Sauna Youth, London, Oct 2016

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We had to fight through the saturday night life of Shoreditch to get there,
past the moody bouncers, and down concrete stairs,
to a friendly grey basement with a bar and a stage.

Sauna Youth gave 30 minutes of high-energy repetitive-beat punk-rock.
We were compelled to 30 minutes of non-stop head-nod, bruise-collecting arm-flailing, and size 9 docs thrashing scarily above my head as crowd surfers got too close for comfort.

There was no encore, Sauna Youth gave us their all, and I loved every song.

Sauna Youth

Slowcoaches

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The Moth Club August 27th 2016

Slowcoaches were the last band of the night. For the first half of their set there was a big pit of (mostly) women, dancing and good-humoured jostling. At some point the pit was taken over by aggressive men and the singer/bassist of Slowcoaches picked up her mic stand and stepped off the stage and placed her mic stand in the pit and claimed the space as hers. She was thrashing around, all the time playing like a maniac. A guy pushed her and she immediately turned to face him and gave him a don’t-fuck-with-me look. He withered. She won. Don’t mess with Slowcoaches, they own the whole bloody scene. They rule.

SLOWCOACHES

The Parrots

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Rough Trade East, 25th August 2016

This in-store show was the debut performance of The Parrots’ new album Los Niños Sin Miedo. I love their new album, it’s up there as one of the best albums of the year. The show was early and short, but the Parrots were enthusiastic & tight as ever, and i’m itching to get to their show at the Victoria in a couple of weeks.

the Parrots illustration

 

Orchestra Of Spheres

Eindhoven Psych Lab June 10th – 11th 2016

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My first visit to Eindhoven Psych Lab.
The festival had 4 stages; the Main Lab, the tiny Skid Audio Plant stage, a midsize stage downstairs called The Observatory, and Modulab in the bar.

It was non-stop performances, (around 45 bands/artists over the weekend), with fantastic visuals supplied by Shelf and EPL Visuals Team. I have attempted to re-create the visuals for each band in my drawings.

We arrived on friday evening to hear the announcement that The Oscillation and Useless Eaters were stuck in traffic and couldn’t play until later. (We’d been up since 6am so we didn’t stick around late enough to find out if they did).

We saw 18 performances, and these were the favourites;

Orchestra of Spheres put on a real proper show, they filled the Main Lab Stage with fab dance moves, kookie glasses, self-made instruments, infective tunes, danceable rhythms, and a bass sound that grabs your heart and makes you fall in love with Orchestra Of Spheres. A highlight of Psych Lab.

Orchestra Of Spheres

Parquet Courts are more ‘rock’ than ‘psychedelic’, but were a good fun band for a friday night and the whole of the Main Lab was dancing. My friend Gav said that the visuals behind them made him worried that he’d left the gas cooker on.

Parquet Courts

Black Valleys meets OWOW was the first performance of saturday afternoon on the smaller Observatory Stage and they were the best smelling band of the weekend. Black Valleys are the alter ego of White Hills, and after seeing Black Valley’s set my biggest regret of the festival is missing White Hill’s set on Friday evening. Their Psych Lab performance was made using a special set of instruments made by Eindhoven based company OWOW and was definitely a highlight of the festival.

Black Valleys

Peninsula played 2 sets on the Modulab Stage, we caught the second set, on saturday evening. It was a refreshing blast of experimental noise-art/soundscapes to zone out to and be immersed in true psyched up sounds.

PeninsularThe Modulab stage is described best in the program “We work mainly with modular synthesisers. The individual parts of the modular synthesiser resemble the building blocks of sound, and eventually music. By connecting these building blocks with wires, carrying electrical signals, we can control and influence the creation and evolvement of sound into something spectacular.”

We hung around the Modular Stage and caught the 2nd set of another festival favourite, Mono-Poly. I don’t usually draw bands while I’m watching, but this seemed perfect to draw to. There was only a small handful of people watching, but all of us lucky enough to experience Mono-Poly’s set doubtless would count this as a highlight.
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The Mystery Lights were also on the Observatory Stage. Gav’s highlight of the festival. They have a proper 60s garage psychedelic sound, best singer jumps of the festival, and their set went by way too quickly.

