Tag Archives: hobgoblin staines

The Magnificent New Blues-Rock Album from ALBANY DOWN is Reviewed Here

Here at AD PONTES Staines we have been big fans of the contemporary blues-rock outfit ALBANY DOWN since 2010. We saw the young band play a gig in the HOBGOBLIN and later we described their live performance thus: “hot as volcanic ash and yet as cool as snow slippers…

We have watched, with interest, their evolution as a band, ever since. There is something about their truth, honesty and commitment that thrills our heart. We have been praying that they get the acknowledgement they richly deserve and move up to the next level.

We highly rated their “Not Over Yet” album which, we thought, spanned the gap between vintage era blues and the contemporary definition of blues rock. Of that album, we said — “bursting with ambition and verve…” and we have been looking forwards to hearing “The Outer Reach” the new album [to be released 10th June] once again produced by Greg Haver.

We have already discussed their new single, taken from the album, and titled “Feeding the Flame” which we decided hadcobra-kissed darkness hiding deep in each cranny…” This week we listened to the rest of the OUTER REACH album —

Albany Down - the crystalline voice of Paul Muir pulled tight with the effort of agitated nervous tension...
Albany Down – the crystalline voice of Paul Muir pulled über-tight with the effort of agitated nervous tension…

After the impressive drama of “Feeding the Flame” with the crystalline voice of Paul Muir pulled über-tight with the effort of agitated nervous tension, and with the serpentine “Ritchie Blackmore” sounding guitars from Paul Turley [the whole album has a certain familiar “Stormbringer” feel to it…] we arrive in more familiar Albany Down territory with “Do You Want Me Now.”

This tells the story of a couple trying to adjust their connection. It has fluttering riffs, sliced-through with acid-clean breaks, with the sputtering frizzle of energizing rhythms (cleverly articulated by Donna Peters on drums and Billy Dedman on bass) and with palpable tension played out in every note. This song reminds us of the kind of material produced by “Straight Shooter” era Bad Company.

Supersonic Girl” is a funky little teenage romance number. With happy clappyness found in every line. This is princely and light. It even has some greasy keyboards and, perhaps surprisingly, a fat-brass sound. The squelch from the guitar will cause a purr to ripple through your heart.

Mr Hangman” is the kind of song that we expect from Albany Down. There’s that adamant riff and the sun-baked dessication we look for in Southern-tinged blues. This is a thirsty anthem about the unlikely integrity of an outlaw. So it will go down well with bikergangs and their chicks. This evokes strip bar glide-pasts, desert highway romances, and a free spirited desperado lifestyle.

Albany Down - joyful melancholy ...
Albany Down – joyful melancholy …

Like A Bullet” lies at the very heart of this fabulous album. Albany Down always include at least one incredibly ambitious and progressivly developing hard rock masterpiece. And here’s one for the “Outer Reach.”

This song is about obsessive, bittersweet love. The song clamps a hold on your heart right from the opening bars, before expanding wonderfully before you. The songcraft incorporates strong emotion, dark moods and spontaneous anger bites.

The dark notes hint at sadness and loss. This is cleverly stylistic, perhaps even bombastic, but never feels pompous or extravagant. One gets the feeling that, in the Albany Down world, anguish and fever are a constant state of mind. So they are allowed their dramatic releases.

The album ends with the jewel-like slow tempo, rhythm and blues-inspired ballad “Sing Me to Sleep.” Like the album opener, this song has cinematic quality and presents some of the best vocals we have ever heard from Paul. And, of course, when the blue-paper is touched, you better stand back … because the guitarwork is magnificently uplifting and screams with emotion. Still want something more? How about an “I Am the Walrus” fade-out coda ? Perfect.

Yes, there is joyful melancholy here — songs about unrequited love and suffering losses — but also expect electricity, magic and turbocharged theatrics.

For fans of Bad Company, Led Zeppelin or Free.

Words & Images: © Neil Mach
Link: albanydown.com
Pre-order this album at Albany Down’s own site here: https://store.albanydown.com/Shop/
LIVE DATES below video


Collisions (UK) at Staines Hob

On Saturday the Brighton dub ‘n’ metal band ‘Collisions’ made another visit to The Hobgoblin, Staines.

