CuckooLander played Shepherds Bush Empire this week as part of their Charli XCX support tour. Both guitarists Dougie and Matt are using HT Studio 20’s with 412’s for the tour which continues with six more dates throughout the UK. Check out the video to CuckooLander’s ‘Dumb Dee Diddy Dumb’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVHlLYNxtQY
Neil Dexter from Spies came to Blackstar’s London office this week to try a range of amps and pedals. The Dublin five-piece were in London to play a couple of shows in support of their new EP ’Sea Creatures’ which is due for release on March 30th. Neil uses a HT Drive pedal and was using a HT Club 40 for these London shows. Check out their new video for EP track ‘Quincy Morris’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY1VdXbZ6JU
Andy James from Wearing Scars visited the Blackstar HQ to shoot a couple of videos on his amp on choice, the HT Metal 100.
Andy is an incredible player with amazing technique, accuracy and speed so watch this space for the video release.
As part of his ‘We Are The Fire’ UK and Europe tour Gus G played to a sold out Islington Academy this week in support of Kamelot. The guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and Firewind is promoting his debut solo album ‘I Am The Fire’. Gus was using his signature Blackfire 200 half stacks. Islington was the last of his UK dates before he heads off to play three shows in Italy. For more information visit http://www.gusgofficial.com
Modestep played London’s XOYO this week as part of their short UK run. Also playing shows in Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham as they build up to a string of festivals this summer including Download. Guitarists Ky and Tony use a Series One 1046L6 and Series One 100 rig repetitively. Modestep’s new album ‘London Road’ is out on the 25th of May and is available for preorder now. For more information visit http://www.modestep.com
Blackstar went to Nottingham’s Rock City on Tuesday to catch up with endorsee Gill from The Amorettes who opened up for the aptly named Black Star Riders. We shot an Artist Spotlight video with Gill where she told us why the Series One 200 is her amp of choice. Stay tuned for the video.
You can watch the girls rocking out in their latest music video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-EJnfQKyI
And make sure you check out their Facebook page to keep up to date here - https://www.facebook.com/theamorettes?fref=ts
Alex Kane dropped by Blackstar’s London office this week to collect two HT Stage 100 stacks for a short UK run with Starz. The band will be playing the Zephyr Lounge (Leamington Spa), The Underworld (London) and the Hard Rock Hell AOR Festival (North Wales). For more information visit http://starzcentral.com
The Stranglers played a sold out show at London’s Roundhouse this week as part of their ‘March On’ UK tour. Guitarist and singer Baz Warne was using his newly camouflaged Series One 50 rigs. The tour sees the band play nineteen venues throughout the UK in March. For your chance to see the band and Baz’s camouflaged Blackstar rig visit their website http://www.thestranglers.net
Happyness played Londons Heaven this week to a rapturous crowd. The three piece, hailing from London themselves, were on fine form and both Benji Compston and Jonny Allan used a HT Stage 60 as they swapped roles on guitar. The band have two more UK shows before heading off state side for their US tour in support of their debut album "Weird Little Birthday". Click on the link to see the band performing "Pumpkin Noir" for a recent NME session:
For the first time in its history Soundwave festival was held over two days this year. The festival took place in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with each days line-up criss crossing between each city. Blackstar artists taking part this year included Ministry, Apocalyptica, Deathstars and Mayhem. Click on the link to see Ministry perform Life Is Good/N.W.O./Just One Fix live at Melbourne Showgrounds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1xi1q5lZp8
King Charles brought his recent UK tour to a close at The Forum in London on Saturday. The tour saw Charles and his band play a show a night throughout February, many of which were sold out. Charles uses a HT Stage 60 and his guitarist Max Truphet uses a HT Club 50 and HTV-212.
