Category Archives: punk

Avondale45 – live at Staines 06 Oct 2011

Fearless balls. That’s what this band has got. Within 30 seconds of their first number, guitarist and frontman Al had already broken two strings. This is not only unfortunate, it is a freak of nature. A once in a lifetime event. But it didn’t stop the show. Or even put the band off kilter. Onwards they climbed. Against all odds they soldier on to make a living.

And a lot of punk bands are let down by their ‘hunt the tune’ issues, but this certainly ain’t the case with the three-piece south coast punksters Avondale45.
Yep, these lads are holding more than a fistful of grubby tunes in their sweaty hands – and they are here to delight the audience with their fresh and shiny stage package.

Full of beans and raring to go, these over achieving underdogs smashed into a set at The Hob, Staines with an array of belting numbers that included their seventies time-traveller “suspect device” along with coverage of the ‘Caesars’ “Jerk It Out” the ‘Vandals’ “Oi to the World” and their own “Bonkers” – “Save My Life”.

Some radical guitar-work from Al and glossy bass play from Colin matched with expressive drumming from Joe (“Do you still need Phil Collins?”) added to the coherent quality of the insatiable rhythms and restless punchiness of the songs.  Each number incorporated swiftly told lyrics held crisply within jaunty arrangements. And their neat party trick at the end (Al and Colin swapping instruments ‘mid flight’ without pause) and the self depreciating jokes “We have got all sizes of T shirt available – as you can see…”  just added to the fun and expectations.

Armed with songs that actually stick around for a bit, and a humorous stage presence with a zinging vibe, these lads are set to be the next high achievers in the class.

© Neil_Mach October 2011

Link:

http://www.facebook.com/avondale45

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Lucky Toppers – The Black Hats – Live Review – Staines Hobgoblin

Take three Elvis Costello types. Give them some twanging bass. Crank up the volume so loud it sends a thermic lance up your tender-loins.  Tighten up  the sounds with a heavy gauge torque-wrench. And you have yourselves ‘The Black Hats’. As dangerous as a night out in Hackney. Swift as a switchblade in steady hands. And as formidable as a home-made zip-gun. This band takes no prisoners in a bloody relentless surge for power.  

Oxford’s most articulate pop punksters played a successful show at the Staines Hobgoblin during the summer. They may look like yobs in “Proclaimers” specs or the remnants of a twisted “Freddy and the Dreamers” lookalikey party, but they play garrulously energetic punk at high pitch, high dose levels. And they sprinkle their sounds with seasonings of ska, dub and reggae. In this sense, they are our ‘most post’ protopunk pop-star popinjays. Increasingly recognized and well received throughout their home territory, they now seem to be branching out along the Thames Valley- and they are already creating quite a stir on radio. And they are just out of the studio, having recorded with Mercury-nominated producer Sam Williams (Supergrass, Plan B, The Go Team!)

A rattling & rolling gig at The Hob got all the good people in the audience moshing and prancing and, generally, yelling to the aggregate sounds. This band look like a bunch of rock-hard ‘leave-well-alone’ nut-case bruisers with psychopathic intent. But their songs and intelligent musicianship elevates them to a higher level. Yes, they may be a bunch of amoral, discontented antisocial misfits – wearing ‘Two Ronnies’ glasses -but they are also talented, effervescent with energy and almost academic in their production.

Their big number ‘Tunnels’ rushes & crashes-  it barely hangs onto the tracks- like some kind of out-of-control cattle car upon a flimsy trackway . Driven by a Liam Gallagher-style vocal from Nick Breakspear, the jaggedly highly-wrought guitar-work adds radiating spirals of sound to the bumpy rhythms laid down by Ian Budd on bass, and the generally rickety percussion from Mark Franklin on drums.

Other Black Hats numbers like ‘Magnets’ are creatures that can trace their lineage back to ‘The Jam’ and ‘The Cure’ via ‘Simple Minds’. Bippperty beats, slide around rhythms and cutie-pie slip ups, underpin the smiling yet ultra-cynical vocals and those acid laden vitriolic lyrics. Silvery guitars slice up the atmosphere and a catchy chorus adds to the joy of the frivolous, yet desirable, songs. Yes, indeed ‘We’re all magnets … don’t you know?”

