Live review: The Damned at O2 Academy Bristol, 14th April 2023

Last month at the O2 Academy in Bristol brought legendary punk rockers The Damned, who were formed in the mid 70’s, and were back on tour with their brand new album Darkadelica which promises to be among their best. There was a large crowd eager to hear what’s on offer.

The set kicked off with a visit to 1985’s Phantasmagoria and the opening track Street of Dreams which gets cheers from the crowd. Next we are treated to the first new song The invisible Man, with it’s eerie sounds at the start then the beat kicks in with powerful drums and punchy guitars, and this gets the heads banging in the packed audience, it’s great to see them still working a crowd after all these years and with new songs too. Next up, two songs from The Black Album and we hear Wait For The Blackout start closely followed by Lively Art’s.

What follow’s is a bold move as they start a run of 9 songs from the new album. With strong vocal harmonies and melodies we all enjoy it proves to be a very good move. Powerful songs including Leader of the Gang which is about the fate of a certain Glam rock frontman.

The Damned have always been visually stimulating when on stage and this evening is no different, as front man Dave Vanian who is dressed in a stylish three-piece suit and tie with a equally matching fedora and shades, he looks the part and his vocals are as strong as ever.

Once the new tracks are out of the way its back into the old tunes as Born To Kill, Love Song, Second Time Around, Standing On The Edge of Tomorrow and the absolute power track Neat Neat Neat.

Next follows the encore with the ever popular Eloise and Smash it Up which has the whole crowd singing along and the band leaves the stage, but the lights don’t come on and no exit music sounds, and they take the stage again and for the second encore we are treated to one more new song, in the shape of Girl I’ll stop at Nothing which hits hard and is worthy of an encore slot. Finally a blistering version of New Rose, a wall of energy and noise coming from the stage and the frantic voices of the still packed venue.

Tonight has shown that The Damned are still as relevant today as they ever were and don’t look to be fading away anytime soon.

Live review and photos by Martin Smith – to use without permission.

Live Review: The Skints and Gentlemans Dub Club – Marble Factory, 3rd March 2023

Last month at Marble Factory saw the return of The Skints in a co headline with Gentle-mans Dub Club, two of the UK’s reggae powerhouses.

The opening act was the very capable Welsh-Jamaican Aleighcia Scott, who gets a good reaction from the crowd.

They are suitably warmed up and ready for GDC, who enter the stage to warm applause. Hailing from Leeds, GDC have been around the scene for quite some time and have built up a good following, and from the look of the crowd there are many of the loyal GDC fans in tonight and they are in for a treat.

Playing hit such as “Music Is The Girl I Love” and playing a remake of that classic track “Superstylin” by Groove Armada they ended with the beautiful “High Grade” All in all a great and balanced set amd start to the night.

Next up in this evening of Reggae madness is The Skints, who were last in Bristol as support to The Interrupters back in August 2022. Having formed in London back in 2005 they have an impressive back catalogue to choose from.

The 4 piece outfit, which comprises of the multi talented Marcia Richards (vocals, keyboards, alto saxophone, melodica, flute, guitar), Joshua Waters Rudge (vocals, guitar), Jamie Kyriakides (vocals, drums) and Jonathan Doyle (bass guitar), tore through a set that included many of their best songs such as “rat-at-at”, “This Town” and “Rise up”.

Midway through the set they played their version of Capdowns “cousin Cleotis” which resulted in a big Ska ‘skanking” circle, which see’s a big energy release from the hyped up crowd, and much to the delight of The Skints Joshua, declaring “you guys are f**king awesome”. The set ends with the punchy “culture vulture”, with its lyric “I’m just trying to have a good time” which gets an enormous cheer from the audience….who it is safe to say has had a thoroughly good time.

Words and photos by Martin Smith (no use without permission)

Live Review: Vetna with Hexcut and theskyisthinaspaperhere. The Cube, 15/4/23

Last Saturday Vetna was supported by Hexcut and theskyisthinaspaperhere at the Cube Microplex, bringing with them the future of live electronic instrumentation. 

