Monthly Archives: April 2014

TRIPLESTOKED 2014 WEEK 2 – Brother and Bones, Frankie Davies, Static Alice and To The Woods – THE FERMAIN TAVERN – 25/04/14

Brother and Bones

Brother and Bones

Following last weekend’s opening #Triplestoked was always going to be a huge task as, for the best part of four hours, The Fermain Tavern was jumping on Easter Sunday night to the sounds of Yes Sir Boss, The Recks and Buffalo Huddleston.

Well, last Friday things were slightly different, particularly to start with, as To The Woods rushed onto the stage after doors opened late to tear through their set of grunge soaked hard indie-rock. As has become their standard over recent months, regardless as to the audience reaction, the trio put in a solid set with guitarist/vocalist Bobby Battle as incorrigible as ever – his opening, expletive strewn, greeting setting the scene for what was to come.

To The Woods

To The Woods

While this was lapped up by the few friends and fans who’d turned out early and headed down the front, it didn’t seem to connect with those hanging around the back of the Tav.

None-the-less, To The Woods do what they do and those who like that loved it and it was good to see Bobby and drummer, Dan Garnham, playing off each other more on stage giving the band’s performance a more rounded feel that looks like it should set them in good stead for the future.

As a few more began to arrive it was the turn of the second local support act to take to the stage and Static Alice treated us to a set almost entirely made up of original material.

Static Alice

Static Alice

Having built a reputation for their covers based shows it was good seeing the band stretch their creative muscles and, predominantly, they sounded like they have some good songs on the go, though there were a few moments where it seemed Luis’ lead guitar and Dom’s powerful vocals were, maybe, lacking dynamics and certainly some polishing will be required before they fulfill their potential.

Ending with a cover of The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz really got the still small but enthusiastic crowd going and ended Static Alice’s set on a high point, though it seemed the amount of effort the band were putting in on stage wasn’t entirely translating to the rest of the room.

Frankie Davies

Frankie Davies

As the night’s first visiting band took to the stage a few more had arrived at the Tavern and headed down to the dancefloor and, while the crowd wasn’t a patch of the first leg of #Triplestoked, it was starting to feel busy for Jersey’s Frankie Davies.

Combining soulful and upbeat country tones, in a way that brought to mind Dolly Parton, made for something of a clash of sounds to the two support acts but, by a couple of songs into the set, it was an easy sound to relax into as the five piece combined some fantastic harmonies with great instrumentation.

Certainly there is not another band like this in the Channel Islands today and I was certainly left with the feeling that Frankie Davies would be a perfect fit with the poppier end of the material on offer at the Sark Folk Festival.

The highlight of Frankie’s set came with an astonishing run at Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain that showed off everything the band is capable of and their set closer was an excellent original which left me hoping it’s not too long before these ladies are back in Guernsey again.

Brother and Bones

Brother and Bones

In the run up to this show a lot of fuss had been made about the visit to the island of up and comers Brother & Bones so, it was with some sense of anticipation, I found my place near the front.

Unfortunately, it soon became clear that while the band’s frontman, Richard Thomas, played with a real passion and seemed genuinely happy and excited to be up on stage, and to be getting a reaction from the decent sized and largely enthusiastic crowd, the rest of the band looked and sounded very much like they were going through the motions.

With two sets of drums on stage I was hopeful for some exciting sounds, but this never appeared and I was left with the impression that, musically, Brother & Bones probably have a lot of great ideas but, for me, these really didn’t come across.

While they certainly weren’t a bad band on any level (it would be hard to get to the point they are if they had been) I was left largely underwhelmed with their songs which sounded something like Biffy Clyro-light with a bit more of a pop-folk edge to it, though their fans in the Tav that night were lapping it all up.

While the second #Triplestoked show may not have lived up to last week’s there were still a lot of good things on offer and it was Jersey’s Frankie Davies who provided the night’s real highlights.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

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BBC Introducing Guernsey: April 2014 – Last of the Light Brigade and Chaos

Last of the Light BrigadeFor the April 2014 edition of BBC Introducing Guernsey I was joined in the studio by Last of the Light Brigade and three of the guys behind the Chaos festival.

Last of the Light Brigade told me about their new album, Last Laugh, and explained why they are going on hiatus after 10 years together as a band.

And Ozy, Jay and Stretchy filled me in on whats in store at this year’s Chaos festival in June as they prepare to welcome Therapy? to Guernsey along with regular visitors [Spunge] and local “metal gods” Nemesis and a host of others.

