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Phil Kane

phil kane

willie and the bandits breakfree

How best to describe the sound of Wille And The Bandits on 'Breakfree'? Swampy, very, very swampy. The foundation of the band's groove is the blues but with one hell of a dollop of new age surfer roots mixed in. Yet despite being set firmly on the same beach as Xavier Rudd and John Butler, their penchant for new age whimsy is mercifully lacking.

'Breakfree' is the band's third release and is their most varied album yet. Gone is the naivety of debut 'Samsara' and the more immediate bluesy grunt of 'New Breed' has been softened somewhat. Yet despite the occasional dreamy quality the album never loses the hard edged, sun baked, saddle sore and weary groove of a band that is constantly on the road.

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The album has a mix of styles that only the surfer bands seem to be able to get away with, swaying as it does from the new age roots of opener 'Chillout', through the reggae/calypso of 'Power Of A View' and 'Blue Skies' with its nice simple blues picking to the driving roadhouse grunt of 'Get Up' and the grungy 'Plastic Fame'.

'Under The Grove' has a hell of a bluesy laid back feel to it with some nice understated slide work and 'Virgin Eyes' gathers everything up and throws it all together in a nine minute wig out. As well as his lap steel work, Wille's voice has a smoky quality that perfectly complements this kind of surfer blues.

'Breakfree' will not set the world alight and the band is not going to pluck everyone's strings; the production has too much of a DIY quality about it for that and some of the material lacks the immediacy needed to hook in the casual listener. Yet it will certainly do well amongst the new age and surfer crowd and is a step forward that promises great things for the future.

Does it belong here? Yes it does, so before you dismiss the Bandits as just another bunch of hippysurferdude types, 'Breakfree' deserves your ear because despite being quite a mellow album it does have a rich vein of grungy blues running through it and will happily accompany the most zealous Metal heads as they decompress with a few pals, a beer or two and a huge reefer.





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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