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BLAM April 2004

A word in your ear...

Okay, so at what point did it become cool to like 'Busted'? Was I out that night? Actually, I think I must have been, or watching some crap on the telly, either way I missed it. Everywhere I look, people, who should know better, are raving about them. Why?

Well, I won't rave about them. I won't rave about then now and I won't rave about them in the future. They are rubbish, end of story. Can we just all remember that they are a boy band - no more, no less. However, whereas most boy bands sing slushy ballads, Busted's manager thought he'd be clever and give them a punk vibe. But when all is said and done they were formed, packaged and marketed in exactly the same way as Blue, Westlife, Boyzone etc. Aimed at pre-teen girls and bovine Britain - passionless, safe, dull, predictable - I could go on. In fact I would argue, the total opposite of what the Forum stands for.

Actually, can I just pick the odious little gits up on a few things. And at this point I'm not gonna mention the 'risky' lyrics - "ooh I fancy my teacher and she fancies me" bollocks. Or the eyebrows! Oh no. Firstly, more importantly where is the drummer? At least attempt to look like a proper band and not just go for the glamour of the guitar - erh, for the whole band! What happened? Did the only drummer you know go to a state school and therefore couldn't be in a posh boys band, or something? (By the way, did you know that 'Stars in their Eyes' Travis section winners, Sussex based KEANE, all went to Tonbridge School - fact Ed)
Secondly, ignoring the juvenile content of their lyrics can I bring your attention to the recent hit "Year 3000" or whatever it is called? Right, according to these bright young things "your great, great, great-granddaughter is pretty fine". Mmmmh? Hang on a mo. This is meant to be a 1000 years time, yet the girl is only 6 generations away. Or, by working it out (Much scuffling as flip chart is produced from Forum store room) this means each child was born when the parent was roughly 190 ( and A can fill a bath in half the time poltroons B and C can). That seems unlikely, even where these inbred toffs are concerned.

In the late 1980s Legendary US comedian Bill Hicks came up with an idea for a television programme. It was called 'Let's hunt and kill Billy Ray Cyrus' - as you can guess, the clue is in the title - each week they would hunt down mullet-headed Oxycontin totin' Billy and execute him live on telly by blowing his brains out (It'd cure his achy breaky heart though - Ed). I would like to propose that someone makes a similar programme today. Let's face it one of the crap channels on Sky will be interested. Of course, the only difference will be that the new 'stars' of the show will be 'Busted'.

Now that is one programme I would stay in and watch. And who knows, when I am watching it perhaps then, and only then I'll miss the point at which [Local band name deleted due to Editor's desire to have a nice, peaceful, fluffy world] became so cool!
Southern Soul

Blam is owned and produced by The Forum. We are poor starving musicians and artists who don't even have a garret so there is very little point in coming after us for money just because we accused you of being a donkey basher, but if you are really intent on litigation, then you sue us via
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common, Fonthill, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8YU
But nine times out of ten I wouldn't bother because our lawyers, Shyster, Rippemhoff & Felch and are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. We would however like to offer a heartfelt apology for what appears to be a complete and utter fucking dearth of swear words, blasphemy and generally talking like a hard bastard in this piss poor excuse of what calls itself the inhouse mag of Europe's second largest ex-toilet. In fact, do us all a favour and use this mag to wipe your arse when you next use the Paper Free Zone otherwise known as the Forum kharzi!

The Futureheads
Jason & the Astronauts
Friday 2nd

The Futureheads are made up by Jaff, Ross and brothers Barry and Dave, and took their name from a Flaming Lips album 'Hit to Death in the Futurehead'. The foursome met though a youth project for music in hometown Sunderland, and after finishing the project they got together as a band.
Taut and cerebral, Gang of Four - styled punk in two minute bursts with splenetic energy of early Jam
Comparisons with Gang Of Four are pretty well founded - GOF guitarist, Andy Gill, has produced their record, but just as you fear The Futureheads could turn into an anal, avant-garde art punk outfit, out they come with some blistering harmonics and hook-laden, catchy chorus. Fuck it, they sound like Gang Of Four, but that's good. Like The Clash, The Only Ones and The Jam, their sound if pure, unadulterated Britishness. This is not more evident than in their fine debut 'Carnival Kids' a literal piece of rollercoaster no wave rock. Like their whole set, it's short, sharp sweetness. The kind that wraps itself around your tongue and licks out your insides. It's settled, The Futureheads are Aliens.

