Archive | October 2010

soundCHECK 70 – October 28th 2010

Fancy going to watch The Script?

Nope, me neither. But, statistically speaking, some of the jolly folk reading this would jump at the chance. After all, The Script’s ascent to becoming the wholesale FM-friendly faux-romantics of choice seems to have been rocket-propelled. It is surely the product of more than record label hi-jinks and hyperbole. Hell, their newly released second album went straight to number one and everything. That takes people power.

Plus the simple fact that they are not Snow Patrol makes them immediately less contemptible. Anyone that can kick those dreary soulsappers out of the hyper-sensitive, middle-of-the-road blandarama that has become the favoured soundtrack to the blubbering sob stories of wet-the-bed X Factor train wrecks get a thumbs up from me.
Well done, boys.

To celebrate their newly acquired megastardom, The Script are to tour the UK next year. They shall swoon into Plymouth on Monday 28th March 2011. Tickets went on sale earlier this month and can be snapped up from all the usual outlets.

To segue into mentioning local boys Spectres having spent most of this column talking about The Script seems like the literary equivalent of chomping into raw meat after sucking a marshmallow. But I’m going to do it anyway. Because North Devon’s primary exponents of smash-your-brains-out shoegaze have gone done a video and it’s a corker.
It’s shot extremely well and sees the four-piece reciting their harrowing sound in a haunted house. How apt! The song is called ‘The Beast’ and it is taken from their forthcoming EP. More on that next week. How’s that for tickling your teasebox?

The video is on YouTube now. But instead me giving you the URL and you having to type in a gibberish string of characters one by one, just go to and search for ‘Spectres – The Beast’. It’s the top result. Result.

So, to this week’s gig-fun. Rooster Shotgun Damage play what seems like their first gig in ages at Inn On The Square in Barnstaple next Thursday (4th) while Conflict Against take to the stage the same eve at The Venue in Bideford.

Happy Halloween. Don’t get ghouled.

soundCHECK 69 – October 21st 2010

It’s now commonplace in our collective conscience that health and safety guidelines have become tantamount to lunacy.

Among the most laughable examples are Brazil Nuts wrapped in packaging that proclaims ‘May contain traces of nuts’, schoolchildren being banned from making daisy chains (behave) for fear they might pick up germs from the flowers, and a ban on mistletoe at Christmas parties in case of a festive surge of sexual harassment.

Now, no-one likes to be mollycoddled. But perhaps the recent rise of such guidelines has been born from the fact that ‘mollycoddle’ is such a fantastic word. It sounds like the best thing in the world! ‘Good day, Jamie?’ ‘Yes, thanks! I had a good mollycoddling on my lunch break.’

But the reality is that health and safety guidelines have gone too far, as everyone knows.

Good news, then, that government plans are afoot to put a stop to these hyper-sensitive health and safety procedures. My personal recommendation for restoring parity to everyday life would be to implement a crack team of Illness and Danger Officers. Their job would be to go around the country kicking dirt in the face of every over-zealous protocol. Think of the jobs it would create!  Hell, where do I sign?

The happy by-product of this taming of the health and safety beast is that the word ‘mollycoddle’ will presumably be vacant. So make of it what you will. It’s up for grabs.

In the main, the music domain has remained unafflicted. But that’s not to say there weren’t one or two casualties. A few years ago I was in a band that played a gig in a venue where failing to stay below a preset volume would incur the wrath of a special sensor that would cut all power to the stage.

We managed to avoid being sentenced by the fierce justice of this power-tripping device. But the band after us didn’t care much for boundaries. Five times they tripped the power, plunging the stage into a silent darkness. And five times the landlord of the venue had to scurry down a long staircase behind a locked door to reboot the power. The night descended into farce quite quickly.

Thank God we don’t have such a hellish device in North Devon. It means you can watch this lot without any unwanted disruptions, no matter how loud they play. Jenna Witts acoustics it right up in Lilico’s in Barnstaple tomorrow (22nd) as Yum Yums get comical at the VW Final Fling in Woolacombe the very same eve. Meanwhile, if you have fancy a little trek The Sum Of head to Newquay’s Reef Island Surf Lodge next Thursday (28th).

I’m off for a cheeky mollycoddle.