Issue 8

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SOUNDCHECK Issue v2.1 | March 2011

Featuring: Stephen K. Amos Delta Maid Emma Scott Plus Live Reviews and More

Soundcheck Magazine


INDEX Issue v2.1 | March 2011

Editor: Glenn Rossington Sales: Glenn Rossington Front Cover: Kate Farrell Photography: Glenn Rossington Writers: Glenn Rossington Andy Gillard Soundcheck Magazine Flat 5 3 Park Avenue Wolverhampton West Midlands WV1 4AH Tel: 07599 475 111

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

Stephen K. Amos

P 12-14 The Alternative Oscars P 16-17 Exposure: 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 Š2011 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

Emma Scott Break Your Band

P 18-19 Introducing:

Delta Maid

P 22-23 Reviews

Live Music

P 24

One Direction

P 25

You Me At Six

P 26 Reef P 27 Motorhead P 28

The Coral

P 29

Manic Street Preachers

P 32

Live Listings

P 34-35 Cinema Listings

Plus Guests



24 hour ticket hotline 0844 811 0051 Buy online at An SJM Concerts presentation in association with CODA Agency

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NEWS Beady Eye Make A Date For The Civic!!!! BEADY EYE have announced a UK tour for April 2011 which features an exclusive date at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall. The tour which will follow the release of their debut album ‘DIFFERENT GEAR, STILL SPEEDING’ (28th February). The band had previously announced shows in Glasgow, Manchester and London for March (which sold out immediately) but this will see them travel the country and play their first dates in Ireland. Their debut single ‘THE ROLLER’ is out 21st February and is receiving significant attention from radio, and the video has received almost 400,000 plays on YouTube to date. This follows tracks ‘Bring The Light’ and ‘Four Letter Word’ which have both been made available over the last few months for fans. Ten other brand new tracks will be available on the album which is one of the most eagerly anticipated of 2011. The band will also play at the sold out Isle of Wight festival on the 12th June 2011. BEADY EYE ON TOUR IN April 2011: 11 April 12 April 14 April 15 April 17 April 18 April 20 April 21 April 23 April 24 April 26 April 27 April

NOTTINGHAM, Rock City LIVERPOOL, Guild of Students DUBLIN, The Olympia Theatre DUBLIN, The Olympia Theatre BELFAST, Ulster Hall EDINBURGH, Corn Exchange NEWCASTLE, O2 Academy LEEDS, O2 Academy NEWPORT, Centre WOLVERHAMPTON, Civic SOUTHAMPTON, Guildhall BRIGHTON, Centre

Tickets are on sale and restricted to four per person only. Buy online: / / www.ticketmaster. 24h CC hotline: 0844 811 0051 / 0844 826 2826


NEWS Manic On The Streets Of Wolverhampton MANIC STREET PREACHERS have announced details of three shows in May 2011. This will see the band headline in Cardiff for the first time since 2007 and also travel to Llandudno and Wolverhampton. Bassist Nicky Wire commented “We are really looking forward to playing Cardiff CIA again as it has been over three years since we played there. It will be a great warm up for the festival season and a perfect way to end what has been a brilliant campaign for Postcards For A Young Man. On the last dates (and these coming up) we’ve been playing lots of songs from our past too which has been really enjoyable.“ Support on all shows comes from The Joy Formidable. The band also release the title track of their new album ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ as a single on 28th February 2011. The track will be released on 2 x CD and 7” all featuring brand new tracks including a long lost track ‘Midnight Sun’ on CD 2. Live: 18 May LLANDUDNO, Cymru Arena 19 May WOLVERHAMPTON, Civic Hall 21 May CARDIFF, CIA Tickets priced £27.50 will be available from 9.00 on Friday 18th February at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

They’ve Done It Again! RADIOHEAD have shocked the world again and announced that their new album is ready. Not only that, but it will be released 5 days after they announced it via their website. Unlike the last effort (2007’s ‘In Rainbows’) There is a set price for new album ‘The King Of Limbs’. Although initially released as a download, the album will however, be on general release on CD and 12” vinyl in all music stores and digital retailers from March 28th. ‘The King Of Limbs’ will also be presented as what is billed ‘The world’s first newspaper album’ comprimising of: Two clear 10” vinyl records in a purpose-built record sleeve, a compact disc, many large sheets of artwork, 625 tiny pieces of artwork and a full-colour piece of oxo-degradeable plastic to hold it all together. The Newspaper Album comes with a digital download that is compatible with all good digital media players. No details are known at the moment about a form of tracklisting, but rumours are arife after a Japanese website listed it only having 8-tracks. For a full review of the record, see next month’s issue of Soundcheck.

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Adele’s Double Date It’s been an incredible start to the year for Adele, following on from the success of her critically acclaimed #1 album ‘21’ Adele has announced new tour dates for September. On Saturday and Sunday 10th & 11th September, Adele graces Wolverhampton with her presence at The Civic Hall, slap bang in the middle of her UK tour. In the UK ‘21’ is entering its third week at #1 in the official album chart selling over 500,000 copies. ‘Rolling In The Deep’, Adele’s first single from the new album charted at #2 and is currently still in the UK top 5. Tickets priced £29.50 will be available from 9.00am on Friday 18th February at Midland Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or online at

Mark And No Lard… BBC Radio 2 broadcaster Mark Radcliffe presents an evening of acoustic songs and stories as he reads from his new book ‘Reeling In The Years’ and debuts songs from his solo album ‘What Remains of the Day’. Questions, and indeed drinks, from the audience will be most welcome. Tickets priced £14.50 are available now.


