Posts Tagged ‘Star Inn’

Princess, Camcorder, Big Gruesome, Bent Ref and Silent Mode at the Star Inn, Guildford 10th September 2017

September 17, 2017

I’m gonna go random and try to write quick.

Bent Ref were great. Absolutely no idea about what to say about them other than the guitarist had a nice guitar, practically no pedals and the sort of tone that screams “I know what the fuck I’m doing. Worship at my feet mere mortal”. The only band they reminded me of was Sebadoh, but (1) I am not an expert on Sebadoh, and (2) I think they only remind me of Sebadoh because Bent Ref sound a bit like a band that could have been around back then and I think both bands share a kinda song-based but quirky enough that it’s hard to pin down thing. Superb technicians, interesting artists, I like.

Silent Mode rock and I love that their sound is somewhat modern without being somewhat shit (there’s a lot of bands around now that don’t seem to give a shit about their tone, or they want a tone that will alienate people like me who grew up with all sorts of really warm / retro / analogue / valve / sounds). Definitely prefer them at their rockiest / hardest / fastest; they sound a bit like they’re undecided whether they should focus on the heavier, or whether they have enough in the locker in terms of song-writing and talent to be crossover-desert. I don’t have a problem if they stay where they are or go in either direction.

Big Gruesome. Loved the Trematron. Their Facebook page lists the following influences “Black Sabbath, Metallica, Van Halen, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Deftones, Bloc Party, Letlive, AC/DC, Funeral For A Friend, The Cult, Pearl Jam, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, The Stooges”. NOT MY THING – aside from FFAF and Deftones and Bloc Party and Letlive (bands I know fuck all about and have no desire to learn) you have the sort of tedious mainstram rock shit that is unacceptable as an influence – Lep Zep, Doors, Floyd, Metallica, AC/DC, Cult, Pearl Jam. Plenty of people love this kinda thing. NOT ME. SUE ME.

Princess. Oh Princess. My first gig with new, reasonably good quality ear-plugs… sounded so much more refined that I am used to from them, but what I lost in edge I gained in clarity. The consensus is they’re improving… nothing to blow my mind (not every band can be Who Saw The Light) but their 80s-influenced noise rock hits some lofty heights and never disappoints.

Camcorder are like Princess in that I’ve previously kinda thought it’s the abrasiveness that is the greatest selling point, but I might be coming round to the idea that it’s not. I’ve long wanted to see Camcorder in the quieter and more refined sonic space that is the Boileroom… but I think aforementioned ear-plugs had the same effect.

The Lemonheads were a great band. I’m a sucker for the poppier end of what they did (Mrs Robinson), and especially the rockier stuff (Lick is a proper album). Camcorder are a bit like Bent Ref in that I can’t pin them down but do like it… but if anything Camcorder remind me of what Lemonheads could have been had they dropped the rock influences and gone straight to the pop whilst making sure the guitar fails to sound poppy. This is probably utter horseshit as a description, but I know what I mean. Either way I kinda get the feeling I’m listening to a really poppy but noisy American early-90s grunge-influence indie-pop band. I’m not sure how poppy the songs really are, they all just flash past in the blink of an eye leaving me with a feeling of “I’m not sure what that song was like, but it felt like it was over in an instant so I can safely say it didn’t bore me”. I am shit at this reviewing thing.

Special props to Nick Holland who get’s my “closest thing we had to the promoter turning up” award for the night.  Not a great crowd but not a bad one either, pretty good for a Sunday night in fact. Cheers Stef (allegedly).

The scene is fucking healthy, apart from a few more people through the door would be nice. Four really decent bands for a sum total of fuck all, plus Big Gruesome who I am simply not in a position to judge – I don’t do hard rock.

