Album review: @Guerilla_Toss – Eraser Stargazer #MusicIsEverything

Guerilla Toss wear a mask of chaos which covers up deep thoughts, an intense self-awareness and in places surprisingly philosophical stance.

Doing their thing since 2012, and with a bit of a lineup change along the way, Guerilla Toss are bringing out their new album, “Eraser Stargazer”, this Friday.

Their “don’t give a damn” attitude is delivered via the frenzy of yelps and caterwauls of Carlson and the funked up garage punk music, with a slight jazz feel in places inasmuch as it’s pretty random!

guerillatoss eraserstargazer

At times, it kind of feels like there is a very slight loss of direction, but then they come out with a gem of a lyric or a colourful sound palette which makes it all get back on track. This is, to me, certainly apparent in “Diamond Girls”, which feels a little off beat to start with, but then a moment occurred in which the understated bass sounds came to the forefront of the tune before the delirious, spasmodic vocals and drums kicked in again, and I was drawn to the song in its entirety.

This band isn’t scared to be themselves, and that appeals to me. Their ex-guitarist Simon Hanes had a tendency to perform naked – I’ve only ever personally seen evidence of Iggy Pop doing that before!

Is this music unhinged, or genius? You decide. Whatever it is, I’m hypnotised.

You can buy Eraser Stargazer on bandcamp, and keep up with their relentless energetic activity on facebook and twitter.

Why I Love Slagerij by Kate @lovelybarmy

There’s a What’s On magazine locally called The Ocelot. On 24th June 2011, it celebrated its fifth birthday at Riff’s Bar, Swindon. There were three acts. I had vaguely heard of the main one, Evaline. The supporting acts were Gaz Brookfield and Slagerij, and I had never heard of either.

Gaz Brookfield kicked it off. He is great. Google him and see if he’s still going. At the time he was similar to a young, modern day Billy Bragg, touring the country with his guitar.

The next band were Slagerij. I remember Jamie from The Ocelot announcing them and saying something along the lines of, “and now for some skanking!” The person I was with looked at me with horror, as if I was going to be mortally offended but they never did know me very well. It was exactly my taste in music!

Three guys came on stage. I felt quite protective towards them – they looked like the nerds from school had started a band to be cool. I had the feeling they were going to be mediocre but decided I would cheer and clap them in any case for encouragement.

Slagerij 2

Well, there is no way to say how completely wrong I was. They blew me and everyone there, away. All their music was original apart from one (awesome) cover at the end. It was powerful music – raw energy emanating from every pore. I skanked and danced for the whole set and whooped, clapped and cheered every song, as did everyone there. Evaline followed and I think they felt the effect of having to follow a band that had energised the whole venue and not being able to match them.

Slagerij 1

I met Slagerij afterwards and was quite drunk so probably told them I loved them… a lot. I saw them live a few times afterwards and it wasn’t a fluke – they were awesome each time and I can’t wait to see them again when they come back to their home town, Swindon. It is THE BEST place to see them live.

That’s just a bit of background as to how I discovered them. Why do I love Slagerij?

I think it’s fair to say my life is quite hard sometimes (insert violins here). Without going into detail I get frustrated, upset and angry about many of the things that adversely affect my family. As a mother I’m expected to behave a certain way and be a certain person which is constraining sometimes, to say the least. I can’t play my music loudly at home – my children complain. I know right? It’s meant to be the other way around! So when driving, on my own in the car, I play my music so loud that I can feel it vibrating through my whole body.

When I listen to Slagerij’s “Swim for Shore” album at said volume in the car, it gives me a release in so many ways.

There is enough powerful RAAAAWWWRR for me to empty any anger by the time I reach my destination. With the music so loud I feel like I’m flipping the bird to all the people who annoy me – all the cliquey parents on school runs, teachers who’ve irritated me, anyone who’s judged me or my children unfairly, people who have preconceived ideas of who I am or should be. In fact, it’s like flipping the bird to the whole world in general. The sense of satisfaction this brings is immense.

Not only do Slagerij discharge my anger, they make me smile. There’s a cheekiness to many of their songs which never fails to bring a grin to my face. The fact that one song on the album is called, “I Wish There Was a Party so We Can Invite the Whole World/Universe…’cause That’d Be Ace!!!” kind of encapsulates this! So, on top of flipping the bird to the whole human race and grinning like a loon, listening to Slagerij puts me in the best frame of mind you can imagine. I feel on top of the world, cleansed and invigorated! The power of music at its best.

