Alex Hulme: “I Will Live This Time” The Bedford, Balham 19.06.2018

Live Music in The Theatre hosted by Bedford Live.

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Alex Hulme is a young and talented folk and acoustic singer-songwriter from Liverpool. A one-man show and self-confessed loop station addict. His main musical influences are, Nick Drake, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Sufjan Stevens and Ben Howard. Alex is self-funded and currently unsigned, although he has achieved a small but devoted fanbase. His latest EP, The Leaves’, was released in May 2017, however, Alex is currently writing and recording new material to be released later in the year. He recently supported Nikhil D’Souza at The Waiting Room in London in May. Nikhil D’Souza: “Young And Fearless, Time To Be Reckless” The Waiting Room, London 21.05.2018 

The legendary Grade II listed pub, The Bedford in Balham, south London is dedicated to discovering and promoting emerging new artists. Situated just a stones throw from Balham Tube and Rail Stations on the corner of Fernlea Road and Bedford Hill. The venue hosts live music with free entry, four nights a week from Monday through to Thursday in a mock- Tudor, circular ‘Shakespearean Globe Theatre’ at the rear of the pub.

The event showcased Alex Hulme, Ana, Flora Lloyd, Simon Baum and Charlotte Enegren. The evening was split into two sets with each artist performing four songs in total. Bedford Live was streamed on the venue’s Facebook page, the link for this event can be seen here: click here for link

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Each artist performed two songs in the first set and Alex Hulme was the fourth act. He climbed on stage wearing his trademark mismatched socks, on this occasion, one light grey the other black. Standing centre stage on a wooden board with a vast array of loop pedals, wires and leads strewn before his feet, but in an extremely orderly arrangement. Apparently, performing in his socks gives him greater dexterity and agility with the pedals than his clumsy Dr Martens could ever accomplish. He started with ‘Flow’, an extremely catchy and melodious, sing-along song with a memorable chorus.

“I’ve had time, but I don’t know, just where my life is meant to go

I’ve worked hard nothing to show, so should I just go with the flow?

Ride the waves, drift with the tide, and maybe life will be just fine,

Go with the flow, ‘til it feels right”.

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Alex’s strong vocal range was mesmerising and astounding. His prominent but seamless method of adding melodies by complex layering of loops enhanced and amplified his performance. He had such an endearing nature as he gave the audience explanations of his songs. “Bedford, are you up for doing a little bit of singing tonight? I just need you to do a little copy and paste, a little bit of repetition. In case you were wondering, I’m using a loop tonight and everything is live, nothing’s pre-recorded. I get that question asked quite a bit. So, if I mess up you’ll hear me mess up over and over again!  This song is called Little Lives”. Immediately his demeanour and vocals appeared more confident as he stamped out the bass with his feet on the wooden board. He created a drumming element by patting out the beat on the body of the guitar as he belted out the lyrics,

“And I will live this time,

I will face my fears and hold back the tides, I believe in life, I will live this time.

I will face the waves with my head held high, And I believe in life, I will live this time”. The acoustics in the venue were perfect as Alex’s pensive lyrics resonated around the circular room. The audience were keen to participate and repeated the lyrics, “I will live this time” bringing the song and Alex’s first set to a close.

After all the artists had performed their first two songs and following a short interval, Alex was first up for the second set. He started with the song Cover Up’. This was a prominent acoustic song with a slower tempo and lesser use of the loop station. Alex’s passion and enthusiasm came across as he sang with such warmth and intensity in his voice.

“You see I’ve had enough of the lies and the cover ups,

my minds made up, I’ve checked out, I’ve logged off,

and when push comes to shove,

you’ll see all that we have around us, all this is ours”.

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He announced his last song, Decide’, with a short introduction. “This song is about mental health and not judging people. Remembering that everyone runs at different speeds to everyone else and you should never judge a book by its cover”.

There was a combination of fragility and power as Alex sang the hard-hitting lyrics.

“I found my way out of misery, I will, I will decide

Does my past write my history, or will it rule my life?

Each time you wake up, oh you wake up, you’ll decide if it rules your life”.

Again, he asked the audience to join in with him and they gladly accommodated by chanting the line, “You’re not on your own, it’s all in your head and you’ve got to fight your way out”. Alex stamped heavily on the wooden board he was standing on to emphasis the beat as the song began to increase in tempo. He then stood forward to the front of the stage to join in singing the rhythmic mantra with the audience until the song slowed to a steady close. ‘Decide’ concluded his extremely short but sweet and complex set at The Bedford. He alighted the stage to a huge applause from a happy and contented crowd.


Set List: Flow, Little Lives, Cover Up, Decide


You can catch Alex Hulme playing at the Esk Festival on 7th July, The Lancashire Festival 2018 at Moor Park Preston on 21st July and Garden Open Mike Fest in Northampton on 4th August. Alex is currently writing, recording and producing some new material with the help and support of Mad Management, London. In the meantime, listen to and download The Leaves EP (with two recently added bonus tracks) available on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and Soundcloud.

 

Alex Hulme: Flow (Official Video)

Alex Hulme: Family Tree (Official Video)

 

Alex Hulme Instagram

Alex Hulme Twitter

Alex Hulme Facebook

Until the next adventure…

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Fontaines D.C: “Hurricane Laughter, Tearing Down The Plaster” The Shacklewell Arms, London 23.05.2018

Presented by DHP Family and hosted by The Shacklewell Arms.