I arrived at the Cube around 6 pm after meandering into town. You could easily miss the non-profit nestled away off Bristols busier streets. Once a glass recycling centre and illegal gambling den, this community space is now a Microplex, Arts venue, adult creche, independent museum, and progressive social wellbeing enterprise.” Bestowed on Bristol by volunteers in 1964, Cube Microplex is the real deal – awesome people, food, drink and a programme stuffed with local talent, featuring films, music, performance and more in a small wooden theatre built with love. 

The rumbles of sound check had just started before I caught up with Torsten from Hexcut outside to ask him about whats changed since their debut EP Factory in 2018 and how Bristol influences their sound.

We have expanded from a three-piece to a four-piece and have come into our own, evolving our sound in terms of song structures, moving away from verse-chorus pop song structures and expanding that out into more linear songs that have themes.” He goes on, We dug more into the electronic side thanks to Chris, so I can cover the piano work and he covers the background and thickens out the sound.”Bristol has been a huge part of making our sound because it’s just such a huge melting pot of different styles and genres that you dont quite get anywhere else in the UK. All the different elements you find here all combines to make Hexcut in a way that is quite distinctive to this city.”

An opening act that really has to be experienced live, theskyisthinaspaperhere begins the night with foreboding electronic drones and the voice of Terry Davies, drawing the scattered audience into the theatre. The digital human Marcus Dyer stands in front of a giant projection of neon green retro-hacker imagery, using motion sensors to detect kinetics as he begins to guide us through this strange but beautiful procedural journey. A wash of sounds duck and dive out a stream of whirring ambient pads, his digital hand darts around the projected interface with custom software Veldt manipulating nodes that effect the composition. An interface that becomes the aesthetic, the crowd were slowly hypnotised by this play between human and machine, tracking his movements as voice samples, guitar lines, industrial clatter and piercing synths melt into a melancholic climate of brooding soundscapes. Finishing around 8.45 it sounded and looked great – go see this guy live. 

Next up was four-piece Hexcut. Cracking right into Orchard you can tell this band has put the time into their live set. Ricocheting piano arpeggios bounce off ambient synths, triggered against a backdrop of punchy bass grooves and thick, hard-hitting beats. The latest EPs crystallised cover art morphs in the background as the band kicks into gear with 100 fires, slowly picking up speed and intensity with damming chords cutting through the mix.

Reflecting on our chat earlier, you can really hear how Torstens keys are let loose by the thickener” Chrismultifaceted computer-powered keys and triggers more akin to a DJ setup. Crackling white noise disturbs reverb-soaked key strokes before being switched out for more harmonic synth drones and whistles that bring higher frequencies cascading down into the melody. 

Stand-in bassist Otto did well as they move into Operation Rodeo, keeping things steady despite only having one practice” with the band – those more stretched-out bass lines bridging what can be a seething mass of eclectic harmonies, saturating every pore of the theatre. Similarly, Nicks drums do well to ground the next track Align, holding the crowd’s hand down a wormhole of accentuated harmonic patterns before letting go, chopping up dance-inspired beats with a fluency that leaves the crowd on their toes. Finishing up with the latest single Silverstar, the band continue us down a path of electronically infused genre-bending music that leaves the destination of their debut album highly anticipated. 

Hailing from Turin, Italy but now based in Bristol, the two-piece Vetna hit the stage around 10. Starting slow with the track Purity, Lorenzo tinkers on his impressive array of gear, summoning a wall of atmospheric drones and pads that blanket a swooning trumpet line. Glitchy percussive motifs are effectuated alongside Antonio’s rambling fingerstyle guitar before the sound of rain comes into earshot, puttering out the track.

