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Event – The John Steed Ball

Count Indigo is a versatile pop singer, performer lyricist and compere of surprising vocal and aesthetic range. His music encompasses smooth baritone soul grooves, dark falsetto dance rhythms and exhilarating orchestral arrangements. The uniqueness of his approach to music – making comes out of combining mature themes of joy and betrayal and with a beguiling soulful accessibility. A decade of acclaimed nightclub & festival performances all over Europe and honed an intimate, humorous showmanship personified in his album, Homme Fatale.

He also is a well known Events designer, host and promoter, we spoke to him recently about his John Steed Ball Event.

01. Please tell us how your Year has been so far?

I really enjoyed performing on NYE at Vintage at Southbank. Its my third year there running and the balcony view to the Thames firework display is a fabulous way to see in the New Year. 2016 will be very exciting for Count Indigo!

02. Tell us about your current outlook with Song Creation and Writing?

I wake up with morning sickness these days! I have so many new songs written during 2015 ready to go! Impossible Dream and Bruton Street will certainly make people sit up and take notice in 2016!

03. The John Steed Ball… what’s the big idea here then?

The Avengers duality of conservatism and subversion has been an inspiration to me and millions of others. When Patrick Macnee died last Summer I just felt it would be great to mark his passing with a dinner-discotheque extravaganza that would celebrate his continuing international cultural impact. He’s the most famous British adventurer after James Bond and Sherlock Holmes. And definitely the one who’d be the best company!

04. What Entertainment can we expect to frame this very special evening?

There is a fantastic three course dinner a la carte. They’ll also be performances from yours truly, Catsuit-A-G0-G0! and The Jet Set International.

05. What is the setting and Venue like?

It’s all in the penthouse lounge bar and restaurant of Eight Club Moorgate. It’s the usual venue for my club Mrs Peels with the addition of an international standard restaurant and the usual heated balcony views across the City of London. All in all, pretty spectacular.

06. Do you have any special guests planned?

The highlight will be musical performances and speeches from Avengers co-stars Peter Wyngarde, Aimi Macdonald and Fenella Fielding. They’ll also being doing a lively Q & A session with the dinner guests.

07. What is the John Steed Ball in aid of?

The beneficiaries will be Patrick Macnee’s favoured charity The Actors Fund who look after those in need throughout the entertainment business and Medicinema who organise film screenings for patients in UK hospitals.

08. Would you say this is a good place for Local Businesses to network and hob-nob?

Eight Club is actually a private club for business people so its built for hob-nobbing! 5*Hotel levels of service and comfort in a lounge nightclub setting. Luxurious armchairs combined with a pulsating dancefloor – come along and join us for something special and unique!

09. What is the Soundtrack & Themes for the dancefloor and tell us about the special guest DJs?

The varied musical template is 60s international Jet Set sounds. Music to transport you to a glam dancefloor in St Tropez , Macao or Rio with a vibrant Swinging London beat. All set to a groovy soundtrack from the brilliant DJ Martin Green. A man with over a dozen extraordinary compilations of incredible pop, soundtracks and library music.

10. Where can folks buy their Tickets from?

Early bird tickets from £40 – £140 are now available here: GET TICKETS HERE

11. I hear that you have a rather clever Contest wherein folks can win a nice Prize? Is that ready to enter?

Yes, winners get free entry to the night and runners=up modernist art prints of The Avengers stars. ENTER THE CONTEST HERE

12. What did John Steed, Mrs Peel and The Avengers mean to you and why did it leave such a lasting Impression?

Its the combination of the surreal and the everyday that does it for me. Rodney Marshall who is making the keynote dinner speech describes it simply as the joy of Subversive Champagne. A combination of cool, ironic derring-do and with a gender equality that was incredibly progressive for 50 years ago! The smart dialogue, martial arts, kinkiness and catsuits might help too!

13. Do you think many programmes in Modern Media compare in any way?

There’s a very direct line to say Buffy The Vampire and even David Lynch. Whilst in the U.K. the knowing re-inventions of Doctor Who and Sherlock definitely owe The Avengers a lot.

14. What have you in mind for Count Indigo in 2016?

To release my excellent new music. Take Mrs Peels Club from strength to strength. Perform with Count Indigo Revue.

15. Can you tell us a post-festive Joke please?

What do you call a man who claps at Christmas? Santapplause! I’m opening a Gym for 2016 recreating Victorian techniques for dispatching ruffians with a walking stick. It will turn into Cocktail Yacht Club by the Spring!

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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January 4, 2016 By : Category : Culture Events Eyeplugs Interviews Nightlife Picks Vintage Tags:, , , , ,
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The Fall @ Under The Bridge

The Fall @ Under The Bridge – 11th June 2014

Under The Bridge (or to be precise, under Chelsea FC’s East Stand) is the chosen venue for Mark E Smith and the latest and arguably the most settled incarnation of The Fall to unleash their uncompromising and abrasive brand of Rock n Roll to a fanatical crowd who clearly can’t get enough of the enigmatic ‘Hip Priest’ and the latest line up of this ever prolific band.

