The Forum shortlist for this year's Quicksilver Music Prize has been announced,
and once again the backroom boys and girls that make up the incredibly well
informed and knowledgeable panel have chosen to include the broadest range
of local music imaginable. From all ends of the musical spectrum, 12 lucky
local bands have made it through to the final to do battle on a glittering
night of prizes and spittle until one of them emerges victorious like a salmon
jumping out of the water wearing a cravat and reciting the works of Marcel
Proust. Representing the local genre known as noisy shouty ska punk, we have
CRAB IN A CAB, whereas punk noisy shouty ska is represented by the inclusion
on the list of local heroes Ye Wiles. Shouty noisy punk ska also gets a look
in, in the shape of ONCE OVER, whilst ska-ish noisy punk shouting is given
its five minutes in the glow of stardom by none other than MORGANS PUFF ADDER
(may they rest in peace). The head of the panel (who did not wish to be named)
said "`ello, Sid Snot `ere. Some people are saying that we have too much
music that's exactly the bleedin' same `ere in Tunbridge Smells, but just
one glance at this illustrious list of luminaries soon puts paid to that tale.
Who could possibly say we don't reflect the diversity of local talent when we have not only AT THE DELI (punky shouting with a noisy ska twist) on the list, but also the ethnically diverse sounds of MUMM RA (who they?-Ed) (noisy shouting punk with no ska but a side order of sitar)? Some people say that local bands lack imagination and all make the same bleeding racket, but that is, frankiementally, bollards of the first or possibly second order". THE IDEOTS and ONE TRACK MIND complete the fantastically diverse musical agenda with the rest of the list made up of bands who think it's fashionable to say Emo when what they actually mean is "noisy shouty punk without any ska because the guitarist can't get the wrist action right". The inclusion of VELDT is thought to be a mistake, although they have claimed to have always had a ska punk element to their music; "You can plainly hear it" said the one that looks like he works in a secondhand clothing store (actually, that's all of them isn't it? - Ed) "If you just stop listening to us and put on a Specials record instead."
Quite frankly, speaking for all here at Blam Towers, we don't give a Roman Helmet Rumba who wins. After all, whoever sips from the Quicksilver poisoned chalice will instantly be consigned to the 'Where are they now' column in Soap Weekly. Exhibits A & B m'lud: Roni Size and Talvin Singh anyone?
Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month.This month's being Thursday 8th
To quote Sir Terence of Wogan, is it me, but when I see the following words in the same sentence I do get a tad 'hot under the collar' and much salivating ensues; FOUR TOP CLASS ACTS, THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EVERY MONTH, ONLY FIVE POUNDS, LUXURIOUS TOILET FACILITIES.
Well....possibly discounting the
last one, this is exactly what makes Comedy Forum such a cracking night out.
ELECTRIC FORECAST are a hi-energy double act who've been performing since
2001 (Blimey, they must be knackered - Obvious Ed). Rather like a hungry Punt
& Dennis, their physical, quirky, often surreal comedy saw them through
to the finals of Channel 4's 'So you think you're funny?", and quite
frankly, I don't think there are enough double acts these days! Regular Comedy
Forum goers will realise that Electric Forecast will DEFINITELY be appearing
tonight after a last minute cancellation last month due to the hapless duo
over-running filming on a C4's HOLLYOAKS set.
Introducing ZOE LYONS - WINNER of THE BABYCHAM FUNNY WOMEN COMEDY AWARD 2004
'the best new comic I've seen for a long time' -Time Out
Zoe has created a huge buzz around the London comedy circuit in recent months. Her grounding as an actress gives her great stage presence and supreme confidence which combined with sharp writing, produces a highly enjoyable act. Zoe takes a sideways view of life, picking out the many absurdities and turning them into hilarious routines which she delivers with tremendous energy, drawing on her acting skills to provide a kaleidoscope of voices and faces throughout the act. After completing a degree in Psychology at York University, Zoe discovered her love of performing. She trained as an actress at The Poor School in London and later appeared in several shows, including 'Eclipsed' at the Riverside Studios, a contestant on ITV's Survivor programme and more recently, 'Shut Up I'm Your Mother' at The Edinburgh Festival. Also appearing will be your LEE BANNARD, with your host for the night, STAN FRANCISCO. Which may, or may not be his real name!
