Issue 10

Page 1

SOUNDCHECK Issue v2.3 | June 2011


This Is Eleven // The Top 100 Songs // Manic Street Preachers // Frank Turner // Eliza Doolittle // Cinema Reviews // Gig Listings and more!



INDEX Issue v2.3 | June 2011

Editor: Glenn Rossington Sales: Glenn Rossington Front Cover: Manic Street Preachers by GR Designer & Webmaster: Kate Farrell Photography: Glenn Rossington Writers: Glenn Rossington Andy Gillard & Kate Farrell Soundcheck Magazine Flat 5 3 Park Avenue Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 4AH Tel: 07599 475 111

Index: P 5-7 News P 8-11 Exposure:

Thank You’s Sincerest thanks go out to Jonn Penney, Press Officer at the Civic Halls Wolverhampton for his assistance in obtaining the various permission in order to cover live events.

This Is 11: Student Designers

P 12-20 The Top 100 Songs of All Time

(Part 1)

P 22-23 CD Reviews Contributions: Article and photo contributions are welcome. Prints and transparencies are sent at the owner’s risk and although every care is taken, Soundcheck accepts no responsibility for loss or damage. Please email photos to: (all images must be at least 300dpi) or post them to us. Legal Bit: Copyright ©2011 Soundcheck. All rights reserved. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in part or in whole without the express written permission from Soundcheck. Information on events, products, reviews and anything else does not nessicarily imply recommendations by Soundcheck. We have done our utmost to make sure all the content in this magazine is correct and accurate, but would emphasise the we, Soundcheck, accept no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. All opinions expressed in this magazine are that of the individual contributor and are not nessicarily shared by Soundcheck Magazine

P 24

Guest Review: Mona Album

Comedy P 26

Pappy’s All Business

P 28-29 Wolverhampton On The Fringe

Live Music

P 30-31 Manic Street Preachers P 32

Frank Turner

P 33

Eliza Doolittle

P 34

Chas ‘N’ Dave

P 35

Kerry Ellis & Brian May

Panic @The Disco

P 38

Live Listings

P 40-43 Cinema Reviews

Soundcheck Magazine


NEWS ‘Our Bev’ Announces New Home Gig Soul Diva and legendary Wolverhampton girl Beverley Knight has announced that she will be playing once again at the prestigious Wolverhampton Civic Hall in support of her new album. Bev will play the Hall on Tuesday 22nd November. Among the highlights have been two sell out show’s at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall and supporting the likes of Prince on his 2131 residency at London O2 as well as guest slots with acts including Take That, Santana and Jamiroquai as well as appearances at festivals including Glastonbury, V, Isle of White and the Montreaux Jazz Festival. This autumn tour will see Beverley stepping back into her live element once more and doing what she loves best. Forthcoming album ‘Soul UK’ (4th July Hurricane Records) celebrates home grown soul music and has been produced by Grammy winning Martin Terefe (James Morrison, Jason Mraz) and hot London production duo Future Cut (Lily Allen, Beyonce), ‘Soul UK’ sees Beverley paying respect back to her forebears - and reminding the new generation up and coming just who paved their way. Taking in songs from a range of iconic artists - from Soul II Soul and Loose Ends to Jamiroquai and George Michael, it also includes some of the more ‘hidden’ gems that make up British soul’s highlights of the 80’s and 90’s, including Princess’s “Say I’m Your Number One” and Lewis Taylor’s “Damn”. The Soul UK tour will see Beverley playing a mixture of tracks from Soul UK along with live classics from her hit laden back catalogue. Tickets priced £25.00 + £19.50 will be available from 9.00am on Friday 27th May at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

Got Some News To Share? If you have an item of news that you wish to share with us, whether you are in a band and have a gig or a new e.p out, let us know! If you know of a band who needs some exposure, wants their live act reviewed and photographed, if you are a solo artist with the same aspirations from your local online music magazine, get in touch! We have the ability to cover you whatever your needs are, use the contact details on the index page to get the ball rolling!


NEWS Easy Easy… It’s David Ford! David Ford is a British singer-songwriter, currently living in Eastbourne, East Sussex. He first achieved prominence with the indie rock group Easyworld, who released an independent mini-album, Better Ways to Self Destruct and two full-length albums on Jive Records before disbanding in 2004. Ford branched into a solo career soon after, and has become known both for the sheer passion he puts into his songs, but also for being a master at the layered/looping effect he brings to many of his songs. He now has a large following having released two albums and toured extensively in the UK and US.

Kids In Glass Houses

David has announced that he will be playing a rather intimate date in the Slade Rooms on Wednesday 14th Spetember 2011.

Kids In Glass Houses have announced a new tour date at Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall on Sunday 9th October this year.

Tickets priced £12.00 are available as usual from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at:

Gold Blood is the first track taken from their forthcoming third album ‘In Gold Blood’, out August 15th. The single edit of Gold Blood is made available as an exclusive free download from www.kidsinglasshouses. com for 4 days only from 8pm on May 23rd. The download is available for fans who sign up to the new Kids in Glass Houses mini-site which will be regularly updated with exclusives, BTS videos, studio and tour photos. The video for Gold Blood is also shown exclusively on the website from this time, and the band have customised 50 limited edition ‘Born In Gold Blood’ tshirts, uniquely numbered by themselves, for sale from their webstore from 10AM Tuesday May 24th to celebrate the launch. With two successful albums under their belt and a live reputation envied by many Kids In Glass Houses are one of British rock’s finest emerging talents. Rather than dine out on the safety of previously attained success the quintet are leaning in to the future and daring to become something more with ‘In Gold Blood’. The band are confirmed on the following UK festivals this summer, and tickets for their October headline tour go on general sale on Friday May 27th at 9am. Tickets priced £13.00 will be available from 9.00am on Friday 27th May at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

Soundcheck Magazine


Carina Round’s Hare Wolverhampton songstress now residing in LA has confirmed a rather intimate show here in the Midlands next week. Playing at BIrmingham’s Hare & Hounds venue on Wednesday 8th June, it will mark the first show on British shores for nearly 2 years, and also the first full band show for her in almost 5 years on English soil. Round has recently completed work on her follow up to 2009’s ‘Things You Should Know E.P’ due out later this year. A successful reissue of her debut ‘The First Blood Mystery’ has also completed online via the PledgeMusic site thanks to her fan’s input. Tickets for the show are on sale and also available on the door at teh venue proiced £7.00.

Milton Jones Returns Quick-fire comedian Milton Jones has announced he will be returning to grace the stage of The Civic Hall again this coming Autumn. He will play the city on Friday 21st October, Milton is returning with his ‘Lion Whisperer’ show. Last time he played here in January, the show was upgraded from the Wulfrun to the Civic, so tickets are sure to fly out! Guaranteed to be the same tour, but it comes with the promise of new bits, new gags and new other bits too!

Lou Reed’s In Town

Tickets priced £17.50 are available from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at www.wolvescivic.

Lou Reed, the legendary front man of The Velvet Underground heads to the Wolverhampton Civic Hall for a must-see night of solo material. Playing the Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Friday 1st July 2011, this will be an all seated show. New York’s finest and one of the founding fathers of punk music. With The Velvet Underground, Reed and his cohorts broke of mould of underground music, refashioning it with his own style and panache. A highly influential and respected musician and composer, which such classics as Perfect Day and Take A Walk On The Wild Side to his name. Tickets priced £35.00 will be available from 9.00am on Thursday 19th May at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at



06.06.11 - 11.06.11



wo thousand and eleven, as a nation we continue to face financial hardship, lack of prospects, inflation hikes and extortionate tuition fee announcements, yet there are one group of young, bright individuals, determined to defy Broken Britain with their revolutionary ideals, Introducing: This is 11. This is 11 are a group aimed at bringing real design back to life. A collective of new graduates from Wolverhampton University’s BA (Hons) Graphic Communication course, with the spunk and drive to change widespread nonchalant attitudes on design. A multi-skilled bunch, their talents range across a broad range of areas within design, including packaging, branding, Soundcheck Magazine

multimedia, web, editorial and illustration.