The Fall in its various guises and under the leadership of the dissident MES have released an incredible 30 studio albums. Their longevity and freshness in sound is arguably down to MES’s squad rotation policy, which must be the envy of any premier league manager. Smith’s policy of firing followed by hiring has allowed The Fall to continuously evolve and remain contemporary, and to keep producing interesting and sometimes inconsistent new music for their devoted fan base. This is quite refreshing in an age when so many bands whose talents have long since gone resort to the easy bet of releasing reissues, greatest hits and box sets.

In musical terms nostalgia means nothing to MES and The Fall have no reason to plunder their back catalogue to please their fans. Thankfully they made no apologies for playing by and large their later out put last night, which consists of material drawn from their latest album Re-Mit and EP The Remainderer.

It would be fair to assume that a career spanning 30 albums Fall devotes would be in for a long night. However, this show was a surprisingly short affair that just shaded the 60-minute mark. The crowd was treated to a blisteringly loud set by a tight and focused band despite the incoherent and shambling appearance of MES.

MES is an oddly charismatic front man and it is hard to take your eyes off him, as you never quite know what he is going to do on stage. Tonight was no exception and despite his nonchalant and contrary stage presence he still managed to create near hysteria, with the heaving crowd at the front to such an extent that some fans even jumped on stage only to be greeted by over zealous bouncers, and an indifferent leader.

His antics on stage almost diverted everyone’s attention away from the band, as he casually sauntered around the stage, knocking the drums over, turning up the speakers, and even allowing a fan to gate crash the stage and take over on vocal duties. It would be fair to say that MES is not the greatest traditional vocalist you will ever hear, and last night this was apparent as he slurred and barked his way through the songs. However, a lack of melody does not matter with such a strong stage presence and watching him walk round the stage and doing his best to interrupt the flow of the band was compelling evidence that there is no one in music quite like Mark E Smith.

The Fall had 2 drummers on stage last night and the band were aggressively loud. Smith’s wife Elena Poulou is a long term Fall member and her work on the synth was impressive despite hubby Smith’s attempts of trying to distort the noise of the synth by turning the speaker behind his wife up full blast. It was a wonder how the band managed to put up with Smith’s antics on stage; however, they were completely unfazed and delivered a deafeningly accomplished performance.

Songs from the new EP The Remainder featured heavily and Amorator! Mister Rode, Remembrance R and Remainderer were all well received, however, the biggest cheer came when the band played Psykick Dancehall. As brilliant as this tune is it has to be said it was not delivered particularly well last night and it felt like the band was going to grind to a halt at any moment. Psykick Dancehall sounded out of place to some extent amongst all the later out put by The Fall, and it more than justifies Smith’s decision of opting to play the latest material instead of the tried and tested method of rolling out the classics from a bygone era.

The Fall are often unlikely to win many new fans from their live performances let alone their recently recorded output, but their hard core following were more than satisfied with what they witnessed last night. The gig felt a little too short at 60 minutes, however, is it not better to leave the crowd wanting more? Smith is still a strangely compelling frontman and comes across as a disheveled and uninterested performer, which for some strange reason makes him an even more alluring character, and even after all these years in The Fall, Smith is still engaging, witty, provocative and brilliantly outspoken.

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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June 18, 2014 By : Category : Features Front page Gigs Live Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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The Polyphonic Spree @ The Clapham Grand

The Polyphonic Spree & MT Clapham Grand – 6th June 2014

Braving a trek south on the Northern Line and a rampaging army of One Direction fans heading for home, your pal Scenester found himself moved by the sprawling, symphonic band from Dallas, Texas and their like-minded friends.

Support band M.T., a Scooby gang of rock/pop mismatches provided able support, their light, synth/guitar-driven sound a perfect, wistful backdrop for their wiry, jump suited glam-rock singer to flex his vocal chords around.

FM radio-friendly, totally unpretentious DJ sets kept the positive vibe going, all Beach Boys and ELO and REM, and nobody even tried to be cooler than thou when slices of manicured pop like ‘Mr Blue Sky’ and ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ drifted out of the PA system.

An unalloyed atmosphere of peace, love and purposeful foolishness was formally ushered in by their resident Town Crier, a man whose lengthy forked beard earned him a round of applause by itself. After the solemn ceremony of cutting the graffiti’d stage banner in two was over, Dallas’ finest were revealed in their matching flared zipper coats, somewhere between monk’s habits and alien hippy blousons. The Spree’s unabashed mixing of amplified rock instruments with viola, brass and choral singing , and a quartet of Cottingley fairy-like back-up singers completed the least conventional band you are likely to see this summer.

Taking their lead from the pure, blissful pop of the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, their set kept heading up, up, upward, higher and higher, winner’s chords all the way, as they built on every song, without any concession to rest or release.

‘You Don’t Know Me’, a handclap and synth, stamping rhythmic self-improvement chant showed its strength here, and ‘Light and Day’ had a roomful of eager singers-along to swell it up, more chorus than verse and all the better for it. ‘Soldier Girl’s lyric may be a little insubstantial, but the churning, ramshackle rhythm is enough to transform the Grand’s horseshoe ground floor into a sea of bobbing heads.

Their full throttle, breathless take on Wings’ ‘Live And Let Die’ shows just how much audacity they have, and they don’t disappoint with their huge, roof-rattling treatment of this personal best (?) for post-Beatles Paul. Audience members not quite the full-on crazies typical of, say, a Flaming Lips revue, we did at least score one punter wearing a pantomime horse head, and a somewhat optimistic bloke on the balcony flashing banner messages of undying love to ‘Brunette Black Boots Singer’ in the eerie green light of his mobile phone.

