Tag Archives: punk rock

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:

The WonderYears Senior Rock Chorus

After seeing the amazing WonderYears rock chorus rehearsing at their ‘headquarters’ in Virginia Water, and after listening to the warm praise and unabashed acclaim for their enthusiastic and memorable live shows, I was very keen to meet the dynamic personality behind the WonderYears – The Senior Rock Chorus and Band. So on Monday I met the founder and esteemed musical director of the project, Dave Thomas.  Dave is a modest man, warm and confident. He is clearly passionate about his creation, and he cares deeply about every single member of his troop, acting like a rock n roll pastor to his flock.

From the outset, Dave stressed that the WonderYears are not a choir, but, to be precise, a chorus.  “We don’t harmonize – we concentrate on musicianship, live performance and self-expression. Our performances are always energetic and entertaining “ He tells me.  “So the chorus embraces the true values of rock music?” I ask.  “Exactly” he tells me. “And it is important to explain that our four-piece band is an integral part of our overall sound – they are the engine room for our performance and they distinguish us from groups like the Rock Choir, who tend to use backing tapes”. The 24 members of the chorus- comprising of 14 ladies and 10 men – plus 4 in the band, and the sound people,  are all ‘Seniors’. “The average age of the chorus is 70” says Dave “and the oldest member is 86 – we are the UK’s only seniors rock chorus and band.”

Keen ‘Radio 1’ and ‘Magic FM’ listener Dave sang in choirs in his childhood and later turned to opera. He got the inspiration for The WonderYears from the 2008 documentary film ‘Young@Heart’ by Stephen Walker. The documentary focuses on a New England based choir who take up singing the old classics and contemporary rock and pop songs together. So Dave placed an advert locally, inviting older people from the Surrey community to help form a Seniors Chorus and to be prepared to leave their comfort zones- and to become excited by the world of rock music.

Dave says he is a ‘supporter’ and ‘motivator’ rather than a conductor. And members of the chorus agree, saying that they feel thrilled and energised by his ever increasing levels of enthusiasm and verve. Audiences report that the feel good factor ‘overcomes you’ when you attend a  WonderYears concert  – and they say that an evening spent with WonderYears is every bit as good for you as a night out seeing a West End show like Mama Mia!

“Are there any consequences or unusual complications in the management and operation of a choral group comprising of seniors – rather than ‘young’ performers?” I was keen to know. Dave is kind about his team, and he raves about their individual talents. He is generous about the contributions that each individual makes to the overall sound, but he admits that there have been some small difficulties to overcome, and that the project is still evolving. “For example, I realized early on that I need to split up the choruses and the solo parts – in order that the songs become memorable and easier to learn and to master ….  As you get older, it’s harder to remember things – especially lyrics – and so we tend to break down the songs into more manageable pieces. And we also tend to choose songs with ‘proper’  and ‘appropriate’ lyrics  for our later years. Nothing too suggestive or too muddy”.  The group have, in the past, rejected some songs, because, perhaps, they are too cloying in a sentimental way – or because they are distressing for the older singers to perform. “Where have all the Good Times Gone” by the Kinks and “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross were two numbers that proved unpopular with the chorus members.

But the words of some well known rock songs often have surprising connotations or take on fun new meanings and special significance when performed by older singers. Take for example The Who’s  “My Generation” or “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones.

Although he admits to loving the ‘big hair’ rockers of the 1980’s  such as a ‘Journey’, Dave also ensures that the WonderYears Chorus address some rock pieces with rougher edges, including a good dose of punk. “Our most popular number is the Killers song  “Human “.

“In addition, we always get a great reaction from ’Should I Stay or Should I Go.’  “Burt (aged 86) does an astonishing solo on “Let the Good Times Roll” and Tom does equally well on the Stones number “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. Other audience favourites include the Bee Gees hit “Stayin’ Alive” (another song that reveals new meanings when performed by a group of seventy something seniors) and “It’s My Life” Bon Jovi. “I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd. You’re gonna hear my voice, when I shout it out loud….”

