The Kecks “Modern Girls” – single review

Dear Readers, 

When I was a young and inexperienced female music fan, the one that would cut out articles from NME to stick them to the walls, I thought that going to gigs was being part of history in the making. Discovering artists in small venues before they conquer the world, being with like minded people, falling in love with the music.

When I grew up a little bit more and actually went to gigs, I discovered that live shows could be rough or even dangerous (my first gig seen my nose being broken by a cassette tape  thrown from the stage) while some fans were rude, crude and grouping was normal.

The Kecks

I dreamed I would hang out with musicians like all A&Rs and PRs I admired.  I thought I’d have connections, be respected in the business and help artists achieve the greatness. Once again I had to revisit my plans. Women in music were scarce, bands would quit before they achieved anything, artists would not even acknowledge your input before moving on to “better things” and sexism was rampant.

In short – if you are a female in music business – you need skin thicker than that of Anna Franklyn (do see “The Reptile” if you can), determination of Rambo and patience of a saint to do your job. I will be honest, sometimes I get sick and tired of music, gigs and lads with guitars.

But then,  you encounter a band that tears your heart out, blows your mind and you fall in love with them unconditionally – from the first note. You start believing all those things about greatness, being part of something special and history in the making.  I keep telling that as a music obsessive, I fall in love with artists twice a week. Every couple of years, I lose my head. And I don’t know what’s in the water in Yorkshire, but for the third time, it’s a band from Doncaster. Well, ¼ of the band actually. The rest is from Australia, Austria, Germany and they are based in Hamburg.

Modern Girls artwork

The Kecks have been on my radar for nearly a year now. If before they were in “the best new band on the circuit” category, after their newest single “Modern Girls”, they are elevated to being inches away from my favourite band.

Man, do they tick all the boxes!  They don’t do happy sing-alongs  for the public. Leave that to Gerry Cinnamon. Theirs is rock and roll spiked with psychedelia, raw and emotional, provocative and dangerous. Sensual even.  Music  that goes straight to the soul. They know their craft. Singer Lennart Uschmann throws himself on stage like it`s his only mean of survival. He is capable of both –  serenading the audience, whispering and howling like a mad person in the attic. There is something theatrical, otherworldly about him. Think David Bowie or Richard Hell. It`s mesmerizing. The rest of the band (Samuel Telford on guitar, Joel Phillips on bass and Kai Weidle on drums) follow closely – in their coats, flamboyant shirts, make up or dresses – smashing out bangers and kicking clichés in the balls. On the indie circuit full of post punk acts that made school uniforms out of trench coats, white shirts and black trousers, The Kecks are shining with their retro attires.

Another thing that wins me over in an artist is their ethics. I`m always in the corner of the underdogs, those who come out of the underground, the self made and the struggling.  And The Kecks have enough bravery and attitude to fill an ocean. Their press release mentions that the band “religiously preserved their DIY ethos”, they film their own videos, they support independent venues such as Molotow (including playing a special gig for the venue during lock down), they release on AWAL – a platform that functions as an alternative to traditional record labels.

Then there is the video to “Modern Girls” where the band put themselves in the shoes of every woman to protest double standards and hypocrisy. You can see The Kecks being violently forced into skimpy outfits, strong make up and then paraded out to be judged  – only to find out they do not meet “the standards”. The video hits home and is a powerful reminder that unrealistic expectations destroy lives, and not only those of women. Think the whole culture of machismo, toxic masculinity with its narrow views on gender, sexuality and identity. Although musically situated far away from IDLES, The Kecks proudly place themselves on the same side of the barrier when it comes to fighting injustice and social stigmas. Like it or not – it is a political statement of sorts. And such statements takes guts in the era where alt -right runs amok and you are branded a “snowflake” for being kind and civil.

The Kecks (again)

In these trying times, it is the artist’s duty to speak up and take action. It’s a test and The Kecks have passed it with flying colours. They know their art and their songs well, as Bob Dylan once observed.

We listen to music for many reasons, but if you strip all the layers down to one thing, it will be to find others who are just like us. We follow artists and we hope that they will be our tribe, with similar outlook on life and values. Even reviews are done from that point of view. In our naivety, we entrust strangers with a part of ourselves. Maybe selfishly, we want them to be at our disposal so we can enjoy the music, the art and the illusion of not being alone.

I can only hope The Kecks will continue for many years to come.

Please follow the band online:
https://www.thekecksofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/thekecksofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm0wdB5kpFtz5VjJlblmlIQ
https://www.instagram.com/thekecksofficial/
https://twitter.com/the_kecks

or listen to their music on Spotify:

 

The Kecks will be streaming their concerts online in the next weeks, so please visit their social media out to find more details.

Malicia Dabrowicz

crush – “All My Plants Are Dead” single review

Dear readers,

We keep on saying that Manchester has one of the strongest music scenes in the UK and they continuously prove that they do. Every single time a new band appear on our radar, they usually come from Greater Manchester area or from Yorkshire. Somebody better check what’s in the water over there and get it bottled, so we can enjoy the same amount of talent in other parts of the country.

Jokes aside but Mancunians seem to be really good at promoting and encouraging young bands to take risks. And it really pays off – musicians are experimenting, looking for new sounds, creating things that stand out from the rest. Innovatory music is also presented in an innovatory way – singles and albums have unusual packaging, covers are often self made, CD’s are printed or painted by hand, sleeves are turned into mini zines. Collectors of independent releases cannot complain – maybe only when they run out of space on their shelves or funds to buy everything that appears on the market.

One of those unusual and experimental releases ended up in our mailbox a couple of days ago and made a very big impression. We mean they had as at “female led” and “shoegaze” but we never expected to hear something that would channel the brilliance of Wolf Alice, Alvvays and The Sundays. Ladies and gents – we give you crush!

crush picture by Joe Hudson

Official bio:

crush are Manchester based shoegaze/alternative pop four piece consisting of Amber (guitar and vocals), Arthur (lead guitar), Will (bass) and Fotis (drums). Taking inspiration from artists such as The Cure, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Alvvays, controlled ambience is paired effortlessly with cascading noise and chaos. Wowing audiences at numerous shows across the North of England including Stay Fresh Fest and a triumphant headline at Yes Manchester, their live input has cemented them as ones to watch. Presented is an experience that immerses you into an equally intimate and cathartic psychedelic state. Their BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio backed releases have seen them go from strength to strength, and you can be assured the new year will see them put forth their most daring material yet.

crush (written in lower cases to distinguish themselves from the American band Crush) formed at the end of 2017 at the Manchester University and quickly gained a strong following. They released three singles (“How Come”, “Rinse” and “Glue“), toured extensively and supported Peaness, Far Caspian and Low Hummer. Now they return with a brand new track called “All My Plants Are Dead” and it is a bitter sweet serenade, full of perfect harmonies, echoes and ethereal guitars.

Picture by Joe Hudson

“The song focuses on the idea of the cold human race and an increasingly insular society” – writes the band in their PR release. “It’s about struggling to look after yourself as much as it is struggling to look after your houseplants. Really just a message of looking after and understanding each other a bit better, and a critique of how modern living at times can make this an unattractive and hard to achieve concept.”

The band is working on a video to the song and it will be released as soon as it is possible.


Please follow the band on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/crushbanduk/
https://twitter.com/crushbanduk
https://www.instagram.com/crushbanduk/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/09SorScmrKs8yZMG9hdr6N

Listen to the new single online:
http://hyperurl.co/7bua47

crush are unable to tour at this moment but several shows are rebooked for September. Please grab your tickets now and come to see the band playing live. You will not be disappointed.

