Live review: DragonForce

DragonForce / Lovebites / McRocklin & Hutch November 13th 2019 The Roadmender, Northampton Metalheads over a certain age will remember guitarist Thomas “McRocklin” McLaughlin as the child prodigy who made…

DragonForce / Lovebites / McRocklin & Hutch
November 13th 2019
The Roadmender, Northampton

Metalheads over a certain age will remember guitarist Thomas “McRocklin” McLaughlin as the child prodigy who made numerous TV appearances back in the 1980s when he was a young pup barely in double figures. I’m pleased to report that time has aged his skills like a fine malt whiskey, and tonight he appears as half of duo McRocklin & Hutch. They’re an interesting tension of opposites that fuse a love of 80s rock to 21st century technology, and in welding organic guitars to surgical synths they’ve created a new genre termed ‘shredwave’. With an inherent groove ‘Wasted’ adheres this pair to the crowd, and the following ‘Locked In’ only increases the affection. Sometimes I find guitar virtuosity can be sterile when it’s practitioners become lost in intricate webs, but no fear with McRocklin & Hutch, who combine to create a sound that’s both ethereal and emotive. ‘Don’t Need Nobody’ ensures they bow out on a high.

Dressed all in white and arriving like avenging angels Japan’s Lovebites are all smiles and opening salvo ‘The Hammer of Wrath’ finds them getting off to a blistering start. Without pausing for breath ‘Pledge of the Saviour’ is unleashed along with ‘Rising’ which is the perfect vehicle for Asami’s operatic vocals. Those only familiar with Japan’s vapid idol scene might be surprised at Lovebites musical proficiency, but these five women can really play and in truth they rock harder than most guys. ‘Above the Black Sea’ features some fine interplay between guitarists Midori and Mi-ya and, with a bass player much in the Steve Harris mould, the band proceed to deliver a foot-on-the-monitor, fist-in-the-air metal fest. New track debuted ‘Signs of Deliverance’ bodes well for the forthcoming album Electric Pentagram, and the following ‘Under the Red Sky’ flies like a stealth bomber. With songs like set closer ‘We Are United’ in their arsenal I’m sure we’ve witnessed future headliners.

An unbearably long intro, coupled with the black sheets hiding the set, builds a palpable tension that stretches many present to breaking point. It’s broken when DragonForce hit the stage amid a shower of ticker tape and jets of pyro that shoot ice white plumes of smoke to the rafters. Opening with ‘Highway to Oblivion’ it’s immediately obvious this isn’t going to be an ordinary rock concert as vocalist Marc Hudson fires a faux flame thrower at the audience. Two oversized retro arcade games flank the stage and there’s a real ‘80s feel to the set as the band are encased in a cornucopia of neon pink and bright blue strobe lights. It’s nice that DragonForce make an effort with their stagecraft but their songs would hold up without all the smoke and mirrors as ‘Fury of the Storm’ attests. ‘The Last Dragonborn’ follows, with it’s East Asian flourishes, along with the insanely catchy ‘Heart Demolition’. What comes next is an instrumental section, as Marc swaps mic for guitar to play some gaming themes – and the six stringers from Lovebites return along with a banjo toting hillbilly for a fun-filled, if rather surreal, interlude.

It’s back to the rock action with a ferocious rendition of ‘Black Fire’ as the band show no signs of flagging. ‘Razorblade Meltdown’ is accompanied by more phosphorous flares and then more ticker tape showers the crowd during ‘Cry Thunder’. DragonForce titled their latest opus Extreme Power Metal for good reason: like Iron Maiden or Helloween, only played at 78rpm, their songs are amped up slabs of metal yet they retain a strong sense of melody. However the band are far from one trick ponies as the obligatory power ballad, ‘Remembrance Day’, proves. It’s been a night for fans of guitars which each band displaying technical skill and, not to be outdone, Herman Li and Sam Totman trade solos and shred ferociously on fan favourite ‘Valley of the Damned’. The band return for two well deserved encores, including an amphetamine run through of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ which initiates a huge circle pit. ‘Through the Fire & the Flames’ is attended by more ticker tape and pyrotechnic flares and when the party streamers fly it seems a fitting way to bring down the curtain.

Words by Peter Dennis. Pictures by Peter Dennis and Ben Gregory-Ring

 

 

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New Music Friday: Anieshi Pearl

From the dark streets of Northampton, shaded by dimly lit street lamps, an alternative electronic musical wonderland is thrown up by Anieshi Pearl. On the eve of her new EP,…

From the dark streets of Northampton, shaded by dimly lit street lamps, an alternative electronic musical wonderland is thrown up by Anieshi Pearl. On the eve of her new EP, New Boots shares her new video ‘Understand’ and has a quick word or two with her and collaborator Brett Redvers.

How did you start making/writing/recording music?
Brett: AP started around 2009 after I worked with Ani’s previous band on a song. They split up and I blagged her into working with me. On a personal level I have been writing since ’88, working as an engineer / producer and doing my best to stay out of the music industry at the same time. The old music business model is now almost completely dead: however, so I see many doors and possibilities where I once only saw walls.
Ani: I was itching to sing from an early age; for some reason I felt like I needed permission to give it a go! YEARS later, someone told me I had a nice voice, and that was it! It was all I needed to hear. Brett and I started working together, experimenting with covers of the 80’s group Five Star! It went from there basically.

How would you describe your sound? Influences?
Brett: The current sound is synthwave/synthpop. Mostly based on my love for the analog synths and drum machines of the 80s/90s, and how they blend with Ani’s voice so well. AP has been through many sound developments over the years, but has always maintained a synthpop edge. I’m influenced by genres and scenes mostly… synthwave, vaporwave, Britcore, glitch, breakbeat hardcore… I also listen to a lot of horror movie soundtracks.
Ani: I love all music, I change my mind daily on my favourite style/song/band. I wouldn’t say I am influenced by any specific bands anymore, more emotions and life experiences. I tend to create according to how I feel on the day.

