How much have you planned for 2018 ? Are you mad ????? ;-)

Ok, back so quickly, yes but it suddenly hit me just how much I already have in my thoughts or actually organised for 2018. Current count is a total of 32 Gigs, of them 4 Festivals that I think are already organised, 6 Trips to the UK, and we haven’t even gotten things started yet. So the question comes flying at me again in big capitals –

ARE YOU MAD ????????

The answer is clearly yes, but hey, I’ve a lot to make up for, and I really want to get as much done this year as possible, as I think it may be the last year I can do much at all for a while. So lets throw caution to the wind and see how it goes. Really looking forward to it, lets keep the energy as high as possible and see where it takes us.

Today another one got added, the wonderful Pat McManus Band playing in Dublin in Feb. Hell Yeah !!!

The Pat McManus Band - DRC - 26-09-2014
Pat McManus – DRC – 26-09-2014

 

Marking achievements gets harder every year ?

Really it does, as we grow older and our circumstances change, along with the demands on our time from not only our work but also family or other external influences, it becomes harder to see what you have gotten done in a year.

Personally, well I would say on the Photography/Music front, less than I got done last year, but at the same time considering all that has changed in my life this year perhaps a lot more than I could have expected.

Attended at least 2 Gigs/Festivals a month (yes a significant drop on anything in the last 8 years – but still some awesome shows)

In reality I have only been able to shoot a few shows this year, and luckily also a number of Festivals, which helped a lot. But those I have done have been terrific to be at and even better to shoot, some of my favourite Artists, some from the Bucketlist that have been crossed off, and some for fun that really were that.

Reviews wise – well even with a few days to go I’m still trying to get over the 36 mark for albums, and perhaps only 10 Gigs/Festivals, again a noticeable drop on three or four years ago when I started Writing, but at the same time 3 per month isn’t all that shabby. It’s still an honour to cover Albums and Gigs for a number of Sites.

At the end of the day these are just figures and don’t mean a hell of a lot, but it’s always an easy way of seeing how busy you have been with other things. Perhaps not a fair comparison but in 2014 the figures were 69 Gigs/Festivals and 61 Reviews, and pretty much the same in 2015. perhaps they were the exceptions 😉

But there are many other things that have happened that can be marked as success stories, and even winning small battles should never be ignored.

Still 2017 has been a difficult one, and here’s to 2018 being a much better, happier and healthier year for us all.

 

So how has 2017 panned out – good, bad or indifferent ?

Well personally, it’s been a bit of a mess of a year, so much stuff going on and less and less time to do stuff I’d like to get done. The year has flown by, and although I’ve missed so many more gigs than I’d ever like to, through illness (of everyone) and other commitments taking precedence, additional responsibilities and just less time in general. But having said that I’ve still managed to attend, and shoot some amazing events with some Artists I’ve always dreamed of seeing. And although there’s not much left of the year, there’s still a couple of gigs left to get in.

Really would have loved to have gotten back over to Bloodstock again, but sometimes family stuff just has to take priority and that was certainly the case in 2017, but there will always be other gigs, and boy oh boy does next year look unbelievable – so many Festivals with stellar lineups, gigs and Tours getting announced every couple of days, it’s going to be a complete blockbuster.

Highlights of this year so far have got to have been –  Click on an image to go to the Gallery.

Jo Harman/Elles Bailey – Jo’s stunning show at the Jazz Cafe in Feb, now available on CD – do go and check it out.

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Jo Harman – Jazz Cafe London, Feb 2017

 

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Elles Bailey – Jazz Cafe London, Feb 2017

 

Shooting HRH AOR again, with some brilliant performances as always and getting to see bands I have not seen in almost 30 years, the likes of Lita Ford, Michael Monroe, Slaughter and Autograph, or some newer bands like The Radio Sun.

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The Radio Sun – HRH AOR V

Shooting HRH Blues in Sheffield, some terrific artists and performances and a number of whom I hadn’t managed to see before.

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Sean Webster Band – HRH Blues 2017

Rockingham 2017 – another absolutely kick ass weekend with great bands and people, this Festival has definitely become a highlight of the Calendar, roll on 2018.

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Vince Neil – Rockingham 2017

Here’s to more next year and a number of Bucketlist bands to cross off the list, already have some excellent shows lined up for the New Year – and looking forward to shooting a couple of shows early in Januray  \m/ \m/

Where does the time go ? ;-)

It’s just disappearing so quickly this year, and yes I know we all say the same thing every year as we get older, but in particular the last couple of months have just gone by in the blink of an eye.

It is ridiculous that my trip to the Rockingham Festival is now a month ago, seriously a whole month and so much has happened since then, good and bad, but the wheels of life keep on turning, committments with work and family have certainly taken their toll this year, and have probably left me the most tired my body has been for a number of years. At the same time having managed to avoid taking a fit (as I am epileptic) and continuing to get some Review/Photo work done outside of everything else, so that is a small miracle in itself.  ( Rockingham 2017  & Reviews to check them out ).