Mickey Smith not only plays guitar for Ben Howard but he has also produced some of his music videos. A very talented guy. Ben Howard, accompanied by Mickey and the rest of his band, is playing two sold out shows at London’s Brixton Academy this week as part of his European tour. Ben’s debut album “Every Kingdom” was released in 2011 and was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2012. He then went on to win two Brit awards in 2013. Following up on this phenomenal success this year saw the release of his second album “I forget Where We Are”. Mickey Smith is using an Artisan 15 on this tour and had this to say about it. ”I absolutely love it, such a great sound, so stoked. I have used it every gig so far.” For your chance to catch them live and for more information visit the website http://www.benhowardmusic.co.uk
Blackstar artist Bob Mould will be sitting in with the house band on “Late Night With Seth Myers” all this week. He will have an Artisan 30 combo to power him through the show. Make sure to tune in: http://www.nbc.com/late-night-with-seth-meyers
Young Guns bring a triumphant 2014 to a close by playing their last gig of the year at Wembley Arena in support of Bring Me The Horizon. This year saw the release of their single “I want out” which reached number one on the iTunes rock chart. The band has also smashed the live scene with performances at Reading and Leeds Festival and a hugely successful US tour. As always Fraser Taylor will be using his Series One 1046L6 rig. With the release of their new album scheduled for 2015 the meteoric rise of Young Guns is set to continue. For more information on the band visit their website http://weareyoungguns.com
The Boxer Rebellion formed back in 2001 and have achieved much success and critical acclaim over the past decade. New guitarist Andrew Smith, who joined the band this year, popped in to our London office this week to try out some amps and pedals and was suitably impressed. The Boxer Rebellion will be in the studio over the next few months working on their new album before they hit the road again and Blackstar will be providing a Series One 45 combo as well as an array of pedals for Andrew to use.
We had a special visit from Billy Lunn from The Subways today! Billy has been a Blackstar user since the beginning and has relied on his Artisan 30’s for years of touring! When Billy heard about our latest range of LT Pedals, he got very excited! Billy loved them so much that he has now got an LT Boost, and LT Drive and an LT Dual which will all be used in conjunction with his Artisan 30 which runs into the monstrous Artisan 412! What a set up!
Wolf formed back in 1995 in the quaint town of Orebro, Sweden and have seven studio albums under their belt. This includes their latest album Devil Seed which was released in August of this year. Devil Seed is unlike any Wolf album before it and according to the band “Its heavy metal to 11. Its heavy metal with extra leather and spikes”. This is a band that have their own absinthe and ‘Wolf’s Blood Hot Sauce’! Wolf are currently out on tour and Simon “Demon’ Johansson is using his Series One 200 rig. For more information on the tour and the band visit their website http://wolf.nu
Fort Hope rose from the ashes of UK rock band My Passion which disbanded in 2012. They released their first single ‘Control’ in early 2013 and this year saw the release of their mini album ‘Courage’ which was met with critical acclaim. They are currently on a UK tour supporting Mallory Knox and will be playing two nights at London’s Electric Ballroom this week to bring the tour to a close. Lead singer and guitarist Jon Gaskin has will be using his Series One 100 rig and had this to say about it,“Its beyond amazing, absolutely loving it. I think we definitely have the best guitar sound on the tour! (But then I’m biased!)”.
Bob Mould concluded his recent European tour with a show at Londons Village Underground. Bob has been promoting his most recent album Beauty and Ruin which was released in June of this year. With an extensive back catalogue to draw from he played a set littered with classics from Husker Du, Sugar and his solo career using his Blackstar Artisan rig. The show went down a storm and was a fitting end to a great tour.
Gus G will be heading out on the We Are The Fire tour commencing this February. He will be starting off in the UK before heading off to Germany, Holland, Austria and then finishing off in Sweden. He will be using his signature Blackfire 200 heads with the matching Blackfire 412 cabs!
Blackstar endorsee and blues virtuoso Danny Bryant heads out to Germany today with his band to do a run of shows through Germany and Austria. Danny gets his distinctive tone through his HT Club 50 head into a matching HTV-412A cabinet!
Deathstars axe-man Emil Nightmare Industries Nodtveidt is the newest member of the Blackstar family. Emil is now using two HT METAL 100 full stacks to give him a huge, crushing metal tone that is perfect for their music! Make sure you catch these guys on tour!
The Specials are currently on their UK tour and are being joined by long time Blackstar fan Steve Cradock. In honour of this special occasion Blackstar created a bespoke white Artisan 30 and 212 cabinet for Steve. Original member Lynval Golding was so impressed with Steves Artisans that he has requested one for the rest of the tour! The band will be playing three nights at Londons Roundhouse which, like the rest of the tour, has sold out. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a ticket then get your two-tones out and enjoy the iconic band with their Artisans!