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Who Saw The Light, Tuskar, Daisy Chain – Star Inn 12th September 2017

September 15, 2017

Someone said to me this “if you review a gig you should review all the bands”. Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. For (1) I am Wild Eye, this is my blog and I can do what I want, whether that is telling people to go check out Jon White’s amazing youtube channel for awesome live heaviness [https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxKMvHJPcHmp0Z3ncOw6Nsg] or ignoring bands for whatever reason I like.  For (2) I have got absolutely nothing to say about some bands other than “not my thing” or writing an essay on why I think “straight” rock / hard rock was killed off by grunge and had literally no relevance in 1990 let alone a modicum of relevance 27 years later.

To expand a little further, my opinion on such bands is somewhere between believing that they are not really my thing but have some merit as musicians, albeit merit I struggle to appreciate, and believing that their conservative nature is a despicable sonic representation of the politics killing this country. On balance I favour the latter argument. If you sing “I love the past and I hate progress, I want to go back in time 50 years to when I could offend minorities with impunity and discriminate against them willy-nilly” then you are a fucking arsehole. If your music shouts in massive fucking capital letters “I love the past and I hate progress” then I have to be suspicious about your politics, sorry. And mainstream rock / hard rock is just fucking shit of course. It has never been part of my life and never will be.

On first Daisy Chain.  New band to me, and someone told me it was their first gig.  If so, serious hats off.  Pretty impeccable list of influences on their facebook page – Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Mudhoney, Hawkwind, Sex Pistols.  Basically they’re a fuzzy grungey rock band who are fairly traditional, but have enough of an edge to keep someone like me interested. Awesome fuzz tones, vocals which owe something to shoegaze. A lot of the newer, younger bands I find myself loving now are heavy-as, whereas Daisy Chain are much less so, though that fuzz tone is pretty heavy (by 1970s standards maybe) and f-ing awesome. If I was a wanker I might say FFO Dinosaur Jr. They sound a bit Freak.

I love the retro guitar tones, I love that they are heavy and a bit psychedelic whilst resisting the urge to go all-in in either direction (or both)… but then again could they be even more interesting if they did veer off towards insanity or genuinely, overwhelming heaviness? Who the fuck knows but I look forward to finding out.

Loxdown are “not my thing”. Sue me. Please don’t sue me.

Tuskar. Hard rocking sludge two-piece. Love the occasional Mastodonny atmospherics. So, what makes a great pop band? Great songs and a beat you can dance to! What makes a great sludge band? Great riffs and a beat that fucking rocks! Tyler’s drums are as heavy and aggressive as you could wish for, but I think it might be a hint of  genuine funk in there too that makes them special. Tom’s riffs fucking rock, his guitar sound is heavy and full, another fucking EHX POG I presume. I want a POG and a HOG and in fact I actually WANT ALL OF THE FUCKING PEDALS.

They play a few songs off Arianrhod – the ep that I managed to get an early copy of before their signing to Riff Rock who will be re-releasing it soon. It is a serious ep. Buy it when it comes out. I can’t speak for the room, but I can speak of my experience in it. So easy to lose yourself in a maelstrom of fuzz and battering drums, so much energy in the thrashier bits. The room went mental and I’m guessing this was kinda an appreciation thing.

I’m honestly not envious of any band that has to follow Tuskar. Who Saw The Light get away with it with ease, they almost match the heaviness of Tuskar, and they out-weird them by miles. Tuskar are the band you can be sure will carry you across the ocean; Who Saw The Light are gonna shove you in a rocket-ship and you have no idea whether you’re gonna reach the stars or you’re gonna explode on launch… fuck they might even set the controls for the heart of the sun. Man. Fucking hippies. Hippy punk metaller freaks I meant. But either way, even if you die on the fucking launchpad, you’ll be happy. Or something. Does this metaphor work?

Where was I?

They start with Lightsaber Cocksucking Blues again. They end with Bangerz if memory serves. Fuck knows what they play in the middle, probably a few off their Psychedelic Philosophy EP. I’m not sure the extent to which they are getting tighter as a band or more focussed in their ideas – maybe quite a lot but maybe not at all. I do know that the more I see them the less random they appear, though the genre-defying madness is still there.  Is this more to do with me getting used to them or are they changing / progressing?  No idea, but I do know they have the riffs and the craziness to get a crowd going, whilst someone pit-averse like me can stand to the side and just grin for 30 minutes at the life-affirming show they put on.  Seriously, I’d expect a band to have really catchy poppy songs, with humour in the lyrics, to make me grin like this. And they’re political. Explicitly and implicity.

