Photos + Review | Shakka @ Militant Entertainment Launch ft Xyzelle, Jo Jordan, J.A.E, Drey Cheeks, & Amahla

R’n’B singer Shakka’s concert turned out to be an intimate launch night for Militant Entertainment, a new platform for London creatives, featuring some of the UK’s most exciting upcoming R’n’B singers. Shakka didn’t take to the stage until 12.30am! I had arrived at 8pm. I was treated to some truly outstanding performances from Xyzelle, Jo Jordan, Drey Cheekz, Amahla and J.A.E. I had never heard any of their music and am now a fan of five new amazing artists. Xyzelle, 18, opened the stage with some mellow songs backed by subtle trap beats. Jo Jordan brought out an incredible guitarist (with an incredible afro) to perform some passionate love songs. Drey Cheekz came with a strong voice and good humour to sing some of her own material as well as a couple of covers. Amahla swept the crowd into a frenzy, with some people entranced by her soulful jazzy set. J.A.E sang and performed honest spoken word pieces to the sounds of her backing band’s saxophone, drums and guitar. I was pleasantly surprised by all the pre-Shakka performers. Amahla was a particular standout for me. By the time Shakka came on, the room had swelled to full capacity and he gave and received great energy. He was sweating heavily ten minutes in and I was struggling to take any focused pictures of him, he was moving around so much, whipping up the crowds. He performed favourites like ‘Say Nada’ and ‘Man Down’ and left the stage all too quickly, with the crowd shouting for him to return. He never did but it was an excellent night overall.

Amahla

Drey Cheeks

j.a.e

Jo Jordan

Shakka

Xyzelle

Photos & Review courtesy of India-Mae AlbyInstagram | Twitter

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Ghostemane w/ Lil Tracy, Jesus Piece, and Section H8 | Hiadica North American Tour | Photos

Hiadica North American Tour Photos

Venue: The Novo on 11/23/19

Section H8

Jesus Piece

Lil Tracy

Ghostemane

Ghostemane | Lil Tracy | Jesus Piece | Section H8

Photos courtesy of Jamie Kaufman

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Yizzy Presents at Pop Brixton

Yizzy Presents at Pop Brixton, South London, was a chance for many currently lesser-known rappers to have some time in the spotlight. Yizzy himself did not come out until after 10pm, giving over two hours of stage time to a medley of different London rappers, including British-Latino rappers like Guala, whose music, in English and Spanish, I’ve never heard before. South American Brits in the audience particularly enjoyed hearing Spanish rap. 

Ecuadorian, Colombian and Black British rappers performed solo and with friends, setting a good mood for the audience. I personally enjoyed the camaraderie and support that rappers showed each other. British rap is so diverse, in ways that I previously didn’t know about, so I walked away from the show having learned something. Other performers included L1, RingRoze, Helms (an acquaintance from an old job whose appearance on stage shocked and delighted me) and Koder, who looks a lot like Andre 3000. Koder was received extremely well. He was extremely energetic, bouncing around constantly (making it very difficult for me to photograph him!) and interacting with the audience a lot. His song, ‘Richer’, is particularly good and was performed alongside his backing vocalist. His friends in the audience kept shouting out “UNDENIABLE!” which became an infectious chant. 

When Yizzy eventually came out, everyone was already on a high, so his set was full of energy. His latest song, ‘Back It’, features Dizzee Rascal and has a distinctive sound that is very different from most UK rap songs. The beat features heavy guitar and dubstep sounds that honestly haven’t been heard in popular UK music for about ten years. Yizzy can rap FAST and kept up the pace throughout his whole performance. He recreated his Fire in the Booth freestyle, which floored me. Just stellar performances all round creating a perceptible sense of excitement about the UK rap scene. Grime, drill, rap and hip hop are all different but at Yizzy Presents we got a little taste of all of these genres from a wide range of rappers. Made me feel proud to be British!

