The premier episode of Solid Front Radio’s “The Northern Line”. A brand new Northern Soul show curated by the mysterious “Jadstar” and broadcast via the Downhill From Here team. No talking, just tunes.
The Last Of The Troubadours - Don't Stand On Shadows
Here it is, another slice of 21st Century Mod Rock that’s as tight as Darron J. Connet’s trousers and as sharp as his hair! Its been over a year since The “Toubs” released the fantastic Sooner The Better EP (also reviewed on this blog) and they’ve certainly been busy since performing the length and breadth of the country and writing this latest offering. A VERY successful launch party at The Birds Nest in Deptford with a supporting cast that included a stripped down version DFH favourites The Broxton Hundred, Stone Thieves, Darling Boy and The Repeat Offenders. Undoubtedly The Last Of The Troubadours stole the show featuring debuts for bassist Daniel Smith (replacing Rob Pyne who has transferred to The Rifles with the best wishes of TLOTT) and guitarist Tony Marshall who brought his own private fan army with him, to say the place was rocking would be an understatement. The mission of the day was to get my grubby mitts on the new ep, which thankfully I remembered to do after 8 hours on the pop!
Kicking off, Tonight comes at you like a train, literally, shades of, arguably, The Jam’s finest moment with some ethereal strings that lull you in gently until POW! The percussion kicks in, the guitars go into overload and DJC’s unmistakable sneer fills your ears. As usual the shared vocal between Darron and Joel Rogers works supremely well, a growl and a sneer in perfect harmony. It thunders along, a proper rock n’ roll record with a killer chorus it feels like you kind of need the break at the end before the message that something’s got to change is battered into your brain.
If the opening of Tonight was The Jam, then the intro to Never Forgive You is pure Style Council, chopped funk guitar with a relentless Northern Soul beat that continues throughout the song. The musicianship is tighter than a gnats chuff, changing pace, stopping and re-starting with timing as inch perfect as the turn up on a pair of Levi’s. With Steve Diggle (of The Buzzcocks) adding a rather bloody good guitar solo (and a few Wow’s) this is a track of great scope and I’m sure was a hot contender for the lead song on the ep.
Title Track Don’t Stand On Shadows is another relentless barrage of clipped chords reverberating from Joel’s guitar, there’s definitely a change to the sound of this group since the last ep, a more crunchy, punchy sound with more than a liberal sprinkling of funk chops. Again the shared vocal works a treat, Darron and Joels voices are completely different but completely complimentary at the same time. I love the piano in this song, the single repeating chord reminds me of The Who’s 5:15, and that’s never a bad thing!
Shame On You starts off sounding like Editors’ Bricks & Mortar, a gentle electro beat before another huge chord blows your eardrums. A slower track that shows a different side to Joels normally gruff vocals. The electro feel winds it’s way in and out of the record throughout adding an almost psychedelic aspect to parts of the song. Not to the chorus though, it’s pure glam and immediately memorable! The stripped down bass and drum break is clean, neat, perfectly placed and perfectly paced.
Now, bear with me here, One To Blame has shades of The Foo Fighters in its intro, just Joel’s voice, a slightly distorted guitar playing jangly chords and some winsome lyrics, but when the rest of the band join, it turns into a wholesome sounding summer sunshine of a song. It’s bright and airy, and completely at odds with the heavy lyric subject! A great closer that certainly left me wanting more!
What next for The Last Of The Troubadours, well tonight (Friday 17th May) they play the Cool Britannia club night at The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden, their last London date for a while, after that it’s on to play with The Stone Roses, Miles Kane and Paul Weller at the Isle Of Wight Festival, where I’m sure they’ll win over a whole new group of fans. With plans for a tour of the North and the South coast and a few songs “in the cannon” for their debut full length album, these are exciting times for The Last Of The Troubadours, and if you’re not going to be part of it, then shame on you!
Don’t Stand On Shadows is available from iTunes and via The Last Of The Troubadours Facebook page.
Summer Folk Riot is the second single to be released from Louth’s own Robots Found Errors’ second album Soundtrack To A Fight. It’s less of a riot and more of a 1968 San Francisco love in, 3 minutes of gently lilting, multi layered sound that brings the sun into your soul. Conjuring images of deserts, cacti and for some reason a sad, thirsty horse, maybe it’s reminding me of America’s Horse With No Name, who knows, there’s so much going on. There’s a Beatlesey (is that even a word?) riff, there’s parts that reek of mystic spice, there’s an almost hidden lyric that is almost whispering to your sub-concious, it’s that subtle. It’s the sound of wide open spaces, lazy afternoons just watching the world go by, the thoughts of nothing that fill your head. Maybe I was wrong, maybe it IS a riot of summer. Well played chaps, well played indeed.
Hailing from “The Golden Triangle” of Aylesbury, Dunstable and Northampton The Repeat Offenders were formed in 2011 and have been continuously writing and performing ever since. They’s toured up and down the country playing some of the most illustrious venues around including the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool and The Factory in Manchester, they have also supported The Rifles at a sold out show.
