Following the tragic murder of Dimebag Darrell, nothing will ever bring back Pantera, but the first half of 2012 saw a resonably full calendar for the other band members:
Pantera’s classic, career-defining release, ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ was given an expanded 20th anniversary reissue; Philip Anselmo has been touring with his band Down with new material is very much in the offing; as part of Kill Devil Hill, bassist Rex Brown toured Europe and shared a stage with Mike Portnoy’s Adrenalin Mob.
2012 presented an equally full calendar for ex-Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, too. His band Hellyeah, devoted time to recording their third album and playing live shows. Just prior to the release of that third release, ‘Band of Brothers’, Hellyeah appeared at the Rocklahoma Festival, where they performed a forty minute set.
Professionally filmed footage of their entire performance can be seen below.
Signed to the independent label Hidden Pony Records (also home to the brilliant Rebekah Higgs), this album by Canadian four-piece The Danks is a record which explores slightly retro indie rock sounds, often at maximum speed. Within a minute or so of the opening number, ‘What We’re Doing’, The Danks’ main aim is to get you bouncing. The guitars jangle relentlessly – and it’s often those guitars which provide the core of the band’s sound – under which, the bass work is far more interesting. Luckily, it’s with the second track, ‘Who Knows’ where things really begin to warm up, as that bass pushes towards the fore and sounds superb when colliding against unashamedly new wave keyboard fills. Throughout this pair of tunes, vocalist Brohan Moore adopts a slightly slack delivery and an occasionally unsure high-pitched tone, in a style which could be compared to The Thrills’ Conor Deasy.
Over the course of the rest of their debut, The Danks rarely deviate from this solid musical formula. In theory, although a couple of slower numbers wouldn’t have hurt (and it might have showed off something resembling a musical range), they should be praised for having such a strong sound and fully knowing what really works for the band at such an early stage in their career. ‘Shifty’ finds the distortion turned down a touch, while more of a Hi-Fives influenced rock ‘n’ roll ethic drives the guitars. Everyone sounds most at ease here; while there are a couple of catchier choruses to be found elsewhere, this tune is one of the album’s most well-rounded.
Another stand-out, ‘I’m Alright’ presents another lovely new wave keyboard which hammers a simple riff into your skull in place of a chorus, while Brian Murphy’s bass rattles in a more aggressive fashion. Most bands would have certainly tried to find space for a more obvious vocal refrain, but honestly, the keyboards are so memorable, this track stands up as it is: simple, but fun. Elsewhere, ‘The Squealer’ demonstrates Adam Hindle’s abilities with a hi-hat, while the rest of the band mix more jangly rock with almost shoe-gaze levels of distortion. It’s probably the closest ‘Are You Afraid…’ comes to a slow number, allowing the listener a brief opportunity to pause for reflection…
‘Are You Afraid of The Danks’ offers twelve pieces of sunny indie rock, which when taken individually are all fine, groovy and incredibly professional. While it’s relative one-paced nature can sometimes feel a little wearing, if you’re looking for something upbeat and trashy, you could do far worse than check this out.
Judas Priest’s “farewell” tour – the appropriately named Epitaph Tour – reached it’s end in London on Saturday May 26th, after more than a year on the road. The tour saw the legendary metal veterans visit a huge chunk of the globe, headlining varioue European festivals along the way, including a set at the 2011 High Voltage Festival in London.
The final show of the tour took place in London at the renowned Hammersmith Apollo. It was filmed for a full length DVD release, due sometime in 2013.
The setlist of the final show did not vary greatly from other nights of the tour, with the band playing a lengthy set, featuring songs from all of the Rob Halford fronted Priest albums.
Set list [as posted on Blabbermouth.net]: 01. Rapid Fire
02. Metal Gods
03. Heading Out To The Highway
04. Judas Rising
06. Victim Of Changes
07. Never Satisfied
08. Diamonds & Rust (JOAN BAEZ cover)
10. Night Crawler
11. Turbo Lover
12. Beyond The Realms Of Death
13. The Sentinel
14. Blood Red Skies
15. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) (FLEETWOOD MAC cover)
16. Breaking The Law
17. Drum Solo
19. The Hellion (taped intro) / Electric Eye
20. Hell Bent For Leather
21. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’
People talk endlessly about the Eurovision Song Contest being all about politics, and it’s hard to deny that. Votes of top marks between Greece and Cyprus aren’t a new phenomenon; chumminess between the Scandinavian countries not uncommon. Despite this, the Real Gone extended family has always made a night of it. It is, after all, a good laugh. Unless you ask our acquaintance from Albania, who actually really told us off, pointing out that we should never take the piss out of the ESC and that in Albania such things are taken very seriously indeed. That said, we’re not sure what Albania were thinking with their 2012 entry, which seemed like three minutes of tuneless wailing.
