A nostalgic look back at rock from yester-year with a catch up of some of those acts still rocking it loud & proud.
So here we are in January 2014 and can I take the opportunity wish all fellow Midlands Rockers a very happy and healthy New Year.
January, of course, is all about predicting which bands and artists will grace our shores with their presence over the next twelve months and also a chance to scoff at how certain media got it very wrong last time around. Turn the clock back a year and you will find both The Guardian and Rolling Stone tipping Van Halen for a return to Europe with Dave Lee Roth at the helm. Our very own Tosh Davies, who often gets these things spot on, has been vocal in predicting VH for the European festival circuit ever since they reunited with Diamond Dave but you have to go back to Castle Donington on August 18th 1984 since Eddie and Dave last shared a British stage. And with 2014 being the thirtieth anniversary of this momentous occasion surely the timing has never been better?
Sharing the Monsters Of Rock bill with Van Halen that year were headliners AC/DC along with Ozzy, Gary Moore, Y&T, Accept and a very young Mötley Crüe. In September AC/DC will be marking the fortieth anniversary since Bon Scott joined the Young brothers which has inevitably given rise to much speculation as to some sort of touring activity. Even if something does happen with the major festival headline slots all taken it is difficult to imagine we will see them over here until very late in the year.
As far as Ozzy is concerned then anyone who saw Black Sabbath in action last month will have been left in no doubt they still have plenty in the tank (read our review here). Sabbath already have dates confirmed for North America in March and mainland Europe throughout June including both Sweden Rock and Graspop. Although nothing has yet been announced for the UK there must be a strong chance they will be back on home turf before the year is out. An all-dayer at Villa Park, anyone?
And as for Mötley Crüe then what we do know is that a ‘farewell’ tour is scheduled to kick off at some point during 2014 and when it does reach our shores it is to be hoped the schedulers make it for the warmer months to be certain there is no repeat of 1988’s ‘snow on the roof’ debacle.
Talking of farewell tours the Eagles seem to be determined to say the longest goodbye in history with every visit to Europe being touted as the final opportunity to see the band perform live. They bring their History of the Eagles tour to LG Arena on May 28th and 29th and top price tickets of £135 are still available for both dates.
Did anyone spot Judas Priest’s festive message posted at their official website? Short and to the point it stated that “We will be releasing a new album sometime in 2014 so stay tuned…!” Whenever the album does emerge it will be the bands first since 2008’s Nostradamus and be their seventeenth studio release and first to feature new guitarist Richie Faulkner. 2014 will mark the fortieth anniversary since the Metal Gods unleashed their debut album, Rocka Rolla. The songs from the debut album were long absent from Priest’s live performance until the Epitaph tour when ‘Never Satisfied’ (co written by Al Atkins and K.K. Downing) was resurrected as the band’s set included at least one song from each of the Halford fronted albums.
Another heavyweight band set for a busy 2014 is KISS. Firstly there is their induction to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame which will surely see the original four members briefly reunited for what will possibly be the final time. Gene Simmons confirmed back in October that KISS would be touring over here during the spring. Given that no dates have yet been confirmed there may be some slippage in the timing but they will almost certainly be back at the LG Arena sometime this year for their first appearance in the region since the Sonic Boom over Europe tour of May 2010.
Aside from who might tour this year there are already a host of veteran acts that we already know will be on the road. The first few months of the year at Birmingham’s Town Hall and Symphony Hall already look to be very busy with The Straits (February 7th), Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (February 20th), Fairport Convention (March 4th ) and Camel (March 10th) appearing at the former. Over in the larger venue will be Paul Carrack (January 28th), Mike and the Mechanics (March 1st), Ian Anderson (May 3rd) and Yes (May 4th).
The turn of the year always gives rise to reunion rumours and you can expect to see the usual suspects such as Genesis, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Oasis and Led Zeppelin trotted out over the coming weeks. One name already confirmed as being dragged out of hibernation in 2014 is King Crimson with an expanded line-up that takes in three drummers. A return to the stage is slated for September.
Aside from the heavyweights there are always some cult artists that get back together in one form or another and if all goes to plan 2014 will see new music and live dates here in the Midlands from Jameson Raid. Taking their name from a failed nineteenth century uprising in the South African republic, the Raid became cult heroes of the halcyon NWOBHM era despite only releasing a couple of EP’s, one of which included signature song ‘Seven Days of Splendour’. From their Birmingham base they gigged with the likes of Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden and Saxon before dissolving in 1983. The new line-up, still fronted by Terry Dark, made its live debut at Hard Rock Hell last month and they have a Pledge campaign for their new CD underway at http://www.pledgemusic.com/artists/jamesonraid
That’s all for this month and when we return in a couple of months time it will be to look back at one of the regions longest running venues, JB’s in Dudley, which opened its doors way back in 1969 before closing in January 2011.