alice in chains // stereophonics // katherine jenkins
jls // lisa mitchell // all american rejects // tommy reilly
Also : CD REVIEWS // GIG REVIEWS // Movies // TV // GAMING // competitions
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Issue 4 2009 â—? www.thebanter.co.uk
6 Ones to Watch
We talk to Lisa Mitchell and take a look at Paper Planes, Black Gold and Camilla Kerslake
10 INTERVIEW - Stereophonics
Sarah Moyes talks to lead singer of Stereophonics, Kelly Jones
12 CD Reviews
All the latest CDs reviewed including The Saturdays, JLS and Paloma Faith
14 Interview - The Noisettes
Singer Shingai Shoniwa tells us about The Noisettes recent time in America and talks Hogmanay in Edinburgh
23 Gig Reviews
Animal Kingdom, Paolo Nutini, Green Day and more of the best Glasgow gigs reviewed
30 Interview - Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins talks to Ritchie Marshall about her new album, Believe, and her charity work
36 INTERVIEW Alice In Chains
Maxwell Lynas talks to one of the all time greatest Rock Bands
A look at the latest movies at the Cinema including 2012, Sherlock Holmes and the highly anticipated New Moon
44 Interview - Gerard Butler
Scottish Actor, Gerard Butler talks about his new movie Law Abiding Citizen
We take a look at the best current and upcoming games and give you the chance to win Lego Rock Band on PS3 and Cars Race-O-Rama on Xbox 360
We take a look at the best new TV programmes set to hit your screens in the New Year.
20 THE BANTER |
photography // Daren Borzynski
by amy macbeath
A finalist on Australian Idol, headlining sold-out tours across Oz with a gold selling debut album, playing around the UK with Newton Faulkner - and all this at the ripe old age of 19. Lisa Mitchell isn’t your ordinary teen and neither is her quirky pop. Finishing in sixth places on the television singing show spurred her on, helping decide a career in music was for her. But at the tender age of 15, the move to city of Sydney was a daunting one. “I was suddenly surrounded by people way older than me and all musically inclined,” explained Lisa. “I think career wise it wasn’t exactly the type of thing that I wanted to do but it did confirm what I did want to do, which was to make my own records and do my own little thing that I like to do.” Born in England, with a Scottish father, Lisa grew up in rural Australia. “I have many homes, Scotland is definitely one of the more homely homes if there is such a thing. I really love the West Coast, it’s gorgeous. “I get a lot of comfort out of being there probably because I have been there a lot when I was very young it’s a familiar kind of feeling,” explained Lisa, who now lives in London and is signed to Sony’s Little Victories label. The summer saw the release of her debut Album, ‘Wonder’, a collection of folk inspired pop songs she describes as a diary of her music, with each entry her own personal thoughts and experiences: “I am a bit of chronic journalist and note taker so build up my thoughts and look back through the pages. “A lot of the inspiration comes from this and the little poetry type notes from my personal experiences and what has been mulling in my head,” added Lisa. And many will recognise the single ‘Neapolitan Dream’ after its appearance on television adverts – for most an introduction to | THE BANTER
the sugar coated offerings of the singer-songwriter: “People find things familiar or that they have heard before, when we usually play Neapolitan Dreams there’s a big ‘ahhhh, I know this song’. They must be very curious from their point of view to see what the rest of my music is like - it’s acted as a sneak preview.” So what does the year ahead hold for the Australian singer? Well, for starters she will be hitting the double decade mark: “I turn 20 which I still can’t get my head around,” said Lisa. Also on the cards is more touring, including an Australian theatre tour as well as more festival appearances after whistle-stop visit to last year’s Glastonbury. But there is one festival in particular Lisa Mitchell has her eye on: “I would love to play T in the Park; I absolutely live for festivals so any festival opportunities are eagerly grabbed by me. I promise you any opportunity I get to play T in the Park and I will be there.”
Music PAPER PLANES 15 WWW.MYSPACE.COM/GLASGOWPAPERPLANES
BLACK GOLD PG www.blackgoldmusic.com
DiIt’s easy kudos to come from a city that’s already given us bands like The Hold Steady and MGMT. It kind of gives your band this cool name tag before anyone has even heard your songs. Saying that, I have friends in Brooklyn so I know that not all the bands there are great, in fact only a fair few are. Luckily for Black Gold they are pretty decent. And probably do merit the cool rating that Brooklyn gives them. Forming in early 2006, the indie-rock duo of Eric Ronick (lead vocals and keyboards) and Than Luu (drums, guitar, percussions and vocals) have spent most of their time on the road. But when you get to tour with acts like Panic At The Disco and Ambulance LTD, it’s a job that will make most us turn green. Their debut album Rush is already doing the rounds on hit TV shows like One Tree Hill. And okay, so it’s hardly a landmark in a bands career but considering they tend to use bands they predict to be the next big thing, it does hold some merit. Lead single ‘Plans and Reveries’ has hit written all over it, its catchy enough to be played in those little quirky clubs hidden in cities around the world and get people dancing. Plus there’s a couple of great remixes, with The Teenagers doing a particularly good one. The funky beats of ‘Detroit’ prove Black Gold to be far from a one trick pony, it’s lined with electro riffs and those same catchy vibes that won us with the first place. I think Black Gold may have just taken Brooklyn’s crown.
’Glasgow’s Paper Planes have been getting rave reviews from pretty much every critic they’ve come up against. So here at Banter, we thought we would check them out and see exactly what all the fuss is about. The three part Scottish/one part American outfit is fronted by New Jersey beauty Jennifer Paley, who juggles fronting one of the cities most exciting bands with the constraints of not having a permanent visa. The rest of the line up is completed by Craig O’Brien (Drums), Fraser McFadzean (Bass) and Christopher Haddow (Guitar). Their debut single ‘Doris Day’ has that old school New York vibe, which is pretty much a given since they girl belting out the vocals hails from there. Their other influences are pretty varied with Orange Juice, Interpol and The Cramps making the shortlist. All of them come shinning through in the backdrop for one hell of a catchy record that’ll have you dancing till the sun comes up. Their infectious riffs continue through the ragged pop-rock ‘Permament Marker’ and rock-a-billy beats and souring riffs of ‘Restless’. The perfect introduction to this new band would be ‘Doris Day’ but the other songs on their MySpace are well worth
photography // Daren Borzynski
a listen too. After all, we all need to brush up on their lyrics so we’re not the only ones miming when the mass sing-along starts at their next gig.
CAMILLA KERSLAKE www.camillakerslake.com
With a dream for the world to hear her voice, she camped outside a London Studio for weeks knowing Take That were recording there. Determined to be noticed she eventually got her chance when Gary Barlow took a copy of her demo. Camilla Kerslake is a 21-year-old classical singer with anelusive voice. Recently signed to Future Records, Gary Barlow’s label, her debut single, ‘She Moved Through the Fair’, was pushed heavily on Radio 2 and championed by Terry Wogan. Her self titled debut album, out now, has been produced by the legendary Mike Hedges and features her own version of Take Thats ‘Rule the World’. THE BANTER |
Eoghan Colgan The Young Doctor Who’s Given Up Medicine for Music By Amy Ferguson
oghan Colgan’s resume is unique: at just thirty years old he has spent the past eleven years combining training and working as a doctor with singing and song-writing. Now the young Irish musician, who won the O2 Undiscovered prize in 2007, has given up his medical career to pursue his dream of becoming a successful musician. Originally from Belfast, Eoghan moved to Glasgow a few years ago, but with strong ties in Ireland he splits his time between the two countries – a move which was reflected in his Scottish/Irish tour earlier in the year, during which he released his single, ‘Dream Satellite.’ | THE BANTER
Interview After a particularly successful year during which he’s played the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, The Grazia Magazine Fashion Awards, The Scottish Fashion Awards and the Q Awards Nomination Ceremony at London’s O2 Arena alongside Athlete, Hard-Fi and the Manic Street Preachers, Eoghan has decided that his career lies in the music industry. Eoghan plays guitar and piano competently during his sets, but his vocals are his main strength. He has a strikingly melodic voice, which has been compared to the late Jeff Buckley, and he has been championed by Scottish radio personality Jim Gellatly. Jim just added him to his 29th collection of ‘New Music’, which is available for free from iTunes and Radio Magnetic. Now spending his time touring and producing an album, which he hopes to have completed by the end of the year, Eoghan believes he’s made the right choice by giving up medicine: “I’ve always been more artistic than academic – when I was at school I was massively into sport, but I gave it up when I was about sixteen for reasons I won’t go into, and it was about that time I picked up the guitar so that then became my new outlet.” Whilst many see medicine as a vocation, Eoghan finds it hard to get enthusiastic about his academic achievements: “I was one of these annoying people that always did ok in exams, and I did study, but my heart wasn’t really in it.” The high-profile gigs of the past year, on the other hand, have encouraged Eoghan’s ambitions for his new band: “We’re just always looking for new bigger venues. In Glasgow I’d like to play the Barrowlands, but going ridiculously big I’d have to say somewhere like Slain Castle in Ireland, where I’ve seen big bands like Coldplay and U2, I don’t want to set my sights too high.” Far from suffering from stage-fright, Eoghan says venues are his biggest concern before gigs: “I don’t worry about the performance, I’m always confident about that. You just have no idea how ticket sales have gone and I always think it’s great if there’s a big crowd when you come on stage.” Eoghan has been touring Scotland and Ireland over the last couple of months with his new band – a tour which he has had to fund himself after several disappointments within the industry. When talking to Eoghan the passion for his music and his self-belief is quickly evident, and he’s clearly frustrated by his lack of success with record labels: “You can only rely on yourself, I’ve been let down so many times, I’d rather do it myself so I know where I stand, I know what I need to organise and when I need it organised – I’ll just do it on my own.” Going out on his own isn’t a decision he’s taken lightly but, whilst he’s disillusioned with record labels and music managers, Eoghan still has enough confidence to believe he can make it as a musician: “I’d been struggling my career for a few years, I wasn’t that far developed and they said “you’re very good but we just want to hear a few more songs and see what happens” and I thought I’m sick of this s***, I’m not getting any younger, and I think some of my songs are good enough that I could put them out myself.” Whilst Eoghan’s medical qualification hasn’t led him to a lifelong career it’s given him the ability to become musically independent: “ I’m fortunate because I have a good job and I earn a decent wage, and at least I can afford it, so I thought
I’ll set up my own label and just do it for myself and I’m really working b***** hard. I’m tired out, I’ve been working twelve hour days every day for months on end but it’s really rewarding – I’ve learned so much and made so many contacts and really enjoyed it.” It’s hard to believe that a career in music could be more taxing, or more rewarding, than a career in medicine, but Eoghan’s enthusiasm is unquestionable. From giving up a safe career in medicine to managing his own music career, his ambition is unwavering – although he admits to having limits: “I don’t think I could continue doing it forever, actually the music side of things has suffered. I haven’t written a song in months. I just have no time - I’m either working to pay for it or I’m on the phone booking dates, or PR people, or organising videos, so I don’t think you could do it well forever – but just for this short stint it’s been brilliant.” Eoghan’s boy-next-door looks and ability to converse easily with everyone around him offsets his determination and almost intimidating self-belief. He manages to pass off his self-confidence as charming rather than conceited, and finds no shame in self-promotion – vital capabilities now that he’s doing it all on his own. This ex-medic even has a musical remedy for the recession: “I’ve never sat down and thought ‘I’m going to write a song about such and such’, Dream Satellite came out of the credit crunch - it was something very much on people’s minds, and we thought people want something to give them a lift, something happy. If their mood’s down they don’t want to switch on the radio and hear down music and just be down all the time. They want a bit of escapism I guess.” His choice of subjects for songs reflect things which affect him, whether they be political or personal: “I wrote a song about Barack Obama three years ago before anyone had ever heard of him, I wrote a song about the Tsunami disaster, and Hurricane Katrina, and it can get a bit emotional but there’s also a lot of love songs, a lot of upbeat songs – it’s a mixed bag.” Whilst Eoghan has been recognised as a talented songwriter by several critics and radio personalities, he confesses that it’s not something that comes naturally to him: “I find it all monotonous and quite a chore; it’s lovely when you get the final song but sometimes you can bash your head against a wall and it gets frustrating.” However, whilst he may struggle sometimes with the composition, the performance is what makes it all worthwhile. When talking to Eoghan about playing gigs there’s a distinguishable excitement which makes it a bit easier to understand why he’s given up a secure, well-paying career for the unpredictable and uncertain life of a musician: “There’s nothing like getting up onstage when the songs are all there and you’ve rehearsed them and there’s a room of people in front of you, there’s no better feeling in the world.” Eoghan’s belief in his own ability to succeed is contagious, and whilst he has a good profession waiting for him if he doesn’t make it in the music industry; it’s obvious which job he’d rather be doing. Eoghan’s single, Dream Satellite, is available to download from iTunes and other music sites.
THE BANTER |
It’s been almost twelve years since we first heard ‘Local Boy in the Photograph’, a single taken from their debut album ‘Word Gets Around’, one that would ultimately become the soundtrack to so many teenage parties and many more first gigs. Since then Stereophonics have went onto release six more records, including the most recently titled ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ . So how does a band from the small town Cwmaman in South Wales become one of the UK biggest bands? Well we caught up with lead singer Kelly Jones to talk about the new record, touring and their new younger fan base… You’re new album is just out, how does it differ from your previous records? It’s pretty different actually. It’s our 7th studio album now and I think on the back of doing the ‘Decade In The Sun’ thing last year, the greatest hits album, and compiling all those six albums together on one record, we realised that each album did have a different sound. We just wanted to keep pushing those boundaries a bit really, we wanted to make a record that was very strong song-wise but we wanted to create something that sounded different. So we tried some different producers and I think we’ve hit on something we’ve never 10 | THE BANTER
done before on this record. One version of the new album comes with a Bonus DVD, what can people expect from it? There’s going to be a DVD of us in the studio and some behind the scenes stuff from the greatest hits arena tour. It’s a good quality kind of thing. We’ve always got a guy following us around and we record almost every live show, so it’s good man, there’s some good stuff on there. Obviously you’ve done the greatest hits tour before, but will you still be including a lot of hit singles in set list for the March tour? Yeah we’re going to be playing tracks that people want to hear and the tracks they’ve loved for the last ten or eleven years. The albums out in November and by the time we tour in March, hopefully people will know the new album really well too. We’re going to do a mixed collection of all our music. You’ve been playing Arenas for some time now, do you ever want to go out and play a smaller more intimate show? Well we’ve been playing Arenas for nine year in Britain now since our second record and we still get the opportunity to play some clubs and smaller venues and theatres all over the
Interview world in different places. We’re touring e European tour before the British tour, which is theatres from 1500 up so we get the chance to play all sorts of different forums across the world. Do you have a preference between club shows and arena tours? You get to do more of a show in an arena. It’s more of a concert, you get to have more fun with the production and with the lighting show and you’ve got a lot more scope to do things. And then in a club it’s more about rock’n’roll and a sweaty club gig. I love them both, and in an ideal world a band would be the same kind of stature all over the world, but for us it never work out that way, so we’ve ended up doing this whole back and forth kind of thing. So it keeps you quite edgy and keeps us hungry for doing things. When you look out in the audience, do you find a lot of the crowd are older fans who have been at your shows since the beginning or do you find a lot of younger new faces looking back at you? Yeah the audience is really varied. When Dakota came out and it was number 1, we had all these fourteen year olds in the front row, who thought it was our first ever single. So our band has always thankfully picked up new fans every record.
their first or second album. That’s how we got our break, we opened up for Manic Street Preachers, Shunk Anansie and The Stones, all these people took us out when we were very young, and I think it’s important to do that. Are there any new bands you want to take on the road with you for the March tour? We just got the list in yesterday of all the different people, so we just need to look at it. I love that Temper Trap record; I think that’s really good. We’re going get together with the boys tomorrow and see what ones we want to take out. The tours doing really well at the moment, so I think it’s going to come down to a personal taste thing. It’s not like we need the band at this stage to sell the tickets for us, it’ll come down to who we want to watch every night before us. And finally, what lies ahead for Stereophonics in the next twelve months? Well next year we do the European tour at the end of January, which will take us into Europe. Then we’ll do Australia and Japan and then the festivals and continue touring this album to September and October and then that’ll be that album done and we’ll just wait and see as to what comes after that..
