The Crippens – Gig Review

The Crippens + Emissaries of Syn + Ballpein + Soulless System + Abominate + Spam Javelin

Saturday 19th May 2018

The Tivoli, Buckley

Six bands spanning a range of punk, hardcore, thrash and death metal – all for £7.50?  You count Platinum Al in, guv’nor!  Anticipating a night of good ol’ fashioned face melting tunes I was off to the Tivoli in Buckley for what seemed the first time in absolute yonks.

As I bounded into the Tiv and was drawn like a magnet straight to the bar, our first band of the evening – Spam Javelin – had started playing.  They play fast, loud and fun hardcore punk, with a dose of well placed humour.  I was very impressed by Spam Javelin’s set and need to check them out again.  Recommended and a good start to the night!

Up next were Abominate, who’s music was essentially a revved up a chainsaw thrown into a pit of acid vipers.  It’s full on death/thrash metal and by ‘eck, it is good.  Intense and with a crafty helping of heavy, crunching sludge to boot – Abominate are a force of nature and very superb indeed.

Local band Soulless System were up next.  Their sound is heavy, grinding and brutal thrash – though their set seems dogged by sound issues tonight.  It perhaps doesn’t help that they don’t use a live drummer.  It’s a shame as the band can obviously play and have some very tasty riffs.  Get these boys a drummer and sort the sound and they’ll light it up.

Then what happened?  Oh yeah, Ballpein played and smashed my face in.  Repeatedly.  Amazing band, full on hardcore punk with a metallic edge: if you want exciting, fast songs and brutal riffage this is the band for you.  Ballpein are also amazingly good on stage, confident and having fun as they grind out their (not very) delicate ballads about serial killers.

Another North Wales crew, Emissaries of Syn, played next – attacking with their blend of crusty grinding noise.  EOS are relentless and played a non stop set of mind warping punk thrash goodness.  Great stuff and again, confidently played on the big Tiv stage.  I’ll keep an eye open for more.

Finally, our revered headliners took to the stage and belted out some classic hardcore punk.  Once they were Doctor and, now they’re just The Crippens, but this reformed bunch of maniacs disguised as musicians are back and slaying all before them.  A great set, I have never before witnessed such a mesmerising gang of misfits in the wild.  Perhaps a tear escaped as I reminisced about long ago 80’s skate rock.  Whatever, I am SO glad I got to see this band live.

And that was it, another great night at the Tivoli.  Well done to the bands who played; thanks to the Tiv for being brave enough to put on something a bit different; and full marks to Knoxy who organised this and helped raise some funds for mental health care in the process.  A legend.

 

You can find all the bands above on Facebook, it’s easy.

The Tivoli website is here. 

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing – Gig Review

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing + IDestroy

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Live Rooms, Chester

Please do accept my humble apologies for the delay, good sirs and ladies – one has had a considerable amount of business to attend to before this esteemed review of the above musical personages could be completed.  I’ve been drinking gin, mostly.

Way back in March, I was indeed fortunate enough to witness a spectacle unlike any other in this historic town of Chester.  The Live Rooms: performance theatre hall, proprietor unknown, was the establishment in question; wherein I did encounter a motley band of anarchists known as The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing.

And what an encounter I did experience, dear reader.  Not since that time the circus arrived through town parading an ungodly assortment of freaks and oddities (a Mr Merrick included, no less) have I seen such debauchery.

First of all, the audience and I were entertained by three young ladies, though unlike any other maidens one could classify as such; the wonderful IDestroy.  They were excellent purveyors of the art form known as “punk rock”, wielding mighty instruments that wrought tuneage both aggressive yet delightful.  

I am sure that these estimable young ladies will not begrudge an old fool such as myself in proclaiming that they could not, or indeed should not, be considered “wall flowers”.  IDestroy possessed astonishing songs that proved highly enjoyable; energetic and confidently performed.

A most invigorating start to the evening’s proceedings; one can only ponder: “Why is there not more of this sort of thing readily available”?  Good show, indeed.

And so, our humble headline act claimed the theatre stage, and began a relentless musical bombardment that would be heard across the distant lands of the Empire’s colonies.  The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing were indeed a sight and sound to behold.

