Posts Tagged ‘the sleepwalker’

Gigs / events this week and a bit further forward – Guildford and surrounding…

September 24, 2018

Fresh, Me Rex, Tea Leaf (acoustic)
The Keep, Guildford, Weds 26th September 2018

Aldershot Modular Cafe
West End Centre, Aldershot, Thurs 27th September 2018

Guildford Rhymes Volume XIII [UpSet Collective]
Casino Nightclub, Guildford, Thurs 4th October 2018.  Date change – this might be moving to the 11th October 2018.  TBC TBC.

Beggar, Archelon, The Lunar Effect, Slug 13 [The Swamp]
Facebar, Reading, Friday 5th October 2018

blanket, Matro Rancho, Mikey Riley [F4Wt Spaces4Sound]
The Star Inn, Guildford, Sat 6th October 2018

Kayla Painter, Nanye, The Sleepwalker [Trial N’ Error]
The Star Inn, Guildford, Weds 17th October 2018

Always remember to check –


Trial n Error Productions – Nanye, An Early Haunting, Chrono and Slow Clinic – live at the Star Inn, Guildford, 2nd Spetember 2018

September 6, 2018

I’m too honest for my own good.

If I was normal (by abysmal modern standards of music criticism / journalism) I would give this gig 10/10, five star, A+++++, better than finding out that you’ve won a quadruple-rollover Euromillions whilst getting a hand-job off… you know what, I’ll leave it there.

I’m not normal, I try to make this blog as honest as I can.  This becomes hard when part of the reason I write is to trying to encourage connections and attendance at gigs; when I meet and like people and don’t want to slag their music off as a result; when I’m helping out the promoter a bit – he might even claim I co-promoted, which is utter bullshit.  Stefan Powell, aka The Sleepwalker, booked the bands and the venue and did pretty much everything else from what I can see, but I did try to give him a bit of a hand because I MASSIVELY BELIEVE IN WHAT HE IS DOING [see note 1].  And another thing makes it hard – on the one hand I’m judging bands for what they are – young and / or local – on the other hand I want to see originality and quality that matches up to my favourite music of all time, which is a pretty high bar to set.

Anyway, now I’ve got that out of the way I can get on with being honest – shit the lot of them.  Absolute toilet, especially  the acts featuring at least one guitar.

Not really.

First not on was Cyberwaste – illness preventing Ashlinn Nash from providing electronic interludes… hopefully she will be back with TNE soon.

James Armstrong’s Slow Clinic persona is taking a live break which is a massive shame.  Drones, swells, effects-laden ambient-guitar heaven… I think this was the third time I’ve seen him now and every time I’ve enjoyed it more than the last.  I think the reason for this is that when I first hear music like this – simple in many respects, sound-based and not relying on high levels of musicianship [Note 2] – I fear that I will buy into something that is ultimately relatively worthless.  I love a lot of very simple music, and do not believe that technical ability (or the amount on display ) and quality of output is corrollated, but I do fear that my ability to tell “simple, genius” from “simple, nothing special” is poor.

Stunning, mesmerising, beautiful… swells and drones, occasional more traditional guitar playing which has it’s power multiplied by its rarity… if I were to doubt my judgement I’d only have to look at the faces of some of the musicians in the audience and the rapturous round of applause at the end of the set to know for sure that I was wrong to.

I’m on even more dodgy territory trying to review Chrono and An Early Haunting.  Both bands play music which I’m open to, and supportive of because of its attempts to put the more traditional rock tropes behind it, but neither fit neatly into genres that I love or know huge amounts about.

Chrono – a part-time Freakout on a guitar, another guitar, James Armstrong (again) on bass, drums.  No vocals.  Some sort of post-rock-y, math-y thing, which veered a little into more classic rock territory at times.  At their best they got noisier and veered towards a Mars Volta sound/style, but then listening to the minute of studio recording “Debut” online leads me to think they could be as good if they pursued a pretty-much ambient route much closer to Armstrong’s Slow Clinic.  Their set seemed to fly by, which is undoubtedly a testament to them doing something right.  Looking forward to seeing how they develop, the selfish side of me hopes that when I next see them they’ve pushed the more aggressive and chilled sides of their sound, and reduced the amount of middle-ground.  One to watch.

An Early Haunting rise from the ashes of Lost You To The Cities, claiming – entirely fairly – that the direction they’re moving is towards more of a soundtrack / film-score vibe.  Lack of drums probably helps that… not sure if / when they’ll get a drummer, but I’m tempted to suggest they stick to eternal drummerlessness to emphasize that they’re not trying to compete with a typical rock or post-rock outfit.

