Sunday, 29 June 2008

Audio Mill @ The Potteries Museum - Rob Pointon’s 48 Hour Portrait Marathon Auction. June28th.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Simon Bamford

Although Audio Mill were not my primary reason for being at this particular auction sale, they added very much to the enjoyment of the event. Specialising in ambient electronica, utilising state-of-the-art computerised keyboards alongside acoustic and bass guitars, they provided an atmosphere most worthy of the occasion.

An old friend, keysman Kieran Williams (aka ‘Sheep’ or 'Sheepstarr') has worked extensively with exhibitor Rob Pointon, providing well-corresponding musical scores for the artist’s animated feature films. He and singer/songwriter Gaz Abbott, another old pal, have collaborated to form Audio Mill in what is a relatively new venture, and from what I heard here this afternoon, I shouldn’t think it will be long before they make a real mark in that particular genre at the very least.

Electronic synthesized music has come a long way since Walter Carlos (now Wendy) gave its then distrusted frequencies musical credibility with ‘Switched-on Bach’ in the latter part of of the 60s. The likes of Kraftwerk and Gary Neuman first cracked the popular market back in the 1970s and gave the new medium a much wider social acceptance. This acceptance growing with each successive generation until the genre finally reached the quasi-ubiquity it enjoys today. Indeed, Audio Mill’s performance at the auction played very much the role normally associated with a lone pianist or a small jazz outfit at such functions.

The pair assured me that this is by no means the full extent of their repertoire though, intending to play rather more up-tempo and dance-inducing works once they are out and gigging proper. If it is anything like as good as the ambient, laid back, but very melodic material they played here today, they’ll certainly be gigs worth checking out. Interesting stuff.

As was Rob Pointon’s artwork; a collection of forty portraits in oils, most of them painted over a 48 hour period, hung all around and ready for to be auctioned off that afternoon. Featuring such worthies as Nick Hancock, Gordon Banks, Bill Bratt and elected mayor Mark Meredith, the paintings fetched over £3000; making a satisfactorily fine result after all of this driven young artist’s hard endeavour. Hosted by Radio Stoke’s Den Siegertsz, the afternoon was a great overall success, adding much in the way of kudos to all creativity on display, both visual and aural.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Album Review: Guti - Never Hesitate

Review by Stephen Harvey (A.K.A. DJ Fresh)

Guti burst on the scene early last year courtesy of BBC Radio Subculture with his much hyped mash up of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, "Sound of Silence". The track was the brainchild of the ever present Vacant Beats, who has been creating tracks for a couple of years now after emerging on the local scene as one half of local rap outfit The Chapter. It wasn't long before the lads were collaborating on their first shot at an album. What followed was the fantastic A.N.D album which was both original but with a familiarity that made it accessible to non-enthusiasts of rap culture

The latest album is mostly produced by Vacant Beats, but does feature another local beat maker of note who has been around for a long time and goes by the name of Mentalist. The sound created is a step forward in the evolution of the local hip hop scene, which until now has been drawing influences from various genres to create its unique localised sound. This album has achieved the same target but without the use of samples from other established artists. This has always been the one target of contention, and possibly root of critisism by other musicians.

The Never Hesitate album will not only push the boundaries and inspirations of the what can be achieved to the limits, but is sure to rattle a few feathers among other urban artists biting at the heels of the very successful Goon Squad Camp.

Guti has a very unusual hybrid of his native Zimbabwee and Stoke accent combined, which give his vocal talents that little bit extra on top of the other local emcees emerging on the scene.

Tracks like 'Chrome Black Microphone' which was recently played by Matt and Dave on Subculture and 'The Rotation' shows a side of hip hop culture that many people would not expect. Intelligent and thought provoking story telling and totally original beats and basslines provides the listener with something new and unexpected.

Guti has already featured on Forbidden Tongues album Konnekt which received a 4/5 in Hip Hop magazine with his mentor and soul mate Parradox, and is the artist that the rest of The Goon Squad have hailed as the one person most likely to break into the big world of hip hop. Hopefully this will become a reality in the near future, and I may even get credit for discovering him.

Favourite tracks

Chrome Black Microphone

Bodies in The Morgue

Lighter Fluid

The Rotation

The album is available for FREE DOWNLOAD for a limited time and I would urge anyone who calls themselves a music lover to give it a listen, but listen without prejudice and preconceptions.

Just go to:



Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Vants/The Low Orders/Six Weeks Falling @ The Band Stand, Hanley. June 21st

Review and photos by Steve Dean

An unusual night at the Band Stand by the fact that every band on the bill was from out of town. Rock ‘n’ Rose Management of Lichfield are using the venue for a series of showcases and the three acts tonight were the first of these.

Wolverhampton-based The Vants are a well-rehearsed, confident group of players and it is a pity there were not more punters in to see them. Essentially heavy rock, they have a tight, clean sound and a wealth of good and at times commercial material. The standard of musicianship was high in general and it was interesting to note bassist Phe’s unusual, but effective right-thumb technique. Beginning with ‘Thrill Seeker’, they took the small, but appreciative audience through a never less than interesting and generally up-tempo eight-song set. The Vants; Dickens, Jenko, Phe and Blandy – lead vocals/guitar, lead guitar, bass and drums respectively, don’t seem to lean in any particular direction image-wise, but musically they have plenty of good ideas and the classic rock era of the 70s seems to be a fair-sized influence. By that token, I particularly liked the Sabbath-ish aspect of some of their numbers. I also enjoyed the use of musical light and shade in slower tracks like ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’. A fine opening act.

Due to their drummer breaking his leg, The Low Orders were reduced to a duo for the evening. Sitting on stools, Matty Prince on bass and singer/songwriter Andrew Heath foregoing his electric for an acoustic guitar, they gave a very acceptable performance of a set that seemed as if written for an acoustic act as such anyway. Beginning with a lively ditty called ‘This Old Town’ and following on with an interesting variety of songs, it soon became clear that Andrew has a creditable flair as a tunesmith in his own right. Although his engaging melodies are heavy with the influences of the likes of Noel Gallagher and Ray Davies at times, he sings his songs like he means them and their final number ‘England’s Glory’ is a fine example of his talent. How Lichfielders The Low Orders come across in their normal 3-piece incarnation, I’ve no idea, but as a hastily formed duo, they offered an engrossing half-hour’s entertainment.

