Category: Music

Interview with Cattle

Our writer Harry Casey-Woodward interviews lead vocalist Chris from Leeds punk band Cattle, whose music is the stuff of nightmares…

I’ve heard of some unusual line-ups for a post-punk band, but Cattle from Leeds take the cookie. They have two drummers and no guitarist for one. Well we’ve seen how extra drummers have worked well for bands like Slipknot at creating extra intensity. Cattle have also made up for a lack of guitar by fully utilising the skills of their bassist, in the style of the original post-punk outfit from Leeds, Gang of Four.

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Why are you called Cattle? Is it a comment on the state of humanity? I’d like to say it was a really deep and drawn out process that resulted in the selection of a highly symbolic name, but I can’t quite remember what led to it! Have you seen that advert for Cravendale milk, where some cows follow a man home to steal back their milk? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF4eTlCl660), maybe I was watching that advert?

What drives you to make such scary music? What are the themes of your songs? We didn’t realise it was so scary! A lot of the songs are about things like nature, minimalism and bad decisions in life. I think everyone has elements to their personality which other people might deem scary – anger, a bleak outlook, and music is a way of processing those aspects and feelings.

Are there any particular post-punk/noise rock bands who have especially influenced you? Big Business and the Melvins are a huge influence, as well as bands lines like Ghold, Godheadsilo, Harvey Milk and 400 Blows. Post punk isn’t such an influence, but there’s a ton of good stuff out there – Preoccupations and Protomartyr are two of my favourites at the moment.

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What current bands do you like, or you think are noisy enough? There’s loads of good stuff at the moment. In the UK we like Ghold, Bearfoot Beware, Irk, Unwave, Famine, Casual Nun, Gumtakestooth and in other parts of the world, The Body, Big Business, Big Ups, Meatwave and Pile are well worth checking out.

Your music sounds so raw but you still find time for catchy riffs. Do you think there should be a balance between distortion and melody in punk music? Yes definitely, I think music stands or falls on the strength of a hook, even when people are making punk rock, noise, mood pieces. A lot of my favourite music (Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Ween, Creedence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC) is hook based and hopefully this shows.

How important is it to create atmosphere in your music? It’s quite important, I think the hook should be first but obviously setting the right tone for a story or feeling you’re trying to convey is a good idea.

Are your live shows as intense as the music? We definitely like to go for it live. The first few shows were absolutely exhausting and I had to sit down in a chair after them like an old man! It’s getting better now though – there’s nothing like losing your shit for 30 minutes.

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I loved your cover of ‘anthrax’ by Gang of Four. It’s my favourite song off the ‘Entertainment’ album. What do you like about the song? The noisy build up is fantastic, and then when that absolutely sublime beat kicks in its total magic. It’s the complete package – amazing riff, great vocals and totally weird.

What are your views on synths? Do you think punk and electronic music have mixed well? There’s so many bands who’ve done ace stuff with synths, so yeah I think so. The locust for example used synths in a such an amazing way, and I saw that band crystal castles play ages ago at Leeds festival and it was super intense – thought it worked really well.

It’s funny you should mention it actually because the next step for Cattle is to buy silver suits and we’re all going to play synths. Like kraftwerk, but with one added synth (so 20% better than kraftwerk).

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It says on your bandcamp that your self-titled EP was released in 1970. Just how long have you guys been around? That was just a joke – I used the release date for the first Black Sabbath album. Think we’ve being going around five years now.

As the vocalist, how do you belt out that much fury in your voice? Because I am FURIOUS MAN. Just kidding, I love that singer John Brannon (Negative Approach, Laughing Hyenas) and thought he had the greatest voice ever so was trying to emulate him. Essentially it’s really cathartic and shouting about stuff that bothers me makes me helps me deal with those feelings and feel good about myself.

Are there any other art forms besides music that influence you? All the big ones basically – books, film, artwork. Especially things that take a more minimal approach (authors like Cormac McCarthy, Hubert Selby Jr, or art by Robert Ryman) have definitely influenced my approach to the band in terms of trying to take a direct route in making music, not overcomplicate things and not get bogged down in the bullshit everyone else tries to get you involved in.