Why the break in releases since 2015, and why comeback at this juncture?
Brett: There has never really been a break in the music creation, we have always been creating. We have just taken a while to package some tunes up and release them. We create for ourselves first and foremost, and sometimes the push to show the world what we do just gets lost in the matrix.

Tell us everything about this new single and video ‘Understand’, and the follow-up EP.
Brett: This new release is all going to be on an EP, we are looking at getting this out by the end of the year. We also have an additional EP we plan to release just before this, that consists of a bunch of tunes we completed over the past years that have yet to see the light of day. These songs have a darker flavour, but are some of our favs from the ‘lost tracks’ of yesteryear.
Ani: We try not to be specific with deadlines anymore, I’m laughing as I type this, because I put ‘AW2019’ on the release date of the EP, so I can set an actual date the second I am happy with it all. The video was, as predicted, a major operation! The work that goes into making them happen is intense, but the results are always so good, so it’s worth it! Paul Michael Hughes is a filmmaking visionary and a genius DOP, so when he agrees to take on a music video, you know that track is going to get sprinkled with fairy dust to make it fly. We made the recent video for ‘Understand’ quite spontaneously, so it was shot in 4 hours, and turned out to be something we are proud of.

Are there live shows?
Brett: It’s been a while since we performed live. Not sure if this will be on the cards in the future, we have yet to see. It’s hard because we have an international audience, so if we played in Northampton for example, one man and his dog might turn up to watch us play! Online performances are in our minds however, but we shall see how this pans out moving forward.
Ani: I’m not a performer sadly. Never have been. I just made myself do it in the past, because I thought I had to in order to make music. I love this new era of music we are in: I get to create, and put it out there with zero pressure. I wish I was a superstar performer! Online would be the only way I think we would go for now.

Are you part of a music scene in Northamptonshire? Anyone you wanna give a shout out to?
Brett: Personally I am part of the online synthwave, rave and hip-hop scenes. The people and artists I know in music are based all over the globe. It’s been a very long time since I spent any time at local venues. I used to be part of the Racehorse band community, and worked at The Lodge recording studio in Northampton back in the 90’s tho – so shout out to everyone from those days!
Ani: I’ve got lots of friends doing great things in music…but here are a few bands/musicians that stand out to me at the moment. Meg Amirghiasvand – anything she touches turns to gold – recently joined Sarpa Salpa, which is a hit with me. I’m also keeping an eye out for Baby Lung, they’re destined for great things! And, the legendary Billy Lockett should be called ‘Billy Rocket into stardom!’.

What has been your favourite AP moment of the past year?
Brett: Writing, recording and mixing. For me, all the fun is in the studio. 😉
Ani: “I like the bit in space”.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Brett: Anything by John Carpenter.
Ani: I’m not sure I can put an honest answer for this… If I was trying to be cool, I’d say PLYA, but honestly, it was probably ‘the sounds of the rain’ soundtrack. I stream that every night to get to sleep.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Brett: I don’t ever intend on leaving the studio. You’d have to tempt me with lots of sweets to step outside!
Ani: Might take up a new art form. Pottery or something. I did just start learning pole dancing too. Got the bruises to prove it! No future plans with music [other than get this EP out]. I fall in and out of love with it. Brett waits patiently, I snap out of it and the music continues. So I guess we’ll keep going as long as I keep showing up to the studio!

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Across The Border: Nov 14 – Nov 21

We’re sorry – we missed a week and this week’s a little late. Life etc. However, here’s your weekly round up of what’s going on at our favourite places across…

We’re sorry – we missed a week and this week’s a little late. Life etc. However, here’s your weekly round up of what’s going on at our favourite places across the border. Some cracking options if you’re looking to leave to Northants for your music fix this week.

THE ROOM
Thursday, November 14
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
The Room was formed in 2010 by Andy Rowe along with Martin Wilson and Steve Anderson from neo-prog rock band Grey Lady Down. Recent history had seen the band tucked away in the studio, writing and recording their third studio album Caught By The Machine. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £10.

THE COSMIC DEAD / THEE TELEPATHS
Thursday, November 14
Esquires, Bedford
Much loved psych rockers The Cosmic Dead are a quartet from Glasgow who share their music through good vibes and better vibrations. Known for their improv, chaos strewn, Buckfast smashed against the wall take on space music, they have roamed from Roadburn to Las Vegas, Dundee to Bangalore with each album offering a meditative window into a certain time and space. Their eighth album – Scottish Space Race – is out now. Support is by Kettering’s Thee Telepaths. Doors 8pm, tickets £8.50.

JOHN OTWAY
Friday, November 15
Esquires, Bedford
John Otway is an English singer-songwriter who has built a sizeable cult audience through extensive touring, a surreal sense of humour and a self-deprecating underdog persona. Teaming up with Wild Willy Barrett in the early 1970s, the pair’s first single. Gypsy / Misty Mountain was a dedication to the fortune teller who had assured Otway that fame and stardom was just around the corner. Esquires is a solo show. Doors 8pm, tickets £10.

LIFE
Friday, November 15
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Life’s second album, A Picture Of Good Health is out now. The LP was produced by Luke Smith (Foals, Everything Everything, Depeche Mode) and mixed by Claudius Mettendorfer (Parquet Courts, Yak, Weezer) and follow’s their self-released debut Popular Music which was included in Radio 1’s best albums of 2017. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8.

STEREO MC’S
Saturday, November 16
Esquires, Bedford
Stereo Mc’s formed in mid 80’s, inspired by electronic music and early HipHop. They pressed up their first 12” vinyl and started an independent record label called G Street Records which released many UK hip hop artists and signed US acts such as Jungle Brothers. Shortly after they signed to Island/4th and Broadway records and released their first LP and toured extensively Their third LP Connected was released in 1992 and became a worldwide hit with the title track becoming one of the best known songs. Doors 8pm, tickets £18.

THE WOODENTOPS
Saturday, November 16
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
The Woodentops are a national treasure. Propelled into the arena by John Peel in the early 1980’s and furthered by Rough Trade they produced a slew of high energy singles that leapt out of the radio. One of the stand out albums of the period, Giant, led to one of the best live LP’s of all time Hypnobeat Live. A cut from this album Why Why Why is the principle crossover anthem of the second summer of love that brought the club movement of the late 80s. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £14.