If you look at all the websites and all the kids that are on them, the age group are really young and it kind of goes back from people who followed the band since 1997. I think that’s how you achieve that thing when you play Arenas and play big concerts year after year, because if you don’t find new fans then that can’t really happen. If there are any new fans out there, what three songs would you recommend to give them a broad taste of your music? All the records are pretty varied, obviously ‘Dakota’ is the one most people know about. And then ‘Local boy in the photograph’ was the first ever single we released and that’s never not been in a live show. But then ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ was a bi song in Europe and American and it was at the end of that movie ‘Crash’ that went onto win an Oscar. Do you get a lot of say in what bands you take on tour to support you? We’ve always tried to pick brand new bands to take on the road. We took The Enemy, we took Dead 60’s, and we took The Courteeners. We always try to find someone who is on
STEREOPHONICS will perform an intimate Christmas show for fans at Classic Grand on December 12th to give them a sneak peek of latest album Keep Calm and Carry On before returning North of the Border again on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2010 in the Glasgow SECC. THE BANTER | 11
the saturdays Wordshaker polydor A Deemed ‘the new Girls Aloud’ when they first came out The Saturdays had been put on a pedestal before even bringing out their first song. ‘Chasing lights’ went platinum and received much applause. Songs such as ‘Up’ and ‘Work’ became part of the hot playlist in the hottest nightclubs. Their second album ‘Wordshaker’ includes their new song ‘forever is over’ which shows off the girls’ vocals to extreme. This album is aimed mainly at the ladies with fierce songs such as ‘ego’, ‘one shot’ and ‘wordshaker’ which is seemingly about a manipulative liar who twists words (possibly male) and is one of those songs for the girls to have a good old man moan together whilst listening to. This album is more grown up and experimental than the first as they play around with rock and electro themes. If you liked Lady Gaga’s ‘The fame’ you will love this too. lisa boyle
AFI Crash Love
polydor AFI are back with the follow up to 2006’s platinum ‘Decemberunderground’ . Crash Love is possibly the bands strongest album to date in their 15 year long career. This album is a straight up rock album and evolves on what the band had been doing previously The albums opening song ‘Torch love’ slowly fades in with nice, almost haunting sort of sound before the guitars come comes in with a big riff. It’s a nice opener to the album, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Some of the albums stand out songs “Darling, I Want to Destroy You.” “It was mine” and “Go grab your bag, I’ll bring the gun.” This is a great new album and sound from the band, and should please a lot of the older fans and possibly bring in some new ones as well.
12 | THE BANTER
editors In This Light And On This Evening SoNY MUSIC Music to match the gloomy weather; it’s horrible outside with the nights getting darker, everything is far wetter and the Editors capture that feeling of epic doom with “In This Light And On This Evening”. Gone are the catchy guitar based tunes in favour of a return to the 80s’ synthesised sound with heavy lyrics and gloomy melodies. Yet, in all this gloom and doom there’s something charming about their new release. Papillon has a uptempo beat about it, reminiscent of the new romantic era but with vocals carrying a depth belying that time period. Somehow this medley of new and old, moody and enlightening work well together, indicating the Editors have stretched their legs following the success of their previous two albums. Time has yet to tell whether it’s a move too far for the established fans, however this new sound could well earn them respect in a whole new area of music lovers. That said, if it’s a cheering up you’re after, then steer clear – feel good music it most certainly isn’t. clare sinclair
KAren O AND THE KIDS Where The Wild
Things Are polydor group This album is the OST for the film of the same name. Director Spike Jonze has a close relationship with the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s front woman, Karen O, and is likely how this project came about. This soundtrack is folky and diverse and there is no set tone on the album. The album’s lead single ‘All is Love’ starts off very fast paced with a catchy melody. There is also a children’s choir that is present throughout a few songs on the soundtrack which adds a lot to the general mood of the album. Overall, a great listen for a soundtrack and defiantly something worth picking up. emma goldie
Music jamie t Kings And Queens EMI The Wimbledon troubadour returns with his second album Kings and Queens after two years in the making. Although it’s been a while coming, with numerous false starts but the follow up to Mercury nominated Panic Prevention was worth the wait. A mix up of punk, reggae, hip-hop and folk, 23 year old Jamie Treays’ has even added acoustic melancholy to the equation this time. Opening with ‘368’ which has a helium voiced chorus guaranteed to be stuck in your head for hours but typical of Jamie T in terms of his spat out lyrics and streetwise tales. ‘Hocus pocus’ demonstrates the variety of influences in his work which evidently spreads as far as Dylan, his voice husky and the words strangely poetic. The album’s first release, the rebellious ‘Sticks and stones’ remains one of its strongest, rapped anecdotes of trouble making with his mates sewn into infectious melodies and ‘The man’s machine’ with a prominent bass echo throughout, has a punk attitude about his rhymes. Lively ‘Chaka Demus’ uses what appears to be the Banana Splits theme tune albeit with somewhat more crude language than the characters of the retro kid’s show. ‘Spider’s web’ expresses the panic of being trapped amid the hustle and bustle and ‘Castro Dies’ bears uncanny resemblance to Eminem, if he came from Camden that is. “Earth, wind and fire’ opens with a sample of Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin once again demonstrating his passion for using whatever is at hand for his music. The stark contrast between the beautiful, haunting vocals and his lyrics is only made stranger with Treays’ deep chorus which sounds like a Johnny Cash impersonation. It doesn’t work on paper but weirdly moulds together for a decent song although ‘British intelligence’ (which has met with comparison to Kaiser Chiefs) aims for punk but is a slight let down. Pleasantly surprising is ‘Emily’s heart’, stripped backed to acoustic with Treays’ heartfelt crooning exposing a vulnerability in his song writing which is also the case with ‘Jilly Armeen’. Again opting for the uncharacteristic acoustics and a ukelele as his instrument of choice he proves he has more surprises up his sleeve. An artist whose music classification normally wouldn’t appeal, Jamie T definitely has captured something unique - a cheeky wit which doesn’t fail to be controversial and dark yet surprisingly loveable all at the same time. Jamie T returns with more of his cheeky streetwise banter on Kings and Queens. Following his Mercury nominated 2007 album, Panic Prevention, the Wimbledon lad succeeded in packing a whole lot of punk, hip hop and attitude into the final track list. Catchy opener ‘368’, recent single ‘Sticks and stones’ and ‘Chaka Demus’ are more of the Jamie T known and loved. ‘Emily’s heart’ and ‘Jilly Armeen’ are a change of pace, swapping the acoustic base and the spat out lyrics for a more ballad like croon. The all too often used word ‘matured’ could be applied to this album as his sound has, but let’s just hope this doesn’t happen too quickly as the mischievous debauchery is what makes his music what it is. amy macbeath
ian brown My Way polydor Just like everybody else, I would love it if The Stone Roses reformed. Not so they could do a greatest hits tour and then charge a fortune for a seat but so they could go back into the studio and another record. But as Ian Brown drops another great solo album in front of us, the reunion slips further and further away. There were rumours that the record was inspired by Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and the opener ‘Stelify’ is certainly the anthem of the album. It’s everything Ian Brown is known for, laced in catchy melodies and lyrics that stick in your head after only a few listens. ‘Always Remember Me’ is the one that’ll melt your heart, while ‘Marathon Man’ makes you want to dance. It’s nothing short of a brilliant album that all his fans should own. JLS JLS
sony music JLS are the closest thing to boy-band phenomena since Westlife and their first album JLS is as close to pure pop as it comes. However with songs such as ‘Keep you’ and ‘One shot’ laced with urban and electro sounds, these heart-throbs are a tad edgier than most boybands. This addictive album is one to blast before a night on the tiles. No.1 hit ‘Beat again’ seems to be the most memorable track on the album. Although the lyrics are not so creative ‘lets just get back together / we should’ve never broke up’ you can’t help but want to copy the heart pumping actions seen in the video. Their second hit ‘Everybody in love’ is a tad cheesy for most but will bring anyone back to the sweet memories of the pop-obsessed nineties. With this, you won’t have to worry about your younger sister’s Christmas present. lisa boyle
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Music pixie lott Turn It Up mercury The peroxide invasion is well and truly upon us. With redhead La Roux cutting one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year, Pixie Lott’s debut album, Turn It Up, raises its colours for the blondes alongside tabloid and dance floor favourite Lady Gaga. The battle of the new female face of pop has begun. It’s the album’s lot in life to revive the face of female RnB in British music. Owing much to Destiny’s Child and Mariah Carey, Pixie Lott drags the soul of the album back to the zesty pop tunes of the late nineties. The stateside, carnival spirit of Christina Aguilera is here and transcendently brushed with recognisable flecks of both early and recent Alicia Keys. And the undeniable British influence? Well, that’s Eternal.
alice in chains Black Gives Way To Blue
14 years have passed since the last Alice In Chains studio album and a lot has happened since then; the world economy has collapsed, 9/11, the second Gulf War and unfortunately for Alice In Chains they tragically lost their singer. Layne Staley died seven years ago and many believed that to be the end of Alice In Chains but 2005 saw the surviving members come together and reunited at a benefit for victims of the tsunami in Indonesia and the seeds of an Alice In Chains return were sown. 2006 saw the band announce their formal reunion and used their small United States club tour, several festival dates in Europe and a brief tour in Japan to “pay tribute to the songs and to Staley.” 2008 saw the band start the recording process for their new album Black Gives Way to Blue. William DuVall steps into the breach to assume the role of frontman and singer and he does so seamlessly, replacing Staley’s haunting voice with his own vocal style and talent. Even with Staley’s unique howling voice gone; this album is classic Alice In Chains, Jerry Cantrell, the band’s guitarist/songwriter and co-vocalists, is still here weaving his riffs in and out of DuVall’s vocals and providing those eerie harmonies of Alice in Chains lore. From the opening notes of All Secrets Known, the listener will know Alice In Chains are back. Their trademark sound of “melodic melancholia wrapped around gravity-laden guitars” will make sure of that. The first single Check My Brain arrives with a crushing riff then blasts through a down-tuned melody before sailing into a sing-along chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in the AIC back catalogue. While the likes of Last of My Kind and A Looking In View could be the heaviest sounds Alice In Chains have created to date. Staley might be gone but he is definitely not forgotten as the title track (which sees a guest appearance from Elton John) is Alice In Chains’ tribute to their deceased friend and singer and it is a genuinely moving and beautiful one. Black Gives Way to Blue heralds the return of one of America’s most influential rock bands.
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When ‘Mama Do’ topped the charts in July, a summer anthem was born. With its 1960s bop-she-wop sounds and soulful vocal slides, Pixie Lott could have claimed Amy Winehouse’s beehive as Queen of British soul. This album plays aural contortionism, twisting from upbeat, loud and unadulterated pop to slow, winding and mellow piano ballads. The Pixie Lott of ‘Mama Do’ is completely unrecognisable in the deep emotion of ‘Nothing Compares’. This artist changes her style as easily as The Supremes changed their wigs; the effect is a well balanced album that feels all of the seasons of life. These are songs of love and heartbreak which sweetly sum up the funny little quirks of our times. With a sweet observational voice, Lott describes the place of everything in love, stretching from email to Unhappy Ever After nature of fairytale romance. Though titles such as ‘Hold Me in Your Arms’ will be familiar to anyone who has ever felt all warm and fuzzy during the shimmering opening titles of Neighbours, the smoothness of Lott’s voice goes some way in disguising the clichéd lyrics which so regularly undermine the album’s emotional content. Despite this, Pixie Lott’s debut is an enjoyable twelve track album which foils expectation with every song. Though the content might not be as sophisticated as La Roux’s, her remarkable voice is undoubtedly one of the best in the charts. And, Afterall, gentlemen prefer blondes. With redhead La Roux cutting her critically acclaimed album this year, Pixie Lott’s debut, Turn It Up, raises its colours for blondes. It’s the album’s lot to revive the face of British female RnB. Owing much to Mariah Carey, Pixie Lott channels the zesty pop of late nineties. The carnival spirit of Christina Aguilera is transcendently brushed with recognisable flecks of Alicia Keys. The British influence? That’s Eternal. With ‘Mama Do’s bopshe-bop sounds and soulful vocal slides, Pixie Lott could have claimed Amy Winehouse’s beehive as Queen of British soul. An aural contortionist, this album feels all seasons. Though titles such as ‘Hold Me in Your Arms’ will feel familiar all too familiar to some, the smoothness of Lott’s voice helps disguise the clichés which undermine the album’s emotional content. scott purvis
bowling for soup Sorry For Partyin’ Explicit lyrics They (whoever they are) say you learn something new every day, well today’s lesson for me was that pop-punk Texans Bowling For Soup are a Grammy- and Emmy-nominated band with over a million album sales to their credit Not bad for a band commonly dismissed as a comedy band. Bowling For Soup return with their tenth (!) studio album, Sorry for Partyin’ this month and it is filled with catchy hooks, witty lyrics and fart and dick jokes... so nothing new then and that is not a bad thing. Sorry for Partyin’ is an unashamed Bowling For Soup album, even with the band in their 30s, they follow if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it philosophy. Frontman Jaret Reddick recently said: “We know there are lots of people out there who think guys in their 30s shouldn’t be writing about stuff like their ‘Wena’ and farts and beers and chicks.” (All present and correct on Sorry for Partyin’.) “But I say why not? What should guys in their 30s be writing about? The economy? War? Organic food versus non-organic? We like funny movies, and we like to drink beer and talk smack about each other’s moms. There’s nothing contrived about it—this is who we are.” Fans of the band will no doubt be glad to hear Jaret’s words and will be glad that the band are still churning out comedy hits like Hooray for Beer and No Hablo Inglés, which will no doubt slot into the band’s set list alongside hits such as 1985, High School Never Ends and Girl All The Bad Guys Want. First single My Wena is a tongue in cheek love song laced with double entendres (you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out!) that will no doubt once again slot into Bowling For Soup’s greatest hits. Sorry for Partyin’ is no great musical achievement but it will no doubt put a smile on your face, at least once and maybe even for the whole 50 minute runtime, and I have no doubt Bowling For Soup will regard that as an achievement.
Jet Shaka Rock eleven seven The latest release from Jet – the hard rocking, beer guzzling guys still living in the shadow of brilliant hit single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” – is the biggest balls-out-rock-n-roll album to come out of Australia since AC/DC last rocked the charts.The band sounds confident and the production is great, but something seems to be missing with this album – there is no heart. The biggest problem with Shaka Rock is the lack of any truly brilliant songwriting. Although the instrumental sections lead off in some fairly interesting directions, the lyrics fluctuate between stale and stupid. Most of the album sounds like filler material, as you wait in vain for Jet to launch into something as big – and as meaningful – as their awe-inspiring 2003 hit. Jet don’t sound as if they have moved on very far at all since their first album: with Shaka Rock, they seem to pander to the same ClassicRock-nostalgia audience they tried to win over with their first two albums. However, this third album would have been a good platform for the band to come up with something more original and unique instead of racking up more dad-rock clichés – including an addition to the paedo-rock canon (think “Only Seventeen” by Winger; “Christine Sixteen” by KISS) with the song “Seventeen”. It’s not all bad – the songs can be genuinely memorable, in particular “K.I.A” and “She’s a Genius” – the first single from the album, which hit Number 124 in the UK Singles Chart. And, to their credit, Jet manage to keep the energy high throughout Shaka Rock – boosted by undeniable rock swagger, strong production and the enviable vocals of frontman Nic Cester. This album is full of catchy - but ultimately pointless – songs. If you are looking to rock out to something fun, loud and nonsensical (“K.I.A. baby, I’m your target/K.I.A. in the supermarket”), this is the album for you.
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paloma faith Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful sony music We have all heard and read a lot about Paloma Faith being a ‘clean version of Amy Winehouse’. This comparison does neither of the two justice, and this is merely the only reason why I mention it in this review. Before people pigeon-hole vocal colours and musical styles and then hastily jump to conclusions about marketing-strategies, they should rather listen to her album first. You sometimes wonder if they actually take the time to do so ... The style of ‘Do you want the truth or something beautiful’ varies from jazzy to soul-pop and a-bit-of-everything, but it actually always sounds very much like - Paloma Faith.Whether the singles ‘Stone Cold Sober’ and ‘New York’ are exactly the best material the album has to offer is a different question. They are strong tracks, but certainly also the best choice when it comes down to not taking risks: Both pretty straightforward, with either epic retro-pop brass-sections or soaring strings that grab your attention without forcing you to tune into something too off the beaten track. The real jewels on this album are other songs though - the ones where Paloma Faith actually proves that she is both an accomplished songwriter and talented singer and, most importantly, that she possesses the skill to put both of these talents together to emote. And with ‘emote’ , I don’t just mean big melodrama, confidence and vulnerability alike, but also humour (best example is ‘Romance Is Dead’), the latter being something you sadly come across quite seldom. The biggest mistake you can possibly make is to look at ‘Do you want the truth or something beautiful’ as a straightforward album - rather see it as sketch musical theatre with all its different sentiments and colours, and you won’t be disappointed. If I had to name one weak song on the album, I would actually have to think for quite a while and would probably pick ‘Stargazer’. It is somewhat insignificant and maybe the only track that borders on wishing to press the skip-button. Apart from that, the whole album is versatile and varied - and while some people see this as not being authentic and detrimentral to ‘true artistry’, I rather think the exact opposite is the case. Desperately clinging on to one style in fear of losing authenticity sometimes does exactly that - it kills creativity. This is obviously not the case with Paloma Faith - just listen to the strongest tracks of the album: ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, ‘My Legs Are Weak’, ‘Play on’ and last but not least the title track itself. And who would have thought that the truth sometimes actually can be beautiful ... petra raspel 16 | THE BANTER
paramore Brand New Eyes fueled by ramen Brand New Eyes is Paramore’s third album and the follow-up to the platinum album Riot!, which helped to launch Paramore to superstardom. As a fan of the band, I was apprehensive about the release of Brand New Eyes as both the media and music fans are a fickle bunch and Paramore had all the makings of a flash in the pan – some catch songs, an extremely good-looking singer, stories of tension and friction in the band – but Brand New Eyes blew my apprehensions away as critic reaction was very strong, with the album receiving some very positive reviews and it stormed its way to the top of the UK album charts. If you were a critic of Paramore before I don’t think much of Brand New Eyes will change your mind even thought the band’s songs and lyrics have seemed to matured they are still very much in the emo/pop/punk genre but to Paramore fans I feel that will be music to their ears. Misguided Ghosts is an album highlight, with Hayley Williams utilizing her vast array of singing talents, producing a beautiful striking song that shows the true talent that is on show in this young band. Brand New Eyes is a genre classic, if there is such a genre as emo/pop/punk. maxwell lynas The veronicas Hook Me Up warner bros Australian twin sisters, The Veronicas, are a big deal across the pond in America but have yet to dominate the airwaves in Britain. Hook Me Up is their second album but probably the first time most UK listeners will have heard them. The duo appears to be marketed towards those of a tattoos and eyeliner disposition yet their album hardly reflects this image. The album is a mesh of electronic pop rock about love, making up and breaking up. The album’s opener Untouched is the heaviest track with electronic strings and a dense beat running throughout. The verses are raced through with an almost rap quality but then jumps into a more melodic chorus. The chorus is extremely catchy and easy to bounce around the dance floor to but the momentum of this song is not carried through the rest of the album. Most of the songs on Hook Me Up are rather melancholy and slow. Revenge is Sweeter (Than You Ever were) is an intriguing title which suggests a hard and angry song to follow but instead it begins as a soft guitar ballad and peaks as a high strung chorus with misplaced electronic beats running through. Other tracks with strong titles such as Take Me on the Floor end up as lingering laments about need and want which fail to reach their potential. Fortunately there are flourishes of the energy experienced with Untouched. Popular and current single 4ever have good hooks with a heavier, more guitar driven sound and lyrics with attitude. And while the slower songs lessen the pace of the album they do provide an opportunity for the duo to show off their vocals. They are not spectacular and one sister’s voice resembles a high pitched screech at times but they do the job and round out the sound of the album. anna gault
Music tommy reilly Words On The Floor POLYDOR Described on Myspace as ‘Acoustic/Pop’, I think I’d have to disagree with this compartmentalisation of the ‘Orange Unsigned Act’ winner, Tommy Reilly. Admittedly, Reilly’s music is an acquired taste. It is difficult to pigeon-hole his music into any one particular genre, and his forthcoming album ‘Words on the floor’ is an eclectic mix of tracks, none of which sound anything like the next. Reilly has a sweet, melodic voice (which, dare I say it, sounds almost feminine at times – in a good way!) which makes his undisguised Scottish accent even more pronounced! Yup, I thought that might please his loyal and growing Scottish fan base! Of the 11 tracks on the album, my favourite was ‘Jackets’, which is about falling for a friend, which makes me wonder if this track isn’t perhaps a wee bit autobiographical! For those who fancy something a bit more upbeat, ‘Kick the Covers’, and ‘Like the Weather’ are tracks I’d definitely recommend. This album was a pleasant surprise for someone who was expecting the usual from a new artist! The future is certainly looking bright for this rising star.