My first impression of Ed, Coop, Al, Tash and Jon, the five members who make up Burton-on-Trent band Six Weeks Falling, was of a somewhat diluted U2 with faint simmerings of a not-so-Red Hot Chilli Peppers bubbling up here and there. Rather a motley crew in appearance, the band has no clearly defined image except guitarist Ed’s astonishing resemblance to a young Fidel Castro, complete with red star on his military-style cap. I don’t know if the likeness is intentional or otherwise, but the implied sight of the old revolutionary leaping around with an Epiphone is certainly an unexpected one. In the main, their songs have a tendancy to begin quietly and then very gradually build into something quite thunderous. ‘Thunderous’ being something drummer Tash does very well indeed. She certainly lays into that kit of hers and no mistake; and interestingly, her almost continual assault and battery on her well-clobbered skins is the onstage action, along with leaping Fidel, that one finds the gaze most drawn to. She laid down a cracking beat for a version of ‘Word Up’, that for me had the edge over everything else they played on the night; but then again, in fairness it was the only tune I was familiar with. On the whole, the presentation tends to be a little sloppy in places, but being a recently-formed band, this may well be down to lack of time playing together. It would be of interest to see them again in say, six months’ time.

It is always interesting to see bands from outside Stoke-on-Trent playing in the city and it would be nice to see Rock ‘n’ Rose Management do well with their venture.

Friday, 20 June 2008

The Police / Starsailor @ The M.E.N Arena, Manchester. 17th June 2008

Review by Chloe West

The Police could be described as one of the few bands to gain total international recognition; breaking the difficult American scene and promoting British culture - a culture of late 70s punk rock for the masses. Thirty years on The Police return for a worldwide reunion tour, commemorating the anniversary of breakthrough single ‘Roxanne’, stopping in Manchester for two consecutive sold out nights.

However, before the trio take to the stage, we are greeted by Starsailor, a soulful indie four-piece. Frontman James Walsh’s vocals haunt the by this point semi-filled arena, breaking into the thought -provoking ‘Alcoholic’, followed by a new track, ‘Tell Me Its Not Over’, taken from their so far unnamed forthcoming album. Further into the set, Walsh presents the band's only number one to date - a number one in France that is - the classic ‘Four To The Floor’. Another new track brings a country element to the set, before continuing with the hit, ‘Silence Is Easy’. To finish, Starsailor depart with ‘Good Souls’, a song ‘for all those Starsailor fans’ with Walsh cleverly entwining the lyrics from Beatles ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ into the end of the song.

Half an hour later and the M.E.N is full. 18,000 eager fans of all ages brimming with anticipation. As the lights fade we are greeted by a seated figure as ‘Bring On The Night’ fills the venue, with Sting on acoustic guitar. Stepping up the tempo, the unforgettable opening notes of ‘Message In A Bottle’ cry out and the crowd erupts to their first number one. It is obvious why The Police hold such prestige; their talents haven’t faded at all since their formation in 1977. It would be interesting to see today’s artists playing with the same momentum in their ‘senior years’! Another classic, ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ is introduced with Sting reminding the audience he used to be a teacher, although he has previously claimed that the track’s tale isn’t autobiographical.

He also apologises for the eight months wait many have experienced due to the original October date being cancelled. Now it is clear why that was necessary; with no throat infection to hinder him, Sting reaches every note, matching Andy Summers masterful guitar technique; while the now grey-haired Stewart Copeland shows exactly why he is a world renowned drummer. Sporting sweatband, glasses and white gloves, Copeland shows off his wide-ranging ability from fast frenzied beats to the gentler percussion rhythms. Crowd pleaser ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’ follows the funky ‘Hole In My Life’, before the tone lowers with the more political ‘Invisible Sun’ - images of poverty stricken children filing the screens.

‘I guess this is our last goodbye’ Sting sings in the final number, ‘Cant Stand Losing You’; a poignant reminder that this is their last ever tour. They then return for the first of two encores, including the timeless ‘Roxanne’, ‘So Lonely’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’. Finally the trio grace us with ‘Next To You’, a feeling many women in the crowd surely had for a certain singer tonight! An overall amazing performance from a band whose legacy will definitely be prominent for another thirty years.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Tom Lockett/Paul Maddock/The Control/Seers @ The Norfolk Inn, Shelton. June 14th.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Leo Mazzocchio

I always appreciate the arrival of a new venue and this being my first visit to the Norfolk Inn, a pub of the traditional type down a quiet Shelton sideroad, I was very much looking forward to the evening ahead.

With Rickenbacker in hand and admirable self-assurance, 16-year-old Tom Lockett opened the evening, and the time he had finished, proved himself to be a competent guitarist and singer with the potential to make a career out of this sort of thing. Beginning with a self-penned number called ‘Why My Friend?’, he took us through a selection of more of his own numbers plus an addition from the Smiths and also a spirited version of the Kinks classic ‘Til the End of the Day’. The Kinks’ version having plenty of backing vocals in the mix, it is a rather adventurous song to attempt solo, but by keeping the melody line loose, Tom put across a very creditable version indeed. A visit to his myspace profile shows that he is also a member of a duo called ‘That Girl I Think Her Name is Collin’. I shall keep a lookout for any gigs they may be intending to play, with a title that striking, they shouldn’t be too hard to spot.

By comparison, Paul Maddock is a guitarist who has been around a great deal longer. More well known as a bassist, his more recent musical adventures include a three-year contract playing in the house band of the Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow TV series and a stint as Chesney Hawkes’ bass player at Live in the City 2005. A likeable bloke, we had a brief chat before he played his set and the both of us having been around the music scene for a lot of years, we were amused to find we had much in common. Although he played a purely acoustic set here tonight, a visit to his myspace profile demonstrates that he has a lot more to offer besides that. His songwriting formula tipping more then a nod to the 70s/80s, his composing is strong and his undoubted musical ability is impressively displayed. Kicking in with Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’, Paul demonstrated a cool strumming technique and a fine singing voice as he took through a repertoire containing a mixed bag of his own numbers and covers. Highlights being his own compositions ‘Heart of Stone’ and a song dedicated to a friend who had tragically committed suicide. Penultimately giving a rather shaky, but forgivable version of ‘Mustang Sally’, he finished with a catchy blues by the name of ‘Ice Cream Man’. A fine set played with style.

