Gaffa Tape Sandy + support @ Norwich Arts Centre 10th August 2018

TIN-kulk-1-2

Kulk – no compromise, uncontrolled angular energy

No messing, straight on, no chat, plug in and play. Very punk, you like us or you don’t….

You don’t go to see Kulk you experience Kulk. A visceral onslaught of noise and movement, all uncontrolled angular jerky energy laid out there for you to absorb or reject. Thoms wall of guitar sound propelled by Jade’s pounding attacking rhythmic drumming produces something so raw and fresh, they are a highlight of any evening.

The Norwich Arts Centre gave a rare opportunity to see the band on a larger stage than normal. One where Thom was able to give full reign to the inner demon and occupy the whole stage and at times the uncontrolled airspace above it. In smaller clubs and pubs the experience is similar to seeing a tiger in a cage, restrained and contained; unable to fully express the essence of their being.

This is raw energy that needs to be experienced more than once and I look forward to seeing them more often, on bigger platforms, further up the bill.

TIN-Marigolds-2

Marigolds – sounds of summer

Local band Marigolds presented up their dreamy indie guitar sounds of summer, playing crowd favourites Surf Girl and their 2018 release, Slept Out. Their fresh sound and uplifting vocals a marked contrast to openers Kulk. Apart from some tuning difficulties they delivered a promising set of fresh introspective tales on young modern life, climaxing with their new drummer leaping out of his seat and end the set with a crescendo of smashing cymbals, leaving everyone nicely set up for headliners Gaffer Tape Sandy.

TIN-GTS-7

Gaffa Tape Sandy – Pure thunder

It is hard to believe that a) GTS were nervous ahead of this gig and b) for a well-travelled band this was their first foray to Norwich as the headline band.

TIN-GTS-3

Nerves aside, they launched into their set with energy and verve, guitarist Kim cavorting around the stage, rolling, twisting, stretching and lunging his way through the numbers. Alternately swapping vocal lead with bassist Catherine, this energetic trio served up a menu of memorable tunes from their new single Meathead, the oh so heavy Transylvania, Manager and Collarbones from 2017 EP Spring Killing, to a new work in progress currently titled So Dry. This was a top-level performance with their experience of playing to larger audiences on big occasions evident in their presence and delivery of each song. These are utterly infectious, laden with beautiful melodies surrounded with guitar smashing thrashing riffs and pounding drum passages that you just don’t want to end.

TIN-GTS-5

Audience participation is always high at a GTS gig, and this was no exception with the mosh pit in full swing. For the loyal fans who travelled up from Suffolk to see them the loudest roars were saved for the anthemic Beehive and after much deliberation and teasing GTS launched into what is their signature tune to close out a perfect evening.

To paraphrase NME, this was 60 minutes of pure thunder and they just may have won some new fans up Norwich way.

A final mention goes out to the Norwich Arts Centre techies who put on an imaginative light show adding to the spectacle for each and every band not just the headliner; a good sound mix and they kept the smoke machine to a minimum, just enough for atmosphere (and the occasional drummer disappearance).

Just Push Play 4 Charity Event with The Bad Flowers at The Apex Bury St.Edmunds

Four years ago Lee Graham, event organiser and general all-round good bloke found a way to give back to a cause dear to his heart and founded the Just Push Play event to raise funds for the St.Nicholas Hospice following the loss of his father 4 years previously. Now after three years the event had outgrown its original home The Constitutional Club and moved across the road to The Apex.

A bill featuring a diverse mix of musical genres and styles was put together, selected from the rich vein of local bands and some heavy hitters from beyond the Suffolk border.

Sadly Circadian had to pull out at the last minute due to their drummer injuring his hand, so with a quick re-shuffle and a later start time six bands took to the stage.

Mouse_Drawn_CarTIN-t-2

Opening act Mouse Drawn Cart an acoustic quartet fronted by local musical iconoclast Dave Jago, started the event off juxtaposing the gentle acoustic and caressing sounds of guitar, violin, keyboard and percussion with poignant lyrics tinged with sadness and loss. Halfway through the set Dave solo’d offering up a first public performance of “The Day You Stopped” dedicated to a close friend who had recently passed away. This was countered with the comically titled song “don’t get scared of aging, this is what happens when you don’t die” an ode to benefits and experiences of a long life. This unique performer closed his set out with a Guns and Rose cover continuing the dark theme established with the dedication of a song to Charles Manson,  with a rendition of “I used to love her (but I had to kill her)”

The_Fretz-2-3.jpg

A complete change of pace and an injection of levity was provided by the self-titled “best rockabilly band around” The Fretz who had people up dancing and rocking. Running through the Rockabilly songbook the Stray Cats were to be expected, sharply contrasting with two classic and rocking covers of Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” and the Rolling Stones “The Last Time”, some Johnny Cash, another perennial favourite Stray Cats “ Runaway Boy”. Lots of slap bass, driving snare drum rhythm, finger clicking strumming guitars and shrieking solos made for an exciting set from this experienced 4 piece.

