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  • M2TM Newcastle – 2017 Winners and Write Up

    “You’re not making this any easier for me,” jokes Simon Hall of Bloodstock, after a string of strong performances in the 2017 M2TM Final.

    “Isn’t that the point?” I joke back.

    Seriously though, some of the performances were out of the park.

    Some things I’ve kept close to my chest. When anyone asks my opinion on who will go through I’ve said stuff like “we’ve 4, 5, 6 great bands tonight” (depending on how many playing) although the truth is, in some of the rounds I did have an opinion… and in most cases I was wrong!

    This is a good thing, mostly, because for the best part I’ve been proven wrong because another band has upped their game.

    End result – lots of great performances.

    So, I’m going to break rank and say going into the final I felt it would be between Trendkill and Decrepit Monolith.

    But, The Unholy Concoction threaten to prove me wrong from the start!
    They’ve been an interesting one this competition – in their heat, there was a clear winner in Decrepit Monolith but judges were divided in who else to send through – TUC were Iain from Jack Ketch’s pick (he was a guest judge that night) and we swayed over to his choice. We can put it on record that his call was clearly justified.
    In the semi finals they were amazing and just pipped out of an automatic place in the final (like really!) and were a convincing second in the play off, but that wouldn’t have been enough to get them to the final.

    However, massive blow as Vigil found flight cancellations stranded them in Europe – and so the logical band to invite to take their place was TUC – so they ended up doing this show on 6 hours notice and it was a massively strong showing. It’s the type of opening band that sets the level for everyone else and a tough one to beat.

    You know, I frequently joke about Trendkill being so young and I shouldn’t – but seriously, these lads have a good future ahead of them. It’s gonna be challenging cos the music industry is just that – I’m old enough to have seen so many “this band could make it” that don’t – certainly though, I want to see where they go from here : they’re just oozing confidence whilst aiming just to have fun – and if they can keep that balance, they’re gonna have more good times ahead of them.
    Proper ear melting thrash – it’s interesting cos there is a clear Pantera influence going on, but I don’t personally like Pantera (we’re all allowed opinions) but love these guys and I’ve just been so stoked to see them cruise their way through he competition.

     

    Decrepit Monolith up next and they just don’t disappoint. They play with such conviction and their blend of black metal is truly mesmerising.
    It’s a difficult genre to get right – but fuck, they get it right. They’ve absolutely steamed through the competition laying unholy waste at each round time after time again.
    Fucking brutal – and the visuals and image is spot on. Although why they brought fire on such a warm day, I dunno…

    I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for Blood Moon Bandits – they entered at heat 1, but only a few days before it – proper late additions, and you know – they might not be the heaviest and thrashiest and brutalist, but they hit the mark if you know what I mean.
    Like other bands on the bill are ales, but they’re a nice refreshing cider.
    They’re lively, they’re energetic and I think they make a good impression but they’ve had such a tough run of bands to perform after.

    Likewise, I’ll Play the Villain – really decent metalcore act and it’s been so good to see how they’ve come along since last year. They’ve a lot more conviction but an extra spark again would make all the difference. They’re strong and they’re decent.

    So anyway, I said I thought it may be between Trendkill and Decrepit Monolith… for the first time in weeks I’m actually right.
    Because of the high standards of both bands, Trendkill are offered the Jaegermeister Stage – and Decrepit Monolith go through as winners to play the New Blood Stage.

    a round of thanks…

    First off – always the most important, you lot – those who’ve been coming along to our shows, watching the bands, supporting bands you like and discovering bands you didn’t know about.  Without you, it’d just be bands playing to bands in an otherwise empty venue.  There’s a lot of great stuff happening in Newcastle for assorted tastes and some amazing promoters and nights and that you’ve chosen on certain days to come and spend your time and money with us – we really genuinely appreciate it.