KING PURPLE
Sunday, November 17
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
YUK is back at the Craufurd Arms with headliners King Purple. The Corby quartet released their latst single Warning Signs in September which fillowed the EP Time Alone. Support is by Cusp, Basement Strippers and .Doors 7.30pm, tickets £5.

CLARK TRACEY QUINTET
Sunday November 17
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Clark Tracey has had a long history of finding young talented musicians and presenting them in a professional environment. This latest group formed at the beginning of 2018 is no exception and has even been tipped as his best line up for several years. Their debut CD, No Doubt, was well received and showcases the best of young jazz in the UK. Doors 11:30am, tickets £14.

AN EVENING WITH JOHN ILLSLEY
Monday, November 18
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Along with Mark Knopfler, John was a founder member of the legendary band Dire Straits who, during their time together, sold more than 120 million albums. The evening will feature classics from the Dire Straits catalogue and also include a Q & A led by Paul Cummins (ex-Dire Straits management). Doors 8pm, tickets from £23.

LARKINS
Monday, November 18
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Alternative quartet Larkins’s latest single Not Enough came out in September and follows Live At The Albert, Manchester which was released earlier this year. For fans of Everything Everything and Foals. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8.

JACK LUKEMAN
Tuesday, November 19
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Jack Lukeman is an Irish singer-songwriter, performer, raconteur and a whole lot more besides. A platinum-selling, critically acclaimed artist in his homeland, in recent years Lukeman has devoted more of his time to winning a growing fanbase in the UK and abroad. He is currently promoting his latest LP Magic Days. Doors 8.45pm, tickets £15.

MSRY
Tuesday, November 19
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Hailing from the city of dreaming spires, Oxford, usually reserved for academics and purveyors of knowledge, MSRY plays exactly as the name suggests – misery infused hardcore. Comprised of foru people who have a reckless abandon for their own well-being on stage and a need to rage harder and faster than anyone else. Their six-track EP Loss was released this month. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £5.

TAV FALCO’S PANTHER BURNS
Wednesday, November 20
Esquires, Bedford
Raised in rural Arkansas, Tav Falco embarked on his long and distinguished musical career upon arriving in Memphis in the mid-1970s. Teaming up with local music legend Alex Chilton in 1978, the duo formed Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Panther Burns thrived on the early 1980s music circuit. Despite Chilton’s exit from the live lineup in 1984, Panther Burns carried on and the band’s current discography includes ten studio LPs and numerous EPs, live albums, and compilations. Artists who have cited Panther Burns as an influence the Skids, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jack Oblivian, and The Gories. Falco’s current album, Cabaret of Daggers, was released to fervent reviews in November 2018. Doors 8pm, tickets £12.50.

CLT DRP
Wednesday, November 20
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
CLT DRP sit somewhere between EDM inspired electro-punk and quasi-satirical female pop. Described by Dork Magazine as ‘Brighton’s best kept secret for the last year or so’, their latest single Speak To My is out now. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £6.

JOHN POWER
Thursday, November 21
Esquires, Bedford
With a career spanning decades in the industry in both The La’s and Cast, John Power is back in the region for a solo show at Esquires. Cast’s first three records, all released in the late 90s all featured in top 10 of the UK album charts, shifting about a million copies between them. After a hiatus, they returned in 2011 with the LP Troubled Times and 2017’s Kicking Up The Dust. Support is by Tara Milton. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £16.

POLY-MATH
Thursday, November 21
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Poly-Math are an instrumental prog/math band based in Brighton and London and have been a mainstay at avant-garde music Festival ArcTanGent since 2013. New single Sensors In Everything which came out this month, followed last year’s LP House Of Wisdom/ We Are The Devil. Supporyt by Body Hound. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Nov 13th – Nov 19th

DRAGONFORCE + LOVEBITES Wednesday November 13th The Roadmender, Northampton Grammy-nominated extreme power metal legends from London come to slay Northampton, and why not. Japanese metallers in support. Doors 7pm, £18…

DRAGONFORCE + LOVEBITES
Wednesday November 13th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Grammy-nominated extreme power metal legends from London come to slay Northampton, and why not. Japanese metallers in support. Doors 7pm, £18 tickets

COILGUNS + YAUTJA + 72% + SHARKTEETH GRINDER
Thursday November 14th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Swiss punk/noisecore gang headline: American post-metallers are in the middle, plus NN heaviness from yer favourite pair to kick things off. Immense. Doors 7pm, £8 on entry

CAMENS + ROLLING THUNDER + LEISURE TANK + SKYFLOOD
Friday November 15th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Indie bangers from Stoke-on-Trent [“more hooks than a fisherman’s tackle box”], they’ve even performed at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. Plus equally as catchy indie-rock band from Northampton newcomers, plus raw power duo from London, and the return of Skyflood to open. Doors 7.30pm, £5.50 tickets

U.K. SUBS + SPRING PARK
Friday November 15th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The legendary Charlie Harper formed the Subs out of his then R&B outfit The Marauders, late in 1976. In 1979, they signed to Gem Records and surprised everyone by becoming one of the most consistently and visibly successful punk bands, with seven consecutive UK Top 30 hits between 1979-81 – ‘Stranglehold’, ‘Tomorrows Girls’, ‘She’s Not There’, ‘Warhead’, ‘Teenage’, ‘Party In Paris’, and ‘Keep On Running’. They also scored two UK top ten albums – Brand New Age and Crash Course. Plus ShoeTown punks in support. Doors 7.30pm, £11 tickets

KARL PHILLIPS + THE REJECTS + NOTTINGJAM ORCHESTRA + DAKKA SKANKS + GRANT SHARKEY
Friday November 15th
The Lab, Northampton
The Skankdown night is back for its fifth instalment. Local skanking heroes headline, with hand picked support from Nottingham, Brighton, and Southampton. Doors 7pm, £5 entry.

