Tuesday, 30 December 2014

28/11/2014 Dedwardians & Scraps at Some Weird Sin @ Buffalo Bar

Three great bands tonight, but still rather a sad occasion as it's the last ever time the Some Weird Sin club will be at the soon to close Buffalo Bar on Highbury Corner. This is a great shame as this is one of the best rock/indie/punk club nights in London. The door price is always really cheap at around a fiver and gives great value for money with several bands playing each night. Unfortunately the actual bar in the venue doesn't provide anything I actually want to drink regardless of price and I won't buy those silly little bottles of beer even if there was something decent in them - so I'm popping in and out of the adjacent Wetherspoons before and after the show, and inbetween bands as well. All they needed to do in the venue was stock bottles of Newcastle Brown or similar (at a reasonable price) and I'd have spent a lot more money in the venue over the past couple of years or so, but the management in many venues just don't seem to 'get' this point. It's hardly rocket science...

Anyway, once again the Some Weird Sin guys have put an excellent punk/rock 'n' roll bill together. The first band is Scraps. These guys are new to me but very good.
This is old school 1970's style punk rock brimming with attitude and with great songs. If this lot had appeared in 1977 they would probably have ended up on Top Of The Tops.
Scraps play fast but tightly - they know what they are doing and look like they are having a good time doing it. There may be only three of them but they make a great racket. Snotty and noisy they might be, but they have some good tunes - this is a band I'd like to see again.

I think this is the third time I've seen Dedwardians and they have impressed me each time.
The band formed from the ashes of the Glitterati - a promising Glam/punk outfit who never got as far as they deserved. This band is nothing like the Glitterati though - this is far more of a raw rock 'n' roll band distilling the essence of the 50's and 60's.
Their energy level is very high right from the start - this is a band who throw themselves into their set with wild abandon.

Tonight's headline band are also excellent, but due to the tightly packed venue and some crazy dancing by people at the front I didn't manage to get any pictures of Atomic Suplex. They are another (very) high energy band influenced by 1950's rock 'n' roll - but played at shattering and distorted volume with loads of feedback. The singer/guitarist dispenses with the traditional mic stand in favour of a jet fighter pilot's crash helmet with attached microphone - enabling him to run around like a loon while singing and playing. He falls over and writhes around on the floor, but carries on performing the song. Like the previous band this is about the third time I've seen this lot and they haven't disappointed me yet. Atomic Suplex are definitely worth catching if you get the chance.

It's with regret that I leave Buffalo Bar for probably the last time ever (although the Some Weird Sin Club will be reappearing at a new home) as we lose yet another small music venue - we have already lost Nambucca further up Holloway Road earlier this year, and the unique 12 Bar Club in Denmark Street will be closing in January. Where will it all end?

Monday, 29 December 2014

26/11/2014 The Quireboys @ Islington Academy

Seeing the Quireboys play one London show a year has become a pretty regular thing, although this is actually the second time they have played in 'the smoke' this year as they played an intimate pub gig a few months ago. So here we all are and Islington's corporate Academy venue is pretty full.
Needless to say, the atmosphere in the venue is terrific! These boys have the goodtime bar-room boogie and swagger in spades - and just as importantly, they have the tunes to back it up.
In the band's earliest days they gloried in being pretty ramshackle performers, although they got a lot better with an album or so under their belts and some pretty big tours and support slots. Then after the second album it all went a bit wrong and half the band moved to the USA - they went their separate ways for a few years. Meanwhile, ex-Quireboys guitarist Ginger (booted out just before the first Quireboys album) formed The Wildhearts and established a reputation and career of his own - with many ups and downs along the way... Fast forward a few years and the Quireboys reformed with a slightly different lineup and set about playing shows and making a third album. To be honest when I saw them in those days I thought they had become a very average live band, although I'm sure some will disagree. However, the record they made 'This is Rock 'N' Roll' was actually a solid album with some excellent songs including the title track which remain in their live set to this day.
Finally, the Quireboys started to take things seriously and started acting in a much more professional manner. They upped their game and became better and better as a live act. These days they are the finest bar-room rock 'n' roll band in the land. Spike in particular stands out as one of the best frontmen out there - drinking less but performing better and looking like he's loving every minute of it!
The reformed band put out a string of albums full of well crafted songs ranging from Faces style rockers (no one has ever done that style better than the Quireboys) to ballads, although there seem to be a lot more of the latter on their albums these days.
This band now have a very rich back catalogue to draw from when they put their setlists together so you know you are going to hear a load of great songs when you go to a Quireboys show! They certainly didn't disappoint tonight. Naturally their classic first album 'A Bit Of What You Fancy' was heavily featured tonight as always - simply because it has most their best songs on it, but they also have plenty of strong more recent material to feature too.
The Quireboys remain what they have always been - a good-time party band. As a live act they are better than ever these days and are really at the top of their game - you can't go to a Quireboys show and not have a good time!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

14/11/2014 Eureka Machines @ The Barfly

Friday night finds me in Camden at The Barfly - a venue a don't visit often as it tends to mainly book lightweight indie type outfits instead of rock bands these days. However, the Friday night Jubilee Club at this venue does tend to book more rock/punk/rock 'n' roll bands - and they've got a good 'un tonight!
Eureka Machines are one of the best live acts I've ever seen. Some rock/metal bands build a reputation on their live shows, but either they aren't very good musicians, or their actual music isn't very good and their energetic/crazed performance can be effective at disguising this. However, this is most definitely not the case with Eureka Machines.
These Northern lads are top class musicians, and have written a wide variety of very catchy pop/rock songs with hooks big enough to land a Blue Whale. The riffs are big and heavy but they aren't a metal band. The tunes get stuck in your head, and the image, choreography and suits are sharp but they aren't a pop group either.
What they are is (in my opinion) the best live band in the UK. Impossible to categorise or pigeonhole - which is probably why the music press have refused to acknowledge them as they don't know which box to put them in. The music is both heavy and bouncy, poppy but with a lot of depth. The band are very well drilled and rehearsed, but there is still spontaneity in their performance.
As well as the music being very well written and performed, the band are absolutely full of life and energy. Heavy and as riffy as the Wildhearts, or even Slayer in some moments, but with the punky poppy feel of Therapy? at their best, along with melodies like The Beatles. As well as their technical skill, they are also highly entertaining! Frontman Chris Catalyst has a very funny line in stage banter and is obviously really enjoying himself tonight.
Being from Leeds this band aren't seen very often in 'that London', but things seem to be picking up and this is the third time they have played in 'the smoke' this year. After relentlessly playing the toilet circuit for years and managing to release two very good albums and still be ignored by the mainstream media and the rock press they were on the point of giving up. Then they decided to take one last chance and try launching a PledgeMusic campaign. Much to their surprise it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and led to the release of their third and best (so far) album 'Remain In Hope'. The band seem to have been on a bit of a roll since then, with a string of sold out shows and good reviews (even in The Sun) and another Pledge album is in the pipeline. However well crafted the band's albums may be - it's as a live act they really shine.Eureka Machines always create a great atmosphere at their shows - loads of people singing along to their catchy songs full of hooks that get jammed in your head, witty banter from the band's frontman, and a very energetic performance from the band while still playing their at times quite complicated music very well indeed.

One feature of the band's Pledge campaign to fund the last album was a free EP of 1980's cover songs for everybody who pledged for the album in advance - one of the four songs on the just released EP was played tonight - The Bangles 'Walk Like An Egyptian'. It was great fun! So was the whole show - don't miss the brilliant Eureka Machines next time they come to town...