Having seen The Control only a few weeks ago and being very much impressed, I was looking forward to catching them again in a different setting. I wasn’t disappointed. Opening their set with the enormously catchy ‘Crimes of Love Dance Music’, they set a cracking pace that didn’t let up for a second. Great drums and bass from Greg Butler and John Burgess respectively while nifty guitarist Rich Bratt spreads the most sublime Hendrix sound over each composition like gleaming icing on a rich cake. Joe Brennan Hulme’s excellent vocals easily match the instrumentalists and is a classy and confident frontman, despite being only being in his middle-teens. All four of them worked very hard to put on a fine show and after what I saw tonight, I happily stick my neck out and say that this band will be world-class in a very short space of time. Go see ‘em, you’ll understand what I mean.

Coming on exuding plenty of confidence and bonhomie, Seers took us through a playlist comprised of a roughly half and half mix of their own compositions and various cover numbers. I didn’t catch the titles of the first two songs, rockers both, but the second number put me a little in mind of Ocean Colour Scene in style. Punchy power pop/rock is what Seers do, and they do it well. Rip-roaring versions of the Ramones’ ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ and the Clash’s ‘Career Opportunities’ went down a treat, as did guitarist Mike Barker’s Pete Townshend-like leaps around the stage. Of Seers song titles I did catch, ‘Stained Glass Girl’ was one, and proved very popular with the audience packed into the average-sized bar. Towards the end of the act, vocalist Lee Bell announced the departure of the drummer, whose name I can find no trace of on their myspace profile and stated that this was to be his last performance with them, leaving he and Mike, along with bassist Mark Bayliss as a temporary trio. Shame, he’s a good drummer; and Seers are a good band. Rocking out with a storming 'Jumpin' Jack Flash', they rounded off the evening very nicely.

An enjoyable night at the Norfolk Inn, I thought. I’ll certainly come again.

Friday, 13 June 2008

The Sex Pistols @ Birmingham Academy. June 11th.

Review and photo by Simon Bamford

The Sex Pistols are tonight playing a warm up show for their festival appearances this summer - The Combine Harvester Tour. John Lydon, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock take to the stage to the tune; ‘There Will Always Be An England’ - "It's good to see you. Remember, we are your friends, not enemies", exclaims Lydon.

Jonesy kicks into the instantly recognisable intro riff to ‘Pretty Vacant’ and the crowd go wild. The band deliver a clattering version of the classic; a little loose but energetic and raucous. The song still sounds great 30 years on; surely the true test of any tune? "A word of advice to those arseholes chucking beer. Beer is for drinking, you mugs!" "Go on John! I've been waiting years for someone to say that to those idiots", I think to myself. Lydon's never held back with his opinions and it's refreshing to hear him putting people in their place - the beer throwing trend has always baffled me. Arseholes indeed.

Next up for offer is ‘New York’ and the band seem to be warming up (as is the room). The set tonight is a lean one, consisting of tracks from Never Mind The Bollocks and B sides of singles thereof. ‘Did You No Wrong’ sees Matlock and Jones playfully joining in on backing vocals; as much to help Lydon out as anything. No one would expect the impossible re-creation of the amphetamine fuelled original vocals, but he is having some trouble up there. No matter, he's a fantastic front man and in good form; honest enough to admit that he's "strugglin up here. I'm winded, it's so hot I need to go and put my head in a bucket of ice. I got two poxy mineral waters and it aint cuttin it". The band kick into ‘Liar’, the air is both electric and superheated. "Oh I do like to be beside the sea side", the former Mr Rotten sings before they launch into ‘Holidays in the Sun’. People push past me gasping for air and are dragged over the barrier rescued from the heat of the pogoing crowd.

Next up is ‘Baghdad is a Blast’, a lyrical re-work of ‘Belsen Was a Gas’. Lydon gets the crowd chanting "Allah, Allah." Dangerous? Perhaps. Next, a blistering ‘Submission’. The opening riff makes my spine tingle; classic punk energy enfuses the tune.The Pistols play furiously. Then it's ‘Stepping Stone’ and ‘No Fun’. Ironic to watch the band playing the Stooges cover while they were obviously having a lot of fun. There was no disguising the fact that after all the problems, they actually seem to be getting on with each other and enjoying themselves. Next, a fiery run through of ‘Problems’ and they leave the stage.

The first encore consisted of blistering versions of ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘EMI’ and again they left the stage with Lydon exclaiming, "You'd better make more noise than last time if you want any more!" Back on again and up for offer was ‘Bodies’. Then ‘Anarchy in the UK’ closed the night’s frivolities. I could not see drummer Paul Cook from where I was standing, but the other band members were drenched in sweat and its fair to assume the drummer was equally (or worse) so.

The Pistols played their arses off up there and the fifty-odd- year-olds could put many a younger band to shame with their energy and attitude. Old punks never die! They do however, suffer heat exhaustion - "and we don't care!"

(Photo from previous gig at The Brixton Academy)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

CD Review: Giro Junkie – "If You Feel Like Working… Sit Down it’ll Pass"

Review by Steve Dean

Having seen Giro Junkie perform solo twice now, I can’t help but wonder when he is going to do a gig with the excellent band that accompanies him on two of the three tracks on this well-produced EP.

The first, ‘Confiscate the Hippies’, starts with an authentic and unexpectedly different ceilidh band sound with great ensemble vocals; changing to a rock beat after a perfectly-timed middle bridge. Although I haven’t heard them in years, this is the sort of thing The Chieftains used to do so well and I’m sure they would have been very proud of a number like this. Giro Junkie, a.k.a. Rich Bloor, writes interesting lyrics with a propensity to sound as if gleaned from life experience and sings them with a certain raw poignancy drawn upwards from the heart. His tendancy to sing in his native Stoke accent adds very much to the overall flavour of this thoughtfully-arranged song and the band; drummer Mark Stevens; Will Chitty on banjo and piano; Dromer on djembe and digeredoo and the man himself on guitar and accordian cannot be faulted.

