Category Archives: OI
Setting out on another tour is a strange and wondrous thing. And, if you’ve just remembered where the important things are hat should be in your bag, a bit annoying as well. It still feels odd to be off on a Darkness tour – brilliant, but odd in a wide eyed and still disbelieving way. Having a Darkness headline show all to ourselves is a something to be held to our collective breasts and cherished. There have been plenty of gigs, mind. Just none (two) of them here, and none (oh ok, TWO) just Darkness.
Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball had the lion’s share of Summer and Autumn. I’m not a great fan of stadium gigs as I prefer to be in a dark place, with walls and floor and banging acoustics, not outside with wind dictated sound and even big screens looking like matchboxes, never mind the stage. Gaga views were restricted further by the extended stage walkways – made for a fabulous extravaganza with boundless energy and amazing dancing – but even from the (non monster pit) front barriers I saw all that on a screen. It was an amazing show. I fully endorse Gaga’s stand against prejudices and for the right to be who you are. But… The show will look better on DVD. I’m glad I went, but I ONLY went to see TD. Now, they rocked, from the view available. They did a solid, professional job, got the crowd on their side rocking and singing, and Justin dropped his trousers. They never underperform.
America, then, to fill in a few US gaps after Christmas. That’s where it got back to normal. Reports and videos show the wildest, rockiest shows yet. TD have never been a band to stand idly around, but they seem to have outdone themselves with more energy than ever. Justin hurling himself around and Dan coming to the fore have got people talking, and they love it. Is this new confidence? A conscious decision to kick ass harder? Or a natural reaction to crazy crowds? Maybe there’s a sense of ‘second chance, let’s go do it harder, faster, louder this time’ ? I can’t wait to see it, at last.
Will I, though? Tonight, I’m in Sheffield for the first gig. It’s seated. There will be no crowd surfing or balcony jumps. The crowd walk will be a little tricky. There will be SEATS. If I had known that before I’d bought my tickets I would have thought twice. I’d still have gone because it’s The Darkness, but for ME to even consider not going, unless I physically can’t, is a wrong state of affairs. It’s going to be a strange experience. I’m expecting great music, passion, superb playing, banter and silliness and the sense of being home. I’m also expecting the atmosphere to be a slight step away from the norm.
Oh, what the hell. They’re here. A TD gig is a thing of strange and unconventional beauty, so I shall gladly go and fill my soul with it. More later.
Saxon? The name jumped out at me like a hit from the past. It’s been a long while since I listened to any of their stuff, and the band are most linked with memories of school and my best friend. He was a metalhead, I was an ex-mod goth – we covered a lot between us. Anyway… my good friend Andy was a big fan and it’s down to him that I ever heard them at all.
A new album, their 20th, is being released on 4th March. Sacrifice was produced by frontman Biff Byford, who has plenty to say about the back to Saxon basics approach. ‘I wanted to focus on the raw aspects which made us great in the first place’ he states. Indeed, if you were a fan back in the 80′s, you’ll find a lot that’s both familiar and classic to rediscover. If you weren’t, then you do need to be a metalhead to appreciate it fully. It’s steeped in traditions of lyric, legend and guitar that have wound themselves round several decades and albums. Listen, and ye shall find. New fans should find everything you need to know about the genre right here, given a fresh lick of amp power for the now generation.
Some release formats have extra acoustic/orchestral and re-recorded tracks, so look out for these. Saxon are on a UK tour in April and May – check out their website for more details. There’salso an offer on there to go on tour with them. Interesting…
Just a few gems of video and photos I had lying around in my piles of stuff to do. Best gig I’ve been to for ages – metal, filth, floof and tight trousers. What’s not to like?
A little time has passed since my ears were last beautifully dirtied by the nice people of O.W.L.S. , so this night out was well anticipated. A four-band dose of live music is not to be sniffled at in any event, but when it features this band, the night’s going to be a good one. Even if I had lost myself, my nose ring and my oyster card in the 400 yards between tube station and venue…
First up were Evacuees, just after I got there. Perfectly reasonable band, reminded me a little of Glasvegas. Can’t say they hit me where it hurts, but that’s not to say they weren’t any good – just maybe I was nattering too much.
