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Fuse.

The Full Monty Guns and gaming Drenge National Theatre Live


SHORT FUSE

Sparks.

We wanted original headlines but all we had were sequels

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hat is it with all the sequels and followups to games these days? I’m not even talking about the inevitable onslaught of annual instalments from series like FIFA or BattleDuty Modern Quarters. A Groundhog Day-esque repetition has permeated series enjoyed by gamers who don’t come under the definition of ‘drooling masses’. I thought we had escaped the bubble where gamers were offered a new Guitar Hero game every other week, but as I stare at the leaning tower of sequels in my room, I’m convinced otherwise. I get it; humans enjoy media within a pre-existing canonical

framework, that’s why A Good Day to Die Hard, Led Zeppelin IV and The New Testament are so popular, but this is getting ridiculous. I mean, take a look at the top games of the past couple of years: Assassin’s Creed III, Far Cry 3, The Elder Scrolls V, Resident Evil 6, Halo 4, and the sequel-within-a-sequel, Final Fantasy XIII-2. Granted, there have been a few ‘original’ games of late. Dishonored, The Walking Dead (based on the popular graphic novels and TV show) and Sleeping Dogs (actually a re-hash of the crushingly mediocre True Crime series) but they are the proverbial drop in an ocean of spin-offs and follow-ups.

It’s as if every games studio has decided that they are now Nintendo. The worst thing in all of this is that we all go along with it; even as I ponder the blatant profiteering of the videogame industrial complex, I am also counting down the hours until I can throw my money at EA for the next Mass Effect and Dragon Age games. We like to think we’re not lemmings but we are, the same Lemmings I would pay good money to see a remake of. Alex Titcomb

Why read books when you can watch awesome films?

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n the current cinematic climate, a seemingly endless stream of novel adaptations are being made into successful dynamic films that have people returning to the cinema to repeat the experience of seeing them. In numerous ways, films adapted from books are preferable to those that aren’t, as there’s been many a time when they have a more concrete, grounded plotline and multi-faceted characters whose personalities don’t get lost among the action of the story. With Ang Lee’s recently acclaimed Life of Pi being hailed as a novel that was supposedly ‘unfilmable’, it seems unsurprising, that it won four Oscars, including one for cinematography. To be able to take an idea from a novel and adapt it into a film that will pique people’s interest enough for them to go and see it is a feat in itself. But to do so with a novel that uses fantasy scenery, only existing in our minds, and successfully maintain this scenery as reality takes guts, vision and a whole lot of CGI. Cloud Atlas is another recent adaptation (of the 2004 novel of the same name by David

Mitchell) which, though criticised in other areas, was praised for its impressive cinematography, having also originally been labelled an ‘unfilmable’ film. Its science fiction genre meant that it was always going to be a big hitter in the CGI department, and a subsequent budget of $102m made it one of the most expensive films of all time. So if the money and technology can be obtained, it really begs the question: is there any longer such a thing as an ‘unfilmable’ film? By rights, the answer should be yes, since there are still a multitude of novels that haven’t had an attempted adaptation yet because of their unwieldy fantasy or existential natures. Some simply haven’t been adapted because they aren’t interesting enough to make a profit on the big screen. However, it seems that if directors have an imagination as big as their budget, and the facilities and technology to make it happen, no film should be impossible.

Editorial Like you, dear readers, we of the Fuse team are also students. (Yes, we do this on top of our degrees. Yes, it kills us every fortnight.) And like you, dear readers, every year we dread the overcrowded concourse, the placards polluting the walk to and from the Union, and the overly friendly campaigners trying to be your new BFF. We fucking hate election season. And now that it’s over, we can complain about it. Anything that can be won like a popularity contest is not a real job. It’s okay though, because next year’s officers will achieve the same amount as the ones this year: absolutely nothing. A microwave in the IC? Don’t bet on it. Moving on... In this issue, we’ve managed to have a chat with Sheffield’s finest export, Drenge. Screen have taken a look at National Theatre Live, which lets you view the biggest theatre shows from the comfort of the Showroom. It’s a good way to be a little bit classy for a change, but at student prices. Games are talking guns and violence, and finally, Arts have been watching The Full Monty. In a completely non-pervy way, we’re told. Arnie Bennett Coral WIlliamson

Kate Lovatt We love Manuel Andres Fuentes Zapeda IDST.

An obligatory article bemoaning the state of the Brits and music in general

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t the Brits, as always, the obvious choices triumph. It's a safe and tasteless musical ceremony tailored to creating and celebrating the musical mainstream. Doesn’t the idea of an awards show so predictable you already know the winners sound delightful? James Corden, the host of the evening, was in line with the theme of the awards, spewing out a barrage of banter, apparently scared of offending artist or audience. Some of the nominations were just plain ridiculous. The Script for best international group? When have the Script ever been considered a massive international band? They aren’t even an international band. Sure, they came from Dublin, but they’re based in that most exotic of locations, London. But it's nice for the Brits to recognise new artists just breaking into the scene, with nominees like Jake Bugg, Rita Ora, and winner Ben Howard. Oh wait. The Brits

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are actually telling us who’s already made it, rather than promoting a deserving artist not yet in the limelight. For an institution that funds the Brit School to only give out the one critics' choice award to Tom Odell, instead of having a whole category and exposing unheard artists to its huge audience, is a little sad. Especially when they'll honour the global success of One Direction, who, fair enough, have spread faster than the plague, but are already successful. Do they really need the press coverage that comes with another award? It’s a shame that the Brits don’t actively promote new music, and it’s a shame that they only celebrate successful artists in the aim of making them even bigger. In the aftermath of the Brits we’ll be able to see Emeli Sandé’s album sales skyrocket, and One Direction’s probably still keep selling at the same rate. Minesh Parekh


Lauren Archer caught up with Alt.Com.Cab founder and University of Sheffield alumnus Sean Morley over coffee to find out more about how he got into alternative comedy. How did you get started in comedy? I formed the Sheffield Revue back in 2009 back when I was in university. I started off in sketch comedy and I saw all sorts of sketch acts back when the Shrimps [an improvisation group born out of the revue club] put on shows. I saw a lot of student comedy and – without sounding arrogant – started feeling like I could do something just as good. The comedy scene in Yorkshire isn’t really very thriving and I wanted to do something fresh. I started the Alternative Comedy Cabaret [more commonly known as Alt.Com.Cab.] back in 2011 in the week I graduated. I think it was the logical result of all that wondering about what came next.

So tell me about your open mic night… Sheffield is odd because although it has a thriving music scene and plenty of open mic nights to encourage young performers, there is nowhere for people to try out comedy. I wanted to provide that space, which is why I started organising Speaker’s Corner. It’s a free open mic stand-up night that anyone can get a slot at. Unlike Alt.Com.Cab. the line-up of Speaker’s Corner is entirely free from my own prejudices – anyone who asks me for a slot will get one. There have

already been all sorts of acts, from a comedy medium to a time lord character. Is helping new comedy acts important to you? I try to help the Sheffield Revue acts because I’m still friends with a lot of them. I like working with them and want them to know I’m always around to help if needed. Before the Revue was set up I found getting into comedy very daunting at university. There were lots of opportunities to get involved with sketch com-

edy with the Shrimps but when I tried that and didn’t really click with it I felt a bit lost. I think it’s important to have support and help for people who want to break into the stand-up scene. A lot of reviews mention that your nights can be pretty surreal – is that always the case? There’s quite a lot of surreal stuff because that’s my personal favourite flavour of comedy. It’s not all like that – it’s really just anything that’s a little bit different. As with a lot of alternative comedy there are a few bits that will make some people walk out thinking, “What was that guy on about?” I like to think it’s comedy for people who don’t enjoy typical stand-up comedy clubs. They may find them tired or a bit insulting. I like to think my nights

are a refreshing new style compared to that stuff. Do you intentionally try to avoid offensive comedy? I take quite a hard line about causing offence. Except for in Speaker’s Corner, where I have no control over the acts, I like to avoid deliberating offending people. I really object to the way that mainstream comedians deem it acceptable to get their laughs from preying on others. There has always been a trend for offensive comedy but now it seems more mainstream than ever. Even though racist comedy is considered unacceptable, sexist and classist comedy still exists. It seems to be a real trend now, even in places like Live at the Apollo, to mock the poor. That’s not okay. How would you sum up your comedy nights in one sentence? That’s a hard one. If you don’t like comedy come to Alt.Com. Cab. No wait, I shouldn’t say that. Actually, I think that’s right; if you’ve been to a big comedy club and not had fun or felt isolated from that style of humour, come to Alt.Com.Cab. I can promise there will be comedy and I can promise there will be material you won’t see anywhere else.

