Tag: northants

Book review: Have Guitars…Will Travel Vol 4.

HAVE GUITARS…WILL TRAVEL VOL. 4 [A journey through the music scene in Northampton 1988-96] Derrick A. Thompson [Whyte Tiger Publications] First of all it’s worth crediting author/editor Derrick Thompson for…

HAVE GUITARS…WILL TRAVEL VOL. 4 [A journey through the music scene in Northampton 1988-96]
Derrick A. Thompson [Whyte Tiger Publications]

First of all it’s worth crediting author/editor Derrick Thompson for not only writing and publishing a ShoeTown musical history just once, but actually doing it FOUR times over a ten year period, covering 40 years of provincial heritage. That’s precisely the sort of dedication that makes Northampton and it’s music scene such a special place.

This fourth edition in the well-received series takes the reader chronologically through the activities of many of the local acts plying their trade during the late ’80s and first half of the ’90s. You get the easily recognisable names [The Jazz Butcher, Venus Fly Trap, Peter Murphy/David J/Love & Rockets, Mystic Crew, The Enid] alongside the totally obscure [how many knew Alan Moore had two musical projects in this timeframe, for example]. They all have a story to recall, which they have done with Thompson, who has been sage enough to leave their stories pretty much untouched.

Not only is this book about the comings and goings of local bands, but also of the extended universe of promoters and venues [The Roadmender and Racehorse feature prominently], fanzines [Splinter, Bizarre], and touring acts [Pulp, The Fall, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Kirsty McCall, the mythical Spacemen 3].

This edition, New Boots must admit, does begin a little slowly recounting 1988 and ’89, but fully kicks into gear around 1990. From then through to the last page [252, numerology fans]  it becomes very hard to put down, such is the regularly great yarns told of those halcyon days. The book is fairly simply laid out [black and white photos, minimal editing], but the content keeps you wanting to know more about how the scene was then. For those of us who weren’t active in the music scene then it’s an education on top of entertainment. Also it’s pretty amazing to think how many of these musicians are still conjuring up new original music in one form or another in 2018.

Thompson states in the preface that this volume concludes the series, and if so then it’s a fine way to finish. New Boots would argue that he could, nay should, squeeze one more book out, covering 1997-2004. People are nostalgic for things 20 years ago, so why not. Plus it was not until 2004 that social media took off for bands (hello MySpace), and before that the internet was in its infancy and most bands did not have websites. If you mention any band from the late ’90s [e.g. Circa, The Pedestrians, The Fade, etc] the internet simply does not provide you with any info on them. An oral history book would still be very informative for that period.

But in the meantime hunt down this great volume!

Phil Istine

Have Guitars…is available now, via the Spiral Archive [St. Michael’s Rd] and Waterstones [Abington St] shops in Northampton, plus Amazon


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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Aug 29th – Sep 4th

MARTYR DEFILED + BORDERS + FROM EDEN TO EXILE + CASKET FEEDER + URSUS Friday August 31st The Roadmender, Northampton Lincoln death metallers begin their final tour in ShoeTown, bringing…

Friday August 31st
The Roadmender, Northampton
Lincoln death metallers begin their final tour in ShoeTown, bringing fellow Lincoln metallers Borders along for the ride. Northampton/MK/Swindon supports. Doors 6.45pm, £9 tickets

Friday August 31st
The Lab, Northampton
A night of skanking from some of the best party bands from around the country: ska-punk from London, reggae from Bedfordshire, and Southend folkpunk. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

Friday August 31st
The White Hart, Corby
Pop-punk/emo shenanigans, three ways. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday September 1st
The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
The former Big Audio Dynamite member and DJ extraordinaire plays upstairs at the Brad. In the late ’70s he was the DJ that singlehandedly turned a whole generation of punks onto reggae. Doors 9pm, £10 tickets

Saturday September 1st
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Charity all-dayer raising money for The Harry Matthew’s Small Bowel Transplant Trust. A day of live bands and DJ’s and hoping to raise as much money as possible. Doors 1pm, free entry [donations requested]

Saturday September 1st
The Lab, Northampton
Baggy-funksters P-Hex have “reluctantly” decided to allow the release of their debut album Quantum Funkanics [insert review quote]. To celebrate this “brave but ultimately foolhardy act” they play live at The Lab, with the fearless chiptune-tastic Little Bitboy in support. The album will be on sale this evening “for anybody brave enough to purchase”. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

Saturday September 1st
The County Ground, Northampton
Pop-tastic fun with the original bo selecta, with the R&B princess in support. Doors 4pm, tickets from £20

Saturday September 1st
The White Hart, Corby
“Seductive, slow burn narco rock…” or “channelling the moody atmospherics of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds”. Singer and guitarist Jim Jones’ distinctive musical history has spanned several incarnations including The Jim Jones Revue, Black Moses and Thee Hypnotics. Support from trashcan rock’n’roll troubadours from the wrong side of town, and electro art punk from Leicester. Doors 7.30pm, £12 tickets

Saturday September 1st
The Three Cocks Inn, Kettering
Brash guitars and a touch of nihilism from Corby’s Luna Rosa, who continue their ‘Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death’ tour, bringing it to Kettering with some friends on board. D.I.Y lo-fi psych sounds for the soul from Mundays, whilst Oddity Island bear the gift of oft-kilter folk rock. 8pm doors, free entry

Saturday September 1st
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
This will be No Rest Promotions penultimate gig at the Horseshoe. Headliners come from the north-east, a five-piece Anti-Fascist edgy ska/punk/reggae band. Support from Brum’s energetic punks and MK party punkers. Doors 8pm, free entry

Sunday September 2nd
The Lab, Northampton
Beginning in 1991 with infamous psych-rock provocateurs The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Matt Hollywood has trodden many musical paths over the last two and a half decades. From deceptively accessible BJM standouts like ‘Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth’ and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, to the tripped-out folk pop of The Out Crowd, and the hazy elegance of Rebel Drones, Hollywood’s songwriting has wandered through multiple genres, the playful experimentation always grounded in a core of earnest emotion. Support from Corby grungedelica trio who are making waves. Doors 7.30pm, £11 tickets

