Reblogged: Aladdinsane (Bowie tribute act) review by Music and Mayhem.

On the Friday just past I went to see a David Bowie Tribute Band called Aladdinsane. Here is the set list: After All Five Years Starman Boys Keep Swinging Golden Years Life On Mars Moonage Daydream Drive In Saturday Look Back In Anger China Girl Queen Bitch Rock N Roll Suicide Diamond Dogs Ashes […]

via Review on Aladdinsane – David Bowie Tribute Band — musicandmayhem

Album Review: Soviet Films – “Cetacean”@sovietfilmsband #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

It’s been over two years since Soviet Films released their debut album, “Victory Songs”. At last they’re back with their second album, “Cetacean” (definition: an aquatic, mainly marine mammal eg a whale or dolphin).

In the past couple of years or so, these guys seem to have been working on a stronger sound. They’ve also had a bit of a band re-shuffle, with Andy now on bass and Lee on guitar.

The album kicks off with a lovely, dynamic instrumental track, “The Flow” – it made me think they’d had a serious change of direction, until the next tune commenced…

“Kraken” brings the mix of brash, occasionally nu-metal style vocals and layered melody that is so reminiscent of the previous record. I’m listening on an afternoon overtaken by a particularly impressive thunderstorm, and it fits the mood perfectly.

Next up is “Barrow, AK”. This song provides a multitude of contrasting sounds which enthral the ears and vocal harmonies galore. I love this band’s penchant for what they describe as random time signatures – that’s not easy to pull off, but to me it sounds excellent.

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“Brace Position” is a bit more of a tough sell, but is guitar rich and has a tight sound. I like the little guitar nuances about half way through the track, but for me the rest of the album demonstrates more complexities which I think suit their sound more.

The penultimate song, “Loomings”, is one of those songs that pleasantly washes over the listener. It has a more mellow feel than the rest of the album, despite the heavier elements of the tune.

Instrumental track “The Ebb” completes the album beautifully and accurately showcases what Soviet Films are all about. It also leaves an impression that there is much more to come.

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With just the right levels of wandering into new territory and staying in a familiar place, I’m looking forward to hearing what they do during the next moves in their journey.

Soviet Films are:

Mud – Vocals/Guitar
Lee – Guitar/Vocals
Peter – Drums/Vocals
Andy – Bass

You can buy the album on Bandcamp or iTunes and follow the band’s goings on using Twitter and Facebook.

Album Review: Hey! Hello! – “Hey! Hello! Too!”@HeyHelloBand

Hey! Hello! is one of the ever prolific Ginger Wildheart’s musical projects. By no means a one trick pony, with this band Ginger focuses on spirited, lively power pop-rock. Their eponymous debut album displayed this perfectly, and they’re now following up with album number two, “Hey! Hello! Too!”, due for release on 23rd September on the Round Records label*.

The band themselves have this to say about their musical offerings…

‘Music is the sound of feelings, and we are all the creators of our own feelings – positive or negative. Hey! Hello! choose to be positive, therefore our music reflects that intention. This is the sound of joy.’

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The album kicks off with “All Around the World”. Catchy from the onset, I have a feeling this song is going to be doing the rounds in my head for quite some time to come…! Feverish energy and rising vocals make this the most rousing, uplifting tune on the album and gets you into the zone for what is to come.

Hey! Hello! have the ability to make a cheerful song out of negativity, confusion and unhappiness. “This Ain’t Love”, “Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me) and “Let’s Get Emotional” all do exactly that, and I’m sure those lyrics will resonate with many people – I can certainly identify with it from past relationships!

The relentless vim and verve continues throughout the whole album – the alternative, erm, romance of “Glass of Champagne”, the brilliantly humorous “Kids” (“creepy little motherfuckers”) and the uncontainable “Forever Young” (which caused the inevitable head nod) all link faultlessly together, and lead perfectly into the latter half of the album.

“Loud and Fucking Clear” is, for me, the front-runner of the album. The vocals are strongest on this song, and we are treated to striding guitar riffs and determined, throbbing drums galore. I entirely agree with the sentiment within the lyrics, too – “so hold on tight, we’re getting through my dear”.

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The next two tracks, “History of Lovers” and “Body Parts” provide an unsullied, spunky and provoking lead up to the end of the album, and keeps the listeners’ attention at a point when it can so easily drift off.

