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Gig Night – Mark Eitzel @ The Fleece, Bristol

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One of the overriding principles that underpins Everything Indie Over 40 is to encourage positivity when it comes to interacting about music. It’s the code of practice that embodies everything we do. From the simple sharing of songs to the features we run on social media and the articles and reviews we publish. There is enough hate going on in the world at the moment and we are certainly not going to contribute to it.

Which is why we normally shy away from getting involved in anything that we feel may be in conflict with our established principles. Gig Night, by it’s very nature, embodies those principles. A feature whereby a gig-goer, a fan, could write about a special night seeing their heroes in action. Why would it be anything other than benevolent?

However, as we all know, it is not always sunshine and roses. Sometimes your heroes can let you down.

When we read Tracey Bowen‘s review of a Mark Eitzel gig we couldn’t help but be moved by her account of what was clearly a night that held so much promise and high expectation for her, but that ultimately left her feeling emotionally confused.  We saw no negativity in the context of our carefully preserved principles. There was no hate here. Just raw feelings beautifully articulated and drawn straight from the heart. As far as we were concerned it had to be shared.

So with principles firmly set aside, here is Tracey’s Gig Night review of Mark Eitzel at The Fleece Bristol in March 2017

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You’d think, with a set book-ended by ‘Blue and Grey Shirt’ and ‘Western Sky’, that I’d be happy. But happy is relative. Relative to how drunk Mark Eitzel is and how far he will go to downplay his own genius in a room full of people who were quite certain of it when they set out at the start of the evening. Tonight, despite him swearing the plastic pint glass of red wine is half water, Eitzel appears pretty drunk and hell-bent on self-sabotage.

Believe me, Eitzel is in fine voice tonight. I’m thrilled to hear songs from his new album ‘Hey Mr Ferryman’, released mere days before this gig, live for the first time. The self-analysing lyrics of songs like ‘The Last Ten Years’, ‘An Answer’ and ‘Mr Humphries’ lend themselves well to the intimate setting of this diminutive Bristol bar. They sit seamlessly alongside his majestic back-catalogue. As for the old songs, I don’t think I’ve heard a more delicately rendered version of ‘Apology for an Accident’ as tonight. And it’s a joy to hear ‘Jesus’ Hands’, a song he’s long neglected on solo outings.

It’s a shame that we’re not to be treated, as the London crowd will, to a guest appearance from Bernard Butler. Butler produced (and played much of the music) on the new record and has been credited for its lush arrangements. But Butler’s absence doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. No, it’s Eitzels’ between song banter that does that. It breaks the spell. Breaks an unwritten agreement between performer and audience.

He announces his entrance on stage tonight as “Club Firefly – the premier Mark Eitzel and American Music Club tribute band” and proceeds to introduce his current backing band as Vudi, Danny and Tim (members of the classic AMC line-up – and definitely not present tonight). The Fleece is a popular venue for tribute bands and I suppose this was part of their pre-show tomfoolery, that they’re a tribute act rather than authentic. So we laugh; a joke between friends. Only he doesn’t leave it there. He stays in character for the rest of the performance (and believe me, a performance it is). It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s parody. And I guess that’s what he intends.

In-between heart-rending and heart-stopping renditions of American Music Club and solo output, he acts out the part of a fanboy who has direct access to the most intimate details of Eitzel’s personal life, spinning anecdotes of conversations with Eitzel from rehab, adopting a laboured raspy voice to denote the real Mark who tells us what a particular song meant to him. More facade, another mask, another cheap laugh at his own expense. Songs from the new album which they are, of course, here to promote, are introduced as “Club Firefly’s own material”.

Am I being po-faced or is the joke wearing thin? The girl behind me in the crowd doesn’t think so. She gasps and laughs in all the right moments; dutifully coos “beautiful” in a breathy voice as the last note of each song fades away. 20 years ago, hell maybe even as recently as ten, that girl would have been me; hanging on his every word and swooning with wonder even as he writhed and squirmed uncomfortably under the spotlight. But the self-deprecating act becomes tiresome eventually and I wonder where along the line he lost me, when my heart hardened beyond the point he could break it any more, when I became impervious to his words.

I realise now that parody is the new real. Club Firefly are post-parody. It allows Eitzel to treat his songs with contempt without having to take the blame. In another imagined phone call from rehab, Mark tells the Club Firefly singer to “play that song that means so much to me”. So they play the impossibly beautiful ‘Firefly’ to a hungrily appreciative and open-mouthed crowd.

I’ve thought for years that Eitzel displays an astonishing lack of respect toward his own body of work in a live setting. Maybe it’s my problem and I need to get over myself. Where do I get off thinking the songs belong in any way to me? But where does he get off behaving like they don’t? Is the “professional singer and ham” role the only way he can take something so personal on the road? If so, why bother? Because it pays the bills? I seriously doubt it does. Because he can’t do anything else? Possibly. Probably. But it’s clear the generally held reverence doesn’t sit easy with him. Never has. And perhaps his work here is done because I might finally be over my hero-worship of Eitzel the man if not the singer. Might finally let him down from his impossibly high pedestal. So here’s the deal: while the guy on stage pretends to be Mark Eitzel, I’ll pretend to be the girl behind me. We can both suspend our disbelief, just until the end of the gig. But we’ll both end up feeling like frauds. At best, it’s catharsis by proxy. At worst, an episode of Game For a Laugh gone wrong, “watching us, watching you, watching us, watching you”.

Early on in the set, he very nearly kicked that plastic glass of wine over, lurching perilously close to the edge of the stage whilst comically trying to unstick his setlist from the sole of his shoe. It was both a tragic and hilarious farce. You couldn’t write this stuff. Or if you could, it’d be the best Mark Eitzel tribute song never written.

Author: Tracey Bowen

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tracey Bowen is a yoga-loving computer programmer from Birmingham, now living in Tamworth, the ancient capital of Mercia.

She plays an odd assortment of instruments (accordion, omnichord, melodica & glockenspiel) for sometime pop-folk outfit Driven Like the Snow and has just embarked on a new lo-fi drone project with the singer/guitarist from Avrocar.

She can be found on Twitter at @INeedDirection usually very late at night tweeting maudlin indie nostalgia.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Tracey’s gig night. We would love to hear about your own gig experiences whether they are recent or in the past. Please contact us if you would like to contribute, via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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Gig Night – Ian Prowse & Amsterdam @ The Greystones, Sheffield

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We were naturally delighted when Mark Whitworth told us he was going to see Ian Prowse perform Pele’s Fireworks album for it’s 25th anniversary and wanted to write about it for our Gig Night feature. If his last one for a Half Man Half Biscuit gig was anything to go by then we were in for a treat.