Sunday September 2nd
The Drunken Duck, Kislingbury
A new venue for The Songwriter Sessions, but still three feature-length sets by some of Northamptonshire’s most talented songwriters in a quiet place where music takes centre stage. This time its the singer and songwriter of The Abrahams, San-D Godoy’s yearning alt-folk, and darkly delicious expertly crafted folk from Rob Bray and Corinne Lucy. Doors 7.30pm, £3 entry

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New Music Friday: Patchy, The Rockstar

Rapper Patchy, The Rockstar dropped his latest single ‘Shtick’ and New Boots was impressed enough to want to discover the back story of, and future for, the prolific artiste. How did…

Rapper Patchy, The Rockstar dropped his latest single ‘Shtick’ and New Boots was impressed enough to want to discover the back story of, and future for, the prolific artiste.

How did Patchy, The Rockstar come into existence?
I have been making music since I was 11, and up until the start of last year I was terrified of peoples opinions. I was scared of not impressing the people close to me like my friends and family, so I only shared my early music online under loads of different nicknames and then for the past few years had only been producing beats. I finally built up the courage to talk to people about my love for making music last year, and I began releasing original music as Patchy, The Rockstar.

How would you describe your sound?
A blend of modern hip-hop and emotional rock music. But I have versatility and a range of styles to display how I’m feeling when I create music.

Who are your main influences/heroes?
I can thank my Dad and his jazz-funk records for my earliest influences; Roy Ayers and The Crusaders come to mind. My Dad bought me my first CD when I was 7 which was Shaggy’s Hot Shot album. Then I began buying albums with my pocket money from there: Nas, Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco, Linkin Park, Paparoach and more. My favourite artist right now is Tyler, The Creator.

You’ve been quite prolific over the past few years. What has been the reaction to the previous Soundcloud uploads?
I started as a music producer and built up quite a lot of attention by entering beat competitions, where you would download the acapella to an original track and make your own beat. I never won but gained so much attention for it.

Tell us everything about ‘Shtick’.
‘Shtick’ came about so spontaneously. It’s produced by Ethancx, a guy I’ve worked with quite a bit over the past year and as soon as I heard the beat I jumped on it straight away. It took me about an hour or so after I heard it to write to it, record it, mix it and master it. That’s my favourite way to make music when it’s spontaneous like that, I always enjoy the end product more.

You collaborate often. How do you find yourself hooking up with, say, Mio Flux?
It is quite mad when I think about how we met. I was actually his manager at Toys R’ Us. Sadly Toys R’ Us is no longer with us. I guess everything happens for a reason. I can’t remember how the dialogue went but we found out that we were both making music, he was producing and I was finally confident enough to tell people I rapped and sang a bit. So we hooked up on a song called ‘Balmain’ and people seemed to love it and everything developed from there.

What are your live shows with Mio Flux like?
Insane. A must-watch. We promise energy, fun and a good time regardless of what type of music your into.

Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We recently hooked up with Sarpa Salpa and have had the pleasure of working with them on something very special, which I’m really excited to share soon. I’m really enjoying watching their rise to success at the moment.

What has been your favourite Patchy moment to date?
When Mio Flux and I had our debut live show at The Garibaldi Hotel in Northampton, it was an instant classic. We never imagined it would turn out how it did, but having a packed out venue jumping around like crazy and shouting our song lyrics back at us for the first time was a moment I’ll never forget.

Who are you listening to currently?
Right now I’ve got Pi’erre Bourne ‘Marie Curie’, Tyler, The Creator ‘See You Again’ and J-Hus ‘Dark Vader’ on repeat.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Big plans! I have nothing but the highest expectations for myself and plenty of drive to get myself to the top. Mio Flux included. We really want to succeed. So our debut project and a tour is next up!

‘Shtick’ is out now on all the usual downloading/streaming platforms

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Aug 22nd – Aug 28th

JENNY JOY Wednesday August 22nd The King Billy, Northampton Joyrides singer flying solo for one night only. Doors 9pm, free entry SHAMBALA FESTIVAL Thursday August 23rd – Sunday August 26th Secret…

Wednesday August 22nd
The King Billy, Northampton
Joyrides singer flying solo for one night only. Doors 9pm, free entry

Thursday August 23rd – Sunday August 26th
Secret country estate, somewhere in Northamptonshire
“Adventures in utopia” only if you were early/clever enough to book tickets to this sold out festival, now in it’s 19th year.

Friday August 24th – Sunday August 26th
Naseby Reservoir, Naseby
Seventh edition of the festival, with proceeds going to MS therapy centre. Friday brings The Anteloids, The Yes Mess, Ichi Creator, Rt. Reverend Swifty Lezarre, and The Hatstand Band, Saturday brings Paddy Steer, Yama Warashi, La Sonora Boreal, The Unseen, Stupid Boots, Laine Hines, Augenwasser, and Delightful Young Mothers, whilst Sunday sees Will French, C. Joynes, A Noble Ghost, The Shady, Behind The Settee, and Nash Meghgi perform. Doors 2pm each day; £15 day tickets on Friday and Sunday, £20 on Saturday. £30 weekend camping tickets, £35 weekend campervan. Tickets from https://applestock.co.uk

Friday August 24th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Space rock special night, featuring bands from London and Sheffield. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday August 24th – Monday August 27th
Boughton House, nr. Kettering
Four days of artistry, activism, and belief. Resident artist this time is Pussy Riot. Too many acts to list, but the headliners each day are Carol Ann Duffy, We Are Scientists, Ozomatli, and CC Smugglers. Day tickets £22-£59, weekend tickets £50-£190 – from http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/buy-tickets

