Soccer Six(sister) 2009

Chelsea FC, 24.5.09

I quite like Soccer Six. I like football, so that’s usually win/win. A day out, and some interesting sights on the pitch. Cool! I had a great time last year. It was at Millwall’s New Den, and after finally getting my press pass, I was allowed on the pitch, got to talk to some of the teams, took some great photos. When the camera wasn’t blowing up, of course.

So, with high hopes, new camera, voice recorder and some sarnies, I set off at the ungodly hour of 6.45. On arrival at CFC, though, chaos seemed to be the order of the day. My name wasn’t on the press list (again) so lucky I took my email with me. I got a gold wristband, and was sent upstairs. That seemed to be the VIP stand… why was I up here then? Back downstairs, and a helpful Samaritans lady pointed me to the press area.

THAT was a complete disappointment. It was half of the East Stand, including the dugout. The pitchside floor level is lower than the pitch itself, handy if you’re not quite 5′ and the barrier is quite high! So, only celebrities that played on that quarter of the pitch were within reach of my camera. I did go back up the stand a little way, but it wasn’t great. Not enough zoom. You needed a camera the size of me to get anything on the far side. Most of the blokes there were professionals and had all the goods. There was no chance of getting any soundbites from anyone either. There were promises that celebs would be brought over to the press, but I didn’t see that happen. No press were allowed anywhere else in the stadium, either. That put paid to my visiting the other Justin fans on the West side.

Some one did tell me there was a press room, with drinks – but when I asked, the press room turned out to be the kit room for the day – all the teams were going in to pick theirs up from there. Oops.

It wasn’t looking very good, until I saw familiar faces in the stand upstairs. I went back up – after a few trials and errors, I ended up in a service lift to the right floor! There wasn’t any direct access between floors, and after that I had to come out of the stadium and back in again through Reception.    Anyway, I did find people to talk to, thank goodness!

I watched some football. Most of it wasn’t very good – if the girls’ teams carry on playing like that, I’ll bloody well get on the pitch myself. WHO wears their hair in a beehive  to play? False eyelashes? Girls – you looked ridiculous, and made girls’ football look silly as well. Yes, I know it was for charity, and credit’s due to them for playing.  Didn’t stop me holding my head in my hands – being an ex player I suppose I’m a bit biased. It was dirty as well, out there!

The men did better, there were some good moves and a few skills out there. Justin played well, but not for long enough to get really into his stride.  He wants to play every week now, so if you need a player… His Telstar team were knocked out in the group stages.  Next year, it’s gonna be  Trojan Football.  Justin’s already fit, looking well and healthy, so the smart money’s on Team Hot Leg to dazzle and beguile. (Although that might be before kick off :D)

This really is a fantastic event. The teams, the games, the charity, everything. This year, with no access to any other part of the ground or to the players, it just felt like a corporate event. It’s supposed to be fun for everyone! If you didn’t have a professional camera or a TV one, it wasn’t fun. If I hadn’t seen those faces up above, I’d have been there on my own all day, 3 hour journey each way, and had nothing to show for it. I’d probably have gone home much earlier.

There WERE Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson lookalikes, though.

There was a Press donation of £25 payable. That’s a lot when you don’t have an expense account, and I didn’t know about it until two days before. I don’t begrudge donating to Samaritans – but for what I got that was useful from it, I’d have been better off in the West stand with my friends, with a normal ticket. I got my press pass to report for the fans, dammit, not to flog my pictures to magazines and newspapers!

Thanks, Chelsea, for really not making things easy.  From what I heard, the  disabled area wasn’t so great either. Although the stewards were apparently pretty good, it’s not handy if people keep coming to stand in front of  the wheelchairs, is it?

Soccer Six and the Samaritans had nothing to do with any of the niggles. They do a great job. Can we go back to informal, next year, please?


Hot Leg – Red Light Fever

Tongue tied is not my normal state. I do rabbit on, and when I’m reviewing something I get all flowery. I like words – but this time, they haven’t liked me and this particular review has taken AGES to write. Knowing what you want to say and not being able to do it is just the pants… Got there in the end!


Hot Leg. Début album. Doormat. Mad rush to electrical appliance – open the envelope, stupid girl! Insert contents, turn power on, settle back for ten intense bursts of bliss. Repeat as necessary.


I’ve got, in my hands and ears, songs to melt to. I’m lucky – I’ve heard all of them more than once live, except for Kissing in the Wind. I know them, recognise them, they’re virtually godchildren!  Wasn’t at their conception, of course, I missed out on the messy bits. It’s very different when you have a nice undistorted sound. Nobody’s shouting in my ear, I’m not trying to take photos and I don’t need to worry about being able to see. I can just relax and truly listen. And yes – to those who asked – I like it. Love it. 


There’s more layers than I’m used to hearing, both instruments and voice. Some vocals are startlingly choral, like in Chickens, and there are layers of Justin’s voice everywhere. His singing swoops and soars as it ever has done, more easily I think. It sounds more assured. There’s more mid-range singing, which I’ve always liked.  Kissing in the Wind and Ashamed are prime examples. Speaking of Ashamed – the nation’s future anti populist tv protest song – there’s a glorious brief moment when Beverlei Brown’s voice slips in beside his, and the two are inseparable until she takes off on her own. Her smooth depth of tone match his beautifully – it was a surprise first time to realise it wasn’t Justin. I want more of that! She makes it sound so easy, dammit.     


I suppose you expect me to eulogise about the guitar playing? Quite right too. Well, it’s as brilliant and beautifully executed as you’d expect. Whatever the flavour – rock solos, bluesy intros, delicate fingering in Trojan Guitar – it’s spot on. Keyboards are prominent – lovely synth in Chickens made me smile – and piano in Kissing in the Wind. You’re not going to get an album without those in!  There’s often a heavy pounding rhythm, bringing Man Rock down to deep and dirty under those deceptively catchy bits that are more Velcro than hooks. You’ll find changes of tempo within songs rather than across the album as whole, but there’s plenty of variety.

I’m not going to dwell on The Darkness. If you hear TD in this from time to time, why should it be a surprise? Some songs were written in 2002, right back in the hard slog days. Justin wrote and recorded this album, working on it for months before Hot Leg were finalised. The future writing will be interesting, collaborating with the rest of Hot Leg.