“Perfect” is the ideal album closer, as it makes you want the album to carry on, thereby encouraging you to press play and start it all over again… I was more than happy to do exactly that!

This isn’t a grower of an album; it’s already fully formed. I just hope it retains its appeal and doesn’t become a fader – it’s certainly going to be on my personal playlist for the foreseeable future!

Hey! Hello! is – Ai (drums/vocals) – the calm one, Toshi (bass) – the resourceful one, The Rev (lead guitar) – the cool one and Ginger (rhythm guitar/vocals) – the wise one.

Hey! Hello! Too!  track listing:

  1. All Around the World
  2. This Ain’t Love
  3. Glass of Champagne
  4. Kids
  5. Forever Young
  6. Loud and Fucking Clear
  7. Can’t Stand You (Hurting Me)
  8. Let’s Get Emotional
  9. A History of Lovers
  10. Body Parts
  11. Perfect

To pre-order Hey! Hello! Too! go to Round Records on PledgeMusic.

*About Round Records Records:

Round Records Records is the new record label from Ginger Wildheart – a home for Hey! Hello!, Mutation, live albums and DVDs from The Wildhearts and more. It’s arguably Ginger’s most ambitious project to date; moving from stand-alone individual releases to a fully-fledged record label.

PledgeMusic is proud to be partnering with Ginger and Round Records Records for fans to pre-order new releases and access a host of extra and exclusive offers.

Ginger and PledgeMusic have history. In August 2011, Ginger launched his Triple Album Project via PledgeMusic. The pitch was to record a 30-song triple album and the campaign met with immediate success, hitting 100% of the funding target within six hours of launching. The resulting album released in 2012 in single and triple album format was a huge success for Ginger and won him the Classic Rock magazine ‘Event of the Year’ award. Subsequent projects with PledgeMusic have delivered equally stunning results; the last one being a book entitled ‘Songs & Words’, which featured archive photos and the stories behind Ginger’s songs as only Ginger could tell them.

To start things off, the Round Records Records releases include the following;

  • The Wildhearts – PHUQ Live (out now )
  • Hey Hello – Hey! Hello! Too! (release 23rd September)
  • Ginger Wildheart– Solo Album Boxset(date tbc)
  • Mutation – Mutation III album (date tbc)

EP Review: Robert Hunter – “Outta My Mind”

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I’m listening to a new EP that dropped onto my doormat this week. This is “Outta My Mind”, the debut EP from Robert Hunter, an American singer-songwriter from Danville, Pennsylvania, USA.

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The title track is first on the EP. It’s also my favourite out of the five songs on offer here. It’s something of a cross between Ryan Adams and The Ravines. A fetching, wistful tune with glossy production, Hunter’s melancholic lyrics are kept in check by their brevity. “Outta My Mind” is successfully hard-wiring into my brain after a single listen.

“Wasted and sober” is a little bit Cat Stevens, a little bit Ronan Keating. It’s pleasant, kind sounding and melodic. Hunter shows here that he is capable of conveying emotion in his delivery, which adds a much-needed weight to this otherwise rather sombre song.

Next up we have “365”, which is full to the brim with tried and tested chord progressions, enhanced with some lovely little dynamic rock accents. It very slightly reminds me of Dancing in the Dark by Springsteen, and this is no bad thing.

The penultimate song, “Carbon”, is by far the most emotive song on the record – it sounds like there’s some pedal steel guitar going on, which adds to the sentimental feeling. I feel that it could do with a rise in energy at some point during the song, but it is nevertheless an endearing and graceful inclusion.

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Rounding off the EP is “On That Road”, a deferential, easy on the ears tune with an extremely catchy hook and rousing chorus. For me, it would be perfect if he could embrace his gravelly vocal and imbue a little come-hitherness. I can easily imagine this being Hunter’s anthem and have visions of audiences singing along at the tops of their voices.

This EP is by no means perfect, but Hunter takes the proven formula of the sensitive singer/songwriter and injects new life into it by making catchy, radio friendly songs that actually have some meaning and substance.

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He has produced thoughtful arrangements that include both acoustic and electric guitars and Hammond organ. I’d like to hear him do some more upbeat songs and to get that distorted guitar rocking occasionally. Overall, though, this is a charming and welcoming EP which gives a suitable insight into Hunter’s style and way of thinking. I look forward to hearing what happens next…

You can buy “Outta My Mind” on iTunes and follow Robert on Facebook.

