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…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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


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

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

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

This band should be heard everywhere!

Phobophobes Twitter

Phobophobes Instagram

Ra-Ra Rok Records Twitter

Phobophobes: The Never Never (Official video)

Phobophobes: Where Is My Owner? (Official video)

Until the next adventure…

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


Fizzy Blood Twitter Page

ADHD 360 degree video

Fizzy Blood – ADHD video:

Fizzy Blood – January Sun video:

Until the next adventure…

 

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…

 

 


		

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