My Review of 2017

New Years Eve – a nostalgic time and perfect for reflecting on the past year’s events.

It’s been an eventful year for me. I moved house, city and job all in the same day; which was exciting and stressful but definitely the best decision I have made. So I now frequent the many live music venues of London instead of the ones in Leeds. I admit, I miss the Brudenell Social Club and still think it’s the best music venue in the country. I visit whenever I return to North Yorkshire to stay with friends and family.  As for London, my favourite venues so far are, The Lexington in Islington and Boston Music Room near Tufnell Park.

With all the upheaval of moving, settling in to my flat and new job (oh, and not having any internet for 2 months) sadly, my music blogs have fallen by the wayside. Which in hindsight is such a shame because I have been to see some amazing bands this year (see my eclectic list below).

TOY x 5, Crows x 4, Dead Pretties x 4, Yala! Records Events x 4, Idles x 3, Cabbage x 2, Little Barrie x 2, The Maccabees x 2, The Proper Ornaments x 2, Abattoir Blues, Bad Omens, Blackwaters, The BlindersBo Ningen, Duke Garwood, Fizzy Blood, Girl BandJosefin Ohrn & The Liberation, The Mystery JetsNadine ShahOctober Drift, Rose Elinor Dougall, The SherlocksSpring King, TemplesTen TonnesToothless, Traams, The Wytches and Yak! 


There have been many highlights this year, but I have decided to reduce the extensive list to my top three.

  1. The Maccabees – Farewell Shows at Alexandra Palace 30.06.2017 and 01.07.2017

After following The Maccabees for twelve years, I had very mixed emotions about seeing them on their last tour. I was overwhelmed with honour and pride to see them perform to a sold out audience at Ally Pally two nights running (actually 3 nights but I could only go to 2). Everyone in the room knew they were witnessing something very special that they would remember for a lifetime. I experienced every emotion, but mostly happiness and the atmosphere was electric with the audience chanting back the lyrics to every song word perfect.  The full set lasted over 2 hours starting with Wall Of Arms and finishing with Pelican with all the hits and favourites in-between. Red, paper confetti showered the excited crowd during Something Like Happiness and again for the finale, Pelican. With guest appearances including Jamie T, The Mystery Jets, Mumford and Sons amongst many others; The Maccabees had the best send off they could ever have wished for. Truly magical!

2.  Spring King – Fluffer Pit Party at Hackney Warehouse 15.09.2017

For those of you who don’t know about Fluffer Pit Parties, they are held by the cult underground record label, Fluffer Records. No stage, the bands set up in the middle of the floor (pit) and play. The pit venue is announced on the day with extremely limited tickets bought in advance. I had seen Spring King before when they played at Leeds Wardrobe last year. They are such a happy, bouncy, energetic 4 piece band. The atmosphere was brilliant, I literally didn’t want the gig to end. Spring King played for over an hour and finished with their hit, Rectifier. The crowd swarmed the band like ants in the pit and nearly smothered Tarek and his drum kit, but he managed to continue singing and drumming. A unique gig!

3. Little Barrie at Rough Trade Records East 22.07.2017

I managed to see Little Barrie twice this year. Firstly at Dreamland Festival in Margate in May and then at their album launch/signing at Rough Trade Records. The band performed in-store and played some tracks from their new album. After a 45 minute set there was an opportunity to meet the band and have your CD purchase signed. About six weeks after this event I was extremely shocked and devastated to hear about the sudden death of drummer, Virgil Howe on the 12th September. At the Yala! Records September event, Felix White asked for suggestions of albums released in 2017. He promised to play one album from 2017 in full at the beginning of his event, I suggested Little Barrie, Death Express. I was so pleased it was chosen and it was a fitting tribute to an amazing drummer, Virgil Howe. R.I.P.

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As for my recommendations of bands to see in 2018, my top three are:

  1. Bad Omens

I saw Bad Omens for the first time in October this year at Boston Music Room,  just on the strength of one song, The Worst In Me. Since seeing them perform live, I have played their debut self-titled album nearly everyday and I have everything crossed that I will see them on tour again next year. They have so much energy, charisma and potential. When I have researched the band, I have discovered that they are all extremely talented and creative including songwriting and producing and two band members are professional tattooers. I really find it hard to understand why Bad Omens are not more famous…yet! At the time of writing this blog, their single, The Worst In Me has just clocked up 3.5 million views on YouTube, which is well deserved and just proves they are growing in popularity. If you like your metalcore, you will love them. My favourite band right now by far. Mind and eardrums blown!

