Hammer's Gigs Of The Week: 20/4/15 - 26/4/15

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The sun’s been shining, politicians are arguing on the telly and Faith No More have announced some stupidly intimate gigs. Let’s hope the touts forgot their sun-cream and rejoice in the knowledge that a cornucopia of gigs is at hand this week.

SCOTLAND

Scotland Calling: Glasgow, O2 ABC, Saturday 25th April Polish your safety pins and prepare your bum flaps; Glasgow’s about to get punked to bits. The Exploited, The Damned, UK Subs, The Anti-Nowhere League and various other ruffians will be taking the stage, providing an entire day of anarchic glee which culminates in a free after-show party. Saucy.

WALES

Blues Pills: Cardiff, The Globe, Thursday 23rd April Having ripped ‘retro’ away from the exclusivity of your dad’s three-disc driving compilation and kicking it into the 21st century, Blues Pills take on the psychedelic, bluesy rock ‘n’ roll of yore with ease. Vocalist Elin Larsson has a hint of Janis Joplin about her dexterous larynx, and the band also churn out a ridiculous Chubby Checker cover. Get on this immediately.

THE NORTH

Amplifier: Manchester, Gorilla, Friday 24th April Manchester progmeisters Amplifier are on the road again, punishing audiences with their Sabbath-meets-Floyd racket. If the noodly bits of Amplifier aren’t your bag, then support band Black Moth focus more on cultivating a Sabbath-esque, heavier-than-Godzilla-after-a-post-breakup-Ben-&-Jerry’s-session sound.

THE MIDLANDS

The Gentle Storm: Leicester, The Musician, Friday 24th April Arjen Lucassen is a musical genius. Anneke van Giersbergen possesses one of the most beautiful, instantly recognisable voices in rock music. The Gentle Storm combines both talents in a smorgasbord of epic soundscapes that gives the Pirates Of The Caribbean soundtrack a good kicking; Lucassen won’t be present, but van Giersbergen’s unbridled positivity and seemingly endless smiling is more than enough to coax us down there.

THE SOUTH

Prong: Bristol, O2 Academy, Friday 24th April Tommy Victor’s brilliant, isn’t he? Anyone who was at Bloodstock last year should keenly remember his band’s upbeat, urban metal sticking out amidst the sea of black metal badger impersonators. Their recent cover album, Songs From The Black Hole, has Prong tackling the likes of Bad Brains, Fugazi and even Neil Young. Let’s hope they bless us with some live renditions.

LONDON

Desertfest: Koko, The Electric Ballroom, The Underworld, The Black Heart, The Jazz Cafe, Purple Turtle, Friday 24th April - Sunday 26th April This weekend, innumerable bands of the stoner/doom variety will descend upon London, transforming the streets into a treacle-thick ooze that even Jon Tickle would drown in. Headline stints from Eyehategod, Sleep and Red Fang are reason enough to wade through the sludge, but a newly reformed Black Pyramid are surely going to crack skulls and contend for band of the weekend. To paraphrase Frankie Boyle: They gonna show you heavy, father fuckers.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Arcane Roots: Belfast, QUBSU Bar Sub, Wednesday 22nd April Once you get over the fact that they occasionally bear similarity to Biffy Clyro’s (very) early works and, well, Arcane Roots’ frontman Andrew Groves looks a bit like Simon Neil, this band is the bee’s knees. In fact, the bee has been kneecapped – such was the value of his knees – and he’s now bleeding out on the street corner. Get in on this if you like your music unpredictable, thought-provoking and, above all, memorable.

IRELAND

Ginger Wildheart: Dublin, The Sugar Club, Friday 24th April Most of us will have seen Mr Wildheart in one form or another over the years, but you’ve never seen him like this. The Songs & Words tour sees our favourite Geordie racking up three hours a night as he digs up stories from his past, introduces special guests and apparently tells a tale involving horse semen. The guy is a working class rock ‘n’ roll icon; you’d never miss an opportunity to belt out I Wanna Go Where The People Go, now, would you?