    Of course, the bands, we ironed out a couple of problems from last year so hopefully it was all a lot better on the bands – thank you for getting behind the spirit of the competition : to my knowledge there’s been no drama or anything and I hope you’ve all picked up some new fans and made some new friends.  The quality this year has been consistently high and I’m looking forward to seeing how some of you develop.

    Trillians – for getting behind my shit and letting me do my thing with no real problems, they’ve also provided the backline, made sure posters have gone up and been generally great to work with.   I will say this time and time again that it’s so good to see the bar back in good hands.

    Truth Hurts – they’ve been recording a lot of the bands sets and generally helping with some of the promotion and been generally good people : I’ve poached Allan who helps me a lot with the compering and also some of the band scouting.   Like, seriously, have you heard me trying to compere? It just, well… naw… I haven’t got the excitement he does – and of course their overall help shouldn’t be played down.

    And, of course, Simon and Bloodstock – it’s been such a fucking pleasure to run this competition here again and as music promotion goes it’s quite rewarding because you can see how some of the bands and fans benefit from it : it’s difficult to phrase this without sounding like I’m having a pop at other promoters which I am certainly not – there are a lot of amazing promoters locally and nationally who do a fucktonne more than I do (and even those who do less, still  have contribution that shouldn’t be played down) but, I mean, I think we’ve all ran gigs where everyone has wondered what the point is : and this is a set of gigs I’m really happy to be apart of.  So, thank you for having faith in me to run the competition, thank you for being supportive and thank you for having me part of the overall picture.

    Fuck, it’s been exhausting.

    I’m going for a lie down and to nurse my hangover.

    Same time next year?


  • M2TM Semi Final 2 – This Sunday

    Last weekend we had six of the best and it was Decrepit Monolith and Vigil who secured places in the final, with play offs secured for Erebor and Blood Moon Bandits

    Semi Final 2 is this Sunday at Trillians, with 6 competing bands.  Remember, entry to this and every heat is FREE entry. Kicking off from 6pm (first band 6.30pm)

    Two bands will go straight to the final in June, while two bands will be given entry into a wild-card play off…

    So, who have we got for you this time – in no particular order (as running order decided on the night) we will be welcoming…

    Kraken Waker – loud… ex Ten Ton Friday… riffs riffs riffs… beards

    Blackjack – Good ole fashioned rock

    Creature  – Newcastle Alternative Rock

    The Unholy Concotation – Darlington Booze Metal

    Trendkill  – thrash/groove from Redcar

    I’ll Play the Villain – Metalcore, they were finalists last year, but can they steer a competitive semi?

    All of these bands impressed us massively in the heats and we look forward to seeing them again, the  hardest part will be working out who coes through and who goes out!

    We will communicate running order on the Facebook event on the evening after the draw takes place.

    Check out the Facebook Event here

    We hope to see you there for some amazing talent.


  • M2TM Semi Final 1 : Preview Each Band

    Contains video previews of each band in this weekend’s semi…. all video courtesy of Truth Hurts….

     

    It started back in February and we’ve seen 29 great bands on the way so far.  We’re now down to 12.

    Semi Final 1 is this Sunday at Trillians, with 6 competing bands.  Remember, entry to this and every heat is FREE entry. Kicking off from 6pm (first band 6.30pm)

    Two bands will go straight to the final in June, while two bands will be given entry into a wild-card play off…

    So, who have we got for you this time – in no particular order (as running order decided on the night) we will be welcoming…

    Erebor  – Technical Death Metal.

    Blood Moon Bandits – rock n roll from Middlesbrough

    Molasses – Melodic Metalcore

    Coma Violet – Fuzz Pop

    Vigil – Groove/DJent Metal

    Decrepit Monolith – Newcastle Black Metal

    All of these bands impressed us massively in the heats and we look forward to seeing them again, the  hardest part will be working out who coes through and who goes out!

    We will communicate running order on the Facebook event on the evening after the draw takes place.

    Check out the Facebook Event here

    We hope to see you there for some amazing talent.


