Monthly Mixtapes: January 2007

My Mixtape
So here goes with a attempted monthly feature (Look even a little graphic, cue game show audience ooooohs and ahhhhs) about what im listening to right now, you never know maybe you’ll discover something you like. Of course not all of these opinions are relevant to the month of January. Hell were not even in January any more, so no dumbass comments please… pretty please!!

Mixtape#1 – Jan 07

1, Cooper Temple Clause – Homo Sapiens … huge chugging fuzz riff
2, The Sunshine Underground – Commercial Breakdown … Brandon Flowers singalikey with catchy melodies
3, Shiny Toy Guns – Le Disko… funky electro beats
4, Ok Go – Don’t Ask Me… Played an awesome gig in Camden Town!
5, 747s – Night and Day … Album opener from this new band
6, DragonForce – Through The Fires And The Flames … Utterly Uplifting Power/Fantasy/Speed Metal, you need to experience this track in its full glory!!
7, The Noisettes – Bridge To Canada … I wish there was, but good track nonetheless
8, The Sword – Iron Swan … QOTSA reminicant classic rock
9, Klaxons – Gravitys Rainbow … Great rockin’ electro/sample tune
10, Cobra Starship – It’s Warmer In The Basement … Panic at the Disco style pop punk
11, Switchfoot – Dirty Second Hands … Mellow classic from american band back on form with new album
12, The Datsuns – Maximum Heartbreak .. Datsuns produce another classic garage rock anthem!
13, Enter Shikari – Sorry Your Not A Winner … Rock, Techno, Hardcore, Pop, Mega Riffage, i mean what more d’ya need?
14, Blood Brothers – Laser, Life … Off the wall vocals on this uber catchy track
15, Monty Are I – Between The Sheets … My guilty pleasure pop punk anthem of the month!

Bullets Under Oxford Street

Bullets & Octane, The Knives @ 100 Club, Oxford Street, London
24th October 2007

For the third time in I’m back in the crowd for another show, satisfying my “slight” obsessive compulsion for live music! Another new venue for me, this time its the turn of the 100 Jazz Club, no jazz inside this evening though muuuhahaha. Its a very small venue with a capacity of about 350, many of whom have stayed at home this evening. A small crowd gathered in this basement deep under oxford street, the design is very rustic, or otherwise know as untouched since the 60’s. The red dated decor goes in line with their historic image and with the walls lined with frames full of jazz legends staring back the iconography of this place is key. The huge pillar in the crowd central is extremely annoying but in a venue this size that mattered less.

The opening band G.U. Medicine shall not eever be uttered again as they were such utter shite. It was truly pitiful, from what I could hear over the mess of guitar grunts, while the cringing formulaic riffs were a disgrace. These guys are probably the worst band I have ever bared witness to, EVER!

The Knives

After partially regaining hearing The Knives did their best to soothe the endured pain with a good mix of hard rock attitude and angst’y vocals. Lead guitarist was a total classic rock cliche with every inch of his jean jacket covered in patches of every notable hard rock band of the past 20 years. His antics, Elvis sunglasses and solo faces were worth the price of admission alone, of course this would all have been in vain if he were crap. I glad to say he was quite handy with his battle scarred axe. His sound is akin to Brian May with some great melodic riffs and cool bluesy solo’s. This twinned with the alternating screams and punk-pop vocals proved that these guys have a future before them.

Bullets & Octane

After the Knives, came the even more deadly, Bullets! Bullets & Octane‘s image is a strange one, from boy band perfect hair of lead guitarist, The half naked heavily tattooed body of the lead singer, surfer dude bassist they have all the southern Californian trademarks down to a tee. What else they have down to a fine art form is the ability to produce huge and heavy sleazy riffs with enough vigor to shake the foundations of oxford street! They played a well balanced set drawn from their 2 albums thus far as well as throwing in a ferocious cover of Billy Idols Rebel Yell. Highlights were Song For The Underdog, the sheer intensity of Save Me Sorrow and the closest thing they are going to get to a classic rock ballad Perfect Bitch.

Bullets & Octane
The energy on stage was soon transmitted to the crowd and in this tiny venue as a small but crazy circle pit erupted. Problem with this was it was a bit slippy, as displayed by the two fat blokes on the bottom of a bundle pile after crashing on their ass’s after a grand total of 5 seconds, oh the comedy! Not to be deterred this gig was full of relentless energy and brash behavior. The show closed with a raging version of My Disease and as lead singer instructed

Dance MotherF**kers, like this is the last song you might ever hear!

most did exactly that & it was carnage! Bullets & Octane are a great live band not only heavy as hell itself, but have song top tunes to back it up!
Bullets & Octane

Are You Happy?

The Get Happy Tour

Bowling For Soup, Bloodhound Gang, Zebrahead @ Brixton Academy, London
22 October 2007

Moving onto the second gig in 2 nights, this time it’s to another Carling academy, this time of the Brixton variety. Myself and the Pop/Punkmeister Pete ventured down the venue only to find there was a points failure at Brixton tube…Great! Now considering Brixton is only on one tube line, this becomes somewhat of a problem! Buses provided the only way in and out and thankfully public transport held up pretty well under the stress of the extremely varied age crowd which assembled for this comedy/rap/pop-punk evening.

