So, the pensive expressions you might be seeing on people’s faces might be that they are simply trying to get their head round the idea that the Forum has signed up its own future for good, and forever. It’s a cause for celebration, so maybe we will have one, but at the moment we are all still a little in shock at the idea that what we started some twelve years ago in the full expectation that it would be gone in less than six months (Tunbridge Wells not being renowned for its acceptance of alternative choices) looks like becoming a permanent part of the landscape. It might also be that those pensive expressions are mulling over the exact implications of a lifetime commitment to listening to the next 50 years of local bands – a somewhat sobering thought I am sure you will agree.
The Needles . Crab in a Cab . Rain Eater
Making a more than welcome returnto the ol' shithouse are horn powered soul ska punkers Jesse James. Always a pleasure, never a chore, a band that just keeps on delivering the goods (What, they moonlight for Tescos Home Delivery? - Ed). Bequiffed hyperactive goodtimes ahoy me hearties.
A Forum/Trinity Promotion
at TRINITY THEATRE
Sunday 3rd October
often the phone rings in The Forum HQ with an offer to put on a show that
is just too big or too odd to fit into the walls of our beloved Forum. This
doesn’t happen that often, but when it does you have to weigh up where
to put the show and how important it is to do it anyway. Well, we are off
on our travels again, and for possibly the best cause ever. So, for one night
only, The Forum is getting together with Trinity to bring you the godfather
of british neo-psychedelia in a turtle shell wrapping. Yes, we bring you MISTER
JULIAN COPE. Musician, writer, historian, and cosmic shaman Julian Cope was
born in October 1957 in Deri, South Glamorgan, Wales. He was raised in Tamworth,
England before moving off to college in Liverpool in 1976. Cope found himself
part of a community of musicians -- and kindred souls -- including Ian McCulloch,
Pete Burns, and Pete Wylie. After various incarnations and not so amicable
departures the Teardrop Explodes were formed. One of the more influential
bands of the late '70s, the group delivered a volatile mix of neo-psychedelic
rock and electro-pop. As the band's success grew, so did Cope's reputation
for debauchery, resulting in erratic, drug-addled stage behavior that occasionally
led to bloodletting. In 1983, after numerous lineup changes and legendary
feuds between Cope and Zoo Records figurehead Bill Drummond, the band ceased
By 1984, Cope's love of hallucinogenics -- as well as a toy car collection that occupied nearly an entire year of his life -- was at an all-time high. Despite his altered state, he released World Shut Your Mouth, his solo debut on Mercury Records. An elegant collection of chamber pop and Teardrop-fueled electricity, the album divided critics and fans alike. Not to be deterred, Cope retreated to Cambridge and recorded the follow-up, Fried, a chilling chronicle of self-oblivion that included cover art of the artist in a sandbox wearing nothing but a gigantic turtle shell. In 1986 Cope signed with Island Records and released his most successful record to date, Saint Julian, before taking a left turn into the Skellington album and some very bizarre stage antics. In the 90s he continued to record some of the most out there music of his long career, including the Peggy Suicide double album, Jehovahkill (so out there that it got him dropped from the label), Autogeddon and 20 Mothers. Cope spent a great deal of this period purging himself of his seemingly endless creative energy through side projects on his mail-order-only label Ma-Gog, a creative outlet that eventually morphed into the website/community/record label Head Heritage. He released Interpreter in 1996, a return to pop form that saw the self-described "Arch Drude" tackling both environmental and social issues with renewed vigor. His most recent project is Brain Donor, a four-piece, face-painted, triple double-neck guitar-playing garage rock\punk outfit that released its debut, Love, Peace & Fuck on Head Heritage in 2001, followed by Too Freud to Rock 'n' Roll, Too Jung to Die in 2003. Cope had been compiling his memoirs into book form throughout the '90s; Head On, a chronicle of his life up to the demise of the Teardrop Explodes, was published in 1993, followed by its sequel, Repossessed, in 2000. He also trudged all over the country in search of stone circles while researching his exhaustive coffee-table book, The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-Millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain, and wrote Krautrock Sampler, a critically acclaimed guide to German space rock. If it is possible to make a career out of not trying to have a career then Julian Cope may be the master of the art. To some of us he will forever be the genius who usurped the whole idea of the pop charts by turning the Teardrop Explodes into Smash Hits cover stars, to others he is the arch drude himself. Not to be missed. Tickets on sale now from Trinity Box Office 01892 678 678. And be sure to use their toilets whilst you are there, they are really nice. Check out Julian's site at www.headheritage.co.uk
Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the
first Thursday of every month.
