¡Uno! – Green Day

Green Day deliver an album which takes them back to their Dookie days.

The album starts off with an explosive boom, as ‘Nuclear Family’ kicks in and starts off the 12-track record, straight away it is clear that the trio have attempted to go back to their roots with this album; as the song starts off with a three-fingered riff which is similar to the style of 1994 album, ‘Dookie’. This is a good thing, as with the release of 2004 album, ‘American Idiot’, a lot of Green Day fans did not like the new style of the band, who played giant rock operas, instead they wanted to see the old Green Day (before 1995). The band, made up of Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals/guitar), Mike Dirnt (vocals/bass) and Tre Cool (vocals/drums), have not just simply repeated what they created back in 1994 though, they have added different aspects, such as powerful solos, to make songs which old through to new Green Day fans will appreciate.

Green-Day-UNOThe album is off to a smashing start, and makes me want to listen on in the hope that the rest of the record is like this. The song also opens up to the next part of the album by counting down from 10 at the end.

The record continues on its path to launching the band in to super-stardom once again, as second track ‘Stay The Night’ kicks in, it is another amazing song which gives of the ‘Dookie’ feeling with an extended breakdown and a chorus which you wont be able to help but sing to and will be running around your head for weeks to come.

As soon as ‘Let Yourself Go’ starts, it jumps into the song like ‘St. Jimmy’ did on their ‘American Idiot’ album, and although it is a completely different song, it still portrays the anger and non-compliance that ‘St. Jimmy’ (and most of ‘American Idiot’) gave out. However this time it is about being absolutely pissed off with someone, rather than the whole government, and wanting to beat the s**t out of them, with lyrics like “shut your mouth because you’re talking too much, and I don’t give a f**k anyway”. With Tre Cool screaming “shut the f**k up” in the background and the gritty sound of Armstrong’s voice, you can really feel the aggression coming from song.

‘Kill The DJ’, the second single released from ‘¡Uno!’, shows the band trying something new, a sort of disco theme which really doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album; as it doesn’t show who the band are and what they can do. Green Day can wander out of their comfort zone to create something different, but not go so far as to play a song better suited for a different genre. The string wobbling solo during in the breakdown is a nice touch though.

The sixth track ‘Fell For You’ shows that the band, amongst writing rock operas, can still write songs about love and having a crush on someone, it is not a mushy-gooey song about falling head over heels for someone though; as the trio do the song in their own punk themed way By having lyrics such as “I crash into you, ’cause you crashed in my imagination too. Break a leg and you crush my heart, I’m a mess and you’re a work of art” are not your usual love song lyrics.

As ‘Loss Of Control’ starts, the song shows off what the band have to offer, on every album the band have brought out through the years they have shown off each instrument to its full potential. Green Day are not just about the guitar and drums, they show off the bass guitar for the instrument which it is, whether it is throughout the classic ‘Longview’ track from ‘Dookie’ or the opening to ‘Loss Of Control’, Mike Dirnt shows off his skills on an instrument which is too underrated these days.

The band formed in Oakland, California in 1987, and have been creating punk/rock music ever since. Their first album being ’39/Smooth’ in 1990, which was released through (now deceased) Lookout! Records, along with their 1992 album ‘Kerplunk’. However it wasn’t until 1994 when Green Day released ‘Dookie’ that they were put onto the musical map, and signed to a much bigger label, Reprise Records. Once the band made the decision to sign to Reprise Records some fans thought they had sold out because they weren’t trying to support independent labels anymore. The band still held a wide fan base though, through their later albums ‘Insomniac’ (1995) and ‘Nimrod’ (1997). However when they released ‘Warning’ in 2000, it seemed that the punk aggression of the trio had fizzled out, with them playing a whole acoustic style album. It wasn’t over though as the world watched, when the band created the rock opera ‘American Idiot’ in 2004, which centred around a boy named Jimmy. They were put back on to the map and had created another album which would go down in punk history. 2009 saw Green Day release their second rock opera ’21st Century Breakdown’, this time focusing on a boy and girl named Christian and Gloria. Although the record was not as hard-hitting as ‘American Idiot’ it was still an all round success. This album, ‘¡Uno!’, is the first in a trilogy of albums which the band are releasing, the second being ‘¡Dos!’, November 13th, and the third being ‘¡Tre!’, January 15th.

green‘Sweet 16’ is another example of the band’s, or perhaps just Armstrong’s, softer side, which could possibly be written about his wife, Adrienne Nesser, who was also his high school sweetheart.