What inspired the decision to focus entirely on alternative comedy? There’s still a call for alternative comedy – it’s a niche market but it definitely exists. The problem in Sheffield is that, although it’s a big city, most of the focus is on the bigger places like Last Laugh and Abbcom. I wanted to create something truly alternative, which is what I hope I’ve done with Alt.Com. Cab.

The next Alternative Comedy Cabaret will be held at Harrisons 1854 on Tuesday March 19 and the next Alternative Comedy Cabinet is on Thursday March 7 at The Riverside. Both events are £3.

GIAG: Film Unit Bouldering

Friday March 8: Persepolis (free screening): 7.30pm

Tuesday March 5, 8pm ‘til 9pm at the Matrix wall in the Goodwin Sports Centre, tickets are £5.50

Saturday March 9: Life of Pi: 3.30pm, 7.30pm

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egendary director Ang Lee delivers one of the most anticipated and critically acclaimed films of last year, causing it to win four Oscars. Life of Pi follows Pi Patel, an Indian boy whose parents own a zoo. When Pi’s father decides to move the family, along with all their zoo animals, to Canada, Pi is soon plunged into an adventure when a storm at sea leaves him stranded with only a Bengal tiger for company. This is ambitious, spectacular and endlessly creative cinema.

Sunday March 10: Sightseers: 3.30pm, 7.30pm

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riters Steve Oram and Alice Lowe star in this one-of-akind black comedy. Chris wants to show his girlfriend Tina the world and the pair embark on a caravan holiday. Soon however their dream holiday takes a turn for the worse as Chris reveals a somewhat darker and more murderous side to his personality when confronted with Daily Mail readers. Director Ben Wheatley delivers a hilarious, inspired and original film.

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his innovative animated film follows the life of young girl Marji as she lives through the 1979 Iranian Revolution. After witnessing the revolution, Marji dangerously refuses to remain silent at the injustice of the new fundamentalist Iran. Her parents send her abroad, yet this change proves an equally difficult trial. A stunning and poignant animation which highlights many important women’s issues. Note: This is a free screening

Tickets: £2.50

Available from the SU box office

Friday March 1 2013

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fter the insane and mildly irritating sensation that was planking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that bouldering was a similarly ridiculous movement that tasked people with curling up into a rock shaped ball. In fact, bouldering is a fantastic sport and just one of many rock climbing styles. The Matrix indoor bouldering wall at the Goodwin Sports Centre is also one of the best of its kind in the UK. At this introductory class you’ll learn how to use the climbing wall safely and effectively, along with some expert techniques from a professional instructor. Bring a bottle of water.

Q&A.

SHORT FUSE

Alt.Com.Cab.

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ARTS

Feature. THE FULL MONTY Olivia Middleton reviews the Lyceum’s latest production of the Sheffieldbased classic, The Full Monty

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heffield Lyceum’s latest production of The Full Monty contains everything one could wish for in a show; comedy, heart, and yes – a fair bit of nudity. Unsurprisingly, the production opened to a predominantly female audience. An atmosphere of excitement was therefore instantly perceptible within the theatre space, as the women of Yorkshire settled down to watch the story of six redundant average Joes getting their kit off. The fact that the show kicked off its tour in the place where it all began - the steel city itself - also built a strong rapport between the audience and the cast from the offset. A huge hit upon its release in 1997, The Full Monty surrounds Gary (Kenny Doughty), and his relationship with his put-upon son, Nathan (Travis Caddy). Gary isn’t exactly the ideal father figure, as most of the quality time he spends with his son consists of attempted robberies and other assorted illegal enterprises. This is due to the fact he’s lost his job after the harsh cuts made during the era under a Conservative government, and the infamous Margaret Thatcher. When a troupe of Chippendales visit Sheffield however, Gary spots an unusual money-making opportunity. After initially ridiculing the strippers, he becomes tempted by the profession himself, and more particularly by the prospect of earning thousands in one night – enough to pay child support to keep seeing his son. Thus begins his search to find others like him who are desperately seeking cash, and will do anything to raise it; even if it means going ‘the full monty’ and baring all. The show gained its first laugh within minutes, opening with a hilarious slapstick scene in which Gary impaled himself upon a metal girder he was attempting to steal.

“Although the production remains faithful to the original story, new jokes provide a sense of individuality” Although this production remains faithful to the original movie, as both are scripted by the fantastic Simon Beaufoy, new added skits such as this one brought a sense of individuality and freshness to the drama. However, true fans will be pleased to witness much-

loved gags such as the scene in which the group begin dancing whilst queueing in the bank, and the famous garden gnome scene, being played out on stage. All the songs from the original soundtrack such as Hot Chocolate’s ‘You Sexy Thing’ and of course Tom Jones’s ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ are also included in the show, and were met with a warm reception. Another standout scene of the play revolves around the attempted suicide of depressed and gay security guard Lomper, who was played fantastically by Craig Gazey. In the most shocking moment of the evening, we watched Lomper slip a noose around his neck, before comically taking a deep breath from his inhaler. However, this small gag was simply a ruse to lull the audience into a false sense of security, as Lomper’s sudden leap off the top off the stage became extremely unexpected. Thankfully he was rescued by Gary and his best friend Dave (Roger Morlidge), and humour was quickly restored, as the two suggested alternative suicide methods to Lomper such as drowning, which he rejected on the grounds of his inability to swim.

“Gaz’s initial attempt at stripping is a medley of bum-shaking and cringeworthy dad dancing” As you might expect, most of the play’s comedy was inevitably derived from the men facing the daunting prospect of their impending big performance. The comedic style of the stripping practice sessions was, for me, incredibly reminiscent of Alan Partridge style humour – so naff you simply can’t help but laugh. Indeed, Gary’s initial attempt at taking his clothes off was a medley of bum-shaking and cringe-worthy dad dancing. Similarly, one of the biggest highlights of the show had to be the toe-curlingly embarrassing auditions for the troupe, which concluded with the famous scene in which Guy (Kieran O’Brien) pulls down his trousers to reveal how incredibly well endowed he is. After this scene, the show went to an interval, leaving the audience buzzing with excitement by the time the second half came round, an act which proved just as hilarious as the first. There were certainly very few flaws to be found in the production overall; for instance, the many jokes

made at the expense of the Conservative party may go over the heads of younger members of the audience, but there is no denying that they are in keeping with the era. Wooden acting by Caroline Carver, who played Gary’s ex-girlfriend Mandy, was also slightly disappointing, but as the rest of the cast were all fantastic, this was only a minor problem. Morlidge in particular captured a perfect mix of humour and vulnerability as the overweight and self-conscious stripper-to-be Dave, and many of the performers seemed more natural in their roles than the actors cast in the original film.

“The show doesn’t shy away from grittier issues such as redundancy, suicide and body confidence” With regard to the technical side of the production, the set was highly realistic, based mainly around the steel mill where the two protagonists previously worked. The staging was also extremely clever, as we watched the gang getting ready for their final performance whilst standing in front of a glittery curtain, which they then walked out of for the final striptease, transforming us into their personal audience. Finally, as I left the theatre I heard many audience members commending the cast for their extreme bravery in actually going ‘the full monty’, an action that was certainly admirable. What was even more admirable, however, was the exceptional skill with which the actors juggled the light-hearted issue of stripping whilst maintaining the touching storyline at the core of the show. This can sometimes be overlooked, as it’s easy to forget that The Full Monty isn’t just about stripping; in reality, it doesn’t shy away from grittier issues such as redundancy, struggles with homosexuality, suicide and body confidence. Unfortunately, the play’s entire Sheffield run is completely sold out, but the production will be touring the country, so try your best to catch a performance in your area. The Full Monty is also allegedly already in talks for progressing to London’s West End, and after seeing this performance, it couldn’t be clearer why. Touching, hilarious and truly amazing.


Feature.