You can listen to the show until the evening of Saturday 3rd May on the BBC iPlayer by clicking here.

Tracklist

You can listen to the show until the evening of Saturday 3rd May on the BBC iPlayer by clicking here.

 

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Triplestoked 2014 Week 1 – Yes Sir Boss, The Recks and Buffalo Huddleston – The Fermain Tavern – 20/04/14

Yes Sir Boss

Yes Sir Boss

Easter Sunday 2014 saw the first of the year’s #Triplestoked events take over The Fermain Tavern.

Organised jointly with Jersey’s Stoked Music the show is the first of three taking place over three consecutive weekends with bands from Guernsey, Jersey and the UK sharing stages at the Tav and Jersey’s Watersplash.

The first show was headlined by Bristolian genre benders Yes Sir Boss, Sark’s indie-folk madmen The Recks and Guernsey’s own chill out merchants Buffalo Huddleston.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page and my review of the show was published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 27th April 2014:

Triplestoked 1 scan - 26:04:14

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Last of the Light Brigade album launch – The Fermain Tavern – 19/04/14

Last of the Light BrigadeWith the release of their third album, Last Laugh, Last of the Light Brigade put on a special show at The Fermain Tavern on Saturday 19th April 2014.

Also on the bill were Robert J. Hunter (with his new band), newcomers Coastal Fire Depart. and singer-songwriter Izzie Sheil.

As well as marking the release of a new album it also marked a crossroads for Last of the Light Brigade as they said goodbye to founder member and bass player Ben Queripel and went on a (hopefully brief) hiatus.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page and my review of the show was published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 26th April 2014:

Last of the Light Brigade album launch scan - 26:04:14Guernsey Gigs were on hand as well making a few videos, here’s one of LOTLB and you can see more on the Guernsey Gigs YouTube Channel:

 

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Last of the Light Brigade – Last Laugh

Last of the Light Brigade - Last LaughTen years on since forming as Stratosfear, Guernsey indie-rock three-piece Last Of The Light Brigade released their third album, Last Laugh on Saturday 19th April 2014 with a gig at The Fermain Tavern.

The album was recorded over the previous year and was preceded by singles The Door, Walking Blind, Can’t Go On, You Go On and Stimulator as well as two brief tours of the UK.

Last Laugh also marked a turning point for the band as they bid farewell to their bass player Ben and went on hiatus.

My review was published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 19th April 2014:

Last of the Light Brigade - Last Laugh scan - 19:04:14The album is available now through iTunes and here is the video for Stimulator put together by another Guernsey native, who also did the album artwork, designer Josh Fletcher:

 

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The_Hobbit_The_Desolation_of_Smaug_7As with its predecessor I’m a bit late to the dance with The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, having picked it up on Blu-ray rather than catching it in the cinema, but either way, it had a lot to live up to with An Unexpected Journey having been one of the films I enjoyed most last year.

Unlike the previous movie this one drops us straight into the action with Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and company immediately on the run from the same band of orcs who were on their tail in the last movie and really this pace rarely lets up for the next two hours and forty minutes or so.

This is both its highlight and its downfall. With An Unexpected Journey the world building and development of all of these characters was one of things that pulled me in and kept me interested as the story and action developed in the films second half.

Here however, of course we already know the characters coming in, but, six months after last watching, it takes a while to get back into who each of them is so I found the first couple of sections of the movie, which don’t slow up the new characters or exposition at all, lost a little for me, leaving the likes of the excellently expressed Beorn a little lost in the shuffle.

spiders-video-image-articleLarge-v2Once the party enter Mirkwood though things hit their stride and we are treated to set piece after set piece which feature some of the most inventive and genuinely exciting fantasy action work I’ve seen in a long time, continuing the trend Jackson started in the Lord of the Rings films.

One element that had caused a lot of discussion prior to the movie’s release was the inclusion of the elves, and Legolas and the newly created Tauriel in particular. As someone not so familiar with the books their inclusion didn’t really cause any problems for me and actually led to one of the nicest moments so far that link this with the previous trilogy, however the teased ‘romance’ between Tauriel and Kili felt more than a little strange and tacked on.

SmaugmoviestillThe major highlight of the movie comes in its final third as the titular dragon, Smaug, is finally unveiled in all his glory. A work of computer generated art combined with motion captured performance leads to a creature that fits seamlessly in with both the sets and the real actors and, in his scenes alone with Martin Freeman’s Bilbo, manages to exude a real chemistry, much like Gollum in the previous film, but with an enormous dragon rather than a basically humanoid character.

