Tuesday, July 9, 2019

LORD Live At The Evelyn

LORD are one of the premier live bands in Australia. It’s always a pleasure to see them because they don’t get to Melbourne as often as I would like. Of course this time it was at the Evelyn, which isn’t the best place I have ever been to.

It’s become impossible to be unbiased towards LORD in recent times. This is because I am on more than a first name basis with their bassist Andy Dowling. I recently interviewed him for this blog, which was a rewarding experience. Adding to the appeal I caught up with him before they played. He gave me my pre order of their new album Fallen Idols and we mostly talked basketball. I could have left happy after that.

However I was there to see LORD. They kicked off with Footsteps In The Sand, which isn’t a killer opening track. This performance though summed up the quality of their music. There was three new songs with the title track probably being the best of them. From the Dungeon era they played One Step Beyond. This was a pleasant surprise as I love that album. They also did Tarranno Del Mar, which is a personal favourite. For mind though Set In Stone was probably the highlight of the set. The crowd definitely reacted to it and it’s so much better live. They ended with Through The Fire, which came all too quickly for my liking.

LORD are at a point in their career where it’s tough to put everything into their set. I would have liked to hear Digital Lies but it’s hard to fault what they did play. Struggling to have all the songs fit in the one set list is a nice problem to have and this is the case with LORD. Time to convince them to play an hour and a half.

After the gig Andy promised me they would return to Melbourne in summer. I’m already looking forward to it and it gives me time to get familiar with Fallen Idols.

Set list

The Dreaming
Footsteps In The Sand
One Step Behind
Fallen Idols
Kill Or Be Killed
Tarranno Del Mar
Set In Stone
Through The Fire

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Interview with Andy Dowling

Photo by Aaron Sammut

In my mind not much compares to seeing a metal band live. I believe it’s the only way to truly appreciate the music. What makes it unique is the bands generally feel the same way. They put everything into their shows no matter what the size of the crowd.

And what is always particularly impressive is that so many of these bands come from Australia. Yes local acts are responsible for some of my favourite nights ever.

One of these nights happened last year at the Metal United tour. LORD (one of the best live bands I’ve seen) were the headliners and they were as awesome as ever. To top it off after they performed I got to meet their bassist Andy Dowling.

We hit it off immediately and have been exchanging messages ever since. With him being in LORD and hosting two podcasts I thought he would be a great person to interview. Luckily he agreed and this is the result.

With his interests being music, basketball and interviewing interesting people we have a lot in common. So much so that I am already looking towards part 2 in the not too distant future. For now though enjoy this and shout Andy a beer if you have time.

What drew you to the bass guitar?

I actually started out on Trumpet when I was a kid and while the music wasn’t exactly my thing, I really enjoyed playing music with other people and participating in combined school orchestras amongst other things. When I eventually discovered heavier, guitar driven music, I picked up the guitar and became absolutely obsessed with it. I had grand plans to play in a band, become famous, do the rock star thing, etc. You know, the usual stereotypical things that a lot of young kids think about when they start to play guitar.

Unfortunately getting into a band or finding other people to form a band was really tough. Either no bands were looking for guitar players or I couldn’t find anyone to start a new one myself. What I did see however was that there were HEAPS of bands who needed bass players. No one wanted to play bass! It was then that I realised that I wanted to play music with other people more than solely playing guitar. I jumped ship, picked up a bass guitar from a friend and then began to work out how I could contribute with a different instrument. It wasn’t long before I started playing in a number of bands and getting on stage. It’s a bit of a common theme with many bass players with many of us being frustrated guitarists!

Who influenced you musically?

There were certainly many bands that I obsessed over when I was a kid. They dictated my tastes in music including the type of music that I wanted to play. There are the obvious bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest as well as a stack of Century Media bands from the late 90s such as Iced Earth, Jag Panzer and Nevermore. I wouldn’t say that any one band or musician has influenced me but rather collectively over a period of time has helped me gravitate toward like-minded people, playing the music that we play these days.