Have a very careful listen to the lyrics. Ponder them. Draw your own conclusions where you need to. Love songs have realities embedded in them – you can’t have slush without slipping on it sometimes. Prima Donna and Trojan Guitar have their own histories and meanings. However you read them, it’s obvious that Justin’s lyrical adroitness isn’t a flash in the pan. A word or two can change the entire point, feel and thrust of a sentence or song. In Kissing in the Wind, it’s one consonant. That song could be as much about Justin’s fans as the lover it addresses, to my mind. Can’t wait to hear it live.  


Apart from I’ve Met Jesus, which has been top banana since I first heard it, I can’t pick out songs to put above others. They all have something that delights or intrigues. Any disappointments? No. I think I might have preferred to have Extraordinary Woman rather than Chickens, I rather like that song. And Come Into My Arms – mmm, yes, then Cupboard Love and Automa… can’t have too much of a good thing. Albums should have B-sides!  The main problem with the whole album? Listening to it in comfort, I’ve discovered I’ve been singing lyrical bollocks of my own devising all these months. Oops *blush*. 


Red Light Fever inflames the senses, it’s true. Drives one to sing and dance, headbanging (can you airheadbang?), and if you’re DEFINITELY alone in the house, striking silly poses at the same time as the above.  Are these not indicators of truly good music? No? Then music’s not fun any more. I want Rock with a bit of life about it, some humour, reality and one or two things to ponder. And some Man, just to spice it up a bit.


Red Light Fever is  out on 9th February 2009, and  available from ,, and . Townsend have a bundle offer on the next single Cocktails, out on 23rd February. They also have the red vinyl LP version.


Track Listing:

1. Chickens
2. You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore
3. Ashamed
4. I’ve Met Jesus
5. Trojan Guitar
6. Cocktails
7. Gay In The 80s
8. Prima Donna
9. Whichever Way You Wanna Give It
10. Kissing In The Wind

Sixsister take the Temple to the Stone Gods

Wearing as many hats as I could – not least because Norwich lay under a still, cold white blanket – I set off to interview the Stone Gods. Full of LURGY, but that did not deter me. I did deter them from coming any closer than necessary, still plenty of shows left in this tour and the Black Stone Cherry one on the horizon. I’d have been in big trouble if I’d infected them.  Having had brains full of porridge meant that this is not the most flowing of interviews (on my part, the lads were fine!), but it’s better than I remember doing!  For pity’s sake, next time, stop me from going to the next night’s gig when I feel that bad. I’ve only just warmed up from that Cambridge gig.

The set rocked, I must say – indescribable, even – and they are playing better and better every time I see them. Comfortable with their craft, their reception, and with themselves. Plenty of things to look forward to, by all accounts – enjoy!

Frankie’s Strictly Come Darkness


Frankie Poullain has been missing presumed shaved for some time. But lo! Is that a book I see before me? Frankie MUST be alive, to have a cleaner… Rejoice therefore, for darkpirate musings will soon slip themselves smoothly into your stockings, which is not where you usually find wit and wonderings OR a little torch shining into Darkness. Christmas ahoy!


Slightly more serious *ahem* – it did cause some turmoil when Frankie left TD, and there are still many who are wondering and waiting for – anything. The book evolved over time – no point rushing these things, right? It isn’t intended as an exposé. Frankie is clear that it is meant to be lighthearted and like TD – not totally serious or sensible, raising eyebrows and laughs along the way.


There were a few things that one needed to know:


You left 3 years and 5 months ago. What bloody time do you call this to roll in? 

41 months later, and I’m now 41, it all adds up if you just pay attention. I thought you were supposed to be a school teacher?

Did the pirating with your dad give you Darknessing skills?

It gave me enough money to buy a guitar and move to London, where I met Dan in 1995.

What IS your hair doing? How much grooming did the tache need? HOW do you look ten years younger these days?

Standing on end, I find interviews electrifying …. tache  was a bit tricky to groom with a hangover, if truth be told. That’s why it kept changing shape. Ten years younger than band days you say? Why, that would make me 25 … moustaches make people look older obviously. Even more so on a woman.

Was the book an opportunity that arose for your cleaner? Or was it something always in the back of that busy mind?

I discovered her drawings in the cupboard of my kitchen in France and that inspired the book. The original title was hers too: An Autistic Guide To Fame And Misfortune, but the publishers wouldn’t bite. It evolved from there to the concept of “A retired rocker fixes your mental problems” – made me laugh that.

Is that it, for music and being in a band? Are you all growned up now?

Who knows, no point in planning anything, just keep piecing together god’s (whatever that is) clues.

Have you played tennis with Justin yet?

No, we both keep bottling it. New balls please!

If someone gave you a bow, some cowboy boots and asked you to name a kitten, what would be the correct etiquette in dealing with the situation?

Depends if it was a cross bow or not. AIDS apart, I quite like the idea of diseases as namesmalaria, hepatitis, gangrene …. that’s not a disease though is it? But you get the idea.

What does your cleaner think that the future holds for the TD lads?

She’s only met Ed, but she liked him. She’s not paid to think!

Can I borrow her for a bit?

Yes, anyone can, just go to:


Frankie knows how not to be a Rock Star – and lots of other things as well. How not to clean?


Website –




Nemo: Your new favourite band.

Listen up Electro fans, you can get your hands on a free track from the geniuses that are Nemo. Some of you may already know them from The Mighty Boosh as lead singer James Cook has appeared in a few of the episodes, you also may have heard of them if you know anything about proper Electro. So past, current and future fans head over to Nemo’s website to get your hands on a free track, and there’s one a week! Be sure to sign up to the news letter so you don’t miss out.

Future fans be wary of awesome electric sounds, fabulous vocals and the fact that these guys might just become your new favourite band.





by Louise

Trashstock, August 19th 2006

Ah, my third and final interviewees of the Trashstock weekend. And why not save the most shambolic ‘til last?! After being pre-warned about the dangers of leaving this interview until after the show, I went ahead and left this interview until after the show. So, in the backstage room, amidst a drunken haze, MANY interruptions, some accidental glass-smashing and not-so-accidental setting-the-floor-on-fire, I think I managed to chat to the band. I may have asked some questions. They may have been answered. Who really knows?

