Posts Tagged ‘Guildford’

Blind River, Princess, Noisepicker, Lost You To The Cities at the Star Inn, Guildford – 3rd August 2017

August 6, 2017

Lost You To The Cities… seen ’em before, really pleasant in a late Sonic Youth way, sorta, but nowhere near as good (unsurprising given Sonic Youth equals GOD).  Pretty, instrumental… really easy on the ear, but can they add some je ne sais quoi?

Noisepicker rock. Great voice, muddy guitar sound, nice, heavy riffy shit.

Princess are losing the trebly abrasiveness that I kinda thought was them… more universal sound now, love the post-punk bass, great drums… I like… they’re gonna get more fans like this… but for me was their wilful sonic evilness their main USP?  Dunno, but fuck it, Wild Eye likes bands that say fuck you to their audience and Princess are saying that less loudly nowadays.

Blind River. Great voice (Noisepicker singer). Sorry, I don’t do hard rock. Review over.

Next Trial n Error night is the 27th August at the Star.

Trial N Error – Star Inn Thursday 3rd August 2017

July 24, 2017

Looks to be a good one.  Slug 13 do their riffy, grungy noise rock thing.  Princess bring more of a Cave / Cash vibe to their noise rock thang.

Noisepicker who I’m really looking forward to seeing, and Lost You To The Cities complete the bill.

Get there!

Trial N Error-Star Inn

Current Best of the Rest

July 23, 2017

Best of the rest in and around south-west Surrey and north-east Hants – Guildford, Farnborough etc etc… and a bit further afield.

Freakouts – Grungey punk / post-punk newcomers.

https://www.facebook.com/freakoutsband/

Grits – a surprisingly unique combination of heavy alternative rock with a reasonably mainstream sensibility.  Or maybe this is bollocks.  They rock.

Morass of Molasses – fine sludge 3 piece.  Riffs aplenty.

https://morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com/

Parachute For Gordo – suprisingly funky post-punk / post rock act who get tagged as post rock.  Or something.  Well worth checking out.

https://parachuteforgordo.bandcamp.com/

Princess – dark, scratchy, 80s Cave / Cash, noise-rock miserablists.  Fantastic.

https://princess3.bandcamp.com/

Silent Mode – desert rock / stoner thing.  They have quite a unique and heavy sound, really riffy and damn catchy.  The sort of band I can imagine winning over loads of new fans if they were on at a festival.

https://silentmode.bandcamp.com/releases

Slug 13 – grunge noise rock.  All riffs and wah and bass and drums.  It just works, getting better and better.  Check out the recent ep.  My kinda music.

https://slug13.bandcamp.com/

Space Church – madness.  I like them most at their heaviest.  They have the funk.  When they want to.  Different every time.

https://spacechurch.bandcamp.com/

Swords of Thought – noisiest pure pop band ever.  Or a poppy Sonic Youth.  Or something.  Are they a bit like William who I used to love?

https://swordsofthought.bandcamp.com/

Trevor’s Head – New lp on the way (and the last one, Tricolossus, was superb).  Stoner grunge shit.

https://trevorshead.bandcamp.com/

Typical Hunks – scratchy, noisy, 80s-sounding, drum-machine-wielding genii.

https://somehunks.bandcamp.com/

Best of the rest of the rest (bands on this list might have recently split up, or I haven’t seen them live yet and need to check ’em out more, or they’re too big for this list [esp. EtS]) – Aching Muscle – Blackwaters – Tommy Blackwood – Camcorder – Drugstore Cowboys – Employed to Serve – Eulogy – Fauntleroy – Gutlocker – Heinous Pianist – Vinyl Staircase.

Who have I forgotten – let me know?  All genres welcome but pure metal, progressive metal, folk, country or anything mainstream better be INCREDIBLE to get anywhere near the list.

Current Top Four

July 22, 2017

I did a Top 10 local bands a while back. I have an updated top 4, best-of-the-rest better follow.

Three of them are playing tomorrow (not all together).