The Mystery Lights

The Jolenes / Holly Golightly at the Lexington 12 May 2016

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It is summer at last!
Only one thing is better in summer than Holly Golightly, and that is Holly Golightly and The Jolenes playing on the same night, at the same gig!
The Jolenes have a song about the blue lines you get on pregnancy tests. It’s hilarious and clever and brilliant. The Jolenes are pure London bonafide bluegrass.
Holly didn’t have her trumpet friend, so she didn’t do my favourite song off Slowtown Now, but she had a great harmonica player come and join her instead, which was a treat. Holly Golightly at the Lexington is about as close to perfection as you can get. I love that venue and I will never ever get bored of hearing Holly sing. She is God. My only regret is that one last beer at the end of the night, I should have gone straight home instead. I paid for that beer the next day.

Otoboke Beaver May 1st 2016

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This was their first show in UK,  as part of the 3 day DIY Pop Festival at the Shacklewell Arms. I feel very honoured to have been there because Otoboke Beaver should be playing massive venues the next time they come to Britain. They have great songs, they are great musicians, they have explosive energy, and have their stage-craft down to a T. No one could not love Otoboke Beaver.

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Rebellion Festival 2015 Saturday

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Saturday began with the Part-Time Pukes workshop – a massive play-a-long to make the biggest band of the festival, joined by Brunk brass band, a load of drummers, uke players and singers. Celebratory pints all round for the Pukes, and after lugging a dozen guitars & ukes back to the van I watched Goldblade rock the massive Empress Ballroom stage. In the afternoon I went for an ice-cream on the beach with Nipper from Hard Skin. We wanted Fabs but couldn’t find any, so we got a Nobbly Bobbly instead.

Nipper eating a Nobbly Bobbly

I came back to the Winter Gardens to catch Coitus – their first appearance at Rebellion.
Coitus

Coitus suit the Casbar stage. I stayed at the Casbah for most of Saturday night – it was like an 80s/90s squat party line-up. Culture Shock followed by Hard Skin, then I went for mushy peas & chips so I missed Chaos UK, but I got back in time for the Mob, with a tiny look in to the Empress Stage to see how appalling Boomtown Rats were. (They were doing ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, I didn’t even stay for the whole song). The Mob did one song with the singer out of Zounds, which was quite special to see, it was obvious how much the Mob love Zounds.

MDC
MDC were the last band of the night. (my drawing of Mike MDC is above) During their set a guy got on stage and asked his girlfriend to marry him. I couldn’t think of anything worse than being proposed to on stage in front of hundreds of people by a guy that had downed too many pints of shit lager. MDC singer Dave followed the proposal with dedicating the song ‘Dick For Brains’ to the happy couple, and said “I was married once” with a face that said it all. He then proceeded to tell an inappropriate story about going down on a prostitute. I laughed so much. Dave is a star. MDC rocked.

Rebellion Festival 2015 Friday

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I arrived on Friday night at Blackpool Winter Gardens in time to see Johnny Moped, who was fantastic and energetic. After that I watched Captain Hotknives, who orchestrated the best sing-off I have ever witnessed. He got the two halves of the crowd absolutely hating each other, and then declared that each half should battle the other by singing “I hate babies” the loudest. If Captain Hotknives ever decides to become a politician then we are in trouble. I have never seen such manipulation. It was stunning. All of his set, as usual, was hilarious. For some reason he had black war-paint on his face. Not sure why.
captain hotknives

After Captain Hotknives I saw a little bit of the Damned, who were quite good but I had to leave their show to go and watch the Restarts, who for me were the best band of the night. Kieran was wearing a ballet skirt, which he looked really good in, and he did a great girls-to-the-front shout-out just before the band played their tribute to Mia Zapata song.

the restarts

After the Restarts I watched a little bit of Sham 69, but I thought the sound wasn’t very good and they seemed a bit dull after the great Restarts show so I went back to my BnB for an early night.

Hell-o-Tiki and The Scumbugs – 29th May Weirdsville

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WEIRDSVILLE at the Fiddlers Elbow

MFC CHICKEN started off the night – their final weekend of playing shows until their frontman/saxer Spence can return from expired-visa exile in Canada. I watched a couple of songs and then a man with a loud voice and an ill-fitting hat perched on his head stood directly in front of me, totally obscuring my view. He immediately began shouting to the woman next to him how much he loved MFC Chicken. He only paid attention to the band in between songs, when he whoooped loudly and clapped as though his life depended on it.

