Category: Music

Interview with Joaquin Ardiles

Because music is in itself an art, it comes as no surprise that so many involved in the industry also have an affinity for tattoo culture. 31-year-old guitarist Joaquin “Jo” Ardiles of Good Tiger has taken his love of tattoos one step further by becoming a tattoo artist. When he’s not on tour, Jo can be found tattooing a mx of western traditional and illustrative styles at Kilburn Tattoo in London. 

Photo by Tom Barnes

How long have you been playing guitar and how long have you been tattooing?I’ve been pretending to play guitar now for about 15 years, and tattooing for about six or seven years I don’t remember exactly.

Which one do you love more? Or is it like picking a favourite child? They are both a lot of fun and I enjoy different things from each of them, I’m lucky that I get to do both. I think I get the same enjoyment from playing a sickhead riff as I do from finishing a cool tattoo. I like the freedom the tattooing gives me to be able to go out and play music and I like that playing music means I get to be tattooed by people in different parts of the world that would be difficult/expensive to get to otherwise.

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What was it about each craft that drew you in and peaked your interest? How do they make you feel? I started playing guitar because I thought chicks dug that shit, but actually they like saxophone. I quit playing the saxophone to play guitar, so I really fucked up there. By the time I realised it was too late and I was already invested, so I just kept going. Also I wanted to slam some sick riffs and be Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine. Playing guitar means that I get to hang out with my friends and play a lot of Nintendo Switch with them in tiny backstages across the world, which is cool, I’m into it.

I started tattooing because I thought it would be easy and I could make some money in between touring but it turns out it’s not and I had to work hard for my place. Luckily I had a bossman that was ok with me going on tour, as long as when I was back I was at the studio watching and learning. I knew very little about tattoos when I started, I was a bit of an idiot actually. I love the world of tattooing now, I love that it’s not easy to get into, and I love that I still have a lot to learn.

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How would you describe your style of tattooing? What influences you? Are there any artists you admire? I think my style is a twist on western traditional, I like to keep things a little weird, make it’s something that’s mine as much as something the client wants. I’m influenced by other tattooers, by video games, music, comics. It all plays a part in influencing the way I draw, even if its not obvious in the piece itself. There are so many good tattooers out there right now, I could probably make a really long boring list but I think right now @greggletron is next level. @scumboy666 and @wan_tattooer have such a cool style, I wish people in the UK got more stuff like that I’d love to do shit like that. @joefarrelltattoo is the bossman at my shop he taught me everything I know and I owe him a lot. I work with @lauralenihantattoo and she has been putting out some bigboy pieces recently. HOLD TIGHT THE KILBURN MASSIVE.

How does your music and tattooing go hand in hand? I like to try and get tattooed while I’m on tour if I can. It’s not always easy depending on routing and timing and such, but it’s a nice way to meet tattooers and visit cool shops. Playing music means I get to meet a lot of people and tattoo a lot of people that have found me through the band. Also the music world is full of people with tattoos, I’ve been lucky enough to tattoo people in my favourite bands or talk to musicians about their tattoos and where they got them. I think both those worlds are interlinked, the first tattoos I saw were on musicians in magazines and on tv.

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Good Tiger released their new album We Will All Be Gone on Feb 9th 2018 via Metal Blade Records. Can you tell us a little bit about the new album, what is your favourite track? The new album rules and it’s gonna make me bigger than Kid Rock I think. We really pulled it out of our arses with this one, managed to make a non stop, start to finish, banger after banger, perfect album. Have you guys heard Dark Side of the Moon? This shits all over it and then some. My favourite track is Blue Shift because I think it will make me the most money/chains/emerald encrusted pimp canes.

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Photo taken by Kayla Surico

Will you be touring? What can fans expect? We will be yes, our next tour is in the states, little headline run followed by a load of dates in the US/Canada with our favourite beanheads Protest the Hero. Fans can expect a lacklustre show because we are old now and don’t have the gusto or the legs to put on a show with any kind of enthusiasm. Gonna keep it tight though and play real good. I might get a rat tail haircut again so if I turn around during the show, the front row is going to get a real visual treat, a battering of the senses, even. Prepare yourselves.

