Tag Archives: the sacred hearts

BBC Introducing Guernsey: March 2017 – Gregory Harrison in Session and Vinyl Vaughan’s

Gregory Harrison and Nathan Arnaud in the BBC Introducing Guernsey studio

Greg and Nathan in the studio

Click here to listen to the show

BBC Introducing Guernsey returned to the airwaves on Saturday 26th March 2017 with another two hours of music from around the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

This month I was joined in the studio by Gregory Harrison, one of the people behind a pair of recent shows organised under the Guernsey Gigs banner.

As well as telling me about the shows he spoke about joining The Recks last year, being part of The Rectory Hill Skillet Lickers and of course his own music, and he played an acoustic session for us with Nathan Arnaud accompanying him on the bass.

I also took a look at Guernsey’s new independent record store that has grown out of the charity record fairs that take place around the island, Vinyl Vaughan’s.

You can listen to the show for 30 days after the broadcast date by clicking here.


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The Sacred Hearts and SugarSlam – The Fermain Tavern – 11/03/17

The Sacred Hearts at The Fermain Tavern

The Sacred Hearts

After four years away early 1990s Guernsey music legends The Sacred Hearts made a rare appearance at The Fermain Tavern on Saturday 11th March 2017.

Alongside fellow 90s rockers SugarSlam the band were not only celebrating a major birthday for one of their number but also helped raise money for the Helping Jonah – Helping Others charity as something of a follow-up to last year’s Jonah Beats event.

My review of the show was published in The Guernsey Press on Saturday 18th March 2017 and you can read it below. You can also see a full gallery of my photos from the event on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page.

Sacred Hearts and SugarSlam review 18-03-17

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BBC Introducing Guernsey: February 2017 – WaterColour Matchbox and Of Empires

WaterColour Matchbox on BBC Introducing Guernsey

WaterColour Matchbox in the BBC Introducing Guernsey studio

Click here to listen to the show

As BBC Music Introducing moves on with its 10th anniversary that has so far included the relaunch of the Uploader tool for submitting tracks (click here to find out more), BBC Introducing Guernsey returned with another show highlighting new music from the islands.

This month’s live session came from WaterColour Matchbox. Live they are a prog-metal-grunge hybrid four-piece but it was founding duo Peter Mitchell and Mikey Ferbrache who joined me for the session, playing acoustic versions of tracks from their recently released debut album Fragments, Artefact and Ruins.

I also spoke to Jack Fletcher, frontman of Of Empires, about their upcoming new EP – the long-awaited follow-up to Stranger Sensations – and what the now Brighton based band have planned for 2017.

You can listen to the show thorough the BBC iPlayer or by clicking here.


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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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The Sacred Hearts Return – Fermain Tavern – 21/06/13

The Sacred Hearts

The Sacred Hearts

After eight years absence psychedelic indie band The Sacred Hearts reformed for a show at The Fermain Tavern on Friday 21st June 2013.

Following such a long break from public performance anticipation for the six-piece band’s return was high as DJ SilverVespa got everyone in the appropriate musical mood as the doors opened and the venue was soon busy with punters spanning generations from those certainly too young to even remember the Hearts first run in the early 1990s to those who have been fans since the band first took to the stage.

Before The Sacred Hearts though Party In Paris treated the crowd to a set of their pop rock sounds.

Party In Paris

Party In Paris

Much like their last show I caught the band took a while to warm up, but by the second half of the set presented a punchy sound that engaged many of the younger crowd who had lined the front of the stage.

This wasn’t the first time this crowd had struck me when watching Party In Paris as they are, predominantly, made up of one of the island’s groups of heavy metal fans, adorned largely in black with t-shirts and patches ranging from Machine Head to Cannibal Corpse, all rocking out to a far lighter form of rock ‘n’ roll than their attire might suggest. I’m not criticising this, after all my tastes span at least a similar breadth, but it is a both a striking and surprising sight.

Party In Paris themselves were their usual proficient selves and, with an expanding brass section, seem to be trying to add something a bit different to Guernsey’s music scene, which is always to be applauded, but it was when they hit the more rocking numbers and stripped things back to their more straightforward line-up that they seemed to really be at their best.

