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BLAM Dec 2004

A word in your ear...

"...Eat the Welsh...?

Tears were shed, backs were patted, bonhomie abounded and smug grins were to the fore at Forum Towers this month when a huge gang of local musicians gathered for a very special recording of a very special anthem. Some of the leading figures in the local scene, including such seminal figures as funky Dan on bass, James Wilkes Booth on the drums and that keyboard player with the blond curtain haircut out of that band whose name escapes me but sound like a fey indie act, were on hand to re-record that infamous anthem so well know to the local music community – “Do we have any idea at all what month it is, let alone anything else?” Some of the attending musicians appeared to be confused as to the cause they were there to support. “It’s for charidee isn’t it” asked Mr Simon Leeves. “Something to do with little kiddies, teddy bears with eye defects, differently hued personages of a foreign extraction who haven’t eaten for a bit? Give us a clue.” Not all of the musicians were as informed as this, however, and it’s understood that a lot of debate was required in order to arrange the exact line up of the special memorial photo taken during the day. In the end it was agreed that all the gathered local talent would agree to wear balaclava helmets to avoid endangering the life of the photographer. Organiser Sir David Jarvis said “what is important on a special day like this is that so many incredibly talented musicians have got together to pool their immense incredible talent for this immensely worthy cause. With their combined efforts, and incredible immense talent (have I mentioned that already?) I am certain that we will be able to raise enough money to replace the Elastoplast in the First Aid kit that had unfortunately gone passed it’s sell by date.” Yes kids, it was all for a Band Aid.
Boom and indeed ker-tish!

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 are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. With the season of goodwill nearly upon us, our thoughts turn to all things nice in this wonderful world of ours. A world of happy endings, snow laden streets in Richard Curtis films, and little fluffy kittens in Santa hats. So for once we will not lower the tone of this generally upstanding magazine by ruining it for everyone by using the usual expletive laden pseudo apology. Because at this time of year we 'd like to extend the hand of friendship and apologise to anybody we've deliberately or inadvertantly offended/insulted the past twelve months. If this applies to you, then we truly are sorry - so fuck off KnobRot before we change our minds.

Comedy Forum

Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month.

Bringing the cream of international stand-up comedy to your door (almost), this month sees:
GARETH BERLINER started his stand-up career in October 2002 by diving straight into the frying pan with his debut open spot at Up the Creek in Greenwich and did over 200 gigs in his first year, culminating as a semi-finalist in the So You Think You're Funny competition in Edinburgh.
Berliner's material is warm, friendly, quite personal and at times...honest. He has some nice one liners as well as some great anecdotes and ideas.
DAN EVANS first appeared on the comedy circuit in 1994, shortly afterwards making the painful decision to go full time and leave a promising career as one of East Anglia's leading office menials. Over the past 9 years his twisted logic has delighted the nation, helping it through the dark days of the death of HRH The Queen Mother, Beckham's missed penalty and the uncertainties of 21st century property prices.

Saturday 4th

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).
Extensive touring has earned No Comply the reputation of being one of the most incendiary live acts on the punk circuit. Attendances have swelled & audiences became more frenzied as the word spread.
New(ish) album, 'With Windmill's Turning Wrong Directions' was released in June on Deck Cheese Records

Captain Everything!
Friday 10th

Featuring guitarist Lewis Foy and bassist Jon Whitehouse and drummer, Rich Phoenix, CAPTAIN EVERYTHING are a supreme pop punk three piece.
The band possess a great sound and often delve into the treacherous styling of ska chords and end up smelling of roses (or something slightly more punk!). Many songs such as 'There Is No 'I' In Scene' and 'Rocket Science' will swim around in your mind for ages with catchy and comical lyrics that give the listener a light-hearted chuckle as well as something to take seriously. Their live show is not to be missed as the between song banter is great to see. Peddling their Bubblegum light manic skate punk you can't fault them for being who and what they are: honest, chirpy and fun. Tight as hell with some really incredible vocals - Rock solid and great musicianship all the way.

Martyn Joseph
Saturday 11th

At first glance Martyn Joseph is (just) another gifted singer songwriter. First impressions are there to mislead of course: Joseph's ambition is broader than entertainment, deeper than commerce. Some musicians want to move your feet, some just want to move you: Martyn Joseph wants to move heaven and earth.

