Monthly Archives: May 2015

Funeral For A Friend @ Welly 16.05.2015

People wouldn’t usually associate me with metal or screamo bands. But I was a huge fan of Funeral For a Friend when they released their debut album back in 2003, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see them in a local venue.

The ticket had been pinned to my noticeboard for weeks prior to the gig, my favoured tracks playing on loop so that I’d be able to sing along with confidence. I was excited. More excited than I’ve been for an out-of-town band in a long time. Fact is, Funeral For a Friend take me back to my teenage years, spent hanging around either side of the Welsh border in the time before I knew there was anything above the River Humber (it does hurt a little to admit that I was once part of this southern stereotype). And as the gig was on the eve of my birthday, this was a glorious feeling of recaptured youth.

Less Deceived
Less Deceived

The night started with punk-rock band Less Deceived. My first encounter with these guys; I was quickly swept up by their sound. Lead singer Adam Harraway stormed the stage, smiles a-plenty as they performed songs which create a lot of sound and contain catchy bridges even new fans can sing along to. It was good to see a band who so evidently love performing – a theme which flowed throughout the evening – and I quickly made the decision to get my hands on their music and merchandise.

Singer Adam Harraway
Singer Adam Harraway

I’ve had their track ‘20.04.13’ playing repeatedly since, now able to sing along to every word.

Liberatae Mae were up next. It was proposed, via social media, that the public select the support band, and this band’s name came up in droves. It is a name I’d heard of, one which is often mentioned when discussing the local metal scene. They’ve got a sizable following, and one which helped fill Welly that evening.

With six members, they fill a stage, even a decent sized one as they had, in body and in sound. Vocalist Luke Slade and bassist Glenn Allison stepped to the front where they could easily engage with the audience, gripping the crowd with their ferocious performance and heavy vocals. The guitarists seemed to move in

Luke Slade & Glenn Allison of Liberatae Mae
Luke Slade & Glenn Allison of Liberatae Mae

circles, each taking their moment alongside these two clear frontmen: an act I felt deserving of these talented musicians, but also solidifying my compassion for the drummers who don’t benefit from this privilege. Eddie Newsome was barely visible even to those like myself stood at the very edge of the stage, and his personal performance was one worth seeing.

I didn’t, at the end of the gig, rush to their merchandise table. They were fantastic at performing for their fans in their chosen genre, but this is not a sound which excites me. I wouldn’t choose to attend a gig just simply because their name was listed.

It was headliners Funeral For a Friend whose performance I was most enthusiastic about. Theirs was the only name listed when I’d purchased my ticket, and the name which had me in anticipation right up until the point they were on stage.

Funeral For A Friend
Funeral For A Friend

Playing popular tracks from across their albums, the room was in constant movement. Rather frustratingly for those of us on the front row, a few members of the audience chose later in their set to start crowd surfing. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with people crowd surfing, but the same guy doing it four or five times and having to move in order to let him out got repetitive and dull. Having worked as a security officer at music venues and festivals, I know how difficult it can be to keep your cool with drunken guys trying to get their 15 seconds of fame. The staff working that night were fantastic, manoeuvring them out of the way of photographers.

Gavin Burrough & Richard Boucher
Gavin Burrough & Richard Boucher

Matt Davies-Kreye did, even with these distractions, take on a central role in the show. Not just as frontman of the band, but as a conductor of the night. He informed us that he was suffering with a chest infection – something which was clearly causing him pain, as he crouched down for gulps of water, banging his fist on his chest, between songs – but that this would not stop him from giving us his all. With a grin, he gave the hand gesture to start a circle pit, twisting with those of the audience who chose to join in. Within the final song, he was leaping across the stage.