Pekka Ansio Heino - Brother Firetribe - Rockingham 2017
Pekka Ansio Heino – Brother Firetribe – Rockingham 2017

So as November draws to a close a lot of thoughts have to come to mind for the different Sites that I work with for Best of Lists for 2017, and that’s going to take a bit of time, it’s a lot more difficult for me at times with the vary varied tastes that I have in music, and can be quite stressful. This year there have been a lot of great new album releases from both new bands and some excellent new content from older bands, which is great to see. Right now I’m working on a number of reviews to get back quite quickly, and taking in a lot of bands from Asia, some cracking Thrash Metal from Bangladesh in the form of EXALTER, alongside some bluesy southern rock tinged rock from this side of the World from Samarkind which has been getting a regular spin on my music players.

As we are about to hit the Christmas season I have unfortunately had to cancel some gig plans recently again due to some family stuff that needed attention, but I’ve added in some last minute ones to try and make up for it, and next year it looking like a bumper one, it will be the last one for a while I think I can do a lot of gigs as the little man will be more mobile and expensive 😉   So I think next year it things work out I’m going to get in as much as I can, already planning and plotting  with a few Festivals and a number of Gigs already organised. Including hearing one of my all time favourite albums from start to finish in the 2nd week in January, and shooting the show, so marking some more off the Bucketlist.

Bring on 2018, it’s going to be a more memorable year than 2017 for me, I can just feel it 😉                        and much less sickness all around  \m/ \m/

The difference a week makes with your musical journeys ;-)

It is a funny thing, especially if like me you have a very wide ranging musical taste, but any particular week can have so many changes of pace/genre/style and vibe. For example, on the previous weekend I was at a mainly AOR Festival, acts like Dave Bickler former Survivor lead singer, KIX, Vince Neil and Loverboy, and having been there not only as a fan but also working as a Photographer and Reviewer keeps your mind focused on what type of music you are watching and loving.

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Steve Whiteman of KIX headlining the opening night of Rockingham 2017

So perhaps on a psychological level after that much of a thought process going on in your head you will find it impossible not to prejudge what you next see and hear. This past weekend it was Orange Goblin on Friday night and that was quickly followed by Hardcore Superstar and Fozzy on Saturday, all very different styles of music, all very different vibes, two hometown shows this time, and all very interesting, but it was really just so hard to get into the gigs, don’t know if it was the overtired feeling in my head, the busy week with work stress etc, or simply the fact that I have so much in my memory to push into the Rockingham review. This of course doesn’t help when you are reviewing one of these shows, so the only option was to get it done as quickly as follows, which was the approach I took, a four band bill, all very different types of bands and done and dusted the night after the show. Good going if I do say so myself.

Today is a Bank Holiday in Ireland, so was planning to get the photos pretty much done and complete the Day 1 review to submit tonight, but a massive headache and that drained feeling aren’t helping, also have to make a trip to my mams yet and time is getting on, Stop the roundabout I want to take a break, a few hours sleep would definitely not go amiss. Early night tonight and back into work tomorrow.

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Mike Reno of Loverboy – headlining the final night of Rockingham 2017

Still three gigs in a week is definitely an improvement and some cracking gigs coming up in November, and again a very wide variety, starting this coming Friday with one I really can’t wait for, Leprous for me have produced one of the albums of the year, Progressive Rock/Metal of the highest order, really looking forward to seeing can they pull off the sound live. Still to come are the likes of Tyketto, Bigfoot, Jinjer, Maverick and perhaps a bit of Frank Carter, before Decemenber kicks in with more.

Rockingham 2017 may just have broken me ;-)

What a wonderful weekend that was, wonderful musicians, including some names to cross off the Bucketlist, special performances,  and getting to hang around with some of my favourite people (albeit all too briefly as work was really busy).

The hard work is in full swing now working on the Photographs and Full Review of the Festival, yes I know, I know, wasn’t so long ago that I said I wouldn’t be doing the Review and Photography think at a Full 3 day Festival anymore, but to be honest, it seems to be quite difficult these days to get a Reviewer for a Festival, especially the smaller ones, so in order to get the job done someone has to step forward.

This years Festival was simply a joy from start to finish, working with some great people who are friends, shooting and watching some wonderful bands and although it all goes by far too quickly it’s always worth the effort. With headliners like KIX, Vince Neil and Loverboy there was a lot of fun and energy around the place.

Here are a few photos of different bands, the Full Review will follow when published and Full Galleries of all the bands after that. Hope you enjoy them.

 

Click on any of the Thumbnails below to see a larger version of the picture.

Back in the saddle again ;-)

Just a quick post before I get a few hours sleep and begin my journey to Rockingham 2017. The excitement has been building all day, but honestly it’s tomorrow that it will all kick off.

Touch wood everything is in place and I will be covering the Festival for The Midlands Rocks again, and although I’m already tired this is just going to be another brilliant weekend, bands that I have never seen live before and have waited many many years to do so, and some of my favourite bands and artists all under one roof, add to that getting to spend time among some of the best people I know, hard to go wrong really. Then there’s the added bonus of a very comfortable bed and possibility to catch up on some sleep (we shall see about that one).

There’s even an additional bonus of the launch of the debut Midnite City album tomorrow afternoon before the Festival starts – brilliant, it’s a great album and can’t wait to hear some of the songs live.

Wish me luck and will hopefully have some updates over the weekend either here, or on the Tears Of Fire Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages 😉