It’s unlikely we will see them back (any time soon) because – quite justifiably – they are about to go galactic – they are already touring with Black Futures; Skindred have chosen them to support them at the BREAKOUT FESTIVAL 2014 Brighton September 27 – and they launch their NXTGENSS EP at London’s Underworld on October 7.

Collisions - overheated rampaging fire tubes of musical power -  like a mechanized howitzers set to auto-cannon mode...
Collisions – overheated rampaging fire tubes of musical power – like mechanized howitzers set to auto-cannon mode…
So, at The Hob, we were thrilled by such helter-skelter electric dreams as “Fire Fire” with that throat-busting roar of bass, fierce drums (which actually spun our heads around) and guitars of black tar – that were so furious that they pounded our delirious tendons.

The vocals were rapped out by Olly like Tung Twista with his tail on fire.

The whole thing was as exciting as a fox ripping apart your grandfather’s living room.

We Know The Enemy’ was, if anything, even more powerful.

The strength and vigour made us grimace. As it shoved its full weight into our primary motor cortexes. This song really makes the most of all those transcendentally beefed-up vocals. This was extraordinary – a real treat for all the Staines head-bangers!

The 11-song show ended with the frighteningly heavy “Believe In This” – this overheated rampaging fire tube of musical power was like a mechanized howitzer set to auto-cannon mode.

Pumping, pounding and deadly accurate.

What a show.

Gut-fulls of raw power – cleverly combined with digital breakbeat synth-punk – offering more power than a boiler explosion in a navy dockyard.

Words and photos by: @neilmach © 2014



Tree House Fire Rocket Album Review

Those loveable Guildford based reggae/ska /pop fellas  Tree House Fire have proudly produced an amazing debut album – available right now on Trench Foot Records.

The recording entitled Rocket! can be grabbed at their bandcamp site or using the links below.

After the band’s sensational show at The Hobgoblin, Staines at the weekend (Ant’s Birthday bash) – we got hold of a copy of Rocket!  And here’s what we thought:

With a whirlwind of a start to it,  this song pumps you up from the inside and it makes you grind. The first tiny taster-track grooves smoothly into the superb composition ‘Straza Grip’. With its boom-boom political references and a bass line that walks impulsively along-the-line. This accomplished song has more fire in its belly than a dragon that’s been force-fed a vindaloo.  ‘No more prophets to spread the world …’  Sings Sam (vocals / guitar) as those sinewy organ sounds swelter out.  This track simmers and bubbles beneath the Levantine sun.  ‘The Drop’ pulls no political punches either.  But that won’t stop you dancing.  The vibrations will shake your chitterlings  –  causing some sonic damage deep down in your Mondongos

And then ‘Rabble’  flames up a joint of soothing sounds, so you can start to relax and unwind into some early shimmying, ready  for ‘Peoples Problems’.  This enjoyable ditty has lumpy low notes  – and these get pulled and prodded around by the band’s miracle bass player – Ant.  The cool voice runs along, growing in stature as it matures within the song.  And then, before you know it, it’s all over. It’s a bit like a night out with your mates really!

Title track ‘Rocket!’ has a traditional Reggae/Ska edge to it. Effective vocals create several notable moments, and the song-structure will certainly make you raise your arms and sway.  A memorable chorus will linger for ever, too.

Scratchy ‘Great Ocean Road’ (Featuring DJ Killer Tomato)  is a fast paced squawking scatter-gun of surprises. An addictive beat is gilded by those intrepid vocals that chatter out an alarming rate.

The track ‘Stack It Up High’ is the creation “par excellence” of Tree House Fire.  A firm favourite at live shows, the bass play in this extraordinary piece is so utterly depraved that it  almost consumes you.