 

2. The Blinders

Doncaster band, The Blinders were supporting Cabbage earlier in the year and I managed to see them at Scala, London. It’s very rare when a band creates so much of a buzz that the crowd are asking each other “who are theses guys” “do you know where they’re from”. I knew immediately it was going to be a great set. The singer/guitarist had so much attitude, I was mesmerised by him. The band looked good and sounded great, I was totally blown away. Looking forward to seeing them in February this time headlining their own tour. Just brilliant!

 

3. Fizzy Blood

I saw Fizzy Blood in April as part of the 2Q Festival in Derby. It was the first time I’d ever seen or heard of the band to be honest, but I was hooked straight away. A  5-piece band from Leeds with lots of attitude. I have followed their steady progress since April and they have done a few festivals this year and supported While She Sleeps and Dinosaur Pile-up. Nice to see they are headlining their own tour early in the new year…looking forward to seeing them in Camden in February.

Happy New Year Everyone! xx

Until the next adventure…

 

 


		
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My mention on Felix White’s show on Radio X 05.04.2017

Felix mentions when I cracked my ribs at the Crows gig at his Yala!  Records event.Listen to the link below at 1:33:00 It was actually 3 ribs not 2…almost worth breaking them now 😂

http://www.radiox.co.uk/london/radio/aod/?episodeId=c4eaa039-e1c9-45c5-8750-b45988d2acab

Have a look at my post from 27.01.2017 to hear how it happened. https://skilamalink.wordpress.com/tag/crows/

29.04.2017 Update! Unfortunately I discovered Radio X delete links after 7 days. Yesterday Felix White posted this link on his own web page. Listen to the new link here, my mention is at 1:22:00.

Until the next adventure…

Crows – And the Flood Came So Much Stronger Than Before: Yala! Records Event 3 at Bermondsey Social Club 27.01.2017

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Set List Included:Unwelcome Light, Goodnight Evelyn, Hang Me High, Whisper, Pray, Moonstruck, The Itch and Crawling.


Felix White (Ex-Maccabees) and Morad Khokar recently founded Yala! Records. A London-based record label that also features exclusive club nights to provide a platform and promote new and unsigned bands who write their own material.

Friday 27th January 2017 was the 3rd Yala! club night to be held at Bermondsey Social Club. The exclusive event, limited to only 120 tickets, had long since sold out with Crows headlining with support from Abattoir Blues and special guest DJ’s.

On entering a small unassuming metal doorway in Almond Road, under the railway arches of Bermondsey you are transformed into an extremely friendly and modern venue. Directly in front of you is a stage and projector screen that dominate the far wall. A DJ booth and bar are located to the right of the stage and out through the back on the left is a cosy, covered garden area with seating and outdoor heaters.

Will White (Felix’s younger brother) provided the introductory DJ set followed by various members of The Magic Gang. The main DJ set for the evening after the bands had performed, was provided by 3 members of Foals, Yannis, Edwin and Jack.

Abattoir Blues a 5-piece from Brighton took to the stage around 9 o’clock and, as their name suggests, played an extremely heavy and gutsy half hour set.

Crows a London-based 4 -piece with singer James Cox, bass guitarist Jith Amara, guitarist Steve Goddard and drummer Laurence Rushworth. Crows emerged on the stage through a hazy but heavy blue fog that emitted from the smoke machine. The air was moody, atmospheric and dark, much like Crows music -style. Immediately front-man, James, had the audience captivated with his wide-eyed stares and aggressive gestures. He was so engaging and magnetic that unfortunately you didn’t notice the rest of the band because all your focus was on the singer. However, I am going to see the band again this weekend and I am going to make a concerted effort to observe the input from other band members. The strong bass-line to ‘Hang Me High’ and ‘The Itch’, the complex guitar in ‘Whisper’ and ‘Pray’ and the prominent drums in ‘Goodnight Evelyn’ for example.

The stage became too claustrophobic for singer, James, as he wound the microphone lead tightly around his hands and stepped down into the crowd during the track “Hang Me High”. He weaved his way slowly through the spectators, he stared wildly whilst still singing, and made his way to the back of the fearful audience before slowly returning to the stage area. After much stage-diving from James and crowd-surfing from fans the front members of the audience were becoming wild. When the band played “Whisper”, rival fans fought over the spare microphone (me included) to join in with the lyrics, “I,I,I,I, I’m breathless, I,I,I,I, I’m shaking and I,I,I,I, I’m useless!”. At this point, James, was right in the thick of the manic crowd and the fans lifted and carried him above their shoulders like a hero. Shortly after this I came off worse in the mosh pit that had developed. Surviving most of the song, I then lost my balance and reeled backwards. I found myself looking up from the floor at a sea of legs that continuously kicked and stood on me, unaware I was there. Thankfully I was rescued by 2 guys who dragged me back up to join the rest of the crowd, the right way up. The band finished with their popular track “Crawling”. The singer loomed above everyone by starting the song, stood on top of the bar, before throwing himself down into the appreciative crowd, who then carried him off over their shoulders whilst making their way to the back of the room.

