Tracks Monkeys With Lasers


Slow Club @ Koko – 01/06
December 7, 2010, 10:43 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: ,

Apologies in advance; recollections of this gig are somewhat hazy 6 months on but a review you shall get regardless!

First things first, the support. Yeah, I don’t remember anything about them even if I do still recognise the names. The support on the night was from Spectrals, Summer Camp and Veronica Falls. That’s as much as I can say I’m afraid music fans.

The main act themselves, Slow Club, came bounding on stage, joined by their bass player and drummer and launched straight into a new tracks which was a brave move but one the crowd enjoyed nonetheless.

This high tempo start continued witha surprising early playing of Our Most Brilliant Friends, one of my personal favourites, and Giving Up On Love, allowing for a frantic opening which doesn’t quite fit in with the whole feel of their album; 2009’s ‘Yeah, So’.

After that, the tempo finally dropped with old and new songs alike. The new material sounded very promising and was played with such feeling and assertiveness that it would be difficult for someone unaware of their material to tell the tried and tested tracks from the new and this all points towards a wonderful second album, whenever it may appear.

Of the older songs, the one that sticks out for me was Rebecca’s solo ‘Sorry For The Doom’ which had the packed out Koko transfixed. It did feel at times that the duo were in awe of the crowd as much as the crowd were of them but this didn’t show through too much once the band had settled into their set. In between tracks, the pair also loosened up during the night and were very quaint with Rebecca telling a joke a Waitrose Christmas cracker would be proud of (“What did the cheese say to itself in the mirror? Halloumi”).

The highlights for me though were the two tracks played unplugged with ‘Wild Blue Milk’  coming partway through the set while ‘Christmas TV’ closed off the evening. Thankfully, the crowd showed the respect the tracks deserved giving an eerie hush to such a large audience, meaning the tracks worked well.

On the night, I was very impressed with Slow Club. They overcame the nerves they seemed to have playing to their biggest audience to date and once they had settled on stage, they made it feel like a much more intimate venue than Koko actually is. Not bad for a band once described to me as the “staple support act of Sheffield”.

Slow Club – Our Most Brilliant Friends (live)



Xtra Mile Showcase @ Borderline – 25/05
December 7, 2010, 8:53 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , , , , ,

This show had what was for me a fantastic lineup with The Xcerts, Straight Lines and Crazy Arm all playing who are all bands I’m a big fan of (and had all seen live previously). In addition, one of Xtra Mile’s latest signing, Fighting Fiction, were also due to play so I was intruiged to see what they had to offer.

As it turned out, it wasn’t to be a full band performance from Fighting Fiction but just an acoustic set from the lead singer, Jacob. This was a little disappointing but it was still a good set and made me want to hear more of their stuff. Their EP and newest single are up on Spotify and are well worth a listen.

Next up were Crazy Arm. I really like the record these guys put out last year but when I saw them supporting Frank Turner at the Roundhouse, I was left slightly underwhelmed with their live performance. Sadly, this show did little to change that.

Their songs are very strong but live it was just a little sloppy at times. Every now and again the timing seemed to be slightly off between the band and, for me at least, this was quite noticeable and really spoilt their performance. It’s a bit of a shame as I really do like the album but that’s twice that I’ve been disappointed with them live. Third time lucky?

After that, it was time for Straight Lines to take to the stage. I’d seen these guys only a few months previously as well when they headlined at the Camden Enterprise which was a show I really enjoyed. Here, they put on a good show again but with it not being a crowd there to seem them specifically, it wasn’t as good as before.

That said, I did enjoy their set and they even played one or two new songs from what I remember. Good band, good album and good fun live too.

Finally, it was the main act of the night in The Xcerts. I’d been lucky to catch these guys almost a year ago at Lexapalooza at the Gaff. Back then, there was only a handful of people still around to see them but they really managed to impress me. Since then, their first album had grown on me even more so I was looking forward to seeing how they’d progressed.

As it turned out, they’d come out massively since I’d seen them last. They seemed completely at ease on stage and weren’t afraid to try out something different with their tracks with a different version of ‘Home Versus Home’ working really well.

With their latest album being prepared for release around the time of this show, they showcased a few new tracks, including their latest single ‘Slackerpop’. Not many people seemed to know the track but I enjoyed it and it points to a slightly different sound on the new album from their first.

It can be a bit odd when a band plays new songs live when nobody recognises them. The band seemed to recognise this though so played the new tracks early on, leaving the rest of the set to the material everyone there knew and these sounded great. ‘Crisis In The Slow Lane’ was a particular highlight to me with the now near-capacity crowd singing along to the chorus; quite a difference from the show at the Gaff.

