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BLAM November 2005

A word in your ear...

Have I got news for you .....well ... have I ..?

I can see little point in trying to continue the ironic pastiching of all and sundry that you have come to love and expect from your very humble Blam magazine (available monthly on badly printed A4 paper folded in half with or without a staple in the middle depending on how much beer Mr Mills has consumed) in the current climate of news. As the world spins slowly to a grinding deathly halt, among the news items, and these are true ones kids, we didn't make them up, that have been inflicted upon us in the last 12 months:
Alan Partridge has been banging Courtney Love and is a sex monster.
Adam Rickitts, he of the inappropriate stomach muscles and frankly fucking appalling records who gave Coronation Street fans a secondary thrombosis when he kissed Todd Grimshaw, has been selected to be a Tory MP.
A crater on Mars is now officially called Tooting, after a former Trinity Road resident who works for Nasa decided to name it after his favourite place in Britain. Planetary scientist Pete Mouginis-Mark, 53, who lived in Tooting until 1970, said: "I named the crater Tooting because I thought my mum and brother would get a kick out of having their home town paired with Mars."
Freddie Flintoff is 15/1 current favourite for the Xmas number one spot with his version of Jerusalem. He has been having voice lessons from George Michael's cousin.
A book of poetry is being released by former Bosnian Serb leader and fugitive war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. Mr Karadzic, who is being hotly pursued by the UN all over the fucking planet, took time out from his busy schedule of running about a lot to sit down for several fucking months and pen odes to daffodils and the joys of needlework. He is planning to become a Tory MP.
Marilyn Monroe wannabe Madonna has admitted that she is so completely out of ideas that she wrote a grovelling letter to Swedish superstars Abba asking if she could sample their music on her latest single. Gimme Gimme Gimme features on new track "I should be strung up", only the second time Abba have allowed another act to use their work.
Drivers on the A27 were slightly bemused last week to see a banner hung from a bridge that declared: "Wendy, I want a divorce. JBS." (as a rather touching postscript to this particular news item: a further hanging of two more banners ended with the reconciliation of the two lovers, who turned out to be Brighton habitués, listened to a lot of kd lang, and had lots of cats; ie, not a cock between them! - editors note)
Fifteen years after starring in "Rocky V," Sylvester Stallone is reprising his role as the boxing champ in the sixth "Rocky" movie. The 59-year-old actor will write and direct "Rocky Balboa," which will begin shooting next year. Stallone says the movie will focus on an aging, widowed Rocky who is reluctant to get back in the ring but ends up doing it "just to compete, not to win." At the age of 59.
With news like this, who needs parody?

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, 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. Blimey ... so many things happening - and not a single laugh between them; plus the fact that Moanin' Millsey appears to have found some 'Higher Power' and is rather nice to all and sundry in this months moan. Jesus Christ - next we'll have El Choad introducing a hitherto latent G.A.Y hi-energy influence into 9 Volt's forthcoming album!. These are desperate times mes enfants - praise the Lord we have the musical talents of Afflicted Quarter to cheer us up.
The management would like to apologise for the lack of the usual 'shocked and stunned' gag that relentlessly appears in the above editorial month upon piggin' month. Which is a shame. as I was up 'til 4 o' clock this morning translating the aforementioned *gag* from the original Latin. Fingers crossed for next month eh?

Cord & The Crayons
Wednesday 2nd

Sharing Keane's keyboard-led sense of drama, as well as their gift for icy melody, London's (via Tobago) KUBB are no doubt already sick of being compared to the multi-platinum Tunbridge Wells based (well, a third anyway) trio. But having played a few recent dates supporting James Blunt, Kubb's march towards mainstream ubiquity seems unstoppable; as witnesssed by repeated playings on the Jonathan Ross radio show.
Discovered by 'interesting' chanteuse DIDO's brother, Faithless's Rollo Armstrong, Kubb's mainman Harry Collier possesses both a piercing Jeff Buckley falsetto, and a knack for goose-bump melodies. Lavish and operatic, their debut album, MOTHER is a compelling new voice in the rock firmament.

