Tag Archives: hard fi

fiN. The Hobgoblin, Staines 14 Feb 2010

Sometimes we ask a lot from our popular music – it’s gotta make us laugh, make us cry, make us work, get us dancin’ on a Friday night – give us the impetus to make love  – and then stick it to the man on a Monday morning.  It must do all this while simultaneously unmelting the polar ice caps, feeding the world, fighting poverty and freeing the innocent from captivity. And all this must be accomplished by good-looking people who try hard, who know how to perform in front of a live audience, and who can be instant role-models. And it is expected that they  must  possess a  mysterious  thing  called the X-factor.  These ingredients must be packed tightly into a product that is expected to be both instantly hummable, and yet will also stand many repeated listens. Damn! Who can possibly supply all this? Not many, that’s for sure.  That’s why ultra-successful bands like our local boys Hard-Fi are so rare. And that is also why this band – fiN. is expected to take off .  ‘Cos they’re giving it all up for us.

The Hob Staines was quite rightly packed – with squealing, excited punters – for the fiN. music event of Feb 14.  Screaming pop-tarts swayed amiably with the ‘more serious music lovers’  as  the band laid out their wares.  fiN music is vividly imaginative, suspended halfway between pop craftsmanship and consistent indie rock epics.  Agile harmonies between voice and guitar, and tumbling melodies dropping directly from the soul, are often harrowing poems of texture, colour and light.

But crucially there is always a family-sized variety bucket of harmony and rhythm to be found in the fiN. sound, synchronised with a style and sense of grandeur all of their own….  and this adds up to a powerfully inspired concert pop act.

Kicking off with “Everybody Dies Alone” with an intro consisting of lightly plucked almost harp-like guitars and cabaret-style singsong vocals from Luke, the bow-wave of rubber-band bass and heartbeat thumps from the drums soon kick in – like an adrenalin fix harpooned straight to the heart – as light spears of sound culminate gently into an easy to-live-with chorus –  meandering softly towards a satisfyingly undulating lead guitar conclusion. fiN.’s work is casual and unhurried, sincere and honest.  Eschewing flamboyant style or outrageous rock n roll excesses,  the band members appear to be professional artisans carrying out their activities. Not to say that this is stuff is staid or boring. More often than not the fiN. sounds can be sharp and intense – even dramatic. But there is a feeling that fiN. never actually throw caution to the wind. You cannot imagine this band gobbing on the front row, grabbing their crotches lewdly during a breakdown or chucking televisions out of hotel windows whilst on tour.

Songs like the keening “Where Are You Now?” rely on sweet melodies and noble keyboards, carefully manipulated sounds
presented unhurriedly and unpretentiously. But the songs  never feel overly gloomy or melancholy. In fact, as I looked around the audience,  I saw faces that were alight with pleasure, glowing  smiles  of appreciation, nodding heads of approval and new understanding.

The set finished with “Life is Wasted [ on the living ]” with those guitars from Luke and Jonny delicately threaded through misty eyed vocals,  but always kept in check by a regular rhythm of pounding drums and bass.  This lot don’t play their music with hammers and swords – they play it with needles and thread. This band,  fiN,  are master  craftsmen  carefully preparing and almost ‘evoking’  every delicious moment of each perfectly pitched song. The tunes lift the hearts of crowd, who are soon gently moving in unison to the waves of sound – each song pushing that euphoria button a little harder.  Guitars vie and vault with each other as crisp and colourful percussion and fleet fingered bass provide momentum and solid rock foundations.  Tempos are sometimes deliberately energetic, but at other times have a dreamy translucent quality.

This is poignant, yearning and lustrous popular music for the Echo Booming generation.

© Neil_Mach
February 2010



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Five Foot Something – Hobgoblin Staines

Five Foot or thereabouts

I’ll have two foot of this … and a yard of that.

I once went water skiing. And the instructor said, It’s easy. Just hang on. If you can. Then rise up. That is all there is to this game. Yes. Fine. I said. But it wasn’t. And I couldn’t. And I didn’t. But so what?  I tried.

Here are some equally useful instructions for Staines newest band ‘Five Foot Something’. It’s easy. Get yourself a supporting role on a tour with someone famous (preferably Hard-Fi or their equivalent) then rise up. That’s about all there is to this game.

