Monday 30 September 2019

Mike Herrera: Songs and Stories - The DanceHouse Manchester

OK be prepared for full on fanboy mode...

Fanboy Background 
MxPx, a huge influence on my punk fandom, so much so it obviously created my username and blog sign off name. I was originally introduced to MxPx Doin' Time in the late 90's by my best friend (and fellow sometimes blogger) Richard.

We started our early teens heavily into music 80% of the time was Green Day, Blink-182, Mest, MxPx, Millencolin, Goldfinger, New Found Glory, Anti-Flag, Offspring, Stiff Little Fingers...heck the list goes on! But there are a few bands that top the list, forever in our playlists and often start most our nights out or long car rides to gigs, especially... MxPx - Punk Rawk Show and Doin' Time, was perfect for our early teen rebellions.

We've seen so many of those bands countless times at festivals and gigs but over the years I've continued to support Mest and MxPx via cd, mp3, sharing and recently crowdfunding, fully expecting them to just be bands of Nostalgia and bands i only ever get to listen via some form of media. 
Last year we met Tony Lovato and saw Mest in the UK, ticking off all but 1 of those original teen influence bands. It was amazing to stand a talk with Tony, humbling and awesome... leaving 1 more person/band.

MxPx have always been there, never been able to get to see them live. During the crowdfunding of the self title MxPx last year I so wished to be able to pay for the personal appearance reward... if i didn't have a house and commitments I truly would have, but this is real life, I messaged MxPx, PxPx and Mike directly to get the band to tour the UK! Heck I scowered US and Canada gigs to see if I could get to them to coincide with some of the trips I already had out there.

I had given the hope of seeing, let alone, meeting MxPx/Mike.

Fast forward, Fireball 2019
Less Than Jake and Goldfinger billed at the Ritz Manchester, I want to go, but realistically I saw LTJ in august and Goldfinger a few years back. Money was low, my best mate was days away from his 2nd child and I was reside to not going alone..... until I saw that Mike was actually bassist for Goldfinger now!! Not only that, he was bringing is Songs and Stories gig to the UK 1x ticket, Booked to fireball.

I also got ready at 9am for the Songs and Stories sales release... boom, tickets 1 and 2 we're mine :D (just needed a buddy, to go with or id go alone to be honest)
Fireball... going alone, awesome bands and if i get to at least see Mike that's going to be cool enough.I go alone, enjoy the fucking awesomeness of GF and  LTJ. 2 songs from the end of Goldfingers set Mike says we'll be at the Merch stand after this... I've already bought a GF shirt 30mins ago but fuck I head over to that stand immediately... Ha, sweaty and happy I met Mike!  (See last week's blog)

Fast forward 6 days;
Mike Herrera Songs and Stories 

It was a very intimate acoustic gig, maybe 150 people, we're sat front row (at this point it took my Mother with me - long story which will become clear soon - shes a music lover but new to Mike Herrera, although had listened to my punk collections for 20+ years). 

Listening to just Mike, his guitar and some amazing stories - from the influences of old songs to new songs, from drinking tequila and eating Taco Bell, to being told his daughter loves him 'All of it'. 

I was not sure if this was going to be twee or awkward, I just didn't know what to expect. It was neither of that, Mike was a true performer, either on stage with 10 other people with a crowd full of rowdy punk rockers or alone onstage with a handful of fans - He knows how to create a great time. Major Respect.

The Stories were Topical, Relevant, Recent (eg saving 2 people from drowning in the canal in Manchester) and what really got me was the Mental Health, the struggles we all go through - and Mikes recognition of this... more over by doing a beautiful rendition of Millencolin's No Cigar (I think I fell in love with this)
[I didnt record much, but this as so worth it - Apologies I did this in vertical for Instagram story- though the horizontal ones will remain private anyway]

Also got a cool snippet of Doin' Time and Lets Ride, but those are both for my Buddies would couldn't be here due to New Family arrivals!!

I don't want to go too much into the show because I think you should experience this yourself, either as MxPx fans, Mike Herrera Fans, or just genuine Music Lovers. There is still time to catch the London Gig or I'm sure this will be available in some other form of media in the future.

The best part is Mike's love of the fans, to get out there and publised his meeting spots/time - without charging 'meet and greets' bullshit.

(More over he did something extremely special I'll post a little later on socials and then re-share here later )

Overall - 10/10
Excellent mix of well delivered stories & Perfect performance and vocals!

Favourites (if I had to)

Lets Ride - Reminds me of my time in the Rockies earlier this year
Doin Time - All Time Favourite of mine
No Cigar - Just wow, the story and influence on Mike, it really hit home.

[My Mum's] Late Again, she relates to never being on time (In fairness she was ready at 6pm exactly so shes got better now x)

Cheers Mike, hope to see you and the rest of MxPx real soon.