And ‘KMB ’ is the band’s party song.  It’s happy reggae. It has a whooping sing along chorus and oodles of plucky guitar sounds that keep moving behind an enormously bouncy bass and cheerfully inflatable vocals. It’s the kind of the song that you need to take your heels off for.  Sod it, take off your shirt too. ‘Cos you will be dancin’ along to this one. For ages.  I promise you. In fact, you will be “bouncing off the ceiling ..”  after listening to it.

– © Neil_Mach September 2012 –



Halloween Rockgoblin – 29th October 2011 – Hob, Staines

The Hallowe’en Rock Goblin Staines is now a firm fixture on the Staines social calendar – and a very highly anticipated event. Last year’s party was simply superb… so the 2011 Hallowe’en Rock Goblin had a lot to live up to.

With six incredible musical artists covering a night-full of spooky fun and magical events, the beautiful & intelligent people of Staines crowded into the Hobgoblin in their fineries. Costumes included spectral brides, ghoulish minnies, a throng of pirates and enough zombies, vampires and monsters to coagulate the blood and give permanent nightmares!  The fun-house was decorated in a suitably gothic fashion and the party started early and went on till well past the witching hour.

First up was ‘Ravi K’ with his solo (acoustic) ‘Timber-Tones’ set. His warm and passionate vocals and honeyed guitar work went down stunningly well with the Staines in-crowd. Kicking off with the fizzy ‘My Lonely Heart’ and featuring some reflective but none-the-less jaunty numbers like ‘For the Moment’ and ‘Talk of Tonight’ it was a highly accomplished and satisfying demo of how good the ‘Timber-Tones’ ought to be. We cannot wait for more!

‘Sian Sanderson’ is a soulful and bluesy singer/songwriter with an extraordinary voice, full of innuendo and silkily suffocating anguish. Songs like ‘Long Way Home’ are passionately personal- she counts Bill Withers & Otis Redding as influences- and you can hear the results with those tense vocals wrapped around relaxed tempos and gently rippling arrangements. Sian’s songs are tucked neatly into the smooth side of the genre and reminded me of the easy listening acts of the eighties.

Next up was Swindon band ‘Nudy Bronque’ with their lavish guitar based fireworks and their post punk Britpop aspirations. Flaming hot tunes like ‘I Don’t Want Your Problems’ were pumped out to the spirited Hobgoblin crowd. With searing guitar solos and piping hot percussion, this band made a statement of intent. Juicy, crisp and tight songs … a lot of punk attitude and a formidable style and flair is all part of the ‘Nudy Bronque’ experience. Ska-sounding beat-bound chirpy clap-clap tunes (like ‘Movement’) were bright, brisk and breezy- and brought  the Staines crowd to the boil with pin-point accuracy.

Those busy bees ‘Fear No Fish’ are already Hobgoblin stalwarts and firm favourites of the Staines music aficionados . This loveable rocking trio is the  ‘Ransome’ brothers (Chris on guitar and Mike on bass) with Rob Walker on drums. Their sound has been compared to The Who & The Jam. And it’s a constant wonder how so much rich sound can be created by such a small group.  With heaps of latent and seething drum-work, songs like ‘Stay’ with those magnificent vocals from Chris and Mike, complex plots and hauntingly beautiful compositions, are inspiring and illustrious  Or take the sturdy sounds of tunes like  ‘Paint By Numbers’ with those chunks of flying metallic guitar chords and the flourishes of percussion… numbers like these, with their grungy feel and wide-screen aspect, make you realise that ‘Fear No Fish’ are musical monsters in a pond full of tiddlers. Powerful and revelatory.

Reggae-pop outfit  ‘Tree. House. Fire.’ are also Hob regulars. These Guildford boys (dressed up as swarthy pirates)  fired up the dancing demons at the Hallowe’en ball with their imaginative ska-shaped sounds and their mashed up energetic show. Songs like ‘Suburban Gangster’ have enough pliant licorice flavoured rubbery beats to  keep heads rocking, knees bouncing and neighbours complaining,  deep into the night . And those irreverent lyrics with their ‘thumbs up’ vocals are playful enough to inspire raucous choruses, and to illicit frantic applause. Brilliant.