Colin and Mark

Colin and Mark

Originally formed by Mark Le Gallez and Colin Leach in the aftermath of their time as The Risk, The Sacred Hearts rode the wave of British indie in the early 90s that was popularly headlined by the likes of The Stone Roses. Well it may be at least 20 years later now, but this band, completed by Colleen Irven, Mark Guppy, Matt Hutchinson and Chris Denton, seem to have lost no sense of energy or power.

Listening to them was something like falling through a psychedelic timewarp and, despite a few guitar based technical in the first couple of songs things were soon firing on all cylinders with Mark Le Gallez seemingly channeling Lux Interior and doing his utmost to destroy as many microphones and leads as possible (it’s a good job SM58s are tough).

The varied age range in the crowd packing to the front of the stage with some singing the songs back at the band and carrying the rest (such as myself) along safe in the knowledge that many of these songs were undeniable classics and still had the same ability to make people now as they always did.

Colleen and Guppy

Colleen and Guppy

While the man otherwise known as Hillbill was, as always, a centre of manic energy, Colleen did her best to match him and, along with Colin Leach and Mark Guppy provided an excellent front line all of whom were clearly enjoying themselves as much as the crowd with Colin in particular standing out for a more effects drenched guitar style only hinted at from his work with The Risk.

Chris and Matt were a more understated but none the less formidable rhythm section as they provided the power over which the others could lay their sound and style and help keep the dancing going throughout the set which rounded off with a storming quartet of Adorable, All Fall Down, Love Bomb (including Hush) and Motorbike Beat which left the audience calling for more.

Whether we get more or not remains to be seen, but I certainly hope we do as The Sacred Hearts managed to combine nostalgia with genuine fresh energy in a way rarely seen and they have a selection of excellent songs that deserve to be heard.

You can see a full gallery of my photos of the show on the BBC Introducing Guernsey Facebook page and here’s a taste of The Sacred Hearts from their Broken Dream album:

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BBC Introducing Guernsey: May 2013 – Of Empires and Flexagon

BBC Introducing Guernsey in studio May 2013For the May 2013 edition of BBC Introducing Guernsey I was joined in the studio by both rockers Of Empires and DJ/Producer/Promoter Flexagon on Saturday 25th May.

Of Empires played an acoustic session for us, including a stripped back take of their new single Carla, and I had a chat with them about the band, what they’ve been up to and what they have coming up, including playing LibRock on Liberation Day earlier in the month and their upcoming show with New Yorkers The Killing Floor and London’s The French Electric.

My other ‘live’ guest was Felxagon, formerly known as Psylobster. Flexagon has just had his first official remix released and has been hard at work on more as well as working with local musicians on doing some recordings. He also told us about the upcoming Peace Tent On Tour gig and plans for The Peace Tent itself at the Chaos festival.

You can listen to the show online until the evening of Saturday 1st June here.

Track List

And as a bonus here’s a new acoustic video from Of Empires:

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Speakeasy in Gallery Magazine

The April issue of Guernsey’s Gallery Magazine, Hijack, has hit the shelves and this month it features my review of the new album from mod rock supergroup Speakeasy, featuring one of Guernsey’s most legendary and prolific musicians, Mark Le Gallez.

Mark made his name in The Risk before co-founding The Sacred Hearts, Redbones, Thee Jenerators and The John Wesley Stone, as well as performing solo as the rustic steampunk monster The Crowman.

The band also features Simon Stebbing of The Purple Hearts, Brett ‘Buddy’ Ascot of The Chords and Mic Stoner.

Anyway, you can read the magazine online here (the music section is near the back as ever) and you can find the it in many shops and newsagents in Guernsey to pick up for free (so if you’re on the rock go and pick it up, there’s a lot more than my page in there).

But here is a scan of my page too if you aren’t able to get hold of a copy:

You can also read my review of Speakeasy’s debut EP, The ToeRag Sessions, from 2006 on the BBC Guernsey website.

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