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Altered Sky – Why Are We Next To These People?!


Some bands play stadiums, others dodgy clubs and pubs, but Altered Sky – a rock band from Glasgow very much of the Biffy Clyro and Paramore mould – took ‘intimate venue’ to ridiculous levels last year playing homes of fans.

When I meet them today they are camped upstairs at Broadcast in Glasgow a few hours shy of their final UK tour date as Ross (bassist) explains the logic behind such an unorthodox itinerary “People on Vacation were doing a house party tour playing an acoustic set in living rooms and we thought we could do that” adding “fans really appreciate the connection I guess. It’s a lot closer than playing a gig”. Lead singer and hyper excitable Ana chips in “we learned we could fit lot of people into one room!”

The other members of the band in the stifling heat of the upstairs office at the venue are Ryan (guitar) Amy (drums) and Tara (guitarist) but they sit mostly silent as Ross and Ana do most of the talking. Last year the band managed to nab a spot on Bob Harris’s Apple Tree Sessions after a hopeful Tweet was picked up by Whispering Bob himself “he’s just like the king of music” exclaims Ana before adding with a hint of incredulity about meeting him “that’s the voice! That’s the body of the voice!”.

Tomorrow the group will ­­­­support the mighty Big Country at Clydebank Town Hall “It’s our second time, actually” says Anna about the occasion “They’re so cool! Such lads, well, old lads actually!” before Ross quickly removes the foot from Ana’s mouth, observing “I think being in the presence of someone who has been there and done it, we can learn a lot; the way they carry themselves, the way they handle the show. They exude that experience”.

Altered Sky are still not at the stage where they can resign from their day jobs and even have  to slog out a staggering 18 hours rehearsal per week when required “it fills up the time when you would be doing other things” acknowledges Ana “the practice studio becomes a second home”.

The hard working nature of the band is obvious and when I ask what’s the most important thing they could tell other aspiring rock acts, Ana advises “knowing [your] instrument inside out and really striving to be the top of your game. You have to have that effort on top to take it to the next level” with Ross explaining “playing with four other personalities makes a huge difference to how you play, that’s probably the most important thing to begin with”.

All that effort is beginning to pay off. On Kerrang radio the band were on the same play list as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath “why are we next to these people?!” laughs Ross; and soon they are trotting off on an Asian Tour. Since Asian music is my thang I ask if they are familiar with any bands from this neck of the woods; “One OK Rock” says Ana and after a slight pause sheepishly suggests Babymetal. If anything, this wakes Amy out of her Kraken-esque silence “oooooh Babymetal!” she coos while everyone else laughs.

So what’s all this effort and 6 hour rehearsal sessions and playing in fans houses all about? Is there a long term plan for all of this? Ana fills me in “I hope the band can really make a musical mark, not just in the UK. If can we maybe get across to America, have our second album out and have a growing fan base, a couple of really really good support tours, certainly in five years I want to be touring the world on our own headline show” before beaming  “I can’t imagine doing anything else. We’re gonna do it!”

I think I’m pretty good at making predictions. I predicted Trump would turn out to be a massive douche bag and the unstoppable rise of a certain Japanese rock band. So here I’m making another one: keep an eye out for this bunch of crazy kids because they might be coming to a front room near you sooner than you think.

Altered Sky are on tour in Asia from 20th September till 18th October 2017 and are working on their next album.

So Phil Anselmo is a Racist Douchebag


Here’s the thing: that rant was shot back in the mid 1990’s. Some folks will recognise Anselmo’s ridiculously racist rhetoric “black on black crime… no one cares about black on white crime” as no different to the language FOX News uses in order to denigrate blacks, black advocacy groups and black protesters today. And FOX News are about as racist as it gets (allegedly).