Gig Review: @FLAGband at @TheUnderworld , Camden, 2nd August 2016

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CH3 are something special. The crowd knew it, I very quickly realised it. They had an especially rabid little group of fans standing front and centre, one of whom was invited onto stage for “You Make Me Feel Cheap”, for which they needed “a woman to sing this one”, much to her great delight – that was definitely a moment for her to treasure! These guys have shamefully never been on my radar, but I’m SO glad they are now.

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A Wilhelm Scream were almost a sporting event, such was the feverish movement onstage coupled with all of them wearing shorts and sweating it out like warthogs. Meanwhile the crowd were turning their “hardcore pop” music (yeah, that’s a thing now) into a contact sport. Incidentally, bassist Brian J. Johnson is INCREDIBLE. He made moves on that bass that are so sexual they should probably be illegal, whilst simultaneously producing the most immense sound. Damn good!

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Stephen Egerton is quite the most ferocious rhythm guitarist I have ever seen. His perspex guitar sheened with sweat as he slashed and burned his way through segue after segue with all the fire & skill of Johnny Ramone on Angel Dust.

You know the age old tale of the quiet kid at the back of class causing the most trouble? With Bill Stevenson, it’s a case of the quiet fella at the back of the stage making the most noise. He’d give any Punk drummer a run for their money – I can’t imagine what would happen if he actually chose to hit those drums using the full force of his muscles! He hit the mark with every single beat. On. The. Money.

Half way through his vocal onslaught, Keith Morris quite rightly stopped proceedings when some idiot decided to spit on him – he was suitably scathing in response, to the sounds of an approving audience. Making his moody way through the rest of the set, it later transpired that he wasn’t feeling too hot – he fooled us all, giving us what we wanted – a boisterous, agitative, inebriating performance.

Dez Cadena spent the evening eyeballing those who were analysing every move FLAG made – which was pretty much everyone in that hot, sweaty room. The coolest of the cool, he effortlessly ambled through all 23 songs in front of a few hundred people whose high expectations were very much met.

If you want the ultimate in bass guitar shred, Chuck Dukowski is your man. My god, that man can work that bass (< understatement!). If he’d have played any harder, I reckon he’d have obliterated that instrument. He later also proved he’s a thoroughly good man by chatting away to me post-gig and offering me a beer – who was I to refuse?!

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That night was one of outrageous energy levels and rage verging on insanity – there was no pause for breath or thought, and certainly no time to think about the amount of bruises which would later make themselves known.

An unpredictable, dysfunctional yet immensely zestful and exhilirating night was had by all those present. Anyone who doubts the existence of Punk Rock needs to go and watch FLAG. Pronto.

Review on Dusty Springfield

musicandmayhem

So I am writing about a two songs by Dusty Springfield.

The first song is Son of a preacher man:

It is a very catchy song with a chorus that you can’t help but sing along to and a very up-lifting beat that will make you feel happy at any time and will make you want to dance to.

My other choice of song is I only want to be with you:

This is a very happy song the makes you feel like dancimg and singing long to. You will be happy as soon as you listen to this song because it has a good vibe. This song has a good beat and the tune and the lyrics are very bright and lovely.

This is a link to a playlist of Dusty Springfield songs:

I hope you like this music and will listen to it whenever you feel down.

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Festival Review: Buckfest 2016 @info_buckfest

I had been looking forward to Buckfest for weeks. I was slightly disappointed that due to responsibilities that go along with being an adult I couldn’t be there from the beginning, but it meant that when I arrived at 2.30pm the festival was already in full swing, with the sun shining, people enjoying their first drinks of the day and kids enjoying the various amusements laid on for them (especially the BUCKFEST colouring boards! Genius idea!).

The first band I managed to catch were The Goodges, something of a spinoff from Soulweaver as the latter take a break. Performing well-known covers by bands such as Iron Maiden and Jet, and a fair amount of Soulweaver favourites for their regular followers. I love that they got out into the crowd and that they were clearly enjoying themselves – that kind of passion from a band is truly infectious.

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Hollowstar were, for me, one of the strongest bands of the day and I hope to see them much further up the bill in the future.

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They are amazingly polished, and they absolutely knew how to work that crowd to everyone’s advantage. I loved taking photos of them as they were interesting, fun, photogenic and varied – they made my job very easy! I’ll definitely be looking these guys up and seeing them again.