“All My Plants Are Dead” are 9 out of 10 in our books. 2020 may be a bad year for the music business but it’s pretty damn good for the music tself.

Rita + Mal Dabrowicz

Indieterria review – No More Moves by The Dirt

Dear Readers,

Don’t be cancelling 2020 yet. It may be a year of no festivals, virtual gigs and staying indoors but the art it produces is jaw dropping. Actually, it is a heavy weight year for creativity. Knock out after knock out from every corner – with no breather.  Just look at March alone. Two weeks passed from the release of False Heads` album (record of the year most likely) and we have a new single from Saytr Play, 20 dates autumn tour from Hands Off Gretel  and a much anticipated debut from The Red Stains on the cards.

If that wasn’t enough to make us at Vanadian Avenue sleep deprived  – an unexpected EP from Manchester duo The Dirt appeared in our inbox this morning. And we just had to squeeze it into the schedule because otherwise it would be a serious breach of Directive #1

Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner aka The Dirt

What`s Directive #1 you ask? In short terms – what Manchester does today, the rest of the country does tomorrow. And if you ignore it, then you prove yourself to be a pompous wannabe with no real knowledge of pop culture.

If you don’t know The Dirt, don’t worry. Until about 11 AM today we had no clue either. But once they appeared on our radar, we quickly did the catching up.

The band consist of Japanese guitarist (and multi instrumentalist) Sachiko Wakizaka and Mancunian poet Jack Horner (known under his moniker “Leon The Pig Farmer”). On March 19th the duo quietly dropped their first EP “No More Moves” on BandCamp – a seven track (22 minutes) full of psychedelic, experimental, shoe-gazing landscapes accompanied by dark, tense lyrical verses.

The band succeeded in creating a record that can stand next to releases of Mr Bungle or The Legendary Pink Dots without feeling ashamed. If you take each track separately, they almost feel like punk songs – all below three minutes. The longest – most angry track on the album  – “Wiccan Transition” stands at 5 minutes and could easily find itself among Sonic Youth`s deep cuts.

You can take “No More Moves” as one long composition – a sonic meditation on human nature and its dark sides.


Everything on the EP is dirty, grungy and heavy. Even the logo – the band uses a kanji sign 泥 (pronounced “doro”) as its calling card. It roughly translates into “the dirt” but may mean “mud”, “mire” and “ooze” and we have to applaud them for putting a lot of thought into the vision and then trying to obscure it. You have to dig though the layers of sounds, language and symbols to truly appreciate the work Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner did. You have to unearth it so to speak.

The Dirt created a very experimental,  noise, avant-garde record that nobody saw coming. They appeared out of nowhere with artistic vision, DIY ethos, rebellious spirit to mix beat poetry with psychedelic sounds and reminded everyone that the underground scene in Manchester is healthy and potent.

It would be an excellent idea to incorporate them into future Louder Than Words festivals. This duo has a lot to offer to the public.

We have spoken briefly to Jack Horner about the EP to go along this review. This is what he had to say:

The Dirt looking out into the psychedelic future

How long did it take to record the EP and where did you do it?

Jack Horner:  We did it over  a few weeks, trying not to spend much time on each track. We wanted it raw and quick takes. We recorded at my house. Proper DIY feel. Did the guitars first, then laid my words on.

So it was just you and Sachiko Wakizaka working together?

Jack Horner:  Yeah, Sachiko uses loop and effects pedals for the guitars.

So full musical partnership.

Jack Horner:   Yes. Full on partnership. It works well. We seem to have a good collaboration and creative system. Probably we will go live in autumn. I’ll keep Leon ticking along too.

You wanted to explore something outside poetry?

Jack Horner:  I used words and verses that don’t feel right on my solo spoken word set.  They may be too heavy, too dark or just not suited. But I think the guitars work compliments them.

We really like Wiccan Transition. It`s the longest track on the EP. You could nearly call it a leading single.

Jack Horner: (laughs) Oh ta!

Any story behind that track?

Jack Horner:  I went to see a spiritual healer. Crystal Therapy. I went into a crazy trance. It’s that and coming out the other side of depression!

I`m not sure which song  to put out as a single if we do.

So really The Dirt is a project to help you deal with mental health as well as creative process.

Jack Horner:  That’s how Leon The Pig Farmer started as well. Writing thoughts after a breakdown and stuff last year.  Then taking words to the stage. This is an experiment to take it elsewhere…who knows where.

That’s the beauty of my life now. I don’t set goals, plans or directions to get anxious about. It seems to work!

You can follow Jack Horner/ The Dirt on the socials:

https://www.facebook.com/LeonThePigFarmer/
https://twitter.com/leon_pig
https://www.instagram.com/leontpf71/
https://thedirt71.bandcamp.com/

It will be a very interesting experience to see the duo live in concert and we are hoping that we will have a chance to do so. If we do, please expect a full set video and a ton of pictures. And a word of advice. Do not underestimate the underground. You have no idea what lurks in one of those narrow streets behind AATMA…

Mal/Rita

**** 05.04.2020****

Just a small update to let everyone know that The Dirt published their third visual trailer announcing new material coming in the next months. It showcases the band`s interest in Manchester`s creative Northern Quarter and signals a more refined musical landscape – with the use of drum machines and beats. We knew The Dirt was unique project on Mancunian music scene but the rate it grows and changes is just stunning! Our hats are off to Sachiko Wakizaka and Jack Horner for being absolute proper legends.

M/R

Indieterria presents “Poet Boy” by Battery Farm

Dear Readers, 

It is a privilege to support new music. Times may be hard, unpredictable and sometimes downright crazy, but the rock music is undergoing a real renaissance. Everywhere you turn, there is a great music flowing: from drum & bass, to garage punk, to house, dancehall and rave. We can complain about politics and social media becoming toxic, but we certainly cannot complain about the lack of good and ambitious music to listen to.

And today, we would like to introduce you to one of the unsigned, emerging bands that got our attention in the  last couple of months – The Battery Farm.

Poet Boy single cover

Mancunia’s premier gutter punk four piece, The Battery Farm have recently rose to prominence on the indie scene, loudly screaming at the world and its ills. After releasing a string of well received singles (“97/91“, “I Am A Man” and “Crude Oil Water“), they are back with their brand new track entitled “Poet Boy” and it’s a proper sonic kick in the teeth.

The song starts with a thunderous beat and broken, fuzzed guitar riffs that are becoming their easily recognizable trademarks. I dont think there is anybody else on the circuit at this moment who can create such a depressive and somehow deranged atmosphere so quickly in their music, but the lads have a proper talent for this. And yes, their music is depressive and sad and angry and dirty but so is the reality surrounding us. This is what inspires them and this is what the band want to speak about. If you are looking for something pretty or shiny, go and listen to the BBC1. Here you will only find a justified anger, desolate tones and 10 tonnes of unhappiness.

Poet Boy advert with release date of 20/03/2020

Yet, there is a method in this madness. Despite the ugliness, broken melodic lines, scratching vocals full of fury and disappointment, “Poet Boy” has a therapeutic effect on the listeners. Once you dig through the upper layers of noise and disturbances, you  will find a neatly composed song, with tempo changes, passages and nearly math rock precision. Pay attention to the lyrics as well – they are a very important part of the track.

