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BLAM Feb 2005

A word in your ear...

"We could have been bigger than Freddie & The Dreamers!"

Fans of one of the most popular acts ever to hit the scene were devastated this week when it was finally confirmed that they were to split. The band had become increasingly popular in the last two years, and were famous for their cheeky pop melodies they nicked from other bands and then played very badly in half the time; hundreds and hundreds of songs with quite poor lyrics all of them about girls and how much they'd like to meet some, their lack of ability on their own instrument, or in fact any ability at all, musical or otherwise, but perhaps most famously for creating "whacky" personalities for each of the three main members of the band, an idea they stole from the Monkees, but the less said about that the better. Never again will we see a gig from the tall moody one that looks like he might have read a book or two, the quiet one that stands around a lot and is popular with girls, or the weird looking one with the bad hair and borderline hyperactivity problems who bounces around a lot on stage and claimed (against all evidence to the contrary) to be a guitarist. The main three members of the band were always joined on stage by "the drummer", an old bloke who sat round at the back wearing outfits designed by a blind eight-year-old and looking like he would rather be somewhere else.
Quite the most popular band ever to appear on a local stage (with the possible exception of some other bands who were a bit better) it's understood that the split became almost inevitable once the tall moody one started worrying that people might not be taking him too seriously, and formed another band to perform aural pieces loosely termed as songs with lyrics about spleens, vomit and the inexplicably behaviour of baboons when given small pieces of green card with the word "bushwhack" written on them. The weird looking one with the personality disorder has announced he will never take to the stage again, much to the relief of all concerned, and the quite one refused to comment, although he did raise his eyebrows a bit at some passing girls. Yes, fans of local music, we can unfortunately confirm that BIG POP TROTSKY have split.
All hopes for a successful local band now rest with the new band from the bloke with the height problems and large eyebrows, JOEYFAT. Abandon ship! Abandon ship!

* We would like to apologise for a printers' error this month which has led to the reprinting of an editorial from 1991

** We would also like to apologise to all readers under the age of 33 who won't get this joke at all.

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. Regrets? I have had a few. But, then again, too few to mention. I do, what I have to do. I get this magazine out, although sometimes there are exceptions. I write, each tortured word, I drag it out from deep inside me. But you, you fucking arse, you just deride me. This magazine has been know to contain words that your grandmother would not only not approve of, she also wouldn't understand them, and in the case of our over usage of gay vernacular (see rimming, felching and catlicking-cream-spittle) she wouldn't believe you explained them to her. Our advice is not to show them to her, but if you do it's your own fucking fault.

Comedy Forum

Thursday 3rd

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


tTOJU has been dubbed a 'Hip hop impressionist' because of his skilful blending of stand up & impressions drawn from rap & music culture. Kicking off his stand up career as a teenager, Toju made a blistering start, debuting on television inside a year, on BBC 2 's groundbreaking multi cultural sketch comedy, The Real McCoy.
Peckham's finest has since racked up an impressive list of TV credits since this debut, including BBC 1's The Stand Up Show.
A series of searing performances in front of Hackney Empire's notorious Phat Friday audiences led to a regular spot Get Up, Stand Up (Channel 4), where his weekly guest stand up spot stole the show from the show's core of sketches. Toju's uncompromising stand up has also led to TV outings on BBC 2's The A Force (BBC 2) and Channel 4's Nights at the Empire (Ch 4).
What the Guardian said about Toju
"That legendary letter writer, Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells, should have lots to write about this week, when Toju comes to town. Toju is one of the most invigorating young stand-ups to emerge from the new generation of black British comedy, and his uncompromising attitude is a welcome break from the safe conformism of most comics on the circuit. Toju's targets include the empty commercialism of modern pop music, but many of his reference points are actually quite mainstream -gangster films, martial arts movies, even 1970's TV stalwarts like The Incredible Hulk. "If the Hulk was black he'd be changing every five, minutes, because brothers get frustrated quick. "The breadth of Toju's material reflects his own broad influences, from cutting-edge US comics like Bill Hicks and Denis Leary to classic UK sitcoms like Rising Damp. His Nigerian heritage sets him apart from most black British comics, but he's also quite unlike any of the other Anglo-African comics I've seen. Toju is his own man and he's got his own agenda, but although his act is often angry it's also gloriously inclusive. William Cook
The catalyst for becoming a stand-up was, for ADAM HOWE, most definitely, the fact he met a man who had played an ewok. He didn't believe the man had been an ewok, although he couldn't dispute he had ewokian stature. The man was about three foot eight (about because he never told Adam his exact height, and Adam had the decency not to measure him).
Winning the KING GONG award in September 2002 was a triumph for our Adam, prompting top wit Jon Fothergil to quip - "Last months Gong Show must have been crap! "

