Tag: live review

Live review: THUMPER | Tragic | Deaf Trap

THUMPER + TRAGIC + DEAF TRAP The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes March 2nd 2020 This is a dreamy line-up for alt-rock fans. The new hurricane on the block from Dublin,…

THUMPER + TRAGIC + DEAF TRAP
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
March 2nd 2020

This is a dreamy line-up for alt-rock fans. The new hurricane on the block from Dublin, plus two of Northampton’s finest noisy pups. Your reporter did not let it being a Monday night stop the rock, though a sparse crowd reflects other didn’t feel the same way. Your loss, mothers.

Deaf Trap have swiftly become something of a staple amongst the NN scene; admittedly not gigging that often, but always putting in the whole nine yards in their pursuit of sweaty good times. It’s great to see them cross county lines for a change, and they open things magnificently here. With tunes as good as ‘From The Floor’ and ‘Real Nice Night’ it’s always a pleasure to experience their set.

Tragic are very easy to wax superlatively about. The teenagers from Northampton have brought a vigour to the East Midlands music world that could put the energy companies out of business. They positively burst at the sinews to wring every inch of meaning from their instruments, and their manic energy is ever-present tonight. Previewing upcoming single ‘PIG’ alongside last year’s modern-day grunge-punk classics ‘Sloppy Kiss’, ‘Sammy Set His Bed On Fire’ and ‘Walking’. Their melodic skill is perhaps their secret weapon, creeping up on you through the swampy fuzz. And “England is full of scared little boys” feels a very apt lyric for the current state of the nation. Move over slowthai, someone’s coming for your crown.

THUMPER are Dublin’s widescreen screechers of the faith. Never less than fully committed, the six-piece [two drummers and three guitarists, obviously] are treading the noise-pop line of contemporaries IDLES, Fontaines DC, Girl Band, King Gizzard etc but bringing enough of their own personality to proceedings to make them no mere imitators. New single ‘Ad Nauseam’ is a deep rumination on empty ships making the loudest noise. Singer Oisin Furlong is a proper frontman, looking into our very souls for an answer to something, and dealing with mundane broken strings with aplomb. The band never let up for a second, locking into their well-worked groove with motorik precision. Furlong’s foray into the crowd late into the set says “we are you” more than any clever soundbite could. And with ‘In My Room’ and ‘Down’ they’ve started their career with songs others still can’t match after many years of trying. In an increasingly dystopian world we should perhaps let these Irish men lead us to eternal salvation. When music is as joyous as this you can’t help but catch it now and spread it around.

Words: Phil Moore. Photos: David Jackson

 

Comments Off on Live review: THUMPER | Tragic | Deaf Trap

Live review: The Rezillos

THE REZILLOS + THE MEMBERS The Roadmender, Northampton February 21st Tonight The Members are performing as a power trio and, stripped back with the absence of a second guitar, proves…

THE REZILLOS + THE MEMBERS
The Roadmender, Northampton
February 21st

Tonight The Members are performing as a power trio and, stripped back with the absence of a second guitar, proves the band to be a multifaceted animal. Lively opener ‘Soho-A-Go-Go’ pulls the slackers in from the bar as the bass heavy ‘Offshore Banking Business’ follows. Not only is that song vitally relevant 40 years later but it’s a perfect example of how punk and reggae cross-pollinated and created a little harmony in a time of racial strife. The high energy rhythm and blues of ‘Working Girl’ swings like Dr Feelgood, and precedes the groove-laden and punchy ‘Muzak Machine’. Next they take the cool Germanic brittleness of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Model’ and infuse it with the warmth of reggae, which sounds like a strange combination, but The Members make it work by creating a whole new beast. ‘The Sound of the Suburbs’ is a song they must’ve performed thousands of times, yet they play it with an energy and respect that a song which defined a generation deserves.