Alice & Black Tulip Beauty

Alice is a 21-year-old singer and blogger from Bristol, we caught up with her to chat all things beauty, tattoos and music…

How long have you been blogging? Officially I’ve been blogging just over a year but not consistently, I started my blog in January 2017 and posted a few bits and bobs on it, but unfortunately got really unwell and diagnosed with a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease so it took a back seat for quite a while. I’ve been unable to work properly since my diagnosis, so my blog has been a great point of focus for me and something I love that I can do from home. I started blogging consistently in July 2017 and other than the odd small break due to health complications, I haven’t looked back!

How did you start and what inspired you to create your own blog? I’ve always been more of a creative person than anything else. I had quite a lot of people coming to me and asking about my makeup and my skincare, so I thought creating a blog would be a great way to share my favourite products and my progress. I also worked in The Body Shop for a year and a half so I learned a hell of a lot about the beauty industry, ingredients and benefits for the skin from working there.

What do you blog about? What can readers expect to see? If you want to check my site out, you can find me over at I have focused mainly on beauty with the odd post about my life, my illness and holidays chucked in. I do hope to expand the topics I cover on my blog in the next few months and start writing about fashion, events, health and food. I would love to start raising more awareness for the illness I have too as I feel it’s misunderstood and undermined as to how much it really changes your life.

What is your must-have beauty item? What can’t you live without? Oh gosh those are two very different questions! My must have would be the Morphe 35F palette, it holds incredible shades and is SUCH amazing value for money, the pigment is incredible! But a product I couldn’t live without is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, it’s incredible and covers my eye bags a treat!

How would you describe your style? I always say it’s kinda gothic/punky mixed with a bit of girly glam?! I love doing all my makeup and hair nice but there’s nothing more personally empowering than wearing a leather dress and fishnets and big chunky boots.

How do your tattoos fit in with this? Can you tell us about your tattoos? I think my tattoos fit perfectly with my style, I’m a big wearer of black and red which is what my tattoos are. The first one I got was a skull and rose at the Bristol Tattoo Convention in 2015. I’ve wanted tattoos since I was 12 and I decided to just dive in with my first and not bother getting a tiny one to test the waters. The second was my Grim Reaper which I got done at Broad Street Studio in Bath by Jimmie, it took a few sketches to get the ideal Reaper I had in my head right but I absolutely love this guy and it’s probably the tattoo I’ve had the most compliments on! My mum absolutely hates it though, she tells me to get him covered up.

My third was a floral mandala on my shoulder, I saw someone with something quite similar and fell head over heels in love. I got home and emailed an artist I’d been obsessing over for ages and booked it straight in. This has been my most painful as it stretches slightly up onto my neck so that wasn’t the most pleasant feeling. This one and my Medusa were done by Iain Sellar from The Black Lodge in Portishead which I’d highly recommend. Such incredible artists in the studio and I’ve had amazing experiences both times I’ve been!

My most recent was my Medusa, she is probably my favourite. I LOVE how badass she is and I think Iain did such an amazing job designing her. I love how intricate the lines are and I’m so glad we chose to keep her eyes hollow aswell, I think it adds an awesome extra creepy vibe to it. These are all I have for now as the medication I’m currently on slows down my immune system which could cause complications with the healing of any new ones but I really want Iain to finish my sleeve when possible and then I want to start on a big back piece!

Do you consider yourself a collector? I collect skulls! (not real ones!) I have over 100 skull related things in my room and my collection is still growing. This week I managed to bag a skull lamp for £10 in Asda and I’m not going to lie it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I’ve been asked so many questions as to why I like skulls so much, I just think they’re quite fascinating! There is a post on my blog where I do a tour of my room and you can check out my collection on there if you’re interested.

Can you tell us about your singing? I discovered I wasn’t all that bad at singing and started having lessons around the age of 14 and went on to study it at college and then university. I realised the course I chose at university wasn’t for me and dropped out but still have a huge passion for singing. I’ve been in quite a few bands over the years and played all around Bristol and a few times in Bath and London. I don’t really feel like I’ve ever been in a band where I’ve been on the same wavelength with other members, in the sense of where we wanted to progress with the style of music we were creating unfortunately. I would really love to be able to find that in the near future as I really miss performing. I am currently working on a dance music project with two producers though which I’m really looking forward to as it’s a genre I’ve never done before!

