Monthly Archives: June 2016

Lord Vapour – Mill Street Blues

Lord Vapour - Mill Street Blues coverHaving taken Guernsey’s live music by storm over the past 12 months, including show stealing sets at Chaos 2015 and while supporting The Recks at The Fermain Tavern, stoner rock three-piece Lord Vapour headed into the studio over the winter to record their debut, Mill Street Blues.

Released through NoSlip Records there is a vinyl edition to come when the pressing plants catch up on the recent resurgence of the format, but in the meantime there’s a digital version available through Bandcamp.

My review of the record was published in the Guernsey Press on Saturday 25th June 2016, you can read it below…

Lord Vapour album review

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BBC Introducing Guernsey: June 2016 – Arts Sunday look back and festival preview

Honest Crooks

Honest Crooks

Click here to listen to the show

For the June 2016 edition of BBC Introducing Guernsey I had an even more packed two hours of music from the islands than usual.

Following on from the live stage on Arts Sunday I presented highlights of the acts of that played including Gregory HarrisonThe Rectory Hill Skillet LickersHONEST CROOKSStatic Alice and The Elliot Falla Trio.

As well as that I had a look at some of the bands playing the Sark Folk Festival and new festival, The Gathering, both of which take place over the next few weeks.

On top of that there’s music from BruntJoe Corbin, a brand new one from The Space Pirates of Rocquaine and lots more.

Click here to listen to the show

Tracklist

There was also one track I couldn’t feature on the show but wanted to share, so here it is, this is Movements by Glitched, a Brighton based band featuring Guernsey musician Ollie Denton:

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NXT Bournemouth – Bournemouth International Centre – 16/06/15

NXT view

My view at the show

A couple of days removed from the event this isn’t going to be a definitive blow-by-blow account of NXT’s recent show in Bournemouth, but a bit of a run down and my thoughts on the show.

Arriving at the BIC I wasn’t sure what to expect given my previous experience of live WWE shows was a Monday Night Raw taping at the O2 in 2015, a much larger crowd and, theoretically, broader in scope as ‘sports entertainment’ and prior to that a non-televised show at the Royal Albert Hall in early 1994!

Instantly it was obvious the crowd here was slightly different, more black t-shirts, more males aged 18-35 (thankfully I’m still just in that demographic) and much more ‘serious’ wrestling chat, giving it the feeling of many of live music shows I go to and a bit of a hint of WWE’s (somewhat inexplicably) revered Attitude Era of the late 1990s, just a bit less drunk and raucous.

That said, there were still some families there and, after the men in black t-shirts, the largest contingent was youngsters in purple Bayley t-shirts (and some of the adult men proudly rocking them too). I thought this might make the crowd a bit imbalanced but it didn’t as throughout, from what I could see and hear, everyone was polite and respectful (both in terms of language used and phrases chanted) and clearly out to have a good time, which it seems everyone did, to a huge degree.

Entering the venue’s Windsor Hall and finding my seat, fifth row from ringside and facing the entrance way, I realised I’d struck gold as I had a great view of everything from the ring to the entrance way while also feeling part of the energetic crowd.

Before the show started host and ring announcer Dasha Fuentes headed to ringside to chat with a few fans, it was clear that despite this being near the end of the tour the difference between American and English crowds hadn’t quite sunk in and people were a little more reserved than it seems Fuentes expected but it was still all fun and then, to warm us up for the in-ring action, we got to vote on which classic NXT match to watch highlights of.

With the options being Seth Rollins vs Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville and Bayley vs Sasha Banks the crowd picked the Bayley/Banks face off from Takeover Brooklyn which just goes to show the way this pair have helped build the reputation of women’s wrestling in WWE and NXT to being on a level with the men’s matches as this is an indisputable classic.

No Way Jose vs Angelo Dawkins

No Way Jose

No Way Jose

With the crowd warmed up the lights went down and we got the WWE TV intros on the big screen, both the ‘Then, Now, Forever’ ident and NXT opening titles which finished setting the mood perfectly before No Way Jose hit the ring and had everyone clapping and singing along to his excellently catchy theme.