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Stephen K. Amos


Recently, many newspapers have – quite rightly been giving the comedian Stephen K Amos rave reviews. One stood out, however. The London Evening Standard declared that, “If laughter is the best medicine, then Amos should be prescribed by the NHS for his formidable healing powers.” Now Stephen is setting out to prove the veracity of that statement. He is touring the country with a brand-new show entitled, “The Best Medicine.” Following on from last year’s spectacularly successful national tour – during which he performed to 60,000 people – he is once more hitting the road to delight audiences in all four corners of the UK. He will soon be bringing his wonderfully uplifting style of melt-in-the-middle comedy to a venue near you. His aim is to cheer us up, make us forget about the prevailing doom and gloom and demonstrate what medical tests have shown: that laughter really is the best medicine. Stephen is a splendid example of a comedian who is as funny off stage as on it. He makes for marvellously entertaining company. He starts by explaining just what inspired the new show. “We all go through dark moments, and at those moments laughter is always the best medicine,” reflects the comic, who has lately had a huge hit with his own BBC2 series, The Stephen K Amos Show. He goes on to give a very good example from his own life. “My twin sister recently got married, and I was very flattered when she asked me to be the best man. The week before the wedding, I had been working incredibly hard and getting up at six every morning to make my TV series. “But on the morning of the wedding, I pressed the snoozebutton on my alarm and overslept. I was mortified. I missed the wedding – and got to the reception just in time to see my mum reading out bits from 1982 diary, much to the hilarity of everyone in the room!” Stephen, who also did a stellar turn on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo recently, continues, “That gave me the thought that whatever horrors you’re experiencing in that moment, when you look back, you’ll laugh about it!” The comic has made very good use of that boyhood diary, as he now quotes extensively from it in the show. “I use it as a crux,” says Stephen. “I read out excerpts from it. In one, I


say, ‘At school, my friend got a brand-new pair of Adidas trainers, and I asked Mum if I could have some, too. So she went to the market and bought me a pair for £3. The only problem was the name on the side of the shoes was ‘Abibas.’ I told Mum that my friend’s trainers cost £50 and were much better, and she replied, ‘Well, go and live with him then!’ In another extract, I wrote, ‘Granny made me fruit salad today. It was revolting. I’m sure she used vegetables! At the time, it was obviously all so painful and meaningful, but now it’s just hilarious. The diary charts the ups and downs of my life. It shows that my sense of humour is still the same. I’m still the same mischievous lad. It’s just that now I’ve got an audience, as opposed to keeping it all to myself!” The wonderful thing about Stephen’s humour is that it is never vitriolic. “Comedy is seen as cruel, harsh, negative, full of effing and

“I’m not doing the same joke for the millionth time” blinding and nasty on a personal level,” avers the stand-up, who shot to fame after dazzling on ITV1’s The Royal Variety Performance. “But my brand of comedy is not angry at all. You can be funny without being cruel. I may indulge in some gentle ribbing, but I’ll never attack an easy target. I’m not a fan of having a go at people, particularly people who don’t have a voice. You can have a go at the government or BP, but don’t start singling out individuals.” Stephen, who recently made a big splash on BBC1’s Let’s Dance for Sport Relief, acknowledges that, “Comedians hold dear the notion of free speech, but you must be able to justify whatever you say on stage. I can’t simply use the get-out clause of, ‘I’m just telling it like it is.’ If I say anything inflammatory, I have to be Soundcheck Magazine

able to back it up.” The comedian, who has appeared regularly on The One Show, The Wright Stuff, Have I Got News for You, Mock the Week and Stand Up for the Week, carries that he never resorts to expletives, either. “People say, ‘comics have to be edgy and swear’. But I don’t swear in normal life and I don’t swear on stage. You don’t need to add the F word to bring a joke to life. The other notable aspect of Stephen’s comedy is its subtlety – he would never ram his ideas down people’s throats. “In the 21st Century, there are still issues about racism and homophobia. I want to touch on those, but without preaching to people. There is no point in preaching to the converted. If you can give audiences something to think about while making them laugh, that’s great. But it has to be subtle.” Stephen can’t wait to start touring with “The Best Medicine”– he says the pure rush of live stand-up is unrivalled. “Nothing beats performing live,” beams the comedian, who has also proved himself a very accomplished actor in plays such as The School for Scandal, Talk Radio and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. “You’re in the moment. There is no edit button. If something happens there and then, you just run with it. “The great thing is, the audience know it’s spontaneous. I’m not doing the same joke for the millionth time – this one is just for them. Also, if someone pipes up in the auditorium and we start a dialogue, that’s terrific. There’s nothing better!” Stephen also generates tremendous warmth on stage - that’s why audiences love spending time in his presence. “Warmth is a word I’m very happy to embrace,” he says, warmly. “It’s a genuine disposition. It’s not fake. I have a lot of faith in humankind. We can get so negative – we’re too down on people. I won’t go the American way of saying, ‘Have a nice day’ to complete strangers, but a smile is worth so much. I love the innocence we had as kids. I hope I still have that.” He sure does. Finally, what does Stephen hope that audiences will take away from “The Best Medicine”? “I’d like them to go away with a couple of thoughts about the world we live in. But, above all, I’d like them to leave with a big smile on their faces.” That shouldn’t be a problem! For our Review, see Next Month’s Issue!




