Tag: Roadmender

Bauhaus play Northampton [sort of…]

Pete Dennis previews The Teenage Werewolves / She’s in Bauhaus show this April Unlike Liverpool and Coventry who honour their musical offspring with museums and tourist trails Northampton’s goth rock…

Pete Dennis previews The Teenage Werewolves / She’s in Bauhaus show this April

Unlike Liverpool and Coventry who honour their musical offspring with museums and tourist trails Northampton’s goth rock pioneers Bauhaus have been confined to the attic like the madwoman in Jane Eyre. As if to remind us of our folly a double headliner comes to The Roadmender on Saturday April 11th, paying homage to The Cramps (Teenage Werewolves) and our very own practitioners of the dark arts She’s in Bauhaus.

Despite being largely ignored, officially, in their home town Bauhaus’ spectral shadow encompasses the globe, and one of many lives they’ve touched was that of American Jack Atlantis. He fronts both the Teenage Werewolves and She’s in Bauhaus, and Jack spoke exclusively to express his joy at performing at the birthplace of Gothic rock.

Jack began by explaining his initial exposure to Bauhaus: “I was introduced aged 15 while watching the film The Hunger. Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy was singing ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ while David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve hunt red-haired dancer Ann Magnuson. Bauhaus left a lasting impression on my musical taste, vocal style and fashion leanings.” So much so that Jack would later form a tribute act in honour of his heroes: “Last Halloween, we performed our first full Bauhaus show in Los Angeles with Bauhaus members David J and Kevin Haskins in the audience. Backstage, Kevin told me that ‘at times, I forgot It wasn’t Peter [Murphy] performing those songs.’”

Many miles separated the original Bauhaus and Cramps. How does Jack think the two relate? “I find that both band’s champion the dark undercurrent of weirdos and the under-represented outcasts. They both defied stereotypes and created a loyal following, inspiring countless other bands through their visual shows but with very different approaches. These two unique bands have an interesting crossover appeal of audience. Their fans love both bands”

To some people the very idea of tribute bands is an anathema, while to others they provide an opportunity to catch a glimpse of their heroes in an intimate setting. The untimely death of Cramps vocalist Lux Interior makes acts like the Teenage Werewolves even more vital, and while the original Bauhaus have recently reformed for a run of stadium dates the chances of them playing a Roadmender-sized venue is unlikely. She’s in Bauhaus appropriately fill that void.

Both of Jack’s tribute bands have been warmly received, but what gave him the idea of putting them on the same bill? “It was a series of events that seemed too uncanny to be mere coincidence. In 2014 the Teenage Werewolves performed a double-headlining show with David J and his solo band at the Viper Room in Hollywood. Then two ago, I hosted David’s travelling acoustic show at my house with an audience of 40 friends. The next day David flew to Mexico City to meet Peter Murphy for the start of their first tour together in over a decade and that would become the current and full reunion with Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins. The picture of The Teenage Werewolves and She’s in Bauhaus tour painted itself.”

How does it feel to bring She’s in Bauhaus to Northampton where Bauhaus first started? “Life is strange, as a kid from the other side of the world, hearing the songs of Bauhaus through unlikely sources, felt like my own secret world because I didn’t know anyone who also liked this music in the little town I’m from. When I moved to Los Angeles aged 18 I discovered legions of other fans, and it felt like my second home. I find it surreal to have met the band members on a personal level and then performing this strange show to English fans at the epicentre of where the band started. It’s an honour, and we won’t let the fans down.”

The Teenage Werewolves and She’s in Bauhaus play Northampton Roadmender on April 11th 2020. Support comes from the Clash tribute The Clashed and Joy Division impersonators Shadowplay. Doors 6pm, £18.50 tickets plus booking fee.

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Live review: Half Man Half Biscuit

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

The Roadmender, Northampton
February 15th

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

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

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

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

Peter Dennis

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Independent Venue Week 2020; photo report

We’re still trying to catch up on sleep from another cracking Independent Venue Week. There were great gigs taking place at The Black Prince, The Roadmender and The Lab in…

We’re still trying to catch up on sleep from another cracking Independent Venue Week.

There were great gigs taking place at The Black Prince, The Roadmender and The Lab in Northampton with Esquires and the Craufurd Arms across the border, as you’d expect, putting on solid shows throughout the week.