The digeredoo and djembe come into play towards the end of the following track, the somewhat less than aesthetically titled, ‘Like the Dog to the Vomit’, and it works very well indeed; as does the whole, distinctly unusual composition. Beginning as a summery-feeling folk tune, things soon thicken in intensity as a compelling drum beat is added and the whole ditty shifts gear as it moves into a kind of aboriginal chant. Changing beat again a little later, the song then goes completely tribal as Dromer and his digeredoo get under way. Apart from Rolf Harris’s ‘Sunrise’; a song which more people like than they would admit to, I’m hard pushed to think of another Western world popular song in this vein. Given the right promotion, I can’t help wondering if this tune would be a ‘hit’. It’s that different, its appeal is impossible to predict. Mind you, it worked for Rolf Harris. I wonder if Mr Bloor can paint?

Sung and played solo, the last song, ‘Novemtree’, has a Lennon-ish ‘Working Class Hero’ feel of despair throughout as Rich implores those around him to “come down to my height.” Not as readily appealing as the two previous tracks, but tends to grow on you after a few hearings.

A little hard to categorize, Giro Junkie and his band have produced something a bit different, and well worth a listen.

Hear them on

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Album Review: Uchi The S.P.E.L.L.A. matician - Outakes n' Oatcakes (allday).

Review by Stephen Harvey (A.K.A. DJ Fresh)

Ask anyone to name the top producers in hip hop and I will probably guess the top five. There is sure to be the Dr Dre and Timberland in there, but I very much doubt there will be any female producers on that list. The macho testosterone-fuelled world of mainstream pimp my Tim Westwood ride on MTV base hip hop, has little room for the fairer sex.

In Stoke on Trent however, we pride ourselves on being a little more open-minded, and it is this faith in the non-conformist world of underground urban rhythms that has raised a small glimmer of hope for mankind. Step forward Uchi.

Nicki Strike, or Uchi the spellamatician as she is known in the beat making world, is a female who is forcing her way into the scene feet first and doing a very good of job of it by all counts.

Her C.V. makes interesting reading with the likes of Parradox, Guti and Manchester-based Ash P from the band Skinless Finger instantly proving that the respect she has earned is making her one of the most sought after producers in the area.

Following in the steps of Forbidden Tongues, she is not only producing her own beats and rhymes, but collaborating to produce some very interesting results.

This album acts as a sort of introduction to the scene and to show that she is deadly serious with her music. The likes of Chapter and Parradox are evident throughout the album and push boundaries to the limit as you would expect.

Starting with a monster of a track in the form of 'Backward Thinker', which was recently featured on Radio Stoke Subculture programme, the album meanders around genres like the Trent and Mersey canal cutting through the urban sprawl of the Potteries. Dirty and industrious, but with the ability to be calming and get you away from it all at times.

Tracks like 'Soulmate' with its haunting melody and vocals showing the more caring and passionate side to Uchi's character and the side of relationships you don't get from the majority of 'male' hip hop.

There is the big beat in there for the 'Old Skool' with tracks like 'Pukka like a moron' hitting like a nuclear bomb of beats and rhymes, and the fallout from this album has been evident in the ever-growing list of MCs using Uchi beats on their own projects.

This album is far from the best work I have heard from a debut album, but it is enough to make the opposition stand up and take a good long hard look at their own work. Take this album for what it is, a very good attempt at being original, and as an introduction for even better things to come in the future.

Favourite tracks:

1 Backward thinkers

2 Soulmate

3 Instinct (feat. Jenisus)

4 Our Roboross Collaboration (feat. Goon Squad)

For more info and to order the album visit:

Monday, 9 June 2008

Wrongpop 15 @ The Glebe William Feech/Ortolans/Andy Robbins Trio/Ox Scapula/Bilge Pump @ The Glebe, Stoke. June 7th.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Stuart F. Steele

Having missed the last Wrongpop through events beyond my control, I made sure I attended this one and how glad I am that I did.

For some reason, the name ‘William Feech’ conjures up an image of someone studious, serious, and committed to their passion; whatever it may be. Having only exchanged a few sentences with him at the gig, I have no way of telling if these notions are correct, but I can say that this man is certainly an excellent guitarist. His style somewhere between folk, ragtime and classical, the accomplished William Feech treated us to a riveting display of musicianship; his swift fingers deftly picking and fretting in dazzling coordination. His opening number, an instrumental, quickly grabbed the crowd’s attention and his ensuing set showed him to be a capable singer to boot. His clear, almost breathless vocals matching his thoughtful tunes perfectly. Although he doesn’t say much between tracks; hence I am unable to accurately name any of his songs. Not that it really matters; everything he played was worthy of merit. Given the right breaks, it wouldn’t be long before the name of William Feech is on the lips of discerning guitarists and fans of guitarists everywhere. A perfect start to the evening.

Since I began reviewing bands back in January, this is the first time I have seen anything quite like Ortolans; otherwise known as Paul McDowell and Mike Perry; guitar and drums respectively. Although Paul favours an acoustic, his effective use of a small range of guitar pedals adds plenty of dramatic light and shade to this talented duo’s compositions. In his position as solo rhythm section, Mike pulls no punchs; filling in here, there and everywhere; ensuring the pace, no matter what tempo, never weakens for a second. I never thought I’d ever say this, being a bassist of 35 years standing myself, but the presence of a bass player, to my mind at least, didn’t seem to be missed, or even required, at all. Paul capably handles all the vocals and his peculiarly gymnastic singing in their second number was truly something to behold. Their third number featured a neat harmonic twang on the riff, as the drums built into a manic, but accurately syncopated workout behind it. Absorbing stuff. Their music overall is hard to nutshell. They are folky, jazzy, rocky; there are even traces of grindcore in the mix. In fact, in places, it could be called grindcore without the grind. Superb.

Many times has it been recommended that I should see The Andy Robbins Trio and tonight I finally got the chance, and I’m delighted to say they are every bit as good as I had heard tell. Their first number, a blending of two compositions; ‘1111 1’ and ‘Leave it all Behind’ from his forthcoming album ‘Two Horses’, initially sounded to me to place them very much in the free-form jazz mode; before coming together much more solidly as things very gradually built to a thoroughly gripping crescendo. The tune became almost anthemic. Me? I was blown away. The man himself on guitar and vocals, he tells me he has always liked the jazz approach of using the song as a vehicle for improvisation, believing it to be a better practice than just throwing song after song at people. “So the songs can sound pretty different each time we play... Which is good... A bit of self expression rather than recital.”

As a philosophy, I can’t fault it.

