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BLAM March 2004

A word in your ear...

"Forum staff should be well hung!" claim.

Picture the scene, a busy Friday night at the Forum. On stage, local PG Tips sponsored pop combo Umman - Aaah, and their followers are gathered. Their leader, Reg, speaks:
"The Forum! They've bled us dry the bastards. They've taken everything we own. And not just from our band, but from our fathers band, and from our fathers, fathers band!"
[Cue fellow Umman - Aaah member, Stan]:
"And from our fathers, fathers, fathers band. And from our fathers, fathers, fathers, fathers band…" the leader interrupts: "Alright Stan (for it is he) don't labour the point!"
the leader continues, stating rhetorically:
"And what have they ever given us in return?"
From the back a lone voice speaks up:
"Somewhere to play?"
"What?" answers the leader, somewhat surprised. Continuing "Yeah, they did give us that. That's true."
A different voice pipes up: "A decent sound system to play through?" The 2nd in command interjects: "Yeah, the sound system, Reg. Remember what it used to be like playing through a tiny vocal PA in the back room of pubs"
Reg, increasingly annoyed, replies: "Alright, I'll grant you somewhere to play and a decent sound system are two things the Forums done for us!" "And a reasonably priced bar" says the sitar player, to which Reg replies: "Yeah, obviously the reasonably priced bar. The reasonably priced bar goes without saying don't it. Apart from somewhere to play, a decent PA, a reasonably priced bar"s Voices pipe up all around: "An opportunity to support and see big name touring bands!"…"Comedy forum"…."The Acoustic Lounge"…."Decent toilets"(okay this one is a lie)…."Hip-Hop"…."A great place to make lifelong friends"…."A chance to win recording time at the Granary studios"
Reg, barely able to control his temper, says: "Yeah, alright, fair enough. Apart from somewhere to play, a decent PA, a reasonably priced bar, an opportunity to see and support big name touring bands, comedy forum, the acoustic lounge, hip-hop, a great place to make lifelong friends, a chance to win recording time at the Granary studios. What has the Forum ever done for us?"
A lone voice at the back: "A chance for TW Borough Council to tick it's 'We do a lot for the yoof' boxes on their forms and so gain extra funding from the government which they then give to the Trinity Arts centre, so allowing everyone's favourite aunt (who most probably owns Sussex) to see stuff no one wants to see but at a slightly reduced rate"
"What" states Reg in a state of rage. "Shut up!"
Southern Soul

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, Ripemoff & Felch and are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. We would like to apologise most sincerely for apologising so much in last month's issue. Disciplinary action has been taken, and the offending member of staff has been well and truly promoted, and his salary increased by a whole 7 pence. We don't fuck about here, no sirree! On a more serious note, arseholes to the lot of yer!

The Wildhearts
Thursday 4th

Da Wildhearts Quite possibly the most rock n' roll rollercoaster d'you wanna go faster ride there ever was - and it hasn't even finished yet! Screaming in to the scene of '92 with "Mondo Akimbo A-Go-Go", Wildhearts main man Ginger started as he meant to go on by fucking shit up from the very beginning. In the first instance it was by recording a genre defying set ('Beatles meets Metallica' is the preferred description), second it was kicking up an almighty fuss over certain reviewers opinions of the records production. A re-release of the e.p. was sanctioned with extra tracks and a brand new shiny 'anti-dance mix' which rocketed critics reservations to pieces and placed the Wildhearts well on their way into rock n' rolls elite echelon. Straight back from supporting top Queen tribute act, THE DARKNESS European tour, Ginger and his geezers are playing a handful of warm-up dates, then flying back to join Justin's mob for their Stateside tour. Busy lads eh? Ginger has always maintained a revolving door policy with regards to band membership. Indeed, there are rumours of a bassist living in the Outer Hebrides who claims NEVER to have been in the band, but personally, I don't believe him, such is Ginger's chew 'em up and spit 'em out policy!
If you don't have a ticket for this show yet, please slap yourself hard on the forehead whilst repeating the mantra, "Why am I so stoopid?"