With a bunch of other new characters introduced and a whole subplot with Gandalf on a quest to find out what’s going on a Dol Guldur, The Desolation Of Smaug manages to justify its running time by keeping busy throughout and, while I possibly didn’t find it quite as consistently engaging as the first movie, its cliffhanger has left me waiting eagerly to see the final instalment and find out what happens not only to our main company but the residents of Laketown and Smaug himself.

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Fermain Fest 2014 – The Fermain Tavern – 12/04/14

Brunt

Brunt

On Saturday 12th April 2014 The FutureShock presented their second annual all day ‘mini-festival’ at The Fermain Tavern.

Across the day 10 bands played with the show headlined by Jonny Lives! Also playing were SugarSlam, Robert J. Hunter, The Glazzies, To The Woods, The Ok, Brunt, Lydia Pugh, The Doomsday Project and The Black Vote with DJ Four-Q playing some tunes in between as well.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

My review of the show was published in The Guernsey Press on Thursday 17th April:

Fermain Fest 2014 scan - 17:04:14Here’s a video of Jonny Lives! thanks to Plumb, you can see a load more videos of the show on his YouTube Channel:

 

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Jonny Lives! Interview – Guernsey Press – 10/04/14

Jonny Lives!

Ahead of the 2014 Fermain Fest I had the chance to chat to the events headliner’s frontman Jonny Dubowsky.

Jonny fronts New Yorkers Jonny Lives! who have played several gigs in Guernsey over the last couple of years are will be sharing the stage at Fermain Fest with their brother band The Glazzies along with a host of local acts including SugarSlam, Robert J. Hunter, Brunt, The Black Vote, The OK, The Deadbeats, The Doomsday Project, Lydia Pugh and DJ Four-Q.

The event is once again being organised by The FutureShock and takes place on Saturday 12th April at The Fermain Tavern.

Get an idea of what to expect with my review of last year’s Fermain Fest.

Here’s my interview with Jonny (click on the pictures to enlarge them):

Jonny Lives interview scan 1 - 10:04:14Jonny Lives interview scan 2 - 10:04:14

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Nirvana Tribute Night – The Fermain Tavern – 05/04/14

Nirvazon

Nirvazon

Last Saturday marked 20 years since Kurt Cobain’s death at his home in Seattle and, I think it’s fairly safe to say, that he has cast a long shadow over the music world since the early 1990s. With that in mind local drummer James Le Huray had an idea sometime last summer to hold a “grunge night” and this has now come to fruition.

Before the band took to the stage James admitted a certain nervousness on two levels, first was the usual for anyone playing a gig, but second was whether the show would work as a celebration and whether there would be an appetite for celebrating a bunch of songs more than 20 years old.

Well, as the band took to the stage, following a great set from DJ Vauvert Underground – taking in grunge and whole lot else besides (it’s always a nice surprise to hear Cheap Trick and Danzig through a loud PA) – The Fermain Tavern already had a nice crowd growing and it seemed James had nothing to worry about.

Tom Bradshaw and James Le Huray

Tom Bradshaw and James Le Huray

Nirvazon (as they were calling themselves), comprised James (more often seen with Tonight The Skies) on drums, along with SugarSlam’s Plumb on guitar and vocals, Tantale’s Matt Smart on bass and Twelve Tribe Mansion’s Tom Bradshaw on lead guitar, and across two sets they blasted through 29 Nirvana songs spanning the bands entire career from early demos to the posthumously released You Know You’re Right and the crowd lapped up every note.

As it was their first (and only) gig together it wasn’t surprising that it took Nirvazon a few songs to hit their stride, but as they headed into Heart Shaped Box it all seemed to fall into place. From that point on every one of the ‘hits’ had the audience singing along, with Plumb at times just leaving the crowd to sing, while even the more obscure album tracks were greeted with a big reaction.

Ending their first set with Sappy and Tourette’s left the audience certainly wanting more and they were far from disappointed as 15 minutes or so later the band were back on stage with School, In Bloom and Sliver kicking off the second session.

Tom Bradshaw and Pete 'Plumb' Bretel

Tom Bradshaw and Pete ‘Plumb’ Bretel

Again it took a couple of songs to get properly going but soon the dancefloor at the Tav was packed and moving and as the set went on it began to resemble the crowds seen in videos of Nirvana’s own gigs, which was a relief following a few moments of ‘dad dancing’ that I’d witnessed earlier in the night.

