Monday, 12 May 2014

Festival Review: Drummers and their Patterned T-Shirts

The Great Escape 2014

Once upon a time ago, this blog was awash with gig and festival reviews. Then it wasn’t. So it goes. These things take time. With a heap of notes that never materialised into carefully recorded memories, even the post-gig scribbling eventually petered out. So it falters.

Yet, the love of live music never petered. Never. Gigs are great. So it is. Full stop.

It’s funny how much one forgets. If it’s not noted, life turns into recollection fuzz. Was I there? Me? What venue? He set his guitar alight? Really. I don’t recall! Am I the most inept that ever stepped?

Today, I have the day off, so let’s get back to recording some fabulous mmm-mm-memories.

Rating system (from very best to very worst):
Fucking Awesome, Ear Candy, Thumbs Up, Not for Me Thanks, Hideously Awful.

If you need to know, Ear Candy equals success! Fucking Awesome speaks for itself.

*** Thursday 8th May

Jaakko Eno Kalevi
Thumbs Up (5/10)
A cross between Joy Division, the background music for a sleazy detective TV show, and a less melodic Hot Chip. Nowt special.

The Districts
The Haunt
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
This band like to wig out. I am not particularly keen on watching bands wig out. I knew what to expect, but, essentially, I was queuing inside for the next act!

Courtney Barnett
The Haunt
Thumbs Up (6.5/10)
Courtney was one of the acts to watch. I missed Solids to see her. She is in the NME on an almost weekly basis. Lucky her. She was first introduced to me via a monthly mixtape. Avant Gardener is undoubtedly a cracking tune, and her EPs set a fairly high bar, but something about her sound is oddly insincere. This is a gal that started her own record label. She is true DIY and Avant Gardner proves that. So what is my problem? I can’t say. But I can put my finger on what was wrong with this set. Too much pace, and too much wigging out. There you have it. I still stole the set-list and song notes! The list: David, Lance Jr, Canned Tomatoes, Are You Looking After Yourself?, Avant Gardener, Pedicure (I am not sure if this is a real title), History Eraser. I was impressed with the pace that Courtney maintained during Avant Gardner, but was pleased when she faltered slightly and the drummer gradually took it down a notch. That made the next two songs much better.

Grumbling Fur
Green Door Store
Ear Candy (7/10)
If I write ‘expansive electronica’ I could put myself off Grumbling Fur. I need to improve my musical lexicon. Grumbling is a great word, but the music didn’t grumble so much as glide. And then there is the ubiquitous musical landscape reference. Tick that box. So why do Grumbling Fur get a 7/10. Well, not just for the sparse, disarmingly warm, distorted vocals. My ears liked them. I doubt I will ever holler their name from the rooftops, but they enriched 30 minutes of my life. And so it goes.

East India Youth
Green Door Store
Ear Candy (7/10)
One lead. That was what the problem was. One lead. As EIY prepared to play, the stress-levels became increasingly pronounced. The engineer said check 1, EIY said check. All the way up to 10. But something wasn’t right. Sweat beads rolled in the gulley that nestles next to nasal canals. Tersely issued words were shared. I was undecided about missing my last train for EIY, but there I was, I had done it. I was watching a meltdown. A false start. EIY shook his head through the first track. His bottom left eyelid rose up with his each and every wince. Pause. Back to the equipment. Back to frustration. “Shall I come down” the engineer’s irate tone is noted. He comes. He quickly locates a lead and repositions it. The engineer’s booth is approximately seven paces from the stage. That’s all that was needed some 40 minutes earlier. EIY rattles through his set, thumping his equipment up and down. The least said about him forgetting to plug his guitar in the better. Was it good? It was fantastic, but shamefully short. Would I see him again. Yes! I did the next day.

***Friday 9th May

September Girls
Thumbs Up (6.5/10)
I am not sure what is it about Audio, but I have a feeling they don’t think too much of their clientele. They are the only small venue to check your bag. Out came my bottles of pop, slung into a black bag without so much as a ‘Sorry’. Yeah, they didn’t stay there for long. I said, “Couldn’t you just put them on the wall up there for me”, holding them aloft. “No”. That wasn’t on. Introducing bouncer number two: “You could just put them on the ledge there to the left”. And so I did. Two days later, I saw bouncer number two again, putting bottles on the aforementioned wall for folks. He told me that staff were coming by and slinging the drinks anyway. I was glad I had hidden mine in my waistband. September Girls are moody and broody. They are also girls. They reminded me of Veronica Falls in their early days, but without the catchy lyrics and chorus. With a bit more pep, they could be fab. Yes, most of this review was a pointless rant, but that’s life. I took the set-list: Heartbeats, Left Behind, Veneer, Ships, Talking, Flesh, Green Eyed, Sister.

Baby Strange
Dome Studio
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
A ‘punk power trio’, or so they say. I didn’t notice much by the way of a punk rebellion. I did notice the power. It’s the kind of power I tend to associate with rock. Guitars that plough instead of jangle. That said, the ploughing wasn’t frantic enough to please or annoy. I imagine that Baby Strange might appeal to people trying to rekindle a love of music after years of boring distractions.

Nico Vega
Hideously Awful (2/10)
I shouldn’t really review this act, as I only caught the last two songs. I am including them purely to remind myself to avoid them at all future events, if possible. Wailing to Americans about America shouldn’t work anywhere. Here, America, in space, or with a trash can on your head. Wailing generally should not be classified as music. Even if you can wail really well. No. I feel for this act, as they seemed delighted to finally be getting some recognition, but whoever booked them was wrong. No.

