Tag Archives: Cosmic Fish

Sound Guernsey: Sons of the Desert, Honest Crooks, Equilibrium, Cosmic Fish – The Fermain Tavern – 17/03/17

Sons of the Desert

Sons of the Desert and friends

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

Sound Guernsey‘s March 2017 show had a very punk-ska flavour to things with their old formula of two young bands playing alongside two more experienced groups.

Cosmic Fish kicked off the show with a set of old-school pop-punk starting with Green Day’s Welcome To Paradise and continuing in similar fashion.

Compared to when I’d seen them throughout last year the trio have come on in leaps in bounds and, while they still have some way to go in terms of audience interaction and performing confidence, their renditions of songs by Blink-182, Good Charlotte and their ilk have a lot going for them.

Cosmic Fish

Cosmic Fish

Throughout the set there were a few moments where the energy found a good level that, in a perfect world, would have seen the audience get more energetic (they remained attentive but restrained) and it was the closing pair of Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle and Blink’s All The Small Things that closed the set in a high.

Another band who made a good impression last year and have built on that are Equilibrium.

Having been one of the young highlights of the early Sound events the band went on the play Liberation Day and the Vale Earth Fair amongst other things but like the openers they seemed to have stepped up their game once more.

Sticking with a similar pop-rock selection, including a couple of extra Red Hot Chilli Peppers tunes, the band had a much more relaxed energy from the off and this was clearly infectious.

Equilibrium

Equilibrium

The aforementioned Chilli Peppers track Otherside was a highlight of the set as was their take at Blink-182’s Stay Together For The Kids where several members of the band swapped instruments.

Their takes on Basket Case and All The Small Things (also done earlier by Cosmic Fish) didn’t quite match the previous band’s but in all it was a good set and, with a little bit more power, Equilibrium will be a band worth keeping an eye on.

After a few months off following a very busy 2016, Honest Crooks were starting to gear up for an already busy summer season as they took to the Tav’s stage. While they were a little lose compared to past gigs it was all relaxed and fun as they mixed their own songs with some more ska oriented covers and they had the crowd going from the start.

Honest Crooks

Honest Crooks

With a genuinely funny ‘play some Slayer moment’ (a rarity these days where that joke wore thin a decade ago) and great covers of Reel Big Fish’s Beer and Sublime’s Santeria it was really their own songs that provided the highlights and they certainly set the mood well for the night’s headliners.

Following the more modern ska warm up, Sons Of The Desert set out to provide a perfect primer for all thing two-tone and of the late 70s/early 80s UK ska scene. Spanning tracks from The Beat and The Selecter to Bad Manners and Madness it was prime upbeat skanking material all the way.

With the audience a sea of bouncing red fezzes thanks to the always manic and energetic Chris Pearson, it wasn’t long before everyone was on the dance floor and both the band and audience were having a whale of a time.

Sons of the Desert

Sons of the Desert

The band themselves are something of an eccentric mix of performers that come together brilliantly and create a huge sound with a three-piece brass section and Andy Coleman on the organ bolstering the usual rock band line up for a real authentic two-tone sound.

There were many highlights in the set but for me Lit Up Fatty, Too Much Too Young and set closer Night Boat To Cairo were the standouts before it all went a bit chaotic in the encore with the entire audience joining the band on stage for a skank to bring one of the most energetic Sound nights yet to a close on a major high.

One of my photos of the show was used along with a review from Becks Cox in The Guernsey Press:

Sound-review-March-2017-for-blog

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School of Popular Music Summer Party – The Fermain Tavern – 05/08/16

A Box

A Box

Over the last few years a few new music schools have emerged in Guernsey giving youngsters a chance to learn music away from the more formal and classical training offered by the School’s Music Service.

One such is the School of Popular Music who operate regular classes across a range of disciplines and encourage their students to play the music they like in bands as well as solo.

For their 2016 summer project they got a group of young musicians together and gave them a week to form bands, practice and prepare for a show at Guernsey’s premier music venue, The Fermain Tavern.

