This Week’s Top Tickets: Mariah Carey, Brad Paisley, BLACKPINK, Impractical Jokers, Gojira, Bear’s Den, Skunk Anansie and more

Mariah Carey has added spring UK and European dates to her Caution World Tour, which shares its name with the pop vocalist’s latest album, out now. Country superstar Brad Paisley, meanwhile, will play London’s O2 Arena And Dublin’s 3Arena in October, joined by Chris Lane for both dates, who will be making his UK live debut. K-pop girl group sensation BLACKPINK have added a Manchester stop on May 21 to their world tour.

Impractical Jokers have announced a UK and Ireland tour starring the Tenderloins, that’s the guys from Comedy Central’s Impractical Jokers, James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano. They’ll bring their The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour to arenas in October.

Mariah Carey

The pop vocalist has lined up a show at Dublin’s 3Arena on May 22 plus three nights at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall as part of the European leg of her Caution World Tour, which shares its name with the singer’s latest album, out now. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on February 8, priced £55.00 plus fees.

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Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley will bring his world tour to London’s O2 Arena and Dublin’s 3Arena in October, joined by rising star Chris Lane for both dates, who will be making his UK live debut. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on February 8, priced £37.50 plus fees.

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The Korean vocal group will now kick off the UK and European leg of their world tour at Manchester Arena on May 21, ahead of stops in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona. Tickets for the new date go on general sale at 9am on February 8, priced £55.00 plus fees.

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Impractical Jokers 

Impractical Jokers, aka the Tenderloins, better known as stars of Comedy Central’s Impractical Jokers, James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano, have announced details of an autumn UK and Ireland tour called The Cranjis McBasketball World Comedy Tour. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on February 8. Head here for pre-sale tickets.

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The French metal titans will call in Birmingham, Manchester and London, where they’ll take over the O2 Academy Brixton on June 30. Tickets go on sale at 10am on February 8, priced £27.50/£30.00 plus fees.

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Bear’s Den

With their new album, ‘So That You Might Hear Me’, due out on April 26, Andrew Davie and Kev Jones have announced shows in Nottingham, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Southampton and London, where they’ll play the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on April 23. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on February 8, prices start at £22.50 plus fees.

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Skunk Anansie

Skunk Anansie will take over London’s O2 Academy Brixton on August 17, Manchester Academy the following day and O2 Academy Bristol on August 19, hot on the heels of their recently announced headline set at this year’s Beautiful Days Festival in Devon. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on February 8, priced £27.50/£32.50 plus fees.

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Also announced this week:

Hugh Jackman, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Kamasi Washington, Picture This, Peter Hook and the Light, Yungblud, Good Cop Bad Cop, Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, Hellogoodbye, Busted, Fontaines DC, Swervedriver, Queensryche, Keith Urban, the Specials, IAMDDB, Jack Savoretti, Billy Bragg, Blood Red Shoes, Angel Haze, Sharon Van Etten, Black Stone Cherry, Lizzo, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Interpol, the Chemical Brothers, Charly Bliss, Kris Kristofferson and more. Head here for a full list and to find your tickets.

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Game Changers: Gojira And Code Orange Raise The Bar In Bristol

Sometimes, a bill comes along that makes your jaw drop. That’s exactly what happened when Gojira announced that their UK run in support of ‘Magma’ would feature openers Code Orange and Car Bomb. Nowhere to hide, right? Jon Stickler hit the pit to find out…

Having dominated the review pages for the past week, as well as setting alight social media, it’s no surprise I’m fighting my way through a capacity crowd at Bristol’s O2 Academy early doors, with the faithful gathered to send off one of the most talked about bills of this decade. Seriously, if you’re a fan of heavy music and decided it wasn’t for you, sit down and have a word with yourself.

New York’s math-core mob Car Bomb perform among the shadows and shove aside any sense of misfortune in opening for two of the most vital bands in metal right now. They quickly get down to pummelling the crowd with dizzying visuals and a chaotic barrage of machine gun riffs, insane drumming and mind-bending solos from last year’s ‘Meta’. Nearly two decades into their career the band are only now devastating UK audiences. This is their first proper run of dates this side of the Atlantic, but no doubt they’ll be back.