Friday August 24th
The Prince of Wales, Kettering
A night of pop-punk and grungecore from Kettering, Northampton and High Wycombe. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday August 24th
The White Hart, Corby
A night of acoustic rock, metal, and indie rock to help kick off the bank holiday. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday August 25th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Celebrating their 30th anniversary with a massive party at The Roadmender.  On the night they will be playing their original reggae songs from back in the day to the present. Special guests include Hussla D (Jah Troopers, Inspiration FM), Set It Off Sound, and ex-member of the Crew Zebby Melody. Plus special guest support from Londoner Don Campbell, the lovers rock singer. All hosted by Mark Dean from Inspiration FM. Doors 7.30pm, £12 tickets

Saturday August 25th
The Bear, Northampton
Punk alldayer at The Bear, raising money for Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary. Bands are from Corby, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Cambridge, and Peterborough. All animals are welcome with the pub providing a hydration station. Doors 2pm, free entry (donation recommended)

Saturday August 25th
The White Hart, Corby
All day bonanza in the beer garden, featuring Candidates, Oddity Island, Mundays, Bad Girlfriend, Drinsipa, Shaun Flynn [Good Apples], and Ethan Kenna. Doors 3pm, free entry

Saturday August 25th
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Double ShoeTown pleasure for your Saturday night: arty and melodic grunge, plus baggy-funk chancers promoting their long-awaited debut album Quantum Funkanics. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday August 25th
The Olde Englande, Wellingborough
HOP Events bring you an afternoon with some of your favourite local acts. Doors midday, free entry

Sunday August 26th
Beck Studios, Wellingborough
In 1979 Bauhaus cut five tracks at Beck Studios in Wellingborough, including ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’. They would return to the studio to record several other tracks, including the deconstructed cover of T-Rex’s ‘Telegram Sam’. Also, after the demise of Bauhaus in 1983, David J made two solo albums there. He returns to play an acoustic set of that material, plus highlights from throughout his career. Andrew Brooksbank [author of Bauhaus – Beneath The Mask] will also conduct and orchestrate an interview and Q&A session. Doors 8pm, $65.88 tickets [about £52]

Monday August 27th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Tyler is the lead singer of English country rockers The Rockingbirds. El Tapado is his new solo album, which he describes as “post-truth melancholia with electro hooks and country harmonies”. Mrs Pilgrimm – aka Sophie Williams – is best known for her beguiling solo sets where she has developed a unique approach to combining the cello, voice and looping. Think Laurie Anderson meets Arthur Russell. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Aug 15th – Aug 21st

THE HERO DIES FIRST + SUNFALL + WITHIN GUILT Wednesday August 15th The King Billy, Northampton Melodic Bedford metallers do a tour warm-up show at the Billy, with support from…

Wednesday August 15th
The King Billy, Northampton
Melodic Bedford metallers do a tour warm-up show at the Billy, with support from Guildford post-metalcore quartet and Bedford nu-metallers. Doors 8pm, free entry

Thursday August 16th
The Lab, Northampton
Nu breed of open mic for up-and-coming artists from Northampton; from the worlds of grime, UK hip hop, spoken word, freestyles, singers, and beatboxers. Feauturung Roll Blunt and a whole host of performers. Put your name down by messaging the page if interested. Doors 8pm, donations on the door

Thursday August 16th
Karmana Restaurant, Northampton
Hull-based alt-folk singer-songwriter Katie plays the Kingsley Park-area vegan restaurant. “Drawing on influences such as John Martyn, Roy Harper and Laura Marling, Spencer creates modern folk music which owes as much to East Riding as it does to the American greats”. Doors 8pm, £10 tickets. Karmana is a small place and limited seating available so do book

Thursday August 16th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Ethereal folk-rock and pop band founded by Victoria and Luke Oldfield (son of Mike Oldfield), two artists whose influences contradict in a way which only highlights each element. Victoria’s classical training and love of dance music fuses with Luke’s folk and rock background to create a fresh sound of their own. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday August 17th – Saturday August 18th
Finedon Independent Wesleyan Church, nr Wellingborough
The second Secret Garden festival: three stages of live music, comedy and performance poetry, stalls and merchandise. Acts still to be announced. Hosted by comedian/poet Joe Fisher. Doors 2pm each day, £6 tickets

Saturday August 18th – Sunday August 19th
UFO Pavillion, Northampton
The Umbrella Fair Festival on The Racecourse is a stripped-down affair this year, restricted to the Pavillion surroundings. There acoustic acts over the two days during the daytime, then special guests in the evenings. You get: Mark Teulon, Helen Virell, Dun Wiv Whiskey, Duncan Bissatt, Paul Strummer, Harrison Coleman, Amii Dawes, Vickii Stocker, Steve Birks, Rebecca Ryan, Crybb, Laura Baker, Beth Parker, Myjaike, and Kenneth J Nash, Inta Africa, and Jimmy Pike and the Red Stars [Saturday], then Alchemy, Tim Jon Brophy, Scott Walters, Hazeyjane, Oakleas Rise, Josh Wylie, Dynamix, Terry Slade, Wildflower Rogue, Pete Hatfield, Robyn Wilson, The Blue Foundation, Drones Club, Kings Gambit, and Repro Jam Squad [Sunday]. Music from midday, free entry

Saturday August 18th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Mental health charity awareness day. Mainstage acts are The Brandy Thieves, S.G. Wolfgang, Siobhan Mazzei, Stevie Jones & The Wildfires, The Abrahams, Kenneth J Nash, Hazeyjane, Amii Dawes, Charlotte Carpenter, Hippolyta’s Moon, Homeless Shakespeare, and Scott Walters. There’s a hip hop/spoken word stage and acoustic stage too. Doors from midday, free entry

Saturday August 18th
The Black Prince, Northampton
A psychedelic, acid punk, electro space rock extravaganza featuring acts from Cambridge, Tamworth, Birkenhead, London, and Stourbridge. Doors 5pm, £10 tickets

Saturday August 18th
The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Formed in Northampton in the early 1980s [current location: Northampton, Brighton, Yorkshire and Austria], the GU make twisted anti-authoritarian rocking blues. Think The Sweet meets Dr John. Doors 9pm, free entry