What albums do you feel everyone should own? 

This is a really difficult question to answer. I don’t think there is any album that everyone should own. Music is such a subjective thing and there are a number of external factors which dictate whether someone enjoys a song or album, such as their age, where they lived, their friends, milestone events and much more. My all-time favourite albums are not just about the music but everything else that I have attached to them when I discovered them. These include, but not limited to, Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime, Metallica’s …and Justice for All, Dokken’s Back for the Attack, Judas Priest’s Preist…live!, Iced Earth’s The Dark Saga, John Farnham’s Age of Reason and the list goes on. While they are albums that have shaped me, I don’t expect everyone to enjoy them.

How do you think metal is going locally in 2019?

I think there are more Australian metal bands than ever that are getting not only worldwide recognition but are releasing all-time/historic albums. We are really fortunate to be able to see these bands play and be a part of their journeys as they continue to grow and dominate on the global stage.

When it comes to live music in Australia, we have the same challenges as many parts of the world when it comes to how people entertain themselves and market choices on whether to go out to a live show or one of the other countless options that people have these days. Despite some challenges, I think it’s really healthy and the optimistic people either working in the industry or are supporting it would no doubt agree. It’s a really exciting time.

How is your music collection going?

I’ve certainly made some big decisions in recent years when it comes to my music collection. For 20+ years I have been obsessed with collecting music and have travelled all over the world wading through dingy, dark music stores finding rare gems and unexpected surprises. It’s been a real obsession and I have so many fond memories from hunting in all sorts of weird and wonderful places.

More recently however I made the decision to part ways with a large portion of my collection where I have opened up eBay and Discogs online stores. It’s been great for me as I have been able to declutter and pass on great music to people who will love it as much as I have.

While I don’t have a lot of my collection anymore, I still have some prized possessions and I look forward to recommencing my global hunts many years down the track after I have achieved a number of other goals I’ve set myself. The chase is often better than the catch!

I read that you include basketball cards when you send away CDs records, etc how did this come about?

Long before I got into heavy music I was completely swept up in the world of basketball. I played it as a kid, I went to NBL games, watched delayed broadcasts of the NBA and collected cards. LOTS of them. Years later I came across my collection of cards and found boxes of doubles which were serving no purpose so I decided that I would include a card with every order that I send out to someone. Just for a bit of fun.

The reactions are great. For a lot of people the card is a real nostalgia kick for those who also grew up during a similar time to me. I even try to match the NBA card to the closest NBA city if someone from the US orders something from me. A little extreme, but it amuses me!

Being a fan of Dungeon what was it like to join LORD?

It was quite surreal at the time and I was really thrown into the deep end. I went from playing with a number of local Brisbane bands doing the odd gig to joining one of Australia’s best known bands in it’s genre, playing all over the country and internationally. I was 20 at the time and had to learn really quickly.

I must have done alright as I’m still in the band now 15 odd years later! These days I don’t often reflect back on it all as the band has become a large part of my life. When I do get the chance to think about it all, I’m flooded with a lot of great memories and I’m really happy with what has happened since. I would never have thought that I would be doing what I am now back when I was trying to play guitar in my bedroom as a kid.

LORD have been going for some time now, what has kept your longevity?

As wanky as it sounds, the music has got to be one of the main factors. If people didn’t enjoy the songs then we would not have lasted as long as we have. It’s not the only factor however as I think we have taken a very long term approach, setting goals, and planning ahead so that there is always something to strive for. We have a fairly patient outlook, knowing that we do not need to be in the spotlight 24/7 and can take breaks along the way to ensure that the overall band as well as us individually are able to balance life and keep things sustainable. We’re pretty realistic with what we want and are super proud of what we have achieved. That certainly makes everything far more enjoyable.

LORD will release the brand-new album Fallen Idols in August, how do you feel about this?