“Poet Boy” is out on the 20th of March and once it is released, you will be listening to it on repeat.

Batter Farm live:

28th March 2020 – Off the Square, Manchester w/ False Heads
17th April 2020 – The Star and Garter, Manchester w/ tAngerinecAt
18th April 2020 – Ulltra Festival, Hull
15th May 2020 – The Globe, Glossop
17th May 2020 – After All Festival, Manchester
18th July 2020 – Ulltra Festival, York
28th August 2020 – Bank Top Tavern, Oldham
30th October 2020 – Deaf Institute, Manchester w/ DeafRobot

You can follow the band on their socials at:

https://www.facebook.com/thebatteryfarm/
https://twitter.com/thebatteryfarm
https://www.instagram.com/thebatteryfarm/
https://thebatteryfarm.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChp93XaDBuXnmYQY-o2bhFg
https://open.spotify.com/artist/6qWGopTzUjeSYmsXyQ8RIr

See you soon,
R+M

Indieterria review – Saytr Play – Future

Dear Readers,

Please don’t show this review to Tom Ogden – for he will not be happy. Something is brewing on the winding streets of Manchester. Something wilder than a drunken escapade at 3 AM for a pizza slice and pinball at Crazy Pedro`s. Something sexier than the whole new season`s collection from Pop Boutique. Something more beautiful than a sunrise over the canals when you finally leave The Night People and head home to sleep. It`s unique, mysterious, ambitious and rowdy – just like Manchester itself. If you are even partly familiar with music scene up North – you will know by now what we have in mind.

Sleeve for Saytr Play new single “Future”

This band. They can`t be tamed, stopped or controlled. From the very first moment we met at iconic Jimmy`s on the Newton Street for few Polaroid shots, it was obvious that Saytr Play were going to burn their mark not only on Manchester scene – but on the music nationally (and maybe internationally).

In recent months, Saytr Play have released a string of incredible singes – “Second Hand Emotion”, “Honest Man” and now “Future”. They have signed to Lovers Music label and announced their debut EP “IN TRUTH I FEAR FOR THE HEART”. Their reputation grows  by the day and it won`t be long before they are revered by crowds of fans.

And it will be deserved. Peel away the obligatory imagery of rock misfits and you will find young people who care a lot. About future generations, the homeless, environment. People`s band if you ever encountered one.

Saytr Play ready to see what the future holds

“Future”  is a song that stems from personal experience. It’s a letter to a friend. We live our lives in fiction, pretending everything is okay; “It’s not our problem?” – says Fred Farrell, front man of the band – “I think it’s time to put the next generation first. It’s time to face reality. This song is an out-cry for the increasingly worrying number of familiar faces living on the streets. It’s an anthem for the youth, for the planet and for our future.”

“Future” is a melancholic and heart grabbing appeal to see something else than one`s own benefit – to notice another human being.  “If this is what it feels like to be the future I feel so sorry for the youth” – observes Farrell in the lyrics. Musically the single could be described as electronic indie with a Radio 1 potential. But that would be off the mark. We won`t lie – this is a very radio friendly, nearly perfectly crafted  pop record but with a heart and sincerity. Something that Top 40 is seriously lacking these days. It doesn’t feel fake or forced – like Blossom`s  recent single “Your Girlfriend” for example.

We keep mentioning  Blossoms. In 2016 we have seen Stockport finest supporting The Stone Roses – it took about 3 songs to win us over. To compare – it took ONE song for Saytr Play to make fans of us.

To give credit where its due – Blossoms recorded three incredibly good records and established themselves as leading figures on guitar scene in the UK. But you just wait till Saytr Play get to release an LP.

There you go – “Future” is out now. And we found you a new favourite rock band.  You are very welcomed.

You can follow Saytr Play on socials:

https://www.saytrplay.com
https://saytrplay.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Saytrplay/
https://www.instagram.com/saytrplay/
https://twitter.com/SaytrPlay
https://www.youtube.com/user/SaytrPlay
https://soundcloud.com/saytr-play
https://open.spotify.com/artist/169EIOeeLOUF8KPn0hAvzG

https://open.spotify.com/artist/169EIOeeLOUF8KPn0hAvzG?si=9JOHRV9oTyeFGZrZH6akOA

The band`s label Lovers Music can be found online at:
https://www.facebook.com/weareloversmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/weareloversmusic/

Our previous review:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/indieterria-review-second-hand-emotion-by-saytr-play/

We are very, very, very (and did we mentioned VERY) excited to hear Saytr Play`s upcoming EP. Judging from the main single – it will be a strong contender to the albums/releases of the year for us at Vanadian Avenue. Times are hard but at least the music is brilliant.

M/R

***** Update 21/02/2020****

Small update as the single started on a high note with rave reviews coming in from every direction. “Future” has been premiered on X Radio by the leading champion of new music and broadcaster John Kennedy who described it as the finest offering from the band so far.

And if you want to know what other music blogs think (we encourage you to read and follow them – they are good friends of ours!), here is the list and we will be updating it as new reviews roll in:

https://wordsformusic.blog/2020/02/21/saytr-play-future-new-music/
https://debslcannon73.wixsite.com/dreaminisfree/post/single-review-future-by-saytr-play
https://poppedmusic.co.uk/2020/02/21/just-listen-saytr-play-future/

Good stuff, always proud to support quality music.
M/R

Indieterria presents Weimar

Dear Readers, 

We have said it before, but Vanadian Avenue is always on the look out for unusual bands, unique musical styles or new trends in music. Sometimes we find interesting artists on our own, sometimes we receive a tip or sometimes the artists take their time to contact us themselves.

And this is how we learnt about Manchester quartet called Weimar. Last week, lead singer of the band, Aidan Cross sent us an email asking if we would be interested in  reviewing his newest double A single. After listening to both songs, and seeing the accompanying videos we had to say yes!

Weimar is a Manchester-based band consisting of singer-songwriter and rhythm guitarist Aidan Cross (The Bacillus, Black Light Mutants), lead guitarist Stephen Sarsen (Frank Is Dead, The Bacillus, Playground), bassist John Armstrong (The Speed of Sound) and drummer Anthony Edwards (The Deceased).

Weimar Republic of Mancunia by Zac Gale

Official bio: “Combining a range of influences and naming themselves Weimar after the German Weimar Republic of the 1920s in which experimental art, music and cabaret saw a boom, Weimar combine an eclectic range of influences, with their songs containing elements of Art Rock, Post-Punk, Cabaret, Chanson, Prog Rock, Funk, Alt Folk, Gothic Rock, Music Hall and Dark Circus. Lyrically they cover themes of the dark side of culture and human nature, drawing on a socio-political awareness as well as historical inspiration. In the spirit of the Weimar Republic itself, the emphasis is on the need for freedom of expression and rebellion in the face of political and social oppression. In the current turbulent political era, which has already sparked talk of ‘Weimar Britain’, this approach has a profound relevance to contemporary culture”.

The songs “Marvel to the State” and “Undesirable Master” were released on 22nd of November 2019 and they feature the guest vocals of Rose Niland, singer with Rose & the Diamond Hand and Poppycock. The Double A side single was also released digitally on German Shepherd Records, and on CD via Weimar’s own label Marlene’s Hat.

