasan three EP's

– You’ve been together as a band for quite some time now – what would you say is the key to a harmonious relationship between you, especially on tour?

You learn an incredible tolerance for each other. I’ve always thought we’d be an amazing study for a psychologist. I think being in a band is like having two girlfriends at once (without the sexy benefits).

Having been with the guys for almost 10 years now we know all our idiosyncrasies back to front and this helps prepare you for certain behaviour. You learn the best ways of dealing with people in all circumstances.  In fear of sounding a little cheesy, no matter how hard it gets we’re bound by the incredible times we have and the music we make. No petty argument will outweigh it.

– Talking of touring, you’ve toured pretty extensively in the past. How does Europe compare to places such as Russia and Canada? Do you have a favourite country to play in?

Every new country has something different to offer. In terms of audience interaction, there is nothing quite like eastern Europe. Those guys are nuts for live music!

Russia nearly killed us, they seriously know how to party with little-to-no sleep, we had a lot of fun there.  As for Canada we got to hang out with some of the nicest people, it’s a lot more laid back than other places we’ve played and that accent is just priceless. We love the Canadians!

Italy is beautiful and we’re always so well looked after. The food and wine is out of this world!  In terms of a solid favourite it really depends on your mood, I could never pick one.

Can someone send us to Japan? That’s next on the list.

– Any tour dates coming up?

Our agent has us up for a few tours at the moment so we’re just waiting to hear back. In the mean time we have our EP launch show at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on 20th September. This should be a blinder!

– Any funny/notable tour moments?

I could keep you up all night, but if I was to be ruthless, the one the springs to mind immediately is one the lads love winding me up with.  They love recollecting the time Nathan (our bass player) tried inserting his fingers inside me mid-sleep.  Our relationship has never been the same. I think he thought I was someone else. I hope he thought I was someone else …

– What are you listening to at present? Anything to recommend?

I’m still digging Skindred’s ‘Kill The Power’ and Jamie Lenman’s ‘Muscle Memory’ is a beaut!

– What’s been the biggest highlight so far for Ocasan?

Not being fingered!  I’m not sure … skinny dipping in the black sea at 3am with our sound man, roadie, several Russian girls and Mr JD was a giggle.

– Finally, what’s next for the band in the next 2-3 years?

There are a few music videos on the go at the moment to help promote the release of the EP on 21st – expect these imminently.

We’re already working on our next record so we’ll look to release that about this time next year.  We’ll carry on touring extensively and exploring this vast and wonderful third rock from the sun.

So, you can catch Ocasan at their ‘Confessions’ EP launch party, at the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on 21st September.  In the meantime, have a taster … here’s the vid for ‘Whitey Two Step’ – http://youtu.be/NLDNRoc76uo