Showcasing songs from their new LP, ‘Yes It’s True’, and plenty of favourites from their relatively short career, the southerners’ wild, expanding psyche-pop lunacy blasted away a week’s worth of minor grumbles and frustrations and sent us out into the night with a laugh and a smile at the sheer joy-filled ridiculousness of it all. Photos by: Erol Birsen © all rights reserved 2014

 

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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June 17, 2014 By : Category : Features Gigs Live Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Idlewild – Nick Churchill’s Interviews

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Nick Churchill Interviews

Reformed indie rockers Idlewild are to play their only mainland UK festival date with an acoustic show at Purbeck Folk Festival on Saturday the 23rd of August.

The Scottish band released their last album Post Electric Blues in 2009 and since then frontman Roddy Woomble has released two solo albums, while guitarist Rod Jones has released material under his own name and with his band The Birthday Suit, most recently the excellent A Hollow Hole Of Riches in March.

Idlewild formed in 1995 and have released six studio albums to date including the breakthrough 100 Broken Windows (1999), The Remote Part (2002), which spawned the hit singles You Held The World In Your Arms and American English and Warnings/Promises (2005) with the top 20 single Love Steals Us From Loneliness (2005).

Singer Roddy Woomble released his first solo album My Secret Is My Silence in 2006. Produced by John McCusker and featuring Kate Rusby, Karine Polwart and his wife Ailidh Lennon, it topped the UK folk charts and was followed in 2008 by Before the Ruin, recorded with John McCusker and Kris Drever, featuring Radiohead drummer Phil Selway and Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub. His third album, The Impossible Song & Other Songs (2011) has a sleeve drawn by Mairi Hedderwick, creator of Katie Morag, and his latest solo record, Listen to Keep, came out in March.

Purbeck Folk Festival runs over the Bank Holiday Weekend, 21-24 August, on a 600-acre sheep farm in the heart of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck. Having won the Fatea Music Award for Countryside Festival Of The Year, it offers four days of fine music, great food, fancy dress, art interventions, film and magic on Dorset’s stunning Jurassic Coastline.

A firm favourite with young folks, families and old folkies alike, it also boasts a beer festival with 40 local real ales, 20 ciders and even a Dorset pils lager!

Idlewild join previously announced headliners Turin Brakes, Lloyd Cole, Eddi Reader, The South, Nizlopi, Chris Wood and Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. purbeckfolk.co.uk

Roddy, thanks for taking time out to field these questions …

We’re thrilled to be able to welcome Idlewild to Purbeck Folk Festival and you’ve got a tour of the Highlands and Islands planned, what’s the idea behind playing unexpected venues?

No grand plan really. We wanted to get out and about and do some gigs while we are working on our new record, to get back into singing the older songs and start trying out the new ones. I love the Highlands and Islands so any excuse to spend time there is fine by me. Purbeck is a place I’d never been to. So it’s all worked out really well.

Why is now the right time for a new Idlewild adventure?

It felt very natural to start working on an album. Five years is a good time away from anything. It was no more complicated than asking Rod if he fancied making a new and interesting Idlewild album. He did and that was the starting point. Over a year has passed since then and we are now about half way through recording, so it’s a good time to play some gigs.

How did the Idlewild regrouping happen after five years of doing other things?

Of course we all still kept in touch and saw each other, so it was just a question of organising some time to write songs. We always had a plan to make a new record, we just all needed a break from the cycle that we had gotten ourselves stuck into, which was bringing everyone down, and not helping the music.

How’s the new album shaping up?

Like I say, we’ve been taking our time with it, producing it ourselves in Rod’s little studio, and also up in Mull. It’s more experimental than other Idlewild albums, shades of a country/folk influence, but largely quite noisy and guitar based. Good tunes throughout though.

Will you approach the band in the same way as you did before, or are these older heads also wiser – I wonder if you’ll be wary of record company interventions for instance?

To me it is a new thing now, which is what is exciting. Rod and I are still the driving force, creatively at least, but having new members (multi instrumentalist Lucci Rossi, and Andrew Mitchell on bass) has made it feel different and taken the songs to a new and interesting place. Sales-wise we will probably do almost everything ourselves. We are very lucky to have plenty of fans, so we will sell the record directly to them.

There must have been some amazing experiences along the way, but if you had the time again would you do anything different?

It was a shame that the band basically fell apart when we at our most popular, commercially at least (2002), but we were young and didn’t really know what we were doing, so no, it was all a part of the learning process.

You and Rod have both said you’ll keep your other activities running alongside Idlewild, how will you know which is a solo song and which is an Idlewild song?

I write my solo material generally with Sorren Maclean and Idlewild songs with Rod, so it’s quite easy to separate.

How does running a band that backs your solo work differ from fronting Idlewild?

Good question. They feel very different from each other, to me anyway.

I think you’re playing the festival as an acoustic set up without a drummer, how have you adapted older material to suit the line up?

Playing acoustically is very natural to us as it is how our songs are written and developed. Colin Newton (drummer) won’t be with us for these shows, mainly because drums tend to force the songs into a place they don’t need to be, acoustically at least. They also make everything too loud!