So what can we say about the singles? First thing that comes to mind is that Weimar is reviewer’s real nightmare when it comes to classification. We can easily imagine that if those songs were released back in the 1990’s, Steve Lamacq would tear all his hair out trying to come up with a name for what they do. This is a real mixture of genres – from the classical French chanson, to pop to rock and alternative. There is a lot of Divine Comedy, a lot of the Smiths, The Fall and a bit of a cabaret. To complicate the matters even further – we can swear that “Marvel to the State” has been ispired by 1920’s and 1930’d european jazz. And if we throw trip hop and pop into the cauldron, then we have a real bomb ready to go off.

Weimar in black and white by Zac Gale

The PR note released alongside the singles is confirming what we heard for ourselves:

“Stylistically, both new songs are significantly different from Weimar’s previous single. ‘Marvel To The State’ is written as a celebration of female figures throughout history who have stood up in the face of oppressive politics. It is a duet between Weimar’s frontman Aidan Cross and Rose Niland, set to a jazz-funk inspired backing, with a more upbeat and pop-oriented feel than the previous single. ‘Undesirable Master’ meanwhile, is a romantic torch song with an ethereal backing vocal from Niland. Both songs are accompanied by promo videos directed by Nikos Pavlou. Niland co-stars in the video for “Marvel” while the “Undesirable Master” video guest stars screen thespian Indigo Azidahaka, also vocalist with Granola Suicide.”

We are not the only ones impressed with both songs. Other reviewers were also truly generous with compliments:

“You know when you get that chill up your back when you hear music that is genuinely different and exciting…..? The most important band to come out of Manchester since Magazine.” – Bob Osborne, Aural Delights Blog

“What makes Weimar stand out from so many other guitar bands is their emphatic execution of highly observant songs informed by life’s surreal and unnerving experiences, underpinned by instrumentation which is accomplished – almost oblivious to how good it actually is. Guitars jangle, jolt and drive emotion in equal measure, matched with point-hitting drums… with enigmatic singer and musician Aidan Cross captivating the crowd.” – Emily Oldfield, Louder Than War

We have to admit that Weimar is one of the most unusual bands we have discovered this year and it will be a pleasure to watch them grow. The band is currently working on their debut album while continuing to gig regularly. The album is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2020.

Weimar in black and whte (again) by Zac Gale

You can follow the band on their socials:
https://weimarbanduk.com/
https://www.facebook.com/WeimarTheBand/
https://twitter.com/WeimarBandUK
https://www.instagram.com/weimarbanduk/
https://soundcloud.com/weimartheband
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRVRYJayyyN0Q46AA_74Aig

 

With bands such as The Blinders, Dirty Laces, Scuttlers, The Document, Saytr Play, The Red Stains, Witch Fever, Liines, Gloves, The Membranes, The Battery Farm and many others (we could go on forever!) Manchester music scene is one of the best in the world. Keep your eyes and ears open as the Kingdon of Mancunia is four steps ahead of everyone.

Xoxox
Rita and Malicia D.

Indieterria meets HUSK

Dear Readers,

First world problems you will say – but it is incredibly hard to sit on a great interview and wait for a right time to publish it. It been a few anxious weeks but the wait is finally over! HUSK`s new single  “Feeling Heat” is dropping on November 1st, with funky lo-fi video to accompany it, and we can only tell you to get your dancing shoes on – we are going to a proper party!

We spoke with Alfie Austin about his music, a single that may turn him into a proper pop star, artists that inspired him and where he sees himself in five years time. Despite being incredibly talented singer and song writer, he remains grounded and even humble, looking at his music in practical ways. It is such a welcoming change from all the adrenaline pumped ladsy bands with egos and arrogance bigger than the Beetham Tower. And a stark reminder that is not the hype that makes an artist – but a talent and hard work.

But we digress. Its Monday and we have an amazing singer, song producer and musician to introduce!

The sleeve for Feeling Heat single

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.

Alfie Austin:  I’m HUSK, I’ve been dubbed as “the outsider pop star we’ve all been waiting for” and “pretty darn good” by BBC 6 Music. I describe myself as the ”love-child of 80’s synth nostalgia and fresh leftfield pop”.

Where are you based and who is in the band?

Alfie Austin:  It’s just me. I`m from Manchester, UK. I work with a lot of talent because it takes a village to make music happen!

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve to date?

Alfie Austin:  Since releasing my first EP in 2018, I’ve had some really cool stuff come my way. Being played on BBC 6 Music and BBC Introducing Manchester is definitely a highlight, as well as playing the revered Manchester International Festival this summer and to 15,000 at Pride in Hull. I’m so excited to be releasing my next single “Feeling Heat” on 1st Nov via really cool label AnalogueTrash, that’s already being played in Australia and the UK.

What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?

Alfie Austin:  I’m a hairbrush diva at heart, and grew up on a diet of melody centred Pop, with the likes of Madonna and Girls Aloud and I’m an avid Eurovision fan. In recent years though, the rich, imperfect vocals of Northern Soul and intelligent Pop with smart production and New Wave has influenced me with artists like Prince, Eurythmics, Robyn and Little Dragon.

I’m really influenced by queer culture too. Most queer parties are full of love and expression, and I want to create that good mood in my music, whilst talking about real issues that aren’t just dancing and/or love.

Naturally, I love artist like CHVRCHES & Christine & The Queens but I can’t replicate what they do – I have my own writing style.

Husk_1

Hand on the heart – HUSK by Roo Gannon Photography
https://www.facebook.com/roogannonphotography/

It`s all about the music – and we want to hear your tunes and how they have been written.

Alfie Austin:   When writing a new track, I will sing melodies and if they get stuck in my head, I know they’re a keeper. Next, I tend to create the bones of the track, including most of the synths and beats. I then take it into the studio and turn it into something really special. I’ve been working with producers Sugar House Music (Viola Beach/ Pale Waves/ Larkins), who are incredibly good at making things sound polished but interesting and work you hard to get the best out of you.

Name your best song. Is there a story behind it?

Alfie Austin:   It’s definitely the new one “Feeling Heat”. It’s got really strong 80’s vibes, which I just can’t get enough of. I was having a time where everything I wrote I absolutely hated and I was feeling really under pressure to come up with something in my really busy schedule. “Feeling Heat” is about that! And then once we got it into the studio, everything we tried just clicked – we finished it in a matter of hours.

How do you create your unique sound? What gear are you using?

Alfie Austin:  My main tools are my Arturia Microbrute synth and Propellerhead’s Reason. I use a lot of layers. There’s always like 4 snares and 2 kicks, 5 synth sounds playing the lead melody and 2 bass synths. Sugar House also used a really creepy vocoder for vocal harmonies on my EP that we have used ever since.

Husk_2

Strike a pose – HUSK by Roo Gannon Photography
https://www.facebook.com/roogannonphotography/

Squad goals – where do you want to see the band in five years time?

Alfie Austin:  I’m not going to lie, it would be really nice if I was signed to Virgin EMI and had a shit hot manager that keeps me in check, filling arenas. But if I’m still making music that people enjoy, and I’m not going hungry, I’ll be okay. I have a few specific goals for this next single “Feeling Heat”, and now that AnalogueTrash are on board, that’s one goal ticked off. Every little piece written about HUSK is still really exciting though.

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Alfie Austin:  Email me: husknoise@gmail.com or Facebook message me at HUSK 

 

Imagine you can record an album with any producer, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Alfie Austin:  Totally self-indulgent but Brian Higgins/Xenomania featuring a Nadine Coyle vocal would be a dream! Xenomania have such an amazing repertoire of innovative pop and I think it would make for a really great record. I’d also love, love, love a collab with Janelle Monae. She’s just and all round great artist!