Lou: Please introduce yourselves…
Tez: (silly voice) Hello, my name is shageee
Brad: I’m Brad
Jamie: (silly voice) I’m Jamie & I play guitar
Brad: He doesn’t say anything anyway.
(Somehow this sparks debates about who’s “soberer” than who)

Brad: (to Lou) You really could have fuckin’ asked us to do this interview earlier!
Lou: But earlier I was comfy on the sofa downstairs!
Jamie: I think it’s better now, man.

Lou: So, how are things in Disarm HQ?
Noddy: Ah, it’s wank, we’re on about splitting up.
Brad: The roof’s leaking and everything but it’s fucking good.
Lou: You’re all happy
Noddy: Yeah
Noddy: Come on then, let’s have it out, who’s not happy?
Brad: I’m not getting it out!
Lou: On a scale of one to ten, how drunk are you, Noddy?
Noddy: Seven
Lou: Jamie?
Jamie: Which is highest?
Lou: Ten’s off your face
Jamie: Ah, I’m only about a two or three
Lou: Brad?
Brad: I’m about four, I’ve not had that many. Because we were on really late we didn’t wanna go on really like… (insert impression of drunken tramp here)
Lou: Why not?
Brad: I can’t play when I’m fucking hammered, at all.
Lou: Have you ever done a gig when you were absolutely hammered?
Brad: Once
Noddy: Once, yeah
Brad: It was seriously fucking… It was shit! It was embarrassing. We’ve got it on video as well.
Tez: Is that the one in Sheffield?
Brad: No, it was ages ago, before you joined. Me & Noddy just sat backstage drinking bottles of wine
Jamie: Oh, I wondered why you were shit!
Brad: It was like we were on speed though and we did the entire set in about 20 minutes.

Lou: Describe your Trashstock experience in three words.
Brad: Fucking amazing.
Noddy: Good. Fucking amazing good!
Jamie: I reckon it should be; thank you, Riot.
Brad: Yeah.
Lou: Ok, describe James Riot in three words.
Noddy: Gay, gay, gay.
Jamie: Loveable gay lord

Lou: So, plans for an album?
Jamie: We’ve gotta write more songs first! We’re supposed to be recording at the end of the year.
(Interrupted by Headrush’s Chris Khosa, coming into collect some belongings)
Brad: Yeah, so hopefully have an album early next year.
Lou: Do you have an album title yet?
Jamie: No
Lou: You’re not very organised, are you? You should be called ‘Disorganised’.
(Interrupted by Headrush’s Dave Leese)
Noddy: (to Dave) Have you got any cigarettes?
Dave: I haven’t, no.
Lou: Would you like to contribute to this interview, Dave?
Dave: Oh, are you interviewing? Sorry.
Lou: S’alright
Dave: I’m ever so sorry. I can be the guy in the interview who didn’t have any cigarettes.
Jamie: What did you think of Disarm tonight?
Dave: Very fucking good, actually. I’d never heard you before but what I heard was fucking good!
(Door swings open and a snippet of song currently being played in the main room wafts in)
Brad: I fucking hate this song that’s on now!
Lou: I can’t even hear what it is
Brad: (sings it) Who the fuck writes that??
Jamie: We’re off on a rant again now!

Lou: Ok, favourite song to play live?
Brad: I dunno, it depends. We just changed the setlist around… It depends because different songs do different things, so…
Lou: Didn’t you say in another interview that you don’t use setlist? But you had one tonight…
Jamie: Well, we didn’t but now we’ve changed it all around
Lou: Oh right, so you didn’t use them because you knew what you were playing anyway?
Jamie: Yeah. But now we’ve changed it to shake it up.
Brad: So people aren’t going ”Oh, they’re gonna play this next”, now they’re going “ARGH OOOH…” (supposed noises of a surprised crowd) and they’re all surprised.
Noddy: Yeeaahh

Lou: What’s been the highlight of your time with Disarm, so far?
Jamie: It’s been pretty fucking cooool! I think the best bit is just being on stage. And when Tez joined, things changed and it just felt more natural.
Brad: The Robin Black tour.
Noddy: Yeah, the highlight so far is supporting Robin Black on tour.

Lou: I have it on good authority that you’re a bunch of sleazy mother effers…
Brad: Motherfuckers?
Lou: But I’m a lady, I don’t say that
Jamie: Effers? Like cows?
Lou: I wanna know who’s the sleaziest
Jamie: What do you call sleaziest?
(Interrupted by The High Society’s Maxi Browne)
Maxi: Hey guys!
Noddy: (points at Maxi) THAT’S what you call sleaziest!
Maxi: How the fuck are ya? Is this fucking chick (Lou) bothering you?
(insert random waffle here)
(more interruptions)
(all interrupters now gone, Brad gaffer tapes the door shut)
Noddy: (to Lou) Are we the most difficult band you’ve ever interviewed?
Lou: I wouldn’t say difficult, certainly very interesting!
Jamie: (to Brad) That’s not gonna work!
Lou: That’s the crappiest gaffer taping I’ve ever seen
Jamie: No, no, stick it under the door handle!
Brad: I’ll do that as well!
Noddy: If we can’t get out now…
Brad: Ah, that’ll do.
Jamie: Carry on
Lou: Ok, so, who’s the sleaziest?
Jamie: What does that mean?
Lou: You know what sleazy means!
Noddy: (laughs) No he doesn’t
Brad: The filthiest
(some discussion goes into it)
Jamie: Tez
Tez: But I’ve got a girlfriend now, so…
Jamie: Yeah, Noddy’s the only single one so, at the moment, Noddy.
(Cue the sound of gaffer tape ripping from the wall as Chris Khosa interrupts again)
Brad: Get out!
Noddy: Have you got any cigs?
(more random waffle)
(he just fell off the table he was sitting on. As did many a glass & beer bottle)
(a hell of a lot of laughter)
Jamie: Carry on!
Noddy: This is why you should have done this interview earlier!
Lou: Well, this is why I wanted to do it afterwards, but now I’m kinda regretting it a little bit!
Noddy: Yeah!
(Brad sets floor on fire, briefly, and almost engulfs his girlfriend’s belongings)
(Dave Leese interrupts again)
Noddy: Ey, mate, have you got any cigs?
Dave: Nah, mate, you asked me that before
Lou: Would you like to re-evaluate your scale of drunkenness, Noddy?
(rowdy discussion ensues as to whether any of their original estimations were correct)
Brad: I just set the floor on fire and nearly all my girlfriend’s possessions! Ok, maybe I’m a five and a half.

