Just for once I thought we could
have a month off from the endless spit and bile that normally makes up this
column and comment instead upon the growing reputation and organisation of
local bands. About twelve months ago there was a long long long meeting at
Forum Towers where everybody got pretty despondent about the state of local
music. This wasn't because it was all shit, all one style, too loud, too quiet
or too anything else, it was because local bands just seemed to be the least
organised they had ever been. About fifteen years ago, and yes I am afraid
I can remember back that far, there was a popular local band who shall remain
nameless who used to play Victoria Hall in front of about 300-400 people.
They had a big network of people who enabled them to do that, some of them
are still involved with The Forum, but the fact remains that this one local
band used to be able to bring in an audience in the hundreds - easily enough
to fill up The Forum; actually, if they were around now they would probably
need to play two shows to get everybody in. The band had no local gig network,
were reliant on ad hoc gigs, organising things themselves, promoting themselves
etc, but still managed to release a single. Again, that isn't to say that
other people didn't work hard around the band, or that they weren't part of
a local scene, but I can't ever remember an occasion where the band and the
people around them weren't trying to promote themselves, the group, their
scene etc. This isn't some "those were the golden days" editorial,
I am just trying to build up a picture for you. Without any support from something
as central as The Forum or a network like The Stable, this band were doing
pretty bloody well for themselves actually. Last year we hit the real nadir
of local band shows. On one show three local bands managed to pull a combined
audience of 14. One of the bands, consisting of 4 people, actually managed
to pull a crowd of 3. That's less than one fan or friend each. Some local
musicians reading this column will say "ah, but we aren't about pulling
people in, we are about our art. We don't care if people come to watch us
or not." To which I say "play in your own fucking garage then".
Anyways, from that point about twelve months ago, things have really started to bounce back. Attendances at The Stable shows this year are up. They are not just a bit up. They are up by 27%. Local bands are a hot topic on the messageboard. The two sections of this year's Stable event announced the results of the top 18 last month, and no less than 9 of the bands were judged to be not only POPULAR (and economically we at The Forum have to be interested in that) but also GOOD (and believe it or not we are just as interested in that part of the equation - wouldn't we all love to see a local band that pulls hundreds of people and is fucking brilliant?). We still don't know if any of the bands in this year's event will be able to pull off the miraculous feat of topping the choice of the audience and of being picked by the industry as the best band, but it feels more likely this year than it has at any other time. So, there you go. A column totally free of sarcasm. If you're in a local band in The Stable, thanks for really making the effort this year and making us feel like we are doing something worthwhile. Keep up the good work, and let's keep working together to create a local scene that really means something
Okay, let's get it over and done with so we can get on with the rest of the
article. Yes, it is the brother of the bloke with one eyebrow out of that
band that has split up and who now has another band that are a bit better.
Good, now we can all stop whispering about it and get on with the rest of
the article. Brigade deliver a collection of tracks that smack you in the
guts, and on one or two rare occasions, kick you in the chops for good measure.
With all the balls of Placebo, but with some of the bounce of Feeder, and
the sheer punk brass neck of neither, these guys will go far.
Based in Edinburgh Degrassi have received critical acclaim from such luminaries as: NME (bring it on band of the month), Radio 1, XFM, Drowned in Sound, Rocksound, Kerrang, Logo, Q and much of Scotland's music press. Degrassi are a formidable force both on stage and in the studio. Finally, bringing up the rear, we have Sucioperro. These are three strapping Glaswegian lads and an Aussie drummer (on temporary loan) and they play great rock music. Pronounced 'sooch-e-o-perro' the name translates from Spanish into 'dirty dog' which I'm not going to make any assumptions about, but considering the raw, heavy music they create and the energetic, growling way they perform it, it's not a bad analogy. In the Biffy Clyro vein, they are a brilliant addition to the Brigade / Degrassi lineup making this a three band bill offering a formidable slice of rock'n'roll heaven. The Forum always get the best new bands and you knows it.
NEVER HEARD OF IT
Never Heard Of It? I’d be surprised if at this point you were still able to say that. Never Heard Of It has been the most talked about band throughout the last few years and they keep on amazing everyone at how far a band can succeed without any label backing at all. How can an unsigned band have sold over 70,000 CD’s, self booked and financed 9 US Tours and even expanded their tour schedule to Europe? Never Heard Of It offer nothing but pure punk fuelled non stop entertainment. DJ Dell-Osa is much more than just a frontman. He's a musical motivator, a born leader of a group who have that DIY approach to down to a fine art. Their songs are rough, ready and raw with simple sing-a-long choruses; and with two albums already released they've got plenty of tunes to choose from. NHOI handle their audience like a group of friends,with each gig being more like a party - and everyone's invited. Having played the last two Warp tours in the States, NHOI live and breathe the thrill of live performances.
Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month.