After greeting and thanking the audience, the next track Frankfurt Violence comes slamming in with brutish determination. Chaotic breakbeats grip the crowd in a whirlpool of punchy snares, kicks and hats before a guitar line gives us something to stand on. Amidst a backdrop of a long-exposure shot of a city road, the track leans back into a second alternative picking guitar line that hums over an increasingly chaotic drum track eventually overrun by an industrial synth bass-line sequenced in hell – think Nine Inch Nails on the drum-and-bass circuit. The more house-inspired track Berlin Is Calling, Pt. 1 comes thumping in with a four-on-the-floor. Trap-like hats flitter alongside broken guitar screeches and heavily delayed vocals that moan with grit, inspiring the audience to begin clapping in time with the infectious beat. 

The night continued on this trajectory with wet guitars ultimately leading on Berlin is Calling, Pt. 2, Fragmentation, and Blankets, Pt. 1 and 2, often breaking into stomping tribal beats. Although their performance was self-proclaimed as a tricky night,” Vetna did well to captivate the crowd with tracks from their debut album As Lips Run – go check it. 

Live review and photos by Henry Appleyard – no use without permission

We chatted to Jake from DeadWax about their new single NORTHERN BEHAVIOR

After playing to The Crofters Rights in Bristol earlier this month, we took the oppertunity to chat to DeadWax frontman Jake Milburn about their new single, shows and all other things music.

Can you tell us a bit about DeadWax? Who are you, where are you from and how did you all meet? 

DeadWax are an alt-grime rock band from Leeds, West Yorkshire. We’ve been mates since we were kids, and started the band when we were in high school. 

Where did the name come from? 

The dead wax is in the middle of the vinyl where the record stops. Think my Dad might’ve come up with it and we thought it was pretty cool.

If I had to use the phrase For Fans Of, who would you liken yourselves to? 

RATM/Beastie Boys/Astroid Boys.

You recently released your new single Northern Behaviour, can you tell us a bit about this?

I wrote the lyrics about me and Sol (bassist) working together on a building site for a couple years in our late teens. Sol sent us all a badass riff, and we all jumped on it!

Who produced it? Is it your first time working with them? How did you find the process? 

We’ve been working with Mike Krompass for the last year or so, he’s fucking awesome. He really gets behind the record. We record at Base Culture UK which has an immense live room for drums. I’d recorded a decent demo and messed around with some keys and extra synth lines, and it was cool to build on those ideas with Mike. There’s a lot of depth to the mix and the quality is insane. 

You’ve played a couple of dates so far on your UK tour, what’s still to come? 

We’ve got the Railway Inn Winchester this Friday (14th), then we’re off to London (The Macbeth Hoxton, 22nd) Sheffield (Corporation, 29th) and Nottingham (The Old Cold Store, 30th). It’s been great to get down the country a bit on this tour! 

How have the first shows been? 

Bristol was a bit quiet, but you can’t expect anything when you’re going to a city you’ve never played, especially at the other end of England – shout out to those that got along! Leeds was banging as usual, and Hull was wicked too. 

What’s next for DeadWax? 

There’s at least another single on the way later this year, but that’s all I can say right now. My hands, unfortunately, are tied…

Anything else you would like to tell us? 

If you ain’t heard it yet, go check out Northern Behaviour on whatever you blast tunes on, and check out the video on our YouTube. Give us a follow on Insta and head over to for tickets and merch.

I’d like to thank Jake for taking the time to answer my questions and wish him and the band the best of luck for the future.

Live review: Stiff Little Fingers at O2 Academy Bristol – 9th March 2023

Stiff Little Fingers were formed in Belfast in 1977 at the height of all the trouble and this is where a lot of their song writing comes from. They are a hard rocking punk band that have been on the gig circuit for some 40 years. They came back at the O2 Academy in Bristol, a place they have played many times over the years.