Check out their debut album Nature’s Champion here, which consists of seven songs of booming, sludgy hell, or paradise depending on your tastes. Even without a guitarist, the band somehow create an incredible wall of distortion that’s sure to prick up your ears, underneath which weave some hooky bass lines that are the real powerful aspect of the band.

All photos taken by Howie Hill Photography

Music Review: Seasick Steve at Wembley

Casual music lover Harry Casey-Woodward was lucky enough to see bearded bluesman Seasick Steve playing in our merry capital at Wembley Stadium…

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Apart from Elvis, there is perhaps no other musician who embodies the American dream than Seasick Steve. In particular, he embodies the mythical spirit of American freedom, that gets lost on highways and hitches on trains. In October, this big-bearded icon graced our shores with a one-off show.

After fruitlessly circling the wrong Wembley arena, me and my companion found the right venue. We were introduced by Steve himself on a giant screen to his support act, a two-man band named Black Dog Revelation. They sounded like a gnarly Black Keys with slow snarling songs powered by thunderous drums.

After they rocked the house, we were treated to a video of Steve driving up to the venue in a tractor before he walked on stage to deafening applause. He started off with some politics, voicing his disapproval of Trump before opening his set with a hushed Dylanesque solo song.

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Steve and his small handful of musicians then proceeded to turn the cavernous venue into a warm, cosy atmosphere. Steve was as relaxed as if he was playing in your front room. The lighting helped too. The stage was backlit by simple but pleasant fairy lights, draped as if over a tree. The most striking lighting was used when Steve played solo songs like ‘Treasures’. One spotlight would light him up in the middle of the dark venue, making him look dramatically humble.

Humble is something Steve is very good at. More than once, he asked for the spotlights to sweep his cheering audience and appeared constantly stunned at their adoration. He came close to tears when he expressed gratitude for his slot on the Jools Holland show that got him exposure.

He was also good at being kickass during his louder songs like ‘Thunderbird’. He and his giant bearded drummer lost themselves in colossal solos as they thrashed their instruments, even the homemade ones Steve expressed fondness for like his Diddley Bo.

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His most stunning performance was when he pulled a random woman from the crowd and played her a tender rendition of ‘Walkin’ Man’. The lucky lass looked as if she would melt from tearful gratitude.

Other ladies who joined Steve onstage included a singing guitarist from Glasgow who played a cover of a Steve song she had already done on YouTube, which Steve had admired. There was also a gifted filly on the fiddle and a talented square dancer who could tap along to Steve’s songs with her shoes.

The gig ended with Steve being given a cake, showing us a picture of his tractor and playing ‘Dog House Boogie’, which took a while to finish since he forced his drummer to repeat faster and faster endings.

So despite drunken calls of ‘Steeeeeeve-oooooh’ and one or two fights (one of which broke out in front of our seats) the gig was an evening of musical magic and thrilling musicianship. It was also a pleasure to be in the company of such a character like Seasick Steve.

Images from bluesmagazine.nl.

Music Review: Slaves, ‘Take Control’

Harry Casey-Woodward, hobbyist reviewer and noise lover, reviews the new album by Kent punk duo Slaves, Take Control.

Slaves, Take Control, 2016, Virgin/EMI, 4/5

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Slaves are something British music has needed for a while. We’ve had plenty of cool noise-making bands over recent years, but none have been as fun or direct as Isaac Holman on drums and Laurie Vincent on strings, both gleefully roaring their sharp, hilarious lyrics on working class problems. Hot on the heels of their official debut last year Are You Satisfied?, Slaves’ second album Take Control came out at the end of this September, sporting a florescent cover painted by the guitarist.

Their previous album was a hard act to follow. Catchy, exhilarating and ballsy, it was surely the Never Mind the Bollocks of 2015. I was a little worried therefore that Slaves would fall into the pattern that ensnares a lot of noisy bands and just spend their careers replicating their first album over and over. Thankfully, while the style of the new album is still very much Slaves, it is a bit of a different creature.

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For one thing, there’s more songs. Some admittedly are random skits, but Take Control also has a greater range of styles and thus feels like a bigger project. Are You Satisfied was a compact burst of shout-along joy rides, while Take Control boasts a little more sophistication, musically and lyrically.