And ‘Just Fall’ helps you feel your way along it’s twisting path with a reassuringly jammy sound. But the angular motifs and progressive bass notes create hazards and unseen footfalls in the dangerous architectural sub-terrain.  Two-for-one chug-a-chug chords get toes tapping. And echoing sweetly, lofty vocals from Nick remind me of Sting at his best (Reggatta de Blanc) and now, come to think of it, his reggae guitar tones also sound a lot like Andy Summers.

Crikey, there is a lot here to be thankful for here. The Black Hats are set to top-off and rise. This is spruced up defiant and infallible punk.

© Neil_Mach
September 2011

Link:

My Favourite Runner Up – Live at The Hobgoblin, Staines

On Thursday at The Hobgoblin, Staines we witnessed some Welsh popinjay hotshot japes and jinks from a bunch of boys calling themselves ‘My Favourite Runner Up’. This guitar based combo sounds like an unfettered version of Blink 182. They are basically a bunch of unsophisticated pop-punk princes who churn out a pile of sherbety tunes and some jolly sticky-sweet melodies.

Unfettered by the normal conventions  of musical connoisseurship, they gaily embarked on a syrupy journey that took us towards Robbie William’s “Angels”  via Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling”. Imbued with a ravishing sense of their own self-worth and armed with a song-book of smooth lady-pleasing sweet-toothed cover-songs and an equal amount of self-penned siren-like serenades, this boy-band took to the small stage at The Hob, Staines with a gusto and enthusiasm that you could only imagine comes from an over-inflated appreciation of their own self-entitlement.

And when these brazen boys from Aberystwyth are not crooning their guiltless crowd-pleasing cheese, they also play their own effervescent and joyful thumpers.  Songs like ‘Our song’ which is a sweet and sparkling confection of guitar sounds from Chris and Andy, and acts as a canvas upon which is painted a fairly basic tune.  Or the song ‘What If?’  which has an indie sounding opening and then a flourishing feelgood build-up that makes a headrush charge towards an uncomplicated chorus.

‘Me and You (Falling Apart)’ is probably the most infectious and efficient MFRU song.  Guitars sound almost like pipes, a Celtic influence is clear.  The drums from Tom and the rigid bass from Lee add a tribal component.  And the silky-smooth vocals from Chris are lightly laced with eloquent sadness. The saccharine sweet chorus may be a little cloying for the boys in the
audience though.

The ladies were up and dancing to these power-pop players, whilst the male gig-goers sloped off for another pint and a turn at the pool table.

And that just about sums up the band.  Engaging, sweet and happy they may be.  But I cannot help thinking, cynically, that we have heard all this before.

© Neil_Mach
February 2011

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/myfavouriterunnerup

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Aspex – Hobgoblin, Staines – Sep 23rd

Put a simple punk/ska song into your machine and set it to economy wash with a fast spin- and out will come this frothy knotted confusion of jolting rhythms and uncoordinated colours. But it kinda makes sense if you take time to carefully unknot each piece. ASPEX are the kind of band that set their amps on ‘turbo spin’ and set their tempo to ‘rapid wash’ and then deliver results in a riot of colours and a jumble of sounds.

Aspex is a three piece garage rock band from New Haw, Surrey- and they have just finished recording their first E.P. They say that it’s been 10 months since they last played their set list, but the happy throng at the fantastic local venue, the Hobgoblin, Staines, welcomed the boys with open arms. Stubbly stern faced ‘Peed’ is on lead vocals and guitar;  New Mohican ‘Week’ is on backing vocals and bass guitar; Finally,  smartman ‘Carver’ is on Drums.  With influences from Red Hot Chili Peppers  to Arctic Monkeys, you know you’re in for some fun, and Aspex don’t disappoint.

‘Be Yourself’ has military style drums leading to a rock and roll cavalry charge – whilst a Middle Eastern hunting eagle of a guitar screams and wails overhead – as the song evolves into a jammy verse. This is one of a number of articulate and carefully crafted numbers, athletically performed by this crew.

