Catch the crabs at the Forum!
There's only one news item this month that has set the land of Tunbridge
Wells (including Cranbrook and Five Oak Green) alight, and that is the
astonishing performance of our boys in tight fitting tops in a land far far
away. Won't we all be able to remember in years to come exactly where we were
when we heard the incredible news? At that final clinching moment, as the joy
filled their faces, as they realised they had pulled it off and would be walking
away with the prize they deserved? Yes, that's right, we're talking about the
Crab in a Cab gig in Basingstoke last week, when the band managed to get all the
way through their set using the simple technique of chords, lyrics and rhythms.
"Some people have been saying that the way we play isn't the most sporting, that
maybe we should be more exciting, show some flashes of imagination and flare."
Said Jacky Walkingirl. "I say bollocks to that. We're from Ticehurst and we know
all the notes we need - G, D, and if we get to a tricky bit possibly C." It is
understood that the band habit of kicking out the final notes of every song as
soon as they got within two minutes of it greatly annoyed some local Basingstoke
punters. "Fuck `em." Said Tomo "we got our £7.32 and they are just jealous." A
victory parade will take place leaving High Brooms gasworks on Tuesday night and
arriving in Ticehurst the following morning just in time for a cut and blow dry
and full facial at Cutting Corner (reasonably priced beauty treatments available
for the discerning customer).. "I don't want a big fuss made about this, I
simply want a quiet life", said vocalist Big Jock. " a life where those bloomin'
trumpets aren't giving my left ear grief!"
In order to substantiate the above headline, we would like to point out that Stable table toppers CRAB IN A CAB will be playing the Forum on Friday, 23rd January 2004
"THEY ALL POP THEIR CLOGS THIS TIME OF YEAR"
Other news just in concerns the sad demise of three local bands, namely ROUNDEYED DOGS. MY SECRET FUTAGO, and local faves GRAPESEED BANDITS. We are also saddened to report that JOEYFAT are still going strong!
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, FULLER, SCHEIDT & BLAGGITT are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. It has come to our attention that this column is a continual source of some vexation to a certain member of staff known locally by the sobriquet "Boy" and "K---- E------ lookey likey". We would like to apologise most fulsomely to this person and assure him that in future we will be making more efforts to ensure that his name doesn't arrive at the top of our "give `em some shit" pile.
Number of complaints received regarding our assertion last month that Joeyfat were planning to invade Poland - none.
Possibly one of the most important, unsung bands in Britain at the moment,
Sussex band Clearlake name and theme themselves around a fictional but archetypal
English village. It has been said many times before exactly how’English’ Clearlake
are, so it would be futile to re-iterate this facet. Witnessed live, Clearlake
are the turbo-charged offspring of Neil Young, The Kinks and Radiohead . Singer/guitarist
Jason Pegg's songs are winsome affairs about the minutiae of life on this
island: the fact there's never anything on TV on Sunday except Songs Of Praise,
foraging through piles of clothes at jumble sales, the crispness of the light
in winter, the joy of daydreaming your life away. Pegg’s strong, confident
croon sounds majestic over the band’s baroque pop arrangements, and the results
are often stunning. Their latest album, ‘Cedars’ is one of the most unique,
inviting, and ultimately thrilling song cycles released this year. Sometimes
pop music takes unimaginable, hard-to-cope-with experiences and humanizes
them. ‘Cedars’ does the opposite, taking very real, mundane feelings and experiences
and pushing them towards previously unimagined heights. As Jason Pegg has
said, "We're constantly trying to find the exact mid-point between raw
chaos and Tin Pan Alley".
With such celeb fans as Jarvis Cocker, REM, Jools Holland, and Scott Walker, Clearlake are obviously well respected within the industry. It is simply a matter of time until Clearlake are crowned the new kings of Brit-Pop.
Support on the night comes from Stable lads ISKRA, as Moanin' Millsey put it, "... like a little mini-orchestra creating a gloriously relaxing pool of tranquillity and mood, their music has that specific ethereal quality that belongs halfway between asleep and awake. In parts similar to the Penguin Café Orchestra, in others more geared towards transcendental ambient post-prog, but warm and inviting whatever you liken them to..." . Blimey what a cracker of a night this sounds like eh?