Let the last word go to NME: "...'Remain' is the second single from Kubb, a band formed around the extraordinary vocal talents of Harry Collier, and who were granted the unprecedented honour of being invited on 'Later With Jools Holland' before their debut single was even released. Taken from their forthcoming album 'Mother', 'Remain' has its emotional roots firmly planted in the same garden as Keane, Roachford and Damien Rice, whilst adding something altogether more uplifting to their sophisticated and soaring piano melodies.Lovely, bright-eyed, tumbling guitar pop with the glistening lustre of the recently Timotei'd ..."

Frank Turner . Good Books . Fleeing New York
Friday 4th

Chaotically organised with more stop/start jolts than a backstage defibrillator at a Rolling Stones gig, HELP! SHE CAN'T SWIM are a quirky percussively explosive 5 piece from Southampton. An easy and lazy comparison would be Seattle's Blood Brothers, and the super-annuated Sonic Youth, since all three bands have rapid-fire tempos and dual-pronged vocal attacks in their arsenals. Their debut album, 'Fashionista Super Dance Troupe' released earlier this year, hardly makes the 25 minute mark yet HELP SHE CAN'T SWIM pack more excitement into these eleven tracks than some bands do in their entire careers. There's hyperactive energy seeping through every song - enough buoyant, youthful vigour to keep even the most jaded cynic's attention. A slamming cacophony of drums and abused guitars collide head-on with the hydra-headed dual screeching of Lesley Haines' and Tom Denney's manic vocals to create a pounding, slap-happy, gorgeous razor sharp wall of sound.
New 4 track EP 'How to commit social suicide' is to be released November 7th on Fantastic Plastic Records " ...absolutely sodding brilliant...! - NME

Saturday 5th

Blackbud have… played over 200 gigs...been given the nod of approval by Jimmy Page… toured the UK and Europe and supported the likes of Keane, The Bees, Hope Of The States and Kaiser Chiefs….been taken under the wings of Youth and Michael Eavis…been picked up by Fierce Panda…had a song in a Hollywood film….and only recently said goodbye to their teens…
This young West Country trio have a sound as prodigious as their self-made achievements. Bold, epic, soulful, emotional, intense, uplifting: Blackbud do all of these, then top it off with the soaring voice of Joe Taylor. Musically, their collective backgrounds in college bands have forged a solid but imaginative foundation upon which Taylor (guitars), Adam Newton (bass) and Sam Nadel (drums) are building big-sky rock music. . On 'Heartbeat', the tumultuous lead track on their first full release EP, Taylor sings "tell me what you reach for when the stars are out of sight". Blackbud aren't following anyone else's idea of what they should be striving for. Fiercely independent, they're just stretching up to their own ambitions.
Taylor, Nadel and Newton met at school in Wiltshire. 'It was very music-oriented,' says Nadel. 'We did workshops in different kinds of world music,' says Sam. 'The first time we played together was at college, playing jazz. That experience rubbed off on us - as soon as we met properly and started playing, we played blues, jazz and funk because that's what we knew. That helped us stand out when we first started doing gigs.'
Deciding to form a band in December 2002, their work ethic was immediately apparent. They secured a residency in a local pub.
'They let us do two-hour gigs' says Taylor, 'mostly covers, Hendrix, Bob Marley and Stevie Ray Vaughn, learning to play with each other through playing the greats over and over again. Newton: 'That was the first in the long line of corners of pubs.'
By summer 2004, and following capacity crowds at Glastonbury Festival appearances on the New and Avalon stages, word of mouth on Blackbud and their fanbase reached the ears of London record labels. Taylor: 'We didn't approach anyone. At that point we had no intention of looking for a record deal - we hadn't sent any demos to record companies. People came to us". And indeed they did…literally
And Blackbud seem to understand the situation well. With a sound like Hendrix and the Buckleys, they have a niche that not many of their contemporaries sit closely to. So how do they describe themselves, considering they were once described as a 'funk, blues, reggae' band? Well, they didn't really say, too cautious of pigeon-holing; durability being something they hold in very high regard. "We don't want to be recognised as one thing, or put into one category, look at The Coral - you can't define them and they're doing brilliantly," points out Sam, though Joe is at least prepared to divulge that "blues taught us how to play together," whilst Adam proclaims that it's jazz that helps them all to listen to each other.
Hhmmmm ..... Nice!

