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BLAM September 2004

A word in your ear...

Going, going, all gone for gold - our nation's shame

Exasperated sighs of disillusionment escaped the barrel chested bodies of the Forum audience this week as the despairing throng were once again faced with the sad failure of local musicians in their chosen field of activity. Despite expectations running at fever pitch prior to the event, onlookers were shocked to see Karl Barton, representing Team Cyrano, fail to finish his incredibly long guitar solo for the second time in a row. Covered in sweat and crying like the little girl that he is, Karl could only blub, “Obviously I am as gutted as a freshly smoked mackerel. I have been in training for this guitar solo for some four years; living a Spartan-like existence, forsaking the company of women (nothing new there then - Ed) my only indulgence being rummaging through the bottle bank in Sainsburys car-park, but on the day it just wasn’t meant to be. I can’t really explain it “ he explained “ I was motoring along nicely in premier soloing mode when all of sudden the pressure, the lights and the heat got to me. Next thing I knew I was lying on the stage and staring at the remains of the cheese and onion quiche thrown on the ceiling by Feeder some five years ago”. Punters were said to be disappointed and devastated by this latest turn of sorry events. “I am disappointed” said one member of the public. “That’s nothing “ said his close personal friend “I’m distraught” (in joke for all you avid readers there – Ed). Team Cyrano are in the middle of one of their worst sets for some time, with other members failing to perform by falling off their drum stool, peaking way too early in the opening number and in one case failing to provide any evidence of drug taking.
Which reminds me; on a serious and poignant note, can we once again suggest that perhaps if our so called 'British Rock Stars' were to imbibe one tenth of the barbiturates and chemical cocktails seemingly and allegedly rammed down the throat of your average tri-athlete on a daily basis then UK music might once more rule the roost? Just a thought, obviously, and drugs are just bad, OK? Especially when purchased off Bongo Pete!
Before I take my leave, let's all have a group hug and take a moment to get into 'the moment' and ponder upon something my old Mum used to say. To this day, I can still see her mouthing these words through the reinforced security glass on visiting days -
" If it's a choice between being brilliant and being nice, be nice. And if you don't have the choice (and believe me, you don't ) be nice, because you don't have to be brilliant to be nice" - that's nice isn't it?


Blam is owned and produced by The Forum. We are poor starving musicians and artists who don't even have a garret so there is very little point in coming after us for money just because we accused you of being a donkey basher, but if you are really intent on litigation, then you sue us via
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common, Fonthill, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8YU
But nine times out of ten I wouldn't bother because our lawyers, Shyster, Rippemhoff & Felch are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. It has come to our attention that our attentions are not appreciated by some of you who have been paying attention to the attention we have been giving you, and that this attention has resulted in some tension. In particular, we would like to once again apologise to the member of staff who does NOT bear any resemblance whatsoever to Kenny Everett. The person who said that he did has been sacked, as has the person who hired him to say that he did. In future, the person who shall remain nameless (The Boy Lawrence) can rest assured that no magazine with which we are connected will ever again engage in spurious and wholly true allegations about his similarity or otherwise to the erstwhile DJ-cum-poove. This magazine occasionally contains swearing, which is a fucking disgrace if you ask me.

Comedy Forum

Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month. This month's being Thursday 2nd

FOUR TOP CLASS ACTS, THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EVERY MONTH, ONLY FIVE POUNDS,
NEW LUXURIOUS TOILET FACILITIES.
Well....possibly discounting the last one, this is exactly what makes Comedy Forum such a cracking night out, it's also the comedy club that our local pop star showbiz pals choose to come to, no name - no pack-drill, but they're very 'keen' to break the 'States ! Anyhoo, back to the matter in hand, after last months jam-packed show, Wolff, our very own tame Goth-on-the-Door promises to bring his personal supply of Vaseline in to 'help' comedy goers through our narrow portal. God Bless him!
SULLY O' SULLIVAN is a Kiwi comic of some renown, having his own top rated show on New Zealand TV, and is possibly, and we need to verify this, the only New Zealander who DID NOT appear in LORD OF THE RINGS! Perhaps he'll correct me on that one on the night.
Also appearing tonight will be DAVID WARD, GRIFF GRIFFITHS and STEEL WALLIS . Get here early to grab a comfy seat, not too near the scary stage, and wallow in some top ambient sounds, have a laugh and drink beer.......lots of it...just don't use the toilet!



