Iowa metal giants Slipknot have been tearing up stages across North America this summer on their inaugural Knotfest Roadshow, a much smaller yet equally awesome touring version of their famous Knotfest festival, in support of their latest record We Are Not Your Kind. Direct support on this tour is Volbeat, who, while a great live act in their own right, are really the odd men out on this one! French metallers Gojira and Polish blackened death metal act Behemoth round out the lineup. We caught the tour as it was in its final stretch, arriving at Mansfield, Massachusett’s Xfinity Center to play before a nearly sold-out audience on August 27th.
The evening began with a criminally short set delivered by Behemoth. It felt odd to see an artist of Behemoth’s caliber opening the night off, but then again, the beauty of the Knotfest Roadshow is that the entire lineup features a whole bill of heavy hitters. Enveloped by gratuitous amounts of stage fog, the band took to the stage in masks to perform “Wolves ov Siberia,” followed by the more classic track “Daimonos” and the anthemic “Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer,” which was punctuated throughout by bursts of flame. Seeing Behemoth with production on par with that of their European performances, was far beyond epic. While much of the audience was still getting to the show, of those that were in attendance, many were clearly seeing Behemoth for the first time, with reactions ranging from awe to confusion. Luckily, Behemoth seemed to have an easy time winning them over, eliciting many a nod or headbang by the end of the performance. Their set would go on to include the blisteringly fast “Conquer All,” and “Chant for Eschaton 2000.” All in all, it was one hell of a way to kick the night off.
You may want to prepare yourself for some intense noise with Behemoth’s music video for “Bartzabel” off of I Loved You At Your Darkest:
Gojira picked up right where Behemoth left off, with an impeccably tight set that began with mega-hit, “Toxic Garbage Island.” Their groove-oriented brand of heavy metal was just what was needed to keep the intensity going. Frontman Joe Duplantier was his usual expressive self, grimacing in a power stance while shredding and delivering his vocals. Despite having less production, it was impossible to look away from their display of sheer musicianship. Their set would go on to include more fan favourites like “The Heaviest Matter in the Universe,” and “Stranded.”
Setting things up for Slipknot was left in the capable hands of Volbeat. Soon into the set, they themselves even admitted that they were out of place on this tour, but nevertheless pressed on with a set that had a good many in the venue rocking along. After all, it is hard to resist the charm and showmanship of lead guitarist and ex-Anthrax member Rob Caggiano. The band were only into their second song “Lola Montez,” when a fight seemed to be breaking out in the pit, causing frontman Michael Poulsen to take a pause so that event staff could attend to the skirmish. They would continue with the classic track “Sad Man’s Tongue,” which provoked a sing-along. Volbeat is fun in the right setting, but it felt strange to go from guttural satanic death metal to technical death metal, to rockabilly-inspired rock, only to go heavy again with Slipknot soon arriving on stage. They’re genre-adjacent enough to overlap fanbases to some degree, but many seemed to sit out from their set, opting to fill up on beer or take a bathroom break.
“Solway Firth” is the latest single and music video from We Are Not Your Kind:
At last, it was time for Slipknot to unleash a furious seventeen-song set. The band pulled no punches from the start, beginning right off with “People = Shit.” This was followed by some fast numbers, including “(sic)” and “Get This.” There is so much to take in visually from their staging this tour, with an entire stage built from LED panels and treadmill-like floors atop the middle raised section, and both percussionists on some sort of mad science-looking pedestals.
Despite member changes here and there over the years, the band still shines as one extremely solid live act, both on material old and new. Their latest single “Solway Firth” sounded incredible live! The stacked set-list would go on to include such hits as “Wait and Bleed,” “The Heretic Anthem,” “Before I Forget,” “Psychosocial,” and more. My only gripe was that they saved the crushing tack “Surfacing” for their final encore when those of us sane folks were making our mad dash to get to our cars and avoid sitting in traffic for two hours just to get out. The tour is just about at its end but judging from this evening’s festivities, it’s been a memorable summer for one of metal’s premier acts.
Slipknot’s sixth studio album We Are Not Your Kind was released on August 9th, 2019, via Roadrunner Records:
Glixen – “foreversoon” [Song Review]
On “foreversoon,” Glixen created a song where youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear,
It’s been less than a year since Glixen released their debut EP, She Only Said, on Julia’s War Records. Still, the Phoenix shoegazers have already dug their heels into the DIY music scene and are heading out on an extensive US tour this year alongside the likes of Interpol, Softcult, Glitterer, and fish narc. Appearances at SXSW and Treefort will only further cement their reputation as a new band worthy of note.
To herald the busy year ahead, the band has released a new single, “foreversoon,” via the AWAL label, and it’s well worth a listen.