I can only speak on my own behalf, but I honestly believe that Fallen Idols will be the album that defines LORD in years to come. Many of our friends who have supported us over the years will fondly reflect on albums such as Ascendence, Set in Stone or Digital Lies, however I do think that this album has the potential to knock the others out of the park and become a real favourite. It has all of the elements of what has made LORD successful to date and I would be very surprised to discover that any of our inner circle would not enjoy the album.

Of course I am talking the album up WAY too much but I am really excited for the music and how it will be received. It reminds me of everything that I love about the band and I am confident that many other people will feel the same way.

What was the recording process for the new album?

We’re really fortunate to have Tim in our band who records and produces our music. He has his own studio (SLS Studios) where we do pretty much everything in-house. This is a huge advantage for us and allows us to take as much time as needed to create music. Tim would definitely be the best person to speak to when it comes to the recording process but we spent quite an extended time collating ideas that went through numerous drafts/demos/revisions before we had full demos ready for tracking/recording. The recording process itself was spread out over a number of months where Tim painstakingly picked apart, scrutinized and pushed these songs to be the best they possibly can be. He’s done an incredible job.

How many new songs do you think will make it into the live set?

At the time of doing this interview, we are half way through our first Australian tour for the new album and we already have 3 songs from the new album in the set. The crowd is really enjoying them and we’re having a blast getting used to new material on stage. I can see some of these songs being permanent fixtures in our sets for many years to come. Over the coming months I can see us including/testing out another 3 to 4 more songs to include. We’ll see how that all pans out.

Lord Tim’s banter with the crowd is always a highlight of a live show, do you ever worry that political correctness will influence the way he interacts with the fans?

I don’t think Tim has ever been politically incorrect on stage or to a level which would be of any concern. I’m all about being compassionate and taking consideration of others, however the name of the game is intent. Words are powerful but the intent behind them is what defines their true impact. There’s a time and a place for everything and I don’t believe that we need to be overly sensitive to all words

Playing live seems to come naturally to LORD, why do you think this is?,

We have always said that we take our music seriously, but not ourselves. We love to get on stage and play for people and we’re fortunate to play music which is high energy and allows us to be somewhat theatrical in what we do.

As much as it’s about the art, we know that we are ultimately performers and need to entertain the people who decide to spend money to come and see us play. That awareness has ensured that we always know why we get out there to play and makes it really enjoyable for us.

What are your favourite songs to play live?

The enjoyable factor really comes down to the crowd and how they interact with us. A song that feels really awkward to play in the rehearsal room can completely surprise us live when a crowd is getting into it. It can also happen the other way where we think a song is going to go over really well live but ends up completely flopping. We can never pick it! For me personally, I love playing songs where there is a bit of crowd participating. Footsteps in the Sand, Tarranno Del Mar and I’ve got to say, one of our new songs Kill or be Killed is going over really well live. I could see that song being a real fixture long term in our set. It’s been really fun to play it!

LORD records obscure covers, what’s the process in deciding these songs?

There is no rhyme or reason when it comes to cover songs and what we decide to record. In most cases it’s either one of us or all of us together listening to a song on the radio, Spotify, at a show, at home etc and then thinking “this would be fun to cover!” and it sort of goes from there. In fact, the other day Mark, Tim and I were driving through Sydney together and we were listening to a classic metal album from the 80s and spoke about how one song in particular would be a lot of fun to play live. Time will tell if anything comes from it!

The other cool thing about the covers that we do is that collectively we have really broad tastes in music. We primarily love our metal and hard rock, however we can appreciate a great song no matter the genre. Our covers have come from bands and artists that quite a few musical styles. I think that’s what makes them fun and why people enjoy them so much.

You also host 2 podcasts what got you into this?