Working Men’s Club at The Black Prince

It was probably the strongest IVW Northampton has had to date and we got around to as much as we could / were allowed to by significant others.

It was six gigs for photo editor Dave and five for editor-in-chief Phil.

Billy Lockett pulled in the biggest crowd of the week at the Roadmender which was a top homecoming show for the Northampton native at the start of his UK tour.

The Black Prince saw hundreds of people through its doors during IVW, with Working Men’s Club and No Music among the highlights.

Over at Esquires, Wamduscher proved a great end to the week with a sold-out show.

Apologies to The Lab and the Craufurd Arms. Promise we’ll get to some of your shows next year! We might have to recruit a bit more help!

Below is a gallery featuring some of Northampton’s finest playing alongside the acts who headed to the region, featuring headline gigs by

ROAM / SPQR / King Purple / Billy Lockett / Working Men’s Club / Warmduscher

We cannot display this gallery


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

RUSSELL HEYWORTH + KEV WILETT Thursday January 9th The Lab, Northampton Local singer-songwriters. Music starts 8.30pm, free entry RISKEE AND THE RIDICULE + VATICAN ROMP + HEADSTONE HORRORS + MATT…

Thursday January 9th
The Lab, Northampton
Local singer-songwriters. Music starts 8.30pm, free entry

Friday January 10th
The Lab, Northampton
‘Punkdown!’ is a series of live music events showcasing the fine array of modern punk, alternative and indie rock music located nationwide. Part one features grime-punk from Kent, experimental punk from Salisbury, fast-paced street punk horror, and psycho-analytical melodic rap. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday January 10th
Earl’s Barton WMC
Kontra Roots’s very own ‘Cambridge Folk Festival’, featuring the veteran troubadour, a singer-songwriter who writes and performs folk songs flavoured with soul, jazz funk, country and more, plus a singer-songwriter “noted for her conversational style, classy lyrics and crisp, listing vocals”. Doors 8pm, £3 entry

Friday January 10th
The Witch & Sow, Guilsborough
Ni Ni. 8.30pm start, free entry

Saturday January 11th
The Roadmender, Northampton
Bruce Foxton and friends play Setting Sons for this 40th anniversary concert. The critically-acclaimed album reached #4 in the UK and the album became a big commercial success, earning them their first top ten hit single ‘The Eton Rifles’.

Saturday January 11th
Well Cottage House, Daventry
Award-winning singer-songwriter Payne brings his acoustic show, showcasing new music from his debut solo album ‘By Name, By Nature’ ahead of it’s release later this year. He is best known for demonstrating an impressive 5-octave range, plus his work within progressive rock as frontman of The Enid (2011-2016). Doors 7pm, £20 tickets

Saturday January 11th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Wildfire Sessions, an acoustic showcase. 3-6pm, free entry

Sunday January 12th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Alt-rock night, featuring Oxford based Semper Vera and Bristol based Vicarage on their first UK tour. Plus two NN younglings with high hopes and taller talents. Doors 7pm, £5 entry

Photo credit: Cris Watkins

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The New Boots Year In Review – 2019

It’s been a fantastic 12 months for Northamptonshire’s music scene, with the county in the national and international press more than it maybe ever has been. We’ve had the return…

It’s been a fantastic 12 months for Northamptonshire’s music scene, with the county in the national and international press more than it maybe ever has been. We’ve had the return of Bauhaus who reunited for trio of gigs in LA and who have now announced a London show, slowthai who has been taking over the world, Billy Lockett repping NN on The Late Late Show in the US – all while Temples have been circling the globe again. Amid all this, we’ve had dozens of other musicians playing great shows and releasing inspiring music.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine a year with more musical focus on Northamptonshire than this one. And that’s something to be rightly proud of.

So, without further-ado, here’s the second annual New Boots round up of the last 12-months, bought to you by site founders Phil Moore and David Jackson.
We decided this year to hand this one over to you and 900 of you voted over seven days. We were watching the voting unfold in the background and are hugely grateful to everyone who took part. The lead and top five changed hands several times. Here the top five based on the final count:

1. King Purple ‘Warning Signs’
2. Sarpa Salpa ‘Before It Goes Dark’
3. Kenneth J Nash ‘The Explorer’
4. Krysthla ‘Zero Sum Game’
5. The Barratts ‘Lights Out in London’

In the end it was King Purple who took the top spot with their psychedelic, slow-burning single ‘Warning Signs’. Congratulations guys. We told frontman Callum Connachie and he said: “It feels great to win. We would like to thank every single soul that voted for ‘Warning Signs’, it means a lot. We will be back in 2020 with even bigger and better tunes.”