Friday 10th

Formed in early 2003, London quintet Days In December have caused a serious stir all across the UK. The product of a varied pool of influences, Days In December (vocalist Daniel Leigh, bassist Robert Turnbridge, guitarists Phil Kinman and Ian Reeves, and drummer Frankie Torpey) specialise in soaring vocal lines and frantic guitar work, straddling the worlds of melody and aggression with a confidence and ability that belies their youth.
Debut single 'Comfort In Surrounding Space' racked up impressive sales, its irresistible tunefulness and touches of the dark side attracting fans from all possible rock persuasions Brand new E.P 'Countless Hours Making Waves' features four stunning tracks, each of which showcasing just how special this band really is. Dynamic, intelligent, uncompromising, and gorgeously melodic.
Originally consisting of Josh drums, Zach guitar, Brandon vocals, and Chad bass DEAD POETIC
adding an additional member, guitarist Todd Osborn has not only pushed them creatively, but improved the depth of their sound as well. The band previously being penned in the hardcore genre is now breaking free with a true defining of their sound: full-blown, guitar-driven rock masterpieces.
"We've never felt comfortable anywhere in the 'hardcore' genre," Rike says. "It was more of a genre people threw us into based on our record label and the shows we played. We're all lovers of good, heavy rock-n-roll. We grew up on Nirvana, Helmet and Green Day. We have no desire to be labeled anything other than hard rock-n-roll."

At long last, it's the welcome return to the "Sorry girls, they're all married" photo caption of the month. THE HURT PROCESS are currently a five piece, following the departure of Mark, one of their vocalists. Quite which one he is pictured left I don't know, and as they're all as faceless as each other... who cares! The departure of Mark whilst in San Diego was accompanied by the abrupt resignation of their tour soundguy, none other than our very own Boy Lawrence. The reason for his exit being due to the fact that our American cousins have always objected to his video show in the Eighties, finding his starlet character, Cupid Stunt and Bee Gees impersonations particularly offensive! Back in the real world...Combining a love of hardcore, emo and pop; A raging, schizophrenic blend of pitch-perfect vocal melodies, brutal breakdowns and killer pop hooks, The Hurt Process are set to turn the tables on the hardcore scene's sometimes staid conventions.


plus Fireapple Red
Saturday 11th

THE FILAMENTS play aggressive, horn backed punk rock. Forming 4 years ago, they released their debut album "Skull and Trombones" in 2001 on New Blood Records, it was hailed as one of the most exciting new releases to come out of the UK punk rock scene. Since then their reputation across Europe has grown
Tours with THE CASUALTIES, DEADLINE, THE BUSINESS, and ROGER MIRET AND THE DISASTERS followed. THE FILAMENTS have been gaining a growing reputation for their immense live shows in the UK, and even more so on the European mainland where they have been constantly playing festivals and headline shows.
THE FILAMENTS now release their second album "…What's Next", for Household Name Records. The new album shows a greater depth in the bands song writing; harder punk with a wide range of influences including Dub, Metal and Psychobilly. This eagerly awaited second album should see THE FILAMENTS taking their rightful place alongside modern punk (anti)-heroes THE CASUALTIES, ANTI-FLAG and LEFTOVER CRACK. Fast and furious no-nonsense punk rock with a ripping brass section from Essex : THE FILAMENTS perfectly fill the gap between RANCID's seminal tune packed album "Let's Go!" and CONFLICT's political challenge on "The Ungovernable Force".