If they were a bar drink then ‘Five Foot Something’ would be fruity and non threatening fruit based beverage – an orange and  mango J20 perhaps ….or some kind of smoothie… but they are not a drink. They are a Staines flavored rock band. I over-emphasise that they are a Staines rock band because that is important to them- and to us. Their debut performance was at the Hob, Staines. (The Hob is the main place ‘to be seen’ in Staines.) And the whole population of Staines came out to see them and wish-them-well. (Maybe you were there, but if you were not, then it is “Your Look Out” as Mama used to say.)  They sing about Staines. They work in Staines. They drink in Staines. They go out with people in Staines. They look like they come from Staines. And they grew up. In Staines.

Yup. Staines. This is a recurrent theme in the 5’? song-book. Furthermore, to say that this band is breezy and cheerful is an understatement. If the band was your neighbour then he would be the kind of bloke who would bring your washing in from the line when it started raining because ‘you may have forgotten.’ Or he would ‘do your lawn’ because he has already got the flymo out, after all, and it’s no bother is it? The music is as light and refreshing as a pool-side shower on a stifling hot day in the Canaries. It is fizzy and quite bubbly. It eases your strains, soothes your tired muscles and cools you down. It is non-threatening. Undaunting. It is like a lunch-time drink with your mates. But then your Auntie shows up. But all your pals are actually fine with that. And she turns out to be very funny. So she stays. And we all have another drink.

Modish, in a kind of late 1960’s ‘Small Faces’ type way, the band can also remind you of latter years punk bands like ‘Green Day’ – with their plentiful tunes all tight and poppy – like a prep school hostess in her crisp clean shirt. Also, somewhere deep deep down, there is the soul of an R&B skeleton trying to clamber his way out. Maybe there is also some post punk lurking about down in those dark places too. The musicality is never far away; Ever so slightly whimsical, there is often a catchy beat or a heady vibe to bob you along…reminiscent of ‘The Searchers’ with strong lead vocals, tight arrangements and secondary harmonies. There is also some dream pop imagery in the mix too, reminding me of  ‘This Mortal Coil’ and even ‘David Bowie’ circa Hunky Dory, with the locomotive beats propelling each song along, past the gently frothing motifs that gently waft across the scenery.

There is a familiarity and a quaint ‘Englishness’ and earthiness to the songs and lyrics. At times it is almost as if Five Foot Something is trying to conceal the fact that they are actually a folk band struggling to get away from their self-imposed constraints – their rock n ‘roll ropes and chains- as it were. Naturally there is plenty of punk and indie stuff in their sound too… but the substance of this is unchallenging, undemanding even.  The songs lack any brashness or harshness in their style or mood. They certainly lack any bitterness. But the sounds do not lack finesse. There is a profusion of colours and textures. This music feels ‘good for you’ in the same way that goats cheese on crisp-bread feels good for you. Crunchy? Creamy? Smooth? Yes, yes, yes but a bit- shall I dare to suggest this- insubstantial? Maybe. Their music reminds me of those adverts where the fat bird suggests to her friend that she won’t feel ‘wicked’ or ‘naughty’ if she eats this (or, in the case of 5 Foot Something, listens to it.) Straight after a ‘Five Foot Something’ gig you would “just have to” knock over a police no waiting cone or wee on your mums shoes…merely to somehow re-balance the karma.

After a bit of a nervy start (but it was a big crowd for a debut performance, so I can forgive that,) Ravi’s lead vocals got stronger and more confident, gradually building up to master the performance by the second half of the set. Robert Hart (lead guitar and general ambience) was able to weave a genuinely fine and intricate framework of delicate and shimmering sounds from the outset. He also provided a series of robust and solid arrangements when required. Rob is, quite clearly, a very talented young musician. It would be nice to see him share the front of the platform a bit more, up there with Ravi.

And Ravi, looking like some cross between the young ‘Michael Corleone’ in The Godfather and the ‘Young Winston’ acted by Simon Ward (i.e. big eyes – no sleep,) played softly reliable rhythm guitar with Warren Pegley supporting on sensible bass. Jamie Heath completes the sound of the squad, on drums. But this outfit feels like it is Ravi’s baby. There were quite a few – if not Succotash moments then as near as damn it Succotash moments- in there. And, by fronting the band, Rav seemed to be imprinting the corporate sound of the others somehow.

