Will Not Fade’s best of 2017

What a year!

Every year offers new highs and lows, but for Will Not Fade it has been the best yet.

I started the site during my second year of university, making the most of the downtime between assignments to write about two new records I’d bought. (Shihad – FVEY and Maybeshewill – Fair Youth). The blog slowly gained traction as I continued writing. Most posts received very little attention, but I kept at it, refining my style, making musical contacts, and learning more about the IT side of things.

Believe it or not, we’ve published over 200 posts now – not a bad effort for a small DIY blog. I (Joseph) also made a few dreams come true this year, travelling to America to meet a bunch of musicians I’ve come to know online through the blog.

I met with Jesse from Glacier in Boston for a beer at a brewery near a peanut butter factory. Matt from Aviation and the War hosted me in Chicago for a few days, and we watched the solar eclipse from his back yard. Former Will Not Fade contributor CJ Blessum also hosted me at his house in Montana, and I traveled across America on tour with his band Ranges. I also stayed with Arctic Drones writers Aaron Edwards in Idaho, and David Zeidler in Vermont. It is incredibly gratifying meeting people in person after being “friends” online for some time.

I also met Samuel at a Ranges show in Colorado. He mentioned that he’d like to get into writing about music, and next thing you know, he’s making me look bad with his excellent reviews. It’s great to have someone so passionate on board.

I also teamed up with A Thousand Arms to print a limited run of WNF t-shirts. They turned out great, and I’m proud to say there was fair demand for them. Thanks to everyone who requested one.

Joseph’s best of 2017

Song of the year: Tides of Man – We Were Only Dreaming

This is the sound of happiness. The awesome instrumentation makes me dance every time. I met Tides of Man on tour and feel blessed that I can now consider them friends. I saw them play four sets on tour, and this song was my highlight every night.

His Master's Voice The Devils Blues Woman EP CoverRelease of the year: His Master’s Voice – Woman EP

Filthy, raw blues inspired heavily by Black Sabbath. Hands down the release I’ve listened to most since I first got a copy. These guys are seriously underrated.

Living Colour Powerstation Auckland

Band of the year: Living Colour

This year I interviewed one of my drum heroes, Will Calhoun. Then his band blew me away at The Powerstation in Auckland. I also managed to catch a free Chuck Berry tribute show in New York, featuring a hotshot band assembled by Vernon Reid. And then Living Colour dropped Shade,a brilliant album that treads the line between heavy and soulful.

Live highlights:

There are so many that it is hard to narrow down.

Obviously dunk!USA was a major highlight. Not only was this my first international festival, but I was friends with many of the acts, and had an all-access pass. I may have let the journalistic integrity slide somewhat with my drunken antics, but as far as I’m aware, I’m the only person who wrote a review of the festival, so technically I still pulled off writing the best review. Plus, I think the photos I took were killer.

El Ten Eleven Rough Trade NYC Brooklyn

El Ten Eleven played in Brooklyn, not too far from where I was staying. I had a blast dancing along to their tunes. It’s amazing what two musicians can pull off with the help of technology and talent.

I flew to Las Vegas to see St Paul & The Broken Bones. They played a great set. But headliner Trombone Shorty blew them out of the water. This was a class act. The stage was packed with hotshot musicians, all exuding vibrant energy.

Frank Turner has long been one of my favourite artists, so it was a blast to catch him live in Vancouver. He even previewed a few new songs. There’s few things as good as seeing an artist play some of your favourite songs live.

Head Like A Hole Valhalla Wellington

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never seen Kiwi rock legends Head Like A Hole before this year. Duncan from Hiboux invited me along to a show at Valhalla, and I’m so glad I went. Like their contemporaries Shihad, they’ve been around long enough to know what they’re doing.

And I’m always partial to some outrageous novelty shows, so David Liebe Hart, Guitar Wolf and Chain and the Gang all stand out. Especially Guitar Wolf, who pulled me up on stage to play guitar with them.

David Liebe Hart with Alien singing Salame at Meow, Wellington

2018

Looking forward to 2018, I’m super pumped for Thundercat in March, Biffy Clyro in April, and Royal Blood in May. And new albums from Alien Weaponry, Frank Turner and Tides of Man all sound very promising.

And, of course, it will be awesome to meet many European friends at dunk!fest 2018 in Belgium. I may even make it to Pelagic Fest in Berlin the following week, but we will see…

 

Special thanks to all the readers who take the time to read our content. It is so gratifying when I hear that I’ve put someone on to new music. If you have any suggestions for what content you want to see us cover in 2018 then by all means, let us know!

Joseph James

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