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Monday, 17 September 2018

Jawbone - 'Jawbone'

Words by Adrian Ball
Jawbone is a thrilling four-piece from North London’s blues scene and are about to self-release their debut album in November.  Starting as a collaboration between Paddy Milner (keyboards/vocals) and Marcus Bonfanti (guitar/vocals) they were joined by two more great musicians in Rex Horan (bass/vocals) and Evan Jenkins (drums/percussion).  A band with an envious pedigree and songs to match the buzz around the album release, this is an eagerly awaited recording.

Each and every song is a stunning showcase of the writing and performing talents and listening to the album is an absolute pleasure from start to finish.  The songs flow into one another with ease and progression throughout is effortless.  

The vocal duties are shared between Paddy and Marcus and are relaxed, smooth and atmospheric.  The keyboards are a-plenty, adding to the laid-back feel and full sound of each song.  The rhythm section brings the pieces together like a jigsaw that you’ve been waiting to see what the final picture would be and in this case it’s a giant sparkling gem.

Highlights are plentiful from the beautiful opening track Leave No Traces to the truly mesmerising  Two Billion Heartbeats, with emotive lyrics that draw you in and let you drift away to the music created by the masters.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Superseed - 'Superseed'

Words by Mark Williams
This is the 16 track (yes 16, count ‘em!) debut album from Superseed, a band boasting a three-pronged guitar and lead vocal attack. Stated influences include Queens Of The Stone Age, The Hives and The Dandy Warhols among others, and a fair bit of Green Day and Offspring can be detected too. But plagiarism this is not.

The self-titled album kicks off in aural assault mode with My Time is Now; a wall of sound punctuated with a nicely placed (and nicely played) interlude of bass and guitar, setting the mood nicely for what’s to follow.

Turn the Screw showcases that  Green Day influence; well-constructed and powerful pop-punk that can challenge the best.

The Face That Followed You Back Home with its staccato verses and earworm of a chorus will have you singing  it in your head all day. And surely that’s Ozzy singing, if not it must be his long-lost Bristolian cousin. Uneasy Swarm, is another Sabbath-esque ditty, incorporating some nice horn work, you wouldn’t think it would gel but prepare to be surprised.

No One Gets Out of Here Alive takes another sonic turn with a definite nod to 90s power-pop and some cracking harmonies from these obviously talented and seasoned muso’s.

Heavy Times has a very nice bass line and driving rhythm section that should make you crave for some Alice in Chains and for a frantic 1 minute 42 seconds of mayhem, look no further than You Failed!. It’s short, but my, it’s sweet.

This is a diverse collection of work, what the ‘pigeon-holers’ out there may see as a weakness, but that diversity is its strength, with three distinctly different lead vocals mixing it up nicely.

This is not just thrash-laden pop-punk, this is a well-produced, sonically pleasing debut album and if that’s your bag then it certainly deserves your attention.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Bad Touch - An interview with guitarist Daniel Seekings

Photo credit: Rob Blackham
Interview by Adrian Ball.

Bad Touch has been shaking many stages since they formed in 2010. They have made great progression with sensational live performances and a groove on their recorded material that many others aspire to achieve.
We caught up with Guitarist Daniel ‘Seeks’ Seekings just before they are set to unleash their third album Shake a Leg on Friday 5th October and embark on a country-wide UK tour.

How did the signing to Marshall records happen?
We've been looking for a label for quite some time and we wanted to see what more they could  do for us.  It came a little out of the blue that they wanted to sign us and we were really happy about it.  When we signed the deal we also got to look around the Marshall amp factory which was great too.

The new album captures your live energy so well was this a deliberate approach?
To an extent, yes.  A lot of people enjoy the band and we wanted to capture that energy.  It was probably more at the back of our thoughts.  We went into the studio at the beginning of the year with two songs with the intention to record an album!  So it gave us more pressure as we didn't want to waste time.  The songs we then wrote came onto the album.

Was recording in your home county pre-planned?
It was completely different this time as we were in and out of the studio over a longer period. We recorded a song, put them away and then moved on to the next one, so listening back then gave us a fresh view.

Your tour in autumn covers a great proportion of the country - was this your intention to get to see as many fans as possible?
We wanted to hit as much of the country as we can.  A big one for us was crowd reaction is Glasgow; it’s always been fantastic for us.  Norwich home-town gigs are great and London too.  The Midlands have always given us a warm welcome and on our last tour I managed to tick off Rock City as a venue I wanted to  play.

Do you still manage to get out and meet the fans after the shows?
We always try to when we can. We want people to enjoy the show and this is part of it for us.  It means a lot to us if you appreciate what we do.

What are your plans for 2019?
Hopefully bigger and better.  We hope to go out next as a support tour with a slightly bigger band, hit as many major festivals as possible, over to Europe and then finish the year off with another headline tour.  

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Off The Tracks Festival: 31st Aug – 2nd Sept 2018

Words by Adrian Ball
A look back on a glorious weekend for music and celebrations as the Off The Tracks festival rings in its 30th anniversary.

Great music and plenty of sunshine, real ale, plus a sprinkling of festival magic all add up to contribute to this magnificent event. It’s a family friendly festival with a large span of great bands spread throughout the days over a number of stages.  

