Archive | December 2014

soundCHECK 280 – December 18th 2014

You’ve got to love Factory Friday. Unless of course you don’t. Which presumably means you’re anti-partial to the patchwork of vomit that decorates the streets, the motionless bodies prostrate on the ground from not being able to handle their alcopops, and the obnoxious ‘bantz’ bellowed by guffawing men (and, to be fair, women) who really are old enough to know better. Oh and then there’s the kebab-shop scraps and graceless pick-up attempts that make cavemen look socially sophisticated. Yep, you’ve got to love Factory Friday. By the time the night winds up, Barnstaple town centre usually looks like a scene from the end of Fight Club.

Go humans!

If a Friday night of special private time at home fills you with instant shame, there is a sanctuary in town where you can escape the madness. Yep, let’s hear it for The Golden Lion Tap, who will be hosting a night of live music from three local bands: The Fallen State (, One Man Boycott ( and Scott Xander Linn & The Broken Bottles (

The evening is being held to celebrate the launch of The Fallen State’s third EP, which features new single Great Unknown – a blustering, blistering, full-blooded little opus with riotous intent. Big guitars, soaring vocals, punchy snares and cymbals that take a serious lashing. You can wrap the sensory duo of peepers and lugholes combined around the new video at Oh yes you can.

The line up for the event is completed by Matt The Hat, who will be DJing between bands and on into the night. The dark, sordid night. The event takes place tomorrow evening (Friday 19th). Doors open at 8:30pm and entry is a steal at £3.

Of course the bigger picture here is that GLTs (formerly Inn On The Square, but formerlier GLTs again) is back and under new management. New management who, apparently, are keen to get behind live music and host weekly gigs. This is crucial for the local music scene. After The Exeter Inn closed, god rest its soul, Inn On The Square became the hub of live music in North Devon. Bands were popping up from all corners and playing to a packed out venue week after week. Then it closed. And not quite all – but nearly all – was lost.

If you’re a local band looking for somewhere new to play, go drop a demo in – and let’s bring back the happy memories of a flourishing local music scene with the ease of a demob happy factory worker fetching up his end-of-night kebab.

CONTACT: Got local music news? You’ll feel good for sharing it with me: jharper[at] | @testforpulse

soundCHECK 279 – December 11th 2014

Christmas is coming. Stick your head out of the window and you can almost taste the mulled wine and minced pies and festering familial resentment. Ho, ho, ho!

Pitching up in timely festive fashion, in its finest gaudy jumper and reindeer antlers, is the Christmas compilation from North Devon’s Super Sick Records. Entitled Carols Aren’t Really Our Thing, it features five luminously talented local artists doing edgy covers of Christmas favourites. You will hear Andrew Vanstone, Halley’s Apparition, Beach Talk, Small Town Jones and Inkoded. Head to for more.

Oh and how about a Christmas party? For that you should head to The Palladium in Bideford next Thursday (December 18th), where Oscar Young, One Man Boycott, Andrew Vanstone and Chapters Of Eden will be showing exactly why they are currently among North Devon’s most exciting artists. The quite marvelous Pretend Happy ( headline – their grungy punk-rock will make you think it’s the mid-nineties again.

Presumably the Pretend Happy boys will be selling their branded beanies at the show too. Pretty handy seeing as the temperature outside is currently about as cold as Katie Hopkins’s heart – that’s Katie Hopkins who was born in Barnstaple, don’t you know? (She’s probably North Devon’s most famous export. Along with Rose West.) How’s that for a stocking filler? You’re welcome. That feeling is your soul sinking.

Other noteworthy gigs this week include The Roughnecks doing imaginative covers of 70s prog rock at The Palladium (Saturday 13th December), Tippa Irie doing live reggae stuff at The Factory (with support from North Devon’s Joe Jdb Burn) (Saturday 13th December) and Monkey Chuckle at Lilico’s (tonight, 11th December). Monkey Chuckle are an energetic six-piece brass band from Bristol, who sound like they are having the best time ever. They bill their sound thusly: “2% jazz, 98% funky stuff.” Quite how they reconcile that glaring numerical discrepancy is presumably a surprise, because everyone knows music performance is about giving 110%. HIGH-FIVE!

If anyone wants to help me lobby Butcher’s Row into creating an anthrax pasty in the event of Hopkins’s festive homecoming, get in touch.

CONTACT: I’m getting really good at emails, so if you share your local music news I’ll most likely reply: jharper[at] | @testforpulse