Then we are given a humdinger of a cover – Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” – and you begin to understand that this band exudes quality and passion for ‘The Rock Music’.  Pitching is nearly always spot on and the jagged phrasing and off beat accents of their own compositions are complemented by their choice of cover songs. Rhythms often skid off the tracks, sent madly hysterical by those ever screaming guitar lines. And the chugging bass is played spontaneously and energetically by bouncing ‘Week.’

Towards the end of the performance the crowd at The Hob got a note perfect rendition of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ –  yet another example of the breadth of imagination that this band possesses.

Aspex – they never stop daring to be different.  They never stop in the pursuit of total rock.

© Neil_Mach
September 2010

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/bandaspex

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HER:ENEMY Staines Hobgoblin 12 AUG 2010

Although only the bold and the beautiful ventured out to Staines’s favourite music venue – the Hob – last week to see HER:ENEMY they were in for a treat.  ‘Cos the Ascot based indie/post punk trio pulled out all the stops to deliver a blistering performance of first rate energy and power.

Vaguely menacing songs suffused with shades of grey and ashen soundscapes make up the general atmosphere of Her:Enemy  (see ‘Headlights and Dark Nights’  or’ Cold Night’) and the tunes shift rhythmically from fairly complex nuances through to more accessible and poppy melodies reminding me of early Jam (‘Bad Brain’).

Looking for all the world like a Southern ‘Hillbilly’ Good Ole’ Boy in his dungarees and long beard – just about to go off to make him some moonshine – lead vocalist and talented front-man guitarist Craigy Lee sweats and grinds over every song with passion and skill. At times high and sweet, the mood of his vocals can also reach grungy lows – in keeping with the growling bass and black chords of some of the darker numbers. Strong melodies are given illumination by striking percussion from Ash on drums and soulful bass guitar odysseys from Tom.

Slower songs are more edgy and leave a gritty deposit in your mind’s eye-  and although the Her:Enemy numbers are often split into distinct individual ‘movements’ they never lose sight of their narrative whole. Bursts of brilliance from all the band members are regular and welcome, brazen ever changing chords often give rise to dazzling drums and eloquent bass play.

Whip crackingly loud at times (enough to fragment those tender young ears) this band provides enough grizzling, sizzling energy to stir up your emotions. They soon got the young Staines Hobgoblin crowd to their feet and bopping n’ bouncing along to those hot punky beats.  Alas, the band are planning a shortish hiatus this Autumn (Craigy Lee is off to the land down under) and so there are now only a few dates left (in September) where you can catch this terrific trio.

© Neil_Mach
August 2010

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/herenemy

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News From the Bridges – Nov 8th 2009

News From the Bridges – November 7th 2009

TrueBeat are looking for a new drummer!

Yes Truebeat are parting company with their old drummer (on good terms) because of commitment issues so the new guy must be dedicated and willing to go the whole hog. A car and the ability to do backing vocals are also very useful but not essential! Anyway, have a listen to  ‘em and see what you think; if you want an audition, get in touch at info@truebeat.co.uk. Catch these skasters in STAINES on Nov 26 2009  at The Hobgoblin   [www.myspace.com/truebeatuk]

WAXHOUSE are going into the STAKEOUT STUDIOS Hampton next week to start recording an EP with Chris Coulter … we wish them a pile of luck  [www.myspace.com/waxhouseband]

Melodramatic Surrey rockers ARCANE ROOTS have a new website they want you to visit : www.arcaneroots.com …. it is coming to life a bit more too with some live tracks and some demos up as well as a discography … but they would like to see more fans coming in tho! Click on, send ‘em messages, tell ‘em what you want and who you are!

Feltham eccentric yet sensible indie rockers “The Eccentric Sensibles
[www.myspace.com/eccentricsensible]  will be  in the Studio next week to collaborate with artist Lori Sims (acoustic), on a blinding new song entitled  “Player” . . .

