The industrial heartland of the UK, with its trademark grey skies welcomes toughened Alaskan wild-men 36 Crazyfists tonight and it seems the boys have brought the snow with them as flurries turn the sodden streets white.
The sold out UK tour rolls into Birmingham hot off the heels of the band’s critically acclaimed new album Lanterns, but that’s still to come. Up first are the extremely interesting ensemble ‘68. The two piece act of singer/guitarist and drummer are more energetic than most opening acts you’ll see.
The young lads in suits and dinner jackets produce a short but intense half hour set of angst ridden noise, hardcore meets radio rock, in an interesting fusion of sound. For me, despite being openers they steal the show, with their flamboyant display of magical style. I only hope i get to see them again soon.
That leaves All Hail The Yeti with a very hard act to follow. The more established support act tonight with their gruff, biker style in complete contrast to the previous act. Their metalcore outlook is perfectly suited to tonight’s headline act and they are the obvious choice for this tour.
Connor Garrity commands the stage with a powerful vocal performance. Rumbling bass, chunky riffs and anthemic choruses define the set which the fans lap up. Rounding out the 45 minutes they bring out Brock from headliners 36 Crazyfists, a crowd pleaser if ever I saw one.
Onto the main event, and we are back to those Alaskan boys. I remember where I was when I first heard their game changing Bitterness The Star album 16 years ago. In this band Roadrunner had found potentially the next big thing to take over the metal world. Whilst the band might not have reach the heights that I (and many others) expected of them, it’s good to see all these years later they can still pull in huge crowds and sell out venue after venue.
Last year the band, now on Spinefarm records, released Lanterns, their latest opus, to critical acclaim, and tonight they open the show with Death Eater from said release. A good third of tonight’s set is made of songs from the new album, a sign that the band are pleased with the fruits of their labour.
It’s not all new material however, the classics are also there in abundance. The juicy riffs of At The End Of August and groove laden We Gave It To Hell and Time and Trauma to name but a few. Brock Lindlow’s unique angry vocal stylings drive the sound, rounded out with nu-metal feelings and throbbing vibrant basslines.
The pit is a writhing mess of limbs all evening, and this continues through the encore, started by a rendition of Alice in Chains’ We Die Young and rounded out with Sleepsick and their major label debut masterpiece Eightminutesupsidedown. A thrilling way to end a magnificent evening.
As Pretty Addicted get ready to make 2018 their year with news of appearances at festivals such as Rebellion and Amplified we catch up with Vicious Precious to talk about their 2017 along with new album The Magic of a Lunatic plus bands you should check out…
Could you explain what the title of the new album, Magic of a Lunatic, means? Is there a theme to these new songs that the title relates to?
V: The whole album is written about mental health. The title itself refers to the beautiful things a tortured mind can create; that the suffering of a person dealing with mental health struggles can lead to them doing great things and seeing things in a magnificent way that other peoples can’t because they haven’t suffered. It’s essentially my brain unravelled really. Suffering with Bi Polar myself, I see things at their worst because of the way my mind works and yet I also see things in a more beautiful light than a “normal” person because everything is at those extreme ends of the spectrum. With this album, I wanted people who suffer like me to feel like they’re not alone and have this written almost specifically for them so that they can feel all their feelings in a controlled way and be free of guilt that they’re not “normal”. I hope that makes sense.
This is now your fourth album. What’s your journey been like to reach this point? How has your music and songwriting evolved over the years?
V: Wow my journey has been crazy! I never could have imagined I would make it to album 4 but now there’s just no stopping this train! I care more and more about this every day and I can’t imagine doing anything else. Our sound has definitely evolved but not in a way that means it has changed; it’s just become more defined. I think now it is clear to me what the Pretty Addicted “sound” is so I’m able to tune into that “sound” every time I wrote something. Each album has had its own concept and style but they definitely all fit together in that one sound that makes us unique.
You ran a crowdfunding campaign for the album which raised more than twice its goal. How does that make you feel and what advice would you have for anyone thinking of crowdfunding their musical project?
V: That astounded me! We actually nailed the goal in 8 days which was insane and, like you say, reached more than half the desired goal! 232% to be exact. I was overwhelmed by how much people cared and how much they wanted to see my idea become a reality. I can’t thank people enough. We’ve had 3 really successful campaigns now and I couldn’t be happier. Really feels like everyone has been on the journey right there with me. For anyone wanting to a crowdfunding I have this advice: You have to keep it up and you have to keep it interesting. You can’t just post it on your page a couple of times and expect people to want to contribute. You have to show people YOU care and then THEY will. Post your behind the scenes, add cool perks, some that involve personal things like hanging out with you or VIP tickets to your shows. Really give a part of yourself because people want to believe in someone who believes in something; who believes in themselves.
I’ve heard a lot of people from many different fields say that the most important thing creatives can do to succeed these days is build a community and offer something of value to people beyond just putting their work out and expecting people to support it. Has that been your experience with Pretty Addicted?