The fast emerging, indie post-punk five-piece from Dublin are: Grian Chatten (vocals), Conor Deegan III (bass), Carlos O’Connell (guitars), Conor Curley (guitars) and Tom Coll (drums). With three limited edition AA-side 7” singles already under their belts: 1) Liberty Belle / Rocket to Russia 2) Hurricane Laughter / Winter in The Sun and the most recent, released in February 2018 3) Chequeless Reckless / Boys in The Better Land; all achieving singles of the week by Rough Trade. The band have many eclectic musical influences including The Pogues, The Stooges, The La’s and Buddy Holly, to name a few. Fontaines D.C. have already supported The Horrors, Girl Band and The Lemon Twigs and appeared at many festivals this year including, The Great Escape, Dot-to-Dot at Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham.  With increasing radio airplay from supporters such as Steve Lamacq from BBC6 Music, and a new record deal, Fontaines D.C. are a band that are determined to grab your attention and keep a tight, mesmerising hold of it.

The Shacklewell Arms is a small, friendly pub renowned for its live music room at the rear with a 200 capacity. Located on Shacklewell Lane, in the heart of Dalston, East London. Support was from local Garage-disco band, Milk Disco.

The back room was packed to the rafters with hot and sweaty fans as Fontaine D.C. took to the cramped and narrow stage. Apart from drummer, Coll, who was positioned in the stage alcove, the other band members stood in a line (L-R), O’Connell, Deegan, Chatten and Curley. The air was heavy with the stuffy heat and the anticipation of hearing the band perform.

They began their set with the song ‘BIG’, the explosion of sound hit you like a wall of urgency, energy and emotion. Chatten’s sing-speak vocals so unique and authentic with his prominent, colloquial Irish drawl. He appeared aloof, almost sneering and his piercing gaze added another element to the performance. It was like a competition to try and stare him out, but one you knew that you had little chance of winning. Reaching a climax of pounding drums, relentless, chaotic guitars and chanting lyrics there was no time to draw breath as they seamlessly started the intro to the popular ‘Hurricane Laughter’. An immediate, fast-paced, insistent, almost-anxious track that has you hooked from the start. Chatten sang the catchy lyrics in his distinctive Dublin accent, “Hurricane laughter, tearing down the plaster”. Repetitive, highly addictive, psychedelic guitar riffs from O’Connell and Curley both playing Danelectro guitars (56 Pro copper and DC59M black/white). Almost competing against each other but creating this beautifully infectious, high-octane, circular guitar loop that increased with intensity until building to a crescendo. With Chatten’s repeated spoken vocals “And there is no connection available, and there is no connection available…” enduring on. There was a huge applause from the crowd. ‘Too Real’ was next, with extremely heavy drums and whirling psychedelic guitars but with contrasting punky vocals. Then, ‘One In Between’ with snarling guitars it was reminiscent of early punk from the late 70s. Wearing grey trousers, a blue shirt and pillar-box red braces, Chatten repeated the chorus “I know I’m not an angel and I know I’m not the devil, I’m the one in between”. Next was ‘Sha Sha Sha’ an infectious song with influences of Idles and Girl Band. Steady, consistent, pounding drumming from Coll, who at this point of the performance was just a mass of long hair. A prominent bass-line from Deegan throughout. As Chatten stepped back to play tambourine, O’Connell moved forward. He was wearing a burgundy sweatshirt with the word ‘REPEAL’ across his chest. Showing the bands support regarding Repeal the 8th. A referendum held whether Ireland would repeal or retain the constitutional ban on abortions (The following day, there was an overwhelming vote to repeal).

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IMG_2042 (2)Onto the lesser known ‘Roy’s Tone’, starting with a pounding drum beat and prominent bass before grinding guitars kicked in. Chatten’s chanting was severe and determined during this short song. ‘Chequeless Reckless’ was next, obviously one of the crowd’s favourites as a small mosh pit developed. With instant guitars and immediate working-class lyrical hooks as Chatten catalogued a list of cultural observations “An idiot, is someone who lets their education do all their thinking”. The drums and guitars then kicked in tunnelling and channelling through your body, the sound was amazing. While Chatten’s spoken, matter-of-fact, dead-pan, guttural vocals chanted “Money, is the sandpit of the soul, Money, is the sandpit of the soul. What’s really going on? What’s really going on?” A huge applause ensued from the appreciative crowd. This was followed by the equally popular ‘Boys In The Better Land’. Chatten’s vocals were edgy, ambitious and confidently clear over the 60s-sounding psychedelic guitars. The looping, cyclical guitar riffs were outstanding from O’Connell and Curley. Forming many different layers of infectious, revolving chords. Chatten’s strong, gritty vocals were prominent as he sang “If you’re a rock star, pornstar, superstar, doesn’t matter what you are, get yourself a good car, get out of here! But the boys in the better land, you’re always talking ‘bout the boys in the better land”. Their encore was the short, but infectious and well-written song, ‘Liberty Belle’ starting with the lyrics “You know I love that violence that you get around here, that kind of ready steady violence, that violent, how do you do!” This concluded their short but concise 40-minute set. Fans leaving the venue, agreed that everyone that night had witnessed history in the making!


Set List: BIG, Hurricane Laughter, Too Real, One In between, Sha Sha Sha, Roy’s Tone, Chequeless Reckless, Boys In The Better Land, Liberty Belle.


The day after Fontaines D.C. played The Shacklewell Arms they announced they had been signed to Partisan Records; the same label as bands such as Idles and Cigarettes After Sex, among many others.  Almost a year to the day of releasing their first single, ‘Liberty Belle’. That’s some achievement and just shows all their hard work and commitment has rewarded them ten-fold. We look forward with great anticipation to their debut album, in the meantime, go and see this band. They deserve to be heard everywhere!

Fontaines D.C. – Boys In The Better Land

The Fontaines D.C. – Hurricane Laughter

Fontaines D.C. Website

Fontaines D.C. Twitter

Fontaines D.C Instagram

Until the next adventure…

Nikhil D’Souza: “Young And Fearless, Time To Be Reckless” The Waiting Room, London 21.05.2018

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Presented by Live Nation and hosted by The Waiting Room, London.