The set was a good 45 minutes worth of entertainment and pleasure for the Staines crowd. There was a full album’s worth of material in there and at least two decent singles within the magic box of tricks presented to the audience. No shocks. No pain. No misfortunes. It was a good solid, workaday indie rock performance. By a band from the ‘burbs to the folk of the ‘burbs. If not instantly memorable, anthemic or immediate, there were at least one or two tunes in the show for each and every person to take home and put upon their mantelpiece. A capable and complete rock set.

Oh yeah, and the boys chose to wear matching tartan wool-look mountain shirts and short linen ties. The visual effect, certainly from way across the pub, was that the local B&Q had closed early for the evening and so all the trainee managers had popped in ‘for a quick one’ after a long hard day grafting on the shop floor. And soon, after a few orange and mango J20’s, they would be ready to scoot on home in their Astras, back to “Moormeads”, back to their lay-dees… back to Ash-lee, Kay-lee & Hay-lee, and to their nippers Jayne, Wayne, and Charmayne. It was a great look. Subtle, tongue-in-cheek Middlesex humour.

Give them their due- the boys have tried.  They got up and they did it. And, do you know what… I think they’re gonna make it!

Are we excited yet?

© Neil_Mach
Feb 2009



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One Response to “Five Foot Something – Hobgoblin Staines”

  1. Sorry mate, after reading this review I’m left wondering if you even saw this gig or listened to their music. And after further consideration, I don’t actually know what you’re talking about in about three-fourths of this. Do you actually like the band or not? I want to know more about how the band sounded, what the crowd thought, why certain members rocked (or didn’t) the house. Generalities are fine and dandy, but have no purpose. Give us more meat!!! I thought the gig was fantastic and was very excited to know if other people felt as ecstatic as I, but I still don’t know what you thought after all this.

Thanks for the feedback Lydia… your comments are  ‘seen and noted’ !
I know what you mean, but we are all in this together- it was a debut performance – so I can only judge the boys- like you- on this show. I very much enjoyed it and I think I compare the boys favourably with Green Day,  Small Faces, This Mortal Coil and even Bowie!!! I will be at their next gig Mar 28 2009   The Red Lion, Egham and, by then, we will really be able to see where they are going.
Best Wishes- and thanks again- Neil

5 Things – This Week in Staines


‘Jam’ with everything – Guildford


Jam DRC (The Jam Tribute)
Jan 10 2009      8:00P The Boileroom     Guildford. Surrey

Jam DRC is the foremost Jam covers band and this week you have a chance to catch the band at Guildford.

A mutual love for The Jam is the driving force behind The Jam DRC. Named after the 5CD box set, which gathers together pretty much everything the Jam ever recorded, The Jam DRC are Jam fans playing Jam songs.



The Boileroom, 13 Stokefields, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4LS





10 Jan 7:00 Firestation Arts Centre, Windsor – The Tripwires

You know MONKEYSUIT for their outstanding events at The Oakford Social Club and so we are very happy to have them nearby at WINDSOR

The Monekysuit headliners have yet to be confirmed but Tripwires and The Good Natured are all on board, as are Monkeysuit’s resident DJ’s DJ Mark Is Egg and The Plundercats, so pretty convinced this is going to smash it!


http://www. myspace. com/monkeysuitmusic

http://www. myspace. com/tripwires

http://www. myspace. com/thegoodnatured

Tickets £5 (all ages) and more info from http://www. firestationartscentre. com


Classic Rock, Funk and Soul –  Windsor

Double JD


Double JD are one of the premier covers bands in the south of England. Too many bands play what they want to play – they play what you want to hear! Their brand of high energy Rock, Soul, Funk and Blues covers will have you singing and dancing from the start.

You can’t beat variety. These boys will ensure that you will never be more than a song or two away from one you know and love. How many bands play Wilson Picket, then Elvis? Or Cream then Stevie Wonder? They will want you to have a good time and to do that, they will keep the set fresh, upbeat, dancable and full of huge sing-alongs.

If you miss ’em at Windsor – try to catch ’em here:

Fri 23 Jan – The Stag, Farnham Common 9:00P

Sat 7 Feb  – Wooburn Club, Wooburn Green 9:00P

Sat 28 Feb – The Walnut Tree, Bourne End 9:00P

Sat 28 Mar – The Horns, Watford 8:00P

Fri 10 Apr – The Stag, Farnham Common 9:00P




Local Indie Rock Legends – in Windsor


with fiN

Old Ticket Hall – Windsor
01753 854554

Audio.Video.Disco. are a new breath of fresh air to the indie, pop genre, not afraid of writing catchy melodies and annoyingly difficult to pigeon-hole, they are a cut-above the norm.Formed mid-way through 2007 when duo Matt O’Daly and Richard Berkshire moved away from their acoustic roots and decided to start a proper band. In stepped Adam Linton (bass) and Tom Smith (drums). The line-up was complete.