– This is 11

materials, to web design and exhibition curation. These multi-skilled young designers have already exhibited at the renowned Custard Factory, in the heart of Birmingham, scoring sponsorship from Wolverhampton’s Waitrose store and live music from The Dhol Blasters. The group are now working hard during the build up to their Degree show, at Wolverhampton University from Saturday June 4th – June 11th. Soundcheck fully recommends you check them out, these guys are certainly ones to watch.

The collective have worked closely together to build ‘This is 11’ as an identity, carrying out the entire process from conception to reality from logo and promotional

“We believe that this is what design should be, where it should be heading and more importantly, what it should be saying.”

“All our concepts have one fundamental rule only, the number 11, then as designers we have allowed ourselves to be free from constraint in creating works that demonstrate communication through design. To inspire, to provoke thought and discussion or simply to show beauty hidden in numbers.”

Pictured: This is Eleven group members. L-R from the top: Liam Murphy, Kam Chana, Satinder Singh, Lisa Barrett, Kate Farrell, Annie Miles, Gavin Weir, Sian McGivern.


THIS IS ELEVEN: By Gavin Weir We live in a world where visual signs, design, is all around us, the streets are full of posters, advertising hoardings, bespoke shop signage – design seeps into the very fabric of our every day life, design codes integrated, no longer noticed – an absorbed language, messages communicated may be lost or simply ignored. Add to this the rise of digital design, which has given anyone with a PC and a copy of Photoshop the belief that they can produce ‘design’, causing a distillation of the form.

Pictured: This is Eleven group members. L-R: Deepack Garcha, Meg Mankowska, Kayleigh Hadley. Below: Tiffany Burgess. Soundcheck Magazine

‘This is Eleven’ is a reaction to this. We want to make people take notice of quality design again, to value it. By taking the very essence of what design is – namely communicating


ideas – we hope to show that design is important, that nothing should overshadow a message. Communication is the cornerstone of human existence, design should reflect this, but more importantly it should make people stop and think, to take notice and to invest within the idea being communicated to them. All our concepts have one fundamental rule only, the number 11, then as designers we have allowed ourselves to be free from constraint in creating works that demonstrate communication through design. To inspire, to provoke thought and discussion or simply to show beauty hidden in numbers.


Pictured: This is Eleven Exhibition at The Custard Factory. Top: Images by Liam Murphy and Kayleigh Hadley. Below: Images by Gavin Weir, Kate Farrell and Lisa Barrett.

We believe that this is what design should be, where it should be heading and more importantly, what it should be saying. This is Eleven. Private View (invite only):

3rd June 2011 Public view:

6 - 11th June 2011 School of Art & Design Floor 3 University of Wolverhampton City Campus North Molineux Street Wolverhampton WV1 1DT


By Glenn Rossington

Top 100 Tracks

Of All Time

(For The Moment Anyway!)

Over the next three issues, I thought it would be fun to share with you a challenge I was recently set by a friend. I was asked to come up with a playlist of my 100 favourite tracks of all time. Now this is near impossible as although there are a few firm favourites, choices do tend to change every once in a while. Initially it was quite a hard concept to get into, so many questions: Do I include more than one track from an artist, do I include collaborations between artists then include their solo work? etc‌ So after a bit of deliberation, I found myself on a roll and able to start putting the playlist together. Join us in no particular order as we take a journey through the styles and acts of the last 70 years‌ Soundcheck Magazine




Although this song originally came out two years before it won it’s Oscar, I think this version has far more romanticism to it and makes it that little bit better. Taken from the soundtrack to the Irish Independent film ‘Once’, falling slowly see’s the frontman of Ireland’s The Frames swooning for fis new beau Markéta Irglová. The simplicty of this version is in it’s rawness.




This has been included for both the video and the haunting Thom Yorke vocal alone. The video was so powerful when it was released, MTV actually banned it. An intense and stunning track that I could listen to over and over.





Massive Attack are one of those acts that really get under your skin and at times can really define your life. Ask anyone who grew up in the 90’s just how influential they were, and ‘Teardrop’ along with ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ are up there as reasons alone. I have chosen ‘Teardrop’ over the other simply because it was with this track that really got me into Massive Attack. To this day though, I still have to see them live!

Again, growing up in the 1990’s, we were innundated with a lot of great ‘indie’ music. Weezer hit the scene with this track and a hillarious video which set them up for most of their career. The use of ‘Happy Days’ was genius and an inspired piece of early computered manipulation technology. In my view I think it was only equalled by their video for ‘Gone Fishing’ with the legendary Muppets.

After the seminal albums of ‘Screamadelica’, ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’ and ‘Vanishing Point’, Primal Scream returned with this track ahead of their 1999 album ‘XTRMNTR’. This was a mad bongo fusion of a track to start with, and was backed by some wild remixes on the bside. It summed up the summer of 2000 for me, and seeing them at the Civic Hall shortly after was the final icing on the cake for my love affair with them.

What can be said about this track that hasn’t already? It is a cult classic without a doubt, and after their Glastonbury performance the same year, helped to catapult them into the mainstream. A great groove along song with a story to tell, the video added fun to it. From the opening bars it has guaranteed a full dancefloor in indie clubs ever since. An all time favourite singalong good time song.






‘Lager… Lager… Lager’ was the refrain that most people remember this song for. When it came out I was only 13 when this was released, but I still remember the hype and fascination about it’s inclusion on the ‘Trainspotting’ soundtrack. It quickly became a hit of the moment and soundtracked many people’s summer of ‘95. I still love the track today, especially the ‘NUXX’ extended mix. Infact I am jumpng around in a field in my head as I type this up! Sheer brilliance!

What else can be said about The La’s classic ‘There She Goes’ other than the fact it is simply timeless? Noel Gallagher once described them as one of the greatest acts he ever saw. On their reunion in 2005 it was a highlight of many festivals, bringing it to a new younger audience and evoking memories to the older generation. The simplistic guitar refain carries the melody all the way.


Another track with a history to it, but we all know about them being sued by The Rolling Stones now. But undeniably, men of a certain age will hug each other and stand there, arms stretched as soon as the intro starts up. A symbol of unity and a song for the masses, a ‘modern day blues song’ as Ashcroft once described it himself. How right he was. It was the song that shot them to the mainstream after their first break up, and one they’ll forever be remembered for.

Simply a slab of pop/Indie crossover perfection. Reminds me of summers growing up and many nights in ‘Blast Off’ with friends, shouting the lyrics out and dancing like a loon. Another timeless classic in my books.


There is a theme across some tracks presented here, the simplicity of the song and the jangly guitars. This is no exception. It’s a song about love and loss, but it’s a happy song. Driven by George’s playing and even Paul’s bass, it evokes happy memories to almost everyone listening. You can imagine a black and white open topped car, your friends in the back and driving by the coast. Reminds me of family holidays as a child and the good times that go with it.


Another slice of Rock and Roll history here, and yet another song that still sounds quite fresh. A song that always gets me in a good mood and clapping along. The rhythmic beat of Charlie Watts’ drumming pushes the song into a new league. I will never forget seeing this live at Twickenham on the ‘40 Licks’ tour, it was so loud! Mick’s vocals may be a bit distant, but still enjoyable.

UNDERWORLD Soundcheck Magazine








Bringing things back into this century, ‘Feel Good Inc.’ is one of those songs that you cannot avoid at any cost. The brushed intro and ‘huh huh’ vocals instantly grab you and make your head bop along. Damon’s choice to create a cartoon band were laughed at to begin with, but the fact they went on to smash the world charts just proves otherwise. Gorillaz have so many perfect tracks, but this one just eclipses them all in my opinion. Its simple, catchy and a perfect slab of pop.

After Neil Codling replaced Bernard Butler in Suede, no one expected Suede to take off any more than they did. It was typically them, glam and loud, but now given a modern stylish gleam to their sound. Brett’s vocals sounded instant and made you stop and listen back. It was a great comeback single from a dark period, and propelled them to mega stardom alongside Oasis and Pulp in the era of ‘Britpop’.

