Catdice Vs Cack Handed


  1. Really want to play this now! Throwback classic!

    (Source: newgamepressstart, via fuckyeah1990s)

     


  2. Gigs of 2014

    You Me At Six
    Support: Young Kato and Don Broco
    Venue and Date: Plymouth Pavilions, 2nd April 2014

    Setlist:
    Too Young To Feel This Old
    Fresh Start Fever
    Stay With Me
    The Swarm
    Little Death
    Loverboy
    Forgive And Forget
    Room To Breathe
    Underdog
    Liquid Confidence
    Cold Night
    Wild Ones

    Encore:
    Reckless
    Bite My Tongue
    Lived A Lie

    I usually begin by shining some light on my past experiences of the many shows that have taken place within the chosen venue over the years. Although in this case I’ve already done that with February’s overview of Frank Turner’s gig, which can be found here. I will however state that this was my second time seeing the Surrey legends do their thing, with the first time being last year when they performed with Thirty Seconds To Mars at the Pavilions.

    Just like any other gig, there were also a couple of support bands on the bill that night. One were great…….one not so much. First act of the night was Cheltenham’s six piece indie pop-rock band Young Kato who gave a full-hearted performance, albeit a lukewarm one. For starters, they’re overall lure didn’t seem to sit on the same fence as the accompanying bands that night. Throughout their set, the band were doused in blue lights that remained motionless during their near half hour stint. This seemed to have a reverse effect on their suggested stage presence though as instead of projecting a “deep/moody” aurora, you were simply left with a slightly stale and dozy atmosphere. I will however admit that if I saw them supporting a more indie based band, then their presence would have definitely fitted a lot better and comfortably. In the end, the music is the most important part and their mix of electronics, tiny bits of synth and indie layered guitars, did very little to win me over. Without putting too much weight on comparisons, their sound sits somewhere between a mix of early Friendly Fires and Dog Is Dead. I tend to think to myself that a support band needs to either get the crowd warmed up or bring something new, exciting and different to what the main band will be providing. Granted Young Kato deliver a sound very different compared to Don Broco and YMAS, albeit a rather alienated, if not a tad isolated one during that evening.

    Next up were Bedford four piece Don Broco who delivered their heavy pop rock “lad” antics with the utmost precision and excellence during their entire performance. I’ve seen these guys twice before, both playing their own headline shows last year, so this was my first taste of viewing them as a support band. Needless to say they excelled in doing so. Opening with last year’s single “You Wanna Know”, the Bedford group were well on their way to getting the crowd pumped and ready for tonight’s main act. Even though this track is dubbed as one of their “bigger hits”, I was quite amazed by the amount of positive feedback and crowd participation throughout its performance. After a full hearted start, the band kicked in too another popular single of theirs “Whole Truth” which once again saw another burst of energetic involvement within the crowd.  Later on “Thug Workout” made its presence shown with singer Rob Damiani declaring “this one’s a bit mental, look after each other out there” as it’s artillery of rapid roaring vocals and dangerous rifts tore the crowd apart, eventually creating a few mosh pits. One of the more entertaining and special moments of their performance wasn’t actually their music, as singer Rob was celebrating his birthday on that very day. The band presented him with a candle lit birthday cake and started singing Happy Birthday, to which the majority of the crowd joined in, ultimately filling the Pavilions up with birthday cheers. After some joyous celebrations and a few more songs later, the band finished off their 9 song set with “Priorities” which received huge fan appreciation. By now the atmosphere and stage was firmly set for You Me At Six to deliver their much awaited show.

    After the white curtain that had restricted our view during setup time had dropped, the band joined the stage, which admittedly seemed a little odd to me. During the half hour preparation, I was thinking how good it’d look when that curtain would finally fall upon the first beat of the drum of within the first verse. Although the curtain had no real effect, the opening track “Too Young To Feel This Old” supplied great impact. As the opening track on their newest album Cavalier Youth, it seemed the perfect choice to start with. When it’s overly epic intro died down and singer Josh Franceschi delivered the first line “We’re not young anymore, what are you so scared of?” the crowds vocals were almost as loud as his. To my surprise, a track as new as that receiving that kind of reaction was a little bit of a shock, albeit a good one.