Now having already played alongside Alphabeat, a set at the illustrious Clapham Grand and a headline show at the Astoria 2, this band have already attracted the attention of producer/engineer Phil English. The band recorded their current EP at
Phil’s Alexander Sound Studio in Milton Keynes.

Their EP launch was a huge sell out success and the band sold more tickets than when Hard-Fi played the same venue. Now with a solid fan base built up over the past year the band are set to make some serious waves amongst the current crop of bands coming out of the West-London area.are a new breath of fresh air to the indie, pop genre, not afraid of writing catchy melodies and annoyingly difficult to pigeon-hole, they are a cut-above the norm. Formed mid-way through 2007 when duo Matt O’Daly and Richard Berkshire moved away from their acoustic roots and decided to start a proper band. In stepped Adam Linton (bass) and Tom Smith (drums). The line-up was complete. Now having already played alongside Alphabeat, a set at the illustrious Clapham Grand and a headline show at the Astoria 2, this band have already attracted the attention of producer/engineer Phil English. The band recorded their current EP at Phil’s Alexander Sound Studio in Milton Keynes. Their EP launch was a huge sell out success and the band
sold more tickets than when Hard-Fi played the same venue.

Now with a solid fan base built up over the past year the band are set to make some serious waves amongst the current crop of bands coming out of the West-London area.

About fiN – Extract from Staines Blog – for full review click here

The fiN song-book is replete with the kind of discordant harmonic treasures born from a day of muted pleasures out on the Bedfont Lakes. Their sounds contain a heartfelt diet of melodic instrumentation and a fullness and roundness of experimental rhythm, jarred in all the right places by periodic gusts of sheer power – broken up by sudden unexplained lulls. In fact, their music is, at  times, like that most treasured of all things – an almost perfect English summer’s day – in that it is menacingly fragile and always on the verge of predictable heartaching tragedy.
[ © Neil_Mach 2009 ]





Plug in to ‘AC/DC’ live at Rising Sun, Slough

The Donkeys

THE DONKEYS Sat 10 Jan: Rising Sun, Slough

The Donkeys are a four-piece rock covers band from Essex featuring tracks by Ac/Dc. Led Zep. Metallica. Free. Bad company. Iron Maiden. Ect. + many more.
The band is in it’s 15th year and cover some 70 gigs a year.


Visit AdPontes-Staines Regularly for Staines Arts

5 Things – This Week in Staines


Heavy Rock Mob from around here!

Purge at Staines

Purge Nov 21  2008      9:00P The Hobgoblin Staines £3

A furious mix of distortion-fueled guitar accompanied by seat-tearing bass and knockout percussion is shot at with a colt 45 of gravelly chants and rhyme delivering glory. Crushing heavy rock. Never a better solution. Purge consists of:

James Burgon

Max Kinghorn Mills

Mark Stanley
(Bass, Vocals)

Greg Rogers



Big Big Band Sounds – Staines

Big Band at Staines Riverside Club

Nov 20 2008      8:30P  KU Big band Staines Riverside Club

Kingston University Big band

The KU Big Band, fresh from their tour of Germany, play a special one-off concert at Staines Riverside jazz club.  Led by trumpeter Andy Gibson, with guest vocalist Ceri Wood.

Venue: Staines Riverside Club, 6 Laleham Road (opp.Gresham Rd), Staines, Middlesex, TW18 2DX
Contact: Louise Voss
Tel: 020 8417 5430  ext. 65430
E-Mail: l.voss@kingston.ac.uk




Screamo Band Staines

Break Berlin The Phoenix Staines

Nov 23 2008      8:00P Break Berlin at The Phoenix     Staines

Break Berlin are a five piece Screamo / Alternative  experience from Surrey that have all been involved in music from a very young age. Their aim is to make music that is original and distinguishable in the local music scene that has managed
to fall victim to a lack of inspiration. We are currently working very hard writing and new material that should be complete in the next few months. We hope to see you very soon. Break Berlin.