Martyn Joseph emerged from the pack and we began to notice. For a moment there he might have been a pop-star, certainly a protest-singer, a balladeer now and then, a Celtic rock star before they were in vogue, a folk troubadour and then, just, Martyn Joseph. Darkness on the edge of Cardiff. If he has a reputation onstage as a raconteur, extemporizing lyrics to fit every occasion, his songs have always been infected with a discreet but defiant god bothering, music more interested in the forgotten than the remembered, the way things might be than the way they have become. It is less the ghost of Tom Jones than a Holy Ghost music, an aching and a longing for another way, another place, where you can treasure the questions that have no answers. Depending on where he was at the time, some of these songs have had a fortune spent on colouring them in while others are the second-take line drawings from the home studio or Polaroid's snapped live in the back of beyond.
The consistency is the voice the place where he stands, from where he chooses to look at life. This is music that articulates a yearning for another world that is yet to be born, songs of sorrow acquainted with grief but, nevertheless, melodies carried in sunlight, thunder and rainbows from the same sky. And as his 'Best Of' collection illustrates, Joseph's work matures with age. If these songs are already word-perfect to fans, in the future they will be covered by Britain's two leading contemporary music magazines Q, and, MoJo, respectively, describe Martyn Joseph as having 'a depth, resonance and emotional punch, which belies comparisons', and as being 'an artist of enduring worth'. Meanwhile The Guardian was transfixed by this gifted and gracious Welshman's 'burnished voice' whilst Tom Robinson of BBC 6 Music and iconic songwriter himself, regards Martyn as one of Britain's 'most charismatic and electrifying performers'
Oft described as the Welsh Springsteen, Martyn Joseph is a quality act definitely worth checking out.

The ga*ga*s
Violet High Kingskin
Saturday 18th

2002 was a dreary year by music standards. Britney Spears released "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", Darius released "Colourblind" and who could forget the summer that was the ketchup song, aka "Las Ketchup" by Asereje. There was a small gleaming light at the end of the tunnel however.
In April, Tommy Gleeson started his search for fellow band mates who would help him take over the world as we know it. And thank the lord he did. With laid-back-to-the-point-of-being-horizontal, Brazilian J on drums, quiet (but you've got to watch the quiet ones) Japanese bass-monster Toshi and happy-go-lucky Brummie guitarist Rob The Ga Gas were born.

If you can imagine a band strewn with melodic overtones trampled by frenzied guitar and bass riffs and rounded off with those pulsating rhythms found in bands such as Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, The Ga-Ga's may very well be your God send. Everybody but everybody keeps saying the Darkness whenever they see them, so let’s deal with that one head on: “People have compared us to The Darkness in the past and now they’re comparing us to Velvet Revolver” says lead singer and all round leather trouser wearing rock god in the making Tommy. “Those bands don’t even sound like each other at all, except that they play good old fashioned rock music. I guess it just shows the lack of real rock and roll out there. We don’t sound like them, but the Darkness have opened doors for all of us playing rock and roll and now Velvet Revolver have taken that up a million gears. When we wrote these songs we didn’t give a shit about what was going on, we just knew that if we write what we wanted to hear then other people would follow”. The band’s first full on proper assault on the charts (SEX) will be released on 31st January 2005. The band’s debut album will be released the following week (7th Feb). Both releases are on Sanctuary Records. See them now before it costs you £22 for a seat at the back of Wembley Arena.

Made in Britain
Sunday 19th

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. Just returning from an Australian tour and various dates 'oop North; the League are back...and FUCKING ANGRY!

Bad Manners
Wednesday 22nd

Look. You know the score with Bad Manners.
A superskacharged fun night out with one of the original ska acts of the 1980s. Seemingly a permanent fixture on TOTP (soon to be RIP) , with our gurning Buster Bloodvessel pirouetting in a tutu for their version of Can Can. With a fist full of hits like Special Brew, Lip Up Fatty, Ne Ne Na Na Nu Nu and boasting a new megafit steamlined Buster, it's guaranteed to be a right two tone knees up!