Dave admits that he receives a lot of stick for the constant introduction of new songs to the group. “But I need to keep feeling that our Chorus is refreshed and rejuvenated” He says, “We must keep our energy flowing.”

Exciting times are ahead for the Surrey based outfit. Guilfest has invited them to come back to perform after a great success last year. They are also scheduled to perform at the Wokingham Food and Drink Festival. They even registered for this years Glastonbury festival. “Who would you like to share the top of the bill with – if your dreams come true?” I asked, “Bon Jovi” says Dave, without pausing, and with a glint in his eye.

“But it is always a great honor to play live music to any audience, anytime, supporting any performer.  Obviously, we want to ‘go all the way’ and play all the big venues and all the big festivals. But we also realize that we owe our local community a huge debt of gratitude for the support they give us. For example, we owe Christ Church, the community church of Virginia Water – a great big thanks for allowing us to practice there every week. We are not a church choir and we have no ties to the church, but they allow us to practice in their area and that is very precious to us. Every year we do a benefit concert to thank the church. We will never forget our local community and the warm support that our neighbours give us.”

“Twenty-four singers is an ideal size to provide the power and emotion that our songs require.” says Dave. “Only once, when we took the Chorus to County Sound Radio (to do a live broadcast), did we did experience a little ‘difficulty’. We discovered it was a bit of a  ‘squeeze’ to fit us all in. And then we could not hear our music properly, the sound was coming through the cans. We have a reliance on our live sound for the rhythm and structure. But because we couldn’t hear our live band sound, it all went a bit wonky!”

Dave says that it involves a lot of hidden costs and logistical support to take the band plus 24 singers and sound engineers onto the road. The WonderYears are currently looking for a sponsor to help with expenses. Currently the choir is self funded – the members pay a regular subscription. But there is no shortage of new volunteers. “We currently have 8 women and 3 men on our ‘wait list’ – but we keep our choir at the optimal size.”

“Our audiences range in age from grandchildren to great grandparents. Our songs appeal to everyone.” says the official WonderYears publicity officer, Maureen Grogan. “Just because we qualify for a bus pass, it does not mean that we are over the hill”.  She smiles. “Last year we developed a very popular Christmas show and we did several performances of it. But in the end we had to turn down requests to perform it because everyone wanted it!   We are becoming a big success.”

“We have performed at the Hackney Empire and we were in the windows for the Phones 4 U (ad) so we are now getting the recognition we deserve.”  But Dave is quick to point out that committing to about eight concerts a year is ‘right’ for the Chorus. “We are working on 24 numbers for our 2011 our show- and 19 songs are brand new for this season – so each song so has to be learnt and rehearsed.”  He says. “We rehearse each week and expect all of our members to attend all rehearsals. Eight big performances a year is quite an ambitious goal for us.”

Founder and Musical Director of the WonderYears, Dave Thomas was talking to Neil Mach

© Neil Mach 2011

Link:

http://www.wonderyearsrock.com/

The WonderYears will be performing alongside PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED and others on the GOOD TIME GUIDE STAGE on 17th JULY at GUILFEST 2011

Wokingham Food & Drinks Festival Saturday 27th August

5 Things – This Week in Staines

1.

Best UK unsigned band – Live in Staines

Loaded Dice at Staines

Loaded Dice
Apr 05 2009
Hobgoblin
Staines

The last time AD PONTES saw this young band at The Hob, Staines we described the sound as ” Refreshingly effervescent cherry-pop fizz for a (spring) day…”

This band got to the UK final of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest a few years back. Currently, the lads are teetering on the very edge of ‘stadium’ success having won the title of the “Best UK live and unsigned band”. We wish them well. They are BIG local talents and you should get up to the HOB and support them…

Read the full ADPONTES-STAINES review of Shepperton’s LOADED DICE here

Link:


www.myspace.com/theloadeddice

Buckle Up Staines


http://www.buckleuppromotions.com

2.

