Mastodon Now onto the big boys, Mastodon. The crowd are obviously looking forward to it and there is an almighty growl as the lights dim before they've even hit the stage. These boys know how to make an entrance and starting with 'The Last Baron' means from he start of the show everyone is in unison.


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Opeth Tonight we venture into the world of progressive metal; specifically of the Nordic variety. The 02 Institute in Birmingham presents us with Enslaved from Norway, a band that has been on the radar since the nineties and has a large back catalogue to choose from. The headliner tonight, Opeth, have garnered much success in their 18 years since formation, with frequent changes in style along the way.


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bluedot-thumb Standing in the shadow of the Lovell Telescope, bluedot Festival returns for the second year. Over this balmy summer weekend, festival goers land at Jodrell Bank, (the Cheshire observatory at the cutting edge of humanity’s quest for knowledge), bluedot for a three day intergalactic journey of discovery that combines live music and science with artists, speakers, scientists and performers.


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Wishbone Ash This weekend's Prog Rock Festival at Camp HRH in Pwllheli, North Wales is an ever growing Prog Rock Festival at Haven Hafan y Mor Holiday Park on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park. The festival is on a mission to "the biggest and friendliest Prog Community in Europe" - with the numbers attending the festival are growing year-on-year from around 800-900 last year to several thousand this year....


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Black Peaks + Heck Black Peaks take the headline spot and are welcomed on stage by a whistling crowd. Opening with ‘White Eyes’ they deliver a pitch perfect set. I have to confess I've yet to listen to their debut album, I had intended to listen the shit out of it, as Black Peaks singles have been a slow burn for me. Instead I was waiting to blown away live.


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Steve Hackett Nostalgia tonight at the delectable Symphony Hall, for a one time member of a legendary band and solo artist in his own right, showing his artist prowess. From his classic first solo album from ’75 and those days from one of the legendary groups, Genesis, right through to his latest 2015 release. Welcome all to the truly extensive musical journey of the hugely prolific Mr. Steve Hackett.


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Hawkwind Hawkwind are one of those legendary bands that seem to have been around forever. Much of their reputation comes from their superb live shows, which are audio-visual extravaganzas, featuring psychedelic lighting and dancers. Their current tour showcases their classic 1975 album ‘Warrior on the Edge of Time’ – plus a few other old favourite songs.


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Black Market Karma Fickle Twin suck on the septic teat of Anger-Core/Bellicose Snot-Splatter, Depth-Charged Bass and tantrum-fixated guitar Feed-Cack. Distortion being the default setting sound-mix - one suspects they may have got their gear as a job-lot from next door's burnt-down Cash Converters' fire-sale. If not possibly during the actual fire itself.


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Arthur Brown Arthur Brown and his band take the stage with masks and facepaint, as their organist plays a whimsical rendition of ‘Tea for Two’. This morphs into the more sinister ‘Nightmare’, a track from his famous psychedelic debut album ‘The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’. Like many of Brown’s tracks it has a heavy Hammond organ sound backing his wailing vocals from the fires of hell. Not surprisingly, Arthur’s set tonight features a number of songs from this album including, of course, ‘Fire’.


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Thurston Moore Two genuine 100% guitar legends for the price of the one. Not bad eh? Whilst Thurston Moore, one of the poster boys of the alt rock scene and founder of Sonic Youth, might be the bigger name of the two Chapman’s been a folk hero for coming up to six decades now with none other than the mighty John Peel muttering his praises and playing his records (no doubt occasionally at the wrong speed) over the years. So what do you get when you bring a 70 something folk/jazz musician from Yorkshire together with an American noise rock icon? We had to wait until the end of the gig to find out...


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Strawbs Strawbs have been around in various guises since the late 1960’s. Among the large number of musicians passing through the ranks of the band have been celebrated chanteuse Sandy Denny and prog-rock keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman. Band leader Dave Cousins is the only original survivor, but the current line up includes key members from the 1970s, Dave Lambert (guitar) and Chas Cronk (bass). Versions of the band have been touring on and off for years, but what makes this tour particularly exciting is that it is the full-on electric band, rather than the more frequently seen stripped-down acoustic ensemble. Also, keeping it in the family, Rick Wakeman’s son, Adam, is playing keyboards.


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Serj Tankian Walking into Shepherds Bush Empire on a cold Sunday night, hundreds of burly metalheads waiting for the almighty Serj Tankian were greeted by support act Viza, who happened to sound exactly like early System of A Down. With the sounds of the Middle East coming through due to their punchy beat and an ace oud-player, it is impossible not to hear SOAD’s work in these new boys. Nonetheless, their 40-minute set is met with huge applause and the knowledge that they’ve won over the crowd.


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Serj Tankian Walking into Shepherds Bush Empire on a cold Sunday night, hundreds of burly metalheads waiting for the almighty Serj Tankian were greeted by support act Viza, who happened to sound exactly like early System of A Down. With the sounds of the Middle East coming through due to their punchy beat and an ace oud-player, it is impossible not to hear SOAD’s work in these new boys. Nonetheless, their 40-minute set is met with huge applause and the knowledge that they’ve won over the crowd.


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Twin Atlantic Having only found out I was going to see Twin Atlantic just 7 hours before the doors opened, ‘excited’ was quite the understatement. Standing in the super-cold queue outside Wulfrun Hall, I decided to do a bit of digging on the old Twitter and see who would be giving their support to the mighty Scots. Without a doubt, I was in for a right treat! Me and Lower Than Atlantis were to take to the stage and it was pretty clear it was going to be one daym good night.


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