What did we think? Phil also went for ‘Warning Signs’, with Dave opting for ‘01604Ever’ by Blood Visions.


slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
Krysthla – Worldwide Negative
Thee Telepaths – The Velvet Night
Nina Harries – Nina Harries

Dave: “There’s two albums which stood out for me this year, without doubt clocking up the most hours on Spotify for me were slowthai’s Nothing Great About Britain and Krysthla’s Worldwide Negative. Although some of my favourite slowthai songs are the likes of ‘T N Biscuits’ and ‘Drug Dealer’ [which aren’t really considered proper LP tracks] the record is incredible and absolutely worthy of the critical acclaim it received. There’s obvious comparisons to Mike Skinner but 17 years on from his debut, I think this record stands shoulder to shoulder with it. There’s an excellent mix of grime and punk-influenced music peppered with a great sense of humour and story-telling throughout it.

Phil: “I’ve listened to Nothing Great About Britain a lot and really enjoyed it – it’s totally deserving of the praise. It’s an album which has really redefined a lot of people’s relationship with modern hip-hop and grime and made people think about Northampton in a different way – both positive and negative. Seeing a guy brought up in Lings become this international superstar is just so heart-warming.”

Dave: “Last year we talked about an absence of metal on our lists, and I think Krysthla totally delivered on third record. They took their sound in a few different directions but it’s an album full of brutal riffs and great songs and a reminder of what a great band they are. They deservedly got to open the main stage at Bloodstock Festival this year and I’m sure it was in part down to the strength in this LP.”

Phil: “For sure – you know Krysthla are a band which can stand tall against any band at any festival. One of the albums for me was The Velvet Night by Thee Telepaths. It came out at the beginning of the year and it’s an incredible piece of art really. There’s only three tracks spread out over twelve different ‘parts’, but it takes you on a real krautrock/psychedelic/drone/noise journey. It’s got so much going on and even after several plays I’m still finding something new buried within. Second to meniton is an album, which probably hasn’t really had much impact locally I’m afraid to say, is the self-titled effort by Nina Harries. Her debut album is something just so unique. She plays double bass and sings and she gets her brother and her dad and a couple of friends to play on the album. It’s very haunting and ethereal, just beautiful and really feels very like she’s opened herself up to get the best piece of art she can. I don’t think people here know enough about, and absolutely it’s worth checking out.”

Dave: “I also want to quickly want to mention Hot Motion by Temples. Indie-psych isn’t my ‘go to’, but Temples have rediscovered their guitars on this record and there’s just some really great songs on it.

The Big Dirty

Phil: Here’s two very different ones from me. Firstly, it’s The Big Dirty. The last time I saw them I remembered why they’re now bringing fans to their Northampton shows from all over the country. They’re such a fun and powerful and energetic live act, with the ability to get everybody to hone in on what they’re doing. They’re one of these bands you just can’t take your eyes off. They’re working hard now to get to the next level, they’ve got management for example, and are doing really well going into the new year.”

Dave: “The Big Dirty are just great fun and deservedly were taken by BBC Introducing in Northampton to the BBC’s Maida Vale studios to record a session, and those tracks have recently been aired. They’re just undeniably, unapologetic fun. Great rock – how it’s meant to be. And they look kinda fantastically ridiculous.”

Phil: “If there’s a Trousers of the Year competition, all four of them would win in.”

Dave: “I don’t think they’ve got their own boxer shorts yet, though?”

Phil: “Secondly I must mention George Hammond aka Nailbreaker. It’s “digital hardcore”; he’s manipulating sounds with his laptop and stalks around venues and screams a lot, basically. It’s one of the greatest things you’ll ever see.”

