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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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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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Dave Taylor talks to Eyeplug

01 How did you first get interested in Promoting?

I was actually asked if I wanted to run a club night by the Mean Fiddler organisation. I had been filming bands with a mate and had put out a video fanzine featuring bands like The Buzzcocks, These Animal Men and other acts from the NWONW scene (the one just before Brit Pop). I suppose we were being seen at loads of happening events and a vacancy for a night at The Powerhaus in Islington had arisen. A friend who was working at One Little Indian put our name forward and that’s where it all started. We just called a few mates up who were in bands, booked them and tried to get the bands we liked watching to come to us. Our first night featured The Flying Medallions supported by Sexton Ming & his Diamond Gussets. It was mental! A video was filmed at the event which was shown on MTV. Check it out here!

02 What are you main Musical and Cultural influences?

I was force fed Jazz as a kid and still struggle to come to terms with it to this day. The only artists that my parents used to listen to that I could tolerate were Simon & Garfunkel and Johnny Cash.

I remember asking my Dad to buy me a Johnny Cash album from a shop in Southend when I was about 5 and I played it to death on an old turntable that he gave me for my bedroom. Other singles I remember owning as a kid were ‘Popcorn’ by Hot Butter and ‘Tiger feet’ by Mud.

Punk though, got me hooked on music. I borrowed ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ when it came out from a mate whose older brother had it. I just thought the swearing was funny and didn’t really get into it at the time (I was 11 in 1977), but I suppose by 1979 I was seriously getting into music and buying the occasional record with money earned from a paper round. The first gigs I went to were Stiff Little Fingers at The Rainbow and The Damned at The Lyceum. If I went without school dinners for a week I could buy a gig ticket with the money I saved. Travel cards were only 40p then and most Saturdays I would visit the Rainbow, Hammersmith Odeon & the Palais or the Lyceum to buy tickets for up and coming gigs and then head down to Portabello Road to buy bootlegs and records from a stall outside Honest Johns. I still get a buzz every time I discover a great band wether it be at a gig or on record.

Cultural influences have to be pop artists. I have a few Jamie Reid prints on the wall indoors. Whenever a big name like Warhol or Lichtenstein is being exhibited I try and go.

03 What types of Events have you put on in the past?

Mainly bands and comedians but also theatre, burlesque, cabaret, magic. Most of these in pubs & clubs but have done a few boat gigs on The Thames which have been great fun. I hardly ever put on an act I don’t like myself and have had the pleasure to promote some of my favourite live acts such as Earl Brutus and The Damned. I once booked a mini tour of pub circuit venues for Harry Hill & The Caterers which were great nights combining music and comedy. Harry Hill is a one off and would love him to come and play a Showplug event. I will keep asking! Enjoy a clip from one of my past shows here.

04 What types of Venues have you been involved with over the years?

I have been lucky enough to be involved with prestige shows at the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and other major nationwide venues, have DJ’d at Brixton Academy on a number of occasions, and have worked at venues such as the Borderline, 100 Club, Astoria and LA2 and loads of other London Clubs. I also promoted music and comedy at a pub venue in Tooting before retiring form the game for a few years for health reasons.

05 You have been involved with some well known Comedy Events too?

I picked up some work as the regular weekend DJ at the Cosmic Comedy Club in Fulham which is where I started to get to know a few acts. When that club closed in 2000, I went to a pub in Tooting that had a barely used function room and asked if they were interested in letting me use it at weekend to promote music and comedy. I continued to work with the booker of the Cosmic who between us managed to secure me shows by little known at the time Mickey Flanagan, Dara O’Briain, Russell Howard, Andy Parsons, Rhodes Gilbert to name a few. We even worked together booking the shows for Swanage my adopted home Town, so I’m sure we will be seeing some major names of the future appearing at our local venue for Showplug via Comedy Plug. I am working alongside some of you folks at Eyeplug as you have worked out by now 🙂

I also did the occasional gigs as Tour manager with Avalon and got to work with some fantastic acts such as Al Murray, Harry Hill, Richard Herring and Dave Gorman who were all fantastic to work with and I learnt a lot about putting on a show from all of them.

06 What have been the highs and lows of your Promotional Career?

I suppose when I was asked to DJ for Roxy Music’s end of World Tour was a bit of a highlight. When I turned up with loads of glam rock to play with Bryan Ferry wanting to hear loads of Sister Sledge and disco was a low light! I remember being asked to put the same record on again because Bryan had liked it, which to everyone in the room no doubt sounded terrible but I guess he was paying!

