Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wake of the Dawn - The Gravity Drive




Cop of load of this cinematically epic new track from Dorset based band The Gravity Drive. Pretty much perfect for the next Bond theme in my humble opinion. It's a taster for their new album due out later this year and if the rest of it's this good, boom, there's your Christmas present dilemma sorted. You're welcome.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Richard Cheese - Chop Suey




It's Monday. I think we all need a little Richard Cheese in our lives. Here's his version of the System Of A Down classic Chop Suey. All together now "Trust in my self riotous suicidddde".

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Stop The Flapper going down the crapper




Add N to X, Arab Strap, Catatonia, Idlewild, Space, Bis, Mistys Big Adventure, Everything Everything, Ten Benson, King Adora, Islet, O Children, Acid Mothers Temple, Editors, Pull Tiger Tail, Doll and the Kicks, Miles Hunt, Off The Cuff Festivals...the list of great bands and entertaining nights I've had at The Flapper goes on and on. Sadly it looks as though one of Brum's best loved venues of the last 20 years or so might be going the way of so many small venues these days. Ruddy flats. I despair, I really do. It happened in London and now it's happening in Brum. Rip out the heart and soul of the City in exchange for rabbit hutch sized flats that can be flogged for a fortune to poor sods who won't be able to afford to go out - even if there were any venues left - 'cos they're paying £2000 a month for their mortgage. Agggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

Anyway, there's a petition to stop this madness right here. Please sign it. Thank you.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Snooky Fest @ Warren Farm, Dawlish - Saturday July 15th 2017




Having had a little hand in putting on a few festivals in my time I know just how much hard work, planning, money...more hard work...blood, sweat and tears goes into them, not just on the day itself but the many months beforehand too. So even before getting on site I was stuffed full of admiration for the organisers of Snooky Fest for getting to this stage.

Pretty soon it became clear they’d nailed it too, from the lovely handpainted signs all on the way into the site through to the mix of stalls, number of loos (oh so important for a festival), security and sound (big up to the sound dudes who did a cracking job all day). Atmosphere’s key at a festival and Snooky Fest just felt right from start to finish. In between the crowd were treated to a wonderful mix of music from the main stage’s opening act Brother Of The Walrus’s funk filled classics packed set right through to Eventine’s brilliantly eclectic mix of covers climaxing – in true festival style – with some fireworks.

There were many highlights but personal picks of the bunch were Keir and Seven Cities, the first coming from Bristol the second...well...apparently they’re from some place called Dawlish. Past single Troubled Mind’s a blues rock belter with Muse-tastic guitar solos and enough punch to make Royal Blood sound positively anaemic. 



They’ve got a good half dozen equally strong songs up their sleeves too though and with Black Sabbath now seemingly on a permanent sabbatical I’d like to think that Seven Cities could soon be filling their stadium filled hole. A seriously impressive performance.

Equally strong but adding a touch of soul and even gospel to the rock mix was Keir. Imagine if Freddie Mercury and Prince had got it on, the resulting lovechild might well have sounded a little like this. Good grief he’s good. Prowling the stage, raising his hand to the heavens and beating his chest like a man possessed during set highlight Squeeze Me Keir’s already a star, trust me, and once the rest of the world catches up you’ll be seeing him on the Pyramid Stage at Glasto.

Other highlights? Oh go on then...deep breath...singer sonwriter Cloudi’s cover of Lana Del Rey’s Blue Jeans, Datura’s sax-ual cover of Horace Andy’s Skylarking, Wax Cylinders Reef-ish West Country rock, Ten Bob Notes Socks and Sandals ska smasher, Sarah Yeo’s West Country meets West Coast Roadie, Ollie Stephens giving Gregory Porter a run for his money on Don’t Lose Your Steam, N.U.M.B’s marvellous mashing up of reggae, hip hop and dub, the punky, spunky Bunny Boilers getting the kids united Sham 69 style, Vivid Vague bringing a little Slits-ish attitude via self penned track Dolly and Eventine’s riotous Uptown Funk. Thanks also to Ventons Cider for keeping us suitably refreshed (ahem) throughout the day with some of the finest pints this side of, well, anywhere.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the whole purpose of Snooky Fest and that’s to raise dosh for The Snooky Trust which helps out people with physical illnesses between the ages of 18-40. We’ve not been in Dawlish long but it’s clear they do some ruddy great work and hopefully the profits from this year’s inaugural Snooky Fest will go on to help many more people and – fingers firmly crossed – bring this wonderful heart warming, booty shaking, good time vibe filled event back next year.

PS: Big hugs to Caz Steffans and Rob Coleman who clearly worked their butts off to make this happen and to everyone who helped out during the day. You did Dawlish, Devon...heck...the whole Country proud.      