That still doesn’t mean it isn’t fun though. Take opening track ‘Spit it Out’. It may not be a cover of Slipknot’s awesome single but it is a contender for best single of the year, mainly because it’s such a perfect punk anthem. Making brilliant use of the quiet/loud song dynamic that made bands like Nirvana sound great, repetitive jabbing guitar builds up to a roaring chorus, where the singer screams the song title over and over. The other lyrics reflect themes Slaves have raged about on several songs, namely getting lads off their arses and doing something with their lives.

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Other current topics Slaves attack on Take Control include mundane media (on such rollercoaster tracks as ‘Hypnotised’) and material wealth (see the blistering ‘Rich Man’). Once again Slaves prove themselves masters of the punk rock formula: fast, simple topical bullets of humorous anger. However, there is more of the sophisticated side that peeked through the energetic blast of Are You Satisfied.

Half of the tracks are as post-punk as Public Image. Songs like ‘Lies’ sound like catchy but creepy pop hits, with slow, menacing riffs. Even the vocal mix sounds more post-punk. While Isaac was shouting in your face before, now his charismatic voice sounds like it was recorded in an empty concrete room, giving it a spooky echo while losing none of its edge.

Beastie Boy Mike D of all people even supplies rap on the thundering ‘Consume or be Consumed’. Joined by Baxter Dury, Slaves also reveal a sensitive side on the tender ‘Steer Clear’, where the singer begs someone he cares about not to go drink driving after an argument. Once again, Slaves have produced a winning combination of subtlety and savage bluntness while upping their game.

Images from gigslutz.co.uk, greatescapefestival.com and theguardian.com.

Boomtown 2016 Street Spotter

With mind-blowing production, hoards of interactive characters and immersive story lines happening throughout the weekend, Boomtown festival thrives off the imagination and creativity of its dwellers. It was no wonder that our blog contributor Becky Young had such an incredible time exploring the town, meeting its people and finding out more about their relationship with their ink and the festival itself. Boomtown is the only place so many different and unique people can all come together and feel like one big family!

Sophie from Vienna
Age: 26
Job: SFX artist
Favourite Boomtown area: Mayfair
Tattoo by Phillip Millic while guesting in London
“It’s all about the artist, they and I need to have a connection for me to wear their art on my skin for life”

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Nick from Peterborough
Job: Chef
Favourite Boomtown area: Sector 6
Tattoo by Ziggy Bates from Cloud Nine Ink
“My mum passed away and it represents the Greek mythology we both loved”

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Frankie from Berlin
Age: 26
Job: Stripper & performer
Favourite Boomtown area: Freak Boutique in China Town
Tattoo by Jay Moon at Pride Tattoo
“I met Jay at a squat party, he was doing banners for Skumtek and I loved his art – and so he offered to tattoo his art on to me!”

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Courtney from Bournemouth
Age: 26
Job: Forklifter
Favourite Boomtown area: Lion’s Den
Tattoo by Ana Tatu from Black Lodge
“Reggae on my left arm close to my heart, my right arm represents rock ‘n’ roll for my Uncle”

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Fay from Bridgewater
Age: 30
Job: Childcare
Favourite Boomtown area: Chinatown
Tattoo by Mike from Mike’s Tattoo Studio
“Just a sexy ass lady and she deserves to be seen”

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Shaded: Dean Robinson

‘Shaded’ is an on-going interview series created by 22-year-old Bournemouth-hailing music journalism student, writer and editor James Musker, which focuses on tattooists, the interesting people that wear their work and both the artist and canvas’s relationship to the craft.

Dean Robinson is a 25 year-old Brighton-based musician and visual artist who creates violent and visceral sonic landscapes under the pseudonym Knifedoutofexistence, as well as contributing fuzzed clouds of texture and depth when it comes to his collective noise project Swallowing. In conversation with ‘Shaded’, the purveyor of seaside distortion demystifies the influences behind his work, the story behind his Bonnie Tyler tattoo and speaks about the relationship between the worlds of extreme music and body modification.