I suppose putting on the first Darkness gig where Justin donned a catsuit was memorable? MTV had come down to film that night but the pub landlord made them erase the tape as they had not asked permission beforehand! That footage would have gone global a few months later when they were massive! Also DJ’d alongside Bazden from Pip! Pip! at our early Darkness shows. They use to amaze the audience with their mad rock operatics in such tiny venues! Priceless! You can also see my Harry Hill unseen video on this page which is well worth a look!

When you only try and book bands that you really like, you don’t have too many lows. I have been lucky in that respect.

07 You have been developing a new venture called Showplug, can you tell us about it?

Showplug is a new venture between myself and some of you folks at Eyeplug. We used to work together about 10 years ago, went our separate ways but recently started talking again and believe that between us we can start putting on diverse, quality events at affordable prices, eventually nationwide. We invite bands that can pull a decent crowd to get in touch and are pretty open minded, although we seldom put on shows with folks that we do not dig!

08 Where can folks catch your current Shows?

We are based at The Legion in Swanage. The venue is great and is retro chic! Barry Asworth of the Dub Pistols walked in and said ‘Fuck me this is old school! We are going to have a right laugh tonight!’ The acts that perform here appreciate the uniqueness of the venue and all seem to want a return booking. It reminds me of the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club but by the Seaside! It is a real community venue that serves all ages and needs.

09 What Events have you got planned for 2014?

A full and varied program! Regular Film Plug and DJ nights. Live Plug for bands and Comedy Plug for (believe it or not) comedy. Sometimes even Comedy bands. We have spoken word shows, a thing called PID (Purbeck Island Discs), we have Sports and TV personalities, Book launches, film screenings, and much more. check the website and join the mailing list here to be kept up to date on all Showplug stuff and to simply get in touch if you think you deserve a Show.

10 If Bands, Acts and Entertainers are looking in, how can they get in contact to maybe get a Booking?

I generally only book acts that I have seen live and believe that others would also be prepared to pay money to see. Saying that though, I do have certain friends whose opinion I trust and would book an act on their referral. If you are a comedian, unless we have an open mic night it is all booked via the Cosmic Agency so mayeb contact them instead.

Should you have a band/show etc please email me via the Showplug website . I will try and come to one of your shows and if I like what I see, then we take it from there. Please send as many details as possible if you are really keen, where you have played, who with, youtube clips etc. I am not interested in booking any tribute acts though so even if you are the best Elton John tribute act in the World I am not interested! Original acts only please!

11 How do you view the current Entertainment Industry around the nation?

It’s changing. People do not have a lot of money these days, so need to get value when they go out for a night. Saying that though, the live scene is quite healthy. people seem to download or stream free music but then pay out to see a live band when they are in town. Comedy clubs seem to be closing though with big names like Jongleurs going out of business and allegedly getting a reputation for not paying acts. A few years ago, comedy was supposedly the new rock‘n’roll, but TV companies have put so much on the idiot box that people stay in instead of going out to live events. We have to make our shows the best we possibly can for the budgets available in the hope that customers have a fantastic night and then keep returning. Comedy in Swanage now has a great reputation on the circuit for being well run and an enjoyable place to come and visit too. If we continue along the same path, I’m sure we will have a club that continues for many years? We  will also develop into other venues, we aim to expand at just the correct pace, region by region – so please get in touch if you want to work with us mutually on a Showplug project.

12 Can you tell us a decent Joke?

Not at all. Come to our Comedy Plug night on the 29th March and hear the professionals tell them. Trust me, it will be a lot better!

* Dave Showplug Taylor joins Eyeplug as an author, with a special exclusive series of interviews with all of his up and coming Artists. Welcome aboard Dave!

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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 14, 2014 By : Category : Eyeplugs Features Front page Gigs Humour Interviews Nightlife Tags:,
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Showplug: Mayfield@The Legion

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Mayfield are a UK based 8 piece band that write, record and perform original well crafted songs inspired by the very best Soul/Funk music from the golden period of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Mayfield released their first album ‘Tempo of Your Soul’  back in August 2013. The album is currently available on vinyl, CD and via iTunes and comprises 12 up-tempo, melodic tracks. The musical interests across the band members are wide ranging and as such, their sound crosses over into various genres to include Northern Soul, Modern Soul, R&B, Rare Groove and Acid Jazz.

