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The Garage, London

Nik Underwood

nik underwood


Anticipation was running high in The Garage tonight as Bigelf appear to be one of those bands that inspire admiration, devotion and respect amongst "those in the know".

While by no means packed, there was a high concentration of industry movers and shakers and the afore-mentioned enlightened psychedelic pro rock devotees.

Bigelf bigwig Damon Fox's command centre of keyboards was front and centre and emerging to a loud cheer the band launches into 'The Evils Of Rock'n'Roll' from 2008s 'Cheat The Gallows' LP. Decked out in top hat and Sgt Pepper-esque red braided jacket Fox is mesmeric, arms outstretched squeezing chords, swells and melodies from the keys at either side.

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'Madhatter' and 'Painkillers' flow next from early album 'Hex' and the mash up of retro synths, sweet Beatles melody and Sabbath riffage is keeping the faithful nodding their heads.

On tour in the UK to promote new album 'Into The Maelstrom' we get four in a row in the shape of 'Hypersleep', 'Vertigod', 'Edge Of Oblivion' and the epic 'ITM'. By all accounts this long-awaited new offering is going down a treat as these songs get some of the biggest reaction of the night. Later in the evening during some audience banter one enthusiast requests "Hypersleep, AGAIN!".


Fox is in jovial mood having plenty of back and forth with the crowd, ribbing a pair of incoherent wasted fans and taking some ribs for his and bass player Duffy Snowhill's matching coats. For the record, Duffy (in blue coat) keeps his head down and concentrates on laying down the groove, a wry smile occasionally visible beneath the mass of dreadlocks, beard and shades.

Whilst trying to get a peek at a setlist on the stage I spied what turned out to be chord charts and notes by the feet of the guitar player. When I ask a mate who's big into Bigelf who he is, he replies "New". As it turns out the new guy is John Wesley of Porcupine Tree fame, adding to the list of those established artists such as Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater and System of a Down's Serj Tankian who have had a hand in bigging up Bigelf.


Fox labels him "fucking amazing" and beams when introducing him. He beams even brighter however when introducing his son Darren on drums. I have no idea of his age (either Fox!) but the boy done good!

'Money, It's Pure Evil' and 'Money Machine' lead us into my highlight of the night which was 'Counting Sheep', the moogs, mellotron and Hammond organ building up the drama and taking the show to a close.


The four-piece return and after a technical glitch forces a restart we get 'Incredible Time Machine' and a finale of 'Blackball' which has Fox clambering atop his keyboards and bidding us a fond farewell.

Much has been made of Bigelf somewhat stalling in their trajectory and indeed Fox himself has stated his previous uncertainty with the future of the band. However focus seems to be regained and the new material seems to have reinvigorated Fox and fans alike.

The future is bright, the future is retro!


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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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