Eschewing the nihilism of their peers, The Rezillos always stood apart from the prevailing punk scene into which they were birthed. Preferring to call themselves a ‘new wave beat group’ they meshed ’50s rock n’ roll and ’60s garage to ’70s glam rock, and added a touch of retro sci-fi imagery. While the Clash sang ‘No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones’ The Rezillos were busy exploring their roots, which is why they sound timeless and much of their generation seems of its time. Aided by a clear, crisp sound ‘Destination Venus’ finds them on top form with the original twin vocal attack of Fay Fife and Eugene Reynolds firing off each other. By second track ‘Flying Saucer Attack’ they’re firmly in the groove, and are propelled forward by hard-hitting drummer Angel Patterson. In a set that’s always shifting gears the high octane rockabilly of ‘It Gets Me’ sits effortlessly along side the reverb soaked ‘(Take Me To The) Groovy Room’. It’s all killer and no filler as The Rezillos play with an energy and effervescence that’d put many younger bands to shame.

A crowd pleasing set touches all bases from their debut album [1977’s Can’t Stand the Rezillos] to their critically acclaimed 2015 opus Zero with two following from that record in the shape of ‘Spike Heeled Assassin’ and the title track. Attesting to their deep roots an amphetamine-charged cover of The Beatles ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ is played with so much velocity it veers into psychobilly territory. The distinctly garage-rock feel of ‘20,000 Rezillos Under the Sea’ is paired with another cover, a song they helped to revive: Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonite’. Like The Members ‘The Sound of the Suburbs’ The Rezillos ‘Top of the Pops’ is a song that has a life of its own, appearing on almost every punk and new wave compilation that it’s overshadowed much of their other work, and with a discography as good as they’ve displayed tonight that seems a trifle unfair. Nevertheless they treat it with the respect it deserves, and there couldn’t be a better way to end the set.

However the band return for a well-earned encore. When they were forced to change their name to The Revillos [for contractual reasons] there was no drop in quality, and it’s one of those gems that closes the show in the shape of ‘Do The Mutilation’. Like The Cramps mating with the 13th Floor Elevators it provides a suitably largess conclusion that sends all home happy.

Peter Dennis

Comments Off on Live review: The Rezillos

Live review: Half Man Half Biscuit

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT + WEST WICKHAMS The Roadmender, Northampton February 15th Originally hailing from Tresco, Isle of Scilly [but now residing in sunny Richmond, Surrey]. the West Wickhams are…

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT + WEST WICKHAMS
The Roadmender, Northampton
February 15th

Originally hailing from Tresco, Isle of Scilly [but now residing in sunny Richmond, Surrey]. the West Wickhams are a rather tasty garage rock/psychedelic noir duo. Attired all in black and white (as if a negative photograph) opener ‘Every Moving Picture’ is the perfect introduction, with vocalist John Othello wrapping his chords in glorious fuzz and Elle Flores pulling a fine retro sound from the keyboard. Like the love children of Patti Smith and The Jesus and Mary Chain, ‘Kick the Habit’ is delivered with foot heavy on the distortion pedal, before ‘Where the Creatures Rule’ captures the sinisterness of early Cure. Each song is a succinct ball of warped sound; but dig to its core and you’ll find a strong melody. Case in point being their debut single, ‘He’s Acquired a New Face’, which is simultaneously discordant and catchy and which will, undoubtedly, ensure we’ll be hearing more from the Wickhams very soon.

Alongside the Clash, Half Man Half Biscuit are surely England’s finest folk group. Exploring the minutiae of modern life and deconstructing current popular culture, they’ve given voice to the sidelined, the maligned and the just plain weird. They tell the tales of the bus station drunk or the Big Issue seller who nevertheless have great insight into the absurdism of the world. But it’s also life’s cruel ironies: it is tending the wrong grave for years [‘Excavating Rita’] or the sudden realisation of tonight’s opener: ‘The Light at the End of the Tunnel [is the Light of an Oncoming Train]’. Evolving from their early post-punk roots to incorporate blues and folk tonight’s set includes all stages of their 35 year career, with ‘Venus in Flares’ and ‘Bad Losers on Yahoo Chess’ following in quick succession. The festival nightmare that is ‘Running Order Squabble Fest’ raises a few smiles as does ‘Ode to Joyce’.