Fuck they’re good.

Pretty full room a first band on that went down well and the two main acts managed to absolutely destroy the back room of a pub in fucking Guildford on a fucking Tuesday night. Chapeau.

Freakouts and Screech Bats, Punk / Rock BBQ 3rd September 2017

September 4, 2017

Very quick few words… Jasta 11… all-dayer, punk BBQ with no BBQ!  I don’t care, bar food good as always at the Star.

I am not going to review all the bands, but a few words…

I love Freakouts.  I love their sheer, unadulterated energy, especially in ‘Fuck all’ the last song of the set.  I love the sense of danger and chaos.  I love their take on punk which is massively grunge-influenced.  I love Charlie’s vocal style which set’s them apart.  At the risk of doing myself (and others) a massive disservice they deserve a bigger, better, sweatier, younger, angrier audience.  The guitarist was a stand-in and did fine… maybe even looked and sounded a little more suited to the band than their usual guitarist does.

Screech Bats did it for me too… I love the sheer joy on the drummers face; the properly fuck-off attitude and stage presence of the guitarist; the energy (albeit they’re much more of a ‘straight’ band than Freakouts and gave me less of a sense of energy).  I loved the contradictions in the singer’s look – quite conventional looking clothes / hair, only fairly heavily tattooed – I liked her hand gestures and physical expressions which were much less obvious and hackneyed than most front-people employ.

Gigs in Guildford / SW Surrey and NE Hants September 1st 2017 onwards

September 1, 2017

This gig list is stuff that get’s the Wild Eye seal of approval, especially if the band or promoter are in bold.

If you look to your right you should see a page marked “Gig Listings on the Net A to Z” where I have linked a couple of local Facebook listings pages.  There will be further A to Z pages up soon covering local bands, labels, promoters and venues.

Let me know what I am missing.

Oh yeah… always worth checking out the Boileroom website as well.

Tuesday 19th September 2017
Joy Room, Fuzzwalker, Warp Rays at the Boileroom, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/433234143725578/

Saturday 30th September
Lo!, Thuum, I Saw The World Burn, Negative Thought Process, Praecantator at The Sanctuary, Basingstoke
https://www.facebook.com/events/477385599292291/

Sunday 1st October 2017
Thuum, Wytch Pycknyck, Slug13, Newts live at The Star Inn, Guildford [Leafy Incline Promotions]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1839197016332731/

Friday 6th October 2017
Trevor’s Head, Morass of Molasses, Heinous Pianist, Silent Mode at the Swamp at the Facebar.
https://www.facebook.com/events/164401130779858/

Saturday 7th October 2017
False Advertising, Silent Mode at The Sanctuary, Basingstoke
http://www.bandsintown.com/event/15119244

Friday 13th October 2017
Crisis, Deadcuts, Holy Faction at the Holroyd Arms, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/449174145438567/

Saturday 14th October 2017
The Grudge, Heinous Pianist and Stone Soup at the Lounge Bar in Alton
https://www.facebook.com/events/782076291974860/

Tuesday 24th October 2017
Baby Seals, Moper and Swords of Thought at at The Star Inn, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/1750740838558322/

Wednesday 1st November 2017
Syd Arthur and Vinyl Staircase at the Boileroom, Guildford.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1900143626975066/

Friday 3rd November 2017
Valerian Swing, Dialects, The Glowing Juniper and Cody Noon at The Sanctuary, Basingstoke
https://www.facebook.com/SanctuaryLiveUK/

Friday 3rd November 2017
Silverchild, Morass of Molasses, Stone Soup at the Facebar in Reading (The Swamp)
https://www.facebook.com/events/1375695992528398/

Sunday 19th November 2017
This Is Wreckage, Space Church more TBC at the Star Inn, Guildford (Buffalo Club night)
https://www.facebook.com/events/1644920612216088/

