Blackstar endorsees Bury Tomorrow head out on their biggest ever headline tour tomorrow and will be playing shows in 10 different countries! Both guitarists Jason and Kristan will be using Series One 1046L6 heads with Series One 412 Pro cabs.
A gigantic Iceberg has been turned into the most unlikely of gig venues in the Greenland Sea, as UK metal band The Defiled performed on top of the floating platform for the Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig – which sees artists put to the test as they perform in unconventional, ice cold conditions.
Braving freezing temperatures and fast flowing ice, the group performed the special set to a host of locals from the nearby town of Kulusuk, who ventured out to the ice field to watch this once-in-a-lifetime experience from an array of fishing boats and leisure craft.
As an internationally touring band and part of the Jägermusic programme, The Defiled are used to spending long stretches on the road together, which helped prepare them for the unusual nature of this tour. Flying from the UK to Iceland, the group then transferred to the island town of Kulusuk, Greenland, before trekking over-land and sea to their base on the neighbouring island Tasiilaq which has a population of just over 2000 inhabitants.
Prior to taking to the icy-stage, Frontman Stitch D, along with keyboard player The AvD, bassist Vincent Hyde and drummer Needles spent time getting to meet local musicians and watching them perform their own traditional music, before inviting them and other residents to come and witness their unique one-off performance. Renowned for their distinctively dark and imposing on-stage dress – which provided a stunning visual contrast to the bright white ice cold surroundings – The Defiled played a 30 minute set featuring tracks from their latest album Daggers.
In the lead up to the gig, the team scoured the area for several days on the search for the ‘perfect’ berg – one that was large enough and thick enough to take the band and all of their equipment. All of the instruments, sound equipment and the band themselves were ferried onto the gig stage with the help of local experts who have lived and worked amongst these impressive ice floes for generations.
To thank the locals for making the gig a reality, the band donated their equipment to the local community hall. When the band heard that the Kulusuk village music hall, and all of their equipment, had burnt down in a fierce winter storm, Stitch D and his bandmates pulled strings with Mapex and Blackstar, two of their equipment suppliers, and donated a drum kit and guitar amp to contribute to the rebuilding of the facilities.
Stitch D said, “This has to be one of the most insane gigs we’ve ever played! You see these things on TV documentaries but it’s not until you get to see them in real life that you realise just how big and amazing icebergs are. Although it was cold, I don’t think any of us noticed once we got started as the stage location literally takes your breath away.
“As a group of mates we’ve shared some amazing experiences together but this has been an adventure that has bought us closer together and something that we all feel really privileged to have been part of. We’ve made a lot of friends during our short stay here and donated some music equipment to the local people, so we look forward to coming back one day and playing a joint gig out here next time – maybe the first ever gig with two bands playing on two icebergs at the same time!”
In order to capture the gig and the breath-taking surroundings in all its glory, the expedition team turned to the latest technology to film and photograph the gig – utilising state-of-the-art ‘octocopter flying drone cameras’ to hover above and alongside the iceberg which are controlled remotely from the flotilla of boats nearby.
Tom Carson, Jägermeister music manager, added, “As far as stage backdrops go, I don’t think you’ll find anything more impressive than this. We’re used to staging events at music venues and summer festivals, so it made for an interesting change to be checking ‘berg suitability’ as part of the pre event checks as opposed to the typical band riders and sound systems.
“We’ve worked with The Defiled for a number of years now as part of our Jägermusic programme and we’re extremely grateful to them for accepting the Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig challenge and staging one of the most unique sets we’ve witnessed – we hope the locals of Kulusuk enjoyed it as much as we did.”
In 2012 Charlie Simpson performed The Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig and set a new Guinness World Record for the World’s Coldest Concert. Braving brutal temperatures of -30˚C the singer, songwriter and former Fightstar front man performed to a small crowd in Oymyakon, Siberia – the coldest permanently inhabited place on the planet.