Days of Grace
Already causing somewhat of a fuss with both radio and the written press,
York based quartet Beyond All Reason are the latest bunch of emotional post-rock
purveying dudes to attempt to rise to the top of the UK scene.
Not too dissimilar in sound to the likes of Funeral For A Friend or Hiding With Girls, Beyond All Reason throw all the expected elements into the mix - melodic vocal lines, larynx tearing shouted sections, catchy guitar hooks and when necessary searing riffs and beats. The most noticeable element of the bands sound has to be front man Paul Ventress' vocals - both smooth and impassioned he nails every hook on here perfectly, stretching to some extremely high notes and mixing them brilliantly with the screamier side of things.
THE MAN'S CHOICE GRAND FINAL
Cyrano . Iskra . Liquid Laugh . Star Chamber . Veldt . Zucchini
THE MAN'S CHOICE GRAND FINAL....let me read that again...THE MAN'S CHOICE GRAND FINAL. These are the bands that have been voted by a plethora of people who certainly know their Texas 1015Y, Walla Walla's from their sweet white Spanish (Onion anorak alert! - Ed). A Radio 1 exec, record company bods, top name booking agencies, promoters, pluggers and a couple of journos - they've all voted on the 18 Man's Choice short list to pluck 6 bands from the soil like lonely petunias in an onion patch (there he goes again! - Ed)
Come and see for yourself as to whether these big knobs have in fact got a handle on what ver yoof of today would actually spend their hard earned Giros on down at Criminal records.
CYRANO are Coldplay before they started marrying over-rated Hollywood coathangers and banging on about BootFair Traid and things like that. A veritable musician's musicians featuring Tim (this bass playing lark sure is thirsty work) Hubbard on manic stagecraft, powerhouse drummer Matt, Karl Lugosi on guitar, and angelic voiced Joe on larynx..
Concrete proof that repeated listening to Floyd's Wish you were here, is not necessarily detrimental to your health or songwriting skills are ISKRA, a laidback, vibed out oufit, indeed, a veritable Moanin' Millsey favourite! Brighton based LIQUID LAUGH are something a tad different, and a bit bleedin' good at that! A five piece outfit combining traditional and electronic instruments to provide their own uniquely powerful and dirty style of fierce funk known as Breakno. In Liquid Laugh's world no sound is spared, no beat is scared, a band on a mission to keep music vital, special and inspirational. STAR CHAMBER have a bunch of crackin' choons in their back pockets. To quote their website, "...with guitarist Karl Addy's reverence for a classic rock riff and singer Al Bradbury's sneering sarcasm. Star Chamber are a slick piece of dirty guitar pop with infectious melodies...". Look out for Blam Towers fave track 'Relationship Wreck'!
Featuring LLoyd of Friendly Lloyd's Used Cars Emporium fame are Brightonian's, VELDT, a rich luscious monochrome feast of Scott Walker meets John Barryesque soundscapes, whilst looking as though they've had a good rummage through Peter Wyngarde's (ask your Mum kids! - Ed) wardrobe. ZUCCHINI meanwhile are swiftly earning themselves the soubriquet of being the hardest working band in the south east! Why even the other day, our Liam commented on the fact that he only opened the Forum's bar fridge door for a pint of milk, when Zucchini, upon catching a glimpse of the fridge light, immediately started setting their gear up and asking for "more top in the monitors, please". (That particular joke is on Day Release from the Ken Dodd Home for Retired Jokes - Ed). All in all, this is guaranteed to be a fantastic night, with a gratis 18 track Man's Choice CD bunged in for the admission price!
'Belgian ska pop punk'
MADSKAT was founded in December 2000 out of former Demenstruation Cindy.
Because they all got hooked on the ankle-breaking rhythms of ska-music,
they decided to combine it with their familiar punk-style. In lack of a
brass section, a kazoo was baptised as a Skazoo and madSkat's doggy style
skapunk was born.
In April 2001 the first demo 'For Her Pleasure' was sent into the world. After an exploration of many Flemish venues the arch company was expanded a female brass section (alto/tenor saxophone). Under the motto 'Hail to the Fat Kids' a second demo was recorded in 2002 and it was taken along on a 2-week tour through the English and Scottish landscape. In the next months the band was filled up by 2 new members (trombone/organ) and the cast they all dreamt off was a fact.
