Archive | August 2010

soundCHECK 61 – August 26th 2010

This week’s soundCHECK begins with a solemn and heartfelt apology. When you make a mistake or cough up an accidental factual inaccuracy in spoken language, it’s easily dealt with. Generally there are two ways of remedying any blip; a) ignore it and motor on with your discourse or, b) make a hasty correction and motor on with your discourse. Whichever route you choose, your mistake is quickly forgotten. The error is transient.

Not so when broadcast in written form! No sir! This is an entirely different kettle of clangers. Any blunder that wriggles into the public domain is there forever; an indelible, irreversible, irreparable cock-up that is ever enduring. In short, it’s best not to make them.

So, when I was notified by one of my three readers that in a recent soundCHECK I named the frontman of local pop-noir outfit Olly Richards instead of the correct Olly Bailey, I felt like embarking on a self-induced estivation by slamming my halfwit head inside the very laptop that I use to not write properly.

Here’s what you can go and watch this week: Conflict Against play at The Venue in Ilfracombe and tongue-in-cheek comic-rockers Yum Yums play at The White Horse in Barnstaple tomorrow evening (Friday 27th)  while Tequila Rockin’ Bird headline Junc Fest in Plymouth on Saturday night (28th).

And, of course, this weekend is Aeon Festival at Shobrooke Park Estate in Crediton. There are more than 40 bands as well as DJs and MCs playing across three days on a line up that festival organisers promise is the best yet. “This year is our best line up yet” they said. See? The festival is one of the region’s best and this year they’re chucking in a Twenty20 cricket match against the locals for good measure. You can find out more at

Flying the flag for North Devon are The Breaks Collective ( and Rural Jazz Alliance ( Best of luck, gents. I shan’t try and name names.

Happy bank holiday.

soundCHECK 60 – August 19th 2010

When someone describes themselves as ‘crazy’ or ‘mental’ it invariably means they are not.

At all.

Yet social networking’s ever-tightening grasp on the human race is coaxing more and more of us to broadcast more and more of our lives in a way that makes us unique, each rapacious Tweet and status-update forcing hurried self-analysis as we try to be as zany and kooky and attention-getting as our blistered fingertips doth grace. A commentary might conclude this commotion to be ‘pretty random’; at least if it were provided by the hapless cackwits who coin such vulgarisms.

But misguided self-reflection is a pesky blighter to avoid. It is with similarly wonky gusto that I render the current object of my spare time ‘pretty cool’. Which of course it is not. It is instead fuelled by nostalgia, geekishness and hopeless sentimentality.

Yes, I can shamefully confirm that I am busily creating a database of all of North Devon’s bands; old and young, good and bad, present and past (as far back as I am aware). And that’s just the start. I’m also indexing each promoter and club night as well as any band that has ever had ties with North Devon. I like to live life to the max.

What benefit is to be gained from this I am unsure, but at present my musical compendium lists over 100 bands and artists. It includes such past luminaries as Aeroplane Blonde, LOAD.CLICK.SHOOT!, Cool Horse and Wenchface; such current joy-bringers as Severe:Zero, Spectres and Kaneda; and such imminent greats as The Dead Betas, French Children and Flagships.

And on the subject of imminent greats, if you are a band looking for some vocals, you could do worse than to ping an email to Nicky Green ( asking her to provide some. She is nice. She is good. She is looking for a band.

This week’s gigs: Tomorrow night (20th) you have the choice of Severe:Zero at Inn On The Square, Central Casting and Forest Sun at Pilton Village Hall, Jackdaws and The Dead Betas at Shan’s Loft in Torrington and Unnamed Heroes at The Olive Branch in Barnstaple. Saturday night (21st) sees the young whippersnappers Cosmic Raygun at The Aggi before Jonny : Black take to the same stage the following evening (Sunday 22nd) with The Confused and The Joe Public.

And if you know of or belong to an obscure local band that may have escaped me, talk to me. Email

Crazy. Mental. Random.