Pre-order “Feeling Heat” 

You can follow HUSK on social media:

https://www.husknoise.com
https://www.facebook.com/husknoise
https://www.instagram.com/husknoise
https://www.twitter.com/husknoise
https://www.soundcloud.com/husknoise
https://www.youtube.com/husknoise
http://husknoise.bandcamp.com
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5rxW72hkuquJAYuBZz1now?si=WMiX_P_-R8i62o5vvTblYw
https://amazingtunes.com/husknoise/

We have absolutely adore HUSK and his music – you can expect that we will welcome him again in the future on our blog.

All the best Husk and we hope that in five years time you will be playing arenas.

M/R

Indieterria meets Dirty Circus

Dear Readers,

Rock and roll music is all about storytelling. If pop can get away with repeated lines or lyrics barely making any sense, rock always had bigger inspirations. Drawing its roots from the soul, blues and R&B, it became a proud tradition of the genre to take a stance during political unrest, social changes or at least to describe the lives of the common men. Many of the leading voices of rock are also noted poets (Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, Patti Smith or Joni Mitchell) or shrewd commentators of the world (Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Freddy Mercury). Their critical eye helped to shape the musical heritage and the entire post war, modern cultural landscape.

The people behind the rock music are not only singing or telling stories on stage, their lives are full of great tales of friendship, struggles, victories or partying. American journalist Kurt Loder has once said that the annals of rock music are the best lecture and indeed the biographies of its stars are anything but dull. And that’s what makes the genre stand out among thousand of other musical styles. The artists come to us with something to say, with their own baggage of losses and gains the listeners can relate to.

Pardon the long beginning, but it was a pleasure to interview Chris Binns of Wigan’s Dirty Circus. The quartet is returning to the spotlight after a decade and their story is truly unique. We have sat him down to discuss the band’s past, releasing their debut album and the future that looks brighter than ever.

 

Bands logo

Official bio: Hailing from Wigan and Leigh, Dirty Circus consists of Chris Binns (vox), Jon Hollingsworth (bass), Stephen Ahern (guitar) and Ryan Whittle (drums). They catapulted to the top of the North West music scene in the late 2000’s becoming notorious for energy packed raucous live performances and winning an army of devoted Fans. With an impressive CV including a label deal with Columbia Records, work with Hacienda Legend Mike Pickering, a tour support slot to Madchester royalty Happy Mondays, and a very special appearance at Glastonbury Festival, they’re back for round 2 and seem to have something of a point to prove. With their record finally out and northern tour, the band is ready to claim their rightful place at the top.

The hands emblem that became a symbol for the band

Dirty Circus have a fascinating history as a band. You formed at the beginning on 2000’s and quickly established yourselves as one of the best emerging bands of that period. You got signed to Columbia, started working on an album and then unexpectedly, you parted ways with the label. What happened?

Chris Binns:  In the mid to late 00’s the music industry was in a real transition. This was a time when CD sales had begun to decline, pirating and illegal downloading was rife and record companies hadn’t figured out how to use streaming to their benefit. It was a time before MySpace And Apple Music. The 90’s boom was no longer and the majors had less room for risk. Unfortunately, we were expendable and were part of a cull of bands who were offered ultimatums and too good to turn down offers to terminate the contracts. I think it was a common misconception that we were dropped. The truth is we choose to leave. Knowing that staying with the label at that time would have been more damaging to the band.

After leaving Columbia, the band continued as an independent act for nearly a year under the guidance of manager Phil Saxe. You worked with Mike Pickering of Hacidena fame and toured with Happy Mondays, only to call it a day out of the blue. The infamous “creative differences” were cited as a reason for the split. Looking back on that decision, do you think it was a right path to take?

Chris Binns: At the time we had started to internally combust. In the beginning everything was happening so fast.  We had genuine label interest within the first three months. After six months we had 6 or 7 big labels fighting over us.  The band got to the point where every show we were playing was sold out and were getting 500/700 plays a day on MySpace. Now throw in a packed out Glastonbury set then signing to one of the biggest labels in the world. We felt like we had landed the greatest job in the world.

Fast forward 2 years and everything had become slower. The band practiced and practiced very rarely playing live, working on new material while trying to get the album done. It felt like the label had lost interest then we got a call and that was it. We walked away and had to get normal jobs again. It was then the infighting started, each member blamed others for what happened.

Firstly our synth player Floyd Woolley left and we carried on for a little while after but the magic was gone. Then bassist Ian Halliwell left and personally I couldn’t see the point after that. We had all been best friends way before the band started and it felt like we had run our course.

Dirty Circus are back and ready for action.

Dirty Circus returned as a 4 piece in 2017 to sold out shows and excited public. What prompted you to get back together?

Chris Binns: It was our guitarist Stevie (Ahern)`s wedding so myself and the drummer Ryan (Whittle) decided to go along mainly for a piss up. Me and Ryan hadn’t seen or spoke to Stevie or Jonny (Hollingsworth) for about 7 years so I wasn’t sure how it was gonna be. As soon as we were back together it was like all them years had never happened. We decided then and there to have a practice. The Sunday after the wedding we spoke to Jon and he was up for it. The other boys Floyd and Ian didn’t want to do it which we have to respect and we’re still in contact with them.

I booked a room and when we started playing the energy was back! It was amazing.  The day after I booked a gig in Wigan at the Old Courts -an amazing venue which had sprung up whilst we were out the game – and we were off. The place holds around 400 people and it was sold out within few weeks which blew us away.

Your album “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Worse” was finally released on 4th of March 2019. The story behind this record could be made into a Hallmark movie: a successful band is dropped by a major record label, the demos go missing for a decade, they are found on a old computer drive and re-mastered. How do you feel about this record after all what’s happened? It must have been quite a ride.

Chris Binns:  When we got the masters back it was pretty emotional – that album was nearly 10 years of work and it was amazing to hear it in its entirety. Up to that point we had been so focused on writing new material we had forgot how good the old stuff was!  We had quite an experience getting to that point and listening to the album brought plenty of memories back most of which I can’t repeat in this interview. The songs on that record are a reflection of how we were all living life at that point and the lyrics are all the things me and the boys were experiencing.

Dirty Circus are back. Deal with it.

You recorded the original demos at the Motor Museum studio in Liverpool. This is one of the oldest and most accomplished recording studios in the North – a home to Oasis, The La’s, Arctic Monkeys and The Coral. Your producer, Tristan Ivemy worked with The Holloways, Towers of London, Frank Turner, and recently The Lottery Winners. Where did you re-mastered the tapes? Did you come back to the same place to properly finish the record?

Chris Binns:  In all honesty we didn’t return to the old studios. We got the songs mastered in the US pretty cheaply. At this point we weren’t sure what we were going to do with the album and we got it mastered on a whim. We were originally planning on just dropping it on Soundcloud but when the tracks come back from mastering, we knew we had to make it a proper release. The songs were massive. I remember how excited I was and sent them to them lads immediately. It was full on energy and aggression – just like we sounded live. The only real change was that we decided to record a new version of a track we always wanted on the album. “Dropped” was never recorded in original sessions because we could never get it right. When we reformed we thought we would give it one more try so we worked with our friends Martin and Dan at Strangeway Studios in Manchester. We finally got what we wanted.