Once the rallying cry of students everywhere ‘Fuckin ‘ell it’s Fred Titmus’ is sung by a raucous, near capacity crowd as is a lively ‘The Bastard Son of Dean Friedman’. Slackers anthem ‘Floreat Inertia’ provides a nice change of pace before we arrive at the foil to The Doors’ ‘The End’, ‘Footprints’. Slightly surreal in meshing a biblical tale with Junior Kickstart vocalist [and guitarist] Nigel Blackwell sings with just the right amount of bemused cynicism. It is Nigel’s ability to get under the skin of the character’s that inhabit songs like ‘All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit’ that prevent Half Man Half Biscuit becoming pastiche or a parody. It’s that plus Nigel’s attention to detail, a conscientious proofreader, that give the lyrics backstory and depth. And don’t forget the biting satire and deadpan delivery of songs like ‘We Built This Village on a Trad. Arr. Tune’ and set closer ‘National Shite Day’ [“Overhead a rainbow appears, in black and white”].

The band return for four [count ‘em!] well deserved encores, the highlight of which is a brutally heavy reading of Killing Joke’s futurist nightmare ‘Wardance’, on which they capture the monolithic enormity of the original. That stands in marked contrast to closer ‘Everything’s AOR’ which, with its references to leather swivel chairs, Kendo Nagasaki and tennis racquets, sends all home happy.

Peter Dennis

Comments Off on Live review: Half Man Half Biscuit

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

 

 

Comments Off on Live review: DragonForce

Live review: Music Of Cream

Music of Cream The Stables, Milton Keynes October 8th 2019 It’s true of any music, be it rock or classical, that if it’s not performed live it will die and,…

Music of Cream
The Stables, Milton Keynes
October 8th 2019

It’s true of any music, be it rock or classical, that if it’s not performed live it will die and, with the sad passing of Ginger Baker, that makes the Music of Cream even more vital.

The Music of Cream are more than just a tribute band, featuring Kofi Baker [Ginger’s son], Malcolm Bruce [Jack’s son] and Eric Clapton’s nephew Will Johns, this trio have a pedigree in their own right. And that’s immediately evidenced when they take to the stage and launch into ‘Politician’. Garnered a heroes’ welcome the band forsake costumes and other novelties preferring to rely on their musical chops to recreate the Cream experience and undoubtedly each member has inherited some musical talent. ‘Badge’ follows and what really makes this show special for the aficionado is the inside stories that pepper the set (Ringo Starr’s contribution to ‘Badge’ a prime example) and they’re told with comedic flair. It’s a set tailor-made for the fan with less obvious album cuts like ‘Sleepy Time Time’ and ‘SWLABR’ nestling next to ‘White Room’ which is extended into a free form blues jam and takes us up to the interval.

Returning after a short break with a trio of blues cuts including ‘I’m So Glad’ and ‘Crossroads’ finds each band member vying for the audiences attention [in a friendly way] so much so that they take on the cloak of a power trio and it certainly sounds like there’s more than three people on stage. Just days after the death of his father Kofi plays stoically and ‘Toad’ is the perfect vehicle for his drum solo. Against footage of Ginger beating the skins Kofi delivers a 15 minute masterclass which is rewarded with a standing ovation. Set closer ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ positions Cream as proto-metal, the missing link between the British R&B boom and Led Zeppelin, and if further proof is needed about the validity of Music of Cream, this is it. In the live environment they expose what a multi-faceted creature Cream was, from the neo-psych of ‘Pressed Rat and Warthog’ to the blues of ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’ to the glorious pop rock of ‘Sweet Wine’; Music of Cream bring these nuances, often buried on the studio recordings, to the surface. Will Johns plays with some of his uncles prowess on the well deserved encore ‘Spoonful’, and ensures all present leave sated.

