Archive | September 2009

soundCHECK 13th – September 24th 2009

So, The Riverfront is up for sale. Great. No sooner do I find the perfect venue with which to thrust myself back into live music promotion than its precious grandeur is thrown into the property meat market like a bad kebab.
The best I can hope for in this nail-biting interval is that the next buyer has a hunger for live music, not only for the appeasement of my own selfish interests, but simply because it works brilliantly as a live music venue.
It’s also nice and healthy to have our fecund local music scene spread across the region a bit rather than being engulfed by Inn On The Square.

No disrespect to Inn On The Square of course. I’ve had many a fine evening nuzzled in the delightful stupor of your warm and welcoming arms. But variety, spice of life and all that.

Anyway, clinging to The Riverfront like doomed rockclimbers at Comic Book Heroes tonight are big cat hunters, Chasing Lions, and Exeter based Letters To Leaders as the hyper-indie and incisive riffery of the former makes eyes at the chewy and clangy post-punk of the latter.

In fact, Letters To Leaders are so good that they deserve their own paragraph. Their CV includes such luminous achievements as supporting the likes of Young Knives and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, and I challenge any sane individual not to be wowed by their goosebump-inducingly lilting yet face-slappingly powerful guitar melodies.
Doors are at 8pm, free sweets, under 18s welcome.

Finally, it is with a teary eye that we bid goodbye to those bands that are returning to university. Or who have at least one member with an eye on academia. Farewell Kaneda, Fen Tigers, The Outfit, Constant 16s, Pickpockets & Skyrockets, and anyone else I’ve forgotten to mention – see you all at Father Christmas time…

The resulting void must be filled! It’s time for that relentlessly burning creative furnace of North Devon College to spew the next generation of aspiring indie kids and foetal bands. Onwards!

soundCHECK 12 – September 17th 2009

So much of what exits people’s mouths is redundant foam-brained cack. Why is it, pray tell, that people relentlessly persist in idol-brained small talk that doesn’t make sense?

Case in point: how many times have you heard someone upon signing for something completely innocuous and mundane utter: “Oohh! Sign my life away!”? You’re not really signing your life away are you, mate? It’s just we couldn’t fit this parcel through your letterbox and you weren’t in when we knocked. Presumably because you were busily engaged spouting mindless drivel with some other cretin.

Anyway, who here has heard of Howling Bells? If you haven’t, I urge you to get on Spotify and listen to them. They come from Sydney and make wailing, sunkissed indie rock. So how do they link to the North Devon music scene?

Ok, they don’t. But when listening to them the other day I noticed that the opening bars of Broken Bones are exactly the same as the opening bars of Ivan by the now defunct Tabloid Press ( “The Tabloid Press!” I thought, reaching for the Kleenex to wipe my weepy eyes, the perfectly manly and justifiable reaction ushered by the thought of their demise.

Why did they split up anyway? They were a great band, and in Jamie Archer they had one of the most talented guitarists I’ve ever seen in an amateur band. His ability made all the more salient by the fact that most of the time when he was performing he was hammered. His capacity for tequila shots was a wonder all of its own.

We played a gig together once, and I foolhardily drank with him beforehand. Error. By the time we got to the stage I was so far behind the beat there was enough room for Beth Ditto to have a dance between the gaps.

If the thought of Ditto’s flapping flesh-excess is an image you need urgently erased, go and watch some of this: The X-Certs (who are amazing) and Scott Xander Linn at Inn On The Square (16+) on Friday 18th; Pascal and Peter (acoustic) at Chambers (Friday 18th); and Junction 27 at Inn On The Square (18+) on Saturday 19th.

I’d like to put forward a motion to resurrect The Tabloid Press for a comeback gig. I’d be there. With bells on. Not literally, you understand.