Tag: Roadmender

It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Sep 18th – Sep 24th

BETH MUNROE Thursday September 19th The Lab, Northampton Talk by Maja of Queers To The Front Booking about being a trans-woman. Followed by music from the NN indietronica solo artist….

Thursday September 19th
The Lab, Northampton
Talk by Maja of Queers To The Front Booking about being a trans-woman. Followed by music from the NN indietronica solo artist. Doors 8pm, £4 entry [£3 members]

Friday September 20th
The Roadmender Northampton
The Purps are now a quartet with the addition of second guitarist Jacob, and to celebrate the release of latest single ‘Warning Signs’ they play their biggest headline show to date – in the main room of the Roady. Choosing three amazing support acts too means we’re in for a special one. Doors 7pm, and just £5 for a ticket

Friday September 20th
The Lab, Northampton
Your regular friendly urban music night, featuring the talents of Har-Q, Reality, Blistery, L30 Robinson, Thunder, Infinite Lore, Smiley, Anonymous, and more. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday September 20th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
The Cousin Avi frontman returns to Northampton for a special solo set of sultry Latino soul. A rare show from local bluesy singer-songwriter in support. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Friday September 20th
St Mary the Virgin Church, Stoke Bruerne
An enticing night of roots music from artists of this region [or should we say parish?]. Doors 6.30pm, tickets £10 [from http://www.audiovendor.com or call The Boat Inn on (01604) 862428]

Friday September 20th
Fiddler’s Elbow, Wellingborough
Scottish NWOBHM band that have recently reformed headline, plus brand new Medway metalcore, a groove metal trio from MK, and the opening entertainment is “foul language shouted over driven, anthemic state-side punk rock riffs”  [also from MK]. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday September 20th
Towcestrians RFC, Towcester
A couple of local-ish bands to rock your weekend, all in aid of Sponne Schools Uganda. Doors 7.30pm, £5 entry

Saturday September 21st
The Roadmender, Northampton
A day of music, workshops and more that puts young people’s mental health centre stage. Lucy Spraggan, The Death Alley Drivers, Roses & Pirates, That Joe Payne, Jamie Lee Harrison, Candidates, Jono & The Uke Dealers, Amii Dawes, Adam Thomas, Tu-Kay & Ryan, Homeless Shakespeare, and Lunaxis is your entertainment. Doors midday, free entry

Saturday September 21st
The Black Prince, Northampton
The New York “anti-folk” singer-songwriter has become a firm favourite of the Northampton scene. With The Voltage they play scuzzy urban indie-rock-folk, like “a 21st Century mash-up of Sonic Youth, Pete Seeger and R. Crumb”. Their new album Bad Wiring was recorded in Nashville, and will be released November 1 on Moshi Moshi Records. Support from everyone’s favourite local noisy art-punks. Doors 7.30pm, £10 tickets

Saturday September 21st
Earl’s Barton WMC
New Northants metallers Sulvain make their debut appearance, with past members of The Darkhorse and Garshkott teaming up with other local musicians. Support from Milton Keynes metallers, and the Cambridge-based melodic death metal band. Doors from 7pm, free entry

Saturday September 21st
The Old Swan, Earl’s Barton
Ni Ni Sessions acoustic night. From 9pm, free entry

Saturday September 21st
The Sargeant Memorial Hall, Brafield-On-The-Green
Best known for her world wide smash ‘Pilot Of The Airwaves’, Dore’s music has led to worldwide critical acclaim. This will be an relaxed evening, with special guest singer songwriter Orestano. Doors 7.30pm, £10 tickets

Saturday September 21st
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Blues-wailin’ duo play their popular afternoon slot. 3pm-6pm, free entry


Cover photo by Chloe Milne


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New Music Friday: Robyn Wilson

Northampton singer Robyn Wilson has been a mercurial talent from a young age. Now a young adult she embarks on the next stage of her burgeoning career with breezy new…

Northampton singer Robyn Wilson has been a mercurial talent from a young age. Now a young adult she embarks on the next stage of her burgeoning career with breezy new summer single ‘Hotel Room’. Interview time then!

You broke ‪through at 16‬ with your debut EP. When did you first pick up an instrument and began writing songs, and how did it get from there to that first release?
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember, I would always be singing along to a bit of Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus. If I’m honest, they are the artists that inspired me to learn the guitar at the age of about 12. After getting the guitar I would learn covers but I always preferred messing about with my own stuff, it was so much easier because I could just mess up and say it was intentional. One day the messing up turned into whole songs.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music do you feel?
I listen to a lot of different styles of music and have a lot of favourite artists, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that there is any single style or artist that has influenced my sound. Some people say I sound ‘poppy’, some people have even said I sound a bit country. But I just sing whatever comes out.