Dave: “He’s joined Sharkteeth Grinder, right? They opened for ACODA in Corby and adding George into Sharkeeth has given that band another dimension, which you didn’t even know they needed. Without a doubt, two of the most exciting bands to watch live, so seeing them sort of combine has been great.


slowthai – LP launch at The Garibaldi Hotel
The New Boots stage at the Northampton Music Festival
Local acts in the Roadmender’s main room

Dave: “This is a simple one, slowthai’s album launch at The Garibaldi. From seeing fans queue up in the morning at Spun Out Records to get a wristband, to Skepta walking in at the end for ‘Inglorious’ – it was amazing. The place was absolutely rammed and it just felt an amazing celebration of the album. One of the hottest gigs ever. Ty spent most the gig aloft a speaker stack, or among the audience. Within minutes he was just down to his pants and socks and the venue was full of family and friends. It just felt a really special occasion. You just get the impression it’s going to be one of those gigs people talk about for years to come and about 10 times the number claim they were at.”

Phil: “Ty – you absolutely smashed that one from all accounts. I wasn’t there [I was working, what a tool!]. I want to talk about two events. The first one is slightly self-congratulatory. The New Boots stage at the Northampton Music Festival was a new thing we did for the first time, and I didn’t know how it was going to go. However I’m pleased to say it went really well, and I’m really grateful to everyone involved and everyone who came. We’re going to have another stage in 2020 it looks like. Things will be slightly different this year, you’ll find out early in the new year. I’d like to think we got to show what original music in Northampton sounds like, and stuck it on a stage.”

Dave: “I don’t think it’s a secret there’s been some criticism of the direction of NMF in recent years with some people thinking it’s not for them. The New Boots stage hopefully reminded people it is and will be in the future. It’s always going to be serving a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be for you.”

Phil: “Also, we have some local bands that are so popular now they can play the main room at the Roadmender. In recent years you’ve had a lot of local bands playing the smaller room and that’s been an “aim”, to be at that level. And then four bands this year took it a step further! Sarpa Salpa, King Purple, Stormbringer and The Barratts all did it, they all played to hundreds of people. The general thing in the music press these days is that guitar bands are not interesting anymore. “No one cares about guitar bands – people only care about hip-hop, singer-songwriters and pop music”. This year showed guitar music can bring big numbers, and long may that ring true.”


Sleaford Mods
Enter Shikari
Red Rum Club

Dave: “The two for me are actually bands who have headlined here before, Enter Shikari and Sleaford Mods – both at the Roadmender. Enter Shikari are always great live and didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t really a big fan of their last album, but I think they’ve evolved amazingly over the years and they’re always such an assault on the senses and amazing to see live. They’re also a band which can play arenas, but open talk about the importance of playing towns like Northampton. Additionally, much like Gary Numan, they’re a band who’ll cram as many lights on stage as possible. Then, the other end of the visual spectrum, we have Sleaford Mods. They released one of my favourite albums this year so to see them come back was great. They feel like a very important band right now.”

Phil: “I’m going to mention three gigs of different sizes. Madness at Franklin’s Gardens – it was incredible to see so many people having a fantastic time and skanking away to great pop hits. Sleaford Mods at the Roadmender again – Eton Alive was such a statement record to lose yourself in. And I must mention Red Rum Club at The Black Prince. That was a superb live show – a six-piece band with trumpet. Loads of energy, great tunes and lovely lads to boot. They played to 1400 people in Liverpool the week before, so to come to play to 150 in Northampton and be really pleased to be here was great. Three gigs of very different sizes – but all great nights out.”



Dave: “It’s difficult to not make this this the New Boots slowthai awards. However, he’s had an amazing year and that’s gotta be recognised. He’s had some iconic moments: watching him in front of so many people at Glastonbury, selling out Brixton Academy, and two tours. He was by far the most entertaining person on the red carpet at the Mercury Music Prize, and he’s always looks like he’s having so much fun. Holding the severed head of Boris Johnson is one of the defining music images of the year.”

Phil: “I love the story that’s being woven with him, and hope we’ll be talking about him for years to come. I agree, it’s been a huge year for slowthai and it’s hard to look beyond him. I’ve seen him three times, he’s been on the front of magazines and newspapers everywhere. Just incredible. I do also want to mention Izzie Gibbs. He had some health issues at the start of the year, and in fact he hasn’t played any shows this year, but what he has done is put out five singles and they’re all banging pieces of work. He’s got an audience now that love him and I think that perhaps in the slipstream of slowthai he could do great things in 2020. I hope he’s got a masterplan. I hope it all comes to fruition for him, he deserves it.”


Billy Lockett

David: “There’s a few to mention here. Ty, again for all the reasons we’ve discussed. We’ve had no one who has had the national and international impact which he has. Then, there’s the return of Bauhaus who have finally hopefully realised they have a legacy to claim.”

