Green Day’s Reading Appearance

It is 10:45am on Saturday morning, the second day of the Reading Festival, and the rumour has been spreading throughout the camping grounds about a surprise show by Green Day, one of the biggest punk rock bands in the world today. However little is known about when or where the show is, all that we have to go on is that the band’s recently released tour t-shirts say ‘Reading’ on them, so I’m staying on my toes and I’m ready for some news.

Fifteen minutes later I hear the opening riff to ‘Welcome To Paradise’ on the wind and instantly shoot on to my feet following the sound to try and find the source, it is coming from the NME/BBC Radio 1tent and by the time I get there I have already missed their opening song and ‘Murder City’, but have arrived just in time to catch ‘Know Your Enemy’, the people inside the tent should count themselves lucky, because security had to fence off the area to stop crowd problems.

Once the song has ended, front man, Billie Joe Armstrong, explains to the crowd “we’ve only got one hour, but I have a feeling we’re going to go over”, he is answered by screams from the crowd, and knowing what the audience want, the band, completed by Mike Dirnt on bass and Tre Cool on drums, jump right in to a new song called ‘Stay The Night’, which although new to the audience goes down well as everyone is jumping around to the three-rock-riffery of this legendary band. They then play their recently released single, ‘Oh Love’, which many of the fans here clearly know the lyrics to now.

One of the great things about seeing a Green Day show is that they are one of the best live bands, the trio know how to get the crowd going, and give them what they want to enjoy themselves. All the way through Billie Joe is making the crowd chant and sing and it feels very much like their Bullet In A Bible live show in 2005.

Earlier in the week Billie Joe said “it would be funny if we played our entire Dookie (1994) album”, although they did not deliver with playing through their best album, they did give the crowd a fair few of the tracks such as: Burnout, Longview and Basketcase. Amongst the Green Day classics, which, whether the crowd know them or not, go down a treat, they also blast out the tracks that have made them in to stadium megastars: Holiday, Letterbomb and St. Jimmy. All these songs get a tremendous sing-a-long from the audience.

The opening riff of American Idiot comes in and gets everyone off of their feet and singing to the sound of the song which gave Green Day their new image, a Broadway show and a record which sold over 14 million copies. However halfway through the breakdown of the song a stage hand comes on and tries to drag the singer off stage, telling him that their time was up. Billie Joe’s act of pushing him away and carrying on playing is greeted by cheers from the crowd.

However it seems that their set does have to be cut short as they start playing the opening chords of ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’ and then cut off saying that they don’t have much time left, although the fans are not happy about this, their frowns are soon turned in to smiles as the band play ‘Minority’, creating one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the show.

Green Day sign off the show, not with the usual fan favourite, Good Riddance, but with ‘SHE’, an unreleased, but largely popular among fans, song from their ‘Dookie’ album. Although some in the crowd may think it was a bad way to end, not with one of their most famous songs, I though that was a great way to finish their set and I am sure I was not the only one.

At the start of this gig, just over an hour ago, Billie Joe screamed “we’re going to give you everything we’ve fucking got”, and the band did not disappoint, as in one part he brought out a toilet paper gun and a water pistol, it was a show worth running in the hot sunshine to get to and I am proud to say that I was there…a great way to start the second day of the Reading Festival.

Full Setlist:

Welcome To Paradise

Murder City

Know Your Enemy

Stay The Night

Oh Love

Holiday

Burnout

Hitchin’ A Ride

Letterbomb

Brain Stew

St. Jimmy

Longview

Basketcase

American Idiot

Minority

SHE

Watch: Bullet In A Bible Live CD/DVD

 

The Expendables 2

The biggest action film ever gives us a second helping.

If you are a fan of classic 80s action films such as Die Hard, The Terminator and Rambo, if you love over the top action or basically if you are a man, then the first Expendables film (2010) would have appealed to you greatly. However the sequel offers greater things. The Expendables brought together some of the greatest action heroes who ever graced our TV screens, and Expendables 2 brings us even more.

The plot centres again around Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his team of expendables, who are set an impossibly challenging mission which they plan to accomplish in as little time and as brutally as possible. To be honest there is not much of a story to the film, mainly because you are wondering how the team are going to kick some ass when they come across the next bad guys, really if you go and see a film like this the plot doesn’t matter anyway it’s all about the heroes beating the villains by using the most ammunition and creating the biggest explosions.

Now if you ever wanted a list of the greatest heroes ever then all you have to do is read who starred in the Expendables: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Stathom, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme (although he is the villain), Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture including Liam Hemsworth and Nan Yu.

Van Damme plays his villainous character, Vilain, so well with how he makes the audience want to kill him themselves, thankfully the expendables should take care of that.

Although the film is filled with cheesy one-liners, such as Stallone saying “rest in pieces” and Stathom saying “don’t get your knickers in a twist”, which is a nice British touch, there are also trademark sayings being passed around between the ancient heroes, the audience can’t help but smile as Willis tells Arnie “I’ll be back” with a response from Arnie whispering “yippee ky yay” under his breath.

Simon West directed the film rather than Stallone who did the first Expendables, he is also responsible for Con Air, Lara Croft:Tomb Raider, When A Stranger Calls and The Mechanic.

Any fans of the first film will be salivating over this one.