I had seen Crows perform a couple of times before, so to some degree I knew what to expect. However, for my friends, this was a new experience and they all agreed Crows were amazing. One even said “I want to see them again, now!”

My favourite tracks from the evening were ‘Goodnight Evelyn’ because its my favourite track from their Unwelcome Light E.P. and ‘Hang Me High’ because the lyrics are so dark and I love the bass-line.

Oh, and my tumble in the mosh pit…I found out the next day I had 3 cracked ribs. So, a very memorable gig for me! One of my friends said the singer should have a tattoo of my broken ribs on his ribs in honour of my dedication and sacrifice!

Crows “Unwelcome Light” 5 track E.P is available on vinyl on Telharmonium Records.

Until the next adventure…

Crows Yala! Records Session

Crows Instagram Page

Crows Twitter Page

TOY – A Heavenly Weekend. Heavenly Records weekend at Hebden Bridge Trades Club 21.01.2017

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Dominic O’Dair, Tom Dougall and Maxim Barron

 

Set List: Cinema, I’m Still Believing, Kopter, Fast Silver, Fall Out of Love, Clouds That Cover the Sun, Dream Orchestrator, Heart Skips a Beat, Clear Shot, Motoring, Jungle Games, Dead and Gone, Another Dimension, Join the Dots.


TOY released their third album, “Clear Shot” in October last year on Heavenly Recordings. The London-based, independent record label, founded by Jeff Barrett, held a four-day festival in Hebden Bridge to showcase their current bands. The festival returned to the Trades Club after celebrating their 25th anniversary there in 2016. This years’ weekend event started on Thursday 19th January and finished on Sunday 22nd January. Headlining bands were, Duke Garwood, Hooton Tennis Club, TOY and Temples, respectively. Unfortunately I missed out on the full weekend tickets, as they sold out so quickly, but I managed to get hold of a ticket for Saturday night.

I was determined to see TOY again, after discovering them in November last year and been absolutely captivated by them and their music (see my review from November 2016 TOY at The Wardrobe, Leeds 26.11.2016). I purchased their album “Clear Shot” as I left the gig and played it to death (if that’s possible). After a couple of weeks I ordered their previous albums, “Toy” and “Join the Dots” – they had made that much of an impression, my only regret was that I hadn’t discovered them sooner.

Having never been to the Trades Club at Hebden Bridge before, I was pleasantly surprised by the venue. It had lots of character with a lovely welcoming atmosphere and all the staff were really friendly. The support band on Saturday were Britain,  a boy-girl duo from Preston who were very reminiscent of Cocteau Twins.

I was extremely lucky as I managed to get the best spot in the crowd…right in the middle and at the front. TOY started their set with the atmospheric song “Cinema” from their latest album. This was followed by “I’m Still Believing”, one of the band’s shorter and catchier songs. Straight away they had you hooked, as each band member put their heart and soul into the performance and each one added their character and personality. You just wish you could watch the gig five times over, so you could concentrate on just one band member each time, because you don’t know who to watch next. Singer/guitarist, Tom Dougall, was absolutely spellbinding to watch, he was so intriguing and mysterious, his vocals were gentle, yet strong and reassuring. He has a real presence. Dominic O’Dair, the lead guitarist, I could watch all day, he is a talented guitarist and so passionate about the music and his performance, a real perfectionist. Bass player, Maxim ‘Panda’ Barron has lots of personality and that really comes across in the gig. A couple of times he leapt from the stage and was enveloped by the appreciative crowd. The bass-line is so strong and prominent in many of the songs, for example “Join the Dots”. Keyboard-player, Max Oscarnold,  is the newest member of the band, his input gave the band a psychedelic edge but also fused the band together . Drummer, Charlie Salvidge, is one of the most energetic drummers I have seen in a while. His input, especially in the song “Dead and Gone” was incredible. The band collectively were so strong and well co-ordinated, melodic but also raw and moody, powered by adrenaline.