I’d just like to say that my favourite song is “Girls got Rhythm”. There is a video of me somewhere dancing to it at a gig, a bit like Animal from the Muppets – so much enthusiasm, very little rhythm. Unfortunately, it is not in my possession or I would post it. Despite the fact I don’t have much rhythm, I always imagine that it is written for me which makes me happy. When it ends with “Go home with me, baby” I, without fail, say to myself, “Oh, go on then” with a big grin. Music doesn’t get much better than this.

Editor’s note: I was intrigued about the meaning of the word “Slagerij” – incase anyone else is wondering, google tells me it’s Dutch for butcher.

New Music Releases 4th March 2016 #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

Fatima Al Qadiri – Brute

Guerilla Toss – Eraser Stargazer

Yeti Lane – L’Aurore

Matthew Bourne – Moogmemory

Emika – Flashbacks

The Knocks – 55

Keeps – Brief Spirit

Jennifer O’Connor – Surface Noise

Wussy – Forever Sounds

Day Wave – Hard to Read (EP)

Carter Tanton – Jettison the Valley

Brett Harris – Up in the Air

EERA – EERA

Anenon – Petrol

Heron Oblivion – Heron Oblivion

Tonight Alive – Limitless

Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker – Through the Clouds (EP)

Sego – Once Was Lost Now Just Hanging Around

Robert Pollard – Of Course You Are

Eddi Front – Marina

Anna Meredith – Varmints

Låpsley – Long Way Home

Adult Books – Running from the Blows

Big Ups – Before a Million Universes

Club Cheval – Discipline

La Sera – Music for Listening to Music to

Thao & Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive

Jack Garratt – Phase

Tiga – No Fantasy Required

The Cat Empire – Rising with the Sun

M Ward – More Rain

Poliça – United Crushers

Nada Surf – You Know Who You Are

The Coral – Distance Inbetween

Miike Snow – iii

Bas – Too High to Riot

Violent Femmes – We Can Do Anything

Gig Review: @Foals, 20th Feb 2016, Leeds – by @jenbren1976 #Foals #MusicIsEverything

Foals at First Direct Arena, Leeds, 20th February 2016. Words by Jen.

So the gradually snowballing juggernaut that is Foals’ ongoing career trajectory rolls on, into Leeds on Saturday February 20th for their final date on their first UK arena tour. Given that they’ve had a strong presence on the UK music scene since 2007, it seems strange that they’re finally embarking on an arena tour, however the powerful right hook that current album “What Went Down” provides sets an appropriate scene for a band who are very self-aware of their live capabilities, well-practiced and skilled at same, and yet want to present an intense experience to paying punters.

And Warner Brothers haven’t been tight with the cash either. The stage set is admirably impressive and yet gimmick-free. Strobe laser bars of all colours surround numerous square screens displaying both images of the band at work and superb, elaborate, high-resolution light shows. This is a long way from playing their local sweaty teenage indie armpit joint in Oxford when they had just emerged from being the Edmund Fitzgerald 10 years ago, fresh out of adolescence.

It’s very fair to say that Foals have now well & truly hit the mainstream, however it’s also through hard, honest work and musical integrity (as opposed to managerial harassment, OTT PR and attention deficit disorder of the band members). The Leeds date was an 8,000 ticket sell-out and admittedly, support act Everything Everything looked daunted and unable to meet the expectant atmosphere of intensity that the crowd had taken in with them.

Emerging to what sounded like a more violent version of the opening chords to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, they move straight into “Snake Oil”, a song that initially sounds like Kasabian’s “Reason Is Treason” but becomes more violent, powerful and sexual in its lyrical bent. Stage intros are very important to Foals, on the “Holy Fire” tours they introduced the band teasingly one by one, and the approach is similar on this tour but to a different track. Traditional crowd-pleaser “Olympic Airways” is then run through, which then leads via a drum build up from rhythm colossus Jack Bevan into the uber-funky “My Number”, then elegantly moving into new WWD album track “Birch Tree”, a delicious note of 80s hip hop inspired pop.

It’s pretty apparent via their set list that the band are very confident in their material, and in the mix of tracks both old and new that please the crowd and yet serve a good 2 hours of musical pleasure, sustained excitement, mellow moments and eventual climax. Each member of the band is very audibly musically talented.