FOUR TOP CLASS ACTS, THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EVERY MONTH, ONLY FIVE POUNDS,
NEW LUXURIOUS TOILET FACILITIES.
Good ol' Comedy Forum, this really is a cracking night with a rather splendid atmosphere every month (Sorry fellahs, it's this new veggie diet - pathetic Ed),
This month we have EDDY BRIMSON, COLE PARKER, LEE NELSON & the ever popular Scrabble winning named TIERNAN DOUIEB.
Get down early to grab a comfy seat,
Freaks Union . When Skies Fade
KNUCKLE from Bristol, formed in 1998, playing punk & hardcore influenced
by MINOR THREAT, ANTI-FLAG, ENSIGN and CHOKING VICTIM amongst others. Having
toured with bands like MUSTARD PLUG and CAPDOWN they were noticed by London
label Household Name Records who in May 2004 released their second album,
called "Balance". The album is more mature than their previous
recordings, faster and tighter and with personal and political lyrics that
show a young band at the top of their game.
Since then FIVE KNUCKLE have hardly been off the road - with shows with THE DISTILLERS, GOOD RIDDANCE, ANTI-FLAG, LEFTOVER CRACK and F-MINUS through the UK and Europe.
"Five Knuckle manage to scream, chug and batter theirway to their own sound. Indeed, they conform to neither hardcore or ska-core (bog) standards, with some fantastic, innovative pedalled guitar work making the three chord brigade look like the amateurs they are"
Hiding With Girls
Hollywood Ending . Cars as Weapons
"Welcome to the world of the HidingWithGirls rock band. Hailingfrom Brighton, a lovely seaside city on the most southern coast of England (except our drummer who is from Cobham; a suburb of our countries fine capital). We formed in January 2001 out of a burning desire to write and play music, never grow up, talk rubbish, and to collect a fine visual log of Britain's marvellous motorways; activities we have both loved with an oozing passion and hated with a burning contempt, depending on the day and on who you ask". So their website bangs on and on...all you need to know is that Hiding With Girls' music embraces huge soaring melodies, combining them with guitar that switches between subtle delicacy and edgy, groove laden riffing - very much the sound of the zeitgeist, but merged with their own distinctive and eclectic individual styles. With a combined passion for heavy guitars born from years spent with extreme metal, but a sense of melody rooted in a latter day love of emo and post hardcore, Hiding With Girls are certainly a promising and exciting proposition. Debut release 'Marty McFly' is a slick cut of guitar riffage, impassioned vocals, and glorious pop sensibilities that the band believe no one will be able to resist. Says L: "Hey, even if you hate the song, it's one of those tracks that you'll find yourself humming in the shower and you'll end up getting so irritated that you give in. That's what all the best songs do, whatever genre they're coming from." The best part of all this is that Hiding With Girls are only just getting started.
Muzikansky presents the world premiere of:
by Souad Faress
Directed by Nicolette Kay
Design - Jane Linz Roberts
Sound Design - Scott Myers
A young woman sets sail for India and never returns - what legacy did she leave behind? Set in a villa in contemporary Tunbridge Wells. The play is a haunting tale of intrigue, ghosts, family, and how secrets when revealed can either bring together unanswered questions or blow apart decades of deceit. Delving deeply into the British psyche and her imperial past, Seed unearths the confusion, torment and inherited damage when a family tries to hide their ancestors.
Seed has been specially commissioned by Muzikansky - inspired by a plaque dedicated to a young woman who died whilst returning from India in 1835 on the wall of Holy Trinity Church, Tunbridge Wells, and based on the author's research into the history of the East India Company. "Seed was inspired by the notion of young women in 1835 risking all and setting off from Deal on the high seas to far away continents"
Playwright Souad Faress is an actress and writer. This is her first full-length
play. As an actress, she has recently been seen in The Permanent Way (Out
of Joint and the National Theatre), Homebody/Kabul (Young Vic) and Celestina
(Birmingham Rep). She is popularly known for her role as Usha in The Archers
(lum de-dum, de-dum-de-dum, lum de-dum de dum-dum). The two-hander is played
by William Maxwell and Charlotte Pyke who won rave reviews for two leading
roles in Lullabies of Broadmoor and Masks and Faces at the Finborough Theatre
this year: "Charlotte Pyke is outstanding" Lyn Gardner, The Guardian.