Across both sets Nirvazon put in a great performance and, while there were a few minor slip ups, for a band making their first live outing it was very impressive and showed a side, particularly of James and Tom’s playing that, hasn’t been seen in a long time, if at all before.

With You Know You’re Right and Aneurysm ending the set it wasn’t long before the band were back launching into Breed to start their encore, followed by (inevitably) Smells Like Teen Spirit at which point the already energetic audience erupted and even crowd surfing was witnessed – is that a first for the Tav?

NirvazonWhile commemorating the death of an icon such as Cobain could fall into the realms of the morbid if handled wrong, and I think James was right to be concerned, what tonight became, for the most part, was a celebration of the music. It was clear to see from this that while Kurt’s songs had an effect on people who ‘were there’ in the early 1990s, that effect is still being felt today and, while Kurt may have become the icon, the music of the likes of Pixies, Sonic Youth, Soundgarden and Mudhoney (amongst others) still has a lot to say.

There is a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page and Plumb has posted some videos from the show on his YouTube page, this is Breed:

The review was also published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 12th April 2014 (not my photo of Kurt):

Nirvazon Nirvana Tribute night scan - 12:04:14

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The Peace Tent Xmas Party – The Fermain Tavern – 29/03/14

The Space Pirates of Rocquaine

The Space Pirates of Rocquaine

Only the decidedly wonky denizens of The Peace Tent (Chaos’ ‘other’ stage that has taken on something of a life of its own over the past couple of years) would organize their “Office Christmas Party” for the last weekend of March, but with the photocopier set up in the corner and cine-film of a 1970s Christmas running on the big screen, along with crackers, party poppers and paper chains, it was clear that last Saturday night, it was indeed, Christmas party time.

Following a game of “how many milk cartons can you fit in the milk carton” (apparently the answer is 9), and a set from the slightly wooden (or cardboard) looking but excellently lo-fi sounding Nick Mannequin, the first live act of the night took to the stage.

Citizen-X

Citizen-X

Citizen-X has made something of a name for himself for his soundscapes posted to Soundcloud over the last year or so, but it is only recently he has taken his work into the live arena and this was my first chance to catch his act.

Armed only with an iPad strapped to a mic stand the music was created through a mixture of live performance and samples all marshaled through the tablet. The sounds evoked feelings based around interplanetary travel and themes from TV shows, including Game Of Thrones and Doctor Who, all backed up with projections based around the same ideas.

While the performance aspect was interesting to see, and the music a fascinating new sound on Guernsey’s live scene, interest from the growing crowd fluctuated, but it seemed that, in the end, Citizen-X went down well and I for one am fascinated to see where he takes both his music and his live act in the future.

Buffalo Huddleston

Buffalo Huddleston

While a slimmed down version of Buffalo Huddleston got ready on stage we were treated to more cheese-y disco anthems from DJ Ormer and a game of blowing up balloons…

With both violinists Becky and Sarah otherwise engaged, the first part of tonight’s set took Buffalo Huddleston back to its roots with Mike Meinke and his guitar being the focus. What this served to do was show just what Mike can do with the acoustic guitar as he used it for melody, rhythm and percussion, along with a suitcase-cum-kick-drum and a selection of genuinely great songs.

The second half of the set took a more freeform and experimental turn that, while not to the taste of some, grasped the essence of the night excellently. Joined by MC Jull-Z and using a guitar with special ‘tap’ boxes built-in, the duo ran through a few of their standard songs, along with some playing around with various sound effects in between, and Jull-Z being given a few chances to shine with some freestyle MC-ing.

The Space Pirates of Rocquaine

The Space Pirates of Rocquaine

It’s been a while since I’ve seen The Space Pirates Of Rocquaine and from the off tonight they delivered one of the tightest sets I’ve seen from them.

With old favourites like Witch of the Longfrie, Edge of the World and Bad To The Core rubbing shoulders with new songs like Prosperity, Folies D’Amour and The Variouf the set summed up the breadth of songs the six-piece have to draw from.

As the set went on a few began the dancing that carried on to the upbeat folk-rock until the sounds of encore Sarnia Cherie faded and during Mountain Man I even overheard a comparison being made between The Space Pirates and The Arcade Fire! (High and, certainly tonight, suitable praise indeed.)

Undeniably tonight was a real highpoint of a set for The Space Pirates and rounded off the fun, relaxed, upbeat vibes of the night excellently as The Peace Tent once again presented a night of entertainment as only they can and left me very much looking forward to their main event of the year at Chaos in June.

You can see a full gallery of my photos from the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

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