RAMAGE INC. + ASHBORN + POWDERHEAD
Saturday 16th November
The Black Prince, Northampton
Progressive metallers from Scotland with three albums under their belt headline, with fellow movers from Northampton and Cambridge in support. Doors 7pm, £5 tickets

DAWSON SMITH & THE DISSENTERS
Saturday 16th November
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Leicester blues band. In 2005 Smith put together a backing band with the intention of forming his dream ‘road band’ able to deliver the type of drivin’ roots rock that has always been the backdrop to his songwriting. From 9pm, free entry

DANNI NICHOLLS
Sunday November 17th
The Three Horseshoes, Ecton
Fresh from touring Nashville this summer, the Bedford-born Americana singer-songwriter comes to Ecton in support of third album The Melted Morning. From 3pm, free entry

 

📸 Joe Berisford

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New Music Friday: Kian Russell

Northampton’s teenage blues sensation Kian Russell has just put out an EP, Off The Ground, that belies his years. Unable to ignore the prodigious talent, New Boots asked him to…

Northampton’s teenage blues sensation Kian Russell has just put out an EP, Off The Ground, that belies his years. Unable to ignore the prodigious talent, New Boots asked him to stop the study and give us some of his time. He obliged.

Who is in your band, and what do they play?
At the moment, the only permanent member of my band is Andy Doran, who lives in Hemel Hempstead. I am currently looking for a bass player and rhythm guitarist. Fortunately Oli Rumens, from The Comms, has been standing in on the bass. Oli and I have been jamming for a while now and I am grateful that he has been able to join me on stage. Also my guitar teacher and friend, Charlie Shaughnessy, from the USA stands in on the guitar. He is over here on an extended vacation to the UK. Charlie was part of my band in the States and co-produced my EP.

How did you start on your path to music/guitar playing?
My parents have always wanted me to do three things;
1) play a sport
2) speak a second language
3) learn to play a musical instrument.
I started playing rugby for the Old Northamptonians’ RFC when I was 7 and continued playing up until I was 13. I have been learning Spanish, academically, for the past six years. In the States I was learning Mexican Spanish, but now I am back in the UK I’ve been learning European Spanish for my GCSE.
Like Rugby, I started playing the guitar early at 7 years old. However my first love was rugby. At the age of 8, I was diagnosed with a very rare bone disorder in my foot which stopped me playing all sports, even walking wasn’t allowed, for a year! It was during this time that my passion for the guitar truly started to grow. I began to go through “Rockschool” gradings with my tutor, Anthony George at Cutting Edge Guitar here in Northampton.
Whilst I have always loved playing guitar, I really started taking it seriously once I moved to the USA. Seattle has an amazing music scene in general, and is really supportive of youth music and original music. I began to practice and focus my time and creativity in both guitar playing and songwriting. I continued my guitar lessons in the States with my school teacher. He passed me on to Charlie Shaughnessy, and that’s when I started to understand the technical side of guitar playing.
Since my musical journey began, I have been fortunate to be mentored by Seattle’s Ayron Jones and RCA recording artist, Steve Lynch from the band Autograph. These guys have guided me and helped me understand the industry and not just playing the guitar. They have made such a huge difference to the way I look at my music. My big achievement though is getting a full artist endorsement from one of the world leaders in guitar amps, Northampton based, Blackstar Amplification. These guys have been great and encourage me to aim high.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences do you feel?
I like to define my sound as a mix of blues and rock. Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, Albert King and John Mayer have all been my major influences. However, I could spend all day talking about the great artists that have inspired them, and have inspired me. In the rock genre its Highly Suspect, Theo Katzman and Foo Fighters.

You spent some years in the States. Tell us about that experience in regards your musical development.
The States allowed me to define myself further as a musician, learning about different styles to which I wasn’t familiar with. As mentioned I am very lucky to have been mentored by some amazing musicians in the United States. They’ve helped guide me through both music as a performer and music as a business to try and become the best version of myself. In the US I had the chance to play with great musicians such as Travis Larson, Ayron Jones, and Dudley Taft, plus many other touring artists.
Outside of performing, I also began a journey on music production. One of the local venues which I frequented, Louie G’s, allowed me to run the lighting and sound for them every Friday and Saturday. Through this, I met many more like-minded musicians but also became exposed to many different styles.

Tell us about this EP, ‘Off The Ground’.
The EP was a way to wrap everything that I was leaving in the States in musical form. Recorded alongside my bassist and drummer, we had total creative control over how we wanted the songs to sound like in the finished product. ‘Off The Ground’, the title track of the EP, was the first song ever written for the project. With an indie/pop vibe, it is a juxtaposition of the rest of the EP.
It was recorded over five months and finished about one week before I left the USA permanently. Through Cakewalk [a DAW software] we weren’t restricted to the trio setup (which we used live) and could experiment with other instruments and sounds. The last track on the EP, ’I Don’t Need You’, is the most experimental.
With over 80 different audio tracks, it was the most taxing song to write. However, as a musician, it is one of my favourite songs to listen to. The chorus is packed with harmonies, both vocally and compositionally. Charlie Shaughnessy [bassist and producer] and I would work from 12pm to 2am on various parts of the songs; focusing on minute details to make sure they were tight and effective. We made sure that along the way, we used each others ideas to ensure that everybody could be heard.