So many highlights, including Tom C Walker who is a young blues musician playing the main stage. He delivers a beautifully crafted set that engages the audience from the start.  As his set continues, the buzz around the festival grows and Tom attracts more and more people eager to see what he’s all about.  Following numerous encores, the crowd show their appreciation with cheers and chants for more.

John Otway is a singer song-writer who has built a very loyal and large following over the years and he dertainly doesn’t fail to delight.  A high point of the set sees John showing off his theremin playing skills as the band blast through The Osmonds Crazy Horses.

The Saturday evening headliner Dreadzone are welcomed to the stage like returning heroes.  The audience are primed and ready from the earlier bands and now look set to dance the night away with everyone in the marquee eager to follow.  What a great band to top off a special day.

Friday, 7 September 2018

L.A Guns -The Robin Bilston - 04/09/18

Words by Steve Gibbons 
In a blaze of thrashing hair, thunderous drums and lung-shaking bass, Jared James Nichols is taking no prisoners. This is the blues but not as you know it. Playing his Les Paul with a finger picking, thumb strumming style as opposed to the guitar pick style you would expect, Jared churns out metal riffs with a twist; they have depth and soul. The Black Sabbath-esque grind of new single End Of Time to the early Whitesnake swagger of Honey Forgive Me are a tour-de-force of smooth blues meets metal. The inspired cover of Mississippi Queen ensures everyone is flocking to buy a CD by the end of the set.

30 years after L.A Guns debut album  release, the subsequent line-up changes and fights, it would be easy for the legend that was to simply vanish. The reunion of original members Phil Lewis (vocals) and Tracii Guns (guitar) is welcome news for fans and tonight the years simply fell away. Looming over the crowd in a black leather top hat, Phil Lewis is the best he has sounded in years. Tracii Guns in cut off denim and low slung Les Paul is clearly loving every second and this is a dream set. 

Barely stopping for breath, the hits are coming hard and fast. Electric Gypsy, Sex Action, One More Reason and Over The Edge are all delivered faultlessly. New songs Speed and The Flood Is The Fault Of The Rain already sound like classics and Malaria with its irresistible sing along chorus is getting added touches of theremin thrown in tonight which blend well. 

A teaser of AC/DC's Hells Bells leads us into set highlight Never Enough which segues nicely into the obligatory Ballad Of Jane. Ending with a tongue in cheek version of Rip and Tear (bizarrely renamed tonight as Fish and Chips which the crowd dutifully sang along to) this was a short but sweet set by a band firing on all cylinders and a masterclass in how to rock n’ roll. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The Devon Allman Project (with special guest Duane Betts), The Fleece Bristol - 02/09/18

The Devon Allman Project along with Duane Betts is continuing the Allman legacy on their world tour, including tonight in Bristol.

Devon, son of the late Greg Allman, has been a friend of Duane who is son of founding member of The Allman Brothers Dickey Betts since childhood, so it seems fitting that they are sharing the stage to create their own Southern magic.
Looking like the image of his father, Duane is giving a real taste of what a live Allman Brothers show is like, bringing a younger twist for a new audience. There is no showiness, he’s practically static from the waist up, but the spectacle is all about the guitar. Probably being used to laid-back county folk, the UK crowd seems to suit the bill, lapping up every pedal effect he plays. Along with the soft backdrop of the Hammond organ from Nicholas David, who by the way, looks every bit the coolest cat in the room in full kimono, scarf, shades and hat garb.
Devon is up next and he is bringing the swagger. He has a vocal so versatile that it would suit any genre, highlighted by the cover of ‘I’ll Be Around’ by The Spinners, pleasing the nostalgia-hungry crowd.  The placid looking bassist Justin Corgan springs to life as he’s introduced as the ‘bass in your face’ giving funk the forefront for a long solo. They also give outing to ‘I Left My Heart In Memphis’ from Devon’s other outfit Royal Southern Brotherhood.
Duane is back to share the stage for the last section of the set, harmonising guitars in a beautiful tribute to their legacy. Blue Sky, written by Dickey Betts, is a stunning highlight, along with other Allman classic Melissa.
Held together perfectly by the six-piece band, including Duane’s go-to Guitarist Johnny Stachela, they finish with a cover of Boys of Summer. Perhaps another Allan classic cover would have been more emotive, but the title of this song certainly fits the bill.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Bad Touch - 'Shake A Leg'

Words by Anselm Anderson
Bad Touch return with Shake A Leg, their third album and first release since signing a worldwide album deal with Marshall Records.
Following up to 2016’s Truth Be Told, this is a personal and emotional collection of songs, deeply intimate and engaging, incorporating their influences ranging from southern rock, blues, country and folk. We’re introduced to a brand of feel-good and effervescent sounds that leave you feeling happily contented come the end.
Opener Lift Your Head Up is a barnstormer that leans towards the commercial side, with the singalong chorus and simple chord structures that have worked for acts like Blackberry Smoke. The album finds its identity with the soulful Dressed To Kill;  it’s as seductive as it is groovy with plenty of rhythm and tantalising riffs.
Lead single Skyman is the standout track, highlighting the band’s penchant for modern blues. This song really embodies their spirt with strong guitars and silky vocals combining perfectly.
Movin’ On Up is another blues-stomper that is a defiant anthem about moving on from a bad relationship. And likewise, Bad Touch will certainly be moving on up with this latest release.