Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Album review: Jonathan Davis, Black Labyrinth... brilliant!

Jonathan Davis, vocals, Korn
Jonathan Davis, Aftershock Festival
Fast becoming my favourite album of 2018 so far, Jonathan Davis' first solo studio album, Black Labyrinth, was released on May 25th through Sumerian Records.

First listening: many of the songs are bouncy, even joyful (almost): get-up-and-dance rhythms, tablas and sitar and duduk and Indian melodies part of a couple of tracks (Final Days and Gender), a couple of ballads, but... cheerful. Then focus on the lyrics, and it becomes a manic dance in the arms of the scary clown from under the bed, whirling across the splintered floor of a decaying church. There is (lost) religion, there are secrets, there are worrisome happenings, but somehow there is no despair.

This dichotomy of first impression/what's happening in the depths is portrayed beautifully in the first song, on the album, Underneath My Skin. It's so... bouncy and yet:

Locked in my head while my sins are on display
Every time that I atone, they come back attacking me.

The song that sounds like a ballad, The Secret:

And your eyes flicker
You must be dreaming evil dreams
Are you eating someone's heart?
Is it what it seems?
Your smile would make them scream
But I know your sadness

Emotional takeaway: we can put a lovely, happy face over our own darkness. It's how we get through. It's called survival. It's called life. And this album hits it right on the head.


Black Labyrinth closes with the first single taken from the Korn frontman's album, "What It Is"; released in January, and part of the soundtrack to the movie, American Satan, it's a powerful, haunting and memorable track:

Mr Davis is on tour in Europe, including the major festivals and UK dates, plus Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, California in October--check out ticket availability and dates here on his website.

Find all our photos of Jonathan Davis with Korn here, in the photo galleries: 

Monday, May 21, 2018

New video from Pop Evil: A Crime To Remember (and show in Reno tonight!)

Pop Evil have released a new video for the track, A Crime To Remember, the third video directed by Columbia Tatone, and the third from the band's latest album, Pop Evil. Continuing the message of the album to all of us... "Are we divided? Are we united?"

Pop Evil's producer, Kato Khandwala, was tragically killed in a motobike accident last month in Los Angeles: this video is a tribute to Kato, too. There is a fundraiser here if you would like to help his young daughter, Paris, during this sad time.

Pop Evil have just begun a USA tour with Poison and Cheap Trick... wish I was in the USA for that one! Find all tour dates here on Pop Evil's website, and get VIP passes and tickets here! Sacramento folks--still time for a road trip up to Reno, the show is tonight!

Toon's Tunes Pop Evil photos galleries are here:

Friday, May 18, 2018

Review: Five Finger Death Punch, And Justice for None

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, at Louder Than Life 2017
Just released: Five Finger Death Punch's new album, their seventh studio album: And Justice For None. Their seventh studio album, already with several singles taken from it: Gone Away, an Offspring cover; Fake (the one track on the album that you might want to cover the mynah bird's ears for... or not. I always wanted a mynah bird who knew how to swear); Sham Pain (with a nice play on words); and When The Seasons Change.

Jason Hook, guitar, Five Finger Death Punch
Jason Hook, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
It's what we've come to expect from FFDP, and more: powerful metal-rock, blistering guitar, insane drumming and thundering bass, with Ivan Moody's vocals ranging from grouchy-angry-growling honey-monster to the most soulful, deep and touching troubadour on the rock scene today.

There's anger, there's angst, there's royally-pissed-off-with-that-certain-someone; there's relationship breakdowns, there's love, there's life-on-the-road, there's the feeling of being in a festival crowd of twenty thousand fans, and there's hope. And there's also the best cover of a country song that I've heard to date (Blue On Black, original by Kenny Wayne Shepherd):

Check out their website for info on where to buy your copy, or head to your local store. If you want the vinyl, there's a couple more weeks to wait--pre-order and you should receive a digital copy immediately (I did).

Five Finger Death Punch are currently on tour in the USA and Canada: I hope to see some European and UK dates on here soon. Fingers crossed!

More photos from Five Finger Death Punch shows, including at Aftershock, Louder than Life and Chicago Open Air festivals:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Folk on the Pier and Kinder Shores: a weekend of music in Cromer

Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention, Folk on the Pier 2018
This past weekend was a Cromer full of folk music: from the Kinder Shores concert and CD launch on Thursday, benefitting the Rees Foundation and work with care leavers, through three days of Folk on the Pier, with concerts in the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier, and fringe events throughout the town.