To finish the night, Murray came back out on stage by himself and played the beautiful ‘Aberdeen 1987’. Sadly a lot of the crowd seemed to be chatting amongst themselves at this point but the song was brilliant regardless with the crowd again singing the chorus. Murray may have forgotten the words at one point but this didn’t spoil a thing.

Altogether, it was a great night with three bands I really like playing as well as a new one for me to check out. The Xcerts were the clear standout act of the night though and I only hope these guys can continue to get better and better.

The Xcerts – Aberdeen 1987 (live)



65daysofstatic @ Koko – 12/05
December 7, 2010, 8:52 pm
Filed under: gigs | Tags: , ,

A belated and, thus, short “review” as I can’t give too many details about this show so long after it took place.

Support on the night came from Nedry, who did nothing for me, and from Loops Haunt who rather impressed with his set on stage and is well worth checking out.

As for 65dos themselves, they played a great set with a good mix of old and new material. The sound system of Koko allowed the new tracks to shine while the older tracks sounded fantastic too. Being on the balcony, I had a good view of the band and I have to say, it’s amazing to watch the band’s drummer in full flow.

It really is a sight to behold when he’s giving it everything and in tracks like the sublime ‘Retreat! Retreat!’ (one of their best moments live) it’s easy to be mesmerised by him.

The set was overall solid and, as mentioned previously, the sound was great. However, Koko doesn’t seem like the best venue for the band. The size doesn’t make for the right kind of atmosphere for their kind of music which, to me, is much better suited to small, sweaty venues like at the Dingwalls (but at least they didn’t break the venue like they did when I saw them there). As such, the crowd felt a little flat but it’s difficult to put on a show in a smaller venue for them when they can sell out a venue the size of Koko.

Overall, I really enjoyed the set and it was nice to get chance to hear the whole of Weak4 and to hear Radio Protector this time round. New tracks like Go Complex and Tiger Girl, at either end of the show, did sound beautiful but without the crowd to match what was going on on-stage, the gig just lacked that certain something to make it truely amazing.

65daysofstatic – Weak4 (live)



I’m Still Alive!
August 18, 2010, 4:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As the title says, I’m still alive and so is the blog. I still have gigs from months ago that I haven’t written about due to exams and now being on the other side of the world.

In fact it’s been so long that I can’t really do proper writeups of some of these shows but I have some ideas in mind of what to do for them. As soon as I got more than 5 minutes to sit down, I’ll get these done and the blog going again.

Honest.



TMWL Presents: istartedthefire records showcase ft Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun @ The Brixton Windmill – 20/07
June 25, 2010, 10:24 am
Filed under: music, TMWL Shows | Tags: , , , , ,

A bit of a mouthful of a title but it’s another TMWL show!

Following on from the successful show at the Betsey Trotwood, Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun manage to squeeze in a show at the Brixton Windmill inbetween sets at 2000 Trees and Y-Not Festivals and the show comes hot on the heels of the release of their Album, ‘Atlases’

“Could Jim Lockey and The Solemn Sun be the British Bright Eyes?”
– Is This Music magazine

“Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun might just be the current, relevant band we were looking for”
– BBC Gloucestershire

High praise indeed! On the night, the boys will be joined by artists from their record label istartedthefire including;

Midnight Mile

“Cheltenham Soul-Folk duo MM, lead their unsuspecting audiences into a myriad of Ryan Admas influcenced guitar licks and beautiful vocal harmony”

Joe Summers

“Walsall’s answer to Johnny Flynn’s blistering folk, combining the lyrical attributes of his heroes Dylan and Adams to create arresting songs of heartfelt intimacy.”

Ruth Bewsey

“This Guildford songstress blends summery acoustic stylings with an angelic vocal sweetness that will leave you lovestruck and enchanted”

Where

The Brixton Windmill

When

Tuesday, 20th of July

Doors will be at 7.30 with the music all kicking off at 8pm

How Much

Advance tickets available for £3

Tickets available on the door;

£3 – advance and earlybird tickets (before 9pm)
£4 – after 9pm

Come along! Bring a friend. Bring another friend.

See you there xx



The Rural Alberta Advantage @ The Lexington – 11/05
June 18, 2010, 12:11 pm
Filed under: gigs, music | Tags: ,

Of all the gigs I’ve been to in the last few months, this was one of the ones I’d been most looking forward to.