Peter Dennis

Comments Off on Live review: Music Of Cream

Live review: Stormbringer

STORMBRINGER The Roadmender, Northampton September 6th Opening an evening of metal at the Roadmender are Broken Empire. Bringing a groove-laden sound and delivering it with punk aggression this four-piece from…

STORMBRINGER
The Roadmender, Northampton
September 6th

Opening an evening of metal at the Roadmender are Broken Empire. Bringing a groove-laden sound and delivering it with punk aggression this four-piece from Oxfordshire/Northants are a bundle of finely-honed energy. Displaying little in the way of nerves they deliver original tunes like ‘Parasite’ which are both heavy and emotive. Lyrically astute, their first single ‘No More Lies’ follows and is peppered with neat time changes that remind me of ’90s era Metallica. A twin-guitar attack creates a huge sound as set closer [and forthcoming single] ‘Time Running Out’ is a real earworm, and brings things to a suitably climatic crescendo.

Hitting the stage like a gang of whirling dervishes Parallax haven’t come to take prisoners and by second track, ‘End’, their enthusiasm has infected the whole venue. Some powerhouse drumming creates an earth-shaking sound that’s underpinned by some fine finger-tapping on the bass, while the vocals mirror the rhythm and alternate between hardcore growls and something almost soulful. The guitars fire in unison to create an artillery barrage as ‘Losing Control’ and ‘Hero’ are unleashed in quick succession. It’s great to see a band enjoying themselves, but the in between song banter could be toned down so their stage presence matches the ferocity of their sound.

Local band Still Remains appear as a blur of Flying V’s and throwing shapes. It’s no surprise the band cite Metallica, Saxon and Thin Lizzy as influences because their sound perfectly captures that moment in time when the NWOBHM was morphing into speed metal. Originally formed in 1993 as a reaction to grunge their unique take on trad metal has been immovable and seen off various fads and trends. With no pomposity Still Remains are simply four guys on stage, having a ball and living out their fantasies as guitarist Andy Green delivers blistering solo after blistering solo and his vocals have that earthy touch of Paul Di’anno. The whole band lock in well together as the set ebbs and flows smoothly with the songs paired by tempo. ‘What I Am’ broods with a moody riff, while the ferocious set closer, ‘Redeemer’, ensures they leave as they arrived: in a blaze of sonic fury.

Tonight’s headliners Stormbringer have a sound that’s built for the biggest stages, and they’ve taken the right route by paying their dues in clubs and bars. While the Roadmender has become their spiritual home you have the feeling they will soon outgrow the venue. Since I last saw Stormbringer they have shuffled personnel with Darren Caven-Quantrill coming in on guitar and original vocalist Mike Stockley returning after a hiatus. Fans shouldn’t worry as it’s the same Stormbringer, only more groove-orientated and with a more expansive sound. Appropriately they open with their very first single ‘Grinder’, and it’s like Mike has never been away. Slotting right back in the band he immediately commandeers centre stage, constantly punching the air and standing astride the barriers. He’s one of those rare frontmen who can make the whole venue feel involved and, despite the line up changes, the band hit the ground running, like a well-oiled machine they’re firing on all cylinders as ‘Bleed For’ and ‘Save Me’ are discharged in quick succession. It’s a career spanning set which pulls tracks from their three albums while the new song debuted, the moody ‘Mirage’, stomps like a giant and has that huge feeling that Metallica captured on their Black Album. ‘Stick to Your Guns’ follows along with ‘Bad Blood’ as drummer John Paul Quantrill provides a thunderous soundtrack to which bassist Darren McCullagh prowls like a caged animal. Two from their debut album MMVIII follow in the shape of ‘Mark Anthony’ and ‘Gazing at the Grave’, both of which provide plenty of foot-on-the-monitor, fist-in-the-air metal action before guitarist Dom Wallace lays an explosive solo over the anthemic ‘Smother’. Still driven by an insatiable hunger the band look visibly exhausted as they near the sets conclusion; yet they drain the tank to deliver an explosive closer in the shape of ‘Dying Breed’.