‘Rusty James’ has a deep meaning to the lyrics, the song is written about some of the old bands which Green Day used to play with when they were on the Californian punk scene, and the song asks where are they now, Green Day are still fighting for their cause rather than changing themselves for the mainstream.

It was odd when I discovered that the final track on the album, ‘Oh Love’, was the first single which had been released, however it is typical of Green Day to not follow the conventional rules. The song shows elements of classic Green Day and also a new style of palm-muted-string playing, which we first saw on the track ‘East Jesus Nowhere’ from ’21st Century Breakdown’. The song finishes off ‘¡Uno!’ just as powerfully as it began, and gets us ready for ‘¡Dos!’, the second in the trilogy.

This album has shown the whimsical riffs of the early albums and put them together with the talented writing and power of the more recent albums mixed in with a surge of rock and roll…a great album all round.

Green Day are back!!!

Listen to: Nuclear Family, Carpe Diem and Rusty James.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

Nuclear Family

Stay The Night

Carpe Diem

Let Yourself Go

Kill The DJ

Fell For You

Loss Of Control

Troublemaker

Angel Blue

Sweet 16

Rusty James

Oh Love

Lawless

With all the repetitive films which have come out this year, such as demonic possession films and reboots/remakes of old films, it was good to see film which offered a different genre to an audience, a type of film which has not really been as big since ‘Public Enemies’ in 2009. Although the initial reason I was eager to see ‘Lawless’ was the fact that British actor, Tom Hardy, starred in it, it was also a film which interested me because I am a fan of the classic 1930s gangster/prohibition in effect type films, which, like ‘Lawless’, are generally based on truth and are brought to life well.

The plot centres around the Bondurant brothers from Franklin County, Virginia, who have grown up with violence to their name, and have got into the bootlegging of moonshine business during the great depression of 1931. Jack, Shia LaBeouf, is the youngest and the least violent of the brothers, and throughout the film is trying prove that he belongs to the Bondurant’s and is just as fierce as they are. His older brothers Forrest, Tom Hardy, and Howard, Jason Clarke, are trying to rake in as much money from the illegal business as they can, and they are the muscle which stops many people from messing with them. However as we know in most films, when things start to go well and feel great, there is always a villain around the corner who wants to change that. Guy Pierce plays special detective Charlie Rakes, who portrays his part so well in making the audience despise him, as he tries to shut down the Bondurant brothers stills, and take out anyone in the process.

The film stars some of Hollywood’s greatest actors, such as: Tom Hardy, Guy Pierce, Gary Oldman and Shia LaBeouf. It also stars Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Dean DeHaan. Fresh off of being in one on the summers biggest blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises, Gary Oldman portrays city gangster Floyd Banner, although only being in a few scenes of the film, he still shows what he can do with a small role, by making him look like someone to fear.

Tom Hardy, not surprisingly, plays one of the best roles in the film, the London born actor has come up through the silver screen over the past 10 years, appearing in Inception, RocknRolla, The Dark Knight Rises, This Means War, Layer Cake, Bronson and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in which every film, apart from a few he has brought the story to life in the character which he plays.

Shia LaBeouf was once a favourite actor of mine, from Holes through to Surf’s Up he always gave a stunning performance, although it was once he was cast in the first Transformers film which saw his acting just turn to just pure shouting, the same could be said for eagle eye. His career then for some reason jumped on to acting in sequels, such as the gradually getting worse Transformers saga, or terrible reboots of what were classic films (Indiana Jones). However it seems in ‘Lawless’ he has gone back to how he used to portray characters rather than just shouting, and he has pulled out a stunning performance, one which I have not seen him try to accomplish before, trying to be a violent hick who is also trying to woo a girl, that can’t be an easy role to play.

The film was directed by John Hillcoat, who is also famous for bringing to the screen the 2009 film ‘The Road’. The film was based on the novel ‘The Wettest County In The World’, which was written by Matt Bondurant, a descendant of the original Bondurant brothers.

If you are looking for a non-repetitive film which has a gripping story line and presents actors in stunning roles, then I would recommend going to see Lawless.

Lawless is out now.

Wake – Cold Summer

‘Wake’, the new EP from Cold Summer who are a small band set on accomplishing big things, delivers all the aspects of an act who could one day be having their lyrics screamed back to them. This is the second EP that the quartet – completed by Dan Feast (vocals), Chris Harrison (guitar), Chris Hepworth (bass) and Justin Eastwood (drums) – have released this year; the first being ‘Transitions’ which was released in January. The post hardcore/rock band from Wakefield show on this EP what the band can do, with every member getting their part to shine.