Fists clenched, it’s time for Code Orange to face up to the anticipation that spiked when they were announced for this bill. Having been under the spotlight since signing with Roadrunner for the launch of their killer third album, ‘Forever’, the Pennsylvanian band, who line up as a quintet for this tour, exceed all expectations here in smashing out a performance of sheer aggression.

Straight out of the gate they send bodies flying with influences from hardcore and metalcore. Opening with the chugging title track from ‘Forever’, the band give it their absolute all through seven additional cuts from the record, plus My World, I Am King and Slowburn from their Deathwish Inc. years. Their no nonsense set sees three of the five share vocals, with drummer Jami Morgan taking on the majority of the duties during the carnage.

Guitarist Reba Meyers’ clean singing on Bleeding In The Blur displays the band’s versatility while the energy, changes in pitch, tempo and Eric Balderose’s subtle use of electronics keeps them unpredictable in a scene that has become bloated with carbon copies of the same metalcore sound. On the basis of this crushing performance alone, Code Orange show that they’re ready to stand toe-to-toe with any of metal’s established powerhouses.

Speaking of powerhouses, Gojira were last in the UK supporting Alter Bridge at the end of 2016. Tonight they’re on the road supporting something much better, last year’s ‘Magma’. And they do it in front of a much more appreciative audience. The French four-piece, led by sibling combo Joe and Mario Duplantier, appear to have a huge job on their hands following the staggering display from Code Orange but quickly prove why they’re leading the charge in the modern era of metal.

Opening with Only Pain, their brutal sonic attack includes five more cuts from ‘Magma’ – Silvera, Stranded, The Cell, The Shooting Star and Pray – all of which get the audience bouncing with fierce enthusiasm. The dual guitars of Duplantier and Christian Andreu, the soaring vocals and anthemic choruses are utterly jaw-dropping, demonstrating that Gojira have stepped onto a much bigger playing field and found they enjoy the extra space. The same applies to their stage show, which features some truly dazzling visuals and a captivating synchronised light show. One can only imagine the possibilities of an all out spectacle if given the right opportunity.

There’s a break in the onslaught for a thundering drum solo that doesn’t outstay its welcome, while the chit chat is kept to a minimum apart from Joe pausing to recall a time the band had to cancel their first show in Bristol after selling just four tickets. How times change.

Some are calling Gojira the best band in the world right now and it must only be a matter of time until we’re chanting  their name at major festival headline performances. In years to come when we think about game changers in metal and heavy music, we’ll talk about this tour.

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Staff Picks: Jon Stickler


  • Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell
  • Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake
  • Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
  • Gojira – Magma
  • Metallica – Hardwired… To Self Destruct
  • Anthrax – For All Kings
  • Grand Magus – Sword Songs
  • Black Peaks – Statues
  • Crobot – Welcome to Fat City
  • Whiskey Myers – Mud

Best Song

  • Ghost – Square Hammer

Best Gigs

  • Airbourne, Y Plas at Cardiff University
  • Skindred at Download Festival
  • Terrorvision at Steelhouse Festival
  • Clutch, Great Hall at Cardiff University
  • The Sheepdogs, the Globe in Cardiff

Best of 2016

Spotify Release Radar, Metallica return, Avenged Sevenfold surprise release, Guns N’ Roses announce Not in this Lifetime tour, Ghost’s ‘Popestar’ EP, Creeper, Music Venue Trust’s Fightback, Lemmy’s statue at the Rainbow, Download festival, Steelhouse festival, Ed Force One lands at Cardiff Airport, Stranger Things, #TeamNegan, Westworld, Danny Dyer on Who Do You Think You Are, Green Room, Deadpool, The Magnificent Seven, Star Wars, Tim Peake, Wales at the Euros, the Warnock Effect.