Dave Showplug Taylor recently caught up with the band prior to their Showplug show in Swanage at the Legion – get your tickets here folks!

DT: Who are Mayfield and how did you all get together?

GM: Amy Dall (vocals), Adam Bignell (bass) and Dominic Elton (keyboards) had been working together for several years developing many of the early musical ideas. To fully exploit and define the overall Mayfield sound, a bigger line-up was required. Hence Ryan Crosswell (trumpet) joined the band in 2010, followed by Dominic Channer (drums) and Frankie Lewis (guitar) in 2011. Then in 2012, the final line-up was completed with the addition of myself (Gloria Miller) on vocals and Olgierd Koszlaga on saxophone.

DT: Where did your name come from?

GM: Chicago Soul Man, Curtis Mayfield of course!

DT: Gloria is from the USA. How did she become involved with Mayfield?

DE – She came over to England a few years having met her English husband whilst singing on a cruise ship… he’s a magician! They fell in love and have now settled in Portsmouth… thank God! Otherwise, we would never have found her! Being from Chicago, she’s pretty much the ‘real deal’.

DT: Who has been your biggest influences on your songwriting?

DE – I have to say Jackie Wilson, Gene Chandler, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Paul Weller, Terry Callier as well as many Northern Soul artists.

DT: Your debut album is entitled ‘Tempo Of Your Soul’. How did it all come together?

DE – A number of the songs had been written by myself and Amy over a few years. Once Gloria and Olgierd joined us the Mayfield Soul sound was complete. I was very keen to make some recordings, one recording led to another. Along the way, new songs emerged – some penned by myself and Gloria. Frankie too has proven to have some great song writing ideas ‘Cold Feet’. Several months later, it was clear we had enough original material, so we carried on until the 12 songs that now feature on the album were recorded. The album does include one cover ‘Life Walked Out’ by The Mist. I first heard Dave Abbot play the track at a Northern Soul do a couple of years ago – it’s a sublime record and I was keen to cover it the moment I heard it. It was obvious that Tempo of Your Soul had to be the album title track – this song is a homage to Soul music and describes how listening to Soul music as a teenager for the first time can then take over your life and become a lifelong passion.

DT: What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

GM: A highly energetic and passionate performance! Because they are our own songs we really connect with them. We all love performing and it comes across that way to the audience. You will not be leaving disappointed!

DT: Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

DE: Song writing for us, is a collaborative effort, but the main writers are Amy Dall, Gloria Miller, Frankie Lewis and myself. I think overall our songs are ‘feel-good’ music! We write about soul music and it’s impact of our lives as heard in the title track of our current release, ‘Tempo Of Your Soul’ in ‘Cold Feet’ ‘Fling’ and ‘It Shouldn’t Be Like This’ we talk about relationships; and in ‘Everybody’ ‘Get Up’  and ‘Dance With Me’ and we also write about finding your groove out there on the dance floor.

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

GM: We are an 8-piece band so the biggest challenge is getting all of us at the same place at the same time. We have a ‘secret’ group set up on Facebook and this allows us to communication with each other without having to email and text. So much easier going to one place to find out what’s happening with the band!

DT: Does the band play any covers during a live show?  If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

GM: Yes, we play the occasional cover. We don’t really argue about what covers to do. We’re all really on the same page, so most suggestions are in keeping with who we are as a band. A cover we’re considering playing to our Swanage audience is ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.

DT: What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

GM: We will begin building our own studio in March of this year and hopefully will start recording our 2nd album ‘Keep On’ in the autumn. We’re already writing and performing new songs that will go on this release. We’ll be performing a couple at the Showplug show @ The Legion on 1st February!

DT: OK Dom. Your top ten albums you currently can’t live without please?

DE – Well apart from hundreds of Northern Soul Compilation Albums, here goes:

1. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
2. Kind Of Blue – Miles Davis
3. The Curtom Story – Curtis Mayfield
4. Innervisions – Stevie Wonder
5. All Mod Cons – The Jam
6. Revolver – The Beatles
7. Cafe Bleu – The Style Council
8. Park Life – Blur
9. The Defamation of Strickland Banks – Plan B
10. Hidden Treasures – Amy Winehouse

DT: Any bands we should go and check out?

