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  • NEWCASTLE - M2TM Newcastle - 2017 Winners and Write Up 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.

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    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…

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    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?

  • 17952861 614011308798728 5543381475842860713 n - M2TM - Heat 6 Write Up 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.

  • 17796685 1292627924188740 2464819685638078272 n - M2TM Newcastle - Heat 5 write up 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…

  • ketch - M2TM Newcastle Heat 4 write up 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.

  • iptv - M2TM Newcastle : Heat 2 Write Up M2TM Newcastle : Heat 2 Write Up

    Although most of our heats are a Thursday, to avoid other clashes, Heat 2 was a nice midweek warmer.

    Four competing bands again this week and interesting mix of bands and styles.

    “We’re from the bad side of the Tyne,” announce Sunderland band Razorjack who play an enjoyable and competent slice of modern metal, influenced by the likes of Slipknot, they’ve a mild stage presence and some interesting songs.  A cover of ‘Gay Bar’ is also quite amusing and they warm up nicely.

    It’s another good way to start the evening, good quality and hopefully they will grow in confidence.

    Teeside Thrashes Trendkill (I love alliterations.   Mr Scorer called them the Parmo Pantera.  If you don’t know what a Parmo is, then, you need one in your life… your arterys don’t, but you do.)
    Fuck me, what they been feeding kids these days?  The teens deliver face-melting thrash.

    They’ve travelled quite a distance to be here, but are going home with some new found friends.

    Horrorbilly band Dead By Dawn remind me one of the things I dislike about the competition is the inevitability a good band will have to go out.  They’ve got a bit experience and play a very enjoyable set of songs about zombies, more zombies, reanimation of zombies and general horror songs.  Massive kudos that they carried on despite illness to their drummer, borrowing Dan from the bar to drum their set in his break.  He did this for Lovely Wife last year.  He’ll get through one day.

    I did wonder, with the standards tonight, if last year’s finalists I’ll Play the Villain could fall at the first round.  But, they play tonight with a massive whim of confidence, added to their mix of melodic metalcore (alliterations!) and they take the competition and grab it by the balls and punch it a few times.  Last time round, I enjoyed them in the heats, loved them in the Semis but they weren’t on top form in the final, tonight’s performance is probably better than their semi performance last time and they’re going to be one to beat.

    Talking to IPTV afterwards I discuss that the 4 bands already through could make one Hell of a final already – and – there’s still 4 more heats to go…. eek…

    So, genuinely, there were no bad bands tonight, but congratulations to Trendkill and I’ll Play the Villain who join Kraken Waker and Blood Moon Bandits in the semi’s in May.


  • FB IMG 1487328273879 - M2TM Newcastle : Heat 1 Write Up M2TM Newcastle : Heat 1 Write Up

    After the excitement of the 2016 competition, I was very excitied to see what 2017 would bring.

    Last year we had 5 heats and there was a mixture of applications and me nudging a few bands asking if they might like to apply.
    This time round we’ve filled 6 heats without me having to nudge anyone, as we had more than enough applications.

    Now, when I took on the 2016 competition – I hoped that most of the bands would get some form of benefit from it – the general feedback being many had, some seeing it as a good networking opportunity, playing with bands they wouldn’t normally play with, making new friends, showcasing themselves to the venues, other promoters, etc and while there can only be one prize winner, getting as many to benefit as possible is a plus.

    There’s a lot happening in Newcastle at the moment – and I think it’s very exciting. I don’t want to start name dropping or anything (because I am likely to miss someone!) and I don’t get to nearly as many shows as I would like to – but there are some good DIY promoters doing amazing things for underground bands of most genres.
    The net result of this is that a clash was inevitable – we’d moved a few dates around to try to avoid clashes, but tonight we end up clashing with Anthrax… oh… hope we didn’t take too many from them.

    The plus of this is it means that although Yersin draw the cursed opening slot, they have a full bar to play to of people finishing their pints before going to see Anthrax. Quite a few stick around to watch them also.
    To give an idea, they have a setlist of 12 songs and stick within the 25 minute slot, loud, punky crust – and whilst I didn’t not their track names, I did think with a closing song like “Dave Mustaine Must Die” they’d be ideal for Bloodstock 😉

    The set is abrassive, energetic and enthralling – they keep people in the venue (apologies to the opening band at Anthrax) and their quality is superb.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the bar has been set. What away to open the competition.

    And – spoiler alert, they DON’T go through. Although a very close third place.


    Kraken Waker took slot number 2 – lots of beards, riffs and groove metal. Opening with ‘Born with a Beard’ is about the size of it, they also manage to retain some of the Anthrax stragglers and soldier professionally despite seeing a lot of the venue having to reluctantly leave – they’re here to have a good time and it was unsurprising to see them go through.

    Stoner Witch is a bit of a surprise package and I think he’s picked up quite a few new fans. Solo acoustic performer, but yep, dark, dank and a good use of minimalism.
    At first a lot of people do not know what to think, but by the third song there’s a lot less chatter as he captivates everyone.
    I feel things were tough on him, but he held his head up and did himself proud and I’d hope this at least scores himself some attention.

    The last competing band, Blood Moon Bandits are also the last entrants, being recommended for the competition after a stunning gig at Trillians last week – they’re straight up high energy rock n roll – and one of the few bands in the competition to have a clear considered image, a bit like a glossier Misfits.
    They done well and raised the roof and helped cap off a very good quality opening heat.

    Finally, Dirty King play a special guest set and, you know, they were always a good band – but you can see how far they’ve come in the year since I first met them. This is now the 5th time I’ve seen them and they just seem so focused and confident, I think their M2TM run last year has really helped them come on.
    Unfortunately they have to cut a little short, but, wow, it is good to see them back.

    Roll on Heat 2…