I play most of my solo band gigs without drums so it’s a line up that I’m used to – lots of space for the melodies, and a nice laid back feeling.

Away from music what gets you up in the morning?

Children… and B&B guests!

What do you know of the Purbecks?

Not much, but there is a pub close by – the Square and Compass. I’ve always wanted to go there for a pint.

Web Links:

idlewild.co.uk
facebook.com/pages/Idlewild
myspace.com/idlewild
twitter.com/idlewildtheband

Photo Credit: © Simon Murphy

 

Nick Churchill

Nick Churchill has written professionally for more than 25 years. Currently a busy Journalist undertaking a wealth of celebrity interviews and human interest features to writing speeches, generating web and media content and production scripts. His first book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth - got great reviews. He has also worked on projects for Duncan Bannatyne, Harry Hill, James Caan, Scott Mills and Peter Dickson, the voice of The X Factor. His obvious passion for words and natural genuine integrity is most refreshing.

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June 3, 2014 By : Category : Features Festivals Indie Interviews Music Tags:, , , ,
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Eddi Reader – Nick Churchill’s Interviews

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Nick Churchill Interviews

Eddi Reader headlines the Friday night of Purbeck Folk Festival on August 22nd 2014.

More than 25 years since she topped with charts with Perfect, Fairground Attraction’s relentlessly jaunty debut single, Eddi Reader has just released her tenth solo album. Vagabond is as fine a collection of songs as any she has shared with us, from the restrained passion of the opening cover of I’ll Never Be the Same, in which she pays homage to Billie Holiday, to the Gallic flavour of the self-penned Midnight In Paris 1979 and the gentle ache of Boo Hewerdine’s closing track, It’s a Beautiful Night, it’s an album of great depth and feeling. That it was created against the backdrop of Eddi’s partner in life, love and music John Douglas being diagnosed with an incurable illness, seems to make its over-riding sense of optimism all the more remarkable. Thankfully, John is now well on the road to recovery and Eddi is looking forward to touring this year and making her first visit to Purbeck for the folk festival over August bank holiday. Eddi started her career singing backing vocals for the likes of Gang of Four, Billy MacKenzie, Eurythmics and The Waterboys, before fronting the short-lived but spectacularly successful Fairground Attraction.

As a solo artist Eddi has released a string of hit albums including her eponymous BRIT award-winner from 1994, Candyfloss and Medicine (1996), Simple Soul (2001), Peacetime (2007) and Love Is the Way (2009). In 2003 she released The Songs of Robert Burns with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, a project that lead to her being awarded the MBE in 2006 and updated with the release of a Special Edition album in 2009.

She has produced Vagabond herself withmany of her long-term musical collaborators including her husband John Douglas (Trashcan Sinatras), Alan Kelly, Ian Carr, Ewen Vernal, Roy Dodds (Fairground Attraction), John McCusker and Boo Hewerdine, who’s also appearing at Purbeck Folk Festival, which runs from August 21 to 24 at Wilkswood Farm, Langton Matravers, near Swanage.

Also appearing are Turin Brakes, Lloyd Cole, Idlewild, The South, Chris Wood and Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. www.purbeckfolk.co.uk

Eddi, congratulations on Vagabond, you had to overcome a few hurdles to get it made, is it the record you set out to make or did it evolve over time?

I instinctively move forward. Urges to record dictated the practicalities of it all, then working became the focus of my daily routines. Letting go of the world around me and recording is tough to do as a mum, house keeper etc, but once I’m doing it there’s no-one more surprised than me at what turns up musically. It’s a joy to see what gets pulled out of the moment.

It seems to have been very well received, is there a kind of relief that people ‘get’ the record?

I’m pleased with its different parts, I can go no further. If others ignore, or adore, I can tell you I am grateful for any attention. I am confident that songs well expressed have their own path and I can’t take sole credit for how they turned out. On behalf of all the musicians and the engineer Mark Freeguard I can only stand beside them and say: ‘I agree! It’s bloody brilliant!’ But I am the worst critic. I would still be messing about with it if the organisers of my tours hadn’t pushed deadlines on me. Letting it go out into the world is the hardest bit.

The album features many familiar collaborators – almost your repertory company – are you a benevolent dictator when it comes to writing and recording, or is it a more democratic process?

I never have any fights, except when attitudes and egos are pushing into the calmness of the empty space. I’m quite manipulative to get what I want. I’ll provide the organic vegan food/booze/cigarettes/paracetamol for all the various characters just to have the energy in the room relaxed. I’ll sometimes have to shut myself away in a vocal booth so as to make sure my own ego shuts down. I am not very good at remembering to say ‘Good morning’ before I start, I’m super single-minded about getting the music ‘fix’ over and above human social activity. But I can apologise.

How’s John?

Getting better all the time. Thank you.

When you were starting out did you have a plan? Did you think you would still be making music 35-odd years later?  

Nope! I just threw myself at the wind and went where it took me.

I’m sure there are elements of a career in music that become routine over time (the cycle of writing, recording, touring perhaps), how do you keep it fresh?

