Friday, March 16, 2018

New album: Ministry, AmeriKKKant

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Al Jourgensen, Ministry
Ministry's AmeriKKKant was released like the mother-of-all-bombs onto an unsuspecting world just a week ago. I had to battle with corporate America to obtain my digital copy--turntable isn't installed in new home yet--and I had to take this on a beach-walk too, on this cloudy, rainy, bitterly-grey-windy day on England's east coast, totally in-synch with this album, heavy waves thumping the shore.

AmeriKKKant is an album for listening to very, very loud. A genius mix of sound-bites, deep bass and insistent drums, industrial orchestration: repetitive like the drums of war, this is AmeriKKKa.

If the name of the album doesn't give it away, the artwork on the vinyl will; the back is Lady Liberty, middle finger raised, striding away from her pedestal, not a backward glance; a grey land of smoky destruction and searchlights behind her.

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Al Jourgensen, Ministry
Don't expect to come away from a listening feeling all goody-goody, self-righteous and justified in belief. It's like being thrown into a huge washing machine full of dirty water and pebbles, being accosted by presidential stupidity, racist mantras, war-proud sentiment, white-supremecist hatred; filthy mud that needs to sink to the bottom and stay there. Instead, we have to ask, how did we let it come to this, AmeriKKKa? (Or anywhere else, for that matter, anywhere else.)

I came to the church of Ministry very late: a full convert, I am very happy to have been able to photograph and experience them at both Houston Open Air and Chicago Open Air in recent years (click there to see more photos).  Those of you in Sacramento, don't forget: Ministry will be at the Ace of Spades on Monday, 26th March and as of now, there are a few tickets left.  (I won't be there, because I've done my own version of that Lady Liberty thing for exactly the reasons embodied in this album, and am now on the other side of the Atlantic, middle finger raised.)

More info on how to obtain your own copy of AmeriKKKant, tour dates and more, here on Ministry\s website. Sheer genius.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

New album: Myles Kennedy, Year of the Tiger

Myles Kennedy, vocals and guitar, Alter Bridge
Myles Kennedy, Houston Open Air, Alter Bridge
I took Miles Kennedy for a walk along the beach, from Cromer to Sheringham, earlier today. No not literally, though I'm sure he would have been good company; rather, I took myself for a walk, with Myles Kennedy's new album, Year of the Tiger, as the soundtrack. The album was released late last week: after listening to it several times at home, it deserved to be accompanied by the beauty of the beach.

Myles Kennedy, vocals and guitar, Alter Bridge
Myles Kennedy, Alter Bridge
When you're walking on pebbles, trying not to twist an ankle or wrench a knee or drop the camera: stopping every so often to photograph the clouds, the sky reflected on damp sand, then clambering over sea-worn wood and rusty metal steps that end way too high above the sand... skirting the newest earth-slips from the rain-soaked cliffs, then you're not studying the music, note-by-note, but rather absorbing the essence of the album.

These are the thoughts Year of the Tiger gave me, this morning: family, love, loss... a father, gone: a a mother, struggling: a child... longing to understand. How you manage to carry on.

Myles' guitar, plus a touch of bluesy-grassy-roots-hearted Americana in the banjo and steel guitar, serene slide, and a vocal range that compares with both Buckleys, father and son. If you've listened to Alter Bridge, this isn't Alter Bridge. If you've heard Myles Kennedy with Slash, this isn't Slash. This is personal. It tells a story. Myles Kennedy lost his father at an early age, and this story, sometimes though his eyes, sometimes his mother's--has been a long time coming. There's an explanation here.

Each song is a gem. "Through our tragedies we find out who we are." Year Of The Tiger sets the pace; The Great Beyond is huge... but the song that I keep replaying is song 10, "Love Can Only Heal".

Clouds and beach at low tide
The beach. A walk from Cromer to Sheringham.
Myles Kennedy is currently on tour in Europe and the UK, with dates in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Glasgow, London, followed by shows in the USA. Full tour info and tickets here on his website (scroll down on the home page).

I listened to the album several times on my walk.

I didn't write Myles' name in the sand. Though I freely admit: the thought did cross my mind.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Roving Crows last night at Cromer Pier -- and mark your calendars for more music!

If you have never been, Cromer Pier has a beautiful theatre, right at the end, just before the RNLI lifeboat station. Like all good theatres, it has a lovely bar where you can buy refreshments before the show, and during the day when you want to just sit on the pier and watch the waves. It's also the only place where you can still see an end-of-pier variety show!