As a semi-improvisational band, with Keith Finney on bass and the amazing Doog on drums, the band’s set of three lengthy songs was just knockout. First class, I do declare.

I recently saw Ox Scapula at the Band Stand and they played pretty much the same set here tonight. The main difference was that they were much more animated. They have some very good, well-played ideas and the hypnotic beat and almost Indian-sounding drone of their first song sets the tone of their overall performance well. Incorporating various musical forms into their arrangements and having heard them a few times now, it is clear that they have a well-developed and distinctive sound of their own; and one well-applauded by an appreciative audience.

For sheer entertainment, headliners Bilge Pump from Leeds are something of a difficult act to beat. The first thing that struck me as the three of them assembled on the stage, is how un-rock star-like they are. On the other hand though, their music does stuff with rhyme and metre, time and tempo, that some considered stars of rock never get anywhere near. Beginning with near-as-damn-it whalesong feedback, they suddenly exploded into the most invigoratingly abstract riff I’ve heard in many moons. And there was plenty more to come. Their well-rehearsed set is absolutely jam-packed with refreshing, clever ideas and it speaks volumes for the standard of musicianship in that every song sounded just as interesting and absorbing as the one before. The numbers seem to feature all sorts of lyrical and musical oddities, including some peculiar screaming, and it sounded great to me. Peculiar screaming? Bring it on! If pushed for a comparison, I would hazard Devo (for intellectual input and quirky ideas) meets Sex Pistols (for sheer, raw energy) meets Skid Row (for sheer erratic, speedy, but ingeniously held together, panache (not the Yanks, Gary Moore’s first band)). The fact that this talented outfit - Emlyn Jones on bass/vocals (abstract and otherwise); Joe Mask on guitar and superlative drummer Neil turpin - has been going since 1996 and is not a lot more well-known is a sad reflection of the state of the nation.

As a last word, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many truly outstanding drummers assembled together in such a small area. Stoke really does rock.

Congratulations to Wrongpop’s Steve Clarke and all at the Glebe for putting on this exceptional night. Definitely one to remember.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

CD Review: Trouserdog - How I Became a Sex Pest

Review by Stephen Harvey (A.K.A. DJ Fresh)

Trouserdog have a sound that cannot be easily pigeonholed into any of the thousands of genres and sub genres that there seem to be these days. They have a sound that is both original, but strangely familiar in a lot of ways.

Their live show has always been interesting on the odd occasions I have seen them perform around Stoke on Trent, so I was quite excited when their CD bounced off my living room floor. It seems that the postal service hasn't yet recognised that a padded jiffy bag usually relates to there being something inside that could be fragile. This aside, it was only the jewel case that was shattered and the disc was intact, and ready to scare my wife and children with.

The albums opening track, "Apocalypse Gary Glitter", was enough to hasten my wife to retreat to the safety of the garden. It seems her musical taste has not yet stretched to the humour of convicted paedophiles. I tried to explain the "irony" of the lyrics, but it was already lost on her, and she may never know the full genius of Warren Trousers and his Kettleonian followers.

A very "eighties" feel resonates through the entire album with undertones of such legends as The Fall and New Order being the flavour of the day.

There are not many bands that can easily transfer the humour and energy of playing live to a recording studio, but Trouserdog have managed to achieve this without it ever feeling "too loud" before you are even close to the level of annoying the neighbours.

There are some real gems if you take the time to give this album the respect it deserves and play it a couple of times before deciding. "Badger Watch" (which really is a song about the programme of the same title) and "Death Metal Shopping List" which is about the joys of sharing a studio with a rock band who do their hell raising down the local Tesco Hypermarket. It seems that buying monster munch multipacks is the route to the Antichrist. This is the wit and charisma of the band that is surely worthy of a much larger audience than they are currently enjoying on the live scene.

Overall Trouserdog are far too intelligent to be mainstream and if you're like me you probably prefer it that way anyway.

Favourite tracks:

Apocalypse Gary Glitter

Bourgois Danny

Warehouse Racket

Badger Watch

The album is available via Paypal

£4.99 inc P&P from:

Foo Fighters @ The City of Manchester Stadium. June 2nd.

Review by Phil Winstanley

My first BIG gig, a chance for some Father & Son bonding as Andy and I entered this amazing stadium to see the Foo Fighters; arguably the biggest band on the planet at the moment. I’ve been going to gigs for the best part of 35 years but nothing like this.

As we were in the queue waiting to get in, the strains of “Design for Life” were ringing round the stadium - thankfully the last number from the Manic Street Preachers. I don’t know why, but I’ve never taken to the Manics. We shuffled through the crowd to take up position on about the halfway line (a midfield holding role). I couldn’t believe that in this huge crowd I had spotted someone I knew standing 6 feet away. After asking Andy to confirm it was he, so as not to make a complete turnip of myself I gave him a shout. None other than Subculture’s Matt Lee. He came over for a chat, asked Andy what Screwloose were up to, and went back to his friends ready for the onslaught. We didn’t have to wait long.

As the lights went down the beautiful sound of a cello swirled round the stadium, instantly recognised by the crowd as “The Pretender”. As the whole band kicked in, the place exploded as 40,000 devil horns reached skywards. Being my first open air gig I wondered how good the sound would be. I needn’t have worried - it was superb. I felt like a bit of a fraud. It seemed to me I was the only one who didn’t know every word to every song, as I glanced to my left to see the aforementioned Mr Lee belting out every song like a good ’un. By this time I was beginning to get slightly miffed by the quartet to my right, as they dived about standing on my feet and knocking me sideways. I told myself it was just the way people act at gigs these days, but I noticed they were talking to each other during songs and bursting into life when they heard a bit they recognised. Having had time to think about it, I think I was being a bit charitable; they were not music fans, just a bunch of ignorant drunken bastards. The band played for 2 hours, so to report on the whole set would take forever, but I will attempt to condense it. They played an acoustic set, and although I didn’t know the songs it was really enjoyable. Disappointingly, “My Hero” was part of this set, and I really wanted to hear it done as nature intended - LOUD. The pace picked up again with “Monkey Wrench” and for me, the stand out song on the night, “All My Life”, after which the band left the stage, only to come back for a four-song encore.

To sum it up, this was an amazing experience I would not have missed. We were treated to 2 hours of no nonsense rock 'n' roll. No gimmicks, no pyrotechnics, just an amazing band at the top of their game, giving it everything they’ve got, and more.

