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…

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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…

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

Demob Happy Facebook

Demob Happy: Be Your Man (Official Video)

Demob Happy: Loosen It (Official Video)

Until the next adventure…

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…

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…

Motionless In White: “You Gotta Be Loud, You Gotta Be Rude, So The World Can Hear You…Turn It Up, Turn It Up Now”: Koko, London 25/01/2018

Nicholas Ruffilo, guitarist for Bad Omens, posted on his twitter page that he loved the new track, Why, from Cane Hill’s recently released album, Too Far Gone. After listening to the track and subsequently the whole album; Cane Hill had immediately gained another fan. So, thanks Nick for your suggestion; I love to hear other people’s recommendations of new music, especially from bands that I already follow. The twitter post was dated 21st January and after researching the band, I was ecstatic to discover they were performing in London in 4 days’ time, supporting Motionless in White. Huge disappointment ensued, when I realized the gig had already sold out. To cut a long story short, I eventually managed to buy a ticket from another fan who could no longer make it on the day. I then had a crash course learning all Cane Hill’s back catalogue, so I would be word perfect for the gig.

On a very cold and dark Thursday evening, I walked from the bus stop near King’s Cross Station, to join the queue of fans lined up outside Koko, a venue in Camden, North London, with a capacity of 1,500. The queue snaked around the barriers outside the sold-out venue along Crowndale Road and stretched back along Camden High Street. I joined the queue around 19:15 next to The Cobden Arms pub and rapidly the line of waiting fans extended to the corner of Plender Street. Everyone was dressed all in black, including me. I was intrigued to see how people expressed themselves creatively with black and white heavy make-up, face and ear piercings and an array of hoodies and t-shirts displaying every metal band you could think of. People commented that they had never seen such a long queue outside this venue before, even passers-by asked with curiosity, who was playing that night. The queue went down extremely slowly, and we stood outside in disappointment as we heard the first support band start up inside.

Finally, inside the venue, but frustrated that I only heard the last song by support band, Ice Nine Kills. Apparently, they performed a half hour set. The venue, was heaving, as you would expect from a sold-out event, with everyone tactfully looking for a good vantage point. The venue was originally a theatre, so the layout consists of 4 tiers, originally the stalls, dress circle, upper circle and the gods but no longer with any seating. I decided to work my way up to the upper circle because downstairs was packed. I achieved a good view, even though I was high up from the stage, the sound quality was still amazing from there.


Cane Hill took to a stage of red strobe lights starting with Time Bomb from their 2015 self-titled, 7-track EP. Elijah Witt’s vocals “Tick, tick, tick, tick, BOOM!” indicating a countdown to an explosion of nu-metalcore that would set the pace for the evening. They were immediately addictive to watch and hear, with all band members putting in 100% effort to please the crowd. Bassist, Ryan Henriquez with his hypnotising hair swinging and singer Elijah Witt, striding across every inch of the stage whilst communicating with the crowd. Lord of Flies was an instant crowd-pleaser with Witt bellowing “give me more” and “let’s open this pit up” as a mosh pit developed in-front of the band. Ugly Model Mannequin and 10 Cents were absolutely fucking insane. Then followed the title track of their new album, Too Far Gone, only just released over a week ago. The audience could tell Cane Hill were proud to share this new song. Witt singing “cause we tripped, and we tripped until our brains fell in the ditch, and we never found a fix” and the crowd chanting back to the stage “cause we don’t exist!”. At the end of the track, a guy standing near me shouted towards the stage “God, I feel good…I’ve been waiting for that song all fucking night!”. Fountain of Youth concluded their 45-minute set, with Cane Hill promising they would return to London in the future, to headline their own tour.

The New Orleans 4-piece have evolved and captured their unique sound of heavy but refined, memorable, and catchy songs that certainly won the London crowd over.


Set List: Time Bomb, Lord of Flies, It Follows, True Love, Ugly Model Mannequin, Erased, 10 cents, Too Far Gone, Cream Pie, Fountain of Youth.


 

Next up were headliners, Motionless in White who appeared on a blue stage surrounded by a magnitude of white strobe lights. A row of steps either side of the stage provided a raised platform for rhythm guitarist, Ricky “Horror” Olsen and bassist, Devin “Ghost” Sola with drummer, Vinny Mauro, centre stage. Vocalist, Chris “Motionless” Cerulli and lead guitarist, Ryan Sitkowski were flanked by two females with long, dark hair, in mini PVC dresses, wearing rodent ears and carrying whips to the first song, Rats. Cerulli shouted at the crowd “London are you fucking ready?”, and a chorus of high-pitched screams followed. I must admit, I was at a disadvantage because I only knew songs from the band’s latest album, but its part of being at a gig when you feed off other people’s energy and enthusiasm. A theatrical start to their set and Cerulli telling the audience that they would go home blind with the amount of lights they had on stage that night. He was wearing a long black top which fastened at the shoulder, black PVC jeans and metallic goth boots. He looked striking with heavy, black, eye make-up and black, slick-backed, undercut hair. The second song was Reincarnate, which the crowd sang back word for word…including me. There was plenty of hair-flicking and headbanging to Necessary Evil from the band and audience alike. With the lyrics “Imma have my cake and fucking eat you too” shouted by the crowd back towards the stage. Outstanding double-drumming during songs such as Soft, was phenomenal, to a point I was mesmerised by Mauro’s drumming and nothing else. Cerulli was joined by the two females again during Loud, this time they were dressed as cheerleaders in purple and green. Swapping their pom-poms mid-song for boards displaying the word “Dead”. The atmosphere appeared to increase during this song and A-M-E-R-I-C-A. The evening then reached its climatic peak when the band played Immaculate Misconception with the crowd yelling the famous lyrics, “Open your mind before your mouth or come and fucking get us!”. The encore, Eternally Yours, concluded Motionless in White’s flawless, 90-minute set.


Set List: Rats, Reincarnate, Necessary Evil, Soft, Abigail, 570, London in Terror, Hatefuck, Voices, Loud (Fuck It), A-M-E-R-I-C-A, Dead As Fuck, Not My Type: Dead As Fuck 2, Immaculate Misconception, Devil’s Night, Eternally Yours.


Cane Hill’s second studio album, Too Far Gone released 19th January 2018 on their home label, Rise Records. www.wearecanehill.com

Motionless in White’s fourth album, Graveyard Shift released 5th May 2017 on Roadrunner Records. www.motionlessinwhite.net

 

       Until the next adventure…

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…