Anything Goes at The Fermain Tavern

Sam McKerrel of Twelve Tribe Mansion
Sam McKerrel of Twelve Tribe Mansion

Guernsey based clothes brand Anything Goes Apparel presented a night of live music at The Fermain Tavern on Friday 28th December 2012 – also making it my last gig of the year.

The night featured live music from Twelve Tribe Mansion, From Bedrooms To Backseats, Twelve Ton Trouble and The DeadBeats as well as The Phantom Cosmonaut (aka me) DJing between the live stuff.

As you might expect from those bands it was a varied night but showcased a great selection of the music Guernsey has to offer.

You can see my photos of the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page (for a direct link to the gallery click on the photo to the right, if those links work).


So my last gig of 2012 and, following what has been a generally great year for local music, I was hoping things would end on a high.

01 - The Deadbeats
The DeadBeats

First on stage were The DeadBeats – following their entertaining, but largely messy, set here last week I was a bit concerned but, thankfully, a week of practice behind them saw The DeadBeats on much more controlled and proficient form.

While they will probably never be the most controlled band, largely thanks to frontman Bobby Battle’s unique stage presence, their music, which, at its best, combines the energy, power and style of grunge and 90s Brit-rock to create something a bit different, and tonight they hit some fine moments of this.

While I did enjoy their performance it did leave me wondering what they’d be like if they could dedicate themselves to this more rather than just when the members were all back on the island…

James and Rob of Twelve Ton Trouble
James and Rob of Twelve Ton Trouble

Second on the bill was another band who played here last week, but tonight Twelve Ton Trouble had a very different vibe to their performance.

While last week felt like Rob Hunter with a backing band, tonight had the feeling of a leader marshaling his troops for battle, albeit one involving playing some great blues rock tunes.

This extra ‘togetherness’ was really obvious with the guitars of Rob and James Gray, which were playing off each other much more than previously.

Cheese of From Bedrooms To Backseats
Cheese of From Bedrooms To Backseats

Another band who always try and fit a few gigs in when they’re all back on the island, and featuring the organiser of tonight’s show, are From Bedrooms To Backseats.

I’ll be the first to admit I often find their ‘easycore’ style hard to get into and tonight was no different. That said, for the dedicated few at the front it seemed to be a great show and the band were the tightest I remember seeing them in a while, it just all left me with the feeling that it was probably a great show if you were good mates with the band, but that not being such I was maybe missing out on something.

Guitarist Charlie ‘Cheese’ Holmes, however, once again demonstrated himself to be an excellent player and the highlight of the set came when Elmer Henley’s Ben Lickley joined James Radford on vocals for a song and upped the intensity considerably.

Twelve Tribe Mansion
Twelve Tribe Mansion

Finally tonight were a band who never cease to amaze me with their musicianship, Twelve Tribe Mansion.

Once again I was blown away by their “gypsy funk ‘n’ roll” sounds that combine everything from jazz to math rock in a way that flows as if this is the conventional way for the music to go.

It was Sam McKerrell’s guitar and Chris Howitt’s drums that really struck me tonight as they switched tempos, time signatures and styles with a flawless ease that left me wondering not only how they play these tunes, but also how they even remember them (not wishing to discredit Tom Bradshaw’s bass playing, I think there’s just too much to take in with this band in one go).

Saying much more than that about Twelve Tribe Mansion is a challenge, they really do need to be experienced live, but what really made the set for me tonight was seeing the real connection between the band members in their eyes as they hit the more improvised portions of the performance.

As a final live music experience of 2012 Twelve Tribe Mansion certainly ended things on a high and, across the board, 2013 has got a lot to live up to!

Guernsey Gigs were also on hand getting some video evidence of the night which you can see on their YouTube channel.

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