Nikhil has recently played established new music festivals such as Live at Leeds and Brighton’s The Great Escape. Unfortunately, I missed Nikhil’s performance at Live at Leeds at the beginning of May, so I was determined to see him at his headline show in London.

The singer/songwriter/guitarist was born in Mumbai.  Nikhil has reached huge acclaim in India as a singer/songwriter for Bollywood ballads to popular films such as Aisha. However, he has now spread his wings to the UK and has recently been signed to East West Records, part of the Warner Music Group. His main musical influence is Jeff Buckley and he supports new artists such as Isaac Gracie and Matt Maltese.

The Waiting Room (originally named The Drop) is a small, but smart live music venue underneath The Three Crowns pub on Stoke Newington High Street, North-East London. Relaunched in 2012 to hold a standing capacity of 120, by the same people behind The Lock Tavern and Shacklewell Arms, similar London live music venues.

Support was from Alex Hulme, singer/songwriter/guitarist who had travelled down from Liverpool for the gig. He was extremely endearing with anecdotes and explanations of his songs. His vocal range was amazing, he even got the crowd to join in with a couple of his catchy songs and choruses. A vast array of pedals lay before his mismatched socks. He explained later that he found it easier to hit the pedals barefoot rather than with his clumsy Dr Martens.

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Alex Hulme

A warm and friendly crowd filled the Waiting Room from the stage to the bar at the rear. For most, this was their first encounter with Nikhil in person rather than hearing his songs on the BBC Radio 2 or watching his videos on YouTube. It was also the first time Nikhil had performed live with a backing band playing drums, bass, keyboard and cello.

Starting on a high with his anthemic single, ‘Silver and Gold’, Nikhil’s falsetto vocals were astounding, powerful and faultless. His melodic, sing-along new song, ‘Take Me Home’ was an instant hit with the crowd. In-between songs he entertained the enchanted audience with funny anecdotes and stories.  After playing ‘Simple Kind of Love’ he said “That was the Mumford and Son moment of the night. Everyone has to have a “Woah, Oh, Oh” song these days. This next song is completely NOT that!” He then played ‘Beautiful Mind’ which some of the audience recognised as it was released as a single last October. A sad song about unrequited love, which he sang with such passion. “If only you could hear me, If only eyes could speak, Only you would see, Tell me you can hear me, hear my silent scream, If only you’d believe, I’d stop walking”. The audience were captivated when he played a solo, stripped-back acoustic version of ‘Still in Love’. When he announced to the crowd that the following song, ‘Love Is a Liar’ would be the last song of the evening, the audience responded with a loud “Awww!” and “Encore!” He said, “I love the collective sigh of disappointment!” It was an epic track and one of the most powerful of the evening. After many requests from the audience, Nikhil decided to play ‘Take Me Home’ again as the encore which concluded the hour-long set. An extremely happy and contented crowd left The Waiting Room that evening. It’s rare to witness an artist who creates goose bumps on the surface of your arms and makes all the hairs stand up. Phenomenal!


Set List: Silver and Gold, It’s Easier, Take Me Home, Simple Kind of Love, Beautiful Mind, Still in Love, Paradise, We’re Only People, Truth in My Eyes, Nowhere to Run, Love Is A Liar. Encore (audiences request): Take Me Home.


Nikhil’s much anticipated forthcoming debut album is due to be released later this year. In the meantime, you can catch him playing at The BBC’s Biggest Weekend on Saturday 27th May in Coventry.

Nikhil D’ Souza ‘Silver and Gold’ (Official Video)

Nikhil D’Souza ‘Beautiful Mind’ (Acoustic Version)

Nikhil D’Souza Website

Nikhil D’Souza Instagram

Nikhil D’Souza Twitter

Until the next adventure…

The Underground Youth “All I Ever Wanted Was Your Attention” The Moth Club 19.05.2018

Presented by Bad Vibrations and hosted by The Moth Club.

It was great to finally catch The Underground Youth at London’s Moth Club as part of their headline tour of the UK and Ireland. I was intrigued to see them play live after hearing their instantly hypnotic track, ‘Alice’ on BBC Radio 6 Music last year.

Originally formed in Manchester in 2008 as the solo venture of Craig Dyer. An artist renowned for writing, experimenting and recording all his own music. However, in 2012 after signing to Fuzz Club Records the project expanded to a four-piece to include Dyer’s wife, Olya on drums. The bands eclectic musical influences include The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, Bob Dylan and Nick Cave, to name a few. With their collective passion of literature, cinema and poetry it’s not surprising their music is unique, original and interesting with bittersweet lyrics. Their music has been described as raw, post punk, shoe-gazing, cinematic, psychedelic rock with a stripped back sound. The Underground Youth are now based in Berlin, Germany they are: Craig Dyer (vocals and guitar), Olya Dyer (drums) Leonard Kaage (guitar) and Max James (bass).

The Moth Club is a small but extremely popular music venue with a retro feel, located in Valette Street, off Mare Street in the heart of Hackney. With great acoustics, a standing capacity for 300 and a small seating area on a slightly elevated platform on the right-hand side of the room. A predominantly young audience in their 20’s and 30’s, filled the event room to hear The Underground Youth perform.