Well, this new batch of recordings I’ve only just realised was the first release in four years! I’m not sure where all that time went. I’m also quite happy with my ability to see only this moment, I have many stories and memories but once I’ve moved on, life is a fresh page every day. I can be at home two days and have forgotten that I’ve just been on tour for three weeks. Then I start itching for the door. Or start to reason with a rude person on Twitter or something. Just to change their perspective.

What is your proudest achievement?

Probably managing to not mess up my kids too much. They are two very lovely young men now.

We’re really looking forward to seeing you at the Purbeck Festival this summer do you know this part of the world at all?

I’m just going to Google all about it and make it an adventure. I expect never to forget it once I’ve experienced it!

How are festival crowds different to theatre audiences and do you have a preference?

Theatres are cosy and it’s great to sing in rooms made for oratory, but festivals are exciting in that people who never experienced my thing and are walking past at the back, wandering around, might decide to stand and check it out, so potential for encouraging new audiences is great. Also the whole place is infused with a kind of: ‘I’m on my weekend kick-back, break’, so people are relaxed and at ease. Great to join in with that atmosphere.

What’s next for Eddi Reader?

Today? I continue my de-cluttering at home, watch my catch up rubbish telly, cook meals for my men, they never come home to eat ’til the middle of the night. Beyond that, my touring starts up again in April taking me through the spring and summer to Japan and Australia in the autumn. I have 10 or so tracks from the Vagabond sessions left over. I’m gonna start investing some time in them. They might become the start of a new album I’m not sure. I’m excited about reading my young seven year old niece my favourite childhood book, Mary Poppins by PL Travers –  “she’s another woman who uses the wind to push her around”!

Web Links:

eddireader.co.uk
facebook.com/eddireader
twitter.com/eddireader

Photo credits: © Genevieve Stevenson & Kenny Mathieson

Nick Churchill

Nick Churchill has written professionally for more than 25 years. Currently a busy Journalist undertaking a wealth of celebrity interviews and human interest features to writing speeches, generating web and media content and production scripts. His first book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth - got great reviews. He has also worked on projects for Duncan Bannatyne, Harry Hill, James Caan, Scott Mills and Peter Dickson, the voice of The X Factor. His obvious passion for words and natural genuine integrity is most refreshing.

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April 29, 2014 By : Category : Folk Front page Interviews Music Pop Showplug Tags:, , ,
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The Primitives @ The Lexington

The Primitives @ The Lexington – 4th April 2014

Last night saw Buzz Saw Indie Jingle Jangle maestros The Primitives play the first of 2 nights at the very intimate Lexington venue in Islington, London. In the space of a year I have had the good fortune to see The Primitives perform at the Scared To Get Happy festival and the 100 Club to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the brilliant and timeless Lovely album. Last night saw The Primitives return to the Capital to exclusively preview songs for their first album of new material since 1991’s Galore.

As a live act The Primitives are a thrillingly exciting and vibrant band, and with the sweet vocals and charismatic stage presence of the diminutive Tracey Tracey makes The Primitives a band not to be missed. It is somewhat hard to fathom that it is nearly 30 years since The Primitives formed, because they sound and look as fresh as the ‘Flower Man’s’ Daisies.

Special guests The June Brides were a highly regarded Indie band that formed in 1983, and they made their mark in the mid 1980s with a number of singles, EPs and an Indie chart-topping album There are Eight Million Stories. They also allegedly refused to appear on the NME’s highly influential C86 tape, claiming that they did not want to be tagged with the ‘Jangly Pop’ moniker.

However, after witnessing the last 25 minutes of their trumpet and viola driven set I could not help but think that they were very much part of a willfully obscure and some might argue pallid Indie guitar scene, with bands that did have something of a Punk ethos of being deliberately incompetent. The June Brides could quite easily have been mistaken for a bunch of university lecturers who happened to gate crash the stage last night, and their set included most of their mid 1980s output, including the ones that I am familiar with Every Conversation and This Town, which were delivered competently enough but slightly hampered by Phil Wilson’s somewhat flat vocal delivery.

Now the moment we had all been waiting for had finally arrived and The Primitives took to the stage and ripped straight into I’ll Stick With You, followed a few seconds later by the appearance of Tracey Tracey to rapturous applause. The Primitives clearly enjoy playing together and their infectiously short, sharp and downright catchy Indie Pop songs sound timeless, and it was such a joy to hear all the classics last night, including Stop Killing Me, Out Of Reach, Really Stupid, Thru The Flowers, Crash and Buzz Buzz Buzz, and with a sprinkling of new material that blended in seamlessly with their majestic 1980s output.

It was great to hear my current favourite tracks Really Stupid and last year’s brilliant 45rpm Lose The Reason played back to back, and what struck me was how good the new material sounded. Lose The Reason is gloriously catchy and sweet on the ears and is easily a match for anything on Lovely. The Primitives sound like they have no need to try and recapture their glory days as their music is timeless and their devotees including me are eagerly anticipating the promise of an album of new material.

Tracey Tracey owned the stage last night and was on sparkling form along with the rest of the band. Bands that reform usually leaves me cold and it can be quite painful watching bands play past their sell by date to ever diminishing returns. However the same can’t be said of The Primitives who still sound so fresh and relevant, and witnessing them live does not feel like a trip down memory lane at all. The Primitives performance last night shows the band have lost none of their melodic verve and Indie Pop sensibility.