Modern listeners may be forgiven for assuming they have witnessed a grown up edition of successful children’s entertainment Horrible Histories, yet with added ferocious guitars.  Though the message within the music is not hidden, the glorious racket TMTWNBBFN portray is fine entertainment, even for those straight into the workhouse with no pretension of education.

The band had mischievousness in abundance; so whilst regaling the gathered revellers with mirth were able to determine their stage presence in a manner unlike any other I have before encountered. 

This, dear reader, is what I believe has been classified as “steampunk” – and what a jolly riot it was.  A cacophony of history, politics and humour accompanied by pulverising rock music – the perfect soundtrack to a evening on the gin in a Whitechapel boozer.

Afterward I departed for my carriage, grinning like a buffoon and clutching a new “record” to play on my phonograph.

With sincere thanks to all concerned, etc. etc.

Find out more about The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing here.

Find out more about IDestroy here.

The Live Rooms website is here.

Thanks to Lynda Rowlands for the brilliant live photos!

Gym Playlist #1

Have you been hitting the gym since the start of the year?  Punishing yourself with cardio and weights as you fight to shed those extra pounds that attached themselves limpet-like over the festive season?

I’ve been slaughtering the gym since the start of the year, but then I always do.  Not that it seems to do any good.

Whilst I’m there, pummelling away at the flab in a vain attempt to get in shape, I need some tunes to motivate me.  The music in the gym is usually dancey disco stuff, which is fine if you’re dancing, but when I’m working out I need something a bit more aggressive.

Albums by various bands get a regular spin, but I also made this iPod playlist to help me focus like a Viking ransacking a monastery.  Sometimes I’m so amped I feel like I could run through the wall, rather than just plodding on the treadmill.

You could do worse than to listen to this cacophony yourself.

  1. Rocket From The Crypt – “Pushed”
  2. Audioslave – “Cochise”
  3. Big Chief – “Lion’s Mouth”
  4. Metallica – “Die Die My Darling”
  5. Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
  6. Rage Against the Machine – “Guerrilla Radio”
  7. Anthrax – “Only”
  8. Corrosion of Conformity – “Heaven’s Not Overflowing”
  9. Pantera – “Fucking Hostile”
  10. The Cult – “Rise”
  11. Probot – “Shake Your Blood”
  12. Suicidal Tendencies – “War Inside My Head”
  13. Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”

There you go: 47 minutes of energetic, in your face music to psyche you up and get you in the mood to destroy. GO!!!

Bring Your Own Vinyl Day

Bring Your Own Vinyl Day

Civic Hall, Connah’s Quay

Saturday 24th September 2016

It’s been a while since I wrote about a Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.  What with holidays and other commitments, the Mold event has been a no go for me recently.  Not to worry though – the fine people at VOD Music ecord fairs would come to the rescue!

The record fair organised in Connah’s Quay Civic Hall also hosted Halcyon Dreams, organisers of the very fine Bring Your Own Vinyl events.  And this time, what with the timing of the record fair, this would be a day time event.

As I was at a record fair, I didn’t bring along any vinyl from my collection at home to play.  Instead I decided to wing it and just spin a few discs that I bought on the day.  This could be risky as I wouldn’t necessarily be familiar with the tracks.

I spent a long time perusing the various record stalls and making several purchases.  Whilst this was going on, the Halcyon Dreams decks were spinning all manner of wondrous delights.

Eventually I took my place at the turn tables, and made a few quick decisions on what to play.

Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere

My first problem was following a 12″ of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Propellerheads. An absolute killer track.  I went for “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads, from their “Little Creatures” LP.  I’d been after some Talking Heads for a while, and this only cost me £3 for a nice copy.  Great song – and I think I got away with the mix!  The vocals at the start were a nice contrast, and soon one or two people seemed to be enjoying it. th

Next there was a brief gap in my set, as one of the dealers asked us to play one of his singles for a potential buyer.  I think it was a group called The Jackson Sisters; early 70’s rare soul.  The cost?  £85.  But I can attest to the fact that it was DAMN fine track: funky, danceable groove – if only I had the money myself!