With seating for about 500 people, the cosy, red-inside theatre has really good stage lighting and is a wonderful place for an intimate music experience. Last night brought the return of the Roving Crows to Cromer. I very much enjoyed their sometimes-surprising blend of traditional Irish folk music with rock and other styles. Here's an example, from their latest album, Bury Me Naked:

The last time Roving Crows were in Cromer was for the Folk on the Pier festival, which happens again this year. Mark your calendars and diaries: 11th - 13th May 2018. And also, the night before the festival, Kinder Shores, in support of the Rees Foundation, a really important cause--helping people who have been in care. Check their website.

For more info on what's happening on Cromer Pier, see the website:

And Cromer Pier Pavilion Theatre... wouldn't it be a wonderful venue for an H Natural show. Just thinking out loud...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Photo gallery: Esplanade, a procession for women, on the prom, on International Women's Day, Cromer, Norfolk

Esplanade: A Procession for Women
Red parasols on International Women's Day, 2018
Such a cool way to celebrate unity on International Women's Day! A procession of women, from tiny to tall, carrying red parasols, winding their way down to Cromer's promenade and onto the pier this evening, to mark 8th May, to commemorate the centenary of British women being able to vote, and also inspired by Sisi, one-time Empress of Austria. The event was organized by Dr. Sarah Lowndes, writer, curator and lecturer--you can find the whole story here, in the North Norfolk News.

Esplanade: A Procession for Women
Young participant in the parade
Click here to see full photogallery from Alison Toon Photographer!

Esplanade: A Procession for Women
Red parasols on the pier

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

On photography... continous learning. And a new look at the pier.

Abstract art?
Last week, snowbound, still exploring all the new, British TV, I discovered Sky Art's Master of Photography competition. (For those outside the UK, I think it's available on YouTube--here's an example, where the contestants were challenged with photographing Michael Madsen) And yes, I binge-watched the two series. It's a competition similar to others: begins with twelve contestants, ends with one supreme winner, 150,000 euros richer.

As a photographer, I found it intriguing. Not so much by the photography itself--it's all subjective, after all--and not even by the comments of the judges and mentors, though it was very interesting to hear, and see, their insights. (Most important comment? "It's your photo. Do whatever the hell you want with it.") But both inspiring and intriguing because of the challenges that were set, each episode, for the photographers. Seeing and understanding how each photographer had their own comfort zone, and places where they would much rather not be. Seeing how they learned and improved by being forced to take up a challenge at very short notice, with little time to prepare.

Colour and structure
Some found situations like backstage, or sports, overwhelming--places where I feel very much at home. Some excelled in posed, studio-lit environments... somewhere I am very, very reluctant to go.

What was clear? We all need to keep challenging ourselves, each and every day, with the camera. Pushing the boundaries of our own experiences. Yes, there will be our preferred subjects... but we can learn every time we try something new. Even if it's only, "I don't like that".

Know where, and what, this is?
Looking at other people's work is important; whether it's photography or painting, architecture or music or bizarre fashion statements. Only by observing do we know what works for us. Only by trial and error do we understand how the camera works best in our own hands. It's only a tool that captures a snapshot of imagination: there is no right, or wrong, way to use it.

The photos in this post are just a new look at the picture postcard that is Cromer Pier. Yes, all of them. Can you figure out where they were taken?

Beneath Cromer Pier
Low tide

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Settling in... how long does it take? Are we nearly there, yet?

Cromer Pier on a snowy winter's day, Cromer, Norfolk
Cromer Pier, during The Beast From The East, 2018
As you have probably seen, Alison Toon Photographer has moved back to England, UK, from Sacramento, California. There have been a few gaps in publishing here... it will soon be back to normal!

Cromer is a wonderful, traditional British seaside town, with sandy beaches washed by the tides twice each day, a beautiful pier with a theatre, and lifeboat house, at the end; great fish-and-chip shops, old-fashioned, tempting sweet shops, lots and lots of local, family-run small businesses, an so many community events that I know it's going to be a wonderful place to live, and to photograph.

I'll be posting a lot more very soon, but here are just a few of the venues, events and festivals that will be within reach:

Cromer Pier: concerts, shows, and festivals throughout the year
Cromer Hall: open-air concerts
Norfolk's many festivals
The Waterfront in Norwich
University of East Anglia, Norwich
Cambridge Corn Exchange... Marillion will be there soon!
... and many, many more.