At first, it was awfully hard to take this cartoonish punk quartet from
Tunbridge Wells seriously. The songwriting team of Animal and Magoo penned irate
diatribes aimed at what they called the "nowheres" of the world: straights,
nine-to-fives, Homebase on a Sunday types etc. Although one can't doubt them
when they spit "I Hate...People," they do manage to inject a sense of humor on
the first album, which can soften even the most potentially offensive song, such
as the ragingly misogynist "Woman." And anyone who doubts their ingenuity should
listen to the blazing (but surprisingly appropriate) treatment of Ralph McTell's
folkie chestnut, "Streets of London."
Spawned from local biker gang The Chosen Few, the League started their live career by playing on the common with a generator, a 3k PA system, beer, copious amounts of cheap speed, to an audience of delicate, music loving hardcore hardnuts. (Why don't today's faintheart bands try doing that now?! They bought themselves onto a Damned tour with the help of two grand, a bag of Bolivian marching powder, and an impromptu cabaret by Winston the bassist, which consisted of a carrot being inserted up his jacksy, dowsed with pickle, then eaten by aforementioned four-stringer (Don't try this at home kids!)
Tours of Yugoslavia and Australia followed, where rabid fans had to be beaten off with shitty sticks. Was there no end th the League's outrageous success story? Well.......yes.
With addition of curly haired fopster Gillie, the League evidently decided to try a new approach - or ten. Like an '80s rock jukebox gone out of control, tracks on The Perfect Crime imitate Big Country, the Stranglers, Alarm, Buzzcocks and others, with mixed results. The public, used to a far less respectable League, didn't take to the LP, and the group split up in 1988. Now reforming for one-off shows, the League have lost none of their menace, or humour. Check 'em out
Hailing from Bury St Edmunds, MISS BLACK AMERICA are one of the most
exciting, interesting and brilliant new bands around right now. How many bands
do you know are named after a Curtis Mayfield song? How many bands score two
hits in John Peel’s Festive 50, wiping the floor with Radiohead and PJ Harvey in
the process? " I don’t think we fit in at all", says frontman Seymour Glass, "
Someone said we‘re a bit ‘emo’ but at the end of the day all the emo people are
really saying is "My girlfriend dumped me and I’m a bit miserable." There’s no
one saying anything of substance. People say to us "Oh you’re like the Manics"
but that’s no bad thing because they were one of the last bands to say anything.
When we first started out, we wanted to change everything; we were fucking sick
of everyone, the way we were treated, and the people around us. Our mates would
sit in pubs waiting for a good time to happen. You should never accept your lot,
you have to stick two fingers up to everything and say, "Fuck you". So, in that
sense no way do we fit in!"
Yeah.........right on............down with Cliff!
ORIGINAL PRIVATE MATERIAL
FREEBIRD: are Phee Watt and Tom Jaworski.They formed over three years ago and
are based in
Crowbourgh where they have a residency gig at the Blue Anchor pub which inturn has led them to establishing a sizeable local following.Freebird have performed all over the southeast area from Tunbridge Wells to London and earlier this year recorded an outstanding three track ep at Tone Zone studios.Their warm uplifting sound stems from Phee's powerfull yet beautifully flighted vocals with harmonious backing from Tom whose outstanding guitar skills deliver absorbing blends of rhythm and solo work on the steel string to give the duo the dynamic sound they produce.
ANTHONY VICARY: A singer/songwriter for six years now,Anthony's journey to becoming an solo artist has taken a few twists and turns along the route.Developing his guitar skills during his school days Anthony originallytook his inspiration from bands like Pantera etc,however a few years later following a change in his musical taste buds and a yearning to sing and write songs led him to forming Catching Flys;a rock driven four piece flaunting a melodic upbeat sound with influences of Soulwax,Radiohead and Pearljam in tow.After five years of varied success including headlining at prominent London venues ,the Rock Garden and the Mean Fiddler coupled with gigs around the local area the band amicably parted company and led Anthony to pick up his acoustic guitar and has been writing everscince.
