NIN – The Eden Sessions 2022, REVIEWED!

© Anna Hyams for Summer Festival Guide

It’s one of the hottest days of the year, we’re edging up against the solstice, and we’ve decided to spend the day in a giant greenhouse. Yes, we’ve finally made it back to Eden Project Cornwall, for The Eden Sessions – a series of gigs held in arguably the world’s most beautiful venue. This year so far, Eden has hosted the likes of My Chemical Romance and Noel Gallagher but tonight we’re down for day one of the iconic Nine Inch Nails double-header.

Along with your ticket for one of the Sessions, you are able to visit The Eden Project itself on the day of or the day after your event. Given that standard tickets are around the £30 mark, this is a great way to experience the biomes as an added bonus. We take a tour of the Mediterranean biome first, which is full of citrus, herbs and grapevines – it smells absolutely incredible, but good grief is it hotter than the seventh circle of hell today. There’s so much to see and learn about, but our favourite occupation is lizard spotting.


The bigger Rainforest biome is actually slightly cooler (owing to the canopy and the humidity, we did learn something) and there are water stops all the way around. We took the treetop walk, found some cooling mists and marveled at giant bamboo. Actually, the best bit was all the black-clad gothic types sweating it out, and having a lovely time taking selfies in the daylight for a change. Dipping out of the biomes into the central café, we recharge with burrito wraps and Cornish Cola (yes, it’s a thing) – followed up with ice-cream in the sunshine and a look around the outside garden area. There’s a tipi bar (with special commemorative Sessions cups on offer) and a regular bar, either side of the arena.

Heading into the arena area, a banked-sided perfect bowl amphitheatre, it’s obvious that everyone is going to get a great view from wherever they stand tonight. With around a 6,500 capacity, it’s a smallish venue which definitely makes for an intimate show. Despite the still sizzling heat of the day, the crowd of black tshirts is amassing ready for support act Nitzer Ebb.

 © Anna Hyams for Summer Festival Guide

Nitzer Ebb (sans Doug McCarthy), 80’s Brit-EDM with a very industrial sound, are raucously good fun – and vocalist Bon Harris’ gives a convincing portrayal of dingy-club-basement-rave, in the Cornish sunshine. I think they’ve managed to secure more than a few new fans tonight.

Nine Inch Nails are hailed in with a wall of smoke so dense that it takes half of intro track ‘Somewhat Damaged’ to even see the outline of Trent Reznor, but when we do – an almighty roar goes up from the arena. It is wild that a band who sell out huge stadiums all over the world, are here tonight in the sleepy leg of England, but there are some die-hard fans here who have travelled great distances for it.

Reznor and bandmate Atticus Ross take no time at all to bring the fury, the full force of Reznor as a performer – backed by an incredible line up of talent (Finck, Cortini, Rubin), it’s already everything we were waiting for. Dressed in a beaten leather jacket and a muscle-hugging black tshirt – it’s clear Reznor has left behind the angsty teen pvc-gloves and visible ennui behind, and is giving off big John Wick vibes. The huge lighting rigs behind beat to the heart-stopping wave of sound for ‘The Day The World Went Away’, and the crowd goes absolutely beserk.

© Anna Hyams for Summer Festival Guide

‘Mr. Self Destruct’ and ‘The Frail’ are stunningly epic, and we are treated to a rare outing of ‘Love Is Not Enough’. ‘Wish’ buries itself deep into your soul, but it’s ‘The Perfect Drug’ that just has the entire arena bouncing with wild abandon. There’s a visceral freedom in NIN’s music that allows for chaotic expression, and it’s clear this crowd has come to let it out – the nihilistic need for post-pandemic self-destruction.

Grabbing up a guitar, followed by a saxophone, followed by a tambourine, you get a glimpse of the passion Reznor has for music in all forms – and I can’t help but giggle that he’s basically screaming the iconic lines (you know the ones…) from ‘Closer’ across the sleepy Cornish countryside. I wonder if he finds the juxtaposition as amusing as I do, this certainly isn’t your standard insulated concert venue.

‘Copy of A’ has the whole arena singing/shouting along, and the show is absolutely relentless, with the band taking hardly any breaks between song after heavy song, Reznor is a machine. However he does have time to quip “We love this place, but does the sun ever goddamn go down?! Feeling exposed up here, there’s too much light” – which in retrospect of the following night’s weather, might have been a touch too close to tempting fate.

© Anna Hyams for Summer Festival Guide

Referencing our dear friend the global pandemonium, Reznor confides “It’s been disorienting to come out and play shows, but it’s also been fucking great” hitting on the nerve I think many are feeling tonight, before going full grunge cover in homage to late friend and mentor David Bowie, with ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’ and ‘Fashion’.