Safe to say he didn’t let us down. In fact he’s gone beyond the call of duty here. It’s more than just a gig review. It’s a personal reflection of what was clearly a memorable night for him & if you don’t know much about Pele, don’t worry. Mark has added some bonus features for you.

So thank you to Mark for sharing his Gig Night. Read on and enjoy……

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I think too much and I drink too much

Despite making only the most negligible inroads into the lower reaches of the charts (ha! – as if the charts were ever a barometer of decent music anyway), Pele were an ebullient fixture on the live circuit in the early 1990s. If you were a student during this era the chances are they played at your university, probably several times. (I was at Bangor myself though – the “best” we ever got was D:Ream. Strangely enough I was washing my hair that night).

Even though I was living in Runcorn at this time, just a stone’s throw from Ian Prowse’s hometown of Ellesmere Port, I don’t think I actually remember hearing them on local radio. As I recall I first came across them via Channel 4’s Teletext pages (remember those? Seems practically sepia-tinged these days) and their review of the Fair Blows The Wind For France single (if you’re not too familiar with Pele’s output, the chances are this is probably the one song you may have heard of). The review sounded good so I sought out a copy, and it was indeed, and still is, a beauty. But don’t take my word for it – feel free to judge for yourself.


The single was released in June 1992, and was taken from the album Fireworks which had come out in March of that year. It wasn’t long before I got hold of this too, and it was pretty much a permanent fixture in my cassette player that summer.
Sadly, despite a devoted cult following, Pele were to last just one more album, 1993’s The Sport of Kings, before disbanding amid record company turmoil in 1994. Fireworks, however, remains particularly fondly remembered among “Pele-people”, and thus the news announced last year than Ian Prowse and his current band, Amsterdam, were going to be touring Fireworks in full to commemorate the album’s 25th anniversary, was received with great excitement.

And so it was that a couple of hundred folks “of a certain age” (along with a pleasing number of younger people it must be said) sauntered along to The Greystones in Sheffield to witness this celebration. The Greystones is a smashing venue – a couple of miles out of the city centre, just past Hunters Bar (of Arctic Monkeys’ Fake Tales of San Francisco fame), it’s a cracking real ale pub with an intimate live music venue attached. I’d been once before, to see an unforgettable act by the name of Bob Log III (which is quite another story in itself), but was particularly looking forward to this one, seeing one of my favourite bands of yesteryear whilst simultaneously unencumbered by having to drive home.

The first order of business though was to get hold of one of the seminal Pele logo t-shirts which had mercifully been reissued for this tour. The Pele t-shirt has a particular significance for me, as I was wearing my previous one (in the days when I could still fit in it) when I first met my wife in 1999. (Don’t worry, sick buckets are provided at the end of this review). There are a surprising number of original Pele t-shirts adorning members of the audience tonight (although perhaps only surprising to me, that anyone can still get into clothes they were wearing 25 years ago!) In any event it was a relief to be able to get my hands on a brand new one as I was concerned that the “sizes for the larger gentleman” may have sold out.

Transaction duly completed, I caught the last couple of songs by the extremely agreeable local support band, Robberie (robberie.bandcamp.com). Their guitarist, Robin Byles, is a lifelong Pele fan, and was responsible for maintaining the band’s website and keeping fans up to date in the post-Pele years, for which Ian would thank him later during his own set.

Before too long, Ian and the gang take to the stage themselves, and it’s straight into not the opener from Fireworks, but the penultimate track, Monkey Scream, with its haunting Hammond organ intro. By my reckoning it’s 24 years since I last saw Pele live, and it’s clear from the get-go that even though the songs are being played by different musicians, they have lost absolutely none of their verve and energy – Pele’s songs were always known for sounding even better live than on their records, and this remains the case all these years later.

From here on they play the Fireworks album in full, in a different order to the familiar tracklisting. It’s absolutely brilliant to hear these songs again so many years after I thought I had heard them live for the last time. They are all nothing short of magnificent, and Ian’s tremendous voice is at its very finest the whole night; my own personal favourites are Searchlight, Megalomania, Oh Lord and the title track Fireworks itself.

Before the final song from Fireworks, however, Ian announces that he is going to leave us waiting for that for a while, and tells us that he is going to play songs “that you won’t know if you fucked me off after Pele, even though we got even better!” To my considerable shame, I have to include myself in this category (don’t tell him!) – while I know the odd Amsterdam song, it’s really only the most passing of acquaintances. After tonight’s show I am determined to remedy this. A handful of Amsterdam songs duly receive an airing, including the emotional My Name is Dessie Warren, a cover of a tribute to the titular trade union activisit, generally regarded as having been wrongfully jailed along with Ricky Tomlinson during the national builders’ strike in 1972.

The show continues with Name & Number, a Pele B-side which made its way onto their second album followed by, finally, the last song from Fireworks, the superb anti-monarchist rant Raid The Palace. But they’re not done yet – Ian says “we’re not going to do an encore, we’re just gonna stay here and play more songs”. This leads to an unexpected but brilliant cover of The Clash’s London Calling, followed by the last song on the official set list, Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?, another Amsterdam song and possibly one of Ian’s best known songs from his whole career, and well worth reading about here:

10 years today since ‘Does This Train Stop On Merseyside’ was released.

The evening is rounded off with a groovy version of The Word Is… , another track from The Sport of Kings, before coming to a close with, seeing as it is indeed March 17, Damien Dempsey’s St Patrick’s Brave Brigade, a tale of Irish expats who fought for the Mexican army against the US in the 1840s, and are revered today in both Mexico and Ireland as the Battalón de San Patricio.

And with that, the night is complete. Well, almost; there’s just time to get my picture taken with the great man. There are some artists who you might feel uncomfortable approaching for a pic, but Ian couldn’t be more affable, and we chat briefly about the proximity of our home towns and what have you.

(thank you to the band’s violinist Laura for taking the pic!)

It’s been a truly rousing evening and a great reminder, as if it were ever needed, of just what a gifted songwriter and singer Ian Prowse is. I’ll definitely be familiarising myself with the rest of his back catalogue before too long. Until the next time, if you want me, I’m at the bar.

P.S. Check out this brilliant documentary about Fireworks, made for the 25th anniversary.