Tell us everything about this dreamy new single, ‘Hotel Room’. It’s about the events of your travels…
I wrote and recorded Hotel Room in 2016 after a holiday in Mexico. I was 16 and really fancied a guy at our resort. I put the recording online and people started listening, it was just for fun really. But then I was contacted by somebody who heard it and said he could help me release it properly as a single! Shout out to Matt! We re-recorded it and and also have plans to record more. Following this I’m going to record an album, so what started as a stupid crush turned into this incredible experience and new journey.

Have you played live much? More plans to do so?
I’ve played at open mics and small festivals and venues since the age of about 13, with the occasional bigger gig. However since my focus has been on recording the single I haven’t been around as much. I definitely plan on gigging a lot more after summer, and hopefully it will include Northampton and other areas too.

What’s been your experience of the Northamptonshire music scene so far? Any favourite people/act/venues etc you wanna give a shout out to?
Everybody involved in the Northampton music scene is so supportive and friendly, it feels like you belong to a very special club and everybody supports and follows each other. There are some great venues, my favourite was performing on the main stage at The Roadmender. To grace the same stage as some absolute legends such as Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Oasis was amazing! It was an event called The Y Factor, where local artists performed and we managed to get the venue full, it was awesome … I wish they still did that.

You seem to be travelling a lot. How has it been, experiencing different cultures? Has it influenced your sound at all do you think?
I love travelling and it’s always been a passion and ambition of mine – so many places on my bucket list! At the moment I’m travelling around Eastern USA with no firm plan apart from I need to come home by September 😂. It’s most definitely given me lots of inspiration for new songs, lyrics are buzzing around my head. I’m soaking up the vibe ready to bring home and tell my stories via some new songs. I feel like my songs are personal diary entries ….apart from I share them with everyone!

What has been your favourite artistic moment of the past year?
I’ve had lots of great artistic moments, they don’t come every day but when they do it’s like a little boost to let me know that I should carry on on this path. Things like getting a random message from somebody you have admired and followed for years, a musician or songwriter. A random follow on social media or an inbox from somebody telling you they love your music.
For years I’ve been singing my own songs in front of small crowds, big crowds and sometimes no crowd. Sometimes people will listen and sometimes they talk over me – I’m sure every singer-songwriter knows this feeling. What has been the most amazing thing is with ‘Hotel Room’, people are actually singing along – they know the lyrics and it feels fantastic! 😊 I can’t describe how it feels when I play the song and the whole audience starts dancing and singing at the top of their voices, it’s kind of euphoric 🤪

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Ed Sheehan, it would be rude not to!

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
If I can carry on singing and writing music in the future then I’ll be happy, and if I could make a living off it then I’d be ecstatic! So if all my dreams could come true I would carry on expressing myself via music, and people would enjoy listening to it. And I need to travel the rest of the world too obviously 😂

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Jun 26th – Jul 2nd

THE DEAD SOUTH + NOBLE JACKS Wednesday June 26th The Roadmender, Northampton Four hatted, hairy and bearded Canadian fellas. Neo-folk/bluegrass/alternative country fulfilled with sophomore album Illusion & Doubt. Doors 7pm,…

Wednesday June 26th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Four hatted, hairy and bearded Canadian fellas. Neo-folk/bluegrass/alternative country fulfilled with sophomore album Illusion & Doubt. Doors 7pm, £20 tickets

Thursday June 27th
The King Billy, Northampton
Metal super group from Latvia/Germany headline, plus Death/prog metal and black metal from Northants in support. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday June 28th – Sunday June 30th
The Black Prince, Northampton
HOP Promotions return with their weekender, this time with three stages each day! Friday brings Holding Absence, Confessions Of A Traitor, From Eden To Exile, High Rise, Kill The Ideal, Faces Of Eve UK, In Fear They Follow, Ursus, Jonestown, Death Valley Knights, A Titan A Dierty, Cutting Teeth, End Of Salvation and Fractions. Saturday brings Vader, Divine Chaos, Ashborn, Crimson Tusk, The Hope Burden, Siderian, Project Noise Death Remains, Sworn Amongst, Democratus, Lady Jane’s Revenge, The Final Clause of Tacitus, Take Refuge, and Akilla. Sunday brings Glamour Of The Kill, Bigfoot, Metasoma, Mage, Repulsive Vision, The Young Hearts, On Hollow Ground, Bleed Again, Soulride, InVisions, The Guts, Dishonour The Crown, Selfworth, Broken Empire, Black Tree Vultures, A New Hope, Dorylus, and Sail. Weekend tickets are £50, day ones cheaper