Fresh from their gig on an iceberg in the Greenland Sea, The Defiled begin their European tour this week in Germany and will be making their way across the continent to play ten shows in the UK starting in Nottingham on the 24th November. Singer and guitarist Stitch D will be using his Series One rig of which he had this to say, "The Series One 1046L6 simply rules! Tonally I can get anything from classic rock to full-on face melting metal". For more information on the band and the tour visit their website: http://thedefiled.net
Fuse ODG burst onto the UK music scene back in the summer of 2013 with his debut single Antenna. He went on to win Best African Act at the Mobo awards later that year as well as four awards at the 2013 Urban Awards. His debut album T.I.N.A. (an acronym for This Is New Africa) has just been released and he will be showcasing songs from the album on Later With Jools Holland this Friday the 7th. He will be supported by his guitarist Aaron Forbes who will be using his Blackstar Artisan rig. For a little taster check out Tuesdays live performance here: http://youtu.be/7LCpng2GBVg
This week we had a special visit from Tim of Hactivist. Tim wasn’t happy with his previous setup and he knew where to come to get himself sounding the best! Hacktivist are about to head out on tour and Tim will be using 2 Series One Blackfire 200 heads with 2 Series One Pro B cabs with one-off biscuit coloured fret! Nice!
A special and limited expanded edition of the solo debut album "I Am The Fire" by OZZY OSBOURNE / FIREWIND and Blackstar signature guitarist GUS G. is now released via Century Media Records.
The CD & DVD Digipak version of "I Am The Fire" features 4 bonus tracks and a 62-minutes bonus DVD (Including the album’s 4 official video clips so far, 3 live tracks, 6 guitar tutorials as well as an EPK and Track-By-Track Commentary).
Here is a complete tracklisting of the CD:
GUS G. - "I Am The Fire (Expanded Edition)" [62:52] / Tracklisting:
1. My Will Be Done (Feat. Mats Levén) [3:15]
2. Blame It On Me (Feat. Mats Levén) [3:23]
3. I Am The Fire (Feat. Devour The Day) [3:14]
4. Vengeance (Feat. David Ellefson) [4:26]
5. Long Way Down (Feat. Alexia Rodriguez) [3:02]
6. Just Can’t Let Go (Feat. Jacob Bunton) [4:00]
7. Terrified (Feat. Billy Sheehan) [3:14]
8. Eyes Wide Open (Feat. Mats Levén) [4:18]
9. Redemption (Feat. Michael Starr) [4:15]
10. Summer Days (Feat. Jeff Scott Soto) [3:49]
11. Dreamkeeper (Feat. Tom S. Englund) [4:45]
12. End Of The Line (Feat. Mats Levén) [4:59]
13. Hesitate (Feat. Tara Teresa) [4:09]
14. Without You [4:59]
15. Last Embrace [2:41]
16. Redemption (Feat. Mats Levén) [4:14]
You can order the release form CM Distro here: http://smarturl.it/GusGCMD
A video trailer for the release can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/vIr_VedTrfw
GUS G. has also just announced a run of headlining dates through Europe (Exception Swedish shows) for February 2015 with support by Arthemis from Italy. Here are all the dates:
GUS G. – “We Are The Fire” European Tour 2015:
19.02.2015 Cambridgeshire (UK) - The Corn Exchange St Ives
20.02.2015 Nottingham (UK) - Rescue rooms
21.02.2015 Manchester (UK) - Academy 3
22.02.2015 Southampton (UK) - The Joiners
24.02.2015 Hamburg (Germany) - Logo
25.02.2015 Flensburg (Germany) - Roxy
26.02.2015 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) - Baroeg
28.02.2015 Vienna (Austria) - Szene
01.03.2015 Munich (Germany) - Feierwerk
03.03.2015 Düsseldorf (Germany) - Pitcher
04.03.2015 Zwolle (The Netherlands) - Hedon
05.03.2015 Malmö (Sweden) - KB
06.03.2015 Jönkoping (Sweden) - Denim And Leather
07.03.2015 Gothenburg (Sweden) - Sticky Fingers
But before embarking on that next headlining journey, GUS G. will already be touring South America and Europe as part of the illustrious cast of the Metal All Stars tour (http://www.metalallstars.com), featuring members of Megadeth, Anthrax, Dream Theater and many more. Here are the final dates:
GUS G. w/ Metal All Stars, featuring members of Megadeth, Anthrax, Dream Theater and more:
21.11.2014 La Paz, Bolivia @ Teatro Al Aire Libre *
22.11.2014 São Paulo, Brazil @ Espaco Das Americas
23.11. 2014 Santiago, Chile @ Movistar Arena
28.11.2014 Bochum, Germany @ RuhrCongress
29.11.2014 Leipzig, Germany @ Haus Auensee
30.11.2014 Berlin, Germany @ Huxleys
01.12.2014 Zurich, Switzerland @ X-Tra
02.12.2014 Milan, Italy @ Live Club *
03.12.2014 Vienna, Austria @ Arena
04.12.2014 Ljubljana, Slovenia @ Hala Tivoli
05.12 .2014 Belgrade, Serbia @ Hala Sportova
06.12.2014 Prague, Czech Republic @ Forum Karlin
07.12.2014 Warsaw, Poland @ Progresja
09.12.2014 Nuremberg, Germany @ Rockfabrik
10.12.2014 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Vega
11.12.2014 Kiel, Germany @ MAX
12.12.2014 Tilburg, Netherlands @ 013
14.12.2014 Paris, France @ Cabaret Sauvage *
16.12.2014 London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton *
17.12.2014 Dublin, Ireland @ Academy *
19.12.2014 Bergen, Norway @ USF Verftet *
20.12.2014 Stavanger, Norway @ Stavanger Konserthus *
* Newly announced or updated show!