Ezra Furman
Ear Candy (8/10)
Ezra is coy, surreal and undoubtedly a showman. The band commence and Ezra is on some far trip away from the stage. Amusing expressions are offered. Anticipation builds. Then with a raging rattle we are off. It’s like the past and the future have combined to spawn an oddball musician destined to Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and, moreover, Ezra Furman you out. The songs have pace and power, and offer a rousing commotion. Or was I hoodwinked? Sometimes stage presence can do that to you.

Wild Cat Strike
Pavilion Tavern
Thumbs Up (5/10)
Indie pop – tick. Nothing less, nothing more. I wanted to see Rad Stewart. These guys played instead and it was quite pleasant.

We Have Band
Republic of Music, Shipwright Yard
Thumbs Up (5/10)
We Have Band say they make disco rock. I’d say they make disco and rock. While they don’t blend genres cohesively, the bouncier numbers had us bopping our hips and shoulders.

Fight Like Apes
Republic of Music
Ear Candy (7/10)
Fight Like Apes have a well-deserved cult following, yet seemingly little more. It breaks my heart to see them playing a grubby venue, in a slot for new bands. They have a great back catalogue of catchy riotous numbers that give me earworm, not to mention an amazing live presence. In the Pav Tav, a seriously horrible pub, they turned frowns up-side-down, spat water, engaged the audience in sing-alongs and entertained with gritty wit. The new song lacked the humorous anger that lights their tracks alive. To be frank it was bland. I hope they rekindle their mojo, and find a riot inside them soon. I took the set-list: You are the Hat, Do you Karate?, Tie Me Up with Jackets, I am Not a Merry Man, Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty, Crouching Bees, Ice Cream Apple Fuck, Jake Summers, Pretty Keen on Centrefolds, Battle Stations.

Hawk House
Republic of Music
Thumbs Up (5/10)
Really back to basics, stripped back hip hip. They suggested we sing along to the chorus. I had no idea which bit was the chorus. There was no melody to help me. Impressive, but not my scene.

East India Youth
Republic of Music
Ear Candy (8/10)
It was great to see the Total Strife Forever artist play his tracks without strife, yet I have to admit I missed him banging his equipment around and the fury that fired up his last set. I'm sure he didn’t miss the stress and this one man band offered a delicate, intense performance of all-consuming songs. Love the album, loved the show. Nuff said.

The Creases
Above Audio
Ear Candy (7.5/10)
I love a bit of ‘shimmering indie pop’ me. The ridiculous self-effacing Aussie jokes tell me that The Creases aren’t afraid of shameless, pointless fun either. I definitely want more, more, more of this Brisbane band. Sad words to jangly melodies will always steal my heart.

Bermuda Triangle
Thumbs Up (6/10)
I caught the end of this set. Not my scene. Fairly trashing, but I have to say it was pretty impressive all the same. Proper punk spirit. Music to flick the Vs to.

Bloody Knees
Bermuda Triangle
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
I may have mistaken Bloody Knees for the Bleeding Knees Club. What a shame, as I’d love to see the latter, with their indie-punk riffs. Alas, Bloody Knees are low-rent punk rock.

Green Door Store
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
Oh me oh my. What a high energy extravaganza this was. KiT had the whole room shifting their butts. It is no surprise this band come from the land of happy hardcore. None at all, but this aint no typical rave act. Fuelling the band’s beat are the tambú drums, the melody is purely electronic and the lyrics amount to party affirming chants, sung with an infectious Aruban accent. A winning live formula.

Brighton Electric Studio
Ear Candy (8/10)
Local lads done good. 8/10 in NME and everything! AKDK once told me, at a Zombie Zombie gig, that they were quite like Zombie Zombie. I think they are a bit more like Fuck Buttons, but with two sets of belting drums and a chipper, playful edge. Their anti-UKIP track was simultaneously a bit random and a bit inspiring. I live in is UKIP ward. It’s not okay. But dancing to an anti UKIP song is.

***Saturday 10th May

The Wet Secrets
The Blind Tiger
Ear Candy (7/10)
The band’s name, their costumes and smirks all indicate dubious intent, but they had me grinning. As the girls took their marching band outfits for a synchronized dance, the delight of self-ridicule was etched into the eyes, as a mischievous twinkle. There’s a certain subtle cheeky sassiness to their music which elevates it above a Sergeant Pepper tribute band status, and makes this a band worth bopping your socks to.

One Inch Badge at the Boutique
Ear Candy (7/10)
Alvvays want to move to Brighton. Perhaps they think it’s always The Great Escape and the Brighton Festival rolled into one. It is one hell of a weekend to be in town. Alvvays make gloomy indie pop, with clatter, fuzz and woozy female vocals. I almost thought about adopting them myself.

Physics House Band
One Inch Badge at the Boutique
Ear Candy (8/10)
Like colonic irrigation for the brain. I don’t think a single thought swept through my brain during this entire set. It was ridiculously intense. Afterwards, a local journalist told me that the band are stupidly overrated by the Brighton’s musos. I don’t know if I would listen to them at home, but I for one enjoy having a temporary lobotomy on a Saturday afternoon.

Sticky Mike’s
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
I walked out. Bland indie rock, with a smidgen of pop, versus hot Thai pasty. Thai pasty won!

Corn Exchange
Ear Candy (6/10)
For a baby band, with little more than a demo and an online shop that says ‘Coming Soon!’ this was a mighty big stage. Part of me regretted not catching them at a smaller venue. Yet, they did a pretty fine job up there, with their gloomy, bright indie pop. As we all know, the best indie pop is built on an oxymoron. On ‘Do What You Want’ there was even some impressive whistling.

Years and Years
Corn Exchange
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
Okay. Let’s get this right from the start. I saw this band by accident. They were squashed between two other acts that handpicked by yours truly, and were somewhat of a surprise. I think they would fit in very nicely at the Radio One Big Weekender and I imagine they will be massive. I actually really enjoyed the keyboards, but the vocals, impressive as they were, equalled utterly insincere starter bra magnet. Hanging onto every other note, in perfect pitch, however skilful, is fucking annoying.

