This Saturday, it was time for the annual Stone Free Festival at London’s o2, and new to this years festival, was the Orange Amps stage in the foyer of the arena, providing festival goers with banging tunes from the very first second they set foot in the venue.

THE ORANGE AMPS STAGE
Evil Blizzard: 18.00 – 18.45
Buck & Evans: 17.00 – 17.30
Massive: 16.00 – 16.30
Massive Wagons: 15.00 – 15.30
Death Valley Knights: 14.00 – 14.30
Tequila Mockingbyrd: 13.00 – 13.30
Riff Rath: 12.00 – 12.30

Evil Blizzard delivering a killer set at the Orange Amps stage. When one bassist just won’t cut it…

As far as for the rest of the festival, it saw the likes of bands and artists such as The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Blue Oyster Cult (among others) who played their 1972 self titled debut album in it’s entirety at a sweaty and packed Indigo2.

Blue Oyster Cult at Indigo2 – Photo via Stone Free’s Facebook page

In the main room, we saw performances from 70’s glam rockers Sweet who delivered a whole bunch of bangers such as Ballroom Blitz, Teenage Rampage, Fox on the Run, and Hellraiser. Following Sweet’s performance there was a half an hour break leaving you with just enough time for toilet breaks and running to the bar to buy some pretty expensive pints to spill all over yourself and everyone else while awkwardly trying to parkour your way through the crowd getting back to your seat, before it was time for the headliner of the day, where living legend Mr. Ritchie Blackmore would bring his Rainbow playing the classic rock anthems of both Rainbow and Deep Purple.

Ritchie Blackmore – photo via Stone Free’s Facebook page

Touring Rainbow and Deep Purple songs without Ronnie James Dio and Jon Lord is risky business, but Ritchie Blackmore’s 21st century Rainbow delivered an absolutely incredible performance, playing songs such as I surrender, Man on The Silver Mountain, Mistreated, Child in Time, Black Night and Burn. I go to gigs several nights a week most weeks, and I think it’s safe to say this is one of the best ones I’ve been to in a very, very long time. All hail King Ritchie Blackmore!

Two nights ago, it was time for the annual Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards at London’s indigo2, a celebration of pretty much everything related to heavy rock. The night saw performances from bands and artists such as UK Stoner legends Orange Goblin (who’s frontman Ben Ward snapped up the ‘Defender of the Faith award along side partner Sandie Soriano after a hugely successful fundraiser to help Team Rock employees that was left unemployed right before Christmas last year), Swedish windmilling extraordinaires and edwardian pirate uniform cladded Metal band Avatar and Orange family friends Clutch and Mastodon, the last one winning ‘Best Live Band’.

Personally, the highlight of the night was the final award, the ‘Golden Gods’ awards, when they began dropping hints about who it could be, four guys from Birmingham, all that jazz. I pretty much held my breath for what seemed like forever, until iron man, the golden god himself, Mister Frank Anthony Iommi walked out on stage and accepted the prize on behalf of Black Sabbath. And there I had been with an AAA pass all along not knowing I was within the same establishment as this living legend – probably for the best, as it would have turned into a human hunt fueled by free Monster energy and gin drinks…

A huge thank you to everyone involved in making this evening such a success, we’re very proud to have been a part of it. Plus, we can’t forget; A massive congratulations to all the Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2017 winners, all very well deserved!

Best New Band: Venom Prison
Best Underground Band: Pallbearer
Best UK Band: Architects
Best Live Band: Mastodon
Best International Band: Avenged Sevenfold
Best Independent Label: Nuclear Blast
Dimebag Darrell Shredder Award: Airbourne’s Joel O’Keeffe
Riff Lord: Devin Townsend
Best Game: Iron Maiden’s Legacy Of The Beast
Breakthrough: Avatar
Defender Of The Faith: Ben Ward and Sandie Soriano
Inspiration: Exodus
Best Album: Magma by Gojira
Spirit Of Hammer: Prophets Of Rage
Icons: The Dillinger Escape Plan
Golden Gods: Black Sabbath

Orange Amplification is excited to announce their Ambassadors Mastodon are headlining the 2017 Metal Hammer Golden Gods. They will be joined by fellow Ambassadors, Clutch and Orange Goblin.

The 15th annual Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards will take place at The Indigo at The O2, London on Monday 12th June 2017. Fozzy frontman and WWE megastar Chris Jericho will travel straight from Download Festival to host the show, which promises to be the biggest rock party of the year.

