Crows – Dark Arts at Leeds Headrow House 04.02.2017 (photos only)

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See my recent review of Crows band at Yala! 27.01.2017 here

Until the next adventure…

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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

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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

Walking On Cars – Leeds Brudenell Club 23.11.2016

Walking On Cars last night at my favourite Yorkshire small venue, Leeds Brudenell Social Club.

Admittedly my knowledge of the band prior to the gig was limited, apart from hearing “Catch Me If You Can” played regularly on Radio X. However, I was intrigued to see them and I managed to get a ticket just before the 400 capacity venue sold out.

There had been a last minute venue alteration from Leeds Stylus. So, I now had a conflict of interest as Martin Stephenson & The Daintees were also playing in the adjacent Games Room.; but I have seen them numerous times over the years…sorry Martin!

Unfortunately, I only caught the last song from support Tor Miller; a singer/songwriter from Brooklyn. He had an amazing, distinctive, strong voice.

Walking On Cars started their set with “Tick Tock”. They are a five-piece alternative rock band from Co. Kerry, consisting of a singer/guitarist, drummer, bass guitarist, guitarist and keyboard player. The crowd, happily chanted back the lyrics in the direction of the stage.

Patrick Sheehy’s vocals are so similar to Charlie Simpson (Fightstar), I bet I’m not the first to use that comparison. He seems to sing with no effort at all and yet his voice defines the band and he sings with such emotion and feeling.

The bands stand alone song was definitely their encore track, “Speeding Car”, which everyone in the room sang along to word for word. It brought their happy, feel-good 70 minute set to a close.

Their album “Everything This Way” is available on Virgin EMI.

http://www.walkingoncars.com/

Until the next adventure…