The Underground Youth appeared on a stage of moody red lighting which added to the haunting atmosphere of their first song, ‘You Made It Baby, with its extremely rhythmically hypnotic pace. Frontman, Craig Dyer took centre stage, flanked on either side by guitarist, Kaage and bassist, James. Olya Dyer was equally dominant at the back of the stage, stood behind her drums, yes, she drums standing up! The audience was captivated immediately with fans jostling each other to get a better view and closer to the stage. Their style of music is quite difficult to pigeon-hole, which isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes sounding reminiscent of Joy Division, at other times vaguely familiar of the goth scene of the late 80’s, but also psychedelic and anthemic. The song ‘Juliette’ was especially nostalgic of Joy Division with Dyer’s menacing deadpan vocals and matter of fact, almost throw-away, poetic lyrics. Their set increased a notch when they performed ‘The Outsider’ which was followed by the melodic and predominantly guitar-based, ‘Morning Sun’. ‘Fill the Void’ was undoubtably my favourite, a song that went from strength to strength until it reached an epic crescendo of guitars. Crowd-pleasers were, Hope and Pray, the fast-paced, Delirium, Tokyo Blue and The Rules of Attraction. For the later song, Craig Dyer leapt from the stage to continue playing the track from the centre of the crowd, much to everyone’s delight and the number of smartphones illuminating around him. It’s an epic song with dark lyrics which builds and builds to a manic but strangely satisfying frenzy. Dyer almost growled the lyrics, “Pass me that pen and here I’ll draw, A picture that invites the mind, Tickles up and down the spine, Girl, just say that you are mine, Please don’t waste my bitter time”. Olya’s drumming during this song was  mesmerisingly faultless and phenomenal. After a short exit, the band returned to play three songs for their encore. Their final song, Your Sweet Love, was beautiful to hear played live for an epic seven minutes and concluded their eighty-minute set.

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Set List: You Made It Baby, Art House Revisited, Juliette, Mademoiselle, The Outsider, Morning Sun, Hope & Pray, Delirium, Strangle Up My Mind, Fill the Void, Tokyo Blue, The Rules of Attraction. Encore: Heart on A Chain, I Need You, Your Sweet Love.


The band’s most recent album ‘What Kind of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?‘ was released in February 2017 by Fuzz Club Records.

The Underground Youth – Alice (Official Video)

The Underground Youth – Your Sweet Love

The Underground Youth Facebook

The Underground Youth Instagram

The Underground Youth Twitter

Until the next adventure…

Live at Leeds 2018 Review (contributor) written for Little Indie Blogs

Absolutely loved contributing to Little Indie Blogs team covering Live at Leeds 2018.

Bands I reviewed included: Idles, The Blinders, Nelson Can, Sports Team, Sunset Sons, Fizzy Blood, Demob Happy and Nadine Shah.

Click on the links below to see the review (in 2 parts).

Little Indie Blogs: Live at Leeds 2018 Part 1

Little Indie Blogs: Live at Leeds 2018 Part 2

Little Indie Blogs Website

Until the next adventure…

Leontas: “Everything Can Change From What It Is Now” Dublin Castle, Camden 21.04.2018

Leontas are a London rock duo who formed in 2015. The band members are: Alex Munteanu (Guitars and Vocals) and Scott Collier (Drums and Backing Vocals). It is quite easy to draw obvious comparisons with similar rock duos such as Royal Blood and The White Stripes. However, Leontas are more complex and have a heavier, evocative rock sound that is also nostalgic of ’90s rock bands such as Black Crowes, with underlying influences from Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. I managed to see them supporting post-grunge, rock band, The Rocket Dolls at their sold out gig in London.

Dublin Castle, is a legendary pub and live music venue on Parkway, Camden, North London. Opened in 1856 for the Irish navvies building the nearby railway. The pub became an iconic music venue when the band Madness made their name there in the late 1970s,  it also became a regular place where Amy Winehouse used to hang out. Through the bar is the separate area for live music known as the Back Room, with a standing capacity of one-hundred.

Leontas were the main support after Indie-rock band North Cape Lights and local, punk rock band Smokin’ Dogs.

Courageously, starting their set with two brand new songs Rhythm and Blues and Guns Down. The output was surprisingly powerful for a two-piece. Heavy guitar riffs and pounding drums, so loud they pulsated through your chest. The crowd started to sway along to the exceptionally catchy, singable chorus of Guns Down. “Everybody put your hands up, everybody put your guns down. Don’t tell us what to say now, come on show us some love now”. 

Alex addressed the crowd and encouraged them to step forward nearer the stage. “I want to say thank you to each one of you. I know its extremely hot outside and in here too and its about to get loud, this next song is called, Now”. Straight in with an infectious guitar riff and consistent drums, the song exploded into a phenomenal anthem. Alex’s vocal delivery was faultless, enhanced by Scott’s harmonious backing vocals. The song was played and sung with such passion, sincerity and confidence. Leontas should be signed just on the strength of this epic song alone!

Next up was Toxic Love, with its heavy intro but contrasting melodic chorus. Drummer, Scott, sang the lyrics in relay to Guitarist, Alex. At the end of the song Alex asked the crowd “How was that? Was it heavy enough?” The crowd responded with loud cheers and clapping. Then, straight in with the loud, relentless pace and drums of  Sweet Trouble, which accelerated gradually in tempo.

The next song was a cover of The Rolling Stones, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Again, a powerful and fast-paced song which the crowd enjoyed singing along to.  Just Maybe concluded their thirty minute set, a steady, consistent song with both band members singing the chorus. “Cos just maybe I don’t wanna know the truth. Lately I’ve been feeling so confused. Baby, I don’t wanna watch the news, no. Just maybe I don’t wanna know the things that I do.” The only part of the evening that was disappointing, was how short their set was as main support. It will be great to see them headlining their own tour in the future, which they so rightly deserve.


Set List: Rhythm & Blues, Guns Down, Now, Toxic Love, Sweet Trouble, Satisfaction (Rolling Stones cover) and Just Maybe. 