DE – Quite like ‘New Street Adventure’ – though I think they’re now signed to Acid Jazz Records.

Weblinks

Mayfield Official Site
Showplug

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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January 28, 2014 By : Category : Eyeplugs Front page Gigs Interviews Showplug Soul Tags:, , , ,
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Cauldronated speak to Eyeplug

Cauldronated are A punky, drum-centric, techno adventure featuring Eva Menon (Italian extrasolar poetess), David Harman and Dave Barbarossa (Drummer with Adam and The Ants, Bow Wow Wow, Republica, Chicane…

01 How did you first get started in music?

I deputised for the drummer in Adam and The Ants and Adam took me on.

02 Where did your direction come from?

My love of music and the drums.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

I despise artificial passion in music, I can smell it like shit on my shoe. Far to many influences to mention.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

I am driven to create uniqueness. Anytime I’ve gone the straight route in music, I’ve been deflated. ‘Cauldronated’ is a strange brew; House/tehcno scenery, impassioned alien vocals and mental drums.

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

Complete commitment to the instrument. Spellbinding singer, modern sounds.

06 How do you begin your song creation? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

From a beat, or a groove, a vocal line, everything is thrown into the Cauldron. The themes are historical yet, futuristic.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

I have followed my heart. I play what pleases me.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

To not sell myself out. To follow the teachings of geniuses I have worked with.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

I don’t play them.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

‘Top o’ the world ma!’

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Cauldronated.

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

More mental beats, Italian style and heady grooves, all live, all full-on.

Web Links:

cauldronated.com
facebook.com/cauldronated
facebook.com/BarbarossaBeat
soundcloud.com/cauldronated

Cauldronated @ The Finsbury – 21st Nov 2013

A welcome blast of superheated noise from the stage of this vast Manor House pub on one of the year’s coldest nights, Cauldronated lived up to my every expectation. Hard to believe that it takes just two people to make this brimming, bone shaking sound, the beat provided by Dave Barbarossa, veteran of such chart-bruising acts like Adam and the Ants, Bow Wow Wow and Republica, the voice and yet more drum work courtesy of the mysterious Eva Menon, she of the dark locks, tattoos, and more than a nod to the classic female rock stars of the much missed late 1970’s. With just a hint of synth to flesh out the sound, this heady brew showed its strength from the word go.

Playing the ice maiden with considerable relish, a huge 80’s cut jacket thrown over her slight shoulders, Eva glares, struts and swerves in front of her mike, coldly intoning the bullet-point vituperative lyrics, as synths wail and scream, Dave pounding out a thunderous beat that will tolerate no dissent. Difficult to characterise in one heading, Cauldronated seem to inhabit a world of their own making, somewhere in the wastes between rock, synth pop and trance, but without getting enmired in any of them.

Every young woman who ever picked up a microphone in anger seems to be embodied in Eva, her Siouxsie/ Ronny persona showing up most of today’s so-called cougars for the compliant puppets they really are. Dave’s enviable drum pedigree ensured a solid wall of rhythm for every song, with their electronic friend’s unobtrusive wailing a perfect backup.

Throwing her huge jacket aside, revealing a one-piece man-drag outfit that perfectly complemented her onstage self, Eva’s voice ran the gamut from Siouxsie to Poly, with even a suggestion of Diamanda, as she spat out yet more bile to the accompaniment of the screaming synth and rumbling drums which she shared stage with.

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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November 12, 2013 By : Category : Beats Dark DozenQ Gigs Instruments Interviews Music Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,
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The Primitives @ the 100 Club

The Primitives @ the 100 Club – September 2013

Last night saw Indie darlings ‘The Primitives’ celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their acclaimed debut album ‘Lovely’ at the 100 Club. Cherry Red Records have added this Indie pop gem to their mightily impressive back catalogue, and the newly expanded reissue of ‘Lovely’ comes as a 2-CD set, which features the original album and a bonus disc that brings together most of the bands B sides and other rare tracks from that 2 year period. ‘The Primitives’ went from being an Indie guitar band that was loosely tied to the C86 scene to chart superstars thanks to the success of the hit single ‘Crash’, and the subsequent album ‘Lovely’, which debuted at number 6 and stayed in the charts for 10 weeks in the summer of 1988.