The Foo’s have always been a fantastic singles band. Look back at the likes of ‘Times Like These’, ‘Everlong’ and ‘Money Wrench’. ‘Learn To Fly’ seemed to demote their sound a little and make it more accessible to the masses, but yet in essence it was still Rock music. The video is by far my favourite of theirs. Dave Grohl’s million costumes and appearances from various celebs just add magic to it. A brief moment of insane rock but again, helped to promote their status worldwide.

What is left to say about ‘99 Problems’? Released back in 2004, it was Jay Z’s 3rd single. It was borrowing heavilly from Ice-T’s ‘99 Problems’ but featured enigmatic rapping from Jay Z. BAck in 2008 when he was given the slot of headlinging Glastonbury to much avail, it managed to re-enter the charts over here. Hip Hop might not be everyone’s taste, but this is a perfect example of how to connect to the masses.







I only started to get really into Paramore about 12 months ago, but they were always a band who have been in the background. You take notice, but don’t pay much attention. ‘Misery Business’ was what woke me to them though. When it forst came out it was just as I needed something a bit different in my life and the opening guitar line just hit me. The song builds in intensity and Hayley’s vocals are sublime. Another slab of modern Rock, but another great track to lose yourself to.

From the opening riff, you know this will not be a regular rock song. Kenwyn House’s riff mixed with Jack Bessant’s heavy basslines and Gary Stringer’s vocals just make this song into a pure monster. I heard this not long after it was originally released and has lived with me as a classic ever since. It is hard not to evoke memories of Cornwall, many festivals and Sumemr holidays with mates. Reef are a band who will always be needed Purely and simply put. Soundcheck Magazine


Now my love for the Manics is something no one can deny. They are a band who have been in my life since I can rememebr and I have so many different memories attached to so many songs. But ‘Motown Junk’ is the one that always stands out to me. It’s fast paced berating of society and it’s classic ‘I laughed when Lennon got shot’ line is pure perfection. Another slab of punk to lose yourself to at anytime of the day. When they play this live each intro becomes unique. That is a talent!

Paul Weller started the Jam by trying to impress his peers. A famous story tells how he saw Joe Strummer in a cafe, and started playing guitar over the road. After the pure punk of the first two Jam albums, ‘Going Underground’ relaxes into their own style and tells us of a wish to escape the mudaneness of everyday life and escape into your own world. 3 minutes of punk pop years before it’s time and showcases what a songwriter Weller actually is.






Slamming the chart back into the more recent history, a track that comes from last year. Not many songs these days hit me instantly, this is a welcome exception. Magnetic Man had the ability to fuse a mix of styles together with Angela Hunte’s hushed vocals to create an alternative summer anthem. The electronica steeped single was a hit across the world and put a new focus back on the genre. Its a modern feel good song that litearlly makes you want to dance.

Coming in at under 2 minutes long, ‘Song 2’ is another of Blur’s career highlights. After the success of ‘Parklife’ and the rathe drab ‘The Great Escape’ they needed to refresh themselves. ‘Song 2’ was a pure slice of pop punk to do that, the simplistic drum beat then Damon’s squealing vocals showed who was boss and helped in the great war of ‘Britpop’ over Oasis.

Another band lumped in under the ‘Britpop’ tag, but a band who broke free and carved their own career. After the fun of ‘I Should Coco’, Supergrass returned with a more mature sound in ‘Richard III’. Power chords and rocking out showed the new side to the band. It reminds me of fun times and school. ‘Richard III’ rocks the socks of most of the ‘Britpop’ crowd and showed the way to escape the it.

The song that relaunched Green Day’s career for a 3rd time, it followed the modern trend of ‘returning to your roots’ and sees them in full on punk rock anti-americanism mode. Not everyone’s favourite, but not the clichéd favourites from the back catalogue either!


A Wolverhampton born girl who has gone on to duet with Ryan Adams, support Annie Lennox, Snow Patrol and Coldplay amongst others. From her 2nd album ‘Paris’ sees the songstress in a full on romantic vamp setting. Largely acoustic throughout, it’s Carina’s vocals and the rhythmic riff that pulls the groove in. Shecould sing the alphabet and it’d sound fantastic. ‘Paris’ will be one of the songs that will remind people just what a talent she is.


Feeder returned with their second album ‘Yesterday Went Too Soon’ in 1999 with this single which was second off the album. After hearing ‘High’ on Radio 1 at the time I didn’t really pay much attention afterwards, but the urgency of ‘Insomnia’ won me back. The whole album was fantastic and gained them a bigger following. I could identify with the subject matter at the time too.








Mansun released this back in November 1996, in the heyday of ‘Britpop’ and it sounded so different it was ‘cool’. Not in the vein of say the sixties ‘cool’ but it was when being able to appreciate alternative culture over the mass popularity re-invaded the minds of the youth. ‘Wide Open Space’ a reference to ‘Agoraphobia’, yet ironically propelled them into the limelight of the next summer’s festivals as the must-see band. I remember this being played alot by Steve Lamacq on Radio 1.

The Coral started their career with a defining album that set them aside from virtually everyone else. Whilst the country was going wild for The Strokes and The Vines, Liverpool’s The Coral were quietly crafting a masterpiece. ‘Dreaming Of You’ woke the masses to their sound and showed the majesty of Scouse songwriting hadn’t died. A perfect slice of Indie with a proper chorus to sing along to!

THE CORAL Soundcheck Magazine

After the death of original keyboard player Rob Collins, the band continued and spawned a lasting memory to him in the form of the ‘Tellin’ Stories’ album. Using fresh samples from The Chemical Brothers, ‘One To Another’ was a pure moment of brilliance. It sounded fresher than some of the other acts of the time, and ven to this day still sounds as vibrant live as it ever has done. It made the press fall back in love with them, as well as a wealth of new fans too. Lots of great festival moments with them in the past too!

When Delays released this, they sounded like no one else at the time. Greg’s voice was the key selling point and made a lot question whether it was a man or woman. Needless to say it helped to launch their career and epic tours of the UK followed. It refers back to the jagled guitars of yester year, and puts a modern spin on the work of The Byrds. Not a bad thing at all.


TRAVIS THE WHO BLUE FLASHING LIGHT PINBALL WIZARD “Blue Flashing Light’ is the hidden track on Travis’ breakthrough album, ‘The Man Who’. It is a contrast to the rest of the album, sounding urgent and loud. I remember hearing this and instantly backskipping on the cd to hear it again and again. It harks back to their debut record and has been a live favourite ever since. An unhealthy story of domestc violence and abuse, but sounds so right on a musical level.

Another slice of ‘Mod’ fantasticalism in my books. Although many ‘lists’ prefer to choose ‘My Generation’ I think ‘Pinball Wizard’ stands out more. A sublime tale of a ‘deaf, dumb and blind kid’ who plays pinball, it formed part of the original rock opera ‘Tommy’. 4 minutes of pure unadulterated bliss and riffs.


Steve Cradock’s love of The Jam is over present on this single from 1997. The opening riff always had the ability to reach in and grab hold of the ‘mosher’ in there. It sounded so epic the first time you heard it, you just had to jump along. The track also helped them to knock Oasis’ ‘Be Here Now’ off the number 1 spot the week of it’s release. An impossible feat, but also the beauty of the era.


1998 saw Korn release ‘Freak On A Leash’ to the masses across the globe. Approaching what would probably be the career highlight for them, it sounded huge. In the days before Soulseek and Pirate Bay etc… It became the ninth most pirated song on the internet. The video featured a mix of live footage and animation and recieved critical acclaim. The song evokes memories of Tenby and summer holidays with the radio turned up loud!


An epic modern rock song from the beasts that are Metallica. I have never been a huge Metallica fan, but this song always grabs my attention. The opening riff is majestic and the smooth vocals just sound vibrant and rocky. A fine member of the ‘Best songs of the last 25 years’ poll in various charts, it will see their legacy brought to a new audience time and time again.