TIN-In_My_Disuguise-1

Up next was Ipswich band In My Disguise, who it transpired played their first gig at the 2nd Just Push Play event two years ago. Two years on and this 4-piece heavy rock band played a full set of their own compositions. Covering the stage with sheer energy, this was a stand out performance and they would have easily slotted into the previous night’s Renegade Twelve gig at the same venue and acquitted themselves well.

“Hour Glass” with its chugging guitar and bass coupled with intelligent melodic vocals is the template of their sound, but lighter songs such as “Fear” and the tender closing song “Clarity” from the EP “Alone With You” show this band have a deft lyrical touch and a wide sound pallet. This is a band with a future.

Amethysts-3

Continuing the theme of contrast and juxtaposition, Sudbury duo Amethysts brought their harmonic synth pop to the show, bringing the aural and visual tempo back down after the frenetic energy of In My Disguise.

Looped and layered sounds, overlaid with subtle reverberating lead guitar floating over punctuated synth drum beats, draped with vocal harmonies of such beauty, was a transformative experience and an inspired choice to give them this slot on the bill.

Amethysts-1

Acknowledging their influences amongst their original compositions, they performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”. At times harmonising or singing as one with Clarice, Simons voice floats in an out lending a deeper warmth and roundness to the overall sound. At the beginning of the last number “Belong” the sound was reminiscent of Clannad’s Moya Brennan, such was the smoothness and sonority of the vocals balanced in the musical soundscape.

Amethysts are having a successful year, headlining gigs, playing festivals and based on this performance have a great future ahead of them.

TIN-Druids-3

Getting to the pointy end of the evening, another change in pace with the onslaught of another Ipswich band Druids, with their brand of surreal Heavy Rock laced with a healthy dose of Glam.

Currently performing as a duo of Bass and Drums and based on this performance a lead guitar was not missed or needed. Heavy, gloriously distorted thunderous bass riffs at times played at a frenetic tempo, driven by Joel’s equally consummate drumming accompanied by the surreal imagery evoked by the lyrics define this band as unique and unmissable.

TIN-Druids-1.jpg

An engaging performer, wit and humourist, Jay’s appearance, movement and performance is unpredictable and larger than life, much like the music that in turn can be heavy fuzz rock on numbers such as “Mission”, glam funky on “Stuart Slater Alligator” or 1980’s electro pop infused “ Time”. Like the subject of their material this band is not of this planet, catch them before they leave for Mars.

TIN-Bad_Flowers-2.jpg

The Bad Flowers

As Lee tells it, The Bad Flowers were signed up early to the idea of the Just Push Play event, fully committed to the endeavour and this showed throughout their 90 minute set. This was very much old school heavy blues rock with the essential ingredients of a Les Paul, a Fender Bass and a few big drums, oh and a Flying -V for good measure. Any band that can drop in Black Sabbaths “War pigs” seamlessly into one of their own numbers and when you shut your eyes its is Black Sabbath in the room playing before you, are to be respected.

From the Black country, their sound is influenced by the regions legends but at times is funky and definitely no pastiche. Tom Leightons vocal delivery, guitar tone and playing have a unique clarity that lends their sound a fresh quality. Dale Tonks thundering tuneful bass is always present, filling in the gaps, driving the music forward but the occasional funky fill shows there is more behind the thunder. Karl Selickis’s powerful but sensitive drumming providing the relentless underpinning for the lead and bass to an accompaniment of shimmering cymbals. The perfect ending to a perfect and varied line-up. Roll on Just Push Play 5.

TIN-Bad_Flowers-1

All proceeds from the event were in aid of St. Nicholas Hospice, and while the move to the Apex has been the next step in this events journey, seeing an increase in ticket sales, the organisers job for Just Push Play No.5 is to take it to the next level and spread the word even further. Considering what has been achieved already by a very small team, I have no doubt this event will become a regular fixture on the calendar and a testament to Lee Grahams commitment to a cause close to his heart, a feat gratefully acknowledged on the night by the hospice’s community fund raiser George Chilvers.

 

Renegade Twelve + support at the Apex, Bury St.Edmunds 4th August 2018

Four of Suffolk’s finest metal bands assembled to deliver an evening of high quality music to a packed house.