louise anne geddes
hockey Mind Chaos Virgin/Capitol/EMI After the first listen, if not just the first track, no one can be at fault for thinking Bob Dylan and The Killers are secretly collaborating under the guise of this quintet from Oregon. Mind Chaos is a fairly appropriate title given the ongoing styles clash in each track, almost in the style of mash-ups. The single “Song Away” is a great example, where folk rock and Talking Heads style lyrics converge with synths straight out of The Killers’ catalogue. This along with “Too Fake”, are two tracks that make Mind Chaos worth picking up. Others such as “Put The Game Down” prove you can take early Weezer style guitar solos and still create a dance floor filler, but the experimental nature of the record may make it difficult for everybody to get through in the one sitting. It’s not hard to appreciate how inventive Hockey are with this, but with it being so easy to list the acts they remind you of, they may not get the credit they deserve when buried underneath a ton of comparisons. With any luck, making full use of their eclectic inspirations won’t come back to haunt them.
To Celebrate the release of Paul Oakenfolds - Perfecto Las Vegas and Godskitchen Pure Trance Anthems, The Banter has teamed up with New State Music to give 5 lucky readers the opportunity to win a copy of these CDs. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: In which decade did Godskitchen first appear in clubs?
photography // Daren Borzynski
asteroid galaxy tour Fruit SMALL GIANTS There’s been a real revival of late of poppy jingly pop – and a return to the soulful 60s female vocals leading the pop revival. Riding the crest of that wave are The Asteroids Galaxy Tour with their debut album “Fruit”. Lars Iversen and Mette Lindberg make up the Danish duo, expanding for live performances to include another four artists in Mads Brinch Nielsen, Rasmus Valldorf, Miloud Carl Sabri and Svend Meinild. With a Kate Bush tone to Lindberg’s voice, particularly in Push The Envelope which at times sounds reminiscent of Bush’s Babooshka with its strong beat and meandering melodic vocals, there’s a rock sound desperate to get out of this catchy pop similar to Garbage’s sound of the 90s.Although at first this album screams gentle background listening, each track forces the listener to sit up and pay attention; be it for sing-a-long lyrics or the hint of an anthem in the making. This may only be the debut offering of this new pop export, but the recently iPod featured band look set to be around for a lot longer. clare sinclair
Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Dance CDs along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009. THE BANTER | 17
photography // Daren Borzynski
animal kingdom Signs and Wonders WB UK ‘Signs and Wonders’ is an album that has many things going for it: Above all, it is musically well crafted, Richard Sauberlich’s voice is very captivating, and the album certainly has its genuinely beautiful moments: The gradual musical build-up of ‘Chalk Stars’ is reminiscent of the big anthems of Sigur Rós and Coldplay (and in comparison does not need to hide its light under a bushel), and in ‘Dollar Signs’ and ‘Mephistopheles’, the band show how good they actually can be if they play their strength: an innate sense for subtle, unobtrusive drama and storytelling. All in all however, ‘Signs and Wonders’ left me a bit underwhelmed. You somehow cannot shake feeling of one dynamic level, and the picture-perfect overall-concept makes it a bit too safe for my liking. After you have listened to it for the first time, you want to hear more of the quality of the already mentioned tracks, which leaves you with a slightly unsatisfied feeling - ‘Is that all?’ Since I don’t give up on something easily, I had a closer listen of course - and I have to admit it is true what they say: You only make a first impression once, and sadly this is also the case with this album. The sometimes stark contrast between rather dark, introspective lyrics and a musical style that is just a bit too smooth and safe is at times confusing (‘Tin Man’ being the worst offender in my opinion). The whole album left me with the feeling of: ‘This is a band that definitely has something to say - and they hold back musically because they want to appeal to the masses.’ It all just feels a bit lukewarm in the middle. Having said all of this, ‘Signs and Wonders’ is certainly not a bad album. Its quality lies within its lyrics at the moment, and I would hope that the musical concept will measure up at some point in the future - the potential is definitely there, and taking a risk is not necessarily a bad thing. petra raspel
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noah and the whale The First Days of Spring INTERSCOPE Anyone buying this album hoping to find the same “fun, fun, fun” spirit of Noah and the Whale’s big hit single “5 Years Time” are in store for something completely different. Instead of a collection of upbeat and cheery ditties sung in West Country accents backed up by singer-songwriter Laura Marling, The First Days of Spring is quite a heavy work detailing the relationship breakdown between singer Charlie Fink and Marling. This break up is the concept of the entire album, which covers the span of the immediate break up through Fink’s almost bi-polar reactions over a series of months and - towards the end of the song cycle – looking forward to the future when the emotions have been resolved. One of the things that immediately stands out about this album is that it has two unnamed instrumental songs and a choir-based song (“Love of an Orchestra”) sandwiched between four standard folk-rock tracks. This brings to mind concept albums originally released on vinyl – with songs ordered by theme between side 1 and side 2 in order to interconnect and tell a story. This art has been somewhat lost with the takeover of CDs – and may be under even more threat because of downloading – but Noah and the Whale have masterfully split the immediate-break-up-songs and the slowly-getting-over-thebreak-up songs between two makeshift sides. The first song “The First Days of Spring” sets the scene really well: a beautiful, orchestra and band piece which establishes a strong maturity which follows through the whole record. Tracks two and three outline the break up, but are not hugely exciting. The mumbled vocal melody can become fairly monotonous. The fourth track, “My Broken Heart” has hip-hop-like drums alongside the folk melodies and trumpet solos – and the clearest vocals so far in the album. This clarity leads into the instrumental sections – which are perhaps a little short to really add to the narrative, clocking in at just over a minute and a half each. “Love of an Orchestra” is an emotional high point at this stage, but this happiness is short lived. The second “side” of this concept album has some sharp confessions in the lyrics - such as in “Stranger” which starts with the line: “Last night I slept with a stranger for the first time since you’ve gone” – and sees Fink suffer all sorts of emotional vitriol. There is an element of trying to force a resolve, such as in “Blue Skies” where our protagonist sings “this is the last song I’ll write while still in love with you” – which smacks of an attempt to follow some sort of method to get Marling out of his head, followed up by the psychedelic-folk of the intriguingly titled “Slow Glass”. The album attempts to end on a resolve with “My Door Is Always Open”, but with the heartless take on the relationship - “I don’t think that I ever loved you” – it sounds more like Fink needs more time to heal. This album is a brilliant cross-section of a small, painful part of a relationship held under the microscope of mature, honest realism – surprising for a band that could have been so easily written off as a one-hit wonder. david russell
RIVER ISLANDS TRUSTY TEE’S! H lisa boyle
ot young celebrities Pixie Lott, Alesha Dixon, Kelly Rowland and super boy band Kid British have teamed up with high street store River Island this season, launching a fabulous new range of celebrity t-shirts! The exclusive range, designed by River Island’s hottest designers, will be released in aid of youth charity, The Prince’s Trust. The best part is that every design that sells, the profit will be going straight to the Prince’s trust to help change young lives. which will be on sale for a limited period both online and in stores, The range of Tee’s will be on sale for a limited period, both online and in store, and each stunning design will reflect each of the star’s own personal style.There’s plenty of glitz and glamour included in this unique collection! The collection named ‘River Island presents... T’s for the Trust’ include a range of three t-shirt dresses for women and four men’s t-shirts. Each t-shirt dress is designed for your own personal style, whether you’re a rock chick or disco-diva, the range is far from your average Tee’s! Each design has a very distinctive look and is incredibly wearable. Stylish young singer Pixie Lott’s T-dress features a feisty zebra print design and cool fringing detail – one of this season’s hottest trends. The dress resembles the punky style Pixie has been exhibiting lately. Pixie says “My T-shirt dress is everything it should be – cheeky, fun and cool. I’m hoping it will raise a lot of money for the Prince’s Trust as it’s a cause close to my heart.” Team Pixie’s T-dress with this seasons spangly tights and a
studded leather jacket for a definitive look, or accessorise with one of Pixie’s signature headbands for ultimate rock chic. Alesha Dixon’s stunning T-dress is sexier than Strictly’s finest! With purple sequins, a belted waist and a cute flower embellishment, this IT-dress is flirty, fun, and most definitely attention-grabbing! Perfect for dancing the night away! “My t-shirt dress is fabulous, it’s really me – and I can’t wait to wear it on stage or for a night out partying!” Kelly Rowland has been making a major comeback from her Destiny’s child days, first as a solo artist – now as a style queen! Kelly’s dress is perhaps one of the most glamorous of the designs, with this season’s one shoulder silhouette and stunning crystal detail! She says “I have always loved things that sparkle – you’ll see that my River Island dress has gorgeous crystals all over it.” No more hunting around the shops ladies for that perfect cocktail dress! But boys, don’t despair because the team at River Island have also took inspiration from Kid British’s cool look – with four on-trend designs combined with a laid-back look – the t-shirts are perfect everyday staples. Sean’s design features gorilla print and James’ is a classic polo shirt teamed with this season’s stripes. Alesha Dixon adds “I’m honoured to be involved with the Prince’s Trust and I think River Island is an exciting, young, fashionable and brilliant brand that just keeps getting better and better.” THE BANTER | 19
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anna gault talks to The Noisettes lead singer shingai shoniwa
photography by daren borzynski
n the fast paced world that is the music industry, when your debut album fails to make a real impact it is difficult to recover. And while Noisettes’ debut, What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?, was missed by most it was down to bad marketing not bad music. This is clearly the case as their sophomore album, Wild Young Hearts, has achieved both critical and chart success and spawned several hits. It seems as though Noisettes are going from strength to strength. After meeting in 2003 and officially forming in 2004, Noisettes, who consist of lead singer and bassist Shingai Shoniwa, guitarist Dan Smith, and drummer Jamie Morrison, were on the long and winding path to stardom. A path which saw them performing around the UK and gaining a reputation as one of Britain’s rowdiest live acts. Their debut album was release in February 2007 and reached only number 75 in the UK album chart. While not a commercial success, What’s the Time Mr. Wolf? was a critical success and allowed the band to tour arenas with Muse and tour America. However a number 75 album is not one which reaches the public on a huge scale. Effervescent lead singer, Shingai Shoniwa, is quite happy to openly place the blame for their first album’s lack of chart achievement on one particular party. “During our first album being out we were signed to an American label so it meant that we didn’t really have adequate marketing or promo over here [Britain],” she explains. “The label was not very good at promoting the album over here. So we promoted our first album by just going on the road for a year and a half, all around the world. People know us as the band who actually had to kind of sell their own records the first time round without too much help from the label.” The sheer amount of dates played by Noisettes during their first album and before has led to another reputation alongside their rowdiness, as more of a touring band. Their previous label’s lack of promotion in the UK coupled with their extensive touring in the U.S has led to a higher profile in America. This U.S promotion has even led to several performances on chat shows including The Ellen Show and spots on TV show soundtracks such as The Sopranos. Shingai agrees that their intensive touring has given
them a slight edge when it comes to their performances and when it comes to playing to American crowds despite being a British band. “We have been given a reputation as touring band because of all the touring but also because we just give so much in the gig. We sort of, almost play to the death you know? Whenever we go out as a band we do definitely go out for the whole touring lifestyle. I guess because we are not so much of a manufactured band, the touring is a big part of what we do.” As a result of touring various different countries the band has been able to experience differing crowds and their reactions. However contrary to the majority of opinions on the differences between American crowds and UK crowds, Shingai doesn’t feel there is much of a variation at all. “I don’t really want to compare the audiences. The American audience is amazing, the UK audience is amazing. The only difference is, is that you can get just as many people to a show in America if you tour the right way without even being on the radio. The great thing about playing in America is that there is a really good diverse age range of people that go out to gigs and it’s not just because they have heard a song on the radio. We’ve headlined 500 capacity venues on our first album even though we didn’t have any songs on the radio whereas here [Britain] a lot of your audience is quite radio informed.” Yet with the release of their second studio album, Wild Young Hearts in 2009, Noisettes were given the opportunity of touring the UK far more extensively and as a headline act. The success of Wild Young Hearts has allowed them to push their music to the forefront of the UK gig-going masses’ minds and seen them achieve a UK number two single with Don’t Upset the Rhythm in the spring of 2009. So why the sudden success after being together since 2004 and a previous album on the shelves? “I think it really helped being a. Signed to a UK label this time, being on Mercury Universal who are brilliant and it also helped that we were able to do quite a lot of promo, she reveals. “All the magazines that we love, arts magazines and music magazines that we love reading; THE BANTER | 21
we could then get the label to approach them. It also helped that because we were based here [Britain], and our profile here was a bit bigger we got a lot of people from radio interested.” Their headline tour this year was a sell-out and despite only finishing the tour in October, tickets for a 2010 tour beginning in February have already gone on sale. If that tour is anything like this year you can expect to see Shingai climbing balconies and the band riling the crowd up in little mosh pits as unlikely as it may sound. “The tour has been epic! We have just met so many funny cats along the way. We pick up a lot of stragglers on tour. It’s funny, we tend to sort of befriend that person who can’t find their mates and they end up on the tour bus or something,” reveals Shingai. “Our last date was in Paris. It was excellent, it was sold out. The great thing was that we were playing sold out dates in Europe as well [as the UK] and playing really big venues. It’s great that it’s our own gig and I can’t believe that we are at that stage now.” Despite her clear love for all things touring, as the only girl in the band it is not a stretch to suggest it can get slightly tough for Shingai. After being on the road together for years the differences between women and men can become slightly more pronounced but Shingai has learned how to adjust to a more male outlook on tour. “There is a little girly bit at the back of the tour bus, 22 | THE BANTER
you know, if you need to get changed and things like that. But to be honest I think we are all quite in touched with our feminine and masculine sides,” she divulges. “So being on the road you have to be so self sufficient and to have a laugh you can’t take things like that too seriously. Although sometimes it’s not nice when you’ve got rag week and you’re on the road! Then you really know how difficult it is to have five great shows when you’re feeling like an elephant, it’s hard to turn that out!” While being a woman on the road with a touring band may have its difficulties it seems as though it suits Shingai. In fact, despite having just finished a tour and new dates already set up for next year, Noisettes are not taking a breath and are signed up to play Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street partly alongside Madness. The legendary New Year’s bash is known for its unruly patrons and booze filled festivities however Shingai is more than prepared for it. “I was there with Dan at Hogmanay in Edinburgh about three years ago and it was amazing. The ride up there is the best bit and then the ride back when you are so hung-over after staying up till like seven o’clock in the morning. I don’t know if we’ll be doing that again but it depends on how many new Scottish friends we make. We hear you guys are quite friendly and like to share a drink with your neighbours from down south, so we’ll wait and see.”
