We’ve come a long way...
Happy 5th birthday
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Leeds and West Yorkshire Free October 2008
S T T r e Last Ev vibrations 2
The Contents The Team The Editor Rob Paul Chapman email@example.com
The Design Editor Tim Metcalfe firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sub-Editors Charlotte Watkins Tony Wilby
The Picture Editor Tom Martin email@example.com
The Founders and Publishers
5 6 8 10 13 17 23 25 26 28 32 34 37 37 38 39
Magazine Editorial Moorfest Interview Special Interview Feature - Jon Gomm Interview Feature - Dave Beer Interview Feature - John F Keenan Interview Feature - Daley: TSU Interview Feature - Sam Robson Interview Feature - Chris Catalyst Leeds Festival Leeds Festival - BBC Stage Album Reviews Second Hearing - Your Demos! The Out-Of-Towners Live Reviews Vibrations Recommends
Tony Wilby firstname.lastname@example.org Jack Simpson email@example.com
The Advertising Department
by music lovers across Leeds. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nelson email@example.com Jack Simpson
The Web Team Simon Hollingworth www.vibrations.org.uk Charlotte Watkins www.myspace.com/vibrationsmagazine The Contributors Jack Simpson, Tony Wilby, Spencer Bayles, Jackie Hitchen, Sam Saunders, Helen Barlow, Fezz, Rob Paul Chapman, Tom Martin, Gary Kaye, Stevie Vigors
Vibrations is looking for… •
Advertisers 2000 magazines seen Classifieds Band mates wanted?
Equipment to sell? Rooms to rent? Whatever. firstname.lastname@example.org •
Writers, Photographers, Artists, Sub editors and Designers Come be a part of it. email@example.com
Demos Send them in to: Rob Paul Chapman, Editor, Vibrations Magazine, Trash, 9a Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AA
e been talking This issue we’v about the le to a lot of peop can tell you I . last five years was doing five exactly what I very day. I was e years ago to th ly good wine, ib s a fe n drinking u ing book, and rd a w reading a re g eratures pushin sitting in temp r la u the spectac 40 degrees in tains during n Provencal Mou mer on record. m u s t their hottes I remember this so distinctly because it was the last proper holiday I had. It is also worth noting that this was just before I got seriously involved with the Leeds Music Scene. I cannot help thinking that the two things might be related… We’d already run the pilot for the Tea Time Shuffle, I’d put together the first incarnation of what went on to become Loqui, and shortly I was to meet Mark Sturdy - then editor of the emerging Sandman Magazine - to begin writing for them. Meanwhile, on the other side of town - what I would like to think of as the dark side of town - two dubious characters by name of Tony Wilby and Jack Simpson were putting together a brand new fanzine with the attention to aesthetic detail and nimble dexterity of Ray Charles mending a watch in woolly mittens. As part of the research process building up to this momentous issue (stop laughing at the back) I dug up a copy of Vibrations Issue 1 and was frankly amazed. It was a gate-folded rambling stream of consciousness, veering without warning between editorial and advertorial, with no cohesive sense of purpose, structure, or conceivably any clue about what it was or wanted to achieve. The Vibrations of today differs in one highly significant way: It isn’t gate-folded. But seriously, as Phil Collins once said with the hiphop community inexplicably taking note, I like to think that despite the glossy paper, the stunning design work of Tim Metcalfe, the astonishing photography of Tom Martin and his team, the constant (and utterly necessary) nagging of Tony, and the philosophical insight of Jack, we’ve kept the spirit of what they were trying to achieve alive.
It is a collection of impassioned writings from people prepared to put their heart and soul into something they care about. It is not, and never will be, a newspaper. It cannot be all encompassing, and we make no pretence to complete objectivity or comprehensive coverage. It’s just a bunch of people who care, telling you what they care about, and occasionally what they’re indifferent to. This issue, we’ve handed much of that responsibility over to the people who shape the scene we all care about so much. And so we have collected their thoughts together for this special 5th anniversary edition. In doing so we have learned many things. That most people think the scene is a better place than it was this time five years ago, that most people would quite happily see the back of George Bush, that no one follows the charts anymore, and that Micky P Kerr thinks my writing is complete bobbins. All of this is the obvious stuff that you could guess, so for genuine insight, have a flick through and indulge in the wisdom or otherwise of the people who to some extent are the Leeds Music Scene. Elsewhere, we have some considered thought on the Leeds Festival and Moor Music Festival, plus more gigs, albums and demos than you care to mention. Including some of the best local records I’ve had the privilege to listen to, so digest and discover. We’ll be back in a couple of months with the usual format, but until then I hope you enjoy this special edition. Before I go, I would just like raise the metaphorical glass to the aforementioned Jack and Tony. For a start they have to put up with me and my seemingly endless supply of excuses to why content hasn’t been submitted to deadline. But most importantly because they started this thing, and they’re still around to see it through. I can see no tangible benefit that either gains from Vibrations’ existence other than the piece of mind of a job well done. There is much talk in this issue of the support and philanthropy that exists in the scene, and none embody this more than those two. For regular readers, fear not, I will be back to taking the piss out of them as usual next issue. But in the meantime, here’s to the next five years. Rob Paul Chapman
Vibrations is, and never will be all things to all men. vibrations 5
Moorfest Self-appointed Chief Festival Correspondent Stevie Vigors braves the moors for Addingham’s annual contribution to the independent festival circuit, and finds that tents are for wimps.
High House Farm is just 3 miles east of the quaint and – dare I say it – posh town of Ilkley, but it seems more like a trillion. At night time there is deathly silence (even the security guards get a quick nap in). Cows stare at you from adjacent fields; the horizon isn’t a row of red-brick terraced houses. There’s loads of green stuff everywhere, and people use phrases like ‘thank you’ when you buy things off them. The Moor Music Festival is a nonsponsored independent festival set in beautiful surroundings and with a nice selection of up and coming acts, mostly from round ‘ere, but some from yonder. If this sounds like your cup of char then give it a whirl. Here’s what I made of my time in the sticks: Transport is an issue. This summer I have tended to trek to festivals with little more than a satchel. partly because I’m lazy and partly because I think it makes me look mental, and as a result, cool. I have since learned, like
Pictures by Gavin Freeborn and Lisa Loco
most people do at an early age, that survival requires various comforts, such as warmth, shelter and a change of socks, so I now take much more stuff with me when I camp in fields. However this in itself creates a problem – a problem of will power. How much can one be arsed to carry? And with the Moor Music Festival not the most easily accessible by public transport, use of a car is highly recommended. Try to carshare though, as it will keep our planet green.
Leeds scene, who thought it a good idea to cross dress, swear and sing songs about oral sex at this nice, family-friendly festival. And shortly after there was more degenerate fun from Micky P Kerr and the Dudes, but with some nice folky pop songs to win over the Mums and Dads in the audience. This all took place in the Earl Hickey Tribute Lounge, or acoustic tent, where other highlights included Paul Marshall, David Thomas Broughton and Peter Wright.
The line-up, as mentioned earlier, traditionally features acts in their adolescence, but also with a sprinkling of more established performers, this year including Utah Saints, Paul Woolford, Dan Deacon and The Long Blondes. Unfortunately the latter two dropping out due an apparent loss of passport and serious personal illness respectively (it sounds like Dorian from The Long Blondes is on the road to recovery though, which is obviously absolutely brilliant news), but that didn’t mean there weren’t plenty of other things to get excited about.
Leeds was further represented by the rather dishevelled International Trust on Saturday morning, who were apparently feeling the affects of the weekend (four of them camped for the whole festival), along with Bad Sneakers’ protégés The Sugars and recent Dance to the Radio signings Grammatics.
With two headliners dropping out we clearly had some major changes to digest. One act to come out of the atrocious MobileAct Unsigned show with any credibility were Hijack Oscar, and by default found themselves with a more prominent slot on the bill. There was also a step up for one of Leeds’ prize assets of the noughties, ¡Forward, Russia!, headlining the main stage on the Saturday night. There was blood (literally), sweat and synthesisers in the mud as they put on one of their strongest performances for some time. We had more comedic exploits on the Friday afternoon with an act called Granny’s 4skin – an act made of up of various musicians, radio presenters and characters from the
Another local highlight were the ridiculously explosive Pulled Apart by Horses. The only previous opportunity I’d had to catch PABH was in a cellar at a house party that was simply too crammed to fit in even my meagre self. I wish I’d forgone discomfort now, as I was immensely impressed by their potent riffery and general mayhem towards the end of their set and made a point of catching them again at Bramham Park (see my Leeds Festival review for further PABH flattery).
