About Darren

Live reviews, album reviews and more. From classic rock to contemporary folk.

Welcome to my music blog. I have fairly varied tastes in music: folk, rock, glam, heavy metal and more. My first ever gig was the Donington Monsters of Rock festival (Slade, Whitesnake, AC/DC… written up here) back in 1981, aged 15. Live music has been an important part of my life ever since but back in Spring 2014 when I began this blog, finding I had more free evenings than I used to, one of the things I was determined to do was see more live bands.  I use this blog to post my reviews of many of the gigs I’ve been to, as well as occasional album reviews and other music-related posts. Feedback is welcome so do please feel free to leave any comments and do share anything you like on social media.

For those bemused by the eclectic nature of the artists covered here, let me try and explain. Since being a teenager I have always enjoyed discovering and exploring different genres, but when I did chance upon a new discovery I was always adding to what I liked already rather than discarding anything. As a teenager, I started off getting into rock/metal around in the early 80s (Status Quo, AC/DC, Rainbow) but, prompted by the revival of Slade’s fortunes in 80/81, I  was soon also exploring 70s glam rock bands (Slade, Sweet, T-Rex and so on). The pop-rock of the previous decade sounded so much more exciting than that of the 80s, which I had little interest in. Delving back into the 70s prompted me to start exploring the 60s, too, (The Stones, The Small Faces and notably The Byrds). As well as my love of glam rock and heavy metal, I acquired a love of the folk-rock sounds of The Byrds. But having, bit by bit,  bought up the entire back catalogue of The Byrds, I decided that if I enjoyed American folk-rock so much it might be time to start exploring British folk-rock, too (Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and so on). And through enjoying those bands so much it actually led to me to begin an appreciation of more traditional folk, too. Which pretty much explains my journey of musical discovery over the years and the eclectic range of reviews you will find on this blog.

You can read some more about Darren’s music blog in this interview I did for fellow music blogger Jason at the Rockin’ Chair Blog here.

Scroll down the home page to see all the gigs and albums I’ve reviewed. If you just want to see the rock stuff click here and if you just want to see the folk stuff click here.

Given my passion for live music I am also passionate about protecting our live music venues. More info here.

Feel free to quote from, link to or re-blog any of the reviews on this site but a credit would be nice. Again, you are equally welcome to use and share the photos from this site as long as you credit them. Unless otherwise credited all the live photos are by me. Copyright images of album covers, tour posters and other promotional material are reproduced under ‘Fair Use’ considerations. Please get in touch if any queries.

And if you do enjoy reading anything here then do comment/follow/share etc. It’s the interaction with other music lovers that makes music blogging so much fun.

Thanks for visiting.

Darren

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16 thoughts on “About Darren

  1. Will you be putting in gig previews of places YOU WILL BE going to so that we can look out for you and also consider getting tix too. It also has a Green aspect as we can lift share and even accommodation share.

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  2. How are you? I wanted to send you the latest album from acclaimed Folk Americana singer/songwriter Sarah Dashew. Sarah Dashew’s song spots include the hit NBC show My Name Is Earl, inclusion in the celebrity playlist of ABC’s Ugly Betty, rave reviews of previous albums, and successful tours throughout the U.S. and Europe with the likes of Cowboy Junkies, Michelle Shocked, Suzanne Vega, and Pancho Sanchez.

    thanks for your consideration for a mention,

    Thanks so much!

    Facebook.com/SarahDashewMusic
    Twitter.com/sarahdashew
    http://www.Sarahdashew.com

    New Singles:

    New Stop Motion Video:

    Like

  3. Hello Darren,

    I hope you’re well.

    I’m emailing on behalf of a fast-rising, ska-punk band, UK Feds, who are performing at The Factory, Barnstaple, on Thursday, 25th February.

    We have a few guest list spots available if you’d like to come down to review or interview the band, so please do let me know as soon as possible if you’d like to attend and I’ll put you on the guest list.

    The band are currently on a UK-wide tour as main support for the two tone ’70’s legends, Selecter, and are making real waves on the live circuit after the release of their debut EP, Living In Anger.

    Please find full details of the band and tour below.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

    Beth French
    Tiger Bam Communications

    T: 0121 224 7557
    E: Beth@tigerbam.co.uk
    W: http://www.tigerbam.co.uk

    SELECTER ANNOUNCE NEW BIRMINGHAM BAND, UK FEDS, AS MAIN SUPPORT ON UK WIDE TOUR THIS FEBRUARY.

    Birmingham band UK Feds have been confirmed as main support for Selecter on UK wide tour consisting of dates in Plymouth, Southend, Wolverhampton, and more, playing at the Factory, Barnstaple, on Thursday, 25th February.

    UK Feds will join two tone legends Selecter on a nation wide tour starting February 2016. Selecter are most known for their Top 10 hits ‘Gangsters vs. The Selecter,’ and ‘On My Radio,’ and the 1980 album ‘Too Much Pressure’ reaching number 5 in the charts.