The evenings opening act was Slim Jim Phantom Trio, which consists of the Stray Cats drummer and his wife Jennie Vee (Eagles of Death metal) playing bass and also Rex Elle on guitar. It seems an odd choice of opening act but their is a good sized crowd to witness a 40 minute set and they appear to be really enjoying it. We are treated to hits “Rumble in Brighton” which is from Stray Cats debut album and a special version of The Damned’s “Black Rose”

The time has come for tonights main act, and they come onto the stage to their usual intro, which sees the hyped audience joining in Straw Dogs to start the set off. It’s raw , before being closely followed by Nobody’s Hero’s which the crowd enjoy as they sing along in fine voices. Next is Roots Radicals Rockers and Reggae, a cover originally by Bunny Wailer but Fingers have made it their own and is a firm favourite in the set.

We get a nice surprise in the form of a new track A Tower in London which is about the Grenfell fire, and a tribute to those lost, followed by Doesn’t Make it Alright, dedicated to Terry Hall, frontman of The Specials. The setlist may be missing some old favourites tonight, Tin Soldiers and Fly the Flag to name a couple, but Heading into what we think is the home straight At the Edge, Wasted Life, Gotta Getaway, and Suspect Device hit us hard with a wall of noise and singing from the crowd, all solid songs from the early days. With the snappy sound of military style drums we know it’s time for Johnny Was which hits us hard.

The set finishes with Alternative Ulster an absolute classic and its sung with real passion. Fingers have said they will be cutting back on future tours and I am think this must be due to the fact they are all in their early 60’s, so we can forgive them for wanting to take it easy, but tonight we have been thoroughly entertained.

Words and photos by Martin Smith, no use without permission

Live review: Deadwax with Hypothetics, The Crofters Rights, 31st March 2023

Celebrating the release of their brand new single, Northern Behaviour, these northern boys brought the first show of their run to Bristol’s legendary Crofters Rights, their first trip down south as a band.

Opening the show was local boys Hypotechnics, who brought their indie-funk-punk style to the early and eager crowd. We were treated to their sew single, Freelove, the first released single from their upcoming EP.

As a band, they weren’t much for talking, instead going from one song straight into the next, and playing for the full 45 minutes. The crowd wasn’t massive, but they were certainly keen, keeping the energy going and the dance moves flowing.

And a short break and stage change and then it was onto the main act of the night.

Being the relatively new kids of the block, DeadWax had a lot riding on their shoulders. First show in the south, new single just out, an unfamiliar crowd – they had a lot to live up to.

Frontman Jake was beckoning people to come in, and then they were straight into their first track – Warning. It’s clear these guys know their stuff when it comes to music, with influences coming from all over creating a sound that is unique and enjoyable. I was getting Skindread, Trash Boat, even a bit of pop-punk in there. DeadWax would certainly hold a place at a festival like Download.

It was a real shame that the support band and their friends didn’t stick around, and instead opted to sit in the bar, as they missed a real show on Friday night. But never mind, the ones who stayed had a great time listening and moving along to the music.

We were treated to two new songs for the night as well, with Expectations making its live debut, a song that goes down the emo road, as well as their single that was released Friday  – Northern Behaviour.

And to end the night was Lifestyle, an as yet unreleased track, but one that sounded just as good as the rest of the set. And that was it, an absolutely mind blowing performance from the band, especially for their first time in Bristol. It’s a shame more people didn’t come along to see the show, or stick around after the support. But if these four boys from Leeds keep working as hard as they are, I’m sure they are going to go far.

Review and photos by Ted Stargatt (no use without permission)

Live review: ENTER SHIKARI at SWX Bristol. 18th March 2023

First the worst, second the best?? Shikari’s second show (of their 3 show residency) at our beloved SWX radiated an electronic field of noise and euphoria. For all those in the pit, I’m sure It Hurts now, huh. 

I was absolutely ecstatic to be in the photo-pit for this show, trying not to let the excitement get to me, remembering I have a job to do, and I wasn’t just front row for one of all time fave bands. Slightly losing my shit as ‘{The Dreamer’s Hotel}’ was played 3rd, I found myself screaming along with the legends at the barrier, whilst intermittently taking photos and being engulfed by Shikari’s incredible strobe lighting set up. I might be easily pleased and biassed but having a confetti cannon is a brilliant touch, it really adds to the elated commotion within the crowd. 