My only argument is the absence and presence of a limited few tracks. I’m not sure why they run through “Red Socks Pugie anymore”, as it seems slightly overplayed, and “Milk & Black Spiders” would have been a suitably epic inclusion. Yannis’ vocals on the musically panoramic “A Knife in the Ocean” are clearly strained, and have been on numerous previous live outings. Also, “Albatross” is a very strong & powerful track from the current album that could leave an arena throbbing & hungry for more and its absence from their current live set is puzzling to say the least. But, time is money, and four albums into their career sacrifices need to be made, after all, they’re not a Bruce Springsteen type of act.

The mixture of different musical emotions in Foals’ canon truly is their USP. “Late Night” & “London Thunder” are mellow, emotional, melancholic and laconic. “Providence”, “Two Steps Twice” and “Inhaler” are hysterically orgasmic and “What Went Down” and “Snake Oil” are menacing and threatening tracks. Their early math-rock incarnation is also nodded to thanks to “Balloons” (the superb student disco classic “Hummer” has also been trotted out on this tour) and of course, the much-adored “Spanish Sahara” is the people-pleaser that sends the crowd into a frenzy.

All in all, their previously intense live show has translated effortlessly from smaller venues to arenas, where the sound and intensity is astronomical enough to fill the walls and people’s hearts and ears.

“Leeds, you’re fucking awesome,” announces Yannis Philippakis, returning warmly & enthusiastically for an encore. “Seriously, you guys are mint.” Well Yannis, it takes one to know one. Headlining Reading & Leeds suddenly seems insufficient for a band of their might. Why not Glastonbury?

Set list:

Snake Oil

Olympic Airways

My Number

Birch Tree

Give It All

Mountain at My Gates

Balloons

Providence

Spanish Sahara

Red Socks Pugie

Late Night

A Knife in the Ocean

Inhaler

Encore:

London Thunder

What Went Down

Two Steps Twice

Jen recently told us about her love for Foals. You can read her article here.

New Releases 26th February 2016 #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

Mount Moriah – How to Dance

The Dirty Nil – Higher Power

Yuck – Stranger Things

Quilt – Plaza

DMA’s – Hills End

The Black Feathers – Soaked to the Bone

Sarah Neufeld – The Ridge

Mothers – When You Walk a Long Distance You Are Tired

Pinkshinyultrablast – Grandfeathered

Feels – Feels

Jawbreaker Reunion – haha and then what 😉

Cherubs – Fist in the Air

Heartwatch  –Heartwatch

Bill Pritchard – Mother Town Hall

Sennen – First Light

Bullion – Loop the Loop

Hands Like Houses – Dissonants

Black Peaks – Statues

Eerie Wanda – Hum

Voivod – Post Society (EP)

The Dunwells – Light Up the Sky

Elliott Power – Once Smitten

Steve Mason – Meet the Humans

The Rocket Summer – Zoetic

Matt Andersen – Honest Man

The Moth and the Flame – Young & Unafraid

Run River North – Drinking From a Salt Pond

Anvil – Anvil is Anvil

Blossoms – At Most a Kiss (EP)

Anthrax – For All Kings

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It

Santigold – 99 Cents

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – This Unruly Mess I’ve Made

Why I Love Dexys by @BeatCityTone #Dexys #MusicIsEverything

They don’t make songs like that anymore …

So many folks are absolutely convinced, with a certainty eclipsing any religious belief, that music isn’t as good as it was in the 60s, or the 70s, the 90s or the zeros.

Truth is, it’s all subjective.

It’s the music you were really into when you turn eighteen that’s the best. That’s the time when you’re leaving home, getting a job or off to college, learning to get by on your own and falling in love for the first time – and if you’re really lucky, the last time.

1980 was the year I turned eighteen. 2-Tone had occupied most of my attention during the previous year – The Specials, Madness, Selecter had all released stunning debut albums that had been on my turntable constantly.

I’d heard about this band with a stupid long name who’d been supporting The Specials on the last leg of the 2-Tone tour, replacing Madness, which annoyed me as I didn’t consider it was worth shelling out a fiver for The Specials, The Selecter and the band with the stupid long name.

I actually bought my first Dexys record unheard. I was with my girlfriend in Charing Cross Road just after New Year and walking past Our Price I saw the Dance Stance single with its distinctive cover, with what looked like a gang of football casuals staring out from it.