Other levels of entertainment to fit every genre were provided across the three stages, from Dale Taylor with his relaxed country/indie rock vibe…

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to the summery alternative calypso of Easydread…

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to Big Lou’s Cradle of Sound and their good old fashioned jive music…

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and everything in between. Each of the bands who played appealed to decent sized groups of the attendees, and there were always plenty of people watching, dancing and cheering appropriately.

In the ten or so minutes before The Expletives took to the stage as the penultimate band, there was a sense of anticipation and with it the gathering of a much larger crowd. Seeing a lot of folk with 70s punk rock t-shirts on was something of a harbinger for what was to follow once the band kicked in their set.

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The Expletives are a niche band, offering a grandiloquent blend of late seventies punk and new wave fare. Frontman Sean Dunleavy even acts and behaves like Jonny Rotten, and grabs the crowd by the scruff of the neck whilst his tight as a tick band deal out a constant barrage of razor sharp punk standards.

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Guitarist Richard Mackman has a ferocious sound and a never ending arsenal of poses; punk rock is a state of mind, and this man knows it.

 

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16 year old Vincent Mackie on the bass looks cool as fuck, wielding his Fender Precision with the panache of Dee Dee Ramone, for one so young he already has the look and the prowess well in place.

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The Expletives tease, insult and entice the crowd for 55 minutes; the spirit of 1977 is truly alive here this evening.

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Even contemplating attempting a Queen tribute band demands particular skills, and a certain look and likeness.

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Rock Q managed to pull it off, with an excellent Freddie impersonator, and a more than adequate Brian May, who not only had the guitar and the amp tone, but also the curly hair and curly guitar lead.

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The rhythm section, however, sagged a little – the bassist called in plenty of bum notes and the drummer was no Roger Taylor, sounding rather wooden and unfeeling with his delivery at times. Overall, though, this kind of high level tribute covers act is a tall order, and they more than got away with it.

It’s worth noting that the singer was drafted in at very short notice when the usual guy was taken ill. He’d never met the rest of the band before, and the fact that he slotted in so flawlessly and without arousing suspicion is to be applauded.

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The highlight for me was pulling off “Bohemian Rhapsody”, to the delight of an all ages and eclectic crowd – it’s not an easy song to produce live, and this lot nailed it. Nicely done.

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All in all, Buckfest is at a mere £5 serious value for money family entertainment, perfectly and creatively organised and a heck of a lot of fun. I can’t wait until 2017!

Gig Review: Ginger Wildheart, The Portland Arms, 20th July 2016.

The Portland Arms is the size of the average person’s sitting room and to see such bombastic rock n’ roll this close up and personal is a rare opportunity indeed. It’s like watching these people in their rehearsal rooms. Literally three feet between us and the players. This is exactly how one should experience a rock band. In this scenario, the musicians cannot hide behind big PA production and sound systems, and the calibre of their ability and skill is raw and naked. I can quite honestly say that this is my favourite venue of 2016.

Massive Wagons are a band we’d never encountered before. They smashed their way onto the stage and went on to prove themselves as being for real. Lead singer Baz reminds us of a supercharged King Ecbert from Vikings. Deftly wielding his mike stand like some kind of war weapon, it’s a miracle he didn’t take out the guitarist to his left, such was the confinement of area on stage. We would like to hear their album and know their tunes so that next time we encounter these boys there is more familiarity.

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When Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors took to the stage, we both did a double take; the bass player looks like Kurt Cobain, the keyboard player like a young Axl Rose and Ryan himself was more Dylan than Bob. However, that’s where comparisons ended. We were presented with a distinctly American sounding set of very mature material, extremely polished and clearly well gigged. Mr Hamilton had an incredible rapport with the audience, with jocular references to quaint English swearwords in-between swigs from a full bottle of Merlot. Again, we’d like to hear their recordings.

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Ginger Wildheart is an enigma. With a veritable plethora of projects, albums and line-ups over the past 26 years, this man is armed to the fucking teeth with great songs. At a guess, there are in excess of 400 numbers to choose from. We were treated to a delectable set cherry picked from Silver Ginger 5, Ginger’s solo work and, of course, The Wildhearts. It makes you wonder how this guy chooses his tunes, and the joy of it is that you never know what you’re going to get. Ginger is no stranger to the art of mixing it up.