Photos by: Mute Elephant Music © all rights reserved 2014

Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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April 9, 2014 By : Category : Features Front page Gigs Indie Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Lloyd Cole – Nick Churchill’s Interviews

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Nick Churchill Interviews

It’s 30 years since Lloyd Cole first troubled the charts. Not that he’s particularly celebrating the fact, but three decades is a milestone in whatever walk of life becomes a chosen path. Chart star, cult figure, folk singer, deep thinker, golf swinger (when last reported he was playing off 6.5, fact fans, but has been 5.3), whatever your view of Lloyd Cole, amusingly, he was once described as a ‘talkative bookworm’ , there’s plenty about the man to pique the interest.

This August he’ll make his first visit to the Jurassic Coast to play the Purbeck Folk Festival. Playing solo, he’ll mine his back pages for songs to play and maybe even try out a brand new one.

Having come to the fore fronting The Commotions and wracking up hits like Perfect Skin, Brand New Friend, Lost Weekend, Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken? and Jennifer She Said, Lloyd has since pursued a solo career that has seen him assimilate a range of styles from orchestral pop and sparse folk to synthesised soundscapes and edgy rock.

Through it all the quality of his writing, always literate, peppered with cultural references and laced with humour, has remained beyond question. In 1995 he scored a minor hit with Like Lovers Do from the album Love Story, co-produced by Stephen Street, desk jockey of choice for the likes of The Smiths and Blur.

Since the turn of the century he has explored a largely acoustic setting for increasingly folk-inspired albums such as Music in a Foreign Language (2003) and Broken Record (2010). Last year, he released Standards, his 10th solo album and only his 2nd since 1995 to feature a full band of musicians, including power pop godhead Matthew Sweet and sometime Lou Reed drummer Fred Maher.

Lloyd Cole headlines the Sunday night (24th) at Purbeck Folk Festival, which runs from August 21 to 24 at Wilkswood Farm, Langton Matravers, near Swanage. www.purbeckfolk.co.uk

But first he took time out from a hectic touring schedule to field a few questions…

Congratulations on the Standards album, as a listener it felt like Lloyd Cole had come home, how did it feel to make?

Well, the basics were done with Fred Maher and Matthew Sweet, so that was a return to something not done since 1991. But the recording was in LA. So pretty far from home and the mixing was in Bochum, Germany, again far from home. The album sounds pretty much as I wanted it to and maybe the palette is familiar, but the sound is a good deal more electric and, well much louder, than anything I’ve done before…

Was this the right time to make an electric album with a full band?

I guess so. Later finally asked me on…! After almost a decade in self-imposed exile as a would-be folksinger, I developed an itch I wasn’t expecting. It seemed that there were aspects to my old life in rock and roll that I missed. Tour buses and product managers, certainly not. But the interacting with musicians, the camaraderie and the joy of hearing one’s music enhanced and elevated by the aesthetic of others, absolutely.

You manage to reference a pretty good record collection’s worth of artists in the lyrics on the album, where do they come from?

They just surface. It’s what I do. Like a tic.

How did you imagine your musical career would pan out 30 years when you first started to make a Commotion?

Every album always feels like the last one. Even Rattlesnakes. My retirement plan was supposed to kick in after a 45…

The whole experience of making Standards was, for me, rewarding, perplexing, fabulously enjoyable and heinously stressful. Singing with a rock and roll band in the studio I felt exactly as I did in 1987 or 1995, and then I would see my reflection in the glass of the gobo and wonder who this old guy was…

What drives you to get up and write songs these days?

If I have an idea for a song that excites me, or an idea for an album that excites me, sometimes one leads to the other. I need some spark. There are enough Lloyd Cole songs out there. We don’t need any more unless they can have a chance to be great. I’m happy we got these songs finished, because I’m not sure I’ll make another record like this again.

What have you got in store for fans at the Purbeck Folk Festival in August?

The same as always with my solo show, songs from 1984 until 2014.

Just down the road is the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club, where Peter Alliss cut his teeth. Do you fancy a round?

I won’t have my clubs with me this time, but I will definitely bear that in mind for the future, thanks.

Are there any similarities between songwriting and playing golf, does one prepare you for the other at all?

Golf is what I do to escape the rest of my life. I try not to think about anything other than getting the ball in the hole.

Your previous album Broken Record was part-financed by advance sales and artists are making increasing use of crowd-funding to get records made, do you welcome the way the music industry is having to change? Is it a good thing?

No idea. I did it out of necessity. It’s a lot of work and I don’t plan on doing it again, but I’m thankful to those who made it possible.

What’s coming up for Lloyd Cole; any ideas for your next album?

Top secret, but there is plenty afoot. There will be at least two major releases, or re-releases over the next year or so. And I’m on tour all year, it seems.

Purchase tickets to see Lloyd Cole at Purbeck Folk Festival HERE!

Web Links:

lloydcole.com
facebook.com/Lloyd.Cole
twitter.com/Lloyd_Cole
myspace.com/lloydcolemusician

Photography by: Kim Frank & Doug Seymour

Nick Churchill

Nick Churchill has written professionally for more than 25 years. Currently a busy Journalist undertaking a wealth of celebrity interviews and human interest features to writing speeches, generating web and media content and production scripts. His first book, Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth - got great reviews. He has also worked on projects for Duncan Bannatyne, Harry Hill, James Caan, Scott Mills and Peter Dickson, the voice of The X Factor. His obvious passion for words and natural genuine integrity is most refreshing.