This year, the Oscars turn 83, and each year there are some controversies. Previously the inferior Crash (2004) beat the amazing and boundary-pushing Brokeback Mountain, last year Sandra Bullock picked up a gong for her performance in the uber-polished-turn The Blind Side, so this year will most likely be no different. The Academy tends to vote for with a political or xenophobic agenda for films/actors for the big awards – how else would Kate Winslet have had 5 nominations and 0 Oscars? Losing out to an American each time (xenophobic) and the one time a Brit did beat her was Helen Mirren’s portrayal of The Queen (political). So, to counter this I have decided that films and actors who haven’t been nominated this year deserve some recognition. The Andrews will be awarded to those most deserving, but overlooked by the establishment. N.B. if any of the winning Cast/Crew ever want to know what is happening in the West Midlands and stumble across – I am very sorry, but there are no real awards. But just give yourself a big pat on the back from me!

OSCARS BEST ANIMATED FILM Immediately, I have made a rod for my own back. I am nothing if not a hypocrite, but I am afraid that it is impossible to look beyond Toy Story 3 for best animated film for 2010. The best Animated Film of 2010 is not only up for the Best Animated Film at the Academy Awards, it is also up for Best Motion Picture this year. In fact, I quietly fancy this to win the Oscar for Best Motion Picture – not because it is the best film of the past year, but in recognition for how big an impact Toy Story as a franchise has had on our lives and the world in general. Much like how Return of the King won the Oscar in honour of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, more so than the film on its own. BEST SONG FOR A FILM This is a tough, tough choice. Whilst Scott Pilgrim undoubtedly has best original songs of the past year, to the extent I am genuinely perplexed at the Academy ignoring them. Aside from Sex Bob-omb’s own great tunes, the two best songs in Pilgrim are from their Battle of the Bands opponents - Crash and the Boys; their songs I’m So Sad, So Very, Very Sad and We Hate You, Please Die were both excellent punk/garage rock anthems. However, the one song which stands out above all else this year is Cum On Feel The Noize performed by Snork in Cemetary Junction. Granted the song wasn’t an original, but let’s be honest, Slade are the greatest band to come from the Midlands and the fact their music is in a Hollywood film should be celebrated, and to top that off Snork then delivers one of the funniest jokes committed to film. ORIGINAL SCORE This can only be Scott Pilgrim, what was done with the opening sequence for the Universal logo at the beginning was a stroke of genius from Edgar Wright and the likes. Buy the OST and the Original Score CDs, they are both brilliant. MAKE-UP The Make-Up artist on The Expendables somehow managed to make a bunch of meatheads look passable, but this award has to go to Burlesque, whomever managed to make Christina

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Aguilera and Cher look vaguely human should be the hottest property for any and every film that is due out in 2011, as she clearly knows how to make a silk-purse out of a pigs ear… maybe they ought to have gotten her to write and direct the movie too. VISUAL EFFECTS Once again, it is impossible to look beyond Scott Pilgrim vs. The World here. I can’t remonstrate enough how I cannot believe that Scott Pilgrim hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar, the visual styling of this film is nothing like you will see anywhere. It is a genuine stand-alone movie. Maybe, this overlooking of this film will work in its favour, as in 5-10 years time it will be a cult phenomenon and everyone will be saying “I loved Scott Pilgrim” and “I remember seeing that at the cinema” – even though it appears only about two dozen people actually went to the cinema as it absolutely bombed at the box office. This Is Spinal Tap style adulation awaits this gem of a movie! BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (MALE) Thinking about this award, the first name which sprang to mind was Eddie Marsan; a truly great actor, who is always underused. His performance

as the intense, insane, kidnapping Vic in The Disappearance of Alice Creed was great – and hopefully this, coupled with his cameo in blockbusters will finally get him the credit he deserves. But, I have to give the award to an Oscar winning actor, who spectacularly lost his way and started making only rubbish films – the award goes to Mr Nic Cage. His performance as Big Daddy is wonderful. Channelling the spirit of Adam West’s Bruce Wayne of the 1960’s Batman series and having the fathering skills of Stan Smith (American Dad), Big Daddy was truly a cartoon character brought to life. BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (FEMALE) This is a first – a shared award. Picking between these two has become far too difficult. Ellen Page in the amazing Inception and Chloe Moretz from Kick-Ass. Buy the DVDs, watch and love. Ellen Page is wonderful in everything she does, and I have started to get the impression that the world is Miss Moretz oyster. She will rule this world, and if you try to stop her she will kick your ass – so you better get used to it! BEST ACTOR IN A MAIN ROLE (MALE) Ryan Reynolds is the stand-out performer here, because he was the stand-alone performer in Buried. Never has a film had only one person on camera and been as engaging and exciting. A great film, well written, well directed and very well acted. Maybe Reynolds might be able to do more than just the funny man act; but more on that later... BEST ACTOR IN A MAIN ROLE (FEMALE) The Disappearance of Alice Creed was THE British film of 2010, Gemma Arterton showed us a new side of herself in 2010. We have already seen the sex-pot (Tamara Drewe) the princess (Prince of Persia) and the ballsy school girl (St. Trinians), in Alice Creed we saw her as powerless victim and courageous heroine. Ms Winslet better watch out, Arterton is coming for her crown! BEST FILM OF 2010 Kick-Ass was fun, funny, action packed and sad. It was staring Mark Strong as a bad guy. Matthew