Next were Zodiac N Black. Before they came on, I was told they were well worth watching, and Mr Macfarlaine’s words are usually to be heeded on these subjects. Off my bum and into the crowd… Well, of course he was right. They rock like heck, with energy and aplomb, and are REALLY GOOD. What more do you want me to say? They know perfectly well what they’re doing musically and venues definitely need to be filled with their metalling. A little video… and more details at the bottom.
That’s the better quality of the vids – my camera is broken so filming done on the iPad – but see OI’s channel for the other.
A short break for vodka, guitar lead/cable/wire swaps and it’s time for O.W.L.S. I’ve described their approach to the cleanliness of sound before, and I can’t say that’s changed at all. Starting with Only Joking, we were straight into hardness. No pussyfooting around here (Toby’s footwear excepted)! Go To Your Happy Place is a singalong of dark proportions, Hurt Janine an oddly delightful, joyous thing, Vitamins and Kibosh as moshy and headbangy as I remember. She Can Open Doors is below. I just watched it without sound, accidentally, and the rocking still shines through.
The sound pouring forth was something with a harder edge than back in February, with a surer performance. This had more punk and more assurance. February was no means lacking anything, but after a longish break, such a great performance was brilliant. O.W.L.S are brilliant, in a darkly shining way.
Get your vinyl copy of double A-side single Hurt Janine/Vitamins as soon as you can, as it’s a strictly limited edition.
Velvet Star were on last. Hmm. Sorry… not my thing.
Let’s get everyone out there to see both O.W.L.S. and Zodian N Black. You can see the former on 9th Dec at Emma Scott Presents, The Flapper, Birmingham.
Twitter – @OWLSHQ @Zodiac_N_Black
Phillip Rogers is a dedicated sort of man. Earlier this year he took his convictions in his hands, examined them closely, and found them worthy of doing something about. What followed was just a bit of a whirlwind…
Finding little joy in the UK music scene, he decided that it needed a bit of an arsekick. Where on earth was a home for unknown and unsigned bands? Who was championing the cause of the talented but largely unheard? Hmm… and in the best traditions of those blessed with vision, courage and a bit of madness, he did something about it.
BritRockArmy is the result of the musings, and the start of something else. Reviews and interviews are breeding like rabbits on the blog. Just a few short months after the first post, there’s an event showcasing bands, including acoustic sets, happening at the Birmingham Roadhouse on Sunday 11th November (see flyer below). A compilation album of donated tracks is in progress – the tracks are being whittled down, and this is proving to be a hard job. ‘BritRockArmy – Uprising’ (temporary title!) is to be a double album, and voting for the 15 bands to appear on Part 2’s People’s Choice is underway on Facebook .
BritRockArmy marches on behalf of everyone in music – we are all in it together, and one part can’t exist without the other. If you have anything to say, need a place to play, want to praise/promote/play your trade, then there’s room to do it.
A great example of following your dreams. Long may BritRockArmy fight for music’s unknown soldiers.
Recorded at three different 2011 festivals, this DVD and/or CD set is a memento of, an introduction to, and an ‘arse, I couldn’t make it to’ Motörhead’s live performances. With an 80,000 crowd quoted for Wacken, they’re not exactly small and insignificant ones, either. Wacken’s dominates, being the whole set, and by virtue of its production. The film isn’t in parts, the sound wavers a little – but it gives an accurate idea of what it’s like in a festival crowd and from stage. It’s real, just like it really was, and works for me. I’ve seen footage of gigs before and thought ‘it wasn’t like that at all’ so it’s rather refreshing to see something more honest. Reality gigging! It’s a long set in the rain for fans, but there are thousands throwing horns all the way through and their enthusiasm is unflagging. Opening with Iron Fist, there are 17 songs – Metropolis, One Night Stand, In The Name of Tragedy, Bomber, Ace of Spades and Overkill being just a few. It’s quite a thing to see, legends in action.