Friday June 28th
Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton
Ska-pop legends and Britpop stalwarts combine on an early summer’s evening to entertain ShoeTown at the rugby ground. Doors 4pm, tickets from £44

Friday June 28th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Launch party for Bitstream’s new Union EP on Vinyl Underground’s in house label – Live show in the basement , VU and Vintage FutureDJs upstairs. Doors 6pm, free entry

Friday June 28th
The Lab, Northampton
Two new-for-2019 ShoeTown bands. Expect talented musicians playing rootsy-inspired music. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

Friday June 28th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
New Northampton based rock/ pop duo consisting of John and Darran [aka Slimskinny]. Support from local alternative rock quartet, plus art-rock from Leicester. Music from 9pm, free entry

Friday June 28th
The Saxon Tavern, Earls Barton
Local singer-songwriter. Music from 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday June 29th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Corby hardcore leaders have an adjusted line-up that will be debuted in ShoeTown. NN digital hardcore supports. Doors 6pm, free entry

Saturday June 29th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
A trio of NN/Bedford indie rockers collectively aim to raise the Pomfret’s garden roof. From 7.30pm, free entry

Saturday June 29th
Radlands Plaza, Northampton
Skate jam with some teenage punk rock to enliven things. From 6.30pm, free entry

Saturday June 29th
Corby Town FC, aka Steelpark
Annual festival over six arenas. Live music includes performances from Doctor & The Medics, Shadow On The Sun, Solarise, James Watts & The Avenues, King Purple, G & The Sound Tribe, Veins, Flash Peasants, Damon Tang, Haema, Family Of Noise, Yur Mum, and First Wave. Tickets are £10

Saturday June 29th
The Kingfisher, Corby
Punk legends return to SteelTown, with Leicester gang in support. Doors 7pm, £8 tickets

Sunday June 30th
Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton
The funk and disco legend brings his hits to the Saints rugby ground. Ticket prices start from £31.88

Tuesday July 2nd
The Old White Hart, Northampton
A seven-piece acapella group from Turvey, Bedfordshire. They sing a range of traditional and ‘sounds traditional’ songs, from standards like John Ball to more reflective numbers like John Tams´ Devonshire Carol, taking in the odd shanty and music hall number along the way. Doors 8pm, £5 entry



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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 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
Lift Song
Certain Time Of Night
Name Badge
Smokey Ghosts
Emotional Machine
Match Of The Day
Lights Out In London
Same Old Kids
The Garrison

Words by Phil Moore. Photos by David Jackson



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

DIRTY SOUND MAGNET + WAX LYRICAL SOUND Thursday March 14th The Lab, Northampton Psychedelic rock power trio from Switzerland with multi-faceted compositions and virtuosity, playing songs from their album Western Lies….

Thursday March 14th
The Lab, Northampton
Psychedelic rock power trio from Switzerland with multi-faceted compositions and virtuosity, playing songs from their album Western Lies. Support from energetic ShoeTown rap-rockers. Doors 7pm, £4 entry

Friday March 15th – Sunday March 17th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The bi-annual psychobilly festival  is upon us. #27 is headlined by Restless on Friday, Nekromantix on Saturday, and Batmobile on Sunday. Local interest on the Friday courtesy of GoGo Loco. Friday opens at 7pm and is £15 on the door. Saturday and Sunday begins at 12.30pm, £30 tickets [or £60 for the whole weekend]. After-parties at The Bear too!