Vaughn is fast becoming one of the hottest young directors in Hollywood, alongside his writing partner Jane Goldman (Mrs Jon Ross). And to round it all off you have a machinegun attached to a jetpack whilst Elvis Presley is playing in the background. Inspired movie making! GUILTY PLEASURE 2010 The Expendables – this really was so bad that it was good. BIGGEST LET DOWN OF 2010 Saw 3D was absolutely pants, but then Saw 2-6 were all dreadful anyway, so the odds were against this one bucking the trend. One film which did look like it was going to be good, and really wasn’t was Alice in Wonderland, it had such a strong cast, yet other than a few voice-overs from Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman it was dreadful, hackneyed tosh. Just watch the Disney cartoon and remember it as a great film, don’t waste time with this. SURPRISING GREAT OF THE YEAR Buried – the premise doesnt sound like much, 90minutes of one person on screen in a box. But what was shown was a master class on

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OSCARS anti-war propaganda of Kurt Vonnegut styling. MOST EXCITING FILM OF 2011 Green Lantern - this may just be for me, but having seen that trailer how could one not be excited!? WILL IT/WONT IT BE ANY GOOD? 2011 Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon – after Revenge of the Fallen, can this movie be as good as the first film and send of the series in style? As long as they stay away from Skids and Mudflaps style characters, there is a chance! THE “IT WILL BE REALLY BAD, BUT IT WILL MAKE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS” AWARD Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, how and why these movies are still being made is beyond most normal folk. Come on Tom, time to leave it alone – we all know you’re not really an action star. Then again, Bryan “The Superhero Butcher” Singer is doing a Battlestar Galactica movie. THE WORST TRAILER FOR A FILM Thor – I cant possibly be the only one who thinks the trailer looks exactly the same as Masters of the Universe, but not as good?!

Collektive exposure

FREEDOM AND CONTROL Fotofillia Photography Studio 14th - 24th February 2011 The debut exhibition from the

Wolverhampton Photographic Collective

Sponsored By:

WLV Sound Check



Radio Presenter and Gig Promoter, Emma Scott is hosting the Break Your Band seminar on Sunday February 27th at one of the best live music venues in the Midlands, The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton. It’s aimed at helping new as well as more established bands get radio airplay, gigs and get ahead in the music industry.

Emma is also writing a book on the music industry to help bands move up the music industry ladder, and as part of her research, she asked hundreds of bands to ask her any question on the music business. These questions and answers will feature in the book, but also form part of the Break Your Band Seminar.

Emma Scott has been in the radio industry for over 23 years and has hosted and produced many specialist shows in that time – giving some of today’s biggest bands their first ever piece of radio airplay when they were just starting out. Bands like Feeder, Muse, Travis, Franz Ferdinand, Elbow, Kasabian and Scissor Sisters to name but a few.

The seminar will be split into 3 sections, each lasting an hour.

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• Getting Radio Airplay • Getting gigs – and keeping them! • Getting ahead in the music industry. Emma says “the seminar will be an eye opener


for sure – going on feedback from my previous presentations on getting radio airplay! The Break Your Band seminar contains 3 times the amount of eye opening information! It really is a must if you’re in a band and you want to get airplay, decent gigs, a booking agent, manager, publisher and ultimately – to get signed.” Some quotes from people who have previously attended one of Emma’s seminars in the past few months: “Emma, thanks so much for the seminar at college today! We sent out our press pack and have already been played on 6 different stations! Amazing!” “The presentation you gave on getting radio airplay is full of gems, really sound advice that in retrospect seems obvious, but isn’t, if you know what I mean.” “We found your presentation on “Getting Radio Airplay” very helpful indeed! It’s often a bit baffling as to what etiquette exists - how to approach people, what to send, what information is required and what is unimportant, and perhaps most importantly what your expectations should be.” During her 5 years on Kerrang! Radio in the West Midlands, Emma started putting on gigs under the “Emma Scott Presents” banner. The first one took place in September 2007 and featured 4 of Emma’s favourite bands from the area. That very first gig sold out, and Emma has been putting on gigs all over the Midlands since then. These gigs have featured, not only great up-coming bands from The Midlands, but also bigger bands too – like Alkaline Trio, NOFX, Hundred Reasons, Innerpartysystem, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Futureheads, The Automatic, Fightstar, My Passion, and Little Man Tate. Emma says “I deal with bands on a daily basis and am asked the same questions day in – day out. It struck me that despite the huge number of websites and information available on-line, there’s not a lot of “down to earth” information about getting radio airplay or decent gigs, and why things are done in a certain way.”

“Having received hundreds of press packs over the years, I see the same mistakes made all the time, and over the years of putting on live gigs, I’ve come across many bands who don’t have a clue how to make money out of gigs or have any idea about how to conduct themselves or how to get people to come and see them live – I want to do something about this and help as many bands as I can!” Emma continues to broadcast daily and has also been teaching at various music colleges and universities to show students in bands how to get radio airplay – something that some feel is quite daunting as it’s so important to get it right. They’re not sure what to put in a press pack or who to send their material to. They want to get interviews and sessions on the radio, but don’t have a clue where to start. Whilst Emma hosts the event, there will be guest speakers from other corners of the music industry and recommendations for radio pluggers and distributors. One such guest, is Jase Burns, who also has a wealth of experience with more than 24 years experience in the music industry. He started off playing in bands, then moved onto A&R, concert promotion, radio & TV production and more recently, working as part of a Los Angeles based music management company. His knowledge in all areas of the business is second to none, and like Emma has worked with some of the biggest names in the music world today. The Break Your Band seminar is an informal insight into the music industry with anecdotes galore and a lot of laughs along the way. There’s a bar at the venue and plenty of chance to meet other bands, drop your demo in and try and get a slot on one of the Emma Scott Presents gigs! Break Your Band takes place at the Slade Rooms, 1 Broad Street, Wolverhampton on Sunday 27th February 2011, tickets are £15.00 and are currently available on a “buy one get one free” deal from