Having been a fan of these guys from their pre-Sadlecreek signing days thanks to the wonders of the internet (and, admittedly, a downloaded version of the album when they self released it) I had been following them for a while. I couldn’t have been happier for them once they got signed and started to get more and more well known.

With the show at the Lexington being a sellout, it was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in loving the band but it is an odd thing to know that a band that has done almost nothing to promote their work over here has such a following.

The gig itself was touch and go as to whether it would go ahead thanks to some volcano thing going on at the time (it was in the news a fair bit supposedly). Thankfully, the band managed to make it to London for their first EVER UK show but minus one keyboard which felt the wrath of aerial travel.

Meeting up with a few mates, we made our way up to the venue in the Lexington, which may just be one of my favourite venues in London. We arrived a bit late to catch the first support act so had a bit of time to kill before the next one so we had a quick peek at the merch stand to find Nils himself behind the desk. After a brief chat, I finally managed to get myself a copy of the album on 12″ (a mistake in hindsight; bit of a pain to carry that round for the rest of the evening) and that now proudly sits in a frame above my desk.

Anyway, I digress. After taking up our spots in front of the stage the support came out in the form of Dignan Porch. These guys were one of those support bands that I’m now more than used to; nothing particularly exciting but nothing wrong with them so you end up listening but don’t really remember much of their sound. They had a bit of a Britpop revival sound to them and the band they most reminded me of were The Stands (anyone remember them??) As I say, nowt wrong with them but nothing to write home about. Sorry guys.

But that doesn’t matter anyway as I wasn’t there to see them. I was here for The Rural Alberta Advantage and I was just a tad excited as they came out and isn’t it lovely when a band performs just as you hoped they would.

Unsurprisingly, they kicked off with ‘The Ballad of the RAA’ which sounded as lovely as you’d expect and this was coupled with ‘Rush Apart’ which kicked the gig off properly. From there on in, the band played the album in it’s entirety with every song sounded fantastic live. It did seem to take a while for Nils to find his voice as it started off a little shakey which had me worried, but it soon settled into it’s unusual nasal, Canadian drawl that just works.

The rest of the band were also on form with Paul drumming away as if he was trying to force his arms off which (like I say many a time) doesn’t come across so much on the record but was really noticeable live. And then there was the lovely Amy who glues the band together. While Nils does his thing on vocals and guitars and Paul thrashes away on his drumkit, Amy flits between beautiful backing vocals, keyboards, extra percussion and even the xylophone to provide the total sound that I love about them.

The songs were rather poignant on the night as the band took a bit of time to talk about the songs and what they meant. It doesn’t take a high level music critic to get the jist of the album with it’s songs about growing up in small towns in Canada and the life that this leads. But on the night, the band gave us more of an insight, particularly with ‘Frank, AB’ where Nils talked about how it was a town utterly devestated by a landslide and was a place he drove past regularly. All this made the song even more special and you got the feeling that if they had the time, they’d have done a similar thing with every track.

So along with ‘Frank, AB’, ‘Dethbridge’ and the sublime ‘Edmonton’ (one of my favourite songs. Ever.), we were also treated to a cover version of ‘Eye Of The Tiger’, a song I’d already seen a video of on youtube but it was great to see other peoples’ reactions to it. And as well as this, we even got to hear some new material which sounds like a second album could be just as special.

With the encore coming to an end, the band came off the stage to perform ‘Goodnight’ in amongst the crowd which was a ftting, beautiful end to the night.

I am so glad I got a ticket to this show to finally see one of my favourite bands perform live and I’m so glad that they didn’t let me down. As always, I did seem to end up standing next to the one idiot in the crowd who insisted on clapping along to every track, even if there was nothing to clap along to (and it shouldn’t be physically possible to clap that out of time as well) but even this couldn’t spoil the evening. And I think I may have fallen in love with Amy just as much as I have with the RAA’s music. I just hope they don’t leave it so long to come back.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Goodnight (live)



TMWL Presents: Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun & Oxygen Thief @ The Betsey Trotwood – 07/05
June 13, 2010, 6:06 pm
Filed under: gigs, music, TMWL Shows | Tags: , , ,

Yes, that’s right; TWML Presents!

This was the first show put on by myself after the artists had asked me to put on the show for them as part of their short UK tour. And after a couple of months of organising, it finally took place! Just.

Arriving at the “cosy” venue of the Betsey Trotwood nice and early to help set things up, I found out my two headline acts were caught in traffic getting to the venue. No matter, it gave us plenty of time to get everything else sorted and it took no time to get the basics in place thanks to the top sound engineer at the venue.