Their first release was an EP called Frame Of Mind in May last year, which has unfortunately passed your reviewer by, but rest assured I shall be attempting to get my grubby little mitts on a copy, which was followed by an acoustic version to tie in with supporting The Rifles at one of their acoustic gigs.
This year has seen the release of their first two singles proper and they are what I’m here to tell you all about my little lammikins.
Beg, Steal or Borrow was released on the 18th March 2013 and kicks off with a riff very reminiscent of The Rifles’ Peace And Quiet (I guess the clue is in the name) and carries on in the same vein, Riflesesque would be an understatement but bloody hell it sounds good! Fresh! New! Sharp! Andrew Ruddick’s vocals are real, the lyrics are real with an instant crowd pleasing sing along chorus. The riff incessantly pounds into your psyche, the sparse keys are perfectly placed but more deft than you realise on first listen. Graham Holmes and Steve Knock’s rhythm section work their way into the mix and the wail of Newt Putt’s lead guitar sits like a cherry on top of a big mod cake. A rough diamond of a track, lyrically and musically on the money, this is one of my favourite releases of the year so far. If you like The Rifles, The Strokes, Oasis, Weller, T’Arctics et al you’ll love this track as much as I do!
This was followed on 6th of may by second single What Happens?
Am I too old for angsty songs reeking of self doubt and pity? Nah, I don’t think anyone is, ever, pain is at the very heart of music, that’s what gives it soul, that’s what makes your heart beat that little bit faster - knowing what it feels like. This distorted, shambolic, echo filled song is the sound of a desperate heart giving itself a little talking to, a bit like Vincent Vega at Mrs Mia Wallace’s house, but not quite as smooth. The crackling voclas work as do the 3 million layers of guitar and the steady, unbreaking hearts-pace drumbeat. It reminds my of a hundred, late 80’s indie bands and there’s definitley a Smiths/Wedding present “feel” to it. It proves that The Repeat Offenders are more than a Rifles tribute band, they’ve got their own sound, they’ve got there own tunes and man, they’ve got a future!
So jog on down to your local iTunes store and get yourself involved, and remember, you don’t have to beg, steal or borrow you can just buy for the bargain price of 79 English pence.
An intro that reminds me of The Jam’s Dreams Of Children/All Mod Cons/Dream Time before jumping forward 10 years into a Stone Roses Waterfall homage and the next 3 minutes are looking bright!
Conjuring up a time before that horrible “Britpop” tag was dreamed up by some guy with a surplus of Fred Perry’s and Adidas Gazelles, when your new music was found on the free cassettes that came with the (still credible then, honest) NME, Melody Maker and the often forgotten, short lived, Rage!
A time when tops with hoods were worn without an ankle tag, and even if ankle tags were around you’d never have seen them under the acres of Naf Naf denim floating around your ankles, nearly covering your navy Kickers.
That marvellous moment when the guitar and dance worlds collided and suddenly indie records were danceable, fun, uplifting, the shackles of The Smiths had finally been broken by the new Manchester (NO! Never Mad!) bands, you can hear them all in this single, especially The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and a big nod to The Charlatans (the only ones still consistently and regularly releasing new material of a high standard).
I seem to have got a little distracted there, what I’m trying to say is this record sounds like you know it, like you’ve always known it. It rocks. It rolls. It soars. It dives. The vocals sit on top intricate guitars, harmonising with the delicate fretwork. Mani-ish bass has that dipping and peaking sound so familiar and married inextricably to the drums. A whopping guitar solo raises the song to higher levels towards the end leaving you breathless and gasping before ending with more sound effects (affects) and a gentle lullaby of a riff.
For a band as far away from Manchester as its possible to get in England, Southampton, John Waghorn (Lead Guitar & Vox), Josh Butcher (Rhythm Guitar & B-Vox), Daniel Martin (Bass) and John Martin (Skins) have certainly captured the feeling of that city at that time.
A top quality release that improves with every listen, get on it!
Snake Charmer opens this début ep with disorientating guitars and swirling drums before kicking in with a dirty, sleazy, fuzz filled riff, it’s like listening to The Doors rutting with Nirvana! It’s a song that demands to be listened to, a filth laden opener that get’s the juices flowing!
Up next is Rosalene which, like Snake Charmer, has a mid 90’s feel to it, the vocal is very definitely reminiscent of Gary Stringer of Reef. I like it, it’s catchy and a good foil for the brutality of the opening track. It feels like the West Coast. The West Coast of Hoxton. Although the vocal does struggle on occasions it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the track.
Itchy Fingers is a Stones-a-like Rn’B workout that will get your heart a-pumpin’ and your feet a-jumpin’. Doused in the great tradition of the quintessentially English take on the electrified sound of American Blues it drips with a vicious vigour and raw energy.