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The venue was hotter than the black hole of Calcutta, and it looked like it had been raining sweat across the stage. At times, the band looked grimly focused, but not entirely comfortable with the heat.

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Highlights of the set for me were “This is Only a Problem”, “Top of the World” and the warming inclusion of “Geordie in Wonderland”.

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The band seemed eager to get off stage and cool down after such a heroic performance. Ginger vanished into thin air, but the last we saw of his band were the three of them heading in the direction of the kebab shop across the road in search of Kofta. A genial, intimate night.

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Words by Richard Mackman

Photos by Fi Stimpson

Gig Review: Ocean Colour Scene, Moseley Park, 15th July 2016 @OCSmusic

Walking down the road towards Moseley Park on a sunny Friday evening, all I could see was people with that trademark mod haircut who were heading in the same direction as me. I could easily have been back in 1996, except for the fact that a lot of those guys are packing a few extra pounds these days!

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There was an excitement in the air, fuelled by sunshine and alcohol and the prospect of seeing one of the bands we identify most with 90s Britpop, Ocean Colour Scene, as they perform for the 20th anniversary for possibly their most popular album, “Moseley Shoals”.

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At 8.45pm we no longer needed to wait, and out sauntered the band in front of a crowd who were, quite frankly, ecstatic to see them.

OCS burst straight into a cracking start with “The Riverboat Song”, “The Day We Caught the Train” and “The Circle”. The crowd are in full voice and they don’t give up for the entire gig. The band respond to this in kind and launch wholeheartedly into belters such as “40 Past Midnight”, “Policemen and Pirates” and my personal favourite “Profit in Peace”.

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It was such a pleasure to finally see OCS in action – shamefully, and despite the fact that their music made up part of the soundtrack to my late teens, I had never seen them live before. Even more fortunately for me, my first experience of them live was one where I was also able to take photos from the closest possible spot – it couldn’t get any more perfect!

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Musically, OCS were unerring in their delivery. Cradock is still one of the best guitarists around – absolutely mesmerising to listen to and to watch. Oscar Harrison oozes cool from every pore, and with every drum beat. New bassist Raymond Meade took the whole evening in his stride and really proved himself as a good fit in this well established band. Good work, that man. Simon Fowler is exactly the frontman I expected; smiley towards everyone around him, note perfect and revelling in the crowd’s reaction.

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Finishing off with the quintessential and suitably flawless “Hundred Mile High City”, Ocean Colour Scene gave us the perfect end to a week in a beautiful and meaningful venue. That was a night I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. Thank you, guys.

Set List:

The Riverboat Song

The Day We Caught the Train

The Circle

Lining Your Pockets

Fleeting Mind

40 Past Midnight

One For the Road

It’s My Shadow

Policemen & Pirates

The Downstream

You’ve Got it Bad

Get Away

Robin Hood / Live Forever

Better Day

Profit in Peace

So Low

Get Blown Away

Travellers Tune (with PP Arnold)

Hundred Mile High City

Gig Review: @Wonk_Unit , The Viking Club, Corby, 25th June 2016

The intimacy of a D.I.Y. Punk show can’t be beaten, seeing such talent up close and personal with an audience of around 100 is simply awesome. Personally, I’ve never felt so comfortable at such a small gig. I have in the past felt overwhelmed being so close to the action, but Wonk Unit were so at ease with their own presence that I forgot how small the venue was and about my proximity to the band.

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Alex is one of the most self-assured frontmen I’ve ever encountered – he is what he is, nothing hidden, nothing wasted. The man is a poet and proved as much when he recited Bricks to me as I was buying a t-shirt. With chops that were tighter than the locks on Edward Snowden’s window and a wit sharper than a papercut, he brought lashings of poetic humour into the entire show.

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Guitarist Benny Banana’s hairstyle is fascinating. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it – so striking, like a London Punx version of the Hair Bear Bunch.

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Favourite songs of the night were the mantra-like “Nan”, the staccato, spirited “Horses” and a punk anthem in the form of “Lewisham”.

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These guys are a breath of fresh air. Brutally honest, switching between genres with the frequency that a bored kid changes TV channels, genuinely unique and hilarious without even trying to be. I have grown incredibly fond of Wonk Unit in a very short space of time.

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Can’t wait to see you again soon, my friends.

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