Friday 1st December 2017
Tuskar, Morass of Molasses, Slug13, The Grey (TBC) at the Facebar in Reading (The Swamp)
https://www.facebook.com/events/316946622109714/

Sunday 4th February 2018
Line-up TBC [Leafy Incline Promotions]
https://www.facebook.com/events/1965125827096664/

Past Events –

Friday 1st September 2017
Still Wave, Parachute For Gordo, Analogue Device at The Sanctuary, Basingstoke
https://www.facebook.com/events/1964523520502717/

Friday 1st September 2017
Bloodhoney, Naked Aces, Camcorder at The Rowbarge, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/315773242216231/

Sunday 3rd September 2017
Punk Rock BBQ at the Star Inn, Guildford – All dayer
Spoilers, Screech Bats, Captain Trips, Emergency Bitter, Kilter, The Landings, Freakouts
https://www.facebook.com/events/323545878074179/

Monday 4th September
Train Robbers, Luna, Lupus, Stu Brootal at Komo in Guildford (UpSet)  Hip-hop / rap / etc
https://www.facebook.com/events/114926529210171/

Thursday 7th September 2017
Freakouts, Spit, Xero, Revelry and Hydrocele at the Boileroom in Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/1446526652049559/

Saturday 09 September 2017
Febueder, Ash The Author, Catgod, Figures of Speech, Cody Noon, Vienna Ditto at Oakford Social Club in Reading
http://www.songkick.com/concerts/30997889-febueder-at-oakford-social-club

Sunday 10th September 2017
Princess, Camcorder, Big Gruesome, Bent Ref and Silent Mode at the Star Inn, Guildford [Trial n Buffalo pt 2] – FREE
https://www.facebook.com/events/1599945420039344/
https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/

Tuesday 12th September 2017
Who Saw The Light, Tuskar, Loxdown (?!?!), Daisy Chain at the Star Inn, Guildford – should be a very good one.
https://www.facebook.com/events/114455422598504/

Friday 15th September 2017
Atlantic Fire, Fainites, Andy Ruddy, Dead State and Soeur at the Boileroom, Guildford
https://www.facebook.com/events/325039217919761/

Moper, Dead State, I Plead Irony, Daryl Vorderman at the Star Inn, Guildford Friday 18th August 2017

August 28, 2017

I didn’t get round to reviewing this one before… and I ain’t now, but I’ll say a few words.

I had a real nice vibe going all night, probably down to seeing the Forward 4 Wiz Trust sign and thinking about the guy I did not know who wrote some of the best lyrics I have ever heard.  MC4 were a superb band, but Wiz’s lyrics were the one thing that from my perspective were genuinely great about them.  I do not use that word lightly.  Off the top of my head I cannot think of a better lyricist, anywhere, ever.  Only the good die young indeed you sod.  You have no idea how much I would love to be able to see you up on stage now.

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most beautiful songs out there IMO.  I’m in tears just re-reading those lyrics now.

If you read this blog you know I like boxes.  I love it when a band just headfucks me, throws it all in, noisily, confuses the hell out of me.  Who Saw The Light are the best example recently but the first couple of times I saw the mighty Space Church were similar.  But even when this is happening I’m always trying to pin bands down to a style or genre.

Dead StateI Plead Irony, and Daryl Vorderman are all probably independent, alternative punky rock or something… but they’re the non-weird, more song-based and less experimental end of that… I tend to prefer the weirder noisier end, unless the band in question really does blow me away with magnificent songs… and writing magnificent songs is kinda the really tricky bit in all this (well that and playing guitar, hitting things in time and singing, they’re all damn-near impossible as well).  Enjoyed ’em all, but Daryl Vorderman definitely have something and Dead State definitely have a decent front man.

Moper are a fucking let down.  I say “a fucking let down”, but I kinda meant to say, a fucking let down apart from –

The guitar – the sound, the stripped back simplicity, the beauty, the way there is not a single unnecessary note all night.

Voice – I really love Johnny’s voice, some people might say it’s authentic.  That’s a bullshit expression, but it is deeply convincing.