Comedy Forum

Thursday 6th

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


Highly talented observational comic, and no stranger to the darkened portals of the Holy Shitter, Dougie Dunlop, effortlessly gets audiences laughing and sharing his unique take on life. Dougie started his career at the "The Stand" in hometown Edinburgh, and made his fringe debut in 2000 as part of the "The Midnight Show" in the Gilded Balloon. For Fringe 2003, he headlined the prestigious Big Value comedy package show at the Café Royal.
Dougie performs at all the major comedy venues in the UK and abroad - as far flung as Shanghai! He headlines in many places, and his relaxed style and widespread appeal makes him much demand at major corporate events and weddings and funerals.

“Dougie has a rare ability to tell jokes about ordinary things and be hilarious!” Edinburgh Evening News

His precision humour is delivered with great warmth, and he’s been selected by many high profile comics, both old school and new, to support them on tour. Dougie’s comedic talents also include writing and acting. He wrote and played the part of an eccentric vet in Scottish art house film, Auchter-Nae-Where released in May 2004

"One to watch on the comedy circuit" The Guardian

"One of London's brightest young comediennes" The Sunday Times

Ex-government spin doctor Ayesha Hazarika is rapidly climbing the comedy ladder and can also be heard regularly on LBC radio and BBC Radio Five Live. Typical Hazarika humour covers the 3 Rs - race, religion and relationships - just what you'd expect from an Indian Glaswegian living in London.

"uses juxtaposition of two cultures for some good laughs". Fringe Report

Since becoming a semi-finalist on Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny competition in 2003, she's been successfully gigging across the UK comedy circuit as both a stand-up and compere.On radio Ayesha has appeared on Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4) and is a regular guest on the Sandi Toksvig Show (LBC), Anita Anand's Show (BBC Radio 5) and the Worricker Programme (BBC Radio 5). In August 2005 she co-presented the Fred MacAulay Show for BBC Scotland. On television she was recently seen on Big Brother's Big Mouth (Ch4) & The 100 Greatest Cartoons (Ch4) and earlier this year she recorded a pilot with Piers Morgan for a new panel show on BBC 2.
In March 2004, Ayesha devised and performed in 'Funny Women Stand Up for International Women's Day' - a high profile event at London's Café de Paris featuring leading comediennes including Gina Yashere, Lucy Porter and Julia Morris. Later that year, she formed the line up of a star-studded benefit gala in July promoting peace in the Middle East at the Comedy Store, performing alongside Rob Newman and former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister Tony Benn.

Saturday 12th

Look, don't take it from me ... but TAKE IT FROM ME. Mohair are brilliant. Think Hammond organ-powred pop perfection and Mohair are yer fellahs!
Think happy-day, 'size of a cow', Madness style jaunty singalong choruses with fiendishy contagious hooks. The best thing to come from Watford since that black hole of charisma and talent, Geri Halliwell, Mohair are a down to earth bunch, always up for a laugh, like any group of early 20 something's in their prime… unless you happened to hear them perform live. And then you'd discover that there's nothing average about Mohair: raw, powerful and incredibly tight.
Assured, loud and undeniably different, Mohair are something like a phenomenon. Take a good slug of guitars, a Hammond organ, bass and drums, mix it with four astounding vocal capabilities and an x-factor of energy you can't put your finger on and you have the full on rock and roll sound of Mohair.

65 days of static
Friday 18th

65 Days of Static make a noise like no other . For the uninitiated, if you take the best elements of post-rock, mash it up with a punk-rock ethic, turn the volume up to apocalypse and get Aphex Twin to munch it all up and vomit it out again you're nearly there. For simplicity's sake, they're the Mogwai you can dance to. This four-piece dish out what are essentially post-rock guitar tunes with additional beats, sound bites and other bits and pieces.
"We've had some good reviews of our EP, stumble.stop.repeat. There's clearly some people out there who like us. We've even had mail orders from some really obscure places like Canada and Italy." But the band still don't feel entirely accepted closer to home. When asked to describe themselves in terms of an animal, they reply that they'd be a clay pigeon, implying they feel like outsiders being shot at. "I don't think any of the bands in Sheffield really care what we're doing," says guitarist Joe. "There's widespread apathy between bands towards each other. And people don't come out. You have to make a hell of a lot of effort in Sheffield to grab people." Citizens of Tunbridge Wells, extend the hand of friendship for these noise merchants now!

