New Music Reviews coming soon

I’m so excited to be reviewing a number of new bands and new unsigned music pre release at the moment.

I’ve been approached by one band that are brand new in the making, as well as upcoming bands with some fantastic new sounds to share with the world! Most of these are far from just ‘rock’ bands…….In fact, I have to say there’s such a diverse selection of genres in this material, my mind has just been well and truly blown!

My partner Dave Briggs is going to be involved in some photo shoots as well which makes this an awesome time for The Rock Asylum, and we are so grateful to the bands concerned for coming to us with their news……

For the moment, my lips are sealed, but I will be publishing over the coming weeks……and thanks again for your continued interest in The Rock Asylum.



Fahran, Mallen, Witch Tripper and Quiet The Thief gig tonight 20th October 2017

If anyone is looking for a good night packed full of great music, in a friendly venue in the centre of Cannock, then look no further! Tonight The Rock Asylum and Dave Briggs photography are visiting The Station in Cannock to see Fahran, supported by Mallen, Witch Tripper, and Quiet The Thief. This is going to be a lively one!

Fahran are Matt Black, Jake Graham, Joshua Ballantyne, Chris Byrne and JR Fahran. They have appeared at prestigious festivals including, Bloodstock, Download Festival, Hard Rock Hell, Isle of Mann TT races and toured with Heaven’s Basement, Kamelot, The Answer, UFO and many more.

Here’s a clip of them in action:


We also have some fantastic support bands to look out for tonight:

Mallen are always a good bet when it comes to putting on a great show. Kelly-Jane, Dann, Rhys, Joe and Tom are celebrating the release of their new EP tonight, and will be performing the new tracks tonight.

Heres the official video of one of the tracks from the new EP:

Witch Tripper are a 3 piece rock band from Nottingham, who were formed in 2014. I’ve never seen these guys perform, but from Youtube research, they look like a good bunch of lads who know how to put on a show. Take a look:

Quiet The Thief were formed 2014. A 4 piece Hard Rock explosion from Stoke on Trent. Another new one for me, however, there’s plenty Youtube material to say this band is pretty decent. Here’s one of their videos:

We will be recording and taking photos throughout the night and I will upload a gig review of the whole night within the next couple of days.

So if you fancy coming down to The Station in Cannock tonight you can pay on the door, the show starts at 8.30 pm. See you there!



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I was so happy to be invited over to sunny Uttoxeter, to meet the 4 guys, better known as  Anonymous. Rob Baynes, Hayden Kirk, Luke Lawley, and Steven (Herbie) Herbert. These guys were everything I expected them to be, great fun, confident, extremely talented, driven, and enthusiastic to have me visit them.

First things first, a look at where they practice. A great little place in picturesque surroundings which was ideal for a few photographs. Cue Dave Briggs photography…… a tour of the grounds found quite a few great little backdrops for some cool photos.

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Once the photo shoot was over, it was time to see the Anonymous guys in action. What a privilege it was to get to see these guys perform. Even when practising they were awesome, and to make it even more special, you could see it written all over them that they absolutely love what they do!

If anyone reading this is wondering whether they should bother going to see these guys in action, I would most definitely recommend it. Not only do they all look great, but they sound great and they are so much fun! Definitely worth buying a ticket to see.


Then after watching these guys performing like pros, it was time for me to totally destroy their credibility by joining in! I was so bad I’m not even going to share most of the footage, but here’s a couple of the most successful bits. I have to say though, I totally enjoyed it. Poor Herbie had to have so much patience with me, bless him, as I have absolutely no rhythm at all! And well, Hayden and Rob were awesome teachers, apart from when Hayden told me off for having a lazy little finger LOL.


Q & A Session with Rob Baynes

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So, because I had used up so much of these guys’ time, I unfortunately missed out on the opportunity to interview them. However, I DID manage to get Mr Rob Baynes  to answer a few questions for me on behalf of the band, and it made for pretty interesting reading I have to say!








Who came up with the band name Anonymous and why?

It just kind of stuck really! Originally we started as a covers band playing pubs and small festivals, for our first show we didn’t actually have a name yet so when we were asked by the promoter what to write on the poster, we lazily said “just write ‘Anonymous'”, the rest is history. Understandably people mistake us for having affiliations with the online hacker group “Anonymous” This was completely unintentional, but it’s also quite nice when people come to our Facebook page looking for hackers and end up liking our music!