Jesse James jesse james
one track mind . kenisia
saturday 6th

Guaranteed to pack the place to the rafters everytime they play here, JESSE JAMES are a band, who due to one lazy journo, have been erroneously labelled ska punk. This is simply not the case. Think the rebel/rabble rousing of prime Joe Strummer, mixed with the big fat fuck-off sound of a finely honed brass section that would make head Dexy Kevin Rowlands stop wearing negligees. It's THAT good! Having undergone a slight line-up change of late, JESSE JAMES is cockernee rhyming slang for a riproaring, beer stained, tearstained night out . Playing punk with a supporting cast of horns that belie influences such as the Clash and Suicide Machines. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you The Punk Soul Brothers!

black top phoenix + tumnis
friday 12th


Consisting of: Jamie Price (lead vocals and guitars)
Alan Breeze (backing vocals and guitars), Dave Barclay (bass) and Joff Waring (drums), NUTONIC emerged from the small town of Llanddulas, North Wales in 1996, Having been on support tours with PUDDLE OF MUDD, VEX RED and THE COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS, the lads have certainly been causing a stir. Don't take my word for it:
Black Top Phoenix "…a glorious introductory slab of melody and muscle…
their sound is universal enough to affect kids from Brighton to Brooklyn…they're certainly a great prospect." - Kerrang
"…amalgamating many of the sounds that have been rocking the radio over the past few years into one neat package." - Metal Hammer
"…The Control Freaks is a mini-album release that holds bags of potential… contenders for ones to watch in 2004" - Rock Sound.
Also appearing tonight will be BLACK TOP PHOENIX (pictured right), but the last word definitely has to go to Jack Bennett of opening act, TUMNIS, "...I like to bitch my boogie to , pop punk, emo, and a bit of Ska punk. Bands that I Iike to bum to the max are: Blink 182, Offspring, inme, and the Darkness..."
Everything clear now?

Saturday 13th

X is Loaded Just when you thought that the genre 'hard-edged indie' seemed to have had it's ideas evapourated via the precocious likes of other omnipresent scene-jumpers, along come X IS LOADED to prove us all wrong.
Simply, a Bath outfit so dynamically enthralling, competent and assured in the live arena that they need to be seen to be believed.
But behind the implausibly well kept and faultless haircuts and razorlike cheekbones there lies a prowess and charm in the 'Loaded's delivery that seems far too accomplished for an act that first started gigging just over a year ago. This all could be due to the fact that this foursome's arrival marks the resurrection of members (eh? - sewer minded Ed) once under the guise of TENNER, another hotly reckoned set of upstarts whose career was cut short due to the typical complications and miscalculations of what we lovingly term, ego-centric, small-minded, Bolivian Whoofle Dustpowered industry, or if you will, the Music Biz. However, whereas the band's former incarnation was arguably touch & go with potential iconic status, X IS LOADED are definitely rock love gods apprentices.
Also appearing tonight will be BAD PICTURE, a fab four piece fronted by the luscious, pouting Anneka Bones. Speaking of luscious and pouting, Chris Hoad will also be gracing us with his presence when 9-VOLT premiere their new Westlife influenced concept album. (or not)

Friday 19th

Just take a moment to take a gander at the *ahem* photo on the left ..................................................... .........................it's not a pretty sight is it? Looking more like a Club 18-35 reunion party held in a Bradford Working Men's Club, featuring pre gender reassignment op whippet fanciers, GAY WIZARDS are the most fun you can have without taking your buttplugs out. Frontman Bruce is the MC of mirth, mayhem and Marlboro lights. Whilst Funky Dan's fingers on his four stringer fair gets the ladies 'hot under the collar'.
From the Gor Blimey to the sublime, CYRANO feature the cherubic voiced Joe on larynx and songwriting duties. Think of Coldplay with Stig of the Dump on lead guitar and you'll get the idea of what this band look and sound like. Bloody marvellous stuff! These guys are going places.......