  • M2TM – Heat 6 Write Up

    I knew it was going to be tight.

    I just knew it.

    But not even I could predict how bloody tight it would be. Such joy and heartbreak as the final two bands join the semi finals (we’ll get the updated list out when we know which rounds they each drop into)

    First up, Altostratus, they’re like an instrumental Coheed and Cambria – there is a niche here, because instrumental stuff can go two ways – some get really desperate for vocals to kick in. I’m reminded of the old Karma to Burn story, you know, “We’ll give you a record deal – but we want you to have proper song titles and a singer” – well, Roadrunner dropped them and they reissued the album without vocals or song titles and they’re doing well for themselves.
    Anyway… yes.. Altostratus, they’re bloody good like, they captivate the audience with their riffs and it’s quite marmite but certainly many people would like to see more from them.

    Blackjack have been about a bit and they’re back after a break. They are one of those bands that woo’d and impressed with their stadium American Rock in pub venues – but hit the ceiling towards the end, but they’re back with a new fire and passion and fuck they look better for it. They take some swagger into the next round.

    Pits galore for October Ends, metalcore a-go-go : I’ve been very impressed by a lot of metalcore bands in this competition even if very few have gone through! Another time they’d have nailed it as their high energy high tempo slams kill it!

    Erebor are one of two bands tonight who were in the competition last year, last time they went out in the heats in a very tough round which overall winners Souls of Jack Ketch came out of. On that day they were good but lacked an edge. They have found that edge… they’re like a battle to the death between Nile and Amon Amarth with the survivors burning themselves alive to continue the fight. Fucking brutal. Their battle continues in May.

    The first time The Distorted played in M2TM they were in a particularly tought heat and went on last and just took the competition by the bollocks and rolled through – a similar challenge awaits for them tonight and they give a bloody good effort with their horror rock and roll. They cap off what has been an amazing competition.

    What I’ve particularly liked and this is also my tip for the semis and for bands next year or who still have heats elsewhere in the country – the best attitude to have to these is : it’s a gig, with a sure crowd, an opportunity for some fun and networking and showing off to the venue or other promoters. Treat it like that and the performance will ooze natutal confidence and at the worst you’ll hopefully leave with some new fans and contacts.

    And finally, on the fans… I made a rare trip to the stage as I usually get Allan from Truth Hurts to do my compering as he’s better at talking shit than me – but he couldn’t make it so I had to talk to you lot and honestly, I’m humbled by the support given to this – I know you’ve come to watch some good bands and hopefully see friends or favourites go through, but I really appreciate how many have got behind this competition it makes it all the more worthwhile.

    Thank you…

    Right… semis in a month…
    May 21 and May 28 – sweet.


  • M2TM Heat 6 – This Thursday

     Last time out, Molasses and Coma Violet became the 9th and 10th bands to progress to the Semi Finals – there’s now only two more slots to fill and a very tough round of bands to fill them.

    Round 6 is this Thursday at Trillians, with 5 competing bands.  Remember, entry to this and every heat is FREE entry. Kicking off from 7pm

    So, who have we got for you this time – in no particular order (as running order decided on the night) we will be welcoming…

    Erebor  – Technical Death Metal.

    The Distorted – Hard Rock/Metal n Roll – semi finalists last year


    Blackjack
     – Good ole fashioned rock

    October Ends – local metalcore

    Altostratus – Instrumental Progressive Rock

    Having just listened over to each of the bands again… phwoar… it’s going to be tight.
    We will communicate running order on the Facebook event on the evening after the draw takes place.

    Check out the Facebook Event here

    We hope to see you there for some amazing talent.


  • M2TM Newcastle – Heat 5 write up

    I’m a bit later than usual with my M2TM heat round up (Heat 5 this time).

    Believe it or not, in the crazy world I live in, after the gig I got on an over night bus to London to film a pop music video cover of an RnB classic. No, really.