SCREEN

THE STAGE ON THE BIG SCREEN

Lauren Archer explores the new phenomenon that allows theatre lovers to enjoy the biggest shows anywhere in the world

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magine being able to watch the highest quality shows live on the London stage, for a fraction of a price, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home town. For Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, the idea sounded like heaven; “I grew up in Manchester in the 60s. If I had been able to see Olivier’s National Theatre at my local cinema, I would have gone all of the time.” This idea, which seemed so impossible just a few decades ago, is now commonplace in cities, towns and villages up and down the country and beyond. On a Thursday night once every couple of months, cinemas across the UK open their doors to patrons of National Theatre Live; a scheme that broadcasts live productions from the stage to an audience of hundreds of thousands. David Sabel, Head of Digital Media at the National Theatre, is responsible for a programme that has opened up four seasons of National Theatre productions to an international audience. But what sparked the idea in the first place?

“We were attracted to the live, shared experience of the big screen as we felt it preserved certain aspects of the uniqueness of live performance.” It’s certainly been successful in that respect: the first season in 2009 was screened to an audience of more than 165,000 people in 320 cinemas across the world. Today, that number has grown to around 700, including Sheffield’s own Cineworld and Showroom cinemas. But what does David have to say to those who are worried that, with the onset of broadcast performances, the thrill of live theatre will be lost forever? “We never see National Theatre Live as a replacement of the live, in-theatre experience; look at our continued commitment to regional touring [which it’s done since 1963]. “That said, I do think that the programme has helped to open up the work to all kinds of different audiences. “Each production is different and has different audience appeals, so in programming a wide diversity of work, we hope to reach a number of different audiences.”

Having been to a number of National Theatre Live productions myself I can honestly attest to the impressive diversity of the audience. NT Live shows attract dedicated lovers of both stage and screen, alongside those who are just curious about seeing something new. And the productions are certainly something to see. Every facial expression, every gesture is considerately presented in a manner that would never be possible in the theatre. All the magic and mastery of a night at the National is brought to a global audience with closeups and pick ‘n’ mix, all for the price of a student ticket. When David looks back on his time at the National, he does so with pride and fondness. “It’s been absolutely thrilling to build the programme from scratch, with all the support of the National’s great staff and infrastructure, and to see that it’s really made a connection with audiences all across the UK and even internationally.” NT Live’s next shows, People (March 21) and This House (May 16) will be shown at Cineworld and the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield.

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“We very much started National Theatre Live as an experiment,” he explains. “The only organisa-

tion doing a similar programme the Metropolitan Opera.

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GAMES

Feature. GUNS AND GAMING

Arguing videogames’ corner on the neverending debate of their bad influence

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Friday March 1 2013

ollowing the Connecticut school shootings on December 14 2012, there has been a lot of media attention on the re-evaluation of gun laws in America. To us in the UK, it seems pretty crazy that your average citizen in America could easily be in possession of a dangerous but entirely legal firearm – but hey, in America, it’s normal. So what does this have to do with videogames? Exactly. It’s certainly not the first time videogames have been brought into the issue, and games such as Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto have been associated with violence in the past, particularly in relation to killings. But is this not all a little ridiculous? Listening to certain American politicians certainly makes it seem so. Lamar Alexander, a senior U.S state senator, was recently quoted with this unbelievable spiel

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during a discussion on a background checks bill for possession of firearms: “I think videogames is [sic] a bigger problem than guns, because videogames affect people.” You read that correctly. Videogames are a bigger problem in the US than their gun laws, because videogames affect people. You know, as opposed to the aliens and robots affected by mass shootings. This is a perfect example of the bizarrely twisted minds of some foolish Americans, which to us, seems hilarious (and also rather worrying). Recent international data on videogame consumption and gun related crime suggests no correlation whatsoever between the two. The

data compares gun related murders with videogame spending per capita. The assumption goes (to some) that a graph with this information would scale upwards, showing positive correlation between the two factors and plausible concern for causation. However, the results don’t show this at all. America sticks out like a sore thumb as a nation with an alarmingly high rate of gun crime in comparison to their mere second place in videogame spending per capita, with countries such as France, Australia, Japan, and us here in the United Kingdom spending much more on videogames, without feeling the need to shoot each other. Despite evidence like this, the asso-

ciation of videogaming and violence creates an awful stigma for videogames, their companies, and their players. News stories of murdered children and lunatics running round with guns being associated with videogaming doesn’t exactly paint a brilliant picture for the industry. Worst still, must avid videogame players feel the need to defend themselves or their favourite games? This is a major problem with the debate. Many videogame players feel unfairly stigmatised by this so-called correlation, which does not even exist. The videogame industry is made to tiptoe around news stories which shouldn’t even feel anything to do with them, and be aware that their next shooter could cause some outrage from terrified citizens. Games such as Grand Theft Auto have been heavily criticised for their influence on people in the past. You can kind of see their point – shooting, stealing and running over hookers isn’t exactly the best

moral lesson in the world. But are playing these videogames much different to say, watching a violent action movie? Yes, the videogames are more active, but the game still creates an artificial world. It’s difficult to relate how you behave in a videogame to real life. The particular gripe with this is the potential influence on small children. Now, I get that. Young minds are more easily moulded. However, does this not become more of a problem with age ratings and classifications having little effect? If a videogame is unsuitable for anyone under the age of eighteen, it is rated as so. In the UK at least, the BBFC plaster a fairly sizeable devil-red circle all over the packaging quite clearly stating the age of suitability for the game. Despite this, I’m sure plenty of us can hold accounts of wandering the streets of Vice City popping caps at an age much younger than 18. If parents are really worried about the influence of violence


GAMES

in videogames on their young children, maybe they should demonstrate their concern by being more sensible about the games their children are allowed to play. In my job, I frequently sell videogames to parents accompanied by their younger child, clearly buying the game for the child. Even with a judgemental eye and a “Are you sure you’re okay with them having this? It’s an 18.” The parents look at me like I’m a madwoman. Now, I can’t speak for the videogame purchasing habits of the USA, but I can safely assume that it’s not only British parents who don’t very carefully monitor the content their children see on a daily basis and could potentially be influenced by. So

we’re presented with a m a s s i ve double standard. Whilst there’s widespread concern for what influence violent or graphic videogame content could have, it still seems

perfectly acceptable to allow young children to play videogames that are completely unsuitable for their age. Surely young, influential children should be pro-

tected from the evil works of the gaming industry, before they all grow into serial killers? The fact that this sounds completely ludicrous again flags up the hypocrisy and paranoia of the argument. The most unfair part of this whole battle is the stereotype and stigmatisation that comes down on the gaming industry. Nobody wants to be labelled as a bad or violent person just because their character in a videogame might have some questionable morals. Your favourite fictional character might be a serial killer, does that mean you also want to be a serial killer?

Again, it’s impossible to generalise fictional situations to the real world, and the fact is it is a real world problem. Guns are a real world problem. People killing people with guns are a problem, and the idea that there’s any other cause for this besides a broken system and a completely bizarre gun culture for such a developed country, quite frankly is insane. The videogame industry must fight back on this one. You can blame rock music, you can blame horror movies, and you can blame videogames until the cows come home. Crazy people will still be crazy people. Until the real problems are addressed, it’s likely that links between horrific acts and pop culture will continue to be made. But don’t believe the hype – gamers certainly aren’t psychopaths, and it’s certainly unfair to blame the videogame industry for gun violence. Kaz Scattergood

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MUSIC

Feature. DRENGE

THE LOV BROTHERS DREN

Music’s new favourite fus

Words: Amelia Heath From left: Eoin, Rory

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eet Eoin and Rory Loveless, who come together as Drenge. Their clear sound came through as much as their friendly personalities when I got the chance to catch up with the guys ahead of their Sheffield show.

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As they performed at the Queen’s Social Club alongside Deap Vally and Swanton Bombs, Red Stripe flowed and heads bobbed. Even if you’ve never heard of Drenge, they’re the sort of band that immediately ticks all the boxes, both in terms of live music quality and showmanship. Their lyrics are meaningful, their playing is slick and they’re going to be big.