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Can you talk about what it is you do as a musician? Firstly, I would say that calling myself a musician is a stretch, and probably does real musicians and myself a disservice. I currently work with two main projects: Knifedoutofexistence, which is a solo project in which I make noise and sounds with a range of objects, gear and vocals. I am also a member of the band Swallowing, where I add noise in the form of guitar feedback to the grinding dirge created by my band mates.

When did you start exploring musical performance? I have been playing in bands since I was roughly 16 years old, but I performed as Knifedoutofexistence for the first time in February 2013.

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Skulls by Slim at Bournemouth’s Electric Skull

What initially influenced you musically? Knifedoutofexistence was inspired by a range of conspiring factors. I wanted to take the challenging and questioning ideals of punk and apply that to the actual sound itself. Why should it be that the only structure that punk doesn’t challenge is musical rules themselves? The band Column Of Heaven were a massive influence on both the sonic element of the project and the gravity I gave to the subject matter I work with.

Knifedoutofexistence is actually a reference to a sample at the end of the first Column Of Heaven release, ‘Ecstatically Embracing All That We Habitually Suppress’. Swans also opened my mind to the power of loops and repetitiveness – to the ability to create the same kind of aggression that’s stereotypical of extreme genres of music as Hardcore Punk, but in this polar opposite way. Instead of a quick blast of emotion, Swans create something that slowly drags you into it. ‘Filth’ taught me how to be covert with aggression.

Can you speak to what is currently inspiring you as a musician? The desire to make something constructive and creative out of the negative aspects of my personality and life is a constant inspiration. My motive for making noise has always been catharsis.

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Boar by Scott Move

Can you tell me about your tattoos? I think, like most people who’ve been tattooed a decent amount, I’ve stopped counting them. Most of my tattoos are music related, as that’s always been the biggest part of my life. I have tattoos in tribute to a long list of bands and artists: Man Is The Bastard, The Doors, Iron Monkey, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Closure, Black Sabbath, Carrion Sunflower, Dystopia. I suppose Bonnie Tyler can be added to that list as well!

When I was out in Canada playing a few shows recently, I was in this bar that had a juke box. There was a group of us who thought we’d annoy everyone in the place by pouring all of our money into this machine and repeatedly requesting ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. It kind of backfired though, as the more we listened to it, the more we started to dig into the song and the lyrics and it ended up hitting us hard. We all got ‘love in the dark’ tattooed on us in honour of the experience. All of my tattoos have been done by a range of talented tattoo artists. My friends Sam Layzell and Rosie Evans who work out of their own private studio MVL in Leeds have done a decent amount of my work between them. Slim at Bournemouth’s Electric Skull did my knees. Scott Move, who is one of my favourite artists, produced this rad boar on my arm.

What attracted you to tattoos in the first place? They’re just something I’ve always been drawn to. I guess they go hand in hand with the subcultures and aesthetics I’ve always found appealing. The permanency of them is definitely a massive attraction for me. It’s something that, once finished, is forever a part of your person. My first tattoo was the logo of this band Reuben. I waited outside of the tattoo shop on my 18th birthday and got it done at 9 in the morning!

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Do you have any plans for future work? There’s a lot of work I’ve got planned. I’d like to get “No Doves Fly Here” across my chest in reference to The Mob’s Post-Punk classic, as well as a portrait of the legendary futurist painter, composer and writer Lugi Russolo on my ribs. There’s a lot of incredible artists I’d like to get tattooed by.

Do you find that there’s a relationship between tattoo culture and the world that you gravitate towards creatively? Absolutely! Both tattoo culture and the world of extreme music have an outsider mentality to them and are not often given credit as “valid” or “real” art forms, although an approval that many involved do not seek to gain or actively work against. Noise is for the punks. Tattoos are for the punks.

Eight Bands You Don’t Want To Miss At This Year’s Arctangent Festival

Arctangent returns for its fourth year at Fernhill Farm, celebrating the very best that math-rock, post-rock and noise-rock have to offer. With so many diverse bands on the line-up, freelance writer Mat Ombler has gathered a list of eight that you simply cannot afford to miss…

 

Nordic Giants

Nordic Giants live performance is out of this world, and their breath-taking sets have been melting the minds of their audiences since 2010. The duo incorporate visuals into their live set, performing alongside cinematic projections that provide a narrative to their songs.