Leontas are currently unsigned but they have a number of songs available to download/like on Spotify and a selection of music videos on YouTube. They have recently released their latest video, “Now”, recorded live at one of the oldest theatres in Germany in Hamburg (see link below).

Leontas: Now (Official Video)

Leontas Facebook

Leontas Instagram

Leontas Twitter

Until the next adventure…

Leontas – “Now” Music Video Review

Leontas are a rock duo who formed in London in 2015. The band are: Alex Munteanu (Guitars and Vocals) and Scott Collier (Drums and Backing Vocals). They have recently unveiled their latest video, “Now”, recorded live at one of the oldest theatres in Germany in Hamburg.

The video starts with an extremely heavy, edgy, gutsy guitar and strong, consistent drums. Their sound is quite retro rock but with a modern twist. Immediate and obvious similarities with other bands such as Royal Blood, White Stripes but also nostalgic of ’90s rock bands such as Black Crowes and underlying characteristics of  Deep Purple. Munteanu’s image is very similar to a younger Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian, one of the band’s many influences. The video is distinctly professional and the band extremely confident.  With predominantly blue, red, pink and white lighting and lots of strobes throughout. Extremely heavy, gritty guitar riffs but with a melodic chorus. Munteanu stands on stage with a vast array of guitar pedals strewn before his feet. Red roses twine around vintage microphone stands and red lampshades decorate the stage.

The video provides a curious taster to an intriguing band that I look forward to seeing play live this weekend.

Leontas perform their next show this Saturday (21st April)  at Dublin Castle, Camden, supporting Brighton rock band, The Rocket Dolls. The gig has already officially SOLD OUT.

Please return for a follow-up review of their show in a few days time.

Leontas and The Rocket Dolls

Leontas Facebook

Leontas Instagram

Leontas Twitter

Until the next adventure…

Demob Happy: “I Wanna Feel Something More, Tell Me That Thing You’re Dying For” Borderline, London 13.04.2018

It was great to catch Demob Happy headlining their Holy Doom tour, after seeing them for the first time in September 2017, supporting Spring King at the famous Fluffer Pit Party in Hackney.

Demob Happy are an alternative rock band, originally a four-piece from Newcastle, now a three-piece band, based in Brighton. Signed to SO Recordings in 2015 when they released their debut album, Dream Soda, and they have recently released their second album, Holy Doom on 23rd March 2018. The trio are: Matthew Marcantonio (Singer and Bassist), Thomas Armstrong (Drummer and backing vocals) and Adam Godfrey (Guitarist and backing vocals). Their music has been described as psychedelic punk rock, a mixture of ‘60s rock and roll and ‘90s grunge. The Beatles meets Nirvana! Get your head around that!

Borderline is a live music venue and club in Soho, London with a standing capacity of 300. Situated in Orange Yard off Charing Cross Road it has been showcasing new music and established artists for over thirty years. Only a handful of tickets were available on the door and by the time Demob Happy took to the stage at 9:30pm the venue had sold out. Support was from Reading band, Valeras and London band, Creatures.

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Demob Happy went straight in with Liar in Your Head, the first song of the night and the first track off the new album. A fast-paced introduction to set the theme for the evening, with a hefty guitar riff, almost weirdly hypnotic. As the song came to a dramatic close, Marcantonio shouted to the crowd “How’re we fucking doing?” A chorus of wolf-whistles and cheers resounded around the room.

Next up was Loosen It, one of my favourites and the new single from Holy Doom. A repetitive bass with a catchy chorus, sung by all three members of the band. “Nothing’s real anymore, nothing here like I’ve seen before, like I’ve seen before. I wanna feel something more, tell me that thing you’re dying for, that you’re dying for. Cos, I don’t know, tell me what’s real, tell me what’s real, no nothings real, so loosen it.”

Without time to draw breath the intro to Spinning Out had already begun. The drumming by Armstrong during this song was absolutely phenomenal and has to be seen to be believed. The shortest song of the set, just over two minutes long and the pounding, relentless drums kept their break-neck speed. Armstrong was captivating to watch with his flailing arms and a mass of swinging blonde hair. Marcantonio almost chanted the lyrics above the chaotic rhythm “Spin me out, getaway, getaway, getaway, gotta slow me down, turn away, turn away, turn away, to the wall…” The song abruptly finished, leaving everyone in the room breathless and hungry for more.

Fake Satan managed to slow the pace down slightly with a melodic rock and roll feel about it, almost Beatles-like and prominent guitar from Godfrey.

I Wanna Leave (Alive) brought the tempo back up again, with increasing volume and almost pulsating drumming. With Armstrong chanting “I wan…na leave” under Marcantonio’s powerful and consistent vocals “I wanna leave our time has passed, I wanna leave now all good things don’t last, I wanna leave get out of sight, I need to breathe.” During and after the bridge in this song the overriding guitar from Godfrey was astounding.

There were huge screams from the crowd as the intro to Junk DNA kicked in. The heaviest and most Nirvana-sounding track. At the end the crowd chanted “Demob! Demob! Demob!” Marcantonio said “Holy Doom was only released 3 weeks ago and the response has been unbelievable, so thank you.”

The pounding intro to the popular Succubus almost put the crowd into a frenzy. The first of many stage-dives and crowd-surfing took place during this song, the gig had gone up a gear.

The pace slowed down with God’s I’ve Seen and the epic Maker of Mine, over seven minutes long. This was followed by the more rock and roll track, Runnin Around, starting with its extremely heavy bass-line.

Chants of Demob! from the crowd again, as the intro to the popular single Dead Dreamers began. Such a beautiful melodic song and Marcantonio’s vocal delivery was faultless.

A deceptive slow start to the anthem-like, Strange Things, a roller coaster of slow melodies and fast grunge. The double drumming on this track was so loud it pounded through your chest and nailed you to the floor. Outstanding!