It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since the release of this enduringly popular album, and just one listen to this record will surely have even those with out any sense of melody at least wriggling their toes to such songs as ‘Spacehead’ ‘Thru The Flowers’ ‘Stop Killing Me’ and ‘Dreamwalk Baby’. This album fizzes from start to finish with shimmering jangly guitars, Tracey Tracey’s sweet vocals, and a really catchy guitar sound that makes this listener think of an electric saw melodically cutting through a sheet of hardboard.

‘The Primitives’ are going through a new phase of popularity since coming back onto our radars after a period of some 18 years. However, the band was reunited by tragedy when their original bass player Steve Dullaghan died unexpectedly in 2009. But for ‘The Primitives’ and their devoted fans something good came out of this loss, and over the past 4 years fans have been treated to a series of live shows, and a first album from the band in 20 years. ‘Echoes and Rhymes’, which saw ‘The Primitives’ record a covers album of girl fronted obscure pop gems from the 1960s, and their infectious sunshine pop is all over this album to such an extent that they virtually make the songs their own.

After witnessing ‘The Primitives’ for the first time ever at the ‘Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop’ launch night back in June, it was hard to believe that they had ever been away as they played brilliantly to a rapturous audience. I was wondering if ‘The Primitives’ could top that performance at the 100 Club, and I felt privileged to be among this sell-out crowd last night. ‘One of the great things about watching a band at the 100 Club is just how intimate this venue is, and being so close to the stage and the band makes a gig even more special. The anticipation of seeing ‘The Primitives’ made me quite forget that there was another legend in attendance last night. Erstwhile drummer of ‘The Smiths’ Mike Joyce who was supposed to be playing a DJ set. Whoever the DJ was he deserves some credit for priming the audience with plenty of anthemic punk and new wave gems, which set us up nicely for the arrival of ‘The Primitives’.

The anticipation of the 100 Club audience could be felt, and it was exciting to say the least to be witnessing ‘The Primitives’ this close up. However, no ‘Primitives’ gig would be complete without ‘The Flower Man’, who stood rooted to his usual spot right at the front of the stage in front of Tracey Tracey’s microphone. I witnessed this scenario back in June, when ‘The Flower Man’ presented Tracey Tracey with a rather lavish bouquet at the end of the show, and surely Interflora’s best customer would be armed with another bunch of flowers this time. However, if he did present any flowers to Tracey Tracey then I sadly missed it this time, due to the heaving and swaying crowd.

‘The Primitives’ jostled through the crowd and took to the stage to a rapturous reception, and just blasted through a set, which included the entire ‘Lovely’ album. Every time the ‘The Primitives’ launched into a song, the crowd came surging forward time and again, with fans literally falling on the stage, to the amused concern of Tracey Tracey who politely tried to get the audience to move back a little. However those were her only words to fall on deaf ears, as the fans took no notice of her light hearted please for calm. It is easy to see why people could not stand still for a single minute, as ‘The Primitives’ have such an impressive back catalogue of airy and brilliantly melodic songs, which were played to stunning effect last night.

However, the gig was not without its odd moments. At regular periods during the show the lights kept coming on, which is always an indication that the night is over and it did make me think back to the times when I used to stagger out of the 100 Club after the Northern Soul all-nighters. The problem with the lights was not without its plus points as it made taking a couple of pictures slightly easier. This was a euphoric performance and the audience would not let ‘The Primitives’ finish, and they managed an encore to the delight of everyone, including ‘The Flower Man’. I can only assume that if he did bring a bunch of flowers then they would have been well and truly destroyed by the crowd.

I am always skeptical when bands reform and most reunions fall flat, and it usually ends up with bands doing badly what they used to be so good at. However, the same cannot be said of ‘The Primitives’, who clearly enjoy being on stage together. Their welcome return to the stage and the recording studio could not have come any sooner. ‘’The Primitives’ youthful vigour still shines through, and last night’s show absolutely bristled with energy and fizz. They are simply a band that no one could get tired of seeing live.

After the gig had finished I had the good fortune of meeting Tracey Tracey and Paul Court. They were so down to earth, and unaffected by their status as Indie pop darlings, and they happily had photos taken, and signed records and t-shirts for the fans. However, the night was not without calamity, as I staggered up to Tracey Tracey who graciously posed for a photo with me, which I subsequently deleted by mistake and I am still trying to come to terms with it today. I told her how much I used to love ‘The Primitives’ in 1988 (and still do), and I cheekily asked her how she managed to look so young, in which she smiled, shrugged her shoulders and I blushed like a naughty schoolboy.

