White Room: Moth Club, Hackney, London 16.03.2018

White Room performed to a sold-out crowd on Friday night at London’s Moth Club in Hackney.

The band have climbed the rungs of the musical ladder, progressively and consistently. Supporting the likes of Paul Weller, last year, the band have won fans over with their compelling live performances.

The Brighton-based five-piece are, Jake Smallwood (vocals), Jacob Newman (guitar), Tristan Sava (guitar and keys), Josie McNamara (bass) and Hen Sava (drums). The band’s musical influences include The Beatles, The Doors, The Verve and Tame Impala. Their music is best described as extremely energetic, psychedelic- pop with a familiar rock and roll backbone. Hard to pigeon-hole because their songs are so versatile, sometimes sounding reminiscent of The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper’s…), The Yardbirds and even The Stone Roses.

The Moth Club, a venue in the heart of Hackney with a capacity of 300, was packed to the rafters at Friday night’s gig. Support was from Kipp Boucher (acoustic) Afghan Sand Gang, from Manchester and local band, Hotel Lux.

White Room took to the stage at 21:45 setting the theme for the evening with the, happy, singalong track Tomorrow Always Knew. Devoted fans at the front immediately sang back the chorus towards the stage “So let this sunrise open your eyes, into tomorrow, seasons watching them change, as we rearrange the future to follow”. Jake Smallwood was the iconic frontman, energetic, charismatic and his voice was crystal clear. He engaged with the crowd, while he flailed around, waving the mic while shaking a tambourine. His vocal range was outstanding during the song Circles as he sang the lyrics “I can show you how to make sense of anything. Take my hand right now and we’ll drive into nothing but everything”. Bass-player, Josie, provided beautiful, complimentary harmonies throughout. The gig had an ecstatic atmosphere as the crowd danced and sang along to the songs. The band looked extremely proud and happy to be sharing and performing their music with everyone and even included three new songs. Crowd-pleasers were undoubtedly, Tomorrow Always Knew, Circles, Stole the I.V. and The Blue. They finished a one-hour set with their current single The Blue, which has recently been added to John Kennedy (Radio X) X-posure list. Singer, Jake majestically elevated guitarist, Tristian up on his shoulders as the song drew to a close. A happy crowd slowly departed the venue which concluded a successful debut London headline for White Room.

Set List: Tomorrow Always Knew, Stole the I.V, Shoot, Twisted Celebration, Cannibal Song, Red and White Stripes, Circles, Take Me Away, Cable-built Dreamland, You’ll See, The Blue.

If you missed them this time around, you can catch White Room at ‘Live at Leeds’ on 5th May or ‘Liverpool Sound City’ on 6th May.

Their debut EP Fizzy Liquid (released in 2015) and recent, double EP, Eight (released in 2017) are available to buy from http://www.whiteroomhq.com

White Room: Stole The IV (official video)

White Room: Circles at Sofar London

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


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.


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…

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


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

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