Kris Coombs-Roberts
Kris Coombs-Roberts

Indeed all members of the band performed in the most joyful manner, expressing their pleasure throughout. Smiling, chatting with the crowd and each other, they moved around the stage. There were clear concerns about Matt’s health, with looks into the wings of the stage. For one song they were joined by a friend touring with them (possibly their stage manager; certainly someone who knew all the lyrics), joining in the frivolity and adding his own sound to the stage. In conclusion to their set, the guitarists circled Matt, demonstrating the tight-knit unit that they are.

"Circle Pit"
“Circle Pit”

It was a gig I wouldn’t have missed. It brought a bit of home to Hull; nostalgic moments captured as I enjoyed their older, classic tracks.

In addition to rooting in me a passion for another fantastic Hull band – I can’t love them all, but there’s always room for a couple more.


Feature image by Paul Newbon. 

All other images are my own. 

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Tunes To Check Out

Let me start you off this month in my lovely home city of Hull. LIFE released their new EP I Knew I Was A Rat on Monday 11th May, and I’ve been listening to it ever since. I now own 3 copies of ‘Take Off With You’ as I had previously bought it as a single. Do I care? No. It simply means it tends to appear more often than any other song when playing all my tunes on random.

I actually featured the single ‘Go Go Go’ in my March Tunes To Check Out, the video (shot by ShootJMoore) has since been hosted by Vevo. But it is second track ‘All Your Friends’ which I am most enjoying. This track summarises the sound I associate with the band; Mez shouting out to the listeners as an introduction to the song, a clear beat from bassist Loz and drummer Rick, and some lovely guitar pieces from Mick (who wins me over every time I see them perform live). Their lyrics are fast-paced and laced with cultural references, from Breaking Bad to the Grapes Of Wrath. Their sound is furiously fun.

The next two suggestions are from bands I’ve seen sharing a stage with LIFE.

First all, Storms, who co-headlined with the band last year, and who I quickly bonded with. Now signed to MUK Records, they’ve cleansed themselves and started afresh with their new single ‘Girl’. I was saddened to see their tracks disappear from my Soundcloud stream, but immensely pleased to see them receiving significant media coverage with this track which holds onto their sound. (Too often a record label alters the sound of a band, cleaning it and stripping away all that makes it beautiful. Thank you MUK for that.)

It opens with a high-pitched guitar, the video introducing you to the protagonist who has an unhealthy interest in one specific girl. George Runciman’s vocals are gentle and yet strong, adding an additional layer which compliments the instruments. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to suggest that manic stalking is the way to get the girl, but it makes for a fun video.

My last suggestion is from Frankie and The Heartstrings’ new album Decency, which I have already pre-ordered on vinyl in huge anticipation and a moment of sheer joy when I spotted it on their website.

The video for forthcoming single ‘Think Yourself Lucky’ is immensely fun, even if it doesn’t really seem to make sense. Showing the band dressed like a 1950s rock band, lead singer Frankie bounces around before the musicians, dancing with balloons and a young gentleman (I want to say gentleman, anyway). Drummer Dave Harper flirts from behind his kit, while Michael Matthews, Michael McKnight and Ross Millard attempt synchronised guitar moves. If you’ve ever seen this band live, you’ll know that this is exactly what you can expect from the guys, perhaps without the synchronised movements from those wielding guitars.

I openly admit to having fallen completely head over heels (and every other euphemism for obsession and unashamed adoration) for Frankie and The Heartstrings. They’re fun, they’ve got a crisp and funky sound, and they never fail to put a smile on your face.

Thinking about it, these three bands would make a pretty decent line-up. Don’t ask me which one I’d stick in the headline spot though…

A Good Hull Brew

This weekend I saw Black Kes perform for the first time. With only one day to enjoy Cottingham Springboard Festival, I was glad to catch these guys. And purchase their album ‘Premium Beer’.

Performing at the King Billy,  Cottingham Springboard Festival
Performing at the King Billy, Cottingham Springboard Festival

A successful Hull-based skiffle band, I first met these four characters at a Hulloween event last year. Slide-guitarist JT was dressed as Hannibal Lector, there was a vampire and the only other memorable thing was just how inebriated they all were. And so it seemed apt that their album be entitled ‘Premium Brew’.