Cold Summer - WakeFirst song, ‘Waiting’, kicks off the EP ferociously with a deep bass sound and a quirky, ripping guitar riff which turns grittier and then into a melodic tune throughout the verse. Joined in with the vocals of ‘Feast’, the song comes together well, as throughout the melodic guitar sounding verses ‘Feast’ offers his calming vocals, then when we are treated to his passionate screaming voice the gritty guitar and pounding drums accompany the passion with their sound. The song also has a huge breakdown which could have a great effect when played live.

‘Wake’ is the second song on the CD, and although only being 50 seconds long, thankfully has lyrics to it, because with so many bands today having albums which consist of an interlude track of just music, it creates the feeling that you are missing a song. Even though it is short it at least still shows what the band can do in such a short space, setting an atmosphere in the listeners head of how the rest of the EP will be; a feeling of chilled out power which is ready to erupt throughout the rest of the record.

From the moment ‘A Is For Arson’ begins it was obvious to me that this was going to be a more upbeat/bang your head song, and as soon as the sound of the guitar comes in, alone at first, but then followed by the bass and drums not long afterwards, it appears I was right. The song – which has to be the most powerful on the EP – has a darker feel to it than the others as the band are singing about burning down a building. However that is not a bad thing because it has opened up the song to an epic bass line in the breakdown, a hooking chorus and some thought-provoking lyrics. This song is gripping from start to finish, from the opening guitar riff to the chants of “when will we wake” at the end, it is a track which any listener will enjoy when hearing for the first time.

‘Car Crash (In Progress)’ is more of a laid-back melodic rock song with a quirkiness in the instruments which offers something different from the rest of the EP, whether it be the enticing guitar solo close to the end or the fact that is starts fairly calm and then draws you in becoming heavier as the song goes on; the song keeps the listeners on their toes and stops the EP from feeling monotonous.

coldsummerwakephotoThe EP ends with song, ‘Mistakes’, and the track shows that the band have something more to offer than just great rock songs, they can also write heart-wrenching tracks aimed at bringing your feelings to the surface. I have heard many albums from bands who have tried to end their album with a slower song, and some can’t pull it off; Cold Summer however give a song which will make you want to hear more as it comes to its finish.

Usually when listening to an EP for the first time from a band which I have only just come across, I have to listen to it a few times before I really get in to it, with ‘Wake’, I wanted to listen to it again straight away because I was upset when the EP finished as I wished there were more songs on it.

Keep an eye on Cold Summer, they are going to make a difference.

The band, who recently had a sold out show supporting Lemuria, are currently in the process of booking a UK tour for the release of ‘Wake’.

Listen to: A Is For Arson and Mistakes.

The Full Track-Listing is as Follows:

Waiting

Wake

A Is For Arson

Car Crash (In Progress)

Mistakes

The EP ‘Wake’ is out now, to have a listen click the link below.

Wake

Sunday At Reading Festival

As I prepared myself inside a warm and muggy tent on the last day of the Reading Festival, I wondered how this Sunday could top the last two days, where I saw some of my favourite bands: Young Guns, You Me At Six, We Are The In Crowd, Paramore and Green Day. Little did I know, this would be a day I would remember for a long time.

Unlike the last two days where I had floated around to various stages in the arena to see different bands, today I was only focused on one stage… the main stage. When I arrived there in the early afternoon an energetic rock and roll band had taken to the stage to give the crowd a taste of their music, the Eagles Of Death Metal was their name and although their genre was not actually death metal, their rock and roll riffs and alcohol induced sexual puns really got the crowd off of their feet, I would say that the band will have gained a few more fans after todays show.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5

Full Setlist:

I Only Want You
Cherry Cola
English Girl
I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)

The next band are one which, over the past 4 years have gathered a large following of fans and have released, in my opinion, some of the greatest album ever written. They are the quartet from New Jersey, The Gaslight Anthem, who are praised by the crowd with cheers as they walk on to the stage, and as front man, Brian Fallon, steps up to the mic an energy has been created which is ready to burst, and so it does as the band jump right in to ‘Great Expectations’, the first track on their 2008 album, ‘The ’59 Sound’. The opening song has already got the crowd moving and singing along, and as they play through songs such as: ‘Old White Lincoln’ (The ’59 Sound), ‘The Diamond Church Street Choir’ (American Slang, 2010) and ‘Keepsake’ (Handwritten, 2012) the energy carries on being passed through song to crowd. They also play fan favourites like ‘The ’59 Sound’, ‘American Slang’ and ’45’ which force everyone in the first 10 rows of the crowd to move their feet. The band end their set just as powerfully as they started with ‘The Back Seat’ which is by far one of their most powerful songs, and as they bring their set to a finish it is obvious that the crowd want more, but they will have to wait until next time.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Great Expectations
Old White Lincoln
Mulholland Drive
45
Here Comes My Man
American Slang
Handwritten
The Diamond Church Street Choir
Keepsake
The ’59 Sound
The Back Seat

