Baby Animals reform original lineup and release rare recordings for 25th anniversary celebrations

BabyAnimals

Baby Animals are to play two huge live shows and release a raft of previously unheard material as part of their 25th anniversary celebrations in 2016.

Marking a quarter century since the release of their debut album, the Aussie rock band will play Melbourne’s Forum Theatre on the 21st of May followed by a show at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre on the 28th of May.

Each night will see the band perform two sets. The first will comprise material from across Baby Animals’ back catalogue and will be played by the BA’s current members (Suze DeMarchi, Dave Leslie, Dario Bortolin and Mick Skelton). The second will be a performance of the band’s eponymous debut album in full and will be played by Baby Animals’ original lineup (Suze DeMarchi, Dave Leslie, Eddie Parise and Frank Celenza.)

On top of the live shows Baby Animals will also release BA25, a re-mastered recording of a live show that the band played in Boston whilst on tour in the US with legendary rockers Van Halen. The album features five songs that have never been released, as well as b-sides and demos that are all previously unheard. BA25 will be released on the 20th of May.

Says Baby Animals frontwoman Suze DeMarchi: “It seems like only yesterday that we were at Sound Level rehearsal studios in Sydney beginning this journey that’s lasted 25 incredible years.”

“These parties are going to be the biggest shows Baby Animals have played in a while. If you’ve been with us from the start we cannot thank you enough for sticking around, this is all for you and because of you. And if you’re a new fan, welcome to the party.”

You can pre-order BA25 via thebabyanimals.com now. Tickets for the live shows go on sale at 9am on the 2nd of December.

Baby Animals BA25 cover

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Live Review: Agent Fresco, Belgrave Music Hall, 22nd November 2015

Agent Fresco - Belgrave Hall - 22nd Nov 2015
Agent Fresco, Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds, 22nd November

Witnessing Lost Ground, Cleft and the incredible Agent Fresco at Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds on Sunday evening was akin to witnessing the destruction of all the hoary old myths surrounding technical and progressive music in one fell swoop. Even today, assessors of the scene still occasionally trot out cliché-ridden, by-numbers reviews of music that is damned faintly as too cerebral, too serious, too outré, too cold; a conclusion that is, certainly on tonight’s evidence, ridiculously wide of the mark.

Yorkshire trio Lost Ground delivers an emotive set of alternative math rock to an appreciative audience. Sublime chord progressions, propulsive grooves, wigged out time signatures and hearts on sleeves are the order of the day. An increased stage presence would, to these eyes and ears, take the band to the next level, but it’s a very minor quibble and James Akbar’s fluid drumming particularly impresses.

Cleft describe themselves as making 2-piece turbonoise speed-prog. The description is spot-on. Theirs is an electric brand of high energy, mind-bending rock n’ roll, featuring judicious use of loops and samples to flesh out their sound and sustain atmospheric interludes in amongst the calliope-tech-rock. Importantly, the duo’s set is also cut through with massive amounts of humour. Taking their music seriously, the pair never take themselves seriously, and it’s a joy to behold.

And so to tonight’s headliners, Iceland’s Agent Fresco.

Following the band’s critically lauded 2010 LP, A Long Time Listening, and the release of this year’s stunning follow up, Destrier – described by an enamoured fan in the front row of the Belgrave crowd, entirely accurately, as ‘outrageously good’ – it’s difficult to understand how Agent Fresco don’t have a higher profile in the UK. This show is, in fact, their UK headline debut following a stripped back acoustic set at this year’s TechFest.

Nevertheless, on a freezing cold Sunday evening in Yorkshire, the band have enough good-standing to draw a couple of hundred people out in to the winter night to witness a consummate performance of some of the most fearless, defiant and emotionally cathartic rock music you’re likely to hear all year.

Agent Fresco really are a band that defy categorisation, the ‘progressive’ tag somehow not truly managing to encompass the elements of pop, rock, metal, electronic and classical music that they successfully incorporate into their inspired and inspiring music.

However you label them, frontman Arnór Dan Arnarson is quickly able to simultaneously lose himself in his committed and emotional performance and yet still manage to take the rest of us with him. Stalking the stage with an excitable and nervous energy, he switches almost effortlessly between passages of delicate vocal prowess and a full on metallic scream as the mix of material from A Long Time Listening and Destrier demand.