Title track New Mexico is an altogether different beast, gentle and alluring, sucking you in with a lilting guitar and easy vocal harking back to a different time, to summer and sun and a canyon filled American wilderness. A song that shows just what these boys are capable of, well crafted and layered with imagery, the addition of a keyboard adds a different depth from the rest of the release.
Aaron Gardners’ vocals are gritty and earthy and entirely believable, but sometimes maybe a little less soul would work as well, a whisper can be louder than a scream! His guitar work is both effortlessly beguiling and as subtle as a kick in the teeth, clanging and crashing where it needs to. Tom Reynolds’ bass fills your gut with goodness, warm, round and filling in all the gaps nicely. All this is held together by the relentless pounding (ooh matron!) of Paul Archbold who keeps everything moving along nicely, not over elaborate or showy, just keeping the beat!
I saw Stone Thieves live late last year in Islington at Mis-Shapes club, and these guys have style in spades! They walk it like they talk it. They play with an unforgiving energy, they play loudly, they enthral you. It’s nearly impossible to keep your feet still or your eyes off Aaron as he pours the very core of himself into the microphone whilst seemingly wrestling his guitar into submission.
Stone Thieves are an exciting band with an exciting future ahead if they carry on in this vein. Get your grubby mitts on the ep which will be available soon and let your feet take you to one of their upcoming gigs to be part of if!
Cool Britannia - The Fiddlers Elbow, Camden - 15th March 2013
The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden, sort of, was where we headed last Friday to support this ever growing club night promoting the new old sounds of Baggymod!
There were 4 bands on the bill, The Theme, The Capers, Welcome Pariah and This Modern Youth. Unfortunately This Modern Youth dropped out and the other bands gamely played elongated sets to make up the deficit. In-between the bands the Cool Britannia DJ’s span some great tracks from The Rolling Stones to The Stone Roses and all points between.
A sizeable crowd had duly handed over their fiver’s and were eagerly awaiting The Theme to take the stage, the casual mods were out in force and you could barely move for feather-cuts and parkas besieging the bar. The Theme appeared to warm applause and launched into, what I first thought was going to be a cover of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled again, possibly the loudest set I have ever heard. The crowd couldn’t hear the singer, the band could only hear the keys, and seemingly between every song somebody else needed their instrument to be “turned up a bit”. They carried on valiantly with there ‘78/’79 revival sound, conjuring up images of Secret Affair and The Chords. I’ve heard their songs on the ‘net before and was impressed, unfortunately after everyone had got their instruments turned up to eleven and the PA began to smoke, I couldn’t make out what was going on. The band seemed to be playing against each other, like a jazz ensemble all trying to outdo each other, with the last song having 74 endings as each member tried to have the last word. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and try to catch them again, we’ll pin this one on the sound-man, eh lads?
Some more Baggymod on the decks as the stage was cleared in readiness for the Capers, and the hapless sound-man ran ‘round like the proverbial blue arsed trying to work out what the chuff had just happened! More beers were sunk and tweeters greeted and before we knew it The Capers were plying there British Beat Sound to a slightly underpopulated room. Now I’ve got a lot of time for The Capers, they are good guys who write good songs, my one sticking point is that I wish they’d decide on an image! The guitarist in Lennon cool gear, the singer suited and booted, the drummer straight out of Madness and the bass player came as a primary school teacher! Rattling through their set that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in 1964, the crowd were polite without going over the top and the band would’ve benefited from getting them to move nearer! I don’t know what magic wand the sound-man waved but this was a huge improvement on my delicate lobes, maybe I was wrong about the previous band….time will tell! Definitely the best I’ve seen these guys play, very tight indeed and I look forward to crossing paths with them again soon….Ready Steady Go Now, Steady Go Now…..
Time for a couple more beers and a listen to the aural delights being plied to the gathered throng while Welcome Pariah set up there gear. This was the first I’ve heard of this band, even now I keep having to check my notes for their name, which is without doubt the worst thing about this band! Their sound is firmly ensconced in the early 90’s and they clearly draw influences from The Charlatans and The La’s et al without being a pastiche or tribute band. Driving beats and solid guitar work topped with a cracking vocal, all held together with THAT Rickenbacker bass sound. There are echoes of Ocean Colour Scene, early Oasis,a bit of Blur and some Cast in there and they all mix together to produce something that is instantly familiar. This is a band I will be keeping my eye on, as should you!
The night ended with a few of us hardened souls that were left to hit the dance-floor and throw some shapes and a good sing song to some ‘90’s classics. A great night all in all only marred by occasional sound problems and a distinct lack of support! So get off your arses, put your best Liam swagger on and join in the Cool Britannia revolution that is Baggymod.
Find Cool Britannia on Facebook and follow @CBritweets on Twitter for details of when the next happenings erm…. happening…..
Ian Skelly - Bush Hall, London - 9th February 2012
What a contrast the interior of Bush Hall is to the area it’s situated in. All chandeliers and plaster mouldings, floor to ceiling mirrors and purple lights oozing Victorian opulence. Full to the brim when we arrived having arrived, as is our want, after the opening band had been on, but in time to weedle our way to the front to see Sundowners.