Up next on to the stage are the pop-punkers from Baltimore, All Time Low. Apart from the avid fans in the audience it is hard to know how the rest of the crowd will react to a band like this, as some would just pass them off as emo, and not give them a second thought. This is not the case though as the band’s catchy hooking tracks constantly get the crowd moving and it seems that more people than you would think know the band’s songs, as they play through some of their biggest tracks such as: Lost In Stereo, Damned If I Do Ya, Stella and Forget About It. They also performed a great cover of Blink-182’s Dammit. One of the best things about this band being on the main stage is that they really know how to work a crowd, and although at points when they speak to the crowd it sounds like immature American humour, there is no doubt that this is a band who were made for the main stage, and as they come to the end of their set front man, Alex Gaskarth, asks the crowd if they want them to play “our new song, The Reckless And The Brave or Dear Maria, Count Me In”, cheers and applause beckon them to play the second choice, and with that the band end with a bang.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Lost In Stereo
Stella
Forget About It
Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)
Dammit (Blink-182 cover)
Jasey Rae
Poppin’ Champagne
Time-Bomb
Weightless
Coffee Shop Soundtrack
Dear Maria, Count Me In

Before the next act enter the stage some of the crowd may feel that they have picked the wrong spot to wait for a band which they want to see later as the band coming on to the stage are one of British metals finest, Bullet For My Valentine. As soon as they kick in to their melodic metal anthem, ‘Your Betrayal’, the crowd are going crazy starting up to 3 mosh pits, which, if any fans waiting to see the Kaiser Chiefs got stuck in, would come out with more than a few bruises. The good thing about Bullet For My Valentine is although many of the crowd here are not metal fans, they can still enjoy the band as their songs have a great deal of catchiness to them. The band play through heavy fan favourites such as Tears Don’t Fall, Scream Aim Fire and All These Things I Hate, however their setlist did not include Hearts Burst In To Fire which I thought was odd because it is a song which would really get the crowd going. Although they did not play Hearts Burst In To Fire, the band ended on one of their most powerful songs, Waking The Demon, in which front man, Matt Tuck, shouts during the breakdown, “let’s see how many people we can get crowd surfing”, and after the breakdown there must have been over 100 hundred people crowd surfing their way to the front and running off to the side, it was a sight which I had never seen before. This performance showed that the band know how to get a crowd going, even if there are not that many metal fans in the audience.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Your Betrayal
Pleasure And Pain
Scream, Aim, Fire
All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me)
Four Words (To Choke Upon)
Tears Don’t Fall
The Last Fight
Waking The Demon

Although I was not there for the beginning of the Kaiser Chiefs set, as soon as I got back over to the main stage it was obvious that they were putting on a good show as the crowd were already screaming and dancing when I got there. I’m not much of a Kaiser Chiefs fan, but that didn’t really matter because they have so many well known songs that crowd members who are not fans will know the words too. Lead singer, Ricky Wilson, has clearly played to a crowd of this size before as he really knows how to get them going, and when he stares into the camera during the breakdown of ‘The Angry Mob’ he asks the crowd to scream after he has counted “1234”, which he repeats several times before jumping back into the song, which gets everyone either off their feet or nodding their heads. They play through songs which the whole audience know, such as ‘Ruby’ and ‘I Predict A Riot’, the second song being sang right back to them from the crowd whilst jumping in the air. The Kaiser Chiefs have really got the crowd pumped up and ready for what is to come later.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Never Miss A Beat
Everything Is Average Nowadays
Kinda Girl You Are
Everyday I Love You Less And Less
Pinball Wizard (The Who Cover)
I Predict A Riot
Listen To Your Head
Ruby
The Angry Mob
Take My Temperature
Oh My God