    Since this tour was in support of the new No1 album Cavalier Youth, it was no surprise that “Fresh Start Fever” made its way onto the setlist. The track never made its impact on me when released as a single a couple months ago. Although within its context on the album, it works really well and even better live, especially since it finished off with an explosion of confetti. When touring a new album, you can’t leave out the old material or classics, so Hold Me Down fan favourite “Stay With Me” ticked that box and gave a little bit of nostalgia to a now more mature and grown up band. Perhaps the weakest part of their set was one off single “The Swarm” as I’ve never really viewed it as a true You Me At Six song, purely because it sounds too distant from their other material lyrically. Next up saw two tracks from 2011’s Sinners Never Sleep make their appearance. First up was “Little Death” which earned a rapturous crowd sing-along, particularly during the choruses “We are not your lovers, we are not your friends, fuck what you believe in, cause this is the end”. This was followed up by “Loveryboy” which enjoyed another healthy dose of support from the crowd, especially during the intros pirate esque chant and devious chorus.

    After a few tracks from their extensive back catalogue, it was time to delve back into Cavalier Youth with the incredibly touching “Forgive And Forget” (one of my favourites) and the colossal “Room To Breathe”. The former provided some down time and a moments rest for a deeper and more meaningful performance while easily earning and deserving all your attention. The latter picked up the pace again with bigger rifts and an overall grander emphasis of being on the attack as opposed to being on the defensive.

    After two fresh servings of new material, it was time to retract towards some older hits. Once again drawing from Hold Me Down was the ever catchy “Underdog” and the even sweeter “Liquid Confidence”. The first of which continued the lively atmosphere that “Room To Breathe” had left behind while the second song helped to slowly simmer the mood and bring the energetic crowd to a near halt of mass appreciation while witnessing and participating in such an endearing song. By now a little pattern was starting to develop, a few new ones, a few old ones, back and forth. It was down to another two new tracks to finish off the main part of their show, the super soft and lovely “Cold Night” and the powerful closing track “Wild Ones”. The crowd activity spiked during “Cold Night” with its mix of gentle verses and empowering choruses while also sparking every couple within the room. “Wild Ones” brought in a rather special moment and to the dismay of nearly every security guard in the building, Josh demanded everyone get on someone’s shoulders for its duration.

    Following a very brief break, the band returned for their much loved encore. After a little thank you for tonight’s wonderful reception and dedication, the band tore into hit single “Reckless” which saw the room light up as the mood reached an all-time high while generating one of the biggest sing-alongs of the evening. Next up was the rather vicious “Bite My Tongue” which features Oil Sykes on the recorded version, although it was fairly obvious he wouldn’t be making an appearance that evening. Since Sykes wasn’t going to be around, it was down to Josh to fill those boots for the harsh and rough vocal display towards the end of the track. I’ve seen Josh do this before and it never fails to disappoint. Granted it’s not as full bodied as Oli Sykes destructive vocals but it’s the next best thing by miles. The band rounded the night off with a powerful performance of their highest charting single “Lived A Lie” that pushed the crowd into giving it all for one last time, before finishing off with blasts of golden confetti. It’s fair to say I haven’t been a long term fan like many others have and I haven’t been with them since the very start. Although I definitely cherish their place in music and look in awe at how far they’ve grown and come over the few years I’ve stuck with them. I really want to be around for the next handful of years to see what these guys can continue to achieve. Oh and hanging back after the show to meet Chris, Max and Dan was simply the best. 

     


  3. Gigs of 2014

    Fall Out Boy
    Support: New Politics and The Pretty Reckless
    Venue and Date: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, 15th March 2014

    image

    Setlist:
    The Phoenix
    I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me
    A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”
    This Ain’t A Scene, it’s An Arms Race
    Alone Together
    Thriller
    Death Valley
    Sugar, We’re Goin Down
    Young Volcanoes
    Beat It (Michael Jackson cover)
    I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You) (Acoustic)
    Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy (Acoustic)
    Dance, Dance
    Just One Yesterday
    I Don’t Care
    My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up)