Music ANIMAL KINGDOM KING TUTS, Glasgow gig review
With songs titled ‘Tin Man’ and ‘Chalk Stars’ you could possibly think that reviewing London band Animal Kingdom could leave you a little cold, empty & grey - this was not the case after their recent trip to King Tuts in Glasgow. Giving us a wake-up call with ‘Good Morning Mr Magpie’, there was a noticeable difference, a heavier fuller sound than that of the album. It might have been the addition of a session guitarist that helped the sound, but it also gave lead singer Richard Sauberlich the freedom to move around and command the stage during their lively performance of what could be considered a relatively short set of 8 songs, but the quality of the band’s music, lyrics & Sauberlich’s haunting vocals made up for that. The set also had the singer move from guitar & keyboard for ‘Into the Sea’, adding another dimension to the already atmospheric songs. It wasn’t the fullest I had seen Tuts, but the audience of partisans and newcomers, like myself, clearly warmed to the beautifully written songs. Leaving their debut single ‘Tin Man’ until second last only showed us that there is always more to come from Animal Kingdom and that the band could quite possibly have everything they need to make it. With the band finishing off with the climaxing album closer ‘Chalk Stars’, that could probably be one of the festival anthems for 2010, you were never left with anything but warmth. Welcome to the colourful world of Animal Kingdom. daren borzynski
THE MACCABEES 02 ABC, Glasgow gig review
With skin tight jeans, Simon Amstell-style hairdos and swanky guitars, The Maccabees certainly made an impact as they strolled onto the ABC 1 stage. Hailing from South London, the lads first created a stir with their debut album ‘Colour It In’ prompting NME to name it “the best alternative pop record of 2007.” Bussing it up to Glasgow to promote their second album ‘Wall of Arms’, an album which has failed to win over some critics, the deafening screams coming from fans told another story. Launching into ‘No Kind Words’ a fast-paced and lyrically superb song with lines like “If you got no kinds words to say then don’t say nothing more at all”, the predominantly young crowd were sent into a frenzy. Without stopping to catch a breath, charismatic singer Orlando Weeks kept the energy levels up with ‘One Hand Holding’ and ‘Young Lions’, both stand- out songs from their new album. Just as the Macca’s got the crowd going, the gig came to an abrupt halt as a fight broke out in the over-excited crowd. But thanks to backing vocalist and guitarist Felix White’s
photography // Daren Borzynski
impressive performance of ‘Accordian’ all was soon forgotten and the crowd went wild once again. Hard core fans were in their element as they sang along to earlier gems such as ‘Tissue Shoulders’ and ‘X-ray’, which clearly pleased the Londoners who grinned at the crowd. Scenes reminiscent of T in the Park were created towards the end of the gig as the band belted out ‘Toothpaste Kisses’, the track that was famously used in the Samsung mobile phone advert and which catapulted them into the spotlight. In true rock and roll style the lads, after saying goodnight, reappeared back on stage to end the show with the recently chart topping ‘Love You Better’. Judging by not only the crowd’s reaction but their slick performance, The Maccabees are undoubtedly the ‘it’ indie band of the moment, an accolade which they genuinely deserve. If they keep writing songs and delivering them with the passion evident in Glasgow then there’s nothing stopping this band from being the crème de la crème of indie music for many years to come. rosemary lowne
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ENTER SHIKARI O2 ABC, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
The ABC on a Saturday night is usually overflowing with “Indie” types but this Saturday night it looks like a casting call for the new series of Skins. Neon, DayGlo and hair as far as the eye can see and all because one of the hottest live acts in the country are invading Glasgow tonight – the unpronounceable Enter Shikari. Due to the aforementioned “Indie” types that plague the ABC on a Saturday, tonight’s proceedings began a little earlier with Shikari bounding on stage (with matching polo shirts, of course) about 8.30 and the ABC responds to Shikari by blowing up like a balloon with a grenade in it (thank you 30 Rock). Shikari opens with Common Dreads, Solidarity and Step Up, mirroring their latest album Common Dreads. Common Dreads was an album, in full disclosure that I wasn’t that impressed with upon release but tonight changed my mind completely. Solidarity and Step Up sound phenomenal tonight and the sea of humanity crushed down the front loves it. It is not all about Common Dreads tonight as the St. Albans’ four-piece lay down some old favourites Mothership and The Feast to follow up the opening Common Dreads’ threesome. With this Glasgow date coming towards the end of the Shikari UK & Ireland tour, the band seem relaxed and that they’re enjoying themselves under Europe’s largest disco ball, which of course gets a shout-out later on, making me believe that it is in a contract somewhere that every band has to mention the disco ball when they play the ABC. Zzzonked is up next and it blows all the preened and perfect hair-sprayed hairstyles in the crowd away (metaphorically, of course hairspray isn’t that easy to get out) and the hair doesn’t get a chance for a rest as Shikari continue their aural assault with Havoc A and No Sleep Tonight, which results in a mass sing-along. Frontman Rou Reynolds is a man-possessed on stage, racing around with the energy of a five-year in Toys R Us, to be honest that statement is pretty unfair to the rest of the band as they all run roughshod over the stage. Further highlights include No Sssweat, The Jester and Hectic. Before Shikari leave us tonight they remind us all how they went political on Common Dreads and promote the worthy cause of Stop The War Coalition (stopwar.co.uk) and they then launch into their closing flurry of Sorry You’re Not A Winner and Juggernauts leaving the ABC’s sea of humanity sweaty, bruised, knackered but ultimately rocked. maxwell lynas
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photography // Daren Borzynski
THE BOXER REBELLION O2 ABC GIG REVIEW
In this modestly attended gig headline band, The Boxer Rebellion, focused on their latest album ‘Union’. A release that was one of a kind in that it had major success as a digital download but having been unsigned, only through an exclusive deal with HMV is the album available in a CD Format. This unique deal was perhaps the reason for the turnout but the performance tonight was one who have somehow managed to slip the net to date. Based on tonights performance of great stage presence and some great songs, most noticably These Walls Are Thin and Flashing Red Light Means Go, it surely can’t be too long until these guys get their mainstream break.
Music PAOLO NUTINI O2 ACADEMY, Glasgow gig review
The Paisley teenager who wowed the UK charts with a host of pop hits is back but he has returned a man with country, soul, rhythmn and blues and ska influences shining through his music. His new album Sunny Side Up may be three years on from the hit CD, These Streets, but it could be argued that the its not just the boy who has grown but so has his songwriting skills. This gig was a welcome return to Scotland for Paulo, who had returned from an American tour, and his fans were not left disappointed Hunched, as ever, the Glasgow 02 Academy were treated to old favourites and most recognisable hits, Jenny Don’t Be Hasty and New Shoes, but these paled in comparison to some of the more recent tracks with the country-esque Candy a particular standout and as ever Pencil Full Of Lead had the whole venue dancing on their feet. With his new material, Nutini has definitely stepped outside of the safety zone of commercial music that it could be argued his first album was, but on tonight showing it appears that Scotland loves the new sounds and the boy, or is that now man, can do no wrong in the eyes of his adoring fans. photography // Daren Borzynski
EDITORS BARROWLANDS, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
The Editors returned to Glasgow having just released their new album. This was showcased throughout the night as the band chose to alternate between songs from new album In this Light and on this Evening and their first two albums. Whilst their earlier material is largely more guitar-driven , the new material is much slower and synth-heavy, The Editors often these days are becoming known for their dark, haunting, and often broody songs but frontman Tom Smith has hit back at this saying the following “dark is interesting, dark is exciting, dark can be funny, there’s real life in the dark, real life IS dark, when an album feels like this the fragments of hope and love that do occasionally shine through shine through ten times brighter than they would normally do so.” A lack of familiarity with new material may have left some feeling left a little short but among the true Editor fans it was once again another fantasic performance. THE BANTER | 25
Music PAPA ROACH O2 ABC GIG REVIEW
photography // Daren Borzynski
PALOMA FAITH King Tuts, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
King Tuts was the venue of choice for Paloma Faiths showcase of her upcoming album, Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful. A former Magicians Assistant, Dancer, Actress and burlesque singer it appears Paloma Faith has found where she belongs performing to packed out crowds. Known for her stage prescence and adding her own touch to the venues she performs in, Paloma entered a domino and balloon filled King Tuts stage dressed in a basque, hot pants and cape. Spectators were not however being fooled with an all style and no substance performance though as the little redhead put in a stunning and vocally impeccable performance. Having enjoyed success with her first hit, Stone Cold Sober, there have been many critics claiming we have another Amy Winehouse wannabee on our hands but this is far from the truth, having seen the cheeky and quirky showmanship when performing numbers like Upside Down to the great vocals in New York and Do You Want The Truth Or Somthing beautiful, the crowd were truly won over. Paloma Faith returns to Scotland at the O2 ABC early next year and whilst we may be first in line there most certainly be a crowd waiting behind us. 26 | THE BANTER
Say Supporting ����������������������������������� act Madina Lake made an impression with an incredibly hyperactive set including half a dozen of their best known tracks such as “House of Cards”, “Here I Stand” and new single “Welcome to Oblivion”. Frontman Nathan Leone never stood still for a second and divided his time between being on stage and diving off, and likewise brother and bassist Matthew bounced off the amps throughout. After announcing they would return in February, Nathan ran the length of the stage before somersaulting back into a crowd definitely won over by their energy. Headlining on their return in 2010, the band could have been accepted as headliners here alreadybut they were never going to steal a show headlined by Papa Roach. “Days of War”, the intro from Metamorphosis, led to “Change or Die” and recent single “Lifeline” - an anthem highly anticipated by the crowd and one of the best received of the night. The first of several tracks from earlier albums followed with “She Loves Me Not”, from 2002’s Lovehatetragedy and The Paramour Sessions’ “The World Around You” which back to back was anexample of just how much the band’s style has changed over the years, having since long eschewed the rap-rock style from the start of the decade. Back to newer material, Jacoby Shaddix introduced “Had Enough” as the next single from Metamorphosis, before a brief allusion to The Ramones’ “Hey Ho Let’s Go” segued into “...To Be Loved”, which was worth the price of admission for those who came in their WWE t-shirts. As was“Getting Away With Murder”, known to those fans as the theme song for the WWE Tough Enough 4 series, and to others for it’s politically charged video during the George W. Bush era. Other than “Last Resort”, one of the songs anyone aware of them would remember is the ballad “Scars”, which Shaddix told the crowd was a song from the heart. He added that the next would be a song from somewhere else, a bit more southerly. And he was right, with “I Almost Told You That I Loved You.” “Forever”, “Hollywood Whore” and “Between Angels and Insects” all followed, the latter particularly pleasing those who have followed the band since Infest. The encore included “Time is Running Out”, “Into the Light” and, as expected, ended with “LastResort”. But they’re not the nu metal band from 2000 any more. Tonight was a reminder of just howmuch the band have changed over the last ten years, and just how many hits they’ve had in theprocess.
GREEN DAY SECC, Glasgow
ALL AMERICAN REJECTS BARROWLANDS, Glasgow
It is always a good sign when the queue for a gig is wrapped around the building. So The All American Rejects could breathe easily when it came to filling the Barrowlands with bouncing teenagers. Opening with hit Move Along, the band started as the meant to go on with their catchy pop rock. However their music was clearly not the only reason the crowd was so large. Topless and easy on the eyes front man Tyson Ritter writhed around the stage, throwing the females into a swooning frenzy. Fortunately Ritter has the vocals to back that face of his and he led the crowd through the set with ease. The set itself was there to please with hits, Dirty Little Secret and Swing Swing sprinkled in between lesser known but dedicated fan favourites. The band knew how to make the crowd feel special with Ritter stating that they had been waiting all week for Glasgow and they performed with such gusto you could believe it. Rhythm guitarist, Mike Kennerty buzzed with energy throughout while lead guitarist Nick Wheeler was mellower but clearly loved the atmosphere. Ritter decided to involve drummer, Chris Gaylor, more by making the crowd taunt him to which he promptly gave the finger. There was another funny moment as a fan was pulled out of the crowd after almost fainting. Ritter provided a running commentary of her condition and asked the crowd to chant “Please Don’t Die!” After blasting through the rest of their energetic set the gig’s pace slowed as Ritter serenaded the girls with new single The Wind Blows. But the gig kicked back into high gear during the encore, international hit Gives You Hell, ending the gig on a high note as the crowd went suitably mental and sang along at the top of the voices. Despite it being their second visit to Scotland within the year it seemed as though The All American Rejects were playing as much for themselves as they were the crowd and not just because they had to. anna gault
You only have to look around the audience at the SECC to see Green Days appeal. There’s kids as young as six sat alongside their parents, and people in their fifties trying to edge their way to the front of the crowd. But when you’ve been around as long as Billie Joe and co, it’s no real surprise their fan base is an eclectic mix of young and old. Opening with the title track of their last record, 21st Century Breakdown sends the crowd into frenzy. Even those in the seats are jumping up and down, much to the horror of the ever watchful security guards. It soon becomes difficult to hear them over the screams and mass sing-along that started as soon as the song did. The set centres on their best hits, making it more like a greatest hits show than anything else. Oldies like Basket Case and When I Come Around takes the majority of the crowd back to the teenage years, while the epic Boulvard of Broken Dreams prompts mobile phones to be held in the air, a i-generation version of a lighter. Naturally, it wouldn’t be a Green Day show unless a few fans were pulled from the audience onto the stage. Some help Billie water down the audience with a hose, and others are handed the microphone, given the stage and left to belt out their favourite songs while three of the most famous musicians in the world act as their backing band. As the tear through 21 Guns before launching into American Idiot it looks like the set is finally coming to a close. Then Billie re-appears with an acoustic guitar and closes the show with Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) and everyone is left to make their way home with the hairs on the back of their neck standing tall. sarah moyes
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Music NEWTON FAULKNER O2 ABC, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
Fresh from the success of his debut album and with his 2nd album, Rebuilt by Humans, just being released Newton Faulkner returned to Scotland. Supporting him on this tour was Australian Idol finalist Lisa Mitchell, who set the evening up nicely with a nice acoustic set getting the crowd going before Newton took to the stage. With us having recently spoke to Newton we found out how much of a down to earth guy he was and this was reflected in the simple, but effective, stage set up. No fancy gimmicks were needed for this, just simply a great musician, a guitar and his music. Noticable highlights of the night were Too The Light, Teardrop and a slowed down version of Dream Catch Me from his debut album Hand Built By Robots. His new single, This Is It, also went down equally as well among the hoardes of his fans who sang along all night among this intimate style gig that was simply all about the fantasic music. photography // Daren Borzynski
ALICE IN CHAINS The Barrowlands, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
Thursday November 12 was a special day for me, one that I’ll never forget as it was the day I went to see Alice In Chains. Oh yea it was also my graduation. It is 11am and I am sitting in Hamilton Town Hall with another 100ish Graduands in robes and our best garb waiting to obtain our well earned Bachelor of Arts degrees (a Second Class Honours in Journalism for me). Contrast this scene with 12 hours later; I have just exited the Barrowlands and what can only be described as a sea of bodies, I am drenched in my own sweat (hopefully no one else’s) and exhausted but I have just witnessed one of my favourite bands blow the roof off of the Barrowlands. Tonight the Barrowlands is heaving, jam packed, bursting at the seams, tighter than a v...wait I can’t say that one...Anyway the Barrowlands is sold out and it shows. Space is at a premium and finding a good vantage point is difficult, this is one of the times when am glad I am tall, I find somewhere to stand and as I stand waiting you can feel the anticipation rise in the sold out venue, it has been 16 years since Alice In Chains have played a gig in Scotland. When the band hit the stage with It Ain’t Like That, a barrage of power chords and the distinct Alice In Chains’ vocals that haunt the listen to the bone, they are greeted with a raucous cheer that no doubt shook the Barrowlands’ foundations. It Ain’t Like That is followed by Again but its latest single Check My Brain that is welcomed like a lost classic, cementing the opinion that latest album Black Gives Way to Blue is classic Alice In Chains. 28 | THE BANTER
Feature By David russell
It may seem like a strange pairing at first, but “Stalemate” – the latest single from scruffy English rock band Ben’s Brother featuring New York soul diva Anastacia – brings out the best of both artists.The single, released in late October showcases not only the songwriting talent of Ivor Novello winning singer-songwriter Jamie Hartman, but the powerful vocals that propelled Anastacia to the top of the charts and international fame. Originally a duet with Joss Stone – which appears on Ben’s Brother’s latest album, Battling Giants – Anastacia was asked to contribute vocals to “Stalemate” after Stone’s management EMI blocked its release as a single. Anastacia was instantly won over by the track, saying: “I loved the song the moment I heard it and have been thrilled to add my vocals.” The rock-edged “Stalemate” may go against Anastacia’s
image as a straight-ahead pop and soul star – keep in mind she is currently touring with Chaka Khan and Lulu, and is a regular on VH1’s Divas – but she does not see this song as a departure from her back catalogue. She said: “On the Anastacia album I did records like this, rock you know, kind of what I consider soul-pop-rock moments, yeah so I think that the song is so beautifully written that it’s one of those things that I related a lot to the writing of the song and I loved the quality of his voice.” Where the album version’s strength is the opposition of Joss Stone’s voice and Hartman’s, one of the most interesting features of the single is the blend between his and Anastacia’s vocals. Anastacia was instantly impressed by the effect. She said: “this is one of those songs that you think might just be one of those Titanic duets, like an epic duet,” and she knows that type of collaboration well, having worked previously with Elton John, Pavarotti and Jamiroquai among others. Even after having collaborated with an impressive list of musicians in the past – including Jason Mraz, Paul Young, Will Young, Natalie Imbruglia, Emma Bunton, Lemar, Beverley Knight and N-Dubz – Jamie Hartman revealed his own nervousness at working on his song with such a big name. He said: “We met for the first time a month ago when we made the record. I knew that with Anastacia, you have visions of a diva. I have to say she walked in and was immediately messing around, joking, having a great time and nailing it first time, so it takes the edge off.” And on working with Anastacia, he knew he had found the perfect voice to accompany his for the track. He said: “There are only a few people you ever want to do collaborations with and I think you have to have an instinct to go, ‘That voice appeals to me, that personality appeals to me, the whole thing appeals to me’ because Anastacia has got realism, grit, total soul, and in her voice she’s got that. She’s also got rock in her voice, so you can take it to wherever you want it to go.” After working with Hartman, Anastacia said she could see parallels between her work and that of Ben’s Brother, adding: “I think we definitely in our visual have really different vibes but when it comes down to it it’s really about art and as an art as singers, there’s no difference that needs to be had. I’m not necessarily one of those artists who has that particular sound, like Jamie does, I’ve always just enjoyed being able to do different things.” Anastacia also revealed she hopes to continue to record with diverse songwriters and musicians. She said: “Being an artist is about pushing your own boundaries in different ways. It’s all good. I think I’ve enjoyed being able to constantly push my boundaries throughout my career and I will continue to do that for the rest of my career. That’s just who I am.”