Author: Mark Whitworth

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Whitworth is originally from Runcorn in Cheshire but now lives in South Yorkshire. He is the bass player in rock & indie covers band Dr Hackenbush, is shortly hoping to start a PhD in Linguistics, and once sold a Big Mac to Mr T. He can be found on Twitter at @bringitonskippy, usually arguing about why the correct term for a soft white bread roll is “barmcake”.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Mark’s gig night. We would love to hear about your own gig experiences whether they are recent or in the past. Please contact us if you would like to contribute, via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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Gig Night – The Railway Children @ The Lexington

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Fresh from submerging himself knee deep in the world of The Railway Children courtesy of his wonderful item for Toppermost , John Hartley managed to keep the momentum going by checking them out in the flesh.

Here is John’s Gig Night review of The Railway Children at The Lexington, London on Saturday 18th March 2017…

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Up a narrow and steep steel staircase with perhaps one or two too many steps is a room filled largely with men of hair greying and thinning – where it exists at all – and waistbands expanded more than their owners might choose. At the bar a man begrudges the £5 price of a bottle of ale, whilst noticing the barely-discreet notices advising patrons that ‘Earplugs are available: just ask at the bar’. We’re getting old folks, we’re getting old.

The gathered throng, and there are a fair number of us, are present to greet long-absent friends, friends who only came back into our midst last year after a hiatus lasting well over 20 years. The last time I saw The Railway Children was in a rampant hometown gig on Wigan Pier. Buoyed by finally breaking into the Top 40 singles chart, the band were in great form, the crowd roared them on, bassist Stephen Hull departed stage left momentarily to be sick, and t-shirts cost a tenner.

At The Lexington in 2017 it feels like the band has never been away. Always a good-looking band they have aged as much as their music: very well. Sure, there may be a bit of stubble (shaving gets to be such a chore, doesn’t it) and silvery receding hairline, but not much else has changed. Gary Newby still looks youthful and sings with rich tone, Hull still plays the bass like it’s the easiest thing in the world, Guy Keegan still keeps impeccable time and drives the more uptempo songs along, and Brian Bateman still looks like he’s enjoying every minute of strumming Newby’s perfectly crafted pop songs, even when he forgets to change to the second chord of a two-chord song (the band’s debut single ‘A Gentle Sound’) within the first three bars.

With nothing to promote and no longer having to play the part of a mere cog in the wheels of the music industry machine The Railway Children can offer a relaxed and varied set. There is little room for chat – a wry “This was our hit single” introducing ‘Every Beat Of The Heart’ being as close to banter as Newby gets – but that means more time for songs. All three band albums are covered well, there’s the inevitable run out of most – but not all – the singles and, most pleasingly, space for some b-sides: ‘After The Rain’, ‘History Burns’ and ‘Darkness And Colour’ all get a run out.

As the set proceeds, so the performances get stronger and better. ‘Somewhere South’ sounds as good as it ever has, recorded or live. Slower songs such as ‘Big Hands Of Freedom’ are given space to breathe and flourish. Final album title track ‘Native Place’ shows Newby’s voice at its best. The tunes come thick and fast, culminating with “our last song, which was also our first song”: ‘A Gentle Sound’. A quick dash off stage, then back on, and we are treated to the almost inevitable encore ‘Brighter’, a song whose outro could go on forever and still not seem too long. And that’s it: off stage they head, the lights come on, the DJ’s playlist resumes and we all head home, some of us with a souvenir t-shirt that cost a mere £12 – another pleasant reminder that not everything has to change.

 

Author: John Hartley

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After spending the best part of twenty five years trying to write the perfect pop song John Hartley has turned his attention to writing about those who have done a much better job at it. He tweets as @JohnyNocash and gives away his music, generally for free. He is currently raising money to support men’s mental health charity CALM (@theCALMzone) at http://brokendownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-broken-heed

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about John’s gig night. We would love to hear about your own gig experiences whether they are recent or in the past. Please contact us if you would like to contribute, via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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The Proper Ornaments “Foxhole” – Review

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Experience has taught us that when Rob Morgan (@durutti74) is inspired by music to want to write about it then it has to be pretty special. On this occasion it’s the latest album from The Proper Ornaments that had him reaching for the Mont Blanc.

As we’ve come to expect from Rob, it’s a terrific read and a top review of a super album. So please read, listen and enjoy….

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The Proper Ornaments
Foxhole
Tough Love Records

Technical glitches can be a real pain sometimes. I had this review fully written and ready to send to EIO40 HQ this morning when I thought I would make one small amendment – and managed to delete the entire document, except for the opening paragraph. So here I am rewriting it from scratch with the memory of what was originally there in my mind and trying to make sure it matches that standard or improves on it.

In a way this is ironic as this is what happened to the album I’m reviewing, “Foxhole” by The Proper Ornaments. The band had recorded the whole album before realising that there was some technical glitch which made the entire recording unusable except for one song. Necessity thus proved the mother of invention, the whole album was rerecorded simply and quickly and is now available for you to enjoy.

The Proper Ornaments were formed by James Hoare (Veronica Falls, Ultimate Painting) and Max Oscarnold (Toy) and they issued their debut album “Wooden Head” in 2014. Whereas that album was a warm blend of fuzzy guitars with nods to Teenage Fanclub, Stereolab and 60s sunshine pop, the new album – recorded on Hoare’s eight track home recording unit – eschews the overdriven guitars and concentrates on chiming clean guitar arpeggios, lovely harmonies, simple arrangements and an emphasis on simple piano chords for most of the songs.

As such there are a new set of influences – the hushed ambience of the third Velvet Underground album, the gorgeous songs Gene Clark and David Crosby wrote for the early Byrds albums, those gentle songs Rick Wright wrote for early Pink Floyd albums – and more contemporary sounds too, I hear echoes of early Kingsbury Manx, Beachwood Sparks, Radar Bros and other bands who who create their own take on pastoral psychedelia.

The album starts bright and breezy with the opener “Back Pages” (nice nod to Dylan and the Byrds there) and the supposedly cheerful “Cremated (Blown Away)” before moving into a mid tempo melancholy groove which remains for most of the rest of the album.

Mostly the songs are short – only “Memories” expands beyond the five minute mark as it moves through numerous changes and sections. Re-recording the album on a limited number of tracks has forced the band to remove layers of excess and concentrate on what makes the music matter most – there is no room for extraneous overdubbing, allowing the songs room to breath. This could be a disaster but the songs stand up to the scrutiny well, every song has melodic hooks which sink in quickly and small changes to the arrangements can be as powerful as a hundred overdubs. For instance “The Frozen Stare” has such a spare arrangement that the addition of electric guitar arpeggios during the coda expands the sound in a magnificent way – simple yet potent.