FOUR TOP CLASS ACTS, THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EVERY MONTH, ONLY FIVE POUNDS,
NEW LUXURIOUS TOILET FACILITIES.
Geoff Norcott . Rosie Rebel
GEOFF NORCOTT, according to The Stage, "Is going to be big" . Whether
this'll be due to his pie consumption, or more realistically, due to his burgeoning
talent and reputation on the stand-up comedy circuit! Geoff has made a real
impact on the national comedy circuit since he first took to the stage in
September 2001. His abundance of energy combined with a storming mix of impressions,
observations, satire and rap, make him a versatile and original performer.
Geoff is equally at home as compere or act and wants everyone to have a good
time, which is immediately apparent as soon as he takes the mic.
"The first comedian of rap" Craig Charles
'Geoff Norcott, who had forced his rippling torso into a black T-shirt with "Jesus is my homeboy" written across the front, was bursting with energy and model looks. Despite his confusing attire, we were hooked...the ex-teacher was a consummate mimic, morphing by turns into Donkey from Shrek and rapper Dizzee Rascal.' Huddersfield Examiner
Rosie Rebel has been pursuing a stand up career ever since she could stand up. She began her improvisational training at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. In an industry suffocated by recycled jokes, Rosie Rebel sets herself apart from the pack and captures the audience with her innovative original style, unique personality, instinctive sense of humor, and animated stage presence.
in their Eyes
Here's something a tad different: ever wondered what it would be like to
emerge from the dry ice, having announced to the world that, "Tonight
Matthew, I'm going to be Darius, that twat from Pop Idol". No? Good,
for then this night will be right up your back alley!
Organised by www.southwaytotheworldradio.tk , there'll be a variety of bands and solo stars who'll be giving it some as their favourite star (or just the people that they've managed to download the guitar tab of), the grand winner being awarded the rather spiffing grand prize of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, (£100) cash .
These are the rules:
- The competition is based entirely upon crowd vote.
- Main prize AND prize for best costume etc.
- Each Band/Solo Artist will play 2/3 songs of one band, for example 3 Metallica covers not 2 Metallica and one Linkin Park covers.
- Maximum length per song is 4 minutes.
- Solo Artists/Bands playing own material will be disqualified and have their set stopped immediately.
- A person is limited to two impersonations for example Mr X doing a solo impersonation of Darius (see nice pic )and singing in a band impersonating Queen is allowed.
- You do not have to be in a band/had a previous musical experience to take part.
- If you are a Solo Artist a backing track is allowed if you're just singing and not playing an instrument.
Being whisked around the world, working with famous producers, and having music industry types beating down your door isn't exactly how most people spend their youthful teenage years. For The Fight, however, it's only the beginning of a most promising career. Formed in 2000 and haiingl from Dudley, TheFight undoubtedly possesses a hint of that old skool class of '77 sound in their music, citing Gen X, The Clash and The Buzzcocks as influences.
The discovery of the band is quite the rags to riches story. (Ahem, conveniently
ignoring the fact that our K8 was once Kate Turley of pop svengali SIMON (Spice
Girls)FULLER'S 'Female Slade for the new millennium, 21st CENTURY GIRLS -
pedantic Ed) slipped a copy of her demo CD to a member of the New Found Glory
road crew while they were on tour in the UK. After exchanging several hands,
Chad Gilbert, guitarist for New Found Glory, caught wind of the record, really
liked what he heard, and had them open a show for New Found Glory on that
very tour! With the demo in hand, Chad returned to the states and passed it
along to punk rock tycoon Fat Mike, owner of Fat Wreck Chords and founding
member of NOFX. Within a matter of weeks, The Fight found themselves involved
in quite a whirlwind of chance success.
Their first EP, "Home is Where the Hate Is," was released via Fat Wreck Chords in 2002.
In the live arena, this fresh-faced foursome has found themselves sharing stages in their native country with some of the biggest names in the punk rock community: Rancid, Yellowcard, Sugarcult and New Found Glory, to name a few. Aside from the UK, The Fight has already landed their energetic live show in the states, finding themselves on tour with some of the best up-and-coming American acts like Brand New, The Starting Line, and Moneen. Now on tour, playing tons, and selling their debut album, "Nothing New Since Rock 'N' Roll!" www.thefightmusic.com
Day Called Desire
+ WhiteLine BlackStar
Scars & Strikes, the latest venture into mega global domination by the
new Vince Power, one Cheska of this parish, are proud to announce another
beanfeast of talent. This time they're dragging down a bubbly bunch of Brummies
under the name of A DAY CALLED DESIRE, once up on a time known as the female
fronted ska-punk five-some Trigboy.
Trigboy deteriorated late last summer and having killed off a couple original members, bacterialised with the help of Tom (farse) into a most pandemic plague of heartfelt pop-punk purity. With their technical fusion of melodic sing-alongs, jazzy cymbal-tapping silence breakers and raw guitar licks, this night is plainly a day you desire to come down to the Forum (haw haw).