Something discussed less frequently is that the Eurovision Song Contest is also about tourism. Let’s be honest, here; before the broadcast of the 2012 edition of the contest, how many people knew what Azerbaijan looked like? How many people even figured it would be so modern and beautiful?
With that in mind, Real Gone would like to offer a fairly interesting theory (which may have been bandied about elsewhere, though if it is, it certainly takes a back seat to the political theories): Before the contest every year, everyone gets asked if they’d like to be the next year’s host. Following this, on the actual night of the final, the voting countries are told – largely, if not completely – to award the three top marks to the six or so most willing potential hosts; the rest of the marks are distributed more fairly.
Think about it. Not so silly, is it?
If it is true, of course, we’re not going to let that stop us enjoying the spectacle. After all, it would take a pretty hard heart not to laugh at the fact that Jedward simply cannot do things in sync, despite [presumably] years of practice at that sort of thing. Even the bunch of Russian grannies seemed more professional…
In our second instalment of Eurovision gold, we offer more clips of Eurovision faux pas. In the previous entry, we poked fun at – but ultimately enjoyed – a few European entries. This time, to redress the balance, we’d like to look at the UK getting it more than a bit wrong.
People talk about Britain doing really badly in the “contest” every year, but stats show differently. For the first thirty years, the UK always did extremely well. In the “olden days” we seemingly could not get it wrong [we even came seventh with this piece of crap]. It’s only in more recent years – and again, for political reasons – our Euro-standing has taken a dive.
While the UK probably didn’t want to win the 2012 ESC, since our tourism isn’t doing too badly and the 2012 Olympic Games is costing a packet, crooning legend Engelbert Humperdinck deserved better placing than second-to-last. Yes, the song was more maudlin than most of the entries, but he’s well known across Europe.
No matter what your opinion of the man or the chosen song, he certainly performed better than the following gallery of horrors – a couple of which, bizarrely, scored more points than Engelbert.
1991: SAMANTHA JANUS – A Message To Your Heart
On the surface, this could have been reasonable. The basic arrangement sounds like it’s been cobbled together from late 80s Swedish AOR albums and then embellished with some brassiness, making reasonable Eurovision fare. What could go wrong? Getting a poor singer-turned-actress in to sing it was step one… Step two was getting her to sing a trite lyric about world poverty while smiling and wearing a sparkly pink dress. Just horrid.
2003: JEMINI – Cry Baby
Choosing Jemini for this entry is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but there’s no way this could be overlooked. Technical problems on the night led to this woeful, woeful performance, resulting in the UK’s only nul points to date. Those problems were not the fault of Jemini, obviously, but it’s unlikely that even a faultless performance would have made this average dance-pop tune a Euro-winner. Interestingly, even though Jemini couldn’t hear themselves, they manage to be a bit more in tune than Sam Janus.
2006: DAZ SAMPSON – Teenage Life
This is the crowning glory of British Eurovision embarrassment: thirty-something year old man rapping badly about teenagers, while some women squirm around behind him in school uniforms. Presenting the worst of white, English rap, this makes George Michael’s efforts in ‘Wham Rap‘ seem credible. Who liked this exactly, and whom were they aiming it at? Perhaps most importantly, how bad were the British contenders that didn’t get through in order for this to be the best? When we first saw this we wanted the ground to swallow us up. Jesus Christ. Proceed with caution, you might get put on a list.
To promote their headline appearance at the 2012’s Bestival, Florence + The Machine have issued a new video clip.
The new video, featuring Flo and her band dressed as animals captures a fun, acoustic rendition of the 1987 Talking Heads hit ‘Wild Wild Life’.
In addition to Florence + The Machine, this year’s Bestival features other headliners Stevie Wonder and New Order, alongise appearances by Sigur Ros, Bat For Lashes, Gary Numan, Friendly Fires, Hot Chip, Warpaint, Spiritualized, Gallows, Field Music, John Foxx, First Aid Kit, Bellowhead, Adam Ant, Chas N’ Dave and more.
To watch Florence + The Machine’s ‘Live Lounge’ set, click here.