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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Time For Action: Northwich Plaza - Live Review


Time For Action
Northwich Plaza
Sunday 9th December
 The last of three gigs tonight in a rainy Northwich sees Dermo’s latest incarnation Time For Action. If you’re expecting Northside think again. The man himself hasn’t changed but his sound has! Wayne Carey is on hand to check em out!
 Last time I met Dermo was back in the mid-nineties, where he was frequently seen out and about in Greater Manchester, everywhere and anywhere with his Northside posse. But that’s another story…. He’s back with a bang with Neil and Keith Pleasant on drum and bass duties, joined by Simon Burton on guitars. This venue is supposed to be haunted and the lighting tonight does give it that creepy look. Dermo and band hit the stage and launch into debut album opener Time For Action which is a down and out shout out loud punk single. Even when the mic goes off mid-song this doesn’t phase the man himself and he uses his initiative and grabs the guitarists mic to finish off the song. He likes to make the quips and banter in between songs, but if you’re not a Manc you wouldn’t get it.
Bone Idol has that characteristic Manc snarl going on which will never change, however, the music has a raw punk energy unlike the baggy tunes of Northside. The songs are infectious in a punk-pop way and the bass player is really getting into it especially on Uniform which takes on the theme of not conforming and fighting the man. Dermo and co definitely have a lot of old punk influences going in here like The Damned, Buzzcocks, Slaughter & The Dogs and Stiff Little Fingers. Dermo keeps that indie element alive on songs such as Never Alone which has that New Order feel going on and could be a future anthem. Your Two Faces is a nice punk tune with its straightforward shouts of ‘backstabber’ for the chorus. No explanation here then. The set builds with each song as the crowd get into it and the set ends with a great Leave Me Alone. Dermo may be onto something here as he’s changed direction totally and could easily win over the punk crowds with this stuff.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Pagans S.O.H: Northwich Plaza - Live review

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Pagans S.O.H.
Festive Festival
Northwich Plaza
Saturday 8th December
I’m back for day two to check out a band I last saw at The Castle in the Northern Quarter where members of a certain band also were in attendance, and have since been quoted as saying ‘Pagans S.O.H. are one of the best live bands around’. High praise indeed from probably one of THE best live bands around. I totally agree and couldn’t miss them on my own turf! The Brummie madmen have landed!
Marco is one of those frontmen that has it all. A proper funny bastard, proper animated with a don’t give a shit attitude. They don’t even have a planned setlist! Entering the bingo number wall bedecked stage they launch into a funk rock infused number Pagan Pilgrimage,  Marco’s rapping flowing with all the sounds going on around him. It’s like improvisation which can be interesting at the best of times, especially when he does a parody of ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ mid-song. You can’t really put them into a category. They have a mix of everything going on. I could say Funkadelic, a bit of grime, Rage Against The Machine, Chili’s, even Prince. They just ooze funk rock and Marco is just a character and half, Tracks like I Got Soul and the following tune Lazy N****, which is toned down due to kids being in the audience. It’s the way his Brum tinged rapping style goes into falsetto and then back down to Ice T Bodycount style grunting which makes this different. He flies around the stage, rolls around the floor, bounds back up and just seems to freestyle his way through the whole set with his magnetic presence and wit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the band as a full unit, just that you can’t keep your eyes off Marco wondering what he’s gonna do next! They release their debut single soon with a great video filmed in Portmeirion. Watch this space.
Photo credit: Sal_GigJunkie, Use of this images in any form without permission is illegal.

Argh Kid: Northwich Plaza - Live review

Argh Kid
Festive Festival
Northwich Plaza
Friday 7th December 2018
Northwich is fast becoming a place to be on the music scene again,  after Tim Burgess and friends took over the town earlier in May with a stellar line up of quality bands. This time The Plaza has been taken over for a festive knees up including some quality up and coming bands to show off their skills. Wayne Carey is here to check out the hype of Longsight street poet / wordsmith Argh Kid (aka David Scott).
Being the Mancunian abroad I travel up the road to check out Argh Kid who is making waves on the music scene with his raw street tales layered from behind by his tight backing band. He enters the stage with none of that Manc cockiness we have all witnessed and is quite humble as the band kick off with a funky intro reminiscent of The Happy Mondays partying with The Dust Junkies. You just feel he’s gonna burst into something by his mannerism but he keeps quiet until he launches into Tearaways, a street tale about smoking weed with friends and doing what teenagers do in the backstreets of  Manchester, always on the edge, robbing cars. Takes me right back to the days of going to gigs at the International 2. The band then launch into the next track and if I close my eyes I might as well be at a Fall gig when they aired Blindness live (I speak to David and he confirms this). It’s fuckin brilliant and David’s lyrics are harrowing as he describes the life of a woman beating drunk repeating the same mantra of ‘kicking her to the kerb’ With that rumbling bass and tribal drumming it just hits you hard. He’s good. Never Drinking Again tells the funny as fuck story of that same old same old never drinking again and he ends the poem with ‘until 10am’ which gets a cracking round of applause. This Is England describes the state of our country and how the working class are still be shafted under this Tory government, and also highlights the plight of the NHS which as I know from a personal point of view is on it’s knees. It’s only a short set but he ends with the brilliant Frank which reminds me of so many people I knew growing up on Langley Estate, working cash in hand and pissing it up the wind on Coke and booze. This guy seriously comes from the street and is a spokesman for the downtrodden as he’s lived it. Think Nicky Lockett (Dust Junkies), Plan B with the soul singer samples going on, even a Manc Mike Skinner from The Streets. Awesome stuff from the heart and I can’t wait until his album is completed. He’s gonna make waves. A unique guy with a great backing band to boot.