Saturday 20th

Teen hardcorepunk band FIVE KNUCKLE formed in Bristol in 1998. Vocalist Dan and drummer Shaun cut their musical teeth even earlier in local punk band HEADCASE, producing two singles on Trash City Records which became single of the week in KERRANG! and MELODY MAKER when they were just 13!
They teamed up with bassist Jo Jo, and guitarists Edd and later with Saul producing a sound which is influenced by a wide range of punk and hardcore music including ANTI-FLAG, ENSIGN and VOODOO GLOW SKULLS.
AURA SUN Embracing the sinuous, spirited assault of Thursday with the powerhouse heaviosty of Hopesfall and the melodic suss of Open Hand, AURA SUN are a potent blast of post millennial metal.
With a serpentine sense of dynamic and an emotional charge so fierce that certain passages seem to simply crackle, Aura Sun are as complex and multi layered as they are intense. This is post hardcore seen by forward thinking visionaries. It's free of machostic bluster, trite angst and transparent rebellion that has so characterised the newest exponents of extreme music, instead focusing on power through passion.
Formed just two years ago the UK based five piece are startlingly evolved for their short life span and shot through with intricate ideas and integrity. Their debut ep titled 'The Last Days Of Summer EP' is out now on hip UK indie Lockjaw Records, and showcases both the depth of their talent and their commitment to their art. The band are currently writing in anticipation of their forthcoming debut full length album 'Making Plans To Split The Sky'. Due for release in the latter half of 2004, the record looks set prove that the band are able to rise above current trends, and surpass musical pigeon holes becoming so ingrained within heavy music.


Thursday 25th

Xposure Records are bringing together music lovers with some of the UK's finest unsigned bands! XR are all about 'access', introducing fans to bands on the rise - with a quality stamp of approval. Xposure gigs are renowned for their energy fuelled atmosphere, and the team, as an approachable source for live acts trying to get a rung up the ladder, boasting an unusually close relationship the bands the work with.
Their monthly slot at 'The Forum', Tunbridge Wells, is to be launched with a bang tonight, as they introduce one of the most explosive live acts in the country - KINGSKIN', winners of the prestigious title 'Best Unsigned Band 2004', as voted by readers of Kerrang! Magazine.
Hailing from Dover, Kingskin, featuring a right ol' Capt Bonkers TREV, on lead bass, began writing material influenced by the energetic stage performance of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the raw grungy sound of the early '90s Seattle scene. The product was 'Funge', a sound best described by lead guitarist Jak as 'The bastard love child of Nirvana and The Chilli Peppers being taken up the arse by Audioslave'. Watch your back Tom Morello!

The Keys
veldt + 1906
Friday 26th

Boasting florid country finger-pickers of an unparalleled prettiness and swooning harmonies worthy of a young Brian Wilson, The Keys are a trio from Cardiff, consisting of Matthew Evans (vocals/guitar) Gwion Rowlands (guitar) Sion Glyn (bass) . They've released three singles - 2002's 'Gurl Next Door' this year's 'Strength Of Strings' and 'Love Your Sons And Daughters' - and they're just about to release their debut album, 'The Keys'.
But finally, The Keys - a glorious new band rocking out of step with the times, the sound of potential finally realised. Prompted by the sound of Bob Dylan, Duane Eddy, Carl Perkins, the Everly Brothers, and Leadbelly, they're the sound of pre-Beatles rock'n'roll - the clean ring of a Gibson guitar, the spring reverb of a Fender amp. Yes, The Keys write music that sounds classic, that harks back to the past. "Maybe 'authentic' is a dirty word," Veldt shrugs Matt, "But tough! I've got to love the tunes." Fresh from touring with LOVE featuring Capt Bonkers himself, Arthur Lee, the lads are raring to go, and riding on the crest of a wave. Watch this space!
Straight outta Brighton come VELDT, featuring Tim from the Office lookylikey James on guitar and polyester, and Lloyd Wadey on vocals. To quote Moanin' Millsey, "... A man with a honeyed, silky, broken-hearted voice delivers honest and insightful lyrics, like Morrissey without the ego, and it’s all presented in a package of symphonic, melancholic, paranoid, self-indulgent grandeur. It’s a surreal experience and begs to be repeated over and over again, because no matter how much it wrenches when they give it all they’ve got onstage, when they come offstage the world seems that much more empty..." That's just so beautiful, ain't it....we guarantee there won't be a dry seat in the house! Continuing the '67 vibe of this evening will be 1906, a band who set the Forum messageboard ablaze following their show last month. Check out www.nineteen06.co.uk. This evening looks set to be the gig of the month.