You guys are so young, but your performances are so polished. What’s your secret to reaching such a high standard so quickly?

The secret is a shared, burning hatred for each other. In all seriousness though we’ve known each other since school, we have nearly murdered each other multiple times but before we were bandmates we were friends anyway. Practice is key really, individually or all together, it doesn’t matter as long as you know where your parts sit in conjunction with everyone else.

Whose idea was it to form a band, and how did you guys find each other?

Again, school. I’m pretty sure it was Luke’s idea to form a band initially, we all just went along with it at the time because we thought It’d be a laugh, we had no idea it’d lead to recording and touring and all that jazz.

What musical influences do you guys have?

It’s a weird little mesh of influences really, Hayden and Luke are very much into their classic Rock, Guns n’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, etc. and I think these are the shared influences for all of us. Herbie likes Nu-Metal and slightly heavier stuff, Breaking Benjamin for example. Personally I’m really into modern metal, the proper heavy stuff. It’s interesting to see how it all melds together when we write music, in the past it’s lead to toss-ups between a super-heavy breakdown or a three minute atmospheric ‘November Rain’ style guitar solo.

What day jobs do you do?

I work in retail, I have two jobs in two different clothes shops, which makes me an easy target for banter, but then again I don’t work in Card Factory like Hayden does so it could be worse. Luke lifts heavy things and tells people where to park at an auctioneers, and Herbie currently has the most credible job out of all of us working for JCB.

Will you be releasing an album any time soon?

Hmmm. The idea of an album is floating around in the future, we’re working on a little something at the moment, we figure after we’ve worked as hard as we can on this we will hopefully be able to get the groundworks in for a larger release.

Dish the dirt on each other……do you have any nicknames you can share with me? Also any annoying/bad habits?

We have several nicknames for each other, but our individual names in our band group chat are the best examples; Bender boy, Volatile, Pecker and Salty Baynes, obviously I’m Salty Baynes but I’ll leave you to figure out the rest, the names are best left with the stories behind them untold!

You guys must have quite a large ‘fan-girl’ base………….. How does this affect you with your private lives? Are you in relationships? If so it must be quite hard?

Do we? Where?! We’re all currently in relationships so it doesn’t really occur to us I guess!

What is your greatest achievement to date as a band?

To date, probably opening Keele University’s Karnage rock festival ahead of Mallory Knox. Words can’t describe the atmosphere in the room, it was like we were on another planet, so much energy and enthusiasm, and with that size stage we were able to jump around like a bunch of crazies.

So, if you had to nominate one band member to come to the Rock Asylum for an ‘in-the-chair’ interview………….who would it be and why?

If it were up to me I’d nominate either Hayden or Luke. Hayden just for sheer sarcastic brilliance, and Luke in the hope that he’d make a tit of himself. I don’t know if they’d nominate me or Herbie, rampant cynicsm and lack of common sense doesn’t usually make for a good face-to-face interview.

If you could choose any famous musician, who would you add as your fifth member of Anonymous? (choose one person each)

Hayden would go for Jimmy Page without a doubt, when he’s not playing the guitar he’s usually drooling and getting excited over Led Zeppelin in some form or other. Luke would probably go for Billy Sheehan of the Winery Dogs, that man crush is a big one, Luke even bought his signature bass overdrive! I’d most likely go for Sam Carter of Architects, or some other really heavy screaming vocalist, just to annoy the others to be honest. Herbie’s honest answer to this question is “I quite like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I don’t know, Will Smith rapping or something?”

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Gig Review – The Giffard Arms 26th August 2017 (photography by Dave Briggs)

So I turned up at The Giffard Arms a tad late and could hear the first band King Corpse playing as I approached. These guys were energetic and it was clear they were working very hard to put on a good show. I’m not a fan of doom metal myself, but there were a lot of people in the room who were enjoying their sound.

It’s always a difficult task to open a show, and I think all things considered, these guys did a fairly good job of it. One has to acknowledge that these guys are just setting out on their journey compared to other more established bands, and whilst their performance wasn’t perfect, the potential is certainly there.

Well done to Jack Cradock, James Pearson and Toby Sambidge for a cracking opening to the show.

Their set list was; Black Goat, Bleed for me, Sleepless, Godzilla, The Count and Swamp Thing.