Peter Dennis.

Photos by David Jackson

Comments Off on Live review: Stormbringer

ExP + DJ O.P.1 live review and interview

ExP’s ‘Fully Fledged Fraud’ Album Release Tour, featuring DJ O.P.1 Friday August 9th The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton Friday night and myself and Bernie Beirne are heading down to the Gari…

ExP’s ‘Fully Fledged Fraud’ Album Release Tour, featuring DJ O.P.1
Friday August 9th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton

Friday night and myself and Bernie Beirne are heading down to the Gari to catch one of the usual faces, DJ O.P.1. A Northamptonshire DJ with exquisite blends of hiphop, funk, jazz, rock, jungle, dnb, he’s always guaranteed to put on a dancefloor filling night of fantastic tunes. Although on this night, he has a rather special treat in store…
O.P.1 has teamed up with Yorkshire’s finest Rapper ExP, to be his Jazzy Jeff on the latest album Fully Fledged Fraud. And tonight, they bring their ‘tiny’ tour to Northampton. Starting in Leeds last night, the tour stops at The Garibaldi Hotel for one night only before they move down south to the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch.

Ben “ExP” Goodwin draws on influences for his current style of rap from classic old skool hiphop artists such as De La Soul, Jurassic 5, Tribe Called Quest. As he says, “people who know how to have fun on stage and make joyful music”. And having fun on stage is one thing that ExP is really good at, drawing in the crowd with his lyric boards and audience participation. So, whether you know his tracks or not, you find yourself joining in with the chorus of “we don’t do that” and “work is so shit”. Plus, you are bound to recognise some the of the classic songs which ExP has skilfully sampled; from the Ratpack to Bill Withers and Sly & the Family Stone.

ExP has a large following based in Corby from his group Flame Griller, so it was great to see the Corby crowd trek across county and turn up to support their tour.

New Boots had a chat with Ben and Robin before the show began..
The album is called Fully Fledged Fraud, so what’s the concept behind this album. Are you the Fully-Fledged Fraud?
Ben: Yeah exactly, as is everyone. That was kind of the point of it. The last album had tracks that I could name the album after in the end, but this is one is a bit more of a summary of everything. I think the summary of it was that everyone is a fraud, everyone is pretending to do what they do, even if they are doing it to a good level. So, you look at yourself and say I am doing this but if I told them how rubbish I really am…

Ok, I get it. A good example of this is Michelle Obama who talks about imposter syndrome?
Yeah, it’s like when people just feel they aren’t right, and apparently Penelope Cruz too. With every film she does she thinks “I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m a complete fraud, I’m not a real actress”, thoughts like this. This is a major thing for people.

Does this mean that you don’t feel like a real rapper?
Well that and many other things. It’s a very strange thing to think of yourself as a rapper in the first place, especially being white and from Yorkshire! You know and being very grumbly. The content is very grumbly and non-rap in its own way, but it is also about being a fraud in my work life, my married life, everything and anything really.

So, you are gigging tonight at The Garibaldi Hotel, where slowthai recently held his album launch as well. What are your thoughts on the current British hip-hop scene?
The British hip-hop scene is cool and busier the further south you get! So it’s great as you get into London but its also busy under London with Brighton and Bristol over the way. Its good, its bubbling, it has its own thing. But hip-hop in itself is such a big word that it incapsulates so much stuff. You can include trap and grime in that, and if you do it’s as buzzing as it’s ever been.

So, if you were to sub- genre yourself under hip-hop, what genre would you say you are?
Haaa! Well the cool thing now is Mumble Rap! So, I have coined ‘Grumble Rap’ because I’m just having a grumble man.. when you start sub-genre’ing…what I’m doing and its like boom bop and classic hip-hop.

