Whatâ€™s inside Page 3 Cats & criminals 4 Nottinghill Dirty disco 5 brassneck 6 8fold 9 The central studio 10 rockbitch 12 gig listing
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Gig reviews Cats & Criminals @ The Rhu Bar 22nd October, by Johnny Marvel Back at The Rhu Bar after playing a great show here in June, Cats and Criminals played to a small but appreciative crowd. Once again they expanded their regular 45-60 min of original material with a tasty selection of covers. Whilst some of those present were there to see this particular band, a fair few probably weren’t and I felt these versions helped them to connect with this section of crowd. That said, they opened with one of their own – ‘Cinderella’, setting the tone for the evening – uplifting grooves, fast funky rhythms and tight ensemble playing all within the framework of impressive arrangements. They then romped through an almighty medley of, ‘Deep Breath’, ‘Beggin You’ (Frankie Valli), ‘Just’ (Radiohead, but note perfect of the Mark Ronson version), ‘Dance With Me’ (Calvin & Dizzee), and ‘Sex On Fire’ (Kings Of Leon). These guys must rehearse to death, incredibly tight, everything just fits together beautifully, the horns (James on trumpet and Robin on sax) never fail to impress me, although without that rhythm section (John on drums, Dylan on bass and Ross on guitar) keeping it together I’d barely notice them. Next came one of my favourite’s ‘Make That Call’ lonely raunchy sax on the outro, something I think is a feature of a lot of their tunes, good strong outro’s, of course them there horns really help with this. The guys have been in the studio recently, with new material already recorded, being mixed and out in the New Year. Tonight I counted three new tunes, all sounded solid with ‘Not Coming Home’ standing out, being a bit slower with a strong lyrical message. Another feature of their sound is the strong backing vocals, shared by bassist Dylan and James & Robin on the horns. Giving plenty of support to front man Rob, whilst providing plenty of light, shade and texture, a great example of their general togetherness and support of each other. The first set had ended with Stevie’s ‘Superstition’ and the second set began with one of their signature tunes ‘Stop Playing Games’ before their interpretation of The White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’ – Ger-oovey! Then we got an early Chrimbo tune (anything before December 24th is too early for me!) but as it was their own I’ll let it go! Gnarl’s ‘Crazy’ followed before their cast iron set closer ‘Dancin’ Shoes’ - featured drummer John (labouring manfully under the yoke of Rhu’s lecky kit) givin’ it some. Encoring with ‘Rappers Delight’ into ‘Jungle Boogie’ wrapped it up nicely. This band just gets better which I quickly told Robin as he was on his way round the audience collecting Email addresses. Check out their myspace but more importantly see them live. myspace.com/catsandcriminals 3
Alan Mcgee’s Death Disco – Notting Hill Arts Centre – 23rd December 2009 Review By Marti And pix by wheels and andy
Notting Hill Arts Centre is pretty easy to miss if you don’t know where you’re going; it’s on Notting Hill Gate, and nothing but a door with no sign and a doorman outside. Down the stairs, through the doors, to the right is the stage area, which in an hour or so will become a packed mosh pit. To the left is the bar and a good sized lounge area. Nigel Thomas from The Foxes is Dj’ing playing great tunes and setting a great atmosphere in this smaller than expected, but perfectly good sized, venue. After a few drinks it’s over to the stage for the first of two acts - The Foxes who are based in London. I have heard this band a few times before, and liked them a lot. However the first 3 or 4 songs (new to their set) were a little too slow and lacking something for my liking, although saying that, I can see how record companies would like them, so perhaps that is the reason for their slight turn in direction. They soon picked it up though and got the crowd moving. The Foxes are a regular at this venue and had a good crowd. They are a very tight band with some subtle yet, sometimes, clever lead guitar and some fine harmonies, creating a 80’s/90’s indie feel. After a brief break and more beer, Pussycat and The Dirty Johnson’s took to the stage. They played here back in October, I believe, and were such a hit they were asked back. Pussycat entertained the crowd with a little banter whilst the band plugged in, then they kicked in hard with ‘Stuck Home With Stokholm! ‘immediately grabbing the crowd and getting everyone moving. Pussycat dressed in a black pvc cat woman suit, mask ‘n’ all, commanded the stage and the attention of the audience, a few more numbers in and they gave us ‘Zombie Nightmares’. All their songs are brilliant and well written but this one stands out for me. They wrapped up their set with Daddy Long Legs, and although the tired and worn out crowd demanded more, we were to be disappointed, the organisers stick to strict times apparently. But never mind the audience surely needed the rest by now anyway. A fantastic night and a great venue. 4