Eddie Cochran – C’mon Everybody

I followed up the 85 quid 7″ single with one that cost me 50p.  It was a re-issue from 1988 of the rockabilly classic, “C’mon Everybody” by Eddie Cochran.  I thought this would add some variety to my planned set, in style and age.  I remember becoming familiar with this song from the Sid Vicious cover, however Eddie’s version is superior.  It’s a stone cold classic.  I do love these 1980’s jean commercial promotional tie-ins, don’t you?  Classic song for next to nowt.

Stormtroopers of Death – Kill Yourself

And so, how should I conclude the set?  With a bit of egging on, I knew it had to be S.O.D.  I’d just picked this up for a nice price – most expensive purchase of the day, but worth it – as it was on my vinyl wish list.  Nasty thrash metal/hardcore with horrid lyrics (that I understand are a joke) – this Anthrax off shoot rounded off the set in scuzzy style.  It was a bit of a shock, anyway.

So there you have it – a great day’s record buying and some awesome tracks.  I’m already looking forward to the next Bring Your Own Vinyl Night!

You can check out the Halcyon Days blogspot here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD Music website is here.

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #8

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 8th April 2016

Got a record collection?  Want to spin those discs on a nice turntable for an appreciative bunch of vinyl enthusiasts?  The Bring Your Own Vinyl Night is for you!

Held monthly in the Queen’s Head pub in Mold, North Wales, this event goes from strength to strength.  The idea is simple: each participant gets 15 minutes to play whatever records they want.  That’s vinyl only; no CDs, MP3s, cassettes or whatever else.  Just have a beer and enjoy the music.

My pal Adam was back on the decks tonight, and was the first of our crew to step up.  He played a great set of songs from movies, that went something like this:

  • Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
  • Blue Swede – Hooked On A Feeling
  • George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Bad to the Bone
  • Ry Cooder – All Shook Up
  • Santo & Johnny – Sleepwalk

A special prize if you can name the films these songs are from!  A great set from Adam, I think one of his strongest.  In particular, I thought “Sleepwalk” was an exceptional track.

Then it was my turn:

Suicidal Tendencies – Possessed to Skate

Regular readers will know the story of my Suicidal records.  Here’s a quick recap.  Going back to the height of my skateboarding days in 1988 (or thereabouts), my friend Kelvin Bedford gave me the album “Join the Army” by Suicidal Tendencies.  A few years later, as a broke student, I sold that album and another ST record to my mate Graham.  Now fast forward to the recent past, and although I had the CDs, I was kicking myself for not having the vinyl anymore.  They were easy enough to buy off Discogs.  However, sadly Kel had passed away a couple of years ago, so I thought it would be great to have the copy he originally gave me back.  I contacted Graham, and he gave me the records for free.  What a gentleman!  I bought him a beer or two as a thank you.

Not so brief that recap, but now you have the background.  I wanted to play a track off the classic “Join the Army” record, as it was back in my collection, and this had to be it.  Many fun memories of my old skateboarding days always come flooding back with this fast paced punk rock/metal hybrid.  And I still listen to it when I skate nowadays (which isn’t often enough).  “Possessed to Skate”.  RAD.

Iggy & The Stooges – Gimme Danger

The next song is a favourite I was introduced to in my university days.  I was already a fan of the early Stooges albums, but hadn’t heard “Raw Power”.  It’s a superb record, full of barely restrained energy and chaos.  “Gimme Danger” is a the second song on the album, lulling the listener in to a false sense of comfort after lead track “Search and Destroy” decimates your speakers.  “Gimme Danger” still has an air of menace, however – a sense that anything can, and will, go wrong.  Decadent and beautiful, a masterpiece.