We have to ask about the collectible edition of “WDKMYW” on a pink vinyl. Is it still available? If so, where can it be purchased?

Chris Binns: There’s not many records left! We printed 600 initially and we must have 50 left and whatever the stores have. It’s currently in the key independent record stores in most major cities across the UK. And of course in Wigan and Bolton (laughs).

Dirty Circus are currently on tour. You will be playing Manchester soon (The Bread Shed on 26th of October) and a possible date in London is in the works. Are you planning on visiting West Midlands area? We’d love to see you rock Bristol or Birmingham.

Chris Binns:  100% we would love to play in Bristol and Birmingham. Hopefully we’ll get there in the first part of 2020. In fact I had somebody contact me the other day to tell me how big fans of us they used to be, filling mini buses and driving to our Manchester shows from Birmingham. Somebody also had a club night called Dirty Disco named after our song.

Tour poster for Manchester show at The Bread Shed

A home coming show is booked in Wigan on 17th of November at The Bailiff Bar. We are told it is going to be an acoustic night. What can we expect and how does shows normally go down in Wigan?

Chris Binns:  We never did an acoustic performance before so it’ll definitely be interesting. But we’re not doing it full acoustic, we are still gonna have all the electronics in the mix. It’s more of a stripped back performance.

Any plans for the nearest future? Where will 2020 take you?

Chris Binns:  Well we’ve currently got 12 new songs we are really happy with so we’re gonna try and get in the studio and hopefully release them as an EP in April. We have always been a band that prides ourselves on new music and pushing things forward and that’s what this music does. Imagine Jonny Rotten singing in Cafe del Mar on ecstasy (laughs)

Last questions are a bit of fun at Indieterria. Let’s say you can go back in time and fix one mistake from your own past. Which wrongs are you going to right?

Chris Binns: Nothing! Honestly it is what it is. We don’t dwell, we just want to make sure we prove ourselves this time around…. No wait! In-fact I wouldn’t sold my black The North Face 3 in 1 jacket I had. It was a banger.

 You can follow the band online:
https://www.facebook.com/Dirty__circus-1686236101623735/
https://www.instagram.com/dirty__circus
https://twitter.com/DIRTY__CIRCUS
https://music.apple.com/gb/album/what-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-worse/1455007989

 

More reading:
https://www.wigantoday.net/whats-on/music/dirty-circus-moves-with-the-times-1-8358276
https://www.theoldcourts.com/single-post/2018/11/14/Sit-Down-Sunday-with-Chris-Binns-Dirty-Circus
http://northern-exposure.co/dirty-circus-wigan-100217/
https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/music/circus-comes-to-town-1024425
https://wiganmusicreviews.wordpress.com/category/dirty-circus/
https://www.wigantoday.net/whats-on/music/roll-up-for-dirty-circus-reunion-gig-1-7817717

Dirty Circus on tour:
Manchester at the Bradshed (along with Red Bricks/Idle Hands/County Rats)
26th of October
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/411057949498078/
Tickets: https://www.fatsoma.com/scruffoftheneck/qzufeilt/dirty-circus-red-bricks-idle-hands-county-rats

Wigan at the Old Courts (accoustic performance)
17th of November
More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/713534025768387/
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/friday-night-in-the-bailiff-bar-with-dirty-circus-acoustic-tickets-66323018935

Radio appearances:
Bolton FM/ November 12th
The Unsigned Show at 7:00 and 9:00 PM
https://www.boltonfm.com/

Shock Radio/Salford
Time: TBA
https://www.shockradio.co.uk/

Dirty Circus will be adding new dates and interviews shortly so please keep your eyes open and your hand on the pulse. We will be travelling to Kingdom of Mancunia many times in the new year and if they are playing anywhere close, be sure you will see us in the front row.

xoxo
Rita and Malicia

Indieterria meets Methods

Dear Readers,

One of the things Vanadian Avenue has been trying to accomplish in the past year was to bring Manchester and Birmingham scenes closer together. We networked, attended gigs, introduced people to each other, nagged, bugged and dragged folks by their collars. As you do. We have just found ourselves allies in our continuous struggle to connect Kingdom of Mancunia and The Black Country.  Please meet Methods. This five piece has been born between Wolverhampton and Salford and they just released an incredibly good EP at the beginning of October.

For A&Rs there is nothing better than a new band to interview so we went and did just that. And it was such a fun.

Band`s logo

 

Ash Bradley (vox)
Ryan Deakin (guitar/keys)
Adam Hall (bass)
Peter Bates (drums)
Jon Nash (key/vox)

Official bio:

Influenced by life and their soundings along with the likes of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, The National and Interpol, METHODS formed with the mutual understanding to do things their way and write what they love.

Methods have made their mark with their own dark sounding synth indie anthems. The Midlands based 5 piece have been gaining recognition in the last few years, playing countless shows to crowds across the UK. The band have been garnering support from the likes of BBC Introducing West Midlands as well as nominations at The Birmingham Music Awards and Black Country Music Awards.

We have seen Methods live earlier this year as part of Magic Garden Studios fundraiser for Musicians Against Homelessness in Birmingham. Magic Garden is of course the very famous recording studios where Gavin Monaghan and Joe Murray help create the best music around. Think The Blinders, The Pagans SOH, The Novus, The Lizzards etc. Methods, who also work with Magic Garden, played a wonderful set at The Coach and Horses on May 3rd and quietly we knew we were to expect something huge from them.  Their stage presence was immaculate, the songs sounded exciting and in general we had jumped up and down on the night having the best time.

The sleeve for Anything – a new EP from Methods.

When Methods` new EP “Anything” landed in our office both Rita and I could not wait to give it a listen. As you probably can deduct from the tone of this post, we loved it to bits, but before we will offer some words on the EP itself,  its only fair to give you some back ground information about the artists. What`s the point of a review otherwise?

We have sat down with band`s guitarist Ryan Deakin for a quick chat about the band`s inspirations and song writing process. This is what he told us:

Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.  

Ryan Deakin:  Hello,  we are Methods.

Where are you based and who is in the band?

Ryan Deakin:  The band is based between Wolverhampton and Salford.

Tell us something about the project – are there any goals that you managed to achieve to date?

Ryan Deakin:  We played some good support slots with some high profile bands – but – we haven’t really got any goals, just making music we want to hear and see what happens.

What inspires you? What artists or genres had the biggest influence on you?

Ryan Deakin:  The one that we all seem to love is Bowie.

It`s all about the music – and we want to hear how your songs have been written.

Ryan Deakin:  Normally we send each other voice messages of melodies and we work stuff out from that.

Name your best song. Is there a story behind it?

Ryan Deakin: We love all our children. We are proud of “Back of Your Hand”, we literally did the whole thing in about 2 hours. People take so many different meanings from it which is great, and what it’s all about. It was written when Trump was supposed to meet Kim Jong-Un….take from that what you will.

How do you create your unique sound?

Ryan Deakin:  We kind of mix 80`s synths with some 50`s surf guitars…and add a mad singer to the mix.

Are you touring? Where can we see you play live?

Ryan Deakin:  We will appear in Manchester at  The Peer Hat on 13th October.

Squad goals – where do you want to see the band in five years time?

Ryan Deakin:  We want to be playing some decent sized venues and have a couple of good albums under our belts – that will be fine.

If any bookers or promoters want to get in touch – what is the best way to contact you?

Ryan Deakin:  Contact us at Methodsmusik@mail.com

Imagine you can record an album with any producer, dead or alive in a studio of your choice. Who would be on your record?