Unlabel Night
Thursday 23rd

Less of a label - more of a way of life for these arthouse ne'er-do-wells. Each unlabel spectacular features a night of surprises, gifts and biscuits. Featuring the mighty JOEYFAT, who as you may be aware are often compared to the Beatles. As in "...compared to the Beatles, Joeyfat are a load of pretentious drivel..." Vocalist Matt is the journo/poet/all round good bloke and general tall geezer who certainly knows his thesaurus from a stegasaurus. Also appearing tonight will be HEADQUARTERS, ERIC and JASON & the ASTRONAUTS. Don't forget that the doors open at 7:00pm

The Stable

Another month's worth of kaleidoscopic smorgasbord of untapped, unsung, and some still unwebsited talent. You know the score; every Monday three unsigned bands take the Holy Toilet stage and give it their best for 25 minutes.
This month sees:

LO ODIO are a particular fave of our very own Moanin' Millsey. Let's allow the lads to introduce themselves by quoting their own website:
"... Eclectic post progressive noise.
As you can see, there is no information about us.
There are two reasons for this: Firstly, we are a bit hard to describe, and none of us being music journo types we havn't the first idea what meaningless genre to catoragise ouselves into. Secondly, we are lazy arseholes who can't even be arsed to put in ten minutes worth of hard graft to ensure we have a respectable, informative website..."
Indeed, Quad Erat DesLynam
TRYST are a guitar based beat combo from Greenwich, London. They play gigs mainly in the London/South England area and are open to offers of live shows. Tryst consists of -
Connie Chamberlayne - Vocals and Guitars, Matthew Sharp - Guitars, Keyboards and Mandolin, Richard Wright - Bass and Keyboards, Anthony Brodowski - Drums and Percussion

CRAB IN A CAB are a ska based outfit, who for some reason seem to attract nothing but abusive anonymous postings on their website. So whoever the perpetrator is. Just stop it! And leave that sort of thing to Mr Mills. ONCE OVER are ska punk outfit from Worthing, who have a rather fab website with loads of pics and downloads. All this AND a brass section that would appear to be tighter than the Boy Lawrence's wallet. Well worth checking out. MR SIMON LEEVES is the prankster/arse about town and ex - Ideot (or are they still in existence?) who now appears to be Southborough's answer to Billy Bragg. But without the politics, leftie credentials, nose, and tank-driving skills

KRAFT STUDIO are a Tunbridge Wells based four piece consisting of Steve McCormack, Simon Whiting, Ben Sales, James Gasson, and new boy Ed Salter on keyboards. For whom this will be his debut show. SUPERCAR have a rather pretentious time wasting biog on their website, but by all accounts are a great bunch of geezers, and popular whenever they've trod the boards of the ol' shit hole

Entry to these shows is a mere four quid, and quite frankly worth every bleedin' penny of anybody's money. Come down and see for yourself the EEC unsigned talent mountain.

Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

The Stable
Monday, 15th November 2004

The Blind Martini Society. Now there's a wacky name. Crazy name, crazy guys. Are they quirky and jocular with their tongues wedged firmly in their cheeks, or are they boldly elaborate, unfolding an intricate collage of multi-dynamic angular art-rock? For the first minute or so, it could swing either way, because there's a lot to be said for the rambunctious power of 3 lads with youth and schoolboy humour on their side. Every few years there seems to be a new generation of fundamentalist noise terrorists spearheading a revolution of possibilities, reinventing the rules of what can be expected from a trio, but where, when and from whom can we expect it? Well, it's a fairly safe bet that it won't be here, now and from TBMS, so don't get the autograph books out just yet.
"We're gonna fuck your wives!" they yell, before something called "Losing The Will To Live" unintentionally but ironically sums up the feeling of at least half the room. They rock out semi-convincingly in a rough garage punk vein, but take opportunities to suddenly veer off into intriguingly odd directions, seemingly when the mood takes them rather than when appropriate. It's ambitious certainly, perhaps too ambitious, but as percussively courageous and musically versatile as it is, it appears an exploration of what progressive peculiarities they can experiment with rather than actual songcraft, like poppy math-rock with no logic. Though their oddities are appealing if you like that sort of thing, for the most part it's so inaccessible that it seems they wouldn't recognise a decent tune if it bent them all over and fucked them rigid. Even a momentary and vaguely Tool-ish stab at creating a dark mood seems just another hellishly elaborate attempt to demonstrate as much dexterity as possible, and while they're busy trying to prove how clever and difficult to pigeonhole they are, they forget that people are there to be entertained and it's all a bit baffling.
As they progress, they veer towards heavier and (thankfully) more comprehensible indie guitar-rock that's a better vehicle for the excruciating vocals of Jake O'Leary, but the material is lacklustre and weak. It's just seems like whining with guitar-noise tacked over the top, essentially, but it's possibly because I'm too old and crusty to get the point, if there is one. On the evidence of tonight though, TBMS are yet another garage band that tack together the best bits of jams and call it a song when its long enough, but there are worse ways to spend their time so good luck to them. They'll probably need it.
According to Life Sentence's frontman/bassist Dan MacKey, this place is a lot nicer than their native Gravesend, but so is virtually anywhere, which makes it a thin compliment, but at least they mean well. There's an honest, straight-from-the shoulder bluntness to their initially funky but charmingly grungy eardrum-rattling rock, that doesn't necessarily make them instantly likable, but certainly makes appreciating them less of an effort, so although their sound is a little passé and uninspiring, with fairly flaccid material on the whole, it seems to matter less than perhaps it should. Personality and gratitude towards their audience go a long way to atone for what few sins they commit, and they're sharp enough to realise that they've stumbled into a clique where people have effectively voted before they arrived and handing in the slips is a mere formality, so just aim to have fun and put a little sparkle into the evening without stealing anyone's thunder.
Despite Mackey's rather weak nasal drone, which threatens to castrate them at times, Life Sentence have occasional flashes of grandeur such as the heavingly potent "Asylum" that lift them out of the realms of bar-circuit dirge into a place where good times and groovy vibes await.

