Daily Archives: 11/11/2011

Tommy Lee’s bringing his Drum Kit to the UK!

Yeah, it's a bit more elaborate than you thought, eh?

Great news, everyone!

Fears that Motley Crue were going to down-pedal the theatrics on their upcoming British jaunt with Def Leppard have been partially allayed by the news that drummer Tommy Lee’s insane 360 degree drum roller coaster rig over for the December tour.

Have a look at THIS, why don’t you (with a proviso that there’s some very NSFW language in the video).

As live performances go, it’s not exactly Mumford and Sons, is it?  Can’t wait to experience the tightly controlled, rigidly scheduled insanity for myself on December 13th.

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Official “Doctor Who” Convention in March 2012

Possibly not what the Convention venue will look like next March...

We may have to wait a little longer for our “Who” fix in 2012 but the BBC are doing their best to make the wait slightly more tolerable.

They’ve announced the first official “Doctor Who” Convention in a living age, with involvement from Steven Moffat, Matt Smith and a whole tranche of behind-the-scenes artisans and crafts folk.

The Convention happens over the weekend of 24 & 25 March 2012, with tickets at a steep £99 each and places limited to 1,500 attendees a day.

Steep price and limited availability, you say – how splendid.

To be fair to the Beeb, it sounds like a fun time and has a great deal of official participation (and hopefully organisation) to make up for the barriers to entry – a trial run for something bigger and more accessible down the line?

There’s enough information to fill the Tardis’ indoor pool over at SFX.

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“Snow White & The Huntsman” trailer – up!

Given that Universal Pictures’ corporate policy is apparently to make tent-pole summer movies out of board games you used to play as a kid, or hope that the young people still like them some Dominic Torretto every couple of years, you could be forgiven for thinking that all is lost for the studio who once brought you the likes of “Jurassic Park” and “Back To The Future”.

I’m not sure that things will be any better in 2012, but I’m following their iteration of the ‘Snow White’ tale with a little more enthusiasm than I expected to, now that Hollywood has decided that we should have a whole bunch of Snow White flicks next summer.

Bella, Aeon Flux and Thor made a film? What larks!

Genuine enthusiasm for putting a spin on a beloved classic or all concerned just wanting to get product out of the door before the imminent End of All Things?  Who can say.

To get on with it, Uni have released a trailer for their take on the Fairest of Them All – and it stars noted awkwardist and sometime vampire spouse Kristen Stewart alongside affable God of Thunder Chris Hemsworth, Oscar (C) winning Charlize Theron and a chap called Sam Clafin, whose presence in the most recent “Pirates of the Caribbean” flick escaped me (not in a rush to see it, if I’m honest).

Why am I interested in this? Well, it certainly looks different from the usual takes on fairy tales.  Snow White’s in armour, the magic mirror’s had quite the upgrade, the Evil Queen’s clearly into milk in a major way and Chris Hemsworth is built like a fricking fridge, so whatever he wants to do is perfectly fine by me.

It’s a fine trailer – whether the collision of images, battle scenes, Evil Queen’s sexy bath time antics, swooning romance and abruptly exploding wildfowl add up to anything more than stirringly-scored eye candy is your guess but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more on this as it develops.

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Lacuna Coil/Straight Line Stitch, Corporation, Sheffield, 04/11/2011

Alexis from Straight Line Stitch rocking an appreciative crowd...

So, I went to a gig last week, which in my world is a thing.  And on my own, too. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like quite the badge of sadness that it might once have been – when your other half doesn’t get into the same music that you do (but is wholly supportive of your enthusiasm for it), and you would quite like to see a band, then it makes sense to go along and see that band whilst rolling solo – because who knows when you’ll get a chance to see a band again.  Not that I had tickets to see Refused or At The Drive-In back in the day or anything quite so dramatic, but I think you get the picture.

The band in question that so spurred me into action is Italy’s finest purveyors of glacially cool metallic melancholia, Lacuna Coil, who I am quite a fan of – they’ve got heaviness but don’t stint on melody, do the male/female co-vocals thing and rock the odd song sung in their native language, which is a fine change of pace in this Anglophone world in which we live.  They are a band with style and can certainly boast an evolution in their sound, which is ongoing even if it doesn’t always connect with critics.  I had never seen them before but they’re got a very decent reputation live and I was more than keen to see whether it was justified.

Added to that was the fact that they were playing the Corporation in Sheffield, which is possibly my favourite place to see bands in Sheffield – it’s not very big, the crowd’s friendly and diverse and on a Friday night, whenever I’ve been, the gig’s usually done by 10:00pm to allow the Club Night to start – a fact remarked upon with some bemusement and ethereal comic disdain by Melissa Auf Der Maur when I saw her last year.

Supporting Lacuna Coil this time around were Straight Line Stitch, who I had heard a few songs by prior to the show and embodied that most welcome of live music cliches – a band who is much heavier live than they are on record.

They came, they rocked, they smashed up the joint - in a metaphorical way...

Alexis the singer was quite the live wire, as you might expect for a front person, and operated on the principle that the crowd wasn’t necessarily expecting a support band with quite as heavy a sound as SLS has.  She worked the audience with aplomb, bigging-up Lacuna Coil, thanking the fans between songs, inviting us to go and hang out in the merch room after their set and generally did her best to introduce the band to a new set of fans, leaping up and down and head-banging herself into a right old state. I felt very bloody old watching her, but utterly entertained at the same time.

The Straight Line Stitch sound is somewhere betwixt the Metalcore style of a band like Avenged Sevenfold or Killswitch Engage, with a hint of the impassioned, raging vocals of Bring Me The Horizon or Parkway Drive. We’re talking grinding beat-downs, vocals so harsh and startling that they could easily peel paint from the walls at fifty paces and drums so satisfyingly meaty that you could feel them in your chest – which isn’t to say that SLS were unlistenably harsh but more that they attacked from the outset and made it their task to win people over – I’m pretty sure that they did, as people were going absolutely nuts for them from where I was standing.

The best song that they played was “Conversion”, which is brutal metalcore at it’s best – grunted verses, soaring melodic chorus and a pummeling riff which went to interesting time-signature-based places.  Plus, pounding double-bass runs from the drummer.

If they were the surprise of the night, Lacuna Coil were equally satisfying and so completely worth going to see that I really hope to see them if they make it to the UK next year after the release of “Dark Adrenaline”.

Lacuna Coil, rocking it last Friday night in Sheffield

The band played stuff from all over their career – with a couple of new songs from “…Adrenaline” thrown in to test out the crowd’s reaction, to good effect.

Highlights for me were “Heaven’s a Lie” – I apologise to those around me who were regaled with a caterwauling, out-of-key rendition of the chorus not once but twice – and “I Won’t Tell You” (ditto), with “Swamped” also standing out alongside new tune, “Kill The Light”.

The band was a few shows into the tour and very polished – I get the sense that this was very much the same kind of show that they might play outside at a festival in Europe or in a larger hall.  Though this was a smaller house than they might regularly play, I didn’t get the sense that they were going through well-rehearsed motions or phoning a performance in – not at all.  They’ve been around a fairly long time now and know how to play to a crowd – if Andrea’s singing lead, Cristina Scabbia supports and doesn’t have to grab attention – similarly, Andrea backs up his co-lead singer on her lead lines.

Lights! Phone Camera! Lacuna Coil rocks!

If you get a chance to see them on this tour – or the next – be sure to grab it.  They’re melodic, dark, heavy and quintessentially European Metal with a touch of melancholic class which is very particular to them.

Loved it.

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