Marcantonio addressed the appreciative crowd “This has truly been one of the best shows of our lives. Thank you so much for coming by. We’ve never sold out a show anywhere like this before, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The latest single, Be Your Man concluded the 80-minute set. With a rumbling drum intro, the crowd went wild as the night was brought to a climax with everyone singing the infectious and uplifting chorus back towards the stage, “Meet me on the corner, I will always be your man.”

Demob Happy were consistent throughout, professional, engaging with the crowd and each band member’s individual personality and charisma shone through.

An extremely happy audience left London’s Borderline that evening. I look forward to catching them again at Live at Leeds in three weeks time.

 


Set List: Liar in Your Head, Loosen It, Spinning Out, Fake Satan, I Wanna Leave (Alive), Junk DNA, Succubus, God’s I’ve Seen, Maker of Mine, Runnin’ Around, Dead Dreamers, Strange Things, Be Your Man.


(Photo of the band and crowd at the end of the gig www.tomadamgreen.co. )

Demob Happy’s new album Holy Doom is available now on SO Recordings.

In case you missed them this time around, you can catch them at Live at Leeds 5th May and Reading and Leeds Festival in August 2018.

Demob Happy Website

Demob Happy Twitter

Demob Happy Instagram

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Demob Happy: Be Your Man (Official Video)

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Phobophobes: “To Turn the World On, You Have to Turn It Off” The 100 Club, London 26.03.2018

Following the recent release of their debut album, Miniature World in February 2018, Phobophobes performed their largest London headline show to date at the 100 Club.

The band originally formed as a quintet in 2013 in Brixton, South London, comprising of former members of Fat White Family (Dan Lyons, drummer) and Meatraffle (Chris OC, organ player). After a few line-up changes, for various reasons, including the tragic passing of their talented guitarist, George Russell in 2016, Phobophobes have now transformed to a six-piece. The band have recently featured on Steve Lamacq and Tom Ravenscroft BBC Radio 6 Music shows.

The legendary 100 Club, an iconic, intimate music venue located in the heart of London’s Oxford Street, its 350-capacity was bursting at the seams for this highly anticipated event. Its interior unchanged since the 1970’s, that wouldn’t look out of place in a White Stripes video; predominantly painted in red, white and black. Support was from Thick Richard (poet and compare), The Starlight Magic Hour and Yowl.

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Phobophobes took to the stage starting the one-hour set with Miniature World, the title track from their debut album. Their unique style of 1960’s psychedelia mixed with Gothic vocals, but weirdly melodic and sing-along, was immediately evident. Gritty guitars with a dominant sound from a Crumar organ (the Hammond organ clone) played by Chris OC, and reminiscent of early songs from The Horrors. 

Without time to draw breath, the next song was The Never Never. A catchy, memorable song with a relentless pace, deep vocals, heavy guitars and organ reminiscent of The Doors. I left the gig humming this song and woke up the following day with the song in my head; a sure sign that a band have managed to write a great song.

Following tracks Mama Power and Bite the Apple the mood and tempo for the evening increased during the song Child Star. Strong drums and a heavy bass-line supported Jamie Taylor’s menacing, deadpan voice and sinister lyrics creating an almost carnival of horror. Manic stage lighting constantly interchanged from contrasting blue to red and increased simultaneously with the speed and intensity of the music to a chaotic end.

The crowd started to dance, singalong and jump about to Human Baby. Almost a melodic chant “Put it in the bin, let the children fish it out, shaking both hands, shaking both hands….” Harmonies were sung by guitarist, Jack Fussey and organ player, Chris OC. The song was extremely reminiscent of The Animals House of the Rising Sun.

Next was the popular, Where Is My Owner? With a haunting, almost growling voice and bass-line so deep it resembled a 45 record being played at 33 rpm until the contrasting giddiness of the guitars, high-pitched harmonies and organ kicked in. With strong, pounding drums the evening seemed to reach its climax during this song. The audience loved it.

This was seamlessly followed by the menacing but almost cinematic, No Flavour. A psychedelic sound that spins and spirals with increasing velocity and turbulence. “The only thing that burns is hell, the only thing that burns is hell. Take me by surprise like a broken heel, drag my life away in a suitcase with wheels. Canned meat, canned laughter, no taste, or flavour.” And the brilliant lyrics “Surrounded by what you want but never need, putting up shelves for the books you’ll never read.”

The final song was a tribute to the late George Russell, with singer, Jamie Taylor announcing,This is our last song, it’s called Free the Naked Rambler, it’s for our good friend George, give him a shout” and a loud appreciative cheer followed from the crowd.

 


Set List: Miniature World, The Never Never, Mama Power, Bite the Apple, Child Star, Make A Person, Human Baby, The Fun, Where Is My Owner? No Flavour, Free The Naked Rambler.


Phobophobes debut album Miniature World is available on Ra-Ra Rok Records.

Phobophobes are: Jamie Taylor (Guitar and Vocals), Chris Olivares-Chander (Keys), Dan Lyons (Drums), Bede Trillo (Bass), Jack Fussey (Guitar) and Christo McCracken (Guitar).

In case you missed them this time around, you can catch them at The Great Escape Festival in May and Latitude Festival in July 2018.

This band should be heard everywhere!

Phobophobes Twitter

Phobophobes Instagram

Ra-Ra Rok Records Twitter

Phobophobes: The Never Never (Official video)

Phobophobes: Where Is My Owner? (Official video)

Until the next adventure…

Fizzy Blood: “One Hundred Needles To A Thread”: Camden Assembly 28/02/2018

MOV_2133 (3)I first saw Fizzy Blood in April 2017 when they played 2Q Festival in Derby. The festival was located across several venues, so an organised itinerary was essential. They were playing in a unique venue, The Silk Museum, and I wanted to see them purely on the strength of their band name alone; they didn’t disappoint.