The flowers draped around the microphone stands gave a false impression of what was to follow. The quintet comprising of Fiona Skelly, Niamh Rowe, Alfie Skelly, Tim Cunningham and Jim Shamrock reminded me of Fleetwood Mac, I thought that this was a lazy comparison based on looks alone but when they began to play new single Hummingbird, the sound was comparable to Mac too! A ballsy, bluesy set followed, hints of country thrown in mixed with Tom Petty-like americana delivered in Liverpool style, is Liverpoolana a genre? Maybe it should be. Fiona and Niamh’s voices soared, lilted, pleaded and captivated and Alfie’s guitar work was steeped in Peter Green blues with gurning to match. A very good sound that, if I’m honest completely surprised me, well worth checking out!
When Ian Skelly’s band, dubbed The Serpent Power came on, and on, and on, and on, the crowd, already “In the zone” after Sundowners audibly lifted, and certainly showed that the Cut From A Star album is a definite hit with them. I was slightly apprehensive of how this ethereal, light as air album would convert to a live show, but I really needn’t have worried! From opening track Cut From A Star, with the girls from Sundowners to closer The Byrds’ Mr. Spaceman, The Serpent Power led by the shaggy haired Skelly, soared and dived, they rocked when they needed too, and they knew when to be quiet!
Danny Murphy (who looked about 12!) was absolute class on lead guitar, Nick Powers’ keys kept the psyche flowing nicely and Jack Prince on percussion was forever diving in his little box of bits to add to the sound. Ian Skelly’s voice was strong and clear, and his wit was in evidence with the crowd banter between songs. It became a family affair with Fiona joining Ian and big brother James on stage to sing backing vocals on Firebird, shame there wasn’t room for Alfie too but with 9 on stage already it would’ve been a squeeze! Niamh also added her voice to Time and I See You. Ian, James and bassist Paul Duffy were having a Coral re-union on the right hand of the stage and were clearly enjoying playing together, especially the more rocky closing to some songs. The choice to cover The Byrds’ Mr. Spaceman was inspired, it could have been lifted straight from the album, a fantastic version that ended the set on a sing-a-long high.
All in all it was a stellar performance, the band were obviously highly drilled and completely in tune with Ian’s vision of sound, tight and compact yet free and roaming too, a tough trick to pull off, but they did.
A psych-ey, bluesy, hippy-ey, sometimes poppy trip around the universe was experienced by all with the captain of the trip certainly being Cut From A Star for tonight.
Ian Skelly’s Cut From A Star is available now, you can follow him on twitter @IanSkelly1 and find him on Facebook
The Sundowners single Hummingbird is available from their Facebook page.
The Broxton Hundred - The Bull And Gate - 8th February 2013
The Venue has been hosting the best, and worst, new bands for over 30 years. Blur, Suede, Manics, Pulp and Coldplay are just a few of the bands that have made appearances on the breeze block stage in this temple of music. So, dear reader, it is with heavy heart that I tell you that The Bull & Gate/The Venue will soon be closing to become a “gastro pup” otherwise known as “Wetherspoons”. Now I could go into a tirade about history and the death of live music, the continued slow, painful passing of the pub in general, but I won’t, you know all that already, so I’ll just say it’s a shame because The Venue is a really nice erm…..venue.
So to the matter in hand, and unfortunately carrying on in a somewhat negative frame, the bands that were playing, arriving fashionably late,as is my want, I missed Pete Kosanovich so I can’t report anything on him at all. The first act witnessed were Colour Clouds, well I witnessed some of the first song, Native American shamanistic wailing that dissolved into a Reverend & The Makers style pseudo funk with ridiculous dancing by the singer. That was enough for me, back to the bar.
Next up were The Hummingbirds from Liverpool, they certainly pulled a few more people in than the previous band, including Gary Lightbody (of sNOw patrol) which I should have taken as a warning. Looking like Mumfords and peddling a whole new genre, Country and Scousestern, what they did they did very well, the playing was assured and tight but really not my bag baby, back to the bar.
It became obvious that the majority had come to see The Broxton Hundred and the small room soon began to fill up with a mix of indie kids, mods and hipsters who knew the score. The Broxtons took the stage and opened with new track Here It Comes, described as their most modern song, and it certainly hit the right spot for me, slightly quicker than their other tracks, a real dancer for the future with the trademark mahoosive chorus. In a futile attempt to curry favour with your humble reviewer, Higher Surroundings was dedicated to yours truly *blush*, this is where I started to realise that the sound in The Venue was BAD, far too loud for such a small space, I think I listened to most of the set through the stage monitors, and poor Rich O on a dead house drumkit with no resonance at all, that said they played well and Run was getting the crowd moving with some people jiving down the front. Who Put The Weight Of The World On Your Shoulders was followed by another new song, Minds Revolution, starting with a perfect 3 part harmony and building, in true Broxton Style, to a big, big chorus, that got a quite qiuet crowd moving. She Brings The Light was a highlight for me conjuring up visions of the ‘80s with its hybrid Marr/Squire guitar riff and the wah wah guitar chorus that never fails to grab me. The last song was so new it doesn’t even have a name, a Fools Gold inspired dance workout, Rich O’s Reni style drumming, and I must just say I’ve never seen such a laid back drummer, Rich L’s funk pop bassline and soul filled voice married with Gaz’s angular style, that belies his fluid playing made for a great closer.