American rock golden gods Mastodon released their latest Album Emperor of Sand in March and will be touring the UK and Europe throughout the summer, including Download. They have won two previous Golden Gods awards, For Best Shredder and Best Album and this year are nominated for Best Live Band.

Joining them for an evening of metal merriment is Clutch who are currently touring Europe in support of their eleventh studio album Psychic Warfare. Orange Goblin will be returning to rock the stage as part of their extensive European tour to promote their latest album Back From The Abyss.

Other Orange ambassadors included in this year’s Golden God nominees are: –

Best UK Band: While She Sleeps

Best Underground Band: Neurosis, Royal Thunder, Pallbearer

Best International Band: Korn

Breakthrough: Code Orange, Creeper

Orange Amplification are also sponsoring the prestigious Defender of the Faith Award. Voting is now open at http://2017.goldengods.teamrock.com where there is a full list of nominees and you can vote for your favourite.

To find out more about Orange Amplification, its products and its artists please go to https://orangeamps.com/.

The first ever Jonesing Jams took place 20th of April at London’s 93 Feet East, and saw Matt Reynolds (guitar and vocals in HECK & HCBP), Ben Kenobi-Marflar (bassist in GNOB), Jonny Halifax (lapsteel and harmonica in Honkeyfinger and The Howling Truth) and Marco Ninni (drummer in Swedish Death Candy) get together on stage for a heavy improv psych jam in front of an audience, all supported by Norwegian psych connoisseurs Shaman Elephant. Now, how did this go down? Check out the video above, or have a look here to read a full review.

Matt Reynolds and Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Ben Kenobi-Marflar by Emily Power

Matt Reynolds and Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Matt Reynolds by Emily Power

Marco Ninni by Simon Shoulders

Ben Kenobi-Marflaf by Simon Shoulders

Jonny Halifax by Simon Shoulders

Matt Reynolds by Emily Power

Matt Reynolds by Simon Shoulders

Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Jonny Halifax by Emily Power

Shaman Elephant / Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen by Emily Power

Shaman Elephant by Emily Power

Shaman Elephant / Eirik Sejersted Vognstølen by Simon Shoulders

Shaman Elephant by Simon Shoulders

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters

Sunday, the grand finale! As I arrived in Camden, I met up with the guys from Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters as my hair braiding services had been requested before their show at The Black Heart later in the evening. We sat camp at The Blues Kitchen, they cracked open their flight case of make up, and we got going. Three grown in tie dye men having their hair done while applying layers of corpse paint, at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. A sight for sore eyes, to say the least.

Elephant Tree

As I finished my duties in the beauty department, I ventured over to the Underworld for Elephant Tree. This was the third time I’ve seen them, and they continue to blow me away. They sounded absolutely immense, and the Underworld was the perfect fit for them – their heavy sound bouncing off the walls in the underground bunker. As they finisher their set, we headed back out into the daylight, and across camden for Saint Vitus at the Roundhouse. Sadly, Saint Vitus were a bit of a let down after Elephant Tree, so again, fucking well done Elephant Tree!

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Saint Vitus finished, and it was back to the Underworld, which has pretty much been my home away from home over the weekend, for Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. The New Castle band with the band name that puts your tongue in a twist. And again, yet another band that killed it at the Underworld! They’re great on record but that still doesn’t do them justice at all as they’re absolutely mind-blowing live.

As Pigs x 7 ended, it was getting late and time for me to face my inner demons – would I go see Sleep at the Roundhouse, or Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters at the Black Heart, followed by Samsara Blues Experiment at Underworld? I went with Chubby and Samsara, and god damn I’m glad I did! Chubby was a big ol’ sweaty mess of riffs, tie dye, corpse paint, cowbells and bubbles, and just one big party – and Samsara? Well, they were sensational.

Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters

Samsara Blues Experiment

So – if I were to summarize this weekend, I’ll have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. The line up was absolutely sensational, and I’m currently suffering from severe post Desertfest blues. Roll up Desertfest London 2018 – it’s only a year away, but who’s counting?

The Groundhogs

Ah, day two of Desertfest! As mentioned in my previous post, I started day two on a staggering hangover, but managed to make my way to Electric Ballroom to catch The Groundhogs at 2.30 – there was no way in hell I was gonna admit defeat and miss out on THE Groundhogs, who’s 1970 album ‘Thank Christ for the Bomb’ has been on repeat for the last couple of months. The Groundhogs came, played, and did not let me down – they pretty much tore shit up and blew me away! Musically I reckon they’re proabably one of the best acts at the entire festival, and it baffles me that they were on so early as they’re a pretty damn hard act to follow.