Delta Maid Soundcheck Magazine


Packing a hipflask full of Bessie Smith, Patsy Cline and soul-studded country blues, Liverpudlian singer songwriter Delta Maid is here to take your breath away. 25 years old and from Wavertree in South Liverpool, Delta’s love affair with American roots music began when she was a child, her head swimming withcountry greats as well as the more modern blues that made up the backbone of her parents record collection – from Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal to Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King. Delta’s own personal musical discovery was kick started by a copy of country blues queen Rory Block’s ‘Best Blues and Originals’ which her parents bought back with them after a trip to New York. Listening to the record non-stop for two weeks during a holiday in Ireland, the 13 year old Delta’s ears had been opened to early blues there was no turning back.

“There’s something really honest about it” “I was in awe… I became fascinated by the style of play, the whole feeling of it. It was at this point that I began actively searching for the history and legends that were behind delta blues.

A religiously acoustic performer, Delta is already making a name for herself in folk, blues and alt. country circles, supporting the likes of Turin Brakes, Retribution Gospel Choir and Megafaun, with her sublime Mersey delta sound. Drawing parallels between the down home lyrics of delta blues and with her own upbringing in Liverpool, Delta’s life isn’t as far removed from the Mississippi-based music that has inspired her as you might think. “There’s something really honest about it,” explains Delta. “It’s not convoluted in any way. I feel that’s what Liverpool’s got in common with delta blues, because there’s a lot of honesty there – we tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves. A lot of the language, believe it or not, is quite similar.” Even though she’s never been to the Deep South in a geographical sense, Delta has sonically hitchhiked her way cross-country, from Laurel Canyon down to Louisiana, Alabama and the Appalachian Trail and through the capital cities of country and blues – Nashville and Memphis – via the grooves in her exhaustive record collection. Happily, Delta is currently in the studio with her as she records her debut album in Liverpool. In the meantime, prepare yourself for Delta’s modern take on the blues to seep into your soul, just like the sounds of the South have crept into hers.

Broken Branches EP: Is out now.

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What’s your favourite place in the city?

19 Feb 11 - 26 Feb 11 Mon – Sat 11am – 4pm Free entry and events City 10, Queens Square, Wolverhampton We Love Wolverhampton is asking you, the people of Wolverhampton and the Black Country ‘What’s your favourite place in the city?’ by sending in a photograph of your favourite building, park, space or area in the city, even your favourite shop or pub. Photographs can either be submitted online to our dedicated Flickr group, where images should be hash tagged #weheartwlv . Or bring your photographs into City 10 located at Queens Square by the man on the horse during the half term period where you can also use your memory stick, camera or data card and we can print the photograph for you. In exchange for your images, you will receive a limited edition canvas We ♥ Wolverhampton goodie bag. All the photographs submitted will then be put on immediate display in City 10, where the project hopes to get to know the public’s favourite places in the urban landscape and city of Wolverhampton. From all the photographs, a handful will be chosen and selected to be used in a permanent window display in City 10. In order to be included in the competition, applicants must state their

full contact details including name, address, telephone number and email (if applicable) on the back of the image so they can be notified you if you are a winner.

Free Events

Throughout the half-term period, each day there will be different free creative workshops at City 10 (Queens Square, Wolverhampton) including badge making and t-shirt printing.

Famous Wolverhampton - Walking Photography Tour

22 Feb 11.30am - 3.30pm Join photographer Lee Allen for a walking photography tour where he will help you to discover the famous places in Wolverhampton that make the city so great. Free, booking required.

Google Mapping Workshop

23 Feb 11.30am - 3.30pm Join ‘We Are Frilly’ in this interactive digital and creative workshop. Find your house on Google’s Maps with Street View, then using drawing, printing and tagging methods, pinpoint it on a wider map of Wolverhampton. Free, drop-in.

Hidden Beauty - Walking Photography Tour

24 Feb 11.30am – 3.30pm Join photographer Jo Hallington for a walking photography tour of Wolverhampton where she will help you to find and discover the hidden beauty of the city that is personal to you. Photographs will then be printed and discussed. Free, booking required. To book your place please call the Art Gallery shop on 01902 550060.



Beady Eye

The Streets

So the time has come, the gloves are off, and Liam Gallagher, one half of the sibling rivalry that set the 90’s alive, is delivering the first postOasis album.

Mike Skinner announced last year that ‘Computers and Blues’ would be his last album under the name of ‘The Streets’. It is thus fitting that it is also one of his strongest efforts. Whereas his last efforts have either been cheeky or serious, this encompasses a varied mix of both.