The way the drums and bass work perfectly to compliment the above.

The songs.

But apart from that, pretty average.  Go check out their records.

Forward 4 Wiz Trust on Facebook

Cody Noon, For Astronauts and Satellites, Aching Muscle and Sleepwalker at the Star Inn, Guildford 27th August 2017

August 28, 2017

Trial ‘n’ Error join forces once more with the Buffalo Club for a night that could best be described as experimental and eclectic.  Four acts with arguably next-to-nothing in common, certainly not superficially, other than three do not feature live drums and if you were to turn up for some rock, punk, indie then you’d be left disappointed.

Sometimes I go to gigs and just don’t much get into it, for no real reason I can put my finger on… other times I just get into it from start to finish and even when it’s not 100% my thing.

Up first, Sleepwalker.  Stef takes off his promoter’s hat and puts on one that I’d mark ambient minimal techno.  He stands in front of the stage and twiddles knobs on the assortment of kit – mixer, laptop, keyboard and some other shit – in front of him.  I missed the start of the set, but really loved what I did catch, which I think was most of it.  Of all the electronica / dance music out there this is pretty damn close to what I like most.  Quite a pure, warm sound.  Simple, funky, energetic… with ambient sweeps.  To my mind this is dance music for a bar / club that is equally effective as head music.  Really takes me back to 1997 / 98 when I was hanging out in little bars in central London on a Friday night, necking lagers and listening to electro-influenced tech-house.  Honestly, I have no criticism other than the Back Room of the Star is not the ideal setting.

Next up, Richard Fenning’s in his Aching Muscle guise.  An eclectic mix of electronic backing tracks, overlayed with live and looped guitar.  By turns fun, heavy, playful, funky, futuristic, lounge, rocking.  The playing can be relatively orthodox, but when it is it usually gives off a sense that it is being played exactly as intended – technically perfect.  Then he veers off in off-key, off-kilter, off-the-wall, off-ensive (not really), jazzy, mathy, experimentally directions that can sound quite random but I’m sure are just as precisely crafted as that which is more orthodox.

I’ve kinda got two criticisms.  A full live band can put out more power and volume, and, of course, gives you more to look at (not that Fennings doesn’t know how to work a stage).  The sound at the Star is really good – loud and faithful – but it’d be interesting to see how different, louder and more all-encompassing and powerful Aching Muscle would sound as a full band.  Failing that, in an ideal world, and this is asking a lot, he’d turn up with three half-stacks and route loops through one, drums and bass another and live guitar a third.  PA’s are fucking great but they compliment a back-line and can never truly replace one.

The second is this.  Music is never just about the music; to really love it you have to have a complete package to buy into.  Fenning’s other band – Pensevor, where he drums – are a perfect example.  They look like a proper band, down in no small part to their man-mountain front-man but not exclusively, and they have a sound that has nods to all sorts of things but is resolutely their own.  Get on stage by yourself and it’s a fuck-load harder to come across like a proper band, partly because you’re not, of course.  Nothing wrong with a solo act, nothing at all, but it’s just so much harder to come across like you’re on your way to a big stage, and so much easier to come across like you’ve just been let loose from your bedroom.  It’s about perception as much as reality, but it’s just harder to make it sound big and authentic (don’t get me started on authenticity in music, but just quickly, authenticity is bullshit, but people’s perception of it makes a massive difference to how a band is received.)

Third up For Astronauts and Satellites… pretty sure I’ve seen them before, but if I did I didn’t much enjoy them and don’t much remember them.  Dunno what was different this time – probably my attitude not them – but I really enjoyed it.  Shoegaze-influenced post-rock, combining electronics with two guitars; it was the drums that really did it for me.  Bugger.  I noodle at home with a sequencer, but yet another band proves exactly why a relatively traditional live band is so powerful, even 50 years or so since the first all-electronic acts, and despite the fact that so much of the last 30 or 40 years the more cutting-edge music relies increasingly on techniques other than live performance.

Really funky guitar noise.