Lou: Next question. Describe each band member
(some debate)
Noddy: Ok, Angry…
Lou: Wait, who’s this about? Brad?
Jamie: Yeah
Noddy: Kick-arse. Motherfucker. Come on, join in someone!! I can’t say caring & shit like that.
Brad: I’m a moody bastard and I hate everything.
Jamie/Noddy/Tez: Yeah
Lou: Ok, that’ll do. Next.
Jamie: Noddy.
Brad: He’s a bit of a ladies man but in his own special way.
Noddy: In his own special way?! What’s that meant to mean?
Brad: I dunno, you just are! You are a ladies man but you’re not.
Lou: Does that mean he thinks he is but he’s not?
Brad: No, he doesn’t think he is, he can just go “how you doooin’?”
Lou: Jamie?
Brad: Doll’s head but he’s fucking amazing on guitar
Jamie/Lou: Dolls head???
Brad: He can’t even print out a mailing list!!
Jamie: Oh no, no, no…
Noddy: You even shut your own head in the fridge while you’re looking for beer!!
Brad: Umm…he can’t add. He can’t take away… He’s amazing on guitar but anything else, someone else has to do it. But he’s right pretty and he gets all the girls coming to see us.
Lou: Tez?
Jamie: Tez is umm… alcohol and drug fuelled knobhead
Noddy: That’s no joke, either!
Jamie: He’s good for drugs and he’s good for fucking playing drums
Noddy: Yeah, that’s about it

Lou: Ok, any final thoughts/words.
Jamie: Let’s get beer.


SixSister on Tour – Hot Leg and Hot Nights


Justin Hawkins’ first gig since the demise of The Darkness, with his new band. Proud Galleries, Camden, August 6th. That was my goal as  I set out on an overly airconditioned train to the heats of the capital. After a few false starts, I ended up in the pub with like-minded eccentrics, having got changed at Liverpool Street Station. I can’t drink, I find, or eat much. Too hot, and I’m nervous for the lad.


WTF is this ticketing arrangement? If I’ve bought a ticket I don’t really want to have to wait whilst my name is found on a list of people who’ve bought tickets, at the door… Boo hiss to that, on both nights.


Once in, I wander around a lot, bumping into a lot of people and having a natter. Can’t really stay still though till it’s time to take my place (and camera) at the front. Tonight I can’t watch the support, even if Justin excitedly informs me (again!) that he produced them. Tomorrow, I will.


The crowd here is pretty much partisan. Most are the faithful, or on the 200 strong guest list of family and friends. The rest are press, and with a few exceptions (Mr Price, I mean you) are felt to be rather parasitic. Hyenas, even. We’ll ignore them, mostly, shall we? That’s ever been the way of darklings. Here in this room is gathered an enormous amount of goodwill, affection and hope – for the whole band, but mostly for Justin. It is an emotional moment for very many in the crowd.


He bounds onto the stage, plain black shirt and tight trousers of the kind that he was born to wear. Blonder than ever, looking good and healthy and fit. The rest of the band are similarly clad in jeans that surely must have been sewn on, and all in the headbands that HL followers have been giggling over for weeks.


From the minute they start with ‘Theme from Hot Leg’ to set the scene of defiance and mayhem, it’s pretty clear that this will be FUN. It’s a nervous start, with understandable tensions. I don’t imagine that having photographers up your nose for the first three songs really helps your concentration or nerves. Doesn’t help the audience either, dammit! Caught in the glee of rocking out, it’s not an issue though. After the lenses have gone, relaxation sets in and Justin settles in to his natural habitat. That’s the defining moment, when Justin became JUSTIN again. From then on, it was showtime. He’s lost nothing of his talent, presence and tricks. The tight jeans are revealed as slutpants when the shirt comes off, as well as a pair of startling manpants – yellow and hotpink. Lord above, boy, wear low rise thongs… knickers made of kiddy sweets are a bit much for one of my age. The tennis outfit proves popular too. I swear, there’s no VPL on my photos… Plenty of superb new and old tatts, though.


Back to the music. Most of the songs were familiar to those who’ve been around for a fair while, and engendered a fair amount of singing along. They’re all damn catchy anyway, so it’s possible to join in after a chorus. Try it!  ‘Trojan Guitar’ is better live, I think, but Justin’s songs generally are – you need to bop, and in company is better. ‘I’ve met Jesus’ is a real jump about anthem – in fact, so many of them are! ‘Heroes’ too. The two versions of ‘Power of Love’ (Jennifer Rush, Huey Lewis and the News) create surprise, grins, and singing. All good things. The big surprise is ‘IBIATCL’ – Justin starts a speech about being away for a while, and we listen intently, expecting a quite emotional round of thank you’s and the like – but true to form, he does nothing the usual way, and the band launch into The Darkness’ tour de force. The crowd goes wild, and then, it’s all over. Far too soon, because it was a breathless rollercoaster of manrock, manpop, and mansweat.  Yes, it is Darknessy. Some of those songs were written back in TD’s early days. They have the hooks, and the voice that overlays everything IS the voice of TD, so the comparisons are hardly unexpected. It rocks harder than people will expect though. Tough, bright guitarwork ensures that, and the Powerzone keep the  


 Hot Leg, then, are perfectly suited to each other. Consummate professionals all, they’re not kids starting out and learning their trade, and it shows. They’re as tight as their trousers musically, and their stagecraft finely honed. This quartet are most definitely on the same  wavelength. Somehow, Justin is a star, but not THE star. He has a rival in straightfaced silliness in Pete, and in Sam, a bundle of energy and rock jumps to compete with. Darby’s drumming is assured and beautifully energetic. Samuel J Stokes, a fine bassist, is going to find himself with a little flock of Samlings, thanks to that wicked grin in an otherwise fairly demure demeanour. Pete indeed does have liquid hands. He’s FAST! And knows his stuff. There’s not many who can touch him – the accolades I’ve read about his playing aren’t hype. The ego that Justin was labelled with and fell prey to during his problems isn’t going to be nearly so much in evidence from now on, I feel. However, Justin remains true to his innate daftness, and the others share it. The stage set pieces flow naturally, and the incidentals fit together like a jigsaw.


Tonight was a triumphant return by Justin to show that he can still do it. There’s not much doubt about that, he can. Now that the first gig is over, the worries and the nerves about those first few steps back onto a stage he left so precipitiously, it’ll get even better.