I remember getting into podcasts years ago through a friend and was amazed at how much I was enjoying something as simple as ‘a bunch of people talking’. After a while I thought that maybe I could do one myself and I was keen to improve not only my conversational skills but to also get out of my comfort zone and speak to lots of different people, not only in music but in a wide range or industries with lots of unexpected people. This was how The Andy Social Podcast came to be and now close to 190 episodes later, I have been fortunate to speak with Psychologists, Paleontologists, Astrophysicists, Mathematicians, Musicians, TV Personalities, Sporting Legends and more.

For those that are unaware what’s the difference between The Andy Social & Self Starter Podcasts?

The Andy Social Podcast is a long form conversations podcast with very few rules. I speak to anyone who I find interesting and try to dig deeper below the mundane/usual questions that many people expect from an interview. I also try to find people that may not normally get to do interviews and speak about what they do, especially in a more casual environment. This results in some really exciting conversations where guests talk about things that they have never discussed before.

When it comes to Self Starter, I launched this a couple of years later and this was to scratch an itch that I had (and still have) around the world of self employment. I have been fascinated in the concept of being self employed and people who create their own businesses. Living down the south coast of New South Wales, you often find very tired, old and repetitive myths around lack of opportunity, lack of jobs, automation destroying employment etc. With the internet alone but also unlocking individual potential, I knew that there are more opportunities than ever before. I decided to launch a podcast that focused on Small Business, Self Employment and Freelancing where I interviewed people who are out there taking the plunge to create their own desirable lifestyle. The reaction has been fantastic and I received a finalist nomination for ‘Host of the Year’ for the 2018 Australian Podcast Awards. I’m in the midst of Season 2 of the podcast at the moment and while it is completely different to Andy Social, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

What are some of your favourite podcasts you have done?

Andy Social definitely has some of the coolest conversations I have ever had. People like NBL Hall of Famer Leroy Loggins (episode 96), Astrophysicist Dr Tamara Davis (episode 104), Vinny Appice of Dio and Black Sabbath (episode 59), Ladybeard (episode 165) and TV legend Tony Barber (episode 63). The list goes on - There are so many!

Who from the metal world would you like to get onto your podcast?

A lot of the metal world are well versed when it comes to interviews so it’s always a bit harder to get a good podcast with people who normally look at an interview as “going through the motions”. There are heaps of inspirational figures in the metal world that I would love to talk to, but I would need to be able to get them away from the noise and have them dedicate at least an hour to have a really good chat. Not always easy! I recently had a chat with David Ellefson about an unrelated project and is someone who I would absolutely love to talk to at length down the track.  Other people would be iconic people from my teenage years in the music world such as Biff Byford, Chris DeGarmo, Jon Schaffer, Klaus Meine and more. I could go on forever! While he isn’t metal, John Farnham is my moby dick of podcast guests. It may never happen, but that would be the ultimate guest that a wide range of people, including many metal fans, would absolutely enjoy.

Has the stereotypes associated with metal ever affected your podcasts?

Maybe not as much as people may expect. I have definitely had the odd challenge convincing people to carve out some time to chat to me but more often than not people are really receptive to it all. I think the old stereotypes around metal and metal fans/musicians has been changing dramatically over the years. Many rock/metal fans of the 70s and 80s are getting older now so the acceptance of the genre and its lifestyle elements are far more accepted these days.

There are many examples of metal fans, musicians and industry people who are entrepreneurial in spirit, open minded and willing to branch out to challenge themselves personally and to make a wider impact in the community.

How do you balance everything you do?

With great difficulty! I think the best approach is to plan ahead, be intentional and disciplined in whatever you are doing. It’s amazing what can be done in small 15 minute windows through the day. I always plan my day out the day before, write short/prioritized lists and time block non-negotiable periods in my day to get things done. I’m far from perfect at it but it’s been extremely helpful for and I know that I can do even more if I keep working on my discipline!

What are your plans for the future?

For the immediate future, our new album “Fallen Idols” comes out on the 1st of August and we are putting a lot of time into promoting that ensuring that as many metal fans get to hear the album as possible. It’s been almost 6 years since the last studio album and a lot has changed in the market, so we are really putting a lot into this as we are confident that this album could be seen as one of our best in the years to come. Pre-orders have been going great and people who have been picking up early copies of the album at our shows have been giving us some amazing feedback.