The night was fully made perfect by an excellent DJ set from none other than Smiths’ legend Mike Joyce who kept the buzz and atmosphere spot on. Does it get much better?

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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September 29, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Gigs Indie Live Music Reviews Tags:, , , , ,
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Scared To Get Happy: A Story Of Indie Pop 1980-1989

Event: Saturday 22nd June, 2013 @ 229 The Venue, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN

ROOM 1
7.00pm to 7.30pm – THE WOLFHOUNDS
7.45pm to 8.15pm – MIGHTY MIGHTY
8.30pm to 9.15pm – BRILLIANT CORNERS
9.30pm to 10.15pm – BMX BANDITS
10.30pm to 11.15pm – THE PRIMITIVES

ROOM 2
7.00pm to 7.45pm – YEAH YEAH NOH
8.00pm to 8.45pm – 14 ICED BEARS
9.00pm to 9.45pm – BLUE ORCHIDS
10.00pm to 10.45pm – POPGUNS
11.00pm to 11.45pm – JUNE BRIDES

Now in its 35th year Cherry Red Records (along with Rough Trade) can lay claim to be one of the longest and most successful independent records labels in the UK. Co-founders Lain MacNay and Richard Jones started the label in 1978, in order to release singles by Punk band ‘The Tights’. Lain MacNay initially operated Cherry Red Records as something of a ‘hobby’ from his Wimbledon home, and today Cherry Red Records has an enormous and mightily impressive back catalogue, and they claim to release up to an astonishing ‘50 albums a month’.

On the 24th June comes the release of the eagerly anticipated ‘Scared To Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989’. This mammoth 5 album box set contains some 127 tracks by Indie bands that enjoyed limited success to those that eventually went on to become household names in the 1990s. According to the Cherry Red Records website, the inspiration for the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ box set came in the form of the ‘Nuggets: Original Artifacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968’. Both of these compilations focus on somewhat obscure and neglected bands, and ‘Scared To Get Happy’ like ‘Nuggets’ serves as an intriguing and essential guide for those curious enough to see beyond the smattering of famous names that litter the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ compilation. You can grab a copy HERE!

Last night saw Cherry Red Records launch the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ compilation in fine style at London’s ‘The Venue’ on Great Portland Street. With 10 bands split evenly between 2 rooms, it left the audience a little spoilt for choice. However, ‘Mighty Mighty’ was an easy choice for this particular audience member, and somehow this Birmingham 5 piece were bizarrely under my radar until last week. Their set consisted of ‘Maisonette’, ‘Settle Down’ (where Hugh Harkin sank to his knees and implored the audience of 30 and 40 something’s to do just that), ‘Is There Anyone Out There?’ ‘Built like A Car’ and their hilarious debut single ‘Everybody Knows A Monkey’. At one point in the set Hugh Harkin calls out for Bridget Duffy to join them on stage. The ex ‘Sea Urchins’ band member was nowhere to be seen, or did she hide when her name was announced? Many of us also know Bridget from her shop ‘What The Butler Wore’ which has been catering for my own and other like minded ‘Dedicated Followers Of Fashion’ sartorial needs since 1995. This impressive set was backed by singing fans at the front of the stage while holding their beers aloft. If you want to know what all the fuss is about, then you can view the YouTube clips attached here or catch a glimpse of their classic amusing videos to ‘Maisonette’ and ‘Built Like A Car’.

The Brilliant Corners’ were afforded the luxury of an extra 15 minutes, and an ensemble containing at least 6 members (starting to get beery eyed at this point) saunter onto the stage with Dan Pacini brandishing a trumpet and Davey Woodward a taped up acoustic guitar. ‘The Brilliant Corners’ story dates back to 1983 and they decided to reform to celebrate their 30th anniversary by playing at the ‘Scared To Get Happy’ launch party. They appear slightly fey especially with the introduction of Amelia Fletcher to sing ‘Why Do You Have To Go Out With Him’. Other songs included the slightly silly and amusing ‘Brian Rix’ and ‘Teenage’, which Davey Woodward awkwardly introduced and pondered the merits of singing such a song considering the age of him and most of the audience. However, this did not matter at all as the song was received rapturously. Seeing ‘The Brilliant Corners’ on stage made me think that the so-called under appreciated Indie Pop scene of the 1980s does indeed have a lasting legacy, which can be seen in Bands like ‘Belle and Sebastian’ and more recent Indie upstarts like ‘The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.’