What are your live shows like, in five words or less?
Energetic, shred-tastic, dynamic, fun, soulful.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire?
Obviously being from Northampton, I want to play local venues. Up until recently, with exception to the Northampton Music Festival, the majority of my gigs have been in and around London plus some other cool places around the UK. I am a newbie on the Northampton music scene and still making friends and getting to know some awesome bands like Baby Lung [who I think are awesome], the guys from Tragic, The Big Dirty and Naked Next Door…. so much cool stuff coming out of Northampton at the moment. I think we have some cool venues here and I’m gradually ticking them off.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Definitely opening for Jared James Nichols at The Craufurd Arms! He has been a major influence for me, and to be able to meet and perform alongside him was a dream come true. We were all so pumped for the show and to perform as one meant all the preparation was worth it. We obviously impressed Jared and his management as they have invited us to support them again on his 2020 UK Tour. But I have also enjoyed playing on the same bill as Brian McFadden, supported Steve Rodgers and soon I will be supporting The Quireboys. So these are all favourite moments for many different reasons.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The last album I bought was the Purple Rain vinyl. For me, it is one of the best albums. However the last album I’ve streamed has to be (What’s the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis. It’s one of those albums that you just have to listen to.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I am currently writing for the next album. I want to try and get more songs written and composed before the end of the year to hopefully head into the studio next year. With some exciting shows coming up, as mentioned, like The Quireboys, Jared James Nichols and a few other bands, we are very excited to get a fresh set list going and to perform more locally. I am blown away by how well things have gone so far and I am excited for what is to come for the band and with incredible musicians behind me, there is no end to what we can achieve!

The Off The Ground EP is out now. The Kian Russell Band play Northampton twice this month: The Lab on November 22nd, and The Garibaldi Hotel on the 30th.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Nov 6th – Nov 12th

THAT JOE PAYNE Thursday November 7th St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton The Northampton-based recording artist is best known for demonstrating an impressive 5-octave range, plus his work within progressive rock as…

THAT JOE PAYNE
Thursday November 7th
St. Matthew’s Church, Northampton
The Northampton-based recording artist is best known for demonstrating an impressive 5-octave range, plus his work within progressive rock as frontman of The Enid [2011-2016]. This concert also features a special performance from Northampton Male Voice Choir Lite (NMVCL), and is a fundraising booster event ahead of Strictly Northampton 2019 in which Joe is a contestant. Doors 7pm, tickets £15 [all ticket money goes to Cynthia Spencer Hospice]

DAVIDE LUAGELLI + RICHOCHET REBELLEION + THE BOPHINS
Thursday November 7th
The King Billy, Northampton
Laugelli is a seasoned Italian rock and metal bass player, in the vein of a Steve DiGiorgio or Martin Mendez. A steady member of Disease Illusion, Heller Schein and Hidden Stone, he brings his unique solo project to the UK for a second time. This live set up involves just two members, bass and drums, and brings a unique instrumental exploration, as he showcases tracks from the new album Soundtrack of a Nightmare. Support from Derbyshire trio and ShoeTown glam-punks. Doors 7pm, free entry

BAMBOO + AOIFE FOLEY
Friday November 8th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Ambitious synth-pop-meets-folk project of Brighton’s Nick Carlisle and London-based Rachel Horwood [Trash Kit, Rozi Plain]. Electric banjo merges with rich synth atmospheres and electronic arrangements. Meanwhile Northants songstress Foley plays with band: Dave Crawford on guitar/synth/hair swishing, and Dan The Man Battison on bass. Doors 8pm, free entry

STEGOSAURUS SEX PARTY + FACEDOWN + ONE CHAPTER DOWN
Friday November 8th
The Lab, Northampton
Trash punks from Coventry on top, energetic pop-punk from Bedford, and alt rap-rock from Scunthorpe make up a formidable bill. Doors 7pm, free entry [?]

MARABAR CAVES + THE VINCENT VEGA BAND + ROLLING THUNDER
Friday November 8th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
The Caves are a psychedelic rock outfit who recently reformed after a 25 year hiatus. VVB feature one of Northampton’s best songwriters in Tony Mead, who fronts a line up of deft musicians [embellished by viola]. Causing a youthful storm at the start are West Northamptonians Rolling Thunder. From 9pm, free entry

HANNAH FAULKNER + LAURA BAKER + TOM & SOPHIE + MARIEKE VINK + CAMERON GRACE
Friday November 8th
The Witch & Sow, Guilsborough
A new addition to the NB gig guide, Guilsborough. A Ni Ni acoustic showcase session. From 8.30pm, free entry

LABFEST
Saturday November 9th
The Lab, Northampton
An all-dayer to show what the venue can do, following its recent “crunch meeting”. Music, food and a communal art project. Line-up includes Humblebee, Marnie , Yoshe, The Dubska Murphys, The Ginhouse Gypsies, Ali In The Jungle, Bisons, the Lay It Down crew, and more! From 1pm – 1am. £3 suggested donation

KING’S GAMBIT
Saturday November 9th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
The local folk rock leg-ends play their favourite venue. From 9pm, free entry

JONO & THE UKE DEALERS + VELVET ENGINE
Saturday November 9th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
AudioStage presents the folk-rockers with a conscious, plus NN singer-songwriter to open. From 8.30pm, free entry

GOODBYE MR MACKENZIE + TURNING BLACK LIKE LIZARDS
Saturday November 9th
The Raven Hotel, Corby
One of Scotland’s greatest bands of the 80’s and 90’s. They released six albums in total and toured extensively, and featured Shirley Manson on lead vocals at one point. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the album that started it all off, the Mackenzies are back to play Good Deeds in its entirety, plus a few extra treats. Black Country garage fiends in support. Doors 7.30pm, £16 tickets

HAZEYJANE
Saturday November 9th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
The folk-rock group make their return to Kettering’s prime live music venue. The band will be playing in quintet formation, with their Brittany-based percussionist David ‘Hopi’ Hopkins making a rare appearance with the band. From 3pm-6pm, free entry

DEAF HAVANA
Tuesday November 12th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Norfolk/London hard rock/post-hardcore types with the emotive poppy sound have partnered with PLUS1.org so that “£1 from every ticket goes to War Child to protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children caught up in war”. Doors 7pm, £19.50 tickets

 

Photo credit: Jon Stone

 

 

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New Music Friday: FOSSILHEADS

Long-term collaborators Rachel Duncan & Rosie Swayne – aka FOSSILHEADS – have spent the past year or so honing their eco-conscious folk show to a fine art. Now you can…

Long-term collaborators Rachel Duncan & Rosie Swayne – aka FOSSILHEADS – have spent the past year or so honing their eco-conscious folk show to a fine art. Now you can hear how it sounds on record! New Boots is impressed enough with the Northants duo to get more answers. And here they are!