    Encore:
    Save Rock And Roll
    Thnks Fr Th Mmrs
    Saturday

    My 2nd gig of the year was surprisingly entertaining, mainly because I’m not that much of a Fall Out Boy fan and haven’t been for a long time. Admittedly the band were once a defining chapter of my musical taste when growing up but around 3rd studio album, 2007’s Infinity On High, I had near enough lost interest within the group. So 6 years on and following a brief hiatus, the band returned with 5th studio album Save Rock And Roll which clearly divided fans opinions. I was initially very sceptic and negative with my thoughts on the new material I was hearing. Granted that they gradually moved away from early pop punk greatness with Infinity On High and Folie À Deux but this more modern, dare I say it “radio friendly” approach was a shock but also kind of predicted at the same time. Back to the gig and my reasoning to going, which was due to being blessed with the honour/chore of taking my sister up to the show.

    Starting with a brief run down on the venue itself, it’s one I’ve been to a few times over the years. Firstly for Blink-182 in 2012, followed by The Killers later that year and last year’s shows came from The Who and later Paramore. A handful of very epic shows to say the least! It’s a good 2/3 hours’ drive from where I live to eventually reach the venue but it’s been worth it on every occasion. The sound inside venue is one of the best I’ve experienced over the years, so it’s always a safe bet that you’ll enjoy the show. However I couldn’t help but feel this show lacked the quality of sound I’d come to expect from the venue. I always try to get a central viewing but during the entirety of the show I was positioned in line with the speakers to the right of the stage. Perhaps I was just getting an overall unbalanced experience throughout the performance. While this problem plagued all three bands, Fall Out Boy were definitely the least affected. This now brings me onto the support acts…

     image

    Personally for me, these two support acts were two of my least favourite I’ve ever had to endure while waiting for the main act. First on were three piece pop punk/dance rock group New Politics from Denmark. Their music wasn’t necessarily that bad, as they’re kind of a mix of All American Rejects and the more recently popular Twenty One Pilots (both of which I highly enjoy), although this may have led to a strong feeling of déjà vu and mere copycat syndrome. There was a sense of cockiness throughout their performance with lead singer David Boyd strutting around the stage like a self-indulgent model and even showing off some break dancing moves for a near 5 minute solo. For one second I genuinely thought I was watching Diversity as he skipped around the stage like a ballerina dancing on hot coals. David introduced song “Just Like Me” as something a bit more “punk” for us all to enjoy however the meaning of the song seemed to have missed the mark. Instead of hearing a rebellious outburst we we’re left with a rather bratty and almost spoilt rotten themed song. It wasn’t all bad though as “Tonight You’re Perfect” and “Fall Into These Arms” were delivered with the utmost dedication and care. The crowd were definitely enthusiastic throughout, but if it wasn’t for the bands moments of attention seeking and slight sleaziness then the overall show would’ve been a lot more fun.

     image

    The Pretty Reckless (featuring Professor Snape) were the second act of the night and ultimately did very little, if not anything to excite me one bit. It is hard to watch/appreciate something of no interest to yourself but even then you try to focus on the few pros and attractive points of someone’s creativity, yet I found hardly none this time round. I fully understand that they do have a fan base, quite a large one in fact but in all honesty I couldn’t and still can’t force myself to enjoy their music. For starters I still can’t find any reasoning to why they were even chosen to support in the first place. There’s almost nothing in common with Fall Out Boy apart from they both happen to play guitars, and that’s about it. I was remotely hoping that their heavy rock/metal would appeal to my inner 15 year old self, but nope that didn’t happen. I instead ending up watching singer Taylor Momsen give her best Courtney Love impression for a solid half hour while the band attempted a Guns N Roses karaoke play along in the background. Throughout the whole show the band stayed near enough stationary and were about as morbid as the majority of their songs. The crowd was however full of a few diehard fans and the constant flow of cheers proved that, yet there was almost an equal amount of boos as well. I have no knowledge of their library of songs but I remember hearing “Make Me Wanna Die” which seemed appealing by then. Closing track “Going To Hell” went down well with the crowd and saw the band acting their most lively and fun throughout the whole night. It’s hard to fake an interest, yet many people somehow do but I’m not a pretender, so this was an unenjoyable experience for me. I’m sure the fans loved it though! Onto the main show…

     image

    Fall Out Boy took to the stage behind a white curtain as the first few seconds of “The Phoenix” was beginning to be played out. Naturally the curtains dropped within the first few lyrics revealing the band and a dozen bright lights complete with beaming spotlights. I’m sure this is all sounding familiar and what the majority of gigs consists off, well not quite. What surprised me most and almost amazed me was the blatant transformation these pop punkers have undertaken. I haven’t seen these guys since 2007, nor have I followed them too closely, so a lot of change has clearly taken place over the years. The whole band wore FOB branded balaclavas throughout the complete duration of opening song “The Phoenix” as if to say “we’re back, we’re still Fall Out Boy, welcome to our revolution”.

