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BLAM June 2004

A word in your ear...


A very serious intro this month, but please read it because it is important and explains what is going on at your local venue. Unfortunately, the growing culture of personal injury claims for the most ridiculous and stupid of accidents has finally come home to roost at The Forum in the shape of a massive increase in our Public Liability Insurance premium. So what, I hear you say? So what is that the huge cost of this insurance cover, which we must legally have, is now so bad that we are forced to impose a door tax specifically to raise the money to pay for it. As most of you will be aware, The Forum doesn’t run to make a profit, we run to stay open and to keep good bands coming here. One of the things that we don’t make money on is the door entry fee. The reason is that most bands have a contract which means that they get 80% of any door profit there might be after their guaranteed fee has been paid and after the running costs of the venue have been covered. Most nights we don’t actually get to that point, but even if we do the band takes 80%, so we are left with literally peanuts. Anything we do make ends up going into another show that didn’t cover the costs. The reason for reminding you of this is that we can’t simply put the door price up to try and cover the additional insurance costs –if we did the bands would just get paid 80% of that money. The annual insurance premium this year was originally set to hit £14,000. I am going to say that again because some of you are probably so staggered by it that you missed it the first time. That’s £14,000! Now we are very lucky at The Forum that we have some really great customers who give a shit about the venue and actually care that we could stay open. Luckily one of them, who I am choosing to allow to remain nameless (insurance not being the most glamorous profession for a rock and roll fan), is an insurance broker and stepped in to try and help us out. After a great deal of effort he has managed to secure us a policy for £8,000. This is still a staggering figure, but it’s the best anyone can do. We are now faced with two choices – either 40p needs to go on every drink or 50p needs to go on every ticket. Many of the people who attend the Forum are under age and cannot buy alcoholic drinks. We believe that it would be unreasonable to charge those of you who do extra for the privelige of securing us against being sued by somebody who doesn’t (read it again, it does make sense). So, with quite a heavy heart, we are forced to announce an immediate Public Liability Insurance Tax on every ticket bought at The Forum of 50p. We are specifically isolating this from the ordinary price of your ticket because that way the money goes straight to paying the insurance premium and not to the bands or anything else. We have also decided to run a regular total of the amount of money that has been paid by this tax and to keep you informed of how much we have raised. When we hit a target of £8,000 we will drop the tax until next year’s renewal becomes due. We will also be inviting anybody that can see the ludicrous position that the cost of this insurance places us in to drop change they have left over into a bucket at the end of the night again to raise money as quickly as possible to get rid of this tax. Part of the reason for isolating out this cost is to remind you the customers that when you are approached by somebody in the street asking if you have ever had an accident, and inviting you to launch a no win no fee case against all and sundry because you went to a gig and had a good time but hurt your leg whilst moshing, that you might want to think about telling them to fuck off. People like them are actually charging everybody in the whole fucking country a fortune in increased costs to settle these idiotic claims. We don’t have that kind of money, and now we are forced to pass it on as a cost to you. Sorry, but that’s the only choice we have. - 2M

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 and are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. We would like to apologise for the increase in the door price caused by the above announcement to those of you that aren’t cretins from Medway who think that nobody will be harmed if you just get a little money out of The Forum for cavorting a bit too energetically at a metal show. We did consider labelling this tax a “Twat from Medway with the brains of a mollusc” Tax, but our solicitors say that we can’t do that whilst the courts are still deciding just how much of a moron somebody is. For more information, please ask a staff member, or wait for the T-shirt!.

Comedy Forum
Thursday 3rd

Making a more than welcome return to the comedy hinterland that is Tunbridge Wells. COMEDY FORUM will now be on the first Thursday of every month.
Comedy Forum, Tunbridge Wells' original and best value for money comedy night presents four more top names from the international stand-up comedy circuit. 'Semi-Finalist 'So You Think You're Funny?'C4/Guided Balloon 2002
A star in the making' - Metro Magazine 2002, CHRISTIAN REILLY, at the age of 15, joined a band to get laid. The Boys' Brigade had different ideas…
As former integral part of the Perrier award-winning show Otis Lee Crenshaw and the Black Liars, with comic/songster Rich Hall, Christian's career has taken him around the world three times. On his way, he received accolades at international festivals and numerous network TV credits in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Britain.
Now a solo stand-up performer and playing all the major comedy venues in his own right, Christian uses his dynamic guitar and vocal skills to target histrionic rock bands, musical theatre and morose indie musicians. Best known for his cheeky children's TV presenter face, DAN THOMAS has squeaky clean looks with the mind of an unwashed loo. One of the most talked about new comics in London, this rising star presents audiences with material that is sometimes sweet, sometimes shocking but always sharply observed. Dan made the semi finals of Channel 4's 'So You Think You're Funny?' competition in August 2001 after only his eighth gig. Since then, he has developed into a popular act and MC in comedy clubs around the UK, just as happy riffing with audiences as working from material. Your host tonight will be RUFUS HOUND.