Photos & Review courtesy of India-Mae Alby| Instagram | Twitter

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The Geocidal Tendencies Tour 2019 | Primitive Man & Vitriol Photos

Primitive Man

Vitriol

12/6/2019

Photos courtesy of Laura Lateralus | Instagram

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Amon Amarth w/ Arch Enemy, At The Gates, and Grand Magus | Berserker North American Tour | Photos + Review

10-26-19 – Amon Amarth Invades Los Angeles With A Full Swedish Army By Their Side

Venue: The Hollywood Palladium on 10/26/19

Amon Amarth has been on my bucket list of bands I would like to see and photograph for quite some time. After hearing many positive things from friends, I finally got into them a couple of years back when I heard their 2008 album “Twilight of the Thunder God”. I knew right then and there that I would need to see and photograph them the next time they came to the United States. They announced their North American Tour in support of their newest album “Berserker”, which had support from melodic death metal heavyweights Arch Enemy and At The Gates, with Grand Magus opening the show. With all four bands coming from Sweden, this was bound to be an amazing night filled with Swedish metal.

The first band up was Grand Magus from Stockholm, Sweden. I would best describe the band as good ole fashioned heavy metal mixed with doom metal and stoner metal. As the only band to feature clean vocals for the night, they opened the show playing a five-song set, which showcased songs from their 2019 record “Wolf God”, which was released via Nuclear Blast Records, “Hammer of the North”, which was released in 2010 via Roadrunner Records, and “Iron Will”, which was released in 2008 via Rise Above Records. Vocalist and lead guitarist Janne Christofferson shredded some incredible solos and sang amazingly. Bassist Mats Skinner brought the groove and deep tones through his bass and sang the harmonies perfectly. Drummer Ludwig Witt played some complex drum patterns, which help guide the songs. I was personally happy to hear them play “Untamed”, which is my favorite song of theirs. I was thoroughly impressed with Grand Magus’ performance and thought they opened the show perfectly!

SETLIST

  1. I The Jury
  2. Untamed
  3. Like The Oar Strikes The Water
  4. Iron Will
  5. Hammer of the North

At The Gates from Gothenburg, Sweden. I was extremely excited to finally see At The Gates. When many early metalcore bands express inspirations for their music, At The Gates was almost always listed. At The Gates is best described as good ole fashioned melodic death metal. I was personally impressed with Tomas Lindberg’s vocal style, which mainly consists of highs and mids, with a few low growls but is very rare. Lead guitarist Jonas Stålhammar and rhythm guitarist Martin Larsson meshed perfectly, and even had dueling guitar solos from time to time, which is something very common in melodic death metal and is one elements of the genre. Bassist Jonas Björler was extremely energetic on stage, headbanging and hyping up the crowd while also slamming some force filled bass tones into the music. Finishing out the band’s lineup is drummer Adrian Erlandsson, who absolutely crushed it up there with technical drum parts that helped created the foundation for the band’s fast paced melodic death metal. The band played a nine-song set, consisting of songs from 2018’s “To Drink From The Night Itself”, 2014’s “At War With Reality”, which were both released via Century Media Records, as well as a couple of songs from 1995’s “Slaughter of the Soul” which was released via Earache Records. I was personally ecstatic to hear “To Drink From The Night Itself”, which is my favorite song from the band to date with its speed and intensity. I was ecstatic to finally see these guys and they exceeded my expectations. I hope to see and photograph them again next time they come out to the United States!