Thursday 16th

Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper met at school in West London, and, influenced at first by the late 50s skiffle boom they put together a jug-band called the Gin Bottle Four. Next the pair switched to blues, folk and bluegrass music - getting into blues legend Leadbelly and traditional folk performers such as Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. Originally called the Strawberry Hill Boys (in Twickenham), the Strawbs history reads like a veritable who's who of the Folk and Rock world. Past members include: folk legend, the late Sandy Denny, Led Zep's John Paul Jones and Nick Drake's cellist Claire Deniz. But it was when ex-Bowie keyboardist, the be-caped, drinkin' for England, King Arthur On Ice spectacular, pre Yes, keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman joined them in 1970 that the Strawbs sidelined their whimsical sub Fairport folkisms, and succumbed to the lure of that there new fangled elecktrickery and turned the amps up! The new band then travelled round the country on a package tour with Roy Harper, and started to get excellent reviews in the music press. Rick was with the band for little over 15 months, a period which had seen the Strawbs catapulted from the folk clubs to stardom, concert halls and electronic music. From The Witchwood is highly regarded by many as landmark in "prog" music. Moving on to 1973 saw "Part Of The Union", an atypical Strawbs song reach the number 2 slot in the UK singles chart, held off the summit by Sweet's "Blockbuster" and Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize". Finally calling it a day in 1974, the lads have reformed and split up many times. Only after 30 years have Dave Cousins, Dave Lambert and Chas Cronk (replacingBrian Willoughby) got together to tour as the Acoustic Strawbs. Well worth checking out, and witnessing a part of rock's rich heritage.


Johnny Truant
Salem
Die So Fluid
Friday 17th

Initially compared to CONVERGE and the DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, impossibly skinny Brighton-based herberts Johnny Truant take their name from a character in Mark Z. Danielewski's obtuse , terrifying and quite frankly shite novel, 'House Of Leaves'. The parallels are obvious (discounting the shite reference), because their sound shares that book's sense of adventure and its utter contempt for conformity.

<209>
Saturday 18th

<209> are a five piece from Sarf London. They play metal, rock or rap depending on who you talk to and whichever magazine you read.
KERRANG: “Perfectly Executed”, “Face-rippingly obnoxious”, “Put a spin on the downtuned grooveprint”
ORGAN MAGAZINE: “Soul Sonic Force for Pantera fans, Overlord X meets Lockdown or Cynical Smile”


The Holiday Plan
No Hope in New Jersey
McQueen
Saturday 25th

Three-word name; check. Singer with a high, delicate voice; check. Sparse, uplifting melodies with an undercurrent of gloom; check. The Holiday Plan are emo innit? Oh yeah, in excelsis; one glance at the CD sleeve credits shows that, with Thursday/Taking Back Sunday producer Tim Gilles manning the knobs they could be nothing but. Crucially though, Gilles has teased the best out of this teenaged quartet, making them sound as though they have the wisdom of ages within them, and when Matt Rider allows his voice to drop an octave - as on 'Every Day's Winter' - he sounds more like Minor Threat's Ian MacKaye, and the rest of the band fall into line. The Holiday Plan are emo, but not as we know it; nu-emo anyone?
Touted by the NME as the new Hundred Reasons, Matt, Blue, Gary, Daniel like powerful, hook-laden songs with energy and enthusiasm. Four young friends that make music that they like to listen to, whilst trying to have as much fun as they can doing it. Being quite shouty sometimes, some have mentioned Minor Threat or Sunny Day Real Estate. It's post hardcore, and post punk, and a bit bleedin' good at that!


Julian Cope

A Forum/Trinity Promotion
at TRINITY THEATRE
Sunday 3rd October

Every so 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 operations.
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