Directed by Nicolette Kay, Artistic Director of Muzikansky, whose previous credits include Mary Stuart (Time Out Critics' Choice) - "Excellent performances and some stunning moments of violence..." The Independent; "Fascinating" Time Out; "Nicolette Kay directs the often exhilarating proceedings…a production of character." The Guardian; The Dreams of Clytemnestra - "A powerful and timeless story told with imagination and humour…Nicolette Kay's imaginative direction" What's On - and Mela (BAC) and The B3 Team (Lyric Studio, Hammersmith).
The Filaments . A Case of Grenada
Adequate 7 (so named as yes, there are seven of the buggers, but believe me, they're more than adequate - unwittingly camp sounding Ed) formed from a group of close friends around November 2000. Merging diverse musical influences they found a distinctive groove-laden hardcore sound. After a period of jamming and practice they played their first gig in December 2000. Drawing further inspiration from bands including Refused, Sick of it All, Gorilla Biscuits, CIV and Shelter as well as George Clinton, Funkadelic, Zender-era Jamiroquai, Tribe Called Quest, 311 and Ozomatli, the band continued to grow, define their sound and play more gigs. Also appearing are ever popular THE FILAMENTS
Breed 77 relocated
here from Gibraltar in 1997 and won Kerrang!'s 'Best Unsigned Band' readers'
poll in 1998. After several years of mis-management and the odd line-up change,
they signed a five album deal with Albert Productions UK in 2001. 'Alberts',
the only dedicated rock band 'incubator' production company in Britain, scored
their first Top 40 success with Violent Delight's 'I Wish I Was A Girl' single.,
Breed 77 are an important band. Good news for anyone who's ever dreamt of a glorious collision between bristling, Alice In Chains-esque atmospherics and nu metallic grooves that could knock the kneecaps off a charging rhino. Their music is beautifully soaked in the kind of contemporary emotion too-often displaced by those whose sound is preened to make a mosh-pit bounce with no consideration given to having the hairs on the back of your neck snap up straight.
Heard Of It
Sonic Boom Six . Fall to Fiction
Never Heard Of It is an upbeat, pop punk band based out of Los Angeles, Ca. Their ability to combine intricate guitar riffs along with melodic, sing a long vocals has brought new meaning into the realm of pop punk, creating their own unique style. Only six months after being a band Never Heard Of It released a full length, sixteen song cd unmotivated. The completion of this cd marked the beginning of what was to become Never Heard Of It's trademark style. The band draws from their personal experiences and people who have impacted their lives. They portray these experiences and individuals in a comical manner, which complements their catchy tunes. Never Heard Of It has currently sold over four thousand copies of this cd. Never Heard Of It has booked 2 tours across the US on their own & recorded 3 albums independently that have collectively sold around 10,000 cds.
Ariel X . 4th Wall
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!
Offlimit . The Blue Fusion
"We want to bring back stadium rock," Luke says with a big grin.
"No modern, young bands are really trying to do that any more. We want
to remind people of the craft and the spirit and the sheer excitement of music
that not only works in your heart and in your mind but blows you away out
there on the big stage. There's a lot of 16-year-old kids that have missed
out on the 1970s and the kind of great music that was around back then. They
might not have heard Hendrix or anything, but they love rock tracks. If anyone
hears us and gets into Zeppelin or AC/DC as a result, then that would be a
huge thrill for me."
There has never been a shortage of bands who talk big. But it has been a long time since a young, new group has come along with a rock'n'roll heart as big as that of West London band Rooster.
Singer Nick Atkinson, 24, and guitarist Luke Potashnick, 22, went to school together in Eastbourne, where their paths crossed from time to time. But it wasn't until they were both living in London that the pair got together and began writing material with a view to starting a band. The reference points for Luke were the classic English rock guitarists: Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin, early Eric Clapton when he was in Cream and the Yardbirds and especially the mighty Paul Kossoff whose intensely emotional style was a cornerstone of Free's uniquely taut, heavy rock sound.The band settled on the name Rooster after Nick came home £250 richer having put a bet on a horse called 'Rooster Booster'. (Which reminds me, d'you know that actor/piss head Oliver Reed once bought a racehorse, but the Jockey Club banned him from naming it 'That Bloody Horse! - trivia Ed)
Their new single 'Come Get Some' is now, and and sounds not unlike Paul Rodgers meets Run DMC at Monsters of Rock, so it says here.
