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Local Music News Reviews



COUNTER ACT “Birmingham is great at the moment. It’s always been brushed aside but we’ve always been here.”

Richard Franks Founder and Editor at Counteract Magazine


Issue No 1 includes -

3. Recent news 5 LIVE review: Black Sabbath

9. Album Review:

Marina and the Diamonds – Electra Heart.

13. Introducing. VOWS

15. Competition.

Win tickets to Dot to Dot Festival 2012


FREE limited edition First issue poster.

NEWS For all music news, please visit

Alabama Shakes’ Alabama Shakes’ sold out Birmingham show on Friday May 11 has been upgraded from the Library to the Main Room at the HMV Institute due to the postponement of Marina and the Diamonds’ UK tour, originally set to call in Brum on the same night.

Little Comets As the countdown to the release of their new single ‘Jennifer’ on May 28 continues, Little Comets announce their biggest shows to date in an extensive October and November UK tour.


Twisted Wheel Manchester indie-rockers Twisted Wheel have announced their comeback with details of 23-date UK tour throughout September and October, including a show right here in Birmingham. With a busy year ahead of them, the lads are set to appear at festivals such as Kendal Calling and At The Playground along with a new album. We’re expecting great things from Twisted Wheel in the near future, be sure to take advantage of the chance to see them in the heart of Birmingham.


Black Sabbath at the O2 Academy, Birmingham. 19/05/12



Black Sabbath.

Let’s be honest, you can rarely go to a gig in Birmingham without the band mentioning Black Sabbath. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Slipknot, every band I have ever seen have always praised Birmingham for being the ‘home of metal’. And rightly so. Few things make me proud to be Brummie, but our musical heritage is one of them. So when Black Sabbath, who pretty much invented the genre in 1969 with their selftitled debut album, decided that they were going to return to Birmingham to play a single show in the 3000 capacity o2 Academy, you knew music history was going to be made. Calling it a ‘warm-up’ show before their spot as headliners at Download festival, one got the feeling that they were ‘testing the waters’ for guitarist Tony Iommi, who recently fought a battle against lymphoma.


With no support act, an early opening time, tightened security and a ridiculous ticket collection method, it almost became a chore getting into the gig, and only the thought of Sabbath (and the £50 forked out on tickets) kept fans from turning back from queuing in the bitter cold; some from as early as 12. But as soon as the lights and Ozzy’s voice crowed from back stage, every single hour seemed worthwhile. Coming on to a pre-recorded medley, (leaving those who bet what song they’d come on to scratching their heads), they soon settled for ‘Into The Void’ and immediately, you knew they meant business. Ozzy was on top form, leaving behind the embarrassing performances of the 90s, and Tommy Clufetos replacing Bill Ward injected a spark of youth into the set.

“Ozzy still bantered with the crowd as well as anyone with 45 years experience in the industry does, demanding that the people half his age “go fucking mental”,


As sad as it is to say, Clufetos managed to play a set that packed a punch in the absence of Ward, regardless of whether the reasons behind his absence were monetary or skill related. Moving from ‘Snowblind’ to ‘War Pigs’, ‘Iron Man’ to ‘Dirty Women’, the setlist they chose had the perfect mix of light and heavy, giving the audience time to recuperate from the hits, and giving die-hard fans treats such as playing ‘Wheels of Confusion’ live for the first time. (Well, according to Ozzy.) Each member fulfilled their duties perfectly; Although ‘Symptom of the Universe’ and ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ were played without vocals, Ozzy’s perfect rendition of ‘Sweet Leaf’ more than made up for it, and Iommi’s mind-blowingly filthy rendition of the ‘Electric Funeral’ riff vibrated the bowels of everyone in the room. However, there still felt like there was something missing. There was no mention of Bill Ward’s absence, nor was anything said about Tony Iommi’s illness. Ozzy still bantered with the crowd as well as anyone with 45 years experience in the industry does, demanding that the people half his age “go fucking mental”, but the rest seemed to shy away from the spotlight. While neither Geezer Butler or Tony Iommi were ones for prancing around on stage, neither gave more than a smile and a wave to adoring fans chanting their names. But be that as it may, they all seemed to enjoy themselves a tremendous amount. The simple joy of playing to a room full of people that adore your music was evidently nigh-on overwhelming for the band, and an equal amount of admiration was shown by Ozzy towards both the crowd and his bandmates. Truly, it seemed like it was an unforgettable night for them just as much as it was for me.