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“We could have called ourselves the Loveless Brothers, I can just see it in the headline in ridiculous writing” The interview begins with a chat about previous shows the boys have done. Eoin (vocals and guitar) tells me about the time they played with Fidlar: “They came on and their hands were breaking. There was blood everywhere, ripped shirts and then the security guy crowd surfed at the end!” Rory (drums) says that despite the fun that was Fidlar’s show. “But we played in a cave right

next to our house which was pretty cool.” The dialogue moves to some easy ground, the band’s influence. Eoin and Rory talk me through their jazz based upbringing to the likes of Nirvana and the White Stripes. “I guess that’s who made us pick up the guitar and drums. We just listened to them,” Rory says. Eoin went on to say, “I think a lot of people blame stuff on influences, but just being in a good mood helps when you’re being creative. There’s some sort of emotional thing rather than if you put on a record, listen to it and learn stuff from it. There’s a lot to inspire you besides other music.” So if it isn’t just music that inspires a band, what else? The boys are Sheffield-based in a way; they live out in the Peak District. But it appears to be their Irish background, from their grandmother, which they feel closer to. “We did a gig in Ireland, in Dingle, which was just great,” Rory tells me. “Like you go into these shops and they act like a haberdashery during the day and then later on they just turn into a pub. So if you can go between 12 and six, you can get your knitting stuff, and then later on you can buy your Guinness.” Eoin chips in: “Not that we knit. Deap Vally do, certainly, but not us,” with a nod to their current female touring partners, Lindsey and Julie of Deap Vally. Their dad appears to have had a big influence on their musical tastes too. Eoin describes how he got them involved in music. “He’s got a huge jazz collection and sent us off to piano lessons.

And we listen to him playing sax all the time, it’s quite hard to escape the sound of a saxophone in our house.”

“It’s a name that works quite well because people hear the name and go ‘yeah I think I know what they sound like”

Rory responds by saying “Some people say that the drums are a bit jazzy but I don’t think they are particularly.” Drenge’s Sheffield roots do appear to affect their music; the boys explain the reasoning behind filming the ‘Dogmeat’ video, which was filmed on the infamous West Street. Eoin explains this, “The last line of the song is ‘West Street girlies dancing’. What I wanted was loads of fit, quite drunk girls dancing in the video, to quite an awkward guitar song. But in reality, it was just loads of people, like mums and dads that were really pissed, and loads of young people that weren’t at all, and no one would dance for us.” Still, if you know West Street then you’ll know that this is a standard concoction for a Friday night and the ‘Dogmeat’ video does make for some hilarious viewing, though that might not have been the band’s intention.


OVELESS S PRESENT: NGE

sion of jazz and grunge

hman & Will Ross

We move on to talk about Drenge themselves and how they started out, back in September 2010. Eoin studied film and television production at York for a year. ‘“Then I bummed out. Then the record deal came up,” he says. Drenge are signed to Infectious Music, who include the likes of Mercury prize winners Alt-J and These New Puritans. “I started doing this two years ago. I just played shit songs, then I bought a distortion pedal and wrote slightly better songs”, Eoin remarks in an offhand manner.

The boys have just finished recording what will essentially be their album, Rory says. “It’s a bunch of new songs, we have some songs that we haven’t put out yet, so we’re kind of mashing those together.” “It’ll probably be self-titled. And it will be out in late May,” adds Eoin.

“It’s not like someone would say ‘oh yeah, we’re gonna go see this really cool band tonight’”, Rory says. “It’s like a name that works quite well

because people hear the name and go ‘yeah I think I know what they sound like’.” He rounds it up by saying “The real meaning of Drenge is two brothers in a band playing guitar and drums.” This is pretty close to the truth: ‘drenge’ is a Danish word for ‘boys’. The light-hearted chatter takes an almost Shakesperian turn when Eoin remarks: “Band names seem really weird to me because they’ve got nothing to do with who the band are, it’s just a name. We could have called ourselves the Loveless Brothers but it sounds a bit like Mumford & Sons or something. I can just see it in the headline in ridiculous writing.”

“We wanted loads of fit, quite drunk girls dancing, but it was just mums and dads that were really pissed”

As Drenge just features the two brothers, I asked them if they would consider adding band members, or whether they just want to keep it in the family. “I’d definitely like to add instruments,” says Eoin. “We’d need more session people because we wouldn’t want people coming in and writing our songs.” It seems that being brothers makes the band work well; and it seems we’re seeing more bands that are made up of siblings recently including Haim and the Staves.

“Because we’re brothers we know how to deal with each other, and if you added another person we would just breakdown immediately. We just wouldn’t be able to deal with them in the same way,” Rory explains. The brothers may still make some line-up changes. Eoin tells me that they want to get their dad to play in the band. “He’s got some tunes. He’s got this special jazz saxaphone called a Selmer and he showed me this video of a guy playing through a Selmer amp, it just sounded amazing.” It’s this very attitude that makes chatting to Drenge refreshing; how many bands do you know who want to get their dad involved? We finish the interview by discussing where the guys see themselves in five or ten years. Rory dismisses their future straight away (“unemployed probably,”) though Eoin is a little more optimistic. “You can never tell if you’re gonna go on to do anything meaningful or interesting, or whether the album will bomb or suck. But people seem to be enthusiastic.” Rory adds: “Maybe not headlining festivals, but still playing and going to loads of gigs. It’s a bit bizarre because as soon as you start learning about the industry you’re like, ‘wow, can’t believe that’s a job!’ You could almost be a passport adviser to bands like the Rolling Stones, and that would be a job!” Later on at their show, it’s clear that if the boys decide to become passport advisors to the Rolling Stones, the music world will be missing out on something special.

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Discussing the band’s debut moves the interview to a conversation about their name, the ‘not very nice sounding’ Drenge, as Rory puts it.

“What I wanted was loads of fit, quite drunk girls dancing in the video. but in reality,it was just loads of people, like mums and dads and no one would dance for us”

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The term ‘slightly better songs’ is almost an understatement with the reaction Drenge have received to their music, including being featured in NME as their ‘Radar band of the week’ and their single ‘Bloodsports’ was Zane Lowe’s ‘hottest record in the world’ earlier this year. But none of this seems to phase them.

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GAMES

Reviews. Dead Space 3

Xbox 360/PS3/PC 7/10

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o it’s time for another instalment of Visceral’s original title Dead Space, but what new elements does Dead Space 3 bring to Isaac Clarke’s world? Whilst the upgraded graphics and gameplay mechanics are an obvious but necessary upgrade, EA has gone a few steps further. Isaac now has a buddy, John Carver, allowing you to blast necromorphs together in a new co-op mode. Whilst the co-op mode is new and exciting, Carver’s entrance feels clunky and forced. His brief storyline, however, is actually more engaging than that of our main character. A great option here would be to have a choice for which character you play as in the single player mode. With this feature lacking, the depth of this character is almost wasted. Another wasted development is the weapon creation system, which is a great idea in theory, yet gets worse the more you attempt to practice it. Whilst there appear to be infinite choices, the

SKyrim: Dragonborn DLC Xbox 360/PS3/PC 8/10

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ver a year after the original release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda unleashed Dragonborn, a monster of a DLC which is worth both the monu-

down. The rag doll physics and limb based blasting gives such a dynamic and satisfying feel to gunning down necromorphs that quite frankly it is all you want to do. Whilst the High velocity space jumps are a neat touch, you will find yourself just itching to blow off more alien-zombies legs, and the game never leaves you waiting long.

crafting process can be restricting, with it being essential to acquire several parts for a particular object. Worse still, EA have actually made parts for weapons available to purchase- for actual money. So, you’re presented with the option of a moronic treasure hunt around icy planets or spaceship corridors in search of one final piece, or to buy the parts.

“Despite it’s faults, Dead Space 3 is still a decent game”

“Carver’s entrance feels clunky and forced”

Dead Space 3 has moved the franchise away from horror and more into shooter, which many critics have seen as removing the original allure to a Dead Space game. However, with

Whilst you can play the game without buying anything, the obvious advantages it gives you makes it tempting. This is a similar argument to those who resent payto-download DLC, however, this doesn’t even seem worth it. Despite its faults, Dead Space 3 is still a decent game. The gameplay itself is great, but the unconvincing storyline lets it mental wait and the rather high price at 1600 Microsoft Points. Dragonborn, as you might expect, adds hours of new quests, characters and enemies but also grants you new armour and weapon crafting abilities, dragon shouts, and magical powers. Oh, and you get to ride dragons. The story begins when some illadvised cultists attempt to take your life in whichever town you

might be walking around at the time. Your search for those responsible leads you to Solstheim, the primary setting of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Eventually it transpires that your character is not the only being gifted with dragon’s blood and you are tasked with defeating Miraak, supposedly the first Dragonborn.