Corn Exchange
Thumbs Up (5/10)
I wasn’t sure if the tassels on sleeves, waving with every dramatic flip flap of the arm, were taking something away from the music. I felt as though I was on the verge of something worthy. I closed my eyes and I realised it was worthy. Too worthy. Perhaps if Coves took a chill pill or a thrill pin they could nail it. Instead, they sounded like a band that are trying, rather than a band that are living. The XX are safe for now.

Satellite Shores
Ear Candy (9/10)
You wake me up by telling facts as you put your shoes on. You wake me up by telling information that is useless at this point. If this band didn’t make such fantastic jangly, bouncing indie pop, I would fall in love with them simply for coining the term “telling facts”. I am going to be telling facts everywhere I go from this point onwards. The more useless the facts I tell the better. This Finnish act is bloody marvellous. End of.

Tyrannosaurus Dead
Pavilion Tavern
Thumbs Up (6/10)
Tyrannosaurus Dead first caught my attention last year. A local lo-fi indie band with a brilliant moniker. I really wanted them to play at my party. I hadn’t anticipated the drunken entourage and the grub of the Pav Tav for my first live experience. Do they live up to their name? Yes. They are fabulously geeky, cheerily melodic and very DIY. Go see them yourself, just so you can say “I went to see Tyrannosaurus Dead last night”. Hopefully, the inappropriately aggressive mosh pit was a one off. It doesn’t go with the music. I like a mosh pit as much as the next gal, but not one with over-sized middle-aged men fiercely slamming into me. You’re supposed to gently bounce off each other boys.

Ear Candy (7/10)
I decided to prioritise seeing pals above seeing Mazes. Then the queue didn’t let me. Then I only caught the last Mazes song. Fortunately, it was tip top. One should never put pals before bands.

Milky Chance
Blind Tiger
Thumbs Up (6/10)
I missed the first three tracks, but the rest was softly bouncy. I rather liked it.

Green Door Store
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
Unknwn were in an unfortunate position. The collective Great Escape curators failed to put any loud bouncy music on to bring the night to a close. What a shambles! That is, unless the lively music was at one of those secret exclusive events. So there’s Unknwn with their minimalist electronica, and a lack of melody, and then there’s us. We that want to dance, jump around and cap our night off with some banging tunes. The minimalism didn’t work for me at home, it was unlikely to fair better live. I tried both before and after festival. That’s three tries in total. It just ends up annoying me.

Erotic Market Thumbs Up (5/10)
Yes, I agree. A 5/10 is no way to end a festival. At least the last two tracks bumped it up to a five. I am surprised by how many acts playing TGE take a minimalist approach to both rhythm and melody. Erotic Market, who didn’t even wear gimp suits, are part of this movement. Boooo! The rapping was undoubtedly impressive and the spikey chicken-like dance moves were briefly entertaining. Yet, it’s not enough for 30minutes. What was different about the last two tracks? What d’you reckon? They had just a little bit of pep. More of that please.

That's all folks!

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I think it’s time for an indie pop disco. Get ready to sway. It’s 1988 again!

The Creases - I Won't Wait

Satellite Stories - Sirens

Bleeding Knees Club - Teenage Girls

Tyrannosaurus Dead - 1992

Cheerleader – Do What You Want

Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Sweet and Tender Eulogy

In the summer of 1982, while the rest of the world attended to their daily business, I lay sweltering in a little brown tent, sometimes shaded by a young apple tree, with just a radio for company. I was profoundly moved.

At the tender age of 10, freely dozing, I found myself indelibly marked by Don McLean's 'Vincent', Robert Wyatt's 'Ship Building' and Leonard Cohen's 'Suzanne'. Wearing trousers, that unintentionally ended a centimetre above my socks, I discovered that misery in music makes for magnificent company. File alongside joyous memories of bounding recklessly to 'The Yellow Submarine' and Disney’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’, and much might be explained.

In later life, my sister took custody of the radio and I the tent. The tent, boasting a cream curtain, patterned with circles of many shades of brown, eventually graduated from hosting radio transmissions to accommodating festival revellers. One day, when the zip could be sewn no more, I was saddened to say goodbye. Years later, when the radio joined the tent in the land of things we once loved, my sister called to let me know.

This is a eulogy to a black portable radio and a brown ridge tent. Without them my life would lack a certain richness, one which endlessly gladdens my heat. If you’ve lost your faith in love and music, oh the end won't be long. My faith began in 1982, and not just in music.

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Now, I wonder what happened to my 7" of this:
Download MP3: Disney Chorus - Winnie the Pooh (courtesy of

My version had a Winnie the Pooh voice at the end, which we all used to shout along too. "I got my paw stuck in a honey pot!" (I think!)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The New Staying In

Dead blog, important log, summarise for me.
Life didn't stop. I promise you not.
Just you wait and see.

What follows, my friend, is a list. It will bear no interest to you. It is merely a record. A record of gigs I attended. Its purpose is for my own reference.

Still reading?

When someone leaves behind their used shopping list, do you rub your hands with glee? Do you say "Tee hee, tee hee, another list for me!"? If so, in addition to the below, I can offer two more tedious inventories. You just enjoy. The rest of you be warned, and continue at your peril.

Old Lists
2006 - 2007
2007 - 2009

Events may be absent by accident… SL means I stole a set-list.