Jose is a character I thought I was really not going to like before his debut, dancing gimmicks are very much not my thing, but something about his enthusiasm and the innocence with which it is delivered really works and I was instantly onside with him as babyface and that just grew seeing him live.

His opponent was one of NXT’s roster of unfortunate jobbers, Angelo Dawkins who got little reaction until someone noticed he looks like a low rent version of Attitude Era stalwart D’Lo Brown. From that point on the crowd got on his case about this and he played up to it excellently as a heel should.

The rest of the match was more good fun, all very loose but that’s to be expected in the opening match of a non-televised show and really didn’t spoil things as Jose danced rings around Dawkins before hitting his cobra clutch slam finisher for the win leading to more chanting, dancing and singing and setting the tone nicely.

Bayley & Carmella vs Nia Jax & Alexa Bliss

Bayley

Bayley

As Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring for a tag team match it seemed like we were going to get to see some big names early, and we did as Bliss and Nia Jax (a genuinely imposing presence in person), both greeted to a suitable level of good-natured heat made their way to the ring followed by Carmella, who did her whole Enzo style entrance, and Bayley completely with walking waving inflatable tube men and one of the biggest pops of the night.

Getting to ‘sing-along’ with Carmella was a great moment as we all joined with her ‘My name is…’ schtick complete withe ‘Bada-bing, hottest chick in the ring!’ and just feeling the positivity Bayley brings to the arena is amazing and she is a credit to the WWE. I’ve heard people suggest she could be the female John Cena and on the basis or a response like this I could see her being even more than that and the crowd was all on side in an entirely genuine way.

Bayley and Bliss lock up

Bayley and Bliss lock up

The match was a good back and forth with the heels beating down on both faces, all the great Bayley chants (which she seemed genuinely enthused by) and lots of ‘How you doin’’ chants. it was mostly Carmella suffering at the hands of the heels building to a hot tag to Bayley which again got a huge response.

With all four competitors involved Carmella and Bliss headed to the floor distracting Jax and allowing Bayley to hit the monster heel with her Bayley-to-Belly Suplex finisher for the three. This move was a big surprise and probably amplified the winning pop even more and it was sustained as Bayley made her way around ringside giving out hugs to anyone with an ‘I’m a hugger’ t-shirt.

Tye Dillinger vs Hugo Knox

Tye Dillinger

‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger

Being from Manchester it was clear that Knox was expected to be the hometown hero in this match as he is English, unfortunately for him and despite the best efforts of both Dillinger and WWE, Tye is getting huge reactions for his perfect 10 gimmick and this continued here, with his work in the ring and natural charisma coming through despite his best efforts to play the bad guy.

The match was good, with newcomer Knox coming across well with some great athleticism for a bodybuilder type guy but he succumbed to Dillinger’s Perfect 10 fireman’s carry neck breaker and the imbalance of the heel/face work did spoil it a little, but Dillinger is just too good at what he does to boo and chanting ’10’ along with his is a great crowd moment.

Austin Aries vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

Austin Aries

Austin Aries

As Aries stepped out, complete with a cape that should be an instant heat winner, he was getting cheered hugely.

As he picked up the mic in the ring though he proceeded to cut an excellent heel promo that did a great job of getting across the cocky side of ‘The greatest man that ever lived’ and almost totally counteracted the initial cheers to set the stage nicely for a fast paced match with NXT newcomer (but seasoned performer elsewhere) Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas.

While having a reputation from CMLL in Mexico and NJPW in Japan as La Sombre (amongst others) Andrade hasn’t quite found his place in NXT yet but, working with a veteran like Aries, it was clear the two brought out the best in each other.

This was the first match to feel genuinely competitive with both men looking for big moves and feeling a bit tighter than what had come before.

Austin Aries vs Andrade Cien Almas

Cien reacts to a dropkick in the corner

Andrade’s springboard moonsault feint into a standing moonsault is hugely impressive as was pretty much everything Aries did, even if he didn’t hit any of his big high-flying trademarks (again fairly expected these wouldn’t be used on a non-televised show).