SETLIST

  1. To Drink From The Night Itself
  2. Slaughter From The Soul
  3. At War With Reality
  4. The Colours of the Beast
  5. Cold
  6. Heroes and Tombs
  7. Death and the Labyrinth
  8. Blinded By Fear
  9. The Night Eternal

The all mighty Arch Enemy was up next from Halmstad, Sweden. This was my third time seeing this band, but my first finally photographing them. The previous two times I saw them was when they headlined, the first being in 2015 when they headlined The Summer Slaughter Tour, and the second being in 2017 when they did a co-headlining tour with Trivium. Arch Enemy came out on stage with full force, with “The World Is Yours”, “War Eternal”, and “My Apocalypse” starting out their set. Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz knows how to command a stage and a crowd, with headbangs and a vocal range that is a stand out amongst many in the melodic death metal genre. Acting as co-lead guitarists, Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis shredded those notes with perfection, with dueling guitar solos to put the icing on top. Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo is a beat on stage, shredding through those deep and thick toned bass lines. Drummer Daniel Erlandsson slayed it on drums, beating through those intensely fast and technical parts to perfection, with lots of headbangs and energy radiating from his’ kit. A big reason I go back to see Arch Enemy time and time again is because they are an insanely talented band and truly put on one hell of a show. Each member is insanely high energy, and they truly engage with their audience members, which makes for an incredible show. The band played an 8-song set, the band played songs from 2017’s “Will To Power”, 2014’s “War Eternal”, 2005’s “Doomsday Machine”, and 2001’s “Wages of Sin”, which were all released via Century Media Records. I was once again blown away by Arch Enemy’s set and cannot wait to see them once again when they come out here again soon!

SETLIST

  1. The World Is Yours
  2. War Eternal
  3. My Apocalypse
  4. Ravenous
  5. The Eagle Flies Alone
  6. First Day In Hell
  7. As The Pages Burn
  8. Nemesis

Amon Amarth from Tumba, Sweden finally hit the stage. For their headlining set, the band went all out on theatrics. With stellar lighting, set pieces, and flames, the band set the stage to set the sold-out crowd at The Hollywood Palladium on fire. The band came out swinging with “Raven’s Flight”, “Death In Fire”, and “Deceiver of the Gods”. I was ecstatic to not only see them play Raven’s Flight, but to be in the photo pit while they played it. The band’s vocalist Johan Hegg knows how to command a stage with force and power. With lyrical content covering topics of gladiator and viking battles, Johan’s deep vocals and stage presence helps guide the performance through. Guitarists Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg shredded to their hearts content, with melodic melodies and dueling guitar solos. Drummer Jocke Wallgren held down the fort in the back with his booming fast drums with changing time signatures that guided the songs to perfection. Bassist Ted Lundström finishes out the band’s lineup with his’ deeply routed bass tones that also show the band’s technical abilities. The band was extremely fun to watch, and even included a blow up giant that Johan Hegg had to slay when the band closed out their set with “Twilight of the Thunder God”. They played a total of 12-songs, ranging from six of their 11 albums, most of which were released via Metal Blade Records. After a couple of years of listening to them and playing “Twilight of the Thunder God” on Rock Band 4, I am truly happy I was given the opportunity to finally see these melodic death metal greats.

SETLIST

  1. Raven’s Flight
  2. Death In Fire
  3. Deceiver of the Gods
  4. First Kill
  5. Fafner’s Gold
  6. Crack The Sky
  7. The Way of Vikings
  8. Shield’s Wall
  9. Guardians Of Asgaard
  10. Raise Your Horns

ENCORE

11. The Pursuit of Vikings

12. Twilight of the Thunder God

The Berserker North American Tour was an absolute blast. Grand Magus opened the show with melodies and entertainment. At The Gates demolished the stage next and proved why they are so highly regarded. Arch Enemy came on next as direct support and proved just why they are one of my all-time favorite bands. Then finally, Amon Amarth came on and set the venue on fire. It was an incredible show!

Amon Amarth | Arch Enemy | At The Gates | Grand Magus

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Emika ft Fifi Rong & Geiste live at The 100 Club

Emika’s show at The 100 Club by Tottenham Court Road was a cosy affair with a friendly, welcoming vibe. The club had chairs for audience members sitting by the side of the stage and everyone was very relaxed. The first support act, Geiste, reminded me of a younger Ellie Goulding in her style and the way that she jumped around onstage. She looked like a fairy onstage and made a lot of effort to talk to the audience and get everyone involved. She was essentially one-man band, singing while simultaneously controlling her complicated-looking equipment, including a loop pedal, creating a synthy electronic sound. At the end of her performance she excitedly jumped into the crowd to hug her friends who had come to support her.