Saturday August 18th
The White Hart, Corby
Crazyhead are an English indie, “grebo”, garage-rock band from Leicester, formed in 1986. Their songs ranged in theme from trenchant social commentary to the surreal, but always with an underlying vein of black humour, and they are renowned for their live performances. Support is voodoo rock’n’roll [also from Leicester], and disco glam punk from Corby itself. Doors 7.30pm, £10 tickets

Saturday August 18th
The Shire Horse, Corby
Shire Fest returns, featuring music from Prisoner, Doozer, The 182’s, Black Wave, Shadow On The Sun, Skirt and Tommy Crawford. Doors midday, tickets are £4 from inside the pub [under 14’s are free]

Sunday August 19th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Having spent the best part of two years living out the back of a van and gigging across Europe, Will Whisson has returned to his Kentish roots to concentrate on writing new material while also gigging around the county. His recent solo live sets feature a brand new electric sound which sees him triggering samples and beats from his loop pedal to provide a refreshing foundation for his custom Fender Strat to sit on top of. This, combined with his acoustic guitar playing offers an unpredictable and dynamic element to his gigs. Doors 3pm, free entry




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New Music Friday: Drinsipa

Corby mathcore trio Drinsipa have just released a new single, ‘DOP’. Hear it below, along with an interview with singer/guitarist Beb Reed. How did you guys get together? Why the switch…

Corby mathcore trio Drinsipa have just released a new single, ‘DOP’. Hear it below, along with an interview with singer/guitarist Beb Reed.

How did you guys get together? Why the switch to a three-piece after so long as a duo?
Beb: Josh and I are cousins, and basically in 2013 he came down from up north to live here! And we didn’t really know any other musicians in the local area who wanted to do the same sort of stuff we wanted to do, and had no connection to the local music scene, but we enjoyed jamming and rehearsing, so we started a band with our mate Arran. We played a few gigs, and we were really in to it. We started to write some songs on our own aside from that band, and then we got a gig and had to think of a name, thus Drinsipa was born. We started getting a lot of gig offers quite soon which we’d never had before, and we haven’t really stopped since then. We just love playing gigs and being around the people involved in the music scene. We started writing some more complex and experimental songs mainly due to different influences from different bands we were listening to. Having recorded a full length album, we felt it was time to switch things up a bit. We recorded the Poppy Fields EP from home at our old flat in Poppy Fields in Kettering. We played some gigs with the new songs and we had a really good response, but felt we’d benefit from a bass player to fill some of the more chordy and harmonic parts of the songs from the EP. We had toyed with the idea of having our mate Myles come and play bass for us, so when we decided we were going to get a bass player, we instantly thought of Myles. We taught him the songs and he picked up on them really quickly. We started playing some more shows and writing some new stuff and here we are now.

How would you describe your sound?
We find it hard to describe our sound as we try to make the songs sound as non-traditional as possible. We play with a lot of time signatures and obscure song structures, mainly for a laugh and to keep it interesting not just to perform, but to play, or in some cases just to listen back to ourselves. I’d say dynamics are a big part of the sound, as we have a lot of different sounding sections in songs, so they can go from oober brutal to melodic clean within the space of 4 bars, or in our case every 1 and 3/4 bars [that’s a joke]. But if someone asks, I usually say mathcore because it’s the probably the biggest influence of ours.

What was the reaction like to your debut album 42, from 2016?
The reaction was fantastically amaze balls. The album launch show was especially good. We played at The Hut in Corby, and it went fuckin’ mental!!! We didn’t push the album as much as people thought we should have done, but in all honesty, we only do things as a band we think are fun, because we really don’t want it to turn in to a chore for us. We just appreciate that people loved what we were doing and bought our album. We still get comments about it today, and it’s really cool that people dig it. We were quite out of touch with social media back then too, but it’s a lot easier to do now we have an extra helping hand.

Tell us everything about the new single, ‘DOP’.
It’s titled after the practice studio in which it was written; shout out to the The Pod in Corby! It was the first song we wrote after the Poppy Fields EP. We were going for a more visceral, aggressive sound and with the added help of Myles we were able to work out some pretty interesting sounds. The track is full of fuzzy bass and crazy weird riffs and time sigs. It has a cool major-key riff that floats in and out of the track between the more aggressive section and really stupidly stupid heavy section at the end, which is always fun to play live.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We play with a lot of different kinds of bands in Northampton, too many to name all of them! We don’t let a difference in genre stop us from playing with bands so it’s just one big mates fest! Skirt, King Purple, Monarchs, Sarpa Salpa are just a few of our local favs!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
We just recently played The Guildhall as part of Twinfest, that was crazy! Huuuuuge hall with huge sound, had a great time! We also flew over to Germany as part of Twinfest and played some gigs over in Marburg, which was phenomenal. Probably one of the highlights our musical lives let alone the past year! We made some great friends and connections over there and it’s cool to be part of the Twinfest family.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We don’t have too many burning desires for the band. We love playing gigs and hearing feedback about our intentionally confusing music. We know it’s not for everyone, which is part of the reason we write the music we do. I think writing and recording is a big part of why we do what we do, and we like to have a physical copy of music that we have written and recorded, there’s something quite special about that. I guess we will have to see what happens, but for now it’s just a barrel o’ laughs!