Sixties ‘Mod’ legends The Small Faces had a perfect knack for writing a great single. Showing that the simplist of lyrics can make a song when coupled with a fantastic guitar riff and driven bass. A perfect slice of ‘Modernism’ and a track that will forever evoke memories of my parents and many moments in ‘mod’ clubs over the years.




A relatively unknown band over in the UK, Bell X1 are huge in their native Ireland. ‘Whitewater Song’ was their first attempt proper to make it over here. It has a sense of urgency about it, and the vocals although sound rushed, add to the urgency of it. Clocking in at just under 3 minutes, I urge you to go and check it out. Reminds me of a trip to Ireland in 2003 to Witnness (Now Oxygen Festival) and the madness of the weekend.


Again, another unknown band here yet are massive in Ireland. They have sold out Croake Park in rival to U2 countless times. ‘Revelate’ is off their ‘Fitzcarraldo’ album and won them critical acclaim. It is purely built up on the haunting guitar work and Glen Hansard’s stunning vocal track. It has a perfect mix of stop/start playing and tinges on an almost religious undertone. A bizarre yet fantastic track to anyone’s playlists.



Ash had been through a period of discontentment and after a small break, cameback to the fore with ‘Shining Light’. A song that relaunched them back into the higher realms of the charts. It’s perfect ‘poppiness’ seemed to attract the mainstream. It was an example of a perfect song for a perfect time. It sounded bright and hopeful and had a great riff and solo to boot. It ensured a great sumer soundtrack and sell out UK tours again. Soundcheck Magazine


Haven were a band who had a sense of ‘something’ about them, but could never find the right footing to propell them any further. ‘Beautiful Thing’ was probably the nearest they got to it. They had a massive ‘wall of sound’ sound to them with fading guitars and strong vocals. It had a sense of ‘Manchester hope’ to it. It was playlisted on Radio 1 but never really took them to a wider audience. Such a shame for such a beatiful thing.



Frank Turner

Arctic Monkeys

Frank Returns with his fourth album ‘England Keep My Bones’. I can’t help but feel that Frank may have peaked too soon in his career when he released ‘Love, Ire & Song’ back in 2008. That was an album that made people sit up and notice him, yet his last release didn’t make that much of an impact.

Following on from a disappointing ‘Humbug’, ‘Suck It And See’ sees the Arctic Monkeys back on familiar ground and sounding better.

England Keep My Bones

‘ESMB’ could be about to recapture the essence that made him though. First thoughts are that opening track ‘Eulogy’ has a sense on an ‘anthem’ about it and sets the tone for the rest of the album. With this record he recaptures a sense of himself again, he shows of parts of his identity through his lyrics. ‘Rivers’, ‘English Curse’ and ‘Wessex Boy’ are insights to his touring times of wanting to be back home amongst his surroundings and familiarities. His introspective insight sounds as if he’s singing to and for his audience, ‘Nights Become Days’ has a bit more of a story to tell than normal, a sense of adding weight to a story already told.

Suck It And See

The lyrics are back to being observant and slightly humorous again. On the title track we get the immortal line “rarer than a can of Dandelion & Burdock”, hilarious to people of a certain way of life shall we say. ‘Brick By Brick’ sees the refrain “I wanna rock and roll”, the most simple of statements and one the Arctic Monkeys have used as the foundation for a good deal of their career this far. ‘Library Pictures’ is quite simply, an album highlight. It is soaked in psychedelia but is a proper rock ‘n’ roll racket. ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I Moved Your Chair’ has a nod towards Black Sabbath, and is a reference to ‘bad luck’. The album’s opener ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ starts off gently and eases us into the mood of this new record.

I think this album will see Frank being to up his game and open up a little more about him.

This is the Arctics having fun again, and sounding riotous. This is what ‘Humbug’ should have been in reality. They went mad for a moment, but quite simply, they are back.



Soundcheck Magazine


Tom Vek


Tom Vek has returned after his debut album way back in 2005. Now the Stone Roses took a number of years to record a second, and we are forever waiting for another from The La’s, but don’t let that hold you in bad steed.

Gomez are one of those rare bands, one that is like an episode of “Later…” all in one. They have a mix of styles and singers and are just so diverse they can do anything.

Leisure Seizure

‘Leisure Seizure’ see’s Tom in more confident mood than on the last. Opening track ‘Hold Your Hand’ sounds more electronic garage rock than anything on his debut. Where Vek truly excels is creating simple, catchy tracks with lyrics and beats that become ingrained in your memory. “We Do Nothing” is filled with brash bursts of percussion and a smooth breakdown featuring static and playful synths. “We do nothing with our time/you’ll have to listen now/that is all that I can do,” Vek repeats, perhaps instructing fans on how to handle his return. A lesson in spelling comes courtesy of “A.P.O.L.O.G.Y.”, swapping severe bass with frantic synths and an unforgettable chorus.

Whatever’s On Your Mind

Their new album sees a new boldness in their sound, it’s a bit more polished, but still as fun to listen to. Single ‘Options’ starts with a gentle strum of a guitar and builds up a cascade of sound that is mindblowing. One interesting thing Gomez have always been good at, is the mix of sampling. ‘I Will Take You There’ has a fantastic drum beat, and ‘The Place And The People’ just builds and builds on simplicity. This is an album that flows though, the most sublime moment comes in ‘Our Goodbye’, nestled between bigger numbers, it is gentle and quiet. It’s string accompaniment is a slice of perfection.

How long before the next Vek release remains to be seen, but Leisure Seizure will be stuck in your head long after you quit listening.

The album as a whole is sublime, it misses the sublime catchiness of ‘Get Myself Arrested’ or ‘Whippin’ Piccadilly’, but it is a more mature sounding unit that benefits from taking a little more time to fuse something so special together. This is simply a work of art.





Mona / Mona by Lizz Whitehouse

Since their arrival to the UK in July 2010, Mona have been swamped, swimming in ‘hotly tipped’ MTV titles and brands of all sorts and this album only strengthens that praise. If rock were to need saving then my god Mona have easily put themselves on the map as the ones to reignite passion into the arguably ‘dead’ genre. Armed with Ray-Bans, southern charm and drive, from relentless touring that have delivered the likes of sucker punch triple threat songs Listen To Your love, Teenager and Shooting the Moon with 100mph stage presence that can easily blow your mind. After being teased with EP after EP, tour date after tour date, to actually have studio tracks blasting into ears around the country is ridiculously fulfilling. Opener Cloak and Dagger kicks off their self-titled debut with an interesting feel of confident plucks that could easily capture the few of a dingy bar to vast echoey arena settings. Lead vocalist Nick Brown’s voice soothes like caramel, melting and at times croaking with throat-punching urgency as he delivers drawling soars. Soundcheck Magazine

Whilst obvious influences of Kings of Leon and U2 are peppered throughout, particularly in Lines In The Sand, the force hurled through the airwaves from strong swoon filled guitars and warm roundedness leaves little doubt that this is nothing but Mona. Shooting the Moon is a torrent of massive fuzz sound that rapidly builds painting a sea of head banging, festival happy masses. Whilst Alibis and Say You Will reveal the Nashville rockers’ are more than a one trick pony, showcasing emotional, impassioned sincerity. There is no doubt about it; this album is a pulverising attack on the popular aspects of today’s youth electronic music. By passionately ramming battering, melodic lyrics of love and youth with guitar led anthems this band will easily sky rocket up the charts and rightly so!