How did you get FOSSILHEADS together?
Rosie: We’ve only been performing together as FOSSILHEADS for less than a year. Although Rachel and I are also part of olden Northamptonian quartet Invocal, and have been singing together for 24 years [which takes us back to four years before we were born, if our press ages are to be believed].
Rachel: I thought I’d managed to escape her, to be honest…

How would you describe your sound?
Rosie: We are a folky, theatrical duo and use political satire/comedy in songs to open up issues surrounding the HILARIOUS climate crisis.

We admire your interests: “Smashing global corporate power, saving humanity, jazz hands”. The holy trinity, you might say. So do you find music is the best medium to get the message across – serious subjects given the light touch?
Rosie: Until recently I found much of the discourse surrounding climate change so broad and clichéd that it doesn’t really engage people or genuinely address the main problems – my hope is that that honing in on specific areas in an informed but [hopefully] entertaining style can help communicate ideas/info/perspectives in a way that doesn’t make people want to immediately leave. Though to be fair, people do still sometimes immediately leave. But hey we’re used to that, we’ve always been kinda niche.
Rachel: I was recently told by someone who had just heard us for the first time that whilst he felt he was “eco-naïve” and never really thought about the environment, that our music really made him think. That is a massive compliment, and if we can do even just a little bit to raise awareness and tackle the current crisis then it makes it all worthwhile.

Tell us everything about ‘The Future Is Petrifying’ EP.
Rosie: What I love about the EP is that it represents exactly what we do on stage, as it was recorded live – at Fitdog Studios – with just two vocals and one guitar. It’s a precursor to a fuller production studio album that we’ll start doing once someone throws an eccentric amount of money at us to do so. You can buy the four song EP via www.fossilheads.co.uk. It’s download only, to save on production / packaging and costs just £3 [although there IS the option to throw an eccentric amount of money at us if you are inclined to do so].
Rachel: It was really great to get back into the studio with Chris at Fitdog Studios – our last recording session with him as Invocal was probably about 10 years ago (clearly making us only 10 years old at the time, if our press ages are to be believed). I was nervous at first because our live show uses visual humour as well as the comedy from the lyrics [we do acting, darling] so I was unsure if we could really do it justice on an EP – but I am really pleased with it! I think that recording the songs live has kept our “characterisations” intact. The songs themselves cover themes from plastics to corporate greenwashing, and are really well researched by Rosie, who is our resident “eco-expert.” Personally I’m still plucking up the courage to buy a [second hand, previously owned, locally sourced] Naomi Klein book…

With Extinction Rebellion now very much centre stage in the nation’s consciousness it must be exciting to see so many people sharing many of your goals. Have you found more acceptance in what you do over your time together?
Rosie: Yes it is very heartening and inspiring to see more people taking serious action, and I do believe more people are prepared to sit through a set of songs about climate change than they would have been a few years ago!
Rachel: We have many friends in XR and support our local groups when we can. I recently headed to London for the climate protest – but couldn’t stay long, so I admire their commitment to the cause. Their messages really resonate with me. As celebrities have pointed out recently, we are all hypocrites to some degree. It has to be about doing what we can individually but pressuring governments to make substantial, systematic changes.

What are your live shows like? We suspect/hope those witty words hit home…
Rosie: We’ve had some very emotional and meaningful feedback after shows, it’s been quite an experience getting the songs working successfully to audiences – and it’s amazing to realise the songs are having a genuine impact on people. The show does have the potential to tank though. If an audience aren’t in the mood to sit and listen to lyrics, we don’t really work as ‘background music’ – if there’s a room full of people chatting we just end up looking like your bizarre middle-aged aunties determinedly acting/squawking out a musical you’ve never heard of to nobody in particular.

Are you part of a music scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite acts/venues?
Rosie: I love the music scene in Northampton; gonna namecheck Kings Gambit, musical home of our beloved Invocal pal Helen – been so great to hear their sound evolve over the years.
Rachel: We’ve played at The Lab many times over the years – and it really is a great and supportive venue – long may it continue. I’ve also more recently been made aware of the number of really great open mic nights in and around the county. Northamptonshire really has so much talent and passion for music, I feel lucky to live here.

What has been your favourite Fossilheads moment of the past year?
Rosie: So much work went on at home before getting our live act up-and-running, so I guess the weekend we played four gigs at two of our favourite festivals was pretty gratifying – in feeling like we were properly out there and gigging again.
Rachel: We’ve had some truly humbling moments over the summer doing festivals – people approaching us after gigs with so many compliments and heartfelt responses. For me however it was when a guy from a well-known band [not to be named] came up to us after our set and said he thought we were the best band on the festival circuit this summer. I’m not sure I agree, as we have been privileged to hear some amazing music this summer, but what a fabulous accolade!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Rosie: The Sacrament of Sin by Powerwolf. I didn’t even realise I was ready to Come Out publicly as a fantasy metal fan, but there it is.
Rachel: Loving Linnea Olsson at the moment. Her album Breaking and Shaking is great and ‘What’ is currently a favourite song of hers for me. Probably best not to take musical recommendations from me though: recent music streaming has included Pitch Perfect 2, And Bros.

What is your burning desire to do in the near future? What plans do you have?
Rosie: Play more gigs, save planet, get chips on the way home.
Rachel: Same.

The Future Is Petrifying is out now via BandCamp.

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Across The Border: Oct 30 – Nov 6

As we power towards the end of the year, the gigs keep coming thick and fast. Here’s our weekly round up of what’s going on outside of Northamptonshire in our…

As we power towards the end of the year, the gigs keep coming thick and fast. Here’s our weekly round up of what’s going on outside of Northamptonshire in our surrounding counties which there’s still tickets available for.

A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH
Thursday, October 31
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
A Pale Horse Named Death siphon strangely blissful melodies from apocalyptic heavy metal awash in swells of cavernous gothic keys and grunge songcraft. The New York quintet released their long awaited third full-length album When The World Becomes Undone in January. Doors 7pm, tickets £12.