This is an album which doesn’t need to shout loudly to make its point, and over time the lyrical motifs will become apparent. Many songs have a melancholy air, looking back on a half remembered past and trying to make sense of the present – songs like “Just A Dream” and “When We Were Young” are wistful remembrances. The key song here is “Jeremy’s Song”, where interlocking cycles of acoustic guitars back a repeated mantra of “Cry but don’t speak, don’t move at all, keep your head down in the foxhole”. Are they hiding from the harsh reality of modern day living? Who knows? Maybe I read too much into these things.

On the other hand there are songs like “1969” which appears to be about the moon landings which again surprises with a delightful descending keyboard part on the chorus, and “I Know You Know” which adds a slight country edge which harks back to the Stones-ish vibe of “Give Out…” era ballads by Primal Scream. The album closer “The devil” sounds like it was recorded in a school assembly (utilising Phil Spector’s School Hall Of Sound?) and ends the album with an upbeat feel, adding a small piano doodle at the end which is quite lovely.

The Proper Ornaments know that brevity is an asset – eleven songs swing by in thirty seven minutes and the melodies and moods linger long in the memory after each listen. This is an album which rewards multiple plays – each listen will reveal new little details and pleasures, with plenty of melodic twists and unexpected chord changes. Simplicity is its strength, a triumph from possible disastrous circumstances.

There isn’t a bad song on this album and the Proper Ornaments have created this year’s first essential listen. It is the perfect soundtrack for winter days and nights – place it on the shelf next to these other winter albums “More Sad Hits” by Damon and Naomi, “Songs For The Sad Eyed Girl” by Biff Bang Pow! and “Ask Me Tomorrow” by Mojave 3.

This album deserves to be heard, let it infiltrate your life and it will reward you with haunting melodies and thoughtful words which will stay with you a long time. Highly recommended.

Rob Morgan

 

You can purchase “Foxholes” at the Proper Ornaments Bandcamp page and you can also discover more about them at these links

Twitter

Facebook

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589).

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading Rob’s review. If you would like to review something new, whether it’s new material or a re-issue then please contact us via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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The Salient Braves “Guilty Until Proven Innocent EP” – Review

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Another email from Esther dropped in the EIO40 inbox this week. Reading what she has to say about music that has put a smile on her face, puts a smile on our face. The fact that she had turned her attention to a band on our own radar, a band thoroughly deserving of much wider attention and who we hope to hear more from in the future, had us doing a bit of a jig.

The Salient Braves describe themselves as “Purveyors of tuneful lo-fi indie-pop”. Head honcho, Matt Bailey, hails from Barnsley and they have just released their 3rd EP which is on John Hartley’s Broken Down Records. They also have plans for a debut album in 2017.

Those are just facts. What follows is rather more important. And that is what Esther thinks of the latest offering from The Salient Braves…

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The Salient Braves
Guilty Until Proven Innocent EP
Broken Down Records

The Salient Braves’ third and latest EP “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” picks up where their last EP left off. It’ s another great collection of witty lyrics and harmonising melodies. Thankfully they continue to wear their influences from that golden C86 era of indie pop on their sleeves.

The 4-track EP kicks off with the title track, a jaunty number about a run-in with the law and subsequent bad treatment by the authorities. There’ s a great warbling trumpet throughout, as if it’s the protagonist’s voice crying out to be heard about his injustices. It’s used to great effect as a solo after he declares “I’m launching an appeal ‘cos I don’t like the meals”.

Next track “My Alter Ego” is a woozy dream pop number, starting off with a beautiful keyboard and guitar melody. It is cleverly contrasted with cutting lyrics which starts with the line, “Your heart’s not in the right place, must be somewhere beneath your shin” and has a cool boy-girl vocal exchange. It’s easy to lose yourself in this song and it’s not nearly long enough  It’s the gem on this EP.

“Boy’s Night Out” is another infectious track which everyone can relate to about the woes of not meeting someone on a night out. The EP closes with an unexpected somber tune showing Matt Bailey’s versatility in his songwriting. Minor chords, a simple bass line and haunting backing vocals are all that are needed to create its mood. With tongue planted in cheek, or maybe just humbly, he states “I’m a rhyme barrel-scraping cynical bastard”. Well, either case, give us more!

The Salient Braves have floated under the radar far too long. Get on board if you haven’t already and check out their previous releases. You do not want to say one day that this band somehow passed you by. They are currently trying to raise funds through Crowdfunder to release their first album on vinyl “Delusions of Grandeur” in 2017. Help make it happen!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-salient-braves-delusions-of-grandeur-vinyl

You can purchase the “Guilty Until Proven Innocent EP” from the Broken Down Records Bandcamp page here

You can also find all things The Salient Braves related at the following links.

Bandcamp

Twitter

Facebook

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of California, a wife and mother of two, Esther can be found escaping onto Twitter as @myrtleleaf to tweet about music, a life-long passion. She still mostly lives in the past. ________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you to Esther for a another wonderful review.

Watch out for further reviews, whether it’s re-issues or new releases. If you would like to review something yourself, you know where to find us.

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The Haywains “The Girl In The Holly Court Diner EP” – Review

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The Haywains are back and so is regular EIO40 contributor Esther (@myrtleleaf) with her review of their latest offering. This is the first release on new label Whoops! Records

Here is what Esther had to say about the new Haywains EP….

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The Haywains
The Girl In The Holly Court Diner EP
Whoops! Records

I can’t keep up with new gems hidden among the mountain of releases available in the many ways we discover music today. To add to that, I’m constantly discovering music from bands that passed me by in the mid 80’s and 90’s, my favorite eras in music.

So it’s with luck that I was given an opportunity to review this new release and revisit a group whose name and distinct retro cover art I was familiar with, though I had not followed their music closely. The Haywains had released several singles and two albums in the span of 8 years before disbanding in 1995. They reformed in 2013 for a reunion tour (25 years!), picking up right where they left off, where thankfully they continue to make great guitar pop, keeping the spirit of indie pop alive and well.

Their most recent EP, The Girl In The Holly Court Diner, is a batch of lively and catchy songs centered on love. The title track starts off with a great driving beat and an unexpected baritone I hadn’t heard in their earlier releases, but is lightened by a great melody. Another Boy’s Girl picks up the pace and adds a cool chord change as the song ends. LoveTorpedo! continues the theme centred around love with some alternating dual male vocals. The swooning It’s A Long Way Home When You Lose reminisces about better days (including a once winning football season). There’s a glockenspiel and keyboard and by now I’m won over by that baritone. The song fades to just guitar, it’s the perfect closer.