Want to submit a review of an album/gig/film etc… send your contributions to us at: you could be the next ‘guest reviewer’


Wolverhampton Civic Hall Friday 20th January 2012

Tickets priced £26.00, £21.00, £18.00 + £13.00 are available from Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at



Pappy’s All Business The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton

For too long, Pappy’s have been a group performing almost exclusively in London and at Fringe Festival appearances. Finally, they take their tour on the road, and treating the country to something which has been kept secret for far too long. Pappy’s – formerly Pappy’s Fun Club consist of local lads Ben Clark and Tom Parry and Twitter obsessed Matt Crosby. Famed in Edinburgh, having performed their first show there in 2006, and big names on the London comedy circuit, in 2007 Pappy’s Fun Club were nominated for Best Newcomer at the Chortle Awards, and winners of a Chortle Award in 2008. They have appeared on Radio 1, Radio 4, BBC Three, Channel 4 and most recently appearing on Children’s TV shows on BBC 2 and CBBC with Dick and Dom… in spite of this success they have one of the tiniest Wikipedia pages known to man, something almost unheard of in these wiki-obsessed days! Few times in life does one laugh so hard and uncontrollably that one could actually fear for their own life. Pappy’s hand out these near-death experiences on an alarmingly regular basis throughout the show – so much so that it is probably not a show for someone who suffers with breathing difficulties. The jokes are hilarious, but what really makes this show brilliant is the relationship Tom, Ben and Matt share and also their ability to improvise and roll with the punches. Having seen this show twice (once at the Edinburgh Fringe last year), I can personally tell you that whilst the sketches may be the same, the gags weren’t, as the guys rolled Soundcheck Magazine

with outside influences, such as Ben and Tom having friends and family in the crowd, or a missed sound effect – on the night the boys had a new soundman, Max, to say he got the cues wrong would be a complete understatement, so much so that he played one sound effect at completely the wrong time and gave away the jokes culmination… rather than letting this ruin the gig, Pappy’s turned it into a running joke and made humour from the mishaps. After having toured extensively, there is always a danger that the performers will get tired and the performances will get stale… not here. Pappy’s: All Business feels fresh and new, even after a years worth of performances. All Business is summarised by Tom, as a metaphor as to why Pappy’s wouldn’t really work on TV. Mores the pity the really, as these guys could easily show Lucas and Walliams or Catherine Tate how do sketch comedy without resorting to the cheap, lowest-form-of-comedy of a catchphrase. It is almost impossible to envisage a show like this appearing on TV, without completely stripping it of its charm. A TV company would expect its sketches to be punchy and wouldn’t really allow for overlong sketches where the joke is a man in a pink dressing gown and shower cap on a pogo stick, TV execs would want shiny, polished sketches; trimmed to within an inch of their life! They might ask for something “new and fresh”, but ultimately do not take the risk of it and we end up with another Little Britain. All Business may be the title, but the show is anything but. It is 3 friends having the time of the life, and being kind enough to let everyone else in on it.



John Scott/Jason Cook The Light House, Wolverhampton

It is that time of year once again when the build up to the largest cultural event in the world begins. Each August the city of Edinburgh becomes the biggest multicultural metropolis on planet Earth, when the Edinburgh International Festival starts, and of course the alternative to the International Festival, the Fringe comedy festival. The Edinburgh Fringe has been the making of many a comedian – former winners of the Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Awards in the last decade have been Harry Hill, Josie Long, Tim Minchin and The Mighty Boosh, all of whom have gone on to bigger and better things. So it is no wonder that comedian’s begin their writing and performing months in advance. Often seeing comedians at such an early stage in the development of their shows can bring its own issues. Some performers may only do shorter sets to focus on specific areas of their shows, whilst others may rip through the entire show to gauge audience reactions, so to get two performers come and do their entire set at a preview show is truly something different. Tonights performers appeared to be in different stages of their preparation. John Scott’s show was well into the Soundcheck Magazine

polishing up stage, no notes on stage and flowing through his set like he has been doing it for years. Jason Cook took the other approach, bringing a notepad with him to keep him on track and make notes as he went along. Scott’s show felt like he is an old pro that’s been doing his routine a while and now has it down to a tight, polished hour long performance, whereas Cook’s show appeared fresher and more off-the-cuff at times. Neither style is a bad thing, just down to personal preference. John Scott’s Edinburgh show this year is called Totally Made Up, where he mixed anecdotal humour with political satire, old fashioned one-liner gags and occasional McIntyre-esque observational comedy all delivered with an acerbic tongue and a soft Edinburghian lilt. This scattergun approach does occasionally lead to Scott spreading himself a little too thinly, but when he gets it right, he really does hit the nail on the head. John Scott would easily draw comparisons to his Scottish contemporaries; Frankie Boyle, Fred McAuley and just a dash of Billy Connelly. Scott was at his best when talking about things which are obviously closest to his heart; his Geordie wife, Scotland and Scottish stereotypes. Combining these passions of his leads to a great anecdote of holidaying with his wife in Egypt during


the revolution and telling the hotel staff where he stayed they should all paint themselves blue and go fight in true Braveheart style.

welcoming and appreciative audience. All-in-all it was a great night for comedy fans, there was something for everyone. Great gags at a reasonable price.

Jason Cook on the other hand is a whole other type of comedic animal. His show this year is named The Search of Happiness, whereby Cook is looking to find out what it is that makes us joyous. Immediately on stage he is chatting with the audience, finding out who they are and riffing off of that with great ease, the good thing which Cook does with this is he will only ask questions with which he would be comfortable himself answering, giving a laid back and friendly feel to this show, this could just as easily have been set in a pub it was with that much ease the conversations between performer and audience streamed. On stage Jason Cook conveys the whimsical nature, exuberance and positivity that is very reminiscent of the amazing Josie Long and delivers these with the likeability, charm and accent of Matt Baker; plus there really is something extremely satisfying about hearing “Meerkat” said in a Geordie accent.

During the month-long Fringe Festival, Jason Cook will be performing at the Pleasance Dome at 5:30pm and John Scott has yet to announce his Fringe plans as yet.

It was a rare, but excellent change for the Light House to put on a comedy event. The venue is perfect for smaller and newer acts to come and perform for an intimate, friendly,

Reviewed by Andy Gillard

Want To Review? If you would like to review something you’ve seen in and around Wolverhampton; a new band, a film, something fun and exciting, if you have bought an album and want to send us your thoughts on it, drop us a line at any of the following:



Manic Street Preachers The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton “If I spend the rest of my life playing a place like this it would be a fucking good life!” Is declared by James Dean Bradfield as they close the set tonight. One of the many declarations from the stage by both him and Nicky Wire play to a capacity crowd on their mini jaunt of the UK. Being the only English date of 3, the others being Llandudno and Cardiff, there is a hell of a lot of love in the room tonight from fans who have travelled from all corners of the UK to see them. Billed as a closure to their ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ era, but only the 3 singles are played tonight. It is more about getting back on the road, out to the fans and playing whatever the hell they like! This is clarified by the set opener of ‘Stay Beautiful’, a 3 minute piece of punk pop from their debut album, now 19 years old believe it or not! OK, they may not be the angsty teenagers of yore, but the certainly still have the energy and bite about them. The call back to the fans and Soundcheck Magazine

them singing the obligatory ‘why don’t you just fuck off’ line is perfect and sets the tone for the evening. A nod to the modern incarnation comes next with ‘Your Love Alone Is Not Enough’ followed by the old skool again in ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’. A track which contains one of the most underrated guitar solos of the last 20 years. It must be said that one of the most overlooked members of the Manics in recent years has been Sean Moore, drummer extrordinaire. His beats and sticksmanship tonight are thunderous, driving each track along with a massive heartbeat. This is evident when it comes to ‘The Holy Bible’ album track ‘Of Walking Abortion’. James’ guitar playing on this track has always caught my attention (and does so again tonight) but Sean’s drumming coupled with Nicky Wire’s basslines add a different momentum to it. It sounds fresher than ever. ‘My Little Empire’ also gets an airing tonight and just


sounds sublime. James not showing a hint of the laryngitis that plagued the Birmingham show in October and the rescheduled date before christmas. Other rare tracks that make a long overdue appearance tonight are; ‘Life Becoming A Landslide’, ‘Enola/Alone’, ‘Let Robeson Sing’ and the heavily underrated ‘Solitude Sometimes Is’. They all sound fantastic and are so raw and fresh that they sound like they’ve been sat in the setlist for years already, it’s what I love about this band.

tonight and sees James and Nicky screaming vocals out, both being ‘lost in the moment’.

