Archive | May 2011

soundCHECK 100 – May 26th 2011

The Eton Rifles, In The City, Town Called Malice, That’s Entertainment, Going Underground, Beat Surrender, David Watts: there aren’t too many bands who boast as genre-defining and culturally significant a back catalogue as The Jam. Their name is pretty much synonymous with the UK punk/new wave explosion.

It’s a fact that North Devon will be served a potent reminder of tomorrow evening (27th May) as Bruce Foxton – The Jam’s original bass player – takes to The Queen’s Theatre with his band From The Jam, who play an all Jam tribute set. It’s also a fact that’s not wasted on local musician Peter Buffery. “Bruce Foxton and The Jam have been major influences on pop music as we know it.” Peter has been confirmed as the support artist for the forthcoming foray down mod-memory lane and he’s very excited to share the stage with such a name. “I’m very excited to share the stage with such a name.” See?

“From The Jam were looking for a local support,” explains Peter, “and having built a strong connection with North Devon Theatres, playing the Landmark Beerfest and The Barnstaple Fringe over the years, I was asked to fill the slot.”

In fact, Peter Buffery has been an ever-present fixture of the local contemporary music scene for the last five years. Equipped with a seemingly innate musical talent that makes you equal parts inspired and vomit-splutteringly envious, this jack-of-all has appeared as the frontman of local bands such as The Sonix and Time Parade and he even had a stint on drums for Cablecar Catastrophe – a band who you’ll remember won North Devon’s notorious Big Battle music competition back in 2008. Deservedly so. His current band, Pickpockets & Skyrockets, make delicate acoustic-electro pop of coruscating tunefulness and shimmering melody. Slim surprise, then, that they’ve been busying themselves with a string of shows in London since Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly chose them as local support for his visit to The Factory at the fag-end of last year.

But Buffery is as well-known in local music circles for his beautifully charming acoustic solo performances as anything else. And it is this string of his musical bow that he shall use to fire his infectious musical arrows at the lugholes of the assembled masses tomorrow night. Is he worried how he might be received by what is likely to be a more ‘mature’ crowd than he is used to? After all, The Jam were in the charts before Peter’s lungs had even mustered their first breath, let alone sang their first melody. Nay! “I would like to think that my music is relatable to a wide range of people,” hypothesises Peter with characteristic confidence.

Tomorrow’s show at The Queen’s starts at 7.45pm. At the time of writing, the last few tickets are still up for grabs. So grab them. And make sure you’re there on time to catch Peter’s performance.

Finally, there’s just room to mention that the final clutch of tickets for this year’s GoldCoast Oceanfest have been released into cyberspace. So if you want to watch Seasick Steve sweating in the Croyde sunshine as he belts out his croonsome blues, you best get yourself to as quickly as your fingers doth grace. You’ll find full line-up details there too.

That’s entertainment.

soundCHECK 99 – May 19th 2011

What is it with people pushing their mates about at gigs?

I mean, it’s all pretty harmless. But it can’t just be me that finds these rambunctious shenanigans a bit weird. It’s even more ridiculous when you’re at a gig and total strangers are chucking each other around. This is made blatant when you imagine-up a scenario in which these antics unfold in a different context. I don’t for one minute anticipate a shopper exiting Tesco, all warm inside having just successfully conquered the weekly shop, reacting well to a stranger pushing him to the ground before jumping up and down in his shopping trolley making devil horns with his fingers. The guffawing perpetrator would probably get lamped in the face. After all, a squashed tiger loaf is enough to coax blind rage from the best of us.

Yet at some gigs, such tomfoolery is de rigueur. Upon being thrust to a beer-fettered floor, all-too-willing victims simply peel themselves off, dust themselves down and resume their post in the chaos. Although not before they’ve affected a poor rendition of insouciance and faked a nervous giggle to try and engender in all bystanders that they’re okay with getting taken out in front of a pub full of people. Awesome!

I’m all for getting involved at gigs. But since when was pushing people over, and wanting to be pushed about, rock and roll? Note to young’uns: organised circle pits are about as cool as your little sister thinks Bowling For Soup were, and worthy only as a currency for making you look like a jockey.

And so it was that the crowd at a recent Jackdaws gig in Bideford was attended by fans overtly keen on showing their appreciation. Mostly via the majesty of bodily anarchy. But then again, you can kind of understand the excitement. Jackdaws are North Devon’s most exciting and promising new band, after all.

They have just released a new three-track recording called ‘Bleed’. It’s a record that spits and snarls with brooding discord and piercing fuzz. As such there are discernible musical references to Joy Division and Sonic Youth. Yet the demo exhibits the kind of refined songcraft and underlying talent that sets Jackdaws apart from gushing imitators. It’s a strong, commanding and confident recording. One that flags a talented and musically aware band locked in the throes of ascendency.

Jackdaws are a band to get excited about. They breathe fresh life into the local scene. Download the new songs at