Both Sonisphere’s and Rock in Rio’s sets are much shorter, with much slicker film production. A good contrast, especially as Sonisphere’s set is in daylight, which seemed… unusual. Motörhead are a band for the dark, with afternoons a hidden, lost place – surely? It seems not! Both sets look and feel as good as Wacken’s, in a different way. Ste he could not have had. But let’s not get bogged down in video production details. Both approaches have a place, and show Motörhead’s performances in equally good lights. Good hard solid rock throughout, delivered without frills or fuss but with consummate ease. No pretence, no need of any. Sonisphere’s gig was the day after ex-member Wurzel’s death, as announced by Lemmy, so must have been rather a strange day for band and fans alike, but a greater tribute he could not have had. It was a good watch, and the CDs will make damn fine driving music on those dark rainy nights. Look out for the Festival Impressions W:O:A extra – it made me laugh, has lots of beer and a few interviews.
Watching HAS made me want to go and see them live, as I’ve never had the chance. So, job done! Oh, and I’ve fallen in love with that bass.
Out now, from the usual places.
Motörhead, noisemakers extraordinaire, are releasing a second live extravaganza on DVD and 2 CDs on 24th September. The Wörld is Ours Vol 2 – Anyplace Crazy as Anywhere Else was recorded in 2011 at Sonisphere (July), the headline appearance at Wacken Festival (August) and Rock in Rio (September).
If you want to get your rock mitts on this little package of mayhem, just answer the following questions.
1. Who designed the iconic Motörhead logo?
2. What is a motörhead? (Oh come on. That one you can do in your sleep.)
3. Hawkwind released ‘Motörhead’ as an A-side single. What was the B-side?
Anyone wanting to also experience this in a more physical way can get dirty in person on the European tour in November and December.
Entries are restricted to the UK, and my decisions are final, etc.
The Chameleons are a band whose music has been closely woven in and out of my life since I started uni and first heard them, back in the mid-80′s. I’m not a fan that can get every single song title right, but I am one that can instantly recognise and sing along, one that leans back and let the sounds and words wash over and through me. I never got to see them back then, and until now, haven’t been able to get to the new lot of gigs. A trip to Leeds is always a pleasure, I’d never managed to get to the legendary Cockpit (after a swift date/venue change) before, and some much loved people were to be hugged in person at long last.
Thanks to travel on a Friday night from Norwich, we missed Vendemmian and Berlin Black who had both been and done by the time we arrived, sadly. But hey – time for a drink and hugs and finding a space to stand. The place is packed to the gills, hot, and ready to get sweaty. You could taste the anticipation. This is a crowd that really loves the band in a personal way, if not uncritically. It’s also Mark Burgess’ birthday, and the end of the tour. Party mode, from the start!
The good things began with no fanfare, but with authority and confidence. There are no new fans to win over, no suits to impress – just a time to play good music well, enjoy, celebrate the then and now. It’s not a retro retail reformation thing going on. It’s for real, and it’s a family atmosphere thing. The crowd is passionate but polite, of an age not to be selfish in its enjoyment. Naturally I cashed in a few of my nice lady brownie points and ended up easily at the front to be able to see. The Chameleons (now with added Vox) always seemed to me to be a band that held up to scrutiny, that deserved critical acclaim, and were solidly sure and true. Somewhat in awe, I watched, and wasn’t disappointed.
The songs sound less written than allowed to flow to the stage where sounds perfectly synergise and the current is strong enough to carry any emotion, any point of view (indeed, it carried the energetic mosh pit without any effort). When you’ve got a back catalogue as good as theirs, it does give you a head start, but really, they don’t need it. They don’t (actually) really need the love of the crowd to carry them through, either. They are simply GOOD. Very good. No faff, no gimmick, no nothing except excellent playing and a few comments from Mark.
A few songs later, an excursion into and through the moshpit, and I’m back where I started to stand and listen in stillness. I can’t see, so I’m not distracted. That’s when the brilliance of the writing is evident. It’s almost possible to listen in stillness AND silence, to let it touch you. It’s emotional musically and lyrically. Anger, despair, sadness, acceptance, defiance are odd bedfellows to produce a kind of rapture, but they do. When finally they get to my favourite (it’s a whole life favourite, not just of theirs) In Shreds, then it’s as though I’m the only one there. It’s a bleak, soulless picture that it paints to me, a deep cry against crushing loneliness and struggling to keep a sense of self worth (in my opinion, natch). The vocals sound lost, like shouting through a thick fog with little hope of being heard. It just catches me every damn time, and on that day, with all that’s gone on in recent times, it crashed in with force. Can you ask much more of a song than to make you cry with upset whilst filling you with elation? Beautiful but deadly.