Luke ‘Rabbit’ Perrin-Vocals
Jarrod ‘Rod’ Messeter-Guitar/Vocals
Ollie ‘Mumble’ Jaye-Guitar/Vocals
Ryan ‘Gizmo’ Holcombe-Bass
James ‘Bean’ Lloyd-Drums

If you miss ’em in Staines try catch them at:

Nov 25 2008     7:30P  Boileroom     Guildford




Sensational Indie / Alternative / Jungle at Staines

The Hollers at Staines

Nov 20 2008      8:00P Hobgoblin W/ Purge (18+)     Staines    £3


Jazz Smith – Vocals
Tom Sturt – Guitar
Glenn Wild – Guitar
Jamie Allen – Bass
Sean Mangan – Drums

Sounds Like    A girl singing, 3 Guitars and a Drum Kit, all playing at the same time

If you miss ’em in Staines try catch ’em at:

Nov 22 2008     8:00P  Brewery Tap  Reading

Dec 11 2008     8:00P   Heroes Bar     Maidenhead




Best Pop Act of  the Year- at Staines

Miss Pink Shoes at Staines

Nov 21 2008      8:00P  Miss Pink Shoes at
Sticky Fungus Staines

“Indy Awards Best Pop Act 2008!!”

Staines hometown heroes Miss Pink Shoes formed in 2006 to create the music that was floating around in and crowding up their heads, MISSPINKSHOES have come to spread some love & weirdness around the world. With a sound that spans every genre you can imagine, 50’s doo-wop to electronica, heavy metal to power ballads, disco to punk and anything and everything in between, nothing is sacred. 2008 has seen the band release the ‘SEXUAL’ EP, the winning of Best Pop Act at The Indy Awards in May, a request to play a hometown gig with fellow Staines band Hard-Fi and a string of gigs at prestigious London venues such as The Clapham Grand
and The London Astoria 2.

Lloyd – Vocals & Keys

Ant – Bass

Phil – Guitar

Tim – Drums


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Staines ‘live music’ spot Boycott

Hard Fi Dub remixes
WORD ON THE STREETS OF STAINES is that, following Hard-Fi’s sensational ‘surprise’ appearance at THE HOB (Hobgoblin, Staines) last week- the “MANAGEMENT” are very upset with the promoters/arrangers of the show. Word is that one or more of the local managers have been sacked/suspended.
There is a rumour going around that there is a boycott of the pub until and unless the boys get their jobs back….
The Staines lads performed at their local pub The Hobgoblin last Monday without pre-publicity and supporting two ‘local’ bands who were also playing that night. These days Hard Fi can fill stadiums but (like most bands) they started out by playing in the local pub. Hundreds of fans and music-lovers crowded the street outside the HOB to get a chance to see (and hear) Richard Archer and the boys play their hometown barrel house venue. But inside the pub things got a bit tense and anxious when nervous bosses feared that health and safety rules may have been breached by the record-breaking crowds. The night ended safely though- with a barnstorming show put on by the staines-boys who played a selection of their favourite covers, including The Jam’s “Town Called Malice”.
If you have any more news on this or any other
STAINES related stories please let us know

Is Staines the ‘New’ Liverpool?

Is Staines UK’s new Liverpool?

Celestial hometown popsters- Hard Fi

In a story about hometown celestial pop-group Hard Fi, the local paper
ran a headline asking is Staines the UK’s New Liverpool….

So AdPontes-Staines checked the stats…


Liverpool engraving


Staines engraving

size pop. 816,000 size pop. 52,400
river Mersey river Thames
Inhabitants Scousers Inhabitants Chavs
age 900 years age 2000 years
Domesday Book? No Domesday Book? Yes
Youth Culture Mersey Beat Youth Culture Suburban Indie
Cultural Centre Cultural Desert
City Of Poetry City Of Profanity
Art Several Galleries Art An art walk
Sport Liverpool
Sport Staines
Performance Performing
Performance Performing
Waterfront World Heritage Magna Carta
Airport John Lennon Airport Heathrow
Pop Stars Beatles Pop Stars Hard Fi
Ken Dodd
Bobby Davro
Trivia Adolf Hitlers brother once lived here Trivia The man who arrested Guy Fawkes once lived here
Total 8/16 Total 7/16

Next week… is Staines the New Detroit, the New Florence, the New
Mississippi Delta? etc. etc etc.

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