V: 100%. You have to show people a piece of yourself; show them where the music comes from. People mostly support you, not the music. The music is often a bonus. They follow YOU because you give them something – hope, happiness, community, someone who understands, someone who says what they think and can’t say, someone who suffers the way they do. People want to not feel alone. I definitely wear my heart on my sleeve and I talk a lot about my emotions and my mental health and people who feel similar often tell me that just me saying the things they feel inside, helps. I love knowing I can do that for people.
In your experience what other things are important in maintaining a sustainable career as a musician or creative in the world today? Or is that even possible anymore?
V: You have to see the business side of music. Of course if there’s no heart then people won’t attach themselves to you, and it helps if people like the music too. But a lot of it is business as well. Booking shows, sorting venues, merch, social media, networking. There’s a lot of shit to do and only a certain kind of person can do it all, that’s the truth. I see a lot of good bands but they’re not on it with the business side of things and they’re not progressing as much as they want. One of the band members has to be on this shit, it’s really important. Progression comes from organisation and perseverance. You have to have all your ducks in a row. Never take yourself too seriously but take things very seriously. And fucking enjoy it as well, man. Sometimes it’s really stressful, especially for me who does all of the above on my own, but I make sure I enjoy it once the doors are open and people walk in the door. It’s only rock and roll after all!
What’s been your high point of 2017?
V: To be honest, 2017 was one of the absolute worst years for me. I’m glad to see the back of it! But we did release he new album ‘The Magic Of A Lunatic’ and it seems to be a success so far so I’m loving that! 2018 is going to be MY year and I am owning it like a boss!
What live shows do you have coming up in 2018? Any festivals?
LOADS of gigs AND festivals happening in 2018! Some we have already announced and lots we haven’t announced yet. This month we’re supporting Michael Graves former Misfits singer in Sheffield which is a fucking honour man and we’re doing Amplified festival in July which is going to be sick! Check our Facebook for updates on shows and festivals and our website should be up and running in the next few weeks as well with all our information on there; gigs and lots of new merch!
I saw in your recent livecast on Facebook you were giving love to Hands Off Gretel, Pulverise and The Soap Girls. Are there any other bands out there right now you’re into and would recommend?
V: Love those guys! and thanks for watching my live vid! Other artists that are really great are The Dead XIII, Seething Akira, Alisha Vickers, Pizzatramp, erm shit tons really. Jinjer are fucking killing it. I talk about bands I love all the time so be sure to keep watching my drunken live rants! To be honest, for me, the best bands to watch are the DIY bands who have that passion and desire to “make it”. Gotta love that sheer passion and hunger for the stage that I personally couldn’t live without!
There’s always that touch of uncertainty when an artist like Imelda May, with a rather specific look and sound, decides to strip it all down and bare her soul to the world. Last spring it was the moment of truth, when the flamboyant colours of Tribal and Mayhem were carefully hung in the closet in favour of a sober, elegant, no frills all black image, to match the singer’s most intimate album to date in Life Love Flesh Blood.
Tonight Imelda is back to London for a second showcase of her latest record, and the venue itself is a triumph: the iconic Royal Albert Hall welcomes her with (plenty of) open arms, a loud reassurance that her daring honesty paid off. Early in the set, ‘Human’ seems to celebrate just that.
Turning this almost intimidating London landmark into a cosy hangout is some kind of a miracle, but it’s exactly what happens, between the warmth of every song and May’s sincere storytelling in between. There’s a chance to mourn the Bataclan victims as the singer shares her personal loss in ‘Love and Fear’, then towards the end of ‘Flesh and Blood’ she decides to take down the ‘fourth wall’ and join the crowd on the opposite side of the theatre for an acapella version U2 ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’, accompanied only by her backing singers.
Imelda stays at the back for the most intimate segment of her show; only her, her acoustic guitarist and the love of the fans embracing her in a dazzled circle. ‘Inside Out’ is follow by a tribute to native Ireland with ‘Molly Malone’ as the crowd is encouraged to ignore security and get dancing. ‘Once upon a time a Dublin girl ran free… As time moves on and years go by she’ll miss those simple things’ – Imelda sings to her daughter in ‘The Girl I Used To Be’, promising to raise her up, make her fly, give her roots and wings.
As she returns to the main stage, things take a darker turn with a rendition of Warsan Shire’s magnificent poem ‘For Women Who Are Difficult To Love’ and a trio of heartbreak songs in ‘The Longing’, ‘Leave Me Lonely’ and ‘Should’ve Been You’. Not long before the party is in full swing again with ‘Mayhem’ though, and RAH is ready to welcome two more guests…
Ronnie Wood and Bob Geldof join Imelda May for ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’, The Animals’ ‘I’m Crying’ and later – after ‘Johnny Got a Boom Boom’ gets us all shaking our stuff and singing along – an encore of Teenage Kicks.
Thank you and well done for your musical and performing talents Miss May…but also a big thank you for bringing your own life to this stage for us all to share. With plenty of love, and not an ounce of fear. Still and always a Wild Woman not to be messed with!