Ted

Being a fan of the Family Guy television series I ventured in to the cinema with high hopes for this film as it is by Seth Macfarlane, the creator of Family Guy.
However after watching Ted, I felt that it was lacking something in the humour, although the film was definitely funny in parts it wasn’t laugh out loud funny like Family Guy, I thought the actual film altogether was better than the comedy, which in a lot of parts has an American style feel to it and does not work over here. That aside though, it was an enjoyable film.
The story follows a boy who makes his teddy bear come to life through a magic wish and becomes best friends with him, all the way up to the age of 35 which is where the main story begins. The film features some great actors such as Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Giovanni Ribisi who, although it’s only a comedy, take on their roles well, especially Ribisi.
Fans of the Family Guy series will enjoy Ted because not only does it have the crude controversial humour of Family Guy, it also has many of the actors who do the voice overs for the show such as; Mila Kunis (Meg), Patrick Stewart (a common narrator), Patrick Warburton (Joe) and of course Seth Macfarlane (Peter and Brian) who voices Ted.
The director and writer of the film, Seth Macfarlane, is responsible for the creation of many cartoon series’, some of which are; Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show.
The great thing about watching Ted is that it is as though you are watching a 106 minute long episode of Family Guy, and that is what it seems like, a Family Guy episode. They have taken some of the great aspects of the series and put them in to a film and made actual people act them out, one example being the scene where Mark Wahlberg is naming the white-trash girl names which he improvised on the spot.
If you are a fan of Family Guy I would urge you to go and see this film.

Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem deliver another blues rock masterpiece.

This album’s release date has definitely been one of the most anticipated days on my calendar this year, and now that it has come I can safely say it was worth the wait.

Handwritten kicks in with recently released single ’45’, which is definitely one of the most powerful songs on the album, it combines everything that is ‘The Gaslight Anthem’; the energy of ‘Sink or Swim’ (2007), the mournful lyrics of ‘The 59 Sound’ (2008) and the melodic blues guitar of ‘American Slang’ (2009). From the opening guitar riff and front man Brian Fallon screaming whoa, through the meaningful hooking choruses, to the energetic ending, this track, about not being with the one you love, will leave you wanting more.

Gaslight-Anthem-HandwrittenThey have created a song which contains all their great aspects, and it is only the first track on the album, therefore if your ears aren’t enjoying themselves yet, they soon will be with the rest of the record.

Chants of “whoa, whoa” start off second track ‘Handwritten’, the song is a tribute to the process by which a song is written “out here in the dark, I cherish the moonlight, I’m in love with the way you’re in love with the night, and it travels from heart to limb to pen”, to when it is heard by the listener “let it out, let me in take a hold of my hand, there’s nothing like another soul who’s been cut up the same” and then is passed down to another listener “pull it out, turn it up what’s your favourite song? That’s mine, I’ve been crying to it since I was young”. The song is also related to the fact that the whole of the album ‘Handwritten’, was in fact handwritten, and no computers were used.

Too Much Blood is an amazing track, it captures something which isn’t seen a lot in The Gaslight Anthem songs, the song sounds like a homage to classic 50s rock and roll with a smooth riff and an unusual solo, something which I have not heard in a ‘Gaslight’ song before. You would think that through the last three albums we have heard everything Brian Fallon’s voice could do, soothing on ‘The 59 Sound’ and incredibly high on ‘American Slang’, now he’s trying to go to the deeper end of the scale in this song, and although new, it works really well. Fallon may be one of the greatest voices of this generation.

Since the release of The 59 Sound in 2008, The Gaslight Anthem fans have been waiting for another record with an impact of the same magnitude, unfortunately American Slang was not the album they were waiting for; although an amazing record all round, it just didn’t give you the same feeling as the first time The 59 sound rushed through your ears. Handwritten also doesn’t hit this mark, but it is not far from it, the album feels like a slower version of The 59 Sound, it also has an essence of ‘The Horrible Crowes’; the duet which Brian Fallon played in with Ian Perkins, with the dark lyrics and vocals on some tracks.

As soon as the guitar and gang vocals come in to ‘Howl’, it is obvious that this is going to be a fun and exciting song, and it does not disappoint, although short, it is two minutes and six seconds of pure energy, a track that will get you out of your seat and moving.

The song ‘Desire’ gives you the feel of a punk rock bands song with the background rhythm guitar, the opening sounds as though you are listening to Rise Against – if they started playing blues as well.

‘Mae’ the tenth track on the album is a song about trying to be with the girl you love, and once again Brian Fallon takes us on a journey using his soothing country voice; as tracks such as ‘Here’s Looking At You Kid’ from The 59 Sound and ‘We Did It When We Were Young’ from American Slang did.

‘National Anthem’, a song which Fallon claims was written in 20 minutes on a night in Nashville, takes us through Fallon’s memories and mind when looking at the world today,“what’s left for god to teach from his throne? And who will forgive us when he is gone?” It is an acoustic thought-provoking anthem and is a great way to close an amazing fourth album.

gaslightThe Gaslight Anthem is made up of Brian Fallon (vocals and guitar), Alex Rosamilia (guitar and backing vocals), Alex Levine (bass and backing vocals) and Benny Horowitz (drums). They formed in 2006 and originate from New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Maybe handwritten is not a better album than ‘The 59 Sound’, the record which thrust them into the public’s eye, but the band have taken risks by combining genres. This album has it all, including aspects from their previous albums, and it shows their progression from 2007.

If you bought the deluxe edition of the album, you will have gotten three bonus songs which aren’t on the normal album, two of which, ‘Sliver’ and ‘You Got Lucky’, are Nirvana and Tom Petty covers. The other is ‘Blue Dahlia’, a song which I believe is powerful enough to be on the album.

So there you have it, an album with some rock and roll, some punk and a hell of a lot of blues rock. If you see this album, I advise you to buy it along with the band’s back catalogue. If The Gaslight Anthem are not in your life…you need them.

Listen to: 45, Mulholland Drive and Howl.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

“45”

Handwritten

Here Comes My Man

Mulholland Drive

Keepsake

Too Much Blood

Howl

Biloxi Parish

Desire

Mae

National Anthem

– Deluxe Edition –

Blue Dhalia

Sliver (Nirvana Cover)

You Got Lucky (Tom Petty Cover)