Interview: Sublime with Rome

As part of their short UK run of shows and penultimate performance before Boomtown festival, Sublime With Rome landed at Bristol’s O2 Academy on 12th August to release their infectious mix of reggae, rock, hip hop and ska.

Before their set, music blogger Verity Vincent sat down with lead singer Rome Ramirez who has led the band’s line-up since 2009, alongside Sublime bassist Eric Wilson and new drummer Carlos Verdugo.swr2So how have the other UK shows been so far? The other shows have been awesome, just fucking packed, people have been screaming. The UK is always good and you’re so passionate about music so, it’s cool to come over from the US. In the US there’s a lot of bands that tour all the time and there’s a lot of competition so to be able to come over here and do that is awesome.

And you’re playing Boomtown tomorrow, have you done much of the festival circuit in the UK?  We’ve done like a dozen or so festivals over here before, but this will probably be the biggest one.

I’ve never done Boomtown but it’s supposed to be like a mini Glastonbury… It’s funny you should say that because that’s what we keep hearing so, I’m excited for that!

And then you’re back in the US to tour with Offspring? We start that in about three weeks. We played a show in southern California together, just us two bands and it was a massive success, bigger than what we would draw without them, and for them without us. With the bands being in the same area, and having a lot of mutual friends, it was just like, why don’t we go on the road?

We did a test run in Canada for a couple weeks and that was just awesome success.

So after the summer you’re back in the studio? October we’ll be back in the studio to release next summer.

At this point do you feel like you have a clear direction with which way your sound is going? Nah every time it’s kind of new. I know a lot of bands do that, they have their “thing” and that’s cool but, I think every album just has a different inspiration.

You always manage to have a good mix of sounds that are heavier and then more acoustic etc  Yeah totally. Sometimes you can put on a reggae or rock album and it’s just – the same – for a fucking, hour and a half y’know. My favourite part about Sublime is being able to mix all that up. I don’t know how we do it, I’m still figuring that part out!

Do you feel like there’s less pressure of what music people expect from you,  now that you’ve been established as Sublime With Rome for so long? Yeah, I think for me personally, I’m older now and been doing it for so long. People that come and listen to us and support us have already heard the news that we’ve been a band for almost eight years y’know. As far as that goes, and public perception goes, it’s been a lot more positive and they’ve had time to accept it.

That’s the cool thing about music though, it’s always expanding. And for me there’s so much involved in making a new album, that’s where the pressure is.

With the younger generation, do you think they’re an audience that will have heard your music before listening to Sublime? I think for the younger generation it’s still the other way around, with being introduced to Sublime and then they’re like… Oh what? That’s fucking crazy, let’s listen to what they’ve got! Just because, you know, Sublime was so massive. But, it’s awesome to be here and be able to do this and people that didn’t see Sublime, can come to our shows.


Tattoo wise, do you have any favourite pieces of yours or particular artists you like to work with? Yeah! Nic Westfall, he has his own shop in Sacramento, California, he’s an insane artist. So fucking good. This is one of my favourite pieces (uncovers an incredible portrait situated on his forearm, just above an equally perfect Ren and Stimpy tattoo).

My buddy Nate Siggard he’s done most of my tattoos, and he’s tattoo’d pretty much all of us. And Jason Fritze from Florida, he’s done a million tattoos on Eric. He’s only done one on me but it wasn’t a good concept it was just a, fuckin’ cirlcle. I was like, “man I want you to give me one of those good tattoos!” but we were in the studio and didn’t have time. But we usually fly him out to our days off on the tour and he’ll come and chill for a day or two. Or if we’re at the studio, we’ll just invite him down and set up shop for a couple days and get some tattoos.

After speaking with Rome their set was insane launching with ‘Date Rape’ it perfectly set the tone for the rest of evening. Covering Toots & The Maytals ’54-46, That’s My Number’ among Sublime’s back catalogue and sprinkled with the bands’ own tracks including ‘Murdera’, ‘You Better Listen’ and ‘Panic’ from the 2011 album Yours Truly.