Simple Kid
S ongs of my Lap
Friday 9th

Ciaran McFeely began his musical life playing with Cork's Young Offenders but, frustrated by the number of people involved with a band signed to a major record label, he decided to keep it simple. As Simple Kid he's a one-man band, writing simple songs, pop-folk with a twist. "I guess it's kind of indie," he says, then adds, "with noises."

In Joke Alert: Early picture of Cove's Dave Briggs
Truck On is his new single, written one night when he was suffering from insomnia. "I get insomnia all the time. I was living with other people and I was really bored, and I wanted to talk to them but they were all asleep. So I was thinking, it's only another six hours until everyone gets up…"
The song is taken from his impressive debut album, SK1, released last autumn, nearly all of which was recorded in his bedroom with each song finished in only a couple of days. "When you get bored, that's when it's finished," he says. "I sing it much better the day I've written it. It's obviously when I'm more in tune with the melody because it's new to me as well."
The album prompted NME to describe him as "the postmodern Bob Dylan". precious mix of gonzoid glam, slow-boiled psychedelia and folky strums What does he think of such comparisons? "I feel mightily embarrassed, probably like most people who read anything like that about themselves," he blushes. "It's obviously nonsense but it probably helps my career in some way. I'm appreciative of it but it's a very silly thing to say."

RX Bandits
Howard's Alias
Saturday 10th

It seems like months ago when Obergruppenfuhrer 2M announced that Drive-Thru Records very own RX BANDITS would be appearing at our humble shit-hole. Within days the place had damn near sold out, with hopeful punters offering their first born, and selling their mothers for a cup of gin in a vain bid to get tickets for this show.
It'd be interesting to pin down the sociological factors that gave birth to the Orange County, California sound. Heavy on ska and reggae influences, populated with quick chord changes (erroneously called punk, but what are you going to do?), crunchy fat distorted guitars, and vocals usually in the higher part of the register, the place has given birth to bands like Sublime amongst a bandwagonload of others.
Musically, they seem at ease plucking from a variety of stylistic trees, infusing ska beats with hardcore overtones, or whatever else fits. As trombone player Rich Balling said, "We go from reggae to punk to hardcore. We're not lost or confused. We're doing it on purpose.... Our focus is all the styles." The question the listener poses is, does it work?
Well, that depends to a large extent on what you'll endure. A typical RX BANDITS' song starts off with light guitars and an upbeat ska rhythm that suddenly gives way to a much louder chorus. Preceded by that is the heavy-metal cliché of running the pick up the strings before the chords crash like surf on a beach, all while horns pump like ambulance sirens. So if you don't mind that then the Rx Bandits are clearly up your alley.

Sunday 11th

CARNIES will be toning down their 'deafeningly intense' sound for tonight's proceedings. Their acoustic work lies somewhere between The Wombles, Nirvana Unplugged, and that smelly busker who bangs his guitar outside Boots of a Saturday afternoon.
Born and bred on the mean streets of Marden, Max Deighton is like a cross between Eddie Vedder and 'that ginger stalker off the telly', combining vocal beauty with a tendency to follow Jade Goody across London. Following the implosion of The Ideots, walking away from the wreckage, rather like George Michael did from Wham (I think they've got more in common than you'd think! - Knowing Ed) taking 'the talent' with him, Southborough's finest export Simon Leeves will be performing his chic acoustic chicanery. Possibly aided and abetted by ex-fellow Ideot, you know, the little one with the curly hair. Also appearing will be four time World Pocket Tiddly-Winks Champion, Dennis (so named due to his whose mother being scared by a fire engine whilst in the latter stage of pregnancy) who can best be described as ''some pikey with a guitar'.