Friday March 15th
The Lab, Northampton
The usual crew perform at the urban night, now on a Friday[!] with special guest local garage MC Champagne Bubblee. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 15th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Harmonising singer-songwriter duo play a live set. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday March 15th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Formally known as Fugues, CC are a local electronica and trip hop trio. Now featuring multi-instrumentalist songwriter Yoshe Watson! Electronic wizard Makobi of [sane] provides the suitable support. Doors 9pm, free entry

Friday March 15th
The White Hart, Corby
A set from the main man from West Yorkshire rap crew Flame Griller, which will feature tunes from the critically acclaimed debut album, Remarkable/Unremarkable. Joining EXP on stage is veteran turntable technician Versatile aka DJ Leach, who will be providing first-class turntablism. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £4

Saturday March 16th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Two of the most criminally underrated bands with an NN postcode, get some psych into you at t’Horse. Doors 8pm, free entry 

Saturday March 16th
The Old House, Wellingborough
Local blues-rock singer-songwriter returns to performing live in NN after a short break. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Saturday March 16th
The Old Forge Tea Room, Cranford
Shrewsbury singer-songwriter Quinn has been receiving glowing reviews in the  music press for his debut solo release Across The Divide. He has carved his trade for over a decade touring worldwide, and had a stint as the opening act for the Jools Holland Orchestra. Support from Kettering folk duo. Doors 7pm, £10 tickets [call 01536 330014].

Tuesday March 19th
Old White Hart, Northampton
Accomplished Cambridge-based guitar player, Fox’s songwriting is centred on contemporary stories reflecting life, love, loss, and humour, as heard on debut album Parallel Crossing and follow-up Loose Ends. Supported by the chart-bothering local singer-songwriter. Doors 7.45pm, free entry










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Happy Mondays to headline Roadmender in December

The Happy Mondays will bring their Greatest Hits Tour to the Roadmender in December as part of a mammoth 29 date UK tour. The band’s classic line up of Shaun…

The Happy Mondays will bring their Greatest Hits Tour to the Roadmender in December as part of a mammoth 29 date UK tour.

The band’s classic line up of Shaun Ryder, Bez, Rowetta, Gary Whelan, Paul Ryder, Mark Day and Dan Broad will be playing all of their hits such as Step On, Kinky Afro, Hallelujah, W.F.L., Loose Fit, Judge Fudge and 24-Hour Party People among many others.

After signing to Tony Wilson’s Factory Records, the late 1980s saw the Happy Mondays become the pioneers of the Madchester sound as they blended their love of funk, rock, psychedelia and house with the sounds of the UK’s emerging rave scene.

The band’s third album, 1990’s platinum-selling Pills ‘n’ Thrills And Bellyaches, led to the Happy Mondays crossing over into the mainstream to become icons of Britain’s biggest cultural phenomenon for a generation.

In 2016, the Happy Mondays won the Ivor Novello’s Inspiration Award, further cementing their reputation as one of Britain’s most influential and loved bands.

The tour begins on October 23 in Inverness and ends on December 21 in Lincoln, stopping off along the way London’s Roundhouse on October 31.

Happy Mondays bring their greatest hits tour to the Northampton Roadmender on Friday, December 13.

Tickets cost £35 in advance before fees.  There is a pre-sale on Wednesday, February 20, at 10am via the Roadmender website before tickets go on general sale on Friday, February 22 at 10am.

For more details, visit www.alttickets.com/happy-mondays-tickets

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

JASON ACHILLES + CRASH FOX Thursday February 14th The King Billy, Northampton From Hollywood, Los Angeles Achilles returns to the Billy, playing as his eponymous instrumental & experimental rock duo. Support from…

Thursday February 14th
The King Billy, Northampton
From Hollywood, Los Angeles Achilles returns to the Billy, playing as his eponymous instrumental & experimental rock duo. Support from Northampton’s own garage blues duo. Music from 9pm, free entry

Friday February 15th
The Roadmender, Northampton
20 years ago The Mercury Prize win for the Roni Size & Reprazent album New Forms brought drum’n’bass to the forefront of dance-music news. It’s anniversary re-release garnered huge support, cementing Size’s position at the top of the game. Selections of local DnB DJs such as AON are in support. Doors 10pm, £18 tickets

Friday February 15th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Yorkshire-based Tracey melds funk and indie-pop to create fresh, infectious rhythms. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday February 15th
The Picturedrome, Northampton
Since forming in 1997 Toploader have over two million album sales to their name and a string of top 20 hits both home and abroad. In 2000 their cover of ‘ Dancing in the Moonlight’ became a global hit and transformed them into a household name. Doors 8pm, £12 tickets

Friday February 15th
The Pomfret Arms, Northampton
Ukulele fronted, outspoken quartet who are the flag-bearers for socially-conscious Northamptonians. Singer-songwriter Velvet Engine plays her first Pomfret show. Music in the barn from 9pm, free entry