Post Groundhogs, we ventured the The Black Heart to catch some of Iron Witch, before having a three hour long sit-down and beer break while waiting for Turbonegro. As a Norwegian, I think of Turbonegro as a national treasure – I’m raised on their denim death punk, and until last night, I had not seen them since 2007, let alone with Tony Sylvester fronting them. Having a frontman replaced can be scary, heartbreaking and gut wrenching, and I wasn’t sure what to expect as Hank left pretty big boots to fill… All of my fears, worries and concerns, disappeared in the split second Tony strutted out on stage in his tight, cropped sleevless tee, combined with some outrageously tight denim cutoffs, a hat, and his trade mark make up. It was, in a way, the campest and most masculine thing I had ever seen, all at once. They’re a party band of a different dimension, and they were fucking sick. I left the venue sweaty and stoked in my newly acquired Turbonegro ‘Taste it & Get Wasted’ t-shirt that I will live my life by and wear like a badge of honour til my dying day. Also totally applying to join Turbojugend, asking myself why I haven’t done so years ago.

Turbonegro

After Turbonegro I made a half hearted attempt of queuing to get into The Black Heart afterparty, but decided to call it a day so I’d wake up fresh and fine for the grand finale. Not one from learning of my mistakes, but as I’m sat here feeling fresh AF, well rested and rejuvenated, I’m feeling pretty good about myself and ready to take on the day.

The Black Heart //  2.45pm – 3.30pm – Venomous Maximus
Underworld // 3.30pm – 4.15pm – Elephant Tree
Roundhouse // 4.45pm – 5.45pm – Saint Vitus
Underworld // 6.30pm – 7.30pm – Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
The Black Heart // 8.30pm – 9.15pm – Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
Roundhouse // 9.15pm – 10.45pm – Sleep
Underworld // 10.30pm – 11.30pm – Samsara Blues Experiment

I have my heart set on seeing all of the bands above, but am coming to terms with the fact that I’m gonna have a nervous breakdown at around 8.45, trying to fit in Chubby Thunderous, Sleep and Samsara. Shit.

The Well

The first day of Desertfest is done and dusted, and I’m about to look into ‘Creative writing for dummies’ as I’ve had about 3 hours of sleep and am currently recovering from five thousand pints – but hey, that’s ok, because yesterday was pretty amazing – well worth it.

As planned, I started the festival checking out Texas three piece The Well at the Underworld, and they did not did not let me down – quite the contrary, they were god damn great! They set the bar for the whole shebang really high, and I reckon they’ll be one of the highlights of the festival. Left Underworld to find a bunch of familiar faces drinking outside The Black Heart – big Ben Ward from Orange Goblin, Daniel from RidingEasy Records, Leigh from Riff Rock Records and Jimi from RIDDLES. Stayed for a bit, until I had to rush off to Electric Ballroom to catch 1000mods. They were also pretty rad, and as they finished their set I ventured back to The Underworld for Vodun to find front woman Chantal Brown working her magic like a witch doctor and Zel setting fire to her cymbals.

The Well

Then – Lowrider. Who despite having not released anything since their debut album ‘Ode to IO’ in 2000, managed to pack out Electric Ballroom, and for good reason. They were absolutely brilliant, and at this point I decided it was time to venture into the pit. Got knocked over, picked back up, and decided it was time to leave the pit. Last gig of the night was Slo Burn, before heading over to Black Heart for bad decisions and more beer.

As I write, there’s a mere three hours until things kick off again, and I’m in for yet another day of sick bands. Have not figured out time travel yet, but if I do, these are the guys that’ll please my ears today;

Underworld // 1.15pm – 2pm – Sonic Gypsy
The Black Heart // 1.45pm – 2.15pm – Samavayo
Electric Ballroom // 2.30pm – 3.30pm – The Groundhogs
The Dev // 8pm – 9pm – Welcome Back Delta
The Black Heart // 8.15pm – 9.15pm – Stubb
Electric Ballroom // 8.30 – 9.45 – Turbonegro
The Dev // 10pm – 11pm – Chron Goblin

 

So, it’s that time a year again – a time where people venture to various venues around Camden for their mutual appreciation of heavy riffs, distorted guitars, beer, and stoner rock. A time where it’s acceptable (and likely) to find grown men crying and singing along to ‘Ace of Spades’ at The Black Heart at midnight (true story told by my friend Ellen) – it’s Desertfest London. A weekend a lot of people, myself included, have been outrageously excited about for months. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when they released the full line up and stage times earlier this year – mostly with excitement, but also because the line up is so good I’m not sure how I’m gonna manage to catch all the bands I want to see. (Full line up and stage times here)

Below I’ve put together a playlist as well as a list of the bands I’m determined to catch this weekend, which means I’ve got three days to invent time travel as that’s be the only way I’d actually be able to catch ’em all. In a perfect world, you’ll find me at Roundhouse Sunday night watching Sleep, crying in awe to a shirtless Matt Pike – in reality I might be suffering some sort of strain injury or mental breakdown drinking whiskey at The Dev, only time will tell. Pack yer earplugs, this might get loud.