To see pictures of The Defiled taking on the Jägermeister Ice Cold Gig Challenge visit facebook.com/JagerMusicUK
A short video documentary is available to view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0BUVYnZvX8
The Vamps are coming to the end of their UK arena tour and will be playing two nights at the Eventim Apollo this week. The tour has been such a success that this Saturday the 18th tickets go on sale for their next arena tour in April and May 2015. Their new charity version of Oh Cecilia was released on the 12th October with all proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. They will also be part of BBC Radio 1s Teen Awards being broadcast live this Sunday the 19th.
The talented Chris Buck sent us this amazing track and video by Buck & Evans from the 'Live at Rockfield' sessions. Chris recorded through a Series One 50 and Series One PRO 4x12 speaker cabinet. Hear it here: http://bit.ly/AintNoMoonlight
Alexander Wolfe launched his third album 'From the Shallows' on Monday the 6th and we were invited down to Dean Street Studios in the heart of London's Soho for an intimate performance of a selection of tracks from the album. Since the release of his debut album 'Morning Brings a Flood' back in 2010 he has received rave reviews for both his live and recorded work. His new album is a triumph and he will no doubt soon be touring with his Blackstar HT-Studio 20 and HT-Dual pedal. For more details on where to buy the album and any upcoming shows please visit http://www.alexanderwolfe.co.uk
Kids In Glass Houses are embarking on what will be their final tour. Since the release of their debut album 'Smart Casual' back in 2008 the band have gone on to enjoy a successful, albeit relatively short, career. Guitarist Iain Mahanty has used Blackstar through out the bands journey and will be using a HT-Stage 60 for their final tour. For tickets and more information visit their website http://kidsinglasshouses.com
The UK subs formed back in 1976 and were part of the original punk movement. They have survived many line-up changes over the years but original founder of the band Charlie Harper is still leading the troops. Jet, who joined the band as guitarist in 2005, will be using his Blackstar Series One 104EL34 rig for their upcoming UK and European tour that has just been announced. The UK tour begins on 7th November in Leicester and takes them all the way through to the start of their European tour in January of next year. Check out http://www.uksubs.co.uk for more details.
Micko Larkin has been as busy as ever recently. This year he has been working with Courtney Love who has released two tracks, Wedding Day and You Know My Name which Micko co wrote. He has also been writing and recording with Ginger Wildheart (from the The Wildhearts) and he has a few gigs coming up with Ginger at the end of October. Hes then off to LA in November to work on a new album with Courtney. Micko recently added an LT-Dual and LT-Drive to his arsenal and will be using these with his trusty Blackstar rig.
The Subways are back with a new self titled album due for release in February 2015. In what is believed to be a world first, if you pre-order the album in any format you will immediately receive Part 1 (6 tracks) to download straight away. They kicked off their UK tour last night at Dingwalls in Camden which will keep them on the road till November. Billy Lunn is a long time Blackstar fan and will be again using his Artsians for this tour and their European tour which starts in February to coincide with the full album release. For more information on where you can see them live or order the album go to http://www.thesubways.net.
Pixie Lott has been busy of late with the release of her new single 'Break Up Song' from her self-titled third album. She also is one of the 15 celebrities competing in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. As always she has been all over the TV including last weeks National Lottery Awards accompanied by her guitarist using a Blackstar Series One 45 combo. Be sure to tune in to next weeks Friday Download to see more!
The Ministry axe men dropped into the Musicians Friend studio to record a gear video about their HT METAL 100 amps. Lots of laughs were had and lots of noise was made. We can't wait to see the finished cut!
Wolf Alice were formed by Ellie Rowsell and Joff Oddie back in 2010. They have since grown from strength to strength and will soon be going in to the studio to begin work on their much anticipated debut album. Guiatrist Joff and bass player Theo stopped by our London office to try some amps and pedals. Before long Joff had found his desired combination of the HT-Dual playing through an Artisan 100 head and cab. In his words “the HT-Dual sounds fat as f**k, none of the usual fizz you get from most pedals”. He was also loving the Artisan range and we will be supplying him and Ellie some combos and more HT-Pedals to be used on their new album and beyond. With singles such as “Bros” and “Fluffy” already under their belt, 2015 promises to be a big year for Wolf Alice. Watch this space.