Guildford and surrounds we have, in alphabetical order –

Moper – didn’t much like them when I first heard them but they’re just getting better and better with each release. Depressing, simple, noise rock, often not that heavy, but it just works, probably because they have some amazing songs and a vocalist / lyricist (and guitarist) who sorta of reminds me of Andrew Falcous.

https://mopernoise.bandcamp.com/

Pensevor – dirty, droning, did I say dirty, raw, filthy, doom. Surprisingly delicate, interesting, fantastic drumming, steady bass that just does the job, one of the most imposing and vulnerably aggressive front men you will ever see… and the icing on the cake, some of the filtiest and heaviest guitars you will ever hear with tone to die for. Damn near perfect.

https://pensevor432.bandcamp.com/

Tuskar – sludge, doom, stoner heavy-as guitar-drums two piece. Tyler is an animal on drums whilst covering vocals. Riffs applenty, verges on metal in places. In a good way.

https://tuskar.bandcamp.com/

Who Saw The Light – heavy, nuts. Not many bands can claim doom as the main vocal style whilst having music that encompasses prog, shoegaze (occasionally), metal, hardcore punk, math, pretty much everything. First ep out tomorrow.

https://www.facebook.com/whosawthelight/

ALLUSONDRUGS / Icarus Dive / Silent Mode – The Star Inn, Guildford, 30th June 2017

July 22, 2017

Silent Mode somewhat confused me when I first saw them, my fault not theirs. Second time around I just got on with enjoying their take on the desert / stoner thing. They look like a proper band. They are – to me – pretty poppy, or maybe I’m just saying that they can write a riff and a song. And they really can. I perhaps veers towards bands that are more wilfully heavy or challenging… but I’m tempted to state my take on Silent Mode in the following sentence. Of all the local bands who are, in my opinion, worth making an effort to go see, this mob (can two people be a mob?) are the most likely. Really enjoyed them… actually one more thing… there’s something really lazy and flowing and easy about the way they play.

Icarus Dive. I missed At The Drive-In first time around. Later I got into them. More recently I listened to them and wondered if I actually like them at all. I have four things to say about Icarus Dive –

(1) They remind me of At The Drive In and there’s a lot about the music to like.

(2) I don’t advise bands to have backdrop stands on stage that look like the sort of thing that you’d get in a conference centre. I would advise Coldplay against such a thing were they to be playing a conference for a group of suited business-people. I would advise Icarus Dive – playing noisy shit in a pub – against such a thing even more.

(3) They had double the crowd of the headliners and quadruple that of Silent Mode. They’ve got a decent following by the looks of it.  Impressive. They must be doing something very right.

(4) Whatever the fuck it is I don’t get it.  Sorry.

ALLUSONDRUGS are a highly rated band from Leeds who I was lead to believe were a bit psych and a bit grunge. Early on in the set I was taken back to 90/91, but thinking “ain’t this more shoegaze or Madchester than it is grunge?” I think pigeonholing this lot is a mugs game – they’re indie-rock in the widest sense; they seem to have a lot of early 90s influences, they rock, they entertain, they have a really good frontman. Not sure there was enough of a USP to blow me away, but they’re well worth seeing if you like the grungier end of indie. Fine fine band.

And something about the promoter.  Chris Jasta 11 deserves massive praise for being a guy who gets bands from all over, bands getting a bit of well-deserved attention, and damn fine local bands.

Who Saw The Light – Electric Theatre, Guildford, ACM Showcase, 21st July 2017

July 21, 2017

I like all sorts of music, but I really like heavy music, I really like psychedelic music, and I really really like heavy psychedelic music.  Who Saw The Light could actually be made for me.

They start their set with a properly fucked up version of Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues.  If you don’t know the original put down this blog and go listen to everything McLusky and Future Of The Left have ever done, then come back.

Right, you ready to continue?  Why anyone would consider covering a song so fucking perfect I just do not know.  They get away with it and MORE.  Excellent start.

They scream / growl, there’s metal, there’s hardcore, they get laid back and croon, they play extended pieces which go mathy and trippy and prog as well as psychedelic.  They do it with showmanship, humility, a sense of humour and, most importantly, remembering that it’s all rock n roll.

Fuck YEAH, superb, superb band.

They rock, they fuck with my mind and they put a smile on my face.  Really couldn’t ask for much more.

And Stef almost gave a speech.

All that in 20 minutes.

Who Saw The Light Play the Boileroom in Guildford Sunday 23rd July 2017 and release an ep on the day.