DOP is out now for ‘name your price’ here

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Aug 8th – Aug 14th

SNAKERATTLERS + JOE GO LOCO Friday August 10th The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton A couple of primitive rock’n’roll duos who have emerged from previous forms. York-based Snakerattlers were recently The Franceens, and…

Friday August 10th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
A couple of primitive rock’n’roll duos who have emerged from previous forms. York-based Snakerattlers were recently The Franceens, and the duo mix-up rockabilly, garage and gum-chewing greaser rock and roll. Closer to home are ex-Mobbs ShoeTown duo Joe and Cheadle, who dish out maraca-driven rhythm’n’roll [tonight it’s a solo set from Joe though]. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday August 10th
The Romany, Northampton
Acoustic-driven rock from ShoeCounty, Corby instrumental post-punk types, and gonzo alt-rock from MK way make up a formidable-sounding night out. Doors 8.30pm, free entry

Friday August 10th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Lo-fi indie quartet – with added violin – play the front bar. Sunshine pop support. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday August 11th
Barratts, Northampton
Reggae outfit Mystic Crew headline a day of music, with rum cocktails and Jerk BBQ available. Show at 9pm, free entry

Saturday August 11th – Sunday August 12th
Irchester Country Park, Irchester
A beautiful, tranquil setting with some humdingers to listen and watch: Oddity Island, Lunaxis, Sarpa Salpa, Reggaematik, Vikki Clayton, Kenneth J Nash, Luke Broughton, The Bighead, The Abrahams, Stevie Jones & The WildfiresKezzabelle Ambler, The Red Triangle, Tom Rose & The Heathen Orchestra, Crybb, Rebecca Ryan, Jess Orestand, Veins, Hazeyjane, James Watt & The Avenues, Tim Brophy, Carterdolby, Lew Bear, Whale, Blood Moon, Steve Birks, Kevin Hewick, Sam Stopps, Rogue State Circus, Vickii Stocker, Dunn Wiv Whiskey, Woolford Scott, Hippolyta’s Moon, Ian Lynn Palmer, The Secret Magpies, Andy Griffiths, Paul Strummer, Michael Kinder, Helen Verrill, Mark Carver, and Josh Wylie. 11am-7pm, free entry [parking charges apply]

Saturday August 11th
EquATA, Grafton Underwood [nr Kettering]
Equata use horses as part of therapy treatment, and they host their annual Fun Day. There’s an Old Hotel Records showcase in the evening, with Kenneth J. Nash, Oddity Island, Miyagi Car Wash, The Abrahams, Veins, Crybb, Kezzabelle Ambler, and Rebecca Ryan. Event from 10am, music from 8pm. Free entry

Saturday August 11th
The Old Forge, Cranford
The last ever Sofa Sessions see the singer-songwriter from Ireland play songs from her latest, Potholes In The Sky. Support from the Rutland troubadour with his Americana sounds. Doors 7.30pm, tickets available from thesofasessions@live.ie via PayPal (£15)

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New Music Friday: Jono & The Uke Dealers

‘Joe Meek’s Ghost’ b/w ‘Beautiful Young Things’ is the new single from Northampton’s Jono & The Uke Dealers. The quartet – Dayrl Bond [bass/vocals], Louis Decoster Ryan [drums/percussion], Darren Rogers [ukulele/piano]…

‘Joe Meek’s Ghost’ b/w ‘Beautiful Young Things’ is the new single from Northampton’s Jono & The Uke Dealers. The quartet – Dayrl Bond [bass/vocals], Louis Decoster Ryan [drums/percussion], Darren Rogers [ukulele/piano] and Jono Bell [ukulele/vocals] – have been getting rave reviews over the past few years, so New Boots were keen to get the lowdown on their past and this cracking new song.

How did you guys get together?
Originally formed by Jono & Darren, who had got together as a songwriting team and had written a pocket full of songs together. There was never any intention of getting a band together in the early days. It sort of happened organically, and like most bands we had a few line-up changes on the way, finally becoming what is now The Uke Dealers when Dayrl And Louis joined adding their songwriting talents. Both had collaborated with Darren and Jono in the past. The main motivation for the band is simply to write songs in any genre; we want to no rules. And that’s what we’ve been doing.

How would you describe your sound?
Describing our sound is a hard one so we will quote the Rev D Wayne Love of the Alabama 3 who collaborated on our debut EP on Grassroots Records. “You’re an amazing songwriting band who can’t afford guitars”.

Tell us everything about the single, both sides, ‘Joe Meek’s Ghost’ and ‘Beautiful Young Things’.
The A-side ‘Joe Meek’s Ghost’ is based on the great producers’ myth more than the actual facts, which strangely enough are themselves mythical. We had a ball recording this track with our producer Gavin Monaghan at his Magic Garden Studio in Wolverhampton. Joe Meek’s innovations and inventions are still used today in recording studios. Gavin plays guitar and theremin on the track, which has been already played a few times by Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music we are happy to say.
The B-side ‘Beautiful Young Things’ is a celebration of Northamptonshire’s amazing music scene and a nod to its past. It’s a old musician talking to a young musician. About the amazing natural high that live gigs give you no matter how old you are. The shared buzz that makes us all equals.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We’ve been gigging not just here in our home town but all over the country. Our first gigs here were supporting bands such as Kings Gambit , P-Hex and The Repro Jammers. Members of the above bands we’ve known for years and are part of the extended musical family we belong to here in Northampton. Birmingham has become our second home town and we love our gigs there, often along with indie sensation Paper Buoys who share the same producer as us. A lot of our home gigs are at the usual music venues but our hearts will always remain with The Lab – an independent music venue both currently and historically. We see a lot of local musicians at our gigs and the feedback to our songs has been overwhelming. Recognition from your peers is as good as a paid gig. We often perform at The Umbrella Fair. We believe community is all we’ve really got in the end, and our gigs for them have been the most memorable. It’s lovely having two local venues that bring out the best in your music as soon as you walk through the door.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Jono getting stung by a wasp on the lip three songs before the end of a festival set and the instant morph into the singing creature from the black lagoon. Great gig by the way!

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
The long awaited P-Hex album, which is a funky masterpiece.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We will continue, track by track, to complete our album with Gavin. Work on new songs. Go with the flow. No rules.