open 24 hours a day, carpeted (you have to remove your shoes before entering in order to retain cleanliness) and displays a wide array of documentaries and surreal films. It is the perfect place to mingle with other sufferers of insomnia, sleep or just enjoy a nice brew. The atmosphere is inkeeping with the hippy element of the festival, similar to Glastonbury, and a million miles away from the juvenile behaviour sometimes found at the Leeds Festival. There is no chance of your tent being dragged onto a fire here. The festival certainly has character, partly down to its location, and partly down to retaining the independent vibe. It was unfortunate that a few of the major attractions dropped from the bill, but at the end of the day this festival isn’t just about the music. If you want a festival far away from the hustle and bustle and over priced food of Leeds, V and all the others then maybe next year you should give this one a try. Stevie Vigors
It wasn’t just boys in bands that were gracing the festival. In fact there was a great deal of eclecticism up on the moor. As mentioned earlier, the likes of Paul Woolford and Utah Saints – two undisputed legends of Leeds club scene over the past two decades - were major attractions for those of us who like to dance as well as remain stationary. The dance tent was rammed for these luminaries. It was just a shame it wasn’t open all night… Fortunately for people like me - who opted against bringing a tent to the festival - there was somewhere to hide from the cold. The Green Room was vibrations 7
So, we did it. Vibrations has made it to our 5th anniversary, which traditionalists among you will know is the “wood” anniversary. To celebrate we took large wooden sticks round to the houses of a small sample of people we’re interested in and asked them some questions. Strangely, everyone was remarkably compliant… Tim Hann: He Concurs. Favours brevity 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Working in an office situated in the red light district of Bradford What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Seeing the national at the cockpit 2 years ago Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago, and in what way? Hard to say. Some bands are always good. Some bands are always bad. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? I’m sure they’ll be more city centre flats. Like that’s what we really need. What are your 5 tips for success? Series 1 to 5 of The Wire. You won’t regret it. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I’d go to more gigs If you found £5 what would you buy? Bags for life Give us 5 things to look out for. Global pandemics Sea otters A zombie holocaust Cleveland Derek Acorah In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? Tony Wilby’s cheeky Geordie face
Tony Green: Hip-hop Head Honcho and fresh of jive
5 years ago, issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Running C Side Trax record label, promoting sugarbeat with Utah Saints, my son Isaac was in transit, and I bought a house. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Personally its better - we are all five years wiser How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? Music goes back n forward. There is a resurgence of true hiphop culture and that will continue to grow Give us 5 things to look out for. People who don’t care what you’re doing or who you are Alan Carrs Easyway Afro Physics Fresh Jive Shane Fenton What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) I would probably rather watch them all go up than have five in my hand to cry over. What’s the most annoying thing about us? You never offer to wash up after I cook for you. Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ‘03)? Missy Elliot, Robbie Williams, Timbaland, Pharell, Justin Timberlake?? Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
I’ll have a Guiness thanks, pull up a seat Victoria Dead Disco: Now solo indie siren 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I was probably halfway through my degree at Leeds Uni living in Headingly somewhere, being a cheesy fresher! What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Signing to Atlantic for my new album. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I think obviously everyone is quite bored of boy guitar bands, which is the kind of thing that Yorkshire had a name for a few years ago... so maybe things will get more electronic. I hope so. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? Probably more towers of shoebox flats around the city centre.... I think it will keep getting more and more popular for students... I hope it doesn’t lose too much of its identity trying to be a mini London. If you found £5 what would you buy? Plants.
What’s the most annoying thing about us? See above
Give us 5 things to look out for. Fantasy Art - making a come back in a big way Guitar Hero 3 - be prepared not to leave the house until you’ve completed it. A band from London called La Roux Tenorion - musical instrument of the future. Crystals - good for your mind and soul.
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
A nice Margarita with crushed ice
Vodka please vibrations 8
The Glitterati: Expatriate glamsters already planning on grandchild corruption
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Moving to London – Dick Whittington style – to look for the elusive record deal. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Probably the two albums we recorded in really different circumstances. The first one was a dream come true working with a legend like Mike Clink in LA. Just getting to complete the new album was a thrill as we have had a nightmare couple of years just trying to keep the band together. What are your 5 tips for success? 1-Believe in your music 2-Dont believe what anyone else thinks about your music 3-Be prepared to put every hour you have into making your band successful 4-Get a good lawyer 5-Enjoy it, its not a job and it wont last forever In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? Id like to show my grandkids one of our videos and see if they thought it was cool for their granddad to be dancing around in skinny jeans and leather jacket singing about drugs and girls ha ha! Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
JD and diet coke, although the rest of the band are into Clamata, it’s basically ketchup mixed with fish juice and doesn’t taste better than it sounds! Danny North: Premier league happy snapper 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I’d just joined a band called Brody. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? I’ve been lucky enough to have had quite a few, flying in a helicopter shooting Leeds festival from 2000 feet, probably... Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Difficult to say, I have a romantic view of Leeds 5 years ago: Catylyst, Downfall, Parisman, Sear... Good times. I think Leeds peaked a couple of years ago, but that could be simply because I’m hardly there these days. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? Nothing, I’m happy with all my mistakes. It’s the turbulent water that carves the shape of the river. (although I would like my Dad back) In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? Leeds was a great thing to be a part of. What’s the most annoying thing about us? Nothing to be annoyed about, it’s free, can’t complain. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Morgans Rum and Jamaican Ginger beer
Dave Simpson: At last, a proper journalist 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Writing for the Guardian. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Probably seeing Lou Reed perform Berlin in Amsterdam 2007. Oddly enough I met the great man a year or so earlier, when I queued with autograph hunters outside Gateshead Sage. I asked him what he thought of Coldplay doing Perfect Day on the same festival bill he was on. I got an article out of that. Never lose journo instincts, even when reverting to sad fan mode! [Are you reading this team?] Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? It’s certainly a lot more high profile. I think it is better, but sometimes you have to look hard. I think Duels are a terrific band and it mystifies me why they never made it. Although I’ve never caught them live. Give us 5 things to look out for. The new Teddy Thompson album; the new Leeds United winger who goes by the glorious name of Snodgrass; the new twin speaker iPod docking systems which mean you can get decent sound from an iPod; the new Leeds Academy venue; my book, The Fallen, which details a two year search for everyone (46 people) who played in the Fall. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Black Sheep bitter, if you’re buying
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I remember seeing the first fold-out issue at The Royal Park Cellars. So I was probably playing there! What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Touring overseas is the largest fun. Headlining little festivals is the nicest thing to be asked to do. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? It’s worse in that many people who were just riding the cusp of a wave a couple of years ago have now given up (shock!), so there are fewer gigs than there were 12 months ago. It’s better in that the good people are left. It’s also worse because International Trust have formed. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I think it’ll sound like futuristic space music and we’ll all be playing hyper-harps and wearing tinfoil.
Interview How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? I would imagine we will be invaded by giant alien worms. I for one welcome our benevolent new overlords. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? Apart from the aliens, I’d imagine they’ll build more hideous lego-block multi-purpose developments right next to beautiful Victorian buildings, despite the ones that were built 5 years ago now being slums inhabited by vagrants and bankers. What are your 5 tips for success? 1- devote time to learning your instrument 2- really study other people’s songs 3- don’t worry about fame, it’s not satisfying 4- realise gigs are about people, and those people are not all yourself! 5- music is local and global. Listen to stuff on your doorstep and stuff from totally different cultures. You might be able to do both at once. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? My album cover If you found £5 what would you buy? World peace Give us 5 things to look out for. 1- The death of indie (again) 2- the arrival of grunge2.0 3- people who wear fingerless gloves 4- the discovery of a third cheeky girl 5- my new album Curses and Blessings OUT SOON What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) I would save music books, not CDs, as they are harder to replace and most of these were gifts: 1- Rhythm, Sonority and Silence by Michael Hedges 2- The Guitar Book by Pierre Bensusan 3- my Real Book 4- New Vocal Techniques by Niranjan Jhaveri 5- The Story Of The Blues by Paul Oliver In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? The competition to win a copy of Hypertension in about issue 2! Won by a guy called Sean, I still remember! What’s the most annoying thing about us? Chapman. No - Wilby. No, sorry, it’s Simpson. All three Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ’03)? No. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Give it a rest Wilby, it’s the internet. Send me a “virtual drink” on Facebook like a wazzock
Interview Dave Sugden: He is the Leeds Music Scene. No, really, he is 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? My youngest daughter was born five years ago on Halloween. So probably preparing for that. Running LMS as usual otherwise. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? There have always been talented, interesting bands in Leeds. The musical landscape naturally changes every year, but I wouldn’t say it is better or worse now than it ever has been. I was asked the same question in around 2003, and I think I said the same back then! How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? Someone may move it closer to London. What are your 5 tips for success? Can you send me everyone else’s answers? I could do with some tips of my own. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I’d have taken a £1 bet on Kaiser Chiefs playing Elland Road. In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? That I was able to coherently answer questions. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
:-) James Brown: Slightly bonkers Pulled Apart By Horses guitarist. Leeds On The Bone label boss. Not deceased wife-bothering soul man
Jo Harrison: Contact Music supremo
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Studying art at Leeds Met and drinking hard and fast all the time. Drinking was like breathing back then.
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I remember the summer of 2003 as it started out with a mighty trip to Glastonbury for my Birthday
How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? Pat Sharpe will run the world. Seriously mate. Fun house.
Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? There’s always been a good flow of talent in Leeds, but there was a lot more national attention being given to our city 5 years ago and bands were being promoted more in the national press. In the past few years, bands have learnt how to publise themselves much better so a lot of mediocre music is getting more attention, the good ones are still there, you’ve just got to look a bit harder.
If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I would go back to Leeds festival 2007 and tell myself to stop drinking pints of wine because I might die. If you found £5 what would you buy? Can of mountain dew, milky way, cheese Doritos and a video game magazine. Easy that one. Didn’t even have to think about that. In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? This interview and photos of the beautiful Rob Paul Chapman. He’s just so fucking hot. What’s the most annoying thing about us? With Vibrations? Errmm.........AH! Never any pull out posters of Rob Paul Chapman. Sort it out for god sake. Oh and free chips. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Sailor Jerry’s with a slice of lime and coke. Thanks mate
How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? We’ll definitely see a lot more good independent labels popping up, we’ll also see a lot more folding. What are your 5 tips for success? -Work hard! Put in a lot of time writing and practicing not just playing gigs. -Know how to get your name out there -Play as many gigs outside of your home town as possible. -Be a bit savvy, take advice, listen to as many people as possible - Remember this is YOUR band, lots of people put faith in managers and record labels and then expect them to do all the work Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
I’ll have a pint of Umbongo and gin, please! vibrations 12
Interview The Old Romantic Killer Band: Trigger-happy duo, take the piss when other people are buying... 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Living at my parents house, doing music at college, putting on my first shitty punk shows, photocopying and hand drawing all the flyers, playing in a punk rock band and working at Asda I think, taking hits from the bong and serving chicken on the deli. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Better and better year on year; Wonderswan, Dinosaur Pile Up, Pulled Apart By Horses, Gents Pistols, favourite bands in the world ever. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? Erm.... I would have gone to that Damage Plan show with a fuckin sawn off and blown that fuckin douchebag away before he got anywhere near Dimebag, then I would have gone to Ol’ Dirty Bastards studio in Brooklyn and told him to lay off the coke for a couple of days in order to avoid an untimely death. THEN I would totally go and murder the shit out of the Ting Tings. What’s the most annoying thing about us? You didn’t review our single. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Bottle of Jagermeister for me, bottle of jack for harry please
Dave Beer: Club pioneer takes us Back To Basics 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? 5 years ago was our 11th year of backtobasics and we were riding the crest of our 10th anniversary, we had just released a backtobasics album with Danny Tenaglia, and we were travelling the world promoting it, with a pinnacle party being in Miami at the WMC, which was amazing. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? I’ve had a lot of musical thrills in the last 5 years, one being resident on the space terrace Ibiza, which is like playing the Wembley of dance music, but when I was young, my musical heroes were the clash. I adored them and followed them everywhere, recently they made a movie about Joe Strummer, the lead singer, who sadly died a few years ago and after the movie premier, I played guitar on stage with the remaining members of the band, with Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders, this was truly a Jim’ll fix it moment. I still can’t believe I did it.