Alongside these projections, Nordic Giants become a collaboration of true artistry, capable of evoking serious emotion from their audiences. It’s rare that at a festival with a crowd three thousand strong, a band could manage to wow their audience into complete silence – but Nordic Giants manage to do just that, time and time again.

Svalbard

Blackened post-rock music doesn’t get much better than this! Svalbard is a combination of black metal melodies and epic post-rock progressions, perfectly executed with the aggression you would expect from a thrash metal or punk band. Their latest release, ‘One Day All This Will End‘, is one of the finest albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a long time, with not a single weak track on the album.

Three Trapped Tigers

Their combination of mad synth sounds, wacky electronics and wild drum patterns make Three Trapped Tigers a highlight of any line-up. The musical trio is a beautifully choreographed mess of intensely unique sounds, with all the energy from both the band and crowd you would expect from a set at an illegal underground rave.

Three Trapped Tigers raise the roof, basically.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Perhaps one of the most influential post-rock bands of all time, Godspeed You! Black Emperor headline the main stage on Friday at this year’s festival. Featuring a large ensemble of various musicians – with various percussionists and even a violin player – Godspeed You! Black Emperor promise to deliver a headline performance unlike any Arctangent Festival has seen before.

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Toe are a Japanese rock band from Tokyo and they’re performing an exclusive UK set at this year’s festival. They’re unlikely to be returning anytime soon, so don’t miss them, yeah?

Toe’s back-catalogue is as diverse as the festival line-up, featuring melodic instrumental sections with some beautiful vocal accompaniments in certain parts.

La Dispute

La Dispute make their debut appearance at this year’s Arctangent Festival. Jordan Dreyer’s vocals are essentially spoken word, sitting atop experimental guitar drones and muddy bass to help draw their audience into the short stories they’re telling. La Dispute’s experimental take on melodic and post-hardcore is unlike any other and it’s not to be missed.

Knifeworld

This psychedelic prog-rock band features a bassoon, alto saxophone and even a baritone saxophone, their songs usually consist of around seven or eight different instruments coming together to craft a sound that’s somewhere in-between contemporary prog bands and alternative mainstream music. There are tracks on their most recent release, ‘Bottled Out Of Eden‘, that are reminiscent of Between The Buried And Me’s ‘Colours’ masterpiece, but with the influence of more popular indie artists. If you’re a fan of progressive rock music, the recreational uses of psychedelic drugs – or perhaps both: don’t miss ‘em.

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Formerly known as This Town Needs Guns, this math-rock band from Oxford are one of the most well known bands from the math-rock scene. Their technically driven melodic guitar progressions draw influence all the way from Spanish to jazz music, and their deployment of various time signatures is enough to keep any listener on their feet – and for the right reasons.

Arctangent Festival takes place 18th- 20th of August and tickets are still available here.

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Album Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘The Getaway’

Harry Casey-Woodward, casual reviewer, gives his opinions on the latest album from one of California’s most popular exports, funk rock extraordinaires the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Getaway, 2016, 3/5 

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Love them or hate them, you can’t deny the Chili Peppers have had an eclectic sound. There is the joke that in order to write a Chili Peppers hit you just chuck the word ‘California’ in somewhere, but the band have gone through several dramatic transformations throughout their extraordinary career.

In the 80s and 90s, they were a drug-crazed, sex-crazed, fiery funk/punk power machine. That all changed with the 1999 Californication album, when the band started sounding more mellow and mature. Unfortunately, since then they may have gone too mellow. The worst of their recent music, from such guilty albums as Stadium Arcadium and I’m With You, is just radio-ready soft rock.

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This year’s record The Getaway confirmed my suspicions that it would be another mild Chili Peppers offering. But does that make it bad? By the Way fans will be pleased to know that the band have returned to the cool melancholy that characterised that 2002 album rather than the slick, mindless joy of Stadium Arcadium. Some of the Getaway tracks are still funky rock-outs like ‘We Turn Red’, though of course they’re not as heavy as old songs like ‘Suck My Kiss’.