The Fight
3dB down
Friday 11th

Dudley based THE FIGHT was discovered through a completely chance meeting with New Found Glory frontman Chad Gilbert, who passed the band's demo along to punk rock tycoon Fat Mike of NOFX and Fat Wreck Chords fame. 'Home Is Where The Hate Is' is the seven-song resulting debut.
Instead of being completely pop-punk-based, The Fight offer up pogo-punk and '77 style spunk in their juicy pop-punk offerings, equating to a bounce-off-the-wall, energetic, and at times aggressive sound that you can still sing along with, toying with slight hints of top-40 sensibility while still maintaining a street-punk vibe strong enough to out-wrestle street veterans Rancid, with whom THE FIGHT have been touring the States since January.

Rachel Stamp
Saturday 12th

Once upon a time there was a young singer who found himself transfixed by a dream of pure stardom and sonic accolades. His name was David Ryder-Whiteswan, soon to become a self proclaimed amalgam of Cyndi Lauper and Gene Simmons! At this moment the small village of Dinas Powys in southern Wales where he was currently situated was only famous for the factory that manufactures the knitted ladies that cover toilet rolls, you know, the sort your Nan gives your Mum for Christmas. Dark deeds, tear-stained, sweat-stained nights lay ahead, but our David realised that the answer lay in the tawdry streets of fog strewn olde London Town......That's enough of that old press release arse!
Listen, you know the score with the Stamp, dripping in mascara, pvc, ripped fishnets, songs of unholy yearning, sleazy glamour and chipped black nail varnish. Now without skinbeater, Robin Guy, the Stamp are still firing on all cylinders, and, veins coursing with industrial strength Fishermans Friends are ready to take on Europe, following their sojourn Stateside, where they've been touring with 'All the Pretty Horses' . With keyboardist, Shaheena laying down the sexiest synth lines known to Man, and guitarist Will Crewdson ("Keith Richards crossed with Spiderman"), the Stamp are a the best sonic sex you can have with.....................no clothes on!
Barely 9 months old, Ariel-X is the new band from Ben John, former mastermind behind glampop obscurities Remote Control. With their Glam-Prog, mixing freaky guitar effects, strange time signatures with a glitter-strewn punkerama, this is indeed one interesting act Bringing us seamlessly onto 9-VOLT, a band that the ol' shit-house has taken to it's collective bosom. Due mainly to the fact that not only are they a good band, but a nice bunch of geezers wot like a laff!

All this Time

Led by one of the best melodic hardcore vocalists in the UK, Oxford's DIVE DIVE match their bistering live performances on their debut double A-side; Good Show goes off like a nail bomb: staccato drum rolls and guitars flying in all directions. Similarly, Swedish Song pounds a hole in the earth whilst asking, "why has man made a monkey out of me?" They also play that rare thing: an instrumental of such punk savagery and melody that Minor Threat would be proud. Its nice to be reminded of the importance of the music sometimes, not just the singer or the song. Intimacy doesn't appear analogous with great bands, those that set new standards and reshape the world they have grown into. We imagine them epic and bigger than life, not in dingy boozers where the barrier that separates them from the rest of us has yet to be created. So next time a new band play a dingy boozer near you, do yourselves a favour and hear them before they are epic and those barriers exist. - The Independent (14.07.03)
All this is brought to you courtesy of James at Xposure Records, who'll be starting a regular series of new(ish) talent exposures at our dear ol' shit hole.