Holy Toilet Water Day
Easter Monday 12th - Doors 3pm

Easter Monday. Shite all else to do except possibly watch some lager fuelled sedan chair racing on the Pantiles (What happened to the Forum team? - Ed), have your Nan (Gawd Bless her!) around for tea, watch The Robe or some other Biblical epic on TV OR, get your skinny arses down to this fabulous mini fest, featuring 10 local bands! With the doors opening at the ridiculously early hour of 3 in the afternoon, the day will consist of 10 bands, namely , in alphabetical order: 1906 . ALL THIS TIME . CREATION ONE . FLEE THE SCENE . ISKRA . SIMON LEEVES . LIQUID LAUGH . STAR CHAMBER . THE CATCH . TOKEN RAYGUN DEPT! all for only £6.00 .
There has been loose talk of a bouncy castle being erected on the common as well, but I reckon it's all a lot of hot air. Boom and indeed tish!

Elegantly Trashed . Offlimit . Soul Circus . Made in Britain
Thursday 15th

Elegantly Trashed, featuring chanteuse Nandi, (whose favourite things according to their website are: "...swanning about in Japanese kimonos whilst discussing the finer points of Noh theatre, all my teddies, Ben n Jerrys chocolate chip cookie dough and weeding the garden...". I think that last one's right?) are a veritable mini United Nations , combining the various talents of being a mix of Irish, French and Portugese blooded fillies. So, imagine if you will, a cross between The Pogues, Plastic Bertrand and ..........somebody Portugese.... Or maybe not. Claiming to be influenced by Korn and A Perfect Circle the girls have their debut album due out mid April!
Bloody hellfire! OFFLIMIT are either all 10 years old, or are resting between appearing in Snow White pantos! Check out www.offlimit.cjb.net They're a Crowborough based trio consisting of Huey, Dewy and Louis.
I shall leave MADE IN BRITAIN to introduce themselves:

"..we are a OI punk group, here to express our feelings to the awful democratic view's of the W*****s in the government . We sing songs and play, to try and get people to open their eyes who are slowly falling into the hands of the government based jobs. We want to stop people doing what they say, bring an end to 'how much we get paid wearing there nice shiny suits.'"

When they're not busy 'Giving it to 'The Man', smashing the system, and generally storming the barricades, there's nothing Woody, Tom, Tim and Chris like doing more than watching 'Animals do the funniest things' on a Saturday night while Mum gets their teas ready.'

Goldielookin' Chain
Lockdown Project
Friday 16th

Goldielookinchain are an hilariously obnoxious white boy hip hop collective who've formed their own rap universe in Newport, Wales and somehow managed to convince the mainstream music industry to take the group from bootleg chancers that they are to proper pop stars. With a backdrop of bedroom hip hop beats a la The Beastie Boys 'Licence to Ill' and an ability to take the piss out of everyone and everything they can Goldielookinchain are a quintessentially British anti-bling group who are more likely to be found in Hi-Tech trainers, shell suits, and lurking somewhere on the common than sipping Cristal: the bastard children of Mike Skinner with a more disgraceful sense of humour.

A dozen strong, smirks and pikey threads fresh from a high-street retail rack, scam merchants to a geezer (having planted a story in HEAT mag about a collaboration with fellow compatriot Charlotte (Yes, I know I'm legal now) Church), The beats are tight, bedroom hip-hop loops that hark back to Run DMC, and the novelty end of snotty Brit rave. But it's the rhymes that take centre stage, and the group's star turn is undoubtedly rapper Adam Hussein: a skinny little slip of a lad in a neon visor, he's like Ratboy from Viz made flesh. But it is he that holds down the likes of 'Rollerdisco' - a fast-paced '80s nostalgiafest that namechecks Public Enemy, but quotes The Shamen's novelty No 1 'Ebeneezer Goode', neatly demonstrating that GLC's concerns are, as ever, torn between the old-skool and the primary school. Fresh from supporting both THE STREETS and THE DARKNESS, this promises to be a cracking, if not interesting night. YOU FUCKIN' KNOWS IT!