It's starting to become real... after far-too-many weeks of organised chaos. I have moved many times, locally, cross-country, cross-continent and internationally. International moves are, by far, the most complicated and stressful--even when you are moving back to a country that you know and love, even when you speak the same (almost) language. It's a mass of large and small things to be organized, managed, dealt with, endured and enjoyed. From huge steps like securing a new home, to silly little things like having no pepper (or salt, or sugar) in the pantry. From replacing each and every electronic device that ran on another country's 110 v system with new devices and appliances that run safely on 240 v, to dealing with the insane, huge amount of packaging material that comes along with every darn purchase.

From having to nip out and buy a new bread knife to cut the amazing gluten-free bread that you were so excited to find, to wondering if your old bread knife and all the rest of the stupid stuff that you thought was so important to ship in that little international shipping pod will arrive before you've begged, borrowed or bought replacements while waiting. (Said pod is currently on a container ship that will dock in Hong Kong within the next few days. Why was it sent the long way around the world? Don't ask me. I have no clue. It's having its own adventure.)

From laughing with joy seeing a huge double-rainbow across the sea, to wondering when you'll see your overseas family again.

And preparing to launch an exciting new photo service here... just as soon as the snow has melted, the roads have been cleared, and the delayed shipment of brand-new business cards arrives. What will it be?

You'll have to watch this space for news!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Musicians are artists. No really... artists with paint: Bob Dylan and Ronnie Wood

Window display, Castle Fine Art, Norwich
If you are nearby, take a few minutes to nip into Castle Fine Art in Norwich, (or maybe one of their other branches?) They have exhibitions of limited-editions by not one, but two, major musicians: Bob Dylan, and Ronnie Wood!

Part of the Ronnie Wood collection on display this week at Castle Fine Art in Norwich
I'd seen examples of Bob Dylan's work before, but I quite-shamefully had no clue about Ronnie Wood. His work is stunning... would love one of these pictures on my wall.

At the intersection -- yes, there is one -- between rock music, art, and wild horses, his work has an immediate appeal. Find out more here on his website and find out about the possibility of ordering your own copies here.

And then, there's only one song to play:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vikings!!! Sheringham, Norfolk, England

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Battle reenactment, Sheringham Viking Festival
What more appropriate for the first proper post from my new home in Norfolk, England, than a Viking invasion? It happened yesterday, in Sheringham; the seaside town's fifth annual Viking festival, ending a week of activities with battles on the beach, a torchlight procession, and the ceremonial burning of a boat at the edge of the tide. It was a beautiful, sunny, calm and clear February day. Perfect weather for an invasion. Perfect weather for a fight on the beach.

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Vikings and Anglo-Saxons like ice-cream too!
I learned that Vikings love to eat chips. And ice cream. And that the leaders of today's Sheringham are happy to walk down the street with the mauraders. And that people come from all over the country to see the festival... and that it's growing bigger and better every year.

The Wuffa and Dragon Shields, Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons battled it out on the beach at low tide, clad in heavy chain-mail, wielding huge wooden shields, battle-axes and swords. Cut down in their prime--or weighted-over by the weaponry--they fell into the cold, wet sand, only to spring back to life, time and again, when the the crowd summonsed the help of Vallhala and cried, "Rise, Rise!" (or as one youngster in the crowd called, "Rice!") This generated some interesting, overheard conversations, children asking their parents about death and dying, which I'm sure were answered in creative British style.

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Fire eater, Sheringham Viking Festival

There was a fire-eater, and a fire dancer, and a witch, and dog-lion who came along to watch the show and sat patiently waiting for the parade to pass.

And then, the boat burned, fueled by heaps of not-so-Viking wooden pallets, warming the cockles of our hearts, young and old. And yes, that's a human shape you see... Vikings buried their dead by burning them with their boats. Don't worry, this was as human as the Guy that goes on the bonfire in November. At least, I think it was...

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Boat burning, Sheringham Viking Festival
More photos here in the Alison Toon Photographer photo gallery:

Organized by the Sheringham Carnival team, you can find out more about it here, and another set of photos and a writeup in the North Norfolk News today.