Friday:
Black Heart // 2.45pm – 3.30pm – Blown Out
Underworld // 3.15pm – 4pm – The Well 
Electric Ballroom // 5pm – 6pm – 1000mods
The Dev // 5.30pm – 6.15pm – Ledfoot
Underworld // 5.45pm – 6.45pm – Vodun
Electric Ballroom // 6.30pm – 7.30pm – Stoned Jesus
Underworld // 8.15pm – 9.15pm – Lowrider
Underworld // 8.45pm – 10pm – The Picturebooks

Saturday:
Underworld // 1.15pm – 2pm – Sonic Gypsy
The Black Heart // 1.45pm – 2.15pm – Samavayo
Electric Ballroom // 2.30pm – 3.30pm – The Groundhogs
The Dev // 8pm – 9pm – Welcome Back Delta
The Black Heart // 8.15pm – 9.15pm – Stubb
Electric Ballroom // 8.30 – 9.45 – Turbonegro
The Dev // 10pm – 11pm – Chron Goblin

Sunday:
The Black Heart //  2.45pm – 3.30pm – Venomous Maximus
Underworld // 3.30pm – 4.15pm – Elephant Tree
Roundhouse // 4.45pm – 5.45pm – Saint Vitus
Underworld // 6.30pm – 7.30pm – Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs
The Black Heart // 8.30pm – 9.15pm – Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters
Roundhouse // 9.15pm – 10.45pm – Sleep
Underworld // 10.30pm – 11.30pm – Samsara Blues Experiment

 

We’re excited to be teaming up with The Jonesing Jams, a new live music concept in London where musicians are hand picked from different bands to form a ‘one night only supergroup’ for a heavy 70’s psych rock jam – guitarist from one band, drummer from another – that whole shebang, ya know?

The first Jonesing Jams will take place at London’s 93 Feet East this upcoming Thursday 20th of April, and features guitarist Matt Reynolds of ‘general extreme noise’ band HECK and rock ‘n’ roll two piece HCBP, bassist Ben Kenobi-Marflar of eastern inspired psych band GNOB and psychedelic doom band Sonic Mass, Jonny Halifax of greasy noise and distorted blues bands Honkeyfinger and Jonny Halifax and the Howling Truth on lapsteel and harmonica, and powerhouse drummer Marco Ninni of psychedelic experimental rock band Swedish Death Candy. Together they’ll bring a whole specter of genres and influences, which resulted in the night being called ‘Worlds Collide.’

The idea behind’ The Jonesing Jams’ came from late nights spent at friends rehearsal spaces where everyone would tune in and jam, and all this amazing music would come out of it – all this amazing music that no one ever got to hear, so now we’re taking the jams out of the studio and onto a stage in front of an audience, and who know’s what’ll happen? To get in the mood for the jam, each artist as well as support band Shaman Elephant picked ten of their favourite tunes which has resulted in a gooey and great mix of genres and generations;

So, if you’re in London and fancy coming down for a free gig, heavy riffs and psychedelic jamming, doors open at 7pm, and things kick off at 8 – see you there!

Orange Amplification is proud to announce they are the main sponsor of the 15th annual Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. This year’s triumphant event will once again gather together the world’s rock community in a celebration of all that’s metal.

The awards will take place at The Indigo at The O2, London on Monday 12th June 2017. Fozzy frontman and WWE megastar Chris Jericho will travel straight from Download Festival to host the show, which promises to be the biggest rock party of the year.

The Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards nominees list features numerous Orange ambassadors including:

Best UK Band: While She Sleeps

Best Underground Band: Neurosis, Royal Thunder, Pallbearer

Best Live Band: Mastodon

Best International Band: Korn

Breakthrough: Code Orange, Creeper

Orange Amplification will also sponsor the prestigious Defender of the Faith Award.

Voting is now open at http://2017.goldengods.teamrock.com where you can see the full list of nominees.