If musical notes were human hands then listening to Days Gone By would be a trying physical task. Because the North Devon quartet would smash you in the face with them, before giving you a cheeky tickle for good measure.
Days Gone By. Think about their name for a few seconds. You can close your eyes, if you’re in to that kind of thing. The wistful melancholy of their name is about as far dissevered from their rabid pop-punk sound as is possible, unless they changed their name to something like The Unicorn Manes or SQUISHY BEAR.
But this isn’t just another standard pop-punk band. Their visceral guitar attack and airtight, helter-skelter rhythms are countered by a wide-eyed insouciance; a cheeky charm that should be annoying, but is instead fiercely engaging.
“I always enjoy doing something different. The style of music is different and it suits what we want to do.”
I’m talking to Lewis Jones, guitarist in Days Gone By. The line up is completed by Joe Hicks (vocals/guitar), Conal Jefferies (bass) and Dom Gilroy (drums) and is formed from the hybrid of local bands The Confused and the now disbanded She Called Shotgun. “We met on the music course up at The Factory at Brannams at Petroc. Dom, Joe and Conal are doing the Performance course and I’m doing the Music Tech course.”
Despite only forming in February of this year, the quartet have already recorded and released their debut EP and have started whipping up a local windstorm with their firecracker, floppy-haired live performances. “We recorded the EP with a couple of friends at the college studio and it was then mixed by our good friend Billy Bailey from local band Chapters Of Eden.
“We’ve been getting a lot of good responses from gigs and from our EP. The plan is to write and record some more songs on another EP and to keep gigging throughout the summer and in to the winter,” so-there’d an enthusiastic Jones. “Our aim for this year is to spread out further than North Devon to Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol and anywhere else we can play.”
Clearly, Days Gone By possess the requisite ambition to bust out of North Devon. But what are their thoughts on the scene that spawned them? “There are a lot of bands about at the moment. But venue-wise there aren’t a lot of options. There is only one venue that really stands out and that’s obviously The Palladium. In my opinion, North Devon still lacks a proper full-time venue like The Cavern in Exeter.”
As long as there are enthusiastic young bands like Days Gone By at the helm of contemporary local music, there’s every chance the resurgent scene in North Devon will generate that venue.
Fruitful music scenes and popular venues go hand in hand.
‘Last Winter’ EP is available to download for free at soundcloud.com/days-gone-by. You can keep track of their antics at facebook.com/daysgonebymusic and on Twitter @DaysGoneByUK.
Have you ever heard of The Black Cab Sessions?
Basically a maverick named Jono Stevens had the idea of inviting bands and artists to perform a song in the back of a black cab, which is filmed as the cab travels the London streets and broadcast via http://www.blackcabsessions.com. One song. One take. One awesome website. Bundles of big-name artists have taken part including Bombay Bicycle Club, Badly Drawn Boy and The National. The opportunity for fans to see their favourite artists perform out of context proved so popular that the website has been thriving ever since.
Why does this matter? Well, North Devon emigrant musician and film maker Sam Brown is tapping in to the populace’s penchant for peculiar places in which to watch musical artists with his own variant of The Black Cab Sessions – The Bedroom Sessions. However, in a twist as twisty as a Twister lolly in a blender, Sam provides an interactive element to the sessions by splicing footage of musical performance with interview footage of his subjects answering pre-written questions posed by fans.
If that sounds like the kind of thing that might punctuate your day with a little joy, you can feast your eyes on North Devon’s pint-sized acoustic firecracker Scott Xander Linn getting the Bedroom Sessions treatment at youtube.com/user/sambrown.
In other news destined to tickle the excitement receptors of the acoustically-minded among you, folked-up local trio Woodford Green are set to release their new EP. The self-titled record will be unleashed at the official launch party at The White Lion in Braunton this Saturday evening (26th May). You can grab a snapshot of the kind of shimmering folk-pop you’ll be letting your ears in for by checking out the new video posted by the band on www.woodfordgreen.tumblr.com.
Another gig worth the time spent at the sink the following morning trying to rub the ink stamp off your hand is this month’s instalment of Black Hole Promotions’ residency at The Palladium in Bideford, which takes place tomorrow evening (Friday 25th). North Devon’s musical representation on the bill comes from Captal, the sugar-laced pop-punk of floppy-haired foursome Days Gone By and Oh Captive, featuring members of Flee Mt Fuji, Conflict Against and Archives. Also playing are Southampton’s Chemical Threat and Kingston’s Escape Artists, who count ex-members of You Me At Six among their ranks. Try not to hold that against them.
Finally, a reminder to get over to http://www.llama.org.uk to catch the last few tickets for this year’s Llama Festival. And no getting sidetracked by your friends’ embarrassingly self-indulgent status updates on Facebook. There’s no time for that. Tickets are selling out faster than Iggy Pop in a blood-curdlingly hateful insurance advert.
Taxi for Iggy!