LIVE REVIEW. Otherkin at The Boileroom

Date: 23 May 2017
Venue: 
The Boileroom, Guildford
Genre: Grunge pop
Words: Steph Baker
Photography: Aaron Crawford

 

Tonight’s gig reminded me of why independent venues such as The Boileroom are so important to local communities and the music industry. Seeing live music, and having unique, memorable experiences at places like these, filled with welcoming and creative people is what it’s all about, right?

Bad Nerves

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The main support for Otherkin came on stage to a warm and building crowd. The first thing that made this East-London four-piece currently touring with Otherkin was the front-man’s pounding vocals. His voice travels up, down and all around, diversifying the band’s indie-rock tunes and bringing each one to life.

The crowd were engaged, and our night was kicked off with a frenzy of heavy riffs and catchy hooks, especially within the most recent single ‘Dreaming‘. This was one of the band’s final gigs with Otherkin, an yet you would never have known it with the amount of manic energy the guys brought to the room, the set was actually exhausting to keep up with, and that’s exactly how music like this is meant to be.

 

 

 

Otherkin

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Otherkin are a grunge-pop frenzy from Dublin who are… quite the experience. The four-man group came onstage looking rather un-disruptive but managed to turn a politely-bobbing-your-head-along kinda Tuesday night into a sweaty, bloody mess within their first track, ‘It’s Alright‘. The crowd were pulled to the front and brought up to the same level as the band while thrashing around to the infectious ‘Why Did You Treat Me So Bad‘. In today’s music scene, over-saturated with Libertines-wannabes and inauthentic boy bands, Otherkin proudly stand out by managing to genuinely connect with the audience and bring about an uproar with their ferocious hooks, passionate lyrics and attitude filled grunge riffs.

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As the country tries to digest and contemplate the truly horrific attack on a gig in Manchester, tonight’s gig is a bittersweet event. Otherkin stopped their set to express their thoughts and pay their respects, saying “Music should be a safe space for everyone” before everyone in the room took part in a minute of silence. After this emotional moment came to an end, the group summoned up all the energy they had in them with the next tune of the night, ‘Come On Hello’, something fun and positive to get everyone dancing again. Further along the night, the London boys invited everyone onto the stage, this was a moment of pure joy and madness for everyone at the Boileroom tonight, exactly what we needed. Hook-filled, manic pop tunes full of attitude and truthful tales. Otherkin are a truly class act, and a band that will inevitably continue to shake up venues across Europe this summer.

 


Listen to Otherkin’s latest Single ‘Bad Advicehere

The East-London boys are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

Baker Out

LIVE REVIEW. The Sherlocks at Wedgewood Rooms with support from Crown Of Thieves and Jordan Allen


Date:
February 23rd
Venue: Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Genre: Indie/alternative
Words and Photography: Martina Di Gregorio

The Sherlocks, the fast growing indie band from Sheffield, played at Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth as part of their tour that is selling out impressively fast considering they have only been signed for three months.

Crown Of Thieves kicked off tonight’s gig slowly warmed up the audience with some hard rock music and light hearted jokes. The leading vocalist went from sitting down and drinking his beer during the bassist’s solo to passionately bending to the ground during his high notes – definitely was an interesting way of starting the night!

They were followed by Jordan Allen, who did a perfect job of engaging the audience through their intense performance. They did not stray away from the audience, not even post-set as Jordan signed merch for all those people that rushed to purchase their new EP, ‘Living La Vida Loca in Bolton’. The band never gave up on making the audience scream for them, and the efforts certainly paid off.

But the real highlights of the night were of course The Sherlocks, who stole the spotlight and proved just why they have risen so high so fast. The set started with ‘Last Night’, and the lead vocalist, Kiaran Crook, didn’t miss a single note while balancing his trademark stage presence with vocal performance. The crowd grew increasingly excited with every track, screams erupting every time they announced the next upcoming song. It was impossible to stay still in the sea of people jumping around and swaying to the electric beat in the Wedgewood Rooms tonight.

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Fan favorite ‘WIll You Be There?’ was the fourth song played and everyone simultaneously lost it in a moment, understandably. But the track of the night had to be ‘Live for the Moment’. As Kiaran encouraged the chorus reprise, bassist, Andy Davidson took over the stage and deployed his best tricks, grabbing the attention of everyone in the room. Josh Davidson and Brandon Crook were solid performers as well. The chemistry between the band is incredible, you can really see the authenticity in the band members’ connections and nothing could have stopped them tonight.