2009 Continued

September 30thWave Machines, The Freebutt, Brighton
October 2ndCasiokids, New Hero, Brighton
October 8thSpeech Debelle, Brighton Coalition
October 10thThe Crookes, Joogleberry, Brighton
October 20th Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards, The Prince Albert, Brighton
October 23rdCamera Obscura, Komedia, Brighton (SL)
November 9thBrakes, Komedia, Brighton
November 17thWavves, Audio, Brighton
November 22ndBang Bang Eche, The Freebutt, Brighton
December 4thFuture of the Left, The Freebutt, Brighton (SL)
December 23rdTribute to Johnny Cash, Komedia, Brighton


16th January Men, The Freebutt, Brighton
19th January Delphic, Audio, Brighton
20th January HTRK, The Freebutt, Brighton
22nd January Vive La France, with Etienne Jaumet, The Freebutt, Brighton
24th January Midwinter Picnic, West Hill Hall, Brighton
1st February These New Puritans, Audio, Brighton
7th February Esben and the Witch, The Prince Albert, Brighton
13th February Golden Ghost, The Marlborough Theatre, Brighton
14th FebruaryShe Keeps Bees, The Hope, Brighton
22nd MarchThe Joy Formidable, Audio, Brighton
23rd MarchMisty’s Big Adventure, The Freebutt, Brighton
29th MarchDan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Concorde 2, Brighton
1st AprilStuart Warwick, Sanctuary Cella, Brighton
7th – 9th May All Tomorrow’s Parties, Minehead
21st May Holy Fuck, Digital, Brighton
23rd –28th JuneGlastonbury Festival, Somerset
15th – 18th JulyLatitude Festival, Suffolk
25th July Zombie Zombie, Audio, Brighton
29th September The Kissaway Trail, The Freebutt, Brighton
11th October NME Radar Tour, Joy Formidable, Concorde 2, Brighton (SL)
31st October Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Concorde 2, Brighton
4th November Men, Prince Albert, Brighton
15th November The Vaccines, Audio, Brighton (SL)
25th NovemberBeach House, Concorde 2, Brighton


5th FebruaryThe Lovely Eggs, The Hope, Brighton (SL)
9th FebruaryThe Phoenix Foundation, The Hope, Brighton (SL)
4th March My Punk Spirit, The Globe, Brighton (SL)
6th AprilDum Dum Girls, Komedia, Brighton
2nd MayBest Coast, Brighton Coalition
7th MaySteve Mason, Komedia, Brighton
14th MayThe Great Escape, Brighton (SL for Beach House and The Vaccines)
24 – 26th June Glastonbury Festival, Somerset
14th – 17th July Latitude Festival
28th – 31st July Camp Bestival, Lulworth
19th AugustDels and Ghostpoet, Concorde 2, Brighton
22nd AugustJeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard, Sticky Mike's, Brighton
26th – 28th August Reading Festival
28th SeptemberCloud Control, Audio, Brighton
3rd OctoberPete and the Pirates, Komedia, Brighton (SL)
18th OctoberViking Moses, The Prince Albert, Brighton
22nd OctoberThe Adur Concert Band, The Barn, Southwick
29th OctoberRiots not Diets, West Hill Hall, Brighton
8th NovemberThe Head and the Heart, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
13th NovemberDarren Hayman, Unitarian Church, Brighton
19th NovemberSummer Camp, Green Door Store, Brighton
25th NovemberCasiokids, The Haunt, Brighton
28th NovemberThe Lovely Eggs, The Prince Albert, Brighton


16th FebruaryGrouplove, The Haunt, Brighton (SL)
19th FebruaryThe Deep Dark Woods, Sticky Mikes, Brighton
25th February Spector, Green Door Store, Brighton (SL)
3rd MarchAllo Darlin’, The Haunt, Brighton (SL)
9th MarchFuture Islands, The Haunt, Brighton
18th AprilSea of Bees, The Haunt, Brighton
2nd MaySlow Club, The Haunt, Brighton
4th MayHere We Go Magic, Green Door Store, Brighton (SL)
13th JuneFuture of the Left, The Haunt, Brighton
30th JuneLawnfest, Sevenoaks
26th – 29th JulyCamp Bestival, Lulworth
24th – 26th AugustReading Festival
6th – 9th SeptemberBestival, Isle of Wight
25th OctoberZombie Zombie, Green Door Store, Brighton
25th OctoberSpector, Concorde 2, Brighton
16th DecemberArt Noise, Blind Tiger, Brighton


21st FebruaryNME Awards Tour, Django Django, Miles Kane, Palma Violets & Peace, Brighton Dome
22nd MarchParquet Courts, Audio, Brighton (SL)
28th – 30th JuneGlastonbury Festival, Somerset
8th JulyAdvance Base, The Hope, Brighton
13th JulyAmanda Palmer, Concorde 2, Brighton
13th JulyFight Like Apes, Sticky Mikes, Brighton (SL)
18th July – 21st JulyLatitude Festival, Suffolk
24th JulyOctopuses, Prince Albert, Brighton
25th AugustLots of Bands, My Back Garden
7th SeptemberInterlocutor, Dome Studio Theatre, Brighton
13th OctoberBalam Acab, Green Door Store, Brighton
22nd OctoberJagwar Ma, The Haunt, Brighton (SL)
10th NovemberSweet Baboo, Green Door Store, Brighton (SL)
12th NovemberFuture of the Left, The Haunt, Brighton (SL)


25th JanuaryConnan Mokasin, The Haunt, Brighton
31st JanuaryMilk and Biscuits, Green Door Store, Brighton
14th FebruaryParquet Courts, Concorde 2, Brighton (SL)
16th FebruaryLittle Comets, Concorde 2, Brighton
17 FebruaryToy, The Old Market, Brighton (SL)

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Here’s a little number that I enjoyed whilst typing this up. Enjoy!

Friday, 21 December 2012

As you tour the realms of the internet, is a dead blog one of the most sad and pathetic stops?

That's what I offer these days!

Emily did a Dodo in her fabpants.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Gig Review: Spectacles To Be Proud Of

Spector, The Green Door Store, 25th February 2012

I saw Spector last night. Pardon the pun, but they were spectacular!