Birmingham Barfly 7th August. After little sleep, thanks to the King’s Cross pile drivers, it’s off to Brum. More quick changes, then time for a leisurely stroll to the venue and to the pub to wait. The venue opened late, and it was raining, so there weren’t many happy bunnies in our part of the queue. Pish. Funny how you need a wee more, when it’s raining…  I did catch Saving Aimee. A rock indie boy band? They have a lot of energy, they know what they’re doing, and they’ll grow into this, I’m sure. Justin’s influence is very much there to be heard in their songs. Good luck to them.          

The crowd is not filled with friends and families tonight, so it will be tougher. There are some familiar faces from last night, though. From the minute they arrive on stage, the difference from last night’s performance is obvious. Justin owns the stage from the minute he steps onto it, and the crowd about a minute later. This gig is far less fraught, and relaxing and enjoying is the order of the day. The band’s rapport shines through yet again – they are a close-knit unit. Hot Leg’s serious musicianship and giddy, breathless, funfilled delivery are a delight, in so many ways.


Highlights – Rita Peachey, aged 71, was invited onto the stage after Justin had received a letter from her. She hadn’t been able to listen to music properly since Justin left TD, and missed him badly… until one day, the redoubtable Mr Peachey tossed a newspaper in her direction with the words ‘He’s back!’. She now has the kind of memories she can treasure forever. Take heart, ye young rockers. Your time will come!  As well as that, Van Halen’s ‘Hot for Teacher’ appeared unexpectedly from nowhere, which went down a storm. I’m sure that wasn’t played for me, no. Oh, and Sam being carried off stage. That was a moment…  The gig also contained a very public and very sincere dedication to Sue Whitehouse – thanks, respect and acknowledgement. 

By the time we got to the rendition of IBIATCL, Hot Leg had the crowd in their pocket, with their own creation, talent and energy – as last night, and as it was for the remaining two nights. They don’t need this song, though. It’s not what people came to hear, it’s not  going to be their springboard. It was, however, bloody good to hear again live. It doesn’t bother me that he’s singing it. But when you’re already standing on your own two (eight) feet before anyone knows that you’ll play it, it doesn’t need to be a must on the set list.


And so endeth my short tour. Manchester was by all accounts the crowning glory of the four dates, the coming together of all those good things. Glasgow had a crowd that was wanting to be impressed, but I think it was managed in the end. More Hot Leg is on the horizon, but not yet confirmed. Manrock launched, ahoy!


Many thanks to: Hot Leg, Mr Paige, Karl, and the legends that I was pleased to meet.    



 More photos available on album 1  and 2




Hot Leg tracks – Trojan Guitar & Heroes

I know, I meant to do this earlier – but real life gets in the way of my love affair with all things begat by Darkness.  However, I have a few spare minutes before setting off to see the very first Hot Leg gig tonight, so it seems appropriate to do this now.

Anyway. Let’s start with ‘Heroes’. A free non-album track offered when the tour tickets went on sale – I first heard a small 12 second snippet of this ages ago on dothegreenthing, and the damn thing managed to stick in my head even with such a short burst.  So when the full version arrived, it was boogie time – i defy you not to jig about to it. Hand jive is good…   Every part of this sinks into your consciousness – guitars, beat, chorus, backing vocals. There’s nowhere to hide.   And who could resist a Superhero wiping the floor with Zeroes left right and centre? Doesn’t matter if you’re EcoBoy or the boy next door. Everybody’s heart drives them on to a dream, everyone has their own future in their hands. It’s not easy, but you don’t have to  do it on your own.  Not nearly as much falsetto as people would expect from Justin, here. Sounding good – fast, confident, and not a syllable of superfluous lyric.

Moving on to ‘Trojan Guitar’, which arrived whilst I was on holiday and then wouldn’t play for days thanks to the laptop sulking. Still, I got to wonder about the title, and the idea of Justin and his merry men sneaking back into musicland and destroying it from the inside with the sweet blasts of rock. This is an epic, a saga and work of guitar/lyric art. It’s for you decide what the story is, but for me it’s the rise and fall of TD, and Justin’s subsequent rise from the ashes. Apologies all round if that’s not the case. More progressive rock than anything that goes before it, and the beginning reminded me of ABBA’s ‘Fernando’. Never a bad thing.  As I said, the guitar work on this is just amazing. Listen a couple of times, it’s well worth it.  ‘Trojan Guitar’ is the first single, watch out for release dates.  

Talent will out, as they say. You can’t miss it here – it was never lost, just took stock of itself for a while.

Ed departs Stone Gods

From the band’s official MySpace:

“It is with very heavy hearts indeed that we have to announce the permanent departure of drummer and founding member Ed Graham from Stone Gods.
Unfortunately Ed has been physically unable, for a number of reasons, to fill the stool-position for some time and won’t be able to refill it any time soon. Right now being in a rock band is simply not the best place for him.
It’s been horrid and heart-wrenching realizing and coming to terms with this fact, but we all have to move on in order to keep this thing going. There is too much passion and love involved from us and from you, our loyal fans, for us to simply draw the shutters and shut up shop.

We realize that there will be some very disappointed and saddened people out there as a result of this, but let us assure you that we are amongst you. Now, more than ever, we all need to pull together and be positive about the future. I promise, it looks pretty darned bright once you see through the fog.

Unfortunately due to all of this, we will be unable to appear at Wacken festival, which is a terrible but unavoidable shame. There’s a lot of that going around at the minute. Still, we’re keeping our chins up and so should you! We’re taking on the world regardless.

We thank you all, from the bottom of our collective heart, for your ongoing and invaluable support. You guys rule.

As always, love, respect and horns raised firmly aloft,

Stone Gods.”

A toast to Ed Graham! We’ve been through some great times with him, and wish him all the very best.


29th June 2008 

Saturday 28th

Well…..It’s slightly out of the ordinary to start a review of a gig before you have even been to it, but I’m going to do it anyway. I hope this will give you an idea of the expectations I have. You may wonder why I, as a member of Sixsister/Optimum Impact and a Priestess of the Stone Gods Temple, have not been to see them live yet. The answer is simple. I was either heavily pregnant or had not long given birth and so was in no fit state (mentally or physically) to go anywhere! Anyway, baby Gray number 2 is now 6 months old and as the boys are playing so close to home I am going to get my arse in gear. I have been listening to as many SG songs as I can get my hands on (repeatedly lately due to excitement!) and in fact am listening to Knight of the Living Dead as I type. This SG virgin is counting down the hours and the excitement is building. I just hope I am not disappointed…….. 