Ben Martinez started playing Blackstar about 5 years ago. He has played guitar for such artists as Jessie J, Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Saturdays, Nate James, Ben Montague and many more. He has just finished recording guitar for the upcoming Saturdays tour and is currently working with Jasmine Thompson who at only 13 years of age gets up to 11 million hits on her YouTube videos without any promo! Ben uses a Blackstar Series One 45 and had this to say about the combo.
"First of all I'm unusual in that I'm not actually your straight up rock guy like a lot of the blackstar guys. My job is to be versatile, turn up and give people what they want. I use the clean sound more than I use anything. And I'm a big fan of a good quality clean sound with a lot of headroom. The 45 has that in abundance which means that I can use it as a straight up clean or as a baseline tone to colour in whatever way is necessary for the gig. Then when I need it it has gain like you read about. The midi functionality is a feature I love. It works perfectly for the right shows when multiple changes need to be made at the same time and tone is at a premium so you want to get the full amp distortion whilst changing delays, or modulation etc. So it has everything I need for big gigs, but also enough versatility in its own range of tones that you could turn up to a jam night if you want with no pedals and still smash it."
Ben is off to Italy soon and will be producing and programming a show over the next two weeks, all in between more work with Jasmine and what ever else comes his way. It’s safe to say whatever does comes Ben's way he will have his trusty Series One 45 with him.
Blackstar endorsee Neil Zaza is currently on the road in the US with his ID:60TVP, a 60W 1x12 professional digital amplifier perfect for serious live use. The Band are currently on a club tour for the month and the clubs have been filled to capacity.
Neil says, “I am using the ID:60TVP. It is my main amp that is mic’d to the front of house PA and I use the emulated out to run to my in ear monitor system. This amp meets all my needs on tour and sounds fantastic. Because of the built-in effects I can bring a very small pedalboard and travel is a breeze.”
Blackstar Artist Ian Hunter (formerly of Mott The Hoople) is paying us a visit today to collect some amps for his tour which kicks off this Friday. Ian uses an Artisan 30 combo, an Artisan 30 head with Artisan 212 cabinet and an Artisan 15.
Steve Craddock is about to go on tour with ska band ‘The Specials’. They will be playing 11 shows throughout the UK and Ireland before heading into Europe. To celebrate this tour and thank Steve for being a long time Blackstar user, we’ve made him some extra special Ska styled, two tone black fret with white covering Artisan 30’s and Artisan 212 speaker cabinets. They will sound and look awesome!
Wayne Murray has been playing guitar for the Manic Street Preachers for eight years now. He began playing in James Dean Bradfield's solo touring band and when asked to play with the Manics at their 'XFM Winter Wonderland' show in 2006 he duly obliged and has never looked back. James Dean Bradfield uses, and is a huge admirer of the Artisan 30 so Wayne came to our London showroom to try one for himself. Within minutes he had the combo singing with classic Manics riffs and he soon became a big fan of the Artisan 30 himself. With it being the 20th anniversary of The Holy Bible album this year the band will be as busy as ever and we are proud to now have Wayne using the Blackstar Artisan range.
The amazing Sam Smith appeared on the BBC One show and put in a stunning performance backed by guitarist Ben Thomas. Ben uses a HT Club 50 half stack and HT Stage 60 combo. Catch the performance here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p025k9nj/the-one-show-music-festival-4-sam-smith
Vales have just come off from tour with dates that included playing Reading & Leeds. Guitarist Ben Sullivan uses a Series One 200 and this is what he said about it “The Series One 200 is truly one of the most versatile amps I've ever played - not only in tone but in volume too. From rehearsal studios to festivals, the amp provided me with more than enough power to feel unstoppable playing my guitar, I was brimming with confidence at every show.”