What’s it like working with O.P.1?
This is my third gig ever working with O.P.1 and mate it is incredible. He is the best DJ I have ever worked with by a long shot. He knows his stuff man, he’s the best.

Some of your lyrics are just downright hilarious. Do you spend time trying to craft the joke or does that just happen naturally?
No! there is nothing worse then trying to be funny and I don’t think that I am funny. Its just observations, so if something pisses me off from time to time, I will write it down on my phone and I’ll put that into something. Somethings write themselves really quick and something things take ages to craft.

The new album got a promotional tweet from Frankie Boyle! How did that happen?
It was years ago when people realised that he was into hip-hop and he was sharing tweets about the music that he liked. So, a member of Flame Griller messaged him out of the blue and said we do this music and he really got into it. Since then he has followed us, he’s supportive of us and we can shoot him a message and he will promote our music. Its very, very cool. Romesh Ranganathan as well! Its great to have that boost.

So, London tomorrow, then what’s next for you?
Then I have a small gig on the 17th August – Autopot Summer Social then literally nothing. Another Flame Griller gig in October but nothing else. Ever since putting the album out in July I’ve been running around trying to get everything out, trying to talk to everyone so I think once it gets to mid to late August I can try to start promoting the album and get new people to listen and share. Word of mouth is the most important thing for me. Then hopefully there will be another album by 2022.

Over to you O.P.1 – how did this collab come about?
I was DJing at a festival in Corby last September and I was DJing for a local group and a few other MCs on the night. ExP came down, saw me smashing it [as usual!] and he said we need to work together. He asked me to do some scratches on a track, I threw some ideas together, did the cuts and he liked it and went with it. So that’s on the new album, a track called “High Horse”.
He then asked me to do the southern gigs, but it ended up me being his DJ full time now. The video should be out in a couple of months. I don’t know how much I can say, its an animated video. It looks pretty dope from what he sent me. Check out his videos on YouTube, as they are all proper.
I think we both have the same work ethic, the same ideas and the same background in hip-hop so it just kind of worked out really well. We will definitely be doing some more stuff together in the future, for sure.

Except for this project, what else are you up to?
I have regular nights at the Garibaldi Hotel, The Pomfret and the Charles Bradlaugh. I have a few festivals coming up and there are a few local artists I will be working with. You can keep up to date from my Facebook page “DJ O.P.1”

Lisa Eversden

Fully Fledged Fraud is available online here

Comments Off on ExP + DJ O.P.1 live review and interview

Live review: Paul Young

PAUL YOUNG / SINEAD BURGESS Royal & Derngate, Northampton May 13th 2019 Putting a decidedly Antipodean twist on Americana is Brisbane born singer-songwriter Sinead Burgess. Accompanied only by an acoustic…

PAUL YOUNG / SINEAD BURGESS
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
May 13th 2019

Putting a decidedly Antipodean twist on Americana is Brisbane born singer-songwriter Sinead Burgess. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar set opener ‘Tennessee Bound’ has a real forward motion, and there’s a lot of variety on display as next cut, ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’, is very Dylan-esque – both musically and in its lyrical astuteness. Interspersing her songs with confessional tales adheres Sinead to the crowd as does the bluesy ‘Momma Raised a Ramblin’ Man’, which segues nicely into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’. In relocating to Nashville Sinead seems to have absorbed some of that environment and it gives her country tinged songs an authenticity, especially on latest single ‘Wild Flowers of Colorado’.

Some albums, perhaps unwittingly, really capture the spirit of the times and that’s certainly the case with Paul Young’s No Parlez. While it’s an album very much of its era it also has a timeless quality and this is due to the wide spectrum of influences it drew upon. As befitting of such a seminal album Paul is here to perform that record in full, and the rocky ‘Behind Your Smile’ is perfect as an opening salvo. Evidencing the wide palette from which No Parlez was painted the reggae influenced ‘Love of the Common People’ follows along with the chanting title track. Taking a few liberties with the original track listing his breakthrough solo smash ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ is welcomed like an old friend by an exuberant crowd, and precedes the funky ‘Iron Out the Rough Spots’. When No Parlez catapulted Paul Young into the mainstream the album was plundered for single after single, and in truth any track on this record would’ve troubled the charts. His cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ still seems a little daring but, by putting his own stamp on it ensures it nestles effortlessly alongside his own ‘Tender Trap’ and ‘Broken Man’. The Jack Lee penned ‘Sex’ brings the No Parlez section to a fitting end.