The Diary of Brassneck 3B's, Reading - 6th November 2009 Well, tonight it’s the “3B's” in Reading. This is an old haunt of mine, I spent many happy hours in there when I was growing up, so I’m quite looking forward to heading back there. As a quick aside I believe it's name comes from the fact that Reading is famous for the 3B's. Beer, Biscuits and Bulbs. Or that might just have been my Mum lacking any other explanation. Who knows! I arrived and by some miracle I actually managed to park just round the corner, and for free. I didn’t even get a parking ticket. I am quietly amazed. I arrive a good hour late due to my slightly ridiculous working hours, so I’m expecting to have missed the sound check. I haven’t. Not even close. They’re only just setting up the PA. That’s a lucky one then! I order a beer and a small mountain of crisps and settle in. When our soundcheck comes round the first thing that happens is that we’re too loud in the monitors. This is a shock. Ben and I exchange suitable looks of shock and ask to be turned down. A little bit more, and a little bit more. Wow. This is a really good sign. Or so we think. What it actually means is that during our set there is shocking feedback and it gets turned down more and more and more. I can’t hear myself at all. It appears no one else can hear me either as Ben gives me the nod for a sneaky mic switch procedure. We swap places. It gets no better. The squeals get louder and the monitoring gets quieter. We’re used to this but it doesn’t make for our best performance! We go down fairly well however, and lots of people want CD's which is always nice. It appears we were quite loud out front, as one of my friends complains that his ears are ringing. Ah well! We discover quite how loud we probably were as 'The Nominees' get started. This is a band we’ve played with before, and a couple of the guys went to uni with me. They’re not bad at all really, but it’s tough to tell through the ringing in my ears. They have the same issues with feedback. The soundman is blaming the PA. I would probably have believed him but I hear sceptical mutterings from those who know more about these things than I do. We would like to play here again, it’s a nice venue. I head home, tired and looking forward to being able to hear again soon! Kat. Brassneck. www.brassneck.info www.myspace.com/brassneckpop
8Fold Rhu Bar – Sunday 29th November Part 1 by Andy Gutteridge The day is Sunday 29th November your typical wet, miserable and cold winter evening in Basingstoke. But, if that’s all you were - just cold, wet and miserable, then my friends you missed a treat. This was your chance to witness a rare glimpse of something big to come. The destination was the Rhu Bar and the band was 8Fold. Hailing from Wales, England, France and East Africa, now permanent residents of the UK, 8Fold have been stunning audiences from London to Dundee and the country all over with their inimitable brand of GYP HOP and are now poised to continue their mission with the release of their self produced, home made studio album 'POETS COTTAGE' available now from all good outlets (iTunes, Amazon etc). Fusing together styles such as Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk and Drum and Bass, the end product in their own words “sounds like ‘The Streets’ fixing their BMX while ‘Pendulum’ has a joke with ‘Tower of Power’ over how much gaffer tape it would take to completely cover a swan”… The Rhu Bar, you might think is not the first venue that would spring to mind when you hear the mix of styles and genres 8Fold plays, and yes in some respect you’d be right!! That is in no way discrediting the Rhu Bar, but the set-up and sound although overall good, left 8Fold a little bewildered. This was in no way a hindrance on their performance. Their slight uncomfortable presence was more likely to do with the fact the band had only returned a short time ago from a Mercury Prize award winning European tour with Speech Debelle. And that their new bass player had just come from a session hours earlier, playing a sold out show at London’s Earls Court with up’n coming star Chipmunk. Having had the guilty pleasure of playing shows with 8fold a few years ago, you can trust me when I say their soundscapes are nothing shy of huge! They give themselves, and the crowd watching, a better show in the presence of their own equipment… Needless to say, Toby, the drummer in 8Fold who I have hugely admired for a long time, had the dubious task of working with the presets on the Roland supplied electronic drum kit, while continuing to perform the technical demands of the album and maintaining the seamless transitions between songs on stage. Anyhow that aside, the evenings fun funk filled first set started with a little number called ‘Big Up the Buddhist’ performed as always with immense tightness and groove, all eyes (well at least mine) went immediately onto the new bass player! Oooooh my!!! Then we musically pause for a short moment while Brett the vocalist lets Basingstoke into his own or ‘their’ own brand of comical cheekiness and excellent crowd participation humor. There’s something in there about sharing Gareth the second guitarist with some punters mum, yes, yes indeed!! Second tune of the night is ‘Click Click’, great stripped down version although not performed with the same intensity as heard before, again mainly due to the lack of equipment and venue set-up. Go online to check out the video version and the BBC radio 1 session they recorded. 6