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By Ritchie Marshall
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Interview You worked on the album with David Foster, this was a big thing for you wasn’t it? A massive thing, because I think that he is just amazing. I have wanted to work with him forever as I am such a big fan of things he has done like the bodyguard album, that was one of my favourite albums ever, and all of the people he has worked with. He’s worked with some incredible voices; Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston so yeah I was really excited and that is actually what persuaded me to move record labels and go to Warner. As well as what we can usually expect from your albums there is a big pop-classical crossover on the album do you think this will surprise some people? Yeah I think those are the kind of wild card tracks. When we were in the studio we just kind of brainstormed and came up with different ideas. Some things worked and some things didn’t and with Bring Me to Life I just thought we could make it so dramatic, instead of it being all drums and guitars we could make the whole thing more percussive through the strings of the orchestra. With No Woman, No Cry we wanted to do that in a completely different sound. Its almost like a lullaby it’s all so soft and serene. I really, really enjoyed it and those things are really fun to take something so well known and to give it a completely different feel by putting it into a classical style. What is your favourite track on the album? I would say the duet with Andrea Bocelli called I believe. We have sung together on different things before, we sung on Strictly Come Dancing and we sang in a big festival in Tuscany this summer but we has never recorded a song together. I just think he is brilliant and his voice sounds amazing on it. Your recorded the album in the States? I recorded it in David’s Studio in LA so that meant there was a lot of going back and forth to record with him and just had a brilliant time recording in LA You recently sang for Barbara Streisand and have recorded a Xmas TV programme with Andrea Bocelli, is that the next step for you, to try and crack the States? Yeah I think that’s all part of it I really have take on, David really knows what he is doing and I have been taking on all his advice on what he thinks will work in America. Next year, after I release the album here in October, I will be going to places like Australia, Singapore and New Zealand to release the album there and then I think it’s March/April that the album is released in the US. I am going to have to go and put a lot of time and effort in because they do not know me at all and it’s literally like starting from scratch. You recently sang for a Breakthrough Cancer event, are widely known as The Forces Sweetheart for your work for The British Forces Foundation and are often seen to be helping many other charities. Do you think people such as yourself who are in the media spotlight have a certain level of responsibility to support and help raise awareness of such causes? Absolutely I have always been involved with charity work. My mum has always brought my sister and I up being involved with different charities. I do think though that not just in the music business but if you have success in any area of your life or career I think you then have a duty to give back and help other people. I enjoy the charity work, I get offered to get involved with so many types and so many charities but I think that you have to be careful and choose wisely those that you feel really motivated by because otherwise if you do everything and anything that is asked of you, you can then dilute the power that you bring to the charity. That’s why I choose things like cancer charities
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Interview because I lost my Dad to cancer and the British Forces Foundation, things that have a special meaning and a link to me. And your title of the Forces sweetheart began when you first began getting involved through The Chelsea pensioners? I started to go in and sing to them. They had never had anyone go in to perform, which I couldn’t quite believe, and so going in to sing to them I was asked to sing at the Festival of Remembrance and get involved with The British Legion and then it just kind of grew from there. They did a survey with the men and women in Iraq of who they would like to come out this Christmas and they asked for me and I wanted to go and do it. It’s something that just happened but is something that makes me so proud being able to go out and sing to them. It doesn’t come without its risks though? Yeah, most people know the story of the helicopter and being shot down and all this kind of stuff. Things seem to happen on every trip that we go on but it’s never going to stop me wanting to go back again because I really think that it is something small that I do to go out for a couple of days and those people are out there 6 to 9 months of the year and they are doing a brilliant job and I think more people should be going out there to show their support to them. You recently sang at Bobby Robson’s Memorial Service, how did you get involved? I didn’t realise that apparently I was one of Sir Bobby’s favourite singers. I had met him at various charity events with Lady Robson and he would always come up and talk to me. When he passed away they actually got in touch and asked if I would sing at the memorial and I didn’t know him incredibly well but as I said I had met him a few times and he was always lovely and I know how much he was loved by everyone so it was an honour to be asked. First Solo Arena Tour in March, what can we expect from that? It’s going to be a lot of the material from the new album and the popular pieces from the other albums. It’s not just going to be me and an orchestra, it’s going to be far more dramatic and more of a theatrical production. I am really looking forward to that as its going to be completely different from any of the other shows that people have seen me do and I am just looking forward to be being back out on the road and seeing everyone again. You are often on Twitter; do you see this today as a key platform for you to interact with your audiences? I was dubious about things like Twitter from the beginning and I thought I am not really a technical person and I don’t really understand this stuff but I am actually really enjoying it because you get that instant with your fans or followers. I just think it’s a really good way to be in contact with them and I follow a lot of people myself and sometimes its good as you can know more of what is going on with them than if you were just texting your friends. I think it’s a brilliant way to keep in touch with everyone especially if you are on the move a lot. I don’t reply to everything because I couldn’t but I pick out things and answer as many as I can but its more about giving people in an insight into what goes on in your day and what I am doing.I do tend to keep it restricted to my work stuff and if I am having a weekend off I may not tweet that much. But it’s for the real fans the ones who want to know what’s going on and where I am and stuff. The future, can we expect to see you in Opera? Well I want to, yes very much, it’s still something I am very passionate about and maybe in the next couple of years you may see me doing Carmen. 32 | THE BANTER
interview by ritchie marshall
photography // Daren Borzynski
Its been a busy 12 months is this week the highlight? Yeah, I think this week I guess has made it all pretty real, I feel like I am in a proper band with a CD and tour. To sell out a show, at home, tonight is really special. I mean this (The O2 ABC) is my favourite nightclub, I think after I turned 18 I used to come here very weekend for about 6 months consistently, just the dancing, and now we’ve sold it out. It’s the biggest headline show we have done in our lives and it’s the same week the record has come and we are all over the moon, we’ve got the after show party here afterwards and we are all chuffed to bits. Today we pulled up and outside it said “Tommy Reilly – Sold Out” outside and we are actually jumping up and down and hugging and all that just going this is mental. Whats the hopes for the album? It’s not something I really worry about. I mean I hope it does well at home, that would be amazing. For it to do well in the Scottish charts would make it perfect, that’s what I would love to see. I don’t really think about the national chart, its not really something I worry about I’m sure someone somewhere is worrying about it on my behalf but I’m just chuffed to have an album out. For me its important for the people that come to see me play have something that they can then own, learn the songs and come down to the gigs. How’s the tour been going so far? Amazing, this is how I love to spend my time and ideally how I would love to spend the rest of my life playing shows every day. The freedom you get with it just amazing, its just jammy to get to do it, I am just so chuffed to be on tour, touring is how I want to be spending my time. Whats been the best gig so far? T in the Park was really special; that was just bonkers but I think
tonight is going to top anything I have ever done. Tonight, today, just being here is better than anything because it’s put a right stamp on it. After winning the show obviously that was hugely important to me and I guess that feeling and the amazing vibe when we won it is probably what I think of when someone says happiest memory but I think terms of the album and everything that has been building up, I think its all been building up to tonight and this is just the best gig yet already and we’ve not even played yet. Even if it’s a disaster, just the fact that 1200 people have come out to see us play at home is really nice. You still live here in Scotland, is London tempting you at all? No I want to live here; All these places are amazing but London’s too fast I don’t want to live there its great for a few days, but I couldn’t hack it. I would go out every night if I was in London (laughs) to be fair I am here as well but its dead expensive and I want to live in the West End here. To have a studio at home gives me somewhere to do work, just writing whether it be writing the next record or just writing songs. Has life changed much since your success? Nothings changed we don’t behave any different. Its all nothings changed, there’s no reason to as nothings changed dramatically we just go to the same places and do the things we used to do. I don’t think the situations changed that much that I can’t just go down to the pub or anything. What’s next for Tommy Reilly? I want to be able to have written as many songs with as many people as I can, toured as much as I can, made as many records as I possibly could have in that time. Who knows what the future holds? As long as I am writing and doing gigs I will be chuffed to bits THE BANTER | 33
GIGS Lady Gaga
to watch out for in
General Fiasco King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Mon 15th March
Michael Buble SECC, Glasgow
Sat 8th May
O2 Academy, Glasgow
King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Wed 10th March
Fri 22nd January
Mon 1st March
The Temper Trap
Mika O2 Academy, Glasgow
Mon 22nd February
JLS O2 ABC, Glasgow
Thur 13th May 34 | THE BANTER
Sun 21st February
Chew Lips King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Tue 26th January
La Roux O2 Academy, Glasgow
Sun 2nd May
iNTERVIEW - All American Rejects
urviving ten years in the music business is no small feat and for The All American Rejects the anniversary of their formation also sees them celebrating their most successful year yet. Despite having enjoyed a steady flow of moderate hits it was not until the release of their third album, When the World Comes Down, in December 2008 that the band experienced success on a far more global level. Lead guitarist Nick Wheeler believes there is one main reason for the international attention, “I really think our last song, Gives You Hell, did a lot for us. We got to go to a lot of cool places and actually start to play to a significant amount of people. “In Europe we have played the same one hundred-fifty seat bar over and over and we never bothered to play bigger venues because we just didn’t have the following. But after Gives You Hell things exploded all over the world. We went to Jakarta, which I couldn’t even point out on a map, and we played a 6000 seat arena. It was ridiculous.” Some critics have implied that the progress of the band globally may have been hindered by their decidedly American image. As well as their name, their music is also of a distinctly American pop rock persuasion. However Wheeler disagrees: “The name of our band is kind of like a tattoo; we don’t think about it anymore, it’s just kind of there. I’ve heard some people in Europe saying, ‘Well, the name hurts you’, but that is bullshit. I mean a good song is a good song and I don’t think that our name should really come into it.” Yet the guitarist does admit that being American in today’s current social climate does have its problems. “If you are from anywhere but the U.S you can fly your flag really proudly but if we came over here flying the flag I don’t think it would go down very well!” Playing to a UK crowd as a definitively American band is understandably daunting but Wheeler feels more at home with the UK crowds than his homeland with the band returning twice in one year. “Right now I prefer playing in the UK. I think American kids are spoiled and bored and kind of fickle at times. I mean not all of them; we have a really good core fan base in
by anna gault
America. But I think because we take our time between records and almost reinvent ourselves it causes a lot of turnaround in our fan base.” As well as issues with fans Wheeler believes that the music industry in America has become more and more about internet popularity. “I don’t know if it has happened here [the UK] yet but it just feels like a different industry in the States. It’s about one song and about how prevalent you are on the internet. I mean the internet is a useful tool but it can kill the mystique of a band but I think it is something kids require now which is quite weird.” Even after ten years playing in The All American Rejects, Wheeler still relates to those “kids” and after supporting Blink-182 on tour during the summer it is clear the band has come a long way. “Tyson [Ritter, lead singer] and I went to a Blink concert, ten, twelve years ago and we were throwing All-American Rejects demos onto the stage. So any time I see something fly up onto the stage I’m like, ‘I used to do that’ so I always try to pick them up, not if I’m playing you know, if I’m playing it might get stepped on but if I can, I grab it.” Wheeler also reveals that after ten years together as a band they all seen a lot of each other and not just in the dressing room. “I think that everyone of us has gone through a major turning point in their life, on the road. And we have all pretty much bared our souls to each other and we are probably closer to each other than we will ever be to our families or a woman or anybody else for that matter.” It is difficult to keep doing anything for ten years unless it is something to be completely passionate about and immersed in. For Wheeler as well as being passionate about the band, playing with The All American Rejects was his only choice. “All I know how to do is this. I tried going to college and took music classes and they asked me to leave after one semester so that didn’t really work. But I’ve always loved playing music and with our band it has kind of been baby steps each time. It’s great because even after ten years we don’t what’s around the corner next and that suspense alone is keeping me going.” THE BANTER | 35
This interview was a big, no wait, it was a massive deal for me – so massive I nearly turned it down! To me Alice In Chains are one of the greatest and most influential bands of the 90s and I adore them to an obscene level. Alice In Chains were past down to me, like some sort of sacred family heirloom. If am honest it was more stolen than past down because if I remember correctly I may have just stolen my dad’s copy of Alice In Chains’ Dirt album and put into my CD collection (god remember CDS). When I was offered the interview my first thought (other than OH MY GOD!) was “They say you should never meet your idols as you will most be disappointed” but after some quick internal thinking I realised I would be stupid to turn it down. So a phone interview with Mike Inez, the bassist of the band, was set up and due to the time difference it would be taking place at 9.40pm. So the big day came and I was a nervous wreck, I usually get some little butterflies for interviews but as I sat waiting for the phone to ring these were no little butterflies but soaring eagles in my stomach. **BRING BRING** **BRING BRING** **BRING BRING**
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Interview by maxwell lynas
“Hello...” “Hello Maxwell, I have Mike Inez for you” (How cool is that sentence) “Hey what’s up Maxwell?” (A Grammy-nominated artist from a Platinum-Selling band just asked me, what’s up?) “Hi, am good thanks, how are you?” “Am doing pretty good, finally got a week off of work, so am actually in my own house for a change.” “It’s been a long time since the last Alice In Chains’ record, is it difficult to get back into the swing of touring, press interviews and promoting the album and upcoming tour?” “Oh yea, it’s been a long series of small steps, to be talking to you about an Alice In Chains’ release is mind-blowing after all these years. It started at a cool place, where our drummer Sean called me and Jerry up and said “I want to do something for the Tsunami victims” and that is where it started in 2005 and it’s been small, little steps from that show.” “If you asked us even a year ago if we’d do another Alice In Chains’ record, the answer would have been “no.”” “We’ve been touring and touring, I think we are up to 26 or 27 countries at this point. I think it was really important that we did the touring first as opposed to just jumping in and doing a record.”
Interview In 2002 Alice In Chains’ singer Layne Staley died from a drug overdose, even thought the band were in a hiatus (mostly due to Staley’s problems with drugs) Staley’s death was felt within the music industry with many American rock bands penning tributes to the late singer and declaring him an influence. His influence is still felt to this day Metallica’s latest album title, Death Magnetic, Staley was an inspiration for the title. With Layne’s tragic death many believed the band to be finished, what was the main catalyst behind the new album and the recent tours? “There wasn’t like there was one moment, where we said let’s get the band together. It was just the one show [Tsunami Benefit] turned into five club shows and then after that the offers came in to go to Europe and play some shows, I think like the sixth show, we were standing on stage in Portugal in front of 40,000 people, we were laughing to each other and joking “this isn’t small anymore.” “Then it came to the point where we were jamming a lot backstage and so these ideas and riffs came up and we were like “wow, should we really try and go in and do a record”. “We really had to stop and think about it and then the next step was just get in a record some stuff and see how it is going to sound and do some demos. “I think we came up with about 26 songs and then we cut it back to the 11 that’s on the record.” “We financed it ourselves, we didn’t have a record label, so we had the opportunity to pull the plug on it if we didn’t like the record or felt it wasn’t as good as the other ones. “So then it was do we want to take the next step, do we want to mix it? Do we want to master it? Do we actually want to go find a record label? “A few months back we got Virgin EMI on board and even since then it’s like being shot out of a cannon but we love it, that’s the testament of this band and our friendship that we still want to do this together, we’ve always been best friends. “That is the special part for me, it’s not all the money, it’s just going out and playing songs with my best friends” Black Gives Way to Blue was released in late September to a critical love-in, receiving high marks from magazines such as Kerrang, Rock Sound, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer. After 14 years without a studio album, the critical success of the new album and the tours must have been a surprise for the band? “Oh yea, albums are funny things, especially for our band, they are like watermarks for where we are at any given time. So we just wanted this album to come from a place of honesty and truth. We are very surprised at the whole thing; albums are funny once you release the bird out of its cage it’s gonna fly where it wants and it is out of our control if people like it or not.” Elton John and Alice In Chains sound like the perfect chalk and cheese cliché. While one are an influential grunge band from Seattle, the other is a tiara-wearing, diamond-clad,
tantrum-throwing, ex-football chairman diva, who has sold over 200 million records. These two polar opposites come together on the title track of Black Gives Way to Blue to produce an ethereal and fitting tribute to Alice In Chains’ fallen singer and brother-in-arms Layne Staley. So how do a grunge band and a pop icon come together? “That was a surprise; we’ve been such huge fans of Elton for years, when I was growing up my mum would listen to Elton John and Layne’s first concert was when his father took him to an Elton John show and that’s when Layne said he wanted to become a rock musician. “We had an employee that we called “the baldy” and he writes for our website and is basically our band assistant, he travels everywhere with the band and has done for the last twentytwo years and when we were on our off-time he actually worked with Elton John for a long time. When we had wrote Black Gives Way to Blue there was no piano on it and then when of our road crew guys was playing along on piano and we just thought it would be interesting to put a piano part on it, so “the baldy” said we should phone up Elton John and we all just started laughing and saying “yea right that’s going to fucking happening”, so Jerry [Cantrell, lead guitarist] fired off an email to Elton and sure enough Elton was like “I love the band” and got what the song was about and
If you asked us even a year ago if we’d do another Alice In Chains’ record, the answer would have been “no!”
that it was for Layne and a goodbye song for Layne and he said he had to be a part of that song. “So we flew up to Las Vegas and we went to his concert the night, he was playing at Caesars’ Palace or something playing all his hits so we were backstage hanging out with him and getting to know him he is a really nice guy.” “In the studio the next day he came in and God really blew me away, he was asking me questions about System of a Down and the new Queensryche record and he is so in tune with music and he picked up the charts and went right to a piano and just started playing. “When I’m his age I hope I’m still in love with music as much as he is, it was just really inspirational to watch that guy work and he couldn’t be more gracious with his time. “You see all the YouTube footage of him yelling at people in airports and being a diva or something but we didn’t see any of that he couldn’t have been a nice guy to us. ”He got the whole thing about what the song was about.” With the album release now behind the band, they have set off on a European tour to support the album, looking to add to the 360,000 air miles the band have already clocked up this year alone. “If you equate it to the Equator, we’ve been around the world in the air about 10 or 11 times already this year, so that gives you just a glimpse of the amount of travel we do, it’s just an insane amount of travel.”