22 hours to go…… 

Sunday 29th 

Oh. My. Effing. God.

I said I was hoping not to be disappointed but you know what? I am…. Disappointed that I haven’t seen them more that is! Those boys ROCK! 

It took military planning to get out of the house on time and even then I almost left with the price tag still on my new belt – yeah great look eh! I picked up two other Priestesses (Angie and Jo) and after the Sunday roast was finished we all made our way back to the car through pouring bloody rain. Me with a plastic sheet on my head I might add! 

We got to the Waterfront for just gone 7pm and through chatting to people and standing outside in the smoking area, we managed to completely miss the support acts Hellcat and Big Linda, sorry guys (and gal!). 

As 9.15 approached we made our way down to the front and were lucky enough to get a spot centre of the stage, albeit next to some guy who wouldn’t stop moaning about people who suddenly appear just before the band come on, but this failed to dampen our mood! I must admit to feeling slightly nervous as the guys appeared, I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy this gig as much I did for a certain other band. Needless to say I had nothing to worry about, the guys sound and look completely at ease with each other, as if it were “meant” to be this way. Richie has such a powerful voice, and sounds amazing live and he, Dan and Toby seem to interact brilliantly with each other and the crowd, especially towards the end when it was time for the head banging competition (Jo and Angie never entered due to severe hangovers and I was not going to stand there doing it alone!)! There were some truly great moments, such as “Lazybones” which is an absolutely beautiful song and sounds awesome live, but I think my favourite for the night was “Start of Something” due to the arms round the waist of your friends and sing along moment that we Temple girls had, being as this is our “official” Temple song!  

I was so pleased that I was lucky enough to catch them on the last night of the tour, especially as it was on home ground for Dan and Ed (who sadly wasn’t there due to injury, his replacement did a great job tho *thumbs up*) which obviously made the gorgeous “Magdalene Street” even more special. I cannot wait to do it all again and I am really looking forward to the acoustic set at HMV for the album launch. For those who don’t already know, the set list was 

Burn the Witch

You Brought a Knife to a Gunfight

Makin’ it Hard

Magdalene Street

Knight of the Living Dead

Don’t Drink the Water

Lazy Bones

Start of Something

Defend or Die

I’m With the Band


Oh Where ‘O my Beero


Justin Hawkins bares his Hot Leg(s)

Justin Hawkins has quietly launched his new band onto the calm waters of MySpace and Facebook – no fanfare, no fuss. Expect, though, for this to change when all is fully revealed, because the press will create one anyway. All we have so far is a lineup and a promise of rockmelted faces. A smidgeon of music and gig dates are to follow – August is the official launch eta. Given the response to the mere hint of his new music, it’ll be a sizzling summer.

After months of recording and working on other projects, Justin gathered his fellow rockmen to the sanctuary known as Hot Leg:

Lead guitar: Last piece of the jigsaw to be gently eased into place was Pete Rinaldi – he plays such a mean guitar that Justin has made him lead. He is generally referred to as being exceptionally gifted, and Hot Leg’s description bodes well – ‘Liquid Guitar Hands’! If anyone wants to admire his work, try Adam (yes, Rick’s son) Wakeman’s Headspace – their EP ‘I Am’ was released in February 2008. He has written and played mandolin and guitar for Cass Fox on her album ‘Come Here’ in 2005. He was also a member of Pauline Taylor’s band, releasing CDs in 2007. His song ‘Cutie Pie’ features on the CDs of Brooklyn artist adee. 2007 was a busy year – he also joined One EskimO following the departure of their guitarist.

On bass – Samuel SJ Stokes, half of the Powerzone. LA based, via Dublin, London and Oxford, he rocked out in The Thieves to critical acclaim. After spending a few years in LA recording, gigging, and building a studio, he’s now moved back to London to be part of Hot Leg.

The drumming half of the Powerzone is Darby Todd. He has worked with (nicked off MySpace, the list is huge)… Derek Nash, Winston Blissett, Dave Ital, Tim Cansfield, Arden Hart, Jerry Springer (no, really!!), Andy Newmark, Phil Mulford, Pete Adams, Gary Moore, Buddy Whittington, Papa George, Bobby Tench, Mickey Moody, Derek Mc Entyre, Otto Williams, John Noyce, Neil Angilly, Mike Post, Thomas Lang, Pete Freezin, Steve Houghton, Dennis Rollins. Protect the Beat, a jazz/funk outfit, is one of his main UK projects. His other work includes West End shows and TV, as well as teaching.

Aaaand… Justin Hawkins. Singer, showman, guitarist, not always in that order. He is best known as The Darkness’ frontman and providing their main songwriting thrust, but has written for TV,, and done a spot of film acting in Telstar, yet to be released.

The sweet high silver notes of rock are BACK.

This project has been going on for some time, and now Justin finally has the band he wanted to back up the music he’s been working on. Expect a lot of rocking and face melting to be happening before too long. By the looks of things, everyone’s very pleased, happy, and being silly. Just the way we like it. More news as it comes.

Stone Gods – ‘Silver Spoons and Broken Bones’ (album)

By Lucie

There’s a little rockpocket full of people waiting for this album; the ones who diligently paid to see Thin Lizzy last year for a few minutes of their support, the ones who strived to attend as many nights of the January tour as possible to witness them leading the show, and the ones who caused the EP to sell out as soon as it was released – really, do any of you expect to be disappointed by ‘Silver Spoons and Broken Bones’? Didn’t think so. Expectations are high, but justifiably so. The Metal Gods DVD of the Nottingham gig was ordered by the bucketful, many fans buying it to tide them over until the release of this record on the 7th of July, instantly proving that the music is valued. There are plenty of people that Stone Gods don’t have anything to prove to at this point, but for those who have doubts, the rule is to dive in with an open mind or don’t bother at all – this is a fresh new 13-track fat juicy rawk album, no comparisons of the past necessary.