There was, for sure, a large sense of community at this show. And I think this is enhanced by their residency at SWX. I’m certain many people here will be attending all 3 shows. Treating us to ‘satellites * *’ from their 2020 album Nothing is True & Everything is Possible, a meteor shower of vitality soared and sparkled from the audience, igniting a contagious, feel good singalong. It was a wholesome moment, coupled with the upbeat party vibe. Speaking of, track ‘Radiate’ deserves a mention, those synth noises created a cacophony that is unmistakably Shikari. Thundering forwards, first support, Cody Frost accompanied Lou with vocals on ‘Bull’, their joint single, concocting a powerful stage dynamic that was complimentary to both vocalists. 

Of course, Shikari teased us with the extended version of ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner.” All the emos of the crowd did the iconic 3 claps in the intro to this absolutely massive cult classic that’s a staple to the alternative community. 

We are now at the last 4 songs of this intergalactic set, and the band left Lou to take the stage for a solo acoustic rendition of ‘Stop the Clocks.’ Emotions running high, passionate voices from the crowd sing along in a chorus of euphoria, and this only intensified when the start of ‘System…’ echoed from wall to wall… we all knew what was coming next. The riffs of ‘…Meltdown’ erupted, basically turning the majority of the floor into a pit. Drawing to a close with ‘Live Outside’ it was a perfect send off to this sweaty yet insane show. 

Enter Shikari still have one run left of their residency shows left. Tickets are sold out but keep an eye out for resale tickets if you want to experience more of this madness.

Words and photos by Kate Feast (no use without permission)

Live review: Sleeping With Sirens at O2 Academy Bristol. 13th March 2023.

American rock band Sleeping with Sirens brought their ‘CTRL, ALT, DEL’ tour to Bristol’s O2 Academy on 13/03/23, before commencing on a nationwide tour around the UK. 

Fans of the acclaimed emo rockers were also treated to two alternative UK bands, Charming Liars and Static Dress, who opened the show before they shook up the stage at the O2. Shortly after 9pm, the Floridian quintet played an array of classics, debuted some new material and the lead vocalist Kellin Quinn also performed an acoustic set halfway through the show, in which he covered the classic hit ‘Iris’ by The Goo Goo Dolls. Admirably during the show, the band noticed a fan in the crowd in some kind of distress, and immediately stopped playing to ensure the fan/fans in question were okay and that they were able to rehydrate themselves. 

Every single one of the band members put on one hell of a show for Bristol’s gig goers, as their energy was contagiously electric throughout their set, often rousing the raucous crowd to engage in intense moshing. Amongst the audience, there were people of a variety of ages, from young adults who would’ve devotedly listened to the band in their teen years prior, to slightly older hardcore rock fans. Considering Sleeping with Sirens have been creating music and performing together since 2009, their longevity in selling out shows in the UK is a testament to how strong their international fanbase truly is. 

Kellin Quinn, the band’s frontman, possesses such a distinctive, original tone to his voice and it was an enormous pleasure to hear the band rock out live. Prior to covering this show, I had not heard the band’s music but, as soon as I heard Kellin’s voice ring out, I recognised his unequivocal tone from his feature on Machine Gun Kelly’s track ‘Love Race.’ This concert was a fantastic experience, especially as I’m a new listener of the band’s specific genre of screamo rock music, and it’s influenced me to want to explore more bands and artists within this genre. As I vacated the venue midway through the last song to avoid the mass crowds of people, the encore echoed through the street outside the O2 Academy in Bristol, reflecting the south-west city’s enormous outpouring of love for this band.

Words and photos by Dan Rose (no use without permission).

Live review: Olivia Dean at Trinity Centre. 7th March 2023

Trinity centre was blessed by being the first stop on Olivia Dean’s sold out UK and Europe tour, and what a night! Queues of excited fans lined the streets of Bristol as they eagerly awaited the show despite the cold weather, which is truly a credit to the relationship that Dean has built with her fans over the past couple of years.