Glitterati Glitterati
seven story down + fuzz
saturday 27th

Poptones is steadily building up a healthy roster of artists with a fair range of diversity. From Martin Carr's Brave Captain to Cosmic Rough Riders via The Bellrays. Alan McGee has always loved his rock and roll though so it's no surprise that he was attracted to having The Glitterati release their debut single on his label. However, soon afterwards, the lads moved to Darkness label Eastwest . Sharing the same label may raise eyebrows, although as singer Paul Gautrey points out that when the Glitterati first went to London the Darkness were just another band on the circuit. While the Glitterati prefer jeans to spandex they share the ethos of putting on a show, and their songs are strong enough to propel them into the big league. Equally promisingly, like any prospective great rock band, they are already building up an impressive collection of Spinal Tap moments, ranging from guitarist Nic Denson setting his duvet on fire (what, on stage?, the lazy bastard! - work ethic Ed), to bassist Jamie Snell igniting his face with a flaming cocktail. Sighs Gautrey: "There's a certain irony in being called the Glitterati when we're this bunch of scruffy bedsit gits!" Songs like debut single 'Do You Love Yourself?' reference everyone from 'Aladdin Sane' era Bowie to Bolan and suggest that, in a post-Darkness universe, The Glitterati have all the credentials for a rapid rise through the ranks. They're already at the point where people write breathless mini-biogs about them. Clearly, their sleazy, gloriously rock'n'roll trail starts here!

melaleuca +
the impeccables
Tuesday 30th

Christiansen write powerful, gut-wrenching emo-punk-pop songs that set ablaze once inside you, striking a chord, and involving you in every listen. Whether it's the band's ability to write low-key songs with faint instrumentation as the vocals bleed pain, or their ability to hit the power chords with an intense, furious thing burning inside of them as they play, you'll instantly be taken by the band's raw, oft hard to digest sound. This is explosive, chaotic, powerful rock 'n' roll that will give any punk and/or hardcore band a run for their money, without falling prey to the limitations of either of those sounds.
Originating from Louisville, Kentucky, this foursome have not only grown up together, but also live together (no comment - 70s sit-com Ed).Their soon to be released album, 'Stylish Nihilists' soars with melodic vocals, amazing guitar riffs, and an overall tightness more akin to the Boy Lawrence's wallet. Also playing tonight are two smashing bands: Tunbridge Wells' own Libertines, THE IMPECCABLES, and the stars of 2005, Simon and the lads from MELALEUCA, a band that always delivers premium rock.

the stable

The Stable rolls on to the second round. This will feature the top 18 bands as voted by the Scores on the Doors, and the top 18 bands as voted by the industry vote, or THE MAN, if you will.
The first shows will feature: CRAB IN A CAB, DE SENDA, DYSURIA who will be appearing on Monday, 22nd March. The Crabs are rootin' tootin' ska punk pop outfit, and appear to be gigging like the proverbials. DYSURIA feature gobshite Ross, the quiet, retiring chap who sometimes drags himself onto the messageboard to give us his pearls of wisdom on life and everything. Janglemeisters 1906 who are currently on an exchange trip from 1967 will be appearing with BROADVIEW & ERIC on Monday, 29th March.
Don't forget, these Monday nights are a veritable feast of new, unsigned local talent. Support your local music scene cos these bands really are worth £4 of anybody's money.

Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

Wherein the 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 Boxer Rebellion / The Blue Fusion / Mumm Ra - Fri 20th February