This EP is great place to start if you’re not already familiar with the band’s work.

The bundle of goodies you get with the EP

The Girl In The Holly Court Diner 7″ EP is limited to 300 copies so get in there quick if it’s up your street. All The Haywains releases are also available through their bandcamp page from which you can also link to their website.

https://thehaywains.bandcamp.com/album/girl-in-the-holly-court-diner-e-p
https://thehaywains.bandcamp.com/
http://www.haywains.co.uk/

http://www.whoops-records.co.uk

Esther

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A native of California, a wife and mother of two, Esther can be found escaping onto Twitter as @myrtleleaf to tweet about music, a life-long passion. She still mostly lives in the past. ________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you to Esther for a another wonderful review.

Watch out for further reviews, whether it’s re-issues or new releases. If you would like to review something yourself, you know where to find us.

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Meet The Community – @Betamax857

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

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In this edition – PedroF @Betamax857 

Pedro image@Betamax857 is probably our closest member and we mean that literally not figuratively. In terms of crows flying we’re talking 2.122 miles between EIO40 HQ and his abode. In fact, at one point we may have even been close enough to borrow his lawn mower, had circumstances panned out differently when securing our new premises.

You’re probably wondering how we discovered where @Betamax857 lives. Rest assured we don’t undertake intrusive background checks on community members or employ shadowy figures to rifle though personal records or rubbish bins. Nothing as sinister as that. We needed his address so we could send him the T Shirt he’d won in a Best Off A Best Off competition we held in the early days of that feature with @howcaniapply. That particular Best Of album was PWEI’s “16 Different Flavours Of Hell” and considering what we know about his musical penchants there was certainly an element of kismet about his triumph.

Our “closesness” to @Betamax857 doesn’t end there. He was also the first person from the community that Steve at EIO40 ever met in the real world. Their paths intertwined on the 24th March 2015 at the Lexington in London at a Back To The Panet gig. Steve’s wife had taken him for a posh meal earlier that evening to celebrate his birthday and in order to help @Betamax857 recognise him among the ageing punks in the venue messaged him “You can’t miss us, we’re the couple who look like they’ve just been out for a posh meal”.

Steve did confess later to being a little anxious at meeting @Betamax857 that night. That Twitter profile pic had haunted his dreams in the early days and he was a little shit scared that he might actually come to face to face with it. So if you are wondering, @Betamax857 doesn’t have that psychedelic facial tattoo and penetrating stare in real life.

We even have on file a photo of @Betamax857 stair carpet as his perfectly symmetrical Stuffies CD art installation making their way upstairs was his offering to their epic Quarter Final battle against The Manics during the The IndieOver40 Cup

Betamax stairs

In all seriousness, @Betamax857 contribution to the EIO40 community has been immense from his first tweet to us about Stereolab back on 23rd June 2014 to the present day. None more so than when he judged the 30 Years Of Indie Albums in January 2015. His dedication and hard work for the task at hand was never more pronounced than the infamous photo of his work station. The judging bar was set very high from that moment on.

Betamax Desk

On that day he handed album of 1993 to Eat’s “Epicure” so on that note let’s “feast” on @Betamax857

1) Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Beckenham, Kent. There was a great nightclub called Langtry’s that had an Indie night. The DJ would take requests and he remains the only one I have ever know to play Eat. He used to put on the record and then come and dance with the rest of us before running back to change over. 

2) What first got you into “indie” music?

In 1988 I was a complete metal head. At the age of 16, I wanted to go to my first gig which was to be Iron Maiden at Wembley Arena. No one would go with me (all of my mates liked Alexander O’Neal and Luther Vandross.) A friend at school said he would come along if I returned the favour by going with him to The Town and Country Club to see Pop Will Eat Itself.

After the Poppies gig which was visceral and chaotic the Iron Maiden gig seemed corporate and middle aged. Over the next year I got into and saw the Poppies several times and also The Wonder Stuff and Jesus Jones.

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?

Box Frenzy by Pop Will Eat Itself was the first album and Info Freako by Jesus Jones was my first 12”.

4) What was your favourite record shop?

I used to like Our Price on Bromley High Street as they stocked loads of 12”s. When I was a student at Swansea I loved a second hand store called More Music. They had loads of indie promos and I managed to get a copy of Info Psycho by Jesus Jones there.

5) What music magazines did you read?

I liked Melody Maker and Sounds.

6) What was your first “indie” gig?

Pop Will Eat Itself at The Town and Country Club. The support acts were Nasty Rox Inc. and Yeah God. I bought a Yeah God t shirt to cover up my Iron Maiden t shirt.

7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?

The Wonder Stuff ‘God Bless the Fuckin’ Lot of Us Tour’ in 1990, Preston Town Hall, August 11th. My friend and I, who lived in Kent, couldn’t make the London dates so we drove to Preston and back  to see The Wonder Stuff supported by Spirit of the West and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin.  The gig was great even though we thought we were mad to drive such a long way. Bizarrely enough we met a guy who had hitchhiked to the gig from about 1/2 a mile from where we lived. Needless to say he was thrilled to get a lift back.

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?

Going Blank Again by Ride for the Leave Them All Behind, Twisterella and Ox4.

When Do We Start Fighting by Seafood because they are the Indie band that me and my wife like the most.

Devil Hopping by The Inspiral Carpets for I want You, Uniform and Saturn 5.

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?

It has to be Clint Mansell. I’m a huge PWEI fan and I’m now a big fan of Clint’s film music. The first time I saw Clint in 1988 he was on stage wearing black leather trousers, no top and was completely  drunk. Now on stage he sits quietly at the keyboard, tells a great story and appears completely humble. 

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?

It’s She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. It’s a little bit gothic, a bit rock and great to dance to.


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A huge thank you to @Betamax857 for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into his indie-ness.

You could be next.

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Gig Night – Teenage Fanclub @ The Fleece, Bristol

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A tale of 2 Robs

An email dropped into the EIO40 mailbox midweek from Rob at Sonic PR asking if we wanted a guest list place at the Teenage Fanclub gig in Bristol on that Saturday (3rd Sep). Bristol is a bit of a trek for us and as we would be at the London gig anyway on the following Monday our initial reaction was to reluctantly swerve. However, it didn’t seem right to pass up such an offer considering we have friends in the manor. So we contacted regular EIO40 contributor Rob Morgan (@durutti74) to see if he was up for it and not only was he cock-a-hoop (he’d missed out on the pre-tour Bristol tickets) but said he would also write a review.