With a great back and forth and both men playing things excellently the end came with Cien countering what looked like it would be a brain buster and connecting with his running double knee in the corner. This looks far more impactful in person but with Shinsuke Nakamura’s range of knee strikes being present on the same show it feels like an odd choice of finish.

While on paper Aries doing the job sounds strange it worked in the context of this show with everything being very feel good and this was one of those matches where both men came out well regardless of who took the fall.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Bobby Roode

Bobby Roode

Bobby Roode

To start the next match, scheduled, of course, for one-fall (ONE FALL! – I’ll never quite get why the UK crowd shouts this each match but its fun) some unfamiliar music hit and the screen displayed some nondescript lights so, as former TNA standard Bobby Roode headed out the crowd were initially caught off guard before popping pretty big for this long teased newcomer to NXT.

As Roode entered the ring, looking like a classic wrestling heel a la Ric Flair in his sequined robe, his cocky heel persona really came through and without even taking the mic the crowd was already accepting him as a bad guy when the lights went out and Shinsuke Nakamura’s already familiar theme hit and crowd exploded at the proposition of this ‘dream match’.

Being relatively new to Nakamura I’m already a huge fan but as the lights came up and he strutted his way to the ring it was clear that his charismatic presence is even bigger in person than on-screen and he received the biggest reaction of the night.

Nakamura hits the Kinshasa

Nakamura hits the Kinshasa

With the crowd chanting for both men the duo circled each other but eventually the Nakamura chants (along with ‘Shinsuke Bomaye’ and singing of his theme song) won out and the pair put on the match of the night going back and forth and hitting the fiercest looking strikes and some of the biggest general moves of the show.

Throughout occasional shouts of ‘BEER!… MONEY!’ in reference to Roode showed that this crowd knew they were watching something special and, for a non-televised show we were not disappointed and both men hit a series of big spots culminating in Nakamura’s inverted exploder and Kinshasa/Bomaye knee strike that was the move of the night and rounded off the first half of the show in a huge way that wasn’t to be bettered.

NXT Tag Team Championship
American Alpha vs The Revival (c)

American Alpha

American Alpha

With the crowd re-energised after the emotional drain that was Nakamura/Roode the second half opening with a rematch from last week’s Takeover: The End as American Alpha headed to the ring to challenge The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship.

Despite their all American gimmick the work of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable has endeared them well beyond the US and they got one of the biggest reactions tonight as they made their way out and it was clear both they and the crowd were ‘Ready, Willing and Gable’ (sorry I couldn’t resist).

While not such a big reaction Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder were greeted as heels should be with  good-natured negativity that continued throughout the match with many different ways of playing up to the running joke that no one knows who is who out of the two.

American Alpha vs The Revival

Gable arm drags Dawson

It wasn’t all Revival heckling though and Alpha got many renditions of 2-Unlimited’s Euro-pop classic No Limit as reworked with Jordan and Gable’s names – I’m not sure if this chant makes any sense outside of the UK, or even to the two wrestlers, but they seem to love it as much as the crowd does.

Despite it being pretty obvious the belts weren’t going to change hands here both teams did a good job of selling that it might, putting on an excellent exhibition with Dash and Dawson being excellent at playing the old school heels, distracting the ref so cheating could occur, engaging with the crowd and generally being a great modern-day versions of classic teams from the NWA in the 1970s. American Alpha on the other hand are their antithesis being excellent ‘pure wrestlers’ like a more sane version of the Steiner Brothers crossed with Kurt Angle (we got another ankle lock tease spot from Gable), giving the two teams a perfect chemistry together.

The Revival

The Revival – victorious

Of course The Revival came out on top but, with it being thanks to some foul play from Wilder helping Dawson get the pin it left American Alpha looking good and strong and was as pitch perfect a tag match as your likely to see, even if we didn’t get to see the Shatter Machine or Grand Amplitude.

After the match American Alpha stayed in the ring and appeared genuinely touched by the huge reaction they got from the crowd which was great to see.

NXT Women’s Championship
Peyton Royce vs Asuka (c)

Asuka

Asuka

As soon Royce was announced as the challenger here it was clear where this was going which spoiled it a bit as a contest but, despite that she put on a good show and we got to see more from her than we have so far on TV and she worked effectively as a heel including a nice referee distraction spot leading to a tarantula-like hold in the ropes.