Although the next band are very talented and are great at what they do, The Black Keys really should have been on during the day as they are more of a mellow, chill-out band, rather than a dancing around act, they should at least have been on just before the Kaiser Chiefs. With Foo Fighters playing in just over an hour the crowd need an act that gets them in the mood to dance and scream, however it seems The Black Keys are not this band, with some audience members looking tired and restless as they play through their set. I am a fan of the band and love the guitar effects which are used throughout, however by the end I was also getting slightly tired as the band did not really try to interact or communicate with the crowd, the high point of the show was when the duo played ‘Lonely Boy’, as it is one of their more well known songs. The Black Keys are very talented and deserve to be on the main stage, however today it seems they were too far up the bill.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5

Full Setlist:

Howlin’ For You
Next Girl
Gold On The Ceiling
Run Right Back
Same Old Thing
Dead And Gone
Little Black Submarines
Money Maker
Strange Times
Nova Baby
Tighten Up
Lonely Boy
I Got Mine

This is what the whole of the Reading Festival has been leading up to, this final act on the Sunday night, Leeds got them on the first day and we get them on the last. The anticipation has been building up all weekend and now it comes to the point where we see if the Foo Fighters will live up to their name. The short answer…yes.

As the quintet enter the stage screams ring out all over Reading which can most likely be heard in London. The band jump straight in to ‘White Limo’, and get the crowd moving, if they weren’t already. Following that they play fan favourite, All My Life, which throughout the whole song is sung by the entire crowd. When the band stop for a breather between songs, front man, Dave Grohl explains “we’re going to make tonight very special” and I’m sure that any member of the audience that night would say that the band did not disappoint. Throughout the 2 ½ hour set that the band played they gave the crowd what they had been waiting for, playing tracks from their earlier records, from their more recent albums and the songs which everyone can sing along to such as: Walk, Monkey Wrench, Learn To Fly, Arlandria and Breakout, the last making the audience go crazy.

When the band, finished off with Taylor Hawkins (drums), Chris Shiflett (guitar), Pat Smear (guitar) and Nate Mendel (bass), said that this show was going to be special, they were right, as throughout the performance the three rows of stage lights hanging above the band begin to move and change shape along with the backdrop, which reads ‘Foo Fighters’, occasionally lighting up. Every song which the band play, whether it be an anthem or a song which is not as well known, they put their heart and soul in to them, playing extended breakdowns and outros.

Not only is this an explosive and energetic show, but it is also a very moving performance for many reasons; when Grohl dedicates ‘Walk’ to his daughter and then brings her out to sit on the stage throughout the song, when he gets the entire crowd to sing happy birthday to his mum who is sitting side stage and when Taylor Hawkins explains that he can’t believe he’s sharing the stage with “the greatest musician” of his time. However the most moving part has to be when Grohl dedicates the song, These Days, to two people who couldn’t be there, “this is for Krist and this is Kurt”, screams fill Reading and a massive sing-a-long begins.

After ‘Best Of You’ finishes the band casually place down their instruments and walk off the stage, but the crowd already know that the show is not over yet, the Foo Fighters will always end a show like this with a bang. Knowing this, cheers to the tune of ‘Best Of You’ begin to grow from the crowd’s lungs and fill the night, there seems to be an electricity in the air as the audience wait for the band to return.

Grohl strolls onto the stage, guitar in hand strumming through various chords, and begins to tell a story to the crowd of how he started out as a drummer and then Nirvana found him, the start of the Foo Fighters and their gigs at Reading, he ends his story by dedicating the next song to all of the fans, the rest of the band then appear, cheers greet them as they play ‘Times Like These’. Now I have seen bands do two-song encores, and I have heard of bands doing three-song encores, but never have I experienced a six-song encore which the Foos delivered, and I think I can speak for every fan there when I say, every second of it was amazing.

The band end their 27 song set with my favourite and the world famous ‘Everlong’, the anthem creates one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the night, and on it’s ending fireworks are launched from the top of the main stage into the sky…a truly spectacular ending to a weekend of great music, and who better to sign it off than one of the greatest bands in the world today…The Foo Fighters.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5

Full Setlist:

White Limo
All My Life
Rope
The Pretender
My Hero
Learn To Fly
Arlandria
Breakout
I’m The One (Van Halen cover)
Cold Day In The Sun
I’ll Stick Around
Walk
Generator
These Days
Monkey Wrench
Hey, Johnny Park!
Alone + East Target
Bridge Burning
This Is A Call
In The Flesh? (Pink Floyd cover)
Best Of You

Encore:
Times Like These
Winnebago (Late! Cover)
Watershed
For All The Cows
Exhausted
Everlong