For Renegade Twelve, the event promised to be the highlight of a UK tour that has seen the band perform their self-titled album and for this evening the event was recorded live, to be released across social media early 2019, no doubt accompanied by the video, as they were shadowed the whole event by a videographer and photographer. It promises to be an exciting release.

R12-3

Heathen

Heathen_Apex-4

Honourable mention goes to Heathen, having the unenviable job of playing the opening set to a relatively small number of people. By the end of their set, which featured tracks from their EP ‘Bite the Bullet’ as well as two yet to be released songs, they had drawn the crowd in with a committed and polished performance.

 

Manic Blackout

 

Manic_Blackout_Apex-3

Energy levels ramped up as they took the stage to perform a set of six new original compositions, opening with “No Ones Hero” and closing out with “Faded to the Light”. Using every inch of the stage they played with heart and soul and delivered a heavy sonic contrast to Heathen, setting the tone for the remainder of the evening.

Shoot the Glass

Shoot_the_Glass-3

“can you guess what it is yet?” as the bassist played the opening notes of Avenged Sevenfold’s “Nightmare”. Their set getting heavier as it progressed. A very tight band playing covers of classic Alter Bridge, Linkin Park, System of a Down, climaxing with a glorious rendition of Slipnot’s Duality, with the crowd screaming along to the chorus. They left the stage with the crowd wanting more, having done their job to ramp up the atmosphere for the headliners to take over. Enter Renegade Twelve…..

Renegade Twelve

R12-7

Playing to a sold-out crowd, they ripped through their repertoire, playing with the confidence and joy of a seasoned professional band, but importantly a band that still enjoys playing together. Sam’s melodic voicing has clarity, emotion and sheer power and at no time is lost in the mix.

R12-5

The dual lead guitar line up has been an effective set-up for countless metal bands and with R12 they complement each other well, lending power, subtlety and unlimited driving attack in “This Town”. Backed by a solid and powerful rhythm section of Josh on bass and Joe’s drumming demonstrated on songs such as Bipolar and Vanity.

R12-1

Fully engaged with an enthusiastic audience, the band appear to have no visible ego and communicate their joy to the audience who followed their every move throughout. This was a performance not to be missed and rounded off an evening of top draw performances from all of the acts. R12 will have no problem transferring to bigger venues and are definitely ones to watch in the coming year.

 

A Wilhem Scream + Darko + Other Half @ The Waterfront

TIN-OtherHalf-1.jpg

Other Half

The first slot of the evening featured local three piece band Other Half. Showing a deft hand at a more melodious brand of punk / Indie rock, their songs were interspersed with self-deprecating humour and the promise of free CD’s. They certainly showed a lighter touch than Darko or A Wilhelm Scream and were none the worse for that. Despite claiming they have been playing the same eight songs for the last couple of years, they played some of their recently released  material and are a band worth seeking out on  Bandcamp.

Darko

“There’s an empty space down here and I expect to see bleeding bodies”

Proving support on the UK leg of the European tour, they gave a high level performance. Their delivery is fast. Very fast. With the heavy, thick guitar sound driven by rapid staccato bullet like drumming and overlaid with the rapid growling vocals of Dave Smith.

TINDarko-2.jpg

Used to playing smaller venues the band looked at home and owned the stage. It was a shame the audience showed only luke-warm appreciation to what was a quality performance by this UK band.

A Wilhelm Scream

So set the scene for a dynamic performance from the headline act and they did not disappoint the faithful.

TIN-A_Wilhelm_Scream-1

The small audience of hardcore fans were duly rewarded with a standout performance. At times anarchic, engaging, funny and unpredictable, the energy level remained high throughout the show, interrupted only by a broken amplifier. While waiting for the replacement amp the audience were treated to and accompanied an impromptu rendition of Bryan Adams’s “Summer of 69” as Darko sorted out a replacement and “Loops”, the sound tech, hooked it up.

With renewed vigour, the set closed out with “The Horse” and “RIP”. By now the mosh pit was in a frenzy, roaring along to the chorus, following every word. Blood may well have been spilt in the mosh pit, as at various points during the closing numbers bodies were either flying through the air, surfing or slamming into each other. By the end of the evening the flock had renewed their vows, new members were baptised and the band continue on to spread their punk sermon to the next congregation of faithful worshippers.

 

Alter the Sky Single Launch Party + Stevie Jones and the Wildfires + Kaine @ The Blue Moon, Cambridge

The Blue Moon played host to Alter The Sky’s Single launch party, supported by Stevie Jones and the Wildfires with their brand of folk rock and co-headliners Kaine carrying the torch for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM)

Stevie Jones and The Wildfires

Stevie Jones and the Wildfires

After the slight delay due to the late arrival of the drummer and guitarist, Stevie jones kicked the evening off with songs from his latest album Angels and Sirens. Very different to the following bands, covering themes of loss, love and the life, tribulations and sacrifices of a touring musician. Beautiful melodies tinged with sadness, soaring guitar breaks delivered with a voice of experience. A unique voice that at times in which you can hear the influence of The Levellers or New Model Army.