More to the point it was reduced to 50 pence. Tessa, my significant other, was bemused that I would spend money on a record I hadn’t heard.

I got the record home late that night and put it on. Right from the first horn stabs, it got me.

Five months later, Tessa was impressed at my ability to spot the hit-makers of tomorrow when Geno went to Number One.

“Searching for the Young Soul Rebels” soundtracked every mood for eighteen-year-old me – there’s songs that take you up, songs that you can dance to and songs that are there for you when nobody else is, when you’re eighteen and your problems seem insurmountable, you have all these hormones raging and you can’t talk about it to anybody.

It became the go-to record, all the time.

One song in particular stands out. Used to lose myself in it on a regular basis.

I still have the original vinyl copy with key lyrics underlined (“If There Is Someone …”) from when I lent it to a girl. (It didn’t last btw)

The sleeve notes were a work of genius. It’s worth reading them in full, and bearing in mind that the band had stopped giving any interviews at the time, so this was their only communication with what was becoming a passionate and devoted fanbase:

“On a hot night in July 78 two men, Kevin Rowland and Al Archer left their Iow profile Birmingham hide-out to round up a firm of boys. Fed up with petty spoils from their previous team – a small-time new wave group – and disillusioned by the lack of response from the major fences, they knew this one was going to be the big one and if they were going to have it off they would have to be eight handed. . . with the hardest hitting men in town.

First stop was a rundown nightclub on the edge of town, well known for its clientele of hard rock villains from the last generation. The band were in full swing as the two men strolled in. They were a bunch of smash and grab artists thumping away and rolling over on the floor, as if expecting a punk revival – all apart from the drummer, Andy Growcott, who was exceptional and was recruited immediately. A week later, young Pete Saunders armed with a Hammond organ, was instated. His only form was having played with a local pop group. The following day tenor sax player JB was kidnapped from the late great “Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band.” Then there were five.

The rest of the team took a bit longer to recruit and some of the boys got impatient. Rowland and Archer assured them that this sound was the big one and was well worth waiting for. The boys cooled down and consoled themselves by listening to records of Cliff Bennett, Zoot Money, Sam and Dave, James Brown and Aretha Franklin. etc

Soon after a young bass driver by the name of Pete Williams walked into the hideout carrying his tool under one arm and the complete Stax collection under the other. Disillusioned with new muzak, he put his soul records on the table and shouted “I want to do something as good as these – only better.” The boys knew exactly what he meant and welcomed him with open arms.

The team was completed by the inclusion of Steve “Babyface” Spooner, the alto who got the word from a local snout and Big Jimmy Paterson who had been laying low in the north of Scotland. He got wind of a big one going off in the Midlands, grabbed his trombone and jumped on the next train. The firm was complete – now for the caper…”

One of my major regrets is never having seen the original lineup live – Kevin Rowland singing, Al Archer on guitar, Pete Williams on bass, Pete Saunders playing the organ, JB Blythe, Steve Spooner on saxaphones, Big Jimmy Paterson on trombone and Andy “Stoker” Growcott on drums. You think I had to look that up? Gimme a minute and I’ll list every musician who was ever a Dexys Midnight Runner. Actually, don’t. You’ll lose the will to live.

I’ve followed Dexys through every incarnation since then, and I can’t say, hand on heart, that I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done.

I’m with Kevin Rowland when he says the songs on the follow up album “Too-Rye-Ay” were better but the production is too commercial. I’m guessing producer Pete Sinfield wouldn’t have fancied the production chair second time round after the band kidnapped the master tapes of “Young Soul Rebels” in order to negotiate a better deal with EMI.

(btw I was in the crowd at this gig. A CD to the first person who can correctly identify me at 0:03)

I think Kevin Rowland’s unrelenting emphasis on the way the band looks is a distraction from the music – although I understand its function as a way of attracting media attention, it’s not for me.

The 2012 rebirth of the band with the release of “One Day I’m Going to Soar” with three original members, albeit in a very different configuration, was a triumph.

Three and a half years on an I’d rate the album their best since Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (in my estimation – I know I’m in a minority here as most hardcore Dexys fans go for “Don’t Stand Me Down”)

The record is focussed, tight, emotional and funny, and the live shows have netted them a fair few new fans, while delighting the old fans.

We’ve really got no right to expect an album as good as this from a band 44 years into its career, and with a 27-year gap between albums three and four.