Part Chimp
Saturday 17th

'Part Chimp are purveyors of a truly horrific, and therefore quite excellent noise - 'It's a thin line between clever and stupid and Part Chimp simply tread all over it' - The Independent
As somebody with more time than I once said, "Part Chimp are not a pretty band and their songs are even uglier' . Sounding not unlike '..Trail of Dead' having a car key swap session with Sonic Youth and the mighty Sabbath they are indeed 'sonically challenging', a nice euphemism for a bleedin' racket. And don't we just love it!
Tunbridge Wells listing in William the Conqueror's Domesday Book goes thus, "..In the welles of Tonebridge there are ten carucates and six bovates of land for geld. Land for six ploughs. Seven thanes held it for seven manors and a post-rock hardcore band named JOEYFAT with a serf so named Matt the Longshanks, they are a sacred cow and must not be fettered.." Incredible isn't it? I shall leave the last word to a longterm friend of the band -"...in certain, cooler-than-you circles, the name joeyfat has been an uber-droppable credibility catcher for years. joeyfat are astonishing. powerful, original, affecting, funny, brave, tuneful and brilliant...whoops, dropped me bacon sarnie..." - loaded

Sunday 18th

Gibraltar monkeys BREED 77 were formed in 1996, a kind of Alice In Chains for Pantera fans with a hint of Sabbath and that north African flavoured X factor that's fired on by the most unsecret of weapons - the powerful voice of frontman Paul Isola.
Last years awesome release 'La Ultima Hora' has now sold over 1100 copies over the counter & still raring, not to mention featuring in the Scuzz TV chart for 26 weeks and counting! The Breed boys also have a stunning new epic single 'The River' set for release on April 19th!
That's when they're not playing 'Pin the Les Paul on the Donkey' whilst working down t' pit (I assume that's an unfunny reference to the accompanying jpg? - Ed).

4ft fingers
friday 30th

Cheltenham's 4ft Fingers are leagues above their faceless skate-punk peers. They have achieved the perfect marriage of the speed and power of punk and gorgeous, buoyant pop music.
Their second CD 'From Hero To Zero' on Golf Records is a couple of cubicles away from their 'At Your Convenience' debut.
While pop-punk isn't exactly hard to come by at the moment, 4ft Fingers stand out thanks to the quality of their tunes and an uncompromising attitude that has more in common with hardcore.
The contrast between 4ft Fingers’ warp-speed battering-ram drums and dual guitars and their dazzling, soaring three-part harmonies is what stands them apart from the rest of the pack.

Comedy Forum

Making a more than welcome return to the comedy hinterland that is Tunbridge Wells. COMEDY FORUM will now be on the first Thursday of every month. This month's being Thursday 1st

Comedy Forum, Tunbridge Wells' original and best value for money comedy night presents four more top names from the international stand-up comedy circuit. Headlining act JACK COWLEY effortlessly commands attention delivering rewarding stream-of-consciousness observations on anything from dog passports to the Glastonbury Festival. His sophisticated jokes often boast two or three punch lines, each funnier than the last. Jack¹s set is a wonderful mix of the physical and the cerebral, the profane and the profound. He has a drama degree and onstage is a pacing, physical performer, expressive and charmingly confident.Born in Wales to Irish parents who raised him Surrey, he has a fascinating pedigree and clearly enjoys playing around with different stereotypes, both religious and social. He was brought up as a Catholic "so much guilt, so little time to feel bad" and his storytelling ability is classic Irish with the surreal twist, which keeps the laughter coming.
JON TORRENS is a friendly, polite, well-educated man, with a serious lack of motivation. A creative and spontaneous stand up comedian, he'd rather sit down for the twenty minutes required. Shaving his head was not a style decision, merely a way of avoiding having to do too many things requiring any effort in the morning. However, after years of practice, he has mastered an ancient oriental art that allows him to live his life using the minimum amount of energy possible. Jon entertains audiences with wit, imagination and a fondness for comfortable furniture. Completing the line-up for this show will be JAMES BRANCH, with MC PAUL REDWOOD ensuring there are no casualties!

The Stable

bad picture . seven story down . one above nothing
Monday 5th

With all the excitement of THE MAN'S CHOICE vote being returned, and 18 more deserving bands moving on to Round 2, let us not forget that Round 2 has already commenced, consisting of the top 18 bands as voted by the Fans Choice, or if you will, the Scores on the Doors. This Monday sees Anneka and the lads from BAD PICTURE bringing their inimitable brand of rock. SEVEN STORY DOWN, following their support with the Glitterati, list their main influences as Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jeff Buckley, and Rage Against The Machine. Originally called HUMPIN' MARY, ONE ABOVE NOTHING have, it would appear, mellowed into a hardier, heavier more emo outfit.