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Snooky Fest...48 hours and counting...




The rain's done one, the temperature's rising and the sun's ruddy well shining too. Oh yes...and it's now just under 48 hours to Snooky Fest! You've missed out on the online sales but there may still be a few physical tickets at Curios in Dawlish or hopefully you can just pitch up on the day and pay £20 on the gate (as with all events there's a limit on numbers so if you want to get in get there at dawn's crack). As well as N.U.M.B there are more than a dozen other acts on the main stage (plus some special acoustic sets), here's just a selection to get you in the mood:

(trust me this dude will be MASSIVE)







As well as the music there's food, booze and stalls plus you'll be helping improve the lives of young people with a range of physical illnesses rather than lining the pockets of Live Nation or some other soulless corporate behemoths! Yeah...rock 'n' roll...stick it to the man...down with skool...start calling 'Snickers' Marathons again etc etc.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Great Lost Bands of the Noughties # 5 - Men Women and Children




Mixing up rock, disco and pop and putting on some blistering live shows Men Women and Children should have ended up soundtracking a generation of good times and headlining Glastonbury. For some inexplicable reason the band's record label seemingly failed to get behind their debut album and they fizzled out before the world had the chance to dance its tits off to some of the greatest party music ever made. It's never too late though, play the hell out of their tunes, run up to random strangers and start singing the songs, share this post with at least one million people and maybe, just maybe, the band will get through to as many men, women and, yes...you've guessed it...I'm nothing if not predictable...children that they deserved to the first time around.





Friday, July 07, 2017

Snooky Fest...it's the final countdown!



Just over a week to go until the very first Snooky Fest so if you haven't got your tickets yet - a mere £20 too - snap 'em up now! You can book online right here or if you're kickin' it old skool and like to have a physical ticket to sniff and rub against various parts of your anatomy you can pop into Curios on The Strand in Dawlish.

There's a great line up of bands, food and drink, stuff for the kids and grown ups who still think they're kids (that'll be most of us then) and apparently even the sun's been booked. Plus the whole shebang's raising money for The Snooky Trust which provides help and support for 18 - 40 years olds with any form of physical illness. Have fun, do good, drink cider...lots of cider...what's not to love eh?

To get you in the mood here's a little vid from someone who's set to be one of the many highlights of the day, Keir, who recently wowed the crowds at Glasto...



Thursday, July 06, 2017

The CPM Connection - Simultaneous Eruptions




Riotously joyful noisegasm from the wonderful CPM Connection!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Let’s Rock Exeter @ Powderham Castle, Saturday July 1st 2017



Having learnt our lesson last year we pitched up at just after 9am to ensure we got in on time for the first act. We weren’t alone. Sensible souls even brought some booze with them to help pass the time, one group even had a seemingly never ending supply of sparkling wine and fresh orange but we made do with a plastic bottle full of red and a lukewarm sausage roll. Who says the age of elegance has passed eh?

As the gates opened at 10am and we got in without the 75 minute delay suffered back in 2016 we had a couple of hours to kill before the first band. Pint of cider? Don’t mind if we do (I’ll get to the music in a minute...the day wasn’t just an orgy of alcohol...honestly). First up From The Jam (see, told you) and one of two bands today who are still doing their thang despite the original lead singer being AWOL. Actually in the case of From The Jam the drummer’s not involved either so it’s just Bruce Foxton (from the Jam...see what they did there?) but vocalist Russell Hastings does a damn good Weller (sound and looks wise) and first track That’s Entertainment pretty much summed up the entire set.

Next up Big Country who sadly lost their lead singer, Stuart Adamson, not to another band or solo career but suicide back in 2001. Having reformed briefly in 2007 and then again in 2010 they’ve been through a few line up changes but now seem pretty settled. Some chap called Simon Hough’s on lead vocals and after one or two minor sound issues (far too quiet Mr/Mrs Soundman) he more than held his own against the band’s signature (Hadrian’s) wall of guitars sound.  

He may be wearing a lot more these days but Imagination’s Leee John’s still a nifty mover and that vocal’s almost as high as it was back then, especially on a goosebump raising acappela intro to the band’s biggest hit Just An Illusion. Not quite sure what the Storm Troopers were doing in the pit during Body Talk, who knows maybe Darth Vader was a closet disco and soul fan? Good to hear some new material too, apparently Do It Right Now is currently number one in the UK soul chart!? Speaking of ‘Bugger me backwards I never knew that’ moments who knew that Katrina (of ‘and the Waves’ fame) wrote Going Down to Liverpool famously covered by The Bangles? Not me. She informed us that it helped get her and the band signed though and not long afterwards came Walking On Sunshine which managed to get a fair number of the elderly audience (I can say that, I’m almost elderly myself) up and dancing.