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Aug 1st – Aug 7th 2018

DAN KNIGHT + BURNING CODES Friday August 3rd The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton Northampton singer-songwriter who tugs at the heartstrings launches his ‘Breakthrough’ EP with a live show.  Support from Peterborough-based…

Friday August 3rd
The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
Northampton singer-songwriter who tugs at the heartstrings launches his ‘Breakthrough’ EP with a live show.  Support from Peterborough-based Snow Patrol-esque band. Doors 7pm, £5 tickets

Friday August 3rd
UFO Pavilion, Northampton
Monthly ‘Songwriter Sessions’ night to celebrate the art of songwriting. “Listen without being disturbed by rowdy chatterboxes”. Hatstand Band bring you dark songs with stomping beats delivered with a warm smile. Amii Dawes is inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. Nash has an intuitive gift for self-reflection and humble view of the world woven into a stream of beautiful melodies. Doors 7.30pm, £3 entry

Friday August 3rd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Warming up for the release of their third EP, you should expect the usual emo, noise, sweat, and falling over each other from the headliners. Even more noise from the main support, and openers are the new kids on the block who are impressing everyone so far. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday August 3rd
The Yards, Kettering
Classic pop-rock from your headliners, emo/pop-punk from the middle pack, and psychedelic folk from your starters. All three are worthy of your time, so no excuses. Doors 6.30pm, free entry

Saturday August 4th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Mike Kinder has gotten together another cracking line-up for his one-day festival, booking 20 acts over the two outdoor stages at the Prince. Main stage performers include Stephen Ridley, Jump The Shark, John Dhali, The Covasettes, Elle Delaney & The Komodo Quartet, Alex Hulme, Robyn Wilson, Ryan Nicklin, Jonathan Parks, Mio Flux & Patchy The Rockstar, Vincent J Rigney, Dan Zeshan, and The Barbershop Boys. Over on the Yard stage is Sam Wray, Anna-Sophie, Romain Trojani, Marcus Marooth, Georgina Timms, Leslie Wink, Yohan Yohan, and Josh Hardacre. Doors 12.30pm, £8 tickets

Saturday August 4th
The Lab, Northampton
Corby lads launch their epic, raucous new single [which you can hear this Friday on this very site], with support from their similarly-inclined hardcore friends. Doors 7pm, £4 entry

Saturday August 4th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The NN funk machine support ’70s jazz-funk legends Fatback Band at a ‘Back To The Old School’ party. Doors 9pm, £20 tickets

Saturday August 4th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Another Ni Ni sessions night of acoustic singer-songwriters. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday August 4th
The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Do you like your melodies sweet and your humour as black as pitch? Then The Jazz Butcher is your man. Doors 9pm, free entry

Sunday August 5th
Beckets Park, Northampton
The annual festival to find a Bard of Northampton. There will be stages for bands, solo musicians, dance, as well as spoken word performers of all kinds. Confirmed musical performers are Mark Gresty, Helen Verrill, Kimmerbelly, Cameron Grace, Billy Nomad, Ian Lovell, Lew Bear, Kenneth J Nash, Woolford Scott, Taylor Smith, Jono And The Uke Dealers, Josh Wylie, and The VHS Pirates. Kicks off at midday, free entry

Sunday August 5th
The Garibaldi Hotel [basement], Northampton
An intimate afternoon of live acoustic music from the local talent of the shire. There’s a vintage apparel fair on upstairs concurrently too. Doors 2pm, free entry

Sunday August 5th
The King Billy, Northampton
Four-piece ShoeTown pop-punks up top and in the middle, with five-piece Bedfordshire heavy pop-punk band below to get you in the mood. Doors 8pm, free entry

Monday August 6th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Explosive San Diego band. Their frenzied live performances tap into the same unstoppable combination of rock ‘n’ roll energy and showmanship that fuelled the MC5 and James Brown. Support from ShoeTown glam-garage rockers The Bophins. Doors 8pm, free entry


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Twinfest 2018: The Review

TWINFEST July 26th – 29th 2018 Northampton THURSDAY, THE GUILDHALL So here it is, Northampton’s best reason to believe in grassroots culture. The annual event celebrates all that is special…

July 26th – 29th 2018

So here it is, Northampton’s best reason to believe in grassroots culture. The annual event celebrates all that is special about the acts from the twin towns of Poitiers, Marburg, and Northampton. It’s the antithesis of Brexit. Twinfest is *deep breath* truly something to believe in, that gives short shrift to any notion of this town being a “cultural black hole”. Twinfest is the actualisation that this is, indeed, a talented music town.

This year the excitement was more pronounced once it was announced that the opening night’s festivities would take place at the Guildhall, the neo-gothic council building at the heart of this market town. The Great Hall there hasn’t seen regular gigs for around 25 years, and many people present tonight remark that this is their first concert here. Let’s hope it isn’t their last…

Keiron Farrow kicks off proceedings on the warmest day of the year so far. It was toching to see people make the effort to come to this indoor event so early, as it was still about 30 degrees at this point! Farrow has the sort of voice that was built to soar in such environs. His jazzy blues numbers, played with much dexterity on his acoustic guitar, transfix the audience. His recent EP title track ‘Roundabout Queen Eleanor’ is apt, considering there’s a mural of said queen a few metres from where he stands. He slips in a cover of Portishead’s ‘Glory Box’ at the end – bringing local music heritage into the present [Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley was born and raised in ShoeTown, you see].

Hyll are a desert rock trio from Marburg, and they crank things up a gear immediately. They lock into a groove straight away and never let up, giving the growing audience an opportunity to witness heavy rock that could shake the very foundations of this building. And whilst walls remain solidly in place, the Twinfest banner does decide to fall on their drummer during their opening song. They continue on regardless, and such stoicism wins the crowd over immediately.

Drinsipa have something to measure themselves by then, and they do their utmost to reciprocate the intensity of Hyll. They achieve this with aplomb, showcasing their grungy hardcore to the sweaty hordes. Now playing as a trio rather than a duo, new single ‘DOP’ is a raucous, epic number, and a definite set highlight.


The Flims are an indie-pop quartet from Marburg, running a nice line in group harmonising. The sound is very much of the ’00s variety, the songs of Mumford & Sons or Razorlight played to a disco beat. The party vibes are in attendance when they play ‘Sometime Forgetting Is Better Than Healing’, and they can be sure they’ve made many new fans tonight.