9-volt . one track mind . ripchord
Monday 19th

Chris Hoad, it would be fair to say is the backbone, and dare I say, funnybone of 9-VOLT. To quote Moanin' Millsey, "9 Volt’s music is a neck-snapping, shape-throwing celebration of all the things that made heavy rock fun before it started taking itself too seriously. Epic dramatic structures without self-indulgence or wankiness, intelligently crafted tunes with the correct balance of commerciality and expressive exploration, and good old fashioned balls-out attitude. We like 9 Volt around here..."
ONE TRACK MIND meanwhile are a 5 piece ska punk outfit from Judd School, and that's all the info I can glean at the mo. RIPCHORD meanwhile "...shred a hole through the complacency of the current music scene. An authentic British garage band, they create a sound that evokes everything from Led Zeppelin through Metallica to Muse..."

all this time . antistar . zucchini
Monday 26th

ANTISTAR feature the world famous 'Camp' Baz Roberts, who according to their website shared a room with Graham Norton when they were both at Sylvia Young's Stage School , Bassist Harry Perry meanwhile likes a nice pie and has scary 'Night of the Living Dead' hands.( Sorry girls, he's married with a 14 year old son!) while on skins we have Adam, who apparently lists 'whittling in his bedroom' as his favourite pastime. Whether this is with or without guitarist Doug 'Ding Dong' Needham is unclear.All this and more can be gleaned from their rather fab website www.antistarmusic.cjb.net. If only all bands' sites were like this.........
Which brings me rather neatly on to the marvellous ZUCCHINI, a band with great songs, marketing nous, and, at times, great facial hair! Try www.zucchinimusic.com

Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

Wherein the Victor Meldrew of the moshpit gives us the lowdown on what he's had sad occasion to witness at Europe's second largest toilet