Phil: “No-one saw this coming, Peter Murphy had a heart attack in the summer, there was the big tour with David J in 2018, but out of the blue we had those LA shows with all four of Bauhaus. Their last live show was 2006 so it’s been a while, and I don’t think anyone ever expected it to happen again. If you remember how acrimonious the previous reformation was in the end – no one suspected anything else at this point. I’m so glad they’re back on it, even if it is only for a short while.”

Dave: “Billy, on The Late Late Show with James Corden was another huge moment.”

Phil: “If you’re going to take on America, what a great start. He’s moved back to Northampton. The move to London really helped him, but he said it was time to come home. And what has he done? He immediately records four tracks, puts them out and now he’s playing one on James Corden in America to millions! Also, Temples have gone around the world on the ‘Hot Motion’ tour, it’s great to see them back on it.”

Dave: “Temples went away after that second album, wrote a great third album, gold-plated a load of equipment and toured the world. Good work lads.”


Baby Lung
Wishing Wolf
Mali Mae

Dave: “Tragic. I don’t know a lot about them and haven’t managed to see them yet but they’ve released a great debut EP which features the singles ‘Walking’ and ‘Sammy Set His Bed On Fire’. I know they’re young guys but hopefully they’re going to carry on doing good things next year.

Phil: “I’m going to mention three other artists I’m really buzzing for. Baby Lung put a stunning single out at the start of the year, ‘Casualty’, and are about to release the ‘ShoeTown Blues’ EP. They’ve played a bunch of shows locally, and are like nothing else around really. They’re an indie-lounge-jazz thing, with songs to get the pulse racing. It’s good to see them slow everything down a bit, and up the drama. I also want to mention Caliburn. I don’t know a lot about them, but they put this EP out and they have such a ‘pinned against the wall’ sound, we couldn’t ignore them.

Dave: “I’d like to get a mention in for Wishing Wolf. With a lot of bands concentrating on singles and EPs it was great they put out their debut album out, which sounded incredible. It’d be great to see them take that leap forward next year.”

Phil: “Finally from me Mali Mae. She’s a singer songwriter from south Northamptonshire. She’s put an album out called Personal and I was just blown away at how a 20-year-old could write such amazing, affecting songs.
I just think people should keep an eye out on all that’s going on round these parts. Generally I think there’s been a lot of seeds planted this year. We’ve talked about it been very good nationally and internationally, but I hope we all can build on that and help bring some more of these acts up to the next level in 2020.”

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 11th – Dec 17th

DEADWOOD + THE BLOODY RACKET Thursday December 12th The Lab, Northampton Electro blues duo from France have earned legendary status on the European underground festival scene with their wild shows…

Thursday December 12th
The Lab, Northampton
Electro blues duo from France have earned legendary status on the European underground festival scene with their wild shows and demonic sound. Support from new synthy-noise outfit. Doors 7pm, £4 entry

Thursday December 12th
The King Billy, Northampton
Spanish female-fronted band which plays a melodic death metal base, with some nu-metal and metalcore influences
Support from Leicestershire hardcore punks. From 8.30pm, free entry

Friday December 13th
The Lab, Northampton
Tragic are a punkish trio from Northampton, giving the complacent a kick in the eye. Their first, self-titled EP is out tonight, featuring the songs ‘Walking’, ‘Sloppy Kiss’, ‘Sammy Set His Bed On Fire’ and ‘Dirty Glitter’. Support from Corby’s punk-psych trio, and ShoeTown’s blitzkreig noisecore lads. Doors 7.30pm, tickets £3.50

Friday December 13th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Melodic death metal from Cardiff, thrash metal from Newcastle, and death metal from Northampton. Doors 7pm, £5 tickets

Saturday December 14th
The Roadmender, Northampton
“Are We There Yet?” 40th Anniversary Tour. One of the UK’s finest Rhythm & Blues Bands, formed in 1979, they moving from selling out the Marquee to selling out the Hammersmith Odeon. Sussex singer-songwriter in support. Doors 7pm, £17.50 tickets

Saturday December 14th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Ramshackle rock and roll and post punk/synths [both from London], plus Northants songwriter and band providing snaking lo-fi music with groove. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday December 14th
Athletic Club, Rushden
A night of pop-punk and alt-rock, featuring bands from Southampton, Loughborough, Northampton, and Kettering. Doors 5pm, £5 entry