    UK Feds are a new exciting four-piece ska-punk band from Birmingham, West Midlands, formed in September 2015 and made up by members Jon Kings (lead vocals/guitar), Ryan Kings (vocals/bass), and Ricky-Lee Cooper (drums) Mikey Rainsford.

    The band are only just starting out in their career but have previously played main support for punk legends Ruts D.C on a nationwide tour which gained the band scores of new fans. They secured the coveted support spot so early in their career due to their willingness to write music about what they see going on in the world around them, and how they are affected by lack of work, poor paying mundane jobs, making them a great fit for bands like Ruts D.C and Selecter.

    UK Feds describe their music as “heavy ska” and keep their music raw and in your face – the way it sounds live. The band are looking forward to getting out on the road as main support , as lead vocalist Jon Kings explains;

    “We are really excited to support a legendary band like Selecter. As a band we make music about the stuff going on in the world that affects us, just like bands in the 70’s and 80’s did. The chance to tour with a band whose music inspires us is a great opportunity, and we are really looking forward to getting the chance to play our music live to a new audience. ”

    The UK wide tour kicks off at Chinnerys in Southend on February 19th and concludes in Wolverhampton on March 12th, with tickets and full listings available at http://www.theselecter.net

    —ENDS—

    Full Selecter Tour Dates:

    * Press Passes are available; contact rachael@tigerbam.co.uk for more details.

    Southend – Chinnerys – Friday (19/2)

    Bedford – Corn Exchange – Saturday (20/2)

    Barnstaple – The Factory – Thursday (25/2)

    Falmouth – Princess Pavillion – Friday (26/2)

    Plymouth – The Hub – Saturday (27/2)

    Blackburn – King Georges Hall – Thursday (3/3)

    Kendal – Brewery Arts Centre – Friday (4/3)

    Doncaster – Diamond Lounge – Saturday (5/3)

    Stockton – Arc – Thursday (10/3)

    Hull – Fruit – Friday (11/3)

    Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms – Saturday (12/3)

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  4. I hope you are doing great! I wanted to send you one of personal favorite artists I have ever worked with. She blends Americana, rock and folk and was recently featured on NPR and CBS. Below find her new video, music and bio- thank you for your consideration for a review of her new EP – it is out March 4th.

    Thanks so much,

    New EP:

    New video:

    NPR feature:

    http://www.kcrw.com/music/shows/todays-top-tune/laura-jean-anderson-over-and-over-again

    Laura Jean Anderson – A Righteous Girl

    As young as she may look, Laura Jean Anderson is filled with the spirit of wisdom, amassed through years of traveling, busking, hitchhiking, touring and old time religion–just the kind of learning a prolific songwriter would need.

    You can hear it in her voice and lyrics on her latest EP, Righteous Girl in which she evokes the ghosts of Janis Joplin and modern influences of Lucius, St. Vincent and Alabama Shakes, “I feel like these songs reflect that feeling you get when you get one glimmer of hope, of sunshine in the midst of a deep depression. I would go on long walks barefoot with my guitar in the neighborhoods of LA–I felt super out of place doing that but for some reason, it put things into perspective,” Anderson says wistful.

    “Take Me In” opens up the EP and Anderson gently pulls the listener into her world, her soothing voice (reminiscent of June Carter) ebbs and flows along with the electric piano rolls. However, the title track “Righteous Girl,” is a whole ‘nother beast. Crashing distorted drums clue us to a shift in tone but Anderson’s voice and guitar are there to ground the whole affair: Her haunting voice swells then dips back into a lullaby then before we know it, she belts out another howl–she’s always in control, it seems to say.

    Anderson’s unique sound is a direct creation of the combination of growing up in a conservative environment with years of church singing and roots music education contradicting the grunge and punk elements of growing up in liberal Washington. You can hear this in her music, soulful vocals and well crafted storylines with elements of chaotic rock n’ roll and garage rock at its best.

    Anderson’s credits her time at Calarts as a major influence on her music. It was two years of wild art school experiences, meeting amazing people, and being a barefoot hippie in the mountains writing songs, she recalls.

    Then a stint in the mountain town of Huaraz, Peru where, with all her money stolen, she spent hours a day busking in the plaza until she made enough money to get a ticket home. “It was then and there that I realized I was put on this earth to make music,” Anderson says. “Alone in Peru, I was able to make it out just through music . . . I knew I had to come back to the States and pursue music full-heartedly.”

    So she did. She went back to LA to finish school and record “Righteous Girl.” The EP was produced by Anderson and Theo Karon and recorded mostly at Kingsize Soundlabs in Eagle Rock. (Karon has recently worked with Mavis Staples, Angel Olsen, Foxygen, and Pillars & Tongues.)

    “(The EP) directly reflects things I have experienced and feel,” she reflects. “Freedom and honesty is so important but I feel like too many things are written where the writer doesn’t REALLY mean them. I mean everything I write, and If I can’t look at myself in the mirror and speak those words, I will scrap the lyric.” As Anderson further explains, it’s a record about hardship, heartbreak and religion.

    Righteous Girl will come out on March 4.

    Like

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