Gigs come, and they go, but I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. It really was one for the memoirs.
‘HOT CAKES’ and will be released on…
MONDAY 20th AUGUST (UK)
TUESDAY 21st AUGUST (North America)
(and dates either side of that, depending on your country’s specific ‘normal’ release day).
There’s a wonderfully controlled wildness about O.W.L.S., which is rather apt, don’t you think? I recall saying that I like a little bit of dirt and scratch left on my soul by music, when I reviewed their first gig, and I stand by that. There’s enough grunge grate in vocals, feedback scrape of strings, to do that job admirably. There are some delicate touches here and there, little bits of bright guitar and beat slipping in and out of the heavy storm. Not any old maelstrom, but one that morphs from relentless assault to full-on attack, the manic of Kibosh to the laid back (relatively) Vitamins. Hurt Janine has a smoothness to the delivery that belies the slight sneer I can hear. Only Joking gives a darn fine idea of what is and what will happen to your ears through the whole Rite. Every now and again a ghost of wholesome american 60′s pop sweeps by, but it’s given a thorough grunging over until it feels as dirty as the rest.
Everything was recorded live, which is how this really needs to be heard to get everything from it, so let’s hope there are gigs near us all soon. Tight band without being anal about it, well crafted and honed songs, rock in spades and grunge in bucketfuls. That’s a bloody good deal, and this is a bloody good debut EP.
Leave a Light Over My Grave
One In The Chamber
A Day At The Beach
(Stravinsky’s ballet ‘The Rites of Spring’ caused a riot at its first performance. A good hard mosh is much more sensible, kids.)
A night eagerly awaited. A band containing both Toby Macfarlaine and Richie Edwards could only be a very good thing, in my opinion, and I know I’m not alone. Plenty of Stone Gods fans would agree that they belong in a band together, and Toby agrees – ‘I couldn’t think of anyone else I wanted to be in a band with more’. They already have years of writing and playing together under their belts, so this new venture should fit them like custom made gloves.
I listened to the demos on Soundcloud when they first came to light and liked what I heard, even in their rough state. A departure from what I know of them, but heavens, would it not be terribly dull if that wasn’t so? Can’t wait to hear it properly.
One emergency dash to the south coast done, a slight detour the wrong way round the train station, and finally I’m at the Prince Albert with about 10 minutes to spare. So ace to see so many familiar and well loved faces there! Only time for a quick swig of drink before strings are plucked and it’s time to get down the front and see what I’ve wanted to see for over 3 years now – Toby and Richie on a stage again, playing plugged in and turned up loud. There’s no way I was going to miss this. True to form, Richie is looking effortlessly Rock, whilst Toby manages to look both beautifully turned out and grungekid at the same time.
They don’t disappoint. They never have! From the first note, there was a nice dark dirty edge to the sound. I like that. I like feeling like I’ve had music pumped through me and that it’s left a little graze to be admired later. I really like watching good musicians who know how to do that, and who look like it’s happening to them, too. Have a bit of grunge rubbed on me? Oh yes. See that edge? It’s quite sharp, actually. Don’t miss it.
Mosh to Kibosh and Vitamins, dance to Hurt Janine, and do a bit of both to the rest of the setlist:
Leave A Light Over My Grave
One In The Chamber
In the end, I stopped trying to take photos and just enjoyed myself, listening to rock and grunge and indie elements swirling round each other, getting grubby and sweaty on the way before they crank up to full on soundload. No one who loves live music wants to hear disinfected, scrubbed notes on stage. What they want is the passion that makes a night memorable, a sound that’s great, and a little sting on their musical souls. Seems like O.W.L.S have just the talons to do just that.
Next gig: Love Buzz, London
I have added photos from the night from O.W.L.S Facebook to the Gallery, with permission.
Here’s a bit of video:
Blimey. I think that’s the best tour date poster I’ve ever seen. (and, of course, I like it. A LOT. That’s gonna run and run…)
Foxy Shazam. What, you may say, is all that about? Well might you ask. For those who haven’t been baptised into this Church, settle back. Those that have, you’ll know all about the strangely off-sweetness of Foxy’s being.