COVE . JASON & THE ASTRONAUTS . PRINCESS HEADBUTT
PRINCESS HEADBUTT display an obvious love of Tortoise-style post-rock, but they have a growing identity of their own. Fronted by a female trumpeter with a PJ Harvey/Patty Smith voice, she’s a soulful and remarkably skilful musician, blowing with manic intensity . Princess Headbutt wrap off-the-wall brass melodies around an indie rock core, experimenting with rhythm and pace, throwing in unexpected surprises and constantly reinventing themselves . Cheekily including gaps where they shouldn’t go, odd tunings when it’s least anticipated and taking tunes to strange places actually gives Princess Headbutt a firm sense of purpose and helps them to carve out a pigeonhole all of their own. A funky, sassy brand of post rock that brings to mind Stereolab.
defcon have finally tracked down Brighton's hardest working MCs, DR SYNTAX & MR. HINES with the DJ skills of NUBORN. Dr Syntax graced the hiphop world with his superb flows and dexterity on the much sought after and possibly the best UK hip hop album of 2003, ASYLUM SPEAKERS, featuring on glacical and what goes up! Since then he's graced the airwaves on 1 -extra, toured the country with the unstoppable IMAGINEERS and destroyed fools gladly on every bill...now once again the IMAGINEERS touch down with an awesome tongue-lashing , speaker shattering onslaught , which shouldn't be missed. These hedz are no longer up and coming, they're already here! Supported by Charlie Little and all the local crews on the open mike. Prepare yourself for an action- packed night and phat phat beats.
Kingskin . Grumpy Jack . DufuZ
It's Funky dancing all around with a night of the best Funk influenced bands
It was I believe, Oscar Wilde whom once said, "..to have one bassist in one's band is unfortunate; To have TWO bassists is carelessness..!" A band obviously unaware of the epigrams of the aforementioned Irish fop, wit, raconteur and general sausage pilot are Toupé.
After coming 8th in the world in the International Emergenza competition last year 'Toupé' signed to Hackpen records where they released their debut album 'Alopecia'. Being slightly different to most bands, the line up consists of 2 bassists and one drummer (No Guitarists). Using effects galore Toupé produce Primus-esque, dark and eerie alterna-funk sound with hilarious lyrics and impressive musical talent. Main support for the night comes from Kent band Kingskin. Rising up in early 2004 after winning the title of 'Best UK Unsigned Band' in Kerrang! magazine, Kingskin bring their Funge (Funk/Grunge) sound to the Forum! The band are currently working on material for their debut album which is due out middle August. A must-see band, funk-grunge-surf-rock at it's finest!
Coming all the way from the slightly un-funky town of Brighton, Grumpy Jack bring their unique sound to Tunbridge Wells. Mixing influences from Funk, Rock, Metal, Blues and Prog this is a band to keep your eye on. After wowing crowds with a note perfect cover of Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien the band came back in force with another special song for their next show. Lets see what suprises they have in store for TW Forum! Having begun work on their new E.P, Grumpy Jack are playing all over Kent and Sussex and bringing their funk fuelled heavy rock sound to a town near you!
Opening the night is the fantastic local Funk maniacs 'DufuZ'. With a night of pure funk fuelled madness you would be stupid not to be there!
The Blow Ups
Crab in a Cab
Hailing from Plymouth, Devon in the
south of England & taking their name from the popular skate trick are
metallic, horn fuelled punk rock sextet No Comply. 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 tracker was an 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.
No Comply headed into the studio in August 2002 to record three new tracks for their debut EP on Deck Cheese which was released to. critical acclaim in September 2002, the new recordings heavier & more powerful than ever before. No Comply's unique brand of 'metallic, horn fuelled punk rock' had arrived.
The next task for No Comply was to conquer the UK & they hit the road for an almost solid eighteen months. Along the way they blew audiences away with the likes of Drive Thru's RX Bandits, Capdown, Lightyear even pop punk pretty boys Good Charlotte. This time spent on the road & on stage earned No Comply the reputation of being one of the most incendiary live acts on the punk circuit. Attendance swelled & audiences became more frenzied as the word spread. In the summer of 2003 No Comply made their first trip over to mainland Europe with Honest Don's nerd core boys Nerf Herder.
New album, 'With Windmill's Turning Wrong Directions' was released in June on Deck Cheese Records
indie film nights - the last Thursday of every month
Following the success of the May short film night, Muzikansky
and the Forum will be running Unscreen on August 26th. We will show a collection
of Independent films from all over the country, including shorts from local
We will reshow a couple of the most popular May films again so you have another chance to see YOU ARE A MONKEY and SEVENTY TWO FACED LIAR. There will be a host of new films by Guerrilla Filmmakers to see. The pilot in May was a huge success and this pilot2 night augurs the regular monthly slot starting in the Autumn.