“Dragonborn offers far more potential game hours then most full releases”

Cult Corner. Golden Sun

GameBoy Advance

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hink back twelve years. 2001 was the year of the Game Boy Advance, a handheld console so awesome it could give a ten year old an epileptic fit from literal astonishment. The Game Boy Advance (although now suspiciously looks a lot similar to the Nintendo Wii U’s controller) also had one of the greatest games released on it on the year of its release. And that game was Golden Sun. Golden Sun is an RPG game where your character Isaac, with

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Bethesda certainly aren’t known for delivering sub-standard content; even when they could so easily cut corners and offer something half the size of Dragonborn, they absolutely do not. With a lengthy main questline and a plethora of

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his companions, must defeat the villains Saturos and Menardi in order to obtain the Elemental Stars to save the world from being destroyed by Alchemy. With your companions you must travel across the world, fighting monsters, helping people along the way in your quest, with more joining you merry band to aide you, while still searching for Saturos and Merandi in order to thwart their evil plan. Simplicity is the backbone of this game, yet it is also filled with great features which rivals the RPGs of today. With the upgrades in weapons, armour, magic and a variety of Djinn monsters (which, if defeated, give your chosen character a specialised magical attack),

Golden Sun ticks all the boxes on variety of weapons and different styles of play which would even leave Skyrim a little jealous. The game is also incredibly focused on narrative, unlike the more linear missions of Fallout 3 and Skyrim, Golden Sun fixes solely on the main storyline which gives the game’s central purpose a sense of urgency. Unlike Fallout 3 and Skyrim, Golden Sun’s main storyline is incredibly long, and even spills over into a sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age. The game is hard, a concept seemingly amiss in modern gam-

ethereal screeching sounds and intense isolation, Dead Space 3 maintains the creepy factor from start to finish. Overall a game with many faults is saved by its excellent shooting mechanics, dismemberment and overall combat gameplay. Whilst it has moved away somewhat from its original horror genre, it still has enough gore to keep you entertained and enough jumpy moments to keep the blood pumping. The Dead Space franchise is certainly alive and well. Lewis Colson

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sidequests, Dragonborn, in true Elder Scrolls fashion, offers far more potential game hours than most full releases; the scope for absorbing all that Solstheim has to offer is enormous. But size, as the saying goes, isn’t everything. The depth of the content offered reaches the monumentally high standard set by Skyrim. The culture of the people, the voice acting, the storytelling and the history are all laid out intricately and beautifully. The same can be said for the environment; pointing to its geographical location within Tamriel, Solstheim is a stylistic hybrid of both Skyrim and Vvardenfell and, while it is the same island from the Morrowind expansion Bloodmoon, the centuries of cultural change and events have been taken into account. Apocrypha, is as elaborately crafted as it is disturbing, and really toys with the mind to display a demonic land of knowledge, as if Cthulhu had taken over Wikipedia. As with all things, the Dragonborn DLC has its downfalls, how-

ever minor. The ability to ride dragons had so much potential but failed to deliver on a spectacular scale. It is confusing, limited, and fun for all of about ten seconds. Additionally, the gap between the December 2012 Xbox release and the February 2013 PC and PS3 release was nothing short of cruel. That said, Dragonborn builds brilliantly on Skryim’s legacy and, provided you’re willing to shell out for it, should be regarded as essential DLC.

ing unless purposefully putting it on the hard setting, with a var i e t y of boss fights which even the most

veteran gamer would find a challenge, giving it the frustration appeal of ‘I will beat this boss

Alex Titcomb

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if it’s the last thing I do!’ Golden Sun is clearly a fantastic game and is still highly playable today. When you finish Golden Sun, you want to play again. Kieran Dean


Lyceum Theatre 8/10

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he unmissable new musical Soul Sister – ‘inspired by the music, life and times of Ike and Tina Turner’ - has shimmied its way to The Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from London’s West End. The musical follows the journey of ‘The Ike and Tina Turner Revue’ alongside major changes in the USA between the late 50s and the mid-70s. The highs and lows of their explosive relationship mirror the instability of the era, and together they work as a backdrop for Tina’s inspiring story. Moving briskly through her classic hits, Soul Sister could not

Boys

University Drama Studio 8/10

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ho better to perform a gritty student play than students themselves? Ella Hickson’s Boys is the latest edition to SutCo. The fast-paced production treated its audience to a nostalgic twist centred on the end of university. Opening in a party scene in the typical student flat shared by Benny (Alex Griffiths), Cam (Ollie Raggett), Mack (Alfie Reynolds) and Timp (Josh Finan,) the end of the student journey proves to be not just a physical transition, but an emotional one too. Other characters included Benny’s girlfriend Laura, played

Lantern Theatre 5/10

on this occasion by Director Sarah Sharp, who courageously stood in as understudy, and Sophie (Aoife Boyle), ex-girlfriend of Benny’s dead brother. Setting itself aside from other SutCo productions, Boys provided musical entertainment with a live DJ on stage. The energy onstage stirred up an excitement in the audience, enticing them to join in the party behaviour typical of the students the play was depicting. The play also explored the darker side of being a student. The metaphorical build up of rubbish bags in the flat throughout (due to a refuse strike among the flat) effectively represented the mood of some of the play’s characters. There is a feeling that despite having a degree, students are destined for the rubbish tip. The feeling of uncertainty

when it comes to the characters’ future, however, is perfectly balanced out with some brilliant humour. The production had spectators in stitches throughout, thanks to the high quality of the acting. The concluding message of the play happily reflects how friendship and laughter can overcome fears of the adult world. All in all, Boys was a thoroughly enjoyable watch which was masterfully directed, produced, acted and staged.

female leads swap the lines of the eponymous Jane – fluttering between past and present. Yet from that moment – despite a few moments of admirable emotional honesty – the formula ages quickly. The actors continue to engage but the role-swapping and quick costume changes begin to lose their shine and become reminiscent of an experimental student piece. Andrew Dowbiggin is commanding as the allusive Mr Rochester, but his performance ultimately lacks the substance that his style suggests. He performs well enough but never quite accesses a deeper level of emotional connection with the story.

Lizzie Hyland

Sophie Trew More reviews online Read more reviews online at Forge Today

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Rebecca Hutchinson steals the show as Jane Eyre: a performance that is coy and candid in equal measure – ensuring Eyre is endearing and enchanting without ever losing her fierce sense of independent will, perfectly capturing Bronte’s own description of her as “small and plain and Quaker-like”. Supporting actress Viktoria Kay has been commended for her ability to dart between her nine roles with precision and commitment to detail. Despite this impressive feat, the roles themselves are often not approached with any real depth or detail. Important characters – like Adele, Rochester’s child – are handled far too lightly and carefully, meaning

a boy was born: Phoenix Piano Trio Firth Hall 9/10

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he A Boy Was Born festival celebrates the 100th birthday of English composer Benjamin Britten whose work is known to have brought classical music to the masses in the past century. Britten was known to have a musical ability for almost every classical genre. The festival itself celebrates a range of compositions penned by Britten and by other composers. The most recent event of the festival, performed by the Pheonix Piano Trio in the nearly perfectly suited setting of Firth Hall, looked at the music of John Ireland, Thomas Dunhill, Philip Venable and Beethoven. Ireland’s Piano Trio No.3 in E minor was the one of the pieces played by the musicians Jonathan Stone (violin), Marie Macleod (cello) and Sholto Kynoch (piano) whose musical abilities have been praised universally. The piece was said to be a reaction to the onset of World War II, which could clearly by heard from the performance. The piano notes were delicately played, with the violin and the cello mirroring. After the fast paced notes kicked in, however, the violin and the cello players seemed to be playing against each other

this small production fails to have the big impact it is capable of. The adaptation is a charming encapsulation of Bronte’s tale of love and learning and yet it loses something in its succinctness. Eyre’s dark past is considered only in the form of haunting, fleeting memories that ebb into her present. The true horrors of her childhood are emitted from the script, meaning that the more noir elements of the tale are washed away in a sea of romance and passion. Lauren Archer

in some sections, creating an almost aggressive piece of music. Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major entitled ‘Ghost’ was arguably the best performance of the night. Its name stems from the movement being quite slow but with a rhythmic impulse to create unexpected music that was wonderful to listen to and watch being played. Stone (violin) seemed to embody this piece perfectly as the sudden playing of the strings caused his feet to lift off the ground. Kynoch and Macleod also swayed as the melody played until the notes became quiet and stagnant in the air as the melody slowed. The music of Britten may not have been the main focus of the night’s performance, but the festival definitely did encompass what it set out to and created an evening of entertainment that brought classical music to centre stage. The aim of the festival is that the events will be enlightening, eclectic and affordable, all criteria which the Phoenix Piano Trio fulfilled through their musical talents and chosen musical pieces. The festival itself shall continue well into this year so there will be many chances to experience a beautiful array of classical music performed by some very talented musicians. Rhiannon Pickin

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his short, sweet and simplified adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel has the potential to be flawless. Laura Turner’s adaptation gives us less than an hour and a half of stage time, so it is disappointing that this production lacks so much polish. Director Nick Lane takes a bold step by leaving the array of characters in Jane Eyre in the hands of just three actors. It is a novel idea and certainly has an appeal: the show starts off with a smart twist as the two

and dancing in the aisles for the last few Tina classics. The typical West End enthusiast will often find the recent phenomenon of the jukebox musical somewhat unconvincing. For those of you less familiar with glitter, wigs and under paid actors, a jukebox musical incorporates the music of a band or singer, for example We Will Rock You or Jersey Boys. These ‘modern’ musicals are often criticised for cramming in too many covers. However, the musical bombardment of rhythm and blues along with a remarkable cast is what makes Soul Sister simply the best.