The crowd cried for more but with the drumkit literally falling to pieces during the last number it was really not a possibility. Considering they were let down by the soundsystem and the kit, they played with verve and soul. Solid, tight and technically brilliant, my only criticism would be that they sounded a bit thin, maybe that was down to the venue, but more I think that they could do with another body on the stage, some parts crying out for a rhythm guitar or some keys to keep the sound flowing. This is a constructive criticism and takes nothing away from the songs, which to my mind are some of the best new sounds around at the minute and there is a definite “Broxton” sound that doesn’t fit into any current category, but it’s good!
I’ll definitely be catching them again, and so should you, either at The Birds Nest in Deptford on the 15th of February or at The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden on the 15th of March for Cool Brittannia.
Then I will tell you…..the name comes from an ancient time when counties were divided into “Hundreds” and Broxton was the name of the area in Chester where Richard Lucas (guitar, bass, vocals) and Gary Yari-Gerrard (guitar, bass, backing vocals) lived, hence the name. Rich L and Gaz found themselves in London and enlisted skinsman Richard Ormond into the band making the Hundred complete. History lesson over, have a quick playtime and then it’s contemporary music….
Who Put The Weight Of The World On Your Shoulders?, opens with clipped chords and rumbling drums and my first thought was it’s The Moons! Very 60’s British Invasion inspired and executed very well indeed, tight and sharp…..then something happens……the drums pound like an Wigan stomper, the guitar becomes a cross between The Byrds and Johnny Marr while Rich L’s clear and insistent “this will start and end here” delivers on all fronts. A top slice of modern art pop. Are you eating? Well I hope you’ve brought enough for EVERYBODY! Now put them away and listen to She Brings The Light, hear how the guitar riff echoes around your head, how the bass comforts you like a warm blanket and the drums keep you moving. Listen to the words, and how they don’t intrude, they just need to be there. Reminiscent of Ocean Colour Scene the chorus is all wah wah guitars and catchy hook line, definitely “indie” but with pop sensibilities, late 60’s conjured with touch of glam and a sprinkling of new wave, nice recipe but tough to get right! No you can’t go to the toilet, you should have gone at playtime. The next song Run takes it down a notch and more influences arrange themselves to be heard, oddly muted crashing chords reminds me a little of The Police until the vocals kick in. A pining slow burner that seeps into your conciousness until the chorus comes along and forces it’s way in with a crowbar, where it stays!
Settle down class, or you’ll all be getting detention, the last track is called Higher Surroundings. The intro is firmly rooted in Britpop (horrible, horrible term, but you get what I mean) and bounds along nicely before ANOTHER huge huge chorus that will worm it’s way into your psyche! Uplifting is not strong enough, can I say euphoric? Yes, yes I can, it’s a euphoric noise the morse code stoccato guitar work running behind the soul fuelled voice is quite simply genius! Rising and falling like waves crashing in your ears, a rapturous, wonderful, life affirming track!
A very strong debut from “The Broxtons” varied and tight, a myriad of influences fighting to be heard in glorious cacophony, but the main thing, THE MAIN thing to remember (I may be quizzing you on this) is that they have big, beautiful, bountiful choruses, and they aren’t afraid to use them! The bell is for me NOT you! I’m glad it didn’t start and end at the first track and I hope it doesn’t start and end with this ep! Class dismissed!
The Last Of The Troubadours - Sooner The Better EP
I’ve waited a while for this EP and once it dropped on my mat and the butler had delivered it to me on a silver platter, I had him place it in the phonogram system and take his leave. Having seen “The Troubs” only once before, playing acoustically at Pretty Green in Covent Garden, I had been pleasantly surprised then, so my main hope was that this release would live up to my heady expectations. The tracks are not new to me as I have caught them all on souncloud before now but I always think something is lost listening on a laptop/phone. So, I adjusted my smoking jacket, lit my pipe and settled down to listen…..
Opener Who’s Gonna Love Us Now kicks in with drums and jangly guitars before D.J.Connett sneers over top, an unusual voice for sure, but definitely not unlikeable by any means, clear and concise and with liberal helpings of soul, the chorus is a pantheon of yearning, this, my little chums, is a bloody good song, pace changes, acapella, drums, guitars, bass, singing, its all there!
Next up Only Remedy conjures up folky, west coast floatiness in the beginning, Joel Rogers guitar is simple and sublimely beautiful. The song kicks in and again DJC shows his full range and harmonises very well indeed. This is the sound of accomplished musicians, well crafted, well honed and very well played indeed!