The third tune in the set is the ever catchy ‘Enjoy the Circus’ one of my favorites of the night. A testament to how musically infectious this song is, it almost had everyone including those at the bar getting drinks join in with the lyrics to the chorus. This was followed by a humorous impromptu jam chopping up the main motif to ‘Ice Ice Baby’, and throwing in their own rap rendition of the late great Richard Whitely, a great crowd pleaser; these guys know how to entertain. Next following with their fifth song of the night is ‘Quid Pro Co’. Musically strong with good quick polyrhythmic lyrics supported by a hard hip-hop foundation that moves into a subtle chilled-down chorus. A great mood filler for the set. Sixth song of the night was ‘Rodnee’s Tape Pack’. This tune was, if anything, one that showcased the true awesomeness of their new bass player that night. Heavy down trodden bass groove flavoured with some simple hard drum beats make this tune so damn affective, and the crowd seemed to agree. The seventh song in the set, true to form in the classic 8Fold build-ups is ‘Shindig’. Total party jam, with some great build ups! Sadly though on this occasion, not accompanied by the great horn section at the end. None the less a great version. The eighth and final song from their first set of the night was ‘Back Up’ the title track of their debut album. Although a great opener for the album, it also acts as a serious set closer! Boom. Right, quick chance for a ciggie, get your next rounds at the bar, back in time to get yourself ready for the next round of carpet funk from the ever pleasing 8Fold. Part 2 by Barry White After a smooth and enjoyable first - 8fold took to the stage ready to entertain with their own brand of funk for a second time. The crowd, it seemed, had been warmed up perfectly for what was surely going to be the better half of their repertoire. Starting their set with a 'Musical Director' one man was chosen from the crowd to point at an instrument when he wanted it to start/stop playing. A small jam ensued and this wasn't just a crowd pleasing tactic, the man chosen (a typical basingstoke punter!) was providing much banter throughout the first set when this clever bit of audience participation finally got him on board with the rest of the nodding crowd. From here on in the tempo just continued to rise. Pigeon-holing 8fold by describing them as funk/rap would be a discredit to their technically adept, but very accessible tunes, but unfortunately that's the most logical genre to put them in. Excellent snippets of showmanship, such as the acoustic guitarist peering out of his flat cap and deciding to be the strumming hand for the other guitarist, while he continued to knock up some classic sounds from his wah wah, were plenty and went down well with those looking on. Some finely tuned gang vocals throughout just added to the well oiled 8fold machine. Songs about drinking tea, Richard Whiteley, Teddy Sheringham and circus monkeys kept the vibe as one of fun and pure entertainment with the frontman's lyrics often providing a laugh or two from around the crowd. The set was finished off heavily leaning towards Drum and Bass with some excellent beats and another well prepared, but awesome final jamming session. By this time every head in the crowd was nodding and others were dancing away, well honed songs, a brilliant performance and a natural ability to entertain, 8fold were certainly worth a Sunday night out to the Rhu Bar. www.myspace.com/8fold 7
Central Studio 12th December – By Dan Leese To those who are tired of reading love-in reviews written about local bands by their friends, I apologise. Here is another one. Saturday 12th December saw Kalimoto, Coox n Hoox and Drum n bRass at Central Studio. First on was uberpercussionfuhrer Paul Midgley and his yellow shirts, or as they are more frequently known, Drum n bRass. Primarily a street band, tonight they managed to take over most of Central Studio like it was the Sudetenland. Formed in May, Drum n bRass are a project designed to make music accessible to anyone who wants to take part regardless of any prior experience or level of expertise. In fact many of them had never played an instrument before although to their credit this was not noticeable for a second. Their 12 drummers bashed out a mix of world rhythms while the 4 piece brass section played a series of recognisable tunes with (groan) plenty of audience participation. Drum n bRass are all about making music FUN and did so in spades. I particularly enjoyed a Turkish rhythm (the name of which is lost on me) which speeded up and showed this unique band at their best. Speaking as somebody whose conversion to anything resembling hiphop is still to be realised, I wasn’t too sure what to expect with the second band, Coox n Hoox. They featured a man calling himself Doobie Blonde on lead vocals who appeared to be enjoying himself enormously. Some may mock his Americanisms and even his sunglasses but to be honest I found him endearingly earnest. Complimenting the beats and scratching (ably supplied by Hangman) were percussion and backing singers. They also had live flute and saxophone on a couple of tunes which I felt could have been used a lot more as some of the numbers started to lose my interest after a while. Standouts included the last number ‘I'm In The Groove’ and two numbers about DIY porn and the effects of Viagra, although why anybody would need any standing next to backing singer Nicci remains a mystery. 8
Headliners Kalimoto took to the stage looking like 4 cool uncles. Singer Joe French has a terrifically clear and powerful voice and delivers the songs with plenty of energy. In fact this band are the musical equivalent of necking 4 cans of red bull. Beneath it all however are a variety of well crafted songs tightly performed by 4 talented musicians. To focus on one song would not be fair but watching them perform 'Die Without A Kiss' is to see them at their best. Penned by guitarist Al (after a phrase I believe uttered by his daughter) this song is launched by a machine gun drum attack from Mark and rattles along at a breakneck tempo with a constant pulse from bassist Dan that is impossible not to sit still to. Most of their songs are standouts and sat at ease alongside covers of Simon and Garfunkel and The Beatles. They were joined by the remaining members of Drum n bRass for their finale which rounded off the evening nicely.