Since then, I have followed them from a distance. Watching with interest as they have increased in popularity and their confidence and music has developed steadily and consistently. From the time they formed in 2014, they have supported bands such as, Dinosaur Pile-Up, While She Sleeps and most recently, Spring King. They have already performed at numerous festivals including, Download, Reading & Leeds and SXSW. Quite an achievement for a new band.

The Leeds-based five-piece are: Benji Inkley (lead vocals and guitar), Paul Howells (guitar and vocals), Ciaran Scanlon (bass guitar), Tim Malkin (keys, guitar and vocals) and Jake Greenway (drums and percussion). Their music style has a solid rock ‘n’ roll structure but with additional intricate layers given them an edgier depth. Initially you are lulled into a false sense of security by the familiar retro sound, with catchy, singalong melodies, before been thrown off balance as each song explodes into a raucous crescendo. Their musical influences are varied, ranging from Iggy Pop and Arctic Monkeys to Frank Ocean. Heavier influences such as Queens of the Stone Age are recognisable in some of their songs, for instance, I’m No Good and Animals.

I managed to catch them at Camden Assembly, London, which concluded their short run of debut headline dates. Camden Assembly, is a bar located on the corner of Chalk Farm Road and Ferdinand Street with a live music room upstairs. It holds a capacity of 200, incorporating the best sound quality I have heard in a small venue in London, so far. Around 200 light bulbs and Fizzy Blood’s banner formed the backdrop to the compact stage. Support was from local band, Mantra and Forever Cult from Leeds.


Set List: I’m No Good, CFO, ADHD, Haunted, Patience, Queen Of Hearts, Summer of Luv, Pink Magic, Black Sheep, Pawn, Animals, January Sun.


Fizzy Blood took to the stage at 9:15 pm and set the theme for the evening starting with, what I believe to be, their most mature song, I’m No Good. An extremely infectious, melodic tune, initially with a rock ‘n’ roll sound before it changes direction and builds to a climax of heavy guitars, strong bass and pounding, dense drums. The first song in, and with all four guitarists jumping around it was evident the stage was too small to contain their energy. All members of the band used regular eye contact to engage with the crowd and encouraged them to sing louder and dance faster. Benji is a great front-man and he got the crowd involved from the start and kept their attention throughout. His vocals were outstanding especially during I’m No Good and Black Sheep. Guitarist, Paul, was captivating to watch, always smiling he engaged with the audience with bouncy, energetic jumps whilst playing guitar and contributed considerably with harmonising vocals. Paul and Ciaran fed off each other’s energy on stage. Ciaran must be one of the most energetic bass players in a band. He couldn’t keep still and moved around the stage a lot but took centre stage for a large percentage of the gig. Already well known for his highly exaggerated facial expressions, with eyes and mouth wide open and emphasised body movements. Guitarist, Tim, created balance on the opposite side of the stage, with similar jumping and backing vocals to Paul. Jake’s drumming was phenomenal, he had similar exaggerated facial expressions to Ciaran. During the song, ADHD, a mosh pit developed with a handful of loyal fans. Not surprising because the bridge in that song is colossal, you could feel it pounding through your chest. After a few lesser known but equally raucous songs such as Haunted, Patience and Queen of Hearts the mosh pit increased to the tempo of Jake’s outstanding drumming to Summer of Luv. Singer, Benji, then informed the crowd of a new song, Pink Magic, while he hinted it could be their next single. Paul and Tim sang the harmonies which complimented Benji’s vocals and it was an instant hit with the audience. Next up was Black Sheep, which I personally had been looking forward to hearing live because I think it’s one of the songs that promotes Benji’s vocal range and I love the lyrics. “A dance with the devil and a chance to tell the tale, prescriptions from physicians will keep him on the rail. A worthless piece of shrapnel, among a murder of crows, keeping his enemy close”. A steady, thumping, progressive song but at the same time quite dark, menacing and moody. The atmosphere increased to the intro of Pawn, a much more punkier song and fast-paced throughout. Highly charged with its theme of frustration towards the music industry. Consequently, the mosh pit increased in size and velocity. Animals was next, a real crowd-pleaser with dedicated fans singing the lyrics back to the stage. Starting with a heavy bass-line, the song builds to a huge bridge which escalates to an aggressive climax. Their encore was January Sun, initially melodic with catchy lyrics, the fans knew all the words. Benji asked the eager crowd to crouch down as Ciaran and Jake continued to play bass and drums and Tim turned his microphone towards the fans. Benji then instructed the audience “You know when it fucking kicks in!” Everyone remained crouching while they sang “Dead, your body’s in my head, one-hundred needles to a thread, it’s just a game, always ends the same.” The crowd and band then simultaneously jumped into the air as they screamed back “A.M. the night has come and gone again, just like an old forgotten friend, no time for me, doing as we please”. Immense drumming and a manic frenzy of guitars concluded the song. A perfect finish to a fast-paced, relentless and energetic one-hour set.

We wait with great anticipation for Fizzy Blood’s debut album, but in the meantime, you can purchase their 2 EPs, Feast (released in 2015) and Summer of Luv (released in 2017) from their online store Fizzy Blood Official Store. The band have recently been given some well-deserved airplay on Huw Stephens – BBC Introducing. Their most recent song, ADHD, was written to describe guitarist, Paul’s experience of being diagnosed with attention deficit hyper-activity disorder when he was 21. The accompanying video features an unusual 360O virtual reality music feature (see link below).

This band, more than any other that I have seen recently, need to be awarded with the recognition they so rightly deserve. I hope all their hard work and dedication pays off, because it would be brilliant to see Fizzy Blood evolve over time and become much more successful.