Tehillah Commission
Friday 4th

You know sometimes that we fill up these articles with thinly veiled gibes about the band's impending stardom and how you are all a bit thick if you don't go and see them? Well, this month I have decided to give you the morning off for good behaviour and to let the reviews do the talking for me. Good Times Roll say: "Her name is Chantal, and she is a fucking queen. She controlled the stage and commanded the crowd. Their gussied up rock sound makes you want to dance like a kid who just heard the Pixies are reforming." The Face says: "At a recent gig at Piano's that coincided with her 22nd birthday, lead singer Chantal broke down in front of the stunned audience screaming at her friends in attendance 'you only bought me a TV because my mom died'. Minutes later she was simulating sex with a naked Japanese girl and had the usually staid hipster crowd dancing up a sweat and hanging on her every word. This is the new shit and you'd better listen." New York Magazine said: "The hottest band changing the New York Soundscape" The Knitting Factory said: ""... I have seen the future of Rock and Roll and it is Chantal, Timo, Pedro and Japa", and the Beastie Boys said: "Morningwood got game". Currently THE hottest fucking new band in the whole of the United States, you are either going to this gig or you are some sort of halfwit moron. Which is it to be?
Also appearing are Stable 'turns' TEHILLAH COMMISSION, and Jimmy Krankie aside, possibly the shortest/youngest band to grace the shithole's stage, OFFLIMIT. Small in stature, towering giants of talent

Towers Of London
Saturday 5th

Towers Of London start the year very much as the band to watch in 2005. Since last year's appearance at In The City where they were the talking point of the conference, the band's notoriety has progressively increased with every inflammatory and unapologetic live show. Their brilliant debut single 'On A Noose' ('the most punk three minutes we've heard in ages' - The Fly) is now on heavy rotation on Steve Lamacq, Zane Lowe and John Kennedy. Having already been tipped by Kerrang!, Classic Rock and Rocksound and with NME rightfully hailing them 'London's most controversial new band', 2005 could very well be theirs for the taking(isn't that Vim Fuego from BAD NEWS far left in the photo! - Comic Strip Ed)
Remarkably, for a band yet to release their debut single, it appears that everyone already has an opinion on Towers Of London. Predictably a band as provocative as Towers Of London have as many haters as they have fans, which is just they way they like it. It's the job of every great rock and roll band to upset people. As playlouder put it 'The fact that they get all those, "They can't play, what do they think they're wearing?" mum and dad comments means you know they are great already'. The band's debut single 'On A Noose' will be released on February 14th through TVT Records, it is the perfect introduction to the band and a defiant calling card, three minutes of rousing, feral, rock n' roll attitude.

Gravel Trap
Sonic Boom Six
Friday 11th

Milton Keynes - (so much to answer for) best known for its concrete roundabouts and…cows. The town is home to many great bands such as Capdown, Odd Man Out, and Phema - and Graveltrap are no exception to the trend. They play neat Pop Punk with a distinct English sound and play it a lot better than most of their American counterparts. This four piece only have an average age of 19 yet already have a large fan base and it doesn't take a genius to see why. Graveltrap are an extremely talented young band that play infectious pop punk that gets stuck in your head - getting you singing along and jumping around manically. Bumping up the phwoar factor will be SONIC BOOM SIX. It is fiendishly difficult to convey their sound through words. 'Miss Dynamite fronting Capdown' has been one of the closest attempts to nail it, 'Notting Hill Carnival on a punk CD' is another; the truth is that SB6 are a group in the tradition of UK punk bands such as The Specials, The Clash and King Prawn that push the musical envelope by mixing the contemporary underground sounds of the UK with a rocking live show. Sonic Boom Six's genre-terrorism attacks the urban sounds of ragga, hip-hop, bhangra and jungle, adds a blast of dub and reggae and detonates with a heavy helping of hardcore punk rock.