The smiles on their faces said it all. 'What a ball! Fucking, eh! This is almost as surreal as we are. Even the support act has more songs than us lot.'

'Yeah boys! Here we are, touring the small gritty venues of this land. We get drunk - sometimes alone (on gin) - in drab Travelodge hotels. Yet fuck a duck and mate a mallard, the venues are rammed to the gills. Check out those mad, "Look hey here" oogling eyes. Gee effing whizz.'

Hey scenesters, hey hey scenesters! Am I one, or am I not? I watch so many bands that have zero scenester value, and flip the birdy to many that do. I have no one to impress with my love of gigging. I walk the walk, but I don’t talk the talk. Considered speech is not my forte. As for writing; about 3 people read this blog. I effortlessly keep it on the very edges of the internet, deliberately failing to engage and impressing no one. I impress myself when I manage to ‘post’. This will be the first time this year. Woo hoo.

When I say scenesters, I neatly place myself outside of the box. Perhaps we all do, even the worst of us. “I see you, with your half pint, I see you with your SLR, I see you making your illegal videos to post on YouTube.” Fred Macpherson named and shamed, and every word and every move was gleefully recorded, including Fred using his hanky.

“I was there; look at my shitty photos and my wobbly videos! Aren’t I so fucking cool? He even pointed me out! I didn’t even nod my head, let alone shake my toosh, because I wanted to get a good picture. I was there. I was a rigid mother fucker, seeing it all through the screen my phone. Yeah, me! It was awesome. I am awesome.”

What can the band do about that? Behind me, a man sang along joyfully to every word of three songs, it was loud, out-of-tune and 100% heartfelt. About 10 people along to my left a gal moved almost as much as me. We lived the moment, we were in the moment and the memories are in our heads. Further back, dotted amongst the crowd, there was singing, swaying, and the sight and sound of people that dived into the night.

Spector thank you. Both the tracks and the banter were a treat to behold. “I know this song’s great, because I wrote it”. Damn right!

Fred Macpherson drips with star quality, quite literally. It drips off his hair, it runs down his nose. He wipes it away, combs his hair back into place, and all the time a riot of words fall free from his mouth. Think Jarvis Cocker, think Eddie Argos, think of shutting them both in a box for a year, and not allowing them to speak. Imagine every weird thought and the cavalcade of odd observations, simply bubbling up inside the minds of these two indie icons, just frantic for release. Think of what might come out when you lift the lid. Think, Fred Macpherson, with his deep booming voice, and his rock ‘n’ roll legs. Think Fred Macpherson, and his non-stop slightly surreal, slightly cutting, considerably intelligent and profoundly silly wit. Think brilliance, and you’ve got it.

The set list; well, seven songs were typed in an order, and the order was wrong. “What use is this to anyone? We’ve already played that one?”

I believe they played them in this order, but I was enjoying myself, not making notes:

Spector Set List (25/02/12):
What You Wanted
Friday Night
Grey Shirt and Tie
Lay Low
Chevy Thunder
Never Fade Away

As I walked past the boys, in their backstage area, known to most people as the outdoors (without even a rope to separate them), I called out, "Thanks for the amazing show." I meant every word.

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You all know Chevy Thunder already, eh? How about this for some earworm?

Friday, 23 December 2011

Gig Review: The Lovely Eggheads

The Lovely Eggs
The Hope, Brighton, 5th February 2011
The Prince Albert, Brighton, 28th November 2011

Out of the two gigs listed above, The Lovely Eggs were at their best at The Hope.

Time flies, but I remember it clearly! Holly and David offered bright-eyed enthusiasm, random banter and bubbling excitement for their new album Cob Dominos. They promoted it endearingly; warmly describing the inspiration for each song, whilst offering a rose-tinted window view into their kooky world.

Yes, it’s cool to be in a band as a couple at present, but The Lovely Eggs don’t fit the mould. They wear their Lancaster origins with pride and expressively enjoy the simpler things in life. Enthralling over where each item sits in the universe, and making a mockery of life’s little challenges, is much more fun than being cool.

The Lovely Eggs, The Prince Albert, BrightonPhoto stolen from someone who stood next to me!

The Lovely Eggs have two amazing songs called ‘Have You Ever Heard a Digital Accordion?’ and ‘Don't Look at Me (I Don't Like It)’. Personally, I think each of those songs should be in the set twice; they are that good. The rest come from the hearts of two people that love sandwiches, think olives are posh and worry about whether they’ve left the oven on (some 250miles away). Presented well in a live setting, they are a toasty treat. While November's performance showed a few signs of wear and tear, it was still from the same batch and the support act was absolutely marvellous.

Yes, MJ Hibbett’s Moon Horse equalled delight, and I was sorry to miss the start. Missing the first act of a play is never a good idea. Moon Horse vs. The Mars Men of Jupiter, as the show was called, appeared to be inspired by 70s children’s television. Through costume, silly songs and narration, we followed the adventures of a horse, a robot and a gentleman called Jeffrey Livingstone (I think!). The plight of planet earth, since Margaret Thatcher had her way with it, is a tale indeed. Let's just say, the Mars Men of Jupiter are not suitable play friends.

The Lovely Eggs Set List (28/11/11)
People are Twats
I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too
Hey Scraggletooth
Fuck It
Muhammad Ali And All His Friends
I’m a Journalist
Slug Graveyard
Panic Plants
Oh The Stars
Don’t Look at Me
Digital Accordion

While it’s not on the set list sheet I stole, they played “I Want to Fall off My Bike Today”, a song inspired by people breaking their collar bone and getting 6 weeks off work.

For your information, The Lovely Eggs host a total of 55 songs on their MySpace page. How generous!

