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Heat 3, already?
We’re half way through the heats? This is flying over.
A horribly close evening where every judge carried a different opinion. Chucking in the crowd reactions and applying to the calculations and formula (there is a process to this, honest. It’s probably more straight forward than I make out).
So, first up we have Creature.
I’ve a lot of time for Creature, they’re a fun grunge band and very enjoyable. I kinda hate thinking of stuff like this in any way retro. It certainly feels fresh and relevant.
They were one of my pre-contest tips to do well, especially as they made the play offs last year – but the opening slot in a tough heat works against them a bit.
Dead River Kings are a surprise package. They’ve got their blues driven hard rock thing down to a tee. More than a few nods to Black Stone Cherry. There’s a lot of experience and they’re pretty darn tight. The crowd seems to like them too and that just helps them pinch a place in the semis in the end.
Mechanical were added into the competition following the late withdrawal of Ellen Moss. They’d originally meant to be in Heat 1, but pulled out on health. But, they’re back now and it’s enjoyable minimal rock. George was in solo last year and, similarly, you can kinda watch and know in your heart that tonight they’re not going through, but enjoy them anway.
Anti-Bastard divide a little opinion, they’re very loud and very punk. They whistle through an 11 song set list without going over the 25 minute set length. That gives you an idea of the type of punk they are, crusty fast… loud… fun. Opinion splitting.
Well *I* enjoyed them.
Actually, I do always find it hard to sound sincere but I genuinely enjoy every band.
Some in different ways to others, mind.
But, I dunno – it feels like it’s been a while since I enjoyed a band quite like Skyryder.
Skyryder for me… they’re overblown fantasy hair metal. You know all those cheese laiden Maiden sound-a-like bands? Yeah. Hellowe’en, Blind Guardian and about a zillion others.
And some of those bands are good and some are just cheese guff.
Well, Skyryder intentionally lay on the cheese but they do it in such a way you can appreciate it.
They don’t take the piss out of the genre, they poke friendly fun at it – and it’s almost impossible not to smile.
Imagine Steel Panther except (a) good (b) funny.
So, well, nothing like steel Panther then.
They do… however… go into a tough Semi…
It feels strange starting M2TM so late.
Normally we’re about half way through the comp by now – but we opted for a later start with weekly, rather than fortnightly, heats.
Mind – with the recent grotty weather we thought an April start may be more pleasant…
And yet it STILL snowed.
However – that didn’t stop the bands, nor a respectable crowd.
Sadly, we are down to 4 bands. The first heat suffered two drop outs and we were able to replace one, but a little too short notice for the second.
So, it’s pushing 8pm when electro-metal trip THIS HOLY VIRUS open the 2018 competition.
Pretty decent mix of styles and ideas, like an angry Gary Numan. Fairly well received and a good way to prise the competition open.
Really looking forward to seeing more from these guys in the coming months, there’s a lot of potential.
DESOLATION stepped in following the withdrawal of Rossi Noise. While this may have felt it would boost chances, an experienced band with a strong following replaced by a relatively young and unknown band.
This is actually their first time gigging in Newcastle.
The band are groove metal with a few hints of 90s grunge and nu-metal, but a passionate performance impresses many. Enough to see them through to the semis.
I’ve a lot of love for PRETTY LIVID IMPS – they’ve a lovely set of punky rock and roll, with lots of fast and uplifting anthems. They should be a lot bigger. But, maybe I’m just bias.
They’re well received but have two tough bands to follow and it doesn’t quite get them over the line this time.
The beast to beat was always going to be KRAKEN WAKER.
They made it to the semi finals last time with their nautical sludge. They’re previewing a couple of tracks from their new EP and you know – they’re going to be a challenge to get passed in the semis this year as well.
They’re simple but effective – riffs, riffs, beards, riffs, beards, riffs.
It’s been an interesting start to the competition… for sure.
Photos by Newcastle Live Bands
Here we go again… Bloodstock M2TM 2018.
Yet again we are grateful to have Newcastle representation and a certainty that one local band will go to play Bloodstock in 2018.
It may seem a cliche but, Judas Priest, Nightwish, Gojira, Your Band, etc. it could be true.
In recent years we’ve managed to send The Souls of Jack Ketch, Decrepid Monolith, Trendkill and Dirty King – who will we send next year?!
At this point things couldn’t be simpler. Read on to check you meet criteria and drop us a mail, email@example.com – we’ll get packs out later this week or early next which basically repeats the info here and any fine tuning.
(1) First off, your band must be any form of alternative rock.
By alternative rock, I mean, you know – I won’t disrespect any band here, but flowery Oasis-lite stuff, not very Bloodstock.
However, you don’t necessarily need to be pure cvlt black metal or ambient thrash noise, everything from grunge, southern rock, all shades of metal, industrial, stoner, doom, y’know… just not indie pop.
(2) Second, your band has to be local(ish) – we are defining local as Tyne and Wear (obviously), Northumberland, Durham, Teeside.
Other than that, there are M2TM in Selby, Carlisle and Glasgow – so you should really play your local competition – we will consider entrants from N.Yorkshire and Scottish Borders providing you are in no other M2TM competition.
(3) Third, your band has to be legal – as in every single member and any crew must be 18 (or over) at the time of your heat. It’s a condition of license and if any of your members have been special enough to be banned from Trillians than this obviously wouldn’t be overturned.
(4) Your band must be DIY – this means no label or genuine DIY label. If your label boss runs it out of his spare room in his lunch break, you’re in. If you are unsure, for example distribution deals or licensing arrangements then drop us the info and we’ll check with the powers that be.
(5) Your band must not have played the New Blood stage previously
(6) Heats are generally a Thursday, Semis on Sunday, Final on Saturday. We can be flexible-ish regarding work arrangements. That doesn’t mean your band gets to automatically go on last (which isn’t the best slot in terms of progression….). So, yeah, you must be able to commit to the rounds.
(7) All the heats are in Trillians and all free entry. This is to keep things simple and consistent for bands and fans and also to help maximise turn out – so you get more people to play to.
(8) There is no entry fee, no ticket sell, no audience quota, no bullshit. I don’t give a shit if you bring 5 people or 50. You are expected, of course, to assist with pushing the show. But, this is for bands yet to find a following as well as those with one. Bringing people is an advantage because particularly in the heats – judging is a mixture of judge opinion and crowd reaction.
(9) We’re open to the idea of non-competing guest bands. For example previous winners or out-of-town bands who will add something to the shows (and not just play to the crowds the locals have brought)
(10) And that overall – there’ll be more than 20 bands and, sadly, only one is sure of going to Bloodstock. However good you are or aren’t, treating it as fun and networking and a gig that is likely to be well attended and you’re winning even if you don’t get through. (And always feel free to nudge Hilly to see if he’s anything else for you…)
So, yes… drop us a line… firstname.lastname@example.org – heats begin in March.
“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?