They played most tracks from their new album with some older songs such as the epic, “Kopter” and “Fall Out of Love”. My favourite songs of the night, “Dead and Gone”…Tom Dougall, I could listen to you singing this all night! “I’m Still Believing” because it is so catchy but matter of fact at the same time. “Join the Dots” simply because it is an amazing track and you just don’t want it to end. That’s the great thing about TOY, their music has been described as being confronted by a great wall of sound. Different effects, angles, arrangements and elements create a variety of layers and textures. In addition, when you hear them play, their music just builds and builds until it escalates into something far better than you imagined or anticipated.

Going to see this band is real escapism and that’s what I love about them the most. You don’t want the experience to end, whilst at the same time you realise how very special it is.

Heavenly Recordings…Believe In Magic!

Until the next adventure…

Heavenly Recordings Weekend 2017

TOY – Soundcloud

TOY – Twitter page

 

TOY at The Wardrobe, Leeds 26.11.2016

 

Perfect timing to see TOY play live after the recent release of their third album “Clear Shot” on Heavenly Recordings 28th October and recommended as Rough Trade Records album of the month in November.

After applying more eyeliner than usual, because I didn’t want to be outdone by the band, I was secretly disenchanted to discover that none of the band were wearing any that evening. However, singer/guitarist Tom Dougall, wore his trademark black roll-neck jumper, tight black jeans and Chelsea boots and the rest of the band dressed all in black; more than compensated for that. TOY have such a great timeless image.

I had been looking forward to seeing this band again so much and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I was hooked immediately on their opening, title track “Clear Shot”. The sound was incredible, the hairs  literally stood up on my neck and arms, it was electric. Instantly, it was really noticeable that shoe-gazing Tom was flanked by two headbanging, energetic guitarists. On Tom’s right, lead guitarist Dominic O’Dair, who I found absolutely spellbinding to watch…that guy knows how to play a guitar and captivate the audience! Maxim ‘Panda’ Barron on Tom’s left, personality shone though, you could tell how much he enjoyed playing live. Occasionally he jumped down from the stage into a very appreciative young crowd, who surrounded him. Max Oscarnold, the most recent member of the band, energetically played the keyboards and Charlie Salvidge played the drums with lots of passion at the back of the set. TOY were absolutely faultless, they were so tight as a unit but each band member had their own aura and presence and all really linked together.

Their sound was immediately engaging, melodic but extremely infectious. Moody and atmospheric, switching between calm and chaos instantaneously. Tom with his gentle melancholia, matter-of-fact lyrics were complimented by Dominic’s outstandingly hypnotic, atmospheric layers of sound. The tonal variation between the band members was really nicely balanced out… you really couldn’t fault them. For each song, the music and anticipation just built and built and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better it increased another level to a dramatic crescendo. “Dream Ochestrator” concluded the breathtaking thirteen-track set.

This was the ultimate gig for me, going to see a guitar band that just blew you away. TOY were incredible and faultless and I really can’t wait to see them again.

They impressed me so much that evening that I bought their CD on the way out…I haven’t stopped listening to it. My favourite tracks are “I’m Still Believing” and “Dream Orchestrator”.

Until the next adventure…

 http://thebandtoy.com

http://heavenlyrecordings.com

Yala! Records Club Night – Bermondsey Social Club 25.11.2016

I was extremely lucky to obtain a ticket when pre-sale tickets were released on Tuesday 15th November for this very exclusive event.

Yala! Records is a  London-based label and club night founded by Felix White and Morad Khokar. Their second club night event located at Bermondsey Social Club; a unique venue with a capacity of 120, underneath a railway arch in the heart of Bermondsey. You enter a very unassuming small metal door to step into a dome-shaped room full of music, fairy lights and friendly people. Through the back of the club there is also a covered garden and seating/smoking area.

The club night provides a platform for unsigned bands, who write their own songs. The set list included Chartreuse, a four-piece band from Birmingham and headliners, Happyness, an alternative rock band from London.

Throughout the night, special dj sets were performed by Florence Welch, Felix White, Jamie ‘Frank’ Ryan and Joel Dilla (Wolf Alice).

This event is such an unique, individual experience and one you have to witness yourself in person. Felix and Morad are such welcoming and attentive hosts, you feel as though you are a guest at their private house party.

Look out for future events on their website, as they would like to hold club nights bi-monthly. Also refer to the Yala! Records website and twitter page for featured bands/artists in session.

Thank you Felix and Morad for an incredible and memorable event, you should both feel extremely proud.

http://www.yalarecords.com/

http://www.bermondseysocialclub.co.uk/

 

Until the next adventure…