    image

    After such a strong and convincing opening, the band tore into old fan favourite “I Spelt With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written About Me” which was met with an enormous amount of praise from the highly energetic crowd. By now I was expecting another new track yet they seemingly dropped “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me” from nowhere, further continuing the extremely fun nostalgic trip. Although I’m not a huge fan of following track “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” it definitely strengthened the throwback antics that had been grand highlights so far that evening. After three consecutive classics, it was time to air new track “Alone Together”.  A track that never really wowed me on the record yet Patrick Stumps vocals were on fine form, ultimately carrying the track to higher levels of praise. Upon finishing off that very song, the band exited the stage while guitarist Joe Trohman showed off his skills for a few minutes, blitzing through a handful of rifts and solos.

     image

    image

    After this little interval, the band returned to perform “Thriller” and “Death Valley” that ended being the low point of their set for me.  Likely due to the fact I’m not too familiar with those tracks and they did seem a little too flat compared to the rest of the setlist. Drummer Andy Hurley started off following track “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” which was warmly received by the crowd of avid fans, and further enthusing that nostalgic trip for myself. It’s hard to follow a classic track of those standards but “Young Volcanoes” managed to carry the mood exceedingly well as its soft and loving tales set the arena alight. The inclusion of a dozen giant black balls bouncing around the crowd created a stronger sense of unity within the crowd, as well as the band, who’d occasionally kick a ball or two back. By now the mood was so positive, it was near impossible to find any fault, even the bands cover of “Beat It” kept me mildly entertained.

     image

    image

    Once again, the band left the stage while that near legendary interview of Iggy Pop played out on the back screen. Following a captivating and rallying speech by a true Godfather of punk, the band resumed the show, but not on the stage for a change. Instead the band had relocated to the rear of the arena for a two song acoustic set by the sound desk. Playing “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)” and “Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is your Boy” which once again pleased every single person in the room. While I’m not the biggest Fall Out Boy fan, I could certainly appreciate the rarity of the moment. As the three members finished off their fantastic treat for us, drummer Andy Hurley resumed the show back on the main stage with a rather epic drum solo.

     image

    By now the band had all regrouped and stood by as bassist Pete Wentz introduced the next song, of which was the massive hit “Dance, Dance” resulting in a crazy response from the crowd. Once again, it’s an extremely hard challenge to compete against a song of such high standards yet new track “Just One Yesterday” safely continued the night while “I Don’t Care” started to simmer the tone a little. By now it’s reaching encore time, but not before the band perform a thunderous rendition of comeback track “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up) which unfortunately didn’t feature real life fire.

     image

    image

    After a brief break and a lot of crowd encouragement, the band returned with Patrick Stump sited behind a keyboard for “Save Rock And Roll”. Once again, a track that never really appealed to me on the album yet this performance was made more believable and honourable, as the overall theme was helped by visual aids. A touching and sweet slideshow played on the massive screen, appropriately praising true legends of music. Featuring unforgettable legends such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Nirvana and even Johnny Cash, Tupac and Elton John (who features on the original recording) all made appearances.

    image

    After this lovely tribute of sorts, the song I wanted to hear all night was finally played, as “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” was given the justice it very much deserves. Final track of the night was “Saturday” taken from their 2003 debut Take This To Your Grave, serving as a rightful end to a evening I had originally dreaded. Despite my initial doubts, below average support acts and the newer direction of last year’s album, I found the evening to be quite entertaining. I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them again, but if they fancy doing a 10th anniversary tour next year for From Under The Cork Tree then I’m definitely game. Never once did their attention slip or enthusiasm dip, which was a relief and definitely secures their rightful foothold in the world of music.  Well done Fall Out Boy, I can listen to Save Rock And Roll a lot easier and comfortably now! Thanks!