CONTRAST:are duoPaul Dunton & Sam Nesbitt and have been wowing crowds all over Tunbridge Wells in venues such as Pitcher & Piano, TN4,The Bull,Cassidy's,The Orson Wells,Thorins,Incognito,The Biscuit Factoryl.Vocally,Paul sounds very much like Paul Heaton from the Beautiful South and with Sam's sublime prowess on the guitar they deliver a clean yet rich sound oozing with emotion.
Original material remains at the heart of their focus & drive, and, with the support of the Forum,Contrast bring you ORIGINAL PRIVATE MATERIAL;a showcase night of original acoustic music with support from from other renowned local artists;Freebird & Anthony Vicary.This is an opportunity for friends,fans & all newcomers to witness the creations of these talented musicians without the restraints of playing covers to conform to the wishes of more commercial venues
More off the wall than Michael Jackson...........it's Unlabel!
Joeyfat . Princess Headbutt . Jason & the Astronauts
WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN!
Even I get lucky sometimes, I won the postal prize draw.
A SWIMMING POOL! A SPEED BOAT! AN EXOTIC HOLIDAY!
No room, no need too, unpredictable.
A YEAR IN YOUR OWN DREAM HOME!
SELF-REPAIRING! SELF-CLEANING! SUPER-DOMICILE! FULLY FURNISHED! UP-TO-THE-MINUTE! A SYMPHONY IN BRUSHED CHROME!
I'm the Lord High Priest of The Untidy, I could not turn it down.
I lay in state, for the first six months. I lived the life of an international pop star. It really wasn't that hard to adjust. With my silk robe slashed open to the waist, like some arthritic playboy. Is this heaven? Could this be the earth? Or some unworldly paradise? I started scattering crumbs, abusing the polished surfaces. I put human waste in the refrigerator. A cascade of blood, sweat, gravy and egg. And in the bedroom, we did our best to utilise the instruments. Then, like all good things, the novelty wore off - as a junior aspirin tossed at a migraine. We pushed at the borders, stretched at the seams, picked at the corners with our fingernails and peering through the clouds of heavy plaster we near made ourselves sick with hollow laughter. As the perspex splintered and we laid the mechanics bare, we had a celebration, a levering and chiselling kind of affair. When the men from the prize-board came to retrieve their keys I said, "You've got some clearing up to do, this is nothing to do with me".
WE'VE COME HUNTING SHARK WITH A T-SHIRT SLOGAN HARPOON! THE MASSED RANKS OF THE THREE-DAY UNWASHED AND THEIR COMFY REVOLUTION! THEY STREAMED THROUGH THE HOME COUNTIES LIKE HALF A GLASS OF LUKEWARM MILK!
It was the bland, leading the bland, leading the bland.
I vote myself their campaign chairman.
These lads sure know how to rock. Heavy guitars, tight clattering tubs, rough
shouty vocals and spadefulls of energy hit you at point blank range. Andrew and
Cahir leap around like lunatics throwing classic old skool rock poses using
every inch of the stage - but unlike so many bands who put on a performance the
music doesn't suffer - they are solid as a rock.Bursts of Fugazi, Black Flag and
The Foo's are apparent within their fresh, unique songs. In the hands of lesser
men, being so clearly inspired by Fugazi in ethics, instrumentation and even
lyrical style would be almost unbearably tedious. However, JPL come off more as
kindred spirits rather than ardent students. Certainly a joint JPL/Fugazi tour
would probably be one of the best tickets ever put together if it were to
To sum up, this is a powerful, modern punk rock outfit packed with intelligent lyrics and ass shaking groove.
A two night stand
Friday 19th with ZUCCHINI
Saturday 20th with MELALEUCA
Are you someone who likes music, but doesn't want to be constricted by conforming
to the ideology of one specific genre?