Finally Cody Noon.  Kinda the missing link between Sleepwalker and For Astronauts, again funky, minimal programmed drums, again guitars, and the only live bass of the night.  Technically I am far from convinced by Cody Noon’s talent, none of Aching Muscle’s effortlessness… but for (1) I’m probably selling them short, and for (2) I really do not give a fuck.  If talent in and music out bore any real direct correlation then Eric Fucking Clapton would make music that could be described as “listenable” or “not horrific” or “unlikely to invoke murderous thoughts in the listener”.  I can’t really describe them… beer blamed, or maybe it’s just cos there’s absolutely nothing to what they do… repetitive, simple… but I really liked it and maybe even my favourites of the night.  In fact, not maybe, they definitely were.  Anything that drones is fine by me, but much more so when it is the drone of repetition as opposed to the drone of a continuous note.

Really looking forward to checking out recorded music from all of them, not least the three whose CDs I walked out with.  Keep and eye, I might even write about them in the next few weeks.  Expect me to come away with completely different perceptions from those I took away last night.

https://codynoon.bandcamp.com/

https://forastronauts.bandcamp.com/

https://soundcloud.com/aching-muscle

https://www.facebook.com/The-Sleepwalker-1700078336900454/

https://www.facebook.com/thebuffaloclub/

https://www.facebook.com/Trial-N-Error-Productions-1511711255801880/

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.

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?

An interview with Phil Markwick – Buffalo Club, Buzz Rodeo, Porch – The Star, Guildford Sunday 14th May

May 5, 2017

I met up with Phil Markwick last Saturday morning, at the Guildhall on Guildford High Street for the Record Fair.  More browsing than buying, then we headed down to the Star for a coffee, and found ourselves a table tucked away in a quiet corner right by the door to the back room where Phil (and others) put on gigs under the name The Buffalo Club.

We started chatting music… and ended up chatting for over an hour, most of which I got on tape.  This piece will cover the Buffalo Club and in particular their upcoming show at the Star on May 14th, other parts of the interview will likely see the light another time.

“So, what shall we talk about?” was about the best question I asked.  As I say, we chatted.  You’re better off just listening to Phil.  His words are in bold.

“The thing I’d like to talk about is the upcoming show that we’ve got with Buzz Rodeo, Porch and This is Wreckage.”  And Space Church, his own band.

“Tell me about Buzz Rodeo and Porch.”

“Buzz Rodeo.  The quickest way to sum them up is like a German Shellac.  I joked to a friend because Shellac wasn’t efficient enough as it is… they’re very stark, the songs are good, classic noise rock songs.  I bought their album on bandcamp a long time before I knew that they were doing a UK tour.”

“I saw they did a post on facebook saying “hey, we’re doing a tour, these are our free dates.”  So I got in contact with them and said “we do a thing in Guildford, would you be interested in playing?  They were. They were really keen.  It was kinda like a happy accident that they were doing a kind of joint tour with Porch.  Porch was a band, a sort of California noise-rock band from back in the 90s.  I was aware of them back in the 90s, I didn’t see them live back in the 90s, but to be honest I hadn’t thought about them since the 90s.  When I heard they were plaing again I thought “that’s cool” and I was kind of surprised, I thought they had missed that wave of “let’s get back together to do All Tomorrow’s Parties”.  It’s incredible that they’re doing a tour of the UK.  I think I fucked up on pricing [£5 – Ed.] because originally I thought it was just going to be Buzz Rodeo.  With the stuff we do with the Buffalo Club 100% of the money goes to the main band, especially touring bands and out of town bands.  They have petrol costs – flights, hotels.”

“One of the things with the Buffalo Club is how you want to be an arbitrator of taste.  Only bands that I really really really like will play.  But then you learn some rules.  You can get away with four bands playing and two of them have gotta be a draw.  Two of them have gotta bring people out, and if they don’t you just have out of town bands that are fucking amazing but all they’re doing is watching each other.  It seems to me that’s the rule for putting on local shows, like 50% of the bands that play have to be local draws, or if they’re out of town they have to be known.  I’m hoping Porch are going to be a local draw.  As soon as you’re involved in a thing you can’t see the wood for the trees.”