As has become traditional with Manic’s sets, the band leave the stage midway through and leave James Dean Bradfield on his own with an acoustic guitar. He surprises by mixing things up a bit and instead of the regular acoustic tracks, we are treated to a slowed rendition of 1996 hit ‘Everything Must Go’. It sounds sublime and highlights both the raw power and the subtle tenderness in his massive vocal range. He still manages to get the crowd moshing along in sync too.

‘A Design For Life’ is still their swansong and closes the evening. The solo mixed with a sample of Tim Burton is a change to the proceedings and baffles a few, yet it is sublime and fitting. After a final farewell, they leave the stage, job complete and leaving a venue of ecstatic fans!

We are then awoken from a hazy dream-like state by the thunderous ‘Masses Against The Classes’, the first number 1 single of the new century. It literally ‘rocks’

After the gig, Nicky even tweeted: “Wolves civic you are stunning- you never fail to inspire-sad that it will be so long before we see you again xx m.s.p”

‘You Love Us’ sees James launch into ACDC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ but singing ‘Wolverhampton’ before the line, pleasing the masses hanging on his every word. ‘You Love Us’ sounds blazing tonight, tearing up the stage and spinning in his trademark style, James is full of energy still.

There was something magical about this show, something that was missing from Birmingham. They had their anger and bite back tonight, it was fantastic viewing.



Frank Turner The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton Now I am not the biggest fan of Frank Turner, but I was really looking forward to this show with some anticipation. I have pinpointed one reason being that I do enjoy seeing a person stripped bare of all their backing instruments, holding just a guitar and having the voice to back them up.

reminiscing about previous jaunts to Wolves. Then comes the first mass singalong of the night with ‘I Still Believe’. The audience interaction with this track showed the aforementioned devotion of the fans. This isn’t the only example though; ‘Love Ire & Song’, ‘Substitute’ and the favourite ‘Long Live The Queen’ stand out as some of his best works and repatriation from his fans.

Having not seen Frank before I was unsure of what to expect. Upon walking into the Slade Rooms, I was greeted to one of the fullest crowds I have seen in this venue before, then again, I am fully aware of the devotion of his fans.

But tonight is all about showing off tracks from his forthcoming album. They stand up and slot in perfectly with his older material and get the crowd moving just as much as the rest.

The timings at the side of stage scheduled him to start at 9.30 bang on, but at 9.14, the crowd cheers as he starts his show just that little bit earlier. Kicking off in fine form with ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’ following swiftly by ‘Try This At Home’. By now he is smiling and chatting away to the crowd,

By the time the show was over, I was left feeling more warm hearted towards Mr Turner. To see someone so confident with just him and a guitar is a rarity. But then again, having a past life as a fellow classmate to Prince William and the frontman of MIllion Dead certainly makes him an interesting character to watch…

Soundcheck Magazine


Eliza Doolittle The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton The Wulfrun Hall is packed to the rafters tonight. After the two support acts (Hall of Mirrors & Aaron Wright), the stage is cleared and some rather interesting props are brought out. There is a giant red singular die (dice) in the centre of the stage amongst other bits and pieces. The stage remains very well lit all the way through the interval and right up to when the backing band member walk out on to the stage to a large cheer and start to play.

moves to the other end of the stage to repeat this over and over. She is being playful and acts up to the cameras in the pit, smiling and pointing at them. ‘Skinny Genes’ comes second in the set and really gets the crowd joining in. As the song ends, she walks over to the big red die which has acted as a fun storage box for the singer. She pulls out an array of dressing up clothes and maracas et al, ensuring the is a lively show ahead.

Eliza gives it a few moments before she casually strides on stage singing the opening verse of ‘Money Box’. The crowd are literally going bananas. Anyone would think from the mass of teenagers down the front that JLS or Take That had just walked out considering the noise they are making, but no, it is simply Eliza Caird, or as she is known on stage, Eliza Doolittle.

Her singing is spot on, tracks like ‘Nobody’, ‘So High’, ‘Police Car’ and a cover of ‘Grenade’ show this off to perfection, but it is the main set closer of ‘Pack Up’ where she lets the audience do the bulk of the work. The encore finishes with ‘Mr Medicine’ and leaves a hot and sweaty Wulfrun Hall begging for more.

She strides up to the front of the stage and reaches out, not quite reaching the front rows, then pulls back and

Eliza Doolittle might only have one album, but can command a crowd to perfection.



Chas ‘N’ Dave The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton Charles ‘Chas’ Hodges and David ‘Dave’ Peacock have been better known for years as Chas ‘N’ Dave. Tonight they are playing one of the penultimate dates of their UK ‘Farewell’ tour to a sold out capacity crowd at the Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall. Tonight they are treating their legion of fans all decked out in ‘pork pie’ hats, sporting sideburns and beards (even some of the women are in character) to not one, but two shows. The first half is purely for their own pleasure and to some of the more mature fans too as they announce that the first half will be purely underrated tracks from their career in the 70’s. Covers and original tracks from their start, the second half is made up entirely of their more well known tracks. As they stride onto the stage, they are met with a surprisingly subdued reaction (I thought) from the audience, but as soon as the first notes start up, it gets Soundcheck Magazine

the entire venue clapping along gleefully and singing along in chorus. As Chas begins to tell the tales of the songs they are performing, you can see why the audience both love and respect the cockney duo. They are heartwarming, funny and entertaining people. As the first set ends, the air in the room relaxes a little. But 20 minutes later when they return, we are in pure party mode! Songs such as ‘Gertcha’, ‘Snooker Loopy’ and ‘Poor Old Mr Woogie’ sound as lively as they ever have done, but for me it is ‘Rabbit’ that really stands out. The audience participation was brilliant. It is all over too soon and they receive an elongated standing ovation with a million handshakes and bows. It is a shame to see a legendary act say goodbye, but at least we all know that they are going out on a very big career high.


Kerry Ellis & Brian May

Panic @The Disco

Having had a starring role in the West End production of ‘We Will Rock You’ it isn’t a major surprise that Brian May would take the reigns and produce the debut album for Kerry Ellis, but it was more of a surprise that he would join her on tour.

Tonight, as the que snakes all around the venue and down the streets of Digbeth, it’s obvious what most are here for. The return of Panic! At The Disco to UK shores.

The Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Tonight is hot and sweaty inside the Symphony Hall and the lights go down bang on time. It takes a moment but Brian struts out on stage to kick off proceedings with the intro bars of first track ‘Dangerland’. Kerry comes out dressed in a stunning Green Dress and unleashes those powerful vocals. By the end of the first number the audience has gone wild. As they both settle into the groove, they both appear more relaxed and start interacting with the audience. We get Brian greeting Birmingham in his best ‘Brummie’ accent which sets off the arena into hysterics. Kerry is so gracious though, she cannot stop praising her producer and friend for his support and her big break. After a few tracks we are treated to a notable cover of ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, it sees her vocals sore through the venue, almost to the point where if no mics were on stage, we would still get the vocals at the highest point. The show sees them mix up tracks off the album, with classic show tunes and of course, a couple of Queen tracks. It is a tender moment when we are left with just Brian onstage and an acoustic guitar. He plays a moving tribute to ‘Freddie’ and him and the audience master a cover of ‘Last Horizon’. For the last verse though, the lights come on and Kerry sidles up to him and helps out. A touch of (dare I say) magic. As the show moves on, we are given a mix of rocky numbers and standalone ballads. Everything about this is really showing some of the youngsters how to do it! The only down side for me is the inclusion of a contemporary cover song, ‘I Love It When You Call’ by The Feeling. It seems to stick out like a sore thumb and is far too repetitive. It does no favours to Kerry’s vocals, but it does get the audience clapping along. The main set finishes with a duo of ‘We Will Rock You’ (Which shakes the foundations) and ‘We Are The Champions’. But it is the final song of the night in the encore “Tie Your Mother Down’ that just blows it all out of the water. Brian’s guitar and Kerry’s vocals are perfectly matched here. It was a ‘moment’ to see that performed on the stage, and an absolute stunner of a closure to a brilliant evening of ‘classics’.