Audacity of hope, ethereal keyboards flips into punchy guitar and drum work, reminiscent of The Animals, confirmed when the glorious sound of the hammond drifts around the ears. This is a sing-a-long anthem if ever I heard one, a bouncer and a dancer! A middle 8 that is barely there ‘tis so delicate then BOOM! you’re back in the room. Audacity Of Hope Will Pull You Through!
Control the feelings Osmondesque drum intro get’s my slipper clad feet tapping, this is less sing-a-long more shout-a-long, definitely a more 70’s glam feel about this song, not that that’s a bad thing (there’s been a resurgence of T-Rex/Slade/Bowie at recent DJ sets I’ve seen) and it really bowls you a long.
I’ve enjoyed this so much the time between me ringing the bell and my faithful retainer returning to replay the disc seems like an eternity, don’t worry I’ll flog him later, and he’ll be grateful.
Overall it’s a very well produced debut and the interplay between Darren and Joel’s voices is quite a revelation, they fir together very, very well. I’m looking forward to catching them at The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden as part of The March Of The Mods.
Who’s Gonna Love Us Now? I will chaps, big kiss! Mwah!
The Strypes - The Old Blue Last - London - 24th January 2013
Ever felt like you’ve just witnessed something you can’t quite put your finger on what it was, but you know it was important? That is exactly how I felt after seeing The Strypes last night, like I’d just seen The Who at the Marquee in 1965 or, as Sarina said, The Beatles at The Cavern.
These boys really are THAT good, before I start let’s get this out of the way, yes they really are boys! The average age of these four, fresh faced faces is just fifteen, but if you heard them without seeing them you would not guess, such is the assuredness of their playing, the fire in their bellies displayed for all to see in a deluge of teenage testosterone and sweat.
They play like their lives depend on it, like they will never get the chance to make this glorious noise again, of course, tonight they would have to, with 200 people crammed into a 150 capacity room and another 200 waiting downstairs a second set was definitely in order.
Arriving fashionably late was not the best idea when the band were already playing and the holding pen was filled to the brim, but a bit of stealth queue jumping (the things I do for you) meant that I caught the last 2 songs of the first set, I couldn’t see them, but, brothers and sisters I could hear them!
The crowd was tight packed and hungry for this 100mph RnB being delivered by these lads from Cavan, guitarist Josh McClory striking rockstar poses and teasing the crowd between delicious blues licks. I could only see him because he was hanging over the stage as if he wanted to be in the crowd watching this band himself!
The first set was over and most of the crowd started to leave (including a certain Noel Gallagher seemingly adding his weight to the already impressive list of fans) a few savvy people who’d heard rumour of a second set hung around and as soon as the room was empty it began to fill again. People of all ages and styles (Hanoii Rocks T-Shirt anyone?) filed in and gathered around the postage stamp of a stage looking at the vintage equipment set up.
When The Strypes appeared, a little bedraggled, but still jacketed, there was almost a sense of disbelief at how young these boys looked, should they really be out playing at 11pm on a school night?? Then……BANG! The relentless pounding of drummer Evan Walsh fills the room, Pete O’Hanlon joins in with one of the most aggressive displays of bass abuse I have ever seen, Josh strikes another pose and Singer Ross Farrelly wails over the top. This, my children, is a beautiful thing. It is raw, it is fresh, it’s like the past and the future colliding in the now. How do they have such stage presence, such confidence, such swagger? They’ve got style coming out of their ears and aural ecstasy at their fingertips. I can’t tell you the songs they played because I was just completely gobsmacked. They howled and wailed their way through a 40 minute set, and the energy they displayed belied the fact that they’d done the same thing not 30 minutes before.
So I suppose the big question is, would you be as impressed if they were in their mid 20’s? My answer is they couldn’t do that in their mid twenties, by mid-twenties you are tarnished by life. The Strypes haven’t had the chance to get tarnished or disillusioned yet, and I hope they don’t, all they have is the music and seemingly it’s all they need!
The hype, for once, is justified and their debut EP Young, Gifted and Blue is already fetching £50, let’s just hope they have a little protection and they can somehow manage to keep their feet on the ground.
If you get the chance to see them, do it, but get there early!
The Moons - 93 Feet East - London - 12th September 2012
Last night found me in the middle of curry mile in London’s Brick Lane to watch The Moons at 93 Feet East. Unperturbed by the smell of vomit and urine by the ticket office, or indeed the over zealous ticket girl who had to find my name on a list even when I’d produced my ticket, I ventured into the fairly large venue to watch opening act The Kumari.
Full of verve and vigour the tore through a set that was as slick as the lead singers quiff, a good opener with solid tunes (even if their best song was a The Kinks/The Hives hybrid rip-off - or should I be kind and say “homage”) I’ll be looking out for them in future but there appears to be and American goth band of the same name which makes finding out about them a little tedious.