Uncle Brian
Phinius Gage
At the Deli
Friday 18th

Uncle Brian, or 'the Brian', as they refer to themselves, are Dan, Ben, Steve and John. Playing a high energy blend of ska influenced punk, they've been touring the country with various British acts and last year with Bowling for Soup. For some reason the boys thought we might all like to know what their stage names might be if they were ever to star in a certain type of film, normally watched by men. Ben, for example, would be Buffy Tinkler, while Steve would be Magic Osborn. These young guns from Salisbury whose catchy Punk mixed with more than a tinge of Ska was recently described as "....a cross between the Pop-Punk of Blink 182 and the Ska-Punk of Less Than Jake". Luxuriate in song subjects that range from girls "Better Off Gay" and "Kelly", nuisance mates "Hammer" and generally having a good time! A pleasant move away from Brit Indie bands who all sound so fucking miserable!
PHINIUS GAGE is a punk band from Brighton playing 100mph, melodic skate punk. Consisting of: Ade Holder - vocals and guitar, Andy Pie - guitar, Mike Scott - bass, Matt Steele - drums.
Named after Phineas Gage, a railway worker who was supposedly the first frontal lobotomy (Fuck me, it must be Connex fucking company policy now - Ed) in the 19th century. An explosion blew some metal rod into his head, the operation to remove it removed some of his brain which changed his personality, causing him to become foul-mouthed and abusive. ("That concludes the case for the prosecution against Network Southeast M'lud, no further questions" - righteous Ed)
Formed in late 2000, and slurred as Brighton's answer to Pennywise, PHINIUS GAGE (name changed slightly for legal reasons (?) signed to UK punk label DECK CHEESE RECORDS in late 2002.Constant touring and supports with bands including, NOT KATIES, FARSE, 4FT FINGERS and THE VOODOO GLOW SKULLS reached almost 150 shows in 2003; this plus an appearance at the world-famous Holidays In The Sun Festival has cemented PHINIUS GAGE in the Premier league of UK punk.
"Hard edged skate-punk… these guys can play!" Kerrang
"Flying the flag for UK skate-punk" 4/5 www.punktastic.com
"..bollocks, cocksucking Queen Victoria arse-wipes.." - the original Phineus Gage
"This is punk the way it should be played" 4/5 Big Cheese magazine
Completing the line-up tonight are those purveyors of fine cheeses and things that generally smell a bit and crawl off the plate in warm weather, local oiks AT THE DELI

Saturday 19th

Are you ready for a new exciting musical experience? If so, check out the music of 4th Wall, a Five-piece original English group.
4th Wall's music is an eclectic mix that is hard to pigeonhole because its sources and influences are diverse and imaginative.
They have already captivated audiences across Europe in such discerning centres as Bordeaux, La Rochelle and Biarritz in France and Barcelona and Madrid in Spain - testament to their universal appeal.
In the past, band members have played a prodigious number of gigs, have won various awards in 'new band' categories and have performed at jazz venues, classical concerts and on Channel 4.
4th Wall is tremendously versatile and each band member plays a whole range of instruments; thus, their potential is enormous and their flow of creative talent endless.
4th Wall, led by Paul Cheese are (from left to right): Mr Wright - Guitar, Tim Nott - decks and samples, Cheese - vocals and guitar, Dave - Bass, And Dave Hazlewood - Drums.
Making a more than welcome return from the wilderness are FRAY, now with new vocalist since the last one opted to pull pints rather than stage moves and 'the ladies'!
Good to see you back fellahs!

Carpe Diem
Hope Lies Failing
Wednesday 23rd

Formed in 2000, and releasing their first album, 'A New Journey' in 2002 TORTILLA ARMY are a 'rock' band in the old fashioned sense of the word. Recently becoming a three piece due to their percussionist departing to become a traffic warden, the band now consists of: Jim Noble on Vocals/Guitar, Sy Morton on Vocals & Bass, and Mik Gaffney (any relation to ex-Eastender 'Pizza Face' Dean Gaffney?) on drums. This summer looks set to be a busy one for the TA with tours alongside Swede rockers FREAK KITCHEN, and opening slots for US bands FIZZGIG and Virgin act MOTH (what? our Boy Lawrence - a virgin..and American? - Ed) , with nearly 70 gigs a year, this must make them the 112th hardest working band in.............Lowestoft!

Metal Mayhem Fest
SIX BANDS - doors open 5:00pm
Saturday 26th

One of the main problems thrown up by the proliferation of noteworthy British bands over the last couple of years is that the vast majority of newcomers seem to suffer from a dearth of ambition. While it might be an enjoyable way to spend your time lurking in the shadow of your own favourites rarely results in music that will drag people along for the ride. If you look, sound and act like a wannabe, discerning rock fans will see through you eventually and, regardless of whether your songs are any good or not, you will never shed the mantle of plucky also-rans. In the end, confounding expectations is the name of the game and BEECHER are the latest band to master this tricky art.
There is a vast gulf between the atonal, dissonant brutality of Converge and the classy, fat-free rock innocence of Hundred Reasons, but somewhere in the middle this Mancunian mob are whipping up a sublime storm of consistently brave and interesting noise, splicing metalcore with melody . Veering from the sharpest, jagged, whipcrack riffs and spiralling, percussive rhythms, all topped with vocalist Ed Godby's throat-rending screech, to shrewdly controlled spurts of melody and structural simplicity, offering a new, lethal strain of noisecore that doesn't tie itself up in knots in a bid to dazzle us with convoluted complexity. BEECHER are that rare beast: a shit-hot new British band trying something genuinely new and pulling it off with verve and guile.

