Tag Archives: Alphabet Backwards

Alphabet Backwards – Hobgoblin, Staines

Jumptastic band ALPHABET BACKWARDS are more bouncy than ever …. bouncier than a kangaroo playing hop-scotch on a pogo-stick in the park …. when I catch ‘em again at The Hob, Staines on FEB 11th 2010.

Looking delightfully sinful and sexy in that preppy puff-ball skirt gorgeous Steph springs about the stage like a newborn lamb – full of fun and frolics. Also up front and enjoying the razzle-dazzle of the limelight is James on acoustic guitar – giving everything he has.  James is an entertaining and wry songwriter with an eye and an ear for penetrating ditties and insightful melodies that have an astringent quality  of irony and humour all of-their-own. In fact, lets face it,the whole Alphabet Backwards philosophy towards music is one of individualized perpetual pop – perfectly formed – and at it’s finest.

Josh (the bass player) is ‘the’  Josh of the T-Mobile viral band,  but in Alphabet Backwards he takes up a lonely and furtive position at the back of the stage, thumping and grunting reliably.  Also back in the moonlight shadows is the drummer Paul who, to be fair,  looks like a cross between a Martian and your  physics teacher.  But between them they whip a fairly lively beat and keep rhythm alive.

More important, in the band line-up, is the keyboard maestro Bob – who (unfortunately) looks like a crazy-eyed axe-murderering psychopath but (and I am reliably informed of this) he is actually a lovely guy and a church organist.  One of the best things about the Alphabet Backwards music is the way that their songs utilise Bob’s keyboards – whore sounding grunts, screams and wheezes one minute are replaced by merry-go-round chiming chirrups or whining crazy-horse sirens the next.  The sounds come neatly tucked into the creases and crevices. Such is the combined virtuosity of the band-members that there is never a dull moment in their repertoire, always looking for more complete and richly formed connections and juxtapositions of nuances and style.

Major anthemic hits like the ‘ 80’s pop single ‘ with its Na-Na-Na-Na-Na chorus are always big hits with the crowd. But one of my favourites is the sardonic song ‘Primark’ where ‘All the Girls Look the Same’.  Oh! Yes.  Still humming that one in the bathroom two days later!

The sheer vibrancy and joy of this music is unbearably addictive.  Theirs is a magic-painting book of textures and images. A joy to listen to and behold.

© Neil_Mach
February 2010



Ad Pontes Staines- music arts & going out IN STAINES

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Weyfest -The Rural Life Centre – 5th & 6th Sept

Alphabet Backwards at Weyfest 2009
Alphabet Backwards at Weyfest 2009

As you ride the steam train that takes you from one stage to another,  past the rusting tractors and the baa-baa black sheep, the rickety barns and the gypsy caravans – you know you are at the golden end of summer and you have arrived at the (now famous) home grown organic fest that is Weyfest.  And when you add to this the excitement in the kids eyes when they see that ‘security’ is provided by Storm-troopers and Daleks you realise why this Hampshire Music Fest has been short listed for “Best Family Festival”.  What a great way to spend a weekend !

Sure, the big hitters were there in force on the main ‘Village Green’ stage  – Jethro Tull, Osibisa, Mungo Jerry, The Beat, Blodwyn Pig. But on the smaller ‘Old Kiln Stage’ and the on ‘Rustic Stage’ the truly precious nuggets of treasure were to be found.

Security by Stormtroopers
Security by Stormtroopers

My favourite for off-the-wall slightly kookie band of the year just has to be ‘Alphabet Backwards’. This dramatically optimistic poppy band made the festival goers bounce and clap and jump for joy. This band is so energetic it is not true!

Their insistent Acoustic / Alternative / Electronica numbers wormed their way into the minds and hearts of the crowd. Bob is like the musical equivalent of Tarantino on Korg keyboards, James is the lead singer on acoustic guitar and Steph provides backing vocals and cosmic energy. I would defy anyone not to be singing “Primark  Primark  Primark “ to themselves after seeing this bubbly, vivacious, cute and adorable band. [www.myspace.com/alphabetbackwards]

Another of my favourites, ‘Kindred Spirit’  with their electro-folk prog-roots, also put on a fine show. I was still humming ‘The Chain’ (Fleetwood Mac) days later, but I also loved their self-penned tunes like Meta-Mor-Phosis and Dragonfire.  Band leader Elaine Samuels has a sweet yet powerful ‘Country & Western’ type  voice, well suited to the very English misty, moody and magical themes. Annie Parker adds some smoke and fire on flute, whilst Gavin Jones creates drama and majesty on electric violin. Mike Hislop on bass and Alan Barwise on drums provide the rhythm to the polished, meticulously crafted songs from this band. [www.myspace.com/kindredspiritukband]

Dalek security looks on

Other highlights from the Old Kiln stage included a seven piece Moody Blues covers band called ‘Blue Onyx’ who played some of the lesser heard Moody numbers like “So deep Within You” , the 1968 single “Ride My See-Saw” , “Melancholy Man” and, naturally,  the big, well-known numbers like “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” and ‘Nights in White Satin” .