THE BANTER | 37
ALESHA DIXON Alesha Dixon, one-time member of girl band Mis-Teeq, solo artist, winner of Strictly Come Dancing and now judge on that same show. Currently on a UK tour and about to release new single ‘To Love Again’ which she co-wrote with Gary Barlow, she’s giggly and energetic as well you might be if you were riding this high on the crest of a wave. You seem to have a wise head on your shoulders. Would you say you were a wise girl? I like to think so. I think I just deal with things as they come, you know, I just think that that is what life is about. The saying is it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. So I suppose I just try to embrace the good and the bad, and acknowledge that the bad stuff happens for a reason and you’ve got to learn from it and you’ve just got to move on from it. Nothing’s guaranteed. Written with Gary Barlow! I know! We were so excited because when we went on the radio tour we were listening to Radio 1 and Chris played it in the morning and then Fearne played it, and we were getting quite a few plays out and about. And in all the time I’ve been in this industry, I’ve never had a song played on Magic! Did you actually get to meet Gary Barlow and be in the same room with him? Yes, we wrote the song together, around Elton John’s piano. He’s absolutely brilliant. We did it in LA. It was myself, Gary and John Shanks who’s done a lot of the Take That records like ‘Rule The World’ and stuff with Miley Cyrus. Even though I’m comfortable in Gary’s company, I was nervous when we approached the song. Obviously, the lyrics are quite genuine and heartfelt and it was just one of those moments. I was sitting there keeping a straight face but inside I was smiling because I was with Gary which was a really big deal for me. I’ve been a fan of Gary’s since I was 14 years old. There was a big gap between you winning Strictly Come Dancing and putting the album out, wasn’t there? I ended Strictly at Christmas and then I was working on the album pretty much most of the next year. You must have been so shocked at how big it went after Strictly. I wasn’t even thinking about that, that’s the interesting thing. I was just thinking about having a good time and I actually nearly said no when they asked me to be in it ‘cause I was so worried what people in the music industry would think. It got you known with a whole group of people who weren’t into music… I was getting letters from people in their eighties, nineties and four-year-olds, so it was like, this is scary. And you are on tour at the moment? Yes I love performing live and the tour like my album is called The Alesha Show - people will get to hear all my songs ‘The Boy Does Nothing’ and ‘Lets Get Excited’. We have created a music performance and made it a proper show of music and dancing - Strictly has been an influence because as there are a lot of dance routines, there’s a real big band feel with samba and Charleston moves - I learned all those amazing dances on the show now it’s my chance to use them during my live music show. Music is my first love and getting out there performing my single to the fans is still the best part of the job – that and working with Gary! ‘To Love Again’ is released through Asylum Records digitally on 15th November and ‘The Alesha Show – Encore’ is released on 23rd November BY lisa boyle
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by lisa boyle Anyone with a penchant for retro music will undoubtedly have the new Beatles rockband game on their xmas wish list this year. The days when teenagers rolled their eyes and covered their ears at the sound of their parents (or even grandparents) music records playing in the background. However it seems today youngsters are stealing from their parent’s CD rack and making it their own as the sound of the 60s is making a spectacular comeback. 60s band the Searchers played at the Motherwell concert hall last month and tribute band The complete Stone Roses also took to the stage at the Motherwell music festival recently blasting out the 80s band The stone roses songs such as I wanna be adored and Waterfall. It seems tribute bands are becoming increasingly popular amongst the children of the noughties today as 60s rock and roll bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Doors are fast becoming music icons all over again. With record companies bringing out remastered versions of the previously popular albums and the wide range of publicisation it would be difficult look the other way. After all rock and roll was practically invented in the 1960s and today we still see rock t-shirts emblazoned with the faces of our previous 60s and 80s icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Blondie. Psychedelic music has also become more popular with games such as guitar hero featuring songs such as All along the
watchtower, a massive hit in 1968. Tribute band the Beatles Beat are also selling tickets fast for this Saturday at their concert in the west end area of Glasgow but it’s certainly not going to be filled with those over the age of 40. Martin Seawright, 21 is an aspiring musician and is ecstatic that there are so many tribute bands around “Its great because most of the bands from the past have split up so hearing tributes play is the next best thing. I am going to enjoy being able to hear all the old classic songs being played live. “ It seems that today’s mainstream music isn’t enough for young adults to listen to as there isn’t enough variety out there. “classic bands beat a lot of modern music, especially the beatles. The melodies are better than modern ones.” James Hamilton, 19, a journalist student at UWS University in Hamilton is also a fan of the swinging 60s “I listen to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach boys and Blue Oyster Cult. I hate today’s mainstream music. I think music from back then is way cooler.” When asked if he’ll be buying this years most popular game he said “Yes, definitely. I think the games coming out also helps expose the younger generation to music they’ve not heard before.” So whats going to be on Christmas lists this year? Try not to be too surprised if it’s a few ancient albums in black and white and a Bob Dylan biography.
THE BANTER | 39
iNTERVIEW - JLS
he words “X-Factor runners-up and “number one single” don’t typically go together but for JLS they describe their surprising career so far. After losing The X-Factor to Alexandra Burke last year, JLS were expected to follow other X-Factor alumni into pop obscurity. However the four-piece have bucked this trend after scoring a number one single with their debut Beat Again. While their music is nothing that has not been heard before, their 90’s, Boys II Men-esque sound has struck a chord with the public and has seen the band become a success despite their defeat on the TV show. Their success has been so much so that they recently made a triumphant return to the current series of The X-Factor. Yet 22-year-old Oritsé Williams still felt the stress of Simon Cowell’s steely gaze upon them. “It was absolutely amazing for us to be invited back by Simon Cowell and a great honour,” he says with a tinge of duty in his voice. “We know what it is like on both sides of the coin and to be honest we felt just as much pressure as when we were competing in the competition. You know, performing in front of Simon Cowell the pressure is on regardless.” Returning to their old stomping ground was something of a reunion for the band with judges, Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh, as well as presenter, Dermot O’Leary welcoming them back with open arms. It also gave them a chance to size up this year’s contestants and remember how it felt to be in their position. “The competition is incredible this year, the level of talent is really high,” boasts 24-year-old Marvin Humes “We met everyone when we performed and everyone was great. We’re really big fans of the show.” This year’s competition has seen another cheesy and somewhat tacky act slip through into the live shows in the form of teenage twins, John and Edward. While most would be expected to cringe at this act, 21-year-old Aston Merrygold stands up for them. 40 | THE BANTER
Interview by Anna Gault
“I think that whether people at admit it or not, people love them. They have been getting the highest votes the past couple of weeks from what we have heard. People thought the same of Same Difference last year and Same Difference are still working hard at the moment so I am sure there are a lot of prospects for John and Edward.” For a band that is only beginning their professional musical careers, JLS are certainly keen to take advantage of every and any opportunity. Having recently released a book about themselves it wouldn’t be unfair to say it’s a tad early for this kind of merchandise. However Oritsé strongly defends the book. “To be honest our fans were demanding to know more about us from before the show and where we all come from. You know, all these questions were going unanswered and we thought ‘why don’t we make a little commentary about how the band started and how we ended up at The X-Factor?’ It’s just a little introduction, you know, going backwards to go forwards. And it’s mostly pictures anyway!” So with a nationwide tour ahead of them, JLS have most definitely made waves in the UK pop scene but what is the secret to their success? “I think that we have just literally, went out, worked hard and released music that is very true to us,” relates 22-year-old JB Gill. “I think that the audience at home and anybody who likes our music can connect with that and just feel the kind of sincerity that we present in the kind of music we release. And obviously, I think, the power of the show [The X-Factor], it’s the biggest platform you can have at the moment in music for exposure.” Lastly, the million-dollar question, who are JLS’s picks for the final? “We’d like to see Olly, Stacey and John and Edward in the final,” confesses Aston. “We’ve enjoyed all of their performances so they would be our favourites.”
by simon cassidy “COMING SOON TO A CINEMA NEAR YOU!” words which throughout history have hailed the coming of new and exciting theatrical feats to cinemas all around the World. Just look at the list of forthcoming Blockbusters that Hollywood are rolling onto the red carpet in 2010: Sherlock Holmes, Gremlins 3, the A-Team, The Wolfman, Alice in Wonderland, Nightmare on Elm Street, Wall Street 2, Robin Hood, Shrek 4, Toy Story 3, Sex and the City 2, The Karate Kid, Footloose, Poltergeist, Tron Legacy, to name but a few. Does this all look very familiar? The worrying part is that this doesn’t even mention what’s in the pipeline: Robocop Re-booted, Predator, Alien, the Three Stooges, Mortal Kombat and the never ending speculation over Ghostbusters 3 and Back to the Future 4. Basically the same line-up that we had from the 60’s to the 90’s… hasn’t it been a productive century! And this brings us to the crux of the matter; there are millions of people dying for a chance to get their scripts made into film, so why has the movie industry become so reliant on sequels and remakes? Surely even the worst script out there has to be better than another Karate Kid? There is a very simple reason - money! Why take a chance on an unknown when you can bring in Tim Burton to remake Alice in Wonderland and make a fortune? Reluctantly I must admit I am part of the problem. I can’t help but be excited by the idea of a new Ghostbusters, or the childish urge to see the conclusion of the Toy Story Trilogy. Remakes are nothing new; for years film-makers have delved into the past to put their name on a classic. Without looking too far back, a long list of remakes springs to mind. In many cases this has been a good thing. With the age of VHS long gone, and DVD increasingly under threat from Blue-Ray, there are a lot of classic’s that get lost in transition. Therefore, the only way for these stories to be passed on to a new
generation is for them to be remade. Take Peter Jackson’s King Kong, this was by no means the first time it had been re-vamped. In fact, I have seen at least three Kong films, and to be perfectly honest, I have no idea which one is the original. As time passed and the original began to look incredibly dated, why not let someone else take a swing? And who better to do it than the director behind epic screen adaptation of Lord of the Rings? The result was a resounding box office success, and although it may have been a trifle longer than expected, and it may have got a little bit carried away with enormous, very questionable, looking insects eating people, overall it was pretty much on a par with the original. Then there is, for example, I am Legend, Oceans 11 and Transformers which have gone on to surpass the original. So maybe we shouldn’t be disparaging of the year of remakes that lies ahead. Sadly, however, I am not optimistic. The appalling attempts at dusting off such classics as The Omen, Dawn of the Dead, the even worse, Day of the Dead, Bedazzled, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Fog and the Italian Job make it seem highly unlikely that most of these will hit the spot. The prospects for sequels doesn’t look too good either following Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…the less said about this, the better…but aliens in Indiana Jones? Mr Lucas, you should be ashamed of yourself! With 2010 rapidly approaching, which end of the spectrum can we expect to see? Will we be reminded of our favourite characters from years past? Or will it be a series of rushed projects just looking for a quick buck? Sadly, I am inclined to go for the latter. Everyday that film remakes become more popular, is a day closer to someone deciding that a new Casablanca starring Shia Lebeouf is a good idea…and frankly, that is a terrifying prospect! THE BANTER | 41
Movies 2012 12A OUT NOW
In 2009 a highly regarded team of scientists confirm to the global heads of state that the world as we know it, will soon come to an end... By 2012, a plan has been devised by world leaders to save as much of mankind as possible, but unfortunately not every man can be saved. When Jackson Curtis and his two kids go on a family trip to Yellowstone, they stumble upon a massive research facility in a dried up lake bed and uncover the secret of the impending apocalypse the government has been hiding. Jackson must take matters into his own hands as he embarks on a desperate race to save both his family and himself while witnessing earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and whatever other natural disasters the earth has in store for humanity.
From 4th december
This Christmas, primary school teacher Paul Maddens is charged with producing the school’s nativity play. Competing against the posh rival school for the honor of best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when Paul idly boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, a Hollywood Producer, is coming to see his show with a view to turning it into a film. The only trouble is - they haven’t spoken in years. With eccentric assistant Mr Poppy fuelling his ‘little white lie’, Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the center of quarreling parents and over-excited children desperate in their bid for fame and fortune. Maddens’ only hope is to get back in touch with Jennifer and lure Hollywood to town so that everybody’s Christmas wishes come true. 42 | THE BANTER
THE INFORMANT 15 out now
What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri–industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre (Matt Damon) suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company‘s multi–national price–fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn‘t been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre‘s ever–changing account frustrates the agents (Scott Bakula and Joel McHale) and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre‘s rambling imagination.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE PG From 11TH december
Directed by innovative filmmaker Spike Jonze, “Where the Wild Things Are” follows the adventure of Max, a mischievous young boy who is sent to his room after rebelling against his mother. However, Max‘s imagination is free to roam, and it soon transports him to a thriving forest bordering a vast sea. Delighted, Max sets sail for the land of the Wild Things, where mischief reigns and Max rules.
PLANET 51 U
From 4TH december
From the award nominated scriptwriter of Shrek comes a brand new animated film for all the family: Planet 51 is a galactic-sized alien adventure comedy about Earth astronaut Capt. Charles “Chuck” Baker who lands on Planet 51 thinking he’s the first to set foot on it. To his surprise, he discovers that it’s inhabited by little green people who live on a white picket-fenced world reminiscent of a cheerfully innocent 1950’s America, and whose only fear is that they will be over-run by alien invaders…like Chuck. With the help of a friendly teenager and other Planet 51 citizens, Chuck tries to avoid the local Anti-Alien Army, and get back safely to his spaceship before he is captured.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON 12A OUT NOW
If you haven’t become a Twi-hard yet, then by the end of this movie it’s likely you’ll be one. And for those who are still unfamiliar with the term, it’s the name given to fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series of books. And the second in the series ‘New Moon’ is the most explosive yet. In order to protect Bella (Kristin Stewart), Edward (Robert Pattison) ends their relationship and leaves the town of Forks. She soon realises the only way she can see him is when she puts herself in danger and
soon starts jumping off cliffs. But it’s Jacob (Taylor Lautner) who comes to the rescue, and his identity as a werewolf is soon revealed as him and Bella become closer. But in thinking Bella is dead, it’s not before Edward tries to get himself killed by the vampire royal family. And while they keep Edward alive, Bella has to be killed or become a vampire herself. So whether you’re on team Edward or team Jacob, its time to put on those t-shirts and starting lining up for tickets.
From 26th december
A dynamic new portrayal of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s most famous characters, “Sherlock Holmes” sees Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and his stalwart partner Watson on their latest challenge. Revealing fighting skills as lethal as his legendary intellect, Holmes will battle as never before to bring down a new nemesis and unravel a deadly plot that could destroy the country.