Worst of 2016

Trump, Brexit, Bowie, Prince, Gene Wilder, Harambe, death everywhere, Brian Johnson steps down, goodbye Twisted Sister, venues closing, touts, Team Rock goes bust, Metal Hammer shuts down, Lemmy’s statue at the Rainbow, a year without Motörhead, Nick Jonas guitar solo, fuck Vodafone, Pokemon Go, hold the door, Glenn’s eyeball.

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Staff Picks: Alec Chillingworth

So 2016’s been a bit weird. The Misfits reformed, a reality star is set to be president of the US and loads of people got robbed playing Pokémon. I cut out dairy and egg and started shitting everywhere, I worked with children for a month and I thought moving all my belongings from Zone 6 to Zone 2 in London, on the tube, was a great idea. It wasn’t. But some brilliant albums came out and I saw some of the best live shows ever. So here you go.


The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation

Dillinger are going out on top, aren’t they? Jesus Christ. Literally not a second wasted here, the final two songs being the most surprising moments of this band’s entire career. See them live before it’s too late.

The Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence

Just Devin being Devin, innit? Grandiose, overblown and yet another slew of songs that’ll fit perfectly in the multi-instrumentalist’s setlist.

Gojira – Magma

A stylistic shift had Gojira turning up the groove and phasing out the speed. There’s still traces of death metal, it’s still the heaviest matter in the universe and now it’s ready for big stages.

Milk Teeth – Vile Child

The best 90s rock album that wasn’t released in the 90s. As if this is their debut.

Perturbator – The Uncanny Valley

Dance music for people who want to just hail Satan.

Venom Prison – Animus

An actual deathcore album – death metal mixed with hardcore, properly. The most pissed-off thing in 2016 apart from post-Trump Twitter.

Panic! At The Disco – Death Of A Bachelor

Frank Sinatra channelling Queen through a synthesiser and doing a premeditated backflip. Probably Panic!’s finest moment and, let’s face it, they’re gonna be dragging this through UK arenas soon.

Ihsahn – Arktis.

Brain-bending post-black metal with pop-ready melodies stapling it to the ears. Not as good as ‘After’ but still rather good.

Weezer – Weezer (The White Album)

Happiness wrapped up in ten songs. Best Weezer record since The Green Album.

Rotting Christ – Rituals

Got that one wrong, didn’t I? Gave it three stars first time round. That was foolish. This is fully ferocious.


letlive. – Underworld, London

Haven’t seen letlive. since Download Festival 2011. This was even better. Jason Butler’s a beast and this generation’s greatest frontman; a ridiculous stage presence with something to actually say.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Old Blue Last, London

Just Dillinger.

Gojira – O2 Arena, London

Made Volbeat and Alter Bridge look like damp snot-rags. The best live band in metal.

Architects – Brixton Academy, London

Possibly the most powerful show Brixton Academy’s ever witnessed. A special moment for a special band.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Ricoh Arena, Coventry

First time seeing the Boss; he did Save My Love and it was beautiful. Saw him two days later and he was just as perfect but, y’know, first time and everything.


Everyone dying, Kings Of Leon releasing an album and not having enough money to see the reformed Misfits.

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This Week’s New Releases: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jake Bugg and Laura Mvula


There are plenty of new releases to choose from this week. You’ve got the Red Hot Chili Peppers releasing their eleventh album, Jake Bugg putting out his third and Laura Mvula her second. If none of that tickles your fancy, you’ve also got Margaret Glaspy offering up her debut LP and Gojira following up 2012’s ‘L’enfant Sauvage’, plus loads more which you can check out below.

Case/Lang/Veirs – ‘Case/Lang/Veirs’ (CLV/Anti-)

Gojira – ‘Magma’ (Roadrunner UK)

Jake Bugg – ‘On My One’ (Virgin)

Laura Mvula – ‘ The Dreaming Room’ (RCA)

Let’s Eat Grandma – ‘I, Gemini’ (Transgressive)

Margaret Glaspy – ‘Emotions and Math’ (ATO)

PAWS – ‘No Grace’ (FatCat)

Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘The Getaway’ (Warner Bros)

Swans – ‘The Glowing Man’ (Mute)

Weaves – ‘Weaves’ (Memphis Industries)

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