We are looking for short films which are up to fifteen minutes
long. No longer than 15 minutes.
Don't be shy, If you would like your short film to be included get in quick before word gets round, send it to:
UNSCREEN, THE FORUM, Fonthill , The Common, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8YU
Enclose contact information and an SAE if you wish your video to be returned.
For further information contact Muzikansky firstname.lastname@example.org or The Forum email@example.com
Doors open @ 7.30pm £3.00 on the door
Route 215 started off the way a lot of British rock bands start - with the
goal of having fun and partying every night. It is this mentality that is
causing the Route 215 following to grow day by day with every show being more
exciting and energetic than the last - fans know that if they go to a Route
215 show they will ultimately have loads of fun as it's more of an experience
than just music, with guitars being furiously wielded around the stage and
the band spending more time in the air than on the ground. You are guaranteed
to have seen and heard nothing like it before!
Four years since the band's conception as a three piece, four releases and three record labels later the band has evolved into the infamous quintet that is Route 215. A punk influenced Rock and Roll band who are currently causing a huge buzz in the UK.
Having recently signed to the UK AllStar Recording Label, home to The Bombjacks, Skirtbox and PMX Route 215 are preparing to conquer all with the release of their latest full length album, "Steal Your Soul With Rock 'n Roll" which has already caught the attention of key industry figures.
If you try looking up Watertown, Massachusetts on most maps, the chances you would come up empty handed are pretty good. Watertown may be small, but is home to a band whose talent and heart would be hard to fit inside the entire state of Texas. FASTLANE has been forging ahead since 1998, blending unique, heartfelt vocals with powerful, tight musicianship. Musicianship? In a punk band, you say? That’s what Fastlane is all about. More cerebral than most of their punk contemporaries and more catchy than the “emo” hybrid bands, Fastlane has definitely found a great niche in a genre full of unoriginal material.
Moth, Hindsight, Tortilla Army, Inside The Mind Of Henry Holmes
Tuesday 20th July 2004
All claims that the boy Lawrence will sue Moth for stealing his name have been greatly exaggerated. The latest report from the rumour mill is that following a suggestion that he does so, Moth intend to counter-sue for loss of revenue as people are deliberately avoiding their shows thinking it's him, but by all accounts an amicable out-of-court settlement has been agreed involving several cases of out-of-date Bacardi Breezers, a stack of unsold Joeyfat CDs and a tub of Vaseline.
A low turnout is forgivable though, perhaps even expected considering the lack of fanfare, but it's the unnecessarily wanton apathy that's the real kick in the head. It's not something to all be ashamed of, but there can't be many here tonight that don't feel an element of guilty embarrassment. I mean, how often does an established American touring band, and a good one at that, not only choose the hallowed chod-bin for their debut UK show but only charge £4 to get in and give you three other bands to wet your whistle? What else are you going do on a Tuesday night, sit indoors and watch Big Brother? To not even try to appreciate it when a band is up there giving it their sweaty all, isn't only pointless considering you've just paid to get in, it's fucking bad manners. They extend the hand of friendship and we casually put a turd in it. Welcome to England, Moth.
Where some bands deliver with panache and confident style, Sittingbourne power-trio Inside The Mind Of Henry Holmes are somewhat awkward and ungainly, but by no means ineffective. Their tunes are a contrasting series of swift, sharp, stop-start emo headbutts, with subtle flavours of Slinty math-rock dynamics hiding under the post-hardcore frontage and gravelly, twisted vocals. The likes of "Seratonin Tsunami" and set closer "High" are powerful, intelligently crafted tunes, combining rugged aggression with angular experimentation, and though they're going through the motions a tad this evening, they do it without seeming ordinary and that's more than can realistically be hoped for. Add that to one of the better-sounding names currently doing the rounds (it's a 19th century multiple murderer by the way) and you have something curiously good that you'll be glad to arrive early for next time.
