Tag Archives: live music staines

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

Links:

http://www.myspace.com/foleyartistmusic

http://foleyartist.bandcamp.com/

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These Are Teeth – live at Hogboblin Staines 04 August

Thursday was the first time I had seen local hard rock act  “These Are Teeth” and I was delighted by their performance.

James Bickley – lead guitar – is a ‘Slash’ in the making. Mudpie, sloopy, syrupy chuckling licks slobber from his nimble fingers as they lazily slide and groan across loose strings. Those cowboy boots, lush mop (with the vilest of fringes), and  pavilion swivelling hips foretell that this lanky preacher-man (with Gee-tar instead of a bible) is already living  life as a  rock n roll adventurer. Here’s one to watch.

Scott Freeman (vocals & guitar) is a solidly built Jethro looking shoveler, helmsman and chug. He is the fulcrum and activator of the band and plays rhythm guitar so furious that he can bug-a-bug with the best of ’em from noon till dusk. His melodious voice – notes are struck with extreme precision – and the pitch is just right – sets the tone for a polished performance.

The band is completed by Robin Rathbone on drums, a rattle snake man and firecracking omnipresent thwacker; And the shuffling and vibrating ching-master, the ever reliable Tom Ridler on progressively played bass.

They play classic rock tracks filled with grunge and gutsy harmonics – punk rock undertones yet prog-rock aspirations

Faultless manoeuvres crafted from rods of iron and as dark as the soot and ashes that surround them …. they played an astonishing set to the happy marauders at the Staines Hobgoblin mangling juddering substance with lyrical punctuation from that ever-peppery lead guitar. It was a full blown grenade launching fiery conquest of a set!

‘Rocket Motel’ has container loads of rattly chords and pile-driver percussion that evolves into a head-bangers delight. Groovy basslines from Tom and thundery chords establish the perfect landscape for the excellent chorus. On this number Scott (vocals) reminds me of Marilyn Manson at his lyrical best.

‘Embers’ sounds ‘Aerosmithy’ with plenty of bouncy rhythm guitar and thrilling lead guitar bursts from James -this song has a cabaret feel to it – as if it were to be played on stage with a velvet rope and a couple of pneumatic blondes writhing around the poles.

‘Move and Erase’ has a playful percussive element from Robin on drums and a far more punky style than the other These Are Teeth offerings. Razorsharp bursts of guitar light up the catchy chorus. This sounds reminiscent of something by ‘The Cure’ before a blast of flames from the lead guitar breaks things up and gets  things a-smouldering!

Oh, and thanks for “The Boys Are Back in Town” – always a barnstormer and crafted and played with precision and love.

Best jaw cracking, sharp, strong and pulverizing rock band that I have seen in a long while!

© Neil_Mach
August 2011

Links:

http://www.theseareteeth.com
http://www.twitter.com/theseareteeth
http://www.reverbnation.com/teethonline

UKID live at Hobgoblin, Staines

UKID – I like the name (could be “you kid” or the rotten U.K. ID cards ) is a rock band with a Rap Metal attitude and an impressive musical pedigree. Former ‘Durban Poison’ man KJ (bass) created  the band along  with MC Beanie (Ben-Jah Jon.) And, once the grimy drum n’ bass met the blistering metal in the forges from hell, the UKID sound was cast into iron. It’s like Rage Against the Machine crossed with Oceansize.

UKID bring us songs like “Dole” which is a shattered plate of sounds; A skillet of skanky beats whipped to a frenzy by metallic and thrashingly hypnotic guitars, thrown together with squeaks and beeps from the keyboards (Ben-Jah goes to the keys periodically.) The vocals are insistent and reliable – more calm than furious, the rhythms are always focussed and assured. The bass play is big and gruesome and brought to you in gigantic proportions by the hairy thumbster KJ.

Other songs have the kind of sound quality and size reminiscent of tunes from bands such as Kaiser Chiefs and even as far back as The Clash. Yet there is also plenty of drum ‘n’ bass, combined with hip hop, to get you back to todays date. The searing and screaming lead guitar from redheaded razzle-dazzler Glenn add frantic and fiery elements to the whole UKID package, making the band seem more progressive, and somehow more metallic,  than other bands in the same genre.