By my reckoning the next Dexys album will be released in 2039.

As the chorus of the climactic song on “One Day I’m Going to Soar” goes… I can’t fucking wait!

I’m on Twitter @BeatCityTone and I also do a couple of hour-long music shows every week to listen to / download.

Beat City New Music Podcast

Retro Beat ’66 – the alternative sounds of this week in 1966

Beat City Blog

New Music Releases 19th Feb 2016 #NewMusic #MusicIsEverything

Ra Ra Riot – Need Your Light

Wild Nothing – Life of Pause

LNZNDRF – LNZNDRF

Submotion Orchestra – Colour Theory

Choir of Young Believers – Grasque

Doug Tuttle – It Calls on Me

Tiny Deaths – Night Flowers (EP)

Deep Sea Diver – Secrets

The Cave Singers – Banshee

Lake Street Dive – Side Pony

Jack Garratt – Phase

BJ The Chicago Kid – In My Mind

Cavern of Antimatter – Void Beats / Invocation Trex

Golden Daze – Golden Daze

Sioux Falls – Rot Forever

Matmos – Ultimate Care II

So Pitted – neo

Animal Collective – Painting With

Dots Jukebox: Bitterness, 12th February 2016 #MusicIsEverything #DotsJukebox

Artist Song Suggested By
Joe Jackson Is She Really Going Out With Him? @skylarkingmatt
Ben Folds Five Song for the Dumped @chasethegroove
Cornershop Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast @indieover40
Marvin Gaye Heard it Through the Grapevine @musicvstheworld
Jill Sobule Bitter @rosbif65
Lush Hypocrite @paulie9461
Jesse Macht Broken Faith @c_picturesofyou
Paul Weller Bitterness Rising @stamfordcowboy
The Happy Mondays Tart Tart @davidkbruce
Green Day Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) @lindy_lou2
Joe Walsh Rosewood Bitters @scottp68
Porcupine Tree Feel So Low @lamauvaisepente
Theory of a Deadman Hate My Life @anxiousflag
Wilco Jesus, etc @richard0x4a
English Dogs Hate Song @guitartutorrich
Star Turn on 45 Pints Pump Up the Bitter @bringitonskippy
Amy Winehouse Best Friends, Right? @musicvstheworld
The Magnetic Fields Bitter Tears @beardedsteven
Timon The Bitter Thoughts of Little Jane @durutti74
Kristofer Åström How Can You Live With Yourself? @call_me_micha
The Verve Bitter Sweet Symphony @barnstudiosigns @danthompson78
Bob Dylan Positively 4th Street @jenbren1976
PJ Harvey Rid of Me @musicvstheworld
The Bluetones Don’t Stand Me Down @neilthekid
Roxy Music Bitter-Sweet @ladyofsonnets66
The Offspring Spare Me the Details @miftin81
Skunk Anansie Hedonism @nostalgicpus
Able Tasmans Sour Queen @riverboatcapt
Ween Baby Bitch @grantsales
Pernice Brothers Clear Spot @darrenmjones
Rival Schools Undercovers On @jonesrl86
McAlmont & Butler Yes @captain_parsnip
Ugly Kid Joe Everything About You @staffs75
Placebo Bitter End @katienana09
Etta James I’d Rather Go Blind @musicvstheworld

Why I Love Feeder by @Pyfbrown #Feeder #MusicIsEverything

The year is 1997 and I’m going to my first ever festival, true I attended what became known as Britstock in 1995, but that was only one day and not the full camping experience. The venue was Reading, being a northerner this was in the days before there was a Leeds equivalent so it was a long trek, and the weekend promised a lot of good bands.

Friday was mostly a happy-go-lucky day for me, where I saw A, Symposium, Silver Sun, Carrie and James amongst others, with a bit more power provided by Sick of it All and Incubus on whatever the punky/skatey stage was called that year.

Saturday was a bit more of an indie day but highlights were provided by that new band Stereophonics (opening up on the main stage) and Republica while I was waiting to see my favourite band Manic Street Preachers for the third time. This being the one with Nicky in his infamous camo-dress.

But having said that, Sunday was the ROCK day. Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Bush, 3 Colours Red and Dog Eat Dog all put on great sets, meaning that this definitely lived up to my expectations of being the best day. But tucked away second on the main stage bill (only above those contenders for the where are they now file, Radish) were Feeder.