    image

     

  4. The Menzingers - In Remission
    This four piece punk rock group from Pennsylvania look set to become one of the most exciting acts of 2014 with their soon to be released 4th studio album Rented World. The group have been together since 2006 and although I’ve seen their name crop up from time to time, I’ve only recently decided to explore their work. From what I’ve heard so far, I’m edging closer and closer to becoming a big fan of theirs, particularly this new track “In Remission”. For starters, the opening rift reminds me of Weezer throughout their “Pinkerton” era and this tone of guitars continues throughout the rest of the track. While that alone is enough to get me excited, the lyrical output and vocals are some of the best I’ve heard for quite some time. I’d happily compare lead singer Greg Barnett’s vocals and lyrical backbone with singer Dan “Soupy” Camplbell from The Wonder Years. Both have a very carefree approach when letting the words just roll off their tongues, yet they also retain enough attitude and punk rock will power to make every track an important statement. It’s also the upright honesty found within the lyrics that makes this band and song appeal to me. Like many other people, a relatable subject is always going to rope you in and for instance, The Gaslight Anthem (band of similar ilk) have always done that for me. It’s cliché to say, but you can get a real sense of “been there, done that” with these tales. I love how Greg swiftly shifts a heavy weight off his shoulders with the following line “I hate how I always get nervous every time I try to speak, In front of a big crowd, a pretty girl, or the police”. I guess it goes to show that even a lead singer can suffer from several forms of social awkwardness on more than one occasion. The record itself is due for release on the 21st of April over here in the UK and hopefully nearer the time a few more tracks would’ve surfaced. It definitely deserves every piece of attention it can get!

     


  5. Albums Of My Eye-Within The Month Of March

    Tycho-Awake
    Released: 17th March 2014 (UK)

    Track List
    1. Awake 
    2. Montana 
    3.
    4. Dye 
    5. See 
    6. Apogee
    7. Spectre 
    8. Plains


    Today Tycho (aka Scott Hansen) released yet another song from his highly anticipated follow up to 2011’s Dive. Since the album is only a few weeks away,it’s only right to feature this as one of my many records forecasted for release within March. Opening track “Awake” was our first peak into this future outing with its delicate and enchanting melody. As the track unravels at a moderate and careful pace, it does so by carefully sending you adrift within a warm sea of sensitivity. It’s a sublime piece of work and has yet to lose its impact on me. While that was a great way to introduce the new record and round off 2013, following track “Montana” came as a very welcomed surprise. Once again you’re greeted with graceful and stunning tones of absolute bliss as the upbeat tempo carries your mind with ease throughout. The feather light instrumental is a joy to behold and if you’re like me, you’ll be hoping to see this song matching an equally lovely summer! As for the new track “Spectre”, it’s currently premiering over on Stereogum. The transcendent ambient tones that have featured heavily throughout his previous work are ever present, while the inclusion of everyday modern instruments make for a natural and deeper live output. This works especially well since Tycho’s live shows have recently included a live backing band which will undoubtedly tighten the bond between tracks both on and off record. While not my usual comfort zone when it comes to music, Awake seems captivating enough to lighten the mood and provide many pleasant moments within my record collection and everyday living. I look forward to spending the time daydreaming and drifting away to such sweet sounds.  

     


  6. The Last Of Us: Left Behind

    The Last Of Us has most definitely become one of the greatest hallmarks for Sony and the PlayStation 3, while also redefining and becoming the near pinnacle of gaming. As all that praise is fully justifiable, then the opportunity to jump back into its pandemic, post-apocalyptic version of the United States is a most welcomed one. The whole package flushes out another 2/3 hours’ worth of gameplay and gives us a chance to explore Ellie’s life events that take place a mere few weeks before the main campaign.

    image

    The basic premise is set on her friendship and interactions with a fellow girl named Riley who is often mentioned throughout the original game. During these few hours you get to see the beginning of some of Ellie’s traits that carry through to her story with Joel. Without spoiling too much, you’re reminded about her simple struggle to learn how to whistle and the origin of that joke book that crops up many a time during her time with Joel. While the Last Of Us nearly had you constantly waiting for any form of encounter by keeping you on your toes, Left Behind takes a step back and lets you enjoy your surroundings a lot more.  For example, the DLC is split between two different events, as half of it is set during the main story when you take control of Ellie and the prologue sections with Riley act as flashbacks.