“There’s an other band This Is Wreckage, and they’re coming all the way down from Wales.  Which is great, but I’ve kinda broken that out of town / local balance rule with this.

“It’s certainly not about making money.  When you fill out a room and you’re £50 out of pocket that’s brilliant.  You could put on another show and break even and only have 20 people and I’d rather be £50 out of pocket and fill the room, cos you feel like you’re putting on a party.”

“Who is the Buffalo Club, you’re obviously the driving force?”

“I wouldn’t put it that way.  The Buffalo Club was started by four bands. Secret Black Boyfriend [Now called Moper – Ed.], Fauntleroy, Pensevor and Space Church.  You had a link between all bands.  One member of Space Church was in Pensevor.  Another member of Pensevor was in Fauntleroy, and the other member of Fauntleroy was in Secret Black Boyfriend.  In the early days it was very easy to communicate, unfortunately Fauntleroy have stopped rehearsing as a band for a while.  Everyone is still friends but it isn’t as immediate any more.  It floated apart a bit.  It’s become more just Pensevor and Space Church.  I wouldn’t say I’m the driving force, I mean all it is is booking a venue.  I do the posters, because I have a graphic design background, and you have fun doing them.  It’s not entirely selfless.”

“What do you make of the Star?”

“It’s a great venue, you can get nice and loud, the sound’s really good, the only thing it’s got against it is it hasn’t got a back stage.

“What do Porch sound like?”

“Porch, to me, they sound like a lot of those great 90s bands.  When I was younger there were a couple of bands that I noticed for the first time, and one of them was Jawbox and I’d kinda put Porch in the same cate… I don’t wanna say category… memory, memory box because you discover bands at the same time.”

“Any last thoughts on This is Wreckage?”

“Welsh band, noisy as fuck, absolutely brilliant, slightly avant-garde. Completely fucked up, great stuff, great stuff.”

Finally, Phil, I see your next event is at Sanctuary Live in Basingstoke – who’s playing and what can we expect?

Basingstoke will be for the fans of doom!!!  Yeah, that will be the legends Pensevor.  Pat (the Space Church drummer) plays guitar in that band and he just blows me away with his skills.  He showed me a guitar piece to play the other day and I had to say ‘I gotta re-write that bit’, because I just cannot do those ‘puff of smoke and turn on a dime’ changes that he can do.

It’s the first time we are doing a Buffalo Club in Basingstoke so I am at pains to remind everyone that it’s not in Guildford.  I have visions of people turning up at the wrong venue.

The headliners are Skrackoedlan, I don’t know if I pronounced right, but they are doing a UK tour at the moment and they reached out to me.  I have to admit I had not heard of them before, but I thought it was really good stuff.  I asked Pensevor if they would like play with them, they said yeah, so we went for it.  Skrackoedlan are sort of old school, a little bit ‘Hawkwind’ but in a good way.

With this and the Buzz Rodeo / Porch night we are stepping out a little to get touring bands.  It’s bit more work and financial risk but so it’s great how supportive people have been.

Tank 86 are touring with Skrackoedlan also.  I am looking forward to that, they really have some riffs!  I am not super knowledgeable about the Doom scene and I am kind of ‘I don’t know much, but I know what I like’, but they seem to be taking off at the moment.

Gift of Blindness is playing also. Probably the best dark metal band on the scene today. Think of it are almost shoegaze metal as you just have two guys just focused on playing these amazingly epic metal-scapes. I sort of joked to one the members that you should get loads of dry ice and I will sit behind the drums pretending to play with dildos or something.  

 

Event Page on Facebook (Buzz Rodeo and Porch)

https://www.facebook.com/events/1851757875095504/

Buzz Rodeo

https://buzzrodeo.bandcamp.com/

Porch

https://porch.bandcamp.com/

Space Church

https://spacechurch.bandcamp.com/

This Is Wreckage

https://thisiswreckage.bandcamp.com/