Jesse James / One Track Mind - 6th March

For those of you that don't know, I'm an outsider, so forgive my assumptions and naivety. I've only been coming to this kharzi for just over a year, I didn't grow up here and neither me, my family or my schoolmates have ever been in Joeyfat. However, it didn't take me long to establish that there are some things that are just taboo in Tunbridge Wells: You don't forget the 'Royal' prefix. You don't refer to the legendary 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'. You don't diss High Brooms unless you live there. You don't park along the back of the Forum if you want to find your car in one piece later and you don't confuse Tunbridge Wells with Tonbridge. Ever.
Peel back the layers a little and the Forum has similar rules of etiquette. Commandments even. Thou shalt respect the word of the Lord God 2M. Thou shalt honour the Anti Nowhere League. Thou shalt not say anything bad about Joeyfat and see them live at least once. Thou shalt not go on stage and crack a funny about The Forum being an ex-toilet. Thou shalt not ask for a tapwater at the bar. Thou shalt buy at least one recording on Unlabel. Thou shalt not allow chavs through the door. Thou shalt keep the fucking door closed in the winter so that Wolff doesn't freeze his hairy nuts off. Thou shalt support The Stable. All very straightforward. But there's one that is never mentioned, and that is 'Thou shalt not enquire why Ska Punk is such a localised phenomenon.' The last time I asked, I may as well have said that I'd like to insert my dick into my ear for fuck's sake, because nobody will tell me and it seems that if I don't know, then there's not going to be any point enlightening me so I'm still none the wiser. Don't patronise me by pointing out that every sub-culture or genre has it's own fanatical following, because I'm referring to the fact that sunny TW has a disproportionately large and devout cult following of Ska Punk and I'm buggered if I know why. Answers to the usual address please.
Led by what looks like Tjinder Singh's nerdy kid brother, the skanking, sax-tooting, 'token brown bloke' (their description) Peter Fernandes, ONE TRACK MIND are a highly polished and extraordinarily energetic bunch. Heavily brassy old-school stylee skankadelia with a jazzy twitch and a balmy calypso bottom-end, this is ska-punk to it's blackest and quirkiest degree. Making yobbish but melodic happy-smoke dance music with loud pumping guitars and noses full of glue, OTM have occasional Reel Big Fish-isms but more specifically seem like a more graceful, soulful and softer version of Spunge, without their immediacy or the wit that actually makes them quite funny.
Though endeavouring to be characteristic and a touch wacky, OTM aren't amusing, much as they'd like to be, but that doesn't make them dull because they concentrate on their own entertainment value, which is as high as a rasta on Bob Marley's birthday. There's a distinct understanding of what feeds the ska-starved and the pikey-hating middle-class weekend rebels, and despite the dreadful lyricism, the likes of "Tropical Hi-Juice" and the blistering "Skanking With A Goth" are well-built but ultimately disposable good-time anthems that bring a warming ray of sunshine to a cold and whiffy room. OTM like to see what they can do with a tune and end up with songs that journey into ska-experimentation but don't meander aimlessly. Instead, they playfully explore and probe different formulas and throw little musical parties when they hit upon a groove, so by the time they get to their cover of "Under The Sea", it might be cheesy, but the mood they've created means that it's kinda got pineapple on it.
OTM's sense of cocksure fun is delightfully charming on occasions. Their inability to get serious or at least tone down the tongue-in-cheek attitude actually goes in their favour and consequently, OTM are undemanding of their audience. They don't expect anything other than brainless skanking and an opportunity to swagger around the place taking the piss out of people they don't like, so those that desire exactly that find plenty within OTM to retain their interest. The rest of us though aren't so easily impressed, but maybe we're just too old and cynical.
JESSE JAMES' uncompromising blend of soulful and discerning noise is immeasurably more enjoyable though. Yes, it's Dexy's meets The Clash, and thank you to whoever thought up that apt comparison, but it's so much more than that. It's music that brims over with blood, sputum and sweat, with supercool tunes and shitloads of vigorously dextrous activity, like The Blues Brothers Band fucked out of their minds on crack. The thinking man's ska punk? Dko and his snotty Punk Soul Brothers would probably cringe at such a crass description, because it isn't ska in it's strictest sense, but still skankable, so it's really what you make of it.
At base level though, JJ are mechanically sound and strike an efficient balance between glossy punk and stack-heeled soul. The brassy melodies are never overly ambitious, adding texture and depth, but not tainting the flavour, which owes as much to the GreenSpring182s of this world as it does The Buzzcocks or Stiff Little Fingers and as much to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones as it does more generic ska. If you try and imagine 'White Riot' era Clash suddenly trying to tackle 'The Right Profile' before they were ready for it, you'll get a vague idea of the type of territory that Jesse James skate around, so although it's somewhat one-sided and even safe to an extent, it's infectious and it works, so it's irresistibly easy to go with the flow.
And go with the flow, the crowd surely does, because at various and steadily regular intervals, JJ seem to suddenly release enormous bursts of frantic energy which rip through the room like angry storms. So much so, that they have to stop and encourage the bodies to circulate from the front to the back, because anyone caught up in the wake of this cataclysmic Leviathan of vibrancy is chewed up, spat out and kicked in the wobbly-parts for good measure.
When all's said and done though, Jesse James are just a damn good craic and it'd be foolhardy to expect anything deeper. When you've got tunes like "Shoes" and numerous other heaving singalongajesse anthems of terrace-chant proportions to help burn off a bellyful of lager, there might be classier ways to spend a Saturday night but at least you're certain to enjoy yourself.

Paul Mills

We always like to hear from new contributors, new bands, new people, people who hate swearing, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.Because believe you me, it's a right hard slog making up all the lies, half-truths and general bollox that we lovingly/laughingly call BLAM
You can write to us at
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the office enquiry line on 01892 545792
We also have a brand new website where you can find out all about what's on, and laugh at the photos of the damp mattressed fainthearts that 'work' here. That's at
You can also email us, so do that to:
On the website you can book tickets, find out what's coming up, get a map, get a life, play our hi-tech computer game: TOILET CLEANER 3, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming
The address for that is http://members.boardhost.com/twforum

Lifted (with permission) from the April edition of BLAM! - All queries regarding libel actions should be directed to them