Photo credit: Sal_GigJunkie, Use of this images in any form without permission is illegal.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Music Is A Weapon: MCR "Punks For West Papua" - Alphabet Brewing Company, Manchester - Saturday 2nd December - Live Review

This is a late review due to me being busy being ill with a damn virus I'm only just shaking off. And it needs to be out there.....

MCR Punks For West Papua : MFU (Modern Family Unit), Witch Fever, Membranes and The Blinders.

Some gigs are held for good reasons and this was one them. Punks For West Papua if you don't already know originated in 2016 when Jody Bartolo from Australian punk band decided to make people aware of the persecution of the landowners in West Papua who are being slaughtered by greedy source extractors for their own monetary gains. This gig celebrates the launch of the Manchester chapter co-founded by Gary Hilton of Gas Music. It's all about making people aware of the mass slaughter going on which is hidden from the media and to make us all take some kind of action to stop it. Tiny steps and all that.

To the music then.

This is the first gig I've been to in an actual brewery and it's quite surreal. The stage has a backdrop of canned beers and distillery equipment. They are actually serving beer from a bar to the right of me and I get right into the Hoi Polloi lager. First band up are MFU. They are gripping from the start with their power pop punk mix of political tunes, taking the piss out of Trump, and clever lyrics delivered by the enigmatic Gary Hilton. There's a big Talking Heads vibe going in there, tinged with shades of New Order. There's a bit of Krautrock twiddling thrown into the mix which gives them a sinister edge to what could be bangers in the future.Steve and Andy provide the rhythm to good effect and the tunes hold my interest for the full set. Interesting stuff.

Witch Fever are glorious punk grunge I've not witnessed for years. Amy is a tiny figure in person but comes across like a giant with her vocals. They sound like a well oiled crunching engine with that rock power that harks back to L7. I would say Hole or Babes In Toyland but that's cliche and what most blokes would write about girls in bands. I say L7 as I reckon some of their songs could be big enough to hit that stage. They air a track with the chant 'off with his head' and I get a bit scared. This is grunge at it's best and we WILL hear a lot from these four firebrands.

For those who don't know, Membranes are John Robb, Nick Brown, Peter Byrchmore and Rob Haynes. When they were first around they played disjointed raw punk songs that stood out from the norm and reached cult status. Things are about to change. This new direction has that similar sound, however there is a prog element going on with that tribal sound. They kick off the set with the usual The Universe Explodes, John prowling on stage like a man possessed with that wild stare that could make John Lydon back down in a staring competition. A great tune which sets the tone for the explosion of Do The Supernova which has me and Emily Oldfield dancing (well sort of!) like maniacs. The band have that power to keep you hooked especially when they air In The Graveyard. I'm waiting for their new album with anticipation....

I've seen The Blinders live about nine times now, and they just get better and better. It's getting hard to write about them now as I've said it all but I can only try! The opener of Gotta Get Through just drags you by the hair as Tom is compelling as ever. That dirty swamp rock sound makes them stand apart from the rest and you can understand why us folks at Louder Than War voted them 2nd best album of the year. They play most of that album tonight and it's stunning as ever. Charlie is suited and booted, and as I've said before he commands that bass with his Nick Cave-ish stage presence, especially during I Can't Breath Blues. Matt completes the picture with his drumming skills and it's great the way he makes them sound disjointed on purpose to mess with your head as on L'Etat C'Est Moi. They even give us an airing of Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) to end the show which is a first for the lads. Another great set from the Doncaster lads who have been embraced by the Manchester music scene. You won't see them in a venue this size any time soon. Or will you.......

 A big thank you to Georgina Robinson and Jo Lowes for providing a top night and bringing together lots of like minded people. Everyone worked hard to make this a belter to remember.

Photo credits: Neil Winward Photgraphy. Copyrighted.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Alan Triggs: Hey Mister - new song and video.

I've come across this little gem today which is rather good. Check it out and see what you think. Below is a small biography written by the man himself and a decent video to boot!