So far so good and the first pressing of our album, which includes a number of bonus tracks, is set to sell out before release date. Amazing!

Long term we have international touring, video clips, more releases and I also have more podcast projects, networks and many other fun and exciting ideas to sink my teeth into. Lots to come!

To keep up with Andy go to:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Interview with Emily Thehead

Photo credit: Ester Segarra
The Corner Hotel always provides lifelong memories. Firewind, Sabaton and Accept all standout but It’s not always the music. Sometimes it’s simply meeting people, like the time I met Emily Thehead.

We met after witnessing a stack of older metal bands from Melbourne. I was on my way out towards the bar when I hear Emily yell “I’ll race ya” as she took off towards the door. To make it even more interesting I catch up with her and we immediately talk about Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Comparing the two is one of my favourite discussions to have so I was definitely enjoying myself. Unfortunately the conversation didn’t last long but thanks to Facebook we have been able to stay in contact.

Just as well to because Emily actually lives in Sweden so she as you will see below gets to work at Sweden Rock. Seeing as how it’s one of my dreams to get there I am slightly envious of this.

Anyway I have been keen to get back into writing and I noticed that Emily is about to embark on a extraordinary journey. She is about to start the LEGACY OF THE BREAST tour, which goes from July 17 to September 15, 2019. Given this I decided to interview her to get her thoughts on the tour, her movie and of course Iron Maiden. Enjoy and most importantly up the irons!

What got you into heavy metal?

Woah, believe it or not, for me this is a super complex and deeply philosophical question. But, for simplicities sake, I’ll break it down to the basics: the music (obviously), the aesthetics, and the deeper, intangible connection I feel to it. Though if I had to put it down to a memory, two spring to mind. When I heard Queen for the first time at around 3 or 4 years of age (the epic rock n’ roll breakout in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in particular), and then a few years later when I watched the ‘November Rain’ video clip by Guns N’ Roses. I became utterly obsessed with that video clip because it made complete and total sense to me – everything from their clothes, the imagery, the story…I was captivated from the moment I first watched it and have never looked back since.

What is it about Iron Maiden that makes them your favourite band?

Again, a paradoxically simple yet difficult question – especially since there are many answers, but again I’ll keep it simple. I think there’s something monumental and magnificent about their musicianship – they go deeper than just being a band writing “great songs”. There’s some sort of transcendental quality about the music that manages to penetrate my essence and move me in ways no other thing, let alone music, can. Having said that, another reason why I love them so much is for their humour, intelligence, and humility – in that they would probably read my former paragraph and think I was exaggerating. Rest assured, I’m not.

Do you have a favourite era of the band?

Pretty much the entire 1980s era because I think their clothes were majestic and have influenced how I dress in every way! Whilst I of course think all of their albums are excellent in their own unique way, the first seven really maintain the band’s foundation. The bottom of the pyramid, so to speak.

You have quite the Iron Maiden collection what are some of your favourites from it and what would you like to have that you haven’t got yet?

Don’t be fooled! If you’re referring to the location where I filmed the promo video for my fundraiser – as much as I’d love for it to be my place, it’s unfortunately not. It’s actually my friend Rasmus Stavnsborg’s house; he’s a Guinness World Record holder for biggest Iron Maiden collection in the world. When I visited his place, I could barely contain myself – his collection is absolutely, positively insane! It was an honour and privilege to be amongst such artefacts and I yearn to return!

What other bands do you like?

A lot. At the risk of sounding boring, I mainly love the classics of select musical genres – everything from Deep Purple to Depeche Mode, both of whom I listen to a lot. There’s also a lot of underground bands I get into, ranging from obscure black metal to industrial – but I have to be pretty selective and careful about listening to certain bands and certain music due to being very sensitive to it. I take music and the influence it has over my life extremely seriously.