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April 8, 2014 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Festivals Folk Front page Gigs Interviews Music Pop Tags:, , ,
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Showplug: Black Kat Boppers @The Legion

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Black Kat Boppers hail from down on the South Coast Water Way in Southampton and are 4 fellas who love to play hard boppin’, jump up, rockin’ blues, dance music. They formed In Dec 2009 after some chance meetings, speculative phone calls and a little bit of fate. A shared love for rockin’ roots music was clear and they haven’t looked back since. There’s been triumphant performances at Glastonbury, Port Eliot, Bestival & Hyde Park (with Blur & The Specials).

Dave Showplug Taylor recently caught up with the band prior to their Showplug show in Swanage at the Legion, Saturday the 5th of April 2014 – get your tickets here folks!

Black Kat Boppers are:

Roy Phillips – Vocals
Jon Best – Guitars, Harmonica & Vocals
Colin Owens – Drums & Vocals
Dylan Clarke – Stand Up Bass & Vocals

01. How did your band get together?

Played together when we were teenagers, busking all over the place, playing rockabilly. Fast forward many years, Jon and Roy were playing together, I had a message from a friend saying Jon had asked if I was around and fancied drumming, I said yea, we knew Dylan as he’s been to see us play so when we needed a bass player, he got the nod.

02. Where did your name come from?

Roy came up with the band name.

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

Mid 50s Rocknroll & R&B music! We had our individual slant on that.

04. What drove you to make music together?

It just feels good and sounds good when we’re doing it. No other reason needed. I think playing together when we were young means it’s ingrained in you somewhere.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

Full, 100% rockin’ commitment! Plenty of dancing. We don’t hold back. We show off and have a good time ha. Some pretty fine tunes too.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Roy and Jon write the songs then maybe we’ll work through them as a band, make em work! We’ve got songs about love, loss, being up, being down, dancing, fighting haha…

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

We’re pretty tight, intuitive, things come together quick. We love what we are and what we do so we try to keep on getting better.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

Recording can be hard work, but we pushed through and got some good results. We worked with Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon in the studio and they pushed us til our fingers bled and our heads were exploding but it was a good education from a couple of masters.

09. Does the band play covers? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

We play some covers, tunes we like, that we think we can do well. I cannot recall any arguments over that. A few crowd pleasers never go a miss.

10. What do you love and hate outside of music?

Hate? That’s a bit strong! I’m sure we all have stuff we don’t like? I hate cauliflower? I guess we love our kids and our favourite jackets, that kind of stuff!

11. Who would you most like to record with?

We’ve been pretty lucky with the people we’ve met and worked with. We recently did some songs live with Daisy from kitty, daisy & lewis. It sounded pretty damn good, we may record with her some time.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

We’re doing some festivals, we’re getting some offers for some good shows abroad, maybe some tv stuff, maybe working with some interesting people. Hopefully having a great time and just keep on keepin on!

Web Links:

blackkatboppers.com
facebook.com/BlackKatBoppers
twitter.com/blackkatboppers
soundcloud.com/the-black-kat-boppers

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 31, 2014 By : Category : Blues Front page Interviews Rock Rockabilly Showplug Tags:, ,
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Showplug: Rayguns Look Real Enough@The Legion

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Rayguns Look Real Enough, the world’s greatest mash-up band. Comprised of two members Ray Gunn (Ryan Beange) and Luke Reel (Matt Blair). This unique double act gig across the country in the UK’s top Comedy and Cabaret venues and clubs. Recently shortlisted in the London Cabaret Awards and are preparing for their 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show – Hall Of Fame. “Insanely funny!” – This is Cabaret, “A huge hit!” – The Sun.

01. How did your band get together?

Ryan: Through the comedy circuit.

02. Where did your name come from?

Ryan: Sgt Al Powell in Die Hard
Matt: A wise man

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

Ryan: In the words of Matthew McConaughey – “Me in 10 years time”
Matt: Our music is not influenced by a 50 year old Matthew McConaughey

04. What drove you to make music together?

Ryan: The fear of a real job.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

Ryan: All the hits, some kickass guitar playing and a sparkly groin very close up in your face.
Matt: Also jokes.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Matt: We let other people write the songs. We just make them better.
Ryan: We just choose the best bits of the hits and make new songs with them. Because our music is mash-ups there aren’t always subject matters but we do have some themes like money.

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

Ryan: We use a wider selection of songs now, more complex harmonies and we try to look for comedy that we can bring out within the music.
Matt: Ryan definitely listens more metal since we started playing together.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

Ryan: The height of Luke Reels hair. It kept flopping over. We overcame it with silvikrin and a hairdryer.
Matt: It’s not a pre-show ritual I expected to have when I begun a music career.

09. Does the band play covers? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

Ryan: Ray Gunn will normally stamp his tiger feet and have a little diva fit when he doesn’t get his own way but normally it’s plain sailing.