Different Gear, Still Speeding

From the dusky rock n’ roll of opening track ‘Four Letter Word’ we get surprisingly biting lyrics and raucous tunes. Yes it is going to sound like a rip of Oasis and therefore a rip off of every other rock and roll band that has existed. But as the voice of a generation, how can you change and not deliver the goods that people are so familiar with? One thing is clear from this effort, tracks like ‘The Roller’, ‘Standing On The Edge Of The Noise’, ‘Beatles and Stones’ show how being Noelless has encouraged a sense of freedom within theband. The tracks sound raw and Liam is offering his best vocals in 10 years. It is echoing his past, but the final track ‘The Beat Goes On’ offers the gentle strum akin to ‘Digsy’s Dinner’.

Computers and Blues

First single off the album ‘Going Through Hell’ is a decent introduction to the style of this record. Featuring Robert Harvey from The Music, it reminds us of the hysteria when you first heard ‘Fit But You Know It’. This album’s highlights though are ‘Trust Me’ and ‘Those That Don’t Know’. The first being a very brief piano/house combination that shouldn’t work, but amazingly does. The latter being a nod towards UK Garage.

Beady Eye are offering an exciting future that I believe will prove a few doubters very wrong with this release. We await Noel’s response with baited breath now…

F inal track Lock the Locks will yank at the heartstrings the most. A marvellous slab of industrial soul, it includes a smoky Clare Maguire vocal and the timeless couplet, “Read the funny card signed by all / That was purchased by the person I will always recall”. A parting gift to grip, sadden and elate. You’ll be missed, Mike!



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PJ Harvey


2007’s ‘White Chalk’ saw Polly Jean Harvey reimagining the Dorset of her childhood against a backdrop of stark, spectral folk. That foundation remains on ‘Let England Shake’, but it has been gently overlaid with richer arrangements and the ever-present shadow of war that hangs above it.

Build A Rocket Boys” isn’t a reaction to anything. It’s neither Top 5-be-damned experimental noise terror nor 11 string-soaked attempts to rewrite One Day Like This. It’s simply another excellent Elbow record.

Let England Shake

‘All and Everyone’ describes the corpses of horsemen littering a battlefield, over which “death was in the staring sun,” while single ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ laments the futility of trying to “take my problems to the United Nations” in its haunting refrain. This strident lyrical content, peppered with violent imagery, requires a deft musical touch to prevent the songs descending into melodrama. Accordingly, the instrumentation floats in the background, rather than forcefully emphasising Harvey’s narrative. ‘Let England Shake’ is one of PJ Harvey’s more intricate and ambitious projects; in a career defined by shifts in direction, it marks yet another success.


Build A Rocket Boys!

Written while touring, recorded at Salford’s Blueprint Studios, it’s an album that maximises the use of light and shade, texture and mood, in contrast to The Seldom Seen Kid’s autumnal melancholy. Garvey has already spoken about the first song ‘Lippy Kids’, inspired by “getting really annoyed when kids are demonised in the press”, the atmosphere of warm nostalgia completed by swelling choir and simply twinkling guitar. ‘With Love’ shows Garvey has been soaking up all those contemporary sounds on his 6music radio show, with a not do dubstep’s empty spaces that makes effective use of handclaps, piano strings and the Hallé Youth Choir to carry its “love will find you out” message. You can’t beat a bit of Elbow to raise the spirits!




One Direction Queen’s Square, Wolverhampton On a cold wintery night in Wolverhampton, a mass of 4000 people are impatiently waiting in the City Centre’s Queen’s Square. Why? Because they await the arrival of X Factor Mogul, Simon Cowell and his finalists, One Direction (Featuring our own Liam Payne.

which reults in over 30 people being hurt and removed from the arena. However, Simon steps onto the stage amid squeals from young girls and Mothers alike. As One Direction hit the stage, the temperature rises as the youngsters see their fans for the first time.

The boy from Bushbury had entered the series on his own and was subsequently given a reprieve as a member of a boy band by the X Factor Judges.

They only play 4 songs, which includes Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ and Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’.

The show is already running so late that they have to cut the support act and go straight for the Simon and the band. But minutes before the Pop Mogul takes to the stage, a small fight breaks out on the front barrier Soundcheck Magazine

They are not amazing, but certainly can sing a tune and carry the charisma that the industry requires by today’s standards. They did not win the TV series, but then again, neither did JLS and look at them now!


You Me At Six Civic Hall, Wolverhampton Fresh from fighting through the X-Factor crowd, we make our way to the Civic Hall for the young Emo rockers You Me At Six.

quintet persistently please, blasting out songs including ‘Finders Keepers’ and ‘If I Were In Your Shoes’.

Having missed the two support acts we arrive just before the headliners leap and bound onto the sizeable stage, it is unsurprising that screams and cheers echo around the vast venue. Having performed a sell-out show at the Civic Hall the day before, it is evident that YMA6 have high expectations for this evening, with Franceschi insisting the audience get moving along to the music. Bursting into their hour-long set with ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, the pop-punks ooze energy and appear genuinely delighted to be playing. Successfully sparking singalongs, the Surrey

However, it is the unexpected acoustic numbers that prove to be the most significant with the spectators. Stripped back to basics, ‘Always Attract’ and ‘Fireworks’ trigger colossal crowd chants. Proficiently picking up the pace as their set draws to a close, the Southerners belt out hit singles ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Underdog’. You Me At Six deliver an exciting performance, with the sell out crowd eating out of the palm of their hands, the band definitely demonstrate that they belong in venues of this size.