Asuka on the other hand was excellent in her silent killer kind of role, despite which she is a face, but she still let the match go back and forth a little before unleashing her ranger of strong style strikes and holds, including a great looking Shining Wizard, before getting the expected win with the Asuka Lock.

NXT Championship
Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe (c)

Finn Balor

Finn Balor – 2 Sweet!

By this point it was clear what the main event was going to be but the greeting for Irish grappler Finn Balor was immense as he stepped through the curtain and threw the hand signal for the Bullet Club/Kliq to be greeted with most of the crowd returning it.

Another unassumingly charismatic performer Balor had the audience in his hand throughout and the positivity of his reaction was matched only by Nakamura tonight and, from a heel side, his opponent Samoa Joe.

Joe in person is genuinely fairly terrifying when he wants to be. Built like a tank the so-called Soman Submission Machine is a real monster and played the part to a tee here as he seemed impervious to much of Balor’s offence in the early going. Both guys hit a lot of signature spots, most of which looked nice and tight continuing the story of their ongoing rivalry brilliantly and the crowd, though somewhat divided in their support, were engaged throughout.

Samoa Joe

Samoa Joe

With Finn starting to make a come back on the champ, Joe bailed from the ring and found a steel chair and, after a bit more offence from Finn, Joe smacked him with it in the gut, then the back leading to a disqualification. This, of course, saved his championship, but felt anti-climactic until Balor retaliated and went back and forth with Joe leading to a Coupe De Grace from the top rope sending the champ to the back.

After the match Finn got on the mic and cut a great promo, initially it felt like a standard, ‘thanks for coming, this was the best night of the tour’ kind of thing, but as we all started chanting ‘Thank you Finn’ it seemed to change to something more heartfelt as the Demon said we shouldn’t be thanking him or any of the others wrestlers, they should be thanking us for supporting them and coming out to see the shows.

Samoa Joe vs Finn Balor

Joe with the facewash on Balor

Coming from a guy who’s truly worked his way up from the bottom (including moving from his home to the UK, then Japan, then America to pursue his dream) this was genuinely quite something and as this maybe Balor’s last tour before he moves to mainstream WWE it gave it something of an extra special ‘farewell tour’ moment and ended a great show on a real high, even if Roode and Nakamura put on the best match of the night.

For me, other than reenforcing my love of pro-wrestling, what this show did most was show just how fun wrestling shows can be and that it takes everything from the dancing of No Way Jose to the ‘strong style’ fighting of Shinsuke to Nakamura to the genuine, heartfelt performance of Finn Balor and Bayley to make a wrestling show, making it about as close to variety as you really get in this day and age.

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Vale Earth Fair 40th Anniversary Exhibition

Vale Earth Fair 40th anniversary40 years ago a group of Guernsey’s music lovers, free thinkers and, for want of a better word to make a point, hippies… came up with the idea of getting together at the Vale Castle at the height of summer and championing all the sort of causes you’d think they might through the medium of music.

Now, more than 30 festivals later and after settling on the name Vale Earth Fair, the collective they have grown to become are staging a series of events to mark the milestone. As well as gigs featuring both visiting favourites alongside some of Guernsey top musicians (including a fantastic show from Pussycat & The Dirty Johnsons and an extra special Unplugged night) they have branched out with an exhibition of posters, artwork, photos and more from each of the festivals.

Despite being a slightly odd location, the ‘Inner Street’ of Guernsey’s Market Building gives the exhibition a real sense of the journey that the Earth Fair (as its generally abbreviated to) has been on as you make your way down one wall spanning 1976 through to late 1990s and back along the other side tracing the last 15 years or so.

Vale Earth Fair Posters

Vale Earth Fair Posters

This journey is a fascinating one as, throughout, familiar names stand alongside those lost to the memory of those who were there (and can remember being there). For me names like Errol Groves (a permanent fixture since the start), Two Trumpets, various incarnations of Paul Fletcher and Earthcorpse have a certain familiarity but some of the others conjure impressive ideas of what they might have been.