Freakouts – The Star Inn, Guildford, June 13th 2017

June 14, 2017

Got me thinking.  How on earth would you advise a band like this if you were their manager?  What direction would you try to take the band in if you were one of the members?

I thought they were technically better than they need to be given the style of music they play… I’d be tempted to tell the guitarist to [try to play] a bit more techical stuff, AND tell the whole band to speed up 5 or 10%… whatever it takes to get the band playing closer to or even just past the edge of falling apart.  I’d kinda say that they almost came across too tight, but then maybe I like chaos and talentless musicians much more than most people.

The other thing is stage-craft.  Bands often try to present themselves as ‘real’, as ‘authentic’.  Chaos on stage is great.  But whilst it’s true that you can make a performance more the natural you, or you can create a persona and play a role, the truth is that getting on stage and playing songs is a highly artificial thing to do.  Some of the attempts at getting the audience going and creating a sense of danger felt a bit forced… but then again that’s a natural consequence of it being a performance – not real life – combined with an inevitablity that no band has venues bursting at the seems and uncontrollably ecstatic fans going nuts when they first start out.

Anyway, Freakouts are a grunge / punk / post-punk band from ACM.  There’s a kinda vibe somewhere between old school punk, and – say – the Libertines, I think, but there’s also a big grunge influence going on, and a post-punk angular thing in the mix that helps keep things interesting.

They look like a proper band.

They covered the only decent song Blur ever did.

There wasn’t really much I didn’t like, every last one of them seems to know what they’re doing, no obvious weak links.  Early days, but definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.

freakouts on facebook

There’s also a track on youtube –

Might just mention the other bands.  I didn’t like The Sunrise Set at all.  Kinda country-influenced rock that sounds like it could have been made at any point in the last 45 years.  Really not my thing, I just don’t see the point at all.  I also thought the singer’s brief political ‘banter’ made him look like an arsehole.  He said something about all politicians being the same or somesuch (none worth voting for or something) – sorry, but switch your brain on before suggesting Corbyn and May are vaguely similar let alone the same.

Revelry… fairly mainstream hard rock with a very mainstream female hard rock vocalist.  I like the band, sometimes they hit real heights.  I like the singer, not my kinda style but she has a damn good voice.  Just not particularly my thing, and I kinda have a nagging doubt that the singer doesn’t really suit the band, and vice versa, but then again I’m note sure I know why.  Decent band, bit too mainstream for my tastes.

Another non-review – Who Saw The Light / Tuskar / Lowdown – Star Inn, 18th May 2017

May 21, 2017

I missed Lowdown.  Well, I caught a touch… they’re a young, mainstream rock act.  I think.  The singer can sing.  I love to see a musician looking like they’re having as much fun on stage as the bassist appeared to be… but ultimately not my thing at all.

I’ve met Tyler once before, and he cornered me after the gig tonight.  He plays drums in Tuskar.  He sings.  He wanted to know what I thought of his band.  Why?  My opinion is everything, I buy that, but kinda only to me.  One might argue my opinion is nothing.

I started talking.  He seemed to think I wasn’t overly impressed.  I’m not one to bullshit what people want to hear.  I could’ve just said “really great, man, loved it!” and I wouldn’t have been dishonest, but me and my big gob tried to be more honest… and it’s hard to get across exactly what you wanna say, especially briefly and when you’re knackered and you’ve just had a few drinks watching a couple of fuck off noisy metal / doom / sludge / whatever bands.

I was happy to be cornered.   I love talking music.  I enjoyed Tuskar a lot.  Sludgey, doomy shit, heavy-as guitar / drums two-piece.  Someone – someone who knows a load more than me technically – said three things.  Tyler is a fucking good drummer.  Tuskar have developed as a band to a point well ahead of their years.  They convince.

I buy these assertions 100%.  They are a ‘proper band’.  Some bands sound more like musicians playing together, especially when they’re young and starting out.  Tuskar are a proper fucking band.

I don’t see tons of ACM stuff, and what I do see is mainly the noisier end, so I’m probably missing loads of good bands over the last few years… but Tuskar are only the third name on my list of “proper bands” I’ve seen live coming out of ACM over the last few years.  Following Foxes, Who Saw The Light, Tuskar.  I have no doubt Blackwaters could be added to the list but I ain’t seen them live.