Saturday February 16th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Five-piece post-hardcore band from Rugby, with support from Banbury hardcore metallers, ShoeTown metalcore quintet, and new groove metallers from Northants. Doors 7.30pm, £7 tickets

Saturday February 16th
The Roadmender, Northampton
’80s jazz funkers who made it big in the early ’90s via Gilles Peterson [‘Always There’, ‘Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing’, ‘Still a Friend of Mine’ etc]. Doors 9pm, £27.50 tickets

Saturday February 16th
The Lamplighter, Northampton
Local 18-legged sweary funk machine play live, promoting their album Quantum Funkanics. Doors 9pm, free entry

Saturday February 16th
Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Singer-songwriter, rapper, beat maker, multi-instrumentalist and former member of Grassroutes. Music from 9pm, free entry

Saturday February 16th
The Golden Horse, Northampton
Local reggae legends get on it down Far Cotton way. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday February 16th
The Sargeant Memorial Hall, Brafield-On-The-Green
Former Tears For Fears band member and guitarist for Robbie Williams playing live, with local support. Doors 6.30 pm, £13.50 tickets

Saturday February 16th
The Prince Of Wales, Kettering
Northants hardest rockers, Corby metallers, and local grungey rockers make up a formidable bill. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday February 16th
The White Hart, Corby
Rocked Up presents the viciously filthy hardcore Norwegians, with mathcore and hard rock supports. Doors 7.30pm, £4 tickets

Sunday February 17th
The King Billy, Northampton
The ‘Abuse Your Confusion’ tour hits ShoeTown, the home of the punk headliners. Also on the tour are Coalville rockers, south-coast punks, and ska-punks from somewhere. Doors 5.30pm, probably free entry

Monday February 18th
The Black Prince, Northampton
The joint headline tour that hit Corby on Saturday rocks up to Northampton. All the cores taken care of here: support from metalcore from MK, hardcore from Northants, digitalcore from Rushden. Doors 7pm, £4 tickets

Tuesday February 19th
The White Hart, Northampton
Another Great Knight Folk Club event, celebrating local original folk talent. Headliner play songs from albums Not Till Yesterday and Jonquille. Doors 7.45pm, £5 entry

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2019 live music preview

Hey it’s January, we know. Not too much to get excited about right this minute. So it’s time to look ahead to some of the shows that have been announced…

Hey it’s January, we know. Not too much to get excited about right this minute. So it’s time to look ahead to some of the shows that have been announced in Northants for the first half of 2019. All tastes catered for here with this top twenty…

Alison Limerick, February 2nd, The Picturedrome, Northampton

Al Lover, February 10th, The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton

Roni Size, February 15th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Incognito, February 16th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Martin Carthy, February 24th, The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton

Shakin’ Stevens, March 2nd, The Royal & Derngate, Northampton

KT Tunstall, March 12th, The Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Corduroy, March 22nd, The Roadmender, Northampton

Sleeper, March 29th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind, March 30th, The White Hart, Corby

Gentlemen’s Dub Club, March 30th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Sleaford Mods, April 18th, The Roadmender, Northampton

Stereo MC’s, April 25th, The Picturedrome, Northampton

Rozi Plain, April 26th, The Black Prince, Northampton

The Urban Voodoo Machine, April 27th, The White Hart, Corby

Electric Six, May 14th, The Picturedrome, Northampton

UB40, May 16th, The Royal & Derngate, Northampton

Northampton Music Festival, June 16th, Northampton

Madness, June 28th, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton

Vader, June 29th, The Black Prince, Northampton

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The New Boots Review Of 2018

It’s been a cracking 12 months for the Northants music scene, with musicians flying the flag for our county on a local, national, and international level. To celebrate, we’ve had…

It’s been a cracking 12 months for the Northants music scene, with musicians flying the flag for our county on a local, national, and international level.

To celebrate, we’ve had a run though of some of our favourite things this year. Before we get going, a quick caveat. We love all the acts we write about, but we can’t include everyone and talk about everything. If you or your favourite are not in there, just remember; there’s always next year…

So, without further ado here’s the ramblings of New Boots editors Phil Moore and David Jackson. Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year to all. [most photos by David Jackson]

Phil: “For me it’s Tom Grennan and ‘Barbed Wire’. Yes, Tom’s from Bedford but his backing band includes Northants musicians Danny Connors and Adam Gammage. Danny is a long-time local songwriter and musician and he co-wrote the single with Tom. I think it’s the best thing on his debut album Lighting Matches that came out earlier this year.”