Jesse James
One Day Elliott
Saturday 19th

We're not a ska band...!!! We are so sick of people calling us ska. A punk/rock band with horns is not a ska band! The London Philharmonic have horns and no one calls them ska, or Rocket from the Crypt. Ska is a very specific rhythm... and we never ever play it, never have and never will. [SPUNGE] are ska, THE SPECIALS are ska, REEL BIG FISH are ska; JESSE JAMES are not.

If you don't know them already Jesse James is a six-piece soul/punk act, think DEXY'S meets CLASH meets BLINK 182. Let's set the record straight. As passionately clarified above, Jesse James are not ska, they are a horn driven blend of rock, punk and soul that fuse together to spark their trademark sound. This sextet flow on a crest of dynamic guitars and lashing drums that are worked around the charismatic brass section, which are the main force behind the bands appeal.
The band was formed in April 2000, through a drunken turn of events including lumps of black hair gel in North London and a mutual love of The Clash and Dexy's Midnight Runners. After 8 months of rehearsals (in between work/school/soap opera watching) Jesse James played their first show at The Underworld in Camden on December 7th, 2000.

Nelson King
Sunday 20th

As a singer/songwriter Nelson King could well be one of the best kept secrets around at the moment. There's an authenticity and feel at play with Nelson King that immediately leapfrogs him above his many peers, in terms of soul and raw emotion at least. In support of the release of his new album "Acoustic", available in all stores from 26/09/05, Nelson embarks on a small tour of the South East, accompanied by long term collaborator Dave Farrant, Nelson will be playing the whole range with the intimate selections from "Acoustic" to the electric blues from his earlier material. An accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarist, Nelson's previous albums have received extensive worldwide airplay in 15 countries. Think Muddy Waters meets Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac.
Also appearing tonight will be Tim Hoyte whose songs have been described as "... bohemian Folk to Acoustic prog..." whatever that is!

The Crimea
People in Planes . The Heights . Tryst
Friday 25th

What goes on in Davey Macmanus' head is not always so pretty. But as frontman for The Crimea, he turns it into beautiful and sweeping rock'n'roll. TRAGEDY ROCKS, the London band's debut album, is both lush and lacerating; 11 edgy and melodic cocktails sweetened by sonic ambition and spiked with Davey's debauched, bitter-funny tales of mean streets, meaner romance, good gin and not-so-good times. Having already received high praise from the late John Peel (the legendarily impassioned British DJ called "Lottery Winners On Acid" "one of the best songs I've heard in years"), SPIN (which deemed the band's 2004 SXSW showcase "an arena-worthy performance") and the Austin Chronicle ("consolidates all three Kinks eras - Sixties, Seventies, Eighties - in a slick '00 lathering of wit and whimsy"), The Crimea are poised to make more headway in America - certainly more than the Light Brigade did in the Ukraine.
"We want to be a timeless rock band, lyrically, musically and aesthetically," says drummer Owen Hopkins. "I don't want to be pretentious and compare us to the Beach Boys, but we really like Brian Wilson's term 'pocket symphonies.' We're trying to do something that isn't just drums, bass, guitars. Something intricately woven, but always sort of skewed."
The Crimea's secret weapon is Davey's voice - instead of composing and arranging the material on actual instruments, he'd sing the different parts, then turn those vocal melodies into guitar and keyboard lines. "That's why I think they're a little bit more hooky than your average guitar solo," Macmanus says.
Even though they eventually got themselves a 16-track recorder, The Crimea remain amazed their Wall of Sound and vivid lyrics found the U.K. press comparing them to such greats as The Flaming Lips and Leonard Cohen. Or that they were handpicked for opening slots with the likes of Kings of Leon, Dashboard Confessional and Ash. Or that their third single, "Baby Boom," came in at #8 on John Peel's 2003 Festive Fifty.
The London-based quintet, as a live proposition, are an emotive whirlwind. Ex-Crockett, Davey brandishes his guitar like an assault weapon, but his manner never gets affected to the point of annoyance. Perhaps that's because the Crimea writes clever, well-developed pop songs that touch on psychedelia, glam, and goth while retaining a wholly original essence. Their default mood is simultaneously morose and majestic in the finest Brit-pop tradition. With two guitars, a rhythm section, and a pianist, their arrangements are full-bodied, too.