Thee Unstrung
Soul Shakedown
Friday 18th

Like a bit of rough do you? Whilst the New Rock Revolution (copyright The Libertines) (oo look, he's even got a hat just like Pete's - Ed) lurches on its merry way to the hospital rehab department we are already entering that era where the first wave of bands that got their wake up call thirty seconds into Up The Bracket knock at our doors. Happily, I am gleefully able to report that Thee Unstrung are not so much a Johnny come lately to the new Albion party, as gatecrashers to an entirely separate party being held next door. On the stereo you will find The Small Faces, The Beatles, The Jam and, rather importantly, Iggy and the Stooges. Last single "Contrary Mary" releasedon Alan McGe's Poptones label, hits all the right spots without falling into pastiche, so it's just a question of when not if before pop stardom and a serious sherbert dip habit come calling. Thee Unstrung, like any superheros-of-the-moment, know that the pop universe is a con and they are there for anybody who has felt cheated by the shit of irony-filled-heavy-metal-yodels to covering-puppets-of-English-white-soul. They want something radical. They want music to say something about their life. They want you to give them ten minutes of your otherwise dull weekend.
Also appearing are SOUL SHAKE DOWN, and to quote their own website: Soul Shakedown consists of two beings.... Joe McElroy and James Burt, both playing guitar and James singing, we have no drummer as of yet, a few temporary options, but nothing definate, we are always on the lookout for people to play with....
....we play a mixture of styles, difficult to pinpoint i guess.... kinda reggae/funky/random stuff with added greatness. Yup, that's about us".

Lola Ray . Junior
Saturday 19th

The A.K.A.s: Also Known As a playful fistfight in your stereo. Their debut album "White Doves and Smoking Guns," is as potent a Molotov cocktail against the musical and social status quo as its imagery would suggest: lilting, silky smooth harmonies collide with the jagged edge of the most abrasive sounds of the last four decades. Think Refused, think "Appetite for Destruction," think the MC5 - hell, think "Black Steel In the Hour of Chaos". What The A.K.A.s create smolders with the intensity of a group who've figured out what's wrong with the world, but will not to let it get them down. The sound of poets, artists, musicians, creative thinkers and sometime criminals who refuse to either sit on life's sidelines or give in to petty posturing - because they know that's just BORING. The A.K.A.s want to have a good time while introducing some desperately needed content into the current meaning-bankrupt music scene. There's no separation of the musical, the whimsical, the deadly serious, the tragically romantic, the tragically hip and the bitingly, satirically political: and why should there be? After all, that's life.
Break out the plugs ‘cause you’re ears are going to be ringing for days with these guys. We’re talking the gyrating, head bobbin’, fishnet wearin’, Generation X post-punk flair that we all know and love (well, most of us anyway). They’ve kicked the B52’s off the stage, but kept around a few of their vocal moves and simplistic but irresistible keyboard beats, throwing in some fists and charging riffs to modernize and supersize their sound.

Sunday 27th

Muzikansky and the Forum are all set to run the next unscreen night where we show short films from any genre, from all over the world. The films are carefully selected by our discerning panel.
So far the most popular have included films made by local filmmakers who are currently studying at Bournemouth.Muzikansky's latest video, created by Tunbridge Wells based young people, was recently shortlised for an award in Greece. We will be running a film festival in July.

Do you have a short film that needs to be seen on a big screen? Your short will go to an audience vote for a chance to go through to the grand final at the unscreen film festival in July.
email admin@mzky.co.uk for a submission form.