There is however, a sad ending to this story. I’m 54 years old this year and thought I could still go to gigs and pretend to be 19 again. Who was I kidding? Next day I felt like I had been 12 rounds with Ricky Hatton. I shall definitely go to more gigs, but I will find a section with seats for the old and infirm.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Bad Attitude/The Skimps/Stolen Creation @ The Queens, Basford. June 5th.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Leo

I last saw Stolen Creation at the Godless festival and I have to say that they gave a far better performance this evening than then. They have an excellent guitarist in Jake Weston and some of their riffs are on a par with with anything Black Sabbath ever put out. In fact, their opening number put me very much in mind of the vintage heavy metal men; but not so much the material; more in the sheer earth and fire of this band’s delivery. Calling the small crowd up to the front, gravelly-voiced young vocalist Pete Crutchley announced the second song as being ‘Eternal Hate’, a split-second before the mob launched into the usual extremely violent, but apparently fun-filled moshing session. It was at this point that they appeared to have a short break. Invoking a ‘youth club’ atmosphere, band and audience casually chatted and walked around both on and off the stage for a few minutes before song three had them all charging and leaping around again. Finishing with their tribute song to Sammy Fallon, ‘My Ruined Soul Aside’, the band left the stage to enthusiastic applause – then most of the audience departed before the next band came on; although there were enough punters left to make the gig worthwhile. It appears Stolen Creation brought most of the early audience with them; and going by their response, a pretty devoted one at that.

The Skimps are just as heavy, but a different style altogether. The band obviously very much influenced by the more traditional sounds of rock, my long-battered ear could detect vague overtones of Sabbath’s classic ‘Paranoid’ in their very first number. On the whole, The Skimps remind me of the various bands the great Richie Blackmore was involved with in the early 70s. In fact, 17-year-old guitarist Dan Ogden’s cracking leadwork tells me that before too long, he could himself reach the heights of dexterity enjoyed by Blackmore and the other guitar heroes of that era. As the current rock renaissance unfolds, It will not be long before new master axemen, as they used to call them, begin to emerge. Dan and Jake Weston in the band before them are good examples. Not that there’s anything wrong with the rest of the group. They have a good solid drummer in Matty Clarke, while bassist Jack Beardsall and rythym guitar Adam Brookes play their parts very well indeed; treating us to a worthy set of good ‘n’ hard driving rock, overladen with some of the best soloing I’ve heard in a good while. Although I wasn’t sure of the wisdom of attempting Hendrix’s exotically erotic ‘Foxy Lady’, The Skimps undoubtedly proved themselves to be an up and coming force to be reckoned with. I was given a CD which I’ve since listened to several times and they have a great deal of potential without a doubt. ‘Times of War’ stands out in particular. Give it a listen if you get a chance.

Headliners Bad Attitude came on wearing somewhat oddball stage attire that could only be described as ‘motley’. Leopard skin coats and leather hats to the fore, Bad Attitude blasted off with an energetic act that had them covering practically every inch of the stage. I didn’t catch the title of their opening song, but with their second offering, they did a fine job of covering Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’; if a little over-frantic. In that vein, they have plenty of zestful vim; constantly crossing over the stage and spinning round throughout the entire set. Sounding something like 80s band Def Leppard, they have plenty of good tunes; the most appealing, to my mind, being a strong, catchy composition called ‘Fly or Fall’. Singer Grant (yet another band with no surnames on their myspace site) handles most of the vocals with drummer Morley joining in on the harmonies from time to time and making a very good job of it. Towards the end, they did a spirited cover version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’, and that makes three mentions of said veterans in three reviews. Interesting that Tony Iommi’s famous solo was not copied note for note, but improvised in lead guitarist Sam’s own blistering way. Good to hear it. I don’t want to leave out bass player Ash; he is a fine bassist, and supplies a constant powerpack to the band’s overall drive. Their last song, ‘Bad Boys’, put me very much in mind of the style of Gun ‘n’ Roses, and that can’t be a bad thing. Called back for an encore, some of the audience danced onstage with them as they rocked out and all involved looked like they were having a really good time, as they undoubtedly were. Bad Attitude are a really good band.

All three groups at the Queens tonight showed remarkable potential, and them all being so young gives them the time to achieve it. They have my confidence at least.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Bo Diddley 1928 - 2008

Obituary by Simon Bamford

Bo Diddley, rock‘n’roll pioneer, died of a heart attack aged 79 on 2nd June 2008. Born Otha Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi, on December 30 1928, he acquired the name ‘Bo Diddley’ in his teens while training as a Golden Gloves boxer. Singing on street corners and playing guitar with The Hipsters he heard the great John Lee Hooker and was inspired to take his music in a new direction. His trademark sound of pounding rhythm and ballsy guitar, mixed with his unique vocal style, produced several hits in the early sixties including ‘Who Do You Love?’ and ‘Road Runner’. His style and sound was copied by many including Buddy Holly on ‘Not Fade Away’. At this time, racial segregation in the USA was a day-to-day reality and black artists were not exempt; success could be had in the pop charts by white artists who copied elements of black performers’ styles. Meanwhile the black artists were themselves mostly confined to the less lucrative R‘n’B charts. The charts themselves were a form of segregation. Later in the decade he inspired a new generation of British musicians and bands in the late sixties including Jimmy Page, The Animals and The Rolling Stones. These musicians gave him recognition. He opened for The Clash on their ‘79 American tour. He used his bunk on the tour bus to store his guitar and introduced the band to moonshine. He continues to be an inspiration to musicians to this day. In May 2007 he suffered a stroke after a gig in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He was discharged from hospital a month later.

I saw the man around 1983 at Dingwalls in Sheffield (now The Leadmill I believe). The details are as foggy as the drive back over the moors that night, but I do remember two things at least; it was one hell of a gig and of course those trademark rectangular (and sometimes furry) guitars.

He is survived by his wife Sylvia and four children from previous marriages.

Goodbye to a true great - irreplaceable.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Donny Wrench and Rachel Rimmer @ The Dudson Centre, Hanley. June 3rd.