On Sunday, they appeared to be a rather rag-tag collection of people. My friend wasn’t really sure what to make of them: excited to see a washboard would be played but a little unnerved by the clown which was placed on a desk mere centimetres from our noses (more about that in a moment.) Their set so enthralled me that I had to get my hands on a copy of the album, and haven’t stopped talking about it/them since.

It’s easy to assume that this is a band who take nothing seriously, playing merely for the joy of it and not caring too much about the reception. But this is simply not the case. Their sets, like their album, involve both an intro and a reprise, demonstrating just how serious about music they really are. A professional unit who maintain their characters of King Rat, Archie, Specky and JT, as introduced in the intro played at the opening of their sets and their album.

King Rat
King Rat

All four members have their defining roles – King Rat on guitar, Archie on bass, Specky on the washboard and JT on the slide guitar – as well as sharing vocals. Depending on the role within the song, Specky and JT seem to take on the lead, with King Rat and Archie delivering harmonies and additional bites of sound.

The songs which stand out on the album are also the ones which were extremely memorable after their live set.

Archie Lamplugh
Archie Lamplugh

‘Rape in East Yorkshire’ is a hilarious track. You’re warned in the live set not to listen to it with a filthy mind – naturally, causing you to do just this. And so the double entendre transforms this sweet song about crops in our lovely county into something much more sordid. This song demonstrates just how clever their lyrics are, with quick and snappy puns as well as the extended use of figurative language.

‘Haunted House’ is the track which stood out most to me from the live set. Before they performed it, they told us a story. Allegedly, one year ago on the very chair in which I happened to be sat an old lady died during their performance. Intense feedback from JT’s guitar caused her pacemaker to explode. And now she haunts them. The mastered track starts with whispered voices, building with the introduction of each instrument, with JT’s vocals expressing anger at this woman’s ghostly presence. The other members perform the sounds of ghosts, and the song starts off quite jolly sounding. About two thirds of the way through the song, the sound reaches a climax and then drops quite suddenly – like the sudden chill of a haunted space – before JT’s voice quietly announced that as a child he watched the movie Poltergeist. He describes the moment with the clown on the chair, building the fear in his voice as the clown moves – lyrically – from the chair to under the bed and then around the throat. Live this was even more terrifying, as JT drags a wooden clown around the stage and into the audience.

JT & clown
JT & clown

Another track I enjoy is ‘The Island’ which appears to describe a dream location for any modern man. With no “sales targets” and “blue skies”, the island is a utopia in a capitalist environment. With references to Justin Timberlake, Michael Caine, the TV show Lost and a catchy chorus, this is one song I’ll comfortably be singing along to the next time I see Black Kes perform.

Title track ‘Premium Brew’ takes centre-stage on the album. It’s a three-minute instrumental, which can really get the party started. It’s perhaps a musical analogy for a really good, really drunken night out.

I urge you to check Black Kes out. Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of skiffle (or even know what skiffle is), you’re bound to enjoy these guys. Live, they are true performers, with the ever-expressive JT and the jovial personality of Specky. Listening to the album, I am able to relive Sunday’s set, and it was the first of the day. That’s just how powerful their magic is.

Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser

There were loads of events on this bank holiday weekend, but I’d had the tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust Fundraiser on my noticeboard for over a month.

At a mere £3.50, I couldn’t turn this event down. Even with a free gig on at the Larkin’s Ale Festival, I knew I would be spending the majority of Sunday with my friends and fellow muso’s down at Fruit. Afterall, it was for a good cause and twelve bands had also given up their time to entertain us free, all for this charity. A charity which Luke Bowe pointed out was of equal significance to all in the audience as “we’ve all been touched by the Big C”.