If you're searching for metal to take you on an epic journey of modern soundscapes, then Kent metallers CUBIC SPACE DIVISION are yer men! Exploring the depths of light and darkness, sometimes claustrophobic, sometimes uplifting, the Cubes are a journey into the realms of atmospheric metal. (phew, that damn near wore me out - pseud alert Ed)

Formed from the dying embers of Cipher; "shitty nu-metal band" according to guitarist Dan Lucas, for those of you who haven't heard JAIRUS it is hard to explain the band to you in words. Sonically the band clearly take influences from similar acts such as Hopesfall, Poison The Well and At the Drive-In. But Dan also talks of a much deeper musical influence and inspiration the band take from unexpected artists such as The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, The Ozric Tentacles, Interpol and Radiohead. They produce an exceedingly tight sound of madness, with a chaotic conflict of noisecore, a barrage that hammers you into the ground and leaves you not knowing what the hell is going on in a very Dillinger-esque way. They then throw a massive low-slung, thick and fuzzy, almost Sabbathy riff in your face, which blows you away. Fucking excellent, it's as heavy as fuck. However Jairus really are a band you have to see for yourself to appreciate.

HEY COLOSSUS! is a monster. 3 guitars, LOUD. 1 bass, LOUD. 1 Keyboard, WHITE NOISE. 1 Drumkit, LOUD. 3 voices, LOUD. They love the Kraut Rock of Can and Neu! They dig the metal of AC/DC and Black Sabbath. They drive trains through the night to the sounds of Black Flag, Unsane, Isis, and High On Fire. They make the musical equivalent of having your head filled with cement, but....and here's the rub.....YOU'LL BE SMILING WHEN IT HAPPENS.

Sunday 27th

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.

Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan
The Izzys
The Impeccables
21st May