Pleased to say, it all worked out so thanks to Rob at Sonic PR and of course to Rob Morgan. Here is his review of  Teenage Fanclub at The Fleece, Bristol on Saturday 3rd September 2016..

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Maturity is not something to be celebrated in the music scene. Even back in the 50s and 60s pop groups weren’t given long life spans, it was a young person’s game – the pop stars were perceived to have a limited shelf life, gave the audience songs which reflected their teenage lifestyles and everyone was supposed to move on. It was transience personified. The man who wrote the line “Hope I die before I get old” in the mid 60s had trouble finding anything valid to say about himself and his generation in the 70s and 80s. Each generation had its own spokesman, reluctant or otherwise, and they very rarely spoke about the joys of settling down, getting old and facing mortality.

It is ironic that Teenage Fanclub have become the spokesmen for the generation of indie pop kids who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, the people who are facing their fifties worried about the mortgages, the health of their parents and their children’s school report (or is that just me? I’m not sure). OK, it’s not very rock and roll – the songs about alcoholidays and girls driving them home are in the past – but over their last few albums Teenage Fanclub have written some of the most affecting songs of recent times – “Only With You”, “I Don’t Want Control of You”, “Baby Lee”, “My Uptight Life” and many more.

The promise of a new Teenage Fanclub album is always greeted with a huge level of anticipation by their faithful fans – especially as they usually take half a decade to get around to making an album – and their latest album “Here” is due very shortly, followed by a substantial tour. It was the perfect moment for a small mini tour to reacquaint the band with their audience, and to road test a few new songs too. The mini tour started in Bristol on 3rd September, and I was lucky enough to be there.

Support band Snails were intriguing and a good choice, I felt they won over the crowd who may not have been that interested. Jangling guitar, male / female vocals, blasts of flute, saxophone and trumpet recalling The June Brides as well as Belle and Sebastian, they said they had a few 7 inchers available, certainly worth further investigation.

Teenage Fanclub themselves turned up on time, looking like they had just stepped in off the street. Raymond McGinley looks more like a science teacher with greying hair and glasses but once he straps on his Fender Jaguar he becomes a guitar hero. Norman Blake bears a remarkable resemblance to my doctor only Blake smiles more and between songs gives flashes of his wicked sense of humour. Gerry Love looks exactly the same as he did in 1995 – how does he do it? Francis Macdonald holds the beat steady and adds extra harmonies here and there while keyboard player Dave McGowan pops out front to add a third guitar to the mix half the time. Blake even called McGinley and McGowan ‘Kings of shred’ after their guitar duel after one song they had played on

So much for the facts, but that doesn’t explain the joyous rush of emotions that these five musicians can generate. How can such simple melodies and chord changes be so affecting? The set list was weighted towards the numerous classics in their back catalogue but there was room for four new songs from “Here”. Starting appropriately with “Start Again”, the crowd were singing back every word to the band.

Teenage Fanclub gigs are always like that – a communal feel of love and affection from band to audience and back again. Teenage Fanclub may not have played a gig for over a year, or toured substantially for a lot longer than that, but the musical chemistry was there immediately. During instrumental breaks Blake would frequently turn to Love or McGinley with an enormous grin on his face – he was enjoying it as much as the audience. Love would give a shy little smile after forthcoming single “Thin Air”, an acknowledgement that it had been well received. “It’s nice to see an audience, we’ve been playing to ourselves for two weeks”, Blake said between songs at one point, then adding “Well, more like three days actually…”

It did not show, there wasn’t a note or harmony out of place.

 And the songs… when a band can leave out gems like “Mellow Doubt”, “Neil Jung”, “What You Do To Me”, “Baby Lee” and “Alcoholiday” from their set and they’re not missed then that band has got a rich catalogue of songs to dip into.

TFC Norm Keys

All three songwriters got an equal share of the spotlight, taking turns to present their songs. Blake has the most immediate tunes – “I Don’t Want Control Of You”, “It’s All In My Mind”, “I’m In Love” – and Love has the singalongs – “Ain’t That Enough”, “Sparkys Dream”, “Star Sign” – but McGinley’s songs cut the deepest. New song “Hang On” is an absolute beauty lyrically and musically, even if they admit they don’t know how to end it – “It fades out on the record, we just play the same chord until we stop” added Blake.

It’s a worthy addition to McGinley’s esteemed canon, songs like “Verisimilitude” and “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From” greeted like old friends, as is the sight of Blake reaching for his xylophone at the start of the latter song. Equally Blake’s “Darkest Part Of The Night” rolls easy like “I Don’t Want Control Of You” does. If this is the quality of the songs on “Here”, it’s likely to be an absolute gem of an album.

In all, Teenage Fanclub returned and it felt like they had never been away. If there were any first night nerves, they weren’t evident. It was a confident performance by the band at the top of their game. I would love the set list to be a little longer, maybe that will happen on their main tour in November. For now, it is a pleasure and a joy to have Teenage Fanclub back in our lives.

TFC Set

Author: Rob Morgan

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589).

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Rob’s gig night. We would love to hear about your own gig experiences whether they are recent or in the past. Please contact us if you would like to contribute, via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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Community Recommends – Murals

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WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the EIO40 community is being introduced to new sounds by discovering what music others are listening to, whether fresh off the shelves or something from the past that may have gone under the radar.

“Community Recommends” is an opportunity for members to write about an album or song that is a particular favourite of theirs and would like to share to the wider community. So have a read. You might like what you hear.

In this edition Rob Morgan (@durutti74) introduces us to …..

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MURALS “Violet City Lantern”

It’s probably not a very indie place to start, but back in 1983 Heaven 17 recorded a song called “We Live So Fast” for their album “The Luxury Gap” and while the frantic drum machines and chirping synths have dated the song, the sentiments expressed – the speed of life, the need to press on, to move to the next new thing – seem more current than ever. In this decade there is an overabundance of choices available – from Netflix to Spotify to YouTube almost everything is available within an instant. We are saturated with entertainment shows and music, technology drives us to investigate everything until we are drowned – it is all too much.