Reef / Young Aviators Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton West Country Surf Rockers, Reef hit the intimate setting of The Wulfrun Hall to entertain a sell out crowd. Hot on the heels of their sell out ‘come back’ shows back in April last year, they decided to round the year off with a few more dates, culminating in Wolves. Technically it was a sense of a ‘homecoming’ show as singer Gary Stringer is a diehard Wolves fan. Having spent this year playing festivals and their own dates, it really does not feel like the band have been away for 7 years at all. They are tight, faultless, and tracks like ‘Come Back Brighter’, ‘Set The Record Straight’, ‘Naked’ and ‘Choose To Live’ show that they Soundcheck Magazine

are also timless. In today’s society of pop charts, that is an achievable accolade. As well as the Rock side of the band, the more tender ‘Consideration’ gains a mass singalong and arms in the air communal feel, but their one big hit ‘Place Your Hands’ gets one of the biggest reactions, but is placed mid set. You forget as the gig goes on the appeal this band have. ‘Yer Old’ gets the Wulfrun bouncing and ‘End’ typically closes the set. With the smiles left on their faces, I think they are already formulating plans for next year. I hope so, because if you missed out, you missed a big treat of 2010.


Motorhead Civic Hall, Wolverhampton What can be said about the institution that is Motorhead? On tour to celebrate their thirty fifth anniversary and promote their twentieth studio album – in an age of instant celebrity, these two statistics are remarkable to put it mildly. The gig itself leant too heavily on more recent material. Have a glance though the setlist and you’ll probably agree there’s several glaring omissions. “Bomber” and “Motorhead” for starters without really having to delve deeper. What they played they played well, although to my ears it was just a tad too clinical. Motorhead have always had a strong punk vibe, and the clarity of the sound, coupled with the precision of the playing, detracted from

this. They were good, but I expected far more. It wasn’t a case of going through the motions, but there seemed to be very little passion or conviction to it all. Perhaps I’m being overcritical, or maybe this was a slightly off night, but the end result was slightly underwhelming. It is ‘Ace of Spades’ that draws the biggest reaction, noteable as their signature tune to the masses. If the time to grow old (dis)gracefully is drawing near? Motorhead’s, and Lemmy’s, influence on extreme metal cannot be underestimated , and I’m sure they’ll continue for some time to come yet. Without wishing to tempt fate, I wonder what odds you’d get at the bookies’ for a fortieth anniversary tour?



The Coral / Delta Maid The Underground, Stoke Wavertree singer-songwriter Delta Maid and Hoylake’s The Coral teamed up to provide a quality eveing of entertainment of acoustic delight at Stoke’s incredibly intimate venue, The Underground. Delta Maid, 25, appeared undaunted stepping out for her second consecutive evening supporting the nation’s favourite purveyors of psychedelic country-rock/pop. Her rootsy voice and bluesy guitar playing on tunes such as Don’t Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down and Broken Branches could’ve come straight out of Mississippi. The Coral (or at least three of them on this occasion) arrived in their usual reticent Soundcheck Magazine

manner, armed only with three acoustic guitars and breath-taking harmonies. They then proceeded to race effortlessly through a career-spanning set including stripped down versions of most of their new album Butterfly House, various lost gems and simplified renditions of hits such as Jacqueline, In The Morning, Goodbye, Bill McCai and finally a rousing Dreaming of You. They even found the time to squeeze in a further nod to Liverpool’s musical heritage with a cover of ‘one of the greatest songs of all time’ according to Skelly; Ticket To Ride by The Beatle and the John Lennon covered Stand By Me by Ben E King.


Manic Street Preachers o2 Academy, Birmingham Having already been postponed from October because of James Dean Bradfield’s illness, it was easy to sense the anticipation in the crowd tonight. The Manics may not be used to playing such small surroundings in recent years, but the intimate feel of the O2 Academy offered the chance to see them up close and personal. Any fears that they were sliding gracefully into middle age, were quickly dispelled as both Bradfield and Wire pogo and pirouette their way through a set which includes: ‘Everything Must Go’, ‘Roses In The Hospital’, ‘This Is Yesterday’, ‘Australia’, ‘La Tristesse Durera’, ‘Motown Junk’ and ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’.

Among the highlights of a storming show was Bradfield’s solo acoustic spot. He had the entire audience eating out of the palm of his hand with a sing-along rendition of ‘You Stole The Sun From My Heart’, followed by Wham’s festive favourite ‘Last Christmas’, before Sean and Nicky returned to the stage and launched straight into the monstrous ‘Faster’. As they headed towards the finish with ‘Golden Platitudes’, and ‘Suicide Is Painless’ , the soldout Birmingham crowd were whipped into a final frenzy for the epic curtain-closer ‘A Design For Life’. The only way to sum up by saying it was worth the wait. Let’s hope the tour again very very soon.