Also appearing tonight will be soul rocking funkers White Line Black Star from East Sussex, who'll be providing some Incubus inspired tune-age.
Two more Stable supports are yet to be confirmed, please check www.twforum.co.uk for updates.
A gallery of the evening will be available online at www.scars-and-strikes.co.uk so be sure to get yourself down for a dance and await those stunning photos the morning after.
Hailing from Plymouth & taking their name from the popular skate trick are metallic, horn fuelled punk rock sextet, No Comply were formed in the autumn of 1998. The founder members comprised of Kelly (vocals), Jon (guitars) & Nick (bass). The current day line up is completed by Si (drums), Oz (Trombone) & Matt (Saxophone). Early incarnations of the band were driven by covering the likes of Pennywise & AFI in Jon's bedroom, all learnt from the internet. In these early years the band produced three demos 'Never Unknown', 'Bring It On' & 'Should Have Guessed'. These early recordings were ska-punk fuelled & hinted as to what greatness was to come. The band honed their sound as they introduced a brass section into the proceedings & in 2001 recorded their masterful demo 'Misuse Of Control'. This 3 track was altogether different beast to their earlier sessions. It was heavy, brooding with Kelly's powerful vocal range really beginning to shine. The band's evolution took them into the altogether harder territory of ska-core pioneered by underground legends like Capdown & Link 80. Misuse Of Control created quite a stir on the UK scene & the band went straight out on the road with Asian Man records MU330 on a mammoth UK trek. It wasn't soon after that the band came to the attention of the Big Cheese Magazine offshoot Deck Cheese Records & they joined to their roster in the summer of 2002. Since then they have released a series of brilliant tracks
Part of the Big Cheese Mag ska punk tour, tonight sees
a fest of skapunkery, something the Forum is sadly lacking at the moment
(Just fuck right off - 2M)- The formation of Streetlight Manifesto was
not unlike the planning of the perfect heist. Six old friends and seasoned
veterans of the once lively New Jersey Ska Punk underworld came together
again to form an all-star group, a literal "dream team" of
ME BAD THINGS
As the new band on the label that discovered The Darkness, Do Me Bad Things
have got a lot to live up to. Luckily their eccentric music and nine strong
line-up is more than ready to take up the challenge, just for fun.
is a marvellous opportunity to see cutting edge films made by up 'n' coming
film makers. All this PLUS a guest bandproviding musical interludes. In the
absence of any info about the films, let's talk about the band eh?
The band this month being MARSHALL STAR, a two pice whom according to their press release .......
Take the passionate soul singing divas of the last couple of decades and mix it up with sprawling FX-saturated rock from the early 1990's and it's just possible the result might be Marshall Star. The whole project is masterminded by a mysterious multi-instrumentalist named CP who probably has a large shoegazing record collection and Mandy Sharp (see lips on left); a woman blessed with a huge voice that would normally be found on R&B records. Indeed, there's shades of A.R. Kane's cavernous dreampop on many of the tracks featured on 'Uncontrollable', their debut album, , with production values which belie the low key independent release.
Check out www.marshallstar.co.uk
The Blind Martini Society
This is a story all about passion, intensity and honesty. About five people who would give their lives for what they believe in. FACE TOMORROW is not about getting famous and not about following the latest trend. In a musical landscape clouded by fake emotions, prefab crap and money-keen puppets on strings, Face Tomorrow could be the silver lining.
“With hard work, being dedicated to what we believe in, playing everywhere we can, we’re trying to reach more and more people every time. By giving shows with a heart, by writing songs with a heart and by making records with a heart.”, explains guitarplayer Aart Face Tomorrow’s (Art Face? - peurile Ed)) leitmotif.
And it shows, after having played over 250 shows over the last two years, Face Tomorrow can undoubtedly be called one of Holland's most successful alternative bands. Their debut album ‘For who you are’ is a collection of 12 perfectly structured songs with a highly addictive sound ranging from utter silence to heavy dragging outbursts and aggressive noise blasts. Whilst the band flips around the musical landscape, not caring who they upset along the way, the unprecedented passionate vocals are impossible to escape from. With contemplative lyrics dealing with all the features of the emotional spectrum, wrapped up in memorable melodies and heart-broken explosions, the album grabs you by the throat and just won't let go.
Another month's worth of
kaleidoscopic smorgasbord of untapped, unsung talent. You know the score;
every Monday three unsigned bands take the Holy Toilet stage and give it their
best for 25 minutes.
Well, Round One has finished, giving us the Top 18 as voted on the night, as THE FANS' CHOICE VOTE, and the voting has been returned for THE MAN'S CHOICE vote.