10. What do you love and hate outside of music?

Ryan: Love: Palm trees, and fine wine. Hate: traffic jams and bad coffee
Matt: Love: Science-Fiction, Hate: Wasps

11. Who would you most like to record with?

Ryan: The Rolling Metallica Bowies.
Matt: Nice. I’d buy that album.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Ryan: A brand new Edinburgh show to blow your minds.
Matt: It’s called Hall of Fame and it will be at the Voodoo Rooms throughout August.

Rayguns Look Real Enough are playing @ the Royal British Legion in Swanage, Dorset on Sat the 29th of March

For more details & to purchase ticket go HERE!

Web links:

raygunslookrealenough.com
twitter.com/RealRaygun
facebook.com/pages/Rayguns-look-Real-Enough

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 14, 2014 By : Category : Exotica Front page Humour Interviews Music Pop Showplug Tags:, , , , ,
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Showplug: Jessica Fostekew@The Legion

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Jess spends the year performing full sets at all the UK’s major clubs: Late n’ Live, Up The Creek, The Stand, Komedia, Banana Cabaret, The Bearcat, BBC Presents, Jongleurs, Highlight, Downstairs at the Kings Head and The Comedy Club Ltd, as well as squillions of others.

A writer on Channel 4’s Stand Up For the Week and on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show, News Quiz and Newsjack, Jess is developing various TV pilots, a number of shorts and is writing for other (big name) comedians and comedy actors.

01. How did you get started in comedy?

I’d done a hilariously expensive law degree that I was keen to really waste.

02. Where did your direction come from?

This question doesn’t make any grammatical sense, so I’m going to shoot in the dark and go for either A) a father who combined a great sense of humour with a constant disappointment in me B) a conscientious nature and/ or C) ‘South West’

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

The League of Gentlemen, The Day Today and Vera Drake.

04. What inspires you to write your current material?

How much material all the other comedians are writing.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?

Jokes in a row, stories full of jokes in rows. A variety of silly voices and movements. Some innovation. Might learn a bit. Absolutely no maths. It’s maths-free comedy.

06. What about heckling, how do you you deal with that?

The word ‘heckle’ originally meant a comb or flax and would be someone’s job to use these on sheep, to get the wool ready for when they are shorn and that person was called a ‘heckler. In Dundee in the 14th C when agricultural working conditions were in decline these hecklers piped up about it all the time to local officials, always shouting at them whenever they could, to get better pay and shorter hours. They gained a reputation for being the most vocal of the agricultural work force and by the mid 17th C ‘heckling’ had come to mean any shouting out or contrived vocal disruption. So with that etymology in mind, now when I’m on stage and someone heckles all I hear in my head is a wee little Scottish voice squealing “I want the world to know that I am a lamb’s hairdresser and in my life there is a lot of room for improvement”

07.How has your comedy style evolved since you first began performing?

It’s taller, but also hairier.

08.What has been the biggest audience you have played too? Was the experience exciting or scary?

600 and yes very scary and very exciting. Both. Like a horror film.

09. What stands out as the worst gig of your career and why?

Comedy Store, 2009. I wasn’t funny and also I’d dressed up too much and was all uncomfortable. And my Mum was there. I played to piteous titters and then got a heckle that rather than dealing with in a funny way I simply stopped talking and just stood there in silence, visibly letting it hurt me. Then a technician backstage told me she found my deep voice confusing and that I should get rid of it. I explained it was just my voice and if I didn’t use it I wouldn’t be being me and she said “it would be better though.” Then I cried just as I walked into a couple of agents there to see me but never spoke to me since and my Mum has begged me ever since to become a teacher because she worries that choosing to be a stand up as a career is essentially condemning yourself to a lifetime of severe psychological self-harm. Ha ha ha. Ahhh.

10. Any current comedians or acts that you feel seem to be producing the goods?

Absolutely loads, I will invariably miss people and I’m not even going to bother listing any famouses but acts you might not have heard of yet who I think are stunning funny and you will hopefuly have done at some point/ ought to google/ follow etc. include: Amir Koshakan, Hal Branson, Bobby Mair, Mick Ferry, Twayna Mayne, Danny Ward,oh, there’s loads.

11. Who would be the partner of your choice if you had to be a double act? Living or dead allowed.

Dawn French. She fills my heart with joy.

12 . What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

I’m being the narrator of a new Sky documentary this summer called ‘Nine Months Later’. I’m taking a new work-in-progress show to the Edinburgh festival this year called ‘The Something And The Apoplexy’. I’m in the cast of an amazing big show called ‘Knightmare Live’, based on the show which was on tv in the 90s, that’s doing a mini-tour in June, then Edinburgh festival, then a more proper tour in autumn. Stuff about that is here: www.knightmarelive.com and I’m gigging most nights of the week with just normal stand up somewhere or other, see my links below.

I am the MC for Comedy Plug @ The Legion in Swanage on Saturday the 29th of March, the headliners are Rayguns Look Real Enough and support from Alfie Brown & Rich Wilson. It promises to be a great night. For more details & to purchase tickets go to Showplug Events HERE!

Links:

www.jessicafostekew.com
facebook.com/jessicafostekew
twitter.com/jessicafostekew

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Pinterest - YouTube

February 5, 2014 By : Category : Events Front page Humour Interviews Showplug Tags:, , , , ,
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