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CINEMA REVIEWS Black Swan Starring – Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder and Barbara Hershey. Reviewed by Andy Gillard Black Swan appears to be a film which has divided some critics, whilst the vast majority give it a resounding ‘thumbs-up’, there are the detractors who criticise the film for being “rather obvious” (Guardian), “lurid, melodramatic (and) over-thetop” (Financial Times) and saying “nothing much happens” (Barry Norman), well there alone is very good reason as to why Barry Norman is not presenting Film 2011. Black Swan is a great example of a genre-movie; in that whilst the film itself doesn’t fit perfectly into one genre, the elements within the movie do. The over-bearing mother/child relationship (Psycho), life imitating art (Scream), psycho-pseudo lesbianism (Mulholland Drive) metamorphosis (The Fly), psychological torment (Silence of the Lambs) and the battle between good and evil (virtually every horror movie ever). Noticeably, most of the films which Black Swan pays homage to are horror and thriller movies. The story is about a ballet company who are putting on a performance of Swan Lake, a story about Odette (the White Swan) a princess who falls in love with a prince who falls in love with her evil sister – Odile (the Black Swan), this breaks Odette’s heart, causing her to commit suicide. The role of Odette and Odile are played by the same dancer, and whilst Nina (Natalie Portman) is perfect for the White Swan; as she has perfect technique. However the shows director, Leroy (Vincent Cassel) does not see the Black Swan within Nina; as the Black Swan needs passion and freedom. This film is about Nina’s journey from the virginal, perfectionist White to sexual and fancy-free Black - whilst struggling with her own psychosis and transformation Nina also has to put up with the arrival of Lily (Mila Kunis), the beautiful, carefree and sexual avant-garde dancer – the perfect fit for Odile. At its core, Black Swan is about a battle of Good vs. Evil taking place within the body of one person, whilst battling the outer demons of Leroy, her mother and her rival/her equal/ her role model/her antithesis Lily.

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10/10 Darren Aronofski really has, with this film shown what an auteur director he is. Within this film he harks back to the quest for perfectionism, theme of professional success leading to failure within their private life, the contrast between waking life and the dreaming world and obsessive behaviour, themes which have served Aronofski well in The Wrestler, π and Requiem for a Dream. Aronofski became very close to directing the current Batman films, instead he is now taking on The Wolverine due for release 2012, however his authorship is more suited the Dark Knight Detective and with Nolan’s magnificent trilogy coming to an end next summer, it would not be a surprise to see Aronofski take the reigns. For her performance here, Natalie Portman absolutely MUST win the Oscar for Best Actress; she has clearly suffered for her art and is more than deserving of the accolades and plaudits. She has finally given that performance we knew she was capable of since that 13 year old girl took to the screen in Leon. She has usually been the best thing in most of the films in which she has starred, but often the film has not matched her ability. For example, Portman’s performance in Closer was amazing, yet the film was total bobbins. The same can be argued about the Star Wars films in which she starred. Finally, she stars in a film worthy of her incredible talents; she has given us one of the all time great performances from a female lead. The real surprise here is that Black Swan is only nominated for 5 Oscars, Winona Ryder’s appearance as washed up, has-been Beth MacIntyre is both tragic and moving, faultless casting by Aronofski, Kunis as Lily the black swan to Nina’s white is true perfection. Barbara Hershey’s appearance as Nina’s mother is wonderful, like a subtle Kathy Bates in Misery. This film is as close to perfect as films come. The acting, the directing, the depth of script, the camera work, the mise-en-scene (the use of Mirrors within each scene is one of the most intelligent uses of setting the scene) and the art/costume design are some of the best work you will see on screen, not only this year but of the past 10. It is hard to believe a film about ballet could be as mind blowing as this; the final 30 minutes alone is absorbing, intense, utterly bonkers and truly brilliant. Like ballet, the film overcomes the boundaries of reality and normalcy and humdrum of real life, and delivers a wondrous experience.


The King’s Speech Starring – Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.

Reviewed by Andy Gillard When Colin Firth picked up the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, The King’s Speech was turned from a relatively small budget indie flick with a big cast into something of a juggernaut of a movie. From this early recognition from the mainstream, the hype surrounding the film has grown and grown, ultimately leading to Firth and Co. being BAFTA and Academy Award nominated. Made on a relative shoestring of a budget in comparison to the rest of the Big Hitters this year (Inception cost an estimated $160,000,000 – The King’s Speech a paltry $15,000,000), yet the small money available to Tom Hooper did not prevent him from delivering arguably his best work to date. The King’s Speech is a tale of King George VI’s (Firth) struggle to overcome a confidence shattering stammer. Having tried everything, his wife Elizabeth (Bonham Carter) is informed of a controversial and off-beat speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Rush). At its core The King’s Speech is a film about the friendship and camaraderie which grows between Prince Albert (later King George) and Lionel. This relationship is central to the success of the film; the way Logue breaks down the barriers which are built between the aristocracy and the common man helps to humanize Bertie (as Logue calls him). The real magic of Colin Firth’s performance comes from this growth of character brought about by his meetings with Logue; going from a shy, angry, victim into a leader of men, taking this country into the most bleak period of its history, in short he grows into a King – albeit a reluctant one, but something he could only achieve with Logue’s constant support, as Prince Albert has to deal with the death of his father, his inadequacy issues surrounding his brother and of course his brothers abdication and his own ascension to the thrown. When Rush and Firth aren’t on screen, the film loses its pizzazz a little; this is mostly because the other characters are generally dislikeable human beings. King George V (Michael Gambon) is a bully, King Edward VIII (Guy Pierce) is selfish and vacuous,

8/10 Elizabeth is a quintessential aristocrat thinking themselves to above the normal man and Derek Jacobi’s Archbishop is akin to Darth Sidious. When in their presence Bertie is weak and pitiful, but when alongside Lionel he is a giant. Aside from the friendship, the film does suffer slightly from a lack of depth within the story, and also there is a real sense that this film was made for the plaudits and awards. Had this film been out 6 or 7 months ago, it is unlikely that it would be up for 12 Oscars, but nonetheless, The King’s Speech is a real treat for those who admire a good story that is delivered well. It would be a great shame for the Academy to overlook Colin Firth, but they have a very tough decision to make this year.

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.

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