Review by Steve Dean

Photo by Karen Sayle

Having been invited to the Voluntary Action group’s open day at their headquarters at the Dudson centre, I was pleased to find that popular acoustic act Donny Wrench, whom I knew would be playing, would be accompanied by sultry-voiced songstress Rachel Rimmer in a newly-formed duo; a prospect which holds much promise, going by what I heard here this afternoon.

They are both capable performers and with their first song, ‘I’ll Let you Know Tomorrow’, they demonstrated a very workable chemistry. Don's folk/rock vocals mesh with Rachel's more jazzy tones remarkably well and I found their second composition, ‘Welcome to the War’ to have equally strong appeal.

The set also featured ‘The Ballad of Alfie Dale’, a number from the repertoire of of ‘The Lies’ rock band, of whom Donny, when not playing solo (or with Rachel), is the lead singer and rythym guitarist. Their penultimate tune was a song so new, they hadn’t even given it a name yet, although I was tentatively given ‘Warning Signs’ as its probable title. I asked for such because it has the makings of an excellent song and I wanted something to refer to.

Finishing with ‘White Lie’ also from The Lies set, this pair proved themselves to be an act to be looked out for in the future. A great afternoon’s work, well-appreciated by those attending the Dudson Centre this afternoon and well worth this short review.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Vegas Kings @ Port Vale Conference Centre. June 1st

Review by Steve Dean

Photos by Leo
(left pic)
and Simon

The Vegas Kings, alias Stoke brothers Charlie (a.k.a. Neil) and Mark Clay, alias Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley respectively, are not the sort of act Stoke Sounds would normally think to go and review, but finding ourselves cordially invited, we thought it would make for something a little different.

When we arrived, Charlie explained that although they are normally accompanied by a four-piece band, unavoidable circumstances had forced them to resort to singing along to backing tapes; something they’d rather not do, Neil stressed, but rather than cancel the gig, they had no choice. Fair enough.

It certainly made a change to be sitting at a crisp and later chip-laden table in a cabaret setting anyway. There seemed to a kind of ‘holiday’ feel about the venue, probably due to the nature of the forthcoming acts. Promised a two hour show, we hadn’t long to wait before a smiling and sparkly-shirted Charlie/Neil Diamond took the stage.

Beginning with ‘Beautiful Noise’, ‘Neil Diamond’ sung hit after Neil Diamond hit in a voice that was very much like the man himself most of the time, but occasionally strayed into a pretty accurate Gene Pitney. Addressing the audience between songs in a curious half-Stoke, half-television American accent, Neil encouraged singing, arm-waving and all the other hoo-hah usually associated with being on holiday in Spanish resorts and similar destinations like Tenerife; where Charlie/Neil lives most of the year; coming home for a few months occasionally to tour with his brother.

Charlie’s friendly questioning found three people in the audience had actually seen Neil Diamond in person and the obvious enthusiasm they had for Charlie/Neil’s act showed he hadn’t wasted their time. From my point of view, I can say he is very good at what he does and although as far as being a Neil Diamond fan goes, and that amounts to taking him or leaving him, I found Charlie Clay’s act very enjoyable.

As was that of his brother Mark, our extravagantly-costumed Elvis for the evening. I must admit I haven’t seen many Elvis impersonators, but there can’t be many better than this bloke. He could easily get by as a singer without doing the Elvis bit, but then again, I suppose there is always a call for such an act. Kicking in with ‘Viva Las Vegas’, he proceeded to expend a vigorous energy that would have had many people flat on their backs halfway through what this man achieved physically here this evening. Elvis Presley appeared to sort of vibrate as he sung certain songs and Mark replicated this very well. Vibrating and singing at the same time takes up one hell of a lot of stock energy and I would guess this particular Elvis impersonator is a very tired one after the curtain tassels finally brush the stage. Towards the end of ‘Suspicious Minds’, Elvis used to do a frantic burst of pelvic thrusting to a Gene Krupa-type drum break, which Mark re-enacted with at first matching, but gradually wilting enthusiasm as the CD appeared to stick, causing the drum solo part to come round again and again, inadvertantly knackering our man somewhat. After 4 or 5 bouts of frenetic thrustery, a profusely sweating Elvis turned mid-rapidly weakening thrust to yell a quick complaint to his grinning brother Charlie (Neil) working the tape deck. I suspect he may possibly have had something to do with it. It all added to the show though and Elvis, finishing his act with ‘American Trilogy’, went off to riotous applause. Despite my initial reservations, I listened without prejudice; singing “oh-oh-oh-oooh” to ‘The Wonder of You’ as happily as everybody else, and at the end of the evening, I had the most definite feeling of gratification.

At the heart of it all, entertainment, I suppose, is really what it is all about.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Album Review: Forbidden Tongues - Konnekt.

Review by Stephen Harvey (A.K.A. DJ Fresh)

Producer Forbidden Tongues has been trawling through the vast array of undiscovered lyrical talent on the Stoke and Manchester hip hop scene, and dropped it right here into my greedy vinyl-collecting hands.

Tongues is an unusual and rare sort in the land of hip hop; being a quietly spoken and humble man. The normal stereotyped large male we would associate with the many producers doing a similar role in the MTV world is there though, but that's where the similarity ends physically and musically (which is a good thing).

I was introduced to Tongues a few months back in the noisy surroundings of a Parradox gig at the Underground in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. He handed me the album and said "give it a blast", just before running for cover from a rainfall of warm beer and plastic glasses as Parradox went into the crowd favourite 'Get Wid It!!', which led the crowd into a frenzy of mosh pit antics I had only ever seen at rock gigs. Incidently, the track also features on the album, and I was to believe the hype that has surrounded the album after gaining a 3/5 in hip hop magazine on his first attempt.

The opening track 'Konnekt' reads like a who's who of the Stoke and Manchester hip hop scene. The likes of Parradox, Jaro, Brother Ghazi and E.J. all battling for supremacy lyrically. The production and beat-making skills of tongues are soon evident as the track enables the individuality of the artists to shine, while still keeping the framework of the idea intact.

the conflicting styles of the Manchester and Stoke scenes are evident throughout the album, but this just adds to the overall appeal. The hard-hitting lyrical prowess of Chronicle on tracks like 'The "N" Word' and 'Back of the Brain' leave you feeling the rawness of the Manchester streets. You can almost smell the stench of a drug den squat, as he describes being in rooms with smackheads with no carpets. The likes of homegrown talents like Guti and Parradox on tracks like '2 Minutes of Funk' and 'Over-stand' reflecting the slightly more 'laddish' side of hip hop on the street of the five towns. We know Stoke has got its own bad areas, but not to the extent of inner Manchester, and this is all about relating the real.