SISTERAY
Friday, November 1
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Sisteray met when they collided in the mosh pit at a Libertines gig and soon discovered their shared love for The Smiths, Velvet Underground, The Clash and The Replacements. They have played up and down the country, performing pop-up guerrilla gigs, organising their own club night and have played roof raising sets at Camden Rocks and the Isle of Wight and Reading and Leeds festivals. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7.

ANDY FAIRWEATHER LOW & THE LOW RIDERS
Saturday, November 2
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Andy Fairweather Low shot to fame as lead singer in Amen Corner singing massive hits like Gin House Blues, Bend Me Shape Me and If Paradise is Half As Nice. A hugely successful solo career followed with Wide Eyed And Legless being the biggest International hit from his three solo albums. Together with his band Andy will be playing songs from across his career. Doors 8pm, tickets £25.

MICHAEL MONROE
Saturday, November 2
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Former Hanoi Rocks Frontman Michael Monroe is in the UK in support of his band’s new LP One Man Gang. The band’s all-star line-up features former Hanoi Rocks and New York Dolls bass player Sami Yaffa, guitarists Rich Jones and Steve Conte and drummer Karl Rockfist. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £22.50.

JAMES TAYLOR QUARTET
Saturday, November 2
MK11, Milton Keynes
James Taylor, one of the great British instrumentalists of his generation, has taken his trademark howling Hammond sound to the masses for more than 25 years. The band’s relentlessly entertaining tunes take inspiration from the rare-groove style funk and boogaloo funk of the 1960s and 1970s. They are one of the most important jazz-pop crossover outfits in British music. Doors 8pm, tickets £20.

LAZYBONES
Sunday, November 3
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Lazybones are one fuzzy bass guitar, amplified organ and drums, creating a trashy, unapologetic, to-the-point sound, comparable to the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Slaves. With initial singles championed by all the usual suspects across the music press, Lazybones released their debut EP Bang! Bang! in February. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7,

HIMALAYAS
Sunday, November 3
Esquires, Bedford
Himalayas are an indie / garage rock band from Cardiff with a cinematic sound and style featuring heavy guitar lines, dual vocals and huge anthemic hooks. In the past year they have played both Reading and Leeds, Festival no. 6, SXSW, The Great Escape, Live at Chelsea, Isle of Wight and many others. Their latest single The Masquerades was released in October and this is the band’s first headline UK tour. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £8.

VISTAS
Tuesday, November 5
Esquires, Bedford
Edinburgh’s Vistas are fresh off a tour with Circa Waves and have been surging to the forefront of the indie-rock scene over the last few years with a steady stream of catchy singles leading to extensive praise from the likes of Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, 6 Music, DIY Magazine and Clash Magazine. The Scottish trio have become known for their brand of colourful and energetic guitar-based indie pop and are quickly beginning to show their universal appeal. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £7.50.

THE DELINES
Tuesday, November 5
The Stables, Milton Keynes
The Delines second album The Imperial was released in January and took three years to finish while vocalist Amy Boon recovered from a serious car accident. She is joined by keyboard/horn player Cory Gray, pedal steel player Tucker Jackson and a bunch of Richmond Fontaine band members, namely Sean Oldham, Freddie Trujillo and novelist Willy Vlautin. Doors 8pm, tickets £19.50.

LUCY SPRAGGAN
Wednesday, November 6
Esquires, Bedford
It’s proving to be another hugely successful year for Lucy Spraggan. The singer songwriter released her fifth studio album Today Was A Good Day in May played Glastonbury and SXSW, toured Europe and Scandinavia with Melissa Etheridge and completed her own US and UK headline tours. Now she’s out on the road as part of a mammoth 32-date UK tour. Doors 7pm, tickets £18.

HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN
Wednesday, November 6
The Stables, Milton Keynes
Award-winning Austin, Texas-based Hot Club of Cowtown may be the world’s most globe-trotting, effervescent string trio, whose joyful sound blends the traditional Western swing of the American southwest with European hot jazz influences of the same era. Doors 8pm, tickets £17.50.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Oct 30th – Nov 5th

TRACK NOT FOUND + TRAGIC Thursday October 31st The Lab, Northampton Two-piece grunge/riot grrl punk outfit all the way from Guernsey to enliven Halloween in ShoeTown. Support from fast-rising teenage…

TRACK NOT FOUND + TRAGIC
Thursday October 31st
The Lab, Northampton
Two-piece grunge/riot grrl punk outfit all the way from Guernsey to enliven Halloween in ShoeTown. Support from fast-rising teenage punks with songs to excite. Doors 7pm, free entry

NEEDLE IN THE HAY
Friday November 1st
The Lab, Northampton
Leicester art-rock duo who have been busy crafting their new album Worldviews. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

BREWER + BLOOD-VISIONS + TRAGIC
Friday November 1st
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
East London punks headline this basement show, with NTown’s finest shouters also along for the ride. Doors 8pm, free entry

CONFESSIONS OF A TRAITOR + CALIBURN + STEREO SKULL + PRIMAL HOLOCAUST
Friday November 1st
Raff’s Bar, Wellingborough
A night of NN hardcore and death-metal in support of London headliners, who play tracks from their excellent third album Guided. Doors 7pm, £6 tickets

THE BIG DIRTY + AIDEN HATFIELD + CRAWLSPACES + TORUS
Saturday November 2nd
The Black Prince, Northampton
The “Creep it real” Halloween Party, featuring tasty riffs from the NTown rockers, alt-rock from the Leeds-born singer behind ‘In Music We Trust’, local five-piece pop-punk/emo band, and an electrifying new MK trio. After-party disco in the front bar too! Doors 7.30pm, £4.50 tickets

THE MEMBRANES + DIABLOFURS + FAMILY OF NOISE
Saturday November 2nd
The Talisman, Corby
The John Robb-fronted post-punks return has been quite stunning, their 26 year break followed by their best-received album, Dark Matter/Dark Energy. Plus suitable punk and post-punk supports. Doors 7.30pm, £11.50 tickets

HAZEYJANE
Saturday November 2nd
HMV, Kettering
The local quartet bring their ambient folk sound to Kettering’s prime music retail outlet venue. 5pm, free entry