Dave: “For me, it’s ‘The Modern Man’ by Ginger Snaps. Jay Brook has been putting out great records for years in Gingers Snaps, and with previous bands. I think ‘The Modern Man’ was an almost a perfect mix of what Ginger Snaps is about: great beats, scratching and guitar hook all rolled into one.”

Phil: “I also want to mention The Barratts‘ second comeback single from this year ‘The Garrison’. The band came back after a break from recording and that tune still has the essence of The Barratts but it’s moved the sound on with a bit of a harder edge. Luckily they’ve still got a brilliant way with a chorus.”

Phil: “This is a much harder category because we’ve had fewer albums out than singles, but the quality of those I’ve heard has been excellent. Three stood out most for me. Firstly Domino Blitz by Tim Muddiman & The Strange. It is a serious piece of art which he clearly put his heart and soul into. “It has a sort of Nick Cave / Tom Waits dark blues/noir rock feel, and has some great arrangements.

“Secondly Venus Fly Trap and Icon. This is possibly the best album they’ve done, which was a bit of a surprise. “It’s a diverse record with lots of memorable hooks, both guitar parts and vocal lines.

“It’s also worth mentioning P -Hex, who have been together for almost 30 years now and finally put out nan album, Quantum Funkanics, this year. I think they have previously not bothered to do an album because they thought they were predominantly a live act, but I’m glad they did because it is brilliant.”

Dave: “There’s not much I can add to what you’ve said, but the album I’ve probably listened to the most has also been Domino Blitz. I really enjoyed Tim’s previous record Paradise Runs Deeper so was looking forward to this one and it really didn’t disappoint. As you said, a great, dark bluesy record which I really rate. It was great to have him here this year playing some of those songs as well.”

Dave: “Sharkteeth Grinder were one of the highlights at the Rocked Up Hootennany this summer, and one of the best local live bands I’ve seen this year. They were probably a band I saw photos of before hearing them live and knew they were someone I’d love.

“There’s a fantastic controlled chaos about them, and even with the disconnect of a main stage and barrier at the Hootenanny, Bobbo was out in the crowd, screaming his heart out putting everything into that performance. They’re just fantastic to watch live.”

Phil: “They refer to their performances as exhibitions and yes, they’re very passionate and seriously and in love what they do. They’ll play anywhere to anyone wherever there’s an audience. They’re one of the sincerest bands I’ve ever spoken to. If you like hardcore they’re absolutely a band for you.

“I’d also like to mention Karl Phillips and The Rejects. I’ve only seen Karl and krew a couple of times this year, but they are very tight and very entertaining. Karl has tons of personality, and the band went on a massive tour this year, which takes guts in this day and age. Each venue that books them seems to fall in love with them and want them back.

“More new songs in 2019 please Karl.”

Dave: “I’ve just mentioned it, but the Rocked Up Hootenanny was amazing and without doubt one of my highlights of the year. What Marc Collins and the Rocked Up team and other promoters involved achieved in 2018 was fantastic. 

“The Hootenanny has been growing year by year and the ambition to create something on that scale has to be massively applauded.
“There was a fantastic mix of local and national touring acts and to get the final full show by Arcane Roots was as huge coup.

“Yeah, it was a bit windy, but it was a great day and the organisers did a great job of pulling together a really diverse day of music with rock, alternative and hip-hop across three stages. Hopefully, despite his pending move to Hamburg, Marc and the team will be back next year with another Hootenanny.”

Phil: “The event of the year for me has to be the return of Bauhaus – if only under the name of Peter Murphy and David J. “The pair hadn’t played Bauhaus material together in this town for 36 years and that in itself was a huge moment for Northampton – and they played two shows!

“I went to the first and it was fantastic tour de force. Their music, which was always visceral and revolutionary, sounded great and I feel it was a moment you had to revel in.”

Dave: “We also have to mention Twinfest, as each year it goes from strength to strength.
“It opened for the first time on the Thursday in the Guildhall’s Great Hall, which felt really special. It was a great opening night, and I hope they’re able to do something similar again next year.”

Phil: “The organisers were very on it this year, and utilised each of the venues really well. It’s a very small-scale organisation working on a small budget and they are maximising the results. All power to them for achieving that – I hope they can keep it up in the future.”