The final of the travelling trio tonight is Poitiers trio Mantras. Guitarist-singer Pierre does what anyone on holiday in a hot country does: go topless. His band strike up elongated psychedelic stoner rock and play their hearts out. It’s as doomy as the best of them, rearranging a few of the heads present over their half-hour allotted time. This sort of rock works best in the live environment, and tonight they work us out right and proper.

Sarpa Salpa are swiftly becoming the hardest working band in showbusiness, playing all over the Midlands every weekend, taking men women and children hostage with their funky contemporary guitar pop. Songs about desperation with a disco beat, they are the epitome of the ‘sad and sexy’ movement sweeping popular music. These days they are treated a bit like homecoming heroes, and they know how to light up a dancefloor, as ‘She Never Lies’ comfortably does. If you’ve never checked them out and like acts such as The Killers or Foals, now is the time to do so.

It is gone midnight before The Barratts come on stage to finish the evening off. Those who have stuck it out are treated to a band who can still raise the energy level of any sun-beaten cordwainer or cobbler. They have never sounded so good, as their anthemic indie songs – ‘Satellites’ and ‘Same Old Kids’ amongst them – are played with spiky confidence and verve. James Faulkner’s word encapsulate all the small town ennui in poetic form you could hope for, matched with all the firepower his four brother-in-arms can muster. They send us home with Twinfest love beating heavily in our hearts.

The Barratts

This Mounts institution is busy, the vibe celebratory. Ready for the second evening of the Twin Town’s finest, the stage area at The Lamplighter is quickly filled by music fans from across the town and beyond.

Hailing from Northampton’s French twin city of Poitiers, Mantras take to the stage with a barrage of stoner rock. The band’s raw talent and synchronicity make playing live seem effortless and certainly seamless. Featuring melodic riffs and endless amounts of energy, the three-piece set the highest of bars for the evening.

German indie band The Flims were full of energy and strength during their set, providing Northampton with a unique sound. With memorable riffs and pounding drums, the band wouldn’t seem out of place in arenas. It’s the perfect music to finish a relaxing day.

Rapper Leo Robinson doesn’t play live that often, and probably will reminisce on tonight as a reason to keep it like that. He himself is on fire, his lyrical flow nothing short of magnificent. His freestyle bars have listeners hanging off his every word. But his right-hand man Charlie Borthwick is struggling with some technical issues, and the music’s power is lost to a frustrating degree and it affects concentration all round. Robinson does his best but he’s honest enough to know when he’s beat. A missed opportunity then, but one that still shows his strengths – and he continues to dazzle with his recorded output. He really might be “the best thing out of Weston Favell”.

Leo Robinson

Hyll continue to impress tonight, with a later set than the previous night. The crowd is respectful for half their set, but once singer-guitarist Martin takes off into the audience for a wander it heightens the excitement levels and from then on in it’s head-banging and hand-horns all the way to the end. With flawless guitar solos and pounding drums, they’re a band you won’t forget in a hurry. “Breathlessly magnificent rock” probably just about sums up their performance.

Headliners this evening are everyone’s favourite NN party starters, Century City. Regular drummer Tommy is absent, and Jake Crawford [Future Love, Acoda] ably deputises. They are on fine fettle, singer Nik Gray making jokes throughout and egging on his compadres to higher levels. Andy Convey from fellow alt-rockers Future Love jumps up to join in the chorus on one number. Gray does his bar walkabout thing, naturally. We all go home sweaty and happy. Can Northampton be like this every night, please?

Century City

With a raised stage in the pub’s stunning beer garden, this Cotton End pub is the perfect place for some sunny Saturday afternoon acoustic singalongs. First up Duncan Bisatt uses his music as a way of storytelling. Featuring only his acoustic guitar and his voice, he strums gently as he sings about relatable experiences. Whether it’s climate change or dedications to his hometown, he does it well, including catchy riffs and a soothing voice.

After an issue or two with the line-up, Michael Kinder played earlier than expected. He takes it all in his stride, however – his hoarse, yet trained voice compliments the sun shining on Northampton, and later in the set experiments with using his guitar as percussion. He’s fun, fresh, and definitely funky.

Two piece Crybb are exactly what you’d expect from folk music. They stick to traditions while introducing a modern twist with a flute, so the tracks they perform don’t sound dated. It’s political music with a gentle sound: the very idea of a peaceful protest.

Straw Horses turn the afternoon into something gentile. Their music is calm and quiet, with mellow guitar riffs and the perfect harmonies, but it’s not boring, and nor is it downbeat. Instead, it’s tender and smooth, and they slot in with the rest of the afternoon nicely.

Following the issues with his set yesterday, Leo Robinson has been invited back to perform properly this time. Immediately you can hear the improvement, and he sounds much better. With diverse backing tracks complimenting his rapping, and several collaborations, it’s clear that Leo Robinson is going to go far.

On into the evening session in the barn, Deep Sea Mountains kick things off with their discordant fuzz rock. They are both a bit shouty and offer plenty of sweet harmonies. You could compare their set to watching an angsty Teenage Fanclub, or someone who should be signed to Sub Pop. They play cracking recent single ‘Pipe Dream’ and debut a rather good new song, ‘Five Mile Stroll’, which displays some measured feedback and punk attack – but then suddenly becomes all Television-esque in the arty middle section. This band is a multi-layered onion, and no mistake.

Deep Sea Mountains

Hyll, with the rain pouring outside, are even better here than the previous two nights, which is hard to believe. They bring out the moshers in all of us, and their interactions – coming into the crowd, getting everyone to sit down, being hoisted aloft during the climax – break down the separation between band and audience. Band of the weekend? Quite possibly.

The beautiful droney Mantras mix things up tonight, as guitarist Pierre has brought his slide guitar and an ironing board and proceeds to cook up all manner of beatific instrumental passages to delight the aural passages. The audience are silent in respect and awe. Northampton doesn’t really have a Mantras-type band, could they perhaps just move here? They’d be well-loved.