There was no need for the band to even try to encourage engagement from the crowd tonight, as they were already jumping and screaming within an inch of their lives. They even played new songs such as ‘Nobody Knows’ and ‘Candle Light’, giving the audience a taste of what to expect as The Sherlocks continue to grow and experiment with their sound.

The penultimate song was their most recent single ‘Was It Really Worth It?’ and once again the audience were completely engrossed. They are definitely on the path to becoming big with their ever growing fan base and packed out gigs. With the amount of shirts thrown onto the stage, the summer should bring about class festival performances. The Sherlocks’ increasing on-stage confidence also shows as the band power through technical issues and sound malfunctions, nothing can stop them now. Tonight, the Bolton lads were full of energy and certainly did not disappoint dedicated fans or sceptical newcomers. 


The Sherlocks have just announced another tour, check out all the details here. You can also show your love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Make sure to also check out Crown Of Thieves and Jordan Allen

 

MDG

 

 

SINGLE REVIEW. The Big Moon – Formidable

Released: OUT NOW

Genre: Alternative-rock

Rating: ★★★★

The Big Moon have been on the rise for the past year now in playing notable shows around the nation with big names, and having a growing, passionate fan-base. With an extrovert-like, 90s girl-punk style and all the right sounds, The Big Moon have comfortably made a name for themselves within the London alternative scene, however this single – released ahead of the debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ out April next year – demonstrates how the female quartet are moving out of their comfort zone, and exploring a new world of dark, indie fuzz.

love_in_the_4th_dimension_tbm_low_res-jpg-768x768The track opens with the familiar voice of front-woman Juliette emerging with the oh-so-cynical rhyme “Did she make you swallow all your pride, does the love still shiver down your spine” before a gentle crescendo of reverb and bass. The slightly ominous “oooh” echoed by all of the girls calm the air before the chorus ignites. The band really bring it in the chorus, and this is the point you realise how much The Big Moon have really progressed since their early releases; with powerful vocals that could get any room chanting out loud and some of the heaviest guitar and thunderous drums we have heard yet. This band have the capability to bring all the noise and carnage you could ever need, while still having the control to execute haunting harmonies and more delicate tones, something that works so well with this type of music.

The only drawback to this release is the length of it. Leaving the listener wanting more is always a good move (it certainly worked), but the girls still could have reached even higher levels of intensity and experimented more with this new sound if they had given the track some more time. However, this seems to be a song that could be developed and expanded greatly during a live set. Let’s hope for more dark magic such as this in the album.


You can listen to ‘Formidable‘ now here and pre-order the debut album here.

Give The Big Moon some love too on Facebook and Twitter

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. Blackwaters – So Far Out

Release date: 11th November 2016

Genre: indie-punk

Rating: ★★★★

Guildford lads Blackwaters first caught our attention whilst reeling people in and making a right ol’ noisy mess at Camden Rocks Fest in the summer, playing early hits such as ‘Fiction‘ and ‘Moon On A Stick‘. Since then, these four boys have really gone up in the world, as their following increases and their name is starting to appear on big announcements such as Live At Leeds 2017, Blackwaters are now able to get more creative and ambitious with their music – and this shows in their most recent release, So Far Out.

This is the band’s most fast-paced track yet, at the end of it you are left exhausted – but I think this is the intended effect. After a perfectly chant-able opening hook, front man, Max Tanner comes in with comical tales of drunken nights, like a young, rowdier Jamie T. The chorus hits and this is where the punk vibes shine through. With guitarist David Carpenter blasting out a strong re-verb heavy lead backed by James Watkins‘s brain-crushing drums. You instantly get the very fuzzy visualisation of your messiest ever night, and the shamelessness of it all. Blackwaters have finally managed to convey the turbulent, roughhouse action of their live performances into a recorded track, a massive accomplishment for the rising band.

The music video features the band members rushing through the streets of their hometown, Guildford with mates and various hits of madness. Check it out below.

 


Give Blackwaters some love on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

 

Baker out.

INTERVIEW. Black Foxxes ahead of debut album release.

Following a sold out tour with Milk Teeth and in the mist of the numerous festivals this Summer, we got to know Mark from one of the country’s most exciting bands at the moment, Black Foxxes. The band’s much anticipated debut album, ‘I’m Not Well‘ will be out August 19th via Search and Destroy/Spinefarm Records.