Looking like grease monkeys on their day off, Whitstable three-piece Tortilla Army are a decidedly more traditional, but sadly average affair. Rock 'n' roll with a heavy-duty crunch like hobnail boots on broken glass, they're garagey metal in an Impeccables vein, all bust-mouth anger and sweaty-arsed raucousness, but with none of the tunes that make them matter. Dated and derivative certainly, but unpretentious enough to make it seem a triviality and raising the question of whether three people technically counts as an army. But maybe I'm just being picky. Having such a disinterested and sparse crowd might be a frustrating experience for some, but Hindsight don't seem to have any difficulties in that area. Quite the opposite in fact, because lack of bodies seems to give them just the excuse they need to allow frontman and resident loon Ken to leap around the stage like an epileptic with a firework up his khyber. He struts and rants with gigantic amounts of vigour and reactive energy, ricocheting around the stage like a rubber bullet, firing volleys of lyrical rage while commanding the big-riffed chaos and bending it to his will. The guy's clearly insane, probably wants to eat your babies and certainly needs to cut down his caffeine intake.
Musically, Hindsight are an intriguing prospect. Though they've been treading the boards for a while now, they haven't let the grass grow under them. They've developed and adapted, taking technical, melodic, calculating emo/post-hardcore in a Deftones/Glassjaw vein, and fusing it with Tool-esque adventures into darker, more sinister corners where the truly scary monsters lurk. While the likes of CSD offer more challenging routes into the unknown and take a fucking age to get there, Hindsight seem more organic and don't delude themselves that their experimentation can masquerade as art. Sure, their tunes are bold explorations that turn corners and lead up unexpected alleys, but they don't wander off on tangents. There's a more accessible (and yes, commercial) aspect that brings to mind the likes of Hundred Reasons more pointed moments, and it's all down to an instinct for damn fine songs with hooks that tear bloody great big holes in your eardrums.
The acidic burn of "Someone Else's Conclusion" and the stunning "Cause and Effect", are fired-up anthems of bitterness and neck-snapping force, dripping with more filth and spunk than a Chatham tart's kex on a Friday night. Hindsight have some exquisite but solid tunes that they barbarically ram them down your gullet with a shocking lack of subtlety. A fact supported by the stunned applause as they exit.
20 minutes of quasi-perfection.
If sources are to be believed, a goodly portion of the tunes on Moth's new album "Drop Deaf" were rejected by Kelly Osbourne when frontman Brad Stenz approached her with them, which has either got to be a crushing ego-blow or the most positive endorsement they can get, depending on how you look at things.
"We're Moth, from Cincinnati Ohio!" Brad announces, somewhat prematurely as the snazzy punk-funk of "Constantly On" is delayed by the hunt for a drum pedal, but it's still hot, bloody and juicy as a freshly barbecued sirloin when it eventually gets going. Make no mistake about it, Moth mean business despite their quirky and eccentric sunshine exterior. They've got playfully violent belly-punches for songs, delivered with a chic sense of fun and freshness. Take the power-pop wit of Weezer, the aggressive sexiness of The Hives, the lithe dancability of The Presidents and the unexpectedly heavy oddities of Pavement or Fugazi. Add throbbing pop-shot tunes like "I Want It All" or "Cocaine Star" and you have something that's so easy to enjoy, it makes you feel dirty and depraved for doing exactly that.
"Can you tweak up the evil?" he enquires to the soundboard, wryly. And if there really was a control for sounding lecherous and fiendish, I wouldn't be in the slightest bit surprised. Moth y'see, have ragged punky tunes thrashed out with a highly infectious sense of mischief so it's curious as to why reluctant gloom and nonchalance seems to be their reward. The lack of real feedback disheartens them and despite being good humoured fellas who are particularly tickled to learn of The Forum's pissoir past, their faces become grim and they hurry to finish, without even bothering to play their most widely-aired ditty "I See Sound". More disturbingly, very few seem to care.
Quite why we seem to be in the habit of pissing off our visitors this way recently is a mystery, but maybe it's just not 'cool' these days to clap or cheer one's appreciation and nobody's told me. Answers on a postcard, please.
Public Liability Insurance Twatometer
- a month by month monitor, just watch that line soar up to £8000!
Further to last month's editorial we have been inundated with emails from warm-hearted Forum goers enquiring as to how they could help raise the Twat-o-Meter to a healthy level by making an extremely generous contribution over and above the 50 pence exacted on the door.
We were very touched to receive these communiques. and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those concerned, but many wished to remain anonymous.
Perhaps the less reticent of you wouldn't object if we instigated a monthly 'Roll of Honour'?
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