After 3 or 4 songs I got sick of boring-loud-hat-man’s conversation so I pushed past him and went back to enjoying the gig. MFC Chicken make you feel as though you’re in ‘Happy Days’ at a School ‘Hop’. I wished I was wearing a cool 50s dress. My friend Gav stayed and listened to hat-man’s conversation. He reported to me afterwards that the main conversation was hat-man telling the woman how much he loved MFC Chicken and how he loved them so much that he was following them to their 2nd gig of the night at the Dirty Water Club. He probably talked all the way through that show too.

HELL-O-TIKI are non-stop volcanic surf, complete with voodoo skeleton suits, Mexican wrestling masks and exotic sexy dancer/party-starter/theramin & synth controller. I love them for so many reasons, probably the top 7 are these
1. They play fantastic happy surf music
2. They have skeleton suits
3. They don’t need fancy guitars to be amazing
4. They have a theremin
5. I wish I could dance like their dancer
6. They are from Belgium
7. I was in a right miserable mood all of saturday and they totally cheered me up.
Can’t wait to see them again. I bought their LP so now every day can be ‘tiki day’.

HELL-O-TIKI AT WEIRDSVILLE

THE SCUMBUGS from Norway are a riot of proper punk-rock garage-punk. The stage was a mass of jumping bugs and shape-pulling. They are so punk. I love them.
the scumbugs at weirdsville

After the bands two women DJs played excellent records for everyone to dance to.

The Julie Ruin

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Wow! this was a fantastic gig! Usually when I go to bigger shows I get annoyed with everyone taking photos of each other or talking all the way through or being aggressive and pushing, but this show was perfect! Even when the support bands, The Feature and Woolf played everyone listened and got into their music. When the Julie Ruin came on everyone went mad dancing. The atmosphere was so happy. There was pretty much every woman i know who’s in a band at this gig. If only all gigs could be like this…

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Euros Childs at the Red Hedgehog. 6 Dec 2014

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A small and beautiful gig with solo Euros Childs playing his new album as the first act and then a set of ‘hits’ as the second part of the evening. Euros Childs was brilliant as usual. His between-song banter included sharing with us that this was his first time performing wearing a vest under his t-shirt, and the vest in question could well be his dad’s. The piano was a bit dodgy though, it sounded like an old school piano.

The venue is a bit dusty, and beer is expensive.

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Euros, wearing his dad’s vest under his t-shirt.

Break up tape for indie Scotland

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At the end of any relationship it is necessary to make yourself feel better by compiling a break-up tape as a soundtrack to your loneliness. On the eve of the referendum vote for Scottish independence, this is my break up compilation tape for Scotland.

break up tape
Jesus & Marychain – Never Understand
Shop Assistants – I Don’t Wanna Be Friends With You
The Pastels – Address Book
Dog Faced Hermans – Bella Ciao
Belle & Sebastian – The Wrong Girl
Mogwai – We’re No here
RM Hubbert – Bolt
Bill Wells & Aiden Moffat – (If You) Keep Me In Your Heart

Last weekend of the Grosvenor featuring Hard Skin

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It was a sad/happy weekend. The final weekend of our favourite venue. The ONLY reason to go south of the river. I loved the Grosvenor for the following reasons: 1. they had a great selection of herb tea. If you were off the beer then you could sip a sorel & ginger tea whilst watching Doom or the Restarts. 2. They always let us put on gigs there, even though we always made gigs with french or german bands that no one had heard of and our gigs always lost money. They still gave the bands free beer tickets and never seemed pissed off that the venue was empty. 3. There was a house backline, which made playing there very easy. 4. They gave free beer tickets to bands. 5. There was a big disco mirrorball – an essential item for any pub/gig-venue. 6. John the landlord is a really ace person, and so are all the people who worked at the Grosvenor. One time they took my band Rabies Babies on holiday to Bath. John the landlord drove and we took the backline of the pub and played a gig in a crappy pub in Bath.

The final weekend of the Grosvenor was Hard Skin fuelled. They played on the friday and saturday. They were the perfect band for seeing off the Grosvenor.

My drawings of Hard Skin always seem to make Scott’s face look weird. In this one he has an ink blot over his face. I got some ink pens for my birthday and I’m still getting used to using them, so they blot quite a bit. I like the feel of using them though.

The Grosvenor is now destined to get swallowed up into the gentrification of Stockwell and will no doubt become a fine-dining bistro with luxury apartments above it. Hard Skin are playing again in December. I’ll try again with Scott’s face.Hard Skin