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 the final three shows of ROUND ONE.
After this, the top 18 bands of THE FANS' CHOICE will go on to ROUND TWO; whilst the recordings of all bands in ROUND ONE will be judged by THE MAN'S CHOICE panel, and the top 18 voted by the aforementioned panel will go on to ROUND TWO as well.
As such, we have three Stable shows this month, followed by a fortnights break as the next round is scheduled:
Meadow Road are a four piece rock band, based in Gravesend, Kent. The band comprises of 15 and 16 years old students, who met at school and formed the band in 2001. Just get these quotes from happy venue promoters! - "The band have played regularly in pubs in and around Gravesend for two years, gaining vital experience. This is a band you all just have to hear. I'm not going to compare them to anyone - because they are unique. Something new & wonderful is developing here. I feel honoured to be even slightly involved in helping them on their way". Les Fleur de Lys, Burham, Kent
RAIN EATER consist of Chris Drew....and that's it. Those of you with a long memory will shudder to recall that Chris used to be in PILCH TAYLOR. However, after checking out of the Betty Ford Clinic, Chris saw the error of his ways, decided he was bored with the 'concept' of being in a band and became Rain Eater. As a live proposition, Rain Eater is Chris playing guitar and singing with Rosie Blake doing backing vocals and tambourine. Just like Billy Preston was the fifth Beatle, Rosie is the second Rain Eater, only she's not gay, or black, and certainly does not play Hammond organ on Ray Charles' latest single. But then you can't have everything, can you?

24 Hour Notice are a gang of punk spunky upstarts from Bexhill, who've been wowing 'Gods Waiting Room' with their pop-punk outpourings. Offlimit have played the Forum before; amazing audiences with their songs, their musicianship..and their lack of height. Indeed, for tonight's show a trench has been excavated in the mosh pit to bring the audience to an even keel.

Yes, 4 bands this night to bring a nice action packed fitting finale to the last show of Round 1. Rumours that Oi! band MADE IN BRITAIN have been spotted hobnobbing with sartorially confused young royals at fancy dress parties are quite frankly made up, and could quiterightly be considered libellous, and indeed, a slur .....on the 2nd in line to the throne!
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: Soul Shakedown . This Way Up. Dysuria - 10 Jan '04

Nights like this really reveal just how spoilt certain bands are, in that they don't appreciate how fortunate they are not just to have the Forum, but The Stable. There was nothing, NOTHING like it a generation ago and there still isn't in most places. For a start, you don't pay to play. Second, you get a decent stage and sound system, plus an engineer who gives a shit. Third, you can play to other Stable bands' audiences and make new friends. Fourth, you get to play with established touring bands. Fifth, your music is recorded and industry professionals hear the results, voting on the best. Count the junk mail in your family's post each day for a week. That's how many CD's from unknown bands the average A&R man gets on his desk every single day, and it's treated similarly in that most are binned unopened. As a Stable band you already have his attention; all you have to do is not waste it. Sixth, TWO chances to win studio time and enough CD's of the results to consider it a release. Seventh, and perhaps best of all, is that as a Stable band member, you get into other Stable gigs free. A whole evening of sociable entertainment every Monday for nowt and you only need to turn up. And, by supporting other Stable bands, it encourages the others to come along when it's your turn. It didn't do Vivid Release any harm this season did it? If every musician in the Stable returned the faith the Forum showed in them by making the effort just once a month, that's a weekly crowd of around 70 before you've even considered the paying punters. But who'll be the first to whinge when it isn't there any more? In short, use it or lose it, you spoilt complacent little shits.
There's really no excuse for not bringing anyone to your Stable show, especially considering what's at stake. For most bands it's a primary agenda. So your friends would have to travel, well so fucking what? That's what friends do isn't it? It's not as if you're given no time to prepare. Which of course is why when bands make the effort to bring people along (and a note on the messageboard isn't enough - trust me) like tonight, it's not just a great atmos, it's a glorious celebration of solidarity, showing what we're capable of and how much support there really is for the remarkable scene we're so privileged to have.
Soul Shakedown understand this and luckily, they've got a head start on the popularity front already, partly due to the borrowed rhythm section of Seven Story Down. Seven Story Soul Shakedown? Perhaps. Less Incubusy than 7SD, SS have a different agenda, which is to be expected when Ollie is relegated from centre stage, doing what somebody else wants for once. Their funky noise oozes oily summery fun, like RHCP's more leftfield moments with crusty flakes of Mothers Finest flung into the mix, but it's looser, laid back and curiously playful. Given the current endless waves of post emocore (or whatever they call it), SS are a refreshing pot-scented breeze from another direction and everyone's welcome to breathe it in.
For all their pomposity, Soul Shakedown are shockingly unrehearsed. Testing a standard indie-rock direction, they're all over the place and what was probably intended as freestyle flair becomes a sloppy tasteless mush. Ollie, bless his funky fingers, is a remarkably talented bassist and mainman James (he of the acoustic Halfstellar project) is a fine frontman/guitarist, with a rich emotive twang in his pipes, but the whole shebang seems hurried and lacks preparation. If this project had careful investment of time and energy, SS could be THE unexpected delight of this year's contest, but perhaps ambition has exceeded ability at this stage. The oddball jazzy groove of "Classic British Summertime" for example, finishes before it gets properly started and that's a recurring fault with this band. They quickly find the vibe, but then aren't sure what to do with it, leaving their songs with weak anticlimactic endings, so their whole presentation suffers unnecessarily. Half the band might be temps, but it won't serve as an excuse as the second round arises, so they need to sort it fast. Lets hope they do.
It's difficult to picture any other Stable band looking duller yet sounding more magnificent than This Way Up do in their first 10 minutes. They're a constantly contrasting paradox that manages to be shite one minute and staggeringly good rock'n' roll the next, without the slightest idea as to what separates the two. But perhaps that's intentional. Is clueless is the new cool? Maybe.