Glen Latouche, vocals, Edward II
Glen Latouche, Edward II, Folk on the Pier 2018
In true festival style, there was something for everyone: Richard Digance making everyone laugh, stirring céilidhe from The Urban Folk Theory, a jazz-folk twist from the Hopi Hopkins Trio, reggae-folk fusion from Edward II, songs of life from Fraser Nimmo, and such an enjoyable show from Palmerston... and many, many more. So many good shows, and such varied performers.

All-time crowd favourites Fairport Convention sealing the deal, and providing the finale to the festival, on Sunday night.

The Urban Folk Theory
The Urban Folk Theory, Folk on the Pier, 2018
There were morris dancers too, both Kemp's Men of Norwich out on the pier, and a dancer as part of Ashley Hutching's Morris On on Saturday night. A lovely way to spend a springtime weekend by the seaside.

Kemp's Men of Norwich Morris Dancers
Kemp's Men of Norwich, Cromer Pier
Known as the "best gig on the North Sea" (it really is ON the North Sea, it's out on the water, on a pier), the festival this year celebrated its 20th birthday, several performers having played the first-ever Folk on the Pier back in 1998, too.

Folk music plays a huge part in British social history; telling stories through song, as protest and as commentary, passing on history from generation to generation. If you are just getting started listening to folk music, check out the repertoire of the artists who performed at Folk on the Pier. It's a great place to begin.

Richard Digance, Kinder Shores concert and CD launch
Richard Digance, Kinder Shores Concert and CD launch, Cromer 2018
Folk on the Pier photos, all performers (more will be added here): Folk on the Pier photo gallery
Kinder Shores photo gallery: Kinder Shores 2018 photo gallery
Fairport Convention: Fairport Convention at Folk on the Pier 2018
Edward II: Edward II at Folk on the Pier photo gallery
Urban Folk Theory: Urban Folk Theory at Folk on the Pier
Kemp's Men of Norwich Morris Dancers: Traditional dance, Cotswold Morris side from Norwich photo gallery
Many more photo galleries: Alison Toon Photographer music photos

Keep an eye, and an ear, out for next year's Folk on the Pier: it's never too soon to make plans! And if you haven't already, check out the Kinder Shores CD, for which many musicians donated songs. It's for a very, very good cause.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Photo gallery: Edward II, Saturday's headliner at Folk on the Pier, Cromer

CROMER, NORFOLK, 12 May 2018: Folk on the Pier, Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, Norfolk, England, UK.
Edward II, Folk on the Pier, Cromer
Edward II, a fusion of reggae, rock and British folk music... a beautiful, multicultural musical experience that made me realise how much I have truly missed England and the UK. Returning to Folk on the Pier, Cromer's annual folk festival, twenty years after they first performed here... they ruled!

Glen Latouche, vocals, Edward II
Glen Latouche, Edward II
Music that is infinitely danceable, yet full of history; industrial and pastoral, Jamaica and Manchester and the guys making music on the streets where so many peoples have made this, their home. Edward II takes us there with a smile and the warmth of a summer's day. And a Night Nurse. Don't forget the Night Nurse!

Many more photos in the Edward II photo gallery: click here!

Check out Edward II's latest album, Manchester's Improving Daily, and more of their music, here on their website, and on Facebook too.

CROMER, NORFOLK, 12 May 2018: Folk on the Pier, Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, Norfolk, England, UK.
Edward II, Folk on the Pier folk festival, Cromer, Norfolk 2018

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Review: Shinedown, Attention Attention: get ready for some festival anthems!

Shinedown, Aftershock 2013
Shinedown, Aftershock Festival
Shinedown's latest album, Attention Attention, was released a couple of days ago, and it's full of hard-rocking-festival anthems. Ranging from the wonderfully-bass Black Soul to the almost-pop-chart-ready title track, Attention Attention runs through the entire range of hard rock, and is going to be mandatory listening for anyone planning to see them at one or more of this summer's festivals.

It's the perfect workout album; listen to it at the gym or on a fast walk, and you'll burn a few more calories.

Devil, taken from Attention Attention, is the latest single from Shinedown:

Get Up might just be this year's festival anthem...

I wonder if this year's festival set will include wonderful, over-the-top pyromania like we saw at Aftershock 2013, when Shinedown's visuals made everyone gasp, or the more toned-down-preppy-but-still-burning version we saw in 2015? Wait and see, wait and see...

You can see Shinedown tour dates here, including dates with Five Finger Death Punch earlier in the year and Godsmack later in the sumer in the USA, and at festivals including Download festival, Castle Donnington, in the UK, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in Germany, Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium, Download Madrid in Spain, and then, in October, at Aftershock in Sacramento, California.

You can listen to Attention Attention here on the Shinedown official YouTube channel, then go and buy Attention Attention through your usual music supplier.

Many more Shinedown photos here in the photo galleries!