If so, don't despair because Violent Delight aim to satisfy your musical desires with their debut LP 'All You Ever Do' , a collection of air punching anthems.Violent Delight are Rodney (vocals), VD Tom (guitar), McBen (bass), DJ Ken (drums), and with the commercial success of A and Hundred Reasons, have suddenly found themselves becoming marketable.
Violent Delight are here to entertain us - nothing more, nothing less - and on songs such "I Wish I Was A Girl", the band act like the idiot younger brother of the Ramones, while on others like "Chicken Feed" they recall the audacious "don't give a fuck" attitude of the Sex Pistols, indeed, production duties have been handled by ex-Pistol plank-spanker STEVE JONES.
It's immature, puerile and unoriginal, but it's great entertainment and a welcome relief from other earnest angst-ridden bandwagon jumpers.
ZUCCHINI are a 3 piece from St Leonards with a suitcase full of tunes, and in frontman, Adam Hart, have a singer with one of the best voices I've heard in ages.MELALEUCA are one of Blam's office fave bands, and quite rightly won The Stable's 'The Man's Choice Final'. Their new CD is due to be released shortly, check out their website for more details.
The seminal second wave ska band Bad Manners was formed in London in 1979
by vocalist Buster Bloodvessel (born Doug Trendle). Inspired by 2 Tone contemporaries
Madness and the Specials, Bad Manners carved their own niche in the international
ska scene with amusing covers ("Monster Mash"), twisted originals
("Ne-Ne Na-Na Na-Na Nu-Nu") and humorous stage antics courtesy of
frontman Buster Bloodvessel, known for his huge size and bald head.
After releasing several albums in the early 1980s, Bad Manners decided to concentrate on their live show rather than studio work, touring throughout the world to underground acclaim. Following the release of 1989's Return of the Ugly the band returned to touring, but signed to Moon Ska Records in the mid-1990s to begin a new era.
A continual high level of performance over the last 25 years has rightly earned BAD MANNERS their reputation as a magnificent live band. from their beginnings as a school group in 1976, throughout their chart success of the 80's (11 top twenty hits) , and until the present day this merry troupe of ska troubadours have maintained a punishing live schedule and deserve their billing as 'the hardest working band on the planet'. The unparalleled longevity of their success, coupled with Buster's ability to secure a place in the nations heart and collective consciousness are a testament to his enduring self-belief, and the bands 'consummate talent, unbounded energy and vigour.
Bad Manners shows are about partying, having a good time and not taking yourself too seriously, these were the values that Buster founded the band on and still holds dear today, Bad Manners will always give full measure, and unbridled entertainment and fun are guaranteed.
Mustard Plug are not afraid. Mustard Plug are not ashamed. Mustard Plug are
one of the best third-wave ska bands in the world. Scratch that, the best
ska-punk band in the world. Better than ice cream on a warm day. Better than
a week at Disneyland. Better than Elvis in Vegas or the Beatles at Shea Stadium.
Better than your mom. (At this stage, I would like to point out that this
blurb was lifted directly from their website - lanky fop)
If you've seen them play live, at one of those shows where the ceiling is dripping with sweat, the stage is on the verge of breaking in half, and the band and the crowd are just too damn busy rocking to notice the imminent threat to their lives and well being; well then, you know what I mean.
So far under the radar that mainstream press will never know, so far beyond the latest trend that most critics don't even bother, Mustard Plug know too much to turn back now.
With their new album, Yellow # 5, this Michigan six-piece wrote and produced the album that has come closest to capturing the same heart-pounding, death defying sound as their live show while showcasing their unique blend of ska, rock, pop and punk. The music is fun, passionate, energetic and catchier than you can even imagine.
other Thursday, it's Tunbridge Wells' original,
funniest and best value for money stand-up comedy club.
At least four acts for only a fiver.
COMEDY FORUM , in it's present format, has been running for the past three
years. In that time we've had the pleasure of seeing acts that were well on
their way to becoming stars, getting their own primetime television shows,
and even going on to appear on Blankety Blank!
Every other Thursday, for your delectation, we have four top acts from the world of stand-up comedy. All this for only five pound admission! How bloody good is that?