Now, the Betsey is an odd little place, with ‘little’ being the optimal word. With a capacity of just 60, it’s not the most spacious of venues by any stretch of the imagination. I was a little bit worried about using such a venue but thought I’d rather fill out a place with 60 people all up for a great time than use somewhere too big.

But back to the night itself, the artists finally all turned up but the start had to be delayed to ensure that it would all go as well as possible.

The first act on stage was a good friend of mine, Simon Garrard, who I’d seen play a few times before (but have been invited to do so countless times!). I felt a bit sorry for Simon as the there weren’t as many people there for the start as I had hoped but this didn’t stop him at all.

It’s always a worry when you go to see a friend play a gig that you’ll have to tell them “Yeah! You were great!” when really, they sucked balls (metaphorically). Thankfully, this isn’t the case with Simon as he’s a great guitarist and has a great voice to back it up with.

The sound at the Betsey suited him really well with the reverb from the PA augmenting the reverb and delay of his opening number which slowly builds up to his vocals joining in, before really kicking off.

The rest of the set went just as well too, with the crowd seemingly appreciating his style. His final number is possibly his best track though with a catchy chorus that’s enough times for you to join in by the end of the song.

A great start to the night but he needs to get some of his tracks finally put down on record!

Simon does play plenty of shows though so check out his myspace for dates.

Next up was a band I’ve been meaning to catch for a while and one that the main acts wanted put on in Adam Boucher & The Dead Set.

Adam started out as a solo artist, playing a folky sound but has since joined up with Jon on bass and Steve on drums to create his punk ‘shouty folk’ sound. This might sound a bit odd but it worked really well.

With just 30 minutes on stage, the guys made full use of their time, managing to launch through a whole host of tracks. Some have been reworked from Adam’s solo stuff, while others have been written specifically for the band. Either way, they sounded really good. Tracks like “Argh, I’m A Numpty!”, “Growing Up & Getting Out” etc all sounding really good in the confines of the Betsey.

Short, frantic songs with the shouty folk vocals; the set ripped along nicely with little time to catch your breath between songs (but a spot of intra-band piss taking from Adam and Jon often the only thing to split up the set). I’m pretty confident in saying that they went down well on the night as pretty much all of the free CDs they bought along had gone by the end of their set.

You can download loads of their stuff for free from their website.

It was time to turn to the first of the headline acts after this with Oxygen Thief taking his place on stage. This is a guy I’ve seen, and written about, a few times now and each show is always quite a bit different to the last from him.

This show was to be no exception with a raft of new material getting played as he prepares for the release of his album later in the year. This meant there was little time for the tracks I was used to but in their place we got new tracks like the instrumental “Peter Quistgard”, the finger moshing of “Disaster Plan” and a more familiar sounding “Modesty Is Dead”.

As always, I was impressed with his guitar playing as it is still unlike anything I’ve seen anyone else do with the style not sounding out of place in a metal band but instead played on an acoustic guitar.

Again, he has the vocals to back up this guitar work so it made for another top set. We even got a mosh pit going at one point! And, of course, it wouldn’t be an Oxygen Thief show without the cover of “Gold” and the crowd singing along to it.

Another fine display from our man Barry and I, at least, look forward to the album later in the year. Keep an eye on his website for details..

With the crowd filled out and more than warmed up, it was time for Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun to take to the stage. Or at least try to as they couldn’t all quite fit on the small stage that the Betsey provides.

The only time I’d caught Jim before was at Lexapalooza over a year ago where he played a solo set which I quite enjoyed but that was nothing compared to the full band sound. With the backing of drums, bass, harmonies and even the odd xylophone, the songs had a completely different feel to them and they were all the better for it.

There were plenty of songs I knew, including the beautiful “Waitress” and melancholy “Atlases” which got the crowd and myself dancing along. The sound from the guys was one that deserved a bigger stage than the Betsey but they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the crowd and their indie folk sound is one that could see them playing the much bigger stages that they deserve.

With the release of their album imminent, there was plenty of other tracks on display on the night with “Machines” and the frantic “Battles” being the two others that stuck out.

They finished their set, though, by joining everyone in the middle of the crowd for a fantastic rendition of “The Boat Song” with just Jim’s guitar and the band’s vocals which made for a superb ending and one that completely suited the intimate nature of the venue.

I would fully recommend seeing these guys or at least getting their album (courtesy of istartedthefire) as it’s one of the freshest and most enjoyable things I’ve heard in a long time.

Altogether, a great night and a great success for the first ever TMWL show and a great way to have kicked off the guys UK tour!

Oxygen Thief – Disaster Plan (live)

Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun – Battles (live)




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