TRYST are a youthful bunch from Greenwich London (the bit with the boat and the river... and a red double decker bus driving pass I'll be bound? - U.S. made for TV programme watching Ed).
Consisting of the gorgeous, pouting "I think we're alone now" singing Tiffany lookylikey Connie on vocals and guitar, Matthew on six strings and keys, Richard Wright on the low sonics, and Andrew on thing-hitting duties.
Forum goers will recognise Tryst from their Stable playing days: now a fighting fit supercharged outfit, Tryst have certainly moved up a gear.
They play loud guitar music. To call it rock wouldnt be right but they'll damned if they can actually pigeon hole it. It's like a loud mix between PJ Harvey, Led Zep, the Slits, the yeahyeahyeahs, Jeff Buckley and radiohead (and anybody else who knows them?). Though not at the same time. That'd be messy.

The Stable 5

The month of November sees FOUR Stable shows, the first being on the 7th; ELECTRIC RIVER are a four piece energetic young rock band consisting of Will Whisson lead guitar and vocals, Chris “Sponge” Rogers Bass and vocals, Chris Aldis Rhythm guitar and Alex Mayland Drums. The band in this line up has only existed since November 2004. As a band they believe in rock for rock’s sake and not art for arts sake: citing influences including Black Sabbath, Pearl Jam, The Clash, and Bowie to modern progressive groups like Dream Theater. LONG TIME DOWN are from North Kent and were previously known as Mulletshop, a Forum messageboard topic in itself. Heavily influenced by the Deftones, Audioslave and Incubus. THE SPACE PARADE are from Tunbridge Wells ... and play indie rock ... and might be Lottery winners who've ticked the 'No Publicity' box, as I know shite all about them! But I bet they're brilliant!
Later, on the 14th, we have: AS PERFECT AS YOU are a pop-punk/emo which is both energetic and unique, whom, according to their website, " .. started off in early '05, Since then, the bassist has continued to change, and with Brian joining recently, we're back on tracks after a few months of being "screwed" (by Brian? - 'Bi- curious' Ed). Their recently recorded EP will be on sale on the night, along with a wide variety of Trinny and Susannah endorsed hats. JUNIOR are a pop punk combo from Tenterden, and have a rather strange time travelling website, whereby its always 2004. If I were you fellers, I'd put a fiver on at the bookies that Band Aid 20 will be the Christmas number one! INTERSECTION are an acoustic power pop trio from Chiddingstone, home of fine ale lovers Larkins brewery. Sounding to these befuddled ears not unlike an amalgam of McFly and Yourcodenameis: Milo, it's interesting and delicate stuff. Check 'em out.
Appearing on the 21st will be: AMANACER were formed in 2002 whilst the members were at an Oasis gig, and on their website have a really, really interesting story about the derivation of their monicker. Ready ... here goes: "...'The Rising' as the band was then called, then rehearsed their new songs for 5 months straight before looking for a gig. This was the point where the band name had to change due to copyright reasons. Whilst on holiday, our Simonfound out from a young Spanish senorita that The Rising in Spanish was 'El amanacer'. So to cut a long story short....they took away the 'el', and used amanacer as their new band name....using a capital 'A' and a capital 'R' at the start and end of the word as their trademark! Not realising that the word was in fact spelt incorrectly, they still decided to press ahead with the same spelling...." - phew ...still awake at the back? The lads will be pleased to know that the 'El' that was taken away was later used by a bequiffed mother-fixated rockabilly in Memphis in 1954, who cunningly added 'vis' to it. Thus becoming ....Visel! (What the fuck are you on about, you lanky Fop? - Ed) DE CARABAS first appeared on a 1975 edition of Hughie Green's Opportunity Knocks, and since then have gone on to be a regular fixture at Northern Working Mens clubs, working alongside Bobby Davro, Arthur 'Mr Trombone' Butterworth and the Tiller Girls. They are , if truth be known, formerly known as The Gay Wizards, a remarkably entertaining funk/theatrical outfit, featuring our very own Funky Dan , and extrovert vocaliste Bruce Bruce. EPISODE are Moanin' Millsey's bestest ever pop band (probably), who according to their website, " ... formed in early 2004, hailing from the small conservative town of East Grinstead in West Sussex they have fought an uphill struggle to get their brand of alternative hard rock accepted in a scene dominated by metal and emo bands, winning over many in the process and playing many shows to great acclaim..." Moving swiftly on to the 28th we have BATTLESKA GALACTICA who were originally formed in 1742, have a fearsome live reputation, and a honkingly terrific female horn section. D-FINITIVE are from Tenterden, and have appeared on numerous occasions in Ye Minstrels Musick Gallery on the Pantiles, in between serving cream teas whilst dressed as buxom wenches. PICTURES OF SHANGHAI, let it be said, have an interesting name.

Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

(whereby Moanin' Millsey gives his considered opinion on what's Hot and what's Rot)

Horror Hospital - 16th Oct

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Oh alright then, but least try to act a bit scared or it'll seem like all this spooky décor's for nothing. The handy thing I suppose is that there's actually a substantial amount of genuine cobwebs, grime, unpleasant diseases, peculiar smells, creepy-crawlies, bloodstains and dubious sticky bits around, so not a great deal of effort is needed in the makeover to get that authentic feel of Hell's very own sanatorium; a splash of fake blood here, a couple of luminous Halloween ornaments there. If it wasn't for the slightly higher number of pale and gloomy My Chemical Romance fans looking like underfed vampires, you'd be hard pushed to notice the difference. But we've got 'Monster Mash', the 'ER' theme and other loosely thematic accompaniments to provide a vaguely amusing little precursor to the evenings events while lollypop-sucking scantily-clad nurses, animated cadavers and walking road accidents hold court, wondering whether ambient drum 'n' bass maestro The Acid Chemist is actually as inappropriately dull as he appears. Though pleasant enough melodic background babble and undoubtedly eloquent stuff, it's unfortunately about as visually engaging as a periodic table on a lab wall, and just as interesting to us poor uneducated plebs. But at least he's got the machine that goes 'ping'. Or maybe it just sounds like it.
Close your eyes and listen. Can you hear that 'scrape-thud' noise? That's the final clods of cold wet earth falling on the coffin of Crab In A Cab, while the fetid flyblown corpse that once pretended to be a ska-punk band rots inside, unmourned and unloved. Complete with deathly complexions and bloodied regalia, Captain Jack's new 'symphonic doom pop' creation Talking Backwards is as far removed from the rank puke of old as shit is from sugar. And what a vicious, snarling, moody little beast that he's propagated too; a malcontent, intimidating, synthy riot of new-wave pop art, like a genetically modified crossbreed of Joy Division, early Pulp and NIN, striking a gothic rock pose and throwing out odd little hooks from nowhere, vaguely similarly to Clor.
Not allowing techie problems to thwart them, TB have adopted a bold uncompromising stance with this project, built around moods and subtle atmospherics that sweat menace and venom through electro-glitches, mini climaxes and good old-fashioned bile. It's just Jack's voice that's the problem, as despite developing a strong, embittered snarl, a penchant for hardcore power-roars and a convincing communicative stance, the man continually slips into vox that are nasal, phlegmy and slightly irritating. You know the way that certain accents (i.e. Brummie) have that unidentifiable quality that makes the speaker sound a bit thick even when they aren't? Well although vastly better than the caterwauling dirge of old, Jack's voice has a similar x-factor in that it always sounds offkey even when it's probably not, evoking a natural prejudice so that it becomes much harder work to appreciate everything else.
But regardless of their limitations. "4 Corners" is a massive hulking bastard of a tune with a chorus to die for, while "Be My Clone" is a harsher leftfield melody but no less provocative, and although their cover of NIN's 'Hurt' is pointless drivel for the easily pleased, there's sensual and imaginative songwriting coming through, which even a shaky gig can't suppress. Let's see what they can do.
Though suffering a tad from a weedy guitar sound, Drenched In Red have a fairly easy time of it tonight. Too easy, one might argue, as if it's about to fall into their open hands and somehow work, even though it wouldn't if life and the world were the slightest bit fair. I mean, let's look at the evidence: A trio of 16 year olds, with only a handful of gigs under their belts and yet the vast majority of tonight's crowd seem to here to offer them support, and not just their schoolmates either. It's a gritty, snot-gobbling mixture of Placebo and MCR; a surly swirling noise assisted to no small degree by camp frontman Tom Adolph's