The Stable
Every Monday

Hurrah! and huzzah! Yes, we know you've missed it, it's back, it's bad and this time it has a personal problem!! After a hiatus of of nearly two months the Stable, now in it's fourth incarnation, is back to titillate, thrill and generally freshen up the rather crusty, grey pants of a Monday night like an industrial strength spraying of Fabreeze!
Each Monday, you may recall, we have three (count 'em) bands who are part of the 70 strong Stable IV, every man-Jack of them a veritable undiscovered bottomless pit of pure talent! At the end of the evening, you, the audience are requested to vote for your favourite two bands of the evening. These votes are then posted onto the Stable scores league chart, otherwise known as.....the rather imaginative soubriquet of The Scores on The Doors. At the end of Round One when all of the bands have played, the 18 bands that have procured the most votes then proceed to Round Two, whereby the process is repeated as before, resulting in the Top Six bands who will eventually perform in THE FANS' CHOICE GRAND FINAL next July/August. Simple as that really!
The inaugural show of Stable IV will be on Monday 6th Sept.
9-VOLT are, as I must have said a million times before, no strangers to the Forum. Featuring "tender yeared" - see website, or should that be tender-eared frontman Mr Christopher Hoad of this parish who certainly knows how to rock! Providing the missing link between Bush, Incubus and the mighty Purple, 9-Volt have more zing than putting your tongue on the contacts of a freshly unwrapped battery.
Formed from the late lamented ashes of Six Stage Suicide, Sittingbourne power-trio INSIDE THE MIND OF HENRY HOLMES (guitarist Marf, bassist Rob and drummer Darren) have powerful, intelligently crafted tunes that are a contrasting series of swift, sharp, stop-start emo headbutts, with subtle flavours of Slinty math-rock dynamics hiding under the post-hardcore frontage and gravelly, twisted vocals. Combining rugged aggression with angular experimentation, they set up a ferocious wall of noise.The stripping down of the band to its three basic elements has opened up the opportunity to introduce more dynamics, with the raw, darker side being complimented by more subtle moments.THE QUIET ONES, (or should that be The Quietones?) hail from Brighton or Crowborough depending upon which press release you read. A three piece consisting of jangle meister Mike Wilton, bassist Andy (The Rev) Vickery and skinbeater Robin O'Keefe, the Quiet Ones are a power trio with a Who/Byrds fetish, which in my book ain't a bad thing.
FRAY have had a bit of a revamp since last they played in the Stable, out goes vocalist Big Si, in comes Antipodean Big Shem (pictured below wondering why his Pot Noodle is taking so long in the studio microwave). An exciting great band and a great bunch of lads 'n' all, with their Tool, RATM and Soundgarden like noize.
Influenced by a vast amount of contemporary emotional rock and post hardcore bands SHARDS OF GLASS are: guitarist Adam Warburton, bassist Joe Seal, drummer Martin Taylor and singer/guitarist Luke Phillips . Their debut EP, produced by ex-Vibrator Pat Collier has been described thus, "A mixture of fast interlocking guitar riffs and an aggressive edge to soft melodies make Shards of Glass what they are; the gutter dwelling bass throws shapes and the guitar hammers out metal / punk shadows, whilst the helium powered lead vocals are simply quite astounding. Great melodics and the roughly hewn sounds add up to something quite inspiring"
SUCKA
Sucka are a fast paced three-piece punk band who exploded from the local scene of Aldershot (Hundred Reasons, Vex Red, Reuben) in late 2001. Consisting of brothers Craig (20) and Ashley (16) on Guitar and Drums and newcomer Ben (18) on Bass, the lads have a rather tedious biography on their website and regrettably NO PICTURES! The last few months have seen them play with the UK Subs, Caffeine, Mr. Zippy, and Adequate seven.The bands musical influence ranges from Pennywise, to the Sex Pistols and the Ramones - a heavy sound with stripped down raw guitar and melodic singing, their energetic live performances have given the band encouraging reviews from local papers, fanzines and websites. The band have recently finished work on their second E.P, entitled 'The course of adolescent youth’ which is available to download from their website www.sucka-uk.com.