You might have seen them supporting The Darkness during their UK tour last November, or have seen them moons ago at the Camden Barfly. I can bet that wherever it was, you won’t forget it. There’s ALWAYS something happening, when they’re on stage. ALWAYS. A band that never stands still, never rests, never loses a chance to entertain. Eyes take time to rest on Skye playing keyboards with his feet, and you’ve missed Alex playing his trumpet whilst doing a one handed, thrusting crabstand. Look away for a second, and Eric is on shoulders, as if he’s apparated there. Photographers can’t keep up. Eric’s voice tears at your ears and psyche both as he delivers powerful, sometimes shatteringly high notes from a slender frame that seems too frail to contain such richness… but don’t be deceived. The man’s made of steel – hard, unforgiving, sharp, bright and flexible – especially where hecklers are concerned.
Given their well known association with Justin Hawkins (Eric and Justin have long been songwriting together, Justin produced this album, support slots on Darkness UK and USA tours), it’s tempting to look for another embryo Darkness. Forget that. Foxy Shazam have been around for a good long time. This is their 4th album and they have live experience that bands would sell their shoes for. Last year, the two bands complemented each other perfectly while contrasting starkly. Foxy Shazam are far darker than The Darkness in tone and presence. They have levels of sleaze and storytelling methods that would not suit TD. To describe more fully, try hard rock disco (dickso?☺) 70′s frenzy with cool blues dirty trumpet under/overtones. It works equally well at whatever tempo, whatever emotional level.
This album, out a week ago, is all that. Start with the get down dirty title track and I Like It, move through pop twists to Last Chance at Love. I Wanna Be Yours and Wasted Feelings have hypnotic repetitions, vocal treatments and rhythms. Forever Together will give sweet chills with an easy, cool summery feel – but beware of this and the deceptively simple treatments given throughout. This is not music that trips happily through love and life. It digs far deeper than that. You’re never far from that dirty little edge of voice or instrument, crafted by men who know how. Power is seldom absent, whether it’s lyrical, vocal or instrumental. Foxy Shazam do indeed give a little enigma back to rock and roll, and a little enema is gifted, too – so it should be.
I want to see all this on stage, because I want to see/hear these songs with the raw passion of performance pulsing through. When you leave a gig with wide eyes and ‘What the FUCK was that?’ on your lips, you’ve seen something special. Had an epiphany, even. The Church’s services aren’t for the fainthearted or closed-minded, and I like it. A lot.
Foxy Shazam – out on USA tour with The Darkness starting 1st Feb in Toronto. See the tour dates page for more info, but move fast for tickets.
The Church of Rock and Roll is out now on iTunes, or see the band’s Facebook page for further info on album/tshirt/artwork bundles.
Toby Macfarlaine and Richie Edwards, formerly of Stone Gods, are about to launch their new band onto an unwitting stage and audience:
Ladies and Gentlefolk,
24th February 2012, The Albert in Brighton
O.W.L.S make our debut…
entry is £4
Come along and t’wit and t’woo
Have a listen to some demos , find out the and seriously think about attending that gig. We already know that these two are great musicians, blokes and facial hair growers and the demos have a lot going for them!
Lineup is as follows:
Toby Macfarlaine- guitars/ voice
Richie Edwards- guitars
Oliver Wickham- bass
Stephen Gilchrist- drums
By Adrian Gray
November had been a stressful month for me. This was mainly due to my unwavering desire to avoid learning anything about what songs might and might not be played on The Darkness’ ‘Every Inch’ tour- so much so that I would dive under my desk every time I accidentally glimpsed the word ‘surprise’ or ‘acoustic’ on relevant Twitter feeds.
Fortunately, my slightly sad commitment to set-list based ignorance paid off and, waiting outside the Apollo in the November cold, I was fully prepared to have my face blown off in a rock and roll fashion. Eight past seven on the slightly un-punctual dot and the doors opened, and with a quick sprint the front row was mine.
For reasons that have escaped my memory, I believed the first support act Crown Jewel Defense to be from Ireland. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when the California born and bred lead singer first opened his mouth. Despite this initial perplexion, CJD actually produced a solid batch of tightly knit riffs and overall punchy songs, warming the cockles nicely.