At this year’s edition of the prestigious Damnation festival we caught up with Leprous vocalist Einar Solberg as he explains how ‘The Last Milestone’ came to be on Malina, Leprous stepping outside of their comfort zone on their current tour and more!
So you guys are on tour at the moment – how’s it been going so far?
It’s been for us a massive success actually, there’s been many sold out shows in really packed venues and our production seems to be working fine and it’s taking us ages to prepare and plan because it’s pretty ambitious way of doing the tour because we’re doing a setlist every night but at the same time all the lights and visuals are programmed together so as you can imagine three, four songs in rotation and then having everything programmed and planned in advance, that takes a lot of really tough preparation to for the tour but it’s very rewarding once we’ve started!
I take it’s going to be very Malina heavy then…
Some shows it is, today we’re going more for the ‘hit parade’ kind of thing! [laughs] I’m kidding but we have a shorter set than normal so we’re compressing it a bit and slightly less dynamics than usual because if you want to play with dynamics you need some time in my opinion, it doesn’t just work up, down, up, down.
That’s the tricky thing I find, with some crowds they might get a bit restless if you do too many ‘slow’ songs,
It can be but also we want to keep the mellow songs intense in their own way but it needs to be put at the very right place and build in the right way so with thirty-three different setlists it’s not always going to be perfect of course but it puts us on the edge all the time so we’re always very focused.
Compared to earlier it’s been much more routine, doing our thing, the same thing every night gets kind of boring when you’ve done half the tour – you’re just like ‘OK, this one then that one again’ every night on stage so we wanted to step out of the comfort zone, it’s been really good and we’ve learned a lot from doing it and it’s really nice to go on stage again feeling nervous which is not something we usually feel because it’s well prepared and everything but now it’s just ‘ah ok, today’s setlist is really risky’, when we did the first shows we were like ‘Damnit, how are we going to do this?!’
You have to find the groove.
Yeah, what I would say is that way of working is the highs get higher and the lows get lower but you get a much more interesting tour in the end.
In the case of building up – to give a recent example – the final track on Malina [The Last Milestone]: the orchestral arrangement on it I loved! How did that come together?
It wasn’t planned to have it on the record, I just wrote a piece not knowing exactly what to do with it. It’s a very personal piece for me from a tragedy earlier on in life that I wanted to write about for a long time but it’s hard to deliver yourself completely through music and the first thought was ‘definitely not going on the album’ but then the other guys felt the album was stronger with than without it even though they didn’t really play on it, it was just something I composed and Raphael recorded but then again we’re happy we included it, it makes the album more colourful in a way and sometimes it’s a good thing to dare to deliver your heart on a plate.
It’s not been done live then?
We have done it at several shows on this tour, it’s very tough for me to do it emotionally and it needs to be the right atmosphere, we’ve done it on three shows and I thought it worked for two out of the three because one was on a Saturday night in Copenhagen, people blabbering…
Not paying attention…
Some were. It’s a risky song so that’s why we don’t do it often.
You have to be able to feel the catharsis afterwards because of how personal it is.
Yeah, it was very important for me to do it especially now we’ve brought Raphael with us on tour and he’s the most insane musician I’ve ever played with, he’s really brilliant.
How’s it been touring with the Agent Fresco fellas?
Fantastic, I can’t think of another band I would have special guesting and the social match is also fantastic, everybody’s really enjoying it, we want to do it again!
We’re still in the beginning, we have almost one full month left until the end of November.
Followed by some time off…
I always do but then I get restless after a couple of days! [laughs] Let’s get on a new project! I’m definitely planning a trip to a cabin with my wife in the forest – it’s a very typical Norwegian thing to do. Almost every family has a cabin in the woods, it’s very common, you can just relax.
It’s just nice to escape for a while isn’t it.
Exactly and I love it!
Aside from the changing set list what kind of visuals can people expect?
We have four screens so it’s all synchronised with the music and lights so we managed to our full production and we have Raphael, I’ve never met a guy that musical in my life before, he’s fantastic, so much emotion and insanely good. He can play every classical piece and every metal song you ask him to, he knows how to play it by ear and he plays for the majority of our set, even songs that he doesn’t play on the album, he’s even faster than the guitars with his bow!
Since we’re getting closer to the end of 2017 what records have stood out for you?
The problem is that I’m so occupied with projects often that at the end of the day when I get home and wonder what to do I’m definitely not going to listen to music. What I’ve listened from the new Chelsea Wolfe sounds really good, I like the latest Radiohead album [A Moon Shaped Pool].
What about movies?
I’m less picky about movies than music! [laughs] Some I’ll watch because I want to feel something, other movies I watch for entertainment, I can enjoy Marvel but also something really deep, there’s so much happening this year I forget what I saw!
Are there plans for 2018 or are they still not set in stone?
There’s a lot of touring plans that haven’t been announced yet. It’s going to be one of our busiest years I think.