    image

    It’s when you’re with Riley that you can relax the most after you sneak out of Ellie’s military school and explore the nearby shopping mall. For once the girls get to discover how life was before the outbreak without hearing it from the elders. All the activities you’d associate with going out at a young age are new to these two as they’ve never, and probably will never get the chance to experience them in full.

    image

    While Ellie’s time with Riley is a gentle trip of exploration, her time during the main story is a lot more dangerous. For those who’ve played as Ellie before, you’ll understand that she obviously lacks the physical strength that Joel wields. This makes her incredibly vulnerable the majority of the time. While she can repeatedly stab her enemies, fire a weapon and craft items, she has to do so with the element of surprise as she lacks the strength to attack head on. There is however a new element to the combat and unlike The Last of Us, you’ll come across both survivors and Infected simultaneously. This works in Ellie’s advantage as you can lure both factions against each other while remaining hidden, staying safely out of harm’s way. It’s incredibly satisfying watching the survivors successfully dodge the Infected, right up until you throw a brick and alert their presence, usually resulting in an empty room.

    image

    Without a doubt the greatest part of this mini story is the prologue sections with Riley as they help detail some of the events and characters you’ll come across during The Last Of Us. Like me, you may find it hard to justify the price tag of £11.99 for just 2/3 hours’ worth of gameplay (dependent on your skill and difficulty setting of course). Although if you’re a fan of The Last Of Us and it’s wonderfully crafted and detailed world then this little chapter is worth investing in. You’ll also find a handful of collectables to find, 10 Trophies to earn and plenty of everlasting moments to enjoy. Just like the The Last Of Us had its moments of expansive storytelling and emotional flares, so does this adventure, as you’ll definitely find it hits just as hard within places. I rarely bother will optional DLC but in this instance I’m very glad I went back. Many a film, game or show could learn a lot from here.  

    image

     


  7. Gigs of 2014

    Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls
    Support: Beans On Toast and Flogging Molly
    Venue and Date: Plymouth Pavilions, 11th February 2014

    image

    Setlist:
    Photosynthesis 
    Plain Sailing Weather 
    Peggy Sang the Blues 
    Losing Days 
    Try This at Home 
    Glory Hallelujah 
    Reasons Not to Be an Idiot 
    The Way I Tend to Be 
    Sweet Albion Blues 
    Father’s Day 
    To Take You Home 
    Wessex Boy 
    Polaroid Picture 
    The Road 
    If Ever I Stray 
    Eulogy 
    I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous 
    One Foot Before the Other 
    Long Live the Queen 
    Recovery 
    Broken Piano 

    Encore:
    The Ballad of Me and My Friends
    I Still Believe
    Four Simple Words

    Before I delve into this fantastic live show, I’ll start by saying that this was meant to be my 2nd gig of 2014, most definitely not my first! I was due to see A Day To Remember last Saturday (8th February) in Cardiff but my car was plagued with issues on the day, thus meaning my travel plans were severely disrupted. Although a stroke of luck (for me) came about as singer Jeremy was taken ill with a throat infection, leading to the gigs cancellation. Still waiting to hear on a rescheduled date, hopefully it won’t be on a weekday as the 2-3 hour won’t sit nicely with my work. Anyhow, back to Frank Turner’s triumphant gig at Plymouth Pavilions.   

    Starting off with the venue itself, it’s a place I’ve been to many times before. We begin way back in 2006 with Lostprophets, who back then were at the top of their game…its just a shame their legacy is now ruined. Ever since then I’ve seen various different artists, some on more occasions than once (Enter Shikari springs to mind, 2007, 2009 and 2012!). The Pavilions has had its fair share of comments over the years, both bad and good, especially when it comes to their sound acoustics. Thankfully though those days are long gone and it’s been years since I’ve witnessed a gig with terrible sound, so there’s been some vast improvement there resulting in pristine performances.