From the age of 13 when his Uncle placed a guitar in his lap at a family party, Alan was hooked. He managed to convince his Granddad to part with his 30 year old acoustic guitar and promised it wasn't just a phase by playing ‘Half the World Away’ by his favourite childhood band, Oasis.
Coming from the working class town of Birkenhead, Wirral, his Dad was often non existent being an ex-heroin addict and having spent numerous spells in prison. 
This made him even more determined not to turn out like his Dad and to make his long suffering Mum proud of the eldest of her 3 children. Alan continued to hone his craft as a guitar player and later at the age of 18 found he had a natural tone and ability to sing. From the age of 18-24 he was a bedroom musician, lacking the confidence to ever play in public. 
This all changed when he accepted a random request from an old school friend to sing at her wedding. This sparked something inside and he set about the start of a music career. 
He then spent several years earning his chops as a covers artist playing in local pubs/bars/restaurants and the occasional wedding. 

A chance meeting with Andy McCluskey from OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark) came about when Alan was working on Andy’s car at a local garage he worked at when he asked Andy for any advice to which he replied “start writing your own songs”
Six months later he self released his debut EP and gave a copy to Mr McCluskey. Days later Andy rang him to offer his compliments on the songs and urged him to keep writing. 

The lead track on his debut EP ‘Algy’ was written about his Dad’s struggles as an unemployed alcoholic. This catchy and tragically relatable bittersweet song quickly became a fan favourite with lines like “Wakes up in the P.M, Carpe Diem” and “Fiver on the leccy, beer for his brekky” - The song was released in  December 2015 along with a hard hitting and emotional music video that starred his real Dad “Sipping on Tennents Super, smoking roll ups to the bone”

In the last few years he has become a familiar name in the Northwest music scene, with an ever growing fanbase gaining internet and commercial radio plays, local TV performances on the “Made in Liverpool” channel playing numerous festival slots and supporting the likes of Ocean Colour Scene’s Andy Bennett and Inspiral Carpets front man Tom Hingley. He recently played an exclusive in-store gig for Pretty Green in their Liverpool store.
He has just recorded his next batch of songs in the world famous Motor Museum Recording Studio in Liverpool and is about to release his much anticipated single and music video “Hey Mister”

Drawing influence from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Noel Gallagher and Richard Ashcroft.

The raw honesty, humour and empathy within his songs create finely balanced personal portraits of working class lives, told with toughness, wit and common wisdom. He captures the real issues the modern working class face in todays society, creating the soundtrack to our troubles.


Cold Water Swimmers: Live at Aatma - Manchester Friday 22nd November

Before I go on, these are words from the band as an introduction:

You begin to hyperventilate within seconds your heart begins to race and your blood pressure spikes.... Cold Water Swimmers tell stories of life and death and all the stuff in between, formed when the dark nights of February 2018 seemed never-ending. A simple formula of great songs, primal beats and raw emotion, call it punk if you like but in reality, it’s the sound of what happens when you have no choice but to keep on keeping on.

The three-piece fronted by guitarist and songwriter Chris Bridgett (dub sex, rude club, The G-O-D) along with Carrie Lawson on bass guitar and Selina Clements Woolnough on drums deliver a live performance soaked to the bone with rock n roll attitude and defiance.

This is more of a photo review courtesy of Neil Winward who I bumped into on the night of this half set I watched. I was originally out to review Shame for LTW (review here: 
https://louderthanwar.com/shame-02-ritz-manchester-live-review/) but left early disappointed to try and catch some of the set from the excellent Cold Water Swimmers who I first witnessed at The Castle not long ago. What I actually do catch sparkles with energy and passion which can only come from Manc music stalwart Chris Bridgett and his new sidekicks Carrie and Selena. Great songwriting and dynamics are involved and you can see the chemistry between them. A very tight trio that stand out from the norm. The years of experience shows through from all angles and Chris actually tells me this is the best band he's been in. I'll agree with that one then! The forefront of the next wave. I can't say more as I only caught about four numbers, however I highly recommend you catch them live! Enjoy the pictures!

NOTE! These photos are all under copyright!!



Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Blanketman: Sick & Tired / Flip It Over - new single

Another Manchester band that are starting to makes waves has arrived and they’ve been working hard. Three supports slots with Brix & The Extricated, Fall legend Steve Hanley joining them on stage and numerous gigs around the city. Wayne Carey says welcome to Blanketman.
I first caught these guys at The Ruby Lounge supporting Brix and had a good feeling they would be sticking around due to their vibrant energy and a frontman bizarrely looking like the son of Ian Curtis, his guitar almost touching his chin whilst he battered it. This new song Sick & Tired moves on from their pretty frantic debut The Long Arm Of Entrapment. It starts with a nice droning guitar sound reminiscent of Galaxie 500. Then the tribal drum sound from Ellie kicks in as do Adam Hoppers lyrics which are probably aimed at power figures he’s angry with. It goes all Velvet Underground in their own style and just builds and builds throughout. It’s dark industrial like post punk with that touch of a psychedelic undertone to make it stand out from the norm. Ones to watch.

Blanketman can be found via Facebook