Finally, a word about the venue. The sound was excellent and Central Studio is a fantastic facility for the town. I hear they are keen to put on more local bands, if this is so then maybe they should reconsider their policy of hiring the venue and forcing bands to sell tickets in order to just break even. It may have been the cold weather, the Christmas party season or the ÂŁ6 ticket price, but it was a shame to see so many empty seats. Those who did turn up though were treated to an excellent nightâ€™s entertainment by an eclectic mix of bands and music. I would be more than happy to pay to see them all again.
Rockbitch Punk Gig - 13th Dec '09 This was a Rockbitch Sunday gig at the Bang Bar, organised and overseen by Jon Lovegrove and Anny Knight. Being a Sunday, it started in the afternoon and did not go on too late into the night, which is ideal for those that have to get up and go to work on a Monday morning. As an extra precaution on this occasion, I had booked Monday off of work, so I knew I could enjoy myself thoroughly without too much remorse! There was a bit of a Christmas theme with a few people in the audience and in the bands dressed in festive attire. The atmosphere was jovial and relaxed and everyone appeared ready for a good time. Five bands were billed altogether. All were playing music in the ska/punk genre but all quite different. The night started with Wormwood (www.myspace.com/ musicofwormwood), a three-piece band from Basingstoke. They seemed a little nervous and made one or two small mistakes but they were good humoured and enjoyable to watch. Their music is a lively and interesting mix of punk, ska and hardcore with amusing lyrics that sounds really good when they come together. Next up was angry Camberly punk band the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (www.myspace.com/thedirtyr0ttenscoundels). These guys looked and sounded more punk than the previous band. They delivered a performance that began relatively tame but became more energetic as they got into their stride and the crowd began to liven up. The sound mix didn't seem quite right to me and I think there may have been some technical problems affecting the guitar. But I get the impression that neither the overall sound or the quality of playing and singing are tremendously important to this old school DIY punk band, and they put on a good show regardless. As a contrast to these rough and ready spiky haired punks, the next band were a sweet bunch of fresh faced youngsters in xmas hats, know as Courtesy of my Thinking (www.myspace.com/courtesyofmythinking). They didn't have a huge stage presence, although trombone player Beccy's xmas outfit was rather eye-catching, but what they lacked in punk attitude they definitely made up for in musical ability. The six-piece happy ska-pop band from Reading played very competently with a great brass section and a good choice of songs that got people skanking on the dance-floor. They even managed to pull of an enjoyable cover of Umbrella, a song I usually despise, nice one! 10
The penultimate band of the night, Sounds of Swami (www.myspace.com/ soundsofswami), are from Keighley. They played a polished set incorporating a surprising variety of styles. Technically they are a hardcore punk band but they are clearly open to a range of influences. These guys were clearly appreciated by the audience who were, at this point, becoming very lively. I managed to get hold of a copy of one of their CDs, Vent, which I would recommend. They also have other releases worth checking out.
Finally, Mash Attack (www.myspace.com/mashattack). A perfect choice, I think, for headlining a gig such as this, playing upbeat ska punk very well. Mash Attack currently consists of five members, including the all important brass section. I do believe they are in search of someone to play tomboneâ€Ś The songs were well written and spotlessly performed. Altogether they played a fantastic set and an ideal end to the whole experience.