If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? There’s nothing I would think I would change, but I would of liked not to have spent time in the intensive care unit on the life support machine, as I got ill from pneumonia, but so did my Dad, but luckily we are both still around to tell the tale. If you found £5 what would you buy? 5 big issues Give us 5 things to look out for. People that lie and cheat Look after your health The next Elvis Presley or the next Sasha Make sure your laces are tied, and flies are done up Look out for low flying airplanes What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? Your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) London’s burning - The Clash My Latest Flame - Elvis Presley Fire Starter - Prodigy Burning - MK Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash
In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show How do you see the world your family? changing in the next 5 My gold discs and years? photographs of many silly I hope and pray that the world haircuts I have had over the becomes a lot better place; years. in the last 5 years we have seen some horrific things take What’s the most annoying place in the world, what with thing about us? terrorism, wars and natural You ask difficult questions like disasters. I look forward to this one, I try my best not to seeing the back of George get annoyed by anything. Bush. Without cheating, any idea How do you see Leeds what was top of the charts 5 changing in the next 5 years ago (Aug ‘03)? years? I haven’t got a clue, as I never Leeds is now one of the best keep my eye on the Charts, places in Europe to live, but I would take a shout at even voted number one by Oasis, Radiohead, Coldplay, Condenas Traveller to live, so Fatboy Slim, and P.Diddy, or things can only get better some other bollocks along those lines. Let me know how What are your 5 tips for I did. [Badly – Ed] success? True to your word Finally, as it’s our birthday, To have integrity in everything what are you drinking? you do To do it for the love and If you’re paying, I’ll passion have a bottle of Dom To maintain the highest Perignon 66, if I’m standard you possibly can paying a pint of Tetleys Always deliver the goods
Interview Dave Best: Pigeon Detective bassist 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I was at University in Middlesbrough. It was basically a way of not getting a proper job for another 3 years. I went up with Matt but he quit 3 months in and left me alone. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? For me it was playing two nights at millennium square this summer. Playing in front of 14,000 people in my home town is something I’ll never forget. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? I didn’t really know much about Leeds music five years ago and I’m not that sure what it’s like now. When we were first playing in Leeds about three years ago, there were a lot of good bands about like The Sunshine Underground and Last Gang and I’m told there’s still loads of good bands coming from Leeds now. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? The name of my band In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? I’ve only done one interview before with Vibes so I suppose it would be that. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Yorkshire tea Tom Vessels – Post-rock critical darlings 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Kicking around in Hyde Park making rock music. Nothing changes much, really. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Probably better, because most of the ace musicians who lived here then are still here, and we’ve had five years worth of new ones coming in to join the fun.
That I Might See - Asian Dub Foundation - Rafi’s Revenge - Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People - The Radio Dept - Lesser Matters - The Wrens - Meadowlands What’s the most annoying thing about us? That tell-tale buzzing sound. Oh, wait, it’s vibraTIONS, isn’t it. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Cockerhoop Whiskas: Renaissance man, Russian ambassador 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? It was pre-Forward Russia - I think I will have been getting prepared for les Flames! to play Leeds Festival, a weekend which featured Neil Hanson in a silver jumpsuit and much heckling of a band called Parva who opened the Carling Stage. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Forward Russia playing the Radio 1 stage at Leeds 2 years ago was pretty hot. That and the opportunity to record for 3 months in Seattle last year was pretty much the best thing I’ve done in my life Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Much better, we lived in a world of bands obsessed with their own self-interest 5 years ago (and I include myself in that), but now the sense of community is far beyond. This year and next I think we’ll see some truly unique and special albums come out of Leeds In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? I guess, egotistically, something with me in it Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
It’s still early, so I’ll have another cuppa
How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? It’s a fair bet that there’ll be loads of bands trying to sound like the Arctic Monkeys and failing. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I’d invest in some pro earplugs instead of spanking the money I had set aside for them on having fun. Then maybe I’d still have my hearing intact and not have a permanent high G sharp ringing in my head. What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) - Mazzy Star - So Tonight vibrations 15
Interview Neil Hanson: 24 hour party person, and International Trustee 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I had just started putting bands on at The Vine on the Headrow and would have been getting very excitable about playing Leeds festival with my (then) band les Flames! I was skint, single and living in the rock n roll hotspot of Brighouse. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I would imagine the silly major labels will all disintegrate as bands and little labels continue to make things happen themselves. I expect The Ting Tings to become bigger than Jesus and more and more bands will be financed by individuals rather than labels like those nice young men who were on Dragons Den last month. Musical Youth will reform and become the biggest selling British artist in history. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? I would hope that Barack Obama will get elected and stop all these stupid wars, Kerry Katona will get eaten by a bear on some live reality TV show. West Brom will win the premiership, Vengaboys will start to be recognised as the musical pioneers we all know they are and Richard Branson will be the first man to move into space. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Poppers David Thomas Broughton: Beguiling of music... and interview answers 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Thinking about playing music in front of people Neil Hanson By Jonathan Geraldie
Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? I’m not living there anymore - make of that what you will.
John Rennie: Commander In Chief of the Pushbike Army (RIP), conspiracy theory enthusiast 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Starting up my first band in Leeds, Spitfire Charlie. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? The music ‘scene’ has a better infrastructure now than 5 years ago though I think the music is no better or worse. There’s some decent stuff, as there was back then, however I think we’re currently feeling a hangover of 2005-2006 when music round here was really exciting! Most of those bands have moved on now How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? The great thing about music is you can never predict what is coming next. What I really hope changes is that we get some interesting characters with an original identity and something to say. It’s getting incredibly bland on that side of things, where’s all the cult heroes gone? Give us 5 things to look out for. Loose change, a documentary 9/11 Alex Jones’ Radio Show on prisonplanet.com 5pm-9pm everyday A band from Northwich called Uranium Lake Vibrations magazine Seagulls
How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? More robots. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? More robots How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? More robots What are your 5 tips for success? More robots If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? My underpants more often. If you found £5 what would you buy? New underpants In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? That if you don’t tidy your attic regularly you may end up having a stash of music magazines. What’s the most annoying thing about us? That you set up a committee and these were the questions you came up with Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
A thimble of tears
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Put the kettle on... vibrations 16
John F Keenan
Granddaddy of all Leeds promoters. Not literally. 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? 5 years ago this month I was promoting several venues and stage managing the Comedy/Concrete Jungle stage at Leeds festival. I’d just been told I needed a quadruple heart operation, but I had so much booked for my Autumn season that I asked to go to the back of the queue. It was 7 months before they finally operated. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? I’m enjoying the emergence of some ‘interesting’ Americana acts, I love Midlake. Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan at The New Roscoe was special. The Geoff Healey gig at Leeds Irish Centre was exceptional and turned out to be poignant as it was one of the last rock gigs he ever played. Seeing my son, Zane, finally find his ‘voice’ with his new solo project, ‘Living In Cities’. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Both. It’s better because, post Kaiser Chiefs, the focus was on us for a while, but worse because the city is full of bars providing mediocre entertainment for next to nothing. There are no local acts that can consistently fill a 300 capacity venue anymore, just wannabes. A lot of good musicians, but very little originality. Too many frogs, not enough princes.
What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) I probably wouldn’t bother, you can download practically everything these days. I’d go for the family photo albums first. In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? How to make a fire? What’s the most annoying thing about us? You ask too many questions. Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ’03)? I know ‘Funeral For A Friend’ had just entered the Top 20 because they were on my stage at Leeds Fest. Otherwise, probably Robbie Williams or Busted. There was a time when I could tell you all the number 1s since the 50s, but now I don’t even look at the charts Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
McEwan’s No1 Champion Ale - ABV 7.3%
How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? Unfortunately I can’t see it changing much. The 10s will probably be like the early 70s, plenty dressing up, very little substance. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? It can only go two ways... better or worse. There seems to be fuck all any of us can do about it, the British have forgotten how to complain and resign themselves to magnificently stupid government decisions. We let the politicians and the utility companies pile on all kinds of shit without even a murmur. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? It’ll be like The Tower of Babel with everyone speaking in tongues... but nobody will be listening! What are your 5 tips for success? I’m probably the wrong person to ask. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I’d cancel all the gigs that lost me money. If you found £5 what would you buy? I’d invest in a pack of disposable razors. Give us 5 things to look out for. Slippy steps Dodgy handrails Brown snow Untied shoelaces Speeding twokkers
The Bacchae: Indie glamsters 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Packing our bags and moving to Leeds How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? We’re not sure anything radical is going to happen..... but would love to be surprised otherwise. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? People will be fatter and balder. What are your 5 tips for success? Get a nice hair cut Be Dangerous Be Notorious Use plenty of KY Jelly I suppose you should be able to play an instrument also If you found £5 what would you buy? A Sweet Street special Blow Job What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) I’d probably save my friends and family first... actually no. Brian Eno: Here Come the Warm Jets, T-Rex: Electric Warrior, Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath, Nirvana: Bleach, The Monks: Black Monk Time
Interview Chris Wintermute: Former Futuresound winner and bright hope of the ‘Bone’ stable 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Five years ago we were all in wizard academy, learning our skills from the great lord Ethagris What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? It was probably playing the Carling Stage at last year’s Leeds fest Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? In my opinion, probably better, not to play down the music of 5 years ago, but the diverse music range that can be found on a night in Leeds today is brilliant. Acts ranging from Grammatics to Humanfly to Paul Marshall to These Monsters, today’s scene is a very healthy one. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I don’t think music ever changes to be honest, there’s always genres that people have their own love for so I guess it’ll be interesting to see how each genre will develop and what new genres will be formed. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? It’ll get a bit louder. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I’d go on big brother, coz it was better back then, they had more fun.