I rated Cocoon at ‘Fucking Awesome’ at Glastonbury, but I don’t seem to have shared any songs here! Enjoy.

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Download MP3: Cocoon - Comets (courtesy of

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Festival Review: Reading, Oh Reading. How I Love You Reading.

Reading Festival, 2011

Reading Festival is an absolute delight. I put my hand to my forehead and swoon. I wrote this gushingly two months ago and forgot to make it live. What a delight to read it through and relive the memory!

Reading Festival Unkle Sounds
I spent the Friday and Saturday in a state of permanent glee. The punters were 100% up for the live music experience. Yes, my kind of reveller. To smile and dance in unison with thousands of other music lovers is pure gold. The Sunday line-up encouraged dull day trippers. Many of the cool and groovy appeared to disappear, but Friday and Saturday were SO good, Sunday didn’t really matter.

Okay, perhaps I was fortunate in my experience of inappropriate piss related incidents. I hear some was thrown around the Main Stage, scenting victims distastefully. Yeah, I did see a grown-man pissing into a bottle, but he assured me it was for convenience rather than throwing. I sauntered by two young men communally pissing in a busy walkway. As amusingly disgusting as it was, only the ground was soaked. I think the sticky fluid that hit my head was beer. Or was it?

For me Reading 2011 was an amazing bop-a-thon; a place where I could exist amongst people like me. Reading Festival is all about the music and, in that, it doesn’t change. The age old formula, with few alterations (bigger stages, better equipment and more toilets, reassuringly in the same geographical format), goes on pleasing generation after generation, and you can easily pop into town for pop. You can also easily pop into town to eat, sleep and shit. There are a lot of benefits to the urban festival. I was utterly enthralled.

As a great lover of teenage dramas like Freaks and Geeks, My So Called Life and Skins, perhaps I am destined to thoroughly enjoy being around each new generation that bubbles up, with their youthful admiration of music and full throttle attitude. To enjoy is to engage, and to engage is to enjoy. At Reading Festival we danced, we laughed and we sang. We all contributed to the making the festival a gloriously radiant one. My thanks go out to all that did their bit. Your efforts transformed me into a very happy bouncing bunny. Boing, Boing!

Rating system (from very best to very worst):
Fucking Awesome, Ear Candy, Thumbs Up, Not for Me Thanks, Hideously Awful

*** Friday 26th August, 2011 ***

Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (6/10)
Islet offered an enthusiastic start to the festival, with shouting, yelping, and the swapping of roles. Beats galore and some experimental soundscapes made this worth a watch. I would like to suggest not jumping up and down and singing at the same time; it kinda ruins the vocals.

Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Dance Stage
Ear Candy (8/10)
The locals were brilliant and the crowd went wild. A bulging bouncy tent made this the first boogie of the event. Inviting your 14 year old sister on stage to sing is a risky move, but they got away with it. They had the crowd by its energetic balls.

Royal Bangs
Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
Inoffensive indie rock lacking gusto sums this up.

Crystal Fighters
Dance Stage
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
Crystal Fighters clashed with another brilliant act at every single festival we shared some space at this year. This time I prioritised them and was aptly rewarded with a tropical dance frenzy. Amazing! They played a series of absolutely amazing tunes.

NME Stage
Ear Candy (6/10)
We liked the white light badges, and since the event, one has mysteriously appeared in my home. This was a well delivered set of slightly cheery pop.

The Vaccines
NME Stage
Ear Candy (8/10)
I love The Vaccines, but the sound was well quiet. This was my least favourite The Vaccines set of the year. I wanted a communal leap to some short sharp tunes. Instead, I lightly jumped, as if to will it to be better, while the odd person allowed their head to nod. The band had stage presence, and I’m not knocking them, but the sound and crowd were limp.

Simian Mobile Disco
Dance Stage
Ear Candy (7/10)
I really enjoyed this until the last few tracks. It drifted into low rent pop. Stick to the banging tunes boys.

Dance Stage
Ear Candy (7/10)
This really packed a punch for a two-man show. I am going to liken it to Hot Chip, with more accessible vocals.

Unkle Sounds
Dance Stage
Ear Candy (8/10)
A magical journey of warm beatsy trance and visuals. Captivating.

*** Saturday 27th August, 2011 ***

The Joy Formidable
Main Stage
Fucking Awesome (9/10)
The Joy Formidable were a little self-conscious and back on form. They were tight, they were entertaining, and - most pleasingly - the set featured less masturbatory guitar frenzies than in recent times.

NME Stage
Fucking Awesome (9/10)
Lovely melodic jangling, with some gorgeous sentiment thrown in for good measure.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
NME Stage
Fucking Awesome (9/10)
Great stage presence, endearing theatrics and a lot of audience engagement. Time limitations considered, a bit less banter and a few more tunes would have lovely. All the same, this made me feel very at home.

Festival Republic Stage
Fucking Awesome (9/10)
There was a group, a big group, and there was love. And that was just the audience. Grouplove made the Festival Republic Stage feel like summer. Sean Gadd’s parents must be pleased. They took him to Reading Festival as a boy, and now he’s on the stage.

Mariachi El Bronx
Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
A lovely idea and amazing outfits, but the delivery was rather dull. I decided to see The Kills for the third time this year and sauntered away.

The Kills
NME Stage
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
Seriously cool motherfuckers. They make music to disintegrate to, albeit with love. At the end of the show, Alison lifted her hair. That girl hides the most wonderful smile.

Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (6/10)
I only caught the end, but I enjoyed the indie with a splattering of melodious pop.

Cloud Control
Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
Cloud Control delivered indie style pop, but there was a hole where joyful outbursts should live. Perhaps Cloud Control is too high brow for me? A cracking chorus or two and they’d be great.

