Midlands Music Photography Exhibition A fantastic new music photography exhibition is coming to The Custard Factory in Birmingham. It will be taking place this month and features 12 music photographers from all over the Midlands. 6 of the exhibitors have also contributed to Gig Junkies.


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Slash We're bloody lucky at Gig Junkies. Our very own superstar Gobinder got to photograph the legendary guitarist Slash on his tour, in Birmingham at the O2 Academy. We hope you enjoy the photos and would love to hear what you thought of the shows. Click here to get in touch and we'll post the best ones, right here alongside the photos....


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Children Of Bodom Friday night and another curfew gig – here we go again. Despite the 5.30pm door there was a reasonable turnout to witness the first band of the night, although a disturbing trend with sound issues detracted from their, and the rest of the line-up's, dynamics...


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Hammerfest III Anticipation doesn't even come close as the journey unfolded towards the first festival of the year. It may not have been under canvas, but yours truly and uber-tog Gobi were like school kids at the prospect of what was to come. Alcoholic oblivion? Rhetorical question. The finest that metal had to offer? Oh yes, and then some... uncharacteristically blue skies were overhead as we arrived. Check in was swift and cheery, and Roman soldiers and ladies in togas had got to be a result. Enough said – add whatever witticism you feel appropriate... Enough of the pre-amble, to the bands...


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WATAIN Talk about an extreme stylistic clash. My last review job was reviewing the high-energy, youthful post hardcore of Your Demise in front of a packed, clean-cut Academy III. Tonight however couldn’t have been more of a shift, with both Watain and Shining dwelling in the darkness, providing an eye-raising double-headed mix of depressive Scandinavian black metal and disturbing nihilism. Both bands have gleefully courted controversy throughout their respective careers, and welcomed it with both open arms and open veins.


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Bonecrusher Another year, another Bonecrusher. Would it live up to its name, or would it fall in an embarrassing heap on its metal arse? Kicking off the night were Angelus Apatrida an old school thrash band from the land of the current football World Cup champions. Thrash from Spain? Are you mad? Well, actually, no. Their efforts were diminished by one of the sludgiest, bass-heavy, sounds heard in a long time. Thrash relies on crispness and crunch, and so much that they could have wished to achieve was lost instantly. The relentless double bass drum onslaught boomed alarmingly and negated any bite that the guitars may have had. Don't get me wrong they were still entertaining, with all the prerequisite thrash components being firmly in place, but you couldn't help but wonder how murderous they could be with everything in their favour. Bearing in mind the early start, the pit erupted into life midway through their second track at about 6.25pm so clearly they were doing something right. One to keep an eye on for the next time they visit these shores...


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The Decemberists For the uninitiated The Decemberists are, depending on their mood, a country...pop...folk...baroque band revolving around the genial Mr Colin Meloy. Less of a songwriter, more of a storyteller (it comes as no surprise to learn that he’s a ‘creative writing’ graduate) Colin fits more material into one of his tracks than the average Hollywood blockbuster these days, covering everything from historical events through to Irish mythology. REM and later period XTC are obvious touchstones (and acknowledged influences) and during tonight’s value packed 2 hour set the spirits of both bands were firmly in evidence.


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Metal Hammer Razor Tour Next up was Scottish heavyweights Bleed From Within fresh from their European tour with All That Remains & Soilwork. Playing a lot of their new material at first the crowd were going wild with circle pits and lots of crowd surfing taking places with vocalist Scott Kennedy getting right in with the crowd passing the microphone out to singing fans who were loving every second of this amazing performance by the band. After playing tracks from Empire & Humanity their set ends with Scott throwing himself front flipping into the crowd landing on everyone in sight to massive applause.


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Crowbar With a two-decade plus body of work behind them, and having been cited as elder statesmen of doom/sludge for most of that, there was only one ticket in town tonight for those acquainted with the art of bottom-end. The return of the masters of the riff, New Orleans, Louisana's own, Crowbar.


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Athlete What was equally impressive was the effortless way in which the band captured the essence of their stereo tracks and took it to the next level within their live performance. Not holding back or hiding behind distracting lighting extravaganza; or even participating in over the top showboating antics, all that remained to blow you away was simply a pure and evoking raw sound.


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Deftones Despite being active for nigh on fifteen years now, Deftones have managed to defy the odds and are arguably still one of the coolest bands operating today, a fact even more surprising given that Deftones were one of the biggest bands to spawn from the nu-metal boom of the late nineties. With that particular scene now dismissed with the same kind of withering disdain normally reserved for prime-era cock rock, it’s testament to the Deftones’ ongoing musical development and unwillingness to rest on their laurels that has thus far avoided them joining the likes of Ultraspank and Hed(pe) in the 'where-are-they-now' file.


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Deftones Despite being active for nigh on fifteen years now, Deftones have managed to defy the odds and are arguably still one of the coolest bands operating today, a fact even more surprising given that Deftones were one of the biggest bands to spawn from the nu-metal boom of the late nineties. With that particular scene now dismissed with the same kind of withering disdain normally reserved for prime-era cock rock, it’s testament to the Deftones’ ongoing musical development and unwillingness to rest on their laurels that has thus far avoided them joining the likes of Ultraspank and Hed(pe) in the 'where-are-they-now' file.


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Trash Talk There's a lot to be said in defence of musical proficiency, tightness and complexity around the hardcore scene nowadays, especially given its frequent dalliances with metal in all of its pristine, precise forms. This show tonight is NOT about celebrating dizzying guitar runs or championing finesse. This is a latter-day throwback to the agitated, bloody-nosed spirit of hardcore as popularised by the marginalised, reactionary likes of Black Flag and SS Decontrol.


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Kele Kicking off with ‘Walk Tall’. The clap along drum beat and Kele’s crystal clear vocal in no way prepares you for the sub-bass onslaught about to be delivered. It’s the type of synthesised electric bass line that makes you feel as though you’ve swallowed a rabbit at some time in your life. And Kele’s here to replace the batteries. ‘On The Lam’ delivers the second wave bass assault of the evening. Mixing up a smattering of House, Ground shaking Dub and Dirty Drum Breaks. As far as euphoric hands in the air music goes the whole set will take some beating. If Bloc Party were the subject of a technological science class, I’d imagine the results to be very similar to the direction Kele’s now taking his band and his sound.


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