The night finally descends over Eden, in time for ‘Head Like A Hole’ to absolute bury us in the ecstasy of pure live music joy. The biomes are lit in time with the music, rippling through blues and purples to pure white matching the stage lights. The encore, ‘Everything’ and ‘March of the Pigs’ are amazing, but there may be nothing that comes as close to a perfect concert moment as closer ‘Hurt’ does tonight. The air is vibrating with anticipation as Reznor lines up those opening lyrics, and then it becomes the most gut punching dirge outro you can imagine. We wish there was more, we will there to be more, but it’s over. This one goes down in my personal history of one of the most iconic shows I’ve ever seen. Both the venue and the music, will be hard to live up to.

© Anna Hyams for Summer Festival Guide

Bears Den @ Shepherds Bush Empire 24/04/2019 Review

London based band Bears Den stopped off on their ‘So That You Might Hear Me’ tour at the legendary venue Sheperd’s Bush Empire, in which is a very important place for them as noted during the show as one member was formerly an employee at a local pub just along the same road as the venue. Both London shows were sold out and it was their last UK show before jetting off to play all over Europe.

Arriving at the venue with a capacity of 2000, the room is filled with excitement from the crowd. Whilst patiently waiting for the first act Tusks to arrive on stage, people were sipping at their beverages , chatting amongst themselves with many also observing the merch stall.

The stage was lit with blue lighting with a gentle haze of smoke while two vintage styled rugs were seen covering the floor. Around 8:00pm, the lights began to dim and support act Tusks took to the stage. Tusks is actually the stage name for performer Emily Underhill. Her style of music is most suited to an electronic indie pop genre. Her sound can be likened to that of London Grammar. The artist expressed that she was very grateful to be supporting Bears Den and especially for two consecutive nights as it is a venue she has always dreamed of performing in. Her set showcased a total of six songs including the single ‘Be Mine’, which is featured on her new album that is due for release in June. She was well received with the crowd who were now really looking forward to the headliners.

The stage was cleared quite quickly and was all set up for Bears Den. With guitars all ready and also a little wooden piano. As the lights dimmed they had the most nostalgic sci-fi style intro as the Terminator theme tune played them in. The duo walked on with four supporting musicians. It was still pretty dark with just a few white lights that focused on the band from below as they played their first song ‘Fuel On The Fire’. Shortly after, their second song of the evening saw singer Andrew Davie said how great it was to play the venue again and that we do have more songs to play.
The crowd swayed and danced during the performance. When playing ‘Sophie’ the band turned off all equipment and came to the front of the stage and asked for complete silence and kept it simple with an acoustic rendition of the song. They also performed an unplugged song in the crowd later on in the show which was ‘Blankets Of Sorrow’.

When performing, ticket holders enjoyed singing the lyrics along with the band. Bears Den played a wide range of new and classic songs which included music from their latest album which was only released this month (April 2019). The album is due for release just a few short days after this gig at Sheperd’s Bush. Band member Andrew toasted the show with a shot and expressed a huge thank you to everyone who has supported them over the years.

At the end of the evening the band brought their show to a close with probably one of their biggest hits to date. ‘Agape’. It was the perfect way to end the evening.
You can catch the band on their European tour and also at Citadel Festival in London on 14th July 2019.

Review and Photos by Kane Howie

 

Slam Dunk Festival Midlands 2017 – Review

SlamDunk Festival 2017’s lineup promised to pack a punch and after spending the day at the NEC Arena watching one great band after another, the festival proved itself successful in delivery. 

Attending both as photographers and a music fan's, we shot and watched the likes of Blackpool derived ‘Boston Manor’, to Texas natives, ‘Waterparks’ and we was not disappointed.

I began my day with ‘Crossfaith’ who unleashed their energy across the Jagermeister stage; with great anticipation from the crowd and an epic countdown intro it only added to the hype. Kenta Kole (Lead singer) came onto stage waving a large flag and beckoned everyone to jump up and down before going into XENO.

Jagerbomb was the third song from their set and the crowd opened up and bodies flew forward keeping the security on their toes.

Crossfaith

Photo: Sophie Jones | Love And Light Images

They also encourage participants of their show to ‘put their middle fingers up’ in salute during the ending of their set. Overall from the start their set packed a punch and was full of engery and if you didn’t get to see these guys you really did miss out.