BLACK BOX AMNESIA are a rock band based in Surrey consisting of: Rob Taylor, Dan Blend, Wez Datchler and Sean Dobyn. Citing their influences as including Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zep and At the Drive In. So there you have it!
Coming from East Grinstead are EPISODE who "... express talent way beyond their years, with some clever and catchy songs. Soaring choruses and punk influenced riffs combined with an original vocal make very pleasing listening..." Formed in late 2003, the lads have created a fresh new sound in rock music. Mixing elements of grunge, punk, hard rock and 80s electropop, they create a sound that is familiar, yet strangely exciting. If you think THAT'S exciting then you should see MY nipples! Which brings me rather niftily on to GLAUCOMA. Named after the bassist's medical condition which necessitates him vigorously applying kohl to his eyes, and wearing sunglasses after dark! (Doesn't he look rather like the singer from Keane? - Ed) The lads got together in Feb 2000 when according to their website, "Mike Munroe, Benn Mitchell and Sam Norris decided to follow in their idols' footsteps and make music. So the band started out, unusual practices took place in Sam's house, with an electric guitar as a bass, boxes and chairs for drums and songs which they made up as they went along. (Indeed due to intensive rehearsal, the lads now use a pair of George III Heppelwhite period mahogany shieldback armchairs in lieu of the bogstandard 10 piece Tama drumkit - Ed) To complete their 'rock star' image the band needed a name. That's what dictionaries are for. Pick any random word and hey presto, you have a band name. 'Glaucoma' was born".
The lads have recently headed back into the studio to record the 'Blood Of Tears' ep which includes the heavier tracks 'Your Fatality', 'Painless Methods' and an acoustic version of 'The Path Of Society's Stones'. All three songs can be listened to and downloaded on www.purevolume.com/glaucoma .
Originally starting as an Oasis/Stereophonics covers band (Oh my good God! - hand slapping on forehead Ed) AMANACER hail from Orpington and indeed, Simon the singer, according to their website, has a yearning to bathe in Liam Gallagher's 'lurve juice' (Oh my good God! - hand repeatedly slapping on forehead Ed) From what I can glean from their over-detailed biog on their website, the lads have played quite a few nifty gigs in their short career; reaching the finals of Emergenza at Astoria 2, the Mean Fiddler and the Borderline. The Borderline being I believe, very similar to our very own Holy Toilet, but not as well known! see www.amanacer.co.uk
MY DEAREST ENEMY are a post hardcore four piece from Catsfield near Battle. With influences such as Metallica, Glassjaw, FFAF, RATM and Thursday, their's is a horny backed monstrous beast of a sound, taking no prisoners live! All this and the bassist plays a fretless!
Formerly called Hellbound, local lads, Dan Sankey and Luke Cutmore had a sudden change of heart of being lumped with this nom de rock, and hastily changed it to ...PROPAIN.. get it? A cunning play on words, meaning for, or advocating pain, and as in the gas!. Along with bassist Harvey and drummer Alex, this fourpiece play their brand of METAL on full whack and probably wear denim and leather. As you may have gleaned, the band have no website and provided me with no jpgs or biography. Not a lot to ask really, hence forcing me to make it all up, as I have all the bands playing in the Stable this month! Mind you, I'd rather do that than trawl through 'carefully' written biogs that list exactly what the band members were wearing/eating when they first decided to pick up a guitar in the first place on that fateful day, quarter past two, Thursday March 16th back in 2002, with a mackerel sky indicating that although the day may start sunny, a bit of precipitation was likely later in the day...............with strong winds to follow....
Editors Note: I'm afraid that our Stable correspondent has suddenly been taken with a fit of the vapours. Hopefully he'll be back on board for next month, meanwhile, brace yourself for a fantabulous series of Stable shows this month, starting Monday 6th September.