    Where was I? Heat 5, yesss…

    Opening tonight is Coma Violet. It’s only their second gig. They’re a kind of Fuzz-Pop. Although it’s their second gig, plenty of familiar faces from other bands, the guys have experience and they make it pay off. Plenty of catchy powerful songs. They bounce their way into the semis.

    Pretty Livid Imps are fairly well known although are saying goodbye to a member tonight. They deliver a very enjoyable 25 minutes of rock n roll – pretty entertaining.

    Vindicter have some moments of brilliance, they’re another band with some fairly familiar faces – metal, metal and metal is the order of the day. Metal as fuck, to say the least. With some cool melodies and harsh vocals they were unlucky not to go through, but a touch more consistency would tip them a long way.

    First and last is the order of the day, Molasses deliver some blistering metalcore which seals their place in the semis and lays a brutal ending to the evening.
    So much energy and power crashing around.

    So that’s the 9th and 10th bands through to the semi finals. This is going to cause some serious headaches because the quality of bands hitting the semi finals is unreal.

    So, next up, April 20th… round 6…


  • M2TM Heat 5 – This Thursday

    Last time out, Vigil and Creature joined the ever-swelling semi finals – and it’s looking to be some serious tight competition alredy and there’s still plenty of bands to look forward to over the next two heats.
    Round 5 is this Thursday at Trillians, with 4 competing bands.  Remember, entry to this and every heat is FREE entry. Kicking off from 7pm

    There is scope for a 5th band, but at time of writing only 4 are confirmed.

    Nice.
    So, who have we got for you this time – in no particular order (as running order decided on the night) we will be welcoming…

     

    Vindicter  – Metal as fuck.

    Molasses – Melodic Metalcore

    Coma Violet – Fuzz Pop

    Pretty Livid Imps – Punk / Alt Rock

    Having just listened over to each of the bands again… phwoar… it’s going to be tight.

    We will communicate running order on the Facebook event on the evening after the draw takes place.

    We hope to see you there for some amazing talent.

    So just two heats below… and then we get into semi final territory

    April 6th – M2TM Heat 5

    Vindicter, Molasses, Coma Violet, Pretty Livid Imps, Wild Fire

    April 20th – M2TM Heat 6

    Erebor, The Distorted, October Ends, Altostratus, Blackjack


  • M2TM Newcastle Heat 4 write up

    Cor, round 4 has thrown up some interesting ones.

    Creature have helped shake the curse of the opening slot by being the second band to go through despite drawing the early lot. 90s grunge throw back, they like their Nirvana like – but there’s enough enjoyment about them that helps tip them through. Sweet. Just like Honey.

    Potentially the band with the furthest to travel – Vigil – they are a powerhouse of modern melodic metal. I thought they were going to lose it when announcing “the next one is a Drowning Pool cover” – but opting for a triumphant ‘Sinner’ (that much forgotten second single!) stunning. The bar is raised and set. They’re like making love on the edge of a knife. Hope they’ve plenty of petrol money handy… they’re through

    Auto-Immune exitted at this stage last competition – they’ve come an awful long way since then. Some more 90s grunge but this time more shouty. Their energy is appreciated and they make a good effort despite having such a difficult act to follow. They help contribute to the inevitable headache of who goes through – I guess that’s why I’ve always got the blues.

    Odin’s Revenge – you know – I was well into the whole female fronted metal thing. What can I say – Delain are probably one of my favourite bands and I’ve seen them 5 times despite having never headlined here. Anyway. My point… yes, fuck… that voice. Holy shit. Not heard a voice like this in metal for a while and that was stunning. Her lips spoke gold and honey. I think, now, I want to keep these write ups positive, so, they’re a band I would like to see again and I’d like to see how they come along because natural confidence and progression will bring them along nicely.