Two guitars, bass, and two multi-instrumentalists with cello, violin and keys (and occasional guitar) is a pretty good approximation of the line-up… I’m a sucker for bands who swap instruments going back to seeing the mighty Sebadoh at the Old Trout in Windsor.  Kinda washes over you, booze and four days don’t help, not really sure what to say apart from it’s chilled and glides by kinda like soundtrack music tends to do… kinda like they might be acheiving what they set out to do… will definitely be keeping an eye on how they progress.

Nanye.  I don’t have any booze and four days excuse with Nanye, despite them going on a few minutes later… I distinctly remember not having a clue what I was witnessing when it happened so time really does make fuck all difference writing now.  First track – Circles – some kind of warped electronic pop with Ella Joy taking a lead on vocals – then the rest of the set was some sort of live drum n bass / jazz / dance / noise / folk freakout (word being used more because I’ve been reading about freaks / freeks in Guitar Army about the MC5, rather than grunge-punk-firestorm freakouts).  Lots of kneeling by pedals, I approve.  Seriously good.  Like seriously good. I like mad shit, and this is it.

Next one Kayla Painter Wednesday October 17th.

Note 1 – What he is doing is putting on bands which tend to veer towards the more experimental and electronic ends of the alternative music universe.  Tonight he succeeded, again.

Note 2 – Dear Mr Armstrong, please accept my apologies for any failure on my part to recognise those aspects of your set which are musically tricky to pull off.  I wouldn’t know musicianship if it slapped me in the face with a canoe.  Yours, Wild Eye.

Note 3 – Glenn Christian’s magic box does deserve a mention –

Some links

Lost You To The Cities, Gift of Blindness with The Sleepwalker, Typical Hunks, Unman – The Star Inn, 9th April 2017

April 15, 2017

Buffalo Club join forces with Trial n Error – end result veers more into experimental / noise territory than a typical Buffalo Club night which is perhaps more riffs and noise.  Whatever follows bear in mind that I’m fucking happy to walk into a venue and hear noisey music that’s not straight-down-the-line metal; isn’t some generic punky-emo-y nonsense.

Unman kick things off.  Guitar, bass, drums, sax.  Noise, noise, drums, some sax and more noise.  I was told its all improvisation.  Very believable.

It was all about jazz drumming, the odd sax burst, and lots of texture.  I enjoyed it a lot, lost myself in it… but I have to say that I prefer music to be more song- or riff-based.  I like rhythm.  I like sound.  But most of all I like raw, dirty rock n roll, and that ain’t Unman.  Then again, it’s pointless to consider Unman on those terms.

Great thinking music.  I felt like I do when I look at modern art… an afternoon in a gallery looking at modern art is something I really enjoy… but I often find that relatively little of what I see I really like as a piece of art – what I get from is more that it invariably gets me thinking about art and making art.  And actually, thinking about it now, I prefer good music to good visual art, and I prefer thinking about music to thinking about visual art, so at the very least Unman are better than a visit to a gallery. But that’s harsh, I enjoyed it, its just not massively my kinda music.

Typical Hunks did their thing.  The drum machine is 80s.  The sound it makes is 80s.  It’s a fucking good job most bands don’t use 80s drum machines, but there’s nothing wrong with the fact that some bands do.  It suits the music which is some sort of post-punk, scratchy, US-noise influenced shit.  I’m not criticising the vox or bass, both of which play their part, but for me it’s all about the guitar.  I love it, and a bit of a droney vibe going on behind the main riffs which I didn’t really notice first time I saw them.

Next on was The Sleepwalker whose very brief laptop set was really an introduction to Gift of Blindness.  I cannot stress enough how much I am open to electronics replacing live instruments in live sets, and the drummer’s the obvious first one to ditch.  But my take is that if you’re not going to have a live drummer then you have the ability to do things that a real drummer can’t, whereas with Gift of Blindness it seemed more like programmed drums were there filling a gap until a real drummer turns up.  Technical issues and the lack of the bass player who couldn’t make it and it all felt a bit half-cooked… but Gift of Blindness’s Umair Chaudhry knows that.  Was it the second track that kicked in with a really nice guitar sound and riff?  Think so.  The potential’s there.  £10 says Gift of Blindness’ next gig will be a load better.  The last one probably was too.

Headliners – Lost You To The Cities – don’t seem to have been around too long.  The night’s kinda gone full circle, and we’re back to abstract music that’s more about texture than anything else.  Instrumental post-rock though, not jazz-noise.  Again I enjoyed it.  Again I’m just happy to be able to see live music that isn’t just some straight-ahead metal or pointless indie drivel, but again its not massively my thing and I really can’t say much other that I suspect it sounds a bit like Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Radiohead, Slint, Fireside, … And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Can, Balmorhea, Ennio Morricone, Dirty Three, GYBE, A Silver Mount Zion, Joy Division, Velvet Underground [you have just read a list of their influences C and P’d from their Facebook page.  My knowledge of post-rock is limited].