‘The Brilliant Corners’ really did grab my attention to the extent that I missed the start of the “Blue Orchids’ in room one.  This post punk band featured ex ‘Fall’ members Martin Bramah and Una Baines, and my introduction to the Blue Orchids came in the form of a live appearance at the nearby ‘Social’ a few months ago.  What made that particular gig so compelling was the chaotic performance from an inebriated and out of tune frontman Martin Bramah. Last night I was expecting something similar and to my surprise this was a much more sedate, and sullen performance from Bramah and the rest of the “Blue Orchids’. The ‘Blue Orchids’ did step up a gear towards the end with tracks like ‘Work’ and the brilliant ‘Disney Boys’. ‘The Fall’ may release about 40 albums a year, but can they really claim to have done a 45rpm as brilliant as ‘Disney Boys’ coupled with ‘The Flood’?

Now it was back into room 2 to see the already started ‘BMX Bandits’ who hail from ‘Bellshill’ North Lanarkshire, Scotland. This was another band I was eager to see, and it was such a shame that their set partially clashed with the tail end of the ‘Blue Orchids’. The song I was most looking forward to the ‘BMX Bandits’ performing was ‘Serious Drugs’. Sadly I missed it and in fairness it did not really matter as they performed such a sweet and plaintive set that I quite forgot that Duglas T Stewart the long haired, and bearded front man could have been a member of ZZ Top, as opposed to being a member of a band that plays such fragile and wistful Indie Pop as the absolutely charming ‘So Many Colours’ ‘I Wanna Fall In Love’ ‘Girl At The Bus Stop’ and ‘Disco Girl’.

Now the moment I had been looking forward to was the appearance of ‘The Primitives’ and the ‘Lovely’ Tracy Tracy. They came on to a rousing reception and ripped through a set of songs that had enough hooks to hang all your coats and hats on! ‘The Primitives’ brilliantly played so many catchy tunes including ‘Stop Killing Me’ ‘Thru The Flowers’ ‘Really Stupid’ and the massive 1988 hit ‘Crash’, that it was rather difficult for anyone to remain dead still. The most impressive thing about ‘The Primitives’ unlike other bands that reform, was that it never at all felt purely nostalgic. They still retain their youthful vigour and sounded so fresh and relevant after all these years, that it makes the mind boggle why they ever split up in the first place. One side splittingly funny moment came at the end of the gig, when a fan brandishing a bunch of flowers produced them with a flourish and handed them to Tracy Tracy who accepted them without even a hint of surprise, which suggests that this has become something of a routine for both fan and singer alike.

* Editor says: ‘Apologies to any bands that were missed this time around, one set of Eyeplug reviewers got stranded on their way to the show, so LongJohn did an even more super solid job splitting his timings wherever he could! Big Thanks to all at Cherry Red!

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 16, 2015 By : Category : Front page Gigs Indie Live Music Pop Reviews Tags:, , , , , ,
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The Chapman Family at Surya Bar 20/2/13

Torn between watching the Brit Awards on the idiot box, and a night at Surya with The Chapman Family, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which one I chose.

Kings Cross’ dubious reputation has still not entirely been killed off by the appearance of health clubs, glass mini-skyscrapers and smart bars like this one, and the cramped basement with the tiny stage proved to be the perfect venue to hear Stockton’s finest.

I hesitate to describe music in terms which would have sounded oafish even a few years ago, but there’s no denying the film soundtrack quality to their work. This time, it’s more a measure of the versatility, rather than the disconnectedness of the music, as the response from this small but energised crowd proved.

With their rhythms held down just below eruption’s point, and Kingsley’s pugnacious presence delivering heartfelt, angry lyrics about the wretched state out country is in, they recall the heady, politicised days of the 80’s, with even more to be furious about.

In an age when most bands are settling for the second-best of familiar rock riffing or quirkiness for its own worthless sake, it makes a welcome change to hear a tight, torrid set of rock anthems, atmospheric soundscapes and vocals that went from low whispers to full throated howls, all performed new minted and bristling with rage.

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 5, 2015 By : Category : Front page Gigs Indie Live Music Pop Reviews Tags:,
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