‘Electra Heart’ is the brand new alter-ego and album from Marina and the Diamonds. If you liked the quirky pop tracks from Marina Diamandis’ debut album then you’re going to be disappointed, with her follow up album being one of the best cases of an artist ‘selling out’ that I’ve seen in quite some time.

Artist: Marina and The Diamonds


Album: Electra Heart Review Written by Charlotte Faulkner.

Marina has pitched this follow up as a concept album about female identity. She’s now playing the part of Electra Heart, an industry puppet; everything that is wrong with some of the women topping the charts. She’s a ‘Primadonna’ ‘Bubblegum Bitch’, a ‘Home Wrecker’ yet a ‘Teen Idol’. Sound familiar? Of course it does! About 90% of ‘Electra Heart’ has been created by the same writers who help Katy Perry top the charts. This won’t surprise you when you’re listening to weak, unintelligent lyrics, Marina trying to rap/talk (or whatever it is she’s trying to do) all on top of samey electro-pop beats. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent tracks featured; single ‘Primadonna’ is catchy, but the best tracks are those that resemble those featured on her debut. ‘Fear and Loathing’ and ‘Teen Idle’ are stripped back and make a real feature of Marina’s unique voice, much like ‘Family Jewels’ did. With a new look: blonde hair and pastel 1950’s-esque dress, it’s all unoriginal and been done before. What made Marina and the Diamonds so great was her individuality, the honesty and vulnerability displayed in her songs. Everyone loves a good pop song, but it just seems that Marina has sold herself short in order to achieve some commercial success and it makes for uncomfortable listening. If you love Katy Perry, don’t let my words put you off. If you don’t, then I’d advise you stay well clear.


HODDIE ALLEN Wed June '12.

O2 Academy 3 Birmingham Door time: 7.00pm Under 21s require ID to purchase alcohol Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 at all times



Formerly PoloLounge, Nuneaton based VOWS have grown, not only in size but also in reputation, since the beginning of the year. With power-house drums, jerky, cutting guitars, and the odd cheeky cowbell enveloping their soft yet characteristic vocals, the effervescent six piece have used their own infectious brand of burgeoning indie synth to become one of the most exciting unsigned bands in the Midlands at the moment. Their live shows are an equal measure of sweat and exuberance, So much so that it has lead to them sharing the stage with such names as Mona, Various Cruelties and the incredible CSS. They are currently making great strides in the Godiva Unsigned Competition, and will be playing in the semi-finals at Coventry’s Taylor Johns House on Saturday May 31. We strongly suggest you check them out.


Stills from the band’s music video for their track, “Colours” To watch the video, visit our website.



WIN TICKETS TO DOT TO DOT FESTIVAL 2012 The most exciting multi-venue music festival in the UK, Dot To Dot has teamed up with Counteract Magazine to give you the chance of winning a pair of tickets for ANY city! Helping to propel bands forward on their way to big things and welcoming in some of the coolest acts from around the world, Dot To Dot takes place in Bristol (June 2), Nottingham (June 3) and Manchester (June 4) and has put acts such as The xx, Mumford & Sons, Florence & The Machine and Metronomy on the map. Gracing this year’s event will be a kaleidoscope of new talent such as New York’s The Drums, the fiery live show of Pulled Apart By Horses, the beautiful vocal talent of Willy Mason, Wavves, Neon Indian, Willis Earl Beal and Dog is Dead – to name a few. All you need to do to enter is ‘like’ our Facebook page (if you haven’t already) here, join the Facebook event here and write which city you’d like to attend on the event wall. Simple! If you and a friend want to be in with a chance of seeing such a phenomenal and diverse line-up, enter to win a pair of tickets now! Good Luck! For more information please visit and tickets can be purchased from






“People express themselves with lyrics and music.Live music is that opportunity for people to go out on a Friday night and have a great time listening to their favourite tunes with their mates.�


“Birmingham is great at the moment. It’s always been brushed aside but we’ve always been here.”


Thank you to everyone for their support. We couldn’t have done it without you.


© 2012

Finished layout for zine  

A selection of pages from the Counteract zine. The finished product will have more content but this is just to get a sense and feel of the l...

Finished layout for zine  

A selection of pages from the Counteract zine. The finished product will have more content but this is just to get a sense and feel of the l...