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking? Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
5 Slippery nipples please sir! Haydn Brainwash: Label boss, promoter, festival organiser, not big on Grand Theft Auto 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Putting on fun gigs in village halls back in Derbyshire, skirting around the Leeds and Sheffield music scenes. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? I moved to Leeds for the amazing bands, and the existing ones have got better, whilst great new bands have emerged. There’s been more births than deaths which can only be a good thing. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? Someone with power will realise that kids being able to slash the hell out of one another on computer games and the glorifying of gangland culture might be somehow linked to the rise in knife crime. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? The Carling Academy might swallow us whole. It might not. It’ll certainly have an impact. What are your 5 tips for success? i) Floppy fringes ii) Good guitar playing iii) A tight drummer iv) A good band name v) Scratch the last one and get a name with alliteration like jing jang jong
Moet? Chandon? Lambrini? Ben NCM: Moorfest programmer and studio boss 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Smoking weed and playing ISS Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? It’s difficult to say because I wasn’t as involved 5 years ago, but I’d say that it’s just as good, but harder to find these days. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? People will start incorporating minimal techno How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? For the worse. Less freedom disguised as more freedom How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? For the worse. A corporate and soulless haven for the rich. Give us 5 things to look out for. Look out for people with both male and female names. Look out for yourself. Look out for each other. Look out of a train window at least once. Minimal Techno bands. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Thanks! I’ll have a Baileys on the rocks please
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
A pint of Black Sheep, Sailor Jerry’s and coke with a White Russian for dessert cheers
Alistair Bowis: Post-Rock Bassist, man-abouttown, LiKES TRAiNS 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I had just joined iLiKETRAiNS and we were figuring out what we wanted to sound like. I was spending the days selling underwear to old ladies for a home shopping company. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Meeting Robert Smith. He was incredibly drunk and mistook me for a member of The Cooper Temple Clause. I tried explaining his mistake, but he wouldn’t take it in, so I ended up walking away when he turned around for a second... How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? There will no doubt be a huge demand for dark, intense, library-rock. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? Jetpacks. At the very least hover-shoes. I had a great idea about turning the M1 into a travelator recently to save on fuel costs. Patent pending. What are your 5 tips for success? Follow your instincts, don’t let anyone tell you what to do, be prepared to take risks, practice lots, eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Coke please, I’m driving Nadine & Roxy: No Title Magazine founders and publishers 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Roxy - I was hating my first year of Philosophy at uni Nadine - Sat in a boring office collecting debts. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? R - Beating a bongo at the stone circle at Glastonbury until my hands swelled up. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? R - Its neither better or worse, there’s plenty of great stuff here but for some reason only the mediocre ‘great British guitar bands’ from Leeds seem to get noticed nationally. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? R - Every single one of my ex boyfriends. If you found £5 what would you buy? N - Some food What’s the most annoying thing about us? N - Sam Saunders writes for you! (only joking!) R - Same as above, although I feel his embittered frostiness may be starting to thaw... Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ’03)? R - No idea. I was into awful hard house at the time and refused to listen to anything else.
Interview Bridewell Taxis: Leeds legends 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Visiting family in Spain with our youngest who was only 18 months old. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Seeing the Who live at Leeds University Refectory 2006 – Warm up gig week before the O2 festival at Harewood House - Zak Starkey on Drums…Pure class! Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Much better absolutely…1. More venues 2. More Bands 3. More enthusiastic people looking to get involved. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? Perform The Bridewell Taxis gigs in 2004/05 with Gaz & Chris in the line up also. What are the 5 records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) Happy Mondays – Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) - (Original pressing with Desmond on it – Only 1000 pressed before the lawyers got involved!) 2. Porcupine Tree – In Absensia 3. The Clash – Give Em Enough Rope 4. James – Stutter 5. The Who – Who’s Best. In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? The Bridewell Taxis edition in 2005 Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Cranberry Juice Chris Halliday: House Guru and DJ 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I was just starting my Music Technology degree and had my first proper taste of the Leeds night life scene with an outing to BackToBasics. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? It’s much better, in Leeds we’re spoilt for choice. We have loads of new nights with fresh attitudes. Everything has progressed loads. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? Everything is very electronic at the moment with less emphasis on real instruments, proper percussion and “organic sounds”. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? Every club except BackToBasics & The Dirty Disco shut for the summer which I find irritating. There’s less money to be made so people just shut down! Also, if the council ban drinking on Hyde Park Leeds is going to be really boring in the summer. We also need a new club – The Warehouse, The Northern Light and various other venues have closed recently.
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
If you found £5 what would you buy? A disposable BBQ and a pack of sausages.
Nadine - A babycham please! Roxy - A Pina Colada would go down a treat
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Pint of Lager please
Interview Ian Crash: Crash Records’ retailer-in-chief Steve Kind: GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN! 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? The same as I am now, trying to look busy running an independent record shop/ticket agent in the centre of Leeds. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? “ Ian this is David (Bowie)” “David (Bowie) this is Ian” We then had a nice chat. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? Sadly, independent record shops are an endangered species, more music will be sold and promoted via the net, and physical sales will carry on falling. I think live music will become even more popular as people realise they need to get away from their laptops! If you found £5 what would you buy? Fruit. I have just bought a juicer, so at the moment I’m hooked on apple, pear, strawberry and ginger. Give us 5 things to look out for. The Leeds United phoenix rising from the ashes. The Coalition of Independent Record Stores. More gigs at Elland Road, Tattoos going out of fashion. Mobility scooters. What’s the most annoying thing about us? Jack talks too much.
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? [Promoting] our busiest month EVER at the Royal Park Cellars. We had some of the best, and THE absolute worst (IMO) band we ever had on. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Probably getting the release version of Xi’s album “The Glow of Television” in my hands - something that I & the band had worked so hard for. Despite the fact that Xi are no more, I’ll be proud of it for the rest of my life. Give us 5 things to look out for. 1) Something that will change popular culture as completely as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones did in the 60’s - it HAS to be nearly time! 2) Anti-gas guzzler terrorists 3) Alien contact 4) People waking up to the mass confidence trick that is modern football 5) The Light at the End of the Tunnel (see Eureka Machines) In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? I always get a tremendous thrill out of seeing a show that I’ve promoted reviewed – hopefully positively, so I can say “Look - I did that”.
Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking? Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Apple, pear, strawberry and ginger juice. OK, champagne if you’re in the chair, followed by a nice port and brandy with ice
Cocoa - but not too strong - it gives me indigestion
Simon Allen, New Mastersounds tub thumper
Will Jackson: Leeds’ Super-producer and Midas Touch specialist
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Playing three UK gigs with Blue Note Records sax legend Lou Donaldson. He was 78 at the time and he’s still going as far as I know!
5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Working as a waitress in a cocktail bar!
Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? I have no idea! Sela Bar seems to me to be a great asset to the city, and that wasn’t there five years ago. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? It always moves in cycles - perhaps the soul-funk thing is due another turn soon in this country. Then we wouldn’t have to go all the way to The States to make a living! How do you see music in Leeds changing in the next 5 years? If council planning policy doesn’t change then it’ll be more of the same - shopping centres, bars, city-centre apartments.... But still no purpose-built mid-sized music venues. So certain tours will continue to bypass Leeds in favour of Sheffield and Manchester. Big shame that the cinema was turned into Primark - that would have made a great concert venue. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
*_________________* Suit yourself then… cheap round
What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Buying a very nice grand piano, making a album with The Pigeon Detectives, Patrick Wolf solo in Sheffield, many moments in the studio. JAPANESE FIGHTING FISH! Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? It’s more varied, with recognition from the outside as a result of the Kaiser Chiefs, Pigeon Detectives, The Music etc. Plenty. However there’s a lack of experimentation. People stick with a formula that they believe is what’ll get them signed. What are your 5 tips for success? Self belief, luck, quality, Japanese Fighting Fish and regular bowel movements! What’s the most annoying thing about us? No complaints really. You are all extremely lovely people! Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug’03)? Probably the wonderful Nickelback, U2, some dance mush (natch), Madonna, or the cast of Cats!!! Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Anything that you’re prepared to buy me!
Daley: Sunshine Underground bassist 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? 5 years ago I was probably pestering everyone and anyone, and generally trying to get The Sunshine Underground known to as many people as I possibly could. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last five years? It's pretty hard, picking one highlight. I think I would have to say Summersonic in Japan last year. It was a blazing hot day, the crowd was awesome, but I'm also feeling guilty for not saying Glastonbury. It's been a good 5 years let’s just say that. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? I'm gonna say worse as I'm still mourning the demise of This Et Al. I know they are technically from Bradford, but this my interview and I can say what I want. On the other hand I saw The Grammatics In the Brudenell on Friday they were a great time, that boy can really sing! So it's swings and round abouts. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? In the next 5 years I expect TSU to release an album but at this rate I doubt it, where as other bands around us will release another 5. The Grammatics will go on to rule the
world. Spitfire John might eventually change his name to Pushbike John. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? There will probably be a lot more water as the ice caps will eventually melt, forcing us to evolve into aquatic creatures. I knew we have gills for some reason. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? I think the academy is a good thing I was worried it might kill The Cockpit, but I think both can survive. The Council will inevitably build more and more flats until the city centre is just one massive block of flats. What are your 5 tips for success? Work hard! Get an outfit. Talk lots! Be honest. Be friendly to everyone. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I wouldn't change a thing. No regrets! If you found £5 what would you buy? Scratchcards! And maybe a bag of Mike and Ike's they are new jelly bean type sweets.