A brief wait.
Then, Foxy Shazam: a band with which I had fallen deeply in love over the previous eight months but had yet had the chance to see live. What they pulled off no-one could have prepared for. The audaciously eccentric Eric Nally bombarded the audience with a concoction of soaring vocals, headstands, frontward rolls, Luke Skywalker impressions, dramatic monologues and piggy backs. And all of this to the backdrop of deliciously melodic ‘rock and soul’ anthems performed with the energy of band convinced the world will actually end in 2012. Spectacular.
A perhaps even briefer wait.
Finally, with the soundcheck now history, Thin Lizzy stuck in my head and Abba’s Arrival filling the sweaty air, it was time.
A roar: there they were. All four positions were assumed: another roar. Then- ‘Black Shuck’. Perhaps not the opener I was expecting, with ‘Bareback’ suspiciously absent, but boy did it work. Suddenly the energy of the crowd was vast; the heat and noise verging on overwhelming; and as the familiar opening chords of ‘Growing on me’ leapt from the speakers, the momentum only grew.
And with that, thousands were collectively plunged into a feast of overwhelmingly awesome rock. The unstoppable ‘Best of me’ cascaded into a better than ever sounding ‘One Way Ticket’, before (hopefully) soon to be hit single ‘Nothing’s Gonna’ Stop us’ provided a catchy first taste of what’s just over the horizon. Following a blistering ‘Getcha ands orf’, Justin placed a top hat upon his flowing yet somehow manly locks and donned an acoustic, before entering into the brand-spanking, shiny new ballad ‘Can’t believe it’s not love’. This was a new song for me and looks set to clamber atop the pile labelled ‘classics’: an intoxicating blend of characteristically irrepressible hooks combined with Steel Panther esc lyrics coated with a necessary sprinkle of subtlety.
A true highlight followed. An acoustic ‘Holding my own’ showed everyone why it was worthy of closing ‘Permission to land’ and proved the kind of grin-inducing surprise I’m glad I managed to avoid hearing about.
Back to electric.
Hits were then followed by hits which were followed by new songs which were followed by hits. The rock quartet became a festive four-piece as slightly too much fake snow christened the beginning of the fantastic ‘Don’t Let the bells end’. The audience took the role of the school choir to provide a stronger, if slightly less innocent sounding finale.
The encore was upon us. But then, a familiar figure: the no longer black yet ever iconic hair of a man without whom the Darkness may not exist appeared- Lord Brian May was on stage. A violently loud reception followed, with every last member of the audience voicing their appreciation for the man who has by now perfected seeming modest while clearly remaining preposterously awesome. Without an introduction ‘Bareback’ began, and although hearing it this late in the set was a bit like receiving an Easter egg in September, it was still massively welcome.
Although hard to hear over the sound of five thousand voices screaming one man’s name, I’m relatively sure ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ was played next, which lifted yet another roof off after nearly forty years of doing so. Brian thankfully remained to smother the timeless ‘I-believe’ in the wail of the red special. Incredible.
The classic closer ‘Love on the Rocks’ combined with a walkabout drew the night to a close in a typically mesmerizing fashion. My ears were ringing, my ribs were bruised, but a smile was painted permanently onto my face. Turning around to look at the crowd, I think this applied to pretty much everyone else too.
So that was that. The kind of night to brag on the internet about. The kind of night to tell your kids and your kids’ best friends about. Interestingly, three of the songs I enjoyed the most were ‘Concrete Lion’ , ‘Nothing’s Gonna’ Stop us’, and ‘Can’t believe it’s not love’, and that can only bode well for what is to come in the land of D’.
PWEI were a great favourite of mine back when the world was mine and my oysters weren’t polluted, so it was a pleasure to see them come to Norwich, especially as I missed out on the Reformation tour a while ago. With a bit of determination and asking nicely, I managed to get an interview with this incarnation of the band at the last minute. I decided not to ask about the whys and wherefores of who’s doing what with who, because that’s been done by some other people on this tour – see the FB page for links. After an encounter in a bowling alley with the band and Davey’s pants (see photos) I went along later to the very tidy dressing room. What’s the smell? Pot Noodle, Cheesy Toasty Toppers and cooked meat were the suggestions, but luckily for all, sweaty boy and bottom burps it wasn’t.