Indie poppers AUDIO VIDEO DISCO [www.myspace.com/audiovideodiscouk] will be playing The Fighting Cocks Kingston-Upon-Thames Dec 5 2009  at 8:00P

Guildford’s Fab Four GETSETRADIO is coming to STAINES for all you lucky people – catch ‘em on Nov 15 2009  at 8:00P at OUR FAVOURITE STAINES venue The Hobgoblin w/ 8th Time Luckie [www.GETSETRADIO.com]

Twickenham punksters ANONYMOUS TIP (who will be playing STAINES Nov 26 2009  at 8:00P The Hobgoblin W/ True Beat) have been getting some seriously strong support from radio and hot reviews from tastemakers Subba Cultcha and Music Week

WITHOUT THOUGHT are lined up for two sparkling Christmas Shows… the first is Dec 19 2009      8:00P at Guildford – The Boileroom **Christmas Party** w/ Polar + JB Conspiracy and the VERY NEXT DAY the band plays STAINES Dec 20 2009  8:00P at The Hobgoblin (w/ Purge & Polar) [www.myspace.com/withoutthought ]

After a gob-routing shockingly successful show at the BUCKLE UP Rock Goblin, STAINES hometown’s favourite pop act MISS PINK SHOES is back in TOWN playing THE HOB Dec 3 2009  7:00P so if you missed ‘em in November come back and support this LOCAL ACT this  December.[www.myspace.com/misspinkshoesofficial]

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The James Warner Prophecies – Hob Staines

the James Warner PropheciesThe quixotic charm of The James Warner Prophecies is that their music contains a myriad of styles, oeuvres and impressions – much like J-Rock –  but theirs is less disposable pop in style and more harmonic indie in ambition. Thus we get thick slices of American Punk (i.e. think ‘Bad Religion’) laced generously with Brit indie folk sound reminiscent of ‘The Magic Numbers’.

So with The James Warner Prophecies you get melodic singing together with hardcore drum beats and haunting flute.  Yeah, I know it shouldn’t work. But it does.  Just.  Sometimes you feel poised on the edge of something a little too grand and opulent to be really honest …  but then the twinkle-in-the-eye  gentle humour of the band shines through,  and the result is an agreeable love fest of sound and virtue.

Benign Rasputin-like figure Joe Brown is the mighty front-man power-house lead singer/guitar of the band. Striding about the stage looking like a kindly ginger version of Edward Teach (the notorious pirate) – with an enormous burning red beard and a savage glint in his cruel eye. Instead of cutlass and sword, though, we get electric mandolin & guitar – but the results are similarly battle hardened with an abundance of inventive fireworks from the fret-boards and vindictive encounters with the spiteful strings of the mandolin.

Bringing some calm and beauty to the proceedings, Kate Rounding plays a mournful flute on many songs, plus the haunting chords on Korg. I understand Kate also adds violin to the mix – but we didn’t see her fiddle at The Hob. Lanky long-haired hippy Matt Anthony adds some low inventive and, ultimately, reassuring bass to the songs and the ‘Noel Fielding’ look-alike Dan Williams in assured and competent on drums.

The band moved ruthlessly from song-to-song keeping up the pressure and starting with an appropriately named tune ‘Braincell Piracy’ before launching into ‘King of The Killers’, then onto ‘Judas Stone’ and ‘The Itch’. The big end to the show was their ‘Set The World on Fire’ track (the unimaginatively named) ‘Mandolin Song’. This song has some fierce fretting from Joe (on mandolin) with audacious flares of light and fire from Kate and plenty of pounding crashing percussion from Dan and Matt. A truly exciting and heart pummelling joy of a song.

From my own point of view, I would prefer something a bit more languid and soulfully helpful from Kate (at times it seemed like her contributions were repetitive and almost go through-the-motions routine in content) and I would also like a little less sympathy from the band for the folk-country traditions of their home county (Derbyshire) and a little more hard driving rock from the ensemble … but that is just my personal taste.

Overall, though, the band makes a positive contribution to the Rock / Folk Rock scene. The band members are a jolly hardworking crew with a capable and naturally talented energy. I Strongly recommend that you see their live show soon.

© Neil_Mach
October 2009

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/thejameswarnerprophecies

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