You get to work at Sweden Rock, how did this come about?

One of my regular jobs is at Sweden’s most iconic and internationally renowned jazz and blues bar. I guess the manager for the Sweden Rock bar saw me working one day and was impressed enough to ask me to work at one of the busiest bars at Sweden Rock festival – which was a plus for me since it’s set perfectly between the two main stages.

What have been some of your favourite concerts?

I saw Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow recently and it was absolutely amazing. They played all of the classics and their vocalist totally nailed the Dio songs. Def Leppard at the same festival also blew me away – I lost my voice from screaming along with all the lyrics. Other than that, I saw Root, Tormentor, and Grim Reaper play a few months ago and they made such an impression on me that I couldn’t stop talking about them for days afterwards. And, of course, Iron Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast show last year -– I’d seen Maiden play before, but this show in particular was what catapulted me from being a mega-fan to a total die-hard!

You’re making a film called Keeping Abreast, what will this be about?

Fingers crossed we make it! Funding is our biggest issue at the moment, but we’ve recently made some applications so here’s to hoping. I’ve lost my mother, grandmother, and aunt to breast cancer and have myself tested positive to having the BRCA-1 genetic mutation. Basically, the film will be about my journey in trying to understand how female breasts are perceived across cultures, since I’ll be removing my own in a preventative double mastectomy. I’ve kind of tried to steer away from the film being about “me” per se, but it seems I am the “product” and there’s always a need to follow a protagonist in a story.

Your life has been deeply impacted by breast cancer, how much does the world still need to learn about the disease?

That’s difficult to say, you know? On the one hand, I feel like EVERYONE basically knows what it is and how devastating of an illness it is – since the likelihood of someone knowing someone who knows someone with it is extremely high. But then the conspiracy theorist in me sometimes thinks that since it’s a women’s issue, a lot of males are uncomfortable talking about it beyond the basics. Even from personal experience, the most awkward and weird responses I’ve had when I’ve told someone about my breasts and having them removed have always come from men, never women.

In July you embark on the LEGACY OF THE BREAST tour what made you decide to do this?

After seeing Maiden six times last year, I fell into a mild state of mania and decided it was the greatest show of all time and that I needed to see it again. Parallel to this, I also knew my impending operation is coming up and I kind of wanted to do as many shows as possible while I was still “whole”, if that makes sense? That, plus I’ll use any excuse to travel since I love exploring this planet!

You will see Iron Maiden 24 times whilst on tour are you hoping they’ll mix up their set list just for you?

Well, I know for a fact they won’t. And that’s okay! I knew that when I booked all of the tickets and, to be honest, I think that’s great anyway. I even have a few regrets that I’m not going to enough shows. A lot of people think I’m crazy for seeing the same show over and over again but, as I say to them, “It’s better than a heroin addiction.”

You have created a fundraiser to coincide with the tour where the proceeds go to Club de la Mama INEN Neoplásicas in Peru., what is it about Peru that made you do this?

I’ve been to Peru four times, and that place has truly had a spiritually beneficial impact on me. Without getting too personal, I can say that my experiences there have definitely saved my life and helped me become the person I am today. Sadly, it’s not exactly the richest country in the world and I feel like I really wanted to give something back to it, if even on a small scale. I’m just really lucky that in the country I live in (and the country where I was born), I have access to excellent medical treatment and the preventative double mastectomy is basically free of charge – including reconstruction, should I choose to get it. Every now and then I remember there are women in Peru in the same predicament, or worse, as me, who don’t have access to the same medical treatment. It’s awful.

For those that will follow your journey on Instagram what can they expect?

Well, I’ll be posting every single day about all of the adventures and fun stuff that happens along the way. I’m going to 24 shows; 22 cities; 15 states; 3 provinces and 2 countries – all within an 8-week period, mind you. That’s pretty insane! I will be documenting as much as possible – I’m a very curious spirit so, besides all things Maiden, people can expect to see me wandering through graveyards, obscure historic landmarks, and no doubt getting up to all sorts of mischief!