Fizzy Blood Twitter Page

ADHD 360 degree video

Fizzy Blood – ADHD video:

Fizzy Blood – January Sun video:

Until the next adventure…

 

The Blinders: “We Invite You To Be The First To Witness The Beginning Of The New World”: The Lexington 21/02/2018

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I first saw The Blinders last year when they supported Cabbage at Scala, London 29.06.2017. After only one song they had everyone in the venue’s undivided attention and people who had previously been drinking and chatting at the bar, jostled other fans to get nearer the stage. In-between songs the crowd were asking each other “who are these guys?”, and “do you know anything about them?” I was mesmerised by them instantly and knew It wouldn’t be the last time I would see them.

In November 2017, posters and social media advertised that The Blinders were headlining their own 3-week tour in February 2018. Obviously, I bought a ticket and was so pleased I did because by January, the London, Birmingham and Manchester gigs were already sold out.

So why all the interest and hype, what do The Blinders have to offer that we haven’t seen or heard before?

The three-piece band from Doncaster, Yorkshire are now based in Manchester. They are: Thomas Haywood (vocals and guitar), Charlie McGough (bass guitar) and Matt Neale (drums and percussion). Their style is extremely feisty punk with pounding drums but with psychedelic guitar riffs. The band are proud of their Yorkshire, working-class roots and have a political message to put across in almost every one of their songs. “Fuck the Tories” is etched in marker pen across Thomas’s guitar and “Revolt” across Charlie’s. Their musical influences include: Nick Cave, Iggy Pop and The Fall. Most of all, this band stand out because they are overflowing in youthful confidence, edginess and angst but with a passion that is evident at their shows and in their music. The Blinders give you 100% and you know they would give you more, if they could.

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The Lexington, a bar located on the corner of Pentonville Road and Penton Street, Islington, London has a live music room upstairs, with great acoustics and a capacity of two-hundred. I arrived to join a queue for the box office and cloakroom at the base of the stairs. Climbing the stairs, passing the many layers of  posters of previous artists that had played the venue over the years. The room was packed, but I soon realised the majority of people were congregating around the bar on the upper platform. The support band, The Americas had just finished their set. I decided to weave my way through the fans to get a good view of the stage, but at the same time giving the front centre area a wide berth, for the mosh pit I knew would ensue. I got a space at the front, just to left of Thomas’s microphone stand, so I was extremely happy I had managed to get so near.  Numerous photographers made up the front row of the crowd. There was a real buzz about the place as the anticipation built whilst waiting for The Blinders to take to the stage. I think everyone in the room, myself included, realised how special the night was going to be and knew this would be a unique opportunity to see them perform in a small capacity venue.

First to appear on stage was Matt and he set the scene for the gig with an extremely focused stare towards the centre of the crowd as he pounded out the intro to the first song, Gotta Get Through. He was followed by bass player, Charlie who stood confidently in the middle of the stage, looking like a much younger Nick Cave. Thomas appeared to a welcoming cheer from the crowd, dressed all in black with matching black, eye make-up/warpaint smeared downwards towards his cheeks. Each member of the band had their own individual presence on stage. The song was a perfect choice to start the gig and the audience was hooked after the opening verse and frenzied psychedelic guitar playing. Next up was my favourite song, Swine. Thomas cleverly incorporated some words from Willy Wonka’s ‘Wonkatania‘ into the lyrics. He bellowed, “There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going,
There’s no knowing where we’re rowing, or which way the river is a-flowing,
Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing? 
Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing,
Are the fires of hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing?
Yes! The danger must be growing, for the rowers keep on rowing
And they’re certainly not showing, any signs that they are slowing!” Before continuing seamlessly into the chant of the verse from Swine…”There is no hope, there is no hope, there is no hope…He’s old and his skin is cold, and he walks on down the hall. Brutus. Do they discuss it in a fire under the tree? Do they discuss it in a cave under the sea? What do we see? What do we know?…We know that broken shadows are filling Westminster Hall, do our voices count at all? Broken shadows fill Westminster Hall, does my vote count at all? …There is no hope, there is no hope, there is no hope, they don’t need your hope!” The audience chanted back the words to the stage “I need, I need, I need not to be, I need not to be, the man on the street” and a mosh pit developed at the front of the crowd. Other crowd-pleasers were ICB Blues, Brave New World and of course the crowd favourite, Ramona Flowers. The pace changed when they played Hate Song, a song I wasn’t familiar with but loved straight away. The tempo was slow to begin with and gradually started to build and build. I must admit, I was mesmerised the whole song by Matt’s drumming. It was the type that’s so powerful and consistent it pounded through your chest and secured you to the floor, it was immense! The Blinders left the stage briefly before returning for their encore. Charlie taking centre stage, almost standing in the audience and Thomas removing his top and changing his earlier guitar to a blue, Vox teardrop. The encore was Ramona Flowers, which the crowd had been waiting for all night and Brutus/ Berlin Wall concluded the fast-paced one hour set.


Set List: Gotta Get Through, Swine (Spoken Word), L’etat C’est Moi, Free The Slave, I Can’t Breathe Blues (ICB Blues), Where No Man Comes, Brave New World, Hate Song, Murder At The Ballet / Rat In A Case, Ramona Flowers, Et Tu, Brutus / Berlin Wall


It was inevitable The Blinders were going to be snapped up and numerous record companies competed to sign them. They are currently recording their debut album after been signed recently by Liverpool-based record Label, Modernsky UK.

You can catch them again at London Borderline on the 6th June, but be quick, tickets are already on sale. In their own words on their Facebook page “Get tha’ sen there!”

The Blinders (@The BlindersBand) Twitter

 

 

Until the next adventure…