Bombay Bicycle Club
Festival Republic Stage
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
This performance is already the stuff of legends. The Festival Republic Tent is the biggest tent I have ever been in, and it was full. It more than full, it was absolutely and utterly packed. With barely space to breathe, everyone danced, shared full face grins and had the times of their lives. Most people had no line of sight, could barely hear over the crowd singing, and, yet, went for it anyway. To not go for it would be sacrilege in a space full of such intensely positive energy. I read later that even the band didn’t hear the set. Were they good? Who knows and who cares. It was the best place to be on earth. There was some silly crushing on the way out, but buzzing our heads off, we all made it back into the open air and grinned once more.

King Blues
Lock Up Stage
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
This band make you want to riot for what’s right and what’s fair. They also make you wanna dance. With a crowd that was 100% up for it, I bounced against the system. The system still stands, but it can’t jump as high as me.

The Strokes
Main Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
They never were much cop live, and they still aren’t. That said, playing New York City Cops super fast was a stroke of genius. No puns intended. I’m just too lazy to re-word.

*** Sunday 28th August, 2011 ***

Spy Catcher
Lock Up Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
This is a rock band, and the bassist is from Gallows. It wasn’t to my taste, but I give them 10/10 for effort. They seemed mighty chuffed to have an audience, so I was glad I went along.

Best Coast
NME Stage
Ear Candy (7/10)
Everything was a bit Sunday morning about this set. The crowd didn’t dance and the surf was a touch too gentle. I wanted more. I blame the audience more than the band.

Little Comets
Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
Indie pop with a little bit of jangle. The audience were supportive and this band has something to work towards.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Festival Republic Stage
Thumbs Up (6/10)
The first acoustic set of the day. Not as endearing as his Camp Bestival set, but the teenage girls swooned regardless.

Fight Like Apes
Festival Republic Stage
Ear Candy (8/10)
I came away from this set livid. The audience were so unappreciative of this amazing act they should be shot. Yeah, they were waiting for Ed Sheeran, but by standing still, sneering at the band and at the five of us dancing, they drained the festival spirit out of the room. I would rather the tent was half empty than full of twats. Some of the twats were on the front row staring, completely bemused. Fight Like Apes delivered a great set and the whole room should have fox-trotted.

Main Stage
Ear Candy (7/10)
I had nothing better to see and this was surprisingly enjoyable. The crowd interaction was so cheesy I winced, but - that that aside - it was pretty pleasant. Hmm!

Flogging Molly
Festival Republic
Ear Candy (8/10)
This was a folk punk hoot. What a jolly jig we had.

Peter Doherty
Festival Republic Stage
Ear Candy (8/10)
Acoustic Peter – it’s like the stuff of dreams! Not being able to see and standing on tip toes to catch a glimpse is not. If I had a better view (I wasn’t far back, mind), it would have been perfect. For anyone that has ever listened to Pete’s home recordings, and preferred them to some of the shambolic band releases, this was heaven. He rattled through track after track. My lungs filled with illegal indoor cigarette fumes and my back decided tip toes are bad for you.

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Download MP3: Does It Offend You, Yeah - Wrestler (courtesy of

Download MP3: The Kills – Baby Says (courtesy of

Download MP3: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Carries On
(courtesy of

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Festival Review: The British Middle Class Summer Camp

Camp Bestival 2011

Castles come in many shapes and forms. Some are just a way of enjoying how cash rich you are. Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is a prime example of the latter. Its romantic spires, theatrical decorations and fairyland features, are completely unsuitable for defence. If he thought anyone might throw boiling tar from his castle window, Ludwig II would have cried himself to sleep. “Not the façade, not the façade!”

While Neuschwanstein was built as a retreat for a reclusive fantasist, Lulworth Castle has always been a centre for moneyed leisure. Yes, while it imitates medieval designs, and – perhaps at first glance – seems more like a Norman stronghold than Neuschwanstein, Lulworth is a 17th Century hunting lodge. Mock medieval tents, a jousting display, and middle classes family fun, are true to Lulworth’s roots.

Delivered with warmth, and in full awareness of what it is, fake can be sweetly enchanting. Drawing inspiration from the Glastonbury Kidz Fields (Green and otherwise), historical re-enactments and village fêtes, Camp Bestival is a magical family festival. If the line-up wasn’t aimed at 40-something parents, suffering from 15 years of music neglect, the festival would be perfect.

Or would it? Would you want to miss seeing fabulous bands, with minimal chance of EVER seeing them again, just because your five year old desperately wants to go to the dressing-up tent? Uninspiring line-up; family friction resolved! Perhaps it’s perfect after all. We had a ball: me, the parents and hundreds of children growing up on hummus and a yearly dose of festival juice.

Okay, I didn’t leave the site as high as a kite on live music and festival atmospherics, but I left happy. Camp Bestival provided a magnificent collection of intergenerational memories. The legacy of The Cuban Brothers performance could resonate for years amongst my kin.

Rating system (from very best to very worst):
Fucking Awesome, Ear Candy, Thumbs Up, Not for Me Thanks, Hideously Awful

*** Friday 29th July, 2011 ***

Two Wounded Birds
Castle Stage
Ear Candy (7/10)
Two Wounded Birds had the look, the moves and the sound. Drawing on traditional rock n roll and injecting it with an indie twist, this act offered a dose of bounce, combined with gloomy guitar riffs.

Big Top
Thumbs Up (5/10)
Offering pleasant, melodic, jangly indie and an energetically impressive standing (second) drummer, Yaaks gave this performance their all. Unfortunately, the vocals were placid, lacking in grit and strength. Better vocals could make this a band to watch out for.

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
Three festivals in a row and 100% wonderful. The shorter set suited Mr B, separating the wheat from the chaff. With new weaker numbers dropped, only pure brilliance remained. The cheeky chap was brave enough to sing his little number about crack cocaine and how to get celebrity status. Yes, just days after her passing, the Amy Winehouse comedic reference was made. An old song with new pertinence... The audience loved it.