You know, I would dearly love to have
a whole page plastered with pix of bands in the Stable. But each month, when
compiling Blam, I trawl the respective websites to find that sometimes not
even this is possible. As such, feast your eyes on the below bands with the
nous to a) have a website, and b) a site with useable jpgs. It's not rocket
science or DNA mapping is it?
The Stable - 3 bands every Monday for a mere £4 - a smorgasbord of untapped talent, stars waiting in the wings.
< 209 > . Shards of Glass . Glaucoma
Saturday 18th September 2004
Philosophers have argued for centuries whether anything in life is actually random or somehow pre-ordained. Some seemingly random actions have no significant consequences, some have far-reaching influences beyond our comprehension, but regardless of what may or may not be an ultimate truth, there's a great deal of comfort to be had in the belief that everything happens for a reason. It certainly makes it easier to cope with life's little ironies.
Glaucoma allegedly chose their name at random from a dictionary, by flipping the pages and plunging a finger blindly onto a word. When you think about it, that could have been anything and but for a page or two, they might just as easily have been called 'Genitals' or 'Gastro-enteritis'. Considering that symptoms of Glaucoma include blurred vision, headache and nausea, it seems strangely incongruous that watching a band called Glaucoma can induce identical physical effects. Coincidence or karma? You decide.
It's possible that being compared to whatsisface from Keane has done strange things to mainman Mike Munroe's head. It's certainly affected his haircut at least. The little tyke has all the right moves though, with lots of posturing, genuine smiles, and a fast pumping bass making their melodic post-hardcore emo as tight and gritty as you like, but then he spoils it by opening his gob and events take a distinct downward spiral.
The guy's got an appalling voice, it has to be said. Though with work it could be a gurgling wail, vaguely in the Mark Arm mould, he yelps like he's passing a particularly troublesome turd and his piles have just burst; not so much singing, as the whining off-key howl of a spaniel being slowly boiled to death. It makes their songs experiences to endure rather than enjoy, which is a shame because otherwise, there are a few worthwhile things going on, particularly since the addition of extra guitarist Sam Jobson, which has given their sound some well-needed crunch and depth. Vague elements of poppy-punk float around looking for trouble, but for the most part, it's a limp-wristed and feeble attempt at emo-core with immemorably bland ditties and minimal substance.
This is a shambles of a gig for Glaucoma and they know it. To be fair, they're better than tonight allows them to be, but luck isn't on their side. No sooner do they get started, they have to call out for emergency gaffa tape to repair the drums and it's all a bit embarrassing as they fumble around, trying to recover some dignity. They lose their cohesion as they progress and it's not entirely their fault either, but they're are on a slippery footing and what started tolerably, quickly becomes dirgesome and tetchy. Their attempt at a 'slow one' is all over the place like spilt beer on a bar top, but it wouldn't matter what they did, because the feeling on both sides of the stage appears to be mutual. The sparse crowd are indifferent and underwhelmed, giving Glaucoma no impetus to pull themselves together, just an urge to get it over with in cold passionless haste.
Hey, an emo band with no emotion! Who said that the Gods don't have a sense of humour?
East Grinstead's Shards Of Glass are a far more motivating prospect, despite the petty bitching that seems to follow them around. It's surprisingly melodic, yet solid emo, heavy as fuck in places, gently poppy in others, spraying rhythmic graffiti somewhere between FFAF and ATDI with subtle splashes of Finchiness to tart things up a tad. They may sound low-budget, but they're surly and convincing, with heated dynamics and effective enough tunesmithery to justify the attention they manage to hang on to tonight.
Frontman/guitarist Luke Phillips' vocals are an acquired taste, being as they are, somewhat emasculated and lacking in control like a bad Geddy Lee, but this'll get better with time, because what's underneath has potential in big heaving bagloads. Twin guitars are tortured with scant consideration for people's eardrums, but they maintain a sinister mood, particularly when they get all mellow and sludgy on us, so the angst factor never slips. For such pissed-off sounding fellas, they're quite eloquent and smooth, giving songs like "Explain Myself" an enviable richness to compliment their seething menace.