Wayward Suns
Wayward Suns

Wayward Suns kicked things off. They’re a band of young lads, who I haven’t seen perform before. Their heavy rock sound filled the room, where quite a crowd had gathered. New to me, I noticed a similar thread to their sound as I hear in Young Jack (especially with songs such as ‘Get Along’). Sharing their vocal harmonies across the three lads at the front of the stage, the lead vocalist – who also has a mop of hair similar to Luke Bowe – had a voice which reminds me of Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz; melodic and raw.

Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen
Vulgarians lead singer Ryan Wilson-Preen

Due to the scattering crowd, and the sudden sunshine, Vulgarians commented on the lack of people inside Fruit for their set. “We’ve emptied Fruit,” Ryan Wilson-Preen announced; I hadn’t even noticed until he mentioned it, but it was true that the crowd was more disperse. A shame, and rather a shock, as this band have built quite a following.

The gig was a near-sell-out and yet the venue never felt full; people came and went for the bands they knew and supported, with few sticking around for the duration. No single band had the full impact of the crowd because of this, and I felt this was a real shame.

The Froot '67
The Froot ’67

Looking rather 70s and sounding a little 60s, The Froot ’67 were exactly what I wanted to listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I am most certainly one of their newest fans, will no doubt be purchasing their debut album ‘Seven Past Eight’, for which they celebrated on the 9th at Raine Club. Bouncing vocals from bassist Stevie Newby to guitarist Louie Donoghue, all four members performed with huge levels of energy. A real delight.

It was at this point that my friend and I nipped out for a spot of late lunch, missing Attack The Embassy. However, our return was quick, eager to not miss too much, and we re-entered to the loud noise and incredible power of Cannibal Animal – whose drummer had us both transfixed as he performed in a blur of swift movements – and Dead Hormones who are the band I have seen most recently. We were straight back into the swing of things, and ready for the night to continue, replenished and excited.

Dead Hormones
Dead Hormones

The line-up from this point featured some of my favourite Hull bands; those I rave, unashamedly, rather too much about. My friend and I settled into a spot before the stage, digging our heels into the concrete floor.

Tom Skelly has a stunning voice, and I am always amazed at the ferocity with which he and his Salty Beards perform. Much like the ocean and the allure as described in popular track ‘Morning Sun’, their music sweeps over you, a never-ending wave of sound, rising and dipping to cool you with Skelly’s softer tones.

BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey
BREEZE lead vocalist Aron Gilbey

Breeze, Streaming Lights, Coaves and Young Jack never get old for me. Eternally indulgent, I could write reams just about their sets.  From the point where Breeze sang ‘Goodbye, So Long’, I was my most energetic, and mirrored the vivacity of Coaves and the highlight of silliness, Streaming Lights, who always offer more entertainment than their electric tunes.

Streaming Lights
Streaming Lights

As a prelude to the final three bands, we also had experimental The Bodyfarmers, who perform with no vocals. Their mixture of guitars – during one song being played with a bow – drums and soundboard filled the space wonderfully. It can sometimes cause people’s minds to wander, having no lyrics to focus on or sing along to, but The Bodyfarmers seemed to have the opposite effect, pulling the crowd in. Their last track appeared to knock out each of the guitarists, who fell to the floor and left the stage to the drummer and bassist, who thanked the audience in an echoing quiet (with no use for them, the mics had been turned off).

The Bodyfarmers
The Bodyfarmers

Young Jack had a hefty crowd, with people moving further forward to welcome them on stage. Playing their popular tracks as well as new funky sound ‘Move’, they were the ideal headliners; indeed taking their second headline spot this week. So enthralled were the audience, we called out for more, and reacted very positively to their cover of Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’.

Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe
Young Jack lead vocalist Luke Bowe

Overall, a very enjoyable way to spend the day – absorbed in the music which stretched from bright sunshine to the glittering night. And though the crowd altered as quickly as the bands did, there was always a buzz in the room. Taking that into consideration alongside the £500 raised for charity, you can’t argue that the event was a hit.

And a perfect warm-up to the festival season, when we’ll be able to soak up the tunes as well as those sunny rays.