Rome, Eric and Carlos closed the night in timeless fashion with ‘What I Got’ and ’Santeria’, leaving the crowd in Bristol with an experience that had no doubt for most, been a long time coming.

Ones to watch at ArcTanGent

Music writer Amber is getting ready to celebrate ArcTanGent’s 5th year at Fernhill Farm, the ultimate festival for music lovers. Guaranteed to bring you the best in math-rock, alt-rock, post-rock and basically any kind of hyphenated rock with everything in between. 

With such a diverse line-up Amber has created a list of bands you cannot afford to miss.



Nordic Giants

Possibly the most immersive live band I have ever seen, Nordic Giants submerge you in cinema as the duo drive you through a narrative with their mesmerising soundscapes.


Last night it hit social media that ArcTanGent would be Heck’s final show. The most hopeful and hilarious comment on the thread said ‘This is where you announce your new album called ‘The Last Show’ at ArcTanGent’ but if it isn’t this then it’s everyone’s last chance to make it count.



I got my first taste of H09909 (Horror) when they supported on The Dillinger Escape Plan’s final UK tour. I got a split lip and I was just a casual bystander. Finding itself somewhere between experimental hip hop and hardcore expect plenty of tentacle fingers and wedding dresses.


It’s about Listener time made it to the ArcTanGent line-up, especially on the biggest stage, Arc. I have never seen Listener in such a large environment but I guarantee it will an experience to remember.


Employed To Serve

Employed To Serve are taking over and it’s easy to hear why.  Their abrasive sound posseses each of their strengths in a way that forces crowds into each other. They are pushing the forefront of the British rock scene and are unmissable this weekend.


The perfect mix of unpredictable patterns and intricate upbeat rhythms, Tricot are not to be missed. Live, their intensity is met seamlessly with their brand of frantic rock appearing effortless in their epic talent.

See you at the silent disco.

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Top 10 Bands to catch at Reading & Leeds Festival

It’s just under a month until Reading and Leeds Festival and just glancing at this year’s line-up has got our guest music blogger Verity Vincent joining in the debate as to whether male artists are dominating festival line-ups.

With some incredible bands spread across stages large and small, Verity also shares the top ten artists she cannot wait to see this year…

Should whether music is led by a male or female voice be theoretically irrelevant? The gender lines should be blurred enough for it to matter more about the diversity and quality of music on offer than whether it comes from a man or a woman. But does the “should” transcend?

Ellie Goulding has spoken out about a lack of female peers at many festivals. But my recent experiences at festivals like 2000 Trees has been different, there was a distinct mix of powerful, female fronted bands. If you take festivals such as V Festival, which are predominantly pop focused, you’ll pretty much find a 50/50 split of male and female acts, so is it purely down to a coincidence of the genre? What bands have released new music or who’s reformed?

Looking over the Reading and Leeds poster there are some seriously powerful females on the bill, from the ultimate trio that is Haim, to The Pretty Reckless, PVRIS, Charli XCX, Anne-Marie, and feminist trailblazer Lande Hekt of Muncie Girls. Yes, male-led acts may have dominance, but aren’t we just all happy to be in the same place celebrating rock music old and new?

Here’s my top ten artists that I cannot wait to witness…

Kasabian’s new album ‘For Crying Out Loud’ has some incredible tracks like Twentyfourseven, Comeback Kid and their lead single, ‘You’re in Love With a Psycho’.

The Magic Gang
Ep’s One, Two and Three have all been packed with feel-good, soul warming, foot tapping loveliness. They’re a band made for creating real festival vibes. But in a cool way, not a flower crown wearing kinda way.

Blossoms have had quite the ride in four short years, creating an album filled with catchy yet credible tunes that have earned them a main stage top 3 slot.

Muncie Girls
After a Kerrang! Award nom last year, an Australian tour and a string of festival bookings this year, the Exeter based band continue to be on the rise.


Ballsy, brash and Bristolian band Idles have a wonderfully uncompromising attitude when it comes to presenting their music, and theirs is a set not to be missed.