purring Brian-isms and their rather fine cover of "Nancy Boy". They're recording their first demo and video tonight in front of people that adore them, and they don't even need special makeup for the fancy dress, as they look like that anyway and the girls love them for it. See what I mean? DIR make it look so very effortless and it just doesn't seem fair somehow.
Look closer though, and you notice that this positivity is not through luck or loyalty, but simply because they're damn easy to get off on. Brainless bubblegum like a cover of Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" could make some bands deserve to be shot, but DIR not only make it work, they make it seem the right thing to do. How? Fuck knows. I don't make the rules. Sometimes you have to just go with it.
There's no such confusion with Episode. The East Grinstead quartet are developing at such a phenomenal pace since recording their latest EP "Exploring Outer Frequencies", that they're almost setting and exceeding new standards for themselves with each gig. What few cracks in their system were apparent following the addition of new guitarist Owen Westlake in the summer, have now been well and truly sealed off, ready for some seriously hard wear. Episode have become more urgent, more powerful and immeasurably more controlled, finally breathing some life into their tunes and making them seem lush and vibrant. If there's a musical equivalent of a turbocharger, they've finally found out where the button is and can't stop themselves from playing with the fucker.
Episode's intelligently constructed and passionate songs have historically been stunted by flabby and weak vocals, but it seems that not only has Owen given Chris Shipman room to manoeuvre as a guitarist, he's allowed him more opportunities to concentrate on his voice. And what a change it's made, as he's finally got a more powerful, passionate roar to wrap around the likes of "A Satellite Has No Conscience" which is, let's face it, a blinder of a tune that's just got miles better. This new and improved Episode have become awfully good very quickly indeed, yet retain the stinging rawness of a burst blister. Episode suddenly just matter, - trust me on that.
Aside from having the worst name in the universe, there's something actually quite fine about Brain Ache. Their earlier incarnation of Southern Souls were entertaining if unoriginal hokum, memorable mainly due to their extraordinary levels of passion, as if each tune was a labour of the sweatiest kind of love. In comparison, Brain Ache are considerably more mature and direct in their approach. Whatever their fancy dress costumes may indicate, there's a distinct level of seriousness with this band, whereby a passionate delivery should incur no compromise in musical perfection and as such, they're tighter than a fat kid's pants. It's big-sounding, melodic, clean-edged metal, roughly somewhere between Lostprophets, Hundred Reasons and the Foos, and it's very high quality indeed, which a surprisingly active moshpit will happily testify to.
However, as well executed as it is, and despite the fine pipes of mainman Simon Hawkins, Brain Ache are just a little bit boring up there. Compared to the likes of say, Dry Rise, Brain Ache are just filler fodder and have missed whatever boat it was that should have come for them a couple of years ago. Sure, they're a better band now, having grown gnarlier, tighter and more powerful, but sadly, while they've been working out, the world has moved on and they've been left hopelessly behind, imitating the styles and shapes of bands who don't really matter as much anymore. Their cover of Symposium's "The End", or the succulent "In My Prison" are decent enough, but it's all ultimately a tad dated in 2005. Appealing and enjoyable to a degree, but mainly to people who don't get out much.

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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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We also have a 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, identify which ne'er-do-wells have trodden the boards at the ol' shitter, check out our interactive gaming section, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming. In fact, we beseech, nay implore you to do any of the above which would make a change from downloading hardcore 'chicks with dicks' jpgs as you'd normally do.
Please note that as well as being able to reserve tickets for all Forum shows online, tickets are also available to be purchased from the following retail outlets:
The Longplayer, 3 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 539273
Criminal Records, 6 Goods Station Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 511776

Coming soon:

COMEDY FORUM - Thur 1st December
MYSTERY JETS - Fri 2nd December
UNSCREEN - Sun 4th December
MENDEED - Fri 16th December
ANTI NOWHERE LEAGUE - Sat 17th December
ARIEL X - Sun 18th December

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