THURSDAY 4th sees ROB HEENEY, twins, JOHNSTON & JOHNSTON and JOSIE LONG.
Later on in the month, for the Christmas Cracker on THURSDAY 18th we see the FLUFFY BROTHERS, Peter Savizon (right) and Paul Sinclair originally met as actors /mime artists for the Black Mime Theatre Company in 1988. The Fluffy Brothers have been regularly storming comedy venues across the country since then and were a hit when they performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1999 and 2000. The guys were talent spotted at the Edinburgh Festival in 1999 by the BBC and as a result appeared on BBC TV's The Stand Up Show.
'Fresh, innovative and very funny' Jonathan Ross
'The movement, delivery and interplay between
them is supremely polished.' The List
'reeks of individuality and style' The Stage
also appearing will be ANGELO MARCOS, and SIMON FEILDER.
13 Mile Horizon
Formed in 1998, ZERO CIPHER cite influences from Nick Cave to Glassjaw, via
Tool, Raging Speedhorn, Haste, and Earthtone9."Hailing From Surrey, four piece
Zero Cipher grind out dark hardcore with a disturbing emo tinge.The lads finally
finished work on their full-length debut, released through Casket Records on
June 2nd, 2003. Titled "45 Minutes of Fairy-Tale Endings", and again,
self-produced, it has received some fantastic press;
"Genre-bending metal... mix tangled fretwork with twisted beats and sweeping atmospherics... Let ZC make you happy!" - KERRANG!
Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan
Wherein our very own Victor Meldrew of the moshpit gives us the lowdown on
what he's had sad occasion to witness at Europe's second largest toilet.
The Stable: FLEE THE SCENE . VELDT . CARNIES
Monday, 3rd Nov
One of the criticisms that seems to apply to The Stable recently is strangely
an aspect that makes it such a wonderful thing. Namely, it's diversity. Accusations
are made, sometimes by bands themselves, other times by fans, that certain
acts are playing to crowds totally unsuited to their specific genre of music,
and you can see their point, particularly on a bill like tonight. It's hard
work to be a pop band playing to a punk crowd for example, but it's also what
makes The Stable exciting. As a fan you can get a live taster of music that
wouldn't ordinarily be on your itinerary and as a band, you can play to an
audience that wouldn't be on yours. It might be uncomfortable for some, but
fuck 'em. It's supposed to be an unbiased night and there's bound to be something
that tickles your particular fancy.
FLEE THE SCENE are in that awkward no-man's land where Extreme Metal starts and Hardcore finishes. Intense grindcore with tonsil-tearing unintelligible vocals from the somewhat shy and babyfaced Sam, occasionally sounding as if he's gargling sand, combined with 1-minute bursts of demonic bullet-speed Napalm Death-isms and doomily melodic Deftones/Glassjaw-flavoured riffery.
FTS's youthful enthusiasm and cocky stabs at ironic mockery go a long way towards redemption for the fact that they have very little control over their somewhat haphazard and loose delivery. There appears to be scant regard for quality of material, which may have been a two-fingered attempt to be endearingly flippant and nonchalant, but it takes more than FTS are currently capable of to pull that trick off successfully. At the moment though, they do little to fire the imagination and simply create a generally unremarkable and untogether hullabaloo that's all noise and no nous, but given a good year or so of solid gigging, FTS could tighten up and mature into a formidable unit of surprising power and panache, so watch them closely.
Recent signings to Outstanding Records, Brighton's VELDT are a live version of that soundtrack music you used to get in 1960's film noir biopics. You know the sort, the type that it was terribly trendy to been seen to like, although none of it made sense and everybody in 'swinging' London spoke with an Oxbridge accent, even the apparently working-class central character who got a lot of suggested sex.
Veldt are as wonderfully and epigrammatically English as soggy chips and wet weekends; it takes a certain type of introverted masochist to truly appreciate what makes them great and you wouldn't really want them any other way. There's an aching, dreamlike romanticism and timeless dark wonder to their music, which is a rough collage of 60's summer pop, The Walker Brothers, early Pulp and a lounge-lizard version of Portishead. Constructed from ethereal ghostly guitar melodies, swooping melodic hooks and soulful melancholy cello, they cement it together with intelligently understated use of effects and programming, to create arthouse noise that soothes, caresses and subtly corrupts the senses, but still quirkily decorate it with jangly bits. Marvellous.