Give us 5 things to look out for. Oncoming Traffic. Zombies. Look out for my blog www.yelad. blogspot.com. A new TSU album. STD's remember kids rubber up and stay safe. What are the five records you’d save from a house fire? (your house isn’t on fire by the way, as far as we know...) Graceland - Paul Simon. I cant think of anything more important. In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? This interview. Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ’03)? I reckon top of the charts 5 years ago was probably some amazingly catchy song by Girls Aloud. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Get me a bottle of Tyskie please.
Daley By Tom Martin
Morsey: Wakefield cheerleader, promoter and Piskie Sit 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I was at Plymouth university studying Geography for some reason and started its only indie night at the time. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Arctic Monkeys at Escobar Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Better, there’s more quality bands in loads of different genres. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? Gigs will get more and more expensive as bands are asking for more money to play. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? More violence, wars, financial difficulties, happy times. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? I can see more people living there. If you found £5 what would you buy? some music In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? Piskie Sits world tour 2009. What’s the most annoying thing about us? Stevie G Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Dark Rum and Coke please Andy Abbott: DIY scene promoter and That Flippin’ Tank man 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? 5 years ago I was working in South Leeds building some art studios over the Summer whilst studying Fine Art at Leeds Uni. After inhaling so much toxic floor paint I began to see the connections between the way art can be seen as a lifeprocess and my experience in the DIY community in Leeds. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? The most significant thing that’s happened to me musically over the last 5 years was touring with a band from Chicago that I really looked up to called US Maple. Seeing these guys now totally burnt out from drug use and too much time in ‘the industry’, really showed me the downside of wholeheartedly following the ‘music dream’ even in a DIY fashion. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? Over the next five years Leeds will have more half-finished riverside ‘developments’ and underused cranes on its horizon than ever seen. I think people will start making use of the abandoned sites to create venues, practice rooms, art studios, communal kitchens, and drugs dens. It’ll be mint. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
I like to drink White Russians for birthday occasions but only before 11am, after that its Alan Partidge’s ‘Ladyboy’ booze triptych of lager, Baileys, and gin and tonic. Then back in bed by 3pm for a little sick
Interview M to the I to the C-K-Y etc. Likes drinking (lemonade) 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I was wearing my leather jacket that you have, the one that’s STILL at your house. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I think in 3 years people will realise that all the possible songs in the world have been written, then it will just be cover bands with a good image after that. What are your 5 tips for success? i) have a good plan ii) Dont smoke shit loads of weed all the time iii) brown nose really important people (laugh at everything they say) iv) ignore losers v) fuck over your friends If you found £5 what would you buy? I would buy six massive chicken breasts from the market and cook you something really nice for being so kind as to give me £5 What’s the most annoying thing about us? Rob Paul Chapman’s complete drivel. I just cant read it any more, it doesn’t make any sense. Nice guy though. But yeah, drivel. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Ah cheers mate, I’ll have a lemonade then
Ed Mason: Serial entrepreneur behind The Faversham, HiFi Club, Arts Cafe, Wire and Bad Sneakers records 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Actually I think we were in the middle of taking over The Faversham - at the time it was a dodgy run-down student pub that seemed to be doing wet t-shirt competitions on a Friday night…. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Coming across Wild Beasts (I was going to say ‘discovering’, but they didn’t need me to do that, and I think they’d found themselves already …..) in an upstairs room at The Packhorse and then releasing their debut single on Bad Sneakers Records. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? I think that the ‘scene’ is definitely better than 5 years ago, more bands, more venues, more labels, more magazines, a greater sense of community How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? Hopefully more people setting up some interesting independent bars and venues, we need a bit of fresh blood. In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? All the fantastic coverage of Bad Sneakers Records and The HiFi Club! Hint hint………x Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
A large Woodford Reserve with ice, thank you very much
Interview Sam Robson: The Hair today, gone tomorrow (on tour with The Kaiser Chiefs...) 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? I was a pretty socially inadequate student wearing shockingly sloganed t shirts and listening to Justin Timberlake’s first album in the shower. Only in the shower. It’s best then. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Justin Timberlake’s first album. in the shower. Only in the shower. It’s best then. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? It’s a bit more diversified with less bands aiming for the mainstream I guess. I wouldn’t say better or worse either way, but 5 years ago was the prelude to a very exciting time in Leeds music that has kept on going I think...raised the bar for indie bands at least. How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I would really like to see people in bands training animals to play at least some percussion live, as long as the animals were happy doing it and didn’t develop crack habits. If in 5 years we had the first monkey playing trombone with the pigeon detectives I’d be delighted. [I am available – Ed] How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? I imagine man’s incessant hunger for money will continue as it has through the years, nations will war, communities will continue to fall apart, and I’ll buy a big fucking yacht. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? More space for yachts. What are your 5 tips for success? 1. Treat others as you’d expect to be treated. 2. Don’t let it bother you if they don’t treat you as you’d expect to be treated.
3. If you get a fungal nail infection then treat it. 4. Treat yourself every now and then. 5. Get a better vocabulary so when you try and devise a clever way of saying “treat” in 5 tips for success you can actually think of one for the 5th. If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I’d spend more time with the people I can’t anymore, and I’d tell them stuff they probably already know. If you found £5 what would you buy? Haribo golden bears or a set of guitar strings. Or a weissbeer. Give us 5 things to look out for. Is this a driving theory test? In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? If the pages weren’t stuck together you mean? The Breaking the Illusion piece was great. What’s the most annoying thing about us? There’s not enough stuff about cars, girls and gadgets like proper magazines. You could at least do a feature on warhammer. Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ’03)? I have no idea, but this is an interesting question because I’m sure like most I would recognise the song and probo remember how to sing it back. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
From my recent holiday two drinks are amazing: Weissbeer (like erdinger etc) and Zwack Unicum Next (a herbal liquer with citrone flavours - instant wretch followed by feeling of wellbeing) vibrations 25
Interview 5 years ago this month, Issue 1 of Vibrations was published. What were you doing 5 years ago? Preparing to play the Leeds Festival with an old band I used to be in, not rehearsing enough, taking some things too seriously and others not seriously enough. What’s been your biggest musical thrill in the last 5 years? Too many to mention... Robochrist at the Leeds Festival sticks out, touring the world finishing in Sao Paulo playing to 8,000 mental Brazilians for The Sisters Of Mercy, touring support for one of my favourite bands (Cardiacs), recording an album with one of my favourite artists (Market Harbour with Ginger of The Wildhearts). My favourite overall is probably finishing the Eureka Machines album Do Or Die. Is music in Leeds better or worse than it was 5 years ago? Way better - it’s bigger and way more diverse. There also seem to be an awful lot of people who will help you out, no matter your musical orientation or goals. It’s a terrifically friendly place.
Give us 5 things to look out for. - Wraps - forget sandwiches, and posh paninis. Wraps will take off in a big way because you can do anything with them and they’re pretty healthy - Getting fit - people will realise that ‘rock and roll’ involves being yourself, and being yourself involves looking after yourself - Holbeck will flourish as people realise the property is good and the area isn’t half as bad as its reputation - Scooters will become more popular as people have less money, the traffic gets worse and more people live in and around the city centre where there’s nowhere to park - Guitars being worn a lot lower
In years to come, and you find your Vibrations stash in the attic, what would you most like to be able to show your family? There’s a really great picture of Eureka Machines that Jake Seal took where we’re screaming into the mics at the Cardigan Arms. It accompanied our interview with us earlier this year. I think it sums us up pretty well. Without cheating, any idea what was top of the charts 5 years ago (Aug ’03)? I used to work in radio so I’m quite good at this... I’d guesstimate without looking that it was Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas. Finally, as it’s our birthday, what are you drinking?
Guinness, as always. Cheers!
How do you see music changing in the next 5 years? I think that rock is due a comeback we’ve had a big dance scene, then metal, now the indie explosion has to be on its last legs, so I think rock is about ready. But not shit rock wearing leopardskin and taking crap drugs. Rock with a purpose, and rock with humility and fun. Punk rock, basically, but without its dumb caveats of stupidity and nihilism. How do you see the world changing in the next 5 years? It’ll get worse before it gets better, but it’ll get better. How do you see Leeds changing in the next 5 years? It’ll just get bigger geographically, and there’ll be some kind of traffic meltdown. What are your 5 tips for success? - Practice all the time - Make your own food - Be nice to sound engineers - Say please and thank you - Trim your pubic hair (makes it look bigger) If you could go back 5 years, what would you change? I would listen more. And I would have got my frigging hair cut. vibrations 26
Leeds Festival 2008 We send Stevie Vigors off to a field with 60,000 other people and only numerous irritations and poor sound for company. Oh, and some really good bands.
Set in the beautiful Bramham Park, The Leeds Festival is our opportunity to show the world how enthusiastic about music we really are, with our plentiful supply of bands and our hoards of crrrazy fans we now have one of the world’s most esteemed rock festivals. Packed with international superstars and tens of thousands of rowdy kids, it is a festival to match almost any other. Maybe one year the BBC will recognise it enough to give it some viewing time, but then who can blame them for not venturing north with the miner’s strikes and rampaging whippets that wreak havoc as soon as you pass Watford. Like last year, the festival was opened on the Thursday night by the wonderful Dance to the Radio stage. Tradition is in essence just wellreceived repetition, so hopefully this showcase stage will appear as regularly as Christmas from now on, or at least as long as our scene can encompass such undeniable talent. This year it even procured some national exposure by way of attracting The Pigeon Detectives to play a ‘secret’ gig mid-evening, which inevitably created some juvenile pandemonium and time-keeping headaches for the organisers of this stage. There simply wasn’t enough room or volume for the sea of screaming kids that descended on the arena looking for something to dance to, but submerged in this mass of hysteria it was still possible to tell that a gig was going on, which was all that really mattered to most.
Simian Mobile Disco
The Pigeons were sandwiched between a pack of bands much less accustomed to audiences of this magnitude, with one of whom, Dinosaur Pileup, were greedy enough to grace this stage twice over the course of the weekend. I didn’t catch them on the Thursday, but I did witness their angry charade the following afternoon and was most impressed. Early 90’s grunge hasn’t sounded relevant for too long now and these guys have the tunes too. This genre is set for a renaissance for over the next twelve months, you mark my words.