These bands will now go through to Round Two, which will now be divided into the two separate streams . You may notice that some bands have been selected by The Fans' Choice AND The Man's Choice, to which respect must undoubtedly be given, which just goes to show that sometimes the industrycan be infiltrated by non-fuckwits!.
Below are the top 18 bands, in alphabetical order, for both categories.
THE FANS' CHOICE
THE MAN'S CHOICE
Entry to these shows is a mere four quid (plus 50p insurance tax), and quite frankly worth every bleedin' penny of anybody's money. Come down and see for yourself the EEC unsigned talent mountain.
Competition is hotting up, and the next round of shows promises to see these bands at their finest, and 'Handbags at Dawn' scenarios on the messageboard, no doubt!
Round Two Stable shows this month are:
Monday, 4th -
KOBRAKAI . JASON & THE ASTRONAUTS . ORGANISED CONFUSION
Monday, 11th -
AMANACER . OFFLIMIT . THE BODY TRANSPARENT
Monday, 18th -
LA FEE VERTE . SONGS OF MY LAP . THIS WAY UP
Monday, 25th -
SIMON LEEVES . SEVEN STORY DOWN . TRYST
(whereby Moanin' Millsey gives his considered opinion on what's Hot and what's Rot)
The Ga*Ga*S . Zen Motel . 9-Volt - Friday, 11th March
Trends or styles come and go, but one constantly reliable factor never changes in the music industry: it's full of absolute wankers. Only a certain type of person can be paid to be rude on someone's behalf, subsequently being hated wherever they go, because being toadying to your artist while being selfishly officious and obnoxious to others, isn't something that anyone with a shred of decency can do for a living. But just because someone can deliberately choose to make life difficult, does it mean that they should? A contract is a contract, sure, but doesn't being reasonable actually count for anything? Of course not, it's business. So if the support have to lug their gear through the crowd because they aren't allowed backstage, and their set duration is compromised due to an unexpected extra band (who I won't mention due to their utter lack of noteworthiness), at least they can take comfort in the probability that the person with the papers doesn't have a fulfilling private life. Ho hum.
As the desires of the discerning public change and mutate faster than ever before, there's an odd feeling of satisfaction from the likes of 9 Volt. Whereas certain bands seek approval at every stage from the instant online media at hand, masturbating their egos and pretending that they matter to groups of invisible sycophants, 9 Volt could make the hardest cynic swell with pride. Y'see, they're an old fashioned no-bullshit band, working the old fashioned no bullshit way, and all that hard slog over the past two years has turned them into a devastatingly efficient entity. They've gigged their gonads off in as many flea pits and toilets as they can muster, and it's no coincidence that a goodly portion of tonight's sweaty rabble are here specifically for them. There's something precious, almost exquisitely enchanting about 9 Volt, mixing the traditional magic of good time heavy rock with the innovative demands of a nu-generation of guitar-hungry whorehounds, resulting in a band that will guarantee your begrudging admiration even if their music isn't to your taste.
Chris Hoad in particular, is the nearest this scene has to a celebrity, filling the position of resident scrawny-arsed rock-star with natural flair and charismatic vigour. Guitar slung low, flailing hair, the face of an acne-scarred cherub, perfect stage presence and that immense snarling, growling, lung-ripping, tonsils-coated-in-tar voice to round things off. Your girlfriend probably fancies him too, as if all that wasn't enough reason to make you seethe.
Plugging a frustratingly short set of predominantly recent material, 9 Volt's sound has matured and evolved with astonishing perspicacity. Their influences no longer define them, because they're at a stage now where they instinctively flow into their own distinct style and they know what works without even having to try. Sure, there's still faint echoes of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Metallica, and yes, AIC, in the likes of "Afterbirth" and the raucous "Crash & Burn", but newbies like the charmingly titled and seemingly unrehearsed "Suck Me Dry" are far more challenging and certainly more satisfying vehicles for 9 Volt's current status, and they know exactly how good they're becoming because you don't just see it on their faces, but on those crowd members who've just discovered a new favourite band.
A sudden stage invasion by 5 nubile and quickly disrobed nymphettes, just adds to the sense of laddish renegade fun that's almost de rigeur to the 9 Volt experience, and they're loving every bra-busting second. Bassist/pet wookie Greg Cheney can barely keep his eyes in, while Hoad just takes it in his stride, seizing the opportunity (when the girls leave the stage) to maintain visuals impact by climbing the stacks, throwing shapes, thrashing his body around, screaming like a fiend and letting them die in a deluge of powerchords, feedback and sweat.
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 Forum Switchboard line on 08712 777101
We also have a website where you can find out all about what's on, and laugh at the photos of the damp mattressed fainthearts that, *cough* '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, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming, or merely to slag off Moanin' Millsey for his brutal honesty. The address for that is http://members.boardhost.com/twforum
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a month by month monitor, just watch that line soar up to £8000!