Saturday December 14th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
In the afternoon get beautiful harmonies from the duo, and proggy folk in the evening from the local heroes. 3-6pm for Humblebee, 9pm for Abrahams. Free entry

Saturday December 14th
The Duke of Wellington, Stanwick
Ni Ni Sessions acoustic showcase. From 9pm, free entry






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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Dec 4th – Dec 10th

TC & THE BOBCATS + SLACKSTRING BAND + MATT CARTER Wednesday December 4th The Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby Final Rooftop Acoustic show of the year, a Christmas Special which sees…

Wednesday December 4th
The Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby
Final Rooftop Acoustic show of the year, a Christmas Special which sees the return of great local blues band,  with support from the Brigstock proggers and the Northants troubadour. Doors 7.30pm, free entry

Friday December 6th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
Clothing brand launch – with DJs and secret live acts. We know who’s playing – and trust us, you need to be there. Doors 7pm, free entry

Friday December 6th
The Roadmender, Northampton
‘The Bookmark Show’, as this will be last gig from the Kettering rockers for “quite a while”. Support from the teenage punk trio. Doors 7.30pm, £5 tickets

Friday December 6th
The Lab, Northampton
Spanish headliners do death metal grind; before them its intense hardcore from Leicester, metal/hardcore from MK, and Northampton’s thrashpunk powerviolence men. Doors 7.30pm, £5 entry

Friday December 6th
Old Five Bells, Northampton
The award-winning soulful singer Liane Carroll provides some pre Christmas rush therapy, along with Tim Harries (Bass) and Alan Savage (Drums). Doors 8pm, £10 tickets

Friday December 6th
The Sun Inn, Hardingstone
Acoustic singer-songwriters – Leo Shirley, Celine Ellis, George Holmes, Jacksboro Highway, Chris Kent, Steve Birks, and Hannah Faulkner – perform. Starts 8.30pm, free entry

Saturday December 7th
The Black Prince, Northampton
Chester metal quartet and Essex hardcore fivesome do the co-headline tour thing, with support from the hotly-tipped Northants metalcore gang. Doors 7.30pm, £7 tickets

Saturday December 7th
The Roadmender, Northampton
The Minnesota trio were one of the biggest RNB boy bands in the 1990s. Doors 9pm, £12.50 tickets 

Saturday December 7th
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton
London psych quartet come to town – their next single ‘Demons’ will help you unload. Fronted by vocalist and guitarist Chloe Spence, “her soaring vocals intertwine with a heavy dose of spontaneous musical carnage”. New jazz fusion quartet in support. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday December 7th
The Kingfisher, Corby
The “Lips Can Kill” tour of edgy and vibrant London bands. Punk, rock and grunge sounds ahoy! Doors 7.30pm, £8 tickets

Saturday December 7th
The Shire Horse, Kettering
Acoustic harmonising duo back at a favourite haunt. 3pm-6pm, free entry

Sunday December 8th
The Lab, Northampton
Psychedelic rock from Switzerland, as part of their Transgenic album release tour. Rugby’s awesome psychedelic Hillbilly junk music act in support, along with ShoeTown singer-songwriter. Doors 7pm, £4 members and £5 everyone else.

Sunday December 8th
UFO Pavilion, Northampton
Christmas fair, with live acoustic acts. 2pm-6pm, free entry

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It’s A Shoe In: Northants gig guide Nov 20th – Nov 26th

DOOZER McDOOZE & KARL PHILLIPS Wednesday November 20th The Lab, Northampton Last Orders At Bar acoustic tour, featuring Essex’s cheeky troubadour and the ShoeTown man for whom “a night off”…

Wednesday November 20th
The Lab, Northampton
Last Orders At Bar acoustic tour, featuring Essex’s cheeky troubadour and the ShoeTown man for whom “a night off” does not register. Doors 7pm, free entry

Thursday November 21st
The King Billy, Northampton
Belgium’s quintet who incorporate elements of all the classic styles of Metal from the past four decades to deliver music that is heavy, melodic, virtuosic, catchy and conceptual. Also: German metallers promoting debut album Freedom In Fire. Plus opener is new band from Tim O’Neill and friends. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday November 22nd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton [upstairs]
Double header at the Gari tonight, up and downstairs. In the bar you get country rockers [fka Real Live Owls], the Pat Fish-led world music quartet, and ShoeTown ledge, singer-songwriter Miss Paton. Doors 8pm, free entry

