Saturday, 20 September 2014

The 2014 Pure Rawk Awards

The 7th of March found me in the glamorous surrounds of (Nigel) Tufnell Park for the Pure Rawk awards - always a highlight of the underground music scene calendar.
This is always an interesting and fun event, the the 2014 one was no exception. As is usual for music award ceremonies there are live bands playing between the awards being handed out. Some of these bands are familiar to most present, and some aren't, while some (such as Electric River) go from being unknown before playing at a Pure Rawk show to getting daytime airplay on Team Rock Radio.

The proceedings are opened by midlands Glam/punkers Teenage Casket Company.
This lot have had one or two lineup changes over several years, going down to a 3 piece for a while before now bouncing back with a new guitarist. Along with the new member the band have reinvented themselves - the self-styled "Punk rock Bon Jovi" have moved away from their former more Glam Rock image to a more basic stripped down rock 'n' roll look. Bassist Rob Lane AKA Laney74 in particular has totally changed his look and is almost unrecognisable! He has not lost the knack of looking effortlessly cool though, and is now sporting a dirty greasy 1950's/early 60's rocker look along with a cool new retro-style bass courtesy of a new endorsment deal.
Can you spot the flying pick? A Laney74 trademark.
 Actually, the pick is just out of shot but I have managed to capture it before.

The band have kept much of their old sound, but which some of the previous rough punky edges smoothed off a bit. They sound quite polished on their recorded work and have recently released their third album.
Always a quality live act Teenage Casket Company do a great job of getting people going before the main awards ceremony kicks off.

After the first batch of awards is dished out Dedwardians hit the stage. Some people will recognise singer Paul Gautrey and guitarist Gaff from their previous band The Glitterati. This is a new and completely different band though, and far more rooted in 1950's rock 'n' roll.
The band have some good tunes and are dynamic live performers - certainly worth catching if you get a chance.
Dedwardians have brought along a small but loyal ready-made fanbase from Paul and Gaff's previous band and already have something solid to build on.

More awards and handed out and then it's time for the final band of the evening.
No one seems to know anything about this band or has ever heard of Servers previously. No one has any idea what to expect, and to be honest when I see them appear on stage I'm not expecting much either. I'm already thinking of heading for home due to the venue's massively increased bar prices but decide to give the band a chance and stick around for their first song. I'm glad I did.
I'm not usually into super heavy sludgy doom laden metal, but as soon as Servers start playing it's obvious they have something. It's hard to pin down exactly what it is - there's nothing particularly original about their music or their image. The music is slow, riff-laden, and massively heavy, but there seems nothing remarkable about the musicianship or stagecraft. However, something draws me in and along with some other people who also are new to the band I find myself almost hypnotized by them. There is something very deeply powerful about them and the total intensity they play with.
The crowd had been thinning out as the hour had been getting late, but along with a handful of other people I found myself compelled to stay to the end of Servers set. Very heavy bands are two-a-penny these days and most of them look and sound the same - this lot have something special going on that's very hard to define. The sheer intensity of Servers performance demonstrates that they mean it. This is deadly serious music that means something, but I can't quite figure out quite what it is.... They seem to have made an impression somewhere else too, as I have heard them on a national rock station since this Pure Rawk event.

Oh yes, the awards! So who won what? Click here for the full list of winners at the 2014 Pure Rawk Awards.

Here are a couple of posers with some awards that weren't actually theirs....

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