The HMV Institute, Birmingham

Starting life as an emo rock gathering, debut album ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out’ in 2005, providing memorable hooks with intriguing lyrical content and a showman charm. Then came Beatles-esque ‘Pretty Odd’, a disappointing follow up to such a strong debut. This may be reflected in the fact that only two songs are played from said album tonight. First up are London band The Love Letters. With an electro feel and danceable beats, they fail to have any hooks matching of tonight’s headliners but also lack the charisma and stage presence required for a venue of this size. With the lead singer looking like he just fell out of a heavy metal club, it’s a shame that the music’s a little Metro Station and not Metallica really. I’m not arguing for fashion over substance, but an image to match the music can tend to help. A band of misfit’s with tunes to match is what we’re disappointingly given unfortunately. It is fair to say that I think ‘Pretty Odd’ was one of the biggest disappointments of my musical adventures, and I’m glad that only ‘Nine In The Afternoon’ and ‘That Green Gentlemen (Things Have Changed)’ are played tonight even if they seems completely different and irrelevant to the rest of the set. Old hits such as ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ and ‘But It’s Better If You Do’ shine and dazzle in the brightness of the positive and theatrical lyrics that Panic! began pursuing, with similar sounds shown in recent ‘Trade Secrets’ and ‘Nearly Witches’. Frontman Brendon Urie rises above recent problems within the band, with his showmanship and splendid voice aiding to the reception to which the songs are received. Having a flirtatious and captivating air about him, he constantly has the audience within the palm of his hand, making the performance interesting to watch. The two remaining members of Brendon and Spencer, are joined by Ian Crawford and Dallon Weekes who both manage to pull of all era’s of the bands relatively short history, giving the songs a new sound and life once lost. A cover of The Smiths slows down the mood a little, and maybe doesn’t step up to the mark in terms of skill but adds an extra dynamic to the show. A confident and strong performance tonight. Reviewed by: Dan Earl

Soundcheck Magazine



Wolverhampton? June

3rd The Cavern Beatles 3rd Gordon Smith 4th Jamie Woon 5th Futures 7th Kasabian 8th Carina Round 8th James Blake 9th Greg Davies 9th Man Machine 10th The Ska And 2-Tone 11th Freddie Starr 12th The Pierces 13th Wu Tang Clan 14th Newton Faulkner 15th Dio & The Disciples 15th Tom Vek 16th Whitesnake 17th Jason Manford 18th Jason Manford 19th Panic Room 20th Ringo Starr 23rd Fleet Foxes 23rd Larry Miller Band 26th Weapon Of Peace 27th Take That 26th British Pink Floyd

Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Birmingham HMV Library Birmingham o2 Academy 3 Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham Hare & Hounds Birmingham HMV Library Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Birmingham HMV Library Birmingham HMV Institute Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Birmingham HMV Library Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Robin 2 Birmingham Symphony Hall Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Robin 2 Birmingham Villa Park Wolverhampton Civic Hall

28th Mona 28th Take That 30th Magazine 30th Hot Red Chilli Peps 30th Dom Joly


1st Lou Reed 1st Foreigners Journey 1st Charlie Simpson 1st The Tantrums 2nd Jimmy Carr 3rd Roger Daltrey 3rd Ke$ha 3rd Credo 6th Diamond Head 7th White Lies 9th Achtung Baby 9th Matrix Club Mix 10th Fun Lovin’ Criminals 13th Bad Religion 13th Frankmusic 13th Corey Taylor 14th Macca Band Tribute 17th Athlete

Coventry Kasbah Birmingham Villa Park Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Wolverhampton Robin 2 Telford Oakengates Theatre

Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Robin 2 Birmingham o2 Academy 2 Birmingham HMV Library Wolverhampton Civic Hall Wolverhampton Civic Hall Birmingham o2 Academy Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Coventry Kasbah Wolverhampton Robin 2 Wolverhampton Robin 2 Coventry Kasbah Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall Birmingham Rainbow Birmingham HMV Institute Wolverhampton Robin 2 Coventry Kasbah

CONTACT DETAILS: The Civic/Wulfrun/Slade Rooms:

w: t: 0870 320 7000 e:

The Robin 2:

Birmingham HMV Institute:

w: t: 0843 221 0100

Birmingham Hare & Hounds:

w: t: 01902 401 211

w: t: 0121 444 2081 e:

Birmingham o2 Academy:

Coventry Kasbah:

w: t: 0844 477 2000 e:

Soundcheck Magazine

w: t: 024 7655 4473 e:

in association with


We can help you move network

or upgrade your handset www.brewoodm obiles.c

call 01952

w Call no E RE for a F ny a SIM on rk netwo

607 560


(Shropshire) Ltd



Sucker Punch From the trailer alone, we can see that Sucker Punch is going to be an expansive epic, the world in which it is set looks like a post-nucleonic Mordor. From previous films 300 and Watchmen we know that Snyder is a big fan of over-stylization and visually jaw-dropping moments, and Sucker Punch doesn’t fail to deliver here. The colours, the camera movement and the CGI are all striking. Visually it is one of the most stunning looking films of the year. Unfortunately, the Look of the film is probably the only positive. The script reads like Alice in Wonderland meets Wizard of Oz, without the story or charm. Snyder seems to believe he is making a film about female empowerment; he has ended up so far wide of the mark it does make you question his sanity. Sucker Punch is female empowerment like Schindler’s List is the funny side of genocide. Sucker Punch isn’t offensive in its portrayal of womankind; it isn’t clever enough to be offensive,what is offensive in Sucker Punch is the acting and direction. The main stars are so wooden, you could expect the Tin Man to come on and chop them down at any moment; however the direction is partly to blame for this. Zack Snyder seems to be confusing portentous and flippant; something he has done in all of his films. Snyder is incapable of telling the difference between an important line and a filler line, getting actors to really ham up the lines which pad-out the tale and then Soundcheck Magazine

Reviewed by Andy Gillard mumble through the plot points. Almost like a B-Movie director, gone wrong. The problem really is that the story is just plain weird, ridiculously far-fetched and at times confusing. For something that is essentially an S&M fairy tale, it shouldn’t be anywhere near as long-winded or complex. It should be short, punchy, funny and charming, instead it is overlong, drawn out, and dull. It is like watching a Linkin Park or Korn video for 2 hours, but with even less happening. Ultimately, it isn’t that Sucker Punch is a bad film, it is just banal tripe which borders on the offensive, but doesn’t quite make it there – at least if it was offensive, there would be something to talk about! Snyder somehow managed to make a film of scantily clad attractive 20-somethings completely mind-numbing and

without any joie de vivre. At least we can thank our stars that Christopher Nolan and David Goyer are the masterminds behind the production and script of Man of Steel, hopefully they will take a more hands on approach and leave Snyder to just do the prettification of the film, in his own unique, overstylized way. If not, then fans of Superman will be issuing an S.O.S. - Save our Superman!


Scre4m In 1996, Wes Craven wrote and directed a film which was a “game-changer” within the horror genre. That revolutionary film was Scream and was originally titled “Scary Movie”, the commonalities between Scream and Scary Movie (2000) didn’t end there, in fact the premise of Scream was dreamt up as a parodying, post-modern, self-referential look at the staleness of the Slasher genre. Unfortunately, Scream became that what it was parodying, which is partly why Scream 3 was so terrible – as it became a parody of a parody, and just collapsed under the weight of its own convolutions. So ten years on from Scream 3, and with all the flurry of current re-boots and remakes, is it time for the Ghostface Killer to return? On the 10th anniversary of the last spate of Ghostface killings, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns to Woodsboro to promote her book on her life as a victim. Whilst back in Woodsboro, two teens are found to have been murdered in a manor resembling the killings which occurred in that small town 15 years ago. Once it becomes apparent that there is a new Ghostface killer the story begins to centre around Jill (Sidney’s cousin – played by Emma Roberts) and her friends, and of course the original victim du jeur, Sidney herself. It becomes apparent that the Killer is attempting to reboot and refresh the story behind “Stab” (the film within the film). The opening sequence is clever and funny, drenched in satire and post-modernism, the ending is also a fresh and original approach to the genre and it is in these aspects Scre4m achieves what Scream achieved 15 years ago; it engages, sends-up and pays homage to the rules of the Slasher genre. Unfortunately, where the film falls down is that it doesn’t go far enough; there are many meta-references of how Horror has moved on in the past decade by referencing the Torture-Porn fad of the Saw and Hostel movies, but it only mentions these films in a mocking fashion, it doesn’t embrace them quite like the original film embraced its contemporaries. And it really misses a trick by missing out the “found footage” horrors (in the Blair Witch/Rec/Cloverfield vein), as these have become the more popular and better made films within the Horror genre of the past decade. Scre4m is very much a catfoot sandwich of a film. Yeah, the two pieces of bread are good, but it’s the middle part you would have issue with. The middle of the film really drags, and as it is effectively shot like a remake of the original you do realise you have seen it all before – and seen it acted better too. The new comers to the film are there merely for bloody eye candy, they exist only to die and build up the body count, which would usually be annoying, but in this case it is a good thing,