Frontman Lloyd Wadey is the antithesis of everything a singer should be. Concentrating on directing the passion of whatever else is going on onstage, rather than trying to wring action from the crowd, he's part Jarvis Cocker, Part Vic Reeves and part Ivor Biggun wrapped up in Scott Walker's syrup-rich voice and a suit from Oxfam.
"This Idle Love" and the gloriously twee harmonies of "Good Morning" are delicious slices of honey-dripping, oscillating pop, while "Sleep" is more uptempo, but no less inviting, riding a casual swaying groove to destinations unknown. Veldt show many different facets to themselves but retain a semblance of focussed direction that allows them to demonstrate their multi-textured resonant richness without overreaching into self-indulgence.
The most stark impression that Veldt leave though, is the underplayed sheer sexiness of their sound. It's got a slinky, sensual, provocative and casually welcoming vibe and although they're not a band with the live 'oomph' that rock crowds crave they're perfect mood music for lost and anguished lovers. And if you like the idea of that, Veldt will produce the seduction soundtrack that misfits have been secretly craving for years.
CARNIES however, tick things nicely back into touch with minimal effort and maximum effect. They might not be the 'Flying' Carnies anymore, but they still manage to rise upwards and shit on whatever unsuspecting fool is stupid enough to get within striking distance. Stop/start dynamics, tuneless vocals intelligent time changes and spirited tunes make this local unit a quite formidable force and their loyal following is proof of their ability to impress, if nothing else.
Carnies have a lot of things going for them that are worthy of more detailed and prolonged effort, and create an intriguing cacophony of controlled emo-menace. Predominantly deafeningly intense and noisy, occasionally giving way to almost radio-friendly anthemia, they have an ear for hooks that work and are creative enough to keep things interesting by the simple power of decent material. Oodles of powerchord riffs are underpinned by quaking shitkicking drums creating jagged-edge nu-metal that's both tense and exciting, generously stuffed with neat ideas and off-kilter vibrancy.
It's certainly not the music that lets the lads down though, but rather the way they go about delivering the goods. Frontman Matt endeavours to appear cocky and arrogant, which is only a wise move if you have a tongue-in-cheek ability to make it enamouring and instead of off-hand don't-give-a-fuck impertinence, it comes across as unappreciative and insincere, which does them no favours at all and reduces their accessibility considerably.
This casually offhand manner seems to be a common stage trait for the rest of the band and it results in the ultimate image of a group that look, sound and probably are, lazy and unrehearsed. This is a crying shame as there is no shortage of quality musicianship or songwriting in the Carnies camp, but hey, tonight's crowd is mainly theirs, so they could fart down the microphones and piss in people's beer and still get the most votes. 99 of them in fact.
Just goes to show there's no accounting for good taste sometimes.
COFFEE BREAK CORNER
This month we've something completely different! Our backroom team of white-coated boffins have invented a groundbreaking new technique called Magic Eye. A Magic Eye image is a three dimensional image hidden within a two dimensional pattern. This type of graphic is sometimes called a stereogram. Creating a Magic Eye image is a combination of advanced technology, artistic ability, pig ignorance and a general lack of respect for the feelings of others. Look very closely at the photo below of Robbie (I think I've.an extra chromosone 21, me!) Williams. Robbie, as you may recall, was a huge influence on the late Frank Sinatra with his big band sound and cheeky chappie banter. We here at Blam! would also like to make it very clear that we do not in anyway believe those horrid rumours we've heard about Robbie's sexuality. Anyway, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. Look very very closely at the pic on the left, and after a few moments an image of part of the female genitalia will magically appear!
Impress your friends and show your parents.
We would like to thank the Boy Lawrence for the loan of the portrait of Mr Williams and hope your Mum didn't moan about the Blu Tac leaving marks on the bedroom wallpaper.
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