Sheringham Viking Festival 2018
Battle on the beach, Sheringham Viking Festival 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Avatar at Sacramento's Ace of Spades tonight!


I am jealous. I would love to be at this show. Avatar is in town!!!

You'll have a wonderful time... did you get a ticket? Here's where to check in case there are any left on the Ace of Spades' website.

I want to hear all about it...

(Photo gallery from Avatar's show at Aftershock, Sacramento, 2016 is here.)

Monday, January 1, 2018

New music coming in 2018 from Sacramento's Zeroclient

One of my favourite Sacramento bands--and there is a lot of excellent music in this town--Zeroclient, will be releasing a new album, their second, in 2018. Here's a preview... with a very cool video:

Find out more on their Facebook page!

2018: look at the lineup already!!! And but... and but...

Avatar, coming to the Ace of Spades this month
It's been pretty quiet around town since Aftershock in late October, metal/hard rock-wise, which left me time to sort out "other stuff" (see later), take a little time away from the camera (sometimes we have to do that), apart from family photo sessions and non-concert photography... but heck, look at what the new year has lined up for Sacramento! Hard rock, metal, and some big names in pop.

At the Ace of Spades:
  • Avatar on 25th January
  • Meshuggah on 26th January
  • Motionless In White, February 20th
  • Black Label Society and Corrosion of Conformity, February 21st
  • Theory of a Deadman, 22 February
  • Pop Evil, 28th February
  • Starset, 2nd March
  • Nothing More, 3rd March
  • Stone Temple Pilots, 13th March
  • Flogging Molly, 21 March
  • Ministry, 26th March
  • and many, many more: see for all shows and tickets.

Al Jourgensen, vocals, Ministry
Ministry, coming to the Ace of Spades
  • Katy Perry, January 31
  • Lorde, March 12th
  • Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, 30th January
  • Tyler The Creator, 31st January.

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Pop Evil, coming to the Ace of Spades
I'd love to see all of these shows!!! If you haven't already, buy tickets ASAP because many of these will be sold-out shows.

Avatar, Pop Evil, Nothing More and Ministry would be right at the top of my DO NOT MISS list.

Nothing More
Nothing More, coming to the Ace of Spades
But... and this is the "but" from the title of this post... Most likely, I won't be here in Sacramento for these shows! (Though it's SO VERY TEMPTING.)

It's time for my next adventure. I sold my house here the day after Christmas. I even sold my lovely, red truck, which made me shed a tear, last week. Everything is sorted: I'm headed back to Europe, at least for a while; not sure to exactly where yet--that's part of the adventure--but I have a need to go back to my roots, and to leave the USA for a while.

If you follow my social media posts, you'll know my opinions on the way this country is heading, politically and socially, and... it's just time to go explore somewhere else and to take a break from what's happening here. (It won't make me silent--probably the opposite, when the comparisons start settling in.)

I'm not leaving because of Trump; I'm leaving because Trump is not the problem, he is simply and quite terribly the most-visible symptom of a chronic and dangerous disease. Like a meningitis rash. Like a nasty and unrelenting cough.

I'm very lucky and I know it; I have the right, and the privilege, that enables me to do this, to decide to up and leave, and still have the option to return at whim. With both a USA and a UK passport in my pocket, and a little money in my bank account, I can do this. I don't this lightly, nor do I expect the grass to be magically greener on the other side of the pond. But... I have to find out. And so, the bags and the cameras are all packed and ready to go.

I will be back; I have precious family and friends here in Sacramento and around the country. It might be sooner, it might be later. It will certainly be for regular visits, for tours, shows and festivals. 

Just expect the next posts to be written and photographed from somewhere other than Sacramento, USA!

Download Festival? Don't mind if I do...

See you at the next show!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye, 2017... what a lot you contained. The good, the bad and the ugly... and the hope.

Marillion plus In Priase of Folly string quartet, Leicester
Marillion plus string quartet, Leicester DeMontfort Hall, UK
So.. the final day of 2017 is here, today, and on the far side of the earth people are already celebrating the dawn of a new year; fireworks in Australia and Hong Kong already dazzling the skies. Before that happens here in California, here's a look back at 2017 from the perspective of Alison Toon Photographer. It's been a good year, it's been a bad year, and it's been, from my view of American politics, an ugly year too.