Mr. Mills' Monthly Moan

NO COMPLY . CRAB IN A CAB
Saturday 21st August 2004


What a difference a year makes. Not long ago, this gig would be packed to the rafters, with sweat dripping from the walls, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that everyone's turned up for tomorrow night's Acoustic Lounge a day early. To behold a weekend ska punk gig with just 80 or 90 people, all sat on the floor, not so much in a skanking mood as a skunked one, is frankly depressing. As Crab In A Cab's mainman Jack quite rightly points out "It's like a living room in here" and all we're missing is a telly.
Is Ska Punk dead? Well, it makes me wonder. Nobody really gives a toss anymore now that Ye Wiles have fucked off and considering that the kids have now got pubes and can drink legally, only the hardcore or steadfastly bullish remain to keep it alive with a misguided sense of loyalty as the last bastion of the desperate. Regardless of whoever else visited to keep a vague interest going, and despite bands like One Track Mind and At The Deli being immeasurably more talented, CIAC have been the 'public face' of the Forum's Ska-Punk/Ska-Core/Whatever-ska-genre-you-want-to-call-it scene for the past year, whether we like it or not. Of course, it's mainly due to their beleaguered schoolmates because anyone else would see through the bullshit and realise what a unpardonably poor band they really are, but they've had an impact and that has to be acknowledged if not respected. CIAC managed to get people talking and that's what it's all about. They achieved a reaction when they played, not just because their friends were too naïve to know any better, but because such gigs were events that kept the excitement and vitality of the scene buoyant.
Even those who've never seen them seem to have an opinion of CIAC. Earlier this year they were a band people loved to hate and there were any number of valid reasons to do so; their general musical awfulness and pointlessly inflated egos being just two. Mainly, the issue seemed to be that they were arrogant narcissistic phonies and the Fans Choice Final last month only served to reinforce that image as they went through the motions of Ska Punk-by-numbers, but at least their rented crowd made a half-hearted effort. Tonight, they play to a cold indifferent audience that reluctantly gets up off the floor to await instructions that never come. It doesn't skank. It doesn't mosh. It doesn't dance or show it's appreciation in any way other than politely breaking the silence with sycophantically insincere murmurs and twitching occasionally like a sleeping dog. Not a good sign.
CIAC's music is bass-heavy, ballsy, brassy stuff alright, but it's also clichéd, tired, cheap, vulgar and vile. Their tunes are dumb and brainless, but not in the street-spirit of punk, just idiotic because no discernible qualities appear to be present. Sure, they try to be intense, noisy and not too serious, but when stripped of enthusiastic support, it's easier to assess the intrinsic value of what they produce and it's pretty worthless. Captain Jack, all ragged and oily-looking, is vocally bland and monotonous. There's nothing wrong with being a frontman that can't sing, as some of the greatest frontmen in the world can't carry a tune, but a frontman that has no presence or charisma to make up for it is a sorry sight indeed. With lacklustre delivery and piss-weak ability, he shouts and rants tunelessly, unsure about how to encourage reactions or inject enthusiasm as he pads up and down wondering why nobody's moving. He calls for us to fill the empty dance floor, but there's simply no point. Nothing can be salvaged from the wreck of this performance, as the crowd goes nowhere with them, seeing them for the fake pantomime that they actually are and the really sad thing is, they still seem to think that they're doing OK and don't notice how badly they're being received at the back.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't an attack on Crab In A Cab personally, as the visitors to their website seem to do a pretty good job of that without my input. I'm sure they're all delightful people who always buy flowers for their mums and are a joy to know, but as a band they're fucking abysmal and as representatives of a local scene, they're an insult to the memory of a genre that until they arrived had balls and class. To watch CIAC is to watch Ska Punk go through it's death throes; incontinent, dribbling and gasping for air, tainting the image of something that was once wonderful. It makes you wish they wouldn't spoil it, because when it's this bad, you ponder the significance of the whole genre. Sorta like wanting Elvis to have been killed in the army so that he could be remembered in a nice way rather than as a bloated deluded parody of his former self.
Ska Punk isn't dead, but it isn't bowing out gracefully and deserves to retire with respect and dignity. Let the big boys carry on holding the flame, keeping it alive by all means, because then we could remember Tunbridge Wells Ska Punk in a nice way too. But enough's enough. Let's have no more bad jokes like CIAC, because to leave the music in their hands is tantamount to getting the coffin ready.
The last minute cancellation of The Blow Ups leaves a lengthy gap and an even surlier mood for Plymouth's No Comply. "Mornin' class! Story time indeed!" announces saxophonist Matt sarcastically, and today's lesson children, is how to batter the fuck out of your instruments in front of a crowd that doesn't react but still sound, well, bloody marvellous. Two years on from their debut EP, with a solid 18 months of touring and a new album under their belts, No Comply are still as eager and excitable as kids in a theme park Kelly and her happy gang of shiny sassy lunatics are natural stars who truly love what they're doing and that's inspiring to watch, even though they get very little in return for their efforts.
Whether the decision to steer their sound in a more metallic direction is a shrewd manoeuvre to avoid being suckered into a stale ska-core pigeonhole, we can only guess at, but results speak for themselves and speak with pride. Big fuck-off powerhouse guitars, duelling against mad bursts of horn and a frontwoman with not just power and grit in her voice, but confident stagecraft and the classy ability to gob greenies with accuracy and timing. And the cute bum is a useful bonus.
"So what's going on?" they enquire. "Fuck all!" is the flippant reply from the middle but it'll take more than that to put them off. It says a lot for a crowd when a man on crutches with a broken leg is the most animated person among them, but No Comply, to their eternal credit, still play with energy, vibrancy and sheer manic intensity. They could gig in an empty room and still leave mini-lakes of sweat on the stage, because they'll get off on tunes like "A Waking Dream" and "Close To Hell & Burning" even if nobody else does.
No Comply are just, er, 'rad', as I believe high-quality musical troupes are described in current youth parlance. Whether they're 'the future of British punk' that some would want us to believe remains to be seen, but they're certainly helping to make it seem seductive again.

Paul Mills


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'?


CONTACT US
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
www.twforum.co.uk
You can also email us, so do that to:
twforum@globalnet.co.uk
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 September edition of BLAM! - All queries regarding libel actions should be directed to them

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