The Struts were in town to play London's prestigious Koko venue in aid of the Variety charity. We took the chance to invite their guitarist Addo Slack to try out some Blackstar amps. With Addo and his entourage squashed into to my small red car we looked like four clowns going to the circus as we piled out at our London office. Its fair to say Addo loved our amps and he will now be using a HT Club 50 and 212 cab for their upcoming tour starting in October. Visit their website www.thestruts.com for more information on their tour and their debut album 'Everybody Wants'.
Young Guns are kicking off a massive US tour starting on the 11th September where they will be entering 24 different states and playing 51 shows! No doubt they will be taking their trusty Blackstar rig with them. Make sure you get your hands on tickets as they are a band that cannot be missed! http://weareyoungguns.com/
In the Spring of 1977 The Damned toured America for the first time. At one of their shows was Stan Lee and Billy Club. Inspired by what they had seen they formed The Dickies. In September of that year The Dickies made their live debut at Whiskey a Go Go. They were one of the first punk rock bands to emerge from the Los Angeles scene, the first to appear on TV and the first to sign to a major label. The rest, as they say, is history. Part of that history is Little Dave Teague who joined the band in 1995. We met Dave at The Garage in London. Dave has been using a Blackstar Series One 100 head and 412 for their recent UK tour and in his own words he "has never sounded better"."I found the sound I was looking that I just cant get with other amps".
The Stranglers started life in September 1974 and will celebrate their 40th anniversary next month. Known back then as the Guildford Stranglers they have survived many a line up change and 17 studio albums later they are still going strong. They recently played V Festival and with hits such as Peaches and Golden Brown in their repertoire they went down a storm. As Baz Warne on vocals and guitar, using a Blackstar Series 50 rig, said to me after show they "soon had the young crowd eating out of the palm of their hand". They will be playing at the Electric Picnic festival in Ireland on the 30th August along with fellow Blackstar artists The Horrors and The 1975.
From what started as a small indoor festival in 2001 Bloodstock has expanded into the UK's largest independent metal festival. With some 15000 revellers congregating in the picturesque surroundings of Walton on Trent in Derbyshire, this was not to be missed by any self respected metal head. Blackstar were there in full force and had a presence on every stage from the Ronnie James Dio to the Jagermeister stage. Two of our acts, Dimmu Borgir and Saturdays headliners Emperor were the highlights of the weekend. Bloodstock will be back next year even bigger and better than before and Blackstar will, as always, be there too.
V fest takes place this weekend simultaneously between Hylands Park in Chelmsford and Weston Park in South Staffordshire. This years line up has a 90's throwback feel to it with bands including M People, Allsaints, Embrace and Starsailor. Remember them? Blackstar have many artists featuring this year including The Stranglers, Kodaline, Manic Street Preachers, James Arthur and Sam Smith to name but a few. We will be there in support and getting our 90's on. Watch this space for a full report on the weekend.
Converge are currently on their European tour so we headed down to the Scala in London to meet up with their guitarist and Blackstar endorsee Kurt Ballou. Kurt uses the Artisan 30 combo as part of his usual live set up and also in his studio Godcity back in his home state of Massachusetts. We chatted about all things equipment related and believe me this man knows a thing or two about guitar amps! The show, it goes without saying, was awesome. Check out the forthcoming artist spotlight with Kurt coming soon.
New York City punk band Cerebral Ballzy are the latest recruits to the Blackstar family. We caught up with them on tour when they played at the Crauford Arms in Milton Keynes. Guitarist Jason Bannon has been running a Series One 100 full stack and it sounded awesome!
This weekend see’s the Blackstar team going on our annual trip to the Bloodstock festival in Derbyshire. The artist team have been working hard to ensure Emperor and Dimmu Borgir have had their brutal metal tone throughout the festival season and we can’t wait to see them crush the crowd with their Series One stacks this weekend! Right… now to load the van!
Japanese guitarist Yuji Hayashi is currently on tour with the famous singer song writer Shinji Tanimura. Yuji is currently touring around Japan with his Artisan 30 head and Artisan 2x12 speaker cabinet.