Yes, it has been an "interesting" year, in all spirits of the word, interesting. Politically painful; living in a country which, more and more, I see heading in a direction diametrically opposite to the direction in which I was raised, and in which I believe. I see people living on the streets and along the rivers of Sacramento, with nothing but canvas or cardboard to keep them, and their few belongings, safe overnight. At the beginning of 2017 there was a lot of rain--much needed after several years of drought--but terrible for anyone who is sleeping rough. Shocking statistics: there are more people homeless in Sacramento than in all of the UK. The homeless population of California, according to this article from the New York Times, is approximately 554,000 people. That's more than the population of some entire countries; Iceland, for example, has a total population of approximately 336,400 people and while the climate for sleeping outdoors is definitely preferable in California to Iceland, it's totally shameful that such a huge, rich state has so many people living in dire conditions.

Driving through Sacramento in the rain last winter, seeing people without shelter, was one of the triggers to writing my first novel, Jo and the Old Man of the Sea, which was published in February 2017 and is available through Amazon and other booksellers around the world. (Find more details here.) The other inspiration for Jo? My favourite place in the whole wide world... North Norfolk, in England, where I was happily able to spend a few weeks this year.

I also launched another website, telling the stories within my family history research. The family tree has for too long been a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle hidden inside my brain and within's databases; this is the time to make the data human again. It's not just a linking of statistics and DNA; it's a whole encyclopedia of human lives, struggles, loves and achievements.

Jason Hook, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Jason Hook, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
Photography... the year has been super-full of amazing experiences.

I covered three of the four Marillion Weekends this year: in Port Zelande, The Netherlands; in Lodz, Poland; in my hometown of Leicester, England, UK! De Montfort Hall, Leicester, still one of the best and most beautiful concert venues. Perfect acoustics... These weekends were amazing experiences, attended by people from all around the world, some travelling huge distances. The next weekends are planned for 2019, but Marillion have a USA tour coming soon in 2018; not to be missed!

Corey Taylor, vocals, Stone Sour
Corey Taylor, Stone Sour, Aftershock 2017
Festivals: this year's included Louder Than Life, in Louisville, Kentucky, City of Trees in Sacramento, Aftershock, also in Sacramento, to name just a few. (Incidentally, my step tracker tells me that my most active weekend this year was the Aftershock weekend... if I took that number of steps every day I would never, ever have to be concerned about how many times a day I eat chips.)

Chevelle, Ace of Spades Sacramento, 2017
Concerts: a few major highlights: Paul Weller!!! Wow... Paul Weller. I photographed a Paul Weller show. Still smiling about that one. Midge Ure, too: that was in January, at Harlows. Hellyeah were awesome at the Ace of Spades. Chevelle taught me how much I love their "indoor" show, bringing some superb lighting on the road. Trace Adkins, at California State Fair. Dropkick Murphys and The Selecter at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium.

So many shows, so much excellent music. New and rising bands such as Greta Van Fleet and Joyous Wolf. Old(er) favourites, including some wonderful shows from Five Finger Death Punch, Nothing More and Stone Sour. Rob Zombie getting high (it's a pun, check the photo, my most-shared image of 2017). Halestorm and In This Moment. New twists including Mike Patton's Dead Cross and Davey Havoc and Dreamcar.

For all the photos, go to; the galleries are in date order, latest are at the top!

Musically, a wonderful year... a little short on shows since Aftershock, but I've been really really bust with plotting for the new year (info coming soon), and there's been a big gap in decent shows here in Sacramento, but that is all going to change next month. More on that in the next post, looking forwards to 2018... plus more (personal) news! See you at a show and/or festival or a hundred, next year!!!

In the crowd
Festivals, festivals.. Louder Than Life, 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Struggling to find last-minute gifts? EASY! Music!! Adventure!! FESTIVALS!!!

People having fun at Aftershock
Having fun at Aftershock, Sacramento 2017
Have you left shopping until the very, very last minute? Or maybe you've already started planning for next year's vacation? You know you can buy next-year festival tickets, right now, right? Why not combine the two... a trip and a festival. It's a great opportunity to see another part of the world... see futher below for more distant opportunities.

Here are just a few ideas!

1) Several of the Danny Wimmer Presents festivals already have their dates and lineups announced, and tickets are on sale:

 Muse play their only North American festival date in 2018 at Carolina Rebellion. The May 4th, 5th and 6th lineup looks amazing! You can find tickets here.

Then there's Northern Invasion with another stellar list of performers: Tool and A Perfect Circle at the same event!