What follows is a crowd pleasing, career spanning set as Paul cherry picks tunes from his long career. Taking us back to his genesis a raucous run through of The Q Tips ‘Get ’em Up Joe’ gets the audience on their feet, before ‘I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down’ almost takes the roof off the Derngate. Backed by his regular band ensures the songs are faithfully reproduced while simultaneously retaining a live edge. The addition of two female backing vocalists provide a nice foil to Paul’s blue-eyed soul but now oak-aged vocals. Quite fittingly ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ brings the show to a conclusion but, judging by some of the young folk present, this is really ‘hello’.

Peter Dennis

Comments Off on Live review: Paul Young

Live review: slowthai

slowthai The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes May 7th 2019 It’s Champions League semi-final second leg night. slowthai’s second favourite team Liverpool [he’s a Cobbler, don’t you know] are already 3-0…

slowthai
The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
May 7th 2019

It’s Champions League semi-final second leg night. slowthai’s second favourite team Liverpool [he’s a Cobbler, don’t you know] are already 3-0 down from the first leg. They have been belittled everywhere over the past week. And for Liverpool you could read slowthai’s hometown of Northampton in the past couple of years. The football team were relegated in 2018, amid bafflement at how they’ve managed to lose a £10.25 million loan from the Borough Council. On top of all that the County Council declared itself “effectively bankrupt”. The bottom of the pile is real gritty, as slowthai tells us.

As tonight’s show progresses our 99p rapper is getting score updates. “It’s 3 nil to us now! No way!” That wide smile creeps just a little wider. He’s fired up for this short run of small venue dates: his way of connecting with the fans he loves so dearly, on as even keel as can be had. Everyone expects him to go interstellar when his debut album Nothing Great About Britain drops, and fans will struggle to get such close-ups again.

This gig is an explosive mix of righteous anger at the state our nation, and a celebration of youth recognising one of their own flawed companions. The man born Tyron Frampton is a constantly whirling physical presence, aided by his balaclava-clad hype man [and regular producer] Kwesi Darko. Sweat levels get exponential pretty much from the off, when ‘Polaroid’s “Kodak moment/Polaroid picture/Shake it, yeah yeah yeah” refrain initiates.

Over eleven songs here his people bounce, take videos, and shout choreographed banter/faux abuse at each other. He splits the crowd, sets up mosh pits, and generally directs us with the touch of an old-style film auteur. His Freddie Mercury-esque vocal call-and-response bit is so funny even he can’t get to the end of it without falling into hysterics. Then mid-set he reveals a unnamed and unreleased collaboration with US rapper Denzel Curry, hinting at future travels beyond the album already. The two 24 year-olds reaching across the Atlantic sounded like an enticing prospect.

‘Doorman’ is blistering, natch, and once the swirling mosh settles there’s a dozen people up on stage with him. It’s his party and we can most definitely come in, it seems – and all for the price of a cone with flake.

slowthai is the 4-0 surprise victory that changes the course of history. This is another gorgeous moment to highlight him. The Shoe Army marches on.

SETLIST:
Polaroid
Drug Dealer
GTFOMF
Mayday
IDGAF
North Nights
Inglorious
T N Biscuits
Doorman
Unnamed collaboration with Denzel Curry
Gorgeous

Words by Phil Moore. Photos by David Jackson.