    image

    The show was blessed with two great support acts who got the crowd warmed up perfectly before Frank’s performance. The first act on was solo artist Beans On Toast who managed to break the dreaded silence that the average support band tends to receive with his onstage wit. Most songs were introduced and picked by simply asking the crowd questions such as “would you rather hear a song about an iPhone or blowjobs?” to which 99% of the audience shouted out “blowjobs”. The selection of songs revolved around tales of nights out, drinking, sex, drugs and just about every other form of human contact and interaction there is. All of these were delivered with tongue-in-cheek scenarios while simply being joined by an acoustic guitar and the occasional bit of harmonica. Although very few people in the crowd actually knew the songs or were even singing along, the constant crowd interaction made for a lot of laughs throughout and comfortably broke the ice.

    image

    image

    Second act of the night was American band Flogging Molly who brought their mix of Celtic punk and energetic folk all the way from LA to create a high impact show. I’ve known of the bands existence for some time although I’ve never taken a deep look into their musical repertoire. For starters, the band arrived on stage fully suited and booted. I’m talking black shirts with suspenders (braces for us English), flat caps, waist coats, boots and ties, the full works. With an image as smart as that, I was waiting to see if the music could top their look, and by Christ it did. Everything just seemed to fly off the handle as the seven-piece strong band vigorously belted out song after song with such high spirit. The mix of rapid guitars, relentless drums and quick banjo work naturally meant you had to move, in fact it demanded you to get up and jump about otherwise you’d look a fool for standing still. During the entirety of their set, the crowd got into every little bit of fun that this band could possibly throw out. They certainly rank high as one of the better support acts I’ve seen over the years. In fact, when they finished, I overheard someone say “I’m not staying for Frank Turner, I only came to see Flogging Molly” Each to their own I guess.

    image

    If you’ve made it this far, then well done! As it’s time to focus on the main star, Frank Turner. I’ve seen Frank a few times over the years, starting off with Reading 2009, his headline set at 2000 Trees in 2010 and at the Eden Project in 2012. With this being my 4th time seeing the folk-punk legend, I was under the assumption that I wouldn’t witness anything that new or too extraordinary, and that’s exactly where I was wrong. Seeing his progression over the years has been somewhat heart-warming, especially given his transformation from hardcore punk to his witty and charming folk-like tales.

    image

    Starting off with fan favourite “Photosynthesis”, Frank and his brilliant band The Sleeping Souls gave everyone a joyfully anthemic sing along to welcome in the night. This was briefly followed by the first track of the evening to be taken from his latest record Tape Deck Heart, as “Plain Sailing Weather” gained an impressive amount of crowd commitment for a relatively recent track. Frank eventually introduced himself and the band to a rapturous crowd by praising the turnout and his previous visits to Plymouth. After this the singing continued over the next few songs while the crowd refused to let up, which in turn, resulted in the band giving more and more to their ever hungry fans. A personal favourite of mine “Glory Hallelujah” created a wonderful moment of unison as its ironic gospel chorus really does deserve the strongest of sing-alongs.

    image

    image

    Returning back to his latest album, Frank and Co played the beautiful and reminiscing “The Way I Tend To Be” that went on to become one of the real highlights for me that night. As the night went on, Frank took the opportunity to pass over guitar duties and take the fulfilling roll as a prominent frontman. Armed with just the mic, he brought in the travel worn track “The Road” to a thunderous cheer, creating yet another amount of mass chanting and singing. Everything had been flowing perfectly since the beginning and when following song “If I Ever Stray” was abruptly belted out, the mood somehow went up another level.

    image

    The brief and strong willed “Eulogy” acted as a brilliant intro to following song “I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous” which saw the room light up with hundreds of tiny polka dots, dazzling and beaming across the venue, bouncing off every wall. A few songs later and we we’re left for a few short minutes before the band returned to finish off a crowd pleasing evening.  Everyone had been on top form the whole evening and not once did the energy levels dip. So when “I Still Believe” and “Four Simple Words” were aired, it provided a powerful and definitive end to an excellent show. The songs were undoubtedly great yet Frank’s charismatic attitude throughout was just as lovely to witness. He still sees himself as an average guy, he’s just lucky in what he gets to call a job. He told the crowd that the size of the venue doesn’t matter at all, as ultimately it’s the music onstage that’s most important. It’s certainly nice to see a musician, or a celebrity if you will, not act obnoxious for once and try to bridge that gap between the fans. It was a perfect gig to kick off the year! Here’s to many more!