Says lead vocalist Aislinn Ritchie:
“‘foreversoon’ represents blissful moments of new love and intimacy. The song harnesses melancholy chords, layered with fuzzy red melodies and gliding guitars that pull you in deeper. I wanted my lyrics to feel like a conversation that expresses my infatuation and sensuality. Time is relentless and memories are fleeting, this song encapsulates those emotions forever.”
It’s a fair summation. Its youthful exuberance clashes heavenly with the established shoegaze sounds of yesteryear, think Ride, Curve and Slowdive, but with the fuzz cranked up possibly higher. Ritchie’s vocals certainly share that dreamlike quality of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and with many of those bands back on the road this year, perhaps the time is ripe to inject fresh blood into the genre.
Run Time: 3:43
Release Date: February 9, 2024
Record Label: AWAL Recordings
Mieko Shimizu Premieres Music Video for “Unworldy” Single “My Tentacles”
Get stoked, cause radical multi-instrumentalist Mieko Shimizu premieres the video for the reworked single “My Tentacles.”
Radical, nonconformist Japanese singer and multi-instrumentalist Mieko Shimizu recently re-released her offbeat, unworldly single “My Tentacles.”
The single is the offbeat, unworldly title track of Mieko’s soon-to-be-released album. It is be-thronged by chimeric fusions, dysfunctional beats and startling mutations. The single is unaccompanied by an equally radical video created by diz_qo.
Speaking about the track, Mieko tells us:
“‘Emergence,’ the book by Steve Johnson, fascinated me; a colony of ants, a sprawling metropolis, and human brain cells, are all features of the unknown science of self-organisation. I wanted to cut down into society and sing a simple song about people as single cells.”
The multi-instrumentalist explains further:
“They interconnect with the multitude and conjure up a whole that is wiser together than we are individually. When my tentacles reach out and touch you, communicate with you then we become something else, something more than just an individual.”
For those who aren’t familiar with the name, Mieko has played at Sonar alongside Kraftwerk, as well as support for Goldfrapp and Massive Attack at their Melt Down Festival. She is currently an artist in residence for Wonky Plonky Electronk, an experimental, electronic live event which is touring the UK throughout 2024, the next show being on 28th March at The Cinema Room at All Is Joy in London.
Mieko has worked with an extensive range of artists, including Japan’s Mick Karn, Nitin Sawhney, Riz MC, David Cunningham, Robert Lippok and has also remixed the likes of Coldcut and Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Morning Bear Reveals Latest Single “A Simple Understanding”
John Runnels unveils the revival of his indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of new single, “A Simple Understanding”.
Denver raised and now Copenhagen based singer/songwriter John Runnels unveils the revival of his orchestral indie folk project, Morning Bear, with the release of a deeply personal and emotionally charged single, “A Simple Understanding.” Marking the band’s return after a six-year hiatus, Morning Bear’s latest offering provides an intimate glimpse into the mind of its creator, navigating through the profound challenges of loss, resilience, and self-discovery.
Characterised by highly dynamic compositions, Morning Bear’s music weaves together the calm and delicate stylings reminiscent of artists like Bon Iver and Jose Gonzalez, while embracing the complexity and depth akin to the Fleet Foxes and Sufjan Stevens. Featuring soaring vocals and unconventional arrangements, including cello, violin, piano, and more, Morning Bear crafts a textured landscape behind pop-influenced hooks.
The catalyst for Morning Bear’s resurgence lies in the transformative journey of band leader John Runnels, who, after facing a series of devastating events and losses, found solace and inspiration amid the chaos. The global pandemic, the loss of three close friends in separate tragedies, a severe injury, and battles with anxiety and depression marked a period of uncertainty for Runnels, but he emerged stronger and more resilient.
“A Simple Understanding”, a continuation of the first releases from Morning Bear after a long hiatus, showcases Runnels in an intimate and vulnerable performance, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. Released at the time of year where it is most difficult for mental health, John recorded this in a single, live take during a rainstorm in a small garage in a village outside of Andover, UK, and the song captures the raw emotion of Runnels’ struggles and experiences. The lyrics delve into themes of self-loathing and finding hope in the darkest moments of life.
He says “People are often their own worst critic. ‘A Simple Understanding’ speaks to the self-loathing you feel when you have hit rock bottom. How do we find something to hold onto when we’re in the darkest points of our lives?”
Morning Bear invites audiences to join them, to embrace vulnerability and share the power of music to heal and connect. With echoes of early Bon Iver in its acoustic performance, ‘A Simple Understanding’ is a brutally honest and delicately executed piece of songwriting that is sure to resonate with listeners, John Runnels bears all in this captivating and emotionally charged offering that sticks.
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