Let's clear something up. Mumm Ra are a damn good band, they're just cocks, that's all, and they can't help that because it's probably the only way they can get girls interested. Purveyors of crazy, heavy, intense indie prog with vigour and style aplenty, they've got a sound that suggests various members of Gorkys ZM, Radiohead, The Beta Band, The VU and Iron Butterfly having an acid trip in a curry house. It's epic, expertly built, incredibly OTT madness and bridges the tenuous connection between artistic experimentation and good time guitar-pop for the sheer hell of it, resulting in tight bendy tunes that are as refreshingly sharp as sucking on a lemon.
Mainman Noo looks the sort of bloke you'd want to warn your children about getting too friendly with. The bloke's just unhinged. Battering his keyboards to buggery and beyond, he commands the mayhem like Doctor Phibes and thrashes himself senseless while a sitar is being widdled like a guitar and guitars are away with the fairies doing their own thing until they can figure out what's going to happen next. Ranting and lamenting with a voice that's part Thom Yorke and part Jeff Buckley, Noo performs like a man who's only got a short while to live and has decided to swallow a bottle of Proplus so he can be as wired and awake as possible. Hippies shouldn't normally move this much, but maybe that's the point.
At times MR are quite breathtakingly enjoyable. They have genuine guts and rebellious pomposity in their music which makes a convincing statement on it's own, so why they decide to spoil it by slagging off The Forum is a mystery probably best left unsolved. Regardless of the validity of their anger, there is no justification for publicly biting the hand that feeds them as it's bang out of order and highly inappropriate. Not least because it bums out an entire room of paying punters who were warming to this bunch of oddballs quite considerably, but errors of judgement happen, even to those that should know better.
The Blue Fusion offer an inoffensive and back to basics approach, with the unappetisingly stale taste of an old cheese sandwich. Providing cheap and disposable pop/rock bubblegum with a late 80's/early 90's twist, this female-fronted quartet's bland and soulless AOR is technically flawless but safe and sensible as polyester trousers. Sure, they've got ability and tunes that are meticulously constructed, but that means fuck all without a spark of passion.
TBF do their very best to prove that they're versatile and can embrace as many different facets of contemporary radio and soundtrack rock as possible, but in the desire to do so, they've forgotten to look within themselves. There isn't an original element anywhere and they even appear to have nicked the lick from 'Sweet Home Alabama' for a dull acoustic workout that's got stadiums in it's dreams but half-empty pubs in its abilities.
An unbearably ghastly cover of "My Generation" begs us to unplug their monitors and throttle them with the cords. This is an anthem that sums up the energy of rebellion and youthful fire, of bitterness, scorn, inarticulate rage and testosterone- fuelled, sexually-charged, misunderstood, frustrated angst. TBF, in their clinically clean, twee and fluffy way, could not possibly have missed the point more widely and in one move reveal themselves as pointless sterile wannabes with all the desirability of haemorrhoids. Music for people who think The Stereophonics are radical and cutting-edge.
There are certain people out there suggesting that Nathan Nicholson's near-death experience, which caused the cancellation of The Boxer Rebellion's tour with the Raveonettes a few months back, was probably a blessing in disguise. It now seems that they might have a point, because whatever else may or may not have occurred as a result of that unfortunate twist of fate, something has stoked the flames in that lad's belly. From star-in-the making, he's become monumentally awe-inspiring, with a Cobain-like tortured phlegm-gargling lung-busting roar one minute ("The New Heavy") and a wailing Buckley-esque falsetto the next ("You & I"), and if his voice was splendid a few months back, now it's nothing short of magnificent. He sighs with lovelorn longing, bellows with excruciating pain and gushes with heartfelt emotion, but just as you think he couldn't possibly give it any more passion, he suddenly finds reserves, taking it to another level and back again
TBR are quite simply, one of the finest and coolest new bands on the planet right now. They've perfected the art of sounding truly gargantuan in a live context, but remain intensely gutsy and vibrant, as the hammering attitude-adjuster "Code Red" and new single "In Pursuit" demonstrate with barbaric force and searing melodic power.
Musically, TBR are a fascinating hybrid of misfit rock that comes across as some bizarre form of genetic experiment. Imagine fusing the bleak sensuality of The Verve, the trashy anthemia of early Oasis or BRMC, the fractured anguish of Nirvana, the dark paranoia of Radiohead, the melencholic wretchedness of Doves, the velvet smoothness of Starsailor and the disturbed minds of Eels, but this new creature defies classification because it's a whole different species with no particular dominant gene determining what anyone should expect.
Admittedly, it is slightly annoying that a band with so much musical panache find it so difficult to communicate between tunes. Although Nicholson's shy demeanour is enamouring to a degree, such weak linkage, whether technically rooted or not, makes their job considerably harder than it should be. That being said though, this isn't a good time rock 'n' roll band we're dealing with. Theirs is music built from frustration and anger, intelligently crafted and moodier than a bus full of teenage goths, so they just get the fuck on with it and allow each pregnant pause to flavour the atmosphere and add to their intrigue, even though it's probably not intentional.
TBR are the sort of band that make you impatient for them to achieve the success that will undoubtedly come, because they've got all the ingredients for mass appeal and you want to prove to everyone that you were right all along. As clichéd as it may sound, it's not going to be a question of 'if' with TBR, it's a question of 'when', but however long it takes, it looks like they'll be with us for ages after.

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 March edition of BLAM! - All queries regarding libel actions should be directed to them