This is really brought home with the Big Band List that stands at the end of the journey, listing, as you’d expect, every band who’ve ever played the festival over the years and, on a selfish note, its great seeing my own musical project named alongside the likes of local luminaries Teaspoonriverneck and The Sacred Hearts as well as visitors like Skindred and Buzzcocks.

As one journeys around the exhibition its impossible not to draw comparisons with what feels like the Earth Fair’s spiritual forefather, Glastonbury, as it goes from humble, simple looking origins into far slicker and more ‘corporate’ looking fare. Bigger stages with impressive light shows are evident in the newer photos while the poster and programme artwork develop into some highly impressive designs – particularly considering the comparatively simple nature maintained by the volunteer organising collective.

The Big Band List

The Big Band List

If anything my only real criticism of this exhibition would be that it didn’t contain enough. While it offers a glimpse into the history of the festival it is a tantalising one that cries out for more, and I’m sure there is more, while at the same time continuing to back up the well-worn (but none the less true) notion that Guernsey is spoiled with the amount and variety of music being created on our little rock of 65,000 or so people.

The exhibition opened on Friday 3rd June with a selection of live music spanning both the history and variety represented by the festival. Veteran performer Colette Esteves started it off with her acoustic guitar and selection of 60s new folk and 70s style songs delivered in a timeless fashion that never fails to impress.

Regular Earth Fair main stage compere Grant Sharkey followed and created a huge sound in the reverberation chamber of the room that was, at points, organ rumblingly deep to the extent it was rendered hard to listen too but, none the less, had a few laughing and singing along to its messages that suit those of the festival being celebrated.

Colette Esteves

Colette Esteves

Before the assembled crowd decamped to The Golden Lion for more music and refreshment Citizen-X brought the event to a close with his iOS driven soundscapes that again suffered from the room’s huge reverb effect.

Despite the sound issues the music added a great extra to the visuals on offer and marked the launch of the exhibition in perfect style, as the Vale Earth Fair continues its celebrations in preparation for the main event at the end of August.

You can see a few more of my photos from the launch night on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page

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Tiger Army – V…-

Tiger Army V coverIn their near 20 years as a band Tiger Army have continually defied the generic stereotypes of their chosen style, while none the less continuing, in many ways, to be impossible to describe as anything but a psychobilly band.

While their first two albums certainly fell into this category the third and fourth began to stray and now, with V…- they have taken things yet another step beyond to create what could be a soundtrack to a film noir while packing in some great punk power as well.

As has become traditional the record (and I feel I certainly can call it that as it is available not only as CD and digital but also on vinyl with a great looking gatefold sleeve) begins with a short instrumental opening that merges into first track proper, Firefall, that shows while Nick 13 has evolved both his own and his bands sound punk rock ’n’ roll and pyschobilly is still a strong part of Tiger Army’s make up.

From there the album weaves in a vaguely laconic fashion through what feels like a dark night of rock ’n’ roll drenched in the Americana and 1950s obsessions of the band’s leader while maintaining the idea of this being created by a gang of Orange County vampires akin to antagonists of seminal 1980s movie The Lost Boys.

Tiger Army in 2016

Tiger Army in 2016

Lead single Prisoner of the Night (debuted at last year’s Octoberflame shows) sets a tone for the film noir-ish quality of what is to come and really this link between the sense of visuals and the music is something that defines the album throughout leading to something of a concept album feel – albeit nothing like the proggy self-indulgence that might suggest.

As well as the ever-present thrum and thwack of the double bass and Nick 13’s Gretsch guitars (both in overdriven and more melodic style) the album features a host of new sounds growing on the developments seen on 2008’s Music From Regions Beyond.

So we get pianos, strings, organs, pedal steel guitars and, possibly most notably, brass, that gives a slightly mariachi or Mexican feel to some of the songs and adding a western movie vibe to the noir.

While World Without The Moon and Devil Lurks On The Road are fairly typical of what we’re used to from Tiger Army, Dark And Lonely Night really highlights the 1950s sounds coming in the form of something that, in a different context, could be mistaken for being from an easy listening crooner and shows Nick 13 has grown into a confident singer and frontman from the howls and screams of the band’s early days.