So, what could have made me go “fucking amazing” without a fraction of second’s hesitation when Tyler asked what I thought?

(1)  If I was more of a sludge / stoner / doom expert then I’d have a better idea of just how good they are in the context of the style of music they make.  But I’m not.  All I can really say is that it’s a style I really like, they do it well and I look forward to seeing them again.  But I have no real idea where they sit in the genre, who are most similar to them, how good they are in comparison to their closest rivals.

(2)  Here’s where things get tricky.  Songs.  There’s loads of bands locally who I really love going to see live.  Tuskar can be added to the list.  The main thing that they don’t tend to have – that the very best bands do – is fucking great songs.  Songs that get in your head damn quick and just stay there.  It might be kinda obvious, it might go without saying, but my advice (easier said than done) to just about every band I go see is “give everything you’ve got to writing the best songs you can.  I know you’re not pop, but catchy is generally good, and I’d advise you to take something from pop.”  As I say, easier said than done.  That said I really need to listen to the ep [Tuskar – Arianrhod] half a dozen times and see them live a few more times before I really judge the songs… but pretty much every band on the planet could do with a few better songs.

(3)  Innovation.  The greatest bands were innovators.  Black Flag and The Melvins are two bands I fucking love – they are both great, they both have great songs… but most impressively they have helped create genres and influence thousands of bands (probably tens of thousands of bands!)  There is nothing wrong with finding your niche and trying to play a certain style or combination of styles well, but set your sights at the stars, and try to find a way to take it – your music – no not just your music, music generally – to the next level.

When I go see live music in small venues I’m kinda judging every band against both ends of the spectrum.  On the one hand I can love a band simply because they put a smile on my face, get the foot tapping or rock hard.  On the other, to be great they need to do what the likes of Blacks Sabbath and Flag did.  Write numerous great songs that have not only been loved by fans across the world, but which have influenced the course of music history.  I don’t fuck around, I demand a lot.

TLDR – I really liked Tuskar, look forward to seeing them again and seeing them get better… but I wanna see them write their own Feel Good Hit of the Summer and change the course of metal history, and they ain’t getting 100% praise til they’ve done both those things.  Now fucking get to work.

I could say many similar things about Who Saw The Light, but there’s a couple things that have that do make them stand out.  There have a sense of anarchy, chaos and danger that is very difficult to pull off.  Their somewhat eclectic, all-over-the-fucking-place-style is much less easy to pigeonhole, and easier to picture developing into something that not only rocks but also influences others.

Two fine fine bands.

Check out Who Saw The Light again at the Star tonight.  Get there early – its an all dayer.  Check out Tuskar’s ep.

And fuck it, do one more thing –

Porch, Buzz Rodeo, Space Church, This Is Wreckage – Buffalo Club, Star Inn, Guildford – 14th May 2017

May 18, 2017

I think this was probably the best Buffalo Club line-up yet, certainly the most international with four nations represented.  This is gonna be one of my shorter reviews, mainly because I’d had a lazy six hour session watching football and tasting beer before I even turned up.

Wales was up first, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece This Is Wreckage.  They (noise) rocked and I thought they were excellent.  Bought a CD, not had a chance to listen to it yet.

England was up second, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Space Church.  I must have seen them half a dozen times now and I am only now starting to truly get my head around them.  I am disappointed that they are no longer the complete head-fuck I thought the first time I saw them, but that’s not their fault – you can’t exactly replicate the first time you experience something over and over again.  They are, however, a fine, silly, deadly serious, loud / quiet noise band.

Germany was up third, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Buzz Rodeo.  Fuck it, I’d been going for 8 hours by the time they hit the stage and there’s nothing I really wanna say other than “noise rock, really enjoyed it, blah blah blah.”

The US of A was up fourth, represented by a guitar / bass / drums three piece Porch.  Fuck it, I’d been going for 9 hours by the time they hit the stage and there’s nothing I really wanna say other than “grungey (or am I just saying that ‘cos they’re from Trumpland*) noise rock, really enjoyed it, blah blah blah.”

Must do better next time.  Me, not the bands or Buffalo Club.

* is it still Trumpland or has the fucker been stuck in prison yet?