You’ll also be covering the tour for a German magazine, how did this come about?

My friend owns and runs the best German magazine for heavy and extreme metal; Deaf Forever. We’d been exchanging emails about Iron Maiden (of course) and after I told him what I was doing, he asked me to write a tour report.

What are you planning to do after the tour finishes?

You mean after the torrential waves of crippling depression? Haha! Why saving up for the next tour, of course!

To support Emily’s  LEGACY OF THE BREAST tour go to:

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Download Festival Melbourne 2019

While I always wanted to go to a festival I was apprehensive because I felt it may be too difficult.  The long day, the unpredictable weather and potentially not having a great view didn’t fill me with confidence.  Last year I decided though to give it a go. This was because the lineup for Download was too good to pass up.  Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer, Anthrax and Judas Priest are all favorites.  The opportunity to see them all in the one day made it worth taking on Flemington Racecourse. 

It was torture waiting for the gig to come around.  I can’t remember the exact length of time but I potentially had the tickets for six months.  Then with less than a month to go Ozzy pulled out which was disappointing. 

The day finally arrived and the first band I saw was Behemoth. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them again.  However, they did have excellent stage presence and the crowd seemed into them. 

Soon after they finished Anthrax took to a nearby stage.  This was pretty much a greatest hits package.  They didn’t play anywhere near long enough which was a shame. Anthrax deserved more time, forty minutes doesn’t do them justice. Hopefully they’ll return soon on a headlining tour. 

After Anthrax I took some time to check out what else was going on. I caught up with mates and saw Code Orange and Alien Weaponry. Code Orange were a hardcore band that didn’t do much for me. The highlight being that they played in a circus like tent.  I would have loved to see a band I liked play there.  Alien Weaponry get credit for being so young with the band having three 17 year old guys from New Zealand. Their alternative style of metal being alright but regardless of what I thought at such a young age they certainly have a future. 

I returned to the main stage area to see Alice in Chains. They almost stole the show. Their near hour set was super impressive to the point that I wished I was more familiar with their music.  Mostly though, it was all about Would which has always been a favorite so hearing it live was certainly memorable.  I definitely want to see them again.

Immediately following was Judas Priest, the band I wanted to see the most.  Kicking off with Firepower they were incredible.  Given how long they have been going they did a pretty good job of playing songs from throughout their career.  Personal highlight was when they played Turbo Lover because I’ve pretty much memorized it.  To make it even more significant they followed it up with Rising From Ruins which is probably the best song from Firepower.  Halford, at 67 was taking deep breaths at times but still seems to have plenty left.

Finally, it was Slayer. Being their final world tour this was an emotional performance.  I am not in the loop like I use to be so this was a nice reminder as to how much I love Slayer. Fatigue had well and truly settled in but I managed to soldier on. This was not easy as Slayer charged through songs like Mandatory Suicide, Postmortem and in particular Chemical Warfare.  With Ozzy’s no show this meant we pretty much got the full Slayer set which I appreciated.  It was the perfect ending to Download. 

 This was a great day of metal. Flemington Racecourse wasn’t too much of an obstacle course and it was a well organized event. While there are still considerations I now have the festival bug. Hopefully Download can have a similar lineup again next year and I can do it all again. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Dee Snider Live At The Croxton

There weren’t too many bands that I wanted to see more than Twisted Sister.  So while it wasn’t the same, I was pretty pumped to be going to see Dee Snider. In my eyes he is a legend.  His outspoken ways make him more interesting than most in the metal world. 

This would also be my first time going to The Croxton. I doubt that it would be as good as The Corner but I heard good things so I was intrigued. 