    To finish the night, we’ve a guest headline appearance from Souls of Jack Ketch – it’s funny, I remember their first gig in this last year and me liking them cos they sounded “a bit like The Haunted” and I quite like The Haunted. Incidentally, any bands who sound “a bit like Tiamat” or “a bit like Paradise Lost” or “a bit like My Dying Bride” are very welcome and encouraged, but to be a dick I’m not saying which era of each band.
    Anyway. Back to point. Holy fucking Christ… how much they’ve come on since the competition is unreal. They just ooze confidence. Brutal and superb. This lads and lasses – this is your bar. Keep raising it.

    Anyway. Class. Enough ramble. There were loads of gigs on in Newcastle tonight, thanks all who came to ours. I wanted to go see The Jesus and Mary Chain – so, for all the bands tonight, take it as a backhanded compliment you collectively were worth missing JAMC for… I have been adding their lyrics to your reviews.


  • M2TM Heat 4- This Thursday


    Half of the semi-finalists are now decided with The Unholy Concotation and Decrepit Monolith advancing to the semis last time out.

    Round 4 is this Thursday at Trillians, with 4 competing bands and 1 guest band.  Remember, entry to this and every heat is FREE entry. Kicking off from 7pm

    Nice.
    So, who have we got for you this time – in no particular order (as running order decided on the night) we will be welcoming…

    Creature  – Newcastle Alternative Rock

    Odin’s Revenge – Local Hard Rock/Heavy Metal

    Auto-Immune – Darlington Alternative/Grunge

    Vigil – Groove/DJent Metal from… err… Poland.

    and, very special guests…

    2016 Winners Souls of Jack Ketch – we’re looking forward to welcoming back the band who took the competition by storm last year

     We will communicate running order on the Facebook event on the evening after the draw takes place.

    We hope to see you there for some amazing talent.

    A full break down of all the heats below

    March 23rd – M2TM Heat 4

    Creature, Odin’s Revenge, Autoimmune, Vigil + Souls of Jack Ketch*

    April 6th – M2TM Heat 5

    Vindicter, Molasses, Coma Violet, Pretty Livid Imps, Wild Fire

    April 20th – M2TM Heat 6

    Erebor, The Distorted, October Ends, Altostratus, Blackjack

    *Non-Competing


  • M2TM Newcastle – Heat 3 write-up

    On paper, Heat 3 is one of the more diverse line-ups.

    This wasn’t deliberate at all – but – certainly, the type of thing I was hoping for when I started running this competition in Newcastle, so a chance to see bands you’d not normally get to see or get to see together.

    In the 2016 competition, no band who took the opening slot progressed. It is a very difficult slot because among anything else you can’t see what you’ve got to “beat”.
    But, The Unholy Concoction buck that trend and taken on a riff driven booze metal approach to take them to the semis.
    It does take a little while for them to warm, but a lot of people have made the effort to check out the early bands and they leave impressed.
    It’s actually the crowd response that tips them through. As every judge has a different second choice band tonight!

    I’m in awe watching Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska. Sublime and hypnotic psychedeliac rock. Stunning riffs and great atmospheres. They help give the judges a nice headache, you know not the “will this noise ever stop” headache, but a “it’s tight, who is going through headache”

    Saints of War are competition tradional rock, it’s funny – before they set I noticed Tim “Ripper” Owens has announced show at Think Tank and maybe this has me in mind for the nods towards Priest in SoW’s sound. Pretty good stuff.

    Sworn to Secrecy, holy Hell, there’s quite a few young bands in this year and I love it. Absolutely. These kids tear up the stage with a high energy metalcore machine. Unlucky not to go through, but they’re another one of those bands that are good, they have the energy and enthusiasm and will only get better.

    I mentioned earlier every judge had a different second choice band – well – they all had the same first choice band… Decrepit Monolith… fuck me. They’re tight. They take the competition to a new depth of Hell with their melodic Black Metal. Fearsome!

    I already know the Semis are going to be too tight to call… I am mulling an idea….