What a douchebag. And I was a Pantera fan too 😦

XJAPAN Announce World Premiere of Documentary Film


X JAPAN (L-R): Pata (guitar), Heath (bass), Yoshiki (composer, drums, piano), Toshi (vocals) and Sugizo (violin, guitar)

As X JAPAN lay down tracks in a Los Angeles studio for their as-yet-untitled album, Japan’s most iconic rock band have announced that the world premiere of the new documentary film from Passion Pictures–‘WE ARE X’–will take place this week at the Sundance Film Festival. ‘WE ARE X’ explores the evolution, groundbreaking history and hopeful future of the land of the rising sun’s most legendary rock group. X JAPAN have sold 30 million singles and albums combined and continue to tour the world performing sold-out shows to massive arenas in 16 countries throughout the U.S. and Europe.

On Friday, January 22 at 9pm, YOSHIKI–songwriter, drummer, classically-trained pianist and the creative force of X JAPAN–will perform live with a string quartet for the first-ever Sundance Festival Base Camp party, presented by Canada Goose. YOSHIKI will headline the Festival Base Camp, a new outdoor venue located at Swede Alley, behind Main Street. Other artists confirmed to perform include Dan Deacon, Flying Lotus and Neon Indian.

 “It’s overwhelming to see the full documentary ‘WE ARE X,’ says Yoshiki of X JAPAN. Stephen Kijak and John Battsek opened doors, which I shut and never intended to re-open.  I didn’t realize that on the other side, dark memories could co-exist with a meaningful future. Audiences will be a witness to our history and future.”

Saturday, January 23 will mark the world premiere of ‘WE ARE X’ in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Prospector Square Theater in Park City at 2:30pm. YOSHIKI and the film team will be on hand for the red carpet at 2:00pm and a Q&A after the premiere. WE ARE X was created by the production team behind the Academy Award- winning film Searching For Sugarman: producer John Battsek (Passion Pictures) alongside renowned director Stephen Kijak (Stones In Exile and Scott Walker: 30 Century Man— (executive produced by David Bowie). From X JAPAN’s massive success (over 30 million albums, singles and videos sold) and sold-out tours worldwide, ‘WE ARE X’ chronicles the triumphs and tragedies of this legendary quintet who will never give up. On Sunday, January 24, YOSHIKI will perform live at the ASCAP CAFÉ at Sundance at 4:00pm.

 X JAPAN initially split up in 1997 after playing their fifth New Year’s Eve show at the 55,000-capacity Tokyo Dome; they have now sold out the Tokyo Dome a record 18 times. The group reformed in 2007 and have released three singles: “I.V.” in 2008, “Jade” in 2011 and “Born To Be Free” in late 2015. They’ve been touring worldwide ever since–and in October 2014, the group performed their debut Madison Square Garden show in New York before announcing the new album and ‘WE ARE X’ film releases slated for 2016.
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Shadown Corpse Release Out Now!

Japanese gothic heavy metal band Yousei Teikoku’s latest album Shadow Corpse has finally been released to overseas fans via iTunes USA. The band released their previous 2 albums Pax Vesania and Gothic Lolita Agitator on iTunes last year to support their appearance at Lantis Anisong World Tour in Las Vegas. 
Yousei Teikoku, whose name means “Fairy Empire” in Japanese, has contributed 15 songs for anime series and video game soundtracks including Future Diary, Magical Pokan, Innocent Venus, Kurokami: The Animation, The Qwaser of Stigmata, Mai-HiME, Valiant Knights and Tokyo ESP.
 Yousei Teikoku on iTunes 
Yousei Teikoku will return to America for a special one-night performance at A-Kon 27 in Dallas, Texas, during the 3-day Japanese anime and culture event June 3-5, 2016. Yousei Teikoku’s loyal subjects will also have a rare chance to meet front-woman/vocalist Empress Yui in person for autographs and a Q&A session. Pre-registration is now open at A-Kon’s website:

Kai Kobayashi – I Don’t Know Where This Is Going…


(A shorter version of this article appeared in the Huffington Post)

The 3 girls of Babymetal look as if they are en route to a friend’s fancy dress party. All frills and red and black and silver. This is what I am looking at just before they go on stage to deliver, some 2 hours and 15 minutes later, one of the best concerts I can remember. Never have stage persona and real person been so mutually exclusive.

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