EVADE ESCAPE + RXPTRS + WHEN WE WAKE + THRIFT STREET
Sunday November 3rd
The Black Prince, Northampton
The co-headline alt-rock/metal tour descends onto ShoeTown, with support from those Bedford giants and NTown pop-punks. Going to be quite a night apparently, ticket sales are HIGH. Doors 7pm, £6 tickets

KENNETH J NASH + HUMBLEBEE
Sunday November 3rd
The Hare & Hounds, Great Addington
The Hare and Hounds has new landlords, and the Wildfire Sessions Acoustic Open Mic continues.  Host STEVIE JONES welcomes acoustic acts to come and open up proceedings. Doors 4pm, free entry

Y&T + ELECTRIC MARY
Tuesday November 5th
The Roadmender, Northampton
California hard rock band formed in 1974. Many of the biggest acts of the ’80s became popular opening for the powerhouse quartet. Y&T have sold over four million albums, and their hits are still played on VH1 Classic and Classic Rock radio stations worldwide. With the passing of Kennemore, Haze, and Alves, it’s Meniketti who carries on their legacy. Support from the Australian quintet. Doors 7pm, tickets £18.50

 

 

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New Music Friday: EarBones

EarBones are a heavy blues-rock duo based in and around Northampton, formed by guitarist/vocalist Arran Westlake and drummer Michael Mann. The guys dabble in dirty, gritty rock with a lively…

EarBones are a heavy blues-rock duo based in and around Northampton, formed by guitarist/vocalist Arran Westlake and drummer Michael Mann. The guys dabble in dirty, gritty rock with a lively disco-esque backbeat. After a while away they are back with new single ‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’, so time to get those New Boots questions in!

How did you guys get together?
We actually met on Joinmyband.com, and the first time we met in person was in a practise room at Audioworks. It all started from there really. We started writing in the first session, and it all spiralled from there. We base ourselves in Northampton as it’s the biggest town, plus we love AudioWorks and find ourselves more productive there.

How would you describe your sound?
We’ve always prided ourselves in being loud, once called “the loudest band to practise at Audioworks” by its owner Josh, but our main focus was to create music for people to move to. The guitars are thick, and the the drums are hard. It’s the way we’ve always liked it and comes from a range of influences in both of our musical backgrounds.

Who are your main influences do you think?
Initially the main influence behind starting the band was Death From Above; we absolutely love those guys and they played a huge part in our formation, but our influences are far wider spread. Queens of the Stone Age, The Beatles, The White Stripes, T. Rex, Bowie, all of them have played a huge part in our sound and style. We could list bands all day!

What was the reaction like to your debut, the ‘Key’ EP in 2017?
The Key EP was a way for us to have our music available elsewhere as soon as we started playing shows. I suppose it didn’t garner the support we’d have loved, but looking back it was still us finding our feet. We hadn’t even played a show when we recorded the tracks. We still love it dearly though, and still play all four tracks live, although some of them slightly grown up versions as time has gone on.

Tell us about this new single.
‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’ started out with just the main riff a few months back whilst I was noodling around on my guitar. EarBones was on a break, and when we got back together for the first time in eight months I [Arran] showed Mike the riff and we knew we had to run with it. We wrote 90% of the song there and then, and decided we should record it to coincide with us getting back on the scene. A while back, my friend and pedal builder, Steve Weston of Raygun FX had told me that when we were ready to release something, we could do so under his label, Instereo Records. I got chatting to him about us looking to record and he offered to record the track for us at his space in Southend-On-Sea. We snapped up the opportunity and headed down with one of my best friends, and our unofficial third member Oli who photographed the session for us. We actually finished the track in four hours. It got released on cassette for Cassette Store Day, which was something we never thought we’d ever say. We have a couple of copies left and they’re only going to be available at our shows, so make sure you get down if you want one.

What are your live shows like?
As mentioned before, we like it loud! There’s a running joke that I’m told to turn down my amps at every single show we play. We used to have such a focus on what you heard recorded is what we sounded like live, but we purposely strayed from that, and made a conscious effort whilst recording the new single to have it sound how we wanted, not necessarily what we could replicate live. Instead we focus on giving it more energy, and making it heavier live, to provide a better experience for those in the audience.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands?
We’ve actually found it a little harder to conquer Northants, as we’ve struggled to find bands that fit our style, and venues who’ll give us opportunities. Don’t get me wrong there are some amazing bands and venues here, we’ve had the privilege of playing a couple and we’d love to play locally more. We’re hoping this new single and change of direction will open up better support opportunities as we widen our sound, as we really do love the home crowd. Anyone reading this who needs a support act, or a band for a slot at a venue, hit us up!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Other than releasing our new single, we played a venue in London the other week called the Lady Hamilton. We were the first band ever to play in the venue as they’ve only just got their live music license. It was pretty cool – apparently it used to be a brothel, which is always odd, but it was cool to be a part of the first live music event in the venue and to be the first band to ever play there was just awesome. We also got to play Woodfest two days in a row due a band pulling out: we absolutely love playing outdoors so it was a great moment for us. And finally working on the new music we’ve got coming up. We’re so happy with ‘Well I’ve Been Here Before’, and we’ve also been working on a couple of new tracks called ‘Lavender’ and ‘The End’ which we cannot wait to play live and record soon.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt. 2 – and my god what an album it is. Absolutely loving it, ‘Like Lightening is a belter and I cannot wait to see them live again next year. Highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t already listened.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We’d love to play some more outdoor events, we absolutely loved playing Woodfest earlier this year and the atmosphere of a festival really fuels us on stage. One day we’d love the be in the position to tour, and maybe headline some smaller venues. We really want to push ourselves and grow our audience and fanbase. We’d be lying if we said the dream wasn’t to play Reading though, we’re not bothered what stage or time, but Reading was the first festival I ever went to, so it holds a special place for me. Generic, I know but I love the vibe there.

Well I’ve Been Here Before is out now via the usual digital sources. The Cassette Store Day release is available via the Bandcamp link below.

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