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jane eyre

have illustrated Tina Turner as the uniquely inspirational woman she is without the fierce performance of Emi Wokoma. Inspirational in her own right, she portrays the singer perfectly, from her powerful sultry voice to her signature strut and shimmy. Chris Tummings does an equally excellent job as the musician Ike Turner, but it is Wokoma’s voice and presence that sticks. As with many West End musicals, an amazing leading lady is crucial, but praise must be given to the entire cast. The Ikettes perform their role as backing singers and dancers with astonishing energy and the band are second only to Wokoma herself. With a cheeky liveliness and flair, the boys of the band get the audience standing

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Soul sister

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MUSIC

Reviews. RELEASES Bastille

Bad Blood Virgin Records 5/10

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hen Bastille burst onto the indiedance scene last year, Dan Smith was all anyone was talking about. Their cover of ‘Rhythm of the Night’ guaranteed them decent Radio One airplay and original single ‘Laura Palmer’ was even featured on the mecca of all TV soundtracks – Made in Chelsea. It’s safe to say that a lot was expected from their debut – Bad Blood. For those that are fans of Bastille and the upbeat electroness of their first mixtape, Other People’s Heartache Part One, there are few tracks on Bad Blood that showcase that side of Dan Smith’s repertoire. The opening track and current single, ‘Pompeii’ has all the energy of ‘Laura Palmer’ which was also included, thank god. It

almost seems like Bastille took a different direction from their previously released material with their debut. Tracks like ‘Flaws’, ‘Get Home’ and ‘Overjoyed’ are more solemn and almost mournful. Although, they do portray Smith’s impressive vocals so all is not lost to the listener, despite the songs appearances as monotonous filler. ‘Things We Lost in the Fire’ walks the fine line between Bastille’s two different styles with the rhythmic drumming and repetitive chorus lodging its place in your memory. Bastille did have a lot to live up to with the earlier releases of their Other People’s Heartache mixtape series and it seems that they didn’t always reach the mark. The strong vocals and intricate beats that display the band’s talent are still visible on Bad Blood but the originality that first assured Bastille attention is lacking from the debut. Amelia Heathman

POST WAR YEARS Galapagos Chess Club Records 6/10

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he first Post War Years album, the sublime The Greats and The Happenings was released way back in 2009, it was an album oozing with originality which set the stage for this indie-pop band’s seemingly inevitable fame. It’s surprising that after a couple of nondescript EPs; the band has only just released their second album, Galapagos. The band have taken their time on this, and on first listen it’s difficult to fault; the album is a production of layers and samples repeated and synthesised, and of vocals twisted and contorted, fitting into a seamless and harmonious cacophony.

Now Playing

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ith the abundance of new releases each week it can be difficult to sift through the shit in search of the gold, so Fuse has handpicked some of the musical highlights for you. We are really loving Rhye at the moment, especially the new remix of their track ‘Open’ by Ryan Hemsworth. This is just one of many Rhye remixes that has surfaced recently and who can blame them when the delicate and unique vocal style sounds so good. The added synths and drum machines just make ‘Open’ sound even more dynamic and alive. Villagers have released yet another new single from their impressive second album {Awayland}, and it is their most intelligent to date. ‘The Bell’ features stunning lyrics, changes in tempo throughout and haunting keyboards which make frontman Conor O’Brien’s vocals sound even better than usual.

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The overall result is spinetingling. We love JAWS and we love the new exciting guitar music coming out of Birmingham, now known as ‘B-town’. Their fun electro-pop also has a nostalgic grunge feel at times, especially on new single ‘Friend Like You’ where the murmured vocals sound dark and distorted. The band’s Milkshake EP is out on April 22, but until then you can listen to most of their tracks on SoundCloud. With great bands like JAWS, Peace and Swim Deep setting the music scene alight, B-town is very quickly becoming our favourite genre. Darwin Deez is back with his infectious indie pop, and new single ‘You Can’t Be My Girl’ has one of the weirdest music videos we’ve ever seen. This track may not be as strong as lead single ‘Free (The Editorial Me)’ but fans will still be pleased and the bizarre video where you see Deez ageing as the women in his life pass him by is definitely worth a watch. LW & AH

Screaming Maldini Screaming Maldini Alcopop Records 6/10

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creaming Maldini is the eponymous new album from the insanely happy, six-member troupe. Simply put, you’ll be blasted away by their boppy, poppy sound; a medley of random drum beats, a cow bell, synth prowess and a brass addition on the odd occasion. Inspired by the Beatles and Radiohead, they’re smack-bang in the middle of most people’s tolerance of a genre. A welcome break from the norm, you can sit back and enjoy

The album is a technicolour of sounds, excitingly switching between a smooth ambience reminiscent of Foals, to a beachy Friendly Fires feel in ‘Be Someone’. In ‘Lost Winter’, their sound switches again to an odd mesh of samples similar to Everything Everything, who they recently supported in Sheffield. Whilst Post War Years accommodate all these tastes pretty well, producing tracks that are genuinely enjoyable to listen to, they never settle or decide on anything. This is at once a strength and a weakness; whilst keeping the album diverse in sound, it has produced songs that lack any startling individuality or memorability, or even anything remotely danceable. Whilst there are a few tracks that stand out, like ‘The Bell’ and ‘Volcano’, something is still miss-

ing from the album; it is a series of reserved songs that build, yet it never quite reaches the climax it deserves. This is an album you’ll enjoy, but more likely than not it is not one you’ll keep returning to, and so the album risks fading into the abyss of the indie-pop genre. Post War Years are still newcomers, and the potential is there, it’s just missing the sticking power. Nicky Crane

the whizz-bangs and staccato beats of ‘Life in Glorious Stereo’, or chill out to ‘Minor Alterations’, a quiet story about an old, sturdy house, where Gina Walters’ beautiful voice is backed by a wide mixture of fanfares and clean bass. Nick Cox and Gina Walters’ vocals compliment each other perfectly and their compatability first shines on their acoustic cover of Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’. While they may not be your cup of tea per se, you’re guaranteed to like at least one of the tracks from this debut album, which features 12 songs and a trippy 3D CD case. Screaming Maldini are the sort of band you could pop onto a playlist and just enjoy every now and again.

No heavy listening, no deep lyrics, just an incredible ability to live for the moment, and be happy. Standout track ‘The Dreamer’ features the interesting introductory lyrics: “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch/ You must first invent the universe.” But following these is a mildly set out paradise of sound; calm and soothing, but strange at the same time. The entire album is very well put together, if Screaming Maldini are your quirky kind of thing.

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Will Ross


Reviews.