    image

     


  8. Klaxons - Children Of The Sun

    London’s indie-psychedelic-post rave punkers have offered a second glimpse into their forthcoming record. The track, produced by Chemical Brothers Tom Rowlands, is set to feature on the groups 3rd studio album, due for release sometime this summer. The track closely resembles a daunting ritual of sorts as it spirals throughout with trip inducing loops, tribal esque chants and an array of near demonic ideology. It certainly makes for an expansive and interesting listen while also acting as a new and exciting chapter within their career. For me, this track is a huge improvement over last week’s premiere of “There Is No Other Time”. Given their lengthy break away from 2010’s Surfing The Void, I couldn’t help but feel slightly underwhelmed with my initial exposure to that track. On first listen, I found Klaxon’s lack of sporadic sounds rather disheartening, ultimately rendering the track all too safe and lifeless. I have since given it a couple more listens and it is slightly growing upon me. I remember hearing tracks from last album Surfing The Void and not being immediately won over by them, although once I played the album in its entirety, I found plenty of potential within. I’d be extremely pleased if they found a balance between these two new tracks throughout this record and I’m fairly confident they will.

     

  9. Royal Blood – Little Monster

    The grizzly rock duo from Brighton offer up a great treat on a Monday night with new track “Little Monster”. The track itself is likely to appear on their yet to be announced debut record expected sometime this year. As for the track, it violently swings on a bipolar pendulum between verses of careful retreat and choruses comprised of rapid onslaughts. This is a band that have become renowned for their devastating and aggressive output with precise control, and this track isn’t an exception. Having gained more attention of the last few months, they’re comfortably set to outpace and outshine many other duos within their genre. Hopefully sometime over the coming weeks there’ll be some news with regards to a debut album. My eye is fixed sharp upon this one.

     


  10. Albums Of My Eye-Within The Month Of February

    Crosses - Crosses (Now Available For Pre-Order!)

    ††† (Crosses) - †††
    Released: 10th February 2014 (UK)

    Track List
    1. This Is A Trick 2. Telepathy
    3. Bitches Brew 4. Thholyghst 
    5. Trophy 6. The Epilogue
    7. Bermuda Locket 8. Frontiers
    9. Nineteen Ninety Four 10. Option
    11. Nineteen Eighty Seven 12. Blk Stallion
    13. Cross 14. Prurient 15. Death Bell



    With its release date only days away and since this little extract taken from “Nineteen Ninety Four” has surfaced tonight, I thought it’s about time to shine some light on this dark temptation. Before I go too far, I’ll start with a brief introduction to this moody and seductive group. Consisting of Deftones frontman Chino Moreno, Far guitarist Shaun Lopez and Chuck Doom, the band begun life as a side project in 2011. Moreno described the basic premise as “minimal and soothing” and likened it to the music he listens to when he’s not screaming his head off, presumably referring to Deftones. I’ve only recently decided to put this album on my radar while eventually gaining enough interest to pre-order it, I’ve also had very little exposure towards its early beginnings and creation.  I do however know that various EPs released over the past couple years make up this entire album. EP1 consists of five tracks that are set to appear on this album, as do EP2 and EP3, add it all up and you’ve got our fifteen tracks! Rewinding back to their formation, the plan was to release music through a series of EPs, so perhaps this album is simply a collection of these releases or hopefully there’s been some tweaks ultimately enhancing the quality and overall output. Sound wise, the majority of their tracks do what Moreno was aiming for as the trip hop pace throughout “The Epilogue” carefully simmers your mood for a brief period of time before the chorus brings you back with a handful of warming endorphins. While that track is a perfect example of the records softer side, “Bitches Brew” introduces a bleaker outlook with a dark industrial theme that eventually all comes crashing down with a violent and sporadic ending. This hint of darkness lingers around a fair few tracks, especially within “This Is A Trick” as it tries to break through the electronic framework and strive for a meaningful existence. Just like any other side project, you’re going to get elements from every member’s original beginnings in some shape or form. Combining the different attributes and backgrounds from each member is an exciting aspect. A mixture of soothing electronics and the occasional manic outburst should make for a tense and engaging record. I’m really hoping this will be one of the most interesting and surprising albums of 2014.