‘Burn The Witch’ was made to be an intro tune, hence it being the opening song for every gig during the January tour and the title track for the EP. It’s a song to grab the rock fan’s attention with a bowel-quaking force – it’s no wonder this band in its infancy managed to get the crowd singing “we’re gonna burn the witch” along with them even on their first headline tour. The next song is ingeniously placed, ‘Don’t Drink The Water’ being entertaining and jumpy and the antithesis of ‘Burn The Witch’, encompassing holiday fun with an unexpected ska-ish hint of steel drums after the second chorus. ‘Defend Or Die’ switches focus again, and is a favourite of ours here at OI HQ. I defy the hairs on the back of your neck to lie still during the gruff, layered vocals, and I expect all of your hairs to shift violently when the pounding musical backdrop kicks in. This song is pure metal (in the good way, not the Metallica way), a growling, vicious creature.

‘You Brought A Knife To A Gunfight’ is a much-loved favourite from the EP, a show of laddish aggressiveness combined with infectious riffs and an always winning use of the term “fuck you” – that will always prompt popularity. ‘Magdalene Street’ has gained huge esteem since the band made a video of them performing it acoustically and lobbed it on YouTube, causing volumes of people to know the words even before seeing them live. The album version has a wonderfully Brian May-eqsue intro, a haunting theme shot through all aspects of the music, and to me, it’s the song where Richie’s voice sounds the best – clearer than usual, powerful, with a pleasantly surprising amount of vibrato. ‘Where You Coming From’ is crammed with distress and double guitar solos to prepare you before the ballad hits, ‘Lazy Bones’ softening the album and plucking the heartstrings in a love song about compromise, gentle and acoustic, a lighters-in-the-air track.

It’s easy to guess what ‘I’m With The Band’ is about, and it includes a long build-up before the licks turn filthy and the vocals get callous. ‘Start Of Something’ is a song of air-punching defiance, one that’s knowing of the criticism the band do/will receive. It also includes my favourite Dan Hawkins solo of the whole album that connotes optimism for the future and is fantastically elaborate. ‘Makin’ It Hard’, another favourite of mine is fast, dirty, and best played immensely loud or not at all, swinging straight to the only song that hasn’t been performed live yet, ‘Wasting Time’. The song is about much preferring to party and do bugger all than be responsible and grown-up, and who can argue with that? It’s straightforward liberating rock that give you the irresistable urge to enjoy yourself. Preferable at a Stone Gods gig. ‘Knight Of The Living Dead’ is the heaviest track on the record, bitter and jilted, made for headbanging, but it doesn’t deserve to be sullied with the use of those dirty words “heavy metal”. Eurgh.

Just as ‘Burn The Witch’ needs to start a show, the anthemic ‘Oh Whereo My Beero?’ is a finisher, and not since Lizzy’s ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ has laddish social life been so brilliantly observed in song. The theme of this tune encompasses many of the outstanding themes within the record; Englishness, undeniable masculinity (but not in an offensive way), and singalongability, adding subtle politics to the mix.

The album is, with the possible exception of the ‘Burn The Witch’ (which is arguably metaphorical) a testament to real life, the product of four blokes sitting around the room with a few acoustics, writing about what they know. It’s solid and human in feel, empathetic, and fun. Aside from that, it’s also brilliantly done; the mixing subtle and echoed where it needs to be, and aggressive elsewhere. For the faithful fans that have seen them live, you’ll be glad to know no major changes have been made to any song; a word change here, a tone alteration there, and some added vocal harmonies (YES!), all products of getting an explosive live act onto disc and making them slick, powerful and raw at the same time.

Listen to it on headphones. I guarantee that it sounds better coming in your ears.

Track list:

‘Burn The Witch’

‘Don’t Drink The Water’

‘Defend Or Die’

‘You Brought A Knife To A Gunfight’

‘Magdalene Street’

‘Where You Coming From’

‘Lazy Bones’

‘I’m With The Band’

‘Start Of Something’

‘Makin’ It Hard’

‘Wasting Time’

‘Knight Of The Living Dead’

‘Oh Whereo My Beero?’

For more information on Stone Gods, visit their fansite (partially run by three Optimum Impact writers) at or the official website

The Interpreters – True Norwich Rock.

The Interpreters are another band from Norwich who are slowly starting to take the music scene by storm. Similar to the indie that is dominating the charts at the moment but with a more robotic and staccato feel to their tunes. This works well with amazing vocal work, great harmonies and catchy lyrics. Different to other bands in the Norwich scene as they seem to have taken on board that sounding like everyone else isn’t the way forward. The music is very vocally dominated, the guitars taking a back seat until a break in lyrics when they come into full force propelled on by the beat of the drums to get your dancing like a lunatic. This band certainly has very catchy tunes that will have you singing along after just one gig.

Jet x

Phantom Lacuna – Keep an ear out!

Upon hearing this band with their heavy guitars you automatically think, ‘Oh no, not another metal band’. Then the screeching guitar kicks in and makes you feel guilty for thinking this band are something that they are not. They are not a metal band with horrible shouting vocals or repetitive guitaring, they are pure rock. Proper rock. Fantastic guitaring is constant throughout all their songs, catchy riffs that complement the very raw vocals. They are no Mariah Carey but why would they want to be when accompanied by guitar riffs that are able to dominate every song. This is music that will get you jumping, singing and playing air guitar along with everyone else that hears these sounds.

A band for the future, keep an ear out.

Jet x

Stone Gods Live Dates – June 2008

Some Dates

Save up those pennies and look after those pounds, ’cos the month after next we’ll be rockin’ your town…
Stone Gods U.K. June Tour Dates are as follows, people:

10 Liverpool Academy II
11 Cardiff The Point
12 Bristol Thekla
13 Donnington Download
14 Isle of Wight Festival
16 Oxford Academy
17 Northampton Roadmender
18 Brighton Concorde II
19 London Islington Academy
21 Birmingham Academy II
22 Newcastle Academy II
23 Glasgow King Tuts
24 Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
26 Dundee Doghouse
27 Manchester Academy III
28 Stoke Sugarmill
29 Norwich Waterfront

We’d also like to confirm that our next single will be released on June 23rd followed by our album on July 7th.

It’s happenning. The good ship Stone Gods sets sail very soon, get on board and hold on tight. Book early…

Love S.G.

The Darkness -‘Platinum Collection’

It’s out now, then, this… *Best Of* ? As if by magic, 18 months after the demise of The Darkness, this arrives. Both albums and the Christmas single are on it. Question is, WHY? Lots of questions, actually.