Find more info for Northern Invasion here, including tickets and hotel deals. May 12th and 13th in Somerset, WI.

Louder Than Life will be in Louisville, KY, the weekend of September 29th and 30th, and earlybird tickets are already available. I was there this year and it's a huge amount of fun. Take an extra few days and explore the city, visit the Muhammed Ali Museum, discover more about boubon... oh and there's a boubon festival too.

Check Danny Wimmer Presents for other festival dates and tickets... there is much more to hear!

Closer to home in Sacramento, First Festival tickets are on sale too: the festival will be the weekend of May 5th and 6th, in Tanzanite Park, Sacramento. Lineup includes Blackalicious!

And if you really want to combine a music and a travel experience... go big and go to Europe! Here are a few ideas:

- Download (UK)
- Download (France)
- Rock am Ring
- and many, many more. In fact... here's an interactive map to all the metal/rock festivals in Europe. Find your bucket-list destination, plan your trip, and enjoy the music. Make today a gift to yourself... plan your festival year 2018!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoy whatever you are celebrating, eating and listening to!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of FFDP and Marillion. And why I say, listen to everything. Ignore labels. Listen to it all.

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Steve Hogarth, Marillion, The Netherlands weekend 2017

Over the past few weeks, two of my all-time-favourite bands, Marillion and Five Finger Death Punch, have released new albums. Both albums are somewhat "best of's". Marillion released The Gold, the best of convention 2017, a compilation of songs from the four weekend-long, three-day concert events which gathered fans from around the world, in The Netherlands, Poland, UK and Chile; a selection of songs that span the band's career to date. Five Finger Death Punch released A Decade of Destruction, a compilation of many of their best songs, plus two new titles: Trouble and Gone Away (Offspring cover).

Five Finger Death Punch, labelled metal and hard rock, grouped with all the heavy, angry metal bands. Marillion, labelled prog and too often grouped with bands such as Yes and Genesis. If you pick music by someone-elses' assignment to genre, you might never listen to both. Never make assumptions about your own musical tastes... ignore the labels. Listen to it all.

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
So why are such diverse bands both in my all-time favourite list? Let me count the ways...

- Both have wonderful vocalists. Each has an extreme; Ivan Moody's honey-monster growl, Steve Hogarth's sometime-falsetto. But for the most part, they are both heartwarming, gut-wrenching, incredible vocalists, both able to rise to anger and break to tears; both bringing an empathy that few vocalists are capable of.
- Both bands have loyal, for-life fans around the world, many of whom do not hesitate to travel long distances to see the bands perform live, time and time again.
- Both bands are a family of strong and creative musicians and unique characters who have found the way to work together, and build deep, strong, engaging music, year upon year
- Both are capable of bringing me to tears, of breaking me with joy, and of being my companion in times of trouble.
- And they both put on a hell of a live show. Again, and again, and again. So much so, that the moment the last one ends, you're starting to plan when you can attend the next.

Yes, the styles are different. Instead of judging by a genre label, I sometimes think of bands, of musicians, of performers, like shining comets zooming and hurtling through a dark universe. And at a point in that imaginary, universal, musical time, a special moment occurs; that moment at which we gasp, Listen! Oh! Amazing! I like that sound, too! the comet's musical paths intersect, and magic happens.

This is where it happens for me for Five Finger Death Punch and Marillion: see what you think. (These songs are not from the new albums!)

If you've only heard one of these bands before, listen to both of these songs... you might want to check out more. And if you're ready for more live shows, check out Marillion's dates here, and FFDP's tour here. This week, I wish I was in Europe. I do...

Both of these new albums, The Gold, and A Decade of Destruction, are a good introduction to each band's catalog of music. If you've just discovered a new band to listen to, it's a good place to begin.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Changes are afoot...

I realise, I haven't posted anything in far too long. Sometimes time is needed for a deep breath, a closing of eyes, a resting and a recharging and a rethinking about what happens next. Yes, there are changes afoot (and no, I haven't been shoe-shopping in Montreal again... not yet anyway, but I'm making a list and checking it twice)... yes, there will be news, very soon; yes, there will be more photos, many more...

But if you didn't notice the couple-of-weeks-or-more-off, here's a song for you ;-) (It's a treasure from Peter Hammill, check out all of his back catalog... it may take a while!)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Nothing More: Aftershock photos, tour news, and coming soon to Ace of Spades!