I’d forgotten how fast the changeovers were at Let’s Rock once the house band Retrobates were safely installed so I was in the loo when Toyah took to the stage with a rousing Good Morning Universe (it was afternoon but we’ll let her off). Her slightly operatic brand of 80s punk was massive for a few years and despite nudging 60 big hit I Want To Be Free (released on my 11th birthday fact fans) was delivered with just as much snarling screw you attitude as she had as a 23 year old.

Right, how do you deliver a hits packed set when you...er...only really had one hit? Okay that’s slightly unfair but do many of us remember I’m A Man Not A Boy? Anyway, Chesney Hawkes didn’t let that get in the way of things, knocking out a crowd pleasing mix of covers kicking off with Summer of ‘69 and including Mr Brightside and I Predict A Riot before climaxing (steady ladies) with a triumphant The One and Only which unsurprisingly went down the proverbial storm.

From pop gold to a bit of a neglected soul diamond in my humble opinion in the form of Jaki Graham who...wait for it...stepped right up...and delivered one of the sets of the day. Boy that lady has soul and more great songs than perhaps you remember including the aforementioned Step Right Up, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love and Set Me Free. It was her Ain’t Nobody cover (which reached the US Dance Charts number one slot in 1994) that stole the show though. Now that the late great Sharon Jones has joined that glorious soul club in the sky if the Dap Kings are looking for someone else to team up with Jaki Graham should be the first person they call. How about it chaps?

Fellow Midlander (Graham was born in Brum...as was Toyah of course...and me...and seemingly most of the inhabitants of Devon) Hazel O’Connor might not seem to share much in common with Chesney Hawkes but both he and she starred in film pretty much at the start of their careers. In O’Connor’s case it was Breaking Glass, which I can’t recall seeing, but I do remember loving the songs including today’s set highlights D Days and the sultry noir pop of Will You replete with a truly stunning sax solo.

With barely time to pause for breath Jason Donovan set several thousand middle aged womens’ hearts (and quite possibly other organs) a-fluttering again, although rubbing his nipples and repeating the words ‘Grndr’ over and over again may well have got some of the men going too, but we’d best not go into that eh? Ahem. From one pop pin up to another. I had a bit of a thing for Belinda Carlisle back in the day, I think it was that Heaven Is A Place On Earth video that did it but more importantly she put out some truly great pop records, Live Your Life Be Free, We Want The Same Thing (I don’t think you do m’luv but a man can dream), Circle In The Sand and of course Heaven Is A Place On Earth which today started off acoustically before well and truly putting the ‘rock’ into Let’s Rock.

Still with me? Good ‘cos Howard Jones would Like To Get To Know You Well. I have a lot of respect for Howard, he seems a good (vegetarian) egg and continued to write and record new stuff when a lot of his peers traded purely on past glories but at the same time he knows what the crowd at a show like this wants and he duly dished up the hits, albeit with a few tweaks notably New Song’s Powderham Castle / South West specific lyrics and the banging Euro house climax to set closer Things Can Only Get Better.  

As a number of the crowd gently stewed in a combination of booze and sun (the weather was most un-festival-like all day) Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley joined ‘em sipping from a generous glass of Jack Daniel’s in between playing his own hits and one or two impressive cover version too, opening up with Bowie’s Life on Mars and “For Fred, my friend and inspiration” a suitably bombastic Somebody To Love. I could’ve done without Kings Of Leon’s The One but that’s more down to my lack of enthusiasm for anything they’ve ever recorded or done rather than Hadley’s rendition of it...but still...there are much better songs to showcase Tone’s voice than this one and he saved the best till last. A solid Gold performance all round from one of 80’s pop’s most instantly likeable and down to earth stars.

Finally – and after a bit of a wait – Level 42. Not sure if there were some technical difficulties but the set didn’t get going until almost 9.45pm leaving the band with just 45 minutes to jazz-funk the place to bits. Good grief, I reckon Mark King could knock out a 45 minute slap bass solo on his own. On the plus side it meant the set was all killer and no filler Level 42 classics a go go with Livin’ It Up (The Sun Goes Down) soundtracking the sunset (neat eh?), neglected classic Starchild (sung as ever by the falsetto-ly fabulous Mike Lindup) and a Something About You/Lessons In Love medley. 

Okay so Let’s Rock Exeter won’t win the award for the coolest festival around, some of the sets are a bit blink and you’ll miss ‘em and maybe Level 42’s set closer Sons and Daughters should perhaps be renamed Grandsons and Granddaughters given the average age of the audience and artists but it’s all bloody good fun, the crowd are generally well behaved (one or two drunken dickheads but that’s life) and for a touch under £50 you’d frankly be hard pressed to have more fun with your clothes on.