The partisan crowd, many of whom may have been geologists judging by the roar of approval when they came to play Stratigraphic Heart, were rewarded with a rousing set and some finely balanced playing between the acoustic guitar of Stevie and Vassilis’s electric lead in the blues based song Neon Underground. They closed out their set with This Is My Church taken from the Stratigraphic Hearts album, an anthemic celebration of the joy of discovery, a musical road and journey that defines the routes of this interesting musician.

Alter the Sky

Alter The Sky

This is a band that clearly knows how to enjoying itself on stage. The five piece classic hard rock outfit fronted by Helen Johnson ripped through a set of their own compositions with a respectful and fresh version of Whole Lotta Rosie. Accompanied by shouts of “Angus, Angus, Angus” Kev Baker duly obliged gurning and smiling throughout the solo part as he played to the audience.

The band produce a heavy, clear and coherent sound, well balanced and supported by  tight rhythms driven by drummer Arron Peters and Matt Scott’s bass playing.

Check out when we caught Alter the Sky at Homegrown Festival

Helens original voicing has a wide range but with power and subtlety that creates an exciting driving sound over the top of the guitar heaviness balancing the sound and lending it a fresh quality. Think iron fist in a kidd glove.

The dual guitar line-up adds extra weight to the sound and it is a real treat to see the communication between band members throughout the set to deliver a polished and professional performance that definitely got the crowd rocking.

The new EP Fortune Favours the Bold rounded out the set and I certainly look forward to hearing more from this band and their next release.

Kaine

Kaine

Hailed as flag bearers for the NWOBHM, I was immediately reminded of a youth spent following Judas Priest and early Iron Maiden around the City Hall venues across the UK. Their seamless wall of sound is truly impressive and Rage Sadler,  suitably attired in a Judas Priest T-shirt, gives everything in a relentless performance.

Now bear in mind that 1 month ago the guitarist, bass player and drummer left Rage high and dry with no band. That he managed to pull a band together in only four weeks to rehearse and get under their fingers material from the newly released album, rather appropriately titled A crisis of Faith,  deserves recognition for total commitment. On this performance you would have been hard pressed to tell this line up had only been together four weeks.

If like me, you still linger for the chest pounding excitement and energy to revel in the visceral experience of feeling and seeing a metal band in full flight at close quarters not 100 yards away in a stadium, then you owe it to yourself to catch this band on their current album tour. They are returning to the region 6 more times this year visiting the B2 in Norwich and The Smokehouse Ipswich when the whole band will be fully versed in the material. I’m booking my tickets now.

 

 

 

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Homegrown Festival 2018 – Part 1

We here at This Is Noise are always on the lookout for the biggest and brightest talents across the regions to show off their music and talents, well Homegrown Festival last weekend boasted the best of what East Anglia has to offer and we were in attendance to check out the bands performing and see what the local talent has to offer.

Here is just part 1 of our highlights of the festival at Suffolk Academy in Barrow with us covering a range of bands and artists taking to the stage to show the crowd what they have to offer…

HGTIN_TomLumley-1

The event opened Friday with hightlights of the night coming from Tom Lumley and his band. Playing his brand of power Indie rock. The new single Sky High was aired in an accomplished and exciting performance by this tight four piece. This is a must-see band who will soon be headlining  at the Blue Moon, Cambridge on the 29th June. Tickets are selling fast.

Go like our Facebook page and check out our full gallery from the festival

HGTIN_InfluxOfInsanity-1

Influx of Insanity

Oli and Dom two young musicians form a power New Prog band and cite Periphery and Carnival as influences. Their sound is large and powerful for a two piece but the guitar sound is  subtly interwoven with jazz licks and grooves that remind you of Soft Machine. An EP is due out very soon. Ones to watch

 

Alter the Sky

A Cambridge 5 piece heavy rock band playing their own compositions. Helen Johnston’s powerful vocals, supported by driving power riffs and a solid drum line got the small crowd rocking. Another band to announce a new EP, their launch party is being held at the Blue Moon Cambridge on 16th June. The new single ‘Fortune Favours the Bold’ was given a thorough workout.

Friday night was finished off by Heathen. Their set comprising of original compositions and a selection of rock standard covers, kicked off with the Chilli Peppers Dani California. The crowd was up singing and dancing throughout their seamless set enhanced by a lighting rig normally only seen on larger festival stages.

Read part 2 of our Homegrown Festival review here