Nothing Great About Britain is out May 17th. Pre-order here

Comments Off on Live review: slowthai

Live Review: The Barratts, The Covasettes, Fox Chapel, Krankhead at The Roadmender

THE BARRATTS The Roadmender, Northampton April 13th 2019 Regular music scene champions, the well-loved Same Old Kids from ShoeTown with the ShoeName have now grown up quite a bit. Their…

THE BARRATTS
The Roadmender, Northampton
April 13th 2019

Regular music scene champions, the well-loved Same Old Kids from ShoeTown with the ShoeName have now grown up quite a bit. Their maturity into season, travelled musicians wowing crowds with their nifty guitar ditties and exciting live show is established now. A big hometown show in front a few hundred fans feels both rather deserved and gloriously celebratory. It would be amiss to miss it, frankly.

As people who know what’s what they have tonight bought along their besties to join in. The opening set from Krankhead, the rising hip-hop pairing of Mio Flux and Patchy The Rockstar is sweary and sweaty, and they are absolutely on it. The likes of ‘SNL’ and ‘Sabo’ are party starters, and they will be headliners in their own right if things play out the way New Boots suspect it might.

Fox Chapel are ace tonight. They’ve been away, Lying Low – this is their first show in almost 12 months – but they are still tight as. Rumours abound this might be their last show, and if so then their bouncy post-punk will be sorely missed. Yet they promise from the stage to release some new material soon, so maybe this isn’t the last we have seen of them. Like gluttonous toddlers we collectively remain hopeful for more ‘Ice Cream’.

The Covasettes are four good-looking lads from Manchester with a line in bass-driven ditties. They are a strong match for our headliners, but they are lacking bite. ‘Like You’ and ‘This Feeling’ and ‘Top Drawer’ are indebted to noughties guitar rock and, further back, The Smiths, but the melodies and hooks are a little too polite and predictable, perhaps. A great live show though; their enthusiasm for what they do is unquestionably infectious. Northampton seems to appreciate them, and ultimately here and now that’s all that matters. There is space and time to grow and make their mark, and make New Boots take a second look.

By the time The Barratts come on the party is in full swing. Frontman James Faulkner is resplendent in black cape, feathered hat and tailored cream jacket – the dandy frontman transported in from 1890 that you never knew you needed. He conducts the crowd from start to finish with confidence, which is immediately needed as guitarist Brandon Essom has a broken cable before we’ve even begun. No matter. That the band have only released six of the 15 songs they play over their hour onstage does present them with a significant problem. But winning over a sizeable crowd who don’t know a lot of the material is all in a days’ work apparently, as no one seems to lose interest at any point. This is helped by a constant change in pace: new songs coming thick and fast from different sonic places, but all clearly the work of the same band. From the spiky indie dancefloor numbers to the ballads the public give their love back to every one, and in spades. 

‘Match Of The Day’, from 2016, brings the first round of moshing. But it’s the five song finale, all tunes in the public domain, that feels like one big cup final goal celebration – and deftly recalls all that’s best in British guitar music from the last four decades. ‘Satellites’ has a double chorus that’s heaven sent, all whilst Faulkner dissects society’s woes. New single ‘Lights Out In London’ is the Doherty/Morrissey-esque missive that should see them take big steps forward towards the nation’s heart. They save their jewel in their crown, ‘The Garrison’, to the very end. Not only does it contain a colossal heavy backbeat from the engine room of Will Smith and Evan Bridgstock that’s pummels anyone within earshot into easy submission, it’s exactly the sort of rowdy singalong anthem they seem to excel at.

The five Barratts seem to be having the times of their young lives. Long may it continue.

The Barratts setlist in full:
The Crooked Mile
Marooned
Lift Song
Certain Time Of Night
Name Badge
Smokey Ghosts
Backache
Emotional Machine
Match Of The Day
Self-Inflicted 
Satellites
Lights Out In London
Encore:
IV
Same Old Kids
The Garrison

Words by Phil Moore. Photos by David Jackson

 

 

Comments Off on Live Review: The Barratts, The Covasettes, Fox Chapel, Krankhead at The Roadmender

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search

error: Content is protected !!