HRH Metal 2019 Once upon a time, there was a young writer who found herself presented with the opportunity to review a music festival. But ah! This wasn’t just any festival. This was HRH Metal 2018, and a more magical experience the writer couldn’t possibly have imagined. Sadly the spell only lasted for one weekend, and she had to leave the enchanted world before the O2 Academy turned back into a pumpkin. Or something like that. Many moons she waited for the festival to return. At last, her patience is about to be rewarded. Take her hand and walk with her into the mystical depths of the metalhead Heaven which is Hard Rock Hell. (It’s me, by the way. The writer is me. ‘Sup.)


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Boy George and Culture Club I’d been planning on having a quiet night in, to be honest. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and a relaxed Friday of Netflix and wine would’ve been a nice detox. Obviously, though, how could I pass up the chance to see Culture Club? I don’t think I’d be able to resist the opportunity of seeing someone even half as iconic as Boy George on stage. A couple of times earlier in the day I mentioned that I’m going to see Culture Club – cue the widening of eyes and sharp intake of breath. Even my taxi driver was impressed.


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Kurt Vile Kurt Vile emerges, partly hidden behind a mop of hair, along with his backing band The Violators. They open with ‘Loading Zones’, the first track of his latest album ‘Bottle It In’, and certainly the most popular. It is pretty awesome – it has all the best of his finest work. The instrumental is strong but relaxed, and cleanly played. His voice is powerful but mellow. He sings, almost speaking, plucks his guitar with effortless skill. His music is easy to enjoy; smooth, quirky and assured.


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The Brian Jonestown Massacre It’s almost time for The Brian Jonestown Massacre to take the stage. How do I know? I know because an extremely enthusiastic fan spots someone backstage and cries, “Here it is! Denim on denim!” Oh my. That’s nothing on Anton Newcombe’s deerstalker. Newcombe is general emperor, vocalist, and one of the guitarists. They have many guitarists, and many, many, many guitars. They’re living proof that there’s no such thing as too many guitars or sunglasses. There are seven band members on stage in total, and the majority of them are wearing sunglasses. I can only assume that they’re going for the too-cool stoic look. (Either that or they’re hiding an infection).


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Wooden Shjips Wooden Shjips open their set with fragments of sound and a TV static type lighting effect. The lights pulsate as the beat creeps in, and I find myself being hypnotised by ‘Eclipse’. This is the opening song of their 2018 album ‘V.’, and a gorgeous representation of their ‘garage-styled psychedelia’. The firm bass and drum instrumentals, layered with murmuring vocals from Erik ‘Ripley’ Johnson, are entrancing.


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RDE and Setting Son Records Presents The August Showcase Welcome to the latest instalment of ‘Stop being lazy – it’s Sunday Funday!’ If the local music scene has taught me anything, it’s that there is always, always something interesting happening on a Sunday night. Get yer gladrags on. Sleep is for wimps. (Cue the sound of me snoring in the distance.)


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The Sixth Lie What is Hyper Japan, you ask? It’s a festival dedicated to representing the culture of todays’ Japan, all the way from food to fabrics. If you haven’t been yet, you definitely should. For me it’s one of the most enjoyable weekends of the year (and I promise that’s not just because I acquired about a thousand free sachets of wasabi). The next Hyper Japan is 16-18th November 2018 – book your tickets! Pro tip: Also book tickets for the Sake Experience. You won’t regret it.


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Kioko If you’re reading this it’s safe to assume that you love music, and hopefully you hate racism. If that’s the case, check out Love Music, Hate Racism! They were founded in 2002 during a time of increasing prejudice (remember that time the BNP started to gain support? *Shudder*). They’ve been peacefully campaigning for equality across all ethnic groups ever since, using gigs that celebrate love and acceptance.


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Of Mice & Men “Welcome to this evening’s medley of metalcore! Ready to mosh? Marvellous.” On Wednesday night the metalheads of Birmingham turned out in force. They welcomed Of Mice & Men with arms wide, whiskey in hand – an army of long-haired lusciousness. Damn, it felt good to be back among my people! The metal community tends to make amazing crowds, and this night was certainly no exception. Both the main band and the support acts were embraced with the fiercest love. If this gig was anything to go by, the final stint of OM&M’s Defy Tour is going to be legendary.


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Shame I have a lot of feelings about this gig, so this review might get intense. If so, it will only be an accurate reflection of the show itself. As always, I’ll try to make you feel as though you were there, but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to do justice to the savagery and thrill of the evening. Bear with me and I’ll try my best!


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Shonen Knife On Sunday night I was pulled back in time, up into space, and transformed into an Osaka Ramone. Didn’t you go? Are you jealous? You should be! All three acts were excellent. They followed one another beautifully, but were diverse enough to give three wildly different experiences.


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Rews It may have been a schoolnight, but that didn’t stop the gig junkies of Birmingham turning out in force for an evening of heavy happiness. This show was sold out in advance, and was Rews’ second sold out show in Brum. Take that as prior warning for next time! Their popularity is unsurprising. It’s difficult to pass up the opportunity of seeing a rising rocket so early in their career, and the incredible talent as support was a bonus!


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Gary Numan You went to see Gary Numan live? Who’s that? Oh yeah, he did the one that goes, “Here in my car, I feel safest of all”. That’s cool. Was that 1979? Is he really still touring? - You bet your bum he’s still touring! Not only that, but he’s still creating new material. I won’t go into detail quite yet, but spoiler alert; his new album is phenomenal.


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HRH Metal "Welcome aboard the Hard Rock Hell experience! This weekend’s lineup will feature the most helpful staff you’ve ever met, flawless organisation, a plethora of bands who would be worth the ticket price on their own, and more hair than you could possibly imagine. We’d tell you where the exits are, but why would you ever want to leave? Sit back, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride, you beautiful headbanging weirdos."


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