 

So how’re you finding the tour of festivals this summer? Has the experience affected Black Foxxes as a band at all?

Not especially. It was really important for me to get out and prove to myself I could tour and be away from home for long periods of time. Anxiety had always stopped me from doing that before, so if anything it’s just good to prove to myself I can do that.

Do you find yourself being in a community of alternative/hard rock bands that are similar to Black Foxxes? like yourselves? 

We’re not really part of any community. We are just going in our own direction. It’s funny, there are so many bands that do the same tours together, are in the same magazines together all the time, play the same festivals… it’s all about who you know, but at the end of the day we couldn’t give a fuck about all of that. We’re just making honest music, if we don’t fit into a mould I’m okay with that.

How does your song writing process work, is it always the same or do you find it varying every time? 

I will usually come up with the bulk of the song at home, something I’ve written that week or a while beforehand, then I’ll take it to practice and we’ll shape it however seems best. There’s no set formula per say, but we don’t tend to spend too long on the song, else it becomes over-saturated and non-organic.

So you just finished recording your debut album and the anticipation for it is already huge, what would you say this album is based on?

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The debut album I’m Not Well‘ is out 19th August

I think it’s pretty self –explanatory; I wrote most of the songs when I was in a really dark place, mentally and physically, and the album encompasses that. As far as inspirations are concerned we’re all into quite a wide range of music, but at the time we were all listening to a lot of Ryan Adams, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Death Cab For Cutie…

 

 

 

What’s in store for the future, the bigger picture following this album?

We’re off to the states later this year to play Riot Fest and play some other shows around the country, so that’s huge for us. Ultimately, we want people to relate to this band as much as we think people will, we want to make music that is going to stand it’s ground for years and years to come.

Finally, Black Foxxes are known for their inspirational acknowledgement of mental health within their music, how was your recent single ‘I’m Not Well‘ written specifically with Mental Health and personal experiences in mind? 

I think the whole album is written with my mental health in mind, it’s so important for people struggling to speak out and seek help. I know first-hand how vulnerable and weak it can make you feel, and how much just talking about it will help you. I’m sure everyone will take their own things from this album, but if it helps people in any way then I’ve done something right.


Check out ‘I’m Not Well‘ here:

 

You can pre-order the album here and follow them on facebook and twitter

 

 

Baker out.

SINGLE REVIEW. BlackWaters – ‘Jarr’ed up Generation’

Release Date: 22nd June 2016

Genre: Indie-punk

Rating:★★★★

 

We first saw this South-England quartet at the Camden Rocks Festival earlier this month. Not only did they quickly stand out from the other up-and-coming acts playing throughout Camden on that day, but there was an almost instantaneous feeling of excitement with BlackWaters, that these guys were already on their  way to making their own mark on the scene as they played their explosive set at the Hawley Arms. Now, less than a month later, the boys have delivered in the form of another immersive, energetic single, ‘Jarr’ed up Generation‘.

The track opens with an old-school indie guitar riff courtesy of David Carpenter that is soon warmed up by the irresistibly catchy vocal ‘ooh’s. It is soon clear that this single is built around the distinct booming voice of Max Tanner. The carefully crafted lyrics tell a comical story of youthful angst, destructive boredom, and self-deprecation that is – as we all know – endlessly relatable. The chorus has the perfect rowdy-shout-along hooks and words, the kind that were met with great energy and vibes at Camden, and will surely go onto do the same in the BlackFutures gigs to come (the cover artwork featuring lead guitar David shows that alone!). Overall this track is a great rerelease to demonstrate the band’s professional development, and uncompromising punk identity.

 

 


Make sure you check out the new BlackWaters single here
You can also connect with the boys on facebook and twitter

 

 

Baker out.

ALBUM REVIEW. Spring King – ‘Tell Me If You Like To’

Release Date: 10th June 2016 (Island Records)

Genre: Indie/garage-punk

Rating:★★★★

 

We were very excited for the debut release from the new boys on the block, Spring King after seeing them headline the Boileroom last month (Check it out here) and seeing the success and hype generated from hit singles such as ‘City‘ and ‘Rectifier‘. And it is safe to say that we were not disappointed.

The debut kicks off with the signature pounding drums that Tarek Musa masters so well accompanied by a fitting heavy bass line for the opening track ‘City‘. This is a care-free danceable track with the freeing lyrical hook ‘Who am I what does it matter?’ – Perhaps these boys foolishly believe they’re still in the small leagues, or maybe they are embracing their shooting success with an uncomprimising attitude.