James Vincent McMorrow
Big Top
Thumbs Up (6/10)
A set half wonderful and half verging on terrible MOR soft rock. Post festival, I opted against buying a ticket to see this chap in Brighton.

Laura Marling
Big Top
Ear Candy (8/10)
Some people are placed on this earth with extraordinary talent. It is something you can piss up the wall, but it’s not something you can grow into. Laura, I doff my imaginary cap to you. It was lovely to see you back in a tent offering your intimate delights. Even the medley was endearing rather than cheesy. Laura was born in 1990, and yet her songs, especially the newer numbers, indicate she has been around for centuries, and perhaps longer than Lulworth Castle itself.

*** Saturday 30th July, 2011 ***

The Gruffalo
Castle Stage
Hideously Awful (0/10)
I was really looking forward to this. It was so awful we all walked away. A condescending poorly scripted and terribly performed, hideous musical version of a beautiful book. Yuck.

The Crayonettes
Little Big Top Variety Show
Hideously Awful (1/10)
Two women, once in real bands, try their hand at the children’s market. Why? To offer some pep to the children’s music scene. If this set lacked anything, it was pep. It was weak and embarrassing.

Eliza Doolittle
Castle Stage
Thumbs Up (6/10)
Walking through the perfume counters of Boots the Chemist, with Eliza singing in the background seemed like a perfect combination this week. I don’t wear perfume, but I appreciate the smell. I will never rant and rave about Eliza, but her bright and breezy tunes make me smile. The performance lacked the lustre I expected, but we had a little sing-along.

House of Pain
Castle Stage
Ear Candy (8/10)
It was highly unfortunate that a. House of Pain clashed with The Cuban Brothers. b. Parents seemed somewhat aghast when the performance was preceded with electronic alerts about bad language. The bad language is buried in the songs and within a definite context. The teenagers camped next to us firing off laughing gas cylinders all night weren’t censored, nor were songs about sex or getting higher than the sun. We caught the first few numbers, which were fantastically bouncy. The five-year-old on my shoulders loved it. Reformed bands generally suck, but bouncy fun overrides all. I didn’t want to walk away.

The Cuban Brothers
Big Top
Fucking Awesome (10/10)
Swearing alert! The Cuban Brothers were Fucking ACE. Who is cold hearted enough not to love their leotard suits, acrobatic dance moves and disco magic. I may have given myself a face a permanent wrinkle from smiling so much.

Big Top
Ear Candy (8/10)
This set was brilliant, offering heavy bass, dark dub and an enchanting drawl, but WHAT was the MC-ing all about? The decision to give a guy, with no musical ability, a microphone to shout all over the tracks was a terrible annoyance. Yes, I know he was there to rouse the crowd, and, yes, I know he had some success, but really? Aaargh, what were you thinking?

Silent Disco: Rob da Bank and Rev Milo Speedwagon Vs Sombrero Sound System
Big Top
Ear Candy (7/10)
The last time I saw the Rev was at a Reclaim the Streets event in Trafalgar Square, where he gave me a very big hug. I was charmed by seeing his unobtrusive, but joyful attempts to work a crowd.

*** Sunday 30th July, 2011 ***

The Selecter
Castle Stage
Thumbs Up (5/10)
It was kind of quaint to see this reformed act. They were never very big in the first place. Watching an act like this reminds me of the free Council led festivals they used to put on in East London. You’re not expecting much, and you make the most of it. Ska like this is easy to dance to.

Opera Up Close
Dingly Dell
Ear Candy (7/10)
Learning about Opera had the kids enthralled, so it must have been pretty good.

The Nextmen
Big Top
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
I wanted to hear tracks from their fine album ‘Join the Dots’, not a DJ set. It was a bit of a letdown.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Big Top
Thumbs Up (6/10)
This set was 100% endearing: a young man, all alone on stage, offering an acoustic set and referring to when he used to be in a band. It felt warmly inclusive. Come to think of it, Camp Bestival lacks those shared moments where audience and band connect. Benjamin was a good as it got. It was nice but not heart tickling.

Primal Scream Presents Screamadelica
Castle Stage
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
Well there was nothing else to do, so I went along with a positive attitude. I enjoyed the first few tracks, and then I got bored. I got to thinking how I would rather been watching Spiritualized, who I guess Primal Scream robbed a little for this album.

Castle Stage
Ear Candy (7/10)
Fireworks in the sky and animations displayed on, and incorporating, Lulworth Castle; what would a review big without saying that it was pretty cool? It was.

Del Rio Ramblers
Black Dahlia
Not for Me Thanks (4/10)
I stayed for two songs only. It wasn’t the knees up I expected.

Sound of Rum
Big Top
Thumbs Up (6/10)
As much as I want to like them, Sound of Rum are terrible. Kate Tempest is a brilliant poet, and having missed her poetry sets, I was please to hear her rattle off some prose, without musical accompaniment. She is extremely impressive.

Camp Bestival Fireworks
So that’s it for Camp Bestival! I hope to find time to review Reading Festival soon. I also have notes from Latitude 2010, which I never got round to typing in. And so many local gigs I’ve failed to appraise; some with no notes and a now hazy memory! May be one day I will catch up. This takes more time that one might imagine and I’m a busy girl. But I DO want to catch up! If only I didn’t have to work...

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Some Sunday tunes...

Download MP3: Fatty Gets A Stylist - The Devil's In The Details (courtesy of

Download MP3: Digitalism - Just Gazin' (courtesy of

Download MP3: Gold Panda – You (courtesy of

Download MP3: Cults - You Know What I Mean (courtesy of

Download MP3: Cat's Eyes - Not A Friend (courtesy of