The Thursday night line-up was completed by last year’s Futuresound winners Wintermute, Edinburgh’s Broken Records, Doncaster’s The Wallbirds and Leeds’ Grammatics, who unfortunately had to cut their set short due to the madness that preceded them. Acts overrunning was a recurring theme of the weekend. Fast forward to Sunday when various roadies on the Radio 1 stage had to endure a shower of empty water bottles after The Mystery Jets had to cut their set short due to Santogold’s poor punctuality. And while I’m on with all this negative stuff I might as well get this next sonic gripe out of the way, illustrated by this conversation I heard during Justice: Wide-eyed teenager #1: “Are they on yet?” Wide-eyed teenager #2: “They’ve been on for 10 minutes mate.” Wide-eyed teenager #1: “Then why aren’t my ears bleeding?” Most people I spoke to agreed that the volume was too low for most artists, particularly for the likes of Justice and Rage Against the Machine, who both require their sounds to be felt as well as heard. Some of our older readers may commend the fact that one could hold a conversation while listening to these aforementioned bands, but a young whippersnapper like myself much prefers to be drowned in sound than natter the day away, especially when such legends of our time are playing. It’s understandable really, considering the history of legal kafuffles the festival has experienced, that they should want to stay on the side of safety, but at times it left performances that should’ve been life changing as somewhat insipid. Next year I think I’ll plonk myself right in front of the speakers for the acts I want to be immersed in – I just hope everyone doesn’t think like that!
There are plenty of acts I could go on to mention, but I’ll finish how I started - by shamelessly plugging the products of Leeds - namely Wild Beasts and Pulled Apart By Horses. Wild Beasts are this year’s number 1 marmite band, with Hayden Thorpe’s warbling wails invariably leaving you wilting into tears, but of what kind is rarely predictable. Personally I love `em, and the power of the vocals is always a pleasure to hear live, but apparently it grinds on many. Probably the best thing to do is decide for yourself – a concept sadly lost on many people nowadays. Pulled Apart by Horses are another live act with immense power, as is noticeable from the streams of sweat that exude from every riff, crack of the snare and blood curdling vocal as this testosterone fuelled racket leaves most people toothless after all the grinding and gagging for a shag. Or maybe that’s just me. PABH were my highlight of the unsigned stage, and that includes the mayhem of Thursday. Plus the sound was good. Maybe it’s true that everything is brilliant in Leeds, it’s everywhere else that’s crap. Maybe. Stevie Vigors
One band exempt from these issues of volume were the Sunday night headliners on the Radio 1 Stage. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Manic Street Preachers, but songs that previously had me tearing my ears off were played with such accuracy, finesse and intensity that the performance resembled a sermon. The sheer energy of the set left me shocked, converted and straight to amazon.com. Another performance that resembled a sermon, this time of the non-musical variety, was by the quite frankly hilarious John Cooper Clarke, who quipped that the three best things about being an amnesiac were a) being able to hide your own Easter eggs, b) meeting new people every day, and c) being able to hide your own Easter eggs. By Sunday afternoon standing up and watching bands had become a bit tiresome, so sitting down witnessing a true legend perform what was essentially a standup set was something not to be missed, which as I found out later many people did. vibrations 29
Light Speed Champion Metallica
The Ting Tings
Manic Street Preachers Flogging Molly
All Time Low
The BBC Stage at Leeds and Reading Festival Sam Saunders beds in at the BBC Stage to discover that nobody does it better than the locals Once there were the Futuresound pioneers. Each year, six non-industry Leeds bands were chosen from a competition held at the Cockpit during the quiet Summer weeks, and sent to play at Leeds Festival in what was known as the Comedy Tent. And then, starting in 2005, BBC Raw Talent with Sandman, Futuresound and a little bit later, Topman, lifted the torch for regional music a lot higher. A dedicated stage was established at Bramham Park with ten bands a day throughout the Festival. The idea worked out so well that in 2007 talks started on increasing the BBC participation and getting Reading, previously devoid of regional content, involved. So, for this year, the model tried and tested at Leeds, with its well-managed, semi-enclosed stage was exported to Reading with a national remit. Its stream of (mainly) unrepresented, unattached bands were asked to play at Leeds and at Reading. The national BBC Introducing team filtered nominations from BBC Regions. Futuresound continued its competition to find six artists from Leeds. And Sandman magazine was invited to fill in the gaps as before. All together 33 bands and two solo artists were picked. Fran
Pulled Apart By Horses
Rodgers, as the judges' choice from Futuresound, got the biggest gig, opening the Festival Republic Stage. My mission, as in the last three years, was to check the quality of all 35 artists. For 2008 14 were from Leeds, with London offering 4, Sheffield 3 and nowhere else getting above 2 representatives. Leeds, clearly, were dominating the proceedings home and away. At Bramham Park they took up nearly all of Friday, moving on to Reading for Sunday. Were the Leeds bands up to it? Well, yes. Fran Rodgers, Eureka Machines, Dinosaur Pile Up, Pulled Apart By Horses, That Fucking Tank, These Monsters and I Concur were head and shoulders above the pack in terms of style, substance and festival punter appeal. Kid Id, Loqui, Tiger Shadow and FF'ers offered riches on at least two of those counts and none of the rest of the Leeds contingent did anything I would feel a need to apologise about. Up at the higher level a one man dance phenomenon, Newcastle's all-singing, all knob twiddling Razmataz Lorry Excitement had the silliest name and the biggest crowd appeal of the weekend. We all loved him. London-based "Flashguns" did the new-youngsterswho-are-amazingly-good thing and Ipso Facto showed how a well-choreographed and beautifully groomed performance can shine through relatively dull music to attract and hold attention. South Wales's Attack! Attack! had a good feel to their straight-ahead punch-the-air rock for 16 year olds and Liverpool's The Maybes? had a professional edge to their 80s influenced guitar wall of sound that drew me in. These bands would all get good gigs in Leeds and would all get a following, no question. Of the rest, all had something to offer, but most suffered too much from
sounding like other bands who have already had their day - with Last People On Earth tracking all the way back to late 60s, early 70s "underground" rock, with bits of Blodwyn Pig and bits of Atomic Rooster. Not all of them the best bits. These lesser bands, from Southampton, Bolton, Hull, Chester, Belfast, Glasgow, York and Sheffield weren't terrible - not at all. But somehow they all seemed too comfortable with unambitious material, a lack of basic research or uninspiring presentation. I can only guess that the hothouse of Leeds has driven a lot of Leeds bands to jump a wee bit higher and shout a bit louder to get heard. The indifference of spoiled local audiences has bullied them into dropping any pretensions and the quality of the bands they play alongside has given them standards to aim at and surpass (in whatever aspects of their music they count as mattering). To give the likes of Hungry Ghosts and The Cherry Cobb Cartel their due though, there were plenty of bands out on the bigger stages (I also saw 26 other
acts in my three day stint) with no more going for them. Persistence, a booking agent and a half decent manager can haul all kinds of unlikely artists around the country for a year or two in hope of some sort of fire catching hold. Coming back from the likes of The Metros, XX Teens, Red Light Company, Editors or Tiger Army the excellent sound system and the sheer enthusiasm of bands on the Introducing Stage made it clear as whistling that the billing is only a very approximate, and sometimes a downright misleading indication of quality, originality or audience appeal. My advice to bands who want his kind of audience is to be bolder - more adventurous. There are already too many indistinguishably competent "today" bands on offer. The challenge is to do something no one's heard yet, so the punters have got something to enjoy in the future. Sam Saunders vibrations 33
REVIEWS ALBUMS Wild Beasts – Limbo, Panto Just when you thought there was nothing that the world of indie could do to surprise and inspire you, right on cue arrive Wild Beasts with the most beautiful and beguiling indie album you’ll hear this year. Anywhere. If you’ve heard anything at all about Wild Beasts you’ll probably have heard that they are something of a marmite band. Simply put, there is half of the music-loving population who find Hayden Thorpe’s astonishing growly falsetto a thing of majesty and wonder; and then there is the other half of the population who are wrong. Seriously, doubters out there, GET OVER YOURSELF! Yeah, it’s a little unusual. It’s a little quirky. It’s a bit Anthony Heggarty. It’s just a little bit Tiny Tim. But really, can anyone with any form of heart or soul at all quibble with mesmerising talent like this? It’s so good that you don’t even notice that all the guitars sound like Haircut 100. (look them up kids, although make sure you do so with the sound turned down to avoid irreparable damage). In an album of standout tracks it seems almost disrespectful to point out individual songs, but of special note is the reworking of The Old Dog, now with added John McGeoch guitar circa Hong Kong Garden. Which makes a welcome break from Haircut 100.
Plastic Fuzz – Dots Sometimes, as editor, it is important to play a captain’s innings. To stand up and be counted, leading the troops bravely into uncharted territories where others may fear to tread. Thus, when a 100 track album drops onto the doormat of Vibrations Towers it’s muggins here who takes home the four disc, five hour package and, taking deep breath, gets started… And… Wow. But before the “wow”, consider the “why”. You may question the point of releasing a 100 song album. But to me, the excess can be justified in the same way space travel sits comfortably in my mind. They go there so we don’t have to. It is entirely possible that there is nothing of value out there, but unless we send someone to find out we’ll never know. As it happens there is a world of many and varied splendored things out there. And it’s the intrepid – if possibly mentally unbalanced – Mark Shahid (trading as Plastic Fuzz) who’s discovered it. The most impressive thing about these discs – which teem with inspiration and invention – is the sheer amount of humanity and personality that Shahid extracts from his largely electronic tools. This is perfectly counterpointed against a singing voice that lacks much in the way of traditional vaulting emotion, but somehow sounds gloriously wistful and vulnerable behind clipped English vowels and wilfully eccentric lyrics. This may not be an album you revisit in its entirety every day, but there is a convincing argument for why it should be on the shelf of every serious music fan. This is more than just an academic exercise or curiosity, it is exceptional piece of work that deserves and demands to be loved in whole or in part.