After a quick change over it was the turn of Mucky Pups to take the stage, their first tune was very promising, a kind of Strokes sound with a bit of Johnny Marr guitar over the top. Unfortunately it was fairly indiscernible from the rest of the set. They appear to have found a sound they like and repeated ad infinitum. The rhythm section were solid and powerful and I think the drummer is far better than the rest of the band.
Another quick change and it was the turn of the new line-up moons to take the stage, new members Chris (guitar) and Ben (bass) certainly looking the part alongside Andy (guitar/vocals), Tom (keys and cowbell) and Ben (drums). The crowd had certainly thickened out and tentatively made their way closer to the stage with a wide range of ages present, the broad appeal of The Moons was obvious to see, what’s less obvious to me is why they are not bigger than they are, maybe the days of proper song craft have passed by again and the off the shelf punk pop of The Vaccines has become de rigour, it baffles me.
Opening with two songs from the forthcoming Fables of History album, Forever Came Today and Revolutionary Lovers demonstrated the fuller, harder and less innocent sound we can expect from the new album. The last single Double Vision Love was up next and went down a storm with the crowd along with singalong favourite Everyday Heroes. Even with Andy struggling with an obviously very sore throat the crowd were certainly on his side and helped him out. The new band members were certainly on their game with Chris adding some very cool West Coast sounding guitars to Promise Not To Tell and How Long. My personal favourite, and a lot of the crowds too by the volume of singing, English Summer was up next, a song that carries on a tradition of the storming b-side, a Beatleseque ode to our favourite topic of conversation.
Debut single Torn Between Two was followed by two more new tracks Can You See Me and the fantastic Something Soon with driving rhythm and chopped guitars it reminded me of The Jam and the fact that Paul Weller had a hand in the song was plain to see. Chinese Whispers really rattled the crowds bones as always and the set closed with an instant classic from Fables Of History the shout along It’s Taking Over.
The band left the stage very briefly before the strepsilled Andy returned with his acoustic guitar for current single Jennifer (Sits Alone). But not before introducing a clearly embarrassed Jennie to the crowd and urging us all to watch the box fresh video for the song on YouTube (which I duly did and was well worth the effort - get on it! http://youtu.be/BeoY5iHnIbI ). The rest of the band rejoined the stage for elongated versions of Nightmare Day, with a stunning “get back into bed” refrain, and closing song Don’t Go Changing which left the crowd sweating and happy.
The band then signed copies of their singles, the CD and rather sexy White Vinyl of Fables Of History which are available to pre-order from Amazon and iTunes (released on 24th October) and at the rest of the dates on the tour. I’m not sure if I agree with the sentiment of Don’t Go Changing because if last night was anything to go by changing is definitely a good thing.
Bernadette - The Four Tops Love On A Mountain Top - Robert Knight Aint No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross (Your Love Keps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher - Jackie Wilson Keep On Running - The Spencer Davis Group Keep Keeping On (Demo) - The Rifles Running On The Spot - The Jam Face In The Crowd - The Merton Parkas The British Way Of Life - The Chords I’m The Face - The High Numbers I’m Running Around In Circles - The Circles The Circle (Acoustic) - Ocean Colour Scene Tin Cans - The Scene Why Can’t There Be Love - Dee Edwards Lost Summer Love - Lorraine Silver Summer In The City - The Lovin’ Spoonfull Suffragette City - David Bowie Can’t Help Thinking About Me - David Bowie & The Lower Third I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down - Elvis Costello & The Attractions F.B.I. (I Spy For The) - The Untouchables 0.0.7. (Shanty Town) - Desmond Dekker & The Aces Ghost Town (Extended Version) - The Specials Mirror In The Bathroom (Live) - Special Beat Missing Beats (Of A Generation) - The Charlatans I Believe In The Spirit - Tim Burgess Street Spirit (Fade Out) - Radiohead Friday Street - Paul Weller Saturday - Ocean Colour Scene Lazy Sunday - The Small Faces Blue Monday - New Order Tuesday Morning - The Pogues Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. - Simon & Garfunkel To Claudia On Thursday - The Millennium This Is The Day - Manic Street Preachers Week In Week Out - The Ordinary Boys That’s Entertainment (Snap! Demo Version) - The Jam