Veronica falls

Monday February 25 The Harley

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eronica Falls aren’t on till ten but by eight the Harley is packed. As soon as local band BLESSA take to the stage it’s clear why; this is a night of dreamy indie-pop bliss, heralded by strong female vocalists and immaculate catchy melodies. Fear of Men follows the same strand, although now and again the vocals quiver and fall out of tune, and the songs slip, lacking any real substance or animation. It’s enough to quiet the crowd though, who push to the front in anticipation of the headliners, knowing they won’t see Veronica Falls making the same amateur mistakes. The band burst onto stage with

the first song ‘Tell Me’ from their new album Waiting for Something to Happen, released earlier this month. After their highly acclaimed self-titled debut album, Veronica Falls have a lot to live up to with this new album, and they just about manage it. It’s a set which sporadically switches between a melodic and ambient niceness to a much darker and heavier sound that implodes with energy, utilising their polished and impeccable guitar playing. They shift from the superb catchy singles that made their first album great, such as the ‘Found Love in a Graveyard’ and ‘Beachy Head’, to a smoother, romantic sound of their more recent material, such as ‘Broken Toy’. Unfortunately at times the slower songs tend to leave the audience a little bored and stiff, revealing the (very) minor faults

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LIVE in their newest album, which threatens to fall into samey placidness. This doesn’t stop the crowd from demanding an encore though, which the band willingly accommodates for, finishing on their new single, and one of their best songs to date, ‘Teenage’. Veronica Falls didn’t blow anyone away, but what they do they do well, enough to leave the gig-goers happily quenched of their indie-pop thirst. Nicky Crane

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Veronica Falls: flickr.com/craigboney

Drenge

Saturday February 23 Queens Social Club

T Veronica Falls: flickr.com/danicanto

Jagwar ma

Thursday February 20 Bungalows and Bears

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toon. Current single and the evening’s final track ‘The Throw’ equally impresses, escaping the confines of the studio version and stretching out organically for long enough to place everyone in a hypnotic dancefloor shuffle. Any band that lists J Dilla alongside Moondog as influences is evidently a good choice, but it’s really a much simpler sonic mix than that would imply. Jagwar Ma produce electronically charged early 90s pop and have a hell of a lot of fun while doing it and by the time they leave the stage to exhausted applause it’s clear that they’ve seduced a few more fans over to their way of thinking. Henry Wilkinson

Will Ross

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onight’s show is at Sheffield’s old Firehouse-comebar, Bungalows and Bears, and the room is filling with the stomping psychedelic mating ritual that is Jagwar Ma’s opening song ‘What Love?’. It’s an impressive start from this Australian three-piece who show no sign of jet lag despite reminding the crowd that they’ve travelled pretty far to play their first ever UK show. The band’s infectious groove morphs elements of the Charlatans’ brit-pop, Factory’s pill popping Madchester vibe and the looping techno that the band grew to love while living in Berlin. They soon have everyone dancing, despite the somewhat lukewarm reaction to the support

from Unmade Bed and Amateur Best, who were once compared to Calvin Harris when they were known as Primary 1. It’s clear that the crowd are here for Sydney’s latest indie export. The tempo remains perpetually euphoric as the band bounce through a repertoire that shows they have much more to offer than their SoundCloud page suggests. They play with a contagious enthusiasm, vocalist Gabriel Winterfield swaggering behind the mic Tim Burgess style and bassist Jack Freeman occasionally discarding his instrument to leap around the stage like a kid air guitaring in his bedroom practicing for that distant musical career which clearly is not that distant anymore. ‘Come Save Me’, the band’s first track to get the blogs buzzing, is even more vibrant live, transforming the venue into a technicolour Beatles-esque car-

he Queens Social Club stood up to its name on Saturday; everybody was ready for Drenge and Deap Vally, chatting over a few pints of Moonshine. While the Loveless brothers (also known as Drenge) gear up in McDonald’s, the Swanton Bombs boys mill about the crowd, swapping dirty jokes and exchanging email addresses. Swanton Bombs are surprisingly good for a relatively unknown support act, sporting brilliant vocal harmonies and clear-cut guitar solos. Their many love ballads flow well and intersperse with the balance of their slightly grungier tunes, which the audience love. Deap Vally stole the hearts of all present. The stunning American duo came on in tiny shorts and play tracks from their debut album End of the World. Lindsey’s powerful, scratchy voice rocked the house down, while Julie’s mad red hair flicked all over her drum kit in true rock’n’roll style. As if they didn’t already have a huge British fan-base, the ladies came out after their set to

sign t-shirts and take photos, securing them fandom from the majority of the people there. Drenge took to the stage, sporting a very loud cheer from one group of people who clearly underestimated the strength of the Moonshine. The boys work well together, throwing out great beats and clear lyrics, thanks to a long sound check. “This is a slow one for you lovers”, shouts Eoin as they take it down a notch, containing the general mood and atmosphere of the crowd. Their messy haircuts and casual attitudes make everyone feel at home, enjoying the company of random people and band members alike, through to their last songs. Ending the gig in typical rocker fashion, with increasing tempo and distortion effects, the boys sign off and leave to the sound of chaotic, appreciative applause. For such a low price, this one couldn’t have been missed.

Fuse.

Jagwar Ma: Alex McGregor

Swin Deep: flickr.com/scouseteigan

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SCREEN

Reviews. Mama

Dir: Andrés Muschietti 6/10

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businessman and fatherof-two falls prey to the economic crisis of 2008, shoots his estranged wife and kidnaps his two daughters, taking them to a cabin hidden in the depths of local woodland. Five years later they’re found, half-feral, by Lucas and Annabel, the girls’ uncle and his girlfriend. Mama is utterly uncompromising in its desperate determination to force itself into audience members’ heads. It rips and tears at your expectations – clawing its way into your subconscious. And yet, although it does so in

a thoroughly terrifying manner, it never succeeds in moving past the basic horror film tropes. It looks gorgeous, created in the edgy, neo-noir style that followers of executive producer Guillermo Del Toro have become familiar with. Like many of Del Toro’s films the focus is all on the build-up – this is a film so tense and with moments of such immense quiet that the flutter of a moths wing will paralyse you with fear. Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are well cast as Annabel and Lucas, the couple charged with the girls’ care. Chastain in particular leads the audience into an intense oscillation between charming light relief and raw emotion. But despite some clever cast-

ing and a well-considered plot, the reliance on the superficiality of forced ‘jumpy’ moments is strikingly lazy. The backstory of a vengeful ghost righting wrongs, of a relationship pushed to the furthest limit, is sophisticated and original for its genre, and although the artistry lives up to that, the short, sharp shocks never quite seem to. The real problem with Mama is that it is lost. It wanders through the darkness, taking wrong turns and tripping over itself until it lands somewhere between a dark, emotional drama and a tokenistic jumpy horror. The film has been praised for its attempt to distance itself from the horror genre’s uneasy relationship with gender roles and feminine identity. Much of the

film deals only with the relationships between different women, all of whom are strong in their own sense. From the bitter battle of custody between Annabel and the girls’ maternal aunt Jean to the increasing resilience eldest child Victoria puts up against the allure of the spirit world, Mama is arguably a testament to the parallel strength and empathy of women. But despite so many good intentions, the tension in Mama is lost, and we are presented with yet another set of empty scares. Doors bang, lights flicker and we are on the edge of our seats, but we can’t help but feel we’ve seen it all before.

Lore

inner darkness. Lore has a prolonged beginning which sets up the journey north quite well, with the children’s Nazi parents (Ursina Lardi and Hans-Jochen Wagner) giving good performances. But the actual need to get to their grandmother’s house becomes something of a side-issue as the film progresses. Instead, it uses the journey to document the development of Lore and Thomas’ characters whilst also highlighting Germany’s plight in the aftermath of the war, which is a great move. The haunting images of the Holocaust and the chilling military songs sung by children illuminate the horrific and perverse

times in which these people lived. The relationship between Lore and Thomas is a rather complex one, highlighting both Lore’s blind hatred for Jews and her developing sexual curiosity and feelings for Thomas, beautifully portrayed by both actors.

Dir: Catherine Shortland 7/10

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s the Allies sweep across Germany in the dying days of the second world war, Lore (Saskia Rosendahl) and her four siblings must venture to their grandmother’s house 900 kilometres away. Appearing to be all alone in a chaotic nation in defeat, Thomas (Kai Malina), a mysterious Jewish boy, assists them in their journey. With ‘the enemy’ by her side, Lore struggles with the beliefs instilled in her by the Nazi regime and discovers her own

Small Screen. Vegas

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Friday March 1 2013

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e last saw Dennis Quaid as he, along with half of Hollywood, embarrassed himself in Movie 43. But his dignity appears well and truly intact in his role as Ralph Lamb, the cowboy and retired cop at the heart of Vegas, set in 1960s Las Vegas of all places. We’re introduced to Lamb as he fights off three thugs at once and is promptly arrested. Meanwhile, a new gangster (Michael Chiklis) shows up and we learn that the governor’s niece has been murdered. All before the opening titles. Naturally, Lamb is called in to solve the murder as the Sheriff is mysteriously missing. With the help of his brother and his son, Lamb comes out of retirement and soon finds himself snooping around casinos, motels and gangsters. Much of this is familiar ground; the grizzled old cop and the beatings in the back rooms of casinos are nothing new. This is well-worn territory for the show’s co-creator Nicholas Pileggi, having penned Scorsese movies Goodfellas and Casino. But it moves beyond the clichés into quite a fresh piece of television. Vegas is something of a hybrid, half-western and halfgangster with shades of film noir thrown in. It’s essentially Cowboys versus