Tiger Army live by Samantha Madnick

Tiger Army live by Samantha Madnick

Culminating with the feel of a south-west US sunrise on In The Morning Light, V…- completes what feels like a long hot night on a lower key note. After spanning everything you’d expect from Tiger Army and more the album shows a band confidently treading their own path regardless of what some other parts of their subculture may think of them to create a great record that continues to show extra levels listen after listen.

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BBC Introducing Guernsey at Arts Sunday 2016

Honest Crooks

Honest Crooks

For the second year in a row BBC Introducing Guernsey headed down to the St Peter Port seafront to showcase a range of bands from the islands as part of the Guernsey Arts Commission’s Art Sunday event.

As I was ‘stage managing’ (I use the term loosely), taking photos and generally fretting about organising things, this may not be a full review but hopefully gives a bit of insight into the event.

With the seafront already busy as 100 stalls were set up selling and showcasing art of all kinds, along with a dance stage, two music school stages, the Vale Earth Fair and two dedicated music stages (including ours) the street was already busy as Gregory Harrison started the music at 11am.

Gregory Harrison

Gregory Harrison

As he has become known for Harrison delivered a set of his soulful, bluesy, acoustic songs mixing tracks from his debut EP with brand new songs that will appear on his second release that he said he hopes to record and release before the end of the year.

Being on Town’s main thoroughfare there were plenty of people passing with quite a number stopping for at least a few songs to take in Harrison’s sounds before continuing to explore the rest of the event, but every song was greeted warmly by those who chose to stop.

The energy certainly jumped a few notches as The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers hit the stage with their unique rag-time, skiffle, busking, stomp. Familiar to many for their impromptu Saturday morning performances around Town seeing and hearing the band on stage and amplified really helped to bring out their lo-fi, raucous, but above all fun musicality and performance.

The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers

The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers

All seven members had their chance to shine over their 40 minute set but lead trio of Tinshack, Gemma and Clem were certainly the focus and, with the street all but blocked by those who’d stopped to listen, The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers certainly provided one of the day’s highlights.

The upbeat sounds continued with Honest Crooks who, even if two-thirds of them were feeling a little worse for wear after the previous night’s gig, delivered a supremely skank-worthy set that perfectly suited the increasingly sunny afternoon.

While their songs (for the most part) have a bit of a socially and politically aware edge, it never gets in the way of a good tune and the trio even got a few dancing and gently skanking along while their version of Meghan Trainor’s All About The Bass went down a storm with a slightly different edge to the original performer’s version at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter last week.

Static Alice

Static Alice

Having stormed the most recent Sound Guernsey show for under 18s Static Alice certainly brought in a crowd spanning all ages and delivered a vibrant, energetic 40 minutes of music from their debut album and follow-up EP.

Dom Ogier once again headed out into the audience and drew them into the performance while the rest of the band delivered their pop-rockers in as slick and tight a fashion as always all of which left the crowd, who’d packed the road in front of the stage, calling for more.

After such high energy things got a little more relaxed with the smooth, blues-y, rock of The Elliot Falla Trio. Once again as the set went on a crowd gathered and, while the music was a bit lighter Falla’s impassioned howl cut through and added an extra edge.

Elliot Falla

Elliot Falla

Other than a cover of the seemingly obligatory Valerie and traditional folk tune Wagon Wheel (suitably blues’d up) the rest of the set drew on Falla’s own writing including tracks from his debut EP and Nebula Eyes that he announced as having been written when he was only 13!

As the event drew to a close, and the crowds began to thin, it seemed Arts Sunday as a whole had been one of the most popular yet and with every act on the BBC Introducing Guernsey stage drawing a crowd it was great to be part of an event showcasing so much of what Guernsey has to offer in the way of the arts and particularly new music.