These days it is hard to find the time to get to know a record, to listen to it intently and in a number of settings, to get inside the songs and let them inhabit your life. Remember how you felt when you had a new album by your favourite band? The weeks of playing it over and over, how it would infiltrate into your world, become the soundtrack to that week or month, that party, that night out, that kiss, that argument. Life and music in harmony, the soundtrack to your life.

But it rarely happens these days. The overwhelming overload of availability leads to instant decisions – play a few songs from an album, decide it isn’t for you, move to the next one. I know I’ve done that, guilty as charged. But over the last few weeks I’ve played one new album over and over again, allowing it to sink in like the old days. I wasn’t instantly impressed but over time, the music had wormed its way into my heart, become part of my life.

That album is “Violet City Lantern” by Murals.

As I said, the first few listens were frustrating. Yes it sounded lovely – oceans of reverb, splinters of guitar lines, a double tracked vocal style similar to Steve Mason in the Beta Band. But nothing truly jumped out at me, the songs tended to change direction for no reason, there were occasional instrumentals, sometimes the sound of rain. It was pleasant enough but I didn’t feel like persisting with it. But I carried on, listening in different settings – in the car, or on headphones around the house – and slowly it all clicked into place. Maybe it was persistence, or maybe there was one song acting as the key to unlock the other songs.

The key for me was the fourth song “White Wheel”. It fades in gradually, a miasma of twinkling guitars and xylophones over a martial drum beat, then a simple melodic vocal from Jacob Weaver, and the song jogs along happily, like a lamb dancing through a spring field of grass, while ascending brush strokes of autoharp punctuate the song. It’s a beautiful sound, hazy and vague but engaging. And once that song had cracked the code of Murals, the rest of the album fell into place.

I must admit I don’t know that much about the band, they are a four piece from Louisville in the US and this is their second album and I happened to stumble upon it on Bandcamp a few weeks back. I’m sure someone more diligent than myself would be digging in and finding out about the members, but sometimes it’s better to let a band’s music exist in its own world, without getting bogged down by details of who made the coffee and who strummed the guitars. This is that kind of record – one to clutch to your heart and cherish, unknowing the details which could spoil the spell.

I’ve avoided writing about the music because it’s tricky to describe. There are hints of Galaxie 500, The Beta Band, early Purple Ivy Shadows, the “Beach Boys in a school assembly” wonder of the debut Fleet Foxes LP, but all refracted through a gentle lysergic haze. There’s enough reverb to satisfy the keenest shoegazer, but absolutely no distorted guitars. Each song takes twists and turns in unexpected directions, but always makes perfect sense.

Take “Watching In The Dark” for instance – it starts in waltz time with a gorgeous guitar melody for a minute before slowing down into normal 4/4 time and a different melody for the main song, while still throwing in a bridge in double time around the three minute mark, before returning to the main melody, and a brief coda restates the introduction melody in waltz time. All the changes in tempo and melody sound completely natural, nothing is jarring or off kilter.

Each song had a unique feature – “The Swimmer” has delicate washes of piano and strings, “One Thousand Pictures” has a reversed rhythm track (reminiscent of “Amazing Journey” by The Who) – and the brief instrumentals dotted throughout the album act as welcome breathers, a chance to gather thoughts. In that way, it is similar to “Alaska”, the debut album by Northern Picture Library, another unique proposition.

“Violet City Lantern” is an album which exists on its own terms, has its own internal logic and makes no concessions unless the listener is prepared to give as much as the band. But this is also an album with charm and beauty to spare, a gorgeous concoction of melody which will reward multiple listens. It may not appear on any publication’s end of year albums list, but it is a special album which will remain close to this listener’s heart. Allow it a chance and you may feel the same way.

Recommended songs – “Violet City Lantern”,“White Wheel”, “I Live Here”.

Murals – White Wheel

Listen to the album on Spotify or other streaming services, or purchase it from www.themurals.bandcamp.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob writes about music and other less important subjects at his blog A Goldfish Called Regret (agoldfishcalledregret.wordpress.com) and also creates podcasts for Goldfish Radio (https://m.mixcloud.com/robmorgan589).

He never achieved his ambition of making a Sarah Record.

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Thank you to Rob Morgan for taking the time to introduce us to Murals. Hope you enjoy the music as much as we have.

If you would like to contribute to this feature by writing about a song or album that you think others would like, then we would love to hear from you.

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Gig Night – Deadcuts / I Plead Irony

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We weren’t there. We wanted to be there. We couldn’t be there. It was a gig with headliners featuring Mark Keds and Cass Browne from Senseless Things and celebrating the life of Wiz, front man of Mega City Four and songwriter and lyricist extraordinaire who soundtracked an defining era for many of us. It was a gig night down the road from us. We were gutted.

Thankfully Dawn Bovingdon (@Miss_D_xx) was there and has shared with us the next best thing. An entertaining full match report of the recent Forward4Wiz gig at Farnborough FC.

So enjoy Dawn’s gig night. It was clearly emotional.

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Anyone who knows me will know that saying Mega City Four is my favourite band is a massive understatement. So when it was hinted that an event would take place in January to celebrate Wiz’s birthday, 9 years after his sudden and tragic death following a blood clot on the brain, I excitedly cleared my diary in anticipation.

As details filtered out it was announced that Blag Promotions (Pete Cole) and Rose Coloured Records (Andy Fulterer) with the Forward 4 Wiz Trust would host a gig at the Farnborough Football Club, a regular former hangout for the band. Headlined by Deadcuts, supported by I Plead Irony and set for 16th January 2016. Both bands have a close connection to Wiz.

Deadcuts are the brainchild of Mark Keds, former Senseless Things frontman, a band which toured relentlessly with MC4 back in the 90s. With guitarist Jerome Alexandre, the band also included Mark McCarthy of The Wonder Stuff. However a couple of last minute changes saw the departure of Mark M to be replaced by bassist Joseph Johns, and the brilliant addition of Cass Browne, the Senseless Things drummer. After some hasty poster changes the line up was finalised.

I Plead Irony have only been a band for a few years but have a history. I first met Rauf Jordan, vocalist and bassist, and Lawrence Arnold, drummer, when they completed Ipanema with Wiz. They are joined by Paul McDonald who previously featured with them in a band called The Fins. We’ve seen them a few times before and they played my 40th birthday party, so very happy to see them included.

I quickly realised we’d have the kids that weekend, so what better than to treat them to an evening in my world – what teenage kid wouldn’t want that ☺. Two rooms were booked at the Farnborough Premier Inn and the tickets purchased before I gave them the great news. The girls hadn’t stayed in a hotel before and were quite excited at the prospect. There was talk of ordering room service – I didn’t want to burst their bubble by telling them Premier Inn is a little more down market than that, so said I’d provide dinner.