Get Happy @ Brixton

Having missed the opening band, Zebrahead were plying their Rap-Punk trade to a highly enthusiastic early doors onlookers. Needless to say it was pretty awful, just noise and muffled musings! One for the hardcore fans (whoever they are…).

Bloodhound Gang are not known for their outstanding musicianship or soul searching lyrics. However they are known for outrageous lyrical content and jackass style live shows, tonight was no exception. A large mobile phone styled projector was showing some of the most hideous scenes committed to video, from extreme fat ass wobbling, to animal fornications and back via more than a few topless shots. Their hits sparked huge singalongs with the crowd chanting “Burn! MotherF***er Burn!”, and something about the discovery channel.

The Bassist had a few hideous party tricks in his armory ready to make grown men wince. After downing 2 pints of London Pride, he threw up about half a pint back into the jug, not content with that, he soon drank up his vomit and continued like it was something normal people would do. Of course I’m not forgetting his antics of attaching a metal chain to his meat & two veg, then attempting to pull a large box across stage, with an extremely large dude on top! Not for the faint hearted let me tell you! This performance was very frat boy style over substance, but what else would you expect from the Bloodhound Gang?

Bowling For Soup

Headlining was the oddball pop-punkers Bowling For Soup. Their performance was based on a simple premise. “Are you Happy? if not why not, Get Happy!” Their quirky squeaky vocals project an air of fun and partying which was missing from earlier bands. Their stream of relentless punk rocking riffs alongside social point and laugh commentary lyrics was what this evening needed. Standout tracks sparked crowd-mania with 1985, The Girl All The Bad Guys Want, Suckerpunch and Emily. Their confidence on stage was aplenty and with on stage banter between the (to put it nicely) rather ‘rotund’ guitarist and lead singer providing more than a few giggles.

More than anything this was a blast from the past and a fun evening. But it has made me realize that either a) I’m getting old or b) my musical tastes have changed…slightly… for the better. My hand’s up for b!!

Oh Yeah!

Ash, The Dead 60’s @ Bristol Academy, Bristol
21st October 2007

For the first time in a long while I ventured out of the realm of the London circuit for a gig. I was away for the weekend visiting Anna sampling the Bristolian Westcountry life of Bridges and Cider. Anna, it’s fair to say, not a big gig goer…So where better to start than tonight! Not to stray too far into unknown territory though, this show was based at one of the numerous Carling Academy’s stretched throughout the land. As with Brixton this is a very cool venue, alot smaller than its London counterpart it has superb view, really intimate yet can attract a sizable crowd! This is most definitely a great place for live music!

Opening the evening were The Dodgems. Their sound is akin to many other northern bands of now, but yet they seemed to have the glimmer of a spark which hopefully, will turn into a fully fledged fire. Their tracks were bouncy and never short of some inventive, catchy riffs. Vocals may have been a bit lacking, but lets hope that these dudes continue to ply their trade and hit the airwaves soon!

So for anyone who has been keeping up to date on all the bands I’ve seen this year via these review, you will obviously know that the next band to grace stage would be the 100th show of 2007 (What? …you didn’t). Taking the accolade of this epic milestone was ska/punk trio The Dead 60’s.

These scousers produced an energetic set of spiky guitar driven pop. When they stuck to that formula like on tracks such as Riot Radio and Bolt of Steel all was great. However, When they decided to drift into psychedelic ska grooves the mind tended to wander somewhat. Saying that one such groove was cut short by a huge guitar blowout, very strange indeed! In fact they were dogged by technical issues with the guitar tech earning his wages being on stage almost as much as the band! A troubled but memorable performance!

To say I’ve seen Ash before is a bit of an understatement with this being the Fifth time, yet this is to only time I’ve been to see one of their own headline tours. This says something about my love for the band so this review is…and I admit fully…totally biased (impartiality is overrated)! Kicking off with material from the latest album Twilight of the Innocents set the theme for the evening. They played many a new track which would have put a dampener on most gigs, but not this one.

Highlights from the new album were power pop of Blacklisted, mega catchy and balladry of End of The World and the atmospheric muse-esque mood-rocker title track Twilights of The Innocents. Aside from newer material, classic early hits were flying left right and centre, from Goldfinger to A Life Less Ordinary not forgetting live rarities Walking Barefoot to Shining Light. In fact they didn’t leave any stone unturned this evening even if one should really not have been touched.

To which I’m referring to is the only blip in the Ash catalogue, the atrocity that is Candy. If is wasn’t sandwiched in between classics Kung-Fu and Jack Names the Planets it really could have been a major disaster. Although lead singer Tim Wheeler noted that Candy was written with their manager when high in Wales, this may go some way to explaining this oddity. The light show tonight wasn’t bad either, a brutal assault on the visual cortex if i may put it so bluntly!

Closing out the show with Burn Baby Burn after a mind blowing 2 and a bit hour set, also running over by a good 15 minutes Ash are in the elite of pop rockers and after 15 years have honed their skills to a fine art and are always fantastic to behold! Long Live Ash!