To complete a gigantic evening  we had the legendary Brighton party band ‘Floors And Walls’ giving us their amazing brew of melodic guitars and grimy vocals with those (almost) folky compositions. Pounding vibes and ‘Vincent Price’ vocals (by  Alex Adams ) seemed the perfect ending for a truly magnificent Hallowe’en feast.

A blissful night of rock sounds and invincible party-time antics. Bloody Fang-Tastic!

© Neil_Mach 28 October 2011







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


Foley Artist – Live at Hobgoblin, Staines – Aug 18

The craftsmen know as foley artists try to create realistic ambient sound for movies … that’s why the horses in the movies always tend to clip-clop their hooves, even when  travelling on sand or grass… the foley artist has added the sound ‘after’ filming with a couple of coconuts.  Foley Artist is also the name of a rock band that I went to see on 18 AUG at the best music venue in Middlesex – the Hobgoblin, Staines.

Foley Artist create monster sounds on a magnitude totally exceeding your expectations. Instrumentally adept, their output seems jammed firmly betwixt hardcore and hard rock – little nuggets’ of tungsten embedded between two tectonic plates. A tough nut to crack, although I hope the band eventually breaks firmly into the classic hard rock seam. At this stage vocals can be a bit hit-and-miss, but you can forgive this slight aberration as you are blown away by the style and substance of the astonishing white-hot guitar magic. In fact, their sound brings to mind – ahem – Led Zeppelin (yes, really). Bluesy, smoky, blameless, armour-piercing rock and roll, blood and flames.

These swindlers played a short set at The Hob (due to feeling under the weather.)  But the band provided enough material to get a reasonable idea of the quality of their sounds. Tunes like ‘Shadow Boxing’ from the ‘Gorgeous Dog’ E.P demonstrate the innovative guitar trickery and licentious  percussion. ‘Brad Pitts Beard’ is ice cold and angular. Satisfying bass-play from man-mountain Olly Nunn creates a bed of chewy textures for the finely detailed fretwork and interwoven vocals. Songs like ‘Wheaties Box’ are heavy, headstrong and banging. Laced with streaks of silvery guitar and full of time juxtapositions, with tempo-changes aplenty.

Bold bass-play, excellent guitar instrumentation from frontman Matt Searle together with the percussive fireworks from James on drums, mean that Foley Artist are ones to watch as they negotiate up the rocky road. Good luck lads.

© Neil_Mach
August 2011




Run Young Lovers – Live at The Hogboblin, Staines – July 2011

On Thursday I caught up with ‘Run Young Lovers’ at the Staines Town’s favourite music venue ‘The Hobgoblin’. This band plays a patina of indie rock sounds- hot cracking stuff. Choppy, peanut brittle sound bites of feel-good fun and happiness.

Born and raised in Crawley, this 5-piece band originally came to notice under the moniker ‘Us And Them’ and their toil gained them a worthy reputation on the West Sussex live music scene.

They now play a joyful Cure-sounding sing-along song-book of sounds. And the delighted Staines Hob crowd lapped ‘em up like double cream. Soulesque vocals from cuddly bannerman and front-voice Jack Betteridge add warmth and passion to the roistering helter-skelter zip-line indie rock revelry of the band’s output.

Songs like ‘She Said’ (available as a facebook download) with that typical bounce and zizz-a-zizz, and those streamers of guitar flapping in the wind around warm honey-cake vocals, added a real playtime fizz to their show.

Other songs, like ‘Moonshine’ have playful basslines from Ollie Small, and sudden blooms of effervescent guitar from James Ellis and Lloyd Stone. Driving patterns of percussion are delivered steadily by David Stewart on drums.

Introspection is a specialty of the shy singer Jack, surrounded on all sides by the bounteous multi-faceted guitars.  But no snopake is required… no corrections are needed. Bubbling rumbling, bumbling? Check. Soaring highs? Check. Painful lows? Check. It is all there in the ‘Run Young Lovers’ show.

This band takes you two stops beyond awesomeville, before leaving you, exhausted,  and on the last platform, whining for more.

© Neil_Mach
July 2011