You've still heard it all before with SOG and nothing is exceptional, but they make the most of what they have, and that's moreish and satisfying enough to be getting on with. Though highly likely to drop from The Stable in the first round, Shards Of Glass aren't going to be swept aside that easily, and it shouldn't be too long before they start to turn some heads so watch their progress.
A Forum regular who shall remain anonymous actually wants to go and apologise to Sarf Landon's <209> tonight on behalf of his scene, and it's bloody tempting to join him. What the fuck is up with people that pay to be entertained then deliberately make the band feel unwelcome, as if only playing to a couple of dozen bodies on what should be the biggest night out of the week wasn't enough to bum them out?
"Are you guys gonna get up out of your seats? No? Well make yourselves comfy then…" sneers frontman Tek before an impossibly athletic leap into the air is a signal to kick-start things with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer in the nuts. There's a point to prove it seems, because the recent departure of MC Jon has left <209> in something of a quandary, but if truth be told, the gap has been closed pretty damn quickly. If you've got to make up for absent friends, you may as well pretend they were never that important in the first place and with this much energy coming off the fella, it's hard to believe that anyone else ever existed because he's astonishing to watch. He raps like a street punk fucked up on steroids and PCP, growling like a jungle cat, prowling and strutting as if he doesn't just own the stage, he owns the arses of everyone present and we're all begging him not to hurt us. But when you've got a drummer called 'Barnet' who looks like Leo Sayer having his worst hair day ever, and a guitarist called (seriously!) 'Metal' who plays a flying-V and looks like a boss-eyed version of Mantas from Venom (but with slightly more ridiculous facial fuzz) throwing unintentionally comical shapes like a 80's Black Metal reject, you need to have someone around who's vaguely cool.
<209>'s noise is hard to define, but it's obnoxiously cocky and swaggering nonetheless. Crossover metalcore with a down-home grunt, taking the inventive brutality of Pantera and the very British nu-metal crunch of Cynical Smile, then fusing it with hard-edged beats and samples, the blissfully soulful chewiness of Skunk Anansie and the exquisite burn of bands like Hatebreed, chucking in some random funky bits for good measure. The fusion of black and white cosmopolitan urban-isms might be a wee bit laboured these days, even a touch naff, but tunes like the single 'Trigger' and the dark hardcore of 'Warhead' have big sharp teeth that rip your ears off and if you don't find yourself moving to them, there must be something seriously wrong.
But something IS seriously wrong. Tek isn't happy with all the lacklustre sitting down, and rightly so as it's bloody rude. "Are we boring the fuck out of you?" he enquires, only for some wag to shout "Yeah!" and make him feel about as welcome as a fart in a lift. Unperturbed, he joins the floor to encourage some action and though there's some stirrings of life as he raps caustically and <209> turn up the intensity of their funky buzzsaw noise, there's not enough real feedback from this to keep their juices flowing so they resign themselves to giving up, walking offstage just as it seemed they might triumph through defiance.
Though tonight's crowd could be blamed for being too much like hard work, it sometimes takes a bit more than token gestures to charm things into life after just 25 minutes or so. To be so clearly upset with an audience's self-consciousness just seems rash under the circumstances but it must feel pretty soul-destroying to be met with such a wall of resistance. Maybe <209> just need to toughen up.
We always like to hear from new contributors, new bands, new people, people who hate swearing, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.Because believe you me, it's a right hard slog making up all the lies, half-truths and general bollox that we lovingly/laughingly call BLAM
You can write to us at
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the office enquiry line on 01892 545792
We also have a brand new website where you can find out all about what's on, and laugh at the photos of the damp mattressed fainthearts that 'work' here. That's at
You can also email us, so do that to:
On the website you can book tickets, find out what's coming up, get a map, get a life, play our hi-tech computer game: TOILET CLEANER 3, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming
The address for that is http://members.boardhost.com/twforum
Public Liability Insurance Twatometer
- a month by month monitor, just watch that line soar up to £8000!
Further to last month's editorial we have been inundated with emails from warm-hearted Forum goers enquiring as to how they could help raise the Twat-o-Meter to a healthy level by making an extremely generous contribution over and above the 50 pence exacted on the door.
We were very touched to receive these communiques. and would like to take this opportunity to thank all those concerned, but many wished to remain anonymous.
Perhaps the less reticent of you wouldn't object if we instigated a monthly 'Roll of Honour'?