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gerard butler louise anne geddes
He’s been linked to some of the hottest women in Hollywood, including Jennifer Aniston and Rosario Dawson. He’s got several blockbusting movies under his belt, including the epic ‘300’ (with Dominic West of TV’s ‘The Wire’), ‘PS, I Love You’ (with Hilary Swank, Lisa Kudrow and Jeffrey Dean Morgan), ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (with Minnie Driver and Emmy Rossum), ‘RocknRolla’ (with Thandie Newton) and recent releases ‘Gamer’ (with Michael C Hall) and ‘The Ugly Truth’ (with Katherine Heigl of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy). As you probably guessed from this impressive list of co-stars, Mr Gerard Butler is definitely Hollywood’s man of the minute! He’s renowned for his flexible acting talent – he’s played everything from the romantic male lead in films such as ‘PS I love you’ to the brooding Phantom in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ (a role in which he was required to sing!) to action heroes in ‘Gamer’ and ‘300’. Yes ladies, the man really does have it all! And he’s a local boy to boot! But despite being involved with acting and the Scottish Youth Theatre from a young age, Butler wasn’t so certain when he was younger! “When I was younger I had such a powerful and persistent yearning to be an actor, which was like a pain in my chest, and this powerful dream would come and burn within me. And then it would ebb, then come back and then go away. I wanted to do it and I would dream about it… But most of the time I think that I thought it was just a dream; that I was the one who could kind of get there, but wouldn’t, that someone else would pull it off instead. When I was in Oliver in Glasgow, 44 | THE BANTER
when I was 11 years old, it was always like, “I’ll just get in there but someone else can be Oliver.” Or when I was at the Scottish Youth Theatre, I’d think I’d have a nice role in a play but that someone else should be the star. Then somewhere along the line, that changed” Well, I for one am certainly glad that it did, or we might not have the man who has been described as one of the world’s sexiest men! (Not that I’m being biased or anything!) His latest movie, ‘Law Abiding Citizen’, in which he stars with Jamie Foxx, sees Butler cast as Clyde Shelton, an ‘honest, upstanding family man’ who turns to a life of crime after the brutal murders of his wife and daughter. Foxx stars as Nick Rice, a prosecuting lawyer who must stay one step ahead of a man who is determined to bring the American justice system to its knees. The film, directed by F Gary Gray features a stellar supporting cast including Leslie Bibb and Colm Meaney, looks set to become this year’s blockbusting thriller. Butler reveals his thoughts on the movie his fans can’t wait to see! “I play your typical husband, but his family are killed and brutally murdered at the opening of the movie and I’m not given any justice when I go and see the District Attorney, Nick Rice (JAMIE FOXX). Basically, he strikes a deal with the two murderers and I come back and seek my revenge on the DA and everybody who was involved in the original case. There’s definitely a lot of violence in the film, no doubt, but there’s also a lot of perceived violence or potential violence. It’s an incredibly tense and suspenseful film, especially because
Movies whatever happens comes out of the blue. You never know where this movie’s going to go; it really has you on the edge of your seat. I think my favourite part of the film is that so much of what happens is really unexpected and a shock. It often happens before you think it might happen, too, which is the mark of a good suspense-thriller” Butler’s character Clyde Shelton has the potential to be a massive stereotype of good turning to evil. However, Butler says that there is a lot more to this movie than meets the eye….. “I loved it (the storyline), because it has so much going on with the action and the suspense, and the violence and the thrills. Also it’s really a cool idea to climb inside the mind of a guy who has been totally screwed over and has absolutely no hope, he has nothing left. And how do you react in that situation? Most people would fall apart, and I think it’s a real treat for an audience to see a guy go, “Enough is enough! It’s payback time. Without a doubt he wants to make people suffer. He wants to make those people suffer who he feels had more active involvement in the original case; the killers, the defence lawyer, those he wants to make suffer like you cannot imagine. Anyone else who gets in his way has to be moved out of the way!”
So far, previews have met with mixed reviews. The film has been praised and criticised in equal measure, being referred to as a ‘satisfying revenge movie’, ‘a certified disappointment’, ‘a revenge movie taken to ridiculous extremes’, ‘a searing attack on the justice system’, ‘a slick cat and mouse thriller’, and one critic said ‘you can’t fight fate, and you can’t deny this movie’s charm’. Given its controversial subject matter, I doubt that there will be many people who won’t be at least a wee bit curious about this thriller, which I myself can’t wait to see! Having never been disappointed by Butler before, I am certain that he will certainly prove his critics wrong! Described as ‘a tense, edge of your seat thriller’, ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ is at cinemas now.
COMPETITION HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE™
A������������������������������� vailable on Blu-ray and DVD on December 7, 2009
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™, Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates! And then there’s Hermione, simmering with jealousy but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again. To celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™, The Banter has 3 Blu-ray copies of the film to give away. To win, just answer the following simple question: In the movie HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE™, what is the name of the actor who plays Hagrid? a. Michael Gambon c. Alan Rickman
b. Jim Broadbent d. Robbie Coltrane
Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Harry Potter along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009. © 2009 Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved.
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Movies the hangover (15) warner home video The Hangover is officially the highest grossing R rated movie in American History. There is a very good reason for this. For anyone who has ever embarked on a night out thinking “Lets make this a night to remember” only to wake up thinking “what did I do last night?”; or in fact, to anyone who has an appreciation of the absurd, ridiculous and downright hilarious, The Hangover simply must be the next addition to your DVD collection. With stellar comic performances from the entire cast, that of Alan played by Zach Galifianakis as the groups bearded weirdo is especially superb, from beginning to end, the film just gets better and better. However I will say this, anyone looking for a polished and refined piece of cinema, stay clear. Anyone who wishes to find out why “There’s a Tiger in the Bathroom!” watch this film! simon cassidy
land of the lost (15)
universal pictures uk Space-time vortexes suck. Will Ferrell stars as has-been scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, sucked into one and spat back through time. Way back. Now, Marshall has no weapons, few skills and questionable smarts to survive in an alternate universe full of marauding dinosaurs and fantastic creatures from beyond our world-a place of spectacular sights and super-scaled comedy known as the Land of the Lost. Sucked alongside him for the adventure are crack-smart research assistant Holly (Anna Friel) and a redneck survivalist (Danny McBride) named Will. Chased by T. rex and stalked by painfully slow reptiles known as Sleestaks, Marshall, Will and Holly must rely on their only ally-a primate called Chaka (Jorma Taccone) - to navigate out of the hybrid dimension. Escape from this routine expedition gone awry and they’re heroes. Get stuck, and they’ll be permanent refugees in the Land of the Lost. Based on the classic television series created by Sid & Marty Krofft, Land of the Lost is directed by Brad Silberling and produced by Jimmy Miller and Sid & Marty Krofft
COMPETITION - To ����������������������������������������� celebrate the release of Land Of The Lost, Universal Pictures and The Banter have teamed up to offer 3 lucky winners the chance to win a Land of the Lost DVD. Q: In which film did Will Ferrell star as an Olympic Ice Skater? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Land of the Lost along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009. 46 | THE BANTER
COMPETITION - To ������������������������������������������� celebrate the release of The Hangover, Warner Home Video and The Banter have teamed up to offer 1 lucky reader the chance to win The Hangover on DVD. Q: Ed Helms stars alongside Steve Carell in which hit TV programme? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: The Hangover along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009.
Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy (15)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Make no mistake. This is as far removed from Glen Michael’s Cartoon Cavalcade as one could possibly get, with something to offend everyone and more of Kermit the Frog than you would ever have wanted to see. Harrowing depictions of your childhood favourites aside, amidst the large quantity of material included, there are far more hits than misses. Fans of Family Guy and American Dad will find this easy on the eye, as the fifty or so sketches are in that trademark animation style despite only one of MacFarlane’s regular characters – talking dog Brian Griffin – making an appearance. It’s a change of scenery without Peter et al but definitely not a change of pace; with the jury still out on whether or not these rapid fire tangents have simply been swept up from Family Guy’s cutting room floor. As one would expect, MacFarlane plays to his strengths with toilet humour and gags often at the expense of a celebrity. That doesn’t stop many from happily getting behind the mic however as Gilbert Gottfried and Chace Crawford are just some of the stars featured on the disc.
Movies inglourious basterds (18) universal pictures uk There is a problem with Quentin Tarantino films; they are either absolutely fantastic, or they are absolutely dreadful. So, with Quentin taking a swing at making a World War II epic, which is it going to be? Not wanting to overstate the matter, but it is a brilliant film! The main criticism that comes with many war epics is that the audience know the outcome before the end. Without wanting to give anything away, my only advice is to watch this movie after forgetting all that you have learned about the Second World War!Seemingly keen to make people remember that it was for screenplay that Pulp Fiction won the Oscar and not scenes of violence, the film is noteworthy for its extended scenes of dialogue and story telling…with some obligatory Tarantino fight scenes thrown in for good measure. Overall, well worth a watch!
looking for eric (15) icon HOME ENTERTAINMENT On paper “Looking for Eric”, directed by Ked Loach, seems like a ridiculous concept. Eric Bishop (Steve Evet) a football fanatic postman, struggling with depression, his past and two teenage stepsons, receives an unlikely assist from his spirit guide, Eric Cantona. As such it would be very easy to disregard “Looking for Eric” without ever giving it a chance. Surprisingly, however, this unlikely formula creates a thoroughly entertaining, if dark, comedy. The role of Eric Bishop is well played by Evet and is a major part in making the film work. The opening scene shows Eric at his lowest moment, attempting to commit suicide. The film then goes on to show his failing relationships with his two teenage stepsons, daughter and ex-wife, who he is still desperately in love with, and creates a believable life story that hooks you in. Interspersing the drama with scenes of Cantona wisdom and his friends comic attempts at self help remedies, balance the piece out, making it entertaining. There is a problem, which must be addressed in “Looking for Eric”. By casting Cantona in a role that is only there to motivate, spout philosophy and cool lines there is the possibility that he would overshadow the other characters. By focusing a film around Eric Cantona and football, there is also the risk of alienating a large portion of the audience who have no interest in either. Fortunately Cantona appears only periodically throughout the film, and football is referred to mostly as a metaphor for life lessons such as trust and team work; even the most disinterested football fan cannot help but laugh at the line, “I am not a man…I am Cantona”. Overall, while the humour and darker side occasionally struggle to gel together and Cantona as a Fairy Godmother may seem absurd, “Looking for Eric” is a massively enjoyable film, which is well worth a watch. simon cassidy
COMPETITION - To ����������������������������������������� celebrate the release of Inglourious Basterds, Universal Pictures UK and The Banter have teamed up to offer 1 lucky reader the chance to win the movie on DVD. Q: In which Quentin Tarantino film did Uma Thurman star as a sword carrying bride on a mission of vengeance? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Inglourious Basterds along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009.
moon (15) SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2001: A Space Odyssey is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Sci-Fi films, if not the medium of film and was once referred to as culturally, historically and aesthetically significant by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in The National Film Registry. So when a film is liked to 2001, you should sit up and take notice and that is what you should do with Moon, which stars Sam Rockwell as a solitary lunar employee, with only a robot companion (voiced by Kevin Spacey) to keep him company. Rockwell experiences a personal crisis as the end of his three-year stint nears, his isolated astronaut Sam Bell wakes up in his lunar base after a freak accident — and suddenly discovers that he’s not alone... and that is really all I can divulge without spoiling everything. Moon, is the brainchild of, Duncan Jones, the fruit of David Bowie’s loins so it seems a wicked streak of creativity runs in the Bowie family. Moon is a fantastic Sci-fi thriller and it sees a stellar turn from Sam Rockwell, an actor that has also proved his worth in films such as Frost/Nixon and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Moon is not to be missed. maxwell lynas
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Nip/Tuck is seen as one of the most disturbing and dark shows on television and during it six seasons has featured sex dolls, serial killers, incestuous necrophilia, countless boob jobs, a mastectomy via an electric turkey carving knife and foursomes (not the golfing kind), which led to a campaign to remove the show from the air. So when I heard the creator of Nip/Tuck Ryan Murphy was creating a musical comedy-drama, which focused on a high school show choir, I was a vexed to what the outcome would be. Glee is the outcome and there is no sign of dark and disturbing just teen pregnancies, homophobia, disabilities and show tunes. Glee sees Will Schuester, McKinley High’s Spanish teacher takes over the school’s Glee Club, aiming to restore it to its former glory, much to the annoyance of Sue Sylvester, head coach of the “Cheerios”(McKinley’s cheerleading squad). The wonderful Jane Lynch’s (Role Models), is in danger of stealing the show as the downright nasty but equally hysterical Sue Sylvester. Glee is a joy to watch, filled with plenty LOL moments it will no doubt exert a sense of glee on the viewer (pun is definitely intended) and with its young and extremely talent cast belting out the latest chart hits, some rock and the occasional show tunes, there is songs for everyone. *Warning In-Joke incoming* And that’s how Sue sees it... Watch Glee on e4 from earlier 2010 maxwell lynas
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LOST SKY 1
Lost season 6 is set to make its hugely awaited and final comeback in early 2010. This is the season where all the questions are to be answered and all the island mysteries are to be revealed. At the end of season 5 in the thrilling finale we saw Jack finally convince the others that blowing up the hydrogen bomb was the only way to fix everything and that it would stop the plane crash from ever happening. We also saw Juliet sucked into the hole with the bomb which when she woke up she repeatedly hit with a rock until it blew up. In the final series there are still many questions waiting to be answered. Did Jacks reset work; What happened to Clare; Is Jacob really dead; What is the fate of Juliet; What exactly is the island; and many more that have to be answered. Lost creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have said that the story is now concluded. Lindelof has also been quoted as saying: “The focus comes back to the characters with whom we began. We’ve been winnowing away everyone else who came along. The Tailies are gone, only Miles is left of the Freighter Folk and only Juliet is left of The Others. We’re getting down to the end now.” emma goldie
24 SKY 1
BREAKING BAD FIVE USA
Jack Bauer is back for his eighth worst day of his life, continuing what can only be described as the worst run of luck the world has ever seen. Season eight of 24 is set 18 months after season 7, with the day unfolding in New York City amidst the shadows of the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations where CTU has been upgraded. Joining the cast this season is Freddie Prinze Jr. as CTU’s new Field Operations Chief Cole Ortiz, who is a former Marine who wants to follow in Jack Bauer’s footsteps, runs. Battlestar Galactica alumni Katee Sackhoff also joins Prinze Jr. as a new member of the CTU team while Rob Weiss serves as President Alison Taylor’s new chief of staff and Meredith Reed is an ambitious journalist with ties to the unfolding situation. Season eight sees Jack Bauer want to move on with his life and be with his daughter and granddaughter, but these plans come to a halt when, once again, America needs his help. Season eight of 24 will air on Sky One in January 2010. maxwell lynas
Season one of Breaking Bad hit Five USA earlier this month and Five USA aim to follow it up with season two straight away. Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a son with cerebral palsy, is diagnosed with stage-three terminal lung cancer. Determined to develop a sufficient inheritance for his family before his death, Walter enters the drug trade, using his chemistry knowledge to cook remarkably potent methamphetamine (crystal meth) with the help of a former student, Jesse Pinkman - of course drug dealing isn’t that simple. Breaking Bad sees a standout performance from Bryan Cranston, most recognisable from his role as the dad of dysfunctional family in Malcolm in the Middle. Season one of the US critical hit is airing currently on Five USA, with season two due to premier on Dec ember 19th. maxwell lynas
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES ITV2 COMING SOON
Elena’s first day back at Mystic Falls High School since the tragic death of her parents. Along with her Aunt Jenna, Elena tries her best to look after her troubled younger brother, Jeremy, and salvage what family they have left. The first day is already shaping up to be a struggle for Elena until she meets the mysterious new kid at school, Stefan. Elena is touched that he can relate to what she’s going through. What Elena doesn’t know is that Stefan is a vampire, constantly resisting the urge to taste her blood. As their undeniable connection grows deeper, Stefan’s dangerous older brother, Damon, shows up to wreak havoc on the town of Mystic Falls - and claim Elena for himself. THE BANTER | 49
The Doctors of Seattle Grace return to our screens with Season six of Greys Anatomy GREYS ANATOMY UK LIVING Coming soon
Season 5 drew to a close with the team at Seattle Grace Hospital trying desperately to resuscitate George and Izzie who were both left fighting for their lives in a thrilling 2 hour finale. It looked as if Izzie (Katherine Heigl) had lost her battle with metastatic melanoma which she was diagnosed with after she had reoccurring hallucination of her dead fiancé, Denny. While simultaneously, we learn that the hero John Doe that had saved a woman’s life by pushing her out the way of an oncoming bus and had his face seriously maimed in the accident is George. (T.R. Knight) Season 6 is set to be more of the exciting medical drama at the hospital, among the most anticipated storylines is what the fate of George and Izzie is. Other questions still waiting to be answered are: Will we finally get to see Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) get married? Will Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) get together properly after a few rocky previous attempts and after she confessed she loved him? Will Bailey (Chandra Wilson) decide to finally accept the Paediatrics fellowship? Will Callie (Sarah Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) make up after the “awesome” argument they had when George joined the army?