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Gangsters, and successfully lives up to that promising concept. With a cowboy hat instead of a fedora, Lamb is a sort of cowboy-detective; Sherlock Holmes on a horse. Quaid is both compelling and convincing in the role, seamlessly blending the hard-boiled detective and the ass-kicking cowboy; one minute he’s snooping around a casino, the next he’s on a horse chasing a bad guy on a motorbike. Just like Arnie in True Lies except, you know, audible. You think this is the real Quaid? It is! Unfortunately, Vegas is not without its faults. For a start, Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays the show’s only female character, hasn’t developed an ounce of charisma since The Matrix. Then there are the over the top sound effects, which threaten to make every fight scene cross the line into slapstick. As for the visuals, the show would benefit hugely from adopting an aesthetic that matches the film noir credentials of the plot. Instead, it looks slightly bland and the atmosphere suffers as a result. Despite these problems, Vegas

Lauren Archer

“The depiction of Germany is harrowing” Though there are things to complain about with this film, the main problem is the feeling of absence at the end. It appears to promise more, yet cuts off seemingly short, leaving us

waiting for a final punch that appears to have been left on the cutting room floor. Despite being billed as a ‘warthriller’, there seems to be a lack of tension to Lore at times, but it makes up for this when it doles out provocative war imagery. Lore is a film which meanders at certain points and fails to give that final punch to make a significant point, preventing it from attaining true greatness. Nevertheless, the depiction of the remains of Germany and its people at the end of the war is a harrowing one, making the film certainly one to watch, if only once. Kieran Dean

is well worth watching thanks to its unique take on the genre and a central performance so good that we can forgive Dennis Quaid for Movie 43. Just don’t do it again. Dan Meier

Cult Corner. Bronson

Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn 2008

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harles Bronson (played in the film by Tom Hardy) was sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing £26.18 from the local post office. He’s now been inside for 34 years. Celebrity, fitness instructor, idol – this man is a revered figure for many people, despite his apparent sadistic insanity. The reason Bronson is so good is because you’re hooked for every single second of screen time available. Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn manages to grab our attention from the very beginning, switching between imaginary on-stage storytelling performances and shocking, fast-paced fight scenes. Plenty of stark red shots contrast with the clinical, pale asylum scenes, as Bronson is moved around the British prison system. Most of his 34 years inside have been spent in solitary confinement, and Hardy portrays

the internal struggle he faces so believably that sometimes it’s hard to tell just what he’ll do next; whether he’s going to sit calmly and simply creep out his prison guard hostages, or turn suddenly on the nearest person he can get his hands on. Known for his comical toothy grin, topped off with an awesome moustache and aviator sunglasses, there are times when the smiley, joking man is laughing at his fate, then boom, there’s that stare of daggers that threatens to rip your face off. The fight scenes in this film are extremely violent and accentuate Bronson’s unquestionable power. When holding prison guards hostage, you feel absolute empathy for the poor buggars. No one has a clue what their fate will be, as Bronson is so unpredictable. With his unique fighting style, preferring to strip down, grease up and fight multiple armed security guards with his bare fists, this thrill-seeking celebrity wannabe will impress you and horrify you, be it with his strange art or his uncompromising violence. Will Ross


Dir: Tom Tykwer, Lana & Andy Wachowski 5/10

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avid Mitchell’s 2004 novel was a huge success and, at the time, was deemed unfilmable. But now the Wachowskis, along with director Tom Tykwer, have attempted to adapt the sprawling universe that Mitchell created. Spanning multiple centuries and locations across the globe, Cloud Atlas tells six different but interconnected stories. The stories themselves range from the year 1849 to 2321 and encompass many different paths that all lead to the same point. We are shown a world where

everything affects everything else and people are linked to each other by the smallest events, a point further emphasised by the fact that the actors all play multiple roles across the different time periods. Fans of the original novel will see the change to a non-linear time frame as a new experience and it is something that could have worked well. Sadly, introducing all six stories at the beginning and then cutting and changing for the whole three hours fails to actually pay off. Even after an hour of watching, we know very little about the characters and the stories, which makes it hard to feel interested in what is actually happening. Using the same actors in multiple roles is the other big issue with Cloud Atlas. The heavy use of makeup, which probably ac-

counts for a good portion of the budget, really detracts from what is going on.

“Nothing can save Cloud Atlas from becoming quite dull” Seeing Tom Hanks dressed as an Irish gangster or Hugo Weaving as a female nurse is unintentionally hilarious, and it’s hard to invest in the characters while trying to see who’s hiding under the prosthetics. That said, the actors themselves do a fairly decent job filling multiple roles. Hanks is actually quite good as the tribal elder Zachry,

To The Wonder Dir: Terrence Malick 4/10

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view change so often in this film that it’s near impossible to determine if there’s a main character at all. You even have to wait until the very end of the film to work out the characters’ names, since they’re only mentioned in the credits. Adding to the quite confusing narrative shifts is the way the action has been filmed. When you’re not intimately following behind one of the characters, like a dog being walked, you’re sweeping across landscapes and focusing on colourful skylines.

“The film lacks any plot”

Patrick Boyce

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their car, in the midst of a buffalo herd. It’s an interesting scene, as no one speaks and nothing really happens as the pretty scenery goes by. But at other times you’re expected to rely on the music to decide what mood the characters are in. Neil’s facial expression doesn’t change once throughout the whole film. He looks like a slapped arse for just under two hours of your life. Still, Bardem’s performance (which is especially odd if you’ve only ever seen him in Skyfall), almost puts things right. Once the three other characters find their way to him, Father Quintana takes them under his wing like a mother hen and makes everything all right again. Sort of. If you can be bothered to sit through this one, good luck to you. Without any outstanding plot, this is a rather boring, very long episode of Planet Earth, minus Sir David Attenborough. Will Ross More reviews online Read more reviews online at Forge Today

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To The Wonder is directed and written by Terrence Malick, which might help explain its weird subtleties. The title, and indeed the poetic narrative introductory passages, refer to ‘The Wonder of the Western World’, an epithet attached to the beautiful medieval abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel. The original couple visit this stunning island at the beginning of the film, taking in the incredible sights and strange, phenomenal shoreline. The views are, admittedly, quite special. At one point Neil and Jane sit quietly on top of

novel will like this adaptation because they know the stories, but for everyone else it becomes a task to try to keep up with what is happening as well as trying not to laugh at Hanks’ awful Irish accent or Hugh Grant being completely miscast as a cannibalistic tribal leader. Despite its many annoyances Cloud Atlas can be entertaining, but any enjoyment is ultimately sapped out of it by an overly ambitious timeline, awful makeup and the miscasting of some big Hollywood stars.

Friday March 1 2013

lthough ultimately a better love story than Twilight (but then what isn’t?), To The Wonder simply isn’t a very good film. Despite stunning visual scenery and beautiful cinematography, it completely lacks any plot, and switches frustratingly between different languages and characters of varying importance. Single mother Marina (Olga Kurylenko) moves from France to America to live with Neil (Ben Affleck), with whom she has a strange, on-off relationship. Once she realises that Neil has the emotional capacity of a depressed watermelon, she leaves him. Neil then starts seeing one of his childhood friends, Jane (Rachel McAdams), who starts to reconnect with him only to find the same problem. Once she’s out of the picture, Marina marries Neil and moves back to America to live with him, before going insane. Through all this, Javier Bardem plays the caring Father Quintana, whose role in To The Wonder is merely to add a religious, spiritual veil to the poor storyline. Who is the main character here? The narrative points of

as is Halle Berry as investigative journalist Luisa Rey. But it’s Jim Broadbent who stands out in his multiple roles, including a man confined to a nursing home and a 1930s composer struggling with a young upstart (Ben Whishaw). The worlds that the directors have created are rich and mesmerising, especially the futuristic Neo-Seoul. The special effects bring the future to life in a vivid and imaginative way and help to make up for the rest of the film. Ultimately, though, nothing can save Cloud Atlas from becoming quite dull; it’s too hard to care about anything that is happening when the story cuts from place to place every few minutes. Perhaps sticking to the timeline of the book would have been a better choice. Those who are familiar with the

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Fuse issue 56