David: “I think it’s been another strong year for bands coming to the county, and for me a couple stick out. It was great to see post-hardcore legend and former Far frontman Jonah Matranga play all of Water & Solutions at the White Hart in Corby.

“Jonah seems to be over in the UK every couple of years and besides being one of the nicest guys his work rate is incredible. It was the first time I’d seen Jonah play with a band as he normally just tours acoustically. Rob Reeves from Run Your Tongue also deserves a ‘thanks’ for making that gig happen.

“My second choice would probably be Gary Numan at the Roadmender. When you look at the size of shows Numan is playing it was a real coup for Northampton to get a show. He’s still writing fantastic songs and his last couple of albums I think have been among the best of his career. Another mention must go to Tim Muddiman representing Northampton on bass for Numan.”

Phil: “It was a big, big deal for him to come and play a show that size and we’re lucky. I’m sure Tim helped make that happen.

“I’d like to pick Don Broco. They’ve had a massive year with their album Technologyand they’re playing to packed audiences. The Roadmender gig sold out almost immediately and they’re from the region so a big shout out must go to them for their amazing efforts and great live show.

“Also, The Lovely Eggs. One of my favourite DIY bands, who also came to the Roadmender. They’ve been growing year by year and are releasing quality albums and playing quality shows. The atmosphere at their gigs is always extremely friendly, and you feel like you’re part of their family. Which is apt, as they also bring their kid on tour as well!”

Dave: “I think there’s two we need to talk about here: Sarpa Salpa and slowthai.

“The Sarpa lads put in an incredible amount of work this year. They played more than 20 festivals, countless regular shows and supported some big acts along the way, while also headlining the MaNo-Musikfestival in Germany, playing to about 2,000 people.

“They’ve released a couple of great singles and filled venues across the region.”

Phil: “They’ve had a fantastic year and are the whole package really. “They’ve gigged their asses off and are a great representation of what you can achieve. We love them and will continue to support them as much as we can.

“Next for them, I think, is start to get getting more national press/radio exposure, and then we can expect big things beyond conquering the east Midlands.”

Dave: “Onto slowthai – who currently is gracing the cover of numerous major publications while featuring in a lot of ‘2019 hype’ lists.

Phil: “While he’s not been working the local scene as such,  he is very much a product of Northampton and is heading for the stars as we speak.

“2018 has been a phenomenal rise and breakthrough year for him. He’s put out a succession of riotous singles, and the snowball just keeps getting bigger and bigger. We may not see him locally much more, but he’s a guy with bucket loads of charm and we should all love him.”

Dave: “Billy Lockett. He’s had a hell of a year, hasn’t he. Seeing the ELO tour poster with his name on, playing every major stadium in the UK and Europe was great.

“I went to one of the London O2 Arena shows and it was incredible to see Billy’s name in lights either side of the stage, and the reaction he was getting from fans. It was only a few years ago it seems he was still trying to work out exactly who he wanted to be, trying different line-ups and formats and it all seems to have clicked this year for him.

“He’s released some cracking songs along the way as well.”

Phil: “This year was a real moment for him. I think you could tell how much it meant to him to come and fill the Royal back in May I really think now the sky is the limit for him.”

Dave: “We must also mention Alistair Wilkinson who has been playing drums with him as well.”

Phil: “Yeah, he’s a great guy with a lot of talent. He’s very in demand as a session drummer and I hope they continue to work together because it will really feel like a Northampton band then.”

Phil: “We’ve already mentioned Adam Gammage and Danny Connors playing with Tom Grennan, and it’s worth pointing out guys have been rehearsing at Stalkers Rehearsal Studio in Northampton. It’s amazing when you think we have top ten artists on our doorstep like that.

Greg Coulson is now playing keyboards in Spiritualized, which is fantastic for him, and you have to continually mention Ben Gordelier and Andy Crofts recording and playing with Paul Weller.

“Weller released his best album in years in 2018 with True Meanings, and they played some fantastic gigs. I’m looking forward to hearing more from them two next year with the return of The Moons.”

Dave: “There’s then also people we’ve previously discussed like Tim Muddiman touring across the world with Gary Numan.”

Dave: “Two bands I’ve been really impressed with this year have been King Purple and The Keepers.

“It’s an interesting one, because both kinda occupy genres which aren’t my immediate ‘go to’. ‘Stuck In The Rough’ is a cracking tune and I know King Purple have been gaining a lot of traction. I’ve seen them a few times and every time they’ve really impressed.