Starting off the night was called The Blacktides.  They definitely weren’t my thing, they were a two piece band that were average at best. The main problem was that they seemed out of place for a Dee Snider gig. They didn’t seem like an act that would have been inspired by his music. This was a shame because there are plenty of bands that would have done a better job. 

As Judas Priest’s Exciter played Dee Snider and his band took to the stage. What followed was a combination of songs from throughout his career.  Although I would have like some more Twisted Sister I was please with his performance. 

At 64 he sounded terrific and was energetic on stage.  Of his solo material Tomorrow’s No Concern was the standout.  When it came to Twisted Sister there was plenty to enjoy. We’re Not Gonna Take It was sung by all.  The Clive Palmer controversy only adding to its appeal.  Personal favorites like You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll and Under The Blade were both brilliant.  For me though I Wanna Rock was the best song he played.  Snider got the crowd fully involved in this one and it’s something I never tire of.

The show to a close with the ACDC classic Highway To Hell.  While this sounded great I found it to be a bit of a waste.  With a back catalogue like Snider has it would have nice to hear one more Twisted Sister song.  I would have like to hear What You Don’t Know Sure Can Hurt You, but you can’t have everything. 

After the show I found time to catch up with many of the metal gang and we were all in agreement that it had been a good gig. This rounded out the night well. 

It had been 34 years between visits to Australia for Dee Snider and he promised it wouldn’t be that long again.  We can only hope that’s the case and that he’ll be back doing his thing sooner rather than later.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Metal United Melbourne 2018

It’s been way too long since I have been to a gig. I certainly made up for lost time with my recent trip to Max Watts, formerly the Hi-Fi Bar. This is clearly one of the best venues to see music in Melbourne. And what a pleasure it was to be there to witness our version of the Metal United tour.

I turned up and caught up with Mr Juicy who happened to be going past.  I was tempted to join him on his trip to a cigar bar, maybe another time. Anyway once inside I found Damnations Day already playing. They are just brilliant.  Blessed with one of the finest vocalists going Damnations Day remain a premier live act in this country. Sadly their set was not that long. Highlights were The Witness and A World Awakens.

In between bands there was romance in the air. I received a kiss from my old mate Shane. I also got one from Mark the lead singer of Damnations Day, which was much appreciated.

In Malices Wake  were up next. This was their best performance but I’m not that into them. There are just too many options when it comes to thrash metal.

After that it was Alarum. They were solid without being spectacular. I was left not knowing whether they are a quality band or not.

Vanishing Point took to the stage next. Unfortunately I found myself sitting on the wrong side. For years I have diligently attempted to be on the side the lead guitarist Chris Porcianko and he decides to change it up. They remain one of my all time favourite local bands but this wasn't them at their best. I still enjoyed most of what they did, highlight was Distant Is The Sun.

Lord were the headliners on this occasion and I couldn’t have been More pleased. This was the closest I had ever been, which made it more memorable. It also helped that it was a well rounded set. I joined in with the pirate themed Terranno Del Mar as I always do. I also got right into Set In Stone, which has become Gary’s and I song. Covering all bases Lord briefly played part of the Maiden classic Heaven Can Wait to a tremendous reaction.

Immediately after their set I was fortunate enough to meet Andy Dowling the base player for Lord. To say I was thrilled is a massive understatement. A true gentleman and someone I have a lot in common with. I quickly suggested double dipping by being guests on each other’s podcast. Now to find the time to get it done.

This was a beautiful end to the night. If only every night of metal was like this.

Monday, June 4, 2018

0020 With Hoard World Part 2

In this episode of The Lachlan McLeod Show, Hoard World Founder Anthony Davies returns. He and Lachlan discuss the consequences of not being able to buy from Amazon USA and UK. They talk about what the implications could be for them not only as toy collectors but as people who have relied on the site for its accessibility and ease for many years.


They then discuss women in the sex industry. They talk of how there isn’t enough positive portrayals about women in the industry and how they would like to see this change.


Anthony can be found online at:

















Lachlan can be found online at:







Check out this episode!