Chris Isaak – Wicked Game

And so on to Chris Isaak.  I have the “Wicked Game” album on CD, so I can regularly bask in the warmth of Isaak’s voice and imagine desert roads, truck stops, motels and neon lights.  This version is on a 7″ single that Greeny gave me for Christmas, and I’m so glad I have it.  Timeless Americana that always carries a hint of David Lynch, thanks to the song being included in “Wild at Heart”.  I usually drunkenly sing along to this at 2am.  I’ve also attempted “Wicked Game” at Karaoke a couple of times; I think I got away with it.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Sexy Mexican Maid

One of my favourite RHCP songs ever, you can find this sensual little number on the fantastic “Mother’s Milk” record.  It’s a slow funky groove that deserves to be heard more often, from one of their greatest albums.  “Sexy Mexican Maid” shows the Chili Peppers exploring their sound and developing towards “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, whilst still happy to languish with their sexually charged lyrics.

So last up was Ben the Swede, who recently moved house and now had access to his full vinyl collection.  The theme was bass, of different types:

  • Level 42 – You Can’t Blame Louis
  • Duran Duran – A View to a Kill
  • ELO – Shine a Little Love

And there you have it: another great night with some great songs and some very cool people.There were some killer tracks from PIL, Perrey & Kingsley, Elvis Costello and more.  You can see the full playlist on the Halcyon Dreams blog here.

Thanks all – looking forward to the next Vinyl Night!

You can listen to this Bring Your Own Vinyl Night (and previous ones, too) on the Mixcloud page here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

Thanks Graham!

RIP Kelvin Bedford

Corrosion of Conformity Gig Review

Corrosion of Conformity

Saturday 7th March 2015

Manchester Academy 2

I’ve been a Corrosion of Conformity fan for a long time.  Starting with a cassette copy of their hardcore punk/thrash crossover Eye For An Eye back in my early skateboarding days; through their major label success as a stoner metal band; and on.  Never seen them live, though.  Ridiculous, no?

All that was about to change: I decided to get my act together and go see the band in Manchester for their latest tour.  The fact that vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan was back fronting the band, completing their Deliverance era line-up, was a nice little sweetener too.

The afternoon got off to a great start when, mere seconds from arriving in the car park next to the Academy, I spotted bass player Mike Dean walking along the road.  I greeted him and wished the band well in a brief, pleasant conversation.  I think I managed to remain cool and not look like a total weirdo.

A few beers were had in the early evening, before we made our way to the venue.  Unfortunately we were in Manchester Academy 2, not the nice big main Academy building.  The Academy 2 is the size of a sports hall and was too small for this band.  People were crammed in tighter than a glam rockers spandex pants; it was not cool.

I only caught the end of the support bands slot, so I will pass judgement on Hang the Bastard at this time. COC

When Corrosion of Conformity hit the stage, there’s a genuine sense of excitement in the (tiny) room.  They open with instrumental “These Shrouded Temples” from the Blind album, before charging into “Senor Limpio” and “King of the Rotten”.  There’s hardly a breather between songs, and minimal banter – it seems COC are on a mission to destroy.  Pepper leads the band confidently, like he’s never been away; whilst Woody throws down a barrage of guitar.

In keeping with the tour theme, there’s a healthy chunk of tracks from the devastating Deliverance album.  This is fine with me.  My sad fanboy credentials mean I love all their output, but Deliverance is the cream of the crop as far as I’m concerned.  A genuine metal/punk/stoner/doom/whatever classic, rated in the same bracket as Volume 4 and Master of Puppets.  “Albatross” and “My Grain” are highlights amongst a head crushing set, though the slower pace of “Seven Days” is my favourite from that era of the evening – forgot how great that song is.

There’s a pinch of tracks from across several albums, with “Long Whip/Big America” shining from Wiseblood.  “Thirteen Angels” (America’s Volume Dealer) and “Paranoid Opioid” (In the Arms of God) also stand out in a set filled with gems.  The band are well rehearsed – Reed’s drums and Mike’s bass sound tight and locked in.

COC return for their encore with “Broken Man”, before launching into the inevitable “Vote With a Bullet”.  This song is still an absolute monster, and is welcomed heartily by the audience.  “Clean My Wounds”, another Deliverance era stormer, finishes the night off with it’s awesome riff.

Despite being crowded in the tiny Manchester Academy 2, it’s a great night.  Corrosion of Conformity perform a powerful set, which I only wish could have been longer.  I got to tick a band off my “must see” list tonight, and I retire with obligatory tour t-shirt a very happy punter.