Melodramatic Popular song…  Live at Windsor

To Arms Etc - Windsor Firestation

To Arms Etc
Apr 03 2009
Firestation
Windsor


To Arms Etc is a psychedelic keyboards based pop band with a huge following and great expectations. The ‘Don Henley’ drummer/singer Richard Perman takes the audience into melodramatic songs, emotional adventures and rock overtures.

If you enjoy sophisticated rock sounds then you should try this.

http://www.myspace.com/toarmsetc


3.

Exciting Alt/PowerPop- Live in Staines

Danny Roulette at Staines


Danny Roulette
Apr 02 2009
Hobgoblin
Staines

If you like your pop/rock supersized and powerful the try Danny Roulette…

Sounding like Biffy Clyro / Mars Volta / Weezer this band is sure to please!

Links:

http://www.myspace.com/dannyrouletteband

Buckle Up Staines


http://www.buckleuppromotions.com

DEMURE

Danny Roulette will be playing with the ever popular DEMURE. See this band now- they have just released their EP and are starting to grow is stature and success. The band plays Alt- Rock in the conventional sense but with overtures towards noise rock, especially in the way that the percussion and the bass are given the freedom to spread out their wings and have dissonant aural adventures of their own, but framed within the main architecture of each song.

The last time ADPONTES saw DEMURE we said that they reminded us of ‘Sonic Youth’ or ‘Butthole Surfers’. To check out the full ADPONTES review click here

4.

6-Piece Soul/Funk Covers – Live Ascot

Soul Selecta at Ascot

Soul Selecta
Apr 04 2009
Jagz
Ascot

Soul Selecta is a tight 6-piece Soul/Funk covers band, made up of members from Bucks, Herts and London. The band have been together since 2003, although each individual member is a true professional in their field with several years of experience with other bands. Having played many a bar/club/wedding/corporate event and private party, they are masters of their game, providing solid entertainment and style!!

Soul Selecta predominantly cover classic and modern R’n’B, Funk and Soul; from James Brown to Beyonce, but for occasions such as weddings, are adaptable and versatile to cater for all across the genres and decades.

Their performance is fuelled by their love for the music, and filtered through the bands own soul.  Whilst being faithful to the originals, they also bring their own edge involving the audience in a new moment, which demands you to dance!

They have a natural vibe and the ability to capture the mood and generate the groove!

Saturday, 4th April
Show will start at 8.45
Ticket cost: £8.00
Doors open from 7.30pm. £26 for 2 courses and entrance (£30 for 3 courses). Entrance for the bands is £8 but is strictly limited and on a first come first served basis. Entrance for dining or just the band INCLUDES free entrance to the nightclub

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/soulselecta




5.

Classic Rock Superband –  Live in Staines

Frayed Knot at Jolly Farmers - Staines

Frayed Knot
Apr 04 2009
Jolly Farmer
Staines

Last time we saw this Staines Superband we said:

“These boys play the songs that make the crowd yelp with joy, but served up with a sabre-sharp ice-cool quality that would make lesser bands look on enviously”

See what we mean at Jolly Farmer STAINES (Egham Hythe) Apr 4th

Check here for the full ADPONTES review

Links:

http://www.frayedknotmusic.co.uk/

Def try to catch them at this safe & friendly pub this weekend !

Other dates (if you miss ’em) :

18/04/09    The Red Lion, Egham
29/05/09    The Carpenter’s Arms, Hayes
27/06/09    The Fox Inn, Bisley
04/09/09    The Carpenter’s Arms, Hayes
10/10/09    Ye Olde Swan, Burnham

Visit AdPontes-Staines Regularly for Staines Arts


5 Things – This Week in Staines

1.

A New Band Rises at Staines

Five Foot Something at Staines

Five Foot Something
Feb 19 2009
Hobgoblin
Staines


Of all the chances?  The Goddess of music works in strange and mysterious ways- Tis True, Tis True…our favourite STAINES local guitar/vox hero Ravi K (Succotash etc. etc) bumped into his new neighbour – Robert Hart- they had never met before. Robert was carrying his guitar and amp to his car.

Their conversation went along similar lines to this; Ravi “Do you play guitar?” Robert “Does the pope wear a silly hat and a bear defecate in the woods?” Ravi “Me too re: the hat (and guitar)- though I don’t poo under the trees”. And thus, Five Foot Something were born.

Robert hauled in friend Warren who is a mean bassist and later Jamie heard what was going on and wanted ‘in’ too….This is their inauguration – so we want a big turn out at The Hob (but they have been rehearsing like crazy) the sound is kinda mixed up but there are funky vibes, punky roots and elements of just about every musical style that washes over these local boys. But, be sure of this, the music will make you stand up and go crazy – this is no ‘covers band’ it is an original STAINES sound…

Robert Hart (Lead guitar, backing vox and ambience), Jamie Heath (drums), Ravi Kasinathan (Lead vox and rhythm guitar) and Warren Pegley (Bass)

Link:

www.myspace.com/5footsomething

If you manage to miss ’em in  STAINES this week (PLEASE DON’T) then you could catch ’em at:

Mar 28 2009      8:00P The Red Lion, Egham
————————————————

Five Foot Somehing will be supported by LOS + CHERRY BRAKEWELLS (more of that below)

2.

Sensational Trio with a 60’s & 70’s sound – Staines

Cherry Brakewells at Staines

The Cherry Brakewells
Feb 19 2009
Hobgoblin
Staines


You could say The Cherry Brakewells were born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The girl rock trio from London would probably have been more at home in Memphis or Louisiana circa 1966 as their influences are based firmly in the late sixties and early seventies with bands like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream and Led Zeppelin.

The Cherry’s were formed in 2002 originally called ‘Red’. After three years of playing the small gig circuit they decided to go their separate ways.

Shay set out for the USA, looking for a new direction, collaborating as a songwriter on various projects. The high point was Tina Tuner recording one of her songs for the album ’24/7′.

Chi, meanwhile went back to her successful modelling career, strutting her stuff around the worlds most glamorous catwalks, in her time off playing drums with her Family’s band, like a noughties equivalent of the Partridge Family.

As for Monique, she took time out to follow her other passion running a vintage American clothes shop in Camden, while still jamming with a couple of local bands on the circuit.

A year passed since the band split and the girls began missing each others’ company, all sharing a sense of unfinished business to take care of. After many long distance calls they got together in London to re-form the band changing the name to Cherry Brakewells along the way. A chance meeting with a producer led to a recording contract with the girls going into the studios to cut their debut album “First Bite”.

www.myspace.com/cherrybrakewells

Also at:

Feb 20 2009      Belushi’s (Camden)     London
Mar 03 2009      South of the Border     London


3.

Classic Indie & Rock Covers – Windsor

Grouper at Windsor


Grouper
Feb 20 2009
Old Ticket Hall
Windsor

GROUPER are a professional and dynamic 4 piece contemporary and classic indie rock and pop band.Featuring an incredible line up of international touring musicians of the highest quality, the band playguitar based hits from Travis to U2, Blur to Snow Patrol, Coldplay to The Killers, The Beatlesto The Stones and many more legendary artists and groups.

GROUPER have fast become the first choice for those seeking fresh and entertaining music for their wedding reception, corporate event or party. The band have a wealth of experience, having entertained clients worldwide at a wide range of wedding venues and high profile corporate events for the last seven years.

GROUPER have worked for a number of high profile clients including Pearson Education, NSPCC, The British Army,Citigroup, OXO Tower Restaurant, Warwick University and have played at most of the major London hotels
as well as stately homes and castles across the UK. They have performed at Disneyland Paris, at a large privateparty in Portugal, a multi-national corporate event in Dubai and at the end of 2007 performed at Wembley Arena
for the historic NFL American football match.

THE OLD TICKET HALL, WINDSOR, SL4
Cost: £3
LIVE BAND + DJ PLAYING 80’s & 90’s HITS – BAR OPEN TILL 2AM


Link:

http://www.grouperband.co.uk/

4.

Stunning Jazz & Latin Singer – Live in Ascot

The Strange Deal

The Strange Deal
Feb 21 2009
Old Ticket Hall
Windsor

Playing mainly British rock, punk & indie covers from the 60s to date, The Strange Deal are a hard-working 4 piece who have been gigging regularly in the Reading/Wokingham area since April 08.

They aim to strike a balance between playing numbers that are familiar to most punters with some slightly lesser known tracks that we feel deserve an airing ! So if you enjoy the music of The Who, Paul Weller, Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs & many others, check out The ’Deal – go on, you know it makes sense. + DJ PLAYING 80’s & 90’s HITS – BAR OPEN TILL 2AM

Link:

www.myspace.com/thestrangedeal




5.

Exciting Local Alt Rock Band- in Staines

Demure at Staines

Demure
Feb 22 2009
Hobgoblin
Staines


“…Demure songs have a charm and a hummable charisma that speaks of anguish, truth, unity and vulnerability. These bitter-sweet melodies are given lush and sonically-ambitious backdrops by the crew and especially by Philip Price whose tones and strings are very memorable and are the sign and seal of a genuinely unique product…. Very reminiscent of Pearl Jam with grungy guitar, contrasting song dynamics, a pulsating and luminous lead meandering through the tune and anguished lyrical and vocal content leading to dramatic conclusions…. The band plays Alt Rock in the conventional sense but with overtures towards noise rock, especially in the way the percussion and the bass are given the freedom to spread out their wings and have dissonant aural adventures of their own, but framed within the main architecture each song. This reminded me of ‘Sonic Youth’ or ‘Butthole Surfers’…”

© Neil_Mach 2009

check the ADPONTES-STAINES live review here>>>

Link:

http://www.myspace.com/demureuk

Visit AdPontes-Staines Regularly for Staines Arts

2 Sick Monkeys

STAINES  HOBGOBLIN
Thursday 29th January 2009

2 Sick Monkeys

2 Sick Monkeys

When the strange character (looking like the spurned son of 70’s comic Bobby Ball- I piggin’ hate you, Tommy) burst onto the stage and screamed “Hello, Goodbye! We are havin’ a party… you’ll f**** love it!” the audience automatically started to protect their softer nether regions whilst backing carefully and slowly away in a wide-eyed and anxious state of alarm. Groomed hair was about to become dangerously ruffled, unsullied minds were about to be torn up and messed with, and the pretensions and mediocrities of living a comfortable and predictable life in Staines were about to be pushed violently aside in an anarchic attack upon our precious Surrey/Berkshire claims and soft eardrums. Then the chattering, rolling, thundering onslaught upon nerves and ears proceeded. And what a pleasure the pain truly was.

Pete Tower is the bass playing virtuoso mad-monkey frontman…a highly volatile incarnation of Ian Dury, combustible and highly unpredictable. He should be marked ‘danger UXB’ and placed in a lead-lined box for safety. Instead he is whirling around our pub like an out-of-control firecracker spitting and hissing like some cross between a banshee and a venomous python. He is smiling one minute- snarling and grimacing the next. He is up. He is down. He is enraged, he is calm. Hello, goodbye… he is all the things you hate and everything you love. He is like a one-man chemical reaction to everything you have to endure in this filthy world -releasing a spontaneous spume of exothermic energy into the cold night air.

Accompanying him on the drums is the one-man percussive army of Fred Nus whose style is so self-confident and aggressive that he would have triumphed single-handedly against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC and would have told the 300 that they
were ‘as soft as shite’ and to ‘sod off back to Sparta’ because he has got it ‘all in hand’.

The band played a rollicking selection of what Pete called ‘jazz songs’ and he continued to insist (because nobody dared to argue with this profane mad-hatter mentalist, no matter how tongue-in-cheek) that 2 Sick Monkeys were a West Country Jazz band. But the rapid street level gutter punk-politics of threatening, gesturing and gurning were always there like a bad smell in the kitchen sink.

My favourite song in the 2 monkeys scrapbook was “Why” as in…”Why are we always making bombs? Why do we have to suck so much American cock? Why? Why Why?”  Pete is like the Banksy of punk rock. Many of the 2 songs are nice n’ easy to follow … 2-bit 2-word choruses 2-chord riffs and 2 part formulas.  But these stencilled 2-dimensional guerilla songs disguise an anti-establishment, anti-war and anti-capitalist profusion of rage and hysteria…albeit nicely packaged into neat and carefully presented tasty titbits for the world-weary consumer.

Pete is like the intellectually superior wino-vagrant that you see (but try to ignore) each morning in the shop doorway. Moist, dishevelled, smelly, rotten, revolting even; But he is genuine in a way that you are not. He is contented in a way that you will never be and- most importantly- he can chat his way out of things and rat his way into things in a way that you will never be able to copy. He uses an astonishing display of erudition that leaves you way, way behind …you are completely out of your class with this grinning , gymnastic, gold-winning, mindgaming street athlete and the mental stunts that he can perform.

I absolutely loved it that the 2 Sick Monkeys ripped apart the entrails of Green Day’s “American Hero” before flinging the remains of this ‘sacred song’ unceremoniously onto the dancefloor for the grovelling masses to recoil from in feign horror. The band interpreted this song ‘as played by Slipknot’ but I noticed that Fred Nus provided the true and clear Green Day chorus towards the end of the number. This was a tried-and-tested theatrical device that helped to alleviate the unconcealed pressure that was building up in the minds of  loyalist punks everywhere and was successful in restoring the song back into the hearts of the punters as a worthy punk anthem.

The bass attack of Pete has to be seen to be believed. I am sure that I have never witnessed such competent, confident and yet furious bass-playing before. In normal circumstances virtuosity is frowned upon in the world of punk rock. But the credentials of this worthy band are intact because it is a two-piece and so, you tell yourself, Pete has to be a remarkable player…just to get the most from this limited set-up. The band bill themselves as ‘A small outfit with a big sound’ but this doesn’t do justice to the mighty accomplishments of these two West Country performers. The cider with rosie, wooden skittles and smell of sawdust is never far away- not surprising for a band from Wootton Bassett, Swindon but the two punksters-extraordinaire also project an authentic and very urban sound and style- almost as alienating and as it is intense
-feelgood punk sound as it should be.

A tactical assault on your sensibilities… walk the fine line between hope and despair with 2 Sick Monkeys as soon as you can… it is essential.

© Neil_Mach
Jan 2009


Link:

www.myspace.com/2sickmonkeys

Feb 13 2009     8:00P The Victoria         Swindon
Feb 14 2009     8:00P F*** Valentine     The Grosvenor     Stockwell
Feb 21 2009     8:00P The Victoria         Deptford
Feb 27 2009     8:00P The Gaff              London
Feb 28 2009     8:00P New Cross Inn     London

Keep checking AdPontes-Staines for news, reviews, articles and gig-guide

Ad Pontes Staines- music arts & going out IN STAINES




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Turisas at Southampton Guildhall

SOUTHAMPTON GUILDHALL
Thursday 28th September 2008

Photo by Ossi Laakso, (c) Turisas 2004

Metal / Black Metal / Death Metal

“A band with Swords and Uggs”

WARLORD NYGÅRD – Voc.
JUSSI WICKSTRÖM – Gtr.
TUDE LEHTONEN – Drums
HANNES HORMA – Bass
OLLI VÄNSKÄ – Violin
LISKO – Acc.

“Toor-izz-ass, clap, Toor-izz-ass, clap, Toor-izz-ass, clap”… then onto the stage at Southampton Guildhall exploded several large blonde men (and a laydee) clad in lumps of dead sheep and (mostly) wearing ill-fitting uggs.


And Lo, this was Turisas come unto us.


Turisas is a Finnish viking metal band from Hämeenlinna. They were established in 1997 by Mathias Nygård and Jussi Wickström and designated almost at once as a Viking Metal band – named after an ancient Finnish God of War.


When I saw them last night  on their current tour (supporting ‘Dragonforce’) they exclaimed their music was mighty ‘battle metal’. Since they use accordion and violin, I find this a little hard to swallow. Since when do the massed bands of Her Majesty’s Household Division (for instance) lug squeeze-boxes and fiddles onto the battleground? But because of this morris-dance affectation, the band could also be pigeonholed into the folk metal genre ( see also Finntroll, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani and Moonsorrow.)

The supposedly heavy metal guitars in this band are, to be honest, almost extraneous and the rhythm guitar is often employed just for that-chugging out some rhythm- whilst the bass plunks away unobtrusively. The featured instrument in this band is the violin, courtesy of Olli Vanska. According to Turisas this meek little humble instrument is about to re-adjust the cosmic equilibrium that has been altered by those arrogant upstarts- the wicked electric guitars! Haven’t they heard of ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ in Finnish-land?


Any band that has, as a major feature of its repertoire, Boney M’s singalonga-cossack ‘Ra Ra Rasputin’ is OK by me. This song always was plagiarism at its finest, mixing some trad. Turkish anthems with Cozy Powell’s ‘Dance With The Devil’ beat and pretending to be authentic disco. So why shouldn’t a viking-metal band claim it is their anthem?


Even though Turisas has bouzouki and balalejka-themed pretensions, this is ultimately music that Klingon’s would listen to around the campfire whilst droning on about the House of Duras. Lots of anthemic battle-shouting and Oi Oi Oi’s, then plenty of strutting about doing semi-nazi saluting type stuff. The average age of the crowd at Southampton was about 15… so maybe this is something to be a tiny bit concerned about.  But, no, this is he-man stuff, it is comic book stuff, it is Blue Peter teenage mutant ninja turtles in a bit of sticky-back plastic stuff. A bit of dressing up (albeit as a Viking goat-ostler) and striding around looking big and sounding scary is just fun and didn’t ever hurt anyone. Did it?. When was the last time Finland invaded anything (other than the Eurovision)? And, to be honest,  these leering viking-skulls in their leather nappies are no more fierce, frightening or imposing than your average school music teacher.


Unlike power-metal, there is not much symphonic context within the sound of Turisas, just a lot of growling and some riff-based hokum. There isn’t much light there either, the dirges are battle anthems for the office of the dead. On the whole, the Nordic jeremiad’s are less pessimistic than they ought to be, relishing and celebrating death and honour rather more like football anthems than proper warrior eulogies.

The blackness is not really in there either (unlike Opeth, Trivium, Annihilator, Wintersun etc) mainly because: 1) You can’t take men wearing uggs and sheepskin throws seriously and 2) because any band that plays Boney M disco covers is about as manly and masculine as Julian Clary wearing a pink tutu whilst dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in this season’s ‘end of the pier’ performance of Round the Horn. So this is not a band for death metal/black metal heads.  It is just a fun ‘show-band’ for the kids.

Southampton is noted for being the home of the RMS Titanic and the Spitfire, both went down well. So did Turisas. That says a lot.


© Neil_Mach
Sep 2008


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