Buffalo Club – Sat May 28th 2016 – Star Inn Guildford

June 6, 2016

Grits, Burning House, Warren Schoenbright, The Sleepwalker

Ballsiest Band of the Night Award

Warren Schoenbright.  Easy.  How the fuck can a band have the balls to have a drummer keep it so simple, like this little skin-flicker did for much of their set?  I’ll tell you how!  No fucking idea.  He might as well have not been on stage for huge chunks of the set given how simple he kept it.

Band Name of the Night Award

Not awarded.  Not that any of the band names are bad, per se, but I’m not sure any are that good.  Or maybe the bands had them the wrong way round?  Grits should swap with Burning House, then Grits (the new one, not the old one) with The Sleepwalker, leaving Grits (the third one) to swap with Warren Schoenbright.  That would definitely make more sense.

Band of the Night Most Likely to Get Nicked for Encouraging Drug Taking Even Though You Can’t Really Get Nicked For Encouraging Drug Taking Unless You’re a Dealer and then You Get Nicked For Dealing Not Encouraging Award

The Sleepwalker.  Note – I know the award title implies that I know that they’re not dealers, the truth is they could be Howard Fucking Marks and his big-time elder bro’ for all that I know.  Please, if either of the members of The Sleepwalker – da one wiv the laptop an da beatz or the one wot guitared – are dealers who supply you, then please do not let this award put you off visiting them again – just make sure you wears a disguise to get your supplies.  Its for your good and theirs.

Best Band of the Night Award

Grits.  Easy.

Best Live Band of the Night Award (judged in comparison to their online output, not in absolute terms)

Warren Schoenbright.  Much better live than some of their stuff online might suggest, some of the suff online being far too abstract for my taste.  Coincidentally one of my favourite ever bands are also far too abstract for my taste to the point where some of their stuff I don’t much like at all.

Comedy Moment of the Night Award

Burning House’s drummer drops stick.  Shit happens.  Burning House’s singer/guitarist reacts as though shit DOES NOT HAPPEN, OR AT LEAST NOT IN MY FUCKING BAND.  Chill Winston.  Or something.

Drummer of the Night Award

Warren Schoenbright.  Easy.  How the fuck can a band have the balls to have a drummer keep it so simple, like this little skin-flicker did for much of their set, and come across like such a fucking amazing amazing drummer?  The last band I saw with a drummer this good were Toehammer.  I am serious.  Toehammer are / were (anyone know?) a three piece where you just kinda wonder what the guitarist and bassist are thinking?  Do / did they realise that they’re there simply because people want to watch the drummer, but watching a drummer on stage by themselves is boring, so it kinda helps if the rest of a band are on stage too even if they’re irrelevant to the level of pleasure the audience gets?

Guildford’s New Best Band Award (hotly contested because, as we all know, more great bands come out of Guildford than anywhere in the UK apart from London, Rugby and Burton-On-Trent)

Grits.  They were the only Guildford band on the bill to my knowledge, but this is not an “on the Night Award” so fair play to this little trio for pulling it off.

Highest Feedback to Traditional Guitar Playing Ratio of the Night Award

The Sleepwalker.

Most Appropriate Other Band T-Shirt on a Member of a Band on the Night Award

My Bloody Valentine Feed Me With Your Kiss on Burning Star’s singer/guitarist.  Burning House’s bass player gets an honourable runners-up silver medal for Dinosaur Jr.  Third for Warren Schoenbright’s drummer for his “I am a fucking class drummer” T-Shirt or did I make that up?

Most Correct Feedback to Traditional Guitar Playing Ratio of the Night Award

The Sleepwalker.

Most Strangest Band of the Night Award

Warren Schoenbright.

Most Used Tremolo Arm of the Night Award

Burning House.

Musician of the Night Award

Warren Schoenbright’s drummer.

Post-rock Rock Band of the Night Award

Grits.  They are the world’s first post-rock rock band.  Or am I talking shit?  Probably.  Whatever the fuck they are they take a shit-load of interesting influences, then turn them on their head and just get on with being a fucking great (hard) rock band.  So probably not post-rock at all.

Soundtrack/scape Band of the Night Award

The Sleepwalker.  They would have got the Only Soundtrack/scape Band of the Night Award if there was one, but there wasn’t cos that would be silly.  They were also the only band to soundtrack a (slowed down) film as they played, but that did not effect the judges’ decision.

The Wild Eye Music “My Kinda Thing” Band of the Night Award

Burning House for being “My Kinda Thing” and doing it damn well.

The Free CD of My Choice that you Probably Have and Probably Don’t Really Want Award of the Night (collection / meet only, no postage)

To the first person to comment on this blog with the name of the three bands referenced in one way or another (but not named) in this review.  Bonus CD if you can name the band referenced twice.