15 Years - Smoke Like A Fish 5:15 - The Who Monday Morning 5:19 - Rialto 10:15 Saturday Night - The Cure 10:03 - Doves 12:51 - The Strokes Just Who Is The 5 O’Clock Hero - The Jam 40 Past Midnight - Ocean Colour Scene It Takes Two - Marnin Gaye & Kim Weston 2-4-6-8 Motorway - Tom Robinson Band 40 Days And 40 Nights - The Enemy 8 Ball - Seasick Steve Woo Hoo - The 5,6,7,8’s Hundred Mile High City - Ocean Colour Scene 68 Guns - The Alarm Seven Days Too Long - Chuck Wood Nine Times Out Of Ten - Muriel Day Not Nineteen Forever - The Courteeners 100 Floors Of Perception - Ocean Colour Scene Across 110th Street - Bobby Womack 5th Season (Royal Albert Hall Live Version) - Paul Weller 22 Dreams - Paul Weller Love Missile F1-11 - Sigue Sigue Sputnik 18 With A Bullet - Pete Wingfield 24 Hours From Tulsa (Live AtThe BBC) - Dusty Springfield Swords Of A Thousand Men - Tenpole Tudor Disco 2000 - Pulp Pacific State - 808 State Kosmos SX Dub 2000 - Paul Weller 5-4-3-2-1 - Manfred Mann Take Five - Dave Brubeck Quartet No I In Threesome - Interpol Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III - Cornershop 2000 Light Years From Home (Original Single Mono Version) - The Rolling Stones Love Minus Zero - Bob Dylan 303 - Kula Shaker 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn To Be) - Jimi Hendrix Experience One Love - The Stone Roses One Love (Edit) - The Prodigy One Love - Bob Marley & The Wailers Three Little Birds - Bob Marley & The Wailers The ‘59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem Thirty Three - The Smashing Pumpkins True Faith ‘94 - New Order A Thousand Trees - Stereophonics A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun - Manic Street Preachers One In Ten - UB40 Big 5 - Judge Dread Five Get Over Excited - The Housemartins Ten Story Love Song - The Stone Roses 99 Red Balloons - Nena Three Button Hand Me Down - The Faces Two Little Boys - Rolf Harris 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton
Downhill From Here 18th March 2012 Paul Weller Special Playlist
Can You Heal Us Holyman - Paul Weller A Solid Bond In Your Heart - The Style Council When You’re Young - The Jam Above The Clouds (Album/Single Version) - Paul Weller A Man Of Great Promise - The Style Council The Butterfly Collector - The Jam Peacock Suit - Single/Album Version - Paul Weller The Paris Match - The Style Council The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow) - The Jam No Tears To Cry - Paul Weller Headstart For Happiness - The Style Council Ghosts - The Jam The Changingman (Single Edit) - Paul Weller Speak Like A Child - The Style Council Town Called Malice - The Jam Sunflower - Paul Weller Walls Come Tumbling Down - The Style Council Thick As Thieves - The Jam Out Of The Sinking - Paul Weller Long Hot Summer - Single Edit The Style Council Going Underground - The Jam Wild Wood - Paul Weller My Ever Changing Moods (Single Edit) - The Style Council Man In The Cornershop - The Jam Broken Stones - Paul Weller You’re The Best Thing - The Style Council That’s Entertainment - The Jam You Do Something To Me - Paul Weller Shout To The Top (Full Version) - The Style Council Down In The Tubestation At Midnight (Full Version) - The Jam
Ghosts - The Jam There’s A Ghost In My House - R. Dean Taylor Bricks And Mortar - Editors Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations This Is The Day - Ivy Poison Ivy - The Paramounts Poison & Wine - The Civil Wars Red Red Wine - UB40 Stop Your Sobbing - The Pretenders You Do Something To Me (Mono) - The Kinks Instant Karma! - Paul Weller Working Class Hero - Manic Street Preachers Sorted For E’s & Wizz - Pulp Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon - Urge Overkill Sunday Girl (French Version) - Blondie Sunday Bloody Sunday (Live) - U2 Enola Gay - OMD Everyday Is Like Sunday - Morrissey Boom Boom (BBC Bob Harris Session 1974) - Dr. Feelgood Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury & The Blockheads Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood Come Back - The Mighty Wah! Come On Back - The Brothers Of Soul Sliced Tomatoes - The Just Brothers People Get Ready - The Housemartins The Young Mod’s Forgotten Story - The Impressions Never Gonna Give You Up - Jerry Butler Never Take Me Alive - Spear Of Destiny She Sells Sanctuary (Long Version) - The Cult
Can’t Get Out Of Bed - The Charlatans Beds Are Burning - Midnight Oil Burn Baby Burn - Ash You’ve Come A Long Way Baby - Flower Shoppe What Took You So Long - The Courteeners What’ch Gonna Do About It - The Small Faces What You Gonna Do - Plan B Stay Where You Are - Ambulance LTD Circus/Carnation - The Jam Train To Skaville - The Ethiopians Stay Beautiful - Manic Street Preachers Beautiful Ones (Live) - Suede Anyone Can Play Guitar - Radiohead Girls Who Play Guitars - Maximo Park Come Play With Me - The Wedding Present She Comes In The Fall - Inspiral Carpets Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have Fallen In Love With) - The Buzzcock To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time) - The Jam Nice Guy - Eddie Sleeper Do Anything You Wanna Do - Eddie & The Hotrods I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses Be Young Be Foolish Be Happy - The Tams Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage Train In Vain - The Clash The Day We Caught The Train - Ocean Colour Scene Caught By The Fuzz - Supergrass Rules & Regulations - Fuzzbox Rebels Rule - Stray Cats Whatever Happened To My Rock N’ Roll - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Rock N’ Roll Star (Live) - Oasis Ziggy Stardust - Bauhaus