With ages ranging from 8 to 15 the first half of the evening, showcasing these young musicians, was certainly a mixed affair but the thing that struck most throughout was the level of enthusiasm, fun and commitment all these players showed.

Rainbow Pugs

Rainbow Pugs

First band on, known somewhat cryptically as ‘A Box’, delivered, like all the young bands, a set of reasonably well-known covers.

Featuring Toby and Jamie of Cosmic Fish gave them a bit of a head start and they played a competent set that showed all four have a lot of potential.

Rainbow Pugs (the bands all chose their all names and, no I don’t know what their inspiration was) were the youngest band of the night and were joined on stage by SOPM’s Alex Wilson who helped guide them through the short set that was well delivered despite the understandable nerves in front of a big audience.

I Blame The Parents probably had the best name of the evening (and the best I’ve heard in a while) and were highlighted by a few guitar players and a drummer who certainly brought the right attitude and swagger to the stage and showed that with time they could bring a complete package.

Clear Vision

Clear Vision

Next up were Lanterns who swapped instruments around mid set, showing a few members have skill in multiple disciplines which is always impressive for someone who just about muddles through on one. Once again another group with some obvious musical talent and plenty of potential.

I’m not sure if they do but Clear Vision came across as a group with a bit more playing experience than the previous bands and rocked their way through their set admirably.

Special mention has to go to their lead guitarist who managed to successfully combine the riffs of Queen’s We Will Rock You and AC/DC’s Back in Black all with a foot planted firmly in the monitor in a classic rock ’n’ roll pose.

Sorry Imogen rounded off the young bands with a set highlighted by a selection of impressive harmonies and a generally relaxed vibe.

They closed their set on a reworked take of Bon Jovi classic Living On A Prayer rounding off the first half of the evening with a real sense that live music in Guernsey is in safe hands, even if they could do with a few more bass players.

Sorry Imogen

Sorry Imogen

After a bit of break as, disappointingly the youngsters couldn’t stay on in the venue, Elliot Falla opened the later part of the show with his brother Harvey in tow on mandolin.

As always Elliot’s take on acoustic indie blues sounded very good and the addition of the mandolin and second vocals added a nice folky side to the sound, along with some harmonies that tempered Elliot’s voice.

That said, his voice has come on impressively even in the few months since I’d last seen him play and with a batch of new songs its clear Elliot is really coming into his own.

If Elliot Falla’s performance was well delivered if a little low-key for a party, Clameur De Haro soon changed that launching into their bluegrass inspired set with their usual sense of fun.

Clameur De Haro

Clameur De Haro

Unfortunately a broken string soon stalled proceedings for a few minutes, though the band took it admirably in their stride joking with both one another and the audience while fiddle player Josh De Kooker took the chance to play a quick jig that got a few dancing.

After that brief break the band were back on it, building on the already good atmosphere in the venue highlighted by their ode to Guernsey’s most famous politician, Dear John and even getting a smile out of cajon player Shifty.

The good atmosphere continued as the small but enthusiastic audience headed onto the dance floor as Honest Crooks took to the stage. The ska-punk trio really felt as if they were on home turf here and entirely playing to their fans and friends making for one of the most relaxed and fun sets I’ve seen from them.

Joined on kazoo by To The Woods’ Bobby Battle for a fair bit of the set, this was one of those gigs where the lines between band and audience were well and truly blurred in the best of ways.

Honest Crooks

Honest Crooks

With covers by Sublime, Reel Big Fish, Gentlemen’s Dub Club and others receiving some of the most instantly positive reactions it is to the credit of the band that their original songs stand alongside these classics of the genre and, I would suggest, that if I didn’t know which were covers and which were originals there would be no difference.

Rounding off with that song by Sublime closed the night on a high that showcased not just some of the current best musicians playing ‘popular music’ in Guernsey but made it clear that there is a lot more good stuff to come.

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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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