Chris Ball

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I’m an ageing rocker who has been going to concerts and buying records for over 30 years. I used to write for Metal Hammer, then briefly another magazine that went down to the bottom of the ocean with that fat crook Robert Maxwell.

I gave up for a while. Experimented with listening to dance music, hip hop and indie rock. It broadened my horizons and I had a lot of fun, but when I reached my late 30’s I realised I was living a kind of cultural lie. I love rock music I realised, much of it deeply unfashionable, but fuck it, I’m old enough now not to care. In the meantime I’d become a father, I now have two boys, and accumulated several more tattoos, middle-aged spread and a healthy dislike of modern pop music and the facile celebrity obsessed industry that fuels it.

So I’m an Essex geezer who’s returned to his roots in more ways than one, I live on the coast after having spent 20 years living in East London. Don’t let the tatts and West Ham shirt fool you though. I love Japanese ukiyo-e art and haiku poetry, impressionist art, the works of Alan Moore and Salman Rushdie, botany and bird watching. I still go to gigs as often as my family, liver and bank balance will allow.

My all time favourite bands and artists are Tom Waits, The National, The Drive By Truckers, The Who, Wilco, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Thin Lizzy, Celtic Frost, Slipknot, Public Enemy, Warren Zevon, Queens of the Stone Age, The Handsome Family, AC/DC, Lykke Li, Laura Veirs, Monster Magnet (obvs) Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath and Black Sabbath.

Recent faves include Bo Ningen, Windhand, Witch Mountain, St Vincent, Lana Del Rey, Public Service Broadcast, Ghost Poet, Triptykon, Matthew E White and Courtney Barnett.

Tell me yours.

 

 

Articles by Chris Ball

Bo Ningen – The Holy Mountain

It’s not surprising musicians want to rise to the challenge of meeting Jodorowsky’s muse. Bo Ningen are as good a band as any to try to reach the summit.

Bat Sabbath – Chinnerys

The Sabbath worship comes to an end as it must with ‘War Pigs’. . . the song goes down a storm, naturally, andthe band take the applause and acclaim for themselves and for the architects of all the great music they have performed

Rose City Band – Scala, London

Ripley Johnson is a superb, unflashy but technically gifted lead player – quicksilver runs and bucolic plucking is all accomplished with seemingly no effort whatsoever, that beatific grin, scarcely leaving his face.

Desertfest London, 2023 – Saturday.

I grab a coffee then head over to catch Corrosion of Conformity, at the Ballroom. . . there’s a celebratory air in the room, people swaying, grinning and grooving in a way I haven’t seen elsewhere all day. Yee, and indeed, Haw! See you next year DesertFest!

Preview: Desertfest London – Saturday, May 6

Something great is going down in London, this Saturday, and it’s not at Westminster Abbey. It’s Day Two of Desertfest and Camden is heating up. Chris Ball navigates the clouds and the craft beer to give us his ten top-picks.

Dystopian Future Movies – War of the Ether

An absolute triumph, this album is a true work of art and deserves all the plaudits it is bound to receive.

Funeral Chic – Roman Candle

The real beauty of this album is that it blends in so many strains of heavy music so successfully.

Grave Lines – Communion

Second album ‘Communion’ shows the band’s growing mastery of progressive song writing.

Viagra Boys – Cave World

As profound as you’d ever want a party band to get, Viagra Boys are the drinking man’s thinking band and right now they seem unstoppable.

Midnight & Night Demon – New Cross Inn, London

With no backline, no intro tapes and no dancing mascots, hoods aside, this is as stripped down and unfiltered as metal gets.

Stöner – totally…

With song titles like ‘Party March’, ‘Stöner’s Theme’ and ‘A Million Beers’ you know this album is about bringing the big, hedonistic vibes, and it does that in fine style.

Touched By Ghoul – Cancel the World

Thankfully we know where we are musically, with this Chicago four-piece…who at times, unashamedly hark back to the golden age of U.S. alt-rock bands of the 1990’s.

Reb Fountain – IRIS

Fountain’s music is lush, unknowable, subtle and finely crafted, but it’s also danceable, inviting, catchy and commercial

GNOD – La Mort Du Sens

Born of frustration and misanthropy with the intent to provoke live communion, viciously uncompromising whilst strangely addictive, La Mort Du Sens is typical GNOD music, whilst not sounding quite like anything else they’ve ever done.

Jesse Malin – Sad and Beautiful World

Jesse is always looking to the bright side, to the future, to ‘Greener Pastures’ as he does on this record. There are absolutely no duff songs here at all.

Slade – Slayed?

Reissued on vinyl, a chance to hear one of the UK’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll outfits at the top of their game. . .

The Cush – Riders In The Stardust Gold

I initially had this album down as a headphones-on-and-eyes-shut, blissed out type of slow burner, but then I played it loud on a proper stereo and it sounded huge! It is huge.

John Murry – The Stars Are God’s Bullet Holes

In what is becoming a signature move, Murry’s songs swing, rock and bop, whilst the lyrics remain extremely violent, hyper literate, full of wide ranging references and name drops.

Deathchant – Waste

Deathchant are certainly onto something, but at this point it seems too mercurial for them to take a firm hold off, constantly slipping through their oily mitts.

Rose City Band – Earth Trip

Seems like the more stressful times get the more music Ripley Johnson supplies to counteract them.

Vokonis – Odyssey

You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t a rock connoisseur, so I urge you to go check out what is definitely Vokonis’ best album to date.

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