Feeder 4

I can’t recall exactly whether I’d heard anything by them beforehand, free CDs would have been my only option back then, but I knew them in the same way that everyone else knew them. That band with the orange boiler suits, the band with the weird hair, the British Smashing Pumpkins.

Looking back now, Setlist.fm tells me they played a 5 song set, which seems a little short despite their billing. All I remember is that I enjoyed their set and made a mental note to check them out when I got home. If that setlist is right then “Cement”, “High”, “Shade”, “Stereo World” and one of my all time favourites “Descend” would definitely have had that effect.

And check them out I did, buying “Polythene” soon after. The aforementioned Smashing Pumpkins comparisons were warranted in terms of some of the riffs and rhythms, but there was none of the excess, none of the fat, just the songs and nothing else. They were also far too British-sounding for that comparison to ever hold too much water. Their appearance on the Gran Turismo soundtrack only cemented the impact of that first album in my head (not forgetting the earlier mini-album “Swim” which I revisited at a later date).

By the time the next album came around with its accompanying singles I would be kicking off a run of buying pretty much every single and album from that point on, in terms of volume my Feeder collection is second only to my Manics collection.

The singles that preceded that album, “Day In Day Out” and “Insomnia”, showed a different side to the band, the guitars had kind of thinned out a little, there was a leaning less toward the rock world and more towards indie, or even a break towards the mainstream. Regardless, the songs were strong and the title track of the second album in particular, “Yesterday Went Too Soon”, remains one of my favourite songs by any band.

I saw them twice around the time of the release of the album, firstly at my second ever festival (and the last time I camped), Leeds 1999, this time being halfway up the bill on the final day and a month later at Middlesbrough Arena, the first Feeder headlining show I saw. History has moved “Yesterday Went Too Soon” a bit further down in the Feeder album pecking order, but familiarity in terms of single and album releases and also live shows was fast establishing them in the upper echelons of my favourite bands.

“Buck Rogers” a couple of years later certainly didn’t do that any harm. Yes, the lyrics are complete drivel, yes it’s a long way from the likes of “Descend”, but it’s a fantastically brilliant and simplistic song and another one of my Feeder favourites. It firmly launched them into the ears of mainstream music listeners and all the positive and negative press that that might bring them. In quite possibly the most ill-judged move of all time they also threw out “Just a Day” as the B-side to “Seven Days in the Sun”. Now they always did have an embarrassment of riches among their B-sides but that was just ridiculous. Locking horns with “Motown Junk”, it’s a contender for my favourite song of all time, A-side status (and accompanying cult fan video) soon redressed the balance.

The album the singles came from, “Echo Park”, was a huge hit and along with those songs contained other minor classics in “We Can’t Rewind” and “Turn”. These days it’s not necessarily an album that jumps off my shelf and screams “Play Me!” due to some of the more understated numbers, but once I do give it a spin it never disappoints. It was also time for another regular Leeds festival encounter, slowly creeping up the main stage bill again in 2001 and notable for being a day that I saw what were now my two favourite bands on the same stage.

Little did I know that 5 months later, drummer Jon Lee would be dead. Now I don’t really create attachments to famous people, I don’t know them and in my mind their passing simply means I won’t see any further work by them in the future. Of course it’s sad but not necessarily any more sad than if it were someone who lives down the road. Jon Lee seemed different. Everyone said it was a total shock, he didn’t seem the type to take his own life (if such a thing existed). Grant Nicholas’ subsequent story of how Jon phoned him at a restaurant that day and how he ignored the call because he thought he would just be messing around was utterly heartbreaking. To me it seemed like it would be touch and go whether they would carry on, he seemed an integral part of the band. But just like my beloved Manics after Richey Edwards’ disappearance, a similar comeback was on the cards.

Feeder 5

24th August 2002 and Feeder re-emerged into the spotlight with new drummer Mark Richardson in tow. They had headlined the second stage at the Reading festival the day before and now I was at Leeds to see a repeat. It remains my favourite gig ever. The sentiment within the crowd was palpable as the chants of “FEE-DER FEE-DER FEE-DER” echoed around the tent and I took my place just inside. Opening with “We Can’t Rewind” was an absolute stroke of genius. It’s a brilliant song anyway but the title alone said it all, like their own “Everything Must Go”-style statement.