Is there anyone that doesn’t adore Haim? How can you not? Their personalities are just as infectious as their music.

Frank Carter
Frank’s sets are often as dramatic as they are energetic. The front man doesn’t shy away from getting involved with people’s lost phones, settling fights and generally acting as an extra form of security. What will happen at Reading and Leeds? We’re more than intrigued to find out.

While She Sleeps
I distinctly remember watching While She Sleeps play a morning slot at Bestival a few years back – what a way to shake off a hangover. Headlining The Pit stage on Saturday night, they’ll be an equally perfect way to finish the night as to start the day.

What about the last two?  Liam Gallagher and Eminem. Arguably both at iconic status and possessing a back catalogue big enough to please diehard fans. How would a conversation pan out between them I wonder? A question we may never know the answer to…

Liam Gallagher


Who made it onto your list?

There’s also a stellar offering on the comedy front including Simon Amstell, Tape Face, Katherine Ryan and Bill Bailey.
Check out the full line-up poster below and get your tickets here.

Slam Dunk North Street Spotter 2017

Every year Slam Dunk Festival seems to outdo itself. After our music writer Amber had such an amazing time meeting the crowd to create last year’s Slam Dunk Street Spotter we couldn’t wait for her to head back for the 2017 edition…

The Bronx

Name: Raine (right)
Instagram: @raineisonfire
Job: Tattoo Artist
Tattoo: Arms by Dan Molloy, back of thigh by Emil Tramp
There to see: Casey

Name: Adelaide (left)
Instagram: @lxdle
Job: Student
Tattoo: Arm by Em Jay, leg by Hannah Clarke 
There to see: Cute is what we aim for

Name: Laura Rebecca
Instagram: @laurarebz
Job: Manager at Urban Outfitters
Tattoo:  Laura’s right arm by Mike Gibson, left arm by Aimee Spittlehouse, dino calf by Miles Welby Jenkins.
There to see: Enter Shikari and Don Broco

Name: Kirsty
Instagram: @kirstycee
Job: Fashion and print designer
Tattoos: Arm (top half) by  Jamie Eskdale, arm (bottom half) by James Walters, shin by Christine Davies, thigh by Danny Brown.
There to see: Bury Tomorrow, Don Broco, Beartooth, Enter Shikari

Name: Kate
Instagram: @deadthingsbykate
Job: Taxidermist
Tattoos: by Dale Sarok and Henbo Henning 
There to see: We caught Kate at the end of Cute Is What We Aim For‘s set before she ran off to Beartooth.

Name: Karla
Instagram: @karlafarrar 
Job: Everyman Cinema
Tattoos: Yorkshire rose by Judd Wrighton.
There to see: Stray From The Path, Don Broco, Beartooth, Enter Shikari

See you next year!

Gin Wigmore: New Single & GIRLGANG

The sultry, gravel voiced New Zealand singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore returns with her defiant new single, ‘Hallow Fate’ and simultaneously launches GIRLGANG a collaborative project focusing on music and art…


Written and produced by Gin Wigmore and Steve Rusch, ‘Hallow Fate’ is the first single taken from her forthcoming album. Launching in conjunction with the release of the new song is GIRLGANG – an exciting new collaborative project that combines both art and music and focuses on female empowerment and partnership. Wigmore has hand selected five artists to create exclusive and original pieces inspired by five songs from her new album.

The first GIRLGANG pairing sees Gin collaborating with San Diego tattoo artist Briana Sargent who created a tattoo inspired by ‘Hallow Fate’, her love of vibrant colours and the spirit of California.


Over the next eight months, Gin will release five songs taken from her upcoming fourth album, each one a collaboration with a different female artist. Gin personally chose the artists and assigned them a song for them to use as inspiration for their creations. The GIRLGANG project is designed to highlight and celebrate fellow women and to find a new way to have an experience and connection with music through a variety of artistic formats.

‘Hallow Fate’ is available worldwide now. Download/stream it HERE.

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.


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? (, 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.


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.


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).


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…


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.


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.


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

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


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.


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.


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.

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