His bandmates are equally impressive, Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson at times throwing his bass around like a trident, thrusting and slashing as if at an imaginary adversary that he plans to strike down with the power of music, and Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson beats on his drums as if his very life depended upon it. Only Þórarinn Guðnason gives a less immediately kinetic performance, and yet somehow is no less powerful for it, his relative stillness managing to convey a preternatural strength, like a still pond that nevertheless runs spectacularly deep.

Arnór Dan frequently takes time between performances to help the audience understand the context of key songs such as “A Long Time Listening”, “Wait For Me”, “See Hell”, and “Dark Water”, recalling his state of mind at the time of each song’s writing with eloquence, insight and good humour. It adds an additional layer of connection and understanding between band and gig-goer alike.

After an extraordinary, solid hour and a half of this spellbinding spectacle, the vocalist and songwriter takes time out to thank the crowd profusely and namecheck some of the key members of crew who have finally managed to bring Agent Fresco to the UK. He and the band’s gratitude are palpable, and the sweaty, smiling crowd – some of whom have been singing and screaming every syllable back to the stage – seem equally appreciative.

That recent album Destrier is essentially the sound of a man navigating his emotional response to being the victim of an act of physical violence (the album draws specifically upon Arnór Dan Arnarson’s assault that left him bloodied, battered and with a broken eye socket) seems entirely fitting in these troubled times. That the experience of witnessing this incredible band live should prove to be as powerful and cathartic for the audience as it might have been for Agent Fresco in making said album seems only just. It may be the band’s first real foray in to the UK, but based on this remarkably fine performance, it certainly won’t be their last.

Agent Fresco continue on their UK tour:
Nov 23rd: Glasgow, Ivory Blacks
Nov 24th: Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms
Nov 25th: London, Dingwalls

Read our recent interview with Agent Fresco’s frontman Arnór Dan Arnarson here.

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Yes share ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ live clip

Yes live in Arizona 2014

Yes have shared a clip of the band playing “Heart Of The Sunrise” live in Arizona.

The song is part of Yes’ new live DVD set Like It Is – Yes At The Mesa Arts Centre, scheduled for release on the 3rd of July via Frontiers Music and recorded during the band’s 2014 US tour.

Says bassist Chris Squire: “That evening in Mesa, Arizona, was a great one. That audience loved the music and really made it a very special night.

“We were in top form. The music sounded great and we could have played all night.”

Yes will be touring the US again this year with Toto and have confirmed that they will be joined by the likes of Marillion, Anathema and Bigelf at their 2015 Cruise To The Edge festival in November.

You can watch the clip of “Heart Of The Sunrise” below:

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Watch Of Mice & Men perform live at Maida Vale

Of Mice And Men band crop

Of Mice & Men have shared a video of their performance of “You Make Me Sick”, recorded live at Maida Vale Studios for BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show.

The Californian metalcore band recorded a live session for Rock Show host Daniel P. Carter whilst visiting UK shores on their recent headline tour.

You can find Of Mice & Men’s full Maida Vale session on the BBC iPlayer, and watch their performance of “You Make Me Sick” below:

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80 days to ahhh

Slash to release live DVD in June

Slash 2014_15

Slash will release a live DVD in June filmed during his World On Fire tour the guitarist has revealed.

Live At The Roxy 25.9.14 was recorded at the iconic Hollywood theatre and was broadcast on US TV network DirecTV last year.

As well as being released on DVD and Blu-ray, the set will also come in 2CD, 3LP and digital formats.

The recording is scheduled to drop on the 15th of June, immediately following Slash’s appearance with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators at this year’s Download festival on the weekend of the 12th – 14th of June.

The concert features songs from across Slash’s career with the track list confirmed as follows:

01. “Ghost”
02. “Nightrain”
03. “Back From Cali”
04. “You Could Be Mine”
05. “Rocket Queen”
06. “Bent To Fly”
07. “Starlight”
08. “You’re A Lie”
09. “World On Fire”
10. “Anastasia”
11. “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
12. “Slither”
13. “Paradise City”
14. “Stone Blind (Bonus Track)”
15. “You’re Crazy (Bonus Track)”
16. “Wicked Stone (Bonus Track)”
17. “30 Years To Life (Bonus Track)”

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80 days to ahhh