However, what the album lacks in ‘ooomph’, it makes up for with cool sophistication. Some of the tracks, like epic single ‘Dark Necessities’, even reminded me slightly of the Talking Heads‘ cool art funk. Of course, the Peppers have yet to lose their gift of writing supremely catchy tunes and the chorus of ‘Necessities’ is sure to still appeal to anguished youth: ‘you don’t know my mind/you don’t know my kind/dark necessities are part of my design.’

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The band have also added new elements to their music. Along with the formidable talents of the original members, a few tracks are driven by synth. I wasn’t sure about this at first, since it sounded like the band were moving further from their rock roots and embracing current musical trends just to fit in. But the synths are used to great effect, especially on the title track which uses throbbing beats for a jerky rhythm a la Gang of Four. Contrasted with Anthony Kiedis’s seductive vocals, what we get is an eerie but danceable album opener. Elsewhere a string quartet, a vocal choir and even piano by Elton John all build up lush, textured songs that bridge the line between rock and pop.

So it may not be a Blood Sugar Sex Magik or even a Californication. But it’s a relief that the Peppers made an album that doesn’t make you cringe. I’m surprised at how much I enjoy it. It’s a groovy, moody masterpiece with a little sparkle that’s perfect for dancing and chilling to this summer, or blasting out of your camper van as you cruise down the highway or whatever hip kids are doing these days.

Images from redhotchilipeppers.com.

Music Review: The Hotelier

Our Music Writer Amber had the chance to catch The Hotelier’s final show of their European tour with Rozwell Kid and Into it Over it, at The Bodega in Nottingham ahead of the release of their new album ‘Goodness‘…

Opening with ‘Goodness Pt.2’ from their latest album ‘Goodness’ it was incredible to hear Christian Holden’s vocals open up the set, accompanied only by Sam Frederick’s drumming. This track opened the set in such a beautiful way, then they moved into ‘Piano Player’. They swiftly picked up the pace with ‘In Framing’ from the incredible ‘Home, Like NoPlace Is There’, which brought some difficult subjects to the crowd who simply responded by singing the lyrics. It was clear from the sold-out show that the themes in their songs resonate with a lot of people. The iconic ‘Your Deep Rest’ created a choir in the crowd as they were singing ‘I called in sick to your funeral’.

‘Among The Wildflowers’ continued and as the band brought the track to the audience they changed it with screams, heaving with desperation that reflected the song ‘Life In Drag’ that followed.

‘Soft Animal’ continued the poignant tone, every sound in the room was silenced as Holden sang ‘make me feel alive, make me believe that all my selves align’ before breaking into ‘Weathered’ from The Hotelier’s first album ‘It Never Goes Out’ from 2011.

‘Sun’ settled the crowd into a calm – to me this really is the most beautiful and organic track. It has a subtlety that makes it clear just how much work and understanding goes into the breadth and timing of their songs. It’s interesting how the space and the quiet makes The Hotelier such an outstanding band with a raw live performance that could have been so easily fleeting.

‘An Introduction To The Album’ is emphasised with the echoing crowd and begins to end the set with ‘The Scope of All of This Rebuilding’. Closing with ‘Dendron’ was perfect. It showed how the band can word difficult moments and ideas, bringing the crowd to a frenzy of fists and screaming.

The Hotelier have this incredible talent of delivering an engaging set that will always resonate with the audience, but at the same time they are able to hold back to create a striking live performance.

Slam Dunk North Street Spotter

Our music writer Amber had an incredible time at music festival Slam Dunk North seeing a ton of bands and snapping this beautiful lot. She found out who they were there to see and who they’ve been tattooed by… 

Name: Fia Theobald 
Job: Model  
Tattoos: 
Tom Flanagan, Oddfellows Tattoo, Matt Cravan, Crooked Claw Tattoo. 
There to see: The Story So Far, Gnarwolves, Roam.

Name: Gareth Hatfield
Job: Accounts Manager
Tattoos:
Lee Withey, Ghost House Collective
There to see: Yellowcard, Panic! At The Disco, Set Your Goals.

Name: Jake Fogarty
Job: Drummer in Red Seas Fire  
Tattoos: 
Vicky Morgan, Ghost House Collective, Phatt German, No Regrets Tattoo, Lukasz Andrzejewski, Ultimate Skin Tattoo.
There to see: Memphis May Fire, Northlane, Blood Youth.