Ryan Deakin:  Recording at Sun City with Phil Spectre (pre Homocide) would be interesting.

Methods photographed by Nidge Luhg Sanders (Trust A Fox Photography)
https://www.trustafoxphotography.com/

So, let us pen few words about Methods` new EP “Anything”. As we mentioned, it was released on October 4th 2019 to rave reviews from blogs and music magazines alike.  You will find four songs on the record (“Back Of Your Hand”, “Collector”, “No Cover” and “Human Existence”) and two short instrumentals (Intro, Interlude).

The EP starts with unsettling “Intro” –  and despite just being 40 seconds long, this track actually stands on its own and serves a very important purpose – to set the mood for the record. Call it cliché but there is something cinematic about both instrumental tracks on the EP. They are not fillers, more like road signs pointing in which direction the music will go.

“Back of Your Hand” – is powerfully anthemic composition. Close your eyes and you can easily imagine the band playing this track to a full stadium backed by live orchestra and powerful visuals. The band considers it their best song to date and it tells a story of a historical meeting between two political leaders and sworn enemies.

By contrast “Collector” starts slowly but around one minute in incredible drums come in followed by a change of tempo and more optimistic overtones. And the lyrics! Just listen. Not sure who is main writer in Methods but man, they surely can deliver. Not one dry eye in the house – you have been warned.

Methods photographed by Danny Hodge https://www.dannyhodge.photography/

Interlude divides “Collector” from “No Cover” where dystopian theme clashes with uplifting music. Again it sounds nearly as anthemic as “Back of Your Hand” and we could only wish to hear it with accompaniment of a live orchestra.

“Human Existence” closes the record. Like “Collector”, it is slower and contemplative track. Yet the back ground melody line keeps hope despite rather bleak lyrics.

We love how the EP is divided into two equal parts. One faster/anthemic song and one slower/contemplative one. And a short instrumental track to divide them. Like two sides of a perfectly balanced vinyl record. Actually we want that EP on a vinyl.

 

Methods photographed by Rob Hadley
https://www.facebook.com/photosbyindieimages/

You can follow the band on the socials:

http://www.methodsmusic.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/methods2
https://www.instagram.com/methodsofficial
https://twitter.com/methodsmusik
http://www.soundcloud.com/methods_official
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGoNTNzTQv30UVpbeDbxJ2A
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5RG6MWN2BuVHelIs2HRZbo?si=TLYTQKUJT4aq2foeId4BjA

We hope you enjoyed this interview and if you have a chance to see Methods live, go and grab yourself a ticket. Actually two tickets – so you can bring a friend. You both will have an excellent time.

We will be back soon with more music and more kick ass interviews.

Love,

Mal+ Rita

Indieterria Review – The Blinders at Leffingeleuren Festival

Dear Readers, 

Throughout the summer months, we tried to cover as many festivals as possible, where the Blinders made an appearance. We have attended several events ourselves and in many cases, we have teamed up with our special correspondents. Hopefully, this allowed fans to enjoy the experience and feel “as they were there” in person.

Having spent several weeks in Belgium, we were lucky to see the band perform at Kliko Festival, Valkhof Festival and recently at Leffingeleuren. It was a great pleasure to see the trio spread their wings on completely unchartered territory. Leaving dedicated fan base hundreds of miles away and facing the unknown can be a scary but exciting opportunity. We can tell you straight away that the band returned home with shields in their hands. If you are looking for a short description then, it was a triumph of an European tour, no doubt about it.

Leffingeleuren Festival is a respected event that has been going on for 40 years. It is not the biggest music festival around, but has the opinion of “quality over quantity”. Only the best selected acts are invited each year and if a band makes the bill, it is universally acknowledged that the music industry in Belgium has taken notice. The Blinders played quite an early slot on Saturday, 14th of September (3:30 pm) but their gig was packed so tight that many didn’t make it into the Zaal De Zwerver, the biggest stage of the festival.

Digital polaroids from the performance

Zaal De Zwerver has the capacity of 750 and is a state of the art musical venue. It has everything a venue should have – a perfect sound system, massive entrances on both sides with a wheelchair slopes, a cloakroom, merch tables, an outside and inside bar, a balcony, large and secure floor and clean toilets with onsite cleaning crew! You will never run out of toilet paper even if there are 13.000 visitors walking around. There is a separate loading bay with its own dedicated street at the back of the venue and secured car park for tour buses, artists changing rooms etc. It’s nearly 10 years old but it looks like it was built yesterday. If we tell you that it has been funded by ERDF grants courtesy of  European Union, it will sound like a political statement, and it kinda is (Bollocks to Brexit). Thinking of our beloved, threatened and underfunded venues back home, we felt a bit jealous. Maybe one day, one can dream and hope for the best.

As usual, the Blinders arrived on stage with the sirens blazing and blinding lights. First thing that we noticed was lead singer Thomas Haywood wore his iconic “Johnny Dream” make up in a different way, which was a surprise. Instead of having the war paint smeared down from his eyes onto his neck and chest, the black paint created Adam Ant-like line across his face. They started off with “Gotta Get Through” and almost immediately merged into “40 Days & 40 Nights”. “Brave New World” followed and the room was dancing and bouncing up and down. If new fans didn’t notice anything, we have seen The Blinders so many times live to quickly realize that there was something going on, which was not right. Thomas’ voice, although clear and raspy, was breaking down at times. During “Free the Slaves”, he had to resort to a whisper, skipping several lines to take a deep breath and to continue. “ICB Blues” and “Something Wicked” gave him a bit of  a respite from shouting but he looked irritated and greeted the crowd with bare minimum of words. His frustration grew further when he was unable to play his guitar at the beginning of “L’Etat C’Est Moi” and he signalled his irritation to Charlie and Matty by raising his hands and shaking his head. Luckily, the third go was a success and the concert continued without any technical  glitches to the end.

A new track “Rage” signalled second part of the show which was stunning. The band played tight and flawlessly, rampaging thorough “Hate Song”, “Rat In A Cage” and  then “Ramona Flowers” that was greeted by a loud cheer from the audience. The ode to Scott Pilgrim came with an extended outro and the rhythm section showed what the band was capable of. Matty is known for keeping an intense gaze throughout the performance but this time his stare was as powerful as the deafening beat. Charlie whirled like a force of nature from left to right, using his bass as it was a machine gun he was about to shoot into the crowd. A journalist standing next to me sent me a half-frightened/half-amused expression, but kept nodding his head in clear approval of the chaos happening on stage. “Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall” closed the set with 9 minute  cacophony of distorted guitars and powerful drumming. However, after extended “Ramona Flowers”, it became apparent that Thomas was exhausted. He was completely covered in sweat, hair wet as he had taken a dive into a pool, shirt drenched. At some point, he clung to the microphone stand, with his head lowered for more than a minute, alarming Tom Castrey of Saytr Play (a fellow Mancunian band, who supported the Blinders on tour as a tech). He nearly came on stage, but Thomas managed to pick himself up and finish the performance with flying colours. The usual chants of “Down with Big Brother” were replaced with “Long live the European Union” and the band was gone.

It took several days for us to find out the reason why Thomas struggled. A serious infection and tonsillitis forced the band to cancel their performances at Indiestaad in Paradiso (the Netherlands) and Waves Vienna (Austria). They also moved or pulled out of several domestic festival in order to give the lead singer time to fully recover.