And I DID enjoy myself. The place wasn’t full, but the crowd was very pleased to be there and happy to show it. Lights, camera, action and sound effects… Back to Business, ok? Energy abounded on stage, Mary and Graham bouncing off each other in more ways than one. Plenty to watch and join in with, plenty of new, plenty of old. There is a harder edge to the sound, there’s no loss of the Poppies attitude. I got the feeling, as the band had hoped, that everyone there gave the new songs a fair hearing and good reception. Plenty of requests for oldies, too – Mary did say we could have Beaver Patrol if we sang it, but alas, the crowd wasn’t quite up to more than a ‘fine’ rendition of the intro. Ich Bin Ein Auslander really got everyone going, There Is No Love a Poppies anthem (no lighters, too bouncy), and RSVP from the back looked like a mass aerobic workout. Excellent. Good work, lads.
Here’s a video of Old Skool Cool – I had trouble staying still long enough for a whole video! Photos are on the Gallery page.
And interview – just don’t ask how long it took or get sniffy about the quality, etc. I’ve nearly killed myself getting it as far as this with it.
Thanks to all at PWEI.
This post was brought to you NOT courtesy of Apple. How difficult can it be to move a file from one Apple product to another, edit it and upload it? And HOW many conversions back and forth from one file type to another?
Saturday night, and I’m off to see this Canadian ‘post-rock’ band at one of the fine local establishments. This is not a band I’m at all familiar with, so I went with open mind and no bias, an innocent. All I knew was the name – from that I had a vague expectation of loudness and rockiness.
The venue itself is not particularly full, though a reasonable crowd is present. But… hang on. I’m not adverse to beards, really, they can look quite striking on the right person if kept nicely. I’m not, however, prepared to be in a large room where 90% of the men have them. Proper ones, none of yer bum fluff poor effort. Most girls are of the hippy dress persuasion. Uh-oh. This does not really bode well, I’m thinking.
The band starts at 9, which is rather early. We amuse ourselves by looking at the long loops of real film tape hanging up by the sound desk – looks like a complete nightmare to me. It is at that point that dearly beloved turns to me and says ‘You’re probably not going to like this lot. You’ll probably be bored.’ Talk about warning in advance!
So on they come. A violin, a double bass, guitars, drums, etc – but they’re mostly sitting down. ‘Where’s the singer’s mike?’ ‘Umm… you might be disappointed if you wait for a singer’ is the reply. K. So, the general clientele, the warning, lack of vocals, and sitting down do not point me to a night of rocking loveliness. Or even a night of musical enlightenment and inspiration, à la Tindersticks. There’s no warning when they start, just an oddly not very co-ordinated launch into the first ‘event’.
‘Event’ is the right kind of word, I think. Each piece of music is finely crafted, carefully considered, beautifully played. Beautifully. It’s too loud, though. I’m advised that a lot of the effect of their music relies on contrasts between pitch, tone and tempo, and that it didn’t come across. Sound was bouncing of the walls near me, distorting and vibrating, which obviously doesn’t help. Even so, it is repetitive and I find myself waiting for crescendos that are promised that never come. At 14 minutes (I timed one) per event, I expect a climax of some sort to happen!
The crowd loved it. Cheers after each piece, cheers at the beginning of favourites. Not sure how they were distinguished from each other, but I supposed that’s something any non-fan will say about a band they know nothing of.
We left after an hour and a half, by which time beloved had also heard enough. Prog-hippy-orchestral-electrofolk is clearly not my thing. Still, I’m glad I know that now.
I thought we’d have a bit of a round up of recent Darklife. Not that anyone has missed anything, I’m sure, but someone might pop by who wants to know what the Lowestoft Four are doing.
So, the last time I posted, the new TD website was in a holding pattern, and breath was being held. Then one lovely Sunday morning, new things appeared. Contact details, and MERCHANDISE. A brand new vintage Tshirt, based firmly on the classic logo/stage plan one from 2003. Ten minutes later, mine was all paid for and I was nearly in trouble for not paying attention to the males of the household demanding lunch. They duly arrived during that week – all lovely soft cotton and perfect logo. Smiles all round as realisation sets in – this isn’t a replica, or a reprint, or a nostalgia buy. It’s real. NEW. The first tangible thing. Mind you – have said it already elsewhere – they are cut slightly on the generous size, even for men, surely? Will be wearing my new TD dress as soon as possible! I’m sure we’ll get some that are more in tune with the female form in due course, as TD were alway pretty good with merch before.