Friday November 22nd
The Garibaldi Hotel, Northampton [basement]
Urban music night/open mic. Featured artistes this time around: Napps and Dreadz, plus many more. Doors , free entry

Friday November 22nd
The Charles Bradlaugh, Northampton
A rare night of original music at the Brad, to celebrate International Men’s Day – plus comedy, in aid of The Grey Dog Trust. Local acoustic acts Tammerlane and Ray Beck open, The Comedy Crate’s Edd Hedges and Ross Smith will then take over, before the local full-band pairing do their thing. Doors 7pm, £7 advance tickets

Friday November 22nd
The Lab, Northampton
A trio of blues bands, from ShoeTown and MK. Doors 7pm, free entry [donations requested]

Friday November 22nd to Sunday November 24th
The Headlands, The Garibaldi Hotel, The Dukes Arms [Northampton and Kettering]
‘Uncle Eric’, The White Rabbit’, ‘The Singing Gnome’, The Staggering Bavarian’, ‘The Backstairs Creeper’, The Red ‘Otter’, The Beer Parlour Jiver’, ‘The Grosvenor Player’, ‘Echo’…the list goes on…all are Mr Eric Whitehouse; a man whose contribution to the musical life of of ShoeTown is inestimable. Three consecutive gigs in honour of Eric and musicians, past and present, that have shared his rootsy philosophy. Free entry gigs, but donations to ‘Hospice at Home’ accepted.

Friday November 22nd
The Hopmaster General, Rushden
Folk-rock joy from the ShoeTown group. Doors 8pm, free entry

Saturday November 23rd
The Roadmender, Northampton
“The Funk is Back” Tour. They release their brand new album “TBNH” this autumn on Acid Jazz, which features guest appearances from Beverley Knight, NDea Davenport, AngieStone, Siedah Garrett, Laville, Angela Ricci and more. The lead single from the album is a cover of Kendrick Lamar song ‘These Walls’, lovingly produced by Mark Ronson. Doors 7pm, £25 tickets

Saturday November 23rd
The Lab, Northampton
DARKNESS OVER NORTHAMPTON! Blasphemy Sound presents four bands of the death metal persuasion, from Leeds, Birmingham, and of course Northampton. Primal Holocaust are celebrating the release of their EP too. Doors 7pm, £6.50 tickets

Saturday November 23rd
The Sargeants Memorial Hall, Brafield-On-The-Green
Madrid-born, Chicago-raised, Cornwall-based singer/songwriter has expanded her battery of instruments to include piano, electric guitar and drum on fifth solo album If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous, and it’s drawn critical raves internationally. Doors 6:30pm, £10 tickets 

Saturday November 23rd
The Romany, Northampton
Northampton originals with a few reggae classics thrown in for good measure. Plus DJ Dekka [Set It Off Sound]. From 9pm, free entry

Saturday November 23rd
The Talisman, Corby
Hung Like Hanratty are the most talked about band on the punk circuit. Last year saw the Hanrattys pull the biggest ever crowd for an opening band at the Great British Alternative Music Festival. Spalding garage punks in support. Doors 7.30pm, £8 tickets

Saturday November 23rd
The Shire Horse, Kettering
An acoustic showcase hosted by Ni Ni Sessions. Featuring Celine Ellis, Ray Beck, Andy Clarke, and Hannah Faulkner. From 3pm to 6pm, free entry

Monday November 25th
The Derngate, Northampton
Pop icon Ant performs his landmark solo album Friend Or Foe for the first time live in its entirety, as well as classic chart-topping singles and personal favourites. The Friend or Foe album was Adam’s first release as a solo artist and included three hit singles. ‘Goody Two Shoes’ reached #1 in the UK, ‘Friend or Foe’ was another top ten hit, while ‘Desperate But Not Serious’ was the album’s third smash. Doors 7.30pm, £45.50 tickets

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Live review: DragonForce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday November 15th
The Lab, Northampton
The Skankdown night is back for its fifth instalment. Local skanking heroes headline, with hand picked support from Nottingham, Brighton, and Southampton. Doors 7pm, £5 entry.

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

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

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


📸 Joe Berisford

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