Video director Patric Ullaeus (In Flames, Within Temptation, At The Gates, etc.) just recently wrapped up the work on the upcoming GUS G. promotional video for the next single song “Long Way Down (Feat. Alexia Rodriguez)”. Watch out for its premiere later this week...
GUS G. handles all guitar, bass and keyboards on “I Am The Fire” and is joined by a roster of friends and guests that helped bring his vision to fruition: drummers Jeff Friedl (A PERFECT CIRCLE, PUSCIFER, DEVO) and Daniel Erlandsson (ARCH ENEMY), bassists David Ellefson (MEGADETH), Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, DAVID LEE ROTH) and Marty O'Brien (TOMMY LEE, WE ARE THE FALLEN), and vocalists Mats Leven (CANDLEMASS, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN/THERION), Blake Allison (DEVOUR THE DAY), Michael Starr (STEEL PANTHER), Alexia Rodriguez (EYES SET TO KILL), Tom S. Englund (EVERGREY), Jacob Bunton (ADLER) and Jeff Scott Soto (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, ex-JOURNEY). The album showcases a well-balanced mix of active rock, classic hard rock, traditional metal and guitar-driven instrumentals, taking listeners on a diverse journey through GUS G.'s soulful playing.
This Saturday see’s Blackstar band ‘Altered Sky’ kicking off their UK headline tour at Unplug in Birmingham. Make sure you give them a listen! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pULDipT1zvU
Gedeon Luke and his band The People are coming to London with their gospel infused sounds inspired by their rock ‘n roll passion. Hailing from the streets of Memphis Gedeon and his band are out in support of their latest release, Live Free And Love. They will be using a Blackstar HT-Stage 60 combo and will be appearing on Later with Jools Holland next week as well as a show at The Brooklyn Bowl in the O2. For more information visit the website http://gedeonluke.com
Leprous formed in 2001 in Notodden, Norway and gained notoriety as the backing band for Emperors frontman Ihsahns studio albums. Since then they have released three studio albums of their own including last years Coal. They begin their UK tour this week with a show at The Garage in London. They will be sharing the stage with Haken and Maschine and the tour will take in nine venues across the UK. The band will be using Blackstar Series One 200 and 104EL34 heads with Series One 412 cabs. For more information on the tour visit their website http://www.leprous.net
Anders Nystrom from Katatonia recently got his hands on an ID:Core 10 and here’s what he had to say:
This is the best practice/warm-up amp Ive had! Killer fx, a tuner and the full range of sparkling cleans all the way up to chunky heavy distortion. With the big things going on inside this small format I find myself jamming on this combo more than anything else these days. The stereo depth is so huge that I keep looking for a second amp in the room but it aint there!
Blues virtuoso Danny Bryant is one of the many professional players that has fallen in love with the sound of our affordable HT Venue amps. Danny has been using a HT Club 50 head with the matching HTV412A cab. Danny says "The purest, most sweet sounding and versatile amp that I have ever had the pleasure of playing through. The Blackstar HT Club 50 completes the circle of tone I have been searching for all my life."
Nicke Borg from the Backyard Babies is back in the studio writing and recording with his new Blackstar rig, consisting of Series One 50s, Artisan 30s as well as a selection of speaker cabs. We can’t wait to hear the new material. We know it will sound awesome!
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