Next up, and two days later… there had been a lot of speculation about whether they’d play Download, way before the official ‘we’re baaaaaack’ announcement. Every lineup announcement scrutinized. Finally, though, early last Tuesday morning, Download’s announcement came through and a little later, TD’s own. The Darkplace buzzed, plans made, day tickets wished for, weekend tickets bought. Precious belongings were sold (I assume games console thingies are precious?) to finance trips. Back on stage – a nice big one – right back where they should be.
There has been a fair amount of press attention, and most of it positive – even the NME joining in! Well done that lad wot wrote it. A few little snippets of interview, on the local telly - a great start. Hopefully TD are pleased with the reception of the news. Much better to start with the good vibes flowing than having to withstand flak before even a note is heard. I have a feeling that there won’t be so much vitriol and dismissal this time around. Perhaps those first notes will be listened to with a tad more respect? And if not by people holding kindly disposed attitudes, at least they might be more willing to listen first with open minds? One can but hope.
So far, so good. One Tshirt, One gig, One very hairy photo.
Oh, and Frankie is looking for
Anyone interested in selling, lending or renting out a Gibson Thunderbird Bass Guitar?
So do seek him out on Facebook if you have.
I asked recently for fans’ thoughts on the Rebirth of The Darkness, so it’s only fair to do some work myself!
So… well. Oh LORD… we are so close to the Relaunch. So fucking close. Every time I think of it, it gives me a little shiver. I have a bounce in my step, a wide grin. My colleagues are already sick to death of hearing about it – either that or I’m getting patted on the head affectionately (well I hope so). My husband has had fair warning and is still smiling. Cats are a bit puzzled, but they sense something big is afoot.
Does it seem like a dream? Well, kinda. At the moment it’s all anticipation and preparation and planning of all kinds – much like the band themselves, I guess. Work isn’t dreaming. Websites aren’t castles in the sky. The dream moment when I have to pinch myself will be at the first gig I can get to, standing there in the moments before they come on stage, just before the intro music. Oh, please, RockGod, let it be ‘Arrival’! Then, it will be time for a ‘quiet’ moment of ‘is this REAL? Say it is, say it is… ‘ and I KNOW I will have a lump in my throat. Every nerve will be on alert. I’ll have been nervous on the way, praying for everything to go right. If it’s the actual first gig, it’ll be a such a special night. Those nights for SG and HL were very special as well, but this? This will be… something more than that. Double that, and double again. I’ll be an emotional wreck, and not ashamed.
We’ve all come a long way since October 2006, and so much has happened. Change and settling and rebuilding. That’s got to be a good place to start from.
Everything in this household is ready to go again. For the love of the rock they brought, I’m ready to go. I thought a lot about whether I could work for TD in the way I’ve done before, supporting SG and HL, giving everything I had time to give. I can’t physically do another Temple! – there are other sites that can and will carry on in that vein. I can do this, though. I lay OI at the shrine of Lowestoft Rock, worship, hope, and wait patiently for miracles to happen (overblown metaphors a speciality, k?).
I can’t write this without some thank you’s for the rock we’ve had in the interval:
Robin Goodridge – for drumming so spendidly.
Stuart Cable (RIP) – for stepping in to help.
Pete Rinaldi – for guitar, but mainly for being such a lovely guy.
Sam Stokes – for rocking hard and also being lovely.
Darby Todd – for being as cool as fuck, dude.
Johnny Haskett – for hugs, cake and splendidness.
Nick and Katy Brine – for just being ACE.
Toby Macfarlaine – for wit, elegance and charm.
Someone who deserves so many good things said about them – Richie Edwards. You fronted SG so damn well, and are one of the nicest people anyone would ever wish to meet. We ALL salute you. I can only wish there had been one last time to ‘see you down the front.’ Maybe one day, Richie. xxx
Oh dear. Sniffle. See? Emotional already. I am such a GIRL.
Permission to take off?