It's a hazy alien hotchpotch of rhythms and riffs bringing to mind a sugary Incubus now and then, but not in the stylishly cocky and complex fashion of Seven Story Down, more of a roughly cut, less commercial adaptation of Kingskin. Just a tad louder and less likely to appeal to your girlfriend.
It's surprising then that despite this playful and perfectly acceptable boyish exterior, Life Sentence roll over to reveal a hardened and scaly underbelly, just when you think that you have them sussed.
Their tunes morph into increasingly heavier and shadowy offerings, such as the malevolently caustic "Cut You Down", but they lack real excitement overall and although they're enticing to a degree, those odd moments of real contact are infrequent and hard to maintain. It makes them ultimately very ordinary and that's frustrating, but it's clear that they've got the ingredients for something very tasty to emerge in time, provided they get the recipe right, so let's hope that they don't take too long about it.
Watching Vanishing Point a bit like stepping back in time to a more unpretentious and less synthetic age, where the last 10 years of accelerated evolution and boundary-bending experimentation are just the pointless pipe dreams of poseurs trying to be interesting. There's no notion of tentatively exploring new possibilities for the power-trio with Vanishing Point, just a joyously raucous racket from a band that want to be a six-legged well-greased heavy rock noise and are bloody proud of being exactly that with no unnecessary trimmings. Simply big-cocked leather-lunged retro power from people old enough to know better, ugly enough to be scary and passionate enough not to give a shit about the people that don't like it. Loud, lewd and tattooed - or something like that.
VP's grebo din is somewhere between Alice In Chains and The Almighty with a grungy stoner-rock twang. Corpulent vocalist/guitarist Graham might look like a hod-carrier on his day off, but he has a fine and distinctive bestial roar that gives essentially simplistic tunes like "Mistakes I've Yet To Make" an immediately mature and commanding quality. The end result is not dissimilar to the early efforts of Zucchini or 9 Volt (to a degree), but stripped down and laid bare, with the same mechanical greasy strength that makes your head shake and your hands contort into shameless air-guitar shapes.
That being said, it's perhaps by establishing such comparisons that VP's flaws become not just noticeable but glaringly evident. As their set progresses, the guitar work frequently becomes drab and pedestrian, as if there's supposed to be a second guitarist filling in the gaps but for some reason or other he's not turned up and they have to cope without him. It's oddly dissatisfying, rather like alcohol free beer; it looks okay, it tastes okay, but there's a vital element missing and it's the bit you really want. By the time a standard power ballad rears it's flea-bitten head with a predictably soothing intro and an even more predictably cacophonous climax, VP reveal themselves as a band who feel secure following an easy-to-swallow formula and it's a bit too close to pub rock for comfort even though it undeniably works for them.
Still, when you consider that they don't pretend to be anything other than embraceable rock 'n' roll, revelling in the memories of days when the product was more important than the pose, such things cease to matter. The pounding 'Unbeliever' is a bloodthirsty cornucopia of scabby riffs and growling vocals, offering perfect redemption in a Motorhead-shaped chunk of biker metal, and if you don't find yourself going with the flow and grinning like an imbecile, it's probably because you're some sort of cunt.
Vanishing Point are just good beery fun and with more votes than the other two bands combined it just goes to show that even a rented crowd can still make the right decision. Round 2 awaits.

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

Public Liability Insurance Twatometer

- 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.




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