 

The second support act was Fifi Rong, a Chinese-British alternative singer with amazing fashion sense and a beautiful face. Her strong, haunting vocals were combined with expressive dance moves that matched the vibe created by the lights and electronic backing music. She sang in both Chinese and English (I understand a bit of Chinese and realised that in one of her songs she was repeating the names of the colours over and over again – it sounded great!). She totally captivated the entire audience and I would happily watch her perform again.

Finally, Emika came onstage to play her keyboard and give us more electronic synthy vibes but this time with a bit more bass and finesse. She opened with an incredible cover of Wicked Games by Chris Isaak, an already atmospheric song made even more impactful with her use of instruments and breathy, wispy voice. Strobe lights flickered throughout most of Emika’s performance, making for a trippy experience. She would sometimes quickly wave her hand between her mouth and the microphone while singing, creating the same kind of sound that you experience when listening to music through headphones and the sound flits from left to right. She was awesome. Very masterful over her craft. And the audience loved it all.

Overall, a very strong performance from three talented women making strides in electronic, alternative music. I’m glad I got to experience it all in a small venue for maximum impact.

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The Octane Accelerator Tour 2019 | Photos + Review

Horror is a word that you either love or hate. The idea of movies filled with slashers and monsters can be frightening to some. But nothing is as beautifully scary as an Ice Nine Kills show. 

I attended their last date of tour at Webster Hall. A sold out room of 1,500 horror lovers like myself has been the norm on this most recent tour, almost every single date selling out. And after seeing this most recent show, I have a feeling bigger, more sold out shows are on the wall. I have seen Ice Nine around 10 times in the past 3 years, and this most recently tour solidified their place in the metal scene. The opening bands packed a punch, and the headliner terrified the crowd in the best way possible. 

Awake At Last is a band every INK fan knows, they’ve opened for them time and time again, and Spencer is featured on their track The Change. They have a bright future, everyone in the crowd seeking to mow know the words to their songs. A frontman constantly preaching positivity, the entire band having high energy around them, it’s hard to watch and not enjoy them. 

 

Light The Torch got the warmest welcome I’ve seen for an opening band. Hailing from LA, the metal band has made a mark on the NYC music crowd. Not overly heavy, but filthy enough to make you bang your head, the feeling of the bass going through your bones is enough to get anyone just a little wound up. 

Fit For A King are veterans in the scene, but that doesn’t make watching them any less fun. Year after year, their sets pack a punch. Crowdsurfer after crowdsurfer was thrown up, breakdowns caused the crowd to move in on chaotic unison. Ryan Kirby can work a crowd with his words, and destroy one with his vocals. Watching them never gets old, and their upcoming headliner will hit harder than anything they’ve done before. 

I have seen Ice Nine Kills 10 times. And I couldn’t get bored seeing them another 10. This headliner was something special, they were the stars of their production. Hearing horror movie intro before a song begins possesses the crowd in such a way, it’s scary. Opening with Thank God It’s Friday, the show was off to a strong start. All 5 members are done up in costumes (Done by on tour artist Shevy) and frontman Spencer Charnas has a costume change nearly every song. Their setlist was full of scary new material, songs from Every Trick in the Book, a cover of Michael Jackson’s “ Thriller “ and a song from The Predator Becomes The Prey for old school fans like myself. Watching INK is a treat, regardless if you like them or not. Their production is so stunning, entertaining, and just makes you want to go insane. There’s nothing that makes someone wanna crowdsurf more than hearing Dr. Loomis’ speech before Stabbing In The Dark kicks in. Any horror and metal lover should do them a favor and go see all 4 bands on this bill. This was by far one of the most entertaining and high energy shows I’ve ever attended and had the pleasure of shooting. 

Ice Nine Kills Photos (here)  | Photos courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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