Despite the technical glitches and illness, the Blinders played a fantastic show that  brought them universal acclaim and won them many a fan in Europe. As one of the reviewers noticed, they are outgrowing middle size venues. Next stage is large festivals and 1000+ capacity places.

If you haven’t seen them live yet, don’t advertise it, but buy a ticket. Your next chance to see them live will be on the 12th of October at the Alexandra Palace in Manchester (Neighbourhood Festival).

Set List:
“Gotta Get Through”
“40 Days & 40 Nights”
“Brave New World”
“Free The Slave”
“ICB Blues”
“Something Wicked”
“L’Etat C’Est Moi”
“Rage”
“Hate Song”
“Rat In A Cage”
“Ramona Flowers”
“Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall”

Time: 60 minutes
Stage Times: 3:20-4:20 CET
Stage: Zaal De Zwerver

Schedule: 14 September 2019 (Saturday)

Saturday schedule

 

 

Media Reviews:

“As with every festival, you had to make some hard choices to see all your favourite artists, but with such a good line up and fine weather, in the end it was a great day. Our highlights included seeing The Blinders, Crows, The Germans, Mystic Braves and Willy Organ” – Niels Bruwier for Dansende Beren
https://www.dansendeberen.be/2019/09/10/tien-acts-om-te-ontdekken-op-leffingeleuren-2019/

“The Blinders played a tight set dressed in black and full suits. Their influences come from early Arctic Monkeys but you can hear the echoes of Queens Of The Stone Age in the distance as well. In short – this is a sharp rock and roll with courage and allure. They display the right attitude on stage that enhances their performance. There was a nice balance between slower and faster songs, allowing some respite for the audience, but it has to be noted that each of the ‘softer’ compositions has an edge and dark aggression lurking in the music. The band is changing on stage right before your eyes – sometimes they are melodic, sometimes they are fury and a storm of angry riffs with a lot of tempo changes. The Manchester based trio are not overly innovative but they play convincingly and with precision. You can tell they are on the brink of breaking through outside of their native Great Britain. Fans of dark indie rock can add a new group to their must-see list now”- Niels Bruwier for Dansende Beren
https://www.dansendeberen.be/2019/09/15/leffingeleuren-2019-dag-2-niets-meer-aan-te-doen/

“An early party, why not? We saw The Blinders playing at Zaal de Zwerver. This  Manchester based, British trio bring great punk rock supplemented by psychedelic poetry. They released their debut album only last year and toured a lot. And it shows as they are definitely the stage creatures. They remind us of The Stooges with influences from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The band played ‘L’Etat C’Est Moi’, ‘Gotta Get Through’, ‘Rage’ and their latest single, Rat in A Cage’. The closing number ‘Brutus’ was a nearly 10-minute ode to rock and roll, clearly inspired by Jim Morrison. It consists of three shorter parts entitled ‘Brutus’, ‘Et Tu’ and ‘Berlin Wall’. Talking about Brutus – it was a lucky coincidence that a Belgian band with the same name was to perform later in the day. As for the Blinders, seeing them live is highly recommended” – Trees Rommelaere for Luminous Dash blog
https://luminousdash.be/festival/leffingeleuren-dag-2-14-09-2019/
https://luminousdash.be/category/live/fotos/page/3/ (photos)

Daily newspaper “Het Nieuwsblad” publishing an article on Monday 15.09.2019 with a picture of The Blinders taken by Trees Rommelaere

“The Blinders played a solid rock show and they have a good singer (and guitarist) whose singing style is a reminiscent of Jim Morrison. Musically they are a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and Rollins Band in one moment then Nirvana and Jeff Beck in another. Their composition ‘Hate song’ draws inspiration from Joy Division. It was a good performance by an experienced band”- Koen Asaert for Snooze Control zine
http://www.snoozecontrol.be/reviews/8725/

“We were immediately blown away thanks to The Blinders. Old-fashioned rock/punk with a great stage presence. We hear influences from Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys, the singer reminds us a bit of Alice Cooper because of his make-up. Their music is excellent. Those three Mancunian lads were a nice opener if you ask us” – Pieter Bouckhout for Brothers in Raw 
https://www.brothersinraw.com/single-post/2019/09/15/Festivalverslag-Leffingeleuren-2019-op-zaterdag

“What a great thing to see a band giving their best at half past three in the afternoon! The Blinders put their most powerful songs – ‘Gotta Get Through’ and ‘Brave New World’ at the beginning of their set and it brought a lot of crowd into the Great Hall. The British trio plays a certain type of rock music that many bands had attempted to play in the past before them, yet the charisma of Thomas Haywood, the lead singer and the threatening structure of their songs, make them stand out from the rest. They presented quite a show at Leffinge Festival. Are we going to see them playing much larger venues soon?” – Christophe Demunter for DA Music Magazine
https://damusic.be/live/leffingeleuren-dag-2–geen-wafels-wel-tiengangenmenu-4143.html

 

Videos:

“Something Wicked” and “L’Etat C’Est Moi”

“Rage”

“Free the Slave” and “ICB Blues”

“Gotta Get Through” and “40 Days & 40 Nights”

“Brutus/Et Tu/Berlin Wall”

After Movie. You can see Charlie (and Matty in the background) rocking on stage at 1:27 minute mark:

Leffingeleuren 2019 – Aftermovie

Festival socials:

Artist profile:
https://www.leffingeleurenfestival.be/the-blinders

https://www.leffingeleurenfestival.be/
https://www.facebook.com/leffingeleurenfestival/
https://www.instagram.com/leffingeleuren
https://twitter.com/Leffingeleuren
https://www.youtube.com/user/leffingeleuren
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Ps6BGwRGgTB4rgCBlCX23?si=MLLXCxAfQe2QQujjMwtOZg (official playlist features “ICB Blues” and “Brave New World”)

Gallery:

 

Other galleries:
http://www.enola.be/2019/09/15/the-blinders/ (takes a while to open)
https://www.festivalinfo.nl/artist/123571/The_Blinders/
https://www.facebook.com/pg/EyesWideShutterSpeed/photos/?tab=album&album_id=3048425591897109&ref=page_internal
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10220769307886363&set=a.10202921019010296&type=3&theater
https://www.facebook.com/pg/leffingeleurenfestival/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10156619991731824
https://www.facebook.com/pg/concertpixtrees/photos/?tab=album&album_id=911287822580567
https://www.facebook.com/pg/karenvandenberghefotografie/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1147366568797364
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Alex-Vanhee-Photography-212472195507965/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2459878137434015

Although we could only attend for a single day (Saturday), it was a fantastic, small and family-orientated festival that it’s worth visiting. They do not have the massive stars other festivals have, but this is not a bad thing. We actually liked their alternative attitude – the organizers are booking bands they personally like and the line up is varied. We have seen Brazilian samba rockers, Belgium’s raising stars (pop, dance and hard rock) and international artists of great esteem.  Also, we have had a word with the festival volunteers and we were told that organizers put a huge emphasis on having artists of colour and female  musicians on the bill. This is greatly appreciated and many UK festivals could learn a thing or two from them. It is possible to have 50-50 male to female artist ratio and to give females a prominent positions on posters.

In short, well done!

We will post a longer review shortly so please pop in a bit later.

Till then,
Rita and Malicia

PS. Rita would like to thank Trees Rommelaere and Luk Dufait for their assistance and rock and roll moments we shared in the pit. Dank je!