We are then graced with the irresistibly catchy hits such as ‘Detroit‘. This pre-released hit along with the fan-favourite ‘Summer‘ pain a fuzzy picture of the romanticized, chaotic, British summer experiences of one’s youth that we just love to reminisce of. The next track, ‘Who Are You?‘ tells a more cynical tale, with relentless garage-rock guitar and bass lines keeping it alive. Spring King then continue to intertwine gloomy-punk undertones into their energetic anthems in songs such as ‘Demons‘ and ‘It’s so Dark‘, a quality of this band that is flourishing with great responses. At this point, it could be said that Spring King may be suffering from an identity-crisis, with a seemingly endless melting-pot of influences and musical styles bouncing off each other throughout this album, but these boys shouldn’t be criticised for that. ‘Tell Me If You Like To‘ is a powerful, and solid establishing debut album, one that oozes more confidence than most being released right now. It does a good job of demonstrating that they are not the standard 16-year-old-indie-phase band that they could be accused of being at first glance – they are much more, and go much deeper.

The pre-released track ‘Rectifier‘ leads the charge of establishing what Spring King are all about. The seemingly chaotic but in reality genius arrangement of floor-shattering drums, heavy indie-rock guitar lines and Tarek to-the-point vocals makes for a highly danceable track, and a chorus that makes for a perfect British-style drunken chant. This track is also outrageous live.

Some bands are just made to be heard live, and it is always hard to capture the mad on-stage energy in professional recordings of these bands, but Spring King have taken a solid stab at it and this is only the beginning of what’s yet to come.


Listen to ‘Tell Me If You Like Tohere and buy it here.

They are also on facebook, twitter and instagram.

 

Baker out.

ALBUM REVIEW. Catfish & The Bottlemen – ‘The Ride’

Release date: 8th Junly 2016

Genre: Indie-Rock/Pop

Rating:★★★1/2

So it is finally here. Catfish & The Bottlemen release second album ‘The Ride‘ after fan-apprehension grew steadily throughout 2016 with the release of hit singles ‘Soundcheck‘, ‘7‘ and ‘Twice‘. Their debut ‘The Balcony‘ was all about getting their name known, and letting us know what they’re about – rough around the edges rock that is going to conquer the UK. Now this album’s purpose is to cement their place as the UK’s leading indie-rock band and showcase how much they have grown, from arriving tentatively onto the scene, to having sold-out shows and gold album sales figures. 

 

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Image: ebuzz.ie

We start off with the two singles that fans have been singing along to for weeks in preparation for this release, ‘7‘ and ‘Twice‘. These are unsurprisingly two of the best singles on the album, full of buildup and blaring hooks. ‘Oxygen‘ is very reminiscent of what Oasis would be like if they were to write new material today while ‘Emily‘ gives an insight into travels to America and surprises in romantic endeavours. Nearing the end of this 11-track album, and so far we have had peaks and troffs, with all of the foundations from their debut, just when you think they are going to explode onto a huge level, Catfish’s efforts plato into an anti-climactic memory of ‘The Balcony‘. It is not all bad though, ‘Red‘ is a powerful hit all about growing up and second chances, with heavy bass drums and blaring vocals by McCann that leave us with insight into a romantic rival with lyrics “Can he do what I do for you?“. additionally,’Soundcheck‘ has an undertone similar to some early Strokes material, with CATB’s trademark touch flowing throughout.

 

These guys know how to make ear-catching, fun, quality hits that much is clear. This album is sure to do well, and get the band more sold-out gigs, possibly even allow them to spread their wings overseas more. The only question is, shouldThe Ride‘ achieve all this? This second album is slighty monotonous at times, making it hard to distinguish between this musical endeavour and their first, released two years ago. Catfish’ have so much potential and adventure inside, and at times throughout this album, you feel as if they are holding back. This disappointing lacking touch is actually done on purpose, as front-man of the band said when discussing ‘The Ride‘: “I feel like everybody started thinking too outside the box, trying to be arty and different…we wanted to stay inside the box“. Is this going to be a safety-guard that ensures sales, or their first and last creative mistake? Only time will tell.

 

Listen to it and make up your own mind on spotify

Catfish and The Bottlemen are also on facebook and twitter

 

 

Baker out.

CAMDEN ROCKS FEST REVIEW – The Cribs

Date: 4th June 2016 (Camden Rocks Festival)

Venue: The Electric Ballroom, Camden.