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TRUE BLOOd (18) warner home video Imagine a world where vampires are a socially acknowledge minority who have revealed their existence to a public torn between fascination and revulsion. Welcome to the world of True Blood. A world in which man and vampire are forced to co-exist with the help of an artificial blood created to keep vampires away from the jugular. Unsurprisingly this substitute has not tamed the entire vampire population and has opened the door for human and vampire integration on a consensual, sexual level. Fangbangers is the eloquent term given to these humans who partake in dangerous liaisons with the vamps. Whilst others use their blood (commonly known as V) to get high but at a higher price. True Blood has everything from boobs and blood to love and voodoo. Based on Charlaine Harris’ The Southern Vampire Mysteries novels, the show revolves around vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who has recently moved back to his hometown of Bon Temps, Louisiana after over a century of leading a traditional vampire life. He soon meets innocent human waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who also happens to read minds, and an unlikely romance blossoms. This plot formula may sound slightly familiar, vampire in love with human girl, hello Twilight. However True Blood comes from the mind of Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball so the series reaches much darker depths that Twilight merely skims stones on. While the series is clearly full of the supernatural it also tackles more natural topics such as racism, homophobia and
prejudice but through the vampires’ integration into society rather than through human issues. From the get go the show follows in other HBO produced programmes’ footsteps by featuring graphic sex and violence but with extra gore thrown in for good measure. For example, staking a vampire is no simple matter, no environmentally friendly cloud of dust a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer here, be prepared for some gag inducing scenes. True Blood’s action stems from the vampires however the human characters all seem to be hiding something which makes for some exciting plot twists. Sookie’s numbskull brother Jason (Home and Away alum Ryan Kwanten) soon discovers the perks of V and unwittingly becomes the prime suspect in an investigation into the murder of local fangbangers. And her boss, Sam Merlotte (Sam Trammell) is keeping a dark secret from Sookie while harbouring an unrequited love for her. With vampires saturating every type of media these days, True Blood runs the risk of being the final nail in the vampire genre coffin. But by indulging in the seedy side of vampirism it proves to be a guilty pleasure which moves away from the romanticised vampires of Twilight and gives older viewers something to sink their teeth into. True Blood airs Wednesdays on Channel 4 and Season One DVD is out to buy now. THE BANTER | 51
Television competition STEVE COOGAN LIVE- As Alan Partridge And Other Less Successful Characters
18 2 Entertain Video There comes a time in every man’s life when he must end his ten year hiatus from live performance and embark on his 86 date sell out tour. For Steve Coogan that time came in October 2009. Armed with nothing more than a hire car, a Little Chef loyalty card and a support staff of 35, Coogan crisscrossed the nation, reintroducing us to some of his best-loved characters. Whether you’re a fan of live comedy, a Coogan lover or simply one of this country’s three million unemployed, this is a DVD to be watched over and over again.
the best of nevermind the buzzcocks 18
Watch the clips that were too rude, too drunk, too nasty, too sweary and too awkward for TV on The Best of Never Mind The Buzzcocks DVD – a must for all fans. Never Mind The Buzzcocks, the legendary satirical music series known for its dry sarcastic humour and caustic wit, is available to own for the first time on DVD on Monday 16th November courtesy of 4DVD. The hugely popular show first hit our TV screens in 1996 and became an instant hit with comedy fans. It’s been running for 13 successful years and 22 series later it’s still going strong. With the show’s reputation for the unpredictable, celebrity guests are primed for the occasional embarrassment and
harmless ribbing, as their knowledge of music is put to the test.
COMPETITION - To ���������������������������� celebrate the release of Nevermind The Buzzcocks, The Banter has 3 copies of the DVD to give away. Q: Who was the original host of Nevermind The Buzzcocks? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Buzzcocks along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009.
This extraordinary drama, starring Douglas Henshall, Kate Ashfield, Paul McGann and Phil Davis tells the tense story of a major road accident and a group of people who have never met, but who all share one devastating moment that will change their lives. The five part serial is a modern epic tale which explores how fragile our lives are. It focuses on how fate and the feeling of immortality behind the wheel play a part in modern lives, where events are not always in our control and ordered.
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COMPETITION - To ����������������� celebrate the release of Steve Coogan Live, The Banter has 3 copies of the DVD to give away. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: In which film did Steve Coogan play director Damien Cockburn? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Coogan along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th
COMPETITION The Banter has teamed up with 4DVD to offer 3 lucky readers the chance to win Collision on DVD. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: In which city was Douglas Henshall born? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Collision along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009.
Win one of 3 Friends DVD Boxsets
DVD review Terminator: the sarah connor Chronicles - Season 2 (15)
warner home video Due to the infamous Writer’s Strike that took place from late 2007 to early 2008 the first and promising season of Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles was cut shot and fans were only treated to nine episodes of the new versions of John and Sarah Connor. Season two provides fans a chance to see their first full season of Terminator action (22 episodes) but unfortunately it is the only full season the fans will get, as it was cancelled by Fox in America after poor ratings and a high production budget. This is unfortunate as season two provides viewers with some excellent action packed episodes and an explosive finale which left open an array of exciting possibilities for the show to develop in season three. The only way fans might get a way to see a conclusion to this action-packed show is if DVD sales of this boxset are high and this may led to a DVD film that will conclude the storylines. So if you’re a fan, go and buy the boxset and you might get your conclusion, I know I will be.
friends (15) SONY PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without settling down on the sofa with a mince pie by a roasting fire and catching-up on some of your favourite TV shows. A perfect present for mums, daughters, wives and girlfriends, everyone’s favourite sitcom, Friends, is back! This year sees the 15th anniversary of the iconic show and as part of the celebrations, Warner Home Video is releasing a new complete box set, which now includes over four and a half hours of additional, previously unseen footage! Featuring weddings, births, break-ups, make-ups, tears and tantrums, fans can relive their favourite moments all over again. COMPETITION - To �������������������������������������������������� celebrate the the 15th anniversary of Friends, Warner Bros and The Banter have teamed up to offer 3 lucky readers the chance to win a complete boxset. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: Which of these is not a main character in the Friends? a) Joey b) Hamish c) Chandler Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Friends along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009.
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Games To Watch Out For
Our pick of the hottest videogame releases coming your way soon
GRAN TURISMO 5
Due 03/10 The award-winning Gran Turismo franchise returns with its 5th installment, exclusively for PS3. With its signature realism and physics, it continues to blur the line between simulation and reality
MASS EFFECT 2
COMMAND AND CONQUER 4
MAG: MASSIVE ACTION GAME
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SPIRIT TRACKS
out now The best dance contest ever comes to your own living room! Just Dance gives you the opportunity to perform all the iconic dance moves to your favourite songs in your home.
Due 19/03/10 Welcome back, Commander! Command & Conquer 4 allows C&C fans to finally experience the epic conclusion to one of gaming’s most beloved and longest-running series
Due 15/01/10 Experience a world of online warfare on an unprecedented scale. Find out if you’re man enough to command a 128 strong army into battle with this huge, online first-person shooter 54 | THE BANTER
Due 29/01/10 Two years after Commander Shepard repelled invading Reapers bent on the destruction of organic life, a mysterious new enemy has emerged.
Due 11/12/09 Spanning a 14 year legacy, Tekken is among the well-known gaming brands. A new “King of Iron Fist Tournament” is about to begin, complete with intense gameplay modes as well as new features and environments. Due 11/12/09 Fhe Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks sets hero Link on a daring new adventure. The game provides players with a new story, more puzzles and even a new mode of transportation
LEGO ROCK BANDASGOW
DS, PS3, Wii, X360
WIN a copy of CARS RACE-O-RAMA cars race-o-rama
Wii, NDS, X360, PS3, PS2, PSP
LEGO Rock Band merges two of the most popular videogame franchises to deliver a unique family-friendly music experience that will take tweens, teens, families and gamers of all ages on a wild journey to rock stardom in order to “Build a Band and Rock the Universe.” Combining the authentic multiplayer music experience of Rock Band with the accessibility, customization and humor of LEGO games, LEGO Rock Band allows players to create their own unique rock star style and customize their own avatars, band members, roadies, and managers. As players successfully complete songs and rock challenges, they can collect LEGO studs, unlock additional content and build amazing vehicles, which can take their band from local gigs at rock clubs to epic stadium shows and even fantasy settings on Earth and beyond. To celebrate the release of Lego Rock Band Warner Bros and The Banter have teamed up to offer 4 lucky winners the chance to win a PS3 copy of the game.
Lightning McQueen is back with brand spanking-new looks and amazing drifting abilities that give him the edge to compete in his most challenging race yet. Cars Race-O-Rama immerses players into a racing adventure through unique locales never before seen in the world of Cars. From sandy beaches, to metro cities, and even to vast deserts, players will race with their own customized Lightning and compete against the best of the best all over the continent for a chance to win the Race-O-Rama trophy. To celebrate the release of the highly anticipated Cars video game, THQ and The Banter have teamed up to offer 5 lucky winners the chance to win a DS copy of the game. Q: Which of these is the lead character of the game? a) Steve McQueen b) Lightening McQueen c) Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Cars along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009.
Q: Which of these characters do not appear in the game? a) Queen b) David Bowie c) Jedward Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Lego Rock Band along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes December 24th 2009. LEGO Rock Band releases on 27th November for Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii and DS - you can find more details at www.legorockbandgame.com
Cars © Disney/Pixar. Licensed by THQ Inc. Developed by Incinerator Studios. Incinerator Studios and its respective logo are trademarks of Incinerator Studios LLC. THQ and the THQ logo are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of THQ Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are property of their respective owners. THE BANTER | 55
Gaming call of duty: modern warfare 2 PS3/360 activison The most anticipated game of the year, countless midnight openings, 7 million copies sold in one day, the fastest selling game ever, $550 million grossed in its first five days and 5.2 million multiplayer hours logged on the game just on its first day. These are just some facts for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and one more fact is that COD:MW 2 has been dubbed “controversial” due to an early level in the game entitled “No Russian”, which sees the player take control of a deep cover CIA agent, joining a group of Russian nationalist terrorists in enacting an airport massacre.The level isn’t just there to shock and push the Daily Mail into an outraged tirade against video games but it is an important catalyst to theoverall plot of the game.Beyond the facts, figures and controversy COD:MW 2 is a phenomenal achievement in the medium of video games with its cutting edge graphics, Hollywood-like special effects and story and top-notch voice acting. maxwell lynas
marvel super hero squad Wii thq To me Marvel Super Hero Squad sums up perfectly the Nintendo Wii, while the Xbox 360 and PS3 get Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (although this is available on the Wii, I’ll ignore that at this time) the Wii gets stuck with a version more geared to kids.Instead of marketing the Wii as an alternative and unique gaming experience Nintendo are happy to allow anyone to release below par games that uninformed parents and grandparents mindless buy as presents much to their children’s disappointment and bemusement.While Marvel Super Hero Squad isn’t nearly the worst offender of this, it also isn’t the opposite of this; it just sits on the fence getting splinters.To be fair this game isn’t geared towards me in anyway but from what I played it was an average action beat-emup that no doubt some kid will garner some entertainment from on it on Xmas Day but it probably won’t last till 2010. maxwell lynas
the biggest loser Wii
thq Based upon the NBC show, the game features trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels, who provide comprehensive wii fitness board workouts and nutrition goals. We were a bit sceptical that this was going to be just another “fitness” game that seems to be all the craze for the wii these days, but The Biggest Loser actually surpirsed us with the number of features it includes. The balance board is optional but include it in to a daily workout and you can customise a daily routine ofliterally dozens of exercises. If you’re looking for something to get you exercising, or you’re a die-hard fan of the show, you won’t be disappointed.
56 | THE BANTER
lego indiana jones the adventure continues 360/PS3
activison LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues allows gamers to take on all four cinematic adventures, including the latest (and disappointing) entry in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The first new feature will see a level creator where players can create their own levels and objects and in the 2 player co-op mode, when one player indulges their sense of adventure the screen will now be split, with the split screen changing back into one screen when both players are reunite in their quest for mysterious artefacts. Another positive is while the game also includes adaptations of the original three movies, they are all-new levels, resulting in no recycled content from the original game. Lego Indy 2 is a solid enough game but is more of an expansion pack to the original than to a true sequel.
Drawn to life: the next chapter
Wii/DS THQ Drawn to Life is the first adventure game for the Wii that lets you draw your own hero! The Next Chapter picks up where the DS Play as your hero and use the Wii Remote to draw customizable weapons and tools designed to help you stop an evil thief before it’s too late! Being able to draw your own things within the game is the main highlight of this game altough it is also the achilles heel. Whilst the DS version has you simply using your stylus to draw a more accurate weapon using the wii-mote as your pen can be both tricky and frustrating. A great game but not without its “drawbacks”.
WIN A FESTIVE NIGHT OF FUN AT THE IRN-BRU CARNIVAL 8 pairs of tickets to be WON!
festive fun at the IRN-BRU Carnival, recently named best event of the year, which is at the SECC, Glasgow from December 18 until January 10. Prices have been held at 2007 levels (entry price £10 = 10 rides)…making it the ideal festive treat for the credit crunch. We have eight pairs of tickets to be won, worth £20 each. Our lucky winners will each receive vouchers allowing two people to scream the night away on 10 rides each. Visitors are promised fun for all the family at this year’s IRN-BRU Carnival, which is now in its 89th year. It will be packed with over 60 fun attractions including Superbowl, Waltzer, Ghost Train and the Dodgems. For thrill seekers rides include Mega Mix, Move It, Drop Zone, Speed Buzz and the brand new Extreme, while for younger visitors there’s the best selection of juvenile rides ever including Cups & Saucers, Wacky Racer Car Track and Chairoplanes. There will also be a fantastic selection of stalls including darts, basketball, hook a duck and Boogie-heads, the latest craze from America where you can star in your very own music DVD. Each ride will cost just £1, with visitors paying an entry price of £10 giving them 10 vouchers, which can be exchanged for 10
rides. Entry on every ride is one voucher, while game stalls are two vouchers (the equivalent of £2) per go. Vouchers can be passed to friends and family enabling accompanying adults to give vouchers to the young ones. Children aged 3 and under enter free. Once inside the hall visitors can buy extra vouchers at £1 each. Make sure you pick up your show guide at the IRN-BRU Carnival , which this year includes fantastic, discounted offers at some of Scotland’s top attractions! For further information or to purchase vouchers click www.irn-bru-carnival.com or telephone 0844 3954000. All tickets include show guide - RRP £5. For your chance to win a night of festive fun for two simply send your answer to the question below to email@example.com with the heading Carnival Competition At which Glasgow venue is the Irn-Bru Carnival taking place? 8 Winners will then be chosen at random all correct entries! Good luck, competition closes DEC 18th 2009. THE BANTER | 57
Minor offences have major consequences for new drivers, Jennifer Walker says don’t risk it! Nearly everybody wants a driver’s licence. Whether it’s a job requirement, or you have plans to travel. Most people need a car, and so they spend a lot of money and put a lot of work into getting one. However, just because you’ve passed the test it doesn’t mean that you’re set for life. During the first two years of being a driver, it’s easy to lose your licence. Why? New drivers are on probation. Normally, 12 points on your licence result in it being revoked. However, the 1995 New Drivers Act makes it so that for the first two years it’s only six. Put simply: if you commit a maximum of two offences you will lose your licence. It could be something that you think is trivial. Maybe you ignore ‘Twenty’s plenty’ and rev up to 30. Or you answer your ‘phone, if only to say “piss off, I’m driving”. It doesn’t hurt anybody, so what’s the problem? Don’t risk it, it’s the easiest way to lose it. In 2008, 21,554 new drivers had their licences revoked. This figure is rising by the year. It could easily be you. But who cares? You can take the test again and you’ll be driving again in no time, right? If you already have your licence, you will know better already. If not, the truth is scary. It should cost you an average of £1,043 just to get your driver’s licence. Broken down that’s: £50 for a provisional licence, £31 for a theory test, £62 for the practical test and £900 for the recommended 40 lessons*. Do you really want to go through all that and have to take the 58 | THE BANTER
test again? And that’s not counting the car. Or insurance. Insurance is expensive, a couple of thousand pounds. Because of the potential risk, it costs more for young drivers. Adding a young driver to your parents insurance policy also costs a heap of money. And if you go on to lose your licence. What happens then? It only gets worse. You are now a known risk, and the price of insurance rises even more. Hearing all this, you might want to ditch driving altogether and commute for the rest of your life. But if you are safe and careful, it will only bring benefits. Driving does improve your social life. Nobody is going to tell you that it makes you good looking or that everyone will want to be your friend. But they will want you to give them lifts to places. Some people call it being used, I say it’s a step towards long-lasting friendships Or maybe you want to make that trip round Europe? It becomes a lot easier if you’ve got your own car. A camping holiday in the highlands? Without worrying about train or bus fees, your travelling can become spontaneous and fun. So to all new and potential drivers – read the rules, use your common sense. All my advice can be summed up by these words: New drivers, Don’t be Daft. *Recommended by many driving schools and also the DSA
West of Scotland Racial Equality Council
Have you been a victim of discrimination? Do you know someone who has been discriminated against? Because of: Age – Disability – Gender Race – Sexual Orientation Religion and Belief Need more information? Need advice? West of Scotland Racial Equality Council can help. We offer a free confidential advice & information service. Please call our helpdesk on...
0141 337 6626 We carry out local outreach advice & information surgeries across the West of Scotland. To find out where and when out next surgery will be please call 0141 337 6626 or email
“BLISTERINGLY “BLISTERINGLY BRILLIANT” BRILLIANT”
KISS 100 KISS 100
THE PEOPLE THE PEOPLE
“AN “AN EXPLOSIVE EXPLOSIVE && INTENSE INTENSE THRILLER” THRILLER”
FOX TV FOX TV
THEY THEY KILLED KILLED HIS HIS FAMILY. FAMILY. NOW NOW JUSTICE JUSTICE IS IS HIS HIS VENGEANCE. VENGEANCE.
AND AND CINEMAS CINEMAS EVERYWHERE EVERYWHERE NOVEMBER NOVEMBER 27 27 ©2009 LAC FILMS, LLC. ©2009 LAC FILMS, LLC.
Contains strong bloody violence, torture and sexual violence. Contains strong bloody violence, torture and sexual violence.