Despite being geeky teens with an awful name, TWU begin like a cokehead Q-hack's wet dream. Think The Music. The Killers. Manics. Muse. Think deliciously bitter and edgy raw indie rock with twisty-turny riffs and a general resonance that's as British as a bulldog's scrotum. Yes, it's all been done before and bands like this are 10 a penny, but if on your first hearing of tunes like the instantly huge "Bring It On Down", you don't feel suitably inspired to join in loudly and shake your arms about, you're either a snob or don't have arms. TWU are rough musically and have many straggly ends needing a trim, but they play like their songs are anthems of blazing sexually-charged spirit; sweaty, cock-throbbing fuck music that gets better and better as the minutes tick by.
But then, inexplicably, the pose is dropped in favour of crap humour and a bunch of naive teens is revealed, leaving us feeling somehow cheated and wondering whether we momentarily fell for bullshit. A vaguely funky self-parodying rap ensues, complete with dodgy spotty dancers from the audience, and another venture into Killers territory with newbie "Silence", but TWU then spend the rest of their set going back and forth between immature dirge and occasional flashes of brilliance such as the Boxer Rebellion-ish "Do You Know What I Mean?" and it becomes bloody hard to cope with.
This Way Up have got a wonderfully raspy-voiced frontman/guitarist in James Davis, half a set of seriously good Killers-inspired tunes and potential rushing around their veins. However, they've also got difficulties in knowing what not to do, but maybe in a few months time they'll be pretty much Killer-diller. We can live in hope.
Dysuria, for those without Biology degrees, means 'painful or difficult urination'. You'd think that a band who have changed so much might have put some thought into a more flattering moniker to complete the transition, but that's the danger when you choose your name from a dictionary at random. Look at Glaucoma.
So, what have Dysuria reinvented themselves as this week? Despite the excellence of their acoustic incarnation last year, they want to be heavier. Much heavier. By crikey, it'd be metal if it wasn't such a limiting term but you can't define or conveniently pigeonhole their noise that easily, so comparisons seem futile for something this satisfying. It's grinning, rollicking, power rock that smears black worm-riddled faeces on the floor, pukes on it's shoes and encourages you to clean the mess up with your tongue. It can't be good for you. Fun stuff never is.
It's been suggested that in their desperation to prove themselves, Dysuria are all initial impact without much muscle to back it up, and to an extent, that's true. Tom's wailing voice still has an adolescent weakness and the insincere balladry of 'Starstruck' later in the set is a temporary blip of oddness that begs deletion. They also seem to trip over the flailing extremities of their tunes in their desire to keep everything together, as if they want to explore more possibilities than they need to, but whatever their shortcomings, Dysuria make up for it tenfold in sheer naked power and invigoratingly sharp songwriting. The likes of "Soundbites" and "Driven Under" slip back into a more garage rock familiarity, but they're slippery writhing beasts, and this band are only just beginning to learn how to keep them under control.
Dysuria haven't even begun to realise their full potential yet and that's one of the things that makes their walkover-win tonight not just significant, but enormously rewarding. Good things come to those who wait and we've waited long enough.

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
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The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the office enquiry line on 01892 545792

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Special thanks this month must go to Banned Promotions Forum Fundraiser night charity night
We here at Forum Towers would like to thank all involved for this generous, selfless act, and the much appreciated donation



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