The 16th quickly arrived, albeit with threats of snow storms, and we set off for the short journey mid-afternoon so the girls could enjoy the hotel experience. They masked their disappointment well when I produced 4 Pot Noodles and a loaf of bread as their room service dinner – no expense spared!

We booked a cab and met a couple of friends, Becki & Jackie, in the foyer. The football club was only a couple of miles away and was already buzzing by the time we arrived to a sold out crowd. Jonathon Trevisick of Feet First DJ’d between bands and was already belting out some fantastic indie tunes. We happily sang along to Carter’s Sheriff Fatman while the girls rolled their eyes and tried to disown us.

The room was full of friends who had known and loved Wiz, and most had stories of MC4 gigs and times they’d spent with the band. MC4 were represented on the night by the band’s drummer Chris Jones (who doesn’t seem to age), Karina Chillman – Wiz’s then partner and F4Wt trustee, and Dee Terry, Gerry Bryant’s missus, as Gerry had a prior engagement with a football match. The atmosphere was emotional, a mix of joy – celebrating great music and wonderful memories – with sombre overtones. Two screens showed video clips and photos of MC4, Ipanema and Senseless Things as a reminder of the past, while the night and the purpose of the F4Wt was about looking forward with new music.

I Plead Irony took to the small stage at 8.30pm. Rauf was wearing one of his customary Shite Shirts, I believe bought especially for the gig. The band go from strength to strength. Kicking off with Now or Never, the opening track from their first album, they grabbed the audience’s attention. The new material sounds fantastic and What If, my current favourite IPI song, was up next. Those that knew the lyrics sang along, others just moved to the music.

Dawn I Plead Irony post image

The rest of the set continued at a pace with the band obviously enjoying the night, sounding competent, confident and very loud. As their time drew to an end there were calls for more and, to the delight of the crowd, the band launched into a cover of Mega City Four’s Miles Apart. Ending their set with gig favourite Wrecking Ball (no not the Miley version), the band finished on a high and headed for the bar. I Plead Irony’s 2nd album entitled The Solution is the Problem is released in April. I’m singing in a crowd backing vocal bit on one track but don’t let that put you off, you can’t hear me ☺. I’ve heard a demo of the album and it’s a must buy.

All profits from the gig will be donated to the Forward 4 Wiz Trust, set up in his memory to support new and aspiring musicians in the area. Both bands had donated merch towards a raffle prize, along with Stuffies and MC4 items. Pete Cole drew the winning raffle ticket. I didn’t catch the name of the guy who won but he walked away with some fantastic goodies I’d had my eye on.

There was a DJ interval between bands where curry was served from the back of the venue and we tried to chat to friends over the loud music, resorting to a weird form of made up sign language, ending in shrugs, before heading to the bar to stock up on drinks instead. The youngest did her best moody teen impression until her request for a Muse track was played and she started bouncing around grinning.

Dawn post image sofa

Deadcuts were due on stage at 10pm however at 9.50 we started to worry as no one had stepped on stage since the raffle was drawn, and our cab would be arriving at 11. 10pm arrived with Mark and Jerome taking to the stage to set up their equipment and 10 minutes later the band were ready. I’d only heard a couple of songs prior to the gig but liked what I’d heard. With a sound far removed from the poppiness of Senseless Things – Deadcuts have a much darker, heavier quality to their songs. Keds’ lyrics draw on his life experience and listening to them feels almost like reading his personal diary. Jerome is a very strong guitarist and his style perfectly complements Keds. It’s fantastic to see Cass back on drums and he fits naturally into the band. The girls were very happy to see Joseph on stage and he was the highlight of their night (makes a change from them crushing on Matt Bellamy!).

Whilst a fairly new band they are already building a strong following based on quality songs. Their set opened to cheers with Praying for Jail, moving into Less I Want Less I Need. Mark decided to make a few costume changes, not easy on a small stage with no changing area. Starting the set shirtless in a long black coat, switching to a Bowie tribute Blackstar knitted jumper and finally a suit jacket.

Dawn Deadcuts image

I got the impression Mark seemed a little uncomfortable or nervous at the start (possibly due to the fact it was in memory of a friend) but the band quickly settled in and each song sounded better than the previous. Opium Styles and Brittany Murphy were fantastic with, what I feel is their best yet, Summon the Witches – a song with a guitar hook that stays with you for days. This was followed by new track Dope Girls which I’ve since had to order.

As 11pm neared Mark stood quiet while the crowd cheered and waited for the noise to die down, before reading the lyrics to Mega City Four’s Less Than Senseless as poetry. A song written by Wiz for Senseless Things. It was beautiful to hear and the emotion in Mark’s voice was audible. To finish the set Deadcuts launched into the faster paced Kill Desire. They’re a band I’d strongly recommend seeing and who are currently touring with The Libertines (Mark co-wrote Can’t Stand Me Now).

By now it was just after 11 and our cab was waiting with the meter running. Pete Cole and Karina Fraser stepped on stage to close the event. Karina spoke from the heart to thank everyone for coming together, celebrating Wiz’s life and contribution and for supporting the trust. As it was Danny Brown’s birthday (Wiz’s brother and MC4 guitarist) who had moved to Australia last year with his lovely wife Roxy, we didn’t want to leave him out so the gig finished with a group chorus of happy birthday, filmed and uploaded to FB for him to see.

Dawn Drummers corner

As my family and friends dashed out to the cab before he gave up and left us, I just had time to say hello, great gig and goodbye to Mark Keds before joining them and heading back to our hotel. It was a fantastic night and flew by all too quickly. Most importantly £500 was raised for the F4Wt. Let’s make it an annual event.

Enjoying myself too much, my slightly drunken pics were pretty poor, and I can’t stand still at gigs, so I won’t inflict my efforts on you (bar 1 Adrian took). Instead professional photographer, Dave Vokes of LMI Photography, has kindly shared a few pics of the bands. Enjoy!

Dawn Bovingdon

Videos & Links

Deadcuts – Summon the Witches https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-FTGLN6eT4
I Plead Irony – I Can’t Hear You https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G11GDLEQRJo
Forward 4 Wiz Trust – www.f4wt.org

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We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Dawn’s gig night. We would love to hear about your own gig experiences whether they are recent or in the past. Please contact us if you would like to contribute, via email indieover40@gmail.com or Twitter @IndieOver40

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