Rob Paul Chapman
I have not loved an album this much all year, and the sheer scope and range included here means that I can’t envisage a time when I will ever be bored of it. Quite simply, a masterpiece.
Rob Paul Chapman
Celeste Lear’s press release promises more then she delivers. For example, she shouldn’t claim to have ‘meaningful’ lyrics then entitle a song ‘The Heart Butcher.’ Her sound is quite hard to pin down; she calls it ‘Down-tempo trip hop’. I’d say she just sounds inoffensive, like Kate Bush and early Nelly Furtardo watered down with Dido trying to be Aqua Lung. It has a nineties feel to it and reminds me of tracks they play on Impulse adverts. She says she’s been compared to Bjork, maybe she’s Bjork for your Mum or your little sister as she doesn’t have enough bite to pull it off completely.
Various Artists: The Sounds Of The Rhubarb Triangle
Her main inspirations seem to be astrology, ambition and love. Her voice is quite good and would be better if she didn’t feel the need too be so breathy and pouty.
There are a couple of fine tunes here, the pick of the bunch being The State of Georgia’s ‘I Feel Like You’ve Taken My Arm’ - which sees the Research’s bass-slinger turn into Tori Amos - and Mike McCone, who, with vocal assistance from Hannah Jepson, turns in Dreaming Awake, which will be massive should mid-90s pop ever dare show its face again.
A deliriously wonderful debut.
There isn’t really a stand out track; it’s all a bit album ambience. ‘Light Through the Branches’ is quite good, but that might be because I’m a sucker for violins. Considering she’s a one woman band she’s done quite well, but perhaps she should collaborate more as the album could have done with trimming down (it’s fifteen tracks long and by the end feels very repetitive). It’s nice enough, but considering how much the write up bigs up the inventiveness and uniqueness of it, it could do with more punch. It would do for café music but by the end you are left feeling slightly unfulfilled.
The Wakefield residents behind this compilation are evidently - and rightfully - proud of the city's rhubarb-capital-of-theworld status, the crumble-friendly produce gracing the cover of this charity compilation. As with many compilations based on geography rather than genre or theme, it’s a mixedbag attempt at providing a snapshot of Wakey’s musical underbelly.
There’s some decidedly patchy ground to cover too, prime culprits being The Bundesrats, whose comedy theatrics might make for a live spectacle but just grate on CD. CryGirlCry supply enough angst to keep your average emo kid miserable for a good four minutes, while Skint N Demoralised’s ‘It’s Only Been A Week’ would’ve been fantastically innovative if Mike Skinner hadn’t been there and done that years ago. Inclusion of some of the city’s bigger names might’ve made this more of an essential listen.
The Sugars – Curse Of The Sugars
Vessels – White Fields and Open Devices
It’s not easy being The Sugars. There has always been the faint suggestion that somehow they always worked better in concept than in practice. They looked fantastic, all slicked back quaffed 50s hair and polka dot dresses (not the same person). But there was the niggling doubt that somehow the content didn’t quite live up to the considerable style.
Post-Rock is a curious beast. It can be highly impressive technically, but often struggles to connect emotionally. At its least successful it is music bereft of soul and in many ways shares much in common with its forefather Prog Rock.
That would be handicap, but there is a bigger issue. In the UK we demand authenticity. The Sugars are clearly sincere. You can hear from the primal howl, treacle-sweet counterpoint and furious guitar thrashing that they really “feel” rock ‘n’ roll. But in this country we demand more than just honest affection. We want the real deal. People like The Stray Cats and Reverend Horton Heat channelled the rock ‘n’ roll influence effortlessly because they’re direct descendants of the heritage. Brian Setzer comes from the home of Teddy Boys. Jim Heath is as steeped in the Good ol’ Boy traditions every bit as much as Elvis; The Sugars on the other hand are not. And so however genuine the intentions, we know it just isn’t real. But, to be frank, who cares? Nothing in music is what it seems, it’s all carefully stage-managed to protect this mythical “spirit” we’re so obsessed with. We need to get over ourselves. If Tim Westwood (middle aged vicar’s son) can be accepted by the American hip-hop community as one of their own, then we certainly shouldn’t care if The Sugars are from Memphis or Morley. Which is just as well, as this album is hugely enjoyable. Away from the live arena, with just the loneliness of the long distance headphones for company, The Sugars reveal themselves accomplished and articulate masters of their genre. It’s not going to profoundly change your life, and you’d struggle to see a 20 year career in the offing without serious development, but there are several songs here that stand up to repeated listens. And that, after all, should be the main thing.
This album from the much-vaunted Vessels falls victim to familiar problems for the genre. For a post-rock record to really work, it needs to either surprise you or engage you. The subtle shift that a Sigor Ros can throw in to send shivers down the spine, or the narrative engagement of a Dave Martin from iLiKETRAiNS to get you emotionally involved in a story. This record lacks that kind of voice. In fact it lacks any kind of voice at all really. This is a largely instrumental album with just sporadic and fairly thin vocals wandering around on top. This is not to say this is a bad album. In fact, to start with you’re convinced it’s going to be a particularly great album as Altered Beast threatens to blossom into something genuinely exciting. But it lacks surprise. It’s like it’s been written and arranged by computer. You can almost see the programming that says “and we go to the loud bit NOW!” before it goes a bit wibbly with distorted guitars, crashing drums, kitchen sink etc, and then back to multi-layered arpeggiated guitars. It’s all fine. There is nothing wrong with any of it. I just can’t help wishing that a band with such an abundance of talent had pushed the boat out a bit more. No one has lost any face here, but no additional fires have been lit either. Which is a shame.
Rob Paul Chapman
Rob Paul Chapman
Your Vegas – A Town And Two Cities While any Tom, Dick or Razorlight can aspire to a certain level of indie-rock stardom, it’s a different sort of band whose music aims wholeheartedly for the world’s stadiums. Your Vegas, a band with such lofty ambitions they even have an eponymous song (just like Talk Talk and, er, Living In A Box), appear to have arrived fully formed in a role of not only supplying Big Music, but also putting Otley on the music map. A few years on the Leeds scene and a move to New York later, they’ve honed their craft into a really rather excellent debut album. Their music CV must read like no other Leeds band before them; hell, they’ve even supported Duran Duran, which must’ve been a good match sonically, what with songs like the brilliant ‘Up Until The Lights Go Out’ very much betraying an ‘80s pop inspiration/ aspiration. Even if big blustery rock a la U2 or Coldplay isn’t your bag, it’s well worth giving this powerpop master-class a shot, songs like ‘In My Head’ and the phenomenal ‘Troubled Times’ containing the kind of monumental hooks lesser bands would kill for, and which should win over all but the hardest of hearts.
SECOND HEARING Normally 20 words per track, this month just 20 words per demo. Still only two listens though. Stevie Vigors obliges Rosalita What Would Your Mother Say EP What would your mother say if you wrote generic, estuary accented indie? Better than being a smackhead like Doherty s’pose
Hollie Sheard & Friends Easy on the ear, easy listening for Radio 2, easy like Sunday morning, quite easily the best demo so far.
Dirt Jake Replica’s Part I Imagine if Biffy Clyro had a female backing singer and then you’ve got an idea of what this sounds like
Between the flame and a heavy hand EP If Nick Drake drunk a pint of Sangria, got Kate Bush on vocals, spiked her with Temazepam, you’d get this.
Shake Shudder Moves Apart EP Excruciatingly painful Stereophonics vocals. Standard pub rock music. Melodies bereft of talent. Lyrics from nursery dustbins. Probably gonna be massive.
rs The Out-Of-Towne
I can imagine a monkey playing this. That’s not to say it’s bad, but that it’s a bit, y’know, simian.
The Birdman Rallies Thirteen tracks, a professional, swanky sleeve with transcribed lyrics, ostentatious motion photography and winsome artwork (front and back). A demo.
Gary Kaye is welcomed into the Handsome Family to find they know more about our music than we do.