Setlist:

XENO

MONOLITH

JÄGERBOMB

KILL

OMEN

HELL

LEVIATHAN

 

VUKOVI

Photo: Sophie Jones | Love And Light Images

Vukovi were one of the new exciting acts gracing the smaller stages around the venue and what a treat it was for those that caught their set. The band have made themselves unavoidable after dropping their riotous debut album earlier this year; making quite a racket on the music scene. Armed with their heavy riffs, super-charged tempo they had the crowd singing and dancing along to each track they played. Front woman Janine Shilstone’s came out singing “La Di Da” and played well into the camera’s creating some great shots for the photographers who were down there.

 

Boston Manor

Photo: Hollie Turner | HollieVFilm

As previously mentioned Blackpool lads, ‘Boston Manor’ made full use of their slot during the festival over on The Key Club stage. They proved themselves to be tough contenders for the main stages sometime soon, after they pummelled themselves through their set, much to the crowd surfers delight.

Bury Tomorrow

Photo: Hollie Turner | HollieVFilm

‘Bury Tomorrow’ played the Jagermeister stage in their usual style. Screaming and growling for photographers, and telling the audience to crowd surf as much as possible during their set. 

 

Don Broco

Photo: Hollie Turner | HollieVFilm

‘Don Broco’ also playing the Jagermeister stage encouraged their fans to ‘get the fuck down’ before then telling them to jump back up from the arena floor as the music kicked in. 

Cute Is What We Aim For

Photo: Hollie Turner | HollieVFilm

‘Cute Is What We Aimed For’ provided fans with a much needed throwback, to their old teen favourites including ‘The Curse of Curves’. Happy fans even got to meet lead singer Shaant Hacikyan who was very grateful and humble to his long time loyal fans.

Deaf Havana

Photo: Hollie Turner | HollieVFilm

Deaf Havana were also lucky enough to score a slot on one of this years main stages, playing their set as the night began in a run up to the headline acts. 

 

Madina Lake

Photo: Sophie Jones | Love And Light Images

After a four-year hiatus Madina Lake return to play the Impericon stage at SDF17.The crowd waited with anticipation and one by one each member came out before quickly dropping into their first track but it wasn’t long before Nathan Leone flew over the top of the photographers heads landing in the crowd and he did this more than once. It was a comeback performance that everyone should of seen and Nathan made it a very up close and personal experience for those who attended their set.

Enter Shikari

Photo: Hollie Turner | HollieVFilm

Enter Shikari finished up the festival on the Jagermeister stage with a bang. Lead singer Rou Reynolds, flailed his arms about in an 80’s style conservative outfit. This band were definitely the band of the festival for me. They exploded with instruments, energy, and a colourful, laser themed set that was like electricity to be a part of. 

Shikari’s summed up how I and thousands of other gig goers felt about this years Slam Dunk in one lyric ‘this is all I need to feel alive…’ 

I thought the queuing system was better this year; faster and the bags check were more thorough so I felt a lot safer considering recent events in Manchester. The performances were good and the sound, lighting etc were good; although on a couple of stages due to technical issues it resulted in sets being shorter. Also the atmosphere was great and I felt safe the whole time, which is important in my opinion, the staff working at the venue were friendly and helpful! Only thing id complain about is I’d like to have had a map like previous years with the stage times on the back which weren’t given out like before” – Freya

Once again Slam Dunk didn’t disappoint this year; It’s the only place where you can bump into people you’ve just seen or will be seeing on the stages, its so laid back and causal. The loyalty and passion of the crowds is always a warm sight from hardcore fans in the pits to newcomers searching for a new sound or act to listen too. Acts like Crossfaith that are building a huge fan base due to their wild style and high energy its easy to see why people turn up every year. Acts like I Prevail, Madina Lake and Enter Shikari who are legends in the industry are the types of diversity a festival needs and Slam Dunk give you that and is a perfect introduction to a festival if your just starting out” – Sam

“ Getting into the festival and security was so much faster and efficient this year and the lay out the venue was good and easier to get around given last year stages were far apart; Only part of the layout I didn’t like was at the main stage it was only accessible from the one side. Some acts were late on stage and I think their needs to be more people helping between sets to strip and set up the gear. I think some acts needed bigger stages like I Prevail as it was there first time in the UK. Also I wish there was more food options next year as there wasn’t much choice.

The staff were very friendly and helpful given what has happened recently; I felt very safe and I even twisted my foot at the show and the second I fell down everybody helped me back up and made sure I got out safely; when I got checked out they were kind and helpful so big up to the staff. Overall id give a 9/10" – Jak

 

Review: Sophie Jones And Hollie Turner
Photographers: Sophie Jones And Hollie Turner