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My favourite track from King Corpse was Godzilla.

I’m sure that the guys from King Corpse won’t mind, but below is an up tempo version of Godzilla, you never know, next time I see them they might be playing it this speed! Now that I would love to see!


Next up were Unhinged. These guys recently had their upcoming album Life Can Wait reviewed by The Rock Asylum, so I was intrigued to see how a live performance would compare, and they most certainly did not disappoint. Highlights of their set were Cigarette, The Bitter Blues and Life Can Wait.

Michael Hodges once again played a blinder with his egotistic performance, during which he took every opportunity that arose to get involved with the audience and delivered tons of swagger as he strutted his stuff on stage.

Having seen a live performance from Unhinged a while back, in comparison their performance was more polished, more fun, both for the audience and for the guys on stage. It was very clear that every member of the band was enjoying being there.

Dan Hipkiss once again delivered his trademark animated performance, but this time with far more confidence than before, enticing the audience into anticipation. He also stepped up his limitations by ripping off his vest at the end.

Ben Armstrong came into the forefront of the performance too, also having an in your face style, and showing off his guitar playing and singing skills he certainly proved that he’s a strong member of this band. Both guitar players complimented each other, however, if I was being picky, I would have liked to see more interaction between the two during their performance.

Dave Kitely, a very talented drummer, who if I’m brutally honest I haven’t paid much attention to in the past, did a fantastic job, and I personally think he could add more flavour to the set by doing a bit of a drum solo, I’m sure he would find something ‘Unhinged’ style to do. All of these guys have humungous personalities and skill, and it would be such a shame not to get him as equally involved in the set. I feel that something such as that would take them to the next level as far as performance goes.

Their set list for the evening was; Stay OK, Steal your lover, Single, Bitter Blues, Band Wagon, Breakout, FU, Cigarette, and Life can wait.

Unhinged are right up there in my top 5 local bands, and to anyone who doesn’t think its for them, I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Their album release kicks off with celebrations at the Clap Trap Venue, Stourbridge on 29th September 2017, doors open at 8pm. Click here to find out more.

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Following Unhinged were the very lovely guys (and girl) from Naked Sunday.  The husband and wife team on guitars were definitely on the same wavelength during the whole performance. I absolutely loved Martin’s voice when he sang the more gritty songs, he came into his own. This band have a fantastic mixture of sweetness, darkness and pure gritty rock n roll, I cant compare them to another band on what I’ve seen of them during this gig.

Drummer Craig seemed happy to be in the background, however as with other bands, I would pay to see this guy being given the limelight even if only a few minutes doing his own thing, I’m sure that there is more to him than first impressions lead you to believe. He is a talented drummer, and me being a fan of drummers who ‘show off’ I think he could definitely pull this off…. So come on Craig, show us what you’re made of!

All in all a solid performance by Naked Sunday, Diamonds and Pearls being my favourite track, closely followed by Reaper.

Look out for these guys appearing on The Rock Asylum again in the near future……. I have  a couple of things in the pipeline with them!

The set list for Naked Sunday was; Sunflowers in the rain, Sobering Kiss, What kind of love are you on, Closure, Diamonds and Pearls, Unbreakable, and Reaper.

Naked Sunday will be performing at The Station, Cannock on 23rd September, prior to the launch of their second album.

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Next up were the headliners, Buzzard. Jimmy Croutear on lead guitar / lead vocals,
Andy Vernon on bass / vocals, Justin James on drums / vocals.

The Giffard soon filled with their supporters as the set began. These guys put on a full on heavy rock performance with quite a hefty dose of punk undertones.  Their heart and souls went into the performance tonight, which was most definitely appreciated by all.

The relationship between band members was tight and this came through with their banter during the set. Welcoming other people to get up and join in with Born to be Wild was rather brave of them as most people had downed their fair share by then, but it was all in good fun and made for a pleasant night’s entertainment.

They also showed their versatility by swapping roles at one point, something I haven’t seen before!

I particularly enjoyed their covers, my favourite being Pretty Vacant, which was performed as an encore. I also enjoyed their performance of Step it Up.

Set list for the performance; Kamikaze, Frustration, Step it up, Breed, Another Chain, Saturday Night TV, Hair of the Dog, Rat Race, Ace of Spades, The Line, Shoe String Band, Covered by the Blood.

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