Overall I think this was a very successful show and that kudos should be given to Jon and Annie for choosing and booking a good range of entertaining bands without losing overall coherence. I was surprised that I didnâ€™t see a few more of the Basingstoke punks there, but all that did come certainly seemed to have a great time. If this is any indication of what to expect from Rockbitch in 2010 then I am looking forward to more shows. The next is the 10th of January with Beat the Red Light then an anti-valentines show on the 14th of February with the Autonomads and Harijan. See you there!
Friday 22nd Pubstep (Dubstep & ur local boozer with Dr Nick, Anomaly, Cozey, Munk, Dorset & MF TKR – The White Hart - Free
January gig listings Monday 4th Quiz night - The Bakers Arms – 8pm - £1 per player, 4 per team max
Thursday 7th Gary Myles – The Rhu Bar – 10pm – Free Scrutney - DnB plus – Bang Bar - Free
Saturday 23rd Saturday Live! The True Story of Dick Whittington and His Cat. The tale of the lad who grew up to become the Lord Mayor of London – no, not Boris Johnson! – Central Studio – 1am - Tickets: £6.85 adults; £4.40 children. Sonny Black. The famed musician brings his Band to the Studio again. – Central Studio – 8pm - Tickets: £8.50 full; £7.50 concessions; £6 children. No Way Out – The Winton – 9pm – Free
Friday 8th Unplgd – The Haymarket – 7pm - Free Acoustic Open Mic session. – Central Studio - 7.30pm - Free.
Monday 25th Quiz night - The Bakers Arms – 8pm - £1 per player, 4 per team max
Tuesday 5th The Stage (Acoustic Evening) – The Rhu Bar – 9.30pm - Free
Saturday 9th Wednesday 27th Saturday Live! Tales from the Washing Line. Tales regarding our Comedy Night - Upstairs @ The White Hart rubbish – Central Studio – 11am - Tickets: £6.85 adults; £4.40 children. Thursday 28th Jan Jack’s Laughter-House Comedy Club Presents; DOUBLE Sunday 10th HEADLINE BILL with Bob Mills and Matt Read. Also featuring Rockbitch Presents; Beat The Red Light, Smokey Bastard, The Joel Dommet, and compere Danny Dawes – The Red Lion – Working Dead, Robb Blake the one man Ska explosion and Doors @ 7.30pm - £12.00 advance, £14.00 on the door. Buy Burning Idols – Bang Bar – 4pm - £4 online now from WeGotTickets.com – 18’s only CC Miracle and Addy Hazzard present A night of well punxx – Monday 11th White Hart - Free Quiz night - The Bakers Arms – 8pm - £1 per player, 4 per team Scrutney - DnB plus – Bang Bar - Free max Friday 29th Central Comedy with Rudi Lickwood and Kevin Shepherd plus resident compere Matthew Baylis – Central Studio – 7.30pm Tickets: £10 full; £8 concessions.
Tuesday 12th The Stage (Acoustic Evening) – The Rhu Bar – 9.30pm - Free Thursday 14th Purple Rooms presents “Dancing with Auntie” by Bill Cronshaw – Central Studio – 7.30 pm - Tickets £7.50 full, £6.00 concessions Scrutney - DnB plus – Bang Bar - Free
Saturday 30th Andy Dickens. The jazz supremo returns with his talented band of musicians – Central Studio – 8pm - Tickets: £12 full; £10 concessions; £8 children.
Friday 15th Purple Rooms presents “Dancing with Auntie” by Bill Cronshaw – Central Studio - 7.30pm - Tickets £7.50 full, £6.00 concessions Unstable and Sub-Mission Sounds presents B.B.C - the Bang Bar – 8.30pm Saturday 16th Purple Rooms presents “Dancing with Auntie” by Bill Cronshaw *Line up subject change – Central Studio – 7.30pm - Tickets £7.50 full, £6.00 concessions Gary Cee Alternative Karaoke – White Hart - Free Sunday 17th 100% Music presents Karrion + Kamikaze Test Pilots + Lucy T The Bang Bar - 7pm - £3 Monday 18th Quiz night - The Bakers Arms – 8pm - £1 per player, 4 per team max Tuesday 19th The Stage (Acoustic Evening) – The Rhu Bar – 9.30pm – Free Thursday 21st Gary Myles – The Rhu Bar – 10pm – Free Scrutney - DnB plus – Bang Bar - Free