True festival highlight and nominated by me for the ‘wacky and out-there’ award must go to the bizarre and weirdly addictive 40’s style band ‘Otis B Driftwood’. This trio (of five) who played a selection of ridiculous BBC Home radio era jazz, Latin and big band sounds- wearing a load of different comedy hats – delighted and astonished the festival crowd.

Their whole set was riddled with delicate, well-meaning and subtly dry humour … the sight of an ‘invisible man’ singing nonsense into his mike accompanied by  a group of bow-tied, trussed-up octogenarians clowning about on double-doses of Sanatogen was truly mesmerising and memorable (you had to be there…)

Be sure to book up early for next years Weyfest … I guarantee that this fun filled family festival will put a glow in your heart and a smile upon your face …. and it will set you up for winter!

© Neil_Mach
September 2009



Otis B Driftwood and friends
Otis B Driftwood and friends

Ad Pontes Staines- music arts & going out IN STAINES

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News From The Bridges – JUNE 14

Mistakes in Animation (MIA) have been busy road-testing their new bass player Jarryd (played a big one in Kingston with the likes of Johnny Foreigner and Hot Club…)

Fleet & Frimley rockers Hold Your Horse Is have a new EP out … the band is currently on their ‘Everyone Runs Faster With A Knife Tour’ and will be paying Staines a visit on 25th JUNE at The Hob…

Speaking of spanking new releases, Cato Street Conspiracy release their new song “Promises, Promises” on June 29th … they are now on the lips of the Chatham citizenry after playing an uber-successful gig with High Frequency in the Chav version of Mecca (Chavcca?) … the Cato Street kids will be playing Staines along with BIG TRUCK on JUNE 28th at The Hob…

Staines firm favourites fiN are warming up to play Glasto (on the Dirty Boots Stage) before hitting STAINES on JUNE 28th at The Hob… they will also be playing the Blastbeat Fest at Hounslow and the MG Fest at Gaydon.  Unfortunately, we at ADPONTES have been informed that this years Walton Sound Fest is OFF OFF OFF! It is a real pity, we were really gearing up for it… the promoters tell us that they are deffo hoping to run the fest in 2010 so we must all keep our fingers crossed…

When we last saw ALPHABET BACKWARDS we absolutely loved ‘em so it is good to see that they are back in town on July 2nd … they have a shiny new 6 track mini album available (Kittiwake Records) that you can grab at the gigs…

Shepperton’s honored and favoured sons Loaded Dice have announced that they will be playing this year’s Guil Fest … they also tell us that they are looking for a new ‘image’ (last time we saw them they were in matching waistcoats and crisply starched shirts … they looked like a bunch of freshly hired estate agents) … The Dicey lads will be playing their clean-cut sounds with hardcore/rock act The Jesters Dead (should be an interesting mix) at Staines Hobgoblin on July 5th…

Unbelievable STAINES TOWN heroes Miss Pink Shoes are back playing live … catch them on July 12 at the Hob along with alt rock/ drum n bass maestros Floors and Walls (both bands were transferred over to the Hob after last month’s Sticky’s collapse)… Floors and Walls are also playing the REDFEST 2009 – Redhill Surrey on Jul 25…

Ad Pontes Staines- music arts & going out IN STAINES

At the Bridges – Staines Live Music News

They tell me that STICKY FUNGUS– the new STAINES LIVE MUSIC venue replacing The Exchange/Cheekees is getting ever closer. The new landlords are now putting the final pieces of the jigsaw together. Watch this space for announcements…

A Genuine Freakshow tell me that they will be at The Oakford Social Club Reading on Apr 12 2009 supporting The Vessels. They have some freaky photos online Photo courtesy of Marc Haydon the photo guru …

Supersmooth acoustic singers Cate & Adam (Afterspark) have released a new video for ‘Low Flying Airplanes’ on Youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Ba2iD4LKA

AD (Albany Down) reported that they were in fine fettle at the recent Purple Turtle show and we look forward to their upcoming concert in Staines… Meantime, you can download a free DVD of the Purple Turtle performance from their site…bag it from http://www.albanydown.com/

Electronica/ Acousto heroes Alphabet Backwards have been honourably mentioned in the Oxford Music Mag Nightshift – to check the dets visit nightshift.oxfordmusic.net

Rude Twickenham punkstars Anonymous Tip will support Canadian Punk Rock Hardrock superstar ‘Propagandhi’ in London at Islington Academy April 19 – which is one not to miss (or see the Tipsters when they next play here in Staines March 26)

After their successful show with the big shiny Buick boys (Buick McKane) at The Bull and Gate, the indie Berkshire rocksters Audio.Video.Disco. will be playing more of the same, this time in our sweet hometown Staines, on March 29th 2009 at The Hob

The Dead Identities have produced a spanking new single ‘What’s Your Point of View?’ with a b-side entitled ‘Long Tall Sally’..up for grabs at their shows. The Dead ID’s are also lining up a tour with those groovy punk Essex boys Zen Motel coming up May…watch this space for more details and dates!

Finally, our favourite fish-sounding band fiN are now out in the lonestar state of Texas rockin’ the Rangers – no doubt- and also doing a fair bit of cattle-poking- way down in the South by Southwest. Naturally, we wish the boys lots of luck and success…but we can’t help but feel a little envious…