The end product is what I would describe as 'user friendly' hip hop, being that there is something for everyone on the album. The hard-hitting realness of inner city life to the b-boy dance beats of Stoke's dance past life.

It's all there.

Favourite tracks

Back of the Brain - Chronicle
Pain - Guilty & Sarah Sayeed
Parradox of the Mind - Parradox
Relate the Real - Raw Kut feat N/A

The album is available for £3 from:

gigjunkie… Book Launch/Exhibition @ The Underground, Hanley. June 1st.

Article by Danny Hill

Photos by Gig

Strange, some folk; they'll collect almost anything they can get their hands on: stamps, coins, porcelain, bottles, sea-shells… However, these are the words of a non-collector - like myself, guilty of reverting to stereotype, pigeon-holing collectibles into one or two particular items. If you were to ask somebody like Sarah Thompson - aka Gig Junkie (Sal, to her friends), an avid music photographer and artist, what a collection means to her, you would probably get an in-depth answer on the feelings that are evoked, the indefatigable effort and pursuit of piecing a collection together. She would also go on to mention the personal, emotional connection she has with her work, and the delight these moments she so brilliantly captures brings to her.

What also differentiates Sarah from most collectors is that her interest also serves as a vehicle for her impressive band photography portfolio. During the last four years Sarah has been travelling up and down the country, throwing herself into all kinds of precarious positions, capturing the "energy", as Sarah calls it, that goes in to all of these gigs. "The mosh-pits are the worst," she says, laughing. "I remember the Leeds and Reading festival - everyone was throwing chairs and everything - I've been covered in bruises. I've been lost a few times as well."

Sarah's achievements to date are very successful - her work has appeared in NME and Move magazine, amongst many others, not to mention today's book launch and exhibition at The Underground in Hanley. I arrived at around 4.30 to find a couple of The Rebounds and The Sport's lads milling around, and Razorlight booming from the speakers. Sarah has gone to special lengths to modify the live-music venue, placing tripods in the centre of the room with framed 18x12 images featuring some of the most prominent bands and artists in the musical arena today: Ian Brown, Pete Doherty, The View, Kasabian, Editors, Bloc Party, etc… In the centre of the room, a laptop was on display with her website, emblazoned across its screen, which contains a further array of work from her vast portfolio. A table was set up at the far end of the room where scaled-down copies of her book could be observed.

So, good turnout, Sarah? "Yeah, it's been alright. I was a bit worried that no-one would turn up. But it's going okay, to be honest. I haven't had the chance to get around to talk to everybody yet. It's been a bit of a panic setting it all up."

After finding no takers in the publishing industry, Sarah decided to publish the book herself, but in terms of presentation you would never notice. She contacted an online publisher, downloaded a software programme on to which she dropped her images on. "It was really hard arranging the photos. A lot of the images are personal to me, but might not necessarily be to anyone else, so it was pretty hard finding the right balance."

Sarah didn't stop there; saying that she found the programme's own layout "constricting", Sarah then went to design her own layouts on Photoshop, then drop her work in as full-page images. The result is a colourful arrangement of photographs that practically burst from the book's pages, along with comments from many satisfied bands - not to mention local bands - that have used her work. "To be honest, without the Stoke bands and going to local gigs, I wouldn't be where I am now with the photography and everything - it's the support from them that's held it all up, really."

The book was available to order from today, but Sarah also mentions that she is currently in discussions with Music Mania in Hanley to hold copies of her work. "I'm not sure yet, we'll have to see…" The shop, I understand, also has limited edition framed photos available at its store.

The book is currently available to order at £35, and some of Sarah's other photography can be ordered from her website at various sizes and costs, varying between £45 - £80.

And what's the future for Sarah after the book? "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest," she giggles. "This book launch has taken up all of my time, but I'll basically to carry on doing what I'm doing."

So what is a collectible? I ponder. I now grasp that it's not necessarily a stamp or a coin - it is something one is passionate about, something that drives them to each end of the country and back on an almost weekly basis. It is also something that a collector can proudly stand back and call their own. And in Sarah Thompson's case, it is a series of photographs, a book, for her and many others to enjoy for years to come. And perhaps, in years gone by, it is something on which to reflect and reminisce, a succession of great memories.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

CD Review: Herzoga – Nice Car/Blood School plus Bonus Track & ‘Nice Car’ Video.

Review by Steve Dean

Having seen Herzoga play not so long ago, I was pleased to receive their new single to review and I was even more pleased with what I heard. Released on the We Like Danger! label, this CD has tracks that make you want to listen to them again, and that’s a very good start.

More obvious recorded than live, the band’s general sound has overtones of a more raw-sounding Stranglers, but that’s maybe more down to Steve Clarke’s nifty bass riffs more than any other factor. Herzoga pretty much have a sound of their own.

‘Nice Car’ has a fittingly nice choppy intro leading into just such a suitably driving bassline. In essense, this track is honest-to-goodness rock with some neat touches. The effective vocals are somewhere between singing and reciting and the motor engine-like backing voices are inspired. A great opening number.

Second track ‘Blood School’ has a similar vocal style, but much more punkier in overall approach. I do like Herzoga’s habit of putting proper intros to their songs as well. The composition has a vague flavour of old time rock‘n’roll about it and the vocal backing chants put me in mind of the the Rolling Stones’ classic ‘Sympathy for the Devil’; but that is no means a bad thing; they tend to lend ‘Blood School’ a definite character of its own despite anything it may remind me of. Sharp, cutting chords over a rolling up-and-down bassline make this a good strong number and I would guess it’s a live favourite.

Bonus track ‘It Takes an Age’ boasts yet another cracking bass line and also features some interestingly theatrical vocals. As I said earlier, bassist Steve with Matt and Mark on guitar and drums respectively, have a sound of their own which is growing in popularity all the time; as their recent session for BBC Radio 1 at Maida Vale demonstrates.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before greater recognition still comes their way.

There is also a video on the CD to accompany ‘Nice Car’; mainly a collection of band photos taken at various settings. Interesting nonetheless.

For some Herzoga right now, go to and get a listen.