For Now, Mx

Thursday 26 September 2019

An American Werewolf in Manchester - Ice Nine Kills

Funny how things work out, isn't it? One day, on a long car trip, probably to some dam on some lake near snake pass in the peak district, the wife and I had some random metal Spotify playlist on. One random track on this random playlist came from a band called Ice Nine Kills. After a little chuckle at how random the name of the band playing this random song from the random playlist was, we listened to the song. "The American Nightmare" was the song, and good lord, it kicked ass!

After a few days, we listened to this band again, this time they were singing a ridiculously catchy song about Crystal Lake. "Isn't that where Jason Vorhees killed a bunch of teenagers?" One of us asked the other.

After a few more days and weeks, we found ourselves getting obsessed with this album from Ice Nine Kills. "The Silver Scream" is the band's fifth album, and every song on the (heavy as fuck) album is inspired by a different horror film. Fantastic!!! 

After a little look on Google, we found out that Ice Nine is a chemical compound from a sci-fi novel, that when a single drop touches water, it turns it to ice. Ice Nine, does indeed, Kill. But, more importantly, on this Google search we discovered that Ice Nine Kills were playing very soon, very close. We obviously bought tickets. Funny how things work out, isn't it?

That gig was on Wednesday. In Manchester's Club Academy. The support came from a lively bunch of young lads from Yorkshire called Values, they were endearing and engaging and heavy enough to warm this already sweltering room up for the main event.

Before the band came on, the usual backing track of AC\DC and Rage songs were replaced by orchestral horror movie scores. That was until the crowd unexpectedly broke into a tuneful rendition of "that" Smash Mouth song. Not sure why, but it was wonderful.

The band burst on a stage decorated with red balloons and chainsaws and pounded into that very song we fell in love with, "The American Nightmare" was every bit as bad-ass live as it was that first time we heard it. Every member of the band wearing a costume inspired by the songs from the album. Singer Spencer Charnas conducting the crowd with a series of masks and props, and his unsettling body language cut the figure of the very slasher villains he was singing about.

The whole gig was a balls to the wall metal fest and a celebration of all things horror, a great way to get everyone in the mood for Halloween next month.

Notable highlights from the set were, Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired 'Savages' which had the whole room jumping and moshing and singing along, and the song they closed with, inspired by Pennywise the Dancing Clown 'IT is The End', which had the frontman, donned in a creepy clown mask ensuring the basement venue that "We all float down here".

It's been ages since I had so much fun! This is a great band and certainly one to keep an eye out for, especially if you're into this new generation of Metalcore bands. For fans of While She Sleeps, In Flames and the mighty Parkway Drive, these guys make a lot of noise, and are doing something a bit different. It's unique, it's fun, it's clever and I reckon it's just the beginning of the golden age of the Silver Scream.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Fireball 2019! Goldfinger & Less Than Jake

This was my first actual gig I've been to alone, I've seen bands by myself at festivals, but never  full gig alone... why haven't I done this before? IT WAS AMAZING.

Having seen Less Than Jake at Slamdunk and Goldfinger not long back, as well as trying to save money I almost gave this a miss. Then I saw Mike Herrera was playing on bass and he also announced an acoustic gig at the Dancehouse... Well I couldn't say no, ticket bought and it was worth it. Not managed to see MxPx live, despite the huge influence Doin Time and Punk Rawk Show has had on my life, so I needed to get there. 

I mean Punk, ska, LTJ, Goldfinger at the Ritz with a little bit of MxPx touch. There. There. There! It was everything you expect and more, and finally got to hear Rest Of My Life live! Amazing.

I'm going to sign off now but expect more next week


Saturday 21 September 2019

Crazy week in the Punk Genre

How amazing is this week! Blink-182 dropped their Latest Album NINE. Green Day announcement for Single, album and world tour with none other than Fall Out Boy and Weezer. We have Goldfinger and Less Than Jake playing the UK this week... and fuck! Mike Harrera is going an intimate gig too. I've said it before that MxPx are the last in my bucket list of Punk legends I really need to see, and whilst it's not The full set up, I'm so buzzin about Mike!!
I never expected to see Mest, ever, after 15 years they turned up at little old Town Bolton, UK. And even more so meeting and chatting with Tony for a few hours showed how humble and gracious he was.
And definitely never anticipated on seeing MXPX anytime soon... So much so I'm going alone just to see them.

We've seen Millencolin, last year was Less Than Jake for the first time. All this on top of previous idols such as Billie, Tre and Mike! Blink 182 a few years ago, Matt Skiba too!! Antiflag last year (twice). Stiff little fingers (every year they tour).
Amongst a raft of up and coming new Punk stars (False Heads and so on).

But honestly MxPx and Mike are the final one my list, to sit and have a pint with, shake the hand of the guy that set out my music path. Doin Time and Punk Rock Show and the pinnacle tracks of all great playlist.

Major stoked for Monday and Sunday this week! Mx

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