  • Who is it aimed at? Not the faithful. It’s not a collectors’ item, not got anything unusual on it, nothing special. If it was aimed at us as a moneyspinner, it missed, big time. If it was aimed at Joe Public – well, who knows what they’re going to buy, but I have my doubts. In any case, there’s been no marketing, we found out by accident about this one, and spread the news ourselves.
  • What could have made it WOW? B-sides. Bareback. Fan’s favourites. A bit of thought? Special inserts? ASKING what we’d like? Although, of course, if not aimed at us then that’s a bit irrelevant. Actually, as someone pointed out, we’re still waiting for the Live DVD that never made it. THAT would have been massive!
  • Front cover? No logo. Why? Legal reasons? Or because Justin’s gone and he designed it? And WHY, for the love of rock, would you put TD posing as the iconic Queen image on the front of a TD celebration CD? Something very wonky with THAT. In fact, it reinforces the feelings of those out there who only ever wrote them off as a Queen rip-off. Plus it isn’t actually the best photo of them.
  • No PR/Marketing? Well, that we know of. Why not? Am I missing something? Why would it be kept quiet?
  • Whodunnit?Prime suspects are Atlantic/Warner, to recoup (written off) losses. However, if this is a money making thing, then there’s no sales push. Can’t see that the record company would give a monkey’s about Stone Gods’ feelings on intruding on their nascent fame… so no need to keep quiet on that front. Do they not have approval from those four lads? Would they care? Is it necessary? Who was asked, if anyone? If it isn’t the record company – that leaves the TD lads. They might be tied in to doing this as part of a losses deal. Money? There might be other reasons of which no one will ever be aware, on both sides of the coin. Legal ownership of the songs is another issue. If Party A owns them, then does Party B then have no say? And if Party B owns them, then some sort of deal between the two is likely. Where do Justin and Frankie fit into agreements?

All as clear as mud – headache on its way. Whatever’s going on, it’s not a very popular move, from what I see and hear. I’m loath to buy anything official that hasn’t got TD’s logo on it.

Oh, for the love of…

Valentine’s month. I hope you get something from someone you wished for. If not, you can have a bit of our love to keep you warm.

January was exhausting – we’ve got a couple of reviews from the Stone Gods tour, their first headline one. There’ll be another one shortly, if you missed it – they’re great, live, so go while you can!

February, then. Look forward to rock, back to rocked.



Posted in OI

Serpico review

by Lucie plus guest writer Paula

To go with our divine little interview with the Serpico boys, we’ve had a listen to the music they have on their pretty little MySpace page and decided to make a little song and dance about it. This is a band that any self-respecting metal fan needs to listen to, put simply. Everything you want in your slice of morning rock is there – heavy licks, thunderous percussion, a gravel-voiced singer who sounds angry even when he isn’t… Come on, does it get better? In OI HQ, ‘Kultura’ is our favourite track on the page, fast-paced with an anthemic chorus, jumpy and fists-in-the-air. Plus I’m a sucker for a rolling drum intro. ‘Glasseye’ will appeal to those who like a good bit of angsty emotion with their rawk, while ‘400 Blows to The Head’ and ‘Alkaline Nights’ knock ones head off with more vicious guitar work than you could ever want, with ‘Feelin’ Minnesota’ and ‘Los Perros’ giving a very encouraging indication of what’s to come in the live show. There’s no denying that this is a kick-arse group, one that gets you excited about hearing it all live, if you’re lucky enough to do so.

I’ll pass over now to someone who knows a little more about metal then me, one of our guest writers, Paula:

After many repeated listening to the songs Serpico have on their myspace (much to the dismay of my child). I have come to the conclusion it is difficult to try to describe their sound other than good old style rock with a load of heavy riffs & pounding drums, that you can but help tap along too (which is always a good thing)

It is a bit hard to pin point any one particular influence (apart from the obvious Slayer -Reign In Blood opening riff at the start of Feelin’ Minnesota live), Think AC/DC meets Nirvana and throws some mid 80’s thrash bands such as Megadeth & Metallica into the mix and you might just have an taster of how they sound.

Just because we’re generous, have some tour details (all supporting Stone Gods):

17 Jan 2008 Fleece Bristol
18 Jan 2008 Academy 3 Manchester
19 Jan 2008 King Tuts Glasgow
20 Jan 2008 Academy 2 Newcastle
22 Jan 2008 Corporation Sheffield
23 Jan 2008 Barfly Birmingham
24 Jan 2008 Zodiac Oxford
25 Jan 2008 Rock City Nottingham
27 Jan 2008 Wedgwood Rooms Portsmouth
28 Jan 2008 Concorde 2 Brighton
29 Jan 2008 Camden Underworld London
30 Jan 2008 Waterfront Norwich

El Policia – Future Delights

by Jo

Ok, that’s 2007 out of the way. Let’s have a ponder about 2008, shall we? What’s in store?
Aha! Here we are… El Policia. These teen rockers are already making a name for themselves on the Manchester circuit with both headline and support slots, they’re tipped for the top. Live TV sessions with The Thrills on Channel M, airplay time from both Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens, and plenty of press attention. Not many bands can claim that they’ve played gay clubs AND appeared on NUTS TV in the space of a month – heavens! How on earth did they pull those two off? Blimey be blessed, even NME like them.

They look good, the looks match the sound, and they serve up the goods with gusto, energy and plenty of noise. Plenty of punkpop determination. No nonsense. Forget dour though – this is good honest fun to hear. I can only imagine the sheer joy of their mosh pits! I found it impossible not to want to jump up and down and BE at a gig when I heard them.

All in Your Head is the thrashier, punkier of the two tracks I heard, and I must admit that the first snippet made me think of ‘C’mon Everybody’, but the Sid Vicious version. Always a good thing! That repetitive rhythm gets you! We’ve got honest, unpretentious music here, with simple but effective lyrics that relate to your life -up to you to decide how meaningful they are for you. ‘You Love Me Too’ – mmm yes. More of that dark hard bright fuzz in my life, please. A different sound, different vocals.

If you’re after new stuff to freshen things up, give El Policia a chance. And have a bit of an unashamed pogo at the same time. There’s an EP being recorded, and there are a good few gigs in the pipeline round the Northwest and hopefully further afield. Catch them supporting Dragons at Academy3 on February 27, and Death To The DJ @ WA1 on February 9th, for starters.

There’s plenty of varied tracks to listen to at . Enjoy!