But it is fair to say that, at the Staines Hob gig, the music tendered by this immortal Glastonbury gang tended to veer from tantalizingly terrific and heart-racingly superb at times – right down to buzzy low-threshold monobloc tedium.  Which is a shame, because the nurtured talent was clearly available – just not in a consistent formula.  Naturally enough, the keen and krazy krowd at the Staines Hob lapped it all up (good and bad) and were dancing in the aisles and crazy to hear the tunes. But some of the numbers failed to hit their mark, often in quite a dramatic way. The main voice of Ben-jah was not nearly strong enough to be heard above the multiple layers of sound underneath. And the backing vocals from Glenn were often too loud – and, more often than not – quite alarmingly off-key.

But nonetheless, songs like “War = Money”  with it’s innovative and impressive flowergarden of experimentation and smoky acid vibes was like encountering Eminem whilst visiting a dream-like “Octopus’s Garden”  and finding out that he is actually in a political frame-of-mind. Freaky, fancy and fine. This song is like a saline drip of conscientiousness.

The best tune of the night was the techno industrial-strength dance number (second to last song of the set) that was a spaced-out labyrinthine journey into the spiralling and pulsating sub-conscious.  With melting guitar licks from Glenn, huge chunks of keys from Ben-Jah, hypnotic drums from Joey and deeply reverberating bass-play from KJ. I hoped that this tune would never stop!

Merging heavy rock with dance-sounds is not new, but UKID are so skilled and so fresh that the sounds actually do seem refreshingly vital.  Watch this band rise.

© Neil_Mach
March 2011

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/ukid
http://www.ukid.moonfruit.com

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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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Our Lost Infantry live at Staines Hobgoblin

So we went to THE HOB, STAINES to relish the joyful musical acrobatics and jubilantly jingoistic shenanigans from these merry men of Aldershot…. Our Lost Infantry.

Rapidly changing time signatures and keys bump and collide colourfully with each other as the ‘Lost Infantry’ magic bus runs off the psychedelic skid pan. Tearing apart the rule book and cocking a snook at the ‘in crowd’ this seriously talented quartet climbs the rigging and sails away from a mundane land and into a happy frantic world entirely of their own making.

The music sounds like early ‘Cure’ struck violently upon the head by ‘Porcupine Tree.’ Buzzingly adroit flourishes of keyboard wizardry courtesy of Matt to swirling jazzline guitars from Thom, and then busty rhythms from Tom on bass and Parkin on drums -the overall effect is generously full of melodramatic, soulful song – and they even choose to sing Acappella at times.

The song-book includes such pieces as the drum-song ‘Parkin’ that has a genuine ska-sound with softly lipped vocals, shining highlights and a groovy beat. The song has a delicate texture but scoops of full-on soul. Or take the high larkin’ song ‘The Arsonist’ that drips with silvery notes and edgy chords. The tricky percussion adds depth and jagged angles to the poetry of those flamboyant keyboards from Matt.

All-time favourite, though, is ‘The Spectacle of the Scaffold’. This number sputters along like a clockwork beetle. The tune feels like it is edging itself ever closer towards calamity. You need nerves of steel to listen to it. From the tenderest vocals that cry from the heart, to  those intricate bass-notes and cascades of keys that triumphantly collapse onto
themselves like the Walls of Jericho.  This amazing number finally tumbles into the kind of chorus you never dreamt was possible. Shining, haunting,  sentimental and, naturally, without regrets.

A kaleidoscope of squelchy blips and woo-woo sirens are accompanied by commendable piano flourishes . Nostalgic nuances and angst-ridden vocals mark this band out as a melodramatic tour-de-force to be reckoned with.  Avant-garde and jazzy enough  even to appeal to grandykins, though geekily progressive at other times, ‘Our Lost Infantry’ are always as solid and satisfyingly real as ever it gets. Ones to watch for 2011.