Name: Emily Cressey
Job: Web Designer 
Tattoos: 
Adam Cornish, Oddfellow Tattoo, Dave Bewick, Black Crown Tattoo, Vegan Dan, Fat Panda Tattoo.
There to see: Real Friends, Yellowcard, Moose Blood.


Name:  Alisha Bevan
Job: Payments Operation Associate
Tattoos:  Sam Ellis, Mr Personality Tattoo,   Bridie Maw, Forgiven Tattoo.
There to see: Yellowcard, The Story So Far, Mayday Parade.

Name: Charlotte Clutterbuck (left)
Job: Body Piercer and cover model of Creeper’s ‘The Stranger‘ EP 
Tattoos: 
Hannah Clark, Rain City, Adam Hudson, Fourleaf.
There to see: Creeper, Panic! At The Disco!

Name: Stephany Wilcox- Tobin (right)
Job: Merchandiser at Topman
Tattoos: 
Jody Dawber, Jayne Doe Tattoo, Keely Rutherford, Jolie Rouge Tattoo.
There to see: Moose Blood, Dead!

Name: Gemma Thorogood
Job: DJ for Facedown
Tattoos: 
Philip Yarnell, Skynyard Tattoo, Kolahari, The Circle London.
There to see: Every Time I Die

Did you go to Slam Dunk this year? Who was your favourite band? 

Gig Review: Future of the Left

Hobbyist writer Harry Casey-Woodward recently saw Cardiff post-hardcore rockers Future of the Left, as they promoted their latest album at the Electric Ballroom in Camden…

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If you haven’t heard of Future of the Left, you should have. They are very entertaining and sometimes scary to listen to. I reviewed their latest album already on this blog, The Peace and Truce of Future of the Left, released in April this year. To celebrate, they held a gig on the 21st of that month at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, because they like it there apparently.

I still think the new songs miss some of the spark of the older stuff, but I’ve seen the band live before and it was such a thundering sweaty experience I gladly bought tickets again. As the band’s singer/guitarist Andrew Falkous said, they want their gigs to be ‘bludgeoning‘ assaults. They are certainly worth seeing for their outrageous levels of noise, attitude and energy alone.

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I wish I could say what the support bands (Right Hand Left Hand and The St. Pierre Snake Invasion) were like. Unfortunately me and my companions failed to drag ourselves away from Camden’s Black Heart in time. When we arrived at the venue for Future’s slot, my first impressions of the Electric Ballroom were very big and purple. It felt like being at an ant party inside a hollowed out grape.

Apparently it was the band’s biggest headline gig yet and they didn’t disappoint, despite being reduced to a three-man lineup recently after extra guitarist Jimmy Watkins left. I was intrigued however to see a new unknown guitarist accompanying Falco, his bass-playing wife Julia Ruzicka and drummer Jack Egglestone throughout the set. They were even joined by two other strangers for one new song ‘In a Former Life’, who provided backing chants for the chorus.

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I was delighted when the band opened with ‘Kept by Bees’ a drum-fuelled slow burning non-single off their first album Curses, which was a rarity for their current sets. They then slipped into the storming powerhouse of ‘Arming Eritrea’, the opener of their second album Travels with Myself and Another, which got the crowd pumping. It was nice to see their new songs get just as good reactions as synth-heavy favourites ‘Manchasm’ and ‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You’. I was underwhelmed by the new songs on first listen, but they were thrilling and powerful live and I roared along to the lyrics with everyone else. To add further excitement, the set was peppered with songs from Falco’s last band mclusky, including the joyous non-single ‘Gareth Brown Says’ which was also a rare treat.

Falco was his usual top form as a performer, switching from mid-song stand up to screaming himself hoarse. He also enjoyed the immense positivity from the audience, thanking everyone for giving a bigger turnout than Leeds. He also declared if anyone didn’t like the new album they could f*** off, and that attitude sums up the band for me. They haven’t enjoyed the successes of other lesser bands, but they’re still stubbornly producing their exhilarating, defiantly distinctive music after nine years and thank Christ for that.

Images from pollythomas.co.uk.