You can see more of my photos from the day on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page

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Sound Guernsey: Static Alice, Jawbone, Burning At Both Ends and Cosmic Fish – The Venue – 29/05/16

Static Alice

Static Alice

The latest Sound Guernsey show for 11-17 year olds had something of an ‘end of chapter one’ feel to it. Having started last November with Buffalo Huddleston packing the house the series of events have had their ups and downs but the last few have really found their feet with Blakalaska bringing a highlight a few months ago and Last of the Light Brigade going down a storm at the previous show. Here a band who it was clear many had been waiting see, were closing what looks to be the last Sound show at The Venue, Static Alice.

To clarify, posters around the room were advertising the Sound Guernsey summer party in July which will be the first to take place across the road at the home of live music in Guernsey, The Fermain Tavern… but before that, we had the end of May bank holiday show.

As I arrived Cosmic Fish were just getting into their first song when bass player Billy achieved the rare feat of breaking a bass string. Thanks to Dan from Jawbone lending his instrument it wasn’t long before the young foursome were back into it and tearing through a set of grungy, punk-y, rock covers from the likes of Feeder, Green Day and Nirvana.

Cosmic Fish

Cosmic Fish

For such a young band (at the risk of sounding patronising) they performed with a surprising amount of attitude, though there’s plenty more for them to find, and, while they had their musically wobbly moments its clear they were focussing on playing a gig for the audience as well as being good on their instruments, which all four clearly are (despite Billy understandably struggling a bit with an alien bass guitar) and this is really great to see.

Lead guitarist Jamie had the lead breaks of Smells Like Teen Spirit and more down very well, while frontman Toby brought an innocent suggestion of a pop punk sneer to the Green Day tracks and the drummer (another Toby) kept the rhythms strong.

Throughout the set both the young audience and the members of the older bands were clearly enjoying the show and I would say this four-piece is certainly one to watch as they grow and develop.

Burning at Both Ends

Burning at Both Ends

Barely a week on from their first gig together Burning At Both Ends came on with a much more relaxed confidence and had the audience into their take on pop punk from the start.

A new song (even compared the new songs played last weekend) showed a more complex side to their version of this often derided genre, while This Ain’t No Christmas Jingle showed they certainly have the fun side sorted as well.

Across the set frontman Peter Mitchell was far more chatty and engaging than I had seen previously and, with a few ‘classic’ pop punk covers from the like of Blink 182 and Lit along with some catchy originals they got some mild pogoing going around the room to close things off on a high.

Having had a while away from the live scene Jawbone were back here in three-piece form and with guitarist/vocalist Lee Burton on the verge of loosing his voice – that didn’t stop them though as they blasted into their set of classic punk covers (and an original or two). Setting the scene with a sloppy version of The Damned’s Neat, Neat, Neat, they spanned 40 years of punk, and a little else besides.

Jawbone

Jawbone

If I’m honest, they did their best to murder a few of these classics with not only Lee’s voice going more and more but his thumb getting split open on his guitar strings not helping either – their attitude though just about carried things through.

It was clear from the start the young audience weren’t entirely sure what to make of this raucous and ramshackle sonic assault, but, by about half way through they started to get the measure of Jawbone and, by the time they closed the set on The Ramones’ Bonzo Goes To Bitburg, they won the crowd over with a lot of fun, high-spirited, ‘tea’ fuelled, noise.

While the three previous bands had all gone down well, it was clear as the audience came forward right away that Static Alice were the band they’d come to see. With the words to most of the songs being sung back to them, Static Alice have clearly gained a following with the island’s younger music fans and the band paid the enthusiasm back with a hugely energetic performance.

Scott and Luis of Static Alice

Scott and Luis of Static Alice

Like Burning At Both Ends they seemed to be a bit more relaxed than they often are but were no less musically tight and Dom Ogier’s stage presence and performance really shone through as she headed off into the audience several times bringing everyone into the show whether they were lurking in the side room or the tables at the back.

With Hurricane closing the set an encore was called for and came in the form The Sweet’s classic glam stomper Ballroom Blitz that, with the encouragement of Lee and Dan from Jawbone, saw Sounds’ first circle pit kick off, albeit in rather polite fashion, and close out the show on a real moment as Sound prepares to expand with their summer party at The Tav in July and on into the Autumn once the summer holiday is over.

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