Genre: Indie/Garage-rock

Rating: ★★★★

 

So after a long day, of varying bands and tightly-packed venues, it was finally time for the naughties indie-rock legends to grace The Electric Ballroom and headline Camden rocks. Everyone was there to see it: committed fans, the convinced-at-the-last-minute and other bands who had played gigs today. Apprehension grew fast and relentless chants of “Wakefield” were getting louder and louder – but they were eventually met with a delivery of the good stuff. As the infamous Yorkshire Jarman brothers walk onto the stage and nonchalantly start playing their guitars, there is (as predicted) instant moshing, of the drunken, rowdy kind. 

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It’s only when seeing twins Gary and Ryan Jarman strum out their aging hits and scream down the mics, that you realise something about bands like The Cribs. They are a lucky by-product of musical crowd mentality. Their indie tales of shitty towns, young love and apethy are far from unique, bands had been doing it long before them (the likes of The Strokes and The Libertines to name a few) and bands were doing a remarkabley similar act since them (almost every up-and-coming indie-rock artist), and yet with their relatable image and knack for getting people riled up, they have transformed, and maintained their status of being one of the biggest cult bands in the UK. This is not to take anything away from The Cribs as an act, as you could not deny the incredible atmosphere that was instantly achieved at the Elecrtic Ballroom tonight, the crowd was a blurring swarm of chanting, shoving and jumping – the perfect rowdy mess that you would hope for at a gig like this. It is something that can only be achieved with a level of authenticity from bands such as The Cribs, however it is clear when watching them from a certain perspective that they are not doing anything overly different from the myriad of bands that showcased their talent and hunger across Camden Rocks today – and yet it is just working for them.

Notorious hits such as ‘Mirror Kisses‘ and ‘Men’s Needs‘ created a adoring crowd reaction unmatched by other attempts. People were simply manic, in the best possible way and this is what tonight was all about at Camden Rocks. The Cribs’s moment in the limelight represented everything that the bands who played today (regardless of genre) want to get to, and the kind of endless, and seemingly effortless success that The Cribs aren’t going to get sick of any time soon. This ‘you-had-to-be-there’ sort of cult atmosphere tonight just proves how important band identity and following is, to the point that it often surpasses the importance of the music quality (especially with indie music).

 

 

The Cribs’s are on twitter and facebook, check ’em out.

 

(All images: Steph Baker)

 

 

Baker out.

 

CAMDEN ROCKS FEST REVIEW – Tellison

Date: 4th June 2016 (Camden Rocks Festival)

Venue: The Forge, Camden.

Genre: Sad indie-rock

Rating:★★★★

Indie-rock favourites, Tellison have been relatively quiet since the release of ‘Hope Fading Nightly‘ (2015), so it was good to see them do their thing again and play this great festival, this sentiment was also be shared by obvious fans who almosted filled The Forge for the London lads tonight.

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The band started their set with ‘Helix and Ferman‘, with the audience echoing the chants of “Drink red wine, say you’re fine” along side Peter Phillips (guitarist) and Andrew Tickell (bass) while our front man sung troubled tales of struggle in love, the set started as it meant to go on. Tonight showcased the greatest, almost tangible connections that can be made between a great band and it’s endowed audience. I’m not sure whether this was more due to Stephen Davidson’s emotional, matter-of-fact voice or the genuinely humble audience interactions that frequented the time inbetween songs (“Look you’re here watching us while all the famoud bands play down the road, so thank you”) – but despite having some time-wasting technical difficulties, and a venue that did not entirely suit the band, Tellison managed to touch a lot of people tonight.

Tunes such as ‘Boy‘ and ‘Tact Is Dead‘ were strung out full of detailed guitar riffs and energetic drums, demonstrating how timeless, ageless and seamless Tellison‘s troubled indie-rock music really is. They even experiemented at times throughout the set, with some songs incorporating warm, delicate harmonies, and others having some heavier guitar lines and more relentless drums by Henry Danowski, these were met with positive crowd reactions. This is a personal band, who sing personally significant lyrics and enjoy playing intimate sets (regardless of the size of the venue room), and as the words and beats are seemingly pouring out of the musicians, the crowd stand in wonder and bliss.

 

 


What the crowd thought…

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“A fantastic, unique band that have invigorated my evening!”

 

Listen to Tellison’s tunes below:

You can also follow them on facebook and twitter

 

(All images: Steph Baker)

 

Baker out.