© Neil_Mach
February 2011

Link:

http://www.whereisourlostinfantry.com/

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Kindred Spirit at Staines Riverside Club

What can be better than sharing a well drawn pint or two with some like-minded friends, whilst listening to a quality live performance from some of the finest musicians in the business? The Riverside Club in Staines has been attracting some of the big names from the music world to its humble riverside home of late. Last Thursday the club welcomed through the doors the undeniable talent of locally based folk-rock band Kindred Spirit. Folk-Rock is experiencing something of a renaissance recently – Fairport Convention and Pentangle are still with us charming the audiences…  and now we have a new generation of groups like Mumford & Sons and Midlake to take us up to the next level, and some exciting and experimenting bands like Fleet Foxes, to reassure us the genre is far from dead.

Kindred Spirit (playing as a three piece at Staines Riverside Club) have those lush harmonies and emotional power  that you come to expect from this kind of group. The violin from Gavin Jones is exuberant and fresh and the feverish pipes and flute (and sax) from Annie Parker leaves you tingling inside. Across this chiming, piping-hot, spiky landscape comes the lush and gently unassuming vocals of Elaine Samuels, whose voice is reminiscent of the late Sandy Denny.

The first half of the set (before the club’s obligatory raffle) was vaguely ‘horse related’ and the second half was  ‘sea travel’  related. I do not know if this was planned or a happy accident. So, in the first half, we had such traditional-sounding delights as ‘The Galway Farmer’ (Devon folk duo ‘Show of Hands’ – 1992) with those scuffed and skiffling fiddles and ne’er-do-well jaunty pipes. And “A Horse with No Name” (‘America’ 1972) with those esoteric chords and the haunting sense of loss along with reverberant regret. In here too were some ambitious songs like Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ with some extremely enjoyable woven interplay from Annie and Gavin and Elaine’s voice perched high above – as teasing as a wood lark.

The second half incorporated plenty of sea-wall imagery. A perfect rendition of “Martha’s Harbour” (‘All About Eve’ – 1988) depicted the agony of waiting by the waves for a true love to return from across the churning sea. But this song was somewhat diminished by Kindred Spirit’s own composition “I’ll Always Love You” (from the “Dance of Life” album). This song reminded  me of Fleetwood Mac circa 1977 (the band often plays ‘The Chain’ to great applause at gigs,) but once it started, it settled down to a lustrous and emotive folk-rock ballad. Annie’s flute was like a sea-bird fluttering in the sea-breeze, but the power and surge of the fiddle was like the sea-spray fiercely spitting into your face. Luckily, Elaine’s deliciously smooth vocals took you back to an altogether warmer, more friendly and infinitely more welcoming place.  This was, for me, the high point of the evening.

Kindred Spirit’s own songs are full of mystery and magic. Their compositions are sometimes as haunting as a cold-dread phantom and at other times as fleet footed as a mountain gazelle. The clear articulation of Elaine’s vocals over and above the elaborate and intricate solos from Gavin and Annie, often leave you on the edge of your seat with excitement.

“Lady Eleanor” (Lindisfarne) started with an intro that reminded me of a (little slower) “Long Train Runnin “  (Doobie Brothers.) The original version had a more mystical East feel to it. The song immediately embarks upon a magical journey brought alive by the mysterious and foggy delights of Elaine’s silken, breathy vocals.

Lola (Kinks) was another popular cover.  Full of teasing and almost giggling violin and flute. Annie and Gavin provided quirky backing vocals. On the original song Ray Davies played a steel bodied resonator-type guitar on this track… which gives the song more pinch, pluck and plonk – the Kindred Spirit version is more whimsical lyrically and smoother instrumentally, with a much softer guitar sound from Elaine.

Finishing off the show with an exuberant version of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”, the audience was left stunned by a performance which was both truly refreshing and full of vigorous energy. An amazing evening.

You can see Kindred Spirit play with Blue Onyx (The Moody Blues Tribute Band) at The Leatherhead Theatre on Saturday 4 December. Or check their website for more local concerts. See links below.

© Neil_Mach
October 2010

http://www.elainesamuels.co.uk/

http://www.the-theatre.org

http://www.myspace.com/kindredspiritukband

The Eldon Arms        Reading        Sat 30 Oct
The Royal Oak         Berkshire     Sat 20 Nov
Leatherhead Theatre                    Sat 4 Dec

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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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