The crowd chant remained between every single song, it was an awe-inspiring atmosphere coupled with a great set of tunes. By the time “Just a Day” closed proceedings, possibly my favourite song of all time remember, the triumphant feel of the whole event really hit home. I’m not an outwardly emotional person at all, but while belting out the words at the top of my voice it happened – the only time I’ve ever been moved to tears at a gig. They were well and truly back.

“Come Back Around”, the, er, comeback single, was also awesome. The most Foo Fighters it’s possible to be without actually being the Foo Fighters, it was a stormer with one of my favourite drum fills of all time (ok, maybe that is a bit geeky but you get the idea). The album itself was poignant and strong without necessarily always hitting the heights of previous albums.

A B-side collection and quite possibly the best ‘Best Of’ ever sandwiched the next album, “Pushing the Senses”, and it was another solid set of songs. “Tumble and Fall” was the resident classic this time, fragile and towering at the same time.

As my record collection increased, the time spent with new releases reduced, meaning that later albums “Silent Cry”, “Renegades” and “Generation Freakshow” haven’t quite been given the airtime they deserve. Needless to say though, Feeder have never released even an average album and the high quality of the songs kept on coming. In February 2011 I saw them for the sixth time, at Middlesbrough Empire, meaning that they held the joint record for the number of times I’ve seen a band with the Manics, China Drum and Symposium (the latter two more through playing Middlesbrough plenty of times than being a massive fan like with the others!).

If you haven’t really listened to Feeder, or maybe you only know them through “Buck Rogers”, and this blog has intrigued you then give Polythene a listen like I did back in 1997. You never know, you might then find yourself taking a shortcut through my journey.

Editor adds: Check out Ian’s Top 50 Feeder songs here for a start!

Gig Review @funlovincrims @Rock_City_Notts #FunLovinCriminals #MusicIsEverything

On 6th February 2016 at Rock City in Nottingham, there was a delicious Hip Hop, Funk, Blues and Rock soup on the menu courtesy of gourmet musical chefs Huey Morgan, Brian Leiser and Frank Benbibi. Yep, Fun Lovin’ Criminals were back, on tour to celebrate 20 years of “Come Find Yourself”, a delectable dish indeed.

The three amigos swaggered onto the stage to greet a crowd who immediately lapped up the atmosphere, and who as a consortium clamoured for attention from the men in sharp suits with even sharper eyes. Their baying was rewarded with a genuine attentiveness from Huey and an effortless launch into “The Fun Lovin’ Criminal”, track one of the “Come Find Yourself” album, which they went on to perform in its entirety.

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Pulling out all the stops, Fun Lovin’ Criminals unwaveringly executed their live interpretation of their debut album with the panache and freshness it always had. This was nostalgia, but didn’t feel old.

Of course, it helped that the venue was packed to the rafters. If any more people had entered the building, they would have had to cling to the walls. Even then, I think they’d still find a way to groove to these anthemic tunes. There was a sense of euphoria, and the heat was rising to levels that would threaten to set the place alight.

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I had a sense that all three band members were entirely equal, inasmuch as there didn’t seem to be a favourite as far as their followers were concerned, or one more skilled than the others. There was an obvious mutual respect between the three of them, and they clearly revel in and benefit from playing together.

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Having said that, there is absolutely no doubting Huey’s natural ability to balance the cool, calm, collected persona with his sex appeal and charisma. He has a low lion-like purr to his vocal, and his incredibly slick guitar playing is first-rate.

Every nuance of the bass, each collision of drumstick and drum, and all of the guitar inflections were punctuated with keyboards, harmonica and trumpets with perfect timing and composure.

Fun Lovin’ Criminals bridge genres as if it’s a completely ordinary thing to do. In essence, they make it look easy, and that’s definitely nowhere near average.

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In conclusion, I would like seconds of this soup please, waiter. Forget the bowl and spoon – I’ll have the whole saucepan full. Pronto.

Setlist:

  1. The Fun Lovin’ Criminal
  2. Passive/Aggressive
  3. The Grave and the Constant
  4. Scooby Snacks
  5. Smoke ‘Em
  6. Bombin’ the L
  7. I Can’t Get With That
  8. King of New York
  9. We Have All the Time in the World
  10. Bear Hug
  11. Come Find Yourself
  12. Crime and Punishment
  13. Methadonia
  14. Loco
  15. We, The Three
  16. Back on the Block
  17. Korean Bodega
  18. Love Unlimited
  19. Big Night Out