The Flims follow just as the sun sets, and they bring their best performance of the weekend yet. The intimate setting helps create an affectionate space, and their confidence looks up. They once again have everyone dancing along to ‘Emma’ and all their other Germanic indie-pop tunes.

Deaf Trap have the unenviable task of trying to top all these great performances. They aren’t helped by some power problems which regularly turn the lights on and off, but they persevere to bring Twinfest a dark, feedback-laden, somewhat chaotic, but ultimately joyous set of intense rock. All the mess feels very beautiful: bodies everywhere, a dancing Hotdog, a party at the end of the world. Long may their reign continue.

Twinfest this year is proving to be one of the best, with the finale taking place at the well-esteemed Black Prince. The atmosphere has been incredibly social and friendly so far, with all of the bands – British, German and French – exchanging words of encouragement with each other and always making sure to catch one another’s sets.

Sunday’s proceedings kicks off with Tom Rose and The Heathen Orchestra, a group that takes elements of shock-rock and blues-rock to create a unique, horror-inspired sound that is reminiscent of the likes of Screaming Jay Hawkins and Space.

Next is Yodaclub, who are definitely unafraid to show their influences, taking notes from The Cure and Echo & The Bunnymen [and dressing all in black accordingly]. These lot will be right at home to those who are fans of ’80s post-punk, with a standout track in the dream-poppy ‘Don’t Fall’.

Though today is The Keepers debut performance at Twinfest they certainly display no nerves. The band’s energy and enthusiasm is palpably infectious. They have got the mid-nineties mod revival, wall-of-sound down to a tee. Jordan Jones (vocals) and Liam Taylor (lead guitar) have Gallagher-like swagger by the bucket-load, while Oli Rumens (bass) and Steve Smith (drums) impress with rhythms reminiscent of ‘Elephant Stone’-era Roses. An excellent show; be sure to catch them again at another of their gigs.

The Keepers

After them we have Corby’s King Purple, a grungy three-piece with a hint of psychedelia, who are no stranger to genre mixing. Despite there only being three of these guys they manage to create a sound that is much larger than the sum of their parts. The highlight of their set is the track ‘Wasting Away’, a doomy number that feels like an early ’90s grunge throwback, with long instrumental sections that build up to a frantic, fast-paced finish. After being played and praised on Steve Lamacq’s show on BBC Radio 6, its safe to say that we’ll be hearing a lot more from these guys in the future.

Pieces then take the stage, an indie three-piece brimming with melodic vocal harmonies and buzzsaw guitars play with a punk ferocity that’s not too dissimilar to acts like the Buzzcocks [as well as more modern bands like Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon]. These local lads take the phrase “three chords and the truth” and proudly wear it on their sleeves. With massive, infectious pop choruses and tight as nails musicianship that would put major-label acts to shame, the future is bright for the fledgling trio.

The first German band of the day is Hyll, an act who have continuously proven over the course of this Twinfest that they are a force to be reckoned with. Their songs are punctuated by an abrasive post-punk edge, with blistering guitars, floor-thumping bass lines and primal drumming with the occasional breakdown that always gets the audience headbanging. It’s safe to say that Hyll have well and truly earned the respect of their Northamptonian counterparts!

We’re then back to the British bands with Skirt, who, after their recent triumphant gig at the reopening of The Hut in Corby, bring their high-octane set to Twinfest. Bursting with raw, youthful energy, these lads combine punk with late ’80s Madchester and garage rock presented with a boisterous Gallagher brothers-style swagger that certainly left an impression on today’s crowd. A definite highlight is the menacing ‘Easy Tiger’, a track that could easily sound at home on a Stooges record.

Next up is Marburg’s The Flims, an indie-pop four-piece bursting with class and an upbeat stage presence that reflects the upbeat nature of the music they play. With jangly guitar riffs that feel like a fusion between Johnny Marr and the alternative British bands of the noughties, The Flims are a standout amongst the foreign bands. They’ve managed to get the crowd moving on each day of this festival without fail, and this evening is no exception.

Changing things up are Mio Flux with Patchy The Rockstar, a hip hop duo with elements of trap music, and a bass that would shake the foundation of even the sturdiest venues. The drastic change in genre going from The Flims to these two definitely sets them apart from the guitar bands of the day. They open with a tasteful trap remix of Sarpa Salpa’s belter ‘She Never Lies’, and it’s an unexpected but creative rendition of the track.

For the penultimate act we again have Poitiers’ Mantras, a band that mixes dark blues and psych while taking some clear cues from Black Sabbath. It’s a change in mood that certainly turns a few heads in their direction. Their songs are mostly instrumental, with only the occasional, shrieking vocal that wouldn’t sound too far removed on a Scandinavian black metal record. Like many bands relying on their instrumentation, they are no stranger to speed and volume changes, sonically making them one of the more unique and left field bands of this weekend.

Last, and most certainly not least, we have the homegrown Monarchs to close the weekend. Fresh off of their tour with King Purple, they play what feels like a grand homecoming gig, performing a selection of old and new tracks. The highlight of their set is the recently released ‘You Got Me’, a tune which the local crowd and fellow outsiders alike are clearly familiar with, shown through what has to be one of the most intense mosh pits at a Northampton gig in recent memory. This is surely a testament to the appreciation that the scene has for this band. With a large and macabre indie sound and some Queens of the Stone Age-inspired riffs, chock full of breakdowns and siren-like guitars, Monarchs give Twinfest the finale it deserves.


This years Twinfest has proven to be a special one – with an array of brilliant bands coming from Marburg and Poitiers and excellent performances from local talent, Northampton has once again proven its musical and cultural diversity in spades.

Words by Phil Istine, Lucy Wenham, Oliver Rumens, Tom Rose

Photos by David Jackson, Nallie Simpson, Phil Istine, Kenny Precious


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