“They’re clearly really talented guys and I hope they going to have a good 2019.

Phil: “I think their sound is very ‘now’ and a mixture of American and English influences and that always translates and travels quite well in this day and age.

Dave: “I met up with The Keepers recently and was very impressed with frontman Jordan’s drive and determination. He clearly knows exactly where he wants to take the band, and how he wants to achieve it.

“I just think with that drive and work ethic, they’re halfway there. They’ve got a good live show and are writing some good music.”

Phil: “I can see them getting better and better and I hope they get the support they deserve locally. They mix a few genres; there’s a bit of indie, psych and mod in there, and there’s enough going on in the pot there to satisfy anyone really.”

Phil: “I want to mention Weirdoe and That Joe Payne. “Weirdoe is a local rapper who seems to be a great character, and has built an impressive YouTube following. Aaron’s got some mad rhyming skills and his flow is always on point. His music is truthful, with some gallows humour, which inevitably brings [healthy] comparisons to Eminem.

“With Joe Payne – I think you are obligated to say ‘Joe Payne, former vocalist of The Enid‘ to give him some context! He left The Enid a couple of years ago now though. He already has fans and the press on his side from those times, he has a great voice and great piano skills. He’s got enough self-awareness to take everything with a pinch of salt, and that’s really important in this industry.

“Joe, and everyone else, New Boots hopes you have a kick-ass 2019.”

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 12th – Dec 18th

SKIRT + MUNDAYS + EX-PETS Friday December 14th The Lab, Northampton Corby indie-punks come to ShoeTown, plus excellent stoner-psych and punk supports. Doors 8pm, price TBA SKINDRED + SONIC BOOM…

Friday December 14th
The Lab, Northampton
Corby indie-punks come to ShoeTown, plus excellent stoner-psych and punk supports. Doors 8pm, price TBA

Friday December 14th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Welsh ragga punk metallers promote new album Big Tings. Support from London ska rockers and local rap rockers. Doors 7.30pm, £21.50 tickets

Friday December 14th
The King Billy, Northampton
Three albums in, East Anglian classic rockers who tour a lot. Doors 9pm, free entry

Saturday December 15th
Club 43, Northampton
Two bangers at the Rebel Waltz clubnight. The ‘These Kids’ band make pop-punk with every fibre of their beings, taking from bands such as Microwave, Boston Manor, Seaway, Fleetwood Mac, Green Day. Support from new ShoeTown alt-rock trio. Doors 8pm. Free before 9pm, £4 after

Saturday December 15th
The Lab, Northampton
“Some Christmas songs, joy and merriment with the least merry musicians ever to grace the streets of this town”. Former ShoeTown resident Malco brings an old telecaster and her voice along. The singer-songwriter has since been in the studio writing and recording her as-yet-untitiled debut album. Velvet Engine is the brainchild of Latina Northamptonian San-D Godoy, described as “yearning pop folk, with a sprightly but reflective soul”. Harries is a well-know local musician and songwriter. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Saturday December 15th
The White Hart, Corby
Christmas party as two local bands join forces: one brings the “glunk rock”, the other the twanging riffs. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Saturday December 15th
The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough
Atmospheric post-hardcore from Oxford, metalcore from Nottingham, five-piece ShoeTown thrash metal band, and a rock trio from Milton Keynes. Doors 7pm, free entry

Sunday December 16th
The Albion Brewery Bar, Northampton
Eight-piece band from Birmingham, made up of brothers and sisters and twins and saxophones and trumpets and cute, weird dancers. Their music is an eclectic mix of jazz, lounge, psychedelia, two tone, pop and punk. Plus support from three brothers from Rugby who mash up funk, disco, and hip-hop, and local solo guitar indipopper.
Door 7.30pm, £8 tickets

Sunday December 16th
The Drunken Duck, Kislingbury
Songs from Rosie Swayne’s eco-political satirical show, newly evolving into a super exciting musical double act with long term singing collaborator Rachel Duncan. Dawes folk/pop debut album ‘Little Blue Book’ is out now Opening is a singer-songwriter who offers a jazzy style. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Sunday December 16th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Bringing you solo vibes including country music, ambient cello jams and a downtempo korg volca set. Doors 7pm, free entry

Sunday December 16th
The Three Horseshoes, Ecton
The troubadour – of Bennett Wilson Poole / Grand Drive / Danny and the Champions of the World fame – plays a solo show at 2.30 pm. Free entry




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