Reviewed by Andy Gillard

as the fewer the characters remain the better. They are so unbelievably wooden and dreadful, the Queen of the bad actors is easily Emma Roberts, like some sort of a Keanu Reeves/Keira Knightley love-child. It must be said then that the saving graces of the film are the original Scream trinity of Campbell, Arquette and especially Cox – she enjoys all of the best lines within the film and just generally seems to be enjoying herself again. Overall Scre4m is much better than 3, but not as good as 1… maybe on a par with 2. Worth seeing for the Scream fans, and those old enough to remember Slasher flicks when they were good, but maybe not so much for the youngsters who knowledge of Horror is limited to the Torture Porn trash they peddle out today. If anything, the film whets your appetite for re-watching Friday 13th, Halloween or Nightmare On Elm Street – the originals though, not their god-awful remakes!

Top 10 DVD Sales In The UK: Week Commencing 30th May 2011

1 - Tangled 2 - The King’s Speech 3 - Black Swan 4 - True Blood: Seasons 1-3 5 - Gulliver’s Travels 6 - The Hangover 7 - Love and Other Drugs 8 - NEDS 9 - Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy 10 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1



Source Code Directed by Duncan Jones, the boy formally known as Zowie Bowie (yes, the son of David), embarks on his second feature film after he debuted with the excellent Moon (2009). Starring the always reliable Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan (of whom it was recently rumoured to be up for a part in the forthcoming Superman movie, Man of Steel (2012), Source Code is a film about Captain Colter Stevens who wakes up in the body of Sean Fentman on a train sat opposite is Fentman’s friend Christina (Monaghan), whilst Colter is grappling with the emotions of waking up inside another man’s body the train they are aboard explodes, killing all onboard. After his apparent death, Colter wakes up in a military base, where he is informed that he is part of an experiment called “Beleaguered Castle”, where it allows an individual to travel in time into another person’s body and relive 8 minutes of their life and, in this instance, find out who planted the bomb, righting the wrongs of the past and save the future – just to ratchet up the Quantum Leap (1989) comparisons Scott Bakula cameos and even utters the immortal words “Oh Boy”. Source Code is a fast paced thinking-man’s film. There have been lots of people comparing it to Inception (2010) mostly due to both being of the same genre, but honestly, that is where the similarities really end. Inception is a slow paced, epic which leaves the Soundcheck Magazine

Reviewed by Andy Gillard audience wanting more, Source Code is considerably shorter at only 80-or-so minutes, and it doesn’t leaving you wanting, it ties the film together giving you the whole story. Some will prefer Source Code because of this, but some will feel it lacks the cerebral touch and depth of Inception, irregardless of this both are excellent films. They are almost like brothers, Inception being the older more sophisticated one, and Source Code being the younger brother fighting to get out of his older brothers shadow. If anything though, Source Code probably draws more inspiration from Groundhog Day (1993) and Roshomon (1950) than it does from Inception. These influences coupled with Source Code feeling like more of a return to old fashioned standards of Science Fiction, films which pre-date the notion that “Sci-Fi must be set in Space” are probably why it feels more like a ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ Sci-Fi movie than a modern day one. Whilst Source Code does contain some gaping plot holes, the ends very much justify the means here. If you can suspend belief and give yourself to this world, a real treat awaits. With this and with Moon you get the impression that Jones will be a director worth watching, and will be star in his own right and not because he is the son of David Jones.


Thor The last few years have seen Marvel Studios changed the way they do business; previous to Iron Man (2008) Marvel would option out their top names out to other companies to make their films, however, this raised issues when Marvel wanted to make a film on their popular Avengers title; with the rights to Spider-Man being owned by one production company and X-Men to another, bringing these behemoths together on the screen would prove difficult. With Iron Man Marvel decided to bring their new releases back “in-house”, with an eye on 2012 being the release of The Avengers movie starring Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Nick Fury and Thor – and presumably many more superheroes. Since Iron Man established the Marvel Universe has been established on film, the majority of the films, whilst they are mostly good, they have struggled to get the correct balance. Iron Man was two thirds of a good film, being let down by the emergence of the Iron Monger, Incredible Hulk (2008) suffered from the same problem and as for Iron Man 2 (2010) the less said the better. So many eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Kenneth Branagh would be directing the codShakespeare speaking, Norse God epic Thor. A serious director, for a fairly unserious franchise. The story of Thor (Hemsworth) is a simple one, cast down from Valhalla and stripped of his God-like powers by his father, Odin (Hopkins). This was to teach Thor a lesson about being headstrong and disobedient and warn him about the consequences to his actions. Whilst in the realm of the mortals, Thor bumps into Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) – actually she bumps into him… twice. Whilst on earth, Thor’s evil, manipulative brother Loki (Hiddleston), is placed in charge of Valhalla as Odin falls into a coma-like sleep. Determined to remain the King, Loki tries to kill his brother whilst he is still mortal. The slow start of the movie is down to the director delving deep into the Norse mythology; whilst giving the film background was important, it maybe not quite as important as is credited, but once away from the realm of the Gods and into the realm of Man, the movie certainly begins to pick up pace. By combining portentous sounding, Shakespearean language, with big (almost Three Stooge-like) laughs a good film emerges. Branagh achieves a great feat with Thor; he has found the right balance. In the vein of Batman Begins, the story is about Thor and Jane Foster more so than about a superheroes beating on a supervillain. Branagh delivers a big summer Action film, without over-egging the action pudding. On top of the excellent direction, the film has an


Reviewed by Andy Gillard

assembly of excellent performances, a surprisingly strong lead, from a man most famous for Home and Away, good comedic turns from Kat Denning and Stellan Skarsgard, a powerful, yet subdued Idris Elba, a campy, over-the-top Anthony Hopkins and an eerily creepy Hiddleston. Where the film doesn’t succeed, however, is that it has a certain Two Towers feel to it, in that Thor feels like an episode rather than a film in its own right. It does feel like it’s a continuation or part of a larger picture (i.e. The Avengers) – which with it being part of the Marvel Universe is to be expected, but it would be nice to get a more rounded, self-contained feel for the more casual fan. Also, a trick was missed by sparingly using Idris Elba, as Heimdall he was played one of the most intimidating and powerful characters, it does leave you wanting to learn more. Similarly, there was no where near enough Loki, although if rumours are to be believed, those wishing to see more Loki will be rewarded in next years Avengers film. Still, this is arguably the best of the Marvel Studios movies as yet. • Like with all other Marvel movies of late, ensure you watch until the end of the credits for a hidden scene.

Rules of the Cinema: Everyone enjoys the seeing a film on the big screen, more so than getting it on DVD or, dare I say, illegally appropriating a pirated movie… but if there is one thing which infuriates, it is that so many just do not know the rules of etiquette when at the cinema. Give us your rules and regulations for perfect film watching. The most popular and notable exceptions will be in the next issue of Soundcheck. Just use your Twitter account and use the hashtag #wscfilm to let us know. Don’t forget to add “wlvsoundcheck” for the latest on goings on in the Black Country and West Mids and add “wscfilm” for retweets and news about all things filmic.

Soundcheck Magazine

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.