Jonny Hawkins, vocals, Nothing More
Jonny Hawkins, Nothing More, Aftershock 2017
All the acclaim that Nothing More is receiving lately: so very well deserved. Their latest album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves, of which they should be proud. The touring--soon headed to Europe. The festivals here in the USA, where I was able to see them both at Louder Than Life and then here in Sacramento, at Aftershock in Discovery Park, where they played in the bright sunlight of the early afternoon on the Monster stage.

Daniel Oliver, bass, Nothing More
Daniel Oliver, Nothing More, Aftershock 2017
Not only is Nothing More's music strong, meaningful, memorable, demanding to played on repeat, their live show is compelling, exciting and visual. Jonny Hawkins, barefoot on stage, intense. The contraptions, all the drums... always something to see, to watch.

Mark Vollelunga, guitar, Nothing More
Mark Vollelunga, Afershock 2017
If you are kicking yourself (you should be) because you didn't see their set at Aftershock, you can redeem yourself... they'll be here in Sacramento, at the Ace of Spades, on 3rd March. Tickets are on sale now. There are still some Meet and Greet package tickets left, but be quick... there are not many available--the VIP package already sold out!

Jonny Hawkins, vocals, Nothing More
Jonny Hawkins, Nothinig More, Aftershock 2017
All the photos from Nothing More's set at Aftershock: click right here!

For more of Nothing More (sorry, couldn't resist) from other shows, click up a level in the photo gallery.  Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and check out the website--note that it's a .net not .com site:

Nothing More
Nothing More, Aftershock 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pop Evil: new album on its way... and new song, Waking Lions, out now!

Leigh Kakaty, vocals, Pop Evil
Leigh Kakaty, Pop Evil, Chicago Open Air 25016
The music video for Pop Evil's Waking Lions was released today through VEVO: see it below! Just as I was starting to crave a Pop Evil fix... pow!!! Here it is.

Due for release on February 16th, 2018, the new album is available for pre-order now: click here for digital pre-orders and here to pre-order physical CDs and vinyl.

Beautiful Waking Lions artwork by Mike Chardcore (Mike Cortada), and video: Columbia Tatone.

The band spent much of the summer in Nashville, recording this their fifth studio album, at Sound Emporium Studios, then finishing up at Sphere Studios in Los Angeles, California.

The new album follows on from 2015's UP -- reviewed here.

Pop Evil are Leigh Kakaty on vocals, Hayley Cramer on drums, Matt DiRito on bass, and Dave Grahs and Nick Fuelling, guitars.

See also: review and photos from Pop Evil at Sacramento's Ace of Spades, Chicago Open Air 2016, and Aftershock 2015.

See upcoming tour dates on their Facebook and website!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

More photo galleries: Butcher Babies, Code Orange, New Years Day and Deap Vally

Reba Meyers, vocals and guitar, Code Orange
Reba Meyers, vocals and guitar, Code Orange, Aftershock 2017
More from Aftershock festival in Sacramento last weekend, where 50,000 fans came to the sold-out event in Discovery Park. This year, there were many more bands fronted by women. Halestorm, (see here), and also Butcher Babies (added to the lineup close to the event), Code Orange, Deap Vally and New Years Day.

Code Orange brought intense and metallic hardcore to the dusty, mid-afternoon Capital stage. Check them out here and here... and don't miss them if you are at Ozzfest meets Knotfest next weekend.

Carla Harvey, vocals, Butcher Babies
Carla Harvey, Butcher Babies, Aftershock 2017

Heidi Shepherd, vocals, Butcher Babies
Heidi Shephard, Butcher Babies, Aftershock 2017
Butcher Babies, always entertaining, rocked the crowd from the Monster stage. Their latest album, Lilith, is out now (released October 27th), and they have a major USA tour ahead of them--dates here!

Ash Costello, vocals, New Years Day
Ash Costello, New Years Day, Aftershock 2017
New Years Day also appeared on the Monster stage on Sunday--keep an eye on their Facebook for upcoming show dates!

Lindsey Troy, guitar and vocals, Deap Vally
Lindsey Troy, Deap Vally, Aftershock 2017
Deap Vally made a huge impression for a two-piece band: Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards.   Check them out here!

Many more photos in the galleries:

Butcher Babies:
New Years Day:
Code Orange:
Deap Vally: