Monthly Archives: February 2012

BBC Introducing Guernsey: February 2012

So I was back on the radio tonight presenting BBC Introducing Guernsey (my ‘normal’ show), we were joined by the guys from the Chaos festival (which happens in July) as well as having a live session from Tonight The Skies and a re-run of my interview with Jack Fletcher from last week.

You can listen to the show here.

The track list for the show was:

  1. The Risk — Little Miss Fortune

  2. Last of the Light Brigade — Little Billy

  3. Tank — New Mind Set

  4. Autumn Curtis-Summers — Autumn Soul Road

  5. Upper Odessy — Blurred Visions

  6. The Roughneck Riot — Down and Out

  7. Psylopsyb — Wtf

  8. The Roughneck Riot — Same Again Tomorrow

  9. Alice CooperAlice Cooper — No More Mr Nice Guy

  10. The Coalbox Generals — Bleed The Crow [live]

  11. Johnny Lives! — Parking Lot

  12. Tonight The Skies — Mexico [live]

  13. Tonight The Skies — Homesick Lullaby [live]

  14. Hollie Lucia (with James Le Huray) — Scales Weights [live]

  15. Hollie Lucia (with James Le Huray) — Deep Down [live]

  16. Jack Heywood — No Need To Worry

  17. Earthcorpse — Trail of Tears

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Eamon O’Neill and Becky Hamilton at The Doghouse in 2008

A few more of the live videos I got over the last few years in Guernsey, I’ve posted nearly all of them now!

These are from The Doghouse in August 2008 and feature Becky Hamilton and Eamon O’Neill playing a selection of acoustic tunes.

Eamon played many a solo acoustic show during his time in Guernsey, including some great Sunday afternoon sets at Irish bar Claddagh, he is also an accomplished rock and metal player having playing in bands such as Pre-Med with former members of Hawkwind.

Becky is a classical violinist who has also done her share of acoustic guitar stuff. Along with Eamon and Colin Falla (keys and sax) they were Deuce who made some great rock tunes in their time together and got to play a gig at the Highbury Garage in London on one occasion.

Not much more to say than that really, for reasons lost to the mists of time I didn’t do a review for this show that I can find.

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Mad Max (and a little Ozploitation)

It probably sounds crazy for a film fan who studied film for three years and has been into them, and especially the oddities around the edges, for at least the past 15 years, but until now I had never seen Mad Max.

I put it down to my general dislike of Mel Gibson and anything with his name on (and this began long before Passion of the Christ) – something about him always irked me and so I’d never seen this before.

Going in I knew this the basics, Mel plays a cop in the near future and he goes a bit mad and is called Max – and that it’s an Australian b-movie, complete with all the tropes that go with that, including crazy car chases in the outback and some ill-fitting if somehow at the same time seemingly appropriate design choices.

From the start it was clear that my expectations weren’t wrong – in the first five minutes we go from a cop with a big gun spying on a naked couple romping in the bush to a full on car chase with flips, rolls and smashing through caravans.

This sets the tone that we are certainly in exploitation (or possibly Ozploitation) movie land – and all this before Max make his big arrival.

Or at least his arrival, he turns up in his ‘Interceptor’ (the other cops only get to drive ‘Pursuit’ cars), marking Max out as something a bit different from the others. However, in terms of what he does, his character starts off fairly unremarkable (other than the fact he is shot as if he’s the hero) and from here things are not totally as expected.

For one, there is a whole background to the character I was not expecting, which, while by no means deep, at least shows him to be more than a simple driving and shooting machine.

This occurs in a series of scenes with his wife and child which in many such exploitation or b-movies would put the brakes on proceedings.

Here, however, whenever it seemed like the film was going to fall into the trap of promising big car chases or explosions but giving us people talking about them, it would soon kick in to a car chase, or a motorcycle stunt sequence or some other actual action packed happening.

The action sequences, like the whole film, still have the sense of being b-movie but, are top-notch for the budget and size of production, and throughout you have a sense that this is not an American film but an Australian one. I can’t put a finger on exactly why this is, but there is a different sense to Australia’s exploitation movies than those made on the other side of the Pacific.

This ‘Ozploitation’ style ends up creating a film that has all the best elements of exploitation cinema, but actually seems to deliver on more of the promises than many of its American counterparts.

While no one is ever going to claim this is a technical masterpiece, it is a sure-fire rollercoaster ride of a movie featuring everything you could want – bad bad guys, bad good guys, fast cars, faster bikes and some good crashes and explosions with just enough back story to at least give it a vague reason for all happening.

All in all a good hour and a half’s entertainment, despite the presence of Mel Gibson, who I still can’t get on with.

If you want to find out more about Ozploitation I would heartily recommend the documentary Not Quite Hollywood, here’s the trailer:

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Sigur Ros – Inni (video review)

Sigur Ros create an astounding masterpiece of music and film on live concert film Inni.

This is my first attempt at a video review, so you get to see me waffling on about Sigur Ros‘ new concert film rather than reading it. I have also included my written review below as well if you’d rather read it.

This review focusses just on the film portion of Inni rather than the live double album, which is also very good too.

Following my first watch of Inni, the film of Sigur Ros’ 2008 concert at Alexandra Palace in London, I tweeted the following: “Inni by @sigurros is the most astounding concert film I’ve ever seen, I don’t want to go back into the real world now…” and I still can’t think of a better way of expressing my feelings about it.

That said I will try to go into it in a bit more detail otherwise this will be a very short post.

I’ve had an interest and appreciation for the music of Sigur Ros for several years now and have liked everything I’ve heard by them. Their 2007 film Heima is up among the best things I have watched in many years and I recognize their music as something exceptional.

However, it wasn’t until this film that something shifted in my perception of them and I realized something extra that had been missing from my previous interpretations of their work.

From the off this film resounds with the power of a band navigating a wave of sound to create exquisite music. The band’s ‘frontman’ Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson is a perfect microcosm of this – his bowed guitar playing and falsetto vocal delivery being at once brittle and sounding on the edge of giving way to the power behind them and at once strong enough to harness that power and do something amazing with it.

Inni also demonstrates how the band seem to operate as a single entity, as all good bands should, but Sigur Ros seem to do it in a way unique from other bands I’ve seen.

While Jonsi may stand front and centre and deliver the lion’s share of the vocals all four members of the band seem to be on an absolute level in creating the music as they ride the waves of feedback or pull things down to a minimalist level as one.

The film also shows how the band’s music varies shifting from sounds that seem to come from, and certainly in me speak to a dark internal place, one moment to triumphant celebratory sounds that would sound best filling the sky the next.

All these factors combine to make the band’s sound something at once familiar and alien – this is something that the visuals in the film back up as well.

The concert footage for the nine tracks comes like something from a past time, scratchy, black and white images flickering as if projected on an old home movie camera but at the same time with the sharpness of modern technology giving the film a vaguely steampunk aesthetic, but steampunk through Sigur Ros’ own special filter.

The way the concert footage is shot also rarely gives us a clear view of any individual member backing up the idea that all four are as one and their individual identity is not important when they are combined in creative endeavour and collectively giving Sigur Ros a vaguely mythic feel as if they are something unattainable to the viewer.

This image is then juxtaposed with shots of the band off stage, either from old home movies of them playing small venues where they are setting up their own equipment or fooling around on bikes backstage at a festival, to shots of them looking decidedly uncomfortable during radio and TV interviews.

The combination of these two sorts of footage makes the band appear more human and less at the same time, continuing the conflict in essence that their music imparts.

The fusion of the music and film in Inni is about as perfect as any concert movie I’ve ever seen as the images serve the sound to create a whole and total view of the band.

As I said at the start after watching this I don’t want to go back to the real world, maybe unless it’s a real world where everyone thinks like this band seem to in the creation of their music, where they act as four individuals making one fantastic sound.

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Rock and metal weekend at the Fermain Tavern (feat. videos of Lifejacket and Distant Shores)

So last weekend (17th and 18th February 2012) at The Fermain Tavern in Guernsey was a weekend of rock and metal gigs featuring a couple of visiting bands playing alongside some local unsigned acts.

The visiting bands were The Crave (from Brighton) on Friday and Stan Smith (from Jersey) on Saturday. Friday’s gig also featured Dead Wing and Lifejacket and on Saturday the gig was organised by The Future Shock and featured So Cold The River, Distant Shores and She Haunts The Roads.

I took some photos of it for BBC Introducing Guernsey which you can see here on the BBC Guernsey website and I reviewed the shows for the Guernsey Press as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also got a few videos of Lifejacket and Distant Shores at the gigs as well which you can see below, enjoy!

My photos of the shows.

Also someone was on hand filming Dead Wing (featuring well know local metal frontman Stace Blondel) too and here is one of their videos:

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The Merry Wives of Windsor review in the Guernsey Press

A couple of weeks ago Oddsocks Productions theatre company visited Guernsey to perform their take on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor at St James Concert Hall.

This is my review from the Guernsey Press published on Wednesday 15th February 2012 – click the image to see the article full size.

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Two days on the radio

So it’s been a quiet couple of days on the blog here, but that’s because I’ve been doing my first bit of daytime, mainstream radio presenting over on BBC Guernsey.

On Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd of February I had the chance to sit in for John Randall on his Afternoon Show and Wind Down Zone on the BBC Local Radio station.

The Afternoon Show is a regular daytime radio show based around music and local content. For each show I had a different guest, on Tuesday it was Jack Fletcher from unsigned bands She Haunts The Roads, Of Empires and Destria, and on Wednesday it was Wynter Tyson who is one of the organisers of the Sarnia Shorts Film Festival and CineGuernsey.

You can listen to the shows online for the next few days at these links:

Tuesday

Wednesday

The other show I presented was the Wind Down Zone which is a selection of chilled out music in the early evening.

Over the two days I played a mix of stuff including Sigur Ros, Kate Bush, Frank Turner, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Nick 13, O’Hooley & Tidow and Metallica (amongst others) alongside a couple of unsigned tracks from Robert J Hunter and Teaspoonriverneck.

You can listen to those here:

Tuesday

Wednesday

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The Risk – Invitation To The Blues

The latest reissue from longstanding mod-powerpop band The Risk shows them at the top of their game.

The Risk made it into the national papers at the end of 2011 as one of the groups put together on TV ‘talent’ show The X-Factor took on the same name and the original band decided to fight for the right to be identified as The Risk.

This may have got the band more recognition than they had received since their heyday in the 1980s (and possibly even more than they had back then) but listening to the well-timed reissue of their second full length album, Invitation To The Blues, (through Paisley Archive) it was clear to see why this band are so revered within the mod and powerpop scene.

It’s clear from the off that this is a much more developed and mature effort than the band’s debut Loud Shirts and Stripes as, while it starts off in the same powerpop vein as the previous record, by second track Little Miss Fortune The Risk have headed off into very much more traditional rock ‘n’ roll territory.

This shifting of styles remains present across the album as the band switch from classic mod style sounds, to powerpop, to rock ‘n’ roll (with, at times, an almost Stray Cats like rockabilly feel) to something reminiscent of an overdriven version of 80’s style indie but at the same retaining a strong sense of themselves with a vague punk like sneer present in the background.

This variety, both of sound and subject, demonstrates a band that have taken on board all the trials and tribulations they experienced between records and have distilled this (through their musical filter) into the songs which range from talking about life at home (Work), to the fame game (Carrie-Ann), to songs about songs (Only Cry The Lonely) all packed with personal feeling.

Though all the songs on the record are good in their own right, the real stand outs for me are the aforementioned Little Miss Fortune and Work, along with Just Like Norma Jean and the track that was released as a single to accompany the reissue Good Times, and it’s clear to see why many of these songs still find their way into the band’s live set today.

On top of the more mature songs, the production work is also clearly more developed, and while it still has something of its era to it, it makes for a much less dated record than their previous output.

As someone who had previously heard many of these songs live, but not on record, it was a pleasant surprise to find them sounding so immediate and fresh here and the little surprises of the new (to me) songs that the band no longer play live are an added bonus.

Invitation to the Blues comes across as a record packed with diversity which should appeal to anyone with a love of the many strands of rock ‘n’ roll music that have developed since the genre first began and at once has something to say but through a medium of great danceable tunes.

A Facebook group has been set up to support The Risk in their ongoing battle to retain rights to using the name and can be found here.

My feature on the history of The Risk from BBC Guernsey written in 2010.

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Teaspoonriverneck album launch videos (featuring Iron Cobra)

A couple more videos, almost uploaded all of the main batch.

These come from the launch gig for Teaspoonriverneck‘s eponymous debut album.

First up is a video of support band Iron Cobra who played a southern-tinged style of metal reminiscent of early Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Though they were only relatively short-lived they put on some good shows and made some great sounds in their time.

Groove rockers Teaspoonriverneck headlined the show with own characteristic swagger and style.

This is them playing one of the tracks from the album they were launching and it’s called Ribshacksupertwang.

You can read my review of the show for BBC Guernsey here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guernsey/content/articles/2007/07/30/ub_teaspoonrivern­eck_cd_launch_review_feature.shtml

At the same gig a video was also made for the band’s song Blonde Witch by Ryan Bessin (due to old school YouTube compression issues the quality is a bit ropey but it still gives you an idea, and the quality of my vids isn’t exactly great anyway so who am I to complain – I would heartily recommend checking out any of Ryan’s other music vids though, especially the other Teaspoonriverneck one for Eaten By The Devil or the Asylum Seekas Yesterday’s News videos)

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Vietnameasles videos

A couple more of my recently discovered collection of Guernsey gig videos from the last few years.

Going back to July 2007 now and back at The Golden Lion (I forgot how many good gigs used to happen down there!) and hardcore punk band Vietnameasles final gig.

The band put out an EP in their time together which captured something of their sound and ‘charm’ but there was nothing like their live shows – except maybe live performances by their frontman in his ongoing solo guise as Silas The Assyrian Assassin.

The three members of the band have gone onto other things, front man Andy now heads up The Black Vote (as well as his solo work), bassist Ryan was recently one of the founder members of Lifejacket and drummer Taz now beats the hell out of the skins for Brutus Stonefist.

Anyway enjoy the vids and here is the link to my review of the show for BBC Guernsey: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guernsey/content/articles/2007/07/23/ub_vietnameasles_last_gig_review_feature.shtml

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