I could scream with frustration. Won't anyone let themselves go tonight? Being an idle old git who's idea of expending energy is getting up in the morning, I've an excuse for not going mental in the moshpit, but there's something disturbing about watching a gig and seeing virtually nobody making an effort to even move appreciatively, let alone dance. This might not be a sweaty punk show, and tonight's turnout is less than impressive (albeit respectable), but you get out of a gig what you put into it. Bands like The Izzys and The Impeccables create music that makes you want to dumb down and just move, so why the hell is everyone so bloody subdued?
Since their debut gig as The Everlasting First revealed a bunch of local lads with a cute fascination for West Coast psychedelic garage pop, it's been difficult to know what to make of 1906 as they've seemed so unsure of themselves and confused as to the type of band they actually are. In addition, they've been rather ambitiously promoted while still trying to work it out, so recently, while playing different supports, we've seen them struggle quite desperately to decide which direction to go in when they should perhaps have been concentrating on their material, because it's all been half-cocked. Now though, with a decent self-financed CD under their belts and a fair bit of effort, it seems that they've finally created something tangible and solid, which frankly comes as something of a relief.
Maintaining a mid-paced but provocative mood throughout, their twisty psychedelic garage rock is very different from the floaty Love/Byrds-ish niceness that they've thankfully left behind. It's still recognisable as druggy 60's pre-punk in a Count Five/Electric Prunes/Blue Cheer/MC5 vein, but it's finding it's mark inside the realms of Coral-esque indie guitar-pop, with a Strokes-ish bite, but liberally spattered with historic stains from The Fealeys, early Joy Division, even The Jesus & Mary Chain, bringing it all together in a flurry of alternative rock vibes and angst. It makes their music bold and alive, despite the fact that they frequently come apart, so even though their tunes often sound like jams masquerading as songs, it adds to their ragged gangly quality. What they lack in tightness or polish, they make up for in enthusiastic urgency and a very obvious love for a genre that they're still young enough to unravel and explore, finding new and exciting things buried in the past, trying them on to see if they fit.
Vocally though, 1906 are exasperatingly limited. Guitarist Ed Pettitt tries, but can't really carry the melodies with any conviction or control and despite the huge amounts of effort and movement he puts into it, Mr Tambourine Man Charlie Woosey has similar hindrances, lacking in character and coming across as slightly ineffectual and weedy. That being said, they have got some very diggable tunes played with vigour and passion now that their imaginations have been reined in and aimed towards the same target and even their cover of "Tales Of Brave Ulysses" is handled with if not confident care, then certainly faithful respect. It has the unusual bonus of placing some healthy comparative references against their own material and as such, doesn't seem particularly out of place, so fair play to them for having the audacity to do it at least.
1906's method of getting noticed isn't really important. What's important is that they've finally got something that's worthy of all the attention that they've demanded we give them, and although there's still a long way to go, it's taking shape, so watch their progress closely over the next year and try not to let them annoy you too much. It'll be worth it.
But as annoying bands go, there aren't many bands on the local scene who aggravate and stimulate in equal measure quite as well as The Impeccables. They're one of those bands who can be so fucking good one night that you babble and dribble about them to all and sundry, but when you drag others along to see them next time, they're arse-clenchingly awful and something of an embarrassment. On a sparse night like tonight, it's difficult to tell which extreme they're going to swing to, and as they come in on big waves of out of tune, out of time, street punk noise, it could be either way for the McKenna brothers, but 'Blitzkrieg Bop' is tackled with the humour and rancid vigour that makes it a happy party-punk experience, so what the hell.
An Impeccables gig is nothing more than an excuse to let off steam and sputum, because they aren't terribly good musicians by any stretch of the imagination, but they know how to have fun, which is fast becoming a forgotten art. Their sharp and jagged metallic 3-piece garage punk, is moulded from the same gutter-slime as The Ramones or pre-Rollins Black Flag and given a Libertines makeover. There are no commercial aims with The Impeccables, no desires for dominance, pretensions of importance or even relevance, just a clichéd, timeless, ultimately disposable and strangely addictive bunch of tunes like "The Ghost Of Rock And Roll", designed to fuck up your dance controls and thrash you into a sweaty boozy mess. So let them.
Maybe it's due to this currently saturated trend for rehashing the trashy garage days of rock that The Izzys are receiving so much attention at the moment and being touted as the next big addition to the retro market along with The Strokes, Mooney Suzuki, et al. It is difficult to see past the bullshit and know what to make of The Izzys at first hand, because there's a real sense of that 'overdone, overrated and over here' feeling happening with them at the moment. Therefore, it's an enlightening, if uncomfortable experience to see them in a hesitant and awkward environment like tonight, rather than a heaving sweaty club, because it strips away the veneer of curious excitement and exposes the soft white underbelly of their limitations as performers. There's so little activity going on in the room this evening that the New York trio are not exactly subdued, but certainly feeling touchy and maladroit, as their frustration at the apathy seems impossible to mask.
That being said though, they still have no qualms about hitting us with a non-stop volley of catty caterwauling good-time rock and roll, because the songs at least are handled with aplomb, and the slightly muddy sound mix doesn't matter because their succulently sexy sleaze is all the better for it. It's hip-swinging, groin-thrusting tortured boogie, weaned on cheap whisky in whorehouses, liberally smothered with grease and there's not a single pose in sight, just 3 geeky blokes going back to how things used to be done during simpler, happier times.
The early 70's Stones comparisons are already becoming a tad laboured with The Izzys. Not that such similarities are unjust, because The Izzys' tunes are to varying degrees, pure Stones-ish dirty delights, but in the live context, when the impossibly tall Mike Storey lets loose with a wolverine hooch-gargling howl and their music surges into pounding guitar-torturing bluesy rock 'n' roll, it merely becomes a lazy point of reference. There are elements of The Faces, Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Free, The Stooges and Skynyrd, jostling for attention next to The Strokes, The Zutons, Kings Of Leon, and random radio blasts of alternative C&W Americana that you can imagine blaring from the dashboard while driving a truck across the desert. There's a raw, harmonious immediacy attaching to tunes like "Change Your Mind", digging it's spurs deeply into your boogie muscles, but when The Izzys mellow out country style, it makes you want to weep tears of joy. It's that good.
Though possibly going through whatever motions may be expected of them tonight (no encore, natch), which frustrates and annoys, they do try to get their audience involved and moving, even if it wealds disappointing results, and that's our fault, not theirs. There's enough juice in their jangly bits to prove their worth and although they might have come along at a convenient time to ride the bandwagon, (as a 21st century Stones would fit in almost too comfortably), The Izzys have more relevance and larger testicles than virtually any of those other pretenders. Watch them become impossibly trendy to be seen to like.
Paul Mills

Public Liability Insurance Twatometer

A month by month monitor, just watch that line soar up to £8000!

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

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