As deep, dark and rich as black forest gateaux, though just the right side of sickly sweet, Brett and Rennie Sparks have carved their own niche in the world of Americana. A married couple that bring tales of murder, redemption and shooting grizzly bears to our fair shores, the Handsome Family are at the fore in the ‘new country’ scene that has proved so popular over the past fifteen years. As a couple they are nothing if not genial hosts, it’s not every interviewee who offers a poor, thirsty hack a beer (although I must add, for proprieties sake, that alcohol bore no influence over my impressions of them; though it always helps in the process of endearment). In the less than salubrious surroundings of the tiny Brudenell Social Club dressing room Brett explains that last time they played Leeds, in the grander confines of the City Varieties, they were driven out of town on a railroad, tarred and feathered. This almost elicits belief when, during the subsequent show, Rennie describes how she received a letter of complaint from a Leeds based fan who accused Brett of (shock, horror!) being drunk onstage, and asking an audience member to go and get him a drink from the bar. They have dropped into the Brudenell en route for an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival and it seems appropriate to ask whether their music might be better suited to the intimacy afforded by a smallish club. ‘We prefer to be small and anonymous’, jokes
Rennie, whilst Brett is more circumspect in adding ‘I don’t really like playing outside too much; and I really don’t like playing during the day either. It’s nice to play in smaller places. As long as the sound is good onstage I’ll play anywhere.’ The pair are renowned for their live performances, particularly their between song banter and I cause a slight domestic when I ask how close their off-stage characters match their performing personas. Brett claims that ‘Rennie is 90% herself onstage.’ Turning to Rennie he adds ‘You’re a little nicer onstage, you’re nice to the audience.’ Smiling, Rennie retorts ‘Do you think I’m mean to people when I’m off the stage?’ Clarifying his position, as only a seasoned husband can, Brett chimes in ‘No. no I’m not saying that. It’s hard to explain. I’m about 90% myself onstage; maybe a little more exaggerated than off stage.’ For the sake of marriage guidance I thought it best move onto their place in the pantheon of modern country music. The Handsome Family carry on a proud tradition of American folk and roots music, though Brett also displays surprise in the fact that when the band first came to England the indigenous fans of these shores were not aware of our own fine roots tradition. It’s not a huge surprise that out music has been received so well, claims Brett, It’s very gratifying. When we first started coming over most English
folks that I talked to were unaware of the existence of artists such as Pentangle, Shirley Collins and Martin Carthy. When I asked young kids whether there was a tradition of English folk music they’d look at you like a dog that’s heard a highpitched sound. The resurgence of Johnny Cash, under the stewardship of Rick Rubin, helped break country music to a new generation and this allowed Brett and Rennie to play their own brand of brooding country-roots to ever increasing audiences, and Rennie claims that it is this individual take on modern America that has led to success. We don’t want to play music that is like a museum. The folk music we like is topical and was written about a time and place. Our world is about parking lots and big buck stores and highways and airports. Although the Handsome Family breath out a tradition of American roots music, they do so with a fair sprinkling of modern themes and skewed sense of humour that draws traditionalists and modernists alike. Their music often carries a black humour that sometimes feels like a dagger to the heart, the truth is that Brett and Rennie Sparks are as far from bear killing gloom merchants as one could hope to find. Gary Kaye
REVIEWS LIVE The Handsome Family and The Lost Brothers Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 24 June Seeing the Handsome Family play live is akin to taking a moonlit stroll through the country, hand in hand with the one you love. As perfect as this pastoral pleasure is, you are soon lured into brooding woods where whispered sweet nothings are replaced with a rabbit punch to the kidneys and a knee to the groin. For all their menacing intensity Brett and Rennie Sparks do kiss it better with their tales of modern America, laced in the sweet syrup of traditional US roots music that makes this pancake stack of songs ultimately palatable. Tonight’s support act is the wonderful Lost Brothers. It would be too easy to call them the Irish Everly Brothers; but they pretty much are, so I pretty much will! Their note-perfect harmonies and infectious tunes were a fitting introduction to a night of eminently listenable music. The intimate surroundings of the Brudenell Social Club are an ideal place to stare into the eyes of The Handsome Family. Imagine this band are the children of Grant Wood’s iconic American Gothic and their set is a place where laughter and slaughter play blackjack, both turning a neat 21 at regular intervals, and you get the picture. Stand out songs include After We Shot The Grizzly (The Captain caught a fever/we tied him to a tree/we stared into the fire/and tried not to hear his screams), which raise the neckhair somewhat. No One Fell Asleep Alone and the superb So Much Wine are fine examples of modern Americana at its best. What sets the Handsome Family apart though is Brett and Rennie’s banter. This couple know how to work a crowd and this crowd loved to be worked. At one point Brett coppers up and asks a member of the audience to go to the bar for him. Rennie reveals a tale of unused sexy underwear, found at her late Grandmother’s house, a tale that takes even Brett by surprise (and this is a married couple folks). Ultimately it’s the combination of American gothic folk fusion with a sharp wit and endearing personality that makes the Handsome Family such a special live proposition. But do beware! If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise.
Wilco Johnson + Angelo Paladino & The Skeleton Crew @ The New Roscoe Today is all about two guitarists steeped in the blues and punk traditions who have, over time, mastered their stage, their audience and their craft. The only difference is that one is a musical legend; the other – inexplicably – is not. Angelo Paladino throws the kind of rock shapes that no one should really be able to get away with, let alone someone of his advancing years. The fact that he can and does, seemingly with little to no interest in what you might think about it, is testament to the way they used to build rock frontmen, back before the days of self-consciousness and insecurity.
For those not familiar with Wilco Johnson, he made his name as the guitarist in Dr. Feelgood before going on to join The Blockheads. And it is from the latter that he’s borrowed the astonishing bassist Norman Watt-Roy. Johnson is, quite frankly, a scary man. Looking like Uncle Fester on steroids and sporting a consistent ‘come-an-av-ago-if-yoo-fink-yer-ard-enuf’ expression, which is of course the default appearance of anyone born on Canvey Island. The music is tight, but lacks much in the way of variety which leaves the set feeling a little on the long side. The rock ‘n’ roll standards add little, with the original material of significantly greater interest. Watt-Roy’s phenomenal musicality makes the show constantly fascinating by default, but it’s is more an exercise in technique than the genuine pyrotechnic explosion of excitement that Johnson was once capable of in his prime. A worthy night out, but Paladino takes it comfortably on points.
Rob Paul Chapman
Mik Artistik – The Sela Bar, Leeds, 22 June There’s a secret Leeds; oh yes. It’s a Leeds of bygone pubs and underground streets, disappeared signage and long lost shops. There’s also a secret on the Leeds music scene, and it’s a secret that deserves to be spread like a wild rumour around this fair city and beyond. Mik Artistik is already onto his fourth studio album and although, at 53, he not the springiest of chickens, he’s hatched from an alternative cabaret scene with a mix of punk, poetry and panache that would put many younger, less worldly wise artistes to shame. His stage persona ranges from amiable host to a wild-eyed lunatic, leaping into the audience to humour and scare almost at the same time. It’s the quickness of the mind that really sets Mik Artistik apart though. His backing band of Johnny Flockton (guitar) and Benson Walker (Bass) create a pristine canvas over which Mr. Artistik paints in many colours, most of them bright, with the occasional slash of black. From the opening Bus of Coughs to the rousing finale of Preacher in the Church of Rock ‘n’ Roll the audience are taken on a journey into the mad world of a Leeds legend in the making. We are returned in a state that enables us to see the world in a different way. Along the way we learn all about Betting Shop Pens, how to tell a killer from a Window Cleaner and hear the tale of how Jimmy Savile got Mik’s album. All this and a Secret Cloak if Invisibility. What more could you want from a Sunday night out on Briggate? Mik Artistik is on a Ego-Trip and I suggest you all fasten your seat-belts sit back and laugh yourself silly on the ride.
He stalks and growls his way round both the band and songs as if he’s playing Wembley. And the quality of both make you wonder why he isn’t. Backed by an impressively solid rhythm section and a second guitarist who sounds suspiciously jazztrained, they are frighteningly impressive. vibrations 38
THIS ISSUE VIBRATIONS
Sam Saunders: The thinking man’s thinking man. Shirley Collins, a central figure in the British Folk Revival – that was the wellspring of all things progressive and alternative in British pop music – is talking about her journeys with the legendary Alan Lomax in America collecting songs. It's at The West Yorkshire Playhouse on Saturday October 11th. Oxes, Bilge Pump, Monster Killed By Laser, Prefontaine and Rampant Rabbit take up stage space at the Brudenell Social Club on October 26th. Plus you really should dig out the very recent Stench of Muscle compilation CD: 21 vibrant tracks from the best of the DIY scene in and beyond Leeds. Available in the usual obscure places.
Katie Godman: Anyone for Burlesque hip-hop? I went to a night put on by the Marvellous Tea Dance Company in Chapel Allerton - a must for all vintage junkies wishing to step back in time. The evening involved scintillating burlesque performances and a live band, Suffering Succatash. With everyone dressed to the nines it provided a titillating alternative to a traditional Saturday night out. After intending to see it for a while I recently rented ‘The Darjeeling Ltd.’ on DVD. It starred Hollywood's most distinctive noses – Adrian Brody and Owen Wilson – who along with Jason Schwartzman play three brothers travelling through India to find their mother. Wilson plays against type which is a rare treat and the whole film is full of subtle twists and turns which really capture the honesty of being part of a family. Funny, moving, yet never twee.
However the period has been put into some kind of context by some very sad news affecting another one of my all-time heroes. As some of you will know, Tim Smith – leader of the hugely important Cardiacs as well as gifted producer of our very own Scaramanga Six – suffered (with the cruellest of ironies) a heart attack and also further complications arising from this. Although apparently now stable, it will be a long road to recovery. And our thoughts are with him and his family at this time. It was due to be a massive year for the band with a big tour and album due out. So with that in mind, why not go out and buy a Cardiacs album? They’re all good, but personally I’d go for A Little Man And A House if you can find it. For fans you can send positive vibes to Tim through this address: Positivevibes@cardiacs.com Finally, and as something of a link between the sombre and the light-hearted, I would like to plug (my own!) Oxfam Yorkshire Music Brain event at the Faversham on Thursday October 16th. Essentially a giant pub quiz with live acts in between and a raffle featuring some very special prizes (and I mean special!) Tickets available through Ticketweb exclusively, and on sale now at £24 for a table of four (£6 each). All proceeds to Oxfam. I know that’s cheeky, but it’s charideeeee innit?
Tim Metcalfe: Vibrations’ Design Editor writes for the first time. (not literally). Live in London, so SPEEEEEAK SLOOOOOWLY The SHUNT LOUNGE , deep in the tunnels under London Bridge Station. If you’re ever in London, head here. Each week the space is filled with Shunt artists’ installations – somewhat bizarre but probably the best venue I’ve set foot in, and I’ve set foot in a lot!
Finally, to any one who is yet to discover them, I would recommend Middleman and Dan le Sac/ Scroobious Pip for beats with a brainy edge.
Sandymouth Bay - has got to be one of the best beaches I’ve been to, good sand, big rocks and great surf, who needs Ibiza when you’ve got Cornwall!
Rob Paul Chapman: Has been up all night editing this damn magazine!
Kings of Leon - Sex on Fire - Makes their other songs look lame.
Since the last issue, I’ve managed to fulfil a number of long-held ambitions: I saw Stevie Wonder (great), got to play with my own band at Leeds and Reading (even better) and grinned inanely for two hours while watching The B-52s with a bunch of mates who’d never seen them before. It was a chance to appreciate quite how influential that band have been on a large number of indie upstarts, whilst also enjoying a premier league big dumb pop concert.
LECH - Not probably but indecisively the best beer in the world. Hails from Poland, but also found on Green Lanes, London. If you are ever down these parts be sure to head to Clissold Park via the 24 hour shop, and you’ll appreciate the full flavour whilst catching some rays.
Published on Sep 30, 2008
Bi-monthly print music magazine covering bands in Leeds, and West Yorkshire (UK). Special 5th birthday edition.