Dean treated the buzzing crowd to a packed 15 song set, her enthusiasm and voice never faltering once. Backed up by her talented four-piece band, fans danced along to hits like ‘ Be My Own Boyfriend” an evident favourite of the crowd who sang every word at the tops of their lungs. Dean also played classics like “Hardest Part” its raw relatability ensuring it continues playing in the heads of fans for weeks to come. She also treated her fans to new tunes such as ‘UFO’ which has rightfully become viral for its beautifully intimate lyricism and simplistic instrumentals, all of which serve to highlight her incredible vocals. Going into the gig as a fan was a joy, her live shows really show the growth and confidence that she has gained as an entertainer. This again, is underlined by her stunning cover of Kelis’ “Millionaire” which had the whole room grooving to her velvety tones. 

Without a shadow of a doubt Olivias success is celebrated by fans and other artists alike, Dean has features on hugely popular Rudimental and Loyle carners’ newest albums, and shows no signs of slowing down releasing new tunes, with her highly anticipated debut album coming out at the end of the year, which I am incredibly excited to listen to.

Olivia Dean is one of those artists which is suitable for every aspect of life, her songs convey a wide array of themes: Love, loss, heartbreak and growing up all delicately explored through her discography. Her stage presence is electric, she dances with her fans as though they have been friends for years, and continually reminded them of how grateful she was for the reception she has received over past years, and how she owes her success to her undoubtedly hardcore fanbase. I am extremely excited to see her blossom further once her debut album releases, and can envision her becoming an industry giant due to her.

Words and photos by Rosie Risdale. No use without permission.

Live review: Hundred Reasons with Hell is For Heroes – O2 Academy Bristol, 2nd March 2023.

Celebrating the release of their new album Glorious Sunset, the UK’s own Hundred Reasons brought their show to Bristol’s O2 Academy, for a show that was originally supposed to happen nearly 2 years ago.

Being 15 years since the last new album, this show was already set to be a big one, and the sold out crowd had arrived early to avoid disappointment.

Also on the line up was Hell Is For Heroes, and with the set they played last night they could have equally held that stage as a headline act. Frontman Justin took to that stage as if it was his own, bouncing and dancing around, and at one point even stage diving into the waiting arms of the crowd. Favourites I Can Climb Mountains and Night vision really got the crowd moving and the mosh pits soon opened up.

And then it was onto the main act of the night. After being on hiatus as a full band for quite some time, when these guys came back you knew it was going to be big. The five of them came out to thunderous applause, before getting straight into the title track of the new album.

With Glorious Sunset having been out for just over a week, fans haven’t had much time to learn the words to sing along yet, but I’m sure that given time, they’ll be belting them out just like they were for the second song of the night, What You Get, followed by another loud one, Answers.

Throughout the night we were treated to a mix of the old and the new, with their most streamed song on spotify, I’ll Find You getting the crowd dancing and jumping all over. I swear I could feel the balcony shaking from where I was stood!

It Suits You had it’s live debut, and although the crowd was a lot quieter for it, everyone was drawn in and enjoying it. Not quite as jumpy as other songs, but still a hit nonetheless. Following on with Silver got the crowd going once more, and soon followed by The Old School Way really kept them on their toes.

Kill Your Own was the first big finish of the night, with a wall of noise erupting to from the stage and audience alike, before the darkness descended and the walk-off-walk-on commenced. Playing 16 songs before an encore is pretty good going, especially when it is hit after hit.

The five came back for Replicate, No Way Back and finally If I Could to bring the show to a final close. With a final cheers and a thank you from the band that was it. After waiting for 2 years for this show it was good to see it lived up to the wait.

Tickets for the last two shows can be found here.

The new album from Hundred Reasons, Glorious Sunset can be found here

Words and Photos by Ted Stargatt (no use without permission)